Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Hipster Haiku #14

A few years back I started writing some hipster haikus. I stopped at #13, though, because they were becoming increasingly popular and I didn't want to be a part of any trend that was, like, mainstream. [note blog sarcasm]

However I recently found out @katekiefer was putting together a photo shoot for "The Evolution of the Hipster" and felt inspired again by this picture.

Hipster Haiku #14
Refurbished Schwinn bike.
No helmet; brimmed hat instead.
Old fashion mustache.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Caren Explains Ringo, Entrepreneurs and the Unluckiest Man in the World

Unless you're a Beatlemaniac, like me, you probably don't know much about Pete Best, the original drummer for The Beatles, who is often referred to as the "unluckiest man in the world."

Pete joined The Beatles (then called The Quarrymen) in 1960, nearly four years before the band appeared on The Ed Sullivan show. But in 1962, Pete was replaced by drummer Richard Starkey, aka Ringo Starr.

From my entrepreneurship classes I've come to realize that there are a lot of Pete Bests in the world: namely, entrepreneurs who are ousted from their companies right before pay day, or those who find their equity so diluted that they walk away with very little* to show for their innovation and endeavors [of course, "very little" could mean a fraction of multimillion or billion-dollar deals].

To draw out this thought a little more, let's consider why Pete Best may have been asked to leave The Beatles: poor fit? poor performance? didn't look or act the part? politics of the record industry? [According to The Beatles Anthology, it was the later -- at the suggestion of Parlophone Records]

Now let's think about an unlucky founder/CEO and why, after funding is secured, he is asked to leave the company: poor fit? poor performance? didn't look or act the part? politics? ... could be any or all of the above.

The young Beatles franchise, like any entrepreneurship, was a business. The record producers wanted to get the most out of their investment, and therefore wanted the "right" team in place. I highlight the word "right" because it's possible that the band would have earned such acclaim even with Pete Best behind the drum kit... but I'd sure rather be Ringo than the guy who didn't see it coming.

With the release of Rock Band: The Beatles and The Beatles Stereo Box Set this week, Pete must either be curled up in the fetal position, or laughing it off. I suppose that depends on how he measures success. According to Wikipedia, Pete and his wife have been married for 40+ years, whereas three of four Beatles divorced their first spouses. Maybe that success is more important to him than money ("money can't buy me love").

Friday, September 11, 2009

Caren Explains Vampires, Kittens and Windows 7

My ears always perk up when I hear that something new is coming out of Crispin Porter & Bogusky, the agency responsible for Subservient Chicken, the creepy King, the Truth campaign, and Mini Cooper's mega fun buzz.

In March 2008 Microsoft awarded a $300 million account to CP+B, in what at first seemed an unlikely pairing. One might expect CP+B to be better aligned with Apple (which relies on TBWA/Chiat/Day for its "I'm a Mac" campaigns). But that's what makes the match so interesting. [From a 2008 feature in Fast Company: "Can Alex Bogusky Help Microsoft Beat Apple?"-- Alex Bogusky built the country's slickest ad shop using Apple products. His next challenge: Persuade people like him to buy Microsoft's stuff....]

AdAge reported today on the new Microsoft Windows 7 commercial, which features kittens, "Kylie," and The Final Countdown theme song. It will debut on CW network. You can preview it here.

Will this help Microsoft overcome the running joke ("I'm a PC") that Apple has perpetuated in its ads? And is this commercial appropriately targeted to the right audience and media channel? Clearly the commercial placement -- during the premiere episode of "Vampire Diaries" -- has generated some press (good job, PR folks), or else I wouldn't know about it or write about it. But it doesn't seem like an obvious match, putting a cutesy commercial in front of tweens and vampire lovers... do they want to share the same software as Kylie? Maybe kittens and cute kids are universally loved?

Good luck, CP+B. What's next, TBWA?

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Caren Explains H1N1 and Emory's Isolation Dorm

When I was a college freshman, living in Alabama Hall at Emory University, there was a vacant room one floor above me on the boys' floor. They called it "Mr. Body's Room." At first it was used for overnight guests and shenanigans. But when a mononucleosis was going around the dorm, infected students were essentially quarantined there.

Seems that Emory needs more than Mr. Body's Room these days.

The CBS News report posted below details that Emory is allowing students with H1N1 to voluntarily check themselves into a quarantine dorm so as not to spread the disease. [You can see these students via a creepy webcam interview at the end of video].

The most interesting part? The isolation dorm -- old Turman Hall South -- has been condemned in recent years due to severe mold problems. Guess that's one way to toughen up a wimpy immune system....

Watch CBS Videos Online

(Thanks to my old water polo teammate, Meghan, for sharing this link originally)