Zappos legendary service as good as they say it is

Zappos. I’ve heard so much about their legendary service, and had a chance to experience it first hand today. The short version is that I bought a pair of boots there, that I’ve been dreaming about for years, and when I got them a zipper was broken. It was terribly sad, but you don’t find out about a company’s service until something goes wrong, and at that point Zappos transcended all my expectations.

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How to Be Good

After finishing “How to Be Good” by Nick Hornby late last night, I am further from understanding how to be good than I ever was. Nick Hornby is also the author of other piercingly observant, and enjoyable books like High Fidelity, but he writes a lousy how-to manual, instead raising questions about the goodness of being good. I know – that’s the point – and I get it, but it’s like someone opening the blinds or turning on a bright light in the morning. It’s good for me, but really, I was enjoying my sleep.

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What is libel?

The standard defense against any statement accused of being defamation, libel or slander, is the truth of the statement. Some even define libel as “An untruthful statement about a person, published in writing or through broadcast media, that injures the person’s reputation or standing in the community.”

However, a new ruling, reported in several places, is raising eyebrows throughout the publishing community because it suggests that if you’re saying bad things about someone, you could be successfully sued, even if what you wrote is absolutely true. Not that I’m in the habit of writing bad things about people, but if you ever needed another reason to follow the old adage “if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all” this would be it. But it also got me thinking about the consequences of saying nothing at all.

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Sixth Sense – like Minority Report, but better.

The internet has given us an incredible amount of information, all at our finger tips – if we’re sitting at a computer or using a cell phone. What if there was a product that allowed you to conveniently get that information as you interact with your environment? Researchers at the MIT Media Lab are getting … Read more

YouBar – the Search for the Perfect Bar

For my part, it’s pretty hard for me to stomach most of the commercially available bars out there. Never mind that they are a convenient source of calories packaged nicely for consumption on the trail. They’re mostly … well… yucky. If I were going to design the perfect trail bar, it’d look, taste, and function … Read more


I just finished listening to Buyology by Martin Lindstrom yesterday morning while I was running on the treadmill. A decent book, but this kind of book is really better to read in a paper version so that it would be easier to flip back, and look through the interesting bits again. Having gotten to poke around a friend’s Kindle, in some ways *that* would be ideal – a place to take notes and write in the margins without actually having to write in the margins.

The most interesting part of the book, for me, was the concept of using fMRI (functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging) to look inside the brain for activity in various regions, to gain some insight into the ways people are really responding to your input and how they will behave. Unfortunately for me, the science was ‘popularized’ for the book, and so I ended up having a lot of questions about methodology and the interpretation of results.

It’s a little sci-fi big-brother creepy to find out that in many cases looking directly at brain activity can be a better predictor of someone’s behavior than what that someone actually says they will do. But Martin suggests that by knowing how your brain responds to various inputs, will at least make you aware of the tricksy things that Marketers are trying to pull.

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Leaning In or Leaning Back

Seth Godin is my marketing hero. The author of a dozen or so books, including “The Dip” and “All Marketers are Liars”, Seth’s books and blog have been a constant source of insight and perspective since I first started looking into his stuff. One of the concepts I picked up out of the many ideas in his book, Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us, was this idea of leaning in or leaning back. It’s not even one of the big ideas in that book, but you never know where you’ll find something you can use.

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