Year: 2009

Target acting like Wal-Mart

Target reinvented American retailing. By democratizing design, it rescued the family budgeter from the aesthetic provinces of dinette sets and acid-washed jeans. Target was one of the first to use famous fashion designers to cast a halo over its brand and draw people into its stores. (…)

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Now the charge is that Target is copying its archrival, and its executives are bristling. They insist they provide a superior store experience. Nor have they any plans to abandon their 15-year-old slogan: “Expect more, pay less.” (…)

All the same, a kind of role reversal is under way in Retail Land. Wal-Mart has long borrowed from Target. Now Target is stalking Wal-Mart. Target’s magic has always been about pushing its low-cost business model relentlessly upmarket. But to get itself through the Great Recession, it appears to be going downmarket.

via BusinessWeek.

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Beatles song sequentially

hey jude flowchart

Writing, briefly

RSS in Plain English

No need to go to the websites and blogs that you wish to keep up with.  RSS is the technology that allows you to bring to your computer the new content of your favorite websites and blogs.

Overcome ambiguity: choose the medium required by the task

The criteria are

  • (a) the availability of instant feedback;
  • (b) the capacity of the medium to transmit multiple cues such as body language, voice tone, and inflection;
  • (c) the use of natural language; and
  • (d) the personal focus of the medium.

via Media Richness Theory.

The first (and last) word on productivity

Don’t miss The Ultimate Productivity Blog.

Thanks XO.

Announcing the Built-in Orderly Organized Knowledge device

Announcing the new Built-in Orderly Organized Knowledge device (BOOK). It’s a revolutionary breakthrough in technology: no wires, no electric circuits, no batteries, nothing to be connected or switched on. It’s so easy to use even a child can operate it. Compact and portable, it can be used anywhere–even sitting in an armchair by the fire–yet it is powerful enough to hold as much information as a CD-ROM disk.

Here’s how it works: Each BOOK is constructed of sequentially numbered sheets of paper, each capable of holding thousands of bits of information. These pages are locked together with a custom-fit device called a binder that keeps the sheets in their correct sequence. The user scans each sheet optically, registering information directly into his or her brain. A flick of the finger takes the user to the next sheet.

The BOOK may be taken up at any time and used by merely opening it. The “browse” feature allows the user to move instantly to any sheet and to move forward or backward as desired. Most BOOKs come with an “index” feature that pinpoints the exact location of any selected information for instant retrieval. An optional “BOOKmark” accessory allows the user to open the BOOK to the exact place left in a previous session–even if the BOOK has been closed. BOOKmarks fit universal design standards; thus a single BOOKmark can be used in BOOKs by various manufacturers.

Portable, durable, and affordable, the BOOK is the entertainment wave of the future, and many new titles are expected soon, due to the surge in popularity of its programming tool, the Portable Erasable-Nib Cryptic Intercommunication Language Stylus (PENCILS).



The secret to intellectual survival (and success!) in college

Foxes and hedgehogs

There exists a great chasm between those,

on one side [hedgehogs], who relate everything to a single central vision, one system, less or more coherent or articulate, in terms of which they understand, think and feel “a single, universal, organising principle in terms of which alone all that they are and say has significance” and,

on the other side [foxes], those who pursue many ends, often unrelated and even contradictory, connected, if at all, only in some de facto way, for some psychological or physiological cause, related to no moral or aesthetic principle.

These last lead lives, perform acts and entertain ideas that are centrifugal rather than centripetal; their thought is scattered or diffused, moving on many levels, seizing upon the essence of a vast variety of experiences and objects for what they are in themselves, without, consciously or unconsciously, seeking to fit them into, or exclude them from, any one unchanging, all-embracing, sometimes self-contradictory and incomplete, at times fanatical, unitary inner vision.

Isaiah Berlin, The Hedgehog and the Fox: An Essay on Tolstoy’s View of History. London, 1953, p. 436-437.

Art and diagnostics

In Cambridge, Mass., Joel Katz has spent the past six years proving that doctors will be better at their left-brain craft if they’re well-versed in art. First- and second-year Harvard Med students now vie to get into Katz’s 10-week course that uses Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts to teach future physicians how to critically analyze famous paintings.

Those who take the art course typically show “a 50% improvement” in assessing a patient’s symptoms, says Katz, himself an internist. “Usually doctors are not trained in humanism. Students usually say this has expanded their way of thinking, which benefits the patient.” (via

We had similar outings for MBA students in a program that we deliberately designed to promote whole-brain thinking. With phenomenal results!

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