Been off the blogosphere and grid for a bit on travels to NY for Toy Fair...Very cool show, in more ways than one. The town was beleaguered by cold weather, snow and resulting potholes. even the locals were tired of the seemingly endless Polar Vortex demonstrating its might every other day or so...I will be writing some new stuff soon...In the meantime, here's a little Batman toy that would make a great present for your little one around the tree this next year!
Seeing the Chicago Cubs announce today that they have a new mascot, shot me back through memory travel time to my elementary school, Happy Valley School in Lafayette, California...the year was 1973.
I was in fifth grade and our school had just told us we were getting a new school mascot from which we had none. We were now going to be the Happy Valley Hornets! Finally, we could have some school shirts or banners that had some coolness and for which we could have mean, mean pride!
In a few short weeks to follow, the administration would show us our new school logo. In leading up to the big reveal, I imagined the coolest, mean looking hornet waspish crazy insect with an insane looking stinger poised and bent, just looking for its next kill! And hornets didn't die, like their lame-o insect cousins the bees; word was out that hornets could sting people all day long and never die a death from injecting their victims with a combination load of venom and pain!
We had the Merriwood relays coming up, where only the finest track athletes in the area would sprint down never ending parallel lines to achieve athletic glory and attain a first place ribbon! Our competitors from neighboring elementary schools knees would begin to wobble and sweat would pore from their hairless armpits just looking at our new mean jerseys, meant to intimidate all before us: the opposing players, their parents, their kids, even the judges!
Mr Lilley, our principal, gathered us all in the main hall outside his office, where we were all gathered around to see the new mascot. I knew that because I went to the coolest school, that the adults running it had access to the best graphic designers and money would be no option for getting the perfect look of the mascot and its accompanying logo. There was a reason my parents toiled to live in this middle class town and I knew the property taxes they paid would have to have gone straight to the Cool Happy Valley Hornet Mascot and Logo Fund!
I just remember an art stand holding up the covered logo...a thin sheet was covering the awesomeness that was just minutes away from being viewed. I could not stand the anticipation! Please, pull off that dreaded sheet that separated us from the glory years to come with our new found Hornet mascot and logo!
What happened next, was stunning to my brain and almost sent me into therapy at the tender age of 11...it all was surreal and happening in Super Slow Motion...kind of like watching This Week in Pro Football, where i got to painfully revisit Franco Harris' catch, after the football rebounded off of the poor shoulder of a coiled Pittsburg Steeler receiver due to having been hit from a classic Jack Tatum stinger, but thereafter still was able to run down the sideline acting like a selfish snob with the ball cradled like a baby in his arms into the end zone to beat my beloved Raiders in the AFC Championship even with the newly annointed King Quarterback, Ken Stabler, at the helm and unduly cheat them out of winning the playoff game. I know that was a run-on sentence, but that play was a run-on play.
Revealed on the art board and despise to my eyes, was a cutesy font with letters spelling "Happy Valley" that were arched over the ugliest thing I have ever seen. It was a cute Hornet! There was no mean grimace to be found on this insect. It was smiling at us all, almost inviting us to come over! I looked on the next most important thing, and it was not a long mean stinger in the shape of a jagged and rusty nail. It was short and rounded at the end, looking like the soft pedal of a flower!...and it was attached to the second ugliest thing I have ever seen...a cute insect bottom! It had a mark above it, to show it was wiggling in the wind and saying to us all, "hey, aren't I cute! I won't hurt you, let's play!"
Even Mr. Rogers and the creepos in his Neighborhood had more street cred than this piece of $#@^!&...I think it was the first time I ever swore, except it was just in my head and the profanities were just the thoughts screaming inside my head and were resonating back and forth in my skull, like a brain wobbling inside the same from a concussion...
FAST FORWARD, PRESENT DAY, JANUARY 14, 2014:
CHICAGO CUBS ANNOUNCE CLARK AS THEIR FIRST EVER NEW MASCOT (below)
Chicago Cubs Fans: I feel your pain! Hey, I know your city is a tough city and you have a lot of intercity problems, including youth-aged gangs and drive-by killings, which is nothing to take lightly. Your teams' mascot obviously doesn't have to be a proponent of guns or violence, but does it have to be marketed and cool to only people 4 years and younger?
It says they used focus groups that wanted a family friendly mascot , but I think either 1) the focus group was not focused enough or 2) they need a focus group to come up with the correct focus group
With the new year already upon us, I am throwing out some daunting statistics and other words of adversity spoken from some names you may recognize. This is for the people who choose to play in the unforgiving game of innovation. These people are not satisfied with the status quo. Some might find the odds of bringing their new product to market insurmountable and give up; for others, it will cause them to tighten their chin strap, roll up their sleeves yet again, and dig in their boots even deeper....
Are you, one of the few, prepared to roll the dice and go the distance?
"We test 100 products a year, shoot commercials for 10 and maybe one will be successful. And that one we bring to retail."
A.J. Khubani, CEO of Telebrands Corp (Electronic Retailer, Sept. 2012)
“I'm a risk taker. I get up in the morning knowing that I'm either going to have a spectacular win or loss that is going to be exciting. I prefer the former but either is more appealing than the warm death of mediocrity.”
Dean Kamen, Inventor of the Segway human transporter (April, 2007)
“At the end of the day, we might put 32 products into our line every year. This means that only one in every 100 ideas makes it into Hasbro’s product line annually. And we don’t succeed with everything we put out there. Out of 32, maybe 10 will be successful, meaning they last for a couple, maybe three years.”
Mike Hirtle, at the time head of global inventor relations and product acquisition for giant Hasbro Inc., said his company looked at about 3,200 toy and game ideas every year. (November, 2008)
"You need to be in denial or in ignorance about the huge challenges you face. You have to believe that it wouldn't be hard for you to succeed." "
Guy Kawasaki, a former Apple executive and now Silicon Valley venture capitalist (February 2009)
"A lot of people give up when the world seems to be against them, but that's the point when you should push a little harder. I use the analogy of running a race. It seems as though you can’t carry on, but if you just get through the pain barrier, you'll see the end and be okay. Often, just around the corner is where the solution will happen."
James Dyson, inventor of the Dyson Dual Cyclone bagless vacuum cleaner (April, 2007)
This week I'm featuring a photo mash-up of two unlikely related souls from the past....One inspired others through his words and conviction, and the other was the recipient of those words, and used those words as their own conviction to channel their own successes.
First up is our 26th President of the United States, Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt (October 27, 1858 - January 6, 1919). He was known for many inspirational speeches and quotes, but only one of those quotes deeply resonated with our persona to follow.
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
Robert Craig Knievel, better known as the daredevil Evel Knievel (October 17, 1938 – November 30, 2007), paraphrased Teddy's original quote when talking about his own ambitions. He also acknowledged Teddy as the source of his quote, which is admirable in a world filled with plagiarism and people who try to take credit for something they did not create. Evel Knievel used the words to solidify his own personal convictions, inspire his fans (and future daredevils) and to quiet the critics who questioned his crazy death-defying stunts.
"It is better to take a chance in life to win a victory or suffer defeat even though scarred by failure ... than to live in the shadow of life as some do never knowing a victory or defeat because they have not the guts to try either!"
They both grew up with adversity in life but obviously needed a determined and inspired spirit to achieve their great accomplishments. Who are you inspired by? What gives you inspiration to tackle problems that may have high risk of failure?
Do you strive to inspire others from your own accomplishments and the failures received along the way to get there? Or are you a naysayer...one who questions others for what they try to do..and never attempt a significant or seemingly unobtainable achievement that may result in glorious victory or bitter defeat?
"Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent."
Wal-Mart is running a progressive and innovative campaign called "Get On The Shelf". They have contestants submitting new products that get reviewed by Wal-Mart lead buyers and if lucky enough, move on to become finalists. Those finalists get the chance to be voted by the American, Wal-Mart public, online to "Get On the Shelf".
They are running 5 webisodes, where the individual or business entrants products are broken down into the following categories 1) Living Better 2) Around the House 3) Kid Stuff 4) Great Gadgets and lastly 5) Made in America. Right now, you can cast your vote for the first webisode "Living Better" finalists (watch below)...next week is 2) Around the House and so on.
On a closer look, Wal-mart seems to have gently, or not so gently, borrowed an early Everyday Edison (E.E.) casting call premise that put inventors and entrepreneurs in front of large retail buyers to pitch their product. In the E. E. model, attending big box buyers would let the honchos at E. E. know which new product pitches they had interest in possibly selling. This interest triggered Everyday Edison's to make a licensing deal with the inventor to further develop the product and to hopefully get market ready to sell to the retailer.
This was basically Darwinism for new product ideas, where only the strongest new product ideas would survive by buyer interest and the shunned weaker ones would be left to wither on the vine (no interest for development). With the buyer liking the product and a licensing company to help develop it, the product was being pushed farther down the road to hopeful retail life. But there was still a question if consumers actually liked the product and would buy it or not.
Large corporations in the past have typically shied away from wanting to deal directly with inventors and new product innovators and sometimes have relied on licensing companies to do the job of weaning out the weak, weird and undesirable new product ideas. But with Wal-Mart experimenting with direct requests for consumer innovations, it could eventually cut out Licensing companies such as Everyday Edison's. We now have the retailer dealing directly with the innovator. And now the burden shifts mainly on the individual or small business innovator to get their product market ready so it can be sold in the store.
Wally World, an admitted low price leader, aims to sell the least expensive product for their consumers...and wholesale prices on these newly brought in products would not reflect any royalty add-on (commonly a split between the licensing company and inventor). They're effectively bringing in non-licensed product and keeping their vendor's wholesale prices as low as possible, which keeps their retail prices as low as possible. So, I can understand their reasoning for this innovation experiment. Then, for this campaign, they let the buying public decide which product they deem best, thereby reducing the unknown consumer purchase risk to help it have the best chance of an extended life on store shelves.
There is one huge upside for winning this"Get On The Shelf" contest. Many a company have become overnight successes through the opportunity to sell product into a store with such high consumer buying power. For those of you looking to capitalize on this, sorry, but it is too late to submit your products for consideration. But you can be an armchair consumer and cast your vote for your favorite finalists, and possibly help get their products to "Get On The Shelf"!
Check it our for yourself at: https://getontheshelf.walmart.com/
Yahoo is running a weak and misguided marketing ploy called "30 Days Of Change"...They are going to be unveiling a new Yahoo logo at the end of this miserable branding mistake.
They'll be showcasing 29 weak logos that their designers worked on. But instead of these 29 logos ending up on the cutting room floor (where they should remain), they each get to shine for one unglorious day in front of the unimpressed world. And because they are technically rejects, it will create confusion and alienate users even more. Instead of going with a clean cut-the-cord style plan (out with the old, in with the new), they are extremely diluting their original brand during this slow and painful process of logo change.
If you click on this link, you can see the progression of their logo "throw aways" up until this point.
The so called "big reveal" of the 30th and final new logo comes on September 5th...Mark this on your Google Calender to not check it out, so you won't be disappointed!
With it being the 4th of July, it seems somewhat patriotic to be blogging about past Secretary of Defenses, Presidents, or the funniest member of Three Stooges...not the greatest segueway, but it's gonna have to do...
Donald Rumsfeld, a two-time Secretary of Defense, has led a particularly polarizing life.. with his involvement in pushing the United States of A into war with Iraq, along with his running of G.D. Searle and Co, as their CEO...The latter was the company that politically and questionably shoehorned getting the artificial sweetener Aspartame approved by the F.D.A. back in the 70's. We can thank him for indirectly allowing the syrupy and chemically tasting drink known as Diet Coke, to become a staple now for millions and millions of people worldwide.
He's now making the rounds on the media circuit (circus) to promote his new book entitled: Rumsfeld's Rules: Leadership Lessons in Business, Politics, War, and Life. It's a book chock full of quotes that he's been accumulating in his strategic head over his iron-fisted and no holds barred lifetime.
A few of his rules sound kind of like something Frank Caliendo the comedian would have said while impersonating George W. Bush or quite possibly, even Curly Howard of The Three Stooges.
Try saying the following quotes in your head using either the late Curly Howard's voice, Frank Caliendo's voice doing George W. or the actual Donald Rumsfeld one and try to figure out who actually said it:
A) "A penny saved, is one cent. Or in spanish...cent-a-vo"
B) "‘I stand by what I meant"
C) "I must bring-if-icate"
D) "I'm trying to think but nothing happens!"
E) “I’m not into this detail stuff. I’m more concept-y.”
F) "I knew it was coming, but I didn't expect it"
(see answers below)
Back to Rumsfeld's book: Love him or hate him, hate him or love him, but one of his rules in the book is great to live by if you're in any form of business:
“If you are working from your inbox, you are working on other people’s priorities". A successful business person creates tasks, requests help or information, partners with others by creating and sending e-mails that stimulate action from the person they are sending it to. But successful business communication needs to be a good flowing two-way street, like patriotic red blood coursing back and forth through ones' bluish veins...
You can't just ignore the e-mails coming back to your inbox...just focus more of your time on creating and sending e-mails that stimulate action!
Quiz Quote Answers:
A, C, F) Frank Caliendo doing George W.
B, E) Donald Rumsfeld
D) Curly Howard (hear the sound byte - http://www.hark.com/clips/pbqrsvclsj-im-trying-to-think-but-nothing-happens)
Staples Inc. is the first office supply retailer to start offering 3D printers for sale to consumers...the model offered is a 2nd gen Cube 3D printer, available in iPod like colors (see pic). It sells for a George Washington under $1300, and right now has free shipping.
Some cool features include ability to print in a choices of 16 self-proclaimed "vibrant" colors, it comes with 25 designs and allows you to print plastic models in recyclable ABS or compostable PLA (polylactic acid type that is biodegradable) in sizes up to 5.5" x 5.5" x 5.5" (hence the Cube name).
It works right out of the box...and the Staples website offers a handful of accessories to fuel your new printing addiction, once you get started.
Check out the Cube 3D Printer more at: