Think Quarterly

Seems I missed Google’s new journal, Think Quarterly, when it launched at the beginning of 2011.
From their About page:

When the world is full of noise, you need a little moment of silence – a space to reflect. Google’s Think Quarterly is breathing space in a busy world. It’s a place to take time out and consider what’s happening and why it matters.

The discussion about business ideas that you’ve always wanted to have, a conversation between equals designed to get everybody thinking, sharing and innovating.

The previous two issues where Data and Innovation. The newest is on People.
The typography and layouts are beautiful and the articles seem sharp.





Contrary to the plan, technology has limited our choices. When you check boxes that define your preference in a date–say, Latina, between 24 and 27, loves birds, is a Unitarian, oh, and also should have hazel eyes–you’re narrowing your world quite a bit there. We no longer “happen across” anything; we Google. We don’t flip through TV channels; we look at the cable menu and choose by title–or watch things you’ve chosen in advance, then recorded. Don’t answer the phone without that caller ID. Don’t bother listening to that whole CD–you want to hear that one song you already like. In every corner of this newest of new worlds, very little happens that isn’t planned out. Technology has trumped serendipity.

–‘iBone‘ — by Marshall Sella; GQ Magazine, Oct. 2011
via Urban Suburban





Just A Car Guy ponders the insane raises some CEOs make:

TRW CEO John Plant got 510% raise over his 2009 salary of 6.7 million
Ford CEO Alan Mulally 524% raise… yet his company has 14 billion in debt
Johnson Controls’ Stephen Roell 424% raise

So… did those 3 companies make 4 to 500% better business decisions? Better profit? Better products?

Disgusting, but not surprising.





The AP is just the latest in a series of news organizations pulling off GroupOn’s business model and profitability masks to reveal shady Old Mad Smithers in classic Scooby Doo style:

It’s the latest twist for Groupon’s IPO, which was one of the most anticipated offerings this year. In June, after Groupon filed for the offering, the SEC raised concerns about the way it counts revenue. Then the stock market plunged.

Now Groupon faces concerns about the viability of its daily deals business model. The novelty of online coupons is wearing off. Some merchants are complaining that they are losing money — and customers– on the deals. And competitors are swarming the marketplace.

“Groupon is a disaster,” says Sucharita Mulpuru, a Forrester Research analyst. “It’s a shill that’s going to be exposed pretty soon.”

And how do small businesses feel?

Adding to growing customer discontent, Groupon, which was initially seen by small mom-and-pop shops as a way to drum up new business, was losing favor with some of them. Merchants began to do the cruel math on the daily deals.

Restaurants offering $50 of food for just $25 only collect $12.50 — not even enough to cover the cost of the food. Some businesses also complain that the deals for new customers anger long-time patrons. Others say that the bargains attract high-maintenance types who don’t turn into loyal customers.

“Your restaurants are full packed with people who aren’t making you any money,” says Paul Evans, a Kansas City marketing executive who advises clients against using Groupon.

To GroupOn’s brief defense, if you’re a small business doing business with anyone, do your fucking math. If it looks too good to be true, it usually is.