Crappy Bags

A great episode of Office Hours, where Dan Pink catches up with Bob Sutton and Huggy Rao on their virtual book tour for Scaling Up Excellence.

Bob Sutton:

People who knew Steve Jobs the best said that ...he understood how little things now had a big effect later on...One of my students told me that [Steve Jobs] fired her friend from the very first Apple Store, because she bought really cheap bags. [Jobs] got so pissed off because [he pictured] people walking out with the expensive purchases they just made ...in a crappy bag. And if you go through Danny Kahneman's stuff, the way things end is a really important part of the experience. He saw the long-term costs of that, whereas most places ...just give you a crappy bag.

I believe Bob is referring to Kahneman's “peak–end rule”, where—rather than an average of the entire experience—people evaluate experiences by their memories of the most intense point and the end.

How many presentations, meetings, or even holidays do we end with "crappy bags"?

Even Trendy Tailors Don't Need Locks

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For Seth Godin--the polarizing marketing author bespectacled with orange frames--selective theft belongs in the repetoire of everyone in business. "Steal your business model," he writes. "We don't have a shortage of business models; it's ok if you pick one that's working for someone else." Seth's advice is solid. If generations of shipbuilders have perfected the design of steerable ships, why reinvent the wheelhouse?"

This idea isn't Seth's. He may have stolen it from Austin Kleon, self proclaimed tasteful kleptomaniac and author of Steal Like an Artist,  who may, in turn, have stolen the idea from David Bowie, who said "The only art I'll ever study is stuff that I can steal." So go ahead and steal what can legally be taken. Everyone else is.  

And if you have found something that works, don't be aftaid to share it. 

The trendiest tailors don't need locks. Even if your 'best practice' fits your competition's leadership style, strategy, context, and organizational soul, without alteration it will never fit all four dimensions simultaneously. Graveyards are full of organizations whose leaders were very unoriginal and very trendy.*

* I stole this sentence from The Magnificent Seven, starring Yule Brenner: "Graveryards are full of boys who were very young and very proud."

The Problem with the Blood Business

The Problem with the Blood Business

Have you ever wondered what happens to blood after you donate it? I never wondered either. Now that I know, however, it bothers me. 

Apparently, it's no secret. In 1990, long before I listened to the RadioLab podcast on blood, and before articles about blood bank activities appeared in such widely read publications as ForbesSlate, and the New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer won a Pulitzer Prize for Gilbert Gaul's five part investigative series on the blood business. Gaul's reporting shed light on blood bank activity in what turns out to be much more than a cottage industry, but a 45 billion dollar a year behemoth complete with brokers, arbiters, and incredible profits. 

The Community Blood Center in Appleton, Wisconsin, for example, sold "half its monthly blood supply--at a profit--to other blood banks around the country," wrote Gaul, and "contracted to sell 200 pints a month to a blood bank 528 miles away in Lexington, KY.  [The blood bank in] Lexington sold half the blood it bought from Appleton to yet a third blood bank near Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Which in turn sold thousands of pints it bought from Lexington and other blood banks to four hospitals in New York City."

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The Freedom to Become

The Freedom to Become

I really like the way Bob Sutton writes practical, evidence based management books . I don't know him personally, but we know many of the same people, and I enjoy reading his blog and his books when time permits.

In a recent post on The Writing Life he almost deviates for his usual management insights for a little navel-gazing.

According to Bob (and his colleague Steve Barley) "the behavior that people display – regardless of their intentions and the claims they make to others – are the best indicator of both their sense of self and of how others see them".

In other words, 'you are what you do'; a simple concept that also pertains to management

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Super Bowl Bettors and the Folly of the Crowd

Super Bowl Bettors and the Folly of the Crowd

Two days before Super Bowl XLVIII the Broncos are still the favorites to win, and despite oddsmakers spotting the Seahawks about 3 points, 90% of early bettors have put their money on the Broncos anyway.

So if crowds are wise, why bother to watch the game at all?1 If it weren’t for the commercials, the food, and the parties, why waste our time? A study by Joseph Simmons at Wharton demonstrates why the game this Sunday may not be a foregone conclusion.

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