bright lights

Bright Lights Project -- Curate Like Museums Do

I had the incredible honor to spend the second half of 2011 as a Goldman Sachs Senior Fellow at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History in Washington, DC. This was a dream come true for me, since I've been a museum fanatic since I was 7 or 8 years old (I had fantasies of hiding in the bathroom at Chicago's Museum of Science & Industry until it closed so I could spend all night playing with its humongous HO-scale train).

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Bright Lights Project - Avon

The news at Avon is not good. The company announced a fourth-quarter net loss earlier this month, it’s being investigated for possibly bribery in China, and it just let go its long-time CEO Andrea Jung (though kept her on as Chairman, with no responsibilities other than collecting a big fat paycheck). Avon’s sales in North America have slid every year since 2007, and its stock price is off 60% since its high in 2004.

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Bright Lights Project - The Consumer Electronics Show

The 2012 International Consumer Electronics Show ("CES") started two days ago in Las Vegas. Close to 150,000 people are milling around almost 2 million square feet of exhibition space filled with thousands of displays. Every device imaginable is playing, broadcasting, or otherwise beeping. Mainstream media types are trying to figure out what it all means. Bloggers have been flown there and often hired by companies so they can spontaneously tell the mainstream folks what’s what.

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Bright Lights Project - Mainstream Media

One of the places the idiotic “Free = Paid” financial model perpetrated by new media zealots first took hold was in the media business itself, perhaps because there was no obvious way to avoid it. Newspapers and magazines found themselves giving away the very substance of their existence much the same way looters yanking TVs through broken store windows represented a new financial model for electronics retailing.

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Bright Lights Project: Ashton Kutcher

Kutcher, long a pioneer in "celebrity tweeting" and the amasser of 8 million+ Twitter followers, has announced he will no longer type his own messages but rather rely on his PR team to come up with fodder to fill his stream. Social media evangelists are bemoaning the possible end of authentic tweeting because other celebs and brands follow suit.

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Bright Lights Project: Financial Services Brands

I've written before about the reckoning coming once institutions both public and private figure out that the Internet has blown up not just their credibility but their authority to act. It hasn't happened yet, at least not in ways for which we've connected the dots, but I qualify the paralysis in Washington as a serious taste of it, along with the unencumbered activism happening in many state legislatures (which is an example of what happens when institutions no longer represent The People as much as a wacky, imaginary versions of them).

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Bright Lights Project: Microsoft

Microsoft broke its latest ad campaign last Saturday before a football game: "It's a great time to be a family" pushed the company's hardware and software as technologies that bring people together and connect seamlessly.

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Bright Lights Project: MSI

Chicago's Museum of Science & Industry ("MSI") had a great idea last year: let someone from outside the institution literally "live" there for a month, and let the public see the place through her or his eyes. Sour grapes alert: I applied for the job, but found myself among a few thousand others who lost out to a plucky twentysomething who went on to be utterly boring and forgettable.

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Bright Lights Project: Boeing

On Monday, Boeing celebrated delivery of its first 787 Dreamliner to a paying client (just think of the sweetheart deal All Nippon Airways got). At a development cost of more than $32 billion spread out over almost a decade, the model encountered every conceivable delay (and many that nobody had imagined), and it might not make any money until the 2020s, if ever.

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