Jonathan Salem Baskin

Bright Lights Project - Standard & Poor's Rating Services

Standard & Poor’s is one of three major American rating agencies (Fitch Ratings and Moody’s Investor Services are the others). They’re in the business of assessing risk of various financial instruments and the reliability of the companies and governments that issue or trade them, and their ratings affect both investor interest and the prices paid for said financial paper.

Continue Reading

Invent New Sports

There’s been little to no snow this winter, which has been a gift to those of us who commute in America’s northernly cities but an absolute existential disaster for ski resorts. You just can’t make enough snow (or keep making it fast enough) to come anywhere close to providing the sort of skiing experiences that most skiers expect. I can slide down ice in my driveway with no pricey lift ticket required.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

Customers, Not Conversations

Kodak is teetering on the brink of bankruptcy, turning to renting out space to tenants on its manufacturing campus, and shopping its 1000+ digital patents (selling intellectual property to stay in business is kind of like giving away your mind in order to stay sane).

Continue Reading

A Case for Social Media

Although AT&T stuffed the announcement of its intention to takeover rival T-Mobile with all of the usual claptrap about improving the service its customers got, it was clear -- like most big ticket financial deals -- that it would most likely only pay rich benefits to the senior execs at both companies and their strategic advisors through layoffs and other "economies of scale."

Continue Reading

Ah Hah Hah Hah Hah Hah!

The public relations industry's trade association is running a campaign to come up with a new definition for PR. I can see the problem, since social media technologies have democratized the tweaking, spinning, and obfuscating of the truth that used to be the exclusive purview of PR professionals. In an age when anyone can be an expert on anything, every opinion is as valid as the next and no fact need go unchallenged, contradicted, or ignored.

Continue Reading

Bright Lights Project - Thanksgiving

As we Americans sit down this evening to a meal purposefully conceived to subsume our every gastronomic need and inhibition, we should take a moment to ponder what has become an empty ceremony.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

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).

Continue Reading
Subscribe to RSS - Jonathan Salem Baskin