Jonathan Salem Baskin

I Hate Your Answering Machine

The Replacements' song is one of the simplest and raw diatribes against technologies that distance people in the name of connecting them. I had two unmusical experiences last week that made me think of it. They were opposites of one another, yet forcefully illustrated the same point.


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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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The Unwisdom of Crow

Rising costs on everyday necessities, no good job opportunities, and a crushing national debt. Sound familiar? They were the primary triggers for what became the French Revolution.

While the parallels to today’s political experiences (most notably the Tea Party, and now the Occupy Wall Street movement) aren’t direct, both eras of social movements  evidence the consistent unwisdom of crowds.

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Coming Together

America's collective grief over the death of Steve Jobs is entering the next phase of what has become a somewhat common experience of fantasy community that I'm calling a Diana Moment, which goes something like this:


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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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Steve Jobs, The Builder

I knew Steve, though by no means well. I ran the Apple PR account for Paul Bergevin in Edelman's Palo Alto office in the late 90s. Those were the days of the first iMac, a novel tool to search for files and things on the web called Sherlock (pre-loaded in OS 8.5), and the Think Different ad campaign.

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Just Sell the Damn Cars

Fiat has utterly botched the intro of its quirky but very drivable 500 -- sales are under 50% of plan -- and it's about to fire people and hold a huge group-grope agency review to  come up with a new strategy. I have a simpler solution, which I hereby offer up for free: copy VW's Beetle and BMW’s Mini Cooper American launches.

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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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Don't Bogart That Einstein

The possible discovery of neutrinos that travel faster than the speed of light could not only change a hundred years of physics dogma, but it could make time travel possible...though one scientist comforted the world last week with the qualifier that " does not mean we'll be building time-machines anytime soon."

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Download Fickle

For every argument that brand value matters (or that brands even exist as logical constructs of any kind whatsoever), there's a simple, stunningly shocking riposte: people don't remember much, and what they do remember doesn’t necessarily affect their behaviors as consumers.

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