Category Archives: Soon

Then, Now, Soon: Volume 1

After months of delay, here’s the most recent installment of the holiday mix series.

For the newcomers out there, I’ve been making mix CDs instead of holiday cards over the past several years.  It’s always a wide range of genres, with a focus on the unreleased, the re-mixed, and the under-appreciated.

For the old timers, you’re correct in pointing out that we’re a bit beyond Christmas, and this isn’t even a CD per se.  We’re going to give digital distribution a whirl, with one single track recording, and another version with rough track increments slotted in there.

I hope this mix brings some surprises, smiles, and artists that you’ll enjoy for months to come.

Feel free to drop comments in if you hear something you like.  Enjoy, y’all.

Here’s the link the the continuous mix.  It’ll take a while to download, no doubt.

01 Then, Now, Soon_ Volume 1

Here’s a jpg with the tracklist.  If I’ve done it right (?), you can print this and it should fold over for a CD insert.

The version of the mix that has track increments is coming soon, pending my crash course in compression software.

Why is luggage generic?

It’s a well-worn joke about how everyone has luggage that looks nearly identical from the outside (my bag is the black one, etc.), but I think the more surprising thing is that the luggage looks identical on the inside.  I’m a runner, you’re a parent traveling with two kids, he’s a banker who always has to travel with suits and ties– yet we’re all buying essentially the same generic roller bag.

In the fairly-constricted category of wheely bags that will fit in the overhead bins, it seems that there’s a pretty easy opportunity to create a portfolio of bags that market to the individual.  Or, on the flipside, it’s curious to me why a running brand hasn’t sought to get out into the travel market– developing a product line that extends out with runners as they take their passion with them on the road.

Milk Prices by the Minute

On a recent visit to the city-sized Whole Foods in my neighborhood, I saw that they had switched to these digital price tags on several items across the store.

Though these price tags don’t look particularly high-tech, the possibilities opened by this seemingly-small switch are huge and an example of what some have termed our post-digital world: where “digital” technologies migrate away from display screens and increasingly embed themselves into our everyday lives. Continue reading

Electric Cars, Human Energy

For years, there were many reasons given to explain away the failure of electric cars.  Tantalizing conspiracy theories aside (at least for this post), at the root of most issues surrounding the persistent failure of electric cars was anxiety over the cars’ range.  Though the range of batteries has gotten up to 120 miles (long enough to carry you through most days), there still is that chance that unforeseen events could leave you somewhere alongside the expressway before you’re able to make it home.

Rather than staying within the constructs of this once-per-day charge paradigm, Shai Agassi’s approach no longer tries to solve the issue of the car’s range within the car alone.  Instead, he solves the issue through an infrastructure that surrounds cars.  Agassi’s Better Place creates a network of stations at which you can swap out your battery for a new one.  No longer is range defined by what the battery can hold, because it is amplified by a network of re-charging systems.  These re-charging stations go along with the embedded human behavior of gas station re-fueling, and the business model borrows from the wireless industry. 

While this idea could transform the auto industry, it could also transform how we people think about our batteries.  Continue reading

New Product Development: Sausage or Legos?

Why are new products typically treated like sausage? When developing new products, most companies keep the development process entirely under wraps. Prior to the product launch, everything happens behind a curtain of secrecy until the moment when—voila!—the product is “ready” to be presented in its fully-realized form to the world. As a result, even when we look at those products that we love the most, we know nothing about how the product came to be.

I know there are lots of good reasons why companies shroud their product development in secrecy. One obvious yet still-significant concern is security.  If you allow even the slightest peek into product development, there’s a good chance that some plant in Taiwan will have a copycat on the streets in a matter of hours.  And I suppose you also surrender some control when you let people behind the curtain: if you show video of a product that hasn’t yet launched, there is a chance the product will flop and be honored with YouTube videos that remix your footage to a circus soundtrack.

But this near-categorical cover-up of the creation process forgets the fact that most adults grew up playing with Legos. Continue reading

To begin…

Hi there.

After much deliberation, discussion, and delay, it begins.

The concept for this blog is simple, and reflected in its title: Now, Then, Soon.

The world needs another source of prognostication as much as it needs another Twitter stream that aspires to link to a New York Times article the fastest, so I will spare you both.  Some of what I will write will relate to what I do professionally (brand strategy and advertising), but many will not.  I hope that you find them all interesting.  A  bit more on what to expect…

Then: The anchor of this blog will be what happened “then”– then being when I was a student from 2006-2008 (at Kellogg, in their Executive MBA Program).  When I began that program, I was a bit of an outlier: there was no one else from my industry in the program, and about as many people in my industry understood exactly why I was going to get my “MBA” (quotes added not for emphasis, but rather to reflect what was often a less-than-understanding change in tone of voice).  The reason I went was to be exposed to a huge array of things about which I knew nothing.  And on that count and many others, it happened and then some.   While there for about two years, I stood in front of a ferocious fire house of information and inspiration: every other weekend I was inundated with things I wanted to think about, wanted to apply, wanted to remember.  Some of these ideas succeeded in sticking to me at the time; yet too many didn’t.  So the anchoring endeavor of this blog will be a kind of intellectual archaeology: I will be going back through my classes, all of them, and pulling out an idea (or three) from each that stopped me in my tracks.  Something that made me think, and made me look at the world differently than I did before.  Each of these “then” posts will aspire to capture a key concept, and apply the concept to the world.  Which brings us to…

Now: When I was a kid, my favorite TV show was “Name That Tune.”  When I was a bit older, I was making mixtapes by recording songs off the radio onto a cassette.  When I was married, my wife commented to everyone at our wedding that I lived my life to a soundtrack.  Now, with most every chunk of free time that I have, I scour the web for songs and sounds and mixes that I haven’t yet heard.  There’s a pattern.  So, as a bit of “now” color, I plan to share a bit of the music that I uncover and enjoy at a fairly voracious rate.  Some of these songs might be accompanied by a meaningful reflection on their societal significance; many will carry only an encouragement to turn up the volume and dance around in your kitchen.  I haven’t actually figured out how to do any of these things, including dancing with any aplomb in my kitchen, but technology-willing I will try.

Soon: Whether it’s an idea I came across two years ago, a song I heard yesterday, or something I walked past yesterday, I will also share some thoughts on how the collision of all of these things might mean for the days to come.  But know that this blog won’t live entirely in the past, nor in the observations of the present.  It will try to think about, and perhaps even spark a bit of discussion, about what it might mean for the days ahead.

That’s the deal.  And so it begins…