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3 June 1999

Carson's Consolation: Nothing is ever a complete failure. It can always be used as a bad example.
-- seen on Slashdot

Star Wars: Episode Fun: From the Brunching Shuttlecocks come these Star Wars items, many of which succeeded in making me laugh out loud:

  • Titles for "Star Wars: Episode II" [Brunching] (multipage)
    STAR WARS EPISODE II: Suffering Leads to Sequels
  • Phantom Menace Speed Ratings [Brunching]
    Testing positive for Jedi: D+
    "The chair recognizes the delegate from planet Spielberg": A-
    And the Oscar for Most Blatant Messianic Reference goes to...: D
  • Self-Made Critic | Episode I Review [Brunching]
    Two years ago or so, I read a report where someone working on the movie got to read the script and remarked "Good God, we're basically making an animated feature!" And when push comes to shove, that's the best explanation of this film. It's a cartoon. That isn't good or bad, but it changes how you might want to look at the film.
  • Jedi Night School [Brunching]

Remember that inexplicable Super Bowl ad with the white people hunting the African runner? The ensuing train wreck is proving to be fascinating:

  • Salon Brand X | The ad from hell [Salon]
    Can a company successfully sue an agency for making a commercial that really, really sucks?

    On March 15, 1999, Just for Feet sued Saatchi and Saatchi for $10 million, arguing the Super Bowl commercial was so bad it amounted to advertising malpractice.

    Ruttenberg's consternation is understandable. What's less understandable is why he let the spot out the door in the first place, given his claim that he knew all along it was odious.

    The bottom line, he says, is that "We said 'no.' They said 'yes.' They said they knew better. And we are prepared to swear that under oath."

Interesting. But really, it seems so very unlikely that the CEO of a company was so easily bullied by the ad agency into running the ad despite his (purported) misgivings. I think the responsibility for all this rests on the shoe company; if they didn't like the campaign, they shouldn't have signed off on it. Saatchi & Saatchi made one stinker of an ad, but Just For Feet didn't have to approve it.

John Dodge:

  • At the end of the day, people are all IT Really Has [PC Week]
    Technical credentials count for much less than they once did. Eagerness, brains and attitude mean everything. One [Corporate Partner] has a dynamo of a database administrator who is a registered dietitian. Another said his company had given up trying to find a database administrator. Yet another CP said he was courting a hot prospect for an IT job. Her background is in the animal sciences.

    I was struck by how much worse the personnel situation has become in the past year. At the same time, press attention given to the subject has slackened somewhat. When the topic of the severe skills shortage comes up, we invariably get letters from veteran ITers who can't find a job and who claim the jobs gap is a myth. It's not.

Seen on Tomalak's Realm, a particularly insightful take on the 'stickiness' of sites:

  • Get Fewer Hits [CIO]
    When was the last time you bragged about increasing the amount of time you kept customers on hold? Service-oriented businesses know that the longer you make a customer wait, the more likely it is that the customer will get frustrated and go elsewhere. But on the Web, many site operators seem to believe the exact opposite. They're trying to increase the amount of time customers spend on their sites...

    "Higher page view counts aren't indicative of customer satisfaction," says Sherri Neasham, president and CEO of FinanCenter Inc.'s personal finance site in Tucson, Ariz.

    Companies that have abandoned the "more is more" mind-set ... [have] given up on media-style metrics: hits, session length, page views.

(Note: in this printer-friendly version of the original multipage article, the initial drop cap is a typo [M instead of W]. It was right in the original; how did it get wrong? Bizarre.)

I've tweaked the style sheet mechanism I'm using...hopefully this will work better for Netscape and Opera. Plus, it's easy for me to isolate article pullquotes given my authoring mechanism, so I decided to color them differently from my own text.

Let me know what you think.

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