Japan is well known for taking foreign products and ideas and adapting them to suit domestic taste, and Christmas is no exception. A highly commercialised and non-religious affair, lots of money is spent annually on decorations, dinners and gifts. KFC is arguably the biggest contributor, thanks in part to its advertising campaign.
“One of the reasons the campaign lasted so long is that the message is always the same: at Christmas you eat chicken,” said Yasuyuki Katagi, executive director at Ogilvy and Mather Japan, the advertising agency.
“Cultural imprinting is the mechanism whereby an ad, rather than trying to change our minds individually, instead changes the landscape of cultural meanings — which in turn changes how we are perceived by others when we use a product. Whether you drink Corona or Heineken or Budweiser “says” something about you. But you aren’t in control of that message; it just sits there, out in the world, having been imprinted on the broader culture by an ad campaign. It’s then up to you to decide whether you want to align yourself with it. Do you want to be seen as a “chill” person? Then bring Corona to a party.”—
Yes, yes, yes. In the end, we’re all motivated by identity: external and internal. This article nicely illustrates how identity ties into marketing and purchasing: it’s not the emotional manipulation that gets you, but the social implications.
Identity and motivation have been my key themes of 2014, it seems.
“Here’s how venture capital works: you go to an investor, before you’ve even built the thing you’re building and you tell them how you’re going to exit. It’s called an exit plan or exit strategy. You tell them, for example: “Hey, we’re going to get 100 million people using our new platform in two years time, how much will you give me for 100 million people?” And they go “Umm, we’ll give you this much for 100 million people because we’re pretty sure we can get that amount back several times over when we sell those 100 million people in an exit either to another company or in an IPO.”
When you take venture capital, it is not a matter of if you’re going to sell your users, you already have. It’s called an exit plan. And no investor will give you venture capital without one. In the myopic and upside-down world of venture capital, exits precede the building of the actual thing itself. It would be a comedy if the repercussions of this toxic system were not so tragic.
Let me put it bluntly: if a company has taken venture capital, you have already been sold. It’s not a matter of if, it’s simply a matter of when. (Unless the company goes under before it can exit, that is.) A venture-capital funded startup is a temporary company that has to convince enough people into using their platform so that they can make good on the exit they promised their investors at the very beginning. It is the opposite of a long-term, sustainable business.”—
I signed up for Ello and I dig it, so I’m not quoting this to knock Ello. But Balkan isn’t wrong, and that’s sad. I have devoted my life to making products on a platform so ephemeral people still don’t want to pay for things on it.
“But when Thiel is arguing for more women founders he isn’t just deflecting responsibility from himself and his fellow investors. He is also doing something else that I want to unpack: he is re-inscribing a form of hierarchical thinking that is part of the reason tech is such a mess regarding diversity. That is, when Thiel points to “more women founders” as a solution, he is asking women to become founders in order to possess a status that would allow Thiel to acknowledge women in tech at all.”—
Losse nails it. Having women in power in business in 2014 means that woman is still working within a hierarchy originally created, and maintained to this day, by men.
I think it’s unfortunate that when we talk about changing gender roles at work, we don’t talk about men much. But—forgive my generalizations for a minute—men are more hierarchical than women, more likely to be competitive, more used to power and dominance ruling social interactions. This is not the norm for everyone, this is the norm for men, and that is why it is the norm at work.
I’ve very excited about to see, later in life, is how company structures change as more women are granted power. Will CEOs still exist? Boards of directors?
I have a hunch that, in any case, bad behavior will be less tolerated, and toxic work situations less common, as the gender dynamic changes. Right now, powerful people are allowed to walk into meetings, scream and harange, and have no repercussions. They can be generally patronizing, insulting, or dismissive, and keep their jobs. In the current business world, there is often no correlation made between being good at one’s job and being an emotionally healthy person.
I’ve been lucky at my jobs, but I’ve certainly heard horror stories about terrible bosses of both genders. But the fact is that bad male bosses are generally tolerated, and sometimes idealized, or even deified. Imagine Sharon Stone yelling “Coffee is for closers.” Imagine Gordan Gekko, played by Glenn Close. Milla Jovovich as Chris Varick.
Imagine if Steve Jobs was a woman. Spoiler: he would have been described as ‘shrill,’ and he would not be CEO.
Embedded in the work harder, earn more ethos is an unspoken, unhealthy and inaccurate implication: suffering (working “hard”) is equivalent to value creation.
The problem here is not-so-much in that it forces people to work more than they need to, although that is unhealthy and damaging in itself. The real crime here is that this belief obscures what is truly important in earning more: creating tangible value in the world and having a bigger impact.
“YouTube comments aren’t “just the Internet.” They’re not the product of a group of otherwise nice guys who suddenly become evil when they wear a veil of anonymity. YouTube comments are actually a nightmarish glimpse into the sexist attitudes that define the fabric of our own existence in the “real world,” a world that, like YouTube, is owned and dominated by men. The most terrifying gift that the Internet has given us is that it’s shown us how men honestly perceive the world: as a place where women exist exclusively for their sexual pleasure.”—
I was talking with someone recently about how much harassment on the internet bothered me: not just the implied violence, but the fact that anyone could think such things, much less feel it was okay to say them, anonymous or not.
The person I was talking to, a guy, shrugged it off: “Teenaged boys just think all kinds of horrible shit. Their brains go to dark places.”
Assuming this is true, my question now is, *why* do they go to dark places? What is going on in our socialization processes that lead to this? It seems we don’t unlink the deep, evolved ties between sex and violence, for a start, but surely there is more here.
“I use ResearchGate and JSTOR and Google Scholar and everything, but I sometimes find a more effective approach is to just Google for my search term plus “PDF.” That turns up a lot of old papers professors stick up on their personal websites that aren’t indexed anywhere.”—
Why is it that people are willing to spend $20 on a bowl of pasta with sauce that they might actually be able to replicate pretty faithfully at home, yet they balk at the notion of a white-table cloth Thai restaurant, or a tacos that cost more than $3 each? Even in a city as “cosmopolitan” as New York, restaurant openings like Tamarind Tribeca (Indian) and Lotus of Siam (Thai) always seem to elicit this knee-jerk reaction from some diners who have decided that certain countries produce food that belongs in the “cheap eats” category—and it’s not allowed out. (Side note: How often do magazine lists of “cheap eats” double as rundowns of outer-borough ethnic foods?)
Yelp, Chowhound, and other restaurant sites are littered with comments like, “$5 for dumplings?? I’ll go to Flushing, thanks!” or “When I was backpacking in India this dish cost like five cents, only an idiot would pay that much!” Yet you never see complaints about the prices at Western restaurants framed in these terms, because it’s ingrained in people’s heads that these foods are somehow “worth” more. If we’re talking foie gras or chateaubriand, fair enough. But be real: You know damn well that rigatoni sorrentino is no more expensive to produce than a plate of duck laab, so to decry a pricey version as a ripoff is disingenuous. This question of perceived value is becoming increasingly troublesome as more non-native (read: white) chefs take on “ethnic” cuisines, and suddenly it’s okay to charge $14 for shu mai because hey, the chef is ELEVATING the cuisine.
“Most notoriously, the Nazis claimed to have used Baedeker’s guides in a 1942 series of air attacks on English cities, which would become known as the Baedeker Blitz. There’s some disagreement among historians as to whether the Nazis really did use the books, but this was Nazi propagandist Baron Gustav Braun von Sturm’s claim: that Baedeker had unwittingly identified the targets by highlighting Britain’s most beloved landmarks and towns, the places whose destruction would deal the biggest blows to the national spirit, including the cities of Bath and Norwich. More recently, shortly after American troops entered Iraq 10 years ago, Lonely Planet Iraq was pressed into duty for precisely the opposite goal, assisting officials who were prioritizing sites for protection.”—Go you own way, an article by Doug Mack. Published in the Mornig News, Mack argues that the best travel guides deserve to be added to the literary canon.