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Irving Wladawsky-Berger: Reflections on Surviving Disruptive Innovations

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The Perfect Storm

I was one of those "pre-qualified shoppers" on Wednesday, trying to
get in and out of Best Buy as quickly as possible, having decided
exactly what I wanted...

Anyway, an interesting article here on shopping in general (and mall
kiosks in particular) from a local marketer...

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Brady Flower - Mall Kiosk Success
Date: Sat, 26 Dec 2009 00:11:41 -0500
Subject: The Perfect Storm
To: Eric

The Perfect Storm

Dear Eric,

Seasons Greetings from Minneapolis!

I've been a little quiet the last couple of weeks because
I got the chance to open a cart in the Minneapolis area at
the last minute... for the last nine days before Christmas.

I just finished those last nine days.

There were lots of challenges opening at the last minute,
and I'm looking forward to perhaps sharing with you the
stories of some of these challenges.

One of the challenges that faced all the retailers here in
the Twin Cities areas were reports of a huge blizzard that
was to hit Minneapolis this Wednesday, the 23rd.

What started as a Winter Storm Advisory melded into
a full-out Winter Storm Warning.

People were advised not to travel unless it was
completely necessary.

The concern at the mall was that shoppers wouldn't turn
out for the last couple of shopping days before Christmas,
normally amongst the busiest.. due to the weather.

As it turned out, we experienced what I think of as almost
"The Perfect Storm" for us as retailers.

Reports of snow to come late on Wednesday afternoon and
evening caused shoppers to come out earlier than they might
have on Wednesday.

The result was that mall traffic was more spread throughout
the day... rather than coming in an intense burst in the evening.

That was perfect for us... because it was easier for our staff
to sell to a steady stream of customers.... as opposed to an
intense burst of them coming all at the end.

In a way, reports of snow also 'pre-qualified' shoppers.

The shoppers that did 'brave' the snow, seemed to be the
most motivated of shoppers.

If they were at the mall, they NEEDED to buy something.

That's in part why I think of this storm that hit Minneapolis
as the 'Perfect Storm' for us as holiday retailers.

We had the buying urgency of the storm... on top of the
already existing buying urgency of Christmas.

That resulted in shoppers who were even more ready to
buy. One of my salespeople remarked they could feel it!

Once the snow did start coming down late in the afternoon
on Wednesday... it wasn't so bad... by Minnesota standards.

People could get out if they wanted to.

So shoppers kept coming out all evening.

It turned out to be the best sales day of my short season!

The snow did stop sometime in the middle of the night,
earlier in the morning on the 24th.

By Thursday morning, main streets were largely plowed.

So when shoppers peeked their heads out on Thursday
morning, they decided they could make it out to the mall
again if they wanted to.

And the 24th was another steady sales day.

Who knows... perhaps without the storm... even more
customers might have come out the mall.

As it was, it turned out perfect!

Thanks to The Perfect Storm

How was your holiday season?

Did it go well? What were your challenges?

If you get the chance, drop me a line. Fill me in on
how things went for you.

Be sure to include what you were selling. And what
malls or area you were in.

Perhaps I'll share some of the best replies I get back!


That's it for today.

I hope you've had a great Christmas holiday.

And are ready for another busy shopping day coming
up tomorrow!


Brady Flower


Connect with me on Facebook:

Connect with Mall Kiosk Success on Twitter:


Brady Flower
The Kiosk Expert

Address: P.O. Box 7527, Minneapolis, MN 55407 USA
Phone: 612-605-1115
Email: bradyflower@kioskexpert.com
Website: http://www.kioskexpert.com



On a more trivial music note...

...I wonder about Amy Lee's personal view of Jesus? Regardless of what Evanescence is/was, what does she believe as her own person who's accountable to the God who created our universe?

(I guess you can take the seeker.TV domain out of the geek but you can't take the "Seekers Television" questions out of the Christian.)

From http://web.archive.org/web/20070827083214/http://www.entertainment-news.org/b...

(...Co-founder Ben Moody abruptly left mid-tour in 2003...)

Q: "Fallen" was first released in the Christian market. Do you consider Evanescence a Christian band?

A: Can we please skip the Christian thing? I'm so over it. It's the lamest thing. I fought that from the beginning; I never wanted to be associated with it. It was a Ben thing. It's over. It's a new day.


YouTube - BarlowGirl - Hallelujah (Light Has Come)

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_hZUJSF6PSs?wmode=transparent]
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Pondering preterism

I need to research the "preterist" position which, in a nutshell (as I understand it), says that the events of John's Revelation describe the fall of Jerusalem.

In our Daily Audio Bible reading we're in Revelation (because its the end of the year now, duh) and I keep thinking, "The fall of Jerusalem was bad, but not THIS bad!"

For further study: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Preterism



A brief thought on heaven...

Brian Hardin from the Daily Audio Bible just emailed Christmas greetings and wrote:

"I remember a year ago writing to everyone and saying how I wish I could sit with you over a cup of coffee or tea and enjoy the richness of your story.?? I wish there were time to linger over God's faithfulness in each of our stories and ponder the future's path. Unfortunately some of those wishes may have to wait for now.?? Maybe one day."
Which got me thinking... Will we have "conversations" with fellow Christians in heaven? If so, why say "Maybe one day" (assuming, for the sake of argument, that your audience is truly Christian)?

My pastor has emphasized how there will be "work" there and that it's a redeemed world/life rather than just floating on a cloud with a harp... But will it be like "life, only better" or it will be a completely inconceivable "oneness with God"?

A rather deep topic on Christmas, which kinda represents the other end of the spectrum...


About World Inc. | Social Response Capitalism = People, Inc.

Listening to a podcast of an interview with the author. Hmmm...



Twitter as printing press - it's movable type and you do with it what you wish

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Pondering "leadership" again

I have to dig out my old podcast that quoted Gardner Campbell and the idea of leadership in the context of the "edupunk" movement:

edu!edu!, or, living in the antechamber of hope ?? Gardner Writes




The Visible Media Maker

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I think I have "Social Media" figured out!

Okay, after a full 24 hours of soul-searching, I think I've got it. Bear in mind that I live in a mental world of metaphors... and that's what it to come up with the following, with full props to Rick and Mylk and everyone who works on the excellent Social Media Breakfast here in the Twin Cities...
We're looking forward to the upcoming CPBMSP #23! This month's Breakfast will continue to explore the new (but rapidly maturing) phenomenon of "Cocktail Parties" with a multitude of topics:

  • Drambuie vs. Glayva: Bringing Variety to your Cocktails!
  • Marketing plastic storage containers through Cocktail Parties
  • How to mix Selling Candles and Sipping Cocktails
  • Cocktails and Cooking: Hold a Pots and Pans Party!
In planning our upcoming meetings, we're also hoping to have a discussion about some emerging uses of Cocktail Parties:

Some religious groups will gather in homes in what they call "Bible Studies;" since the consumption of cocktails at these gatherings is more limited than usual, are they truly "Cocktail Parties"?

Art galleries are begining to hold Cocktail Party gatherings where the focus is on discussion of the art rather than monetizing the relationships with the artists.

And on the artistic front, actors will sometimes greet theater-goers after a performance; is this kind of activity something that we'll see more of in the Cocktail Party space?

See where I'm going with this?

It really boils down to one big "DUH!": "social media" is just one means or venue for conversations -- for engaging in relationships. There's a little bit of value in talking about venue itself, and it's inevitable that (some) people will jump to the "how can we make money from this?" question. But if probing of "social media" as a definable, tangible "thing" ends there, there's not much point.

Today's SMBMSP discussion of social media in health care was a great example of the (potential) value of "social media" as it's used for some sort of societal benefit -- to make people more healthy, in this case. For me, the hope of these tools (or any technology) is that it can be used for some sort of "good" rather than used for its own sake... and that hope is either really hard or really easy to get a handle on.

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What is "social media" good for?

I’m really looking forward to tomorrow’s Social Media Breakfast because its topic (health care) has the potential of talking about something that actually means something.

Let me back up.

I’m a fan of the “get rich quick” internet stuff (ever since the pre-internet magazine ads attracted my attention in the 1980s; I was too cheap to send in the $19.95 to find out the “secret to millions,” though I suspect the answers lay along the lines of “Run ads in magazines asking people to send $19.95…”). The problem is that most of the “get rich quick” marketing appeals to others who are marketing the same thing – “buy this $1000 seminar so that you can learn my secrets that have gotten me rich as I sell seminars”.

There are a few “real products” like weight loss or stock tips but, aside from Russell Brunson’s star pupil Joy Anderson (who sells information on how to start a preschool out of your home), it seems there’s very little “real content” to be had or sold.

I feel the same way about “social media”.


It seems that the folks in the “social media” space are either 1) using social media to talk about how great social media is, or 2) using social media to sell something.

The latter is fine – we live in a capitalist society and I realize that “sales” is what makes the world go ‘round – but you have to remember that I’ve grown up and have always lived and worked in an “academic space,” which has the opposite problem: people charge (sometimes fairly, sometimes unfairly) that academia doesn’t live in reality either, and nothing we do is “real”.

So, somewhere, I’m hoping to find the “happy medium” where we can talk about “social media” (or any technology, for that matter) used not for its own sake, and not to just sell something or other, but to do some real good for a genuine purpose.

Two questions:
  1. Does that make any sense, or do I need to work harder to try and raise this thought to the level of basic coherence?

  2. Do you have any suggestions/alternatives/examples of social media being used outside of basic marketing (typically for a product or service but, in worst cases, merely for itself as a concept)?


Test of a Blackberry audio recording

Does the attached file in its odd "amr" format play on Posterous? There's only one way to find out...

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Pondering relationships

I've been meaning to post an interesting "juxtaposition" that happened to me a few days ago. As I wrote once on Facebook (part of one of those "X-many random things about me" memes) that I care very deeply about people... but they probably don't know it.

On the same morning, I got two emails from friends that were pretty close a dozen years ago; we're still on great terms but just aren't in touch much. One replied to a mass-mail I sent to a group -- and we're getting together for lunch today.

The other guy confirmed what I'd feared from some Facebook evidence: he and his wife are separated and planning to divorce.

The former is an illustration of how "the church" works: after years, we still share a connection. The latter is an example of how "the church" fails. This couple shouldn't be splitting up. Something went wrong. His friends should have been able to help him. We didn't even know anything was wrong... and while there's no animosity toward them, I worry that the situation betrays a frightening level of "active indifference" toward the relationship.

Its not my job to "fix it," but I wish there were something I could do to turn back the clock...



1 John 5:1-21?

(Open and public) note to self: Check into this translation of 1st John 5:1-21. The December 5th reading had some interesting language about "degrees of sin" that I hadn't caught before:

Podcast Title: 1 Year Daily Audio Bible
Episode: DAB December 5- 2009
Media URL:

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Yes, "computer literacy" is really important and should be taught!

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A theology of "giving generatively"?

I attended tonight's "Soulstice" service with my so-far "thorough skimming" of Peter Rollins' "How (Not) to Speak of God" in mind.  My concern in general around that book (and about the Emerging/Emergent Church, as much as I like to label anything) is the charge that they value conversation or dialog, not as a means to pursue understanding of the one real Truth, but as an end in-and-of itself because there's no one Truth to pursue.

Much more to be said on that another day.

But tonight's message was on "Gift" -- something of a pet topic of mine ever since it was the sole topic of my Theology 101 class my freshman year of college (in my pre-Christian days).  Pastor Micah Witham's terminology is that we should give not merely "generously", but "generatively" -- that our giving should parallel the work of Jesus, which "generated things" -- new from old, life from death, etc.  I like it.

Micah's metaphor is Ty Pennington's work in Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, where everything builds to the climactic end of Ty shouting "Move that bus!" to reveal a beautiful new home.

And I thought... What if the home were destroyed before its owners arrived?  What if the need were felt, and hundreds of people pulled together in community to remodel and revitalize... and then the show ended with a demolition crew wiring the home to provide for a spectacular explosion as the credits rolled.  (Sounds like a lot of Hollywood set construction, now that I think about it.)

What's the difference between the two outcomes?  After all, the same "bonding" and "community" and "service" happens; why should that crew be distracted by the focus on the "goal" of creating a "product"?  Shouldn't the focus be on each other during the "conversation"?

I think our natural reaction to that is, "Duh! No!"  But why do we think that?

I think Micah is spot-on that "Jesus' work generates things."  In fact, I realized during the message that the Biblical term is "fruits" -- we've all seen that mentioned frequently.  I don't (yet) want to claim that the Emerging movement disagrees and says those things/fruits/results/goals are wrong... but, at this point, I'm wondering.



On Angels and Emergence

Two brief, unrelated thoughts to-be-journaled later.

1) Yesterday's daily Bible reading came to Daniel where the angel appears to him and says he was detained by the "prince of Persia" -- a competing demon, according to John Eldredge. Something I've not studied much but want to. Matthew 18 spends much time talking about angels and their acts/hopes/conduct, from the mouth of Jesus Himself. I think the evangelical church has ignored "angelology" and, while I think it's quite odd and "spooky," it's incredibly Biblical.

2) I'm just starting to read "How (Not) to Speak of God" by Peter Rollins, which talks of the "emerging church" as being on a "journey" in the context of wandering OT prophets who seemed strange to their culture. But when I read Paul (and others in the NT), the theme seems to be "That's all been fulfilled; now it's the goal-goal-goal of Jesus and Christ-likeness. Clear as a bell!" Am I mis-reading the NT, or is the emerging church (accidentally or intentionally) overlooking that aspect?



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