5 articles I shared with friends this week

Habits are statements about the past, and the past is gone
Are there things you regularly tell yourself you can’t do or don’t like? Are they really still true? Or is it time to let them go?

The trend forecast (PODCAST)
For the mass market, for retailers, designers, and marketers working in major clothing chains, there’s a middle path to determine what’s “in.” And often times, it is through a company called WGSN.

101 small ways you can improve your city

An in-depth analysis of how Expedia converts visitors into customers

Danny Meyer just single-handedly made the Apple Watch relevant to the hospitality industry
When Meyer’s 30-year-old Union Square Cafe reopens in Manhattan next month, every floor manager and sommelier will be wearing an Apple Watch. And when a VIP walks through the front door, someone orders a bottle of wine, a new table is seated, a guest waits too long to order her or his drink, or a menu item runs out, every manager will get an alert via the tiny computer attached to their wrist.

How Dollar Shave Club came to be worth $1B

Great piece from Stratechery on Unilever’s acquisition of Dollar Shave Club. Thompson makes the case that the creation of Amazon Web Services and YouTube a decade ago created the opportunity for Dollar Shave Club to disrupt a giant like Gillette. I find it just as interesting to read about how P&G came (and tries to remain) in the dominant position.

Probably the most important fact when it comes to analyzing Unilever’s purchase of Dollar Shave Club is the $1 billion price: in the world of consumer packaged goods (CPG) it is shockingly low. After all, only eleven years ago Procter & Gamble (P&G) bought Gillette, the market leader in shaving,for a staggering $57 billion.

To be sure Gillette is still dominant — the brand controls 70 percent of the global blades and razors market — but there is little question that Dollar Shave Club is a much better deal, in every sense of the word. Understanding why Dollar Shave Club was cheap means understanding why its blades are cheap, and understanding that means understanding just how precarious the position of P&G specifically and incumbents generally are in the emerging Internet economy.

Stratechery

5 articles I shared with friends this week

Michael Jackson’s prototype of Thriller
When the song that became Thriller was first considered for the album that also became Thriller, it was called Starlight and had totally different lyrics.
Kottke

What Google learned from its quest to build the perfect team
Down the line Project Aristotle landed on the most fundamental component that ultimately makes a team successful: psychological safety.

Psychological safety enables employees to be comfortable opening up to their colleagues and taking risks.
Business Insider

12 kids’ bands making music that’s better than whatever you’re listening to right now
Fatherly

How to invest in yourself
Medium

Dumb-ass stuff we need to stop saying to dads
Rosie Writes

5 articles I shared with friends this week

Read this Google email about time management strategy
It’s been said there are two paradigms to scheduling — the manager and the maker.

The manager’s day is cut into 30-minute intervals, and they change what they’re are doing every half hour. Sorta like Tetris — shifting blocks around and filling spaces.

The maker’s day is different. They need to make, to create, to build. But, before that, they need to think. The most effective way for them to use time is in half-day or full-day blocks. Even a single 30-minute meeting in the middle of “Make Time” can be disruptive.
Fast Company

We all need to be makers.

‘Design Thinking’ for a better you
To get started, design thinkers focus on five steps, but the first two are the most important. Step 1 is to “empathize” — learn what the real issues are that need to be solved. Next, “define the problem” — a surprisingly tough task. The third step is to “ideate” — brainstorm, make lists, write down ideas and generate possible solutions. Step 4 is to build a prototype or create a plan. The final step is to test the idea and seek feedback from others.
NY Times

Marriott is removing desks from hotel rooms in a strange bid to please millennials
Yahoo! Finance

The success habit I wish I knew 18 years ago
Look at the calendar of most people and you’ll find a good assortment of the usual events like team meetings, one-on-ones, lunches, etc. You might also find some personal events scheduled, such as family dinners, soccer games, birthdays, etc.

But what won’t you find on 98% of calendars?

Time blocked out to just think. Blocks of 1, 2 or even 3 hours at a time with no agenda. No additional attendees. No anything. Just “thinking time”.
Medium

How should the creative brief change in the always-on world?
Advertising has radically shifted to be more agile, useful, and relevant in the always-on age of mobile. Yet the foundation of creative work, the creative brief, remains largely unchanged.
Think with Google

5 articles I shared with friends this week

A learning plan for becoming a full stack marketer
The field of digital design & marketing today is vast and it is very easy to get overwhelmed. You need to stack these three bricks.
Medium

Dan Ball’s unseen, intimate photographs of Memphis’s music scene
If you were in a band that played a show in one of Memphis’s many clubs since the 90s, or if you were one of the many locals who made those clubs their second home, or even if you just caught some music while passing through the city, you might have seen Dan Ball standing in the front row with his camera.
Vice

Introducing the MailChimp style guide
We created this guide after years of using a mishmash of different style guides, along with a supplemental internal document. Different teams had conflicting style standards and content guidelines, and writers didn’t always know where to go with questions. It was kind of a mess. So we designed the MailChimp Style Guide to solve those problems.
MailChimp Blog

When I’m gone
With a shoebox under her arm, a nurse came by to comfort me. The box was full of sealed envelopes, with sentences where the address should be. I couldn’t understand exactly what was going on. The nurse then handed me a letter. The only letter that was out of the box.

“Your dad asked me to give you this letter. He spent the whole week writing these, and he wants you read it. Be strong.” the nurse said, holding me.
Medium

Design thinking comes of age
I could list a dozen other types of complexity that businesses grapple with every day. But here’s what they all have in common: People need help making sense of them. Specifically, people need their interactions with technologies and other complex systems to be simple, intuitive, and pleasurable.

A set of principles collectively known as design thinking—empathy with users, a discipline of prototyping, and tolerance for failure chief among them—is the best tool we have for creating those kinds of interactions and developing a responsive, flexible organizational culture.
Harvard Business Review

5 articles I shared with friends this week

#MozCon 2015 notes
Chelsea Scholz and Cody Campbell of Unbounce took notes of the ENTIRE MozCon 2015 conference for you. If you missed any of the 3 days or 28 talks — or simply couldn’t keep up — they’ve got you covered.
Unbounce

How to do more in less time
Often our biggest problems when it comes to busyness is the way we talk about busyness. Give up on the idea that busy is cool. Successful people aren’t busy. Successful people are good at budgeting their time.
No Sidebar

The death of conversation
The rise of the smartphone has been so rapid that we have not had time to work out the social etiquette but we desperately need to put some ground rules in place to stop it having a detrimental affect on our inter-personal relations.
Babycakes Romero

Marketing stack
A curated directory of marketing resources & tools.
Marketing Stack

What it’s like to face a 150 m.p.h. tennis serve
The New York Times looks down the barrel of a 150 m.p.h. tennis serve.
New York Times

5 articles I shared with friends this week

The emerging role of SEO in app discoverability
There are many ways to promote apps today: advertising, optimizing for app store algorithms, or even just promoting the mobile app via your website. But Google has also been adding some new ways for mobile apps to be discovered organically, and it’s an something that SEOs today should be considering in the holistic optimization process.
Search Engine Land

The habits behind successful, creative, productive people
It would be easier if there were a one-size-fits-all solution for the habits that make a great leader or a great thinker. But there’s really not. The people who are really successful just figured out what works for them, and they work like crazy to make sure that their environment gives them what they need.
Washington Post

5 iconic road trips to take before your kids grow up
Here are 5 classics that will show them everything from the Grand Canyon to Big Sur and teach them the country’s history from Paul Revere’s ride to Martin Luther King’s Freedom March.
Fatherly

Now you can embed auto-play Facebook video on your site
With a little HTML code work, you can enable Facebook videos to play automatically with sound muted outside the social network.
Marketing Land

Creating demand for products, services, and ideas that have little to no existing search volume
A lot of fantastic websites are in something of a pickle: The keywords they would normally think to target get next to no search volume. It can make SEO seem like a lost cause. Rand explains why that’s not the case, and talks about the one extra step that’ll help those organizations create the demand they want.
Moz

Here’s what I’m reading for February 21

Here’s the most interesting stuff I read, watched and listened to for the week ending February 21.

How Facebook and twitter created an industry demand for audience development experts – Facebook and twitter have designed themselves as indispensable content broadcasters. Now that they both have demanding shareholders to answer to, marketers are stuck in the middle. How should they evolve? Beyond creating lights out content, teams must invest just as much time and money in content distribution and audience development. What skills should someone charged with audience development have? See what Lucas thinks in the link.

5 essential twitter search operators to find the most relevant tweetsTurbo charge twitter’s advanced search to go beyond just seeing who’s talking about “Starbucks lattes”, and discover who wishes they had one right now, who thinks they’re too expensive, and who’s following the Starbucks account just for a discount coupon.

U.S. Digital Services Playbook – To meet citizen’s needs and to increase the success rate of projects, the government has created a playbook of key practices. These  “plays” were drawn from practices from the private sector and government and, if followed together, will help government build more effective digital services.

Game Over (99% Invisible podcast) – This is how a virtual apocalypse plays out on The Sims.

Tesla wants to create a battery to power your home – While the big speculation of the week was that Apple was invading Tesla’s car turf, Elon Musk mentioned he’d be producing a stationary battery for powering homes in the next few months. Bombs away at the utility companies!

Beam on Kickstarter – Screw this smart projector into any light socket and this powerful projector turns a flat surface into a big screen.

Back the Beam Smart Projector on Kickstarter

Share your best stuff with me on twitter @bobhazlett

Coffee and Dessert by Vee O of Unsplash

The psychology behind Costco’s free samples

It’s true that free samples help consumers learn more about products, and that they make retail environments more appealing. But samples are operating on a more subconscious level as well. “Reciprocity is a very, very strong instinct,” says Dan Ariely, a behavioral economist at Duke University. “If somebody does something for you”—such as giving you a quarter of a ravioli on a piece of wax paper—“you really feel a rather surprisingly strong obligation to do something back for them.”

Ariely adds that free samples can make forgotten cravings become more salient. “What samples do is they give you a particular desire for something,” he says. “If I gave you a tiny bit of chocolate, all of a sudden it would remind you about the exact taste of chocolate and would increase your craving.”

theatlantic.com