Month: March 2011

  • Narratives for Selling Premium Goods: The Grey Goose Story

    People want to pay more in order to own luxury goods, but you need to give them a reason to do so. That excuse? A compelling story. One man that subscribed to this idea was Sydney Frank, as is evident from the strategy he developed for Grey Goose: ÔĽŅthe ‘superpremium’ vodka that¬†Barcardi bought for $2…

  • The Virtues of Rationality

    The name Eliezer Yudkowsky immediately conjours in my mind the word rationality (thanks to his addictive piece of fan fiction,¬†Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality). On a recent visit to his site, this connection has now be strengthened after I saw his excellent essay on¬†the twelve virtues of rationality: Curiosity: A burning itch to…

  • PlentyofFish and Unusability

    In an early 2009 profile of Markus Frind–the founder¬†and CEO of the online dating website PlentyofFish—Inc. briefly touched on the topic of the site’s famously bad user interface, with Frind explaining why he¬†believes¬†that, sometimes, user experience should take a back seat as a better experience isn’t always linked to greater profits. ÔĽŅPlenty of Fish is…

  • WordPerfect Business Advice

    In 1980, as a $5-an-hour part-time office manager,¬†W. E. Peterson joined the small company that would go on to become¬†WordPerfect Corporation. Then, twelve years later, after helping grow the company to half a billion dollars in annual sales and becoming the Executive Vice President, Peterson was forced out of the company and set out to…

  • Psychic Numbing and Communicating on Risk and Tragedies

    I’ve been preoccupied lately with the developing aftermath of the¬†TŇćhoku earthquake. Unlike other disasters on a similar or greater scale, I’m finding it easier to grasp the real human cost of the disaster in Japan as my brother lives in Kanagawa Prefecture and therefore there are less levels of abstraction between me and those directly…

  • How We Read

    What we know about how we learn to read and how our ability to read developed is fascinating, and in a review of a book that looks at exactly this ‚ÄĒ Stanislas Dehaene’s¬†Reading in the Brain ‚ÄĒ Jonah Lehrer offers us a wonderful teaser on exactly that:¬†the hows of reading,¬†from a neuroscience perspective. The introduction:…

  • Child Development: Content, Not Medium, Matters (Why Sesame Street Beats Teletubbies)

    Debates have raged¬†over the last couple of years on the effects (detrimental or not) of television, computer games (violent or not) and the Internet on a child’s cognitive development. Taking excerpts from¬†a review article that provides¬†an excellent summary of the¬†topic, Jonah Lehrer¬†makes it clear: for a child’s cognitive¬†development, the medium doesn’t matter but the content…

  • Year Three in Review

    And so another year has passed since my last review. It’s been a busy year of learning a¬†new language in my equally¬†new country of residence, changing jobs (and everything that entails) and, of course, writing¬†200 posts here on Lone Gunman (and thanks again to you: there’s been hundreds of comments‚Ķ and 49,810 spam comments). The…