2008-08-31

Prosumer Report

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Lucky you. You have stumbled upon the second of The One Stop Schop's reoccurring posts - PROSUMER REPORT. Where we run through all the weird, cool, smart or unusual products out there that are well on their way to funding the next Bill Gates (or Bill Murray).

It is left for you to decide whether the author is presenting extreme sarcasm or heralding sheer genius...


1. Toastabags.

These nifty little pieces of heaven are perfect for making your daily grilled cheese or any other melted dairy-meat concoctions. They tout a space-age material that - get this - doesn't melt when placed in a toaster. So it keeps all that cheesy goodness globbed down in the bottom of the bag for you to dig at with your finger till the last drop.







2. Tooth-brush Couch

What better way to wake up from a nap after watching the RNC than in a sea of water-noodles. Students at the Bucks New University must be proclaimed for this ingenious design, as it bridges the gap between hygiene and comfort. One must only hope that unlike my actual toothbrush, these giant bristles are built sturdy enough to retain their shape.





3. Nose Shower Gel Dispenser

Because there is a middle school sense of humor inside all of us...











4. Super Hero Socks

I am typing this while watching whales surface out from the lovely cliffs of the Oregon coast, and must give Portland's own Sock Dreams a shout-out. Those who know my most intiment thoughts know that I truly appreciate a good, solid sock. I had been a Hanes whitey my entire life up until four years ago and I haven't looked back since.

One must think that if only Superman would have secretly always had his hero leggings on under his business attire he probably could have cut about 3.5 minutes off changing in the phone booth... Always be prepared, Mr. Kent. It is the first rule of the Boys Scouts.



2008-08-28

The Post - DNC Bump Spin

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The McCain campaign set the expectation early and extremely high at 15 - 16%, mirroring the bump received by the last young politician competing in a change election (Bill Clinton). Therefore we can all expect the McCain camp to announce a "victory" over the next few days if it falls below this number.

It should be noted however that while there are similarities between Clinton in '92 and Obama in '08, the media coverage, the constant polling, the right-left divide created over the last 8 years , and the interest from all Americans place this year's election in a category all by itself.

2008-08-25

The Schop Ten

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1. McCain lost count of how many homes he owns, calls Obama an out of touch elitist.


2. The IOC launched an investigation into the allegations that He Kexin (see picture below) is below the legal age (16) to compete in gymnastics at the Olympics. 5 minute Google search confirms not only the power o of the internet, but also that everyone should fear the Chinese government.


3. In honor of American dominance in women's gymnastics, and in light of the fact that we will most likely be awarded the team gold medal (see #2 above), here is a song that is sure to get everyone all nostalgic about the 1996 games and excited about London in 2012. USA! USA! USA!


4. 80 year old billionaire T Boone Pickens claimed in a recent interview with Texas Monthly that he and his new 61 year old wife Madeleine Paulson (the widow of Gulfstream Aerospace founder Allen Paulson) are “having such a good time that we’ve been talking about starting a family.” Texans cringe


5. Do not move to Berwyn Heights, Maryland. I repeat DO NOT move to Berwyn Heights, Maryland.


6. Chuck Klosterman claims that he manufactures opinions; wonders if anyone cares. He weight in on many issues including gravity, the civil war, swallowing one's own vomit, and bricks:
Brick (object): Symmetrically designed and eminently throwable at police cars, the brick is both a literal cornerstone of society and a keen metaphor for postholiday abortion within the music of Ben Folds Five. Though still ideal for building cathedrals and/or describing a specific shade of red, its limitations have become more evident over time -- bricks do not make good boats and are utterly useless as foodstuffs. 4 of 5 stars

7.  Dave Berry offers travel advice on what to expect from a Chinese cab ride. Here’s some insight:

I've found the taxi drivers to be friendly, although usually they speak very little English. Here's a transcript of the longest conversation I've had with a driver:
DRIVER: America?
ME: Yes.
DRIVER: Michael Jordan! Number One!
ME: Well, he . . .
DRIVER: Shaq!
ME: Yes. Shaq.
DRIVER: Kobe!
ME: Yao Ming?
DRIVER: Yao Ming! China!
ME: Yes.
DRIVER: Baseball!
ME: Basketball?
DRIVER: Baseball.

8. The Large Hadron Collider is about to be turned on in Switzerland!!!!!!!! Here's what Cosmic Variance gives the chances of what particle physicists will find. A few notables: 
1. The Higgs Boson: 95%

2. God: 10-20% 

3. Stable Black Holes That Eat Up the Earth, Destroying All Living Organisms in the Process: 10-25%

For a more detailed analysis of what the LHC is, check out this video from one of the scientists behind the project.




9. Do you live in Dallas but are unsure of where to drink a beer while playing skee-ball (Barcadia) or where to eat the best tacos in town (Fuel City gas station)? Then check out the Best of Dallas.

10. Fred Wilson over at AVC.blogs.com describes how to make it to the top in the Venture Capital world. I wish I had that kind of luck...

2008-08-11

The China Syndrome


Were you one of the 15% of the world (~1 billion) who watched the opening ceremonies of the 2008 Olympics? If not, then I feel for you, for nothing I say can do it justice. Roughly 15,000 performers, a quarter of a mile long LCD screen, and thousands of fireworks were all orchestrated into a four hour long spectacle of China's history, it's future, and it's potential by famed Chinese director Zhang Yimou. Held in the newly constructed and acclaimed "Bird's Nest", the ceremony was seemingly less an Olympic opening as it was a country's welcoming into the global arena. As Napoleon once said, "Let China sleep. For when China wakes, it will shake the world." 8.08.08 will perhaps go down as the day when the world took notice that it had indeed begun to shake. So if you missed the opening ceremony (and odds are you did) then you should definitely check out this highlight video.

America currently leads the total medal count (China leads the gold medal count), but if Michael Phelps has anything to say about it we will soon possess the most Gold medals as well. Case in point, Sunday night Phelps and the American 4x100 freestyle relay team held an exercise in something that America always loves to do... dominate the French.


Andrew Polk (unofficial US ambassador to China and Karaoke artist extraordinaire) was recently tapped to provide commentary on his experiences at the 2008 Olympics to the illustrious Amarillo.com. For continual updates be sure to check back to the Schop, but as for now, here is his commentary on how the opening ceremonies played out on the streets of Beijing. Enjoy.

2008-08-04

The Golden Ticket


From the stop-motion savants, PES, comes the latest video sensation "Western Spaghetti."



Inspiring, creative and just plain fun to watch, it makes me think that looking low budget has never been more profitable.

And big corporations are beginning to take notice. It's amazing that little projects like this done on your own dime can eventually land you accounts with Sprint, Sony and Nike. In an article in the Seattle Times Jeremiah Owyang (Forrester Research) predicted 2008 to be “the first time, you will start to see budgets set aside for social-media strategies and processes." And his projection is ringing true.

Even underground phenomenon Ask A Ninja is now sponsored by Verizon.

The market for online video ads is growing crazy big. According to Jupiter Research, it will generate $768M this year in the US alone, and by 2012 will reach over $8B worldwide (eMarketer).

Ford Motor Company has recently realized the upswing of online media in a big way by putting together a 6-person Social Media Marketing Team to head up its own endeavors. Dell even has a position called "Chief Blogger."

Last night over a couple mojitoes and a basket of plantain chips, I equated this time in history to the golden age of advertising and the large Madison Ave firms. Anyone who has seen Mad Men knows what I'm talking about.

Huge budgets. Expense accounts. Scotch. Cigarettes. Sexism.

Ok, it’s good that last one went away, but the rest are fine by me. Huge companies sought after these guys because they had the Golden Ticket. A direct pass to the heart of the population at large through the latest technology, at the time being radio and TV. They were creating something the world had never seen before, and knew how to leverage it for the clients’ benefit. They created a form of art (yes, art) that used witty repartee, double entendres and dramatic imagery to get people to feel emotionally connected to a brand to believe in its’ superior quality. And they had the right connections to get that message out.

Things are definitely different now with the agencies trying to break through the clutter every way they can, but the core of it is the same. Instead of white married couples pushing plastic, our tools are monkeys playing drums and other seemingly random videos to get people to feel socially connected to a brand. With thousands of companies out there pushing in many cases the exact same product, the difference is now people want to have something to blog about, forward to their friends, or post on their Facebook wall so that they can be the ones in on the latest trend. And it moves at a lightening fast pace.

The medium began with Joe Consumer posting a home made video of his buddy dancing on stage for fun… then almost 100 MILLION people tuned in to watch it. And they CHOSE to tune in. This lean-forward, opt-in eagerness for consumers to actively pay attention for 6 straight minutes is something that brands have been trying to tap in to since the dawning of advertising. And now they have it – but only if done right. Otherwise the backlash could be huge (prediction: Chris Brown + Wrigley).

In a recent Adweek article, Brian Morrissey says there’s “a new breed at Fortune 500 companies. Social-media experts are in high demand as companies attempt to figure out how to adapt how they talk to customers and even among themselves.” And states that “Once thought of as an interesting new media channel, social media is increasingly seen as a catalyst for changing how companies operate.”

Just as TV was in the early days, the internet has a mystique, a huge doorway into the heart of the consumer, and large companies aren’t quite sure how to tap into yet. So they go to the experts who hold the Golden Ticket.

And those companies not leveraging social media now will quickly see their competitors gaining what has become the biggest results indicator for their marketing efforts – web traffic.

We have seen the ups and downs of companies basing their existence on web trends. But now that the dust has settled, we may just find ourselves in 30 years watching a show about the golden age of internet marketers, with their t-shirts, baseball hats, beer and tattoos.

Here’s to hoping so. Cheers.

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