Posts tagged “attitude”

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • Twitter's suggested users for you to follow – This lacks any personalization and reinforces the unfortunate star system that (social) media supports, but it's a good example of a "how to get started" scaffolding that I've written about before
  • Jimmyjane's Sex Change Operation – my article on Core77 – We were invited to designer-sex-accessory firm Jimmyjane to learn more about their history and their approach. My thoughts on the company and its mission are posted on Core7.

    "Ethan Imboden worked an industrial designer for firms like Ecco and frogdesign, cranking out designs for everyday products (i.e., staplers and monitors), but grew to feel that he had something more to contribute. After starting his own design firm, he went with a client to the Adult Novelty Expo and saw bad design everywhere. He founded Jimmyjane as a response to that, and set out to use form, color, materials and so on to create premium vibrators. Now he's a visionary creative, with strong ideas about the Jimmyjane brand and how to embody those attributes across a range of products. Imboden fits the Be A Genius and Get It Right archetype we wrote about in interactions."


The Seattle Monorail is no longer the dream it once represented

Repairing the monorail is not always easy. Some parts are unique. After the collision last fall, the scene shop of the Seattle Opera was hired to build new monorail doors.

Wow – I guess that’s the get ‘er done attitude I wrote about before, but also the challenges of non-standard designs that seem common in transit infrastructure that I also wrote about earlier.

Shave Ice Paradise (or Dystopia)


A uniquely horrible part of our trip to Kauai was stopping here for a shave ice. This place was staffed by a gaggle of poorly trained, incompetent, aggressive, rude teenage girls. They stood behind their window and acted as if the people on the other side were not human, but merely objects. One stood there talking loudly about her social plans for that evening, ignoring the long line. Another complained about the line, and how much work she had. “I hope this fucking line goes away soon! I’m so sick of people!” she yelled to her friends, not 18 inches from the fucking people who were waiting to give her money. Everyone was made to feel as if they were inconveniencing these girls’ lives. One man received his shave ice in a foam cup with a leak; he went back up to return it or get a new cup and they were horrible to him; he shouldn’t expect anything from them since he only spent a few bucks!

This place is in the Hanalei Center on the north side of the island. Do not go there.

We only saw one other shave ice place on the whole island, Jo-Jo’s Shave Ice in Waimea. The experience there was great. This place here sucks.

Hawaii, especially Kauai is a tourist economy; people were appropriately awesome in most places we went to. This place was off the scale in the other direction. Please stay away.

Ben Stein? Beuller? Anyone? Stein?

Ben Stein writes in the NYT about fashion. Or culture. Or something. It’s a strange rant; reminds me of the outrage over shaggy Beatles-esque long haircuts in the 60s from stuffed-shirt establishment types who were frightened of the world changing without them and so frothed and stormed in disgust. Ben Stein is old, out of touch, and really really shallow.

TODAY’S business workplace is not a pretty sight. No, I’m not referring to wildly overinflated C.E.O. pay, although I could be. Nor am I referring to the empty desks caused by outsourcing, although I could be referring to that, too. I am not even referring to modern cubicles and their pitiful fiberboard walls. I am referring to the men (not the women) in those cubicles.

To put it as boldly as it needs to be put, men at work these days all too often dress like total slobs, and it hurts the eyes, the spirit and, I suspect, the bottom line.

Sometimes, I get a clue of this when I go to see my lawyer and am shocked to find that men who should be wearing suits – to keep up their propriety and their sense of dignity – are wearing casual jeans and short-sleeved shirts instead. I get a whiff of it when I appear on television and see employees of major networks dressed in casual slacks and sport shirts with no ties.

But the most stunning blow came a few weeks ago when I did an industrial film on a super-advanced videoconferencing system made by a very large, very successful high-tech company. The men who worked at the company’s campus in Oregon were uniformly smart and uniformly courteous, but they dressed like children at summer camp – cut-off jeans, shorts, T-shirts and sandals without socks. I asked if this was some special dress-down day and they all looked at me as if I were insane. “No,” they said. “This is how we dress.”

I see it in airports and on airplanes. I see it when young people come to me for interviews for a summer job dressed in baggies – gangsta-style long shorts with some of their butts showing – and have no idea that they are doing anything wrong.

I see it even at some brokerage firms, although one of the saving graces of investment banks is that the men who work at them do dress like grown-ups, and even dress beautifully in many cases.

When a man wears a nice suit of clothes, he feels like a grown-up. He is dressed like Gregory Peck or Clark Gable or Gary Cooper, so, naturally he’ll want to behave like a grown-up.

Besides, men at work in casual clothes simply lack authority. We clients really do not trust a man wearing J. Crew casual wear as much as we trust a man wearing a suit from J. Press or the venerable and much-adored Brooks Brothers.

In addition, if everyone is dressed for a game of dodgeball instead of a game of “let’s draw up a will,” how will we tell the bosses from the associates? How will we possibly feel as much confidence in a man who picks an exchange-traded fund if he appears at lunch in shorts instead of a suit?

A suit says discipline, maturity, style, respect for yourself and respect for the people you are meeting. Casual clothes say – well, the word “contempt” comes to mind, although maybe it’s too harsh. Maybe just “too cool for school” is what I mean.

There is a lesson here. Men look better if they dress for work in a uniform of a suit and a shirt and tie. They feel better about themselves, if I can judge from the moods of those marines at the hospital and at the reunion. Certainly, as a citizen, I felt better about the marines being dressed as if they honored their country and their mission. I can certainly recall that when I worked in a law firm and on Wall Street, I felt a lot better about myself and took myself and my work a lot more seriously when I dressed up like a mensch.

Maybe this is old-fashioned, but there is a lot of good sense in those old fashions.

UGTV blog

My friend Alan has a blog that I’ve just been checking out. It’s kinda funny on several levels. Each post is a strange or disturbing comedic observation, most of them rather terse. You might compare to Steven Wright but I’m sure any serious student of late 20th Century comedy could explain why that presumption is incorrect.

What amuses me is that each entry is several days apart, and when one reads through the various entries it almost begs the question of how it took Alan so long to make yet another pithy observation.

Alan, of course, is much funnier than his blog. Even though he may make the same kind of comments, the flat tone of the blog is completely different than his intense delivery. And the minimalist tone of the blog isn’t as funny as his detailed storytelling.

Somehow I should also mention that he has a talking vagina animation on his website.

A mobile tale of three cities

The International Herald Tribune reports on a cultural study of mobile phone use in Europe.

“Europe is looked at as a broadly similar market,” Lasén said. “But in studying mobile phones you can see details in each country can change enormously.”

For her research, Lasén combined individual interviews with street-level observations in each city in both 2002 and 2004. Interview questions ranged from mobile phone habits to people’s relationship with the device. Her observation centers were a major train station, a commercial area and a business district in each city.

I thought everyone did a study like this in 1999 – 2000, but I guess they are continuing (not that there’s not more to be learned; just that these sort of things are sometimes fashionable, if you will). I was involved in a fascinating comparison of French and Japanese mobile phone usage and attitude.

Via Future Now

Spelling errors on eBay

NYT article about spelling errors on eBay.

Jim Griffith, whose official title at eBay is dean of eBay education, teaches 40 to 50 seminars a year around the country. Although the auction house flags common misspellings online, Mr. Griffith said, the most common question he gets is, ‘When will eBay get a spell checker?’ His answer? ‘You go to a store called a bookstore, and you buy something called a dictionary.

Now that’s a customer-oriented attitude!


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