Posts tagged “employee”

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • [from steve_portigal] End Of An Era: Sony Stops Manufacturing Cassette Walkmans [Crunchgear] – [I share the author's surprise that this product was still being manufactured! The CD Walkman – its successor – has long been quaintly outdated, so cassettes? Perhaps there was a retro market, or perhaps other countries discarded formats differently than we have here] Sony announced it will stop manufacturing and selling these devices in Japan – after 30 years. Sony says the final lot was shipped to retailers in April this year, and once the last units are sold, there will be no cassette Walkmans from big S anymore. The first Walkman was produced in 1979. The TPS-L2, the world’s first portable (mass-produced) stereo, went on sale in Japan on July 1 that year and was later exported to the US, Europe and other places. Sony says that they managed to sell over 400 million Walkmans worldwide until March 2010, and exactly 200,020,000 of those were cassette-based models.
  • [from steve_portigal] PlumWillow Is Making the Customer Part of Its Culture [] – [Employment criteria: do you represent our target customer? Hiring for insight as an internship strategy] They’re part of a team of 15- and 16-year-old interns who are being tapped for their own special brand of expertise and insight: a bird’s-eye view into the life and mind of high school teenagers, exactly the audience that PlumWillow is seeking. “They definitely aren’t shy about telling us what they like and don’t like,” says Lindsay Anvik, director of marketing at PlumWillow, who helps oversee the internship program at its offices in Manhattan. The interns are also emblematic of how Web-based businesses are doing more than merely shaping their products and services around customer preferences. The companies are corralling those customers in the workplace and making them part of the design and marketing process, according to Susan Etlinger, a consultant at the Altimeter Group, which researches Web technologies and advises companies on how to use them.

Morale and milkshakes

From a strange article in the NYT about McDonald’s holding an employee-only American Idol-style singing competition (for reasons they don’t exactly make clear)

Employee contests with big prizes are nothing new in corporate America. McDonald’s has pitted stores and regions against one another to determine who makes the best shakes.

But I thought that shakes (sorry, not milkshakes) were identical from store to store, based on a standard recipe and ingredients. Then what do you compete on? Speed? Panache?

Dan Soltzberg joins Portigal Consulting


Today is Dan Soltzberg’s first day here and (at my request) he wrote a little reflective piece about his day, and his background.

Welcome, Dan!

So far, in all the ways I usually measure my days, this has been a great one. I’m at my new desk at Portigal Consulting eating my first lunch (a tasty roast beef sandwich from a little café down the street), Steve and I are preparing for a trip next week which will be our first time in the field together, and there are two Beagles and a Golden Retriever lounging around the office. (The dogs are wonderfully insightful when it comes to developing business strategies.) I’ve just joined Portigal Consulting as a Design Researcher, which is the perfect cap on a year which has been one of those wonderful periods of convergence where everything I’ve done so far in my life adds up to create something new.

I’m refocusing my Masters program at SJSU on a hybrid of Industrial Design, Applied Anthropology and Human Factors, which is to say that what I’m really interested in is the intersection of creative problem-solving, collaborative processes, things, and human beings. Four-and-a-half years living and working in Japan, as well as living in California married to a Midwesterner after growing up in Boston, have taught me to respect how deep culture runs, and how important understanding context is if one wants to understand people’s behavior and desires. I’m really looking forward to working with our clients and helping to decipher and communicate these contexts and the design opportunities they illuminate.


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