Posts tagged “recession”

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • Home Burials Offer an Intimate Alternative – Advocates say the number of home funerals, where everything from caring for the dead to the visiting hours to the building of the coffin is done at home, has soared in the last five years, putting the funerals “where home births were 30 years ago,” according to Chuck Lakin, a home funeral proponent and coffin builder in Waterville, Me.

    The cost savings can be substantial, all the more important in an economic downturn. The average American funeral costs about $6,000 for the services of a funeral home, in addition to the costs of cremation or burial. A home funeral can be as inexpensive as the cost of pine for a coffin (for a backyard burial) or a few hundred dollars for cremation or several hundred dollars for cemetery costs.

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • Japanese robots not finding their market, recession and high prices blamed (but not fundamental mismatch between need and solution?) – Roborior by Tmsuk — a watermelon-shape house sitter on wheels that rolls around a home and uses infrared sensors to detect suspicious movement and a video camera to transmit images to absent residents — has struggled to find new users. A rental program was scrapped in April because of lack of interest. Though the company won’t release sale figures, it has sold less than a third of the goal, 3,000 units, it set when Roborior hit the market in 2005, analysts say. There are no plans to manufacture more.

    That is a shame, Mariko Ishikawa, a Tmsuk spokesman, says, because busy Japanese in the city could use the Roborior to keep an eye on aging parents in the countryside. “Roborior is just the kind of robot Japanese society needs in the future,” Ms. Ishikawa said.

    Sales of a Secom product, My Spoon, a robot with a swiveling, spoon-fitted arm that helps older or disabled people eat, have similarly stalled as caregivers balk at its $4,000 price.

  • Chris Anderson on the differences between scarcity thinking and abundance thinking – When scarce resources become abundant, smart people treat them differently, exploiting them rather than conserving them. It feels wrong, but done right it can change the world. The problem is that abundant resources, like computing power, are too often treated as scarce.

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • In Recession, Strategy Shifts for Retail – It's hard to parse this piece; it's about a lot of cost-cutting stuff that is happening in retail but the tone suggests that these are innovative ways for companies to be more responsive (better customer service? better localization of products?) and integrated (linking the in-store and online experiences?). I'm skeptical and don't believe the concluding statement that this is happening because we're not spending in stores like we used to, it's too close to the whole "innovate your way out of a recession" talk and I don't think retail is an adaptable industry to take on a frame shift like that.
  • An evolutionary perspective on what we display to others with our consumption (not clear how there's anything new here, though) – Instead of running focus groups and spinning theories,marketers could learn more by administering scientifically calibrated tests of intelligence and personality traits. If marketers understood biologists’ new calculations about animals’ “costly signaling,” they’d see that Harvard diplomas and iPhones send the same kind of signal as the ornate tail of a peacock.

    Sometimes the message is as simple as “I’ve got resources to burn,” the classic conspicuous waste demonstrated by the energy expended to lift a peacock’s tail or the fuel guzzled by a Hummer. But brand-name products aren’t just about flaunting transient wealth. The audience for our signals care more about the permanent traits measured in tests of intelligence and personality, as Dr. Miller explains in his new book, “Spent: Sex, Evolution and Consumer Behavior.”

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • Harley-Davidson: You Can File Our Obituary Where The Sun Don't Shine – Passionate and 100% on-brand response to rumblings about Harley not making it through 2009. Seen as full-page ad in today's New York Times and presumably elsewhere
  • Very slight story on how and why we use lines from movies in regular conversation – It also turns out that using movie quotes in everyday conversation is akin to telling a joke and a way to form solidarity with others, according to a researcher who has actually studied why we like to cite films in social situations.
    "People are doing it to feel good about themselves, to make others laugh, to make themselves laugh," said Richard Harris, a psychology professor at Kansas State University.
    Harris decided to ask hundreds of young adults about their film-quoting habits after he and his graduate students realized it was a common behavior that no one had looked at closely before.
    He found that all of the participants in his study had used movie quotes in conversation at one point or another. They overwhelmingly cited comedies, followed distantly by dramas and action adventure flicks.
    As for horror films, musicals and children's movies, "fuh-get about it." They were hardly ever cited.
    When asked about their emotions while quoting films, most people reported feeling happy.

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • Some big-thinking on how the professional organization is changing: structure, environment, process – There will be a set of rituals, a cadence of events, that comes to define what differentiates the organization and supports how things get done. The places where these take place now are found by labels on doors—“conference room”—in otherwise undifferentiated space. The activities of the evolving place are about actions—collaborating, integrating, innovating—and not about hierarchy or formal processes.
  • In Detroit, Artists Look For Renewal In Foreclosures – In the late '90s, we used to generate fake "trends" mostly for fun, but also as a fatigued reaction to all the hype we were facing about, well, everything. One of my best – because it was just so ludicrous and therefore worthy of endless repeating in any ideation session – was that people were choosing to live in hovels [because hovel is definitely a good comedy word].

    Once again, I was 10 years ahead of my time.

    "Jon Brumit is an artist in Chicago…He and his wife just bought a house in Cope's neighborhood for $100. That's right: an entire house for the price of dinner at a nice restaurant for a family of four. Sure, the place needs a ton of work and it['s not that safe, but Brumit says it's worth it just to help bring back the neighborhood."


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