Financial Times

8 Marketers Doing Big Data Right
May 8, 2013

There's no need for fluff and buzzword BS when there's rock-hard data to draw upon. Look around the business world, and you'll see marketers who are enhancing their products with data-informed decisions. When you consider the vastness of data sets like Google searches, commercial transactions, social networks, GPS and the connected fitness trend, it's not hard to believe that as a society, we log about 2.5 quintillion bytes of data every day. ... The magnitude and specificity of this information has given rise to the term Big Data

If You Have to Ask, You're Too Stupid to Own One
May 1, 2013

Did you hear the story of the rich yuppie whose Porsche was sideswiped and totaled on a narrow bridge? His elbow had been protruding out the window, and the crash tore his left arm off and it flew into the bay below.

The Problem With Big Data: I Can Tell You Everything, But You Will Learn Nothing
April 16, 2013

Thanks to a media blitz in everything from The Financial Times and The Wall Street Journal to Wired and Forbes, pretty much everybody has heard about big data by now and developed an opinion on the subject. Ever since the expression’s meteoric rise about two years ago, the business world has been clamoring for more data. It doesn’t matter if you’re the marketing manager or CEO; it’s all-aboard the big data ship in order to become more “data driven.” However, as mentioned in an interesting article by TechCrunch, big data is not the new

Panic Cost Cutting
October 28, 2008

For some time, I've followed the spate of newspapers planning to fire the Associated Press and getting their news elsewhere, thank you very much. Papers planning to opt out:

Aug. 20, 2008: The Spokesman-Review of Spokane, the Yakima Herald-Republic and The Wenatchee World—all in Washington state—and The Bakersfield Californian.

Aug. 28, 2008: Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Oct. 16, 2008: The Tribune Co. (Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, Fort Lauderdale's Sun Sentinel, the Orlando Sentinel, Red Eye of Chicago, Hartford Courant, the Baltimore Sun, The Morning Call in Allentown, Pa. and the Daily Press of Newport News, Va.).

Yes, newspapers are taking a beating as a result of the lousy economy and, more importantly, advertisers migrating from print to digital. "The decline in [the top 25] newspapers' paid circulation is accelerating, according to new statistics today from the Audit Bureau of Circulations" wrote Nat Ives in AdAge.com this morning. "Papers' average weekday paid circulation fell to 38.2 million copies across the six months ending Sept. 30, down 4.64% from the equivalent period a year earlier. That's a faster fall than was seen this time last year, when the audit bureau reported just a 2.6% decline."

But is it smart for a newspaper (or any business for that matter) to commit hara-kiri—disemboweling itself in the scramble for savings?

Better Living Through Chemistry
July 31, 2007

I was an official one day at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Ogden, Utah. When the U.S. Women’s Curling Team came off the ice after a game, I was assigned to follow one of the players around until she felt ready to present a urine sample. She yakked with friends and fans, made a cell phone call, downed some bottled water and smoked a cigarette. Eventually, she went into the lounge where the World Anti-Doping Agency had set up shop and my brief officialdom came to an end. I was introduced to her friends as “my watcher” and was uncomfortable the whole time. But

Two Industries That Dis Paying Customers
July 17, 2007

A couple of weeks ago, I read that the final article by David Halberstam, who was killed in an automobile crash outside San Francisco on April 23, was available on the Vanity Fair Web site. As a long-time customer and admirer of Halberstam’s work, I wanted to read it. I found “The History Boys” and downloaded it for free. It was scheduled to appear in the August 2007 Vanity Fair and I—a nonsubscriber to the magazine—was able to access it long before it arrived on newsstands or in the mailboxes of paying subscribers. That meant I—a Web junkie—could discuss it at a dinner

Prepare to be Mushroomed
April 12, 2007

The massive leveraged buyout of the Tribune Company by Chicago real estate magnate Sam Zell—the 65th richest man in America according to Forbes, with a personal fortune of $4.5 billion—is in the beginning stages. My bet is that it will result in a tsunami of layoffs, buyouts, firings, and wrecked careers and lives. According to the Jan. 25, 2007 Newstrack, the media industry slashed 17,809 jobs in 2006, an 88% increase over the 9,452 jobs lost the prior year. Last year, we watched The Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News fall into the hands of a local consortium of investors that has neither newspaper experience

Japan Invades Switzerland!
January 25, 2007

EDITOR’S NOTE: I am delighted to welcome as a guest columnist Fred B. Lederman, managing partner & president, Tourbillon Ventures, LLC, a direct marketing consulting and M&A advisory firm. —DH On Dec. 25, 1969, Japan launched an attack on the 350-year-old Swiss watch industry that would change the complexion of manufacturing and marketing warfare from that point on. Seiko introduced the 35 SQ Astron—the first commercially available quartz watch to appear on the market. Even though there was a limited production run of some 100 pieces, it had a price tag of 450,000 yen (at the time, about the same price as a Toyota

The New Robber Barons
November 2, 2006

In the late 1970s, I was hired to write a membership mailing for Comp-U-Card, a Stamford, Conn. organization that claimed to have built “a data base of price and product information on approximately 60,000 brand name products.” Consumers could tap into this wealth of information and presumably save many times the $25 membership fee. Goods were shipped directly from wholesalers to the customer. I met briefly with the president, Walter A. Forbes, who was good-looking, articulate and very intense. At one point in our meeting, he took a phone call and asked me to step outside, which I did. When I returned, Forbes told me that