Beneficial Intelligence

Isaac Asimov gave robots three laws. Like so many both before and after him, he expected the very worst from artificial intelligence. AI would be the downfall of humanity. Humans, hubristic to the very last, would create robots in their own image—only too much so. Designed to help, these creations would ultimately destroy their architects. … Continued

Perspective Shifts

You’ve been there before. We all have. That nice pair of shoes beckons to you from the end of the rack. These might be the ones. They’ll be as perfect for work as they will for a night out. You approach them, pick the left one up. This is it. This is the pair. You … Continued

Virtual Actualization

Oculus Rift, the new great hope for the future of virtual reality, shipped its first batch of headsets to consumers on Monday. I, along with millions of others, am excited to finally have this thrilling, near-boundless technology at my fingertips. (Though I haven’t yet ordered my Rift—the price tag sits just a bit too high … Continued

Two-Way Transparency

Several times a week, I stop by Pret A Manger for a pre-work cup of coffee. I’ve been doing this for a year now, so I know Nico, Roxana, James and Erin all pretty well. And they know me, too. We’re at that level of familiarity that’s past just talking about the weather but still … Continued

Marketing the Outlier – Goodman Theatre and “2666”

In 2014, Roy Cockrum, a Chicago stage actor turned Episcopal monk living in Tennessee, hit that state’s Powerball and donated vast sums of his $153 million lump sum to arts programs across the United States, including one major demand: that Chicago’s Goodman Theatre adapt and stage a version of Roberto Bolaño’s 2666, a novel long … Continued


Few phrases are filled with such contention as the customer is always right. The customer may be right, yes, but it’s also possible that the customer is completely wrong. And for a brand to suspend disbelief and pretend that the customer is always right does little good to anyone. But we’re looking at it all … Continued

Post-Demographic Consumerism

We have been variously told that we live in a world that is postmodern, post-postmodern, post-irony and post-industrial. It’s time to add post-demographic to the list, because the 21st century has rendered many of our traditional consumer demographic sectors—age, income, gender, location—largely moot. It’s not to say that these segments no longer exist, but that … Continued


The world doesn’t revolve around you. Some brands, though, are trying to change that. An especially crowded marketplace calls for especially unique products. Customers no longer want cookie-cutter, assembly-line items. They want customization. Products for them. Products about them. Products that place them at the center of their very own universe. Brands are catching on … Continued

Brand Movements – Branding with a Higher Purpose

Brands sell things. It’s what they do. But to really stand out, a brand might sell more than just a product. They might sell an idea, knowing that a concept is made greater by the synergy created between brand and consumer. Sometimes, the idea being sold is one that can even make the world a … Continued


X marks the spot. What that spot is, though, is really up to you. X might be a much-needed trinket at Target, or perhaps the location of the closest coffee shop. With an explosion of new maps appearing from north, south, east and west, Xs are everywhere. We are officially in the age of mapmania. … Continued