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Yahoo! Stuff-Makers.

I want Marissa Mayer to succeed. I want Yahoo! to succeed. What’s the Idea? posts over the years have perhaps been unkind to Yahoo! but only because I care.

Ms. Mayer’s strategy a year ago, to be consumers “daily habit,” was a good one. It was certainly measurable, certainly grounded in consumer behavior and most importantly aspirational. Habits can be ritualistic and mechanical, but they can also be born of the need for education, stimulation and positivity.

Ms. Mayer’s latest “follow-the-money” foray, however, into mobile technology is off center. And in the tech world she is not alone. Inviting a 1,000 mobile developer s to a Yahoo! campfire rally, to energize them to use new analytic tools and advertising plug-ins is goofy. Mobile app developers are no better at finding the next new habit than anyone else. In fact, they are probably less so.

Innovative daily habits are more likely to come from visionaries. Students of people. Behaviorists. Social scientists who like punk. Comedians. Artists. Creative directors. As Ms. Mayer looked out in the audience at her mobile app developer meeting last week, what do you think she saw? Did they laugh at her humor? Did they look up from their devices?

If she goes to SXSW, Ms. Mayer is more apt to find habit formers at South By Music than at South By Interactive. Trust me.

Ms. Mayer – please know, Katie Couric, David Poque and some mobile developers are not the future. They are stuff-makers. You need to hire visionaries. Peace.



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Brand planners love the future. Almost as much as they love the past.  Google is introducing some type of campaign or game or something today at South By whereby it’s mashing up some old school ads form the 60s with new school media.  I’m sure it is going to be lovely and may even sell a little Coke, Alka-Seltzer and few Volvos — participating brands.  Hopefully, the effort will sell some Google thingies.

Planners — and I’m one of them — love the future.  Do things that have never been done. Build new categories. Break new use-case ground.  Design ideas that are future-proof.  Plan “beyond the dashboard” as I like to call it.

But what’s wrong with today?  Today is not sexy for most. Today is boring.  Or is it?  Retailers and those focused on retail marketing are all about today.  And they are so amped it’s scary. Zimmerman Advertising is a retail advertising specialist and they’re not too famous, but they could be.  They are all about the now and have had long-term success. Cash registers are their mana.

The past is gone.  The future never arrives (Remember being a kid in bed on Christmas Eve?  That was some existential shizz, no?)  “Now” is what’s up.  Sell more now.  Today.  Plan for today. Peace!


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