Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Is It Creativity

When you tweak things off an original idea--is that creativity?

Earlier today I got that Nike Sparq commercial stuck in my head.

There is the short version which has creative word play and the longer version (here) with the catchy tune.

As parody will do, there are knock offs like this and also this

"My fatter is fatter than your fatter"

What's my point?

In the business world, we tend to look down on copycat organizations from a development standpoint because they didn't create, they only copy or tweak. This is particularly true of service businesses. You better copy the good ideas of competitors or be left behind. Imagine an airline without a frequent flier program.

However, from a consumer view, there is love for similarity because it makes things more price competitive and easier to compare.

And finally, a point I'll save for a future blog--there really are not that many groundbreaking unique ideas. We all tweak a lot.

That commercial is good in part because of the links to sports. The original song was done in 2004.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Attack of the Plastic?

I heard a news story the other day about the dangers of chemicals coming from plastic containers. It all seemed a bit tricky for the average person to keep up with until these came to light.

On the Today Show, Dr. Nancy shared some insight.

This document (Adobe Acrobat Reader needed) comes from the website she notes at the end. As usual the businesses and the environmentalists have very different views on this, but they would both say this is about green.

An environmental green perspective from 2006.

Centers for Disease Control (CDC) perspective from 2007. Adobe Acrobat Reader needed.

Bisphenol-A (BPA) group perspective
from 2008.

Where does all this lead the unsorted thinker?

It's not as complex as you may suspect. Clearly, some of this stuff gets into our bodies-see CDC report. The challenge is how much can we control and what difference will it make in the long run. To me, if I were a senior citizen, I'd expect to die of something else before this might be discovered to be more problematic, so no real worries.

As a parent, this could mean something significant for children who have a long life expectancy in front of them. It seems easy enough to steer clear of certain bottles that have a higher likelihood of causing concerns. Keep an eye on those recycling numbers (resin ID codes-Adobe Acrobat Reader needed) on the bottles. Skip the controversial ones.
If you are truly concerned, note that BPA is also used to line tin food cans. Are you willing to give up the canned goods?

If you are in the middle ages (neither child nor senior citizen ;-0) then you have some decisions to make. From the CDC piece, BPA seems to have some kind of estrogen effect. I'm not a medical professional, but it is easy enough to say protect the women and girls. I think there are enough reusable plastic bottles around to not use the questionable ones. It's too much effort to have guys plastics and girls plastics, so I'll put aside the questionable bottles. For the single guys, it probably doesn't matter much. If you might get married or become that baby-daddy, then setting these bottles aside makes you appear more aware of current events and health issues. These things might move you a little farther up the scale for the ladies that care about such things.

Note: need future blog entry about things that take on a life of their own being used in ways totally unlike their original design. Example resin ID codes mentioned above. They are there for recycling assistance.

WWPD - What would Plastic Man do? Hmmm...

If you need to download Adobe Acrobat Reader, it is available for free. Just click this link.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Parking Lot Madness

Why do parking lots seem to have their own rules that are independent of reality?

I see people circling parking lots looking for a good spot. Often this means using 15 minutes of $3.50 a gallon gas to get 20-40 yards closer to the entrance of a building. If you have a legitimate reason to be close, you should have a disabled parking permit. Otherwise, the extra minute or two of walking is probably good exercise for you.

In a normal parking lot, the arrows are there to direct traffic. It is always odd to see people going the wrong way down one way lanes in a parking lot. Haven't they noticed that it is hard to get into the spaces when you go the wrong way? I find it more amusing when people get upset that you are in their way when they go against the traffic flow.

Recently, I came across a parking lot where the people that run it must have lost their minds. They decided that their Atlanta parking lot was more like Europe. They reversed the arrows to change the traffic flow inside their gated lot! Once you turn into their property, start using the left side for travel...except where they decided to make certain parts one way. While this would be confusing for most people, they took their mysterious patterns to new levels by not marking parts of it at all where there was a two lane loop.

Just to make this more special, the confusing parking lot is at a senior citizens' apartment building. The perfect place to confuse the drivers. Nothing like mind games for 70 year old drivers. Maybe next month they will start projecting images of kids running in front of the cars to see if the old folks will have heart attacks.

I imagine personal injury lawyers will set up shop just outside their fence.