Tuesday, August 12

Carly Corner

HP yesterday held what it called "Big Bang 2," its launch of over 100 consumer products, most of which would have had a hard time getting mentioned on gizmodo on their own ("HP launches slightly different camera!"). The event, held far enough west on Manhattan to make the site almost unreachable except by Segway, was memorable for one thing: in the keynote, Carly Fiorina seemed to criticize HP's habit of giving its products impossible-to-remember names. When holding up the new HP Scanjet 4670 Scanner, she said something to the effect of "The 4670 will .. actually I don't like the name. I prefer to call it 'Thin Mint'..." (I had dropped my reporters pad in excitement, thus the paraphrase). She kept calling it "thin mint" in the rest of her presentation.

The nickname doesn't make much sense: the scanner is sort of thin, but is neither mint colored nor breath-freshening when chewed. Still, it is a refreshing sign that perhaps real names are coming to a world that seems to take its cues from from the IRS.

we solute you

A grateful shout out to the Fast Company blog for pointing out a crack in our beaker. We've changed the motto to "pouring solvent on your 'solution,'" dropping the "confused," previously un-remarked-upon (and possibly previously un-viewed) "dropping the solvent in your 'solution.'" Salutations.

In our customary frenzy of blogging and linking, we couldn't help but notice that Heath Row, Fast Company's in-house Social Capitalist and blog critic, put on the rose-tinted raver shades to read yesterday's NYT piece on Fast Company by David Carr.

Carr's view:
"...Fast Company is clearly an enterprise that is staring down its own obsolescence. Since being bought in 2000 for an astounding $360 million by Gruner & Jahr USA, the American publishing division owned by Bertelsmann, Fast Company has swerved into the ditch....The number of advertising pages it carried last year were a little more than a third of the 2000 total. Newsstand sales — a good indicator of salience in the marketplace of ideas — are half of what they were in 2000. The jargon that drove the magazine — 'the brand of you' and 'social capitalist,' — seems as quaint and beside the point as the Pets.com sock puppet."

Row's evaluation of the article, posted on FC's weblog, Fast Company Now:
"the future painted by the piece looks bright."

Hm. The only notable reference to the future in Carr's piece (which makes a passing reference to "the ashes of the unfortunately named eCompany Now,") is a quote from John A. Byrne, FC's new editor, who says: "There is nothing but upside here."

Wednesday, August 6

Eyes Only: Fire-Grilled salads!

Truly amazing stuff. A friend of the language (name withheld until we hear different) forwarded something intended solely for those with drops of Kool-Aid hanging from their chins. This intercepted communique was meant to remain snugly between Bain and the BK Lounge. But like a greasy patty, it slipped out and onto the buzz-sawing room floor. On the Internet, there is no five-second rule.

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From: "jed morninducat"
Date: Tue, 5 Aug 2003 09:19:57 -0500
To: teeth@buzzkiller.net
Subject: We have a winner

Bain and Company accidentally e-mailed me a PPT presentation prepared for Burger King. The first slide was a classic. Titled "Salad Strategic Objective Statement," it read:

“Burger King will leverage its Fire-Grilled core asset and cooking advantage to be a potent competitor in the salads segment beginning in 2004. Burger King will offer a portfolio of standout, break-through salads to take advantage of market trends and consumer taste shifts, and significantly boost restaurant profitability”
 
Yikes.
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ed. note: credit to Bain for the high-brow hyphen in "break-through." And I don't know about y'all, but this is precious inside info - as soon as the market opens, I'm shorting Mickey D (NYSE: MCD) big-time.