Christmas nuggets &c
This year's double issue Christmas Economist was the usual treasure trove of interesting baubles. The ones that caught the eye most readily were:
* How advertising agencies can raise their revenues easily (in an article about why the beautiful are more successful):
Even more unfairly, Dr Hamermesh found evidence that beautiful people may bring more revenue to their employers than the less-favoured do. His study of Dutch advertising firms showed that those with the most beautiful executives had the largest size-adjusted revenues—a difference that exceeded the salary differentials of the firms in question.
* Panda branding is a discipline of branding in its own right
* Three insights of Evan Williams, of Obvious, inventer of Twitter and Blogger, amongst others:
First, that genuinely new ideas are, well, accidentally stumbled upon rather than sought out; second, that new ideas are by definition hard to explain to others, because words can express only what is already known; and third, that good ideas seem obvious in retrospect.
* and that Chairman Mao was a great brand-builder:
The brand-building lesson is that a clear, utopian message, hammered home relentlessly, can obscure inconvenient facts. Great salesmen are born knowing this. Executives whose strategies are not delivering need to learn it.
Other things of note from elsewhere include:
* New York Times technology columnist David Pogue's realization that copyright is dead for anyone under the age of 30, provided they're not employed in the media industry
* Unnecessary quotation marks - lingustic genius.