The big news of Unilever purchasing subscription site Dollar Shave Club for $1B this week probably dominated your newsfeed this week, and one that I had two separate journalists contact me about for comment. Subscription commerce is back in the spotlight for this week, but the more interesting stories this week for me included an expose from noted data analyst Nate Silver on why online ratings for films and TV shows targeted at women may be completely skewed, what technologists can learn from biologists and Target’s big new vision to bring on kids as advisors.
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Targets Turns To Kids To Recapture It’s Cool
One of the growing trends in media and entertainment is giving kids a chance to be entrepreneurs, chefs and act generally in more adult ways. In a bid to recapture some of their lost “Tar-zhay” cool, this story digs inside Target’s strategy to engage kids in the production of their newly launching fashion line and is a rare example of a cover story from a magazine that still felt important enough to include in my curated list of stories.
Read the full story on BusinessWeek >>
How To Change The World In Your Sleep
Every week I visit Kickstarter to back quirky or interesting projects, and this past week one of my choices was The Purpose Hotel. It is a project imagined by a professional celebrity photographer who is trying to build a concept for a hotel that creates an impact in people’s lives around the world, from its initial location in Nashville. Others in the travel industry like Carnival Cruises have made big purpose driven commitments like the new Fathom cruise line, but this felt like a rare and worthy step in the same direction that could serve as an example for the often slower moving hotel industry.
See the project on Kickstarter >>
Why Technologists Should Think Like Biologists
While a bit cerebral, the fundamental point of this story was one that I loved … that technologists need to have a better method to learn from their mistakes, similar to the system most biologists use. While this article may not seem immediately applicable for anyone in marketing, it is exactly the sort of useful read encouraging cross pollination of techniques from one industry to another that is perfect to pass along to the technologists in your life — or anyone else in need of a new way to look at things.
Read the full story on Harvard Business Review >>
Why Movie Internet Ratings Are Broken (And Maybe Other Ratings Too)
For a quick numbers-inspired take on the world of business and politics, I love reading the FiveThirtyEight blog from Nate Silver and his team. This article below shares an important but under appreciated fact of online ratings for movies and TV … that often lower ratings for shows targeted at women are solely because those ratings take into account men who actively voice their dislikes in a way that women don’t. In other words, the important conclusion of this article worth remembering is this — “people put far too much faith in numbers that are preliminary, decontextualized and, in the end, oversimplified.”
Read the full story on FiveThirtyEight >>
Dyson’s Upcoming Robot Vacuum – And Why It Matters
In the words of this article, the problem with most robot vacuum cleaners released in the market so far is that “they tend to be either very good robots, but very bad vacuums, or good vacuums, but bad robots.” This article about the upcoming Dyson Eye features a video worth watching that will take you inside the process of how the company has developed the upcoming robot vacuum. It is a great example of not only powerful marketing and storytelling, but the deliberation and care that goes into actually making it.
Read the full story on T3 >>
How Are These Stories Chosen?
Every week I review more than a hundred data sources to curate the best and most under appreciated marketing stories of the week. The aim of this email is to spotlight these “non-obvious” stories, along with a quick take on why they matter for you. I hope you find this email interesting and useful … and am always open to your suggestions on how I might make it better!