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Research: Consumers Prefer Products Created by Mistake
Mistakes occur more frequently than we’d like. And generally, when they happen, we often don’t go about advertising them to others. But companies can benefit from letting consumers know when they make mistakes with a product. Consumers perceive these products as more unique, because they think mistakes in product creation are more improbable than there being no mistakes. And the perceived rarity of mistakes increases their value. To explore the preference for products made by mistake, we conducted a series of experimental studies and examined market sales data. In our fir [...]
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Prioritize Your Opportunities with This Checklist
Photo by Cris Dinoto How do you evaluate a business opportunity? The world is replete with SWOT mechanisms for evaluating a prospective new product offering, as well as with opportunity assessment templates for evaluating a project against overall business goals, customer impact, strategic potential, and competitive urgency. These instruments play a vital role in acquisitions, new products and features, and even the new divisions of business you’d like to deploy. But how do you evaluate the myriad smaller opportunities you come across every day? Should you speak at that event? Aut [...]
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The Grocery Industry Confronts a New Problem: Only 10% of Americans Love Cooking
The supermarket and grocery business is likely to suffer strong headwinds in the future, due to long-term shifts in consumer behavior. Although many people don’t realize it yet, grocery shopping and cooking are in a long-term decline. They are shifting from a mass category, based on a daily activity, to a niche activity that a few people do only some of the time. I’ve spent two decades consulting extensively for consumer packaged goods companies. Early in my career I gathered some data for a client on cooking. This research found that consumers fell in [...]
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5 Ways to Focus Your Energy During a Work Crunch
Work invariably ebbs and flows, cycling between steady states, where we feel more in control of the pace and workload, and peak periods, where the work crunch hits us hard. Unexpected setbacks, project sprints, or even vacations and holidays can create mayhem and tension. Maintaining focus and managing energy levels become critical as tasks pile onto an already full load. When you’re in your next work crunch, there are a few things you can do to focus and manage your energy more productively: Accept the situation. When an acute period hits, it’s easy to resist the fact that it̵ [...]
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Equifax and Why It’s So Hard to Sue a Company for Losing Your Personal Information
After years of screaming headlines about data breaches, we all know the drill. A major company announces it has been hacked, a brief public outcry ensues, and then… not much happens. Down the road you might read about a government inquiry or a class-action suit being settled. People have become numb to these announcements. We assume our personal information has been compromised in some way, take reasonable precautions like canceling a credit card or instituting credit monitoring, and move on with our lives. The Equifax breach is different. It isn’t the largest (that would be the 20 [...]
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How to establish your brand on Pinterest (and make it popular)
This is a guest post by Larry Alton If you’re a ‘picture paints a thousand words’ kind of person, then Pinterest may be a great option for you. Its tight-knit community and visual focus make it an ideal board for circulating and popularizing your ideas. And while it may not be as popular as Facebook and Instagram, it still has more than 150 million active users each month. Pinterest also has a number of advantages: All content is publicly visible. Content can quickly ‘go viral with far less effort than other platforms. It provides monetization options for businesses and stores (e.g. [...]
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The Psychology Behind the New iPhone’s Four-Digit Price
Apple made headlines by announcing that the price for its new iPhone X (a fancy term for 10) will range from $999 to $1,149. These prices are commanding attention because they are significantly higher than the base prices of the two other iPhone models that were also announced, the 8 ($699) and the 8 Plus ($799). The X’s price is also noteworthy because it approaches, and breaches, the key threshold of $1,000. Boosting prices into four-digit territory crosses an important psychological barrier for consumers. Why did Apple push the limits of pricing on the highly anticipated device? [...]
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Do Tech Companies Really Need All That User Data?
Paul Garbett for HBR The online economy — from search to email to social media — is built in large part on the fact that consumers are willing to give away their data in exchange for products that are free and easy to use. The assumption behind this trade-off is that without giving up all that data, those products either couldn’t be so good or would have to come at a cost. But a new working paper, released this week by Lesley Chiou of Occidental College and Catherine Tucker of MIT, suggests that the trade-off may not always be necessary. By studying the [...]
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How to Help an Employee Who Rubs People the Wrong Way
If you’ve ever cringed in a meeting when your direct report was talking, you know how tough it can be to watch a team member undermine themselves. Maybe the person is interrupting colleagues too often. Or being condescending, or even combative. No matter the specific behavior, your employee is clearly rubbing people the wrong way. As the manager, you know it’s your job to address the issue, but you’re not sure how to start the conversation. What should you say? How do you broach the topic? What the Experts Say “It always difficult to give someone serious perfo [...]
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Transcending Either-Or Decision Making
Jennifer Riel, an adjunct professor at the Rotman School of Management, presents a model way to solve problems: integrative thinking. It’s taking the best from two inadequate options to come up with a successful solution. She gives examples from the film industry to show how CEOs have put the process to work. Riel is the co-author, along with Roger Martin, of the book Creating Great Choices: A Leader’s Guide to Integrative Thinking. Download this podcast [...]
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Japan Is Counting on Shareholder Activism to Improve Its Economy
Shareholder activism is a quintessentially American form of investing. In the U.S., CEOs live in fear of activist hedge funds, and politicians worry about their effects on workers. But the case for shareholder activism is perhaps best seen in Japan, where the corporate sector tends to be structurally skewed in favor of employees, at the expense of shareholders and the economy. In Japan several factors combine to help insulate managers from outside influence, including cross-holdings where the company owns shares in a partner firm, docile boards mostly composed of company executives, and a cour [...]
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Lessons from Yelp’s Empirical Approach to Diversity
Beginning in 2013, a handful of tech companies (including Yelp, where some of us work, Google, LinkedIn, and Facebook) began to research and release data on the diversity of their workforces. The numbers were grim. For instance, in 2014 only 10% of Yelp’s engineers were female. Seven percent of Yelp employees were Hispanic, and 4% were black. These figures were similar at other tech companies, most of which had fewer than 20% of their technical positions filled by women and had low representation of black and Hispanic employees. At Yelp and elsewhere, seeing these numbers was a wake [...]
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