Friday, December 31, 2004

When Technology Becomes Emotion

The title of today's entry comes from a 1980's marketing campaign from the bicycle component manufacturer Campagnolo. Perhaps I should say THE bicycle component manufacturer. Campy, recently covered in Bicycling Link, is a company that defies business logic....Its products are overpriced, they play in only about a third of the huge biking industry. Yet it maintains a cult like following, replete with laudatory web sites such as Campy Only link, and eBay auctions of old parts scale to the thousands of dollars.

Cult members are not rational people, then again, no specimen of species Homo can claim rationality. I don't care what your ROI calculator says, seldom is any purchase (or for that matter, non-purchase) rational. Whether you are an evolutionist, or and intelligent designer, there lies deep within our being a highly emotional animal that drives our decisions. It doesn't' matter if you are buying a packet blasting box of copper that lies deep within the dark recesses of a network center, or a double non-fat capp with sprinkles....emotions are at work.

Campy riders are NOT RATIONAL. But whether they are riding or just admiring their Campy bike, they are have an emotional experience, a visceral, real, feeling that the product they are regarding is the BEST. In the Bicycling article a rider with 35 Campy dressed bikes says "They don't just make tools for riding, they put art into their work and that's the mojo". Mojo......if your product is going to succeed, you need it.


Thursday, December 23, 2004

Virus Co-evolves with Host Technology - Symbian phone virus.

Just when I was about ready to go to a smart phone vs. carrying two devices. This artcile from RCRNews. Link


Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Hey, what is the new VP taking?

In the never ending quest to gain an advantage, the chemicals are beating their way to the cubicle next door.



Dialing for DNA

Maybe this is how the mutant generation finally comes to life.  It looks like your cell phone can alter your DNA, but it "doesn't harm your health".  Funny, it doesn't seem like it will make you stronger.  Mobile phones 'alter human DNA' A study finds mobile phones damage human DNA in the lab - but does not show they harm health.

I'm betting the telecom companies are praying that there is no damage to our "denial" gene.


Monday, December 13, 2004

Variants of Chemical Competitive Advantage - What People Will do to Win:

While the US struggles with star athlete's injecting, rubbing in and swallow a witches brew performance enhancing chemicals, it appears some folks in the Ukraine were purposely trying to destroy Viktor Yushchenko's star power....with dioxin! Story from ABC:



Sunday, December 12, 2004

The Red Queen and the GM Cocaine Party

So what do you do if you are a drug lord and the Colombian / US governments are conspiring to destroy your very profitable crop? You hire scientists to help you genetically modify your crop to produce higher drug levels and resistance to herbicides. Link

The Red Queen effect in nature, or business (illicit or otherwise) can result in a metaphorical "arms-race". If the governments gain the advantage, you can bet on the narcos upping the ante on their side.


Friday, December 10, 2004

Forget the MBA, focus on Biology to get ahead in business.

Over the last few years I've been struck by the pervasiveness of "machine era" thinking in business executives.  While some leaders have begun to embrace an "ecosystem" mindset, (see IBM's Sam Palmisano's HBR interview describing IBM as an "organism"  Link, a depth of understanding of business ecosystems is still horribly lacking in today's leaders.  So today's assignment is for you to put down HBR and download this paper from Theoretical Population Biology [via Complexity digest 2004.49]:: 

Don't get turned off by the science...the modeling techniques the biologists use are available to innovative leaders in the business world.


Thursday, December 09, 2004

Pity the Sketch Artist! Drawing Bad Guys with Evolution.

The Economist Technology Quarterly has a great example of an application of evolutionary computing...actually a technique known as interactive evolution. A crime victim is presented with a series of computer generated faces, choses six that look the most like the perp. The program creates a new generation of faces based on the first set of parents. The process continues until the victim can guide the program to a solid likeness of the bad guy.
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