Sunday, December 31, 2017

Fond Memories of a Forgotten Industry

If you want to know where the future goes to be seen, look here.

― Charles Pappas

Charles Pappas, reporter for Exhibitor, has compiled a lighthearted treasury of trade show tales titled Flying Cars, Zombie Dogs, and Robot Overlords: How World's Fairs and Trade Expos Changed the World

It's a whimsical wayback machine that whirls you through a century and a half of gadgets and the shows that made them famous.

Pappas' goal isn't to spotlight the stars, but the stage. 

Although worth about $100 billion today, trade shows are a forgotten industry, he says, "as invisible as the oxygen in the air around us."

And that's ironic because shows are much more than "product platforms," Pappas says: they help launch social movements.

You'll find tons of delightful trivia inside his 250 pages.

Among my favorite:
  • We owe our obsession with dinosaurs to an 1851 London show

  • We eat bananas because an 1876 Philadelphia show popularized them

  • The seed money for the Statue of Liberty came from shows in Paris and Philadelphia

  • Aunt Jemima owes her fame to an 1893 Chicago show

  • The electric vibrator premiered at a 1900 Paris show (where else?)

  • The Patriotic Food Show promoted eating roadkill to help ration food in 1918

  • Space travel launched at a 1927 show in Moscow (30 years before Sputnik)

  • Picasso's "Guernica" began life as a trade show mural

  • The run on Nylon stockings began at the 1939 New York show

  • The term "Con" (as in Comic-Con) was coined by the same promoter who coined "Sci-Fi"
Pappas' book suffers from the author's overuse of puns, but they're easily overlooked amid the fascinating stories he tells. 

Don't miss Flying Cars, Zombie Dogs, and Robot Overlords. It's a lot of fun.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Free College for Everyone

Anyone can go in, but it is not everyone who can go out.

― Charles Dickens, Little Dorrit

Bernie Sanders only says free college should be everyone's right; Donald Trump is guaranteeing it is.

Inmates of London's Marshalsea―enshrined in the novels of Charles Dickens―liked to call the brutal debtors' prison "the college."

Trump is busy reinstituting Marshalsea-style "colleges" nationwide.

Although federal debtors' prisons were outlawed in the 1830s, the states remain free to operate them.

Since the 1980s, one-third―including Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia and Texas―have found them immensely profitable ventures, both for state and local governments and for the shareholders of private-prison companies like Geo and CCA.

And where there are profits to be made, you'll find Trump.

So, parents, celebrate!

College lies in every child's future.

Friday, December 29, 2017

These are the 10 Most Bizarre Crimes Ever Committed by an Association Executive

NOTE: The confessions below are transcribed from official police files.

"We spent our marketing money on digital ads."

"Yeah, we sent email, but didn't know it was all flagged as spam."

"We quit phoning members twenty years ago."

"We quit sending direct mail twenty years ago."

"Games? Don't believe in them! Our members are serious."

"Humor? Don't believe in it!"

"Fun. Don't believe in it!"

"We never thought about authenticity. What is it, anyway?"

"We didn't change with the times. It costs too much."

"We ignored everyone under 40."


Download Growing Your Event: 10 Magic Bullets for 2018

It's yours free, courtesy Bob & David James.

And have a Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Why Being a Bore Will Wreck Your Career

It is vain to do more with what can be done with less.

― William of Occam

"Don't be a bore," says 17th-century Jesuit Baltasar Gracián.

Talking overmuch is a sign of vanity.

"Brevity flatters and does better business," Gracián says. "It gains by courtesy what it loses by curtness. Good things, when short, are twice as good."

Worse, talking overmuch is a sign of ineptness.

"It is a well-known truth that talkative folk rarely have much sense," Gracián continues. Talkative folk are "stumbling stones" and "useless lumber in everyone's way."

Useful folks get right to the point"The wise avoid being bores, especially to the great, who are fully occupied: it is worse to disturb one of them than all the rest. Well said is soon said."

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Art Depreciation

The art-show blabbermouth peeves me.

He knows why every artist chose his subjects, what he intended by painting them, and where he ultimately disappoints viewers—and wants everyone in the gallery to know he knows.

Were he rightlike a stopped watch—just twice a day, the blabbermouth would deserve a Pulitzer Prize for Criticism.

We should be so lucky.

One of these wearisome windbags trailed me during my visit to Vermeer and the Masters of Genre Painting this week.

At one point she complained for all to hear that the exhibit was a "huge disappointment:" it simply didn't include enough Vermeers.

She doesn't know Vermeer produced only 40 works; that the dozen on display represent a full third of his extant work; or that the show's curators have received universal praise.

"Know how to appreciate," urged the 17th-century Jesuit Baltasar Gracián:

There is none who cannot teach somebody something, and there is none so excellent but he is excelled. To know how to make use of every one is useful knowledge. Wise men appreciate all men, for they see the good in each and know how hard it is to make anything good. Fools depreciate all men, not recognizing the good and selecting the bad.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Darkest Hour

England's policy of "appeasement"―letting Hitler grab neighboring lands with impunity―provides the backstory of Darkest Hour, the new biopic about Churchill and Chamberlain.

As we watch the media under attack by right-wing Republicans, Churchill's warnings about the dangers to freedom of the press are as relevant today as they were in his time.

And so are his actions to sidestep thought control.

During the 1930s, Chamberlain favored appeasement, for an extremely practical reason: his party's rule hinged on the votes of working-class Britons, who opposed foreign entanglements and distrusted war profiteers (after all, they'd paid the price for militarism in the previous war against Germany).

In 1938, Chamberlain signed an accord with Hitler labeled the Munich Agreement, which let the Führer annex part of Czechoslovakia if he agreed to stop seizing more territory. Most Britons praised Chamberlain's coup; but of course it didn't stop Hitler, who provoked war with England a year later, when he invaded Poland. The pacifist Chamberlain proved within eight months an inept wartime leader, opening the door for Churchill's appointment by the king as his successor (the first scene of Darkest Hour).

Chamberlain's most fiery critic, Churchill had spent years protesting appeasement, using his favorite soapbox: the newspaper op-ed. When Chamberlain―in keeping with the Munich Agreement―moved to stifle all opposition to Hitler, he ruled out critical speeches in Parliament and threatened the newspapers with shutdown, citing national secrecy laws. Churchill, in response, promised to take his message to the streets.

In a November 1938 speech before the national press club, Churchill wondered aloud whether Chamberlain wouldn't rather live in a totalitarian state. "In those states they conduct foreign policy on the basis that the press say nothing but what it is told, and immediately say what it is told. It might be very convenient, no doubt, if we could suppress public opinion here, and everything was allowed to go on quietly without our knowing what was going on outside."

Churchill suggested England was in fact already experiencing a press blackout. With appeasement's critics in Parliament muzzled and the press censored, Chamberlain enjoyed carte blanch to bamboozle Britons. 

The situation left opponents like Churchill one choice: to resist the government's policy through the "public platform." And resist Churchill did

Between September 1938―when the Munich Agreement was signed―and September 1939―when Germany invaded Poland―Churchill spoke against appeasement relentlessly on the radio. He also repackaged 80 of his op-eds into a book―which became an immediate best-seller―and, with financial help from silent backers, erected billboards calling for his appointment to Chamberlain's cabinet. 

Churchill's cabinet appointment did come, three days after Hitler entered Poland and simultaneously with England's declaration of war with Germany.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Welcome to Perfection

There is no perfection, only beautiful versions of brokenness.

Shannon L. Alder

B2B marketers who rent prospect names have a funny idea about accuracy.

They expect perfection.

A team of direct marketing experts sampled the offerings of five large suppliers of prospect names and verified the samples' accuracy by phoning the prospects.

They found the data offered imperfect. Suppliers' data-accuracy ranged from a low of 93% to a high of 98%, as the chart below shows:

Why anyone who routinely accepts less-than-perfection from a spouse, a quarterback, a physician or a priest expects perfection from a data supplier is beyond me.

If you do, my advice is twofold: get real; and get a list broker. Brokers know which suppliers offer decently accurate prospect dataand which don't.

And don't expect perfection.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Spreading the Light

There are two ways of spreading light:
to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.

— Edith Wharton

In the early 1920s, Professor Edith Stein was assistant-teaching at the University of Freiburg alongside her mentor, the renowned philosopher Edmund Husserl.

Their aim was considered subversive at the time: to train a generation of scholars to dissect "lived" human experiences—everything from falling in love to walking the dog, encountering a Rembrandt to eating a sandwich. Professional philosophers rarely thought about such things. 

Stein's own interest lay in dissecting empathyour lived experience of others—which to her mind was the key to self-knowledge. Her interest stemmed, in part, from her work as a nurse in a field hospital during World War I, after which she told a friend, "I realize now that my life is no longer my own.”

A once-devout Jew turned atheist, Stein believed through philosophy she could shed light on the existence of souls—an effort her mentor encouraged ("The life of men is nothing else than a way towards God," Husserl later told her). But while visiting a friend's home, Stein read a borrowed copy of the autobiography of a nun, Saint Teresa of Ávila. It convinced her to convert to Catholicism. Stein then quit her university job and began to lecture throughout Germany, not on Catholicism, but feminism—talks that made her famous. Twelve years later, Stein entered a Carmelite convent in Cologne, planning to live a secluded life writing philosophy books.

But politics intervened. Hitler's persecution of Jews prompted the nuns to transfer Stein in 1938 to a convent in Holland, where they thought she'd be safe. And she was until 1942, when Holland's bishops condemned Nazi anti-Semitism from the pulpit and Hitler, in retaliation, ordered the arrest all Jewish converts in the country. Stein was taken in a boxcar to Auschwitz, where she died in the gas chamber. Her body was cremated, like 1,018,350 others.

In 1987, Pope John Paul IIanother of Husserl's followersbeatified Edith Stein. That same year, a two-year-old girl in Boston mistook Tylenol for candy and swallowed the equivalent of 16 lethal doses. The girl's parents begged everyone they knew to pray to Stein to intercede on their dying daughter's behalf. They did, and the girl recovered within days.

''I'm not saying it was a miracle,'' her doctor told The New York Times. ''I'm saying it was miraculous. I'm Jewish. I don't believe per se in miracles, but I can say I didn't expect her to recover.''

Two years later, the pope canonized Edith Stein as Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross. He remarked in English that day, ""Edith Stein stands out as a beacon which casts its light amid the terrible darkness which has marred this century. To her prayers before God I entrust all who suffer for the sake of justice and human dignity."

Friday, December 22, 2017

The Real Reason 'Bewitched' was Cancelled

Democracy means that my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.

— Isaac Asimov

I've had it with the truthies, trash and trivia that's vying for my overtaxed attention.

Once intriguing, the big news sites and social media networks have become cyber cesspools.

My New Year's resolution: to boycott them.

The last straw was a click-bait headline that dogged me yesterday: "The Real Reason 'Bewitched' was Cancelled."

I don't need—or careto know why ABC executives scrapped a TV sit-com 46 years ago.

Worse, I resent being told the "real" reason was adultery, when in fact it was low audience share.

It's time for all good people to call a halt to America's romance with anti-intellectualism
—the willful "dismissal of science, the arts, and humanities and their replacement by entertainment, self-righteousness, ignorance, and deliberate gullibility," as executive coach Ray Williams puts it.

We should take no pride in the fact Americans choose to be gullible and uninformed.

We should only take comfort in the fact that millions of the most gullible and uninformed are killing themselves with drugs, alcohol and guns.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Butcher's Bible

Democratic theories of government in their modern form
are based on dogmas of equality.

— Madison Grant

Madison Grant was a New York City lawyer who in 1916 published The Passing of the Great Race.

Grant's work flew off booksellers' shelves after Science and The Saturday Evening Post both praised it, and climbed steadily to become an international best-seller.

The Passing of the Great Race attributed every benefit of civilization to the efforts of the Nordic race, and every threat to those benefits to people of other races. 

Based on its claim of Nordic superiority, the book argued for the end of immigration and equal rights and the start of a national eugenics program designed to foster "obliteration of the unfit."

However, thanks to the protests of anthropologists like Franz Boas and Margaret Mead—who produced compelling counter-evidence that showed race had no bearing on culture—the arguments made by The Passing of the Great Race soon fell from favor, and Madison Grant lost his following.

But not completely.

One day in 1934, Grant received a letter from a prominent German, who thanked him for writing "my bible." 

The letter was signed by Adolf Hitler.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

From Here to Eternity

As it liberated Rome in June 1944, the US Army came upon the American philosopher George Santayana, missing from his adopted homeland for over three decades. 

The 80-year-old had been living in Italy in poverty, boarding at a Catholic nursing home and writing an autobiography.

A reporter for Life photographed the philosopher on a park bench and asked his opinion about the war.

"Of war he knew nothing," Life's reporter wrote: "I live in the eternal."

America's sorry state has fatigued me to a degree where I'm ready to "do a Santayana" and check out of public affairs.

The kleptocrats who run this country can have their plunder, for all I care. 

Screw them.

Beginning today, I live in the eternal.

Will you join me?

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

War on Words

It's a beautiful thing, the destruction of words.

― George Orwell, 1984

Two decades ago, two child development specialists tracked the weekly growth in the vocabularies of 42 children over 30 months. They discovered a child's socioeconomic status determined her vocabulary's breadth―and her test-scores later in school.

So not only does family of origin determine academic success; words do, too.

So why destroy them?

After a public outcry this week, the head of the CDC denied that President Trump banned the use of seven words by her agency: diversity, entitlement, evidence-based, fetus, science-based, transgender, and vulnerable.

But, as it turns out, new style guidelines imposed by Trump do ban the seven words―and that CDC is by no means the only agency under the thumb of the president's word-police.

“Where they have burned books, they will end in burning human beings,” the German poet Heinrich Heine said. 
And where they have destroyed words?

But fear not: resistance is facile.

Invent a word every day. 

If you need inspiration, follow Fritinancy, a blog dedicated to new-word formation.

Be like Shakespeare or Dickens or Orwell (who once wrote, "What is wanted is several thousands of gifted but normal people who would give themselves to word-invention as seriously as people now give themselves to Shakespearean research"):
  • Shakespeare invented the words articulate, barefaced, baseless and watchdog.
  • Dickens invented the words coffee-imbibingmessiness, sawbones, and seediness.
  • Orwell invented the words newspeak, prole, thought-police, and unperson.
My new word for the day?

Monday, December 18, 2017

Killing Marketing: Dead on Arrival

I'm a fan of Joe Pulizzi, coauthor with Robert Rose of the new 260-page book Killing Marketing

So I wish I could recommend it.

I can't.

The big idea behind the book―that businesses can convert marketing from overhead into profit―is preposterous; not because it's so wrongheaded, but because it's so thoroughly unrealistic.

Were the idea not preposterous, you'd find more real-world examples than the handful the authors can cite (although I'm flattered they include mention of the magazine I launched for the Society of Fire Protection Engineers, Fire Protection Engineering.)

The "killing" in the title, by the way, is word-play. The authors want you to kill your marketing operation and replace it with a killer media company. (That, or the authors are targeting Bill O'Reilly's audience.)

Killing Marketing argues you can profitably sell the content that drives your marketing, like any media company does.

Sell your content? At a profit? Hell, most organizations can't give it away.

The book further argues you can transform your in-house marketers into crackerjack journalists and media moguls who can "monetize" your audiences.

Fat chance.

When it comes to marketing their products, most businesses indeed "throw good money after bad," as the authors say: they deploy tactics without an underlying strategy; invest in tactics that do not work; and drop successful tactics without forethought.

But to ask every business to "create and distribute non-product-related content" is like asking your auto mechanic to produce Cars, your barber to stage Hair, or your lawnmower to publish Better Homes & Gardens.

Ain't gonna happen.

Yes, LEGO profits from LEGO Club Magazine; Red Bull, from Red Bulletin; and the Society of Fire Protection Engineers, from Fire Protection Engineering

But could a single additional organization in those markets replicate that success? Probably not.

A logician would say the authors have written an entire book based on the fallacy known as the "argument from small numbers." Arguments from small numbers go like this:

After treatment with our new drug, one-third of the mice were cured, one-third died, and the third mouse escaped. So if we treat 1,000 mice, 333 will be cured.

The gist of Killing Marketing goes something like this:

Marketing-campaigns-turned-into-media-ventures by six organizations became profitable. So if you mimic them, yours can be profitable too.

With apologies to Hugh FullertonSaying it don't make it so, Joe.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

2017: Year of Bunco

Never attempt to win by force what can be won by deception.

Niccolò Machiavelli

a year which will live in infamywill be remembered as the year of bunco

The year in highlights:
  • In December, the GOP-led Congress sells the public secretly-written tax reform based on its ability to lift the economy, when in fact the legislation will have no effect but to enrich already-rich donors. It promises as well to increase the federal deficit by at least $1.5 trillion within 10 years.

  • In December, citing privacy concerns, the FCC revokes net neutrality, dooming the practice of free speech, social and political activism, and small-business success via the Internet. The action follows Congressional repeal in March of Obama-era Internet privacy protections.

  • In November, despite extensive evidence, President Trump insists Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election is a "hoax" perpetrated by his opponent's minions. Meanwhile, an increasingly revanchist Russia readies to invade NATO countries, without comment from the president.

  • In October, four days after the mass shooting in Las Vegas, the NRA states, "Banning guns from law-abiding Americans based on the criminal act of a madman will do nothing to prevent future attacks." Although more than one mass shooting occurs daily, gun makers―via the NRA and its lickspittles in public office―maintain any effort to regulate guns would be fruitless.

  • In August, 10 days after riots in Charlottesville, Trump blames his critics―including the vast majority of journalists―for rousing white supremacist hate groups, while claiming at the same time his critics "are trying to take away our history and heritage."

  • In June, EPA head Scott Pruitt defends Trump's exit from the Paris Accord on grounds that it will create jobs. Asked whether Trump and he believe man-made climate change is real, Pruitt responds, "The president has indicated the climate is changing; it’s always changing. I’ve indicated the same.” The US now stands as the earth's only nation to reject the treaty.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

The Gift of Spam

One never-ending thread throughout the posts on Goodly is the link between persuasion and claritySo it's ironic when spammers leave comments that are less than persuasive.

Some are so odd they're worth collecting. Here are just six from the past six months:

Vivian wrote, "
An ever increasing number of individuals are transforming their PCs and entomb association into an apparatus not only for simple entertainment and past time but rather as a money machine."

Puspendu wrote, "After reading this post only words came out from my mind that is 'wow.' This post has helps me to acquire some new knowledge. So thanks for sharing such a awesome post. Microwave black friday best power inverter."

Traci wrote, "The last implies that you may need to purchase another telephone and record the whole information once more. Additionally, there stay high odds of your own information being abused. Individual recordings and pictures if spilled can cause a great deal of damage."

William wrote, "A good number of home fire happen within the winter several months than all other year, when that cozy warmth to a fireplace was at its a good number of inviting. Not alone are fire a peril, space heaters can be used to heat rooms that require an special boost script proofreading."

Nancy wrote, "Having a wedding album revealed suggests that you'll decision yourself a published author; you'll not comply to it currently; however it conjointly suggests that you'll accretion the titles publicity commissioner and sales supervisor to the title of published author online paraphrase."

Baqi wrote, "Made from pork and cut to pieces and then marinated from mixtures of soy sauce, vinegar, citrus, bay leaf and some spices."

Now that sounds like Spam!

And with that, Happy Hanukkah. And have a Holly, Jolly Christmas.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Why are Events Attracting Publishers?

While events are no easy money, publishers are onto them like white on rice.

Digiday reports that Forbes, in a move "symptomatic of an industry in change," is shifting from magazine to event production, firing print people and hiring event ones.

"Forbes’ struggles aren’t unique, given the carnage that befell both traditional and digital media outlets in 2017," Digiday says.

What's behind the carnage?

A new study by Reuters suggests readers are done with digital contentthere's too much of it, both good and bad—and that content shock is slaying the golden goose digital publishing represented 20 years ago.

Today's readers spend only eight minutes a day on publisher's content—and most (92%) are  unwilling to pay for it. That's made it nearly impossible for publishers, reliant on advertising income, to sustain profitsno matter their investments in cool platforms and reputable content.

"The content bubble will eventually burst unless more robust business models are found," says Rasmus Kleis Nielsen, coauthor of the study.

One "more robust business model" may in fact be events, where margins hover around 30%.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Events No Easy Money

Disneyland is a work of love. We didn't go into Disneyland
 just with the idea of making money. 

— Walt Disney

Publishers find events alluring.

According to Hubspot, 26% of B2C publishers and 42% of B2B publishers say they're today's fast-growth revenue stream.

And why not? The publishing business model and the events business model seem quite similar on the surface.

But any resemblance is deceiving.

Events are not the golden goose publishers think they are,” one publisher recently told Lucinda Southern, reporter for Digiday"Events work when it fits into the publisher’s key interest areas, passion points and depth of knowledge.”

"Publishers are not just competing with other events companies, but any content provider or brand that claims to have a route to consumers," Southern writes. "Making money from events often requires a dedicated team and a different set of skills when selling event sponsorship packages."

Among the pitfalls:
  • Events have sizable sunk costs (venue rental, speaker fees, marketing expenditures, etc.) absent in publishing.
  • Sponsorship sales are tougher than ad sales. Salespeople need to understand event operations and must close sponsorship sales faster, often with non-advertisers. There's also more difficulty proving prospects' ROI.
  • Events aren't a "bright and shiny" channel. They look old-school next to the latest digital "solution."
“They say events are like a sausage, wonderful to eat, but you don’t want to get involved in what goes into them,” another publisher told Southern. 

“You have to love the complexities, the highs and lows, embrace that passion. Publishing companies that dabble will not succeed.”

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Can Your Brand be Amazoned?

A year-old startup is killing it by selling web cameras on Amazon for 90% less than its competitors, The New York Times reports.

So are other new companies selling things like appliances, tools, clothing and cosmetics.

The piggybacking startups are pioneers in a drive toward "better products for ludicrously low prices," the newspaper says; and pose an existential threat to "big brands."

For a fee, Amazon provides sellers turnkey distribution, marketing and sales; sellers, in turn, can concentrate on product design and manufacturing.

“As this takes off, it really makes you start to question, what is a brand in the Amazon age?” e-commerce consultant Scot Wingo told The Times

"In a way, Amazon is providing all this information that replaces what you’d normally get from a brand, like reputation and trust. Amazon is becoming something like the umbrella brand, the only brand that matters.”

How about your brand?

Can it be Amazoned?

Right now, Amazon restricts the business services it resells to computer and building maintenance. But how long will it be before Amazon expands into accounting, advertising, coding, consulting, event planning, executive recruiting, lobbying, public relations, tax preparation, and temporary staffing?

Not long, I'd bet.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Homo Motivatious

I'm not here to be average. I'm here to be awesome.

— Anonymous

Unless you're from Alabama, you know other human species besides Homo Sapiens evolved from the the apes, including Homo Heidelbergensis, Homo Erectus, Homo Abilis and Homo Neanderthals; and that none of these other species survived various climate changes.

What you may not know is that a new species has evolved since the late 20th century.

While physically identical to Homo Sapiens, Homo Motivatious are distinguishable by their incessant chirpiness, vapid vocabularies, and eagerness to self-aggrandize.

Members of the species are most often observed in gatherings at conventions and near social media streams (their preferred hunting grounds).

They can be readily identified by their continuous excretion of bromides such as "Work hard, dream big," "Create your own sunshine" and "Failure is a bruise, not a tattoo."

Scientists studying Homo Motivatious have found strong evidence to support the theory that the species developed immunity to normal human emotions such as boredom, jealousy and resentment. But scientists remain uncertain as to the reason the mutation was favored.

One scientist who examined the skull of a species member has concluded Homo Motivatious evolved not as the result of abrupt climate change, but abrupt economic change.

Her conclusion is consistent with statistical data gathered over the past 50 years.

The data show the earth's population of Homo Motivatious rises during periods of job decline, and falls during periods of job growth.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Prediction: In 2018, Resistance Will Become a Competitive Advantage

In May, I suggested more brands would seek to differentiate themselves by publicly resisting Trump.

I'm going on record to predict that, in 2018, hundreds of brands
large and smallwill do so.

From among the many issues at stake in the culture wars—economic justice, gender equality, racial equality, access to healthcare, access to education, immigration, globalization, global warming, diversity, privacy, and incivility—each brand will choose the issue most closely aligned with its essence. 

That's simply Marketing 101.

What's not Marketing 101 is the wisdom resistance will take.

Saturday, December 9, 2017


Now every man may be his own statue.

– Jeremy Bentham

We hear much about Millennials; little about Perrenials.

That's about to change.

The perrenial "auto-icon" of 18th-century British philosopher Jeremy Bentham will travel next spring from London to New York for an exhibition at The Met Breuer.

Ten years before his death, in Auto-Icon; Or, Farther Uses of the Dead to the Living, Bentham suggested that mummified corpses (which he called "auto-icons') could serve as "statuary" for anyone with a big ego, but a small pocketbook.

Auto-iconism, Betham said, was the thrifty way to be honored in death. You'd spare your heirs both the cost of a funeral and a statue. They could decorate the garden with you.

"For many a year this subject has been a favorite one at my table," the philosopher said.

"My body I give to my dear friend Doctor Southwood Smith, to be disposed of in a manner hereinafter mentioned, and I direct he will take my body under his charge and take the requisite and appropriate measures for the disposal and preservation of the several parts of my bodily frame in the manner expressed in the paper annexed to this my will and at the top of which I have written 'Auto-Icon.' The skeleton he will cause to be put together in such a manner as that the whole figure may be seated in a chair usually occupied by me when living, in the attitude in which I am sitting when engaged in thought in the course of time employed in writing."

Bentham's final instructions were followed to a tee; and since his death, in 1832, Bentham's auto-icon has filled a cupboard at the University College London.

And now it's traveling to New York.

Bentham's head, alas, won't make the trip. It will remain behind, on display at the collegeA wax substitute, made by Bentham's doctor in 1832, will ship with the body.

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