I think that if your in the market for a hot tub this might be the way to go.
I think that the design philosophy behind this kind of stuff is great, but hard to do well. Break everything down to its most essential parts, then make it work really well, and look great while doing it (eggbeaters are another example). It’s kind of hard to see in the pictures but you can cook with a wok on top of the coil, or convert it to a grill.
I recently read All Marketers are Liars by Seath Godin. Basically he talks about how marketing is all about stores. Its about telling stories that people want to be a part of, and the way to be a part of it is to buy your product or service. If you tell real and authentic stores then you might be successful. If you tell real lies then you will be found out. Godin sees a lot of power in marketing (as do i), and part of that power is how good people are getting at telling good stores. He also believes that this power can be used for good or bad, and that there is great responsibility on the shoulders of marketers to do good with the power they have. I think a lot of my personal interest in understanding marketing is for this reason…there is great power in the ability to persuade, what i want to learn is how to use this power for God’s glory.
Any way, i would recommend the book. Even if your not into marketing it gives you some insight into how marketers try to persuade us into new behaviors.
I really like This American Life. The people who put it together are great storytellers, and I think that the show is a good way to try and understand a little bit about how people live and think, the struggles and joys they have, and what they find important in life. Show #188: Kid Logic was really good (you can download it from the website). In particular there was one story that is worth downloading it for (I even drug Beth out of bed to listen to it). This particular story starts around 13 minutes into the show.
As a dabbler in the world of marketing here are my picks for three recent marketing geniuses.
Woot.com. Woot managed to combine several basic human needs (the need to win, the need to belong, the need to have nice things, the need to get a good deal, and need to not miss an opportunity), into a killer way to make millions(?) of dollars selling everything from HDTVs to bags of nothing. So don’t miss your chance to get a to get a Toshiba Gigabeat 60GB Portable Media Player for $199.99+ $5 shipping, just don’t forget that you probably just got tricked into buying it.
Dan Brown of The Da Vinci Code fame. The book was ok…the end was kind of lame…but it was hard to put down once I started it. But that’s not why he was a genius, there are lots of books like that. Right before the first chapter there is a little paragraph that says that the book is based on true historical facts (or something like that). Controversy! Scandal! Attack on all we hold true! Millions of dollars in Dan Browns bank account. He was probably crossing his fingers the whole time he wrote it…
Nintendo. I got to play tennis and golf on a Wii the other day…and I have to say it was really fun. It’s a bit like DDR or Guitar Hero, but different and better. The really smart part is the way they took their purple cow and marketed it. They could have made the controller a gun, put a bunch of really fancy stuff in it, slapped a $600 price tag on it, and tried to compete with Microsoft and Sony. But they basically went after a whole new segment of gamers. Aside from the controllers the whole thing is decidedly low tech (and actually they are not that high tech…just innovative). The graphics are simple, no HD, no Blueray, no a whole bunch of stuff that you have to be a geek gamer to understand. Instead it is supper accessible. You pick up the controller to play tennis and you automatically know how to use it. You don’t have to figure out what the a,b,x,y,x,lt,lb,rb, and rt buttons do. You just swing the thing like you are playing tennis. You can play for 10 minutes and have a great time or 2 hours and have a great time. They made it so that a whole group of people who couldn’t care less about halo3 suddenly have some games that they can play and have fun at. Combine this with making almost the entire line of Nintendo games from the very beginning available online for the Wii and you get to tap a whole new market of casual gamers. And there is lots of room for expansion. How about a fishing game where you buy the game and a new fishing pole controller that has a reel on the side? And next year they can make a WiiHD and re-release all the games in HD so all those people with fancy HDTVs can play tennis in HD. Then in a couple years they can make the WiiExtreme that is targeted at gamers with all the high end stuff. They will basically get to sell the thing 3 times to a lot of the same people. Those people over at Nintendo are smart.
Now, if they would just put a Wii up on Woot I’ll be all set.
I am reading this book by Richard Louv called Last Child in the Woods. He does a great job examining the issues of “nature deficit disorder” (a non-medical term he coined). By looking at scientific research as well as his own research interviewing kids, parents, teachers, and other professionals he develops a strong argument why my parents where right when they made me go outside instead of watching TV, which I am thankful for! I think he is right when he says that North Americas trend toward isolating ourselves from nature has potential harmful effects, and I hope that there are ways that the trend can change. I know I don’t spend enough time outside…and Beth can tell. Now, let me sit at my desk inside for a few more hours…