Reading People’s Minds, Diane Rehm with Alan Alda

Today’s Diane Rehm interview with M*A*S*H’s Alan Alda wasn’t intended to be a user experience or content strategy talk, but it was a great segment on reading between the lines with people, using improv techniques to communicate better. He references the “curse of knowledge” inhibiting interpersonal communication and has a number of great anecdotal stories.

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How the movie industry drove us apart

I suppose part of aging is lamenting the way things used to be—”the good ol’ days.” Lately, I’ve been wondering why movies haven’t been resonating with me in the way they used to, and why suddenly, I’m much more drawn to the television series as dinner table fodder.

The answer I keep arriving at: None of us are watching the same movies. Theatrical releases have lost their ability to bring us together.

Why is this happening? We can wax about “Big Hollywood” or a decline in story quality, but I see the reason behind this shift being much more simple. There are just too many movies and they all whiz by faster than we can blink. Gone are the days you’ve watched the same movie as everyone you know. Continue reading →

Stop asking me to log in! Progressive authentication

I use the Fidelity app to manage a lump of rainy-day, retirement money. One of the features I love about the app is the home screen, where it summarizes today’s “movers” (best and worst performing) among the stocks and funds I’ve invested in. Now, this home screen doesn’t need to tell me how many shares of each I own or how much money I’ve made or lost, but it quickly tells me if I need to be paying attention. It gives me personalized, public information.

—or at least it would, if it didn’t require me to log in to see it. Continue reading →

Consumer engagement via the Goldilocks parable

This week, we shopped for a new car—a thorough process of “try and buy” I’d not undertaken before. In both excitement and intimidation, we ran an exhausting 8-hour marathon, kicking the tires on a dozen cars. In retrospect, it was apparent our final selection was impacted more by the brand courtship than the product itself, with all recommended cars fitting neatly into our minimal criteria. The consumer engagement styles divided into the following three approaches. Continue reading →

This beer, that beer, which beer: satisfying en masse

This week, I fired up my grill for the first time in 2013. That makes it BBQ season, soon to be beach season, and ultimately summer beer season. Choosing the right beer to use as your social event entrance fee, or to cater to your own guests, can sometimes feel like a special kind of PR strategy. What seems expensive, but not too expensive? What is fancy, but not too fancy? What has mass appeal, but still feels special? Before giving up and reaching for [brand] Light, here is a getting started guide based on my experience. Continue reading →