19 Quotes For Your Existential Crisis

Originally posted on Thought Catalog:

Be joyful, though you have considered all the facts. –Wendell Berry
All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better. -Ralph Waldo Emerson
Struggle is what it means to be alive and free. –David Budbill
The very meaninglessness of life forces man to create his own meaning. Children, of course, begin life with an untarnished sense of wonder, a capacity to experience total joy at something as simple as the greenness of a leaf; but as they grow older, the awareness of death and decay begins to impinge on their consciousness and subtly erode their joie de vivre, their idealism – and their assumption of immortality. As a child matures, he sees death and pain everywhere about him, and begins to lose faith in the ultimate goodness of man. But, if he’s reasonably strong – and lucky – he can emerge from this twilight of the soul…

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Your mega summer reading list: 200 books recommended by TEDsters

Originally posted on TED Blog:

A look at the famous TED Bookstore at TED2013. Photo: Michael Brands

A look at the famous TED Bookstore at TED2013. Photo: Michael Brands

Books can entertain, sucking you like a tornado into incredible new worlds. Books can teach, giving you a richer understanding of time periods, people and ideas you’ve never been exposed to. But books can do so much more.

[ted_talkteaser id=1755]In today’s talk, TED’s own Lisa Bu introduces us to the concept of “comparative reading,” the practice of reading books in pairs, to give deeper context and reveal new insights. Comparative reading not only helped Bu adjust to American culture after moving here from China for graduate school — it also helped her re-imagine her life and find new directions after her dream failed to come true. This personal, moving talk about the magic of books and resilience of the human spirit is a must-watch »

Every year at TED, we set up a bookstore filled with books…

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Questions to think about.

Google Interview Questions: Product Marketing Manager

  • Why do you want to join Google?
  • What do you know about Google’s product and technology?
  • If you are Product Manager for Google’s Adwords, how do you plan to market this?
  • What would you say during an AdWords or AdSense product seminar?
  • Who are Google’s competitors, and how does Google compete with them?
  • Have you ever used Google’s products? Gmail?
  • What’s a creative way of marketing Google’s brand name and product?
  • If you are the product marketing manager for Google’s Gmail product, how do you plan to market it so as to achieve 100 million customers in 6 months?
  • How much money you think Google makes daily from Gmail ads?
  • Name a piece of technology you’ve read about recently. Now tell me your own creative execution for an ad for that product.
  • Say an advertiser makes $0.10 every time someone clicks on their ad. Only 20% of people who visit the site click on their ad. How many people need to visit the site for the advertiser to make $20?
  • Estimate the number of students who are college seniors, attend four-year schools, and graduate with a job in the United States every year.
Google Interview Questions: Product Manager
  • How would you boost the GMail subscription base?
  • What is the most efficient way to sort a million integers?
  • How would you re-position Google’s offerings to counteract competitive threats from Microsoft?
  • How many golf balls can fit in a school bus?
  • You are shrunk to the height of a nickel and your mass is proportionally reduced so as to maintain your original density. You are then thrown into an empty glass blender. The blades will start moving in 60 seconds. What do you do?
  • How much should you charge to wash all the windows in Seattle?
  • How would you find out if a machine’s stack grows up or down in memory?
  • Explain a database in three sentences to your eight-year-old nephew.
  • How many times a day does a clock’s hands overlap?
  • You have to get from point A to point B. You don’t know if you can get there. What would you do?
  • Imagine you have a closet full of shirts. It’s very hard to find a shirt. So what can you do to organize your shirts for easy retrieval?
  • Every man in a village of 100 married couples has cheated on his wife. Every wife in the village instantly knows when a man other than her husband has cheated, but does not know when her own husband has. The village has a law that does not allow for adultery. Any wife who can prove that her husband is unfaithful must kill him that very day. The women of the village would never disobey this law. One day, the queen of the village visits and announces that at least one husband has been unfaithful. What happens?
  • In a country in which people only want boys, every family continues to have children until they have a boy. If they have a girl, they have another child. If they have a boy, they stop. What is the proportion of boys to girls in the country?
  • If the probability of observing a car in 30 minutes on a highway is 0.95, what is the probability of observing a car in 10 minutes (assuming constant default probability)?
  • If you look at a clock and the time is 3:15, what is the angle between the hour and the minute hands? (The answer to this is not zero!)
  • Four people need to cross a rickety rope bridge to get back to their camp at night. Unfortunately, they only have one flashlight and it only has enough light left for seventeen minutes. The bridge is too dangerous to cross without a flashlight, and it’s only strong enough to support two people at any given time. Each of the campers walks at a different speed. One can cross the bridge in 1 minute, another in 2 minutes, the third in 5 minutes, and the slow poke takes 10 minutes to cross. How do the campers make it across in 17 minutes?
  • You are at a party with a friend and 10 people are present including you and the friend. your friend makes you a wager that for every person you find that has the same birthday as you, you get $1; for every person he finds that does not have the same birthday as you, he gets $2. would you accept the wager?
  • How many piano tuners are there in the entire world?
  • You have eight balls all of the same size. 7 of them weigh the same, and one of them weighs slightly more. How can you find the ball that is heavier by using a balance and only two weighings?
  • You have five pirates, ranked from 5 to 1 in descending order. The top pirate has the right to propose how 100 gold coins should be divided among them. But the others get to vote on his plan, and if fewer than half agree with him, he gets killed. How should he allocate the gold in order to maximize his share but live to enjoy it? (Hint: One pirate ends up with 98 percent of the gold.)
  • You are given 2 eggs. You have access to a 100-story building. Eggs can be very hard or very fragile means it may break if dropped from the first floor or may not even break if dropped from 100th floor. Both eggs are identical. You need to figure out the highest floor of a 100-story building an egg can be dropped without breaking. The question is how many drops you need to make. You are allowed to break 2 eggs in the process.
  • Describe a technical problem you had and how you solved it.
  • How would you design a simple search engine?
  • Design an evacuation plan for San Francisco.
  • There’s a latency problem in South Africa. Diagnose it.
  • What are three long term challenges facing Google?
  • Name three non-Google websites that you visit often and like. What do you like about the user interface and design? Choose one of the three sites and comment on what new feature or project you would work on. How would you design it?
  • If there is only one elevator in the building, how would you change the design? How about if there are only two elevators in the building?
  • How many vacuum’s are made per year in USA?

“Cutting Edge Advertising” by Jim Aitchison, what it’s all about.

1. It is no longer about a unique selling proposition, it is the unique emotional proposition that often counts. We are going to buy this type of product anyway so it just comes down to the brand. This is only natural because we are not objective beings, we are quite irrational as it is. That is why it is so important for companies to promote the “why” and not the “what”. It is the story that matters. Usually.

2. According to Neil French, former worldwide creative director at the WPP group, every ad has to have a button, something that you press in order to change the consumer’s mind.

3. “Too fast, Doesn’t blend in, People will talk.” was far from a rational campaign for Porsche and yet it worked. We like to buy expensive things, we like to buy beautiful things and we like a good joke about it. The opposite was VW’s frailty, it’s ugly but it gets you there. Being honest is often key, some are rich and spend too much, others are poor and spend less it’s about portraying it the genuine way.

4. Rationalise fun. We all read Playboy for the articles.

5. Create work that is human.

6. Think of the brand as a friend, a potential lover.

7. Consumers hate advertising, taglines and jingles.

8. Having a logo in the campaign is not a must. It is like having your signature being the most important part of your letter. That is a very sad letter.

9. Have the product in the consumers mind and not in the ad. Some products are bought of the shelf and need to be recognized, others don’t need to be seen at all.

10. Why the hell do hotel ads show the building which nobody ever looks at again? While we are at that, stop showing the same computer that looks just like all the others.

11. Keep the format of the campaign flexible, they don’t all have to look the same.

12. Surprise with format.

13. Learn who David Abbott is.

14. Fashion advertising has depth in it’s execution not the idea.

Image

a proposition for Nokia

Brand: Nokia

Issue:

 For me Nokia is a very interesting flagging brand that definitely is struggling to revive itself. Before smartphones came about, Nokia was the clear leader with the perfect message “Connecting people”. This message was enough, no matter what new features the phones had developed; Nokia had so many different kinds of phones that everyone was happy. Due to fierce competition, Nokia today is a brand that once was great and now seems to really be struggling for identity. The main goal would be giving the brand a new and clear identity. The product itself already exists and the consumers are open for changes, this was visible with the success of Android by Google. A lot of strategic decisions have already made, and the hardest part is already done because the reviews for the new Lumia phones are pretty good.

Now has come the time to work on the image of the brand, become present in the minds of the audience as a real alternative to iPhone and Android phones especially. The most important is to tell the “why” of Nokia and not the “what”, it’s not just about the product. It’s about what is behind the product and the brand.

Insight:

Nokia has one very viable advantage in its portfolio; their previous experience as a market leader and a great brand, which used to be number one. Also Nokia has always been about diversity or better put, individuality, they had a phone for every taste, for simple to high tech, business to fashion. There were maybe too many options but it didn’t seem to hurt in the past. They used to be “connecting people” but the question is, what is their unique proposition now? Smartphones are no longer about connecting people and neither is Nokia. The new phones are all about enjoying music, making films or even short moving images with the cinemagraph function, discovering the city with their own navigation and “City HERE Lens”. Finally, they go for the business consumers as well with their integration with Microsoft etc. There is no reason for all the above functions to also be aimed at business customers though.

Finally, what we have is a product that supports your experiences, helps you create memories of these experiences and finally share them. All of this comes with a great playful design, a design that is in it’s way simple as Apple, yet offers the innovations given by Google.

Proposition:

To give Nokia a clear place in the mind of the audience, a complete 360 campaign with one simple yet big idea would be best. Nokia had always shown different designs and different features, and that’s what it should focus on: diversity and individuality. In my opinion the brand should become a symbol of individualism with all its features to help the audience express themselves. It should work against the black and white idea of Apple.

Nokia had sponsored music events before; it should go back to that, join in with art, film and even sports. It can be the phone for the individualistic consumers who are not happy with having the exact same phone as the rest. This sponsorship would lead to the build up of a creative community around the brand. Its important not to make this only for young people but also incorporate the individuality of adults who might have serious jobs but still make great home videos of the family. The brand should become the aid for the people to express themselves in their work and their hobbies.

In my opinion it is crucial to start a wave of different campaign with something simple and honest like the great campaigns in the past. Avis did it with the “We try harder” piece, Volkswagen with “Lemon”. Nokia needs to publically step up with the following ideas:

“Our time has come, now we have the innovations and the design. Why should you trust us? We were great once, we can do it again.”

This would build up on the know-how and the traditions of the past. One could even play with the old slogan, and say “In the past we were connecting people, now we are shaping their experiences”.

After getting the brand back on the stage so to say, we could follow with the main campaign. This being:

DISCOVER THE WORLD. CREATE MEMORIES. SHARE.

Nokia should put itself as a brand with a product that helps you find out what the world has to offer with it’s music, it’s city guides, it’s create. Finally these same functions help the consumer create memories. Of course, sharing is a big part of creativity today, and here Nokia cannot miss out. This campaign should go for mass coverage because it is not just for artist or creative people, it’s for everyone who wants to experience the world, and keep a part of it. Travellers, dreamers, cooks, managers, mothers, wives, leaders.

I see billboards, television ads, a social media campaign encouraging people to share how exactly they are discovering the world. Nokia needs to go beyond just having their banners at the events; competitions should be organized for the best photos or videos from those events. A twitter board with Nokia branding could be set up for people to share their experiences right there and a live feed would be streamed all over the world on YouTube.

my ideas for H&M

Single Minded Proposition

Brand: H&M

Issue:

For the past two years, H&M had to witness a major decrease in revenue. The brand had to struggle with extreme competition from Zara and GAP, as well as a decrease in overall image in the eyes of the consumer. While trying to fight the image problem by creating a campaign with Lana del Rey, followed by one with David Beckham and now Vanessa Paradis, they have diluted the brand even more.  The high fashion collaborations with Lanvin, Versace or Maison Martin Margiela have not improved the situation either.

H&M cannot compete with Zara’s production strategy, which doesn’t keep stock, and designs one day, while producing the next. The designs themselves are not edgy enough for the targeted millenials. Finally they got lost in their pricing policy because the prices are too low therefore the quality is perceived as extremely bad, and their own costs start to pile up. Some of these issues cannot be solved with just a campaign. Nevertheless, the brand used to be young, simple and reliable. Now the mix of celebrity endorsement, high fashion collaborations and a confusing pricing strategy is failing to attract loyal customers.     

 

Insight:

 H&M has the perfect prices for young people, they could raise them a little and nobody would complain. Their quality is on the same level as Zara, yet Zara managed to get a much better place in the mind of the audience. The right way for H&M is to go back to the roots so to say. They are a brand for young people who want to wear fashionable things but not necessarily be perceived as “fancy” but simply stylish.

I think that H&M has a lot of university students and also young professionals coming in who are still looking for a job. The niche would be a young yet mature audience between 18 and 25. What we are looking at is a smart and reliable image. People who go to university and prefer a slightly smarter look, not necessarily t-shirts with the “music/ hipster” feel, a little more elegant yet still casual. H&M has always been more balanced; the opportunity is to show the audience that they are the ones who could benefit here. There is no need for expensive celebrity endorsements here, a little more people in real life situations. Young people who are going to university, looking for a job, spending some time with family are the ones to look at. The key words here would be relatively young but mature.      

 

Proposition:

Retail stores have tried out different strategies in order to attract the right customers. A great example would be the campaign by Diesel, “Be Stupid”. They were looking at young, rebellious people, who judging by the prices, could afford a crazy, daring lifestyle. Especially now, when many countries are having financial problems, a smart, affordable look would be perfect for a young, smart audience. Our idea would quite literally be “BE SMART”

A weekly or monthly style guide, and more direct marketing would be my first choice. I receive a lot of promotions from the brand “Mexx” but I don’t go for it because the clothes are a bit too boring, a bit too simple, H&M does not have this problem. Don’t just put a sale sign on, email directly those clients that are in the database. I would design special stickers or better pins which the clients gets per mail and can go into the shop and choose the piece which they want to have discounted. H&M has to become more personal, more real; the ads with the super famous models are just not helping anymore. Instead of paying large sums for celebrity collections, have something more useful as an offer, a style advisor in the large shops, going as far as booking an appointment with a real stylist who could show you what would match, figure out some looks for your. This would spark real interaction with the brand. In the end it all comes down to clothes, and people do love fashion.

The idea of the smart look could go even further, on Lookbook people post new looks all the time, how about a competition with the best look for an interview, the best 3 or 4 looks for university, each week a different one, related to the season or simply the weather. H&M has too little conversation with its fans, there are 14 million on Facebook but most posts are about the product but not so much why it is a relevant line? We do not really know what H&M believes in and what wants to be.

wonderful

So she thoroughly taught him that one cannot take pleasure without giving pleasure, and that every gesture, every caress, every touch, every glance, every last bit of the body has its secret, which brings happiness to the person who knows how to wake it. She taught him that after a celebration of love the lovers should not part without admiring each other, without being conquered or having conquered, so that neither is bleak or glutted or has the bad feeling of being used or misused. Herman Hesse