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  • Michael Krakovskiy 3:39 am on October 10, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , coach, , , elementary-school teacher, Idea, idea collectors Chip, Made to Stick, , Nobel Prize-winning scientist, , simulation, ,   

    Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die 

    Mark Twain once observed, “A lie can get halfway around the world before the truth can even get its boots on.” His observation rings true: Urban legends, conspiracy theories, and bogus public-health scares circulate effortlessly. Meanwhile, people with important ideas–business people, teachers, politicians, journalists, and others–struggle to make their ideas “stick.”

    Why do some ideas thrive while others die? And how do we improve the chances of worthy ideas? In Made to Stick, accomplished educators and idea collectors Chip and Dan Heath tackle head-on these vexing questions. Inside, the brothers Heath reveal the anatomy of ideas that stick and explain ways to make ideas stickier, such as applying the “human scale principle,” using the “Velcro Theory of Memory,” and creating “curiosity gaps.”

    In this indispensable guide, we discover that sticky messages of all kinds–from the infamous “kidney theft ring” hoax to a coach’s lessons on sportsmanship to a vision for a new product at Sony–draw their power from the same six traits.

    Made to Stick is a book that will transform the way you communicate ideas. It’s a fast-paced tour of success stories (and failures)–the Nobel Prize-winning scientist who drank a glass of bacteria to prove a point about stomach ulcers; the charities who make use of “the Mother Teresa Effect”; the elementary-school teacher whose simulation actually prevented racial prejudice. Provocative, eye-opening, and often surprisingly funny, Made to Stick shows us the vital principles of winning ideas–and tells us how we can apply these rules to making our own messages stick.

  • Michael Krakovskiy 6:53 am on March 14, 2006 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , coach, , , , Heinrich Himmler, Hugo Boss, , , Mavis Beacon, Nazi Germany, , not Schutzstaffel, Schutzstaffel, Shift Supervisor, The Holocaust,   

    It’s Tough Being Boss 

    Several days ago I was startled by something in a post titled “moving up in “teh company”” in Livejournal’s Starbucks barrista community. The poster said:

    “< insert typical “yay me, I’m being promoted to SS” comment here >

    So I went to my learning coach class last night. It was very informative and good. I’ll begin official SS training about a week and a half from now.”

    It took me a little while to realize that SS in Starbucksian jargon stands for Shift Supervisor, not Schutzstaffel. Over the years I got used to being asked for my SS (Social Security) number, but apparently when I hear “SS” in other contexts my first thought is still “Nazis!”.

    This reminded me of a rumor that I’ve heard before. See, I’ve been told that that SS uniforms were so stylish because they were designed by Hugo Boss. It did not sound right – I thought that Hugo Boss is an American company, that was created after the war and that Hugo Boss is not a real person, but a created brand, like Mavis Beacon (see my post about that).

    The first place I went to was hugoboss.com. Well, I was wrong, it’s a German company all right. But the website is missing “Company history” section. Suspicious. I mean, usually established companies are rather proud of their beginnings. Kennethcole.com, for instance, has a whole segment about how Kenneth Cole (he’s a real person, I’ve even met him once) hacked New York City rules by pretending to shoot a movie in order to gain valuable parking permit necessary to sell shoes out of a trailer. You can read all about it here.

    So, I did a little digging of my own and guess what – according to Wikipedia, which in turn quotes Washington Post, Hugo Boss, the founder of the company did indeed design and manufacture Nazi uniforms, and on top of that likely used forced labour.

    Here’s a picture from hugoboss.com:

    And here’s one from Wikipedia that I doctored up a little (I changed the position of the guy on the right – the original is here)

    Maybe Hugo Boss of today is very, very different from the WWII era one, but they do make some snappy clothes.

  • Michael Krakovskiy 9:46 am on April 19, 2005 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: 747-400, airline, All Nippon Airways, Annex Tower, , Chuck Garabedian sez, coach, , , Greater Tokyo Area, Hello Kitty, , Keyhole technology, Main Tower, Narita Airport, Narita Express, Narita International Airport, New Tower, paint jobs, Rail station, Rail transport in Japan, , Shinagawa Prince Hotel, , The Incredibles, Transport in Japan, Turkmenistan Airlines, , wireless network,   

    Deadprogrammer Visits Japan or Sakura in Partial Bloom Part II 

    Part II : Chuck Garabedian sez : “Ya gotta squeeze every penny”

    My wife booked our tickets though go-today.com, thriftily opting for the cheapest tickets that do not specify the airline prior to purchase. I was expecting the horrors of Aeroflot, or even worse, flying under the 5-headed eagle flag of Turkmenistan Airlines. On a crop duster or something. But we were pleasantly surprised to become proud holders of All Nippon Airways tickets. And that meant flying on a 747-400 without one of those Pokemon or Hello Kitty paint jobs, but with 4 classes of seats, on demand video monitors in all of them, nice meals and snacks, ultra clean bathrooms, and 20% more bowing.

    A flight from JFK to Narita Airport takes about 14 hours non-stop. I found it to be no worse than an extra long day in a cubicle. Except instead of working I read, watched free movies (they had The Incredibles!) ate tasty meals and wondered if one could learn to smile professionally like the Japanese stewardesses. Oh, and I took a nice picture of a circular rainbow. Unfortunately I missed seeing the fish-like Sakhalin Island where my father spent a part of his childhood and my mother earned her college degree. I hope one day I’ll visit it.

    Now for some photos (there will be more interesting ones in the next post). Make your own Google maps with Keyhole technology. The whole thing looks like a motherboard, doesn’t it? For some reason Japanese like to paint their towers in red and white.

    In stark contrast to the heavily industrial area above, Japan is full of agricultural areas filled with rice paddies that glisten in the sun. I was gonna say like the steel of a samurai’s sword, but did not.

    In Narita I came into my first contact with the wonders of Japanese wending machines. My first purchases on the Japanese soil were a $30 Hello Kitty phone card (that was way too much, a $10 one would do, besides they sell them everywhere) and a bottle of a sports drink called “Pocari Sweat”. As it turns out many Japanese products and businesses have strange, but somewhat relevant Engrish names. Overall the vending machines in Japan are way nicer that the ones in the States. I’ll write about them later, but for now I present you with the picture of a small battery of rectangular (or should I say parallelepipedal) sports drink bottles that accumulated on the windowsill of our hotel room.

    Go-today.com deal hooked us up with 5 nights in Shinagawa Prince Hotel. It’s a huge complex of a hotel located just next to a major Japan Rail station. Narita express as well as shinkansen trains stop there too. Just like ANA’s jumbo jet, the hotel seems to tailored to serve a number of different classes of customers. There’s the Executive Tower, Main Tower, New Tower and Annex Tower. We got a room in the Annex Tower which is probably like the Fiesta Deck. Still in the good old tradition of the 3rd class on a pre-war cruise ship, the room was tiny, but well designed, clean, and had very nice extras not usually found in American hotels such as yucatas, toothbrushes and razors in the “little shampoo and crap” kit and a washlet in the bathroom.

    Japan is one of the last true bastions of smoking, so we could not get a non-smoking room. There was a smell of cigarettes in the air, but fortunately the windows were openable (and with a great view, including a skyscraper with a huge Canon logo) and after a short airing the room was livable. There was no hardwired Ethernet and during my stay I only figured out how to get the key to the wireless network only at the very end (you need to go to the Yahoo! cafe, fill out some paperwork, buy a drink there and ask for the access point password).

    Overall it seems that Japanese businesses often treat coach class customers better than American businesses treat their business class and often first class.

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