bill_gates_01At a recent computer expo (COMDEX), Bill Gates reportedly compared the computer industry with the auto industry and stated, “If Ford had kept up with technology like the computer industry has, we would all be driving $25 cars that got 1,000 miles to the gallon.”

In response to Bill’s comments, Ford issued a press release stating:

If Ford had developed technology like Microsoft, we would all be driving cars with the following characteristics (and I just love this part):

1. For no reason whatsoever, your car would crash……… twice a day.

2.. Every time they repainted the lines in the road, you would have to buy a new car.

3… Occasionally your car would die on the freeway for no reason. You would have to pull to the side of the road, close all of the windows, shut off the car, restart it, and reopen the windows before you could continue. For some reason you would simply accept this.

4…. Occasionally, executing a maneuver such as a left turn would cause your car to shut down and refuse to restart, in which case you would have to reinstall the engine.

5….. Macintosh would make a car that was powered by the sun, was reliable, five times as fast and twice as easy to drive – but would run on only five percent of the roads.

6…… The oil, water temperature, and alternator warning lights would all be replaced by a single “This Car Has Performed An Illegal Operation” warning light.

7……. The airbag system would ask, “Are you sure?” before deploying.

8…….. Occasionally, for no reason whatsoever, your car would lock you out and refuse to let you in until you simultaneously lifted the door handle, turned the key and grabbed hold of the radio antenna.

9……… Every time a new car was introduced car buyers would have to learn how to drive all over again because none of the controls would operate in the same manner as the old car.

10………. You’d have to press the “Start” button to turn the engine off.

by Robert Shaw West Brand Futurist/Commander in Chief

Photo Credit: courtesy of and

Content Credit: Originally delivered as a chain email, author unknown




bostonstrongoutfieldWhat a semi-untraditional idea – having fans at a World Series game hold up cards spelling out something that sells your product.

However, no matter how fresh your execution is, it has to be based around a strong idea.

In this case, pandering and corporate chest-beating won out. And the Chevy Silverado brand got a huge black eye.

See, after the Marathon bombing earlier this year, “Boston Strong” has been a rallying cry for the town. As you can probably tell, “Silverado Strong,” the planned reveal for all those holding up cards in their seats, didn’t go over too well with the town. Matter of fact, it caused a huge stink, and the promotion was cancelled.

Lesson for today – think about your brand from the consumer’s point of view. Is what you have to say interesting? Would it cause others to want to find out more about you? Perhaps interact with you? Would it stir up any emotion?

Remember, telling the world about your brand is really easy. Saying it in a way that interests others is really really really hard.

by Francis George Brand Futurist/Minister of Creativity/Department Of Artisans


When you’ve made your stockholders rich by selling $4 cups of coffee, surely your next move would be of a similar strategy?

Wrong-O, coffee breath. Starbucks is introducing INSTANT Coffee. So, Starbucks is now saying, “Hey! Instead of stopping here in the morning for a $4 cup of coffee, get up 5 minutes earlier and make a 50 cent cup of coffee at home.”

I’ll let that sink in while I talk about the ad executions. In my opinion, well-executed and memorable. I can see the conversation between Starbucks and their ad agency – “Hey! We’d like to shoot ourselves in the foot – we need your help aiming!”

In my opinion, I think these funny ads are going to cause people to flock towards the cheap coffee, while store sales drop. I can’t believe marketing MBAs with $120,000 degrees are making these decisions.

When your brand is associated as being expensive, yet you have a loyal following, don’t screw it up. Introduce a new brand. Make new friends without offending the old ones. Because once you’ve lost your good name, that’s it.

by Dwayne Fry Brand Futurist The Republik Commander Strategic Ops

Photo Credit: © Starbucks Corporation


In the wake of current US automotive struggles and high gas prices, Detroit may consider ending the life of the Hummer. This iconic muscle-machine rose to popularity from the rich and famous driving it, including Arnold Schwarzenegger, 50 Cent and Shaquille O’Neal. Now these super-suv’s can’t be given away. With automakers begging congress for bailout money, General Motors is being forced to put the Hummer brand under “strategic review.”

“Personally, if they want to continue to make the Hummer the way it is, make the list price $300,000 and then the richie rich can buy it. If they can afford the sticker price, then they can afford the terrible miles-per-gallon in gasoline it takes. Then have that revenue go back to research and development so Detroit can produce a real car that is emission free, has a respectable MPG and isn’t a beast of an eyesore.”

by Ryan Cuthriell Brand Futurist The Republik Lieutenant Creative Ops

Photo Credit: © General Motors


In a fairy-tale community in Russia, orphans thrive. The founders of the orphanage, called Kitezh, hope their village can be a model of reform for Russia’s deplorable child welfare system, little changed since Soviet days. Though perhaps hard to replicate on a large scale, Kitezh still stands as one of the few largely successful alternatives here to institutional care for orphans.

“Hats off to the visionaries behind Kitezh. Russia’s apalling orphanages are one of the few things that didn’t change after the downfall of Soviet communism. Now, at least, some Russian orphans have a shot at happiness and success they wouldn’t otherwise get unless they were adopted by rich Americans.”

by David Smith The Republik

Photo Credit: Oleg Nikishin via The New York Times