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This guy in the back yard this morning.

25-Aug-15

This guy in the back yard this morning.

Lucked into a Lions Club BBQ tonight. No beef more Californian than Tri-tip.

23-Aug-15

Lucked into a Lions Club BBQ tonight. No beef more Californian than Tri-tip.

Reactions to 2009 Knez Winery Cerise Vineyard Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

12-Aug-15

Knez Winery 2009 Cerise Vineyard Anderson Valley Pinot Noir I always want to love Knez wines, but they don’t seem to want to be loved. They’re more like standoffish housecats deigning your admiration than slobbery Golden Retrievers craving your affection.

But as of August ’15 the Knez ’09 Cerise is finally opening up and and willing to be a little vulnerable. Certainly distinctive to the terroir of this justly renowned (estate) vineyard. Worth cracking opening now if you’ve got any on hand.

Reactions to Aaker on Branding: 20 Principles That Drive Success by David Aaker

26-Jul-15

Aaker on Branding: 20 Principles That Drive SuccessAaker on Branding: 20 Principles That Drive Success by David Aaker
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A worthy book – a better-than-average high-level overview of trends, insights, and best practices in modern-day branding.

Aaker on Branding was my first encounter with David Aaker, whose reputation is certainly substantial. On the basis of this material, he seems to be the real deal, an optimal combination of academic and practitioner (properly leaning toward the latter).

This book is best for the MBA student/recent grad, or someone moving into marketing/branding from another field. As with all popular writing on marketing, the focus here is nearly exclusively on consumer brands – and generally on nurturing and expanding existing brands with substantial resources and scale.

There’s nothing of note on B2B branding (still a major gap in overall research and practice both), even less on creating a brand from scratch, and most unfortunately, very little on how to measure branding effectiveness quantitatively.

But it’s hard for me to imagine a more useful distillation and summary of how to approach large-scale consumer brand-building in the early 21st century.

The self-published vibe of the book led me to think it would be a lightweight giveaway advertising the services of Aaker’s consulting company. While that’s still certainly the implication, the firm itself is never mentioned, and the book stands on its own. Worth the time and attention if you’re its target audience.

View all my Goodreads book reviews here

Reactions to Armada by Ernest Cline

25-Jul-15

ArmadaArmada by Ernest Cline
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I loved Ready Player One and was excited to see what Cline would next give us. Unfortunately Armada is a pretty big whiff. I would give it 1.5 stars if I could – not quite unreadable, but unfortunately not worth reading. Lightweight, but not enough to be affectingly breezy. Affected and over-the-top, but not enough to be a proper fable or melodrama. The setting and perspectives don’t ring true – yes, these are kids who are living through their ’80s parents and videogame mythology, but really, they have no touchstones of ’90s or ’00s culture? The deep emotional bits are unaffecting – insufficient buildup. Of course Cline wears his influences as explicitly as possible – that’s what we like about him – but this one is like an especially bad Spielberg production, with half-baked nostalgia for the perfect American nuclear family and whatnot. If you’re as into this sort of thing as I am, just watch The Last Starfighter again and wait for Cline’s next try.

View all my reviews

Rush on stage at the SAP Center in San Jose.

23-Jul-15

Rush on stage at the SAP Center in San Jose.