Urban Design: Local promotions – West Side Action

Staggering school breaks could be a big boon to the Canadian hospitality industry, as blogger Eric Darwin points out.



In France, the school March break weeks vary around the country so there isn’t one giant peak. The actual week off rotates by region, so everyone gets a crack at prime time. Schools offer trips to other regions for skiing or art galleries or just touristing. Instead of day camp in the community centre, take the kids to the Louvre. This probably generates national pride and knowledge. Our media coverage of March break is schizophrenic … its either a “suffer with the kids underfoot” survival-type story, or exhortation to spend big and go to where its warm. We fail to develop national pride at our peril.

With all students in Ontario off school at the same time the demand peaks and businesses have to turn away potential customers.  Once the mass break is over the businesses have vacant capacity.  That goes for hotels, airlines, museums, restaurants, theaters, ski hills, etc.

He gives examples of promotional tie-ins between local retailers and local hospitality destinations.

Source: Urban Design (xv) Local promotions – West Side Action

Will the real “Smart Water” please stand up?

Coca-Cola has introduced a new beverage: Glaceau Smart Water.  (I’m serious.)  They distill Connecticut spring water and then add minerals into the distillate.  What’s “smart” about that?

A better approach to “smart” water, I think, is that taken by a British firm, SmartWater Technology Ltd.  They make a liquid containing a code that can be read under ultraviolet light. I note that SmartWater Technology Ltd. is aware of the importance of branding:

“We do not take awareness or knowledge of the SmartWater brand for granted, which is why this work continues to be a fundamental component in our ongoing crime-fighting strategy. We are always searching for dynamic new ways to promote our brand to the criminal fraternity and wider communities. Only by doing so will we continue to ensure that SmartWater remains the UK’s most powerful crime deterrent.”

What I don’t know is what Coca-Cola knows about the extent of  the UK firm’s world-wide trademark rights. Bring in the lawyers.


“The Coca-Cola Company brings you glacéau smartwater, vapor distilled water with electrolytes. ”


“SmartWater consists of a liquid containing a code that can be read under ultraviolet light. It is intended to be applied to valuable items, so that if they are stolen and later seized by police, their original owner can be determined. Another application is a sprinkler system that sprays a burglar with the (invisible) fluid, which cannot be washed off and lasts for months, to generate evidence that connects a suspect to a specific location.”


“Made by a US bottler called Glaceau, Smart Water begins as an artesian spring in Northern Connecticut. After the water is distilled,a balance of Magnesium, Potassium, and Calcium is introduced, adding electrolytes. The attractive bullet shaped plastic container with the traditional sport cap reinforces the product’s image. Smart Water is a product for anyone who wants to look and drink their best during tennis, golf,workouts at the gym,or in the school lunch room. Smart Water is just that: smart!”



Mohamed A. El-Erian offers six reasons why business investment has stalled, despite firms’ bulging cash reserves. – Project Syndicate

This guy is good.  All six reasons seem germane to me.
This one is provocative:

Third, while companies recognize that innovation is a key comparative advantage in today’s global economy, they are also humbled by its increasingly winner-take-all nature. Successful innovation today is a lot less about financing and much more about finding the “killer app.” As a result, many companies, less convinced that “normal” innovation yields big payoffs, end up investing less overall than they did before.

The implication, that “normal” corporate innovations requires less investment (and generate fewer new jobs) is a little scary.
I’m wondering… there must be “normal” types of innovations that are not of the “winner take all” variety….these would be innovations where all the players benefit as the total pie gets bigger.

Still wondering.

via Mohamed A. El-Erian offers six reasons why business investment has stalled, despite firms’ bulging cash reserves. – Project Syndicate.

Internet Explorer: How did Internet Explorer up until version 9 get to be so bad (relative to Chrome, Safari, and Firefox)? – Quora


Lots of responses on the Quora web site but I like this one by Eric Berman

“As part of the Internet Explorer 5.0 team, I agree with both the premise of the question and with most of the answers. However, I think I’ll add two other cultural observations about how Microsoft itself has changed.

“First, Microsoft has always done its best work when chasing taillights. Chasing Netscape gave us a clear goal, and I’m very proud of what we did with Internet Explorer 5.0, but like the proverbial dog chasing the car, Microsoft doesn’t know what to do when it catches it. Look at office: once WordPerfect and Lotus 1-2-3 had been defeated, innovation in office essentially ended. The only meaningful difference between Word/Excel/PowerPoint today and 15 years ago is pixel pushing of the user interface on the screen. It’s only with the rise of Google Docs that the Office team got off its ass with respect to the cloud and hosted office.

“Second, I think Microsoft stopped being hungry. I was there from 1987-1999, and it was always filled with people who were hungry to change the world (albeit letting others define the direction for Microsoft to follow, as above). They weren’t there to make money (although they certainly did so in that time frame). Mass exodus started in the late 1990s – right when Microsoft stock was soaring – because Microsoft wasn’t as exciting as other startups as a place to work; it was about the passion. Fast forward to today, and if you wander the halls at Microsoft, you find a ton of people who are at Microsoft for entirely different reasons. It’s a safe place. It’s good on the resume. They can learn lots of stuff, they can move between product groups, they have great benefits, etc. But the real passion-driven stars largely left in the late 1990s and have been replaced by far more conservative 9-5 40-hour-a-week people.”

via (1) Internet Explorer: How did Internet Explorer up until version 9 get to be so bad (relative to Chrome, Safari, and Firefox)? – Quora.