Archive for March, 2009

The Role of Business Schools in the Financial Crisis

March 29, 2009 Leave a comment


Just read an interesting article on the, “Is It Time To Retrain Business Schools?” that analyzes how much of a role the teaching at B-schools may have had to do with the current economic collapse.

“Critics of business education have many complaints. Some say the schools have become too scientific, too detached from real-world issues. Others say students are taught to come up with hasty solutions to complicated problems. Another group contends that schools give students a limited and distorted view of their role — that they graduate with a focus on maximizing shareholder value and only a limited understanding of ethical and social considerations essential to business leadership.

Something that really caught my eye was that:  “A study of cheating among graduate students, published in 2006 in the journal Academy of Management Learning & Education, found that 56 percent of all M.B.A. students cheated regularly — more than in any other discipline. The authors attributed that to “perceived peer behavior” — in other words, students believed everyone else was doing it.”

And yet another survey found that b-school students actually felt LESS confident in solving workplace ethical issues during their time in school.

“The challenge for a lot of business schools is how to develop leaders and not managers,” said James Tran, a candidate for an M.B.A. and a master’s in public administration at Harvard.

I never went to business school, so I can’t really say anything negative about it from personal experience, but it’s always been my belief that no matter how much theory you learn in school there isn’t any substitute for real world experience. I’m not saying that one is better than the other, but I do think that overemphasis on one type of learning can really skew your thinking.

Categories: CAREER Tags:

Miami Ad School: Weeks 9 & 10 Planning Review

March 28, 2009 2 comments

School Bokeh

Originally uploaded by shinealight (taking a break)

FYI – I already graduated from Miami Ad School’s Account Planning program on March 19th, so the classes I’m writing about in these posts actually took place a few weeks ago.

I’m going to combine Weeks 9 & 10 in this post since I really want to move on to writing about Agency Tours in NYC the week after graduation and some other things.

Anyway, our Planning instructor for Week 9 was Neal Arthur from Wieden + Kennedy NYC. Neal started us off with a great quote,

Don’t give then what they want. Give them what they never believed was possible.” — Orson Welles

A couple key things that Neal said that resonated with me were:

1) New business pitches are the best, biggest and most grueling opportunities that a Planner can have

2) Work with as many new business pitches as possible

3) When you get a new business call, it’s because something’s broken with the client

Our instructor for Week 10 was Liam from Hall & Partners, which is now primarily a brand and communications research agency. Nice quote:

Clients often use research the same way a drunkard uses a lamppost – for support instead of illumination.” — David Ogilvy

A few things that stood out this weekend:

  • Just because it’s quant doesn’t mean it can’t tell a story
  • Focus groups should not be boring – they should be fun!

There are certain challenges when working with clients:

  • Inertia – We’ve always done it this way
  • The paradox of choice – too many ideas, with no clear way to prioritize
  • Lack of resources – not enough money; not enough manpower
  • Impatience – lack of willingness to take the long view & invest in the future
  • Culture – heirarchy and procedure take precedence over experimentation and entrepreneurialism

Lastly, Liam pointed out that Planners are thought partners with researchers. It’s important to create a culture that truly believes good ideas can come from anywhere and prizes openness.

Miami Ad School: Week 8 Planning Review

March 28, 2009 Leave a comment


FYI – I already graduated from Miami Ad School on March 19th. I wanted to be a lot more timely in posting about MAS each week, but especially at the end of the program it got really difficult, so some of the upcoming posts about MAS were originally drafted a few weeks ago. 

We had two terrific speakers for this week (end).

Cliff Courtney from Zimmerman Advertising

Domenico Vitale from PI&C

They were both very generous in sharing information, so I’m just going to sum up some nuggets of wisdom they shared with us.


  • Clients care about 2 things: 1) Cash flow 2) Shareholder value. As much as art, design and creativity have a place in this industry, we need to remember that it’s a business
  • When you walk into a room you need to know the most about trends, both macro and micro
  • In our strategies, we’ll be speaking with moms quite a bit since they control the majority of purchases
  • We’re in the business of behavior modification
  • As a Planner, start thinking about your language and how you use it; what is your personal brand?
  • The opposite of love is not hate – it’s apathy
  • “There are no facts – only interpretations.”
  • As a Planner, always question everything
  • in Qualitative research, don’t interview people with a clipboard – it creates a barrier to the truth. Be personable instead.
  • “Brief creatives in the contextual moment.”
  • “Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts.”
  • What makes a great Planner? Three things: 1) Creativity 2) Courage 3) Curiosity


One of the best things we got out of Domenico was that it’s ridiculous to think that Planners can’t be creative and Creatives can’t be strategic. Ideas can come from anywhere and it’s important to draw them from everyone on the team, regardless of title or department.

Categories: MIAMIADSCHOOL Tags:

Schmap Miami Guide

March 27, 2009 1 comment


Originally uploaded by DennisDemori

Just found out this morning one of my Flickr pics was selected for the 7th Annual Schmap Miami Guide. Check it out:

Schmap Miami Guide: Coral Gables


Scarcity Creates Impact

March 27, 2009 Leave a comment

watersurchargevia rick

I’ve been toying with an idea for the past few weeks, but up until now it’s really just been the headline of this post. Then I read the excellent SAMBA blog and found they put into words what I had been struggling to say.

When something is scarce, it increases in value. If it’s not easily accessible, then it will be flooded with interest once it is available – basic supply and demand.

And so is the case with the internet – it completely throws the concept of supply and demand into a state of disequilibrium.

The internet is always in HIGH supply, regardless of demand. The SAMBA team goes on to point out that:

“Sometimes you get to decide how scarce something is. By creating scarcity you can increase the value.”

What can brands learn from this?

In a world where accessibility is so widespread, the answer isn’t always to make yourself available 24/7 – it’s to make yourself scarce. As Erin recently pointed out, brands should create enough engaging content to make consumers seek them out. It’s the Push vs. Pull idea.

Digging a little deeper

This talk of scarcity got me thinking about the last MAS assignment I worked on for the This post on The Grand Unified Theory On The Economics of Free had a great analogy of the recording industry using the concept of infinite vs. scarce.

I’m going to trying to use the same idea for the (my focus is on the website – not the newspaper).

1. Redefine the market: The benefit is high-quality journalism.

2. Break the benefits down: Vetted news sources, bestseller lists, visualization charts, videos, etc.

3. Set the infinite components free: Post the news on social networks, open up the archives completely, stop asking people to register on the site, make the news as accessible as possible while promoting the journalists (not the brand) who create this content.

4. Charge for the scare components: Access to journalists, access to the newsroom, access to the creation of the content, merchandise, charge other news sources for access to these journalists.

“The end result really is a much bigger market with much greater benefit by expanding the market by using infinite goods to make the scarce goods more valuableIt’s very much about showing the key trends that are impacting all infinite goods — and pointing out a clear path to benefiting from it (while making life more difficult on those who refuse to give up their old business models).”

Not sure if I’m onto something here, or way off. The newspaper industry is a special case – it faces numerous challenges and there’s no easy answer. Even so, maybe this approach is a step in the right direction.


Categories: TECHNOLOGY Tags:

Twitter Mosaic visualization

March 24, 2009 Leave a comment

Pretty cool visualization of my Twitter friends I created using Twitter Mosaic:


Get your twitter mosaic here.

Found out about this through @misentropy

To follow me on Twitter click here or search @DennisDemori

Categories: DIGITAL Tags: ,

Week 7 Planning Review

March 23, 2009 Leave a comment


I’m going to keep this post really brief since I was juggling about 5 different things when I wrote this post between assignments, preparing my book and job hunting.

We didn’t have any Planning classes for Week 6, so we ended up doubling up for Week 7. We had two instructors:

Shari Allison with Northstar Research Partners

Scott Tegethoff with Universal McCann

Shari discussed quantitative research. Quantitative is basically the numbers side of research where you analyze all sorts of metrics, like % of people currently using your product. It’s the tangible, scientific side of Planning. If you’ve ever prepared a survey then you have done quantitative research.

Scott’s topic for the weekend was “The Changing Media Landscape.” We did some group workshops together where we were given a short amount of time (less than a couple hours) to analyze a business problem and develop a strategy.

This is a very realistic situation since you may be in a position as a Planner where faster turnaround times are often needed and even expected.

That’s it. I told you this would be a really brief post, didn’t I?

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