Early To Bed. Early To Rise.

(16 Comments)

The flight to San Juan was scheduled to leave at 7:25 AM, so my mental math looked something like this:

“Want to get to airport an hour early, that’s 6:25 AM.

Thirty minutes to get to airport, that’s 6:00.

Half an hour to get ready, gotta get up at 5:30.”

But here’s what happened:

Was still jet-lagged from my trip back from Southeast Asia and California the day before, so I went to bed early and was wide awake at 4:30 AM. Finally got out of bed at 5:00. Took 40 minutes to leave house and 20 minutes to get to airport because of early hour, so I arrived at 6:00. Zipped through TSA pre-check, grabbed a snack and still got to gate at 6:15 – at least 45 minutes before boarding time.

Know what happened next? Absolutely nothing. I read the paper, sipped my coffee, and boarded the flight when they called my section. No stress, no drama, no nothing.

Flight on the way back landed late and I was pulled over by a policeman for speeding.

“Where’s the fire, Mario?” he asked.

“Sorry officer,” I answered. “I’m late for a meeting.”

“You should have left sooner.”

Damn it! Why didn’t I think of that? I had no good response, so I just nodded and opened my hand and took the ticket.

Leave early, stress free. Leave late, stressful.

Can it really be as easy as that?

“Leave early?!” I hear you screaming. “Who’s got time to leave early? And anyways, what the hell do I do when I get to the airport or meeting with an extra half hour to kill?”

Here’s a radical idea – you’ve probably got your smartphone, laptop or iPad with you already – why don’t you do what you’d do if you were still sitting at your desk? Answer messages and emails, reread your proposal or presentation, read the newspaper, write blog posts, or just sit quietly and think.

The simple point is that thanks to today’s technology, where you are has less and less to do with what you can accomplish than ever before. And so the old rules just don’t apply anymore. The trick is to figure out how to apply the new realities and possibilities to make your life as enjoyable, productive, and stress-free as possible.

All of a sudden, location and productivity are not joined at the hip. A workspace can be anywhere with power and Wi-Fi. The inspiration muse can be serviced wherever you are. An hour in a Starbucks between meetings can be more productive than running back to the office only to turn around and run back out again. And when you are in the office and face-to-face, that time can be better spent doing the personal warm and fuzzies — the “atta-boys” and “atta-girls” that are best done in person.

Running late and making yourself and everyone around you crazy no longer needs to be a part of your life – or your brand. All you have to do is change the way you approach your calendar and your to-do list.

Try it. I think you’ll like it.

Posted on February 10th, 2014


The Importance Of Design In The Sales Process.

(9 Comments)

It happened again! You blinked and the world changed. Don’t feel bad if you didn’t notice (it was hidden in plain sight). But whether you saw it or not, all of a sudden the planets realigned, the tectonic plates slipped, the paradigm shifted.

While you were dealing with your day-to-day affairs, function and competency took to a back seat to design. It’s John Lennon’s prediction coming true: “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”

John-Lennon-Final

Back in the dark ages of analog production, we bought stuff because it worked better than other stuff. The Sears Craftsman tools in your shed were unbreakable and warrantied for life—in case it ever turned out that they weren’t. The Mercedes diesel in your garage would run for 300,000 miles without a hiccup. The Timex on your wrist would “take a licking and go on ticking.” Those products were successful because they were anomalies. Back then, most stuff just plain didn’t work. These things did.

Remember your old television? It broke all the time. Tubes would blow, dials would strip, and those funky remote control buttons would stop controlling remotely. But today, TVs simply don’t break. I’d be willing to bet that your giant flat-panel TV works just as well today as the day you mounted it on the wall.

Remember when cars used to leave you stranded? Back then it made sense to spend the extra money for a Volvo or Mercedes because they were so much more reliable than less expensive cars. But today, an inexpensive Kia or Hyundai will provide you just as much hassle-free driving as the most expensive BMW or Bentley. Maybe more.

Today people just expect the things they buy to work. And so function and competency are taken for granted. Instead of worrying about how well things work, consumers now buy things for how they look and feel, and more importantly, how the products make them look and feel.

Design, the former handmaiden to production, has become the differentiating asset consumers look for. To completely mix my metaphors, the king and queen of the prom have been upstaged by the AV guy with tape on his glasses.

Good design used to be something that was hard to acquire — it took a lot of time, money, and discerning taste — not to mention an unwillingness to accept the ordinary. Back in the day, being well dressed or having a beautifully designed home or office was a mark of distinction that was simply ‘out of reach’ for most people.

But today good design is available everywhere you look. Crate and Barrel, Target, and West Elm peddle it in every mall in America. Apple promises that the ubiquitous phone you carry in the pocket of your (designer) jeans or the computer sitting on your desktop is the most highly evolved industrial design you can own. Even products as prosaic as Nest thermostats, Plumen light bulbs, and Dyson fans have been designed to within an inch of their lives.

Design-Images-Final

What hasn’t kept up with the blinding pace of design growth is the ability of salespeople to use aesthetics to meet their quotas. Believing that most consumers are still buying products based on what those products do, most salespeople are still busy demonstrating features and explaining capabilities instead of promoting what people are buying. Today an in-depth understanding of the modern consumers’ purchase motivations is what the best salespeople are using to push their products and services. Instead of inventorying capabilities, the savvy salesperson understands that their job has changed the best of them into editors and curators – constantly reappraising the aesthetic and lifestyle advantages of the products they sell and demonstrating these benefits to their customers.

After all, that’s what their customers are buying, even though they think they’re buying old-fashioned functionality.

 

Posted on November 17th, 2013


Why iOS7’s Less Equals A Whole Lot More.

(7 Comments)

Have you upgraded to iOS 7 yet? If you’re an Apple iPhone or iPad user you know what I’m talking about (if you aren’t an Apple user, indulge me please and read on. You’ll catch on quickly.) iOS 7 is Apple’s chief of design Jonathan Ive’s first public shot at overseeing the entire ecosystem of their products, both hardware AND software.

There are two noteworthy parts to Ive’s debut operating system – the new software features and the design updates. Let’s leave the software function changes discussion to the industry program pundits; what I want to discuss here are the design developments.

Besides changing the colors and the icons, the biggest change Ive made was to get rid of Apple’s trend setting skeuomorphism design protocol (don’t feel bad, I didn’t know what skeuomorphism meant either. Skeuomorphism is the design of a derivative object that retains the ornamental design cues that were prevalent in the original. For example, the yellow-lined paper for Notes, the leather binding for Calendar, the wooden shelves for iBooks). As David Pogue wrote in The New York Times, “The look of iOS 7 is sparse, white — almost plain in spots… it’s all blue Helvetica Neue against white.”

Icon-Comparison

Because of these changes, when people talk about the new system what I hear is either praise for the stark new look or complaints about it. Being a minimalist at heart, I happen to really enjoy the new clean look. But in this instance, I think discussion of the aesthetics of the new program really misses the point.

Back in the early 1980s when Apple first introduced their Macintosh interface and again when they introduced their first smartphone 20 years later, Apple was showing us something we’d never seen before. In fact, Steve Jobs famously said, “People don’t know what they want until you show it to them.” It was Apple’s job to expose us to something we’d never experienced before that would quickly become both intuitive and intrinsic.

Because Apple was showing us something new with the original Mac, they needed to use a visual language that we already understood. THAT’S why the icon for deleting digital files looked like a trash can and the icon for pointing at things on the screen looked like an extended finger.

Jumping forward to the original iPhone operating system and all the way to the one iOS7 just replaced, Apple used these same visual metaphors to shortcut the need for wordy explanations.

Which brings us back to skeuomorphism. And so the “bookshelf” was dressed in wood grain, the “notepad” looked just like the old school yellow legal pad we all instantly recognize, and the “datebook” was represented with a faux-leather cover and computer-generated wire binding.

Those real world finishes were not simply design elements used to make the interface look better but were, in fact, visual metaphors judiciously employed to quickly explain what the phone could do for us.

That leads me to believe that Ive’s elimination of these realistic design features was not just an overhaul created to bring the iPhone’s operating system in line with his design aesthetic. Instead, it was the realization and acceptance that today’s consumer is savvy enough to no longer need the visual training wheels that Apple first bolted on their early phones.

What-Got-You-HereBusiness consultant Marshall Goldsmith’s last book was named What Got You Here Won’t Get You There. Goldsmith’s title describes a lesson that Apple clearly took to heart. What Apple and Ive figured out is that because it’s not broken doesn’t mean you shouldn’t fix it. Ive clearly understands that unless Apple constantly innovates and updates their mighty iPhone it could just as easily suffer the fate of the Palm Pilot and Blackberry and wind up on the unforgiving trash heap of irrelevance.

Whether it’s abandoning skeuomorphism or moving on from an operational system that no longer supports their brand, Apple’s iPhone refresh is a great lesson and reminder to all of us of the importance of staying ahead of our competition AND our customers before we too suffer the cruel fate of the outdated and the obsolete.

Posted on September 24th, 2013


The Greatest Generation.

(11 Comments)

Tom Brokaw wrote the book about the generation of Americans who grew during the depression and fought in World War II. In his preface, Brokaw describes the people he researched and wrote about this way:

The Greatest Generation“These men and women came of age in the Great Depression, when economic despair hovered over the land like a plague. They had watched their parents lose their businesses, their farms, their jobs, their hopes. They had learned to accept a future that played out one day at a time. Then, just as there was a glimmer of economic recovery, war exploded across Europe and Asia. When Pearl Harbor made it irrefutably clear that America was not a fortress, this generation was summoned to the parade ground and told to train for war. They left their ranches in Sully County, South Dakota, their jobs on the main street of Americaus, Georgia, they gave up their place on the assembly lines in Detroit and in the ranks of Wall Street, they quit school or went from cap and gown directly into uniform.

…They answered the call to help save the world from the two most powerful and ruthless military machines ever assembled, instrument of conquest in the hands of fascist maniacs. When the war was over, the men and women who had been involved, in uniform and in civilian capacities, joined in joyous and short-lived celebrations, then immediately began the task of rebuilding their lives and the world they wanted. They were mature beyond their years, tempered by what they had been through, disciplined by their military training and sacrifices. They married in record numbers and gave birth to another distinctive generation, the Baby Boomers. They stayed true to their values of personal responsibility, duty, honor, and faith.”

Rosie The RiveterBrokaw is so impressed with this generation and their exploits that he calls them – and his book about them – The Greatest Generation. Brokaw spends a lot of pages interviewing members of the greatest generation and telling their stories, and draws conclusions about their bravery, their sacrifices, their accomplishments, and the consequences of their actions.

What he doesn’t talk about is how the generations that came after his greatest one – the Baby Boomers, Generations X and Y, the Millennials, et al, were significantly different, especially when it came to consumerism and branding.

While WWII was certainly not the last war in which generations of young Americans have fought and died, it was the last war to be fought by all levels of American society. And while too many American lives were lost in wars from Korea and Vietnam to Somalia, Afghanistan, and Iraq, WWII was the last war that enveloped and defined an entire generation, regardless of social standing, financial wherewithal or education.

As such, the generations that have followed Brokaw’s greatest one have looked for new ways to define themselves and many have embraced consumerism as their comprehensive, albeit shallow, defining factor.

Our parents’ generation is known by the wars it fought.
Our generation is known by the things we bought.

The large black plastic keys for Mercedes, BMWs, and Jaguars; the doorstop-shaped profile of the Toyota Prius; the bitten Apple logo glowing on computers and phones; Lauren’s polo ponies and Gucci’s interlocking Gs are all icons that the undefined generations use to tell the world who they are. Somehow Rosie The Riveter’s “We can do it” has morphed to “We can buy it.”

Even younger consumers who claim to eschew brands and commercialism use the things they own – from flip-flops to ironic tee shirts to tattoos and piercings – to establish their place in their own tribes of crunchies, hipsters, geeks, and more.

For those of us born after The Greatest Generation, our lack of a defining moment in world history forced us to look elsewhere. Instead of a war and the sacrifices it required, we are defined by the things we own and display to the world. In other words, our parents’ generation is known by the wars it fought. Our generation is known by the things we bought.

Posted on June 25th, 2013


Simplify, Simplify.

(7 Comments)

In response to last week’s blog post How To Skin A Horse Of A Different Color, John Calia wrote, “A great modern day parable that explains the power of inductive reasoning. It’s McKinsey-level strategic thinking applied to everyday business and personal challenges.”

Thanks, John. I just thought it was a simple explanation of a complicated concept.

That’s what we do every day — reduce very complicated and not very compelling product explanations into short, simple, easy-to-understand, and profitable brands. Because these strategically simple messages make consumers regard, remember, and respond.

But if you’re thinking about how to reduce your brand message to just one word, I know what you’re thinking. “Sure, Bruce, defining an issue and standing for something makes a lot of sense and I can see how it works for others, but…(big sigh)…I’m different. After all, my business is much more diverse, much more creative, and much more customized to my clients’ specific needs…(bigger sigh)…you see, I do too many different things. There’s just no way I could shoehorn everything I offer into a couple of words.”

Really? Your business is too complicated to brand simply? Well then, consider Volvo.

Volvo is ostensibly in the car business. But that means they are really in a number of different businesses — transportation, manufacturing, research and development, metallurgy, engineering, upholstery, design, import/export, logistics, to name just a few. Plus, they operate retail stores (for both new and used products), and also provide sales, service, and accessories. Volvo operates under the governmental regulations of the hundreds of countries, states, and municipalities they operate in. They work in multiple languages, with multiple consumers, and in multiple currencies. And don’t forget that they don’t just make consumer automobiles. Volvo also manufactures buses and trucks and provides engines and engineering for lots of other companies. And yet despite this incredible complexity, Volvo still describes themselves with their commitment to one word: safety.

Volvo-XC70

Volvo’s brand description isn’t even about what they actually provide. Nowhere in their branding do they talk about transportation or about getting from point A to point B. They talk about safety. And this positioning is so valuable that when Volvo introduced an SUV, arguably the new American suburban family car, their XC70 outsold all foreign SUVs (European and Asian) combined.

But it’s not just Volvo that understands the value of a simple brand position.

FOX is on the right. MSNBC is on the left. CNN is firmly in the middle. Where are you?

New York is “The Big Apple.” Chicago is solidly Midwestern. Los Angeles is movies, Las Vegas is sin. Miami is hip. What are you?

Its-So-Miami

Apple built their brand on the da Vinci line, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication,” and it’s driven their product philosophy ever since, most recently resulting in one single button controlling your iPhone or iPad. Despite the outcry from Blackberry users, Apple’s iPhone does not have a raised keyboard.

On Friday night the board of the IASB was very generous and invited Gloria and me to their annual gala to see the great bluesman Keb’ Mo’. He played a wonderful song titled “Keep It Simple.”

 

Here’s what Mr. Mo’ sang:

“Two cars, three kids, six phones; a whole lot of confusion up here in my home.

500 stations on the TV screen, 500 versions of the same ol’ thing.

Y’all know it’s crazy, and it’s drivin’ me insane.

Well, I don’t wanna be a superman, I just wanna go somewhere, use my hands.

And keep it simple.

I called my doctor on the telephone; the lines were open, but there was nobody home.

Press one, press two, press pound, press three; why can’t somebody just pick up the phone and talk to me?

Well I went down to the local coffee store; the menu went from the ceiling all the way down to the floor.

Decaf, cappuccino, or latte said the cashier; I said gimme a small cup of coffee and let me get the hell up outta here.

Y’all know it’s crazy, and it’s drivin’ me insane.

Well now I don’t wanna be a superman, I just wanna go somewhere, use my hands.

And keep it simple, real simple.”

Thoreau famously wrote, “Simplify, simplify.” But maybe if he had heard Keb’ Mo’s song, he would’ve cut his credo in half to just “Simplify.”

Posted on April 22nd, 2013


It’s 2012. Where Is My Jet Pack?

(13 Comments)

The other day Peter Shankman tweeted, “After 16 hours of travel, I just really need to ask: It’s 2012. Where the hell is my personal jet pack?” That got me thinking, “Yeah! Where the hell IS my personal jet pack?”

We’ve pretty much gotten everything else we were promised: Dick Tracy’s two-way wrist radio? Got it. It’s called a smartphone. The instant meal machine Rosie used to make dinner for the Jetsons? Got that too. It’s called a microwave oven. Why they’re even cloning bladders, tracheae, and ears in Petri dishes for Pete’s sake. But as far as I can tell, no one’s got my jet pack yet.

Yeah, the Air Force drags an old jet pack out every other Fourth of July and flies it around a football field somewhere in the heartland, but that one costs nearly a million bucks and only goes about 50 feet or so. And I’ve recently seen a water-based pack that sucks lake water into a pipe and forces it back out the bottom, shooting its wearer a few feet up in the air. But that invention requires a big lake and you get all wet and can’t fly it in an immaculate tuxedo like James Bond did anyway.

Think about what jet packs could do for us. Regardless of where you live, I’m pretty sure you’ve bitched about traffic within the last week. But if you had a jet pack, you wouldn’t give two hoots about traffic at all. Got parking woes? Lets face it, a jet pack takes up a whole lot less room than your Cadillac Escalade ESV (or your Toyota Prius, for that matter), and you could stash it anywhere. Gas mileage? While I don’t imagine my jet pack will be hybrid or solar powered, if we figure out the technology to make these things work, I’m sure we can figure out how to make them frugal. And zipping around with our jet packs on, we won’t be wasting gas idling in traffic or at red lights.

Don’t worry. I’m not entirely quixotic about my request. I know my jet pack won’t work when it rains and I know it’ll be ineffective when I’m traveling with my kids. It also won’t work when I have a lot of stuff to carry or when I need to tow the boat. But the rest of the time, I think a personal jet pack is exactly what we all need to get around quickly and easily.

So who can create these for us? Yesterday I needed to look up the gestation cycle of the Byzantine Fruit Fly and Google found the answer for me in less than .00002 seconds. If they can figure that out, I’m sure Larry and Serge have the smarts and the resources to get my jet pack done. I also needed to communicate with my agent who was vacationing in Athens, Greece and did that in real time right from my computer. The guys who figured out how to make that possible could certainly figure out how to make me a jet pack. And today I parked next to a beautiful new Tesla that was created by the same guy who created PayPal and SpaceX. Surely someone like Elon Musk, who could dream up those things while also serving as the model for Robert Downey Jr.’s character in Iron Man could build my pack, don’t you think?

Of course I’d want to brand my jet pack but truth is, I don’t care who makes it a reality. In a perfect world, I’d like Apple to be involved so it’ll look cool and I’d like Porsche to be involved so it’ll be fast. Volvo could help make it safe and Taco Bell could make it affordable. If Starbucks would repair them there’d be a service station on almost every corner and if Swatch helped out they could make sure everyone could get one. And Marriott could make sure jet packs worked the same way no matter where you were in the world. But I don’t really care whose logo is on my jet pack as long as it works, it’s reliable, and I can afford it.

Am I setting my sights too high? In today’s world of CAD/CAM (computer-aided design and manufacturing) it seems like anything that can be imagined can be created. Besides the examples I’ve already mentioned, our lives are chock-full of modern miracles — from the unbelievable capacity of tiny flash drives to contact lenses, to Saran Wrap, which Mel Brooks’ 2000-year old man says is “the greatest thing mankind ever devised.”

Have you seen those guys who jump off mountains with their flying squirrel suits on? They zip around the countryside with nothing more than some fabric stretched tightly between their arms and legs. I’m thinking we could sign a few of those yahoos up as our test pilots to make sure the jet packs work. After all, if those guys are gutsy enough to jump off mountains in skintight Slankets, they certainly won’t be afraid to try out our new jet packs.

If you want one too, maybe we could start a movement. Perhaps if we demonstrate significant market demand, some forward-thinking engineers will get started and build our jet packs already.

Franklin B. Adams wanted “a good five cent nickel,” Huey Lewis wants “a new drug,” and I want a personal jet pack. Is that too much to ask?

Posted on September 24th, 2012


Does Pretty Matter?

(5 Comments)

In his best seller Blink, Malcolm Gladwell writes about the veracity of the decisions we make quickly, arguing that millions of years of evolution have given us the perceptive skills we need to make instant choices, often without all the facts. One of his examples is a story about a museum that spent an enormous amount of money on a well-tested and professionally authenticated ancient statue only to have an expert question the providence of the piece after one quick glance.

Being a designer, I found that discussion extremely interesting because I often wonder the same thing. Is surface design — and the decisions made because of it — a shallow criteria or is it a true harbinger of much deeper meaning?

Nature seems to side with the second argument. The black/red/yellow pattern of a coral snake, for example, broadcasts the viper’s poisonous abilities, hence the nursery rhyme, “red on yellow, kill a fellow, red on black, friend of Jack.” Thorns, fangs, and claws all look dangerous and remind us to stay away. And evolution has graced some less dangerous creatures, such as the small emperor moth, with features designed to make them look much more formidable than they actually are — in the moth’s case, spots across delicate wings that resemble the eyes of the fiercest owl.

Politics, too, thrives on decisions made based on surface image. The 1960 presidential debate between Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy is an oft-quoted example. While most analysts say that radio listeners thought Nixon won the debate, Kennedy was declared the winner based on TV viewers. JFK’s youthful, vigorous, and handsome visage trumped the old school Nixon who was described as tired, puffy, and unshaven.

Regardless of their political affiliation, every president since Ronald Reagan has been tall and good-looking, including the two candidates for the current presidential race. And almost a century ago, the man widely declared to be one of the worst presidents in history, Warren Harding, was said to have won the race because he “looked presidential.”

Packaging has always been one of the key assets of marketing too, and up until recently the belief was that 80% of the purchase decision was made in-store when the consumer actually saw the product. Today, when more and more purchase decisions are made online, sites that are visually oriented and aesthetically pleasing outscore and outsell sites that are not.

Computerization has also made surface appeal more important. Because of modern design and manufacturing techniques, virtually all products function they way they should. Remember the days when TVs used to break? Picture tubes would blow, the gears inside dials (remember dials?) would strip, remote controls would fail. Today, thanks to computer design and digital signals, TVs work like they’re supposed to and consumers don’t feel the need to replace them very often. In order to stimulate sales, manufacturers had to create new features – flat screens and 3D TV – just to get their customers back into the stores.

Cars from Korea’s Kia used to be considered cheap and tinny transportation. But just as with televisions, computer-aided design and manufacturing changed the abilities and durability of the cars, bringing them into line with other, much more expensive automobiles. Kia telegraphed these changes with cutting-edge design and today their beautiful Sonata, Optima, and Rio are rocketing up the sales charts.

But the question remains. Are visuals reliable indicators of quality or just shallow eyewash? Would Ron Paul be a more successful candidate if he looked more like Mitt Romney instead of a ventriloquist’s dummy? Would Romney and Barack Obama have been as successful as they’ve been without their movie star looks? Would Apple have become the most valuable technology company on the planet without its steadfast commitment to design?

Miami, Milan, and Madrid have all built their businesses based on aesthetics. Audi, Kia, and Infiniti, too. So have Apple, Bose, and Bang & Olufsen. But does that mean their product offerings are better than the rest?

That’s a question deserving of a formidable debate. What I do know is that besides being an enjoyable end in and of itself, good design is a valuable business asset. Companies that invest in aesthetics and produce products and services that look and function better than the rest see the difference on their balance sheets. And consumers, often harried and time-starved, make purchase choices based on the snap decisions that have been honed by millions of years of evolutionary development.

Posted on May 16th, 2012


The App That Tells The Future

(9 Comments)

A while back I got into my car, flicked on the radio and realized that there just wasn’t anything for me to listen to. It seems that all of the stations were programming their music for — oh, it pains me to say it — much younger audiences. We Baby Boomers were once defined by radio, but have we become irrelevant to the broadcast industry?

Flash forward — there’s an app for that, a free iPhone app called, appropriately enough, Boomer Radio. It was created by a couple of Boomers who decided that their generation needed a single place to go for the music that we grew up with (oldies and rock & roll), plus the genres we’ve embraced as adults (smooth jazz, acoustic rock, etc.).

The Boomer Radio folks believe that other media outlets don’t appreciate that there are more than 80 million of us Baby Boomers and that we control more than three-quarters of all wealth in the U.S. And what Boomer Radio also knows, but no other media outlet seems to understand, is that over the next 10 years, Baby Boomers will inherit more than 8.4 trillion dollars, the largest transfer of wealth in the history of the world.

That breaks down to $300,000 each for 70% of all Boomers, 10% of who will inherit more than a million and a half dollars. And when you consider that this is an audience that has the lowest savings rates in history, it begs the obvious questions: Will Boomers see their windfall as a second chance and squirrel the money away? Will they use the cash to pay off their debts and start clean? Or will they see the new income as an unexpected gift and continue with their profligate ways? Only time will tell.

But with all due respect to the economists and legislators who are spending a lot of time sussing this out, I believe it truly doesn’t matter. Because regardless of what Boomers decide to do with their money as a cohort, there’s going to be an awful lot of cash flying around. And than means opportunities.

Boomer Radio is busy figuring out how to be the go-to media source for these newly flush Boomers looking for the music they grew up with. Chris Crowley and the Younger Next Year book series folks are working hard to be the go-to information and inspiration source for Boomers who aren’t willing to go gently into the good night. Olay is creating skin care products and messaging for Boomers who are not willing to “age gracefully.”

Apple has added a setting to their iPhone to increase text size for Boomer’s failing eyes (Interested? You can find it at Setting > General > Accessibility > Large Text. You’re welcome). Ford has designed a new Taurus with SUV-like seat heights for Boomers who have trouble fitting themselves into low-slung cars but don’t want to buy trucks. And hearing aid manufacturers are designing devices that look like Bluetooth earpieces for hard-of-hearing Boomers who are too vain to accept traditional looking equipment.

BRP has created the three-wheeled Can-Am Spyder Roadster for consumers who want their open air motorcycling served up with a little more stability. Porsche has created the Cayenne SUV and Panamera sedan for drivers who want their performance with a side order of comfort. And even Ferrari has thrown their Borsalino hat into the Boomer-accommodation ring, releasing their first-ever station wagon, the FF (no, really!).

The Baby Boom is really going to explode as the largest, most narcissistic population ever finds itself suddenly flush with cash and continues on its self-centered journey for self-expression and hedonistic experiences. And companies all over the world, from real estate developers to restaurants to cruise lines to banks and investment houses are going to trip all over themselves trying to service this free-spending audience.

For best practices tomorrow, they should upload the Boomer Radio app today. Besides listening to some of the greatest music ever created, they can keep an eye on how the media company is positioning themselves because Boomer Radio has seen the future and it is us.

Posted on April 24th, 2012