28 December 2011

Microsoft: 2012

This’ll be a long one – the last of the year.  Let’s get all the disclaimers, caveats, and transparencies out of the way:

  • Back in the Middle-Ages (around 1998) I did a bit of freelance copywriting/consulting for Microsoft.  It had something to do with this, and whatever I did has vanished into the ethereal unity.
  • I’ve applauded and bashed Microsoft in various posts over the last five years. Here’s one.  Here’s another one.  There are more.
  • imageAn “in-law” relative works for Microsoft.
  • I never received my shiny, new, free laptop.
  • I recently installed Windows 7 on my desktop and like it.
  • I recently purchased a Windows 7 Phone and like it.

From CNET:

Microsoft: Five things to look for in 2012
by Jay Greene
image… Microsoft is prepping the big kahuna of its product arsenal, Windows 8. The company hasn't set a date, though most analysts expect the flagship operating system to debut before the end of the year, and perhaps in time for back-to-school shopping. From that product, much else from Redmond flows.

I’ve had a lot (probably too much) to say about smartphones & tablets & Baby Boomers.  Some of the too much:

imageThe Slippery Finger Dance

The Obligatory iPad Post

The Obligatory Follow-Up iPad (and Smartphone and QR Codes) Post

Baby Boomers & Smartphones
The real issue: Marketers assuming that if you're over fifty you're automatically a member of one and only one age demographic - all with the same needs and wants.

So for now, forget about online advertising and marketing and let’s talk about selling smartphones and tablets.

Most Boomers in business have been using Microsoft products for twenty-five years.  Some stuck with Apple, especially in the advertising/media biz because Macs were better at all the graphic stuff – or was for years. 

But in offices around the world?  Windows and Office rules. 

Baby Boomers want to keep on working.  They also want to have fun.  Repeating for the umpteenth time:

imageThe computer/internet ethos for most Baby Boomers is that they pick and choose what technology they want to use, buy, or install. Some are all over Skype, video and music uploading and downloading, research, education, travel planning, shopping—while eschewing blogging, communities, and web page design. Or it’s the other way around. Or variations thereof. When it comes to new technology, most Baby Boomers learn only about what interests them, what they believe will be useful. They don’t feel the need to know everything there is to know about technology, computers, and the web.

… It will be the Baby Boomers who will be the first to pick and choose, to ignore or be seduced by leading-edge technology marketing. There’s a simple reason for this. We have the money to buy this stuff. Experts say we’ll continue to have the money for at least the next twenty years. Write us off at your own peril.

We’re not Luddites.

In 2012, Microsoft wants to make more than a dent in the symbiotic smartphone, tablet, and computer markets.  It can be done.  Their smartphone OS (Mango at the moment) is top notch, and a compatible tablet is coming (Windows 8). 

And we won’t be retiring.  We’ll be working, millions starting our own businesses

imageThis is perfect positioning for the new Microsoft offerings: Fun and productive technology for Baby Boomers.

Unfortunately, NostraChuckus’ Crystal Ball of Common Sense is a bit hazy, not projecting any clear images depicting the marketing department at Microsoft having or not having a clue about any of this. 

And even if they did, would they know what to do about it?  How to do it?

20 December 2011

Entrepreneurs & Baby Boomers V

I keep getting interrupted.  This staggered series of posts about entrepreneurs was supposed to be maybe three or four entries – but interesting things are always popping up.

imageThe 60-Something Entrepreneur: Can a Start-Up Pay for Retirement?
Americans ages 55 to 64 started some 10,000 businesses a month in 2007-08, more than any other age group…

imageNot sure about the silly picture (that’s a pretty big board and recording studio for a ‘home business’ – which is what the piece is mostly about) but the points in the article are pretty good ones.

imageThe case for old entrepreneurs
In 2008, I led a research team in exploring the backgrounds of 652 U.S.-born chief executive officers and heads of product development in 502 successful engineering and technology companies established from 1995 to 2005. These were companies with real revenue -- not just the start-ups founded by the college dropouts that some venture capitalists like to fund. We learned that the average and median age of successful founders was 39. Twice as many founders were older than 50 as were younger than 25. And there were twice as many over 60 as under 20.

imageNot a big surprise for me.  I wrote a book in 2005 that was partially for entrepreneurial Baby Boomers.  NostraChuckus knew they were coming – even before the financial meltdown.

Baby boomers will be assets, not liabilities
By Chris Farrell
imageThe economy will eventually gain traction and the unemployment rate will come down. Many older workers will decide to go into business for themselves. For instance, 55- to 64-year-olds had the highest rate of entrepreneurship of any age group from 1996 and 2010, according to the Kaufmann Foundation … The bottom line: It's time to change the conversation about aging boomers from the decline and fall of the economy to a focus on boomer productivity and creativity…

I can’t even link to all the excerpts from my book – along  with blog posts over the years about this.  Just one:

The Creative Art Of Growing Old
When does creativity peak? The second-act aces make a case for middle to late age. Take a look at some of the people who have not simply performed well but done their best work in their later years.

Last but not least …

Wish I had been there:

The Rise of the Grey Market
imageThe theme contemplated in this session is the enormous opportunity and challenge created by the aging demographics of the United States and Europe. What are the trends that define this opportunity? What industries are affected by it? Who stands to win, and who stands to lose? Who is at the forefront of creating solutions to address this market, and who is investing in them?

Entrepreneurs & Baby Boomers I

Entrepreneurs & Baby Boomers II

Entrepreneurs & Baby Boomers III
Entrepreneurs & Baby Boomers IV

12 December 2011

Holiday Ornaments

XmasTreeJust a few baubles to hang on your tree:

imageBaby boomers seek green gifts
Written by Theresa Keegan For The Poughkeepsie Journal
“The majority of our customers are the boomer age and are more aware of things like green gifts and fair trade,” said Norbert Lazar, co-owner of the Phantom Gardener.

Two posts from February:

Green GrandBoomers in Toyland
"I think that the success of our company, shows that there is clearly a wide segment of the population that will pay a little more for environmentally friendly toys," said von Goeben, whose toys cost roughly a third more than comparable playthings made from conventional materials.

Green Boomers Redux
Baby Boomers have been influencing society since the 1960s when they planted the seeds of the modern day green movement when as idealistic youths, gathered to celebrate the first Earth Day, in 1970…

imageimageHuffington Post Senior Writer Ann Brenoff cracked me up with some of her non-ideas for presents this year:

Holiday Gifts Post50s Don't Want
This is the time of year when we scratch our heads and try to figure out what to give our friends and loved ones for the holidays. I thought I would make it easy and tell you precisely what not to get the boomers on your list -- especially if I'm one of them.

A copy of "Internet for Dummies."

No kidding.  From my book ©2005:


Anything cruise-related.

Again, from my book:



imageimageThe Wall Street Journal was smart kind enough to pick up my blog posting about a great gift for Marketing and Advertising Folk.

gbCongrats to Gill Walker and Evergreen Advertising & Marketing in Australia for two International Generations Awards! Gill also contributed a rollicking tale in the book profiled above.  

imageMore parents helping kids buy homes
One in five baby boomer couples have already given at least one of their children the means to purchase a home -- either buying it outright, furnishing the down payment or co-signing the loan, according to a survey from Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate.

imageimageAnd everyone is picking the top 10, top 100 books of the year.  Here’s one I’ve yet to read, but it gets my nod for funniest title of 2011:

imageBeverly Mahone is a veteran journalist and baby boomer who has spent more than 30 years in radio and television broadcasting.  She says her book was written to help fellow boomers who are transitioning from corporate America into their own businesses or entrepreneurship.


04 December 2011

David B. Wolfe ( - 2011)

Please follow this link:

DBW2In Memoriam: David B. Wolfe, author, thought leader and a friend for the ages 
by Brent Green

I met Mr. Wolfe in 2004.  We corresponded sporadically. I linked to his blog, he to mine. 

Below is an excerpt from Advertising to Baby Boomers (©2005, 2007):




29 November 2011

ADWEEK: Magazines Pull Back on Tablet Bells and Whistles

imageNostraChuckus is in a meandering mood today. Not really headed anywhere, he has no idea where he’ll end up, isn’t even sure of what mundane prognostication he might proclaim.

Our humdrum Soothsayer saw this a few days ago:

Will Baby Boomers kill the daily newspaper?
imageBy Paul Briand
At one time, the thought was that the daily printed daily newspaper would be around as long as Baby Boomers are around.

But industry experts say the tablet reader -- theApple  iPad and its ilk -- may indeed attract enough Baby Boomer readers as to help render the printed paper to dinosaur status at some point…

That’ll probably happen eventually. It’s not exactly new news – not even new in 2006:

Baby Boomers Burst Online
imageThree of five adults 55 years and older, known to be the heaviest consumers of offline media such as newspapers and TV network news, say they use the Internet more today than they did a year ago. This data is supported by Com Score Media Metrix research, which finds the number of online adults aged 55 and older grew by 20 percent to reach over 27 million in 2005.

OK, but there’s this:

Magazines Pull Back on Tablet Bells and Whistles
imageBy Lucia Moses
Publishers say their research shows having a tricked-out app isn’t the highest priority. “The number one benefit is to have a great reading experience reading the tablet,” says Steve Sachs, executive vice president of consumer marketing and sales at Time Inc.

Hmmm.  Sounds familiar.  I think NostraChuckus divined something like this a year and a half ago…

Foretellings (May 2010)
… The more people use smartphones (and tablets), the less they’ll tolerate silly graphical doodads mucking up their small  screens.

That silly retronym “traditional advertising” will remain the premiere force for introducing people to a product or service, along with sustaining its shelf life. Television, print, radio, and billboard ads will continue to have the visceral power they’ve always had – if only for their sheer size, simplicity, and cutting-edge audio/visual qualities.  Advertising on smartphones will be considered an annoyance, invasive, and rather dinky – while marketing (coupons on steroids, and more) will flourish and dominate.

More “sounds familiar” – Tablets, magazines, television, radio as a passive experience:

Positioning Magazines for Baby Boomers (April 2007)
There are active and passive parts of our day. Without getting into too much psychobabble, as you get older the passive side needs more nourishment. It’s not really passive. It’s focused absorption. At some point you have to climb out of your frenetic digital nest and concentrate on one thing. It might be reading a book, watching a TV show or movie, listening to music, looking out the window.

Or immersing yourself in a magazine.

This isn’t ‘down time’ (that would be sleeping), but nourishing your psyche by absorbing and not actively being involved in what you’re doing.

NostraChuckus has some new mundane predictions.  His Crystal Ball of Common Sense tells him that the business world is too hung up on the operating systems and branding of smartphones and tablets, that within the next five years there will be all sorts of smartphones and tablets in all shapes and sizes, all with different functions and capabilities. 

At first, folks carried around their iPads as status symbols.  Now, no one cares – so they’re left at home.  Tablets will become much bigger, lighter, and will be on your coffee table.  You’ll lie on the couch and pick it up, reading your favorite magazines, newspapers, or whatever.  A passive experience.  Simple, straightforward advertising will not be considered invasive. 

You will have the option of using your tablet as an active device – but most people will be ‘active’ on their computers and smartphones.