Archive for October, 2006
It takes a lot of work for a brand to make its way into my heart. I think this is the case for any consumer. To win favor, brands have to do a lot of things.
First and foremost, they must be consistent. More than that, they must be consistently cool, consistently quality and consistently distinctive. They have to stand out from the crowd based on merits rather than marketing. Brands have to stand the test of time because no one wants to waste money on junk. None of this is easy, especially in an age of growing commoditization.
But, this year, Logitech pulled it off with me.
I’ve been using Logitech peripherals off and on for the last five years. For most of that period, they were effective workhorses and while I had no rabid enthusiasm for the devices, they were “decent” in my estimation. The last year, though, something changed.
The keyboard and mouse sets got sexier. Their look and feel became more and more compatible with what I saw as ideal in such devices. When the time came to purchase a replacement speaker set for my Mac, Logitech was a name I was very comfortable including in my considerations.
After checking out some reviews, I not only ordered a 2.1 speaker set for the Mac but also a 5.1 set for my television and console needs. And here’s the crucial part:
Those speakers performed exactly as I expected based on previous experience with Logitech products. Their design was aesthetically pleasing, installation was easy and the quality of construction and workmanship was far in excess of my expectations.
And now, Logitech is in. Next time I have electronics needs, I’m checking in with Logitech first. I will do this because despite many opportunities to let me down, Logitech continues to impress me. This is why brand is important. Relationships are the ultimate arbiter of human action. In a world of enormous multinational corporations and fragmented, scattered markets, brands are the bridges that link the ideals of corporate visionaries with the needs and expectations of an ever-growing consumer base.
All that’s needed is that you do your job well. Every single time. A very difficult mandate. But a profitable one if you’ve got the vision to understand its rewards.
It’s gotta suck to be John Lithgow. This man dedicated himself, his life, his career to the craft of acting. No easy or simple task.
The job of an actor is an incredible challenge. In the early days, as you sharpen your skills, build your network and otherwise pay your dues, you toil very much in anonymity. You also toil in near-poverty, because that’s just how it goes. Further, it takes a lot for a man or woman to become entirely another person, to say nothing about becoming another person every week, every month or every season. I can’t imagine the creativity, dedication and passion necessary to hone the blade of acting to the sort of precision that can shred an audience’s uncertainties, their fears, their reserve. The precision that can evoke joy, laughter, tears, compassion, exhilliration. It is an effort of years, of decades, to deliver an unparalleled form of art.
It is through such a crucible that John Lithgow passed. This is a man with two Oscar noms, a lengthy film resume and a theater pedigree. He spent the 90′s riding high with a popular NBC sitcom. He lived the dream and lived it well.
And now he sells fucking soup on television.
Now, don’t get me wrong: When you juxtapose the beginning of the standard actor’s journey — the waiting tables, the living on couches, the praying for a break, just one break! — against the simple work of being paid a few million dollars to do some 30 second spots for Campbell’s, yeah, endorsement seems like a sweet deal.
But the point here is that Lithgow isn’t the starving artist anymore. He has spent a career forging a blade of talent and experience that few young actors will ever have the fortune of matching.
And yet, he squanders it. On a few cans of chicken noodle.
Poor John Lithgow.
Nonetheless, I decided in August that I would drink from Gillette’s cup and learn what awaited me with a Fusion shave…
Every man who has ever been in public while in the company of other trusted men has played some variant of the “Accept or Decline” game. This goes for women, too. The game is dead-simple. The first man points out a woman across the room and then asks the second man, “Accept or Decline?”