Category: Articles


If I was Barnes & Noble

The New York Times published a couple days ago a piece about Barnes & Noble. The title would set the mood: “The Bookstore’s Last Stand.” Well, that’s disheartening, specially when the focus of the story is about the nook (B&N’s response to the Kindle).

Really? The bookstore’s last stand is an e-book reader?

So, I started thinking: “What would I do if I was Barnes & Noble?” (or at least its CEO).

First of all, if I was Barnes & Noble, I would focus on the joy of reading a “live”, real book, instead of trying to catch the digital counterpart. Let me explain.

In that article I learned that B&N’s history goes back to 1873, before there were cars, the time when reading meant much more than today. Just imagine what a book did for a person at that time.

Funny thing is, books still have that magic. Specially paper books.

So, if I was Barnes & Noble I would use my budget to bring back the joy of reading a paper book. Imagine the possibilities. B&N could be the leader in the “offline” reading world: book clubs, dads reading to their kids, promoting the joy of turning the page and figuring out what’s next.

If I was B&N I would redesign my stores and make them more accessible for readers. I would put more tables, more chairs (confortable chairs). I would take off all hint of digital life (staring by turning off the free wi-fi) and make it a place to relax.

If I was B&N I would use my partnerships with the publishers to make readers feel special. I would do events, sure, but imagine that B&N hosted special readings with the authors’ true fans.

Why am I writing about B&N? Because I like them. I truly do. I spend at least 45 minutes there every time I visit (I have one within walking distance from where I live).

Sure, books may be cheaper at Amazon, and some of them are to be bought used (for which I’d recommend Better World Books), but for that feeling of walking through knowledge and world inspiration, B&N is the leader.

 

January 1st represents the start of a new cycle, an opportunity to recognize what we’ve been doing wrong and change it. A lot of people start diets, go to the gym and, in general, there’s a sense of optimism in the air.

With that in mind, here are my New Year resolutions for investors. I believe they will help you reduce your anxiety and have a more pleasant investment experience. Continue reading

The True Meaning of “Free”

Cell Phone

We marketers are a creative crowd. Through our work, we can inspire people to join a movement, make a candidate win or simply buy a product or service.

However, there are marketers that like to “stretch the truth” at their convenience. Oddly enough, they are the ones that usually have long disclaimers via “fine print” that just contribute to send the profession’s image even closer to the bottom. Please note, however, that I’m not talking about spammers, “multi-level” promoters or the like; I’m talking about the “geniuses” at companies like AT&T, Verizon or Sprint with their “FREE Smartphone**” or “Buy one Windows Phone, Get One Free**”. I’m also talking to the creators of the “FREE $50 Gift card with your purchase”** or “FREE financial plan” (when you buy high commission, high expense financial products from me). Continue reading

Mutual fund

Image via Wikipedia

The securities industry is probably one of the most regulated in the United States. There are clear rules on what can and can’t be said in order to prevent false or misleading communications with the public.

Given the recent positive performance in the overall market, mutual fund advertisements are coming back to main stream media and trade publications.

It is common to see funds that tote their “good management” that “fare well” even in “difficult times”.

It is also common to see funds claiming to have the most awards from Lipper, Mornignstar or other rating companies that -to simplify- arrange funds by performance in a number of timeframes. For example, you’ll see that a some companies will claim to have “the most 5 star funds”, while others will claim to have beaten their “Lipper categories”. Continue reading