Jennifer B. Davis
Usually, people complain when their rooms are too cold, but not visitors to Sweden's ICEHOTEL. Here they take temperature to an extreme and make it a dominant feature of the hotel.

The hotel is built entirely out of a ice, down to the plates and glasses. I have friends who have been. I have friends who want to go and have brainstormed how to make an ice glass for their Pepsi just to mimic the experience.

I, for one, hate being cold. It would be incredible to see, but I don't think I would even think about staying there. Brrr....

I wonder if there is any other feature of a hotel (rather than the dirty bedspread and the broken ice machine in the hall) upon which hoteliers might differentiate a destination hotel. What if every room had a walk-in mini-bar appropriate for entertaining? What if the room service menu included take-out from 30 area restaurants? What if the bathrooms were larger than the sleeping rooms and included Japanese soaking tubs, a steam shower, and an extensive collection of aromatherapy lotions and bubble bath? Hmmm...
Jennifer B. Davis
We just bought a few bottles of Vignette Country Wine Soda at Whole Foods and it is delicious. Non-alcoholic. Light. No added sugar or evil corn syrup. Yum! Beautiful bottle label, as well. Right now there is no distribution in Oregon and I am wondering why a local wine maker or grape grower hasn't created a product like this for distribution at New Seasons, Whole Foods locally (aka Wild Oats), and even at wine shops. You can buy it online for nearly $3 a bottle plus shipping.

According to the LA Times:
The Pinot Noir soda tastes of cherries and violets; Chardonnay soda has hints of pear and green apple. Refreshing and not too sweet, they're showing up on restaurant beverage lists, but you can also pick them up at specialty food stores and delis.

We agree!

Jennifer B. Davis
If American Girl is a little too commercial for your taste, why not create your own "twin" doll for your child or yourself at MyTwinn.

They'll even handpaint on freckles, birthmarks, or moles (don't want to leave out Cindy Crawford's twin, of course).

So, it does make me wonder...why can't you create your own action hero dolls if you can create your own baby dolls? Pick your hair style, your super hero costume, and the name that should be printed on the packaging. How cool would that be?

Jennifer B. Davis
If the Luna or Clif bars are getting too boring, why not create your own YouBar? You select the base, sweeteners, grains, add things like fruits, protein powder, nuts and seasonings, top if off with chocolate (or not) and voila! You can even name your bar (which is one of my favorite parts) and have it printed right on the label.

If tea time is more your speed, now you can create your own custom tea from BlendsForFriends. The custom printed labels and the pretty packaging makes them a fun gift. The site asks a bunch of survey questions to make tea recommendations. Too bad they sell in Euros (which makes this site pretty darn expensive for US-based customers...but a business opportunity for a local tea house who wanted to webify).
Jennifer B. Davis
For those of you who like customized products and want to doze off into dreamland, here are a few links to check out.

PHD Mountain lets you create your own sleeping bag, selecting everything from the shape and fill weight to the color.

If you'd rather sleep inside, you can design your own duvet cover at inmod. You could always get one made for you at Calico Corners, but it fun to design it online picking your fabric style and color, plus an embroidered pattern and thread color.

Looking for bedding in smaller sizes, try Fill In The Blankie for personalized baby blankets. We have bought from Grandma Mitchell's and have been really happy (other than the fact that she does it old school and only takes checks).
Jennifer B. Davis
As regular readers of this blog know, some of my favorite things in the world are customizable and personalized products.

I read this week that Lillian Vernon was going into bankruptcy. I remember getting her catalogs as a kid and loving that so many items could be painted or stitched with a name or greeting. It seemed really innovative at the time. My sister had an unusual name (with an unusual spelling) and she never could find her name among the personalized pencils, necklaces, or mini license plates at the retail stores. I could never find mine either, because as an insanely popular name, "Jennifer" was always sold out. Perhaps this is why I love customized products so much!
Jennifer B. Davis
There are a number of folks I know who are actively looking for a new job. I have heard about a number of new tools and sites that might be worth checking out. If you also think of HR staffing as a marketing job (ie, finding prospects, convincing them to apply, educating them, etc), these might also be inspirations for other types of recruitment efforts.

Finding a Position

There are always and the local newspaper (yawn!). There are jobs available from your network on LinkedIn. There are some categories of jobs posted on TheLadders, SixFigureJobs, and NotchUp, where you get paid to interview and have to be invited (send me your email). Better yet, just tell your friends, former colleagues, or even your boss that you are looking for a new challenge and, as they say, let the universe raise up the resources you need.

If a picture is worth a thousand words...what about a video?

My Mom tells me that when she graduated from college, she got professional pictures taken to attach to every resume she sent out. These were the days before paralyzing political correctness and apparently employers wanted to see your pearly whites before they gave you a call. Now, technology is enabling the same sort of thing, but even more so. Beyond the pictures on Plaxo or your Facebook page, prospective employees, can post there video resumes several places (including VideoJobShop or CareerTours) or post taped responses to interview questions at HireVue. Now, before you rush out to do a video resume, read this helpful article from Dice.

Conversely, employers can now post videos to VideoJobShop or CareerTours describing the work and benefits they offer (something that many people have done on their own career/jobs pages for a while). They can create more rich-media job listings at StandoutJobs. I would highly recommend HR professionals and recruiters read this article from Penelope Trunk before taping their videos. You might include some things like a commercial for the hiring manager, an action movie style trailer of career path options at your company, and find ways to get your videos out on the web in more places.

Profiles and Resumes

So, let's say you are old school and don't want to record an amateurish video resume. There are lots of places that you can go to create profiles, post resume highlights or details, and actively network with potential employers. These include some of my favorites like LinkedIn (my profile is at, FaceBook, MySpace, and other social networks (TechCrunch has a list that I think is over 40 different companies that allow you to build your own social network if you haven't found one you like).

You can create/update your automatically generated profile at ZoomInfo. People search sites are becoming more and more popular with folks link Wink, Spock, and, who claims to be the world's largest people directory (they tap into FaceBook data). There are other ideas on how to get your name "out there" on this previous post.

You could always write an ebook on a topic that you consider yourself an expert (or at least better than average) and start your own viral marketing campaign.

Doin' Your Homework

So, now you can find compensation profiles for positions you might be considering at PayScale, SalaryScout, or PayScale has a new service called GigZig which tracks the career paths of folks applying for or getting the jobs that you might be interested in. Very interesting, especially if you want to tune your resume to the sweet spot of the position or highlight something that may set you apart from the masses. What is telling is that in most of the searches I did for CEO positions, the most popular title held 5 years ago was also a CEO. The more specific the title (ie, Vice President of Marketing and Communications versus the more generic VP of Marketing) made it harder to create a path to senior level positions. This might be a data tabulation problem or a larger issue on career diversification and specialization.

Even more research should be done before you head out on your entrepreneurial own.

Your Dream Job

If you are considering a change, you might want to read this article by Brian Kurth, author of Test Drive Your Dream Job and founder of Vocation Vacations. Has some great ideas to expand the range of things you might be thinking about. I have long thought that most people wait for permission to get the "dream job" they want, when indeed more things are within a person's own control than they might realize.
Jennifer B. Davis
Generally product designers, especially those with coveted retail shelf space don't like to redesign their packaging very often. But, Pepsi is doing a limited edition can (by jKaczmarek by BBDO NY and Design Works) that I thought was cool. It is interesting for several reasons including that it doesn't have any words (no "new and improved" or "now, with 20% more" on this packaging).

Made me think if other product designers should take packaging inspiration from this and think about limited editions, where the only thing limited is the packaging. This might be great for seasonal or holiday-based promotions.
Jennifer B. Davis
Apparently, the Portland Trailblazer Brandon Roy benefited from an all out marketing blitz to get on the All-Star team. The marketing team sent out dozens of iPods pre-loaded with a highlight reel and a "vote for me" message. They called them iRoys.

Now, with the price of the Shuffle coming down, now you too have have your own iPod campaign. You can even call it the iYou, if you want (my apologies to the legal department at Apple).

Jennifer B. Davis
I ran across an interesting post today about charging overweight people who smoke more for their health insurance. A provocative concept, to be sure.

This is what car companies have done for years. Why not other types of insurance or other industries.

There is risk inherent in any business that might be mitigated through pricing strategies. The total cost of goods sold for most companies includes not only the cost of the physical item they are selling, but also the warranty expenses (which can make or break the profitability of the business in certain categories). What if customers who showed a lower risk for needing technical support in the future (by either their historic return rates, technical proficiency as measured in some test, or some other measure), would get a deal on their purchases of products? I bet the test alone would encourage people to try to fit it themselves a little more aggressively.

Taking it a step further and bundling services with products based on this model. What if car insurance was bundled in the price of the car? The safer the car, the less the insurance.

The next natural step is to turn risk-profile based pricing into use pricing. You pay for the car and the insurance by the mile that you drive, for instance.
Jennifer B. Davis
TechCrunch wrote about Evernote. It sounds like a pretty cool application. Take pictures with your cell phone or other sources and search later.

Reminds me of that Microsoft researcher, Gordon Bell, that committed his whole life to digital record. I guess Evernote might be a way for you to do that too!
Jennifer B. Davis

It appears that Yahoo, Inc. has enacted some new severance policies (which seem very ambigous and open to wide interpretation). For instance, they allow people severance if they quit for "good reason," whatever that means. I can't help but think that this might bite struggling Yahoo, if Microsoft loses interest in their take-over bid.

I am not often sympathetic with Microsoft (as they are big boys with lots of cash and power), but as someone who has done M&A work, I feel for them. They make a public bid for Yahoo, see the value of their company drop $4 BILLION dollars in market cap (in a deal that is in part based on stock), and then see the forecasted costs of integration climb as Yahoo does stunts like this. In addition, Yahoo has lost some of their senior engineers in the past week (when Bill Gates goes on record saying that is the value that they are buying). Microsoft meanwhile hires a firm to oust the Yahoo board and appeal to shareholders directly.

People say that buying a company (especially a company dependent on intellectual property) is like buying a greenhouse. The conditions are sensitive and the actions must be delicate to keep the conditions right for growing stuff. In this case, Microsoft is messing with the thermostat and Yahoo is breaking the greenhouse windows from the inside. I fear that the plants are going to die.

Jennifer B. Davis
I have started to tweet on Twitter. Search for JenniferDavis and follow along. Finding it a challenge to capture a thought in 140 characters, but like the discipline (and the fact that you have to be more poetic and make each character count).
Jennifer B. Davis
Great post today from a former classmate of mine and now freelance writer, Jennifer Jeffrey on the importance of journalists, editors, and cultural commentators taking the time to connect the dots, even within their own publications. Apparently these guys (who each independently made a good point) needed to have the dots numbered for them like those activity puzzles you did as a kid. Otherwise, they missed the connection!

I too often find irony and insight in adjacent articles, blog posts, or tweets (for those of you not familiar, those are those micro-posts on Twitter). Some of my favorite bloggers do the same. I guess that makes me a synthesizer of sorts. I guess the thought process more closely resembles the dot-and-blocks game you might have played, where the dots are not numbered, but you try to create meaning out of the field of dots. The one with the most blocks wins!

Note: This is probably why I always feel so horribly behind with my blog posts.

Jennifer B. Davis
As many of you know, I was an early fan of a company called Reflect that allowed you to "formulate" your own cosmetics online. One of their concepts was a personalize the packaging with words that you specify. Now Clinique goes one better. You can order a customized gift package of their popular Happy perfume with your uploaded photo. Too bad they don't let you mix your own perfume for a truly one-of-a-kind gift.
Jennifer B. Davis
Kristi referred me to this online survey to determine which world religion most closely resembles your theological understanding. She was a Quaker. I was a Mormon or a mainline Christian, whatever that means. If only it would identify demoninational affiliations as well, then it might be really useful for church selection purposes.

Actually, a church with an active community outreach should design something like this as a way to reach seekers. At the risk of sounding cynical and irreverant (not my intention), this might be a great online "marketing" tool for a church.
Jennifer B. Davis
If everything seems under control, you're not going fast enough - Mario Andretti
Jennifer B. Davis
Hema is a Dutch department store. The first store opened on November 4, 1926, in Amsterdam. Now, they have 150 stores all over the Netherlands, Belgium , Luxemburg, and Germany. Take a look at HEMA's product page. You can't order anything, it's in Dutch, and it requires a little patience, but it it worth the wait.
Jennifer B. Davis