The Grammar of Google: From Keywords to Conversations

Google’s somewhat muted announcement of a major upgrade to its search algorithm, named “Hummingbird,” is a much bigger deal than it looks, and much more of a milestone in our relationship to computing than we might think. So what’s going on here?

The Funny Language of Branding

As with all disciplines, brand strategy comes with its own set of largely agreed-upon vocabulary. From positioning to messaging, values and benefits, the conversation is guided by a set of understandings of the key elements of a successful brand program, and how they should be worded. But what are we really talking about?

BlackBerry’s Demise: The End of the Beginning of the Era of Mobile?

Finding my old Palm Pilot in a kitchen drawer led me to ponder how brands can fade away. Is BlackBerry, the formerly ubiquitous mobile business tool (and iconic case study for naming–thank you, Lexicon!), finally a victim of its own early popularity? It’s hard to say the word now without thinking of pleated khakis, PDAsContinue reading “BlackBerry’s Demise: The End of the Beginning of the Era of Mobile?”

Kana, Shoulda, Woulda…

I spent a large part of my limited free time last year in trying to teach myself the Japanese kana syllabaries. To unsophisticated Westerners like me, the angles, triangles, and hooks of the kana characters, especially in blazing neon above Shibuya, convey a sense of alien futurism, like sequences on a Martian spacecraft, despite theirContinue reading “Kana, Shoulda, Woulda…”

Online Discourse Strategy, Explained

My doctoral research at Berkeley was on online discourse strategies across multiple languages. The thesis, straightforward enough, is that the expediency factor is mitigated by the specific contexts of the languages themselves. The morphological and semantic constructs that provide a frame for our communication affect both our spoken and written (of which online is aContinue reading “Online Discourse Strategy, Explained”

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