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Connecting the dots.

Essays about how we communicate and why it matters.

Cultural Context and The Rise of Instant Brands


Posted on Wednesday, August 16, 2017 by Shelley Cowan

Baby Boomers first experienced the promise of instant delivery in the 60s, when Polaroid introduced its Swinger to the mass market. The notion of instant expanded from there, as one professional sport after another adopted instant replay to settle disputes and camera manufacturers offered digital images in place of film.  ..

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Crossing in Droves


Posted on Saturday, November 28, 2015 by Shelley Cowan

As I watched the fear generated by the attacks in Paris morph into fear of Syrian refugees in America, I was curious to know more about Americans’ reactions to immigration over the years.  ..

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Core Strength


Posted on Wednesday, June 17, 2015 by Shelley Cowan

Earlier this spring, we drove to Milwaukee to see Hal Holbrook in his one-man performance of Mark Twain Tonight, a series of dramatic recitations from the writings of Samuel Langhorne Clemens, aka Mark Twain. ..

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Customer Service and Michael Moore


Posted on Sunday, July 13, 2014 by Shelley Cowan

Twenty years ago, filmmaker Michael Moore launched a show called TV Nation. I vividly remember the CEO Challenge episode. He stood outside of corporate headquarters and called for CEOs to perform tasks appropriate to the products they sold.  ..

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Another Polar Vortex? Time to reread The Tempest.


Posted on Monday, February 24, 2014 by Shelley Cowan

It’s been quite a year: Record cold, snow and ice throughout the eastern U.S. California faces catastrophic drought; southern England was battered by wind and rain; volcanoes devastated Indonesia. And high above the earth, clear air turbulence played havoc with jet planes.  ..

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Speed to Market


Posted on Sunday, November 11, 2012 by Shelley Cowan

Speed to Market requires an idea that’s been vetted and an organization that is set up to deliver. The best companies employ a full regimen of tools and processes to make it happen – best practices for generating ideas, assessing competition, estimating sales, testing messages and managing the work, just to name a few. ..

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A guy walks into a bar


Posted on Sunday, April 15, 2012 by Shelley Cowan

When we sat down, two men at the bar were talking about Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and the Three-Fifths Compromise that made it possible for the U.S. Constitution to become ratified. I know this because I was right next to them and they were very loud. ..

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Information Overload


Posted on Thursday, March 01, 2012 by Shelley Cowan

I am still unwinding my brain from the Information Overload Research Group (IORG) ‘un-conference’ in San Francisco last week.  ..

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