Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Three Good Reads

A brilliant Fortune mag cover story on what makes Target stores tick. An illuminating profile of cable yakker Chris Matthews in the New York Times magazine. And a fun, offbeat take on the tipping plague, from Canada's leading newsweekly, Maclean's. To review the inaugural installment of TGR, you can go here.

10 Comments:

At 11:51 AM, Blogger Art Durkee said...

The piece on Target was fascinating. I'm actually a fan: I'll go there to shop first, over all the others. Why? Partly because when I lived in the Twin Cities I just thought they had better goods at better prices; there were reliable.

This is interesting news. I'd love to be one of their cabinet of creatives. What a fun job that would be!

 
At 11:59 AM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Art, your reaction to this piece was similar to mine. I don't ordinarily put much thought into retailing, but I first learned about Target's devotion to design and just basically doing things differently (and better) at a meeting of graphic designers (AIGA) some years ago. This article did a great job of fleshing out how committed they are to innovation, and the lengths to which they go to stay ahead of competitors. The world could use a lot more companies such as this.

 
At 1:18 PM, Blogger Michelle O'Neil said...

Well, the tipping piece was very funny and I learned a new word,
"milquetoast."

Obviously written by someone like my husband who has never held a "service" job.

He's not a cheap tipper, but we have an unspoken agreement that I always add an extra dollar to the tip he put down. At least.

 
At 1:23 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

That is a great word, isn't it, Michelle? It both looks and sounds interesting. And you're certainly right about how having once worked in a job that relied on tips forever leaves its mark on you. That's how I mostly put myself through college, and you never forget being a server, although I admit it can also leave me all the more frustrated with a waiter/waitress who can't even fake the lowest level of service and friendliness. It's a little like teaching: you have to be able to put your game face on every day, and sometimes fake being upbeat when you're anything but. Anyway, thanks for visiting, as always.

 
At 8:13 PM, Blogger Don Iannone said...

John: Costa Rica was amazing. There is a link on my poetry site for some pictures. Let's setup a date for lunch...

 
At 10:55 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Welcome back, wise bard. I'll indeed be sure to follow through on the lunch plans.

 
At 11:19 PM, Blogger Art Durkee said...

Even when I was a pro graphic designer, I never joined AIGA; their dues are exorbitant. (Meaning, unless your company pays it for you, forget it.)

But I'm not surprised to hear that AIGA recognized Target as devoted to design and innovation. Target's in-store graphics have among the best for quite awhile: classy yet hip, fresh and lively yet not shouting in your face.

Well done.

 
At 10:29 AM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Art, would you say their graphic appeal is better than arch-competitor Wal-Mart? Just a joke, but it gets at a more serious point: their main competition in retailing sure does make it easy to stand out in that regard. But of course, that Fortune article is about way more than just design. It's about fresh, innovative management thinking and practices overall. And design is just one of many key components.

 
At 12:04 PM, Blogger Art Durkee said...

It does get at the point, which I agree is overall not just about the graphics, that quality really stands out. Quality remains exceptional in retail. I hope Target can sustain this. Meanwhile, obviously, if I had to choose which store to work for, you can pretty easily guess!

 
At 12:55 AM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

It would sure beat being a Wal-Mart greeter, no?

 

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