At some point you have to build a real business, generate real profits, sustain the company without the largess of investor’s capital, and start producing value the old fashioned way.

Burn Baby Burn via AVC

Yep, it is happening in the B2B SaaS sector as well and eventually there are no safety nets for these companies because they spent themselves out of existence.  But what is driving founders to push the pedal and spend like no tomorrow?  While Fred and Bill are not targeting valuations as the cause, in a frothy funding environment, entrepreneurs are under the belief (egged on by plenty of investors) that the money train will continue to roll on.  It is the growth at all cost theory, and well, I remember that did not play out too well the first time we did this in tech fifteen years back.

Everyone is under the impression that it is raining money.  That certainly is the case now, but nothing to bet the farm on long-term.  I know it may sound all fuddy-duddy, but turning a profit and running a cash flow positive business is a good thing.

And one thing about sales & marketing. Achieving massive scale by blowing it out on sales & marketing is certainly one way to win a market.  But you can also be much more intelligent about the process and executing with purpose and precision.  That is what is going to win, more so than playing someone else’s game when they turn on the sales & marketing spigot.


Custom Ultra-Limited PS4 Air Jordans Cost $950

The recent resurgence of sneaker culture is at an all time high. And it’s not just because folks are once again lining up in droves for Nike’s coveted retro releases. There’s a new excitement building and it’s being brought to the community by buyers who create custom pieces. The “JRDN 4 X PS4″ is an amazing custom that combines the classic Air Jordan 4 silhouette with design influences from Sony’s PlayStation 4 . The creative mind behind this custom pair of “jays” is Jonny Barry from FreakerSNEAKS.

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All 66 Mac vs. PC ads.

These really were well-scripted and good fun.

A fantastic campaign.

Nine ways women are changing African markets

The African female consumer has long been mischaracterised and overlooked by marketers across the continent. But now, with women continuing to emerge as powerful decision-makers and consumers - they are changing the face of the African market.

**Where applicable data and sources have been included.

#1: The main market

Africa is home to some of the fastest growing economies in the world, and women are playing a big role in accelerating this growth. According to the World Bank, roughly two thirds of African women are now working in either formal or informal sectors. In some countries, like Kenya, women make up a little more than half of all entrepreneurs.

With women starting to dominate the market, brands should keep up by focusing their efforts on the female consumer.

*New York Times, “Women Entrepreneurs Drive Economic Growth in Africa” 10 Oct. 2012 

#2: The new decision makers

With more and more African women entering the workforce, their earning and purchasing potential makes them very important consumers to target. Globally, women constitute about 70% of all consumer spending*.

The growing middle class of African females will buy an ever-increasing number of goods from mobile phones, to cars, entertainment, homes and education.

*Bloomberg, “Women Controlling Consumer Spending Sparse among Central Bankers,” 25 Jul 2011

#3: Amongst the most tech-savvy

Upwardly mobile women need to save time and stay connected; and technology is a central facet to almost every woman’s life. Overall, Africans are willing to spend more money relative to their income on technology than Europeans and Americans.

Demand for tech products like smartphones, household appliances and cars is expected to drive the African consumer market to a value of $1 trillion by 2020*. Brands must capitalise on how central technology is in women’s lives.

*Media Club South Africa, “Middle Class Africa: Meet the new African consumer,” 21 Feb 2014 

#4: Re-defining traditional African values

Women are re-defining for themselves what it means to be an African woman. While many women describe their values as being rooted in more traditional beliefs, such as the importance of being a loyal community member, they are also striving for more independence and acknowledgement for their skills.

This creates a big challenge for brands: connecting where she is with where she wants to be.

“Good parents give their children roots and wings. Roots to know where home is, wings to fly away and exercise what’s been taught to them.” - Nigerian Grass, 30.

Ed’s note: Read the rest of the 9 ways…

I really fundamentally dislike Coke Life.

Because it’s a cop-out. It’s not low-calorie: whoever thought that “two thirds of the calories” could be a USP? It’s not natural: it’s a Coke. Its label isn’t even all that green.

Perhaps I dislike it because it’s just bad marketing - and, you know, not
that I see marketing as such a force for good in this world that I’d like all of it to be ultra-effective. But I’d like it at least to try. I don’t believe Coke Life does.

It is indeed exactly a “Fitter, Happier, More Productive” view of health - which is to say “A pig. In a cage. On antibiotics.”

Or maybe it’s just American.

Three women go on a diet. The Brit says, “Oh well, guess I can’t eat cake for a while.” The French woman says “Bof! I have been reading all these informative books about how ‘French Women Don’t Get Fat’. I will eat a very small slice of rather expensive cake, washed down with some champagne, naturellement - then smoke a Gitane & skip lunch.” The American says: “Geez you guys, it’s not that hard! Just eat diet cake.”

Coke Life is diet cake.

Health is a funny thing in media culture at the moment.

There are some truly amazing things going on. The Health At Every Size movement, first up. I think our knowledge of diet and metabolism is making great strides, with hormones & psychology coming to replace an oversimplified calories in / calories out model. We’re understanding behaviour better, with technologies such as fitness trackers helping people achieve their goals where willpower alone was struggling. And there’s a new narrative of female strength, and positive messages such as go viral.

Lots of so-so stuff too, of course, such as the normative nature of fitspiration, continued body part objectification, and a continued moral fixation with discipline and perfection rather than, say, humanity, pleasure or balance.

But overall scientific reason - so long so dualist - is finally providing theories that reconnect body and mind. (Many traditions knew that all along, of course - not least Buddhist meditation, seeing a revival under the guise of ‘mindfulness’).

So overall I am hopeful for health. I think we’re getting somewhere.

And then Coke Life comes along, with a mealy-mouthed compromise model that just doesn’t seem to get this. Mark Ritson said as much in Marketing Week: “Consumers who opt for a more natural beverage are, by definition, going to switch categories to find it.” Quite.

As he puts it, "Wedgwood has remained the leading brand of fine china for more than 200 years. Its problem isn’t brand equity but rather the almost total collapse of the fine china category it resides within. …That, unfortunately, will eventually become the fate of both Coke and Pepsi."


Photo: @asophism.
Lyrics: Radiohead