What JCPenney's Failed Imitation Says About Retail—and Identity
In 2011, when the frumpy clothier JCPenney hired Ron Johnson as its new CEO, his mission was clear: Reinvent its retail presence in the image of Apple, where he'd spent the last decade designing iconic stores that became the source of its blockbuster sales. READ MORE >>
What happens to Mac fanatics when the brand bums them out?
In the history of commerce, only one corporation could fairly be compared to a major religion, in that it's amassed a devoted following and often is a source of public debate: Apple. But what happens to a group of believers when the object of their devotion disappoints them? READ MORE >>
The tech giant is treating Google like a political rival
When anyone bemoans the prevalence of negative advertising in political campaigns, there’s an easy reply: It works. That’s not always true in the corporate world. Just take Microsoft’s ongoing blitz of attacks on Google, which launched last Thanksgiving under the cutesy tagline “Scroogled!” READ MORE >>
What happens when the town hall goes digital?
Let no one fault local governments for hiding from the networked era. Nearly every official and government agency in a major metro area uses Facebook and Twitter, and some cities have hosted app development contests to get their citizens coming up with ways to use public data for good. Local electeds can even establish their popular bona fides simply through the assiduous use of social media. READ MORE >>
At what point does standing with the NRA become riskier than speaking out against it?
The National Rifle Association, though founded as a club for ex-military marksmen, now makes quite clear that it represents another true-blue American constituency: hunters. It's got a whole magazine for hunting, features hunting prominently on its website, and argues that stricter gun laws would simply kibosh a father's ability to take little Jimmy out shooting quail. READ MORE >>
Not by shaming or prosecuting users, for starters
Last week, France embarked on a new frontier of hate speech prosecution: Twitter. READ MORE >>
The video-game industry, which has been in a fight with the gun lobby to deflect blame for the Sandy Hook massacre, could use some positive press in Washington these days. So Electronic Arts, which makes first-person shooter games like Medal of Honor and Battlefield, did what any company looking for an image boost would do: Get the eminently wholesome John Legend to headline an invite-only inauguration after party on the top floor of the W Hotel, and highlight a game that doesn’t revolve around shooting people.While Legend passed the time with supermodel co-host Malin Ackerman in a VIP section at the rear of the dark room, and the crowd noshed on gussied-up chicken and waffles while glancing surreptitiously at Grover Norquist (who seemed to enjoy the attention), I pursued the ostensible purpose of the event: promotion of the latest edition of “SimCity,” which EA is using as a bridge to D.C. wonks.In a corner of the room, as I peered at a computer displaying a virtual town, a woman asked if I'd had a chance to play it. She pulled over her husband, who'd designed it and flown out from San Francisco to show it off. He asked if I wanted to try it out.I could spend the night gawking at mayors-about-town Michael Nutter, Antonio Villaraigosa, and Cory Booker. Or I could pretend to be a mayor myself. READ MORE >>
There was probably only one event in Washington, on the eve of President Barack Obama's second inauguration, where a 9/11 truther could show up and sing his lonely song without interruption. READ MORE >>
Sure, the 2012 inauguration isn’t the glittering bacchanal of four years ago. All the same, it’s not your average Washington weekend, either. Here’s an initial report from a Saturday night spent among the parties for the powerful, the not-so-powerful, and the folks somewhere in the middle: KIDS BALL READ MORE >>
The surreal magic of the annual gadget extravaganza in Las Vegas
It shouldn’t have come as much of a surprise that I’d meet a sales rep who referenced Jean Baudrillard.It was a couple of days into the Consumer Electronics Show, the gargantuan annual gathering of the gadget industry. I was idly taking notes as salesladies lured men onto a set of vibrating exercise machines, their fat jiggling, while an Asian man in a fedora and round sunglasses danced on one of them to “Gangnam Style.” A shaggy-haired off-duty software sales rep named Will Ryan asked what I was writing. READ MORE >>