paulmurray.net
Paul Murray's weblog, with news you may have missed and my $0.02 worth on a number of topics.

"You can't make up anything anymore. The world itself is a satire. All you're doing is recording it."
- Art Buchwald

I bet you don't have a friend who's an acupuncturist

E-mail me: pmurray [at] despammed.com

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Thursday, January 26, 2006
Yes, Sony made the list.
It's time for Business 2.0's annual review of the previous year's 101 Dumbest Moments in Business. Or if you don't have the patience to read them all, go here and click on "10 Dumbest Moments: Grand Prize Winners." (via Boing Boing)



Wednesday, January 11, 2006
Another case study for Harvard Business School.
It doesn't take a great deal of business sense to recognize that the video rental store Blockbuster has a business model that's in serious trouble. What you may not realize -- I didn't -- is that the company is not merely a victim of technology and the Netflix model; a decision they made helped set the machinery of their destruction in motion:
In 1998, at the dawn of the age of the DVD, Blockbuster made a decision that would change the future of Hollywood. Warren Lieberfarb, who then headed the home-video division of Warner Bros., offered Blockbuster CEO John Antioco a deal that would have made the DVD the same kind of rental business as that of the VHS tape...

Yet, even though Lieberfarb was only asking that the same deal be extended to DVD, Blockbuster, perhaps not realizing the speed with which the digital revolution would spread, turned him down.

Nevertheless, Lieberfarb, determined to make the DVD a success, went to Plan B: pricing the DVD low enough so that it could be sold to the public in direct competition with video rentals.

Now, DVDs are priced so cheaply that rentals makes much less sense. Plus, Blockbuster has nothing else profitable to fall back on now that major retailers use DVDs as a price leader to attract customers.

It's an interesting article that also explains how Blockbuster used its rapid growth to its advantage ... but now all their stores are a boat anchor.



Tuesday, January 10, 2006
Maybe they were put on double secret probation.
So what happened when Skylab astronauts, in violation of orders, took a photo of the ultra-secret USAF facility at Groom Lake, Nevada (better known as "Area 51")? The short answer is that the photo has never become public, despite NASA being a very public agency. For the longer answer, read "Astronauts and Area 51: the Skylab Incident" at The Space Review. (via Slashdot)



Sunday, January 08, 2006
Not the movie you're thinking of.
The LA Times has a fascinating story about one of the highest-grossing movies made during the Depression:
A safari venturing into unexplored territory stumbles upon natives who sacrifice a woman to a large gorilla in order to spare the rest of their tribe.

It sounds like a scene from Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack's legendary "King Kong," but it's actually part of the climactic sequence from the film "Ingagi," released three years earlier. "Ingagi" is largely forgotten, but "Kong" might never have gotten made if not for the success of its scandalous predecessor.

(via BoingBoing)




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