Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Monday, June 25, 2021

Ever wonder why it’s so hard to find a reputable Piaget watch dealer on the Web?

Yeah, me too…

The reason is that purveyors of upscale goods and services have a holdover attitude toward ecommerce as the land of the chintzy/cheapo bargains grab-bag:

For one thing, luxury brands have long been concerned that an online presence cheapens their image. It’s a perception rooted in the early days of the Web, when bargains at retail sites like eBay and Amazon.com were the norm, said Matt Marcus, Gucci’s worldwide director of e-business.

“Luxury firms are afraid to provide that convenience online because they don’t think it’s a luxury experience,” added Milton Pedraza, chief executive of the Luxury Institute, a research firm based in New York. “But what they don’t realize is that wealthy consumers don’t want the in-store experience, they want convenience.”

I don’t know that the idea of the Web discount is totally unwarranted; Amazon thrives on beating retail prices. But I doubt anyone’s going to think Prada will be marking down their hoity-toity wares just to encourage shop-and-click traffic. Long-term, it’ll pay off to open up the online sales channel.

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 06/25/2007 11:18:01 PM
Category: Internet, Business | Permalink | Feedback

unlike mike
A spectre is haunting the National Basketball Association — the spectre of Michael Jordan. Years after his glory days with the Bulls, His Airness still casts an overbearing shadow over the league:

The denigration goes on and on. A few years ago, it was determined that the solution to the NBA’s image problem was an age limit. The rationale that frequently surfaces: If Michael Jordan played in college for three years, so can these high school punks.

At about the same time, the dress code was instituted. Guess why? Michael Jordan wore suits to games and at news conferences, and everybody loved the league then.

No sport ever dragged itself through this long a period of mourning for a departed star. Baseball didn’t give up and start mocking succeeding players after Babe Ruth (or Mickey Mantle or Willie Mays or Reggie Jackson) retired. Football didn’t curse an entire generation of players after Johnny Unitas (or Walter Payton or Joe Montana or Jerry Rice) finished playing.

And let me add in my own fave sport: After Wayne Gretzky retired, no one started trashing the next generation of hockey stars. (Just doing my part to keep the NHL in that “big four” fraternity…)

Was Jordan’s superstardom too much of a good thing? It’s curious that the transcendence of talent/personality in the NBA seemed to come to a screeching halt after Jordan retired from Chicago (let’s ignore the Washington Wizards years — most everyone else did). Jordan didn’t emerged from a vacuum — he was part of the lineage that started with Karim Abdul-Jabbar, followed with Dr. J and extended to the Magic Johnson-Larry Bird era. Before that, the league was a dodgey affair, with perpetual image problems. By the time Jordan came along and started racking up championships, pro basketball had seemingly established itself as primetime, challenging even the NFL for sports popularity.

And, as David Steele points out, that’s still mostly true. The perception now is running ahead of the reality. But that sort of perception can be self-fulfilling, which is the danger. As long as Jordan continues to be identified as the unattainable personification of the ideal state of the NBA, the danger is real.

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 06/25/2007 10:50:14 PM
Category: Basketball | Permalink | Feedback (2)

The stereotypical Salvador Dali work of art features weird matter-bending visuals with vivid, nuanced colors — e.g., melting clocks and other firmly-entrenched pop-cultural imagery.

Probably as a rejection of that been-there-done-that aesthetic, this 1958 watercolor, “Allegorical Saint and Angels in Adoration of the Holy Spirit”, is my favorite Dali painting. It has a spare simplicity that comes across as very bold. A photo doesn’t do it justice, as the subtlety is lost unless you see the original in person. Of particular note: Each of those angelic wings was applied with what appear to be only one or two forceful brush-strokes, which leaves behind the impression of etherealness and rapid motion. Really outstanding.

I wish a print of this piece were available, but I don’t think that’s the case. It’s worth a future visit to the Dali Museum just to see it.

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 06/25/2007 09:25:53 AM
Category: Creative, History | Permalink | Feedback (1)