Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Thursday, July 16, 2021

To underline how much the Senate hearings on Supreme Court Justice confirmation is more about posturing than fact-finding, a side-by-side-by-side comparison of the responses given by current nominee Sonia Sotomayor versus those of the last two candidates (Justice Samuel Alito and Chief Justice John Roberts) speaks repetitive volumes:

A RIGHT TO PRIVACY IN THE CONSTITUTION

- Sotomayor: “There is a right of privacy. The court has found it in various places in the Constitution, has recognized rights under those various provisions of the Constitution.”

- Roberts: “The right to privacy is protected under the Constitution in various ways.”

- Alito: “I do agree that the Constitution protects a right to privacy. And it protects the right to privacy in a number of ways.”

And so on, even with hot-button issues like abortion and gun control. Liberal, conservative, or moderate — there’s no ideological monopoly on stonewalling.

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 07/16/2009 02:02pm
Category: Politics, Society, Wordsmithing
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If a PDF has the venerable Morgan Stanley name on it, it must be gold. So it is with the latest research report from the firm’s European branch, “Media & Internet: How Teenagers Consume Media”, which is descibed as “blunt, blistering analysis”.

Except… it’s not. It’s a 3-page flier, written by Morgan Stanley Research’s 15-year-old London office intern — one Matthew Robson — consisting of his impressions of what people his age like and don’t like in modern media. Not exactly in-depth research, and it shows:

No disrespect to the young Robson — it’s great to have anything published as an intern. The real beef lies with the businesses and bankers who are buying into a pretty self-evident report with some questionable assertions. While it’s prefaced with a disclaimer that Morgan Stanley doesn’t claim “representation or statistical accuracy,” some of Robson’s statements seem a little bit off. Some studies estimate that up to 31% of Twitter’s users are between the ages of 15 and 19, which calls into question the worthiness of the bold assertion that “teenagers do not use Twitter.” And while chatting via a video-game console is certainly cool, it’s hard to believe that it will replace cell phones in any meaningful way, especially among the millennial set.

The real lesson? Those at Morgan Stanley need to spend a bit more time with their kids. Do that, and we suspect the revelation that teenagers like cell phones and free music will seem, well, a little less revelatory. Ultimately, Robson’s report does more to reveal how out of touch some in the business world are than to shed light on anything new about teenagers and the media.

Reading through the report really makes me wonder what the MS suits were thinking when they vetted this. Another sample “finding”:

Teenagers never use real directories (hard copy catalogues such as yellow pages). This is because real directories contain listings for builders and florists, which are services that teenagers do not require.

I’m not seeing a methodology for this mess, so I don’t know where the writer is getting the generalist demographic percentages for other behavior (“8 out of 10 believe…” and so on). Apparently, Robson asked a few of his pals what they like and dislike, and then issued it as an industry-grade analytical piece. I don’t care if the behavior of this sub-sub-subset of teens is probably reflective of a large swath of British/European youth — it doesn’t deserve the guise of actionable business intelligence.

Really amazing. And even more amazing that anyone thinks this glorified after-school Q&A session is at all validated by the Morgan Stanley imprimatur. In fact, this de-legitimizes MS as a serious source for strategic business data, for media or any other sector.

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 07/16/2009 01:33pm
Category: Business, Media, Society
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Over the past couple of weeks, a trifecta of summertime sports curiosities took place and were widely reported:

- First, NBA superstar LeBron James gets dunked on by Xavier University sophomore Jordan Crawford during a pick-up basketball game (and fueled the fire by having the video confiscated to avoid embarrassment over this “Dunkgate”).

- Then, NFL quarterback Philip Rivers similarly gets outdueled by a high-school player during throwing drills at a football camp.

- And most recently, Wimbledon champion Serena Williams got schooled by Madison Keys, a 14-year-old girl, in an exhibition tennis singles event.

See a pattern here? What’s next, big-league baseball, hockey, golf, etc. professionals getting beat-downs from amateur-camp teenagers?

Call me a cynic, but I smell a rat. Twice is a coincidence, three times is a trend. Somehow, some way, there’s a corporate marketing campaign tying together these supposedly isolated incidents. It’s probably Nike, or Gatorade, promoting a David-beats-Goliath theme thanks to the help of the right sneaker/sugarwater/whatever. I wouldn’t even be surprised if SpikeTV’s idiotic “Pros vs. Joes” were behind this scheme, given the theme.

Yeah, I know: The kids involved couldn’t be in on it, because it would probably wreck their current or pending college careers. But they could just be innocent bystanders, and the pros are the ones in on it, purposely dogging it for the cameras. All in aid of making this look like a viral campaign.

Sure, it’s a conspiracy theory. But I wouldn’t dismiss it out of hand.

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 07/16/2009 12:15pm
Category: Advert./Mktg., Basketball, Football, Other Sports
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