It's like the story of rise and fall of American hubris itself: once upon a time, in the heady days of 2005, Procter & Gamble decided that consumers would not be satisfied with a mere four-blade razor. So they launched Fusion, which boasted five blades and an embedded mini-vibrator, so that American men could enjoy the closest shave in the free world and then pleasure their wives, secure in the knowledge that Osama bin Laden is a hairy bastard shivering in a cave with no sex toys or women, so there. But our shaving pride came before the fall! Now that the US economy has collapsed, all these terribly expensive five-bladed razors are, like Hummers and Steve Schwarzman's birthday party, sad symbols of a nation gone astray. But they still need to sell all these god damn $25 packs of Fusion razors! [WSJ]
Passion: it's a word. But for Men's Health editor Dave Zinczenko, it's a word! That exclamation point represents passion—Dave's passion for his book, Eat This, Not That! Yesterday we heard the rumor that Dave, Julia Allison's old boyfriend, was looking for a new publicist to get him back on the Today show (he said no, only his magazine is hiring a publicist, not him). And we hinted at the existence of an internal email in which Zinczenko grandiosely compared his ab-centric book to "Barak [sic] Obama." Well now that email, from February, is in hand! "Who had a better last three weeks-Barak Obama, or Eat This, Not That? Crazy, audacious comparison, I know, but stay with me here." Okay, go:
Lately, there's been a downturn in the ad market. Even online advertising isn't growing as fast as it used to. But don't expect these macroeconomic trends to effect Google's second-quarter earnings report today. Google isn't a bellwether for the economy, CEO Eric Schmidt told reporters in Idaho last week. "We make our own weather," he said. With those remarks in mind, we'll let analysts like Citi's Mark Mahaney — who created the useful cheat sheet above — tell you what kind of numbers to expect today. Our forecast for today's earning's call instead? A downpour of arrogance and gutters full of gloating.
Jake Orion, the guy in charge of Android development at Sprint, says that while "Google’s confidence, vision and self assurance are refreshing and innovative," Google needs to " to appreciate and address industry fundamentals more pragmatically." Specifically, Orion told AndroidGuys.com Google needs "a more proactive and direct linkage to the carrier’s network and service requirement" — which we think means Google hasn't yet made Android friendly to how Sprint runs its network. Details, details! Who needs to worry about that when you're busy being self-assured and confident?
John Sterlicchi, writing for the U.K.'s Guardian, just emailed me asking for my thoughts on "this Google daycare fiasco." (The short version: Google closed an outsourced daycare facility in favor of one run in-house, and hiked prices 70 percent, far above market rates; Googlers with kids in the facility, and those on the waitlist, are furious.) He asked: "If someone outside the environs of Google and Silicon valley was looking at this, what should they think? Is Google moving away from 'do no evil'?" Good questions. Here's what I just wrote him:
Joe Nocera of the New York Times has taken note of Google's childcare crisis. A brief recap: After taking its childcare programs in-house, at the behest of Google executive Susan Wojcicki, the sister-in-law of founder Sergey Brin, Google hiked its rates 70 percent. Parents were infuriated not just at the price hike but, accustomed to Google's culture of analysis-driven consensus, at the imperious way the decision was handed down. Nocera's reporting reveals more numbers showing just how incompetent Google is at daycare — and how comfortable Brin's PR handlers are at lying on his behalf. How, in other words, Google has become just like any other company in corporate America.
Shareholders will likely be relieved by Google's standout performance in the first quarter. The stock, which had been sinking like a rock, will almost certainly rebound. And Google's self-satisfied executive team will congratulate themselves once again. Hubris, reinforced by the numbers, reigns at the Googleplex.
College! It's a time of self-expression and experimentation, especially if you're born idly rich. What's worse than jokingly calling yourself, say, the Duchess of Harvard? A former college chum of socialite Emily Brill tell us that the license plate on her Lexus SUV read, "PgeSixGrl." Perfect for tooling around the littlest Ivy, Brown. (The rest of the Brill fam attended Yale.) Page Six, indeed! Brill currently has designs on new media, as evidenced by her blog ambition, and we're guessing that her dad, publishing mogul Steven Brill, doesn't understand her. He doesn't even know what a Fendi baguette is!
It seems like just yesterday that blonde Obama-supporting large-breasted and beautiful actress Scarlett Johansson burst onto America's celluloid consciousness in Home Alone 3 but that was more then a decade ago. ALl things considering, she's waited a while to start directing. Now, at age 24, Ms. Johansson has decided to let the world know that she has like stuff she wants to say too! Thankfully, all she has to say lasts five minutes. Four of those minutes, we suspect, will consist of meaningful pauses. It's like Pinter but without the words!
Bloomberg aides continue insisting to everyone who'll listen, take down their quotes and eventually publish them that their boss isn't planning a run for president, and then they all lay out their brilliant, Machiavellian plans for ensuring Mayor Mike the Oval Office. Today's Journal presents this unnerving hypothetical: in the event of a Subway Series presidential race, Bloomberg will seize control of the nation in a bloodless electoral coup of INDEPENDENT MODERATE INDEPENDENCE, MAVERICK-STYLE.
How excited is Robert Thomson to come to America to be the publisher of the Wall Street Journal? Possibly he has some mixed feelings! In a January, 2001 Business Week profile, Rupert Murdoch's boy actually savaged his new home. Thomson was at the FT then, and said that the Journal is best on cute little stories like ''midsize companies doing middling deals in the Midwest." Comparing the FT to the WSJ? "It's a Lexus-Taurus thing." We figure either he really does think the WSJ is a pile of crap—or he just likes to trash-talk because he's Australian, and therefore doesn't mean anything he says.