"Summertime and the livin’ is easy,
Fish are jumpin’, and the cotton is high.
Oh your daddy’s rich, and your ma is good lookin’,
So hush, little baby, don’ yo’ cry.
One of these mornin’s you goin’ to rise up singin’,
Then you’ll spread yo’ wings an’ you’ll take the sky.
But till that mornin’, there’s a-nothin’ can harm you
With Daddy and Mammy standin’ by."
(Summertime, from Porgy and Bess, Gershwin, Heyward and Gershwin)
This past week has been pretty busy, and I really didn’t have all that much to say, so the blog went a bit silent. Lots of client work right now, so this state of affairs may continue until Labor Day, with maybe one post per week. Never fear, though, I will be back come September …
I did want to share one truly amazing thing that happened last weekend. I took my mother and son up to Boothbay Harbor Maine for a long weekend (while my husband enjoyed his two-day golf school at home). Boothbay Harbor is a lovely place, and I highly recommend it. But that’s not the amazing thing.
We were eating our lunch outside on the 2d floor deck at this small cafe. Unbeknownst to us, the deck was actually over the water. My son was playing with a couple of plastic cars he had just bought, with his own money, when one rolled off the table, off the deck and into the drink. He was pretty upset and no amount of telling him that we could go buy another one would console him.
Here’s the amazing part.
A man at an adjoining table who had just finished his lunch asked if the car was still floating, When Douglas replied Yes, the man proceeded to go down on the dock, asked the manager of an adjoining restaurant if he could borrow their little row boat, poled over to the car and retrieved it.
There is a lot of unpleasantness in the world. And occasionally an unexpected act of kindness like this that restores your faith. Whoever, wherever you are, thanks again. You made our day.
Lots of people commenting on Google’s nastygrams about the use of its trademark "Google" as a generic. I expect Google knows it can’t prevent the use of “Google” as a generic, but they have to make these efforts to defend the trademark to keep it from passing *legally* into the generic. If it does that — becomes a legal generic — the word could be used inside someone else’s product name, and Google’s brand value literally stolen. You cannot trademark a generic term. Robert Scoble gave the best example: Google wouldn’t want to see a new product called "Microsoft Google," would they?
So they make these “good faith” efforts to defend the trademark against improper use. They have to use the proper legal language and so on to make the case strong that they defended the mark in case they ever need it in a full-blown trademark defense. No wishy washy or nudge nudge wink wink letters.
I doubt they really want to prevail and stifle the word of mouth branding they get when we talk about "Googling" something. Think about it, the only way to “win” this battle is to lose the dominant market position so that you no longer define the market. I haven’t heard the term ‘Xerox’ in reference to photocopies in a long time. But ‘Kleenex’ for ’tissue’ is still going strong. Did Xerox do a better job than Kimberly-Clark defending the mark and getting us to switch to the actual generic term ‘photocopy’? Doubt it. Reality is: Xerox no longer defines the market for copiers, so the mark no longer works as well as a generic.
It is quite schizophrenic really — you achieve the goal of becoming the definition of the segment, and then you have to spend time and money preventing people from using you as the definition of the segment. Catch-22.
I’m sure Google would rather be Kleenex than Xerox.
Oh, and the lyrics at the beginning of this post? I Googled ’em.