Your Choice in Power

I got a letter from my electric company, We Energies, with an interesting offering.

They are offering me the choice to use alternate resources to power my home. These are resources that are local to state and renewable. They say it is a combination of wind (17%), small hydroeletric (8%), and landfill gas (75%). They offer three participation levels with the highest being able to match 100% of your electricity with the purchases of renewable energy. That highest level adds an additional $15 a month to your bill.

I thought this was pretty remarkable. You typically do not have alot of choice over the energy you consume in your home. The old answer was consume less. Their new answer is renewable energy costs more, but here is option to pay for it if you value it.

LEGO gets customers involved

I absolutely love this story from Think by Peter Davidson. LEGO is allowing customers to download software, design their own building set, and then upload the design for competition against others. LEGO is going to put the winning designs into production. Winners will be awarded with design credit on the box, free sets of their design, and royalties.

Talk about getting your customers involved!

Love it!
Love it!
Love it!

Gamesmanship in the Air

I think the commercial aviation space is an interesting one to watch. It is interesting to see Boeing and Airbus joust with each other. Boeing has chosen the route of speed and efficiency with its new 7E7 development. Airbus has gone with making really big planes with its A380.

The latest is reported today in the WSJ [sub. needed]. Airbus unveiled a revised plan to develop a plane to compete with the 7E7. The A350 will supposedly have more capacity and a longer range. The design for the A350 has already needed to be updated once, after fleet managers didn’t see any real advantage to it over the A330. The A350 is basically a A330 with new wings. Any pilot certified on the A330 will be able to fly the A350.

Both companies are bickering back and forth about whose plane will be better, but the importance of the story is in the broad strokes. Boeing wanted to have 200 planes sold by the end of the year. At this point they have only sold about 50. Merely announcing a potentially new plane, Airbus slows down any traction Boeing was getting. They probably threw some engineers at the A350, but they essential spent no money to create a huge story – one that matches nicely with being the leader in aircraft sales last year and most likely this year.

I think this a brilliant move on Airbus’ part. They have market leadership and they make announcements to cement in people’s minds that they are the market leader.

P.S. Stuck right next to the A350 story on A10 is an American Airline story stating they are going to defer delivery of 54 Boeing jets. Rough PR day for Boeing.

Comic Book Advice: What You Are Not

“How many superheroes are known for what they can’t do? Superman can fly and lift up buildings. Batman is ridiculously smart and has got all the technology in the world. Spiderman can spin webs and swing across buildings. Daredevil is blind. He can’t see. That is his distinguishing feature. “

-Frank Miller, Penciller and Writer for Daredevil

I feel like I need to explain this one a little. I really like this quote, because there are products and services that people like for what they can’t do. The first thing I thought of was the original Palm Pilots. I think they became popular because of what they couldn’t do. I know I am stretching this one a bit, but people liked Palm because it was a device dedicated to do a specific set of tasks.

I think media without advertising is another example. Cook’s Illustrated and The Believer are examples of this. Both are charging a bit more for the product, but in exchange, you get a magazine that is pure content. This may be a better example of being known for something you don’t have.

Please help me. There have got to be other examples to shore up this line of thought.