Future 2049: Can you hear me now?

15 June 09

By 2030, we have a social (and psychological) issue that we can no longer ignore – and some say has reached a crisis. Technology and ‘on the go’ lifestyles force us to interact more using shorter bursts with ‘get to the point’ sound bytes and bullet points. We speak in headlines not prose and while we continue to be connected – we ask, are we personally CONNECTING at all? Essentially, communal places are where everyone goes to be alone, together (think Starbucks today…but everywhere). Isolationism – or a feeling of it when even surrounded by people is common. We know so much about each others habits, whereabouts, friends (think Facebook) but have lost the ability for deep conversations. We spend so much time living in a world of ‘doing’ that ‘thinking’ and ‘being’ has been, well, lost. Communicating on these deeper levels is hard to recall – and harder to ‘learn’, complain many. Each generation has of course morphed its communication abilities to match the context of the world they live in but it appears at this point, we lost too much. A surprising result happens – something that hasn’t happened for a few generations (at least not in Western cultures). Elders are respected for their skills and capabilities on this subject and are paid great sums of money to reintegrate communication skills into our technology driven world. Getting ‘Connected Again’ becomes a movement. The past 20 years we spent so much time knowing information about each other, we forgot how to connect the dots.



17 September 08

GOOD Magazine, which we’ve been enjoying since it launched in 2006, recently launched a new Website and a revised subscription plan. The magazine used to charge $20 for a 6-issue annual subscription. 100% of the subscription price went to charity, and got the subscriber into a year’s worth of GOOD events and parties. 

The new Website is focused on the publication’s active community. Users can create a free account and profile, and then comment on blog posts, create original content, and get invitations to GOOD events and parties. The magazine has also changed its subscription plan—users can pay-what-you-wish model. Subscibers can pay as little as $1 for an annual subscription, though $20 will get you free access to events. Like before, all subscription proceeds go to the charity of the subscriber’s choice (out of 12 pre-selected non-profit organizations). Read the rest of this entry »

Brewing Innovation at Starbucks

23 May 08

futurethink starbucks gq

I finally had some time to flip through the latest issue of GQ this week, and was struck by one of my favorite sections: open letter. I generally love this section-chock full or snark and irreverence for all things pop culture-but this month, I felt a little attacked. Staring at me was a picture of a modified Starbucks Siren, holding a cardboard sign and looking distraught. The open letter (which you can read here) was a full-on attack against the recently troubled coffee company. Read the rest of this entry »

A Large, Skinny McLatte, Please. Hold the Fries.

7 January 08

McDonald’s CoffeeToday’s Wall Street Journal has an interesting article on McDonald’s’ plan to add a full-scale coffee bar to most of its 14,000 US locations in 2008. From the article:

Internal documents from 2007 say the program, which also will add smoothies and bottled beverages, will add $1 billion to McDonald’s annual sales of $21.6 billion.

The two fast-food giants have been battling out for a few years now, as McDonald’s has upped the quality and selection of its coffee beverages and undercut Starbucks on price. Starbucks, meanwhile, has added warm breakfast sandwiches to its menu, with the hope of becoming more of a food-destination. Who will win? It’s anyone’s guess at this point. Starbucks most certainly has McDonald’s beat in terms of its inviting, sit-and-stay atmosphere, but McDonald’s will most certainly be competing on price. At the end of the day, price is important, especially if McD’s manages to compete on quality. Here at futurethink, we’re Starbucks loyalists,  but that’s really because it’s closer than McDonald’s. Who wants to walk an extra three blocks for a cup of coffee? Not us. Read more at the Wall Street Journal (subscription required).