Daily Archives: November 11, 2008

John Gapper

Bobby Kotick, chief executive of Activision Blizzard, the video games company, came to talk to the FT in New York this week. He said some interesting things about the state of the industry:

It will be interesting to see whether games are indeed recession-proof in the face of what feels like a crisis of confidence among US shoppers.

John Gapper

Taylor Swift’s second album Fearless, favourably written-up by Sasha Frere-Jones in The New Yorker among others, came out today. It is already top of the chart of MP3 downloads on Amazon.com.

It is also selling for $3.99. Yes, $3.99, which is less than some Starbucks drinks for a 13-song collection. So why would you not buy it, if you are even mildly interested? Read more

John Gapper

Lobsters are plentiful, herring are scarce.

Jim Surowiecki argues back on Lehman Brothers cogently, damn him. Read more

John Gapper

Is Big Cereal going the way of Big Pharma?

I ask because there seems to be some evidence of sagging innovation in the all-important breakfast cereal market.

Consider this article in Fortune that extols the relentless efforts by General Mills, the maker of Cheerios, Wheaties and Lucky Charms, to fatten its margins by cutting costs. It cites General Mills’ elimination of letter shapes in its Hot’n’Spicy Chex Mix, which has provoked this online protest petition.

Then consider this chart of branded cereal innovation in the 20th century produced by Geek Out New York. It shows a burst of cereal creativity in the mid-century that brought us such great names as Rice Krispies (1928), Cheerios (1941) and Special K (1956). There is a history of Cheerios hereRead more