I haven’t been on this earth all that long, so it’s weird to think that the next generation will have no recollection of what life was like even when I was a kid. More and more, I find myself taking for granted technologies that have improved tremendously and made life so much easier. With every enhancement in technology, companies either embrace the change, find strategies to adapt and flourish, or simply fade away. This is by no means a new business model, simply Darwin’s theory at work.
Taking a break during a recent business trip in Japan, we were sitting in the rock garden of Ryoanji, a Rinzai Zen temple in Kyoto. Created in the 15th century, Ryoanji boasts one of the world’s most famous Zen gardens; its 15 stones are positioned so that two or three are always hidden from view. The lesson is that no one is ever able to see everything all at once. There is always more than — literally — meets the eye.
Hirooka-san, our guide and a self-described Buddhist, explained this to us and then asked me, "So … are you enlightened?"
"I understand now why this garden is so special," I offered.
For my money, one of the funniest scenes in the classic movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail is when a medieval peasant brings out his old father to the undertaker, only to have the father reveal that he is "not quite dead." Despite vehement denials by the son, the father repeatedly protests, "I’m not dead!"
In honor of Labor Day, what better topic to write about than physician-robots roaming the halls of hospitals? Perhaps you saw the article in last Sunday’s New York Times. The headline immediately caught my eye: "The Boss Is Robotic, and Rolling Up Behind You." There was a photograph of a tall, thin machine with a TV monitor for a head. On the screen was a smiling face, looking right at me.
The otolaryngologist had completed his short examination of my nasal cavities. It had been 10 days since he had surgically altered my deviated septum so I could breathe and taste and sleep like a normal-nosed person. Routine work for him, big deal for me. Things were looking good, my surgeon told me, and we discussed how the surgical site would heal over time — for, barring any complications, we would never see each other again.
"Any other questions?" he asked as he began to gather his things: My index-card-sized medical file as well as something I’d never seen in a doctor’s office — an iPad.
"How do you like the iPad?" I nodded toward it.
Well, they must be wearing sweaters in Cupertino because I just purchased an iPhone. I’m the one who went public in my last blog about taking a stand against the Apple brand. When asked what changed, I was finding it hard to explain, especially since I didn’t even need a new phone. So to understand how I finally became an Apple convert, I went online for the answer.
"Ellen" from Cambridge Who’s Who was delighted that I had finally called back after leaving me seven polite and identical voice messages the past few weeks. And, after a three-minute interview during which she established that I’ve been doing what I do professionally since the second Reagan administration, Ellen had wonderful news for me.
One morning, my daughter Lucy, who was six at the time, asked me a question out of the blue. "Daddy?" she asked with a thoughtful look on her face, "When’s the day before tomorrow?" I hadn’t had my first cup of coffee yet, so it took me a moment to process the question. "That’s today," I said. And then it hit me. I smiled. "Lucy, you just invented a whole new way to say the word today."
In a previous post, I addressed the importance of location to a media plan. The most clever advertising in the world won’t be effective if the wrong people see it due to its location. Equally important to location, or “reach,” as it’s known in advertising circles, is frequency. It stands to reason that the more often you see something, the more memorable it will be.
This week’s announcement that Merck is closing its research lab here in Cambridge, Mass., is a close-to-home reminder that hard times are still very much upon us. In the device world, budgets have been trimmed and head counts reduced. Customers are delaying or scaling back new purchases, especially for capital equipment. Physician interaction guidelines have been tightened. So … are you still having fun? Before you grab a life preserver and head for the ocean, here are seven reasons to stay with medical device marketing, despite the heady allure of, say, the oil industry.