We recently conducted a survey with our general consumer panel to explore consumer’s online decision-making process, in which over 320 respondents participated in the survey. The findings reveal that the majority of respondents find online review to be a critical piece to their purchasing decision.
Respondents who participated in the survey fall in the following demographic bracket:
– Male (44%), Female (56%)
– Millennial (22%), Generation X (40%), Boomer (31%), Silent (7%)
– Urban (55%), Suburban (34%), Rural (11%)
How do they surf the web?
In general, the most popular platform of web surfing is computer, as indicated by 63% of the respondents, followed by phone (25%) and tablet (12%). When cross-tabulated this particular dataset with age/generation data, we found out that phone usage, in terms of web surfing, declines by increase in age.
Interestingly, when it comes to surfing the web on tablet PCs, the data reveals that baby boomers were far ahead of other generations. This perhaps should be a sign for businesses to optimize their web pages for various mobile platforms, regardless of their customer base.
Do they trust online reviews?
98% of the respondents indicated that they generally trust online reviews, and they develop higher confidence with the product or service after reading 6 or more reviews, which are posted within a month. Millennials and Generation X respondents tend to read more reviews (11+) before making a purchasing decision.
Furthermore, when they were asked if they trust online reviews as much as peer recommendations, a striking 84% of the respondents agreed that they do.
Where do they read reviews?
42% of the respondents indicated that they find the reviews through major search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc.), followed by Amazon at 28% and major social media (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc.) at 21%. Surprisingly, while Yelp is considered to be a popular business review resource, only 6% of our respondents indicated that they use Yelp for business review. Other sources included consumer reports and manufacturer websites.
92% of the respondents indicated that they find better deals as a result of reading online reviews. Our data revealed that social media sites ranked as number one places for discount deals, followed by Amazon and search engines.
Our findings is further illustrated in the infographic below:
qSample conducted a survey with its general consumer panel to gauge consumer’s behavior on the topic of “preventive health”. More than 314 respondents participated in the survey. We summarized the findings of the survey report in the infographic below:
qSample surveyed alumni from Harvard, Princeton, Brown, Cornell, UPenn, Yale, Dartmouth, and UChicago to find out what their purchase preferences for technology products are like. Below is a summary of the findings:
A survey was conducted by Alumni Reader Panel and qSample to investigate the buying habits of alumni of top national universities. 1,964 respondents completed the survey. Universities represented in this survey are: University of Chicago, Yale, University of Pennsylvania, Princeton, Harvard, Dartmouth, Cornell, and Brown. Succeeding three charts summarize the demographics of the respondents by each school:
In a bigger picture, 4.4% were Millennials, 23% were Generation X, 72.6% were a mix of Boomers and Silent Generation. In addition, survey respondents were predominantly males (66.5%). Prior to discussing the buying habits of alumni, an important limitation to acknowledge is that there is an insufficient amount of data to categorize the demographic of respondents from the results. For instance, if respondents were asked a question about brand loyalty and given four choices, the results were simply netted by counts. Thus, we could not identify what percentage of the total counts stemmed from which generation or gender. With that in mind, here are the findings (note: data are shown in average of eight schools as there were no significant statistical outliers – margin of error is approximately +/- 5%):
They are brand loyal:
91.6% of respondents agreed that when they find a brand they like, they will stick to it. Furthermore, 90.4% agreed that if a product is made by a company they trust, they are willing to purchase at a premium price. These two independent results revealed a correlation coefficient of 0.994. What this indicates is that brand loyal consumers become price desensitized, allowing the brands to obtain greater pricing power. In addition, 66.1% of consumers are aware that brand name is not the best indication of quality (see below):
Although the survey revealed that these consumers are highly brand loyal, behavioral data portion of the survey showed what might be advantageous to competitors with potential substitute products. 99.1% of respondents indicated that they value “curiosity wanting to explore and learn about new things”. Since a mere 25.8% agreed that they are one of the first among their friends to try new product, word of mouth (through peers) would likely be their most trusted source of advertisement.
They are willing to pay at premium for quality not image:
Respondents were asked to answer the following: “I am typically willing to pay more for high-quality items” and “I would pay extra for a product that is consistent with the image I want to convey”. As there is no direct correlation between these two factor, the correlation coefficient is 0.224. Although we do not have to access to the respondents’ income distribution, as 88.7% of respondents are willing to pay at premium for quality, it may be safe to assume that price is not much of a concern as long the product quality meet their standards. Interestingly, even though only 42.8% agreed to buy products to convey self-image, a striking 65% had expressed that they buy from brands that reflect their style (see below):
Therefore, it is critical for brands to identify the lifestyles of their target audience to effectively form bonds and trust with the consumers.
They prefer American products:
60.5% of respondents agreed that purchasing American-made products is an important factor. “Made in America” label has its strong manufacturing reputation, and considering that majority of these consumers value trust and quality, they are most likely willing to pay premium price for American-made products. As a matter of fact, 82.9% agreed that their purchase decision is solely based on quality rather than price.
Moving forward, blog posts will focus on buying habits and decision factors in specific industries (technology, travel/hospitality, healthcare, etc.).
Power and flexibility of social media sites should not be undermined. Among many usage of these sites, the lesser known is that they serve as an emerging source of data for public health studies, including mental health (Schrading et al.).
According to a study on domestic abuse disclosure on a social media site, Schrading et al. reported that this site offers “less intimidating and more accessible channels for reporting, collectively processing, and making sense of traumatic and stigmatizing experiences”. One such site is Reddit.
Reddit is a popular social news and entertainment media launched in 2005. As of 2015, Reddit has amassed 36 million user accounts and 234 million monthly unique visitors. This site has a vast range of forums dedicated to various topics, known as “subreddits”. Its forum-style social system allows users to share texts and media as posts that allow votes and comments. Unlike Twitter, Reddit allows lengthy submissions.
Given the unique characteristics of the site, Reddit acts as a support system for mental health suffers, which provides a platform for self-disclosure, social support, and anonymity. Users may interact anonymously and become connected with others who share similar difficulties, misery, pain, condition, or distress (Choudhury & De).
Moreover, each subreddit is moderated by online community volunteers. For sensitive subreddit topics that are related to mental health and illnesses, their main role is to ensure that “the anonymous submitter has access to local help hotlines if a life-threatening situation is described” (Schrading et al.).
In essence, Reddit is a comfortable and safe space for people who cannot disclose their mental health experiences due to social stigma. Even for ones who are simply willing to share a piece of their own life story to help others.
Infographic below summarizes key findings and statistics in relation to this topic:
Comedian George Burns famously said, “I look to the future because that’s where I’m going to spend the rest of my life.”
College students are taking Burn’s advice, it seems, focusing on the future with an attentive, pragmatic yet positive eye. They want successful careers more than anything, care little about popularity, and social media is not the great democratizer but just another neutral avenue in life.
These are the findings from qSample’s latest study, presented here in an infographic. The study was conducted using our college student sample, surveying more than 200 participants on a range of social and economic topics. Respondents were accessed from our Campus Universe initiative—regularly utilized for varied studies for both academics and businesses by clients. The findings can also be found in our post College Students Optimistic About Economic Future.
The qSample research should give hope for the country’s future (and certainly relevant with graduation season around the corner). Millennials spend $600 million a year in the U.S. alone, with some estimates having them reach $3 billion in a decade as they dominate the labor force. Therefore, the economy should be in good hands, unless these graduates are hamstrung with student debt and not enough salary growth.
Please enjoy our infographic and please enjoy spending the rest of your life in the future:
Content marketing has become increasingly attractive to many businesses and brands seeking to expand their web presence. But what is content marketing and how does it work—beyond being a sleek buzzword in cyberspace? Can it work for those in the earthly construction industry?
In essence, content marketing is any marketing involving the creation and sharing of media content to help and inform customers—ultimately with the goal of acquiring and retaining them. It takes a variety of forms including news, videos, white papers, ebooks, infographics, how-to guides, and blog posts.
Content marketing is viewed as solely functioning on the internet, but that’s not necessarily the case. One of the primal forms of content marketing would be the famed Michelin Guide, published over a century ago.
And yes, content marketing can be beneficial to those in the construction industry seeking to expand their online branding and generate traffic.
One of the main reasons content marketing is beneficial is because it’s currently seen as an essential aspect of any internet marketing and its continual paradigm changes. After all, it was marketing guru, Seth Godin, who said, “Content Marketing is all the marketing that’s left.”
Those are bold words, but these are bold online times. As examples, 88 percent of B2B marketers in North America already use some form of content marketing, while 76 percent of overall marketers are increasing investment in content marketing in 2016. All trends point to the financial rewards of content marketing.
Centering on the construction industry, a prime example of content marketing success can be found in a case study by Delta Marketing Group involving commercial contractor company, North Country Mechanical Insulators (NCMI). By using a sound inbound marketing strategy, NCMI increased its organic web traffic by an astounding 200 percent, as well as rank in the first page of Google under its preferred keyword (“mechanical insulation”). NCMI achieved this by optimizing its pages for local keyword search, rebranding its online persona via content as an “energy advocate,” and escalating its social media presence, among other strategies.
Adding to this, our research reveals that only 26 percent of general contractors utilize any form of online marketing. In other words, the internet is wide open to fill with traffic-generating content.
Content marketing is the future now, and construction companies should further pay heed for these three reasons:
1. CHANGING CONSUMER PSYCHOLOGY
It’s no secret that everyone is flooded with more information than ever before. The average American is bombarded with five times more information than he or she saw 15 years ago. It is more of a secret, though, that consumers have become anesthetized to unwanted information. Furthermore, mobile technology has shrunk the space to advertise in and Ad block technology has made it easier to expel intrusive advertising from screens.
Look at it this way: Once banner ads were ubiquitous across the internet, and the investment paid off for many companies. That’s no longer the case. According to recent data from marketing company HubSpot, the average click-through rate of display ads is merely 0.1 percent.
Content marketing is the answer to this, bringing the buyer down the sales funnel by adding value, education, and entertainment in their purchasing journey.
2. THOUGHT LEADERSHIP
Just as consumers have become more nimble at avoiding traditional marketing, they have also become more cynical as they navigate a vast field of brands wanting their attention on the internet. It’s just not enough for companies to explain how great they are—they have to show them.
This is where thought leadership comes in. Company heads can highlight their knowledge and expertise via articles, videos, infographics, and other elements of content marketing. This not only improves a brand, but it also assists and educates consumers—ultimately making them more grateful, trusting, and potentially closer to the contact form when it comes time to make a buying decision.
Search Engine Optimization remains key in any form of internet marketing. A good construction company craves the highest possible ranking on Google and other search engine providers (and the case study mentioned above made it a reality with NCMI). One way to rank is to spend inordinate amounts of money to remain on the first page of a search engine. The other is to utilize content marketing.
Content marketing is, at its core, about creating relevant content. The more valuable content created with relevant keywords, the higher the chance a website has of being indexed by search engines. Furthermore, more videos created can be noticed on YouTube, more infographics drawn can be shared on Social Media, and more guides published can be downloaded from a site into the hard drive of potential customers.
BEYOND THE CONTENT
Beyond the mentioned, content marketing is useful for branding, public relations, and even networking. This type of marketing is traditionally more cost-effective than other internet marketing, although distribution depends on a company’s needs (AdWords, Social Media displays, etc.). A construction company does not need an agency to successfully content market—simply a dedicated staff and owner that want to share their insights and passion with the industry.
At the end of the day, content marketing benefits consumer needs and forges a bond between brand and customer. That’s never a bad form of marketing …
According to a recent qSample study, pet owners spend around $27 billion a year on veterinary care and animal medication. The costs are expected only to rise steeply, as veterinary education balloons and online pharmacies force pet stores to increase prices. As we also reported, people are parenting their pets more, part of a growing movement of animal kindness.
Between mounting pet care costs and humanizing our pets, it’s only natural that many pet owners would seek alternative treatments, some traditionally meant for those of us on the allegedly higher rungs of the evolutionary ladder.
Unfortunately, what we tend to get are questionable and bizarre pet medical treatments. Brace yourself for this list, unless you’re one of the guilty:
1. Music Therapy For Pets
This treatment actually makes sense, although it doesn’t mean you should play Adele to your Persian after it fails to mate with the neighborhood tomcat. Preliminary research points to the notion that low, soothing sounds can pacify a pet’s disposition. It’s a matter of getting the sound right, as a dog whistle can do. Humans hear up to 20,000 Hz—while dogs hear up to 45,000 Hz and cats up to 64,000 Hz. This means dogs and cats are sensitive to ultrasounds, something televisions or music players don’t typically emit.
It also means that Kanye West might release his next album on Tidal with higher frequencies to alleviate his $52 billion debt.
2. Psychotherapy For Pets
Americans spend around $100 billion dealing with emotional issues, while one percent are willing to seek counseling for themselves or a close friend after a crisis. By some fuzzy logic, this must suggest that pets are suffering as well in their relationships, jobs and mommy/daddy issues.
You might say no to pet psychotherapy, but there are already instances of veterinarians prescribing antidepressants for dogs. Fees run indefinitely and range between $300 and $400 a month…and they don’t include a Kanye West album.
Sure, animals like dogs suffer from anxiety separation. However, as most veterinarians agree, this and all disorders always center on the person who is closest to the animal. A simple change in owner behavior is normally what a pet needs to be “sane,” not sharing a couch next to Randy Quaid.
3. Hypnosis for Pets
It helped you or someone you know quit smoking, so why not use hypnotism to get Fido to stop drinking from the toilet? One site, Superdog, claims it can hypnotize dogs so well they won’t break eye contact with you (even without a pork chop taped to your forehead). It claims:
I do this by INDUCING A HYPNOTIC STATE with a dog training method from Europe that uses hypnosis and somnambulism. The method I use to train dogs has been passed down from generation to generation.
It’s real Da Vinci Code/Highlander stuff…
Regardless, as with music therapy and psychotherapy for pets, it comes down to understanding the difference in species and actual context of the treatment. Hypnosis, contrary to popular belief, isn’t a form of mind control but voluntary cognitive behavioral therapy. For animals, therefore, hypnosis would simply mean an intense and personal training. But hey, branding is everything if you want customers.
4. Liposuction for Pets
Obesity and fat shaming are predominant issues in American culture. Also, it’s obvious that an overweight pet might not be a healthy pet. To assist with this, some veterinary clinics in Australia now offer pet liposuction at $2000 a pop. While on the topic of vanity, other clinics even offer Botox treatments and even tattoos for pets. If you don’t believe me, believe this:
As for pet liposuction, two questions: Do you think your pet cares what it looks like? Have you considered diet and exercise changes for your pet instead of sucking its fat in the Land Down Under?
The problem, however, is when you put your pets through yoga, meditation and an hour of listening to Deepak Chopra audio books.
The truth is that none of these mentioned treatments aren’t that bizarre—except when marketing and species get turned inside out. A loving yet methodical approach for an abused cat may be considered a form of psychotherapy, just as planting suggestions to an attentive dog could be deemed as a form of hypnosis. Obviously, the problem is when these treatments are utilized in a way that resembles the ending of George Orwell’s Animal Farm: when one can’t tell the difference between the human and the animal sitting at the table.
My brother is a vice president of a large company. He often tells me he gets anxiety on Sundays because of an incoming Monday of long, byzantine meetings. I asked him once who was responsible for all these work meetings. He answered, “I schedule most of them.” When I asked him why, he dully answered, “Well, it’s just what you’re supposed to do.”
Welcome to corporate America, a parody so accurate of itself you don’t even need movies like Office Space or Working Girl to understand it.
It’s a parody, sure, but the reality is that workplace meetings are often counterproductive (surprise!) and waste inordinate amounts of money. As renowned economist John Kenneth Galbraith once quipped, “Meetings are indispensable when you don’t want to do anything.”
Beyond the common wisdom, the statistics on the absolute bleed that are business meetings are so alarming you might never attend your next meeting:
– Executives spend more than two days a week in meetings (like my brother). – Organizations spend 15% of their time on meetings, a number that’s increased progressively since 2008. – Over $25 million is wasted per day on unnecessary meetings, resulting in $37 billion thrown away on meetings that simply aren’t productive.
Before you schedule a meeting on this crisis of meetings, it gets worse. Research from the Harvard Business Review found that one executive meeting from a typical company devoured a dizzying 300,000 hours a year. Yes, that’s a year, by Jove! And yes, a year only has 8,700 hours. How did that happen without a Skynet time machine? Simple: The preparation and collateral (aka more meetings) for a meeting burns additional time from many employees including the executives. Meetings cost time and resources before and after they happen.
Ready for more, as you fall through a dimensional hole and into a Dilbert comic? Okay, here are some more soul-numbing statistics:
Before your next meeting is an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting after you binge drink due to this information, the problem with work meetings is being addressed as we speak and your boss is scheduling another meeting.
Yes, give me the solutions to work meetings!
Okay, the problem with meetings has sorta been addressed. As Kim writes in the Inc. article, Jeff Bezos at Amazon.com employs the tactic of not planning a meeting in which two pizzas aren’t enough to feed everyone. Business leaders like Donald Trump and Steve Jobs screamed a lot during meetings; maybe that wasn’t for efficiency, but they kept attendees on schedule and on track.
In between stuffing your mouth with pizza and stuffing your ears cotton balls, well-used technology like Uberconference and iMeet can trim the fat of meetings. On the other hand, companies such as LinkedIn are creating meetings that are more productive by using less technology. In other words, those slide presentations that lull you into a coma or ignite golf fantasies are being ditched—instead offered before or after the meeting. Yes, PowerPoint just ain’t what she used to be.
In the end, what is truly necessary to have productive meetings is a change in thinking and culture.
This transformation is covered in Al Pittampalli’s groundbreaking book Read This Before Your Next Meeting. Pittampalli explains that meetings create a culture of compromise and speculation, which is the anathema to the battleground that ought to be a company’s boardroom. In fact, Pittampalli says, “Like war, meetings are a last resort.”
This attitude of war is key to reforming the workplace meeting. Fighting is a minor part of winning a war. Preparation and decision-making are the major elements of winning a war. A meeting should be first and foremost about making decisions. By the time participants sit in a meeting, they all should have all the pertinent information necessary. It’s really up to the “generals” attending to make decisions, based on that information, which will move the company forward. It’s as simple as that, and Jobs and Trump would agree.
Pittampalli outlines seven principles for a successful meeting:
1. Supports a decision that has already been made 2. Moves fast and ends on schedule 3. Limits the number of attendees (only two pizzas!) 4. Rejects the unprepared 5. Produces committed action plans 6. Refuses to be informational. Reading memos is mandatory 7. Works only alongside a culture of brainstorming
Good meetings are indeed wars. All good wars are won before the first shot. Good generals make quick decisions as soon as they have all the available data. If the war motif is too much for you, then maybe you don’t belong in a competitive business society. Just sayin’.
Other suggestions from Pittampalli include having everyone walk around even if they’re not speaking, allowing people to come and go, and giving everyone a bloody time limit. Brainstorming and conversations have their places, but never at a workplace meeting.
In the end, an executive makes an unpopular decision is nothing more than a leader, and leaders are rare in workplace meetings.
Today, too many executives are more like politicians. That is tantamount to kicking the can down the proverbial road, and we’re back to wasting those 300,000 hours a year.
Instead, kick that bad addiction that is bad meetings.
This article or anyone cited doesn’t make a case for vanquishing workplace meetings altogether. Meetings matter. As Pittampalli says in his book:
We work in a business of complex problems. Meetings were the invention created to provide the needed coordination. We need meetings to ensure that intelligent decisions are made and to confirm that our teams are interacting effectively on complex projects.
What we don’t need, though, are standard meetings, the mediocre meetings and the meetings that actually and actively cripple our organization.
Furthermore, it was famed economist Peter F. Drucker who said, “Meetings are a symptom of bad organization. The fewer meetings the better.”
In summary, efficient meetings should rest upon these four cornerstones:
1. Meetings are only about decisions. In fact, their sole existence is to foster decisions. 2. The same fervor, urgency and agility we manifest in our jobs should manifest in meetings. Let’s go to war. 3. Meetings shouldn’t take time, but more like destroy time. 4. Mix it, shake it up, try something weird at meetings. At least a decision will come about from this, and that’s already a good meeting.
These type of changes are not easy. A culture of compromise just seems sooo sensible, but radical change is certainly necessary for any company that wishes to fully be a member of this age of information…including my brother’s.
As a bonus, please check out this infographic. Multitasking is also another work-destroyer:
To parody the workplace one doesn’t necessarily have to leave the workplace. The American workplace is largely a self-fulling, eternal loop of satirical moments—from byzantine meetings to black hole paperwork, from faltering tech originally meant to save time to Wonderland jargon spoken by so many management emperors wearing no clothes.
At least this seems to be the case on a bad day at work. However, one can also look at some of the data:
I’m sure you have your own statistics and empirical evidence. Sometimes it’s a wonder any of us gets bored during work once we open our eyes and notice the quirks of the workplace (or move our eyes away from watching the same YouTube video for the tenth time at work).
We always have movies to showcase existential realities, and when it comes to satirizing the workplace no shortage exists. Most of these films are comedies, although their “Ha-ha!” is more of the sad type of “Ha-ha!” and not the funny “Ha-ha!” type.
In the spirit of work sanity and this weekend’s Academy Awards, here are the ten most accurate parody movies of the workplace.
Office Space (1999)
Mike Judge’s creation is as close as you can get to nailing it when it comes to the Mad Hatter aspect of the workplace. The film was not a hit, but quickly blossomed into a cult flick and documentary of sorts, because it’s so bloody true! It contains all the keynotes of a sanity-sucking job: the jammed printer, the soulless but suave boss, the Kafkaesque memos, the cubicles-as-coffins, and much more. In the end, the lesson of Office Place is clear: mediocrity tends to rise to the top of the business world and a postal, pyrotechnic mindset wins the American Dream.
Same as it ever was, as the Talking Heads song goes.
Notable quote: Human beings were not meant to sit in little cubicles staring at computer screens all day, filling out useless forms and listening to eight different bosses drone on about mission statements.
9 to 5 (1980)
Not only does this film reveal the absurd side of the workplace, but it’s also a groundbreaking feminist exposition. Dolly Partner, Lilly Tomlin and Jane Fonda—a trinity of the female plight in business—go up again Dabney Coleman in all his genius as an actor and all his misogyny and bigotry as a character. We’ve all resented our bosses, but kidnap and torture one? Mmm…certainly a plausible fantasy long before sexual harassment, verbal abuse, and racial discrimination laws were actually enforced.
Notable quote: What are you, a man or a mouse? I mean, a woman or a wouse?
Working Girl (1988)
Melanie Griffith makes a dream move to forge her own deal at a Wall Street Investment bank, regardless of her lowly position and education. She goes up against the dark side of feminism: a haughty Sigourney Weaver in between fighting Aliens. This movie is more of a romantic comedy, with Harrison Ford playing her love interest and business ally. Yet Griffith’s narrative as someone attempting to break the bonds of business fate and caste systems is touching and uplifting.
Notable quote: You can bend the rules plenty once you get to the top, but not while you’re trying to get there. And if you’re someone like me, you can’t get there without bending the rules.
Fight Club (1999)
The story doesn’t exactly center on the workplace. However, one of the chief quests of the main character, Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt), is to deprogram all the other characters of their views on careers and the business world in general. The movie takes pointed shots at American consumerism, runaway brand loyalty and modern masculinity. But it’s the day at work that is the great tumor at the center of the human imagination—according to Durden—even as he tries to bring all of society crashing down around him in an act of global terrorism. I’m sure none of us have imagined bringing the system down after a long day of paperwork and bureaucratic nightmares.
One has to wonder what kind of team the women from 9 to 5 and Durden would have made if they joined forces in 2016.
Notable quote: We’re consumers. We are by-products of a lifestyle obsession. Murder, crime, poverty, these things don’t concern me. What concerns me are celebrity magazines, television with 500 channels, some guy’s name on my underwear. Rogaine, Viagra, Olestra.
Up In The Air (2009)
Many of us wonder at times if this will be the day we will lose our job. Even Steve Jobs was fired once, when he was head of Apple. This movie deals with the downsizing issue in nuanced and moving ways—as George Clooney and Anna Kendrick fly around the country as firing consultants during our never-ending reality of continuous corporate layoffs. The hunter must become the hunter, as they say, and Clooney finds himself a firing expert threatened to be fired.
History and art portray many heroic versions of those who face death, but so far very little heroism on how to gallantly fire someone or handle being fired. Up In The Air at least makes a noble attempt.
Notable quote: On a street level, I’ve heard that losing your job is like a death in the family. But personally, I feel more like the people I worked with were my family and *I* died.
The Devil Wears Prada (2006)
Bosses are scary and demanding. If they’re not, our imagination and office gossip can make them scary and demanding. Meryl Streep plays a scary and demanding in both reality and her company’s imagination. She is the true archetype of the severe boss, ruthlessly pilling tasks on the Anne Hathaway character. Whether it’s getting coffee or retrieving a pirated version of the latest Harry Potter book for Streep, Hathaway takes a licking and keeps on ticking as many of us wished we could until it’s time to leave for a better professional world.
But does that world exist? Some say you have to make a deal with the real Devil for this…
Notable quote: You sold your soul to the devil when you put on your first pair of Jimmy Choo’s, I saw it.
High Fidelity (2000)
Of course, owning your business is viewed as the solution to not having a boss. However, running your company is not like Humphrey Boggart in Casablanca—wearing a nice tux and waltzing around with the clientele. It’s more like High Fidelity, based on the Nick Hornby book of the same name. John Cusack plays the protagonist who owns a struggling vinyl record shop, with all the nonromantic pains of a staff and bills. Worse, he’s stuck in a post-grunge world where being the boss is as much of an existentialist quandary as being an employee.
As a companion, certainly watch Clerks (1994).
Notable quote: My friend here’s trying to convince me that any independent contractors who were working on the uncompleted Death Star were innocent victims when it was destroyed by the Rebels.
Glengarry Glen Ross (1992)
Based on David Mamet play, the story accurately captures the intensity and often nihilism of the sales aspect of business. Death of a salesman is easy if you just place him in a system that only rewards the top one percent (sound familiar in overall society?). On one spectrum, Jack Lemmon’s character is so simultaneously pathetic, poignant and passive we wonder how anyone could embrace the sales life. On the other spectrum, Al Pacino’s character is so transcendental and elegantly predatory, it’s apparent there is a metaphysical component to a good salesperson that can never be trained in business. In between, welcome to the passion narrative of the average sales team.
Notable quote: We’re adding a little something to this month’s sales contest. As you all know, first prize is a Cadillac Eldorado. Anybody want to see second prize? Second prize is a set of steak knives. Third prize is you’re fired.
Gung Ho (1986)
Before Batman, Michael Keaton was a brilliant comedic actor. Here he plays an out-of-work foreman who convinces a Japanese company to take over his town’s shuttered plant. As a warning, this Ron Howard vehicle is rather politically incorrect for these days with its views of Asians. Nonetheless, the movie is timeless in its showcasing the struggles of the American factory against cheaper labor and rising foreign interests. It is nice, though, to see working class individuals on both sides of the ocean rise to heroism.
Notable quote: I do not understand American workers. They come five minutes late, leave two minutes early. They stay home when they are sick. They put themselves above company. You seem to feel the same way as they do.
Monsters, Inc. (2001)
This mention might seem odd, considering the narrative revolves around warring department beasts in tech business during an incoming recession. Wait, it’s perfect for our times! From the worker eccentricities to the boardroom savagery for the bottom line, this Pixar hit holds life wisdom for adults as much as children. In the end, the real monsters aren’t the anxious managers or insecure employees, but any individual who attempts to screw over customers, clients or the overall brand vision for a little extra profit.
Notable quote: I’ll kidnap a thousand children before I let this company die, and I’ll silence anyone who gets in my way!
Honorable mentions:Boiler Room, The Leggo Movie, Empire Records, Social Network, You’ve Got Mail, Bridget Jones’s Diary and Baby Boom. I’m sure you might have others, and please let us know through Twitter (@qSample).
Now back to your YouTube video or listening to your boss drone on about a mission statement. See you at the Oscars!
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