ONCE UPON A TIME… REBELLIOUS INSIGHTS ON ROLE MODELS


Christmas is the season of fantasy movies and fairy tales. I find these quite inspiring. Some fairy tales seem to be every film director’s passion.

Cinderella who lives the American dream and went from rag to riches is indeed very popular.

But also Cinderella is a role model for femininity. Young and beautiful she is suffering until she is found by the prince aka Mr. Right.


Rapunzel is even worse. She is waiting around in a tower without a door, growing her hair so the prince has a chance to rescue her.

Did you ever ask why she did not do something useful with her time? Although I have not much patience and am a rather active person I admit I never wondered about this.

I took it as a fairy tale and never questioned why nobody bothers to rescue a bored prince.

Cinderfella

Two Italian ladies took a closer look at it and discovered quite some side effects of this.

No, they did not go berserk but did something much more intelligent. They performed a research on biographies of extraordinary women. Marie Curie, Coco Chanel, Amalia Earhart to name some representatives of this fascinating collection.

The book is called Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls: 100 außergewöhnliche Frauen.

And guess what: there are millions of parents who want their daughters to read this. The book has been translated in various languages and is so successful that the authors already wrote another hundred biographies in a second book.

Marketing with Humour

Personally, I admire their clever marketing strategy. Nobody denies that in some families and / or countries woman and girls are badly mistreated and have little access to education. But we cannot listen to it anymore, we simply cannot take more moaning that makes us feel miserable.

The authors used a very powerful weapon: laughter. You don’t believe me? Watch the video clip.

22 IMMUTABLE LAWS OF BRANDING

The latest non-fiction book I red has the title The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding: How to Build a Product or Service into a World-Class Brand. In my mind most of the laws are valid no matter if you go online or just sell in a physical store.

I just give you my two cents on some of the laws.

Contraction

I very much like the law of contraction since it bears a lot of resemblance to the “one thing” I already wrote about.

Let’s say you run a delicatessen shop. You will offer some sort of olives, five different hams and sausages as well as 5 different kinds of cheese, pickles and fruit juice. Every delicatessen shop has a similar offer. There is nothing that sets you apart.

What does Submarine stand for? Submarine sandwiches, I know you know. One could say the packed the delicatessen in this sort of sandwiches that can easily be wrapped, carried and eaten. No mess and the shops are typically on a commuter’s way.

A clear, branded product; clever and unique.

Expansion

If you go for easy pickings a large choice is good.

If you go for branding too grand an offer is a bad thing since it will water down your brand and nobody knows what your business really stands for.

I am not saying – and neither does the author – that you have to limit yourself to 2 items. Look at Starbucks for example. I have no idea how many sorts of obscenely overpriced coffee they offer. The cookies and cake are more of a decoration for the coffee.

Moreover, where ever you go the coffee tastes the same, the amount of milk or sugar is equal.

Expansion by contraction, you see?

The chapters about publicity and advertising are also worth reading.

Internet Branding

The book also contains 11 “immutable” laws of branding. Do me – and yourself – a favour and disregard it. Not much on the Internet is immutable and I very much doubt if the rules in this book were ever accurate.

What I am sure about is that most of them are absolutely, immutably wrong.

Still the book offers value for money.

THE ONE THING.

Recently I found and I am still finding a lot of articles and books about the value of focusing. They all make it clear that multi-tasking is from hell.

What Is Multi-Tasking and When Is It Bad?

Some years ago multi-tasking came up in the computer world. Real multi-tasking works if a device possesses two processors (CPUs). Most computers only have one micro-processor. What they do is called multi-threading. This means they are working on one task at the time.  Let’s say you were surfing the Internet and now you want to open your text programme. The CPU keeps the Internet alive (threading) while it takes care of the text programme. Threading requires a little bit of the CPU’s time.

It is quite similar in our brains. Of course we can walk and discuss a problem with someone simultaneously. The reason is that these two activities occupy different areas in our brain.

Did you ever try discussing an issue with someone and reading a book at the same time? Needless to say that it will not work for most of us.

If we are trying to accomplish this we jump from reading to discussing and back. And every time we interrupt our reading it takes us a moment to find “our” line again. So both processes are slowed down.

The Book

Yes, I admit I fell for the stylish book cover and for the title.

But when I started reading I could not stop anymore. The book is about focusing by which we not only would reach our targets but even go beyond our wildest dreams. The author claims that you have to go very small to end up really big.

Very small means that we have to concentrate on the ONE thing we want to achieve next. As a metaphor he (the author) uses the domino effect. When the first domino falls it touches the next and this one hits its neighbour etc. While the movement is very slow at the beginning it gains an incredible momentum towards the end of the “domino journey”.

Google became powerful with one thing: data retrieval. J. K. Rowling said in a speech that she became successful when she concentrated on the one thing that mattered to her. We know the result: Harry Potter.

Summary

Although I do a lot of multi-tasking (the “slowing-down” kind) I do see the value of focusing on the ONE thing.

The challenge is to find the ONE thing that makes us the happiest, the most successful or whatever we want. I am still working on this.

3 OUT OF 111 PLACES IN ZURICH WORTH A VISIT.

Of many cities there are books about 111 places in the respective city one must see. There is also one about Zurich.

Not only I want to present you the book but also 3 places I find particularly interesting to visit.

The Le Corbusier Centre

As the name reveals this centre has been built according Le Corbusier’s philosophy. If you have been reading here for a while you might remember his famous quote: “The house is a machine to live in”.

I only visited this place very recently. It was planned back in 1958 as a sort of “memorial”, when the architect was still alive. However, he never witnessed its opening in 1967 since he passed away in 1965.

The good news is that it still looks modern and contemporary and given the building’s large windows it is bright and you feel a bit like living outside as well as insight.

The downside of it is, that almost none of his famous furniture is there and the staircases are definitely too narrow to be practical.

Still, a very avant-garde place in a beautiful environment by the lake.

The “Frauenbadi”. An Open Air Bath for Women Only.

This place was built in 1888 in a time when hygiene and health just became a really important topic for everybody but many houses did not have running water in all apartments. In other words the “Frauenbadi” was not meant for fun but for hygiene as the “bath rules” that one can still read tell very clearly.

Nowadays we all have running water plus the “Frauenbadi”. The place is floating on the river Limmat (one of the two rivers meandering through Zurich) in the style of Art Nouveau. To this day it is reserved for women. Prude? Old-fashioned? Maybe. But it is quite cool there.

@Gentlemen:

  • In the summer evenings they turn the place into a bar where you are most wanted 😉
  • Moreover, there is also a swimming bath (also open air) for men only. We are fair around here. :-)

Zurich just has about 400 000 inhabitants but 19 public open air swimming baths and quite a number of indoor swimming pools.

A Piece of the “Forbidden City”. The China Garden.

Switzerland is in the heart of Europe with four seasons and a rather high amount of rain and cooler temperatures. Besides 38 museums and tons of shops you might still want something more exotic.

In this case I recommend the China Garden. Since 1982 the Chinese city of Kunming and small Zurich are partners. And the seven million metropole honoured us with a Chinese Garden. Its motto translates into “The 3 friends in winter”. The reason Zurich got this garden is because Switzerland sent engineers to Kunming to support the city with the installation of a sustainable tap water system. It is the largest thank you one can think of. All the parts were made in China who sent a delegation of experts to Zurich who built the garden according to the complex and traditional rules of such a garden.

These temple gardens – as I learned – have a ranking in their importance. According to the description the “Zurich-Garden” possesses the highest ranking outside of China.

In order to understand at least a small part of the secrets and symbols you need a guide. That is also the week part of it. The only public tours are once a month between April and October. The garden itself is accessible during the day but also only just in this period.

Book of the Month

To see the other 108 places please refer to this book. It is available in German only.

But if you need translation, you know where to find me.