Tweaking the Brand

This view of the main floor of the Harvard Coop is a suitable icon for our stay in Cambridge, which concluded last night with the grueling JetBlue flight to Denver. We flopped into bed at about 2 a.m. Not enough hours later, I am working at a Starbucks in Boulder, reconnecting with Colorado life. I know I’m not in Harvard Square, because there is more than six inches between the little round tables, and the guy closest to me is wearing a plaid flannel shirt. Plus I’m enjoying brilliant morning sunlight, a delight not seen during the last week in New England.

Thus may begin a new era of living in two worlds. My mother is going to clear out a closet in the third-floor apartment of their house where we can keep a dog cage and other supplies, making travel to and fro a little easier. I like the idea of seeing more of my family and maintaining our base in Denver. Which is not to say I didn’t feel surprising sadness sitting in my parents’ kitchen last night after my mother had brought in my favorite meal, spaghetti bolognaise. I wished we were walking across the street to go home instead of getting ready to haul luggage and dog and books 2,000 miles and two time zones away. So my vision of an eventual Boston move has not entirely surrendered to the unfair advantage of sensible options.

I love the Harvard Coop. In my days at Harvard, it was a general-merchandise store heavy on stuff with Veritas on it. Now it’s mainly books. As you walk in the front door, there is a whole section of books written by Harvard faculty and alumni. The sensibility of the store is infused wtih Harvard’s presence across the street. Malcolm Gladwell in a recent New Yorker piece deconstructed Harvard’s branding strategy with great wit and insight. What I took from it was that Harvard, in an often creepy way, has consciously created and maintained an image of itself as the premier institution of higher education in America. And I guess I’ll dare say that for me, it works. I feel smarter browsing the books at the Harvard Coop than I do in a run-of-the-mall Barnes & Noble superstore, even though I know the Coop is now managed by B&N. Everyone in the Coop seems more aware, more nuanced in their thinking, more likely to be advising the White House or the French government on matters of importance. This is a silly fantasy which does not withstand any kind of logical comparison of universities. But as I get older I am enjoying the pleasure of savoring my fantasies, of moving into them and taking off my shoes.

Denver’s savvy new mayor, John Hickenlooper, has set out to take full advantage of the “Mile-High Denver” brand’s suggestion of healthy living, vibrant arts and culture, ease with diversity, and top-notch urban education. I shamelessly move from one brand to another in my life, from Starbucks to Harvard to Denver to AA to WESTAF. A potent brand is an empowering myth. In the end, we each create our own brand and maintain it with subtle positioning decisions. The latest update of the LE brand is thus a hybrid of Mile-High and Harvard. Brought to you by JetBlue.

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One Response to Tweaking the Brand

  1. Anonymous says:

    Hi, came across this article that I think works well with your blog.

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    Children with ADHD

    There is a perplexing state of affairs in today’s society, there lies a strong correlation between the affluence of a society and the amount of disease that is present. There is also another correlation that troubles many a people and that is with affluence comes disease at an Earlier age.

    Working with children and the parents of these children I often get asked the question, ‘Why are Children with ADHD on the increase?’

    The answer as you shall find is one that is both interesting and challenging.

    Children of today are really no more different from the children of yesterday in terms of genetic makeup. However, if you examine the issue more closely you will tend to find that many children today have been given labels. For example, ‘Oh, those are children with ADHD’ or ‘Those are the children who can’t sit still.’ Or ‘That is the kid that always gets into trouble.’

    These labels are not only destructive but also become a self fulfilling prophecy as it is repeated adnauseum.

    So as a 21st century parent or a parent with a child with ADHD or a parent with children with ADHD, what knowledge framework do you need to equip yourself with to ensure your children live out their true potential?

    Here is a quick reference list for thinking about ADHD
    ? ADHD is a source of great frustration because it is misunderstood
    ? ADHD medications are a great short term time buying device and should be avoided long term
    ? The above point goes for any sort of drug consumption. Think about it for a minute. Unless you have a biochemical deficiency in your body like Type 1 diabetes where your body fails to produce enough insulin or any at all, why would you take an external drug? A body that is in balance is totally healthy. It is only when the body is out of balance that dis-ease symptoms start to creep up.
    ? ADHD is a biochemical imbalance of the mind and body.
    ? The Head of Psychiatry in Harvard states that drugs for ADHD simply mask the effects of ADHD. It does not cure ADHD. This is an important point because a cure implies never to have to take the medication. This means that once you start on medication you will have to be on it for the rest of your life i.e. you have medically acquired a dependency for a biochemical imbalance. That is like stuffing all your rubbish (problematic behaviors) into a closet (medication) where no one can see it. But if you continue to stuff more rubbish into that closet, one day you will not have enough space and need to do one of two things. You either empty the rubbish (the natural conclusion) or you get a bigger closet (i.e. change to stronger medication to control the symptoms). The choice is obvious but sometimes when you don’t have the necessary tools to deal with ADHD you tend to think the bigger closet is the only option.
    ? ADHD children are super sensitive to the emotions around them. Often they pick up emotional cues from their parents without realizing. Many parents come home frustrated or annoyed from work, the child with ADHD picks this up and starts to ’cause trouble’ by becoming restless. Parents frustration increase because they just want some peace and quiet. They get angry which in turn is picked up by the child who then intensifies their activity. Things get way out of hand and some sort of punishment is handed down to the child who has no idea what just happened. The cycle repeats itself every so often.
    ? Our brains are wired emotionally. Positive praise is interpreted as an analytical/thinking exercise. Negative criticism including scolding, name calling, physical punishment all go directly to the emotional brain of children with ADHD. This means in order to ensure you get your message across in the most optimal way, you need to learn how to communicate with your ADHD children the way they like to be communicated with.
    ? Every negative comment requires 16 positive comments to neutralize the emotion. Save yourself the frustration and agitation by practicing positive communication.

    The list is by no means complete. In dealing with children with ADHD there are a certain set of behavioural principles to follow. I will detail these steps in the coming weeks. I’ll also build on the list as you continue to learn about what appears to be a mystical disorder known as ‘Children with ADHD’

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