Sunday, January 27, 2008

Please Advertise to Me

Here's one I think would be loved by Madison Ave, but I would love it too. I would be happy if advertising was actually targeted to me and my preferences. I just don't want the people knowing who I actually am. I want them to know I'm not interested in Gap clothes, but I am interested in American Apparel. I want them to know I am not 17, but not 45. I want them to know I like Honey Nut Cheerios, but not the plain version.

Heck, I'm even advocating that I'd go for a specific advertising web page, made for me to browse stuff that I want or could want. Like Amazons' "If you like X, try Y" idea, but for everyone to join in. MyPersonalShoppingMall. I want it to learn, like StumbleUpon, what I like and don't like. Maybe I even want to meet people who have bought an iMac, or who like Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream. My identity would have to remain anonymous for sure, with a specific email addy just for shopping in my personal Web Mall, with a new low-interest credit card that rewards me and the vendor for getting my needs met. Hell, Yes. Show me the creme de la creme of new environmentally friendly LED lamps, then point me to the right low-VOC paint you think I might like, then link me to three people in Seattle who bought both of those things so we can meet up and go for a rollerblade to Marymoor Park.

MMMMM, perhaps if I did sign up for the service of targeted ads, I could tell my browser to opt out of the ads that target me so randomly and ineffectively in my normal web experience. That's the thing, I don't mind ads, just ads that suck and have nothing to do with me. This is an idea that's X2, and I don't mean maybe, baby.

Wreckage Salvage

I've posted this on GlobalIdeasBank.Org, but it's time for another reiteration. Buildings are constantly being torn down and the detritus often quickly hauled off by well-meaning but uninformed workers to the landfill transfer station. Sometimes they'll do the right thing and separate their trash from their clean wood, their steel from their plastic bags, but not often enough. There isn't much incentive from a contractor's POV to go through the hassle of separating that stuff out, they get paid for doing the work, not the hours of time that could be spent recycling. SO: Contractors should charge (and it should be understood) for recycling.

Be it further noted that when tearing down a big old building the contractor/demolition expert should be paid to put the site up on an official city registry for salvage. Then people could line up and sign up for a shot at taking away the stuff that might be reusable, big wooden beams, nice leaded glass windows, cool drawer pulls, hardwood floors in reasonable shape. It should be either rewarded or at least not penalized for contractors to re-use and recycle. It just makes sense.

Self Branding for Kids

Okay, the word "branding" is not the kind that requires hot steel on skin. I'm talking about Moby, Prince, Madonna, giving yourself a particular identity and saying "I'm me and I'm proud". Perhaps in this day and age it sounds crass, or perhaps it sounds savvy, but I think that one should get cracking on figuring out who one is pretty quick in life. This is "identity" but is otherwise known as "branding". I've got a tattoo on my hand that I wish I had the guts (and parental blessing/encouragement) to put on my hand decades earlier. Whether that means letting a child change her/his name or cut their hair a particular way or buy particular clothes, make it important. Talk about it with them, tell them you support their search for identity and meaning. Get creative. Let them express themselves, and let them know they might change that expression later as they evolve. It could just be showing them their own signature, it could be a tattoo, a particular song that they identify with.

New American Rite of Passage

I'm all for community. I'm not all for pre-ordained religious upbringing. Specifically, I'm fully against the idea of circumcision and religious rites of that kind that the kid has no say in. I think that if you want to get a kid interested in a religion (specifically if it's the one you believe in), than you've got to let them choose it themselves, and you've got to spend a good chunk of time proving to them by showing them why it's so good for them. It should take around 13 years or so. By that time, they might have seen a few things and watched you do your thing, and be more capable of deciding which religion, if any is right for them. I think boys and girls are capable of making this decision on their own. A Jewish Bar or Bat Mitzvah is okay, but only if the kid wants to do it. That's some big pressure there, folks. If they choose the path themselves, it's far more likely to be chosen with passion and conviction (such as it is at that age). At 13, it should be a big deal, that they get to investigate their religious options and make a conscious choice about it.

A sweeet 16 party is alright, or a quinciniera, but notice there's nothing for the boys becoming men at that age? They go through rites of passage alright, but not those you might want them to if you're their parent. I say we give all our kids a specific target that they can look forward to that means "in our culture, becoming an adult is something important, and choice is a big part of that, taking responsibility for that choice." Word.

Clothing Renewal

Along the lines of my old t-shirt recycling, used clothing stores should pay a buck for a shirt that can't be sold as "vintage" so it can be turned into other materials. Insulation products are currently out there that are made of discarded floor remnant from denim factories. I'm sure that free or close to free cotton could be used the same way. Man, do I have a lot of old socks and tshirts waiting to go to a better home than the landfill, but I don't have the time or energy to take my own advice and re-use them. There are those big drop boxes for clothes to go to a better place, but what about those outfits that seriously can't be used again? Shredded for insulation, I say!