Ask now Jeevesless

Ask Jeeves has changed its name to, muddying the branding waters with and

Of bigger concern is the track record of generic brands on the web, especially in this space. Remember FindWhat, LookSmart, InfoSeek, AllTheWeb, etc? How about, or And there are no intellectual property laws stopping anyone from launching, or

When is comedy not funny?

Right now. Or at least begining at 12:10 pm pst today. If you are close to San Francisco, tune to 91.7 on the radio or listen online here. Igor’s Senior Brand Strategist Andy Valvur and our good friend Will Durst will be discusing what makes funny funny.

A man about a horse

Former Enron Broadband CEO Ken Rice laid out the power of language in court this week, demonstrating the value inherent in what a business is called. From Fortune:

He later described a May 1999 meeting where Skilling advised Enron’s top executives that, to boost the company’s shares, they needed to help him dream up an alternative to describing Enron as a “trading company” — since Wall Street viewed trading companies as risky ventures, and refused to give them lofty multiples. Management soon embraced a new mantra: Enron was a “logistics” company, engaged in “intermediation.” Its multiple began to soar.

The rollout of the broadband business accelerated that process. When Enron announced broadband’s new status as one of the company’s “core” businesses at a January 2000 analysts’ meeting, Enron shares leapt 25 percent overnight. The problem? “The business had very few customers and almost no deal flow,” Rice testified. And, oh yes — costs of $100 million a quarter.

Alas, the power of language and the leverage it wreaks in framing perception is equally potent in the cloven grip of a centaur as it is in the hand of man.

Stay tuned — coming up next on ‘My Little Pony’, Honolu-Loo pony hedges against U.S. inflation by going long on Japanese equities and buying puts on the yen.

The Finite Mind

The inane monosyllabic grunts of Igor co-flounder Steve Manning can be suffered through on this week’s “The Infinite Mind” (he’s on for contrast) radio show on NPR. If you don’t normally listen to the radio at 3 a.m. on Sunday, you can listen online.

Johnny Depp Jumps the Shark

Johnny, we hardly knew ye. The description on the steering wheel reads, “Naturally Sweetened Chocolate Pearl Shaped Cereal with Pirate Shaped Marshmallows”. In fact the marshmallows are heart, pentagon and other non-ship shaped shapes, so your actual satisfaction may depend on your definition of “Pirate”. Let’s see how Sean Penn tops this.

Johnny Depp Cereal