Insights from Nebo

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September 4, 2013

A World Without Google

Today marks the 15th anniversary of Google, undoubtedly the most successful Internet concept ever. In just a short time, Google has become a seamless part of our lives, ranking somewhere between Jesus and bacon in importance. The brand has joined the ranks of Kleenex and Xerox (and if you’re in the South, Coke), with its name becoming synonymous with its product and somewhat generic as we “Google” this or that. Most of the world can’t use a smartphone without using a Google product. Some people can’t even travel across their own city without using Maps. It's hard to fathom a life without it. Google Reader users, however, got a small taste of life would be like without the Big G in our lives.

On July 1, 2013, Google Reader said its last goodbyes and walked off into the sunset. Though far from a popular product, it still had its fair share of fans and public outrage. A petition was created for it on, garnering over 150,000 signatures. Just one small, almost forgettable product in Google’s portfolio had such a fanatical cult following that people were willing to make a petition about it next to fighting for women’s rights and stopping Medicare cuts. And it was taken seriously.

It begs the question: what would happen if some of Google’s other products went quietly into the night? Though we imagine we’d get by somehow, I’m not so sure.

August 30, 2013

College Football Friday

It’s finally upon us. No need for explanation. If you’ve got a heart that pumps blood and feelings that feel and a Fathead of Julio Jones, then you know what I’m talking about. With college football underway and the NFL season right around the corner, it’s no wonder this is the favorite time of year for so many people.

Being based out of the South, Nebo’s office is full of fierce college football loyalty. It seems to be a point of some confusion for those coming from other parts of the country. If you don’t understand the scale of college football fanaticism in the South as it relates to other parts of the country, maybe we can help you out with one of our favorite things in the world: analytics.

ESPN released viewership data for the 2012 college football season, ranking big market cities in terms of the percent of the population that watched college football. Check out this cartogram showing the results. As he always does, Nate Silver did some very interesting stuff with these data to find the true fan base of different Division-I schools.

August 27, 2013

Redefining Public Relations in a Digital World

The marketing industry has experienced a massive shift in philosophy over the past few years, and public relations, in particular, is no exception. We’re well past the days of faxing a press release to a local broadcast newsroom. PR has become a 24/7, 365-days-a-year industry, with professionals now required to be constantly tuned in and responsive. The always-connected, always-on digital world we now live in has forced us to redefine not only the tactics, but also the purpose of public relations.

In late 2011, the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) launched Public Relations Defined, a (long overdue) initiative to develop “a modern definition for the new era of public relations.” Failed attempts to do so in 2003 and 2007 had left this vague and dated definition in place since 1982:

“Public relations helps an organization and its publics adapt mutually to each other.” 

The reworked version was revealed in early 2012 in a New York Times exclusive:

“Public relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.”

August 23, 2013


Successful people have been studied and written about for centuries. We all wonder what qualities and habits enable greatness. Malcom Gladwell surmised that greatness was an output of practice—and a lot of it. 10,000 hours of deliberate practice seemed to be the magic number in his best selling book, “Outliers.” But like most things, it’s more complex than simply logging 10,000 hours.

A quick search on Google demonstrates how much has been written about the topic. As you can see below, when searching for “leadership qualities” over 40 million results are found.

August 21, 2013

Experiential Design: Perception of Performance vs. Reality of Performance

People with an engineering mindset look at problems from the standpoint of product/service performance. They seek opportunities for functional improvement.

But not every problem has an engineering answer. After the easy fixes are in place, future efforts start to suffer from diminishing returns. At a certain point, it becomes incredibly difficult to enhance the functional value of a good. So how do you improve the experience without changing the reality of its performance?

You focus on the perception of its performance.

August 15, 2013

Dignity & Performance

These days, everyone wants to talk about strategies for motivating employees. The topic has exploded over the past decade or so because our understanding of motivation has evolved. Decades ago, people thought we were motivated primarily by compensation. Pay people more and they’ll work harder, right? Fortunately, we’ve come to understand that human beings are more complicated than that.

Now, culture is all the rage. Thought leaders across every industry preach the effectiveness of building great work environments and weaving perks into the career experience. Article after article, blog post after blog post, headline after headline. The same talking points—largely repackaged.

What is culture? According to the experts, it’s a magical confluence of work and fun that improves performance across the board.

But the culture peddlers are missing the point. Yes, it’s important to create an atmosphere that drives and inspires great work, but are employee happiness and performance really as simple as a few perks and a pinch of autonomy?

We don’t think so.

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