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Showing posts from August, 2012

Why plain packaging for cigarettes is unlikely to have much effect

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Plain packaging for cigarettes is widely seen as a way to reduce the number of people smoking (see Plain packaging for cigarettes would help Britain kick its smoking habit The Guardian 10 August 2012). Both the EU and the UK government are now considering this move, already adopted in Australia. But the notion that selling cigarettes in logo-free dull green packages will deter smokers fails to take into account both human nature and the way brands work.
Advocate of plain packaging believe that smokers and aspiring smokers will be repelled by unattractive plain packages.  I doubt that this will have much effect. Nobody smokes because the packages are cool; people start smoking because smoking is cool – at least in their eyes. Existing legislation also ensures that people are not going to pick up a packet of cigarettes from a supermarket shelf because it looks stylish; they ask for a brand they have already chosen and they are influenced more by the image of the brand rather than the p…

Upstart Brings Personal Funding to People With a Vision

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Just when you think they can't think of any more awesome ideas for websites along comes another one. This time it's a startup founded by a group of ex Googlers called Upstart that brings funding for people rather than businesses, projects or whatever.

Upstart's concept is simple enough: you can raise capital from backers by promising them a small percentage of your earnings for ten years. This isn't funding for your movie project or for your startup idea; it's funding for you personally to make your dream real. It's available to students or recent graduates of five US colleges for the moment.

To become an "upstart", as the company calls them, you start by building a profile where you describe yourself and your goals. Using income statistics Upstart then calculates how much you can raise per % future income you can commit. You then decide how much funding you want to ask for.

Backers can then fund you in increments of $1000. Some might also choose to …