Fast Company

Cheat Sheet

How to speak business this month

Power(point) to the Customer

At 2 o'clock in the morning last November 15, Tom Farmer and Shane Atchison, two bleary-eyed consultants from Seattle, wanted one thing: to check into their rooms at the DoubleTree Club Hotel in Houston. Instead, they wound up igniting a grassroots customer revolution.

Denied their "guaranteed" rooms by Night Clerk Mike, the two travelers from the Web consultancy Zaaz created a masterful PowerPoint titled "Yours Is a Very Bad Hotel." It's now gone viral -- which, says Farmer, "is ironic, considering what we do for a living."

Download the PowerPoint from the Web (http://www.zaaz.com/powerpoint).

The New Dress Code

The history of corporate technology efforts is the story of a battle between techies ("T-shirts"), marketers ("Turtlenecks"), and business guys ("Ties" -- aka "Suits"), according to Forrester Research chairman and CEO George Colony. Post-dotcom, Colony says, we need a new dress code. One step: T-shirts should stop being isolated, and "e should get the hell back into the alphabet and stop attaching itself to innocent nouns." For the complete style guide, visit the Web (www.forrester.com/ER/ Marketing/0,1503,256,FF.html).

Neoteny: You Either Got It or You Don't

In their new book, Geeks and Geezers: How Era, Values, and Defining Moments Shape Leaders (Harvard Business School Press, August 2002), Warren Bennis and Robert J. Thomas coin a new word for old leaders: "neoteny." It means "the retention of youthful qualities by adults" and explains why geezers keep winning. The secret of senior leaders, it seems, isn't experience -- it's a playful, fearless approach to new experiences.

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