With Pam home, and with me not working this weekend (which won’t be the case next weekend), we managed to do some shopping and other errands on Saturday. Today, better late than never, we decided to start training for the Sun Run next month (or, for us, I think more of a ‘Sun Walk’). Yes, we are planning on doing a combination of walking and running in that event. I have no expectations about beating any time; just want to finish it in one piece.
At any rate, I suggested that we walk around the seawall of Stanley Park. We’d start around the Yacht Club near the Lost Lagoon, and walk around the park, ending up around English Bay. After all, with the seawall now open again, and a sunny day expected, it would be a great way to sightsee and get some much-needed exercise. We started walking around noon, and were doing pretty well until around the 2 1/2 hour mark, when we both realized the extent to which we both were out of shape. I’m not sure how far we actually went in mileage (or kilometerage — is there such a word? Honestly, since we’ve gone metric I still don’t know how to say some things…), but we were plenty tired, aching, and hungry by the time we got to Denman Street for a late lunch. I hope I don’t regret this with too much of aching legs tomorrow, but obviously we need a lot of work to get in shape by the time the Sun Run takes place.
Wait Wait, Don’t Trash Me
While we were doing the aforementioned walk around the park, I listened to podcasts on my iPhone. Yes, that’s right, I got the iPhone fully functional, and like so many other Canadians, I’m using it unlocked, and awaiting the day when I can officially ‘go legal’, and not have to waive off the attempts by iTunes to upgrade the phone (which would turn it into an iPaperweight as quickly as you can say ‘Rogers Wireless’. )
So here I am, feeling pretty good about my cool new touch-screen iPod/Phone/Wireless browser and listening to NPR’s Wait Wait, Don’t Tell Me, the news quiz show, when the following bit comes up:
For those who can’t hear the audio, the gist of it is that a US marketing company called MindSet Media claims that Macintosh users are 60% more likely to be “self-centered” and “arrogant” and regard users of other operating systems with contempt and condescension. They are also more likely to see themselves as “artistic” and “hip”, “exceptional” and even “extraordinary.” Clearly, the report asserts, they have high standards and are not very modest.
To which I say: “And your point is?”
But seriously, this cracks me up, particularly after I learned this from an article about the report on Ars Technica:
It’s difficult to determine if any of this is real…We tried to get details of the study from the company’s press contact (who is also its COO and cofounder), but were unable to learn much about the process. They could not provide us with enough details to scientifically examine the study.
Approximately 7,500 people were surveyed at Nielsen Online and grouped according to their choice of computing platforms. The survey results were then fed into Mindset’s personality profiling process, which is undocumented. The company claims that it can correlate personality profiles with with brand choices: “a MindsetProfile will identify the psychographics that drive your brand, your category, and even your competitors.”
Given that there is no data on the survey questions or the evaluation of the answers, it’s difficult to analyze the results. A company-supplied image, however, provides some indication of the personality categories, which are arranged to evoke a periodic table, and hence hint at scientific credibility (Mindset apparently does understand marketing). There are probably fewer effective categories than are listed there, since a number seem interrelated. After all, it’s hard to imagine that someone with a strong sense of superiority could possibly score low in the self-esteem, or be easy to identify if they were highly modest. Likewise, it’s hard to imagine that timidity and bravado are compatible traits.
Still, this information isn’t sufficient to evaluate the claims, leaving us to rely on the credibility of the company itself. Judging by the fact that the company’s COO is its press contact and its “In the Press” page still says “Coming Soon,” it’s likely to be a new venture with a small staff. It’s entirely possible that Mindset is in a position to design Internet surveys, analyze the resulting data, and generate accurate personality profiles, but I’m somewhat skeptical. My sense is that the press release was largely an attempt to tie its company name to the Mac on the week of the Macworld Expo as a way of gaining a higher profile and some free publicity.
So their game is to pick a group who often reacts with great (and vocal) hostility when there is an attempt to sully their name and come out with an unflattering report on them. With this in mind, I’m expecting Mindset Media to come out with their next report: Marketing to the Overgrown Adolescent, AKA Heavy Users of Digg… No, wait, better yet: The Typical Personality of Those Scientologist Clowns.
Still, it tickled me that I (and my immediate family back in the US) pretty much fall into every single pigeonhole that the NPR panel could come up with : Macintosh-using, Obama-supporting, Prius-driving…
In the words of Woody Allen’s character played by Carol Kane in Annie Hall, Allison Portchnik:
Allison Portchnick: I’m in the midst of doing my thesis.
Alvy Singer: On what?
Allison: Political commitment in twentieth century literature.
Alvy: You, you, you’re like New York, Jewish, left-wing, liberal, intellectual, Central Park West, Brandeis University, the socialist summer camps and the, the father with the Ben Shahn drawings, right, and the really, y’know, strike-oriented kind of, red diaper, stop me before I make a complete imbecile of myself.
Allison: No, that was wonderful. I love being reduced to a cultural stereotype.
Alvy: Right, I’m a bigot, I know, but for the left.