Tag Archives: Culture


Well, it has finally happened!  We are beginning to market to zygotes!  Yes, the new Generation Z includes kids 15 years of age and younger.  They are already being studied so we can figure out how to sell them Coke, toothpaste, soap and of course, technology.

I have some experience with the oldest of this generation, which is expected to at least equal the size of the Baby Boomers, when the final cutoff date is established.  Both my husband and son teach math to 15-year olds.  It is very strange that they both make the same assessment of their students, calling them “aggressively entitled children.”  I find it strange because one of them teaches the poorest children in our county, and the other teaches the wealthiest children in his region.  How has this happened?

These kids are treated with kid-gloves with very structured activities and schedules.  They are being raised by helicopter parents, and as such, they have tremendous capabilities and are a bit precocious.

So, here are 12 observations about and predictions for the new generation:

  1. Gen Zs have never known a world without cell phones, computers, or the Internet.
  2. They are more exposed to information, music, movies, other cultures and photos than any other generation.
  3. They can absorb a lot of information, but prefer it in short fast grabs (like Twitter).
  4. They will use their technology, small networks, and innovations to make a difference in their world.
  5. They are passionate about their interests because of the vast amount of information they can access.
  6. They are good at multi-tasking since they often use the mobile phones, computers and gaming systems simultaneously.
  7. Through multi-play computer gaming, they are learning collaboration, leadership and quick strategy planning, so cooperation and problem-solving will become second nature to them.
  8. They will be more environmentally aware than previous generations since global warming and climate change are important today.
  9. They may have more degrees, certificates and diplomas than any other generation.
  10. Many Gen Zs will have experienced unprecedented prosperity followed by significant economic turmoil before they reach adulthood.
  11. Gen Z families are smaller than previous generations.  Their parents are older and most mothers work without the guilt of past generations.
  12. Their parents range from young Baby Boomers to older Gen Yers, with the bulk of parents being Gen Xers.  Many have “traditional values.”

Introduction – Raison d’Etre

Image by Wouter Pinkhof

Does the world need another blog?  According to recent statistics from blog-tracking site Technorati, the blogosphere has doubled every six months for the last three years. That’s 175,000 new blogs per day worldwide. Technorati added its 50 millionth blog on July 31, 2006.

After several painful sessions of browbeating from my son and several friends, I suppose the answer is “if everyone else is doing it, so should you.  So get off your butt and do it!”  Those of you who know me understand that I never put anything in writing that I wouldn’t want the world to see.  Therefore, this is a painful process.  But I have been convinced that I have a ton of information in my head that is useful to many of my friends and clients.  So without disclosing any particulars, I will present, each week, my thoughts on my topics of expertise, namely figuring out how to concept and test the market/financial feasibility for places which may include:




Leisure / Hospitality


Culture (Theaters/Museums)

In the last few years, mixed-use projects have included all six of these elements.  Figuring out how they interact from a market and financial point of view is what we do and what keeps me engaged.  (I bore easily).

For those of you who don’t know me, I have been in the business for over 25 years and as a friend once said to me, “you must be pretty good by now.”  Well, I don’t know about that, but I do know a whole lot about the subjects noted above.

Why Even Bother With Area/Consumer Research

When I worked at Federated Department Stores (which at the time had all the best department stores in its portfolio, including Bloomindales), we had two units for research and evaluation.  One was dubbed “area research” and included all demographics, competitive research and projected sales.  The other “consumer research” did focus groups and intercept interviews of our customers.    Our projections turned out + or – 5% because our models were that accurate.  I learned a great deal from working there, which I brought into my practice.  Namely, that if you think you know the answer, and it is YOUR PROJECT, you are probably wrong.  And that you need to get an independent evaluation or you will make a $100 million mistake.  Some projects are smaller and some are larger, but you get the picture.

In my next posting, I will talk about area research and how it is done.  Subsequent postings will discuss consumer research and some of the interesting stories we have surrounding this type of analysis.  Stay tuned……….all of these things are GOOD TO KNOW, and thus the name of my blog!

10 Ways to Avoid Chapter 11 in the Attractions Business

A whole long while ago, I wrote an article with my mentor and favorite octogenarian, Buzz Price, about the many failures of certain themed restaurants and attractions.  I looked it over and was very surprised to see that it still has relevance today for development of new attractions, something that will be happening soon enough.  Thus, here are 10 pitfalls to avoid when planning an attraction.

  1. When planning, balance revenue generation in major categories: attractions, food service and merchandise.
  2. Spend time computing capacity.  Indoor attractions are hard to justify because of constrained capacity.
  3. Attractions are driven by opportune locations, preferably in the path of major attendance generators.  Stadium crowds at sporting events may not provide the required flow.
  4. High front-end R&D costs incurred in anticipation of a fast rollout are a plague.
  5. Study the market and understand the nuances of its preferences.  Pick your niches carefully and stick to them throughout planning and operation.  Don’t try to change consumer behavior.  The devil is in the details.
  6. Keeps your eyes wide open and try to be objective about your pet project.  You may think you have invented the next internet, but your market may not.  On the other hand, be passionate about the project and its greatest cheerleader.  Keep a balance between your passion and market-driven objectivity.
  7. Narrowly concepted attractions won’t find a broad-based market.  Along those lines, clear and concise branding is key.  Make sure your brand measure is clear to your customer.
  8. Assure that you have a critical mass of attractions to generate visitor interest for the required length of stay.  Create enough capacity for your maximum design day on-site crowd.
  9. Use realistic assumptions when looking to the future.  Respect comparative and competitive performance.  If you do better than projected, you can fix the problem (in most, but not all cases).
  10. The attraction must start up fully formed.  Phase I needs to be a complete show. Undercapitalized projects have a high failure rate.  Create realistic models for development cost, revenue and expense.