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Matt Cohen
Matt Cohen received his MBA from the F.W. Olin Graduate School of Business at Babson College. He is also a contributing writer to MAD Magazine. You can read more of his posts at Unexpected Experts, his site dedicated to finding business insights from pop-culture sources.

Entries by Matt Cohen

Pentatonix: 5 Secrets To Content Marketing Success

(3) Comments | Posted May 26, 2015 | 9:10 AM

Thanks in part to their perfectly blended harmonies and wickedly clever arrangements, the a cappella group Pentatonix are on a massive winning streak right now. You may not be able to sing like Pentatonix, but you can learn from their success. In addition to their abundant musical talents, they are...

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How the Cloud Is Changing the Concept of Ownership

(0) Comments | Posted March 13, 2015 | 5:20 PM

Whenever the conversation turns to cloud storage, subscription based pricing for software, or any form of digital distribution, I find myself remembering what life was like in the '80s. Specifically, I recall how I programmed my first computer game. It was saved on an audio cassette tape.

Yes, in the...

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How to Be Inspired (And How You've Been Doing It Wrong)

(1) Comments | Posted February 4, 2015 | 1:26 PM

If someone else's good example directly motivates you to take action, then you've been inspired. Whether it moved you to start a new diet or start your own business, it was inspiring.

Being inspired seems easy, right? It should be. And yet, people get it wrong all the time.


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Bad Ads: Does Sexism Sell?

(4) Comments | Posted September 25, 2014 | 3:19 PM

There's an old saying that "sex sells." While some bad ads do objectify women to sell beer or web domain registration services, the following commercials aren't actually selling sex. Instead, they seem to be testing a new theory: Sexism sells.

The makers of these ads are banking on two assumptions:

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What Do Customers Really Think of Your Brand? Find Out With Perceptual Mapping

(3) Comments | Posted October 29, 2013 | 10:47 AM

Perceptual mapping is a technique that allows you to visualize the positioning of different brands in the market. Using perceptual maps, you can quickly compare yourself to competitors and make strategic decisions about whether or not you need to reposition your brand.

There are a several ways to create a...

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The Hitchhiker's Guide to Negotiations

(2) Comments | Posted March 6, 2012 | 6:42 PM

The art of negotiations is traditionally taught using fictional scenarios called case studies. My favorite case studies come from pop culture: just because they're entertaining doesn't mean that they can't also be informative. For example, The Dark Knight shows how knowing your BATNA can help you to negotiate like Batman and...

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Toy Theory -- Part II: More Business Tips From Classic Toys

(0) Comments | Posted February 13, 2012 | 1:20 PM

Toy Fair -- the game and toy industry's annual expo -- is here once again, so I thought I'd take another look at what businesses can learn from classic toys. As you may know, the economic discipline known as game theory is an approach to studying competitive strategies. If games...

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Scary Business Plans

(0) Comments | Posted October 12, 2011 | 4:29 PM

In order to get into the Halloween spirit, I'd like to search for the business tips lurking in the shadows of three of my favorite spooky movies: Sweeney Todd, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and Little Shop of Horrors. As I was re-watching them, I noticed two recurring themes:

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Design by Committee Is Dangerous: How Too Much Input Can Kill Any Good Idea

(5) Comments | Posted October 4, 2011 | 5:41 PM

If you ever work as part of a committee, team, or task force, you may want to circulate the following case study:

According to the masthead, the artists and writers for MAD Magazine are collectively known as "The Usual Gang of Idiots." In the interest of full disclosure,...

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Muppets and Manufacturing

(0) Comments | Posted September 14, 2011 | 4:37 PM

Jim Henson is generally considered to be a genius, but manufacturing is not frequently cited as one of his core competencies. Before we explore what Henson and his colleagues knew about production lines, let's take a quick quiz to test your Muppet knowledge. Name the following four characters:

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Entrepreneurs Reveal the Secrets of Market Research (and Ice Cream)

(0) Comments | Posted August 15, 2011 | 4:59 PM

Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield (better known the guys behind Ben & Jerry's) have written a traditional business book. It's called Ben & Jerry's Double Dip: How to Run a Values Led Business and Make Money Too. As you'd expect, it delivers expert advice on socially responsible business practices... but...

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Playing Games At Work: A Look At 5 Video Games With Corporate Settings

(2) Comments | Posted July 6, 2011 | 1:59 PM

I work at a company that develops mobile apps and other digital content. We recently released an iPhone game called "Office Riot," and, as the name suggests, it has a workplace theme. Compared with the number of games that take place on spaceships or in military outposts, there are very...

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Is Your Strategy Mature? A Simple Test Reveals the Answer

(5) Comments | Posted May 31, 2011 | 5:38 PM

There's a simple test you can use to determine the strength of your strategy, and it's based on a classic psychology experiment.

When he was a psychology professor at Stanford University, Walter Mischel developed the marshmallow experiment. If you don't remember studying Mischel's famous behavioral experiment in your...

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The Myth of 'Throwing Money at the Problem'

(23) Comments | Posted May 4, 2011 | 12:26 AM

If there's one thing we know for certain, it's that we can't fix what's wrong with education in America simply by throwing money at the problem. That's what people keep saying anyway. It sounds like it makes sense, right? "Throwing money" doesn't sound like a good course of action. It...

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Funny Business: The Strange But True Connection Between Pixar, MAD Magazine, and Product Development

(0) Comments | Posted April 13, 2011 | 4:36 AM

As my bio points out, I am a contributing writer for MAD Magazine. I sometimes worry about admitting that in public, but I have discovered that people are very interested in that part of my background. Nobody ever says, "Oh, you were an MBA? Can you explain conjoint analysis?" In...

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How to Negotiate Like Batman

(4) Comments | Posted April 5, 2011 | 2:25 PM

Negotiation can be a dramatic form of conflict resolution, which is one of the reasons why there are excellent negotiations case studies in movies, TV shows, and even some very unexpected books. There's a particularly great lesson in how to prepare for a negotiation about an hour into...

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The Best-Drawn Supply Chain You'll Ever See: A Look at How an Industry Evolves

(0) Comments | Posted March 28, 2011 | 5:09 PM

When drawing supply chains, most people don't bother with more than a fast doodle with boxes representing the different parts of the industry and a little stick figure representing the end customer. There's no reason that they should spend any more time than that (and besides, most MBA types lack...

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Four Market Research Mistakes to Avoid

(6) Comments | Posted March 21, 2011 | 5:41 PM

Somebody in my family was recently sent a direct-mail survey from the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC). The survey's purpose, according to the accompanying letter from NRSC Chairman Senator John Cornyn (R-TX), is to help Republicans in the Senate "fight for the interests and issues that matter to our grassroots...

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A Strategy You Can Hum: Why People Fall Into the Trap of Ignoring Strategic Principles

(0) Comments | Posted March 14, 2011 | 9:35 AM

Stephen Sondheim wrote a beautiful song that provides a great lesson in how to think strategically. (It's kind of like Schoolhouse Rock for business majors.) In addition to its many artistic merits, the song also provides an answer to the question of why otherwise intelligent leaders sometime chose near-sighted strategies...

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Rethinking Project Management: Can High Quality Be Cheap?

(0) Comments | Posted March 6, 2011 | 9:51 PM

There's a saying in project management that says you can have anything you want and it can be fast, cheap, and good... but you have to pick just two of those standards. In other words:

  • Your project can be done fast and well, but it will cost a lot.

  • ...

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