The McGraw-Hill Cengage Learning merger — and the perils of dog food marketing

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Two competing textbook publishers, McGraw-Hill and Cengage Learning, have proposed to merge. Reducing competition in markets fueled by predatory pricing is a bad idea. But why are textbooks so expensive? When I worked in the textbook publishing industry, the CEO of my startup publisher told me that what we did was “dog food marketing.” When … Continued

Adobe acquires Magento to become “shoppable” — and maximally buzzword-compliant

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Adobe announced yesterday that it would acquire commerce platform Magento for $1.68 billion. It’s clear that an army of lawyers and PR people spent days crafting the 1001-word announcement, with is laden with highly refined, state-of-the-art tech-vendor bullshit. So let’s take the announcement apart. I’ll highlight jargon in bold and┬ámeaningless weasel words in italic, and … Continued

Promoting the T-Mobile-Sprint merger with a clear and upbeat message

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T-Mobile has agreed to acquire Sprint. But the two mobile carriers need regulatory approval to go forward with their merger. Rather than the usual lobbying, they’ve released a video. It’s notable for its clear, simple message addressed directly to consumers. Here’s the video, which already has 84,000 views. Reducing a complex message to simple and … Continued