Science & Business of Colors

This originally came to my attention through an article on properly designed blog aesthetics. It’s an interesting short-discussion on the interpretations and reactions to colors. From the article:

  • White: Pure. Clean. Youthful. It’s a neutral color that can imply purity in fashion and sterilization in the medical profession.
  • Black: Power. Elegant. Secretive. The color black can target your high-end market or be used in youth marketing to add mystery to your image.
  • Red: Passion. Excitement. Danger. Red is the color of attention, causing the blood pressure and heart rate to rise. Use red to inject excitement into your brand.
  • Orange: Vibrant. Energy. Play. Add some fun to your company if you want to create a playful environment for your customers.
  • Yellow: Happy. Warm. Alert. Yellow can be an attractor for your business with a relaxed feeling.
  • Green: Natural. Healthy. Plentiful. To create a calming effect or growth image choose green. Go green go.
  • Purple: Royalty. Wise. Celebration. Maybe add some purple tones to your look for your premium service business.
  • Blue: Loyal. Peaceful. Trustworthy. Blue is the most popular and neutral color on a global scale. A safe choice for a business building customer loyalty.

Play Chicken and Save $50 On HP Laptops

I had been looking at getting a new laptop. I finally settled on one of the already-assembled HP ones since the price had been a little less expensive for what I wanted. I had looked on Amazon and the price wasn’t competitive, so I ordered it from HP. About 30 minutes after ordering the laptop from HP, the Amazon price dropped to $100 less than the Amazon order ($50 less and no sales tax). So I did want I hope any rational person would do. I bought the Amazon one also and planned to return the HP one. HP told me that they couldn’t cancel the order (only 1 hour after buying it) and that I would have to generate an RMA after receiving it.

After I receive the laptop, I contacted HP customer service and let them know that I wanted to return the laptop. After explaining my situation (and telling them that I did order the laptop I wanted already), they offered an additional $50 off to keep the laptop. So, by playing chicken with HP and threatening to return a laptop after getting it, you can save $50. And this is on top of any HP coupons that you can find out there.

I think this is a perverse incentive structure at HP, but, as long as it’s out there, go take advantage of it. In my case, HP would’ve been better off giving me a few hours to cancel my order before forcing me to take delivery – they lost because of it.

Math as a Tool

Slashdot passed an interesting article on about the value of math education. One little bit from it:

Americans like technology but seldom have a grasp of the science behind it. And the mathematics that is behind the science is regarded as even more mysterious, like an inner sanctum into which only initiates may gain entry. They see the rich and nourishing technological fruit on this tree of knowledge, but they see no deeper than the surface branches and twigs on which these fruits grow. To them, the region behind this exterior of the tree, where the trunk and limbs grow, is pointless and purposeless. “What’s the use of math?” is the common query. “I’ll never use it.” When a nation’s leaders are composed primarily of lawyers, administrators, military men and stars of the entertainment industry rather than statesmen, philosophers, the spiritual, and the men and women of science, then it should be no surprise that there is so little grasp of the simple reality that one cannot dispense with the trunk and limbs and still continue to enjoy the fruit.

I do think the idea has merit. After all, how many people can say that have the faintest clue how their iPhone works under the hood?

The Billion Prices Project @ MIT

MIT has started an automated system to extract a value similar to the consumer price index, only do it every day. They call it the Billion Prices Project. This is a brilliant match of internet automation and economics! And it appears to track the CPI reasonably well over the long-term. This is what they’re doing:

We currently monitor daily price fluctuations of ~5 million items sold by ~300 online retailers in more than 70 countries.