Parents as better managers… Pizza vending machine… Scripting word-of-mouth

One for mum, one for dad, one for the office?

New research shows parents make better managers, according to Forbes magazine.

Researchers from Clark University in the US interviewed 347 business managers about their family lives then spoke to their staff and colleagues about their performance. The result was revealing: managers with kids received significantly better reviews than those without.

It could be explained by the fact that parents have to learn to multi-task, handle stress and negotiate, the researchers say. It goes without saying, then, that it wasn’t simply the act of having children that conferred managerial ability; those managers who reported heavy involvement in their kids’ lives outscoring those who didn’t.

The study also found that it did not matter whether the parent/manager was single or part of a couple. Those who didn’t mind sacrificing for their children did better in the performance reviews, irrespective of whether they were committed to a spouse.

Push-button pizza

Most of us have had the sad experience of diligently working late, only to find the only food available is a droopy, dodgy vending machine sandwich.

Ohgizmo says US company WonderPizza has seen the problem, and come up with a solution: a pizza vending machine, basically a refrigerator and an electric oven. It can cook a pizza “to order” in two minutes flat. It even has three variety options!

Apparently the pizza vending machines are being distributed all over the world, so hopefully it will just be a matter of time until there is one near you. The nine-inch pizzas cost about $10 each, which isn’t bad value … as long as they taste all right. And what happens if your pizza gets stuck in the machine? Could be a disaster.

Putting words in mouths

It used to be something that just happened if your service and product were good, but now word-of-mouth marketing is an orchestrated campaign. Advertising groups, Yooster and Soup, are working with specially chosen “influencers”, people who can change others’ opinions, to spruik their clients’ products, reports the Sydney Morning Herald.

Yooster began compiling its database of 50,000 influencers in 2006, using psychological tests to identify the leaders of the pack. When the ad agency gets a new client, it sends product samples to influencers in the client’s target market and gets feedback. The products can be tweaked and the message honed. Yooster says clients include packaged goods giant Unilever and cosmetic brand Dove. Soup, which has a database of 15,000, is reportedly working with Coca-Cola.

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