A Creative Application of Incentives …

Actually, two examples in today’s New York Times*, and in the Arts section of all places.

1. Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt solve a big problem — the illicit distribution of photos of their new baby — by distributing the pictures themselves and donating the proceeds to charity, thereby thwarting the paparazzi free market and potentially setting a new model for future celebrity photo ops.

2. City officials in Sydney, Australia have found a way to clear out the hooligans who gather at night in parking lots and discourage solid citizens from frequenting restaurants: they’re going to play Barry Manilow music, really loud. This may attract an undue collection of “Fanilows,” the worldwide guild of women who love Barry, but they are presumably better customers than the existing hooligans.

Also in today’s Times, the most entertaining lead paragraph I’ve read in years, by Nicholas Wade: The first American to be able to claim descent from Genghis Khan has been discovered. He is Thomas R. Robinson, an associate professor of accounting at the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla.

*Both of these stories were first reported yesterday by Reuters.


"The first American to be able to claim descent from Genghis Khan has been discovered."

Oh please. I went to school with a direct descendent of Genghis Khan. The guy in question MAY have been the first American who had the genetic test that matched him up with Khan, but starting the article with that isn't merely hyperbolic, it's misleading.

And as was alluded to above, Khan spread his DNA far and wide.



The McDonald's in Hyde Park employs a similar method. They blast big-band style swing and jazz outside the restaurant, assumingly in order to keep young hooligans from gathering in the parking lot. It seems pretty effective, but I have only been to that McDonald's a hand a full of times.

Maybe we should start doing that outside my apartment building................


* Reminder *
Create an environment that's perfect for your ideal clients. Not only will you attract the people you want to your business, but you will also chase the ones you don't want away.



It seems that Brad and Angelina's great idea didn't work out, since their "exclusive" pictures are already all over the Internet. They'll probably keep their $5 million, but I doubt magazines will keep thinking this is a great idea...


As long as the sales of that issue of the magazine are higher than normal and the publication gets the attendant publicity associared with officially having the "exclusive," it won't matter if the pictures leaked or not. Selling the pictures shifted some of the hassles associated with photographers trying to get pictures of the new baby off of the couple and onto the publication, whose responsibility it is to protect their investment by preventing leaks. In addition, they got a nice check for charity. It's not really a new development, as similar arrangements have been going on for some time, with celebrities offering exclusive deals on their weddings and whatnot to try to circumvent trespassers.


I'd read that the Khans were prolific, with genetic studies making about 20% of south central Asians in some way a genetic descendant (Discover Magazine I think).


Tonight is my first visit to your site following weeks of procrastination after watching a news article on Freakonomics on cable TV. I intend to purchase your book tomorrow (it looks fascinating), but tonight I will be leaving my door ajar to see if I can hear any of Mr Manilow's vocals :)


I read the blog regularly, but this is my first comment. Great site (and book).

Kudos to Sydney on cueing up Manilow. Hmm. I wonder if that may work with unwanted house guests? Is the visit enduring a bit longer than hoped? Just crank up Barry!


You might be wrong when you say that the sale of the baby pics & the donation of the proceeds to charity "sets a new model" for future celebrity photo ops. The NYTimes doesn't say that they're the first to do this, and I'm pretty darn sure I've heard about this model being used before (and recently).

Oh - here's a reference. Googling on

baby photos exclusive rights charity -jolie -angelia -pitt

turns up a few things, including this story about Michael Jackson doing the same thing back in 1997:



The Barry Manilow story reminded me of something that I read about a year ago regarding a new gizmo that a former worker for British Aerospace developed to scatter teens who were bothering shop owners.

It emits an extremely annoying high-pitched noise that can only be heard by under 20s. They call it the Sonic Teenager Deterrent. Haven't heard much about it since, but then I'm in my fifties and may simply not be picking up the story because of it's the wrong frequency.


I need an editor, too. Last sentence of previous post has an extra word in it.


Downtown Dallas has a McDonalds that plays classical music, inside and out, just down the street from the Civil Courthouse. I've eaten there. The music does run people off and was started after the Dallas Cowboys crowd caused some problems after a superbowl ...

Still playing after all those years.