Friday, April 24, 2009

Universal Appeal

Gap acquired Athleta, a womens sport and active apparel brand last fall. While I have been working out a lot more lately, this new line extension probably wouldn't have caught my attention, save for the fact that last week Athleta became the fifth tab in Gaps "universality" website function. If you go to any of the company's websites, Gap, Old Navy, Banana Republic, Piperlime and now Athleta, you are brought to their universal site which enables you to shop from any of the stores using one shopping cart and are charged one flat shipping fee.

While Amazon has been integrating sales from multiple sources for some time, it is really more of a go-between for individuals and other ecommerce stores. Gap has done something a little different with its brands, creating a portal that hopefully engages consumers and incentivizes them to shop multiple stores at once to their benefit. Of course it helps that there is audience overlap for these brands, though their styles and price points may differ somewhat. I wonder if the same concept could be applied to the Urban Outfitters brands, Urban, Free People and Anthropologie - my guess is no. Those brands are more life stage-targeted, though some of their items have a similar aesthetic so there would be some customers who shop at more than one of these stores.

Though I recently swore off online shopping in favor of going to the store, I know I can be easily swayed, so a one-stop shop is certainly pretty enticing.

Equal Opportunity Geekdom

A friend thought it would be funny to send me the link to Wired's Geek Dad blog post called 10 Annoying Habits of a Geeky Spouse. Of course I have a fantastic sense of humor and openly acknowledge that not only am I a bit of a geek (I think I practice geek chic) but I am about to become betrothed to one as well. Still, when I went down the list and saw how we measured up, my inner child, still desirous of being one of the cool kids, died another small death. We are all over this list like its our job or something. Here we go:

1. Punning - Thank goodness this is not us. While I am a fan of Sex and the City (one of the more acceptable, non-geeky shows I've watched) I could never stomach the terrible puns. I prefer to drum up old sayings, idiomatic expressions and obscure words. Nien prefers to opt-out and let me ramble on.

2. Using "frak," or Klingon, or both, instead of regular swear words - This also is a little off the mark, though we did watch every episode of Battlestar Galactica together and have both probably seen many or (more realistically) all Star Trek episodes and movies. I may have used frak jokingly, but never outside my apartment. I can swear like a normal person.

3. Weird or over-the-top ways of celebrating mainstream holidays - Consider us guilty of this one. We love to blow out halloween and are often strategizing mid summer on what we're going to wear. We are also weirdly competitive when it comes to gift-giving. Unless the person tells us it is their favorite or preferred gift we are not satisfied. We even planned out wedding for the summer solstice so our anniversary would be easy to remember.

4. Dissecting movies - Hello? Me? Never! Or should I say ALWAYS. I majored in cinema studies and Nien took some film classes in between computer science and engineering. We are all over this.

5. Wearing obscurely geeky T-shirts to "normal" places - I leave this one entirely to Nien. His favorite is the "I'm a Super Duper Programmer" shirt that I (hope) he recently retired. There are others, but we really don't need to get into it. Oh, except I found this really awesome "T-Qualizer" shirt a few years back that lights up when music is playing. Hmm, wonder why he never wears it?

6. Requiring extra room in the house for geeky things - My cool meter must be rising, because this isn't me either. Nien however, has "projects," multiple computers and toys. I pray for a day when he has an office he can cram it all into.

7. Geeky toys and decorations can be hard to explain to kids - Didn't I just mention toys? There are no kids at this point, but I bet they might question why they can't play with his Christopher Walken King of New York doll or the Leggo Death Star he claims he will have when we make more room. What about the E.T. puzzle we put together and framed? Are we going to have to fight the kiddies for it?

8. Looking up information while a discussion/argument is still in progress - Um, okay, I take issue with this one because, come on, isn't that part of the reason to have an iPhone? Of course, whipping out multiple phones to perform a search is pretty lame, so we should stop doing that.

9. Needing to watch certain TV shows ASAP to avoid spoilers - See aforementioned BSG, but also Lost. What's worse is that we DVR, wait like 10-15 minutes and then begin watching so we can still get through the commercials.

10. Geeky projects that take over the house and whole weekends - Check. This list is a little repetitive, but again we fulfill the requirement.

So there you have, like Geek Dad's Matt Blum and his wife, we also speek fluent geek. The blog, which staff writers seem to take turns writing, is worth checking out, whether you are a parent or not. Recent posts have tackled the SyFy rebranding (someone should be trying to explain that) Tiger Woods' Wii game as well as many more obscure topics that are even too geeky for me. It would be cool to see more Geek Mom posts (they have done a few to be fair) but its understandabke since Wired's readership is much more male skewing.

So, in terms of Nien and I, is there some kind of 12-step program to alleviate all this lameness? We do cool things as well, I swear. Like...hmmm, well, um? Give me a minute to think of something.