Going To The Dogs

22 10 2010

Sometimes it just takes seeing things through a different lens to see an entirely new world of product opportunities. Like maybe through the eyes of a dog. Or at least a pet owner.

That’s exactly what happened to Jackie Simoni, inventor of the PupLight. Tired of either walking her dog in the dog, or trying to juggle both leash and flashlight, Simoni repurposed what was already on the market for more human uses. Basically, the PupLight is a Petzl or Cateye headlamp, but for your dog.

Yeah, you know. Inexpensive plastic housing, two “AA” batteries, and 5 LED bulbs. Blindingly bright. Capable of running for dozens or more hours. And bound to not only illumine the way, but also alert motorists.

I use the exact same kind of hardware on my bike for night time cruising. For $20, you can safely take your dog to the streets and lighten your own workload along the way.

While Simoni may have envisioned an early retirement thanks to PupLight, she has settled into a rather comfortable rhythm of 150,000 units sold per year. Even if the product is keystoned at each level of distribution, she would get about 1/8 of that $20 for each unit sold. That’s $375,000. Not bad for a side business.

But the PupLight is just now starting to get its legs. Petco, Amazon and outdoor outfitter Cabela’s now carries it, and Simoni is also inking deals with the federal government. Turns out cheap, effective and long-lasting are product attributes that everyone will sit, stay and roll over for.

Simoni is to be credited for seeing what, in retrospect, seems patently obvious. But until you have tried to walk man’s best friend in the dark, you really cannot begin to appreciate the needs. The PupLight is elegant in its simplicity, which is the way all the best products are designed. No fluff. No over-promising. No over-selling. Just a basic light that gets the job done.

And if the PupLight keeps selling the way it has been, Simoni is going to have to swap her regular lenses for some much darker ones.

Dr “Sit, Ubu, sit!” Gerlich

Increasing Clouds

20 10 2010

People love to decry the rapid rate of change that has occurred in our lives the last couple of decades. No sooner have we adopted one technology than to have it supplanted by another. We have embraced and then ditched CDs and DVDs. We have cut our cords. We have packed our brains into pocket-sized devices.

So why have we been so slow to adopt cloud computing?

Microsoft 365 is the latest effort from the software giant to promote this idea, but as much as I am in favor of it, I suspect it is not going to become the runaway best-seller Redmond honchos want. Never mind that it sidesteps the nagging issue of software upgrades and installations on multiple machines. Never mind that it is infinitely more mobile than software locked onto hard drives. And never mind that it will no doubt be much cheaper than traditional options.

No, it is just that I think we have become a little fixed in our ways and have drawn a line in the digital sand.

Too bad, because cloud computing really is the Next Big Thing, and the sooner we adopt it, the sooner we can ramp up productivity.

It’s not that we haven’t already been using some elements of cloud computing. Many among us already use photo and video storage sites, accessible via the web or phone from anywhere. Many (like me) have been using Google Docs for years. And even more are subscribing to music listening sites like Rhapsody, creating and accessing playlists from anywhere for music we technically do not even own.

So what is the problem, I ask? Simple. My students have told me for several years that they are worried about privacy. Really? Privacy? When you Facebook all the live long day, shop online with reckless abandon, and stream music and movies through your Wii and Roku boxes?

Yeah, sometimes it’s the little things that become the biggest stumbling blocks.

As for me, I love the idea of being able to access basic office productivity applications from anywhere. I am tired of owning both Mac and PC versions, and from different years. It is a chore to keep up with compatibility issues (like when Microsoft added the “x” to file extensions in the 2007 suite). Whether I store files in the cloud or on portable flash drives makes no difference. I will be able to work effortlessly without having to waste time or money making sure I have properly loaded all of the necessary software.

WT faculty and students had better get ready for the increasingly cloudy skies, for the university has decried that new computer purchases in the future will be “dumb terminals” (reminiscent of what I used back in the 70s and 80s) that work off cloud applications. Files can be saved to eternal drives or on the network. Yes, this is a major paradigm shift, and will no doubt cause much consternation for many, but it is a quantum leap forward in computing efficiency.

And as much as I love the sunshine, I am all in favor of this cloud cover. Go ahead. Cover me. I’ve got it made in the shade.

Dr “Keep The Sunscreen” Gerlich

In The Breach

19 10 2010

When you’re the biggest kid on the block, you make an easy target. Not a week has gone by lately without Facebook being hit with some charge of impropriety. The latest is that the top apps (like Farmville) are surreptitiously compiling and exporting user information through the back door, and selling it to third-party advertisers. Facebook has now shut down these apps, but only after a lot of information has flowed through the cracks.

Naturally, Facebook says that there is “”no evidence that any personal information was misused or even collected.” Uh-huh. Sure.

In recent months, Facebook has tried to make itself more transparent to its 500 million+ users by offering different levels of easy-to-choose personal security, but these most recent breajes were apparently able to circumvent everything. By using the unique numerical identifier each Facebook user is assigned, apps like Farmville were able to harvest many digital acres&3039; of data, all of which was sold to advertisers and online tracking firms.

“Thanks for playing our game. Now we are going to sell you and your friends down the river.”

While these breaches did violate Facebook’s privacy policy, they did not break any law. Still, if Facebook hopes to expand its sphere of influence in our lives, it has a social responsibility to build trust. And as long as anyone and everyone can stick their hand in the data cookie jar, they’re going to have a hard time convincing us it is safe to do anything there.

As it stands, I consider Facebook to have the best advertising engine around. They are better than Google at matching advertisers to my stated interests. Google drops ads based on search queries, as well as content in our Gmail messages, but Facebook tracks virtually every word we say in our status updates and replies. It’s how I get ads for Sudoku puzzles, the latest Joe Bonomassa CD, and online degree programs.

Maybe I need to start word-dropping a little more just for fun, to see what ads might pop up.

Facebook is poised to dominate our lives in ways we never anticipated, though. It is just now beginning to emerge as an e-commerce portal. Customized FB apps allow businesses to include shopping options on the fan page (like The Onion). Just like all e-commerce vendors had to gain our trust a decade ago, Facebook must do so now. And as long as there continue to be privacy breaches of this week’s magnitude, I don’t see that level of trust coming any time soon.

Yes, I realize that by choosing to participate in the social graph, we are opening ourselves up to a lot of nosey eyeballs. But guess what? People can find us in the phone book as well, and if they really want to dig up some dirt, they can just head over to Pipl.com, perhaps the ultimate deep-scouring search engine.

Thus, we should not be surprised when facts, figures and preferences about us float to the surface. It’s just that when you really are the biggest kid on the block, the expectations are commensurate. It’s time for Facebook to lock the door.

Dr “And Throw Away The Key” Gerlich

My Favorite Whine

18 10 2010

If necessity is the Mother of Invention, then desperation is the Father of Insanity. In the world of business, bad times cause companies to do crazy things. Sure, it is all well-intended and aimed at the preservation of jobs, bottom lines and corporate longevity.

But that still doesn’t mean those crazy things are going to work. Like Starbucks and their plans to add adult beverages, cheese and meats to their menus.

It’s a fairly simple formula, to be honest. Caffeine in the morning, and alcohol in the evening. What goes up, must come down.

But Starbucks is not a lounge or bar. It is a coffee shop. For SBUX to add booze and fancy foods to the menu would be like a night club adding coffee, pastries and wifi. Major league disconnect. Cup runneth empty. Grounds for unemployment.

That SBUX understands there are day-parts affecting retail is indeed quite smart. But that is neither invitation nor imperative to abandon mission and roots in an effort to cover the entire day. There is much to be said for staying true to one’s purpose and legacy; trying to dislodge the old and replace it with new in the minds of consumers is a crap shoot at best. Talk about risky business.

SBUX has tried unsuccessfully more than once to add breakfast items to its menus, but it is the coffee, muffins and scones that continue to be the best sellers. And with good reason. Those are the business of Starbucks. Consumers know SBUX for precisely those items, and nothing more. If I want a breakfast sandwich, I will patronize a place known for its food. And if I want a swank lounge atmosphere, I will go to a lounge.

Now naysayers may retort that if McDonald’s can get away with entering the breakfast market years ago (with the Egg McMuffin, of course), then whay can’t Starbucks do the same? Simple. McDonald’s was already in the fast food business. Creating and selling a breakfast sandwich was not a huge stretch for them or consumers to embrace.

But Mickey D’s has also made enough of its own missteps that other food vendors should be paying a little more attention. Steak sandwiches? McPizza? Can you say McFailure?

It’s like everyone wants to be someone they are not. Why not stick to being the best fast food eatery in the world? Or the best coffee purveyor?

I can just imagine people making fun of this little charade. “I’ll have a Venti Fat Tire.” “This wine has the bouquet of Juan Valdez’ donkey.” “The gouda is good, but it’s not very robust with this robusta.”

If SBUX wants to go into the night life business, then perhaps they should consider launching a separate chain with a unique name. My consumer mind knows Starbucks for precisely one thing. As crazy as an orange-flavored Coca Cola sounds to me, it is little different from an SBUX with microbrews.

So, you see, I really am in favor of corporate creativity and new ventures, but I think that once a brand becomes etched on consumer minds, everything must be done to maintain and build it. But only within the parameters of that brand. Do reach for grass on the other side requires a separate brand, not a longer neck.

Which leads me to my favorite whine: You can’t do that!

Dr “Pour Me Another Glass” Gerlich

Textually Active

17 10 2010

This probably doesn’t come as much of a surprise to anyone, but teens are texting more, and talking less, than ever. Anyone who has kids already knows this. And anyone who has reason to interact with teens knows that our youth are connected in ways that we could never begin to imagine possible when we were growing up.

It just seems so disconnected, though. But who am I to judge? After all, I once told my parents their music sucked. And that after listening to Steppenwolf’s Greatest Hits.

Yeah, get your motor running.

Truth be known, this little nugget of trendwatching actually speaks volumes about how marketers need to be reaching young people. The methods with which we grew up simply are not going to work. And it maters not that we may disagree with the text me/dont’t call me MO kids these days use. It’s their gig, and they get to make the rules.

And it is our job as marketers to pay attention, because those same kids probably are not going to respond if we keep shoveling out the same drivel we’ve been using our entire lives.

If anything, communicating with young people is easier, not harder. All we have to do is win their friendship and get them to opt in to outbound text messaging. Then we wait for the cash register to start singing.

Which is another way of saying that marketing and advertising activities could actually be getting cheaper rather than more expensive. And it’s another way of saying that creativity may be headed south, because apparently all that our nation’s youth respond to is droll text messages.

Also trending is the fact that kids are consuming far more data per month than they did a year ago…up from 14MB to 62MB. Still, this is a mere drop in the giga-bucket, because carriers like ATT have a threshold of 200MB per month for tiered data pricing. Leave it to a 9 y/o to tell it like it is. According to Bailee, me weekend shaving boycott “feels like a cat’s tongue.” OK, I get the message. Still, the primary reason kids want a cell phone, though, is for texting. That is their chosen form of communication And it is up to marketers to figure out how to leverage this preference.

Savvy businesses have already hopped on this train with opt-in text message programs for patrons. But these have seldom if ever been targeted specifically at teens, the mother lode of the texting marketplace (averaging 3339 texts per month). If anything, the few using outbound texts are just shotgunning messages, hoping a few bullets might hit a customer now and then. But targeted texts aimed squarely at teens could produce real sales, not just that familiar 4-tone chirp.

Take, for example, a coffee shop aiming college students. Armed with the knowledge that classes get out at 2:15, a carefully crafted text campaign could lure those students to the store with the promise of a sales promo only available until 2:45. And that outbound text would have to go out at about 1:55…right about the time students are unconsciously thinking about packing up and getting ready to head out.

Nothing beats a good price on a picker-upper right about the time you’re about to nod off.

Of course, the mandatory factory is teen participation. They must choose to receive these texts, because anything and everything else is just unwanted marketing propaganda. It’s over the top and they’re not going to take it.

If anything, marketers should be turning handstands in the mall parking lot, because this greatly simplifies the marketing communications task. I can only begin to imagine the ad dollars, both creative and media buys, that could be saved by substituting well-targeted outbound text messages for prime time TV.

I just hope that those marketing minutes don’t get lost amid the clutter of 3339 other text messages.

Dr “R U Listening?” Gerlich

Keeping Up

16 10 2010

When all else fails, blame the marketing people. We are the whipping boy for all social evils, for consumer debt, the recession, the collapse of the banking industry, you name it. If it weren’t for those damn marketers, life would be good. The horns, tail and pitchfork betray our true persona.

But this propensity to blame marketing can also make for a good storyline. What if marketing were so subversive that it planted seemingly average individuals among the commoners, who had the express purpose of influencing you and selling products? What if you positioned yourself so strongly that people wanted you…but by virtue of that, they wanted what you have?

Sounds insidious, but that is exactly the plot of The Joneses (2009), a dark look at marketing-from-hell starring David Duchovny and Demi Moore. The Jones family is in reality a man, woman, and teen boy-girl siblings who work for a company, but are in no way related to one another. They are planted in the McMansions of suburbia, and tasked with swaying neighbors to spend money. Lots of it. It is product placement writ large, a take-no-prisoners approach to padding the bottom line.

And hell breaks loose.

Never mind the charade of family ties. Never mind that Duchovny works for, not with, Moore, that sis is having an affair with a married neighbor, and brother makes a gay hit on a pal. Those are just mere idiosyncrasies and character quirks to be ironed out. The main thing is that these four people…excuse me, employees…are measured repeatedly to see how much incremental sales they are producing. Failure to maintain growth could result in reassignment or termination. The “family” unit could be splintered and sent packing to a new “husband” in a new location. Remember, the goal is to increase sales.

While I found the movie to be wickedly entertaining, the marketer in me was arguing that this could never happen, and not because of legalities. No, we really do not need paid shills to hype products. We do not need market mavens and trend setters on the payroll to tell us what us cool. You see, we are already doing that on our own, and it is we who are paying the company for the privilege, not the other way around.

Come again?

God knows I don’t need an Apple hack to recommend more Mac products to me. I take care of that myself. If it weren’t for the fact that an Apple tattoo would hurt a little, not to mention hurt my chances at promotion, I would have one of them, too. My home is a shrine to Steve Jobs and all the coolness he bestows. I don’t need Mr. Jones to tell me anything.

In other words, while we often do look to the Joneses for product leadership, we are indeed quite capable of attending to this ourselves. We are able to make these decisions ourselves, and hopefully understand the consequences of those decisions.

More importantly, the movie is actually a cheap shot at marketing, essentially saying that people are incapable of seeing through the smoke and mirrors, and unable to make sound decisions of their own accord. Blaming the marketer is like blaming the devil for all the bad things we chose to do. Most theologies have already figured that one out, and placed the blame firmly on the reprobate rather than the tempter.

The movie ends with the dysfunctionalities of the four Joneses leading to the breakdown of the “family” (irony can be delicious that way), as well as a tragedy. Ultimately, they wind up looking to themselves for solace and resolution, rather than just another sale.

Because at the end of the day (and the movie), social evils are just that: social evils, as in caused by, and inflicted on, one another. A thickned plot may make for an entertaining evening, but ultimately the marketers are not the bad guys. It is us.

Dr “When You Look In A Mirror, The Finger Points At You” Gerlich

Reality Show

15 10 2010

The problem with better mousetraps is that sometimes they really aren’t any better. And the mice get away.

Such is the case with “better” products that purport to improve the user experience, yet the customers get away. Sony found this out the hard way in the 1990s with their Mini Disc (basically, a small CD), which required consumers to buy in to both a different hardware and software.

And that is exactly what is happening to the manufacturers of 3D-TVs. It’s easy to point an accusing finger at the recession, but the sobering reality is that 3D-TV simply does not offer consumers something they really want.

Or need.

This just in: 3D is a novelty! It’s something you do once in a while in a movie theater. And it requires you to wear silly, uncomfortable glasses.

So why in the world would anyone want to make this the centerpiece of their living room or home theater?

Good question, Sherlock. Turns out millions of customers have asked themselves this same question, and the majority came up with the same answer: No! This is stupid!

Inspired by the silver screen success of numerous 3D movies, manufacturers burned the midnight oil readying their 3D sets for market. But these companies overlooked the fact that eye candy in the theater does not necessarily play well at home. It was a leap that is proving to be fatal.

All I know is that when I watch a 3D movie, long before the end I am tired. My eyes hurt. My head hurts. And I am no longer laughing, gasping or oohing. I suspect those are the same sentiments of the majority of moviegoers.

Which is a shame for the companies who invested time, energy and dollars into something no one wants. But then again, they aren’t the first. Coca Cola knows this script all too well. And Sony, perhaps bolstered by strong sales of the Mini Disc in Japan, simply assumed that what plays in Tokyo would play equally well in Toledo.

But we all know how assumptions can make asses out of men. And we also know that it is every company’s responsibility to fully vet new product ideas before going to market. Even then, there are no guarantees, but at least you will have had a chance to get some reactions before sinking a fortune. Perhaps a little more concept testing would have resulted in findings that leaped right out at them…much like the images they are trying to sell.

As for 3D-TV manufacturers, though, this is turning into a reality show none of them really want to watch, much less star in.

Dr “Reach Out And Grab You” Gerlich

Going Mobile

15 10 2010

A decade ago, one of the coolest, sexiest jobs on the planet was that of web designer. The internet was still new enough that there were plenty of new gigs to go around, so much so that even kids with Microsoft Front Page on their machine could effectively become web designers and make a few bucks.

Much has changed in that decade. While we will always need websites (and web designers), the market demand has calmed down considerably. Web work these days tends to be more focused on site updates and tweaks, back-end database integrations, and an occasional overhaul. Gone are the days, though, when everyone was buying their first website.

Today, developers have found several new veins to mine, the first two being custom Facebook pages (capable of restructuring much of the FB palette, as well as hosting e-commerce) and mobile apps capable of handling m-commerce.

A number of things are happening all at once. Over 50% of the US population now has a smartphone, all of which are capable of hosting apps. These users are now evolving from just games, information and a few productivity tools to more sophisticated apps that allow m-commerce and banking.

Which can mean only one thing: The app landscape is about to become crowded with zillions of store-specific apps. If you think your iPhone has a lot going on now, you ain’t seen nothing yet.

Furthermore, the phones just keep getting more and more powerful, and security issues are being addressed. Toss in our hectic always-moving lifestyles, and the demand for mobile solutions is easily understood.

But an even bigger (and virtually untapped) market is for apps developed solely for a company and its employees. Think enterprise solutions, so that employees do not have to be tethered to a desktop computer. These emerging apps will allow workers to tap into company networks and in-house software.

This latter type of app is so huge that software developers are preparing for a gold rush of new business. These apps will be more generic in nature, and will be designed to work across smartphone platforms.

In other words, if WT had such an app, I would have been able to input my 2011 curriculum changes from my phone rather than having to sit at my office desk.

And when you consider that tablet devices like iPad and Blackberry’s new PlayBook are set to take off, it’s obvious why we need business-specific apps. The office is wherever, whenever.

I have done my fair share of websites through the years, and still do a few from time to time. The nature of the work has changed considerably, and I recall with fondness the gold rush years of the late-1990s. It was a great time to know how to be able to code, but so is today.

And as for workers who fear having their office with them 24/7, I can only advise to just get over it. This knife cuts both ways. Our complete mobility allows us to work outside the office (a good thing), but at the same time sometimes requires us to work away from the office (which can be a bad thing). Figuring out how to balance the good and evil will be up to us.

In the mean time, if WT ever gets such an app, I’ll be among the first to download it. Nothing is worse than sitting through the dinner hour at work attending to the tedium of administrivia that can only be done on a network PC.

I’ll save some space on my phone.

Dr “Don’t Worry, Be Appy” Gerlich

Rock, Paper, iPad

15 10 2010

It’s going to happen. We can stand back and deny it all we want, but that isn’t going to stop this Train of Change. All we can do is make sure we are at the station and ready to get on.

In the last decade we have seen music and movies go completely digital and intangible. Video games are rapidly heading in this direction. The only thing left is print media. You know…books, magazines and newspapers. The things we have all loved to touch, to fall asleep with, to dog-ear.

But it’s going to happen. And given the surge in Apple stock prices today (over $300), there is an abundance of market optimism that e-readers like the iPad really are going to be the last nail in the coffin of old media.

The only problem is that I am not so sure we are completely ready to embrace this last big change. If anything, it is print that is the one that should have gone first. The ubiquity of the internet the last 15 years made it possible for us to put virtually every printed word online. Newspapers have felt the brunt of the internet, and some magazines have called it quits during this time. But books continue to be printed much the same way Gutenberg did 500 years ago.

Despite the rather obvious match between print and web content, it is hard to drag computers with us everywhere we go. Even sleek laptops can get heavy and clunky. But lightweight e-reader devices like iPad, Kindle, Nook and a slew of others hitting the market this year bear testimony to at least a few people bullish on this final transition. The big question is whether the market will be as willing to open its minds to new technology as much as they are to good books.

A study the BuffMinds team conducted on-campus this last February, though, shows that this may be a significant challenge. Our study was conducted immediately after the announcement of the iPad, but at the time the only products on the market were the Kindle, Nook and Sony e-reader. It’s not that students were not aware of e-readers. It&3039;s more likely they simply had never encountered one, and because of this, their perceptions of traditional print media vs. e-readers greatly favored the former. Yes, college students…shifters of paradigms, leaders of light brigades, were actually more in favor of old-school media.

And it’s not that our sample actually read any great amount of printed material (maybe college textbooks consume most of their time?). No, it is that, hands down, when students were asked to compare traditional print and e-readers on 6 key attributes, they overwhelmingly favored traditional on 4 of those 6.

Maybe it is the fact that e-readers are still relatively expensive gadgets (although the Kindle is getting close to the $150 price point). But maybe it is that reading is a very different activity compared to the consumption of other media like music and movies. The latter embrace the ear and/or the eyes, while print embraces the mind. The heart. The soul.

If readers can somehow figure out how to get that same experience with an e-reader as they do with a good book in front of the fireplace, then maybe Apple’s stock surge will have been for real. If college students are able to rent or purchase e-textbooks and ditch those heavy backpacks forever, maybe they will embrace this new technology.

But maybe…and here was our recommendation…if institutions of higher learning can partner with companies like Amazon, Sony, Apple and others to provide e-readers to students at little or no cost, maybe a tidal wave of change will crash the shores of resistance, once and for all completing the digital media revolution. The only way to jump-start this transition may well be to simply give it away, knowing that the profit is in the software, not the hardware. Heck, the razor blade people figured this out years ago. That’s why razors are cheap and blades cost $3.

I am ready to get on this train and continue my household’s metamorphosis into Digital Family. I have eliminated CDs. Cut way back on movies. And now it’s time to go paperless.

Besides, to get on the Train of Change requires passengers to leave behind the trappings of the old way. There are no luggage bays, no overhead compartments. Only room in your briefcase or purse for a few electronic essentials.

I’m sure Gutenberg would approve.

Dr “The Gates Are Down” Gerlich

Vegas By The Numbers

15 10 2010

Numbers are to Las Vegas as cattle are to Amarillo. They’re big. They’re everywhere. And they are the smell of money.

Well, I suppose it depends how close you live to the feedyard.

In Las Vegas, though, it only stinks when the numbers go down. As I have noted in recent blogs, the recession has taken its toll. But everything must be taken in perspective. A bad year here would be a great year most other places.

To put things in perspective, over 36 million visitors came to Las Vegas last year. That is over 10% of the US population. And for a metro area of 1.5 million, that’s a lot of visitors. As in roughly 100,000 people a day.

Convention attendees account for 4.5 million of them, attending some 19,000+ conventions held her each year. There’s a whole lot of working and playing going on here.

To keep these visitors refreshed and well-rested, there are almost 150,000 hotel/motel rooms, and even during the worst of the recession, the occupancy rate was 85% down on The Strip. If it were possible to load up three-fourths of Amarillo and transport them to Vegas, each one of those persons could have his or her own room. And if they were like the typical visitor, they would be here 3.6 nights.

But here’s a surprising stat: The average age of Vegas tourists is 50 years old. The pictures may show young adults partying till the break of dawn, but the truth is that there’s a lot more geezers here than I realized. Which means that I am actually a pretty typical Vegas tourist. My peeps are here. AARP, this might be a good place to solicit members.

The greater truth is that tourism is an enormous business here. Right or wrong, sin or not, what would otherwise be a desert wasteland is an economic engine with few equals. Las Vegas is the kind of place that should just be a quick gasoline stop on I-15 between Los Angeles and Salt Lake City. Instead, it is the reason that people drive I-15 to begin with.

If Texas history is built on cattle drives, Las Vegas’ is built on tourism drives. I have been here a couple of dozen times, and I will keep coming back. The law of large numbers is on Las Vegas’ side, and when you have folks heading here like moths to a light bulb, it can be fun being one of the cattle. Those numbers guarantee a certain excitement level you just can’t find at home.

And I can live with those numbers.

Dr “Herd It Through The Grapevine” Gerlich