Sign in

High school teacher, and Chinese translator. My wife (cartoonist with a Ph.D.) co-authors all of these articles. We live in Taiwan together with our two kids.

A professor of marketing convinces his subjects to abandon brand loyalty

A koala holds an off-brand coke
A koala holds an off-brand coke

Dr. Frank M. Bass, professor of marketing at the University of Texas, was determined to conduct an experiment in which participants would forswear allegiance to the most established brand in the world: Coca-Cola.

A refrigerator was placed in the break room of an electric company, and employees were allowed to drink freely. The refrigerator was stocked with cola and lemon-lime options from three brands: Coca-Cola, Pepsi, and Dr Pepper.

The position of each soda was randomized daily to prevent any brand from enjoying a prominent position, and labels were clearly displayed to ensure that participants knew which drink they were…


EDUCATIONAL COMICS

They make mommy’s life unbearable

When my wife was pregnant with our first child, I tried to console her with the fact that koalas make human pregnancy look easy. (I have, coincidentally, been sleeping on the couch for the past four years.)

But expecting koala mothers really do have it rough. It’s not just that the male, with his two penises, can reimpregnate a female with a second embryo while the first one is still inside her tummy. But when the baby koala is uncooperative, he can make mommy’s life miserable.


How retirement became normalized, and why it might disappear

Today, retirement seems like a natural phase of life. Throughout our careers, we are constantly striving to save enough money to ensure that we will have enough by the time we reach age 65.

But it wasn’t always this way.

Prior to the twentieth century, retirement was something only the elite could afford. “For almost all of history,” writes Ken Dychtwald for the Harvard Business Review, “People worked until they dropped.”

After the Industrial Revolution, the assembly line was formed. Every worker was expected to contribute the exact same amount — if one person fumbled, the entire line became congested…


Why extreme views get so much attention, and how to measure up

Last week, Dr. Rhawn Joseph revealed what he believes to be evidence for life on Mars. Several photographs taken weeks apart showed mushroom-like formations that had increased in size, giving the impression of biological growth.

News outlets such as Popular Mechanics and CNET immediately took notice and began debating whether these structures were really biological organisms. During this discourse, Dr. Joseph’s credentials came up. As it turns out, he has a real PhD — in neuroscience.


Why you are undervaluing yourself, and how to determine your true worth

Two koalas beg people to buy their online course
Two koalas beg people to buy their online course

You’ve written a book or made an online course. How much should you charge?

A recent study reveals that you will almost certainly undersell your product. Five hundred business majors at a university in China were shown a printed photograph and asked to set a price, which would be listed on a website where the photograph was to be sold. If someone purchased it, the seller would be paid. If the buyer declined, the seller would receive nothing.

The vast majority of sellers chose to price the photograph at ¥20 (US$3) but a handful of daring souls chose to set…


Learn from the mistakes made by a team from Harvard with $2 million in funding

If anyone was favored to create the first motorized aircraft, it was Dr. Samuel Pierpont Langley. As an astrophysicist at Harvard University, Langley had more than enough resources to fund his inventions. In fact, he constructed a prototype of the airplane in 1887, over a decade before the Wright brothers began experimenting with kites.

Langley’s aerodrome could travel a full mile without crashing. But since it was too small to accommodate a human pilot, Assistant Secretary of the Navy Theodore Rosevelt gave Langley $50,000 and insisted that he create a larger version of this amazing invention. And as secretary of…


FAMILY HUMOR

These non-traditional gifts will ensure that your mom has a special day she’ll never forget

Soon after Ann Jarvis proposed the idea for Mother’s Day in 1908, she began to despise how quick businesses were to turn the holiday into a commercial nightmare. “A printed card means nothing,” Jarvis wrote while lambasting companies for selling greeting cards, “Except that you are too lazy to write to the woman who has done more for you than anyone in the world.”

But as chocolate and flower sales began exploding every May, Jarvis eventually petitioned Congress to rescind the holiday.

This Mother’s Day, I would like to invite everyone who truly loves their mothers to revisit the spirit…


Avoid these mistakes unless you want your writing to resemble a 1970s hairstyle

Frank J. Smith’s hairline was receding. He tried to conceal his bald spots, but it wasn’t long before he was forced to face reality. He took the plunge and shaved his head.

No matter how hard he tried to embrace the fact that he was now bald, Frank couldn’t do it. His scalp was not only wrinkly and filled with unsightly crevices, but walking around with a bare scalp made him feel extremely self-conscious. He allowed what remained of his hair to return, and asked his son Donald for help.

Fortunately — or unfortunately, depending on whether you approve of…


But this one is different, just like everyone else

I’m totally not bitter about missing the boat on March Madness. But my wife and I have decided to do a May Madness challenge to write and submit 30 articles in 30 days!

We’re an Asian-American team, and we recently began writing on Medium. We’re also statistics nerds. So, we’re going to go a whole month without checking our stats, then we’ll dive into the details after everything is all over and try to figure out what worked and what didn’t.

We also intend to keep track of which publications work best for us — things like turnaround times, audience…


Ye Olden Humour

Wherewithal thy humour shall exceed proses for simple-minded fustilarians

Harken thine ears and incline thy hearts!

It behoves me to laud the readers whose kindred spirits have chosen to honour this fellow’s greatest wish: to bequeath unto all mankind the joyous associations by which one may capture within the written word. It is most fortuitous that the joyous occasion wherewithin books are celebrated — I do believe the modern vernacular is World Book Day — coincides with the day of birth and death belonging to the great authour, William Shakespeare himself. …

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store