Blog by Sumana Harihareswara, Changeset founder

31 May 2009, 18:26 p.m.

A QuickTip From America's Test Extrovert

Hi, reader. I wrote this in 2009 and it's now more than five years old. So it may be very out of date; the world, and I, have changed a lot since I wrote it! I'm keeping this up for historical archive purposes, but the me of today may 100% disagree with what I said then. I rarely edit posts after publishing them, but if I do, I usually leave a note in italics to mark the edit and the reason. If this post is particularly offensive or breaches someone's privacy, please contact me.

As Seth Stevenson noted four years ago, marketers for car insurance can sell to most of the American populace. Nearly everyone needs car insurance. The market's huge and fragmented, so marketers put ads everywhere.

I live in New York City, where many adults do not own cars. However, most of us do own cell phones. It's a safer bet that any random person I meet at a party will have a cell phone than that she has attended college. Cell phone and telecom ads proliferate on the subway.

When I'm making small talk at a party (second bullet point), or with a person sitting next to me on the bus, at some point someone's phone will make an appearance. Someone checks the time, or silences a call, or checks Wikipedia or IMDB. And you can make a good three minutes of small talk with that. "Oh, how do you like that phone? Do you get good reception? I don't have a smartphone, I'm deciding what to get. So hard to decide, choosing a phone and a carrier and a monthly plan..." and everyone has an opinion. It's the new weather.


01 Jun 2009, 0:47 a.m.

I don't have a phone. However, when someone asks me about mine, that provides for conversation as well!