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Ross Featured In the News - Week of Jan. 12

Ross in the News

Week Ending Jan. 12

Jan. 11 - Boston Globe - EBay settles criminal charges over harassing Natick couple as new details emerge (Will Thomas)

An agreement announced Thursday between California e-commerce giant eBay and the US attorney's office in Boston settled new criminal charges over the bizarre stalking and harassment of a Natick couple while also shedding fresh light on the origins of the debacle.

The Steiners are likely to win "far more" than the $3 million penalty from the company in their lawsuit, University of Michigan business law professor Will Thomas said. "From the victim's perspective, this prosecution agreement settles any possible dispute about what happened," Thomas said. "Likely, then, the only issue left to decide is just how much eBay will be made to pay in damages for its admitted crimes."

Current eBay chief executive Jamie Iannone looked to move on after Thursday's settlement. "The company's conduct in 2019 was wrong and reprehensible," Iannone said in a statement. "From the moment eBay first learned of the 2019 events, eBay cooperated fully and extensively with law enforcement authorities. We continue to extend our deepest apologies to the Steiners for what they endured."

Jan. 9 - Insider Intelligence - From Pop-Tarts to Grimace: How Can Marketers Participate in Viral Meme Culture? (Marcus Collins) 
“The ‘meme’ part is the reworking of the asset, giving the asset new meaning. The reworking of the asset is really how we differentiate a meme from ‘viral marketing,’” said Marcus Collins, PhD, clinical assistant professor of marketing at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business. According to Collins, memes don’t just achieve virality—they achieve “cultural contagion” as people create their own versions.
That cultural contagion makes memes a powerful marketing tool. “When you share the pen, you invite people to build onto your work, which enables the network effect that we all want to benefit from,” Collins said.

For example, McDonald’s Grimace shake wasn’t just one piece of content being reshared. It was a mosaic of new TikToks and tweets that each added something new. “In doing their own version of it, [creators] were contributing to the cultural discourse by the reworking or refashioning. That’s far more powerful than things just spreading along,” said Collins.

Jan. 8 - Something You Should Know Podcast - Tightwads and Spendthrifts & Why We Love “Made in America” (Scott Rick)
You likely know people who are tightwads or spendthrifts. Perhaps you are one of them. How is it that some people become one or the other? Why does it seem that they are attracted to each other (and apparently they really are)? What’s the difference between being a tightwad and being frugal – or cheap? Here to explain the world of tightwads and spendthrifts is Scott Rick He is a marketing professor at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, and author of the book, Tightwads and Spendthrifts: Navigating the Money Minefield in Real Relationships. Interestingly, Scott is a spendthrift who is married to a tightwad so he is truly on the front lines of this discussion.

Jan. 6 - Wall Street Journal - Is This Football Coach the Best Turnaround CEO in America? (Erik Gordon)
Harbaugh is the rare football coach who makes winning sound weirdly simple: work hard, get better every day and watch that improvement compound.

He’s applied that formula so many times to so many teams that case studies should be taught in business schools about Harbaugh, said Erik Gordon, a business professor at, yes, the University of Michigan. 
“Lightning bolts of confidence burst out of the guy,” Gordon said.  

Jan. 6 - The Guardian - Trump’s Tale of Business Genius Could Meet Sorry End in New York Fraud Trial (Will Thomas)
Will Thomas, a professor of business law at the University of Michigan, said that Trump’s team seemed to largely offer arguments that were “about whether the court got its summary judgment wrong.”

“It’s not that they’re entirely irrelevant, but I don’t suspect that any of that stuff really meaningfully moved the needle” for Trump, he said.

Thomas noted that Engoron will have a lot of leeway in interpreting evasiveness on the stand. If Trump appeals, the appellate court “can review legal statutes, judicial opinions – they can assess whether the trial court got the law right,” he said.

“But they’re not in the courtroom. They can’t judge all those intangibles that go with live testimony. So the standards of review make it really hard to overturn factual determinations, particularly when it comes to something like ‘Which witnesses do I give credence to?’” Thomas said.

Jan. 4 - Quartz - These Stanley cups sold out at Target within minutes. Now, they're on eBay at more than double the price (Justin Huang)
“We’re seeing a lot more accessories become fashion items and status symbols. Now, the water bottle and a kind of athleisure is ascendant, and we need the matching product to boot,” said Justin Huang, assistant professor of marketing, on the craze surrounding Stanley’s limited-edition Valentine's Day-themed insulated cups.

Dec. 30 - Washington Post - A Campaign to Prod Students into College Tries a New Tack: Making it Simple (Marcus Collins) 
Yet universities don’t like talking about jobs and salaries, said Marcus Collins, a former head of strategy at Wieden+Kennedy New York and a marketing executive.

“I see it as an incongruence of expectations and ambitions,” Collins said. Universities believe themselves to be places people come to learn, he said, “and in doing so you get some skills that will help you in the job market.”

Dec. 28 - Yahoo Life - The Threadbare World of Clothing Repairs (Aradhna Krishna and Marcus Collins)
Aradhna Krishna, a marketing professor at the University of Michigan – and a behavioral scientist focused on persuasion – explains that a hit-or-miss repair service like NJC’s comes out of sustainability as a market that’s been gaining steam for the last few years.

“Typically, the consumer wants to be sustainable, but doesn’t want to pay more to be.” she says. “There are green products that, when you put them to the test, people won’t buy them, unless they’re the same in every other dimension” to alternative options.

The first bet many children ever make is on a game of chicken. And that is, according to Marcus Collins, a marketing professor at the University of Michigan, exactly what a free service guarantee represents. “You make this claim so it reduces peoples’ apprehensions. Whatever buyers’ remorse they may have, they’ll never take you up on the repair or the money back guarantee — it’s a sunk cost,” he says.

Dec. 28 - Indian Express - Meet Academics of These Most-Opted Courses of 2023 (George Siedel)
George Siedel from the University of Michigan crafted this course (Succesful Negotiation: Essential Strategies and Skills) so that the students can improve their negotiation skills. To date, it has become the most popular business online course in the world, with over 2.50 lakh learners from India alone.

Talking about the impact of this course, the educator gives an example: “A few days ago I received a message from someone in India who explained that he was a negotiation novice. A friend asked him to negotiate a graphics design contract. So, he used learning from the course to find the interests of the other side and their alternatives. He also used psychological tools from the course (such as reciprocity) to get a better deal and wrote a contract for Rs 84,000 that included a dispute resolution clause. The same approach could be used in everyday negotiations such as renting an apartment or in major business deals,” Siedel said.

Featured Faculty
Professor Emeritus of Business Administration and Business Law