Blog #7

Auf Reisen

Katrin von Coffee Circle führte in „Couch“ ein Live-Tagebuch aus Äthiopien. Mit ihren Kollegen besuchte sie Kaffeebauern und Kooperativen, machte sich vor Ort ein Bild von sozialen Projekten und probierte jede Menge außergewöhnliche Kaffees.Coffee Circle has been on the road, again – in Ethiopia. The team met coffee farmers and cooperatives and got a picture of local social projects. No question that they also selected new, unique coffee.

public link proudly announces: Interface und UTZ auf der „Neues Wachstum“

Sie ist wieder da! Die Nachhaltigkeitskonferenz „Neues Wachstum“ geht in die zweite Runde. Von der Hansestadt in die Hauptstadt – vom Mövenpick Hamburg ins Berliner nhow-Hotel.

Wir freuen uns, dass wir mit Interface und UTZ Certified zwei unserer Kunden aus dem Bereich Nachhaltigkeit auf der Konferenz als Sprecher platzieren konnten.

Nachhaltigkeit und Zukunftsfähigkeit? Klar, dass Laura Cremer, eine der Nachhaltigkeitsexperten bei Interface, als eine der Topreferenten erwartet wird. Ab 15.15 Uhr wird sie am kommenden Montag, 20. Januar, ihren spannenden Vortrag „Nachhaltigkeit – Trend oder Tugend“ präsentieren.

Ebenso freuen wir uns auf den Impulsvortrag Britta Wyss Bisang von UTZ Certified ab 16.30 Uhr und die anschließende Panel-Diskussion. Ein Exkurs in die Welt der Zertifizierungen für den nachhaltigen Anbau von Kaffee, Tee und Kakao.

Hach schön, wenn man sich am Freitag schon auf Montag freuen kann. Unsere Eindrücke gibt es nach der Konferenz dann natürlich hier.

P.S. Wem der Sinn eher nach Genuss steht, besucht einfach unserem Kunden Zuegg auf der Internationalen Grünen Woche (17. Bis 26 Januar) in Berlin (Halle 23, Stand 212) und probiert sich durch die leckeren Fruchtaufstriche. Natürlich sind wir am Montag auch hier vor Ort.

#LaunchAcademy: Do Germans really shop online?

Did you know that out of all countries in the developed world, Germany is ranked #9 in terms of online shopping, surpassing both, Canada (#12) and the USA (#14)? Quite interesting, considering North America has the highest rate of Internet penetration worldwide – 76.2%, with Europe being only third at 53%. That is what figures from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) show. And while I tend to advocate skepticism when it comes to statistics, the above numbers (as well as the ones that follow) are at the very least something to talk about. So if you’re planning on winning the hearts of German consumers, a move on the online scene of one kind or another might be helpful. In case you go down that road, here are some things to consider.

Earlier this year, comScore released the results of a survey, which asked European online shoppers from six different countries about their online shopping habits and experiences. Amongst the respondents, nearly half (45%) of German consumers who use a smartphone (45%) and those who also use a tablet (63%) said they use their devices to buy products online. Furthermore, 44% of German consumers have liked a brand on Facebook, with 87% (!) of them paying attention to social media updates of those brands.

The online game is no longer an option. So learn how to play or be this guy. // Tom Fishburne

Now, let’s say you have a product to sell online and you’ve caught a German consumer’s attention. 44% of the survey respondents would like to see the various delivery options and the total cost early in the process. Few things are more frustrating than having to go through several pages of filling-in personal information, only to find out that you’ll have to spend another 15$ for shipping on a 9$ t-shirt. 94% of German consumers said that tracking their packages is essential, which makes sense: because of the nature of online transactions, the seller gets the money before delivering the actual product or service. Thus seeing that your purchase is on its way is kind of a big deal, not to mention that, to some people it adds more excitement to the shopping process. Last but not least, returns are important: 71% of German online shoppers do their homework and review the return policies, and 72% would shop even more, had there been an easier return/exchange policy.

Speaking from personal experience, German online shoppers seem to enjoy fairly inexpensive shipping fees, combined with fast and reliable order processing and delivery times. Could it be that those factors, along with others, account for the fact that consumer segments with favorable attitudes towards online shopping are much higher in Germany, than they are in France or Italy? Either way, German online shopping has been continuously growing, although very far from the rapid increase in the period of 2003-2007, when online sales, excluding services and travel, doubled, going from €6billion to €13billion in under four years.Did you know that out of all countries in the developed world, Germany is ranked #9 in terms of online shopping, surpassing both, Canada (#12) and the USA (#14)? Quite interesting, considering North America has the highest rate of Internet penetration worldwide – 76.2%, with Europe being only third at 53%. That is what figures from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) show. And while I tend to advocate skepticism when it comes to statistics, the above numbers (as well as the ones that follow) are at the very least something to talk about. So if you’re planning on winning the hearts of German consumers, a move on the online scene of one kind or another might be helpful. In case you go down that road, here are some things to consider.

Earlier this year, comScore released the results of a survey, which asked European online shoppers from six different countries about their online shopping habits and experiences. Amongst the respondents, nearly half (45%) of German consumers who use a smartphone (45%) and those who also use a tablet (63%) said they use their devices to buy products online. Furthermore, 44% of German consumers have liked a brand on Facebook, with 87% (!) of them paying attention to social media updates of those brands.

The online game is no longer an option. So learn how to play or be the guy in the picture.

The online game is no longer an option. So learn how to play or be this guy. // Tom Fishburne

Now, let’s say you have a product to sell online and you’ve caught a German consumer’s attention. 44% of the survey respondents would like to see the various delivery options and the total cost early in the process. Few things are more frustrating than having to go through several pages of filling-in personal information, only to find out that you’ll have to spend another 15$ for shipping on a 9$ t-shirt. 94% of German consumers said that tracking their packages is essential, which makes sense: because of the nature of online transactions, the seller gets the money before delivering the actual product or service. Thus seeing that your purchase is on its way is kind of a big deal, not to mention that, to some people it adds more excitement to the shopping process. Last but not least, returns are important: 71% of German online shoppers do their homework and review the return policies, and 72% would shop even more, had there been an easier return/exchange policy.

Speaking from personal experience, German online shoppers seem to enjoy fairly inexpensive shipping fees, combined with fast and reliable order processing and delivery times. Could it be that those factors, along with others, account for the fact that consumer segments with favorable attitudes towards online shopping are much higher in Germany, than they are in France or Italy? Either way, German online shopping has been continuously growing, although very far from the rapid increase in the period of 2003-2007, when online sales, excluding services and travel, doubled, going from €6billion to €13billion in under four years.

Startup Fondue: Die Berliner Startup Szene hat endlich ein Fondue

Jeder, der schon einmal in Berlin war, kennt dieses Gefühl. Man weiß nicht, woran es liegt, aber man liebt diese Stadt. Und mit diesem Gefühl ist man bei weitem nicht alleine. Neben all den Touristen, melancholischen Hipstern und Künstlern ist die Stadt auch ein Magnet für viele Entrepreneure. Die künstlerische und entspannte Atmosphäre Berlins ist für viele lokale Startup eine Quelle der Inspiration, dennoch sind 44% aller neuen Startups in Berlin nicht von Deutschen gegründet.

Startup Businesses Berlin

Berlin is one of Europe’s fastest growing startup scenes // Venture Village

Mit dieser unglaublich vielschichtigen Startup-Szene ähnelt Berlin ein bisschen dem Fondue, das manch einer vom Weihnachtsessen kennt. Und zufällig heißt auch so das letzte Startup, über das wir hier gestolpert sind – das Startup Fondue. Die beiden Gründer Alexander (Verhaltensbezogene Wirtschaftslehre und IT) und Tanja (Jura) sehen in ihrem eigenen Fondue die Verkörperung des Entrepreneur Lifestyles: Um die Süße von geschmolzener Schokolade dauerhaft genießen zu können, muss man sicher stellen, dass das Feuer zuverlässig brennt. Nachdem Michel (Film und Animation) und Marta (Design) das Team um zwei weitere Experten erweiterten, wurde das Startup Fondue als Anbieter von innovativer Praxisseminaren und Workshops, welche von jungen begeisterten Unternehmern aus der Berliner Startup Szene. Web Design, Filmproduktion und 3D printing sind nur einige von vielen interessanten Themen, die auf dem Plan stehen.

Startup Fondue

For the people behind Stratup Fondue, entrepreneurial life is a lot like the fondue // startup-fondue.de

Die Gründer scheinen Experten in der Kunst der Verführung zu sein. Denn die nächste Idee lies nicht lange auf sich warten: Gemeinsames erarbeiten an sozialen und unternehmerischen Lösungen in produktiver Networking-Atmosphäre bei, wie könnte es nicht anders sein, Schokoladenfondue.

#allenCoden steht für die sozialen Angelegenheiten des Startup Fondue. Die Gründer des Startups versprechen freie Einführungsseminare in die Themen Web Design, Programmierung und 3D printing, die von Studenten gehalten werden, die die Rolle des „IT-Botschafters“ spielen. Das junge Startup hat sogar schon Vorsätze für das anstehende Jahr: 500 Studenten beibringen eine Website aus skizierten Vorlagen zu erschaffen, 500 Studenten auf ein Einsteiger-Level in JavaScript zu bringen und 500 Menschen durch sozialen Unternehmertum zu inspirieren.

Also: Einen Blick auf die Website werfen und folgt ihnen auf ihren Social Media Channels.

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If you have been to Berlin, chances are that you’ve already told yourself: “I don’t know what it is about this city, but I like it”. And you’re not alone in this. Aside from all the tourists, melancholic hipsters and artists, the city also attracts an incredible amount of entrepreneurs. Surely the artistic, laid-back Berlin atmosphere is the source of inspiration for many homegrown startups, yet the fact of the matter is that 44% of all new entrepreneurs in Berlin are not German.

Startup Businesses Berlin

Berlin is one of Europe’s fastest growing startup scenes // Venture Village

With its incredibly diverse startup scene, Berlin really looks like one big fondue. Coincidentally, that is also the name of the latest startup I came across – Startup Fondue. Its founding duo – Alexander (behavioral economics, IT) and Tanya (law) – see in the fondue an embodiment of entrepreneurial lifestyle: to keep enjoying the sweetness of melted chocolate, you need to make sure you sustain the right amount of fire. Joined by Michel (movie making and animation) and Marta (design), the team launched the Startup Fondue as a provider of innovative practical seminars and workshops, which are taught by young and passionate entrepreneurs directly from the Berlin startup scene. Amongst the variety of hot topics, one finds web design, creative movie making, 3D printing and prototyping, as well as social entrepreneurship and more.

Startup Fondue

For the people behind Stratup Fondue, entrepreneurial life is a lot like the fondue // startup-fondue.de

The founders seem to have mastered the art of seduction: from the inherent powers of combining pleasure and productivity, they gave birth to the Fondue Meet-ups – getting together groups of people to develop solutions to various business and social problems over a chocolate fondue, in a speed networking atmosphere.

#alleCoden stands for Startup Fondue’s social cause. Its creators say they will organize free introduction seminars in web design, programming and 3D printing, all of which will be given by university students playing the role of “IT Ambassadors”. The fresh startup already has set a resolution for the upcoming New Year: get 500 students learning how to build websites from scratch, 500 students to get an intro-level understanding of JavaScript, and get 500 people inspired in social entrepreneurship.

Be sure to check out their website and follow them on their social media channels!

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# FP: Auf den Affen gekommen

Wer kennt das nicht? Weihnachten rückt immer näher und in den Einkaufszentren drängeln sich die Menschenmassen. Daher unser Entschluss: Alle Geschenke nur noch bestellen!

Und so haben wir uns in der Agentur mal schlau gemacht, wo man schöne Weihnachtspräsente bestellen kann.

Hier kommt unser Vorschlag:

jungle belles // Loony Design

jungle belles // Loony Design

Die Designerin Julia Landsiedl hat lustige Affen kreiert, die sich zu Ketten verbinden lassen, perfekt als Zimmerschmuck, für Tannenbäume oder als Deko für den Weihnachtstisch geeignet. Die „jungle belles“ kosten 17,80 Euro und sind stressfrei hier zu bestellen.

Wir wünschen euch nun einen schönen 3. Advent und fröhliches Weihnachtsshopping!

#LaunchAcademy: car2go gone to Montreal

Last week, when a colleague and I headed out of the office, we walked past a Smart car, and I noticed that the key was left in the ignition. “Look – I said – this guy left his keys inside the car. Care to go for a ride?” We both did, but kept walking. And not because we couldn’t steal a car in the center of Berlin – I just didn’t have my license on me that day. Silly joking aside, it turned out that this was a car2go. Although I was familiar with the car sharing concept I had never heard of car2go. Coincidentally, the German company, a subsidiary of Daimler, just launched its service in Montreal with some 250 environmentally friendly cars. In fact, only in 2013, car2go appeared in 7 new cities, parking over 2100 of its small white-and-blue Smarts. The company charges an initial registration fee and is billing its customers per time of usage – $0.38/min.

CAR2GO CANADA LTD. - car2go autopartage Introduces a New Service

car2go adds some color to the Montreal car-sharing market // CNW Group/car2go Canada Ltd.

As someone who drives in Montreal on a daily basis, there are only two things worse than January – looking for parking and trying to cross one of the St. Lawrence bridges during rush hour. Either way, both will cost you a lot of time and even more money. car2go seems to offer a potential solution here: all of their cars have a “residents-only” street parking permit, allowing you to park in the area even if you don’t live there. In addition, car2go has 6 designated parking lots in downtown Montreal, saving you the $20 per 12h of parking fee. And traffic is no longer an issue – you prefer staying at work for an extra hour, than being stuck in traffic for two? Neither. You no longer need to live by the lesser of two evil principle: take the bus and forget about the car.

communauto

Communauto’s Toyota Echo // Ville de Quebec

Despite the fact that Germans have a strong attachment to their cars (who wouldn’t with the cars they drive and the limitless autobahn) the concept of car sharing is a lot more popular in Germany, than it is in Canada. While the Montreal’s car sharing market offers mainly Communauto’s Toyota Echos and the occasional all-electric Nissan Leaf (and now car2go’s Smarts), Germans get to choose from cars like Mini Coopers, BMW 1 and X1 series, Fiat 500s, Volkswagen Golfs and more. Could this be a factor? Probably not, but still…Last week, when a colleague and I headed out of the office, we walked past a Smart car, and I noticed that the key was left in the ignition. “Look – I said – this guy left his keys inside the car. Care to go for a ride?” We both did, but kept walking. And not because we couldn’t steal a car in the center of Berlin – I just didn’t have my license on me that day. Silly joking aside, it turned out that this was a car2go. Although I was familiar with the car sharing concept I had never heard of car2go. Coincidentally, the German company, a subsidiary of Daimler, just launched its service in Montreal with some 250 environmentally friendly cars. In fact, only in 2013, car2go appeared in 7 new cities, parking over 2100 of its small white-and-blue Smarts. The company charges an initial registration fee and is billing its customers per time of usage – $0.38/min.

CAR2GO CANADA LTD. - car2go autopartage Introduces a New Service

As someone who drives in Montreal on a daily basis, there are only two things worse than January – looking for parking and trying to cross one of the St. Lawrence bridges during rush hour. Either way, both will cost you a lot of time and even more money. car2go seems to offer a potential solution here: all of their cars have a “residents-only” street parking permit, allowing you to park in the area even if you don’t live there. In addition, car2go has 6 designated parking lots in downtown Montreal, saving you the $20 per 12h of parking fee. And traffic is no longer an issue – you prefer staying at work for an extra hour, than being stuck in traffic for two? Neither. You no longer need to live by the lesser of two evil principle: take the bus and forget about the car.

communauto

Despite the fact that Germans have a strong attachment to their cars (who wouldn’t with the cars they drive and the limitless autobahn) the concept of car sharing is a lot more popular in Germany, than it is in Canada. While the Montreal’s car sharing market offers mainly Communauto’s Toyota Echos and the occasional all-electric Nissan Leaf (and now car2go’s Smarts), Germans get to choose from cars like Mini Coopers, BMW 1 and X1 series, Fiat 500s, Volkswagen Golfs and more. Could this be a factor? Probably not, but still…

Launch Academy

Das ist Alexander aus Montreal, Kanada. Für drei Monate arbeitet er in unseren PR- und Social Media Teams. Und teilt, was er über Kommunikation in Deutschland lernt. Per Blog, Facebook und Twitter. Like!Alexander, from Montreal, Canada, will be staying with us for three months. Follow him as he shares what he learns about communications in Germany, on our Blog, Facebook and Twitter. Like!

In the beginning there was the Paper… and now – Pencil

In case you have been wondering what does a great product launch website look like, here’s an example that comes quite close. Two years ago, the folks at FiftyTree, an innovative New York based tech company, launched the award-winning Paper app. And because Paper is only half of the essentials a true creative mind needs to jot down its thoughts, last week they launched the Pencil – a Bluetooth Low Energy stylus for tablets.

FiftyThree-Pencil-walnut-thumb-620x413-71104

FiftyThree’s Paper finally found its Pencil // FiftyThree

There are indeed many aspects of their launch, which might account for its success. For example, the fact that their products bundle so well together, or their clear and simple names, which subconsciously play with our understanding of actual paper and pencil. Of course, there is also the appealing design, apparent quality and the innovative character of the actual product. In addition to all that, there is the website – simple and comprehensive. A glance is enough for you to know what it’s all about, just like the product’s name – a pencil. A video, a value proposition, and three main features highlighting the uniqueness of the Pencil, which immediately tie into the perfect balance of text and visual product-description. And all that on the same page, allowing me to quickly scroll up and down, without going back and forth between different pages and my broadband connection testing the extend of my patience. Having spared my extremely valuable time and energy by not making me try to figure out just what is it that the world of science has given birth to again, I am happy. FiftyThree are now my friends, they care. With just one more scroll I reach the bottom of the page and the promotional launch price of US$49.95 – an unexpected surprise. Am I ready to buy? You bet I am. In fact, so ready, that even though I have absolutely no use of a stylus, I have nevertheless already considered it. Now I am no expert, but it seems to me this is how you’d want to present a product.In case you have been wondering what does a great product launch website look like, here’s an example that comes quite close. Two years ago, the folks at FiftyTree, an innovative New York based tech company, launched the award-winning Paper app. And because Paper is only half of the essentials a true creative mind needs to jot down its thoughts, last week they launched the Pencil – a Bluetooth Low Energy stylus for tablets.

FiftyThree-Pencil-walnut-thumb-620x413-71104

FiftyThree’s Paper finally found its Pencil // FiftyThree

There are indeed many aspects of their launch, which might account for its success. For example, the fact that their products bundle so well together, or their clear and simple names, which subconsciously play with our understanding of actual paper and pencil. Of course, there is also the appealing design, apparent quality and the innovative character of the actual product. In addition to all that, there is the website – simple and comprehensive. A glance is enough for you to know what it’s all about, just like the product’s name – a pencil. A video, a value proposition, and three main features highlighting the uniqueness of the Pencil, which immediately tie into the perfect balance of text and visual product-description. And all that on the same page, allowing me to quickly scroll up and down, without going back and forth between different pages and my broadband connection testing the extend of my patience. Having spared my extremely valuable time and energy by not making me try to figure out just what is it that the world of science has given birth to again, I am happy. FiftyThree are now my friends, they care. With just one more scroll I reach the bottom of the page and the promotional launch price of US$49.95 – an unexpected surprise. Am I ready to buy? You bet I am. In fact, so ready, that even though I have absolutely no use of a stylus, I have nevertheless already considered it. Now I am no expert, but it seems to me this is how you’d want to present a product.

#LaunchAcademy: US-EU free trade? European consumers are dubious

The talks on free trade between the US and the EU are back on the table. Sure – a few months ago people were quite upset with the NSA and it really seemed like the States had shot themselves in the foot. Despite the scandal, negotiations are still going, with the second round of talks concluded last week in Brussels.

Corporations, industry representatives and politicians from both sides of the pond, have embraced the idea with passion, claiming that an 800 million-consumer market and a gigantic trading bloc with estimated gains of $159 billion, is essentially good news. Besides, what better way to confront China’s rapidly expanding economic growth? But the topic of establishing the “Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership” (TTIP), which was also Obama’s main focus during his first Berlin visit as US president last June, seems to be the apple of discord: consumer advocates, environmental, health and internet activists, all join forces in building a barricade of opposition to the treaty. The reason – concerns that the US will push for weakening European consumer regulations.

usa-eu trade negotiations

The talks of a US-EU free trade agreement resumed with last week’s second round of negotiations // AFP

Indeed, there is a world of difference between health, safety and environmental regulations in the US and the EU. While American consumers don’t particularly mind eating “honey” made out of genetically modified corn syrup and thickeners, their European cousins are less inclined to do so. And let’s not kid ourselves here, it is modified: 2012 reports indicate that 88% of corn, 93% of soybeans and 95% of beets grown in the USA come from genetically modified seeds. With controversial corporations, such as Monsanto, navigating the market, many wonder whose interest is the US Food and Drug Administration defending. Curious fact: Michael Taylor, a former Monsanto attorney, got appointed a deputy commissioner of the FDA. Enough said?

Are European consumers pretentiously cautious? I don’t think so. And yet, despite all that resistance, the European Union has already discarded previous restrictions on certain American meat imports, such as beef washed in lactic acid and poultry washed in chlorine. Yummy.

Corporations have long been aware of such differences between European and American consumers. Would a treaty of these proportions significantly blurry such distinctions? For one thing, if GM crops reach European soil, there is no going back: once the crops are contaminated, it will take tens of years for them to recover, claims Percy Schmeiser, former spokesperson for independent farmers’ rights and a veteran in a legal struggle against Monsanto. If a transatlantic trade agreement is to be reached, it is the US that should tighten its regulations, not Europe weaken theirs. Quite frankly, I am a bit skeptical.The talks on free trade between the US and the EU are back on the table. Sure – a few months ago people were quite upset with the NSA and it really seemed like the States had shot themselves in the foot. Despite the scandal, negotiations are still going, with the second round of talks concluded last week in Brussels.

Corporations, industry representatives and politicians from both sides of the pond, have embraced the idea with passion, claiming that an 800 million-consumer market and a gigantic trading bloc with estimated gains of $159 billion, is essentially good news. Besides, what better way to confront China’s rapidly expanding economic growth? But the topic of establishing the “Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership” (TTIP), which was also Obama’s main focus during his first Berlin visit as US president last June, seems to be the apple of discord: consumer advocates, environmental, health and internet activists, all join forces in building a barricade of opposition to the treaty. The reason – concerns that the US will push for weakening European consumer regulations.

usa-eu trade negotiations

Indeed, there is a world of difference between health, safety and environmental regulations in the US and the EU. While American consumers don’t particularly mind eating “honey” made out of genetically modified corn syrup and thickeners, their European cousins are less inclined to do so. And let’s not kid ourselves here, it is modified: 2012 reports indicate that 88% of corn, 93% of soybeans and 95% of beets grown in the USA come from genetically modified seeds. With controversial corporations, such as Monsanto, navigating the market, many wonder whose interest is the US Food and Drug Administration defending. Curious fact: Michael Taylor, a former Monsanto attorney, got appointed a deputy commissioner of the FDA. Enough said?

Are European consumers pretentiously cautious? I don’t think so. And yet, despite all that resistance, the European Union has already discarded previous restrictions on certain American meat imports, such as beef washed in lactic acid and poultry washed in chlorine. Yummy.

Corporations have long been aware of such differences between European and American consumers. Would a treaty of these proportions significantly blurry such distinctions? For one thing, if GM crops reach European soil, there is no going back: once the crops are contaminated, it will take tens of years for them to recover, claims Percy Schmeiser, former spokesperson for independent farmers’ rights and a veteran in a legal struggle against Monsanto. If a transatlantic trade agreement is to be reached, it is the US that should tighten its regulations, not Europe weaken theirs. Quite frankly, I am a bit skeptical.

#LaunchAcademy: Does your ad stimulate an emotional response?

If there are three types of responses that advertising is going after – rational, combined, and emotional, which one should you embrace in order to make the most out of your ad campaign? The folks at John St, a Canadian advertising agency based in Toronto, feel pretty strongly about the last one. In fact, they claim that their approach does not make brands simply noticeable, but “unignorable” … for better or for worse.

If there are three types of responses that advertising is going after – rational, combined, and emotional, which one should you embrace in order to make the most out of your ad campaign? The folks at John St, a Canadian advertising agency based in Toronto, feel pretty strongly about the last one. In fact, they claim that their approach does not make brands simply noticeable, but “unignorable” … for better or for worse.