April 30, 2008

Download This

About ten years ago, I remember a friend first telling me about music downloading. I was livid, I threw stuff, I screamed. Okay, maybe I was just a little angry. Angry for the artists. Their hard work deserves compensation.

Over the following few years; I wrote articles, had heated discussions with industry leaders and artists and all the while thought I was fighting the good fight.

But imagine this: your favorite restaurant opens every Tuesday between 7-10pm for a "free from the menu" night. Anything you want ...free. How often will you visit that same establishment on Thursdays?

Downloading has taken what they use to call “home taping” to a level no one could have ever predicted.

This week, I received the new Nine Inch Nails and Coldplay singles for free, via download, from each band’s website. Much was made of the Radiohead example months ago. That’s three examples of well-established bands giving their music away for free. Or is it?

All three now have my email address. I’m now in the database. If you ask most marketing people, they would say that each participant in a study is worth about $10-15 which is about the price of (say it with me) a CD!

I just got rid of the last few thousand of my CDs. I grew tired of looking at them, collecting dust in boxes. Of course, when the mp3 format is replaced by something far superior, my 25,000 mp3’s will be rendered useless.

The artists deserve to be paid for their craft. I am still livid, but the proverbial genie left the bottle a long time ago. I remarked at an impromptu CMW “bar meeting” that the appetite for music has never been stronger – we’re not hocking medical supplies, it's music!

The issue is the monetization of music for the artists and the labels.

Has anyone seen my soap box?


April 29, 2008

Can I Help You?

Customer Service; most people want it, few expect it.

Think back to the last time you were in a retail setting and received REAL customer service.

We can't lose focus on the goal of any business – to get more business and to keep clients happy. However, there is a big difference between service and servitude. The customer is not always right. At times, they aren't sure what they need or want.

I've been calling companies to get quotes on some stuff around the house. The first place called back after a week and said they could come and give me a quote "right now". Well I was busy "right now" but we arranged a future visit. The second one was back to me promptly and did the quote two days later.

The third company called me FIVE TIMES to get my address. Each time, the guy who called (same guy every time) informed me or my voicemail that he works at the other end of town and someone else would call. I finally received the call from the "other guy" who didn't have a clue where my area of town was and despite numerous explanations was no futher ahead. Suffice it to say, I informed him that his quote wasn't necessary.

We give much too much time to those who give us bad service.

The next time you get good customer service, tell everyone!


April 28, 2008

Mergers and Munchies

I read this morning that the people who make M&M's (Mars Inc.) along with uber billionaire Warren Buffett are trying to buy Wrigley's for an estimated $23Billion U.S. Among his many companies, Buffett owns Kraft Foods Inc.

If the deal goes through, Cheez Whiz, Mars Bars, and Doublemint will be owned by the same company.

The reports were flooding in over the weekend about the souring Continental/United deal. This stuff happens every single day, some make better headlines.

Big fish are swallowing big fish.

This year alone we’ve seen Delta Airlines scoop up Northwest Airlines, Alcon bought by Novartis, Volkswagen gained control of Scania, and the list goes on. There are billions and billions of dollars changing hands – literally.

That’s business and that’s life.

But I often wonder about the real life aspect of all this. The whole reason a company is worth anything is because of the assets and the most important assets are its people. No, I’m not writing the marketing campaign for one of these companies – it’s the truth.

Whenever an acquisition/merger/takeover happens, thousands of lives are affected. Downsizing happens, melding of cultures is attempted, accounting practices change, reporting lines are re-established, synergies found, logos on paychecks change, people are fired.

Job security and company loyalty are rarely uttered these days and for good reason. If you work long enough, you will eventually be faced with one burning question – who’s buying us today?


April 26, 2008

Go With Your Strengths

I was in a bookstore recently looking for inspiration. It was one of those moments where I didn't over-think things. I noticed a white cover with simple green lettering. The title was "Go Put Your Strengths To Work" by Marcus Buckingham

I hadn't heard of him but I made my decision while briefly sifting through the book.

Marcus is a motivational speaker, a teacher, a career and business coach who shares one very simple theory - go with what you're good at.

We focus the majority of our time on what we are not good at, what we need to work on, what others need to work on, what's wrong with our situation. Buckingham says that's backwards and we need to join the 'strength revolution'.

It sounds simple ...almost too simple. Can we really just work on what we're good at? Can we really strive for the things we want to do and avoid the stuff we don't want to do?

In short - yes.

I just started the book, I'll let you know how it goes. So far so good.


April 25, 2008

I'm Very Busy

Perhaps I may have this all wrong, but have we created the busy revolution?

A while back it spawned me to create a word - busidom. It's a noun which means you are just too busy to get to that email, voicemail, txt, or pin. Busy busy busy. It's also a word used to describe an ailment that encompasses the avoidance of undesired activities such as; calls/emails from people you want to ignore, or chores around the house you don't want to do. Very busy.

It's now a badge of honor to work more, play less. And if you're playing, it's paramount to have a remnant of work nearby at all times. 'Oh yes, I will take my 3rd shot on the 11th with my sand wedge but first I must answer this email on my blackberry. I'm very important. This can't wait.'

Sure, the familiar "what did we do before we got this stuff" comment may be valid but it's extraneous at best. We have this stuff. We are thumbing messages to the other side of the planet at times to great physical risk to ourselves.

I remember one exchange with a colleague where he finally sent me a blackberry pin to tell me to turn mine off because he knew I was driving. No email is that important! By the way, check your PDA because it may just have a phone option. I'll guess it also comes equipped with an 'off' button.

Gotta go, I'm busy.


April 24, 2008

Boats and Blink

Conventional wisdom states the best way to start something is to simply start it. Often we deliberate over things, over-think them, examine the downsides, the what ifs.

It has been documented that the people who get the most done and frankly have the most success make quick decisions. If you've read Blink by Malcolm Gladwell you're aware of this. How often has your initial gut decision been correct? But most of us step back, think about it, hum and haw and all the while miss opportunities.

You may have heard the story of a man who is standing on his roof during a flood. In the course of a couple of hours, two men come by in boats offering to rescue him. Both times, the man says without hesitation "Oh no, God will send a sign."

Once at the proverbial pearly gates, the man stands in front of God and asks why he wasn't saved, why he wasn't sent 'a sign'! At which point, God says "I sent you two boats!"

Opportunities come from the strangest places and accidents are less the cause. So the next time you think something strange has happened, remember...

It may be one of your boats.


April 23, 2008

I'm A Geek

Mitch Joel invited me to a dinner tonight which was affectionately entitled "Geek Dinner Ottawa". For years, I didn't think of myself as a geek.

However, I've become a proud geek in the last few years. I've always been a music geek (some say musicologist, others say music pig) but the more I dig down this enormous rabbit hole of new media, social networks and that wacky thing called the Internet...

I realize ..I am ...in fact ...a geek.

Tonight's 'event' - as Mitch explained it in an email exchange - was simply people getting together to have dinner. It was so refreshing to talk to people who had no interest in radio! Ah, the peace and tranquility of firewalls and social networks and gadgets. Oh yes, to meet some AWESOME new people and learn stuff - what a blast!

Of course I was completely out of uniform. On three separate occasions, I was asked if I had a blog. I froze in fear - I didn't have a blog. I have written articles for years, I have created content for years, but I didn't have a blog! What to do? What to say? What was my excuse?!?

So there ...I am a geek ...and I have a blog.

I'm not sure what's next, but I'll figure something out. Thanks Mitch!


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