December 31, 2008


For some reason, most of us find it necessary to make resolutions as we embark on a New Year. First of all, we think we’ll fool ourselves this time in to thinking that we’ll do what we say we’ll do on December 31st. Most New Year’s resolutions don’t see the end of January. This begs two questions: why do we lie to ourselves? and who do we think we are we fooling?

We mean well. We want to do these things and we think our friends, family and colleagues want to hear that we’re trying to improve. Keep in mind; they’re doing the same thing!

According to who asked 2,000 people over the age of 18; Two-thirds of those surveyed have made a resolution in their lives while only 17% have kept them. One third cites financial issues as the biggest hurdle in reaching their goals – that seems low.

Time is a huge one – for some strange reason we feel that our time is under someone else’s tutelage. And this is interesting, 33% of the sample said they use social networking and search engine tools to achieve their goals.

It was startling to find out that more men kept their resolutions than women. 74% of the women missed the mark while 58% of the guys did the same. Perhaps it’s because we make fewer promises or ours are not as adventurous? That’s just my guess.

This year, I thought I’d ask followers on Twitter if they had any New Year’s resolutions. Thanks for all the responses! Here is the Top 20 (in no particular order):

Exercise more
◦ Make me the priority
Worry less
◦ Get to know more social media friends
Talk less
◦ Pay less attention to the News
◦ Play more
◦ Take better care of myself
Stay away from negative people
◦ Stop drinking
◦ Find balance – for real this time
Write more
◦ Live with passion
Collaborate more
Act more than say
◦ Release the past
◦ Replace negative thoughts with positive thoughts
◦ Laugh more
Enjoy what I do
◦ Work less

Whatever your goals or plans for 2009, I hope you reach them.

Happy New Year!


December 29, 2008

Dear 2009

A lot of us are looking forward to your arrival. There are some who are worried that you may be coming with bad news. As you may know, we’ve made rather a mess of 2008. It is our hope that you two are not related in any way.

Being a year carries a lot of responsibility. You are the future after all!

According to the Chinese zodiac, you are an Ox. This means you are patient and inspire confidence. But you are stubborn and hate to fail!

Some famous people who share your sign include: Charlie Chaplin, Walt Disney, Sir Anthony Hopkins, Peter Sellers and Jack Nicholson. So perhaps you'll be fun and creative and smart.

We could all use a laugh!

You may have heard about this financial mess-up. We humans tend to buy stuff we can’t afford, borrow more than we can pay back, and hide mistakes in the hopes no one finds out.

If you are worried that you may have big shoes to fill, just be glad you’re not Y2K! There were threats that the world as we know it was going to shut down. The year 2000 had a lot of pressure riding on it. Add to that, the futurists in the 1960s promised we’d all be using jet packs by then!

Some other things you should be aware of: the next President of the United States is a very good man, you can now order airline tickets and a pizza with two buttons on your smartphone, both Manning brothers have won a Super Bowl, and Barbara Walters is still hosting Oscar pre-show specials at the tender age of 79.

Remember, you’re just a year, 12 months, 52 weeks, 365 days, or 8,670 hours. You shouldn’t feel that you’re required to pull off miracles despite what some may claim.

Make yourself at home when you get here. You’ll be busy soon enough.


December 28, 2008

Why Do You Follow? Why Are We Friends?

There is much debate these days about the future of social media. This is not a new phenomenon or a fad. The interface will change, new portals will crop up, but it isn’t going anywhere.

Is Twitter modern day Hieroglyphics?
Five thousand years ago, the Egyptians used hieroglyphics on walls and caves to tell entire life stories.

Over a hundred years ago, Samuel Morse devised a code for his electric telegraph which revolutionized radio communication.

Today we sit impatiently while our 3G phones take almost a second to react to our every whim.

What are the similarities?
It is our need to belong, share, and be a part of something. Social media has given us the ability to connect with people we actually know, people who know the people we actually know, and beyond.

The connections are the starting point not the end game. If you haven't seen Did You Know 3.0 you should! It's an eye opener and it's exciting. In the presentation, it lists the population of MySpace as the fifth largest country in the world.

We are building communities from every area of the planet, every race and religion, financial background and upbringing, personal taste and political leaning. Borders are gone.

Six Degrees
Whenever I receive or send a friend or connection request, one of the first things that catches my attention is how many mutual friends we have – the more Kevin Bacons, the more likely we have stuff in common. At least that’s the theory.

Obviously, with hundreds and possibly thousands of friends, connections and followers no one can keep it all straight. But if you want to experience the true magic of this process, take a few seconds and find out more about them, then perhaps initiate further contact.

Why do we connect?
Be inquisitive and you will be surprised how many will say hello and how many will want to know more about you.

If you expect others to read your stuff, be prepared to read theirs. If you think you can build a network so you can send spam, don't be surprised when your friend count begins to dwindle.

Your engagement could simply be to collect friends like hockey cards, build a profile and join the worldwide fridge magnet party. Or you can take a few seconds and get to know a little bit about those who said “yes”.

What are the benefits of social media to you?


December 26, 2008

Boxing Day and Bargain Hunters

If you live in Canada, New Zealand, Britain or Australia, today is Boxing Day.
If you are so included, happy shopping!

The Origin of Boxing Day
This tradition dates back hundreds of years and refers to the day after Christmas when servants – who had to work on Dec 25th for their employers – were given a day to visit their families, have their festive celebration and bring gifts or “boxes” to their loved ones.

In modern times, Boxing Day used to be one day. And there was a build up. This was the day many would spend cash they received as Christmas gifts and the deals were actually deals.

Introducing: Boxing Month
Nowadays, Boxing Day seems to begin around the middle of December and lasts until mid-February. That makes about as much sense as slashing prices because it’s Abraham Lincoln’s birthday.

The Bargain Hunter
This year, this normally fearless wonder runs risk of landing on the endangered species list. This creature – indigenous to retail and online monetary exchange environments – has been blessed with a sixth sense for deals.

It can take on a multitude of human forms and is not fooled by empty promises and orange signs with words scrawled “final markdown” on them. The number of Bargain Hunters is down this year, some may be hibernating early and some may not return. However unlike most of the endangered list, the Bargain Hunter is a resilient creature. But we can still not assume they will return in droves.

Supply and Demand are Half-Brothers
Marketing and Branding are interesting industries. It is our job to create a need for a product the potential customer may not need nor know exists.

Need vs. Want
There is an interesting phrase that has bounced around through the years in marketing and branding that is “creating a need”. When you are hungry, you have a basic human need to eat. However indulging in a triple fudge sundae with whipped cream and cherries is not what you need. Sounds good though, doesn’t it? None of us need a Porsche but the company that builds them hopes some will feel the want which will be enough to create even a false need.

They Will Always Be There
There is a reliance that the Bargain Hunter will thrive in this environment. Because the only thing that is important is getting a good deal, right? Wrong.

The Bargain Hunter is wise to the tactics and schemes. He or she is also leery about the financial future and may no longer simply buy everything in their path.

How will you change your business model to adapt to a more careful and savvy customer base?


December 24, 2008


“It’s often said that life is strange, but compared to what?”
Steve Forbert

That line always struck me as a great equalizer. Perhaps even more poignant right now?

I was always a big fan of Steve. He is a storyteller and I have a lot of time for storytellers. But not those who simply tell stories, but those who share experiences and offer a fresh point of view. And in a sense, perhaps that's our collective responsibility?

I received some interesting emails from my previous post about sharing verses complaining. Some feel social media is the ME medium and not the THEM media.

I disagree, it's about US. But everyone's entitled to their opinion - which is the point.

It’s customary around this time of year to thank our friends who have helped us. I’d like to think we thank them all year. And none of us can possibly thank everyone who help us. It may take a village to raise a child, but it takes everyone we meet to enhance our lives.

Thanks for reading my blatherings. I hope you get something out of them. Thanks for all the cool comments and feedback – please continue! And don’t be shy; please share your blog links and stories too. And thanks to “The Geeks”!

It’s been an interesting year, but aren’t they all? All the best to you and those you love. And most of all, here’s to a positive 2009!

The need for integration, friendship, communication and cooperation is requisite.

Happy Holidays and thanks!


December 23, 2008

What Will You Do? Complain or Share?

VP-elect Joe Biden was on Larry King Live last night and despite the fact that he gets a shiny new gig and cool mansion on January 20th, no one seems envious about what is ahead for him and his boss.

Biden he has hope for the future. He isn’t living in lollypop land, there is a steep hill for the world to climb – this is not about the U.S. economy – this is about all of us.

But I keep thinking about how we are writing and talking and blogging and podcasting and whining about this all the time. It is overwhelming.

Here are some facts we know to this point.

We know: There are dishonest people in the world. There are crooks in this world. Some people do enjoy scamming you. The planet has no shortage of horrific things. And not everyone tells the truth.

We know: There are millions of creative generous minds willing to share their knowledge every day. True friends are a phone call away when we need them. Abundance is not measured by monetary wealth. And we all have a choice to either complain or share.

If you feel down or beleaguered, here are some places to visit:

Mitch Joel. Joseph Jaffe. Ted. James Arthur Ray. Seth Godin. Chris Brogan. Gregg Braden. CC Chapman. Jack Canfield. Guy Kawasaki. Marcus Buckingham.

Let’s pick share. I think share is a good choice.

Yup, share wins by a landslide!


December 22, 2008

Marketing: Time To Change Our Ways

I’ve been chatting with some ad agency colleagues lately and it’s been an eye-opening experience. It's tough for a lot of them. But others are angry because of news reports are causing more fear. No one has their head in the sand, but the negative news certainly isn't helping.

There are plenty of clients who still want to promote and market their goods and services. Clients are more cautious but slashing marketing and promotional budgets is the wrong tact. It is tough ‘out there’ but if you focus on that, you will get what you wish.

We need to cut costs
If you replaced the word “marketing” with “coffee cups” how long would Starbucks or Tim Horton’s stay in business? If you replaced the word “promotion” with “steering wheel” how long would you be able to keep your car on the road? If you want to see your company decline, stop telling people you have a company.

Where’s the map?
Imagine you are driving in a snow storm. It’s 3am and the gas meter has been on empty for the last fifteen minutes. You are lost. All you see is the odd light on the side of the road, no signs to indicate what is there. How many gas stations could you possibly drive by without knowing it? And how long will that gas station stay in business without a sign out front?

It worked yesterday
Years ago I worked with a guy in radio who didn’t see the need for us to tell people the name of the station. I’m serious! He said: “Everyone knows who we are.” Really? He saw little need to do marketing or outside promotion because the brand was that strong. No brand, product, or service is immune to softening markets or competition. No company has survived on their past successes.

The community is much too fickle.

Spam scam and scram
It gives none of us solace to watch major household brands crack under the pressure. But the companies that will continue to thrive – yes thrive – will sharpen their proverbial pencils and find out how they will do it. Those “hows” include: more targeted marketing, paying attention to the marketplace and needs of consumers, customers, audience, community, and staying aware of all technology available to them. And most importantly – have something worthwhile that others want to buy or use!

The best marketing campaign in the world, conceived by the brightest in the field will have a very difficult time convincing people to buy-in if the product or service fails to deliver on its promise.

Now what?
One agency veep told me last week that their goal for next year is to increase their client base by 20% and billing by 30% by “offering clients a soft place to land”. His plan is to give fearful business owners realistic solutions to their marketing and promotion issues rather jamming people in to the same old tired ideas. He said: "The lemmings and laggards can stayed scared while I build my business."

The U.S. auto industry is teetering. GM, Ford and Chrysler have been doing things the same way for far too long. If you are unwilling to be nimble and change with your environment, you can expect diminishing results. No mandated production levels will increase consumer demand no matter how much you want it.

What’s in it for we?
Of course I have a vested interest in all this – I am a producer. But I am also a marketer, a writer, a creative guy and I enjoy when something well-made is well-marketed and sees a healthy profit.

What are your thoughts?


December 19, 2008

People Predictions and Pontifications

"Imagine yourself as a chef in an extremely well-stocked kitchen where there are many ingredients that are not appropriate for your creation, but you feel no discomfort about their existence. You simply utilize the ingredients that will enhance your creation – and you leave the ingredients that are not appropriate for your creation." Ask And It Is GivenEsther and Jerry Hicks

It’s the time of year, when we all try and figure out the future. Although all we have is NOW, we somehow feel comfort is trying out our predictions nonetheless.

As I watch my media brethren brace for tough times, I wonder how we will all survive. I can tell you one thing – it won’t be by holding cards close to chests and hoping the other guy blinks. It will be by working in truly integrated solution-based relationships.

Friends will hire more friends – that’s a practice as old as humankind – but will be even more widespread now than ever. This is not about giving a buddy a contract because he’s your buddy. This is about working with more people you trust over those you don’t trust or don’t know. That trust is built through actions, not favors.

The Bush Administration is working on a solution for the Big Three – one may be bankruptcy. I am in the media production creation world and the first story I read yesterday was that the ad agency on the Chrysler account just laid off a bunch of people.

So now what? What do we do? Well, here are some suggestions...

◦ Be Honest
◦ Care for relationships as you care for yourself
◦ Say “I don’t know but I will find out” more often
◦ Phone more and email less
◦ Listen more and talk less
◦ Deliver what you say you will deliver, no really!
◦ Be accountable and work with people who are accountable
◦ Mean it
◦ Create win/wins or prepare to hear a lot of no’s
◦ Take the time and take the call
◦ Ask more than tell
◦ Understand that no one has all the answers

Social media will grow and morph, business will change, the economy will never look the same, technology will emerge, medical breakthroughs will continue, the list goes on ...but at the core is how we interact with and treat each other.

When I was a radio consultant, I had a mentor once tell me that no one wants to hear that they have an ugly baby. Though I am now producing more visual stuff than radio stuff, he and I still exchanged emails yesterday and agreed to stay in touch - and we both mean it despite the fact that we don't have any current direct work with each other.

When I had the awesome privilege of leading the build of two new radio stations from scratch, what was always front and center was the commonality of co-creating as a team. There was no time for egos and turf wars. None of us have time for that. Especially now.

So as we slam headlong in to more doom and gloom that may be 2009, if you want to keep your head down, aim for the middle, subscribe to the “good enough will do” mantra, your wish will be granted. But if you surround and immerse yourself with people who support you because you support them, butt-covering will become less necessary.

I know, this is revolutionary stuff. The point is – do we do it? We also know we should eat five servings of fruits and veggies every day.


December 16, 2008

Don't Let Anything Stand In Your Way

At some point every day, I do something under the umbrella of “motivation”. That may be reading a few more pages of that book I’ve been trying to finish for months, listening to a podcast or read a blog, crank some music, or anything that gets the blood flowing in the right direction again.

Last week, I put on a podcast with Jack Canfield. In the interview, he is promoting his book The Success Principles.

There is some riveting stuff and great reminders here:

Turn your inner-critic in to an inner-coach
To often, we summarize a project or a meeting by what we did wrong or what we missed. That event is done, over, everyone else has moved on. The best idea is to decipher what went well and what you want to improve next time.

List what you want to accomplish in your life
This could include visiting the Sistine Chapel, writing a book, driving a race car, or starting your own company. None of us know how much time we will be granted, and nothing magical is going to help around the corner unless we create it.

Don’t share your dreams with negative people
How many times have you heard the phrase “that won’t work” or “that’s a dumb idea”? It may be true but if you feel in your gut that you have something worth pursuing, then pursue it alone or with people who share your vision. Life is too short to let others live it for you. Share your dreams with positive people or keep them to yourself until you can find them.

Drop out of the “ain’t it awful” club
We all know them - those among us who will find bad things with every idea or situation. There is some strange trait among us humans where we find comfort in knocking things down. Perhaps it’s laziness? Perhaps it’s fear?

Life is supposed to be fun
We are drowning in news about the economy these days. Get over it. It sucks. People are nervous and scared and cautious. This isn’t to suggest we take the “la la la, I can’t hear you” approach, but if we continue to wallow then we will get what we wish for – more wallowing.

Be a persistent. Be a visionary
If you surround yourself with positive people, stop sharing your dreams and ideas with negative people, and keep at it, exciting things will happen. Yes, easier said than done but it has been proven time and time again.

We can all waste more time preparing to discuss the preparation.

I am attending an event tomorrow night with Jeff Parks, Kristina Mausser, and Jay West. It’s a chance for us to share a little Holiday cheer but it is also a chance for us to discuss an adventurous idea we have been talking about.

Jeff has had an idea to change the Meet Up concept for years and has slowly surrounded himself with positive people who share the vision. There has been no shortage of naysayers but his idea has only gained strength.

On a personal note: 2009 will be the year where I realize a dream I have had for decades – to work with smart people on fun projects.

Do you think it will work?


December 15, 2008

Don't Be Shy - Share!

A few months ago, during a chat with a colleague, we got to talking about someone who we enjoy reading and listening to through their blog and podcast. I know this person, my colleague does not – so I asked him if he knew what this person did for a living. He was a bit stymied.

It got me thinking about the reasons why we blog and share and podcast and connect through the social network. Some do it to share wedding photos, some to share business wisdom in their particular industry or area of expertise.

There seems to be a reluctance to let the listener or reader peer into the host’s day job. It is vital to have a reference point for your thoughts and it is okay to open up once in a while.

Theories are cool but equally important are practical examples to show them in action. And it’s refreshing that some are beginning to let us in a little further through their blogs and podcasts to explain what they actually do.

We don't necessarily need to exchange our resumes, but it’s important to context what you’re talking or writing about with practical experience from your career.

Next year, we will need to share a lot more and try to find creative ways to work together, make a living, and expand ourselves.

Whether you blog, podcast or simply do things the old-fashioned way through human contact – it’s okay to share. That need will never diminish and that is the essence of integration.


John Weiss 'Sharing Lunch'

December 12, 2008

Location Location Location

Amid the housing and mortgage crisis I got to thinking about a mantra this industry has used since the dawn of time – location location location. I asked a real estate buddy once if it was better to tear down a shack and retrofit or rebuild in a good neighborhood or buy a nice house in a lesser neighborhood. His answer was swift and without hesitation – rebuild.

Importance Of Location
Location is important when looking for a place to live. Location is paramount when deciding on a website address. Location is essential when choosing who you work with on projects and initiatives. Location is vital when choosing to be nimble verses stagnant.

Making Useful Media
Chris Brogan wrote a brilliant post today about making useful media. If you work in television, online content, radio, journalism, marketing or promotion – take a few minutes and read this post. Then send the link to everyone you know!

Bad TV
Mitch Joel recently wrote a post entitled Bad TV. It's a great view of something that is dear to my heart - content! Mitch poses the simple question: Would you rather have bad tv or good internet? Read and share as well.

Short-Term Fear | Long-Term Growth
I spoke with a friend who is a senior sales manager at a prominent cell company last night. He has a customer who is worried about spending a few hundred dollars because his budgets have been frozen – even when my friend has shown this customer how he will save thousands in mere months.

The location of your psyche is even more important than the place you reside. Forest and trees are being lumped in with news reports about falling markets and bailouts.

In It For The Deal
My post-secondary life was a time of change in both my thinking and work ethic. I was studying to become a radio broadcaster and despite my complete indignation toward my high school “career” I felt it was time to go big or go home. So along with being the Program Director of the college radio station, a DJ and bartender at the campus pub, I also worked in a sports store selling shoes. We got great deals on the sweetest new shoes on the market. At one time, I probably had 30 pairs.

Deals Are Not Always Deals
I had to take two buses from my place to get to this job, hated the hours, disliked my manager but stuck it out. I finally had to resign because it was affecting all the stuff I wanted to do in my life at that time. When I did it, a friend asked me why I had stayed so long. My response: because I got a deal on shoes.

Location is important but often it has nothing to do with geography.

How is location important to you?


December 11, 2008

What Is Your #1 Business Relationship Rule?

As we near the end of a tumultuous year with the promise of another one on the way, many are reflecting as they often do near the Holidays. Of course it is time to get together with friends and family, to recharge the proverbial batteries and refocus our newly found energy.

Everyone needs and deserves a break but few of us feel we can afford that luxury right now. Simply put, we have to take our eyes off the work and money road and give ourselves times for reflection.

My passions are music, media, entertainment, social media, and marketing. What I’m excited about is the wonderful possibilities for us to integrate our forces and our projects. It is time for us to meld ideas and partners in projects for mutual benefit.

Above all, my true passions are: accountability, teamwork, strategy and focus.

Over the last couple of days, I have been asking a simple question on Twitter: What is our #1 business relationship rule? Thanks for all the responses! I did receive some of the expected ones like:

- Follow up on what you promise
- Under promise and over deliver
- Do what you say you will do

When possible, true integration is when all parties work together from the beginning.

Some other responses included:

Near Real Time Response
Love this one! Prove it with action. Again, the more information and input you can gather from the other people on the project gives you a better chance to respond swiftly and accurately.

Never Forget The Relationship
This works very well when factions work together at co-creation rather than execution. Relationships are not built on price point, deals and hidden agendas. Jennifer Rice recently wrote an excellent piece on the co-creation of luxury brands.

Relationships take time and trust. And they are more important now than ever!

Never Compromise Your Beliefs Ethics or Reputation
This is obviously different for everyone. The art of the deal, the way we do business, and I win/you lose - happen all the time. If you want to take on this mantra, be prepared to walk away from business. And that is perfectly acceptable.

I admire people who can stick to their beliefs – though speaking as one who always tries to do so; it can put you in situations where people will disappoint you. So be it!

I will add a few of mine: assume nothing, be realistic, share with and include everyone, put your focus on what they need in place of what you need. Or as I often say “I’m not here to cover my butt, I’m here to cover yours”.

The best evidence of future behavior is past behavior.

What Is Your #1 Business Relationship Rule?


December 9, 2008

That's Not What I Meant

It is fascinating how we can seamlessly communicate with each other via social networking sites, cell phones, emails, pins, texts, landlines, Skype, and snail mail.

What’s equally fascinating is how little information reaches its intended recipient in-tact.

Newsflash: email is not the best way to share ideas. The meaning gets lost, we all make mistakes in the words we select, and the mood at the other end is out of our control.

More text messages are sent each day than there are humans living on the planet. And that will only grow. There are an estimated two million emails sent every second!

We are spending a lot of time and money trying to reach each other.

But are we communicating? Are we receiving information in the same light as it was intended? Are we listening and reading?

The telephone game is a simple one – and you know it – the message begins with one person, who tells it to another and the more people who touch the message before it gets to you, increases the chances of inaccuracies.

You've been there. It begins with an innocent email only to end in a flurry of misunderstanding and half sentences. No one has decided to bail in lieu of an actual converstation and the whole thing becomes a mess.

We try our best to re-explain ourselves which can make things worse. The result is a string of emails that begin to make no sense and the original question or comment or content is buried three pages down.

Mean what you say and say what you mean. Easier said than done.

It's worth a try. Oh, and the smartphone does have a phone option.


December 8, 2008

Long Live Visuals

The topic of music videos has come up lately as the recent job cuts at MuchMusic, MuchMoreMusic and MTV in Canada continues to be long and painful.

Years ago, I was at a convention and on the panel was someone from MTV in NYC. During the Q&A session, someone asked the person from MTV – what the “M” stood for which was followed by an uproar of laughter. By that time, the focus away from music programming at the network had begun.

In the 80s and 90s, video flow was huge. In our cross-media, cross-platform, gadget laden world it's ridiculous to expect anyone today to sit in front of a television and watch music videos. That notion is about as ridiculous as to claim Paris Hilton is popular because of talent.

YouTube is the #3 website on earth. This is not because we are watching Jim smack Bill in the face with a baseball bat, or watching Sally's wedding video. Bright forward-thinking companies are realizing that online visuals are a way to tell more of their story. Have a look at the Doghouse Video.

YouTube may be the most popular, but it's obviously not the only outlet. We can produce material that goes to cellphones, emails, microsites, the ideas are only limited by our imagination.

The best advice I can give in our economic times is to seek out potential customers and go to them. Few will survive on the hopes their phone will ring on its own.

Coldplay is the biggest band on the planet right now. "Viva La Vida" has sold more copies – online and in stores – than any other collection in 2008. Their world tour broke records. But at the core is good bloaks making great music and fun visual stories linked to their songs.


December 7, 2008

It’s Not About The Canvass Or The Canvas

It’s everywhere: pontification, prediction, forecasting, and we still have no idea what’s next. And we never will know. The reason we all try our best to look toward the future is because we think that something magical will happen some day that will solve any problems we may be facing today. All we have is now.

Media Media Media

Media is a word lobbed around to give us all the appearance of knowledge and wisdom. It seems to be all about social media, digital media, or mass media.

The word media is used primarily as a technological reference. Whether it is a radio station transmitter, a website mainframe, an outdoor surface, or a television broadcast tower; content transmitted from one source to a desired listener, user, viewer, or community seems to be the reference point.

But as you know, media is simply the plural of medium. Medium is the canvas that content is placed upon, that’s all.

Toys Have Become The Message

What is scary is when the content becomes less important than the thingamajig.

The most successful of the last decade is the iPod. It’s portable, (mostly) user friendly, nimble and cool. Apple has done a remarkable job of creating a need to own their portable mp3 player which has given them more than a 70% share of the market.

It matters not that the battery dies too quickly, the ear buds are uncomfortable, and the sound quality is horrible. Audiophiles need not apply. And it doesn’t matter.

Facebook has an estimated 100 million profiles and growing every day. But the interface is still awkward to navigate and there are very few customizable options – other than adding more applications to the left side of the screen or in a hidden box. It’s not the prettiest website on the planet. And it doesn’t matter.

Radio has been under attack for many years because of their musical safeness, horrifically inaccurate ratings’ system, and lack of deep rich content. Instead of growing bands online and on the street, the response for the most part has been to create even safer environments and hope not to cause “tune out”. The phrase “shut up and play the hits” grew tired decades ago.

Have you ever been watching TV, scrolled through hundreds of channels several times only to find “nothing to watch”?

Have you ever experienced the Google stare? There are an estimated 10 Billion websites available at a click, and you don’t have a clue where you want to go.

And I'm done with the BlackBerry vs iPhone discussion. Pick your favorite, you're both right.

Toys and sites are cool. They are requisite to all of this. But if we don’t continue to work on the stuff that we’re putting on the stuff, we may as well offer the unit in fifty colors. It won’t matter.


December 5, 2008

Did You Know? Should You Know? Will You Know?

What's old may not necessarily be new again

I was speaking with a music industry exec today about ideas and how quickly they move through his office. This is a forward-thinking guy, always has been. He is still full of passion and ideas. He told me of a recent project he brought forward along with twenty possible executions. He holds hope that - if he's lucky - one or two will be accepted, adapted and implemented. The reason: because the way they've done it in the past is the way they're going to do it in the future.

This is not a shot against the music industry – the bruises have already reached bone – but it’s a reflection of the fact that the world is constantly changing.

What worked literally yesterday, may no longer be relevant.

Careers and Journeys

There was a day not too long ago, where the badge of honor was to stay in the same job or company for your entire career. My grandfather retired at age 55 with the gold watch after working for the same company since he left high school. Yes, he actually got a gold watch.

Today, it is common to work at several projects or companies at the same time, and travel through 8-10 or more careers - not jobs - in your lifetime. And that number will only increase.

Never Stop Searching

There are currently more scientists alive today than in any other time in history, combined. Medical research is creating longer lives. Technological advancements are giving us more opportunies to explore and create.

There are close to 7 Billion of us all crammed on less than one third of the area of Earth all trying to coexist and co-create. Unless there are challenges far too difficult to overcome, humans can do anything. The fact that anyone can write or read this blog is a freedom we can’t take for granted.

Exploration Never Ends

We are overwhelmed with information and the only guarantee I can ever make is that it won’t stop. It won’t even slow down. We are ravenous for information and content, and we are producing it constantly.

We Are Different But The Same

I often speak of integration with regards to media and entertainment. This is because I am fascinated by teamwork and how to meld two factions into one successful project. The world is one big integrated model – and as you know, it doesn’t usually meld that easily.

Did You Know?

Someone sent me a piece produced by SonyBMG which was first shown in Rome. You may have seen it, or I may have sent it to you. It’s called "Did You Know 3.0"

Give this five minutes of your life - it is worth it. If it scares you, it may be time for a splash of reality. If it excites you, brilliant!


SonyBMG: Rome'08 Did You Know 3.0
Music: Fatboy Slim - Right Here Right Now

December 4, 2008

Those You Know. Those You Knew.

I made a decision a couple of weeks ago that I would spend more time on the phone. My partners are laughing somewhere because I’m on it enough, but I meant for actual meaningful conversations. These chats were also meant to reconnect with so many people I had said “call you sometime”, “let’s catch up soon”, or “we gotta get together”.

Is any of this sounding familiar?

A few months ago, I found a number of a guy I knew in my radio days when he worked at a music label. He left the music industry years ago and is now a bigwig cell company exec dude. So I called the number, got his voice mail and left a message. Two days later, he left me a voice mail and was completely surprised and happy to hear from me. We don’t have business together anymore, we aren’t looking for something from each other, it was just a reconnection.

Has this happened to you?

Yesterday, both portable phones ran out of juice and my cell was buzzing all day. This was all because I was just reaching out to people to say hello and check on how they are doing.

When did you last do that?

I don’t suggest anyone should sit on the phone yackin' with their buddies all day - I am making business and industry connections - but it’s amazing what happens when you just pick up the phone and call someone you haven’t spoken with in a while.

And the moral of the story?

Let your mind wonder and think of someone you haven’t spoken to in a long time. Think of someone you keep 'meaning to call' - and call them. Today. That's social networking.

Which reminds me, there's a lot of lunch and coffee in my future...

Are you getting the urge to give it a try?


December 2, 2008

Canada Leads The Online Charge

The battle over royalties and re-purposing rights for traditional material online has been going on for years. As the world becomes more user-driven everyday, advertisers and content providers continue to grapple with controlling how their content is consumed, shared and more importantly monetized.

Yesterday online video and audio advertising took a step toward reality. Today is reserved for a standing ovation for my fellow Canadians.

Interactive Advertising Bureau of Canada president Paula Gignac said in an official statement yesterday:

“Online audio and video advertising in Canada can finally begin to flow, as a result of a new breakthrough agreement negotiated between The Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists, The Association of Canadian Advertisers and The Institute of Communications Agencies. The new agreement allows advertisers to take full advantage of using professional, talented, Canadian performers for their online marketing efforts.”

As a producer and broadcaster, I have always been vocal about the fact that whether you pave highways or write songs you should be compensated for your work. I have gone on record, written articles, and fought for artists my entire career. This goes far beyond downloading the new GNR for free.

Gignac goes on to say:

“The pilot project (which will run for the next two and a half years), is designed to stimulate growth and employment opportunities within the Canadian market, and includes significantly-reduced talent rates for video commercials made for TV and radio, that are later ported into the new media environment. The agreement also contains similarly reduced usage rates for video commercials produced specifically for new media.”

Until now, media and advertising companies had to pay additional online charges to re-purpose the same content created for traditional outlets. Online advertising and integration has become more than a $20 Billion industry in North America. In Canada, online advertising has surpassed radio in the last year.

IAB President Paula Gignac continues:

“But while online video viewership in Canada has been soaring, video advertising has been stymied until now, by prohibitive talent costs associated with running audio and video commercials online. In fact, according to IAB Canada’s annual online advertising survey, video advertising made up just 1% of the total 2007 online advertising revenue in Canada.”

This is exciting news for advertisers, content providers, and traditional media. This gives all of us a wider swath in which to grow our content and talent.

More here from Gignac:

IAB Canada encourages advertisers of all types who have been considering getting into either in-stream, rich media or over-the-page audio and video advertising, to take immediate action on these new pilot project rates, in order to benefit from video ad effectiveness in 2009 and beyond."

You can read more on the IAB website or the ACTRA website.

Now let's go create some great content and integrated relationships!


December 1, 2008

Thirty-One Days. Thirty-One Ideas.

Last month I listed thirty ideas for thirty days. A friend sent me an email yesterday asking if I had practised what I preached.

I'm workin' on it.

So here's another reminder for me and you. Since there are thirty-one days December, I thought we'd add one ...and try it again!

In random order…

Enjoy the ride • Don't procrastinate • Say thanks • Decide • Trust yourself • Share often • Learn from everyone • Be bold • Imagine • Make magic • Fight hard • Expect more • Don’t settle • Love what you do • Hum along • Smile • Crush the box • Dream • Mean it • Wonder • Teach someone • Be brave • Laugh often • Inspire • Live now • Worry less • Think action • Create • Don’t wait • Fear less • Sleep in


December 2008
© Kneale Mann people + priority = profit
leadership development business culture talent development human capital