January 31, 2009

Thanks TED

I love TED. I love my TED Player. TED has not paid me a cent to say this. I happily tell everyone I meet about my love affair with TED. I have yet to attend a conference with TED.

It was one of those nights where sleep was brief and the mind was busy. So the day began with a fresh pot of delicious coffee and my pal TED.

Two on the menu this morning were from Dan Gilbert who is a Harvard professor. Dan is personable, funny and thought provoking.

How much would you pay for a Big Mac?

Here's some perspective we all need these days.


January 29, 2009

Truth Can Hurt. Truth Can Help.

When I tell any truth, it is not for the sake of convincing those who do not know it, but for the sake of defending those that do.
William Blake

If you have ever been in a marketing meeting where it’s clear no one is going to step out or tell the client the truth, you have experienced the true magic of covertis buttas.

Yes, it stings and sometimes we don't want to hear it. We are human after all. Respect and decorum need not leave the room.

Truth is a great flirt.
Franz Liszt

During my years in radio, I used to laugh whenever an announcer would come in to my office to discuss a listener complaint. Sometimes it was warranted, sometimes not. But one email or call would set the announcer on to a tirade about this person’s ability to make such comments. They didn’t know what they were talking about!

Reverse the listener comment and the reaction was very different.

Negative comment + one person = dismissed.
Positive comment + one person = positive audience feedback.

Truth is rarely writ in ink; it lives in nature.
Martin H. Fischer

Okay, I admit it I watch American Idol. There, glad that’s out in the open. What I find fascinating about it is the number of people who truly think they have a shot at winning it all. Really?

But that is the exact reason viewers are engaged. It is our attraction to the proverbial car wreck. It makes more interesting television than showing a stream of talented performers. That would be boring. That would not hold your attention. And most of all, it would not create the viral conversation.

There is no truth. There is only perception.
Gustave Flaubert

Simon Cowell is the bad guy, the one judge who isn’t afraid to tell the truth. Sure, he can be mean but the entertainment business is fraught with mean. I don’t necessarily agree with his deep personal digs, but say it with me - that makes better television. If Simon was not on the program, and all they did was show talented people in auditions, American Idol would not be as successful as it is.

American Idol is not high art and that's not the point of the show.

If a thousand old beliefs were ruined in our march to truth we must still march on.
-Stopford Brooke

One of the best pieces of advice I received when I was consulting media full-time was from a colleague who had been doing it a lot longer than me. He said when you speak with clients and potential clients, it’s important to remember that (and I quote) “No one wants to hear they have an ugly baby.” Two words: Seinfeld episode. Two more: great advice.

Of course you would never say something detrimental toward someone’s looks that is just mean, but if a company is heading for the rocks and you have a legitimate way to help them, is it best to avoid offending someone or speaking up?

I tore myself away from the safe comfort of certainties through my love for truth - and truth rewarded me.
Simone de Beauvoir

If people stopped believing false promises, companies would be forced to stop using them as tactics to grow their customer base.

Would you be shocked if I told you that the laundry detergent will not make your shirts smell like a mountain stream or that the face cream will not make you look like a famous movie star? Some people must believe these claims, companies keep making them.

As the world struggles through an historic time in our ecomonic history, perhaps tellin' people the truth may be the way to go? Just sayin'.

Truth is after all a moving target.
Hairs to split. And pieces that don't fit.
How can anybody be enlightened?
Truth is after all so poorly lit.
Neil Peart


Jack Nicholson: A Few Good Men (1992)

January 27, 2009

Many Minds Make Light Work

@carl Dude, how you doing?!
@steve All good ...how's Mary?
@carl Awesome, thanks... Sally well?
@steve Couldn’t be better! How’s the gig?
@carl Good good ...let’s grab a beer some time!
@steve Sounds great, give me a shout.

Carl signs off and wonders why his life is such a mess while Steve seems so happy. Steve grumbles under his breath as he switches off his laptop that Carl has it so good while his life is falling apart.

Take A Peak Inside

As we open the doors wider into ourselves, do we need to put up a higher wall or a braver face? I have received countless emails from people who feel intimated by places like Facebook and Twitter. They don’t feel they have anything to share. We all have something to share.

The Power We Hold

MuteMath writes in the song Peculiar People “With a word we can drown a mountain”. Later in the song they write "we can fly with the wings of eagles". The operable word in both lyics is 'we'.

We are human. We are flawed. We experience life with its joy and bumps. We too often have to paste a smile on our face for the world to see. We often forget others must do the same.

Start With Hello

If you have a social media profile and you dig a little deeper to get to know a new contact, you will experience the magic of the medium. I remember the first time I sent an email to someone I had just met - and they responded! And we started a conversation.

My friends who don't 'get' social media, think that Twitter is a waste of time. But if you've ever experienced it when the conversation flows among several people and new people chime in with thoughts, you know that it's much more than a chat room.

During the Presidential debates, Obama's inauguration, the bailout, and the latest in the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, the conversation was vibrant and alive.

Let's Collaborate More

If we are spending more time online in social media enviornments, should we not be trying to share even more? But let's not confuse activity with progress. Increased chatter does not guarantee more solutions.

Stretch out those conversations - in public or private. This isn't about showing others how s-m-r-t we are or how well-read we are or how in-the-know we are. If we all lived 300 years, we still wouldn't know it all.

Be Yourself

To borrow words that best describe this, I turn to Seth and Mitch. Be remarkable. Be authentic. Take chances and step out. Enjoy your voice.

We are all stumbling around together. If we aren’t willing to make mistakes, be ourselves and be remarked about, then we may as well turn off the computer.

And the next time someone asks us how we're doing – maybe it's best to simply say “fine thanks, you?”


January 25, 2009

Media Hacks: A Necessary Initiative

Thought leaders such as Mitch Joel, Chris Brogan, CC Chapman, Julien Smith, Hugh McGuire, Christopher S. Penn and numerous others have stepped up with a necessary initiative called Media Hacks.

This is an open discussion about digital space, social media, marketing and anything else that comes up. Mitch talked about it this past weekend on his Six Pixels of Separation podcast. The idea is to gather thinkers and share ideas, no rules, opinions are allowed and encouraged. And it’s absolutely free.

The magic of this initiative is that others will be invited to contribute to the conversation.

That is the essesnce of social media – you can have information and thoughts from leaders in industry and they want to hear yours.

The Media Hack blog and podcast is coming very soon.

If you have an idea, start sharing!


from cc-chapman.com

January 24, 2009

Unscientific Study in Networking Socially

I took a few days away from the social media space and the emails have been hilarious. I’m okay! Thanks for your concern. But it did get me thinking about the power of social connection.

You Started It

Last April, I attended a Geek Dinner which was the birth of this thought space. Without realizing it, I have been conducting an experiment in human behavior for the past 10 months. The results have been astounding.

The friend, follower, and connection counts have grown but it isn’t about that – it’s about the human stuff and it all stems from one dinner.

I Know A Guy Who Knows A Guy

The amazing element of all this is the people you meet through the people you meet through the people you know. The six degrees of separation. Every person on the planet is linked to every person on the planet in six steps or less.

Have you experienced a situation where you couldn’t remember how you met someone? Through your network someone knows someone you know who introduces you to someone who is now your friend. Gladwell writes about it in The Tipping Point. The connectors, mavens and salesmen are everywhere - often all three reside in us at the same time.

The Network of Networks

Are we creating communities that coexist online as we do in life? Or are we making more true human connections than we would (say) by passing people in the mall?

The numbers are irrelevant – the human connections are important.

We Are All Just People

I have gained mentors, friends, colleagues and contacts. There is non-stop information and knowledge shared and all because someone reached out last year and asked me to join a group of people for dinner.

What is important is that if you are going to take from the social network you must be willing to give back and share.

Is Anybody Out There?

I received emails in the last couple of days because I hadn’t posted an Opinion or contributed to the Twitter conversation or posted information in my newsfeed. At the core of all this, we’re just people.

I worked for many years in radio, and just when you didn’t think “they” were listening, you’d get a sign. Thanks for the sign.

What are your thoughts?


January 20, 2009

Leaders Say: Let’s Go

There is no doubt that today is historic. Barack Obama becomes President. The celebrations will go well into the wee hours. But what is interesting is that the new commander-in-chief will be at his desk in the oval office within hours of is inaugural speech.

Four years ago, Obama was the junior senator from Illinois and today the 47-year old becomes the President. How did he do that?

In a city where there are more pontificators and lobbyists per capita than in any other urban center on the planet – Obama is there to work. He gives great speeches, he inspires many people, but he means what he says and says what he means.

Think about your mentors – the people who not only helped your career but helped you. Look to the people who inspired you and believed in you. Now think of the people who look to you for that same guidance.

We’ve all had a boss – a person who chirps demands and reminds us that democracy is a theory not a reality. But how many of us have had the chance to work with a leader? How many of us have felt the joy of leading others?

It’s easy to bark orders, it’s much more difficult to lead and motivate. It’s simple to take the “because I said so” stance; it’s difficult to adopt the “I see your strengths” approach.

There is no such thing as a selfless act or unbiased opinion. Obama was born to lead and revels in doing so. But the satisfaction he feels from leading can only be personified if he successfully motivates others to let him lead.

Let’s go!



January 19, 2009

Remember So We Never Forget

A lot has been written and said about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He was a great man. He was a brave man. He was committed to human rights. He was necessary to this world. He still is. Today is a celebration of his spirit and what he was all about – that included helping others - through MLK Day.

His life was cut short because of misunderstanding and ignorance.

It takes people like Dr. King to remind us why we are here and what our responsibilities are as a part of the human race. There is much talk about the economy and conflict around the world. We should never stop striving to make things better.

Tomorrow, Barack Obama will become the 44th President of the United States. This is not about the first man of color to achieve this office; it is not about a man of average means reaching for a near impossible goal. It is about how this event can inspire us.

Someone asked me the other day what inspires me about Barack Obama. It’s simple - he inspires all of us. He admits he cannot solve any of this alone. That was proven with his choice in Joe Biden as Vice President.

He means it when he says that we all need to do our part. This is not about the United States of America - this is about every country. I can speak confidently as a proud Canadian that there is a multitude here who are proud of Barrack Obama.

Today and tomorrow we celebrate two great men.

But more importantly, we celebrate ourselves.


January 18, 2009

There Are Many I’s In Team

Everyone must be on the same page. Teamwork divides the task and multiplies the success. Many hands make light work. A chain is only as strong as its weakest link.

Pick your cliché, any will do when you talk about teamwork.


We travel in packs, so it’s safe to say you more often work in a team environment. A group of people all wandering in different directions can be extremely dangerous. But when we can share ideas with each other to help the common good, magic can happen.


One of the coolest television shows last year was Long Way Down featuring actor Ewan McGregor along with his best mate and fellow actor Charley Boorman.

This was the follow-up to their original trip entitled Long Way Around which began in April 2004. The goal of that trip was to literally take the long way around the earth - on motorcycles.

Charley, Ewan and their crew left from London, crossed over to mainland Europe then rode to France, Belgium, Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Ukraine, Russia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Siberia, Alaska, Canada, into the U.S. and finally arrived in NYC.

You don’t just wake up one more morning and try this. It takes a lot of preparation and a lot of people.


In January 2004 the boys began intense physical training which included weights, boxing, and cardio. In between workouts, they joined the rest of the team for intense road planning research. They also had to educate themselves on issues such as possible bear attacks, language barriers, passports, every possible weather condition, medicine, proper supplies and just for fun there was a television crew filming everything from day one.

They also had to be trained to deal with survival issues, possible hostile environments and of course first-aid. Nutritionists, GPS experts and seasoned outdoor travelers were consulted. All this to prepare for their mammoth trip.


They made it. A trip of several lifetimes done. No need to push any more envelopes.

Three years later, they wanted to do another trip. This time, Scotland to South Africa. The same detail had to go in to this trip as with the last. They ran in to some passport issues and Ewan broke his leg which delayed things. But when you see them riding their bikes around the Great Pyramid of Giza or stopping to bungee jump over Victoria Falls, it's proof the prep was well worth it.

Long Way Around was 115 days covering 15,000 miles. Long Way Down covered more than 20,000 miles in 85 days.


You may not have the desire to spend twelve months of your life training and riding motorcycles but the elements are the same. You have to imagine the idea , inspire the rest of the team to get moving, integrate everyone involved and implement the plan.

How many I's on your team?


January 16, 2009

You Want Inspiration? Here’s Plenty…

Nick Vujicic

January 15, 2009

Oprah Jobs and Other Personal Brands

Steve Jobs announced yesterday that he is stepping down for a few months from his chief big guy spot at Apple. Speculation is that he won’t be back. However with a mindful eye on business and a publicly traded company with a very public boss, there is concern of a stock tumble if this becomes a permanent situation.

We Are All Just People

Pardon the human comment but let’s first have some compassion for a guy named Steve who is in the prime of his life. He isn’t well, despite speculation few know exactly how serious but let’s remember he’s not a robot. Best wishes to him and his family and hope that he is back stronger than ever in June.

Go With Your Gut

It's not easy to trust your gut. It's not simple to keep moving forward when self-doubt or naysayers are all around.

Oprah Winfrey made a decision years ago that she was not going to take her talk show in the downward direction her contemporaries were taking theirs. Instead, she felt it was important to go with her gut and her heart and build an empire of talk shows, a magazine, a radio network, publishing company, a worldwide charity – The Angel Network, The Academy For Girls in South Africa, and soon the OWN television network. And do it all on her terms in spirit of goodness.

Oprah makes a lot of money. Oprah employs hundreds of people. Oprah gives back. Oprah is Harpo Productions. But unlike Jobs, she is building a roster of contributors who are household names because there will be a day when she won’t be able to be out in front as much as she is now.

Any Flat Surface

Anyone who thinks they can “re-brand” a “product” is fooling themselves. That is the job of the audience and customer. We can attempt to create a space where people will want to spend time and money, but that’s it.

Slick marketing campaigns, social network channels, nimble promotional concepts all help get the word out - but until a human connection occurs, it's just another product or idea.

Steve Jobs rejuvenated the company he co-founded into an environment featuring a suite of products that are cutting edge, work well, solve problems, are fun to use and are cool. Oh and while away he co-founded this little company you may have heard of called Pixar.

He has a large talented team but he is the visionary and as many have cited one of the best pitch men ever. That was never more evident than the wave that was caused when he cancelled his appearance at Macworld this year.

Connect. Engage. Inspire.

There is a connection to Jobs' foreword thinking spirit and desire to take chances that resonates with millions of people.

Winfrey is a sharp business owner but never forgets that top priority is the connection to her audience and customers.

"I Love You, Oprah!" "I Love Apple!"

These are phrases uttered all over the world.

It is no secret that Steve Jobs and Oprah Winfrey are billionaires. Jobs is #154 on the Forbes List with an estimated personal wealth of $5.4B while Winfrey is #462 with about $2.6B.

We admire people who take chances. We look to people who are brave and step out. We connect with people who build strong companies and environments where others can thrive.

And no amount of money will allow us to escape what is truly human. Steve Jobs is dealing with that right now.

Questions we all can ask ourselves:

How can I help others?
How can I be braver and take more chances?
How am I building my personal brand?
How can I connect and engage and inspire?


January 13, 2009

Human Behavior And Other Assumptions

There is much chatter these days about action. Amid tough times we must find better ways to move forward. One of the best ways is through integration.

This is not about product placement or infomercials or sales calls or hidden agendas. This is about entering every relationship at as close to the beginning of a project as possible and being aware of the needs of everyone involved.

Something To Remember
Recently a colleague was frustrated with a customer because she kept changing her mind then asking for more time to make a decision. Too often people would rather avoid the short no by giving you a long maybe. Too often we want to lay hope in the maybe that it will become a yes.

In this case, it was too early in the process but my colleague did fail to remember one crucial word that best described this person – customer.

They Owe You Nothing
Most of the time a viewer, customer, listener, visitor, colleague or friend will make the decision that best suits their needs when it is convenient for them. We shouldn't be surprised, we operate the same way!

All the data in the world is useless without action. All the suspicion one can muster won’t change the responses of real people. Most scratch their heads when sales are down because the silent majority will not write a complaint email or call you; they will simply go somewhere else.

I Know What I’m Talking About
We are often too close to our own situation. My experience hosting focus groups and research projects taught me that people like what they like and don’t respond a certain way simply because that is our desire. A new logo, a better marketing campaign, a better looking spokesperson, or a nice PowerPoint presentation won’t change the situation if your customer is closed to new ideas.

If they are open to new ideas, it’s imperative to find out the parameters.

How many times have you heard this one – I like all types of music. My response usually is: Do you like Baroque or Bluegrass? We humans exaggerate and embellish - duh. This is never more evident than when you are asking questions for research.

Consensus and Average
It would be silly to suggest we can ask every single customer and potential customer for their input but in a user-made have-it-now time, we can’t expect everyone to fall in line.

Demographics, income levels, educational background or geographical origin can give you insight, but these factors are simply a guide. My dad is on Facebook and my niece likes jazz.

Be Ready For Their Answer
If you are going to ask for opinions, be prepared to hear the answers. If your goal is to simply confirm your theories, save your time and money. Entering in to any relationship with preconceived notions is dangerous.

Agree? Disagree? Feel free to share your thoughts.


January 12, 2009

Nothing Like A Good Comeback

Mickey Rourke accomplished the impossible last night. He stood on stage under the bright lights of live television to accept the Golden Globe for Best Actor.

Nearly 30 years ago, Rourke was Hollywood’s golden boy. He blew everyone away in such films as 9½ Weeks, Diner, Rumble Fish and Barfly. But the bridge burning and arrogant antics caught up with him. He had done a masterful job of sabotaging his career.

He did a few bit parts here and there for almost a decade, but he was done.

Then Rourke’s name was being uttered again with a new film entitled The Wrestler. Mickey began to talk straight about how sorry he was for all his crap over the years.

Last night he beat out Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Frank Langella and Sean Penn. This was not a matter of some aging actor getting the mercy nod. Rourke won this fair and square. Bravo!

Adversity makes us tough, gives us experience, and despite how it may feel at the time gives us invaluable lessons.

I’m still smiling for Mickey.


January 10, 2009

The Evolution of Content

The three words I use a lot are: content, context and community. Words that roll off the tongue and sound kinda cute but they are – in my opinion – essential to most of the stuff we do, create, consumer and share.

We All Have A Voice
Technorati estimates there are about 150 million blogs in the world – that number is probably low. Anyone with a laptop and an internet connection has the ability to create content and discussion starters.

There are no interviews, no one will vet you, your resume will not be scrutinized, and you may gain a sizeable audience for what you have to say.

Toys Toys Toys
The Consumer Electronics Show is on right now in Las Vegas and while the throng gawk and point and touch and fiddle with all the coolest latest stuff, the challenge remains that we need stuff to put on all these toys.

Content comes in all shapes and sizes and sounds and tastes. It’s all too overwhelming for any of us to get a handle on what is available.

You Have To Be Good
A musician without good songs can have the nicest guitar on the market and it doesn’t matter. You can spend thousands on a Hi-Def plasma surround sound system but you still need quality content or all you have are more dust collectors.

The challenge is not content – it is quality content. Quantity is a word usually reserved for items that hold no emotional value and the lowest price will usually win the day. It’s okay to search for the best price on bathroom tissue but not when you are selecting a new cell phone.

Choice Is Everywhere
I would never suggest that we don’t have gobs of excellent choices available to us. Great music is being made, top-notch movies are being produced, bright minds are finding a space in the blogosphere and the world of podcasts, and the cable companies are providing a wide choice of shows.

And if you are in the area, you should check out Podcamp Toronto February 21 and 22nd.

While we continue to feed our seemingly endless appetite for the newest and shiniest gadgets, it’s important for us to spend an equal amount of time on the content that goes on these things.

What are your thoughts?


January 9, 2009

Way Back When: Was Not That Long Ago

In the ‘olden’ days, dad would begin the day with a fresh cup of coffee, a pack of butts and the newspaper. There was a sense of accomplishment to hold the paper in his hands and digest each and every page. Interruptions were not permitted.

I have a friend who still sits at his kitchen table every morning and reads the entire newspaper. The ritual is complete once he has completed the crossword puzzlein pen.

There was time when news of an anticipated new album release would cause a lineup at the retail location. Your choice was go to the store and purchase the music or perhaps a buddy would make you a tape.

These Times They Are Always A-Changin’
My day usually starts with Google Reader. In about half an hour I can sift through 10-15 news sources. Akin to radio and the music industry, newspapers are scrambling for ways to monetize the online model.

Here’s a study conducted by Nielson Online entitled "Online Newspapers Enjoy Double-Digit Year-Over-Year Growth, Reaching One Out Of Four Internet Users".

It was released in November 2005.

This is not the new reality – this it is reality.
I spent years fighting the good fight for musicians on the issue of downloading. None of us had the answer. I still hear how the music labels have a flawed business model.

Here are some facts: music is everywhere, it has never been more popular, and to most people it has no monetary value. This is no longer an issue of “the kids" downloading on Napster. Downloading and sharing music and video files is commonplace now across all demos.

The industry is working it out and the forward thinkers have realized that the lucrative days of simply selling hardware have changed forever.

Mix Your Media
In days of yore, media buyers had five main choices for their clients: radio, newspaper, television, direct mail and outdoor/transit. If a client had significant enough budget, it was advised they mix their media to insure more penetration for their message. Good advice.

Today the choices also include: digital, cross-media, social media, microsites, online, cellphones and more.

C’mon I Don’t Have All Minute!
As the history books show, it was not uncommon at one time that a person had to hand write memorandums that were in-turn copied in a monstrous noisy machine in the “copy room” to then be distributed to staff mailboxes by the lunch room. The only evidence someone had called while you were out was the number of handwritten messages on pink pieces of paper nestled in your bunk by reception.

Now we wonder why our emails aren’t returned at the speed of light.

We have created a society of impatience. If we can’t find it, we move on. That’s a scary notion to anyone holding on to the way things used to be with white knuckles and a glazed defiant stare.

Change Is The Constant
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office opened in 1802. There was talk at one point that it was going to close. The reason was simple – everything that was going to be invented had already been invented. By February 2008, the office had processed almost 8 million patents.

Historians have written about “simpler times” – but in the 'olden' days – they thought they were on the cutting edge too.


January 8, 2009

Passion and Self-Doubt

Last night, I was re-reading Chris Brogan’s free e-book on personal branding. I refer to it often and if you are feeling a bit lost or looking for next steps, I recommend you do the same. Download Chris’ book here.

In fifteen pages, Chris outlines some steps you can take to improve you, your career, and your brand. The sections that stood out for me were about self-doubt and passion.

I think many of us would have our PhD in both topics and this all stems from one important element – human behavior.

The Network is Social
We have created a network of connections that can blow our minds. I hope you're the same, but I have made contact with people I would never have met if it wasn’t for the social network, blogs and podcasts.

Chris talks about making something of our social media connections. It’s not enough to just collect them like trinkets as they do the same with us. Make a human connection. I sent Brogan an email last night and he returned it!

You may have experienced this issue. You have great desire and burn in your gut to do something but then self-doubt creeps in and the party is over. We are excellent at sabotaging our own dreams aren’t we?

Here’s a challenge. You have five minutes to find someone who will tell you “that won’t work”. Don’t hurt yourself, they’re everywhere. And too often, they are inside us already.

The World is a Stage
Chris says that you must have a great attitude every time you enter the social media world – and I agree! No one likes a grump. But have we created a platform where fears and dreams and passion and self-doubt are allowed to mingle?

We are a network, we are connected. We are not 6.7 billion humans cohabitating. We make mistakes, we lose stuff, we have silly ideas, we have doubts, and we have passion. Let’s celebrate that rather than pretending we have it all figured out.

Thanks Chris for always sharing!

Now, what are your thoughts?


"Don't ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive." Harold Whitman

January 7, 2009

Are You Average or Universal?

It was bound to happen but its arrival was no less difficult. I began getting a warning message a week ago that the AC adaptor on one of my laptops didn’t have enough something and the plug wasn’t something else. No idea, I ignored the warning.

Important: One issue I learned long ago - the wrong way - was to always back up your data.

Step One: Assume I did something wrong. I ruled that out. I oversee productions and develop projects, but trust me – no one lets me get too close to the gear!

Step Two: Jiggle the handle or reboot. That didn't work.

Step Three: Accept that equipment breaks, breaks down, and often needs to be replaced.

Step Four: Look for a replacement adaptor through the manufacturer and retail sites.

A colleague suggested that I purchase at a universal unit. It’s one-size-fits-all option for all computers - in theory. A buddy chimed in later in the day to remind me that his television “universal” remote has never worked properly. Great!

Does One Size Fit All?
Have you seen the commercial for The Snuggie? It’s a blanket and a sweater. Apparently it’s fun for the whole family.

Take a moment and think of the smallest person in your life. Now think of the largest person in your life. Now imagine both wearing the same sized garment. Quite a sight, isn’t it?

The key for an Acura won’t fit in a Toyota, and apparently there are 865,917 different laptop adaptors on the market! I just wonder if there are ways to merge the one-size-fits-all model with the too much choice model. Perhaps I'm dreaming.

How Does It Apply To You?
This isn’t about computer cables or cozy couch wear. Look at your business, your service, and most importantly you.
° How are you different?
° How do your customers interact with your offerings?
° How easily can customers understand what you offer?
° How easily can they find it?

One size does not fit all. And when there is choice it must be clear and concise. The company that made my laptop has 50 AC adaptors for their own computers. That makes sense.

I'm sure there is a technical reason and I don't care. It's silly.

Make it as easy as possible for your customers to interact with your products and services. Choice can be good. Choice can be bad.

Now what is the model number on my laptop again?


January 5, 2009

Stuff For Your Stuff

Are you satisfied with the content for your gadgets?
I’m sure you have a few gadgets in your life. You probably have a computer, PDA or cell, mp3 player, digital camera, printer, television, and other electronic entertainment equipment.

There’s Nuthin’ On!
The Holidays are officially over and you may have realized something startling. We seem to have to weed through a lot of crap to get to the stuff we want. Years ago Bruce Springsteen had a song entitled 57 Channels and Nothing On which can be said about most of the gadgets in our lives. Some days there are 300 channels and nothing on!

The Google Stare
Perhaps this has happened to you. Over the Holidays whilst trying to digest more bad food, I was often stuck not knowing where I wanted to go. So out of habit, I would check Twitter and Facebook, then Google Reader, perhaps a music site and the cycle continued. There are billions of sites to visit but why do we get stuck?

Perhaps we still don’t feel we have enough control over our environment – despite our spoiled existence? And that includes living through these tough economic times.

Thingamajigs and Doohickeys
One of the most popular sites in the world is Gizmodo. It has all the newest coolest toys available. It's cool that you can buy a Bugatti for a million bucks, but what good is it if your route to work consists of urban gridlock? And do we really need a toaster radio?

Everything we own depends on other things to make it work. No power, no service. No content, your laptop is landfill. If you are out of cell range, your phone is rendered useless.

What is Stuff?
Stuff is content. Stuff is the device we need to access that content. Stuff is tools for work, games to play, words to read and music to enjoy.

It is fun to play with all applications on your iPhone or Blackberry but once that novelty wears off, what do you do then? You must then search for stuff to put on your stuff.

The great news is we can create whatever we want. If we don’t know how to write that computer code to make that cool thing dance on that website, we can find someone who can do it. If we want to gather a group of people to create a new concept or project we have that ability. The first stop is to ask ourselves - what we want to create?

Are you satisfied with the stuff on your stuff?


January 4, 2009

Let’s Talk in January

Most will be shuffling off to their work places tomorrow morning for the first time in a while. I hope you got some time away from the silliness and enjoyed yourself a bit. Had enough carbs?

Talk to me when we get back from the break
That fateful day is almost here when you will need to begin that journey known as ‘later’.

Table that for our first meeting in January
Why do we push things off to some fictitious time in the future?
Do we mean it when we say we will deal with it then?
Really? REALLY?

I’ll give you an answer after the Holidays
If you are a get it done now person - no exceptions ever - please contact me immediately.

I won’t have a chance to look at that until January
One of the best business conversations during the last week of December was with a colleague who sent me back an email that said: Let’s meet at 10am on January 9th at this location. It’s booked. Love that!

Can we deal with this after the Holidays?
Warning: The more humans required in completing a task is directly proportionate to the amount of delays you will experience.

Let’s get right on that in January
I think it’s safe to say that the last few months made us all feel like bumpers in an old-fashioned pinball machine. Perhaps we should avoid any unnecessary turbulence caused by inaction.

And "right on that" means Monday, January 5th at the beginning of the day - while we're being specific. Anything else is some vague unscheduled non-event.

We can reconvene after the Holidays
If we are willing to work together for solutions together and integrate together, I like our chances.

Break’s over – it’s January.


January 2, 2009

The Power of How

Have you ever received a call or an email from someone ‘out of nowhere’? Have you ever burned a bridge you later regretted burning? Have you ever called someone you haven't spoken with in a while?

I have often said, never burn a bridge despite all temptation and everyone is a contact. The last few hours of 2008 were topped off with a nice gift from a respected colleague. Mitch Joel published his 09 Blogs To Watch In 09.

It is with great honor that I share the list with Hugh McGuire, Sebastein Provencher, the contributors at MediaShift, Scott Karp, Mark Evans, Roberto Rocha, Michael S. Hyatt and Jay Rosen.

Mitch and I met a hundred years ago. We reconnected through Facebook and I’ve been picking his big brain every since. If we had treated each other badly those many years ago, that connection would not have happened – out of nowhere.

And if you don’t read or listen to Six Pixels of Separation, what’s wrong with you? Ha! You should.

# # #

Another regular stop for me is with Chris Brogan. Chris put out a challenge for all of us to find three words that best describe goals for 2009. You can read Chris’ words here. So I will see that challenge and add my three:

The human mind’s imagination has no boundaries. What gets in the way, is the human. If you are in a situation where your imagination is stilted, then find a new situation. If we blame the economy, then let’s all give up now and live in tents. Lose the word “can’t” and get used to saying 'can' and 'how'.

Mark Twain said “actions speak louder than words”. 2009 is about action and if you are with people who aren’t helping you do that, run away from them. They are not helping you. They aren’t going to help you. Move on. If you are the one causing the inaction, get going!

If you are a painter who hides your creations in the basement, it’s safe to say your collection will never been shown at MOMA.

If you feel you are sharing your ideas with negative people be warned that they will suck your soul from your eyeballs. Stay away from these people. Share often, share with those who want to share back. Teamwork is alive and well and this time we mean it.

But don't become a closed-minded bully. In order to imagine, create and share you must be open to allow others to do the same. The next time you get a call 'out of nowhere' from someone who enjoyed collaborating with you, don't be surprised.

I will add one more word for 2009 but this one can be added at any stage and that is impatience. It is a sad waste of talent and time when any of us get sidetracked by naysayers and complainers.

I know I used to be both.

So mark it on your to-do list for 2009 to be that "out of nowhere" person for someone else. The results will amaze you.

Tag, you're it. What are your three words?


© Kneale Mann knealemann@gmail.com people + priority = profit
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