Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Sales Leadership.** (Part One)

One of the most daunting jobs for companies that I have found in my professional career, is how Sales Leaders are chosen, hired, and maintained.

First off, I think we can agree on two points, in regards to choosing a Sales Leader.

1) It is a very important decision (the choice of the person to lead)
2) The choice has implications BEYOND the Sales Organization

If you can agree on the above 2 points - continue reading, if not stop now, and DO NOT continue.

If you continued, you are smart.

If you did not keep on reading, and dropped off this blog two lines above -- you are one of the people that--- "looks down on sales people in general, and the sales function as a necessary evil in your company...."

News bulletin to you.

Your sales people know it. Leaders who have a underlying disdain for dealing with any sales type function, salespeople, sales issues, are doomed to being average BUILDERS. ( see my definition of builder) -- but, they will never ever be extraordinary leaders, and will NEVER EVER excel greatly in business. (and neither will the companies they lead)

2 questions (only of course for those that dropped off, or wanted to, and should not be reading anyway here)

* Does your company constantly attempt to "fix" the sales organization by bringing in someone from the outside, or bring someone from another division in the company to lead sales?

* What is the ratio of people from other divisions (or outside the company) that are transfered INTO Sales, as opposed to moving a sales person into another division inside of the company? (for instance moving a sales person into a pure marketing role, or operational type role - compared to people coming from operations INTO sales)

If the company is consistently trying to "fix" sales -- or is always looking at "who is next to go into sales..." , (to import another individual into the sales group) I have another news bulletin. Look in the mirror. More often than not, the leadership is confusing and muddying the MESSAGE that you want the sales people to bring to clients and prospects.

I emphasize, this is ONLY if it is consistently happening at a company, of course, leaders are allowed to make changes internally and with Leadership - but if it is with more FREQUENCY (that there is tinkering and changes in the sales division), and that the company alters the "face" of the sales group, as you compare it to other divisions internally on average, -- well you got a problem.

When was the last time the company moved a sales guy into finance/accounting? They don't - it never crosses leader's minds. Because Finance and Accounting are specialized, and require a special skill set.....


(probably a bad example, because one of the most successful, charasmatic, sales leaders I worked for, was a accounting guy who was transplanted into the sales group, so there are exceptions to every rule***)

However, not too often.

This "beat" by me will continue. It needs to be understood, and appreciated that there are TONS of average people in every walk of life, including sales....but, the key is making sure YOUR SALES GROUP HIRES THE BEST PEOPLE -- AND IF YOU BELIEVE THEY DO, (hire the best talent)-- work to consistently make THEM BETTER -- by telling them on a consistent basis, that change is OK, but as a company we believe our message is right, our mission is correct - and our sales leadership has our support.

Companies often get this message across to their investors, as well as their executive committee.

But, they forget to bring the mission statement and support to the group that touches the clients, and prospects -- so that the company can have investors and executives.


My motto for this entry should be: "Have you loved a sales person at your company today?"

Do it, you will feel better - and so will I.

Monday, January 30, 2006

If I had to pick ONE album to take with me -- (as of this writing) it would have to be this one. This disc, just captures a great band, at a great time....and, if albums (or Cd's) have lives , this one was mysteriously neglected by me...loved, but still not shown the TOTAL attention it deserved)

It's been in my collection for 20+ years -- has gotten respect, but until recently, NOT NEARLY THE RESPECT IT DESERVES. My apologies to the artists.

I'm talking about the Rolling Stones "Exile on Main ST".

If you are looking for ONE record that will Knock your socks/rocks off - this is it.

You can buy it, and for those that do not know the tunes - it will sound like new music.

This caputured the Stones at their height, and once again, to credit Fred Wilson, who literally made me pick it up again, after he questioned, which side is best?

If you buy the CD, you will not know that there were orginally 2 records in the sleeve with 4 sides. On the CD - it just shows AS ONE LONG CD.

I'm telling you, this is it....if you dont own it get it, you will thank me...as it is now in FULL time rotation both in my head, and in my player.
Here is the Amazon link-- get it (if you dont own it, or get it off of ITUNES) if you need something different, and let me know after a few listens if this is not THE BEST.
Email EZ-Pass

Fred Wilson, over at his blog - has a story about AOL making marketers PAY to deliver email to their subscribers....(basically paying a toll to get to talk/send email to a AOL member)

Basically the email business is "permission based" - meaning that as consumers we opt in to recieve content, personal information, or promotions that WE request. It is communication at it's finest - and all your bills, statements, will soon "INCENT" (make it lucrative for you) - for them (marketers) to switch their correspondence with you online.

Spammers are kept out, because they do not abide by the rules of the road (or ISP's) - and generally spammers, cannot pay the "white list type fees" to a host of companies --- but there are NO companies that any ISP has said "you must deal with (insert company) to be able to get email into our subscribers."

Until now.

Fred, who has a stake in Return Path - is questioning the decision by AOL to basically make all marketers pay a "toll" to reach the AOL subscriber, so that AOL reaps profit from allowing email coomunication by marketers into their world.

I'll let you decide (based on Fred's take) but, if this is true, its just another reason why AOL is lagging far behind Y/GOOG on all fronts online. Their peers are focused on different issues - one's that will have GREATER IMPACT on the future, and it shows based on where interest, and monies are flowing....

This one seems like a short term (stuck in the past) idea. I mean, can you imagine if I wanted to drive on the NJ Turnpike -- and they DID NOT accept EZ-Pass - they only took EX - Pass (a hypothetical competitor) - and, now I cannot drive on the Turnpike, or I HAVE TO SIGN up and pay potentially higher rates with EX PASS?

See Fred's take for yourself - HERE

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Maxell Tapes.

Maxell Tapes are, and were, a huge part of my life. To be specific, Maxell 90 minute cassette tapes. I have over 900 of them.

They were amassed over a 15 year period of time, and I probably have not added to the collection in 6 years.


My "hobby" involved with the collecting of the Maxell's, no longer exists, as the whole "enchilada of my hobby went online...and based on online streaming as well as CD burning."

The one constant of being a Grateful Dead fan was the interaction of trading tapes, trading amongst fans. There was no internet yet.

You would meet someone in your circles, (through a friend, at a social event) and one of 2 things would happen.

* a list a few pages long would be produced from the persons back pocket ( a list of their entire collection, single spaced with source taped from, generation, as well as equipment used to record the concert, and ratings -- kinda like a wine collection with ratings by the holder)
* stories exchanged, along with mailing addresses

This interaction would foster SOCIAL BONDS. Not to mention, great tapes could be traded amongst fans.

But, each tape had a story of how you acquired it, and more importantly YOU COULD PICK HIGH QUALITY RECORDED SHOWS.

But, you know what?

More often than not, it was the "average, or less than average, recording quality shows" - that for some reason got more attention from my cassette player.

I liked hearing a little crowd noise, I liked hearing a loud roar during "China Rider" or a little sing along from the back of the taper section during a stellar "Tennessee Jed" -- one line in particuliar signified a Dead show, and encompassed the parking lot scene, (for those of us who frequently got on the road, a overnight stay in the parking lot of the arena, or a local lot near the venue) -- this line needed good crowd energy...and no matter what, was the barometer to measure good crowd interaction.

"Drink all day gonna rock all night
The law come to get you if you don't walk right"

The main point is, I was DRAWN TO LESS quality tapes and shows --- and more to INFERIOR sounding cassettes, and shows to hear the ZEITGEIST -- and the SPIRIT of the unspoken moment.

I gave up sound quality, for FEELING.

The internet at large gives us more, more quality -- more experience at acquiring ...but AT WHAT PRICE?

None, to little interaction.

Kids today who are Deadheads, have never traded music. Kids in college can download literally hundreds of shows from servers in a weekend, and have a HUGE COLLECTION of shows -- AND CALL THEMSELVES COLLECTORS.

They are.

It's just a different medium, in a different age.

I hate to say I yearn for the old days, (old days, being pre-web for a Deadhead tape collector) but, I do.

The bonds, the acquaintances I made, the stories of each and every tape acquired -- "from a guy in Pittsburgh we met at a rest stop..." to the "Older couple at Shoreline Ampitheater who sent me stickers with each show I wanted..." -- to the guy on the Indian reservation at Compton Terrace in Arizona, that not only fixed my broken down car -- but gave me his list of tapes, and SENT ME 20 killer shows - expecting nothing in return..."

To today.....just go click on a link - and download the show to your computer.

It's "High Time" to bust out the Maxell's......and thank them for all they have given me, even though they are "old school."

I will let those old tapes tell a story - with each dusty opening of the hard plastic covering.

AAhhh, simplier times -- did I tell you I miss Jerry?
Here is a idea regarding HAMAS - and Israel's future in dealing with them.

The FIRST time you hear a country propose (no matter which country it is) that Israel must diplomatically deal with HAMAS...I want you to ask them this question.

"Would your (insert for instance, France) country have a STATE DINNER (with full diplomatic honors) for Osama Bin Laden? And, if you won't -- DO NOT expect Israel to negotiate with Hamas. Or, if Osama is out of the question, please have a state dinner for the President and Supreme Leader of Iran....would you please?"

If the country does NOT do that BEFORE they ask Israel to accept HAMAS and negotiate with terrorists -- then they are phonies.

Wanna take bets it will be a European country, - 2 to 1 says France....
Media consumption -- and changes.

Recently, I wrote about Howard Stern, and how - since he went to satelitte radio, my listening habits changed quickly. The piece is here.........

I noticed last night in our household another significant change, in regards to TV.

My wife and are NOT rabid TV watchers. I would not say WE RUSH HOME, or schedule anything around any TV event. However, with TIVO - this has changed. (we actually make time to watch the things WE LOVE)

My favorite show is called "The Office" - however *(british version linked) - this show kills me.

I can watch the five episodes I missed, in one night - and enjoy every single one, and still yearn for more after a 2.5 hour digestion of the show.

The show is a riot, I highly recommend it.

However, 2 main "consumption points to make" in regards to how it affects my household behavior -- the ability to TIVO..

** I'm not watching Saturday night programming.
** Not watching ANY commericals (you can avoid those altogether, when you TIVO)

So, in a span of a few months, (between satellite radio and DVR/TIVO) our household's interaction with media had really changed.

Can you imagine, as we can pick our content from EVERY MEDIUM - EVERYWHERE, suddenly, the ability to target (from a advertiser perspective) changes radically as well..

In our area, we have a "Mr. Fix it Guy" -- (I'm sorry to admit I am seriously deficient, when it comes to repairing anything around the house, he comes and fixes leaks, paints, and even helps hang new chandeliers) -- but, that same kind of guy could be the ........

"Mr. Media Consumption Changer Guy"

What does that mean?

A professional guy to come in and set up all your new gadgets for a fee, and teach you how to use.

For instance (to name just 3)

* Satellite Radio

Many people (sometimes me) are intimidated about setting up new technology, and this job could be for a retired, "gadget guy" - who gets it, can teach, and enjoys helping others.

I'm telling you, I am in Advertising, and if I saw one of those type "sheets" hanging in my local grocery store - I might have not only given it a second look, but called and had him do it all to help me.

Just like media convenience, we are looking for "gadget ease" -- and this is a crucial void for folks that are "late adopters..." (and there are many)

Change of Behaviors and Needs -- I think is another recipe for that million dollar idea...and now it's your's free for reading this blog.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

I have gotten a few emails about the post below. (Israel and the PA, it should have been titled - "My Brush with Hamas")

Thank you to those that took the time to send email to me, I appreciate it.

I have updated the comments tab below each post, so that you DO NOT have to log in, to become part of the dialogue...( toleave a comment, you can now do so anonymously)

Be well, and thanks for visiting -- content below.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Israel and the PA Elections....

In a weird way, most of us knew we had this coming. Hamas winning the elections, and a majority control in Palestinian life. A terror organization running the government of the PA.

We had it coming.

Lisa (my gorgeous, loving wife) and I were involved in a suicide bombing on Sept 4, 1997. We were vacationing in Israel, spent time in the North in the Galilee, Tel Aviv, and our first day in the city of Jerusalem.

We were eating falafel in a restaraunt on Ben Yehuda Street....the heart of Jerusalem, and a pedestrian mall. Shops, Retailers, stands, McDonalds, and all the standards you would find in a mall....(but outdoor)

It was nearly 3 ' clock -- and the school children were just arriving with their backpacks in tow, to hang out on a sunny day, eat,sitting on the chairs, benches, and chatting....and just as 12-13 year old kids do...."chilling" - it was about 75 degrees.

We walked past them all, and into the restaraunt... I took special notice of all the smiles, giggling, and the familiarity of being back home...

Once we got in BANG-- the loudest noise I have ever heard....

The roof fell on us.

Darkness *

Silence *

Then another BANG --- the 2nd loudest noise I have ever heard -- (it was 15 feet away at the front of the establishment)

Silence *

From "The Bombing" a movie about the suicide bombers of that day........

" On September 4, 1997, three Palestinian youths blew themselves up on Ben Yehuda street in crowded central Jerusalem. Among the victims were three 14 year - old Israeli girls - Sivann Zarka, Yael Botwin and Smadar Elhanan. The suicide bombers, Tawfiq Yassine, Bashar Sawalha and Youssef Shouli, were young Palestinians from the same Israeli-occupied West Bank village - ranging in age from 22 to 25 years old. "

I heard moaning, it was Lisa - with the most frightening look I have ever witnesses - "is there more coming?"

We waited, I huddled on top of her, and the restaraunts roof was fallen top of us, roof particles, roofing, electrical wires -- ALL ON TOP OF US.

Slowly after 30 seconds--- but it felt like 10 years...we got up. There was alot of smoke.


Glass, books, food, wood, and then.......all the children, we had passed on our way in.

Lying Dead. Mangled.

Their bookbags were still on their backs, and some of the clothes had literally melted (been fused into their skin) -- it was surreal.

We were in shock.

We helped a few people, but in a matter of minutes we were out of there. Shocked scared, blood splattered on us, dirty -- and most of us in shock, and not knowing where to turn.

But, I took pictures. (a bizarre moment, but I had my camera on my shoulder - as many of us do on vacation -- I took a roll of carange--why? I dont know, but I did...)

I have only shown possibly 10 people these shots. Body parts, dead kids, and destruction.

I looked at them today, because I watched the PR guy for Hamas on the TV, at the victory rally for the victors.

This is Hamas. This is the new face of the PA.

We had it coming.

( I plan on writing more extensively on this subject down the road, and will get into more detail, it is part of my plan for this blog as I have outlined what I want to eventually "get into" -- there is a TON more detail, but the HAMAS election victory stirred something up in me that is really beyond words... )

We had it coming.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Common Traits of great ARCHITECTS.

In a previous post, titled "Architect vs Builders"-- I wrote extensively about the differences between someone who is a visionary, -- as well as a person who can execute.

What makes a GREAT architect? (see link above for clarity, on defintion of "architect")

There are certainly traits of great leaders, leaders who create, conceptualize - and inspire others to follow them. Are there "commonalities" in these characteristics?

Every person has a different barometer by whch they measure "greatness" - but I'd like to share with you, what I think the common traits are based on what I've experienced, and from my perception.

* Putting their EGO, and personal needs, a distant second in their lives for a short period of time.

This is often underlooked, but most great leaders early on in their process, have a vision -- and in order to begin to build on it often place their immediate needs, EGO, and relationships -- in second place -- in order to to further their ultimate goal. They have a goal, and in order to fulfill it, they make sacrifices that most of us cannot understand nor fathom, -- and most will not be placed in a scenario to fully comprehend it until they are well beyond it, and can look back and go, "whew...I was crazy, I don't know if I'd do that again......"

* Not Afraid to Fail

Not afraid, and "wanting to" fail are different. But, ask any visionary early on....90-99% of the people just DONT GET YOU. I love the story of how Bill Gates pitched his concept and idea to a company early on, and the EXEC said to him, "what are you crazy, there will never be a day when workers will have computers on their desks..."
As a sales guy, I can only imagine what he was thinking on his walk out the door, another failed appointment --- yet he stayed at his task -- failed - yet he believed. Case closed.

* Creating a Personality - and Sticking to it

This is as important as the product itself, getting BUY IN, and acceptance from your early supporters. This is not done through the gadget, but the SELLING of your passion and personality -- everybody has to sell at some point -- these special people SELL MORE, and have a personality they have developed to convince others that not only are they the best, but their idea is to -- and, they stick to it.

Utterly Convincing in their Dedication and Comittment

This should go under - GET ON THE BUS, or get off. I remember a interview I had where a boss jumpred on the desk, (he was wearing a suit) -- and stomped onit 3 feet above me, I thought it would collapse. He flung his arms wildly -- and made his case. I said, " if this cat was willing to do that - stand on a rickey desk, make a looney bin out of himself, yelling at me in the interview, well that was A GUY I COULD WORK FOR, and be inspired by"--- ( I won't tell you who it is until he gives me permisssion) But, that story basically was a lesson to me in how to inspire my group, and convince a staff that the only way to success was dedication and commitment. He taught me this, and how to COMMUNICATE it. This is critical.


This is simple, yet hard--- and seperates many from the pack. Telling everyone within earshot early on, "I cannot do this...." And, making it FUN for others to pick up and run with the weakness..... AND MAKE IT A STRENGTH.

Being exceptional at "Watering their Plants"

I use this phrase often. It means that a architect "gives love to key people and resources" making them feels as they are critically important. (even if they are not) But making EVERYONE feel as though they are "part of the process" -- inspires action and implementation of the vision. Early on -- the architect needs to execute, yet their are NO processes in place....the WATERING of the plants, insures that measures get taken, and tasks get completed.


Show me a architect without a healthy dose of paranoia, and I'll show you a pretty good "builder" -- but not a TOP (high echelon) architect.

Willingness To Gamble at LEAST ONCE, Jeopardizing it all

On the way up, usually early on, taking a HUGE leap of faith...(gamble) on something, trusting, a client, a relationship, a investor -- but something that they look back on as the "big break that coulda gone either way..." This usually is called failure if they make a bad call, but I call this partially BLUFFING your way to the top -- and staking out ground, putting in the flag....and hoping you win. The flip side of winning is utter disaster, and decimation of the new idea -- and usually the architect understands the consequences...and is willing to take them to succeed.
If this does not happen (gambling, at least once early in the process) we are probably NOT talking about a architect.

Knowing When to Walk away

Probably the most overlooked, but critical. Being focused enough to move on. It's a special trait - and requires a whole different set of skills than most people possess.

There are certainly more, but this encompasses pretty well the framework of a GREAT architect in my world....any more suggestions or addtions feel free to contribute.

Search is OIL (continued)

I previously wrote a piece here, about the Google/Yahoo challenges, and how marketers, that I have come in contact feel about online marketing in 2006 and beyond.

My main point was that advertisers who have experienced fantastic results using Search Engine, and Keyword PPC (pay per click) media, have done well....but, its time to refocus, and figure out the next "thing" to move the needles of their respective companies.

Well, it appears courtesy of Fred Wilson -- (who I read daily, and is one of not only the best bloggers online, but also just a great person) -- he has found a piece about "where marketers are focusing their online budgets in 2006. The article link is here --but here is a quick little point....

"Here is some data from the BtoB online survey "2006 Marketing Priorities and Plans" of 366 senior marketing executives that seems to indicate that observation is correct.
In 2006, 72.0% of marketers plan to increase online budgets. Within Internet spending, the specific media that will receive the greatest share of marketers' online budgets in 2006 will be
Web sites (30.3%)
e-mail (22.0%)
search (20.3%)
sponsorships (10.3%) "

Great, and what does this mean?

For some, who read that "email marketing " is coming back, they associate that word with SPAM.

Its not.

What it is, is a realization that companies want to move their communication with you online.
As a example, see what the online brokerages have done. (Etrade, Schwab) -- as well as banks...- I get virtually NOTHING in the mail from my provider.....

Companies will look to spend money on infrastructure, database management, analytics tools -- and media to capture data on the following 2 profliles --

* current customers
* prospects (high quality potential customers)

So, a retailer, a restaraunt chain you frequent -- will be more aggressive (both in store and online) about asking you to be part of their mailing database FOR INCENTIVES, like discounts, special offers and promotion.

The key is how that advertiser treats you in their interaction over email, will they bombard you - looking to turn a quick buck?

Or, will they treat you like GOLD?

I think this medium is maturing, and if senior executives say that email marketing is coming back, I think the web in general just stepped up - (and the SPAM connection or word associationto the word EMAIL will dissapate. )

I am VERY bullish on email marketing, and growing a database (lead generation) of high quality people, coupled with providing high value to consumers, is a long term win.

Companies positioned to ride this wave, (email marketers) will be HOT in 2006 and beyond.....

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Surroundings and Accountability:

I am pleasantly in a place, where I get to hear many new business concepts and ideas.

Sometimes, when you are in a a large company, in a job, you forget that there is a whole world around you - becasue you are so consumed with your responsibilites -- and you lose sight of the industry around you. (and the web moves fast)

It's good and it's bad.

It's good, because the company is paying you to MAKE THE COMPANY perform.....perform better for it's clients, its shareholders, and the employees.

It's bad, because you LOSE THE VISION of what is going on in your industry. (and the web moves fast)

This hurts, but this week I saw a story on MSNBC, about a father who works for FORD MOTOR in Detriot, and his 3 boys do as well in factories around the country. It was a sad story. This was a "auto" family if there ever was one, this family made sacrifices to work for FORD, (they were asked to relocate, take furloughs) but in the end, they believed in the future of the company.

Ford announced this week, that it is in the process of laying off 35,000 workers, now this entire family--- (father and his 3 boys) are out of work.

Had they taken a closer look at the industry, maybe realized what was going on around them - they might have created a PLAN B -- and planned to leave, for life after FORD, or gotten out of the industry altogether, and into something more lucrative.....

They did not.

They were focused on their task, installing windshields, and supervising brake applications. Takng little notice that the US auto industry is slowly dying, and that their company is grossly mismanaged, as well as not meeting expectations. (they may have known, but they had confidence it would turn around, but why?)

Working in a job on the internet, is it OK to make the same kind of mistake as the AUTO workers did? (working for a company or a industry segment online, that is doomed or underperforming?)

I dont have the answer, but interested in the feedback.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Posting from a hotel on the road.....

Speaking of music. The Grateful Dead had a HUGE impact on my life. So much so, that I think (other than family) -- it was the single largest NON GENETIC alteration that happened to my being.

And, it was for the better of course.

But, sometimes we tend as time and space get between the things we love, and loved in the past, we lose touch, not all the way - so the chain isnt severed, it just isnt AS ATTACHED.

It reminds me of the story of the "tree" - in the kid's story "The Giving Tree" -- the tree takes care of the boy as a child, provides comfort all the years of the kids life.

I wont bore you with details - but the kid get older and visits the tree less.

This is what has happened with my interaction with the Grateful Dead.

But, when I go back to the TREE, or Grateful Dead -- let me tell you, it hits me like a ton of bricks, knocks me off my feet -- and I feel like I'm home.

This is what hit me today -- and this fine vintage, 1974, is some of the best.

05/19/74 (Sun) Portland Memorial Coliseum - Portland, OR
Set 1: Mississippi Half-Step Uptown Toodeloo, Mexicali Blues, Big Railroad Blues, Black Throated Wind, Scarlet Begonias, Beat It On Down The Line, Tennessee Jed, Me And Bobby McGee, Sugaree, Jack Straw, It Must Have Been The Roses, El Paso, Loose Lucy, Money Money, China Cat Sunflower > I Know You RiderSet 2: Promised Land, Bertha > Greatest Story Ever Told, Ship of Fools, Weather Report Suite Prelude > Weather Report Suite Part 1 > Let It Grow > Wharf Rat, Big River, Peggy-O, Truckin' > Heaven Help The Fool Jam > Not Fade Away > Goin' Down the Road Feeling Bad > One More Saturday Night, E: U.S. Blues

Damn, fine show -- and Jerry Im back gearing up and getting ready for Spring.

Getting togther the mail order, planning on hitting the road, and psyched to watch you step back and rip.

Damn, Jerry I miss you.
The changing face of Music.

"Music distribution" is a key phrase, and one that consumers need to pay attention to.

Back in the old days, (pre-internet) --in my youth, I'd saunter over to TWO GUYS, Crazy Eddie, or Sam Goody to pick up a record, cassette or even a CD in later years.

Basically that was the model of getting music into the hands of consumers.

Lots have changed, technology, buying habits, the music itself -- but what has not evolved and kept up with the changing landscape is the way we PURCHASE, and the music companies ability to GET IT TO THE CONSUMER.

I refuse to buy from Best Buy. I will NEVER purchase a CD from them. Why? I dont like their tactics of dealing with artists. I will NEVER buy music from Walmart. Same reason.

I loved supporting the little business owner. Where I grew up this guy, (old hippy) had a store called "The Record Setter" -- he was so great, and charming to the buyers -- he turned me on to my first Miles Davis, Coltrane -- and he also got me hooked on The Ramones.

That would NEVER happen at Walmart or Best Buy. (and it affects the music itself)

Radio and limited distribution channels are solely determining what is being played -- and what is getting out there.

The lack of "Distribution of content" sources is sinking the music industry.

ITunes, and a few others control marketshare. But who controls getting it out there for listening to the public -- to FIGURE out if they want to purchase?

2 main companies, ClearChannel and Infinity. These 2 groups control the lions share of FM broadcast - (as well as AM)

With 2 companies pushing content, and limited distribution alternatives -- we have a recipe for MASSIVE change in the music industry.

Ford just announced layoffs of 35,000 workers -- the automotive industry was SLOW to change the last 20 years, and we are witnessing it again in the music business. (same scenario)

In some garage there is a kid, and this kid is developing a ingenious way to distribute music, and get it into the hands of consumers. The kid will be the next , Steve Jobs...

Until then, here is a site of a company and a guy, Dave - who has done a fantastic job of trying to figure out the system, get content - and distribute it. I support him, and my hats off to a entrepreneur, for seeing a need, identifying the need - and executing.

Check out his site, listen to the radio, and see if you see what I'm referring to.

Here is the link: digitalsoundboard.net

Good job Mr, Dave.....(and I'm a customer)

As January draws to a close, I have to admit - this month more than many others in my lifetime -- I have a most uneasy feeling as we move ahead in 2006.

I am not a "tea leaf" reader, nor am I a visionary when it comes to stuff that may transpire.

But, I like to think of myself as a novice of history, and more importantly a good "study" of conflicts worldwide.

My gut is telling me that much like August of 2001 - (the month preceding that dreadful day/month of Sept 2001) - that this January that we are leaving behind us, may be that same kind of month.

Why you ask?

One word -- one country IRAN.

Quietly, it has stepped back into our lives. I will NEVER forget certain things about my teenage years, and one of them was the HUGE impact that the Iranian Hostage crisis -- had on me.

It forced me, at a young age to write Hodding Carter, (working for Jimmy Carter) a long letter imploring him not to sell AWAC's planes to the Saudi's out of fear it would tip the scale of power too far in the Middleast.

The scales are not about to get tipped moving past January 2006, the scales are about to get demolished, and catastrophe will result for us all.

It may result in nuclear blackmail.

One of the key elements up to this past month, is that the countries that possess nuclear weapons (with the exception of North Korea) - had some sort of fear of mutually assured destruction.

The Iranians Mullah's don't.

They think this is their mission.

I have disagreed with our President on some issues, and frankly, this is the MAIN ISSUE for me in judging his Presidency.....and in generations to come.

Hopefully, January 2006, IS NOT the equivalent of August 2001 -- when all of our lives were affected/changed -- but this time, the consequences could be even more horrific.

I hope I'm wrong, but conflict and a showdown is looming on the horizon.

Monday, January 23, 2006

LowerMyBills.com wins a judgement against NexTag, and specifically their "infringement" of creative copyright?

That means banners, that look alike? Creative Copy?

This could have a chilling effect for lead generation online in general, although I'm not sure how to interperet.

I mean, if a copy uses similar tactics to do lead stuff with like, "Win a Free IPOD?" or, "Bill Me Later, but send me Free copies now.." Can that be considered similiar, can companies patent their creatives as well as methods of closing a consumer to signup?

Here is the piece - http://www.prnewswire.com/cgi-bin/stories.pl?ACCT=104&STORY=/www/story/01-23-2006/0004265042&EDATE=

I just felt a chill go through some "in-house" dot com legal offices.....

Here is the next memo: (hypothetical)

From: Legal
To : Everyone
Date: Today

Before you run a campaign, Legal must approve all creatives that were done in house.
No exceptions.


Mr. or Mrs. General Counsel.
New Technology, and Change in Media Consumption

Anyone that has Sirius Satellite Radio, and is a fan of Howard Stern, may have recently noticed a change in their "radio" consumption.

I did.

And, taking a random poll of 4 people (who also have Sirius, even though this is statiscally insignificant) I found that my finding, and MY behavior was not alone.....

Since Howard has come on the air, Channel 100, I have NOT taken Sirius off the radio, when I'm in the car....it comes on when I get in, and 100% of the time when the radio is on, Howard 100, or 101 is on. (Sirius and Howard, have designed compelling programming 24 hours a day)

( I have listened to my CD's in longer trips - but as far as radio stations, this had been the trend, neither AM nor FM have been heard in my auto)

My media consumption has changed, along with technology, and certainly because of CONTENT that I really like, and enjoy.

The interesting thing about this finding was, until I randomly polled others, I thought I was alone...

This is a trend, and much like portals fight for our eyeballs online (and time spent on their site) - with the arrival of Howard to a new medium -- he is changing MY MEDIA CONSUMPTION more than the technology.

I had Sirius for a year, and listened sporadically, but NEVER FOR 2 weeks straight.

So content wins, and the content RADICALLY ALTERS media consumption across new mediums.
Search is OIL.

One of the reasons (and possibly a small reason) - that Advertising.com is so successful is because the leaders of the company from the outset, allowed the marketplace to dictate where precious resources (developers, technology, internal focus) should be allocated.

This is no small task, or feature of a company.

There were companies that had more money, more marketshare, and certainly without a doubt MORE advertising people in them. By definition, THEY WERE SUPPOSE TO SUCCEED, for they had brighter people "from the field."


They had people who had preconcieved notions, baggage, and egos that made them take their companies in this direction or that....and they changed course, as the winds of change blew through 2000-2002. They (competitors) tried to be a network, they tried to do CPA, they attempted to be a technology company, and best of all, in the end, they tried to emulate Advertising.com.

The key takeaway here is that the leaders of the company were smart enough to let "revenue, and sales lead, for it is the clients that determine what we should develop, package, sell, and deliver on..."

What a great concept. Companies say they do it. But, do they really?

Really good ones do.

Which leads me to the Search Marketplace. Search is dominated by two companies today, Google and Yahoo.

In the Advertising world for the last 3-4 years, it has been the "search/keyword" marketplace that has really helped advertisers, and marketers WIN online. Sure, there have been other platforms that have helped advertisers gain marketshare, new customers, and increase online efficiency....but, overall the consistent theme is that Goog/Y drive the most/best/cost effective returns for their organization.

Search is the equivalent of oil, for advertisers. (oil for the world economy)

The main search players (in my world) are equivalent to OPEC.

They control the marketplace, clickstream info, ability to test for big clients at the expense of little guys, and are sitting on such a rich resource----THE RICHEST DATA SOURCE KNOWN TO THE ADVERTISING COMMUNITY TO DATE.

Sounds like oil a bit? Couple of countries with the main resources, supply and demand issues, maybe a bit of arrogance....but the theme is RELIANCE.

But, with the search business the reliance is by the Advertisers themselves.

Many marketers have TOO MUCH reliance on results (from Goog/Y) as well as, too much laser like focus on their daily reports from the search engines.

Search will grow this year, and it even will outplace the growth of online spending overall. But, it is not indicative of where the market is going. The growth(in search) is coming from a few places.

* the increase in keyword pricing for terms that have the best ROI
* small to mid sized business coming online and testing
* local businesses coming online and enhanced technology to deliver customers locally
* ability of Goog/Y to PUSH their content, (imagine the yellow page ads, out of the book, and placed in front of you when you WERE NOT looking in the publication)

With my clients, I have explained the CASH COW theory.
Pretend your biggest source of new customers online, best ROI vehicle (in this case search) went away.

What would your immediate course of action be? Is there a plan B?

This is actually a great exercise, because like "oil"- you should have a plan in case there is disruptions in your ability to get and use it adequately. Remember, oil will still be around--- BUT MANY WILL BE PRICED OUT OF THE MARKET FROM USING THE PRECIOUS RESOURCE.

It's happening in the search arena.

I am preparing my clients for that day, and it helps to understand ... that there are other avenues for marketers to start thinking and delivering results for their organizations.

This is not a indictment of the search marketplace. I believe it be a essential part of any media plan -- this more about reliance and focus, and I'd like to see marketers EVOLVE, and rely less on a platform that seems to be "leveling off" in its ability to sustain results for advertisers.

I have recently been involved in "reinvigorating" the email platform.
Couple this with enhanced technology in the "database" marketing service arena. There are some new features, and abilities to segment users based on VERY important information in a database -- and optimize accordingly -- that was NOT EVEN known about a year ago.

Behaviorial Targeting.

Promotions, and the ability to grow a RELEVANT database of consumers in the advertiser's demographic......in a straight forward, cost effective manner.

And, my new favorite. ( I have seen recent testing on this and it is incredible) -- complete 110% personalization of any ecommerce site, based on user preference. Call it Web 2.0, or whatever you want....but, I'm a fan, and the data proves that CONSUMERS, and ROI are the winners.
(this is easier than many think, and it is basically a landing page, geared toward preference and determined by the user, and the user (consumers) behavior.)

Search is oil, many of us, are working on alternative "ROI" resources online for marketers looking to win.

Feel free to contact me with ideas or input. Thanks to the many who have sent me words of encouragement thus far, it is much appreciated.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Architects vs. Builders

Architects are visionaries, people who create, conceptualize - and lay out a plan, design, or masterpiece of the future, for others to follow and embrace.

Builders act on the plan and concepts of Architects.

Architects (good ones) are rare. They are so rare, that we have valued them very highly from a compensation standpoint, and in the capitalist system, the free market allows these people to flourish, and stand apart from the rest.

A great Builder, is also very highly valued, and is worth alot. The operational, and strategy skills needed to manage a company, be a project manager, lay out a tactical plan for others to follow, and act on efficiently -- ALL AROUND THE MASTER PLAN OF THE ARCHITECT, is as important and necessary as the original architects vision itself.

Generally architects,(of ideas) do not make good builders. You will find that they DO NOT want to be in the operational day to day, and when they do have to "get their hands dirty" -- they bump elbows with really efficient builders.

Where am I going with this?

Last night I saw the Rolling Stones at Madison Square Garden. They are in their 43rd year of existence, and their 41st year of playing in the US.

Music is a important element in my life. It feeds my soul, and the Stones for a VAST majority of my life have provided me with unspeakable joy, comfort, and dare I say -- "bliss."

Few bands have done this -- there are probably about 4, and they hold a special place in my journey through life.

Last night, I had limited expectations about the result of going to the show. I went to 4 Stones shows in Sept, and was "so - so" in my review. It wasn't great but, it wasn't bad -- it was just plain good.

Everyone can have a off night, but after seeing 4 "average nights" of the Stones, I came away with the feeling that possibly the time has come .... and maybe I should accept the age factor in seeing live acts...and expect less.

Mick Jagger always gives his all, and I like him...but I dont go to see the Stones for Mick. Infact, at a Stones show, my eyes 90% of the time are on 3 people. Keith Richards, (guitar) Ronnie Wood (guitar), Charlie Watts (drummer). I am in the vast minority here, because Mick is the ultimate frontman, running, , singing songs, high impact, changing wardrobes --- just drawing in the crowd and feeding off its energy for every tune.

I go for the guitar, I go for the MAIN architect.

The architect in this corporation, the guy who created the vision, the guy who made the "riffs" -- conceptualized the MUSIC, (not anything else) -- just made good ol' music is, Keith.

But, its also very important to note, for many years -- he was the architect, and NOT the builder. Meaning, although he wrote, and opened all songs with his chords, and riffs (that he created) -- ultimately, and for a variety of reasons it was his builders, Brian Jones, Mick Taylor -- and for the past 30 years, Ron Wood who were the "builders" in the Stones, not to mention the rest of the band.

Going to see them for the past 20 or so years, it was always a treat to see a legend, and watch a architect, and how the music he created, has evolved, but interestingly enough, it was the builders who frequently carried the day, (or the show).

Not anymore.

This was the best Stones show I saw EVER.

You know why?

The archtitect came back (for one night) to be the builder. Early on Mick made reference to Mark Messier's retirement, and how much love he has for NYC and playing here -- saying, "SSShhh dont tell the rest of the world, but this is our favorite place to play..."

Last night Keith played like it was his last time playing at MSG.

The architect took EVERY solo, there was NOT ONE Ronnie Wood "moment" when he typically stands out and shreds, on Tunes like "Sympathy for the Devil" or "Gimme Shelter" were always reasons for Ronnie the builder to stand out and shine....and I have always loved it.

But, I loved it EVEN MORE - when for the first time, the architect all night said, "This is my show tonight fellas, let me have a go at it..."

And, boy did he.

Builders are vital, builders are 99% of the world. But, when you are lucky enough to be around an architect in your trip through life, (in any fashion, job, family, relationships, hobbies, passion) -- and you catch the MOMENT when the "architect" shows the builders his vision, passion and energy -- by actually DOING what he created --- and doing it better for a brief period than anyone could ever have imagined--- (in this case 40 years ago) -- you get to catch a "rainbow" in the palm of your hand.

Savior those moments, they dont come around often enough.

For some odd reason, (and I pray, as I always do when I watch them walk off stage) that last night was not the last time I would see these builders on stage, along with this architect. I've felt that before -- but that rainbow moment happened last night....was it a signal, a sign?

Whatever it was, the architect hit me hard last night, and I can't thank him enough.


Setlist here: 1-20-06 MSG,

1 Jumping Jack Flash 2 IORR 3 Lets Spend the Night Together 4 ONNYA 5 Sway 6 As Tears Go By 7 Rain Fall Down 8 Ain't to proud to Beg 9 Gimme Shelter 10 Tumbling Dice 11 Intro's.. 12 This Place Is Empty 13 Happy 14 Miss You 15 Start Me Up 16 Get Off Of My Cloud 17 HTW 18 Sympathy 19 Paint It Black 20 Brown Sugar 21 YCAGWYA 22 Satisfaction

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Long days, exhaustion, the feeling of accomplishment.

You lay your head on the pillow, and you feel good after really spending a day "nailing something."

In my world, "nailing something" means making people, prospects, and clients understand and GET THE MESSAGE, I'm trying to convey.

As a salesperson, (on the web) you sometimes have days, and pitches - where you clearly understand early on in the meeting, that this group WILL NOT get it. It's not that they dont have the capability, or the capacity -- its just that they plain don't care one iota.

When it comes to internet advertising, and direct marketing principals, it generally requires larger brands (clients) to "roll up their sleeves" and get a little dirty, rub their heads, get a headache -- but make the leap to -- TRY AND GET IT. Those that do, are generally the ones that win online, and are driving the huge results for their organizations.

The ones that don't get it, are usually NOT the folks to be spending too much time on.

Early on (1999), I think by default - I was a "missionary" for web advertising. I had to literally educate people on the value of being on the web. It's not quite that way anymore -- but I can tell you this.

I spend little effort, and expend little energy, trying to convince marketers, or leader that they need to get on the web, and have a strong presence. They either get it or they don't.

The ones that do, get my love, energy, attention and focus.

The ones that don't, well I'm not a missionary anymore -- the web is here to stay, and I'll direct 110% of my energy and resources, towards people ready to get in a car, and put the horse and buggy in the garage.

My portfolio thankfully is filled, as I can best describe--- with "GET IT" people, and organizations.

It is the first time in my life, that I can say that.

And, I sleep better.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Fred Wilson, who I have a tremedous amount of respect for -- and who has been insightful in assisting me, providing me great advice in this phase of my professional life.....has written a great post about "option value".

When you read this post he has so brilliantly written, keep in mind the term "option value" - (read, future value) and what it means to not only a investor -- but for things, and people, and assets NOT in the working world -- (children, family, friends, relationships).

I took this out of the financial context, and placed it into the personal category..see if you can do the same.

The title is "cliche of the week"

link here: http://avc.blogs.com/a_vc/2006/01/vc_cliche_of_th_2.html


Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Courtesy of my esteemed college professor, Dr. L....

Great link of a show from 94' that I attended (went to 92' as well at the Silver Bowl) -- this was a good show, but as you can see, Jerry was on the serious downside.


Growing up.

The Rolling Stones are in town this Weds (18th) and Friday (20th) at Madison Square Garden.

I have tickets for both nights.

I cannot go to Weds nights show, as my travel schedule has me out of town.

You mean to tell me, that THE ROLLING STONES -- the greatest rock band of all time, (the Glimmer Twins) Mick and Keith -- will be missed by me?

No way.

It's happening, and for the life of me (here's the interesting part) --- it's not bothering me all that much.

That's right. Because (as I posted earlier) -- when your slamming busy, creative -- and on a roll -- EVEN THE ROLLING STONES can't get in your way.

A gift, for reading.

10-17-73 Rolling Stones in Brussels, Hot Soundboard -- contact me, and I'll have it sent off to you --...... Rock on.

Monday, January 16, 2006

I recieved this email from a friend today, and this made me stop and think a bit.
My friend brings up a good point on MLK day.

"My trash was collected today...which I thought was odd since today was a federal holiday.
I'm pretty sure that trash is not collected on most federal holidays (but I could be wrong, maybe they collect on Veteran's Day, etc). That made me go "hmmmm....."
I thought that it was incredibly ironic, however, that the memory of a man who was assassinated while trying to bring attention to the plight of striking trash collectors in Memphis is not honored by the trash collectors! You'd think that they'd rally behind this holiday....go figure.
Best,Bill "

Friday, January 13, 2006

Once again, Guy has created a winner.

This guy just ooozes, and eloquently expresses himself in a way that is surreal.

I encourage you to bookmark and read this site -- the specific post is linked below, but each post (and he is only 10 days into his blog, like me) -- has been on the money.

The post is called "Hindsights"

his site is http://blog.guykawasaki.com/


Thursday, January 12, 2006

Overload. Stress. Multi-tasking. I need it. I love it.

Some folks say they want to relax..."I've worked long enough, I need to step back take some time off, and reassess what I want to do..."

I can respect that.

But, I never did it in my life.

A colleague told me today, that I did not let grass grow under my feet after I decided to leave a great company, I jumped immediately into the fire, the very next day....(maybe a little haphazardly) but nonetheless, I dove back into the position I feel like I have come to love.


You see, some people think improvisation, and being professionally "hyper" have little to nothing in common.

Not to me.

They are perfectly related. In my world, it is the EXCITEMENT of not knowing destiny, (whether it be not knowing your commission as a salesperson, your tips as a waiter, your income as a business owner -- your precise message to a client, your demeanor to a friend......)
it is what makes me tick -- the improv aspect of every interaction.

As I get older, I have come to realize -- that the places I have been most successful professionally, have been the jobs that have allowed me to "go out on a limb" because it was neccessity, (early on in a startup) -- or, because they (the company) valued it, and they had enough comformists, and I was the rebel to drive change.

The funny thing is there are SO MANY COMPANIES THAT HAVE TOO FEW OF THE DYNAMIC, IMPROVISATIONAL CHARACTERS, that there is precious little talent and human capital that is willing to, sell a new idea, try out of the box pricing, be creative.

Once you squash that, and people are forced to operate in a box - and mold themselves into the next guy -- you lose ideas, change and ultimately PASSION.

Passion is what fuels sales. Sales is what fuels passion. If you are reading this, and you need to be more successful in ANYTHING you do - be more passionate, caring -- and emotional. Show your "colors" -- more - take chances, gamble, dont be fearful of losing.

Be yourself, be a little unprepared, and watch your skills that you did not even know you had come to the forefront.

That's true improvisation.
An oldie but goodie--(I love a little humor)

Go to Google.
Search for “French military victories”.
Hit “I’m Feeling Lucky”
Laugh (unless you are French, at which point you should start a petition to boycott Google)
I'm back. Hit the road, and drove home last night in the most incredible fog for almost 3 hours down I-95, that you have ever seen. It was as thick as big loaf of white bread.

Anyway, the creative juices are flowing heavily. Alot has recently hit me about skills, execution, strategy, and presentation.

Speaking of presentation. This clip below is amazing. It's Hugh Hefner in 1969 on a show he hosted called "After Dark". It's from the mansion, and it is PRICELESS. It's Hugh with Jerry and the boys, and even if you dont like them much, this is well worth a few minutes of your time..(turn on your sound) -- anyway, the 2nd song is St. Stephen -- the 1st is a slower ballad called "Mountain of the Mooon." Link below.


Monday, January 09, 2006

Blogging may be a bit light the next few days (thank you to my visitors over the last week, and words of encouragement I have recieved from many of you) -- but, I gotta help my wife pay the bills.

I will be traveling, and at a client's offices....

But, it made me think of something. I spent many years following the Grateful Dead around the country. Basically, anytime they played for a 10 year period within 500 miles of me, it was a pretty good bet, that I'd be there - driving, listening to Maxell Tapes on the road, but REALLY ENJOYING THE JOURNEY.

I know I loved seeing the Dead, and the music, and the scene, the adventure, (and yes the party) -- but looking back years later I came to realize what kept me going back so often....

"The journey is the prize..."

It wasnt so much of being at the show, it was the JOURNEY of getting there, whether Raleigh, Alpine Valley WI, Virginia, Arizona, Indiana -- or anywhere -- it was the TRIP.

So, fast forward--- many years later I have a client 300 miles away. I could fly if I wanted, but I choose to drive. And, now instead of listening to Maxell tapes, I listen to CD's and enjoy the journey in a more comfortable car than in 1985.

My journey has evolved from driving to see Jerry, to driving to see clients.

Is that maturity, evolution or life?

(in case your interested, the CD player will be BLASTING -- 4-23-77 Springfield Civic Center) - and if you have speakers and are interested, you can stream it here:

Mine is a Soundboard though.....(with a smile) -- this one is a strong AUD (audience)
Greg Yardley has a good post on Right Media.


Basically, optimization ACROSS networks.

Looks interesting...

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Google is a seriously unbelievable company.

A great blogger, (ex-Advertising.com guy) Jay Weintraub has a great, short piece on the
GoogleVideo, and GooglePack.

WOW. Personalized video. Personalized hardware?

Someone at Microsoft is up nights, (hard to believe, eh) - but they are....and, its is what makes our technology edge (US) in the world economy so intriguing.

Here is Jay's piece: http://www.jayweintraub.com/2006/01/google_to_offer.html
Courtesy of the mind of Seth Godin. http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2005/12/quick_question.html

When marketing (trying to sell) a product or idea, let me ask you the following question.

2 questions, pick ONE you mostly identify with the word, "marketing."

Is marketing the art of tricking people into buying stuff they don’t need?
Or is it about spreading ideas that people fall in love with?

Discuss amongst yourselves......

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Valueclick valuation -- and online advertising.....

This has been on my brain for a few weeks, and coming from a company that is in the internet advertising business, you get to know the companies and "value", from a competitor, and customer perspective all too well.

I found the Valueclick (VCLK) valuation fascinating for a variety of reason, but 2 which stand out are:

1) The web, and internet advertising is for real, a great return can be had as a employee, as well as a shareholder -- and this validates why I went into the advertising business online. (with Advertising.com)

** and the exact opposite

2) Are we in the middle of a "hyped" internet time?(another bubble) Are we buying and paying for TOO much future value in the stocks and companies that we invest in? (specifically technology and internet related companies, and is the cycle BACK again that we experienced with the "bursting of the bubble in 2000?")

I do not know the answer - but Valueclick surpassed the $ 2 billion market cap number on Friday.

Here is the profile link : http://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=VCLK

This is either a YIKES or a YIPPEE, and frankly, I'm not sure which.
Seth Godin is a "monster" of ideas.

Check out his blog - he is prolific.

I was lucky enough to pick Seth's brain recently regarding my business plan, and I can tell you he is a straight-forward solid thinker, who gave me excellent feedback, and made me retool some parts of my concept.

His site, and "eloquence" of putting his ideas-- into a easily read, interesting format, in a CONSISTENT manner is amazing.

Enjoy...and he updates daily, so be sure to add it to your favorites....


Friday, January 06, 2006

As I briefly alluded to, I'm entering a new phase of life called "entrepreneurship". (sp, and whatever that means) -- what it means, quite franky, is that I have entered the word of meeting with, pitching to, and actually enjoying presenting to Venture Capitalists, who typically place their money in early-stage concepts, startups, or what is called "angel investing."

It has been interesting and insightful to meet, and pitch to a group of people who's motivation is so unique that it is BASIC and PLAIN. Usually in my career, meeting with a visionary at a media company, or account person, or a C level expert in this or that, but, it was always centered around "landing the deal, and helping the company acheive some objective, creating a win, or just plain selling a idea."

Not with the VC gang.

It's all about 3 main things.

Money, Ego, and Power.

That is it in a nutshell. It has required me to back up, and reassess how I deal with this "subset" of people. The characteristics are funny in an early stage investor. I have been promised the moon....contacts, money, office space, programmers......all with the understanding that each time I nod my head in acceptance of how great it seems, to them, (they think I'm actually saying..."hey, I'm a sucker and willing to give you more equity in my company, because you are just a great guy, and have MY interest in mind.")

It's hilarious.

I pride myself on being a quick learn. And, from what I've learned on a good number of meetings with VC's is that -- a good VC is more of a psychotherapist, and can sniff out BS faster than you can say, "ham radio." They watch body language, answers to questions, and HOW you answer questions.

Do you know what MY fastest and most common response has been in VC meetings in the past 2 months?

"I'm sorry I do not know...."

I will build a world class company. I will create value. But, after the past 2 months, I have been educated in the world of Venture Capitalists -- and I'm very proud to say, "I came away from this experience richer, for having to refine my skills of selling, selling me, my idea, and my concept, to a group of like minded people with ONE thing in mind."

Hitting a monetary grand slam.

And, I'm proud to say - I made the All-Star baseball team every year growing up from the age of 7 up to high school -- and I never hit a home run. I played consistent shortstop, batted third in the lineup, probably hit over .500 -- and won a few tournament MVP's.

I never hit a home run. I just tried to be consistent and stay within my swing, my abilities, and myself.

When you pitch to a VC do you go for the home run, or just be yourself?

I have chosen to be myself, be who I am and just tell my concept, and my story.
If I am lucky enough to get a VC who will actually HELP build the company, that is even better. Until then, I'll keep trying to hit singles, and hope that a guy like Pete Rose (who hit more singles than anyone) can be "valued" in the VC world.

I found this post by Guy fascinating its called "The Top Ten Lies of Venture Capitalists."
My friend, Steve Alessi - who I had the priviledge to work with for six years at Advertising.com, has created 10 crucial rules, that are important.

Why are these rules important?

First off, they are true - in almost EVERY situation.

They transcend sales, and go into life in general. All ten do not apply to all situations, but, I have found them very valuable to me - in a variety of scenarios.

Here they are, and when Steve writes his book, I'll plug it, cause he is smart - and these rules will be the "footprint" that he left on my life. I can say, I'm a better person for knowing Steve - and I thank him for these 10 guidelines, but more than that - he abides by them pretty well. (except when he drinks Jack Daniels, than all bets are off)

The 10 Alessi rules of LIFE.

It’s all about the ego.
Under-promise and Over-deliver.
Set proper customer expectations.
Perception IS Reality.
Don’t be a tele-marketer (2ears and 1 mouth).
Help create a vision.
Do your homework.
“Know your edge and use it”
Sell your personal strengths.
Create a sense of URGENCY!

When it rains it pours.

We have all heard it, but what does it signify?

In means to me, that when things are bleak, slow, and looking dowright pale, sometimes you can never imagine seeing through to the other side.

And then......

You get busy. Your confidence skyrockets. You become engrossed in whatever your are doing, (family, professional, hobby) - and suddenly there is NOT ENOUGH time in your day to accomplish the things you want to get done....

That's where I am at. And, its a good thing.

You see, I have been in that place before when things are slow, I am down, energy level is low, sleeping late..... and you cannot ever remember that their is a bright light up ahead, "when will I get fastpaced again...?"

It's taken me many years to realize, but I belong CONSISTENTLY in that fast pace, energetic driven environment -- and surrounding.

But, here is the key.

YOU create it. No one but you can get you into that mindset.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Today was a highly interesting day.
I had the pleasure of meeting a fanstatic, energetic and visionary client, (and his team) --

This media wizard (who will remain anonomous) is a titan in the publishing world - and he is so full of his passion..that it surrounds him, and he surrounds it.

It's truly amazing and inspirational to surround yourself with people who not only create the concept, but also LOVE what they have built and accomplished.

And, like a garden, they love to watch it grow, bear fruit, and spend nearly everyday of their professional life in their garden. They smell the fresh air, love watching their ideas morph in ways they could never have orginally imagined....and they are downright smart, and GREAT EXECUTORS of strategy.

I have made a commitment to myself in the past 3 months, to only professionally surround myself with people that have these business attributes.


Because it makes your professional life richer. You learn more, have more passion for what you do, and their is NOT enough time to make these people proud of you - and prove that you are worthy of them spending precious time WITH YOU.

I have found that I personally perform better when the "bar" is higher. I compare it to when I step on the basketball court to play in a game. It always seems that I play to the level of the person guarding me. If the guy covering me is a scorerer and playing tough defense, I'll do the same - and typically ring him up, and attack the basket. If he is laid back, playing no D, and not really into the game, then I find myself lax on the court, and not being aggressive. (I also dont get that good of a workout)

All of these things have parallels in the working world.

In business, I need to surround myself with folks that "play tough D, and can score" -- (but in the business sense..) it makes me stronger, and sharper.

Your days go faster. Your life becomes more enjoyable, when you make a commitment to yourself to only attempt to professionally get better and put the BEST on your staff, your team, or YOUR LIFE.

I recently have this awakening.

Who are the people in your life that MAKE YOU BETTER? Get closer to them, you aren't spending enough time with them. Trust me.
Later today, I am going to list my favorite bloggers, and folks that I read on a daily basis.

The world of blogging is interesting, and it requires (even at the earliest stages) some interesting moments, laying in bed, brushing your teeth, sipping your coffee -- as to "what should I post today, how personal should I get?"

I am seeing this trend in the first 24 hours.

You see, I am attempting my hand at entreprenuership.

And, it requires constant "bouncing of ideas and thoughts" -- and I'm at a crossroads about how much to share here.....

Time will tell.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Israel is my second home.

I'm truly sad to see on this night, that Ariel Sharon is in grave condition.

Our prayers extend to this brave warrior, who spent his life defending and protecting his country....from www.debka.com
So, I'm taking a dive into the world of blogging....

This is quite interesting for me, and it is also a step in a new direction, for you see.....

I am a VERBAL person, and not a "written" person -- so this challenge will be awesome, and its one of the "things I've been wanting to do..."

Here goes, I hope you enjoy -- the topics will be about family, the web, music, opinions, politics, and my passions.....(which are mostly covered in the topics)

Also, now my Mom can see her son's "work" and views on life.......