Wednesday, February 28, 2007
Career Builder puts their account in review (allows other agencies to vie for their business.....)
I work in the advertising world, and account reviews are more frequent than, snow in Colorado.
What is NOT frequent, however, is the head of an agency, responding to their client publically taking their business up for review. The LETTER IS HERE.
A excerpt from the letter....
"Overall, CareerBuilder's revenue shot up from $100 + million to $700 + million. Number one in share. Number one in visits. Number one in listings. C-K contributed enormously to that – all in less than 36 months. A week and a half ago they told us our performance report card would be at 100%! We were so friggin' happy!"
And, they were fired.
Interesting read, and more interesting to ponder the reaction, of client and agency.
A sociological conundrum.....in the advertising world.
Hat tip: Cheating on England.
1989. A great summer. I attended this below (Buffalo, 7/4/89) show with some great friends.
One of my friends who drove with me to Foxboro, Buffalo - then back to Giants Stadium for The Who -- then on to Alpine Valley, WI - was Lenny Massa.
"We had a fraternity brother named Lenny Massa. He was killed at our college on Sept 29, 1989 - in a shooting at a party we had thrown, when a local from the town, got drunk, and brought a gun into one of our gatherings. (he was on parole, and had just been released from a multi year sentence, for I believe, assault with a deadly weapon, and he was out early).......He murdered Lenny.All these years later, I cannot help but think what he would be doing now.This guy (Lenny) had so much passion and energy for LIFE. He played bass in a band called "Social Convention." He came to DEAD shows with us, and drove from CT to Greensboro NC for one show -- and drove straight back after the show. (we all stayed for 3 nights) -- but he came for one, and then at 11:30pm got in his soft top blue Jeep, and drove back to Connecticut."
I remember during this song, looking over at Lenny with his crazy hat on, dancin' up a storm to this tune - -written by Harry Belafonte......
Turn up your speakers -- sit back, and enjoy......."Woman Are Smarter...." (July 4th, 1989)
Miss ya Lenny!
Tuesday, February 27, 2007
A cool concept from our business, that I'm learning as we build......
A new employee who starts, comes in, learns a TINY BIT, (first 2 days onboard) about the new business concept, that he or she, is learning.
The new employee comes from another business online, and "broadly" understands, what you are trying to execute on, and build....
in the first 48 hours in their new position, along with some internal help ---- I came back from a flight to..........
A RADICAL WAY OF LOOKING AT -- and conquering a specific function that I've been (and our team) noodling on for months.
New blood and talent, equals -- value creation, as well as a unique perspective on our daily lives.
I'm so impressed and throughly jazzed by a person who has a "quick impact", on our business, and allows us to see something in a different light.......this is both incredibly valuable, and insightful. It energizes me, and words do not do justice to how excited I am.
Why do I write this?
Because we tend to, NOT celebrate it.
We tend to expect it.
I for one, am guilty of expecting results and creativity, daily. If I don't get it, I get bored easily. It's one of the reason I love listening to jazz, and improvisationsal artists, like Jerry Garcia, Steve Kimock, and Miles Davis. I need energy, passion -- and, the "edge of creation...."
I look at this as a father....it's all new to my kids, am I celebrating, their creativity enough?
Can I do better, as a Father in encouraging and expecting....... and CELEBRATING, creativity?
Can I do better, as a leader in my business of delivering the message that I want to reward a employee, who is creative, and makes ME SMARTER?
Yes to all.
"Inspiration, move me brightly."
Garcia/Hunter - Terrapin Station
Inspiration comes from someone who allows you to unlock your personal lense on a issue, on your product, and on your strategy.....(uncorking your bias)
My team unlocked some "kernels of creativity" today, that I'm not sure they grasp, how important it is to our company's future.
And, that is MY FAULT. It is my fault that they went home tonight, WITHOUT KNOWING WHAT A IMPORTANT BREAKTHROUGH TODAY WAS.
Because as I sit alone and type - I have the pangs of guilt that I did not celebrate or reward enough, the VERY CREATIVITY that has, moved me brightly.....
"Made a rag pile of my shiny clothes
Gonna warm my bones" -- Moonlight Mile, Jagger/Richards
My learning today was to be ready to get your shiny ideas, and ditch em -- be open to a new employees, FRESH LOOK at the business, and get ready to make a rag pile with some of your vision.....and give credit, QUICKLY.
And, warm your bones through continued, genuine celebration of CREATIVITY, and let people know that uniqueness, and a valued perspective, is what is often needed to move a business forward....
Celebration, rewards, and positive accolades are in order for some folks on my team.
I'm off to send a email to them now.
I've got some celebrating to do.......
Wednesday, February 21, 2007
One of the most interesting aspects I've learned over the years in working at -- and leading new companies is the following:
"The most unforseen solutions emerge from the most unlikely of places, that we never planned, and we never accounted for. Some of the solutions, many orginally thought of as simply problems, and not until years later - do you realize how beneficial they were to your success."
In my previous working life, (at Advertising.com) years later, I had the pleasure of speaking with someone I respect tremendously, and he asked me about what I believed to be the key aspects that differentiated the company from the rest of the, "lookalikes."
1) Amazingly effective leadership
2) Great Management
3) Genuinely Caring about Employees -- and taking interest in each person on a individual level
4) Getting Rid of non-performing employees in a timely manner (and realizing that this kept the most productive workers motivated - this was a direct result of good management)
5) Allowing the Sales Leaders to have a direct input, and a direct channel, to how products should be developed, packaged, and rolled out.....(sounds basic, but many companies do not do this -- they just SAY they do)
Here were the UNFORSEEN elements that transpired, that had a positive influence, looking back years later:
6) Dot.com BUST. In late 2000 the DOT COM market bubble burst. Many companies went out of business, advertising budgets directed toward online advertising disappeared, and the industry appeared to stagnate. Fear was in the air. My previous employer immediately shifted to what MARKETERS DESIRED -- a company based on performance and results. We mitigated and took 100% of the risk off our clients plates.....
The DOT COM bust, allowed us to focus on our core business. It made us better, during a time when our competitors panicked, changed their business models, and retooled their organizations. We hunkered down, and focused on addressing needs, and executed (again with great management and leadership) against the fundamental needs of the marketplace.
The Dot Com bust, and the pain it inflicted to our industry, turned out to be a problem for the web, but our company had the solution.......
7) Location. I thought that this was a HUGE problem. The location of the company was Baltimore MD. I'm a NY/NJ guy, and it perplexed me (even after I opened our NYC office) as to why, and what benefit, having a internet company based in Baltimore was? It turns out it was a HUGE benefit to the success, growth, and achievements of the organization. Being in Maryland allowed our employees NOT to be in the "winds of change." Our people were able to be focused, focused enough NOT, to be involved in the downward spiral of the companies in San Francisco and New York. It New York City, it was hard NOT to go to a happy hour and hear the stories of how, "so and so got laid off, this and this company closed their doors...., etc etc".
This was NOT the conversation in Baltimore. The economy is sufficiently different, in that the amount of dot coms (in Baltimore) were NOT as plentiful as, Silicon Alley, Silicon Valley, or 23rd street in NYC.
There was not as much employee turnover, as compared to other companies operating in major media markets. This is CRITICAL to building, (low turnover) and implementing technology -- and just as important when growing a company.
Turns out being in Baltimore was a unforseen benefit, and probably a BIG reason why the company was able to retain, and focus, hundreds of employees, FOR YEARS.
8) Our early employees (including me) did not have media backgrounds. Virtually non existent amongst the earliest employees was the notion of, "we must hire people with advertising and media experience." Many thought this as a mistake. Many people thought we should focus on new hires that, UNDERSTOOD ADVERTISING. Quite the contrary, it turned out to be critically important, and strategic, to the success of the company....
Here are a few of the reasons:
* diverse backgrounds bring unique persepectives
* blank canvasses of the brain, allow a NEW EMPLOYEE to learn about your company -- IN CONJUNCTION WITH LEARNING ABOUT A NEW INDUSTRY. A key ingredient, and read it again if you must...but it cannot be "emphasized" (thanks Jeff H.) enough.
* performers and excellent employees from other companies allow for a higher probablity of success in a newer environment
* the company was out to change the network model and blaze a new path. Frequently, people with experience would say, "Media planners won't do that." "Agencies wont commit budgets without a site list..." Turns out the media planners did. Because we were not afraid to change the language -- we did not know any better, we sold it - and it worked. Had there been someone internally, beating us over the head, with all their previous media experience, telling us NOT TO DO IT - we probably would not have.
Lastly, grabbing the proverbial opportunity, when it comes along.
A big campaign. A new product. A big pitch. A new idea.......
Understanding WHEN to dedicate resources to a chance, to a prayer, to a longshot - that can make or break a company. I call this the, "improvisational element" of reading a situation -- and creatively weaving the fabric of the company, and subtly redirected resources, that can change destiny.
Often times it will fail.
But, with good instinct - clear understanding of where the market "can" go, the fundamental problem of every company being, "resource constrained" and "we just can't undertake that now" - virtually NEVER HAPPENS...
Turns out, one of my biggest takeaways is that the:
"Challenges and Problems of Today - many times contain the ingredients that make up the, RECIPE of SOLUTIONS."
It is identifying precisely which challenges of today, are benefits - and having the forsight to understand, and maximize it........
I've outlayed,(from my background) Dot.com bust, location, and lack of employee experience - as issues many thought were roadblocks to success, (including me).......
Turn out they were directly beneficial and critical to creating value.
(PS. Any bloggers interested in testing Lotame Crowd Control reporting on their blog? Please contact me, as we are rolling out a beta program to Bloggers to give them new access to how their visitors consume their media - and how it can be used by Advertisers to create audiences and target against. If interested, please contact me on email. AM)
Tuesday, February 20, 2007
(click on any picture to enlarge)
Awesome Snowmobling Conditions in 2 feet of Snow .....
A Quiet Mount Snow at 5pm -- too good not to snap from our Snowmobile
Friday, February 16, 2007
My friend Rob Deichert has a post on his blog, about challenging the status quo, and coming up with different metrics by which to judge, and monetize, the fastest growing form of media in the world, Social Media.
"People have asked me before where I see Internet advertising going and I've told everyone I think the traditional model of cost per impressions will be challenged, by CPMPT (cost per impression, per time). The user behavior on social networking sites can classified as high page view consumption - kids are clicking between pages."
I was reading Rob's insightful piece this morning, and immediately forwarded his blog post to my team to read.....I said,
"Arent we working on something similar to address this issue (of time) inside of Crowd Control?" (our technology)
Let me start off by saying that my team and I at Lotame, see the social media world differently, than most publishers and advertisers out there. We think that the Web 2.0 and User Generated Content world is filled with data points, actions and behaviors that are NOT being utilized at all. One of the most powerful differentiators for us is HOW GRANULAR, we get in, collecting both "behavior and action" data. "User Engagement" may be the buzz word for some, but for us, it is our business.
One of the most important factors is TIME SPENT, in this equation. Rob rightly addresses this in his piece....
"From a direct response perspective it's easy to know if the right people are getting the right length of exposure to an ad. If response rates are inline with cost, the advertiser keeps spending. Layer on branding advertiser demand and you'll get a quick picture of the market price for the inventory. Of course measuring the branding impact takes longer and more effort."
Lotame considers time spent an, ACTIONABLE BEHAVIOR...
*Length of time a consumer views a page
*Length of time a consumer views a ad
*Length of time a consumer engages the media -- (widget, upload, comment, links t0 -- from the beginning of the click to the completing of the action)
This leads to the ability for Advertisers to be able to truly target on words, that MEAN SOMETHING.
Recency and Frequency.
The recency of ACTIONS.
The recency of BEHAVIORS.
The recency of ENGAGEMENT.
The Frequency of ----THE SAME.
Use these components to create audiences. Allow advertisers to pick unique elements to target against, which are completely different and independent, based on the Social Media community .....
These engagement based audience segments, (that Lotame helps build for our publishing clients to drive more value), make advertising and marketing, based on all, "user time" measurements, a reality in Web 2.0.
Once you combine, BEHAVIORAL ACTIONS, with BEHAVIORAL INTEREST -- and can build audiences that you can target against, you have built one the most important social profiles known to media.
And, it might be the most important one of all......when creating value for Social Media.
It's our mission to make the media RELEVANT.......it is what we are executing on, and building as we speak.
Thursday, February 15, 2007
People, Relationships, Bonds, and Links are formed truly around.....
It is imperative that friends develop trust with each other, to stay friends.
It is more than important, (it is crucial) that a husband and wife, develop trust and common bonds, in order for their marriage to thrive, and survive.
It is critical for a parent to build true bonds of love and trust with a child, so that the child grows up confident, secure, and a quality member of society.
These are some personal "trust" links that are critical elements to a person's personal existence. A person does not have to have any of the above to survive, but I'd surmise the more they (love, trust and bonds) are given to a individual -- the higher the probability of living a moderately cheerful life, with a positive outlook.
These are personal trusting bonds established from friends and family, that carry over to the rest of one's life....
Growing up, I tried to look back and see where I received my personal, bonds of trust, and love, as well as -- WHERE I SPENT THE MOST TIME (receiving it).
4) Religious Experience
7) Media Influences in my life -- TV, Radio.
I was born in the 60's, a kid in the 70's - and a teen in the 80's.
My influences were basic compared to what kids face today.
I listed "Media Influences" at the bottom of my list. Looking back, it was the Brady Bunch, Partridge Family, and the occassional Magilla Gorilla that made the afternoon list of ways to pass the time -- and probably had a impact on me.
The trusting bonds from #7, Media Influences (listed above) has moved, WAY UP THE TRUST CHAIN FOR A KID, OR TEEN IN 2007. The reason is, both in the amount of time teens today spend on social media, as compared to 25 years, or 10 years ago.
Today, teens are:
* teens are using the internet (media) more than watching TV
* teens are spending far more time on social networking websites (such as MySpace)
* teens are confronted with social issues ONLINE, that their parents have never experienced
* their is a HUGE knowledge gap between parents who did not grow up with a computer, (like me, because home computing did not exist for the masses) and teens of today, as it relates to social issues.
* social media is the avenue of media and communication for a ENTIRE generation (or 2) of teens.
* SOCIAL MEDIA IS CRITICALLY HIGH IN THE TEEN INFLUENCE, OF TRUST.
"There are times when I can help you out, And times when you must fall.There are times when you must live in doubt, And I cant help at all." (JGarcia, Built to Last)
In the 50's rock n' roll was the difference in a generation....
In the 60's it was "freedom" - and a newfound independence that became the hallmark.
In the 70's and 80's these differences morphed into technological advances, as well as the ending of a cold war -- and beginning of investment in the internet.
"This is the age of machinery, A mechanical nightmare, The wonderful world of technology, Napalm hydrogen bombs biological warfare....."(Ray Davies, 20th Century Man)
The age of the internet confronts us, and brings great change.
Kids spend more time online......than watch TV.
Not just online, but on Social Networking/Social Media Sites.
And herein lies the problem.
How do these sites (which our teens are spending most of their time on) make money?
How do these websites (publishers) earn revenue to keep their communites alive?
How do we protect our children, and deal with social issues that arise from these complex changes in behavior?
You may ask.....
"Andy, why do I care how these sites make money?"
You do care. You should care.
You don't want the publishers NEED FOR REVENUE, and need for money -- to be at the expense of, a teenagers personal information.
You don't want unsavory marketers to be able to target your child in a way that promotes a "socially unresponsible" brand.....(like condoms, religious, porn) advertising -- inside of the arena of teens.
That is why I write this today.
Our teens are using media differently than ever before.
They are associating with brands, connecting with friends, listening to music -- and coming out to the world, VIRTUALLY.
Many publishers (website operators) still do not get it.
They try to "spin their media" in a traditional world of the Brady Bunch, Partridge Family, and Magilla Gorilla in 2007......IT NO LONGER EXISTS. You cannot sell media on the metrics of yesterday......
They talk in Run of Site CPM's to advertisers.
They talk of sponsorships to advertisers.
They talk of Behavioral Targeting to advertisers.
This is not the language of our youth.
The language of our youth is still the same values that held true generations ago.
Trust, respect -- and developing bonds.
Sadly, large Social Media Publishers are slow to embrace this evolutionary change in media consumption.
Change it up. Change the technique you use to drive revenue. Ask advertisers to buy you on a similar metric - that your, COMMUNITY CONSUMES MEDIA!!!!
Allow marketers and advertisers to target anonomously on social targets, that may be unique to your users.....DIFFERENTIATE YOUR USER BASE.
Allow marketers and advertisers to engage our teens in a respectful, trustful manner. (not through spam comments, repetetive advertisments, sponsorships, remnant banners, and inconsequential marketing techniques)
Change the tenor and relationship with the teens of today, Mr. Publisher and Mrs. Advertiser.
And, for moving the market forward......
"Did you ever wake up to find A day that broke up your mind, Destroyed your notion of circular time?" (Jagger/Richards - Sway)
We can help.
We, at Lotame can help change the conversation, we can assist in bringing better brands (so that they can target more efficiently to Social Media consumers) -- as well as, monetize the media more efficiently, for publishers, (SOCIAL MEDIA THE PLACE WHERE OUR YOUTH IS SPENDING A PREDOMINANCE OF THEIR TIME), and that is so important to the future of our country.......
As Jerry Garcia sang in, Franklins Tower.....
"If you plant ice you're gonna harvest wind."
Planting proverbial ice in the ground, is what is happening in Social Media Circles today - and it is at the expense of our youth.....
We are committed to helping to FIX it -- and make User Generated Content, and Social Networking a viable medium, and as TRUSTING, as other forms of media that we all consume.
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
I will never forget the first significant deal I put together (sold), and how it changed my life.
Up until the point of this story, I had sold alot of products and services, and it was by no means my first sale, but it was the most impactful for me, for a variety of reasons.
I took a job with this company, (1994) as they opened up offices in NYC, (it was part of their plan of going national, after raising significant capital) -- the company was based in, Houston TX.
It was a legal document services company, catering to lawyers, paralegals, and copy center managers.
My primary job was sell to paralegals, and handle all of the legal copy work for large litigation cases. Our competition ranged from other copy companies, who charged 1/3 of what our rates were, as well as in the in-house copy center -- typically run by Pitney Bowes, Xerox, or the firm itself.
I wore a suit everyday, and hauled boxes in good clothes through the halls of some of the largest firms in the country. Our prices were naturally much higher than anyone in the industry -- because we sold on SERVICE, and superior PRODUCTION.
When I started this job, I was given a territory that was pretty, BEAT DOWN. The sales rep before me had too much on his plate, as the office opened, the production facility was not ready handle anything (let alone a big firms copy work) -- and my companies BRAND, amongst the large LAW firms, was negative.
My job was to "re-brand" - and "re-sell" three major law firms, on my new company --- and begin to repair the damaged relationships, and get revenue.
Now mind you, this rebranding effort that I was tasked with, was NOT something launched from damage done to the clients years before. The damage was done 2 months prior to my hire --- so the wounds (from the client perspective) from bad service, and missed deadlines, was only 60 days young --- I had to sell against errors that happened only 2 months prior......
The company had only been in NYC for 6 months total, before my first day. It was not like they had years to earn their stripes, and garner a positive reputation -- they were, BRAND NEW.
Other sales reps told me I got screwed by my manager for giving me such a bad territory.
"Andy, you will never get any orders from those firms in your territory -- our company screwed up so bad, it will take years before your firms in your territory, will even consider us again...."
"Start looking for another job."
"You better get your goal lowered, or you will make no money."
I was intimidated. I came home after my first week, and thought I had made a collosal mistake in taking this job.
Then I crafted a plan.
My plan was to identify the top ten partners in each law firm, based on their caseloads -- and public litigation documents, filed with the Southern District Court in Lower Manhattan.
I then made a list of the top 2 paralegals in each firm.
I shared a small office with 4 other sales representatives -- EVERYONE WAS BUSY, and doing better than I was -- the new guy (ME) in the absence of work, had to prove I was working hard, somehow.
I went out and bought large index cards. On each card, I wrote the name of the person at the top of the card, and taped it to the wall around my desk.
Other sales reps laughed and joked at my effort.....
These names on index cards taped around my desk, became my, visual world at work.
One name in particular I focused on, and I made it a point to get in front of her quickly.
Her name was, Karen.
Karen was described to me as a tough, no-nonsense, hard to please paralegal, she worked with the same "white-shoe" law firm of 20+ years. Karen was in her mid-40's, single -- and had a big reputation in the industry. Many said, "she is more powerful than some of the major partners at the firm, everything runs through her....."
"Andy, she hates us - the sales rep before you did a poor job, gave her bad service, and she swore she would NEVER use our company again. Do not waste your efforts on her." (this was from my manager)
My response was, "I only have 3 firms in my entire territory, if I follow your guidance and do not try to get business from her, 1/3 of my territory will be lost...."
I set out to win Karen over.
First off, this was before the acceptance of email as a primary communication tool. I had no computer in 1994.....so email as part of my job, was non-existent.
I hate voicemail. You will NEVER win a deal on voicemail. I made commitment to try to get Karen to spend time with me, face to face -- and NOT in her office.
Not lunch either.....
I set out writing short, handwritten notes on white plain paper to Karen.
The notes centered around how sorry I was about her previous experience with my company, and how I was different, and through my unique approach, I would make it up to her.
I got no response from Karen.
My notes which had started off as apologies, morphed into something different. The letters to her became a tool for me to write - what I was learning about my new job, and the new company.
The notes to Karen took on a new tone. I went from apologizing in my earlier notes to, writing about how we were different. How I was different.
"Karen, did you know that yesterday our office turned around 39 jobs in less than 2 hours -- of priority rush jobs more than 2500 pages? All, went back to our clients with no ERRORS reported."
And, I closed with something funny.
"Last night I waited at work till 9pm, waiting for you to call me -- and shock me with a project, I left at a little after 9, and would'nt you know it -- on my way home, I think I saw Elvis eating a hot dog on 53rd and 6th. Staying late waiting for you to call me, was worth it after all."
The notes to her were sent twice a week. Mailed on Monday and Tuesday.
(Some of you may say that this is "stalker like" in my approach. I want to emphasize to you that in no time were any of my communications anything but an attempt to prove value and show her I could be a valuable asset to her daily working life.")
The communication was always short, light, and hopefully impactful.
My notes to Karen twice a week, went on for 3 months.
Friday evening in the spring. I will never forget it, because I was scheduled to leave for Philadelphia after work that night -- to see The Grateful Dead, playing The Spectrum in Philly, that weekend.
Over the intercom.....words I will never forget.
"call for Andy on 101 -- Karen C."
I picked up, and here is the conversation that ensued:
"Andy, this is Karen C."
My reply -- "Karen, thanks so much for calling me..."
"Andy, I have no idea who you are, and you are either crazy ,or insanely great....and anyone who is as dedicated to getting my attention with such intensity deserves a chance. Before you say a word, and I'm forced to change my mind, come over here right away....."
I ran out of the office, and into a life changing event.
As I walked into Karen's corner office on the 26th floor (mind you this is a paralegal, with a CORNER office) -- she stood up and shook my hand firmly, as she put out her cigarette in a ashtray full of Virginia Slims.
"Andy, a pleasure to meet you, let's get past the niceties."
My letters were in manilla folder on her desk....stacked neatly, saved -- with a SMILEY FACE ON THE FRONT.
She launched right into it,
"Follow me, I will give you your chance."
I walked with her to another floor and into one of the largest litigations in the history of the US. She took me to a room, filled with hundreds of boxes that needed to have multiple copies, bates labeled, and FEDEXED to opposing counsels around the country. (The actual case will give away the firm, and I'd like to keep this anonomous.)
"Can you handle this, Mr. Note Man? I mean, I could give this project to anyone, and frankly I have VERY little confidence in your organization -- but I'm giving YOU this chance to prove to me, you are as good as your short notes......and it's your opportunity."
I could not breathe.
That weekend, I worked from the time of that phone call (afternoon Fri) until midnight Saturday, without stopping....taking inventory of boxes, cataloging bates labels -- and anxiously, changing my life.
I coordinated a immediate meeting with the production managers, to inform them of the scope and importance of this project. I stayed at the office for 24 hours to work -- but more importantly I remained to give a speech to 3 different production shifts. I implored and explained to every single employee on the production floor, how I had managed to come into this project, and I explained, "IF WE DO THIS RIGHT TOGETHER - WE WILL ALL BENEFIT THROUGH MORE HOURS AND MORE OPPORTUNITY FOR A LONG TIME TO COME."
I catered lunch for all three shifts from, The Stage Deli. The production workers loved and appreciated it. I knew as hard as I sold Karen (the paralegal) on giving me this huge litigation case-- my next task was to SELL my internal folks on HOW VALUABLE THEY WERE. I had to feed them with food, but more importantly I had to feed their egos, and show them love....SINCERE LOVE.
Let's just say, I rose up at the company to become one of the top sales representatives nationwide. For 5 straight years, I attended every national award event (for highest producing reps) from the Carribean, to Vegas, to Arizona.....
My other 2 firms eventually started working with me as well, and soon I hired 2 full time assistants to help me cover my SMALL territory, that my colleagues told me when I started, would amount to a hill of beans.
One of my assistants, I forced to follow his dream of being a sportscaster while we were hauling boxes for Karen one rainy day.....he is HERE, and I'm damn proud of him. (I listen to him every day on the radio here in NYC)...I told him to follow his dream -- and he did.
Karen and I became friendly, never friends. If she is reading this, on behalf of me, my family, and my future, I want to thank you for the trust and confidence, you placed in my 13 years ago.
It was a life changer.
The experience taught me so much, but looking back - here is what I realized, as we pass our 10th employee at MY COMPANY.
Focus on Changing the Game.
Risk being laughed at.
Risk FAILURE every day.
Write handwritten notes.
And, most of all positive karma -- or leave what you are doing.
As soon as the job with the copy company got boring I walked away..... walked away from money, and stability, to go to a startup. Leaving the production workers who I came to love, hurt me more than anything in my professional career. They helped make me who I am, as much, if not more than, Karen did.
I went to help 2 brothers build a internet company.
You know why I left the copy business to go to a startup? --- The brothers had EVERY ATTRIBUTE I listed above, and ONE MORE that I'm trying to achieve, as we speak.
It is priceless, a rare commodity -- and requires all of the ingredients above.
I've been extremely lucky to surround myself professionally with people like Karen, and production workers, co-workers, and leaders, that have made me a better person.
The mistakes I've made along the way have helped me grow.
But, look for your GAME CHANGING deal in your life, identify it when it comes along -- and then seize it.
It makes for a game changing, LIFE.
Monday, February 12, 2007
Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel speaks about being attacked by the Jew hater;
"Until today they used words; now they have switched to violence," Wiesel told Milan-based daily Corriere della Sera. "Their numbers are growing by the day."
The 78-year-old Holocaust survivor said the incident shook him and that, for the first time since World War II, he felt he was being personally targeted.
"I feared for my life in a way that hadn't happened to me since 1945, before the end of the war," he told Corriere.
"My incident shows a global trend; if society doesn't act immediately against these individuals it will end up encouraging others to do the same," he said. "Every time I make a speech somewhere in the world there is a group of deniers in that place waiting for me." hat tp Jon via FOX News
I felt a pit in my heart when I read this.
I've had the pleasure of meeting this powerful man, and being in his presence, and hearing him talk, had a VERY POWERFUL impact on me.
Not a good omen......
HAT TIP: ATLAS SHRUGS.
Saturday, February 10, 2007
I was lucky enough to see The Police live in concert,(Shea Stadium) with some high school friends. It was the summer of commercial free music in NY -- WAPP.
They put on a great show, and I truly believe that coming out of the "punk era" of the late 1970's -- the Police had owned the transition period of the late 70's into the early 80's.
I never got into Sting's solo work. I never purchased one of his CD's -- and the music he made on his own, just did not move me in the way that The Police did.
In later years, Sting opened up for the Grateful Dead on a summer tour, (I believe 92' but I might be off) -- it was the summer of openers for the Dead, with Steve Miller and Sting. He was good, and I actually got into stadiums early to see him play...he had good energy.
Fast forward to 2007.
I NEVER EVER WATCH an awards TV program. I have never watched the Oscars, never sat through the Grammy's -- and I'm into music, BIG TIME.
The shows dont matter to me. They are a bunch of over-hyped, ego driven, industry executives telling us what good music is.
But tomorrow night (Sunday Feb 11th) I will be tuned in to the Grammy's -- and the DVR will be programmed, to catch THE POLICE open the Grammy's.
I'm psyched to see THEM PLAY. I pray they don't do a medley introspective. I will see them when they come around this summer to NY -- but, please no stadiums -- make it a arena tour. Shea Stadium was TOO BIG for a 3 man band.
This is actually a HUGE opportunity for the music industry in general.
Live TV audience, a major 70's and 80's act -- I hope they play their hearts out.
As we see Van Halen, Genesis coming back to tour (and make wads of cash) -- and I've heard rumblings of Led Zeppelin reuniting -- it is more than simple expectations, and a thirst for creativity, from a big swath of music consumers...
I talk of QUALITY and UNIQUENESS.
The Police had it at one time.
Do they still have the magic?
"Walked out this morning
Don't believe what I saw
A hundred billion bottles
Washed up on the shore
Seems I'm not alone at being alone
A hundred billion casatways
Looking for a home"
Those numerous bottles for me is the lack of quality in music.
I want to believe that THE POLICE still have the "Magic in a Bottle."
"Turn on the radio
The static hurts my ears
Tell me where would I go
I ain't been out in years
Turn on the stereo
It's played for years and years
An Otis Redding song
It's all I own"
The Police tomorrow night carry a HUGE WEIGHT on their shoulders.
The weight of expectations -- and the yearning of a music business that needs some GOOD BUZZ, and positive energy.
PS. Saw a unreal show last night -- Kimock, Porter, Worrell and Kimock (John) 2/9/07
Here is the setlist which was a mind blowing combination of funk, a deep pocket of drumming from a 15 yr old (Steve son John) -- mixed in with amazing Kimock guitar. The show can be found at Dave's site -- www.digitalsoundboard.net - I highly recommend it.
Red Hot Mama
You're The One
Many Rivers To Cross
Cissy Got The Blues
Whiter Shade Of Pale
Take A Chance ->
Just Kissed My Baby ->
Funkify Your Life
Wednesday, February 07, 2007
The Perils of Hesitation…..
One of the aspects of business (and life) I’m most interested in is the way people and companies make, or do not make decisions.
I went to a party this past week, and one of the couples I encountered told me about their 3 grown adult children, and their grandchildren.
The father proceeded – “Our middle daughter joined the circus at age 21, right out of college, and spent 11 years on the road working for Barnum and Bailey.”
I was fascinated (this party just got a lot more exciting for me, as soon as a parent uttered those words, (“my kid/joined/circus”) and in typical fashion, I asked many of my probing questions, to DETERMINE HOW THEY (the parents I was speaking with) HANDLED IT, when their daughter informed them that after college graduation, she was going to be a clown, full time?
“We obviously were not thrilled, and we asked her – would you rather have a plane ticket to Europe, summer paid for --- instead of joining the circus?”
She declined the all expense paid trip her parents tried to bribe her with, and spent 11 years living in a railroad car – touring the United States, and EXPERIENCING LIFE.
I’ve never met this dynamic young lady – but her adventurous journey, made me think about many of the opportunities we all take, and others we miss out on.
How many times have we said to ourselves that we will be more daring, take on more challenges, and generally just confront life head on, more aggressively?
Time is NOT on our side – (as Jagger and Richards wrote) – time works against us, and each day that passes in our lives makes, joining the proverbial circus, harder – more difficult, and more fraught with risk.
I’ve made a decision.
I do not want to simply build another cool internet company.
I want to change the way internet media is BOUGHT AND SOLD.
I’ve hired some pretty incredible people, and I think the time is right for an evolutionary change in advertising and publishing.
The tide is turning, people are consuming media differently, interacting and utilizing tools that bring them more RELEVANT information, in a format that they desire – (mobile, web, PDA desktop) – and the advertising community is still utilizing metrics, from the early days of media.
Cost per thousand?
Reach and Frequency?
Share of Voice?
Do these terms really still apply?
The simple answer is yes they do. They are still very relevant because (for the advertising community) they are the dialect that has endured, and truth be told – they will always have a place in the media world.
But, with social media – are they REALLY VALUABLE? Do they encapsulate – and DEFINE how truly valuable THE DATA, AND ABILITY TO TARGET A CONSUMER (in social media landscape) – and maintain strict privacy -- LIKE NEVER BEFORE?
The short answer is NO. It is easy to continue, to use easy to understand formats, and planning tools, even if they do not apply. It is short sighted, and impeding progress.
It reminds me of the story about how the horse and buggy manufacturers, who sensed that they were about to lose their shirts, and their businesses – (as the automobile started to catch on with the American public) – the carriage manufacturers mounted a strong public relations campaign to denigrate, and attempt to shed negative light on the perils of owning a car.
“If you put your family in a car, you are putting your family in untold danger.”
“The auto is VERY unsafe – the engines are combustible, and are very dangerous.”
“Autos are unreliable means of transportation.”
And my favorite: “Stick with what you know, a proven commodity that has stood the test of time – the luxury carriage.”
I learned this from my Sociology professor in 1988. His name was Dr. De Angelo, and he was a master communicator who loved to mix the world of commerce, with sociology. Are they not intertwined? Are the habits and trends learned from one generation to the next, as technology advances, not the EXACT SAME?
“50,000 people die per year in the US.”
“Your Family is at Risk.”
“It is not safe.”
60 years after the AUTOMOBILE – the above 3 quotes were the argument, AGAINST NUCLEAR POWER. (the activists did not want America to be more fuel efficient with technological advances)
So you see – most of the same arguments endure – but with a different spin.
In the advertising and media world, as a new format is launched, such as the TV -- and later the internet……HERE is the argument from the folks who are late to adopt……
“We do not feel comfortable having our brand associated with that content.” (big argument used by many brands during the early 1950’s, for TV comedy shows)
“How do we know the right demographic is seeing our brand?”
“How do we measure success? It is still the wild west….”
Same objections, but different times -- now, many Social Media publishers are hearing the same issues of hesitancy, that TV executives heard in the early 1950’s about why NOT to embrace change…..
Auto’s, Nuclear Power or Social Media…….the perils of hesitancy risk many of us on the wrong side of the equation, if we do not TEST, and continuously push the envelope of our lives, our businesses, and our willingness to try.
We at Lotame are focused on changing market dynamics. We believe the Social Media publishers can unlock the power of their media, by helping to, CHANGE THE CONVERSATION.
Instead of carriages, it became carburetors.
Instead of large power plants, it became nuclear fuel rods…..
Instead of radio – it became TV sponsorships.
For social media – its about
Influencers instead of CPM’s.
Actions instead of navigations
Profiles instead of demographics
Content Consumers instead of Forum Visitors…..
Oh, and we have formatted these terms to fit TODAYS vertical media buying world. Advertisers and Publishers can use Crowd Control (our technology) to purchase media inside of social media against verticals such as: Health and Beauty -- Fast Food, Early Technology Adopter, Wireless and Hollywood…… (to name a few)
I’ve made a commitment (in a business sense) to join the circus. I aim to carve a path with Lotame that changes Social Media Data, and its ability to unlock the power for advertisers to TALK TO CONSUMERS THAT THEY WANT TO……
Lotame is forging ahead, with targeting concepts, audience building – and definitions that will make it much easier for advertisers to embrace the world of user generated content, and Web 2.0.
The circus is coming……but without animals, railroad cars, and concessions.
We bring evolution, and change to the fastest growing form of media in the world today: Social Media.
The Peril of Hesitancy for me is NOT changing the conversation for publishers and advertisers – but continuing to use out-dated terms and technologies, that are not equipped to deal with the consumer evolutions that are radically altering the comfortable landscape of the media world…..
Like the young lady who joined the circus, Lotame is setting out to trail blaze, and pioneer how media is bought and sold in Social Media.
It’s ambitious, and our goals are lofty – but the greater risk for Lotame is going with the status quo, and not challenging our clients, and our prospects into thinking differently about their uniqueness.
“Make it Happen” was a common refrain from a former boss that I worked for. We at Lotame are making it happen daily……..
And, it is as fun and as exciting as a circus…….and there is no time to hesitate.
Monday, February 05, 2007
3 terms that are being used, overused, and simply abused, are the following:
User Generated Content
Although I have built a company focused driving value for the website owners, of the above “terms” – I have come to realize that not everyone completely understands what is evolving (from a media perspective) around them - as they use and interact with the web.
Enter Professor Michael Wesch.
Dr. Wesch has made a video that does a excellent job of explaining what the above 3 terms MEAN – and how it is being implemented, and evolving in today’s internet world.
If you have any interest in understanding what Social Media, Web 2.0, or User Generated Content – means to you, and how it affects your, interaction with the media you use, then
I recommend you do the following.
Turn up the sound – and watch the video below. Great job Dr. W.
Everyone in the United States would read THIS LETTER.
I stopped my subscription to the NY Times because they will print the most one-sided editorials -- but rarely do they present both points of view on a given subject. As a example, this type of letter (from a soldier in Iraq) would not get any coverage -- but a Maureen Dowd sarcastic piece, telling us how we are morally bankrupt, will. Or, this past Sunday, a NY Times Magazine puff piece on a a radical Islamist who was denied a visa. The NY Times focused on this poor soul being denied a visa. But, here is WHY he was denied a visa -- (which you wont read in the pages of the NY Times.)
The NY Time has become a joke, plain and simple.
(Back to the letter)
The letter was written by SGT. Eddie Jeffers, serving in Ramadi.
Here is a excerpt:
"It is absolutely sickening to me to think our country has come to this. Why are we so obsessed with the bad news? Why will people stop at nothing to be against this war, no matter how much evidence of the good we've done is thrown in their face? When is the last time CNN or MSNBC or CBS reported the opening of schools and hospitals in Iraq? Or the leaders of terror cells being detained or killed? It's all happening, but people will not let up their hatred of President Bush. They will ignore the good news, because it just might show people that Bush was right."
I encourage you to read the letter, and see if you can understand his viewpoint.
Hats off to Sgt Jeffers. His letter to the american people is HERE.
Sunday, February 04, 2007
I play in a Sunday Morning Football League, in Park Ridge NJ.
It is a very competitive league, with 8 teams, and pretty solid players.
Our game today was 8:30am, and at kickoff it was a chilly 14 degrees, and windy.
The Slugs lost 19-12, in a hard fought game.....playoffs start in 2 weeks, and our 3-4 record is NOT indicative of our games.
The Super Bowl may be this afternoon, but the BANANA SLUGS will win the ACPL.
Colts will win by 10.
Team pic below from this morning.....