Tuesday, January 31, 2006

"Every industry on the planet is being reinvented from the customer backwards. Companies need to bring as much innovation to the demand chain as they brought to the supply chain. How do customers learn about this product or service? How do they pay for it? Acquire it? Use it? Experience it?" Gary Hamel

We can all learn something from Doctor Hamel. By any measure he is the world's best strategic thinker and his observations are always loaded with insight. In the sea change that is happening in media today - from producer-centric to user-centric - his comment relative to demand chain innovation is spot on.

A few quotations included in an upcoming talk...

"You know you've achieved perfection in design, not when you have nothing more to add, but when you have nothing more to take away." Antoine de Saint-Exupery

"There is absolutely no inevitability as long as there is a willingness to contemplate what is happening." Marshall McLuhan

Friday, January 27, 2006

dil·et·tante 1. A dabbler in an art or a field of knowledge. 2. A lover of the fine arts; a connoisseur. Syn - amateur
from Dictionary.com

Elizabeth Spiers, self described "writer, dilettante, writer dilettante" and the founding snark rich voice of Gawker.com will favor us with a new read. Elizabeth bows dealbreaker.com, a "wall street gossip blog", in March. Bravo! This Alabamian is the goods - fresh, fun, witty. A writer of great promise Elizabeth could be the Dorothy Parker of the 21st century (What fresh hell is this..indeed). Her announcement is here. (Thanks to Hugh for the pointer)

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Hugh MacLeod blogs at gapingvoid, his writing is cool and his cartoons, like the one at left, are very cool. His "cartoons drawn on the back of business cards" are available for you to customize as "blog cards." I love my blog cards and always get compliments on them; Hugh now has 56 different card images on offer - I'm about to order more cards and highly recommend them. Check out the cards here

"The mentality of one-way, one-to-many media has been accumulating, layer-on-layer for more than 250 years of press history. The dramatic and surprising shift away from those conditions, which we are living though now, is going to be one long, tough, brutal, noisy, wrenching thing; but in the end it is bringing greater democracy to the means of information, and to the people who have always informed us." Jay Rosen

Jim Brady is to be commended for hosting the washingtonpost.com live panel on ethics and interactivity earlier today. The bolded comment above was lifted from Jay Rosen's closing remarks. You may find a transcript of the online event here (free rr), Jay's always good read may be found here. Deborah Howell was MIA, Jim Brady should host another live session with Howell present and participating. Get the after action from panel player Jane Hamsher via firedoglake here

Bravo Bruce Reese! From his testimony before the Senate Commerce Committee...NAB submits that a new paradigm is necessary. It is NAB’s position that any indecency legislation must have clear guidelines that are applied in a fair and consistent manner across all media providers. Consumers should have the same expectations as to all programming that comes into the home, and legislation should address the fact that consumers do not readily distinguish between programming that is provided over –the-air and other programming.
You may read his prepared remarks via pdf here

Light blogging - on the road.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

"All the guy wants is more bacon" Dean Richards

WGN's Dean Richards hosted Chicago Ed for an hour this morning. Ed talked about his three times a week dialysis (the most boring time possible), the state of Chicago radio (not as good as it could be), and talked with listeners. Ed ended the hour with a message to the management of the facility he now calls home "what's a guy got to do to get a little more breakfast...I want more bacon." I agree with Dean's review, the longer Ed was on with Dean the better he sounded. Dean deserves high praise for the hour. This morning's show served to again prove Dean to be, arguably, one of the nation's best radio performers. Chicago Eddie does need your help, he is not able to pay for his considerable medical expenses - please do send what you can...

Eddie Schwartz Fund
c/o The Private Bank and Trust Co
10 N Dearborn, Chicago, IL 60602

You may find Chicago Ed on the web here

Friday, January 20, 2006

"The test of an innovation is whether it creates value. Innovation means the creation of new value and new satisfaction for the customer" Peter Drucker

Brian Kelly, Operations Manager of Entercom's Milwaukee cluster and programming chief of KISS FM (WXSS) is, without question, one of the best programming executives in the business. It is a joy to listen to Kelly's KISS FM, everything on the station works; the station is alive, fresh and entertaining. Congrats to Brian and his team on their outstanding fall ratings - well deserved.

Paul Marszalek, managing partner of Media Mechanics makes the case that podcasting for profit ain't a bad thing. Paul is exactly correct, especially on these key points...

Public radio’s current business model is, to be blunt, broken. We must move quickly but wisely to adopt new technologies and to adapt the business model to the future.

If anyone was afraid that podcasting would crush public radio’s business model in the short run, he or she may feel relieved that it hasn’t. But he or she may not like how consumer behavior changes in time.

The bottom line here is: We in public radio have a huge opportunity with new technologies, but we might have only one or two chances to get it right.

Bravo Paul - well said. Read all of Paul's comments here

Good reading from The Economist - King Content, Don't write off Hollywood and the big media groups just yet...

Any media business has two products to sell: its content (to readers and viewers); and its audience (to advertisers). The task for old media is first to protect its advertising revenues by amassing audiences online and, second, to offset their viewers' intolerance of mass-advertising by making them pay more for content—which they are increasingly willing to do. It will not be easy, but then saving the heroine never was. Read the entire article here

Thursday, January 19, 2006

"Creativity and innovation function best in an atmosphere of fun and foment. Creativity hardly functions at all in an atmosphere of politics and fear" David Ogilvy

Mark Glaser (left) has launched the PBS blog...

Repeat after me. We the MEDIA-LOVING, MEDIA-DRENCHED people of these United States, in order to form a more perfect UNION complete with viewer participation, establish a JUST media distribution system, insure domestic tranquility and the GOD-GIVEN RIGHT TO ZAP COMMERCIALS, provide for our common defense against MEDIA BIGWIGS who seek to control our lives, promote the general welfare and QUALITY PROGRAMMING in which we have a VOICE, secure the blessings of liberty and FREEDOM to blog to our heart's content, do ordain and establish that we will WATCH, LISTEN, READ and WRITE what we want when we want it, on OUR OWN TERMS! Jump to Mark's blog, Mediashift, here

Ilya Vedrashko, a grad student at MIT, is blogging about the future of advertising and ad tech, check it out here (thanks to Jarvis for the pointer)

Rebecca Blood posted an email interview with Doctor Dave, a good read here

Erik Sass of Media Post offers up another pov on the Google dMarc acquistion. Quoting Dave Newmark of Bid4Spots he writes...

...Newmark put his finger on the anxiety caused by Google's move within the businesses most directly in the search giant's path: "The big unknown is how the media agencies who control most of the dollars and the radio station management will respond to this initiative. Essentially, what's done is to cut out the radio sales management and media buying industries, but I think most people still agree you need that human element to direct media intelligently."

Erik also includes comments from Gregg Lindahl for my money one of the best and brightest working in media today. The entire post is here

Finally, from the "There's one born every minute" department...the sex dot com domain was sold this week for 14 million dollars. Only in America folks.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

"...this Googleization should be far more valuable for Internet-delivered radio than broadcast radio" Kurt Hanson

My friend Kurt Hanson has collected some of the writing on Google's dMarc acquisition and also offers up his own thoughtful comments here

Forbes' Peter Kafka offers up his analysis, Radio Google, here

My congrats to Chad and Ryan Steelberg, they have done an excellent job to date and provided the resources of Google the smart money bet is more amazing things are on the way.

Fred Wilson serves up his take and the usual good read of comments follow on here

Before you buy any of the noise concerning "the end of broadcast radio sales as we know it" keep in mind that the automation and/or semi-automation of the broadcast radio and television sales functions have been coming now for well on a decade. I do applaud Google for getting into the audio game and commend them on making the first play with the brothers Steelberg - smart move.

Kevin Ohannessian over at Fast Company lends his view, This Jingle Brought to You by Google, here

In other news the feds (DOJ) want Google data to help make their case in a renewed chase of the so-called internet child protection law. So far Google has said no but did Yahoo and MSN say yes? The feds say others are playing along. Read all about it here

Monday, January 16, 2006

"In all of art it's the singer not the song" Penn Jillette

The legendary Pat O'Day has written a fine review of radio today. Via blatherWatch...

MUSIC RADIO UNDER THE GUIDANCE OF GEEKY, unqualified, non-creative, clueless program directors is gradually handing its audience over to iPods, and satellite programming.

Without great performers, without solid, gripping, electrifying personalities with the ability to reach through the speaker and grab you by the ears, talk radio is just another boring diversion in a world packed with excitement.

Blame should be placed on stations that rely only on research for direction. Blame should be placed on GM’s and PD’s who haven’t the ability to listen and truly understand the difference between sensational communication and mundane jabber. If a GM or PD has to wait for the book to come out to know how their station is doing, they were miscast in their positions.

The guiding light in great radio, and to great news talk radio can be reduced to three things: Great showbiz, great theater, great imagination, all engineered with common sense.

Read the entire post in Part One here and check out Part Two here. Bravo Pat, well said!

PBS launches a blog this week. Sign-up to get email notice when Mark Glaser's blog goes live here

Thursday, January 12, 2006

"Begin somewhere; you cannot build a reputation on what you intend to do." Liz Smith

Chicago radio star Eddie Schwartz needs your help. Chicago Ed's kidney dialysis treatment is costing him more than everything he has. Robert Feder has written about Eddie here. Please join me in helping Eddie, send what you can...

Eddie Schwartz Fund
c/o The Private Bank and Trust Co
10 N Dearborn, Chicago, IL 60602

Yahoo gets serious about the remix culture - word is they have acquired (or are in the process of buying) Webjay - congrats to Yahoo and, of course, to Lucas Gonze. Next stop musicmobs?

The James Frey mess has reached the out of control point. Congrats and kudos to TSG gang for their work in breaking the story. Shame on Orprah - should it prove to be true that her folks are deleting unfavorable comments on her BookClub board - please say it ain't so O. Full TSG coverage here. kottke has a full range of comments in process here.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

"For 24 hours a day, seven days a week, the strip hosts the most violent competition in business" Steve Wynn

Retail is rich with metaphor. I will admit a rabid fascination and deep respect for retail. Back in the day Kevin Sweeney would conduct sales training on Saturdays and Sundays. The fun part of Sundays with Kevin was going through the Sunday papers looking at ads and then going shopping. We once "shopped" the junior department at Marshall Field in search of what was and was not "happening"(That evaluation got us an appointment with the top execs at Field's but no order). Great lessons in marketing (and in retail selling) would follow back in the conference room where Kevin would opine on what we had not seen.

Is Bartolotta the finest Italian restaurant in America? My vote would go to Marc Vetri and crew at Vetri in Philadelphia, however, Paul Bartolotta's room at Wynn Las Vegas is my new second place winner. The room is beautiful, the service is exceptional, the food is amazing...everything is crisp and fresh. "Multa bene" as my friend Commander Larry Glick would say. One of the lessons of Wynn Las Vegas is what is not outside - no volcano, no theater on the boat, no dancing waters, no attraction whatever viewed from the street. This time the brilliant Mr Wynn has taken the adventure inside and this time around he has bested his best.
A trip to Wynn Las Vegas and a careful study of what is and is not happening offers perhaps one of the best clinics on marketing that money can buy. This is graduate level homework.

Bravo to David Hinckley who correctly credits talk on commercial FM radio with two big wins in the city, second and third in PM drive. No music on a music station? Listen for what's not there. Big picture here.

Kottke shares his best links of 2005 - Bravo! - check em out here

Jaffe reviews the bidding on Super Bowl ads here

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

"Cirque du Soleil succeeded because it realized that to win in the future, companies must stop competing with each other. The only way to beat the competition is to stop trying to beat the competition." Kim & Mauborgne - Blue Ocean Strategy

One of my favorite business books of last year, highly recommended. According to published reports the Cirque gang sells one million dollars a day in tickets - but wait, there's more - that's only daily ticket sales in Las Vegas.

There is no such thing as a mature industry and the brilliant Cirque du Soleil folks have proven it again period. One of the discovery learning tools we use at work involves getting everyone in a counter-intuitive frame of mind - looking and listening for what is NOT there. One of the first Cirque productions was titled "We Reinvent the Circus." Give it a try...a circus with no elephants? (My thanks to Wes Spencer). More on the book...Amazon's got it for under twenty bucks here

Saturday, January 07, 2006

"Give me the luxuries of life and I will willingly do without the necessities" Frank Lloyd Wright

Steve Wynn is a genius. His new property, Wynn Las Vegas, is a work of fine art, it is an amazing place without equal. We just returned having spent the last days of 2005 and the first days of 2006 at Steve Wynn's beautiful resort. Open a little over eight months, they're still at work on some issues but overall they deserve high marks. The gentleman that once promised "a wonderment" has delivered, Wynn is a place of rare beauty. As Gary Owens once said "don't miss it if you can." Happy New Year! You may find Wynn Las Vegas on the web here