Wednesday, October 11, 2006

"There is no great trick to doing research. The problem is to get people to use it - particularly when the research reveals that you have been making mistakes." David Ogilvy

Ogilvy was a giant, a lion in advertising's forest. We can all learn something from this great gentleman.

Ogilvy on hiring: "The paramount problem you face is this: advertising is one of the most difficult functions in industry, and too few brilliant people want careers in advertising. The challenge is to recruit people who are able enough to do the difficult work our clients require from us.

  1. Make a conscious effort to avoid recruiting dull, pedestrian hacks.
  2. Create an atmosphere of ferment, innovation and freedom. This will attract brilliant recruits.
If you ever find a man who is better than you are - hire him. If necessary, pay him more that you pay yourself."

The latest issue of The Economist features an outstanding cover story - "The search for talent. Why it's getting harder to find." Adrian Wooldridge has done an excellent job in creating his brief, a special survey of talent section in the book headed "The battle for brainpower." Adrian writes...

"Talent has become the world's most sought-after commodity...the shortage is causing serious problems...structural changes are making talent ever more important. The deepest such change is the rise of intangible but talent-intensive assets. Baruch Lev, a professor of accounting at New York University, argues that “intangible assets”—ranging from a skilled workforce to patents to know-how—account for more than half of the market capitalisation of America's public companies. Accenture, a management consultancy, calculates that intangible assets have shot up from 20% of the value of companies in the S&P 500 in 1980 to around 70% today."

Highly recommend this writing. Recruiting, developing and retaining talent is a critically important job at every creative enterprise. Next to planning (doing one's homework), recruiting and development offer the best ROI of any activity. The smart kids are continuously recruiting. Read more of Adrian's special section here

Google buys YouTube, critics surface. Nothing brings out the wags like the $1.6 B acquisition of a company that has yet to make a profit. The point that folks are missing is Google is not in the search or traffic business, they are a high tech media company in the advertising business. My sense is the Google gang will make it work. Watch.

Google Coupons: Cheers and congrats to the Google Coupon crew. Using the coupons for our retail store and they work like a charm. Another Google job well done!

One or none. Not enough for two pay radio guys. Jimmy Cramer, master of the lightnin round, has said that Mel needs to pick up the phone and get something done or risk being gone. JC is spot-on, again.

Oklahoma: Wunderkind Phil Hall work...teaching - leading a programming workshop for OAB this week. Bravo Phil! Expect big things to come for Mr Hall.

The little Indiana company that could: The #1 iTunes affiliate is Yahoo, #2 is Emmis. Congrats and kudos to Jeff, Rick and the Emmis Interactive team on a job well done.

"Try something!" The long standing battle cry of Tom Peters. Tom uses House (arguably the best written and certainly one of the best acted dramas now on screen) in making a brilliant case about leadership, to wit:

House/Hugh Laurie

Newtonian!!!!! (Experimental method is sacred!!!!!!!)
Acknowledge, even revel in what we don’t know
Crystalline clarity of reasoning
Intuitive leaps (often wrong, but acknowledges that error is the key success driver—e.g., Brilliant Failed experiments)
Breathtaking speed! (Fast tries. “Fastest ‘O.O.D.A. Loops’ win”—John Boyd)
Action! Action! Action!
Test! Test! Test!
Failures acknowledged instantly (as important as success;
next try starts immediately without fanfare)
Carefully controlled experimentation-Hypothesis tests (e.g., stop all drugs, add back one at a time)
Problem-centric, not patient-centric (Life = Puzzle-solving)
In a (life or death) rush, yet orderly about the scientific process
Aggressive risk taking (What’s the alternative?) (Can appear reckless to others)
Exudes inspiring confidence (especially when the success odds are low)
Sky high staff standards
Doesn’t suffer fools lightly (especially bosses)
Hates ... routine/paperwork/problems that don’t enhance his understanding
Students as scientific peers (but demands loyalty)
Constant, impromptu mini-Brainstorm sessions (Thinking = Cool)
Calm though life and death at stake (must view-measure
results of experiments as cleanly as possible)
Egocentric (but allow data to sway—or reverse—opinion)
Tenacious! Relentless!
Obsessed! (rotten at “work-life balance”)