Wednesday, December 06, 2006

"If you are not criticized, you may not be doing much." William Swanson

Swanson's Unwritten Rules of Management:
unwritten rule number 3

"It is common, especially among those assuming positions of responsibility for the first time, to avoid decisions and thus the risk of criticism. No one enjoys criticism - either having to justify one's decisions or, on occasion, acknowledge error. But there is also a risk in avoiding decisions. Small problems now can fester and grow into big problems later. Opportunities today can disappear tomorrow. Remember: problems are not like wine and cheese; they do not get better with age.

By all means, don't be rash, but do make decisions. That's why you were given the responsibility in the first place. Calculated risks may be appropriate. However, be thoughtful: do not make the same mistake twice. You will learn from your many decisions that turn out well and you will learn even more from the few that do not. During one of my early appraisals, my manager said "I do believe this young man has made every mistake once, but never twice." I hope he was exaggerating a little, but you get the point.

I can tell you that some of my most criticized decisions eventually turned out to be best for the company."

Enjoyed a fun dinner last night with my friend Lee Harris. We had a good meal with fine service at Lombardino's. Never had a bad meal at Lombardino's, the place is consistently good. Kudos to Marcia and Patrick O'Halloran and crew
Romaine lettuce tossed with croutons, Parmigiano-Reggiano
& lemon-anchovy dressing, garnished with an anchovy,
olive tapenade & a hard-cooked egg $6

Tis the season: Forecasting 2007 ad spend. Steve King, CEO at ZenithOptimedia says the online spend will increase 29% from 2006. He also suggests local radio will grow 1.5% (on the day job we are projecting 1.6% as written here previously, about triple the growth we forecast for TV, the single most troubled measured media next year) and a 2% increase for the dead tree guys. More from Stuart Elliot via NYT Troubling '07 Forecast for the Old-Line Media but Not for the Online here

Exactly wrong: The NBC News team buried the lede. It is not that there were fewer commercial interruptions it was the simple, unique point of difference that there was MORE NEWS. The greater story count and more minutes of news is a very strong position, one that CBS and ABC would probably fail to address. Sometimes you are not looking at the forest or the trees but the bark, lost in the daily press of detail. As Gary Hamel says "Perspective is worth 10 IQ points." The most valuable perspective is to understand what is happening, or not happening, on the viewer's side of the screen.

Exactly right: John Battelle writes...

"What does this tell us about how these major media companies are thinking about interactive? Well, I'll go out on a limb here. I think the moguls are thinking along these lines:

1. Interactive is now a very important, profitable, and growing business.

2. We can't afford to not view this as strategic to our future.

3. We need someone running theses sites who is not an interactive "cowboy," it's time to grow up and treat it like any other major piece of our conglomerated business.

4. Therefore, I need "one of my own" running these businesses, and I expect them to deliver just like the folks who run my radio, TV, print, and/or other major asset groups.

5. "One of my own" is someone who lives and breathes my world - the world of Very Large Media Companies that Own A Boatload Of Intellectual Property Assets and have Massive Investments In Huge, Controlled Distribution Networks.

A perfectly logical and reasonable train of thought. And I'm not about to predict that AOL, Fox Interactive Media, or CBS Digital are going to fail because they've hired new blood. I am sure the folks who are now running these properties understand the depth and breadth of the shifts occurring in the Major Media Company businesses - but are they going to be empowered to do what they need to do to truly win in their respective markets?" Read John's entire post here

Bravo John! Well said.

Tis the season 2: The days of the year end lists have arrived. Here's a good one by ZDNet's Mitch Ratcliffe Best business and technology books of 2006 here (my thanks to Scobleizer for the tip)

Mike Phillips, the tributes: A web page is up with links to various tributes honoring the great gentleman programmer here (my thanks to those who sent it along)