Thursday, December 13, 2007

"The end of all method is to seem to have no method." Lu Ch'Ai

"It's all one to me: opera, painting, drawing, faxes." David Hockney

"Do you think an advertisement can sell if nobody can read it? You cannot save souls in an empty church." David Ogilvy

Today's image: Hands up by m.pastwa; Great shot, cool stencil, thanks for sharing!

More year-end lists: 7th Annual Year in Ideas - New York Times. Books of the Year 2007 - The Economist. The Best of 2007 (Books) - The Village Voice.

They presented yesterday at LeWeb3 and they deserve our attention - Ninemillion.

Bonus: Shopping Guide for the Data-Addicted Lovin my chumby

More music: thesixtyone - a music adventure A new entry in the fold of music discovery sites.

Another fine waste of bandwidth: Take the Traveler IQ Challenge

Writers on strike, or not: AMPTP and the related spoof site. Contrast and compare. Exhibit A on the importance of locking down both the .org and the .com domains. Thanks to Dr Dave for the tip.

Another one of my eight to watch in 08: Scobleizer (now on his way to FastCompany, congrats, and all the best Robert!)

Congrats & cheers: Scott Anger to head up a new video unit at The LA Times. Michael Rosenblum has the back story here. Radio programming ace Greg Ausham is heading to Clear Channel, Lee Arnold, the raconteur of rock, has the detail here.

It's official: Radio talker Jay Marvin is now Guilty by Suspicion

Perspective is worth ten IQ points: Thomas P.M. Barnett offers us exactly the right pov on what's happening with our Secretary of State. Read Rice as the realists' poison pill here. Kudos Thomas! My sense is every candidate for POTUS would benefit from a sit down with Thomas. He is one of the best and brightest, a strategist practically without equal. The gentleman is a national treasure.

Have something to say


Lessons learned on killer content.

While working for the legendary Boone & Erickson I asked them, what makes a great show?

They told me something magic happens when you connect, when you relate on a personal, topical level.

The example they gave me was a stopped clock in a public place. "Did you notice? The clock at 4th and Main has stopped? Yeah, it says 9:30, what's going on?"

Immediately, those that noticed the stopped clock are dialed in (Yeah, what is going on?). Those that were not aware are now plugged in (Yeah, I knew about it). Moreover, the word is out, the game's afoot. Making the audience smart(er) is a wonderful thing.

Rush told me the best advice to give any new talk host is "don't take calls" in the early going. His counsel being...the first goal is to have something to say, you must develop your own voice.

Recently engaged in developing a new breakfast show for TV.

The most difficult part of the work was getting the talent to stop thinking about what they were saying and start focusing on what the audience was hearing and seeing. The now too popular ensemble casting has created a false creative premise, that every player must have something to say, every time.

I was reminded of something the great radio star Fred Winston once shared: "Always employ the butcher's rule - expose the meat, this requires one to cut the fat." Fred went on to suggest the role of the show's lead was "to lead, you must learn to edit on the fly."

Most asked questions of 2007. Asked and answered.

The question that I am most asked by talent, this year and every year, is about how to break through.

How does one get that big job, how do you get the break that puts you into the big show and the big money?

FYI - No matter the profession, I tend to get basically the same question. From managers, lawyers, bankers, accountants, real estate agents, politicians, fellow speakers, sales people, and just about every other professional. The only common theme here is they tend not to ask the question during Q&A but one-on-one after my talk.

My response has remained the same for years now.

It's the same response I gave to two CEOs in the last thirty days when they complained about their stock price.

I quote the gifted performer, writer and comedian Steve Martin.

Please allow me to suggest his brilliant counsel will work, will serve you well, in any line of work.

"Be so good they can't ignore you."

The second most asked question is the one managers ask.

How exactly do we go from good to great?

8 to be great. The eight - proven to be most effective - first steps.

1. Constantly ask the most important question - Why? Think! Remember questions are more important than answers.

2. Learn to admit the most difficult truth, have the courage to say it out loud - "I don't know." This is how learning begins.

3. When people make obvious, stupid mistakes they are usually aware the nanosecond it happens, don't make a big deal out of it. If you must make some mention of it do it quickly, in private and don't bring it up again. If your team is not failing you're not pushing hard enough, not trying enough new stuff. To succeed sooner you must learn how to fail faster.

4. Start catching people doing things right and do make a big deal out of it. Celebrate success!

5. Measure! Metrics matter. Measure against yourself, others in your space, and the larger world around you. Focus on changing the game. Change the denominator, stop fussing around and obsessing (only) with the status quo numerator. Create new competitive space.

6. Have fun. Dare to ask every person on your team "Are you having fun?" Hard work is the given, however, if you, and they, are not having fun, get out. Nothing great was ever achieved without some good measure of fun baked into the process.

7. Stop working hard to get better and start working harder to get different, dramatically different!

8. Listening is more important than talking. Listen. Readers are leaders.