Monday, March 31, 2008

"Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it." Goethe

"Until one is committed there is always hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness." W.N. Murray

"To be confused about what is different is to be confused about everything." David Bohm

Today's image: Back.Door by Chris (archi3d). Beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

The big picture: Frank Nothaft is the chief economist at Freddie Mac. He recently gave a talk at the National Economist Club, his Mortgage and Housing Outlook. The seven word take away - great time to be in the market. For those able to qualify the cost of money is attractive. As the credit markets relate to media, this is a very good opportunity for asset buyers, especially privately held cash buyers. Related: Albert Edwards of Societe Generale on today's market " economic bubble, financed by ridiculously loose monetary policy, is unraveling" For ad-supported local media the metric to watch is retail sales. Experience has taught retail sales and ad spend while imperfectly correlated do seem to run in a pattern, an almost sympathetic rhythm. The Easter Bunny showing up in March certainly didn't help retail this quarter (the rabbit's last March appearance happened in 1913). So as retail remains soft so more than likely will the ad spend. JC Penny is said to have turned in a same-store March off double-digits.

Bloggers behaving badly: Not a week passes without an email containing a link to some blog rant on something gone wrong in broadcast. Those emailing me often ask for my take or simply share with the thought that my blog should link to the rant. Please allow me to offer a bit of reasoning as to why most of those links fail to appear here. Further, let me pose a question - what, if anything, can be learned from these rants?

First, some perspective.

My sense is too often these rants go well beyond snark and are nothing more than ad hominem attacks (properly, these tend to be one of four popular flavors: argumentum ad hominem, argumentum ad individium, argumentum ad populum or argumentum ex silentio). Review of related post comments suggest these attacks are frequently chased by the anonymous, some, the now usual suspects, are trolls, few offer their real name.

A short list of those blogging (or commenting on) broadcast subject matter actually sign their work. Many of those deserve our respect, they're doing (or have done) professional work that gives them credibility. I commend those few who do blog/comment in the open, understanding many are those wanting to weigh in but not able to use their real names without jeopardy to employment. Nonetheless signed or not some are posting rants that are nothing more than pure trash talking bravado. I don't care to share links to such here. "For shameful deeds are taught by shameful deeds" so said Sophocles.

The boards dedicated to broadcast are almost exclusively anonymous. When registration is required those posting might be using one consistent id however without knowing the posting ip readers have no way of knowing how many different identities the same individual may actually employ. In the wild west of boards w/o registration the majority of id seems truly ad hoc.

Some bloggers and a great many board posters have something in common with cab drivers and those in the hair cutting trade, each having managed to crack the code and offer not just an opinion but a bullet proof solution to the most difficult issues of the day. No Gordian knot too challenging. Genius!

To our question. What, if anything, can be learned from this social noise?

As it happens there are recurring themes, patterns in this conversation that may indeed, in context, prove to be valuable. Discounting w/o merit the angry, bitter and typically mean-spirited contributions of the un/under employed, we are witness to a significant body of pov, some informed and considered.

Dissenting opinion deserves a fair hearing.

Many of the problems in broadcast today were created at the top of the organization (a case could be made that corporate remains the wellspring of all problems). There seems to be a very real disconnect today between top leadership and those in the field. What the internet channel provides is a real-time forum that fosters dissent, an important feedback loop offering some well reasoned thought, thought perhaps not frequently enough being transmitted via formal company channels. One of the first warning signs of deep and serious organizational problems is a lack of complaint. When they don't care enough to complain they have most likely given up and retired on the job. It is the social nature of those working in an enterprise to at times be critical of management or in the least vocal, opinionated concerning bad or ineffectual policy/practice to some degree; it is the responsibility of management to stay in tune with the conversations of those working at the business end of the venture. Effective leadership encourages dissent because it opens the door to understanding. Progress demands an understanding of and a sensitivity to the practical reality; it's the unvarnished truth that helps to spark the friction of genuine innovation.

Friday, March 28, 2008

"The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn't said." Peter Drucker

"Consumers are most honest and accurate about their feelings when they are complaining." Phil Dusenberry

"Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning." Bill Gates

Today's image: Winter's Silence...Listen - you can hear it... by hbp pix. Wonderful. Thanks for sharing.

We have a winner: Lone star legend Ron Chapman is the goods and doing a simply amazing job sitting in for Paul Harvey. Bravos to Ron! (kudos to ABC)

Bonus: Create web video mashups with Omnisio. Very cool.

So out of the box hot you need an asbestos browser: Muxtape

Congrats & cheers: Leah Kamon joins RAB as SVP, Marketing & Communications. Radio programming ace Tom Oakes changes up the game with the launch of "Alaska's Untamed Radio."

Coming up next: A lesson on the economy from Frank Nothaft, what we can learn from negative bloggers and why Adkins never had a chance against Morgan.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple and wrong." H.L. Mencken

"The reason men oppose progress is not that they hate progress, but that they love inertia." Elbert Hubbard

"Expensive advertising courts us with hints and images. The ordinary kind merely says, Buy." Mason Cooley

Today's image: Hey Tina! by konderminator. Fun shot. Thanks for sharing.

"If the news is that important, it will find me."

“There are lots of times where I’ll read an interesting story online and send the U.R.L. to 10 friends,” said Lauren Wolfe, 25, the president of College Democrats of America. “I’d rather read an e-mail from a friend with an attached story than search through a newspaper to find the story.”

In one sense, this social filter is simply a technological version of the oldest tool in politics: word of mouth. Jane Buckingham, the founder of the Intelligence Group, a market research company, said the “social media generation” was comfortable being in constant communication with others, so recommendations from friends or text messages from a campaign — information that is shared, but not sought — were perceived as natural.

Ms. Buckingham recalled conducting a focus group where one of her subjects, a college student, said, “If the news is that important, it will find me.”

Read the entire story by Timesman Brian Stelter - Finding Political News Online, the Young Pass It On - here. Kudos, Brian. Well done.

The lesson seems clear. Your assets must be digital. Those digital assets must be discoverable. Assets must be export friendly, content clear to receivers (headline driven permalinks, etc). Further, we can make the reasonable argument that the so-called news cycle has imploded. We are living in the moment, a world of news in what is practically real-time. Every story being in some stage of developing. Increasingly, your main page is less and less relevant, no longer the most prized asset. Related discussion: Jeff Jarvis, Terry Heaton.

Bonus: The Twenty-Five Most Valuable Blogs. Thanks to 24/7 Wall St. Nick's Gawker Media #1 w/$150 mil, Arianna's Huff #3 w/$70 mil, Drudge is tied at #8, w/$10 mil. All are guess-timated back of the envelope "values."

Firefox 3, the final edition: ships in June. Beta 4 is working fine here.

Now, someone really is watching you: Google turns on YouTube stats. Tracy Chan has the inside here. Bravos to the Googlers.

Fred Wilson: is teaching your kids about george carlin considered good parenting? it is in my book Fred's Twitter is chased via Quotably here.

Congrats & cheers: Matt McAlister London bound, joins the Guardian.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

"The aim of every authentic artist is not to conform to the history of art but to release himself from it in order to replace it with his own history." Harold Rosenberg

"In a time of drastic change it is the learners who inherit the future; while the learned usually find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists." Eric Hoffer

"Have the courage to act instead of react." Oliver Wendell Holmes

Today's image: Evil by EvilxElf. Amazing. Thank you for sharing.

"It's morning again in America" the 1984 Reagan presidential campaign slogan written by the brilliant Hal Riney.

We have lost Hal Riney one of the greatest copywriters in the history of American advertising. He passed Monday due to cancer. Once a creative wizard at Ogilvy & Mather, he started that agency's west coast office in San Francisco, bought it in 1985 (renaming it Hal Riney & Partners) and sold his very successful shop to Publicis in 1998.

It was another legendary ad man Bill Bernbach who taught "You can say the right thing about a product, and nobody will listen. You've got to say it in such a way that people feel it in their gut. Because if they don't feel it, nothing will happen." Riney wrote copy that made people feel something, his writing was uniquely visceral in a way that revealed his penetrating intellect. Beyond his considerable gifts as a writer, director, producer and creative genius, Riney was also a voice actor without equal. His remarkable and memorable reads caught the ear, engaged the mind and lingered. His style was in fact so different that shops, producers and clients alike sought out announcers who could pull off that warm, arresting "Riney-esque" delivery. His was the voice of that famous Reagan campaign, the introduction campaign for Saturn (a revolutionary intro he also masterminded) and many others.

He hired on a young songwriter to compose original music for his California client Crocker National Bank. Paul Williams wrote "We've Only Just Begun" for Hal, the tune later becoming the hit record by the Carpenters. Hal may hold the record for writing successful ads. For one client alone (Bartles & Jaymes) he wrote 153 ads. He was also responsible for "naming" that brand. As the story goes he picked the Bartles and Jaymes names out of a phone book. Hal continues to be an inspiration to me and generations of others in advertising and marketing. His "soft-sell" approach was truly contrarian, Riney was a thinking person's creative force in an ad game too often gimmick heavy. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife and children.

Read more about the great Hal Riney here. Times obit here.

Bloomberg reports: "The ad market has been stuck in the mud for ten months" More here.

Word to the wise: Jack Myers knocks the cover completely off the ball to wit:

"Among the leading online and digital media companies, the dearth of sales executives experienced in the traditional media marketplace will be an albatross, slowing their progress and acceptance. Filling executive roles with skilled network sales executives, who also have proven online sales credentials, will be a priority."

Bravos, Jack! Read his entire writing here.

Got your radical innovation, right here: I am often asked to suggest practical paths broadcast firms can use to spark, encourage real innovation, especially in broadcast sales. My response has remained the same for some years now. HRD. Develop the people who develop your profits.

HRD (human resources development) is a powerful, game-changing and sustainable strategy. The question typically leads to my first question - "What, exactly, are you doing now to develop your people?"

Holding sales managers (and other team leaders) accountable for training and development is an appropriate first step. The mistake most often made is expecting department managers to serve as effective trainers, coaches or developers without the benefit of formal training. Being a successful trainer, a good coach or an effective developer requires skill sets unique to each task. While your sales manager might be a great department head (one skill set) s/he may not have the aptitude, interest, ability or bandwidth to become a skilled trainer, coach or developer.

Let me put this into proper perspective - adult learning (i.e., adult education) is actually a serious business involving tradecraft, it's a disciplined art. What it is not is something one can simply pick-up overnight. To get good at it you'll need to be willing to devote your entire career to it in your spare time. The wonderful news in this regard is there are a great many resources available to help you learn how to be an effective trainer, a successful coach, or a productive developer.

On the day job one of the things we do is help organizations bring out the best in their people. Part of this process involves trade secrets well known to professional trainers and teachers. Please allow me to share one of those secrets here today.

Learn one, do one, teach one.

"Learn one, do one, teach one" is an important principle used in medical training, it's one of the valuable secrets that helps trainers, coaches and developers crack the code in creating successful HRD initiatives. It all begins with learning. It begins with being hungry. It's all about transfer of training to practical application in the field, in the workplace, on the street where it counts.

I want my RAB

If you work in radio let me suggest and highly recommend the RAB. Putting RAB training resources to work will make a significant difference at your station and that difference will begin to happen almost immediately. If you're a radio programming, creative services, production or marketing/promotion exec I encourage you to get access to the RAB materials - ask your sales manager. Everybody at your station is in sales (or in the least sales support) and if not odds are better than even that you're wasting valuable time working for the wrong company. Closed circuit to radio CEOs: The RAB can tell you exactly how your team is (or is not) making use of RAB online resources. Put a call to the RAB on today's to-do list and begin your own radical innovation. You'll be glad you did.

Caught both parts of Bush's War, the Frontline series on PBS last night. Very well done. Highly recommended. Watch it online here. Online chat with producer Michael Kirk, today at 11 am eastern here.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

"Theories should be as simple as possible, but no simpler." Albert Einstein

"There are in fact two things: science and opinion; the former begets knowledge, the latter ignorance." Hippocrates

"It is better to be roughly right than precisely wrong." J.M. Keynes

Today's image: Day 79 - f o c u s by margolove. Outstanding. Thanks for sharing.

Eric Alterman on the dead tree gang: Out of Print, The death and life of the American newspaper...

"...we are about to enter a fractured, chaotic world of news, characterized by superior community conversation but a decidedly diminished level of first-rate journalism. The transformation of newspapers from enterprises devoted to objective reporting to a cluster of communities, each engaged in its own kind of “news”––and each with its own set of “truths” upon which to base debate and discussion––will mean the loss of a single national narrative and agreed-upon set of “facts” by which to conduct our politics. News will become increasingly “red” or “blue.” This is not utterly new. Before Adolph Ochs took over the Times, in 1896, and issued his famous “without fear or favor” declaration, the American scene was dominated by brazenly partisan newspapers."

Read the entire piece via The New Yorker here. Kudos, Eric. Interesting read.

Wayback machine: Clay Shirky, RIP The Consumer, 1990-1999, May 2000...

"To profit from its symbiotic relationship with advertisers, the mass media required two things from its customers - size and silence...In retrospect, mass media's position in the 20th century was an anomoly and not an inevitability. There have always been both one-way and two-way media - pamphlets vs. letters, stock tickers vs. telegraphs - but in the 20th century the TV so outstripped the town square that we came to assume that 'large audience' necessarily meant 'passive audience', even though size and passivity are unrelated. With the internet, we have the world's first large, active medium, but when it got here no one was ready for it, least of all the poeple who have learned to rely on the consumer's quiescent attention while the Lucky Strike boxes tapdance across the screen."

Clay's argument helps to explain the pain. The pain of broadcasters. Clay suggests broadcasters have been working in an anomalous enterprise. My sense is he's correct. The communication and media businesses as we have known them have reached another series of end stages creating new opportunities for something new. A moment in time that media studies thinker and researcher George Burns once called the condition of start. This seems to hold especially true for public media. Once the blessed province of broadcast as finer art, an important original intention in commercial broadcast, public media is now living in an age of finer art in absolute abundance. Linear offerings fighting for attention, time and wallet in a wild world of free plug and play. There has never been a more opportune time to focus on getting different, to abandon the dated and potentially dangerous notion of getting better. Getting better is now long past its best used by date. Change the denominator!

Thinking Different: KEXP a Seattle-based listener supported station is simulcasting in the city. Thanks to Cory Bergman for the story via LR here. Smart, these guys are getting into the export business. All your DMAs are belong to us. Bravos and cheers to team KEXP!

And the beat goes on: Mel and pay radio will end up needing more than a good deal with the commission, they're going to need a radically different business model. Firing the majority of staff, outsourcing to the lowest bidders and restructuring deals won't even begin to get it done. The last published account of their combined ad billings was less than the annualized billings of one successful FM station. As written here previously, in the very best possible case, pay radio will be to audio what HBO is to video. A modest niche business, nothing more. After decades of great marketing and an impressive portfolio of killer original product HBO enjoys 28 mil subs, Mel should be so lucky. Forget booking that Christmas party at Michaels, they'll probably be able to hold this year's all hands celebration on an elevator. Stay tuned.

The big picture: T2 Partners, a New York-based hedge fund, has issued a report on the credit and mortgage crisis wherein they offer their considered opinion that we are "still in the early innings" of the market collapse, seeing "only the tip of the enormous wave of defaults, foreclosures and auctions is just beginning to hit" Combine this pov with other recent reports (e.g., Bloomberg, Fortune, MediaBuyerPlanner) add the glut of media properties now on the market and we are able to reach a reasonable conclusion - we are approaching perhaps one of the most perfect recent windows of opportunity for asset buyers with cash.

Save that date: April 14, RAIN Summit 08, Las Vegas, details here. Highly recommended!

Congrats & cheers: Chandler Bigelow named CFO at Tribune. Radio ace Tom Baker named iGM of Greater Media Detroit. Ethan Beard joins Facebook. Whole Foods 365 Pacific Rim Blend whole bean coffee - wonderful!

Monday, March 24, 2008

"Never express yourself more clearly, than you are able to think." Niels Bohr

"The art of being wise is the art of knowing what to overlook." William James

"Rules are for the obedience of fools and the guidance of wise men." David Ogilvy

Today's image: The great below by Violator 3. Interesting shot. Thank you for sharing.

Official: A short blast of afternoon snow yesterday and now Madison is over 100 inches of precip this season. Ok, I'm over it, no more Ice Station Zebra.

Next FCC Chair: Names in the (very) early bidding include Julius Genachowski (Obama), Susan Ness (Clinton) and Pablo Chavez (McCain). These w/out regard to those now working at the Portals.

More fun with Twitter: Quotably - Follow Twitter Conversations. (FD - I'm hooked on FriendFeed)

It's the attention, stupid: Is it really the "saddest, stupidest sentence" ever? You decide.

First tribe of wireless saves the day, again. So you're in a cab heading into the city from LGA when traffic stops. Where does your driver get the 411 needed to navigate? Text? Cell? On board nav? Nope. 1010 WINS, wins the day.

400-year death spiral continues...

Rick Edmonds, a business analyst at the Poynter Institute and one of the authors of a new report, “State of the News Media 2008,” from the Project for Excellence in Journalism, thinks this year will be a doozy.

“You already were looking at more of the same, which has not been good, and now with the potential of a recession, you are looking at the possibility of double-digit declines in earnings and revenues,” he said. “This is a year when some of the newer players may be hard-pressed to pay the bankers.”

The entire article, Newspapers' Owners Turn Grim, by Timesman David Carr here

Inside baseball: The winner of the Sun-Times' video contest about Wrigley Field naming rights is a Chicago Tribune intern. Video here.

Bonus: Hacker News

Congrats & cheers: Larry Lessig launches the Change Congress movement. Check out Larry's slide show here. Jeff Sellinger promoted to EVP & GM at CBS Mobile. Media maven and uber-mensch Brad Saul gets well deserved recognition via Erica Farber's Publisher's Profile. New Hal Riney site (mad cool).

Jack Armstrong an American original and broadcasting legend has passed.

Qualities of presidential leadership

Doris Kearns Goodwin on the Tim Russert show (MSNBC) put forth her list...

Withstand adversity

Diverse perspectives


Admit mistakes

Manage emotions

Define goals


Saturday, March 22, 2008

"Triumphs are trumpeted, but dumb decisions either get no follow-up or are rationalized." Warren Buffett

"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough." Albert Einstein

"No testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such a kind, that its falsehood would be more miraculous than the fact which it endeavors to establish." David Hume

Today's image: Exit by Harizma Art. Great shot. Thank you for sharing.

Google's Design Guidelines

1. Useful: focus on people - their lives, their work, their dreams.
2. Fast: every millisecond counts.
3. Simple: simplicity is powerful.
4. Engaging: engage beginners and attract experts.
5. Innovative: dare to be innovative.
6. Universal: design for the world.
7. Profitable: plan for today's and tomorrow's business.
8. Beautiful: delight the eye without distracting the mind.
9. Trustworthy: be worthy of people's trust.
10. Personable: add a human touch.

Linked for business: LinkedIn adds company profiles.

Grapes, Southern Australia: Wolf Blass. Yellow Label. Shiraz Cabernet 2005. 60% Shiraz, 40% Cab. Sweet fruit. Good value at $10.

Friday, March 21, 2008

"Curiosity is one of the permanent and certain characteristics of a vigorous mind." Samuel Johnson

"The superior man does not waste himself on what is distant, on what is absent. He stands in the here and now, in the real situation." Confucius

"You can either do what you love or love what you do. I don't see there's any other choice." George Burns

Today's image: 12 Apostles by Ron Fell. Incredible. Thanks for sharing.

Snow day: Yesterday was beautiful here. Sunshine, temps in the 40s. Today we are expecting 11 to 13 inches of snow. Added to the record 92 inches already this snow season today's stuff should push us over 100. Larry Wilson checked in from the farm in Michigan where they are expecting this wet mess later today.

Faster: Mozilla's Firefox 3 Beta 4 seems faster. Add-ons migrated fine with the exception of my fav theme and the themes now on offer are nothing exceptional, yet.

Thank you very much: Kurt Hanson, the go-to guy for all things Internet radio, a great and longtime friend, for his kind words about this little blog.

Bonus: Sarah Perez writes The Conversation Has Left the Blogosphere via RWW here. She's spot-on (of course, I found Sarah's post via my FriendFeed - thanks, Terry Heaton). Bonus 2: Fred Wilson Ten Things I'd Like FriendFeed To Do.

Congrats & cheers: Four guys from Mountain View decide to track campaign coverage. The result is skewz (thanks to Sarah for the tip).

Thursday, March 20, 2008

"Obviousness is always the enemy to correctness." Bertrand Russell

"The most astonishingly incredible coincidence imaginable would be the complete absence of all coincidences." John Allen Paulos

"The art of prophecy is very difficult, especially with respect to the future." Mark Twain

Today's image: Dancing with clouds by Beat. Wonderful. Thanks for sharing.

New NewsGang Live: The latest podcast w/ Steve Gillmore and Doc Searls featuring NPR iCEO Dennis Haarsager and Stephen Hill from Hearts of Space. Listen in here (MP3). 80 minutes.

First tribe of wireless gets the order: Yahoo! turns to radio ads to lure Google Web searchers. CNET's Elinor Mills has the story here.

Congrats & cheers: Jeff Jarvis signs a book deal. Microsoft to debut Blews, an aggregation of political blogs.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

"We understand life backwards but live it forwards." Kierkegaard

"Everything seems stupid when it fails." Dostoevsky

"For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them." Aristotle

Today's image: Listen Inside by rimedhitaf. Awesome. Thank you for sharing.

"You're making a mistake" That's the #1 rejoinder of radio sellers when told our little retail shop is taking a pass on their offer. #2 is "You're making a big mistake." The state of radio sales today is symptomatic of a significant systemic problem. Radio sellers, in the main, are not being properly trained, not being coached, not being mentored, not being led. Our very successful retail store has been around close to 3.5 years. We believe in advertising. Our ad spend is committed to broadcast TV, cable (i.e., local insertion), online and print. It gives me no pleasure to report that in all the days we have been in business one and only one radio station has successfully pitched our business. The radio sellers working for Craig Karmazin presented a killer idea. We bought the idea, the concept, we certainly didn't buy the ratings. Ideas close sales.

Kevin Sweeney taught me decades ago "The favorite subject of every retailer is their business. Nobody they know, not their family, not any of their friends, care to hear anything more about this single biggest personal obsession. Retailers without exception love to talk about their business. Ask them to tell you about their business and then shut up. Listen and learn about their business, learn about what's important to them. This is the first step in understanding how to sell to retailers. The second step is understanding that retailers don't sell for a living, they buy for a living. When you attempt to sell a retailer you're at a big and distinct disadvantage, successful retailers make their living making smart buying decisions."

Having a radio seller tell me that we, the potential customer, are making a mistake is exactly the wrong approach. The way to my wallet is not telling me I don't know what I'm doing (and by the way Sparky, I could care less about your station/cluster, enough about you). The more effective and productive approach is engaging the prospect intellectually and emotionally. My suggestion is what's missing here the most (aside from the wrong attitude when losing the sale) is homework, a complete and total failure to do the homework before making the call. The brilliant Mr. Sweeney taught us to do our homework before making the first face call. That homework included "shopping" the store. Radio sales does enjoy one major benefit - incredible upside potential. Please, don't blame the sellers. I certainly don't. This is a leadership problem.

Branding starts with the right pronoun: Marketing ace Tom Asacker offers up some keen insight here. Bravos, Tom!

Buzz: Carrier via PBS

"Brevity is the soul of wit" so said the Bard of Avon. The uber-cool Kevin Kelly says Short is In. Bravos, Kevin! My sense is it was ever thus.

Cara's Basement: Cara interviews comedian Lee Camp (audio).

Congrats & cheers: SlideRocket is on! Mitch Grasso and his crew have ignition and getting ready for lift off. The guys are blogging here. Invited to the private beta and I must say the app is very strong and very cool. Lone Star legend Ron Chapman subs for Paul Harvey. Greg Coleman named prexy and CEO at startup NetSeer.

Bonus: Prof John Hauser, Introduction to Marketing via MIT OpenCourseWare. The Experts vs. the Amateurs: A Tug of War over the Future of Media - Knowledge@Wharton.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

"Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored." Aldous Huxley

"When people are free to do as they please, they usually imitate each other." Eric Hoffer

"Have the courage of your knowledge and experience. If you have formed a conclusion from the facts and if you know your judgment is sound, act on it - even though others may hesitate or differ. (You are neither right nor wrong because the crowd disagrees with you. You are right because your data and reasoning are right.)" Benjamin Graham

Today's image: Meeting by Chris (archi3d). Beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

Local wins: Jeff Jarvis on the CBS local ad network here. Check out their ad formats here.

FriendFeed adds search. Smart.

Invited to the searchme beta, it's impressive.

Richard Parsons, former TW chief executive, talks change: "I tolerate change well, it doesn't intimidate me...Change just is, don't fear failure." The Change Nation interview (audio) Kudos to Ariane de Bonvoisin, well done!

Congrats & cheers: Slate editor James Ledbetter leading development of The Big Money, a new business news site, set to debut this summer. Joel Hollander opens his own shop, 264 Echo Place Partners.

Facebook chat demo

Monday, March 17, 2008

"Would you persuade, speak of interest not of reason." Benjamin Franklin

"There is nothing like success to blind one of the possibility of failure." Roger Lowenstein

"A man should never be ashamed to own that he has been in the wrong, which is but saying, in other words, that his is wiser today than he was yesterday." Jonathan Swift

Today's image: The avenue in mist and sun by algo. Wonderful! Thanks for sharing.

"Find out what happened"

Facing the R&R TRS crowd: CBS TV news ace Bob Schieffer did a simply outstanding job speaking before folks attending the Talk Radio Seminar. His observations, storytelling style every bit as crisp and classic as the Burberry shirt he wore. Bob said every newsroom should post a sign over the door reminding news people of their primary mission..."Find out what happened." Bravos to Bob for plainly making the case for the much needed protections of a federal shield law. Talk radio star Jim Bohannon kicked off the Q&A asking about Bob's plans after Jan 09. The broadcast news icon indicated his thought was to do less but still stay on with CBS. Kudos to Erica Farber & company for inviting Bob.

Tim Russert hosted a good show with Pulitzer winning presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin on the subject of most important leadership attributes. The complete list later. Here are four...

Withstand adversity

Diverse perspectives


Admit mistakes

Doris' list should be one of the scorecards used to evaluate all leadership (especially today's broadcast leadership).

Reading the new Richard Sennett book, The Craftsman. Highly recommended (Amazon info). Sennett writes about "The Workshop" and my thought is this is an excellent metaphor for today's broadcast shop.

"His Secrets Died with Him"
In Stradivari's Workshop

"In modern parlance, knowledge transfer became difficult; the master's originality inhibited the transfer. This difficulty remains, in scientific laboratories as much as in artist's studios. Although in a lab the neophyte can be inducted in procedures, it's harder for a scientist to pass on the capacity to look suspiciously for new problems in the course of solving old ones or to explain the intuition formed from experience that a problem is likely to wind up a dead-end."

"The difficulty of knowledge transfer poses a question about why it should be so difficult, why it becomes a personal secret...Yet in the fabrication of musical instruments, the secrets of masters like Antonio Stradivari or Guarneri del Gesu have indeed died with them. Mountains of cash and endless experiments have failed to prize out the secrets of these masters. Something in the character of these workshops must have inhibited knowledge transfer."

"When Antonio Stradivari died, he passed on the business to his two sons, Omobono and Francesco, who never married and who spent their adult lives in their father's house as his servant-heirs. They were able to trade on his name for several years, but the business eventually foundered. He had not taught, he could not teach either of them how to be a genius."

"Missing in these analyses (of the master's work) is a reconstruction of the workshops of the master - more precisely, one element that has irretrievably gone missing. This is the absorption into tacit knowledge, unspoken and uncodified in words, that occurred there and became a matter of habit, the thousand little everyday moves that add up in sum to a practice.

The most significant fact we know about Stravidari's workshop was that he was all over it, popping up unexpectedly everywhere, gathering in and processing those thousands of bits of information that could not signify in the same way to assistants who were doing just one part. The same thing has been true in scientific labs run by idiosyncratic geniuses; the master's head becomes stuffed with information only he or she can see the point of. This is why the secrets of the physicist Enrico Fermi as a great experimenter can't be fathomed by poring over the minutiae of his lab procedures.

To put this observation abstractly: in a workshop where the master's individuality and distinctiveness dominates, tacit knowledge is also likely to dominate. Once the master dies, all the clues, moves, and insights he or she has gathered into the totality of the work cannot be reconstructed; there's no way to ask him or her to make the tacit explicit." (emphasis mine)

Chapter Two, The Workshop. The Craftsman by Richard Sennett.

Earlier in the same chapter Sennett writes about originality to wit:

"'Originality' traces its origins back one Greek word, poesis, which Plato and others used to mean 'something where before there was nothing.' Originality is a marker of time; it denotes the sudden appearance of something where before there was nothing, and because something suddenly comes into existence, it arouses in us emotions of wonder and awe. In the Renaissance, the appearance of something sudden was connected to the art - the genius, if you will - of an individual."

Individuals, leaders, let me go so far as to say modern masters the likes of Paley, Primo, Storz, McLendon, Drake, and Donahue (to mention but a few), are the folks who led the sudden appearance of something, they caused events to happen, took control of circumstance while others looked on. What broadcast needs today, in the very least, is exceptional leadership at the station level. Nothing less than great general managers.

Bonus: Academic Blogger Takes Vulture's Spoiler Policy to Task. Kudos to Dan and Lane!

Congrats & cheers: Jamie Dimon (my favorite rock star banker) acquires Bear for a fraction of its book. Les Moonves continues to move CBS into the export business. Smart, very smart.

Cali red: Block No. 45, Petite Sirah 2005. Wonderful, smooth. Amazing value at $10.

Friday, March 14, 2008

"Anyone who wishes to be cured of ignorance must first admit to it." Michel de Montaigne

"It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon him not understanding it." Upton Sinclair

"We are generally the better persuaded by the reasons we discover ourselves than by those given to us by others." Blaise Pascal

Today's image: mille miglia by purelook. Wonderful. Thanks for sharing.

Golden: March 13, 1967. Radio programming ace Mel Phillips remembers the debut of RKO's WRKO here. Bravos, Mel! Well done. Boston and WRKO both hold special memories for me. Paul Drew suggested that I pitch the WRKO PD job and recommended me to the GM. After a fifteen minute meeting with the GM it was obvious I was not the person he wanted to hire. Not getting that job was a major disappointment but everything worked out. Months later I was recruited to program WBZ.

Radical Idea For News Sites: Show What's New on Your Homepage

"Here’s the problem — if you visit the New York Times throughout the day, and no important news has broken, the homepage remains largely unchanged, static, like a print newspaper.

Organizing news by importance as the default makes sense when you’re only delivering the news once a day (and the “default” is all you get). But when news publishing is continuous, it’s not the best way to server frequent news consumers."

Read the entire post by Scott Karp here Thanks to Dave Winer for the tip (Dave offers an excellent post w/comments, How Internet news should work).

More music: "The level of ineptitude I've seen at the major labels is stunning. The people in charge of a lot of the digital technologies and the aspects that are decimating their business that I've seen are people that seem to not even be on the Internet." Reznor: Radiohead offering was insincere, industry is inept via ars technica

Congrats & cheers: The David Wain video series Wainy Days nominated for YouTube Video of The Year (series category). Propers due to My Damn Channel impresario Rob Barnett. Rob and team are doing work that matters and they're just getting started. Check out the noms and vote here.

Grapes: Alamos. Bonarda 2006. Another good bottle from Argentina. It happens that Bonarda is an Italian varietal brought to Argentina in the 19th century and now well known in that country. Who knew? My first encounter with this grape, not my last. A wonderful red for $10.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

"You're much more likely to do well if you start out to do something feasible instead of something that isn't feasible. Isn't that perfectly obvious?"

"You have to figure out what your own aptitudes are. If you play games where other people have the aptitudes and you don't, you're going to lose."

"In my whole life, I have known no wise people (over a broad subject matter area) who didn't read all the time - none, zero." Charles T. Munger

Today's image: The fir tree of Grazalema by mrtriggerfinger. Amazing shot. Thank you for sharing.

All three of today's quotes are from a really smart guy you've probably never heard of. He's the longtime business partner of the guy you've certainly heard of, the world's richest man, Warren E. Buffett. Charlie Munger is wiser than a tree full of owls.

Today's video is some powerful storytelling about your brain. The video is from one of the most talked about sessions at this year's TED. Let me introduce to you Jill Bolte Taylor

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

"What is wanted is not the will to believe, but the will to find out, which is the exact opposite." Bertrand Russell

"Greater things are believed of those who are absent." Tacitus

"The art of progress is to preserve order amid change and to preserve change amid order." Alfred North Whitehead

Today's image: Beyoglu by Atilla1000. Beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

Congrats & cheers: YouTube expands API set (smart, deeper access is all good). CBS Sports launches developer platform will enable 200 plus sites to carry live NC2A video.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

"If a man isn't willing to take some risks for his opinions, either his opinions are no good or he's no good." Ezra Pound

"The difference between the almost-right word and the right word is really a large matter - it's the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning." Mark Twain

"Life is known to be a process of combustion; intellect is the light produced by this process." Arthur Schopenhauer

Today's image: Silent by Beat. Beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

Chasing the recent NPR leadership discussion a reader was kind enough to send me a link to a writing by public radio ace John Sutton. A Truly New Business Model, sets forth exactly the kind of thinking needed. Bravos, John!

Gone but not forgotten: CBS seems to have pulled the plug on their Public Eye initiative. The last post was in December. Changed up my link replacing Eye w/Couric.

Cramer's radio rant, "Doomed, RIP Radio": If you missed it on yesterday's Mad Money here's the link. He is right about radio securities, they're dead money. As always, consider consulting your own financial adviser.

CIO redefined: Chief Innovation Officer is the new job title for Lee Abrams who joins Randy Michaels and Sam Zell at the Tribune Company. Smart move, very smart.

Congrats & cheers: Mozilla releases Firefox 3.o beta 4. searchme up and running in private beta. Drew Horowitz named Executive Vice President Bonneville Radio, a well deserved recognition of talent.

Grapes: Gascon Malbec Mendoza 2006. Another wonderful red from the high altitude vines of Argentina. Exceptional value at $10. Fred Winston, a gourmet you should always trust to order the wine, weighs in to suggest a Spanish red. Jumilla 2006 Panarroz red. Agree with Fred on this one, a good value under $10. Thanks, Fred.

Headline writers in the city deliver the goods...

Monday, March 10, 2008

"Painting changes space into time; music time into space." Hugo von Hofmannsthal

"Art produces ugly things that frequently become more beautiful with time. Fashion, on the other hand, produces beautiful things that always become ugly with time." Jean Cocteau

"Art is the cult of error." Francis Picabia

Today's image: Gokce by rimedhitaf. Beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

Interesting stuff learned on the way to other learning. Crossword puzzles were first published in 1913 by the World, a Pulitzer paper in New York city. Crosswords became all the rage in the late teens and widely adopted in the popular culture of the 1920s. Timesmen looked down on the crossword as a "game" not worthy of space in the news hole. The first Times crossword finally debuted in 1942. There's a lesson in adoption here. Further, another exhibit in the case against so-called first mover advantage, the canard "first in wins" (the finest examples remain Hydrox v Oreo and Yahoo v Google). You heard it here last - incumbency is practically irrelevant.

400 year death spiral continues: Who won the National Headliner Awards for Online Videography? The winners were all dead tree guys. Michael Gay has details via LR here.

Being afraid (denial at end-stage): Newsweek embraces the flawed arguments of Andrew Keen and claims experts are "in" while amateurs are "out" (Revenge of the Experts). Howard Owen opines here, Terry Heaton's take here. Kudos to Howard and Terry!

The NPR shakeup: Dennis Haarsager breaks it down here. Bravos, Dennis! Good luck. Related - Trouble for NPR by Jeff Jarvis w/comments here.

Bonus: Brooke Gladstone interviews Clay Shirky via OTM here. Thanks, Brooke! The gap between "thought and action" has become a click.

Congrats & cheers: Branding and marketing ace Michael Fischer has started blogging here. Jeff Jarvis for pointing out the obvious during his conversation with Howie on Reliable yesterday. Jeff said the POTUS race is really all about the "job interview." Amid all of the inside baseball about the campaigns kudos to Jeff on some needed perspective. Ken Stern leaving NPR in better shape than he first found it (stay tuned, his finest hour is yet to come). Bobby Rich, my favorite rich guy and radio legend, gets well deserved recognition via Erica Farber's Publishers Profile here.

Spanish red: Garnacha de Fuego. Old Vines 2006. 100% Garnacha. A very good value at $10.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

"Our social tools remove older obstacles to public expression, and thus remove the bottlenecks that characterized mass media. The result is the mass amateurization of efforts previously reserved for media professionals." Clay Shirky

"When we call something intuitive, we often mean familiar." Esther Dyson

"Conversation is king. Content is just something to talk about." Cory Doctorow

Today's image: sheet music by katie paige. Great shot. Thanks for sharing.

Enjoying the new Clay Shirky book Here Comes Everybody. Get yours. Here's another taste...

"The media landscape is transformed, because personal communication and publishing, previously separate functions, now shade into one another. One result is to break the older pattern of professional filtering of the good from the mediocre before publication; now such filtering is increasingly social, and it happens after the fact."

"Our social tools are not an improvement to modern society; they are a challenge to it. New technology makes new things possible: put another way, when new technology appears, previously impossible things start occurring. If enough of those impossible things are important and happen in a bundle, quickly, the change becomes a revolution."

"We are plainly witnessing a restructuring of the media businesses, but their suffering isn't unique, it's prophetic. All businesses are media businesses, because whatever else they do, all businesses rely on the managing of information for two audiences - employees and the world. The increase in the power of both individuals and groups, outside traditional organizational structures, is unprecedented. Many institutions we rely on today will not survive this change without significant alteration, and the more an institution or industry relies on information as its core product, the greater and more complete the change will be. The linking of symmetrical participation and amateur production makes this period of change remarkable. Symmetrical participation means that once people have the capacity to receive information, they have the capacity to send it as well. Owning a television does not give you the ability to make TV shows, but owning a computer means that you can create as well as receive many kinds of content, from the written word through sound and images. Amateur production, the result of all this new capability, means that the category of 'consumer' is now a temporary behavior rather than a permanent identity."

Chapter 4. Publish, Then Filter. Here Comes Everybody by Clay Shirky. Highly recommended. Amazon info here.

Grapes: Trapiche Oak Cask. Cabernet Sauvignon 2005. Mendoza. A good red from Argentina; product from the foothills of the Andes. Fine value at under $10.

Friday, March 07, 2008

"Men count up the faults of those who keep them waiting." French proverb

"The net of the sleeper catches fish." Greek proverb

"The silent dog is always the first to bite." German proverb

Today's image: Hot Club lead guitar by slambo 42. Cool shot. Thanks for sharing.

Started The Craftsman, the new book by Richard Sennett. Richard is professor of sociology at NYU and The London School of Economics.

"The carpenter, lab technician, and conductor are all craftsmen because they are dedicated to good work for its own sake. Theirs is a practical activity, but their labor is not simply a means to another end. The carpenter might sell more furniture if he worked faster; the technician might make do by passing the problem back to her boss; the visiting conductor might be more likely to be rehired if he watched the clock. It's certainly possible to get by in life without dedication. The craftsman represents the special human condition of being engaged."

"All craftsmanship is founded on skill developed to a high degree. By one commonly used measure, about ten thousand hours of experience are required to produce a master carpenter or musician. Various studies show that as skill progresses, it becomes more problem-attuned, like the lab technician worrying about procedure, whereas people with primitive levels of skill struggle more exclusively on getting things to work. At its higher reaches, technique is no longer a mechanical activity; people can feel fully and think deeply what they are doing once they do it well. It is at the level of mastery, I will show, that ethical problems of craft appear.

The emotional rewards craftsmanship holds out for attaining skill are twofold: people are anchored in tangible reality, and they can take pride in their work. But society has stood in the way of these rewards in the past and continues to do so today. At different moments in Western history practical activity has been demeaned, divorced from supposedly higher pursuits. Technical skill has been removed from imagination, tangible reality doubted by religion, pride in one's work treated as a luxury. If the craftsman is special because he or she is an engaged human being, still the craftsman's aspirations and trials hold up a mirror to these larger issues past and present."

The Craftsman, Chapter One, The Troubled Craftsman. Amazon info. My thanks to radio programming ace Tom Teuber for the tip on professor Sennett.

Bonus: Charlene Li, a Forrester researcher, has written an interesting post, The Future of Social Networks: Social networks will be like air. Read her post here. Related slides from her talk are here. She suggests in future business models "Each person will have their own 'personal CPM'" endorsing a notion put forward by JWT's rock star of trendspotting Marian Salzman - my sense is Charlene and Marian are exactly right. Kudos, Charlene! Well done.

Closed circuit to Sean McManus: Now that you've decided to look for a new EP for The Early Show, you and Rick Kaplan should take a meeting with Michael Rosenblum. My suggestion is any further attempts to "get better" in order to close the gap on NBC and ABC will not be productive. Think "get different" and reinvent the breakfast show. Michael can help. P.S. He once worked at CBS.

Congrats & cheers: Dan Mason leading CBS Radio in joint streaming venture with AOL, CBS will manage ad sales across the combined 350 audio channels. Smart, innovation via creative collaboration. Steve Friedman and Nanci Ross launch consulting firm Vir2L Media.

Charlie Rose interviews Chris Anderson curator of TED

Charlie Rose interviews Chris Anderson of WIRED Magazine

Charlie Rose interviews Michael Arrington of TechCrunch

Thursday, March 06, 2008

"To be a poet at twenty is to be twenty; to be a poet at forty is to be a poet." Eugene Delacroix

"The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark." Michelangelo

"Never measure the height of a mountain, until you have reached the top. Then you will see how low it was." Dag Hammarskjold

Image: tHr3E by CeErRbBbiiIEeC. Awesome. Thanks for sharing.

Twitter in Plain English: Kudos to Lee LeFever. He created a 2.5 min video that explains the popular app. Find it here.

Reading the new Clay Shirky book. A good read; highly recommended...

"In a world where publishing is effortless, the decision to publish something isn't terribly momentous. Just as movable type raised the value of being able to read and write even as it destroyed the scribal tradition, globally free publishing is making public speech and action more valuable, even as its absolute abundance diminishes the specialness of professional publishing. For a generation that is growing up without the scarcity that made publishing such a serious-minded pursuit, the written word has no special value in and of itself. Adam Smith, in The Wealth of Nations, pointed out that although water is far more important than diamonds to human life, diamonds are far more expensive, because they are rare. The entire basis on which the scribes earned their keep vanished not when reading and writing vanished but when reading and writing became ubiquitous. If everyone can do something, it is no longer rare enough to pay for, even if it is vital.

The spread of literacy after the invention of movable type ensured not the success of the scribal profession but its end. Instead of mass professionalization, the spread of literacy was a process of mass amateurization. The term "scribe" didn't get extended to everyone who could read and write. Instead, it simply disappeared, as it no longer denoted a professional class. The profession of calligrapher now survives as a purely decorative art; we make a distinction between the general ability to write and the professional ability to write in a calligraphic hand, just as we do between the general ability to drive and the professional ability to drive a race car. This is what is happening today, not just to newspapers or to media in general but to the global society."

Here Comes Everybody. The Power of Organizing without Organizations. Chapter 3, Everyone is a Media Outlet. Amazon info here.

Bonus: Doc knocks the cover clean off the ball...

"I've maintained for some time that the most important step forward in the Net's recent history is not the generational progression from 1.0 to 2.0, but the branching of the Live Web off the Static Web. The big challenge is building out the Live Web, and it's not one we should leave up to the Big Boys, even as we run it over their glass.

That's because the critical enabling feature of the Live Web won't be technical. It will be the moral and political feature we call freedom. That's not something the Big Boys are going to give us. It's something that comes from ourselves."

Read the entire post here. Kudos, Doc!

Bonus 2: Jeff Jarvis The Times better change. Good post and discussion.

Thomas P.M. Barnett: The Man Between War and Peace via Esquire. Bravos, Tom!

Congrats & cheers: Microsoft on IE8! Google on releasing Google Contacts API. The smart ladies of Media wizard Michael Rosenblum opens Rosenblum Institute in the Netherlands.