Tuesday, August 05, 2008

"Observe due measure, for right timing is in all things the most important factor." Hesiod

"Differentiation is a distancing designed to reduce the price sensitivity of the offering." Shiv S. Mathur

"There are two golden rules for an orchestra: start together and finish together. The public doesn't give a damn what happens in between." Thomas Beecham

Today's image: The way out? (from Hell) by Giampaolo Macorig. Great shot. Thanks for sharing.

You're only as good
as the mavericks you hire

John Furrier makes an excellent point in his post about Yahoo! [Yahoo is Falling Apart - Please Clean House]...

"I am a big fan of Yahoo and what it has meant to the progress of the Web, but it’s time to clean house. I mean really clean house. Get 'mavericks' who can look beyond powerpoints and deliver product value."

Bruce Johnson, a mentor of mine, often said "Always hire the tie-breakers, the super achievers who consistently make a difference where it counts most, in the big things."

Your organization is only as good as the mavericks you hire. You need to hire, develop, encourage and support cognitive diversity. This requires that you gain an appetite and healthy respect for dissent.

Broadcast media have been "hiring safe" for decades and my sense is hiring much too safe. A perfect example from late in 2006: When reviewing the final three candidates for DOS, the person hired was not the most intelligent, not the most creative, not even the most enthusiastic. The person hired was the one of three that already had a business card reading DOS. The track record of the person hired was not particularly exceptional. In their most recent post they had kept an even pace with the market, that is, they were down about the same as the market over the past 24 months.

The most intelligent, creative and enthusiastic candidate was a maverick, a medium market general manager. The hiring manager was not able to get beyond two flaws in the maverick's resume - the candidate had been a GM for years (over-qualified) and lacked cluster DOS experience (previous combo GSM experience viewed as dated, irrelevant).

The safe hire was terminated after proving to be less effective, productive than was expected. The maverick went on to take a senior leadership role at a major media firm and is setting new records of achievement.

We need to surround ourselves with mavericks, advocates for getting different, champions of game-changing innovation, agents of change.

What's your ratio of mavericks to safe hires?

LOVE: Brian Oberkirch "But startups, like the rest of life, are a test of constant failures. What is the thing that refreshes and renews you and gets you back to the textmate file? Fame, greed, insecurity, opportunism. They go only so far. The greatest of these is love." Bravos to Brian and thanks to Susan Mernit via FF for the tip.

How to survive: Christopher Lochhead offers his advice [Up the downturn]...
  1. Strategy 1: Don't cut the budget.
  2. Strategy 2: If you have to cut, DO IT FAST, DO IT ONCE.
  3. Strategy 3: Put your best people on your biggest project.
Buzz: Nielsen selling trade pubs? Word around midtown is The Hollywood Reporter, Ad Week, Billboard and others including R&R might be going on the block. Bob Pittman selling DailyCandy to Comcast for $125 mil?

POV: Mark Whitaker, SVP of NBC News talks about his new job as NBC News Washington Bureau Chief via NPR [audio here].

The Official Site: Design Our Pepsi Can

Bonus: Polymeme
: A Polymath's Guide to News. Thanks to Cory for the tip.

Paris Hilton responds to McCain Ad: Funny or Die video via Mahalo. "I'll see you at the debates, bitches." Outstanding.

Congrats & cheers: Andrew Baron
keeps Rocketboom and inks seven-figure distribution and ad sales deal with Sony. Regator debuts, coming out of private beta, Thursday. John Battelle partners with Microsoft to launch music interactive beta CrowdFire.

Kudos: Today's most creative use of Google Street View [Related: Marry me, Leslie!] Thanks to Jess Lee via FF for the tip.