Sunday, February 27, 2005

"Eighty percent of success is showing up" Woody Allen

From The Sunday Times an excellent observation on the success of Sir Martin Sorrell, to wit:

Persistence pays

ASK Sir Martin Sorrell about his average week and you will typically get a description of several towns and cities in Europe, North and South America, and Asia. And that, in my mind, is the secret of Sorrell’s and WPP’s success. The indefatigable chief executive of the world’s soon-to-be biggest advertising and marketing group simply cares more, and puts in more hard yards than his competitors. It has been that way for WPP’s 20 years of existence and its strong financial results last week showed it is paying off. “WPP isn’t a matter of life or death for me, it’s more important than that,” Sorrell half-joked recently.

An executive recounted to me what it is like to be pitched to by WPP for an advertising account. First, Sorrell himself turns up. It could be some Godforsaken place in the Mid-West of America, but Sorrell will be there. Second, he is extremely knowledgeable about your business and its competitors. He has probably met your boss. Third, he relentlessly pursues you after the pitch has finished: e-mails, phone calls, and even dropping by your office. You can’t help thinking, this man runs WPP, he must have better things to do. But then you think, hey, maybe I’m that important to him. He wants my business so badly, I’ll give it to him.

And even then, Sorrell does not go away. Former Viacom chief executive Mel Karmazin said: “It doesn’t matter what time it is. If he didn’t get back to me in 15 minutes, I’d call to see if he’d been injured.”

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

"If we pitched as hard when we're not in trouble as we pitch to get out of trouble we wouldn't get in trouble in the first place" Casey Stengel

Back to the blog. Too much going on at last year's end and January was a blur, if I could only make it thru the day without sleep. Lots happening in the new year. Howard Kurtz reviews the bidding - good writing on the state of MSM and blogs here. Jeff Jarvis, ever the good ambassador and advocate, gets into it with Bill Keller, Executive Editor of The New York Times, catch up on the conversation here - Bravo Jeff!

Good reads to recommend. Natan Sharansky puts freedom and tyranny in context, he makes the case. My new favorite magazine is The Week, congrats to William Falk and his gang for providing "all you need to know about everything that matters" - crisp, tight, dead tree stuff.

Two items of note from a recent east coast trip. WCBS-FM is sounding better and better, kudos to Dave Logan and his team. My feelings about how strong the station sounds were confirmed using The Michael Ellis Ray's Pizza test. While in route to see Christo's latest we stopped for a slice at Ray's Pizza where we found...CBS-FM playing (The estimable Mr Ellis was first to offer the conjecture - for a radio station to be successful in the city it must get solid street level buzz, an excellent early indicator of success is getting played at Ray's. I am not able to reveal which Ray's is used in this ritual proof except to say it's the "original original"). Dave also deserves kudos for the redesign of the station's website, cool retro that hits the right note. While in our nation's capitol dropped in for a visit with network radio star Jim Bohannon. Jim is at the top of his game and does such fine work. Bright, engaging, always the perfect gentleman, Jim gets it done nightly. Jimbo handles phones in real time with that rare gift the French call "l'esprit d'escalier", the wit of the staircase, to us mortals the rough translation is "what I should have said". You may visit Jim's new home on the web here.

Farewell to the good doctor. Dennis Duggan remembers here, WaPo obit here, and his ESPN send off and links to his Hey Rube archive. This is one rube that will miss doc's fresh audacity. Gonzo indeed.

Joe Taylor, Jr. writes about moving forward by doing small things differently every day, check out slow-cooked success. If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get....

Cheers to Tom Peters and his team. In the process of buying something on his excellent site, I got an error message at checkout indicating the transaction did not complete. After attempting it a second time and again getting the same error message I rang their offices. Running into the automated attendant I feared the worst and I was wrong. The system delivered my call to a real person, she apologized for the problem and said she would fix it. She delivered on that promise. She emailed me the download I wanted to purchase within minutes, offered a second apology, included a gift I had not asked for but loved. What an amazing and very rare experience, I pledge to do business with Tom Peters hereafter. Going forward I can not recommend Tom Peters enough. Go, experience, learn, buy, enjoy! There's talking about WOW and then there's W O W, check out his site, Tom Peters & Company are holding a 24/7 clinic. Please do sign-up for their email newsletter - Tom Peters Times! Well worth your bandwidth.