Tuesday, February 28, 2006

“If you're not prepared to be wrong, you will never come up with anything original” Kevin Robinson (@TED2006)

The January extraps are out for LA, NY and Chicago. While they are only extraps, still, it appears at least one Howard replacement - Rover - is DOA in Chicago. I was able to hear the Rover act last year when it was picked up locally in syndication...it sounded poor then and badly in need of a strong producer and a fresh pov; the show had an early 90s Howard clone and late 80s morning zoo mashup vibe. DLR and Adam fared better but not by much from what I'm hearing. 0 for 3? Too early to tell, stay tuned.

Monday, February 27, 2006

"I think we're all in this fantastic period of radical change" Barry Diller

Barry Diller was interviewed this morning at the SES conference. Some of the killer takeaway...

"I can't not believe, if a product is good and worthy, something happens" "I don't believe market share belongs, certainly in a media world, to one company" "Be evil" (in answer to a potential Ask.com slogan or mantra) "..in the 80's...didn't want to make another network, we wanted to make an alternative to the three networks" (on the creation of Fox) "Differentiation is what we are trying to do" "Market shares do not remain at thirty plus for very long, unless it's either a natural or unnatural, so to speak, monopoly" "...none of this stuff can happen overnight...if an idea is good, the world allows it to come into the dna" "it doesn't matter what the screen is" Hear his keynote audio, here. Bravo Barry and Danny. Check out the NEW ask.com here

"Repetition is learning" Jim Yergin

The inventor of the reach and frequency tool, Jim Yergin, was my research mentor. He was the first to teach me that reach was important and frequency was very important. Seth Godin makes this point fresh here. "One more once" as my father the former band leader used to say.

edgeio has launched. Congrats to Mike Arrington and Keith Teare. Check out their new site here. At my day job, we earlier advised clients to integrate the listing tag into any/all classified listings and classified pages. Our sense is edgeio will provide an excellent new distribution channel. Broadcast and cable operators will benefit from staying ahead of local dead tree folks on this opportunity.

Kudos to Barrons; Bravo to Eric J. Savitz. The Barron's cover story on Barry Diller's IAC/InterActive Corp is writing based on solid homework, it makes a clear and logical case for why IAC is heading into a very bright future. Good to see Diller & Co getting the credit and praise they deserve - long overdue. Find Barrons here (sub req, free trial available). The media moguls to bet with, imho, are Barry Diller, Murdoch (Ailes & Swanson), Moonves (Hollander), Newmark, Zannino (Crovitz), Malone, Freston (McGrath & Wolf), Stemel and Brian Roberts. Want a pure online player to watch? Nick Denton is the man.

Terry Heaton writes Public broadcasting needs a new name - read his post here. Terry is right and pubcasters need more than a new name they need to get into a leadership role in the new game. No matter what happens to the CPB budget stations need to replace every dollar of fed funds and take action to make that happen now, not later.

Off topic, very cool waste of bandwidth dept. Check Dave Werner's portfolio site, here

Sunday, February 26, 2006

"An organization must be organized for constant change...Entrepreneurial innovation will have to become the very heart and core of management" Peter Drucker

The above liberated from The Daily Drucker. Each time I lead a workshop or give a talk, books are recommended. Each time after such sessions folks ask me "what one business book must I read?" and this year I am suggesting that one must-read book to be The Daily Drucker - you may find a link to order this book via Amazon at right on this page. The book is a gem, read it with a highlight pen.

Douglas Adams writes...

"...we have for the first time been dominated by non-interactive forms of entertainment: cinema, radio, recorded music and television. Before they came along all entertainment was interactive: theatre, music, sport – the performers and audience were there together, and even a respectfully silent audience exerted a powerful shaping presence on the unfolding of whatever drama they were there for. We didn’t need a special word for interactivity in the same way that we don’t (yet) need a special word for people with only one head.

I expect that history will show ‘normal’ mainstream twentieth century media to be the aberration in all this. ‘Please, miss, you mean they could only just sit there and watch? They couldn’t do anything? Didn’t everybody feel terribly isolated or alienated or ignored?’

‘Yes, child, that’s why they all went mad. Before the Restoration.’

‘What was the Restoration again, please, miss?’

‘The end of the twentieth century, child. When we started to get interactivity back.’

Because the Internet is so new we still don’t really understand what it is. We mistake it for a type of publishing or broadcasting, because that’s what we’re used to.

"How to stop Worrying and Learn to Love the Internet" from the Sunday Times, August 1999, here (Thanks to Dr Dave for the pointer). Now that is, indeed, a fresh pov...cinema, radio, recorded music and television...the aberration!

Meanwhile Dr Jay has two interesting posts on offer...

Dick Cheney Did Not Make a Mistake By Not Telling the Press He Shot a Guy, with 500+ comments, here

Guest Writer Andrew Postman: Introduction to the 20th Anniversary Edition of Amusing Ourselves to Death by His Dad, Neil Postman, with 100+ comments here

Friday, February 24, 2006

"Collective solutions to problems start with individual human beings and individual efforts" Leo Burnett

Great to learn, via Robert Feder this morning, that CBS Radio's WSCR will host a radiothon to help Chicago Ed. Clark Weber and Dave Baum will cohost the five hour event on March 13. Bravo and kudos to Mitch Rosen the CBS programming exec (and uber-mensch) who is making this happen. You may read Robert Feder's column here

Should you be reading this and saying...who is Chicago Ed? Allow me to recommend a quick read here.

Imagine being in a situation where the one thing standing in the way of you and good health is money. Being in a situation where having that money allows you to live and enjoy life and not having the money may lead to the end of your way of life. My hope is you are never faced with this situation; needing money to be healthy but not having a job, not even able to work to come up with the money you need to survive. Would you please send what you can, this good man needs our help. Thank you. And a big thanks to Robert Feder for keeping this one on the radar.

Eddie Schwartz Fund,
c/o The Private Bank and Trust Co
10 N. Dearborn
Chicago, IL 60602.

Malcolm Gladwell has started to blog here, cheers!

Thursday, February 23, 2006

"...the aim of marketing is to make selling superflous. The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well that the product or service fits her and sells itself." Peter Drucker

The above taken from The Daily Drucker. If I may suggest one business book that you should buy and read with a highligher this is it. A link to buy the book may be found at right. (FD: this link credits my Amazon Associates account)

Learned yesterday, in answer to my request, Microsoft Office Live does not presently support Microsoft Commerce Manager. Odd. We wanted to add ecommerce to the retail store's Office Live Basics website and thought Microsoft's cart and Paypal's payment process to be a strong approach. So now...

Lots of chatter about Google's new Page Creator. Lots of templates, simple easy to use design. Practical app? Another great way for you to get on the web fast and free. A page I put up this morning here. Posting more later.

"...the last boundary to having a web page (or even having your cat have a web page) goes away" Seth Godin

The back story on Google Page Creator here. The consistently amazing Dave Winer grades the new app a "C" here. Seth opines with comments here. Jump to Page Creator and make your own page here (Google account required).

Later - reading Harold Furchtgott-Roth's new book "A Tough Act to Follow? The Telecommunications Act of 1996 and the Separation of Powers Failure". The former FCC Commish is making a case for overhauling the agency and sharing some stories in the process. Good insider baseball. Amazon info here

On reflection, my sense of the Google Page Creator is net positive - the web goes DIY, no need for "experts" let a thousand flowers bloom. It may be appropriate here to say that "personal sites" will soon cross "Moore's chasm" the velocity enhanced by Google (credit to Seth Godin who said "googlified, it's more likely to spread, to be adopted and to add even more clutter")

Enjoying Doctor Dave's travel writing from Italy, his day by day brief is here

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

David Sifry has introduced a very cool new feature at Technorati, Favorites. Collections are a great idea. Reminds me of Richard Saul Wurman's ACCESS travel guides wherein he would ask celeb locals to provide lists of favorites. Jump over and check out David's faves here.
Cool new way for your talent (e.g., morning show, dayside/nightside anchors, et al) to "share" faves with listeners/viewers. Works for the desk too ("blogs we're following").

Later - forgot to include reporters in my list of talent - sorry and thanks for the wake up calls.
Also Scott Karp, Publishing 2.0, says what David has done is merely a "glorified OPML file" and suggests...

If Technorati really wanted to revolutionize the way I read, they would create ONE place for me to go where I could see the BEST POSTS from my favorite bloggers and the BEST POSTS from their favorites all in one place. What constitutes the “best” posts? Well, that’s the problem, isn’t it?

Read Scott's remarks in full here. Agree with him, a filter to individual best posts would be cool. Bonus - check his post In Media, Only Ideas Matter here

"Not one of the major media companies in the last 15 years has kept pace with the S&P. That can only mean one thing: We think you're a bad investment." Michael Wolff

Patrick Phillips of IWM interviews Vanity Fair's Michael Wolff here. Good job Patrick.

"There is no abstract art. You must always start with something. Afterward you can remove all traces of reality." Picasso

Office Pirates is live this morning. Good luck to Mark Golin and his crew. Check it here (NSFW - language)

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

"If you can't make a good ad in Chicago, you can't make one anywhere." Leo Burnett

The new and improved CBS Radio News station web site design is up and, with all respect, it seems to me to be an upgrade of style over substance. As a hardcore news hound the redesign leaves me cold. Perhaps they have more in store. My comments are based only on a review of the new WBBM site, you'll find it here. Kudos are in order however...WBBM's index page title is a killer - outstanding - crisp, clean, focused, great for SEO (radio out ranks their sister TV station's site in four of five search engines checked). On balance, WBBM Newsradio 780 is a damn good radio station that deserves a better web site.

Trend: Web designers failing to fuss over page weights (using a rich jpeg when a slim little gif is all the job needs); clients that only view their sites from the at work T1 - 2 or the at home 3m cable connect (where everything looks okie dokie or is it the cache that looks so good?). Google, YAHOO (i.e., the winners) all continue to obsess about page weight.

"Nobody wins nothing with a great offense and no defense. That's brainless. In business, this means we play both defense and offense." Gary Sutton

Just finished Corporate Canaries, the new Gary Sutton book. "The big lesson" as he calls it is...defense matters. He also shares his "universal truths"...

When profits are slipping, your company shouldn't try to sell its way out of trouble. Fix the problem first.

Adding too much debt will be toxic during the next downturn.

No business runs well without smart controls.

Decisiveness wins.

When your market changes, so must you.

Bravo Gary, well done! Highly recommend this page turning one-sitting read - solid unvarnished counsel - a book managers should keep handy for re-reading. Check it out here

"Rules are what the artist breaks; the memorable never emerged from a formula" Bill Bernbach

Bravo Lea, you rock! Lea is a Technical Editor on the MS Office Live team. She posted a comment providing a solution related to my remarks yesterday (i.e., suggesting the need for preview function in the Office Live Basics beta). This serves as yet another example of why Microsoft's best years are still ahead, the team cares and it shows. In less than 24 hours of a blog comment about their beta product someone on the team takes the time to offer up a solution. While it often seems to be so vogue to bash Microsoft, to say their best years are behind them, the simple facts fail to support the negative noise and chatter. As a practical matter what Lea's comment represents is that most rare of qualities in today's marketplace, an acuity to consumer need. Lea is not merely "on the job" she's a player serious about her cause, she obviously cares enough about her product to provide a solution and do that not using "official channels" but rather in answer to an informal blog solicitation. Before you discount how amazing this is please first answer this question...is your team that serious? What has your team done in the last 24 hours that is comparable? What Lea has done is exemplary, no buts, ands or ifs.

Monday, February 20, 2006

"The future ain't what it used to be" Yogi Berra

While I am certain to get major pushback from my geek pals let me say Microsoft deserves praise for their Office Live beta products. I'm in the beta and used Live Basics to set up a simple four-page web site with email accounts for one of our small business operations. The process is good, no technical skills required, we had the site up in minutes. The folks at the store love it. The only major issue I have...one is not able to draft the pages...when you click ok or apply you're playing with live ammo. They should provide a preview function so you can do any clean up before you publish. Overall - high marks for the beta, excellent value proposition too, kudos to the MS Office Live team. Run a small business and need FREE domain name and hosting, and a professional looking site? Morning show? VO talent? Indy producer? Free lancer shooter? Check out the Basics package (upgrades available too) details here

While we're on betas. Invited to the Edgeio beta and I'm impressed. Having worked for some years in the online classifieds space I appreciate the good work that is going into the Edgeio design. For some it may be difficult to appreciate how slick their app really is...the current light population might be deceptive to the casual observer. Bravo, kudos and cheers to Michael Arrington and gang - you guys are on to something - have fun! Edgeio here - might wanna bookmark it for launch.

Hard to agree with everything he says but Daniel Gross' writing Twilight of the Blogs is getting more attention than last weeks New Yorker. Elizabeth Spiers serves up her view here. Dave Winer's take is here. Meanwhile, on blog technology, Jeff says it's time to blow up the blog here. Hey Safire even devoted his language column to blog parlance yesterday. Of the lot out there re Gross the best line, and pov imo, belongs to Elizabeth...

"But blog companies like Gawker and Weblogs Inc are fundamentally *media* companies. They're editorially driven, not technology driven. And if voice-y online editorial content supported by advertising doesn't work as a business, Gross might want to quit his job at Slate right now."

Bravo ES - can't wait for Dealbreaker (this gal knows greed is entertaining)

Thursday, February 16, 2006

"Given current course and speed there is, in my view, a significant chance of a crisis on the horizon" Pierce Roberts, Jr.

Pierce Roberts, Jr., a director of XM Sat Radio, resigns and his letter to the board chair makes some mighty interesting reading, via Yahoo here. Proper credits to Seth Sutel and Lisa del Greco, AP Business writers.

"Audacity matters!" Tom Peters

Good things happen to good people - Steve Rubel joins Edelman, his announcement here (smart move by Richard Edelman)

Writing about the state of PR Scobleizer makes a good point...

Are we seeing the death of the exclusive? I hope so. That’s what I’m fighting for. The “Z list” should have access to info as soon as the “A list” does.
I just want NDA rules that apply the same to everyone. What do you think?

Read his post here. He also shares that Chris Pirillo feels the scoop no longer exists. Sorry Chris can't go along with that one - a good get comes from good reporting - it's old fashioned hard work that still gets the job done. Might as well add...Brrreeeport is changing the way everyone does business, the facts clearly support the incredible power of Brrreeeport - nothing can stop this dynamic cultural innovation - Brrreeeport is what the live web is all about.

Office Live beta is live, invitations are out, some screen shots here, discussion at LiveSide here

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

"I have 2 basic goals when drawing a caricature:
1) Make it look like the person
2) Make it funny" John Kricfalusi

John K, the cartoonist, band member, and creator of Ren and Stimpy is blogging...go ahead, touch the red button - here

"Keep it simple. Let's do the obvious thing - the common thing - but let's do it uncommonly well" Leo Burnett

Valleywag is the latest addition to the Denton gang, the object of affection is goings on in Silly Valley - here

Meanwhile, Sand Hill Slave (adventures of an almost six figure professional "slave girl" employed in venture cap) is writing here - real or not? You decide.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

"You never pull the trigger until you know you can win" Roger Ailes

The Chicago Sun Times' Robert Feder deserves high marks for calling out Channel 5, WMAQ, on their lack of coverage. One of 5's readers, Marion Brooks, was a witness in the federal trial of former Atlanta Mayor Bill Campbell. Campbell is up on bribery and corruption charges. Brooks testimony related to her four-year affair with Campbell. No way around this one, it's a story and 5 was dead wrong to ignore it. This reminds me of a story that broke during my watch at WCCO Radio. A reader at WCCO-TV filed a sexual harrassment complaint. We covered the story like any other. The amazing thing was the phone call I took from the then general manager of WCCO-TV...clearly upset...she demanded we "kill the story"...we did no such thing. Further, I am not able to say this was the only such experience. When news happens in your shop your readers/listeners/viewers should learn the facts first from you. Bravo Robert! You may read his column here

Speaking of small being the new big. Should you be interested in what some have called the best chocolates in the world you may wish to visit my neighbor Markus Candinas here

"Small is the new big" Steve Strauss

Steve Strauss wrote this post with the above quoted heading, the post is dated Nov 11, 2003. In a post dated June of 2005 Seth Godin wrote this and in the same month Jeff Jarvis writes this. While the posts of Seth and Jeff are well done and deserve a read perhaps Steve deserves to share in the credit for "inventing" the phrase "Small is the new big".

(Later - Bravo Jeff! Thanks for the comment. Seth?)

(A bit later still - Bravo Seth!)

Friday, February 10, 2006

"The circle has been completed: Walt Disney must be smiling up there somewhere" David Smith, Disney Archives Director

Bob Iger deserves major praise for his role in returning Oswald the Lucky Rabbit to Disney from Universal. Walt created the Oswald cartoon character in 1927 and in the process of doing a deal for distribution of his Oswald cartoons lost the Oswald rights to Universal. Having lost the rights to Oswald, Walt went on to create Mickey. Iger's master stroke involved exchanging a return of the Oswald rights to Disney as part of the package for NBC Universal to get the services of legendary sportscaster Al Michaels.
Way to move Bob...smart and savvy!

Meanwhile...David Isenberg in the voice of Dr. Seuss says...

When Ed Whitacre, the head of AT&T, says, "They're not going to use my pipes for free" he's not talking about Them, he's talking about Me. He's talking about Us, it should be plain to see.

Freedom to connect, it's like every other right. We've got to fight, Or they'll come and take it from us in the middle of the night.

So let's finish with the words of Tim Bray...

Fat Pipe, Always On, Get Out of the Way.

When we write to our congressman, what do we say?

(audience) Fat Pipe, Always On, Get Out of the Way.

And when Whitaker says "Pay again" what do we say?

(audience) Fat Pipe, Always On, Get Out of the Way. . . .

David's comments are spot on. It is not to early for each of us to again get in touch with local, state and federal elected officials. Having paid for your connection to the internet the RBOCs and others need to understand we, the so-called rate payers, the voters, ain't gonna pay again. The feds were wise to remain silent on internet issues - including taxes - in the 1996 telecom bill, they will need a reminder or two over the next few years as members seek to rewrite the legislation. Best guess for a fast track of any such rewrite is...ten years but the time to get into the conversation is N O W. Check out David's ongoing work, Freedom to Connect, here. (Thanks to O'Reilly for the pointer)

btw, this makes a great local story for broadcast - your viewers and listeners are certain to have an opinion on paying more for access - good consumer angle.

"Nothing great has been and nothing great can be accomplished without passion" G.W.F. Hegel

Today's quotation comes from the opening chapter of the new Robert Scoble - Shel Israel collaboration naked conversations, a fine read on how blogging really is changing business - highly recommended.

"Prepare to be boarded" is the one-page message with logo (left)awaiting you at officepirates.com the latest Time Inc Interactive venture headed by ex-Maxim editor Mark Golin. Hats off to Ned Desmond's gang and best wishes for great success with this concept - Time Inc.'s long overdue debut in web exclusive media. The early buzz is all good, bookmark it now.

John Nicol has been officially announced as the new head honcho of MSN.com, the former lead on the MSNBC web property is just the kind of bright, inventive person MSN.com needs to get into the entertainment game - cheers!

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Ken Knudson was a remarkable person. He founded a successful hotel chain, achieved a black belt in karate, had a keen intellect and possessed an incredibly charming personality. Last year while researching samurai traditions I was not able to resolve conflicts found in my literature search. My friend Fred Winston put me in touch with Kenny certain that he could assist. Ken was kind enough to not only get me the right information but he also put me in touch with the scholar on the relevant subject matter. Ken was a mensch. Ken and three others were killed when his twin-engine plane crashed in the Chicago suburbs Monday evening. He'll be missed.