Monday, November 26, 2007

"When trouble arises and things look bad, there is always one individual who perceives a solution and is willing to take command. Very often, that individual is crazy." Dave Barry

"While people may someday forget what you said, they will never forget how you made them feel." Johnny Martin

"What is art? Nature concentrated." Honore de Balzac

Along with the mad rush to year end, recent weeks have involved preparing for my last talk of the year. The subject is creativity. One of the senior honchos at a client company reminded me of something used years ago in my talks and playbook materials. He was right, and I thank him because it was worth revisiting. Sharing it here today.

Top secret - "The formula" of former ABC TV programming whiz Fred Silverman...

  1. Make people laugh. There's enough tragedy in the world.
  2. People tune in to see a star.
  3. Stress the positive, not the negative.
  4. The common man is more appealing.
  5. It's up to me to find new stars.
  6. Familiarity breeds acceptability.
  7. Take chances and run scared.
  8. It's not only the show but how the audience is told about the show.
  9. Work the viewer mind.
  10. Keep a hard-action line.
  11. Cartoons aren't only for kids.
  12. Grab 'em while they're young.
  13. Don't copy yourself.
Great lessons each and all. More detail on the second item above, Fred said "Television is a personality medium. Start out with a piece of talent." Fred was spot-on. As the legendary Bill Hartman often said "Our success begins and ends with talent. Without talent we got no show. Without show we got no business."

Another lesson: Timing - knowing your moment is everything. In 1997 Christopher Hassett was riding high with PointCast, it was the moment push tech was cool, very cool. The story goes it was 1997 when the PointCast board turned down a $450 million offer from News Corp. In 1999 they did sell the company for $7 million.

Ranting on radio: Interested in radio? Please allow me to recommend Jay Mitchell to you. Perhaps Jay's destiny is the result of a genetic transmission, after all he is one of that rare breed of second-generation broadcasters. But wait, there's more going on here. Amongst the first tribe of wireless Jay is known as a gentleman, a successful broadcaster and an engaging entrepreneur. Now, he's favored us with a blog. Check out Jay's new blog here. Kudos and cheers to Jay! Welcome to the conversation.

Congrats & cheers: They said he couldn't do it but, of course, he did. Nicholas Negroponte and his dream of a $100 laptop, a laptop for every child. His OLPC initiative is now making an exceptional offer while making a real difference. Give a laptop to a child and get one free. This important mission is not at all about laptops but about education. Please join me and Give One and Get One this holiday season. Related: OLPC Wiki. Bravos to Nicholas and company.