Wednesday, September 30, 2009

"Hire execs who love the product." Dave Winer

"Enthusiasm is the genius of sincerity and truth accomplishes no victories without it." Edward G. Bulwer-Lytton

"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm." Winston Churchill

Today's image: Banksy. Cans Festival Leake Street SE1 by pomphorhynchus. Amazing. Thank you for sharing.

Good to be back. So much to catch up on. Let's get started.

Dave Winer inspired this post. Should you not be aware of Dave, please do get to know him. He was instrumental in bringing us game-changing breakthroughs including blogging, RSS and podcasting. He's an original thinker, a person not afraid of dealing in that most rare and refreshing of attitudes, he dares to offer unvarnished thought. You may find his blog, Scripting News, here. Longtime readers will recall the header of this blog once contained Dave's wise counsel "People come back to places that send them away." That has never been more true or relevant than it is today.

Recently Dave wrote: "Every crop of entrepreneurs thinks it's different. They never are, but they have to learn that for themselves. One thing they do over and over is hire execs who don't love the product. It's as if the guy who ran professional football didn't like football." My sense is Dave is spot-on in this observation. Read Dave's entire post, Hire execs who love the product, here.

Seems to me too many of those working in broadcast today don't truly love the product. Should we somehow be given the ability to Mirandize the majority of broadcast leadership, have them raise a hand and give us the straight dope under oath, my sense is our finding would be there ain't a lot of love. These guys are not happy, not having fun, not excited about the industry as it is today and not close to convincingly enthusiastic regarding the road ahead. Can't totally blame them. It's not the job they signed up for. Moreover, 2009 is turning out to be yet another one of those years that they would prefer we all just agree to forget. More on this leadership issue later.

Today, let us choose to learn rather than forget.

Here now the lessons of a media company about one hundred and thirty years old that put down one of it's most prized assets earlier this year. The Rocky Mountain News printed it's final edition on February 27, 2009.

At that ending, John Temple was the editor, president and publisher of the Rocky Mountain News. Now he presents us with an exceptional gift - lessons learned from the end of an institution. Here are his ten lessons. I strongly recommend you visit his blog, watch his video and read his entire presentation delivered earlier today at the UC Berkeley Media Technology Summit at Google. [Speakers list]

1. Know what business you're in.
2. Know your customers.
3. Know your competition.
4. Know your goal.
5. Have a strategy and be committed to pursuing it.
6. Measure, measure, measure.
7. Keep new ventures free from the rules of the old.
8. Let the people running a new venture do what's best for their business, regardless of the potential impact on the old.
9. To compete in a new medium, you have to understand it.
10. Invest in R&D.

Bravos, John. Well done. Thanks for sharing. This gentleman loved his product, loved his job, of that there can be no doubt. His leading by example, his generous offering of learning, is simply exemplary. You may find John's post, including video, slides and the text of his presentation, here.

Thanks, again, to Dave Winer for the inspiration and to NYU rock star Jay Rosen for his tip on John's wonderful gift of learning.

Your comments are always welcome.

More tomorrow. Thank you for stopping by.