Wednesday, December 15, 2010

"It is not the parts that matter, it is their combination." Vladimir Nabokov

"There is a moment when every work in the process of being created benefits from the glamour attaching to uncompleted sketches. 'Don't touch it any more,' cries the amateur. It is then that the true artist takes his chance." Jean Cocteau

"The only real voyage of discovery, the only Fountain of Youth, consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes, in seeing the universe with the eyes of another, of a hundred others, in seeing the hundred universes that each of them sees. And this we can do with a Renoir or a Debussy; with such as they we fly indeed from star to star." Marcel Proust

Today's image: The Passage of Time by ToniVC. Beautiful, amazing shot. Thank you for sharing.

Nobody likes it but the audience

One of the biggest business success stories of 2010 is Groupon. Andrew Mason and his team have reinvented, actually reimagined, that old, well-worn shoe of retail pricing promotion - the coupon - and in the process they've "made the coupon cool." Andrew's stated goal is to "change the world...transform the way people buy from local businesses" and he's done just that in the world that is local advertising. In about two years Andrew and his team have emerged as a major player in the local advertising market (a $133 billion marketplace according to BIA/Kelsey) and are operating at a profit. They've also attracted the attention of unsolicited buyers including, so we are told, Google. While they continue to expand aggressively, adding new markets each week, the Groupon copycats are in hot pursuit with new imitators launching almost daily.

So how is it that the local advertising incumbents (e.g., newspapers, broadcasters, direct mailers) missed the incredible opportunity discovered by Groupon? Why have their coupon initiatives failed to achieve the success realized by Groupon? After all, the technology being used by Groupon is not at all proprietary. Using email to deliver coupons has been around for almost two decades. The simple facts would appear to be the incumbents failed to recognize coupons for what they could be, the suits saw them for what they were/are and ultimately no one liked the Groupon concept except the audience (and a significant majority of Groupon's client merchants). According to Andrew, the Chicago Groupon subscribers now number about one million (representing more than the combined circulation of the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times).

Compare and contrast: What innovations have local incumbents launched during the past two years that can compare with Groupon's success? What enterprise launched by a newspaper, broadcaster or other ad-supported media firm in the past two years is now producing free cash and worth, at least, a one billion dollar evaluation?

How did this Groupon success suddenly happen?

My sense is Andrew and his team didn't know everything about the coupon business. Maybe they failed to understand or appreciate the accepted best practices and industry dogma. Perhaps they had no idea that single digit redemption rates were considered normal in the coupon and direct response trade. And because they were not coupon experts, they just didn't know what they didn't know. Because they didn't know or care about coupon conventional wisdom, they succeeded. Please permit me to guess again. They knew everything about the coupon business and having carefully studied it they boldly thought theirs was a different and better approach. No matter. Allow me to suggest that the single biggest difference between Groupon and their entrenched local competition is one of leadership. Team Groupon came to play.

Fresh. Creative. Fun.

Andrew and his team imagined the coupon as a way to offer people "cool things to do" and part of their mission was to "help people to rediscover their city." The Groupon team focuses on helping customers get great deals that can be shared and enjoyed with friends. The Groupon team also focuses on merchants helping them to better understand how to advertise in a way that produces results. The Groupon business model ensured Groupon made money on every single transaction. Most of all, the Groupon team is to be commended, no, make that celebrated, for bringing a fresh, creative attitude to what has been the tired game of coupon. Andrew Mason and his team have earned their successes and they've done it by having the courage to make their enterprise fun.

Bravos, team Groupon!

What innovations in advertising and marketing will 2011 bring? The best is yet to come. Andrew Mason is but one of the new entrepreneurs that will dramatically change the landscape of local media. Here's a safe bet. It will be courageous, creative leadership that will make the difference and win the day. Stay tuned.

Bonus: Groupon 2.0 By Frank Sennett via Time Out Chicago, here. Hat tip to Robert Feder.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

"Scarcity comes from distinction. And distinction comes from being bold and meaningfully different. Rediscover your unbridled imagination and idealistic hopes, and create new and preemptive benefits. Shatter what conventional wisdom tells you can be done. Pour your heart into your idea. And pour your soul into bringing it to life." Tom Asacker

"Be daring, be different, be impractical, be anything that will assert integrity of purpose and imaginative vision against the play-it-safers, the creatures of the commonplace, the slaves of the ordinary." Cecil Beaton

"Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now." Goethe

Today's image: By God's Grace by night86mare. Wonderful shot. Thanks for sharing.

Welcome to December and the final days of 2010. It's been an interesting if not exciting year but, as ever, the best is yet to come. Please let me suggest you give some serious thought to these questions...

Did you achieve the successes you wanted, needed to happen in 2010?

Are you ready, prepared to make 2011 the best year of your career and a record-breaking year for your enterprise?

No matter how you answer these questions you (and all on your team) will benefit from reading Opportunity Screams: Unlocking Hearts and Minds in Today's Idea Economy, the latest book by Tom Asacker. [Amazon info]

Tom's little book is a gem. It's one of those rare books that will make you think and inspire you to take action. It's a book you'll want to keep handy and return to, a book that will deliver fresh (and refreshing) insights with each new read.

What it's not...a book of rules, another collection of one-size-fits-all formulas or generic best practices.

What it is...a distillation of Tom's over twenty years of study into what works and doesn't work in the marketplace. Tom provides a framework, a practical template, for how to more deeply understand what's happening in today's increasingly complex and constantly changing idea economy. This book will help you to recognize those marketplace patterns most deserving your attention and, using Tom's framework, give you a genuine competitive advantage on the road ahead.

Opportunity Screams is simply one of the best business books of 2010. Get yours and get some to share this holiday season. [Amazon info]

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

"Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better." Samuel Beckett

"After all, it is hard to master both life and work equally well. So if you are bound to fake one of them, it had better be life." Joseph Brodsky

"The ancient covenant is in pieces; man knows at last that he is alone in the universe's unfeeling immensity, out of which he emerged only by chance. His destiny is nowhere spelled out, nor is his duty. The kingdom above or the darkness below: it is for him to choose." Jacques Monod

Today's image: If You Want to Achieve Greatness Stop Asking for Permission by Thomas Hawk. Wonderful. Thank you for sharing.

Eating your own dog food

Whose blog is this I think I know. He's spends his time on Twitter, though.

Been a while since I was last in this hall. Hope that you are enjoying your summer and that all is well with you.

Please allow me to share some thoughts about broadcasters and the road ahead.

A quick review of just about any station website will blatantly suggest broadcasters are laggards, they're not pacing with innovation. My thought is they should be (but are not) eating their own dog food. Let me put that into context. As Professor Leonard Lodish said...

"Technology-oriented people think if they build a better mousetrap, people will buy it," Lodish says. "But as the venture capitalists say, ‘The dogs don't always eat the dog food.' You've got to market effectively."

[ Reference: Getting the dogs to eat the dog food]

In my experience, station staffs are not living, breathing, and fussing over every pixel of their website(s). They're putting it out there but they're not, themselves, heavy users. Some station folk may like their site(s) but too few are real believers, honestly passionate, pumped about being in-the-tank, rabid evangelists, proud enough to say they LOVE their site(s), ready to take up the fight with anyone not in complete agreement that their site(s) is/are, by far, the very best in the market.

Clearly, station staffs are overworked and consumed with the daily press of affairs, however, the listeners/viewers don't care. They've been told to visit and when they do they typically find a site that fails to deliver. Station sites fail on many counts but none greater than failing as a total time suck. Too often listeners/viewers are failing to find things that they are excited about sharing. This is an epic fail, the failure of engagement. It's one of those engine warning lights you best be being paying close attention to going forward. The quality of your station website(s) has/have to be equal to or greater than the quality of your on-air product(s).

Do your assets matter?

Are they discoverable and easy to share?

A review of your referrals will give you a richer picture. How much of your inbound traffic is from the folks? Where are MySpace, Facebook, LinkedIn, blogs, Twitter, et al ranking in your referrals?

Last month, how many times did your site(s) strike the responsive chord and generate over one-hundred comments on a single post? How many times have your Twitter updates achieved the social network gold of 100+ retweets? How many times this year has your site attracted the attention of your local media colleagues and become news in the metro? When was the last time something on your site became the subject of state, national and/or international attention/news? Are your digital assets highly ranked and prized locally (e.g., A top 20 Twitter account in your DMA? Are one or more of your blogs respected and linked to by other local media and bloggers?). Are your assets "made fresh daily" dynamic and in the moment taking advantage of the new "nowness" and hyper-connectivity of the real-time network? I'm not talking about pulling a Webby nomination, I'm talking about the number of times you have crashed your server, I'm talking about the kind of stuff that leads to your sales people fighting over the inventory baked into your web assets.

If you've not achieved any of those kind of results know this - there is still time to get serious and get in the game. You can do it. It all starts with being honest and doing the hard work. First, show the listeners/viewers that you truly care. Care enough to get into the conversation and engage. Care enough to listen seriously. Care enough to eat your own dog food, the stuff that you keep telling your listeners/viewers to eat. How is it? How can it be better? What would have to happen to make it the best?

How do you go from being the station known (and loved) for Carlos and the Chicken (hat tip: Tom Webster) or that fun-loving morning show weather guy to also being the station known (trusted) for being the gold standard of ongoing local community engagement?

And, really important, please do remember this (Thank me later)

Don't be concerned about whether the glass is half-empty or half-full, be very concerned with who's pouring. Game on! Your thoughts are invited and appreciated. Next, engaging the developer community and getting real about curation. Thanks for stopping by.

Bonus: TV stations websites are preaching to the choir by Terry Heaton, here.

Extra credit bonus: What Happened to Yahoo by Paul Graham, here.

P.S. If you're not living on the edge, you're taking up too much room.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

"If the rate of change on the outside exceeds the rate of change on the inside, the end is near." Jack Welch

"All of us failed to match our dreams of perfection. So I rate us on the basis of our splendid failure to do the impossible." William Faulkner

"There's a saying among scientists, that you don't know you've got a really good idea until at least three Nobel laureates have told you it's wrong." Paul Lauterbur

Today's image: Learn to Fly by illeromela. Beautiful shot. Thank you for sharing.

Learning to Fly

The brilliant Bob Henabery, my creative godfather, often suggested to me that to understand the contrarian mindset one must be able to grasp "driving on the other side of the road." He was right.

Another mentor, the gifted genius Jim Yergin, frequently called me out on my use of metaphor, to wit: "By using analogy, injecting metaphor, what you are doing is avoiding the hard work of thinking. It tells me that you have not developed your thought to the point that you can articulate it clearly without secondary reference." He was right.

2010 should be a time of incredible opportunity for broadcasters. A game-changing moment when the most creative people working in professional audio and video take charge and take the lead in the brave new world of digital, always on audio and video. After all, they have an urgent need to make something happen.

Instead, we are witness to those without professional broadcast provenance taking charge: Pandora leads the emerging music audio space and YouTube leads the space that is becoming the new video.

How did it happen that broadcast professionals witnessed the take off and have continued to watch the early flight of these new players without mounting any significant response? What has enabled these amateurs to succeed, to make progress while the incumbents, the broadcasters, have, or so it may be argued, simply watched?

My sense is Pandora and YouTube have dared to dream.

They are learning to fly right before our eyes (and ears). What were once dismissed as "pigs on the runway" have taken flight and they're now on the radar.

While they may represent the best known entrants into the new audio and video spaces, they are not alone, they're only two of the increasing many that share a charter - reinventing media and radically changing the mediascape as we know it.

Next, I will offer a point of view and some suggestions for how broadcasters can and should move forward in this brave new world. As always, your comments are welcome and encouraged.

Monday, May 31, 2010

"If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs, it's just possible you haven't grasped the situation." Jean Kerr

"You're always a little disappointing in person because you can't be the edited essence of yourself." Mel Brooks

"To avoid criticism, say nothing, do nothing, be nothing." Fred Shero

Today's image: And the Road Goes On Forever by Thomas Hawk. Amazing. Thank you for sharing.

Memorial Day
Help our troops and help their families.
Please, join me and give what you can

Inspired by The Power of Pull by Hagel, Brown and Davison, today's post is a follow-on to my last post, here. This is the second in a series. From the book's introduction...

"It's quickly dawning on us...our education was at best a thin foundation
that needs to be continually refreshed in order for us to stay competitive.

The stress in our professional lives bleeds over into our personal lives as we find ourselves working longer hours and as long-standing relationships are disrupted by unexpected events...Incumbents at the core - which is the place where most of the resources, especially people and money, are concentrated, and where old ways of thinking and acting still hold sway - have many fewer incentives to figure out the world, or to discover new ways of doing things, or to find new information. They're on top, and they're ready to keep doing what got them there. But simply accessing or attracting static resources no longer cuts it. Accessing and attracting have little value unless they are coupled with a third set of practices that focus on driving performance rapidly to new levels. These practices involve participation in, and sometimes orchestration of, something we call 'creation spaces' - environments that effectively integrate teams within a broader learning ecology so that performance improvement accelerates as more participants join."

The authors suggest we are witness to a value migration from the "experience curve" to the "collaboration curve."

Answering the earlier call for "flow" we have the recommendations of another in my flow, Tom Webster. My thanks to Tom.

Justin Kownacki
Altitude Branding
Convince & Convert
in over your head
Six Pixels of Separation
Brian Solis

More from my flow. Three broadcasting (radio) blogs worth your bandwidth and three daily emails for you to consider.


The Infinite Dial
RAIN: Radio and the Internet Newsletter

Daily email newsletters, solid day-starters:

The Slatest
Mike Allen's Playbook
Hugh's Daily Cartoon

Who's in your flow? Please do get in touch with your suggestions. Thank you.

A word to the wise: It's no longer an option. You (and your stations) should be on Twitter. If you are, please consider this your written invitation to follow (@martindave), you have my pledge to follow back. Should you not be Twittering, why not? What exactly are you waiting for? Jump in! Getting started: Complete your profile including pic, link and bio. Tweet! Twitter tips: 1. Be yourself 2. Read replies, respond, engage. 3. Share the good stuff, RT and link 4. Manners matter, be nice. 5. Have fun.

Closed circuit to Jeff Haley: Join the conversation! Ready, willing and able to assist you in making the most of social networks including Twitter.

Congrats & cheers: All honored by Ad Age Magazine in their 2010 Entertainment A-List. The top five: Sony Pictures, Justin Bieber, Blind Side, Clear Channel, and The Beatles, Rock Band. Writing about Clear Channel, Ad Age says "Exec VP Evan Harrison's iHeartRadio makes Clear Channel a breeding ground for discovering new artists and a top earner in digital revenue" $175 million gross (SNL Kagan, 2009). 22 million monthly uniques at

Bravos: The legendary Paulie Gallis on his latest lunch meet in Chicago. We had a great time gathered at Tavern at the Park. Attending were Mark Edwards, Brian Kelly, Tom Teuber, Kurt Hanson, John Gehron, Dan Kelley, Jim Scully, Dick Rakovan, Kipper McGee, Mike Shied, and Doug Dahlgren.

Summer reads: first in a series, the latest from N=1 fav Clay Shirky (non-fiction). From the publisher's release...

"The potential impact of cognitive surplus is enormous. As Shirky points out, Wikipedia was built out of roughly 1 percent of the man-hours that Americans spend watching TV every year. Wikipedia and other current products of cognitive surplus are only the iceberg's tip. Shirky shows how society and our daily lives will be improved dramatically as we learn to exploit our goodwill and free time like never before."

Pre-order: Cognitive Surplus: Creativity and Generosity in a Connected Age by Clay Shirky. [Amzn info]

Got a summer read to recommend? Please share in comments.

Bonus: Cognitive Surplus: The Great Spare-Time Revolution. Daniel Pink & Clay Shirky via Wired Magazine, here. "...organizations that are founded to solve problems end up committed to the preservation of the problems." - Shirky

Learn more, earn more: The Conclave's Summer Learning Conference happens July 15-17, in Minneapolis. Rock radio maven Fred Jacobs and his Jacobs Media team kick off Conclave's 35th year with a new annual learning event, Jacobs Media Summer School. Just added: Jerry Clifton's Night School. More info and online registration, here. Being involved behind the scenes provides me with some unique insider knowledge. Let's just say Conclave 2010 is one you do not want to miss. FD: I serve as an unpaid director on the Conclave board.

Must-read of the month: May: State of Play by B. Kite Pt 1. Some notes on the growing pains of gaming culture, here. Pt 2. Considering the artistic future of video games, here.

Enjoy or endure

Sir Ken Robinson returned to TED this year. Sir Ken's talk is an outstanding follow-on to his last TED appearance. His thesis is we make very poor use of our talents. His suggestion is there are two groups of people in the business world. Those who enjoy what they do and those who endure and wait for the weekend. For those that enjoy their work, it's not what they do, it's who they are. Note to leaders: job one is to create the conditions for achievement. Check out his wonderful new Ted Talk: Bring on the learning revolution!

Have an amazing week. Thank you for stopping by. Your thoughts via comments and email are always welcome and appreciated.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

"We are more easily persuaded, in general, by the reasons we ourselves discover than by those which are given to us by others." Blaise Pascal

"Making the simple complicated is commonplace; making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that’s creativity." Charles Mingus

"It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see." Henry David Thoreau

Today's image: eia by e7* Wonderful capture. Thanks for sharing.

Inspired by The Power of Pull by Hagel, Brown and Davison, today's post is an invitation, the first in a series. Let's get started with a slice from The Power of Pull introduction:

"The first and simplest level of pull is all about flexible access - the ability to fluidly find and get to the people and resources when and where we need them...Access will become increasingly necessary as competition intensifies and disruptions become more frequent. It used to be that we could rely on 'stocks' of knowledge - what we know at any point in time - but these stocks are diminishing in value more rapidly than ever before. Consider the compression of product life-cycles occurring in most global industries today. Even the most successful products fall by the wayside more quickly than the ones that preceded them as new generations come through the pipeline at an ever faster clip. In more stable times, we could sit back and relax once we had learned something valuable, secure that we could generate value from that knowledge for an indefinite period. Not anymore."

The challenge:

"Can you identify the fifty smartest or most accomplished people who share your passions or interests, regardless of where they reside?...For these fifty people, how effectively are you using social media to increase your mutual awareness of each other's activities?"

The context:

"Knowledge flows represent extraordinary opportunity. In a world where edges surface and grow rapidly, these knowledge flows provide the key to continually replenishing our knowledge stocks and exploring new forms of innovation. One challenge in an era of proliferating knowledge flows is to figure out which of these knowledge flows provide the most value. We often are not even aware of the full range of knowledge flows available and therefore cannot effectively use search tools and other mechanisms to access the most rewarding ones. We must master a new set of techniques designed to shape serendipity and attract attention in the most productive way possible. These techniques are the key in turning the challenge of knowledge flows into the rich opportunity of knowledge flows. Rather than a source of value destruction, they become a source of value creation."

The invitation:

My thought is we share our flows. Following, from my experience, are some of the sources that consistently offer solid insight, knowledge flow, that merits your attention. Of course, YMMV, so please do consider this an invitation to offer a few gems from your flow. Take a moment and share by leaving a comment. Alternatively, send me an email with your list and links or post to your blog, send me a link and we'll link to your post from here. Let's do this! Thank you.

Tom Peters! popurls Hacker News paidContent Joho the Blog

Scripting News Rosenblum TV BrandSavant Doc Searls Weblog

Beyond The Beyond Fimoculous Kevin Kelly Thomas P.M. Barnett's Globlogization

Tom Asacker Mediagazer EDGE MediaMemo

Lastly, from the Twitter, the linkers Twitter list by Patrick LaForge (@palafo)

This just in: My thanks to marketing maven Tom Asacker. Tom weighs in with these from his flow:

Grant McCracken
Jonathan Salem Baskin

"The job of the dramatist
is to make the audience wonder what happens next.

Not to explain to them what just happened,
or to suggest to them what happens next."

David Mamet

Bonus: David Mamet Memo to Writers

More flow coming, next time. Thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

"Creative thinking will improve as we relate the new fact to the old and all facts to each other." John Dewey

"As the age of information demands the simultaneous use of all our faculties, we discover that we are most at leisure when we are most intensely involved." Marshall McLuhan

"Great innovations should not be forced on slender majorities." Thomas Jefferson

Today's image: 131/365 by honeygueco. Beautiful. Thank you very much for sharing.

Please take ten minutes and watch the following video. The audio is a talk by Dan Pink, the video a very well done animation of his talk. If you have not yet read Drive, Dan's latest book, don't delay, it's a must-read. You will find a link in the left column of this page under "Reading." My thanks to RSA (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce) for allowing me to share this video with you.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

"The best preparation for tomorrow is to do today's work superbly well." William Osler

"I have learned this at least by my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours." Henry David Thoreau

"Being forced to work, and forced to do your best, will breed in you temperance and self-control, diligence and strength of will, cheerfulness and content, and a hundred virtues which the idle never know." Charles Kingsley

Today's image: untitled by Felipe T. Marques. Great shot. Thank you for sharing.

"The ROI of Social Media is
Your Business Will Still Exist in 5 Years"

The four minute twenty-five second update on social media. It's worth your bandwidth. My thanks to Erik Qualman.

Bonus: The first media trade publisher to stop the presses and get online was Bob Hamilton. Bob quit the dead tree business 27 years ago and started publishing in the world of 300 baud. His writing, Top 10 things "New Radio" has to be, deserves your attention, it's here. Kudos, Bob!

Good read: The Power of Pull by John Hagel III, John Seely Brown, Lang Davison. Amazon info, here.

"Our basic management approaches are fundamentally broken...We are running faster and faster and falling farther and farther behind...The basis of competition is fundamentally changing...Value creation was around 'knowledge stocks'...We are moving to a world where the source of economic value becomes knowledge flows...Are you in the flow?...The means of value creation are shifting from push to pull..."

Related video: David Weinberger's Web of Ideas: John Hagel on the Power of Pull. My thanks to Dr David and the Berkman Center. Video, here.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

"Oh, give us the man who sings at his work." Thomas Carlyle

"The right man is the one who seizes the moment." Goethe

"Know the true value of time; snatch, seize and enjoy every moment of it. No idleness, no laziness, no procrastination." Philip Dormer Stanhope

Today's image: Untitled by LJ. Great capture. Thank you very much for sharing.

Some good reads that deserve your attention.

This Scott Belsky book is a gem. The subtitle - "Overcoming obstacles between vision & reality" - sets the table for this good read.

Belsky offers solid insights and suggests a practical systematic approach for managing and directing the "creative psyche."

"...when we closely analyze how the most successful and productive executives, entrepreneurs, and businesspeople truly make ideas happen, it turns out that 'having the idea' is just a small part of the journey, perhaps only 1 percent of the journey." Amazon info, here.

The brothers who brought us Made to Stick and an interesting monthly read in Fast Company now have on offer Switch a story-driven narrative about that beast change. That they acknowledge, suggest Nudge, the fine writing of Richard Thaler & Cass Sunstein, as well as the Carol Dweck treasure Mindset, indicates these guys have done their homework.

"...we argue that successful changes share a common pattern. They require the leader of the change to do three things at once...Our goal is to teach you a framework, based upon decades of scientific research, that is simple enough to remember and flexible enough to use in many different situations..." Amazon info, here.

Jaron, a pioneer in virtual reality technology, has written a controversial "manifesto."

"...For millions of people, the internet means endless free copies of music, videos, and other forms of detached human expression. For a few brilliant and lucky people, the internet has meant an ability to spin financial schemes that were too complex to exist in the past, creating dangerous, temporary illusions of risk-free ways to create money out of thin air...there are obvious short-term benefits for some people, but ultimately a disaster for everyone in the long term." Amazon info, here.

Read a good book lately? Your suggestions are welcome. Please do share, leave a comment and suggest a read. Thank you very much.

We are all fortunate, blessed to be living in this very cool emerging world of hyper-connectivity. A new normal of always-on and nowness fueled by our access to and dependence on the network. Our handsets, boosted by that almost ubiquitous accelerant, wireless access, are driving totally new behaviors. Mobile is redefining the fundamentals, part of that is the very meaning of local, it's a whole new grammar and sense of place. Forget about DMA and census block code. The new local is defined in GPS terms - exactly where you are within three feet or less (think P.K. Dick). Time and space are obliterated in one click. Touch is the coming gesture, the new click. We are witness to a profound shift. A gradual fading of the desktop and its mouse. They're going the way of that fax machine handshake noise which is now merely years away from being pop culture trivia, and along with internet dial-up connection noise, an audio question on Jeopardy.

You've no doubt noticed, there's increasing chatter, buzz and discussion about all these early iterations of social networking and the social graph. YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn have captured respectable shares of mind.

Some perspective.

As a guy who was a dot com CMO back in the day, in what can reasonably be characterized as the first major wave of our digital networked society, the differences, compared to today, are indeed dramatic. In the first wave we all accepted the same operating mindset - spend your VC money as quickly as possible. The logic being you could get an equal, or greater, amount of cash in the next round. It was all about your "velocity" of spend, the rate at which you burned money. The table stakes included 20K a month for a PR firm, and at least one million dollars a month in advertising. You weren't considered to be in the game until that first full-page ad appeared in The Industry Standard (The Bible, "the newsmagazine of the Internet Economy"). At one point our CEO called me out during an off-site senior staff meeting for not spending enough money.

Today, the aggregate 2009 ad spend of YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn would fall short of what we spent in one year at that now long gone dot com. This is nothing short of revolutionary. But wait, there's more because we're just getting started.

Something's happening here
What it is ain't exactly clear

According to Tom Webster the awareness of Facebook and Twitter is now over 80%, among the 12+ population in the US (Edison Research: Twitter Usage in America 2010).

Twitter's 2009 earned media included a segment on Oprah. Be honest. When was the last time anything your company did was featured on Oprah? The new rules of engagement suggest that the smartest kids working at social networks are enjoying the significant and unique benefits of earned media while the majority of us continue using an increasingly dated playbook (we pay for media). Conversely, the lasting power of the prime time (and live sports) television spot is confirmed daily - it continues to lead the communications mix in Apple product introductions. TV sellers should be using this to make their case.

The time for merely talking about social networks is coming to an end. It's time you and your team get serious and actually get into the game. You must have a well-reasoned strategy. However, you can forget about any urgent need to be correct. Just jump in with purpose. At this point we're all making this stuff up as we go along and don't let anyone tell you any different. If you and your team have a social networking success story please get in touch. I would love to learn what's working for you and, with your permission, share your story here.

Back to the countdown. The great news is, according to Tom, Facebook and Twitter usage estimates are still under 50% of the 12+ US population. Think of it this way, it's late 1975. FM radio first reached a 50 share of American radio listening in 1976.

Cohort replacement is the pure essence of nature at work. The digital immigrants have the advantage of years behind them while the digital natives are living closer to the future, the advantage of significantly more years ahead. I'm reminded of those old white AM radio guys in 1975 telling us FM kids that "nobody has ever complained about the quality of music on our station, your 'music sounds better on FM' argument is just stupid, it's ridiculous."

We can do this. As Gary Hamel once wrote...

"All that matters
is whether you care enough

to start from where you are."

High signal, low noise: Are you reading BrandSavant, Tom Webster's personal blog? It's a serious conversation about "gaining insight from social media data." Jump there now, it's here. Put this one in your reader. You'll thank me later.

Bonus: Beyond the Information Revolution by Peter F. Drucker. The Atlantic, October 1999.

Friday, April 02, 2010

"Our grand business is not to see what lies dimly in the distance, but to do what lies clearly at hand." Thomas Carlyle

"It is more important to know where you are going than to get there quickly. Do not mistake activity for achievement." Mabel Newcomber

"Enthusiasm is the greatest asset in the world. It beats money and power and influence." Henry Chester

Today's image: Could we please go back to start? by .cherry blossom Great shot. Thank you for sharing.

Start making something

Here's some great counsel from the wonderful new book, Rework. Highly recommended [Go, Start making something, Rework by Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hansson. Amzn info]

"We all have that one friend who says, 'I had the idea for eBay. If only I had acted on it, I'd be a billionaire!' That logic is pathetic and delusional. Having the idea for eBay has nothing to do with actually creating eBay. What you do is what matters, not what you think or say or plan.

Think your idea's that valuable? Then go try to sell it and see what you get for it. Not much is probably the answer. Until you actually start making something, your brilliant idea is just that, an idea. And everyone's got one of those.

Stanley Kubrick gave this advice to aspiring film-makers: 'Get hold of a camera and some film and make a movie of any kind at all.' Kubrick knew that when you're new at something, you need to start creating. The most important thing is to begin. So get a camera, hit Record, and start shooting.

Ideas are cheap and plentiful. The original pitch idea is such a small part of a business that it's almost negligible. The real question is how well you execute."

As Joe L. Floyd, my friend, former business partner and legendary broadcasting pioneer was fond of saying...

Talk is cheap,
whiskey costs money

Enough talk! Let's start making something. Please allow me to suggest a great place to get started.

Kurt Hanson is presenting his 8th annual RAIN Summit in Las Vegas on Monday, April 12th. The program begins at 10AM and runs until 7PM. It's one of this year's must-attend events. [More info, here]

What makes Kurt's RAIN Summit different and why should you go out of your way to be there?

Simply put, it's the one and only event where trailblazing thought leaders gather to share best practice, to discuss what's happening (and not happening) in the internet radio space. It also happens to be a world-class networking opportunity. If you own broadcast stations, work at the corporate staff or station level this is a meeting you cannot afford to miss. Moreover, if you're interested in learning, keeping current with what the best & brightest are up to, then you would be wise to make the investment.

RAIN Summit West concerns itself with the practical things that matter. Look into it and you'll discover an agenda packed full of presenters that are involved in actually making things, they belong to that entrepreneurial tribe of mavericks - the cool kids of nowness; they're the players, each and all working just ahead of the cutting-edge of our new mediascape.

My suggestion: stop making excuses, ignore the clueless, forget the advice of those who clearly don't get it (hint: they're the ones telling you they don't know anyone that's going) - make something happen, make plans to attend the RAIN Summit West. You'll thank me later.

Closed circuit to broadcasters, webcasters & vendors: For a limited time, take 30% off RAIN Summit registration by using the discount code "Martin30" when registering. Registration info, here. [FD: There's nothing in it for me should you use the code other than helping others to experience the awesomeness that is Kurt Hanson's RAIN Summit. Don't miss it if you can.]

Bonus: Must-read of the week. The Collapse of Complex Business Models by Clay Shirky, here.

Next time: Stuff you should be reading.

Thanks for stopping by. Have a wonderful weekend. See you next week in a brand new show.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

"So then the year is repeating its old story again. We are come once more to its most charming chapter." Goethe

"Courage is grace under pressure." Ernest Hemingway

"The desire for safety stands against every great and noble enterprise." Tacitus

Today's image: reflections (A) by camil tulcan. Wonderful shot. Thanks for sharing.

"So what have you learned since I last saw you?"

That's the question leadership scholar Warren Bennis threw at Tom Peters. Tom goes on, in his latest book, to speak about learning. [The Little Big Things. Chapter 118. Learning. Making the Grade: Lifelong Learning Is a Mission-Statement Must. Amzn info]

"In our rapidly gyrating world, learning-for-life is no longer an option; it's a professional life (or death) necessity - as more and more are beginning to realize. This is true of you at age 17 or 27 or 47 or 67..."

"Bottom Line: I strongly believe that an explicit focus on 'lifelong learning' for everyone on board could well be the most sustainable advantage an organization of any flavor can have!

Hence, I hereby strongly (!!) suggest that...'An unstinting commitment by every one of us to accelerated lifelong learning'...or some close kin be made a formal part of your mission-values statement. It deserves to be right up there in the stratosphere with the likes of superior quality and profitability."

It's impossible not to agree with Tom Peters on the critical importance of lifelong learning. Understanding we are all busy, dollars and time tighter than ever, let me encourage you to sign up for a valuable learning opportunity.

Should you be reading this on March 31st, and you're in the broadcasting business, congrats, it's your lucky day. My thought is there are two must-attend learning events coming up in 2010. Please allow me to suggest that you will benefit by attending both.

First, the 35th annual Conclave Learning Conference, being held in Minneapolis, July 15 - 17. It's a meeting built on a long and rich tradition. In fact, it's the longest running radio programming conference in America.

As you may have heard, this year's Conclave begins with the debut of the Jacobs Media Summer School, a very special new event developed by Fred Jacobs and his Jacobs Media team. Fred's event, certain to be amazing, is only the beginning. Everything I'm hearing from the Conclave agenda committee suggests that this year's Conclave Learning Conference will be one truly exceptional experience and one you should go out of your way to attend. It has the potential to be the best Conclave in history and that would certainly be something you should not miss.

If you've attended a Conclave you know all about the special, unique experience - this is the year you should come back. If you've not been to a Conclave Learning Conference then this is the year you should take your first Conclave deep dive.

Who should attend? If you work in broadcast media you'll benefit by attending. While the Conclave is an excellent networking opportunity, the actionable take away is unmatched. The agenda is packed with practical knowledge, stuff that you can put to work back at your stations.

Here's the best part. Until midnight tonight you can register for only $149, that's 50% off the $299 registration. But you must act today. Complete the registration form and in the Gang of Ten section use the code "35 Insider." That's it! You're in for $149. There's no need to list nine others in the Gang of Ten section of the form because this code has already qualified for the special discount.

This offer expires today. Pay $149 today or - if you wait - $299 or more. I'm suggesting you take advantage of this valuable learning opportunity by taking action today. Don't wait. Use the following link, the Gang of Ten code "35 Insider" and get registered today. Please email this post or copy/paste and forward this information on to friends and colleagues. Friends don't let friends pay retail. You can also get details on the special $99 rate at the host hotel. If you're reading this after March 31st let me again encourage you to attend. The cost of Conclave registration remains an outstanding value.

Here's the link, for more info and to register, Click Conclave. See you at the Conclave! [FD: I serve as an unpaid member of the Conclave board]

Tomorrow, information (and a discount code) about my second must-attend conference of 2010.

As always, thank you for stopping by.

Friday, March 12, 2010

"Appetite, with an opinion of attaining, is called hope; the same without such opinion, despair." Thomas Hobbes

"Whatever enlarges hope will also exalt courage." Samuel Johnson

"Initiative is to success what a lighted match is to a candle." Orlando Battista

Today's image: tea by Garry Wiesgin. Amazing shot. Thank you for sharing.

Let's catch up. Two good reads worthy of your bandwidth...

A simply wonderful collection of Tom Peters thinking (and living) out loud.

"Instead of waiting to launch a new idea or business until 'things get better,' or starting off every project with a focus on cost minimization, consider instead this quote from former Lend Lease (Australia) CEO Stuart Hornery:

"Every project we take on starts with a question:

'How can we do what's never been done before?' "

Make Hornery's Bold Question your automatic Question #1:

"How will this project enhance the Customer Experience in a way that's so 'dramatically different' from our competitors that we capture new customers and retain old customers and grow our share of business with them. And markedly boost the 'top line'?"

"THINK DIFFERENT" must be a full-time preoccupation in good times and bad..."

The Little BIG Things: 163 Ways to Pursue EXCELLENCE. [Amazon info] Follow Tom on Twitter, here.

Jason Fried and David Heinemeir Hansson, the founders of 37signals, have produced a gem. Rework is a playbook for the real world, a compilation of clear headed business rules.

"Inspiration is perishable.

We all have ideas. Ideas are immortal. They last forever. What doesn't last forever is inspiration. Inspiration is like fresh fruit or milk: It has an expiration date.

If you want to do something, you've got to do it now. You can't put it on a shelf and wait two months to get around to it. You can't say you'll do it later. Later, you won't be pumped up about it anymore.

If you're inspired on a Friday, swear off the weekend and dive into the project. When you're high on inspiration, you can get two weeks worth of work done in twenty-four hours. Inspiration is a time machine in that way. Inspiration is a magical thing, a productivity multiplier, a motivator. But it won't wait for you. Inspiration is a now thing. If it grabs you, grab it right back and put it to work."

Rework [Amazon info] Follow Jason on Twitter, here.

Bonus: Time to Start Taking the Internet Seriously by David Gelernter. Must-read of the week, via EDGE, here.

Thanks for stopping by. Have an incredible weekend. Back next week with a brand new show.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

"We hate to decide. We avoid deciding. We hide from it...Once someone decides, they almost always succeed (unless they want to win an Olympic medal or some other ridiculous prize awarded to just a few). The decision is the hard part, but we spend precious little time on it." Seth Godin

"In any moment of decision the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing." Theodore Roosevelt

"Wherever you see a successful business, someone once made a courageous decision." Peter Drucker

Today's image: Mount Hood by rasone. Amazing. Thank you very much for sharing.

Be Decisive

One of the most important and difficult responsibilities of effective leadership is being decisive. Gathering relevant information, ensuring data used is credible, timely (fresh), crafting and seriously considering a variety of practical solutions sets, while essential, are the easy parts of the decision making process. The most challenging part involves intellectual rigor devoid of pedantry.

"Few people think more than two or three times a year. I have made an international reputation for myself by thinking once or twice a week."
George Bernard Shaw

Thinking is the underlying magic, the hard work in the decision making process, the wellspring of good decisions. Critical thinking, at its best, is an intellectually honest labor, the product of cognitive diversity, it's serious thought imbued with imagination.

"Most people in an industry are blind in the same way - they're all paying attention to the same things, and not paying attention to the same things."
Gary Hamel

My sense is too many firms have defined and adopted so much best practice that they have become, more or less, identical. This operating mindset comes from prizing only the knowable, respecting nothing but the proven, it's a process driven by the singular mission of minimizing the unpredictable. Unfortunately, this approach inevitably leads to institutionalized risk-aversion and incrementalism. Innovation gives way to inertia. Original thinking is not required. Moreover, the "untested" is discouraged, frowned upon. The danger is this becomes an irrational quest for the holy grail of predictability, a search for something elegant (perhaps something akin to the next Black-Scholes formula). Caution, one might be wise to mind the counsel of Albert Einstein: "Elegance is for tailors." In other words, be skeptical of elegant math.

It is my suggestion that there has never been a time more favorable, more ripe for being a contrarian. Dare to embrace the naive assumption. Foster the chaos that is unvarnished candor, search for what's missing, carefully study what your competitors are doing and seriously consider doing the exact opposite. Differentiate in all you do. Create contrast. Each day, ask yourself the most important questions of all...WHY? and WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE?

"Discovery consists of seeing what everyone else has seen
and thinking what nobody has thought."

Albert von Szent-Györgyi

Once you've done your homework, done the hard work of thinking and reached your decision let me suggest that you add one more important step before taking action. It comes from Harvey Mackay, the famous Minnesota envelope maker turned business writer, and it's a gem. Gather your team one more time and ask...

"What are the five things that could go wrong,
and what would we do about each."

Today's quote by Seth Godin courtesy of Hugh MacLeod. It comes from an interview with Seth on Hugh's blog, Gapingvoid (linchpin: ten questions for seth godin). Earlier this month Hugh started "Hugh's Daily Cartoon" - it's free via email and I highly recommend it, sign-up here.

Get more info on Seth's new book Linchpin, (it's a good read) via Amazon, here.

My thanks to Seth and Hugh.