Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A Lesson From Charlie

Blink:
“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, not the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.” – Charles Darwin

Read On:
Everyone continues to have angst about our current economy. What is now being labeled “The Great Recession” by the media is a reality. In spite of this, we need to learn from the wisdom of Charles Darwin, thus respond to changes in the global economy. A prime example being Red China’s decision to become Green China, reference Thomas Friedman’s op-ed: The New Sputnik
(
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/27/opinion/27friedman.html). Rather than retrench spending, both public and private companies need to transform current strategies and invest in new initiatives that will payoff two to three years down the road to sustain their business long-term. Detailed below are some investment recommendations:

1.) Join the “Social Media Revolution” – Web 2.0 provided us with the technology that enabled us to harness and share intelligence/data with just one click or link. We started with Google and Wikipedia; now five years later, we have YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, etc. Great vehicles to further connect and have conversations with your consumers/customers. Invest immediately because Web Squared (
http://www.forbes.com/2009/09/23/web-squared-oreilly-technology-breakthroughs-web2point0.html) is on the horizon thanks to the advent of smart phone applications.

2.) Tap into the current labor pool – The Labor Department’s latest numbers indicate with 14.5 million people officially unemployed, job seekers now outnumber openings six to one. I am uncertain that these statistics include all the recent graduates who are still looking for their first jobs. There is a lot of talent floating around out there worth discovering.

3.) Invest in organic growth – Old marketing adage – “Your best customer is your existing customer.” Provide loyalty incentives to drive the overall consumption of the products or services you are selling. A sound business strategy and proven to be more effective than the marketing expenditures required to cultivate new consumers/customers.

4.) Outsource innovation – While you are busy putting out the daily fires to remain competitive in “The Great Recession”, hire a seasoned, connected “free agent resource” to facilitate innovation. Bear in mind, innovation is largely about making unexpected connections. Thanks to experience, plus objectivity, a “free agent resource” thinks “Outside the Lines”, thus innovates new product/service concepts, strategic alliances or “buzz marketing” strategies.

Remember a survival lesson from Charlie – time to transform and invest in your future.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Tweeting Not So New

Blink:
People are talking about Twitter. Since its inception in 2006, critics have been trying to figure out the function of the micro-blogging service (140 characters max). Pear Analytics reported babble. Other marketers cite the potential value for promoting their businesses. Why all the buzz? People have been tweeting for centuries.

Read On:
I conducted an archeological dig to determine who were the first official tweeters. I learned that despite not benefiting from current technology, the first tweeters surfaced in Japan in the 1600’s, Matsuo Basho and Ueshima Onitsura who elevated a form of Japanese poetry now known as Haiku. Haiku consist of three cadenced phrases. The original content of most Japanese Haikus had seasonal reference, but evolved over time to other subjects as Western cultures adapted.

Personally I do not tweet yet. However, I have conducted market research over the past six months to get a better understanding for the potential business applications of tweeting, especially as it relates to new product introductions. Nevertheless, now that I know Haikus were the original tweets, I thought I take a stab at a few Haiku tweets.

Twitter is so, so cool
As I relax
Sitting by the pool

I love my iPhone
Drinking my Starbucks
Eating a scone

Season’s greetings
Crazy busy
Call you after my meetings

I’m mad about Haiku
Less than one-hundred forty characters
Do you tweet 2?

Friday, September 11, 2009

The Reduplicative Process

Blink:
The reduplicative process is the act or instance of reiterating – do over & over again or repeatedly, sometimes with wearying effect. The reduplicative process – the stuff champions are made of.

Read On:
I first learned about the reduplicative process from one of my favorite contemporary artists, Alex Katz. In his exhibit, Alex Katz Paints Ada
(
http://www.thejewishmuseum.org/site/pages/onlinex.php?id=136&live_stat=katz), the artist explained that he repeatedly painted his wife over and over again, sometimes in the same outfit, but always from a different angle, to a point that viewers were unable to delineate what was rehearsed versus what was improvised.

I was reminded of the reduplicative process Wednesday night when I witnessed Roger Federer’s advance to the U.S. Open semifinals. It was the 22nd time in his career (http://www.rogerfederer.com/en/rogers/news/newsdetail.cfm?uNC=20491526&uPage=2&uNewsID=957)
that he has advanced to a tennis grand slams semifinal. The next closest streak for a tennis player was 10 by Ivan Lendl. For me this is one of the greatest records in modern sports history. I can only think of the endless hours Roger has practiced every given situation he would encounter on his quest to be the all time greatest player in the history of tennis. When I watch the Maestro (his nickname), I no longer know what he has practiced versus what he is improvising on the court. Roger has mastered the reduplicative process.

Key Learning: Execution is vital to business. Employ the reduplicative process whether you are making a sales call, a management presentation or a speech. Guarantee your audience will not know what you have rehearsed or what you are improvising on the spot.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Random Trivia

Blink:
In my last blog posting, Timeout, I recommended we need to control our daily flood of information. However I must confess, I am guilty of periodically surfing the Internet. It never ceases to amaze me what is out there – random trivia, things you might want to know.

Read On:

· Nielsen data indicates that the average number of text messages sent/received per month per US mobile phone subscriber jumped from 447 in the fourth quarter of 2008 to 486 in the first quarter of 2009. Texters 13-to-17 year-olds lead the way: 2,272 in Q4 2008; 2,899 in Q1 2009. According to my calculations that is 97 texts a day. Maybe you should check on your kids to see if they are actually sleeping right now.

· Struggling with what to do with the $9.79 left on the Applebee’s gift card you have been sitting on? Try
www.plasticjungle.com that exchanges cards for cash/credit or make a charitable contribution to schools via www.DonorsChoose.org.

· According to a VINEXPO study conducted by London-based drinks research organization International Wine & Spirit Record (IWSR), U.S. will become the biggest wine consuming market in the world by 2012. I’ll drink to that.

· Concerned about our planet and looking for a worthy cause to sink your teeth in? Familiarize yourself with SCI (
http://solarcooking.wikia.com/wiki/Solar_Cookers_International), a humanitarian organization that promotes the worldwide usage of solar cookers that use sunlight as its energy source. A great initiative that not only slows deforestation and desertification, but also pasteurizes water preventing waterborne diseases in areas of our planet that do not have a sufficient amount of clean water for its inhabitants.

· Going out for sushi with a friend later this week and want to be environmentally correct? The Monterey Bay Aquarium (www.seafoodwatch.org), the Environmental Defense Fund (www.edf.org) and the Blue Ocean Institute (www.blueocean.org) have all published sustainable seafood sushi guides online that you can print or download to your phone that detail recommended choices.

· When you are sitting at the sushi bar and spot a teenager examining a sushi guide on their new Palm Pre, wearing Nike “Gucci” Dunk Highs, ordering a spicy wild pacific salmon hand roll, please note: TRU, a Chicago based-research firm that specializes in the youth market, recently reported that teens have an estimated annual spending power of $127 billion.

I could continue, but I need to get back online for my daily random trivia fix.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Timeout

Blink:
“Everyone gets so much information all day long they lose their common sense.” - Gertrude Stein

Read On:
At 7:20 this morning I finished scrolling through my sixth online newsletter. Good stuff, especially all the information I gleaned on SmartBrief regarding social media – articles about consumer marketing companies printing their Twitter URL on their product labels, tips about building your own communities (a.k.a. networks), etc. By 8:00 I read all the bookmarked newsletters and blogs I failed to read due to travel. By 8:10 I had put a huge dent in my email which included several links to articles and YouTube video clips sent to me by my own personal maven that keeps me in the loop. As I headed to my kitchen to refresh my coffee, I suddenly was reminded of the above Gertrude Stein quote I once read. Imagine Gertrude Stein, writer, pioneer in recognizing/collecting modern art, lived pre-technology from 1874 to 1946. What would Gertrude be thinking today?

Well for starters if she were living today we could tweet her at Twitter@SteinG. However based on what I have read about her, we would not reach her since she would have deliberately left her Palm Pre at home. She would not want to be interrupted as she sat in a cafe, read the Le Monde that she picked up after her morning walk and daily exchange with her newspaper man. Then she would spend time watching Parisians scurrying to work like ants before thinking about what artist friend’s studio she wanted to visit.

By the time I finished pouring my coffee, I realized that Gertrude Stein had a point. It was only 8:14 and I was already on information overload. The day was young. Based on what was on my plate; client work, social networking, email, financials, more email, etc. I thought about when I would take timeout to think. If I don’t think, how would I ever exhibit the common sense I need to compete effectively in today’s world of chaos? Common sense is a byproduct of thinking. By the time I returned to my computer, I hit the off button and decided to walk down for a New York Times so I could talk to my newspaper man, sit in the park to read and watch everyone dropping off their children at the daycare center next to my residence as they race off to work. Definitely a topic for another day.

Recommended formula: Control the daily flood of information + take time out to think = common sense.