Category Archives: Strategy

Folks, “social media” is not the answer. A “great idea” is, and always has been, the answer.

The ambulance-chasers at “Business Insider” ran an article a few days a go with the headline “VW make another brilliant SEO-based ad.” (View above and read the hyperbole below).

http://www.businessinsider.com/volkswagen-made-another-completely-awesome-seo-based-ad-2013-5

Couple of things:

–       it’s a nice idea. Not new (unless you’ve been in the business 5 minutes) and not really “brilliant”. (But well done for resisting “awesome”, dorks.)

–       it’s has NOTHING to do with SEO. It is not an SEO-based idea, at all. SEO works on leveraging an idea, through its properties. It is not an idea in and of itself…

It really is a neat idea. But I wish “journalists”/ bloggers would do some homework on what similar idea preceded this.

This one – for example:

Every Want Ad you’ll see in the advertising journals is looking for “digital specialists”, or for “Social media Gurus.”

Your brand has a big problem? Hey, get a Facebook page. Do some “social media.” Or, better still, do a “viral” campaign.

What ARE you nincompoops smoking? Seriously.

Continue reading Folks, “social media” is not the answer. A “great idea” is, and always has been, the answer.

What will it say on your Gravestone?

Have you ever stopped to consider why you’re on the earth?

What your function is? What you’re ‘meant’ to achieve.

What thing inside you, what burning ambition, what gift to the rest of us, what piece of learning, what advancement in a particular field you have to impart?

Whether you destined to be an utter failure (like a moronic Microsoft employee who after 20 years STILL hasn’t mastered any successful form of smell check) or a Zuckerberg, I find it hard to believe that we don’t all, somewhere in us, have an innate sense of what we can achieve.

Now, for sure, it may have been squashed, by parents or teachers or bosses, but if it doesn’t still live in you, at some point in time but most surely did. Whether plausible in conception or not, we humans dream.

And having a dream and being able to keep it alive and making it real, I believe, is the difference between success and failure – and, if you will, between emptiness and fulfilment.

Continue reading What will it say on your Gravestone?

The Gun Debate: Legislation vs Education

The wonderful thing about technology, like water, is that it will always find a way around obstacles.

A few weeks ago, we saw the world’s first gun, made almost entirely from pieces manufactured with a 3D printer, successfully fire a bullet. In technological terms, amazing.

But to the fearful left wing, yet more reason to hide under the bedclothes or whine incessantly. Or, worse, for the Whine House itself to introduce costly and totally ineffective legislation.

Do I believe gun owners and their guns should be registered? Absolutely.

Just like cars.

Continue reading The Gun Debate: Legislation vs Education

My thoughts on digital marketing

I thought I’d gotten an email from my friend Raafi Rivero today.

For three or four seconds, I thought “Great, wonder how he is?”

I opened the email. There’s a link. Maybe it’s to his new movie?

Nope.

It’s a link to some lame weight-loss program.

His email had been hacked and he’d “sent” me an email.

Now, let’s rewind and figure out what happened here.

Who benefitted, who lost and who paid dollars for this: Continue reading My thoughts on digital marketing

Just a coffee, please.

I have a number of addictions. One is coffee. Specifically Starbucks.

I am told there are “better” coffee shops. I am aware that a Grande Latte costs the same as a gallon of gas (though, relatively my coffee is looking cheaper and cheaper). But now I cannot even order a coffee at the end of a meal in a restaurant, such is my need for the Green Siren. I will leave, even a very nice expensive establishment, and go get my latte in a paper cup from Starbucks.

Why?

Because of what it represents. It’s my morning treat. My luxury. My ten minutes of solace. A pick-me up. A quite cogitate. I also buy the Starbucks “third space” idea. Not home. Not work. But the modern American equivalent of a British “pub” where you can wander in, alone or with others, chat, read the newspaper, check email and sip your beverage along with the like-minded.

Continue reading Just a coffee, please.

Planned obsolescence

I have a good deal of respect for Mr Alfred P Sloan.

He rescued GM in the depression of the 1920’s.

He built the company into the largest corporation on the planet.

And he poured many millions of his own money into a philanthropic organization that still bears his name.

He did, however, a couple of less good things:

  1. He (allegedly) was pretty friendly with a small German guy with an attitude problem and a small mustache
  2. He invented “planned obsolescence”

Now, this concept (planned obsolescence) was pretty crucial to GM’s success and – from a business point of view – was a very smart thing to do.

In essence, prior to the mid 1930’s (and following Henry Ford’s edict – and made real by Karl Daimler and Gottlieb Benz) a car was to built to last.

And in the case of Daimler and Benz, last a very long time.

Ford’s motives were: “Replace everyone’s horse with a car.”

The Germans’: “Build the best engineered car.”

But GM’s was: “Don’t have last year’s model, have THIS year’s model.”

Epitomized by this great Doyle Dane VW ad “Auto Show” from 1970:

Continue reading Planned obsolescence

You are not who you think you are

How many times have you heard someone say “I am who I am”? Defiantly.

Well, I don’t buy it. Neither from a person nor a Brand.

Nor indeed are you necessarily “who you want to be”. (You may be kidding yourself.)

You are what you DO. You are what you did today. (I could even suggest “you are who you are” when no one’s watching.)

Continue reading You are not who you think you are

Why nincompoops worship data

This is a piece on data.

Written by a man who’s run a very successful global ad agency group for more than 2 decades.

So he probably deserves a listen.

WHY do middle-managers love data so much? So they can prove they shouldn’t be fired?

http://adage.com/article/global-news/john-hegarty-contrarian-view-big-data/240448/

FOMO

The “Fear Of Missing Out”. I don’t know who coined this term (it may have been Caterina.net) but it sums up, for me, much of the reasoning behind the rise of and obsession with “social media”.

It’s a common enough phenomena in normal “offline” life. Should I stay in on a Saturday night? Or is it worth going to the Joneses party? Or maybe the Krempler’s will be better? Should I attend that conference? Is it worth signing up that networking event? Worth flying to LA for Billy Bob and Mary Beth’s wedding?

(Let alone the “paranoia” that afflicts those who feverishly check the Facebook pages of those who DID do those things we either didn’t do or weren’t invited to, whether they were enjoying it and what they were wearing.)

Continue reading FOMO

The Author of Why: Simon Sinek

This Simon Sinek TED Talk is the inspiration for much of my thinking. I think this is a hugely important, pivotal piece of learning. And can be applied to corporations and indeed to people.

‘Why’ someone does something, Why they are (really) in business, what truly drives them.

We often find ourselves more concerned what the ‘What’. What do you do? What do you make? What can you do for me?

But fail to understand someone’s real motivation, and you won’t get them.