Tuesday, 14 August 2012
What slays me is that all the print vs digital arguing that goes on still completely misses the point of marketing!
It all has a value & purpose - but most of the 'copy' being used is crap & doesn't connect to the customer. A vehicle is nothing more than a vehicle - if it gets you from A to B it works. Some have more style and flare than others some run smoother than others. But no matter what the vehicle is, if it's got no gas it's useless.
An effective ad campaign that reaches the same sets of eyeballs repeatedly will work far more effectively even if only reaching a few people than an ineffective ad campaign that reaches millions only once each. And copy to marketing is like gas to a car.
Marketing 101 for those of you who seem to have forgotten or perhaps never knew. Love how everyone these days is an expert. Lol
Sent from my BlackBerry :)
Sunday, 10 June 2012
Each new generation brings new ideas. Some of those ideas are amazing and ground breaking, but some of them just plain suck - at least for certain applications.
I was raised by entrepreneurs to become one myself and it has oft been repeated & proven throughout my 20 years of experience that a computerized system is only as good as the manual system on which it is based.
Yet countless times I, like so many other hot-blooded raring to go youth (meaning pretty much anyone under 40 with drive & ambition), have spent hours trying to prove that theory wrong - only to crash & burn.... eventually. This is exactly what I see happening with technology all around us and especially within the media industry.
What concerns me the most is the number of seasoned experts who are stepping aside & letting it happen. Is it because they are lacking the fight & energy they once had? Are new techies simply more convincing that they are able to shake the beliefs these seasoned experts know to be true?
Surely the current state of circumstances surrounding Facebook must be re-opening some eyes? I'm not saying that progress & change are bad - not at all, I thrive on them as much as our society does. But where are the tried & true manual systems behind today's technology? In particular behind the digital drive of media?
Abandoning the facts of what we know works & thinking that something completely new can be born without any logical & thorough follow through is suicide for business & in this case an entire industry.
Media needs to be the leader they have always been. For content & for advertising. The current haphazard approach can only end badly. It doesn't mean utter extinction, but it does mean a whole lot of casualties & lost time & money until someone stops the runaway train and puts it back on track.
I'm rebuilding the track but I'll certainly need some help getting the train back on it.
Sent from my BlackBerry :)
Monday, 4 June 2012
Having said this, I find myself at cross purposes.
If you've read any of my blog, you know I'm working on a large project that I intend to have massive influence on the media industry - both in print and digital.
None-the-less, it may occassionally come across as though I might be one of the very people that annoys me! But in many ways my hands are a bit tied.
I intend to discuss in more details the problems that media is currently facing - however - please note, that while due to confidentiality and rights protection I won't be publicly offering up what my solutions are, I most certainly do have a solution formulated for every problem that I will be referencing.
I pledge to you that I will never discuss or complain about any problem that I don't already have a solution either completely figured out or at least well under development.
However, if you want to discuss the details about any particular solution that I have, you will need to be willing to join my team on some level. In particular we are currently in need of Advisors to help shape the project; Investors to fund it and Programmers to bring it to life!
Fortunately, I am a very approachable and personable person. I may not always be the fastest to respond, but so long as you send me an email that is legible, with clear intent, open minded and friendly - I will respond.
And by the way - as more information is released on this project and as certain individuals ponder the idea of joining our Advisor team, please note - we DO want "devil's advocates" as well. Obviously some positive reinforcement is good, necessary and desired, however, progress does not come from everyone being completely agreeable. But I warn you - do not tell me something won't work unless you have a better solution to present. If we all play by these rules, we should get along just fine!
Ciao for now!
Sunday, 3 June 2012
But I cover a number of points that I think belong on my blog as well. So here you go:
1) Don't kid yourself commenters... Clay is right, Warren will unquestionably make money on this deal one way or another. If you don't understand business and investing, I would suggest that you don't worry about it - what does it matter?
2) Depending on which stats reports you read for which area, you will find that less than 80% of the North American population are counted as being "Internet Users" - http://www.internetworldstats.com/stats.htm
What these stats fail to tell you is what exactly that 80% are doing when they're online. My 75 year old grandmother would check her email, look up some geneology and then get the hell out and if anything she didn't recognize came up, I got I phone call.... BUT.... she would be counted as an "Internet User" - but ask her where she would get her "news".... newspaper, TV and radio.
So this raises 2 points. The first being - who the hell holds the right to say that the roughly 20% of the North American people who are not "Internet Users" should no longer have the right to read their news in print? I mean let's face it, we're talking 20% of almost 350 million people... that's almost 70 million people! But worse than that... out of the world population of 6.9 billion people, less than 33% of them are "Internet Users" - that means roughly 4.6 billion people shouldn't be allowed to expect their news in print?
Secondly, just because someone is declared an "Internet User" doesn't mean that they do everything online or that they are always plugged in. Statistics have always been easily manipulated to paint whatever picture a person wants it to paint (even my numbers above - because let's face it, what are the percentages of those non-Internet-Users who are illiterate and can't read a newspaper or who are living in third-world countries and don't even have access to a newspaper or the Internet...) - but the point is, let's be responsible and look at this stuff from more than one set of eyes. Furthermore, try talking to a number of "Internet Users" and ask them whether they get their news: online or offline?
Another set of stats I've seen declares that 25% of Americans get their news online! And it's declared as if that should be an impressive number! Seriously?
3) Having said this - am I a bleeding heart, 'save the print' person? No, I'm not. I am deeply entrenched in a project that will massively change the digital landscape for media and advertising.
Two of the things that this project will achieve (among many others) include: 1) it will bring an organization level to news and content never before seen publicly online and it will make embracing news online a source of enjoyment and pleasure for EVERYONE - even the non-Internet-Users of today. 2) it will redefine the print publication, free them of their struggles and allow them to stabilze.
Will print make a rebound? I highly doubt it.
Will it ever see the likes of its Golden Era again? I highly doubt it.
Can it be stabilized and once again turn a profit? In some cases, absolutely it can!
Will more print focused newsrooms continue to die? In some cases, absolutely they will.
It is a rare ability to see the world through multiple eyes - but that's what is needed to get through the current state of media and the print industry. Tunnel vision in any direction will be fatal.
Is Warren Buffett a fool for buyng up certain print publications? I hardly think so!
I strongly disagree. It may not be a "magic wand" as that would imply not requiring any work... however, I do have the answer - not just for the NYT - but for all media, print media, newsrooms & journalists who care to step up to the plate.
The question becomes - who will listen?
My weakness? I'm not already part of the "in-crowds"; I don't have a big name and portfolio to "wow" people with and I don't have the dollars to simply "make it happen" without help.
But let me ask this - so far, what earth-shattering, life-changing results have the "big names with portfolios and connections" actually managed to achieve in terms of long-term plans, results and sustainability?
Spend a day scouring Twitter and reading articles by the likes of Mathew Ingram, Jeff Jarvis, Clay Shirky - or the ones retweeted by these same groups of journalists and the only answer you can logically come to is that there has been no long-term plans, results or sustainability that will make a big enough impact on media and especially the print industry.
I'm easy to find if you care to look - between Twitter, Facebook and Linked-In and I'm the Publisher of the Gateway Gazette in Southern Alberta.
Who wants to take action with me to truly fix this global problem rather than spending so much time and money discussing what the problems are?
Monday, 7 May 2012
I'm a techie & I too am guilty of poking fun at my parents for just not "getting it" even if done with the most love possible ... It's something that's been done for generations regardless of the industry.
But really, if technology is so damned smart why can't it be designed to be easy & user-friendly?
Well the answer is it can be & in my world it will be. I would estimate that a good 40% or more of my time is spent helping non-techies adapt to a world that would leave them behind without a moments thought. Sink or swim seems to be the general attitude of many people leading the tech world.
Interestingly, a similar attitude also seems to be dished out to the print media industry. "Get with the times or get left behind" is the pretty clear message.
Perhaps it's my Libra traits driving me, but I believe there is a lot more opportunity to create a balance. We can move forward with technology & all the wonderful opportunities it creates but we can also do it in a way that helps the whole rather than serves the elite.
According to Roy H. Williams our society is about half way through a pendulum swing towards a zenith of "we" which will peak in 2023. If that's the case then perhaps we should be focusing just a little bit more on how to help our parents & grandparents survive this technological transition. If we're so smart how's about we find a way to "include" rather than "exclude" the very people who made our existence possible?
Sure everyone has the right to "figure it out" but it wouldn't hurt if we made it a little bit easier for them. Hell I know executives who are pushing "technology" or "digital" who don't even know how to use the very tools they are preaching about. Is it their fault? Perhaps a little bit. But at the end of the day it's the creators who have the ability & the responsibility to make new technology a tool that can be used by everyone.
And that is a huge portion of my mission!
Another interesting side note on Roy's pendulum theory is that the leaders in much of technology come from the time frame when the "me" cycle would have driven their most impressionable years. So it's really not that surprising that technology has taken on something of a selfish persona. However, the time has come for us to address this.
To the youth of technology & of the "me" era I say "get with the times or get left behind"... The next ten years are going to be about "we" not "me. And in the "we" era, no one likes a selfish brat.
Sent from my BlackBerry :)
Sunday, 6 May 2012
Wednesday, 21 March 2012
Monday, 19 March 2012
However, one of Henry's quotes that is truly a favourite of mine is "If I had asked my customers what they wanted, they would have said a faster horse!" Makes me smile every time.
This goes hand in hand with a more recent statement by Mark Zuckerberg that was along the lines of "Meeting the needs of tomorrow rather than the demands of today." I wonder if young Mark will be revered as much as Henry more than half a century after his passing? I digress.
So with such smart and obviously successful people making such simple yet profound statements, why is it that mentors, teachers and leaders of so-called-progress still push the concept of "survey your customers" to the degree that they do? I don't mean to devalue the importance of research, it most definitely has its place and something I spend hours upon hours doing. But it is not always the be-all and end-all of the answers to forward movement and progress - in fact, it can be downright stifling. At least in the way that most people tackle it. It's like businesses who try to track their advertising by asking a customer "how did you hear about us" - most of the time their answer simply can't be trusted (as confirmed by advertising guru Roy Williams).
To truly lead in progress you absolutely must do so much more than ask people what they want or what they think they want. As Arlene Dickinson says in her book Persuasion, not only do you have to "listen" but you have to also hear the subtext of what they're not saying. Which is exactly what we're doing in the development of our media revolution.
Our consumers currently know what they like and don't like in the products they have access to, but it's virtually impossible for most of them to even begin to fathom what our product will do for them and their lives when there is nothing tangible for them to compare it to. But we can say with confidence that it's a whole lot more than a "faster horse"!
I find it very interesting how there are so many common threads with professional journalists, regardless of which part of the world they're from. Here's some of what I've gleaned in my reading travels, in a general sense:
1) they feel under paid
2) they're frustrated at their work being pirated across the Internet
3) they're unhappy with the number of amateur writers gaining momentum through blogging
4) they're uncertain about what the future holds for them
And is it any wonder with comments like "As career journalists we have entered a new era where what we know and what we traditionally do has finally found its value in the marketplace and that value is about zero." being made by leaders like John Paton. However, let's not jump to taking it out of context, as John also goes on to say "This has been one of the most gut-wrenching struggles for me to deal with because clearly journalism is not without value but, for sure, how it is largely practiced in print today – particularly “he said last night journalism” – nearly is valueless."
John is absolutely correct - to a point. But there really is much more to it and while the whole concept of "Digital First" sounds great it will only truly be great if it's done properly. So far, it's not being done properly.
I'm really not kidding, there is a massively better way to handle the print to digital transition. A way that will have journalists jumping for joy at the income levels they will be capable of earning. A way that will have consumers saying "finally I can begin to rely on my trusted newsrooms again". Better still, a way that will completely reverse the plummeting bottom lines of newsrooms everywhere.
When you're ready, let me know. In the meantime, I'm continuing to flesh out specific details, formalize business plans, draft operation strategies... all the fun stuff that goes into something great!
Sunday, 18 March 2012
I'm a bit different in the newspaper industry - always have been the black sheep and was featured as an Insurgent in a New Hampshire paper (of all places) in our early days, but that's another story. To keep this on the shorter end of my epistles, the black sheep trait that I'm speaking of here specifically is that I was a born techie meddler far before I considered entering the newpaper realm. But in my region, I was way before my times (by about 15 years) - so evenutally I conformed (which took me 8 years). I learned to focus on print and push my digital love affair to the back burner (rather ironic now in light of the state of things).
As time went by, like most independent, small publishers without a parent company to fall back on, I found myself buried under the stack of day-to-day operations. This resulted in pushing me farther and farther from my digital dreams, to the point that now, in the face of radical changes in the print industry I find myself working insanely late hours and most weekends in an attempt to revive my digital drive.
As a techie meddler I know enough about the digital world to be dangerous and lack enough hands-on skill to be frustrated. I know what I need to do and what I want to do, but not how to do it all myself. As the Publisher of a small, bi-weekly community newspaper I also lack the resources to hire the people to do it for me. So - I learn and I make progress, albeit slowly. But after several hours I start to ponder many of the newspaper people that I have met in my travels and I can't help but to empathize with them and what they're going through.
Why? Because opposite to me (for the most part), newspaper people, first and foremost, have a love affair with news, journalism, the flow of a newsroom... they are not often born techies and I've seen first hand the frustration that goes along with a non-techie being forced into the digital world. It's really not pleasant. If you can't relate to this, perhaps try to think of a parallel situation - a child that hates school, or a particular task that you always dread having to do but know that you absolutely must do it. Think about how that task makes you feel or how being around that child makes you feel? Think about the quality (or lack of) of what is getting done under pressures of force. Or perhaps consider the overwhelming anxiety that flows through a person who finds out that they can no longer work a job that they've done for 40 years and there is nothing else that they know how to do.
Honestly, this is not a lifestyle I would wish on my worst enemy. The frustrating thing for me, is that I know there is a better way, I have the solution... but as it turns out, patience is not exactly one of my strengths ;)
The business model I referred to in my previous post addresses this exact situation (among many others). For the sanity of the newsrooms, I sure wish I could make it all happen at a much faster rate to help you guys out. But fear not, I'm nothing if not tenacious and I will find a way.
I am looking for board members, advisors and investors to help lead this media revolution - so keep that in mind as you ponder through your day. If you'd like to chat, let me know!
Saturday, 17 March 2012
You're part of an industry that's been struggling and declining on a global scale from every possible angle. The leaders in the industry have been trying to solve the dilemma through trial and error processes but unfortunately have achieved little more than bandaids and false hopes - despite their valiant and dedicated efforts.
You're a small fish in the industry, but you've been investing a huge amount of time researching, planning and most importantly "listening". The result ends up being the conception of a solution to this global scale problem - a solution unlike anything else that anyone else has managed to develop. A panoptic solution that would be the catalyst of a global revolution in your industry. A solution that provides conservative revenue projections into the billions per year in the early stages. A solution that would end up being a "Facebook" success to your industry.
The "gurus" of entrepreneurs and start-ups insist that in order to gain any momentum or attention with such a concept you must launch a working model, even a mini version, on a public scale to prove viability.
But here's the thing... protection of Intellectual Property in this regard is near impossible. So a small fish, without the resources for a massive global launch, manages to go live with a mini-version that proves to be a viable concept. It gets the attention of the big fish - but there is nothing stopping them from simply adopting and expanding on the concept without any consultation or compensation back to the founding entrepreneur who developed the concept.
So what's a small fish to do?
**All comments, suggestions and advice gratefully accepted on this one**
Sure it might be a noble idea to simply hand over an industry salvation solution to the people with the resources. But let's face it, money talks and I've got a family to feed.
I am the above referenced small fish and yes, I've conceptualized an extraordinary solution to the problems print media has been facing for the last decade.
A solution for:
- the challenges newsrooms have been facing in their transition from print to digital, in their content being pirated across the Internet and in finding the viable revenue model;
- the frustration journalists have been facing in the devaluation of their trade (and simply not getting paid a fair wage, or even at all, for the hardwork they put into their reporting);
- the hopelessness that businesses have been facing as their advertising efforts produce less and less results during this chaotic approach to marketing in a new era;
- the future needs, wants and desires of the consumers - though they themselves aren't likely aware of what those needs, wants and desires are just yet, but it's coming - putting us one step ahead and "building for the needs of tomorrow rather than the demands of today"
I follow a fair number of media people through Twitter and they're all pretty much saying the same things. So which ones of the power and money people are going to pay attention to what I'm saying here? I'm not a fly-by-nighter or someone full of hot air. My solution has been sufficiently developed in concept that it could enter the production phase immediately. It could feasibly launch version 1 within 12 months on a global scale with the right partners grouped together.
What's stopping me? A lack of resources... ie: connections, money and people.
Unlike Facebook, I can't build a mini-version of this, under the radar and build it up into something that will catch someone's attention to approach me on it and then transform the print media industry - there are just too many people specifically looking for something like this to run with. It would be swiped, modified and duplicated before I could barely get it off the ground.
So for this project to launch and to have the global impact it's capable of having, I need to recruite the partners capable of bringing it to life. Being a Canadian, I would first and foremost love to see it be a team of Canadian founders that bring this to market - but at the end of the day, it simply needs to get to market by whatever means necessary.
If you agree with any of the following:
- that the print industry is suffering
- that the "solutions" to date have been little more than bandaids and false hopes
- that journalists are under valued and under utilized
- that the general quality of journalism is declining (for various reasons when looking at the "whole") or at very least being diluted by less than professional writers
- that digital advertising has not been consistently delivering the results to the businesses that they had hoped for or needed (ie: noticable increase in sales)
- that businesses have been treading the marketing waters and succumbing to media hopping in the hopes of finding something that works
- that many consumers are becoming more and more disconnected from "news" - especially at local levels
If you have the connections to investors looking for a world changer with an enormous return;
Then let's talk.
I'd sure appreciate you sharing this to see what kind of thoughts just might be out there.
Monday, 30 January 2012
But here's a couple little things that I've personally found so far. Now, granted I'm not "published"... yet.... but, none-the-less it's my 2 cents worth at this point for those interested.
1. Research Agencies and Agents, but believe it or not, Goggle is not the best way to find them. Personally I use a free account with Author Advance: http://www.authoradvance.com. It has an awesome search function and has close to 2000 agents listed within it from all over the world. Whether or not it's an exhaustive list - who knows, probably not, but I do know that it'll take me some time to filter through all of them and hopefully I'll have representation before I get even half way through. (Got me fingers crossed!)
2. Once you have their website - use it! Go to each agents' profile to find out what they are looking for and also find out what their submission guidelines are and again - use it! You don't need to be super crazy strict about "following the rules" - but at the same time, not much point on sending a Query on a Fantasy novel to an Agent who only handles non-fiction memiors.... and even worse if you get their name or gender wrong! So do yourself a favour and do your research.
3. Which brings me to the point of getting things wrong..... I couldn't believe it when I started finding out just how many Query Letters get tossed out by an agents assistant or intern because of typos! So again, do yourself a favour.... read, re-read and re-read again - then get your friends and family to read it too - to make sure you've got it right.
Sunday, 29 January 2012
Sent on the TELUS Mobility network with BlackBerry