Friday, June 29, 2007


Finally, an innovative way to view a PowerPoint-based speech because it shows both the speaker and the slide. Developed by Zentation.
Featured speech is Guy Kawaski's 'Art of Innovation'. A must see.

How to kill innovative ideas

It's one of those weekly meetings, the usual suspects in the room, except for the new hire. And the eager employee comes up with an idea that interrupts the flow of your meeting. Unfortunately, most new hires will encounter one of the following answers:

"We tried this before. The client doesn't go for it."

"I don't think we can handle this."

Why is this?

Especially weekly meetings are a breeding ground for unneeded efficicencies and re-establishing order. And, at the same time, kill ideas and demotivate everybody in the room.
Yes, you had time to go through your whole agenda and didn't waste anybody's time.
But you might have killed the spirit of a new hire and made sure that an idea (potentially good or potentially bad) was killed.

Instead of dismissing an idea, why not build your new relationship on these ideas?
Maybe this idea will not work out and you used 5 minutes of your time to think it through? But you showed interest in the ideas of your employee and started a conversation that will last throughout your relationship.
Is there even a choice?

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Audi TT promotion

Audi launched the new Audi TT and utilized Realise Studio to project this stunning, promotional piece up onto buildings. The combination of virtual windtunnel, beautiful colors and animation makes for an engaging piece.

Hoping for Phase 2

Fedex launched a new campaign that drives consumers to Fedex Stories, featuring online videos of FedEx employees telling stories how they have helped customers.

They want to create a global and, at the same time, personal brand image of their service offerings.

The stories are engaging, interesting enough to keep me around for a while and made me click on another one to find out more.
The Flash execution is sub-par, takes way too long to load and their abandonement rate must be extremely high.

I like the tagline “Shipping is Global yet Personal” but wish they would have offered the opportunity for consumers to share their experiences, maybe even talk about and connect with the FedEx employee featured in the videos.
How about a Phase 2?

Quote of the week

"All my life I had been looking for something, and everywhere I turned someone tried to tell me what it was. I accepted their answers too, though they were often in contradiction and even self-contradictory. I was naïve. I was looking for myself and asking everyone except myself questions which I, and only I, could answer. It took me a long time and much painful boomeranging of my expectations to achieve a realization everyone else appears to have been born with: that I am nobody but myself."
- Ralph Ellison, "Battle Royal"

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Are we getting lazy?

Marketers face the same challenge than consumers: Too many choices, too many options, not enough time.
We still tend to throw our brand efforts on any platform imaginable and hope something will stick.
Instead of engaging with the Flickr audience, we upload a few product pictures and pray for a good outcome. The same thing is happening on YouTube, mobile applications and emerging media.

Mass reach is not that easy anymore: TV is still the weapon of choice but consumers don't receive all their messages on the couch anymore: They get them in bed, in the subway, at work, in the restroom (yes, that happens, too...) and wherever they find time to be distracted.

Broadcast companies no longer have the privilege of conveying messages to people sitting 10 feet away from the screen. They must now meet the marketplace on cell phones, online, and via other forms of mobile content.

Sure, passive consumers will be around. But the number of active consumers are increasing daily.

So, what to do?

Think about the platforms you want to utilize. It's not enough to get people there. You have to get them engaged. Be relevant. Immerse them into an experience. Experiential Marketing is not an option. It's the only way to go.


In this astounding video from the last TED Conference, Blaise Aguera y Arcas from Microsoft Live Labs demonstrates Photosynth.
Basically, it's a technology that displays images only in the amount of pixels your monitor can handle, allowing you to view a gallery of thousands of images all at once, and zoom into them instantly, even if they are 30 megapixel.
The other part is demoed as "Notre Dame". Searching for it in Flickr, the program takes every image of the landmark and made a computer composite of it. You can seamlessly view everyone's image of the cathedral, and see where they took the pic in relation to the cathedral, all in one huge 3D interactive map.
You can discover it yourself here.

This reminds me of a thought experiment that I came across on Wired:
3. Searle's room
A man sits alone in a room. Someone slips paper with Chinese writing on it under the door. The man doesn't read Chinese, but with a set of instructions he's able to manipulate the symbols and respond. To an observer, the man appears to understand the language. Philosopher John Searle devised the scenario in 1980 to make a point about computers. CPUs, like his man, lack comprehension and thus can't have humanlike intelligence.

Not sure if this thought experiment still applies. Can't computers become self aware? When does consciousness occur?

Tuesday, June 26, 2007


According to RAIN, the web and database servers of have been overwhelmed by the response and all switchboards in Congressional offices all over Capitol Hill are tied with concerned Internet Radio listeners.

Keep it going!

Save Internet Radio

A huge part of the Internet will go silent today, as many online music broadcasters shut down to protest a plan that will dramatically increase the royalties they pay to recording companies and musicians.

Just like the opposition from the NAB to the merger of XM and Sirius, the record labels try to keep some of their power intact by building huge walls, trying to keep innovators our. Sure, Yahoo!, MSN and other major players in the streaming business have big wallets to keep their operations profitable. The vital part of the streaming industry, the small companies with 100-200 listeners will be the big losers. That's the real problem and I will call my representatives today to share my opinion with them.

If you want to support this cause, please get all detailed information here.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Hiring is a conversation

The everydotconnect blog writes about hiring being a conversation and how your blog is your resume.

I would go further than that: A resume is a very flat depiction of yourself. A blog gives everybody a much broader idea of who you are. But I don't see a blog only as an extension to a resume: It's also a great opportunity for companies to find out who they work with when they hire a new agency. Sure, we already google everyone before we meet them. But, more and more people tend to go to Technoratio to see if anybody is talking about this person and this person is talking in the blogsphere.

There might be a day when blogs replace resumes.

Being unreasonable

Just read this on Doc Searl’s blog:

“The reasonable man adapts himself to the conditions that surround him… The unreasonable man adapts surrounding conditions to himself… All progress depends on the unreasonable man.”
— George Bernard Shaw

I always considered being called unreasonable as a compliment.

Many of the greatest people in human history were unreasonable: Einstein, Willy Brandt, Martin Luther King, Le Corbusier...the list is endless. They were considered unreasonable because they approached problems from a different perspective. They didn't accept the Stauts Quo. They didn't go with the flow.
They thought differently.
They took chances.
And they didn't care what the majority thought about them.

How willing are you to take chances?

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Start drooling

The iPhone Guided Tour is up. Enjoy.

Friday, June 22, 2007

The slow death of Mass Media

40 years ago, an advertiser could spend a few million a year and reach almost 85% of the audience.
That model died before the Internet came along - 300 channels and video tapes started the trend of not being able to reach the majority of people with a small marketing budget.

Today it costs you at least $25+M for a week to reach maybe 50% of the audience. Most likely you're fooling yourself into thinking that you actually reached them. Meanwhile, they are busy on youtube, flickr, email, bittorrent, itunes and gazillion other sites. And when the computer rests next to them, they are busy watching DVD's, playing Xbox games, fast forwarding through commercials and they are very competent in avoiding you.

Sure, it's still possible to reach 85% of the market and get your brand out there. If you're new to the market and want to utilize mass media, better have your checkbook ready: It will cost up to $250 million just to get your brand really noticed.

There was once a pipedream that most of the money will move to digital media because that's where the people are. And it used to be easy because they were on Yahoo!, MSN, Google, MySpace. Even these times are ending rapidly.
The time of Internet mass reach is about to end. We saw the exodus from Friendster to MySpace to Facebook. And that's just the beginning. Mass sites will be part of each media plan but the real game is in high quality niche targeted options. Combine this with a relevant message that can be spread, linked and shared, and you have a winner on your hand.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Idea Videos

Cullen, a preschool teacher in California, records in her spare time Idea videos on YouTube.
Such a beautiful idea to share her passion for teaching with the world.
I can especially appreciate her work since we are raising a 2-year old and any inspiration is welcome.

Thanks to Tom Peters for this tip.

What if all shopping was like E-Commerce?

This question is being posed through a series of videos, produced by Elastic Path, an e-commerce software developer in Canada.

When living the 2.0 life, we tend to forget how clunky, unsatisfying and unfriendly the user experience can be.

Sunday's New York Times article should have been a wake-up call for all 2.0 Kool-Aid drinkers: Growth in online sales are dropping, Internet fatigue might be setting in and retailers have put a lot of effort into improving the shopping experience.
There's a lot of work ahead.

Are you...experienced?

When interviewing candidates, companies tend to ask that question: "Did you with work in this vertical, in this position, in this responsibility?"
And some companies even up the ante by filtering out resumes by keywords.

The question of experience in itself is a good one. Companies want to employ employees that have experience in that field. And, in my case, companies want to work with our agency because we have experience in their vertical.

But I think that experience can be overrated at times.

If you've worked in one field/industry for too long, you tend to stop questioning. You accept the Status Quo: "That's the way it is and that's the way it's always going to be." And suddenly you're too much aligned with the industry and just turn into a follower and a drone.

Clearly, when you don't have any experience in that specific field, you need to learn a lot. You have to understand the little things that make a company work, the backchannels, the nuances.

But it gives you an opportunity to approach this industry with a child-like nativity. You don't have the solution handy. You question everything, even the CEO.

So, next time you go to an interview, approach a new client, use your missing experience as a selling point. You just have to make sure that you can deliver on that promise.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Generation 2.0

Fortune's Nadir A. Hira wrote an interesting piece about Generation Y.

A few quotes that stand out:

"We need to use 100 percent of an employee - not just their backs and minds, but their innovation, enthusiasm, energy and fresh perspective."

"I had a conversation with the CFO of a big company in New York," says Tamara Erickson, co-author of the 2006 book "Workforce Crisis," "and he said, 'I can't find anyone to hire who's willing to work 60 hours a week. Can you talk to them?' And I said, 'Why don't I start by talking to you? What they're really telling you is that they're sorry it takes you so long to get your work done.'"

To get noticed by Gen Yers, a company also has to have what they call a "vision." They aren't impressed by mission statements, but they are looking for attributes that indicate shared values: affinity groups, flat hierarchies, divestment from the more notorious dictatorial regimes.

Web 2.0 is not happening because of technology or marketing.
Web 2.0 is so vibrant because it's being created by Generation Y.
I would rather call them Generation 2.0

Companies better understand that generation and turn into a company 2.0 or this generation won't consider them as an employer or brand.

The day of the long tail

This clip was produced for the Computer History Museum, commemorating the release of the Long Tail. They must have known something since they predicted the end of Tower Records.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Hillary Spoof of Soprano Finale

Uploaded by hotternews

Hillary Clinton understands the power of viral videos (Especially after Obama's 1984 spoof) and created a spoof of the Soprano's finale.

Bill is not allowed to eat onion rings. And Chelsea? She is parallel parking...


Another creation from Jonathan Harris I just discovered: Phylotaxis, an ever-changing zeitgeist of science news images.

There’s a slider running from science (a strict grid) to culture (a chaotic swirling cloud).
Jonathan has an amazing way of making things alive, making the Internet more human.
Animation makes the information itself feel human (in the way it moves, the way it responds to the mouse, etc.).

Monday, June 18, 2007

The merger

While XM and Sirius still try to convince the public that a merger doesn't mean a monopoly, (I agree. Satellite Radio's competition is really the terrestrial market and XM/Sirius only have a 1-2% market share. No wonder the NAB is lobbying hard to undo the merger.) in the long-term Satellite Radio is doomed.

In today's WSJ, Sarah McBride points out that various companies are trying to push portability in cars and music players.
Once all cars/phone are WiFi-enabled, it's a whole new game: Why clutter your car with numerous receivers, have a home dock, hang an antenna from your roof when you can just stream your content through your phone? Satellite Radio better focus on his this mid-term threat or their satellites will be useless very soon.

Fly me with balloons...

BBDO Duesseldorf was tasked to create awareness for Silk-epil epilators from Braun. Their solution was the tie helium filled balloons to a model's skirt so there would be nothing to look at but her legs. The model drew attention wherever she went and generated an in-store traffic increase around 25%.

The video can be found here.

Clearly, a typical advertising stunt. But one that works with the product and breaks through the clutter in a more circus-like way.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Suppress Normal

Measure Weirdness!
Cherish Weirdness!
Hire Weirdness!
Stomp out "Normal"!

Thank you to Tom Peters.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Open up your mind

I meet with sales reps almost every day. Numerous Powerpoint presentations, pitches and proposals. Unless it's a very innovative company, I tend to walk into the room with the feeling: "Haven't I heard this before?"
Too many times I visit my PDA to add more information to my brain while I tune out the rep speaking.

If one of these reps would ask me: "How can I get your full attention?", I would be able to offer an answer:

You have to find ways to capture my curiosity. Tell me something special about your company. Don't just recite the vital stats about your company, fill them with life. Once you delighted my curiosity, I will certainly pay full attention for the next 10-15 minutes. And I might even ask you to tell me more. Isn't that what it's all about?

Watch this video and see how this technique works.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Yo, Cosmo

HeyCosmo, an online video community launched today that combines web cam interaction with collaboration tools.

You can create “channels” with up to 10 live web-cam participants and, in addition, up to 50 people can liste, watch at the same time.

Webex better be careful because this application has great potential. Nice application to hang out with friends with common interest.

Automotive Marketing is stuck

Most people leave the dealer lot with a smile on their face. Yes, the dealer experience is still lacking, the paperwork drags on and the final price is a bit higher than you hoped for.
But, in the end, most car buyers leave happy: They invested a lot of time and effort to find the right car - the perfect match for their wallet and lifestyle.

Most of automotive advertising used to focus on features: 210hp, 0-60 in 5.3 seconds, etc. Online Marketing has enhanced automotive marketing by offering immersive product experiences, such as the Interactive Showroom that my company, Genex, built.
These experience make it easier for consumer to get familiar with the car and all its features, saving a lot of time on the dealer lot.

But, we're stuck here.

Marketers have not yet found a way to tap into this pool of happy buyers. Yes, they will tell their family and some friends. But, there are no sites such as Chowhound or Tripadvisor to broadcast their opinion about their car, the shopping and dealership experience.

Volvo tried it with C30 site but it fell flat. Unless you're very bored or a constant complainer, there's no reason for you to contribute.

Marketers have to find a way to let happy owners talk about their experience. And broadcast these experiences to the Internet community. This is so much more impactful than any commercial, banner ad or billboard.

Thursday, June 14, 2007


Mash-ups are the craze and Sue Teller shows you the way.

Steve Jobs Powerpoint

Big images, few words, fewer bullet points: a perfect example for a good Powerpoint presentation.
Thanks to Guy Kawasaki for this.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Powerpoint Mistakes

Funny routine by Don McMillan about common Powerpoint mistakes. Very funny.

Rome Reborn

This is cool:
An international team of architects, archaeologists and experts spent 10 years working on a real-time 3D model of the city called Rome Reborn.

Some 7,000 buildings were scanned and reproduced using a model of the city kept at a Rome museum.

Users enter the city at the time of Constantine and see inside buildings.

The simulation takes place in AD320, which is said to be the city's peak, when it had grown to a million inhabitants.

So, Rome on HBO was cancelled but it seems we don't need a TV show to feel at home in Rome:
"Talks are said to have begun with Linden Labs to make the entire simulation available on the internet through the company's virtual world Second Life."

When are you moving in?

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Emerging Technologies

Forrester issued a report highlighting which emergent technologies matter most to the 15 largest U.S. interactive agencies. They focused mostly on new channels, technologies and platforms and how they affect the agencies' design practices. I would hope that the next study will ask the real important question how the new channels affect their marketing approach. The results are not very surprising but still worthwhile posting.

It's ugly out there

There are 5.4 million managers leading teams in more than 30,000 U.S.firms. Unfortunately, most managers are inefficient and create a workplace disaster.

Harris Interactive interviewed 8,000 full-time employees and found these sad facts:

- One third of workers feel they are at a dead-end in their current jobs, and 42% say they are "trying to cope with feelings of burnout."
- Only 37% believe that their "top management displays integrity and morality."
- Only 29% say that their "top management is committed to advancing the skills of employees."
- Fewer than half say they "really care about the fate of this organization."

According to Accenture, 58 percent of U.S. managers are open to changing jobs and 30% are currently looking to make a change.

Most companies seem to forget that they should stand for more than gross margins, profits and short-term gains. These companies forget that their employees need more than a paycheck and healthcare.

Or as Howard Schultz from Starbucks said: "People want to be part of something larger than themselves. They want to be part of something they’re really proud of, that they’ll fight for, sacrifice for , trust.”

(I guess Baskin Robbins has some issues: I found this picture on Flickr - the manager of Baskin Robbins closed the store and took a little nap. One of the prospective customers took a picture instead of getting an ice cream...)

Monday, June 11, 2007


Everybody is talking about yesterday's final episode. Even Seth Godin. In his latest post, he expands the Sopranos discussion to the field of WOM, and that we have to make sure to undersell and overdeliver.

This is always a wise tactic but a tough one to commit to. When you're in the heat of a presentation/pitch, you feel the deal coming to a close, it's so hard not to overpromise just to get that little edge, the little advantage that will seal the deal.
Overselling can be addictive. We have to stay off that drug.

P.S.: At first, I thought the ending of the Sopranos was terrible. After sleeping over it, I think it was brilliant.

Whether Tony dies or not is not really important. We all die - to me, the point of that ending was that it could go either way for him, at any moment. That's his life. And the build up to that point - and then going blank, leaves us with the idea that this is is his life (or the end of it). Taste it - and be glad that you don't actually live it.

That's the point - it could, at any moment in his life, go either way. Pure brilliance.

Creators Series

The Creators Series, a multidisciplinary spring conference dedicated to emerging creativity, comes to Los Angeles from June 14-17. One of the pioneers of Web 2.0< Jonathan Harris, speaks Saturday, June 16 at 1pm.
I'll be there.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Eyes on Darfur

Amnesty International launched this site, utilizing satellite imagery of Darfur to showcase villages that have been destroyed by militias and ones that are in danger of being destroyed. You'll be able to witness the conflict on a more personal level and you can see with your own eyes how Sudan has been ravaged and destroyed.

The combination of satellite imagery and Web 2.0 allows for a compelling experience.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

The ongoing demise of CMO's

According to Spencer Stuart, the average tenure of CMOs at top-branded companies is only 23 months. CMO's have to face immense pressure to demonstrate results – fast – and often at the expense of the brand and its customers.

Many times, a new CMO sends the current advertising agency into an unproductive frenzy when they, upon joining a new company, immediately question their predecessor’s strategy. If the agency isn’t immediately fired (which often happens), an incredible amount of time is spent on the re-education of the new CMO — oftentimes as much as three months. Also, because advertising campaigns are tangible, new CMOs have a tendency to quickly look to the creative for a change in direction. Clearly, these knee-jerk course corrections, designed to demonstrate that the CMO is making an impact, are not only expensive propositions, but, more importantly, force the consumer to accept yet another brand positioning.

Agencies have to shift their thinking from pure creative to advertising that moves products. If you as an agency can't talk to C-level executives and produce work that moves product, more and more accounts will be put up for review. Clients have to understand as well that advertising can't be the savior. If you have a bad product, good advertising will be just another lipstick color and the pig will still be a pig.

Agencies and clients have to understand that they are in this together. Clients used to put products on the table. Agencies creative ideas. At this point, everything should be on the table: Product, Advertising, PR, Customer Service, Consumer Experiences.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Work should be fun

My father always said "Work is not supposed to be fun."
Respectfully, I disagree.

Work should be fun. Actually, one shouldn't be working at their current job if it's not fun.
Our job is to make it each work day fun. I'm not saying to plaster a fake smile on your face and proclaim to be having fun. But to find opportunities within your work day to have fun.
And that includes to make it fun for others. Which, in return, makes the work day more fun for us as well.

Sounds like uplifting bullshit? It's not. It's serious business. Your work life might depend on it.

Read Alexander Kjerulf thoughts how happiness in the workplace boosts productivity.

Power Struggle in Wikipedia

Herr and Todd Holloway of Indiana University, Bloomington have developed a visual representation of the most actively edited articles on Wikipedia. The Top 10 most hotly revised articles on Wikipedia: Jesus, Adolf Hitler, October 2003 (huh?), Nintendo revolution, Hurricane Katrina, India, RuneScape, Anarchism, Britney Spears and PlayStation 3.

Unfortunately, it's just an image at this point, not a Web 2.0 application. I hope though they are developing a real-time application. And this could be interesting for other sites (Think Digg...) as well.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Childish vs. Childlike

I just scanned Rob Eastaway's book, "Out of the Box: 101 Ideas for Thinking Creatively"

His main observation is that adults are too concerned about what others expect of them to think and say, rather than communicating what they really think.
Young kids have a different level of honesty and they just focus on things that excite them.

He explains that there are three stages of life:
From 0 to 4 years old is the "Why not?" stage.
From 5 to 11 years old is the "Why?" stage.
From 12 onward is the "Because" stage.

Once we hit the old-age of 12, we tend to conform to the needs of society/adulthood and forget to ask the most important questions, "Why?" and "Why Not?"

It seems, Web 2.0 allows people to ask these questions again and allow them to find their individual answers. There's a big difference between being childish and childlike.
The dot-com bubble was childish.
Web 2.0 is childlike: wondrous, mysterious, surprise around ever corner.

This because stage is where we start to conform to adulthood and lose the "curiosity and wonder about the world that leads us to ask those crucial questions, "Why?" and "Why Not?"

To be more creative, you need to recapture some of the behavior of your childhood.

A good start

A new browser, SpaceTime, just launched. It's free, presents pages and search results as floating slabs you can flip through, organize and navigate in 3-D.

It's a bit slow (Still in beta) but I enjoyed the experience. Will be interesting to see if this will take off.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

BMW - Defining Innovation

So, I used to create commercials. And, I'm proud of my work. But, after watching this commercial, I had to go back to this blog and confess my sins:
This BMW ad is beautiful, amazing visuals, a great story. It must have been fascinating to meet Theo Jansen, to be part of this experience. A great project I would have loved to be part of.

But, it doesn't make me run to the next BMW dealership. BMW stands for performance. Period. And that's what BMW should talk about.

And that's what too many advertising people do: It's all about the cool commercial, never about the brand. The product. Sales.
These agencies and mindsets will be wiped out in a few years. And we'll be left with beautiful pictures. And a more productive future.

Future of ad agencies

In this video, digital leaders look into the crystal ball:

Nick Law – Chief Creative Officer, North America, R/GASteven Marrs – Vice Chairman & Global Head of Digital & Branded Content, Nitro
Clark Kokich – Worldwide President, Avenue A/Razorfish
Torrence Boone – President Boston, Digitas

A great quote from the R/GA Nike Running case study.

"A completely new category where the product, the online experience and the marketing are inseparable"


Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Desperation sets in

BrandPort Sweepstakes officially launched their beta test program “Watch. Answer. Win.”
What is it?
Advertisers asks people to actively watch advertisements. How do they ensure that? By asking consumers question about the actual content of the video in order to win prizes.

An iPod for a 2 commercials?

In the end, it's all about others. And, ultimately, you.

The ability to manage and to believe in the opportunity to make others better and greater than yourself are based in a strong, unwavering belief in humanity.
We often make the mistake to assume that the human experience should be a zero-sum game: When one wins, somebody has to lose. This assumption is not based in reality: When you're happy, I don't have to be sad. My success doesn't require your failure. The human spirit and experience leaves room for all of us to be happy, lead a fulfilling life, and enrich others.

Clearly, this does not happen to all of us. But, there's no law or rule that tells us it can't. Ultimately, our only choice is to devote ourselves to this ultimate goal: mentor and develop those people that will create and achieve bigger things we ever envisioned.

If you try to make others greater than yourself, you create an amazing situation: They become human giants while you morph into a spiritual giant.

Thank you to Steve Garber for this inspirational thought.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Oh boy - Dr. Luerzer has hit again

If you thought above "creative outburst" was bad, try the new Mitchum site. It's not only distasteful and very boring. It's also a stolen concept from Guiness Hands site. In my old agency we called creatives who copy ideas shamelessly 'Dr. Luerzer', named after Luerzers Creative Archive that was obessively scanned during pitch periods.

File under: The agency should have been fired for this absurdity

Oh boy!


The Murmur oral history project has created an innovative way to communicate with people in a location-specific way.

"We collect and make accessible people's personal histories and anecdotes about the places in their neighborhoods that are important to them. In each of these locations we install a [murmur] sign with a telephone number on it that anyone can call with a mobile phone to listen to that story while standing in that exact spot, and engaging in the physical experience of being right where the story takes place. Some stories suggest that the listener walk around, following a certain path through a place, while others allow a person to wander with both their feet and their gaze."

I believe this concept could be applied in many ways: How about having murmurs all over bookstores with personal reviews of lesser-known books? Or murmurs in a perfume store, explaining the differences between colognes? Or murmurs in front of a restaurant? This could be really helpful when you're traveling. Or think about murmurs as part of the car dealership experience?

This communication model could become an integral part of overall sales communications. It's a sales tool without being a sales pitch. Where can I find expert advice about colognes, paint, printer ink? Murmurs could provide that without being too salesy.

Murmur began in Kensington Market in Toronto in 2003. Currently, you can experience Murmur in three Toronto locations, as well as Dublin, Edinburgh, San Jose, Vancouver and Montreal. You can sample a Murmur recording by clicking on the maps on the web-sites listed. It gives you a good idea how it works

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Pirates of Silicone Valley

Steve and Bill at the WSJ event "All things Digital". Watch it until the end, it's a tear jerker.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Quote of the week

“Don’t aim at success. The more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side effect of one’s personal dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the by-product of one’s surrender to a person other than oneself. Happiness must happen, and the same holds for success: you have to let it happen by not caring about it. I want you to listen to what your conscience commands you to do and go on to carry it out to the best of your knowledge. Then you will live to see that in the long-run - in the long-run, I say! - success will follow you precisely because you had forgotten to think about it.”

— Viktor Frankl

Friday, June 1, 2007

Being trapped

It sucks to feel powerless. You can describe this feeling in many ways: Not in control. I have no choices. I can't do anything about it. And, and, and...Being stuck is a strong emotion.

When you feel that way, you tend to shut down and not see any opportunities. Being stuck is the equivalent of being depressed.
Now, just to be clear, it's a very normal feeling. But too many people deal with trapped people by telling them that the future will be fine, that you're just being impatient, that you should just let it go and good things will happen to you.

I believe this is the wrong approach. If one your employees, friends or loved ones feel stuck, we need to communicate with them. We need to understand why they are feeling trapped. Once you understand that, you should take this opportunity to develop an action plan. Action is the only thing that counts.

If you do not act, if you leave them with some rationalizing thoughts, they will project their feelings onto you.

You feel trapped when you're in line at Best Buy waiting for customer service, and nobody even acknowledges you as a potential customer. Is it so hard to say: "I'll be right with you" or offer a bottle of water?

We can go from stuck to unstuck in numerous ways. Communication, and action are part of the solution. So take a deep breath, acknowledge the situation, and listen. Your brand, friend, employee will never forget you did.

Return on Connections

Most businesses don't want to jump into social media and 'have a conversation' until they can figure out how to monetize that conversation.

You don't have to - The conversation monetizes itself.

Communication=understanding=more effective/efficient marketing=lower marketing costs.

It even goes further:

Communication=understanding=improved customer relationships=increased retention + increased referrals

Savings in marketing (and in customer service, ultimately) are only one part of the equation. We have to further discuss the ROC concept (Return on connections). If more companies looked at their customers and tried to maximize the ROC, we would get closer to directly impacting the bottom line. This is what will move the needle for most executives!

Lower marketing costs + increased retention/referrals=increased ROI/ROC