Monthly Archives: March 2009

Random Thoughts

I know – where I have been all day?  In NYC for meetings, thanks. But the train ride gives me a chance to catch up on reading and here are two things which stood out today.
According to the IAB Ad Revenue report, online advertising is up only 11%. The rate of growth is half of last year’s. Despite this, the industry is paralyzed. VC’s won’t fund ad-based business models. I don’t get it other than it’s the usual incredibly high standard to which media businesses have always been held.  Anyone know of any other business up that much? Let’s also recognize that with falling CPM‘s that amount of investment bought way more real estate than it did a year ago.  I get that a ton of the investment was in search marketing, but that is still a commitment to both advertising and to digital. While I’d still be wary about relying too heavily on a robust ad marketplace to drive my business, as has been the case in other, lesser downturns, a bad year in media is still an OK year elsewhere. Don’t you think Detroit would kill for 11% growth?

Skype coming to iPhones, and eventually to Blackberrys and other WiFi enabled devices is the sound of another walled garden coming down. While Apple has done some things to protect AT&T, eventually you know that those restrictions will ease and the carrier networks will become immaterial in some ways.  By the way, I see American Airlines is putting WiFi on more flights but not cell service so we won’t have to delight in the sounds of “oh baby I miss you” at 35,000 feet.  Except with the aforementioned Skype on WiFi, well, maybe that isn’t quite true either. Maybe if they block access to Skype somehow but …

The history of media has been that of walled gardens being built and then having the walls knocked down.  The broadcasters’ walled system of affiliate distribution was broken by cable.  Cable’s walls were broken by the Internet.  Walled AOL became web AOL.  Carrier nets will go too.  Not today, but the cracks are there.

More, less random, thinking tomorrow!

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What’s the Diagnosis?

Principle of the model-based diagnosis
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I was having breakfast with a friend last week and we were talking about some of the things I do as a consultant.  He was listening attentively as I rambled on about the various things I do for my clients in many different areas.   When I took a breath, he said to me “at your core, you’re a diagnostician.  You can call it a consultant, but in reality you are a business doctor, performing diagnoses.  Just as a kidney guy specializes in one area but knows about the rest, you do that with digital media but you need to know about the rest as well because like a kidney, it’s all connected.” Continue reading

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The Meat-off

An uncooked rib roast
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It’s Friday and that, in my book, spells food!

Someone with knowledge of my love of things meat-related sent me this link to a Paul Lukas piece on meat. Specifically, he runs his own little bracket tournament by placing various cuts of specific proteins into an “eat-off” to determine the final four best cuts. Specifically, the winners of the beef region, the pork region, the sausage region, and something called the “Meatscellaneous Region” face off. Continue reading

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Sugar Isn’t Sweet

American Idol
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I admit it:  I’m an American Idol addict.  I watch every week – both nights.  OK?  You’ve got my secret vice front and center.  You happy now?  Oh wait – maybe that’s not my secret vice.  Maybe it’s really that I keep finding business lessons in fluff such as Idol! Continue reading

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The Big Idea

I did pretty well in school, at least academically (we can talk about the social stuff another time).  The reason I bring this up is not to pat myself of the back but to use that record as an example of what can happen when one gets focused on The Big Idea.  My method of getting through school, and college in particular, was not just to read a lot and study.  Frankly, there was too much reading to do, too many notes to digest, and not enough time to do all of the other things (be on the radio, make music, write for the school paper, etc. – what, you thought I meant party??) I wanted to do in college.  So after the first week of class I would go to the professor and ask a very simple question: Continue reading

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Speakers, Sellers, & Seekers

One could have a very busy business life and do nothing but go to conferences.  It seems as if there is an “important, major” conference going on 24×7 and while I keep hearing that the economy has curtailed them, I’ve seen very little evidence of it.  As soon as something begins to gain traction in the marketing or media world, BOOM – a conference .  Think I’m kidding?  Do a search on “social media conference” and see what you get. Continue reading

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What’s New?

It’s Monday.  A new work week.  Maybe a fresh start?  Probably not, at least not unless you’re thinking and trying new things.  When was the last time you broke a media habit and watched a different outlet’s news?  Glued to CNN all day?  How about MSNBC or Fox?  Same stories, maybe, but VERY different perspectives, and that other lens might change your thinking.  Continue reading

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