Every once in a while I get up from my computer screen and take a break. Sometimes it’s to make phone calls. Sometimes it’s just to spend a few minutes watching the news. Anything to step away, clear my head, and refocus. You should try it! Lately, however, I find myself not watching the news networks while they have multiple people engaged in conversations. You know the format – a couple of talking heads representing opposing points of view batting an issue back and forth. Except lately there’s far less dialog and a lot more overlapping screaming.
I can’t take it. One person begins to make a point and the other one starts yelling “you’re wrong.” The “moderator” from the network rarely intervenes – I’m sure they’re thinking this is great TV. It’s not. One guest talks over another until it’s time for commercial. It makes my head hurt. It demeans everyone involved. It’s wrong in so many ways and it makes a great business point.
I blame the producers. They could be telling the audio guy to cut off a mike. If I was in the booth, the reporter would hear “tell so and so that if they won’t let the other guest speak I’m cutting off their mike until it’s their turn to talk.” You know – kind of how you’d treat a child, which is how they’re behaving. Former elected officials do it. Party officials do it. Rarely, however, do people serving in office do it – they have something to lose – the next election!
It would be a disaster if you ran your business this way yet many people do. They talk over customers or are so focused on making their point that they ignore what the other people are saying. One thing digital has done to us all, in my opinion, is curtail our attention spans. We’re used to responding immediately to things and we’ve all become a lot more self-centered. Don’t believe me? Look around the next time you go out to eat – how many people are checking their phones instead of engaging their dining companion? We can’t do that if we’re to be successful businesspeople. We need to cut off our own mikes and listen. We need to moderate the customer feedback portions of our digital efforts. Not to curtail opinion but to enforce grown-up behavior. People want to express their opinions and we should welcome that. We can insist on them doing so respectfully.
One of the points in The Cluetrain Manifesto (surely you’ve read it by NOW!) is that in both internetworked markets and among intranetworked employees, people are speaking to each other in a powerful new way. Your business needs someone to keep them “speaking” and not shouting over one another. How are you doing with that?
This tidbit crossed the wires here at the world headquarters yesterday and I want to bring it to your attention:
A new study from Altman Vilandrie says just 1/3 of 18-34 viewers in the U.S. now watch TV during normal broadcast slots, preferring instead on-demand programming via Netflix and Hulu. The study also makes a connection between increased control over when video is watched to how it is watched with nearly 1/2 of respondents saying they prefer smartphones to TVs.
“Oh sure – another TV death story,” you think. Probably not – a lot of the content on Nextflix and Hulu comes from the TV nets who are actually more than just distributors these days. But it brought to mind Internet Explorer, the web browser with a 90+% market share at one point which is now down substantially thanks to the growth of Firefox and Chrome. Continue reading
Image via Wikipedia
I don’t know about you, but I’m kind of glad that the Super Bowl now gets played in February. I mean, every month should have an outstanding food day. President’s Day? I don’t think so. Valentine’s Day? Maybe for some. But seriously – almost every other month has a holiday associated with a big food blow-out and now February does too. Yippee!
So what does this have to do with business? Continue reading
I know it’s early in the week for an obscure Pink Floyd reference so let me explain. The Olympics ended the other day and Nielsen is reporting some very large viewership numbers. In fact, according to the Hollywood Reporter…
NBC Universal smashed yet another historic ratings benchmark: The Beijing Olympics is the most-watched U.S. television event of all time. Through 16 days of coverage, 211 million viewers tuned in to the Olympics on NBC Universal’s broadcast and cable outlets, according to NBC citing Nielsen Media Research. That’s 2 million more than watched the 1996 Atlanta Games, the previous all-time record-holder.
Lovely story, good for NBC, go USA. But let’s spend a few seconds to look behind the numbers as an example of how one always needs to ask questions about any statistic. There are roughly 115 million homes in the US and nearly 113 million of them have a TV (112,800,000 out of 114,890,000 to be precise). There are multiple viewers per home so there are around 285 million persons 2+ in the universe base. I don’t have the 1996 people estimates but I think it’s fair to assume that ratio hasn’t changed very much.
In 1996, there were 97,540,000 homes and 95,900,000 TV homes. So whilst TV homes grew nearly 17 million since 1996, and the number of people in those homes probably grew by 30+ million, Olympics viewing grew only by 2 million viewers. Now, is that as impressive? I’d say yes, given the fragmentation of media since 1996 but one could also argue that Olympics viewing has lagged, with 10% – 15% of universe growth actually reflected in viewing. Heck, you’d expect a 15% pop in viewing just from the growth of homes.
The point is that in business, one can’t just hear a number and nod one’s head. Ask questions, look for the numbers behind the number. Challenge whomever is delivering the number to you. Great executives will beat you to the punch and make sure every number they deliver is in perspective.