Posts tagged “Ideas

The rise of the “NO TWEETING” zone

According to the New York Times, casting directors are now Tweeting as they audition for talent.  The main culprit in the Times story was Daryl Eisenberg.  In anticipation of criticism, Eisenberg issued a “free speech” defense … specifically “There is NO rule/guideline against Twitter/Facebook/MySpace/Friendster. Freedom of speech. Ever heard of it?”

6a00d835466f3a53ef0115711bfbf9970b-800wiI wonder if Eisenberg would be so charitable if someone else was Tweeting about him every time he, say, applied for a job or pitched a show idea.

And if I use Eisenberg’s logic, does it mean I can Tweet while I interview candidates at Brodeur Partners?  How would that work?  Something like …

“Hold on, you just said something really stupid, funny, incipient, lame, insightful [pick one].  My folks got to hear about this one.  Just a second while I grab my BlackBerry. ”

… or …

“I know I’m not looking at you but I’m listening … really I am.  You have no idea how focused I am on you and your well being right now.   And to prove it I’m tweeting to my 5,000 followers on Twitter — most of whom I don’t know and, to be frank really don’t care to know —  about what you just said.  Can you repeat that again, a bit slowly?  BTW, your mannerisms also crack me up.  Can you do that thing with your hands again?  I may need some time to figure out how to text that in 140 characters.”

To me, the offense is not one of publicity.  Eisenberg didn’t name names.  The offense is one of civility.

There are limits to multitasking — or at least there should be.  Besides, the same NewYorkTimes a week later confirmed what we all have known for awhile — multitasking makes you mediocre.

Mediocre.  That’s worse that being stupid.

Are there places where people should simply not tweet?

Apparently the folks at the U.S. Open tennis tournament think so.  The sad part is that the reasons they give have more to do with commerce than decorum and civility.  (There’s a fear is that it would screw up tennis gambling)

Where are your no tweet zones?

It’s Official! Marketing Trick of the Century is Free Money

The marketing fad of the century.

No, it is not mobile phones.  Not reality television.  Not Paris Hilton or black presidents with funny names.

It isn’t celebrity endorsements or home spun viral videos.

It isn’t social media, it isn’t Twitter or Facebook or any of that other stuff.

It is free money.

Yup, FREE MONEY.  Throw out all those new fangled, technology-laden ideas.  Simply give people FREE MONEY and your product or service will be a sure fired hit.

money-treeThe confirmation of this breakthrough discovery came late last week amidst the craze over the “cash for clunkers” program.

For those not familiar, the cash for clunkers program is a free money program for anyone who finds him or herself stuck with an old gas-guzzling car.  You may have that gas guzzler because you were too stupid to see the coming oil crisis coming and had this fantasy that you’d be able to afford tooling around in a half-ton pickup or an SUV the size of a small school bus.

Or you may have that gas guzzler parked in the driveway simply because it has been 15 years since you bought a new car and you’ve been too cheap to buy a new one.

You see, it really didn’t ‘t matter WHY you have a gas guzzler.  The only qualification for free money is that you HAVE a gas guzzler.  The only criteria is possession, not motivation.

Bingo … you get $4,500.  Everybody loves it.  It was so popular that the government stumbled over itself to dole out even more FREE MONEY once the original free money ran out.

[In fact, I’m thinking of creating a gas guzzler secondary market — I’ll buy up gas guzzlers cheap and resell them for people looking for FREE MONEY.  I’ll sell you a $2,000 gas guzzler and you can turn around and trade it in for a new car and get double that in FREE MONEY.  This is a secret plan so please don’t tell anyone.]

The cash for clunkers is one of a long list of FREE MONEY successes of 2009.

Some five years ago finance companies like CountryWide Mortgage promised people FREE MONEY so they could buy homes they otherwise couldn’t afford.  It was a runaway success in the U.S and abroad.  Those folks at CountryWide couldn’t give away free money fast enough and home sales soared.  Then there was Bernie Madoff.  He promised FREE MONEY to anyone with a savings account.  He gave people FREE MONEY regardless of risk and market conditions.  Bernie was very popular.

But the granddaddy of the FREE MONEY marketing approach has been the U.S. government.  They have bee doling out FREE MONEY for decades for things like agriculture, prescription drugs, military weapons, and all sorts of cheap consumer goods from abroad.  The farmers, drug companies, defense contractors and the Chinese can’t get enough of  it.

Now it is true that CountryWide Mortage eventually went bankrupt.  And Bernie Madoff eventually went to jail.  But the government — God bless the government — the government is like that dog gone Energizer bunny and just keeps going and going and going.

So when you set up your FREE MONEY marketing program, be sure that you’ve figured out how to get the government to watch your back.  There are several strategies that work like tying your FREE MONEY program to something that makes politicians look good (like the cash for clunkers thing).  Oh, and if you’re one of those companies that is “too big to fail” … then the FREE MONEY program is a slam dunk.

So at that next marketing brainstorm meeting, after everyone has trotted out their old-style, fuddy duddy, predictable sales and promotion ideas — iPhone app … Ning site … whacky video contest … blah … blah … blah … blah.

When they turn to you, speak confidently the two secret words of marketing success that we KNOW works in the new millennium.

Free money!

Blogging and the todo list blues …

It has been a month.

An the JuiceBar just sat there.  Staring at me.  Staring at everyone.  Doing nothing.  Just sitting there.

to-do-list-nothingLike the towel rack in the first floor bathroom that fell off its delicately secured latches sometime during the winter that you always said you were going to put back …

Or the mildewed lumber stacked up in the back yard that you’ve been meaning to cut up and set out for next Monday’s trash pickup ..

Or the retirement account that you’ve been meaning to rebalance …

Or the stack of New Yorker magazines that you’ve been meaning to read …

Or the dental appointment that you had to cancel and never found time to reschedule …

Or the work project that you know would only take 30 minutes and would have great return but you’re never able to get to …

Or the personnel reviews at work that you still haven’t filed, because you still haven’t done them …

Or the thank you notes that were written several times in your imagination but never were able to make it to your hands and on paper …

Or the meaningful talks that you wanted to have with people you love but somehow never took place …

And the promises you never kept.

Well, it is never too late.

Quote of the Day

Folks who have followed the JuiceBar know that I’ve a love/hate relationship with social media.

I love it. It is wild, dynamic, open, refreshing, democratic, transparent, exciting … and just plain fun.

nothing-blackI hate it. It is elusive, confounding, over-hyped, out-of-control and overwhelming.

So here’s my quote of the day from Brian Mazzaferri, the lead singer of I Fight Dragons from a great story by Walin Wong of the Chicago Tribune.

“There’s so many things you can do online that make you feel you’re doing something, when in reality you’re doing nothing.”

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve thought the same.

Then something happens.  You get curious.

And you say to yourself … log on one more time!

Democracy and Social Media

I’m trying to connect the dots on a couple of stories that appeared today in the Washington Post.

jokerThe first was about the wolf shirt phenomenon on Amazon. Mike Musgrove writes about how and bloggers gamed the system to make an otherwise hideous t-shirt one of the top purchases on Amazon.

This type of online rabble-rousing appears to be catching on more than ever over the past year, said Tim Hwang, the organizer of ROFLCon, a convention dedicated to celebrating Internet memes. After all, another Web-based prank crossed over into the real world just last month when a 21-year-old college student, known by the online moniker “m00t,” sailed to the top of Time’s “most influential person” list in an online poll, beating out the likes of President Obama and Oprah Winfrey. Gathering nearly 17 million votes, the world’s “most influential” person is the founder of another jokey Web culture site,, whose proprietor is known offline by the name Christopher Poole.

So we know that the social media stuff can be gamed.  No big deal.  Just like in the old days!  Back then it was Hearst and yellow journalism.  Now it is some folks getting a good laugh.

Parenthetically, I’ll take the latter over the former.

Then – later in the A section – which is pretty much the entire serious news part of the Washington Post these days — there’s a story about how the Obama Administration is remaking the U.S. government’s online presence. meet

Don’t tell the folks.  We all might be trading tax dollars for wolf t-shirts.

Government meets social media.  This is a good thing, right?

What Letter is Your Recovery?

Just when you thought you were out of the worst of it … Bam!  Another 200+ point drop.

I’m telling you this economic stuff is driving folks crazy.

One of my favorite subjects of discussion is what “letter” the economy will resemble over the coming months.  This has been the focus of discussion of everyone from AARP to SeekingAlpha to to MutualFundSmarts.

LettersFirst, there is the “V” shaped recovery.  The one we all want.  Straight down and straight up.

Then there is the “U” shaped recovery.  The one more likely.  Straight down, suffer for awhile, and then go back up.

Now comes the really bad letters of the alphabet.

The “W” shaped recovery.  As if we haven’t had enough of Ws already.  Sort of a bipolar recovery.  You go broke.  Make money.  Go broke again.  Make money.  Suffer. Enjoy.  Suffer.  Enjoy.

Finally there is the dreaded “L” shaped recovery.  You decend into hell and stay there.  Hopefully over time you’ll learn to enjoy it.

We need a new monogram.

2009: An opportunity taken … or squandered?

Hi there.

Hope you’re having (or had) a wonderful New Year’s Eve.  There’s a lot of talk about putting 2008 behind us.  Indeed, in the annals of “Auld Lang Syne” (arguably one of the world’s strangest song) our serenade to end 2008 was one of the most sincere in recent memory.

For most normal people — that is, if you are not a high-level senior executive of banks, insurance companies and auto companies making seven figure incomes while bankrupting your respective company —  2008 was a financial train wreck.

Owning a home and having a traditional 401k in 2008 was not quite the equivalent of living in downtown Manhattan on September 2001, nor was it like being on an island in the Indian Ocean on December 2004.  That said, in all three cases a significant portion of lifetime effort was swept away.

You may consider the various Bernie Madoffs of 2008 to be the equivalent of Osama Bin Laden except that that they stole wealth rather than innocent lives.  Or you may consider that 2008 was the violent correction that naturally takes place — just like a tsunami — when the basic forces of mother nature are denied over time.

In either case.  Poof!  There goes $6.9 trillion!  Trillion.  A THOUSAND billion.

Now we have talk of being prudent and frugal.  People discuss the novel idea of spending LESS than they make.  We’re going to increase transparency, enforce regulations, and make things more equitable.  We’re going to come together as a country and fix these seemingly intractable problems that face us.  And who can stop us?  We have Obama now.  Everything will be alright.

After September 11, 2001 we said we’d come together as a nation, put aside partisan differences, and start acting like a responsible, unified nation.  Everyone in the world was an American.

An global opportunity squandered.

Today in 2009 we have another opportunity to begin to get things right, this time with our fiscal and economic policies.  Everyone in the country seems to be behind a new administration’s call for change.

Let’s hope we can do better this time.

Happy New Year.

Money for nothing – CEO compensation

In John, chapter twelve, verse eight, we have the famous quote from Jesus:

“You will always have the poor with you.”

Jesus was rebuking Judas and his criticism of Mary for wasting costly perfume in the washing of Jesus feet.  (For those interested, I suggest Proseorprophet‘s analysis of the text.)   But today Jesus may just as likely have have said the same about the rich.  Specifically, about rich CEOs.  Even more specifically about rich, overpaid CEOs

“You will always have the obscenely overpaid CEOs with you.”

Yup.  Hard to argue with that one.  And in today’s bailout, bankrupt economy the CEO compensation issue is getting a lot more attention.  So it is interesting to read a spate of stories this week about CEO pay.  First, there are the stories about CEOs passing up their “bonuses.” This, reported in the Associated Press:

The chief executives of Morgan Stanley and Merrill Lynch & Co. are going without bonuses for a year that has seen Wall Street ravaged by staggering losses, mass layoffs and the collapse of storied firms.

Morgan Stanley’s CEO John J. Mack is giving up a bonus for the second straight year, while Merrill Lynch & Co. said its CEO John Thain also asked to go without the extra compensation for 2008 after reports surfaced he had sought as much as $10 million.

Notice anything?  They are passing up BONUSES!!  That is what you get when you do something really, really, really super good, right?  Their regular compensation?  $800k and $700k per year respectively plus perks of about half that.  Oh, and they got signing bonuses when they were hired and tens of millions of dollars in earlier bonuses along the way while managing the companies into the ground.

Still not bad for people presiding over failed institutions that nearly killed the global economy and had to be bailed out with billions American taxpayers’ money, much of which will be paid by people now in elementary school who don’t even get an allowance.

Which leads to the auto bailout and CEO compensation of the auto manufacturers.  Jonathan Macey in the Wall Street Journal, writes:

The failure of the General Motors board of directors to fire CEO Richard Wagoner provides a rare glimpse into the inner-workings of big-time corporate boards of directors. The sight is not pretty.

When Mr. Wagoner took the helm eight years ago the stock was trading at around $60 per share. The stock had fallen to around $11 per share before the current financial crisis. It’s now below $5 per share.

In 2007, Mr. Wagoner’s compensation rose 64% to almost $16 million in a year when the company lost billions. The board has been a staunch backer of Mr. Wagoner despite consistent erosion of market share and losses of $10.4 billion in 2005 and $2 billion in 2006. In 2007 GM posted a loss of $68.45 a share, or $38.7 billion — the biggest ever for any auto maker anywhere.

Ouch.  Today there’s a flurry of such chatter.  Check it out.  Go to Google News and type in “executive compensation”.  No shortage of reading material there.

I’m in the spin business.  But I’m hard pressed to see how best to spin this one.   Here’s the Juice Bar’s summary of the executive compensation pro / con argument:

  • If we don’t pay them an outrageous amount of money, they’ll leave.  To that, critics say “Great!”
  • If we don’t pay them millions, we’ll get substandard candidates.  To that, critics say “You can’t do much worse that you’ve already done!”
  • It is a ‘free market’ system and millions is the going rate for executives.  To that, critics say “If it is a free market then don’t ask the government for bailout money.  Fire the management!”

Case closed.

Redefining Consumption

In the aftermath of the trauma of 9-11, President Bush gave us this advice:

Go shop.”

In so doing our President told us to go out and feed our nation’s greatest addiction and increasingly what many consider to be one of our last remaining economic assets:  consumption.

The ability to consume.  That is our heritage.  Damn the economy.  To heck with the environment, education, and the sinking stock market.

Our ability to — no, our NEED to consume seems to know no bounds.

Note that this is not the consumption that our forefathers celebrated the first Thanksgiving.  Back then they called consumption a disease.  Among other things, consumption was more likely known as a “progressive wasting of the body” … not picking up something at the country store.

Based on what I read in this morning’s papers, we should go back to the old meaning of “consumption” — that of a deadly disease.

It is bad enough that two people pulled out their guns and died in a shoot-out at Toys R Us after their respective female companions got engaged in a bloody brawl.

But that a crowd of shoppers would actually trample to death the poor WalMart employee who has the unfortunate job of opening the door in the morning?

This, my friends, is sick.  Shopping meets greed meets madness meets total lack of disregard for any one meets violence.

Welcome to the new Kris Kringle.

Here’s my advice.  Don’t shop.  Take a day off.  Go check out the folks at “Buy Nothing Day.”  Or at least shop online.  Apparently a lot of people of are.

I am thankful for a lot of things.

Not shopping on the Friday after Thanksgiving is one of many.

Happy Holidaze.

Is New Media Helping or Hurting the Market Meltdown?

Are you scared?  No?  Then you must not be paying attention.

You must be living somewhere without electricity or access to the Internet.  (Which of course means you’re not reading this.)

So if you’re reading this I’m betting that you’re right there with everyone else.  Scared to the point of numb as you see your retirement, savings,  personal finance and everything else that once had a value in dollars disappear literally over night.

I see a new MasterCard ad.

Retirement savings portfolio:  Zero dollars.  Home equity:  Zero dollars.   U.S. Government’s Social Security payments:  Zero dollars.

A secure store room with water, canned goods, and ammo?


So here’s my question.

Has the increased velocity of news and information helped accelerate the meltdown?  Are we so surrounded now with an incessant barrage of bad news that new media is helping push us over the edge into crazed panic?

Or has the ubiquity of instant information beeen a break on what would otherwise by now have been a complete implosion of economic activity?

Is there ANY relationship between the historic meltdown of the stock market and new media?

Aaron Brazell had it right.  “Fear breeds a lack of confidence. A lack of confidence breeds fear.”

And the interconnectedness of the new media means that ANYTHING — including fear — can be transmitted easier, quicker, and cheaper.

So the quote in reads:

“This is what happens when the contagion of fear spreads,” said Quincy Krosby, who helps manage about $380 billion as chief investment strategist at the Hartford in Hartford, Connecticut. “No one is paying attention to fundamentals. People are very, very scared. Ultimately investors decide to sell.”

Used to be bad news was confined to the newspapers.  Now it follows me on my cell phone.  This is the flip side of the all the benefits of new media.  YOU CAN’T GET AWAY FROM IT!

Almost makes you yearn for the town cryer.  Or just yearn to cry.