Wednesday, May 12, 2010

new stuff

It has been very exciting and busy of late.

A friend and colleague of mine, Colin Mulvaney asked me to help critique work on a new multimedia web site, surfing is the new career."

Alan Webber of 'Fast Company' fame has two neat posts. One on how should you measure the success of your business that I think is a must read and the other is about how to think about art and commerce.

Friday, April 30, 2010

a breath of fresh air

A little inspiration as you go into the weekend.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

news biz

So why all the business talk you ask?

Well, it has occurred to a number of us in the journalism field and in the business community, that it is the structures of news organizations that have to adapt to the new world we inhabit.

If you want a good introduction to how pricing has/is changing in the world, read this easy to understand e-book by Todd Sattersten. The production and distribution costs of newspapers is daunting when you compare it to a web site for users that costs 9 cents a month to run per client. So where do we go from here?

As before: it has to be compelling content; it has to be content people are willing to pay for because it will change/improve/alter/effect their lives; and it has to be accessible.

Mediocre will not stand out in the crowd.

On a side note: Here is a great documentary on making lemonade out of the lemons life hands you is inspirational.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

the iPad

Unless you have been living under a rock somewhere in the High Sierras, you might have heard that Apple announced their new iPad.

The video with Jony Ive and Phil Schiller is quite sharp. Ive is worth tuning in for alone because of how he conceptualizes design.

The reviews are starting to trickle in, some good, some OK. Two of the news feeds I tune into had their own reviews: truthdig and true/slant. I am actually not going to say much about the product at the moment. Do I think it is the instant game changer that the iPod was, no. Do I think it heralds the game-changer coming, yes.

As remarkable as the product is, imagine any of these marketing campaigns that Apple could launch:

* Apple could ship iPads to Stanford or UCLA and Johns Hopkins medical staffs and have an app developer work with those schools to revolutionize paperwork in hospitals.

* Imagine a Netfilx and Apple partnership where users could stream their Netflix account to their iPads and if they really liked a movie they could purchase the content to be saved to their pad and transferred to their home computer/entertainment center ala the iPod.

* Apple could announce a nation-wide innovation in education contest where iPads would be provided to the high school or magnate school that could best utilize the technology in allowing their students to create and improve the world.

* Apple could gift the performance artists improv everywhere with iPads to see what they could produce.

* Apple could send Emmy award winning Richard Koci Hernandez of San Jose Mercury News and Multimediashooter fame a bunch of iPads and see how he and the Knight Foundation could transform journalism and news.

- Imagine watching your favorite movie and having the script text running along side the film or beneath it.

- Imagine airlines loaning iPads to frustrated, stranded travelers to reschedule their trips.

The last time we had a major change in the transmission medium of information, we had the reformation of the Catholic Church. Hold on, I think this one will be just as big!

where is this going?

I can hear a number of questions from from friends and colleagues.

Q: Mike, what is up with the shift toward business and marketing coverage?

A: After looking long and hard at the news-on-paper business, I have realized that the major issues facing our business as a whole are on the business end, not the content end.

So, I began to explore what business innovators are up to, how this might influence journalism and multimedia, how marketing is changing in the business world and trying to determine what business we are in (more on that to come).

tbc high school video program

This year, actual we started with the school year, we/I am trying something new.

As the industry tries DMWL (Do More With Less), I thought it would be interesting and fun to start a program for local high school students interested in video and film. We watch videos, critique work and will be starting our first group project based on moments in January.

You can see some of what we have watched here at our syllabus under construction.

So far there have been great discussions and we average about six students. Some local video and film folks sit in from time to time to offer their perspectives and insights. A few of the students plan on attending film school next year, so hopefully we will find out if we helped them along their way.

Friday, January 15, 2010


Also over the holidays, Seth Godin 'published' this e-book that is a thought-provoking read. He was able to pull together a diverse group of people to provide short essays on 'what matters now.' It is worth the time.

If you did not catch Godin's innovative launch of 'Linchpin' you missed a fascinating idea explored to its fullest.

Instead of launching off on a book tour, Godin provided preview copies of the book to fans who donated money to the non-profit Acumen. What was really interesting is that many of us donated more than the suggested/requested $30 because it is a neat funding group.

So let's count the winners...Acumen gets a great boost and advertising, Godin's fans get to feel special because they are in on something different, Godin wins because his 'tribe' spreads word of his book and the book publisher wins because they put into action an innovative marketing campaign.

So I hear the obvious question: Mike, why are you reading so many business books?

The answer: next post.

'Linchpin' review

I was lucky enough to get in early on Seth Godin's early release of his latest book 'Linchpin.'

I am about half way through the book, I am actually trying to savor and think about what he has to say and make me think about.

The good news is you are not crazy. There are reasons why you are frustrated at work, why school didn't make a lot of sense, and even better yet, there is a way out.

If nothing else Seth Godin is helping me realize that the questions I have been thinking about, asking myself and colleagues as the questions I should be asking.

You would be a fool not to get yourself a copy when it comes out. A number of friends will get copies of this, it is that important.

reading list, part 1

I asked for, I submit a long list, and received Alan Webber's book: 'Rules of Thumb: 52 Truths for Winning at Business Without Losing Your Self' over the holidays. Webber, of Fast Company fame, has really pulled together some great ideas. It is an easy and good read. I am going back through it a second time to really glean some best practices.

Good deal on the book here.

If nothing else his book is pressing me to re-think, imagine what business we are in, see the previous post.

The other amazing read this break was Seth Godin's re-release of his book 'All Marketers Tell Stories.'

Not surprisingly another home run, and this is the other major influence on my thought process regarding the biz.

welcome back

It has been awhile....been doing a lot of thinking and reading lately.

I have been trying to imagine/think of what a visioning process would look like for newspapers, if you would like to help out take this survey.

The main question is: what business are we in?

Feel free to substitute the name of your newspaper for mine if you are from out of town.