Archive for the ‘Mobile’ Category

A Change Is Gonna Come

Al Gore- The Future
Let’s be honest. Al Gore can come across as a pretentious, pedantic bore. His political enemies have done a great job of convincing most Americans that Gore takes personal credit for inventing the internet. (By the way, he doesn’t. During a 1999 CNN interview, he spoke about taking the initiative as vice-president to foster, economically and legislatively, the technology that we now know as the internet.) But Gore’s formality and stiffness in otherwise relaxed situations along with a tendency to sound self-righteous play right into the hands of those that perpetuate this notion.

That said, as the New York Times reviewer noted, Gore’s latest book, “The Future:Six Drivers of Global Change” is worth checking out for two ideas that it introduces. Reviewer Chrystia Freeland writes: “The first is the premise. Gore believes we are living in a ‘new period of hyperchange.’ The speed at which our world is changing…is unprecedented, and that transformation is the central reality of our lives. The technology revolution, Gore writes, ‘is now carrying us with it at a speed beyond our imagining toward ever newer technologically shaped realities that often appear, in the words of Arthur C. Clarke, ‘indistinguishable from magic.’’”

“Gore’s second big argument is based on this first one,” Freeland writes. Since we’re experiencing these major economic and sociological changes, we need to think about the local, regional, and geo-political implications. Gore seems to believe that the nation-state is fast becoming irrelevant and talks about how globalization has really transformed business into Earth, Inc. And, he believes that if America doesn’t lead the rest of the world in developing a viable international reaction to these rapid changes, that the world will stay stuck in the paradigm that we’ve inherited from previous, less complicated centuries.

Of course, Al Gore isn’t the only person who believes that the business world has some issues such as “quarterly democracy” which need to be addressed. There are some, and I include themselves among them, who believe that this period of Capitalism is reminiscent of the days of the robber barons from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In a recent TIME essay, “The Curious Capitalist” Rana Forooha talks about the short-termism of our system of shareholder capitalism and about those “calling for not only corporate pay and tax reforms but also a more Germanic-style stakeholder capitalism that can spread the benefits of a company’s growth more evenly among labor, management and shareholders.”

For capitalism to remain viable, it’s important that the population be economically productive. However, new technologies are enabling companies to employ “robosourcing” which eliminates a high percentage of workers from the equation. If memory serves, Gore mentions software which can be used by legal firms to do the work of 10,000 legal interns. Not great news for law students who’ve invested all that time, money and effort in their educations.
With people living longer and healthier lives, society is going to need to figure out a way to keep the population productively employed so that they can participate not only as conscientious citizens but also as active consumers who stoke the engines of capitalism with their purchases and contribute to the government coffers via taxes.

Along with unemployment, the overall growth of the world population, the aging of populations in first world nations, “The Future” also addresses water quality and shortages, top soil depletion and, of course, the effects of global warming. I have to admit that the Malthusian in me started wondering about the impact these dilemmas would have on fear and the growth of intolerance which generates hate groups like neo-Nazis, radical Islamists, and the like.

In his New York Times review of “The Future”, Michiko Kakutani says Gore is most convincing “when he refrains from editorializing and sticks to analyzing how changes in technology, our political climate and the environment are going to affect the world, often creating domino and cascadelike effects.” For instance, how the growth of the Internet and proliferation of mobile phones in developing countries has helped closed the information gap and increased the opportunity for “robust democratic discourse” but also increases threats to privacy and cybersecurity. Or how 3-D printing raises questions about intellectual property as well as copyright and patent law and how advances in science technology might soon create ethical dilemmas when parents have the opportunity to create “designer babies” with the ability to choose not only hair and eye color but also height, strength, and intelligence characteristics.

“The Future” is an ambitious project. Probably,too much so. Gore tries to educate us with a comprehensive, holistic overview about how various factors (business, population, environment, technology, information) interrelate but the effect can be overwhelming. Add Al Gore’s wooden and ponderous communication style to the mix and you might find your mind wandering as you wade through it. Nevertheless, it’s worth the effort. As Gore observes: “We as human beings now face a choice: either to be swept along by the powerful currents of technological change and economic determinism into a future that may threaten our deepest values, or to build a capacity for collective decision making on a global scale.”

Something to think about.

Collaboration: Boomers & GenY

I’m curious to learn your insights about a question which concerns me and many of my fellow “Alpha Boomers” (those of us born between 1946-1956). Although society and government have yet to catch up, many of us would rather pay in to social security than to collect it and have no interest in retiring at age 65. In fact, a recent report on CBS Sunday Morning indicated that, while there are currently 75,000 people in the US aged 100 or older, in 40 years there will be more than 6 million. Those will be today’s Alpha Boomers and it means that those people aren’t “senior citizens” but are “middle-aged”.

My point is that many of us Alpha Boomers are able and willing to continue working in economically productive and financially rewarding careers. However, there is an obvious preference by organizations to choose young & inexperienced over older & experienced applicants. Automation and globalization are certainly factors in the downsizing and restructuring which has been prevalent during the past 20 years. It’s my understanding that HR departments have not escaped this trend. So fewer people are left to cope with more applications. That’s led to a mindset whereby it seems that the primary function of HR systems is not as much to find the right applicant than to find a reason to say NO.

It seems to me that the US needs to focus on a way to create opportunities so that Baby Boomers who are able,willing, and (for economic reasons) need to work can collaborate with GenY’ers who need work in order to build financial security and pursue productive careers. Youth benefits from the wisdom and experience of seasoned professionals, older workforce is inspired and revitalized by the ideas and perspective of youth and the result it the whole being greater than the sum of its parts.

Is anybody in the HR industry and business in general considering this perspective? Is my attitude totally Pollyanna and unrealistic?

I’d be interested to hear your thoughts

My Dilemma

During the past few months, I’m having this experience more frequently. It’s been happening when I sign into my Linkedin account after being alerted that someone has endorsed me or when I check Facebook to learn which friends are celebrating birthdays.

I’m confronted with the profile of a dead friend.

Has this been happening a lot to you, too? If it has, what do you do about it?

The practical part of me wants to delete the person from my list of friends. But I can’t bring myself to do it. Deleting them from my Linkedin connections list or “unfriending” them on Facebook seems, somehow, disrespectful to their memory. I guess, in some weird way, the uncritical emotional part of my psyche believes, if I keep their profile active, that they somehow remain “alive”.

But, I’m being confronted with this issue more frequently this year. Today, at least three different deceased friends confronted me either on the endorsement pages of Linkedin or on my Facebook birthday list.

Has this been happening to you? If you were me, how would you handle it?

Political Cartoons-2012 Style

Controversial, sometimes nasty, cartoons have been part of the American political landscape since the pre-Revolutionary War days. They just didn’t have Photoshop. Here are some examples of what’s being shared on Facebook during this year’s presidential campaign:

If you’re an “undecided”, these efforts might persuade you one way or another. If you’re a partisan, they’ll simply reinforce your opinion. And, of course, now that the Supreme Court has upheld Obamacare (The Affordable Health Care Act), the images produced by both sides are bound to become more and more offensive as fears mount that the other guy just might win.

Steve Jobs- My Reaction To Walter Isaacson’s Bio

I realize that Steve Jobs is revered by his disciples but he must have been a horrible boss.

I know that, despite how he treated them, most of his former employees say positive things about Steve. But that reminds me of a guy I once worked with who embraced a Marine bootcamp approach when training new employees. He first took every opportunity to publicly humiliate them. Then, once their self-esteem was at or below ground level, he would feed them the occasional compliments so that they came to rely on him for their sense of self worth. I’m not accusing Jobs of being that consciously manipulative but the results of his behavior seem similar.

Giving Steve is due, the guy was an astute visionary and an amazing salesman. He understood how to be a messiah to his geek constituency and he did set the bar high for the rest of us.

All of that said, I don’t want to give the impression that I have a negative attitude about the guy. As his wife observed, he was a flawed and complicated man; at times cruel and hard-hearted, at times teary and vulnerable.

Some of the quotes and insights which I jotted down while listening to the audiobook:

*Stand at the intersection of humanities and science.
*The various religions are different doors to the same house.
*Form follows emotion
*The journey is the reward.
*Today isn’t liberal vs. conservative. It’s constructive vs. destructive
*One way to remember who you are is to remember who your heroes are.
*Prune to keep the tree strong.
*If you’re not busy being born, you’re busy dying. (Bob Dylan)

Full disclosure: I’m a PC, not an Apple (Although, I do now use an iPhone). So, I until I read this book, I didn’t know much about Steve Jobs except for his legend. Like most, I was saddened when he died and I got emotional when I watched the YouTube clip of his 2005 Stanford commencement address.

But this was not a warm & fuzzy guy.

Steve Jobs was a guy who behaved like he believed he was a chosen one. And, because he had a genius for design, an ability to intimidate (he used that intense stare you see on the book cover to great effect), and a gift to persuade, we enabled him.

That’s a cause for mixed emotions about the man but Steve Jobs’ positive impact on society is undeniable.

The History of Disruptive Technology

The Frugal Dad blog recently posted this infographic which traces the development of technologies which have disrupted culture, society, or our daily lives. What do you see here that’s directly impacted your life?

Personal Technology Infographic

Source: FrugalDad

Education And Digital Natives

We Baby Boomers are “digital immigrants”. We’ve had to learn to adapt to computers, email, digital downloads, smartphones, texting, tablets, etc. The Millennials are “digital natives”. To them, the constant stream of rapidly changing media tools have always been a part of their lives. Here’s an interesting infographic about “digital natives” and learning courtesy of Elnora Lowe:

Via: Voxy Blog

Thanks to Fred Jacobs of Jacobs Media for bringing this info to our attention.

How Ideals Power Growth & Profit

Jim Stengel is the former head of marketing for Proctor & Gamble. The ideas he expresses in this book are consistent to those being expressed by Daniel Pink in “A Whole New Mind” and Jim Collins in his latest book, “Great By Choice”.

Stengel preaches that it’s essential for business leaders to combine ideals and artistry, very right-brained functions, with rigorous left-brained analysis in order to create a brand leading product or service . He collaborated with WPP’s Millward Brown Optimor’s neuroscience unit to use MRI’s to measure how quickly people associate ideals with brands.

The Stengel 50 list was created from this research. These companies outperformed the S&P 500 by 400% over the first decade of this century. Most importantly, they discovered that associations with a brand’s perceived ideas have a strong relationship with consumer preference, consideration and choice.

According to Stengel, a Brand Ideal is the essence of the business which is embraced by everyone in the company , from the CEO to the receptionist, and is amplified by everything that the company does. In these cynical times, that’s a tough order. So, like Jim Collins’ concept of “the right person in the right seat on the bus”, Stengel has found that the leaders in his Stengel 50 companies devote a lot of time and attention to recruiting with the idea that one bad hire can be highly toxic.

Daniel Pink talks about the need to think “symphonically”. Apparently, Stengel agrees. He believes that CEO’s need to be “whole-brained” which , I believe, means that they need to take a holistic approach and to think in terms of decades rather than months, quarters, or years. He introduces the concept of the Brand Artist, someone who is accountable for the soul of the brand and its ideal. Stengel says that a company needs to measure its progress on the ideal not only with customers but with employees as well.

According to Stengel , a brand’s success relies on its ability to satisfy one of the following fundamental values: elicit joy, enable connection, inspire exploration, evoke pride, or positively impact society. Bottom-line: your brand has to walk the walk as well as talk the talk in a world that demands transparency and authenticity.

One company on the Stengel 50 list is Chipotle. I’ve never been to one of their restaurants and I thought of Chipotle as another Taco Bell-type franchise. Then, I saw their TV spot during the SuperBowl
and my attitude towards the Chipotle brand changed.

As usual, I “read” the audiobook version. At times, I found the writing to be a bit stilted. Nevertheless, I think you’ll find the stories about the various brands and the concepts in this book to be both useful and enlightening.

Michael Lewis’ Boomerang:Travels In The New Third World

Michael Lewis is his usual wry, witty, sardonic, self-deprecating, interesting and insightful self in this collection of articles which he wrote investigating what caused the financial problems in Europe and here in the U.S. He makes you laugh even though you know you should be crying.

The first character we meet is a Texas hedge fund manager who Lewis had edited out of his previous book, “The Big Short” because Lewis thought he was a whack job. Turns out, the guy was right and became very rich. He now collects guns, gold bars, lives in a fortress and is betting that Europe’s governments will fail. He’s hoping that his gun collection and fortress will protect his family and his gold bar collection when the world collapses into anarchy.

The first place we visit on Michael Lewis’ journey is Iceland where the hubris is astonishing. Essentially, a group of people who were adept at fishing decided that they could be good at banking. It was all guys. The women tried to warn them but the men wouldn’t listen. So the Icelanders bought into their own BS at highly inflated prices and then it all collapsed. Iceland’s population is small so the amount of money for which each citizen of Iceland is responsible is enormous
Next stop, Greece where the population feels entitled. Reading Lewis’ observations about the Greeks makes it apparent why they’re in their current economic situation. He recounts a story which I recall hearing about in the news. An angry mob firebombed a bank and several bank employees died as a result including a pregnant young woman. Rather than feeling compassion for the victims, the mob’s response was that it served them right for having the temerity to work rather than staying home and collecting from the government like any good citizen would do.

In Germany, Lewis learns that the citizens of Deutschland are quite scatological. The theory of why they’re this way is interesting. More importantly, we learn that although it’s very important to German society that everyone play by the rules, their bankers didn’t. In fact, though German bankers gave the outward impression that everything was on the up-and-up, they were enablers of those who were creating the financial crisis in Europe and here in America.

Which brings us back home. Lewis defends Meredith Whitney who garnered the ire of Wall Street when she decided to do some research about the financial health of America and discovered that the states were in pretty bad financial shape. The worst offender: California. Lewis introduces us to some inspiring community leaders who are working to cope with a situation created by citizens who demand public services but don’t want to pay for them. He also gets some surprisingly candid answers from former California governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger . The story about Arnold’s decision to run for governor is a classic.

One insight one comes away with after reading “Boomerang: Travels In The New Third World” is.. we’re screwed.

Reflections On 2011

Remember when you were a kid and it seemed to take forever for the holidays to arrive?

Now, every year seems to go by faster than the one before. Chalk it up to perception. When you’ve lived only 13 years, one year equals 1/13th of your life. When you’re thirty-five, a year equals 1/35th of your life. You get the picture.

I can’t say that the first year of the second decade of the 21st century has been my favorite year. But, as I reflect upon my personal experiences, I’m surprised at how many high points there are.
2011 marked a couple of significant anniversaries. My wife, Molly and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary in July. It amazes me that I’ve been married this long. In fact, it’s hard for me to think of myself now as not being married even though I maintained my bachelorhood longer than most.

This year also marked the Big 3-0 birthday of MTV: Music Television where I was privileged to be part of the channel’s original management team. It was fun to do some radio and print interviews about those early days at a channel which paved the way for television as we know it today. It was also nice to have my contribution acknowledged in the book, “I Want My MTV: The Uncensored Story of the Music Video Revolution” by Craig Marks and Rob Tannenbaum which was released in conjunction with the 30th anniversary.

Some other memories from 2011:
*My mother and younger brother spending the Christmas holidays with us in Saratoga.
*Our family vacation to Los Angeles and San Diego in March to visit with my wife’s cousin, John Woodcock and his wife, Susan. We were awakened at 8AM one morning at our beachfront hotel in San Diego by my daughter’s boyfriend in Saratoga who told us about the tsunami that hit Japan and was threatening America’s west coast. We’d gone to bed early and were oblivious to the situation. We certainly gained some perspective about what it’s like to live in Southern California.
*While in California, we were able to get some business done. Molly visited her client at TVG and met with the VP/Marketing at Santa Anita Raceway. I was able to meet with staff members at Loyola Marymount University’s student-run radio station, KXLU and to discuss media opportunities with former Albanian, Kevin Callahan while visiting him at KSON-FM, San Diego.
*Western Swing and Salsa dance lessons for Molly and me by our friend, David Levesque of Dancin’ Time. (She was good. Me, not so much.)
*Elton John with Leon Russell at Madison Square Garden in March. The tickets were a gift from my stepdaughter, Jessica.
*Being interviewed for Russian radio about American culture and media by my friend, journalist Vladimir Abarinov.
*Our youngest daughter, Sarah successfully transitioning from public high school to the private all-girl Emma Wilard School and embracing the experience of her senior year.
*The relief of learning that Sarah passed her driver’s test after being denied a passing score on her first 2 attempts.(I was dreading having to deal with an emotionally overwrought teenage girl who failed to pass on her 3rd try.)
*College campus visits with Sarah in July and October to New England, northern & western New York as well as the New York Finger Lakes region. I really enjoyed the conversations with my daughter and having the chance to watch her evolving maturity in handling the different situations we encountered during our trips.

It was good to make new friends during the past year and to reconnect with old friends and acquaintances such as: Joe Templin, Charles Warner, Scott Bingham, Dale Brooks, Michael Grace, Rosemary Young, Monica Mahaffey, Eric Strauss, Ray Patterson, Judi Clements, Bob Buchman, Jessie Scott, Mike Lembo, Batt Johnson, Pam Green, Rob Sisco, Hatem Dammak, Neerav Patel, Bill Polk, Susan Arbetter, Jay Werth, Bilel Besbes, Cindy Sivak, Rose Giangiobbe, Sierra Julie Sullivan, Dan & Jen Austin, Dick Heatherton, Joan Myers, Leslie Leventman, Tom Freston, George Gerrity, Holly Greene, Dale Willman, Ray Zoller, Joe Condon, Patrick Ryan, Michael Vallone, Joe Reilly, Dawn Dawson, David Levesque and Terry McNiff.

From a business standpoint, 2011 marked another year of evolution for Brindle Media with projects for Siena College and the New York Racing Association. My former boss at Albany Broadcasting, John Kelly asked me to work with Siena’s nationally-recognized radio station, WVCR-FM on focusing its programming product and strategizing for future development. During the summer, I once again worked with NYRA at world-renowned Saratoga Race Course to enhance the customer experience (CX) for and increase customer usage of the track’s computerized Self-Service Terminals (SSTs). In the Fall, I also created two targeted online newspapers using, Buzz4Boomers designed for members of the Baby Boomer generation and 12866Buzz intended to provide news of neighborhood and social community interest for residents of Saratoga Springs. At this point, they’re both works in progress.

I tried to take advantage of as many learning opportunities as possible during the past year either by attending events such as Amy Mengel’s Social Media Breakfast Tech Valley, attending webinars, and reviewing audio or video interviews. Some webinars and interviews which I found enlightening this year included:

*Dan Zarella’s Hubspot webinars “Most Legendary Marketing Showdown”, “The Science of SEO”, “New Science of Social Media”, “The Science of Analytics”, “The Science of Timing” , and “The Science of Email Marketing”.

*Reach Personal Branding’s Entrepreneurial Training Series

*Reach Personal Branding’s William Arruda’ss interviews with Tony Beshara, Gina Rudan, Seth Godin, Ken Blanchard, Stever Robbins, Bernadette Martin, Kevin Eikenberry, and Dr. Samantha Collins.

*Greig Well’s “Linkedin Insider Secrets” webinar.

*John Souza’s Social Media Magic University series about blogging, email marketing, PPC Marketing, Mobile Marketing, and SEO.

*David Siteman Garland’s “Rise To The Top” interviews with Blogcast FM’s Srinivas Rao, Diamond Candles co-founder Justin Winter, social media legend Chris Brogan, author Steven Pressfield, and entrepreneur Lewis Howe.

*Daniel Pink’s “Office Hours” interviews with “Great By Choice” author Jim Collins and “The No A**-Hole Rule” author Bob Sutton.

*Edison Media’s Tom Webster’s presentation “Turning Social Media Monitoring Into Research”.

*Adam Metz’s webinar, “The Social Customer and The Art of War”.

*Mark Ramsey’s conversations with Ishita Gupta (from Seth Godin’s Domino Project), Livio Radio’s Jake Sigal, JINX’s Sean Gailey , Marketing Profs’ Ann Handley, Triton Media’s Jim Kerr, Pandora CEO Joe Kennedy, Guy Kawasaki, Seth Godin, Mandalay Entertainment Group chairman Peter Guber, Social Media Examiner’s Michael Stetzner, broadcast consultant & author Valerie Geller, KCRW-FM general
manager Jennifer Ferro, and advertising guru/author Jon Winsor.

I’m not a particularly fast reader so I rarely find time to read books. When I’m reading, it’s usually magazine articles or blogs. So, I’m a big fan of audiobooks. Some of my favorites this year were:

*David Brooks’ “The Social Animal”
*Tom Friedman’s “That Used To Be Us”
*Steven Levy’s “In The Plex”
*Tina Fey’s “Bossy Pants”
*David McCullough’s “The Greater Journey”
*Simon Winchester’s “Atlantic”
*Laura Hillenbrand’s “Unbroken”
*Sebastian Junger’s “War”
*Dick Cavett’s “Talk Show”
*Michael Lewis’ “Boomerang”
(I’ve just started listening to this book and I’m hooked).

You can read my reviews on my Linkedin account (

My favorite movies this year: “The King’s Speech” and “The Help”

In September, I drove downstate to NYC to see the play, “War Horse” at the Lincoln Center. I thought play itself was a bit trite but the design of the horse puppets and the puppetry itself were amazing. I’m debating whether or not to see the movie version.

My favorite TV shows remain CBS Sunday Morning, The Daily Show and The Colbert Report although my enjoyment of Colbert’s show is on the wane. It’s getting too predictable (like Rush Limbaugh’s talk show). This year, I’ve become a fan of NBC’s “Meet The Press”. With all due respect to the late Tim Russert , David Gregory has made the show much more interesting. “30 Rock” reruns have hooked me and I’m now looking forward to the show’s return in early January.” Saturday Night Live” is back on track. There’s a lot of talent in the current cast. I have to admit to enjoying the song & dance routines on “Glee” (talented cast, strong production). And PBS American Masters series ran a terrific documentary about Woody Allen this Fall. Watching “Midnight In Paris” is on my New Year’s Eve to-do list.

Best wishes for enlightenment, surprise, joy, good health, and prosperity in 2012.

Happy New Year!