Author of "This Is Rage" and "Endless Encores"

Posts made in October, 2013

How Fragile Is a Brand?

By on Oct 28, 2013 in Blog | 0 comments

Apple unveiled a bunch of new products last week, including numerous options in shape, size, and price point for a fuller line of iPads.  Many of these products are desirable and will make great holiday gifts, but none comes close to pioneering a new category of experience.  These are known as brand extensions, variations on a theme for already desirable existing successes.  It’s good stuff, and good business, but not much to get excited about — nothing like the first Mac, the first iPod, the first iPhone, and the first iPad, all of which constituted innovations that created category-defining icons. Steve Jobs used to talk a lot about brand deposits and brand withdrawals.  A brand deposit takes place when a company invests heavily in making an indelible mark with customers, akin to their very first experience with a point-and-click computer, or a sleek digital music player, or an easy-to-use smart phone, or an intuitive tablet.  Brand withdrawals are usually harvesting activities, like brand extensions, where a company takes some money off the table without over-investing to get it.  Extremely short upgrade cycles for modest improvements in a device or high margin accessories like a carrying case are notable examples of brand withdrawals.  Steve would say you have to maintain a balancing act to infuse a brand with life and a company with cash.  I don’t think I ever met anyone better at this balancing act than he was. That’s why I am starting to feel some heartache for Apple.  I am seeing a lot of withdrawals and not a lot of deposits.  I am also starting to see sloppiness as an acceptable norm, rocky roads that get paved over later without heavily pushing the envelope to warrant the annoyance. Recently I posed the following question on my Facebook page regarding Apple’s release of the highly touted iOS7: Is it just me or is iOS7 woefully slow, bloated, and unstable on older devices, particularly on the iPad2? My hour-to-hour experience on my beloved tablet has gone from impossibly perfect to mediocre. Is this the same Apple? The response was mind-blowing.  Here’s an extract from the thread, names removed to protect the honest: I’m not having any problem with it except for...

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Help, You Need Someone

By on Oct 21, 2013 in Blog | 0 comments

“Hope you are well.” We are all guilty of typing those words. It’s the email equivalent of “Have a nice day,” though usually as a salutation. It means that in a few sentences someone is going to ask you for a favor. In customary parlance, it’s someone you haven’t heard from in quite some time. It’s also likely someone who doesn’t much care if you are well. In the very early days of this blog, I wrote a piece of advice about networking. I thought about that a lot these past few weeks with the release of my novel. Launching a first book at mid-life is a somewhat absurd task. The odds of commercial success are so tiny, you almost can’t calculate them. When countless people in my network—from high school through college through each phase of my career—rallied to my support across the board, I was literally breathless. There is nothing I wouldn’t do for these people: job referral, job reference, resume review, preparation for a pitch, media training, media intervention, hospital visit, you name it! I am there for them in perpetuity, and they are here for me now. Don’t take this for granted. It does not happen by accident, nor does it happen as the norm. If you haven’t yet been crushed by that discovery, you will soon enough. Don’t be dismayed. Only you can fix the problem, and it’s a problem worth fixing. But it’s not a sticky patch on a leaky roof. Networking is still so bizarrely misunderstood, it boggles my mind. It is not a system of stored and replaced favors. It is the building of bonding relationships where people want and choose to help each other. Pay It Forward is about as constructive a strategy for longevity as I’ve experienced. Relentless excellence and indefatigable commitment aren’t bad either. If you want to have a robust network that might help you someday when you truly need the help, build it now; you’re already behind. If you think you can pull off a big-time favor swap real-time, you’re almost certainly deluding yourself. Build your network for the future by offering to do things for others, even if it’s an inconvenience. If you do it...

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Help, You Need Someone

By on Oct 21, 2013 in Blog | 0 comments

“Hope you are well.” We are all guilty of typing those words. It’s the email equivalent of “Have a nice day,” though usually as a salutation. It means that in a few sentences someone is going to ask you for a favor. In customary parlance, it’s someone you haven’t heard from in quite some time. It’s also likely someone who doesn’t much care if you are well. In the very early days of this blog, I wrote a piece of advice about networking. I thought about that a lot these past few weeks with the release of my novel. Launching a first book at mid-life is a somewhat absurd task. The odds of commercial success are so tiny, you almost can’t calculate them. When countless people in my network—from high school through college through each phase of my career—rallied to my support across the board, I was literally breathless. There is nothing I wouldn’t do for these people: job referral, job reference, resume review, preparation for a pitch, media training, media intervention, hospital visit, you name it! I am there for them in perpetuity, and they are here for me now. Don’t take this for granted. It does not happen by accident, nor does it happen as the norm. If you haven’t yet been crushed by that discovery, you will soon enough. Don’t be dismayed. Only you can fix the problem, and it’s a problem worth fixing. But it’s not a sticky patch on a leaky roof. Networking is still so bizarrely misunderstood, it boggles my mind. It is not a system of stored and replaced favors. It is the building of bonding relationships where people want and choose to help each other. Pay It Forward is about as constructive a strategy for longevity as I’ve experienced. Relentless excellence and indefatigable commitment aren’t bad either. If you want to have a robust network that might help you someday when you truly need the help, build it now; you’re already behind. If you think you can pull off a big-time favor swap real-time, you’re almost certainly deluding yourself. Build your network for the future by offering to do things for others, even if it’s an inconvenience. If you do it...

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To Say or Not to Say

By on Oct 8, 2013 in Blog | 0 comments

Experiments are the fuel of innovation.  Creative risk is the path of reinvention.  Writing a novel is just weird. This week my first novel, This is Rage, is being released to the public by my wonderful publisher, The Story Plant.  I have to admit, it’s a little eerie.  Over the years I’ve had the amazing good fortune to chase many unconventional pursuits, but this one feels different.  It has taken three years for me to find the courage to refer to myself as an author — now the more germane question is whether my reading audience sees me as an author good, bad, emerging, or the subject of split opinion.  There’s no chic pub where I can go and wait for the reviews to come in; I just sit behind an LCD and watch the sales numbers amass (or not) in Author Central.  Like I said, it’s eerie. Why did I leave a corner-office gig to do this?  I guess I sort of had to — there was a calling, a need to tell a story, the need to tell this story.  It was a significant risk, not with a lot of financial upside, but a challenge to be true to myself, to my ideals, and to the characters I would create.  It was also a test of my spirit, self-discipline, and marathon commitment to a period of reclusiveness.  I wanted to see if I could translate real acts of business into pretend acts of spectacle.  I wanted to temper tough subjects with humor, but leave their implication open to interpretation.  I wanted to bring what was forever offstage into the light of the mind’s proscenium, with a touch of cliff-hanging and a flash of razzmatazz.  It was an ambitious agenda, getting so many connected words on the page, then smoothing them out, then sharing them with you.  This I feel good about, because it is no longer something I talk about doing at cocktail parties; it’s something I did and will likely do again. A few months ago, one of the participants in a webinar I was leading asked me the following question live and on the spot: What’s scarier, to risk public embarrassment by putting forward an...

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