Never the same way twice…..

May 26th, 2011

For years we’ve talked about the 7 hours a day of TV viewing by households.  I’m not sure I’ve ever reached that profound goal.  But this week, I was chuckling to myself about all the methods I had used on just a couple of days to “watch TV”:

  • A Video-On-Demand episode of a favorite show
  • A Youtube of a boys’ choir imitating cats (ok – a friend sent it to me and it is pretty funny!)
  • An episode of The Office on Hulu
  • A DVR episode of a news program I missed
  • Video clips of finalists from American Idol embedded in a newspaper article.  (And yes, I did want to watch a video from The New York Times on artfully using scarves as a fashion accessory, but I’ve got to get some work done.)

I’m glad I don’t program a linear network these days.  And I’m happy I’m not an advertiser trying to chase audience.  Although I have to say that the ads were quite artfully slipped in the Hulu episode and in the VOD I watched.  Good work!


My ship has come in!

May 2nd, 2011

Well, not exactly, but I am now able to download Fortune issues onto the iPad as a subscriber.  Just as of today.

Splendid – have already watched videos of several CEOs and some dynamite footage of the America’s Cup.  And I’m not even to the main articles.

Every magazine will go this way.  Some faster than others.

The Time empire is underway with this.

Keeping tools fresh and modern

April 25th, 2011

Personal growth jammed into the reunion weekend

Just at my Columbia 30th MBA reunion.  As I blogged earlier, it’s amazing to think of graduate school with no email, no Google, no Internet, no cell phone etc.  But we managed.

Still, remaining sharp continues to be an imperative for all of us.  As Covey once described it – “sharpening the saw”, remains as much of an imperative as ever.

I think.

Many of my fellow alums admitted to limited exposure to FaceBook, Twitter, even LinkedIn.  Hmmm.  That’s not the end of the world.

But don’t we remember senior execs in the late 80s and early 90s who never touched the PC in their office.  Their assistants pressed the buttons.  Now, that is completely out-of-style, though you occasionally hear of a senior exec today with no computer skills.

On the other hand, Gartner has recently been urging senior execs to get hands on skills with the iPad as they view it as such a game-changer.

I’ll use this viewpoint to highlight Columbia reunion sessions that struck home with me on keeping tools fresh and modern and the ongoing imperative to pursue that challenge.  (But how, with what time?)

Entrepreneurial Session

I enjoyed this session where four mini-cases were reviewed very much.  Had to power read the cases before we broke into small groups to determine whether we liked the opportunity to invest in various businesses or not. Power reading was an imperative since they emailed me the case before I arrived home from Tunisia and I never saw the email in the avalanche that came.  (See my recent Ups and Downs article about Unsubscribing to Email.)

I presented the positives for one of the investments to the class and did a reasonably decent job.  It turns out that this investment looks like it will pan out for the investors – disposable but biodegradable plates and such – so I got a little boost of encouragement that all was not lost in my noggin.  One of the other members of our small team came up with our case name – Green Plate Special.  This points to the benefits of strong team work!

Another alum talked about the strengths of an online business which did not seem solid to me.  However, what struck me was her highlighting of opportunities to use traditional media such as broadcast television to grow awareness for this service.  Never in 1,000 years would I have thought of that point – it seemed very old-fashioned to me.  But is it me or her?  Her comments felt dated…..but everyone is really experimenting with new tools to see what works.  Am I out on a limb in my views on the power of various social media tools?

The Science of Personal Leadership with Professor Wadhwa

This was a standout.  Professor Wadhwa’s research into leadership was excellent. His basic idea is to understand personal leadership centered around leading first yourself.  And his work is driven by a fact-based view on what you can do vs. a faith-based view of personal growth (or what we might have called a “woo-woo” kind of course years ago).  Sign up at his Institute for Personal Leadership for updates.   I did.

If only I could stumble across more client work this year, I’d love to go to his December session.  He’s a compelling speaker and his examples are excellent.  Everyone was buzzing about this.

Is the lesson to be learned here that every so often you must invest in yourself?  I’ve been lucky.  I did the Stephen Covey work years ago, then the Center for Creative Leadership,  and then the very excellent TimeOut sessions  from the Professional Thinking Partners.

Interestingly, these sessions have stuck with me.  Is that the idea….rather than a session on wireless technologies or how to use social media, but rather something that centers on personal development and reflection.  Hmmm

In these tough economic times and with the cost of higher education, everyone talks more and more about “trade school-like education” as having the right payback.  But does learning technical skills go right out of date vs. more conceptual problem-solving skills?

University Endowment Update

Excellent discussion on the imperatives to generate income that universities face given the costs of higher education.  Hence, their need to invest aggressively.  Hedge funds, private equity etc.

I understood all of it….but I’m not a finance-type.  I don’t care where alpha and beta are going.  And will delta follow where they lead?

I’m a marketer, strategist and new product developer.  There will always be money for great ideas that meet consumer needs.

I’m more Apple than Goldman Sachs.  More Comcast than Morgan Stanley.  More Bloomberg than Citibank.

That has remained true over 30 years.

The New Campus

Very interesting session about building the new campus up in Manhattanville.  For those of you who are geographically-challenged like myself, that’s one more train stop on the #1 line from 116th.  But you go down the hill into…..I never went there, although apparently I missed the chance for excellent BBQ down there.  Who knew?

A recent interim exec position at Bright Beacon brought me close to the terrifying dynamics of building a new campus:  the costs, the design issues, the constituencies, the no-win situations.  Eeks.

But I would also say that I like interim exec positions as it’s a chance to flex my personal leadership skills (see above).  Another piece of the puzzle that I might not have valued as highly  so many years ago.

If you’ve got an interim exec position, call me.  I can do a good job and not leave lasting damage.

The Saturday Sessions

Attended a number of sessions on Saturday which were panel discussions with alums from the reunioning classes, including the CEO of Kikkoman, class of 1961.

It didn’t hurt me at all to stretch my brain (branding, social enterprise) and REALLY stretch my brain (the health care panel).  So, growth comes in many forms….personal growth, using modern tools, understanding current industry dynamics…

What are you doing for growth?

Blogging ups and downs….but mostly ups!

April 22nd, 2011

Blogging, blogging, blogging at my 30th MBA reunion at Columbia.  On my Droid and on my iPad. Sometimes blogging directly and sometimes tweeting.  The message is that whatever you do as a business person to communicate with your constituencies, you have to know that someone is sharing with the wider world virtually immediately.  With photos.

Minute-by-minute tweeting!

And devices are “sort of” coordinated across services, though pix did not seem to come through to the Bright Beacon FaceBook page very well off the Droid.  And some tweets showed up on LinkedIn and some did not.

So, there’s more to this than meets the eye…..for example, the interesting blog I wrote last Saturday about the social enterprise space simply never got posted at all. (Reposted below!)

Social media must be part of a coordinated marketing game plan, but I definitely do not agree with a fellow alum that you have to pick FaceBook or Twitter or….as you can’t do it all.  You Can (even in a mobile mode if you can get all the interactions between services and devices worked out!).



The pix above from the Saturday morning first session (April 16)… noted by the prof, very few younger alums….tired out from the reception the previous eve?

Here was my blog post that got stuck on a dead end road on the information super highway:

“At the session this am.  I think tons of serious types went to the Finance session.

Comment made that micro-funding has fallen out of vogue.  Hmmm.

Beware green washing.  Customers are smart.  Customers are looking for honesty, not perfection.

Health care a Very promising area for social enterprise.


Darn….there is a power plug right at my seat.  We didn’t have that.  What would we have plugged in?  An iron?”

Just the right touch from Zappos…

April 21st, 2011


Am Unsubscribing to emails at an impressive rate.  However, my buddies at Zappos emailed me to remind me of shoes that I bought a year ago….and would I be interested in another pair of a similar style?  In fact, I did see a style I liked.

People, people, people….too many emails.  You are spamming me.  Stop it!

Much learned, much to reflect on…30th MBA reunion

April 19th, 2011


My Columbia reunion was excellent on so many levels….I’ll post a longer blog on both the personal and professional side over the next several days.

And comment on tools for real-time blogging, posting, sharing etc.   No longer does anyone need to sit there in one way reception mode!

Partying like it was yesterday!

April 19th, 2011


Gala for the 30th Saturday night.   I think I was up later than I’ve been in 30 years.   And, no, I didn’t wear those shoes in this pix, though I admired my case team member who did.  In fact, it was great to be with my Strategy case teammates who were great “oh so many years ago” and remain great.  A lesson about picking great people and then building a great team?

It didn’t even exist

April 16th, 2011


As you come into Uris Hall.

Back in the day,  we just had regular TV.

On my way to Day 2 lectures.  Hope they are as fulfilling as Day 1.

Rumors have it that there was a 25th reunion.  Who knew?

I am Tweeting extensively on Bright Topics.  Follow me thru the lectures, the lunch and the big party tonight.

A roar heard round the world

April 15th, 2011


Consultants, exec recruiters, Wall Street types, marketers – a roar heard round the world.

Plus the drinks are flowing!

What a party!

April 15th, 2011


Cipriani, bellinis, herds of MBAs!