Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Geography of Jobs

If you haven't seen it, you need to check it out -

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Ad Agencies Taking Another One To The Chin

In an article released yesterday, eMarketer reported that a Harris interactive poll found that most survey participants believed advertising agencies possessed the majority of the blame for this current economic downturn. To be more specific, they thought ad agencies were selling products and services that the majority of the market could not afford.

As much as I often criticize the agency product and process, I have to admit this one is a far stretch. However, it does lead to a larger issue related to ad agencies - relevance. As the standard business model becomes more driven by quantitative factors, many industries may find themselves experiencing a drastic decrease in overall value, due to their inability to apply beneficial measurements to their clients. Many of you have heard that popular ads can often result in a drop in market-share. Of all the industries that may be affected, ad agencies may take the hardest blow, due to the "creative for the creatives" model that has been dominant for so long.

LinkedIn Polls

I'm trying to see how the polls in LinkedIn perform. I think it's a great avenue for gathering data from a large pool of professionals, especially within a concentrated area.

Let me know your thoughts.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Another Half-Marathon Completed

I finished another half-marathon. This year my time was 5 minutes slower than last year, but the performance was good considering the bad training. The music was awesome during the race. I decided to only use my iPod for the first 2 miles. I would go to see all the bands in concert. The Country Music Marathon is quite an experience - 35,000 runners, concerts, and good people.

I met an awesome young lady with the best personality. She looked like she was in junior high, but actually she was a 25 year old military police office. She was running the full marathon - just because. I later found out from her mother, who was also pleasant, that she actually ran in the Iraq marathon. That's correct, Iraq. Yes, that would be 130 degrees with full gear on for 26.2 miles. She is also well-trained in the martial arts. She and her only sibling are both doing heading back over there to do their third tour of duty. My prayers and gratitude go out to that entire family. Just meeting them was worth the experience. I don't remember your name, but if you stumble across this blog, please keep in touch. I consider you a lifetime friend.

As for the other 34,999 runners, they were all interesting and a joy to be with on this hot day. I remember the lady who grabbed the free beer from the side of the street in a back neighborhood, the guy offering free pancakes, and guy running in flip-flops. But the highlight was a cool seasoned gentleman from Detroit. He screamed, "come on young blood, you can do it", which helped me pick up the pace for another three miles. During those three miles, he ran by the crowd dancing, slapping high fives, and saying "God bless you" to everyone. He had to be in his mid-50's. Wherever you are, I hope you are doing well - thank you.

We all came there for more than 35,000 different reasons, but for a few hours today we were all running for the same reason, or goal - THE FINISH LINE. May you all reach your finish line. If you don't have one, make one.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Microsoft's Future

As this new bleak economy exposes the organizations with weak balance sheets, it makes you wonder what will many of them look like once the smoke clears. Microsoft, the tech giant, is one of those institutions that you would think had it together. But a recent report shows that this economy is delivering a blow to this organization. As Google continues to gain ground on the race for tech dominance, Microsoft is almost forced to reposition itself to compete in a more significant way. Does the Microsoft business model have any relevance in tomorrow's market?

Friday, April 17, 2009

Google's Top Choice: Cigars

I think I will start doing a blog on certain companies that come up in the top of a Google Search for a particular product. I will begin with Cigars. I typed in the word "cigars", and I got Thompson Cigar. Thompson Cigar is a Florida-based operation that provides the following information about their product:


Thompson Cigar was founded in Key West, Florida, in 1915 and is the oldest mail order cigar company in the country. In fact, Thompson still holds Postal Permit #1 for Tampa. Thompson Cigar has always been devoted to delivering a wide selection of products covering all price ranges and tastes. The various Thompson private label cigars reflect our keen desire to provide to you the finest cigars at a fraction of what a comparable national brand would cost.


To help in your cigar buying decision process, our call center is manned by 200 trained professionals ready to provide personalized customer service. Some of our representatives have been with Thompson for over 20 years; their knowledge is unmatched in the industry. If you have a question about a cigar, whether it's one of our own house brands or a national brand, we can help.

The Quality

To ensure that the product we ship to you is as fresh the day we received it, the Thompson Cigar Company operates the largest inventory storage humidor in the United States - over 300,000 cubic feet of storage space. No need to wonder whether or not the cigar you're buying has been lying around some hot and dry warehouse.

Onsite Retail Store

Our on-site retail store has been called the best-kept secret in Tampa! It's open to the public Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m and Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and carries the same fine inventory available through our catalog and web site, as well as all the accessories. In addition, we often have daily specials with amazing discount prices available only here!

If you are a cigar smoker, please check out this site and let me know your thoughts.

Infrared and Char-Broil

If you haven't done so, please try the tastiness of infrared cooking. As a former Char-Broil employee, I'm kind of biased, but I can confidently say that they produce a wonderful product - both in grills and other outdoor cooking solutions.

I've used the Turkey Fryer product, and it is truly great to maximize the fried turkey taste, without the danger of burning your house down. Additionally, it's great to cook food in a short amount of time. I'm looking forward to getting my first infrared grill.

How has your infrared experience been.


Many of you have forgotten about the AWESOMENESS of Mike Tyson in the 1980's. Many actually take delight in the fact that this once Sampson-like figure is now down. Of course they wouldn't say it to his face, but the fear of invincibility has once again alluded us all.

I remember back in the day, in high school, having Mike Tyson parties, when he had a contract with HBO to broadcast his fights. I remember going to get the popcorn - only to miss the entire fight when I returned to the room. I remember how his presence, during a very crucial time in Hip Hop, had a lasting impact on biggest component of Hip Hop - power. For those of you who don't recall the experience, the fancy robes were replaced with a cutout towel. The fancy smack-talk was reduced to precision technique.

It's truly unfortunate what happened after this great moment in sports and boxing history. Regardless, this man deserves our respect for his brief time on the mountain top.

Hope for Newspapers

As many of you now know, the newspaper industry is up against the ropes - taking a beating from every angle and competitor. Papers we admire are shocking the nation by shutting down or reducing the product to a mere flyer. The Financial Times has found a way to improve subscription rates through a very simple, yet effective, strategy.

I believe the players in the print media game will adapt to the changes in the marketplace and society, but there are some lessons that need to be learned and practiced that all relate to the fundamental of the industry. Content is always king.

America and Cuba

Interesting times. I must say.

Caught on Tape

Be careful with people with cameras around you.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Credit Default Swaps Explained

I tell you what, this is one hell of a dice game. The only thing missing is the forty-ounces of beer - oh and the shoot-out on the corner.

What Would The World Look Like?

I often wonder what the world would look like if mass mobility was developed on an electric grid. I have a gold card with a saying from someone famous, and I'm not quite sure who it is. The saying goes, "Those who are successful in life find the right circumstances. If they can't find them, they make them."

The Starbucks/Dunkin Battle - A Matter of Movements

It may not be to you, but it's still pretty interesting to me that Starbucks is now doing television commercials. A concept that is fairly difficult to explain to the average person, in terms of basic consumer appeal, is apparently not that difficult to capture within a 30 or 60-second spot. More than Starbucks doing commercials, the new angle of the advertising brings about an interesting question - as it relates to the Starbucks/Dunkin Battle. Which coffee house can position itself in this new economy to gain the competitive advantage? Check out the video.

Let's look at the two positions and the circumstances that give them value in the market. For Starbucks, the brand has successfully pulled off a premium price tag with a highly repetitive audience. The Starbucks brand has many social components that in many ways add value to the overall experience. Dunkin, on the other hand, has a moderate price tag, with a mainstream audience. Unlike Starbucks, a Dunkin patron is probably not going to be prancing around the office with a Dunkin coffee cup as though it was a little bag from Tiffany & Company. It's more of a commodity to them. However, the experience brings about old-fashion and more traditional options that are normally associated with coffee - DONUTS.

For either company, this new economy has created a few challenges that will more than likely force both companies to make some slight adjustments in brand position. As you see with the Starbucks ad, it makes sense from a cost perspective to leverage the brand on social issues that lend political cover on products deemed excessive in this turbulent market. With Dunkin, the move has been more of an All-American approach, which is designed to capture two mobile segments - Starbucks Defectors and the segment of consumers that are finding themselves at McDonalds instead of the local dine-in restaurant.

Both approaches are risky, but necessary. I would like to know your opinion on how both brands will perform six months from now.