Browsing Tag


Kindle: Jobs v. Bezo’s

Reading is still one of the most popular pastimes and [tag]Kindle[/tag] could bridge technology across generations. [tag]Jeff Bezos[/tag] and [tag]Amazon[/tag] are attempting to do for books with a new product, Kindle, what Steve Jobs and Apple has done for music with the [tag]ipod[/tag]. Could be a the next widget for all of us, I know I don’t like carrying books in my briefcase.

I saw an interview the other day with Bezos in which he equated a book to a type of technology, so is this just a upgrade? This [tag]YouTube[/tag] video provides an overview of Kindle: Amazon’s New Wireless Reading Device

Stuck in the Middle: Got MBIFM?

Over the course of the stuck in the middle series which have examined several leadership personas (the geologist, collaborator, Visualist, Vassalizer, amoeba and the fence mender) – to date these were leadership styles which represented themes in execution – today’s Leader is different. Today’s leadership persona is really about a type of leader who sources their content from a fairly interesting media type, not quite pulp fiction, not quite the economist.

So where does this leader source their idea’s? The dreaded In flight magazine – yes that rag which is saturated in hokey travel, the latest gadgets to get and trends in business. The leader who manages by in flight magazine or a MBIFM is typically fairly conservative and not overly creative. I would like to think a CMO, CEO or other C with the tendacies of finding “good ideas” in magazines would find them in Ad Age, or another credible source, but the Get Me One Of These (GMOOT) orders from this leader are typically sourced in [tag]Sky Magazine[/tag], [tag]WorldTraveler[/tag] or the American Way magazine. Don’t get me wrong – I’ve got cool logo gear and have had great meals thanks to in flight magazines, but I’ve never had a great idea because of one. So why is it that this leader uses in flight magazines rather than real magazines? I really don’t know, I think it might be that he or she just spends too much time on a plane and is possibly too cheap to buy a magazine at Hudson News. In years gone by when airline’s supplied other magazines, it was a lot harder to figure out this leader, but in days of cut backs and snack packs it’s considerably easier. Not only is this leader conservative, they might just be a little naive as well in thinking others haven’t read the article as they usurp and pervert the concepts gleaned from Salt Lake to Denver. In general – don’t all of us spend the 7 minutes required on a flight to read the important headlines and articles? For this leader ideas from Sky Magazine become an imperative – if his or her organization isn’t doing it yet – they should be and NOW. The reality is that if it’s already in an in flight magazine you might be a little late, but I do believe in the adage that it is better late than never, but does it really need a SWAT team? Take this month’s management duh on customers and the product from Continental Magazine:

“I think companies have spent too much time thinking about their products and their brands, and not enough time thinking about their customers,” explains Rust, who serves as chair of the Department of Marketing at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business. “Really, they ought to be organized around customers, rather than around products and brands.”…“It’s a matter of communicating with customers interactively. We do something. They react in a certain way. They communicate with us. We have various touch points with the customer. And you can take a look at that relationship in terms of how it unfolds over time.”

The problem with MBIFM’s isn’t the idea, but how they misinterpret the idea. The quote above is as much about target market and “the Product”, as it is about transforming how a company interacts with their customer in new channels and in a transparent way. If you are effectively managing a product customer communication, understanding and interaction should always be part of the plan – I digress. As a use case, this type of an article for a MBIFM will start with challenging the team to not talk about the products and deemphasize the brand rather than encouraging an open culture which embraces communication with the customer via social media.

NOTE: The article never used the term social media, so this use case also proves out that you only get cursory information in such magazines.

The poorly pitched project kick off and the general misunderstanding caused by sleepy reading will take the SWAT team at least 3 meetings to correct course on. I’ve actually brought a suspected article to a meeting once to clarify things on the 4th meeting, I was getting annoyed that folks were taking the leader a little too seriously/literal on the project charter and initial interpretation. This group mentality is the difference between the sprit and the letter of a leaders charter, the same type of over simplification a MBFM makes when acting on in flight content.

The impact of MBIFM’s reading habits are peppered in most of their interactions and sometimes used as proof points that they are well read, cool and worldly. They talk about travel to Iceland, new gadgets and great places for dinner in other cities they’d like to eat at. Don’t get me wrong, I use Sports Illustrated to have sporty things to chat about – so you can’t fault them, but please don’t tell me how cool the hot springs are in Iceland.

At the end of the day, these platinum medallion travelers have 3 to 5 paragraphs of all things new and they will wield this knowledge as a sword. To account for this type of leader, I recommend you make sure to spend some time every month to read the airline Hub’s magazine for your airport thoroughly and browse other airline mags online where available. Few things are more fun than quoting back factoids from an article, building out a conversation by speaking to a featured Spa in North Carolina or the scallops at LaCôte in New Orleans with this leader. Bottom line: While most of these ideas are typically a late and not fully understood – they are well intentioned and can be used for good within the organization.

A MBIFM’s group is very easy to execute in, since every new leader idea is all about NOW and allows for idea extension in the execution phase. Meaning it offers the the thoughtful middle manager the opportunity to streamline the concept and steer the SWAT team towards new versions of the idea. Usually if an idea is in American Eagle Latitudes, there’s already a new permutation in practice and you can actually use a late idea as an opportunity to innovate.

So how do you find one of these in your office if you don’t travel or prefer not touching a magazine touched by hundreds of other people? Look for the leader with really cool things to play with in their offices which they probably ordered from [tag]Skymall[/tag] and who has inspirational posters from successories. You could also just make it part of your online reading, so stay armed and ready with your own MBIFM Content at iTravelNet’s Directory of In-Flight Magazines.

CONFESSION: I once used an [tag]in flight magazine[/tag] source to prove an idea wasn’t whacky and out there. I did of course use it as a trojan horse to move the project to a new incarnation of the concept.

So what’s the social networking “bench”?

So I’m back to that Bob book again – I’m another 15 pages in or so. I’ve got a 2 yr old, 2 dogs and a newborn – so not a lot reading time at home. I was able to bring the books bench metaphor into play, mainly due to a post on how to be a [tag]digg[/tag] power user. After reading the post and seeing the number of diggs, 1224, I got to a wonderin. What is genuine in this whole social media thing and how do you filter through the content and self-promotion. So I thought about the Bob book. I actually started thinking about this post a couple of weeks ago when I read [tag]John Scalzi[/tag]’s post on How to Annoy and Irritate People in the Name of Blogging.

The book uses the bench outside of the [tag]Royal bank[/tag] in this small [tag]Ontario community[/tag] as essentially a ranking system of where you are in the scale of things in the community. Being on the bench represents making it essentially. The concept of qualifying for the bench is being legendary and legendary is not so much a legend, more like do you have a Don Quixote thing going on. A passion, some stories and some friends who respect your passion and stories.

So I went to thinking about – what is the online bench? Where is it that the cool people hang and do so out of earning the spot. I quickly realized I don’t know where that is, so I started thinking about personal or social network benches. I also realized the inclusive nature of social networking and social media almost makes it impossible for a bench to exist, but I’m an optimist – so I keep thinking about it.

So is it google hits in a query? Pageviews? People following you on [tag]Twitter[/tag]? [tag]LinkedIn[/tag] connections? [tag]Feedburner[/tag] readers? Gosh I hope it’s not feedburner readers, because my 23 readers are probably not that interesting. These seem like benchmarks, more so than benches, so I would offer that it’s none of the above. Why?

Let’s use 21st citizen as a use case. 21st century citizen on Twitter who is following me and now out of courtesy, for now, I’m following him. I did go to his blog – nice ads! Everywhere! It’s the low bar of “click and add” which makes it difficult to justify the stuff of legends. This creates just a real noisy twitter environment, so here are 21C’s metrics:

• Following 7,568
• Followers 6,666

I have a sum total of 16 people I’m following and just can’t keep up, some folks just have too much time or people posting on their behalf. My checking on twitter 3-4 times a day is becoming like that first IM sign on after vacation. You sign on Sunday night and get the deluge of all those offline messages, which are no longer important. So what do you do with 7569 people worth of tweets?!?! I’ll acknowledge that it is possible that 7569 is the stuff of legends and could qualify for the bench. Just need to figure out where the bench is.

There are similar “friend flewsies” on nearly every network I’m on – so if links, views and metrics don’t do it, what does? I think it’s the transition to the real world. Who calls you and who do you call? I had originally thought email might be the winner, but I audited my outlook address book and I have numerous people I have never talked to, but sent email and many people who are contacts, not friends. So your phone address book seems as close as possible from a metric driven bench.

So maybe I’m doing this this whole social media thing wrong. Maybe I should just link, add, nudge and poke as many people as possible or whatever a given network kitsch action is. Nah, just doesn’t feel right. I’ll just continue to attempt to post fairly meaningful stuff, not so meaningful, things of interest and just see what happens.

Then again, maybe the real benchmark is the number of Viagra emails I get, if that’s the case I think I win and have found the internet bench and earned my right to sit outside the internet Royal – guess I have to sign up for [tag]second life[/tag] and create a bench.

Spatially Relative: A community’s place…


So I’ve have had the opportunity this week close out “The Collectors”, a fairly disappointing novel actually, and get back to this quirky little book which has been in my bag for 5 months, “[tag]Bob’s Ichthyosaur[/tag]” by [tag]John Britt[/tag]. It’s one of those [tag]books[/tag] you would never buy, but somehow you have it in your bag. So, what the heck! Give it a read. So far a very intriguing [tag]fiction[/tag] read, which isn’t my typical Thriller fodder for air travel.
I met John randomly on holiday in Canada with my wife when taking our kid in for an ear infection at a rural hospital. After chatting about emergency room visits and general pleasantries – he gave us a copy of his book and I have finally gotten to it. Regardless of my slack reading habits, I ran into interesting run on sentence in the book which just make one think about how relative spatial relationships are….

“I would have to say our town is North, but not so far north that it’s [tag]north[/tag], or even central for that matter, being to far south for either. So you could say that its [tag]south[/tag] even where its north by most peoples reckoning, and [tag]west[/tag] from most places that matter to most people, but too far east to be west, so its not west either, even if it’s not east which makes it just about anywhere you might be going or might be inclined to go to for that matter”

Where’s your community? Where are you inclined to go?

The online excerpt from the publisher, which is essentially the teaser on the book jacket.:

In th lazy hazy days of old boys, life is a case study of human nature. They are there, the octogenarians and septuagenarians, retired men from farms and business that gather on benches outside of banks and the town halls to theorize on life. The old boys study the passage of rite of Bob, into the world of the old boys. Bob reluctantly falls into the old boy’s club, all the while searching for what is elusive. Into bob’s world enters an extinct forty-foot marine reptile, that lives in the local bay. To satisfy his curiosity, Bob begins his fishing venture determined to capture the elusive Ichthyosaur. A fishing story, an old man’s story, a story reserved for all of those men deserving of being anointed old. Each and every person is searching for their own Ichthyosaur.

While it might not be the typical thing you might read, you might give it a try and think about finding your Ichthyosaur. I am. I’ll let you know when I’m done.