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October 8, 2019

The internet, bless its heart, is most probably the most massive collection of information since the dawn of creation. The jaws of the caretakers of the great ancient library of Alexandria would drop like lead if they could peer at only a fraction of what we have today at our fingertips.

    For the most part.

    After spending more than a half hour yesterday watching two so-called “tutorials” on a specific subject, it has me today scratching my head as to what I got out of them and why the perpetrators have the nerve to label their offerings as “tutorials.”

    For starters, let’s look at the actual definitions.  Webster says that a tutorial “give(s) practical information about a specific subject.” Similarly, dictionary.com (thank you, internet) says that a tutorial is “a class in which a tutor gives intensive instruction in some subject to an individual student or a small group of students.”

    That’s all well and good, but what about a tutor? Again,...

July 9, 2019

The other day a friend suggested reading an article which released by the Associated Press that looked at the end game of the current economic recovery.


    In the article, the reporter made many, wide-sweeping claims. We are not here to debate the accuracy of that piece or those claims. For all we know the reporter’s claims could be right on the money.


    But the key phrase there is “for all we know.” And we say this because there was virtually no attribution to most (if not all) of those claims. There were things stated as if they were facts with nothing in the article to back them up.


    For example, the article claims – among other things, “Fewer middle-class Americans own homes. Fewer are invested in the stock market.” Those things may be true, but the reporter did absolutely nothing to provide any evidence of them. The reporter expected his readers to accept those claims as fact, simply because he stated them.


    With no attribution, those kinds o...

June 12, 2019

The correct change… sorry, it has nothing to do with money.


    What it has to do with is the world in which we live and the changes that are going on all around us. In today’s world, not only are we being inundated by the volume of change, but the pace of change has intensified as well.


    In the late 1950s, legendary comedian Lenny Bruce said in rapid fire, “Change is happening, happening, happening.” He was right – right about the 1950s. And that was 60 years ago. Yet today we look back at the 1950s as this bucolic, serene dreamworld.


    Can you imagine how Lenny Bruce would describe the whirlwind in which we live?


    Fortunately, or unfortunately, not everyone is moving forward at the same pace. While the workplace today bears little resemblance to that of 30 or 40 years ago, the pace of change in government and how it adapts has not changed sufficiently to keep up with the rest of the world.


    Many in government are just now still fight...

April 3, 2019

We’re going to open by merging two somewhat distinct, yet interwoven concepts.


    First, there is a blog. As defined by dictionary.com, a blog is “a website containing a writer's or group of writers' own experiences, observations, opinions, etc., and often having images and links to other websites.” That’s what we have here.


    Second, there is rant. As defined by dictionary.com, a rant is “to speak or declaim extravagantly or violently; talk in a wild or vehement way.” Once again, that’s what we have here.


    We are merging those two concepts today.


    I tried to login to a website that I use on a somewhat regular basis and was informed that they changed their password criteria and I would have to change my password. OK. Well enough. That happens.


    The one criterion I was not adhering to was their insistence on having one letter uppercase. Again, simple enough. I made that change – making one character in my existing password uppercase....

March 5, 2019

To many companies their main source of growth is new product development. Creating new products can go a long way to enhancing customer loyalty as well as attracting new customers. This is especially true in more mature markets and industries.

There are many new product development strategies that companies pursue. Some add new extensions or capabilities on to their existing products. Some try to replicate or expand upon a competitors product. Some seek to develop products that are counter-cyclical to their existing products or product lines so as to moderate their income streams.

Ultimately there is no right or wrong avenue to pursue. It all depends on the strengths and capabilities of the company and its people, and/or it may depend on the market or industry where it operates.

All told one of the best new product strategies we’ve come across is that from an avionics company that has been around for nearly a century. This company has a long history of success and its core product line...

February 7, 2019

How fake news can snowball when left unchecked

Amid the discussion (and hand wringing) surrounding fake news, one practice that keeps rearing its ugly head is the journalistic practice of checking and re-checking news sources… and how that is falling by the wayside.

    Most journalism schools teach that information must be corroborated by two sources, independent of one another. That no longer seems to be in vogue (or “en vogue” if you’re terribly chic.) Consider. (Although the names have been eliminated to protect the guilty.)

    There was an article in a newspaper from a large southern metropolitan area that reported on a link between domestic violence and birth defects. Not good news. An enterprising media critic, however, contacted the by-lined reporter of that article to inquire the source of the link. The reporter said that she had gotten the information from an article in a newspaper from a large West Coast city.

    In turn, the critic contacted the reporter w...

January 2, 2019

Media Coverage Once Again Fails to Examine One Important Aspect

In case you hadn’t noticed – and not everyone has – we’re experiencing another government shutdown.  (Yawn! Make that a partial yawn, since it’s only a partial shutdown.) And once again, the media has reacted in predictable, if not deplorable ways.


    Predictably, there has been an avalanche of stories about what is shutdown (and what isn’t – Congress’ health club? Really? Like they couldn’t live without that!) Be that as it may, the story lines are all too familiar.


    We did a very cursory and, we admit, very unscientific survey of some of what the media is calling news about this shutdown. Of course, President Trump is generally regarded as the villain and he is the main topic of discussion in roughly half to two-thirds of the stories. That’s no big surprise.


    But our ever-diligent media has uncovered several other story lines which concern themselves mostly with how federal employees are coping,...

November 6, 2018

For longer than anyone cares to admit, the axiom “content is king” has guided many marketers and content creators. As well it should. But with all the changes in the world of communications, is this still true? Is content still the king? 

    At the end of the day, the answer remains, “Yes! Absolutely!”

    But there is a caveat, a qualifier if you will.

    This time in space has been labeled several different names: Information Age.  Digital Age. Internet Age. Computer Age. While you may have your own preference, it would be difficult to argue against any one of those.

    We’d like to add one more moniker to that list: The Age of the Short Attention Span.

    Is it any wonder that our attention spans are plummeting? Tens of millions of websites, an avalanche of social media posts – add them all up and you’re lucky to attract anyone to your kingly content.

    Microsoft has been studying the point and they’ve found that our attention s...

October 10, 2018

For those of you who don’t remember or aren’t familiar with the iconic television series Dragnet, you’re in for a treat. Maybe. For those of you who know and remember Dragnet, you’ll know immediately what we’re talking about.

The show – which ran through the 1950s and during the late 1960s, and ad infinitum in re-reruns – set standards for the many police and crime shows (and movies) that have been produced since then. The main character was Sergeant Joe Friday as played by Jack Webb.  He became famous and has endured through the decades for his cardboard-like movements and direct monotone voice. (Really. Did he ever move his arms when he walked?)

Americana is richer today for the standard lines delivered in most every episode:
    “This is the city. Los Angeles, California.”
    “The story you are about to see is true.”
    “Only the names have been changed to protect the innocent." 

Then there is the recurring quotation that is our topic for today. Cap...

September 4, 2018

Never having been a farmer or even having worked on a farm, I confess that I don’t fully appreciate

the value that farmers place on silos. I’m most familiar with the end result of agriculture, not the process. Silos must have high value or else so many farmers wouldn’t have them. We can stipulate that.

    On other hand, what works fine on the farm may not be so great in other environments. Most notably, we’re talking about marketing communications and the silos that exist and have existed over time.

    For years marcom professionals have been bemoaning silos in their world. “We must tear down the silos,” they shout. And they’re right.

    Interestingly, as the lines of demarcation among the various disciplines of marketing communications have faded over the years (and this is especially true over the past 10-15 years) the more prevalent and the more rigid the silos have become.

    It used to be that people tried to maintain distance between sales and marketi...

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