Monthly Archives: July 2008

The Van Gods

I have to say I like this commercial, maybe because I used to listen to that song when I was younger. I know that there has been a lot of talk in the marketing circles about this commercial and if it hit the mark or not. There are too many factors in the market to say if it has or not, but the elements of the commercial are interesting.

You have a song from 1977 and references to the 70’s pop culture. The target market for such cars has been the soccer Mom. Now only those over 30 are going to get the references in the commercial, anyone under 30 probably doesn’t get it. So already they lost a good portion of their market.

Plus the elements in play, I don’t know of today’s soccer Mom’s want to remember the 70’s “Van God” or be associated with them. The husband might be another story.

Either way, I give Honda credit; it’s a creative commercial for something that is generally extremely boring. Who pays attention to mini van commercials anymore, and yet there is more buzz on this one commercial than has probably been generated by all of the commercials on mini vans in the last 5 years. So, Honda got something with this, it got buzz.

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Years of Experience, Not All are Equal

When read a job ad, 99% of the time I see a listing that says “must have X years in ABC.” This is often done to weed out the field, but it really is showing that the people that create these ads don’t really understand the dynamics of career progression. Not all experience is created equal.

Now I know I’m going to offend a number of people with this comment. Not all business experience is the same. Take for example marketing. A person with 5 years in a corporate marketing role has about the same hands on experience as a person in a start up with 2 years experience. I know that is not a popular opinion but hear me out.

Large corporations often have you in a rotation or locked into a role. You are in channel marketing or branding or product marketing or marketing communications and that is what you do for that time. So you spend 5 years doing product marketing. That’s really all you know, but marketing is a sum of its parts, you are not truly able to be a marketing leader unless you have done all the pieces of marketing. In a start up, you do them all because you have to. So you get a better understanding (assuming you did it correctly) how it all comes together, how channel and branding work together and product and communications. So in a short amount of time you have a broader background and often with more hands on experience.

If you have been in both, you understand what I’m talking about, if you have only been in corporate, you really have no idea what you are missing. I think we should all start out in small companies in our careers, it’s the best way to really learn business because you have to do everything and often and get good at it. In corporations, a lot of people can coast or stay in one area for years. I know people who have been in the same job for 10 years, just plugging away and they have little idea what distribution is doing or sales or finance. In a start up, you can’t afford not to know.

So really, we should not judge experience as the same, as a company, it would be good for you to rediscover the art of the conversation and talk to candidates again and learn who they are. The ROI is there.

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Filed under Business, Hiring and Management

Finding Obama

I was enjoying my evening at home when one of the Get Out the Vote people came by. He was obviously a democrat. A young college kid full of ideals that the party he was working for doesn’t actually support.

So I let him give his speech and inform him that I am registered and always have been and that I always vote, even in off years when we have no major races but still have issues to vote on. He then asks me if I am a democrat, to which I tell him, “I do not belong or support the two major parties.” That line usually works at stopping the telemarketers.

Then this kid asks me “if I have found Obama yet.” Found Obama? He said “have you heard his message and his calling for all Americans?” Ok, at this point, the kid just sounded like some brainwashed cult member and frankly I find it creepy. Not because of what he said, but because this was the fourth one who was saying very similar things in a very similar way.

Where I live is not a battle ground state so we don’t get a lot of political traffic. But I really do wonder what kind of Kool Aid they are giving people to go around acting like they do about Obama, a community organizer with no record to speak of, other than Oprah saying she likes him.

I decided not to have fun at this kid’s expense by grilling him about his beliefs on Obama, after all, anyone who would brave the mosquitoes probably doesn’t deserve the kind of question I’m famous for. But it does raise the question, is the Obama campaign about glitz and nice sounding phrases that inspire? Because when I took the time to look into this guy’s very thin record, I was reminded of what his friend of 20 years, Rev, Wright, said about Obama, that “Obama is just another politician.” And if you look at his record, I mean really look, you will see, Rev Wright may have said some things people didn’t like, but he was correct about his take on Obama.

If this is the best the Democrats can do for a candidate, just another politician?

Remember everyone, these two parties told us free trade would give us more choices as consumers. I suggest you take that same philosophy and adopt it to who you vote for. There are more parties than the major two, take a little time and find them and vote for them. Voting for these two major parties is like going back to the same bad restaurant that always screws up your order, jacks up the prices and never has anything good to eat. Time to try the lunch special else where.

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Sign of the Economic Times

I read this article and had a good laugh. We all know gas prices are hitting many businesses hard, but even brothels are experiencing an economic slowdown as a result of the high gas prices.

I honest can say, that was not one business I thought of when I was thinking of businesses impacted. But it is interesting to see the ways in which all types of businesses are seeking to keep customers coming in during these high gas prices times.

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4th of July

I think the 4th of July is a humanity celebration. Just so happened we Americans started it. I know most people think about the day off they get or the fireworks and all the fun sales. For some overseas they think of the negatives of the US the things they don’t like about us, the consumerism, the war, or whatever they find a reason to blame us for their own short comings. But I like to remember this day was started because a bunch of people had the guts to believe in ideals that have stood up over time. Ideals worth fighting for, worth believing in and worth striving to express to their highest potential.

Freedom to be who you want to be and having the right to pursue that. Our politicians have forgotten this for sure, communist have never understood this and many dictators and socialist can’t stand others having it. But I think it is important for those of us who can, to live these ideals to our best and show that it was and still is the best idea for living that anyone ever came up with.

A world with the spirit of America is really a world will never have that same spark of hope, of vision, of believing we can have the pursuits laid down by our founding fathers as rights we all have. Not rights because some government gave them to us, but because we are human beings we have these rights. So many have forgotten that we have these rights, I still remember and I know many others who do as well. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, these are rights given to us by a higher power that no government can take from us or have the rights over.

If you are an American, it is your obligation to live these words of the declaration, as a citizen of this great nation, it is what you have been tasked with to live up to the ideals people fought to ensure you would have. If you are not an American, I hope you can find some way to live these ideals in your home country. Simple yet profound in everyway, the pursuit of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. A simple 10 word sentence that can change the world for the better.

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Inspiring Success

A recent conversation with a friend caused me to ponder the meaning of success. By modern measures, he is a successful guy, big house, high paying job, vacation anywhere he wants, family, etc…, yet he told me of how he feels like a total failure and it makes him feel that way even more when people say how successful he is. By modern standards, he is successful, so why does he feel like he is not?

I had to divorce myself from the usual line of thinking to get to the answer on this one, but some how, our definition of success has altered over the years. Truly looking at the world of business and media influences, if we are not perfect and perfect is an ever changing definition, we are a failure. I remember in school being told “if it isn’t an A grade, it might as well be an F.” Meaning, nothing less than perfect was to be tolerated. In a way this kind of sums up what success has become today for many. It is why you see billionaires caught stealing, or other so called successful people doing some rather stupid things, because they know they are not perfect and it really bothers them and then they do something stupid.

That very day I was watching a show on CNBC about the new wealthy. The interesting thing was, the net worth of these people were $50 million or more, and yet they didn’t feel successful, they wanted more, they could buy pretty much anything they wanted yet it wasn’t enough. They had to get more because the bar was constantly being raised and they had to keep up. As one guy put it, when he was growing up, having a million dollars made you rich, today, you can’t give up your day job with a million dollars of net worth.

Modern day definition of success has a healthy dose of failure in it. I think this is from a misconception of what success and failure are and their relationship to one another. Take Rush Limbaugh, he was a failure just as long as he has been a success. It is when he stopped caring what the opinions of others and did things his way, did he get the rewards of millions. Now the New York Times saw him as a failure and even that his drive not to be a failure was the point of his success. However, I think for Rush and having been there myself, failure helps you define success, but it is not the root of it.

Rush had true failure, after that, you are not afraid of failing. Many people today have run away from failure their entire lives and have no concept of it. It hurts, it’s humiliating, it’s humbling and after a while, it has no power over you. Why be afraid of failure again once you have had it, you know the worst and you get up and go on and you stop bothering with the should have or could have comments of others and just get in there and do what you know is best as you see it.

Look around, the really successful people in live had failure and got up and moved on. They don’t run from it. The people who rise up and crash, they ran from failure and will fail because they run from it and you can’t run your whole life.

In the end, I think we have a somewhat unhealthy definition of success by many people. One that does not equate success with running away from failure is needed in more quarters. I know I have worked with companies that fear failure or anything out of their norm and it cripples them to a point that it threatens the very survival of the business. They are successful at running away from failure that eventually they also run away from the success they need to stay in business.

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Filed under Business, Life