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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

 

Ava Seave: The Curse Of The Mogul - Blog Business Success Radio

Listen to Wayne Hurlbert on Blog Talk Radio



Consultant, and principal and founder of Quantum Media Associates, and co-author of the insightful and eye opening book The Curse of the Mogul: What's Wrong with the World's Leading Media Companies, Ava Seave, describes how the biggest media companies in America failing their customers and their shareholders through self-deception and grandiose self importance. She describes how the media companies are failing as businesses through misguided business goals and through belief in many myths including their content being king. She shares how the media can overcome these challenges, even in an internet world, and become successful and responsive companies.

Ava Seave is my internet radio show guest on Blog Business Success; hosted live on BlogTalkRadio.

The show airs live on Thursday, July 1, at 8:00 pm Eastern Time; 5:00 pm Pacific Time.

Consultant, and principal and founder of Quantum Media Associates, and co-author of the insightful and eye opening book The Curse of the Mogul: What's Wrong with the World's Leading Media Companies, Ava Seave, describes how the biggest media companies in America failing their customers and their shareholders through self-deception and grandiose self importance. You will learn:

* Who are the media moguls and why they are cursed

* How media companies are failing their shareholders and customers

* How to spot the myths used by the media moguls to defend their actions

* What the media moguls must do to become more profitable companies



Ava Seave (photo left) is a Principal of Quantum Media Associates, a leading New York City based consulting firm focused on marketing and strategic planning for media and entertainment companies. As a Quantum Media principal, she has led numerous consulting engagements and has provided senior-level management consulting services to many companies in a broad range of assignments.

Before founding Quantum Media Associates with four others in 1998, she was a general manager at three leading media companies: Scholastic Inc., where she directed the Trumpet Club and Scholastic Specials business units, at The Village Voice where she was responsible for all non-advertising revenue and administrative management including circulation, shipping and distribution, list sales, print and on-line syndication and consumer advertising and public relations and at TVSM, the country's largest cable listings magazine.

Ava started her career at Dell Publishing (a division of Doubleday) and as an editor at two horticulture magazines. Professor Seave's teaching experience beyond CBS includes stints at the New York University School of Professional and Continuing Education in the Masters of Publishing and E-management programs. She has been a lecturer at numerous Folio Conferences, FMA conferences and for the Magazine Publishers' Association Executive Education programs.

Professor Seave is on the Board of Davler Media. She is also on the non-profit boards of the Pembroke Center at Brown University and the Archaeology Institute of America, serving as head of the Archaeology Magazine committee.

My book review of The Curse of the Mogul: What's Wrong with the World's Leading Media Companies by Jonathan A. Knee, Bruce C. Greenwald, and Ava Seave.

Listen live on Thursday at 8:00 pm Eastern, 5:00 pm Pacific time.

BlogTalkRadio.com

If you miss this very informative show, it will be available for free download as a podcast for iPod, iTunes, and MP3 players; or play it right on your computer. To download this, or any other of my guest interviews, go to the Blog Business Success host page and click on Archived Segments. Once there, click on the podcast icon at the end of the episode description, to download the show free of charge for your listening enjoyment. You can also subscribe to the show feed.

Add to iTunes

To call in questions for my guest, the number is: (347) 996-5832

Let's talk with consultant, and principal and founder of Quantum Media Associates, and co-author of the insightful and eye opening book The Curse of the Mogul: What's Wrong with the World's Leading Media Companies, Ava Seave, as she describes how the biggest media companies in America failing their customers and their shareholders through self-deception and grandiose self importance. She describes how the media companies are failing as businesses through misguided business goals and through belief in many myths including their content being king. She shares how the media can overcome these challenges, even in an internet world, and become successful and responsive companies on Blog Business Success Radio.

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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

 

Melinda Emerson: Become Your Own Boss In 12 Months - Blog Business Success Radio

Listen to Wayne Hurlbert on Blog Talk Radio



Entrepreneur, professional speaker, social media strategist, small business coach, and author of the very practical and results oriented book Become Your Own Boss in 12 Months: A Month-by-Month Guide to a Business that Works, Melinda F. Emerson, shares her 12 month step by step plan for making a successful transition from employee to entrepreneur. She describes the critical importance of planning not only the business but also one's personal goals. Melinda provides a series of activities, to be completed each month, prior to opening and operating the new start-up business. She also presents some practical tips for establishing a successful business and for maintaining it over the long term. Learn as well how to think like an entrepreneur instead of an employee.

Melinda F. Emerson is my internet radio show guest on Blog Business Success; hosted live on BlogTalkRadio.

The show airs live on Tuesday, June 29, at 8:00 pm Eastern Time; 5:00 pm Pacific Time.

Entrepreneur, professional speaker, social media strategist, small business coach, and author of the very practical and results oriented book Become Your Own Boss in 12 Months: A Month-by-Month Guide to a Business that Works, Melinda F. Emerson, shares her 12 month step by step plan for making a successful transition from employee to entrepreneur. You will learn:

* How to think like an entrepreneur rather than an employee

* Why a 12 month preparation process will create a more successful business

* Why personal and business planning are critical for success

* How to bridge the business knowledge gap that derails many new entrepreneurs



Melinda Emerson (photo left) is known as “SmallBizLady,” and is one of America’s leading small business experts. She is a seasoned entrepreneur, professional speaker, social media strategist and small business coach.

Melinda has lectured on small business at The Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, Temple University and Rosemont College and for clients including: IKEA, Verizon, GlaxoSmithKline, National Association of Women Business Owners, PA Governor’s Conference for Women, International Association of Business Communicators, the Small Business Administration, and the Center for Women’s Business Research. Her areas of expertise include small business start-up, recession-proof marketing and social media strategy.

Melinda Emerson began her professional career in television as a producer. Within five years, inspired by Oprah Winfrey’s HARPO Productions, Inc., she left television to pursue her entrepreneurial dream to create an award-winning production company. Melinda is a dedicated wife, mother and woman business owner who believes that faith is one of the most important ingredients in a successful business.

Melinda hosts #Smallbizchat a weekly talk show on Twitter. #Smallbizchat is the trusted resource on Twitter to discuss everything entrepreneurs need to know about launching and running a profitable small business.

Melinda Emerson has developed a small business TV news segment and published several articles and special reports including 44 Things To Do Before You Go Into Business. She has also recorded an audio CD, 10 Things You Must Never Forget in Business. Melinda Emerson’s first book Become Your Own Boss in 12 Months: A Month-by-Month Guide to a Business that Works was published March 9, 2010 from Adams Media.

Melinda has been featured on NBC Nightly News and in the Wall Street Journal, U.S. News and World Report and Black Enterprise. She is a graduate of Virginia Tech.

Melinda Emerson has also won numerous awards including Top 50 Women in Business in Pennsylvania, Top 30 Leaders of the future by Ebony Magazine, and the National Association of Women Business Owners’ Woman of Distinction Award.

My book review of Become Your Own Boss in 12 Months: A Month-by-Month Guide to a Business that Works by Melinda Emerson.

Listen live on Tuesday at 8:00 pm Eastern, 5:00 pm Pacific time.

BlogTalkRadio.com

If you miss this very informative show, it will be available for free download as a podcast for iPod, iTunes, and MP3 players; or play it right on your computer. To download this, or any other of my guest interviews, go to the Blog Business Success host page and click on Archived Segments. Once there, click on the podcast icon at the end of the episode description, to download the show free of charge for your listening enjoyment. You can also subscribe to the show feed.

Add to iTunes

To call in questions for my guest, the number is: (347) 996-5832

Let's talk with entrepreneur, professional speaker, social media strategist, small business coach, and author of the very practical and results oriented book Become Your Own Boss in 12 Months: A Month-by-Month Guide to a Business that Works, Melinda F. Emerson, as she shares her 12 month step by step plan for making a successful transition from employee to entrepreneur. She describes the critical importance of planning not only the business but also one's personal goals. Melinda provides a series of activities, to be completed each month, prior to opening and operating the new start-up business. She also presents some practical tips for establishing a successful business and for maintaining it over the long term. Learn as well how to think like an entrepreneur instead of an employee on Blog Business Success Radio.

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Jonathan Bernstein: Keeping the Wolves at Bay: Media Training - Author interview



President of Bernstein Crisis Management, Inc., and media relations expert Jonathan Bernstein, was kind enough to answer a few questions about his very practical and eye opening book Keeping the Wolves at Bay: Media Training.

Jonathan Bernstein describes how media training will help develop key messages, to improve the chance for balanced coverage, enhancing transferable media relations skills, and assisting in identifying effective media spokespeople.

Thanks to Jonathan Bernstein for his time and for his interesting and informative responses.

What was the background to writing this book Keeping the Wolves at Bay: Media Training?

Jonathan Bernstein: Most media trainers I know – self included, in the past – seem to use a collection of materials from multiple sources as handouts for their training sessions. I thought it might be very useful to have that type of information all in one place, in manual format, and discovered to my pleasant surprise that no one else had done that before.

In general, why do business executives need media training?

Jonathan Bernstein: Because nothing you learn in business school or any other professional training prepares you to deal with the media except in the most plain vanilla circumstances, like a trade press interview.

During a crisis, why is being well trained in media relations so critical for executives?

Jonathan Bernstein: It takes years to build a reputation and only seconds to lose one – the seconds during which an executive inserts his foot in his mouth during a media interview.

There are many types of media and many different definitions. How do you define media, and are the rules the same for alternative internet based media, including blogs and podcasts?

Jonathan Bernstein: That’s a very perceptive question. I define media as all channels employed to get your messages to your stakeholders, internal or external. Thanks to the Internet, the number of potential channels has grown exponentially.

The basic precepts of effective crisis communications are the same for all media, but the logistical and informational needs and motivations of alternative media can vary dramatically. And, there are no editorial controls or ethical standards established (yet) for alternative media, not that traditional media scores very high on the ethical scale anymore.



Jonathan Bernstein (photo left)

What are some of the major concerns and frustrations that executives have with journalists and the media?

Jonathan Bernstein: Some are accurate, some are delusional. The major concerns expressed to me by executives are editorial bias and inaccurate reporting. The former is definitely true, but if you understand that bias you can still make the most of the interview. Inaccurate reporting is sometimes the journalist’s fault, but it’s also sometimes the fault of an untrained interview subject, who can’t communicate clearly.

How can business leaders prepare more effectively for a media interview?

Jonathan Bernstein: Get trained, then practice what you’ve learned. Without practice (which could include actual interviews), interview skills erode rapidly. Oh, and buying my book wouldn’t hurt 

Your book describes what you call the Three C's of Crisis Communication. What are they and why are they so important?

Jonathan Bernstein: I say that effective crisis communicators need to come across as Confident, Competent and Compassionate.

Think "Rudy Giuliani" on and after 9-11. It was his attitude, his non-verbal cues, which gave his audiences comfort. If he had delivered the same messages in a stereotypical governmental manner, the amount of fear and anxiety felt by listeners would have been dramatically higher. Instead, what they clearly felt, for the most part, was "However horrible this situation is, Mayor Giuliani is going to get us through it, he's doing the right thing, in the right way." He actually delivered little substance, initially, because so little was known. But he won over his audience (not to mention laying the groundwork for his future ventures).

If stakeholders perceive you as Confident, Competent and Compassionate, they are far more likely to believe your messages. In fact, if you're really good at projecting the "Three C's," you can get away with some messaging errors and still win over your audience.

Are there some effective tactics that business leaders should understand and utilize when speaking with members of the media?

Jonathan Bernstein: There are many tactics, but chief of them is being able to ingrain in oneself the concept that your job in a media interview has little to do with answering the reporter’s questions and everything to do with communicating your key messages. It’s completely counterintuitive to the way we usually talk to others.

Should a business leader be honest and avoid lying or sidestepping questions, and what are the consequences of being caught in a lie or misrepresentation?

Jonathan Bernstein: There are four ways to be dishonest – by commission, omission, exaggeration or understatement. If you try to obfuscate the truth in any way, that’s a lie in the mind of your stakeholders, and lying damages reputation far more than the humble truth.

Are there a few tips that are useful for all interview situations that are especially important in times of crisis?

Jonathan Bernstein:

1. Know your key messages and how to communicate them succinctly.

2. Understand and epitomize the “Three C’s” as mentioned above.

3. Assume that anything you say or do while in the presence of a reporter is “on the record,” even if a camera or digital recorder is allegedly off.

Can every business person be trained to work better with media representatives, even if the meeting is less than friendly?

Jonathan Bernstein: Almost all business people’s media skills can be improved from whatever level they start at. However, some are better at certain types of interviews (e.g., print, broadcast, radio) than others. And some are truly untrainable.

Does continual media relations practice make for better interviews and communications?

Jonathan Bernstein: Yes, and the opposite is true; lack of practice makes for poorer and poor interview results.

What is next for Jonathan Bernstein?

Jonathan Bernstein: Well, I never stop being busy at my “day job” of providing crisis management planning, training and response services to a wide array of clients. In the publishing arena, my next book will be specifically about Crisis Prevention. Look for that sometime in 2011.

********************

My book review of Keeping The Wolves At Bay: Media Training by Jonathan Bernstein.

About Keeping the Wolves at Bay: Media Training

Anyone who has achieved some degree of success in business, government work, helping run a non-profit organization, or any other field may be interviewed by the news media. This is a rich opportunity to gain positive publicity, but you can also find yourself in a position where you look bad. Jonathan L. Bernstein, president of Bernstein Crisis Management, Inc., has varied professional experiences, including public relations, crisis management, journalism, and covert military intelligence operations. Bernstein is a regular guest commentator and expert source for national media outlets and PR Week described him as one of 22 individuals nationwide "who should be on the speed dial in a crisis." For more details visit



Jonathan Bernstein (photo left)

About Jonathan Bernstein

Jonathan Bernstein is author of Keeping the Wolves at Bay: Media Training. He is a former journalist and a veteran of five years in U.S. Army Military Intelligence covert operations. He is also publisher and editor of Crisis Manager, a first-of-its-kind email newsletter written for “those who are crisis managers whether they want to be or not,” currently read in 75 countries. Bernstein is a regular guest commentator and expert source for national media outlets and PR Week described him as one of 22 individuals nationwide “who should be on the speed dial in a crisis.”

We invite you to join us for the Keeping the Wolves at Bay: Media Training virtual tour. The schedule and more details can be found at bookpromotionservices.com. For more information and to get your copy, visit thecrisismanager.com or Amazon.com

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Monday, June 28, 2010

 

Keeping the Wolves at Bay: Media Training by Jonathan Bernstein - Book review




Keeping the Wolves at Bay: Media Training

By: Jonathan Bernstein

Published: March 17, 2007
Format: Paperback, 90 pages
ISBN-10: 1450582206
ISBN-13: 978-1450582209
Publisher: CreateSpace










"Even if you have given many 'good news' interviews in the past, you're almost certain to say or do things you'll regret if you have not been media trained when in a 'high pressure' media interview situation", writes President of Bernstein Crisis Management, Inc., Jonathan Bernstein, in his practical and eye opening book Keeping the Wolves at Bay: Media Training. The author describes how media training will help develop key messages, to improve the chance for balanced coverage, enhancing transferable media relations skills, and assisting in identifying effective media spokespeople.

Jonathan Bernstein recognizes that media training is not a guarantee of favorable media coverage, or that the book is even of an effective substitute for full scale media training. What the book does accomplish very well is establishing the critical importance of understanding the media and the importance of presenting a strong and honest message to journalists. Along with media training not being a magic formula, Jonathan Bernstein emphasizes that media spokespeople must practice their media skills intensively, to ensure their optimal effectiveness. Whether the media is the traditional mainstream or the alternative media of blogs, social media, and podcast, a business person must have training and continual practice in responding to journalists' questions.



Jonathan Bernstein (photo left) points out that training and practice not only includes the wording of the statements, but also the non-verbal signals of voice tone and body language.The author devotes the majority of the book to providing practical media training advice, including the all important areas of honesty and ethics. Because the book focuses on media relations effectiveness during a crisis, when the chances of escalating the problem or creating an even larger problem, Jonathan Bernstein shares his three C's of crisis communication:

* Compassionate
* Competent
* Confident

For me, the power of the book is how Jonathan Bernstein demonstrates the crucial importance of media training for the representatives of any organization. In a crisis situation, where tempers are short and events may be changing by the moment, having well trained spokespeople, who show a compassionate, competent, and confident attitude are more likely to be believed and trusted. In the area of media training, the author describes how journalists work, to show organizational spokespeople the view from the other side of the microphone. At the same time, Jonathan Bernstein teaches business people the techniques that can optimize their media interviews most effectively. The author also cautions spokespeople that there are differences between media, between different reporters, and the critical importance of being truthful and ethical at all times.

I highly recommend the very useful guide Keeping the Wolves at Bay: Media Training by Jonathan Bernstein, to anyone seeking a deeper understanding of the importance of media training, and looking for sound, real world advice for effective media interviews on behalf of an organization during a crisis situation. The author provides step by step techniques that can and should be practiced on an ongoing basis to learn, develop, and enhance media relations skills.

Read the entertaining and very readable book Keeping the Wolves at Bay: Media Training by Jonathan Bernstein, and discover the transformational power of effective media relations for any business. The author shares usable techniques and methods of practice to ensure that your organization has the optimal interviewing skills for facing any crisis situation.

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Sunday, June 27, 2010

 

Become Your Own Boss in 12 Months by Melinda Emerson - Book review




Become Your Own Boss in 12 Months

A Month-by-Month Guide to a Business that Works


By: Melinda F. Emerson

Published: March 18, 2010
Format: Paperback, 272 pages
ISBN-10: 1605501115
ISBN-13: 978-1605501116
Publisher: Adams Media








"To achieve success as a small business owner, you need to be flexible, pay close attention to your market, and figure out what you do not know about running a business", writes entrepreneur, and founder and CEO of Quintessence Multimedia, Melinda Emerson in her very practical and results oriented book Become Your Own Boss in 12 Months: A Month-by-Month Guide to a Business that Works. the author describes a plan for preparing and launching a business in twelve months, combined with a personal plan for becoming a successful entrepreneur.

Melinda Emerson understands the critical importance of planning to achieve success in an entrepreneurial venture. She also recognizes that not only does a business require planning from the idea stage to the grand opening, but that the prospective entrepreneur must learn some crucial life lessons about what it means to be an entrepreneur. Not only does a potential business owner require a Plan A, but also a Plan B, Plan C, and even more, to ensure that unexpected events don't derail the entire enterprise. Because there is so much business and personal planning required to start the business off on a successful path, Melinda Emerson provides a twelve month preparation process. This one year time frame is designed to ease the steep learning curve, and to establish an entrepreneurial mindset in the new business owner. Since potential entrepreneurs often don't even know what they don't know, each month, another piece of the knowledge gap is added toward bridging that divide.



Melinda Emerson (photo left) covers the essential knowledge areas that a new entrepreneur must learn in order to start a successful company. The author shares how a potential entrepreneur must establish his or her personal long term goals, and how these goals must be in harmony with the type of business start-up and its commitment level. At the same time, Melinda Emerson also stresses that a budding business owner must understand his or her own personal strengths and weaknesses, as these factors can help or impede business success. The book also examines the critical importance of understanding personal as well as business finances. The author helps the new business owner set a time line for developing the needed business skills, and concentrating on activities for achieving a successful transition from employee to entrepreneur. The book contains powerful advice for setting business goals and for anticipating and overcoming obstacles.

For me, the power of the book is how Melinda Emerson shares her own real world entrepreneurial experience with the reader in a logical and sequential way. The author stays true to her vision for the book of creating a twelve month process for making the personal transition from employee to entrepreneur, and from the idea stage to opening a new business. Because Melinda Emerson brings her business start up knowledge to the book, she describes openly the pitfalls awaiting the unprepared, and the personal sacrifices necessary for success.

These vital lessons provide an often needed antidote to the over enthusiastic, but very unprepared would be entrepreneur. As a result, the book's main premise is that planning of both one's personal life, and the imperative of a business plan, form the backbone of the book. The twelve month process for preparation to become a business owner follows the central theme of planning for both the entrepreneur, and for the business.

I highly recommend the must read and essential business start-up guide Become Your Own Boss in 12 Months: A Month-by-Month Guide to a Business that Works by Melinda Emerson, to anyone seeking a no nonsense step by step primer for starting a new business the right way. The author describes the process of becoming an entrepreneur, both in outlook and in business knowledge so well, that any would be business owner can utilize this book to make the transition from employee to business person.

Read the passionate and insightful book Become Your Own Boss in 12 Months: A Month-by-Month Guide to a Business that Works by Melinda Emerson, and make the move from cubicle to business ownership. This book is your one stop road map to personal and entrepreneurial success.

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Saturday, June 26, 2010

 

Jac Fitz-Enz: The New HR Analytics - Author interview



The acknowledged father of human capital strategic analysis, and Founder and CEO of Human Capital Source, Jac Fitz-enz, was kind enough to take the time to answer a few questions about his groundbreaking and visionary book The New HR Analytics: Predicting the Economic Value of Your Company's Human Capital Investments.

Jac Fitz-enz demonstrates, through a series of essays, written by leading human resource experts including himself, that Human Resources is not a cost to a company, but a measurable, and predictable contributor to overall corporate productivity and profitability.

Thanks to Jac Fitz-enz for his time but for his comprehensive answers.

What was the background to writing this book The New HR Analytics: Predicting the Economic Value of Your Company's Human Capital Investments?

Jac Fitz-Enz: It became clear in about 2007 that I had pushed metrics, benchmarking and best practices about as far as they could go. There was nothing new coming out. Then it struck me that the natural evolution would be toward predictability and eventually data integration. That is when I organized the Predictive Initiative composed of a dozen companies, management associations and a government agency. Over the next 18 months we developed Predictive Management, HCM:21®(human capital management for the 21st century). This is the model described in my book.

For many years, Human Resources has been viewed by corporate management as a cost center. Why has this point of view been so entrenched in companies?

Jac Fitz-Enz: I believe that ancient perception is finally dying out in many companies. There were a couple sources for this misperception. One is that HR was missing a quantitative language to describe the business values it was providing. That is what started me on the metrics and analytics trail back in the late 1970s. The second source is the HR people who have no aptitude nor interest in being a business professional. They like to run their process and work with people; period! For them the future is an endless conveyor belt on incoming problems with little satisfaction at the end of the day.

Has there been a move toward a much more quantitative analysis of the role of Human Resources in an organization?

Jac Fitz-Enz: I parse the HR population into four sections: One are the innovators. These people are on the leading edge of analytics and clearly are business partners. They make up about 10-15 percent. Second are the early adopters. They are another 20-30 percent who watch the innovators, follow and borrow what works from them. They are less skilled and motivated but, nevertheless are moving in the right direction. The third group is what I call the workers or drones. They show up every day and do their job; what they are told to do by the first and second group. There is no innovation here; just good work. Last are the zombies. They are the 10 percent who are lucky to get to work now and then. They are a drag on the organization and generally on society. Analytics is strictly within the first two groups.

How have the metrics used in HR analytics changed and been enhanced over recent years?

Jac Fitz-Enz: The change has been a progression from basic transaction recording; i.e., cost to hire, pay, train, turnover rate, etc., timeliness of various processing such as time to fill jobs, quantity or volume such as numbers hired, trained, processed. Later issues of quality and employee/manager satisfaction emerged. Within the past 5 years there has been a shift from descriptive analytics toward prescriptive decision making by applying simple processes such as correlations and regressions. Just now, with the advent of books on analytics, there is more movement toward predictability. The next exciting issue is data integration.



Jac Fitz-enz (photo left)

Your book goes far beyond the descriptive analytics field and enters into the realm of predictive management. What does this mean for HR?

Jac Fitz-Enz: Management is all about observing past outcomes and trends and making decisions about future investments. Executives can’t manage yesterday, or even today. All they can do is make decisions about investments for tomorrow. I call it Managing Tomorrow Today. Predictive analytics along with data mining finds patterns in historical and transactional data. Adding in forecasts of trends in economics, labor supply and competitor and customer actions and so forth, analytics then can identify predict future risks & opportunities with a high degree of probability.

When applied to human capital management HR can show the C-level the most cost effective paths to acquiring, developing and retaining talent. Without it all HR has to go on is past personal experience. The problem is that the past cannot be extrapolated to the future because the differences are too great. For instance, how can you take data from 2007 and use it as a model for managing 2011?

The other part that has become increasingly clear and powerful is the interactions between human capital (employees), structural capital (things owned by the company) and relational capital (outside interests). As elements of human capital management change so do structural and relational elements. For instance, if the four generation workforce has to be managed differently than the more homogeneous workforce of the past then we need to look at structural issues such as use of technology, design of workspaces, training tools, benefit programs and so on. Relationally we may have to rethink talent sources and methods, government regulations, and SEC imposed new human capital risk rules. I don’t see any way at all that HR can function effectively tomorrow without predictive analytics.

Is it indeed possible to predict upcoming events and develop the tools to influence those events in a positive way?

Jac Fitz-Enz: Certainly. Management has been doing it in production, marketing and finance for decades. Analytically speaking the same principles can be applied to employees. Marketing makes predictions about customer desires doesn’t it? And aren’t customers human beings just like employees? We’ve shown examples in the book of how to use analytics to make hiring more cost effective in terms of performance, potential and tenure. We’ve shown a succession planning methodology that directing impacts revenue per employee.

There is certainly a way to predict the effects of compensation and benefits within a total rewards system. I’m already getting calls from line managers who want to apply predictive analytics to their human capital managers. Why aren’t they calling their HR department instead of me?

Your book contains a new model of HR metrics. Briefly, what is that model and why is it important?

Jac Fitz-Enz: First, people need to understand that predictive analytics is primarily about a logical questioning system. We need a framework within which to study a problem before we throw statistics at it. Scientists learned eons ago that the solution to every problem is found within the questions asked. Once we understand our problem and desired solution we can gather data and analyze it. So, my model starts with a scan of everything outside that might affect the way we manage our human, structural and relational capital.

Secondly, it looks internally at everything that may be enhancing or inhibiting our success. Once we have all that data, both past and foreseeable futures, we can plan. Here we trade in old workforce planning methods that are industrial era, gap analysis exercises for capability planning. The goal is not to fill jobs but rather to acquire and retain human capability. It is an entirely different mindset.

The third step is process analysis. By applying analytics to our talent management functions of staffing, paying, training, etc. we can find turn expensive processes into corporate assets: processes that generate more value than they cost. Finally, we offer an integrated performance measurement/reporting package. It links strategic, operational and leading indicators into one report. For the most advanced people we build in data integration and risk management analysis.

Is it possible to change the role of Human Resources to becoming a value generator for the company?

Jac Fitz-Enz: Of course it is possible and has already happened in a number of organizations. The solution is found in the old axiom of Pogo Possum who said, “We has found the enemy and they is us.” HR is held back only by HR. It is possible even in companies where HR as a value generator has not been accepted. I did this 35 years ago when I was an HR director. I found business problems that I could fix through better sourcing or training and I fixed them. When management saw that I was adding business value (productivity and quality) their attitudes changed. You can’t wait for the knight in shining armor to rescue you.

Will we see an HR Analytics component as a standard feature contributing to the company bottom line?

Jac Fitz-Enz: I am on the board of a couple of companies. In my quarterly board package is a set of human capital metrics that we directors look at as part of our mandate to guide the company. Just like finance, production and technology we look at human issues as they affect the company’s profitability.

Are there any companies who are using this new HR Analytics model successfully right now?

Jac Fitz-Enz: The book contains about 20 cases of how companies around the world use human capital analytics to solve business problems. They range from isolated single variable issues such as turnover to complex corporate makeover examples.

What is the future for the HR Analytics model?

Jac Fitz-Enz: I believe that the innovators and early adopters will build on the fundamentals of analytics just as they have done with metrics. In time, the model will expand, improve and morph into something better based on experience and changes in the marketplace.

What is next for Jac Fitz-Enz?

Jac Fitz-Enz: Sometimes I feel like Moses. I’ve been leading people toward the Promised Land for over 30 years but will probably not live to see many of them arrive. The vanguard is about to cross over now, but the majority may still be decades away. For me, I am very interested in data integration and risk management. I’m working with two software companies that have very exciting prototypes which we are testing in the market now. By 2011 I expect to see both in the market.

*****************

My book review of The New HR Analytics: Predicting the Economic Value of Your Company's Human Capital Investments by Jac Fitz-enz.

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The New HR Analytics by Jac Fitz-enz - Book review



The New HR Analytics

Predicting the Economic Value of Your Company's Human Capital Investments


By: Jac Fitz-enz

Published: May 2010
Format: Hardcover, 368pp
ISBN-13: 9780814416433
ISBN-10: 0814416438
Publisher: AMACOM





"We are on the threshold of the most exciting and promising phase of the evolution of human resources and human capital management", writes the acknowledged father of human capital strategic analysis Jac Fitz-enz, in his groundbreaking and visionary book The New HR Analytics: Predicting the Economic Value of Your Company's Human Capital Investments. The author demonstrates, through a series of essays, written by leading human resource experts including himself, that Human Resources is not a cost to a company, but a measurable, and predictable contributor to overall corporate productivity and profitability.

Jac Fitz-enz understands that employees long been considered a cost to the company, and that their contribution to the bottom line is nebulous at best. Defying that conventional wisdom, the author creates a revolutionary new methodology that describes the contribution of the employees. In a field where anecdotes and opinions were long considered the only measurements available, Jac Fitz-enz pioneered a business based approach and quantifiable data to measure those results. While that achievement is monumental itself, the author takes the concept of quantifiable metrics much farther with this book. Not only are past employee outcomes measurable, but Lac Fitz-enz describes how future results of employee capital investment can also be predicted using advanced HR analytics.



Jac Fitz-enz (photo left) utilizes modern mathematical and statistical tools to create the first system of predictive management called HCM:21. This exciting new process begins by scanning the marketplace, continues through workforce planning and optimizing the delivery of HR services, and concludes with an integrated management system. The holistic approach to predictive analytics is bolstered by a strong presentation of the underlying theory, and is further illustrated through case studies of the process in operation in real world settings. The system transforms HR delivery services into measurable revenue and value generation metrics. These advanced analytics move beyond the reporting level, and become predictive tools and sources of business intelligence.

For me, the power of the book is how Jac Fitz-enz builds a powerful case for modernizing HR management into one of predictive analytics. The recommended HCM:21 system of predictive management is explained clearly, in a step by step format, that provides a framework for applying it to any organization. While the author provides his own expert and insightful analysis, the book contains original research papers by noted experts in the burgeoning field of predictive management. The book contains an informative blend of the theoretical basis of predictive analysis and a practical approach for initiating the system into a company. Along with the practical guidance, the book contains the essential information for readers to work through their data and metrics. The inclusion of several successful and illustrative case studies demonstrate the practicality and ease of application of predictive analysis, as well as pointing to their value building results.

I highly recommend the seminal book The New HR Analytics: Predicting the Economic Value of Your Company's Human Capital Investments by Jac Fitz-enz, to anyone seeking a serious and workable predictive analysis system for any company. This book is destined to become a classic in the field of HR analytics, and for the creation of statistical and mathematical based metrics for measuring and predicting the future value added by employee investment.

Read the landmark book The New HR Analytics: Predicting the Economic Value of Your Company's Human Capital Investments by Jac Fitz-enz, and discover the transformational power of predictive analytics. Instead of relying on anecdotes or outdated conventional wisdom that considers employee investment to be a cost, put HR analytics to work to measure current employee value, and predict the value added by future employee capital investment.

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Friday, June 25, 2010

 

Jeffrey Bussgang: Mastering the VC Game - Author interview



Successful serial entrepreneur and general partner at early stage venture capital firm Flybridge Capital Partners, Jeffrey Bussgang was kind enough to take the time to answer a few questions about his very informative and insider information packed book Mastering the VC Game: A Venture Capital Insider Reveals How to Get from Start-up to IPO on Your Terms.

Jeffrey Bussgang shares vital insights into the venture capital industry, and demystifies the VC process, while describing how the people involved in the VC world reach their decision.

Thanks to Jeffrey Bussgang for his time and for his very interesting and informative answers.

What was the background to writing this book Mastering the VC Game: A Venture Capital Insider Reveals How to Get from Start-up to IPO on Your Terms?

Jeffrey Bussgang: I had originally been an entrepreneur across a few companies – including Open Market (IPO’96) and Upromise – before becoming a VC. Shortly after joining two friends to help start Flybridge Capital Partners, I began blogging on entrepreneurship and venture capital. I received great feedback from the blog and, after five years, decided to write this book to help demystify the VC business for entrepreneurs.

I tried to make it a mix of “how to” and “war stories” so that it’s entertaining and accessible, yet detailed and directive enough to be helpful. In my interviews with over a dozen entrepreneurs and a dozen VCs – folks like Twitter’s Jack Dorsey, LinkedIn’s Reid Hoffman and Union Square’s Fred Wilson – I draw out their insights as well as my own lessons learned.

Why is there so much mystery surrounding venture capitalists and their purpose?

Jeffrey Bussgang: I think the mystery comes mostly from the fact the VC community is so extraordinarily small. There are only about 500 active VC firms with around 1,000 senior VCs who make investment decisions and sit on boards of directors. Yet, VC-backed firms make up 20% of all US jobs and 12% of all US sales, so this small group provides enormous leverage.

A great deal of firms operate very quietly and do not really invest much time mixing it up with the broad entrepreneurial community. It is usually the entrepreneur who comes to the VC and not vice-versa. I think that dynamic also accounts for a lot of the mystery. That is all beginning to change with the advent of VC bloggers, Linked In, and Twitter. Firms and their partners are becoming more transparent and accessible.

Are there different types of venture capitalists, who specialize in different types of start ups, and how does an entrepreneur choose the right VC?

Jeffrey Bussgang: This is one of the great secrets of VC financing and an important thing for entrepreneurs to remember. Venture Capitalists do specialize in different types of start ups and one of the things entrepreneurs need to look for is domain expertise. Entrepreneurs should choose VC's that can help their company grow, bring in appropriate talent, and have contacts in the industry their business are in.

An entrepreneur needs to do research on a prospective VC firm, the past companies they have funded and the relationships that the companies have had with the VC. So much information is now available on the Web that it’s easy to research about the VC and inquire with their funded companies about the real questions about the experience. Many VC's will think better of you if you do your own reference checking.



Jeffrey Bussgang (photo left)

Entrepreneurs are often a different breed of business person. How does a venture capitalist view an entrepreneur and the business plan?

Jeffrey Bussgang: VCs care more about the qualities and experience of the entrepreneur than they do the business plan. Ideas are a dime a dozen. Whether or not a company is successful is in large part dependent on the talents of the founding team. VCs look for passion, domain expertise, deep market insight and tenacity in entrepreneurs. VCs want to be inspired by the entrepreneurs they meet fund. They figure if the entrepreneur can’t inspire them, they won’t be able to inspire prospective partners, customers or employees.

How large is the pool of venture capitalists and how do they differ from one another and what traits do most of them share?

Jeffrey Bussgang: There are only 500 active VC firms in the US with around 1,000 senior VCs who make investment decision. Most of them have college degrees and/or MBAs from the top schools in the country. They tend to be consummate networkers and relationship-builders. Some VCs see themselves as a boss and want to micromanage the entrepreneur's company, but most take a hands off approach and simply advise and suggest possible courses of action to the skilled entrepreneur, I think the best VC's think of themselves as service providers for entrepreneurs – a consigliere of sorts.

How can an entrepreneur make a successful business proposal to a VC?

Jeffrey Bussgang: It is hard to make the perfect pitch, but there are some techniques that can help. First, know your audience. Before you walk into the meeting, talk to other people who have pitched to them and do your online research to help understand where their sweet spot is in terms of the kinds of deals they like to do. Second, stick to reasonable assumptions. At no point do you want to see their eyes rolling or their thumbs twitching towards their Blackberrys and iPhones.

How can a venture capitalist add value to a new business, and how does the entrepreneur avoid being overwhelmed by the VC's terms and conditions?

Jeffrey Bussgang: A VC adds value to a business in many different ways. They usually have a great deal of experience and contacts within the field which are helpful to getting deals, resources, and expertise quickly. They can evaluate and help the company develop strategy and assess their fiscal situation relative to other market participants or companies that have worked with in the past.

An entrepreneur will likely always be overwhelmed by the VC's terms and conditions unless they are very experienced. That is why they should get an experienced start-up deal lawyer to go through the material and explain to them point by point what the agreement says. VC's are in the business to maximize their investment on behalf of the LPs they represent. Their deal terms, even if “fair”, will represent that interest in some way. The entrepreneur should try to focus on the two areas that matter most – economics and control – and also make sure that they feel they can trust the VC throughout the process. If you can’t trust your future business partner during the honeymoon period, the relationship is doomed to fail.

How can problems involving the creation and operation of a Board of Directors be avoided?

Jeffrey Bussgang: The Board of Directors can wield a great deal of power under almost all scenarios. Entrepreneurs should think carefully about how they want the board constructed – both in terms of control elements and the profile of the individuals who serve. Each individual should bring certain expertise and perspective to the table. Entrepreneurs should also project out into the future what the board might look like in future rounds of financing. Boards that get too large can become unwieldy, and so anticipating how to keep the board to a manageable 5 or, at most, 7, is very important in the early days.

Finally, as a CEO or co-founder, you need to establish a very honest and transparent relationship with the Board of Directors. Inform them at all times of what is happening in the company – good and bad. At the end of the day, the board needs to operate like a team, and just like the co-founding team manages its relationships carefully, it is important that a Board of Directors does this as well.

Very often, venture capital funded companies are designed to be sold not long after funding. How can a successful exit strategy be formulated for everyone?

Jeffrey Bussgang: Much of it comes down to good communication and clear expectations. Entrepreneurs often overestimate the future success of their business. There’s nothing wrong with that –it’s great to invest in confident entrepreneurs who want to go out there and make $1 billion. The reality, though, is that outcome is not likely for every company you fund. The VC and entrepreneur thus need to collaboratively figure out a successful exit strategy on a case by case basis.

Is venture capital around the world different from or similar to American VC?

Jeffrey Bussgang: VC around the world has grown rapidly and, in many ways, emulates the American VC model. I talk in my book about China, Vietnam and Europe as interesting areas where entrepreneurship is flourishing and VC is being practiced in slightly different ways. Many firms around the world have US strategic partners. Tim Draper of DFJ, who I interviewed in the book, has made a tremendous push for his firm to have a global footprint through affiliates in other countries. Just as the world as a whole is becoming flat, the entrepreneurship ecosystem is flattening as well.

What is next for Jeffrey Bussgang?

Jeffrey Bussgang: Focus on my day job of being a venture capitalist and spend more time with my family!

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My book review of Mastering the VC Game: A Venture Capital Insider Reveals How to Get from Start-up to IPO on Your Terms by Jeffrey Bussgang.

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Mastering The VC Game by Jeffrey Bussgang - Book review



Mastering the VC Game

A Venture Capital Insider Reveals How to Get from Start-up to IPO on Your Terms


By: Jeffrey Bussgang

Published: April 29, 2010
Format: Hardcover, 256 pages
ISBN 9781591843252
Publisher: Portfolio/Penguin





"VCs acting in concert with entrepreneurs function as an essential and powerful engine of the U.S. economy", writes successful serial entrepreneur and general partner at early stage venture capital firm Flybridge Capital Partners, Jeffrey Bussgang in his very informative and insider information packed book Mastering the VC Game: A Venture Capital Insider Reveals How to Get from Start-up to IPO on Your Terms. The author shares vital insights into the venture capital industry, and demystifies the VC process, while describing how the people involved in the VC world reach their decision.

Jeffrey Bussgang understands the venture capital industry from both sides of the table. He shares his experiences as an entrepreneur seeking funding, and his knowledge of the industry as an innovative member of the venture capital community. As a result of his insider status, the author recognizes that simply finding any venture capitalist is not enough. What an entrepreneur must do, according to the author, is find the right VC who is the right fit for both the entrepreneur and the start-up business. Jeffrey Bussgang admits that as a young entrepreneur, he both feared and revered the venture capital industry and the decision makers who held the keys to capital necessary for a new company. Through his years of experience, the author learned how people in the VC world think and reach their funding decisions.



Jeffrey Bussgang (photo left) takes the reader through the entire process of reaching a funding agreement with a venture capital firm. The author guides the prospective entrepreneur along each of the critical steps in the journey. From "the pitch" and negotiating the deal, to building the company and facilitating "the exit", Jeffrey Bussgang shares essential information that entrepreneurs need to know. The author also shares his thoughts about the future of the venture capital industry, and its explosive growth on an international scale. It is clear that the author has a strong affinity for the venture capital industry. The book describes the critical role of the VC firm in providing the initial capital that has built, and continues to nurture, some of the most recognizable and successful companies.

For me, the power of the book is how Jeffrey Bussgang takes the reader into the often misunderstood world of venture capitalism. The author pulls back the curtains of mystery that surround the VC funding process, and provides a practical, step by step guide to achieving a successful funding agreement with a venture capitalist. Along with the information about navigating the entire VC voyage from the initial idea to exit strategy, the author includes interviews and profiles of business people who have achieved success with venture capital.

The stories of start-ups becoming global leaders are both inspirational and informative, as they provide crucial insights into how entrepreneurs think, along with the thought process of the VC. At the same time, Jeffrey Bussgang points out that the vast majority of entrepreneurs don't take the venture capital road. This vital insight emphasizes that venture capital is not the only source of money, and may not even be the best course of action for an aspiring entrepreneur.

I highly recommend the essential and must read guide book Mastering the VC Game: A Venture Capital Insider Reveals How to Get from Start-up to IPO on Your Terms by Jeffrey Bussgang, to anyone seeking a deeper understanding of how the venture capital process operates, and how to achieve success in finding the right VC. The book is a first rate introduction to the complex and relatively unknown world of venture capitalists and the people who comprise this vital industry.

Read the practical and entertaining book Mastering the VC Game: A Venture Capital Insider Reveals How to Get from Start-up to IPO on Your Terms by Jeffrey Bussgang, and discover how to level the playing field when approaching and negotiating with venture capitalists. Understanding that there is a right and a wrong way to navigate the process is critical. With this book, the quest of finding the right venture capitalist for a start-up venture is much more likely to reach a successful conclusion.

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Thursday, June 24, 2010

 

Sam Horn: POP! Stand Out In Any Crowd - Blog Business Success Radio

Listen to Wayne Hurlbert on Blog Talk Radio



Business consultant, keynote speaker, coach, and author of the practical and inspiring book POP! Create the Perfect Pitch, Title, and Tagline for Anything, Sam Horn, describes how in today's cluttered world, it is essential to break through that noise to get your voice heard. No one will notice your message, however, unless it's packages and presented properly. Sam Horn shares the secrets of getting your message through to your audience with the POP technique. A message must be Purposeful, Original, and Pithy to gain interest and generate word of mouth buzz. Learn the five secrets to getting heard that grabs people's attention from the very start. Discover how to stand out from the crowd and POP!

Sam Horn is my internet radio show guest on Blog Business Success; hosted live on BlogTalkRadio.

The show airs live on Thursday, June 24, at 8:00 pm Eastern Time; 5:00 pm Pacific Time.

Business consultant, keynote speaker, coach, and author of the practical and inspiring book POP! Create the Perfect Pitch, Title, and Tagline for Anything, Sam Horn, describes how in today's cluttered world, it is essential to break through that noise to get your voice heard. You will learn:

* Why it's critical today to heard in the media saturated world

* How to develop the concepts of POP! Purpose, Originality, Pithy

* How to maintain the audience attention once engaged

* How to creatively apply POP! thinking to any business problem



Sam Horn (photo left) America's Intrigue Expert, is a business and career strategist who helps organizations and entrepreneurs develop one-of-a-kind approaches and positioning so they break out vs. blend in.

As founder of the Intrigue Institute, Sam Horn helps entrepreneurs and organizations brainstorm/strategize and scale their message and mission to increase visibility and revenue and to positively impact more people. She and her team of Intrigue Experts do this through:

* Customized consulting

* Calendar of public seminars and webinars

* Books and CD's

Sam Horn has 5 books from major publishers including POP! Create the Perfect Pitch, Title, and Tagline for Anything (Ken Blanchard says it is a “lively guide to getting heard and getting remembered.”) It is considered a pioneering resource for creating original, compelling communications that capture and keep the attention of target customers for your cause or company.

Sam Horn's work has been featured on MSNBC, NPR, every major TV network, BusinessWeek.com, in the New York Times, Readers Digest, Chicago Tribune and Washington Post.

Sam was a top-ranked presenter at Inc. 500/5000 (along with Jim Collins of Good to Great and Tom Peters of In Search of Excellence), a speaker at USA Today's Perfect Pitch conference, and the Pitch Coach for Springboard Enterprises (which has helped entrepreneurs receive $4.5 billion in venture capital.)

Sam Horn's impressive client list from the past 20 years includes hundreds of organizations and associations such as Intel, Boeing, NASA, National Governors Association, Hewlett-Packard, Young Presidents Organization, Amgen, Genentech, KPMG, ServiceMaster, Four Seasons Maui and Capital One.

My book review of POP! Create the Perfect Pitch, Title, and Tagline for Anything by Sam Horn.

My book review of Tongue Fu! How to Deflect, Disarm, and Defuse Any Verbal Conflict by Sam Horn.

My written Q and A interview with Sam Horn.

Listen live on Thursday at 8:00 pm Eastern, 5:00 pm Pacific time.

BlogTalkRadio.com

If you miss this very informative show, it will be available for free download as a podcast for iPod, iTunes, and MP3 players; or play it right on your computer. To download this, or any other of my guest interviews, go to the Blog Business Success host page and click on Archived Segments. Once there, click on the podcast icon at the end of the episode description, to download the show free of charge for your listening enjoyment. You can also subscribe to the show feed.

Add to iTunes

To call in questions for my guest, the number is: (347) 996-5832

Let's talk with business consultant, keynote speaker, coach, and author of the practical and inspiring book POP! Create the Perfect Pitch, Title, and Tagline for Anything, Sam Horn, as she describes how in today's cluttered world, it is essential to break through that noise to get your voice heard. No one will notice your message, however, unless it's packages and presented properly. Sam Horn shares the secrets of getting your message through to your audience with the POP technique. A message must be Purposeful, Original, and Pithy to gain interest and generate word of mouth buzz. Learn the five secrets to getting heard that grabs people's attention from the very start. Discover how to stand out from the crowd and POP! on Blog Business Success Radio.


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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

 

POP! by Sam Horn - Book review



POP!

Create the Perfect Pitch, Title, and Tagline for Anything


By: Sam Horn

Published: February 3, 2009
Format: Paperback, 256 pages
ISBN-10: 0399533613
ISBN-13: 978-0399533617
Publisher: Perigee Trade/Penguin Group (USA)





"People today are so busy, so bombarded with information, that's all the time we have. If we don't convince them in our one-minute window of opportunity that we're worth their valuable time, they switch their focus to something else", writes keynote speaker, coach, business consultant, and author of the practical and inspiring book POP! Create the Perfect Pitch, Title, and Tagline for Anything. The author demonstrates the importance of getting noticed, and shares proven techniques to enhance your creativity, strengthen your message, and get your ideas heard in a crowded marketplace.

Sam Horn recognizes that not everyone understands how to gain an audience for their message or how to sell their ideas. As a result, Sam has devised the system that she calls POP! By utilizing the fun and effective approach of being Purposeful, Original, and Pithy, any products, services, and ideas can find an audience. At the same time, the audience will not only engage, but will also add a viral element to the POP! message. The good news, writes Sam Horn, is that since few business people practice the POP! concept, the field is wide open for any business or professional person to gain an audience. In today's media saturated world, the more interesting and intriguing the message, the wider the appeal. Sam Horn provides step by step instructions on how to stand out in any crowd.



Sam Horn (photo left) not only describes how to attract the interest of the audience, but she goes one step farther. She shares her proven methods of keeping that interest over the long term, and also for deepening the connection. Along with the attention grabbing POP! concept, Sam Horn provides seven secrets to holding the interest:

* Make Your Content Come Alive With First Person Stories
* Put People In The Pool
* Craft A Memorable Money Phrase
* Make It Relevant With Segues
* Juxtapose Points to Make Them Clear
* Open Eyes, Ears, Hearts And Minds With Quotes
* Inspire Action With Specific Next Steps

For me, the power of the book is how Sam Horn provides a complete system for grabbing people's attention, and for holding it through creativity, interest, and intrigue. The author shares a step by step process that anyone can use to gain attention for any product, service, idea, or cause. The techniques range from developing creative thinking capabilities to utilizing proven tactics in new and revolutionary ways. The chapters introduce the various POP! techniques, and illustrates them with real world examples. The chapters end with exercises that help the reader work through specific problems, while learning new POP! concepts. If an idea isn't applicable to the problem being brainstormed, the book is designed so the reader can simply move along to the next tactic, as it may be more effective for finding an effective solution.

I highly recommend the empowering and game changing book POP! Create the Perfect Pitch, Title, and Tagline for Anything by Sam Horn, to anyone seeking a proven and effective system to reach your target market. By applying the POP! concepts to gain interest in a world bombarded with other messages, your ideas will not only be heard but will become the preferred message for an intrigued audience.

Read the insightful and inspirational book POP! Create the Perfect Pitch, Title, and Tagline for Anything by Sam Horn, and put some POP! into your business or professional message. By reading and utilizing the methods prescribed in this book, anyone can be heard in the crowded idea marketplace. POP! will get you heard above the clutter and noise, and boost your company ahead of the competition.

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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

 

Gary Wright - Connected - Musician interview



Legendary musician, performer, and visionary songwriter Gary Wright was kind enough to take the time to answer a few questions about his new CD titled Connected. Featuring such musical icons as Ringo Starr, Joe Walsh, and Skunk Baxter, the CD is independently produced without a major record label. Gary Wright describes how he created the CD and how he is marketing the album through social media and the internet on his website www.thedreamweaver.com.

Thanks to Gary Wright for his time and for his thoughtful answers.

Gary Wright can be found on Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace.

What was the background to creating this now CD Connected?

Gary Wright: More than half of the songs were written on acoustic guitar while I was on holiday in Italy and the rest were written in my studio, "Satisfied" was co-written by Bobby Hart of Boyce and Hart fame, "Gimme some time" was co-written by John Lang (who co-wrote the big Mr. Mister big hits, "Life's not a Battlefield" was co-written by a Nashville writer named Joe Beck and "Can't find no Mercy" was co-written by Oliver Leiber (Jerry Leiber's son. These songs were co-written with me and the rest of the songs I wrote by myself. The lyrical content reflects my spiritual philosophy as well as positive messages. I don't write about negative subjects and if I do they have positive outcomes.

There are many legendary musicians playing on the CD and the first single "Satisfied". Who are some of the musicians and how did all of you get together on the project?

Gary Wright: The first single from the album is "Satisfied" and has as special guests Ringo on drums, Joe Walsh on guitar solo and Skunk Baxter on Rhythm guitar. Ringo I've known since the early 70's when we played together on George Harrison's solo albums, Skunk Baxter had played on some of my earlier albums, and Joe Walsh I met through Ringo. I simply asked them if they wanted to play on my album and they all agreed to do it.

The CD is being released without the backing of a major record label. Why did you choose to produce the album independently?

Gary Wright: The major labels aren't doing deals with artists who they categorize as "Heritage Artists" and even if they did do deals they wouldn't really spend a lot of time or money promoting them. I have my own label distributed through Warner Music and that works fine for me as I have control over the marketing and promotion.



Gary Wright (photo left)

What are some of the advantages of being an independent and not part of a major record label?

Gary Wright: You call all the shots, spend money where you think is fit and basically control your own destiny. The radio part of it isn't an option like it used to be because there isn't any top 40 stations playing artists like myself and the Classic Rock stations only play older hits. So you basically market through social networking sites and live shows. You also make 7 or 8 times more as an artists than if you were on a major label.

Are there some marketing, distribution, and air play challenges that you have met as a result of being an independent?

Gary Wright: In my situation I use people to do on line marketing and talk radio shows where a lot of my audience spends their time and some classic rock stations as I am on tour with Ringo this summer and that has created a lot of interest.

What are some of the marketing tactics and alternative techniques that you are using to market the CD and the single?

Gary Wright: I really try to market and brand my web site www.thedreamweaver.com and we offer things that were never available before like a USB necklace which contains the entire album plus bonus tracks - 1 of which I wrote with George Harrison in the 70's which has never been released, and the other a track that George played a solo on. There is also never released video material, photos, new tee shirts on the site. I use my team I mentioned before to market and promote the site as well as advertise on places like Amazon and Facebook.

How has the power of the internet helped in marketing your music and career?

Gary Wright: It allows you to instantly reach out to all your fans and gather new fans. It also keeps you in touch with people who support your music.

You have had tremendous success in getting your music, most notably the huge hits "Dream Weaver" and "Love Is Alive" on movie soundtracks. Are you planning to continue with this marketing strategy, and perhaps expand it?

Gary Wright: That aspect of my career happens on its own without my having to do anything like the usage of "Dream Weaver" in the new Toy Story 3. People come to me and ask if they can use my songs. I also have someone who shops my new songs from my new album "Connected" to TV and film and advertising. I will continue to do this as it helps in building awareness of my music.

You are part of Ringo Starr's All Star Band. How has this association helped continue your already stellar music career?

Gary Wright: Ringo is a dream to work with and the tour is just about sold out in a time when major artists are canceling their tours do to lack of box office sales. I feel very blessed to be a part of the band - especially at a time when my new album has just come out because the tour helps promote the new album as well as promote me. The two things go hand in hand.

You are also scheduled to appear in the a biopic about music legend George Harrison. How did you get involved in that project?

Gary Wright: Martin Scorcese's office called me and asked me if they could interview me due to my close connection with George over the years. I think Marty was especially interested in the spiritual connection George and I had in both sharing a passion for Eastern Philosophy and India. We were very close and were on the same spiritual path-Self Realization Fellowship.

What advice would you give to any musician on marketing their music without the backing of a major record label?

Gary Wright: You have to be tenacious and believe in yourself. You have to turn over all the stones and constantly look for opportunities to promote your music. I believe that success comes from trying 100% of the time even though you fail - pick yourself up and keep trying. Successful people fail 90% of the time but hit it big 10% of the time.

What is next for Gary Wright?

Gary Wright: I'm thinking about writing a book about my life, career, friends I've met along the way and my own story of personal and spiritual growth. Maybe I'll start it next year.

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