Leadership

Tribute to a Great Strategist: My Mentor, John Walsh

Posted on November 1, 2011. Filed under: Business Management, Business Strategy, Leadership, Marketing, Marketing Strategy, Public Relations Marketing | Tags: , , , , , , , |

John Walsh Words Music Piano

Colgate Dinah Shore Winner's Circle Ad

A print ad for the Colgate Dinah Shore Winner’s Circle Golf Tournament – With Arnie Palmer. I was there when it was shot.

Today is four years since my dear mentor and stepfather John R. Walsh died. Two years ago I wrote a post about him that will give you some of his and our background.

What I’d like to share with you in this post is some of his brilliant thinking and the lessons we can take  in a Web 2.0 world from his ability to strategize before the Internet/World Wide Web.

Next time you watch women’s golf and tennis think of John Walsh. Back in the 1970’s women’s sports had almost no corporate sponsorship. With no big money prizes and TV contracts there was very little interest. It occurred to John that this represented an opportunity for consumer products companies whose primary purchasing public was almost wholly women.

He pitched the idea to Colgate-Palmolive CEO-at-the-time David Foster, who passed away recently. Foster, who happened to really like women and golf, thought it was a great idea and the Colgate Dinah Shore Winner’s Circle Golf Classic was born. Foster even bought it a home – the Mission Hills Golf Course in Palm Springs. Its success also helped to increase sponsorship of women’s tennis.

Walsh and Foster boosted the careers of LPGA Hall of Famers JoAnne Carner, Nancy Lopez and Amy Alcott among many others. The two pretty much put the sport on the map. The fabulous PR strategy still puts Colgate-Palmolive in a positive spotlight today.

John’s big strategic idea: Great opportunities are out there. Look for an audience that can get behind something that already exists and is just waiting for support from a logical booster.

He did the same thing with Cutty Sark Scots Whisky, selling its global distributor and the Men’s Fashion Association to collaborate on a men’s fashion awards program at a time when there was no recognition for menswear designers. The Cutty Awards ran for years, garnering untold media attention for all and boosting the early careers of such fashion icons as Gianni Versace, Alexander Julian and many others.

In the days of Web 2.0 and online search, it’s actually much easier to come up with winning matches like these.

If you click the link at the top of this post it should bring up your audio player and a music file of John singing and playing one of his own compositions, “I’m In Love With San Francisco.” As I explained in my 2009 post, John played a mean piano – in the key of C only – and composed some wonderful songs. A man of words, he was his own lyricist.

Unfortunately, John’s songs remain unknown. I’m happy to give one of them some airtime here.  The song was recorded to digital from an old cassette tape using an iPhone 4s so the quality isn’t great, but it’ll give you a peek at one other part of his creative heart and mind.

Here’s to one of the greatest winners I’ve ever known. Love you and miss you, John.

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Steve Jobs: A brief reflection on a bright life

Posted on October 8, 2011. Filed under: Leadership, Marketing, Technology | Tags: , , , , , , , |

In Memory of Steve Jobs

In Tribute to Steve Jobs

Today a musical post to accompany the words. Steve Jobs was a huge Beatles fan – and so one of the most beautiful love songs ever written, “Here, There and Everywhere” from the iconic 1966 album, “Revolver”.

A sad loss like we experienced with the death of Steve Jobs this week, makes me think more about life – and love. Here is what the brilliant love of my life Jeff Levine has come to believe over his life of helping people to understand theirs: “We’re here to love, and to love is to give.”

If we reflect on Steve Jobs’ life from this perspective and what he’s given to the world, we can rightfully say that he was one of the most loving people to have ever walked the planet.

The beautiful tribute image is from Flickr photo stream of Daniel2005 under Creative Commons license.

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Independence, Liberty, Freedom – Not Synonyms

Posted on July 4, 2011. Filed under: Communications, Fourth of July, Leadership, Small Business, Writing | Tags: , , , , |

Of course you might know that if I do a post about Fourth of July, it has to have something to do with communication. I can’t help it.

I’m not big at patriotic flag waving. my connection to my country is an emotional thing deep inside. It gets stirred at odd moments. Like today we went to pick up mulch at a Home  Depot near Jeff next to the Palisades Center Mall, a huge place with an iMAX theater, a traditional multi-plex cinema, hundreds of stores, and lots of restaurants and entertainment venues.

We saw hundreds of clean cut-looking young people walking across the parking lot from a slew of buses parked in a remote area. As they approached, we saw that they were wearing polo shirts with small patches on the pockets that said either West Point or Army on them.

We asked a couple of the group members what was up and they said, “Oh, sir and ma’am, we have the day off. We’re at liberty today.” The thought of these young people marching toward a mall to spend a carefree day at liberty after what I know is a tough normal regime for them, gave me that love of country feeling. How fortunate I was to be in the same place as these kids who will undoubtedly see some level of combat during their service.

So there’s a use of the word ‘liberty’ that took on special meaning on this day.

When I think of independence, I think about our responsibility to seek after our own ideas, to be accountable for ourselves and our actions — to work effectively within groups, but to be able to stand on our own two feet. And sometimes to be independent enough to ask for and accept help when we need it.

And when it comes to freedom, I think of it as our greatest blessing in a democracy like our own. Yet I also see it as a concept delimited by the needs of others in addition to our own.

My sweetheart, who served our country when he was as young as those kids today as a US Marine in Viet Nam during the Tet Offensive just pulled up on his Harley. He allows me the independence to take time from a holiday to keep up with some business chores and my blog and I’m going to wrap this up and go take a motorcycle ride. That feels pretty free, too – riding into the wind.

Just one other thought…Has anyone reading this ever attended a naturalization ceremony and been witness to people leaving behind allegiance to their birth countries and committing themselves to becoming U.S. citizens? It’s an amazing experience and I recommend it to all of you!

Happy Fourth!!

Image by West Point Public Affairs under Creative Commons License.

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Can Google+ Save Jazz?

Posted on July 3, 2011. Filed under: Blogging, Blogs, Business Management, Communications, Entertainment, Google, Human Business, Inbound Marketing, Jazz, Leadership, Marketing, Media, Small Business, Social Media, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

For those of you who may not know, in addition to addressing how the Web is influencing the evolution of marketing, this blog is from time to time where I can share my passion for jazz. This post combines the two.

For the Future of Jazz

When it comes to creativity and discipline, there are no better role models than jazz musicians at the top of their game. Yet the number of venues where we can hear jazz in the US– where it was invented – shrinks every year. American jazz artists must go to Europe orAsia to achieve rock star (pardon the expression) status.

Last night we heard an awesome jazz quartet at the Village Vanguard in NYC anchored by the trio Renee Rosnes on piano, Peter Washington on bass and the spectacular Lewis Nash on drums. Every time I have such an experience, it makes me think about and hope for the future of the art form.

Could it be that Google+ – now in beta – holds the answer?

Because of my interest in this phenomenal music, I joined a LinkedIn group called Jazz in Business, which I’ve mentioned here before – as recently as yesterday. I started a discussion there by asking how members are using social media and the Web in general to promote and enable their music.

There have been a number of comments describing use of Facebook and Twitter to promote gigs and CDs. One member, Michael Gold, PhD, a brilliant jazz upright bass player who uses video Skype calls to teach and rehearse with students, posted a highly provocative comment. Michael, who performed in NY for years, has founded a consultancy called Jazz Impact in the Minneapolis area.

“We are at the beginning of a new business platform (in jazz).

Eventually the real-estate that houses clubs and performance spaces will be manifested in virtual space.

The challenge is to extract the core value of all that has worked in the past and reinvent it using the new tools that exist. That’s called creative destruction- a phrase coined by the economist Joseph Schumpeter in the 1940’s to describe what he saw as the escalating process of innovation brought about by new technologies.

Ultimately we’re all going to become “dot communists.” If we can just let go of the gravity of past (as in passed) success and look forward relentlessly, we’ll see it and we’ll make it emerge.”

With thoughts from last night about the future of jazz still fresh, I awoke today, got some coffee and went to my email, including Chris Brogan’s blog, which I read daily. Today he posted 50 observations about Google+ from his early explorations as an invitee to its beta.

Two jumped out at me that describe how a couple of Google+ features may change the entertainment and performance landscape:  

  • If Google Music integrates into this platform the way YouTube is now, it’s a powerful entertainment media platform instantly.
  • How long before we see our first Hangout live music “jam?” That’s one record button away from being supercool. And one “name your price” Google Checkout tweak away from being instant micro content for sale.

As formerly ‘bricks and mortar only’ activities – including jazz clubs and festivals — are enabled to move online and access global audiences, there is hope for my beloved jazz and the amazing artists who sacrifice much to play it and keep it alive!

Here’s a link to NPR’s site where you can hear the Renee Rosnes trio’s performance on Jazzset along with vibes player Steve Nelson. Enjoy!

 

How do you envision the Web’s role in the future of music?

 

 

 

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Recharging

Posted on July 2, 2011. Filed under: Blogging, Blogs, Content, Human Business, Inbound Marketing, Jazz, Leadership, Small Business, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , |

image

Last night I downloaded the WordPress app for Android. I wasn’t going to post today but decided to see how it works and how much of a pain it is to write a blog post on the Droid keyboard. A bit.

Jeff and I are at his house in Nyack NY sitting on a bench next to a beautiful pond and waterful he created. I’m writing this over a second cup of coffee. I don’t feel like thinking about business so I’ll test my new app by sharing a few words on recharging.

After a full work week, it feels particularly joyful to be sitting here with my love on a perfect early summer day at the beginning of the long Fourth of July weekend. A few minutes ago a fat little brown frog jumped out of the pond to keep us company as he basks on one of the flat stones around his watery home. If I can figure how or if I can upload an image here, I’ll share a picture oh him or her.

There’s an assortment of birds, too, darting in and out of bushes and trees adding animation against the sound track of falling, splashing water. Later we’ll jump on the Harley and explore some back roads before cleaning up to drive 30 minutes into NYC to hear some great jazz.

When it comes to recharging my creative batteries, nature and music do it every time. How are you recharging this weekend?

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Today Ken Blanchard Followed Me: How Social Media Builds Influence

Posted on July 1, 2011. Filed under: Blogging, Business Management, Human Business, Inbound Marketing, Jazz, Leadership, Marketing, Social Media, Twitter | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

This will be a short post as I try to head out for the Fourth of July weekend at least a bit before traffic. I wasn’t going to post, but as I finished up my last task or two at the computer, I saw an email come in from Twitter. It informed me that Ken Blanchard @kenblanchard – author of 50 books, including the One Minute Manager — is following me.

Ken Blanchard

Follow Ken Blanchard @kenblanchard

I don’t follow him yet. He followed me first.     ;-D

As of the time the email arrived, Ken Blanchard had 24,594 followers and was only following 4,046 – including me.

It took me just a minute to figure out the chain of connection that led to this follow. My friend Peter Cook is an incredibly creative management consultant, rock musician and founder of the corporate training companyAcademyofRock in the UK. He’s the author of a well-regarded book, Sex, Leadership & Rock ‘n’ Roll: Lessons from the AcademyofRock. Author Tom Peters (in Search of Excellence) wrote a testimonial for the front cover. I really like how Peter thinks and have blogged about him recently.

Peter and I met in a LinkedIn group, Jazz in Business and hit it off on a number of levels – not the least of which was music. We subscribed to each others’ blogs, follow each other on Twitter and engage in a number of mutually supportive ways – re-tweeting, commenting, etc. We’ve recommended each other in Follow Friday #FF tweets.

From Peter’s recommendations of people to follow, I began following Tom Peters and author Kevin Eikenberry. Kevin has a venture with a couple of others called Bud to Boss. They began following me the other day as a group and individually. I followed back.

As I extended my community beyond the social media crowd and focused more on what the conversations are around business management, I began getting numbers of followers in that community. I’ve also stepped up my blogging and engagement in social media and have raised my visibility.

Morals of the post: Six degrees of separation is extra true online. Engage actively in social media among people with whom you share interests and values. Widen your circles. Share generously of your knowledge and support the efforts of others. The world – including famous authors and just plain great people — will find their way to your door.

I’m going to go and follow Ken Blanchard back now and send him a DM thanking him for the follow!

Please share your six degrees of separation stories in the comments. And for my fellow Americans – Happy Fourth!! See you back here after the holiday!

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