Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Great Avalanche Scene

I got the opportunity to snowboard this weekend for the first time in 3 years. I was busy with school, work, and rehabbing rowhouses. What a mistake it was to skip it.

Just getting two days back on the slopes has re-energized me.

Decided to do a search on AOL for First Descent, a recent snowboarding movie. FullView returned the video I was looking for and I can even embed it.

Watch near the end for the snowboarder induced avalanche.



Second clip is just another interesting piece.

I'll take a new toolbar with my earth

I finally downloaded Google Earth today, yes I know I'm probably the last person on earth who has.

What I found during the installation period wasn't shocking, Google's software was more than happy to change my default search engine in Internet Explorer to Google as well as install their toolbar.

Both were pre-checked.

















I unchecked them, I'm more than happy with my current setup.

Most people won't. Most people trust them, they'll follow their lead, they have positive press.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Visiting Ben and Jerry's

Diana and I are in Stowe, VT for a long weekend and the Admonsters Executive Summit. It's Friday and we had a long drive up last night so we decided to take it easy and go to the Ben and Jerry's factory tour.


While we couldn't take photos of the actual packaging lines, I was able to get some pictures of the lobby and the outside area.

Couple interesting tidbits I picked up from the tour:

1. For every day an employee works they get to take home three pints of seconds ice cream.
2. They sell about 50 flavors, every year they retire flavors that aren't selling well and come out with new flavors.

3. They test their ice cream to make sure it's consistent throughout the pint. They slice a pint in half.

4. They found one of their CEOs by having a national competition where anyone could send in 100 words as to why he/she should be CEO.
5. They take a local pride in their business.


I've included some photos below from the tour. Notice their mission statements.


Monday, February 19, 2007

My Executive Coaching

Most of my work colleagues know that I work with an executive coach. We meet about every three months for about two-three hours.

I just finished reading a book that is part of my coaching program, Zapp! The Lightning of Empowerment: How to Improve Productivity, Quality, and Employee Satisfaction. It's all about how to empower people but it's a fable. I would say it's format is similar to books by Patrick Lencioni, but William Byham wrote his book first. Maybe Lencioni was inspired by Byham. Either way it's a great book, not a long read, and highly recommended. There are no amazing insights, it just breaks down key themes into easily digestible pieces.

Tomorrow I review my 360 results with my coach, it's a exciting to find out how I rate myself versus the reality of my manager, my team, and my peers. Will it reinforce what my psychological assessment report identified as areas of strength and weakness? What will the action plan be to addresses what needs addressing? I'm glad the 360 is happening right now, it's right after my normal AOL annual review as well as coming up on my one year anniversary of my move over from Advertising.com.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Twisting the model

I've mentioned Geoff Styles' blog, Energy Oulook, before on my blog. His post today I found particularly interesting, because the actions of this LNG provider is a twist on an existing transportation/distribution model for LNG.

I read this and started to mull how this could be applied to my business world.

Two Great Posts

My former co-worker and friend, Andy wrote a great post yesterday regarding the monetization of social media. I highly recommend reading it. Click Here

The second post or article I read yesterday was Steve Rubel's "What Will Replace the Almighty Page View?" Steve breaks down what I've been thinking about for a while.

People have asked me before where I see Internet advertising going and I've told everyone I think the traditional model of cost per impressions will be challenged, by CPMPT (cost per impression, per time). The user behavior on social networking sites can be classified as high page view consumption - kids are clicking between pages.

Interesting content on a page - long time spent on the page - potentially long exposure of an ad unit.

Uninteresting content on a page - short time spent on the page - short exposure of an ad unit.

This combined with dynamic pages like Yahoo's mail product, you've blown up the traditional pageview.

From a direct response perspective it's easy to know if the right people are getting the right length of exposure to an ad. If response rates are inline with cost, the advertiser keeps spending. Layer on branding advertiser demand and you'll get a quick picture of the market price for the inventory. Of course measuring the branding impact takes longer and more effort.

Shall we get crazy for a minute?

Take Yahoo! Mail - They could set rules to update banners based purely on time. They could set rules to update the banners based on "events." Or they could...

Yahoo! can identify you, you logged in. They might even know your age. Either way they can profile your usage behavior of email. Do you quickly consume email? Are you a slow reader? (yes of course these are inferences from how quickly you consume events) Assuming different behavior affects your consumption and exposure of the ad placements.

Could they adjust their refresh rules by different consumption pattern segments of users? If they are running their own CPA campaigns they'd be able to adjust to the right level of exposure to maximize yield on time spent. (this breaks the maximizing RPM focus, notice I didn't say page view or event) Or they could experiment at what leads to the highest rate demanded by direct response advertisers. My gut feel is that brand impact is somewhat linked to direct response performance (assuming similar types of creatives - no punching monkeys vs traditional branding messages).

Back to reality -

CPMPT - Cost per thousand per time - Will the market move towards buying on time the banner is shown? Currently I don't know of an ad server that can handle that model. You'd probably have to target on some kind of average, as there would be breakage. Or would you have to identify the people who spent a lot of time on your site and target them for people buying long exposures, and save networks and direct response buyers for the short-exposure visitors.

Jumping further ahead, if these short exposure people jump from property to property who's best able to monetize them? My bet is the sophisticated networks. They'll adjust exposure across properties against each user.

Great Wallstrip post from yesterday

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Give North Korea Green Power

Geoff Styles wrote a great post yesterday regarding an alternative solution to solving North Korea's energy problem faster, greener, and without nukes.

We should give them wind turbines, that combined with their existing hydroelectric would get them the power they need faster and without building them nuclear plants that could be used for bad intentions.

Geoff is on to something, why shouldn't the US government make all of their external power aid in the form of renewable solutions?

Sure it would be more expensive in many cases, but instead of just subsidizing research we're building solutions, we're learning from manufacturing, moving down the cost/experience curves.

Happy Valentine's Day from Southwest Airlines

Southwest has done it again, another great ecard, this time it's for Valentine's Day.

I appreciate their email before any of the dozens I get from my other frequent flyer programs about buying flowers through one of their partners.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Java and the Google Toolbar?

Should I expect an offer of a toolbar when I buy a latte?




Today my system tray started blinking about a Java upgrade.


What does Java by default want to install? The Google Toolbar


What does a toolbar have to do with a Java upgrade? I'm not sure. They do make it easy to know what you're installing and I just unchecked the box.
My guess is that most people won't, Google has a great trusted brand.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Able to navigate the company well

It's a phenomenon that I'm sure occurs at many large companies as well as small companies.

The desire to hire people who have the ability to get things done, effectively navigate the organization.

How is it possible to find someone for a open position that already knows how to navigate the organization? They have to come from within the organization.

This requirement could lead to talent scalability issues for a growing company.

It could starve the organization of new ideas at higher levels. You're essentially only promoting from within. Entry level positions are the only way in.

This could be a sign that your internal processes need to overhauled to make it possible for anyone to come on board and contribute quickly.

There is a balance to strike between making it overly easy to navigate at the expense of speed.

Is it possible to over-target?

Extensive targeting capabilities for online advertising is not new, Engage was marketing behavorial targeting back in 1999. It wasn't called behavioral targeting back then. (links link to the archive.org)

We all know what eventually happened to Engage.

There's that movie quote, "If you build it, he will come."

My question is, "If you can target it, will they pay?"

Look at the following scenario:

On your media buy 90% of the impressions do not reach your target audience. You pay $10 cpm. You purchase $100 worth of impressions.

If I could sell you the 10% of the impressions that reach your target audience would you pay $100cpm? You purchase $100 worth of impressions.

My feeling is that it would be tough for media buyers to accept such a premium on that targeting. They need to gradually work they way up to that level of targeting, maybe in 10% increments.

Since impressions aren't a tactile good, you can't compare two before you buy like you might with a car. I'm offering a different promise of quality which will only show up after you've purchased it.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Doing the math

Looks like Johns Hopkins has done the math regarding the cost benefit of stuffing our food chickens with anti-biotics.

Guess what?

From a ROI perspective, we shouldn't be doing it. You actually lose one penny per pound.

From a health perspective, we don't need more drug resistant bugs.

Maybe Mayor Bloomberg piggy-back this onto his transfat ban.

Support the Beach Walk Project

A former Advertising.com colleague, Stein Kretsinger, and a few others are about to embark on an epic journey from Miami to Manhattan (we'll see if we can change the end point).

Why are they doing this? (lifted right off their site)

Kretsinger and Weinman are launching the Miami-to-Manhattan kayak/walk to achieve several goals:

1 - To raise money and awareness for Waterkeeper Alliance http://www.waterkeeper.org/ which is a grassroots advocacy organization with 155 local clean water advocates, patrolling and protecting everyone's right to clean water.

2 - To promote healthy water and wind based activities to children including: kayaking, surfing, windsurfing, kite-boarding and sailing.

3 - To encourage children and community members to become involved with local agencies and programs which promote the responsible stewardship of watersheds in their area.

I'm looking forward to spending some time with them on their trip as well as helping raise some money.

More to come....