Sunday, March 25, 2007

Saturday at Hunter Mountain Snowboarding

Diana and I took advantage of the nice weather this Saturday and drove up to Hunter Mountain for a day of snowboarding (me) and skiing (her). Forgot to bring the camera, but the snow was great. Nice slushy spring conditions with few people on the mountain. The mountain has made made some serious investments in the mountain with a new rental facility as well as revamping the traffic flow and parking.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Finding Talent

In every position I have ever held finding good people to hire has always been a challenge. For some reason it always takes longer then you want to fill an open position.

Yesterday I went looking on AOL's job site to see if I could grab an RSS feed of open positions to put on my blog. No dice. I took a trip over to the job search site, Indeed. Searched under AOL, media networks, operations - pulled the feed right off. You can see it over on the right side of my blog.

Everybody working at AOL with a blog or website should put up an RSS feed for AOL jobs. There can never be enough effort to find new candidates.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Celiac Disease Public Service Announcement

Great to see more public awareness coming for the hidden epidemic.

Tilting Online Ad Spending?

Interesting post on MediaPost regarding the London OPA. Essentially online advertising spending is concentrating more heavily on the big four (AOL, Google, Yahoo, and MSN).

Does this mean the end of for smaller sites? My guess is that it means third party networks, and other companies that help leverage network effects of data from other sites will become more important. Behavioral and relational targeting will be critical for smaller publishers to maximize their yield through the attraction of media buyers.

If I'm an agency looking for unduplicated reach, it's hard to do that by making many small buys. If I can buy those through a network I can implement frequency capping easily across all of them. My guess is that's why you're seeing more money flow to the big four, it's the scale and efficiency as well as game changing custom offers that also offer reach ~ AOL's Gold Rush for example.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Must Visit The National World War II Museum in NO

We just got back from five hours in the WWII museum in New Orleans. That wasn't enough time to walk through the entire place. It's an amazing, with tons of live history segments. Recordings from various people who fought in WWII whether it be on D-Day or in the Pacific.

What really struck me was the reminder of the fanaticism of the Japanese soldiers. Similar to al Qaeda. It's amazing to see what the US rallied behind and accomplished. I hope we never have to do this again.

There were many moving exhibits, but the quote below was particularly thought provoking.


Here are the rest of the photos I took.

New Orleans World War II Museum

Saturday, March 10, 2007

On Vacation in New Orleans

One of my focus areas from my personal development plan with my executive coach is work-life balance. I set a measurable goal of making sure I used my frequent flyer miles on a regular basis. This led my wife and I to visit New Orleans for a long weekend.


We just got back from dinner where we had the luck of running into some people from Anheuser-Busch. All over the city we've been seeing signs welcoming the Anheuser-Busch distributors to New Orleans. AB just released their celiac friendly RedBridge beer which is quite good. As Diana and I were eating dinner, we noticed about eight men with a lot of Budweiser bottles on the table. They had the waiter take a picture with them and they were all prominently holding up beer bottles. We finished up and walked outside where a few of them were having a smoke. I asked them if they worked for AB and sure enough they did. I thanked them for coming out with RedBridge which then started a conversation. They were friendly and one of them is actually about to become the product manager for RedBridge, very cool.


What are the odds of that happening? I would say extremely low, but what happened before dinner on our haunted New Orleans walking tour aka tour of horrors shows just what kind of luck I have.


At some point during the tour we are sitting on the steps of the court house hearing about hauntings there. At this point one lady points out to the guide that another guy on the tour is exposing his "junk" and some of her kids saw it. This guy was not alone, but had a few other men and women with him who pretended to not know him. At this point the guide sent them packing, but it was a surreal situation to say the least.

I also enjoyed some deep fried (in corn meal) pickles as you can see below. Yummy.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

One Year Ago This Evening

One year ago tonight, myself and two former colleagues finished up our first day in Phoenix working on what I consider a ground breaking Internet marketing deal.

This was our second night in Phoenix, the first night we were in a motel where I literally was expecting to have police smash through the door with a COPS camera crew looking for a fugitive or catch Legionnaires disease. We switched to a hotel near the client and below are the pictures of our first meal (take-out from Whole Foods) celebrating the first day.

Paul and I enjoy some dinner, while Rich snaps a picture.
















Note: That's coffee in the coffee mugs.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

GE's One Second Theater on My TiVo

This morning I was surfing my TiVo when I noticed an ad on the main screen. It said something about a one second or being busy. I TiVo'd in and it was all about GE's ecomagination commercials, but with a twist. They interlaced some subliminal messages that you can only access with your TiVo (or on the website below).

While I can't replicate it here, GE provided a website to check it out - www.onesecondtheater.com

My personal favorite is Gone Fishin'

What's the point? Well you have to watch through the commercial to the very end where you press the pause button. You then have to advance frame by frame to watch these hidden messages.

Clever, I've had to watch their commercials a few times.

Web 2.0 For 10th Year Reunion

April will be my 10th reunion for my undergraduate at Johns Hopkins. I'm on the reunion committee and working on leveraging Web 2.0 to enhance both the planning and the actual reunion itself. I thought I'd share it a bit of what's going on.

Planning Web 2.0:
I'll share all of this when it's over, but Google Documents will play an integral part.

Reunion Web 2.0:
After examining all of the different mainstream photo sharing sites, I choose Flickr to host any old photos from our college years. During the event we'll work to get all of the photos taken by people uploaded to the site. Ideally people will start to tag the photos with the names of people in them.







www.flickr.com



Saturday, March 03, 2007

Great Post By Fellow AOLer

I've blogged in the past over Steve Gaitten's postings. This morning when I fired up my Google Reader I noticed there was a new post waiting from him titled, "My Sycophants," I was excited to read more.

Setting the stage, Steve has been as AOL for many more years than me more than me, 10 times to put it in perspective. He's seen AOL's culture change over the years and he's written about it and the drivers of the change. I've only heard stories about the famous and infamous people at AOL back in the day. Some are uplifting, others are downright disturbing.

The catalyst for his post is an article forwarded by his sister, also a fellow AOLer. The Favoritism Test: Learn to Avoid the Pitfall of Rewarding Sycophants in the Workplace

This is a thought provoking article, Steve's thinking about it, now I am as well. This will be on my mind when I participate in my 360 feedback sessions with my rater groups.

Steve mentions that in the past the technologists were pushed to the back as the money people took over. I don't know the details, I'll have to follow-up with Steve, but as soon as you disconnect communcation and collaboration (if that's what happened) bad things start to happen.

At my previous company, Advertising.com, I knew many people in our technology department. If I had a crazy idea, I would normally find Jeff and ask him if it was possible. He was excellent at saying, "yes, if.." We go back and forth on the goals, features needed, etc and we'd get to something that was workable. Might not be scalable yet, but we could prove the value.

Why did I mention this? Not to infer Advertising.com was a better company, each has its pluses and minuses. It's because I need to build some of those relationships here at AOL. Everyone business person should have some tech buddies, just like tech people should have some business buddies.

I had the opportunity to present at one of our senior technology leader's all-hands meeting earlier this week. They wanted to know how money is made with online advertising. I spoke for about a half hour and then had a lively Q&A session. It was cool to see such enthusiasm. At the reception afterwards people still wanted to ask questions and debate effectiveness of online advertising. People told me about the technology they were working on and asking how it could be used to help monetization.

My take-away from this?

I need to make sure we get the teams mingling, even if there isn't an official business purpose, everybody need's to have their "insider" elsewhere in the company. The more of these connections that can be built the faster we can make the innovation flywheel spin. As new ideas incubate, the better they'll grow if from the beginning they get a balanced diet of different perspectives from across the company.

Hopefully as people from the reception start to ping me with questions, if I don't know the answer I can quickly point them to the right person and make a warm introduction. I have a personal connection, I'll make sure they find the right person. Much different then having a question and then having to find the right person in such a large company.

Steve, maybe we should organize something between our teams?

Thursday, March 01, 2007

The FRI

A colleague calls the Residence Inn across from AOL, the Fabulous Residence Inn. I now know that F stands for FIREPROOF.

I'm just now getting back to bed after the entire complex fire alarm has been screaming for about a half hour.