France Hates Innovation

January 8, 2010

This piece from Wired.com is yet another describing the futile attempts by people who are uneasy about the changes brought about by digital content.

In this latest one, it appears that the French Government has decided that it might be a good idea to tax successful online companies in order to help unsuccessful companies.  They think that taxing a company like Google, who has figured out what people want to do, and need to do online, is the way to help other companies who have failed to see the wave of the future and continue to lose money because of free content.

Let’s face it people, there will always be some who do not like change.  But this is the way the world is moving.  I have written about it on this blog.  Many others have written about it on their blogs.

If a company exists that used to make money because they produced highly sought content, and is now losing money because of competition, why does the government or anybody else have any right to just give them money.  Either figure out how to compete in this new market, or fail.  Those are your options.

Besides the fact that what the French government is trying to do might be illegal, its just plain stupid.  Competition moves us forward.  Free content is working.  Don’t punish the people that have seen the future and moved us there for the sake of saving the near-sighted companies that thought the world would never change.

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When Will Google Take Over TV

February 20, 2009

googletvThe question is not if Google will make it as the dominant Television Advertising company, but when.  And yes, I know that all those defenders of the old world view will debate me on this one.  To tell you the truth, I am looking forward to it.

For starters, I think that the entire television advertising model is on its way out. We already see the need for alternate sources or means of advertising thanks to the power of technologies like DVR, TiVo, OnDemand, and TV online.  Advertising dollars seem to be going to waste more times than not in the tv world.

Secondly, Google has revolutionized the delivery of ads online by controlling the largest network of advertisers and delivering relevant content in all environments.  They are an advertising company, and they are damn good at it.  So why shouldn’t they try their hand at television?

They already started to look at the possibility.  In fact, they set it up so that through your AdWords account, you can set up a commercial that you produced to be aired on stations and in regions that you like.  Google acts as the media buyer in this case and uses a bidding system to decide how often and when the ads will show.

This is a nice start, but give it time and I think things will change a great deal.  First, the price for ads will go down, with a true bidding system in place, owned and operated by Google (and maybe other likeminded advertising companies).  The networks will have to buy into this new system or risk missing out on the last hope of commercial advertising dollars.  Second, I think ads will start to become more personalized and content relevant, just like they have become online.  This makes commercials easier to deal with for the everyday tv viewer.

I believe that with Google at the helm, ads will be more direct, with ways of tracking success like never before.  Spread out the commercials within the show, with more, shorter breaks, and they become part of the viewing experience again.  I think Google can save TV advertising. Do you agree?

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Facebook and Change

January 27, 2009

Facebook AdvertisingIn the past few weeks a lot of things have been happening around the Facebook community.  Police made an arrest after someone made a positive identification of a bank robber off of a Facebook photo.  A woman was fired from his job after staying home from work “sick” and posting that he was too hung over to work on his profile.  Another woman was notified that she was fired through a message on her Facebook account.  Prince Harry was dumped, and the only way he found out was a Facebook profile update.  In addition, Burger King ran an interesting, successful viral ad using Facebook as a platform.

We have to realize that we are living in a world that has changed.  And not because we elected a black man as President.  But because he addresses the nation weekly using YouTube.  It’s not because Comcast offers a number of free movies on demand.  It’s because they have a Twitter account to deal with customer service issues.  It’s because the online world is no longer the online world.  The online world has crossed over into the real world.

No longer can you live in this world without being affected in some way with what is going on online.  The virtual space isn’t virtual, its physical.

This day was coming. It wasn’t long in the making, in fact, it just kind of popped up on us.  But it’s here.  And it’s time to recognize that and stop running from it.

There is a bounty of information out there, go find it.  There are millions of ways to connect with people, start connecting.  There are thousands of products competing for your business, find the best one.  Stop ignoring the world that you don’t understand.  Start taking advantage of it, otherwise the rest of the world is taking advantage of you.

There is no longer a divide between the internet and the physical world.  We’re all living in both.  Start living again.

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2 Emails Worth Mentioning

November 20, 2008

In the past week I have received two emails that I feel are worthy of a mention on a blog about Innovation. Both were from people I do not know, have never met, have never talked with online, and most likely will never talk with in my lifetime.

The first was from Steve Gentile at Think Tank NYC, and he probably had no idea that he was emailing me. You see, Steve decided to leave a social networking group that we were both a part of called Sta.rtUp.Biz. In deciding to leave, Steve emailed all the members of the website explaining his reasons for leaving, and also saying that he is interested in communicating with any of us who would still like to remain in contact with him.

This email stands out for two reasons. The first, is a direct shot at Sta.rtUp.Biz. We are in a world where everything you do can and will be used against you, online. And word travels fast. When you market yourself as a social networking site for entrepreneurs, where we can enjoy the freedom of idea creation, open discussion, and useful information to start our business, you better follow through with that. Now I don’t know if it was the creators or the members who transformed this site into what it is now, but Steve is blaming the creators. “A fool’s game of mindless invitations and posts delivered with the purpose of point building without substance, and not networking or provoking deeper thoughts”, is how he described it in the email. That got my attention, and I am sure many others’, and will hurt the website’s credibility.

Two, this is a semi-ingenious move on Steve’s part to get some attention. As an entrepreneur, what better way to promote without promoting. Take something you are going to do anyway and send an email about it that gets in the heads of people that you may want to work with. I don’t know Steve, but I emailed him with interest after receiving that blast.

The second was from John Podesta. John is the co-Chair of the Obama/Biden Transition Team, and apparently the one in charge of sending out the emails (or at least the name that someone else puts on their emails). I got this email because I had signed up at the new website of the Obama Administration, Change.gov. I encourage all those who have never seen it to check it out. It is still quite bare right now, but very promising.

It is interesting to think about a presidency that will be more in touch with the people. Even if this is all an act, which I don’t think that it is, it’s still a strong step. A president who devotes time to including people and getting involved in online communication, what a concept. Well, we already saw how well they used this sort of internet grassroots promotion in the campaign, now we get to see if they follow through with it during the next 4-8 years.

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Get Over the Fear – Change Something

October 16, 2008

Innovation is, in essence, change. And change has a way of striking people in an odd way. Change is too often regarded as unwanted, unnecessary, and scary.

In businesses and industries that have been around the block, change is often shot down. People equate change as an admission of wrongdoings, or a waste of money and resources, or a burden.

And the people that suggest or bring about change, take the risk of being shunned or hated for it. The reason that the US economy has led the way is that we accept failure. We see challenges and opportunities as good things, and we praise those that take chances. You can fail, but still create real opportunity. Failure is not the end. But it is still far too hard to change things.

The greatest business innovators in history have had to face the doubts of their peers. And often, those doubts turn to personal attacks. This has led to a fear of standing out, or being different.

Henry Ford faced criticism for creating a car for the masses. There is no need for everyone to have a car, they said. Steve Jobs faced criticism for creating personal computers. No one will want a computer in their household, they said. “THEY” were wrong.

Realize this, most often, the people that are against change are those that are profiting the most from the way things are. They are not thinking about what is best for the industry, or the people they serve, they are thinking about themselves. And they see change as harmful to them, because they are so good at the status quo.

It takes a strong mind and an even stronger will to face these doubters head on. If you have an idea, you have to know that somewhere, someone will not like it. Don’t be afraid of defending yourself. Don’t be afraid to stand toe to toe with the status quo. Don’t be afraid to be different. That is how things get done, and that is how we, as a country, move forward.


We Choose, They Listen

August 24, 2008

I talk a lot about companies changing the world through innovation.  I discuss different ways that companies are working to move forward.  And I offer suggestions on things you can do in business and in life to follow suit.  But the truth is, there are a lot of companies out there that are not following that principle.  There are a lot of companies out there that really don’t care about the common good of the people they serve.  They are money hungry, greedy organizations run by corrupt leaders who couldn’t care less about society as a whole.

When a food producer tries to deny the spread of a disease or bacteria instead of owning up to it and doing something about it, they are being ignorant.  When a car company puts out a faulty model that does not keep its drivers as safe as they should, they failed to see the big picture.  When a toy retailer chooses to sell cheap products made in poorly run factories, exposing their customers to dangerous materials, they are choosing money over human beings.

It’s sad but true.  But, as consumers, we have a choice.  We can seek out the companies that are doing good.  We can discover products that are more healthy and use them.  We can so to greedy companies and yes to those that give back some of the profits to help those less fortunate.

It’s time to find a cause.  It’s time to step up and be counted.  Innovation does not start at the top.  It starts with you, the consumer.  Because most companies in this world won’t do anything they don’t have to.  If you buy their products, they won’t change a thing, even if it hurts the masses.  So be a driver of change by choosing the right companies.  We all have a choice, help make the right one.


Change, Change Agents, and Changers

June 20, 2008

Innovation is all about the guts to inspire change, and the guts to actually change the way you do things yourself.  Whether it is in a big company, at a small startup, or in a political election, change is a powerful word.  It is even more powerful of an idea.

Sometimes change comes from the top down.  Sometimes it comes from the bottom up.  But I think the best kinds of change are two-sided.  It takes the people to initiate the change, and then the people that follow them.  It takes someone to change the way something is done to get people to change the way they do it.  And it takes the people to do something differently, to get someone at the top to provide them a means to do it differently.

The change agents are those people that will openly try to change things.  They put themselves out in the public eye and talk about how differently things could be.  The changers are those that will follow them.  Changers are the people that are so inspired to actually put words into action.  In Barack Obama’s campaign, we proclaim him to be a changer.  When really, it takes the people that believe in him to actually get things done.  If no one believed in him, the change he talks about would never happen.

When a company changes the way you buy products, it takes the consumers that believe in the new system to make it work.  When people decide they want a new way to get information, it takes someone at the top to deliver it to them.  It is a give and take game that ends in innovations on a grand scale.  Don’t look for one person to change the world, because although change agents can make us believe, it takes the efforts of the masses to create a real difference…