Jun 24, 2012

Random Blah-Blah-Blahs (June)

Long Live

Q: If eMail Marketing is so dead, then why does Twitter send me regular "Here's What's Happening On Twitter" updates ... via email?  As does Facebook with its traffic stat reports ... and Linked In ... and ... and. Hmmm?

Square Peg / Round Hole

While on the Twitter subject: I get it --  and I always got it.  The 'it' being the stream-of-consciousness sharing via this handy dandy infrastructure dreamed up by a couple of dreamers. Then again, Facebook's Wall posting serves the same function, does it not?  But that's for those two behemoths to battle over.

What I don't get ---  or better: what I don't buy ---  is the ultra hyped commercial, promotional and monetization value that Twitter allegedly brings to the table. I've called this bluff myself with my own campaigns, as have others close at hand.  I'm not seeing it.  If anyone out there has a first hand case study that shows otherwise, let's hear about it.

Same with Twitter being the supposed new form of journalism. I'm not buying it. A big reach....

I'm Living in My Own Private Idaho

Speaking of journalism (notice these nice transitions?), I hereby pose this as a contrarian view to the popular wisdom as to what ails the mainstream print news profession:

Contrarian Theory: The inter-tube is NOT the primary driver of people abandoning and neglecting the traditional print news media (i.e., declining readership). Instead, I contend that the #1 factor is that people simply don' give a shit anymore.  This is especially true for local news journalism.

Supporting Argument: Communities continue to lose their deep connectivity and social capital. People now move from 'burgh to 'burgh, and they do it more and more frequently.  One's neighbors are no longer people you went to school with; nor is there one single degree of separation between them and you via common acquaintances. Meanwhile, there is less a likelihood that one will "make new friends" in the new town due to the fact that there are fewer mechanisms for doing so compared to generations past -- ethnic clubs, trade unions, business associations, etc. Strangers live among strangers in today's Anytown, USA.  So when one happens upon a newspaper, it is filled with unknown names and unknown faces involved in activities and organizations of no consequence. One simply can't relate to the stories any more than he or she can relate to the new and temporary community in general.  Many just don't care --  it's as simple as that.  Heck, they don't plan on being here for more than a few more years anyways, so why invest in the Emotional Capital? Without this type of passion, how can a business that specializes in telling locally-centric stories hope to succeed?

Thirty years ago, I could pick up the daily newspaper in my birthtown (The Saratogian) and recognize almost every name mentioned. Today, I don't know any of them.  Who the hell are these people?

A Newspaper Once Operated Here

Speaking of the Saratogian (yee-haw, he does it again), we read of the fact that its Lake Avenue facility has been sold to a developer and the arrangement supposedly gives the paper three years to find a new base of operations to which it moves.   No doubt, the troubled chain that owns the local rag is taking advantage of the bubbly local real estate scene as a means of bandaging its bloody balance sheet.  The old cliche of "rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic" suddenly comes to mind for some funny reason

Prediction: said rag relocates to a tidy suite of rented work space under a trade deal with some commercial realtor as more and more of its functions are handled by its sister paper down in Troy in a consolidation effort. The current building is soon thereafter demolished to make room for a 38High Rock, Part 2 type of condo mishmash. The Village Idiots then begin their rah-rah about how this is just another example of Saratoga's vibrancy as the metro-NYC crowd ponies up to trade their downstate addresses for life in the foothills. More of the aforementioned strangers arrive to live alongside other strangers and live off the largesse provided to them by their family inheritance, with most of them well past their peak productivity years and perfectly content to schedule their daily lives around their morning strolls to get a Broadway coffee.  The city's brain drain continues, the age demo gets older and the neighborhood around Saratoga Hospital continues to transform from residential to professional as the health care industry cluster there expands to serve this aging Boomer demand.  The air gets stale as the safe and sanitary gentrification elephant continues its slow motion rampage.  Some major magazine ranks Saratoga in the nation's Top 10 Retirement Communities.

Consider also the fact that these new condos butt right up against the Caroline Street nightlife district.  Can't a guy get some sleep in this town?  Now won't that accelerate the movement to tame this chaos?  Commissioner Mathieson will be lionized as he moves to close the bars at 11PM  --- and for an hour during afternoon nap time.

Meanwhile, this once great city finds itself without another physical representation of what it means to feel like being a part of a local community.  So don't be shocked if the same fate awaits the Post Office building up the hill.  Maybe one more coffee shop?

Somebody get the historical plaques made up to place on each site.

Is that Indian for...?

To hear something once can be deemed a fluke.  To hear the same thing twice, one starts to notice. Three times, it becomes a downright movement.

Three times now in the past month, I have heard Saratoga being tagged with a slightly modified handle: Milfatoga.

I can picture our less worldly readers hitting Google right about ... now.

Batting Third

Baseball teams put their biggest slugger into the cleanup spot; number four in the batting order. But the entertainment industry has a different approach. A long running rule for performing artists has been to place the best tune in the set list in the Number Three spot, for some reason.

Interestingly, I notice that local television news broadcasts are following this same method.  The weather segment is what they define as their key eyeball-draw. In a rare viewing of the opening minutes of two different examples recently, I notice that both of them placed the weather tickler story ("It's HOT out there! OMG we're gonna die!") --  right there in the three hole.

Old School - New School

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's approach to economic development seems to be via these regional councils which go about making long wish lists of desired projects and then submits them to a juried awards system which is a bit light on explaining its methodology as well as its over reaching aims and objectives. Conveniently, every region seems to at least get a substantial consolation prize when the dust clears.

So how exactly is this new fangled process fundamentally different than the age old legislature Member Item system?

Cutting to the Chase

Did anyone ever actually play the Mousetrap game instead of just going ahead and building the fancy contraption?  Nah.


"I'm not interested in paying you for your time, I want to pay you for your success."

"Do not confuse activity with accomplishment"

These are two of my guiding principles when dealing with prospective employees or contracted resources offering to get involved in any of my business units in some sort of sales/revenue-generating capacity.

But most of the time it is like speaking in an unknown foreign tongue.  For some reason, everyone thinks their "time" is the key element to this dynamic. "I need to get paid for my time" is a common refrain.  It matters not if that time results in money coming in the door as a direct result, whether they are any good at the needed task or not.  Many even have a rebuttal to my approach, something like "even if I don't make a sale, I am out there promoting your product/company."

The Bottom Line: promotion is for the Marketing Department or ad agency. If one does not have confidence in his or her own ability to "make things happen" and base their financial well-being on their own skills and abilities, then they most likely are in the wrong profession. Like, maybe retail?

Competent sales rep's are the hardest people to find for most organizations. That's because there are very few people out there that are any good at it.  You never know the answer to that question until AFTER you hire someone.

Related Story: a woman recently told me that she would take the reins as our lead sales exec if I would "at least cover her expenses."  I replied that this seemed like a reasonable request and could be done.  My assumption, of course, was that she was referring to the costs directly related to the sales process, such as gas and toll money, the occasional client lunch and postal & copy fees for mailing out our collateral.  Turns out, she was referring to her "living" expenses, namely her mortgage, cell phone, groceries, medical insurance, car payment and so on. Four grand would do it. Be advised, this involves a small little nano-biz that is a part time endeavor for everyone that has ever been involved in it.  I kid you not ...

Not in synch with the local poseurs, but....

I miss the Saratoga Diner on South Broadway, known long ago as the Spa City Diner.  I'll miss it even more when a Red Lobster or Chili's or Hooters takes its place.



Anonymous said...

The hospital is looking to acquire the apt. complex on Seward....Why doesn't anyone question the SH billing problems ?


Anonymous said...

I hear you're sitting on a local scandal story. How come you're not breaking it? Conflict? Not good.

m said...


Bluto said...

Miss the Spa City Diner??? Did you ever eat there or try to drink the coffee???

I can understand defending the parting glass. It does have some positives. The diner was absolutely indefensible. Awful food, rodents, bugs, falling down, insane owner. Nostalgia only goes so far.