Sunday, February 22, 2004

Winterpeg In Winnipeg 

I am sitting here in the Star Alliance Lounge of Air Canada waiting for my flight back to Montreal (via Toronto). I should be home around 1:00 am. I just attended a very interesting national leadership conference. There were lots of amazing people from all over the world taking part in some amazing initiatives. From making people aware of the needy to building their own youth Chambers of Commerce. It’s amazing to see so many young people who care about making a difference. More when my head clears. I have to admit, this free wi-fi access takes some of the pain out of travel. Not much, but some.

Thursday, February 19, 2004

Internet Marketing Conference 2004 – coming soon to Montreal 

IMC 2004 is closely approaching (April 5 – 7, 2004). The line-up is great, and I just reviewed all the sessions with the conference organizers the other day. I would strongly encourage you to take a look at this event. Everything from search engines, email marketing, online advertising, new strategies and strategic ideas will be discussed and presented. It’s also a great chance to get close to the players in the field, network and make connections. My main speech is listed as:
Integrity Marketing: Why Making a Difference Makes a Difference Online
Mitch Joel, Partner, Twist Image
Recently Microsoft's army of lawyers backed down to a 17-year-old youth name Mike Rowe, over his site MikeRoweSoft.com. The Internet community quickly rushed to Mike's support and Microsoft decided to leave the youth alone before too much PR damage was done. The strength of the Internet is this ability to quickly spread good - or bad - press about your company. This session will show why being a good corporate citizen is good for your company's bottom line.

I will also be holding intimate and interactive one-on-one sessions with three key interactive marketers who have done amazing stuff. These sessions are designed to mix the styles of Charlie Rose and Inside The Actor’s Studio vibe (I can only truly aspire to that level of excellence) by providing an interview style discussion to better understand the people, their knowledge and how they’ve done what they’ve done. Stay tuned to official IMC 2004 website for more details. If you are attending, drop me a line – I would love to meet.

Triumph The Insult Comic Dog Brings Quebec To Its Knees 

This is the kind of stuff that happens in your community and you wonder why you live where you live. Triumph, Conan O’Brien’s insult comic dog, is basically a hand-puppet dog that does some very funny material. He’s cut into Bon Jovi on their last tour, he’s made fun of American Idol, spoofed Eminem’s 8 Mile and did a classic episode during the opening for the second Star Wars movie. I love Triumph. When Conan decided to do some shows out of Toronto he sent Triumph over to Quebec City. Now, you know the dog puppet was going to let loose on the whole English/French thing, separation and other quirky things that happen up here. Worse things have been said, but apparently, the sock puppet went “over the line” and everyone is in an uproar about how much a goofy dog hand puppet has insulted our culture. Only in Quebec (if I could type in the amount of blushing that’s happening, I would). This is the kind of stuff they asked the Prime Minister and Premiere of Quebec about. Imagine them questioning George Bush about Janet Jackson’s nipple (did they?). Check out the article about the incident here. My favorite line? Triumph was speaking to an overweight man, and said something akin to: “why don’t you try to separate yourself from a donut first.” Triumph is all about the zingers.

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Stunning Start to First-Ever Montreal Business Book Club 

I have to admit, I thought only a handful of people would be interested in my first-ever Montreal Business Book Club. I can proudly say that over 30 people have given it the go-ahead and twenty members have already signed up through the Yahoo! Group that was created to make it happen. The first selection is currently being decided and it’s between:
The Leadership Challenge - by James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner
Smart Mobs: The Next Social Revolution - by Howard Rheingold
Meaningful Marketing - by Doug Hall, Sergio Zyman and Jeffrey Stamp
So far, Doug Hall has got half of the votes. I know that this idea has legs and will create a group of young and thoughtful leaders to think more, read more, network more and, obviously, grow more. I’m a little taken aback by the amount of people (in a good way) and look forward to seeing this group grow. If you like, check out the Montreal Business Book Club here. If you’re interested, email me through the group.

Monday, February 16, 2004

The New Breed of Montreal Business 

I came across this article in the Montreal Gazette today. It starts by saying: “A new breed takes over. Latest crop of business leaders in Quebec is cautious, low key and very smart.” I’m not too sure I’d be proud to say that being “cautious” and “low key” is the way to go in this day and age, but it certainly is nice to see some very smart companies coming out of Montreal that are affecting change by offering products and services that sell. All the marketing in the world is not going to solve a business issue if the product/service in, and of, itself is a dog. Interesting read. I’d like to see who’s not being “cautious” and “low key” in Montreal, just to see the kind of waves they’re making.

Sunday, February 15, 2004

We Interrupt This Mobile Phone With A Word From Our Sponsors… 

I was just checking out the latest tech news on Yahoo! and came across this story, titled: Bluetooth Wireless Resurrected with New Gadgets. While the root of the story sounds cool – lots of wireless products working good, working fast and able to inter-connect, it comes shortly after a 5-7 cocktail I attended the other night where a person I had met was just back from Holland. Apparently, his mobile phone kept getting spam email, sms messages and even unwanted ringtones. Word is these rogue marketing firms are “bluejacking” people with unwanted advertising, marketing and ringtones. That’s right spam for your mobile device. Though it sounds sucky, you have to admit the term “bluejack” is pretty cool.

Saturday, February 14, 2004

Montreal Business Book Club 

This is an email I sent out to a bunch of local Montreal thinkers... I hope it takes flight... A lot of it was loosely based on how Fast Company runs their book club. If it flies, I will blog the cool stuff here.

"All too often people ask me 'what are you reading?' The answer is: a lot. I can't get enough information into this bald little head of mine. And, as usual, the repetition of this question got me thinking 'would it not be cool to set up some kind of Montreal Business Book Club?!' OK, so I'm getting myself into something else!

The way I see it, we live in crazy times. Crazy times call for crazy ideas. Everyday we're inundated with new technology, new sales strategies, new marketing ideas and much more. So, surviving... no, prevailing means you need to keep up on all these new ideas, concepts and theories.

I know that, with the exception of a handful of people, I wish there was a local 'think-tank' or forum to discuss all the changes. With that in mind, I started wondering if you:
- Ever wished there was a group to discuss the newest trends and ideas in the business world?
- Wish you could explore the leading-edge business practices you read about with others in other industries?
- Wish you could set aside a few hours every month to connect with like-minded business community people?

I know I answered 'hell yeah!' to all of these questions!

So, I'm putting out this 'feeler' email. I'd like to start the first-ever Montreal Business Book Club. The way I see it, joining with others in a reading group not only provides incentive for keeping up with some cool reading, but even more important, being part of a reading group would definitely stimulate deeper thinking and provide the opportunity for greater insight into how new ideas or theories might be put to practical use.

Here's the stuff I have yet to determine:
-Size of the group? (I think 6-8 members would be ideal)
-Meeting? (I think once a month - and, I'd be glad to host it at Twist Image, or even rotate to other members' offices)
-Online element? (Might be cool to set up a Yahoo! Group just in case we all come across a related article, etc...)
-Cost? (Cost of books - do we go for a group discount? Refreshments? Photocopies, etc...? Membership fee - we could give the money to charity?)
-Responsibility? (See, this would suck if people don't read the book or start not showing up. I think, based on the group we could do a quick conference call and set up the expectations and ground rules. We're all grown up, so this should be easy).

So, you interested? Any suggestions or ideas to make this cooler? I think this could be a great networking and learning experience. I have some other ideas, but first, I'd like to see the interest level. You can feel free to forward this to your network if you think there may be some interested people I have not tapped."

Friday, February 13, 2004

Clueless Pitch of the Week 

B.L. Ochman is an amazing person. Over the past year she has become a steady ally in our similar approaches to how PR people need to get in line with technology and start using it as a tool, and stop kvetching about it all the time. Along with being a published author, she has an amazing blog, which you can check out here. I would also encourage you to sign up for the I-PR e-newsletter. It is an amazing resource for anyone in the communications space.

One of the recent posts was based on a very weird press release pitch that was sent to me. This is how it looked when B.L. plopped it on I-PR:

“TOPIC: Clueless Pitch of the Week

Here is an example of how NOT to piggyback on the news.

From: Lehua Chong [mailto:chong@workhousepr.com]
Sent: Wednesday, February 11, 2004 3:31 PM
To: Lehua Chong
Subject: Assouline Presents: The Leather Book

Janet may be blaming her wardrobe, but leather has been keeping us covered since the beginning of time. The Leather Book by Anne-Laure Quilleriet (Assouline) is a history of leather in fashion and details rock and roll's favorite look from the jackets of Elvis and pants of Jim Morrison to how these rock rebels have influenced the runways of Christian Dior, John Galliano and Chanel amongst others. Whether Jay Z is rapping about it or Mick Jagger is swaggering in it, leather will always be music's first fashion. At this time, we would like to offer you the opportunity to review The Leather Book. Please take a look at the press release below and feel free to contact me directly for more information at 212.334.8006. I look forward to hearing from you soon.
Lehua Chong
Publicist, Workhouse Publicity

Thanks to Mitch Joel for the tip.”

Thank you B.L. for all your awesome work!

Thursday, February 12, 2004

What Is The Matrix? 

In one morning email raid, these issues came across my dust-filled A22m IBM ThinkPad screen. One was from Wired, and the article is called Living Machines. The descriptor says: “Now, advances in fields as disparate as computer science and genetics are dealing our status another blow. Researchers are learning that markets and power grids have much in common with plants and animals. Their findings lead to a startling conclusion: Life isn't the exception, but the rule.” Wow stuff – you knew it was going on. Probably thought it was in some dark CIA black-ops building. But the prevalence of humans and technology coming together (maybe for the better, maybe for the worse) is happening. Check out the article here. It’s a doozy.
Next up! CNN states: “Scientists clone human embryo, harvest stem cells.” Apparently a group of South Korean scientists claim that they have cloned a human embryo and extracted the stem cells in what “hope could spark a medical revolution,” (and they have the pictures and t-shirts to prove it). So, we’re now looking at even more controversy and debate over “ethics,” “human cloning,” and what does it mean to be human, after all? We all know you can’t stop technology. Sometimes it’s the most illuminating feeling and sometimes, it’s scarier than a five-legged, genetically cloned deer named Sandy. Check out CNN’s report here.

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Always Free and Smart Stuff From Seth 

Seth Godin not only has a new column in Fast Company (latest issue out now), but more importantly his new book, Free Prize Inside: The Next Big Marketing Idea, is about to come out. According to his blog, “it’ll ship in about ten weeks.” And here’s the good stuff: “I'm also pleased to tell you a secret: the first press run (and JUST the first press run) comes in a collectible package. (more on this soon).” Oh, the teasing… just like good ole’ Godin. Seth links you to this area of Amazon.com where you can insure that you get one of these “first press run” copies. Yes, I’ve already ordered my own.

Monday, February 09, 2004

Finally Seeing The Tipping Point 

After much brouhaha I’ve finally picked up and began reading Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point. I’m mad that I did not get to this sooner, but here we are. Yes, this is must-read business book/marketing stuff. That being said, I also subscribe to a great free e-zine called Digital Bulletin which is done out of the UK by Brand Republic. You can sign up for it here. Along with seeing what kind of cool marketing is being done across the pond, there must have been some ears burning over there as well, seeing as their latest feature article is called, Reaching The Online Industry's Tipping Point. The article, authored by Danny Meadows-Klue, says: “Anyone familiar with the concept of the 'Tipping Points' will find something very familiar indeed when they look around the internet marketing industry, writes Danny Meadows-Klue.” You can read their views here. Seeing as I’m only 50 pages deep in the book, I’ll reserve judgment for when I’m beter understanding all the tips, points and tipping points.

Sunday, February 08, 2004

Building Leaders 

Part of my passion in the recent year has been the concept of leadership. Partly for business, but mostly within community. I have this radical concept that most people in leadership development or in middle-management on any kind of "fast track" are not really learning to become leaders, but they are learning to become followers. This concept is covered in Tom Peters' latest, Re-Imagine. Meanwhile, while surfing his site, I came across an interesting snippet about building leaders called, Developing Your Leadership Pipeline. You view it here. I believe that if community injected many of these concepts into people who already are taking leadership roles within an organization, instead of ear-marking people that they "hope" will become leaders, we can build a strong community. After all, it's just a matter of time before we're replaced by technology, so we may as well help each other, do some good and build a better life for all of us. My rose-colored glasses are officially on for this Blog segment.

Saturday, February 07, 2004

What Did They Expect To Find? Janet Jackson's Other Nipple? 

This just in from CNN (fade to Darth Vader's voice...) - Music industry raids Kazaa offices (Friday, February 6, 2004 Posted: 1752 GMT ( 1:52 AM HKT)
"SYDNEY, Australia (AP) -- Investigators from the Australian recording industry raided the Sydney offices of Internet file-swapping network Kazaa on Friday in search of evidence to support allegations of copyright infringements."
Firstly, I can't imagine any of Kazaa executives - whose homes were raided - that would actually be stupid enough to keep any files on their own hard drives or servers. Secondly, this is so ridiculous. Just imagine the Black Ops that went into this. I can see a S.W.A.T. Team rappelling in through windows and blasting doors with those black battling rams. "Hey, where's the Metallica and Pink MP3s?!" Such nonsense. I wish the recording industry would spend this much time and money actually re-inventing (re-imagine!) and innovating their tried and true (re: boring) business model. Now is their chance to become like Jack (Welch). My worry is they'll wind up more like Lee (Iacocca). The music industry has many weapons at its disposal - computers, strategy, marketing savvy and, sometimes, a great product/service - that's where they need to focus their energy. Give music fans what they want. Make it remarkable. Make music fans loyal (again)... and they'll never leave. The full story from CNN is available here.

Friday, February 06, 2004

Blog Meets Blog Meets Blog 

While checking out Joi Ito's Blog, I came across a very funny parody of the Pepsi/Apple Superbowl ad here. I then shot an email off to Seth Godin, knowing his passion for all things interesting/viral/music-related. Well, low and behold, Seth talks about it in his Blog here. And that's how a new form of communication brings us all that much closer together. It never ceases to amaze me.

The 4 Million (and Much More) Dollar Man 

Former GE CEO, Jack Welch, is an innovation genius. We all know that. His last book, Jack, which he reportedly got a $7.1 million advance is a business book reader's must-have (I have, and it's in my "to read" pile). Now comes word that he's unleashing, Winning, through HarperCollins for a paltry $4 million advance (sarcasm raging). The "how-to" manual does not have a firm publishing date, but I'm sure we'll read all about it as the time arrives.

Enter Mike Lipkin 

My good friend, Robert Gervais, from Pre2Post told me about this great speaker. His name is Mike Lipkin. Mike is actually speaking at the upcoming The Power Within Sales Mastery day conference in Toronto on April 28th, 2004. If all goes well, I will be Blogging from there (first time for everything). You can check out this conference at http://www.powerwithin.com/events_toronto.html. Now, on the to the good stuff. Mike has a book out called Luck Favours The Brave (it's my next purchase) and on his site, here, you should definitely check out his excerpt from the book: Disarming Anxiety (you need to scroll down past the book cover to click it). I'm looking forward to seeing his presentation. You should also click on the "Watch Mike Live In Action" area as well. He's very animated.

Tom Peters' Gem 

Yesterday was a good day. I love boxes and packages from the mailman. This little box had an amazing gift in it. It was Tom Peters' latest book, Re-Imagine! Business Excellence In A Disruptive Age, on CD. Well, more specifically, 7 CDs and over 8.5 hours. The whole text, unabridged, all read by Tom. This would be a great roadtrip! As I listened to CD 1 on my drive home from the office, Tom hit a nerve with his version of the difference between "uncertainty" and "ambiguity." I liked it so much that when I came to the office this morning, I looked it up in the book and re-typed it. I hope I don't get my butt sued, but here it is:

"Uncertainty: You work in an exploration department at Exxon Mobile. You punch a hole in the floor of the Gulf of Mexico. Knowing what you know about geology and geophysics, you can predict that the odds of finding hydrocarbons where you drill that hole is between 57.5 and 64.5 percent.

That's uncertainty. You don't know everything, but you know something, and you know how what you do know relates to what you don't know.

Ambiguity: You find yourself asking: Where's the Gulf of Mexico? What's a hydrocarbon? Who cares? That's Ambiguity.

You don't know enough even to know if you are asking the right questions. And that's where we are now. Back at square one."


If you want the link for where to by this 7 CD set, here you go: http://www.nmaudio.com - it's on sale for $27.97 from New Millennium Audio & Press

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Ms. Jackson's Marketing 

Sorry about my delay on this - I had other things happening (like clipping my toe nails) How dumb are we? A mistake?! What an insult. Let’s face it, take a close look (we all have the pictures) there are snaps around the whole breast area. Plus, Justin Timberlake looked anything but surprised. If that happened “by accident” anybody would have jumped on her to cover it up (especially a fine upstanding young gentleman like JT). Also, did you notice Jackson’s reaction – she was not surprised at all. Finally, and I’m not a woman so this may be a stretch, but that nipple ornament (warning XXX - plus, nice piercing Ms. Jackson, 'cause you're nasty) hardly looks like the kind of object a women wears underneath their bra, unless something’s going to happen. Something happened. They planned it. We’re all writing about it. So, who wins in the end? JJ and JT. Good one! Otherwise, I can hardly remeber the two teams that were playing. What does that say about the power of making an impact?

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