Meg Whitman and Voting

California gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman is under fire for her noted lack of participation in elections.  Not that she didn’t vote in EVERY election, but that she hadn’t registered to vote until 2002 according the Sacramento Bee.

At the California GOP Convention, Whitman said:

“Every citizen should take time to vote, and on more than one occasion, I didn’t,” the former eBay chief told the GOP activists. “Voting is a precious gift handed down by generations of Americans. I regret not having delivered my vote on several occasions.”

Whitman was in our area today speaking to a group in Davis, and was quoted as saying:

“I was focused on raising a family, on my husband’s career, and we moved many, many times,” she told reporters. “It is no excuse. My voting record, my registration record, is unacceptable.”

She’s getting closer to where she needs to be, but my advice, because I know you were waiting for it. Stop apologizing.  Say what I think is the real answer:

“I wasn’t focused on becoming a politician. I focused on helping build a business and on my family.  I’m not going to apologize for not voting. I’m going to say that the expertise I gained building a billion dollar business is valuable for California and I want to use that expertise to help us be the California that everyone dreams about.”


Dirty Jobs Returns on October 6th

There are just a few shows that I make a point to watch:

  • Mad Men;
  • Deadliest Catch;
  • Entourage;
  • 30 Rock is creeping onto the list; and
  • Dirty Jobs.

Below is a clip of one of my favorite episodes of Dirty Jobs.  This one highlights a pig farmer in Las Vegas who grows great pigs from leftover food from Las Vegas buffets. I’ve written about Dirty Jobs before, when Mike spoke at the TED Conference about the value of work.  Watch that if you can.

Lesson learned – if you bring a flashlight you might not like what you see

In the late evening usually between 8:30 and 9:30 pm, I go for a walk with the d.o.g. A few days ago, I started bringing a flashlight since I thought I might have seen a snake while walking a few days ago.  Now, after just two days of walking with a flashlight, I saw this on the sidewalk right in front of me.  I’m not a herpetologist, but to me, that looks like a young rattlesnake about to eat a small blue belly lizard. The picture was taken in the dark, on my extremely old Blackberry.


So here’s my question. If I’ve gone three years walking at night with no flashlight. How many of these have I walked right past with no problems at all?  Sometimes, ignorance can be bliss.

Agency Lessons from Mad Men Episode 307 – Seven Twenty Three

Mad Men continues to include real issues faced by advertising (and yes PR firms) in an incredible show. If I wasn’t in this industry, I’m sure I would still be a fan of the show, but for me I get a bonus. I get to watch situations I encounter all the time dealt with by others. Episode 307 “Seven Twenty Three,” signifying the date Don Draper finally signs a contract with Sterling Cooper is no exception.

There really are people who do business like Conrad Hilton:

For those not familiar with agency life it might seem odd that a man who operates a huge company like Hilton would decide to make a decision like giving control over advertising very important properties like The Waldorf Astoria on a seeming whim. It happens. Believe me.  Five years ago, I was called down to meet with a company’s executive team.  We, me and a colleague, made a short presentation, and then the CEO of the company said, “Ok, now get out for a second so we can talk about you (he said it with a smile).”

When we were called back in five minutes later he said, “We want to hire you, but I have to warn you, I hire fast and I fire fast.”  That relationship between the company and the agency ended up running for several years and even outlasted my tenure with the agency.

Later, I learned that the seeming “whim,” wasn’t really a whim.  He had done his research on me and on my employer.  Just because someone seems to operate without a net, doesn’t mean there isn’t one. It just means you haven’t seen it yet.

There are no secrets in business:

When Don finally signs a three year contract with Sterling Cooper he says to agency partner Bert Cooper, “I don’t want any more contact with Roger Sterling.” This seems to be relating to Roger’s betraying the secret of Don/Dick Whitman’s true identity to Cooper. The lesson here is that there are no secrets in business that last forever.  Even if everyone agrees to not betray a trust, there will come a time, when something else is more important than that trust.

Other non-agency related lessons:

  • Don’t pick up hitchhikers
  • Don’t take drugs from said hitchhikers (OK, no drugs at all)
  • The Pierre Hotel has some pretty sweet suites

Rhymes with “salmon”

If you grew up in Northern California you of course know I’m talking about “almonds.” Why don’t you pronouce the “l?”  That has to do with how they are harvested. They are shaken out of the tree and it “shakes the L out of them.”

Yes, old joke, but it worked well enough for Bob Shallit and the Sac Bee.”

Still going nuts

It was only a matter of time before our discussion of a proposed local almond festival would encounter controversy. That would be over the correct pronunciation of California’s top food export.

Some people say “all-monds.” Others say “ammonds,” rhyming, sort of, with “salmons.”

Local PR guy Josh Morgan weighs in with a preference for the latter pronunciation. If it prevails, we’ll have to cancel those very preliminary thoughts of inviting the Allman Brothers Band to be the festival’s musical attraction.

Instead, how about Brooklyn indie rocker Ahmond?”

Creating Great Content Redux – DudePerfect and the World’s Longest Basketball Shot

In the same vein as “The Batting Stance Guy,” today I give you DudePerfect.

DudePerfect has a simple premise, they make and film seemingly impossible basketball shots. Think of the classic Michael Jordan/Larry Bird “Showdown,” commercials, but done by a few guys from Texas A&M that shot videos around campus and on a ranch in Morgan, Texas (nope, never been there).

Why does it work?

  • It’s fun
  • Believable (but a stretch)
  • People can identify with it (You know you’ve thrown a ball in from 50 feet and said “Dude! Perfect!)

Their videos have gotten them on ESPN, Good Morning America and in Sports Illustrated.  The premise of their site is having fun and raising money for I’m sure somewhere along the way they’ll end up with a TV show or get licensed to make commercials for someone (my money is on a Coke or Pepsi ad in the Super Bowl), but right now, it looks like they are the latest folks to create great content and find a market for them.

Below is their most well known video billed as the World’s Longest Basketball Shot that goes from the 3rd level at Kyle Field at Texas A&M into a basket at field level.

Study Russian Linguistics and Get a Show Where You Get to Blow Stuff Up

If only it was that easy.  The WSJ has a profile of the long strange path Jamie Hyneman took to get where he is now as the host of his popular show “MythBusters.”

What’s the marketing connection here?  There isn’t one. This is an entrepreneurial post. Jamie literally went to the library and researched careers that would allow him to do things that interested him.  Not all jobs make you happy and allow you to do things that you find incredibly interesting. But if you find one that does, that’s pretty cool.