Just recently I had the director of online marketing at HarperCollins drop me a quick note, informing me of a couple new titles the publisher has coming out. It’s always nice to get the scoop. I wanted to share one with you today, one that you might regularly brush off, just as you flip by them on the TV.
What am I talking about? DRTV, also known as direct response TV, or better yet, infomercials.
Due out before the end of March is But Wait … There’s More!: Tighten Your Abs, Make Millions, and Learn How the $100 Billion Infomercial Industry Sold Us Everything But the Kitchen Sink by Remy Stern.
From the e-mail that was sent to me: “Stern’s eye-opening account also offers a penetrating look at how late-night television conquered the American consumer and provides insight into modern American culture: our rampant consumerism, our desire for instant riches, and our collective dream of perfect abs, unblemished skin, and gleaming white teeth. Both a compelling business story and a thoroughly entertaining piece of investigative journalism (with a touch of muckraking and social satire), But Wait . . . There’s More! will ensure that you never look at those too-good-to-be-true deals the same way again.”
Yes, we might all laugh at them, but according to a February New York Times article, they are making profits steadily and heading into prime time more often. Just the other night I saw a quick spot for the Tomato Tree …wow 60 pounds of tomatoes…suddenly I have a craving for a BLT.
Filed under: Innovation, Leadership, Personal Development | Tags: Business, business books, Innovation, Leadership
There are some days when I think we all want to avoid reading the newspaper or glancing at CNN on the TV during breakfast. We keep saying, “How bad is this recession going to get? It can’t get any worse, right?” And then it does. This is a scary time, but we have to remember that it is not the first recession this country has seen.
While trying to track down an article I had spied about different sectors and how “recession-proof” they are, I came across an interview of Ram Charan, conducted by by Christina Bielaszka-DuVernay—a HarvardBusiness.org editor.
I suggest taking a look at what Charan has to say about what leaders need to focus on right now during the recession (it’s the first question tackled in the interview). But I think his answer to Bielaska-DuVernay’s final question, “What will the best companies do during this recession?” is even more important for leaders to consider. Charan answers, “They’ll get ahead the curve and conserve their cash. They’ll take out frills and focus on the core. And then they’ll think of how the market will have changed in two or three years and what innovation they will need to have done to compete successfully, and they’ll do that innovation now.”
Also notable is that Charan, the ever-prolific writer, published Leadership in the Era of Economic Uncertainty: The New Rules for Getting the Right Things Done in Difficult Times with McGraw-Hill in late December 2008.
One reviewer on Amazon.com, identified as M. McDonald, hits the nail right on the head with the comment that Leadership in the Era of Economic Uncertainty is “a playbook for senior executives to get back to the basics in these tough economic times. Charan is the first author to take a serious look at what running a company will be like under the assumption that the economy will not recover in the short run, but rather what you will need to be effective over the next two to three years.”
But if that’s not enough, consider Soundview’s Personal Survival Skills Collection. Definitely something worth considering if you want to make yourself more valuable to your company.
Filed under: Innovation, Leadership, Technology | Tags: Business, Innovation, Leadership, Technology
Back in June of 2008, investment banker Piper Jaffray predicted that Apple’s App Store could become a $1.2B business in 2009. He based his prediction on careful calculations around the number of iPhone and iTouch users, those that are actively using their device, and the average cost of an app. His conservative number came in at $416M, while his aggressive calculation came in at just over $1.2B.
Although one might think that the changes in the economy would slow this app train down, it will have more effect on new purchases of iPhones than on the sale of apps that average just $10 each (not including free apps). There’s still quite a healthy market for apps, and development doesn’t seem to be slowing any. There are now over 15,000 apps available and the average iPhone user has downloaded at least 15 applications in the past 6 months.
In fact, at 10pm on Jan. 19th, a new app came out just in time to be downloaded by iPhone users to see streaming coverage (Ustream) of the events around Barack Obama’s inauguration. This kind of development is a regular event at the app store with entrepreneurs putting everything they can think of onto the iPhone, riding its tsunami of popularity.
Here are just a few of the great business apps I found while surfing the iTunes app store:
- Credit Card Terminal – you can actually handle a credit card transaction through Authorize.net. $49.99
- Hey Taxi – finds the closest taxi services so you can make the call. Also rates them on response time. $0.99
- Rental Cars – finds the closest rental car office and provides a map. $0.99
- TraveLog – keeps track of your billable vehicles miles. $1.99
- Smart Dial – allows you to search for a number by typing the name right on the phone-dial keypad. $0.99
And not to be left out, Soundview has just entered the iPhone app market with three mini-collections of leadership book summaries, designed perfectly for the iPhone in text and audio formats. $9.99 each
- Soundview Leadership Vol. I – Know-How, Get There Early and Leadership Gold.
- Soundview Leadership Vol. II – The 360 Degree Leader, Crisis Leadership Now and True North.
- Soundview Leadership Vol. III – Why Great Leaders Don’t Take Yes for an Answer, A Leader’s Legacy and The Leader of the Future II.
Let us know about some of your favorite apps!
Former Gallup Organization member and widely-popular thought leader Marcus Buckingham has always pushed us to recognize our strengths and go put them to work. You really shouldn’t be bothered focusing on your weaknesses—expending extra energy just to claim the “most improved” prize. Instead, according to Buckingham, the goal is to channel your energy into your strengths, which can actually make work and home life more exciting. Unfortunately, I don’t think this argument will go over too well with your son’s math teacher when you mention he should spend more time focusing on his basketball game and less on his sub-par Trigonometry homework.
Another thought leader from the Gallup Organization is Tom Rath, international bestselling author of How Full Is Your Bucket and StrengthsFinder 2.0. In early January, Rath, accompanied by renowned leadership consultant Barry Conchie, published yet another title through Gallup Press: Strengths Based Leadership.
At 216 pages, Strengths Based Leadership concisely identifies the three keys to being a more effective leader. From the book’s Amazon.com page:
1. The most effective leaders are always investing in strengths. In the workplace, when an organization’s leadership fails to focus on individuals’ strengths, the odds of an employee being engaged are a dismal 1 in 11 (9%). But when an organization’s leadership focuses on the strengths of its employees, the odds soar to almost 3 in 4 (73%). When leaders focus on and invest in their employees’ strengths, the odds of each person being engaged goes up eightfold.
2. The most effective leaders surround themselves with the right people and then maximize their team. While the best leaders are not well-rounded, the best teams are. Strong, cohesive teams have a representation of strengths in each of these four domains: executing, influencing, relationship building, and strategic thinking.
3. The most effective leaders understand their followers’ needs. People follow leaders for very specific reasons. When we asked thousands of followers, they were able to describe exactly what they need from a leader with remarkable clarity: trust, compassion, stability, and hope.
Strengths Based Leadership has already begun to follow the pattern of Rath’s other books, residing on the New York Times’ bestsellers list for hardcover business books at spot No. 12 as of February 27. I’m sure Marcus Buckingham would agree that writing bestsellers is certainly one of Rath’s strengths.
For more resources from experts on leadership, check out Soundview’s 2009 Leadership Collection.