A New Beginning

March 18, 2009

Thursday Miva was acquired by AdKnowledge, Inc. This is phenomenal news for the talented folks running Miva Direct.  Robert Roe and Mark Ribaudo have a vision for the Miva Direct team that I’m excited to see come to fruition in the coming weeks.  I won’t be a part of that vision because this Monday I was let go.  This is the best thing to happen for me.  This is an opportunity for growth, learning and expansion.  I worked very hard in the months that I spent at Miva Direct and I hope that the team experiences nothing but success.  They all deserve the best.  Now, I must start the journey to look for my next challenge.  

Today, I’m bursting with ideas, happiness, and a feeling that everything happens for a reason.  I’ve decided that I will take some time to be with my family and decide the best opportunity for us. A hasty decision is dangerous, and I want to ensure that I make a decision to move from a pure place, and not a place that is based in financial concern.  

There is so much opportunity in front of me, and I’m excited that this is an opportunity for me to “practice what I preach”.  I have posted on here before regarding the recession, and our perception of the world around us when we’re in the midst of a recession.   Some responded saying that my outlook was unreasonable and much too positive.  I disagree.  Life is not an enemy.  I don’t want war.  I want peace, love and a non hostile environment.  My relationship with the present moment is not a means to an end.  I see my present moment as the only thing that I have.  Life is inseparable from the now.  Now, life is abundant.

  • Now, I have the love of a phenomenal woman.  
  • Now, I have a daughter that is celebrating her first birthday next month, and brings pure joy to my life.2416575556_74337bb7cf_m1
  • Now, I have a family and friends that have reached out to me with love, support and encouragement.  

How lucky am I?

I see the disfunction in grasping for the future, of reacting to the panick of unemployment.  This will not support a smooth transition into a new role. This will only support decision making that is fear based. This won’t help me find a role that is a fulfilling career move.  I may find a “job”, but not an environment where I can be surrounded by like minded positive people.  Life’s much too short for me to seek only financial success.  I’ve seen the danger of this mentality. My actions today are empowered by my intention to do good, act for the good of the people I encounter in my life, and the refusal to feel bitter, rejected, or down.   Too many of us are unaware that we have an inner wisdom of intuition that guides us.  Today is a day I’ve never lived before, and I’m glad to be alive today.  I give to life what I expect life to give to me. I love life.  

Out of this situation, only good will come.


From Attitude to Gratitude

March 4, 2009

This morning something fascinating happened. 

During my commute in on the train I read an article so timely and so appropriate in the  Wall Street Journal:  that I made copies and passed it out to our team.  I was feeling so positive today, so convinced that our team was pulling itself out of the muck and mire of complaining and feeling the negative effects of the recession etc, and turning a corner to producing.  I shared it to be a point of positivity, to spread a feeling of good will and general warm feeling about what we’ve been through and are accomplishing.  I felt they would appreciate the timeliness of the note, smile and file it away under “nice article”…

Most did.

An anonymous someone apparently did not, and left the article crumpled in a ball outside my office door. 

Fascinating. 

The article’s title is “From Attitude to Gratitude: This is No Time for Complaints” by Jeffrey Zaslow. What could have been so offensive to warrant a response of that nature?

Well, the general”zeitgeist” of the article is that when recession hits people tend to complainn less, and realize just how lucky they are to be gainfully employed etc.  Zaslow cites that

“Job satisfaction is actually up according to a December 2008 survey by Yahoo! HotJobs.”  People are more grateful for what they have an hesitant to wine and complain. 

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Jeffrey goes on to quote Dr. McHenry

“A lot of young people grumble due to entitlement” Dr. McHenry encourages us to write down three things we’re grateful for every day – no matter how simple they might seem. “Some days, ” she says, “the list might be as basic as oxygen, food and shelter”

This final quote inspired me to even add this as my status on facebook this morning:

Chris is wondering what are 3 things that you’re grateful for today? – 1.My Family 2.My Job 3. The recent development of a sports page in the WSJ are mine 🙂

So what could have triggered this person to crumple up the article and leave it outside my office?  I guess I’ll never know.  Perhaps as my mother says “A guilty conscience needs no accuser”

But I’ll tell you one thing – I’m certainly not going to complain about it 😉


MIVA DIRECT ADDS LIVE COMMUNITY FEATURES TO ALOT FOLLOWING SIGNING OF MEEBO AGREEMENT

February 19, 2009

NEW YORK – February 19, 2009. MIVA Direct, Inc., the toolbar, homepage and content division of digital media and advertising company, MIVA, Inc. (NASDAQ:MIVA), today announced the roll out of live community features across its ALOT Toolbar and Homepage products following the signing of a new agreement with Meebo, one of the Web’s fastest growing social media companies.

Under the terms of the agreement, MIVA Direct is using Meebo’s technology to facilitate real-time social interactions between users via chat rooms that are promoted across ALOT Toolbar and ALOT Home. Meebo is serving social ads into the technology and MIVA Direct will earn a share of the revenue generated from these ad units.

In addition to the expected revenue it will generate, the functionality is also designed to extend ALOT’s mission of ‘Making the Internet Easy’ by delivering further value to the brand’s existing vertical audiences. Chris Dessi, MIVA Direct’s VP of Sales and Business Development, explains:

“Since launching ALOT we’ve been building up users across a broad range of different verticals – our ALOT Toolbar for Recipes, for example, currently has over 335,000 live users[1]. We believe there are significant potential benefits in offering vertically focused chat rooms that enable these like-minded users to communicate directly with each other, and believe that Meebo is a great application to help us kick-start this process.”

Added Stephanie Quay, Meebo’s Director of Business Development: “The scale and vertical focus of ALOT’s customer base makes them a great fit for Meebo. We look forward to working with them to roll out and monetize our solution.”

http://www.alot.com

http://www.miva.com

http://www.meebo.com

-ends-

About MIVA®, Inc.

MIVA, Inc. (NASDAQ:MIVA) is a global digital media company with a mission to deliver valuable digital audiences to advertisers. MIVA has two focuses to its business: owning and operating toolbar, homepage and desktop products, through its MIVA Direct division; and running a third-party contextual Pay-Per-Click ad network through its MIVA Media division. MIVA, Inc. operates across North America and Europe.

About Meebo, Inc.

With over 40 million people sharing over 5 billion messages and 75 million links every month, Meebo is one of the Web’s fastest growing social media companies. Founded in September 2005, Meebo enables real-time social interactions with instant messaging and group chat at meebo.com and on partner sites across the Web. Meebo is headquartered in Mountain View, CA. Visit meebo.com to connect with friends live on the Web.

Forward-looking Statements

This press release contains certain forward-looking statements that are based upon current expectations and involve certain risks and uncertainties within the meaning of the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Words or expressions such as “anticipate” , “plan,” “will,” “intend,” “believe” or “expect'” or variations of such words and similar expressions are intended to identify such forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and are subject to risks, uncertainties, and other factors, some of which are beyond our control and difficult to predict and could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or forecasted in the forward-looking statements, including (1) our ability to successfully execute upon our corporate strategies, (2) our ability to develop and successfully market new products and services, and (3) the potential acceptance of new products in the market. Additional key risks are described in MIVA’s reports filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, including the Form 10-K for fiscal 2007 and our most recently filed Form 10-Q.

®Registered trademark

MIVA Contact:

Alex Vlasto

(212) 736-9151

Alex.Vlasto@miva.com


[1] Source: Internal statistics: 2/8/09


The Power of the Quick Win

February 5, 2009

Since I started here at Miva Direct, we’ve been pushing our team internally to execute in the most expeditious manner possible.  All hands on deck brainstorming sessions, long hours and full commitment from everyone involved. The results have been better than anyone could have expected with this down economy.  Here’s why;

Quick Wins

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The executive team spend a full day at an offsite meeting outlining the quickest way to generate our desired results (revenue) in the most efficient manner using all resources we have at our fingertips (ie, no new hires). It worked well, and we’re reaping the rewards as we approach mid-Q1

Here’s how we did it

1.      Made people believers not bystanders – we engaged the help of everyone from Account Managers to Directors and VP’s.  Everyone has had a hand in this success, and taken ownership.

2.      Understood uncertainty – Moving forward in this manner, we didn’t sugar coat things with the team. They understand the implications of this economy and understand they can have a hand in their own destiny.

3.      Show humility – The executive team has had to ask for help. Ideas that may not have been touched on during the meeting were add

4.      Learn about your team – We’ve had to ask people to take on roles and responsibilities that may not have been in their job description and this has been a huge success.  Our team is so talented. I’m surprised and impressed by them daily. We’ve given them the opportunity to shine.

 

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What we didn’t do – that could have destroyed our efforts: boss

1. Focus too heavily on details – we used the theory of Occam’s razor – or the Law of Economy.

2. Reacting negatively to criticism – We understood that we needed to improve. We put our heads down and did.

3. Intimidating others – We didn’t used idle threats to motivate. We enlisted the help of our teammates, and empowered them to move.

4. Jumping to conclusions – We stayed open to suggestions and guidance from the team, and didn’t assume anything.

5. Micromanaging – We trusted our people to execute.

Go get some quick wins!

We did..


Recession? What Recession?

January 26, 2009

Recently I saw an interview with Rush Limbaugh.  I know, I know but hear me out.  Throughout the course of the interview Rush was his normal cuddly, narrow minded fool blabbering on about some gibberish that I was just about to turn off when he made a statement that got me.  He said (now I’m paraphrasing here)_….”I know there’s a recession, I just don’t choose to participate”…..and I have to say that this may be the first time I can ever say  – I AGREE WITH OUR BOY RUSH.  Amen!  Let’s not participate. 

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I’m sure Rush didn’t mean it the way I’m going to interpret here – but I don’t really care.  I choose not to participate in the gloom and doom.  I choose to see the silver lining. I choose to be happy.  Put that in your pipe and smoke it.  I’m grateful for my lovely wife Laura, my perfect baby girl Talia, for my friends, my family and my job.  There is a light at the end of the tunnel.

I don’t chose to participate.  

You shouldn’t either.  Smile, you’ll live longer.  I promise.


2 Tips for Running an Offsite

January 26, 2009

Recently the executive team here at Miva Direct had a phenomenal offsite meeting.  We were disciplined, focused and produced a comprehensive agenda for Q1 that thus far has been a huge success.  I’m really proud of the team, and I thought I’d share some of the outline I presented prior to the meeting to help keep us on point. 

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  1. Define 4 Key Elements
  2. Define roles and responsibilities

1. Define 4 key elements

  • Defining and organizing the project
    • Define the projects objectives as clearly as possible.
    • Organize the right people and all necessary resources around the objectives
  • Planning the project ie, given our objective.  What set of tasks must we complete?  -GHANT chart etc
  • Managing project execution – should we name a project manager to oversee all execution/timelines etc?
  • Closing down the project – What went well – what went badly – should we do this quarterly etc.

2 .Define roles and responsibilities

Project sponsor

  • Championing the project at the highest level
  • Clearing away organizational obstructions
  • Providing the resources required for success
  • Communicating effectively with CEO about our progress

Project Manager

  • Recruit effective participants
  • Provide framework for the projects activities – timelines
  • Keep vision clear
  • ID resources
  • Mediate conflicts
  • Manage budget
  • Ensure everyone contributes and benefits
  • Keep work on track
  • Assure goals are delivered on time and on budget

Project Leader (s) –

  • Emphasize the higher-level goals of Miva Direct and how successful team action will contribute to them.
  • Emphasize how the other party will benefit by helping the project – ie, product team will benefit if each of our ideas generate revenue
  • Regularly communicate progress and problems with Project Manager
  • Periodically assess team progress, the outlook of members (morale) and how each member views his or her contribution (we need to be aware of how product feels)
  • Do a share of the work
  • Resist the urge to act like a “boss”

 Our offsite while arduous proved to be one of the most effective things our team has done to date.

I’ll keep you posted on our execution of  proposed tactics.


Making ALOT relevant

January 17, 2009

A huge challenge for our team here at Miva Direct is to continue to delight our consumer with relevant topical content.  It’s our responsibility to not only ensure that our interface is usable, but applicable.  Sometimes when developing a page companies tend to err on the side of selling as much inventory as possible. You’ll notice however that on the ALOT home page white space is abundant, and the easy navigability enhance the user experience.  We’re proud of our home product, and hope you take a minute to check it out here: ALOT

alot-logo

While interacting with the ALOT home page you may drag and drop any widget you feel you may want to keep track of – for example Accuweather powers our Weather widget.

Happy configuring!