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


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.



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. 


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. 








  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.

A gift for you today.

January 4, 2009

Today is the beginning of a new life. Today, you can start over. All good things are coming to you today. You’re grateful to be alive today. You see beauty all around you. You live with passion and purpose. You take time to laugh everyday. You are awake, energized and alive. You focus on all the good things in life. You give thanks for them. You are at peace and one with everything. You feel the love, joy and the abundance. You are free to be yourself. You are magnificence in human form. You are the perfection of life. Be grateful to be you. Today is the best day of your life.

I know I am.395838177_04e44cadfe_m

New Years Resolutions for the Interactive Advertising World

December 29, 2008

It’s that time of year again, when you make promises you can’t keep, over commit to Gym time, work hours, and time spent on that novel you started Freshman year in College.   After setting to work on my own list of New Years Resolutions, I thought it may be valuable to scour the Internet and aggregate a few of my favorite lists from the on line advertising world.  Take a look:

resolutions Click this link to check out MediaTwo – Interactive Ad Agency‘s resolutions.

Media Post did something different this year, and offer New Year’s Resolutions for Hispanic Marketers; HERE

Adotas is always insightful.   Take a look at their resolutions.  All of which I agree with. If I were to put them in order of importance, I’d list

Better Engage Users Through Social Interaction as my number one

Kudos to the team at Adotas. I believe their list is one of the most comprehensive I could find.

Here are my 5 Resolutions for 2009:

1. Listen to our users more. The brand is a phenomenal product.  We need to break down walls and allow our users to give us feedback about the product.  This will allow for champions for the brand, and provide a forum for us to share information.

2. Continue to be the “white hat” provider of downloadable toolbars.  We have a strong relationship with Google, Truste Certification, and will continue to develop and cultivate strong working relationships.

3. Test, test test.   Our team has so many great ideas that will enhance our users experiences that it behooves us to test everything.

4. Continue to pay attention to ROI.  It’s easy to get caught up in big deals attached to big dollar signs.  If there’s no attention to ROI, we’re shooting ourselves in the foot.

5. Stay focused.  As we grow and continue to generate revenue, it’s easy to rest on your laurels.  We need to stay focused and push each other (especially in such a volatile economic environment.


December 11, 2008

MIVA Direct Appoints Chris Dessi as VP of Sales and Business Development
Tuesday December 9, 7:28 am ET
Appointment Follows the Launch of MIVA Direct’s Customizable ALOT Toolbar and Homepage Products


NEW YORK, NY–(MARKET WIRE)–Dec 9, 2008 — MIVA Direct, Inc., the toolbar, homepage and content division of digital media and advertising company, MIVA, Inc. (NasdaqGM:MIVANews), today announced the appointment of Chris Dessi as VP of Sales and Business Development.Chris’s appointment is intended to enable MIVA Direct to capitalize on opportunities presented through its recently launched customizable ALOT toolbar and homepage products. In his new role, Chris is responsible for negotiating co-branded toolbar agreements; selling sponsored homepage and toolbar widgets; and managing online ad sales across MIVA Direct’s portfolio of consumer destination sites.

Chris joins MIVA Direct from performance marketing firm, Zanox, where he worked as VP of Advertiser Sales. Prior to Zanox, Chris served as Director of National Advertiser Sales for AzoogleAds, Inc (now Epic Advertising, Inc). He has also held senior sales and business development roles for companies including Responsys, Inc. and Mediaplex, a division of ValueClick, Inc.

“We believe that the launch of our customizable ALOT toolbar and homepage products in October presents potentially significant opportunities for MIVA Direct and that Chris, with his depth of industry experience and proven track record, is the perfect candidate to help us leverage these opportunities,” commented Peter Corrao, MIVA’s President and CEO.

Added Chris Dessi: “This is an exciting time to be joining the MIVA Direct team. I believe that the ALOT brand is continuing to gain traction in the market and as its scale and reach increase, it opens up a wealth of opportunities for brand and direct response advertisers.”

About MIVA®, Inc.

MIVA, Inc. (NasdaqGM:MIVANews) 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 a growing portfolio of consumer destination sites and interest-specific toolbars, through its MIVA Direct division; and running a third-party contextual Pay-Per-Click ad network focused on key vertical sectors, through its MIVA Media division. MIVA, Inc. operates across North America and Europe.

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 attract and retain qualified key personnel, (3) our ability to develop and successfully market new products and services, and (4) 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
     Email Contact

Brainstorming for Toolbar and Homepage

December 3, 2008

Today we held our first brainstorming session since I’ve been on the Miva Direct team.  It was a huge success.  I want to share three things that I think helped us stay on point, and leave the room with a great feeling of accomplishment.

1.  Goals – My colleague Sean Conrad pointed out that before we start the brainstorming process we needed to articulate the goal of the meeting.  This goal was shared with the group prior to our meeting, and I wrote it on the white board for everyone to reference during the session.

2. No interruptions – Key to our success today was respect.  Respect for the product team, marketing team, and sales/BD teams that were all represented.  This rule again was communicated via email to the team first, and reiterated on the white board.

3. We are greater than Me.  I’ve attempted to make it clear to the entire Miva team that we are greater together than as individuals, and once we harness this power – we’ll be ready to make some great things happen.


We took copious notes, and will assign cost analysis to team members.  Once that’s complete an airtight proposal will be issued to management.  This is the first step in toward truly integrating all brainpower for the brand.  I’m fired up, and I think the team was excited as well.


December 1, 2008

I’ve learned many great lessons over the years, but one that comes to mind that I’ve been particularly connected to. 

-It’s the leader’s job to initiate a connection with the people in your organization.

If you really want to make a difference, have an impact and get things done it’s up to you to reach out.  I’m started my 8th day on my new job, and I’ve only eaten alone once.  I’m in the process of getting to know everyone.  It’s not their job to make me feel welcome – they’re busy. 

So get out of your office, and start buying some people lunch.  You’ll be glad you did

Online Ads are Alive and Well

November 25, 2008

Despite our current financial crisis, US Internet ad revenue rose in the 3rd quarter of 2009 according to Yahoo Finance AP Writer Rachel Metz.

Metz goes on to say “The report from the Interactive Advertising Bureau and PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP said that online advertising revenue totaled almost $5.9 billion in the third quarter, up 11 percent from the same period last year. It marked a 2 percent rise from the second quarter.”

Seeing an increase regarding any economic activity these days is a good thing, but it’s certainly encouraging for the online world to see stories like this.  The manner in which online advertisers can performance (when a consumer clicks on ads) is a direct indicator of it’s success.  Other media doesn’t offer the ability for the advertiser to track ROI.  Online advertising is truly Direct Marketing on Steroids.

FINALLY – Good news!


November 18, 2008

Day two at Miva, and things are going really well.   I’ve found the coffee, met most of the team in the New York office (if I haven’t met you yet, come by!), and found the men’s room (very important).  

Now it’s time to get things moving in the right direction as quickly as possible and with as little interruption of current business being conducted.  I’ve already identified a few things that need to be remedied that will help to streamline our process and assist our team as we grow the brand and cultivate relationships with large branded advertisers like Better Homes and Gardens. 

Credit to Harvard Business Review for the acronym F.A.S.T.  I’ve taken some great points make in the last issue, and customized them some that apply to the issues we’ll be dealing with in the coming months.


Review all current processes with the team.


Identify operation initiatives that can be implemented in relatively quick and easy fashion – ie, road map an internal process, and formalize each step.  This will assist in stream-lining all aspects of Account Management, and assist in the implementation of additional deals.


Identify two to three obstacles that may have hindered the team in the past, and address each as soon as possible.  Address the steps that need to occur in order to get things running as smooth as possible in preparation for additional new business.  We’ll make sure that we can handle explosive growth.

Tie it All Together

Integrate our new streamlined process and refine as we go.  I’m communicating to the team that this will be an ongoing strategy and that I’ll need their full commitment and cooperation.  We’re already off to a great start!