Social Media Pundit Quotes

June 9, 2009

“This is clearly the direction where social media campaigns are headed – going beyond simply having a presence on key social sites and also doing something creative that engages customers with your brand.”

Adam Ostrow, Mashable

“Consumers base their buying decisions on reputation, repeat exposure to the brand and being able to relate to the brand. And that’s what this app does. It allows the consumer to go beyond the 30-second television commercial and interact with brand itself.”

– Joe Couceiro, Busch Entertainment Exec VP CMO

“…US ad spending on widgets and applications is projected to reach $70 million, up 75% from 2008.”

– Debra Aho Willimson, eMarketer

“A downturn opens up rare opportunities to outmaneuver rivals.”

“Companies that injudiciously slash marketing spending often find that they later must spend far more in order to recover.”

– David Rhodes and Daniel Selter, Harvard Business Review

“Basically, in a recession, the consideration phase is more important than awareness — and that’s where advertising flops and social applications succeed.”

– Josh Bernoff, Forrester Research

“Social networks are where consumers feel comfortable expressing their feelings—good or bad—about companies, products and services. Marketers, retailers and social networks have an opportunity to tap into this stream of information-sharing.”

– Debra Aho Williamson, eMarketer

“Social media is perhaps the most powerful communications platform of the future. Making it viable is more than a VivaKi priority: it is an industry imperative.”

– David Kenny and Jack Klues, VivaKi managing directors

Keys to the Kingdom

November 20, 2008

I have a confession: 

Among the mix of hardcore business books, and Harvard Business Review Podcasts I so ravenously devour, I sometimes pick up a podcast from Oprah (stop laughing please).  I feel she’s a thought leader in spirituality and becoming ones true self.  Since I’m all about self actualization, and self improvement – you can see the tie-in.

Last night I listed to her podcast when she interviewed Daniel Pink, author of a book called  A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future. Apparently Oprah liked the book so much, she decided to share this book with the entire graduating class at Stanford this Spring when giving their commencement address. I haven’t read the book yet, but I felt like I needed to offer a post for

2 reasons:

1. I’m certainly going to read it (or listen to the audio book)

2. It seems to be the perfect marriage of spirituality or self actualization and business converging.  Nice.

Some key elements:

The new world we’re living in is being taken over by right brained individuals. Over the past few decades the world has been run by a certain type of person (mostly left brained) Doctors, Lawyers, Accountants.   Pink uses words to describe these people like have the ability of “symphony”  – aggregating disparate ideas and being able to articulate them in a manner that’s comprehensible to lay-men.  He also mentions the ability to tell stories that evoke emotion, play, and experience empathy. Right brained, right brained, right brained.  You get the idea.

He argues that while logical and linear brained thinking is great, and effective, it’s not enough.  The world is coming around to the right brain.  Pink comes to this conclusion by evaluating the facts (he’s a self assessed left brainer himself).

Years ago we were in the agricultural age, then industrial, information, and now conceptual. Left brain activity is activity that can be replicated by computers (anyone can look up the capital of Yemen on Google).  Right brained activity cannot (at least not yet). 

The paradox of prosperity contributes to this phenomenon as well.  The more prosperous we are, the more laborious things are automated, and the more time we have to sit around and ponder – why am I here? (cool, right?).  So as the world becomes more prosperous (baby boomers in particular), the more evolved the world is becoming.  Right brained people are no longer being viewed as new-agey  individuals because the efficacy of spirituality/meditation etc is being measured by science. 

I’ll talk more about the book after I’ve read it of course, but I felt it was worth sharing.  Let me know what you think?

Right brainer’s UNITE! Here’s a link: A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future


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!

Top Audiobooks I’m listening to now

November 12, 2008

Change Your Thoughts – Change Your Life: Living the Wisdom of the Tao

This may be a bit too “touchy feely” for some people, but Wayne Dyer is a bright guy, and  I love the way he applies the teachings of the Tao to everyday life.  I’ve read the Tao in a few different translations – the teachings are open to interpretation, and therefore mean different things to different people – but the Dr. adds his own (practical) spin to each. There’s great truth in his writing – so I give it a strong thumbs up.

Harvard Business Review on Leadership (Harvard Business Review Paperback Series)

I can never get enough of HBR. The quality of content is unsurpassed. I also recommend the HBR podcast (see below).  There’s nothing wrong with a daily dose of HBR.


Jack Welch’s book.  The most practical business book I’ve ever read (or listened to).  Jack’s no BS attitude can be abrasive, but he give some great insight on how to get things done, and how to produce results.  If you’re listening to the Audio book – take notes.  He offers some serious gems that you can apply to your work life today.

A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose (Oprah’s Book Club, Selection 61)

I recommend this book so strongly that I’ve given it as a gift to numerous friends and family.  I listened to it numerous times since the first listen about 6 months ago. It’s powerful on a few different levels, and will make you view the world in a new light. If you liked the Secret – you’ll love this.  Sort of the natural progression for anyone that felt a chord was struck in the Secret.   Strong recommendation.


Best of YouTube 

Great to break up any monotonous commuting.  Careful though – you may find yourself laughing out loud while staring at your ipod.  Funny when you’re sitting with friends. Not so funny when you’re on the subway.  Although I’m sure a good conversation starter…

Harvard Business ideaCast

Part of my morning routine/toolbox.  Another one to take notes on.  Interviews with thought leaders in business.  The format is entertaining and informative. This is a must listen to….save the $$ on the HBR, and listen to this podcast daily. You won’t regret it.

Meditation Oasis

Guided Meditation. Helps if you feel like you need a helping hand to decompress.

November 10, 2008

The product team are killing it at!  In the past three weeks, I’ve seen 2 iterations of the home page.  It just keeps getting better! Can’t wait to meet everyone.  

You can see that the team is paying attention to the current zeitgeist online regarding tapping into the power of the masses.  These downloadable toolbars help to make the users online experience easier, and more dynamic.  I’ll write more about this later (I’m in the process of digesting some great information from a Harvard Business Review Article – “The Contribution Revolution” – Letting Volunteers Build Your Business.  If past experience is any indicator, I’m sure I’ll stumble upon a few gems in HBR that can help out the manner in which MIVA is currently tapping the user base. 

Stay tuned.

The Fatal Flaw of Pay for Performance

June 23, 2008

Here’s a copy of my article that appeared in Adotas:

The Fatal Flaw of Pay for Performance

The Harvard Business Review, however interesting, is not always at the top of my reading list for a seven-hour flight to the UK. I’m more of an Esquire kind of guy, but I recently relented and forked over the cash for good old HBR (I still bought an Esquire to keep me entertained). While flipping through the articles, it struck me that the issues discussed on those pages transcend industries and are widely appealing because they affect any business. The contents seemed to be custom produced by writers that perhaps had been listening in on my team meetings and brain storming sessions over the past six months. This reminded me that some dilemmas – strategic, operational, motivational and ethical – are universal.

One piece in particular sparked my interest immediately, as it resounded for the performance-based online marketing industry yet had little to do with it. Odd. The title of the article was something along the lines of “The Fatal Flaw of Pay for Performance.” I immediately devoured the article, quickly realizing that it had nothing to do with online marketing. It was, however, fascinating and perfectly applicable.

The article discussed how rewarding a CEO for performance may satisfy certain critics so they don’t get swept away with backdating stock options, or the like. One of the main points addressed in the piece, which I felt was perfectly appropriate for our industry, is that when people (or in our case publishers/affiliate marketers) are rewarded for performance only, there is a fatal flaw – the temptation to cheat.

We open the system up for fraudulent activity because the one responsible for performing is so desperate to meet a certain benchmark that they loose site of the bigger picture. The article listed examples of CEO’s who had “cooked” the books. In my mind, I thought about rampant fraudulent leads I’ve seen over the years – affiliates forging applications, entering fake emails, even using stolen credit cards – all with the intent to be paid for performance.

The bottom line is, however appealing it is for advertisers, if not properly regulated, this model is flawed. You don’t want a CEO to be rewarded for something he or she didn’t really do. Nor do we in the performance-based marketing industry want to reward someone for performance they didn’t achieve on behalf of our advertisers.

The model shouldn’t be just pay for performance, but rather pay for performance with integrity. Let’s be honest though, there are too many affiliates and publishers to cut out all of the shady guys. So, how do we solve this dilemma? The first step is to be AWARE of the issue, and then monitor, regulate and participate.

Once you’ve recognized the existing threat, it’s important to monitor your affiliates and the manner with which they generate leads for your advertisers. Have a task force assigned to not just monitoring, but identifying and then terminating the relationship if the publisher is seen to be doing anything out of the ordinary. It’s also crucial to regulate the publishers that join your network. It’s your integrity as well as your advertisers’ at stake, be in charge and lay down the law. Finally, participate in removing these publishers actively as well as educating your advertisers about the pitfalls of pay for performance (i.e. Don’t allow incentivized traffic on lead generation offers).

My trans-Atlantic encounter with HBR ultimately reminded me that pay for performance is flawed – a dilemma that echoes across all industries. For those of us in performance-based online marking, particularly affiliate marketing, it should be clear that pay for performance with integrity is always better, albeit difficult to execute, and therein lies the differentiating factor for the best networks.