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Posted: 12/31/2011 - 0 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ] - 0 Likes
Category: Other
Michael Moore

Michael Moore

Oscar and Emmy-winning director

 
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75 Years Ago Today, the First Occupy

Posted: 12/30/11 02:24 PM ET
 
 
 


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On this day, December 30th, in 1936 -- 75 years ago today -- hundreds of workers at the General Motors factories in Flint, Michigan, took over the facilities and occupied them for 44 days. My uncle was one of them.

The workers couldn't take the abuse from the corporation any longer. Their working conditions, the slave wages, no vacation, no health care, no overtime -- it was do as you're told or get tossed onto the curb.

So on the day before New Year's Eve, emboldened by the recent re-election of Franklin Roosevelt, they sat down on the job and refused to leave. 

They began their Occupation in the dead of winter. GM cut off the heat and water to the buildings. The police tried to raid the factories several times, to no avail. Even the National Guard was called in. 

But the workers held their ground, and after 44 days, the corporation gave in and recognized the UAW as the representative of the workers. It was a monumental historical moment as no other major company had ever been brought to its knees by their employees. Workers were given a raise to a dollar an hour -- and successful strikes and occupations spread like wildfire across the country. Finally, the working class would be able to do things like own their own homes, send their children to college, have time off and see a doctor without having to worry about paying. In Flint, Michigan, on this day in 1936, the middle class was born.

But 75 years later, the owners and elites have regained all power and control. I can think of no better way for us to honor the original Occupiers than by all of us participating in the Occupy Wall Street movement in whatever form that takes in each of our towns. We need direct action all winter long if we are to prevail. You can start your own Occupy group in your neighborhood or school or with just your friends. Speak out against economic injustice at every chance you get. Stop the bank from evicting the family down the block. Move your checking and credit card to a community bank or credit union. Place a sign in your yard -- and get your neighbors to do it also -- that says, "WE ARE THE 99%." (You can download signs here and here.)

Do something, anything, but don't remain silent. Not now. This is the moment. It won't come again. 

75 years ago today, in Flint, Michigan, the people said they'd had enough and occupied the factories until they won. What is stopping us now? The rich have one plan: bleed everyone dry. Can anyone, in good conscience, be a bystander to this?

My uncle wasn't, and because of what he and others did, I got to grow up without having to worry about a roof over my head or medical bills or a decent life. And all that was provided by my dad who built spark plugs on a GM assembly line.

Let's each of us double our efforts to raise a ruckus, Occupy Everywhere, and get creative as we throw a major nonviolent wrench into this system of Greed. Let's make the politicians running for office in 2012 quake in their boots if they refuse to tax the rich, regulate Wall Street and do whatever we the people tell them to do. 

Happy 75th!
 

Posted: 12/27/2011 - 0 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ] - 0 Likes
Category: Sports

 

My basketball come back sure did hurt

 

I could sure use a long, hot and relaxing soak in the tub right now. I am sore all over the place, but it is a good kind of sore.

I came out of pick up basketball retirement Monday and was fortunate to play in three straight games before shutting it down for younger and faster guys. Our team kept winning even though the team was stuck with me as the fifth wheel. It was worth getting yelled at by my wife who made me retire five years ago. It was worth getting lectured from the trainer who actually told me not to worry about getting injured until I actaully started playing. Now she is worried about me getting injured.

Women. You can never figure them out.

My come back took place Monday morning at the Commerce Township Life Time Fitness. I finished my morning workout, saw guys getting ready to play and slipped into my gym shoes. It was rough. I was winded and tired but my stamina began to build up. I do work out but there is something about running up and down a basketball court that wears on you.

But my workouts came in handy because I began to pick up energy the longer I played.

The one thing that was tough to get back was your basketball instincts. All of the bad things I rip the Pistons for doing, I did. I did not follow my shot. I got broken down on a cross over and I sometimes did not block out. But those things started to slowly come. My jumper actually fell a couple of times and I crashed the boards for two tip in buckets.

I already know the type players I hate most. I hate those guys who are speedy and want to run through picks all day. I had to guard a guy like that and I was so tempted to smack him in the face to slow him down. I like the big fat guy who wants to post up all day. He is sweaty and gross smelling but at least you get a rest while guarding him.

What is it about pick up basketball and men? We love to compete. We love the action and we love to show other guys we’ve got a little game. Mostly for me it is a great time to bond and talk and be part of a team. We won and I made some small contributions.

I would love to find a weekly game somewhere. Life Time gets too crowded and when the young boys come to play that is when the arguments take over. If I want to argue I can just stay home and pick with the wife.

I will try to find a game once a week. I am not going to make this an every day thing. OK. I have to go and find some Ben Gay. This hurts.

 

 

 

Posted: 12/27/2011 - 0 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ] - 0 Likes
Category: Creative

Josh Linkner's Blog


Josh Linkner

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

On Space Aliens and Perspective

Imagine you are heads-down, dealing with a major project, deadline, or problem. You are slogging through the muck but you just can't seem to break free from traditional thinking. You keep working harder and harder but fail to snag the results you seek.

Then, in a big burst of smoke, an alien appears from the planet Imagina of the galaxy Surge 24. His green antennae spin with thought, his yellow eyes roll back in his head, his body starts to shake, and then BAM.... He gives you that breakthrough idea you've been dying for.

How'd he do that? It could be that his three brains just have more firepower than yours. Or, it could simply be that he's looking at the problem from a different perspective.

One of the most powerful techniques I discovered when doing the research for my book, Disciplined Dreaming, is deliberately shifting perspective in order to summon creativity. The human brain has an incredible ability to project into a different circumstance and then function as if it were that new situation.

In other words, the next time you are struggling for that breakthrough idea, pretend you are an alien from the future. How would that alien analyze the problem without the same context that you have? What would the alien's biases do to his thought-process? Since he doesn't understand our earthly limitations, fears, and social pressures, what solutions would he recommend?

When you look at a challenge through a different lens, two things happen. First, all your fear and doubt melt away since you stop worrying about how your idea will make you look to others. Second, the fresh perspective yields an abundance of ideas that were previously unconsidered since you are approaching the situation from a different vantage point.

Of course, there's no need to stop with intergalactic amigos. Try approaching your next challenge as a detective from 16th century London. Or a heroin-drenched jazz musician from the early 50's. Or your seven-year-old nephew. Or the warden of a maximum-security prison. Or Kim Kardashian. Or Darth Vader. Or the Octomom. 

How would they approach the challenge? What solutions might they imagine from their own context? How would they think about things looking through a different lens? 

The next time you hit a roadblock or need a B12 injection of creativity, try shifting your perspective and imagine how someone else would solve it. Whether you choose to be an alien, Paul McCartney, or Santa Claus, a fresh view on your work can really shake things up.

 

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Posted: 12/15/2011 - 0 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ] - 0 Likes
Fred Leeb

Fred Leeb

Former emergency financial manager for the City of Pontiac

 
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Detroit Can Be Great Again

Posted: 12/14/11 03:31 PM ET
 

 

 

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I was the first emergency financial manager in Pontiac from March 19, 2009 through June 30, 2010 and I believe my experiences could be very applicable to Detroit. I know that, even though I have been a turnaround consultant for over 20 years, I learned a tremendous amount from actually going through the process.

We made some mistakes but we also achieved many successes as a result of listening to the city's staff personnel, respecting their expertise, encouraging new ideas and then enlisting their support to take action and implement the changes.

We didn't just create more reports or studies that went on someone's shelf. We were able to generate, even under the old Public Act 72, over $115 million in multi-year benefits for the city, upgrade the city's bond rating and generate two years of surpluses in a row after many years of deficits.

Virtually all the recent discussions about Detroit have focused on how much power either the mayor, the city council or an emergency manager could bring to bear to cut costs immediately. It is true that in a financial emergency the only controllable factor initially is expense so that must be addressed first. But cutting expense alone is overly simplistic and shortsighted. To be successful, Detroit must cut expense and increase its revenues. The major sources of city revenues are from property taxes and income taxes. These will increase only if more people and businesses, who are able to pay taxes, live or work in the city.

Detroit must have a plan to cut expense without drastically reducing services and to attract taxpayers to the city. Creativity and teamwork on the part of all stakeholders involved will be absolutely essential if Detroit is to both cut expense and attract major new taxpayers who are being courted by virtually every other community in the country. Detroit must compete for these taxpayers with a clear-cut turnaround plan.

The first step in the turnaround planning process is to stop all forms of denial. This is not to criticize or blame, but to understand the depth of what must be done. [Nobody should assume that any one person will be given a magic wand to cure-all Detroit's problems quickly.] Just a few statistics can help to begin the process to understand Detroit's competitive position and that its resources already are severely limited. For example, Detroit is now only the 18th largest city in the country based on 2010 data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

It is no longer in the top 10. Detroit also was ranked 522, of 540 cities listed by the U.S. Census Bureau based on per capita income of $14,213 (based on 2009 data). For comparison purposes, per capita income of Dallas, the 200th highest city, was $25,941, 82 percent above the level of Detroit. Detroit also had the lowest per capita income and the second highest level of individuals in poverty (at 36.4 percent, only better than San Juan, Puerto Rico) of the 50 largest cities in the U.S. (based on 2009 data). Despite these statistics, Detroit needs at least tens of thousands of additional people and/or businesses who can pay taxes.

We are now very late in the timeline to be able to be successful. Detroit cannot wait any longer to pull together and implement programs such as Detroit Works in order to increase the quality of services at a lower cost to a more concentrated community. If additional precious time is lost through continued infighting and tax revenues continue to decrease, the city's downward spiral will speed up and the city will never be able to cut its way to success. On the other hand, if the city, the county, the region, the state and the federal government have a workable and attractive plan for the future and pull together, Detroit can be great again.

Posted: 12/5/2011 - 0 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ] - 0 Likes
Category: Creative

Josh Linkner's Blog

Josh Linkner  

Monday, December 5, 2011

Five Disaster Moves to Botch Your Pitch

Most of us have something to pitch. You may be pitching your startup to a VC to secure funding. Or perhaps you're pitching your product or service to potential customers. Whether you are pitching your case to a jury, your hypothesis for a research grant, yourself for a new job, or your best friend for a date with that cute guy, a simple rule applies: the better the pitch, the better the results.

 As a venture capitalist, I hear pitches every day. In this highly competitive environment, a strong pitch can be the difference-maker between securing millions in funding and completely missing the mark.

 There are many obvious cliché moves: give a firm handshake, communicate with passion, make strong eye-contact, and try to relate with your audience. Yet there are approaches I see constantly that sabotage an otherwise good pitch. To significantly improve your batting average, avoid these disaster moves when pitching just about anything:

 1) THE RUN-ON SENTENCE: One of my pet peeves is listening to someone drone on for a 45-minute monologue. In your big moment, your instinct is to communicate everything you know, the entire history of your idea, and endless amusing anecdotes. Avoid this urge! Your pitch will be 100 times more powerful if you can make it concise. Make every word count.

 2) THE FACT LEAP: Anyone who is being pitched has turned on their highly-developed BS-detector to full tilt. We are questioning everything you say and trying to poke holes in your story. So the minute you exaggerate a stat, make an outrageous claim, or state a fact that can be challenged, your credibility crumbles.

 3) THE OVERSELL: If you make a strong point once, it resonates. If you feel the need to make the same point several times you end up diluting the power of the message. If you keep pushing a point, you transform before our eyes from a passionate world-changer to a used-car-salesperson or infomercial pitchman. If what you are pitching it that special, you don't need to oversell it.

 4) THE S.A.T.: When responding to a question, just answer it directly. If you tell a four-minute story that includes 73 data points, the listener feels like they are taking an S.A.T. exam in which they need to sift through all the irrelevant stuff in order to get the answer. This does not help you shine or get your message heard.

 5) THE GREAT GATSBY: Grandiose braggers may entertain at cocktail parties, but they rarely win the battle of the pitch. Keep it authentic and real. Your startup with 11 beta customers isn't a billion-dollar company just yet. Think big, but stay humble. After hearing a pitch where the daring hero outperforms Groupon and Apple in their second year with trillions of revenue and six billion customers, I'm ready for a shower instead of a closing dinner.

 Hone your pitch to stand out from the hapless masses that continue to fall into the same traps. In turn, you'll land the job, get the girl, win the capital, and seize your full potential.

 Like what you just read?

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Posted: 12/2/2011 - 0 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ] - 0 Likes
Category: Revitalization
Susan Schindehette

Susan Schindehette

Founder, MiWorld.com

8 Mile Revisited

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Heading east on 8 Mile just past Telegraph, I began feeling a shortness of breath. It wasn't from jogging, or even the heat. It was because my old college roommate, Colette, was driving me into Detroit to see the house I grew up in for the first time in nearly 40 years.

It had been a modest little Wonder Years house in the city's Northwest section -- $13,500 when my parents bought it new back in 1955. In those days, the postage-stamp lawns were manicured, and a Sears above-ground swimming pool was all it took to make you the most popular kid on the block.

My own childhood had been something less than idyllic. My mother was away for long stints at the Northville State Psychiatric Hospital, my dad, a chemical engineer at Chrysler, was paralyzed in a shallow-water diving accident, and my best friend from junior high was later shotgunned to death by a biker gang in an L.A. drug deal gone bad. Stuff like that.

After I left home for the University of Michigan in 1972, I figured I'd escaped. If anyone asked where I was from, my stock answer was: "Detroit. And all I know about it these days is what I see on Animal Precinct when they bust a dogfighting ring." Hahaha. LOL.

But when I spotted the party store on the corner of 8 Mile and Berg Rd., some kind of homing device kicked in. "Turn here," I said to Colette. "Let's go see my old elementary school."

In the old days, St. Eugene's was where, on Sunday mornings, kids stared as my crippled father struggled up the aisle on his clanking Canadian crutches. Now, the first thing that registered as I walked through open doors was empty space. "I went to school here 50 years ago," I blurted to a young man. "Where's the altar?"

"Oh, we haven't had one for a long time," he said, smiling. "We're a charter school now, and this is summer camp."

A dozen kids were having pizza and milk at wooden tables. "Hi -- I went to school here 50 years ago," I said, swallowing hard." Blank stares. "And then I moved to New York City and I was a writer at People magazine." That did the trick. By the time Colette took a souvenir photo, they were all waving for the camera.

Afterward, driving down my old street, everything seemed smaller, except for the overarching trees. The white paper birches in front of my house were gone, replaced by an ugly outdoor lamp. My mother's beautiful roses and peonies were now weedy scrub.

2011-12-01-SchindehetteinfrontofherchildhoodhomeinnorthwestDetroit.jpg

 

Two houses down, a young girl was helping a smaller one ride a pink bike with training wheels. "Hi," I ventured. "I used to live in that house over there 50 years ago. And I learned to ride a bike on one just like yours." They weren't sure what to make of me, but they were polite about it.

Their dad walked over, shook my hand and welcomed me back to the neighborhood. Then Granma came out and did the same. I told her that I'd worked at Time Inc. for 32 years, and written two bestsellers. "I did good," I said softly.

"Yes you did," she said. "You did real good."

As the day went on, I began to wonder. Could Detroit become the hub of a new, green economy -- reborn as the U.S. manufacturing center for wind turbines and solar panels? Was it really possible to transform abandoned houses into agricultural plots, maybe invite Michelle Obama to town to teach kids about vegetable gardens? What if all the Hollywood A-listers who'd been filming movies in Detroit were chauffeured around in Chevy Volts -- and GM's CEO had delivered the first one off the assembly line to Larry David's front door?

Finally, staring up at a beautiful old factory building downtown, it hit me. I have been to Paris and Pakistan, Istanbul and Bosnia. But I have never seen anything quite like this: Detroit is a state-of-the-art, urban frontier. My tattered hometown has, somehow, become "revisionist cool."

Back in Manhattan, I thought I might have imagined it all. Then, in a week's time, a friend sent word that my old, shuttered high school -- Henry Ford -- was slated for a $17 million renovation. Someone forwarded a front-page story in the New York Times heralding the auto industry's turnaround. And on an Entourage re-run, hipster Johnny Drama was wearing a jersey emblazoned with "DETROIT."

2011-12-01-SchindehetteinfrontofHenryFordHighslatedfora17millionrenovation.jpg

 

These days, whenever I think of my hometown, I can't help but remember the old, gray-bearded guy I saw hunched over his cane, panhandling near Greektown. "This is all I've got," I told Colette, slipping her a five to pass to him through the open car window.

"God bless you," he said to her, leaning down to eye level. "And also that beautiful lady sitting right over there next to you."

I flashed him a four-headlight smile. "I used to live in Detroit, and I haven't been here in 40 years!" I called out as the light turned green. Waving, he drew himself up to full height, suddenly looking like a much younger man. "Welcome home!" he hollered. "Welcome home!"

By this stage in life, we all know that you can't go home again. The good things always seem smaller and more distant -- never as bright and shiny as you remember them. But maybe the sad, awful parts aren't quite so big anymore, either -- especially after you've seen what the rest of the world can dish out.

Maybe it's only then, after the bad memories have finally been laid to rest, that there's just one thing remaining on the horizon. And who's to say that it isn't the glint of the future's golden promise?

 
 
 
Posted: 11/29/2011 - 0 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ] - 0 Likes
Category: Sports

Click here for Art Regner Blog @ Fox Sports Detroit

Bio: One of Detroit's top sports radio personalities, Art's passion for athletics has made him connect with the fans in a unique way that can be best described as "hardcore," and he's considered one of Motown's "hockey gurus." Regner has been a talk-show host at both of Detroit's sports stations, WDFN AM1130 (1994-2000 & 2007-present) and WXYT AM1270 (2001-2006). During his stint at WXYT, he was a member of the Detroit Red Wings radio network, hosting Red Wings pregame, intermission, and post-game shows. He currently is part of Comcast Television's CCHA coverage. Art has co-authored three books: "What It Means To Be A Wolverine," "What It Means To Be A Red Wing," and "The Great Book of Detroit Sports Lists." In 2000, Art was named Detroit's Top TV and Radio Personality of the Year by the Ann Arbor News.

The team, the team, the team


 
 
Just before the opening kickoff between Michigan and Ohio State, the gigantic scoreboards at Michigan Stadium played a tribute to Michigan’s legendary coach Bo Schembechler.

For a brief moment, the 114,132 in attendance were transported back to a time when Schembechler patrolled the Wolverine’s sideline.  The montage of ‘Bo Memories’ concluded with him saying, “The team! The Team! The Team!”

It was a good thing that the Wolverines were on the field to soak up Bo’s words, because it took an entire team effort for Michigan to defeat their arch rival 40-34 on Saturday afternoon.

Ohio State came to spoil the Maize and Blue party and with freshman quarterback Braxton Miller doing a spot on impression of Michigan nemesis, Troy Smith, the Buckeyes came close to defeating the Wolverines for the eighth straight time.

Michigan showed a resiliency throughout the game overcoming long TD passes, a muffed punt, video review, inopportune penalties and turnovers to win their tenth game of the season.

“This means the world to US,” senior center Davis Molk said after the game. 

“I played for our seniors, I played for Michigan,” quarterback Denard Robinson responded after being asked if this was the most complete game of his career. 

Each Wolverine that addressed the media talked about their teammates, they did not talk about themselves.  They stressed playing for each other and how they were thinking about former players that never beat the Buckeyes.

They talked about the team.  They talked Michigan football.

“That was one of the best team games we’ve played regardless of the score, regardless of the stats,” said defensive end Ryan Van Bergen.  “Offense performed underclassmen to seniors, defense performed underclassmen to seniors, when asked to step up.

“Me and Mike (Martin) as seniors, as leaders of this team couldn’t be more proud of this team - every single player.”

Martin was reflective as he tried to put the game and the season in perspective.  The senior defensive tackle emphasized the hard work and dedication of this Michigan team as their key to success.  He also talked about what real Michigan football is all about.

“In spring and winter conditioning he (coach Hoke) really taught this team how to compete.  We learned a different mentality.  He always talked about playing Michigan football and early on when we heard that, we’re thinking, “of course we’re playing Michigan football,” but really it’s different.

“Everyone can see the difference of what it really means to play Michigan defense, Michigan football.”

Michigan football begins and ends with the team.  It’s about each player focusing on the task at hand.  It’s about preparation and trusting one another.  It’s about picking each other up in times of adversity.

It’s being part of something that accomplishes the unexpected. There wasn’t a college football pundit or fan on the planet that believed Michigan could put together a 10 win season this year.

Conventional wisdom was that it would take Brady Hoke a few years to clean up the mess of the past few seasons.  Expectations were for respectability, not national acclaim. 

Many thought that it could get worse for Michigan before it became better.

That is where the prowess of tradition/words come in to the mix.

“It’s been a roller coaster that for some reason never seemed like it would never get good,” said Molk when asked to sum up his Michigan career.

“We kept fighting, it’s just like the old saying goes, ‘Those who stay will be Champions.’  We all stayed, we all stayed together, we all were one as a senior class and we made sure that our entire group, that our team stayed with us. That’s why we’re where we are now”

A determined senior class, a coach that preached the Michigan way, underclassmen that played for their upperclassmen, a team that embraced their tradition and one another. 

Sounds like Michigan football to me.    

Posted: 11/29/2011 - 0 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ] - 0 Likes
Category: Other

During a recent visit to the East Coast, the level of appreciation people had for Detroit and Michigan was refreshing.

BY R.J. KING

Wheel's Up
During a recent visit to the East Coast, the level of appreciation people had for Detroit and Michigan was refreshing. Rather than focusing on our economy or loss of population, the inquiries centered on our breadth of manufacturing, skilled labor, and natural resources.

Business leaders I met — defense contractors, manufacturers, technology specialists — understood that Detroit and Michigan can design, engineer, and produce just about anything. Throw in attractive real estate rates, both for lease and for sale, along with an improved corporate tax structure and regulatory reform, and you have the makings of an economic revival.

We may not see it here, but corporate leaders from outside the state are taking note. In fact, the cost of doing business in Michigan is nearly competitive with outsourcing markets like India (all things considered). And given the choice, most domestic executives favor setting up operations in the U.S. rather than dealing with exchange rates, language barriers, political unrest, and foreign time zones.

One sweet spot of opportunity in Detroit’s comeback is aviation. We have a history here — Henry Ford established the modern aviation industry in the 1920s, and many of the automakers built planes during World War II.

The industry has come a long way since then, but challenges abound. The FAA recently mandated that all aircraft be equipped with GPS-enabled communication systems by 2020, among other requirements.

The reason: Rising fuel costs, greater security measures, and technological limitations are causing major airlines to reduce flights. Most recently, Delta Air Lines canceled service to five northern Michigan communities, along with other U.S. destinations.

While today’s planes fly faster than ever before, the time it takes to travel between two destinations has actually increased due to enhanced security measures and communication limitations. The new equipment will alleviate many of these shortcomings.

Traveling by small plane, I listened intently as pilots and air traffic personnel using radar (1940s technology) communicated via party-line radio (really, that’s what they call it). Best described as controlled chaos, the pilots and ground control personnel did their best to operate in a challenged environment.

If ever there was an industry ripe for a 21st century technology overhaul, aviation must be at the top of the list. With manufacturing expertise, skilled labor, and available industrial and R&D space, Detroit and Michigan are ideally positioned to grab a good share of the work, including the design and production of advanced aircraft. We just need to go out and get it. db

R.J. King

rjking@dbusiness.com 

Posted: 11/29/2011 - 0 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ] - 0 Likes
Category: Creative

Josh Linkner's Blog 

Josh Linkner Monday, November 28, 2011 

Superpowers and Kryptonite  

Aquaman has the unique ability to control and communicate with sea creatures. Invisible Woman can - you guessed it - become invisible at will. In fact, each of the superheroes we grew up with and admire have one or more superpowers.  

Turns out that most highly successful people - both mythical and real - have their own secret weapon. From Zeus to Warren Buffet, Serena Williams to Mark Zuckerberg, Oprah to Derek Jeeter, each has their own secret sauce. It's a unique gift that makes them powerful, compelling, and remarkable. 

Good news - you have your own superpower too. It may be the ability to show empathy and patience. You might be a math whiz. Maybe you are terrific at communicating complex ideas. Perhaps you remember everything you read.

You can't be great at everything, but you're probably world-class at something. It could be an obvious superpower such as being an outstanding negotiator. Or it could be subtler such as a dry sense of humor or a vivid imagination.

The even better news is that to be incredibly successful you don't need to be a master of all things. The top superheroes may have x-ray vision or time-travel, but none have all the superpowers. True heroes play to their strengths. The spend a disproportionate amount of time being the absolute best at a small number of things rather than trying to master every skill.

And then there's Kryptonite, Superman's Achilles heel. Turns out we each have one or two of our own soft spots. You may stink at long-division, lack computer skills, or hate writing. You may have a particular relationship that makes your knees wobble and strips you of your power. Perhaps your weakness is junk food, alcohol, or gambling.

Unfortunately, most of us play it backwards. We focus far too much energy on our kryptonite, wallowing in shame and self-pity. We let fear and doubt consume us, which limits our potential. Meanwhile, our superpowers - the gifts that make us truly special - take a backseat and don't get fully developed and cherished.

Can you imagine Superman hunched over at the local saloon, unwilling to leap tall buildings because he's bummed out over his one weakness? Instead, he's identified his shortcoming and doesn't let it hold him back. He's learned to accept and avoid kryptonite so he can get on with saving the world.

Let's start focusing on our strengths and stop obsessing over our weaknesses. Developing your superpower is your most important step on your journey to success. Don't let your nemesis get in the way of reaching your true potential. Each of us has incredible things to accomplish and a gigantic impact to leave on the world. Now is the time to seize that opportunity.

To infinity and beyond....

 

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Posted: 11/4/2011 - 0 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ] - 0 Likes
Category: Creative
brandSTOKE

The most popular post at BrandSTOKE to date is “9 Criteria for Brand Essence.” Now we have combined it with some Branding 101 definitions, a few examples, and additional thinking in the accompanying SlideShare presentation.

It’s intended to provide a basic understanding of brands and branding for most business professionals. (Branding experts may want to skip it.) We hope you find it useful.

  

This entry was posted in brand essenceloyaltypresentations. Bookmark the permalink.
 
Posted: 10/22/2011 - 0 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ] - 0 Likes
Category: Creative

Mark Ramsey Media 

MRM BLOG DAILY

Is Social Media a Bust for Radio? 

Here are the results of an unscientific and thus unrepresentative (but still revealing) poll from Inside Radio:

Half say social networks a revenue-building bust. Facebook is fun and Twitter is a 140-character soapbox but when it comes to making money or contacts, half of Inside Radio readers say social networks haven’t done a thing to advance their career or promote their station. One person tells us, “Social networks, however necessary to what we now do, are an incredible time-waster.” Lots of people said that while they’re on it, they’re not really sure why — or whether it’s doing much good. One person even told us, “I plan to take down my station’s presence on Facebook.”

Interesting, because I wasn’t aware that the purpose of social media was to advance the career of broadcasters or line our pockets. Was that in Facebook’s mission statement, because if so, I missed it.

Social media is about dynamic, efficient, and meaningful connection between 800 million consumers worldwide (and that’s just Facebook).  And it is about brands making the strategic decision to position themselves in that river of activity and interest because their alternative is to be stuck on the shore.

Obviously, half of the respondents to this poll figured that out.  Half figured out that being present in social media is the beginning. But only by having a strategy once you’re there can you achieve your goals and make your presence there worthwhile.

Just launching a page and dropping in some stray posts is not the same as having a social media strategy, and that’s exactly what too many stations do. In fact, if you’re wasting your time on social media then you are reflecting by your behavior that you don’t have a strategy there.  It’s the difference between shopping for a particular item and browsing the stores.

Stop browsing.

In my television work I can tell you that the networks are keenly aware of the value of social media and much time and effort is invested in leveraging that viewer attention along the pathways viewers want to provide it.

What does TV know that half of the respondents in this poll don’t know?

Look at the massive integration of Facebook into Clear Channel’s IHeartRadio. What does Clear Channel know that half of the respondents in this poll don’t know?

I would be willing to bet that the broadcaster who wants to yank his station’s Facebook presence doesn’t have much of one to begin with.  Nor has he ever sat down and answered the key questions all of us should answer before going down the social media path:

  1. Why am I participating in social media?  What is my strategy?
  2. What are my goals, and are these goals reasonable?
  3. How can I measure my success?
  4. What tactics will I employ to achieve these goals?

Anyone who expects money or career success to sprinkle down upon them from Heaven simply because they sign up for Facebook and Twitter should think again.

Social media is powered by people and their tools.  Like a hammer, you can use these tools with the skill of a professional or you can bang your thumb instead of the nail.

So is that the hammer’s fault?

 

 

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Posted: 10/17/2011 - 1 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ] - 0 Likes
Category: Music

Music Industry

by Mike Masnick

Fri, Oct 7th 2011 6:26am


 

Filed Under:
hitsjay frank,music

Companies:
digsin


Permalink.

from the interesting-ideas... dept

Jay Frank wrote the book FutureHit.DNA a few years back, and it's really a fascinating look into the music business. Frank, who formerly was the Senior VP of Music Strategy for CMT (part of MTV) as well as VP of Music Programming at Yahoo! Music, basically tried to scientifically breakdown what it took to be a "hit" song in the modern digital age. Of course, some might dismiss this as formulaic (and perhaps cynical), but I can't recommend the book enough. It's not just about "oh this is what makes a hit song," but it takes a look at how listening habits change in the digital era, and how even that may impact what makes a hit and what doesn't. 

It appears that Frank doesn't just want to write about this, but he's about to put his theories to the test. Today he's announcing a new record label, called DigSin, that will be focused on releasing singles for artists rather than full albums. But here's the interesting bit: all of the music will be released for free. What he's looking to do is build up a base of subscribers who will want to be pushed new great songs that he's releasing. In effect, rather than a "label" in the traditional sense, you can think of it as a "tastemaker," or even a filter or trusted friend. 

I have to admit that I've been fascinated by this concept for a little while. I've written in the past about how I've paid a small label/distribution company a yearly subscription in the past for a "CD of the month" club, because I trusted the guy who ran it to find me awesome CDs. In that case, it was a small operation, where the guy who ran the label would take into account each of the subscriber's tastes and try to match music to what they liked. It was like having the guy at the record store who knew your tastes picking out what you should listen to. It was fantastic. In this case, Frank is trying that on a larger scale... and not charging for it. 

In this case, it appears that Frank is going to be looking at alternative revenue sources. If he can bring together enough music fans, that's certainly an opportunity. I would bet there will be some sponsorship opportunities that make sense, but I could also see some more creative efforts, such as upsell opportunities for merch or concert tickets. 

The timing of this is interesting, as he's launching it at the same conference where Ian Rogers, the head of TopSpin -- and also a former Yahoo! Music exec -- gave a talk on the race to be trusted, noting that he believes that's the next stage of the music business. Basically with so much content out there, finding the right content for you is key, and that's going to be a trust issue. If you trust someone to bring you good music, that's a powerful connection. 

Of course, it's worth noting that Rogers, in his speech, tells the record labels that they cannot be that trusted partner, because people will always doubt their sincerity on whether or not the musician that they're pushing, who's signed with them, is really that good. It is an interesting question. I think it's possible for a label to be trusted, but it's difficult. Though, I actually go back to an open letter that Ian himself wrote to then head of EMI Music, Guy Hands, about why he should turn the label giant into a trusted filter based on affinity groups around existing big name artists (i.e., build a mini label around... The Beatles, for music that Beatles-lovers would like and then build out that brand as a trusted brand). It's possible. It's just difficult. 

On the artist side, DigSin is also focused on being a better partner -- an enabler rather than a gatekeeper. It's signing artists to very short term deals, with agreements around songs, not the artist. That is they'll share in the monetization of the specific songs. And the songs will still be available via traditional channels -- iTunes, Spotify, etc. -- for people who want them that way. But the real focus is on DigSin's ability to bring together a core group of people who are really into hearing the next great song first, and to help connect those people with musicians making those songs. 

It's definitely a big challenge -- and one where there may be many hurdles. But if it's done right, it could be quite useful. I'm intrigued that Frank is attempting this, and if his notions on what makes a hit are correct, and he's able to execute on that with the artists who release singles through DigSin, it could become a very interesting model to pay attention to.

 

Posted: 10/16/2011 - 0 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ] - 0 Likes
Category: Other

 

Cyndy Canty – Weekday Mornings 6am-10am

Grateful
 
Posted 10/15/2011 6:35:00 AM
 


This is a position so many Detroiters have found themselves in over the past few years. I know that I'm in good company. Lots of you have had to do this: write the final lines in one big chapter of your lives, while eyeing thatblank page---the one with no title yet---that begins the next chapter.

So now you know. We've made the announcement: Jim Harper is retiring after some 45 years in front of the microphone. ("What? Did he start when he was 13  or something?" Yes, actually he did. He was 13 years old when he began his broadcast career. Imagine that! ) After our show on December 23rd, Jim retires and the Magic Morning Show will end. But I amnot retiring. So that means I am about to undertake the process of finding a new job, exploring what's out there...perhaps re-inventing myself?

As I drove to Stratford, Ontario the other day to see "Jesus Christ Superstar", I had plenty of time to think about the impending changes in my life as I trundled through the Canadian countryside. Three hours there, three hours home. As I passed a small church in a small town, I spotted a sign with a spectacularly simple and powerful message: Let us thank God for unknown blessings yet to come. Yes! I have had a life filled with opportunities and blessings up till now. Why should I think God's going to start ignoring me now?

Not long after, my trusty iPod , which I'd set on SHUFFLE, served up a song with an equally simple and powerful message. It's an obscure Art Garfunkel song, written by John Bucchino. It's called "Grateful". Check it out on YouTube; you won't be sorry.

"Grateful, grateful...Truly grateful I am. Grateful, grateful...Truly blessed And duly grateful."    Sing it, Art!! 

"In a world that can bring pain, I will still take each chance. For I believe that whatever the terrain, Our feet can learn to dance. Whatever stone life may sling, We can moan or we can sing...."

And I have so much to sing about. The fact that one morning in October 1980, I stepped into the studios at WNIC as the brand-new newscaster for Jim & Jer. Yes, St James & Harper. Good Lord, I was as terrified as I was excited. Only a year before, Jim Harper and Jerry St James were the voices on my alarm clock, waking me up for my job with the American Cancer Society. And here I was, a part of their show?! 

That terrifying morning launched me into a radio and television career that has brought great joy and satisfaction and excitement over the past 31 years.  And, more importantly, it brought me a friend named Jim. Someone who taught me volumes about communicating and connecting through that microphone. Someone who could always make me laugh. Someone whose spirit is what has drawn so many of you to tune in each morning through the years, to write those lovely tributes on Facebook as you learned he's retiring....I have had the privilege of really knowing Jim and his dear wife Lynn for all these years. And through Jim, I came to know Mike. And Fay, the little sis I'd never had.

"In a city of strangers, I got a family of friends. No matter what rocks and brambles fill the way...I know that they will stay until the end...."

I am grateful for  my family: my husband Sean, our son Brendan & his wife Megan and their baby boy Liam, our daughter Siobhan, now making her way in life as a college freshman. And I am grateful foryou. The Magic Family. We don't use that term lightly. You are like family to me. Through Facebook posts, through emails, at our Toys for Tots & Capuchin shows, at our listener parties, there you are. Sharing your lives with me. Offering joyful words when our son was married, when I found my birth mother, when our daughter graduated from high school, when Sean and I celebrated another wedding anniversary. Offering words of wisdom and condolence and support when my Mom died, when we lost Sean's dad...and now, as you hear the news that I will soon have to leave Magic. 

"It's not that I don't want a lot... Or hope for more, or dream of more. But giving thanks for what I've got...Makes me happier than keeping score."

Thank you for being there over the years at WNIC, WDTX, WKBD during my decade in TV news, back to WNIC and now over these past ten and a half years at WMGC. This is certainly not goodbye. I'm beginning the process of discovering where I'm meant to be after December 23rd. Know that we will stay connected through Facebook, through emails, when I meet you through the day (like the wonderful ladies at my Comerica bank branch who greeted me with hugs after hearing our big announcement. What a spirit-lifter!!). Keep a good thought for me as I begin this exciting-yet-scary journey of discovery and re-invention.

"Grateful, grateful...Truly grateful I am. Grateful, grateful...Truly blessed...And duly grateful."

 

Posted: 10/14/2011 - 0 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ] - 0 Likes
Category: Other

by Regis Hadiaris in Leadership

  • article clipper vert Engineered to Amaze   Leadership Philosophies Behind the Brand

What does it mean to be Engineered to Amaze?

Earlier this year, we launched a complete reinvention of who we are at Quicken Loans.  We are a different and better company than most, and we desperately needed to let that shine through.

Marketers will call this a “branding” initiative, PR folks will call it a new “communication plan,” but I really believe it is simply doing a better job of talking about who we are: in ads, with Clients, with partners, and with each other.

To us, being engineered to amaze means accepting nothing less than literally amazing our Clients and each other.  Think about that: be amazing every single day.  I’ve talked previously about being continually dissatisfiedhaving the right attitude, and how to challenge conventional thinking.  But being amazing: that’s a pretty high bar to set for yourself and your organization.  But remember, people rise to the expectations you set for them.

The ISMs: Driving a Culture That’s Engineered to Amaze

At Quicken Loans we have a set of leadership philosophies called the “ISMs” – they serve as the rules for interactions amongst everyone at our company.  I firmly believe that a company does not have a culture listed on a piece of paper or PowerPoint somewhere.  Instead, it has millions of internal interactions every day that in aggregate define the culture of the company.  Our ISMs guide those interactions to be successful, by creating the environment to make amazing things happen.

Engineered to Amaze: Top 3 ISMs That Work

Here are the top 3 ISMs that I believe have helped us become Engineered to Amaze at Quicken Loans.

Numbers and Money Follow, They Do Not Lead

Don’t chase the numbers.  Chase the ideas and skills that can make you great.  If you are really good at reacting to what your Clients need and nurturing new ideas, the money will follow.  Spend your time pursuing your ideas with passion.  Another popular ISM that works with this is “A Penny Saved is A Penny” – don’t let yourself get focused on chasing pennies, instead chase the ideas that lead to new revenue.

Every Second Counts

Urgency is the key to staying close to your customers, your Clients, and your business.  You have to create a company that reacts to the external and internal forces around it quickly and decisively.  You get 31,536,000 seconds every year.  How you choose to spend them will dictate your success.  Time is our most precious, non-renewable resource.

You’ll See It When You Believe It

You can’t make things happen unless you first believe in them.  It simply doesn’t work the other way around.  This belief that we can do anything has lead to some projects like our new iPhone app that are truly engineered to amaze.  By having laser-like mental focus every day, you can turn your beliefs into reality!

I hope you can embrace these ISMs, create your own, and use them to guide your success.

Be amazing.

 
See also:

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Welcome to the Dot Connector blog!

Regis HadiarisHi! I'm Regis Hadiaris. I write about improving your productivity, leadership skills, and life to help you become more successful.

 

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Read more: http://dotconnectorblog.com/engineered-amaze-leadership-philosophies-brand/#ixzz1alC2V7yc

Posted: 10/9/2011 - 0 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ] - 0 Likes
Category: Sports

 

   "Hello Rest of the country, WE R Detroit, great to meet U!"

The run has not ended, but it will. Sad truth, but the euphoric Energy that we have felt during the dog days of summer and into early fall, will have two end. Preferably in February with a Lombardi Trophy to go along with the World Series Rings from late autumn...dare we dream?!

While the madness is on going, the 'D' will once again be in the national spotlight. Heck in the next week alone, fans of America's two most popular sports will fix their millions of prime time stares into the heart of our Motor City. Like the tremendous Chrysler ads of late, this is our opportunity to inform the world that  'This is what we do'.

And what do we do?  We create, we envision, we love, we laugh, we jam, we cheer..and hell yes, we party!  We do all of these things with passion and flair, with a style unlike any other city - I know, because I've lived in many of them.

I've seen greatness on many occasions in Detroit - be it from phenomenal concerts, hysterical comedy, hockey cups, hoop banners and the
Ike, but I have never experienced it all at once. Truly, a magical ride.

So while we are being watched, let's show off - In victory or defeat.  It's our time Detroit. Let's leave em all saying, "damn, I wish I was hangin' with them in the D!"
--
Damon W. Perry

 

 

Posted: 10/1/2011 - 0 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ] - 0 Likes
Category: Creative

Mark Ramsey Media                                          

MRM BLOG DAILY

Kroger’s Agency is Foolish 

From Radio-Info:

TRI has a copy of this email from the Kroger agency – “Hello radio partners, a couple weeks ago I had sent out a request for information in regards to your station using the verbiage ‘commercial-free.’ After much discussion with CB&S/Kroger Corporate, we absolutely cannot have spots running on a station that communicates that it is ‘commercial free.’ Please let me know as soon as possible that you will stop using this specific verbiage. All other stations across the nation have accommodated this request.” It’s impossible to know if that last statement is true, but there are going to be some serious conversations at the department head level about a tactic music radio has employed for decades. Why would a client dislike it? It communicates a negative about advertising, which is, after all, what pays the bills.

So let me get this straight, Kroger agency….

It doesn’t matter how many consumers a station reaches, as long as it doesn’t use the term “commercial-free.”

It doesn’t matter that certain tactics may produce more listeners – and more exposures for your spots – as long as the station doesn’t use the term “commercial-free.”

It doesn’t matter how effective your advertising is, as long as a station doesn’t use the term “commercial-free.”

It doesn’t matter how efficient your buy is, as long as a station doesn’t use the term “commercial-free.”

It doesn’t matter how many great ideas a broadcaster has to plus your campaign and drive more consumers through your front door, as long as the station doesn’t use the term “commercial-free.”

It hasn’t dawned on you that the audience does not need any help from the station to perceive the term “commercials” to be a negative, because you, Mr. Agency, have done your level best to cement that negative association in their minds over the years.

It hasn’t dawned on you that, while audiences are no fans of many “commercials,” they are quite responsive to those marketing messages which are both relevant and valuable to them, especially if they’re delivered in a manner that has as much respect for the audience as the radio station does – that radio station which provides those audiences for you on a silver platter.

Perhaps, “after much discussion,” you can focus on new ideas for Kroger which leverage the unheard of reach of radio and its deep relationships with its audience.  Perhaps “after much discussion” you can develop messaging tactics which are both relevant and accountable.  Perhaps “after much discussion” you can stop making excuses for what I’m guessing is a client relationship that’s “on the bubble” and start connecting consumers with that client on their terms, which are the only terms that matter.

Perhaps “after much discussion” you’ll do your own job and let radio do theirs, which is to make you look good and make your client a success in the marketplace.


 

 

More Recent Articles

Posted: 10/1/2011 - 0 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ] - 0 Likes
Category: Music

 By Matthew Lasar Published about a month ago

Inside Turntable.fm: saving music radio from itself

I entered into the room. It was dark and frenetic. House and electro dance tunes roared as I watched the densely packed crowd listen to the music. I squeezed in among the participants, and worked up my courage to ask a question.

"I would like to speak to DJ Wooooo, please," I said.

My query was ignored. I waited a little longer and asked again. More silence, then...

"Anyone know any songs with a poem or someone talking at beginning?" someone next to me asked the group. "C'mon, only 100 more of you need to bop to get me to 1k!" another exclaimed.

These remarks threw me off for a minute, then I tried once more. "DJ Wooooo. How can I meet this person?" I reiterated. Three times turned out to be the charm.

He's one of the developers i think," a participant named djicon explained. "Nah, Wooooo isn't a dev," another named SeXAppeal insisted. "He was just one of the first ones on here."

Indeed he was. I wanted to talk to DJ Woooo because he is the reining star of Turntable.fm, with more points and more fans than anyone else. Turntable is not a club or a bar, it's an online matrix of rooms where tens of thousands of users share music uploaded to a database and chat about it, or about anything else. The site may also represent a breakthrough in the evolution of broadcasting, as significant as freeform FM was in the 1960s. By giving the power of music choice to clusters of human beings rather than to genomes, turntable.fm rescues the spontaneity that was mid-20th century music radio and effectively brings it to the 'Net.

I looked at the chat line on my room screen. Somebody posted DJ Wooooo's Twitter page. "Thanks," I typed. "np," came the reply. I sent Wooooo a message with my phone number. The next day I received a call at exactly 7:15 AM.

"Hi, Matthew?" the voice said. "This is Ethan. DJ Wooooo."

DJ Wooooo's House/Dance Electro Room on Turntable.fm

I was lucky

I asked for Ethan's family name, but he didn't want to say. "Ethan has been working for me so far," he explained. "Let's leave it at that."

Ethan didn't develop turntable.fm—that honor goes to Seth Goldstein of StickyBits and Billy Chasen. But he describes himself as a startup entrepreneur with about twelve years of piano lessons behind him. Ethan was reluctant to share much more personal data, but I came away with the impression of a modest, soft-spoken guy in his twenties. Of course, I asked him how he became a turntable.fm hit.

"Dumb luck, probably," he explained. "One day I got a link from a friend; it was early on," he said.

"TT.fm," as it is often called, allows you access if you have a friend on Facebook who uses the service. TheFAQ page says that turntable will wean itself from this means of engagement "eventually."

In any event, once in the system, you've got a choice—you can either search for and join a music room or you can create one of your own. You can become a fan of other users and "bop" them by clicking the "awesome" button while their selections are playing. This increases their point score, gradually allowing them access to a wider range of avatars.

There's a catch to launching new rooms, however. You can't listen to the selections you queue up for more than a few seconds unless there's more than one DJ occupying the "deck"—the array of five turntables at the top of the room. That's makes room creation difficult. I spent my first two weeks on turntable.fm unsuccessfully trying to initiate rooms.

But Ethan came up with a brilliant user and room name that mastered this challenge and helped make him a star.

"I wanted to be DJ Wooooo," he confessed, because "whenever you ever hear a song you go 'wooooo!' So that's what I typed."

The 'wooooo' move worked. DJ Wooooo's House/Dance Electro room is always packed with the maximum number of users: 200. I'm as likely as not to be "escorted to another room," as the dialogue window says, when I try to visit. But that's no problem, because there are an amazing number of rooms to pick, and some of them are morphing into true community music radio stations, often structured by musicians and developers.

Mashups

Take the mashup.fm room, for example. It specializes in the sharing of creative mixes of pop tunes. Mashup.fm was started by DJ EEP (aka Andrew Peron). He was joined by DJ GUTZ (Nicolas Gutierrez) and Aaron Ho, Director of Software Development at Stormfront Productions. They built the room up to what it is now.

I asked Ho about rules. "There really aren't any rules in the room besides to play mashup music and follow the line if there is one," he explained, referring to the queue to DJ on the deck. "Pretty much the community comes up with the rules."

But Ho's subsequent description indicates a well thought out strategy for keeping everyone happy.

If [users] want someone off deck for any reason, or if they want someone booted, then usually we will follow suit. We do enforce who is on deck at times whenever we have a homegrown DJ releasing music or some other event the room might be running. But essentially, the only 'rules' in place are those of necessity, the things that must be in place to keep the room operating, such as no spam tolerance, music that doesn't fit the genre, etc. Myself, DJ EEP, and GUTZ, along with a few volunteers from the room, monitor the situation and resolve any issues or arguments that crop up in the room. Our goal is not to control the room, but simply to ensure that Mashup.fm remains a reliable and fun place for people to come and enjoy new music.

Ho has written a Web application to organize all the mashup.fm fans who want to DJ; the app allows users to line up for a spot on the deck. Ho's So Simpullly MashUp site has also just released a new beta extension for turntable, written by Michael Frick. But as his answer indicates, turntable.fm rooms pose various challenges to their creators and moderators. The most obvious are deciding who will run the deck, and how to deal with trolls—rude types who come in to insult other users, or who play music that hasn't got much to do with the mission of the room.

Every room has two people who can deal with miscreants by booting them: the creator and the current moderator of the turntables. Moderators can also "skip" songs. More subtle disapproval comes when community members press the "lame" key on a selection. If a DJ gets too many lames, a boot is not far away.

Boots and superusers

The troll problem occasionally presents itself on my favorite turntable.fm room—Classical of Any Kind. Any Kind was launched by Peter Ryan, who will soon begin the second year of his Masters in Piano Performance at the University of Colorado. Ryan told me that when he first showed up at turntable.fm, the classical music focus was pretty scattered.

"Every day the classical community on TT.fm found its way to a completely different classical room, and usually one that was not created by any of the regulars," he explained. "As a result, we often had idle moderators and very little in the way of control over abusive users.  Also, some in the community reacted very negatively to different eras of classical music, and I thought that unfair."

Thus was born Any Kind. The room is managed by a small circle of dedicated classical music lovers with fantastic taste. They include Flutist15 (a freshman flute performance major and Russian music fan), JohnTavener (a doctoral composition student with a passion for modern sounds), Nepomuk (early music and Baroque lover), and BubbleBobble ("our resident sunny-disposition member," as Ryan describes him, "who also always has great piano music to offer").

Any Kind is the best classical music station I've listened to in years. But sometimes users come in and play a movie soundtrack or pop track, angrily insisting that it is a "classic" and thus worthy of the room. Ryan tries to be lenient, but Turntable is making it easier to handle such problems. "TT.fm's recent installation of a temporary ban system based on the number of times a user is booted is a great help," he notes, "and people can no longer just keep reentering immediately and continuing to cause issues."

Still, keeping the room in good working order can be laborious. "If I'm not there, the person who has been there the longest is the mod, and that usually falls to someone who has been idling in the room all day long.  I find I have to come in every now and then and boot the idle mods in order to ensure that an active person can keep an eye on the room."

DJ Matthew Lasar has a long way to go before achieving gorilla+bling status.

TT.fm has gone so far as to deploy "superusers" (DJ Wooooo is one; so is Aaron Ho) with special authority to resolve issues. How do you become one of these supers? "For some reason, they all seem to be users who haven't nagged us into giving them superuser status," the FAQ page explains.

So, given the work involved, why do people get so passionately invested in their rooms?

Rock while you code

Despite the work, everybody I spoke to agreed that the rewards for their room development efforts are huge. Some turntable.fm rooms have a work or business-related function—they give colleagues who labor in different locations a chance to connect. This definitely seems to be the case for the Web Dev studio team, who run theTT Cafe Disco room. I chatted with the group as they spun tunes and did WordPress development:

  • Ars: Why did you start this room?
  • Unicorn Wrangler: To have some tunes to rock to whilst we coddeee
  • hellahella : which is the reason for 97.5% of turntable
  • Unicorn Wrangler : Ive met so many devs.
  • Ars: so right now . . . are you all php-ing etc in the same office?
  • Unicorn Wrangler : separate. we mostly work remotely
  • Unicorn Wrangler : our team is scattered across philly NJ and jt i down south in the carolinas
  • Zamoose : I'm a Friend Of The Company
  • Zamoose : *grin*

Other dedicated TT.fm room developers include Justin Page, graphic designer for his own Rampaged Reality company in Dayton, Ohio. His Indie While You Work room is one of the most popular on turntable.fm. Page's profile on TT.fm has given him "good traffic both ways," he told me—bringing users from the room to his work, and vice versa.

But for Page and for most other room creators, turntable is less about business and more about pleasure.

"I have had a chance to meet some amazing artists that have amazing music and I have been able to get that music all to the masses," Aaron Ho added. "It isn't every day you get to help build a music genre you love. I get to talk directly to the artists that make the music I love, allowing me to give them instant feedback on their work, along with the thoughts and opinions of all of the other TT members who are in the room at any given time."

As Ho's comment suggests, turntable.fm rooms function as event and new music sites. Paste Magazine, for example, did its own promotional event in its own room on turntable. And for Brett Talley, who oversees theFolking Indie room on turntable.fm, new and unusual music is the big draw.

"It's what I imagine radio stations were like long ago," Talley told me. "They played everything. I listen to the songs being played like it is that kind of radio station. Most of the music we play is not music that is played on the radio. I have heard dozens and dozens of songs that you never hear on the radio. For musicians, this is a terrific way to get your music out there."

Where is this going?

Talley is definitely onto something here. On the surface, turntable.fm is a generic social networking application. Like others, it extends itself to a wide variety of parallel social networks. You can Facebook and Twitter your room directly from TT.fm. You can buy the music via links to Amazon or iTunes, or share it on Last.fm, Spotify, and Rdio. And like Pandora and Last.fm, turntable lets you choose genres and share your favorite music.

But TT.fm goes beyond all that. By letting users choose music and chat in real time, it can replicate the spontaneous "hang-out" feeling of a freeform FM music radio station, the kind that thrived "long ago," as Talley put it. 

Despite its superior sound, FM was a marginal technology in the 1950s. It finally took off for a variety of reasons. First, in 1964 the Federal Communications Commission required AM stations that owned FM frequencies to produce some original content for the latter, not just dupe their AM fare. Second, device makers started attaching FM to "Hi-Fi" stereo systems.

As a consequence, music lovers and entrepreneurs of all kinds embraced FM and turned their stations into spontaneous community music and talk centers. Some of the most famous in the 1960s and '70s included listener-supported station WBAI-FM and commercial station WNEW in New York City, and KSAN-FM in San Francisco.

WFMU-FM in New Jersey continues the free form tradition today, but most conventional radio stations gradually abandoned the practice in the 1980s. They either replaced the approach with a more predictable range of tunes called "format," or they went all talk. Then came the Telecommunications Act of 1996, which eased restrictions on radio license buying. As hundreds of stations changed hands, the price of a signal went through the transmitter, making experimentalism unaffordable.

By the early 2000s, the mantle for adventurous music sharing had passed to the Internet, especially to huge successes like Pandora. But although the word "radio" is constantly attached to Pandora and its brethren, much Internet radio doesn't really sound like radio. More akin to a juke box, it has always lacked the crucial element that made mid-20th century music radio so compelling—human beings spontaneously picking the tunes and keeping you company while you listened.

Watch this space

Obviously, turntable.fm doesn't exactly replicate the older experience. The "talk" is typed out on a chat board. The rooms house far fewer listeners than a radio station. The system, still in beta stage, glitches out on occasion. And the usual dicey questions (including copyright infringement) hover around the service, waiting to play themselves out.

But the energy and spirit of real radio is all over TT.fm. And the potential for growth is huge. "This is awesome! Do you have a version I can use on my mobile device?" one FAQ question asks. "Not right now," explains the reply, but "watch this space."

Lots of people are watching turntable.fm's space. According to trade press reports, the startup is currently valued at around $37.5 million, with major backing coming from Union Square Ventures. More recently, no less than Lady GaGa and Kanye West have kicked additional investment cash into the pot.

As for Ethan, aka DJ Wooooo, he told us that he met with the TT.fm development team last week and they talked up some new ideas. Of course, we asked for specifics, but were told that the discussions are in the early stage.

"What I kind of do is make the connections," Mr. Wooooo explained. "We're not quite there yet; I'm just bringing it into the picture."

Read more stories

 

Posted: 9/27/2011 - 0 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ] - 1 Likes
Category: Music

 

People blog all the time...you need to blog... you have something to say that people want to hear....just some of the things I have been hearing lately about getting me to do a weekly blog.  I’m not of fan of movie and music critics, I want to form my own opinion. So I think why should I voice my opinion about what I play or who I interview on my daily show on UDetroit.  Well, I’ve come to the realization that many people do value my musical tastes. 
 
I have heard many times over the years how my Over Easy listeners on WCSX have acquired many new CD’s, or checked out many live shows because they heard that artist on my show.  To all that I am humbled and I thank you for trusting me and what I like in music.  So with that said I will officially start blogging. If anything, just to share my thoughts on new music I am playing, old gems I found, and especially things about my live musical guests from the week.  Heck, I am right there on that stage with them and get to hear them pour their hearts out through their music. We have great conversations and we all learn a thing or two from the infamous Pam Exam...
 
 
So each weekend I will wrap up with some insights about the past weeks shows, in particular the guests and what was brought to the table.  I hope you will follow my blogs on a regular basis.
 Mon 9-19: Seth Glier and Ryan H  stopped by after their Ann Arbor Ark show from the night before to do a bit more entertaining before heading back to their home state of Massachusetts. I am thrilled they decided to hang around so they could be on the show. What a great singer/songwriter.  Seth was like a friend just sharing some great music. It was fun to watch him perform as he had some great facial expressions and body moves that really showed he was in the moment and totally entwined in his great songs.  We learned when he is not in the music mode, he likes to fish and his junk food guilty pleasure: anything BBQ.  
Example Poster Tues 9-20:Nate Jones, local singer/songwriter was back on our stage to share his musical talents. His covers of Johnny Cash’s Hurt, Maroon 5’s  She Will Be Loved and Mumford & Sons Little Lion Man certainly were a hit with the lunch crowd.  He’s our local cover guy!!  
 Fri 9-23  I was a bit anxious for todays interview with the legendary, Dennis Coffey, an original Funk Brother. The man who introduced the hard rock guitar sound to Motown.  Then I thought I won’t interview him, rather just have a visit with him.  What a great person and good stories. We learned about his man cave where he does his songwriting, how Chuck Berry’s Maybelline, was the first record he owned, fishing is his favorite non music pastime and one of his most memorable music moments was getting the call that his song, Scorpio, sold a million copies and went gold.  

Thank you Seth, Nate and Dennis, and Eric for the lovely flowers.

 

Posted: 9/27/2011 - 0 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ] - 0 Likes
Category: Revitalization

  

 DETROIT IS THE PLACE TO BE FOR FALL 2011
I have lived all over these United States, from the suburbs of Washington D.C., to Seattle, Los Angeles Chicago and Las Vegas.  I’ve lived in the midst of pennant races, Super Bowl runs and Stanley Cup winners.  There is just something magical about your city’s professional team’s championship quest.  For more than a decade, I’ve called myself a Detroiter.  Though the true natives never fully believe that us transplanters could fully comprehend their insatiable hunger for NFL glory.

I was talking with my neighbor earlier this week as our 4 boys (all yrs. and under) ran around are neighborhood just living the dream.  My neighbor talked about his Sunday with his wife tailgating and attending the Lions’ home opener against the Chiefs.  They are a Detroit family that “grew up going to football games” – and he said this year there was just a difference in the energy from Eastern Market all through out the day.  That different energy is the hope, the optimism that this is our time.  A time that hopefully our young sons will become all to familiar with.  There is a ‘new history’ being written in Detroit right now, my suggestion is to stop living in the old history and jump on the bandwagon that’s providing a long awaited joy ride for all Detroit's, natives and transplants.
 
As good as this roll is, we all know it won’t last forever.  Make the most of it.  Share the momentum with your friends and family.  Enjoy the national bragging rights for something other that corrupt government or high crime rates.  Detroit is the place to be this fall – feel it, know it, own it and most importantly don’t take it for granted.
 
 Damon W. Perry
Posted: 8/25/2011 - 0 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ] - 0 Likes
Category: Music

 

Esther Edwards Gordy, keeper of Motown legacy, passes away
Published on 8/25/2011, 12:48 PM Last Update: 9 second(s) ago by UDetroit Network
Category: All Articles » People

 

Esther Edwards Gordy, keeper of Motown legacy, passes away

Published: Thursday, August 25, 2011

 
 
 
 

By GARY GRAFF
For The Oakland Press

When Berry Gordy, Jr.'s family loaned him $800 in 1959 to start what became Motown, it did so under the condition that his sister Esther Gordy Edwards gave him the hardest time, pressing him about his plans and particularly about how he was going to repay the money.

"So my parents said to her, 'If you're so worried, then you go work with him and help him out," Berry Gordy recalled during Motown's 50th anniversary celebration in 2009. "She kept me honest. Whatever I did had to meet up to her standards."

Edwards, 91, who in addition to working for Motown also founded the Motown Historical Museum in 1985, died after a long illness on Wednesday night (Aug. 24) at home in Detroit, surrounded by family and friends.

In a statement, Berry Gordy saluted his older sister as "a top Motown executive, businesswoman, civil and political leader, who received numerous awards, commendations and accolades. She was the most educated in our family and was the go-to person for wisdom in business."

He added that, "Whatever she did, it was with the highest standards, professionalism and an attention to detail that was legendary. She always came out a hero. Esther wasn't concerned with being popular. She was dedicated to making us all better -- the Gordy family and the Motown family."

Stevie Wonder also issued a statement saying that Edwards, "meant so much to me as a human being....She believed in me -- when I was 14 years old and many other people didn't or could only see what they could at the time, she championed me being in Motown. I shared with her many of my songs first before anyone else. She was like another mother to me, she was an extension of that same kind of motherly love."

Smokey Robinson added that "because of her wisdom and foresight..we have a pictoral and itemized history of Motown, the Motown Museum, which allows people now and for generations to come to have a first-hand look at our legacy."

Edwards was born April 25, 1920 in Oconee, Ga., and came to Detroit with her family in 1922. She was educated at Howard University in Washington, D.C. and at Wayne State University in Detroit, later partnering with brothers Fuller and George in the Gordy Printing Company. She married Michigan state Rep. George Edwards in 1951, and worked as one of Motown as an artist manager, corporate secretary, Director of International Relations and a senior vice-president.

"She was a pioneering businesswoman without whom Motown as we know it may not have existed," said Howard Kramer, a Detroit native who's now a curator at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame + Museum in Cleveland. "She had the mind of a politician and the business vision of a hawk."

Berry Gordy remembered his sister as "probably the toughest one of all of us there" at Motown, occasionally chaperoning the early Motortown Revue tours. But Edwards herself once said the hallmark of the company was "love -- just love for each other, for the music, for what we were building and creating." Wonder also noted that Edwards, "embodied the idea of never giving up. She was ever determined in everything she did, she was full of energy and her spirit will continue live on.  She loved the idea of what we were creating in Motown." Continued...

 

 

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