Productivity Booster

Computer Based Training Ghetto Style

If you’ve ever done any training you know that there’s a point you get to where you are on total autopilot. You’ve given the presentation more than 10 times and you have the material down cold. You know where the questions come up and where the jokes go.

A great way to leverage technology to add time back into your schedule is to video any training that you can. Why give 5 one-hour sessions when you could run 5 fifty minute videos and then do 50 minutes of live Q&A – adding 4 hours back to your day? And giving the attendees the ability to go back and rewind what they don’t understand without holding up the rest of the class.

When I originally started we used Viewlet Builder from Qarbon, which is great for capturing screenshots. Now we use Camtasia, which captures all activity on your screen. (Although I need to go in and see if Viewlet Cam is any good).
On the audio side we are using Mobile Pre USB boxes which can float from laptop to laptop, along with Shure SM58 mics which sound ok and are nearly indestructable.

For the content, try to keep clips under 5 minutes. Break your presentation into manageable sections so users can watch them a la carte.

When you do the final edit you can use some of my trade secrets to creating great sound. Scrap the source audio, export it to WAV format and use SoundSoap and The Levelator to clean it up.

Don’t worry about them being perfect, odds are you are going to have to record them over in less than a year anyway. It’s much better to have 10 videos that have some ummms, ahhhs and flubs in them than 3 perfect videos. Video content really pulls, the more you have out there the better.

Productivity Booster

Time to Subscribe

I’m doing the year end housecleaning today. If you are one of those freaky observant people you may have noticed the new subscription icons in the column on the left.

If you are not already a blog subscriber you must go to Google Reader now and start using it. It’s like an Outlook inbox for web pages, as pages are updated you get a notice in your inbox. No aimless surfing. I’m able to watch 153 websites daily without spending any time on the ones that haven’t added any new content.

The same technology powers podcasts, if you haven’t been subscribing to podcasts via iTunes, what the hell are you waiting for? These two productivity boosters will save you days in 2008 – days you can use at the beach.

Please subscribe… I’m getting back to the cleaning.


ps – If you have content you want people to subscribe to, Ron was kind enough to put together this list of the pages you can hit to get your own custom subscription buttons:





Productivity Booster

Email Challenge

One podcast that has been on my subscription list forever is Manager Tools. I’ve been fortunate enough to experience managing some great teams and have had over 100 people under me in the org. chart, but I still get something worthwhile out of every episode.

They had a recent cast about schedule management and I realized that email has been taking up an increasing amount of my time. I’m going to see if I can corral my email management down to 4x per day. Let’s see if I can kick the habit… If only there was some kind of patch.

ps – I’m trowing twitter overboard too.

Productivity Booster

How to pitch a CMO

A friend asked me this question in this vein and I thought the answer was worth sharing, so I took out the specifics to outline some general principles:

First, remember that most CMO’s are insane. In general you’re best bet would be to do a custom presentation based on what you know about them. A generic approach would be the type of pitch an agency would make to a senior marketing person. Something like this:

1. Define the Market
2. Strategy and tactics
2. Concepts

A CMO has a lofty plan they set up by demographics – “We are looking for married women, 35-50, household income over 100k”. By defining the Market you are selling them on how your specific skills can hit the target – “The fastest growing segment of X market is the one that I have the keys to”.

In strategy and tactics outline what will be done and how it will be measured – “There will be these programs, we are looking for X impressions, and Y conversions…”

Concepts are the best place to shine, and also the most work. The easy way out is to show stuff that you have already done for other people, the hard way would be to mock-up what you would be doing for them. It’s a good idea to present concepts in sets of 3, two good ideas and (what you consider to be) a crummy one, that way if your client always picks the crummy one you’ll know that you have some style or communication problems and perhaps you shouldn’t be working together.

It also depends on the purpose of the meeting, better firms know that interviewing agencies is a low cost method of brainstorming so they do no original work until there’s really a deal…

Productivity Booster

Shirt Distribution

Just a random marketing stat for Saturday. When buying shirts for software executives I found this distribution:

M 15% L 37% XL 35% 2XL 13%

If you have to buy shirts I’d suggest a similar purchasing pattern (unless you have other data?).

Another point – I’ve always made it a point to get women’s shirts for them if they are working on behalf of the company. Nothing looks lamer to me than a woman who’s been given a company shirt that fits like a feed bag.

Productivity Booster

Fortress of Solitude

North BeachFor the past month I have been reviewing my schedule and I’ve noticed that a very large part of 2007 was devoted to networking in the new media space. Unfortunately it’s starting to look like I’m hitting a point of diminishing returns. As much as I enjoy going to events I’m starting to think that my time would be better spent working on projects rather than talking about them.

I’m going to finish out the events I have for this year and then I’ll be setting up the work plan for 2008 without adding a lot of events. Right now I’m looking at 4 events – Podcamp NYC, Gnomedex, NME in Vegas and Podcamp Boston, and may only pick two of those.

Is there a progression of events? You attend for a few years, hit the point of diminishing returns and then go every other, or even 3rd year just to keep up to date.

Another thing I have been thinking a lot about is an idea Eric Rice infected me with – some kind of event where work is done, as opposed to education. I’d much rather get together with 5 rockstars and try to do something rather than talk about how to do things.

Of course none of this is carved in stone, it’s year end and time to evaluate all the strategies and adjust for 2008, but it’s starting to look like more time in the Fortress.

Daily Life Productivity Booster

Get This

If you don’t have a GPS for your car you should buy one today. Imagine never printing Google maps or getting lost again. Drive around cities that you have no knowledge of with no problem. has an insane deal of $124 after rebate.

Brain Buster Email Marketing Productivity Booster SEO and Paid Search

Ron’s Predictions

My Inbox is also my To-Do list. If there’s a message that is part of an important project it stays in the box until it gets done. This can be a great productivity booster – many times if I am unsure about the importance of a project I leave it in the inbox. If I don’t remember what it was about by the time it hits the bottom of the box (or if the original requestor hasn’t asked about it in the 4 months it took to get to the bottom of the inbox) that’s an alert that perhaps that TPS report (re: Office Space) wasn’t that urgent, or it’s time for me to get to something I have been putting off.

I had started kicking a project around in the Summer that is moving again. As part of the first attempt to start this project I had asked some social media luminaries to give their opinions on some marketing techniques and whether they are gaining ground or dying.

As most social media consultants are full of crap and/or have an aversion to real work, I only received a response from Ron. His response has made it to the bottom of the inbox, and as he had the courtesy to respond I cannot let decent content go unused (and Ron – if this is still your opinion you could cross-post to this and skip writing on Thanksgiving day!).

I asked:

Is eMail dying?

1)email is not dying — yet. Email is something that is very popular for
people over a certain age. The younger folks don’t use email. They
text message, instant message, send bulletins, etc. I don’t know what
these folks are going to do when they need to get a job and the job
requires email. Perhaps that’s the only place that they’ll use it.
Or perhaps, they’ll be the catalyst for bringing in the email
replacement technology.

I agree, email is starting to slide from peak profitability, but will be profitable for a long time.

Is corporate blogging on the rise?

2)Blogging = Transparency — and so far, most companies still do not
have the intestinal fortitude for such openness. And it’ll get worse
before it gets better. Just wait for the first lawsuit where
Sarbanes-Oxley is invoked against a blog posting:-)

It’s interesting to me how blogging is growing from smaller companies and working it’s way up. The fewer layers of bureaucracy, the easier it is for blogs to grow. If your company has a culture of red tape, your bloggers can’t grow through the concrete sidewalk.
The growth of marketing departments as publishing companies:

3) Every Organization is a publishing Organization: always has been.
It’s just that the company’s customers became publishers too!

Always has been, but now every company has the infrastructure to spread further than only where trade magazines used to tread.

Online Video:

4)Online Video — The big news this year in Online Video is that
AppleTV, while not a perfect device, is a wormhole hole in the
Cable/Satellite space-time-continuumJ I can now get video podcasts
and YouTube videos into my livingroom. This is a major Crossing The
Chasm requirement.

My head hurts and I feel pity for Network TV execs. Between iTunes, Apple TV, Slingboxes, DVRs, etc. Things are only going to get messier. Can I have Heroes back on iTunes please?

Snack Media:

5) Online Video Attention Span. Back to the younger generation.
These kids have the attention span of a gnat. They want their
content quick and brief. What’s interesting, with YouTube, is that us
older folks may be being retrained. I no longer have the patience to
sit down and watch a 1 hour show”


6) RSS Feeds — Syndicate everything! RSS feeds are just starting to
show up in not traditional publishing areas like corporate websites
who syndicate the MOST OBVIOUS yet LEAST IMPACTFUL piece: their press
releases. More companies will start to experiment with RSS Feeds next

I think this area needs a quantum leap – Feeds alone can’t cross the chasm. Maybe Google Reader will continue to spread. Why’s this stuff not in Office?


7) RSS Feeds + Mashups. The release of Yahoo Pipes, Microsoft Popfly,
and Google Mashup (plus apps from Intel and IBM) offer great
opportunities for companies that are looking to take advantage of the
growth of RSS Feeds. If companies decide to “Syndicate Everything,”
these fledgling tools may become more of a necessity to help filter
the information torrent.

Wow, I’d forgotten all about Pipes. If only there were more hours in the day.

8) SEO isn’t Dying…it’s Already dead! “Black Hat” SEO is dead.  Never bet against the
House and never bet against Google.  Their business is predicated on
matching search results to good content.  Produce good content,
frequently, on a site that stays around for a while and Google will
reward you handsomely.
I think SEO is becoming more respectable as it’s evolving into copywriting.

Thanks Ron!

Productivity Booster The Marketeer

The biggest mistake made at trade shows

is not to have a plan. I could write some pointers, and I’d just be covering some ground that Jeff Pulver has already laid out in a straightforward fashion.

And this is not to say that your plan has to be all business. I only had 3 goals at Podcamp Pittsburgh and one of them was to get this picture:

photo by Kimberly Reed
If you are at Podcamp Boston and you need a picture with somebody, just ask, I’m sure we can find them in the crowd.

Daily Life Productivity Booster

Life with a Mac

It’s the weekend so I’m free to write a geek post after another week of marketing. I was lucky enough to skip out of work for a few hours and catch a presentation from Jeff Hoffman of Basho Strategies. He’s a world class presenter and the best salesman that I have ever met, he understands the dynamics of the deal and I would recommend him for anyone that needs a speaker for a sales kickoff or workshop.

After significant debate we have replaced Carin’s dying Dell Latitude LS400, a fine machine, rather dated, but still great (the monitor is the only weakness that you can’t get around – 800×600 doesn’t cut it anymore).

In order to reduce the tech support load that I bear for the family we will slowly transition everyone over to Macs.

Rather than religious debate, here’s what I know:

  1. Better display – the fonts in the OS look spectacular, I can’t believe how much better my sites look on this screen.
  2. No viruses – My Dad’s PC is running in great shape after more than a year. Losing 8 hours a year to reinstall windows after a spyware breakout was the deal breaker
  3. Better hardware – Wireless N built in, I’m getting 20mb download (thanks FIOS), and a superior soundcard. This is at least the 10th laptop I’ve had and the first that I get no system buzz when I use earphones plugged in.

The other thing is that so far I have no downside to report. Not having dreamweaver is one thing but I can boot windows up so I may mess around with that.