Archives: October 2004

Too Tired

8 speeches in 6 countries in 13 days. I'm tired. Very tired. Arrived at Logan from La Jolla and touched the gate with 2 outs in the bottom of the 9th. Terminal TV monitor droning CNN. A United employee (probably committing an Ashcroft hanging offense) let 2 or 3 of us into a staff room to watch the Last Pitch.

Do check out the slides from the last few days ... there are some new Rants concerning HR and Healthcare.

In my driveway in VT at 04:23EDT.

Be back in BlogWorld soon ...

Event Slides: CHIMEX

Tom has just finished a run of seven events in ten days. His last stop was CHIMEX, in La Jolla, CA. You can get the slides here.

Another Storm In Florida

Earlier this week, Tom mentioned that being in California means not getting to see the presidential campaign ads. Sitting in Ohio, I would have thought that was because both sides are spending ALL their money right here. Then I saw this fascinating page at that shows a week-by-week, state-by-state account of who's advertising where. The folks in Florida are being hit with a hurricane of advertising ... a total of nearly 10,000 ads last week alone, compared to a paltry 7,500 in Ohio (and none at all in California). Kerry and various Democratic interest groups ran 6,700 ads in Florida last week, compared to 3,150 by Bush and GOP groups. That's at least a gale-force blast of hot air!

Perhaps if either side had done a better job of establishing a positive brand identity, they could have run fewer, more effective ads. You can watch the ads at the CNN site, so if you're feeling ignored by the candidates, take a look at how they're courting those of us in the swing states. (And then go to to see who's "stretching the truth" the farthest.)

Check Out the Slides

I am in Phoenix speaking to ... a Very Cool Group. (With a VVery CCool Website.) I put together a collection of 10 PowerPoints, which we are posting today. Check out the Event Slides. Also, the Long Version for today—I think it's a pretty good & encompassing piece of work in the HR World.

I Left My Heart …

Sunday Noon: On to LA for a Monday speech, but not before thoroughly absorbing the Sunday SF Chronicle. Chron Magazine cover story: "The Women in Charge: San Francisco Leads the Nation with Female Appointees." From the article: "San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom [a successful entrepreneur, still in his 30s] says he doesn't try to create history, it just happens when he does what he thinks is right. ... San Francisco, or more correctly, the mayor, has put women in charge of six major public safety departments in the city. There are more women in charge of agencies that deal with life-and-death emergencies here than in any other major metropolitan city in the nation. Terrorism on the waterfront? A woman runs the port. Anthrax in the mail? The medical examiner is a woman. Earthquake-caused fires? The Hetch Hetchy water system fails? Riots in the streets? Women, women, women in charge." Women in SF "life-and-death" agencies are: Fire Chief. Police Chief. Medical Examiner. Port Director. Head of the Office of Emergency Services and Homeland Security, General Manager of the Public Utilities Commission. By contrast, the Chronicle reports: "Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, Philadelphia, Seattle, New York, and Los Angeles, to name a few, have no women heading up high-profile public safety jobs."


NB: Newsom reported that at first fellow mayors were incredulous, and claimed they couldn't do such things in their cities; a few months later the same mayors were annoyed that Newsom's moves were putting pressure on them to do the same! (TP: Go Mayor Gavin!)

Creatives Unite!

Truth be told, I don't often read the Harvard Business Review. The price is obscene, and I often find the typical article ... ponderous. On the other hand, I've long been dragging a book by Carnegie Mellon prof Richard Florida, unread, all over the world, and the current HBR had an article by him in its October issue. So, at loose ends in the SF airport, I picked up and paid for the rag and read. Indeed, the article was ponderous, but the gist was thought-provoking. So I'll either titillate you to dig further with what follows, or at least save you both the price of the book and the price of an issue of the HBR. Hence, from "America's Looming Creativity Crisis," by Richard Florida:

"The Dawn of the Creative Age": "There's a whole new class of workers in the U.S. that's 38-million strong: the creative class. At its core are the scientists, engineers, architects, designers, educators, artists, musicians and entertainers whose economic function is to create new ideas, new technology, or new content. Also included are the creative professions of business and finance, law, healthcare and related fields, in which knowledge workers engage in complex problem solving that involves a great deal of independent judgment. Today the creative sector of the U.S. economy, broadly defined, employs more than 30% of the workforce (more than all of manufacturing) and accounts for more than half of all wage and salary income (some $2 trillion)—almost as much as the manufacturing and service sectors together. Indeed, the United States has now entered what I call the Creative Age.

"The global talent pool and the high-end, high margin creative industries that used to be the sole province of the U.S., and a critical source of its prosperity, have begun to disperse around the globe. A host of countries—Ireland, Finland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, among them—are investing in higher education, cultivating creative people, and churning out stellar products, from Nokia phones to the Lord of the Rings movies. Many of these countries have learned from past U.S. success and are shoring up efforts to attract foreign talent—including Americans. ... The United States may well be the Goliath of the twentieth century global economy, but it will take just half a dozen twenty-first-century Davids to begin to wear it down. To stay innovative, America must continue to attract the world's sharpest minds. And to do that, it needs to invest in the further development of its creative sector. Because wherever creativity goes—and, by extension, wherever talent goes—innovation and economic growth are sure to follow."

What do you think?

Next Tuesday Is the Real Labor Day

I don't care who you are for: THIS ELECTION IS IMPORTANT. Please consider working the phones or the pavement this weekend; and, especially, gettin' it on next Tuesday. In a close election, "Get out the vote," for example, is critically important. (And it's a helluva lot of fun! I've done it since I tagged along with my Mom, getting' out the vote for Adlai Stevenson in 1952.)

(NB: This is the first time I remember several of my "fully mature," professional working friends taking multi-week, or multi-month, sabbaticals to work on the election. Cool!)

Three (Not Entirely New) Special Presentations

I want to call your attention to three Special Presentations/PPs. The first is called ... "New Economy. New Biz Degrees." My bile seems to be running particularly thick these days concerning MBAs—the degree seems increasingly out of touch with modern business needs as I see them. So I have decided, tongue slightly in cheek, to propose some substitutes for the MBA—the PP presentation is meant to be entertaining, while also deadly serious. For example my "new-substitute degrees" include: the (real) MFA ... Master of Fine Arts. (My estimable friend Dan Pink writes of the post-industrial, "right-brain economy": "The MFA is the new MBA.") Then comes the MMM1: Master of Metaphysical Management, an idea stolen from Danish marketing guru Jesper Kunde, who says that in an economy dominated by ephemeral products we are in need of metaphysicians more than "administrators"—e.g., Starbucks' Howard Schultz and Virgin's Richard Branson. I offer another "MMM" "degree" ... the MMM2, or Master of Metabolic Management; I see the top boss job as speeding up the metabolism of sluggish enterprises in the face of madcap competition ... think Dell or Wal*Mart or eBay or Progressive or China or India. And there's also an MGLF, or Master of Great Leaps Forward, inspired by my passion for Innovation-that-Stuns and a favorite quote by my old pal and former PepsiCo CEO, Roger Enrico: "Beware the tyranny of making small changes to small things. Instead make big changes to big things." There's more (for instance, a capstone DE, or Doctor of Enthusiasm), but I assume you get the drift. Mostly I conclude that I'm appalled about the "A" in MBA; surely the primary enterprise LEADERSHIP role, circa 2004, is more than "administration"?

Also: As I patrolled Europe last week, I worked like hell on my Summary Re-imagine Presentation. The "Master" is now about 1,600 slides LONG; but REI200 ("Re-imagine 200") is, um, 200-slides long—and I'm quite pleased with it. Last, but definitely not least, is "ShortTakes27." It is a PP compendium of 27 brief, and not-so-brief, Think Pieces that range from Design to newfound Exemplars of Excellence—I believe the set works pretty well together.


Kooky and Kewl and …

Back from "Old" (delightful!) Europe. Land in San Francisco. Remember in a flash why I love ... LOVE ... the City by the Bay. New York may be statistically more diverse, but SF feels so wonderfully diverse! In Borders near Union Square, for example, there is every color and costume known to humankind!

Plus, of course, the Bay Area is tops in just about all the "hard stuff" too ... Universities, infotech, biotech, start-ups, venture capital. (And Apple & Google & LucasFilm & Oracle & Genentech. And ...) Do you think it's mere coincidence that Kewl & Diverse and Economic & Intellectual Excellence go hand-tightly-in-glove?

Concerning the above, here's my quote of the day from Carnegie Mellon prof and econ-growth guru Richard Florida: "You can't get a technologically innovative place unless it's open to weirdness, eccentricity and difference." Presumably this is why, even in the Age of the Internet & Virtual Everything, that so much of the Best-Redefining Stuff still comes from SF, New York City, Chicago, Boston, Miami, LA, London, et al.

I am … NOT … a Clothes Horse …

It's just that I lost a ton (almost literally) of weight ... and my clothes don't look "loose," they look silly. So, following Adventure Milano, I detoured on the way to LA. And came to SF for the primary purpose of buying new suits at Nordstrom on Market Street. What a (continuing) tribute to Insanely Great Customer Service ... eh? Going to a city not on one's brutal itinerary to stop-'n-shop.

Bottom Line: The service was, well... Nordstrom. Period. I.e.: Insanely Great. Still.

(Speaking of "service" ... all the major airlines are up against the wall, cutting staff, allowing service to do a dead drop. On this trip, alas, I found British Air and Lufthansa to be as uninspiring-inattentive-screwed up as, say ... pick your worst.)