Friday, April 11, 2014

Almost Half of Twitter Users Have Never Tweeted

By: Ashley Rodriguez

There are 974 million registered Twitter users, but nearly half of them have never even tweeted, Mashable reports following a new study by Twopcharts. Here are some fun facts:

  • 44 percent of users have never tweeted.
  • Nearly 30 percent of existing Twitter accounts have tweeted 10 times or fewer.
  • 13 percent of users have tweeted more than 100 times.
So who's tweeting then? Clearly, it's just me and prdivarach. (I'm kidding. There are others. But it's mostly us.)

Mashable also reported recent design enhancements Twitter had made to make the service more user-friendly. I can only assume they're for people like my parents and husband, who can kind of deal with Facebook, but have no energy for the brain explosion that is tweeting, hashtags, RTs, DMs and @ replies. Several brands and celebrities already have the new layout. Like Channing Tatum. And Nike.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Millennials trust User-Generated Content 50% More Than Other Media

By: Chad Cohen

Taken directly from recent story on Mashable by Max Knoblauch.

The results of new research by marketing startup Crowdtap and the global research company Ipsos shed new light on how the connected generation gets its news. When it comes to trust, it turns out, millennials almost always choose their peers over professionals.

User-generated content (UGC) is media created by your peers. It includes status updates, blog posts and restaurant reviews — any content from non-professionals without any real motivation besides adding an opinion to the sea of already existing opinions. In a more logical world, it isn't the type of content we'd trust over a professional's review.
Ipsos' study, however, reveals that millennials trust UGC just as much as professional reviews. UGC is also 20% more influential when it comes to purchasing and 35% more memorable than other types of media. You can chalk that up to the fact that millennials spend five hours per day with UGC.
The infographic below gives the visual breakdown of how much time millennials are spending with UGC, where they're getting it and how it's affecting the media landscape.

Monday, April 7, 2014

House Approves 40-Hour Reform

By: Chad Cohen

This is taken directly from the IFA Government Relations & Public Policy Update.

House Approves 40 Hour Reform
Last week, the House of Representatives voted 248-179 to approve H.R. 2575, the Save American Workers Act, sponsored by Rep. Todd Young (R-IN). The bill, which raises the threshold for full-time status in the Affordable Care Act to the industry-standard 40 hours per week, passed with bipartisan support. IFA President & CEO Steve Caldeira released the following statement after the vote:

"Unlike the multiple employer mandate delays announced arbitrarily over the past two years by the Obama administration, this bipartisan bill helps small business owners with a permanent solution as they work to navigate the burdensome and costly requirements of the Affordable Care Act. This bill will help to avoid a shift to a more part-time workforce by providing employers the flexibility to reward hard-working and dedicated employees with more hours and the ability to earn more income."

In the Senate, S. 1188, the Forty Hours Is Full Time Act would accomplish the same goal as H.R. 2575.  As the measure moves to the Senate, it is even more critical that you contact your elected officials to let them know you support this important reform. Please visit and click on "Take Action" contact your Senators and urge them to support this bill.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Can Pinterest Be Dangerous For Your Brand

By: Rachel Tabacnic 

Whether you use Pinterest to find new recipes, the latest fashion trends or as inspiration for your upcoming wedding, there’s plenty of ways help promote consumer interest for national brands.

More importantly did you know there are right and wrong ways to promote your brand and engage on this platform? This week the popular clothing and shoe brand, Cole Haan, came under fire from the FTC on how to advertise via social media. The bottom line stated by the FTC – if your followers are sharing content to win money or gifts, then it must be disclosed in their initial post.

Cole Haan’s most recent contest drew the FTC’s attention following a promotional event called the “Wandering Sole Pinterest Contest.” Under the rules the contest, participants had the opportunity to win a $1,000 gift card by creating their own “My Wandering Sole” board on Pinterest and including the hashtag within each re-pinned item. While this may sound like an amazing opportunity, the FTC caught wind of this contest and a select amount of Cole Haan enthusiasts that put together elaborate boards leading them to believe that this so-called contest looked like an extended marketing campaign by the brand. Overall, it seems that the FTC has just been very weary of how brands have been promoting their image throughout social media.

On the upside, a recent article discussed five brands winning at Pinterest, and users, not brands themselves, generate about 70 percent of brand engagement on Pinterest. According to research conducted by Sephora, Pinterest followers spend 15x more time on their boards than they do on Facebook. Other brands including major retailer, Nordstrom, bring this platform to the real world by labeling their suggested favorite items with special Pinterest tags in hopes that fans will be inspired to share and purchase these items themselves. Popular body care and candle retailer, Bath & Body Works, is another brand that utilizes social media to expand their reach to fans across the country. By introducing new contests on various platforms, they are able to launch new products, host contests and create an identity with their targeted fans.

Lesson to be learned from the recent FTC crisis is to make sure you are clear on what you are sharing on social media. For now – I’ll stick to pinning my favorite drink recipes in order to get ready for Friday’s happy hour J #HappyPinning

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Brands Jump Into Twitter's New Photo Collage

By: Chad Cohen

Taken from an AdAge story by Cotton Delo - Twitter announced earlier this week that it would let users share up to four photos in a single tweet and tag up to 10 other people in a photo similar to how Facebook works.

Some brands have already begun to adopt the new feature and effectively pack their tweets with more content. The four photos appear underneath the text of the tweet in a collage format.

As Twitter grows and matures, we'll probably see even more visual nuances like this as the social platform continues to evolve from the simplicity of a 140-character post it was founded upon. As you probably remember, in October Twitter introduced "media-forward timelines" that allowed users to see photos automatically displayed in streams as opposed to clicking on a link to view the photo.

These changes let brands and franchises take up more real estate in people's Twitter feeds and allow them to do more potential storytelling beyond the the former 140-character boundary.

Below are some examples of early adopters:

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

When a Crisis Drives (No Pun Intended) Customers to Your Competitors

By: Ashley Rodriguez

I have been pretty public about my frustration with General Motors after I found out my car -- along with 2.6 million other Chevy Cobalts, Saturns and other vehicles -- had an ignition that was being recalled. According to USA Today, 31 crashes and 13 deaths have occurred because of faulty ignitions that were "jostled" out of position, resulting in loss of power steering and air bags that didn't deploy. (Many of the victims were young women. Read more from The Associated Press.)

General Motors CEO Mary Barra is facing a barrage of questions this week during Senate hearings on the defects and why it took, according to reports, about 10 years for the company to admit any problems with their ignitions. And it turns out it would have only cost the company 57 cents per ignition to repair them. Instead of proactively identifying a problem and spending the money, GM now has to worry about the reputation of its 106-year-old brand. (At least one customer, my mother, has sworn never to own another GM car again. She's very intense like that.)

Now, in a move to please concerned and angry customers, GM is offering free loaner cars from dealerships and has partnered with rental car agencies to provide additional vehicles should dealers run out. GM has lifted restrictions to allow dealers to loan competitors' cars. Yes, because of this mishap, GM is putting its customers into competitors' vehicles. Burn.

I'll be sure to update this post when I find out what fancy car I'll be driving. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Vote on Minimum Wage Expected This Week

By: Chad Cohen

From IFA Government Relations & Public Policy Update

Vote on Minimum Wage Expected This Week
After months of activism from the President, Senate Democrats and labor groups, a vote on S. 1737, theMinimum Wage Fairness Act, is expected to occur in the Senate this week. The legislation would raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 per hour over the next two years, followed by annual indexing for inflation.

Research indicates that raising the hourly wage floor to only $9 would significantly harm small business owners and their employees, and the consequences of an even more substantial increase could be disastrous. Analysis from the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office released on Wednesdayindicates that the bill would cost employers nearly $15 billion and raise the deficit by $5 billion over the next 10 years. 

Monday, March 31, 2014

House to Vote on 40 Hour Reform This Week

By: Chad Cohen

From the IFA Government Relations & Public Policy Update

House to Vote on 40 Hour Reform This Week
The House is set to consider H.R. 2575, the Save American Workers Act, this week. The bill, which raises the threshold for full-time status to the industry-standard 40 hours per week, would provide small business owners with some relief from the Affordable Care Act's employer mandate. Research from IFA and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce indicates that if the current, 30 hour, definition of full time were implemented with the employer mandate, businesses would be forced to make management decisions that include reducing hours, eliminating positions or even closing down. Passage of this bill is a legislative priority for IFA. To contact your Representative on this issue, please visit and click on "Take Action Now."

Friday, March 28, 2014

On the Media Buffet, People Still Seek Meaty News

By: Chad Cohen

Below we'll take a look into a great story written by the Associated Press' Connie Cass earlier this month examining the personal news cycle and how people consume news across topics and platforms. The research was conducted by the Media Insight Project, a new collaboration between the American Press Institute and the AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

The findings suggest that the conventional wisdom holding that media consumption divides largely along generational or ideological lines is overstated and that some long-held beliefs about people relying on a few primary sources for news are now obsolete.

Contrary to the idea that one generation tends to rely on print, another on television, and still another the web, the majority of Americans across generations now combine a mix of sources and technologies to get their news each week. 

Where people go for news, moreover, depends significantly on the topic of the story—whether it is sports or science, politics or weather, health or arts—and on the nature of the story itself—whether it is a fast-moving event, a slower-moving trend, or an issue that the person follows passionately. 
These are some of the findings of the nationally representative telephone survey of

1,492 adults conducted from January 9 through February 16, 2014. 

People today are nibbling from a news buffet spread across 24-hour television, websites, radio, newspapers and magazines, and social networks.

Three-fourths of Americans see or hear news daily, including 6 of 10 adults under age 30, the study found. Nearly everyone — about 9 in 10 people — said they enjoy keeping up with the news. And more than 6 in 10 say that wherever they find the news, they prefer it to come directly from a news organization.

With so many sources and technologies, 60 percent of Americans say it's easier to keep up than it was just five years ago.

If you're under 30, the future of news is in your hands, literally.

Three out of 4 young adults who carry cellphones use them to check the news. Most owners of tablet computers also use them to get updates; young people are the ones most likely to have tablets.

The Media Insight Project study found 20-somethings likelier to follow up when they hear something big is happening.

Americans get that first word an assortment of ways. Traditional news operations still dominate, but word of mouth, email and text messages, Facebook and Twitter, and electronic news alerts also come into play.

Most people say they have more confidence in a story when they get it directly from a news-gathering operation. But their media habit doesn't include paying for it — only about a fourth have paid subscriptions.

Nine out of 10 watched some type of TV news in the previous week. Newspapers, including online editions, and radio news each reached more than half the country. Online-only news sources such as Yahoo! News and Buzzfeed reached nearly half.

People flit across the news landscape, depending on what they're seeking, the study found.
Wonder why local newscasts seem fixated on crime, traffic, weather and health warnings? That's why viewers go there.

Cable TV channels draw the most people looking for foreign news, politics, social issues and business stories.

Readers prefer newspapers — online or in print — for local news, stories about schools and education, and arts and culture coverage. Among news sources, newspapers have the widest range of topics that attract a significant number of people.

Americans most often turn to specialty media these days for their sports, entertainment news, and science and technology coverage. When a natural disaster strikes, they turn on the TV.

The survey was conducted Jan. 9 through Feb. 16, 2014 by NORC at the University of Chicago with funding from the American Press Institute. It involved landline and cellphone interviews in English or Spanish with 1,492 adults nationwide. Results from the full survey have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.6 percentage points.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Public Relations is Going High-Tech and Very Social

By: Chad Cohen

The following is taken directly from a recent NPR All Tech Considered Blog post about where the future of PR and technology are meeting.

NASCAR Fan and Media Engagement Center, 13 46-inch TV screens display charts, tweets and live races.

Gone are the days of waiting for angry letters.

Social media allows the NFL, NASCAR and other pro sports leagues to hear from fans in real time. And that feedback has become so important, leagues have built what are essentially social media command centers to monitor trends and engage directly with fans.

The centers have been popping up over the past five years or so. One of the newest is in Charlotte, N.C., at NASCAR's corporate building. Sean Doherty runs what's officially called the Fan and Media Engagement Center, featuring a video wall that he describes as "a matrix of 13 46-inch HD digital displays."

NASCAR's operation opened a year ago. Hewlett-Packard created a data analytics system that allows NASCAR to dissect what people are saying about the sport on social media.

Anna Richter, a NASCAR employee, watches for spikes on a chart measuring social media mentions.

"We can click in and see the chatter that's actually behind each spike," Richter says. "And we will label that later so we can just go back and look and say, OK, this was green flag, and so on and so forth."

The "green flag," which signals the start to a NASCAR race, is often one of the moments that generate an uptick in tweets.

Sitting next to Richter, Edwin Colmenares talks to fans using NASCAR's official Twitter account.
"Usually people retweet my response from the @NASCAR account," he says. "I think it's pretty cool because I made someone's day just by typing that out."

And that happy fan keeps the NASCAR conversation going — and glowing. Marketing consultant Peter Shankman calls that public relations at its finest.

"They're actually able to allow the customer to do their PR for them, and that's massive," Shankman says.

It's a big reason every major American professional sport is playing this high-tech game. The NBA has a command center in New Jersey. Major League Baseball has one in New York City, the NHL in Toronto and the NFL in London, New York and Los Angeles.

"We are 24/7/365 understanding what's being said about the NFL — its teams, its players, its coaches, and everything associated to the game of football," says Brian McCarthy, an NFL spokesman.

Helping leagues shape their social media strategies has become a full-time business, too. Eric Fernandez is a consultant who's worked with Major League Soccer, minor league baseball and even the Australian professional cricket league.

"We started seeing the momentum on this business pick up probably about 18 months ago," Fernandez says.

To be sure, there are dangers involved in stepping up your social media game. A league risks putting its foot in its digital mouth, or overselling its sponsors in a way that could turn fans off.

But Fernandez says the benefits outweigh the costs. For example, leagues can take advantage of how their product often lends itself to brief, attention-grabbing highlights they can tweet.

The TV ratings company Nielsen has found that a critical mass of tweets can drive changes in live TV ratings. Melissa Rosenthal Brenner, who runs the NBA's command center, says that can attract new viewers.

"You're on Twitter and you see something interesting trending, and you're like, 'Wait, what is that?' " Brenner says. "And it might point you to watch a particular program. That's a general sense of where the world's going — that [social media] is the new TV Guide for choosing programming."

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

So Your Plane Went Missing… How Do You Respond?

By: Ashley Rodriguez

AP photo from
As if the disappearance of a commercial jet carrying 239 people didn't lend itself to enough of a PR nightmare with all the speculation by media, now it's a case study in poor crisis communication by both Malaysia Airlines and the Malaysian government.

First there was the back and forth on where the plane might be. Did it crash in the South China Sea? Wait, maybe it landed in the Andaman Islands? Oh, just kidding, it actually might have been headed toward Pakistan. Nope, sorry, we're now looking west of Australia.

All the while, media were reporting the plane crashed. Then it blew up. Then it was hijacked. Then it ran out of fuel. Media will always want to speculate to fill air time, but it seemed several countries continued to withhold vital satellite data that could have helped move the investigation forward. Typically, the first step in crisis PR is to get everyone who knows anything in the same room (or, in this case, on a big, international conference call) to share information and decide how to relay it to the public.

And now for the latest bit of "what the heck," yesterday, airline officials were criticized for sending a text message to family members informing them there was satellite evidence that flight 370 went down in the Indian Ocean and there were no survivors. I strongly believe there are two things you don't do via text message: (1) break up with someone, and (2) inform someone about a death. Malaysia Airlines responded with a statement saying the text was sent only after families had been notified in person and by phone. Which begs the question, why send it at all? made several valid points in a story posted today called, "5 lessons learned from Malaysia Airlines' crisis response." My favorite point: keep the media away from grieving families. I studied journalism and photography in college, so I get that a room full of crying family members is like front-page-photo gold. But let's be human for a second. No one wants their photo on the front page of The Washington Post and that doesn't do Malaysia Airlines any favors. The airline and government should have kept pushy reporters, their microphones and cameras away from families and let prepped spokespeople handle the situation. And they should have made sure those spokespeople were trained in how to deal with Western media because apparently that has been a significant cultural hurdle to overcome. (Read more: "Malaysia Airlines struggling with press.")

All that said, we can learn a few things:

  1. Cooperate and communicate: Work together with other parties involved, with media and with families. Make every effort to answer questions, so speculation doesn't drown out the facts.
  2. Be sensitive: Don't let the media have a field day with people who have been negatively affected by a crisis. They'll want that story, of course, but you can take steps to manage the sea of camera flashes.
  3. Prepare: It's been blow after blow to the PR teams involved in this tragedy and, unfortunately, a reminder for us all that a crisis can strike at any time, anywhere and preparation is key.

5 Easy Ways to be an Extraordinary Leader

By Chad Cohen:

Great leadership means doing both the big and little things in order for team members to flourish because everything breaks down when leaders don't understand how to engage effectively.

Let's start with what leadership is not. It's not talking at or over people. It's not a lecture. Leadership is not sequestered nor does it operate in a vacuum. It's not exclusive or arrogant. Leadership is not about the leader.

The best leaders are not interested in who is right, but what is right. They not only embrace dissenting opinions, but seek them out in order to potentially unlearn as they are learning. And perhaps most importantly, great leaders never pass up an opportunity to discuss or debate because they know their leadership is only as good as their ability to engage, listen, discern and act.

Work long enough and you'll rise up the corporate ladder. Doesn't matter if you flip burgers or run a hedge fund, eventually you'll be in charge of other people. Below are my 5 ways to be an extraordinary leader.

1. Encourage Diversity of Viewpoint: average bosses create teams where everyone thinks the same. Extraordinary managers draw upon a multitude of opinions to better understand market potential in order to gain a competitive advantage.

2. Speak from the Heart: average bosses try very hard to be businesslike and remote while hiding their emotions behind jargon. By contrast, extraordinary bosses speak honestly about goals and desires. admit their own vulnerabilities, and ask for a team's help and understanding. Wins are expressed with gratitude and loses are commiserated rather than criticized.

3. Be Family Friendly: average bosses view family as a distraction from getting work done. Extraordinary leaders understand that team members perform at their best when they're better connected to their families - whether its working from home, leaving early to pick up a child or just meeting mom for long lunch.

4. Disperse Power: average bosses accumulate all power at the top. Extraordinary leaders know that centralized decision making creates friction and slows growth. Great bosses tend to disperse power downwards creating more adaptable organizations.

5. Build Relationships: average bosses would rather eat alone or in the proverbial executive dining room. Extraordinary leaders prefer perks like a game room and free pizza lunch that promotes social interactions between different groups and employees and managers alike. Everyone needs to understand that "we're all in this together."

Monday, March 24, 2014

5 Habits of Highly Effective PR People

By: Chad Cohen

To dovetail off my colleague Ashley's post What PR People Need to Succeed, I believe there are three basic types of PR professionals: unproductive, regular and great. Most folks fall into the "good" category. They're comfortable doing what they do and making an impact when called upon. But if you want to make change, move markets or increase a client's bottom line - then you must make that "Good to Great" leap immortalized by Jim Collins.

Don't settle. Break your bad habits. Become a thought leader. Thanks @MrsARodriguez for the motivation.

1. Listen Intently: don't pretend to pay attention, really listen. Playing Candy Crush on your iPad during conference calls will get you nowhere. Focus during key conversations and take notes.

2. Read Voraciously: BuzzFeed is not enough. Reading stirs the imagination, helps you become a better writer and keeps you well-informed.

3. Speak the Language: understand the language of the community you are communicating to. Nuance makes all the difference when conveying your point.

4. Refine your Writing: whether its a memo to a colleague, an email to a client, a pitch to a reporter or a sticky note on the office fridge to stay away from your pizza - how you write is how you are perceived in the world of communications.

5. Practice Math: knowing how to read a profit and loss statement, understanding how to measure metrics, or executing against a budget will position you for leadership.

Monday, March 17, 2014

The Importance of Telling a Compelling Story

By: Ashley Rodriguez

I came across a great video last night on Twitter (thanks, @trifamenz!) about the power of telling a story. As a former j-school kid, I was taught to find the story in everything. (Ask my husband, I always have a dozen stories to tell every day. Poor guy...) That same skill is reflected in the work I do at Fish as I find opportunities to tell clients' stories in print and online media. If you work in PR, you know articles giving pitch tips are plentiful. But it all tends to boil down to one thing: tell a compelling story.

The video, embedded below, supports the notion that it's more difficult than ever to get your message out there when there's so much noise. But, because of all that noise, we're even more willing to pay attention to a great story. The narrator tells a story where students were asked to give a one-minute pitch to their classmates. On average, students used 2.5 statistics, but only one in 10 told a story. When asked to recall what was said, only 5 percent remembered any of the statistics, but 63 percent remembered the story. Stories stick.

While it's important to include statistics in a pitch to media -- journalists often appreciate the supportive data -- it's still important to have a good story. This is why we constantly ask our clients for strong success stories of franchisees. The data may not get a reporter to include your client in an article, but the story will. Make it memorable.


Friday, February 21, 2014

What PR People Need to Succeed

By: Ashley Rodriguez

This week, I came across a blog from PRNews on the habits of highly effective PR people. Listening hard, reading often and writing well were a few of the habits identified, to no surprise. Those are three skills every PR pro should have -- which is why former journalists have been able to successfully transition into the PR world.

The Fish crew had a few additional things to add to refrain from pulling out your hair on a daily basis:

  • Be agile: the best PR people are able to roll with the punches and change course at a moment's notice.
  • Prioritize and organize: There will be days when clients want everything right now. Being able to identify what can wait a day (or a few hours) and what can't is important.
  • Be enthusiastic: Pitching media can be exhausting. So can being a reporter. Let's make it more fun for everyone by sounding like we are really enjoying being on the phone. You'll be able to sell your pitch that much better.
  • Have a personality: No one wants to talk to a boring person. (If you've ever had the pleasure of talking to Amanda or Rachel on our team, you'll know exactly what I mean.)
  • Kick back: Realize it's OK to relax (with or without a big glass of wine) at the end of the day. You'll need to be refreshed for it all to start again tomorrow.
Have any habits or skills to add? Comment below!

Monday, February 17, 2014

It's Not Nice to Make People Cry… and Other Things Learned in Journalism 101

By: Ashley Rodriguez

As a former j-school student, I was borderline furious to hear that an NBC reporter asked probing questions that led to a grown man breaking down in tears. But as a PR person, I was  impressed with the way Olympian skier Bode Miller handled the situation, both on and off air. Despite the tight camera angle and excessive questions about Miller's late brother -- both of which obviously were set up to get an emotional reaction out of him -- Miller was a class act. He could have gone all Alec Baldwin on Christin Cooper of NBC (which, let's be honest, I probably would have thought about doing and been permanently banned from television appearances), but he didn't. Later, he tweeted his support not once, but twice.

NBC unapologetically released this statement:
“Our intent was to convey the emotion that Bode Miller was feeling after winning his bronze media. We understand how some viewers thought the line of questioning went too far, but it was our judgment that his answers were a necessary part of the story. We’re gratified that Bode has been publicly supportive of Christin Cooper and the overall interview.”
I hope, at the very least, the producers received a stern lecture about how it's not nice to intentionally make other people cry. (#lessonswelearnedinkindergarten)

If you haven't seen the video, watch below.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

What's in Store for Business Travel this Year?

By: Chad Cohen

If you're anything like us, the holiday season is over and you're back out on the road visiting clients, attending conferences and shaking the trees. Do people even say that anymore? In any case, planes trains and automobiles are a fact of life for many of us in the franchising business and what better way to ring in the business travel season than with this quick Top 3 of what's on tap for the road warrior in 2014.

1. Connectivity. Finally the FAA relaxed its outdated rule on electronic device use during takeoff and landing. Finally I can just stare at my phone without having to make small talk with the guy who actually booked the middle seat in row 15. 

2. Jumping the Line. TSA PreCheck is the best because you don't have to take off your shoes, your belt or even remove your computer from your bag as you breeze through the scanner. Being able to get from the entrance of the airport to your gate in 15 minutes is just awesome.

3. Mobile Apps. For the first time in well forever, you can actually take a trip completely paperless. From airport to hotel to rental car and back, it's possible to now travel with just that smartphone in your pocket. 


Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Blog Turns 20

By: Chad Cohen

No not our blog. But before Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram - there was the blog, which made publishing to the internet possible for non-techies around the world. And if you are as old (or as young depending on your perspective) as I am, chances are you probably had one at some point in the 1990s or early 2000s on Blogger or Wordpress. This year the blog turns 20. Forget what I said above, this just makes me feel old.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

How Will We Watch TV in Five Years?

By: Chad Cohen

Wanted to take a second and summarize a great article I clipped into my Evernote file and read just now by Edward C. Baig in USA Today. It's a really interesting question to ask ourselves given the changes that have occurred over the last five years in relation to what might happen a few years into the future.

As Baig points out, the experience will go beyond the physical nature of the television hanging on your wall that anchors your home theater. What we're really talking about is how you will find what you want to watch, how you will pay for that service and where it will be delivered. Our broadband connection will inevitably be faster, social media will continue to influence our decision making process, and everything from news and sports to bad-but-I-can't-stop-watching reality TV will be part of the mix.

By 2019, a lot of us will probably own one of those big, 4K TVs that were all the rage at recent CES show, which boast four times the resolution of HDTV. It might be one of those curved screens or not - depending if they have staying power. Good thing is those 4K TVs are already falling to relatively modest price levels with the Vizio cracking the $1,000 barrier for a 50-inch model.

Mobile will also still to be a big deal in television as we continue to consume programming from wherever we want to on our tablets, phones and who knows, maybe your smart watch moving forward. As a child of the 80's, I still think of my Casio calculator watch as one of the pinnacles of technological achievement. I learned to write "boob" using numbers....

One of the more interesting things that Baig pointed out in the article was how we will find content to watch. While we are all pretty familiar with how to navigate the channel guide on our remote, a good majority of people are finding new things being delivered to them via Netflix type of recommendation system. All the relevant content providers are going to move in this direction to personalize the experience.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Good Decision Making

By: Chad Cohen

I spend the majority of my time being a part of groups and teams helping them to make the best decisions. However, when you put a group of like-minded business people together in a room there is the inherent possibility of friction, confusion and stress that can lead to poor decision making. The difference between high-performing teams and those mired in redundancy are few simply key ingredients.

All high-performance teams start with data. Not speculation or opinion, but hard, solid data. That's not to say that conjecture or speculation aren't creative ways to uncover new ideas for discussion, but the only place to start is with hard data.

Debate is at the heart of any quality discussion. But high-quality teams debate the facts and the underlying data while leaving presumption aside. More importantly, they debate the facts objectively and with the goal of the business in mind.

Sounds easy, but most groups discuss an issue for so long that they become tired, confused or even complacent. Here is an idea that many high-performing teams implement - agree in advance on the precise time a decision will be made and stick to it. If for some reason a decision can't be made, then defer the issue because there is certainly a key piece of data missing.