April 26th, 2007
It is often valuable to have a grasp of history when looking to the future. Too often those that donâ€™t have a historical perspective think that everything is new when in many cases what is new is a refurbished version of a past success model.
The other day Clear Channel Communications announced that a station it owns in Dallas, KZPS, was going to stop airing 30 and 60 second commercials. Instead of running lots of commercials, the station will have advertisers sponsor an hour of programming. During each hour the DJ will spend about two minutes speaking about the sponsor or the sponsors products in a personal, conversational way. This compares to the usual commercial load on radio stations of 12 to 16 minutes of 30 and 60 second spots. In addition, sponsors will have category exclusivity. The station has sold four sponsors, Southwest Airlines, AT&T, Coors and Guitar Center, and will therefore not have any other airlines, phone companies, breweries or music retailers on their air.
The impetus for this major change is the radical changes in the media landscape that have occurred in the past few years. Radio has long been an out of home medium, listened to predominately in cars â€” thatâ€™s why radio stations call their version of prime time, drive time. Radio was serving a captive audience of people stuck in traffic. Now with the advent of commercial free satellite radio, CDs and iPods, drivers have commercial free choice. Whenever I drive …
April 24th, 2007
A recent column discussed the historical context for the emergence of intellectual property as the new and most important valuation of a company. While this point of view is becoming more main stream every day the current problem is that there is no liquid market that can help determine actual valuations. Corporations and individuals can easily monetize their real estate holdings, their heavy and office equipment and just about any hard asset they have. As stated in the prior column, 80% of the value of the S&P 500 companies is their Intellectual Property, or IP. There are all kinds of markets to monetize the remaining 20%of a companyâ€™s assets, but what about the IP? Last week I was witness to the beginning of the answer to this question. If you believe, as I do, that IP is becoming the dominant asset in commerce in this new century, then last weekâ€™s activities in Chicago will be looked upon as significant. The company mentioned in the earlier column, Ocean Tomo, had two days of meetings for IP specialists from around the world. I attended two events that were of great interest and suggest the coming future of the IP marketplace.
The first event was a â€˜town hallâ€™ meeting on two major proposals: creating a Intellectual Property Enterprise Zone, and establishing an Intellectual Property Exchange. The Enterprise Zone, developed with the help from …
April 19th, 2007
One of the many unique aspects of the time in which we live is that it is no longer unusual to have more than one career in a lifetime. Since the beginning of the Information Age 30 years ago it has been increasingly common for adults to have two or even three careers during their lifetimes. Historically this is absolutely understandable.
Three hundred years ago one usually did the same work that oneâ€™s parents did, and usually in the same place. One hundred years ago, in the middle of the Industrial Age when new careers or jobs were being constantly created, people started to do different work than their parents. While you might have entered a new field, you usually spent your entire work life in one profession or with one company, until that day when you turned 65, got the gold watch and retired. It must be noted that the life expectancy three hundred years ago was around 45-50 years and that one hundred years ago it was 55-60 in the U.S. Now that life expectancy is 75-80 years.
We are now living in the mature stage of the Information Age when everything is much faster, we are all living a lot longer, and we are working to an older age[It was not until 1986 that the mandatory retirement age of 65 was struck down in the U.S.]. The logical extension of these trends is that many people are having two or more careers. A lot of the changing of careers …
April 17th, 2007
I have written several times about the fact that it was in 2006 that the U.S. crossed the tipping point on Global Warming. It has only been in the last year that the understanding of the global warming issue has become mainstream in this country. Two years ago it was environmentalists that spoke of it, now almost everyone does.
As someone who has long been concerned that this country and the rest of the world were marching blindly forward toward an overheated planetary nightmare, I am happy to see that almost everywhere I look there is the subject of global warming. Last week, the cover of Time magazine was â€œThe Global Warming Survival Guideâ€. The current issue of Vanity Fair is the second annual â€œGreen Issueâ€. Last week Discovery Networks announced that they were converting one of their networks into a â€œGreenâ€ network. Starting today, Home Depot will introduce labeling for nearly 3,000 products that conserve energy, or promote energy conservation, sustainable forestry and clean water. They expect to increase the number of products to 6,000, or 12% of their products, by 2009. In addition, these products will get preferential treatment such as prominent shelf positioning and being highlighted in marketing efforts. Good work Time, Vanity Fair, Discovery Networks and Home Depot.
Now the truth of the matter is that everyone is learning it pays to be green. Media outlets, retail chains and even car companies are falling over themselves to be green, to be environmentally friendly, to become carbon neutral, …
April 12th, 2007
In the last 10,000 years there has been three ages of humanity. The first age was the Agricultural Age which began around 8,000 B.C. when humanity stopped be nomadic and began to put down roots, literally. The advent of agriculture allowed humanity to start to build a social fabric that was placed based and that created values around land and the process of growing food.
The Agricultural Age lasted until the late 1700s, when the Industrial Age first began in Europe. With the commercial use of the new invention called the steam engine, the world started to change rapidly, with mechanized production, transport and the growing importance of cities as places of production and distribution. If you live in an urban area, what you see was largely created during the Industrial Age. Approximately thirty years ago the Information Age began in the developed countries. This age was initiated by communications satellites, computers, and historically unprecedented numbers of college graduates. The number of white collar workers surpassed the number of blue collar, or production workers, for the first time.
Each of these ages created not only new economic structures, activities and places of work, they also created new economic values. The dominant value of the Agricultural Age was land and the wealth that came from the land. Large landowners were regarded as the wealthy. Once the Industrial Age reached maturity, the new economic value became production. Wealth was created through production. The wealthy initially were the early captains of industry, the robber barons, …