Yahoo should buy Twitter (and then merge with AOL)

Hola Todos!

I’m going to be honest here.  I am getting tired of the “Who is going to purchase Yahoo?” talk.  It’s be an on and off again headline for too long (for instance, click here).  Its like Yahoo is waiting for a “White Knight” to save them from their strategic nadir.  Well, my crazy idea of the day is for Yahoo to save itself and to buy Twitter (e.g., give Twitter an offer they cannot refuse).

Two questions you might be asking yourself right now are HOW and WHY.  The HOW is the easier of the two and believe it or not, Yahoo can accomplish this maneuver without lifting a penny off of its balance sheet.

I was reading The Wall Street Journal the other day and what I learned that Yahoo owns a 40% stake in the Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (click here). Through something I know nothing about called a “cash-rich split-off,” Yahoo can sell its stake in Alibaba, recently valued by Yahoo at about $14 billion, and avoid paying taxes on the profit from a sale (e.g., a tax savings of about $5 billion).

Twitter could be persuaded to take an all cash offer (with benefits) given their current situation and what’s happening in the marketplace.  I do not care what Twitter’s “potential” evaluation could be, Twitter is not IPO ready, does not have a significant revenue generating model, and the stock market will NOT to be ripe for tech IPO for quarters to come.  Give Twitter $3 or $5 or even $8 billion in cash now because who knows if they will get it in the future.  Then, Twitter can concentrate of what it does best without worrying about developing a revenue-generating model that Wall Street will accept.

As for the WHY – first, Yahoo can use Twitter to increase page views of their sites.  Yahoo’s strength is display advertising.  Yahoo can only increase rates for display advertising if they gain more eyeballs.  Twitter can act as the highway to draw more eyeballs to Yahoo properties.  Done.  Second, Yahoo needs leadership.  Twitter has the executive talent to run Yahoo.  In addition, with Twitter’s brand, Yahoo will be able to attract and keep talent as opposed to losing everyone to Apple, Google and Facebook.

The final maneuver would be for Yahoo/Twitter to merge with AOL.  Like Yahoo, AOL strength is display advertising.  Yes, Twitter can also act as the highway to draw more eyeballs to AOL properties but more importantly, a Yahoo/AOL is a much stronger display advertising play for marketers then either Yahoo or AOL by itself.

The new entity – YAT Inc. or TAY Companies (you have fun with anagrams) – will be powerful enough to be a player, as opposed to an also ran, in today’s marketplace.

So what do you think about that?

Best

Dr. Dan-o

Nugget Dictionary Edition: Myopic

Hola Todos!

Both a cool sounding and cool meaning word, myopic, is our keyword of the week.  The online Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines myopic as, “a lack of foresight or discernment: a narrow view of something.”

The term myopic has a special meaning in marketing do to a famous article titled “Marketing Myopia” by Harvard Business School professor Theodore Levitt (Link).  Professor Levitt’s point was marketers who are myopic focus too much on what they do and not enough on whom they serve (e.g., the customer).

Over the years, the term marketing myopia has also referred to companies who are defining their areas of practice to narrowly.  For instance, Apple officially changed their name not that long ago from Apple Computer Inc. to just Apple Inc.  When iPods, iPhones and iPads make up 80% of your sales and profits, it’s a bit myopic to still call yourself a computer company.

Best regards,

Dr. Dan-o

 

 

Leadership: Passion is the Fire that Kindles and Fuels our Talents

Hola Todos!

Any leadership post with something by John Maxwell is worth reading.  Add one of my favorite writers Malcolm Gladwell into the mix and you have something great.  In his post below, Mr. Mike reminds us that nothing incredible happens without passion: “Passion is the fire that kindles and fuels our talents.”

Enjoy!

Dr. Dan-o

 

To:  The Great Leaders Who Have a Passion for Continuous Learning

Is “excellence” explained by one’s talents?  Are someone’s talents what drives extraordinary performance and achievements?  John Maxwell in his article, More Than Talent, acknowledges that while talent is important, “the primary pathway to excellence has three main steps”:

1) “Find Your Passion – People of excellence love what they do. They have learned how to fuel the fire that keeps them moving. How do you spot a passionate person?

·       They work with their whole heart.

·       They work with undistracted attention.

·       They work with maximum energy.

2) Never Cease Practicing – Passion won’t take you anywhere unless you combine it with disciplined practice. Malcolm Gladwell, in his book Outliers, studies success and discovers that innate talent has a lot less to do excellence than does practice …  Nobody cruises to the top on natural giftedness alone. As Gladwell writes, “Practice isn’t the thing you do once you’re good. It’s the thing you do that makes you good.”

3) Honor Your Values – We all could give examples of talented, charismatic people who sabotaged their careers by abandoning their values. Passion and practice bring excellence, but character sustains excellence over time. Absence of strong character eventually topples talent. People cannot climb beyond the limitations of their character. Eventually the limelight of success brings to light the cracks in their integrity.”

Great leaders recognize that talent in abundance is indispensable for a highly successful life.  They dedicate themselves to lives of continuous learning – growing and stretching themselves to find new possibilities in their life and the world around them.  Yet, all the talent in the world alone does not guarantee success.  Passion is the fire that kindles and fuels our talents.  It is the burning desire to find meaning and purpose in our life – finding and doing what we love – and then using our talents to their maximum to achieve our life’s dreams.  Let your excellence shine brilliantly with fire of your passion.  As the German philosopher Hegel wrote:  “Nothing great in the world has been accomplished without passion.”  Let your passion set fire to your soul and may you be more than you ever dreamed you could be.  Life is so very beautiful!

Have a beautiful day and a fantastic week!!!

Mike

Contact Information:

Michael M. Reuter

Director, Center for Leadership Development

Stillman School of Business

Seton Hall University

Tel: (Office) 973.275.2528; (Mobile) 908.419.6060

Email: Michael.Reuter@shu.edu 

Apple’s Advertising Identity

Hola Todos!

This story is just one of the many excellent Apple articles the business press has pumped out since Steve Jobs’ passing.  In this Advertising Age article (link) details Apple’s advertising philosophy from the super-famous “1984” super bowl ad, to the “Think Different” campaign and even “I’m a Mac” run.  The article also discusses Lee Clow of TBWA and his close relationship with Steve Jobs.  Unfortunately, most company-agency relationships are transactional and nothing like one described in this article.

Enjoy!

Dr. Dan-o

 

 

 

An Easy Lesson on “How to Fail”

Hola Todos!

Benjamin Franklin was a lot of things: Businessman, Philosopher, Statesman, Diplomat, Scientist, Entrepreneur and Printer.  One of his many famous quotes was, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”

If you have big goals and big dreams, plan forward and drop those “big rocks first.” (see link here).

Best regards

Dr. Dan-o

 

Leadership: The Power of Storytelling

Hola Todos!

In his post below, Mr. Mike reminds us about the power of storytelling.  While DNA may give us our biological blueprint, I believe storytelling acts much in the same way giving us our psychological blueprint.  One of my mentors, William Locander current dean of the Joseph J. Butt College of Business at the University of Loyola in New Orleans (link), pegged me right way during my first semester in the Ph.D. program at the University of South Florida.  Dean Locander said something like this, “Dan-o, you’re a scrapper.  You’re not the brightest one in the room and often it’s not pretty but man do you get stuff done.  You just find a way to make it happen…. scrapping along.”

Well that might not be a well spectacularly detailed story but it clearly fit my identity.  I never really called myself a scrapper prior to my Ph.D. program but being from the greater Philadelphia area, I guess having a Rocky-like metaphor isn’t such as bad thing.

So what is your story? Think abut that today.

Best regards,

Dr. Dan-o

To:  The Great Leaders Who Have a Passion for Continuous Learning

Roz Savage has rowed over 8,000 miles and spent 312 alone in her 23 foot boat.  In 2006, she rowed across the Atlantic Ocean, and in 2010 achieved her goal of rowing across the Pacific Ocean   She is now thinking of crossing the Indian Ocean.  In addition to these adventures, she has also run in the London and New York marathons finishing in the top 2% of the women runners in all races.  Roz Savage was not always an adventurer, however.  In her April 2010 talk, Mission Blue Voyage, she speaks about how she re-created her life to the one that she dreamed and chose, and lessons she learned from her ocean travels.

A management consultant and investment banker at age thirty-four, she knew that this is not what she wanted in life.  She set out to find her purpose, and she did this by first writing her obituary:

“I sat down one day and wrote two versions of my own obituary, the one that I wanted, a life of adventure, and the one that I was actually heading for which was a nice, normal, pleasant life, but it wasn’t where I wanted to be by the end of my life. I wanted to live a life that I could be proud of. And I remember looking at these two versions of my obituary and thinking, ‘Oh boy, I’m on totally the wrong track here. If I carry on living as I am now, I’m just not going to end up where I want to be in five years, or 10 years, or at the end of my life.’ I made a few changes, let loose a few trappings of my old life, and through a bit of a leap of logic, decided to row across the Atlantic Ocean.”

Three important learnings emerged from her self- exploration journey and her adventures.  First, she learned that we are “the stories we tell ourselves.” If we change the story, we find that: “We do have alternatives, and we have the power of free will to choose those alternatives, those sustainable ones to create a greener future.”  Second, she learned that our actions each day have a compounding effect which have future consequences:  “We might think that anything that we do as an individual is just a drop in the ocean, that it can’t really make a difference. But it does…. Anything we do spreads ripples.”  While poor actions and decisions build to create chaos, their reverse can remedy and improve a situation. Thirdly, we have to take responsibility and create our own future: “For so much of my life, I wanted something to make me happy. I thought if I had the right house, the right car, or the right man in my life, then I could be happy, but when I wrote that obituary exercise, I actually grew up a little bit in that moment and realized that I needed to create my own future. I couldn’t just wait passively for happiness to come and find me.”

What would you write for your obituary?  How does it compare to the life that you are now building through your actions and decisions each day? The answers to this questions will result in a choice, a call to action.  Choose wisely; choose well.  May your be inspired by the words of George Bernard Shaw: “I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work, the more I live. I rejoice in life for its own sake. Life is no ‘brief candle’ to me. It is sort of a splendid torch which I have a hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it over to future generations.”  Light your fire and burn that candle and carry and run with your torch with passion.

Have a beautiful day and a fantastic week‼!

Mike

Contact Information:

Michael M. Reuter

Director, Center for Leadership Development

Stillman School of Business

Seton Hall University

Tel: (Office) 973.275.2528; (Mobile) 908.419.6060

Email: Michael.Reuter@shu.edu 

BE Paranoid ALL the Time

Hola Todos!

Clearly one of the top 10 CEOs in the last 25 years was Intel co-founder Andy Grove.  While CEO from 1987 to 1998, Intel experienced 2,400% increase in stock value.  Mr. Grove’s favorite expression and guiding motto was and is “Only the paranoid survive” and he wrote a 1996 book with the same title.  Similar comments from Mr. Grove include, “Business success contains the seeds of its own destruction” and “Success breeds complacency. Complacency breeds failure.”  (see Wikipedia link for more Andy Grove detail)

When I saw this post (click here) on the Apple 2.0 blog, I immediately thought of Andy Grove.  Clearly the co-founders of RIM/Blackberry were not “paranoid” as they watched the rise of iPhone or Android.  Check out that graph!

Best

Dr. Dan-o

 

 

 

 

Nugget Dictionary Edition: Empathy

Hola Todos!

If there was a keyword that many marketers do not understand enough, its empathy.

The Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines empathy as, “the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts, and experience fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner.”

The expression, “You don’t know someone unless you have walked a mile in their shoes” is a true as it gets.  If you look at this keyword as a philosophy, it’s the basic underlying principle of marketing research and my definition of marketing: “Find out what people what, and give it to them!”

Best regards,

Dr. Dan-o

 

 

Hotel Hell @ Hotels.com

(Note to DigNuggetville readers: Hotels.com asked for my feedback and the text below was my response.  Enjoy!)

 

To Whom It May Concern:

Thank you for requesting my feedback on our recent experience with Hotels.com.  The short answer is that I will not be using Hotels.com again.

On Saturday, October 8th we made a reservation through Hotels.com to stay that night at the Staybridge Suites Dulles, located at 13700 Copermine Rd., Herndon, Virginia.  We made the reservation through the phone with a Hotels.com agent since we wanted to verify that the room we reserved would have two queen beds.  The agent confirmed that information and proceeded to fulfill our reservation with those specifications.  The confirmation receipt I printed out specifically stated that the room would have two queen beds. When we checked in, the room assigned had only one king bed.

When I went back to the front desk to request a change in rooms, the hotel clerk refused to make the change and blamed Hotels.com for “faxing over the wrong paperwork,” not because there was unavailability.  When I showed him my confirmation receipt indicating the two beds requisition, he told me: “my hands are tied and you need to get Hotels.com to fax me over something new before I can switch your room.” He also refused to show me the paperwork sent to him by Hotels.com.

Since the efforts made with the hotel clerk had been futile, I resolved to call Customer Service for Hotels.com to straighten out this mess.  First, I spent half an hour on the phone waiting for a Customer Service agent to get on the phone, and nobody picked up the call. Only when I tried calling the sales number did I get someone to respond.  After explaining in detail the situation, I was put through another line and got a customer service specialist named Eli.  I spent another twenty minutes on the phone with Eli, who tried to help by faxing over something to this hotel to remedy the situation.  According to the hotel clerk, the Hotels.com fax was not coming in.  I kept Eli on the phone throughout the multiple attempts to fax the document but the hotel clerk insisted that it was not coming in.

By this time, I had spent over an hour time trying, in good faith, to have this situation resolved without avail.  It was clear that we would not get any resolution to the problem and I requested a cancelation of the reservation.  Eli was trying to persuade me to do otherwise and shortly thereafter, the call dropped.  At this point, I determined it was time to go to another hotel.

Throughout this ordeal, my wife and two small kids waited for an hour and a half for us to get settled in the hotel after a four-hour car ride from New Jersey.  It was 6:45 pm and we were already running late to a family event in the area, so we needed to leave.

Later that evening, we stayed at a Westin booked though Expedia and it was a delight.  I’m not sure what you are going to do about this ugly service experience but at the very least, I am going to use it as “a case in service failure” when I teach services marketing later this semester.

Regards,

Daniel, M. Ladik, Ph.D., (website)

Associate Professor of Marketing

Stillman School of Business

Seton Hall University

Leadership: More then the Sum of its Parts

Hola Todos!

Mr. Mike reminds us leaders in training that companies can create something greater then just “the some of its parts.”  Put one smart person in a room and you get great ideas.  Put two smart people in a room and you get more then double the number of great ideas (e.g., ideas for each smart person PLUS the ideas they generated together).  Even Steve Jobs would have not been Steve Jobs without Apple co-founder Steve Wozinack. Pixar would not be Pixar without Dr. Ed Catmull and John Lasseter. Finally Apple will move forward with a deep leadership team running the show.

Enjoy!

Dr. Dan-o

 

To:  The Great Leaders Who Have a Passion for Continuous Learning

A friend recently shared with me Roger Nierenberg’s book, Maestro.  In it, through the metaphor of music and orchestra, we learn great lessons in leadership. Through a simple team-building rock game we are invited to step back to observe how alignment around a shared-purpose brings people, teams and organizations together.

“Everyone starts with two rocks on the floor in front of them.  There’s a four-step process.  One, you pick up the rocks, Two, you click them together. Three, you place them in front of the person on your left.  Four, you clap your hands.  Then you pick up two new rocks and begin again. You do all of this in a rhythmic way, so that a steady pulse in generated.  The rocks move around the circle in a clockwise direction.  The laughter comes when things inevitably break down, as people go at different speeds or can’t create a steady pulse.  Once the flow is broken, rocks will start to pile up in front of one person who can’t possibly manage to get rid of them, leaving the next person with no rocks at all.”

Nierenberg says that there are moments when the game is played when magic happens.  When the game starts, he acknowledges, people are focused on their own movements. As momentum builds they begin to sense and feel a common flow that is developing between themselves and others: “Your attention is no longer on just your own job, but equally on that of somebody across the circle.  You are just as connected to the rocks that are approaching you as the ones that are in your hand.”

“A rhythm develops and the players no longer feel like their actions are the source of the pulse, but rather the rules is the source of their actions.  The circle becomes more than a collection of individuals and through the unity of the pulse it turns into a seamlessly integrated team.  Suddenly, what was tricky becomes easy.  No one is making any mistakes.  The movement of the rocks has turned … smooth, steady …. and it generates the most delicious feeling of community.”

The challenge for great leaders is to create an environment in which people see beyond themselves, anticipating the click of each other’s rocks, in which their own beat finds greater richness in its harmony with others.  They feel, think and act as part of something larger, and there is harmony.

Hans Christian Andersen, Danish author and poet, wrote:  Most of the people who will walk after me will be children, so make the beat keep time with small steps.”  Let the beat that you establish for those whom you serve and touch be rich, lush and inspirational, becoming the unifying mantra they quietly chant and which bring them together as one.

Have a beautiful day and a fantastic week!!!

Mike

 

Contact Information:

Michael M. Reuter

Director, Center for Leadership Development

Stillman School of Business

Seton Hall University

Tel: (Office) 973.275.2528; (Mobile) 908.419.6060

Email: Michael.Reuter@shu.edu