critical assumption

the difference between flying in blue skies or bouncing off the bottom


McDonalds vs the 9 Year Old | I blame the mom

Posted by amckinnis |

First of all, I thought you had to be stock holder to speak at a shareholder's meeting and I also didn't think that minor actually "owned" anything in that same way that someone over the age of 18 can "own" something.  So my first problem with this whole mess is ...  Why was she speaking in the first place?

I'm going to assume that it was all setup, and guess who had to start the ball rolling - YEP, the mom.  I can't believe McDonalds started calling shareholders and asking if they had minor children that wanted to ask CEO Don Thompson a question.  And if the Investor Relations people at MickyDs are worth their salary, if they did, they should have vetted what was going to be asked.  So, I'm assuming the mom had it all set up.

Next, even if my child (unprompted) asked for my help, I would probably have said no.  Hell, a 9 year old can't even have a Facebook account (per their user agreement) - so why would I want to subject my small child to both the financial media, social media, other adults in the audience, and of course the back-stabbing elite of corporate America?  Once again, I blame the mom.  She was naive in the most naive way - she thought the question, if asked by 9 year old, would be met with something other the full force of a Fortune 500 Global business that earns billions of dollars and rakes in profits for the same shareholders in the audience.  Hell, these companies scheme and conspire to squash adults - what did you think would happen to your child?

Last, unless you are prepared for the worst of people, don't expect the best of people.  We live in a world where I can say anything, do anything, be anything, or do nothing - and still be "celebrity" of the moment.  Social media has given everyone the ability to shout out their opinion from their virtual soap box, while remaining anonymous.  They won't say it to your face, but give them a computer, keyboard, and internet access and get ready for the body blows.  I'm sorry both the CEO and this 9 year old have become punching bags (or heroes) for people around the world.  But once again, I blame the mom for starting this whole thing.

She needs to step up and take responsibility - the buck stops with here.

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Springwise | Ideas for your business brain

Posted by amckinnis |

Springwise | New business ideas for entrepreneurial minds

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This just about sums up what we really know...

Posted by amckinnis |

I found this quote and thought it really sums up what we think we know, or what we believe we know, or even those things we know we know nothing about but feel free to have an opinion.  It has clarified my thinking for today, because I know he's speaking the truth!!

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OK - I'm getting ready to jump on the band wagon about Abercrombie and their right to both make statements and clothes that fit only skinny people - because it's called a FREE MARKET for a reason.  Here's the first one...

Reason #1 - All businesses should be focused on their customer - and many of the best businesses will limit their customers (oh the world of niche businesses and markets).  In the case of A&F, they have decided to limit their customer base to a specific range of sizes - and guess what, there are other retailers that do the same thing (but of course they are marketed as BIG & TALL or PLUS sizes) which is just good business.

Reason #2 - All businesses should know who their customers are, and create products and services that fill that need.  A&F caters to a very specific set of customers, with a very specific set of products.  Does that mean people not specifically targeted don't want their products?  No, but that has nothing to do with A&F.

Reason #3 - Everyone is entitled to their opinion, even if it's not popular or "politically correct" - including the CEO of A&F.  I've read what Mike Jeffries said IN A 2006 SALON interview and personally, who cares.  He has every right to say what he wants - and for his company to position their clothes how they want and to attract the customers they want.  Once again, it's a free market, he is free to say and sell what he wants and everyone else is free to buy (or not buy) what they want.

Personally, I believe the US is fat and unhealthy - in fact, I was fat an unhealthy for the majority of my adult life - I decided to change that about a year ago and started exercising and eating better.  Can I do better, sure - but my opinion still stands.  All you have to do is go any mall or Walmart in the US and just become aware of the people around you - and I guarantee you will witness how fat and unhealthy the country has become.  What Mike Jeffries said, pissed some people off - and they took offense to it and even called him a bully.  Well, I don't believe you can say he is a bully just by what he said - and anyone that took offense should look at themselves in mirror and if they are fat, do something about it and if their kids are fat, they should help their kids do something about.  Humans are not meant to be fat - it's not a natural state of being - Mike Jeffries just said some words, those hearing them should just get over it.

End rant.

What he said - from this Huffington Post article...
“In every school there are the cool and popular kids, and then there are the not-so-cool kids,” he says. “Candidly, we go after the cool kids. We go after the attractive all-American kid with a great attitude and a lot of friends. A lot of people don’t belong [in our clothes], and they can’t belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely. Those companies that are in trouble are trying to target everybody: young, old, fat, skinny. But then you become totally vanilla. You don’t alienate anybody, but you don’t excite anybody, either.”

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Difference of Opinion...Nothing has changed

Posted by amckinnis |

I just received an email from the American Marketing Association, advertising an upcoming podcast with the tittle "What’s changed in product development and marketing since 1980? Everything" -- that got me thinking (btw, I'll add the link to the AMA website and webcast below, just incase you're interested).

Has EVERYTHING changed in marketing?  Or have things just evolved over time?  My belief is that things evolved - naturally.  It's not always a smooth curve or path, but it is a progression.  And most of that change has been brought about by technology - both in how our customer's use it and how we use it for Marketing.

But first of all, let me explain that to me - MARKETING - is much  more than just communicating, advertising, and fancy design work; it's bigger than awards for those that produce those things; it's so much larger than Super Bowl ads.  At it's core, Marketing is a professional discipline that drives revenue, top line stuff.  It is the high octane, jet fuel that speeds the business engine down the road.  I don't care if it's the smallest business to the global megacorp - Marketing is there to drive sales and revenue up.  There are things we could talk about in the area of cost reduction - but in my mind, marketing is not about the bottom line, it is about the top line - end of story.

And how do you drive the top line?  You create products and services people want to buy, you build them in such a way they fit what the way a customer wants to pull money out of their pockets to pay for them and create a "promise" to that customer - that that money will be justified by the "experience" they get from your product or service.  Plain and simple - Marketing supports the buying decision.  Now, if you have crappy products or service - the promise of the product or service better be that of a "it's not the best, but it will do" - and if you have superior products or services, the message better be about that, and the price should reflect it.

That hasn't changed.  People want to buy products and service - it is up to Marketing to let them know about how "your" product or service fits within their perceived idea of that category of products or services.  Now what has changed is how we "tell" our stories.  How we extract information.  How we use that information to build the top line.  But the basic premise of marketing has not changed - it's our job to know the who, what, when, how, and where - then apply it to the product, price, place and promotion.  The tools we use are both old school and new school - they are applied with an artistic flare and scientific precision - when done right, we support the sales efforts to create friction-less transactions with our customers, matching their "expectations" of what they will receive.

Marketing hasn't changed - times and tools changed.  That's my opinion and I'm sticking to it.

Podcast/webcastWhat’s changed in product development and marketing since 1980? Everything.

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Initial Success is not THE PLAN

Posted by amckinnis |

I read an article on one of my new favorite blogs called "The Rational Male" called "The Plan" and it hit me because in many instances, our PLAN is more about creating initial success (and wins) rather than full blown success or seeing something all the way through to the end.

In the post, Rollo writes about "dating" - and how just getting the girl to accept a date is not THE PLAN and that if you believe you are successful at this point, then you haven't really thought through everything yet.  But how many times do we "think" our first few wins means we are successful.

Now for me, the article is interesting because it makes a few points about how we trick our minds into believing that any small win/victory is the same as successfully executing THE PLAN.  Hey, I'm all for celebrating wins, but that doesn't mean the game (or plan in this case) of over.  Keep you head about you, keep winning, taking action, looking forward - but don't loose sight of the ultimate goal.

Getting the date (in this case) is a step, but it's not the full plan.  Understand your full plan, then you can determine when you win and when to celebrate.

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It's been forever...

Posted by amckinnis |

It's been a while since I decided to write a blog post - lots of stuff that has happened in my personal live over the past few years - but really, that's just an excuse - because everybody has problems and situations that come up that "keep them away" from things.

I was thinking the other day about "failures" - and if you've lived more that a few years, you have them.  But my thinking was..."is it failure, or just a learning experience?"...and that's what I'd like to write about, how those failures can be learning experiences.

Think about the worst failure in your life - in mine, it was the time when I held onto a startup business venture for too long, ran out of money while being the sole support for my wife and kids, and it was a very bad time. I don't think I really fully recovered from it - I still have those feelings of "how could I do that", "what kind of husband and father are you", etc. and so on.  That was the worst, and I carried it with me (and still carry it with me) to this day.

Now, I can't change history.  I can't go back in time.  And I can get back all those years from that moment to this one.  BUT, I could have decided to view it as something other than a failure.  I learned a bunch in my time - both professionally and personally.  I did things I've never done before.  I push some beyond some limits in myself, faced some fears.  There was lots to take out of that time.

So, here's my assumption - that the quicker you get beyond thinking of it as a "failure" and get to thinking of it as a "lesson" / learning experience - because that's where the you turn your experiences, success, failure or inbetween, into the stepping stones to your future.

Fail fast, learn quick, move onto the next.

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