Month: July 2007

My Dirty Little AudioBook Secret


There are many many books that I should read. I’ll go to a lecture or be in conversation with a colleague, and I’ll hear, “this is a book you should read,” or they’ll simply start referencing the book, and I’ll feel painfully behind in being ahead. Books like “The Tipping Point,” “Blink,” “Freakonomics” “The Long Tail,” and “The Change Function” have become the media, marketing & business canon. But, much like the reading list for my college class in “The Literature of Social Reflection,” there are jewels that I have not read.

So, I’ve taken to dual processing — thanks to the powers of podcasting and digital books. While I work at my laptop (or sit in my car for alternate side of the street cleaning), I play, “The Long Tail” or twenty minute synopses of the latest business books. (You should check out Soundview Executive Book Summaries — soundview.com, by the way.) But it doesn’t stop there. I download whatever I can with respect to useful tips, tools and knowledge that might be helpful. So it was that I recently “file-shared” an excerpt from Brian Tracy’s, “Ten Keys to Success in Selling.” And over the past 6-12 months, I’ve heard it many times. And I must admit, there are jewels in those words. A few little nuggets that I find myself relating to or that are cause for pause.

So, here they are: (Please note, the lead up is much longer than the jewels)

(1) Only 2% of people are capable of working unsupervised.
(2) Launching a sales career is like flying a plane. You have to build up enough speed to take off, and then you can pull back a little. But, if you always work at the same level, you will never take off.
(3) When you go to an industry conference to hear the top performers in your industry, go up afterwards and ask them how they got where they are. Take note of the books, conferences and other recommendations they provide. And then do what they suggest. Eventually, you’ll be the one on the podium.

I like to think that I am one of the 2%, so that makes me feel good. And I find the plane analogy relevant in a lot of situations. Finally, I’ve taken the third item to heart. One thing I like to ask speakers and executives is the following: “Media & Entertainment is one of the fastest moving industries there is.” (That’s why I love it so much.) “How do you stay on top of it — particularly given your scope of responsibility and the increasing convergence (yes, I used the buzzword)?” It’s a relevant question, and I’ve gotten some valuable responses. Try it.

Karen Levine
Triple Play Consulting
Media, Marketing & Strategy

Don’t Do It!


“Don’t do it,” I told her. A colleague from my magazine days took me to breakfast to ask for career advice. She has 11 years of magazine experience and is reentering the work force after a maternity leave and a quick detour into non-profit. “Don’t go back into pure play print,” I told her. If you do return to magazines, make sure you have digital responsibility and interaction.”

My colleague didn’t think she had enough online knowledge to enter that world. “I don’t know about search and all that,” she said. But my feeling is that she needs to get up to speed on the lingo, the players and the trends. I suggested that she attend some industry breakfasts such as iBreakfast and NY:MIEG and directed her to paidcontent.org and eMarketer. She has more digital experience than she thinks as she oversees the redesign of her non-profit’s website. I like to think that I earned my pancakes.

Fahrenheit 88: It’s ComingTogether


It’s 88 degrees here in sunny New York, and I’m reaching the time of day when I must get away from my window and retreat into the nether regions of my apartment. Having moved my car into a sweet unmetered parking spot that is good until Friday, I settled into the writing of my survey on high resolution business projectors.

Since I completed the survey yesterday — translating it from a Japanese translation of a very long survey to one that is user-friendly — my client forwarded a completely new list of the questions. Much of my work was for naught, but I can see the end of the tunnel now and will soon be onto the next stage of the project — recruiting and tapping industry experts. I had thought this project was relevant to my media & entertainment focus only in that the client is an ad agency, but, as I get up to speed on the high resolution lingo & technology — XGA, SXGA, WXGA, SVGA and all that – I see it all coming together — once again. The world I have chosen is at the nexus of media, marketing and technology.

It all started when I was asked to create an overview of mobile marketing trends & practices for a magazine client. That led me to the world of SMS, MMS, MVNO and all those wireless abbreviations. A later engagement for a television network brought me a knowledge of multi-channel, satellite and telco television — nonlinear, of course. And now, it’s all about pixels — which, of course, ties back to my high definition television engagement. That’s only a small part of the technology I’ve inhaled over the past two years. It’s very heady.

I am deeply entrenched in two books at the moment (as well as “Freakonomics”): “Television Disrupted” by Shelly Palmer and “The Long Tail” by Chris Anderson. In addition, I’m listening to the executive summaries of a number of current business titles, more and more of which have a technological element to them. (The terms of the day are “wiki” and “open source,” and I can’t go a day without hearing about my IM buddy Jimmy Wales.)

I once had my skills evaluated to identify the best career. I was advised that with strong spacial visualization and math skills, I could have been an engineer. Ok, this isn’t the same thing, but it’s coming together. Exciting stuff.

Voyage Blog


I’ve just come from a meeting with Bill Sobel (http://www.nymieg.blogspot.com/) the founder of NY:MIEG (New York Media Information Exchange Group) and have been shamed into finally launching my own blog and sharing my fascinating life, work and observations with the cyber world.

Bill tells me that I can write as much or as little as I like, so here’s a few sentences about July 9th, 2007 in the world of Karen Levine, founder of Triple Play Consulting: Media, Marketing & Strategy.

My most active engagement is for the research arm of a Japanese advertising agency. I don’t actually know the end client, but I think that is a good thing. It keeps me honest and makes things a little more mysterious. I have been asked to identify and tap six experts across four countries who are knowledgeable about the high definition business projector market. These are the products manufactured by Epson, Hitachi and the like. I have made good progress identifying and reaching out to experts in the U.S. and have made some progress in the U.K. My next priority is France and Germany.

However, in the meantime, I am focusing my efforts on creating the survey. I have received the English translation of a survey written by the Japanese agency. My immediate task is to “translate” this into American English and an easy-to-answer survey without losing any of the information my client wants to gather.

I have made good progress but was interrupted today by the need to replace the brake light on my car within 48 hours of being pulled over Saturday night. And it was a lovely 90 degree day to do it. I didn’t mind the logistics of it so much as having to give up my perfect, perfect parking spot and ending up at a metered location.

So, I’ll refuel now with an organic dinner entree of some kind and revisit my survey in time to send it to Tokyo for an initial review. Working with a Japanese client is like collaborating with the tooth fairy or the elves who helped out that cobbler. I e-mail the work I’ve completed before I head off to bed, and when I awake, I am treated to comments and insights from across a number of ponds.

Much more to say. We’ll leave that for another installment of Karen Levine on Media.