Friday, December 18, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Try JibJab Sendables® eCards today!

A Jack Bauer Christmas

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Top Ten Musical Acts Who “Went Solo”

Top Ten Musical Acts Who “Went Solo”

Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Prince, Carole King, Bruce Springsteen, Madonna, Ray Charles … all eventually rose to success under their own name. They may have paid their dues in the background, and eventually had a great band behind them, but you don’t pay to see “The Revolution”. You pay to see Prince.

The modern music industry has given us pre-digested personas like Britney Spears, Miley Cyrus and the boy-band spin-offs of Justin Timberlake, Ricky Martin, blah, blah, blah. We know pap when we see it. We might consume it for day-to-day musical sustenance, but it sure does not rock.

The heart of great rock & roll will always be THE BAND! Here is a list of great musical acts who contributed to great music in their band and then went on to create great music by “going solo”:

#10 Ozzy Osborne – Actually used to be in a band called “Black Sabbath” where he sang “Iron Man”, “Paranoid” and “War Pigs”. I think Black Sabbath created Heavy Metal music. Ozzy on his own defined it.

#9 Fergie – Would anyone really buy the Black Eyed Peas without Fergie? Fergie is the best example of bouncing between solo and band success. Michael-licious, Eric-licious…they just sound wrong. Fergalicious. (Natalicious DOES sound good though. See below.)

#8 David Lee Roth – “DAAAAAAAAVE TEE-VEE!” David Lee left Van Halen right there in front of us all. We saw the hate in Eddie Van Halen’s eyes on MTV when MTV still played music. We got to watch Dave build a new band around Steve Vai and watch the Van Halen brothers plug in Sammy Hagar to become just another OK band.

#7 Natalie Merchant – Left 10,000 Maniacs and led a whole new genre of 90s female rock. What a voice. And I love her because she was once late for a Twin Cities area concert due to having too much fun tubing down the Apple River.

#6 Michael Jackson – Starting with “Off the Wall”, MJ rocketed off his success with the Jackson 5. No matter how weird he eventually became, his early solo work really rocked.

#5 All Four Guys From “KISS”. Remember they all came out with “solo” albums at the same time in the late 70s/Early 80s? The albums all looked and pretty much sounded the same. We were all supposed to decide which KISS character we liked the best. On this list because it was the most crass commercialization I know of “going solo”. I love America.

#4 Diana Ross – Mary Wilson, Florence Ballard, Diana Ross and the genius of Barry Gordy made up The Supremes. Originally known as “The Primettes” who sang with “The Primes” Paul Williams and Eddie Kendricks – who left to join The Temptations. In 1976, Billboard magazine named Diana Ross the "Female Entertainer of the Century." In 1993, the Guinness Book of World Records declared Diana Ross the most successful female music artist in history.

#3 Peter Gabriel – Left Genesis and created one of my favorite songs - "Solsbury Hill". Also “Games Without Frontiers”, “Sledgehammer” and “In Your Eyes”. We will not mention other Genesis members in this top ten. Also, no Beatles.

#2 Paul Westerberg – Singer for The Replacements. Paul wrote most of the Replacements songs. Bob Stinson died, Chris Mars left and Paul went off on his own. Paul is the most influential “unknown” rock and roll act ever.

#1 Eric Clapton – What can you say? He left Derek & the Dominoes and Cream to build the “Slowhand” persona on his own. He blasted through reggae and country music in the 70s and created his own very unique musical style around his kick-ass gee-tar playin’. Eric also gets kudos for looking and sounding SO different in each of his incarnations.

What do YOU think?

Monday, December 14, 2009

JibJab Takes a Jab at Traditional Christmas Card Business

The JibJab team makes your Christmas and Holiday greetings viral. For $12, you can send out a JibJab greeting personalized by putting your face on a funny holiday video.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Al Gore Tortures CNN Reporter With Vogon Poetry

One of my most humorous discoveries as a kid was local re-runs of Douglas Adams' "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" 1978 BBC radio show. This later became a book series, a BBC TV series, a computer game and eventually a bad 2005 American movie.

In the story, Arthur Dent is rescued from destruction of the Earth " make way for a hyperspace bypass..." by a bureaucratic alien race called the Vogons. Arthur Dent ends up hitchhiking and stowing away on a Vogon spaceship. When caught by the Vogons, Arthur is thrown out an airlock in to space. But he is first tortured by being forced to listen to the Vogon Captain recite poetry.

...Vogon poetry is of course, the third worst in the universe. The second worst is that of the Azgoths of Kria. During a recitation by their poet master Grunthos the Flatulent of his poem "Ode to a Small Lump of Green Putty I Found in My Armpit One Midsummer Morning" four of his audience died of internal hemorrhaging and the president of the Mid-Galactic Arts Nobbling Council survived only by gnawing one of his own legs off. Grunthos was reported to have been "disappointed" by the poem's reception, and was about to embark on a reading of his 12-book epic entitled "My Favourite Bathtime Gurgles" when his own major intestine--in a desperate attempt to save humanity--leapt straight up through his neck and throttled his brain. The very worst poetry of all perished along with its creator, Paul Neil Milne Johnstone of Redbridge, in the destruction of the planet Earth. Vogon poetry is mild by comparison. ...

Poetry. By Al Gore:

Per Wikipedia,
"Vogons are described as mindlessly bureaucratic, aggressive, having "as much sex appeal as a road accident" and the writers of "the third worst poetry in the universe". They are employed as the galactic government's bureaucrats."


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Interesting Times for Marketers

According to Forrester Research, only 23% of Marketers believe their traditional agencies are capable of executing interactive marketing.

"...Clients generally distrust their traditional agencies when it comes to digital, but they're still wary of handing over the keys to overall brand strategy to the Web specialists, according to a new survey of marketers. ..." a Marketer, who can you trust to manage your brand?

Should you trust your brand to the 20-somethings who seem to "get" Facebook and Twitter?

Should you trust your breakthrough social media strategy to the overpriced agency?

Will your hot social media mavens think that social media is a hammer and every business marketing problem looks like a nail?

Will the low margins of social media push your traditional brand agency back to the comfortable (and profitable) business model of keeping a percentage of TV/Print/Radio ad revenues?

How do you even TRACK social media investments?

How can you evaluate Nielsen and Arbitron ratings if your target audience is spending all their entertainment time online?

Interesting times for Marketers.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Social Media Stretches Ad Campaign Dollars

This Advertising Age article highlights ideas on merging Social Media and Classic Advertising in time for Super Bowl advertising. Social media provides a longer shelf life for advertising campaigns.

The real payback kicks in as you engage and have two-way communications with customers and potential customers.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Reindeer Run 2009 5K - Lake Harriet, Minneapolis, Minnesota

The 2009 Reindeer Run 5K around Lake Harriet in Minneapolis, MN. 18 Degrees and thousands of runners dressed up for the Holidays.

The Start took 9+ minutes:

The Winner finished in about 17 minutes

One of the top ten finishers was a Viking fan in a purple Speedo

90% of the finishers (still uploading). Look for you and your friends!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Top Ten Alternative Careers

A friend of mine was joking about possibilities for her next career. So I came up with this...

Top Ten Alternative Careers:

10. Freelance Top Ten List Writer
9. Political Pundit Specializing in OFFICE Politics
8. Playboy Bunny Wrangler (an actual job)
7. Accordion Manufacturing Quality Control Test Technician
6. Field Market Research Analyst for Mad Dog 20/20 "Fortified" Wine
5. Ninja
4. Drummer in a Power Trio
3. Powerful Chewing Gum Business Executive
2. Mad Scientist (but a GOOD Mad Scientist, not an EVIL Mad Scientist)
1. Third Shift Holiday Evening Chauffeur for Rich, Celebrity Golfers

Monday, November 30, 2009

Great Innovation Needs an "Engine"

Rowan Gibson writes a great piece about nurturing innovation. Innovation is not just about coming up with ideas. You need an infrastructure to assign resources and lead those ideas toward commercialization.

Gibson likens great ideas to spark plus. Worthless without a car around them. The car is also worthless without the spark plugs.

"...Imagine you typed a few words into Google, pressed the search button, and nothing happened. Have you ever thought about how Google manages to deliver all those results in the blink of an eye? The reason we call it a search 'engine' is that behind Google's simple and playful user interface is an incredibly complex system comprising half a million servers, racked up in clusters at data centers all over the world, all working together to scan billions of websites at breakneck speed. Without the back end of Google - without that engine - all we would have is a lovable logo on a clean white web page. Similarly, organizations are finding out that without the back end of innovation, all they get is a lot of ideas at the front end which end up going nowhere. ..."

Gibson points out that Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple, worked at Hewlett-Packard and pitched an idea for a personal computer. HP had no infrastructure to deal with such an idea, so Wozniak left HP and spent some time innovating in a Palo Alto garage with Steve Jobs.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Mary Lucia!

"A Midwestern girl on a Public Radio station. Mary Lucia!" (Local Minneapolis hero of Rev 105!)

TeleHealth Connects Patients to Doctors Regardless of Distance

Cisco HealthPresence and United HealthCare Connected Care offer a glimpse into the future of Doctor visits and consultations with Specialists.

TeleHealth technology gives you to access to the best care - regardless of where you, your physician and your specialist reside.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Kennedy Stopped Motorcade Photos - 1963

John F. Kennedy stopped his motorcade to correct a sign in Duluth, Minnesota September of 1963.

John F. Kennedy visited Duluth, Minnesota in September of 1963. Two months before he was assassinated in Dallas, TX. Kennedy was in Duluth to give this speech at the University of Minnesota - Duluth:

Funny - he talks about a tax cut which "...I think can stimulate the entire economy..."

JFK flew into the Duluth, Minnesota airport. He drove past my parents house at the time - across from Lowell elementary school on Central Entrance. At the school, some kids (I think it was Boy Scouts) had crafted a sign that said "Welcome President Kenedy" or some mis-spelling of his name.

Kennedy STOPPED the motorcade right outside my parents house. He walked over to point out the correct spelling of his name (and garner some great PR).

My father took these three snapshots from a basic Kodak Instamatic.

The Secret Service Agents were not pleased with JFK stopping the motorcade in mid-travel. As you can see in the third photo. The big guy with the crew cut and gray suit (with his back to the camera) looks as tense as, well, a Kennedy bodyguard.
As my Dad said "...that Secret Service A**hole was pushing kids around. I wanted to deck him!..."
Great snapshots from a simpler time.