Hey everyone, here we go. . . . . .
IN OUR WORLD
I am coming to you from strangely mild Minneapolis where I had the fantastic opportunity to teach the Thinking Skill Set workshop from my curriculum platform. I had a great class and for four hours they went through a series of exercises that teach critical problem solving, strategic application of new ideas and the power of visualizing problems.
I spent a ton of incredibly boring time watching a series of DVD’s featuring a couple of my recent stage presentations. I was tagging time lines to create a series of video chapters to be used on the new web site.
As usual I also spent time trying to figure out how to manage a calendar that changes a dozen times in a week!
Next week I am off to Naples, Florida to facilitate panel discussions and visit with a large organization on how expanding your frame of understanding will open new doors of opportunity.
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THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW
It looks like one of my favorite stores to visit and hang out in Borders has finally succumbed to a series of poor decisions and a lack of paying attention to the world around them. I love hanging out in bookstores, even if I read the majority of my books on the Kindle. Damn, I guess I am part of their demise.
Lets take a look at a couple of the reasons for what appeared to be the most successful book seller in the world and one of the founders of the “superstore” concept, filed bankruptcy:
- At it’s core is really bad judgment:
o A very slow response to the challenge of the digital book trend put the way behind in a time of rapid and trending change.
o They struggled to find the right leadership. They have gone through 3 CEOs’ in 3 years. Not a good sign for a company struggling to stay a float.
- A Quick History:
o The Border brothers, Tom and Louise started as a small independent book store near the University of Michigan where they figured out how to manage inventory and stock books of high interest to their customers
o In 1991 they sold the company to Kmart (which also owed Walden Books) for a cool $125 million.
o Kmart struggled trying to merge Walden and Borders and as is the case with big companies kind of became distracted. Bad timing for not paying attention as Barnes & Noble, Crown Books and other chains were aggressively expanding.
o Kmart threw in the towel in 1995 and spun off Borders, but they were entering a race in last place. Amazon, discount stores like Wal-Mart and Costco were now growing in their impact on sales.
- Debt Kills: Borders inability to reach a deal with creditors showed that they didn’t think Borders had any long term viability. In 2000 Borders and Barnes & Noble had similar market shares, 15% and 14% respectively, but by last year Barnes and Noble had 17% while Borders had sunk to 8%. Their focus was on borrowing money and servicing debt.
So, what can you learn? It is all about PAYING ATTENTION. I speak about increasing your frame of reference to what’s going on outside of your specific company. Stop being an introvert and start being an extravert. What is your competition doing, what is the industry doing and what are YOU doing?
MOVIES: Unkown. Looks like Liam Neeson is our next action star. I’m looking forward to this one.
NetFlix Fans: Waiting For Superman: As almost every state prepares to rape the education system with budget cuts that remove our one great advantage, an educated population, this movie will make you think.
TV: If you are not a fan of the FX series Justified – GET ON BOARD. It’s on Wednesday’s. The second season is just getting started.
BOOKS: The New Totally Awesome Business Book For Kids – Bochner: A great way to get your kids to understand some really important stuff about the way the world works.
MUSIC: I love OAR and here is a great live version of About an Hour Ago.
WEB SITES: Keep in touch with cultural trends.
SOUTH OF NORMAL
It’s no secret the network TV is struggling to keep pace with bold moves made my HBO, FX, USA Network and others. USA Today has given us a peek into what might be in the works for Fall TV:
- Lots of period pieces inspired by Mad Men – ABC has Pan-Am soap about the 60’s airline industry. And Poe (very interesting to me) in which the detective author solves mysteries in 1840 Boston.
- Remakes – Charlie’s Angels and Wonder Woman as well as Prime Suspect might be back.
- NBC wants to jump on the Glee bandwagon and will try to push Smash, which follows the making of a Broadway musical.
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Thanks for stopping by and until next time, Adios and Aloha.