All You Need is Doug

Thoughts on PR, media, Michigan football & how to get the company named after me

Archive for March 2010

Some Thoughts on New York

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I’m heading to New York for the New York Auto Show. I’ve been to the Big Apple a few times already and really like the city. So without further ado, here are some quick thoughts about what I think about New York:

  • If I ever lived in New York, I would have a difficult time actually getting any work done at my job. I would have the incredible desire to just wander around Central Park.
  • If you live in Manhattan, I don’t get how you can raise a family. Just seems way too crazy. I would definitely live outside and then commute.
  • Apparently, there are 16,000 restaurants in the city. Why would you ever eat at McDonald’s or Applebees?
  • Anytime I’m in the city, it’s hard to shake the fact that there are people all around me who are probably doing something about 100 times more interesting than what I’m doing. Say I wanted to stay in and watch “The Office” on Thursday night. I would feel very anti-social.
  • Whenever the Yankees are at home, I love how the TV networks show the New York skyline, as if Yankee Stadium is somehow right in the middle of Manhattan, which it’s not. It’s like when they show downtown Detroit during Pistons games. Um, not even close.
  • Do they really still pack meat in the Meatpacking District?
  • Best thing about walking around Manhattan? The fact that all the streets are numbered. For a guy like me who gets lost all the time, it’s a lifesaver.
  • I can make it there and I can make it anywhere.
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March 28, 2010 at 8:29 am

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The Secret to Success

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I just finished reading a great interview in The New York Times with Guy Kawasaki, the co-founder of AllTop, a news aggregator site. I’m quite familiar with Kawasaki’s work – he’s widely regarded as one of those “influencers” we in social media like so much.

Here was my favorite part. The question was: How do you hire? Kawasaki’s response?

The most important thing is that you hire people who complement you and are better than you in specific areas. Good people hire people better than themselves. So A players hire A+ players. But others hire below their skills to make themselves look good. So B players hire C players. C players hire D players, etc.

I love that – surround yourself with people that are better than you. Why? Because I certainly don’t know everything (contrary to what I thought in high school and college :)) and you can learn so much from other talented people.

This is quite evident at Weber Shandwick. A couple weeks ago, I was writing up a creative brief for a video idea and I thought it was pretty good. I showed it one of our video guys and he immediately came up with three ways to make it better that I didn’t even really think about.

I’m a big believer that everybody has a certain talent and we should give these people the ability to let those talents show so they can succeed (see number eight in this article on the Harvard Business Review blog).

The University of Michigan football team has this problem – they have a great athlete named Denard Robinson who plays quarterback. He’s a great runner and improviser, but make poor reads and isn’t the greatest passer. This year, I hope Coach Rodriguez puts him in a position to succeed – give him the ball in space as a specialist and let him run. He’ll thrive, the offense will thrive and we’ll of course win the Big Ten this year.

Hey, I can dream, right? That’s the other secret to success – don’t give up on your dreams.

Thanks for reading.

Written by dougwernert

March 20, 2010 at 6:50 pm

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Information Overload

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There was a study released a couple months ago that said Americans consume 34 gigabytes of information each day. File this in the Captain Obvious folder, but that’s a lot. The study includes everything from the Web to TV to radio. The reportalso says Americans consume 100,000 words per day on average (read, heard, etc.)

I’d say I’m probably way above the average in terms of information consumed. At work, I get probably at least 100 e-mails a day and I write and reads thousands of words in presentations, reports and creative briefs and all that good stuff.

Then, I get to the 183 feeds in my Google Reader, the  559 people I follow on Twitter, the Facebook feed, the episode of “The Wire” that I’m watching as I type this and the “Game Change” book about the 2008 election that I’m going to read before I go to sleep.

It can easily be overwhelming.  Let’s take one part of that – my blog reader. Here’s how I try to keep it under control:

  • RSS feeds – RSS isn’t anything new, but it makes my life so much easier. Everything gets sent right to me in one place and I can plow through hundreds of posts quickly. My approach is to skim the headlines as fast as I can … if it’s interesting, I’ll read it quickly or if it’s a longer piece, I’ll bookmark it for later. I don’t worry about not reading every word on my favorite site … just the stuff I care about. And yes, I fit exactly into the Snack Culture lifestyle – consuming everything in bite-size pieces.
  • Check information throughout the day – I’ll usually try to knock out some reading before work and during lunch to get a sense of the headlines of the day. Since I read a lot of blogs on the same topic, I’ll see the same stories over and over again during the day. I’ll know then what’s most important and pick one of them for a good analysis of the topic.
  • Find the experts – With so much information available, it’s up to me to figure out which sites are knowledgable and give the most value and those are the ones I read. If something’s worth knowing, I know it will appear on the top sites. Even though TMZ or Perez might be really popular – I don’t get much value from them so I skip right over them.
  • Make it fun – I don’t read all these just for work or because I feel I have to. I get a lot of enjoyment out of consuming information. For instance, today I learned that Martin Mayhew makes really good trades, that Tate Forcier gained six pounds and hopefully won’t get hurt all the time this year and that Digg is redesigning their site to tap into the social web. Basically, they’ll customize your experience and give you articles based on your interests and what’s being shared by people who have the same interests.

It will be interesting to see how Digg pulls that off. Ideally, I would love for my reader to figure out what I’m really interested in and skip over the other stuff.

Of course, I would probably feel like I was missing something.

Darn it, I guess information overload will just continue on. 🙂

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March 16, 2010 at 6:51 pm

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How to Have Good Days

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One of my favorite speeches of all time is Jim Valvano’s speech at the 1993 ESPYs where he set up the V Foundation for cancer research (if you don’t know him, Valvano was a great college basketball coach and an even better person).

In Valvano’s speech, he said you should do three things every day – you should laugh, you should spend some time in thought and you should have your emotions move you to tears (either happiness or joy). In short – laugh, think and cry. That’s a great day.

I’d like to add a couple more that I always try to do every day:

  • Share – Share a thought, share an idea, share a smile
  • Help – Hold a door, carry a box, lend an ear
  • Give – Give your time, give a kind word, give to someone who has less
  • Read – Learn more about the world
  • Love – Tell a significant other how much they make you happy or a friend how glad you are to know them
  • Sleep – Refresh yourself so you can do it all over again tomorrow

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March 15, 2010 at 6:08 pm

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A Quick Thought on Competition

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There was a really fun article on Fast Company about Foursquare and Gowalla (two location-based games for smartphones). The reporter, Shane Snow, begins the article like this:

If you ever visit the downtown Manhattan offices of Foursquare, the popular location-based social game for smartphones, don’t say the word Gowalla. When I made that mistake during a visit there last November, 27-year-old cofounder Naveen Selvadurai sent me to the Foursquare time out chair. It was a joke. I think.

I like that. It’s OK not to like your competition all that much. If you make them your adversary, that’s healthy. It leads to better quality of work and motivated employees.

And better ideas. The Foursquare guys don’t like the Gowalla guys because they think Gowalla basically took all of Foursquare’s best ideas for their application. While I don’t know if that’s true, this rivalry will lead to both companies re-examining everything they’ve made and saying “How can we one-up the other guy and change the game so they’ll never catch up?”

In the end, as products and services continue to compete, consumers are the big winners.

And then we compete with our peers to acquire the best of all this stuff. The circle never ends.

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March 13, 2010 at 9:02 am

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How I’m Following SXSW

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If you were to read my Twitter stream, it would seem like everyone and their mother is going to South by Southwest. For those of you not familiar, South by Southwest (or SXSW, as the cool kids call it) is a big conference and festival in Austin. It’s broken up into three parts: Interactive (talking technologies and the social Web), Music and Film. (Fun fact: Documenting South by Southwest also was the job for the cast of Real World: Austin back in 2005. But I digress.)

The festival has grown in popularity from year to year, and now, all the social media heavy hitters head down to Austin for the Interactive portion. I’ve heard of it referred to as “the social media Super Bowl.”

If that’s true, I must be the Detroit Lions. Hi-yo!

I will not be attending SXSW this year, but I’m totally fine with that. The way I see it, I’m most interested in learning about the new technologies and how I can apply them to my job (call it a hunch, but I think location-based services will dominate). 

I was talking to my colleague Phil yesterday (who will be in Austin) and joked that I could be in 100 places at once from my computer, and it’s totally true. From Casa de Doug or at work, I can quickly monitor everything that’s going on without worrying about Internet connections or network overloads. (You’ll notice I’m leaving out the part about networking, having 70 degree weather and eating BBQ all day, but that doesn’t help me make my point :). My point is that I love to acquire information and I can do that better from here than there.)

So here’s what I’m going to do. Simple two step process:

  • The #SXSW Twitter hashtag will no doubt get overloaded with chatter about where people are or where they’re staying in Austin, so instead, I’ll follow my usual group of followers and might even create a list of people that I know will be there like @tomshea, @lish, @chrisvary and others so I can quickly get their thoughts. I’ll probably check in on the official SXSW Twitter as well.
  • Keep up on the news from Mashable, ReadWriteWeb, TechCrunch and some others. Anything worth mentioning will be covered on these sites.

If you’re going to be there (or even if you’re not) Mashable’s guide to the event is great. And I particularly enjoyed this blog about 10 Ways to Not Be a Jerk at SXSW 

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March 11, 2010 at 8:11 am

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Zack Follett plays with Lions

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Zack Follett was a seventh-round draft pick of the Lions in 2009 and he made his mark on special teams by laying out return guys, like in this clip.

I’m a big Follett fan and he just released a video on his Web site with him hanging out with some real-life Lions. I saw this on Pride of Detroit, one of my favorite Lions blogs, but check out Zack’s site as well. He’s got some cool stuff and he’s promoting a good cause.

This clip also features “Circle of Life” from The Lion King, my favorite Disney movie, so it just gets even better. Enjoy:

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March 8, 2010 at 7:38 pm

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