Wednesday, May 18, 2016
In what may be one of the best advertisements for solar energy ever, an entirely solar-powered plane is making a trip around the world. The Swiss-made Solar Impulse 2 just landed in Oklahoma, just one of many stops in its circumnavigation press tour.
Monday, May 02, 2016
Tens of millions of fans loved his music. In many ways, his songs defined a generation of pop-rock fans. After his stunning death just days after a major concert, fans were left in mourning. They were also left wondering “why.” Speculation ran rampant. From drugs - both legal and illegal - to foul play to garden variety flu (the reason given by his PR team).
Wednesday, April 13, 2016
Star Wars: The Force Awakens wowed fans and brought many disgruntled Star Wars geeks back into the with full enthusiasm. Sure, it was a near point for point remake of Episode IV, but nobody cared overmuch because it was also awesome and nostalgic and entertaining.
But Disney’s not done re-energizing the decades-old space opera. Enter Rogue One, a spin-off prequel that connects with the original trilogy while also grabbing younger viewers who grew up on the animated series and video games.
Tuesday, March 29, 2016
Comedian Gary Shandling died last week at the relatively young age of 66. The unexpected news left many fans reeling. But their response speaks volumes about Shandling’s brand, as well as what he meant to them as an entertainer and product producer.
If you listen to the critics and the ratings, the six-year run of the Larry Sanders Show wasn’t any kind of success. Then you take a step back and realize that program influenced nearly every critically acclaimed program in the past two decades. Shandling’s opus was a new sort of TV program, a sort of real, honest and bitingly funny comedy not seen anywhere else in a Full House saturated TV dial.
Want to see what inspired today’s massively successful group of self-deprecating stand-up comics or what show inspired the awkward silence laughs offered by The Office and Curb Your Enthusiasm? Look no further. Shandling didn’t just let you peek behind the curtain at the TV business, he ripped the curtain down, showing everyone all the neurotic, kinetic, and hopelessly funny slice of life reality that went along with it. Did you really think 30 Rock invented that gag?
As for the program that flirts with the line between fantasy and reality – Shandling was a forerunner there too. Today you have The Daily Show (is it news or comedy or both) and a host of other programs that tap dance across previously well-defined lines, but Shandling was the Deadpool of TV hosts. He was on a TV show, knew it wasn’t real and celebrated it … making it all the more real.
What can the response to Shandling’s untimely death teach us about how to leave a legacy? Plenty, it turns out.
Lesson 1 - don’t try to leave a legacy, do things that matter to people. Shandling is not the guy you think of as Trying Too Hard. He just did what he did, and people loved it or hated it. That offering left fans with much to laud and protégées with wide shoulders on which to stand.
Lesson 2 – when you find what you’re good at, do it better. Larry Sanders wasn’t Shandling’s first take on the mix he perfected with that show. He tried a beta version of that product once already, found an audience for it, and turned the volume up to 11.
Lesson 3 – give people a reason to care, to notice, and to keep watching. Shandling might not have the same household name recognition as Roseanne, Allen, or Foxworthy – all of whom also found success on the small screen after successful standup careers, but he knew how to inspire the inspirers.
There is an endless line of today’s famous names in comedy who count Gary Shandling among their inspirations. They saw something in him and his act that could make theirs better, so they kept watching. If you can offer someone else similar motivation, they will do the same.
Friday, February 26, 2016
The National Football League represents the highest of aspirations for anyone looking to make it big in American football. Many would think then the NFL’s contribution to the sport would center on the players and building big stadiums to host their games.
But figures show the organization spends most of its money on broadcasting and amping up their public image.
This may seem counterproductive, but it works! Paying the Mouthpiece In 2014, the NFL paid Roger Goodell a whopping $34.1 million – pretty impressive for an organization which was still a non-profit at the time. It did not escape Bloomberg’s notice that such a salary meant Goodell earned more than all but 61 CEOs working for public companies.
This put Goodell right behind CVS’s CEO, Larry Merlo. At a first glance, this doesn’t seem like a big deal, but CVS generates more than 10 times the revenue of the NFL, and certainly doesn’t have as many celebrity employees on payroll.
Relative to other organizations, the NFL spends an overwhelming amount of its revenue on paying its public face. This is in spite of public observation that Goodell does not bring exceptionally high-level executive skills to justify his salary. In fact, many people see him as aloof and under-qualified for handling the sometimes sensitive and sensational issues plaguing the NFL and its players – of late, many of those fall in the area of domestic violence and child abuse.
Even so, Goodell sees himself as a protector of the NFL shield and maintains his primary responsibility is defending the integrity of the game. Seeing the Benefits In spite of criticism of his leadership, Goodell’s protection of the shield and the NFL paying him to do it has had positive effects on the bottom line. Broadcasting companies now find themselves paying billions to the NFL just for the rights to host shows and cover major NFL events.
This brings in additional revenue for the NFL without doing much more than existing. Meanwhile, taxpayers pick up the bill for the high cost of building stadiums. Under Goodell’s leadership, the NFL brought in $28 billion from Fox, CBS, and NBC alone for broadcasting rights of playoffs and the Super Bowl.
ESPN also pumps almost $2 billion into the NFL each year for the rights to “Monday Night Football”. Even DirectTV contributes to the NFL’s growing revenue by paying $1.5 billion per year to keep exclusive rights to the NFL Sunday Ticket.
Though many people may question the ethics of valuing a mouthpiece above the players who help make the NFL what it is, the NFL’s strategy continues to work with high rates of return.
The disproportionate payments to Goodell’s salary only brought in more investments under his leadership and continue to grow the organization.
This represents good business sense, even if taxpayers and the general public might not agree.
Tuesday, January 19, 2016
Seems like there’s been a rash of tech CEOs getting into the charity field lately. Now, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings has joined them. The co-founder of the streaming service said he wants more kids to have better and easier access to good educations, so he created at $100 million fund dedicated to making that happen.
Wednesday, December 30, 2015
OPEC has some bad news for fans of electric cars. Because of course they do. When your business involves doing something that someone else wants to stop, it’s definitely in your best interest to point out how bad they are at their job. Which is pretty much what a recent report published by OPEC does.