Friday, September 24, 2010

Wisdom in the Niche

This really happened.

Four guys, all Minnesota Twins fans, on Labor Day weekend looked ahead to the schedules of the hometown team and archrival White Sox (boo hiss).

They wanted to forecast as a group how the season would end up.

The Twins were in first place, up three games at the time over the Sox. And three games remained between the Twins and the South-Siders (in Chi-town).

Game by game they assessed the next 30 days of the schedule. For each team. Picking who would win each contest.

By the end of the exercise, group wisdom of these four fanatics suggested (three weeks ago) the Twins would win the division by 11 games.

Two interesting observations about wisdom in the niche:

First, the group was wrong. Twins won by 12 games. (Actually the group was almost right in picking an 11-game lead.)

Second, the group didn't buy its own wisdom. When they tallied the results, to a guy, the group all said "Nah, no way the Twins will win by 11."

Everyone figured it'd be way tighter than that; that it'd go down to the wire (yes, even with the Sox' addition of Manny).

What's going to happen when smart people figure out how to unlock wisdom of fanatics in the niche and allow it to actually lead or self-direct new markets, products, services, ideas (vs. give an opinion or two in a room with a mirror)?

And what will it take to nurture the niche (producer and consumer) in such a way that it finds confidence to believe in itself and its inherent wisdom?

There's an interesting marketing problem and project in there somewhere. My friend Kim is working on an interesting project along these lines.

Meantime, I'll get the "band" back together soon and report how they see the hometown team doing in post-season.


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Thursday, September 16, 2010

Digital Repavement?

Those words were used by some guy to describe a long-running online project the other day.

Sounded important. Big. Time consuming. Like it needs stimulus funding.

Also sounded off-pitch in the world of bits and bytes and 24-hour information cycles.

If it was my project I would've called it our "Itty-Bitty-Teensy-Weensy-Failure-Is-An-Option-Innovative-Digital-Daily-Live-n-Learn-Iterating" project.

Big deal if it sounds silly.

It's the right way to treat your bits and bytes.

And the right way to lead humans working with them.


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Friday, September 10, 2010

Chicken or Egg

I've been stuck in a chicken or egg dilemma.

How do you fund important, interesting journalism for audiences that care when it's tough to get the money to do the news so you can build a loyal audience?

It's like that thing early in our careers. How do you get the experience to get the first job that requires the experience you don't have?

Maybe the thing to do when you notice this dilemma is ditch the eggs and the chickens. And ask how you can become one of the bulls in the china shop.

Bulls in china shops do whatever they want to do. They don't care about rules. Or about whose feelings get hurt. Or about some honcho giving permission. Or about people thinking they're nuts. And, of course, they are fearless.

The thing about bulls in china shops is they always make something happen. And when they're done, the place is changed. Sometimes for the better. Sometimes not.

Now that we're thinking about our problem like bulls in a china shop, I think we've got an idea that's going to change a lot of stuff. More on this in future posts.

Who knows in the end if it'll work out. Right now it's good to simply realize an important lesson about chicken or egg problems.

While you're stuck and going nowhere trying to figure them out, you're just an egg.

Or maybe something even worse, a chicken.


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