The media landscape is changing. Why? Because society is changing. It used to be that people would come home from school or work and commune on the sofa in front of the television. In some places this is still the case. In fact, Americans watch over 200 billion hours of TV every year.
But things are changing. Now, instead of coming home and simply consuming media (like watching TV), people are doing something different. Sure, they still consume. But now some people spend the time previously spent mindlessly watching and are doing something productive with it: they’re now sharing and creating content.
Do you see what’s happened? We’ve shifted from zombies ingesting programing to being able to actually add value. We can spread the word about the good stuff. And when nobody is making stuff that you want to spend your time reading/watching, you can make your own.
Think about it. For every 10 hours of television that you watch, there are 3 hours of ads. What if you took all of that time that you were watching ads and did something productive with it? You could:
1. Brainstorm new business ideas
2. Figure out who the next pool of lucrative clients will be
3. Write an article on your area of expertise
4. Google yourself. And then clean up what you find.
5. Send a quick email, asking an expert for some insight into an issue
Yup … that’s about it. They keep on buying great work and trusting great ideas. I mean, let’s be serious. Think about the guts you have to have to say to your boss, “Yeah, we just bought a great idea. It’s Kobe Bryant and LeBron James as muppets that live in the same house.”
Design a business for an environmental consultant.
Don’t print them on paper. In fact, create a rubber stamp and then “recycle” anything that is at hand (carton paper, cigarette packs, napkins, and other wastes) into business cards.
Often, it’s the simple ideas that are the best. If you’re funny, you don’t tell people that you’re funny. You tell them a joke. This is the same thing. Most business cards just deliver contact information. This one actually demonstrates what they’re about.
It’s nice to dream. It’s safe. You’re wrapped in infinite possibility. You can’t fail, because you haven’t done anything. Your ideas are still just that – ideas.
Action is the thin line that separates ideas from reality. The majority of people are too lazy or too scared to act on their ideas. This is your competitive advantage. You’re not scared. You’re not scared to act. You’re not scared to fail. You’re not scared to succeed.
So you don’t have a plan. Who cares? You need to take the first step towards making your idea real. And from that small first step, let things grow organically. You’ll gain momentum and enthusiasm. And soon, from that first step, you’ll be well on your way to creating something.
For me, the toughest part of going for a run is getting out the door. Before I lace up my shoes, my mind presents me with a myriad of excuses and alternatives to exercising. But once I get outside and take the first few steps, all of those motivational barriers melt away. I don’t worry about how far I’m going to run, I just run.
Here are five first steps that are easy and cheap:
1. Start your blog.
2. Write the Table of Contents for your book.
3. Purchase a URL. (They’re only $10)
4. Buy the materials for your prototype.
5. Design your logo.
Lots of people hit the wall and fall into a rut. You’re tired creatively. You don’t feel like you’re coming up with fresh ideas. You feel unmotivated. Stale. Bored. Uninspired.
The good thing about it is that you can always DO something to change it …
1. Go for a run.
2. Kill a project that’s not working.
3. Have a beer with an old friend.
4. Show up to work an hour earlier.
5. Watch a good movie.
6. Watch a stupid movie.
7. Quit your job.
8. Build something with your hands.
9. Talk to an 8 year old.
10. Talk to an 80 year old.
11. Leave the city. Get far enough away that you can’t see the lights.
12. Try yoga.
13. Go see a band in concert.
15. Call the smartest person you know. Ask them to lunch.
16. Eat a pint of blackberries.
17. Watch the Discovery Channel.
18. See the world through a camera lens. Video camera, still camera. It doesn’t matter.
19. Listen to Kid Cudi.
20. Write in a new notebook.
21. Write a letter. With a pen.
22. Go a day without email.
23. Go a week without the internet.
24. Visit a museum.
25. Tour an art gallery.
26. Go to a playground. And play.
27. Light incense and (try to) meditate.
28. Have coffee with an artist.
29. Go for drinks with a “suit”.
30. Build a fort.
31. Wear a tie to work.
32. Buy cool socks.
33. Jump off the highest diving board at the pool.
34. Email your favourite blogger.
35. Watch a TED talk.
36. Read a hard copy of Fast Company magazine.
37. Watch someone do something that you didn’t know was possible.
38. Spend an afternoon at Toys “R” Us. Buy LEGO.
39. Drink beer around a fire.
40. Go up to the roof of a tall building. Look down on the city.
I was checking out Paul and Tyler’s blog this morning and found this gem, that I have to share. We’ve all seen those iPod Nano ads showcasing all of the colours your can buy your iPod in. Now RONA, a Canadian version of Home Depot, has decided to put together a smart ad that plays off of those colours.
If you can’t view the video, click here. The placement is on the Jacques Cartier Bridge in Montreal.
The brands are so unrelated that it’s not even an “attack” ad on Apple’s billboard. It’s just a cool idea that they got up in time. It’s awesome when people rally around a good idea to get it in the market quickly. Nice job.
First of all, I apologize for not posting last week. I got caught up in the last minute craziness that normally accompanies new business pitches. For the uninitiated, it usually means late nights, greasy Thai food and for some reason, sore shoulders. On Thursday afternoon, I emerged from a post-pitch nap with stubble and red eyes. So, I decided to turn on the news. Apparently, I missed this whole swine flu pandemic.
My first thought was that this was another media-created panic. It’s justification for all of the taxpayer dollars spent preparing for another SARS outbreak. Plus, only 98 of the 33 million people living in Canada had come down with it. That’s pretty much the same percentage of people affected by scurvy.
But then I thought this irrational fear could be an opportunity for the right companies. Like Purell. As a PR stunt, Purell should donate tones of their hand sanitizer products to malls, subways and movie theaters. Use this opportunity to get their brand in places that they haven’t been before. Get a spokesperson touring around the major news networks educating people on preventing the flu through basic hand sanitation. And brand all of it.
When it’s raining lemons, make lemonade. Then add vodka.