Beyond Just The Games

 “Unless you are prepared to give up something valuable you will never be able to truly change at all, because you’ll be forever in the control of things you can’t give up.” – Andy Law

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Pandora now has an app for the Microsoft XBOX system.

Not really earth shaking…or is it?

Gaming is huge, which draws people to XBOX, and then XBOX provides them an entrée into movies, the web, and music.

Pandora uses Kinect to allow people to listen, vote, and change songs with just a gesture. So Pandora has now integrated themselves into yet another popular distribution channel. Have you heard the old story about finding a parade getting in front of it?

But both may soon be rendered obsolete as Virtual Reality achieves broad acceptance over the next five years.  Change is a fact of life.

My point here is to show how unimaginative and lame most of our radio apps are. Radio will not continue to succeed by being “good enough,” at a time when the life cycle of an app becomes shorter and shorter.  Let’s do something different that really intrigues the listener/consumer, and be prepared to understand that change is faster and more constant than ever.

Dreaming In SoHo

“No one is less ready for tomorrow than the person who holds the most rigid beliefs about what tomorrow will contain.” — Watts Wacker, Jim Taylor and Howard Means, The Visionary’s Handbook: Ten Paradoxes That Will Shape the Future of Your Business

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Recently I was at the Crosby Conference, put on by Pip Coburn, in the SoHo area of New York, where the conversations were unlike anything I’ve done before.  We discussed whether Facebook has an ethical responsibility to fairness in the news since so many people are now using Facebook for news, or whether we’re in a post-fact world, where you believe what syncs with your beliefs.  And those were the simple ideas.  It was amazing.

The discussions are all future oriented and held at a very high level.  A lot of what we talked about had to do with the uncertainty in today’s world and the future.

But I can’t help myself.  So when one of the students mentioned that she got her news from iHeart Media, I had to know more.  I asked what iHeart meant to her, she explained it was a music and social media platform.  Then, when I asked if she was aware that iHeart had radio stations in New York, she paused, looked confused, and said, “I don’t really listen to radio.”

It was by no means the biggest implication from the conference, but it was a little reminder of the uncertainty in our future.  It also helped me realize how little time we spend on thinking about the bigger implications in our lives.  We’re locked into a radio’s dead versus radio’s fine battle that only keeps us focused on the wrong thing.  I guess it’s simpler than addressing the issues and easier to kick the can down the road, but it’s not a solution.

Then again, maybe that student was another outlier, an anomaly in the future of the medium we all love, and when we wake up everything will be fine.

The Future Comes To Those Who Make It

“The best way to predict the future is to create it.” – Abraham Lincoln

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When you’re walking along the beach, early in the morning, everything past the waves on the beach is invisible. You know there’s an ocean out there, but due to the fog bank, you can’t see it. Just like you know there’s a future out there, but you can’t see it.

This is where so many visions fail. The people involved can’t see past the fog bank, so they avoid anything about the future, missing the people on the small fishing boat and the ocean liner carrying passengers to far away places.  There’s a critical shortage of the Christopher Columbus’, John Glenn’s and Elon Musk’s who saw a future and made it happen.

Some of this is a simple vision block, we tell ourselves we don’t have a vision and so concentrate on the tactics that wind up taking us nowhere.  But some of it is also because we’re so tactically oriented that we don’t take the time to dream.  We think we have to be in a state of constant busyness – and you know what they say about a body in motion staying in motion.

Finally, there are those who think that planning gets in the way of a grander scheme to which we’re only a part of.  There’s an almost Biblical ban on strategy because it could get in God’s way.  I could be wrong, but I subscribe to what a famous dreamer, Galileo once said, ” I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who endowed us with sense, intellect and reason intended for us to forgo their use.

The perfect way to predict the future is to create it.  There’s a wonderfully simplistic, strategic sense to that, Abe.

Leading Change

“The secret of change is to focus all your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.”-Socrates

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Change is not easy.  It’s confusing, unclear and perplexing.  It’s hard to pursue something when it means what you know, and have become expert at, is becoming less and less relevant.  It’s natural to fight change, to deny it and ignore it.

However, every leader is a change agent, for better or worse.  They can move their organization forward, or keep it where it is.  Either one is change, because as the world morphs and grows, if you do nothing, you’re effecting change.  Just not in a positive way.

The most fundamental principle of change can be found in your mirror.  When we’re not looking into the mirror it’s easy to fool ourselves that we’re the same people we were 10 years ago.  But we’re not.  If change were’t a real factor, we’d still have 8 tracks and AM radio would be on top.  People wouldn’t be watching TV less to an alarming level (which they are), Netflix would have failed, and no one would “get” Pandora.

Real leadership is understanding change, and adapting to the opportunities it offers. Those who can do that will survive and thrive, those who can’t will be forever cemented to a past that doesn’t exist any more…and is being outdated everyday.

Looking For A Campground

“The most significant changes to our world are going on as we speak and will continue as millennials become our future leaders.” – Forbes Magazine

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The Millenials are coming!  The Millenials are coming!

The loud voices of nervous Paul Revere like baby boomers can be heard throughout the media landscape.  Unfortunately Pew research says they’re already here.  2015 is the year Millennials will surpass Boomers as the largest living generation.

Obviously this is going to have an earth shaking impact on media.  Which has divided radio people into camps. The first thinks Millennials will become like their parents at a given age, so there’s no problem at all. Radio will continue just as strong as always.

The second group thinks it’s helpless, and radio is dead. It’s inevitable.

There is a third, smaller, quieter camp that follows the future so they can understand how to integrate radio with the media palate of the future. Those are the people to listen to. They know the coming wave can’t be ignored.

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