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Aug 8
A Sign of the Times for Political Leaders?
Senator Joseph Lieberman from Connecticut conceded the democratic primary election to anti-war candidate Ned Lamont in a closely contested race today.

The power of bloggers played a role in this race. Perhaps less “pro-Lamont” and more “anti-Lieberman”, blogs like dailykos fueled grass roots support that was at times vitriolic. Kos writes tonight,

“Well, we got a blockbuster primary turnout. While only about 3 percent of Democrats voted in the Virginia primary a few weeks ago, about 50 percent will have participated today. That's an incredible number -- unprecedented -- for a Senate primary. I'll leave others to do the historical research, but this isn't normal. This is what people-power looks like, and it is changing the face of politics. I will help in whatever way I can the Democratic nominee from the Great State of Connecticut.”  

While Kos calls the Lamont victory an “earthquake” in politics and the “new face of the people-powered movement”, Lieberman blames his defeat on the “old politics of partisan polarization.” From the Washington Post, lieberman.jpg

"I am, of course, disappointed by the results, but I am not discouraged," Lieberman said. "I'm disappointed not just because I lost but because the old politics of partisan polarization won today. For the sake of our state, our country and my party, I cannot and will not let that result stand."

For democratic leaders, the question remains: can Lamont win the election with Lieberman running as an independent? And is this the new face of politics or old partisan polarization? It is a question for all political leaders and candidates.

Photo Credit Darren Mccollester -- Getty Images

Jun 9
SuperSize Me! Not

In writing about Jamie Oliver and the good he is doing for the nutrition of youth I got thinking about this nutrition movement and how the real impact has come not from government, education institutions, health ministries but from some independent folks that believed in a cause and brought it to the people through the media.

I will admit that most of the time when one person screams no one hears and in many cases, it is an issue that is only meaningful to a few people or does not make society better. In the case of our children’s nutrition, it is a supersize problem and stands to affect our future. The internet, blogs, and other media enable the word to get out.

A couple of years ago my teenage son told me about the movie Supersize Me after he saw it in school. This movie takes a unique look at the problem of obesity and illustrates the point with a 30-day diet of McDonald's Corporation (MCD).supersize.jpg

Was it a surprise that fast food is not healthy? No. I am health conscious and aware of this fact. But this movie illustrated in a way that made me not want to go back to McDonalds for those tasty fries and Big Mac (that did not seem to bio-degrade in special feature called "The Smoking Fry"). More importantly it made me think about my kid’s health when I wanted to stop at McDonald’s because it was convenient and had a playground and toy in my younger sons Happy Meal.

Too me the most interesting and scary aspect of the movie how school lunch has been outsourced to fast food.

I am not calling on McDonalds and other food manufacturers to change. I made my choice to not go back. If enough of us choose to stop eating unhealthy options, the economist in me says more healthy options will become available. Consumers have the power.

Fat chance? I hope not.

Check out McDonald's most recent defensive response here.

Jun 4
Chris Fralic on Leadership

Thanks to Chris Fralic for sharing his thoughts on leadership in the following interview.
Chris Fralic.jpg
Chris is a Director at First Round Capital, an early stage venture capital firm. Chris is a thought leader in internet technology.  He was most recently VP of Business Development at del.icio.us and spent six years at eBay where in his last position he was in ad sales and business development. Chris also serves on the Board of Governors of the Leader to Leader Institute .

As a venture capitalist, what traits do you consider most important in the leaders of the companies where you invest?

"I’d say experience, decision making, team building, ability to listen, and ability to adapt are all important traits."  

How would you weight leadership in the mix of value that you see in an investment?

"The entrepreneur and management team are probably the single most important part of an investment decision."

Who currently is an example of leadership and why?

"I worked at eBay for 6 years, and think that Meg Whitman is an amazing leader – she helped grow the company from a few dozen to over 10,000 employees and maintain the values and culture and Community focus along the way."  

What is the purpose of "Leader to Leader" and has being involved in it influenced how you conduct business at First Round?

"The Leader to Leader Institute was founded as The Peter F. Drucker Foundation for Nonprofit Management, and the mission is to strengthen leadership in the social sector and help them build vibrant nonprofit organizations, and you can find out more at www.leadertoleader.org.  In working with current and prospective companies at First Round, I often think of Drucker’s famous 5 questions:  What is our mission?  Who is our customer?  What does the customer value?  What are our results?  What is our plan?"

What impact do you think blogging will have on business?

"It’s already changing everything, and I think it will eventually impact every business – whether they choose to blog themselves or have to react to what’s being said about them in the blogosphere.  Anyone or any business can do it - one of my favorite examples is with Tom Peters - he’s now a world class blogger at www.tompeters.com."  

Nov10
Catching the Wave
Several weeks ago I was in New York at BlogOn hanging out with the who’s who of blogging – you know all the “A” listers like Seth Godin, David Weinberger, Jeff Jarvis, Steve Rubel, etc.

Sometimes these conferences offer little more than grandstanding. However, as noted in an earlier, post, BlogOn provided me some excellent insight on how businesses can innovate and create conversations with customers.

I have been meaning to write about what I thought was definitely one of the highlights of the conference. At lunch on the first day, Peter Hirschberg, Executive Vice President of Sales andtechnorati report.png
Marketing for Technorati provided an entertaining and informative snapshot of the state of the blogosphere.

He made a compelling case that blogs and social media are growing at a rate that demands the attention of business leaders. More importantly, it was an emergency call to traditional media. Change is afoot. Publishing, advertising, social networking, customer service, marketing all are undergoing transformation.

He unveiled Technorati's quarterly report about the blogosphere which can also be found on Dave Sifrey’s Alerts.

"The blogosphere is now over 30 times as big as it was 3 years ago, with no signs of let up in growth." And, "Between 700,000 and 1.3 Million posts are made each day.

Peter represented this tremendous growth with a very cool graphic. It showed the names of tags on Technorati flowing across the screen as they were added over time. The flow grew bigger and faster and formed a literal wave of tags. It was compelling.

350px-Surfing_in_Hawaii.jpgLiving in southern California, I enjoy getting out in the water and riding the waves. A key to surfing is seeing the wave and paddling to a spot where you can “catch the wave.” Catch the wave and you will accelerate powerfully across the water propelled by an energy that initially appeared as a mere bump on the horizon. On the other hand, if you miss the wave you are left dead in the water looking for the next opportunity and you may spend substantial time and strength paddling to another spot. Worse yet, if you aren’t paying attention and don’t see the swell, you may get “hit by the wave” and find yourself coughing up sea water and pulling sand out of your hair.

I would say the same for what seems to be the wave of the blogosphere and the change in media. Catch it , don’t get hit.

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