The EIES Have It. (Serving the visually impaired since 1974!)

April 15, 2013

The EIES (Electronic Information & Education Service of New Jersey, pronounced “eyes”) organization http://bit.ly/15ePARB has been serving the visually impaired community of New Jersey since 1974. Last year, Frank Scafidi, the executive director of EIES, invited me to join their board of directors. Over the last two years, Frank has shared with me the great services that EIES provides to the visually impaired community.

EIES provides a reader service to our community.  Our listeners are able to catch on the news from the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, NJ Star Ledger, Readers Digest and many other publications http://bit.ly/12bb1zQ.

My decision to join the board of EIES was due to their mission.

EIES’s mission is:

“To provide in an efficient manner, immediate, direct and convenient access to the printed word, to those individuals whose ability to read is severely impaired by a visual disability. Access is provided by utilizing state of the art electronic technology, including, but not limited to radio, cable TV/FM systems, and telephones and computerized telecommunications.”

EIES was founded by the late John F. Mulvihill, Jr. Despite being blind since age 15, John earned degrees at Seton Hall and Boston University and worked in public relations for several years. He recognized that blind persons have a need for more detail on the day’s events than is possible from simply listening to radio and television news broadcasts. In 1974 he arranged with Seton Hall’s radio station to use their facilities to broadcast a two-hour show Sunday afternoons. From there he added a studio with a signal generator in a building adjoining the South Orange Library. Over the years he raised funds from the federal government, corporations and private donors.

In 1980 he expanded to a full-time operation providing 14 hours of programming daily from its own studios in South Orange, New Jersey. In 1987 he signed an agreement with a cable television company that allows blind listeners to pick up the broadcast via a cable hookup.

The service is currently delivered through two methods.  The first method is the Radioreader.  The Radioreader is essentially a radio station for the blind. Listeners can hear EIES by tuning into a special radio receiver. Access can also be obtained through FM Cable provided through cable TV systems in Northern New Jersey.  Secondly, a live radio broadcast is available over the Internet.  This service is provided at no charge.

EIES is a nonprofit organization that depends on the work of volunteers.  To see pictures of our volunteers in the EIES studio click on STUDIO.  EIES has been very fortunate over the years with the number of people who have tirelessly volunteered to serve the visually impaired community.  Recently, EIES suffered a huge loss when chairman, Jim Lazarus, passed away this past February at the age of 75.  Jim joined the EIES board in 2000 and has been chairman for the last ten years. He spearheaded our annual fundraising gala during that time. His mother, Eda Lazarus, was a supporter and volunteer with EIES for many years until she died a few years ago. Jim was a driving force that kept EIES going and was a great advocate for the organization. He was a tireless and enthusiastic supporter of EIES and a friend to all of us. We will miss him dearly.

Jim, at the mike in the EIES studio.
Jim, at the mike in the EIES studio.

The World Health Organization http://bit.ly/12b6D3V provides the following facts about visual impairment and blindness:

  • 285 million people are visually impaired worldwide: 39 million are blind and 246 million have low vision.
  • About 90% of the world’s visually impaired live in developing countries.
  • Globally, uncorrected refractive errors are the main cause of visual impairment; cataracts remain the leading cause of blindness in middle and low-income countries.
  • The number of people visually impaired from infectious diseases has greatly reduced in the last 20 years.
  • 80% of all visual impairment can be avoided or cured.

There are 84.5 million visually impaired people in the United States (59 million adults and 26 million children) http://bit.ly/YIeqq0.  The statistics for the visually impaired community are improving but it is still a major problem in developing countries.  The EIES organization is doing its part and can use your support.  EIES is totally funded by donations and grants.

Our major fundraiser this year will be a benefit concert by the band The Rave-Ons for EIES on Friday, May 31st at 7:30pm at Jubilee Hall at Seton Hall University.  The Rave-Ons are a high-energy rockabilly band formed to revitalize the music of Buddy Holly and the Crickets. Buddy Holly is considered by many to be the Father of Rock and Roll. His music has inspired The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton and countless other artists.  You can hear a sample of their music at Rave-Ons.

Tickets are $30 each and can be purchased via PayPal by clicking the following link, or in person at EIES. http://bit.ly/XC8ey9

One of my key strategic goals is to raise the public’s awareness about the services that EIES provides to the visually impaired community.  Most of us know someone who has a relative or friend who is visually impaired and we want him or her to know about the EIES reader service.  I hope that you will forward this blog to your community to spread the word about EIES.  Also, take some to check out the services and provide us your feedback.

EIES is located in South Orange, New Jersey and is always in need of volunteers.  Stop by and ask for Sherri De Rose or email or call her at eiesnj@aol.com / 973-762-0552.  Donations to EIES can be made clicking on this link http://bit.ly/XMfdXu to our PayPal page.

With your support EIES will be able to continue to serve the visually impaired community of the world.

EIES

59 Scotland Road

P. O. Box 411

South Orange, NJ  07079

Bus: 973-762-0552

Fax 973-761-6879

eiesnj@aol.com

Frank Scafidi – Executive Director

Sherri De Rose – Volunteer Coordinator

Heaven has its newest angel: Julia Claire Blixrud

November 2, 2014

In Memoriam

Julia Claire Blixrud 

1954 – 2014

blixrudjulia_t180 

The scholarly community has lost a great leader and friend. Julia Blixrud past away on Wednesday, morning October 29, 2014.

She was known to have a positive lasting effect on everyone she met. In the short time that I knew Julia, she had an enduring positive effect on me.

I first met Julia at the AAUP annual meeting luncheon. My very good friend Rush Miller introduced me to Julia. During the ninety-minute luncheon, we had the opportunity to discuss a variety of topics that affect every ARL’s business environment.   From the challenging library budgets to the effects of Open Access, this discussion forged a new relationship between us.

We exchanged business cards and promised to stay in touch, as she wanted to create a seminar for the new incoming ARL directors. Julia was very motivated to provide this new crop of library directors with tools, information and training to provide them with a foundation to ensure their success in their new role.

Over the next twelve months Julia and I engaged in several phone conversations that led to an awesome lunch meeting this past March at Ilili restaurant. During this lunch we got a chance to take a friendship to the next level. I learned more about her illustrious career and her deep love for her husband Keith, her family and her industry colleagues.

Our conversations continued over the next few months and then the bomb hit. I called Julia at her ARL office this summer to follow-up on our discussion and the attendant suggested that I could reach her on her cell phone. As always she answered the phone in her normal upbeat and positive way. She shared with me that she was undergoing some medical treatments as her cancer had resurfaced. I shared with Julia that my oldest sister has just undergone a bilateral mastectomy. She immediately offered her prayers and support. This was one of Julia’s many positive attributes. Julia was always there to be a supportive friend.

A couple of months later I checked in with Julia to see how she was doing and she left me with the impression that all was well. I mentioned to her that I was organizing a thought leader dinner for a client and wanted her to attend. She suggested that I forward the invitation to her and she would let me know if she or someone from ARL would attend.

Two weeks ago, I called Julia’s office in Washington, DC to follow-up on our last conversation about the invitation to the thought leader dinner. The receptionist politely suggested that I reach Julia on her cell phone. When I reached Julia, she immediately offered her apologies for not getting back to me. You see she was back in Kansas for her cancer treatment. I replied, “Julia no, you have my apology!” We chatted for a little bit and then I wished her well with her treatment. I got off the phone and thought, “Even as she is facing a reoccurrence of her cancer she it still thinking of others”!

This past Friday I called Rush Miller to catch up with him regarding his retirement and during our conversation he spoke about the number of ARL directors that are retiring this year. I mentioned my conversation with Julia about her goals for the new ARL librarians and then Rush hit me with the news that Julia had passed away Wednesday morning. Wow, what a punch to my gut! While I had only known Julia for 1-½ years she has made a significant impact on my life and me.

As the industry learns of Julia’s passing, we are going to learn so much more about the impact that she has made on the lives of her family, friends, co-workers and industry. As one of her newest friends I wanted to take a moment to share my thoughts about the great person that she was and the legacy she leaves for all of us to follow.

Julia, thank you for your friendship, your counsel and your contributions to the scholarly community!

Sincerly,

Darrell W. Gunter

Her obituary can be found at this link http://bit.ly/1GaEP3t and her services are being held today Sunday, November 2, 2014. Memorial contributions may be made in her name to Trinity Lutheran Church or Lawrence Memorial Hospital – Oncology Center and may be sent in care of the mortuary. Online remembrances can shared at www.warrenmcelwain.com.

College Athletes and Money$

August 10, 2014

Student AthleteThis past Friday Federal Judge Claudia Wilken handed down her ruling that the N.C.A.A.’s longstanding amateurism rules were a violation of antitrust laws. Yesterday I had the opportunity to address this topic on Sirius XM radio Mad Dog Radio’s Lance Meadow show.

Lance Meadow @lancemedow started the discussion with the statement that, college athletes should not be compensation as they receive a scholarship in exchange for their athletic participation. The arguments from the call in guest, ranged from one extreme to the other extreme. For example one caller suggested that the college should provide the athletes with not only a stipend but a car as well, so they would be able to get around. Another called felt that the current system of providing a scholarship was enough. He further stated that he felt that a significant percentage of the student athletes did not want an education but was hoping to get into the pros.

Mr. Meadow acknowledged that the current scholarship system can be improved and there are tweaks that can be made to provide certain athletes with a trust to accommodate the recent federal judge ruling. One key argument is that within the technology transfer departments a student is able to license their technological developments to companies for a profit. Everybody wins, the student, the university and the company. The same could be said for the student athletes. While the student athlete situation is not as clear-cut at the technical student who develops a new technology or application there are some lessons to be learned and could be applied to the student athlete debate.

First off let me say that I am not an authority on this topic as it quite complex. However like everyone else I have my thoughts, comments and suggestions. So here it goes.

You want a system that is:
➢ Fair – Fair in the sense of providing all student athletes with standard offering within their specific university size environment
➢ Equitable – Equitable so that all student athletes are treated in a similar fashion
➢ Reasonable – Reasonable in the manner that the world community would provide their moral support.

To that end I would recommend the STaGS approach.

➢ Scholarships – Provide the student athlete with a scholarship system that provides 5 years to obtain their degree provided they meet their course and athletic requirements. Even if they have a career ending injury.
➢ Trust – Trust accounts for those qualified athletes that are able to sell their likeness, autographs, etc.
and
➢ Grants – Financial grants for those athletes that have special financial needs.
➢ Stipends – Standard monthly financial stipend for all athletes

There are a lot of details that need to be worked out for each aspect but it would address a majority of the issues raised by those who say that the student athlete is not being treated fairly.

I look forward to your thoughts, comments and suggestions as to how the college athlete should be treated.

http://nyti.ms/1A5j0OA NY Times, Ben Straus, Steve Eder, Marc Tracy

Hard work and profit!

July 16, 2014

This past weekend my family celebrated my mother’s upcoming 90th birthday and our annual family reunion. We began on Friday with my mother’s birthday celebration followed by our family reunion picnic on Saturday. We concluded our festivities by attending my mother’s church, Second Baptist Church in Atlantic City, NJ. Pastor Collins A. Days always delivers a superb sermon and this Sunday’s sermon was no exception.

I was so moved by the sermon and its leadership principles I was compelled to share with you the key points of his sermon. Everyday we bring our leadership skills and attributes to our everyday occupation and we all have our blind spots. It is my hope that this article helps you to address any blind spots that you might have and help you make your hard work more profitable!

His sermon focused on Proverbs 14:23 – “All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.” How many times have we experienced someone in our work environment that puts the time in, but not real effort? Instead of putting in quality time i.e., (time and effort) the unproductive worker just shows up and logs in ordinary time.

Imagine a crew of eight oarsmen competing against another team of eight oarsmen. Team “Excel” has eight oarsmen that are fully engaged and in sync with each other. Team “Boarsman” has only five out of the eight that are fully engaged. The boats take their position and as soon as the gun sounds, anyone observing the race knows the likelihood of Team Excel winning the race is great!

A company competing in the market place is only as strong as its weakest link. King Solomon spoke that “All labor is profitable”. It is said that, “You reap what you sow.” In other words, you get out what you put in. If your labor is positive and productive, the profit from your labor will result in great performance reviews, awards, salary increases, performances, etc. If your labor is not productive then your profit for this poor labor will result in poor performance reviews, no salary increases, no promotions and potentially loss of employment.

Hard work equals positive profit and poor work habits equals poor profit. The Oxford dictionary defines hard work as, “A great deal of effort or endurance”.
Anything truly worthwhile requires a consistent dedicated effort and patience. In his book, “Built to Last”, Jim Collins challenges his readers that in order for them to achieve greatness they need to establish “A big hairy audacious goal”! Hard work will be essential to achieve that “Big Hairy Audacious Goal”! Working smart and working hard goes hand-in-hand. Some people feel that if you can work smart then you do not have to work hard. Do not misunderstand me. I fully appreciate and recommend to my clients that they should utilize the best practices within their work environment to ensure that they, along with their colleagues are maximizing their productivity. However, you must put the time into your business to have that breakthrough and create a positive performance gap between you and your competitors.

In Malcolm Gladwell’s book, Outliers, he details several examples of successful people who have invested 10,000 hours or more to their profession. Each of us has our own gifts and there are no overnight successes. My nephew, Kadir Nelson is an award-winning illustrator (www.kadirnelson.com) and he started drawing at the age of three and never stopped. During his formative years, he worked entirely on his art. He logged well over 10,000 hours before he headed off to college. As a college student, he was selling his original artwork and doing work for Nike! Even today he is consistently putting in the time to make sure that all of his work meets his standards of high quality.

In building your team of high performers, you must set the example of putting in a quality workday! Your team will follow your example of putting in a quality workday. Even if you are currently not managing anyone it is essential that you set your personal work standards very high. No matter what your position is in your company, you want to make sure that you are giving it your best effort everyday. As you ascend the corporate ladder or launch your own business, it is imperative that you bring your “A” effort and set the standard for excellence.

Remember, any significant endeavor will require an extraordinary and consistent effort (hard work)! The benefits of the hard work will result in the following benefits:
➢ Position yourself for better raises and promotions
➢ Great work self satisfaction
➢ Leadership position within your company
➢ Your day flies by
➢ Happy co-workers and customers
➢ Positive working environment

Take control of your life and career by establishing a new PMA (positive mental attitude) towards your work and career. Establishing personal productivity goals to stand out from your colleagues and competitors will ensure that you are on the right track to true Professional Growth and Profit!

_____________________________________
https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Proverbs%2014:23
http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/us/definition/american_english/hard-work?q=hardwork
http://www.jimcollins.com/article_topics/articles/building-companies.html
http://gladwell.com/outliers/

Will the traditional journal subscripton model make a comeback?

July 1, 2014

The other day my good friend Kent Anderson’s blog post on the Scholarly Kitchen “Hiding in Plain Sight — Is the Subscription Model the Optimal Business Model for the Digital Age?” is spot on as he sites several companies and industries that thrive successfully on the subscription model.  However the scholarly publishing industry has experienced significant growing pains and struggles going back to the eighties with the subscription model as the publishers increased their prices significantly due to changes in currencies, subscription cancellations, additional pages, etc.   I thought it would be useful to provide some further insights on this topic.

These developments prompted the library community to put in place their annual journal cancellation renewal program to balance the needs of their user community with their budget.  Prior to the launch of the digital initiatives like the one I launched for Elsevier, “ScienceDirect” in the Americas, librarians really did not have great usage stats to assist them in their annual review program.

 One of the key factors that I stressed to our customers was the significantly increased utility value they would receive with Elsevier’s subscription model for ScienceDirect.  In the print world they would have to buy multiple subscriptions of a popular journal.  In the digital world the limitations of print access are eliminated the utility value of a journal and or articles are greatly expanded.  Some time later we increased our digital offering with the introduction of the “Freedom” collection.  This allowed an institution to gain access to additional journals at a fraction of the cost.  The Freedom Collection the researcher to search across wider collections of journals/articles.  These plans allowed the librarian community to leverage their investment in scholarly journals and provide more content and value to their community.

 Consortia’s grew consistently over the ten-year period 1996 – 2006 and each participating institution was able to further leverage their access to additional scholarly content at cents on the dollar

Unfortunately, as the recessions (2001 and 2008) hit our economy, the budget pressures on the library were further exacerbated and the “Big Deal” became the “Big Villain”.  The Big Deal in my opinion was a very easy target as the librarians discounted the publisher’s arguments that it provided the consortium members access to a “huge” amount of content, some of which that was cancelled due to their previous budget constraints.

As the Counter statistics indicate, the utility value of the subscribed content has exploded over the last 10 – 15 years.  The library community has benefited from the “Big Deal”, in the face of their budget cuts however the serial crisis is still a serious problem for the entire scholarly publishing industry.  The scholarly publishing community (Publishers, academic institutions, researchers, etc., must come together to solve this puzzle.  I say puzzle as the pieces to solve the puzzle are there in front us, but the community must decide what pieces will comprise the new puzzle.

I would suggest that advertising will play a role in the new model to alleviate some of the financial burden and challenges facing the scholarly industry.  The role for advertising will need to be defined and will require experimentation.

Subscriptions are very good for the scholarly publishing industry but there must be a balance between cost and the utility value received by the academic community.  As I said the pieces to the puzzle are in front of us and collectively we must work together to put the new puzzle together.

Advertising: Future significant source of revenue for the scholarly publishers?

April 8, 2013

Advertising has played a major role in the print subscription model for a number of publishers prior to the Internet.  Print advertising was and still is quite prominent for a number of publishers, specifically in medical and other specialty journals.  Outsell Inc., the information industry research house, estimates that advertising represents 7.5% ($2.2 B) of the industry’s  $29.8 B revenue.[i]  The number of publishers incorporating advertising into their revenue stream is quite small when you consider the 7,000+ publishers worldwide.

The scholarly publishing industry’s (SPI) user group has embraced the mobile device.  The research community is now using smart phones, tablets and second screens.  Mobithinking.com estimates the global mobile device to be 5.9 billion devices with the USA approaching 1 billion devices[ii].  The scholarly publishing industry has been and will continue to be under tremendous pressure as a number of factors will continue to challenge the library budgets and the publisher’s business model and revenue streams.  These pressures coupled with the growth of the mobile device market and the changing needs of the researchers are presenting a challenge and opportunity to the scholarly publishing industry.    Could advertising be that new opportunity for scholarly publishers?

These are the early days and the jury is still out on this question of advertising and the role it will play in the current and future revenue streams of the scholarly publishing industry.  To help the scholarly publishing industry to better understand the origins of advertising and the potential opportunity it may present, PSP’s (Professional Scholarly Publishers) www.publishers.org  Electronic Information Committee’s spring seminar series will focus on advertising.  This three-part series http://bit.ly/11FOI5c will focus on the history of advertising, the opportunities and the future of advertising as it relates to scholarly publishing.  In the spirit of full disclosure, I am the co-chair of the EIC committee along with John Purcell.

As the research community is consuming scientific peer-reviewed literature and other related information via a number of devices, it is presenting the scholarly publishing community with a great opportunity for a new revenue stream consisting of advertising.  The Interactive Advertising Bureau’s (IAB) annual report http://bit.ly/ZaRYS6 provides a number of interesting facts about the growth of Internet advertising and the recent developments of mobile device usage.

According to IAB the 2012 numbers are not yet available, but in the first three-quarters of the year, Internet advertising revenues climbed to $26 billion (a high for the period) and up nearly 15 percent from the prior year. Full-year figures for 2011 showed our industry attracted more advertising dollars than cable television, magazines or newspapers. Digital media are now mainstream media.[iii]  The global mobile advertising market is valued at $5.3 billion in 2011[iv].

With the global mobile device market growing beyond 6 billion devices, we can safely assume that the advertising dollars will follow.  The mobile device manufacturers are selling mobile devices in all shapes and sizes.  The industry is working very steadfastly to better understand how to deliver advertisements to serve the needs of the reader in the most constructive manner.  The IAB, in partnership with 4A’s http://www.aaaa.org/ and ANA http://www.ana.net/ has embarked on a new advertisement measurement initiative called The Making Measurement Make Sense (3MS) initiative.  The goal is to help marketers and advertisers follow suit by evolving the way media is bought and sold to increase efficiency, value and understanding.  This initiative can be found on page 8 of IAB’s annual report.

If the scholarly publishing industry is going to better understand the internet advertising opportunity, it will be essential that it embraces the key associations, players, vendors, agencies, etc.  Developing a 360° degree view of the advertising industry is extremely important if the scholarly publishing industry will develop advertising from a minor role to a new major source of revenue.

As mobile usage continues to grow, the scholarly publishing community can take a look at the consumer trends to determine how they will behave in the scholarly publishing arena.  For example, 63 percent of digital video screening on mobile phones does not happen on the go, but rather at home[v].  What if this statistic holds true for scholarly researchers?  How will this affect how the researchers consume their daily scholarly information and what type of advertisements will work in their environment?

These questions and many others  will be asked and answered over the next few years as many will have much to say about this topic.  But one thing is for sure; the scholarly publishers who embrace the possibility of advertising becoming a significant revenue stream will open themselves to the opportunity.  For those scholarly publishers that shrug their shoulders at the idea of advertising generating significant revenue they will find themselves on the outside looking in asking the same question, “What is the business model?”

My answer: To be in business!


[iv] Source: global mobile Advertising market U.S. IAB, IAB Europe, and IHS Screen Digest

[v] Source: IAB mobile Phone video diaries Conducted by On Device Research for IAB

Best Practices For A Successful Sales Organization – Establish a sale process!

April 1, 2013

Recently my great industry friend and Scholarly Kitchen editor, Rick Anderson shared his views on “Six Key Mistakes Sales Representatives Are Making” http://bit.ly/Yp32QZ.  I have known Rick for most of my 11-year tenure at Elsevier as the Sr. VP of Sales and Marketing for the Americas.  After getting to know Rick, I came to respect him and his opinions as to how our account managers should interact with the library community.  I respected him so much that I invited him to be our keynote speaker at our annual Sales Kick Off meeting back in January 2007.  So, you will hopefully understand that I have a unique perspective about Rick’s background and expertise on this subject.  I thought it would be useful to share with you my views on the “Best Practices Your Reps Should Use” as it relates to their every day interactions with the library community.

This article on the “Best Practices” is based on my collective experience and represents one of the many best practices that exists.  Creating a high performing sales team requires consistent training and performance management.   The best practice detailed in this article will give you a great start to a high performing sales organization.

There are a lot of best practices that a sales professional needs to inculcate in their every day business life.  It is my hope that this article will generate a lot of thought, discussion and debate but most importantly, raise everyone’s perspective on the subject of best practices in sales and sales management.  The sales profession at times gets a bad rap.  Some of it deserved and some of it not.  If we as a professional community want to improve the perception of the sales profession, we must look in the mirror and be the change that we desire.

Establish a sales process for your company. 

Design of a sales process

Design of a sales process

There is a common misperception in business that hiring someone with sales experience will ensure that you will achieve your sales objectives.  It has been my experience that most organizations do not understand the principles of professional sales and sales management.  They will hire someone with a resume that promotes that they have sales experience and they hire another sales person, then another and another.  Now, they have an organization on paper that appears to have great sales experience, but what they have not figured out is that their sales team is operating under different experiences and values.  It is very similar to having a team of rowers on a crew boat and everyone is rowing to a different beat.  With the proper direction, the crew team can achieve great things.  The same can be said for your sales organization.  If you were to provide your team with a defined sales process and a proper training program you will be assured that your team will have a greater opportunity to achieve your strategic objectives.  Of course, there are other key activities that you will need to employ to manage the performance of your team, (i.e., having a proper mission, strategy, job descriptions, incentive plan, performance objective setting and reviews).

What is a sales process?  The answer depends on the specific needs of your business, customers, products, services, etc.   A sales process reflects the critical path of activities that your prospect/customer will go through to purchase your product and/or service.  At each step of the critical path, a member of your team will have to interact with your prospect/customer.  The success of each interaction will determine if the prospect/customer will proceed to the next step in the sales process.  For example, the sales process should include but not be limited to the following steps:  Pre-call analysis, initial call, follow-up call, proposal preparation and presentation, proposal counter meeting, negotiation and close.

Having a sales process for your company is very important as it will shape how your company will interact with the market.  It will ensure that every time your team interacts with your prospect/customers they will have a very consistent high level delighted experience.  Consider your favorite restaurant, airline or drycleaner. If they provide you with a delighted experience, you will continue to do business with them and you will recommend them to your friends and colleagues.  Personal referrals are the best form of advertising for your team and company.

Providing your sales team with the proper foundation of an established sales process that invokes the key principles of your company along with a training program that reinforces these principles will ensure that your customers are receiving the best level of representation.  If you do not provide your team with a firm overview of your training then you are not providing them the best opportunity to fulfill your strategy.

Introduction

March 24, 2013

Leadership is a topic on everyone’s agenda.  Whether you are the president of the United States, the CEO of a major corporation, a coach of a team or a local community leader; we hear about leadership and its importance to the success of an organization.

There have been authors who have written many books on the topic of leadership from Jim Collins http://www.jimcollins.com/, John Maxwell http://www.johnmaxwell.com/, to the late Stephen Covey http://bit.ly/11zBipQ,just to name a few.  The importance of this topic cannot be underestimated as leadership is essential to the success of any organization.  Often times when the business reporting community is doing a post mortem on the failings of a corporation, most of the time it is due to poor leadership at the top.

What is leadership and why is leadership so important?  These topics as well as information on new technology, key industry developments and other related leadership subjects will be my focus.

Often time’s people think that leadership operates in a vacuum and is only reserved for the top leaders in an organization.   Leadership can and should be practiced at every level and within each department of an organization.  We all have experienced poor customer service in all walks of life.  Poor leadership reinforces poor customer service.

Over the last 30+ years, I have had the opportunity to work with some the world’s most dynamic and prolific organizations: Xerox, Dow Jones & Co., Elsevier, Collexis and AIP www.linkedin.com/in/darrellwgunter/.  During these stints, I was able to further develop and refine the principles of building high performing teams, the consultative sales process and customer service.   To further enhance my professional development, my colleague, John Hoffman and I created Seton Hall University’s first Consultative Sales Course for the Stillman School of Business.  Since 2009, John and I have taught this highly touted course to both undergraduates and MBA students.

Leadership has always been a top of mind topic for me.  From participating in sports, having a professional career to volunteering for a charity organization; leadership is very important as the leader sets the goals, the tone, the strategy and the culture.

Back in March of 2009, I produced and moderated a Brown Bag Lunch session for the Software Information Industry Association (SIIA) http://siia.net/ titled,  “Building High Performance Teams in a Tough Economy.”  The 90-minute panel discussion was riveting as I had four industry experts discussing our topic with a focus on leadership.

After the panel, I felt that there was an abundance of valuable material that we had explored, but also so much more to cover.  This inspired me to create a radio show on WSOU 89.5FM / WSOU.net titled,  “Leadership with Darrell W. Gunter.“ For nearly four years, I have had the privilege and opportunity to interview CEO’s, politicians, authors, educators, local leaders and Ph.Ds.

Based on the panel, I also created a presentation titled, “Building a High Performing Team.”  This presentation has been well received by the attendees of Vistage http://www.vistage.com/ and the attendees of the CEESE annual meeting http://bit.ly/11w1Ivd.

Leadership is about consistency, fairness, process, procedures, performance metrics, managing people, leading people, educating people, training and service.  These are just a few of the attributes that we will cover within Leadership the Blog.

Thank you for your time and attention to this topic and I look forward to hearing from you. Please send your comments and suggestions to d.gunter@guntermediagroup.com.

The Start of something new in NY!

March 18, 2013

The Start of something new in NY!

 

This pass Friday I had the opportunity to attend the inaugural START NY 2013 conference (http://startny.eventbrite.com/) produced by Paddy Cosgrove of the F.ounders organization.  This is the same organization that put on the F.ounders conference (http://f.ounders.com/) that received rave reviews from the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg and CNN.   The Wall Street Journal wrote, “It was a conference that exceeded the hype.”  The same can be said of the START NY 2013 conference! 

 

 

 

When Paddy Cosgrove first contacted me, he invited me to attend a cocktail gathering of entrepreneurs in early February; unfortunately, I was in Washington, DC attending the PSP annual meeting http://www.psp2013conference.com/.  The next week I received a note of apologies to the people who were turned away as the event was packed at capacity. 

 

Afterwards I received a personal email from Paddy inviting me to attend the START NY 2013 event.  So I clicked on the link to the site to register only to find that I needed to apply to attend this event.  I thought it was just a marketing ploy to get me more interested in the event. Within one day someone from the F.ounders organization in Dublin, Ireland contacted me.  The young man asked me a couple of questions.  First, “Why did I want to attend the event?  Second, what would I contribute to the conference?”  After successfully answering the questions, I was invited to register for the event.

 

Up to this point my experience with the F.ounders organization was outstanding and my expectations were very high.  Upon arriving at the location Centre 548, located at 548 West 22nd Street in New York City. http://www.center548.com/, I was intrigued by the layout.  First off there is a very cool old school warehouse elevator.  The event was held on three different floors.  Registration was on the second floor along with the helpdesk, coat check and Round Table discussion section.  The third floor housed the Village of companies exhibiting their products or services.  Microsoft, Rackspace, PayPal, Moon Toast and Invest Northern Ireland just to name a few of the 30+ companies present.  In addition to the cool companies exhibiting there were a few food and beverage vendors serving free samples of their food or beverage.  I did taste the fare of www.smorebakery.com and it was delicious. 

 

The food and beverages were also served on this floor and you could feel the electricity as the CEO attendees were brimmed with enthusiasm, excitement and exuberance!  The conference was held on the fourth floor and the seating was quite limited (approximately 100+ seats) and probably on purpose as each session was standing room only.     

 

Every speaker and panel discussion was outstanding!  This was hands down the best event that I have attended over the last 24 months.  The event kicked off with Jeff Clavier of SoftTech VC, http://softtechvc.com/strategy/about-us/ who provided a very candid overview of the criteria that his firm uses to evaluate start-ups.  The three criteria is the strength of the founders, great product and a great market.  The cool thing about this conference was that each speaker made themselves available in the Village (3rd floor) and was quite approachable.  After Jeff’s interview he was in the Village and quite a few people grabbed his ear including me!  This was the first conference that I have attended where the speakers were quite accessible to the attendees.  To keep the day moving, they had a mixture of speakers, interviews and panels that ranged from 30 to 20 to 15 minutes.  The topics ranged from raising money to growing your company, Understanding your competition, the Hype machine (marketing) and the Evolution of the VC – More than money.  Each of these panels featured the industry stars and leaders.  Wesley Chan of Google Ventures, Tim Forster of KPMG, John O’Farrell of Andreessen Horowitz and Jim Robinson of RRE Ventures just to name a few of All-Star speakers. 

 

Another phenomenal interview was Scott Harrison’s (Charity: water) interview of Lady Gaga’s manager Troy Carter, Founder, Chairman and CEO of Atom Factory, http://www.atomfactoryinc.com/people.  Mr. Carter discussed his humbling experience in being fired by his mentor then rising to top of his industry with all of the lesson’s learned.  This interview was a great symbol of this START NY 2013 conference as the speakers spoke from the heart about their experience and what hurdles they would face and suggestions as to how they can overcome them.

 

Simultaneously, in the afternoon there were round table discussions with selected speakers from the conference.  You needed to register in advance, as the seating was limited.  These 30-minute sessions allowed the CEO entrepreneurs to ask the speaker key questions on the selected topics.  I attended the round table discussion on Growing Pains and was hosted by Matt Williams of Andreesen Horowitz.  Ten entrepreneurs attended the discussion and the discussion was candid, frank, informative and helpful.

 

The day wrapped up with WIRED UKs David Rowan’s interview of David McClure of 500 Startups and finished with a awesome cocktail hour and then the attendees were bused for the “Full Blown Party at 230 Fifth, http://bit.ly/1337IxI

 

My time at START NY 2013 flew by, I found myself constantly moving between the speakers and the networking.  I found both activities to be quite riveting.  Every attendee was a dynamic and inspiring CEO entrepreneur.  The interview to attend the event definitely achieved its purpose.

 

 If you are an entrepreneur I urge you to seek out Paddy Cosgrove and his F.ounders organization as they are very organized and focused on helping entrepreneurs to get the best level information about starting, running, growing and determining their best exit opportunities.  START NY 2013 is the great start of a new event in New York and I expect to see great things from this organization and conference.ImageImage

 


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