A Canadian book blog: Publishing, marketing, books and technology from a Canadian perspective


Monday, August 02, 2010

Book Review: 101 Tough Conversations to Have with Employees by Paul Falcone

The day job requires me to pretend like I know how to manage employees so I subscribe to a number of newsletters for HR, entrepreneurs and managers. I don’t find a ton of useful information, although it is good reinforcement that in all situations common sense should prevail.

I recently read this interview with Paul Falcone, VP of Employee Relations at Time Warner Cable and thought I’d check out the book.

What I learned was that whether it’s lateness, harassment, poor behaviour or lousy productivity, you should do something, and you should do it sooner rather than later.

Paul definitely has a “corporate America” take on how to have these conversations, but I still found value in his guidelines and the sample dialogues.

Be clear.
Be direct.
Be fair.
Be firm.

Monday, March 16, 2009

SXSW: No Think for Old Publishers

New Think for Old Publishers panel at SXSW drew a lot of frustration from the crowd of book lovers and supporters.

The official description of the session was:

This is not a discussion of whether ebooks are killing treebooks, or whether it’s possible to get cozy with an Amazon Kindle. It’s about how participatory culture and the online world interact with good olde book publishing.Clay Shirky, author of Here Comes Everybody, Deborah Schultz, and fellow panelists will share with the audience a variety of perspectives on what’s going right and what’s going wrong in publishing, assess success of recent forays into marketing digitally, digital publishing, and what books and blogs have to gain from one another. Penguin Group (USA), which houses some 40 plus imprints and publishes an extremely broad variety of physical and digital products everything from William Gibson’s first ebook in the 90’s to Michael Pollan’s In Defense of Food to Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse novels (the source for HBO’s True Blood) is deeply involved in exploring ways that old and new media might better collaborate. Audience members are invited to speak up about what they think book publishers could/should be doing to better provide relevant information and content to blogs, websites, and online communities. Come tell old media what you want and how you want it.

Clay Shirky ITP
John Fagan   Mktg Dir,  Penguin Group (USA)
Deborah Schultz   Founder/Chief Catalyst,  deborahschultz.com
Peter Miller   Dir of Publicity,  Bloomsbury USA
Ivan Held   Pres GP Putnam’s Sons,  Penguin Group (USA)

They certainly told publishers what they think. The summation was “you suck at this is the biggest way possible.”

I think it’s unfair to attack the folks on that panel but as representatives of the industry they do have to go back to their houses and understand that they need to convey, not that bloggers are an unruly bunch, but that publishers need to get off their asses and get involved with social media. Enough is enough.

BookSquare says
If you’re going to hold a session called “New Think for Old Publishers”, you gotta come with some new thinking. Either that or tell the audience that it’s a research session…and the audience is supposed to bring the new thinking. Good idea, needed better execution. Nobody read the panel description to mean “we want the audience to tell us what we’re doing wrong and how we can fix it”.


The publishing people on stage said, essentially, tell us what we’re doing wrong and how we can fix it. You have 300 people who give up an hour of their lives to hear the cool things the traditional publishing business is doing…and you can ask them to consult on your business?

Watch a video of the panel here.

Other links to conversation about this panel:
Medialoper has a fairly neutral assessment of what unfolded.

Twitter stream of comments on this panel #sxswbp

Monique’s summary
What went wrong is this:
* Publishers have not listened to the crowd for a long time.
* The crowd is restless.
* Publishers wring their hands about the web.
* The crowd offers options publishers don’t like.
* Publishers weep into their hands.
* The crowd wants to help and offers other suggestions.
* Publishers act like deer in headlights.
* The crowd plows down publishers and reinvents the industry without them.

What this panel really came down to is that the wisdom of the crowds is not being tapped. The crowd is now sick and tired of trying to help people who won’t help themselves.

Hold me to this: I’m going to organize a panel in Vancouver. We’re going to create a model for publishing and marketing books. We’re going to move forward as an industry. Leaders will be identified. Roles will be assigned. If you’re not open to totally change everything you’re doing, then you are not ready for this revolution. Don’t come.

Who’s in?


Peter Miller Glibness. “Do As I Say, Not As I Do: Tips from a panelist who barely survived” in Publishers Weekly.
Read the article.

Michael Tamblyn of BookNet Canada on 6 Things That Revolutionize Publishing

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Book Review: Beyond Buzz by Lois Kelly

Cross-posted on Work Industries blog.

Beyond Buzz: The Next Generation of Word-of-Mouth Marketing by Lois Kelly is about learning to create meaningful dialogue about organizations and products, instead of marketing blah blah blah.

If you are the lone evangelist in your organization—the one who gets it—print out a copy of the Executive Summary of Beyond Buzz and get it in front of as many managers as possible, especially those in communications, marketing and PR. (Tip from a former lone evangelist: I know, the summary is electronic. You could email it. In my experience, paper in front of nose is more effective.)

There are 5 reasons why conversation is important.

1. Because The Cluetrain Manifesto tells us markets are conversation.

Ok, that’s not one of the 5, but it’s definitely the starting point to understanding #1.

#1. People don’t trust marketing and sales information.

We have trusted advisors. They are our friends and family. We’d rather believe Tom, who’s just bought a new digital camera, than Best Buy who wants to sell us a camera for 20% off.

#2. People are overwhelmed with information.

We trust our friends and family because we can have a conversation with them. They help us make sense out of the information. They are not trying to sell us anything. They have our best interests at heart.

#3. Beyond products, people want to know what it’s like to work with your company.

We want to know that we’re spending our money with the right people.

#4. Explosion of new “talk” communications channels.

There are many, many ways for us to search online for product reviews. In fact, we don’t just check “Ford + reviews”, we check “Ford + repairs” and “Ford + broken”. If you’re not part of that conversation, we’re less likely to care about great reviews, especially if your company is the source of the reviews.

#5. People want to be heard and have a say.

Be an advocate on behalf of customers. Listening and talking can take you a long way.

The Foghound > Beyond Buzz website has lots of other incentives to buy the book:

Buy a copy of Beyond Buzz today.

Enter to win a free copy.
I’ll do a random draw in one week.