I hope you read this post to the end, I think you’ll be surprised at what you learn, and we may have something in common. When I get asked, what do you do, I have to decide which answer I’m going to give, because I do so many things. I shared a while back, but you probably didn’t know, I run and own multiple businesses, one is a webhosting company called Billyhost.com. You would assume I do many things related to that business, and you would be right, but what you probably didn’t know about Owen is, not only do I build websites, but not just any website, I specialize in WordPress and Headway Themes, I don’t do any others. To make matters worse, I actually don’t enjoy the details of building websites, but the truth is, I’m good at it, and you should know, I’m not cheap.
My tech career started back in 1981 when I was in Radio, I was 23 going on 24, I’m now 57, and much has changed. Back then I had to learn how to program automation systems for radio stations, I also was the first radio station manager to run a traditional radio station from a computer, hard drive and DAT tapes, and a microphone, that’s it. That was 1991/92.
The second thing you would learn about me, if you meet me in person, I like to talk…I was in radio, it’s what I do. So I love to do public speaking, mostly on what I share here on this Blog, the open & free business model and how it shapes the future of business, that’s my passion! What I’m not good at is….writing, you probably figured that out already : )
I have worked for many non-profit organizations, sit on a number of boards, and I also check business plans for entrepreneurs, just to name a few other things. I have a background in broadcasting, IT, and Management, and I’m a geek. But I’m a different kind of geek, I’m a highly relational geek that values people over task, I would make a great players coach from that perspective in sports me thinks.
I share this with you because, well…you should know I’m more than just a one-dimensional person, most of us are, but we never tell anyone. I do many things, I wear many hats, which means I’m versatile and bring a lot to the table. That’s the business side of me, academic side if you will. I’m a business man, a visionary type, I have a deep passion for helping people see the changes coming in business. I don’t see everything, but some things seem obvious to me, but not to business owners to close to their problems, therefore they can’t see the forest for the trees. Once I’m inside someone’s business, and I get enough background, I automatically soar to 50,000 feet and look at the business for broken bits, and patterns. This tech career and passion for business, lead me to becoming a Futurist and public speaking on the topic of the open & free business model, the future of business.
I’m jumping all over, but I get like that when I get inside my head : ) Anyway!
The real thing you don’t know about me is this, I’m very insecure, and, I have had a sad broken-heart most of my adult life. I think most creative, artistic people live a life of suffering. I have always felt sad inside, everyday, just heart-broken, because the world I live in is seriously broken. My family and friends would tell me to suck it up, it’s the way things are, deal with it. I should mention, those words have never helped me…or anyone else I think.
I have always had to fight tooth and nail for everything I have, unsuccessfully most of the time, which I’m certain most of you have as well. But I never, ever gave up. When I was younger, I had to be liked, validated by others, I had to be the center of attention, and that’s when the sadness began, way back in High School if memory serves me. Today, I don’t need to be validated, I’m gonna do what I’m gonna do, whether you like it or not. I know that sounds wrong, but it’s the truth. I don’t agree or go along with much of what the masses say and do, I know I’m different, even weird, I don’t really fit in. But know this, I care a great deal for people, I believe people are the product, without them you’ll never have success or be fulfilled in anything you do.
I grew up in a time where you didn’t speak up against your parents, other adults, your teachers, or anyone in a position of authority. Hence, I was always in trouble, I always questioned the status quo, mostly because things didn’t make sense. I’ve always gone to the school of hard knocks, I learned more there than through traditional school formats. I always try to find new ways to fail, not on purpose, it just worked out that way. What doesn’t kill makes you stronger right?
I’m not sure if you’ll get anything out of this confession, but I hope you do, I can’t control the outcome of you reading this, that’s your job. My wish, deep down inside, is to change the world. I urge you to dig deep within, find what truly energizes you, the answer to the question of, “If time & money were no object, what would you do?”. I’m almost 60 years old now, I feel I haven’t done that which I was meant to do on this earth, but I journey on. As an encouragement, I don’t believe I have found that thing I was meant to do yet, which means, you’re never to old to find out, or to go out and do it, so don’t stop searching. Listen to your life and you’ll find some clues. Remember, you don’t build a life, you live one.
I’ve cracked myself open just a little so you could peer inside, I’ve shared weaknesses in me, you may think it’s silly, you probably don’t care, but you might glean something from this writing, something that may help you to keep going. The weaknesses in me are many, and now you know a few, but I have a wonderful business life, personal life, and family, and I love to help….I have conquered a few weaknesses in me, what’s your story, what are you hiding, what’s preventing you from being who you are meant to be, and more importantly, how are you changing the world, to make it a better place.
Steve Jobs once said,
“The people who are crazy enough to think they
can change the world, are the ones who do.”
This has been on my mind for some time now, and I know I’m not the first blogger to share his or her thoughts on this medium. Having spent 15 years in Media via Radio & Television mostly, I’ve considered Newspaper a distant cousin rather than the opposition in my years of selling advertising. The Media mix for marketing has always been these big three, Radio, Television & Newspaper, but something happened along the way and they seem to have missed it.
If you’ve noticed, the paper has been getting smaller, or shorter. The paper is getting fatter with inserts and more grocery coupons than one person can count. The content is smothered by ads, there are more ads in the paper than actual content for us to consume. What used to take two cups of coffee to read, takes less than minute. There is always the big headline trying to get your attention, it is almost always a headline like – Another Hit-And-Run! After all, blood and guts is what sells papers right?
So what’s happening to local Newspapers? It’s as if they are in a different world, a world of their own, and we’re not invited to participate in that world. We don’t have a say in what goes into the paper, in fact, we have virtually no hope of being heard by our local Newspapers. I just don’t understand that way of thinking. The old saying comes to mind, “don’t bite the hand that feeds you”, and I know business owners are tired of being bitten.
Radio used to be theatre of the mind, a real connecting point for communities, a huge service during the war, they used to get involved with communities without charging you to be in your community. Radio reached more people than any other medium, it was the 1st medium on the scene really, and it almost didn’t see the light of day. Why? It was free! The music industry alone tried to stop it, but then they figured out how to monetize Radio, there was an acceptable business model. That business model was the 1st real Open & Free Business Model.
Television captivated us by the sheer magic of how they were able to make it happen, TV used to be live not pre-recorded, those were golden times for TV. They too figured out the Open & Free Business Model, just as Radio did, Newspaper’s like the other two lost their first love, being truly connected and got involved in their communities. They provided a service, and for the most part it was free until money became the primary focus. Money is and always will be the 1st love of almost every business on the planet, that’s why so many businesses fail, they focus on the wrong things because of money, and most still do today. But that’s changing.
I will give Newspapers some credit, they are adopting the Internet, they have to, that’s where the people are. Just because papers are moving to the Internet, doesn’t mean they will survive, it merely means they are making a shift to a digital format. One of our local papers has started using Twitter, they have 13 followers as of this writing, they have a ways to go to get attention of the Twitter crowd. In fairness, there is more than one local paper, one with 1006 followers, the rest with less 1,000 followers. The problem isn’t following & circulation, the problem is….the way they think, the paradigm shift is too difficult for many, they look at the problem with old industrial age thinking, and then try to solve this shift problem internally. No, they don’t need to hire a Social Media Guru, they need someone to come in with a fresh pair of eyes, someone who sees the future of business and what it’s really doing. Business, not the Newspaper Business.
If 60% of commerce is going to be done online in the next 2 -3 years, why are newspapers so slow to adopt this movement? They should have begun the move, from denial to foresight, but sadly they are resisting, eventually they will subcumb to this global movement. The times are a changing baby!
The control they are trying to hang onto is a greased pig. Consider the life span of one simple Newspaper Ad, about a day & a half. Radio would have you run campaigns that require multiple ads in an hour or a day for consecutive days. Television does the same thing, you must run 10 ads a day to reach as many consumers in a day. Ka-Ching! If it takes 30 days to develop a habit, imagine how many days it takes to keep a brand top of mind, the numbers get staggering.
The future of the big three has been at risk for some time now. Individuals are now the competitor, so pay attention. I challenge Newspapers to make one change, this one simple change: listen to what your readers want, let them decide, don’t get in the way and question it, just do it. Just once don’t let money think for you, Don’t tell readers how wrong they are, don’t treat us like we don’t have a clue what we are doing, just do it! You’re already loosing money and more importantly, readers, so why not try it, trust the people formerly known as your readers (consumers). If you don’t, they’ll find local news a different way, like here: The Fraser Valley Daily
There is so much more to say on this topic, would love to hear your thoughts. Someday we will see the end of the Newspaper Editor, why, because he/she will be redundant.
What do you think, do you think your local Newspaper is failing you & your community?