My Lifestream

November 16, 2008

I’ve been posting less original content here and more on Dad-O-Matic lately, plus directing lots of content from all over the web onto facebook. If you’re interested and on facebook, that’s probably the best place to friend and follow me. For those of you not on facebook, you can get all of my online content from a tumblr site I’ve created here, and which you can get to via http://troiano.me. You can subscribe to that feed in your RSS reader here.

Thanks for listening, and please let me know what you like and what you don’t.


First Dad-O-Matic Post

October 12, 2008

Let me know what you think…

A big part of being a good Dad is arming your kids with the tools they’ll need to understand and navigate the world successfully as adults. When I first became a Dad, I took some time to reflect on the adults I knew… on what the ones who were doing better seemed to understand, and on what the ones who were doing worse seemed to have in common.

I uncovered a few insights that seemed important, and now as I await the arrival of my fourth child, I’m pretty sure about the most important lesson I’ve had for the first three.


Business Casual

June 18, 2008

Right this minute, 3:30 on Wednesday, June 18, I’m supposed to be speaking on a panel at Harvard Business School Publishing’s “Meet Customers 3.0 Conference: Mastering the Changing Relationship Between Customers and Brands,” in New York. Instead I’m in my hotel room a few blocks away, upset but reflective.

Why? Because on arriving at the venue of this event I was turned away. It seems that jeans – even dark, neat jeans paired with a yellow collared shirt and navy Calvin Klein sport coat – are not acceptable attire for the club. Jacket and tie are required of all gentlemen, inclusive of conference attendees and speakers.

Convenient.

I’m left trying to decide what to feel. Should I be embarrassed? Am I an uncultured ass for wearing jeans to a conference at which I was speaking, particularly one in New York, and at the Met Club? Or am I rightfully indignant? Have I been unfairly shunned for attire which in my experience – as an ad guy in this city, long time tech executive in others, and 3-time CEO – balances my personal preferences with the need for a certain level of professionalism?

On the one hand the conference is at The Metropolitan Club, which one can readily discern requires jacket and tie. On the other, advance materials for the conference feature a sub-head called “Attire,” under which appears, “Recommended attire is business casual.”

So which is it? Am I an ass, unfit to walk the halls of power, or a 21st century exec, wronged by a 19th century institution?


“Time wounds all heels.”

June 13, 2008

The brilliant pun above (with credit to Mr. Lennon) is only one of the worthwhile things to be gleaned from this great post on the selfishJohn Lennon reasons serial entrepreneurs need to be decent people.

Highlight:

Successful serial entrepreneurs know that each relationship they develop is a potential goldmine. As noted in Your Personal Pitch, in order to be successful, entrepreneurs must enlist the help of numerous Donors – individuals who are in a position to give their adVenture a helping hand. Most employees, investors, customers and suppliers prefer to work with people and organizations which they trust. Thus, as noted in Corporate Creed, dishonesty is a major handicap for an entrepreneur, just as honesty and integrity are significant assets.

Amen. The rest here.


Can you make a car from cloth?

June 11, 2008

BMW GINA Concept Car

This is very cool, both as an end product, and for what it says about the direction Bangle is taking BMW’s design philosophy.

Bravo, BMW.


Authenticity & Leadership

May 30, 2008

Great article in the New York Times about how the nature of leadership may be evolving. Leaders themselves are stuggling to integrate their professional and personal lives, just as people within companies are more hungry for authenticity and a personal relationship with those they choose to follow.

This ties very tightly to the twitter / blogging sensibilities I’ve discussed here, about trying to be a real person and sharing your true feelings with others. I’m not sure which way the causality runs (did the blogosphere create this desire for a personal connection, or did the desire for more personal connections create the blogosphere?) but I find the topic pretty fascinating as both a leader and a student of human nature.

What do you think?


Gas Tax Stupidity

May 2, 2008

I heard the other day that Senators McCain and Clinton had both come out in favor of a federal tax holiday on gas for the summer. Sounds great, except it isn’t. The oil companies will just raise their prices, AND what we really need now is a.) for people to adjust their behavior toward energy independence, rather than take the easy way out, and b.) leadership on that issue and not political gimmicks.

I saw this online this morning:

He’s still my guy.

———————-

Follow up… 150 economists who have signed on to a petition indicating this to be a bad idea:

http://www.politico.com/static/PPM43_080502_list_gastax.html

HRC has yet to produce ONE who agrees with her.


“Thought I otta share my naked feelings…”

April 27, 2008

Dropped the kids off with their Mom in Lee, MA, earlier today, and was feeling kind of mellow for theFinal Cut two-hour ride home.

I started with some Joni Mitchell, who I came to appreciate later in life after that scene with Emma Thompson in Love, Actually, featuring a miraculously fresh and poetic version of “Both Sides Now.” After a few more songs it was onto Jeff Buckley, who I first heard about on, of all places, American Idol. “<Jeff Buckley’s version of Hallelujah> is one of my favorites,” said Randy Jackson, sending the brilliant album on which it appears to number 1 on iTunes for a few days.

Warmed up for something heavy and emotional, I dialed over to Pink Floyd’s “The Final Cut,” an album (yes, I first bought it on vinyl) I remembered fondly from my youth. “Cut” holds up as a modern masterpiece, IMHO. It’s a rock album about a son struggling with the death of his Father in a foreign war, and I found it even more poignant today than it was when I was 16. Do yourself a favor, buy and listen to this album when you have the time to really listen to it. It includes the tale of a soldiers death from the perspective of his son, describes thoughts running through the mind of an airman shot out from the under bubble of a B-29 as he floats toward the earth, and climaxes with The Final Cut, a disturbingly intimate reflection on depression and suicide.

They don’t make ‘em like that anymore. So what’s the point of all this?

It struck me that what made these artists special was their willingness to share their innermost feelings with the rest of us. What’s made their work into enduring art is the respect the rest of us have for how difficult this is, what an extraordinary act of faith it is to expose yourself to the extent necessary to establish a real connection with another human being.

They say web 2.0 has democratized media, made all of us artists in a away that was never possible before. It’s not any easier to tell the truth about what you feel, though. Do you? Do you know of someone who does?


A Momentum Milestone

April 9, 2008

rock1In the beginning, starting a business feels like pushing a rock uphill.

The first few months is all about infecting individual people with your vision, and each time you have to start from zero. Nobody knows who you are or what you do, and all you have to get them on board are the track record you start with, a few ideas that make sense to you, and a handful of slides that no one wants to look at.

You build some stuff, hit the road like a standup comic working the kinks out of your act, and slowly add people, one-by-one, to the list of Those Who Believe. The team grows, and your act evolves. Your vision and your pitch come into focus, and if you get lucky before you run out of money, somebody gives you a shot to do what you say you can do.

Desperate to prove them right, you and your posse try to do something you’ve really never done before, and realize how stupid and shallow your thinking was. You listen, learn, and work your ass off to fix problems before the whole thing goes sideways. If the team you’ve built to that point is really good you manage to keep things on track, and you get the first one out the door without pissing off the people who trusted you first.

By then you have something real, something live, so with renewed energy you go back out there to try and sell another one. It’s hard like it always is, but at some point you lift your head up and realize it’s just a little bit easier than it was before. The second one launches, and it gets a little easier. The first round of improvements drop soon after that, then somebody writes something nice about you in a blog someplace. It feels good. You tell your Mom.

One day you realize the rock is the same, but the hill is flat. And even though that day begins and ends pushing a big giant rock from here to there, it is a great day indeed.

By sheer force of will, through heroism and hard work, by being smart enough to see what others could not see or too dumb to recognize a hundred defeats, you will have changed the very curvature of the earth. At least it will feel that way from the narrow perspective of, say, a few smart folks crowded into a little office in Needham, MA.

This is that day for matchmine. I am first overwhelmingly grateful to Fuzz and FilmCrave for giving us a shot when we needed it. I am second hyper-actively excited to add the incredibly smart people at Odeo, Blogdigger, Blogged, MediaMelon and IODA to the list of Those Who Believe. And I am finally chest-burstingly proud to be standing at the top of this hill with the team of talented, committed people who got this rock to where it is now.

We’re going to get this rock rolling now, and in the not too distant future we’re going to feel it start to roll on its own. I’m sure looking forward to that, and I hope you are too.


Thoughts on Twitter

March 21, 2008

Monthly column on Adotas, reflections on Twitter coming off the SXSW experience:

Twitter is for real people.

Twitter is hard to understand for normal people. The service – approaching 1 million users in the neighborhood of its first birthday – is among the most rapidly adopted applications ever. Without hyperbole, I would say that every marketing exec should be on Twitter, for reasons I’ll get to later.

So what is Twitter? Well, you basically create an account, and use it to send little updates (“tweets”) online as you go through your day:

“Long morning, feel like crap, hydrating.”
“Getting hungry, sushi maybe???”
“Fight with Joan last night, I’m a putz.”

Wow. Exciting.

So what accounts for the service’s geometric growth? Why are the digerati so enamored with Twitter, to the point that NOT being there is like missing out on a conversation with the cool kids? And finally, what’s the lesson for marketers in the phenomenon that Twitter has become? more…


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