Thoughts on technology, investing, marketing, and entrepreneurship.

Category: Business

Super Bowl productivity losses?

Earlier this week, outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas announced that the Super Bowl would waste productivity to the tune of over $1 billion. When I saw this news item, I immediately wondered how could this be possibly measured. Especially due to the fact that Sunday evening is not typically a work day for the majority of folks. From reading more into their study and other commentary, I’m still extremely skeptical. The best analysis I can give this study is one word: silly. I suspect they were only trying to get some headlines with the press surrounding the Super Bowl.

The fundamental aspect of their research is that the discussions at work, web surfing, arguments, etc. both prior to and after the game, contribute to a massive loss in productivity. I would counter their arguments with this one of my own – people will waste time regardless of the event or topic of the week (or day or hour). Employees naturally need to to communicate and generally participate in discussions and activities that do not appear to be directly productive to the enterprise. But as anyone who has ever worked a day in the corporate world, an 8 hour day is not 8 solid hours of non-stop work. People will take breaks, chat, and generally waste time just to get through the day.  That said, it doesn’t matter what the event is as they will find something to talk about or read up on the web. What’s next? Will Challenger, Gray & Christmas perform a study on the effects of the recent tsunami disaster to worker productivity? Give me a break.

Additional links on the topic:

Booker Rising

Ben Maller


Management by baseball

Skimming through Tom Peters‘ blog roll, I saw a link for a blog entitled "Management by Baseball" and I couldn’t resist visiting.  Quoting the site’s description of itself:

What do Hall of Fame baseball managers like Connie Mack & John McGraw have in common with today’s business leaders? Why are baseball managers like Joe Torre & Dusty Baker better role models for management than corporate heroes like Jack Welch, Ken Lay & Bill Gates? And just what does Peter Drucker have to do with Oriole ex-manager Earl Weaver? Management consultant & ex-baseball reporter Jeff Angus shows you almost everything you need to know about management you can learn from baseball.

That pretty much says it all. An interesting approach to discussing management topics and issues, my first thought was the book Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game by Michael Lewis.

America’s pastime being used to teach management. I guess it had to happen at some point.

Beginner's Guide to Business Blogging

has just published Debbie Weilâ??s new . If you havenâ??t yet checked out ChangeThis, go there and explore right away. There are manifestos from the likes of , , , , , , Al Gore, and just to name a few.

Debbieâ??s guide is a good overview of blogging and the potential for blogs in business. For experienced bloggers, much of this you already know. For those new to blogging (especially business blogging) or for those trying to justify their use in corporate settings, this is a canâ??t miss reference.

Iâ??d advise visiting ChangeThis or Debbie’s site and downloading the guide as it’s free until January 25, 2005. After that itâ??s $29 from her website.

Marketing satellite radio

This morning on I heard that is considering entering the satellite radio business. Who knows what level of accuracy this report has, but I made me think about the current media coverage of the satellite radio industry. Most of the hype surrounds the recent signings of big-name talents and content providers to the two main players: and . Iâ??m talking about Howard Stern (Sirius), Major League Baseball (XM Radio), the National Football League (Sirius), Opie & Anthony (XM Radio), NCAA March Madness (Sirius), Dr. Laura Schlessinger (XM Radio), G. Gordon Liddy (XM Radio), NASCAR (XM Radio), and the list goes on. As a subscriber to XM radio, the feature that actually sold me on the service was the music programming itself(shocking, isn’t it?). Granted, all the other features and programming allowed me to justify the monthly subscription fee, but what struck me was the tremendous music selection on XM. Now, this is not to say that Sirius doesnâ??t have great music, but the key is the human factor of actually creating the play lists and having excellent DJ’s run the show. When I initially listened to XM, there were a handful of stations that made me say, “hmm, if I were to personally put together a radio station and play the songs that I wanted to hear, this would be it.” Now isnâ??t that the point of radio? Maybe itâ??s the original and most pure point of radio from a listener’s point of view? Why do we listen to any particular station? A radio station is selected that best suits one’s listening interests and preferences. So it was with XM Radio for me. Everything else was fine – the technology cool and the programming extensive – but the selling feature was great music 24/7 that freed me from trying to find it myself. Iâ??ve found I spend less time messing with my MP3 player and more time just enjoying music.

With that point made, it strikes me that none of the coverage on these satellite radio services actually speaks to the music. This point specifically strikes me as significant when there is talk of DirecTV getting into the market. I’ve had DirecTV for years (specifically for the NFL Sunday Ticket to watch my beloved ) and the service has always provided 30+ digital music channels. In the most generous terms, these channels were bad. I hope there wasnâ??t any active human intervention in the programming. So, if DirecTV plans on entering this business, I surely hope they have plans to upgrade their current music offerings. For this nascent industry’s sake, I hope a little more emphasis is placed on the music.

Innovative online storgage business model

I just stumbled on a new service from a company called Streamload. It essentially provides online storage for files, but with a unique twist on the business model. Instead of charging for the amount of total storage, Streamload users pay for the amount they download. Primarily aimed at heavy music users, this service could also be a cheap alternative to backup limited amounts of crtitical files. Zero cost to store data on their servers and in the case you actually need them to be backed up, you pay for the download. Not a bad idea.