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The Spirit of America: A Dream

Original post August 14, 2014

I am seemingly on my back looking up. There are people all around me looking down at me. Are they doctors and nurses? Am I on an operating table? Am I all right?

They are talking to each other and I am trying to make out what they are saying. I’m also trying to form a clearer picture.

I can see what looks like clouds in the sky above their heads. Are we outside? Wait — are those clouds — or are they starclouds — clouds of stars in the night?

“The baby’s all right,” I hear a woman’s voice say. Suddenly I can see them — George Washington — Thomas Jefferson — Ben Franklin — Abigail Adams — Abe Lincoln… what is Abe doing there, part of me asks but I am too out of it and don’t understand what the problem is

The Founders — and Abe — looking down at me or at us, the baby they created — seem happy, not concerned, like they are playing a game — perhaps it is like a board game to them, which is why they are looking down as if at a table — perhaps a map is spread upon that table — from their perspective — a map on a board game?

Now they are actors and actresses after a show — talking, joking, softly laughing — still up there and me down here looking up — I see them taking off their makeup — underneath their “real” faces are being revealed. It’s hard for me to see — I see Abe Lincoln taking off his makeup but he doesn’t look that much different underneath, yet I know right away somehow that he is Abraham — the original Abraham.

What is the meaning, I wonder. Now I know I am dreaming — I stretch out my mind in their direction — up — the picture gets more diffuse but I am picking up words, meanings, intentions.

“We thought up checks and balances,” a male voice says, “we were so clever and creative — inspired —”

“It still went to central power, again, every time. It always goes there. It has to go there.”

“Why?”

“Physical superiority. Organized and armed groups will always dominate individuals.”

“Even if the organized and armed groups are us?”

“Yes. Even if they mean well.”

“What happens to individuals then? And the freedom of the individual? Isn’t that the whole point? Are we wasting our time?”

“Might as well. It goes on forever anyway.”

“I see the next move,” Washington says and I can see them again crowding him to see what he is doing on the board. “Let’s see if this does it — early 1990s —”

I get it that he is doing something that will result in a military weapons system being converted into a public utility — apparently intended to change the course of history on the planet — to somehow be an ultimate check and balance to allow the individual to stand up to the whole on an equal footing of respect, dignity, and freedom.

The ancient alarm goes off, taking me out of the dream straight into the usual reaction of seeing how quickly I can make the horrible klaxon stop. I am still half asleep but the dream is gone — I am remembering traces of it, fast fading. A red cardinal is on the railing of the upstairs side deck looking in at me, cocking his head inquisitively. I float downstairs to make coffee and while it is brewing I escape the din of bean grinding and go to my office to check in on my Internet emails.

The Internet. In the early 80s, consulting for the U.S. military on human effectiveness, I was invited to be on the ring, as it was called. The ring was Darpanet, brainchild of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Not so much a weapons system as a military communication, command and control system, although even then the uses for computer warfare were well understood. Darpanet would become the Internet. Tim Berners-Lee (a Brit) would make it the Internet we recognize today by inventing the World Wide Web. In the early 90s at the first meeting of W3C, Tim’s WWW Consortium, I was the one person invited from the ad industry, and promptly soiled the rug with my idea of anonymized privacy-protected ID numbers for each user and device to make targeting and measurement easier for advertisers. By the end of the meeting I was forgiven although it would take years to convince the majority that advertising had a place on the Web. Now Google, Apple, and Microsoft all are working on their own versions of what I proposed that day.

Nor is the Internet yet a public utility. Its status is still unique and not in an existing pigeonhole, hence the concerns over the erosion of net neutrality — in other words, not making equal speed available on the Internet to all users (pending their ability to afford highspeed service). Conferring public utility status officially, even if country by country, would protect net neutrality. Maybe someday someone will write a Bill Of Rights in which Internet access is a natural birthright.

Best to all,

Bill

Follow my regular media blog, In Terms of ROI at Media Village. Here is the link to my latest post.

 

Originally posted 2014-08-14 11:49:01. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Rising Above Negativity

Original post November 17, 2015

Most of us assume there is nothing we can do about negative emotions — they come as they will, and we must just suffer through them. However, we all know someone we’ve seen rise above these feelings. With the world facing so many unprecedented challenges, it is vital that we increase our ability to rise to the occasion and surmount negative feelings.

Rise Above Negative Feelings

It’s difficult if not impossible to overcome negative feelings while remaining in our everyday “waking” state of consciousness. We can say, “I am going to put those emotions aside and get down to the business at hand”, but many of us don’t seem to have the willpower to do it. The trick is to rise out of the “waking” state of consciousness and move into the Observer state, where we are able to more easily turn off unproductive feelings.

The first step is to turn down all distractions. Create an alone space where you can’t be interrupted, where you can’t hear voices in the next room, where there isn’t a TV or some other device playing, where you’re not under time pressure. Have writing tools handy, or a sound recorder. Begin to try to understand why you are in a negative state. Be patient and wait. Once your mind knows you are focused on just one thing, which is to diagnose why you feel the way you do, it will soon start to give up answers to the question. They may be obvious or not-so-obvious. You may find yourself writing down the not-so-obvious aspects or simple phrases that are now suddenly more revealing and meaningful than you expected, which cast new light or simply state things you already knew but in much sharper and more useful language than you had access to before.

What you are doing is called contemplation.  You are flying higher, getting above the weather, so whatever weather disturbance or turbulence you experience must be rejected. Put aside whatever feeling or thought is familiar, like you have been there before. Reject ordinary thinking and feeling. Say to yourself, “That’s not constructive, it’s not getting me anywhere, and it doesn’t lead to a solution. I need something NEW.”

Strip it away as it arises and see what is underneath.

Where is it coming from?

Where did the whole pattern start?

What did I want that led me to this negative mindset?

What is really happening?

What is IT trying to teach me?

How can this situation possibly be something that can make me better and stronger?

Get creative. Generate out-of-the-box ideas. Visualize what someone you look up to would do. Come up with ideas that will not engender resistance, where you go with the flow and not against it. In Taoism it is called getting into the rhythm of the Tao, linking into the underlying force of the universe.

Best to all,

Bill

Follow my regular media blog, In Terms of ROI at Media Village. Here is the link to my latest post.

Originally posted 2015-11-17 10:06:51. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

The Future Evolution of Marketing/Media Research – Revisited 2017

Original post April 19, 2011

What will happen next in the advertising industry’s important research wing? Where is it all going? What will be the face of advertising/media/BI (Business Intelligence) research/data science?

First, the drivers:

  • Decision makers want speed
  • They want answers to burning questions that specify the recommended decision with compelling rationale – so their job of taking that position and defending it will involve as little personal risk as possible;
  • They want all the variables and types of evidence reduced to utter simplicity – as in a well-designed graphic dashboard;
  • If they have a dashboard, they love to be able to play what-ifs with the recommended solution and see what happens to the graph, so that they truly do have a key role in the decision that gets made;
  • They need to be able to get their heads above all the weeds and up to where they can actually have a master vision – but the weeds are growing like hydra – the weeds being the excess of nearly-relevant information.

In other words, as compared to when I started in the business and we were looking desperately for any scrap of information, and beating the heck out of it in terms of a high bar for validation, today all too often there is much too much information. One can have an assistant compile it all so one can scan it but that’s about it. No way to actually absorb the ever-growing heap.

This new reality engenders a new way of functioning that is always high risk (as evidenced by CMOs being replaced every 23 months on average) and in which one has to operate like the Hollywood gunslingers – on gut intuition. Or as in the Hollywood story, where Columbia Pictures co-founder and head Harry Cohn could read the quality of a film based on watching butts twitch in seats.

So in other capitals across the country and around the world we have all joined that methodology, except we compile even more quantitative information as back up and proof of whatever it is our butts twitch to.

So the drivers have led so far to a relatively undesirable condition of rationalized guesswork. The researcher tries to work within this environment and tries to uplift it. Given relative rank in organizations, the researcher usually fails in this nowadays (if absolute success is the bar) except it is relatively better than if the researcher was not pushing that envelope.

The job going forward is to achieve absolute success by overturning the current rationalized guesswork mode and bringing in scientific decision making. What we already pretend to be doing.

Next, the needs:

  • Creative people need the kind of information conducive to generating Big Ideas;
  • Creative pre-tests need to be fast, highly predictive of actual cash register ROI, diagnostically rich and appropriate to being able to make quick fixes that will drive up ROI;
  • On-air cash register measurements of Creative, without use of black box attribution methods, used to reallocate so as to run the most sales-effective Creative executions most if not all of the time;
  • Programming content needs the exact same kinds of pre-testing, except instead of brand advertiser ROI, the success metric is audience size weighted by the marketable CPM – once again devolving to a financial ROI equation;
  • Media (including in-store, CRM, place-based, social, and everything else) need to be measured in terms of how well they reach types of purchasers (heavy, disloyal, etc.) and how well they influence purchase behavior (this is even more important than measuring their reach overlaps since each one has to be bought separately);
  • Crossmedia reach overlaps and synergies need to be measured and validated, their changes tracked, and these information types baked in with all the other information so as to give the decision maker a simple integrated dashboard where real (empirical) unmodeled validated information has ultimate weight. And the modeling (marketing mix and all other forms) needed to fuse together everything for the decision maker is as validated and transparent (not black box) as possible, with so as to give modelling almost no weight in terms of which media vehicles to buy – whereas crossmedia overlaps and dollar ROI synergies are the most important factors in making the big planning allocations to media types. This unavoidable leaning of our weight on the modeling crutch is a soft spot to be studied and overcome;
  • All data and data fusion methods need to be validated against actual cash register ROI;
  • Data (and proposed decision) delivery from research to the line must be in the form of utter simplicity via dashboard where exec can play what-ifs and see how ROI forecast changes.

Sounds pretty easy, doesn’t it? That was a joke of course.

Finally, the prognostications:

I hate to disappoint, but these really are more like prescriptions. The industry has taken some of my prescriptions in the past, but mixed with a heavy dose of countervailing competitive marketplace forces, which tends to change the outcome a bit away from the admittedly utopian picture I had painted of what could be done. So how can I accurately prognosticate what really will happen?

Here’s instead what I think should happen.

Creatives

Researchers need to do a much better job stoking the fires of the big minds to produce Big Ideas. The advertising business is about producing Big Ideas for money. The rest is just implementation.

By the Creatives I don’t just mean writers and art directors. Everyone is a Creative, to the extent that they are allowed to come up with and share Big Ideas. In some organizations, people are disempowered by not having their Big Ideas taken seriously – but these organizations are becoming more and more rare. Thank God.

Research presentation to Creatives – the people who need to make big planning decisions – has been, well, wanting – that’s probably the kindest word I can use.

People who make planning level decisions need all the information they can get about the people at the other end of the communications process whom we are trying to influence. Right now they do get quite a bit. It does generate more insight than probably at any time in the past, including the phase of Motivational research. But it’s not yet enough, and it’s not absorbable and stimulating enough to the writers and art directors.

Instead of dashboards for the writers and artists, something like a ripomatic is used nowadays – both in selling new business and in pumping the Creative people. A ripomatic (or feelomatic, etc.) is a succession of clips – mostly video, a few still, with music – that tell the Creative about the target audience. One thing that could be added is the ability to drill down on one image or idea and get more information in the same emotive form on that facet of the picture – as in some of the early branching video CD-ROMs that IBM, BBC, British Telecom and others produced to show where video could go someday. There might be a dial where the Creative can slow down or speed up the images. And touchscreen or voice command to indicate what to drill down on.

Neuroscience should be able to show a picture of the target audience that is even more conducive to Big Ideas. Findings from neuroscience could be presented in the same video format to inspire the Creative – all findings can be pumped in through the Creative form of the same dashboard idea. Just to have a name I call it the Clashboard – the dashboard for Creative, which is branching video rather than Flash pages that remain static until one plays what-ifs.

The underlying historical reason for both the dashboard and the Clashboard is information overload. People in the advertising industry are no exception – we get even more information than the average person, and the average person is deluged. My book Freeing Creative Effectiveness is all about breaking out of EOP (Emergency Oversimplfication Procedure), the condition that sets in when there is too much information – desperate shortcutting such as rationalized guesswork.

By focusing the eyes on a dashboard or Clashboard that is comprehensive and yet utterly simple, the mind can also begin to focus. All the information is in one place. No distraction thinking of where can I get this piece of missing information – it is all there.

My best to all,

Bill

Follow my regular media blog contribution, In Terms of ROI at Media Village, Myers new site. Here is the link to my latest post.

Three Books with the Same Name

In April, 2014 my book You Are The Universe: Imagine That was published, but I held back from marketing it, awaiting a feeling of the right time. The Universe obviously saw no reason to wait to have Its coming-out party, thus stimulating the re-recognition among its many self-parts of Its One-Selfness.You Are the Universe by Bill Harvey

So this year the dean of positive nonfiction writers Deepak Chopra and leading light in physics Menas Kafatos published their version: You Are the Universe: Discovering Your Cosmic Self and Why it Matters.

I discovered that Masami Saionji also published You Are the Universe in print in 2004 and as an ebook in 2014. (For that matter, my You Are The Universe came out to friends as The Theory of the Conscious Universe in 1976.)

These are three great books about exactly the same point. The same point that is made by all the original source books (e.g. the Vedas, Torah, I Ching, et al) from which modern religious texts have drawn. Underlying the material appearances is one consciousness at play. When a being becomes established in this perspective he or she enjoys life to the fullest, and is a fount of constructive encouragement to others. Helping as many people as possible to get into this headspace is what motivates writers such as ourselves to write and disseminate books like these.

It’s of course personally fascinating to me, to compare what my esteemed colleagues (what an honor to feel like in some way I’m in this group!) and I did differently in approaching delivery of the same message.

My friend the genius Chuck Young, inspired by Daniel Kahneman’s book Thinking: Fast and Slow, analyzes and measures advertising based on its ability to get into three different long-term memory systems: thinking, feeling, and procedural. Thinking and feeling are processed in the cortex while procedural is processed in the cerebellum. The body can go through its motions by second nature even without a cortex.

Chuck might see my version of You Are The Universe (especially with its companion volume Mind Magic) as more procedural than the other two. Both of my nonfiction books are aimed at getting people to try things themselves and observe what happens, in their actual lives.

In a workshop with top officers of the U.S. military, I guided a meditation aimed at erasing all assumptions and using the senses to focus on what the individual was actually experiencing, for many minutes of silence. Trying to come at that experience as if for the first time, with no prejudgments, and observing without interpretation or naming. This is the shift one must make from the subconsciously-assumed materialism that is baked into us, in order to begin to realize that all we know exists for certain is our own consciousness. Making that shift based only on spiritual advice, or scientific theory/experimental findings, is very difficult. That’s why my version of YATU has mind experiments (and the companion volume is all mind experiments).

Another thing is different about my version. It explains in the lens of science exactly how conscious experience relates to the world of matter, in a way that anyone can understand and picture without the need for understanding advanced mathematics.

I recommend reading all three books, each comes at it from a different pov, and that itself is interesting. Also these three books with the same name are talking about the most important thing in life: What does it all mean?

When mainstream science gets the point of what we are saying in these books, it will be a bigger scientific renaissance than the world has seen.

Best to all,

Bill

Follow my regular media blog contribution, In Terms of ROI at Media Village, Myers new site. Here is the link to my latest post.

Here’s to the Protectors

Originally posted November 10, 2015

Monday is Memorial Day.

In Appreciation of the Warriors

Flashback to the 60s when certain protesters sometimes crossed the line to not only condemn the war but also the country itself with the moniker Amerika, sometimes substituting a swastika for the “k”. That deeply saddened me.

We all make mistakes and sometimes they are big ones. This is true not only for individuals but also for groups of people like protesters, countries, corporations, even well-meaning nonprofits and religious institutions.

But the ideals of the Founding Fathers are unique among the articles of constitution for each of the 190+ nations on Earth. The U.S. Constitution is our Mission statement and our collective vision still. Protecting these ideals and this country that seeks to embody and represent these ideals is still a sacred trust.

Those who are warriors for any free nation, especially if they take that role voluntarily, are at least in part moved by a high level of awareness of something greater than oneself, along with the urge to serve others. This can also be true of police officers, firefighters, doctors, and many in other service vocations. These individuals are not equally motivated by the idea of service and the will to protect, and their motivation can vary over time. When one is in that headspace and heart space, however, it is a form of Flow and thus attracts cosmic fire support.*

Most if not all of us would like to see a peaceful end to war, but this does not mean we should be unappreciative of the warriors who serve to protect our country and our ideals.

Here’s to the protectors. We still need you, and you deserve to be honored with our gratitude and deepest respect.

In that spirit, I’d like to share the lyrics to a song written by my friend Stan Satlin, who was inspired by Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass to write songs about the country he loves.

I Am an American – by Stan Satlin –  © 2011

I_am_an_American_original.mp3     

Audio: click arrow to play/pause

Chorus (repeats after each verse)
I am black and I am white, I’m yellow and brown

I am red white and blue, Yankee Doodle won’t you come to town
I am the whole wide planet, rolled into one
I am a citizen of the world, I am an American

Verse 1
I came from distant lands, to seek a better life

All I owned was on my back, by my side my wife
The work it wasn’t easy, in the factory and the farm
But hope in me grew stronger, like the muscle in my arm

Verse 2
As I sailed across the ocean I was told of gold in the streets

When I arrived I soon found out not everything was sweet
I built the road and cities, from the east coast to the west
I’ve been tricked and cheated, but the land is still the best

Verse 3
Some things are much better, some things still need change

I wish I could bring back some things, like buffalo on the range
I don’t want to be a master or servant of any man
I just want to go on living my life, doing the best I can


I’d also like to share this, to honor the symbol that inspires our warriors, Old Ragged Flag, as told by Johnny Cash:

Join me in celebrating America and remembering all the men and women who given their lives while serving, protecting and defending our country.

Best to all,

Bill

*This is according to my Theory of the Universe, which is explored more fully in You Are the Universe: Imagine That.

I will be offering an ARF webinar, How Advertising Works, on June 7 from 1 to 2 PM with Turner’s Adtech leader Larry Allen free for the ARF members. I will be deep diving into how Turner and RMT are already bringing creative into the Turner optimization of ROI for its advertisers. We’ll also be covering latest findings in the exciting work being done by Simmons, SMI and Spectrum in this new field of ROI total optimization. Hope you can join me!

Follow my regular media blog contribution, In Terms of ROI at Media Village, Myers new site. Here is the link to my latest post.

Originally posted 2015-11-10 08:59:27. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

The Power of Respect

Originally posted November 3, 2015

If you are a leader within your organization (and anyone can be a leader, at whatever level you’re at) the single best thing you can do to mentor, nurture and develop your team members, bringing out the best in each one of them, is to create a mood of mental optimization.

Mental optimization is a mode of consciousness that shapes our choices, our information processing priorities, indeed everything that we do.

Leaders lead by example.

In any situation, we can choose to quickly set aside anger or negativity and begin to define the problem, search for opportunities hidden or obvious, and refine solution-oriented, win-win action plans based on feedback along the way. This strategy turns challenges into wins by not wasting time with negativity or letting it interfere with our ability to find win-win solutions. Obviously, whatever the setting, we can’t come up with perfect win-win ideas if we want someone to lose because we are angry at them.

CHOOSE to let go of anger and negativity

Negativity is useless and obstructive.

If we model a positive attitude, everyone will more likely be in a mood of enjoying the game of making things better, each second, the way a hero/heroine does, without internal pettiness.

We all need to feel respected.

The thing that often causes people to quit their jobs ultimately comes down to respect. Either we didn’t feel enough of it, or our position somehow compromised our internal self-respect, or often both. People can be encouraged to stay with an organization if true respect is cultivated in the right ways, not out of misdirected fanning the flames of ego.

What is the right way to show respect?

  • No interrupting.
  • Provide just the right degree of autonomy i.e. don’t micro manage.
  • Don’t use lateral second-guessing as a method of quality control, which is a subtler form of micro managing.
  • Offer suggestions aimed at optimization goals held in common by those in the conversation, without putting down anyone else’s ideas.

Again, leading by example is vital. In meetings, make sure everyone is allowed to finish their thoughts — subtly, especially if it’s someone else’s meeting. Rare exceptions would be, for example, when someone is talking too much and slowing things down — be careful to use respect and ensure respect from the team to the person who is being longwinded, while keeping things moving. One elegant way to do this is to offer an offline meeting with that person at a later time, at which time you would show respect in offering constructive feedback. Your team member will appreciate the feedback if it’s done in the right way — the optimization focus with respect — not a put-down.

The optimization mood gives you permission — in fact mandates you — to tell team members the hard truth of what they need to improve on, but with respect so they can actually get it.

When all team members display a positive attitude and show respect across the board, all organizations will run enormously better. The list of benefits is endless.

Best to all,

Bill

I will be offering an ARF How Advertising Works free webinar on June 7 from 1 to 2 PM with Turner’s Adtech leader Larry Allen to ARF members. I will be deep diving into how Turner and RMT are already bringing creative into the Turner optimization of ROI for its advertisers. We’ll also be covering latest findings in the exciting work being done by Simmons, SMI and Spectrum in this new field of ROI total optimization. Hope you can be on the call!

Follow my regular media blog contribution, In Terms of ROI at Media Village, Myers new site. Here is the link to my latest post.

Originally posted 2015-11-03 10:41:46. Republished by Blog Post Promoter