Tag Archives: Wall Street Journal

It’s My Job: Concert Tech Roadie

March 20, 2015

A few nuggets from today’s Wall Street Journal article entitled “Doctor, Lawyer … Roadie,” by Neil Shah:

Live music concert technicians average $57K per year;

Tour coordinators – $175K per year;

Fulltime songwriter jobs in Nashville are down 80% since 2000;

Record sales down almost 60% since 1994.

The music industry is shifting to live music events because that’s where the profits are now. Consequently, jobs around live concerts are growing in number and in value. Employment opportunities are growing. The North American concert industry was valued at $6.2 billion in 2014, up from $1.4 billion in 1994.

Why I prefer my local coffee shop to Starbucks.

I like Starbucks coffee.  I’ve developed a taste for its bold flavor and the consistency of taste that is found at every location.  I also like the Starbucks cafe environment.  What I don’t like about Starbucks is the wait for its coffee.  When I go to Starbucks I am most often in the market for just plain ole coffee.  What I often find  is a line of people in front of me who are ordering lattes, cappuccinos, Frappuccinos (R) and all sorts of specialty drinks.  So I wait and wait and wait while the frazzled, smiling barista scrambles to blend, mix and pour a variety of coffee creations for customers who are willing to pay $3.50 and up for a cup.  I just want a cup of joe.

Now Starbucks is telling its baristas to slow down, according to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal.  What?  Now I get to wait even longer?  And Starbucks is looking into serving wine and beer after 4:00 p.m. at certain locations.  That strategy might work in some locations, but I suspect that it is going to chip away at the Starbucks brand.

So what do I, the everyday coffee consumer do?  It’s simple.  I go to Broad Street Baking Company and Cafe or Cups, my local coffee shops.  Broad Street is a hip eating and meeting place in Jackson, Mississippi that is an excellent alternative to Starbucks.  There, instead of waiting in line for a cup of coffee I can just throw a couple of dollars in a basket beside a selection of four blends of coffee and get my own coffee.  It’s called the honor system.  And the coffee isn’t bad either.  And then there is Cups, a collection of local coffee shops featuring art from local artists on its walls and a person behind the counter who seems to not take forever to create those coffee concoctions.

I’m not swearing off Starbucks.  Especially when I travel.  But in my home town, you’ll find me and my java at my local coffee shop.

Why I made Safari my default browser.

My favorite Internet browser is Opera.  I love the built-in e-mail, the side notes and more.  Unfortunately, hardly a day went by that some of the Web sites that I frequent did not support Opera.  So bye-bye Opera.  I used Firefox as my preferred browser for a number of years, but it kept getting bloated and slower.  Then along came Google’s Chrome.  I loved its simplicity and its design.  Safari never really appealed to me.  I thought its design was boring and that it too was rather bloated.  But two things in the past two weeks have caused me to change my default browser to Safari.

The first thing was the series of articles in the Wall Street Journal about Internet privacy and what information Web sites learn about visitors and what cookies and malware they leave on browsers.  The first article tells how to reset browsers to limit the tracking and the cookie dropping.  As I read the article, a couple of sentences jumped out at me:  “To maintain logins and settings for sites you visit regularly, but limit tracking, block “third-party” cookies. Safari automatically does this; other browsers must be set manually.”  Suddenly, Safari was back on my radar.

I took another look at Safari.  I discovered the “Private Browsing” feature under the Safari tab.  I also discovered the new Safari 5.0.1.  I love the READER feature that allows one to read articles without the advertising.  I still haven’t found a good Notes feature in Safari as good as those in Opera and Firefox, but I can live without it as a trade-off for better security and the other features.  By the way, if you know of such a Notes feature in Safari, please let me know.

I urge you to read the series of Wall Street Journal articles on Internet security.  Click here for the third article in the series. I predict that these articles will be the catalyst for some legislation on privacy.  Yes, the articles are that strong.

Why Your Coach Votes Republican

Interesting article in today’s Wall Street Journal about why it appears that most college football coaches vote Republican.  It should be fodder for plenty of discussion, especially the comments of Coach Lou Holtz:

Mr. Holtz, who coached Notre Dame to its last national championship in 1988, draws a parallel between the standards and rules that most coaches set for their players and the Republican vision of how American society ought to operate.

“You aren’t entitled to anything. You don’t inherit anything. You get what you earn—your position on the team,” Mr. Holtz said. “You’re treated like everybody else. You’re held accountable for your actions. You understand that your decisions affect other people on that team…There’s winners, there’s losers, and there’s competitiveness.”

Mistakes Marketers Make

The CEO is not too happy when he or she looks a sales report showing only a minimal increase in sales at the same time the big, expensive marketing campaign produced a prestigious award for the advertising company.  It could be that the advertising agency relied on conventional wisdom to try to understand today’s consumer.  An article in the Monday, October 20, 2008 edition of the Wall Street Journal by David Corkindale, professor of marketing management at the University of South Australia’s International Graduate School of Business discusses “Mistakes Marketers Make.”  The professor offers seven pieces of conventional wisdom – and why they are wrong.  This article should provoke much discussion at the staff meetings in advertising and marketing firms.

Conventional Wisdom  # 1 – Companies need to find and target the market segments for their brands.
Why it’s wrong –  Market segments at the brand level don’t exist; especially in repertoire markets, where consumers typically buy several brands regularly.

Conventional Wisdom  #  2 – Loyal customers are the most valuable.
Why it’s wrong – In repertoire markets, totally loyal buyers of a brand tend to make up only 10 percent of all buyers.

Conventional Wisdom # 3 – There are several way to promote long-term growth of a brand – increasing the customer base, increasing the loyalty of customers and increasing the frequency of their purchases.
Why it’s wrong –  The only way to achieve lasting growth in sales is to increase the customer base.

Conventional Wisdom # 4 –  To succeed in the market, a company needs to differentiate its products from those of its competitors.
Why it’s wrong – Although sometimes true, it’s not always true.  What most customers want is not more differentiation but products and services that are simply better.

Conventional Wisdom # 5 – Promotions bring in extra, worthwhile business.
Why it’s wrong – Promotions can be good for things like unloading stock, but promotions mostly attract existing customers.  You give a discount to people who would have bought anyway.

Conventional Wisdom #  6 – The competitor that’s best at marketing the four P’s – product, price, place and promotion – will come out ahead.
Why it’s wrong – Half right.  The other half of any consumer product is the strength of the brand.

Conventional Wisdom # 7 – Marketing is all about hunting and capturing clients.
Why it’s wrong – Not anymore. Marketing is about the company being the prey.  The Internet allows consumers to hunt; the role of marketing is to make certain that the company’s products and services are found.

Create your own economic development success story

One of the best things that local economic developers, community leaders and public officials can do is visit another city that has a similar demographic and economic profile and learn about how the other city became successful.  One of the worst things these same people can do is attempt to replicate what the other city did to become successful.  Why?  Because even though cities may be alike, they are not identical.  Generally speaking, a city must find its own unique path to economic development success.  In other words, learn from others, but chart your own course based on your particular situation.

Having issued those words of caution, I now urge you to read the special Economic Development section of today’s Wall Street Journal in today’s (Monday, July 28, 2008) Wall Street Journal It features seven cities that “…took different approaches to economic development – and came out ahead.”