Monday, June 29, 2015

Why did Tomorrowland bomb at the box office?

My family and I went to see the Disney movie Tomorrowland yesterday (sounds funny when you say it). It had been on our radar since we first heard it was coming out. And, even after all of the negative reviews, and the narrative that it bombed at the box office, we wanted to see it.

For us, it was one of the best movies we have ever seen -- not because of the acting, or the visuals, or the actors and actresses involved. That was not our purpose in seeing it. We were attracted to it for other reasons.

So, why did it bomb at the box office? According to others it was a myriad of factors that included:

* Secrecy is not always a good idea -- the premise of it is hard to explain in a sentence or a 30-second ad because of the story's complex mythology.

* George Clooney is not a box-office draw -- the King of Hollywood doesn't sell tickets in proportion to people's fascination with him.

* Tougher-than-expected competition -- Poltergeist, Mad Max, and Pitch Perfect 2.

* Memorial Day openings are not a license to print money -- Not even a four day window can save a poorly made movie.

* The "select" Thursday preview -- only 701 theaters offered the movie on Thursday evening out of 3,972 venues overall on Friday.

Other articles seem to share the sentiment of this one in some form or another. They place the failure on marketing, Clooney, competition, or some other idea related to the script or quality of the movie itself.

I wonder though if they could be wrong? Perhaps they have missed the real reason why it did not meet expectations at the box office?

Perhaps the real reason it was not accepted by the masses could be found in the movie itself. As I sat there watching it yesterday, it occurred to me during one pivotal scene -- I bet this is why the public turned away from it. I caught myself contemplating the subtle difference this movie has when compared to the others -- one that is difficult to accept when one is not ready for it.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

You should fear failure

if you do not desire to grow, to learn, to improve yourself, then yes fear failure.

If, on the other hand, you see failure for what it truly is, and understand that within it lies great opportunities for those who seek for it when experiencing failure, then you can use failure to aid you in achieving greater growth.

Read more on the lives of the following and see how they understood the role failure can play in success:

Steve Jobs
Nikola Tesla
Glenn Casey
Bill Gates
Sara Blakely
Warren Buffett
Thomas Edison
Henry Ford
Arianna Huffington

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Customer service is an investment.

It is not an expense, as some would have you believe.

It is not marketing, though it does market you.

It is not a program, though programs are involved.

It is not a department, though it may need a department.

It is not a position, though positions may be involved.

It is a culture that has been invested in by the company (the people) on a daily basis, consistently over time.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

#HappyFathersDay and a mining disaster

At 10:28 a.m. on Friday, December 6, 1907, an explosion occurred in the No. 6 and No. 8 mines of Fairmont Coal Company in Monongah, West Virginia.

There were officially 367 men who had entered the two mines that morning. Only 5 survived the explosion. Two hundred and fifty of them were fathers. It has been described as the worst mining disaster in American history.

Less than six miles away in Fairmont, Grace Golden Clayton had been mourning the loss of her father. Perhaps inspired by the recent effort of Anna Jarvis to establish Mother's Day in nearby Grafton, Grace went to the pastor of her church and asked him to consider holding a service honoring all of the fathers lost in the mining disaster.

On July 5, 1908, in Fairmont, West Virginia the congregation of Williams Memorial Methodist Episcopal Church South (now known as Central United Methodist Church) gathered to hear their pastor, Robert Thomas Webb honor the fathers who had fallen in the mining explosion.

It is now seen by many as the first celebration of Father's Day though it would be years later before it was recognized as a national day.

They say in every adversity there is a seed of equivalent opportunity. And, from the disaster and loss that occurred that winter morning in West Virginia over one hundred years ago was planted a seed of honoring the fathers each and every year.

Happy Father's Day to all the dads, yet let's not forget those who mourn the loss of their fathers.

Celebrate with family and enjoy the day to the full.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

to boldly explore, to go where no one has gone before

Seth Godin refers to it as Edgecrafting -- going to the edge instead of staying in the middle where it is safe.

Star Trek described it this way -- "to boldly explore, to go where no one has gone before."

A Chinese tycoon, Liu Dejian, founder of mainland online gaming firm NetDragon Websoft is showing us what Edgecrafting looks like.

And my favorite point he made from his CNBC interview:

In an interview with CNBC, the 43-year-old Liu revealed that he hoped the design of the company's new headquarters would encourage employees to live up to Star Trek's adventure-seeking spirit as his Hong Kong-listed company ventured into uncharted territories such as online education and robots.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

K12 Academic Report also showcases attrition problems

K12 is doing some good things with the students who stick with it, and are willing to put in the effort to succeed. Their latest academic report spotlights their schools in Arizona, Georgia and Texas.

And, while I will let others further discuss the academic side of the equation, what stands out to me is the unintended spotlight on the attrition rate -- meaning, how many students stick with it? It's an issue we cannot ignore or paint over.

According to the document, there were over 1,300 students in Texas Virtual Academy (TXVA) tested for this report that fell under the category of "Less than 1 year." By the time you reach the category of "3 years or more" the number of students tested has dropped to just over 150.

Under the Reading section, TXVA began with 1,382 students tested (Less than 1 year). The number dropped 27% to 1,019 students tested under the category of "1 year but Less than 2 years." Another 38% drop witnessed only 641 students taking the test under the category of "2 years but Less than 3 years." Then, there was a 77% drop to 152 students taking the test under the category of "3 years or more."

Similar stories of attrition can be found in Georgia and Arizona to varying degrees. The academic growth and success is a necessary component, and K12 again is showing gains with the students who stay with them. They should be commended for that.

Where it all crumbles though is the loss of students that occurs annually. We need one little spark to move that needle too.

Monday, June 8, 2015


Are we entering a world where instant is the new standard in engagement with customers?

Google is conducting a livestream event this Thursday, June 11, to discuss #MicroMoments and how brands can capitalize on this behavior. According to Google, we now live online and we engage with brands in micro moments and those moments add up to a relationship. Brands that understand this behavior and build to capture minds and hearts of consumers by being there the instant consumers need attention are the brands that will take the lead.

Many brands are currently just tapping into the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools that allow for relationship building based on behaviors on the web sites and within emails. And now, the trend appears to be leaning toward these #MicroMoments as Google so aptly describes them. What is a brand to do?

Brands that are already built around the customer have the advantage here. It will be difficult for brands that are not customer-centric to fully take advantage of these micro moments because they are not currently putting the customer first. That must be the first step or #MicroMoment efforts will fall flat.

On the other hand, those brands that are driven by the customer will be the ones to watch and see how they continue to build loyalty by utilizing these micro moments to further the bond between them and their customers. For them it is merely another way of enhancing the relationships they have already built.

#MicroMoments may be a new way to engage with consumers but building trust is still the goal. Brands who are already building this trust are better equipped to take advantage of this new battleground.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Homeschool company for sale?

Do you have a company dedicated to serving the homeschool community and you are ready to sell it? Or, do you know of someone who does?

If so, let's talk.