Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Babe Ruth

Some years ago I was attending a worldwide sales conference in Chicago for the software company I was working for at the time. The President of the company William Nelson III was giving his keynote speech and during it he said the following:

"Babe Ruth is considered by most Baseball fans to be the greatest player of all time. During his career, he set the record for the number of home runs in a single season, a record which stood for decades. What is less well known is that in that same season he also set the record for striking out.

Why am I telling you this? Well the lesson it seems to me, is that to succeed you have to take chances and risk falling on your backside. Or, to put it another way, the only reason I am the president of the company and you are not is because I have made more mistakes than you have".

I have heard similar sentiments expressed many times, but never quite so succinctly.

Monday, 16 March 2009

Simplicity is genius.

I was idly browsing Topspin Media's website today and I came across this quote from James Lamberti, their VP of Marketing and Artist Services:

"Data is my A&R agent, Viral Marketing is my radio promotion, Direct-to-fan is my retail store".

I was moved. Take a bow mate.

Thursday, 12 March 2009

My Father Alan McKenzie

My father is a great man.

He doesn't think so. Great men never do.

My father taught me what I consider to be the important things in life. Respect, honesty, integrity and most of all love. Love of life, of poetry, of nature, of beauty, of music (of which more later) and of family.

He toiled all of his working life to provide for us, my mother, my brother and I, but for all of his efforts I never once heard him complain about how hard he had had to work to put food on the table. Then when the weekend came he would work from morning till night to build a better home for us all. Carpentry, DIY, decorating - he once built me a beautiful chess table which I am proud to say I still have.

I owe my love of music almost entirely to him too. When I was 7 or 8 he would sit me down to listen to Mozart, Brahms or Beethoven, and he would be happy to spend as much time as it took to help me appreciate the sublime genius of the great masters works. I particularly remember one time when we sat and listened to Beethoven's 7th symphony together, while he patiently explained what terms like Scherzo, Adagio and Allegretto meant, and why they were important in the context of the symphonic form. Even as a 7 year old I could not help but be moved by his passion for the music he loved.

Many years later when I tried to return the favour and educate him in the finer points of Led Zeppelin, Ben Harper, Otis Redding, Bob Dylan and many others, to his great credit he managed to suppress his firm prejudices about popular music and return the compliment.

This is my small tribute to him.

Thanks Dad. You ARE a great man and I love you.

Thursday, 5 March 2009


I have been watching the travails of ITV with a mixture of great sadness and just a touch of amusement.

It is obviously sad when a lot of people lose their jobs, but much like the labels, it staggers me that they did not see it coming. The company has obviously been badly mismanaged for some years now (err.. football rights anyone), but when you look at some of the tosh they trot out these days its amazing they have got this far without going the same way as Woolies.

I actually find it astonishing that ANYONE still thinks it makes sense to advertise on ITV or Channel 4 these days, but hey, what do I know.

I do know this. We get the television we deserve, because if we did not watch it we they would not show it.

Try this: Next time one of the networks start peddling some bit of trite reality TV rubbish to boost their flagging telephony revenues - DON'T VOTE, or better still don't watch it. Start a campaign to get crap like "Big Brother" and "I'm a 'D' list nonentity" or whatever the hell its called off our screens.

Imagine if BB had never happened, how much better the world would be. No Nasty Nick, no Heat Magazine, no idiot papparazzi stalking the more attractive parts of London looking for pictures of people you have never heard of but who are apparently "celebrities" because they had sex with a wine bottle on national television, no Chantelle (whoever she is) and so on.

I cannot believe I am the only person who feels this way.