Marketing Lessons from the Political arena… what went wrong and right

One of the rules that we always talk at Board meetings, closed doors, is how do we get our team NOT to look into the competition as the beacon to look at what to do, how to react, how to gain market share.  Always trying to convey the message that you should be aware of them, but you should go after your clients, customers, stakeholders, and make what is best for them and the company, disregard what your competition does or not.

I learn this when I was a kid and my father used to wake us up at 4:30 am, jump into the club swimming pool, and be very competitive.   I really never made it more than what expected, because – my father dixit – I was too focused on the other lanes, on what the there people were doing instead of trying to beat myself every day, every new stroke by stroke….

If you look at why the candidates that are gone, are gone, is mostly because they stop worrying about their constituents, the voters, their public; and they focus on what was the competition doing.

Listen to them all :

Ted Cruz  and Marco Rubio even teamed to “bring down Donal Trump and make sure he never gets elected …” annd now even the Democrats are doing it; Bernie Sanders just made this his central speech .

Will Hillary Clinton be the last one to say it ?   So far she has been the smarter of all, dismissing her “competition” and stating that she focus on the people that follow her and that wants to listen to her.  But her campaign managers are not  : “We can’t have Donald Trump in the White House “ Hillary Stop Trump

My advice to whoever ends up been the candidate : WORK for YOUR votes, talk to your constituents, be strong in your points, this is NOT about not letting Donal Trump become President, it is about WHAT the voters want.


A world without Google, Facebook and Twitter?

We are so used and dependent for our communications on the products and services these 3 companies offer to us, mostly for free ( not considering value of our Data, advertising, etc.) , that it would be difficult to imaging what would happen if you end up without been able to use them ?

Last week I flew back to China after too many years of have been living here, a time where we use the WEB mostly for email and research… some of us were at that time pioneering the voice over IP, that kept us from spending all our budgets in calls and the result increase in communication flow due to low cost of “just call them and find out…”

Then I am back in China for 11 days and find myself trying to tell everybody if we could be friends in Facebook or i tried to follow them in Twitter. Last resource, exchange emails that I ws not able to access for all those days since all my personal and work emails are Gmail backend.

One of the young entrepreneurs I met in the second day told me to sign for an application that I could barely remember : WeCHAT. He also suggested to tell my friends to write me to my Yahoo account, that work at light speed and deploys all my mail and attachments like I was inside my office on a VPN..

So I did those two things… Nothing for me to say about Yahoo. I am an investor, and I believe in what Marissa Meyer has done. She may have service the company if she had focused her marketing efforts OUTSIDE the US where Yahoo seems so strong and has been loosing market share form being #1 to second and third places. If I was her would listen more to my consumers, let her tech abilities drive the rest but work with those that really like Yahoo.

WeCHAT is totally a new experience for me.. simple to use, I am told it has around 700 million users but very few in the US.. so few that when I do a search doesn’t even mention it among the top 25 ( it may seem that people outside the US may no the that important even if they are in larger number and pass by far the consumption capacity of the so called “american middle class”).

WeChat is owned by a chinese company, it surpasses the use of FB and Google in almost every country where they are present .  I was impressed by the way the use of the QR Code has expanded all over in china that even TV will leave at the end of advertising or a TV Program the QR Code so you can suscribe to news about that or receive in a email ( probably larger than Gmail and many others ) all kind of info related to that specific subject.  They have taken extended reality to a new level.

I was also told that more and more teenagers around the world are leaving FB and starting to use WeChat, not just to be cool and exchange photos with people around the world, also running away from their Facebook Parents and since the photo and video capabilities are much better, there you are…

WeCHAT has a discovery tool that is much more fun and better ” shake it” is called, initially i didn’t understand the concept, but once you got the magic of it it is really impressive, non intrusive and even fun.

Last is that I saw so many people using it for business purposes, saw people during meetings going down their time line looking at all the “official photos of ceremonies, public acts, etc” with a functionality that Facebook doesn’t have : I can just click to save any image I see to my own device, or the WeChat gallery…

Back in the US, I will keep using WeChat with my new friends in China and other Asian Countries ( i found that in LATAM is becoming very strong ).

Now I found that I can get my Buzzfeed directly to my WeChat and be able to translate it to Mandarin, or any other language in Asia and comment , share the original article.  It is a NEWS reader, a news distribution system and it has 700 news hungry million people.

And I was not going to end here.. so i went just after coming back, into analyzing the whole phenomenon of Social Media and why the differences between the Western and Asian Worlds. I really recommend what Donovan Rose wrote in his Blog NEXMO about this.  I was impressed by the numbers and as usual since US Media just ignores the fact that there is a much larger country with an economy that is about to get near the US, with a per capita consumption at its middle class similar to that of Europe or NorthAmerica ( USA and Canada.  BTW  China Middle Class may be only 20% of the population but that is in real numbers larger than the so called and now almost inexistent AMERICAN MIDDLE CLASS) .

Lots to talk about what you can see while you are there, how malls are much larger than NYC 5th. Avenue or Rodeo Drive.  Smaller cities, what they call the secondary tier, are much more vibrant, and looks just like the US 25 years ago.

They must be doing something right that we are not.

Malaysian Plane and Why nobody trust what the US has to say….

Sometimes I think that American seem to have the lowest short memory span than any other country.

“On Feb. 5, 2003, then-Secretary of State General Colin Powell addressed the United Nations Security Council. His message was clear: Iraq possessed extremely dangerous weapons of mass destruction and Saddam Hussein was systematically trying to deceive U.N. inspectors by hiding prohibited weapons.”

Our own Secretary of State, went in front of the United Nations and explain with convincing proof that Sadam Hussein had IRAQ full of WMD (WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION… the explanation and presentation from our own Secretary of State, show photographs of how and where they were produced and how Sadam Managed to keep moving his devil labs around the Country.  So just like the Separatists from Ukraine, can NOT be pointed out or found, because their WMD are MOBILE !!

That happen March 2003, we spend our “credibility cash” and even many said it was impossible, well and everybody knows what happen after.. WAR, we have done so many wrong things : Abu Ghraib, killings of thousands of innocent Iraqis, outrageous spending and money miss-managed, etc.

How can the WORLD trust AMERICA to tell again that “without any doubt these missiles came from a Russian Rocket Launcher”, that has the technology to hit a plane at 30k feet above, etc.

Let’s look into some other reasons why “selling” this argument seems even more difficult than ever.

For the last 6 years, since Obama took office, we increased our “intelligence gathering out and inside the US”, so we have spied and record phone conversations of almost every leader that matters in Europe, and we have gone further, because we had donde this not only for “Security” reasons but for many other than are not so clear as to how they become a security matter.

We have betrayed the confidence of our allies, we have play with the wrong cards, even deception in the international arena, have rules that most not be crossed.

At School when I was at College in Mexico, we went through many analysis on International Diplomacy, one of them always got me very confused… during WWII Mexico had been back-channeling with the Germans, to become part of the “Axle Germany-Japan-Italy” as the piece missing in America (The Continent, not the Country…) the agreements were almost done, Mexico would supply passage, food, supplies, access to OIL to the German Army as they went attacking the US in their Southern border. In Exchange, Mexicans would get back all their lost territory and even more… This is just part of the end of Miguel Aleman and the beginning of Lazaro Cardenas ( the later took advantage of the deal Aleman did with the US to nationalize the OIL to avoid the European companies taking over it).

After a call from the President of the US to the Mexican President and the intervention of the Mexican Head of Bank of America, the Head of the Mexican Government agreed to delayed the agreement with the Germans and studied th proposal from the US to DO NOT INTERVENE actually been supportive, when Mexico announced the Nationalization of the OIL Industry.
Days later, two Mexican tankers were “supposedly” sunk by U-boats: Potrero del Llano by U-564 on 14 May 1942 and Faja de Oro by U-106 (Rasch) on 21 May 1942.
On June 1st, 1942 Mexico declared war on Germany.

I don’t believe in coincidences, too often, too many are always prone to bring suspicions into the actors that “benefit”.

The US needed a reason for the rest of the World to “hate so much Rusia” that they support ANY attack from the US to Russia. ( Not that I support what Russians do, but what I hate is this is being done for the wrong reasons, a well planned scam by our Intelligence community and seconded by our “partners in crime” The British Crown)

Conveniently the Ukrainians, separatists, supported by Rusia, are with NO doubt ( even photos of the launchers are now going around, generously supplied by the US Intelligence services). And here we go with the usual suspects, CNN is making a full piece out of this ( so they don’t have to talk about the hundreds of dead civilians in Gaza or the children from Central America) and so more for the other outlets. A unique detail is the position from Fox News about ARMS and killings, they always sustained that the manufacturer of GUNS is NEVER responsible for the killings (NRA driving the logic)… so how come that does not apply in the case of ROCKETS? Why blame the manufacturer?

If we apply the same discourse they do for Americans owning guns, why not let ALL the countries have ANY kind of weapons they want?

The main reason is that we believe that Nuclear Weapons, or any other similar weaponry in the hands of people that doesn’t have the same values as us, will actually use them.

One small caveat to this line of thinking: WE, the USA, are the only Country that has used a NUCLEAR weapon against a civilian population not once but twice and eliminated TWO cities in an enemy country.

High Speed Trains, Modernization and Economic Recovery

Four years ago, when we all realized that we were deepening into one of the worst economic crisis the USA has ever been through (not that we are out of it yet, or that there is a sign that we will be out of it very soon) I was having a conversation with several friends, all like me, optimist people, thinking that there had to be a better way to get America out of the landslide and find a way to convert all that “energy going down” into something we could use to go back upwards… Yes, we are all lovers of vectorial analysis and we think you have to use the forces you can’t control in your favor.  That day the Government decided to “save” GM from going bankrupt and de-facto became (following the rationale, WE the People ) the owner of the largest Auto Manufacturer in the World.  WE then thought this was the signal to create something so unique, using resources inside the country, and get our technological strength

We are very proud of what we accomplished during WWII when many parts of the Auto Industry were converted in a matter of days, weeks, months to become producers of motorized vehicles, guns, cannons, ammunition,  to be used by our Armed Forces joining into the fight against the Germans.

So my thought was:  What if we could start a very large project, that involved local workers (not able to “outsource it”),  use of US Technology ( think of Silicon Valley, from Intel, Microsoft, Cisco, MIT, CalTech, Boulder Tech Start ups…), our just acquired Auto Manufacturers (GM and Chrysler), extensive experience in how to create large scale transportation systems ( Boeing, Aerospace industry), Renewable Energy that takes us out of OIL dependency and at the same time put ecology in a first plane of our agenda (all forms of Clean Energy using Wind Farms, Sun Panels, etc.) ?

Could we take all this and at the same time create the future mass transportation ?

Let’s define what am I talking about.  Wikipedia defines High-speed rail as a type of passenger rail transport that operates significantly faster than traditional rail traffic. As of 2012 the maximum commercial speed was about 300 km/h (185 mph) for the majority of installed systems (China, Germany, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, UK), 310 km/h (195 mph) in Spain and 320 km/h (200 mph) in France. The Shanghai Maglev Train reaches 431 km/h (268 mph).

And all these came back to me as I listen to the news that the world’s longest line opened in China on 25 December 2012. It runs 2,298 kilometers (1,428 miles) from the country’s capital in the north to Guangzhou.  It required less than a year in planning and 3 years to build. It also come clear that they thought that this investment will bring much needed “economic stimulus” outside the largest cities where Public Infrastructure can be deployed faster and then creates migration of large numbers of population to those already overcrowded cities.

Let’s see how I arrived to this.

1./ Build two lines simultaneously, one from Boston, MA to Los Angeles, CA and another from Seattle, WA to Jacksonville, FL.  Create 120 different points where the construction starts simultaneously.

2./ The estimated cost per mile considering construction and all the necessary technology that goes into it es $2.5Million dollars per mile, so the total cost for the construction for 9 thousand miles, a great way to spend $22.5B  instead of just giving tax rebates, help financial institutions, save insurance companies, etc.

3./ This will create direct jobs, just in construction at a very local level, for 190,000 people for 2 full years with average annual salary of $50-$60k (well above National average and double the local average in many of the 120 starting points for construction.

4./ It will create  at least 3 extra jobs per direct position created, that means at least another 600,000 jobs related just to the construction.

5./ It will create also a several billion dollar splash into the software, electromechanical controls, computer and general IT industry.  Plus it will create a totally new industry around transportation, communications, just to keep the trains running and all the security and controls that will be needed. Estimate this will create at least 10 to 15k very well paid jobs, coders, programmers, systems engineers, designers, etc.

6./ Of course, a BIG push was to happen to the Auto makers, one of them, will convert all or most of their facilities into manufacturing the cars, luxury cars, economy cars, Dinner cars, etc. that will be needed to expand the service.  Parts and of course with time new designed vehicles, maybe even freight attachments, etc.  This by itself would have saved more than 200k jobs in the Auto industry and created another similar number in the secondary industries, ie textiles, special parts, plastic injection moulding, etc.

7./ Engines design.  The best part of this is that companies like GE, Boeing, could design and create the perfect engine for exceeding the current performance of French, Chinese, Japanese or Russian fast train engines.  This could create a full new industry, with very well paid jobs, and of course the secondary industries.  Estimated more than 20k jobs, all at high level pay.

8./ Energy supply.  This is where a fundamental change will be made with this plan.  The Fast trains have a need for a lot of energy, electricity at high level.  By doing this “Fast Train” prpject, we will give a push into creating the largest grid of “clean energy projects” with their first permanent client.  Then the economic impulse to each location will bring more revenue to those projects.

9./ RealEstate.  Not all land in this plan is owned by Government (local, State or Federal) so it will mean that there will have to buy land in different points, that money will go into those local economies in most cases and it will also create opportunities for local developers to bring more people to won second homes, vacation homes, since it will be easy to get far away just for the weekend. People with resources that live in small apartments in big cities, suddenly could have a way to escape for the weekend (buy monthly passes? when no business people is riding the train it could be a way to keep it going at full capacity).


If we can bring technology even more advanced to the actual fast speed train systems in the world, better design, and we get all the government levels agreeing to make this happen, we could build new tracks for fast trains between Boston and Los Angeles (Route 1) ; between Seattle and Miami.  We could promote the use of renewable energy along the tracks and we could have used General Motors to transform themselves into a large manufacturer of “electric transportation systems” from the engines, to passenger cars. We also have Boeing and other very smart companies designing aerospace, less frictional models for planes, cars, etc.     We have intelligence, resources, at that moment in time, the President had the ability to bring economic development to a large part of the country by starting a totally new way of transportation for Americans : Fast Speed Trains.  And I meant real fast : The current fastest Train in the US, operated by Amtrak goes at an astonishing speed of 95 MPH for about 25 minutes between Boston and New York City, but the total trip takes 4 hours to do the 220 miles between those two cities, distance that in many other countries in the world already takes less than 45 mins to an hour by Fast Speed train.  Plus today’s cost of the Acela Train between NY and Boston or NY and Washington DC is already very high, so keeping that price or even a price near a plane ticket will make this a profitable project in the near future.

As you can see, this was just a thought back then, four years ago. Not all numbers are calculated with a much needed deeper research, but wouldnt it be great to see our Politicians thinking this way ?  We could build this with a “Made in America” focus.

Then I read that China got it figured out.  We are again left behind.  We need to get out of the box, executing the same old policies, expecting different results every time is just a sign of how insane are our Policies (and our politicians).


(from the South China Morning Post )

The End of the World 12-12-12

I have been reading so much about all the Mayan and of course so many other cultures that predicted the end of the world or at least a major change in the way we live by the Winter (for Northern hemisphere inhabitants – Summer for Southern hemisphere people) Solstice this year.

The best probably i have seen is this one that my daughter Cecilia posted on her FB  that says  ”I have no fear that the world will end in 2012 … I have panic that remains the same” (in spanish “No tengo miedo que se acabe el mundo en el 2012, tengo pånico de que siga igual”)MexicoCity2012J

No respect for women, no respect for citizens, where are our values?

What happen when we became one of those countries that we “Free” from their Police states oppressor system ? When a body of our Society believes that they are above the LAW we are in trouble as a whole society, when Citizens are treated in a way that is against what we fought and keep fighting for around the world, something is really wrong. Cases that depict acts of armed kidnapping, assault, battery, menacing and official misconduct by our own POLICE departments we just became another rogue state.

Reading all what happen in NYC during the Occupy Wall Street One year PACIFIC demonstration, it amazed me the number of women that were brutally beaten by the honorable police of that city.  I was going through the TV channels seeing how people demonstrated in the so called 3rd. world countries, the middle East, and how women and young men were there, even throwing stones to the Police, and couldn’t see a SINGLE one where several policemen took a single woman to the floor and beat her like a criminal, just for not agreeing with bank’s greed and exercising the right that we have in this country to speak and show our point of view.  It seems the NYPD thinks otherwise, they even went after the so called “legal observers”… and then we complaint why in other places of the world, a “pacific demonstration is brought down by Police” … Even the US Media, will see this perfectly ok, except if it happens in another country, then they will cry that they are barbarians and we should bring their governments downs for NOT allowing free speech and freedom to demonstrate publicly.

Something that is tough for me to understand.  It seems they have a bipolar vision of reality.

Then this morning I am watching and then reading about the Police in Aurora, CO stopping cars in the middle of the street, then at gun point bring all passengers out of their vehicles, women, kids, teenagers, older citizens, under the assumption that one of them is a criminal.  Probable cause they are arguing, so it always poses the question if they were just “fishing” or they had a description of the bank robber, then why not only take men that had a similarity to the description. Or in this case they have no description of the bank robber ? This means they could have stop anybody ? Just like in any of those countries that we so much criticize becasue they have no freedom and there are NO laws to protect citizens?  When I was much younger we used to say that in the US the rule was that it was better to leave a criminal in the loose than to EVER bring an innocent into the Police ordeal… it seems now that we are all under a “police state” just like the one we all fight so much when the Soviet Union was a super power.  Where are our values ?

When the Chief of Police of Aurora, CO., say that removing 40 people from their cars at gunpoint, handcuffing and detaining them it is not extreme. Chief Police of Aurora, Oates went on to state to a local newspaper, that although he was sorry for detaining innocent people, he felt the ends justified the means… I wonder if that is true, then anything is now valid under the assumption that we are protecting society.  But isn’t this same Chief of Police the one that couldn’t, wouldn’t, didn’t stop a massacre at a movie theater ? Where was he at that time? why he was not “vigilant” of the safety of Aurora’s citizens ? Maybe because there was no “money” involved?  Police seem to be eager to defend anything related to money : Bank money in exchange for 2 hours of having a teenager handcuffed? If this teenager had been my son, I dont know where all that would have ended.  Just think that because of the Colorado laws, some of those citizens actually have the right to “bear arms”, so this could have ended in a battle between Police endangering my family and me defending it….

Dave Perry, Editor at the Aurora Sentinel, writes :  ”We cannot, under any circumstances, allow the police or military to round people up, detain and handcuff them, unless cops have a valid and compelling reason to suspect they’ve committed a crime. This kind of policing is what the Fourth Amendment was created to prevent”. I recommend reading his article.

peace officers don’t conduct themselves this way; gang members do.

“Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”
– Thomas Jefferson, Memoirs of the life and writings of Benjamin Franklin, (1818)

@beck “… isn’t it up to us the citizens to temper the actions of our city officials.  As a community our apathy is the real crime here.

Somehow we have come to believe that monetary damages from lawsuits
is the way to communicate our disapproval.  This approach only seems to
sting their ego’s since they seem to have unlimited supplies of our

engagement, brands and where are the real marketeers

It is funny how nobody talks anymore about “engagement” of the audience, how that happens (through content) and then association of a brand with the content creates a “transfer of the good association or engagement” to the brand or product itself. In discussions with a very smart friend of mine, canadian, head of the largest TV shopping channel over there, I found several points of discussion.

The Retail Council of Canada, is conducting their annual symposium and going through all the key note conferences, the only I could find that is relevant was this one:

Why Local Matters
Peter Kvarnstrom, Vice President, Glacier Media Group
The presenter will review just how community newspaper publishers engage their readers by delivering highly relevant, compelling and unduplicated content. The resulting high level of reader engagement is leveraged on behalf of all advertisers by providing this highly conducive environment to deliver their message within.

That is the essence of “engagement”.

Last, I found it funny that no marketeers talk these days about the old concept of GRP’s or TGRP’s. Now that media convergence is a reality, shouldnt we go back to the concept that the media doesnt matter, it is how you “get” to a person with your brand and how many times, disregard of the what was the specific media?

Marketeers need to go back to the basics.

WE step away from the measurement and the concept that ONE person needs to hear a message through different channels, same message, different iterations according to each media, and for each product or service the number of times is what becomes very, very important. For marketing to convince me to modify my consumption pattern needs to be able to deliver me the same message for a number of times, during a limited period of time.

news vs information ?

While we were discussing if newspapers should get on the WEB or not, while we were fighting over how Craiglist took over the crown jewles of newspapers; a new phenomenon developed and is about take a larger piece of the newspapers : the separations between News and Information.

Journal Register Company (

The Register Citizen (, Serving Torrington, CT

Arturo Duran to lead digital efforts at Journal Register Company

Monday, August 9, 2010

YARDLEY, Pa. – Arturo Duran has been named executive vice president, digital, for the Journal Register Company, parent company of The Register Citizen, Litchfield County Times, New Haven Register, Middletown Press and Connecticut Magazine and a number of weekly newspapers in Connecticut.

Duran will report directly to CEO John Paton, who took the reins at Journal Register in early 2010 and has rapidly transformed it from a traditional print-focused newspaper company to a local media company that puts “digital first” in its approach to news and advertising.

Duran, until recently the CEO of Spanish-language publisher impreMedia Digital, will be responsible for coordinating the company’s digital strategy and business development initiatives as they relate to its digital efforts.

Duran is considered a leading executive in the digital world and has a strong track record of success. He was, until recently, the chief executive officer of impreMedia Digital a company he grew from the ground up establishing innovative, value-creating partnerships with companies like MySpace, AOL, PBS and MTV.

He is a former executive of CanWest, AOL, Polaroid and Unisys, where he served in different capacities and was responsible for operations in the U.S., Canada, China, Europe and Latin America.

Journal Register Company is a leader in local news and information serving 992 communities in 10 states. The Company’s 324 multi-platform products reach an audience of nearly 14 million people each month. For more information visit the company website at


© 2010, a Journal Register Property