Archive for February, 2007

Ummm…I am in the NY Times

Monday, February 26th, 2007

Today, my mug graces the front page of NY Times business. Perhaps the day will get even better with the departure of my head congestion!

The article: New Hot Properties: YouTube Celebrities 

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The Howard Schultz Starbucks Memo

Saturday, February 24th, 2007

Read about this in the weekend edition of the WSJ. I agree with every word in the Starbucks Memo. In fact, I believe the Howard Schultz Starbucks memo is four years overdo….

(Courtesy of STARBUCKSGOSSIP.COM)

The Starbucks Memo: 

Subject: The Commoditization of the Starbucks Experience

As you prepare for the FY 08 strategic planning process, I want to share some of my thoughts with you.

Over the past ten years, in order to achieve the growth, development, and scale necessary to go from less than 1,000 stores to 13,000 stores and beyond, we have had to make a series of decisions that, in retrospect, have lead to the watering down of the Starbucks experience, and, what some might call the commoditization of our brand.

Many of these decisions were probably right at the time, and on their own merit would not have created the dilution of the experience; but in this case, the sum is much greater and, unfortunately, much more damaging than the individual pieces. For example, when we went to automatic espresso machines, we solved a major problem in terms of speed of service and efficiency. At the same time, we overlooked the fact that we would remove much of the romance and theatre that was in play with the use of the La Marzocca machines. This specific decision became even more damaging when the height of the machines, which are now in thousands of stores, blocked the visual sight line the customer previously had to watch the drink being made, and for the intimate experience with the barista. This, coupled with the need for fresh roasted coffee in every North America city and every international market, moved us toward the decision and the need for flavor locked packaging. Again, the right decision at the right time, and once again I believe we overlooked the cause and the affect of flavor lock in our stores. We achieved fresh roasted bagged coffee, but at what cost? The loss of aroma — perhaps the most powerful non-verbal signal we had in our stores; the loss of our people scooping fresh coffee from the bins and grinding it fresh in front of the customer, and once again stripping the store of tradition and our heritage? Then we moved to store design. Clearly we have had to streamline store design to gain efficiencies of scale and to make sure we had the ROI on sales to investment ratios that would satisfy the financial side of our business. However, one of the results has been stores that no longer have the soul of the past and reflect a chain of stores vs. the warm feeling of a neighborhood store. Some people even call our stores sterile, cookie cutter, no longer reflecting the passion our partners feel about our coffee. In fact, I am not sure people today even know we are roasting coffee. You certainly can’t get the message from being in our stores. The merchandise, more art than science, is far removed from being the merchant that I believe we can be and certainly at a minimum should support the foundation of our coffee heritage. Some stores don’t have coffee grinders, French presses from Bodum, or even coffee filters.

Now that I have provided you with a list of some of the underlying issues that I believe we need to solve, let me say at the outset that we have all been part of these decisions. I take full responsibility myself, but we desperately need to look into the mirror and realize it’s time to get back to the core and make the changes necessary to evoke the heritage, the tradition, and the passion that we all have for the true Starbucks experience. While the current state of affairs for the most part is self induced, that has lead to competitors of all kinds, small and large coffee companies, fast food operators, and mom and pops, to position themselves in a way that creates awareness, trial and loyalty of people who previously have been Starbucks customers. This must be eradicated.

I have said for 20 years that our success is not an entitlement and now it’s proving to be a reality. Let’s be smarter about how we are spending our time, money and resources. Let’s get back to the core. Push for innovation and do the things necessary to once again differentiate Starbucks from all others. We source and buy the highest quality coffee. We have built the most trusted brand in coffee in the world, and we have an enormous responsibility to both the people who have come before us and the 150,000 partners and their families who are relying on our stewardship.

Finally, I would like to acknowledge all that you do for Starbucks. Without your passion and commitment, we would not be where we are today.

Onward…

Introducing…Mandy Stadtmiller

Thursday, February 22nd, 2007

Good morning. To all you terrestrial creatures who read my blog. First of all, just let me say this; the fact that you are reading this crap on my blog is a sign that you need help. Seriously. Don’t you have anything better to do? Get a freaking life!

And now, after I berate you for being here, we proceed to the topic on hand. One Mandy Stadtmiller.

I will not ruin this for you by sprinkling in my own lame commentary about Mandy Stadtmiller.
The point is, that Mandy Stadtmiller is:
1) female (if you watch the clip, she makes reference to her feminine anatomy
2) pretty (even the name Mandy is hot)
3) divorced (the best news I’ve received this week) and
4) funny. very. quite.

Oh yes; according to heterosexual intuitions:
5)Ms. Stadtmiller appears to belong to be straight! OMG.

Seriously. What are the odds for this (rare) sort of combination?

Leave it to Lloyd

Tuesday, February 20th, 2007

It’s always about trying new things. Yesterday I wore a skirt. Today I am wearing nothing. Tomorrow I may don an astronaut suit. Point is; you get what I am saying. I think you do. Hoping you do.

I have not given up on my quest to get in contact with mega agent Ari Gold. In fact, my desire to be his client has only increased since last week.

Today, I reach out to his assistant Lloyd and request that he hook me up with Ari Gold.

Ari Gold Quotes

Monday, February 19th, 2007

So, I am now on a new mission. My objective? To land Ari Gold as my agent. Why? Please; the guy is the best in the industry.

As you may have taken notice, this post is titled “Ari Gold Quotes“. And I intend to deliver. Besides for Ari Gold being an agent par excellence, he is also famous for his one-liners and what is commonly referred to as Ari Gold Quotes.

These are my favorite Ari Gold Quotes:

1) You can have it if you want to live in Agoura fucking Hills and go to group therapy, but if you want to live in a Beverly Hills mansion, a country club membership, and nine weeks in a Tuscan villa, then I’m going to have to take a call when it comes in at noon on a motherfucking Wednesday!

2) Let’s hug it out, bitch.

3) Pass this message along to Dana. Tell her I still have the pictures from Cancun and tell her I’m going to start a website. I’m going to take a full page ad in the LA Times advertising it. Tell her it will be called a iamahollywoodexecutivewhore.com, and no password or fees will be required. Tell her I want a fucking callback.

4) Got milf?

5) Fuck the phones, Lloyd! Unless Carmen Electra calls for an emergency titty-fuck, don’t answer!

6) [after his Viagra has kicked in] I’m like R.Kelly at recess!

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Attention Ari Gold

Thursday, February 15th, 2007

I need an agent. Not a travel agent. I book my flights on the web. I need a talent agent. And could use a bit of talent as well.

Anyways, I do some YouTube stuff. But I need something more. An official agent. Someone well respected in the entertainment industry. His name is Ari Gold.

So, I created a YouTube clip titled: Paging Ari Gold.

And then there’s this website too called pagingarigold.com.

Hopefully, this will lead Ari Gold to me!

When YouTube Met RSS

Tuesday, February 13th, 2007

As a sequel to “When Harry Met Sally”, “When YouTube Met RSS” is an equally entertaining piece of work.

Here are various media blurbs about this latest installment of this genre:

USA Today: Thrilling!

NY Post: Thriller!

NY Times: Thrillitating!

Time Magazine: Thrills!?

Shmuley Boteach Crashes my Britney Bash

Monday, February 12th, 2007

So, my name is Shmuly. There is another Shmuely too. (We’ve hung out in the past.) Much more famous than me. He writes a lot of books. Not silly blog stuffs.

Anyways, he has a celebrity following. His most infamous fan was Michael Jackson. After MJ’s scandalous tendencies came to light, Shmuley did his best to distance himself from Jackson.

Today, I read in Page Six that Shmuley sent an open letter to Britney.

Back off!

Britney only has room for one Shmuley in her life. And that’s me!

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The Michael Dell Email

Monday, February 12th, 2007

The following is the entire email that Michael Dell sent out, after he assumed the CEO position.

Friday, February 02, 2007

From: Corporate Communications

Sent: Fri 2/2/2007 14:57

Subject: Leadership Message from our Chairman and CEO

To: Dell Team Members Worldwide

From: Michael

We held a meeting this morning with our Vice Presidents and Directors. I’d like to share the highlights of this meeting with all of you.

I told our team that I remember the great times and many successes with Kevin Rollins, but now it’s time for a change. We are not doing a COO or CEO search. I plan to be CEO for the next several years.

I remember what it’s like to start a company. We’re moving fast. There is no luxury of time. The competitors are fierce. The difference is this time we have many new assets and some hidden ones that can be brought out.

We have great people . . . but we also have a new enemy: bureaucracy, which costs us money and slows us down. We created it, we subjected our people to it and we have to fix it!

The #1 Tell Dell issue is bureaucracy and getting cooperation from other organizations.

I am asking each of you to look across your organizations and eliminate redundancies, think about what is best for Dell, and provide the clarity and focus of leadership that we need.

Last year, we worked really hard and there were many sacrifices. Thanks!

We had great efforts, but not great results. This is disappointing and it is unacceptable.

The result is that there will be no bonus this year. I know this is a big deal for you and your teams. We’re going to fix that so that our efforts translate into great results and success for our teams.

But we still have great people who made great efforts. It’s important to recognize your hard work, though our results fell short. Limited discretionary awards will be available to all but the most senior people. We can’t cover everyone, but it will be a tool you can use.

And we are also budgeting for above-market raises this year.

For stock awards, we will shorten the vesting period from five to three years for future grants and move to restricted stock units.

And we’re going to set the annual bonus plan against realistic targets.

We have a tough couple of quarters ahead. We didn’t get here overnight and we won’t fix things overnight either.

OPEX (operating expense) grew too fast. We need to grow into what we have, hold cost and eliminate marginal activities. If you have some, please stop them now and if you’re not sure, bring them forward. We must focus and wring out savings.

Long-term, we will be the technology leader known for strong operating performance, a great experience for our customers and a great place to work!

We will have clear priorities and a focused strategy.

We will grow Small and Medium Business (both with business and public customers) and expand Services.

We will continue to build the enterprise Server/Storage business. In Services, we will build, partner and buy.

Product Group will shorten design cycles, increase speed and innovation/design that create real differentiated value for our customers. We will transition to a light touch ODM (original design manufacturer) model.

We’re going to introduce new brands and products with a focus on Consumer and Small Business. We will ensure quality, stability and predictability for our larger customers.

We will complete our dual processor supplier strategy.

We’ll restore loyalty and continue CE improvement focusing on the activities with the best ROI. We will bring excitement and pride back to our brand.

In emerging markets, we’ll take new approaches and introduce new products.

In Consumer, I believe the dramatic de-scaling is a mistake. We will focus on return on invested capital (ROIC), cash flow and variable costs. We will have a new product cycle, we’ll fix CE and we will not run away from a cost fight!

When I started in 1984, it was just me. But now we are blessed to have an awesome team, many great assets and $11 billion or so. It won’t be easy, we’ll have to make some tough decisions and we won’t be shy about those. Our focus will be on building Dell into the company we all know it can be for our customers, our people and our shareholders.

To summarize, we will differentiate with CE (customer experience); deliver value, but go beyond this with our unique understanding of customers; move to Solutions and Services; use database marketing and targeting for smaller customers; leverage our unique supply chain; regain our cost position; and build some new sources of sustainable profit including using intellectual property to differentiate.

It’s all part of Dell 2.0.

We will unify our leadership structure, from well more than 20 direct reports to 12. I’ll be decisive, but also push many decisions to our leaders. We will speed decision-making and make decisions closer to our customers and have clear responsibility and accountability.

I have asked Paul Bell to return to Austin and lead the new Americasorganization, which will include Small and Medium Business, Public, Commercial and Americas International. We expect to name the replacement for Paul to lead EMEA from a choice of internal candidates in the next few weeks.

Asia Pacific/Japan will continue to be led by Steve Felice.

We are creating a new organization called Global Operations, which has responsibility for all manufacturing and procurement worldwide. We’re conducting a search for this position and hope to complete it soon.

Global Services will be led by Steve Schuckenbrock.

There will be a Consumer group which will also include online, S&P and Brand. We’re conducting a search for this position and we also believe we have a great internal candidate.

Our three Product Groups will remain largely unchanged. The Consumer Product group will be led by Alex Gruzen; the Business Client Group by Jeff Clarke; and the Enterprise, Server & Storage Group by Brad Anderson.

I have asked Don Carty to take on several responsibilities in addition to Finance, including IT, HR, CE and Support and IR and Communications.

Our Legal group will be led by Larry Tu and our Strategy team will be led by Tim Mattox.

We will be bold in our thinking and swift in our action.

I ask you to commit with me to the future of Dell. Show confidence with your teams and our customers. We will fix this business and take it to new heights!

All the Best,

Michael

Nicole Miller Gets Intimate with BareNecessites.com

Thursday, February 8th, 2007

Nicole Miller is a fashion icon. Fact. Don’t even bother trying to dispute that!

The news is out that Nicole Miller has created a lingerie line. The collection will be sold exclusively @ www.barenecessites.com.

This is a link to the Woman’s Wear Daily article: Nicole Miller Forges Deal With Barenecessities.com
Link to the Nicole Miller Lingerie Collection on BareNecessites.com.

Trust me. This is a trend; an established offline brand partnering with a successful ecommerce company.

Everyone wins; BN is aligned with a solid brand. NM gets immediate online access.