Category Archives: In the news

Why women matter…

 

If you were under a rock yesterday you may have missed Steve Job’s big ta da unveiling of the Apple iPad. A tablet gizmo that does a lot of stuff and is getting a lot of mixed press.

I haven’t looked into it, so am not going to opinionate on the merits of the technology. But I will say this. Women buy a lot of stuff. We are the other 50% of the population and drive the majority of consumption decisions within the household. And I can almost guarantee that there was not a woman on the team that put together the iPad. The reason? No woman on earth would name a mass consumer gadget an iPad. And ladies you all know why.

Come on Steve – you’re the CEO of the decade… wake up!

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Succession – Conan vs. Leno Part 3

It just keeps getting better. Today Conan finally speaks! Check out his letter to the world Oh jeez. It just gets worse. Talk about backing NBC into a corner. See below for snippets from Conan in his own words:

“Six years ago, I signed a contract with NBC to take over The Tonight Show in June of 2009. Like a lot of us, I grew up watching Johnny Carson every night and the chance to one day sit in that chair has meant everything to me. I worked long and hard to get that opportunity, passed up far more lucrative offers, and since 2004 I have spent literally hundreds of hours thinking of ways to extend the franchise long into the future.

If you were in NBC’s shoes what the heck would you do? Not only do you have a yucky employee situation, but the celebrity component adds a whole public element. See below how Conan anchors the negotiation by stating his unwillingness to accept the shift in schedule:

The Tonight Show at 12:05 simply isn’t the Tonight Show. Also, if I accept this move I will be knocking the Late Night show, which I inherited from David Letterman and passed on to Jimmy Fallon, out of its long-held time slot. That would hurt the other NBC franchise that I love, and it would be unfair to Jimmy.

So Conan has put it to the network and built an alliance with Jimmy Fallon. But again, points for shrewdness. Conan provides an olive branch:

There has been speculation about my going to another network but, to set the record straight, I currently have no other offer and honestly have no idea what happens next. My hope is that NBC and I can resolve this quickly so that my staff, crew, and I can do a show we can be proud of, for a company that values our work.

Ok, bring it on HR Professionals.

You are advising NBC brass on what to do. Conan, Leno and their agents are calling (can you imagine Ari Gold (Entourage) were Conan his client?). What advice would you provide? Proceed with the plan to shift Leno back to 11:30 and potentially lose Conan and Jimmy? Cancel Leno, keep Conan and Jimmy? Fire them all?  The proof will be in the $$$. Conan couldn’t make the Tonight Show work. Affiliates are choked about the low ratings for Leno at 10PM because they impacted their late night news ratings. So NBC potentially loses Conan and Jimmy, plops Leno back to 11:35PM, returns to producing TV dramas for the 10PM slot and all goes back to the way that it was. Except that they have to pay Conan to release his contract and they look like major idiots to the world. Perhaps a woman could have helped. Apparently few if any of the top brass at the TV networks are women, and of the 50 or so  comedy writers on staff  working on Late Show with David Letterman, The Jay Leno Show and The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien combined, exactly zero are women.  Perhaps the question should be: What would Tina Fey do?

What’s a girl to do?

I don’t know if any of you have heard about the Vancouver Sun newspaper’s fatabase. This nifty tool enables you to look up the calories in that tasty sandwich you just had from Earls. I discovered the fatabase last week after dinner at Joeys. What follows is a shocking calorie story.

I am a gal who considers herself pretty health conscious. I work out most days, try not to eat too much meat and am generally aware and willing to make calorie trade-off’s. By calorie trade-off’s I mean I will actually consider whether a food item is worth the calories before I consume it. But alas, I fell victim the other day.

My business partner and I went to Joeys for dinner. While we happily waited for our third partner in the “wine room” which has lovely wines by the glass (Tantalus Riesling is delish), we thought let’s get something to nibble on while we wait. So we decided to order the tandoori flat bread. Flatbread, a bit of chicken, some cilantro. Sounds like a good choice right? NOT. According to the fatabase, that tandoori flatbread had 1130 calories and 1950 mg of sodium. @$%^@^$@Q^$. Yikes is right. To maintain my weight I need to consume approximately 1500 calories a day, and Health Canada recommends no more than 1500 mg of sodium a day. Sheesh – that day got blown to hell. What is a girl to do other than stairclimb her life away to recover her calorie missteps?.. 😦

My vote is to display food calorie contents on menus. Immediately. If I had known that the flatbread had 1130 calories and 1900 mg of sodium I never would have ordered it. Same goes for those yummy salads at Earls – Santa Fe Chicken Salad anyone? Yep that one has a mere 899 calories and 2133 mg of sodium. These foods irk me because we order them thinking we are making  healthy choices. We’re not. We’re getting tricked. Health and wellness are serious issues. We need to get a handle on this stuff, otherwise it is going to cost us a fortune in lost productivity and healthcare costs. Not to mention time on cardio machines!

So next time you go out to eat, take a quick look through the fatabase and plan your meal accordingly. And start voting with your mouths. No one needs to consume 1130 calories in a piece of flatbread. Get with the program Joey.

Succession – Conan vs. Leno Part 2

Back in June in the post  Conan vs. Leno I blogged about the succession schmozzle over at NBC that resulted in Jay Leno moving to a 10PM timeslot and Conan O’Brien taking over the Tonight Show. This was all part of a succession plan to attempt to retain the then hip and cool Conan O’Brien at NBC once Jay retired. Turns out, Jay is not retiring. And NBC doesn’t much care for Conan anymore (apparently neither do we – the ratings are dismal). TMZ has just announced that Leno’s 10PM show is being cancelled and he is moving back to 11:30PM.  Conan’s fate is unknown.

Tisk tisk…People – succession plans built years in advance (this one was developed in 2004) don’t tend to work… And they cost a lot of $$$ when you screw them up!

What we have learned from Elin (Mrs Woods) and the Tiger

So I am a bit late commenting on this… The car “accident” was in November, but alas better late than never. Three cheers for Elin Nordegren, wife of Tiger Woods, who chased a barefoot Tiger out the house (yes, he was driving barefoot-  illegal in the state of Florida) and smashed out the windows of his car. Who then went and bought herself a private island in Sweden, is rumoured to be in discussions with Puma (Nike’s archrival), and continues to look absolutely gorgeous whilst pumping gas in the midst of a worldwide public humiliation. So what does one learn from such grace under fire and such a shocking fall from grace?

  • No one, I mean no one is squeakly clean. I’m still holding out for Barack Obama, but nothing would surprise me now.  
  • When paying millions/billions to a celebrity to endorse your brand, a couple of nifty background checks are well advised. Shame on you Accenture – I mean really, “Go on, be a Tiger” and you didn’t check him out?
  • When caught with your pants down, best not to disappear/run. Face the music, pull a Letterman and get on with life.
  • Never underestimate the power of a humilated spouse/employee. Such strength.
  • Treat people with dignity and respect. If you don’t, the rest of the world won’t like you very much.

Now onwards. The beauty of this whole scenario is that we all have fantastic small talk for at least another couple of months. And GO ELIN!

Ahh Sarah Palin…

Ok I admit it. I PVR’d Sarah Palin’s interview yesterday with Oprah. I just find this so compelling. This woman is writing a whole new book on how to be a woman in politics. During my blogging hiatus (sorry readers), I attended a fantastic event called “Women on Board” here in Vancouver. The keynote speaker, Avivah Wittenberg Cox spoke about how increasing the participation of women in business is not an HR or a diversity project. It is a business imperative as women represent the “other half” of the population. And that businesses with gender balanced executive teams outperform their non “gender balanced” competitors. Core to her argument is that women have spent the last thirty years adapting to a business structure developed by men. Cox’s argues that modifying this structure is key to business success.

And then Sarah Palin went on Oprah and I just had to write about her as I find her an interesting example of a woman who is restructuring the role of a politician.

Here are some things that make Sarah Palin an interesting case study:

  • She is a pro-life woman (with the kids to prove it) on the American right. For years, men have been the political spokespeople for the pro-life movement.  
  • She is savvy and thumbed her nose at the Republican establishment. She secured a $1.25 million dollar advance for her book “Going Rogue” that was released today and you would have to be under a rock to not know about it. The book widely denounces the McCain campaign.
  • She has five kids and and was a Governor (Ok Alaska is not the biggest state in the world – but still impressive).
  • She lost in the election, was widely widely mocked (SNL had its best ratings ever thanks to Katie Couric, Sarah Palin and Tina Fey) but yet, there is a good chance she will run for President in 2012. I  mean is anyone talking about Mitt Romney or Mike Huckabee?
  • She represents a different type of woman in politics. She is not a Hilary Clinton who achieved through her intellect and ability to get on with the establishment (read men in politics). She just is who she is. Take it or leave it.

What to say more.

Beyonce – a class act of leadership

If you have been living under a rock then you may not have heard about what went down at the MTV Video Music Awards Sunday night. In short, sweet seventeen year old Taylor Swift won for best video, started her acceptance speech and was rudely interrupted by Kanye West who grabbed the microphone out of her hand (eeek!) and said that “Beyonce’s Single Ladies is the best video of all time”. Taylor Swift didn’t finish her speech and the look on her face was enough to bring tears to the eyes of the most hardened “I hate country music” fan. Kanye was eventually booed off the stage. But redemption came.

Beyonce won an award later in the evening and after reaching the stage she said the following: “I can remember being seventeen and winning my first VMA with Destiny’s Child, and I remember how nervous I was. I would like to invite Taylor back on stage to have her moment”. Taylor Swift then made her way back on the stage, Beyonce handed her the microphone, gave her a hug and stood behind her. I get chills just thinking about this (good ones!). In one moment, Beyonce distanced herself completely from what Kanye did, and she had the grace and class to ensure that an emerging artist had her moment in the sun. Kanye on the other hand has been dissed by just about everyone this week and had to go on Leno(!!) to apologize. Who do you think needs a bit of coaching on self awareness and their impact on others? Hmmmm…