Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Palm Beach, Trump and Butterfly Ballots

I have been the freelance editorial cartoonist for the Palm Beach Daily News, commonly referred to by the locals as "The Shiney Sheet," for 15 years, producing one cartoon a week on the Sunday Editorial Page. In that time, I have held several "day jobs," including working as a desk editor for the publisher of the National Enquirer, American Media, on everything from a Soap Opera fan magazine to the, recently deep-sixed Weekly World News. In that period I also have redesigned and launched several other mag titles under contract, and am now the Editor in Chief of ValueRich magazine

Even though the editors of PBDN want me to stick to "local" stories, I have lampooned a lot of events and personalities that you might find familiar.

Palm Beach residents include outrageous personalities like Rush Limbaugh and Donald Trump. The town is a targeted landing pad for funding Presidential political campaigns, and lately a lightning rod for political controversy. We even had one lady who registered her dog to vote. Perhaps this craziness is because Palm Beach is located firmly in the Devil's Triangle. I don't know. But "Crazy" is the its middle name. I live in Palm "Crazy" Beach County, Florida.

This provides me with no end of material, but also plenty of embarrassment. One time my wife and I were visiting friends in the south of France. It was their national election day, so they invited us along to their polling place while they cast their votes.

I thought the French voting system was unbelievably outdated by our standards. I was busy trying to keep a smile off my face while watching them make their choice on a piece of color-coded paper and stuff it in the top of a slotted wooden box.

Then our friends decided to introduce us to the entire room full of voters as their "visitors from Palm Beach." In unison, everyone shouted in a thick French accent, "Ohhhhhh, Palm Beach! BUTTERFLY BALLOT!" ... and proceeded to laugh their asses off.

Now that my 15th anniversary as the Shiney Sheet cartoonist has arrived, I figure the time is right for a book. The newspaper wants to do some special features as well. The publisher blogged about my work yesterday.

Stay tuned, I have plans to gather an audience online, solicit comments and make you part of the process as I piece together the book over the next month or so.

Read the Palm Beach Daily News blog:
Sorry. They only make their content "free" for seven days, so this blog link will only last until August 27, 2007.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Jon Stewart gets it. That's obvious in this Craig Newmark interview

I was laughing like everyone else and then I couldn't believe my ears. The power of decentralized organizations actually became the subject on the Daily Show. Jon Stewart gets it. He and Craig Newmark, founder of Craigslist, could have been quoting from one of the new articles due to come out in the next issue of ValueRich magazine.

The article is a book review of The Starfish and the Spider: The Unstoppable Power of Leaderless Organizations and interview with its authors Rod Beckstrom and Ori Brafman

In the Starfish and the Spider Beckstrom and Brafman offer some very eye-opening stories about decentralized organizations throughout history and in our time. These include the Apache tribe, Alcoholics Anonymous, eBay, al Qaeda, Napster, Craig Newmark's own Craigslist and many more.

The whole point is that organizations which open their decision-making up to the entire group are nearly impossible to destroy, and typically very successful.

Of course today, the increasingly Web 2.0-ized Internet is becoming the ultimate decentralized environment. In the interview, Brafman, Beckstrom and I get into a discussion about how this can really be beneficial to small companies. They have researched the principles of decentralization to the degree that any small company owner who reads their book will come away with concrete ideas of how to use elements of decentralization to their advantage.

Don't miss it.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

My message to David Neeleman and every other CEO out there

My message to David Neeleman: Now that you've got the JetBlue channel up on YouTube to apologize to your customers, use it more often and keep vlogging.

No doubt Mr. Neeleman has turned the negative press of the last week into a positive new outlook about JetBlue for most people who have seen this video.

After the era of "personal branding" and celebrity CEOs in the late 90s, many people tend to think of company CEOs as arrogant and aloof. If more company leaders sent out sincere messages like this, no matter what the news ... good or bad. That would change quickly.

David has been blogging on the JetBlue Web site for six months. Most of his blog entries read like announcements or press clippings from his journeys around the various JetBlue destinations. But none of them make the sincere and personal connection that this video does.

Sometimes, great ideas come out of near catastrophes. Not every CEO has Mr. Neeleman's charisma. But this message was not designed to be charismatic. It was a heartfelt talk with his customers.

I think every CEO of a micro-cap or small-cap public company ought to consider using this powerful medium to speak about their hopes and dreams to customers and investors. Forget the stiff financial presentations and interviews and get out your videocams. It's a new world.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Small-caps in South Beach... Now that's sexy!

It's 33 day's until the next ValueRich Small-cap Financial Expo in Miami (March 27-28, 2007) and I can hardly wait.

ValueRich Expos are very high energy, financial networking events that feature 50 small-cap public companies to an audience of roughly 1,000 buyside and investment banking professionals. The CEOs and management teams of the companies are available non-stop at office-like exhibition areas throughout the event and they also make Web cast financial presentations.

Beyond that, we have plenty of lavish networking and social activities. This year, we're taking the whole group to the famous Shore Club at South Beach. The Florida Marlins Mermaids will be on site throughout the event ... last year it was the Dolphins Cheerleaders (see myself and my beautiful wife Kayla with them above). And we will have a special guest actress who is our new iValueRich.com spokesperson on site as well.

If you are an investment banker, fund manager, money manager, institutional investor or public company officer, you owe it to yourself to join us in Miami ... even if it is just to see how it's possible to really create excitement and results around micro- and small-cap companies. And make some great connections and have a good time, of course.