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Jan 22, 2008

Can You Survive the Truck Test?

Truck Crash When I was with Niehaus Ryan Wong, we used to have this saying, “If a truck, God forbid, hit one of your team members, what would you do?” 

Yes, not a pleasant thought, but this did happen to me. No, not the truck =), a broken and dislocated ankle. But there is nothing more vivid than the truck test to focus your attention on preparing you organization for the unexpected. 

What has that person be working on?  What are you policies for checking the person’s voicemail and email? And if the laptop is destroyed, are critical documents and plans lost as well?  Here are three things for surviving the truck test: 

Centralize Laptops are great for their mobility – you can take it home or away on a sales trip thereby getting more work done outside of traditional work hours. But there is a tendency to save documents to the laptop instead of a shared server or intranet. In case of an extended leave, the challenge is accessing documents that may be relevant to the team, especially for sales information, marketing plans or other documents critical to the company. Ensure that documents are saved on a company server or intranet for easy access.

Standardize – Let’s assume that you have a server to save documents. To ensure that you can easily find critical information, create a policy that outlines 1) what documents are to be saved to the server and 2) how to name documents for consistency. For point 2, I recommend always including a) the person’s name, b) main subject and c) date.  For example, “MaryMediaList_May252007” is easier to find than just “MediaList.” The date also helps for versioning.

Communicate – Assuming that your team member survived the truck test, it’s important to provide regular updates. Not only does your team want to express their best wishes for a speedy recovery but also will help minimize confusion as to 1) what happened, 2) when is he/she coming back and 3) who is handling his/her responsibilities in the meantime. 

By just focusing on these three factors, you can begin preparing your organization for the unexpected. 

What has your company done TODAY to ensure that YOU survive the truck test?

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Jan 15, 2008

Thoughts from 2007: Lessons Learned

SearchAnd what have I learned this year? In no particular order, here are my lessons from blogging and life in general:

  1.        I realized how important family is, even if they annoy you!
  2.        The power of social media to meet new friends from all over the world
  3.        Twitter is truly addicting.
  4.        That you don’t have to blog every day. Saying something interesting is more important than frequency.
  5.  Good friends are hard to come by – fight for the good ones, don’t stress about the others.
  6.  Compromise is important, especially if you’re wrong or think you’re right.
  7.  Be patient.
  8.  Keep telling yourself that the 49ers will always get better.
  9. Take comfort that at least the Red Sox are doing well.

What lessons have you learned from 2007?

Jan 10, 2008

Blu-Ray Finally Winning?

Blu-ray Disc Association

Update: Toshiba has announced that they will no longer promote HD-DVD. Blu-ray has won.  

I have a personal interest in the recent news coming out of CES and now Variety. I worked on the Blu-ray Disc Association from late 2004 to 2005 while I was with Blanc & Otus. Wow – that was a long time ago during the early years of the high-definition format wars! 

At the time, the PR effort was focused on educating manufacturers and content providers (e.g., the studios) about the large support behind the Blu-ray format. At the time, the only major manufacturer NOT backing the format was Toshiba, who backed the HD-DVD format. Then there were the studios. The assumption was whomever could get the most content would have an edge. 

 It was unfortunate because the whole “format war” could have been avoided.  

But who’s the true winner here?

So fast forward to 2008 and it seems that Blu-ray may finally getting the edge over HD-DVD. Despite the bottom prices of HD-DVD, Sony’s PlayStation probably had a huge influence in the adoption of the Blu-ray format.  

However, the possibility of downloading high-definition movies digitally is more a reality than two years ago. Why purchase another “DVD” player when my local cable company can provide me with a set-top box for downloading movies or TiVo adds this ability for current subscribers. 

In my case, I don’t have TiVo or advanced cable service. Instead, I go online to watch episodes that I’ve missed, which raises another option – delivery to the computer.

How long will this last?

If you’re like me and believe that Blu-ray will be the standard for high-definition viewing, then how long will the format be around? 

This much is true – people are buying HD TVs. They want more than Discovery Channel in HD. Some will pay the premium to cable companies to get on-demand HD. But most, like me, will want the ability to get a rental movie delivered via Netflix or at my local Blockbuster. 

Even then, we may be a few years before digital downloads rival Blu-ray players and Playstations for viewing movies. 

So what do I think?

Frankly, I’m tickled pink. I truly believe that the Blu-ray format is better. I wish the association well and look forward to seeing how this will finally enable manufacturers to focus on consumer products.

This is an interesting case study in how a format war unfolds and a winner is eventually picked.

Jan 9, 2008

My Biggest Influencers

GrandmaPaul Dunay of Buzz Marketing for Technology tagged me for a meme about my biggest influencers. Here are my biggest influencers:

My Grandmother (photo)- As I mentioned in an earlier post, my grandmother passed away in September. She was such a vibrant woman who took care of her children and grandchildren. She embodied what a strong woman is – she came from a small village in China and emigrated to the States. She was always there – caring and loving. She was my grandmother.

My Parents – It’s so funny. When I was younger, I wouldn’t have appreciated everything that my parents did for me. As an adult with a husband, home and profession, I now realize how hard my parents worked to raise and put me and my three siblings through college. They came to the US for a better life for their family. I truly appreciate everything they did and they have taught me the value of hard earned money.

My best friend, Danielle – I’ve known Danielle since my freshman year in college. Danielle has taught me so much about life and perserverence. She showed me patience when maybe, at times, I didn’t deserve it. She showed me what a true friend is and how to be a good one.

So there you go, my biggest influencers. I’m going to tag CK, Mack Collier and Brendan Cooper. Let’s see what they say.

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Nov 13, 2007

Blink in a Flash


Malcolm Gladwell’s book Blink explains how we can have “rapid cognition” in a blink in a eye. This can have us intuitively know why something is a fake, perceive a situation in a certain way or jump to a conclusion.I have to admit, I had a “blink” moment when I read TechCrunch the other day. They were soliciting questions in advance of their interview with John Edwards. I focused on the part about putting questions in the comments section, that I didn’t realize that is was related to technology topics. Um – yeah!

I know, I know. So what did I put in the comments? Questions about poverty and how he can become the Democratic nominee with Clinton and Obama in the lead (check the screenshot). Sigh.

Just teaches me – take your time, read through everything and then respond. =)

Sep 28, 2007

In Memoriam – My Grandmother


My grandmother (June 1913 – September 2007)

I originally started writing my blog to share my thoughts about marketing and PR. Even though I’ve been writing for a short period of time, I’ve met some very interesting people and forging friendships.

Though I don’t believe many people have missed my postings, I wanted to explain why I’ve gone silent. And I did struggle about whether or not I should write this. In the end, I’ve started on the road to opening myself professionally, and to a degree, personally. 

My grandmother passed last week and I traveled to New York for the services. She was a great woman who lead a fascinating life – first in mainland China and eventually in the States. She lived a long life with four children and 13 grandchildren. She will be remembered fondly by all who knew her. 

I will miss her terribly.



Cece Salomon-LeeCece Salomon-Lee is director of product marketing for Lanyon Solutions, Inc. and author of PR Meets Marketing, which explores the intersection of public relations, marketing, and social media.

This blog contains Cece's personal opinions and are not representative of her company's.

Learn more about Cece.

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