Thursday, April 27, 2006

Dylan on XM

Xm Satellite Radio recently announced they have signed up Bob Dylan, who will be hosting a one hour weekly radio show starting next week on May 3rd. Dylan will play his own selections of music, based around a weekly theme, and will relate stories and anecdotes as well as answer listener emails.

That's a pretty big coup for XM. It's also a strange, but exciting new direction for Bob Dylan, and it sounds like it would be fascinating listening. According to a Reuters article, in a preview of the first show, in which the theme is 'the weather', Dylan plays and chats about tracks ranging from 'Blow, Wind, Blow' by Muddy Waters to 'I Don't Care if the Sun Don't Shine' by Dean Martin to and 'The Wind Cries Mary' by Jimi Hendrix.

Future themes will include cars, dance, police and whiskey.

Also of interest is the story behind how XM landed Bob Dylan, told by Lee Abrams on his blog. What comes through in Lee's blog is how passionate he is about both Bob Dylan and music in general. It's refreshing to hear him talk about how he's not sure that everyone at XM 'got it' with the Dylan thing, and how "... Bob is not a typical content deal that takes money and a good PowerPoint. This is engaging BOB DYLAN to do something that you’d never think he’d do ...". Dylan's business manager tells Abrams, "... You know Bob is not a 'CEO' kind of guy ..." when it is suggested by XM that their CEO chat with Dylan.

Here's an exec that gets it. There's no business speak here about marketing, return on investment or any other bland terms, but rather an honest, passionate account of how he convinced one of the world's most innovative and reclusive artists to do something new and exciting.

Being in Australia, I'm going to have to subscribe to XM Radio Online to hear this. Is there a better way for non US residents listen to satellite radio? If you know of one, please let me know.

Technorati Tags: , , , , ,

Thursday, April 06, 2006

How CEO's Work

Fortune online are running an interesting series in which a handful of CEO's from major (American) companies are asked about how they work. The two interviews that I found interesting where with Bill Gates (Microsoft) and Marissa Mayer (Google).

Both use more than one screen to work. Bill uses three, while Marissa uses two. Bill says his work area is paperless, and he gets about 100 emails a day. Only 100? Well he uses filtering to keep it to this level, with only email from previous correspondence and any of his partner companies going directly to him. All other email is presented to him as a summary write-up, compiled by his assistant.

Marissa, on the other hand, says she receives around 700-800 work related emails a day. On weekends she spends between 10-14 hours straight catching up on email. Doesn't sound like much of a weekend to me at all, and I would say this process definitely needs refining!

Bill also says that desktop search has had a major effect on boosting his productivity, by giving him instant access to information across his network without having to navigate through folders.

For me, being a lowly web designer, my email load isn't anywhere near this, so I am able to manage my email manually without any problems. I BCC everything to a GMail account which I use as a free online backup of all my email.

I use two screens when I am working on site at BHP, and I really have found that it makes a difference to productivity. At home, where I am forced back to one screen, it becomes slightly frustrating and slower to move windows around and switch between everything again.

My experience with desktop search has been liberating as well. I use Google Desktop and can find an old email or document in a few seconds. It's rare now that I have to trawl through folders to find something. Some of the plug-ins for Google Desktop are useful as well, enabling me to instantly see stock prices, email accounts and RSS news from various sites by simply sliding my cursor to the slide-out sidebar.

How do you work? I'd be interested to know of any tips and tricks you have for enhancing productivity.

Technorati Tags: , , , , ,