Archives for August 2006

I Love this Commercial

Have you seen this commercial from Genworth Financial featuring 100-year old Trumpeter, Leonard “Rosie” Ross?  If not, click on this button immediately – while it is still current!

It's been playing on television for a few months.  Here's a guy who started playing the Trumpet in 1923 and still plays professionally one night a week.  “If it's Friday night, I'm at the Pine Cone Inn,” he prodly says in the television commercial.  All this while a great soundtrack of “The Sugar Blues” accompanies the commercial.

It's great to see “Rosie” driving to his gig in a big, old Caddy wearing cool shades.  What a blast!

He loves music, he loves life and music is his life.  Doing what he loves keeps him young and alive.

Even though this is a commercial for an Insurance Company selling Long-term care insurance, it is one of the best testements to “The Power of Music” that I have ever witnessed.

You go “Rosie!”

A Perspective on Education

“Education is what survives when what has been learned has been forgotten.”

–        B.F. Skinner


Now that a new school year is about to begin, these words are a wonderful reminder for us to keep things in their proper perspective.  Test scores are certainly important, but they never measure engagement, excitement and imagination.

Good Fellowship

I am a longtime member of the Retail Print Music Dealers Association (RPMDA) and served on their board of directors for several years.  Today I received a copy of their newsletter – the RPMDA Measure.  This issue was a recap of the annual convention held this past May in Portland, OR.

One of the highlights was a reprint of an introductory speech that my friend Don Eubanks delivered at the Saturday evening banquet.  Don is a founding member of the association – some 30 years ago – and I have known him for most of those years.  Last year Don was the recipient of “The Dorothy Award” – the highest honor awarded to members of the RPMDA for a lifetime of service.

Not long before, Don had tragically lost his wife and partner Judy to cancer.  But he had his other family – his peers and friends in the print music industry – with him that evening in Biloxi, MS (just a few months before Hurricane Katrina devasted the town).

To say that Don was overwhelmed by the emotion of that evening is an understatement.  He was much more composed this year when he presented the Dorothy Award to Geoff Lorenz of Lorenz Industries.  I suspect that he gained confidence and strength because he asked all of the past recipients of the award to join him on stage.

My point is – None of us ever knows what fate has in store for us.  The people that we have worked closely with, our friends, family members can be suddenly whisked away in a flash.  What we do have is this moment – and the history and memories that led us to this moment.  What we do, who we help, whom we seek help from – that is all that matters.  Our friends, colleagues and mentors may have passed, but we can enjoy the moment – if we choose to become involved;  if we choose to share;  if we value good fellowship.

Receiving the newsletter today – and remembering this photo from 1997 – brought bak a flood of memories – of my thirty years in the printed music business and what I learned from the people that I met and became involved with – those footsteps in the sands of time.

Don Eubanks and DR.jpg

Favorite Quotations

“…a company's most precious asset is its relationship with its customers.  It is not 'who you know' but how well you are known to them.”

– Theodore Levitt, editor and writer The Harvard Business School

If you have ever attended one of my seminars or training sessions, you know how much I enjoy – and employ – quotations.  I envy the ability to encapsulate the essence of 260 pages of research and ramblings into a sentence or two.  It is a goal I struggle to attain.

If we are to effective in communicating our message to our market, we must achieve clarity and brevity in as compelling a message as possible.  This is what the best quotations achieve.  My favorites include Winston Churchill, John Wooden and Peter Drucker.  Who are your favorites?  Please, share them with me and the readers of this blog.

I will share my favorite quotations as a regualr feature of my blog.  They shape my thinking – help me to gain clarity – and inspire me to define and sharpen the message I attempt to convey in my articles and speeches.

The quotation from Theodore Levitt has been deliberatly selected to lead off this series.  Over the six years since I first discovered it, it has become my daily mantra – I reflect upon its message each morning as I sip my morning coffee.

Another daily morning ritual is to read the Obituary column of the New York Times – not from some morbid fascination – but rather to reflect on the passing of and celebrate the accomplishments of men and women who have contributed to making our great society.  Unfortunately, I read about the passing of Theodore Levitt a few months ago.  Along with Peter Drucker's insights on management theory, Levitt's writings on marketing are some of the best of the Twentieth Century.

If I am able to attract readers to my blog – and to my business, The Company Rocks – I must embrace the essence of Theodore Levitt's admonition – be known to your customers (for something of value.)

Please let me know if I am doing so – or not.

Danny Rocks


The Value of Associations

My good friend Zach Phillips sent me a few photos from the recent NAMM Show in Austin, TX.  NAMM is the International Music Products Association.  Zach is the Editor of Music Inc. Magazine – a trade paper that covers the music products industry.  He is also a talented singer and guitarist and loves having the opportunity to get together with his friends and perform.  Fortunately, the NAMM show and other industry gatherings offer members this opportunity – to get together to play, discuss, argue, learn, buy and sell.

In any industry there are natural tensions between manufacturers and retailers.  The music products industry is no exception.  And recently there have been added tensions between one group of retailers – the independent, traditional music stores and another group – the large, multiple location, national chain stores – e.g. Guitar Center.  Rather the problem, from the point of view of the independents is that manufacturers offer preferred terms and exclusive, coveted brands to the national chains and could care less if the independents survive or not.

This may be a simplistic statement of the problem and recently, the trade magazines have printed letters from frustrated dealers offering their simplistic solutions – eliminate the sales tax exemption on out-of-state internet purchases, prohibit cheaply made, low-priced imported musical products, etc. But there is one simple solution to any problem – open communication.

NAMM, to their credit, did a great job facilitating open communication at the July trade show.  They sponsored a Town Hall meeting with an open microphone.  An All-Star panel of manufacturers and retailers answered “hot button” questions from the audience and the moderator.  There were free twenty-minute seminars and question and answer sessions all three days in the idea center.  And best of all, colleagues and competitors sharing ideas and opinions during chance encounters at the hotels, bars and restaurants in Austin.

And yet, the attendance numbers at the show were down by a considerable amount.  Fewer dealers attended and many of those who did attend came with fewer staff.  I don’t get it!

I know that this economy is not the best. Sales for many dealers – and manufacturers – were flat at best last year.  Many dealers like to drive to the summer show and Austin was a bit too far away for many.  But …, if you are having problems you can not solve them by yourself.  Talking to and learning from your industry peers are probably the best ways to discover solutions, insider tips and successful marketing plans.  Getting inspired and trained in improved sales techniques are also compelling reasons to regularly attend professional association meetings – regardless of the venue.

If you want to find out what you missed, I suggest that you check out the daily recaps on the NAMM website –  If you don’t want to miss another sales opportunity don’t miss the next trade show in January 2007 in Anaheim, CA.

A New Beginning

Good Morning!


Today I enter the world of blogging – a brand new adventure! 


I have never kept a written diary or journal – a place to express my thoughts, feelings and ideas.  If I had, I would not expect to share those written words with even my closest friends.  And now, to start blogging,  is not just to write down these thoughts – on a regular basis – but to actually publish them for any and all to see.  And I do wonder if anyone will see.  But that does miss the point of blogging. 


I will write in order to articulate my thoughts – at that point in time.  I will write in order to try to find meaning and direction in the subjects that interest me.  I will write to try to find and articulate my voice.


I hope that you will join me in this new adventure.  Please visit my website.