October 7, 2004

VP Debate on Audio: Cheney vs. Edwards

The debate between the vice presidential candidates is now available free on audio from Audible.com. Check it out here.

The remaining two debates will be available on Audible.com as well. There putting them up with a few hours of their completion which is cool. Good stuff…

October 5, 2004

Mark Cuban

Mark Cuban (Owner of the Dallas Mavericks, Star of the new TV show “The Benefactor”) has a new PDF posted on Change This in which he attributes much of his success to the following:

I continually searched for new ideas. I read every book and magazine I could. Heck, three bucks for a magazine, twenty bucks for a book. One good idea that led to a customer or a solution, and it paid for itself many times over. (Read the rest here)

The same is certainly true for audio material. One good idea could pay for any material your purchase many times over. So while $20, $30 or even $100 could seem pricey for an audio learning title, it might actually be more expensive for you not to buy it…

October 3, 2004

First Presidential Debate on Audio: Kerry vs. Bush

If you missed the first U.S. Presidential Debate, you can now download it at Audible.com. The audio certainly doesn’t capture everything (I thought some of the “non-verbal” stuff that was going on the during the debate was pretty interesting) but it does allow you to focus on what the candidates are actually saying. I hope Audible does this for all of the debates. Here’s the link to the download (FYI, it says Audible members only but I’m not sure if they are referring only to their paying members or to non-paying members as well):

First Presidential Debate at Audible.com

October 2, 2004

My Life

I just received my copy of “My Life“, the unabridged autobiography of Bill Clinton. Good stuff so far… Bill only reads the prologue but the reader (Michael Beck) does an excellent job and even sounds a bit like the former President. It’ll probably take me a long time to plug through this one but I’m definitely looking forward to posting a review when I finish.

September 29, 2004

New book from my old boss

Scott Schwefel, my former boss, just published a new book entitled I Think I’ll Stand Up: Finding Your Personal Path To Success And Self-confidence and I thought I would give him a quick plug. Scott’s a great guy who has been tremendously successful, recently selling his computer training business. I haven’t read the book yet (just ordered it) but I figured I would mention it as I’m sure it’ll be great.

September 27, 2004

The Day the (iPod) Music Died

It seems that there are some lessons in life that you have to learn a few times before they finally sink in. One of those for me might seem quite obvious to you: Water and electronics do not mix. After managing to drop my cell phone into a drink a few months ago, today lightning struck twice as a water bottle in my backpack managed to leak all over my iPod. Needless to say, this was not a good thing…

When I went to go out on a run today I checked my iPod to make sure it was working. It wasn’t. It was doing some really funky stuff and I figured that the bottle of water had just cost me $250 more than I had previously thought. I got on the line with tech support at Apple and in the meantime, turned the iPod off.

After about 20 minutes on hold I finally got someone who informed me that I had purchased my iPod more than 90 days ago and therefore was not entitled to anymore “complimentary phone support”. In all fairness though she was willing to listen to my problem and send me a link with some info on a couple of steps I could take to possibly restore it. She also mentioned that it would cost $250 to repair it but with new Minis running about $235 at Amazon.com I’m not sure why anyone in their right mind would choose that option.

Well, after getting off the phone with tech support I turned the iPod back on and lo and behold, it works! I’m keeping my fingers crossed as I know were not out of the woods on this one yet. If my iPod startsplaying Miles Davis someday then I know I’m really screwed (I have no Miles Davis music on my iPod). In the meantime, all is good. Still can’t wait until they come out with waterproof iPods…

September 27, 2004

The Leadership Collection…Stupid

Every once in a while I hear or read something a business has done and hear Tom Peters’ voice shouting “Stupid! Stupid! Stupid!” (If you’ve listened to his remarkable book “Re-Imagine” you know exactly what I mean.) It’s usually when a business is really close to having a great idea and then FUBARs it. This was the case with Soundview’s new Leadership Collection executive book summaries on audio…

What’s wrong with executive book summaries on audio you might ask? Nothing. In fact, it’s a brilliant idea. Executives don’t have time to read. OK, that’s not true but at they are probably among the busiest of all human beings. Throw the information they need to digest into audio format then and let them listen to it in their car or at the gym. Seems reasonable…

Expect for the fact that these summaries are available only in the “exclusive Audiofy BookChip format”. So exclusive I’m sure that very few people will actually be able to listen to them. I have an iPod which is the most popular portable listening device on the market. Can I listen to these book summaries on my iPod? Nope.

I commend Soundview on bringing these products to market but I really wish they had thought a little more about it. Are people really going to buy their Audiofy player just to listen to this? Didn’t Audible try this and fail with their “Otis” product? It’s not rocket science. Put together killer content in a format that can readily be consumed by the masses. Do that and you’ll feel the customer love…

September 25, 2004

Trying out Netflix

So I bit the bullet finally and signed up for Netflix. In addition to using LearnOutLoud.com to enable and promote audio learning, we’re also focusing on video learning as well. One of our goals is to encourage individuals to substitute 10-20% of the time they would normally be watching regular television with more substantial and beneficial programs. While some channels (A & E, The Learning Channel, etc.) carry this type of programming, it’s often best to look towards DVDs and VHS tapes instead…

The benefit of subscribing to Netflix is that you can watch as many programs in a month as you have time for. And they do have some good ones. I’m currently watching Joseph Campbell’s interview with Bill Moyers entitled The Power of Myth. It’s quite interesting and well worth watching. If you’ve read any of Campbell’s books (e.g., “The Hero with a Thousand Faces”), you’ll definitely enjoying these discs.

The downside of Netflix right now is that they don’t have a ton of “video learning” material available. There are a few titles by Deepak Chopra, Wayne Dyer and Caroline Myss but the number if relatively small compared to what’s out there. Imagine a day when you can rent Teaching Company and Nightingale-Conant titles for a monthly fee. That will be really, really cool.

In the meantime we’ll just have to make due with what Netflix (and other similar services such as those from Blockbuster and Wal-mart) has to offer. If you’re interested in giving Netflix a test run, you can get a free trial at www.netflix.com.

September 17, 2004

Egoscue Clinic Visit

Yesterday I had the privilege of visiting an Egoscue clinic in Irvine, California. For those of you not familiar with it, the Egoscue Method is a rehabilitation/injury prevention program based on the theory that most physical injury is caused by lack of flexibility, strength and range of motion. Pete Egoscue has written a number of books on the subject including the classic Pain Free.

September 15, 2004

Good News from Audible.com

I received a response to my Audible customer service query today (here was the original issue). Audible’s response:

“As per your email St. Francis of Assisi by G.K. Chesterton was not up to your standards. I have refunded your account for the book and have restored your book credit.”

Kudos to Audible for handling the situation appropriately. They were a bit slow in responding but they did the right thing in the end.