Category Archives: John Ely Blog

Back in the fold…again

I was asked about my blog last night and couldn’t even believe someone had found it. It’s been a while since I “needed” to blog about anything, as the new job doesn’t require any type of social media content…at least not yet.

So, what the hell do I have to say today? I did go into a small rage last night while flipping my new mattress. See, I had rotator cuff surgery five months ago and I’m still a little tender and a lot weak!  Prior, I would have flipped the king size in less than 30 seconds….last night took some skill, strategy and about 73 four-letter words.  I hate being anything less than 100% and right now I’m physically rolling around 40, on a good day.

After the rant, and convining my dog that I wasn’t mad at him (he’s a sensitive little guy) I calmed down and plugged myself back into the pre-season Bengals/Colts game. Not a lot to cheer for, but hey, it’s pre-season. It’s been a crappy year with two surgeries (legs and shoulders). Heck, add knees and toes and I believe I have a song on my hands. I’ll bounce back, just not as high or fast as I’d like.

B2B Woes…

I’m speaking at a local event this week and it has forced me to research my chosen topic, even though I have spent the last 20 years in the industry. B2B marketing is a special animal and anyone that has engaged in it will tell you it’s a much more difficult and complex type of marketing than the more traditional B2C.

I belong to gr0ups and associations that tailor to marketers, but we B2B folks seem to be the ones swept into the corner…that is until we’re needed to land a multi-billion dollar sale! See, B2B marketers typically work with larger product scopes or even project-based sales. These types of sales can take months or years to complete (In that time a consumer product could run its entire life-cycle!) and demand that we “cater” to a variety of targets and decision makers. My contention is that B2B marketers don’t sell a prospect but rather entice those prospects to “commit” to a channel partner or particular rep. Our job as B2B marketers is to position ourselves as the spouse and not this week’s date!

I’m amazed at all the research around B2B that simply reinforces the fact that it is more challenging, without any roadmaps drawn for success. I’ll focus this week on both I think; we need to understand the differences between the two, but we also need to concoct some recipes for achievement!

The Great Re-Depression

I was listening to the radio and heard mention that the recent recession ended in 2009. This is the typical sugar-coated White House version of reality, but it really ticked me off!  I’ll believe the recession is over when unemployment is under 5%, GDP exceeds debt and my house is worth more than it was in early 2006!!  I’m thinkin’ that’s probably 4-5 years away at best!

If you look at it from the typical American’s viewpoint, you can’t help notice that this will be a 10-year minimum crisis. Most middle-class citizens are heavily invested in their homes, and many of us made the mistake of treating them like living, breathing 401ks…investing most of our earnings into the home we live in and banking on the year-over-year returns.

This all got me thinking, and got me pissed at the same time. I’ve been looking for inspiration for a new book and I think I’ve got it. My contention is that the recession is not over, it didn’t start in 2006 and in fact America has been in steady (sometimes steep) decline since JFK was shot on Dealey Plaza. Think about it…we were crowned the world’s super power in 1945-6. Our economy blasted off and remained the global leader until the early 60s. Since then we’ve:

  • Fought and lost the most unpopular war in the last 1000 years
  • Eroded our manufacturing base starting with the Automobile and continuing with the Steel, Consumer Goods and Technology industries.
  • Let our nation’s  infrastructure (once the envy of the world) go to shit. Take a look around at our bridges, roads, power plants, etc. – it’s downright scary!
  • Enacted so many social entitlement programs that we’ve become a nation of takers. Nearly 50% of Americans are on some government assistance program. If you’re bad at math, that means those of us who are not, are supporting ourselves and the at least one other citizen.
  • Finally, we’ve become such politically-correct pussies that when we do notice all the above our first notion isn’t to raise holy Hell until the problem is fixed…no, we concern ourselves with which special-interest group will be offended by our frank words, and how we will protect ourselves in what has become a litigious America.

Yes, I’m pissed and you should be too! When will I start writing?  About 20 minutes ago!

Another New Year…

OK, here we are again at the beginning of another new year. Every 12 months it’s the same for me, I make some resolutions…some are kept; some are not (OK, most are not!). But this year is different! Yes, I hear you pessimists in the background mumbling about the same lame excuse and justification…but really, 2012 is different.

How so? I’m making an entire list of resolutions…here we go!

  1. I will update my blog regularly. I now have a book out there and people may actually want to read periodic ramblings from my demented brain.
  2. I will get back in the gym. Actually, never left of my own accord; surgery last October put me down for a few months.
  3. I will read a book a week. Not all that hard unless my ADHD is kickin’ in.
  4. I will keep my email inbox clean. Nothing pisses me off more than 200 emails left unread in my inbox. But of course my procrastination leads to the overflow…which in turn pisses me off even more!
  5. I will tweet. ’nuff said.
  6. I will live within my budget. Fat chance, but I’m putting it in writing anyway.
  7. I will cleanse my Facebook friends list, and put more thought into who I let in.
  8. I will drive my econobox car more and leave the Earth-destroying SUV in the garage (notice I’m not selling the damn thing…baby steps)
  9. I will read my daily message from a spiritual source. No clever line here…still wary of personal Armageddon.
  10. I will begin another book. It’s long overdue.

So, there we have it, not one but 10 full resolutions. My goal is to stick to as many as possible – how’s that for non-committal?

Have a happy, safe and productive 2012…we’ll see you back here soon!


Back in the Fold

OK, it’s been a while since we visited each other here. My excuse – well, I’ve been traveling the world promoting solar power and all its virtues!  My new “day” job has me hopping all over the country and SE Asia and we’re doing some wonderful things.

Now, my background for those who don’t know me personally (and what a shame if you don’t!) is not only marketing, but electronics technology also. Most notably, working within the photovoltaic industry. “Photo – Vol – what” ? I hear you say? It’s not as geeky as it sounds. Photo = light, like what comes from the sun. Voltaic = Volts or electricity. So, sun-generated electricity…see, that wasn’t so hard. We’ve been bringing clean power to villages in Malaysia and some Government installations around the globe. Much more to do and many more places for me to see; but I promise to keep you in the loop!

Anyway, that along with my new book collaboration – The Good Book of Business, has been keeping me quite busy.  I’ll be writing more about the GBOB as the weeks progress and we get closer to publishing the book (very soon, I promise!). OK, out for now…the sun’s shining somewhere!

Me and ADHD


I recently heard an adult complaining that their child was diagnosed with ADD and how they thought it was just an excuse for the kid’s laziness and lack of scholastic effort. I’m a walking example that can totally disprove this narrow-minded viewpoint.

Yes, it’s true. I suffer from ADHD (as well as some other things my friends might tell you!). I was diagnosed in the late 90s and from what I’ve learned; it is MUCH more difficult to spot in adults as opposed to children. As an adult, you’ve developed a myriad of compensatory methods to deal with the affliction, so it becomes hidden behind your quirks.

For me, it was trouble focusing, reading, staying on task…the usual stuff. As a kid, I knew nothing about it nor did anyone else, because it wasn’t identified as a real condition until long after I was out of school. No, I was just a hyper kid with poor manners and little or no will-power; or so I was labeled.

I was relieved and upset when I was diagnosed. Relieved because now I had a reason for the struggles as a youngster (and as an adult for that matter). Upset because it took 30-some years to figure it out. ADHD and ADD stem from a chemical “malfunction” in the brain. It has to do with the “gates” that control the amount of chemicals such as noradrenaline and serotonin that are released, and when.

Normal people have cycles of these chemicals that help them “wake up” in the morning and fall asleep in the evening. We do not. What happens is they are released randomly or continuously, so we are never fully awake or asleep. Hence the moodiness, lack of focus and so on. Ever wonder why very young kids with ADD/ADHD have so many temper tantrums? Because temper tantrums release the noradrenaline in their brains, and they will have those tantrums in the mornings to wake them up – self-medicating before they can even spell ADD.

“What’s it like”, I’ve been asked. Well, like this –  

You wake up and look around the room and see the pack of Eclipse on the show about our planet last night on the science channel narrated by Mike Rowe on the new Ford commercials and I’d like to drive a new Mustang GT on the Bonneville Salt Flats I’m sure my friend’s mom drove a ’67 Bonneville that was light blue.

Have trouble making sense of that? Welcome to the world of the ever-changing channel in the ADD brain. It’s not fun.  Think about reading sentences/books like that from first grade to your senior year of college. If someone you know thinks they may have it; check it out. The diagnosis and treatment totally changed my life, afterwards I was able to return to school and earn my degrees. It’s real, it’s not an excuse, it doesn’t make you or them a bad person…it’s simply an affliction.

If it Weren’t for Bad Luck…


Have I ever told you the story about my uncle Erving? You know – the one who won the NY lottery back in 1986 only to get hit by a taxi on the way to cash in his winning ticket. Uncle Erving survived but the ticket was dislodged from him during the impact and never located; he died penniless and angry just a few years later.

Or the one about my cousin Derek, when under severe marital stress committed adultery (the only time in his life, mind you) only to contract a severe case of syphilis, lose his mind and spend the rest of his days locked in a state asylum?

Seems my family has a history of falling victim to incredible circumstances. Like my great aunt Heather, who fell for a circus entertainer when she was just 17 years old and ran off from home during the Great Depression. A year after her leaving, Philo her high-school sweetheart, invents the television and becomes rich beyond his wildest dreams. Great Aunt Heather? She was stuck with a hairy strongman until their untimely deaths during a freak train derailment in northern Idaho.

No, my family has not been on the fast-track to fortune or success and has certainly seen its share of heartache and disappointment. I’m not sure about my future, but I can tell you I will be staying in today, avoiding women, the circus and any temptation to hit it rich on a Mega Millions ticket. Oh yeah, did I also mention it is April 1st!  Happy April Fools  🙂

March Mad Money!

I did some quick calculating and the end number was astounding…wait for it – ’til the end of this piece. We marketers dream about the day when we will commission the Holy Grail of commercials…the Super Bowl spot. However, a little digging finds another event that far eclipses the NFL’s championship game.

The Super Bowl ads ran about twice the rate compared to the NCAA tourney this year – $3M per 30 seconds as opposed to $1.5M for March Madness; however the concentration and shear number of games lends to a much bigger jackpot. The NCAA tourney games run at a rate of 33% advertising. Every one minute of commercials buys you – the viewer, two minutes of basketball action.

Multiply the per-minute cost ($3M) by the number of games (67) and the number of commercial minutes per game (40 – very conservative!) and you get – $ 8,040,000,000! Yeah that’s eight billion…with a “B”! By comparison the Super Bowl brings in around $300M. Madness alright…Mad Money!

A Resolute 2011


“Admirably purposeful, determined and unwavering”, that’s how the New Oxford dictionary defines the word “resolute”, the base of “resolution”.  Determined and unwavering is not how I would describe most of my resolutions! Only one I can think of have I actually held true, and not even 100% there. Two years ago I decided that drinking three Venti Starbuck’s coffees every day might be contributing to my overall anxiety, sleeplessness and need to whiten my teeth every other week. I can confidently say that after two years of almost no coffee, I don’t have to whiten my teeth as much.

Here we are (I say “we” to fashion some sort of community here) on the second day of the new year and I’m thinking about resolutions past, present and future. With the one exception, all past decrees have come and gone without much notice or purpose. So, what will this year bring?

I found myself thinking about this year’s promise at 2 am today…kinda strange but true. I had not thought about a resolution for 2011 leading up to January 1st, but for some weird reason I began to in the wee hours of day two. What can I do differently that will positively change my life? Should it be work-related, financial, relationship or health-based? No, none of those struck a chord with me. Hummm…dilemma, dilemma.  What can I realistically accomplish that I really should change?

One word, “Music”. “What”? I hear you ask? “Music”, not listening to, or downloading more but playing. See, I’m a musician at heart, though I barely have made a peep in years. At 2 am I got to thinking about my father who passed over a year ago, and remembering then that I had thoughts of blowing the dust off of the drums in the basement. Why? Because of all the talents he possessed and achievements (athlete, veteran, artist, computer pioneer), he would have always described himself a “musician”; and that love of music passed on to me. I never considered myself talented, especially compared to dad, who could play any instrument known to mankind (and had them all in his house to prove it!) but I did enjoy it.  

So here, day two I’m setting off to the basement (after 12 noon of course) and sitting down behind the kit to make some noise.  I’m sure it will annoy and anger some of me neighbors, but hey – I’ll need a resolution for 2012!

After Christmas Blues…

I’ve been anxious this past week and I’m just starting to define why. Leading up to Christmas (like, two months prior!) I’m consumed with what to get everyone on my list. I’m canvassing the Internet and the local stores doing research on everything from a laser parking assistant (trust me, it’s a real product) to the cleverest Hallmark card I can find. All of this frantic activity stops on the morning of the 25th. Even with all the moaning and griping I do about shopping, I find that I miss the hustle of it all after the holiday.

I’m sure I’m not the only one suffering the blues here; retailers must be going insane. After the rush to return the ugly sweaters and the imitation iPods, there’s not a lot of activity until we all go looking for Valentines’ cards, jewlery and over-priced chocolates. What is the solution? I’m not sure, but what if we developed (and marketed) gifts that have some immediate recurring revenue? The Wii and Blu-Ray players are a start, but even then the initial gift usually comes with a bevy of games and asssorted DVDs.

Retailers and e-tailers need to be thinking about how to bring those shoppers back shortly after the holidays; maybe it’s holding customer events in the store (e-vents online) that begin to build a community among the shoppers. Gaming contests, chefs teaching us how to properly use those new Ginsu knives or a class on getting the most out of our iPads. As marketers, we must keep the momentum going after the holidays or we’ll all be singing the blues this winter.