Bio: Liz Harter is a Public Relations Specialist at Cincom Systems. She is an award winning journalist on the collegiate level and an autodidact in the social media field.
Liz blogs at Liz on Biz (http://www.LizHarter.com). You can find her on Twitter @EAHarter, or contact her by the old-fashioned e-mail at Lharter@cincom.com
ACOs are being held accountable for the customer experience in order to receive funding. Guided interactions, standardized treatments, and shortening the revenue cycle can help ACOs and Medical Homes provide a better patient and caregiver experience.
“http://expertaccess.cincom.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/93917202-300×200.jpg” alt=”Batman mask – Cincom Expert Access” width=”300″ height=”200″ />It took 23 years of passion, hard-work and bloody knuckles to bring one of the most iconic and real superhero’s to life on the big screen for a caped career that has spanned decades and brought in $2.6 billion with a slew of branded franchise merchandize and a brand new movie – The Dark Knight Rises – which hits theaters at midnight tonight.
But just how did Michael Uslan, the author of The Boy who Loved Batman, restore dignity to his childhood hero?
Uslan, who was a guest on Expert Access Radio in 2011, tells us his Batman moment happened in 1966: “My parents were safe upstairs in the kitchen and I was downstairs in the den watching the debut of the Batman TV show and I was simultaneously thrilled and horrified by what I was seeing on TV.”
It was the first time that many were being exposed to the masked crusader and Uslan realized that the campy “Bam!,” “Pow!,” “”Wham!” and “Zap!” were adding a comedic element to the character. The whole world was laughing at Batman, so while he enjoyed seeing his hero on television he made a vow that “somehow, someday, someway [he] would show the world what the true Batman … was really like.”
That Batman show was the first TV series about a superhero since George Reeves’ Adventures of Superman. But Superman has always been seen as a superhero who can transcend the world of comic books, according to Uslan. It wasn’t until recently that others have shared the television or silver screen.
That doesn’t make sense, considering that deep down, Batman’s origin story transcends borders, demographics and even cultures. Bruce Wayne is actually just a normal guy in extraordinary circumstances. He sacrificed his childhood and swore he would avenge the death of his parents after they were murdered in front of him.
And that is where the similarities of the story of Bruce Wayne and Michael Uslan intersect – though, thankfully, Uslan’s parents were alive. Bruce Wayne decided he would honor the commitment he made to his parents for the rest of his life even though it wasn’t always easy and it wasn’t always the popular thing to do. Uslan dedicated himself to honoring the vow he made in 1966 to rescue Batman’s image and continued that journey even when it wasn’t always easy, or popular, or even supporting his family in the best way possible.
Uslan acquired the rights to Batman in 1979 with his partner Ben Melniker. Even though Sol Harrison, who became the president of DC Comics urged them not to waste their money. Everyone believed Batman was dead as a commercially viable character, especially as Uslan wanted to reinvent him in his true form as a gritty, “creature of the night stalking criminals in the shadows.”
After acquiring the rights, Uslan immediately quit his job and headed to Hollywood even though he had no friends, family or business contacts in the city.
“I thought with Batman in my back pocket, I could convince them that dark and serious Batman movies, the way he was originally created, would be something the world had never seen before and a chance for tremendous success,” he said.
But that wasn’t the case as studio after studio shut the door on his face with the excuses of “no one does dark superhero movies” and “nobody makes movies about old television shows” – keep in mind this was 1979, not 2012 when we’ve seen The Avengers, two reboots of Spiderman, and Dark Shadows on the big screen.
Regardless of collecting enough rejection slips to fill a closet, Uslan kept pushing for the caped crusader to make it to the big screen.
“These comic books are truly today’s modern day mythology. It carries on from the ancient gods of Greece, Rome and Egypt except today they are all in spandex and capes.” he says of his perseverance in exposing the true Batman to the masses. “When you find a superhero who has no superpowers, his greatest superpower is his humanity, somebody who is not a guy who slugs his way out of a fight with a pow, zap and a wham, but it’s a guy who typically outthinks his opponent …” you can relate to that.
So how did Uslan finally get the 1989 Batman movie starring Michael Keaton and Jack Nicholson?
He continued to fight for his vision to be realized.
“At the bottom of it all it tests your mettle. When life turns into a 10-year long human endurance contest and everyone is telling you, ‘you are crazy,’ everyone is telling you, ‘you stink, your ideas are terrible,’ you really have to look deep inside and say, “okay, am I just being stubborn or do I really absolutely believe in myself and my work?”
Uslan had the support system behind him to recognize that he really absolutely believed in Batman.
“I believed in this from day one,” he said. “When everyone was telling me no; when everyone told me it was the worst idea they ever heard, I never faltered in my belief in this.”
At the heart of it all, Uslan never let what the critiques said about him, his ideas and his passion force him to quit. And now that Batman is once again one of the biggest franchises on the planet, he hasn’t let the support for the movies helmed by Tim Burton, Joel Schumacher and Christopher Nolan go to his head.
“If you don’t believe them when they tell you how bad you are and how awful your work is, and if you don’t believe them when they start telling you how wonderful you are and how great all your ideas are and just believe in yourself and your work, you will do fine in this life,” Uslan said.
Thirty-three years after Uslan bought the rights to Batman, he will once again be credited as a producer on the latest inception of the character played by Christian Bale in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises – the final movie in a trilogy which might not have been made without his perseverance.
I’m not normally a fan of the promoted tweets or trending topics on Twitter. They never seem to be done genuinely or even in a smart fashion. I’ve really only noticed the ones that turned out to be horribly negative for the company.
By Liz Harter
Have you ever noticed how easy it is to get jaded or complacent with things that are really quite cool when you see or work with them every day? It’s the reason Ferris Bueller told us to stop and look around once in a while. It’s wh
y people always tell us to stop and smell the roses.
It is so easy to walk down a hallway depicting more than 43 years of success without seeing it; to be so engrossed in the editing of a speech that you forget to sit back and listen to the main point; to work so closely with one person that you forget that they’re actually a pretty big deal.
Barbara is the author of the book Full Voice: The Art and Practice of Vocal Presence. She suffered stage fright and had vocal issues when she began performing but has since overcome these obstacles and become a vocal coach who encourages people to “‘find their voice,’ whatever that means to them,” according to her website. While I recommend listening to her entire Expert Access Radio interview (which begins at about -20:16), I was intrigued most by her idea of an “Irresistible Playlist.” It has to do with the five distinct vocal colors.
In a social world already dominated by Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, is it really necessary to add another platform – Google+?
According to Chris Brogan, featured monthly columnist at Entrepreneur Magazine and author of the upcoming book Google+ for Business: How Google’s Social Network Changes Everything, it’s extremely necessary.
There’s been a lot of talk about the new social platform from the search engine giant – from the 40 million users who joined while the site was still in a limited field trial to the naysayer bloggers who claim that those 40 million people signed up, created a profile and never came back to the site which has “become a ghost town.”
Not so, says Brogan: “Do you really want to count that pony out of the race when they put 40 million users on the platform in a few months?”
“I was on Twitter in October of 2006. That’s what they did on Twitter in October of ’06. Everyone showed up, made an account, went, ‘this is stupid’ and left,” Brogan says. “Then, years later, there is not a radio or TV show out there that doesn’t have a Twitter account that they are not always pushing you to follow.”
Brogan says that the launch of Google+ has been different than those social networks that have launched in the past. People are rebelling against learning a new site, they’re fatigued about starting something new when they’ve already had to learn and decide how they’re going to interact with the other social networks they’ve already joined.
He says that he gets “a little snarky” when he encounters that mindset and talks about other products and networks that used to be the “it” thing but have fallen by the wayside.
“I start to say things like, ‘well, you know what then? Why don’t we go hang out in my chat-room on AOL and talk about that a little,” he says. “’I will bring you back to my MySpace page and I will see if you can join my Top 8.’ … Technology tramps on, it doesn’t matter if we don’t like it or not, it’s just that way. And how many ways can you watch it go by before you realize, I really need to get on one of these ways.”
Google+ is one of those things that you can’t let pass you by, he says, if only for the search statistics alone.
“69 percent or so of people looking for your business on the web use Google to look for it,” he says. “0 percent of any other work that you put into Facebook shows up on Google. None of the work you put under Twitter shows up on Google. If you are a business and you are looking to get seen, I guess I’d go with the one that’s being indexed by Google.”
The site is also more useful to segment your audience than most of its competitor social networking sites because of what Google+ calls “circles.”
Circles are another way of categorizing those people that you follow on G+. You can set anyone up in any circle that you choose – be it “my business team,” “family,” “friends” or even “enemies” – and that categorization is only visible to you. Once you set people up in circles you can choose which circles you are going to send specific status updates to.
“If I circle only people in my business team and I send them a message, what happens is that message, if I choose to send it to only that group, it can only be viewed by that group,” Brogan says. “And so that means I can have private communication amongst my team.”
It’s a much simpler control of information, he says.
You can also make circles for business people that you’re trying to promote something to, and also groups for family and friends so that you don’t bother them with business promotions, but do communicate with them about personal matters.
But isn’t Google+ just for tech nerds?
Not at all, according to Brogan. People are doing all sorts of things on the platform – there are farmers sharing pictures of crops and animals, educators pushing information to their classes, long-haul truck drivers sharing their insights and ideas and even one person using the Hangout feature – which allows for video chats with up to 10 participants – hosting a game show where contestants on the Hangout must complete fun tasks in front of the computer such as balancing seven apples on top of each other.
Google+ is for everyone and it’s only going to get bigger. Will you let it pass you by?
Warner Brothers announced that no more Harry Potter DVDs or Blu-Rays will be shipped to stores starting on December 29. The films will be heading into retirement for an as yet-undisclosed amount of time. Warner Brothers is not the first to attempt to increase demand by taking movies off shelves. Disney has been doing so with the Disney vault for years now. Every few years they’ll pull a Disney classic “out of the vault” for a limited amount of time. They bank on the fact that parents will…
Communication makes all the difference in the world.
Steve Gavatorta, founder and president of the Steve Gavatorta Group based in Tampa, Fla., learned this lesson when he played football at Allegheny College in the 1980s.
He and his coach had two different communication styles, which didn’t mesh well. So, when his coach was trying to instruct him in practice, they weren’t connecting as well as they could have.
They were at an impasse, which Gavatorta has since recognized was the spark that drove his passion for communication.
“My college football experience was a good one, but it could have been better,” he says. “The coach just did not understand how to motivate players. He was motivating some, but he was really turning off others – and I was one of those other players.”
Once Gavatorta learned about communication styles and became a Certified Professional Behavioral Analyst (CPBA), he realized communication is intensely important not only on the football field but in the business world, too. The 20 years he spent in corporate America before starting the Steve Gavatorta Group in 2003 proved it’s just as essential in a boardroom or with customers.
“I don’t care if you’re in sales, management or a coach of a sports team, your ability to communicate, connect and interact with others is the most important skill set you can have,” he says.
Good communication skills are essential to connect and engage, and build rapport and trust with someone. And part of having good communication skills is having the ability to recognize the communication styles of others and adapt your own to better connect, Gavatorta says.
For example, someone may have a communication style categorized as being talkative and aggressive, adapting well and inviting change and loving to interact socially. If that person approaches someone whose style is more conservative, reserved, quiet and risk averse the first person’s style may aggravate the second. The second person would probably try to limit interactions with the first person, and wouldn’t want to do business with them.
However, if the first person recognized that the second has a different communication style, they could adapt their own style by pulling back their energy and aggressiveness to better accommodate the interaction.
It doesn’t matter if the two people are a coach and a player, a manager and a subordinate, a sales person and a customer, or two friends – communications will break down if people don’t adapt to each other’s communication styles to continue to interact.
To drive this point home, Gavatorta often uses a reference to the way Vince Lombardi viewed communication.
Lombardi was the coach of the Green Bay Packers in the 1960s. He is considered one of the best NFL head coaches and the Super Bowl trophy is named in his honor.
Lombardi once said:
You can’t coach without criticizing, and it’s essential to understand how to criticize each man individually. For instance, some can take constructive criticism in front of a group, and some can’t. Some can take it privately, but some can only take it indirectly. Football is a motivation business, and on my teams I put on most of the motivation. The point is that I’ve got to learn forty ways to motivate forty men.
The word motivation can easily be replaced with communication in Lombardi’s quote.
“As a coach, boss or salesman, you have to know the hot buttons of the people you’re interacting with,” Gavatorta says. “Lombardi knew that. If you don’t know those hot buttons, you won’t have the ability to motivate them and you won’t be able to communicate effectively.”
To learn more about how success in college football can translate to success in business, visit the Cincom Business Knowledge Center. And, for some more fun – and the chance to win prizes like a flat-screen TV – join our Cincom College Football Bowl Extravaganza at http://champions.cincom.com
When Michael Denisoff is working with international clients of the Denisoff Consulting Group he says tries not to use too many American colloquialisms, but there are a couple that he can’t help.
“The football stuff just slips out when I’m talking,” he says. “It’s just a lot like business, and life.”
Resorting to football metaphor’s and stories isn’t unusual for Denisoff. He was a wide receiver at the University of Notre Dame in the late 1980s, playing on the 1988 National Championship team under Lou Holtz.
After earning a theology degree with a minor in mathematics from Notre Dame, he went on to a consulting career, earning his MBA from Loyola Marymount University and establishing the Denisoff Consulting Group in Los Angeles.
He says that his time spent on the football field has translated well into the working world, though he didn’t realize that when he was playing.
“I was so ill prepared for life, and in some ways really prepared for it, when I graduated,” he says. “All the things that you do in football – goal setting, having a plan, having a strategy, being bold, being disciplined – I still carry those with me today.”
The sport taught Denisoff how to play on a team, whether it’s on a field, or in an office.
“You have to have a high level of trust in the people you work with,” he says. “In football, you have 10 other people on the field, and if you make a mistake, you have to cross your fingers that they’ll clean up after you. If you try to do everything instead of sticking to an agreed upon plan, it breaks down really quick.”
The same can be said of any business, he says, where companies and co-workers have to understand each other and sync their talents to perform at a high level.
Football also taught Denisoff how to keep up with the fast pace of decisions in the business world. Time management, whether it be of a play clock or a work day, is essential to succeed.
It also teaches that you won’t win every play, every hit or every game. He says he thinks of what sports analysts and fans say of great quarterbacks – quarterbacks have to have a short memory.
“If you make a good play, on the field or in an office, you can’t live off of that,” he says. “And if you make a bad play, you can’t get despondent over that. You have to get up and do the next play.”
When all of these lessons from football work together, businesses and teams can succeed, but when they don’t break downs occur. You can see those break downs on the football field each Saturday because, unlike most businesses, they’re broadcast nationally and analyzed on cable networks, but the same things do happen in the same ways in companies.
“You have to have a handle on things because things are happening so fast and there are so many decisions to make and you have to keep a handle on the technical aspects,” Denisoff says. “You have to be focused and trust that if you do what you’re supposed to do, the rest of the team will bring what they’re supposed to have to the table so you can win.”
Have you ever had to scramble for an interview for a senior White House staffer after pitching – and being rejected by – his friends, Connie Chung, Barbara Walters or Diane Sawyer? Or found out that your client was booked to speak at Comic Con 2009 at the exact same time that James Cameron was presenting the first public screening of 3-D footage from Avatar?
If you’re Marsha Friedman, founder and CEO of EMSI, a pay-for-play PR firm based in Florida, that’s all in a days work.
Masha Friedman, CEO of EMSI and author of "Celebritize Yourself"
Friedman launched EMSI in 1990 and since then has represented clients as diverse as Teamster’s President Jimmy Hoffa Jr., Motown Group, the Temptations, and Sergeant’s Pet Care Products.
“We live in a celebrity world,” Friedman says. “There are celebrity political pundits, attorneys, chefs, poker players, bounty hunters and even dog trainers. These people didn’t start as celebrities, they were just experts in their field who became celebrities because they were able to find a spotlight in the media, television and radio.”
And while a lot of hard work goes into finding that spotlight, the formula for doing so is surprisingly easy:
Writing a book immediately gives you more credibility in your field, Friedman says.
“You don’t need to be a writer to author a book,” she says. “Most people don’t realize that most of the “How-to” books they see in stores are written by a ghost writer or in collaboration with a ghost writer.
“It will still be your thoughts, but you’re delegating your ideas to a skilled writer.”
Once you have a book, you use it to promote your expertise, Friedman says.
“The media is looking for experts,” she says. “A book makes you eligible to be a paid speaker. It’s a networking and marketing vehicle. You have to take advantage of that positioning.”
And even if the media isn’t coming to you directly, you can still position yourself as an expert through social media and social networking.
“The options with social media are phenomenal,” Friedman says. “It allows you to get out there and attract attention. It can help you become known globally.”
But it’s not just about building your list of followers and friends, she warns.
“Building connections is important, but it is also important to drive them to your website; to get them to opt-in to an RSS feed or email campaign,” she says. “You’re not just building people. You have to build interest.”
And building interest, she says, leads directly into her next step. Selling yourself.
“Selling is a byproduct of media and social networking,” Friedman says. “If you offer good advice on TV or Twitter, people will want to buy your book. You have to be a really good pitchman.”
Marketing is essential to every business, and being an expert celebrity is the business of marketing yourself, she says.
“Take ownership of being positioned as an expert and maximize on your opportunities.”
Oh, and by the way. Things turned out pretty good for the two case studies introduced at the beginning of this article.
EMSI managed to get the senior White House staffer on 60 Minutes to promote his book.
They also booked Michael Uslan, a key producer on The Dark Knight, on a few morning radio shows in San Diego to drum up anticipation and try to salvage an audience for his presentation at Comic Con. Even with Avatar debuting in another room, Friedman says Uslan spoke to a full room.
“They were all interested to see the man behind Batman,” Friedman says. Though she admits booking Uslan in the 6 a.m. timeslot on the local CBS affiliate didn’t hurt – especially since he was surprisingly interviewed by a man in a Robin costume.