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The 2006 National Show

Malcolm GladwellMalcolm Gladwell started off the Opening General Session with a ten-minute address. He told the story of David Sarnoff and how he convinced RCA to broadcast the Dempsey-Carpentier fight in 1921 and sparked a new medium. The cable industry and other businesses are filled with such entrepreneurs.

Gladwell said there were three key points that we ought to focus on.

  1. Some challenges seem so enormous that we imagine they will take take a long time and a lot of resources to address. In fact (as addressed in his book The Tipping Point), there can be key moments — as with the broadcast of that boxing match — that can tip the scales and bring rapid change.
  2. You need to frame the issue properly. What are the real challenges our industry faces? What business are we really in? As Discovery founder John Hendricks said later in the discussion, things might have been different years ago if the broadcasters had realized they were in the content business and that delivery method wasn’t important.
  3. What gives a person the power to affect change is not authority or money, but having social power and vision. The cable business is filled with such people, some of whom were on the panel, such as Hendricks, Gerry Laybourne, Brian Lamb, and Bob Miron.

So, let’s keep developing sticky products and services that grab our consumers, have a vision of our future with advanced services, understand what business we’re in and what our customers expect, and keep letting our best and brightest do their thing.

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Kyle McSlarrowNCTA’s President kicked off today’s first General Session with the annual report on the state of the industry.

His remarks, and the first in a series of ads rebutting the telephone industries attacks on cable, indicate it will be a very good, but very tough year as we face legislation at the national and local level.

McSlarrow spoke about the innovation, determination, and success of our industry and the fact that we are a great American success story that has only just begun.

You can read the entire speech here.

Supplier Diversity Connection WorkshopAs mentioned earlier, today marked the 7th Annual Supplier Diversity Connection Workshop held during The National Show, organized by the Walter Kaitz Foundation.

Shown here is the panel “Follow the Money: Corporate Spending in the Cable Industry,” with Jim Hughes of CommScope, Greta Davis  of Time Warner, Harold Cain of Scientific-Atlanta, and Kathy Scott of Vozzcom.

National Association of Public Affairs NetworksStepping back in time slightly, as I catch up on some events from earlier today…

“Democracy is shaped by the electorate. Democracy needs to be shaped by an informed electorate.”

That’s how moderator Paul Giguere kicked off a breakfast panel today on regional public affairs networks — the so-called local C-SPANs.

Pictured here (L-R) is Pat Keating, WFSU The Florida Channel; Dan Shellenbarger, OGTV The Ohio Channel; Paul Giguere, CT-N Connecticut Network; Bill Trevarthen, MGTV (Michigan); and Tom Posey, The South Carolina Channel.  They’re board members of the National Association of Public Affairs Networks (NAPAN).

They presented an interesting mix of distribution options: traditional cable carriage, carriage through public television stations’ multicast digital signals, PEG channels, video-on-demand, and even podcasting.  Although they all received initial resistance from the government, legislators have come around and embraced the networks.

Georgia International PlazaA few of us were asking that same question. Were they art? Or some sort of solar energy panels? Oil derricks? I asked a few folks, including one GWCC staff member – no one seemed to know.

So I hopped on the web (thanks to the wireless connection here in the GWCC) and found out some interesting fast facts. The structures sit on what’s called the “Georgia International Plaza” – a remnant of the 1996 Summer Olympic buildout. The lawn is one of the top 10 all-American lawns – so says FloridaGardener.com.

On this lawn, sit the sixteen white 70′ structures with one 110′ in the center. The Texas Chapter American Society of Landscape Architects site says that they “provide a precise figural boundary for the central portion of the plaza, giving the space an object like presence within the irregular space of the roadways and buildings.” – i.e., they border the perimeter and have no real function.

There you have it.

Jill Nyhus

Gospel Brunch at Pittypat's PorchThe Atlanta Chapter of Cable Positive hosted a gospel brunch at Pittypat’s Porch earlier this morning. This well-attended fundraiser featured fabulous, soul-stirring music from the Voice of Altanta choir (a renowned group that has toured with Elton John) and a Southern buffet breakfast. All of the proceeds (i.e., 100% for those who are counting) benefit the outstanding programs of Cable Positive. Now, off to the opening general session…

– Doug Levin

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