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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Glory Revisited

The other day, I watched for the nth time, a rerun of one of my favorite war movies of all time - Glory (1989, Tristar Pictures) on cable's Star Movies. I can hear Tony Robbins now, telling me to get a life. Well, it's one of my favorite movies from the eighties (arguably, the best decade to grow up in), I guess that gives you an idea of how old I am, but no matter.

Every time I see a powerful movie like Glory, there's always a new perspective, a new turn of phrase that I must have heard (and ignored) before, but has found a new sense of relevance in my current circumstances. I guess great works of art, literature, and the cinema have that effect. You always discover something new every time.

You haven't seen it? Why not?

Well, too late now for a wide screen viewing (unless you own a theater). Grab your DVD copy, you're missing out on something truly epic and powerful. The film received five Oscars, including Best Cinematography, in 1989. Denzel Washington's performance remains as riveting as ever, and the prayer scene on the night before the big battle is as poignant and emotionally-charged (for me), just like the first time I saw the movie.

But it was the words of Col. Robert G. Shaw (Matthew Broderick) that struck a chord this time:

There's more to fighting than rest, sir. There's character, there's strength of heart. You should have seen us in action two days ago. We were a sight to see! We'll be ready, sir. When do you want us?

Replace fighting with life, and you will see the universal truth in this statement. Character, shaped by immutable principles (like honesty, integrity, compassion, fairness, excellence), will forever remain to be the deciding factor of how we fare in this life, of how we grow with our individual businesses.

As Dr. Stephen Covey suggests in "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People," principles are like a lighthouse on a rock in the middle of the ocean (I hope he forgives me for mangling the analogy). We can have our course shaped by their presence, or we can ignore their power and destroy ourselves in those rocks.

What has this got to do with web 2.0 and marketing?

Everything, actually. The web 2.0 environment is a venue so powerful that it can potentially magnify any message (good or bad), for anyone who's good at it, or who hires someone good at it. But that's all it is - the internet is only the medium NOT the message.

You still craft your own message, you're still judged by that message, and by your own actions. And because of the highly interconnected nature of web 2.0, people will discover soon enough if you're true to your message, and if you're really doing business based on integrity, fairness, and excellence. Or, if you're just someone out to make a fast buck.

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