Friday, May 30, 2008

Having a bad day? Check this out.

Two stories this week caught my eye. The first offers a dramatic picture of a United States Marine ducking for cover as an enemy bullet misses him by maybe an inch. I don’t have rights to the picture so here’s a link to the article on,2933,356574,00.html

The picture was taken in Afghanistan. It will be one of those pictures that will live on for awhile. It’s definitely a picture worth a million words.

The other story was on the front page of the Denver Post. Huge crowds lined up along the streets of Loveland, Colo to say goodbye to a local soldier killed in Afghanistan. All were waving flags, saluting or both. Again, I don’t have rights to the pictures but here’s the link to that story. Bravo to the people of Loveland.

I hope you get the chance to read both stories, see the pictures and feel the emotions that both generate.

Since Memorial Day was earlier this week, let’s remember this week to never forget the sacrifices others are making for our freedom. Regardless of your opinions of the war, hundreds of thousand of brave men and women volunteered for this job. They’re fighting to protect us all.

So, if the workload at the office seems a bit heavy, maybe traffic was bad on the way to work and you’re feeling a bit put out by it all, check out the picture of the Marine in Afghanistan or the folks lined up in Loveland to salute a fallen hero and hopefully it will put things in perspective for you. It sure did for me.

Our staff supports a young soldier stationed in southern Baghdad. We got him a laptop with a webcam so he can keep in touch with his family and our employees send out regular packages of goodies ranging from sweets to wet wipes.

His response is generally simple: thanks for remembering, thanks for caring. His messages are usually short; he has to get back to the job of defending our freedom often while he mourns the loss of fallen comrades.

But here’s a direct quote from a recent e-mail that caught all of our attention, and brought a tear to our eyes:

“Things are starting to get worse around here and a lot more attacks on coalition forces so kind of scary but we should be okay as long as I make it till August so I can see my baby boy born.”

Let’s honor and remember them each and every day.

John W. Scherer
John W. Scherer, CEO & founder, Video Professor, Inc.
Contact me at

Friday, May 23, 2008

Web 3.0 base here. The blog has landed.

Just when we were getting used to the idea of Web 2.0, along comes Web 3.0. I just read a piece about it by Joe Marchese in his Online Spin column titled “MySpace, Facebook and Google: Racing For Web 3.0.”

Wikipedia describes Web 3.0 as “the future of the World Wide Web,” noting that many “technologists, journalists, and industry leaders have used the term … to hypothesize about a future wave of Internet innovation.

Think of all this in terms of Captain Kirk and his crew going boldly out into space, searching for what is yet undiscovered. In this case, however, if nothing can be found, it will simply be invented.

Marchese reports that everyone from Google® to Facebook® to MySpace® is launching new technology to make social networking more social than ever. What you choose to share will simply follow you around on Web 3.0.

I agree with him that most of us living on Main Street, USA on Web 2.0 are hard pressed to keep up. The question now, I guess, is just how social do we have to be?

I blogged about this a couple of weeks ago, the U.S. remains more a nation of voyeurs than the creators on Web 2.0. Other nations have a much higher percentage of folks creating actual content on the Internet than we do. But it is indeed a World Wide Web. Soon, Web 3.0 will be the new jargon du jour. Sacre Blue!

During the Cold War we worried about the missile gap. Now we might have to start worrying about the social gap.

I’m not the only person here at Video Professor experimenting with various social media. Personally, I’m really getting into and®. There are other new social sites, the hottest and latest, is I’m not a fan of that one, but that’s me. You barely register and within seconds people are following you in cyber land. How do I know? I receive e-mails telling me this. Some of it feels a tad creepy. However, to’s credit, they have very good privacy settings.

Ultimately all of us will have an ever-increasing multitude of ways to express ourselves on the Web. A few are always way ahead of the power curve when it comes to the proverbial cutting edge. Then there’s the big chunk of us in the middle who are still dipping our toes in the water. O.K., our whole foot. And so far, the water’s fine. However, 20 percent of Americans still don’t even have access to a computer, that’s 60 million people!

Is a new class structure evolving in the world? Not based on socio-economic background, but computer savvy? It seems to look that way.

This is all something we pay very close attention to here at Video Professor, and if it’s hot, our production team is likely working on a way for you to learn more about it.

To paraphrase an old saying, the more things change, the more things change!


John W. Scherer

John W. Scherer, CEO & founder, Video Professor, Inc.

Share your thoughts with me at

Friday, May 16, 2008

Video Professor and Nine Inch Nails. It’s all about FREE.

I must admit, I never thought I’d see Video Professor and Nine Inch Nails in the same sentence. But, this is a band that knows how to market itself and honestly, I like the way they’re doing it.

Several news outlets including the New York Times report that the band’s new album, “The Slip” is available online. O,K., that’s not news. What is news is how they’re offering the album. FREE!

Sound familiar? It did to me!

When we began offering FREE CD lessons to introduce you to the quality and ease of learning with Video Professor, sales rocketed. From that day on, we never looked back.

The music business is currently in a bit of a slump. People aren’t buying complete albums anymore and CD sales just aren’t what they used to be. Using services like iTunes®, music lovers can buy individual songs rather than purchase an entire album. The way people listen to music has changed, and so is the way bands should market it.

So, why is Nine Inch Nails trying the free-marketing approach? Well, for one thing, they have a tour coming up shortly. People will still pay to see hot bands and what better way to get fans to see you live than by giving them a taste of what they’ll see in concert?

According to the article I read in the New York Times, titled “Nine Inch Nails Album Is Free Online” not everyone thinks this will work. But I agree with the band’s manager Jim Guerinot who said “I think free has been very important for a long time.” He said this free offer by the band makes a point to people; “Acknowledge what the marketplace is already showing us: free exists whether you want to acknowledge it or not. Let’s acknowledge that, use it and do something with it.”

I couldn’t agree more.


John W. Scherer

CEO & founder, Video Professor, Inc.

You can reach me at

Friday, May 09, 2008

Are you all a twitter about Twitter®?

I continue to be absolutely fascinated by what is often called, social media. It truly is one of the great things about Web 2.0.

The latest, at least for me, is something called, a combination of blogs, instant messenger and e-mail delivered at warp speed. But this site is all about brevity, you only get 140 characters per message.

If you want to check on who is twittering about what, go register at

My other favorite is the® business networking site, considered a MySpace® for adults and business professionals. One of my staff told me that he recently linked up with a friend from his college days, which was over 35 years ago. As a result of this, he linked up with several mutual friends. is similar to a pyramid scheme, but in a good way. You link to people and then you can link to the people they’re linked to. You can link to companies you work for or have worked for, and even to the college you attended. We have a member of staff here that is linked to over a million people through her direct links. That’s what we call networking!

You can e-mail, exchange information and gossip in an organized and easy-to-use fashion.

Another site you might want to check out is, an online bar and happy hour. I haven’t signed up yet, but it’s one of the fastest growing social media sites today.

I mentioned last week that even though many of us blog, we’re still trailing behind a great deal of countries. We are a country of voyeurs instead of creators. I maintain a schedule myself, promising to put out a blog every Friday.

If you want to really dive into the blogosphere and see what people are talking about, visit

Have a web site? See how it ranks across the World Wide Web using

Where is it all headed? I have no idea, but it sure is fun to join in!


John W. Scherer

CEO & founder, Video Professor, Inc.

Contact me at

Friday, May 02, 2008

Web 2.0 status report. We’ve got some catching up to do.

First there was the Internet; then something called Web 2.0 came along. The Internet was basically a collection of web sites. You clicked, you went and you viewed. Web 2.0 is the next generation and provides a full-fledged computing platform that includes blogs, wiki’s, online video, widgets and any number of ways to express yourself.

Some of the newer tutorials we offer are reflective of this new format. Lessons like Learn Online Investing, Learn Online Travel and Learn How to Buy and Sell on eBay® are very popular with our customers.

Web 2.0 is also proving to be an extremely effective political-campaign tool. Campaigns can generate huge amounts of cash through the Internet, political blogs are everywhere and anyone with a computer can sound off for or against the candidates. Bloggers have joined traditional campaigns as pundits where their opinions are valued.

That said, I was a bit surprised to read an article titled "U.S. Lags in Social Media Creation, per Survey" in Adweek® magazine that says we are lagging behind computer users in Asia and South America. While Americans tend to share videos and read blogs, people in these countries tend to be far more active in creating content.

This quote from that article really sums it all up:

"By and large, in the U.S. we're a country of voyeurs", said David Cohen, U.S. director of digital communications at Interpublic Group's Universal McCann, which conducted the study. "We love to watch and consume content created by others, but there's a fairly small group that are doing that creation -- unlike China, which is a country of creators."

According to Adweek, 26 percent of Americans have their own blogs, compared to 70 percent of people in South Korea and China.

Interpublic Group's Universal McCann® advertising agency conducted the survey of 17,000 Internet users over 18 months. Europeans join us as laggards.

In a way, I’m not surprised. Japan has had HDTV for decades, while here in the U.S. it’s only just beginning to come into its own.

Are we simply cautious or are we technophobes? Personally, I think it’s a bit of both. While we launch more and more tutorials that help you maximize the benefits of Web 2.0, so many customers still come to us for the basics.

I encourage you to get out there and create. Picture sharing sites like, video sites like and even new sites like allow you the chance to express yourself or connect to the world like never before. Join a site called and you’ll be hearing from old friends you haven’t seen in years.

Such expression used to be limited solely to broadcasters and publishers. The great thing about Web 2.0 is it empowers all of us to express our thoughts and opinions, share pictures of the grandkids or catch up with long-lost friends.

So use it, enjoy it and let’s catch up with the rest of the world by creating.

John W. Scherer, CEO & founder, Video Professor, Inc.
You can reach me at