Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Is there product in your products? If so what is it?

I am a Chiropractor, Sports Medicine Expert, Former Olympic Team Physician and Cannabis Consultant to my patients with a variety of complaints, diseases, and severity.  As you know, I have the honor of writing articles for Edibles Magazine. The Editor & Chief of Edibles List Magazine, B. Bo LeGrand, recently invited me to judge products for their “best of” Edibles competition. Bo is a very committed activist in this area and an expert in her own right in their regard. We agree on many things, but one thing is clear, we are committed to the quality of the products that we endorse and advertise. The following will be an unpopular view of the emerging edible’s market, but I am speaking from a medical management position, and with my experience with 30+ years of treating patients. The products that came to the panel for review spanned products from Vapes to Cookies, and cakes to truffles with everything in between. Every foodstuff that you can think of has been infused, cooked, injected with some form of cannabis. They included indicia, saliva, High CBD, High THC. The main categories that we all paid considerate attention to were effects and strength, without real specification or proof these products contained what they said they contained. And here it is! Now I say this for the record I use these products because smoking is not an option, and I am searching endlessly for the right products to treat my chronic pain and  my patients ‘ as well. Now, remember I am a customer representing my patients but a liaison and coach to other physicians attempting to help patients with cannabis. I was concerned about recent reports of products without a hint of cannabis were being sold to “patients”1.  As one panel member remarked, “it's like it's a race to see how potent they can make these products”. It appears the products are for one purpose and one purpose only, that is to see how stoned one can become?  So back to my medical colleges, this is contrary to our microdose philosophy and recommendations in our treatment regimes.

As I stated, we received numerous items in all forms of culinary delight to evaluate. One thing is clear, they are not medical products. This judge position has two objectives for me: One, become more versed on the variety of edible options for my patients. Second try to find products that we can use to help our patients.

After conferring with my colleagues at Dedicated To Health Medical Group, in Pasadena, CA about the labels, ingredients dosing everything, just like it was a nutraceutical or prescription medication that we can recommend to our suffering patients. Their consensus, the products are just “junk food with weed”. It can't be used or recommended because of the purity concerns. We and I'm speaking professionally, we have no idea where the weed comes from, the strain used and, more importantly, the product ingredients. The ingredients that most products used violated diet restrictions in fat, sugar, carbohydrates, preservatives as well as some ingredients that react with the medications we prescribe for common problems. In my experience, attempting to make recommendations that my patients can weave into their treatment regime. The concept of product “manufacturer” can be loosely interpreted to mean, made in the garage or in a professional kitchen. We have no idea what you the “manufacturer”, is producing in the name of “medical foods”.  In most cases, the patients are unable to get assistance from doctors as the products “do not meet” dietary recommendations, so the doctor cannot even consider their use. However, the patient in a lot of cases is on a quest to save their own life, go to dispensaries that are teaching, consulting, or guiding patients to edible products for ease of use, which will cause more medical problems. Speaking for the medical community, you want to work with us and have access to our patients to better their lives, you have a responsibility to ask us, what we want for our patients. To put it in an economic framework, you’re losing significant sales to Vapes, oils, and tinctures. These are in most cases pure products that have a lineage of stains, ingredients etc. that we can use to make educated opinions.

Other important criteria for this competition were label clarity, product taste, and how it worked. Products from companies like “Something Chocolate” have clear labeling, dosage, and one thing I noticed is the product is very potent. Or is the potency directly related to the brand of the company? I'm using “Something Chocolate” because I know the owner, Mitch  Koulouris and when consulting with him, I suggested they reduce dosage because the 20mg THC worked fast and reduced symptoms within almost pharmaceutical precision and timing.

 I found this to NOT be  the norm among the larger of manufacturer's. It was represented in “Something Chocolate’s” transparent ingredient list, purity of products and most importantly strain specific dosages for proper use. Most  companies are still not compliant with known dietary regulations. However,  they are attempting to enter our medical arena and are open to change or adding non-GMO, Low Fat, Low Carbohydrate, no sugar, NATURAL PRODUCTS.

I must say you have some hurdles to overcome, my patients want good or no green taste, non-GMO, Natural products that will fit their diets. My company demands hypoallergenic ingredients in its products we utilize for our patients and that we sell through our 50 retail centers.

You are losing credibility and market share because your products do not fit our description of a medical food. Your packaging is deficient in most cases as it relates to the lineage of the plant strain, how it's made, what its made with and most importantly proof. I regularly confer with Bo LeGrand of Edibles List Magazine, Rudy Roma of 420Insight and that family extends to Dan Herer. You manufacturers want us to use the products for our patients, however,  I don't see anything that remotely looks like a medicine in any of the products we tested. It is not enough to just have products that contain CBD or THC, but it has to be a medical food. If you want us to buy your products,  you have the responsibility to make products that fit within our purvue. 

Monday, February 22, 2016

Marketing Failure is a Clash of Cultures.

I recently collaborated on a project with a psychologist friend Dr. Jody Dean, Ph.D. Dr. Dean and I were attending different graduate schools at the time of our meeting years ago. Following school, I went off to travel internationally with Olympic Track & Field Teams later using those techniques to reduce workers compensation injuries in the insurance sector. Dr. Dean went on to work within largest most esteemed corporations in the country. The reason for narcissistically relating my background is I can say with expertise and after meeting most of the world leaders, ie Mandella, Tutu, Mubarak, Hussain, and others while deployed in Africa and Europe, she is one of the most brilliant minds and people I have ever met. She and I look at things from different perspectives but with similarity in our conclusions. With this said, we were tackling problems of the day and the subject of marketing came to the forefront of our discussion. When I was at Carnegie Mellon working on projects that later became the drone program, we the Baby Boomers who ran the program had issues with the younger generations. The problem we had, the younger "pilots" and analysts had limited problem-solving skills and experience. They were great at sending information and gathering information, however, when it came to information implementation or problem solving, they were lost. Case in point, Dr. Dean related that we, the Boomers, had to solve little problems as children, that we thought they were insurmountable at the time. The example was poignant, if the chain broke on our bike, we had to find a way to fix it, to get home. We were free range children, only coming home when the streetlights came on. There wasn't a child we knew that didn't have a stubbed toe, broken arm or have some bandages somewhere. Our parents guided us the best they could but as Dr. Dean related "those experiences developed critical executive function capabilities that we may not see in the younger population". Dr. Dean also provided the example, "today if the bike chain breaks, the child is either in constant view of the parent or can call the parent via cell phone to receive assistance". We didn't have helicopter parents, play days, or oversight, we were free range children, we had to figure it out either alone or with friends. This eliminated a child's ability to problem-solve building on the little inconveniences to the larger problems of today. 
What we are seeing today is a large barrage of product marketing spread across all marketing platforms. The younger generations think in computer code, and their problem-solving skills revolve as they relate to a computer. Simply put very little real world problem-solving skills, because they have a net. We didn't have a net we were as I stated we were free range children, our friends were the net. The marketing paradigm today is to just bombard us with information. No education on why one product is better than another product, just fear best-selling, ie you need this or you die...Why does this occur, because the marketing monopoly is based on social media, most social media marketers have no idea what they are selling. They are insulated from failure, they just throw out information without in most cases any reference or fact. Fact finding and "need" have been pushed onto the consumer for research.  Now the Baby Boomers are retiring or dying. Baby Boomers grew up watching TV shows, these sitcoms and shows with family values ie Leave it to Beaver et all, all highlighted problem-solving skills, social problems and how to navigate them. These shows are lost to TV land in rerun form. Now you have a whole class of marketers that when faced with significant challenges run to GoFund Me like Kanye West begging for help. The solution for marketing companies, hire the old grizzled Boomer to strategize the message and let the other generations send or receive the information and analytics. The boomers will look at past history, life experience to facilitate success, this translates into profitability. You want to succeed take the two worlds and combine them to form an unstoppable force.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Fearless- Jimmy Kimmel, Television Host

Recently I was asked to adapt a philosophy of mine to a book on Reprograming Your Life by Sheila Callahan, www.SheilaCallaham.com . You can read the chapter in this blog. However, Two years ago my girlfriend bought me concert tickets to see my hero Joe Cocker at the Greek Theater and he was playing with Huey Lewis and the News. It was a beautiful summer night in the Hollywood Hills. The concert started off great, with Huey Lewis playing his standards with the horn section sounding so sweet, it was magical. At a break in the set, Huey Lewis introduced Jimmy Kimmel who was holding a Bass Clarinet and stated he was going to sit in.

Here is a true example of being fearless. Jimmy Kimmel is an accomplished comedian and “talk show host” per his Wikipedia description, and a renowned one at that. Here he is a talk show host/comedian on stage with arguably one of best pop/rock bands of the mid-80's and in concert with a true rock & roll legend backstage, looking on. I can't imagine what the voices in Jimmy’s head were saying? Here he is holding his horn about to step onto the stage with these great musicians. It would be like playing college football and walking on to the field to be a receiver for Payton Manning during a Super Bowl game with Lombardi looking on.

All eyes are on Jimmy, you can see the questions on the audience member's mind, “is he joking”, "is this a joke", “does he even play?”, more importantly “does he belong?”. I can't even imagine being Jimmy, here he is Clarinet in hand with all this pressure, with the greats watching him, he too must be thinking “do I belong?”.

Then, I witnessed something amazing; when Jimmy Kimmel took the stage he was no longer a talk show host, he was a musician. He wasn't playing a musician, he wasn't making fun of musicians he was playing in the big game. At that very point, he owned it, his persona, his stature, his focus all changed and I saw the transformation into a professional musician. He belonged, he played, looked out and had fun! YES FUN! The most stressful point in someone's life, everybody looking on, not expecting you to succeed and damn if he didn't own it. He no longer looked like a talk show host, whatever that means, he was a full and equal member of the band. Can you imagine the thoughts going through his mind, can I do this, am I going to look like an idiot, and somewhere he had to say the universal prayer, “please god don't let me F___K Up.” This is the essence of fearless. You do it, regardless of circumstances you own it, you deserve it, you perform.

Now I can only imagine the time, commitment, practice and work it took Jimmy Kimmel to prepare to take his place on that stage as an equal member. He is a very intelligent man, he has a lot to lose including credibility if he flops. He could play it off, but he didn't want to look like a flop, embarrass himself, he took his rightful place with the rest of the band.  He projects success, he makes it look easy, but it is work.  Jimmy probably knows that he has to project confidence and success to stay ahead of all comers, everything is planned and played expertly. He just didn't pick up a horn and take the stage, like a scene in American Pie 2, where the lead character plays trombone at band camp to get the girl. Jimmy wasn't a comedian performing a skit. He wasn't playing a musician, he WAS a musician, he owned it. He worked hard for years and when that one chance presented itself, he took it. All the work, hours of practice, and networking got him ready for that one moment. Simply put it takes years of work to be an overnight success. That is living a fearless life! It is work, it is practice, it is being prepared for that moment when you get to take that chance, take the stage, or step to the plate.

Now the people that succeed do whatever it takes to be prepared to take the stage when the opportunity presents itself. It may not be tomorrow or a month from now, or even year from now, but it will happen. You have to be mentally prepared to accept the opportunity when it presents itself, see the opportunity and use that opportunity to prove to everyone including yourself that you belong. It's your one chance to succeed, move to the next level, be what you dreamed of being.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

The Art of the "Marketing Stunt" never dies....a response to Bob Lefsetz Letter, Re Myth Makers

Dear Bob,

Thank you for eloquently explaining what I do for a living, yes I'm a "fixer" or now, I'm in the group referred as "the creatives", my personal favorite, "diabolical genius". I'm one of those people that think these "tactics" up. Don't think it is limited to music, you can see it in business, college athletes, actors and now politicians. In the day, we could take the amazing and with a little spin, a couple obtuse ideas,  and we made people stop and listen. The artists became immortal i.e. Jim Morrison, Jimmy Hendrix, Ozzie Osbourne even as far back to Ricky Nelson, Ozzie Nelson his father was brilliant. I started working with Dinah Shore in the late 70's, Burt Reynolds years. It was bragged in our small circle of "fixers" that "we could fix a dead hooker or live young boy in your bed and make the client look like a victim".

That still goes on today with Bieber, and Swift and those are the ones you know about. The ones I see more are the TV and business guys being lifted from obscurity over a deal. The mediocre hired by the brilliant trying to be seen or heard. The interesting part, those stars along with Jimmy, and Ozzie had a pure talent, they just needed a push (in the way of the press) to be immortal, however, they were the real deal, the music, and message, were king, the music lived on. These were just brilliant creative geniuses that had a little issue with conventional behavior in a structured environment. After meeting and working with Jerry Garcia at a gig, I am convinced he was on the spectrum of autism. Many artists, as you so often spotlight, had scary wicked talent and lived vicarious, which in most cases, we desperately kept out of the news. In the day, "Stunts" either conceived or by chance, pushed the boundaries of convention, it is like dropping the mic onstage today, yep enough said.  Now we see the mediocre live forever i.e. the Kardashians with the audience waiting for the next exploited tragedy. Zoey Tur explained this with riveting detail on LA's KFI 640 on the GaryandShannon Show. As Zoey (formally known as Bob) Tur was the first news chopper pilot with her crew, who found the white Bronco containing OJ and AC. She recounted the events of the famous chase beginning the reality show trend we see today.

We created a monster, this tactic is not easy, a few dared it, because if the "OP" didn't work, you were a 30-second wonder and hated. The client had to have the talent to both "stay" in the light and shine, the talent lived on and the work took its rightful place in history. Now we have a culture that wants to be famous for the sake of being famous without talent. The audience slips away because the actor in this charade has no talent to keep the audience or has to keep performing more and more stupid human tricks to stay in the limelight. I've always said, "the bear at some point has to dance" I can hype it, sell it, market it. But when the time comes the bear better do a great Gregory Hines impression or their done and the audience leaves. It's always been in politics but now it's even worse, would have ever had thought we'd see the day when a presidential candidate would insult a woman journalist and rise in the polls. Sadly, hype over substance still rules the world.
Thank you, Bob, for your a true sage,
Dr Allen Miller