Thursday, December 30, 2004

Podcasting

Is anyone podcasting? What are you listening to? I've heard Adam Curry has some good stuff, but it's music oriented.. what else is out there? What are you listening to?
I downloaded Doppler, an Podcasting "client" - they have a new release 2.0 out that is pretty neat. It has integrated search and I've pulled down the Engadget Podcast - my first ever Podcast listening experience as I type this. Phillip Torrone is talking about Nasa and other extremely geeky (re: cool!) things. Very neat. I hope there are some good pcasts out there.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Cory Doctorow

Who knows about this guy? I found him through his blog and it turns
out he's a pretty terrific writer. I downloaded his book Eastern
Standard Tribes (halfway done, terrific read!!!).

The intro however is the most interesting piece of this experience
for me so far...

The book was released under a creative commons license and has been
downloaded hundreds of thousands of times.

An excerpt of that intro:

To that end, here is the book as a non-physical artifact. A file. A
bunch of text, slithery bits that can cross the world in an instant,
using the Internet, a tool designed to copy things very quickly from
one place to another; and using personal computers, tools designed
to slice, dice and rearrange collections of bits. These tools demand
that their users copy and slice and dice—rip, mix and burn!—and
that's what I'm hoping you will do with this.

Not (just) because I'm a swell guy, a big-hearted slob. Not because
Tor is run by addlepated dot-com refugees who have been sold some
snake-oil about the e-book revolution. Because you—the readers, the
slicers, dicers and copiers—hold in your collective action the
secret of the future of publishing. Writers are a dime a dozen.
Everybody's got a novel in her or him. Readers are a precious
commodity. You've got all the money and all the attention and you
run the word-of-mouth network that marks the difference between a
little book, soon forgotten, and a book that becomes a lasting piece
of posterity for its author, changing the world in some meaningful
way.

I'm unashamedly exploiting your imagination. Imagine me a new
practice of book, readers. Take this novel and pass it from inbox to
inbox, through your IM clients, over P2P networks. Put it on
webservers. Convert it to weird, obscure ebook formats. Show me—and
my colleagues, and my publisher—what the future of book looks like.

Pretty amazing stuff eh? Thinking about readers as the commodity and
not the writers really makes your head spin.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

My Best Man Speech

I was best man at my brother's wedding this past weekend.. here's the speech...

For those of you who don't know me, I'm the one who gave Dave his dog Jackson... Dave, you are welcome.

As Dave's older brother, I often thought of him as a nuisance and a pest. We had very little in common.

It turns out though, that we have more in common than anyone would have thought. And now, he adds two more things to that list; two things that I treasure, and that our dad adored - being a husband, and a father.

When I look into his eyes, I can see how much he truly and deeply loves his new family.

To Dave and Laurette, may all your days be as happy as this one.

"Good things..."

Thursday, July 1, 2004

Taco Bell

I love Taco Bell.

Really.

Last night, I had an amazing Taco Bell experience. I went in and ordered a Ranchero Combo which was amazing. I mean, mixing avocado and sour cream is a neat idea, but who knew it would be so amazing pre-mixed like salad dressing!

Something wonderful then happened... I took a bite of my Grande Soft Taco.

Who is the genius who invented this beautiful thing?

I had no idea that it had a layer of cheese in between the TWO tortillas! Brilliant, amazing and life altering. This thing is completely amazing.

I remember when Pizza Hut came out with that pizza that had the cheese in the crust. Remember that? It was a great idea but wasn't executed well. Too sticky, too fattening, too greasy.

The Grande Soft Taco with the cheese layer is perfectly melded (the cheese acts like a tasty kind of glue, holding the concotion together). Damn, I'm getting hungry again just thinking about it.

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

The difference between "best" and "top"

Understanding what a qualified sales lead is a difficult concept for some to grasp. When you are selling, if the lead isn't qualified on several levels (the right buyer, the buyer has money, the buyer has a problem they want to solve etc...) then the chances are, there isn't a sale to be made. Right?

So, I'm in a discussion with my boss about our "active leads" list. On a conference call, we're going through our "best" leads. It turns out, that our "best" leads are unqualified, have no real buyer pain and we have no idea if they have money.

I ask a simple question - "Boss man, do you REALLY think we have a chance in hell of closing these 3?"

His answer is most obviously, "No."

I politely ask him why then, are those 3 our "best" leads.

What he says next will haunt me for a long time. His response was to clarify for me that there is a difference between "best" and "top." A lead that is "best" is not placing a value on how close that lead is to being closed. It is simply a relational term one would use when comparing other leads.

So, what this means is that our "best leads" have no shot in hell of closing. Got it.

And the rest of the list is a piece of shit. Got it.

We're in trouble.

Friday, April 23, 2004

McDonald's Banner Fun

I love this... I made my own McDonald's banner


Monday, April 19, 2004

Teach Your Children Well

My 6 year old told my wife last week that she had to bring in money to school so she couold pay another kid for a Pony. Apparently, some little brat was trying to "scheist" my daughter and her friend out of some loot.

After my wife told me about this I cautiously had a conversation with my little girl - who immediately clammed up and didn't say much at all. She sort of acknowledged that she knew better and that there was little or no chance that another 1st grader had access to a Pony. Besides, where would we keep a Pony! I was pretty satisfied that she wasn't going to go in and give up her money to some punk-ass kid.

A few minutes later, just before we left for school, I found out that my daughter had an envelope with the kid's name on it - my wife and I looked at each other with huge eyes and I "felt" the envelope, thinking rapidly to myself that I needed to somehow TRUST that she was doing the smart thing and not lying to us about giving this kid her money.

I told her - "Honey, I'm going to open this envelope and if there is no money in it, I apologize forever for not trusting you." I asked her if she was OK with me opening the envelope and she sort of shook her head "Yes."

I opened it up and held my breath - there was no money in the envelope. In fact, here's what it said (paraphrased):

Dear (lousy Pony seller kids name),

I'll give you the money when I see the Pony. Otherwise, I'm not giving you any money.

Wait... did I just read what I think I read... YESSSS!!!! It was an amazing moment! I gave my girl a huge hug and told her I was sorry for opening the envelope but that she was amazing and completely did the right thing. I was proud of her!

WHEW! Now let's hope she knows what to say when some punk tries to kiss her or give her a joint.

The Brand Is The Experience

Spent the day in NYC yesterday with the family and experienced FIRST HAND what "the brand is the experience" means.

First stop was American Girl - the store. These people have perfected experiential marketing and taken it to an entirely new level. You can not only buy a doll that "is" just like your kid, you can get clothes to match so your kid is wearing exactly what the doll is wearing. Sick, but apparently effective.

Next up is the salon - no, not a salon like at Harrod's where your kid's hair gets styled, but a salon where your kid's doll's hair gets styled... yep, you read that correctly! They had 7 or 8 stylists lined up making those dolls beautiful.

From there, we headed upstairs where they have a "cafe" where you can dine like an aristocrat. Complete with a high-chair for your doll, I couldn't actually believe what I was seeing.

You can also buy dolls that are culturally appropriate and era-focused (Early American, Indians, Hispanics, etc...). You can help but notice that American Girl has created volumes and volumes of books that tell stories and explain what it must have been like to be a girl in those settings. The bookstore (downstairs) also has a collection of books which are focused on teaching/training girls on how to behave (Miss Manners watch out!), how to behave at a party and of course, personal diaries.

The live music and story time completed the experience. Finally, on the way out, my 2 daughters picked up a "portfolio" (a little red book) and put mini doll brochures of all the dolls that they want to buy inside. On the train on the way home, the actually played with these brochures as if they were the dolls themselves. Kudos to the American Girl marketing machine. Thank God my girls are so well behaved - it could have gotten ugly trying to get out of there not buying anything.

Last but not least, my 6 year old asked me if there was an American Boy's store... good question kid!

From there, we ate lunch at the Stardust Diner (I think that was the name). Talk about the brand experience - I had a "Classic Mo's" burger that had the same kind of sauce they used in the '50's (and still use I think at McDonald's - it's call a Big Mac folks). The waiters here actually sing and do a floor show (sort of), and the entire place is chromed out and very 50's. We drank Vanilla Coke and ate burgers and listened to a fairly decent rendition of some great 50's and 60's songs. Not a bad time! Too bad the burgers didn't cost what they cost back then - $13.50 I think is what my double burger cost. Wow.