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Marketing Gone Bad · In this month’s Harvard Business Review, The Content Marketing Revolution smells like concentrated essence of evil; an unironic paean to the take-over of journalism, and public conversation, by marketeers ...
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SEO Still Sucks · My eye was caught by Scoble’s recent 2010: the year SEO isn’t important anymore? I thought most of what he said made sense, but the fact is that they’re still out there and what they’re selling is mostly bogus ...
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First-Class PR · I was having a beer in the bar at SFO waiting for my flight home, sitting next to this thirtyish woman, extremely well-groomed and well-dressed. I saw on her boarding pass that she was traveling Executive Class to LA. We got to talking and it turned out she was in Public Relations. She mostly worked, and her current Bay Area trip was about, representing new iPhone apps. I started feeling cognitive dissonance; first of all, I thought that we were in the kind of economic situation where you wouldn’t want to fly your PR people around in first class, and anyhow, aren’t most iPhone apps being built by low-rent guerilla operations? So I asked a few questions, and it turned out that the apps she represented were mostly from big companies; their names were extremely Web2.0-ish gnarls of unlikely consonant combinations, and they did unsurprising things. It’s dawning on me that the mobile-app space is going to be different.
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OSCON and Marca · I’ve got a gig at OSCON 2008 doing a mini-keynote, fifteen minutes entitled Language Inflection Point. This was in my mind when I stumbled across Marca’s Public speaking versus blogging. I think he’s really wrong ...
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Kindle PR · As regards the product, I have nothing to add to Mark Pilgrim’s The Future of Reading (A Play in Six Acts). But the big meta-news story here is: PR Triumph. The product, it’s Yet Another E-Book Reader. It got on the front cover of Newsweek and was featured by more or less everyone in the mainstream-media technology beat. It bloody well got onto the front page of my hometown Vancouver Sun. Maybe the product will soar, maybe it’ll flop. But this is obviously the crowning PR achievement of our young century. I bow my head in awe.
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GlassFish V2 · It’s out today. Now, I don’t work with app servers that much, and I’ve hardly ever touched GlassFish. But this is interesting anyhow, for two reasons: First, GlassFish is an example of a software product that was struggling in the market, and is doing immensely better after moving from closed to Open Source. Smells like the future to me. Second, check out that launch pointer: a blog cluster, with the marketing basics and a ton of highly-technical detail. I just don’t think there’s any other sensible way to launch a modern software package whose users are developers.
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People-Ready Elephant · Everyone has heard about the People-Ready controversy by now. John Battelle, sitting at the center of the storm, takes up the issue and sounds a defiant note: “But to sum up, I refuse to declare conversational marketing a bad idea because of one storm.” ...
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Bad PR · We have the 2010 Winter Olympics coming. This is a big-bucks big-politics big-business operation, half the city’s being ripped apart, and thus very newsworthy. Today we learned that the Organizing Committee’s CFO had quit after 18 months on the job. I subscribe to the Vancouver2010 RSS feed, and thus saw the press release ...
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Advertising · I spend a mainstream amount of time reading magazines and watching TV, and a more-than-mainstream amount reading the Net. Of all the teeming billions of dollars poured into advertising on all these media, essentially none of it speaks to me. This was brought home yesterday when I was impressed by two ads in one day. They were running this TV ad for Subway (the sandwich shop) that was just incredibly simple and linear: “Unlike McDonalds and the others, we make our bread fresh every day in the store”; with a picture of the oven. I haven’t been to a Subway in decades, but the next time I’ve got hungry cranky kids to wrangle, that’s maybe a good argument for giving them a try. The same evening, I was looking through my newsfeeds, and in The Economist’s excellent Free Exchange blog (yeah, dust off your knee-jerk right-silliness filter, but still) feed, one of the entries was an ad; a simple one-paragraph squib saying there was a special offer for new subscribers. I already subscribe, but you couldn’t imagine a better way to pitch a subscription. Two in one day? That’s the first time that’s happened in years.
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More Economist Trouble · You know, if I didn’t care so much about The Economist, I wouldn’t be giving it grief here. If the word “journalism” means anything, it should mean quality; I expect that my (expensive) subscription buys me a magazine that I often expect to disagree with but which is thoughtful, well-researched, well-written, and well-edited. I don’t want to abandon journalism, but these guys are dropping their end of the bargain ...
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Blogstitution · Someone named Vaspers asks What will kill the blogosphere? and thinks the answer is various forms of marketing-driven corruption lying in the direction that PayPerPost is pointing. [Update: Good comments; pile on!] ...
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The Morning After · Well, that was quite a party. Herewith a few notes on communications, reactions, and names ...
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Oh My Goodness Gracious · In a recent piece on the new Project Blackbox, I used some coarse language, in an idiomatic way, not giving it much thought. The consequences were surprising ...
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Thumper Marketing · An email went around the internal bloggers’ list saying “Hey, you might want to point to the Thumper contest”. So I went to have a look and, yeah, it’s an interesting promotion. But... does anyone else find the notion of using YouTube to deliver a fairly standard corporate marketing piece just a little weird? It’s convenient that venture caps are backing startups that burn kazillions of bucks on bandwidth so that large public companies can deliver video advertising for free. Is it sustainable? Weirder things have happened, I guess.
 
Announcing · Today, we announced some faster servers; I’m not a big-SPARC guy so the one that makes my heart go pitter-pat is the new Ultra; I just spent a week living on a year-old Ultra and while it’s damn fast, I managed to make it breathe hard with both JRuby and the Gimp. What’s more interesting is the PG&E rebate. Check it out, but what’s even more interesting, to me, is that there are three ways you can read about it: Jonathan’s blog, the Sun.com page, and the official press release. The blog is the most interesting, with the Craigslist reference and and the highway-rules context. If you want details, the Sun.com page is OK, with some sample calculations and so on. Which leaves the press release. It seems to have been carefully designed for unreadability, its meandering sentences studded with company chest-pounding and its stilted, committee-compromise quotes (even those from smart, genuine people like Dave Douglas) that no human voice would ever utter. Having said that, the press release contains some useful facts that aren’t in either Jonathan’s write-up or the Sun.com page. We (the world I mean) need to do marketing better.
 
Scoble & PodTech · I wasn’t going to write anything about this because so many others have, and I don’t know the first thing about PodTech. But then this morning they spammed me. Any email that lands in my inbox that’s written in marketing-ese and I don’t know who sent it, that’s spam. I conclude that PodTech needs some help; there’s something deeply, um, what’s the word I’m looking for here, to describe announcing a move in the blogging space by spamming press releases? Let’s use “wrong”. Some excerpts: “PodTech.Network Inc., a leading emerging-media company ... ‘Robert Scoble is a global brand and we are thrilled to have him as a member of the PodTech team’ said John Furrier ... provides a media platform of Fresh Voices™ that ignite the power of conversation among companies, their customers, and partners ... His media expertise and vision is in alignment with PodTech’s business strategy and extension of our developing media platform.” For their sake, let’s hope that Scoble represents a Cluetrain ticket.
 
Credit 2.0™ Where It’s Due · James Governor grumbled at me about repeatedly crediting Hal Stern for the “Web 2.0 = Writeable Web” meme, specifically pointing out Read/Write Web by Rich McManus (which is excellent). He’s got a point, but if we’re going to start down that road, we’ll end up with Tim Berners-Lee, who has repeatedly made it clear that he always thought of the Web as a place to write, not just read. And if we’re going to talk about practice not theory, you’d end up looking at Dave Winer, who pushed RSS in everyone’s face and, more important, proved that a fast-writing ornery geek could gather an audience and wield influence by, you know, doing it. And as a geek myself, I’ve always liked James Snell’s chmod 777 web. Until this minute, I’d thought Hal was the first to nail the 2.0 connection; but now I think that James got there first (May vs. October 2005).
 
Web 2.0™ · As someone who’s had a lot of respect for O’Reilly, the person and the company, for a few years, and as someone who’s run small businesses and who knows how hard it is to take a vacation, I feel bad about this one. Because while you may not always agree with Tim, he’s not stupid, and an attempt to lock down the term “Web 2.0” at the same time as you’re building thought leadership around it, that’s stupid. So I’d urge the world to cut Mr. O’Reilly some slack till he gets back from vacation. I also suspect that the value of Web 2.0™ will be unimpaired; it’s really only used seriously by VCs and marketers and prognosticators who are by and large unperturbed by the lawyers’ view of intellectual property, not by the actual hands-on developers who build whatever it is we’re talking about; and for that, I still prefer read-write Web.
 
MARS · Eek! A new acronym! Something our profession probably can do without, and (blush) I seem to have invented it. I have to say, though, the T-Shirt is OK. [Later...] And thus a micro-meme: MADD (and from its comments APPS, MADR); MAUDE (comments: FIDPAM, with none other than Mårten Mickos proposing MARTEN); WASTE; HATE; and PAID (where the comments are outta control, I tell ya, outta control: LAPD (“It Beats All The Other Frameworks”), MAID, PADL, RADKAWNP, POWNED, GLAPOD, “we're all gonna get Linux, Apache, Internet, Django!”, PDL, and PADD). I think it’s time to put a stop to this.
 
ETech — Good Pitches · This is just a potpourri of pitches, specifically the ones that were good and memorable. Includes rare complimentary remarks about Microsoft technology ...
 
ETech — San Diego Trolley · It’s a nice enough town, but it’s out of the way and, in my experience, not that easy to get around in. The hotel was sold out when I tried to get in a couple weeks ago (but some last-minute arrivals got in fine, hrumph). Anyhow, I ended up at a Doubletree at a place called “Hazard Center” which is bit of a ways out, but when I was driving the rental in I noticed something that looked like a train station across the street. Sure enough, the San Diego Trolley will take you from there to the convention hotel in about 20 minutes for $1.50, which beats struggling through the traffic in the car and paying at least ten times that for parking. Oddly, the people on the train were few in number, and they all seemed well-dressed, well-fed, and well-rested; a typical-California ethnic mashup, and most were reading books. This isn’t like public transport in other places. On the other hand, when you want to go home after ten at night, the trains run less often, and many of the people are neither well-dressed, well-fed, nor well-rested (you can tell because they’re asleep). But the trains aren’t crowded then either. All in all, it seems to be a fine system.
 
ETech — On Attention · The conference blurb said “It’s time to build The Attention Economy”. What’s that, I wonder? The shindig was certainly equipped with lots of people holding forth on the subject, so this was my chance to find out. I took to accosting total strangers in the hallways saying “What do you think about this whole ‘Attention’ thing?” ...
 
ETech 2006 — Generalities · I’ve been here at ETech since suppertime Monday, and I thought I’d just let my report grow as I went along, which is dumb, because it flies in the face of the medium, and the piece grew tumerously to a really unreasonable size. So I’ll break it up into a bunch of focused fragments. This one is on the conference itself, and whether you’d want to come to it ...
 
The Analysts and the Elephant · In recent weeks there’s been a lot of talk about the role of analyst firms. Let’s be honest; the way the business works, pretty much nobody likes these organizations, but many (including me) think they’re necessary, and since Gartner is closing in on a billion dollars a year of revenue, they’re obviously selling something that people will buy. Herewith a survey of the discussion, some personal anecdotes about the relationships between vendors and analysts, and some thoughts on the future ...
 
Free Computers (ouch!) · If you follow Jonathan Schwartz, you will have observed a little flurry around our offer of free-trial (and maybe free-for-keeps) T2000 servers. If you read the comments, it’s become apparent that our systems for supporting this kind of marketing promotion, uh, need some work. I’m really glad that Jonathan did this, because I know from bitter experience how bad we are at offering hardware freebies, and this will force us to fix it. Particularly right at the moment, it seems to me a no-brainer that scattering a few of our Opteron and Niagara boxes in the direction of some worthy OSS projects and startup companies would be about the most cost-effective marketing imaginable. On lots of occasions I’ve gone running excitedly to the product groups saying “Hey, it would be really great if we could get XXX a server to try out!” and the reaction is along the lines of “Well yeah, but how would we do that?” It turns out that when you’re a big public company, if you have a defined process in place for doing something, it’s easy and efficient, and if you don’t, you’re in SNAFU territory. Lots of other good stuff in those comments too, check them out. In particular, I happen to know that Wikipedia already has one of the free-trial T2000 boxes, and that’s a very interesting application, so we’re going to work with them see how fast we can make it run on that box. Sun is full of Wikipedia fans.
 
InfoWorld Goes Off the Rails · I got this email, subject “Enterprise Server Spotlight”, that was sorta kinda from InfoWorld, and it took me to a Web page that was sorta kinda InfoWorld, and the whole sequence was very disturbing. [Update: InfoWorld responds; “Never ascribe to malice...” as the saying goes.] ...
 
Viiv Jive · A few weeks back, I raised my eyebrows over Paul Otellini’s notion that Intel would find success by “communicating clearly what the technology can do for consumers” because “you can’t just talk about the bits and bytes”. On an airplane, scanning through a New Yorker, I ran up against the first evidence of this; a glossy four-page spread trying to build their “Viiv” branding. I gotta say, they’re trying to do just what Otellini said they would, but it’s kind of puzzling ...
 
Real People · A few weeks ago I was talking to the people at the Sun Developer Network and they asked me what I thought of the site; I looked and it seemed like a decent developers’ site, but unfortunately decorated with the usual lame stock photos of handsome young men and women, carefully-balanced as to skin colour, so I grumbled at ’em. Today they pinged me again and said “Check out the Network Channel page” and what do you know, now they have pictures of actual Sun developers on there. Still race/gender balanced, but you know, there’s nothing actually wrong with that. And the actual real people look way better than the stock catalog models to me. Dear world: use real people on your web site. Now I guess I’m on the hit-list of the Association of Ethnically-Diverse Generic Bright Young Thing Models.
 
Marketing Truth · I get peeved at Nicholas Carr sometimes, but he’s done a superb piece of work pushing hard on SAP and Oracle for using statistics in their ads in a way that is at best non-transparent and at worst, well let’s not go there. It’s got to the point that whenever I see a quantitative claim in an ad I assume it’s a lie. There should be penalties; public ridicule feels appropriate.
 
On Intel · I was reading the big Business Week story on Intel, and it quoted CEO Paul Otellini: “He lays particular emphasis on marketing expertise because he thinks the only way Intel can succeed in new markets is by communicating more clearly what the technology can do for customers. ‘To sell technology now, you have to do it in a way where it’s much more simple,’ says Otellini. ‘You can’t talk about the bits and the bytes.’” This seems deeply wrong to me on a whole bunch of levels. People already know what computers and game consoles and telephones and all the other things with CPUs in them can do for them, and if they don’t, it’s not Intel’s job to explain, that belongs to the people who build the boxes that the consumers slap down their plastic for. Once the buyers understand, they care mostly about price, except for bleeding-edge gamers and other CPU hogs, who perforce do care about bits and bytes. Intel’s real customers are Apple and Intel and Dell and HP and IBM, and I guarantee those guys care about bits and bytes (and wattage), and even more about dollars per unit. So it looks to me like Intel’s charging off in the wrong direction with Viiv and Core and so on. Having said that, I suspect the Intel engineering tribe is maniacally focused on catching and beating AMD, and I wouldn’t want to bet against them in the long term; so they’ll probably do OK.
 
That Kind of Christmas · Being a photograph of a poster glued to a lamp-post outside my office ...
 
USPTO, v-Fluence, Lameness · I got this email from the USPTO five days ago (two of them, actually, to my two main addresses) and I thought I’d wait till I was less irritated before I wrote about it, but you know what, that’s not working. The title was “Yes, the USPTO reads blogs! USPTO Small Business Protection Web Site” Reading the first phrase, for a microsecond I thought “Hey, they’re getting a clue?” but no, it’s a just a vapid PR pitch for two of their “Stop Fakes” websites, which are full of marketing bumph with two messages: “Get Patents Now!” and “The Administration is Great!” And the email itself? Here’s a sample: “Can bloggers help? Yes! The USPTO is well aware of the impact bloggers have and the important role they play. As an online opinion leader you can help small businesses protect the intellectual property of small businesses in one of several ways: Write about the site in your blog...” (I’ll spare you the rest). Oh yes, and across the bottom: ***This e-mail was sent on behalf of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) by v-Fluence Interactive Public Relations, Inc.*** So, let’s put this simply. Dear USPTO, you’re lying. If you actually read bloggers you’d know that the few who write about you think you’re part of the problem, not part of the solution (most recently, no less than Irving Wladawsky-Berger). Dear v-Fluence: You’re spammers, which means you’re filth. And, Dear World, please don’t give any more business to v-Fluence, they’re abusive incompetents.
 
PR Week · My The New Public Relations piece has provoked a ton of really interesting commentary and I will do a follow-up, but I think I’ll wait till after this Thursday, when I’m joining in a Webcast for PR Week, billed as Guide to corporate blogging. They tell me that they’ll have hundreds of people there; my goal is to learn more from them than they learn from me.
 
The New Public Relations · Currently, trade journalism and Public Relations, as we have known them, are being blown up and rebuilt. This is an attempt to write down a theory of what we’re trying to build. [Provoked by smart remarks from Russ Beattie and Steve Gillmor, a really wrong, but provocative, phrase from Steve Rubel, and a private conversation with Big Pharma.] [Update: Tons of feedback; my favorite is from Scoble.] [Update: Gosh, some PR people are irritated; I’m shocked... shocked!] ...
 
No Solution · Our company visuals are being redesigned, see Martin Hardee’s write-up; looks good. But as a side-effect, I looked at our front page and it still contains four instances of that vile word “solution”, plus more in the menus, plus it infests the rest of the site like aphids on a rose-bush. Bah. Dear world, take it from me: at Sun we sell actual real computers and networks and consulting and infrastructure services and software subscriptions; you can safely ignore the marketing-speak. It’s not just us; here’s a quick high-tech home-page “solution” survey, ongoing is all about quantitative research: CA leads the pack with 9, SAP trailing with 7. BEA has 3, IBM, Microsoft, Novell, and Oracle all have 2, Adobe, well it’s hard to tell, 1½ visible but lots more hiding in pop-ups and so on. Intel, Cisco, and HP have but one. Consumer plays like Yahoo and Google are happily “solution”-free. [Update: And I thought they were so clueful! It turns out that, depending where you’re coming from, some versions of Google’s front page have a link to “Business Solutions”; thanks for the pointer to Will Fitzgerald.]
 
What Blogs Are Made For · John Gruber ruthlessly deconstructs the Macrobe marketing-speak. There’s a word for what John’s doing here: Truth.
 
Forbes in Trouble? · I’ve never liked Forbes magazine that much; their general worshipfulness about business seems both less useful and less entertaining than some of the other magazines. Recently, someone who claims to be the producer for the “Forbes Radio” channel on American Airlines is spamming me several times a month, offering a three-minute puff piece for $4,995, a special discount from $11,990 for anyone lame enough to answer spam. Would Forbes be lending its name to this sort of pathetic silliness if it weren’t hurting?
 
Search Optimization (Low-Rent) · In Vancouver, as in most cities, the poles that hold up the traffic lights and streetlights and, well, anything, are plastered with posters advertising soon-to-be-famous rock bands and tarot readers and, well, anything. Search Engine Optimization, too ...
 
People Are Not Design Elements · David Weinberger pointed to BlogExplosion, which seems like a decent enough idea, but it’s clearly not for me because, based on the site’s front page, it is designed for use by people in sunny climates who have lots of hair. In fact, now that the industry has moved past time-wasting Flashturbation intros, my number-one gripe about corporate web sites is the use of anonymous bright shiny happy people (carefully balanced as to race and gender) as design elements. This entry was going to be a snarl about the clueless big corporations who do this, so I thought I’d start my excoriation with the Fortune 500, but of the first fifteen, not one is clearly guilty. Lots of them have pictures of people, but they are clearly either employees (even, as with IBM, identified by name) or customers, depicted as such. Most of the sites seem to be pretty no-nonsense, some even reasonably lightweight, designed to get you where you’re going. Some even manage to be nice-looking, too. The world got a bit more clueful while I wasn’t paying attention; neat.
 
Listen to the Lark · Andy Lark that is, Sun’s VP of Global Communications, who’s on-stage for earnings announcements and Microsoft truces and so on. A conventional marketing pro’s conventional marketing pro, you’d think, right? Well, maybe not; he’s got a homestead on the blogosphere where you can read Triangulation Of News, a clear-eyed take on the way the wind’s blowing. I wonder how many VPs of Global Communications out there get it like this? And what the world’s going to be like when they all do?
 
JIS on Commodities · Normally, when I point to pieces by people from Sun, I try to focus on the ones who are just getting going and perhaps could use a little extra traffic. Well, Jonathan Schwartz is already well-established; ongoing gets more traffic just from being on his blogroll than from a Dave Winer flame. So I’m flabbergasted that Jonathan’s piece on commodities hasn’t been either slashdotted or written up in the Wall Street Journal, or both; how often does the President of one of the tech industry’s big players drive a stake in the ground and shout “This business is like the railway business, and that’s good”? Go have another look.
 
Syndicated Ads · Every so often, the subject of advertisements in syndication feeds bubbles to the surface; here are some recent remarks by Winer and Searls. Dave Sifry has a riff on this that I’ve heard him give a few times, but the more I think about it, the more I think there’s major potential in doing this right ...
 
No More ucomics · For some time I’ve been reading Calvin and Hobbes on ucomics.com. But I think I’m going to have to stop, because they are running highly irritating ads that are complete lies. Check out this, but brace your eyes first. Even better, don’t: it’s a violently-flashing yellow-and-black GIF saying Winner! Winner! You just won a free digital camera! Click here!. If you decide, as I did, that it’s worth flaming about and click there at ucomics, you discover that it redirects to a random advertiser, many of which are “Page not found”, none of which offer digital cameras, and which include apparently-respectable firms like ValueClick. I wonder if these people know that offensive, lying ads are being used to link to them? (This piece was originally going to be a flame at them for buying this kind of ad, but then I clicked again). I wonder if respectable cartoonists like Pat Oliphant know that their work is being displayed next to this kind of trash? I wonder if it’s legal to run ads which are outright barefaced lies? Would it be OK for me to put ad banners all over the Internet saying Free Beer! pointing to ongoing? [Disclosure: no free beer here.] What am I missing?
 
Bad, Bad IBM! · Tux has been replaced by the Weird Blond Kid on the Route 101 F.Y.O. billboard at Redwood City. This is culturally damaging and basically destroys IBM’s open-source street cred. Please bring the Penguin back! ...
 
On Execublogging · As you can well imagine, Jonathan Schwartz’s decision to go online has involved plenty of internal discussion, and some anxiety on the part of our legal and PR staff. But once you think about it, it’s not really that big a deal; a guy like Jonathan is typically talking to journalists and analysts and other outsiders every week, sometimes every day; so this in fact is probably a lower-risk activity, since he’s not being intermediated by someone who might have their own agenda. Obviously he’s going to have to be careful in the quiet period around our earnings, but they learn about that in executive kindergarten. We had a talk off-line and I recommended that he write a few pieces in advance of launching, to give it some momentum. Jonathan said, “I’ve already written nine, this is great, every time I think of something that needs saying I can just say it!” I think that guy’s hooked. And for the first few minutes after launch, until the proof-readers got there, one of the pointers on the front page was to a famous journalist, name mis-spelled. Now that’d be your world-class irony.
 
Supernova · I accepted Kevin Werbach’s kind invitation to his Supernova conference later this month; I’ll be on the Syndication Nation panel with Sifry, Boutin, and Hourihan. While I was Antarctica full-time, I got out of the conferencing world, and that world has gone through some pretty severe changes; I wonder if I’ll still like it? Normally at these things I spend the whole time in the hallway gossiping, but there are some sessions that look like they could be hot.
 
Making Sun Policy · Today I’m posting the new Sun Policy on Public Discourse; this companion piece describes how we built it ...
 
Sun Policy on Public Discourse · Many of us at Sun are doing work that could change the world. We need to do a better job of telling the world. As of now, you are encouraged to tell the world about your work, without asking permission first (but please do read and follow the advice in this note). Blogging is a good way to do this. [Update: This document has an official home on the Sun Website.] ...
 
Office Doofuses · I guess we’re friends with Microsoft now, and even though we’re direct competitors in the office-suite space, because we’re friends I’m gonna pass on some free advice. Please show your developers and customers some respect and get those incredibly-lame Great Moments At Work ads off the air. The message, insofar as there is one, is that people who work in offices are clueless doofuses, and that being around Microsoft Office will encourage poor grooming, juvenile behavior, and generally coming across like a complete moron. Microsoft is a smart company, and smart companies shouldn’t run dumb ads. It disgraces our whole profession.
 
Yahoo Update · Not long ago I wrote a really cynical piece about Yahoo’s Paid Search program. Well, I got some people mad at me, and follow-up is in order ...
 
Yahoo Paid Search, Translated · Via the invaluable John Battelle, a pointer to this Search Engine Watch piece on the advent of Paid Search over at Yahoo. It contains some remarkable examples of marketingese, and I thought it would be helpful to provide a translation ...
 
Blogs + MLM, Argh · There was this message on the phone wanting to talk to me urgently; which has been happening a lot since I’ve been job-hunting. It was a fellow high up in EcoQuest International, who sell air-fresheners. He had a deal for me: he’s planning a “Dealer Education” tour up here in Canada, and if I could drive people to some of his sessions, he’d put me upstream from them in the MLM food chain. What’s old is new again. Or something.
 
On TV · Last Sunday, the whole family was over at Peter & Kim’s place to hang out, drink some leftover New Year’s Champagne (Mumm’s yumm), play with the new puppy, but mostly to watch TV. Because we don’t have any (well, a decent little Toshiba for watching DVDs) but P&K have a satellite dish and a high-end Runco projector and 5+1 sound and generally the whole ticket. Well, some of you may not have seen live sports on a good HDTV satellite feed with the 16:9 aspect ratio and so on: Trust me, it’s an entirely new art form. Saw the KC/Indy game; The conventional analysis was that the KC defense collapsed, but I’d say it was simpler than that, the Indy offensive line shut down the pass rush and since Manning was on, that was all she wrote; but with that kind of pass protection I could have thrown some of those tight-end-slant completions. Then Peter exercised the audio with choice cuts from the Concert for George DVD; nice to see Rory Gallagher laying down some chops and if you didn’t shed a tear or two when Paul opened up Something in the Way She Moves on ukelele well you need to get in touch with your feelings or whatever. Anyhow, the totally bizarro part of the event was IBM’s weird Linux ads featuring this ugly blond kid who makes me think of the Really Bad character in a Stephen King piece. Narrative by Henry Louis Gates and Kurt Vonnegut and so on is pretty classy, but I’d still like the penguin back. Plus the ads on the IBM Web site—even the Quicktime versions—won’t play on my Mac, which is lame. What with the HDTV and DLP and so on, we’ve been thinking about a satellite dish and bigger screen; and while the football and the concert were great, watching the commercials reminded me why we haven’t had TV all these years. Given the competition, the weird blond kid was a highlight. Maybe that’s the point.
 
Buck 65 · A couple of months ago, I got a plain brown envelope at the office. It contained a CD by something called Buck 65 along with a poorly-photocopied promo blurb from Warner Brothers. It got lost in the papers in a corner of the desk but just fell out so I stuck it in the Mac. Herewith a shameless attempt to become part of the music marketing food-chain, and the stuff isn’t bad either ...
 
On Hating Blockbuster · Normally when we want to rent a movie we go to the very good local Black Dog Video, but the neighborhood also has a Blockbuster which gets the occasional visit because it’s handy to a big grocery store. I despise, loathe, revile, the place; a few notes on why and what that might mean for retail in general ...
 
Moveable Text · NetNewsWire has a feature where it will show you the differences on successive revisions of a story, which is interesting, sometimes amusing, and probably too embarrassing for publishers to live with. Herewith a couple of surprising examples and a war story with a funny look inside Microsoft ...
 
The Online Salesvoice · This morning Doc Searls has a pointer to a real interesting attempt to use blogs to do viral marketing for a teen drink. They speculate as to how big this might be. At the end of the day, though, we're all here to sell something, aren't we? ...
 
Party Like It's 1999! · Quoth C|Net "...or become corporate roadkill", forsooth ...
 
How to Sell Software · I've been engaged, more or less continuously since 1989, in trying to sell software. It's tough, because software is so weird - just a bunch of bits, you can make as many copies as you want for free - and yet so expensive. Microsoft knows how to sell software but most customers don't like the experience and are being careful to avoid getting into other relationships like the one they have with Microsoft ...
 
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