August 27, 2005

Business Models Based on No Change

Should businesses that rely on predictable markets, cookie-cutter customers and time-proven marketing techniques blog? My business partner says probably not. I'd like to say he's not right. I tell him he's not right about 34 times a day, which is about three times short of how many times he tells me I'm not right. But who's counting.

He tells a recent story about our business:

Recently, we were working with a very large company on a potential blog. After much discussion, the executives decided that a blog was not appropriate for the company. And it was probably the right decision. The company is primarily a one-way communicator, and because of its business, cannot risk (or tolerate) much dissent or negative feedback--particularly in an open forum like a blog.
The thing is, most businesses believe that they can't weather negative feedback and would prefer to, given all options, opt-out of the conversation, which contains both negative and positive feedback--along with a lot of good jokes and some pretty tasty grafiks--that they could benefit from.

The conversation among self-publishers can go on pretty much as is without any voice from larger corporations. Markets are perfectly willing to chat amongst themselves. But I wonder if the same is true for large enterprises. Now, Big Tech almost has to blog at this point. Sun is doing it. IBM's doing it Scoble's doing it. If you're a big tech company, blogging's a mandate. You have to walk your talk.

But when it comes to large non-technology companies I wonder if it will take months, years, or if they'll be able to avoid participation altogether.

My aforementioned highly-ROI-focused and historically-successful business partner, Paul, sees opportunities for smaller, nimbler companies to take advantage of through blogging, especially as the old school enterprises are busy keeping their clothes clean of the blog mud:
It occurred to me that this is probably true of a great many larger/legacy enterprises. For them, there is little to be gained and much to be risked. So as far as communications goes, this company and others will generally have to rely on one-way communications like press releases, or "non public" feedback mechanisms like market research and customer satisfaction surveys.But for smaller companies (and those less risk averse) , the opportunities and advantages to blogging are great. While their larger competitors rely on one-way communications, they can acheive speed in their feedback loops through the immediacy of blogs.
That's a conversation he and I had the other day. Are there specific business models that should simply be reinforced against the blog hurricane? That are better served by barricading, hunkering down and waiting it out rather than evacuating business as usual?

Probably so--but you have to wonder if some might sustain serious damage because of it. And if some won't be able to weather this storm of change.

Google Talk Elegantly Simple

What's so damn cute about google talk is the typical google starkness of it. Google's stuff is never cluttered up with crap, just elegant simplicity, which is why google is worth $3403045530 billion, U.S.

For instance, in GoogleTalk, there are no fancy colors to muck up the chat, no foo-foo templates of snowmen and the backstreet boys. No extra spaces or fancy "who's talking now" boxes. No real way to distinguish much of anything. It's just pure gabbing.

I especially noticed this when chatting with Mr. Paynter this evening. You can examine a fun game based on UI Simplicity that we played during some of our interchanges, which follow:

Jeneane: just type zappa
I want to see how it looks after your name
Frank: zappa
Jeneane: cool.
Frank: Zappa
Jeneane: thanks.
better
I think you should do that whenever you're on IM
Try Sinatra
Frank: you can call me muthah
Frank: Sinatra
Jeneane: NICE!
Frank: Sinatra
Jeneane: LOL (really i am)
Frank: 'nStein
Jeneane: s n beans
Frank: s 'n beans
Frank: Great minds.
Jeneane: i'm blogging it.
Jeneane: ly
Jeneane: ly, scarlett, I don't give a damn.
Frank: laughing here too
Jeneane: gigglgggiggle.
Frank: okay... I'm not allowed to have this much fun.
Jeneane: guess this was the pinacle of google talk.
next app.?...
Jeneane: furter
you do it
Frank: furter
Jeneane: thank you

CoCo recaptured

She's back--George scored the capture this time, last night, in the livingroom, with a lead pipe... oops, sorry, that's Clue. But anyway, he got her! She's in her cage with a BUNDLE of twisties now serving as the barrier between her furry behind and freedom.

The things we do for rodents.

I'm all like: George, she's 3 ounces. Why don't we just let her run free. She wont eat much. In the year of life she's got left [[editor's note: I'm assuming she's about 8 months old now, and they usually don't live longer than 2 years]], how many turds could she leave around--a hundred? They'll shrivel up into nothing. Really, we've got more M&Ms under the couch from Jenna than that.

He's all like: We will not have a rodent loose in this house.

I'm all like: You're so uptight.

George: Everyone else is in bondage in this house. And besides she's a canibal!

Me: She's not a canibal. She was being a good mother when she ate those babies--they didn't have a chance.

George: She had a chance not to eat 13 babies. She's a canibal. She is a c-a-n-i-b-a-l.

Me: She was being merciful and she's a good mother.

George: Canibal.

Me: Good mother.

George: I know mother's like that.

Me: Okay fine. You win. Just keep her caged like a rat.

George: Like a canbal.

August 26, 2005

I knew it sounded quieter.

I hadn't heard this news. -- try here.

If every company sued everybody who talked about them on the web...

lawyers wouldn't have time to go after me for unpaid medical bills!

Check out Dave Taylor's post about a lawsuit by a company that claims a pack of "john does" released trade secrets in the comments of the now-defendant's blog.

Aaron Walls, the now-defendant, has a good run-down here, of what did/didn't go on, though he may have to remove the post based on legal advice, so Dave says read it now.

These things always raise those issues we all like to talk about when they're raised. Like how responsible are we for what others say on our sites. What does it mean for comments if it ends up costing Aaron $10K for what was left on his. What if we don't make any money doing this stuff and, well, were say on vacation when the Does descended. What's it mean for content and who "owns" what when multiple people are conversing on one site. Where does my fence line end and my neighbor's begin. And how the hell would I know they're trade secrets. Are we sure they are?

Seems to me that Traffic-Power.com (guess they were a little late on the domain name acquisition front) should be trying to find out who John Does 1-10 are and not sicking the dogs on Aaron.

On the business side, the case offers some fodder for thought, as Dave Taylor says:

What I find most telling about this lawsuit is that it's aimed directly at a blog and a blogger, not related to what the blogger is writing about, but about what others are adding in his comments. By leaving those comments intact while deleting comment spam, obscenities, pre-teen p0rn drivel, etc., Aaron has indeed walked into a surprise firestorm of legal troubles. However this case may turn out, I see it as a wakeup call to business bloggers who haven't yet thought through their own comment and comment moderation strategies. In a nutshell: what liability are you exposing yourself to by not strictly moderating the content of your entire blog, not just your own articles?

A mighty question indeed.

tombstone

someone asked me that age old question about what I want on my tombstone. They said not to think about it, but the first thing that comes into your mind that you would want, say it.

I said: "She was a good mom."

I haven't thought of anything better.

Oh Say Can You See.

Our sweet baby. She's in second grade. They sing the national anthem. They don't know the words so well. Jenna starts hers off this way:

"Oh the way that you see..
and the love that you bring..."

I'll salute that.

August 25, 2005

AI AI O.

Received a copy of Ray Kurzweil's new book, The Signularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology. (fyi, Lots of articles on the singularity on his site).

Not for the casual scan, the book looks like a combination of interesting, bewildering, hopeful, and terrifying. Just as I like 'em!

As an inventor, Ray has been someone George has been intrigued by for a long time. He may dig into this book before I get the chance.

Now, for tonight's lullabye--remember to sing the first line really fast:

Old McDonald had a farm where everyone lived forever,
AI-AI-O.

I'll be your friend

Gil Friend, CEO of Natural Logic, rocks my world. There, Gil. It has been said. Out loud. Here's the thing--I interviewed Gil for an article I'm writing for -- you guessed it, I'm plugging it again -- Global PR Blog Week, happenin' in September.

All of the CEOs I talked to for the articles are brilliant. Gil nearly made my head explode. You know when you're talking to someone who gets the possibilities of what's possible and some of what's not--or at least you didn't think so until you are done talking to them and then you're ready to sign on the dotted line, any dotted line? That's what talking to Gil's like.

It's only after I talked to Gil that I started to snoop around to find out more about his business and Internet chops--I had seen Dave talk about him, but I'm still like, who is this guy? I mean, besides what I'd already gleaned from reading his blog occasionally.

That's when I figured out, OH, he's this Gil!

And this Gil!

And this one

And this one, too.

And maybe even this one?

Well, you can read what he says on CEOs and blogging once the article's up.

You can bet I'll let you know.

I didn't know writers could sue for working more than 12 hours a day!

Well here's the proof. Dang. Blogger, I'm suing your ass.

Born Free

That friggin little Coco gnawed through the metal twistie.

She's escaped again.

August 24, 2005

Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

I've been reading some things this week that, independent of the debate at hand, which I'm not passionate enough about on either side to wade in on, raise other important issues around protocol and expectations among bloggers.

In my interviews with CEOs this week, I was speaking to an executive blogger who started blogging relatively recently. We were discussing people spouting off in posts and in comments and what the perception is when this happens.

I'm afriad that any dissent is quickly--just as it has become in American Politics during wartime--dismissed as having been uttered by a wacko, a troll, or someone who has no class.

As blogging becomes professionalized, expectations around conversational ettiquette have changed. It's no longer okay to 'talk off the top of your head,' you are supposed to fact-check. It's not okay to call someone an idiot, especially if you only half mean it, because if you utter such claims Google will decide that you are the everknowing, everloving authority on idiocy, something you never intended when you wrote: Dude, stop being such an idiot. But nonetheless, you become Google's Dr. Phil of Idiocy.

Early in blogging, we did nothing but talk off the top of our heads. That was the point--the whole medium was specifically tailored for talking off the top of our heads. Then, most of what we did was riff, and a good dose of name calling turned handshake was all the proof we needed that we cared about the other folks here.

And so blogging grows up. And it's not okay to call out something as wrong. You have to say, I think it's wrong, the facts show that it's wrong, or 38 percent of whomever have indicated that they think it's wrong.

What about me just saying, in my own online home, without qualification, that it's WRONG, and the next person saying, NO here's why it's RIGHT, and the next person saying, it's kind of right and kind of wrong but you're not taking into account THIS, and so it goes.

No. Can't do that anymore. We are expected to qualify our statements, to be fair and balanced, to temper our tempers.

I don't want to be fair or balanced.

I want to be me.

August 23, 2005

worlds colliding colliding

In a great post on the smudging of barriers and boundaries between what we do and who we are and who they are and where we are, PR smart guy Chuck Tanowitz talks about how it's all joined together by a common theme: The Story

Don Hewitt, when asked to explain the success of his show 60 Minutes, would lean in like a child and say "tell me a story." His point: it's that basic. Tell a good story and people will listen.
And interestingly, I interviewed Chuck as part of an article I'm writing for Global PR Blog Week, and we collided in a good way, and because I was interviewing a host of smart CEOs today, my brain turned to mush, because there is NOTHING like talking to smart CEOs to wear you out intellectually, and so I'm picking up Jenna from carpool and I'm thinking about CEOs and the disintegration of constructs and barriers that might make for a good case of dissociative identity disorder if not for the fact that we are in an age where technology enables the blurring of those boundaries and the smudging of lines--I work I play I write I mom I blog I clean I shit I type I weep I bully I love I hate--and I'm thinking of the "absence of" in a Cixous sort of way, and how brilliant white space can be and how treasures hide in the little tiny corners where nothing particularly is, and then I find myself wondering what a picture with no edges, no boundaries actually "looks" like... where both the absence and presence of disappear.

...and then I see her.

There's Coco, the hamster that won't stay caged, on the steps to the basement as I round the corner to come in from the garage, swinging my keys and thinking big bright CEO thoughts.

I knew she'd gotten loose again. Two days ago. She punched out of the front of her cage. And so I'm staring at her on the stairs, quite literally, and she's staring back, but she's got this weird look. It's not her usual look. I'm wondering if she's dead. But she's upright.

"Coco?"

Still she's staring past me. I'm moving my face in front of her--please don't let me be the one to find her dead--and she stares past me still or she is in a microsleep or suffering from dehydration dreams. Finally I put my hand in front of her, and she startles, seeing me for the first time.

And I can tell by her eyes, I'm no longer the large animal who tried to save her babies, who feeds her, who brings her carrots.

I am a predator.

EEEEKS!

She takes off like a hamster on speed and I half pick her up half drop her all the way to the living room, where she hides for another 10 minutes before I find her, bribe her with a carrot, grab her, and let her do cartwheels in my hands until I shove her back into her cage, which is now locked with a twistie from a box of garbage bags, with a phone book on top for good measure.

In those days where her perspective changed from being inside the cage to being free--the 16 days she was loose the first time--something in her brain changed. I'd be willing to bet a physical change took place in her brain. What was once inside is now out. What was once safe is now dangerous. It's all dangerous. Her lines of in and outside of the cage--of what it means to be "trapped"--have all changed.

And I wonder if the same thing isn't happening to me. To us. Here.

August 22, 2005

Busy Busy....

busy busy busy -- breathe breathe breathe -- busy busy busy... breathe breathe.

sorry.

no can write so busy...

lame, I know.

Go read some of the Blog Sisters:

Alexandra WolfeAmy BrazillerAndrea R. JamesAndrea SeeAnglela at SlolaneAnita BoraAnita RoddickAnn CraigAnne ZAnnie MasonAnnie RosarioAnvita SinghAnvita SinghAvi RappoportBadKittyBarbara FletcherBetsy DevineBlack LooksBrandy ReedBrooke Shelby BiggsBunny OtterCamille JacksCara MiniosaCatherine BerlinCeleste Dawn MitchellChris (of uffish)Christine ElieseChristine ThurowClancy RatliffCrystal Carneycurly mcdimpleCyndy RoyCynthia KingCynthia RockwellDawn FriedmanDeborah BranscumDeborah GussmanDenise HowellDervala HanleydrubloodElaine BennettElaine of KalililyElayne RiggsEliana KellenElise MillerElizabeth Lane LawleyElizabeth PerryElke ZimmermannEmmaEmma EEsta JarrettEve PearlmanFeithFidahGentry LaneGina GiulianoGlovefoxGreen ConsciousnessGretchen PirilloHalley SuittHapHapHeather ChampHeather HamiltonHeather SnowHelen JaneHelen RazerHetty WithamIda van LooseIndigo Oceanjacinda ughettiJane YangJanelleJean ChuJeneane SessumJenettJennJenni LJennifer BalderamaJennifer MedlockJenny BrownJenXJessa JunejfcatesJill CorralJill WalkerJo SpanglemonkeyJocelyn B.Judith BurtonJudith MeskillJudy WattJune/Uppity FemaleJyotsna KamatKaranKate CohenKate SKatherine DerbyshireKathie HeijtinkKatie - DaVinciFreedomKatie SaltKatie StahlKCKenokiKhelenaKim ThammKim WellsKirsten OsolindKristineKymberlie R. McGuireLa ReinaLady HLauren FriedmanLaurie JohnsonLaurie SLeah BrooksLeanne ShearleenawordsLinda ChandlerLindsay Vaughanlindsey rockLisa EnglishLisa EzraLisa Whitemanlisaz slamLiz KleinfeldLori McleeseLorie's Catch-AllLuchiLynne Bakerm. brooke robertshawMac DivaMad KaneMaggie SMamatha MekaMargaret ManningMarguerite EspanolMarie FosterMarigolds2Marita PaigeMary BrothertonMary WehmeierMaryaMaryam WebsterMB WilliamsMedleyMeg HourihanMeghan Rose AllenMelanieMena TrottMeredith BadgerMeris ShuwargerMeryl K. EvansMeryl YourishMichela LedwidgeMichelle MauriereMireleMiriam Jonesmisbehaving.netMissieMonica DrangerMorgaine SwannMorphelia BlantinMtnGrlNatalie DavisNicole E. FoxPamela Of The SilencesPascale SoleilPaulaPennyPoiesiaQueen EstherQuiet InfinityRambling WebgirlRebekah BennetchRobin DorstyRobyn PollmanRohinee KarmarkarRondaRosemary GraceRox Populis.w. lernerSamantha BlackmonSarah (Crazy Woman)Schizophelia JonesSerena MatthewsShannon CampbellShannon HoffmanSharon O'NeillShe-4Sheila LennonShelly PowersSusanSusan KitchensSuzanne MeyerSweet CitySyaTeresa KanagoTerri FallinTild DallelieTishTish GToby TellierTracy KennedyTranceJenTrish WilsonUltrapopValVicki RosenzweigVikkicarVirginia PostrelWendy CooperWicked MoxieWilla ClineXS Clothing WomanXtinezebahtronic