March 09, 2002

i laughed so hard I almost tossed my fish

This Fishrush guy is so damn funny. He's right. Hippy dippy is so 60s. Even if Dorkvac thinks we're creepy hippy dippy types, there's no reason why we should have to travel like hippy dippy types. Hell, I'm not sharing a room at the funny farm with any blogger I know. I'm stylin' when we scooter on Washington; that's why I'm buying the "Doc's March on Washington Package™"!

Hurry--space is limited!

Tom Matrullo is my Morbid Ally

Someone was reading and is thinking ahead, like me. Tom takes this question of what will happen to our blogs, thoughts, dreams, logos, blogstickers and the like when we're gone? Call me a romantic, but I'm hoping my daughter will continue to pay the annual fee for, at least until she gets married--I guess we need a son?--and will take over allied, maybe even blog sisters. Who know what gonzo engaged will have morphed into.

I am, at the very core, a morbid person. I stare at my father's baby grand, upright bass, my grandmother's antique record cabinet. In each of these things, especially because they are made of wood, a little piece of them remains. The indents of my father's fingers in the neck of the bass, the piano keys worn just so, the worn handle on the record cabinet where she opened and closed the door how many times?

I like having these things with me, but my thinking doesn't stop there, with the appreciation of what's been left with me. I think about my father's 1953 Fender electric bass and amp--one of the first off the line--and the only thing I have left of it is the receipt for $150.00. The bass, like many of my father's things, walked away with some pillager after his death.

My mind naturally wanders from these places to the things I've invested the most in--these digital instruments--and contemplates who might take care of them--or rip them off--when I'm gone.

Team Blogs Morphing into Loosely Joined Organizations

Frank Paynter thinks I'm onto something with the blogs as organization of the future theory I posted down below. (Something's wrong with my links/archives. Linking to a past post seems to always go nowhere but the present post. I gotta fix it, but I don't know how. Anyway...) Frank's comment on that post is worth posting here, top level. Look what's already happening:

"I've been sick. But I've been listening. I recently cobbled together a demonstration of the wonders of bloggery for a client: four team blogs with overlapping memberships (three belonged to number four, one and two each had their own workspace but could see each other and comment... and like that). Instant Messaging was a second piece of this puzzle that I didn't demo for them, but loosely invoked as in ("plus you can have an AOL buddy list kind of thing...." They all got it.) So I'm with you on this. Blogs as collaborative workspace make a lotta sense. There are some security issues associated with IM that might make them an operations bad-dream, but the users need the function so we need to harden the implementation a little. Anyway. I gotta clean up my blog and get my Radio 8 working and like that, but I've been as down as you seem to have been with the mid-March blahs and a nasty flu. I hope to surface again as a witty and charming person soon."

Think of this, team blogs with overlapping members, much like what is happening with me between Gonzo Engaged and Blogsisters (with female members anyway), and lately I've had all sorts of quantum leaps on the use of team blogs with any number of "organizational" themes, from writing to PR to mothering. Only thing stopping me is, like Frank, time and exhaustion. Things are bubbling up. Get ready to stir the pot or get burned.

March 08, 2002


Who will you will your blog to? Is your user name and password somewhere safe? Do team blogs need a co-administrator just in case? Or will your blog go with you here? Twenty, fifty years from now, how many blogs will memorialize and link to dead bloggers' blogs. Leap forward, then look backward. What do you see?

the pain within
is the pain within
there's no getting over
this pain I'm in.

Okay class, that was tonight's cat-in-the-hat for grownups. Ah. I need to work on this blog tomorrow, don't I? Funky february's still there, old books I'm done with. This blog's starting to look like our living room after a baby blogger painting fest. I wish I knew how to work those skins. tom is playing around with redesign. Is it worth it? I'm not sure yet. But this place sure needs some house cleanin'... like my life.

I'm blog jumping tonight, and torturing the bombast-bashing nerds over on slashdot. All in a day's work.

don't hit [esc] by accident when you're writing a post

it goes away. byb-bye.

Golby's on Fire

Mike Golby's latest on this obsession we call blogging:

"Playing conkers with words, smashing them together until the one breaks, dropping them as memes into containers or packets this side of the Web and my head and watching where they go. Weinberger opens us to the realization that space as a container does not apply on the Web. Time becomes that which we measure with a clock and space with a rod. Yet, because we live in the real world, our ideas seem to somehow conform to real-world values. So, on the Web I imagine packets of memes. I pop 'em in, send 'em out and see what happens. This place is eerily open to the most mind-bending phnomena, phenomena that have their origins in us."


Mike, tells me a conker is "the inedible nutlike seed of the horse chestnut." So, what do you do with them, I mean, if you're not smashing them together. Or eating them, which, apparently, you can't.

Burn, Baby, Burn

Doc defines marketing in terms of the elements today in one of the most simplistic and inspiring uses of logic I've seen. He says:

"Somewhere back when Cluetrain was forming out of primordial conversations, I told Chris Locke my Theory of Marketing, the logic of which was slyly intended to scare potentially boring clients away from my consulting business. It went like this:

Markets are Conversations; and
Conversation is fire. Therefore,
Marketing is arson."

I suppose that's why I came away from my reading of Gonzo Marketing with this impression:

It's okay.
spark to flame.

Why does fire seem such an appropriate metaphor for what we are doing right now, right here, on the net? The reasons are plentiful:

Conversations are as primeval as fire, one of the earliest discoveries of mankind.

Aren't we sending smoke signals to anyone who will listen?

Fire levels and clears, readying the land for fresh growth.

Fire evokes fear; those who handle it wrong will get burned.

What we are doing is hot, dangerous, exciting, thrilling, and romantic.

Fire is destructive, but what succumbs to its force is often rickety and unstable.

Enter the arsonist, who creeps through the night, explosive power under wraps, until, POW! The only way to wake up whitey....

The only way to lay business as usual to waste, clear the land, sweep away the debris.

We're burning and building right now.
Burning, building, and blogging.
Can't you hear the sirens?

Spark to flame, ignite.

March 07, 2002

Team Blogs - The Organization of the Future?

I've been thinking lately about the team blogging movement, one I feel somewhat responsible for nurturing, if not launching. There weren't many when I started Reading Gonzo Engaged, at least not many like RGE. When I started the blog, it wasn't a team blog at all. Today we have more than a dozen members with a range of talents from marketing gonzo-style, to developers, to public speakers, to journalists and authors, and even a lawyer. We discuss meaningful issues about business, the economy, humanity, who's a fucknozzle and who's not.

Since RGE's beginnings, other team blogs have emerged--Blog Sisters, a spot for women bloggers to talk, engage, and become, and most recently Small Pieces and Non Zero, both team blogs to discuss books of the same name (and take it from there).

As I see these organic groups take form and congeal, I have started wondering if the team blog might not be an organizational model for the future--a bloggernization if you will. Gonzo Engaged the most mature of these team blogs in its sixth month, has all the makings of a really smart company. Denver Fletcher mentioned early in RGE's genesis, why not start our own thing. At the time, I thought, man I don't even have time to do what I'm doing, let alone think of how to turn this into a viable business. I'll just sit back and wait for the Gonzo prophecy to be fulfilled, when sponsors come knocking at our blog asking to underwrite and support us.

But maybe one of the iterations of blogs in business will look a bit different than the sponsorship and underwriting model, which I still believe will--if we all stay strong--feed micromarketeers in the near future. Perhaps team blogs are a precursor to some sort of loosely joined organization. (No, I haven't received the book yet, but I've joined the blog already!)

Think of how easy and smart it would be for companies to throw us some work over on RGE. They might leave us a post in some yet-to-be-made blog request box "Need help communicating from our audiences inward, from the bottom up--we want a web site that talks like people talk--you guys have any ideas?" Then we launch a private team blog off of RGE, add the client to that blog with the specialists from RGE that are the best at solving that particular problem, and the conversation moves forward. Ideas, applications, web sites, collateral all spawn from that. Of course, the client pays to join the private team blog, and for everything we do to put our ideas into action. cha-ching.

These bloggernizations won't look much like today's companies. We won't sit in cubes. We sometimes won't wear clothes at all. The team members may have never even met. Or spoken. We will remain connected on a deeper level, one where conversations take the place of staff meetings, and water cooler discussions take place on our individual blogs, linking as we drink. We will care deeply about one another. No one will need to be fired, though they may be encouraged to start a team blog of a different flavor. Our paychecks won't be signed by our bosses; they'll be earned from our ideas.

It's a work world I think makes a lot of sense. Anyone listening?

March 06, 2002

creature of resolution

I've always been of a mind that anything can be fixed--unless it's a fatal disease, and even then, sometimes you beat the odds. Maybe it's that 4-0 looming just a couple months away, or maybe it's the fact that my extended family is trying to do me in, or maybe it's that St. Patty's day is right around the corner--that hated day my dad died despite my sack full of get well cards from my kindergarten class--or maybe it's my mom's birthday coming up a week after that, or maybe it's that I'm overworked and absolutely broke, or maybe it's all of these things. The point is, I'm getting the sneaky suspicion that more things than I ever knew can't be fixed.

Why didn't anyone ever tell me that there is no resolution to some problems? That the best you can do is go along all broken? Someone could have left me a blog comment to clue me in. Really now.

But no, I yell into the canyon--"Hello? Can this be fixed?" And all I get back is, "Hello? Can this be fixed?" That's no kind of answer.

It's about family you thought you knew all your life, and then one day, enough crap is shoveled on top of you, that this movie starts playing backward. And as the movie runs in reverse, you see these scenes you never saw the first time around. I'm not sure what I was doing that I missed them the first time around. Out getting popcorn? In the ladies room? No, I was there, because I see my child self, perplexed but resilient. Adapting. Growing. But not growing up.

SLAM, fist to table.
SLAM, fist to table.

It wasn't the movie I thought it was.

Falling up stairs.
Dishes crashing.

And I'm not sure now that it will ever have a happy ending.

March 05, 2002

Power to the Loosely Joined People

Today, David Weinberger discusses his upcoming keynote at an Instant Messaging conference (Do they really have conferences about IM that you travel to and stuff? Why don't they just type to eachother?) David invites commentary (he's always been a smart guy) to bullet-test his ideas, which I think are great. Among them: "While the persistence of IM messages is quite low, the persistence of IM groups is quite high. In other words: buddy lists rule. We need to make more of buddy lists. First, we need a way to move threads among all the different conversation forms (and he sites the threads ML initiative)."

This is all true, and as we join together in these small (and growing) conversations, I don't know how IM will scale, or if it should. To me, it's not a technology that should connect one to many. It's a technology that's best at connecting one to a couple or few. If IM is, as Tom Matrullo says today, "more like typing through a telephone; it can be intense and tends to grab all my attention," then it is perhaps akin to the "three-way" or "conference call" phone features many of us use today.

But David's premise that IM at home is a lot like IM at work strikes me differently. I am someone who uses IM both at home and at work, and they are different beasts to be sure. While I welcome IM interruptions at home, because it is a lot like a phone call from one of my friends that I'm happy to receive, I'm not always so glad to get "brrrringed" by my clients, who tend to look at IM as our online umbilical cord. One of the first questions I get in working with a new client is, "What's your IM screen name so I can add you to my buddy list?!" (the exclamation point is purposeful--they ask the question with glee.) Because I'm online virtually round the clock, this is like giving them my home phone number (which I also do), except that I can close my IM and they don't know I'm online then, just like I sometimes don't answer my calls.

For me, IM in the work world has become less like chatting and more like an air raid siren--red alert, incoming incoming! I need help putting out a fire. Which is all fine--that's what we're paid for. But it's definitely not like my home IM experience.

The day my client figured out how to talk at me through yahoo messenger, and I mean literally talk to me, I really got the jitters. I sat peacefully playing with my daughter in the living room, when my laptop, from its usual member-of-the-family spot on the couch, yelled at me. "Jeneane! Can you hear me? Are you there? I need some help." Huh? My daughter, who's four, was undaunted. "Make your computer talk again, mommy!"

So, although the occasional IM with my aunts is a blast and all the playful fun David talks about in his premise, to me IM at work--while it bridges distance and time and that is great for business--isn't always so much fun. It makes me feel more like a responsibility-laden adult then an adolescent. In fact, it kind of gives me agita.


AKMA Almost Lets It Fly

and in the process, coins a newer, gentler term: "flopnozzle." I wonder if daypop will let that one in? Perhaps AKMA will become the family-friendly filter for RageBoy. There may be some money in that one day. Look at AOL.

March 03, 2002

Oath of the Cult of Cluetrain

The typical first step for cultists throughout history is the taking of an oath. For Cluetrain enthusiasts, who have of late been labeled cult members, the time to put up or shut up is now. Are you man enough? Are you ready to take the oath?

Well, I am, and that's why, like any connected chick, I turned to google to find us a good one. Luckily, the Swiss Imperial Navy has a long-standing oath. (I’m assuming from days of olde, although I was too tired to search back on the history.)

What I like about this little oath is that it’s simple, powerful, and it maps directly to Cluetrain and the most vilified Cluetrain defender, RageBoy. It also maps nicely to the online universe we are creating among all of the blog constellations, which are growing in number and luminance even as I blog this.

Without further delay, here is the Cluetrain oath. (After the oath, I’ve provided a little “key” to the words I changed in updating it for Cluetrain purposes).

Put on your Nikes and say it loud and strong, People of the Earth!

Oath of the Cult of Cluetrain

Sworn by a mystery cult surrounding the warlike deity RageBoy, especially popular among Corporate Outcasts

I, _________, as a citizen of the Internet and ordained a soldier of Cluetrain, do hereby swear, now and forever, to serve and defend the Net and all of her citizens; I swear not to rest while there is evil in the universe; and I swear above all to serve the sacred and fundamental ideals of Humanity. I swear these things on the holy altar of RageBoy, the Bringer of Victory and the Defender of the Home, RageBoy the Wrathful, and RageBoy the Just, in the presence of my sworn comrades and the God Himself.

Mapping from original Cult of the Swiss Imperial Navy:
Exped Forces=Corporate Outcasts
Swiss Imperial Navy =Cluetrain
Greater Swiss Empire=Internet
Empire of Switzerland=Net

I expect complete compliance in taking this oath, or I'll send Bellator after you.