May 2008

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For some reason this blog has failed to post the comment that I just wrote in response to Simon Edhouse‘s latest comment in response to the Clues vs. Trains post. It’s within a good dialog that involves Simon’s post here, which makes some subtle but important points about the degree to which the client-server nature of commercial activity on the Web contributes to normative acceptance of the many silos there. I’m trying to convince Simon that we’re on his side in opposition to that. Anyway, here’s what I just tried to post:

  Simon,
  We need the invention that mothers the necessity. One “bite” I hope will hold is the relbutton on iPhones and other mobile devices, giving listeners a way to interact with, and pay for, otherwise free online radio streams and podcasts. I haven’t said too much publicly about this yet because we have a lot of details to work out. But on the “sell” side we already have the interest of (and participation by) Forces That Be in public broadcasting, just for starters.
  Q: “It’s going to need vendor buy-in to actually work?”
  Not at first. But we have a data type escrowed on the buyer’s side called MLOTT, for Money Left On The Table. That should help.
  Q: “You can’t shame them into action”
  Not the plan.
  Q: “or count on enlightening them”
  Not the plan either. Some of “them” are among “us” to begin with anyway.
  Q: Vendors are not going to volunteer to be ‘managed’
  Carrot before stick. It has to be attractive. That’s the plan.
  Q: “… the name of the meme itself, almost jinxes it, for non-adoption by traditional product/service suppliers in the value-chain.”
  It’s a big world. There are lots of vendors, some more traditional than others. We don’t need to boil the ocean here. We just need to get a few lagoons heated up first. That’s why starting with public media will help.

By the way, after I failed to post that on this blog, I tried posting a comment on Simon’s blog, which is on Blogger. There I was given three choices for identifying myself: Google/Blogger, OpenID and URL. Sxipper, which is normally helpful, got in the way of the first and wouldn’t let me get it to work. I forgot all of my OpenID IDs, and Blogger told me I had “illegal characters” in http://doc.searls.com.

I’ll tell ya, if all we ever do with VRM is eliminate that kind of gauntlet, I’ll be happy. Oh, by the way, I don’t think any current identity system by itself will cut it — worthy as each may be. When an individual shows up at a site, or otherwise interacts with an entity or a service in the networked world (and not just on the Web), we need to know if a relationship is already in place, and then skip consciousness-required-identification (hell, let’s call that CRI) of ourselves. And no vendor alone is going to give that to us. We need to make the user the point of integration and origination. We have to make the individual the driver, and not just the center of vendor-side “attention” or whatever. Code has to be present on our side that says to the other side that a relationship already exists, or could exist (on our terms and not just theirs), and then let computation take care of the rest.

Elselinks

VRM Linkage and Thinkage.

This is mostly true:

This one is my fave.

There is no business I wish more that I had thought of than Despair.com. Just freaking brilliant. And humbling.

The Net is a way to work around the silos that substitute for it.

This came to me after seeing “Twitter is over capacity.” for the Nth time.

Twitter will be better off when it’s the best of its own breed, rather than the only place to do what can only be done there.

That’s why questions like Dave’s are essential.

Not saying that exclusivity, or exclusive advantages, are wrong and should not be rewarded. I am saying that walled gardens are inherently inadequate in a networked world.

Twitter is a terrific tool that needs to be just as open at the back end as Dave wants it to be at the front. Not sure how to do that, but I am sure it needs to be done.

It was a clear morning yesterday when I flew out of Boston, and almost identical when I landed in San Francisco. For  oddball reasons of season and perspective, many of the sights on the outbound looked like the coast of Mexico or Brazil. In fact the above is Plum Island and its inlet on the North Shore near Ipswich.

Anyway, a fun set. Many more coming. See the slide show version here.

A little

Good news.

Yesterday on the drive from SFO to Palo Alto, I hit SCAN on the rental car radio. Aside from the sports shows and the still-awesome KPIG (with a little signal on 1510 out of Oakland… check it out), most of what I heard was partisanship at all costs.

Eventually you get slips like this one on Fox News, by the formerly substantive journalist Liz Trotta. What began as a slip of the tongue ended with a slip of the mind that is just freaking scary.

Sez Trotta,

I am so sorry about what happened yesterday and the lame attempt at humor. I fell all over myself, making it appear that I wished Barack Obama harm, or any other candidate, for that matter, and I sincerely regret it and apologize to anybody I have offended. It is a very colorful political season, and many of us are making mistakes and saying things we wish we had not said.

… but saying things which, at some level, we still mean. That level in this case is a warped and degraded form of conservatism, dressed as news and delivered as entertainment. Again, partisanship at all costs.

What Liz Trotta told her audience was to hate Obama as much as it hates Osama. And to trivalize the advice, all in one move. Were any unhinged future assassins watching? Let’s hope not.

I don’t begrudge anybody going after advertising money. And I don’t have anything against advertising itself. For many products and services advertising will remain the best way for supply and demand to get acquainted.

But advertising also involves guesswork and waste, and always will. It is also, by its shout-to-the-world nature, not a “conversation”.

This is why I’m uncomfortable with the notions of “conversational media” and “conversational marketing”. Especially when gets used to justify it. Such is the case with the awful current entry for Conversational Marketing in . It begins, “Conversational (or Conversation) Marketing arose as a current buzzword after the [ClueTrain Manifesto], which starts ‘All Markets Are Conversations’.

First, it’s Cluetrain, not ClueTrain. Second, it begins “People of Earth…” Third, it’s true that the first of its 95 Theses says “Markets are conversations” (no “All”, no headline-type caps); but the next 94 unpack that point, along with a few more, none of which are justifications for advertising. In fact, we mention advertising only once, at #74, which says, “We are immune to advertising. Just forget it.” (Even if that’s not true, it’s what the thing says, so at least get that much right.) Fourth, a phrase is not a word, even if the phrase buzzes.

I could go on, but why bother. I just hope the Wikipedians delete or bury the whole topic until its promoters start thinking and stop buzzing.

Anyway, this all comes up because I’m thinking about what to talk about tomorrow night at There’s a New Conversation in Palo Alto. (Details here.) The event is one in a series occasioned by the upcoming 10th anniversary of Cluetrain’s publishing on the Web; but I’m not much interested in talking about that. Instead I’d rather talk about what’s going to happen after we finish throwing both media and marketing out the window.

Both will live, of course. But not the way they’ve lived in the periods that began with their common usage and can’t end soon enough.

More to a piont, I’d like to explore what happens after buyer reach exceeds seller grasp. Because that will happen. And when it does neither media nor marketing will be able to live in their old halls of mirrors. Even with Wikipedia’s help.

While the kid had his violin lesson this evening at his school, I went out and shot hoops for as long as it took. Hits vs. Misses, all shots from beyond the foul line in any direction. When the kid came out, I was up 42 to 37. After we started playing HORSE, a couple of athletic young folks, a guy and his girlfriend, invited us to play a quick game to eleven, two on two. Make-it-take-it. The Kid made most of our points, but I hit the winning shot from out near top of the key. Swish. Nothing but net: 11-8.

Of course, the guy on the other team wanted his girlfriend to take most of their shots. He probably could have beaten us one-on-two. He was that good. But still, it felt satisfying. I think the last time I played an Actual Game was in the Ford Administration. Made me want to do more. Which is ludicrous, since I’m overweight, pushing 61, and gifted with the leaping ability of a culvert. Still, I played, made rebounds and put up shots that went in; and that alone felt good.

It’s a warm breezy day in Cambridge, a perfect pre-summer day for the Motown Orgy that WHRB is holding right now. I caught it first this morning on my way back from dropping the kid off at school, and it’s been hard to tune away since. Great radio, even though it’s weird getting schooled by DJs a third my age about what I still regard as my music (along with that of a billion or so other people).

WHRB doesn’t have a huge signal on the air. But their stream sounds great (in 96kbps stereo), worldwide. That’s the high-bandwidth one. If you’re listening over the cell system or someting, use the low bandwidth one.

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