friday, april 27
9:23 PM :: Will you kids do a me a favor and go over to this site and make the guy feel bad for such blatant site design theft? I mean, that's the Monstro!, for crying out loud.
The sad thing is, I wrote the site's proprietor several weeks ago when I was first alerted to the, erhm, image appropriation, and told him that I didn't actually mind him using my background image, as long as he gave me credit somewhere on his page. I'm not a design zealot -- hell, it isn't really much of a design (tho' it is a lovely drawing, don't you think?) No response, but he took down the copy of my site, so I didn't sweat it. And now it's back. And I was alerted to this fact by a visitor who didn't even know that the design was mine originally -- really quite distressing. I haven't been this upset about visual theft since that guy from the Stile Project stole my photo of the eight-breasted pig (long story.)
So go hassle the guy, wouldja? Thanks. After all, as Mr. Haughey has so lovingly quoted from the Simpsons in the past, "Oh, there's no justice like angry mob justice."
On an unrelated note, the reason is that sometimes you just have one of those months.
tuesday, april 3
10:57 AM :: Day 2 of the personalization conference brings with it ACTION! EXCITEMENT! SUSPENSE! ROMANCE! GLORY!
No, none of these things, actually. There was, however, a lovely presentation this morning by David Weinberger, he of JOHO and Cluetrain fame, who started off slow but quickly built to a manic, fevered pitch, drawing out conclusions about the ridiculous nature of marketing online (at least in its current state), talking about the beauty of connection, and pointing out the puffery of management -- knowledge, environmental, project, and otherwise -- as well as that particularly American tendency to assume that non-managed == bad. My favorite example, and this was a quote: "Looting, which is just unmanaged consumerism."
So here's the problem with this conference: This is an audience that doesn't get the Web; they just work on top of it. What good is it if you're saying something brilliant (not me, buddy, but some of the guys that I've seen speaking in the last two days) if the audience doesn't really grasp the concept? I'm assuming here that grasping the concepts means acting upon them, which may or may not be a valid assumption; after all, these same folks feted and then quickly dismissed McLuhan, but he showed them! (Admittedly, several decades later, by which time he was already dead.)
I'm disturbed by the severe disconnect at this conference between many of the things being said and the people to whom they're being said. It's a sender/response thing. I know that the Web is -- well, Meg said it best, way back when, when she made the distinction between "Web" people and "Dot Com" people -- but it's rare that I find myself staring so directly across this particular chasm. And while that's why I'm here at this conference -- I'm really trying to find out how these guys speak to each other, not just who they pay to tell them what's going on, because I think it's essential to my ability to communicate my message effectively to them -- I'm still totally flummoxed when it comes to actually finding a way to make it work. I want to do more than just put it out in the world, right -- I want to make sure it makes meaning, and that meaning takes action.
I guess what I'm trying to say is this: sure, they can laugh at the jokes -- I'm always amused by the degree to which "professionals" are desperate for amusement from their speakers, presumably because there's so little of it in their "professional" lives -- but how do we find ways to connect their dots? Do guys like David and Doc get through at all, or is it really more of a McLuhan thing, novel and new and forgotten within moments? These ideas, presumably, are more than just a passing fad; I truly believe that. But while they might sound good in the grand ballroom, they don't seem to be having much of an impact on the product expo ("Retail Revelations" -- this is the one I'm sitting next to right now -- "puts the right products in front of the right customers every time, everywhere." And that's one of the more lucid and direct pitches around here.)
Ok, enough. More later, after lunch. This daily update thing is kind of amusing. A guy could get used to it.
monday, april 2
6:38 PM :: Turns out there's lots of room for creative interpretation of the source. Good thing I'm not Palm Computing or Fruit of the Loom, buddy, or you'd be in a world of legal hurt (and, um, thanks!)
3:46 PM :: And now back to our regularly scheduled programming:
In case you haven't been keeping up -- I certainly haven't, here or anywhere else -- I've spent the last week, and will spend the next week and a half, bopping around the frigid northeastern corner of this country of ours (assuming, that is, that you're one of us.) By the good grace of Amtrak (Trains are fun! Acela is comfy!), the general order of things has gone/is going something like this: Home -> DC -> NY -> Providence -> Boston -> DC -> Home. NY, at the moment. FYI.
In DC, for some interesting reasons, where I had very little time to do anything else, I nonetheless had the distinct pleasure of sitting in the observation room in one of the NPR studios watching Bob Boilen (an extremely engaging guy) stage-direct Noah Adams and Robert Siegel (though not Linda Wertheimer, alas) as they put together that evening's All Things Considered. Apart from the fact that it was pretty amusing watching Noah Adams flub his lines (they have a 4 minute tape delay, apparently, so he can get away with it), the best part was watching 3 guys who had clearly spent the last several decades settling into their patterns run through them. I've never seen anything so clearly complex operated with such ease, efficiency, and grace. It's hard for me to imagine doing anything for that long, much less with that degree of skill. It's a dying art, methinks, longevity and the knowledge acquired therein.
Overall, the experience really made all those years of tithing into the KUT pot (admittedly, at the student rate) really seem to, well, pay off. Totally fascinating. Also, I've come to the vapid and quickly forgettable conclusion that I want to develop a rich, resonant, deep radio voice. Either that or a Tom Waits scratchy-gargly thing. I suspect the second might be easier, though only marginally, than the first (because now that I think about it, I'm guessing that you really have to work at all that smoking and boozing and bad living. There's a real history in that voice. Anyway.)
Here in NY, along with catching up with some old, missed friends, I'm in attendance at the Personalization Summit today and tomorrow, an interesting conference mix because it's (I'm estimating, here) 98% Suit and 2% People With Whom I Can Actually Hold A Real Conversation. This is not to make a serious distinction, or anything -- I can talk small with the best of them, I think, and certainly my business-card reflexes, though a little slow on the draw, are still fairly nimble -- but more just because I imagine that, had it not been for my encounter with Doc, a guy I've admired from afar but never before met, I probably wouldn't have had the superb lunch/into-the-first-session-which-would've-been-boring-anyway conversation that I did. That would be the Doc Searls, prolific speaker, coauthor of the Cluetrain Manifesto, all around fascinating (Have I used that word already? I think I have. But it's been one of those weeks...) conversationalist and superb tier-together. Doc somehow managed to weave together the otherwise unrerelated topics of markets as conversations, family histories, African spirituality, venture capital bubble-spending, open source politics, the MORE outliner, linguistic metaphor-making, and the pursuit of higher meaning in this life into a powerful and cogent statement on the way things are and the way they oughtta be. Way better than that boring-ass panel by the guy from Engage, lemme tell ya.
Next up is a week bopping around the smallest largest city in the world with Courtney -- lime green leather shoes, here I finally come -- and then off to Providence to visit Jen and Jeff, then a panel with Janice at Seybold in Boston, and back to DC for more DC-type stuff. Yup. And then, blissfully, hopefully, home.
And that's my week. And, yeah, I know I don't usually do the personal detail thing, here, except for the occasionally pithy anecdote about canoes or vomiting, but this seemed to be a most unusually revealing week here on Monstro!, so I thought I'd go with it.
If you're in any of the cities I just mentioned (and not one of those people I promised I'd hang with already -- I'm getting there, promise, expect a call tonight :), give me a yell. Let's hang.
sunday, april 1
6:02 PM :: I sit here and write and rewrite and rewrite and rewrite and none of it sounds right at all, so I'll just say it, say something, say anything, knowing the words can't even hope for adequate but needing to get it out into the world because I owe it to you: Courtney, Courtney, Courtney no-middle-name Skott, I love you. Listening to you propose to me was the most amazing, exhilarating, frightening, overwhelming moment of my life. Nothing I can say or do here or anywhere could ever measure up to that, to watching you, to hearing you, to knowing that we were going to be together forever. I can't imagine anyone else; I wouldn't want anything else. I love you, more than anything, anything, anything, anything.