Thursday, May 31, 2007

Social Marketing and Health Care

This is grim yet full of hope.

Toby at Diva Marketing Blog has a thought worthy interview here. (cross posted at Daily Fix). She talks with Nedra Klein Weinreich who has written an entry on the Pandemic Leadership Blog. Health and Human Services Department has gathered 14 contributors to the blog. Early preparation in the event of a severe outbreak could result in better containment. Ms. Weinreich asks the question - "How do we persuade people to do the right thing"? (my bold marks)

"Generally, governments and organizations have used three ways to bring about social change or action on a broad scale. First, through education — telling people the facts and hoping they will do the rational thing to protect their families and others. Providing lists of supplies, statistics about likely morbidity and mortality, and medical symptoms are all part of the educational approach. Unfortunately, as we know from issues like smoking and exercise, knowledge is often not sufficient to bring about behavior change. Second, coercion by passing laws or enacting policies at the governmental or organizational levels can be very effective. This method might be necessary to enforce quarantines, but we can’t very well legislate the purchase of an adequate supply of emergency food by each household. The third approach is social marketing, persuading people to take action by appealing to their values and emotions by “selling” the desired behaviors using the same effective techniques as companies like Apple or Nike."
I've not given pandemic flu more than passing consideration. I wash my hands and don't mess around rubbing my eyes too much. I get a flu shot each year. Knock on wood - the flu has avoided me for several years. The strains are getting more resistant to anything medical science has developed AKA avian flu. We all remember a few years ago when a vaccine was in short supply. And when you get to my age - well - you start taking extra precautions. Not to mention added concern for aging relatives.

So really what caught my attention with Ms Weinreich's post is the value she places on social marketing and the page link to "what is social marketing"?

"Social marketing was "born" as a discipline in the 1970s, when Philip Kotler and Gerald Zaltman realized that the same marketing principles that were being used to sell products to consumers could be used to "sell" ideas, attitudes and behaviors. Kotler and Andreasen define social marketing as "differing from other areas of marketing only with respect to the objectives of the marketer and his or her organization. Social marketing seeks to influence social behaviors not to benefit the marketer, but to benefit the target audience and the general society." This technique has been used extensively in international health programs, especially for contraceptives and oral rehydration therapy (ORT), and is being used with more frequency in the United States for such diverse topics as drug abuse, heart disease and organ donation."

Ms. Weinreich continues with a paragraph on the 4 P's of the marketing mix - Product, Price, Placement (distribution) and Promotion. Sound familiar? Then proceeds to give an example of this marketing mix strategy for breast cancer screening.

This is the potential that communities built around social marketing hold in changing the world. Its not necessarily as simple as posting and commenting - but it does offer a channel for education and hope.

Thanks Toby and thanks Nedra for leading the way.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The Next Big Thing

Bet you've heard that before :) Springwise is a site that delivers. You too can become a spotter! A treasure trove of creative ideas and the marketing behind them. Springwise is out of the Netherlands - get on the mailing list and try to keep up with whats going on around the world. A little heavy on US trends but very fun stuff from China and Japan.
I recently saw a van driving around town with a moving advertisement which changed every minute or so. It was something I'd never seen before - a mobile billboard. Submitted as a novel approach - too late - it had already been spotted. Gotta be quick these days!

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Women in Art !!!

I'm not a huge YouTube junkie...but, on occasion, am knocked out by what's there. Eggman is a film maker. I have no idea how he does it. He has a sizable following AKA community. And we're all about community in this neck of the woods.

When I hear talk of school districts, in the US, cutting art programs, I want to scream. Creativity is in far too short supply. This video reminded me of a print in my cube. The only DaVinci portrait in the Western Hemisphere (oh, those lucky Italians!) - Leonardo's Ginevra de Benci - is housed in Washington, DC. It is blow your mind elegance and beauty. If you ever get a chance - see it! The video is under 3 minutes - it gave me chills. Please enjoy it!

And if you've a mind to it...leave a comment on who might be your favorite artist :) - this time around any era will do!

Friday, May 25, 2007

Please take a moment

If you haven't noticed, Gavin Heaton is displaying a new signpost. Yes, Servant of Chaos has been ranked in the Viral Garden's top 25 Marketing Blogs for the past couple weeks. Get on over to Servant of Chaos and congratulate him for putting up that logo!

GH is a kick-ass writer. A tireless marketer for conversation. He is one of the many who continues encouraging me on the blogging path. But he is particularly appreciated for a single key moment. Last August - three whole months into building this corner of the blogosphere - I discovered the "magic" of sharing conversation in this medium. Then I stopped blogging for about 5 weeks. Nobody ever accused me of striking while the iron is hot. I'd picked up this nasty belief that a post had to be perfect and had begun editing myself.

Things like - "Not good enough...nobody will find value in this...who would even care about what I've got to say?" became part of my vocabulary. Most of you know negative self-talk leads to - whaddya call it ? - nowhere. In September, Gavin left a comment on my "magic" post. It was simple...

"OK Bob ... where are you? What happened? where have you been"
It struck's a guy with genuine concern for the "other" ! In a nutshell, that is the worthiest of human virtues. Virtue is part of the magic and mystery of life. As Aristotle reasoned, virtue and ethics lead us on the path to happiness - the good life. Or so I understand :)

Its a habit. It takes practice. Thats how you build value in a community. Isn't that what marketing is all about?

Bravo, Gavin! You can be proud. You are an encourager of the first degree.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

If You Miss the Train

there's another one coming - right on schedule! Peter, Paul, and Mary sang this folk song 40 years ago. The refrain includes the phrase "you can hear the whistle blow 100 miles". Its a catchy tune. Its great to play at a bluegrass jam - easy lyrics, easy 3-chord progression and any key. When I committed to RAGBRAI there were some suggestions for training. One of them was to log 600 cycling miles before July. I hit the mark this week. Riding every day got me to the goal quicker than expected. I hum this song - A LOT - lately.

My goal at One Reader blog is building and forming a community around comment and conversation. Liz Strauss gives us 10 reasons to write and publish every day. They are worthy of deeper consideration. Practicing the intent behind them - to become a better writer and ultimately a better person - seems almost virtuous. Bloggers skilled in posting everyday reach goals quicker.

Just like a cyclist riding every day - I can write something every day :)

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

My First Interview

At least in the blog world. My nephew interviewed me once for a school project. He discovered my gift of gab. I was interviewed once on my hobby of collecting baseball memorabilia - no link to all of it - but I do have an autographed Joe Dimaggio baseball - they don't make those anymore :) and I am a hopeless baseball junkie. I visited a 5th grade class a couple years back in my role as "works for a newspaper" and answered a few questions - although that might be considered more a grilling than an interview.
Diogenes at Quasi Fictional asks a series of questions on blogging. Not sure how he picked my email though it is readily available to all readers of this blog. These are questions we've all though about and answered in various degrees at various times. Considering I'm coming up on a year since my first post, this is a good time to reflect.

Warning: Unlike most of my posts, this one is pretty "link loaded".

Here are Dio's questions and my responses:

How you blog, Why?

How is simple - taking time to sit and write. Blogging is a little bit like painting and drawing to me. Its a creative outlet. Time must be carved out. And we all have 24 hours and I break mine down in chunks - but have never blogged about it. Pretty boring stuff explaining how hours are spent :) Writing a post is comparable to sitting in a studio and staring at a blank canvas. Or watching a baseball game, grass grow or paint dry. Its an investment. There are days when I seemingly think of things to blog about during most waking moments. Unfortunately - or maybe fortunately - many of the ideas I imagine drift away sooner than I can put them into concrete terms. Why I blog is another story completely. I answered it initially for CK's collage. I blog to learn - about marketing, about others and about myself - pretty much in that order. I'm fascinated with the ability to reach across boundaries. To try new things. To add to the challenges each day presents. To use all the dimensions of human nature. As Robyn McMaster puts it - "to celebrate more intelligences". How do you pick topics day after day? Why blog is one of those questions that will always fuel One Reader at a Time. In answering the question "why"? it is important to recognize the value of building community. We have a natural inclination to be part of something bigger. Community through conversation helps fill this need. Plus, like everyone, I want to change the world! Finally, stating it simply as possible, to blog is to feel good.
What do you think about blog template, promotion tools and how you promote yours, your networking and community?
I use Blogger and have considered switching to TypePad - but I'm basically lazy. The templates available in Blogger are adequate for me at this time. Redesigning would take a big time commitment. I've been through a few redesigns in my life - lots of details. While I'm something of a detail freak, maybe one day I'll be motivated enough to switch. I play with a number of widgets as promotion tools - if you visit One Reader you'll see them. The best promotion - and community building - tool I've found is commenting on other blogs. Too often people visit blogs and leave without comment. When you find a post that's worthy of a comment - say it! Trust me when I say the poster will appreciate and honor you. The true conversation architect will respond. I like the Daily Fix at MarketingProfs for inspiration - I'm a marketer :) Believe me, there are many fine blogs on which to leave comments. Another good way to promote your blog is participate in a project - like "Advice for Graduates" or "The Age of Conversation". Of course, the "Z-List" has taken on a world of its own :) And Dio's Fine Art of Blogging is a worthy path of promotion.
Why blogging matters?
Blogging matters to me because it is a form of exploration. Organizations are in a state of constant motion. Think of them as part of the ever expanding universe. They are organic in my view. They either grow or enclose on themselves. In order to grow, an organization must reach out - leave the shore that is comfortable. Blogging for organizations is still new when you take a long view - back and forward - of organizational life. My blog viewpoints are mine alone. In a general way, I will post on current topics in my industry. They are in now way intended to be taken as news or a reflection of organization's views. The only connection is I work here. I have been part of this system and culture for over 20 years.
Personal high blogging points in your blog life.
Any comment to a post gets me "high". I think that could be assumed for all conversationalists. There are 3 posts that stand out. First one is probably here - wherein I discover the magic of conversation with David Armano at Logic+Emotion, Mack Collier at The Viral Garden and Gavin Heaton at Servant of Chaos. Second is combination posts. The value of community is recognized in these posts. Meeting Liz Strauss at Successful-Blog as a mystery unfolds plus being named an official SOB. Thirdly, would have to be the fun of the Turtle Meme. The lesson and value of blog sharing is evident in this little game. Fourth - I know I said 3 but the beauty is in breaking the rules - is the book review here on "A Whole New Mind - Why Right-Brainers will Rule the Future".
How do you make money by blogging (if you do)?
I don't. I've thought about it Google text ads. I've thought about Amazon book links. Never figured out exactly where any of them would fit. I've determined the few pennies aren't worth the effort. I could be wrong :)
You, too can complete this interview. Answer the questions in a post and send them to Dio in a word doc - include a photo if you want along with links from your blog. Share your knowledge and discovery plus what is important to you - we all win in this "Age of Conversation".

Special thanks to Diogenes for posting this at Quasi-Fictional. (post is up - go leave a comment - Dio's got a nice blog going)

Friday, May 18, 2007

An Astounding Gift - Past, Present and Future

Drew McLellan blows my mind with his example of genuine love for college grads. And to get it all together in less than 2 months! If you're not hip to his just posted e-book - check it out here. The version with pictures is best :) A surprise with every contributor. Amazing in it's diversity of thought and ideas, this is a stroke of brilliance, folks. Unfolding as clouds move across a clear blue sky. Flowing as the river during the Spring thaw. This is gift to grads and beyond. Heck, lets call it what it is - a gift to everyone associated with a conversation community.

Check the contributors - WOW - and then check their blogs.

Aaron Potts
Andy Brudtkuhl
Andy Nulman
Andy Wibbels
Ann Handley
Ann Michael
Anne Simons
Becky Carroll
C.B. Whittemore
Carolyn Manning
Chris Cree
Christine Brown
Darren Barefoot
David Reich
Delaney Kirk
Derek Tutschulte
Designer Mike
Doug Karr
Doug Mitchell
Drew McLellan
Joan Schramm

Kevin Hillstrom
Lewis Green
Liz Strauss
Mario Sundar
Mark Goren
Mark True
Mary Schmidt
Nick Rice
Patrick Schaber
Paul McEnany
Phil Gerbyshak
Roberta Rosenberg
Roger von Oech
Rosa Say
Seth Godin
Sharon Sarmiento
Stephanie Weaver
Steve Miller
Steve Sisler
Terry Starbucker
Toby Bloomberg
Tony D. Clark
Valeria Maltoni

And if you haven't already done so - be sure to thank Drew for HIS generosity!!!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Go Green - Be Gentle - Change the World

Remember the dream of a paperless society? One year I made a resolution to print only on the flip side of paper that had already been used. I'm proud to say I never opened a ream of paper in 2003. Of course, the printer I had went belly up and that added to the disposal stream but thats another story.

Many of you are might be printing less these days - whose got time to print stuff when all your time is spent reading and commenting on blogs? :). If you run - or are part of - an organization that "sure seems to go through a lot of paper" then here's one possible solution.

My pal, Tom Sowa, has a great blog called TXT. He wrote a story on greening up your printing habit.

No one has accurate data on how much paper is wasted by printers in the United States. One study by printer manufacturer Lexmark said the average U.S. office worker throws out or wastes 1,500 pages per year. Citigroup estimated each sheet of wasted printer paper costs 6 to 13 cents, depending on the amount of ink, toner and recycling effort a company spends to manage its paper flow.
GreenPrint's Hayden Hamilton says:
We call what we’re developing environmental software - it’s a green evolution in how we use printers. What we’re doing is not really rocket science. This is an area that people haven’t associated with conservation or greenness. I don’t think the high tech industry as a whole has made this a part of their mission.

Here's their tutorial. It's about 4 minutes long. GreenPrint estimates, with widespread use, 20 million trees could be saved per year. Thats not even considering the saving for ink, toner and CO2.

Happy Friday!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

In Praise of Creative Conversation

Imagine that Elvis Presley, Bob Dylan or the Beatles were breaking into the music and recording business today. Yeah, the question shows my age but bear with me. You can insert the most popular - or your favorite - recording artist from your own bad ass era. Do you think Lennon & McCartney would have a MySpace page? How much control would Elvis hand over to his fans? Would Dylan have peddled "Blowin' in the Wind" as an mp3 download on iTunes? What would Miles Davis blog be like? Would Johnny Cash have kept us posted while in prison?

One of the first posts I read from Mack Collier was his "100 CDs for 100 Bloggers". I thought "this guy must be in the music business"! Come to find out, he's a merely great marketer and social network wizard. I've chewed on different ideas of music marketing since then. Its no secret that cd sales are in the tank - something like 20-25% this year depending on what metrics you use. Downloads are way up although how many are being "purchased" is elusive to determine at best. Suffice it to say - you want music, its easy too find it. Music for money is a far different game than your momma and daddy played. And while there is a ton of mediocrity - there is also some terrific music being played and passed along. I still believe the best is had live by a bunc h of rank amateurs...but thats for another time.

Most recently what got me reflecting on internet music marketing (or any internet marketing for that matter) was a story by Clive Thompson in the Sunday magazine at Titled "Sex, Drugs and Updating Your Blog", the article looks at current practices by "b-list" artists. None of the names above would be considered anything but "a-list" though they had to start somewhere - right? The piece is about 4500 words and well worth the read. I'm going to focus on one part of the story and call it "BobNotes". (no disrespect to Cliff)

A one-time computer programmer named Jonathon Coulton decided to bag his job for a year in order to write and record a song a week. Then he'd post them to his blog. Thats 52 songs in a year and no small challenge. He managed to embark on this "forced march to creativity" and by the middle of last year had more than 3,000 people on average - per day - to his site. The most popular songs were being downloaded as many as a half million times. What do you suppose he discovered along the way? He found that his fans not only wanted his music - but they wanted to be his friend. They wanted to interact and communicate. They want a conversation. hhhmmmmm? Sound familiar? They send email. And while he responds to each of the more than 100 emails per day, it has got to be tiring. Thompson writes "his replies have grown more and more terse, to the point where he's now feeling guilty about being rude". (although this may be overstating if you visit this post) There are music videos from fans on YouTube. Along with asking advice on how to make more dough with his music, Coulton has toured. How does he decide where to play? Post a poll for fan interest in a given city and if there's enough to make it worth while (more than 100) - he goes and plays. He asks, then listens. I'm going to put a label on him - populist artist.

Which is really what blogging and marketing is about - asking and listening. These are the times I tend to philosphize - isn't that part of what being human is also about? Listening and learning.

I'll conclude with 3 quotes, and my reactions, from the article. The first about online networking -

"It is the central paradox of online networking: if you’re really good at it, your audience quickly grows so big that you can no longer network with them. The Internet makes fame more quickly achievable — and more quickly unmanageable."
I'm not convinced its unmanageable. Seems to me we all make a choice how to deal with whatever attention is afforded us. And we all deal with it in different ways. Some are more hands on than others. It becomes a paradox when your unable to fulfill whatever goal you've set in any given situation. Thus the importance of setting a goal.

The next about what caused the biggest spike on Coulton's website -

"Coulton’s single biggest spike in traffic to his Web site took place last December, when he appeared on NPR’s “Weekend Edition Sunday,” a fact that, he notes, proves how powerful old-fashioned media still are. "

I'm a big believer in old media - and new media. My newspaper enters its 125th year on May 19. An organization in existence for that many revolutions around the sun plans to be around for a few more. Sure there are bumps along the way. Ain't life grand!

Finally, Thompson's observation on creativity -

"For many of these ultraconnected artists, it seems the nature of creativity itself is changing. It is no longer a solitary act: their audiences are peering over their shoulders as they work, offering pointed comments and suggestions. "

This statement might be defining the nature of creativity a little too narrowly. If the artist does not take time for herself - she will burn out. Its pretty simple. We also live in a time where pointed comments and suggestions come from anywhere and everywhere. Art by its nature is ever evolving and ever changing. Thankfully, we can experience current day creatives through ever broadening options. The opportunity to grow through conversation and connection can only make us better.

Friday, May 11, 2007

The Prize in the Paper

Wiley Miller's Non Sequitur is one of my favorite cartoons. The Friday May 11, 2007 episode jumped out at me. Here's the link for a better view.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

SOBcon - a shout out to all who are there!

Break a leg, willya! The line up of speakers as listed at SOBevent page. All of you top notch. All of you ROCK and have no idea the influence you project. I hope to see piles and piles of posts. To think it all started with trying to keep it quiet....shhhhhhhhh! Forever will it be one of the best event launches I've ever experienced.

And attendees!?!?! - ooohhhhhh, am I jealous. Remember to HAVE FUN!
Here is the quest - again from the event page:
  • Respect that in business and blogging all things are based in connecting relationships
  • Treat our blogs like a business, or a business-like hobby
  • Define a vision for our blogs that inspires others to be part of it
  • Identify like-minded bloggers whose blogging goals match our own
  • Evaluate our blogs through the eyes of a first-time reader
  • Use links, trackbacks, and comments to lead to increased participation, and extended reach that could develop into business ventures
  • Ensure presentation, navigation and all reader experiences are intuitive, simple and elegant
  • Know our brand values as readers define them and be able to articulate the unique and remarkable values we offer
  • Understand basic tools that are useful in adding video, podcasting, social media, and voice commenting
  • Reach out beyond the blogosphere to non-blogging readers to become a resource they rely on
  • Recognize the traits and characteristics of a successful and outstanding blog
What an astounding opportunity to learn and share with the best of the 21st century! Changing the world one blog at a time.

I won the lottery!

Not THAT lottery - my favorite response to that lottery is "what the heck would I do with that much $$$"?!?!... No - I'm talking about the RAGBRAI lottery. I'm #88695. The chance to ride across the great state of Iowa in July! This is the way Pork Belly Ventures (my support friends, Tammy & Pete) put it - on the t-shirt

"its not so much the heat...its the stupidity!"

A bit of history on this fun ride from my lens. Thirty-five years ago it began with a simple idea from a writer, Donald Kaul, who's column called "Over the Coffee" was part of my daily ritual. As I recall, the term was "dumb" idea. My response was pretty typical of most Iowans who read the Des Moines Register, "what kind of fool would ride a bicycle from the Missouri River to the Mississippi River". You see, Iowans have a certain sensibility about the heat and humidity of summer - do as little as possible. Its not so much a belief as a state of mind. I've carried it with me during the 30 years I've lived in Washington. It's not so humid here but its hot.

So how does it come to be that more than 8500 fools would want to sweat across the state in 2007? More specifically - what changed my mind? In a nutshell, it promises to be a challenge and fun. There's something about accepting fun challenges that drives individuals. Its one of the reasons I blog at One Reader - its a challenge and fun to bring story telling to people. Not to mention being part of the magic associated with technology. Linking here and linking there. Conversation and connection with some creative minds. Its the simple things for which we live.

The small towns dotted over the verdant Iowa landscape are full of friendly folks. Its a chance to reconnect with my roots. There is even an overnight stop in Dyersville - home to the famous "Field of Dreams". A bit touristy but what the heck! I've been there before - just not on a bike. I've even hooked up with a member of the Iowa Blogga Nostra. I hooked up via email with Doug Mitchell who purports to meet up with me in Cedar Falls :). He says he's "in better shape" this year. Maybe I can meet a few more of you :)

So I train on! 300 cycling miles logged as of today. A test will come on June 3rd when I ride my first half-century (fancy term for 50 miles) - the Cancer Patient Care's Loreen Miller Memorial Ride. I'll let you know!

Near as I can tell Donald Kaul's current gig.
Link to the Des Moines Register online newspaper

update: My brother Tom - along with Mo, his wife - are planning to join me in Cedar Falls, too.

Monday, May 07, 2007


David Reich has an excellent analysis of a WSJ Op/Ed piece by Walter Hussman, publisher for the Arkansas Democrat-Express, on how to sink a newspaper. David calls his blog my 2 cents but today I feel like its worth way more than 2 cents! I'd say he gives a dime's worth :) The reason? Its about the comments and the conversation that follows the post. Call it a cheap thrill but anytime blog creators and readers talk about newspapers its a happy day in the neighborhood. It means they care about the community here and where they live. Its easy NOT to read a newspaper - easier still not to pay attention to issues affecting the local world. You know, the one you pay taxes to and expect the water to flow when you flush the toilet. I'm being a little harsh but lets face it - culturally we've slipped a notch or two when citizens don't find $.50 worth of value in their local fish wrap. That has got to be one bad newspaper! But thats the way it is...its not my point, however.

To paraphrase the post, Hussman makes the case that some newspapers blew the cannonball through the hull of the ship by giving away their news on line - and they are paying for it now. Hussman says its a mistake to give away then news that publishers spend hard earned money on. His model suggests a mix of free and paid. I think thats the way to go, too.

Giving it away was very popular as the WWW expanded - or is that exploded?!?! - about 15 years ago. As the Yahoos, MSNs, and Googles developed ways to get the news out cheaper, faster, 24/7/365 - newspapers continued to print everyday AND tried to get news online. In the not too distant past high speed connections to the home became available. Then we got cellphones - or is that vice versa? Then we get Blackberries or Treos or iPods...all of which can send/receive "news" messages. Now this thing called Web 2.0 whereby even a dinosaur (my wife's term) like me can create - and publish - a blog. This is a very brief history of publishing through my lens. And the "publish for free" battle is still being fought .

Its about the worthy and worthwhile comments David's readers make - Matt Dickman, Techno//Marketer Supreme, (dig his Monday post on the term "blog" :) weighs in by asking why would anybody pay for news when its free? Good question - I don't actually pay for free news either - unless you count time as money (which my Boss does). But my time is of less value than my money. Matt pays for WSJ news online. Its a value to him. And he reads his local news online. Check this post he published after reading a story in the NYT. Now there's a good use of bloggers. I also think, secretly, that Matt reads a printed newspaper more often than he admits ;). he certainly grasps the concept of relevance.

Its about the comments - Ann Handley at MarketingProfs Daily Fix weighs in on the conversation with a passion statement for the NYT and web 2.0. MarketingProfs is not a newspaper but newspapers might think about stealing a page from their business model. Post a lot of stuff - most of it good - but invite the reader to pay for the real good stuff. Stuff being a technical term I picked up in grad school :)

Comments? you want comments? CK talks about the economy of sharing in todays publishing world. And she brings up the dough in newspapers comes from advertising. Isn't that where the dough online comes from - hmmmm? There seems to be a pattern developing here. You need people to read so advertisers can sell. The kicker is newspapers have figured out a way to measure those eyeballs - or so most advertisers believe - and online hasn't quite got there...its real close. But really, really, really - I'm not kidding - check out CK's post here. NOW! GO! CK's blog is all about interaction, relevance and conversation!

Mark Goren, Transmission Marketing publisher, newspaper fan and now I find out baseball free agent, adds to the dialogue with a great understanding of advertising revenues - print and online. More to come from Mark as we exchange more information.

David's post is a classic example of the feedback and encouragement that surrounds blog communities. That it focuses on newspapers - my livelihood - makes it a bonus. Newspapers in one form will be with us for a while. My belief is they will remain ink on paper for some time to come. There is no denying pixels on a screen add value to some readers. Its finding the balance for readers, advertisers and publishers. The dinosaur meets the computer.

Update: Pardon the Disruption adds to the conversation here.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Spokane River

A year of the Spokane River at Monroe Street

This is the mighty river that runs through my town. Its an everyday view on my afternoon walk. Click the image to view it in Picasa. I've set the slide show sequentially beginning with May 2006 and ending with April 2007. I only wish the roar could crush your ears like it does mine. Who knows? The way technology explodes it may already be possible. I just haven't found out how to do it.

This is the initial spot of generating electricity for a town on the brink of 300, 000 residents - or so I understand.

I took 2 photos each month for a year and recorded the flow in cubic feet per second. Tried to get close to the same angle but as you can see - it wasn't always successful. Remembering from one hour to the next is challenging enough - but month to month?!?! Memory...what a concept :) Thats just one difference between me and a professional photographer. Its my first attempt at showing "home" photos on One Reader. I tried music a little while ago. It didn't work all that well. But don't think I'm giving up on that one :) Why NOT bite off more than you can chew?

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Higher education pays off BIG time

If this is the kind of thinking skills university graduates are carrying into the market...there is greater hope for the future of organizations than I imagined. We need more focus on this type thinking, learning and imagination. Ryan Karpeles at Living Light Bulbs reminds us to look for the silver linings in everyday things. But how he reminds us is by asking the question - what if?

I often speak of biases and have committed to admit mine - at least the ones I've learned to know and love. This is a strong one - the University of Iowa is my alma mater. (disclosure: it was - ahem - 30 years ago and my degree is in Painting). So I feel a special pride extending this blog love and congratulations to Ryan for his outstanding accomplishment (thanks CK for the tip). And especially when I read this quote about making a "silk purse out of a sow's ear" (my analogy) :

For instance, if your boss tells you to go to the bank and cash some checks for her, don't get caught up in how lowly that task makes you feel. Instead, be glad that you get to leave the office, spend some time alone, get some fresh air, and possibly meet some interesting people along the way. I realize that I might be a little too optimistic and fluffy about all this, but I honestly believe there are nuggets of gold in 99% of these crappy situations. Our job is simply to find them.
How many of us referred to our boss as "her" upon college graduation? Or even yesterday? Or ever? So Ryan has learned a bit about gender equity - BRAVO! That's not to say we're even close to any sort of equity but we're talking recent college graduate about to hit the street - there is HOPE.

I hope Ryan never feels too optimistic or fluffy. We as a community and as a citizenry need more of whatever kool aid they pass out at university!

And be sure to check out his Italia pictures!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

The Fox Street Journal

David over at my 2 cents got me thinking about newspapering again today - as if I need a reason. He shares good news about online readership, particularly with the elusive 18-24 and 25-34 year old age groups. I love good news! Believe me, the newspaper business doesn't celebrate enough of it.

In addition, a brief that caught my eye this morning. Drinking coffee and eating a banana...sorry no bear claws today :)...I noted somebody wants to plunk down $5 billion for Dow Jones, the publishing company for the Wall Street Journal. I'm not a reader of WSJ but the bid made Page One - a prime piece of real estate. Columbia Journalism Review covers it here - darkly I might add. The Christian Science Monitor does a nice job here. MediaPost Publications gives it some play right here. Whether it comes to fruition or not, Rupert Murdoch buying THE brand in US financial news is a little bit creepy. Why does this guy - who already owns Fox News (using "news" lightly) and the London Times - want more?

Marketing Rag touches on the "conventional" wisdom. Which is that online revenue projects huge increases in the next 2-5 years and he wants to make more dough. Can't disagree and the guy was pretty shrewd buying MySpace but does MySpace generate the revenue of advertising dollars that newspapers do? Somebody tell me, please. Newspapers are a bargain right now. Advertising in them, too. Ask Google.

Here's the main issue for me - as more independently owned newspapers are gobbled up the balance of news tilts too far toward one voice. Thats a bad thing in a democracy. Call me old fashioned but Thomas Jefferson said it best:

Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.
of course he also said:
I do not take a single newspaper, nor read one a month, and I feel myself infinitely the happier for it.

I'm not too sure what happiness has to do with it :)

Heres a spoof on what we can expect from the new WSJ.

I added a new widget - rate this post. I'll see how it plays.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Page of Flakes

When Steve Woodruff at StickyFigure sent me an email about a marketing portal and use flake in the same sentence...well, I thought he was getting a little personal :). But seriously, he has put together a terrific little nugget to keep track of some favorite blogs. You can chew on it right here. Yum-m-m-m! I am seriously humbled to be in the company of this group. I like how Steve has broken out the categories. He placed One Reader in the Social Media tab. Mike Sansone at Converstations compares the page to a bear paw - or is that bear claw? I like Mike's thought on using the tool as a blogroll.

It leads me back to a reflection of the importance of keeping regular with posting on a blog - this one in particular. Just like breakfast - its an important part of the day! You see - and some of you know - I've been on vacation. Yes, it was nice - thank you! We had a terrific time in Seattle. Kicked back and did a whole lot of nothing - except walking, talking and generally crowd watching. As a result, valued readers and friends have come by and seen a stale post. Albeit a good one ;). Now its time to ramp it up for I found 3 things I missed - my guitar, my bike, and blogging. Jamming on Sunday took care of my music jones. Rode my bike into work today so my heart rate went up! And now a brief post. Were it not for the encouraging email from Steve, Mike's post on the new breakfast and a visit to PageFlakes - I'd still be engaging my time with the drudgery of work rather than being amazed at the creativity and inventiveness of my fellow humans!

So what do you think - blogs for breakfast? better than oatmeal? or into the night? when is your favorite blog time?

Link to TechCrunch all about pageflakes