Friday, July 20, 2007

Gone Fishing - wait...Gone BIKING!

No blogging at One Reader for a while. Your comments are still welcome :) I'm on vacation and I need it! But I'll be back - count on that. For the next 10 days, the focus is on cycling across Iowa. Yup, my home state - the current location of the Iowa BlogaNostra - is having a small city move from one border to the next - RAGBRAI. Its not so much the heat, its the stupidity - I love that phrase. Read all about it! I'm hoping to catch up with Doug around mid-week. Along with visiting a couple brothers and my folks, it should prove to be a hoot.

Monday, The Age of Conversation was released. I'm amazed, astounded and awed with the end result - there are drawings, cartoons and - best of all - transparent thinking from each contributor. Each entry like a gourmet meal - enjoyed best in small bites and chewed well. A nice wine comes to mind. Literally, there are mind bending thoughts from each writer. It's like the prizes in Cracker Jack!

Get the book - the download - $9.99 cheap (just like MAD). It's the new conversation! All the activity surrounding it even caused the internet to crash this week - Roger shared the news at Creative Think.

It's a journey - not a destination! Have a great week each of you - sell some more books for the kids!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Some Good News for Papers

Last night, I read the first chapter of Joan Didion's The Year of Magical Thinking. It's brief chapter but, my goodness, it is powerful. Reviews describe it as her memoir. The story weaves around the unexpected death of her husband at the dinner table one December evening. The main thrust of the initial chapter is how ordinary is our day to day living.

I can't get it out of my mind. My life didn't change as dramatically as Ms. Didion's due to the day of this post - my outlook was definitely jolted. In the end, an altered view is good for me - and you, too.

Today began the same as every other day - a morning walk at sunrise. The only rule my walking partner and I have? We don't talk about the job*. Both of us work for our local newspaper. He's been in advertising since dirt was discovered. I'm in circulation and marketing for about half as long. But the topic is something we have in common. Invariably, the conversation will turn to it. We've spent portions of our three miles talking about past, present and future of newspapering. It gets in your blood. Too often we hear other's opinions that newspapers are dying a slow and painful death. Some kind exercise in building self esteem, eh? The focus is on the death of print. As popular as the online portion of the paper has become, print still pays the bills.

Today when I saw this MediaPost research brief, I was delighted.

Four Out of Five Newspaper Website Readers Also Read the Printed Edition

...81% of newspaper website users also read the printed newspaper in the last 7 days. Crossover users (those who used both print and online newspapers in the past 7 days) have deep affinity with both their printed newspaper and their newspaper website, and 83% say "I love both my printed newspaper and visiting my newspapers website."...
Note the word love. Thats an emotion we all want to hear about our products :)
Crossover (those that read both) users visit their newspaper website to:
  • Access breaking news (96%)
  • Find articles seen previously (85%)
  • Find things to do/places to go (72%)
I was a little (a lot) surprised at the nearly 100% who access breaking news - doesn't anybody work anymore?!?! :) - Fact is the highest traffic on our site is 9AM to 5PM. I'd reckon you got to find something interesting during your breaks :)

The study found that newspaper website-only users are 55% female, while crossover users are only 48% female. The main reasons newspaper website-only users cited for using newspaper websites include:
  • Accessing local news (84%)
  • Entertainment information (74%)
  • Food or restaurant information (58%)
Newspaper website-only users are web-savvy group as 52% write or read blogs and 46% have joined a web community.
Yes to local, local, local...and to places where we spend greenbacks! Advertising and marketing sells!
Contrary to some perceptions, the web has not hurt overall newspaper consumption, as 87% of crossover users report that their time spent with newspaper media has increased or remained the same versus only 12% who say time spent has decreased.
Time crunch? What time crunch? We still have 24 hours and it still depends on how you slice it.

The last time you read or looked into any printed copy of the (Newspaper Name):

  • Read last 7 days: 81%
  • Read 8-30 days ago: 9%
  • Read longer than 30 days ago: 7%
  • Never Read: 3%
This was a study commissioned by Newspaper National Network so they got to ask the questions. Its not a huge sample. (here's a link to the download for the study)

Still it offers encouragement and affirmation of the value in printed matters.

And here are a couple kick butt newspaper media sites I've recently frequented:

Media Blog - Howard lists 8 reasons to be hopeful if you work for a newspaper. Check them out - you'd be surprised!

The Newspaper Business - Mark has a great post on a futuristic vending machine. And other fine stuff - stuff being a technical newspaper word :)

*The actual rule is we can talk about 3 things - retirement, vacation and women - we ARE guys after all :)

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The Conversation in 1994

video by Philip Lenssen

via Google Blogoscoped

by way of Howard Owens - media blog

Check out the @ sign prior to the final credit.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Get this Book - Worth Twice the Price

I got mine! You can count on that much. But why listen to my ramblings? Pick up the ebook, the soft cover or the hard cover right here. You get over 2800 KB of pdf for just $9.99. Along with a nice "thank you" note from Gavin and Drew (nice touch, guys!) Lulu makes it easy to sign up. Hell, the cover art and tribute is worth it! Remember, the proceeds go to Variety, the Children's Charity and a world-wide organization.

Additionally, you can go to the co-editors place for more info. Drew has got it here and Gavin has it here. Fact of the matter, you can check out the authors blogs - all links below - and get each one's perspective. I can assure you it will open your mind to the diversity of contributors.

Here is the Age of Conversation's very own blog. A big thrill was to discover my being quoted in the AdAge book review article. Its tough to express the impact of this project. Safe to say I've never been involved in anything with such a fine group of thinkers - focused on conversation and community in today's web environment. I look forward to more chances to share, to learn and to grow.

I have GOT to go read more. But before I do - here's the links - if the magic works :) - to 100+ unique voices:

Gavin Heaton
Drew McLellan
Valeria Maltoni
Emily Reed
Katie Chatfield
Greg Verdino
Mack Collier
Lewis Green
Ann Handley
Mike Sansone
Paul McEnany
Roger von Oech
Anna Farmery
David Armano
Bob Glaza
Mark Goren
Matt Dickman
Scott Monty
Richard Huntington
Cam Beck
David Reich
Luc Debaisieux
Sean Howard
Tim Jackson
Patrick Schaber
Roberta Rosenberg
Uwe Hook
Tony D. Clark
Todd Andrlik
Toby Bloomberg
Steve Woodruff
Steve Bannister
Steve Roesler
Stanley Johnson
Spike Jones
Nathan Snell
Simon Payn
Ryan Rasmussen
Ron Shevlin
Roger Anderson
Robert Hruzek
Rishi Desai
Phil Gerbyshak
Peter Corbett
Pete Deutschman
Nick Rice
Nick Wright
Michael Morton
Mark Earls
Mark Blair
Mario Vellandi
Lori Magno
Kristin Gorski
Kris Hoet
G. Kofi Annan
Kimberly Dawn Wells
Karl Long
Julie Fleischer
Jordan Behan
John La Grou
Joe Raasch
Jim Kukral
Jessica Hagy
Janet Green
Jamey Shiel
Dr. Graham Hill
Gia Facchini
Geert Desager
Gaurav Mishra
Gary Schoeniger
Gareth Kay
Faris Yakob
Emily Clasper
Ed Cotton
Dustin Jacobsen
Tom Clifford
David Polinchock
David Koopmans
David Brazeal
David Berkowitz
Carolyn Manning
Craig Wilson
Cord Silverstein
Connie Reece
Colin McKay
Chris Newlan
Chris Corrigan
Cedric Giorgi
Brian Reich
Becky Carroll
Arun Rajagopal
Andy Nulman
Amy Jussel
Kim Klaver
Sandy Renshaw
Susan Bird
Ryan Barrett
Troy Worman
S. Neil Vineberg

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Make a Better Day or Make a Day Better?

We have the ability to make one another feel better - each and every day. The number of people who offer that gift to me - the worthiest of human traits - is far too long a list to compose here. Sometimes the people are strangers never to be seen again. Other times, they are friends and family. More and more it happens virtually over this new fangled internet thing :). Every time it happens, lives are touched.

This reflection on humanity began a couple Fridays ago. I was standing in line at a fast food joint located in a food court. Normally, I carry a lunch but Friday is my day to eat out. A perfect stranger approached me:

Perfect Stranger: which of these restaurants is better?
Me: They are both equally good - it depends on what you're hungry for.
Perfect Stranger: We're visiting from Edmonton, Alberta, and attending a basketball camp. I have four 16 year olds. They are hungry.
Me: This one offers a little bigger portions. That one has a shorter line.
Perfect Stranger: The one you are going to looks good. What line of work are you in?
Me: I work at the newspaper and am in marketing. Are you in town for Hoopfest? Does the camp form a couple teams to play?
Perfect Stranger: No, it's a coincidence. The kids wanted to attend the Gonzaga camp. We had no idea there was this much activity this weekend in your town. I read your paper this morning. It's good.
I liked him right away :) And so it went as the line got shorter. We shared conversation. I felt like an ambassador for Spokane. He felt welcomed. I learned about Edmonton and how the economy is exploding. Plus a little about his work. He said "thanks" and we were on our separate ways. We made a better day. Or did we make the day better?

Episode Two: On Independence Day, I went for a bike ride - training, you know - and stopped for a Starbucks. (side note: notice how its not coffee anymore, its Starbucks - HA!). It was a gorgeous mid week morning where most workers in the US have the day off - except for the baristas. I'm sipping my coffee at an outside table, guarding my bike and watching people come and go. Some are happier than others.
Perfect Stranger: How's your ride this morning?
Me: It was great! This is my favorite part - sitting and thinking how beautiful the world is from the saddle of a bicycle (Admittedly, I was philosophizing a bit ;)
Perfect Stranger: What line of work are you in?
Me: Newspapers - and you?
Perfect Stranger: Retired - when I was 59.
Me: I have a few more years until then. You better get some coffee. (some say I'm too bossy - LOL)
He came back, sat down and thus began 45 minutes of face to face conversation. I thought I could talk?!?!? Seems he has a son at Fort Lewis (other side of the state) who is Green Beret and a daughter nearby. His pride for both of them shone bright. He's spent the better part of 15 years traveling about after selling his ranch in Texas. Really liked Oregon but was fascinated with the country just north of here and south of Canada. Again, I felt like an ambassador saying things like "This is a hard place to leave once you settle in".

Once again days are made better through communication, sharing and opening ourselves.

Here are links to the postings - and influencers - for this entry:

Jackie Cameron - if you haven't checked Jackie's blog you really should. The link points to her entry on "How do you make people feel"?
Phil Gerbyshak - the make it great guy. Phil posted a question on LinkedIn (not sure if you can get there without membership but try - let me know). He got 43 answers (and counting) on how to make a bad day better.
Mack Collier - About the same time Phil posted his question, Mack put this post up. It's a question on the value of two social networks - MyBlogLog and LinkedIn. At least part of the value is in how we make each other feel.

Jackie closes her post with this quote attributed to Maya Angelou. I close with it, too:
I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but they will remember how you made them feel.

Monday, July 09, 2007

The Age of Conversation

In a remarkable example of collaboration, The Age of Conversation is about to be released. DrewMcClellan and Gavin Heaton - along with over 100 bloggers - are pulling it off. But Drew and Gavin are the fire starters here - let's not kid anybody. They're even talking about another one next year so sharpen your wits and stretch your imagination.

The only thing to say is WOW! It began with a short email invitation to submit a chapter. It's grown to being included in on of the most dynamically growing communities and networks on the planet. Right down to my soul, this is a bunch that is diverse and inclusive. Not to mention some damn fine writing minds.

I can't wait to get the book. The best part - the hook for me - is that ALL proceeds of ALL sales of the book go to Variety, the Children's Charity.

Originally imagined as an e-book ($9.99), the volume will be available in hardback ($29.99) and soft cover ($16.95)

Next Monday is the official launch. Learn what all the conversation is about and feel good about giving back to the community.

Here's where it started
Here's to whom its dedicated.

And here's just a few places its being talked about - right now.


Friday, July 06, 2007

Fifteen days to RAGBRAI

The past few Fridays have been dedicated to art. Today, I shift a little and write about my upcoming Great Bike Ride - RAGBRAI. Two weeks from Sunday I begin the 477 mile journey across my home state. Here's the route - again.

Day 1 - Rock Rapids to Spencer - 77.6 miles
Day 2 - Spencer to Humboldt - 76.9 miles
Day 3 - Humboldt to Hampton - 72 miles
Day 4 - Hampton to Cedar Falls - 68.8 miles
Day 5 - Cedar Falls to Independence - 62.1 miles
Day 6 - Independence to Dyersvillle - 63.2 miles
Day 7 - Dyersville to Bellevue - 57.4 miles

With many towns in between. I'm looking forward to Iowa pork tenderloins, sweet corn, cinnamon rolls and beer! Not to mention the hundreds of non-profits who are raising funds across the state. My sister once baked 20 or 30 dozen cookies to benefit her classrooms. True community!

I'm experiencing separation anxiety today. My bike is in transit via FedEx after being carefully packed by the best bike guys - WheelSport East. Today, my 17 year old Schwinn transported me to work. I need a bike with a rack to lug my panniers so a friend is loaning me his commuter bike.

I am jazzed to say the least (jazz is an art form, ain't it? :). I'm riding about 40 miles a day with weekends dedicated to longer rides. Last weekend I logged just over 100 miles. Much of it was pleasant as I had company.

Tammy, from my support team Pork Belly Ventures (isn't that a cute little pig on a bicycle) called this morning to say a room has opened up at the unofficial PBV hotel for my one night at the end of the ride. Read this about charter expectations and tell me this ride won't be a scream:

What Does PBV Expect of You? LIVE LIKE A PIG. That means handle. Deal. Roll with it. Lower your standards and you can't be disappointed. Pigs can turn a bad day into a good story. They give respect, appreciation, and good-natured guff to PBV crew members, the hardest working people on this entire ride. Pigs help each other out. They love to yuk it up, but out of courtesy they are quiet before 5:00 a.m. and after 10:00 p.m. Pigs pick up every speck of trash before leaving a host town. They never climb onto a Pork truck-just hand the bags up to our truck loaders each morning. Pigs manage to find comfort in uncomfortable places. We hope you have it in you to live like pigs.
That, my friends, is a worthy way to approach the adventure.

Here are a few cycling links -

Windy City Biker - Steve from Winnetka logs his commute in Chicago
Bike Snob - if you ride this will crack you up! If you don't - look at the fun you're missing. Some good ol' NYC satire and humor.
MasiGuy - MasiGuy is moving me closer and closer to more writing on cycling.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Pursuing Happiness - tag, your It!

Everybody - including me - deals with compressed time. But usually, I'm in a playful mood. Maybe it has something to do with Valeria's post from yesterday - what kind of games do you play? Do yourself a favor - deep breath - play a game like you're kid again. Lewis tagged a bunch of us with the 8 random things about me. In the process, I learned a bit about LG and Anna (who tagged him) - thanks to both of you.

As I breathe deep and smile, these are the 8 things you may or may not know about me:

  1. Grew up in Iowa and moved to Spokane, WA 31 years ago. Its a tough place to leave once your here.
  2. Umpired high school and college baseball for 20 years.
  3. Notorious sweet tooth - DQ Blizzards the most tempting treat in my lifetime!
  4. Deadhead through and through.
  5. Cleaned volcanic ash from city roof tops for 6 months following eruption of Mt St Helen's in 1980.
  6. Two life goals achieved - spring training with my dad and visiting the Sistine Chapel. Still want to see the Rockettes and go to a World Series game.
  7. My favorite fishing fly is the Tom Thumb - a Canadian concoction made of deer hair that is simple to tie.
  8. Paper or plastic? "That's OK - I have my own bag"
The game rules say I get to tag 8 people. Some of you I know better than others. Always random, of course - Play if you'd like!

C.B. - Flooring the Consumer
GLS - Going Like Sixty
Jackie - Consult Cameron
Cord - Marketing Hipster
Arun - Arun Rajagopal
Gavin - Servant of Chaos
Char - Essential Keystrokes
Mark - Transmission Marketing

Above all - have fun!