Saturday, August 23, 2003

On the road again: Aspen, Colorado conference facilitation 

Am writing this from the Phoenix airport, waiting to board a flight to Aspen, Com, where I am working with my 5ive partners to facilitate a small conference with an interesting futurist theme.
I’ve used the changeable climate and the mountain elevations as an excuse to pack most of my summer wardrobe, secretly believing that one of the things that happen when you bring people together for a few days who don’t know one another that well is that they all change their clothes three times a day.
Tonight is the opening reception at the home of the owner of the swanky Caribou Club, then tomorrow we get down to it—I expect to get a ballroom sunburn (i.e. never stop working) for the next few days—my partners have done so much of the prep work on this project, I want to now pick up all possible slack.


Bush the Liar 

He lied. He told others to lie—about the war in Iraq, about air quality in New York City, about his military ambitions.
Is this what a President is supposed to do?
We impeached Nixon because he ordered the break-ins at Watergate.
What is the right response to this President, an aspiring imperial emperor who bahaves as though his wishes make him above the law?


Remembering Marilyn Riback Mernit 

My mother died 6 years ago, this week, at the age of 70.
Some remembrances:
--The daughter of a first-generation Russian immigrant, and a shy Hungarian-American girl, Mom took control of the family at age 5, making calls to the doctor, ordering groceries, and planning meals when her mother felt overwhelmed, which was often.
--A powerful tennis player, Mom’s baseline serves and punishing backhand, won her many singles and doubles days through her (amateur) career, “I should have gone pro,” she said to me once, at about 50. “But in those days, it wasn’t something most women could do.”
--Mom got married at the ripe old age of 23, far after many of her peers. Extremely pretty, she decided she would marry my father (a mature doctor of 33), the night they met. 3 weeks after their first date, they were talking marriage, but they decided to wait 5 weeks to tell their families, “Just to be sure.”
--Mom never did anything halfway. She had three kids in four years, and joked “they all think they’re only children.” We all agreed, as did my Dad, her 4th “only child.”
--Mom and Dad were married almost 50 years. Mom nursed Dad through terminal lung cancer, then couldn’t adjust to life without him (was it survivor’s guilt, or just great pain?)
Here’s to your memory, Mom, and to the love you gave. We all still miss you.


Harvard Business Review: The case of the workplace blogger 

Halley Suitt's just published a piece in the Harvard Business Review. Here's what Halley has to say about it:
" 'I've just published a piece on blogging in Harvard Business Review called "A Blogger In Their Midst" which is a (fictional) "case study" about a CEO who is perplexed by a blogger known as Glove Girl. who's spilling secrets, drawing bigger crowds at industry events and happens to be on his payroll. Here's their schpiel from the Table of Contents
HBR Case Study
A Blogger In Their Midst
Halley Suitt

A tech-savvy employee has something to say about everything at surgical glove manufacturer Lancaster-Webb. When she raved on-line about an older style of gloves, sales unexpectedly shot up. And when she posted damaging information about a potential customer's business practices, the deal collapsed. Is "Glove Girl" a priceless marketing weapon or a grave security risk"

Commentators on the scenario--HBR's version of 'Can This Marriage Be Saved?" are The four experts commenting on my piece are none other than our favorite boy blogger David Weinberger, also the only CEO I know who blogs, Ray Ozzie of Groove, law professor Pamela Samuelson from UC Berkeley and EMC VP of Human Resources Erin Motameni.
(link via Dave Winer)


Friday, August 22, 2003

Mernit's manias 

I'v been amazing busy working on projects for clients and proposals for prospective clients, so feel like I haven't had as much time to think as before.
One of my projects involves pulling together a large amount of comparative data and market research about the online advertising market, paid search, blogging, RSS, social networks, and almost everything else you could think of of interest in the 'new and emerging' category.
Another project, which I will start next week for real, involves researching and writing about blogging. community, and political activity/elections, etc.
I'm also working on interesting product develop plans for some other clients.

I'm hoping to share some of the more surprising comparative data after I've pulled everything together--this is going to be a real look across the business landscape.

I am also starting to think about what I want to talk about at BlogCon. Given that Dave Winer says he has 2000 emails in his inbox, I hope he finds mine, and pings me so we can talk about the panel (hear that, Dave? Thx.)

Post lunch with Phil Wolff 

Having lunch with Phil Wolff was great, but reading the kind account of that lunch is almost even better.
A new mutual admiration society is born.


Thursday, August 21, 2003

How big is Sobig? 

The SoBig virus is blasting through the internet about as quickly as the infection in 28 Days Later, but fortunately, the victims are machines, not people. Today's Internet News story reports that AOL scanned 40.5 million email attachments yesterday, more than 4 times the more usual 11 MM attachments per day. Of the 40.5 mil, of those, 23.2 million were infected with Sobig-F.


The Island Chronicles: New installment live 

Did you ever wonder what it would be like if you rented out your house, stored most of your things, and moved your family, kids and all, to a remote South Sea island?

Mark Fraufenfelder and Carla Sinclair took off from LA for Paradise in early July, and are posting dispatches from their island about once a week.
The latest is about Jean, a new friend with seven kids.


Lunches with Bloggers: Phil Wolff 

One of the bloggers I enjoy reading the most--and who invariably triggers those aha! Or yes, good point moments is a klog apart's Phil Wolff, who's been blogging for about 4 years.
Phil is also the creator of the amazing Blogcount, an effort to track and map the blogosphere through stats and research reports. (Remember the guy back in Austin, Texas, back in the early 90s, who was mapping the nodes of the web and updating monthly? Phil is his spiritual descendent.)
Phil is also one of those really bright people who have great ideas, and whom it is possible to talk to for hours, so we did--the restaurant staff basically kicked us out at 2:30, their post-lunch closing time.
Phil's topics for the dayoor the themes we shared, more accurately-- blogging, and the future of (of course), how to build process and discipline aka a 'cookbook' to communicate and then implement a new idea, such as blogging for K-12 educators, good and laundry(maybe those were my topics--my family laughs cause I say 'Laundry is my hobby.'), books--including a fascinating creative thinking business book, a book on workflow and web design I to to take home, and a The Fifth Discipline Workbook, which I am going to buy, as soon as I build up the arm muscles to carry it.
We also discussed why Phil should come to BlogCon in the fall....and who we thought should be there, who might not be (Chris Pirillo, Jeff Jarvis, Meg Hourihan were names that passed my lips...)
Phil, I hope to have a chance to hang out with you more--it was great to meet you!
(And now that I know Pil is a foodie, I'm going to invite him down for that mid-Sept BBQ/open house we want to have in San Jose, where our musician buddies can set up and play as they eat and drink.)


Tuesday, August 19, 2003

Riding the Oxymoron Express: AOL claims victory as fastest dial-up download 

Wondering which ISP will help you get those web pages downloaded fastest? It's AOL 9.0 Optimized, according to a news release about a study released today.
But as Mark Goldston, CEO of competitor United Online, pointed out, the most relevant data point here may be that dial-up access can be accelerated. "AOL and others introducing accelerated dial-up products that they claim perform exceptionally well is a great thing for dial-up industry," Goldston said in a recent CNET article. "For us, it will be a great credibility strike if they're out for $23.90 charging you for accelerated dial-up product, and we're out there for $14.95. We've just now inherited a phenomenal benchmark for accelerated dial-up with AOL that we can be compared against."

Monday, August 18, 2003

What I made for dinner tonight 

Pad Thai
Oyster & shitake mushroom saute
Chilled grapes and cherries

Dept of Building Momenteum: Knight Ridder Digital hires new Chief Marketing Office 

KRD, topping off a year of smart moves, announced today that they have hired Anna Zornosa, formerly of, Pointcast, and most recently email publisher Topica, as chief marketing officer.
According to the release, as CEO at Topica, Zornosa moved the organization from free and advertising-supported to paid services. As SVP at Networks, she developed integrated marketing strategy and managed relationships with 20 affiliated TV, book and magazine prpoerties.
There are so few women in senior positions, especially in the online newspaper business--it is good to see that KRD has made such a dynamic hire...and interesting to watch where she will help the business grow.

Lockergnome: Could your mother understand RSS? 

Lockergnome: "...We toss about terms like XML, RSS, Aggregator, Blog, and MovableType with ease, because they are the tools of our trade. We embrace them, we understand them. But for the AOL minded masses, these terms are too vague, too complicated, too boring. For these people, instant messages and email are their primary tools. Google is useful to them, because it's simple. Email is useful for them because it allows them to forward amusing things to their friends and family, and because it is nearly omnipresent. Everyone has an email address.

For RSS to catch on and be embraced outside of technology focused content, using it will have to become much more user friendly. Your Mom will need to understand it. To be honest, it will probably take someone like Microsoft, Apple, or AOL to integrate the flow of RSS documents into their internet tools to ever get the non-tech masses involved."

Six More Degrees of DJ Spooky 

So I finally got home from New York yesterday, and when I opened up my email last night, there was a note from a NYC friend to his West Coast pals, telling us his buddy DJ Spooky was spinning in the Mission and we could get on the guest list--and here's Spooky's email address, just let him know.
So in 36 hours, I went from someone who had no connection to Spooky, to a friend of a friend, to a direct contact, all without taking any real action on my end.
How wonderfully wierd and small world is that?
P.S. I emailed Spooky, told him the story, and that I planned to come see him. Then we got totally lost in the hills in SF and never made it (we ended up in Daly City, somehow) at 1 am and decided to go home.

Rebuilding the (Electrical Grid): Did Thomas Edison get it right? 

Dana Blankenhorn has a fascinating piece on the need for a new kind of electrical grid for the country. This is one of the topics I had no real interest in until I ended up in Manhattan in the dark with no answering machine, no air conditioning, no cash machines, and, oh yea, no power. According to Blankenhorn, one route is to create much more home-grown electricity--solar generators, windmills, etc.--and this, he says, was actually Thomas Edison's original idea for generating electricity.

"...In the 1880s Edison and his engineers actually installed a generator in J.P. Morgan's home, which they hoped would become a model. Of course, Edison believed in Direct Current (DC). When Nikola Tesla proved that Alternating Current (AC) would deliver current from a great distance with minimal loss, the big industry of the time was transformed into today's electric utility marketplace. Edison lost his place within General Electric, which had bought his company, and the grid as we know it was born."
I am buying a new computer later today--a Fujitsu Lifebook for those who want to know--and I have to figure out if there is a way to move my very full newsreaders--would hate the alternatives--which seem to be:
a) Keep this machine as the newsreader machine.
b) Resubscribe to the whole list of feeds.
I am going to check the documentation on both readers--Amphetadesk and NewsMonster, but if anyone wants to offer their advice, it is welcome.

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