Thursday, 27 March 2008

“If the news is important, it will find me”

“In essence, they are replacing the professional filter – reading The Washington Post, clicking on – with a social one.” – Brian Stelter

We read through each other anyway. I’ve long read major news outlets through the people I trust and often know personally. Blogs and Twitter are great for that. Sure, I run the risk of missing things, but again

“if it’s important, it will find me.”

It’s great to see that ‘news’ is finally thought of in the same way a urban legends. Passed along when they capture the imagination of the social group, independent of timeliness. Unless the event is happening….NOW…any account of it is ‘olds’ anyway.

Importance is persistent and rises to the top.

Notes from Bob Garfield’s Chaos Scenario 2.0 Talk at Macalester

Bob Garfield’s Chaos Scenario 2.0 presentation on Monday night felt like the opposite of the Blind Men and the Elephant. He’s just one of the many people from different angles, proclaiming that Advertising is dying and it’ll kill media as we know it.

“That horrible crashing sound you hear is a gravy train derailing.” – Jeff Jarvis

While Garfield gave a number of statistics; P&G and GM dramatically cutting back TV ad buys, etc, my favorite example is:

“[Six Flags] wanted to give away 45,000 tickets for opening day to drive traffic. So we got a brief to do whatever: ads, microsite, whatever. But our interactive creative director just went off and posted it on Craigslist. Five hours later, 45,000 tickets were spoken for” – Jan Leth, Executive Creative Director of Ogilvy Interactive N. America, per Bob Garfield’s Chaos Scenario 2.0

This elicits a number of interesting questions:

  • How does Ogilvy bill for it?
  • Will Six Flags return to Ogilvy the next time around, or just do it themselves?
  • Is this solution more or less measurable than a new website, ad, etc?

The thing is, I doubt direct marketers are having this conversation. Remember, Amazon determined their customers find more value in really cheap shipping than in really expensive TV spots.

Bob Garfield’s 4 Reasons Advertising is Dead:

  1. People don’t like ads.
  2. People crave information.

    We are seeking out commercial information all the time…” – Dave Winer

    “Brands are a proxy for information…” – Chris Anderson

    “… the will be usurped when ‘real’ information is available at a mouseclick – Bob Garfield”

  3. People consumers are in control.
    People choose when and how they engage with advertising.
  4. Diversion of ad budgets

From the Q&A

“Radio broadcasters need to stop thinking of themselves as radio broadcasters and start thinking of themselves as cultural hubs for their communities. Otherwise, they are doomed to a slow but certain death” – Bob Garfield

When asked about the future of in-depth, reflective journalism when advertising ends, Bob joked:

“I have no skills, that’s why I’m in journalism to begin with…I’m hoping for the best, but I’m expecting to starve”

I’m more optimistic than Bob. I predict the removal of advertising will encourage depth and reflectiveness. There will be less pressure to publish for the sake of page views, stories will evolve and grow especially with a more active readership participating.

Lastly, I take issue with the large number of times Garfield used the word ‘consumer’. If mass-marketing in mass-media to a mass-audience is replaced by conversational marketing to small groups and individuals – then there are no consumers. Just people.

Saturday, 22 March 2008

First Crack 108. Coffee Review – Honduras, El Filo – 49th Parallel Roasters

This is the third in the monthly coffee review series at the First Crack Podcast.

This month, I’m reviewing Miguel Moreno Leiva – El Filo as roasted by 49th Parallel Roasters.

It’s a very subtle and floral cup with powerful aroma off the grind. Andrew described it to me as, “technically good.” I quite agree. It’s a perfect example of a good cup of coffee.

As always, special thanks to Andrew Kopplin at Kopplin’s Coffee for putting this Cup of Excellence on my table and resetting my coffee judgement scale.

Listen to Coffee Review – Honduras: El Filo [9 min].

Thursday, 20 March 2008

The Ongoing Beer List

On the tail of a Twitter conversation on Wisconsin beers and a renewed interest in homebrewing seemed like a perfect time to write up my favorite beers.

My Homebrew Favorites

  1. Owd Potters Field Ale
  2. Sour Cider – Mach II
  3. Sour Cider – Mach I
  4. Aloysius Amber Rye – 2011

Top 5 Anytime, Anywhere Beers

  1. Rush River Unforgiven
  2. Rush River ÜberAlt
  3. North Coast Brewing Red Seal Ale
  4. Affligem Abbey Blond
  5. Two Brothers Brewing’s Cane and Ebel

Special Occasion Beers
One beer at the end of a great day:

Killing time on a beautiful spring afternoon at the train station near Hannover:

In Belgium on vacation:

Weekend on the river in northern Wisconsin:

  • Leinenkugels Red
  • Leinenkugels Creamy Dark (after sunset with a campfire)

In Minneapolis (or Portland), watching a local bike derby under pouring rain in October with empties as the course marker:

  • PBR

Reading William Gibson

  • Tsingtao

(more later)

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

Cullect Demo, 10am April 4th, U of M’s Emerging Digerati Week 2008

As part of the U of M’s Emerging Digerati Week New Media Showcase, I’ll be demo-ing at the Weissmann Art Museum, 10am Friday, April 4th.

That’s just Friday.

The entire rest of the week is filled with presentations on technology innovations from throughout the university (traffic management, virtual reality environments, etc).

Monday, 17 March 2008

Spring ’08 Refresh

“not really blogging or podcasting for two weeks can hurt your page rank something fierce” – Kristopher Smith

Since I haven’t been writing here much this month, here’s an update for those of you that just read this feed.

  1. got a facelift this past weekend. Primarily so I could explore all the shared feeds generates (check the sidebar for ‘Recommended Reading’), but also as a larger effort to bring more visibility to the work I do (more on that later).
  2. Big, exciting new client projects, that have really got my gears whirring.
  3. I’ve published 2 new First Crack Podcasts so far this month, with a 3rd on the way. W00T!
  4. I’ve been trying to wrap my head around RubyCocoa, more specifically the relationship between RubyCocoa and Interface Builder
  5. It’s March. Historically, I get a SAD funk in March. 😉

Sunday, 9 March 2008 – Moving Servers

Cullect was fast out-growing the Lifetime M Accelerator it started out on last summer, so this weekend I moved it to a bigger, 1GB Accelerator. As I write this, the database is migrating. After that, Cullect will be faster and have room to grow.

As part of this, I’ve started a proper blog for Cullect where I’ll be posts status updates, in-depth pieces on the decisions behind Cullect, and general bloggy stuff.

Sunday, 2 March 2008

Saturday, 1 March 2008

First Crack 106. Coffee Review – El Salvador: Finca La Montaña

This is the second in the monthly coffee review series at the First Crack Podcast.

This month, I’m reviewing George Howell’s Terroir Coffee: El Salvador: Finca La Montaña

The 2007 Cup of Excellence winner that was completely devastated by near hurricane-strength winds in January. Pushing the next harvest out to 2010. In response to this tragedy, George Howell doubled the price of his last 70lbs and sent all the proceeds to aid the farms recovery:

“This is a farm which won 5th place, then 4th place, then 1st place in succession over the last three years in Cup of Excellence. Preliminary estimates indicate he will not have a crop until 2010! How does a farmer with less than 14 acres survive? The 3rd place and 4th place winners of last year’s Cup of Excellence are his neighbors, and all three use the same mill to strip their fruit and dry their beans. We have yet to hear about them. We want to help in a meaningful manner.”

“La Montaña is scheduled to be roasted on Monday, January 28. We will be offering this coffee, which in my opinion is the purest coffee expression we have, bar none, at $50 for eight ounces (versus the usual $27.95). Terroir Coffee will donate the entire price to Mr. Ochoa primarily and to the mill, his critical support, which may also be facing very bad times from these events. Not a penny will be spent on any bureaucracy. We have approximately 70 pounds of his coffee left. $50 dollars per half-pound would result in $7,700, if all is sold.”

Special thanks to Andrew Kopplin at Kopplin’s Coffee for putting this Cup of Excellence on my table and connecting the world economy.

Listen to Coffee Review – El Salvador: Finca La Montaña [9 min].

Cup of Excellence Winning Farm 2007: Raúl Ochoa Hernández – La Montaña El Salvador La Montaña – 93 points