Something I've got to master is the art of the quick, dirty and pithy post.  After all, doesn't blogging mean you put up what's on your mind as soon as you can, without thinking about it?  Sure it does.  You know it's true, because you're reading it on a blog.

So I happen to work in the realm of email marketing.  Yes, yes, I believe you could call us a spam factory, but at least we're using a proprietary confirmed opt-in list, and not sending to the great unknown.  That alone is a big leg up.  But the question of today is just what we send.  You know, I've been reading that ol' Cluetrain Manifesto I mentioned earlier, and parts of it are really starting to jive with me.  One of the main things it says is that we've lost the art of voice, of communication from one real human to another.  See, corporations don't have voice - they just speak in dumbed-down, politically correct, washed-through-legal-a-hundred-times speak.  Just take a look at the next piece of corporate email you get - I know you'll be able to tell it's not a real person in a hearbeat.  And why is that?  Because humans write in a way that's not condusive to the staid, tried and true world of corporate marketing.  What's worse, some of the most boring emails and copy have enough success to keep them going - regardless of what you send, some people are going to pick up on the deal and go for it, simply because it meets their needs at the time.  Get a few of these folks together, and you've got enough ROI to rationalize what you're doing in the corporate world. 

But let's step back for a moment.  Can we do better?  Can we make more of ourselves?  Is it possible to be a solid, reliable company and yet actually make someone laugh with our corporate communications?  Yes.  I believe so.  And to make you believe, I'm going to give you some examples:

Enjoy all that, ya' hear?

"I'm breaking the habit..."



I'm sorry, I hate myself for it, but I can't just let this abomination go by.  It's time to take ol' Al Trautwig and throw him under the bus again.  My latest example is from the Men's All-Around gymnastics, where Paul Hamm won the first gold ever for the U.S.A. in that event. 

Example #3:  It's right after Paul finds out he's won.  NBC is doing a quick montage of his routines leading up to winning the medal, and they're at the last one - the high bar.  Paul does his last flip and begins to release for his dismount when Al utters these words of utterly insipid brainlessness:

"The air has been let out of the balloon.  And with those mighty lungs from the Midwest, Paul Hamm has won the gold."

Ladies and gentlemen, WHAT the MESS is THAT??  What in the world was mister Al trying to say?  Paul Hamm won the gold... with his LUNGS??  Al, look at me.  I know you're trying to use the sweeping metaphors of dramatic sportscasting like those found on old NFL films, but PLEASE, lay off them a bit and let the moment shine!

In an interesting corollary, apparently this on-camera vaccuum of common sense is spreading.  Soon after Paul comes off the gym floor, he has a quick interview with one of the "sideline" reporters.  You know them - usually women, mostly good looking, not really expecting much in the way of hard journalism out of them.  (Melissa Stark is an incredible example who's managed to escape the last part of that stereotype.)  This reporter, and I'm sorry I couldn't find a bio for her, corners off Paul and proceeds to ask him three questions.  The first two were pretty silly, but the last takes the cake:

"Paul, what did you learn about yourself during those last three rotations on your way to the gold medal?"

Now, let's think for a moment.  The man has had about 5 minutes to even know that he had the gold medal, much less reflect on it.  There is a much greater-than-zero chance that the moment hasn't even sunk in, or made a solitary dent.  He's in the blissful shock of incredible success that athletes across the world live for, and you're asking him to take a metaphysical assesment of the greatest moment of his LIFE?  What has he learned?  Not a thing yet, except he looks great in GOLD, woman!


"I've been downhearted, baby, ever since the day we met..."



Go ahead.  Click on that link.  I dare ya.  That little site will mess with your mind.  I found that thing on Penny Arcade and, for a second, thought it had reduced my computer's processing capacity to somewhere between that of a blender and a parking meter.

So, yeah, it's been quite a while since I last posted.  My dear friend Jess has dutifully shamed me for being away for so long. By the way, DO go check out her blog.  She does it up righteous, and has been for much longer than I.  I think I've got somewhat of an explanation, though, if you're willing to hear it.  See, I always think that you've got to put together some seamless treatise in your mind before you blog, and I just hadn't had enough thoughts congeal to become worthy of a post yet.  However, if you'll read the rules of blogging, you'll see that one should blog on a regular basis, as your ephemeral "readers" will want to see good content at least once per week. Now, I don't disagree with that at all, and in fact feel somewhat self-saddened for having not adhered to said rule. My other friend, Adam, would tell me to quit being such an egoistic little pansy and wake up to the fact that I have no readers, and so there's not a soul to care what text meanders its way onto this page.

But you're here.  And I hope to make your life just a little bit happier.  I'm such a people pleaser...

In case you haven't figured it out, I've got a lot of random stuff, because I am far overdue. Stay with me - there's a great prize at the bottom of the box.

So lately, like much of the population, I've been checking out the Olympics.  My dear wife likes the women's gymnastics, so we've been watching a lot of that - also because NBC has seen it fit to flood their primetime slots with the stuff.  So there's three commentators, and the main guy - Al Trautwig, the one that comes from the "broadcast" side as opposed to the "former athlete" side, is a COMPLETE idiot.  I mean, my natural tendency isn't to be so harsh, but this guy is a major distraction.  Now, since he's supposed to be the broadcaster type, I don't expect much out of the guy.  Have a good voice, read well, don't get in the way of the athletes doing their thing.  Unfortunately, he doesn't seem to get that last tenet. 

Example:  One of the U.S. gymnasts does poorly on one of her exercises, could cost the team the gold.  Dude doesn't make a graceful transition, say something about how hard she's worked or how far she's come, OH NO!  He just comes on the mic and says to his "guy who actually knows something" - "Damage Assessment!"  I mean, he might as well have called the guy Scotty!  A completely appropriate response would have been to say "I can't do any more, Captain, she's givin' me everything she's got!" 

Example #2:  Uneven bars.  Random small chick from China completely and gracefully deviates from her planned routine to cover a mistake she made.  Dude remarks that wouldn't the judges deduct for that?  NO!  The judges don't care if you follow some kind of mythic flight plan!  They just want you to do what you got, and do it well.  "Guy-who-actually-knows-anything commentator" is about to jump off his seat in joy, and "broadcaster" dude just doesn't get it.

The individual competitions are coming up next, so I encourage you to direct your boob tube there - if only for a good laugh.

Terrible segway, but could someone please explain corporate America to me?  I just read a segment from The Cluetrain Manifesto that's got me completely depressed.  They compare how business organizations are structured to that of a fort, and you know, they're right.  We go to work and sit behind solid walls to separate us from the distractions of family, artistic impulse, and whimsy so we can become productive little automotons.  I totally understand the concept of coming together with your co-workers for continuity's sake, but why can't I just log in the rest of the time?  I work on a WEB SITE, you'd think we could all be nice and online about how we work along with what we work on.  Someone, just wake up the U.S. and let them know that we have left the days of "going to the plant to work" far behind with the rotary phone.

Ok, I know there's more rattling around in this brain of mine, and I think it will make its way on here later today.  For now, I'm gonna post this (mainly so I don't lose it to some random catastrophy), and head off to lunch.

"Fa, fa fa fa, fa fa fa...."



Hello, everyone.  The ritual beating known as moving has been completed, and I am free once again to let my thoughts be known to you all.  Sure, since I use my work computer to post most of the time, I could have done so earlier, but it's better to be late than never, right? 

SO much to talk about, so grab a hold and hang on.

Found a couple incredible web sites recently, and this is the kind of mind-blowing stuff you gotta read so you can expand your horizons.  I shall list:

  • Blogdex.net - boy this is a fun little site.  Ever wanted to tap into the cultural zeitgeist of the blogging community quickly and easily?  Need to impress your more nerdy friends with your grasp of the cogent topics of cyberspace publishing today?  Here's your site.  Lists "the most contagious information currently spreading in the weblog community."

  • Gapingvoid.com  - This nugget of gold came to me from visiting Blogdex. This is the personal space of one Hugh Macleod, whom I've discovered to be an INCREDIBLE thinker and artist. His day job is a Creative Director for a UK advertising/marketing shop, but for fun he does cartoons on the back of business cards. He purposely limits himself to that 3.5"x2" space every time, leading to some extremely consise and powerful editorializing on life, business, and whatever topic he feels like at the time. My personal favorite of his? Right here:
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  • The Cluetrain Manifesto  - I've linked here to an online book that distills what Cluetrain.com is all about. Basically, four guys thoroughly involved in large companies within the high-tech industry started this web site with a posting of 95 theses about how they thought e-commerce, and marketing as a whole, should be handled. Many comments, discussions, and rants later, the same four wrote this book. I've only finished the forward and the actual theses so far, so I may talk about it in further detail later. So far, it's becoming one of the most influencial books I've ever read.
SO, that there's what I've been up to lately. You'll hear more from me about the book later. Let's get this on ye olde web site, and I'll come back with more stuff in the near future.