Monday, March 26, 2007

The Former Future of Advertising II

I also recently finished reading Joe Cappo's 2003 book The Future of Advertising, which was published in conjunction with AdAge. When I emailed Joe in thanks for his book, his response solely poked fun at my name, but I'll try not to hold that against him.

More recent than Richard Adler's The Future of Advertising, the book is slightly more up to date and meets a very different need. So what did I get out of Cappo's tome?

Subtitled "New Media, New Clients, New Consumers in the Post-Television Age," the book does well to address and expand on the different aspects of what online advertisers work with. I found Cappo's writing about agency consolidation, the death of the commission structure, the bottom-line role advertising plays (especially the bit on "below-the-line" marketing), the allure of ad awards, and the need for integrated marketing to be of particular interest. I was less impressed by his commentary on the changing media landscape and potential role of new technology, but that's little surprise given the age of the book.

I can't find Cappo's web site right now, but the last time I looked, it didn't look like he'd done a lot since the book. That's OK. But it'd be great if people writing books about the future of advertising kept a hand in the business. I'm sure he has, but given his Google absence, it's not a strong hand.

And that's what we need to build a strong industry: strong hands.

Event-O-Dex XXVI

Thursday, March 29: Joel Forrester and the Truth, Barbes, 8 p.m. Forrester was in the Microscopic Septet with Phillip Johnston and penned the Fresh Air theme for NPR.

Monday, April 30: Andy Statman, Barbes, 8 p.m. Statman played in the Wretched Refuse String Band in the late '70s and now concentrates on Jewish music.

The Kathy Sierra Situation

I really don't know what to say about this, but I know what I feel.

Sorrow. Anger. Confusion.

For the last two years, I've missed Kathy Sierra's talks at SXSWi. I know little about what she does. And I've never interacted with her.

Yet I read her narrative of recent events with growing concern and disgust. Late last week, the Justice Department launched a campaign to warn young women of the dangers of being too open online. Not that long ago, the National Crime Prevention Council began an initiative to fight cyberbullying.

It's not just children we need to worry about.

It's ourselves.

I'm a big believer in the value and power of being present online. I appreciate other people's presence. I like to get presents. But I cannot fathom the kind of thinking that goes into these attacks on Sierra, Tara Hunt (whom I emailed for the first time on another matter entirely today), Hugh MacLeod, and others. I don't understand how people like Chris Locke, Frank Paynter, and Jeneane Sessum can be involved, however remotely.

But I do know this. Whomever posted such misguided, unwise, and vicious attacks will be outed. The online community has that in its power. The perpetrator will hopefully face the full measure of the law. And they should be shunned.

Because such behavior is akin to committing reputational suicide. As far as I'm concerned, that person's ideas and opinions are dead to me. I have no respect whatsoever for them or their work, regardless of who they are or what they've done.

To paraphrase Media Diet's tagline, you are what you write. You are your own words. You own them. Stand behind them.

To do otherwise is the utmost in cowardice and disrespect for everyone online.

You know who you are. Step up.

Speaking Rules of Engagement

I'm slated to speak as part of PodCamp NYC in a couple of weekends, and following a fun dinner discussion with RadioTail's Gregory Galant, I'm now done with my presentation.

If any Media Dieticians would like to see the PDF of my Keynote presentation, email me, and I'll wing one your way. I'd appreciate your input and insights!

Saturday, March 24, 2007

New Blog Tag: Seven Songs

I've never participated in one of those blog tag projectlets in which someone posts a list of some sort, tags a handful of compatriots, and so on and so forth, like a virtual chain letter. In fact, I've kind of been happy not to do so; I'm not the biggest fan of list posts. But when Sue Kaup tagged me following a Chris Brogan call out, I figured, what the heck.

Here's a list of seven of my favorite songs of all time, based on my currently resident iTunes library and then some. You can also keep up with my listening, as I scrobble most songs.

Without further ado, in no particular order, with slight annotation:

  • "Sweat Loaf," Butthole Surfers -- After several months confusing a mislabeled Couch Flambeau cassette with the Butthole Surfers, a clerk at the Exclusive Company in Madison finally set me straight. I ended up getting the Locust Abortion Technician LP at a now-closed record store in Whitewater. This remains one of the better first tracks ever.
  • "Andorra," Sweet Baby -- One of the most important pop-punk LPs ever, this was released on Slash's short-lived Ruby imprint and predates most anything brave enough to call itself pop punk. I first heard this on the Lookout compilation The Thing That Ate Floyd, one of the best comps ever.
  • "Going to Pasalacqua," Green Day -- Before they were international pop overlords, Green Day was a scrappy little punk band releasing 7-inch records on Lookout. This is one of those early tracks, but off their first LP. For many months, this was the first thing I heard every day; it was my alarm-clock CD player track. Close tie with "At the Library."
  • "Bombshell," Operation Ivy -- Any track off this LP is a contender, and this record remains better than anything later released by any member, although most everyone has gone on to solid projects. I tend to like songs about girls, and this is one of the best.
  • "Lonely Woman," Naked City -- This is a bit of a cheat, as it's another record on which any track is worth calling out. This LP and John Zorn's work in this period in general changed my high-school thinking about what the alto saxophone and jazz can do. Mind blowing for a secondary school reed player.
  • "Ba Ba Ba Ba," The 77s -- My first band, Knightcap, practiced in the youth group room of the local Methodist church. The 77s were a Christian rock band before being a Christian rock band meant that you couldn't play rock 'n' roll. And this song is a great example of spiritually inspired '80s pop that could stand alone without being marketed as being spiritually inspired.
  • "Cry of the Wild Goose," Frankie Laine -- Most of my early music listening was limited to my parents' record collection, which included several albums of cowboy songs recorded by Frankie Laine. His voice is haunting, and this song is awesome.

I'm tagging seven people, not five, just in case people choose not to participate -- and in honor of the 77s. Those people are, in no particular order: Brad Searles, Maura Johnston, Chris Breitenbach, Frank Portman, Glenn Gaslin, Thomas Hopkins, and Jon Lebkowsky.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Subscription Friction

Every day, I get the New York Times delivered to my home. For the last few weeks, the New York Sun has also been tucked inside my delivery copy. The first few days, I was jazzed: I used to subscribe to the Sun and enjoyed flipping through it.

But now I'm annoyed. I've passed the point of deciding whether to subscribe to the paper; I'm not going to. I'm also past the point of reading it every day in addition to the four other dailies I receive. So I recycle the Sun largely unread every single day, and I'm increasingly irritated at the Times for foisting it upon me.

Why promote another newspaper that's an erstwhile competitor to your newspaper in the first place? Why do so for so long that your reputation and brand start to take a hit? If this Sun promotion continues much longer, I'll think less of the Times, and that seems counter to whatever it is they're trying to achieve.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

The Former Future of Advertising

I just finished reading a great little book called The Future of Advertising: New Approaches to the Attention Economy. The outcome of a conference organized in late 1996 (!!!) by the Aspen Institute, the slim volume is largely based on the discussions at the event. Participants included folks such as Stewart Alsop, Jeffrey Dachis, Michael Goldhaber, and Evan Schwartz.

In many ways, the book is a quaint artifact of that time. To be entirely honest, online advertising doesn't seem to have made a heck of a lot of progress in the last 10 years, and many of the key themes, ideas, and concerns addressed more than a decade ago at this gathering are just as important today. That could mean that they're universal and really important -- for example, privacy -- or that we just haven't done that much to address or build on them.

Regardless, it's a great read. Richard Adler served as "rapporteur" for the discussion, and his 44-page essay is one of the best introductions to modern advertising and synopses of its pain points that I've encountered. Any newcomer to advertising, online and offline, would be well served to get this book. And any longtimer might welcome the quick refresh and reminder that the book could bring.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Stay Free to No Longer Be

From an email transmitted by Stay Free magazine's Carrie McLaren earlier today:

Dear subscribers, blog readers, and friends:

After over a decade of running Stay Free!, I'm sad to say that I've decided to stop publishing the magazine. We're going to do one more issue and then publish more or less exclusively on the web. There are a number of reasons, but the over-arching theme is burnout -- burnout coupled with financial woes.

Selling ads has gotten all but impossible. Indie record labels and small book publishers -- our bread and butter -- are in the toilet. Ditto newsstand sales. No one goes to book stores looking for zines anymore; the nerds are all online. And while I once welcomed the challenge of making things work on a tight budget, I just can't bring myself to beg another distributor to pay us the money they owe -- or to beg more local stores to let us leave out free magazines.

Stay Free! has been the world to me; nearly every good friend of mine I have I met through the zine. But I'm no longer a twentysomething eager and willing to spend every waking moment working on projects. I don't know when exactly I got sick of not having a personal life but the weight of constantly working really took it's toll last year. While Stay Free! shall continue on the web (ie the blog), there's not going to be as much of it as there was a couple of years ago.

Obviously, there's the matter of owing subscribers for issues they'll never receive. I'm going to look into handing that money to a similar publication (Punk Planet? Mother Jones?), so you will get *something.*

The street date for the next and last issue -- architecture and obsolescence -- is still up the air. I was hoping to have it out in April or May, but that's looking unlikely at this point.

We are alternately considering publishing a "best of" in book form. If any of you know publishers who'd be interested in working with us, please let me know.

With much love and sincerest thanks for your support,


I'll be sure to follow the project on the Web, but the magazine will be surely missed.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Belles of the Baseball

A friend of mine is polling pals on who they would like to see elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown for a project he's working on. He's asking folks for up to 10 players from any era, from any league, from any team -- anyone you think deserves eternal enshrinement. Managers, GM's, coaches, umpires, and owners are also fair game.

Here's what I sent him:

  • Rollie Fingers
  • Robin Yount
  • Carl Yastrzemski
  • Pete Rose
  • Honus Wagner
  • Paul Molitor
  • Don Money
  • Alexander Cartwright
  • Babe Ruth
  • Jackie Robinson

Who do you think should make the cut? Add a comment below with your votes.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Roadshow Diaries

Hanging out with Noel so many weeks ago, it struck me that a sizable portion of media hisory could be lost. Media Dieticians, please mirror the pages referenced here to help me out.

Let me know how you're doing so. I need to save these pages!

A Taste of Jelly

This morning, I had my first co-working experience, participating in Jelly, Amit Gupta's semi-weekly co-working blowout. Amit's out of town, but Sahadeva was there, and I got to meet Clay Shirky, Ian Van Ness, Shawn Liu, and a bunch of other fine folks.

I brought croissants from Le Croissant Shop, and dare I say it, they may have been more popular than Sangraal Aiken's bagels. It was tough to find House 2.0's hidden network with my work PC (if only I'd brought my PowerBook!), so I learned about FON, which seems like a positive project. Roughly midday, the network in the entire building went awry, so I headed into work at the office.

Co-working is super cool. At one level, it's just a bunch of people sitting on couches and at tables working on their own projects -- an office for those without an office. But at another level, it's a productive community of people who share their ideas, opinions, skills, and tools. I'll participate in one of these again, if not just to see who shows up.