Off the Top: Commerce Entries

March 23, 2008

Solo Agents Needed

I have a large stack of things to blog and that I should be blogging, but I have been a wee bit piled on with work and bouncing office space. This will be one of a few quick post to get some things out there that really need to be surfaced.

Agent to Solos

I was chatting with Stephanie Booth at SXSWi about the ups and downs of being a solo (freelancer) consultant or other non-developer. One of the struggles is the sales process (selling, negotiating, closing, and getting the money in) and I stated what we really need is an agent for this type of work. Steph has written this up in her blog post, Marketers and Salespeople: Agents for Freelancers.

One of the things I have learned is I really love my book agent, who found the best deal and best environment for me to write my book ("Coming to Terms: Understanding Folksonomy" due out in the late Fall 2008). He negotiated, got the contract, and is dealing with the money side of things (as well as bumps along the way). When I went through that process it was relatively painless (with the exception of dealing with on publishing firm, who I am deeply happy I did not write for, but the pain was mostly not mine (other than the huge delay)). At the time I thought my business life needs this, but the thought faded.

I am finding that much of my time is spent pitching (I rather like pitching), meeting, and working to get to contracts/agreements. When this is done it is doing the actual work (I normally work in sets of brief engagements) and invoicing. This is relatively enjoyable. Getting organizations to pay or going through mediaeval payment paperwork processes is not a joy. The book keeping is not a joy either.

I know these types of services much be around as there are book agents, speaking agents, and agents for other types of work. This is not people trying to connect me with opportunities (if you know of opportunities where I can help I am always willing to engage in that conversation) as the font end marketing and sales leads I have avenues that are finally working well for that who understand what I do and where my service provide strong value for organizations considering social web/computing tools, improving the value their current tools and services provide, or working with vendors to identify the value gaps and greatly improve their products. I need a closer and billing service all working for a percentage of what they close (I know of very few people who will sign with exclusive services).

Go read Steph's piece and leave comments there or drop me an e-mail (see connect above).

December 16, 2007

T-Mobile Shows Ignorance Blocking Twitter

Updated with response in T-Mobile Was Not the Problem with Twitter.

The news of USA T-Mobile Blocking Twitter Short Code (and now understanding of why I have been getting the service unavailable message the past few days) is deeply bothersome on many levels. First is I use Twitter a lot. It is a core communication channel for me. It is a viable outlet during emergencies. Lastly, when traveling and when out Twitter is a great broadcast medium to connect with friends to coordinate meeting and let them know of delays or problems.

These issues while they have great value and essential support, are secondary to a commercial entity blocking a service with out notice. I mostly use mobile Twitter, but the short code is something I use quite often, particularly to direct message when somebody needs a private quick answer. I don't have all of my friend's mobile numbers, but Twitter has decreased my need for them as one SMS (short code) suffices. T-Mobile is getting paid for use of the short code for the SMS traffic just the same as if I used my friend's mobile number for SMS.

Lacking Access to Twitter Short Code is Reason to Dump T-Mobile

The belief that T-Mobile has that is does not have to support any external service they do not have an agreement with is a giant problem for me the customer. I pay T-Mobile for service, if they decide not to provide service I decide to take my business to a company that will provide service. T-Mobile can cower behind its foolish policy statement, but those of us who are month-to-month with them (I own my own mobile device that I really like and I will not sign an agreement that has lock-in) should look at other options and make a decision that is in our best interest. T-Mobile seemingly does not support its customers by providing open transmission of messages/communication (this is why I pay them money, who is on the other end is never important). Lacking an understanding of why they get paid by their customers is a tragic decision.

T-Mobile Wants to Get in the Social Services Game

For months T-Mobile has been advertising for a Director for Community Products on its job board (now looking for a Senior Manager for Community Products), but to play this game T-Mobile must play well with other Community platforms. There is no lock-in as many people already have their own Community/Social platforms they use (Twitter, Facebook, Jaiku, etc.). The best way to build community is to embrace other platforms and allow open communication between the services. Rule number one in social software is people hang out and use services where their friends are. The corollary is people will use a service that easily connects with where their friends are (Jaiku gets this and has done well embracing this concept as it can pull in feeds from all platforms (allowing the listener to decide what feeds they want in their feed from the lifestreams from their friend's lives.

T-Mobile must learn this simple concept or they have proven they do not get the game and they will be moved out of the way.

July 7, 2007

Yahoo Takes Shot at Own and Customer's Foot

I just got an e-mail that Yahoo Photos is closing September 20, 2007 at 9pm. I have been finding the closing of the site somewhat odd, mostly because the many of the people I know and run across that use Yahoo Photos rely on Yahoo Photos to always be there. They are often infrequent users. They like and love the service because it is relatively easy to use and "will always be there". Many real people I know (you know the 95 percent of the people who do not live their life on the web) visit Yahoo Photos once or twice a year as it is where holiday, travel, or family reunion photos are stored. It would seem that this user base would need more than a year's notice to get valuable notification that their digital heirlooms are going to be gone, toast, destroyed, etc. in a few short months.

It the good will lost through a class action lawsuit against Yahoo! brought by its regular people user base (the core of its business) will not make things better. You know legal action is coming as photos are a valuable part of people's life and memories. Many of the regular people do not check their e-mail regularly as they have more than one or two accounts. Many people I know chose Yahoo Photos over other competitors, because Yahoo had been around longer and understood how to maintain their memories over time. To many Yahoo Photos is not an experiment that would go away.

Yahoo Is Many Things To Many People

I absolutely love Flickr and have never really been a Yahoo Photos user, as I mostly put my own photos on my own servers prior to Flickr. Part of Yahoo's quandary goes back to last a memo last Fall, names the Peanutbutter Manifesto, which was written by Brad Garlinghouse. Garlinghouse railed against the Yahoo multi-headed approach to services. Some services were new and innovative, while others were older and more tradtional. To the novice it would look like they served the same purpose. Yahoo Photos and Flickr do both serve digital photos and provide online photo galleries. Flickr has been providing a good source of ad revenues and Photos has not been as profitable. This seems on the surface to be smart decision, but to the millions more users of Photos than in Flickr this will do little more than bring ill will. Ill will is not something Yahoo can really afford these days.

Innovation and Incorporation of Ideas

Yahoo in the past few years has been buying innovative companies that provide value and unique ways of interacting with people and information on the web. Yahoo has also been innovating in-house with its research labs and now, Brickhouse. Having similar service running allows for one to be innovative and test the waters, while keeping one a safe resource that is familiar to the many who want stability over fresh and innovative. Companies must understand these two groups of people exist and are not fully interchangeable (er, make that they are rarely interchangeable). Innovation takes experimentation and time. Once things are found to work within the groups accepting innovation the work becomes really tough with the integration and use testing with the people who are not change friendly (normally a much larger part of an organization's base).

It would have seemed the smart move to be mindful that Flickr is the innovation platform and Photos is the stable use platform. The two groups of use are needed. Those in the perpetual beta and innovation platform are likely to jump to something new and different if the innovation gets stale. The stable platform users often are surprised and start looking to move when there is too much change. It is a real smart understanding that is needed of who the people are that use, love, and depend on these services. Real smarts are needed to keep these two different communities happy and loyal. When this works well the innovation group is happily the test bed for new helpful tools for the stable platform (which will need beta testing of its people using the service as well).

Irony Run Rampant

While Yahoo is aiming to show it does not grasp the two different use groups of its two photo platforms, nor the loayalty the much larger group has entrusted in Yahoo, many other companies are following the trail Yahoo has put in place by setting up beta programs for their own innovation of products. Google has its labs, but is moving its second generation attempts into its labs. Nearly every large consumer facing web organization has set up labs and/or has been buying small innovative web properties to boost their relevance and ability to build to the future more easily. Most organization outside Yahoo are innovating, testing, and moving solid broadly usable components into their stable large use base products. These other organizations understand loyalty and their customer base. I really thought Yahoo grasped this, with Jerry Yang taking over I had thought a new smart direction was in the works. A Yahoo that snubs its loyal users who believed they placed their prized possessions in the hands of an enduring web property, is new but not innovative and not a lasting property.

March 1, 2007

The Merlin Show interview with John Vanderslice

Yowza! The Merlin Show interview with John Vanderslice is fantastic. The discussion about changes in old media, marketing, music, DRM, and the state of the music industry is fantastic. John is smart and understands the marketplace and how to make money. How to make good money.

I am completely enjoying The Merlin Show with Marlin Mann. I am not a huge fan of podcast nor video podcasts due to the attention and time they take. I do have a stack of them backlogged that I will get to the day the Internet is gone for good, but Merlin is keeping me drawn in when I can't sit down and chat with him in person.

Love ya Merlin, keep up the killer work!

February 28, 2007

Analysis of LibraryThing vs. Amazon Tagging Analysis

I have posted my Breaking Down LibraryThing vs. Amazon Tagging Analysis over at Personal InfoCloud. I have spent a lot of time analyzing what Amazon is doing with tagging over the past 16 months. Much of it was missed, but that was not the disappointing bit in the analysis. Most of the comparisons being made were really apples to oranges.

At some point I will write-up an analysis of what Amazon is doing well (some things they are doing brilliantly) and where it has yet to really take advantage of what they have. This will likely have to be broken in to a series as my the two impromptu presentations on the subject have been about an hour long (yes, there is that much there), not including the background set up bits.

I have been including a highlevel view of Amazon tagging in my normally full tagging/folksonomy presentation for the last year or so as there are valuable examples in what is there and their iterations.

October 10, 2006

Tower Records is No More

My musical youth has a chapter closed with the Sale and Liquidation of Tower Records. In Central California, where I went to high school there was rather little constructive to do. I was a fan of music and played in school bands and some pick-up bands. But the place where much of the discussion about music took place was Tower Records.

The Social Gathering Spot

Tower Records was one of my first non-formal social meeting places. I would meet friends there to talk about new bands and music of interest, which included things that were not quite on local radio that embraced a mono-culture of rock, more rock, some rock, and light rock. Radio did not venture too far from "Top 40" radio, but Tower Records did. Not only did I find out from friends music that could be of interest to me, but the staff was insanely knowledgeable. I had my jazz interests broadended and found out about non-American bands.

Tower Grew with Me

As I moved around to university and life beyond, Tower Records remained a resource of smart musically engaged staff that could make great recommendations or do a deep dive on nearly any genre of music. In the past few years I have been trying to find similar recommendations services that are as broad as the human staff at Tower Records, but nothing can quite match it. I still have been shopping at Tower Records as my off-center music interests can be satiated at Tower on a Saturday looking through the new music discount stack or bin. I could walk into the nearest Tower to me and have a half-brained request with remotely partial information and the staff would nail what I was seeking. I continued to discover more music of interest that I was not getting turned on to anywhere else. The prices at Tower for much of the new music farther out in the long tail met my price point metric of less than 12 US dollars.

Other Poor Options

While I would occasionally buy from Amazon or other on-line retailer, Tower was my place. Now I am heading more toward on-line only as Walmart and Best Buy have incredibly horrible staff that continually walk away rather than answer a question to get a sale. Both have the most painful customer service and I know an quick in and out trip will turn into a 45 minute lesson poor customer service and how poorly trained and unpassionate staff can ruin an experience. Tower was about people passionate about music.

Holiday Memories

One memory that will always last with me is Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. There was very little open in Stockton, California, the place that is a giant suburb, without and "urb" to be a sub of. In high school we would gather at Tower on Christmas Eve night and head there the first opportunity we had on Christmas Day to spend whatever money we had garnered or to return the Carpenters greatest hts album. In the college years it was the place to gather and see friends who did not go to the "big party". In the post college years it was the place to go when the bars seemed like they were filled with young kids home from college and so loud you could not have a conversation. Tower Records held great memories and was held together by staff with great passion for the music they sold.

October 2, 2006

A Product Whose Time has Come

I found my current favorite shoe maker (at least for my typing shoes - thanks to Merlin for the term) Terra Plana has a new product whose day has come. They are selling the TripClip that saves the back of your trouser legs from getting caught under your shoes. This malady has been striking me as my shoes do not have the heal that my older ones did, meaning I am always pulling at my trousers to get the bottom of the leg out from under the heal of my shoe.

August 21, 2006

Acceptance of Innovation Takes Time

This past week Boeing cancelled its in plane internet connection services, called Connexion. The service has been in development for six years, but only in limited service for about 18 months. Boeing stated it did not get the acceptance and use of the service it expected. While Boeing was using satellites, which produce solid quality, its competitors are using less expansive and more fickle cellular approaches.

Acceptance Takes Consistency and Ubiquity

If I remember right it was only two or three airline carriers (Luftunsa) that had this service only on some of their planes. The people who I knew who used Boeing's services on airlines loved it, but they were never sure if the plane they were flying on would have access. This lack of consistency lowered the expectations of those who loved the service. These early adopters were reluctant to encourage others as the service may not be available. There are many people that want this type of service and to the level of bullet-proof service Boeing provided.

Air travel (like many others in the service industry) is an industry that is build around habits. Heavy travelers all have very set patterns and even well patterned alternate habits. They have certain airlines they fly (affinity programs encourage this), what airlines they use, hotels, and rental car they depend upon. The big mantra is no surprises and consistency. Packing their travel bags and gear with expectations of that they will need, with a big nod to what will not be needed so it is not packed (lighter travel is better than heavy travel). Depending on internet connection on the plane for many was not consistent and could not planned around.

Be Patient

How would Boeing get to the expected customer base? As a start they should take a lesson from Amazon, which puts innovative ideas in place all the time, but then lets the users catch-up to the tools. With Amazon their early adopters will use and play with their innovations (around which Amazon uses the feedback and iterates the products). Did Amazon announce their gold box? No, they put it out there and tested it and over a couple years it has become a staple that many people use as part of their regular Amazon experience. Amazon is doing similar things with tagging on their product pages and it is growing slowly.

Tagging is another area that is a slow growth. Currently there is less than .5 percent (half of one percent - comprised from Nielsen estimate of 750 Million people on the web and a compiles number of 2 to 4 million people using tagging services, not including blog categories as tagging) of people on the web tagging. Even with all of the hype tagging is still out in the long tail, and is an edge activity. Will tagging hit the next phase of innovation growth and spike in usage, the hockey stick curve, in the near future? It will take patience, consistency, iteration, and much better light bulb moments (quick a ha moments for those not using tagging).

Broadband In Planes Doomed?

It sounds like there are other technologies that are doing similar things to what Boeing was trying, but not as solid. These technologies are less expensive to implement and lower costs for those that fly. Can a poorer technology take off? The VHS (a greatly inferior product to Betamax) took the market.

It seems there is a future for broadband for those companies that can stay for the long run and help build demand and wait for demand to catch-up to innovation.

August 2, 2006

Terra Plana Pleasure

My Terra Plana Boi shoes arrived today. They not only fit, but they are very comfortable out of the box. I had tried a pair at Imelda & Louies in Portland, Oregon but they did not fit and I needed the next size up, which they did not have. I enjoyed shopping directly at the Terra Plana site and even though they are a UK firm they have local U.S. shipping. Brilliant that!

The true test will be walking around in them in the upcoming weeks and months. These are replacing my 18 month old Born (semi-racing/driving) shoes that I really liked, but they no longer make. One of the things that interested me was Terra Plana shoes are environmentally friendly, which is really rare in the shoe making business (at least from what I have read) with the toxic glues and plastics. The only important thing is how they fit and how comfortable they are for a day of walking, as well as how well they hold up. If these are still in regular use in 18 months I will be a huge fan (I am well on my way to being that now).

July 24, 2005

QI Explained

David has posted about QI (Quite Interesting) after taking photos. I had done some digging, but David has solid info. I am already planning a trip to Oxford after speaking in London at the end of November and QI will definitely be on my list of stops, along with where I studied, read, dined, drank, and lived. Ironically, I received my Oxford University Society Alumni Card and first magazine today.

July 19, 2005

Jean Jacket Memory Hack

A while back I stopped in the Gap to look at a black mechanic jacket, but they did not have my size. They did have a jean jacket and I put one on for kicks. It was like some trove of great memories from childhood and college were unlocked from the darkness. The fit and feel was just great. My last jean jacket was worn during college, it was a Calvin Klein number with swatches of black jeans on the underside of the arms, under the collar, inside the cuffs, and under the breast pockets. Were that jacket a Levi jacket I would have kept it when I moved.

Well, while in Portland (I lived there from 3rd through 6th grade and I wore Levi jean jackets then - with my Toughskin jeans and LaCoste shrits) I trekked down to the Gap and found they had one in my size. I thought about it through the day and went and picked it up later on. It was like magic with the memories and enjoyment that eased out of me.

April 18, 2005

Adobe Buys Macromedia

Adobe buys Macromedia was not the news I wanted to wake up to this morning. My sole issue is competition, as with out these two competing there is little push to advance. This is not a huge surprise, as many rumors the last few years that Macromedia was on the block (most were expecting Microsoft to buy it and then spin out ColdFusion and the application tools to an outside buyer).

If this goes through, we have Dreamweaver/HomeSite as the dominant web development tool (it is making great strides towards standards compliant development and GoLive needs much more work), desktop publishing is Adobe only, market share of image editing and creation (Photoshop and Illustrator) go to Adobe, application development goes to Macromedia with ColdFusion, then we have the tough call with Flash and SVG. Flash is dominant, but SVG is open and Flash lite (for mobile) has really upset many developers as the player is up to the carrier and phone maker to deploy, not the content creator. This last step has really pushed many Flash developers away from Macromedia as they work to focus on mobile. Rumors that Adobe was working on a SVG mobile tool with open deployment had many developers for mobile really excited.

My hope would be for Macromedia customer service and pricing and Adobe Premium Suite with Dreamweaver and Flash thrown in for a well rounded package.

December 17, 2004

Destroyed Good Only To Get Great

Earlier this week we sheared half of the head of one of our earphones off leaving it less than usable as a earbud. Hence I went out that same evening and picked up a set of Shure E2C earphones. I have heard rave reviews about them and some friends really enjoy their set.

After picking them up and getting them home, I was feeling like these better rock for the money, which is nearly what I paid three years prior for my set just I had destroyed. I commute to work and have ample time to listen to music and downloaded BBC and Studio360 radio segments.

The E2C come with two different types of ear pieces and three different sizes of each set. I tried a couple different sizes of each and found one size of the foam (most outside sound dampening of the two kinds, not that sound dampening was my primary goal) that seemed to work best. But, after 10 minutes of trying to read the directions and trying different contortions I could not get a decent bass sound out of the earphones. But, finally I did it just right and I got full range. I listened for a moment or two to what ever I had playing and was in utter awe. I was hearing pieces in music I had owned for nearly 10 years that I had never heard before.

The remainder of this week I have been listening to music with acoustic instruments as there is much richness to that type of music. I have heard bowing on acoustic bass during songs on bass lines I never noticed. I also heard quiet undertones I had never heard that now were readily apparent. One of the things I noticed today, while listening to Dave Brubeck's Take Five, was I could approximate the room size during the drum solo as the reverberations of the sound had texture and echo of music rooms and studios I had played in. I have a new love for the music I have and it is a great joy to listen and take in the subtleties on my commute.

The ear phones I had before had very good sound, but the E2C may be some of the best earphones or speakers I have ever listened to music with. The E2C wires are not as lithe as the Sony wires, which would make more active listening a little more difficult, I imagine. I am not too worried about active listening at this point, but just being transformed to new places through the music.

December 12, 2004

Second Apple Store in Bethesda

Bethesda now has two Apple stores. There is one Apple Store in the Montgomery Mall and now a Apple Mini-store on Bethesda Row. I caught some pictures of the Apple store opening line of people a little more than a half hour before the opening and a pre-opening peak inside the Bethesda Mini-store. I was not able to stay for the actual opening as it was raining and I had my son with me on our way to music class.

I am still conflicted about the Apple stores and their impact on the local independent Apple retail stores. This new Mini-store is a short walk from MacUpgrades. The local independent stores are very tied to the people in the communities that are fans. They have been gathering places for conversation as well as quick purchases and straight forward opinions. The local stores have been places that have high touch and great customer service, but this is also a property of the Apple corporate stores.

The Apple Stores do have Genius Desks (with the direct line to Apple) and abundant software options. They are also a place to get service and accessories. The Mini-Stores only carry the "i" line of products and the full laptop line along with the above mentioned. How will this play out? Will the local independents morph into something that will sustain?

November 25, 2004

Personal Mobile Usage Pattern

One of the things that bubbled up while using a phone other than my usual phone on my trip to Amsterdam was my normal use patterns. I use my mobile phone (Palm Treo) not only to communicate with others, but also to communicate with myself.

I often send myself e-mails with ideas for projects or articles. I also send e-mails to myself on things to spend time thinking about later or to research later. I had one of these moments in talking with Peter Bogaards about Paul Otlet, whom I have problems remembering. I started reaching for my tool to send a note and had a different phone, which took a little more effort, but got the job done.

I also SMS myself with the cross streets of where I parked my car, or what garage level and other metadata. This solves an ongoing problem, particularly in Georgetown, where my normal parking patterns are ousted, I am parking in a completely new location, or parking in long term at an airport. All part of my mind occasionally not being on the task at hand or I am just deep in thought and did not make a conscious effort to remember where I parked.

One other usage I have is taking a photo of my radio display in my car or the song name and performer. This mostly happens when listening to XM Radio (satellite) as the options are broad and deep, which works wonders for coming across new music I like. The radio in my car does not have a means to save the song name, or even better would be to e-mail me the song info, a link to listen to a snippet, and buying information. I resort to the tools at hand. Yes, I only (well usually) take photos while stopped. I usually have 5 to 10 photos of my radio on my mobile at any one time. It makes it handy when I go into a music store or wait until I can put it in a wishlist online. I use my Amazon Wishlist to find items of interest in a store or to add to my Wishlist and having that live access has made things far better for me as a consumer (my only desire is to have a better mobile interface to one's own Wishlist on a mobile it would seem to have immense benefits for Amazon).

I also browse the web and read articles that I save down to my device to I have access in no-signal zones or zones that I do not have MMS or web access and just phone (DC METRO while underground). I often save down Boxes and Arrows articles for such trips. I also push articles and presentations I am working on to my mobile as back up as well as for review in down periods.

How do you use your mobile?

June 2, 2004

Amazon Plog

Amazon is offering a "Plog" (personalized weblog) of offerings and order information as my front page to their site. I have a link to an order and offerings, which tell me what I rated or ordered in the past to get the offering.

I sort of like this front page as it has the info I am interested in, particularly why I am recommended a product and order info. I am not a fan of the "Plog" moniker. It is too much trying to "be" something, which it is not. Now if they could not return Dummies books when I search for DVDs or CDs.

May 23, 2004

Bethesda Design Within Reach

While getting coffee this morning I saw that Design within Reach is opening in Bethesda near the Woodmont Triangle (North of Old Georgetown Road). They have gone into the old Johnny Rocket diner. The site is a good match. The Woodmont Triangle is turning into a furniture and interior design section with small wonderful restaurants mixed in. This section of Bethesda is not as hectic as the area around the Bethesda Row Cinema (Landmark Theater) and the larger best of DC restaurants.

January 17, 2004

Ah Treo 600 Arrives

I took the plunge and ordered a Treo 600 with Sprint PCS service. Since adding a solid portable music player to my menagerie of gadgets, I was having to attend to four devices each morning. Yes, four. My normal cell phone with very good connectivity, but horrible customer service (a the customer is always wrong mentality). My HipTop, which got me hooked on mobile e-mail, Web, and IM, but did not have great connectivity and the PIM applications did not synch (only import and overwrite). My Palm which was my true PDA/mobile PIM and all information on it truly synched, but it did not have mobile connectivity. Lastly my iPod, which has been a great addition to the daily workweek commute and will soon be nice on longer drives and with great expanse of mobile memory.

The only things that may bug me are the smaller screen and the lack of bluetooth. The bluetooth may bug me the most as I have also had it with wires running every where. I chose Sprint for two reasons, great rebates when purchasing from Amazon and the faster connectivity.

One device will now replace three (Palm, cellphone, and HipTop) devices. I have already added the AOL IM (using the UK version as it is free, thanks to Real's tip on MobileWhack). I am feeling lighter already. I will be keeping this topic running for a while, I do believe.

The customer service from Sprint has been a little slow, but insanely courteous and helpful when you do get somebody on the phone (even "Kevin" who had a hint of an Indian accent).

December 27, 2003

Powerbook Upgrade Promotion

(Warning - could be a rumor) Think Secret is reporting an early TiBook upgrade promotion from Apple. The promotion offers 700 US dollars for early G4 Powerbooks.

December 14, 2003

Amazon Wishlist is My Favorite Social Network

With the all the buzzing about Friendster and other "social network" site, I have lost nearly all of the interest I have had in most of them. I still have a couple that picque my interest, but the seeming most popular, Friendster, offers me nothing. There is one tool social networking tool that has never let me down and actually provides me a great service.

What is my favorite social networking tool? Amazon's Wishlist. I am always looking for new media (books, music, DVDs, periodicals, etc.) and I kept hoping Friendster and other social networks would do this I was let down. I kept wishing the seemingly simple tools Amzon provides would be incorporated by others.

One every month or two I cruise through my Wishlist, which I use from my Hiptop when I go to any book or music store to either add to my list or verify an items in front of me is actually the one I want. I also cruise it from a computer to remind myself of items of interest or delete them. I also browse those Wishlists I link to. I find gems I did not know about in others lists. I also have redeemed coupons from my Amazon Wishlist friends and forwarded to me when they make purchases. I was feeling bad when I forgot to click the send a link to a discount to your Amazon friends so that the messages would not be sent. I have been finding those I link to have been happy to receive the discounts and have actually used them. The e-mails have also promted e-mail conversations with friends I have not talked to in a while. This goes a long way toward a very good social network in my book.

Economy prosperity tied to doing what you love

I stumbled across the Richard Florida The New American Dream, which was published in the Washington Monthly. Professor Florida points to the Creative Class as a means to provide a successful community. One thing that really stands out in his article is reflected in the title's sub-heading, "The economy will prosper again when more Americans can do the work they love".

The best work comes from those that are passionate about that work they are doing. Are you passionate about the work you do? Do you enjoy the work you do? If not, why not? My common salutation to friends and co-workers is "enjoy". If you do not enjoy what you are doing, not only is it difficult for you to make it through the day and enjoy life, but the quality of what you produce is not going to be the best. People that care about their work and are passionate about it most often are the stars in their group.

Find what you are passionate about and dive into it.

More information about Richard Florida and his book the Creative Class can be found at Creative Class.

December 1, 2003

Catalog of the Cool

Wired's article on Kevin Kelley's Catalog of the Cool had me aching to get home and take a peek at the Cool Tools. I was a fan of the Whole Earth Catalog (now an online magazine) when I was growing up. I think we only had one copy that was bought when I was in fourth grade, but I always flipped through it. I was fascinated with all the different stuff that filled its pages. I was a particular fan of the log cabin and some of the other outdoor items.

I was very impressed with the Catalog of the Cool as it kept the same spirit, but with things I can find more useful. My only WEC did not have items that were of great use to me, but it inspired my imagination thinking of the adventures one would have with the items. It is even better than a J. Peterman catalog.

November 2, 2003

Red Swingline Stapler

Think Geeks make finding and buying your own red Swingline stapler. This will go with the recent flare you were given to wear in the office.

September 10, 2003

Tee for Creative Commons

A great idea to spread the word and look geek cool at the same time, buy a Creative Commons t-shirt

July 7, 2003

League of Extrodanary Gentlemen only from download

Apple purportedly gets the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen soundtrack for the Apple Music Store. Oddly it seems there is no physical CD rights for distribution in the U.S. To me this seems like a good step forward, it would be a great step forward if there was also a true CD quality version available for download rather than a lossy compression of the music for download. Don't get me wrong I enjoy the size and comparative sound of the Apple MP4 format, but I prefer even much less compression, particularly with music from a symphony.

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