Friday, December 28, 2007

Self Promotion versus Selfless Promotion

Ask 37signals: 10 ways to "get ink" - (37signals)

10 ideas that come to mind when I think about ways to get people to notice you/your product:

  • 1. Provide something of value.
    2. Know your hook.
    3. Stand for something.
    4. Get your face out there.
    5. Try to build real, sustained relationships.
    6. It's the message, not the amount you spend on it
    7. Give stuff away for free.
    8. Ride the wave.
    9. Be in it for the long haul.
    10. Be undeniably good. Steve Martin was on Charlie Rose

Seth's Blog: Self promotion

  • Nobody says, "That Yo Yo Ma, he's so self-promotional," or, "can you believe what a self-promoter the Dalai Lama is?" That's because they're not promoting themselves. They're promoting useful ideas. They're promoting tactics or products that actually benefit the person they're reaching out to.

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Thursday, December 27, 2007

Doubts And Fears

"Our doubts are traitors and make us lose the good we often might win, by fearing to attempt."

--Jane Addams,
Nobel Peace Prize recipient

Monday, December 24, 2007

Consumerville USA Versus Creatorville USA

I have been attempting to formulate a position in regards to Fair Use and Copy Rights over the last couple of weeks. What I have really been trying to do is understand the issues from a perspective that incorporates my beliefs without compromising logic. However, as stated earlier, the difference in the perspectives of the opposing sides is so drastically different that what seems obviously logical to one side is illogical and more likely immoral to another side

From a Civic Media perspective I support Fair Use. From the perspective of entrepreneurs and artists protecting proprietary content I support Copy Rights. The problem is to understand the abuse that comes from both sides. Large media corporations abuse Copy Right by denigrating Fair Use, while many, the young being the most suspect, abuse Copy Rights by illegal downloads for free use.

I couldn't help but wonder if there isn't a common factor in all of this and I believe I found it from another source. Karrie Higgins reviewed two new books in the Los Angeles Times. The title of the article provides both a synopsis of the books and the perspective the reviewer takes.

Escape from Consumerville - Los Angeles Times.

"ONE of the great ironies of living in a consumerist culture is that, in pursuit of success, so many of us unwittingly surrender our freedom. We confuse career and consumer choices with personal liberty, when in fact they all represent the same underlying decision: to buy into the system that produced them. Two new books -- "Unmarketable: Brandalism, Copyfighting, Mocketing, and the Erosion of Integrity" by Anne Elizabeth Moore and "The Freedom Manifesto" by Tom Hodgkinson -- remind us that we have other options. We can resist rampant consumerism despite its infiltration into every corner of our culture. The key is to reject the competitive ethos at the core of capitalism and embrace failure."

I have, previously, taken a position against this line of reasoning. The motives are honorable and I readily agree with turning against over-consumption,in fact almost every phrase in the article, we do confuse career and consumer choices with personal liberty, yet I still have to take a stand in opposition to this philosophy. My first fundamental objection, saying that "we buy into the system that produced them", is only half the story. We also collectively produce that system. The people shopping in Wal-Mart worked someplace else creating goods or services to make their purchase possible. Yes, we can argue that manufacturing jobs went over seas but people there are also both producing and buying into the system. I may agree that nobody should buy a Hummer, but I also recognize that somebody will be out of a means of support. Yes, there are substitute industries which are less harmful to the environment and more beneficial to humanity. That is not, however, the key that is being sought, rather the, "key is to reject the competitive ethos at the core of capitalism and embrace failure." Perhaps this word is being used in a special manner, but it still strikes me as a dismal philosophy.

This is, to my mind, the common factor in the Fair Use/Copy Rights debate. We have come to think of ourselves as a country of consumers, not producers or creators. The majority of the young see themselves as only as consumers with no stake in producing anything of value and little reason to compensate multi-million dollar media corporations who are seen as amoral if not immoral. The multi-million dollar media companies have no moral foundation as they have purposely worked to turn us into a nation of consumers and now seek to solidify their advantage into perpetuity. This is where I can completely agree with the philosophy Ms. Higgins expounds.

We part company in that I still believe in a Democratic/Free Enterprise system. I see too much in the world today that gives me faith that working for creative excellence is the best means of helping the world and even with all of its faults the Free Enterprise system guided with democratic principles is still the best means to achieve that. This though is not though the end of my philosophical conundrums. I am still opposed to completely unfettered markets in the Milton Friedman ideal.

This strikes me as being especially true regarding the concept of Creative-Destruction. In the "New" Economy, the destruction portion begins immediately upon bestowing your creation on the world. We seem to be entering a world of just-in-time obsolescence. The question is how do we formulate a basis of interacting with each other that works. What I have written here does not really resolve anything. It merely puts down some more evolving thoughts on a complex subject.

In a past post I wrote that, "I do not believe is the Generation X and Y are immoral as a whole. They are defining themselves differently but doing so those not make them immoral even if they don't follow old rules." The trouble with this line of reasoning is that the fact that they don't agree with our morality does not mean they by default automatically have one of their own. What I quoted in the same post from Professor Cornwall seems all the more important.

Whether it's in everyday life or in the business world, we have to be careful not to boil morality down to a simple list of don''s that serves as a checklist of how to be ethical. Business ethics should so much more than a list of rules to follow. It should be a much broader set of standards of how we treat one another.

More On Fair Use And Free Culture (Not Free Use)

I found this at Matthias Zeller Memento post Larry Lessig’s Talk - Software Patents and Free Culture from earlier this year. The slide show was originally by Rashmi Sinha’s weblog.
In this slide-show Larry Lessig provides more background on Fair Use from his perspective.

Larry's Talk - Free Culture

From: rashmi, 5 months ago

SlideShare Link

A more updated talk by Larry Lessig is available here:TED | TEDBlog: How creativity is being strangled by the law: Larry Lessig.

New morality? New rules?

The Generational Divide in Copyright Morality - Pogue’s Posts - Technology - New York Times Blog

The Generational Divide in Copyright Morality

David Pogue of the New York Times writes about Copyright Morality, the other side of the coin in the fair use debate. The issue is posed as a generational one. It is only a generational gap though because the separation between those firmly embedded in the Internet world and those who are not is divided by time or age rather than geography.

We are speaking of two different worlds and there is no means by which one world will rule over the other or be able to merely ignore the other. The morality of the older generation, the one with the power and money, is often based upon an institutionalized morality where control over resources dictated the moral use of those resources. I do not believe that RIAA has the moral high ground.

But I must say that I still see stealing as wrong, I still pay for my downloads and I do not understand the attitude of those young myself. What I do not believe is the Generation X and Y are immoral as a whole. They are defining themselves differently but doing so those not make them immoral even if they don't follow old rules. It was Entrepreneurial Mind that introduced me to Sam Davidson. I am not saying that Sam Davidson would download songs without paying, but he is an excellent example of what Generation X can produce.

Professor Jeff Cornwall wrote in his blog Entrepreneurial Mind some time ago a post encouraging entrepreneurs to translate their ethics and values into concrete actions in their businesses.

While business ethics is getting much more attention in the press, in the boardroom and in the classroom, I am concerned that our definition of business ethics is sliding into a legalistic world of rules compliance. Whether it's in everyday life or in the business world, we have to be careful not to boil morality down to a simple list of don''s that serves as a checklist of how to be ethical. Business ethics should so much more than a list of rules to follow. It should be a much broader set of standards of how we treat one another.

The issue of ethics applies to everyone in the market. The question is, and Professor Cornwall could very well see it differently, do we need a new set of rules?

Tech Bubble Burst and Blown Again and Again

This is an update on the Tech Bubble video. The original was first found at Businesspundit where it stopped working and still doesn't work. Same with a number of other sites that featured the video. Below is a working copy of the banished version of the video found at Marketing Pilgrim. This time the video is through Metacafe instead of using YouTube.

Here Comes Another Bubble - video powered by Metacafe

Now we have the 'legal', 'authorized', 'well nobody is complaining as much so we can enjoy it' version below. I wrote that if it was Fair Use then Richter Scale should be able to keep the video up, but if it was not then they should re-edit the video (which they did) and apologize (which they did not). This version has a list of credits at the end. Whether or not this was truly Fair Use has still not been settled. At least not to the point where we have a legal and even moral principal to base future decisions on. We have a problem if that question can only be settled through long legal battles or if Fair Use becomes the easy out for not paying for artistic or private content. You have your choice to not view the first video if you think Fair Use did not apply, or you can compare to see the difference.

Richter Scales did not to my knowledge and according to their blog make any money off of the video. That does not settle the issue, but it does go to the idea, at least to my mind, of artistic parody. What it does not do is provide a means of protecting artists and small entrepreneurs (or artists actually trying to make a living) who have to take risks in the marketplace. We still have not defined how we protect them except by Larry Lessig's quip, "Fair Use is the right to hire an attorney."

My original post and follow ups on this are here. It seems that we can put this little Internet imbroglio behind us. The larger issue, however, has not been resolved, merely put aside. The industry is still coping with the concept that there is a difference between fair use and free use. As this post is getting too long, and I am still tossing this issue around in my own head more will come later.

New Media Yes New Morality Maybe

Bursting Silicon Valley's bubble through song - Los Angeles Times

This may be a reflection of why traditional news media is in trouble. This issue has been out on the web since at least the beginning of December and has been debated back and forth throughout the blogosphere. Not only is traditional media late on the uptake, it also seems to have a shallow understanding of the issues. Not that I or anybody else that I have found so far does much better.

The intelligentsia of the Internet seem to want to be unfettered in what they can offer on the web. TechCrunch took the position that

having Bubble 2.0: The Video , taken down because of a copyright notice sent to YouTube, seemed, “weird since it is obviously a parody and thus should fall under fair use.”

Later TechCrunch told us that “The Bubble” Is Back. According to TechCrunch it

“was down briefly when photographer Lane Hartwell complained via her attorney that one of her photographs was used without her permission. The offending (or non-offending, depending on which lawyer you ask and who’s paying them) image was removed and the new video, called v. 1.1, is now back at YouTube. The creators blog about the new version here, and give credit to all source material here. Everyone can now have fun again, and Hartwell and her attorney can sleep well at night knowing that her copyrights are unviolated and her photos unmolested (and unviewed).”

According to the LA Times article, though, that did not satisfy Ms. Hartwell and others on her side of the issue. It is far harder for a solitary artist not firmly entrenched in the web 2.0 world to effectively state their case but there are potentially thousands with artistic and proprietary content that they have to put at risk. It may be far too easy to cry Fair Use when it is actually free use that is the goal. I am not siding with Ms. Hartwell, though it may seem that I am. I am saying that a good deal more work needs to be done regarding this issue.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Instinctual Internet Intelligence

A fundamental rule of the internet: Trying stuff is cheaper... (

According to Jason Kottke, "A fundamental rule of the internet:Trying stuff is cheaper than deciding whether to try it.".

Quoting from LinuxWorld

"Don't overplan something. Just do it half-assed to start with, then throw more people at it to fix it if it works. Worked for every successful Google project from AdWords to Google Maps."

So, I have been doing it right just from instinct.

Jason Kottke describes his site as the Home of Fine Hypertext Products. Jason Kottke is, of course famous, in blogging circles. His website/blog regularly has a number of interesting items. One previous one that I enjoyed was Duality.

Passion Alone Is Not Enough For You Or Anybody Else

Love Your Job? That Doesn't Mean Youre Better at It - Freakonomics - Opinion - New York Times Blog

Love Your Job? That Doesn’t Mean You’re Better at It according to a recent article by Melissa Lafsky via the Freakonomics Blog.

"So is it really a fact that happiness breeds a better worker?

"Not necessarily, according to Wright State University psychologist Nathan Bowling. In a new paper called “Is the job satisfaction–job performance relationship spurious? A meta-analytic examination,” he re-assesses conclusions from five previous meta-analyses of the Big Five personality traits. He also conducts his own meta-analysis of the issue, focusing on studies that used data from thousands of employees and controlled for work-related self-esteem (how valuable employees think they are) and locus of control (how much they think they’ll be rewarded for a job well done)."

"His conclusion is right out of a Freakonomics lesson in causation vs. correlation:"

"My study shows that a cause and effect relationship does not exist between job satisfaction and performance. Instead, the two are related because both satisfaction and performance are the result of employee personality characteristics, such as self-esteem, emotional stability, extroversion and conscientiousness."

So the fact we have passion alone is not only not enough to sustain us through the ordeals we are likely to find ahead, its not enough to get anybody to want to keep us around. It seems to be more a matter of who you are in terms of values and character than what you want. Then again who your are dictates to a great extent what it is that you want out of life. People who are passionate are not necessarily good at what they do, but so often I find that people who are good at what they do are passionate.