Thursday, October 16, 2008

Why I haven't blogged in months

I've received a few "ahems" for not blogging in awhile. My explanation:
  • I've been busy with some fun and rewarding projects.
  • Along with so many others, I've found myself channeling much of my online energy into micro-blogging, which is simply more efficient for sharing quick thoughts and recommendations. In particular, I use my Google Reader stream to share the top 5% of what I'm reading and thinking about.

    I'm interested in putting some more energy back into my blog, as a way to share not just what I'm thinking about, but what I'm thinking. So going forward, expect posts that are relatively infrequent, but potentially longer and more thoughtful. I am heading to Maine next week for Pop!Tech, which should be great brainfood, so expect at least one or two updates related to that.
  • Monday, March 17, 2008

    The future is not here yet

    On September 11, 2001, my mom called and woke me up to tell me what was happening. For some reason, likely shock, my first thought was to go to the web. It took over ten minutes of searching before I found a buried Yahoo! story referring to NYC's "once majestic skyline." At that point, I turned on the TV and like everyone else was there for the next several hours.

    Since then, networked media has become personal, local, and ubiquitous. I've come to expect, as have many others, that citizen journalists will be the front line defense in flu outbreaks or terrorist attacks.

    So I'm sad to report that at least today in San Francisco, one of the most networked cities in the world, old-school news sources still get there first, and slowly at that.

    • I looked out the window about 30 minutes ago and saw a giant plume of yellowish grey smoke rising from the Mission.
    • I went on Google News and did several searches for "San Francisco and fire" -- no updates
    • I checked my local Facebook network,, and SFist - no news
    • After 20 minutes of occasional searching online, I heard news helicopters overhead -- I turned on the TV and saw the "breaking news" report from an SF local news station.

    As expected, the cause was a big house fire, not a terrorist attack or "airborne toxic event." But it saddened me to realize how slow our media sources really are, or might be, the next time something more serious happens.

    Tuesday, March 04, 2008

    Nokia "Remade"

    I'm surprised that Treehugger takes such a dim view of the new Nokia "Remade" phone.

    Even though it's a prototype, as far as concept cars go, it's a pretty good one. Nokia or some other company could start using the ideas implicit in "Remade" to design the next generation of cradle-to-cradle personal electronics devices.

    Admittedly, no one has made the business models here work yet, but given the importance of the task, and the number of people working on the problem, someone will eventually get this right.

    Monday, February 25, 2008

    Marketa Irglova acceptance speech

    An inspiring moment from last night's Oscars ceremony.... Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova win best song for "Falling Slowly."

    Thursday, February 14, 2008

    How to Be an Adult

    A gem of a book -- insightful and immensely practical. I think it would be a better world if they taught more of this kind of information in college.

    Tuesday, February 12, 2008

    How Google innovates

    A great summary of how Google pursues innovation, and why your company might want to think twice before following their lead. (From Nicholas Carr.)

    Monday, February 11, 2008

    A More Perfect Constitution

    One of my college professors, Larry Sabato, has written a timely and engaging book, A More Perfect Constitution: 23 Proposals to Revitalize Our Constitution and Make America a Fairer Country.

    For me, the biggest surprise of the book was learning that Article V includes not one, but two processes for amending the Constitution. The process that has never been taken, and that Sabato discusses at length, is a Constitutional Convention, to be called once two-thirds of the states petition for it.

    Sabato's specific proposals and the years of public debate that would go into a successful constitutional convention would not only increase our government's efficiency, but also bring many more people into the conversation about the kind of society and world we want to build. It's a thorough, moderate, and inspiring book.

    Friday, January 25, 2008

    Edward Tufte on the iPhone: video

    Some geeky fun for a Friday afternoon.

    Tufte: "Clutter and overload are not an attribute of information, they are a failure of design."

    (Thanks Kristine for the link!)

    Tuesday, January 15, 2008

    Winning and losing

    One of last year's stickiest, fastest-growing, most thought-provoking, and purely enjoyable online gaming properties was Bogglific -- the homegrown, free, networked version of Boggle on Facebook.

    There are many creative ways that Hasbro could have handled its intellectual property concerns without alienating the thousands of passionate users who used Bogglific every day.

    Sadly, as of today, they went with a plain ol' cease and desist.

    From the Bogglific home page:

    Bogglific to Close Down :-(
    Hasbro, Inc. has sent a DMCA notification notice to Facebook regarding Bogglific. They claim it violates their trademark, and violates copyright over the Boggle rules.

    I'm no lawyer, and can't see how it violates copyright. But I have neither the time nor the money to fight this, and Facebook has given me a grace period of 48 hours to shut the application down voluntarily.

    You might be interested to know Scrabulous is in the same boat, but they have the resources to fight their battle. Hopefully they will be successful.

    Sorry, guys. It was great fun while it lasted. You're a fantastic bunch, and it's a pity that Hasbro doesn't realise that Bogglific helped its Boggle sales by introducing all your Facebook friends to the game, not hindered it. That is sadly how the litigious US works.

    Note that the Bogglific forum will be deleted by Facebook, so you may wish to post further discussions to the Bogglific Addicts group (which is not run by me.)

    Sunday, January 13, 2008

    Where do Bearitos come from?

    A great map showing the corporate parents of many of today's popular organic food brands. From Phil Howard at Michigan State University. (Thanks to Roxie for the link!)

    The culting of brands

    I blogged recently about wanting to write a book comparing cults, built-to-last corporate cultures, and wildly successful consumer brands. As I secretly hoped, someone has already written such a book, and it's phenomenal.

    If Jim Collins described the optimum corporate culture for the late 20th century, then Douglas Atkin in "The Culting of Brands" has intuited the human relationship model behind the most powerful business innovations, and grassroots social, technological, and religious movements of the new century.