Thursday, October 27, 2005

A Small Virtual Key Open Big Door

[Blogging] business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side ...
-Hunter S. Thompson Meeting the Whole Wide World

Once upon a time I had a pleasure of reviewing a masterpiece by Dan Gillmor entitled We The Media and this week I ploughed through another global treasure entitled The Naked Conversations. If you know who the honest, naked, guys are who wrote this amazing tome than the future has never looked brighter. However, if you have no idea who wrote the story then the future has never looked more bleak.

This is a story of a modern revolution
Imagine what it would be like to live simply and purely, dedicated to a force larger than yourself. This is exactly what Robert Scoble and Shel Israel have done over the last twelve months or so. You know that both of them spent hours and hours on the story because the first page that you open of the Advanced Uncorrected Proofs - Not For Sale - is dedicated to Maryam Scoble and Paula Israel. The boys could not have given birth to this wonder without them;-) If you happened to have the time over the last twelve months to follow their virtual fingerprints you would realise that Shel and Robert are like those creatures with two legs and eight hands.

Naked Conversations: How Blogs are Changing the Way Businesses Talk with Customers taps into something under the surface, which I think is intriguing, and there is a mystery there which drags you through the new virtual world. The struggle to get ahead in the new brave world makes for a memorable read. As Tom Peters, the blogging guru, notes in his forward ‘Biz Blogging ... WORKS. It is of ... MONUMENTAL IMPORTANCE. (Or can Be) Listen. Please (If you don’t you’re a Damn Fool)’

The introduction: of Bloggers and Blacksmiths envokes an image of middle-aged white guys talking in the nude around a camp fire. Terry Catchpole gets to have the first say: ‘It began with conversations. Then we got into broadcast media. Now we are going back to conversations. It’s a full circle.’

The book consists of three parts and it is peppered with pertinent quotes and observations. In my eyes, the basic points for this book are also found inside Aristotle’s The Rhetoric. Technology changes but human nature and how we converse, think and act remains the same. We all want to practice ‘honest and, naked, conversations with customers that build loyalty and trust.’ “Three Legs of Persuasion” found inside The Rhetoric enable us to share great conversations with people. Miss any of the three legs and it is like trying to sit on a three-legged stool that is missing one leg! What are the three legs? They are: Logos, or Logic. Pathos, or Passion. Ethos, or Ethics. All 15 chapters of this book are based on these three legs. There are no tricks, no superficial concept and certainly no short cuts. In order to obtain full benefit one needs to read one and all chapters.

When I think of Robert and Shel I think of what Oliver Wendell Holmes had to say about leaders:
‘There are one-story intellects, two-story intellects, and three-story intellects with skylights. All fact collectors with no aim beyond their facts are one-story men. Two-story men compare reason and generalize, using labors of the fact collectors as well as their own. Three-story men idealize, imagine, and predict. Their best illuminations come from above through the skylight.’

Robert and Shel are three-story men and blogging champions who even make each chapter heading thought-provoking. Where other technical evangelists and business consultants pander, lecture, exaggerate or understate, Robert and Israel are content with an intimate recitation of fact and wisdom. They lay out the core beliefs, the core practices, and the core virtues of blogging. And they work hard to get those things working in your personal and professional life.

In a light-hearted, motivating tone this book explores many nuggets of genuine wisdom. The virtual terms are all explained using real-life examples and interesting tidbits from 200 or so interviews. You will find handy must know, should know as well could know spread throughout the book. For instance, find out how Google delivered golden needles. This is a book that most of us need on our bookshelves and one that we will likely refer to time and time again. The authors’ extensive business and marketing experiences are evident as every page is filled with useful tips, concrete examples, and thoughtful suggestions for improvement.

To paraphrase an old song, blogging is not for everybody - just the sexy people
Naked Conversations is the ultimate reference for people wishing to develop their blogging and marketing skills. This indispensable guide is packed with professional tips on how to add more zap and clarity to personal and business communications.

This book is a delight to read for many reasons. It encapsulates the skills and techniques for improving people's blogging and writing in one accessible book. And it practises what it preaches, in the sense that it is easy and enjoyable to read.

It is hard to compete for thoughtful reviews with writers like Jeff Clavier who posted the first review of the galley proof, to boot, autographed by both Scoble and Israel, Naked Conversations

Congratulations are in order for creating something out of nothing, and may the word spreads like a good old Australian bushfire ...

Soon, around Christmas, Robert Scoble and Shel Israel of Naked Conversations are going to strike a few sparks at the Les Blogs conference
Defining together these new values:
1. How they challenge the corporate world
2. How they change the media landscape
3. How they bring more democracy in politics
4. How education evolves
5. What are the tools used and how we can all best benefit from them
6. Where we are going in the near and longer term future

CODA - Worthy reads: The PC Doctor » Here to help! I have a galley proof!
Neville Hobson makes an observation about two events that have happened since the two authors delivered the completed manuscript to Wiley and which are not in the text - IBM's global employee blogging initiative and eBay's acquisition of Skype Naked Conversations Is A Cracking Read
Steve Rubel links to Naled Conversations
Alex Barnett Markets *really* are conversations
Jim Minatel writes: I read the first 3 chapters of Scoble and Israel's Naked Conversations in galleys today over lunch. Yes, I'm reading the actual hardcopy, not a Word file or PDF. Why? Because almost everyone buying the book will read a hardcopy version too, it only makes sense to experience the book the same way the customer will. Reading and editing on paper
Church of the Customer Podcast Women's word of mouth; Wanna be a business book author?
I've Been Selected to Review Robert Scoble and Shel Israel's New Book The Mason Technologist
I got another great treat today: My galley copy of Robert Scoble’s and Shel Israel’s Naked Conversations hit my desk A Book Publisher Blog
Business Blog Consulting The Newest Blogging Book to Hit the Market
Michael Martine pointed out: Business blogs are personal in the sense that they are not the product of a marketing department or public relations firm. How Do You Draw the Line Between the Personal and the Private in Your Blog?
Robert Scoble wrote about his recent visit to high end audio/video cable manufacturer Monster Cable: Why Should Businesses Have A Blog?

Monday, October 24, 2005

Make-believe democracy: drowning with the authoritarians

My dad came into my dream last night very vividly and, as a child, I recall him saying to me as we watched a wolf trying to attack us how the most dangerous animal in the forest is the one that is hurt. I think his words were: "Injured animal is the most dangerous animal in the forest".
In some strange way this could be said in the context of Thomas Paine: "He that would make his own liberty secure must guard even his enemy from oppression for if he violates this duty he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself."
Do we ever ask which minorities are being hurt by our economy and politics or religion? Who is hurting most? I know there is a very fine line between a freedom fighter and a terrorist - it is in the eye of the beholder. Now is the time to be very open about what we see

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Pointing to the briefcase I said: 'How do you know you are going to reject them?’
'If they were any good, they wouldn't be dropped at my hotel by the writers in person. Some New York agent would have them.'
'Then why take them at all?'
'Partly not to hurt feelings. Partly the thousand-to-one chance all publishers live for. But mostly you're at a cocktail party and get introduced to all sorts of people, and some of them have novels written and you are just liquored up enough to be benevolent and full of love for the human race, so you say you'd love to see the script. It is then dropped at your hotel with such sickening speed that you are forced to go through the motions of reading it.'"
-Raymond Chandler, The Long Goodbye

According to a SMH report this morning Penguin paid $1.3 million for the rights to Steve Waugh’s Out of My Comfort Zone. This seems like a rather large sum to pay for the thoughts of a retired sportsman (or his ghost writer), especially one who always seemed to me to be a bland suburban Dad with a talent for cricket. But: Vanity publishing?

Art of Living & Literature Across Frontiers: Are Jews Smarter?
Albert Einstein, Ashkenazi Jew and genius, wasn’t alone. So are Ashkenazis smarter than other people? Well, you know, two Jews, three opinion

Did Jewish intelligence evolve in tandem with Jewish diseases as a result of discrimination in the ghettos of medieval Europe? That’s the premise of a controversial new study that has some preening and others plotzing. What genetic science can tell us—and what it can’t.

To be paranoid, you need a very good imagination [Blacks abandoned in New Orleans “turned to rape and murder.” That is what we were to expect The Subject Supposed to Loot and Rape ; “What if...” Careful now. If you’re a politician and you float a thought in the antecedent of a conditional, then someone will insist you actually believe it or wish it The Trouble With Hypotheticals ]
• ·
Of all the achievements of Australian filmmakers over the last three decades, the work of Robin Anderson and Bob Connolly stands out. A year on the edge ; Maybe a strong belief in gods and spirits gave our ancestors comforts and advantages, says Robert Winston. But what about us? Why do we believe in God?
• · · For many Australians sperm donation has been the gift of life Secrets of the Fathers ; What does it mean to say “God is just” or “God is merciful” or “God is loving”? Talking About God
• · · · Mating. Reproduction. Nothing is more crucial to humanity’s survival ... Tight corsets cause nymphomania, orgasms can kill and wasps are a turn-on Kamasutra Put what where? 2,000 years of bizarre sex advice; The Viennese Expressionist Egon Schiele (1890-1918) had only two urgent interests: himself and his sexual fantasies The Patron Saint of Teen Angst ; The sex in Egon Schiele’s work may be intense, but it is never beautiful enough to seem erotic The Wider, Not Wilder, Egon Schiele
• · · · · Existentialist angst promises a life that’s short, sickly, lonely, and self-obsessed. Start on the road to happiness with a good laugh Are we wired up to be cheerful, or are some of us destined to languish in abject misery? So what do you have to do to find happiness? ; The Culture of Celebrity
• · · · · · Imagine a world without copyright ; The tourist is always the other guy

Saturday, October 22, 2005

To dream the impossible dream,
To fight the unbeatable foe,
To bear with unbearable sorrow,
To run where the brave dare not go.
To right the unrightable wrong,
To love pure and chaste from afar,
To try when your arms are too weary,
To reach the unreachable star!
-- Lyrics from The Impossible Dream (The Quest) by Joe Darion

My life -- a sole survivor's existence -- has been filled with depths, both the high and the low. I've seen life in a state of glory and in a state of gloom, but, if nothing else, I have felt it. I have learned to live with the risk.

Rather than having no goal, it is, as it has been wisely said by Theodore Roosevelt: ‘Far better to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered with failure than to live like people who ... neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows no victory nor defeat.’

No matter now hard you work for success, if your thought is saturated with the fear of failure, it will kill your efforts, neutralize your endeavor,and make success impossible Low aim, not failure, is crime

Art of Living & Literature Across Frontiers: That which does not kill us makes us stronger
Analysts suggest that we're burdened with an inflated sense of entitlement. Bloody hell. Some things are too awful to contemplate, and living in a world where exiles know how to excel at feeling like failures is one of them ...

A new rage has hit the streets. Pump rage. Sibling to the road variety, cousin to hose rage. No prizes for guessing its origins. Steep petrol price increases lead to flow-on rises in the cost of living. When you're operating close to the bone or on credit, your threshold for instability is shot. Enter rage.

• The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams. Anxiety about rage makes the blood boil [The way to predict the future is to invent it. On a hot Melbourne afternoon in the summer of 1900, an unwed mother sat down on the banks of the Yarra River and drowned her newborn son ; What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us Thinker in action : Be brave when others are afraid, and afraid when others are brave ]
• · Failure is never final and success is never ending. Success is a journey, not a destination: Women have little to fear when a pick-up artist reveals the secrets of his success The Game ; Leadership is having a clear idea of what you're trying to accomplish (and) articulating it to whomever you work with... and being able to overcome all the little issues that get in the way of achieving your goals. But only a leader can overcome the obstacles Hey, Kids - We're Putting on a Show!
• · · Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed Take notice, there's meaning everywhere ; Towering genius disdains a beaten path. It seeks regions hitherto unexplored A Journey to a Thousand Maps Begins With an Open Code
• · · · The road to your championship will not be a smooth, wide and easily traveled freeway. No, great accomplishments are never realized without first having to endure steep climbs, hard falls and sharp turns. The key to your success is perseverance and focus. Keep your focus on that which you desire to accomplish, your championship, and continually discover ways to, and ways not to, achieve your goals. Fall down and/or get knocked down 10 times and get back up 11..., and in so doing learn, grow and move closer to your championship A Pride of Princesses at the Door ; Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm Constructive feedback
• · · · · Man unfit for friendship are like waterfowl, which abandons a pond after it's empty or frozen,
Man fit for friendship are like the waterlilies, they remain to share both prosperity and adversity Style Gets New Elements ; It hurts. Sometimes more than we can bear. If we could live without passion maybe we would know some kind of peace. But we would be hallow--empty rooms, shuddered and dank. But without passion, we'd be truly dead Absurd Person Singular
• · · · · · Never feel sorry for yourself -- it has a deadly effect on spiritual well-being. Recognize all problems, no matter how difficult, as opportunities for spiritual growth, and make the most of these opportunities Mildred Norman The BFF Boys triumph again ; The real glory is being knocked to your knees and then coming back. That's real glory. That's the essence of it My new favorite publisher: Europa Editions ; Double Dragon Preditions

Sunday, October 16, 2005

The only ghetto that can hold you down is the ghetto of the mind

At 82, novelist Kurt Vonnegut is talking not just about his own death, but The planet's demise:
In 1976, he described himself as having "the low-keyed amiability of an old family dog. In general his appearance is tousled: The long curly hair, mustache and sympathetic smile suggest a man at once amused and saddened by the world around him... As an actuarial matter, writers of fiction have done their best work by about the time they're 45, and I guess Tolstoy was an exception, and there have been some others, but anyway, friends of mine who've lived this long have customarily written crap. Just to have something to do. And like Twain, whom he once noted grew bitter toward the end of his life, Vonnegut is also more cynical than he has ever been. A Man Without a Country is shot through with despair for the Earth's poisoned fate and disappointment in the American body politic. Indeed, he says he considered an alternate title for the collection, The Fifty-First State, to evoke "the state of denial," which is, he says, America's natural state

Art of Living & Literature Across Frontiers: When celebrities act like politicians, and politicians act like celebrities.
On the evening of Sept. 29, Sen. Hillary Clinton, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and actress Angelina Jolie got together at the Kennedy Center for a gala sponsored by a group called the Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS.

You can watch a video of the event or read a transcript here.) Just another excruciating Washington benefit dinner, you say. But pause for a moment to contemplate the silliness of the state-of-the art mélange of politics, celebrity, and corporate public relations that such an event represents.

Condi, Hillary, and … Angelina? [Who Hates Their MTV? How the rebel network sold its soul for bimbos, princesses and bucks ; Theories are beautiful, usable things--unlike explanations using miracles ]
• · The Trouble With Films That Try to Think ; Rather than harming the other, Buddhism would have us cultivate compassion. This is no easy matter, but some definite steps are outlined: tolerance of suffering, forbearance and forgiveness The Seven Deadly Sins: Anger ; The Da Vinci Code Cult A Critical Look at Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code
• · · The streets are dark in the Shadowrun roleplaying game, and the masters of those streets are the shadowrunners. Deckers, elves, mages, dwarves, riggers, mercenaries, trolls, samurai, orks, and shamans take on the jobs that the megacorporations don't want to dirty their hands with. It's a hard world, and it takes more than strength to survive. It takes guts The Mass-Media Dragon; Money, money, money. Everyone wants more, but, alas, the second million won't do for you what the first one did, nor will you be as willing to take the same risks to get it Who's Counting: Risks and Rewards
• · · · An offshoot of Match.com is taking a "scientific" approach to matchmaking by unearthing users' "love map" via a questionnaire Better Loving Through Chemistry?; The ideal of a soulmate, someone with whom one can combine love, fidelity, emotional intimacy, and togetherness, is a contemporary reinterpretation of romantic love. At least at the level of ideology, finding a soulmate has replaced other reasons for long-term partnerships and marriage The `soulmate' curse
• · · · · Why Americans can't write political fiction ; Altruism suggests that suicide terrorism is a phenomenon of group psychology and organizational behavior Altruism at heart of suicide attacks
• · · · · · Once Upon a Deadline: No roads will close, no crowds will cheer and you might not even notice the participants run past, but Sydney is hosting a marathon of sorts - Their list of places to visit includes a Surry Hills tattoo parlour, the casualty department at St Vincent's Hospital, the Museum of Contemporary Art, poolside at the Bondi Icebergs and aboard a Sydney ferry They're off and writing; America's latest, and most unlikely, self-help book says that anyone - even an accountant - can use the principles of rap music to achieve commercial success Yo! It's the hip-hop way to business bling ; Jason: New Wave Marketing

Monday, October 10, 2005

Can you ever think too much about freedom? Not in my book. Cold River is of such cruel destruction that it will sweep anyone away Paperback Edition

Saturday, October 08, 2005

The Web has become a very powerful creative medium ... [and a] very popular consumer medium. Where the two meet, opportunity explodes
-McKinney's Brad Brinegar

If you want to understand exactly how the federal government's "reform" plan to abolish the cross-media ownership rules will denigrate Australian journalism and curtail media diversity, here it is. Eric Beecher categorically states How media "reform" will kill genuine debate

The Blog, The Press, The Media: The Blogosphere as a Carnival of Ideas
Both group blogs and the many hundreds of individual academic blogs that have been created in the last three years are pioneering something new and exciting. While blogging won’t replace academic publishing, it builds a space for serious conversation around and between the more considered articles and monographs that we write.

In July 2004 an anonymous blogger revealed his identity when he allowed his photograph to be taken at the Democratic National Convention. "Atrios," the writer of a prominent left-wing blog, Eschaton, turned out to be Duncan Black, an assistant professor of economics at Bryn Mawr College. Black had worried that a trenchant political blog might be perceived as inappropriate for a young academic and also wanted to avoid invasions of his personal and professional life. He went public only when he had quit the academy to join Media Matters, a watchdog organization.

Media Matters [A reflection on journalism, journalism education, and academic values The Media World as It Is ; Students are being told to watch their digital profiles Cleaning Up Their Online Acts ; The America Online unit of Time Warner agreed yesterday to buy Weblogs, the owner of 85 Web sites that serve as hosts to the popular online diaries called blogs. AOL Will Buy Weblogs ]
• · ; The progressive animal rights organization has a ruthless approach for getting coverage in the mass media -- with enviable results Whatever It Takes ;
From today it will be legal for your bosses to trace your internet use, screen your emails and watch you with a hidden camera Memo all: the big brother of bosses may be watching
• · · Sources tell me that Judy Miller is telling friends that she has made a $1.2 million book deal with Simon & Schuster Making Faux Martyrdom Pay: Judy Miller Lands a Book Deal ; Freed Reporter Says She Upheld Principles Book Deal may be heavy on cheesy dip
• · · · By David Ranii: Last year, Internet advertising revenue rose nearly 33 percent to $9.6 billion, according to data collected by PricewaterhouseCoopers for the Interactive Advertising Bureau. Revenue in the first quarter of this year rose 26 percent compared with the same period a year prior, for the ninth consecutive quarter of growth Web Draws in Advertisers ; Searching for Answers
• · · · · Jay Rosen: Just one man's opinion, but now is a good time to say it: The New York Times is not any longer--in my mind--the greatest newspaper in the land. Nor is it the base line for the public narrative that it once was. Some time in the least year or so I moved the Washington Post into that position... News Comes in Code: Judy Miller's Return to the Times ; Tim Porter The essence of what makes a great newspaper has nothing to do with paper. It has to do with being a great community voice, reporting a story very well, and gaining the trust of your audience and your marketers. No, I wouldn't say that print media is on its way out. … I would say, however, that it better be very well justified if it is going to exist. … I think we've seen the passing of print as the medium of news delivery. There are plenty of examples where print was the best we could do because it's all we had. But the online medium is better. Developing and building new communities
• · · · · · Best of the New Web; When blogging meets heckling ; In 2001, Adam Mathes discovered the practice of googlebombing The ethics of googlebombing ; CNet has named Robert Scoble in its list of the Top 100 blogs Media Blogs in News.com's Blog 100: Robert Scoble

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Imagine a Nazi masterpiece, if you can. At the bottom of that pit lies some truth, about art and life. But it is an elusive truth."
-Tom Stoppard, Czech-born

The success of a new democracy depends on the openness of a country’s economic system at the time of political transition Democracy Comes Second

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Battle to be the daddy of them all
Some American political commentary sorts political parties into two basic personality types - Mummy parties and Daddy parties.

A Mummy party is most interested in caring for people. It is empathetic, inclusive and concerned with fairness. In short, it wants to give you a cuddle. A Mummy party is seen to be best at providing services - especially health, education and welfare. A Daddy party, on the other hand, is strict. It is big on self-discipline and self-reliance. It is frugal and interested in obedience. In sum, it will stand you on your feet but keep you on your toes. A Daddy party is trusted to look after the fundamentals of keeping the family secure - with good economic management and competent national security.

The red-and-blue map of Australian political incumbency [Switzerland's Justice Department is likely to pass on the records of more than 500 Australians implicated in the country's largest tax evasion probe Swiss agree to assist in ATO tax probe ; If Harold Wilson was on the money about a week being a long time in politics, what vast change might a decade bring? Scrutiny, like nostalgia, has become a thing of the past ]
• · Family and Community Services Minister Kay Patterson says local and state governments are to blame for spiralling child-care costs We're doing enough on child care: minister ; Jonathan Power prospects out the inevitable issues of death and taxes: After a rocky patch in the early 1990s, the Swedish model of high taxes and high spending is now stronger—and more popular—than ever. Sweden's prime minister explains why Sweden hasn’t always been a success ; There's no country in the world as we stand at the moment which is ready for the next influenza pandemic Bird flu — the coming pandemic
• · · Welcome... and pick a fight with The Contrarian ; Restoring Free Speech and Liberty on Campus by Donald Alexander Downs The Cost of Free Speech
• · · · In 1992, a scruffy old Russian in shabby clothes arrived at a British embassy pulling a battered case on wheels. The former KGB archivist Indira's India and the KGB ; More random tests for drug-using police
• · · · · The people wield the big stick when it comes to law and order We have the power ; Altered states ; Customs Rulings Online Search System (CROSS
• · · · · · Justice Peter Hely. Another Federal Court judge dies ; Should judges serve for life or should they be more accountable to the public? Judges on trial; Police to investigate Brogden suicide note leak

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