Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Digital Convergence

In the years of Thomas Edison, the business model of the motion pictures industry was vertically integrated and tightly controlled among a very few. The original inventors of the technology joined together and created a single trust called the Motion Picture Patents Company (MPPC) in 1908. From this time up until the Paramount Decision of 1948 when government regulatory forces broke up the tight vertical integration between content production and distribution, the industry was dominated by a few giant corporations exercising oligopolistic powers.

The Value Chain for this industry was a closely controlled, proprietary vertically-integrated monopoly. All the components: production, distribution, and exhibition were under the control of the studios themselves. This allowed them to engage in several practices including block and blind booking before these were deemed illegal in regulatory decisions by the federal government.

The introduction of Television had a powerful effect on the Business Model of the Movie Industry. Initially, television broadcasting was seen as a threat to the Movie Industry and its programming was a new competitor for the already declining attention of the film audience. However, by the early 1950s, the film studios recognized that the new technology was benefitting them. Past opinions aside, they did not hesitate to take advantage of a secondary market for their products, selling their extensive libraries for Television exhibition.

The arrival of the Videocassette Recorder (VCR) created another lash of retaliation from the Movie Industry. The technology, both Betamax and Video Home System (VHS), was met by a vehement lawsuit which, although taken all the way to the Supreme Court, proved ineffective. The Betamax Case of 1984 essentially paved the road for the introduction of new distribution technologies that were to come. As with television, the existing industries quickly realized that rather than fighting the technology change, they could have been profitting from it. Again they had found themselves in a legal battle against an alternative, and lucrative, new distribution channel. Direct sales of films to VCR owners quickly gave way to video sales to Rental Stores, creating the two-tiered pricing system that is still utilized with the introduction of DVD technology. With a 40 to 60 percent split of the rental revenues, the Home Entertainment category is now the most profitable segment for the Motion Picture industry.

The internet was met with similar trepidation. As though struck with the same inexplicable amnesia that repeatedly appears in their plotlines, the Film Industry completely ignores their history and continues to view technological advancement as a threat. The big 6: Disney, Sony Pictures, Paramount Viacom, Fox News Corp, NBC Universal and Time Warner, joined together to form the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA). In an organization that bears the very same traits that led to government antitrust intervention a century ago, the major Hollywood studios have again united to create closed standards that hinder competition. Together with a similar organization in the music industry, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), the MPAA exerts a concerted effort to find and prosecute internet-based piracy and file sharing. In place of embracing these technological advancements and evolving complementary technologies to generate greater profits, like the billion dollar online film business being operated by early-adapter Blockbuster.com, the motion picture industry is again seeking legal insulation against the natural progress of their industry.

I see two possible scenarios for the Motion Picture Industry in the next 5 years. One, it will succeed as it has never before in controlling the distribution and exhibition of its products. This will undoubtedly follow a multi-year court hearing and perhaps several appeals that will be costly not to the media corporations, but to the consumers who are subpoenaed for testimony for or against the practices condemned. Afterwards, movie industry products like HD DVD and Blu-ray will have multiple layers of encryption to prevent copyright infringement. Movie theaters will be equipped with state-of-the-art biometric security to prevent movie-goers from “movie hopping” within the theater. Blockbuster will require a password, DNA sample, and a large cash deposit prior to releasing any media for rental. The internet will be laced with information-eating viruses that seek out unlicensed copyrighted materials on civilian computers, erasing it and signaling the Ministry of Truth to prevent any further crimethink. Meanwhile, independent filmmakers will capitalize on the benefits of unsolicited word-of-mouth product marketing facilitated by a peer-driven audience base of information sharers to create the future blockbuster films with zero dollar marketing budgets.

Or the second scenario, where the lessons of cooperation and compatibility push the Motion Picture Industry to adapt to a digitally enabled consumer society. They evolve their product offerings into a format that takes advantage of the rapid file sharing capabilities of the continually broadening internet. The MPAA will pioneer the technology of degradable digital, where all digital files have a shelf life before evaporating into zeroes and ones. This becomes the new standard format for movie viewing, people watching degradable digital on their cell phones, ipods, laptops, and home theaters. Independent filmmakers and Hollywood studios both make giant amounts of money from the now much larger consumer pie as we watch the multiplex theater go the way of the opera house, becoming a quaint experience where parents take children for a night of nostalgia and pay premium prices. A new market of Film Viewing Houses emerge after the pattern of IMAX theaters, targeting the Audio/Videophiles who are seeking the “Ultimate” in film-viewing experience. Formal Standard Setting becomes secondary to a spirit of innovation so that the “Best” technological advancements can come to the forefront, with the understanding that the whole industry will benefit from an increased interest facilitated by an improved customer experience. Movie-making will follow in the direction that television and internet are now going. The consumer, not the seller, determine the content and usage practices.

These ideas may be a little far-fetched, but they stem from lessons that history has taught in the areas of electric current, telecommunications, and long-distance travel. Businesses that will continue to succeed are businesses that focus on the benefits they are providing to customers and which are capable of adapting their own business model to follow the advancement of technology as it realigns itself with that overarching goal. Media and delivery channels will continue to change, but creating a relationship of trust with your customer base will assure financial success and maximize long-term shareholder value. --Shawn Butler

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

DC versus Lou Dobbs

Washington, DC has a new opponent, and it’s not drugs, terrorism, or even Iraq. In three separate venues: the US Dept. of Commerce, a US Senator’s office, and a DC law firm, CNN anchor Lou Dobbs was vilified by name for his confrontational stance on US foreign outsourcing as enumerated in his 2004 book Exporting America.

Dobbs has increased viewer share for both his cable and radio shows by becoming the self-appointed champion of US manufacturing jobs. And he is an unlikely hero. Dobbs stepped into his media career directly from his college years at Harvard and a bank job in LA. Notwithstanding, it is with homespun fervor that he crusades against the decade-long trend of outsourcing US jobs to foreign markets.

Dobbs said this in an interview: “The principal issue I have with outsourcing is that American companies -- based in the United States, providing goods and services to the U.S. consumer economy -- are killing jobs in this country and sending them overseas to provide the same goods and services back to the U.S. economy.”

Other experts corroborate Dobbs’ anxiety. Christian E. Weller of the Center for American Progress said, “Manufacturing has experienced an unprecedented decline for the past three and a half years … [T]he decline in manufacturing jobs explains the bulk of the overall employment loss during the recent recession and recovery.”

Since 2000 we have lost over 3 million jobs in the manufacturing sector of this country. But is that giving us the whole picture? Washingtonians in key positions that I spoke with this week say “No.” Within the Dept. of Commerce, Erin Sullivan, Senior International Trade Specialist for US Commercial Service, said, “The fallacy of Lou Dobb’s argument is that it is focused on manufacturing.” Sullivan’s program offers aid to US companies expanding into foreign operations, providing contacts and even on-the-ground consulting to American business owners.

“America is moving away from manufacturing into an intellectual property and branding based economy,” said Mark Kresloff, a patent attorney for intellectual property and technology. He sat with us across a long table in the DC office of McKenna Long & Aldridge, where he was joined by Jeffrey Li, a Chinese-American attorney and Qilan Jin, an attorney for the PRC Supreme Court. Li continued his colleague’s analysis of America’s economic development, agreeing “For America, this is a good thing.”

This sentiment was echoed in a meeting room of Senator Saxby Chambliss, R- Ga, where his current chief of staff told us that those in agreement with Lou Dobbs should do nothing, but if people disagree with his ideas, we need to pick up the phone and talk to our representatives. I was puzzled by this comment, but after three references in as many days, I determined to look into Dobbs’ argument.

According to the Dept. of Labor, the US is at a 4.7% Unemployment Rate in Oct. 2007. To Dobbs’ credit, that is up from 4.6% last year, an increase of 38,000 unemployed. However, we are well below the 6% we reported during the same month 4 years ago, and 1.6 percentage points down from the 6.3% high in June 2003. So, if all our jobs are going overseas, why are we seeing a decline in unemployment?

Other sources, including our interviewees in Washington, propose that these US workers are not losing their jobs for good, but are instead being reallocated into jobs that are more fitting with the new US economy. Am I saying that we are moving away from being a nation of factories and manufacturing? Yes. It appears so. And I welcome the progress that has led us from the industrial age into the information age. The new export of the US is our knowledge, ideas and leadership. It is time to give other countries' economies the chances we've had. --Shawn Butler

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Why Get an MBA?

I just read an article entitled Why Go to B-School? by Brandon Cornuke. I did not love it, but it has propelled me to articulate my own perspective. Cornuke narratively conveys his fairly ambiguous decision-making process as a function of padding his resume and killing some free time. I believe that these dispassionate motivations will not be sufficient to spur Cornuke through the intellectual and emotional gauntlet of an MBA program, even with his 720 GMAT.

The reason to get an MBA... in fact, the ONLY reason to get an MBA as I see it ...is a passion for learning about business.

No one gets a law degree just because it would "help their resume." It would be ridiculous to expect someone to labor through med school because they had 8 years of "extra time on their hands." If I were getting my Masters in Entymology and you asked me if I liked learning about bugs, you have my permission to punch me in the throat if I respond, "No, I just really like the way Entymologists talk. And I think it will look great on my resume."

I understand that going to college (undergrad) has now become something you do after high school. But graduate degrees should still be reserved for those who have a passion (at least an interest) in gaining more knowledge about a particular topic. Cornuke seems to fail to recognize that he will spend the next two years STUDYING BUSINESS before he gets those 3 initials added to his resume. He'll probably do fine, it just bothered me that he alludes to no epistemological drive towards the subject for its own sake.

Wanting to Learn About Business is a great reason to get an MBA. Anything less will not have the power sufficient to generate the motivation to complete all the course work, projects and case studies that stand between a new student and his or her degree. If you watch MSNBC, read the Economist, WSJ, and books by Kottler, Keller and Hayes, or think you would like to read anything by the HBS, then you are the right person for b-school.

Here, as I sit typing in my 2nd month of classes, I would add:
A healthy dose of masochism doesn't hurt. --Shawn Butler

Monday, September 24, 2007

Great News, Fellow MBA Students

I don't know about you, but I loved the Report in the Wall Street Journal last week. Loved it! It is great news for anyone else starting their MBA this fall!

WSJ Monday, Sept. 17, 2007
The New Battle for M.B.A. Grads
“As the competition gets more intense, recruiting companies get more creative.”

THE HEAT IS ON for corporate recruiters. With demand growing for M.B.A. graduates, it is a seller’s market out there, making it tough for many companies to meet hiring quotas using old tried-and-true recruiting methods. At a time when career opportunities are so plentiful that students can afford to turn down even six-figure offers from investment banks, it is especially difficult for traditional manufacturers to make an impression.

So to improve their odds, recruiters are visiting business schools earlier and more often, raising starting salaries and touting their company’s dedication to work-family balance.

What’s more, some also are breaking from the traditional routine of on-campus presentations and cocktail receptions and trying something new: virtual recruiting. They are mining for résumés online, arranging video interviews and using instant messaging to cast a wider net and connect more effectively with today’s tech-savvy students.

“M.B.A. recruiting is a dinosaur,” says Greg Ruf, chief executive officer of MBA Focus, a consulting firm that promotes an online résumé database to corporate recruiters. “To be successful in the future, recruiters will need a different skill set. Rather than being event planners who are transaction-oriented, they’ll need to become more adept and comfortable with technology and the online world.”
(the rest of the Article is Available here.)

The article goes on to talk about how Bigger Money, Fliexible Schedules, and Choice of Location are being included to entice young MBAs, often before they've even begun their programs. Um... that's me. School starts in 2 weeks and I am officially already looking for my Internship. The Wall Street Journal also went on to give its annual list of top MBA programs. And just Look Who is Number 1 on the Regional Rankings... Go Cougs! --Shawn Butler

Monday, September 17, 2007

I <3 New York City

New York City gets a bad reputation. As the most filmed city in the world, it is no wonder that I had many preconceived notions about NYC. Many of them were true. It is bigger, taller, and even more fast-paced than I had anticipated. I had blisters on my feet by the end of day 2. But I also had been lead to believe that this city was full of rude, selfish, busy and impatient people.

I want to say that this couldn't be further from the truth. I travelled the streets of NYC with my wife and our 4-month-old baby. We usually carried with us two bags and a stroller. On the way from the airport and back, we carried all this, plus two suitcases. At every leg of our trip, from the Q33 Bus at the airport to the Q Train to Central Park, without even asking, we had kind people offering us information and helping hands. These complete strangers offered to carry bags for us, to hold doors for us, and even to call elevators for us.

I came to expect that if I looked puzzled in front of the subway map for long enough, someone nearby would ask where we were trying to get to. And when I answered, as often as not, someone completely different offered up the route to get us there. I loved one experience where two separate groups were debating the best route to get us from 53rd and Lexington up to Lincoln Center. When people helped us with our bags or held doors for us, I would respond to their kindness in the way I had seen in movies: I pulled a couple dollars from my wallet. In every case, every case! it was refused with a shake of the head or a wave of the hand.

I want to say thank you to the countless helpful and friendly people of NYC for their kindness and altruistic service. You have conquered forever the unfortunate stereotype of your city. Well, I can't speak for any of the other boroughs, but, we loved the experience we had with the generous people of Manhattan, NYC. --Shawn Butler

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

More Hot Latin Stuff

This is a clip from "The Life of Brian" where Brian goes through a Basic Latin Lesson with a Roman Guard. (To See the Full Text Go Here).

CENTURION: Conjugate the verb 'to go'.
BRIAN: 'Ire' - 'Eo'. 'Is'. 'It'. 'Imus'. 'Itis'. 'Eunt'
CENTURION: So 'eunt' is...?
BRIAN: Third person plural present indicative. 'They go'.
CENTURION: But 'Romans, go home' is an order, so you must use the...?
BRIAN: The imperative!
CENTURION: Which is...?
BRIAN: Umm! Oh. 'I'!
CENTURION: How many Romans?
BRIAN: Ah! 'I'-- Plural. Plural. 'Ite'. 'Ite'.

This is simply to complete my minimum requirement of Blogs for the month of August because I will be in NYC until after Labor Day. I have found that each month sort of develops an Unofficial Theme... Last month's theme was "Why Steve Jobs Bugs Me." The theme for the month of May was "Ambitious Things Other People are Doing." April's was "Stuff I Bought." Well, August's Unofficial Theme was "How Awesome is Latin?"

And, while searching Google, Ask.com, and Technorati for my blog, I recognized a common error I would like to address: Latin, the Awesome but Dead Language, is often confused with Latin as in Latin America, our Spanish-speaking brothers to the south.

This same error was attributed to Vice President Quayle in the quote: "I was recently on a tour of Latin America, and the only regret I have was that I didn't study Latin harder in school so I could converse with those people."

To Clarify this Point- Latin America is the region of North, South, and Central America where Romance languages are spoken, specifically Spanish and Portuguese. Interestingly enough, Quebec, although a fellow Romance-language speaker, is NOT considered part of Latin America. I think they should make an appeal. They don't speak English, so where DO they belong?

To help you avoid confusion and potential embarassment, here are some examples of

Instances where people say "Latin"
and are NOT referring to
the Awesome but Dead Language:

Latin Dancing: As in "I like watching Latin dancing." They are NOT referring to dances done by men in Roman togas, but to a whole style of dance including the Samba, Paso Doble, and Cha Cha that are characterized by much hip wiggling, short lop-sided skirts, and men in tight pants.
Fun Fact: All Latin Dancing can be done to the 80's Madonna hit Holiday.

Latin Music: As in "I love listening to Latin music." They are NOT referring to their record album of Pange Lingua done in Gregorian Chant, but to a hard-to-categorize genre of music with mostly Spanish lyrics. This includes everything from Mexican Ranchero, Luis Miguel, Control Machete, to Enrique Iglesias and Shakira. They even include Christina Aguilera, just because her last name is Spanish.

Latin Lover: As in "What's hotter than a Latin lover?" Contrary to what you might think, this does NOT mean someone who took Latin and really loved it, then spent the next few years touring Italy and majoring in the Classics. Most typically, it is referring to a sexual partner, usually not a spouse, that is of hispanic origin. Who knew, right?

Latin Kings: As in "Can I join the Latin kings?" This is apparently NOT a bunch of Latin Professors or Catholic Cardinals that have formed a chess club, but in fact is a Puerto Rican Street Gang from Chicago. You can see how this might lead to confusion.

Um... that's all I could find. I'm open to suggestions for More Helpful Hints. And... You're Welcome! --Shawn Butler

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Latin is Smart People Secret Code

People who know how to use Latin should. Use of Latin makes you look Smart. However, trying to use words you don’t understand is one of the fastest ways to look Stupid. I have taken the time to compile a list of tips on common Latin terms and phrases and how they should be used. I call it:
"How to Not Look Stupid when You're Trying to Look Smart"
*Note: This is not a Latin Dictionary. It would be silly to attempt to put all the common words and phrases of Latin that we use into one list. Besides, it's already been done.

Alumnus:
"Nurseling." A graduate from a school. The trick is when to use Alumnus vs. Alumni. Background: Latin nouns consider not only Number (English’s Singular vs. Plural), but also Gender and Case. Below is an easy-to-use chart that should clear this up for everyone.

So, “Alumnus” is singular masculine. For a girl, you should say "Alumna" pronounced "A-LUM-Nuh." "Alumni" is plural for a male or mixed group.

If it's all girls, you could look brilliant by saying "Alumnae," pronounced "A-LUM-Nay," but chances are you'll still look stupid because most listeners will only know enough about this term to think you mispronounced something.

Cum Laude:With praise.” Indicates exceptional academic standing. This one bothers me for a different reason. The correct pronunciation is this: “Coom LOUD-ay.” However, this word has become part of English vernacular, like burrito and déjà vu. For a lingual Purist, I say go ahead and pronounce this with your best Latin accent, but in the interest of just not looking Stupid while trying to look Smart, the modern vernacular holds this to be said as “Coom Lawd.”

I may as well cover the variations of this here as well:
Magna Cum LaudeWith great praise” and
Summa (“SOOM-uh” not “Some-uh”) Cum LaudeWith greatest praise.”

Etc. abbreviation for Et cetera:And the rest.” On this one, I do not follow the decline of modern English vernacular. This is pronounced "Et Set-er-ah," there is no “Eks” sound.
Also, “Etc.” is used entirely too much. There are three rules for its usage:
1. Do not use “Etc.” if you have already made a full list. Example: “Call me if you have any problems, concerns, issues, etc.” What else is there? More synonyms?
2. Do not use “Etc.” when the rest of the list is unknown. Example: “I enjoy reading, sports, astronomy, etc.” Paleozoology? You know, the Rest of the stuff I enjoy…
2. Do not use “And Etc.” This is redundant as “Et” is the Latin word for “And.” Example: “We are studying Western Europe: France, Spain, Italy, and etc.”
3. Do not use “Etc.” when referring to people. For this purpose, use Et Al.

Et Al. abbreviation for Et Alia:And Others.” For More on How Not To Look Stupid Using This One, See Previous Blog.

E.g. abbreviation for Exempli Gratia:For Example.” For More on How Not To Look Stupid Using This One, See Previous Blog.

I.e. abbreviation for Id Est:That Is.” For More on How Not To Look Stupid Using This One, See Previous Blog.

Ibid. abbreviation for Ibidem:In the same place.” Pronounced “ib-EED-em.” This is a time saver, usually seen in academic writing when an author is citing passages from the same source. It is a Smart way of saying, "I already gave you this info." To avoid looking stupid, again we must be careful not to use words we don't know the meaning of, e.g.- "I have collected some great quotes from Plato, Cicero, Ibid, and Anon."

M.O. abbreviation for Modus Operandi:Mode of Operation” Pronounced "MODE-us op-ehr-ON-dee," there is no "die" at the end, no matter what you heard on C.S.I. It refers to the particular method that characterizes a person.

Per se:In and of itself.” Pronounced "per say" but spelled "per se." The spelling is key! For More on How Not To Look Stupid Using This One, See Previous Blog.

Sic: "Thus." This means “intentionally so written;” in other words, the editor or author knew they were misspelling something or using slang or bad grammar in an otherwise formal document.

Vice Versa:The other way around.” Again, the correct pronunciation is this: “vee-kay ver-suh.” However, one will sound Stupider by trying to sound Smart. This has fallen into common usage and is typically pronounced as it is spelled. I often hear imbeciles thinking they sound Smart with strange pronunciations like “Visa Versa” or “Vee-say Ver-say.” Unfortunately, the answer is that they are still wrong.

--Shawn Butler

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Dead Languages: Requiescat In Pace

In the Good Ol' days, Latin was reserved for the elite. Between the First Century Anno Domini until the time of Darwin, Latin was an ironic common bond between Scientists and Clergy. Knowing Latin was a clear division between the educated noble class and the vulgar common folk. As of this Morning, August 1st, Latin's been a "Dead Language" for about a thousand years. Even the Vatican abandoned it as the official lingua franca in the '60s. It is time to let it take it's place in history.

This idea that Speaking Latin = Erudition in the year 2007 only leads to a lot of people looking stupid and sounding ridiculous. Exempli gratia- nobody would think you less of an idiot for saying, "I'll Help You if You'll Help Me" in Ancient Mayan or Proto-Latvian, but modern speakers are to be taken as geniuses for saying, "We'll do it Quid Pro Quo" (followed by a smug little wink). Communication is only useful if both parties understand what is being said, ergo, it is useless to say words in a language that no one understands.

Across the internet, bloggers affect intellectualism by spattering pseudo-latin phrases into places they don't belong. Nothing makes you look like a bigger idiot than trying to sound smart and then saying something nonsensical. Here are some tips:

Tip #1: Et Al. This is an abbreviation for "Et Alia" meaning "And Others." It is a useful phrase for writing about a bunch of people, and only having to name the most important one.
Sample Sentence- "Everything about Latin is known by Shawn Butler, et al."
Way to Look Like an Imbecile- Using the English word "All" as in- "I know everything about Latin, I've read Socrates, et all."

Tip #2: Per Se is the Latin phrase for "Through Itself." It should be used to express the idea that something does or does not support an argument in and of itself.
Sample Sentence- "Knowing Latin per se does not make one smart."
Way to Look Like an Imbecile- First, by NOT knowing what it means, as in - "I'm not a Latin Expert per se, but I know a few phrases." This happens when people are trying to sound intellectual, but they really mean the phrase "as they say" or "so to speak."
The Second is by mispelling it, as in - "I shouldn't have tried to use Latin, but now it's out of my hands, per say."
I've also seen these: perse, persay, and even pursay. Wow.

Tip #3: i.e. is the abbreviation for "id est" meaning "that is." It is really the most basic phrase ever created; the equivalent of "that is to say" or "I mean..."
Sample Sentence- "I love the Classics, i.e. Latin and Greek."
People say it all the time in English and never have a problem. "Yeah, I read Plato, that is, I read The Republic by Plato." See how it is getting more specific? That makes you sound smart!
How to Sound Like an Idiot- Now, try to use it to start a list, as in- "I've been to lots of countries, i.e. Italy and Greece." It's subtle, but trust me, it's WRONG. What they are after is another phrase in Latin:

Tip#4: e.g. is the abbreviation for "exempli gratia" meaning "for example." Another No-Brainer in English, but things get tricky when you don't know what you're saying and you're trying to sound smart.
Sample Sentence- "Cicero's best writings are actually speeches, e.g. On Behalf of Milo and Post Reditum in Senatu"

An interesting point just came to mind-- Why even bother putting down any of these terms? In most cases, we're saying the exact same words we would in English. You can't even say they are abbreviations to save space. In the case of Pro Bono (For Free), you're not even saving letters.

Here's the new rule: If you don't know what it means, don't say it/ write it/ type it/ blog it/ link to it. That's it. In fact, we are all just better off forgetting that Latin was ever a language at all. Let's just be honest about it:

Latin is Smart People Secret Code.

So, like any secret code, all the club members should have a little codebook that we can flip to in order to decode our encrypted messages. I suppose that could be next week's blog. Q.E.D.

Fun Fact: Latin is a Language Option on the Screens of the ATM Machines in Vatican City. This way the Cardinals can get some QuickCash. --Shawn Butler

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Apple's iRony

UPDATE: Just read the "interview" responses of Steve Jobs to Walt Mossberg in the WSJ. Ummm... the answer to 3 of the 7 Qs was "[Apple] doesn't talk about future products." All Mossberg was trying to find out was
  1. if iPhone was going to be stuck on the same slow EDGE network offered by AT&T,
  2. if there would be less expensive models of iPhone released, a la the Shuffle for iPod, and
  3. will you be fixing the issues with the iPhone that we didn't like, such as video, IM, and GPS (See article)?
The answer to all Three Questions: "We don't talk about future products." Oh yeah, Steve Jobs? What do you call the last 7 months since your stunt at the MacWorld Conference? The one where you talked all about your future product?

The Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) iPhone will hit stores on Friday, June 29th. The media and tech worlds wait like eager dogs at the foot of Steve Jobs' dinner table. But all may not be well in the iWorld-- At $499 and $599 for the 4 and 8 Gig units respectively, some call it overpriced, overhyped and overloaded with unnecessary features.

iPhone may also be overpromising. Recent releases say it will now deliver eight hours of talk time, compared with the five hours it originally promised and the four hours available on current Über-PDA competitors Blackberry Curve and Palm Treo 750. Other small print reveals that ownership of the unit will require a two-year contract with AT&T (NYSE: T). Hmmm... that is a fact that should be printed in Super Bold.

Lastly, serious corporate America is not jumping on the Apple Bandwagon. The technology that allowed Research In Motion Ltd.'s (NASDAQ: RIMM) Blackberry to meld easily was created by an early partnership with business-friendly Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT). IT experts report that the Apple app IMAP is a security risk. That's enough to keep most businesses from sync-ing the piece with their internal email systems. That leaves iPhone die-hards with the extra hastle of Re-Forwarding everything from the office through POP servers... something BENEATH most Mac Addicts that I know.
Ad Age Editor Jonah Bloom, says
"Rational thinking has nothing to do with it.
Consumers will lust after the iPhone and thus ignore
both necessity, price and service contracts."

Ah, but will they also ignore the near uselessness of its internet, corporate email, and battery-draining irrelevant features? I vote there'll be a big "no" from the world's business professionals. But what's Apple doing trying to get into business anyways? Stick to Consumer Electronics and your iLife… ipod-toting teens and megalopolitan hipsters will line up for miles awaiting Steve's future table scraps. --Shawn Butler

Friday, June 15, 2007

If you can't beat 'em… call them nerds

Although hailed as a new tier of clever competitor-specific comparative advertising, the "iconic" [sic] Mac vs. PC Ads are nothing new to consumers. For decades, we have watched the world's Super Brands go head-to-head in the beverage industry. We've enjoyed ring-side seats between The Choice of a New Generation and Always Coca-Cola (NYSE: KO), as well as Budweiser (NYSE:BUD), undisputed King of Beers battling the "President of Beers," Miller Brewing Co., now SABMiller (NYSE: MO).

In these instances, it is nothing more than Madison Avenue's take on a tactic we've all used since grade school-- make fun of anyone doing better than us! Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) controls a 90% marketshare in the computer/software ind. Mac (NASDAQ: AAPL) is by far the underdog, and in retaliation, they are not going after the usual mix: price, prod. quality, availability, instead they post ads saying, "90% marketshare and undisputed dominance in business? Well, atleast I'm cool!" For all the lauds of "cleverness" and subtle "jabbing" TBWA\ is receiving for the Mac vs. PC ads, let's take an honest look at what Steve Jobs is really saying:

Personally, I prefer Alltel's Chad campaign. It's the exact same concept-- Alltel, (NYSE: AT) the smallest of the 5 major wireless carriers, poses their spokesman, Chad, as the suave, popular, cool guy who is competing against the huge established companies, characterized as geeks and nerds. Basically, aren't these all just new iterations of the playground joke "Sure you get better grades, but atleast I'm not a dork!" --Shawn Butler

Friday, June 1, 2007

Indians and iPods

Many of you have already found this. This image was taken from space of a hill that looks a lot like A Native American Listening to His iPod. Google Inc.-- the same company that gives us Google.com, Blogger.com, Google Moon, and a host of other fun things I use everyday provides Google Maps for Free. This site is great fun, inspiring Andy Samburg to call it "the best. . . Double True." But I want to tell you that there are things to do on GoogleMaps even after you're done finding your house, your job, and cyber-stalking your exes from Global Satelites.

Google Sightseeing is one of many spin-off sights where people are posting the funny stuff they find as they mouse all over the planet. Sightings of UFOs and monsters, as well as rumors of amassing armies on the Chinese-India border abound, complete with KML coordinates and clickable photos. Here are some other funny sights at Haha.nu. Including the boy who built his own Location Balloon.

Fast Company labels Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) as an "authentic" brand and calls it "purpose-driven." Google is not humble about this, boasting a corporate philosophy that they "organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful." Deeper into their homepage I found this: "You can make money without doing evil," and, "Work should be challenging and the challenge should be fun." Busy, busy.

Company shares today trade at $487.11, way down from their high at $513 in Nov, but still well above the market's avg. share price-- I'm predicting a split this summer, like my YUM shares! I think we should all pitch in, buy Google stock, and drive up this share price! (NOTE: The writer is not qualified to give stock advice or counsel, as he knows next-to-nothing about any of this stuff.)

Midway through writing this post, I realized how much Google really does for me to make our modern, internet-facilitated world a better place. Thanks Google! Good luck on your mission of taking over the world! --Shawn Butler

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Mitt Is It! Romney for President 2008



This Man Has the Ability to Lead America Out of the Slump Created by the Last Four Presidential Terms.

America needs a President that we can look up to. The World needs an American President that is leading the global community in intellect, integrity, and mutual respect. Romney brings back to the White House traditional American values, confident integrity, solid morals, and a platform that understands America's needs. He plans to execute an effective foreign policy that will end the "War" in the only way it can end, a decisive American victory and the long-term stabilization of a local government in Iraq.

I am tired of being embarrassed for the policies, demeanor, and scandals of our nation's leader. I am hard-pressed to understand why anyone would cast their vote for more of the same policies, demeanor, and scandals that we have endured over the past 7 years embodied in the other major candidates in both parties with exception of Obama, from whom I am not sure what to expect. But that is my issue with him, he has no record from which to extrapolate a "what to expect".

If you agree with Mitt Romney's ideas for America, and like me, are tired of suffering humiliation in the global community for our elected leader, then join Mitt on his website MittRomney.com and let him know that you believe in him.

Or you should buckle up and look forward to four more years of this:





Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Encyclopedia of Life, the Universe, and Everything

Now I'm ALL about Ambition. Biting off more than one can chew is just one of the many pleasures of this thing we call "Sentient Existence," but this guy is just abusing the privilege.

Edward Osborne Wilson is an American Scientist, a myrmecologist to be exact, who has a lofty goal. He grew up in Mobile, Alabama, earned his Eagle Scout award, and loved watching ants. Nothing spectacular, except that he earned his Ph.D. in "Ant Studies" from Harvard.

And so we see that the User Contributed Content of the Wiki-Economic Age has a new catalyst. Dr. Wilson is proposing to harness Web 2.0 to accomplish the online cataloging of the earth's known species. 1.8 million of them, to be precise. And still counting. I wish him well, but am reminded that I have not yet finished the job of cataloging products for Medline Apparel, and they only have 100,000 "species." Hmmm... Maybe I can open source this one. Anyone interested in the Collaborative Authoring of a Healthcare Pamphlet, let me know.



For More Info on This, You've Got to Check Out the Shear Scope of this Project: Click this for his website's demo pages Or simply wander your way over to the homepage http://www.eol.org

There is an additional 24 minute YouTube Clip of him discussing his vision at the award ceremony for Technology Entertainment Design, but I am all about short-attention span news postings. So you'll have to click to that place by yourself. Here's the link, though. E.O. Wilson Accepts his 2007 TED Prize
You're welcome. --Shawn Butler

Friday, May 4, 2007

Subliminal Marketing Revealed!

Is this guy for real?!?!? In the small business consulting "biz" and particularly in the restaurant industry, one gets onto some interesting mailing lists, but here's something I've never seen:
Now, Marketers are not always giving us a straight-forward sell-- we all get that --but subliminal sales triggers? This might be just TOO MUCH. So when my BS detector started going crazy, I did a little research into this guy... and couldn't find much at all.


And that's what bothered me. The guy's name is Kamron Karington, no clues there except that he has Utah roots; that state is famous for creative name mispellings. The 6 google returns for his website (click pic) and the 556 on his name search yielded unreliable results, most of them were his own or affiliated pages. He DID buy a full-page ad in Fast Casual's Apr/May Issue [What, you don't read Fast Casual magazine? ;) ] And I read the whole thing through. I was also seduced into reading this questionable source and his homepage here.


I call it questionable because the voice is similar to the copy on his homepage, convincing me that at least both endorsements came form the same author, if not the whole page. And I think the reason I am so interested in this is not that I am skeptical, but maybe that I really want this to be true. BECAUSE IF IT IS...

SB Marketing consulting just got a LOT easier, I simply have to get this guy's info [which is free, if you believe what you read] and then find clients willing to pay me to slowly recite Mr. Karington's Black Book of Guaranteed Subliminal Sales Secrets to them for two-hundred and forty dollars an hour...


It's almost too easy. I would be interested to hear from anyone on the success of the tactics espoused by Kamron's program. Anyone NOT affiliated with his company, that is. --Shawn Butler

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

On Turning 28: Perspective

This week I turned 28. I had a very small celebration, entirely because my wife planned it, got others involved and did it for me. If it were up to me, I am through with birthdays. Which I think has worked out for me. My daughter was born on my birthday, which I happily spent in the hospital with my hand being squeezed in my wife's as I shouted out encouragements about her breathing and pushing. At any rate, I believe I have effectively solved my problem of ever celebrating my birthday again.

I did, however, buy myself a birthday present. An expensive piece of electronics. I exhibit only a few of the classic Machismo behaviors, I don't use profanity, ESPN bores me, and I think beer-drinking is laughably stupid. But one man-trait I exhibit shamelessly is a passion for the electronic. I love technology. Tying in my birthday and the birth of our daughter created the necessary justification to indulge my inner hombre and I bought a video camera.

But that does not do it justice. What I bought is a Panasonic GS-320 Mini-DV Camcorder, and yes, that is another man-mannerism, it made me feel powerful and cocky to type out all those numbers and dashes. That's why girl items have soothing names, like Easyglide and Pearlmax, but boy items have Part Numbers and Product Codes, because men love numbers. And complications.

So now I have begun video taping things. And I find this fulfilling. There is a part of me that feels very satisfied when I am holding the camera and the red light is flashing. Something primal is comforted knowing that these moments; the words, inflections, miniscule motions of face and body are being captured and retained. It is a sense of reassurance that passing time IS something important. That it SHOULD be valued and held on to. It is sad that early man ( i.e.- man before the invention of the camcorder) was unable to experience this satisfaction. So it goes...

Perspective Part 2

Before Digital, cameras worked very differently. One could not see what he was recording on a 2" Liquid Crystal Display. There was no instant replay or rewind. Taking a picture was a supreme act of faith and an exercise in commitment. The image was captured, handed down from the eye of the camera and pressed resolutely and inalterably into the film. With Digital, every picture can be reviewed for approval, and without film being wasted, there is no sense of consequence. There is no metaphor in digital imaging. There is no "Cause and Effect," no "Reap What You Sew" moral lesson to be learned.

With film cameras, we still had the element of chance. There was an aspect of danger in photography. You could come out of that photo shoot with literally anything. There was no such thing as a perfect picture. This is much more akin to life=

Sometimes you can do everything exactly right. Fill up a whole roll of film. Drop it off at the store, come back in a week to pick it up, and find twenty-four images of fuzz and darkness. Like you were photographing Big Foot. With the film crew from "Blair Witch."

Life is like a film camera. I can set up the model, check the lighting, check my camera and do everything exactly the way I think it is supposed to work. Then Click. The picture is captured just as it was, whatever combination of light, distance, shutter speed, movement, etc. that occured at that moment has been compiled onto the rolling celluloid of the film canister and there's nothing I can do about it except just keep going. Aiming my camera, pointing and clicking. Some shots are arranged, like fruit in a bowl or a family portrait, while others are candids, a flashbulb halting the scene in the midst of the action and holding it still.

When the roll is filled, it has to be developed. I won't know what the pictures look like until I've gained some time perspective. When the photos are developed, I can see that "oh, I wasn't smiling" or "her eyes were closed" or "wow, there was a rainbow right behind us," but by then, the scene is set and inalterable. The moment has been through the stop bath and rinsed in hypo. As I proceed in life, I have no way of knowing what is coming next. But I have a ready camera, a half exposed roll of film, and stacks of albums filled with the things that have gone right and wrong in the past. Entire books of the things we call "Life Lessons" that can be pulled out and shared with others with a story beginning "Here is something I did wrong..." or "Here's one that went right..."

Monday, April 9, 2007

Toy-tiger... ToyGrrr... Toyger

Finally! Mankind is Putting our Science to Work on Something Worthwhile: Making "House Pet" Sized Carnivorous Jungle Cats! This is where we were meant to take our unprecedented advances in genetic engineering and stem cell research. Why on earth did they waste so much time cloning stupid sheep? We have millions of sheep, more than enough, look at the population of New Zealand. But what we don't have enough of is genetically engineered tiny pet tigers. Until now. Here are some pics:

Okay, the 1st image is actually just a normal cat, but it's good for comparison.

If you're loving these beasts like I am, here is a link for more info. And also, watch the video above! It is a hilarious example of Video Slideshow Technology in the hands of crazed cat fans.

"But Remember, Kids, we can Genetically Alter their Size, but Nothing can Alter their Savage Primordial Rage©" --I put it on the internet first, folks. When the big box companies come looking for their tagline, you are my witnesses that I had it first (and I put the "circle-C" so it's legal)!

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Summer of Threequels, or "3=XP"
(Three Equals Sucky)

This Summer is the Summer of Threequels. This word may be made up but it is supposed to mean the 3rd movie in a trilogy, usually containing the number 3 in the title. For Whatever Reason, the Summer of 2007 will be full of the releases of really bad movie Threequels. Here is my list of movie Threequels released (or planned for release) this summer and the review (or expected review) of each:

List of Threequels in Summer '07:
Pirates of the Caribbean 3 - Not quite as bad as 2, but nowhere near as good as 1.
Shrek 3 - Why are they still making these?
Spiderman 3 - Why so many villains? Why so many unresolved conflicts? Why so many flashbacks?
Rush Hour 3 - Wow. The world could have lived without this entire series.
Ocean's 13 - Should be called "Ocean's Eleven 2" and we can all just pretend Ocean's 12 never happened.
Bourne (#3) Ultimatum
- Wow. I did not know people could be killed with produce.
& the 1 that doesn't even know it's a Threequel= Surf's Up
or Animated Penguin Movie #3
Some Might Call it a Stretch, but I Label Surf's Up as the 3rd in another Trilogy:
It's the Threequel to The Year Shia LeBeouf Dispels his Disney Channel persona a la JT and Xtina by Being in Real Movies Series. In case you missed it, the first 2 installments to this Trilogy were Disturbia and Transformers. Even Steven has been busy in 2007.


Some movies are good enough that there needs to be a sequel. Some even deserve a whole series. But in most cases, it is pretty understood that movies should stop after 1. Here is my brief list of movies that should have stopped at 1 but did not:

Brief List of Movies with Really Bad Threequels:
Back to the Future 3
Batman (#3) Forever
Superman 3


(To Be Continued)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._box_office_bombs

Monday, March 26, 2007

I noticed that every good blog has a numbers list, here's mine-

IN LIFE:
Tip #25 Never try to do the things you see on TV in your own home
Tip #24 Always check your order before leaving the drive-thru
Tip #23 Don't stress over things that you can't change or don't understand
Tip #22 When using blades, always apply motion away from one’s self
Tip #21 Before using the toilet, make sure it works and has plenty of toilet paper
Tip #20 Never speak badly of others, especially when they’re not around
Tip #19 Model yourself after people you know, not after people you see on TV
Tip #18 Treat everyone like they are the most important person in the world
Tip #17 Help someone at least once a day. Try to keep it a secret.
Tip #16 Remember that You determine your own happiness
Tip #15 Go to bed when you’re tired
Tip #14 Stop eating when you’re full
Tip #13 Always wash fruits and vegetables before you eat them
Tip #12 Chew your food
Tip #11 When you’re hungry, prepare a meal, then sit down and eat it.
Tip #10 Be generous with your compliments
Tip #9 If you're not sure about something, ask
Tip #8 No matter who you work for, you’re your own boss and best customer
Tip #7 Before anyone else can love you, you have to be able to love yourself
Tip #6 Always give time to listen to what others have to say
Tip #5 Pay off your debts before you acquire any new ones
Tip #4 Write “thank you” notes. For anything.
Tip #3 If you are an impulsive shopper, learn to keep your receipts
Tip #2 Do what you know is right, even if nobody sees it
Tip #1 Pray to God, but lock your doors.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Completely Necessary List of Books to be a Literate Member of Society

I was asked by a friend to compile a list of the books that were important for him to read in order to be a Literate and Contributing member of modern culture.
This is my first attempt -- The main criteria for this list was to cover the books that are referenced either directly or in allusion in the literary community. For obvious reasons, that turned out to include all the "staple" books that are required reading for middle school and high school students.
NOTE: This is not a listing of "great books," or even "good books," and not a list of my favorite books, which would be MUCH different. This list is designed to guide young readers in their desire to cover the [quote, unquote] literary basics.

In alphabetical order by the first non-“the” in the book title.
  • 1984--George Orwell (Eric Arthur Blair)
  • The Adventures of Tom Sawyer--Mark Twain
  • A Farewell to Arms--Ernest Hemingway
  • A Lesson Before Dying--Ernest J. Gaines
  • A Separate Peace--John Knowles
  • A Tale of Two Cities--Charles Dickens
  • Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland--Lewis Carroll
  • All the King’s Men--Robert Penn Warren
  • The Ambassadors--Henry James
  • An American Tragedy--Theodore Dreiser
  • Animal Farm--George Orwell
  • As I Lay Dying--William Faulkner
  • Atlas Shrugged--Ayn Rand
  • The Autobiography of Frederick Douglass
  • Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman--Ernest J. Gaines
  • The Awakening--Kate Chopin
  • Beloved--Toni Morrison
  • Bless Me, Ultima--Anaya Rudolfo
  • Brave New World--Aldous Huxley
  • The Bride Price--Buchi Emecheta
  • Brideshead Revisited--Evelyn Waugh
  • The Brothers Karamazov--Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  • The Call of the Wild--Jack London
  • Candide--Voltaire
  • The Catcher in the Rye--J. D. Salinger
  • Cat’s Cradle--Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
  • Catch-22--Joseph Heller
  • The Chosen--Chaim Potok
  • The Clan of the Cave Bear--Jean Auel
  • The Color Purple-- Alice Walker
  • The Count of Monte Cristo--Alexander Dumas
  • Crime and Punishment--Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  • Deliverance--James Dickey
  • Democracy--Joan Didion
  • The Divine Comedy--Dante
  • Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?--Philip K. Dick
  • Doctor Zhivago--Boris Pasternak
  • Don Quixote--Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra
  • Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde--Robert Louis Stevenson
  • Ellen Foster--Kaye Gibbons
  • Empire of the Sun--J. G. Ballard
  • The End of the Affair--Graham Greene
  • Ender’s Game--Orson Scott Card
  • Ethan Frome--Edith Wharton
  • Faust--Goethe
  • Flowers for Algernon--Daniel Keyes
  • The Fountainhead--Ayn Rand
  • Frankenstein--Mary Shelley
  • The Giver--Lois Lowry
  • Go Tell It on the Mountain--James Baldwin
  • Gone with the Wind--Margaret Mitchell
  • The Grapes of Wrath--John Steinbeck
  • Great Expectations--Charles Dickens
  • The Great Gatsby--F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • Grendel--John Gardner
  • Gulliver’s Travels--Jonathon Swift
  • Heart of Darkness--Joseph Conrad
  • The Hobbit--J. R. R. Tolkien
  • House Made of Dawn--N. Scott Momaday
  • In Country--Bobbie Ann Mason
  • The Invisible Man--H. G. Wells
  • Invisible Man--Ralph Ellison
  • Ivanhoe--Sir Walter Scott
  • Jane Eyre--Charlotte Bronte
  • The Jungle--Upton Sinclair
  • Kindred--Octavia Butler
  • The Kitchen God’s Wife--Amy Tan
  • The Last of the Mohicans--James Fenimore Cooper
  • The Left Hand of Darkness--Ursula K. Le Guin
  • Les Miserables--Victor Hugo
  • Less Than Zero--Bret Easton Ellis
  • Like Water for Chocolate--Laura Esquivel
  • Lord of the Flies--William Golding
  • Love Medicine--Louise Erdrich
  • Moby Dick--Herman Melville
  • Moll Flanders--Daniel Defoe
  • The Naked and the Dead--Norman Mailer
  • Of Mice and Men--John Steinbeck
  • The Old Gringo--Carlos Fuentes
  • The Old Man and the Sea--Ernest Hemingway
  • On the Road--Jack Kerouac
  • One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest--Ken Kesey
  • Out of Africa--Isak Dinesen
  • Pride and Prejudice--Jane Austen
  • The Prince--Niccolo Machiavelli
  • The Red Badge of Courage--Stephen Crane
  • The Remains of the Day--Kazuo Ishiguro
  • The Return of the Native--Thomas Hardy
  • Robinson Crusoe--Daniel Defoe
  • Roots: The Story of an American Family--Alex Haley
  • The Scarlet Letter--Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • The Screwtape Letters--C. S. Lewis
  • Shogun: A Novel of Japan--James du Maresq Clavell
  • Slaughterhouse Five--Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
  • The Slave Dancer--Paula Fox
  • Something Wicked this Way Comes--Ray Bradbury
  • Song of Solomon--Toni Morrison
  • The Sound and the Fury--William Faulkner
  • The Stranger--Albert Camus
  • Summer of My German Soldier--Bette Greene
  • The Sun Also Rises--Ernest Hemingway
  • The Sweet Hereafter--Russell Banks
  • Ten Little Indians--Agatha Christie
  • Tess of the d’Urbervilles--Thomas Hardy
  • Their Eyes Were Watching God--Zora Neale Hurston
  • Things Fall Apart--Chinua Achebe
  • The Time Machine--H. G. Wells
  • To Kill a Mockingbird--Harper Lee
  • To the Lighthouse--Virginia Woolf
  • Treason--Orson Scott Card
  • Treasure Island--Robert Louis Stevenson
  • V.--Thomas Pynchon
  • War and Peace--Leo Tolstoy
  • The Waste Land--T. S. Eliot
  • Watership Down--Richard Adams
  • The World According to Garp--John Irving
  • Wuthering Heights--Emily Bronte

I was going to keep this list down to 100 books, but there are probably closer to 120. I would be interested to see submissions from readers, because I know I left off some that were important (i.e.: everybody's read them). Scan through and see if your favorites are on the list.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Things I Have Done For 8 Hours

It is the weekend. After an especially long week of work.
Some weeks just feel longer than others.
Much like some days can feel longer than others.
I have made a list of other things in my life that I have done for 8 hours straight.
1. Slept. Not often, but when I did, I'm pretty sure it was awesome. Although I recently learned that this could kill me.
2. I took an 8 hour flight to Oahu. It was a rather uneventful plane ride, but there was an exotic and tropical locale awaiting me on the other end. That was a good 8 hours.
3. I spent 8 hours learning how to use Macromedia Dreamweaver 8, which is the tool I used to create my website. Thanks, Macromedia. Sorry I didn't pay you for the program! I promise I will next time.
4. Made love. Okay, I haven't actually done that for 8 hours straight, but I've taken my wife on exciting and romantic weekend getaways. I'm probably at about an 8 hour cumulative total for our 2 years of marriage. Ha!
5. My buddies in college and I took a Road Trip from Provo to L.A. to go to the beach. 5 of us in a Geo Metro for 8 hours each way. It was cramped, but I think we each pitched in about 5 bucks and covered gas.
6. I spent 8 solid hours after Christmas playing CITY OF HEROES. I breaked periodically for food, water, and bathroom, but even those took 2ndary status. By the time my free 1 month had expired, I was a level 14 blaster. And I am not allowed to buy the CITY OF VILLAINS upgrade. Doctor's orders.
7. I took the GMAT, that took about 8 hours. If I add on my breaks, travel time and an additional 2 hours for emotional distress.
8. It took me about 8 hours to Read the entire 209 pages of Charles Johnson's Middle Passage. But it probably took me atleast another 8 hours to figure out what that book was really about.

Monday, February 12, 2007

A Hi-Tech, Effective Networking Tool

I found something cool. This is a site that uses the "Internet" to create "Social Networks" for getting hired into jobs by "Knowing Somebody."

http://www.linkedin.com/in/shawnbutler

It is not "Truly" knowing anybody, like an "Old-Fashioned Network," but it is really close and it's "Free." Once I "Logged On," it asked me if I had anyone I'd "Like to Invite," so I just let it mail from my "Outlook Address Book." It turned out that several of my "Friends" were already on the site.

Then, I went under jobs and it tells me if people that I "Know," or people they "Know," work at the companies I'm "Interested In" and could "Answer My Questions" or "Help Me Get the Job." Cool, huh?

It seems like the idea I was looking for. I'll give it a try for the week and see if it gets me anywhere.


ALSO, if you're already on LinkedIn, add me, I have 6 contacts and I feel somewhat pathetic. Like when I first started MySpace and had 3 friends for months! ha ha

Monday, January 29, 2007

What do you want to do with your life?

Fast Company asked, “What do you want to do with your life?”

I answered, “You mean specifically or just in general? I want to be famous. I’m in marketing and advertising, and that will get me rich. But nobody gets famous by doing advertising.

I’m actually a writer. I’d like to write a book. About the insignificance of human struggle. How
we invent this full complicated machine of society and then strap ourselves to it. We are kind of like mice who would build our own little mazes, and then pat ourselves on the back for having made it through the thing. I would write a long book about insignificant conflicts being resolved by unimportant people who finally achieve a meaningless purpose.

It would be a history.


I think this would be an appropriate revenge. I want someday for some fourth grader to have to write a report about me and my life. So that people will reverence my choice of music and pay homage to my taste in breakfast cereals. My fourth grade teacher once told me, ‘By learning about people who have done great things, we learn how we ourselves can achieve great things.’


I remember that she had us write four-page research papers on famous people. For a fourth-grader, a four-page paper is like writing our own novel. She assigned each student the name of a person who did something meaningful and important in history. One girl was assigned Barbara Walters, a kid was assigned Sir What's-his-name, the guy who invented baseball. You see,
she tried to match up each kid with the personality of some great person.

I was assigned to write my four-page report on P.T. Barnum.
He’s a famous person who lived a long time ago. He’s best known as the guy who said, “There's a sucker born every minute.” He spent his whole life tricking people, lying to them, and stealing their money. He is also the guy who started the Barnum and Bailey circus. I learned everything about P.T. Barnum for that four-page paper: where he was born, how he grew up, I studied all the tricks, all the deceptions, and all the great scams this man came up with. I read about his family life, his favorite pastimes and all the witty things he said when he was drunk. 

I remember that we gave oral presentations to the whole school dressed in the attire of our assigned historical VIP. There was a kid dressed like Jonas Salk, a boy dressed up like Roy Rogers, even a fourth-grade Jane Goodall. I gave a two-minute speech on P.T. Barnum. Everyone thought it was real cute how my mom had gotten me a sparkling bow-tie and a little tuxedo jacket with tails. I had a top hat with sparkles on it, and even a pair of spats mom had put on over my penny loafers. I don’t remember what I said for those two minutes, but I remember I was terrified looking out at everybody’s moms and dads and I thought, “What did P.T. Barnum do that I am going through all this?”
And I couldn’t lay my finger on too much.


So I knew then that what I wanted more than anything was for some fourth-grader some day, probably after I’d died and my grand kids were all grown up, to have his teacher assign him to write a report on me, and he’d have to look me up in the encyclopedia and study everything I’d done.”

Monday, January 15, 2007

All My Time Should Be "Free"

I have a friend that Blogs. She says she does it to kill free time.
"Kill it?" I asked, "I don't even have free time."
She said, "Don't you read books a lot?"
I said, "Yes, but that is during my 'read book' time. I certainly don't have much of this 'free time' commodity at all."
She explained to me, "'Free time' is any moment when you are free to do whatever you want."
And then, of course, I asked, "What kind of people have all this 'free time'?"
She thought for a moment. "Bloggers have a lot of free time."

And that's when I knew I wanted to be a blogger. I, too, wanted to enjoy the luxury of having "free time," complete with the masochistic freedom to kill it--to slaughter time in all of its gory splendor.

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