Saturday, October 20, 2001

Notes on NOTES

I'll tell you what. The NOTES chapter is an amazing resource--I could spend another month just wandering through the maze of links and related readings it references. I hope that when you decide to piss off all of your "business partners" and put the whole book online, you include the NOTES chapter, with all of its references available for our hyperlinked exploration. If Gonzo readers could post related readings and net sightings we come across to this online NOTES place--or off of it on a separate page--that would be even cooler.

Here are a few of my favorites, for anyone visiting who wants quick links to some of the references:

Everything you never wanted to know about Disney. Shall I quote? "Why does Disney take such care with its casting department? The job market in central Florida is quite competitive. The unemployment rate is about 3 percent, and Disney has to compete to get the best workers. In addition, Disney cast members are represented by 34 unions, and the company deals with 11 contract negotiations a year. Quality cast members are a direct result of quality hiring practices." (There's more links in the Notes section--but you get the drift.) Can you imagine what they're saying now? Get out--we don't no stinkin goofies!

And this (dramamine is advised): "It's easy to have a cheerful, helpful and motivated cast member when he or she comes right out of the Traditions class at Disney University, says Parker. The challenge is to keep that person motivated six months later when it's 90 degrees outside with 98-percent humidity. The answer is not constant training, it's leadership." Powers of the Net unite. They must be stopped.

Ah, the Ad Age top jingles of the century are enough to snip the heartstrings of any aspiring artist. Besides "I wish I were an Oscar Myer Wiener," let's give props to "See the USA in Your Chevrolet"--who could forget that little diddy. (?) And that wonderfully sexist Brylcreem anthem, "A little dab'll do ya." (Can you see her now, peering into the mirror behind the shoulder of her cherished stud? Mission accomplished.)

The Courtney Love you didn't know in "Courtney Love Does the Math" (I love what she says, but am I the only one wondering if Love's outfit here was the inspiration behind Flying Butterfly Barbie?)

Great article about getting personal and getting connected from October 4, 1999 New Yorker, ANNALS OF MARKETING -- The Science of the Sleeper: How the Information Age could blow away the blockbuster, by Malcolm Gladwell.

More to come...


Pages 205-214 - Yikes. Who knew you were a profit? Certainly the global rumblings you mention are taking form. "Which side are you on? Are you for the world or against it? Come on. Join up, take sides." (i.e., you are either with the terrorists or with us.) And the stuff on Islamic nations... Don't make me turn the FBI onto this book. You don't know what might happen. Chris Locke, newest 'detainee'. Talk about foreshadowing. My goodness. You speak the words many of us feel--and you didn't know when you wrote these pages, did you, where we would be now--us and The Evil Ones.

The word according to Locke: "Such either-or thinking constitutes a conceptual booby trap. Although the 'logic' is usually transparent and invisible, when we think this way we are invoking extremely old binary opposites. Spirit good, world bad. World good, spirit bad. But such zero-sum heads-I-win-tails-you-lose alternatives are suffocating and insufferable. I don't want to take sides. I don't want to be lumped into such confining categories. I want an olive tree AND a Lexus. I want a Big Mac AND a jihad."

Wow. Okay, on to lighter matters...

As for the Roland guitar synthesizer--and this may have profound meaning beyond your example--"If you can't play guitar, you can't play the Roland guitar synth." (those, words from my husband, proud owner of same--he knows of what he speaks.) hmmmmmmmmmm. [Ed Note: Write for tips. Blog coming soon to a browser near you.]

The evolution of consciousness to the easiest path of purchase--I'm there. Two minutes ago, my flu-bitten child jumped on my lap, in need of a present to make her feel better. Before letting her hijack my laptop to her favorite destination, I said, "Let's pick out a treat..." Off to Amazon, toys, Bob the Builder Walkie Talkies - under $20 delivered. One click. She even got to do the click. Done. Now she gets the trill of watching the porch for packages--and I get the thrill of saying, "If you're do that again, young lady, I'll get back on Amazon and cancel that order!" Who needs threats of Santa. Of course, this from a child who looked under the Gonzo book jacket and said, "Wow, he's cute."

The world is more beautiful because of this new dimension, the Internet. In this time of terror in the offline world, especially, the online world is a place to just "be." It does not make me materialistic. Nor does it make me non-materialistic. It just is. (depending on what your meaning of "is" is, of course.)

Never before have I turned to the Net for laughs and giggles as I do now. You can't find them in any offline media outlet right now. Anthrax, bombs, jihad, food drops, on and on. Sappy commercials aimed at bringing us all together (not to make us buy stuff, of course) drive me away.

(Flash to that new commercial: I am an American, I am an American, ... what next? NO, I am an American, NO ME!--I wait for the fight to break out between the Arab and the American Indian.)

In my crazy town, at least, the roads are amass with bad drivers sporting flags on their cars--ALWAYS the ones to cut you off... pride turned bullying. Anyway, that's why the witty sites are getting my 'business' now. Where I used to shop online clearance sales, I now wander about looking for life, wit, and anything that makes me giggle. Yes, I'd even pay for it right now. In fact, a boing boing t-shirt is in my gift-giving future.

I don't know how I got here. Must be something you said. And although I'm enlisting, I need to say it is with cautious optimism, which sometimes, against my will, slips into skepticism as I wonder if we've already wandered too far into the International Geophysical Year...

On that train all graphite and glitter
Under sea by rail
Ninety minutes from New York to Paris
(More leisure for artists everywhere)
A just machine to make big decisions
Programmed by fellows with compassion and vision
We'll be clean when their work is done
We'll be eternally free, yes and eternally young
-Donald Fagan, I.G.Y

So who is to blame for the lack of trust on both sides? Trust--that chasm between artist and business. I wonder who will go first in this trust dare you propose. Line in the sand. I dare you, slimey artist. No, I dare you, greedy business. You go first... No, you.. Okay. scissors cut paper...

To me it's obvious. The artist must go first. Because we're used to going first. Because we like the risk and reward of going first. It's a rush. It's about the thrill of creating and procreating. And we'll go--with or without you, business. In fact, we're well on our way. Down the road, ushering other folks out of their houses to join our march.

So, if you don't want to pop onto a site one day, and see hundreds of potential customers vibing back and forth with one another--you know, those folks that fit your demographic and psychographic profile oh so perfectly--And if you don't want to see them hooking up, hanging out, being happy, ready and ripe to unleash those pursestrings--And if you don't want to see your most notorius competitor's abnoxious logo sponsoring this conversational and informational orgy, well then... get moving.

Stand and walk
Is cheap and so is talk
Yours to make what will you do
In the end
It comes back to you
Cause it's a long... way to fall
-Blues Traveler, Stand

That's it. Just get going. And hurry the fuck up, because we wait for no man. And if you wait too long, keep in mind, it's a long way down.

Business Responds: Is this a threat? Are you talkin ta me? You think I can't crush the likes of you? You're no one.

Me: You can't crush what you can't catch--haven't you learned that? We're not no one--we're everyone. Come on, make my motherfuckin day.

Oh but wait. It doesn't have to be this way--us against them. That's not the point at all. No, we're trying to create a better world. Let's put aside our collective baggage and see if we can't make something good happen here. Wouldn't that be something? To create something good? Yes, that would be nice. We could all use a little good right about now.

Businesses leveled--let's help them rebuild. Families destroyed--let's help them recover.

Put your hand in mine. It won't hurt much, this Change.
Wonderful, disorienting change, is how we got here, after all.

From the pain come the dream
From the dream come the vision
From the vision come the people
From the people come the power
From this power come the change
Peter Gabriel - Fourteen Black Paintings

Page 202 - I'm hungry for more. I want more what-ifs. More imagine a worlds... I'm ready to sign a lease for my spot in the new net world, but wonder what might be next (or after next). You know, once we have major corporations accepting and being defined by the net voices it chooses to underwrite... then what? Certainly the greed cycle will be launched into high gear--or could this really be happily ever after?

I wonder, once we 'voices of the net' finally have the corporate-come-lately in our pockets, then what else might we do to and with them? And what might they do to us? Is there a risk that the late comers will spoil it all? Think of it this way: A company like Dell, to use your example, has its shit together and jumps on a bunch of somehow-related sites it decides to underwrite. So suddenly, the Toshibas of the world are worried--shit, we're late on this. How did it happen, boys? Let's get busy.

How likely is it that the late comers will "get it" and look for more of us to pair up with, rather than trying to create their own contrived worlds--thereby leeching any meaning out of what we've built? I bite my nails. In other words, who might fuck it up, and how can we stop them? And what will the lawyers be doing in the midst of all this--facilitating partnerships or bullying us into shutting up? Paying us not to grow our crops? You have to wonder.

Do I worry too much? So I've been told.

But there is room for much optimism (even among those of us with diagnosed anxiety disorders). I like this especially: "The diciest of situations will be where the content of the external site has a direct bearing on the company's products--for example, if Toyota were to underwrite a site equivilant to Car & Driver Magazine. This might be a dynamite idea. It's certainly not one to be avoided. But in cases like this, the company will need to sit on its hands and count to ten when the site reports that its latest product bites. Of course, it can then argue and debate the opinion--it just can't threaten to penalize the site. If it does so, then it paradoxically opens the door to Mitzubishi taking over its slot."

And, as you say, after all, the more relative distance put between the company's products & services and the content in the underwritten site, the less chance for these kind of battles. An organic gardening site or a home schooling site is not so likely to eek out the controversy corporate lawyers will be drewling for.

I can't wait to see who steps up to the plate here. I can't wait to see who opens up to this idea first. It's probably happening already... I know it is covertly. Take my case: my own writing 'tips' site exists... colleages within my company go to my site for writing tips and templates... But there's no official sponsorship, and probably there shouldn't be. The way I see it now--after reading this chapter--is that the link in my particular case may be too close to the company's core services. In other words, having my own writing site, with PR-related writing how-tos and how-to-nots (offered up to my colleagues on the QT--word of mouth, so to speak) is too incestuous with my own corporate role to fit this model well. And since I don't have a burning desire to quit my day job, I'm thinking I need to expand my horizons... run off now and learn about gardening :-) ... or better yet--Life tips for the telecommuting mom... or managing asthma in children... you know. I get it. Hell, why not? Gosh this is going to be fun. (Can you tell--My mood is picking up.)

Friday, October 19, 2001

Page 196 - This site "underwriting" is a great idea. As first described, I thought (as a visitor), wouldn't I just view that site like an off-shoot of the underwriting company's site? But then the 'great' idea. No one company underwriting these sites. Instead, many companies underwriting a site. The biggest reason I like this is the potential for collaboration and further exploration among this group of underwriting companies, who, by their association with the site, inherently have something "special" in common.

Very cool. This would shake up the whole "positioning" notion, wouldn't it? In this world you are creating, companies are as much positioning themeselves WITH other companies of similiar ideals and interests (who are also underwriting these sites) as they are AGAINST their competitors (who are off underwriting different sites with their own like-minded bunch.) Ala, the visitor, in one fleeting sweep, "understands" what the group of underwriting companies is about. The "flavor" of the company is discerned from the personality and voice of the sites it underwrites, and by the other companies involved in the site.

Neato. I'm liking this....

Thursday, October 18, 2001

Page 188 - When I first read the "Intellectual Capital" bit, I got nervous. Flashbacks to a client whose claim to fame was being the Human Capital experts. I was weak-kneed when I first heard the phrase early last year. I said, Hey. Don't be so sensitive. It makes sense. Value your people as highly as your other corporate assets. But then the pessimist reared her ugly head: Human Capital--humans as capital expenditures. No better than the beat-up laser printer on the third floor, a server, a monitor, a keyboard.

But that's not what you were getting at. So I put down the drink and the pills. I'm better now. In fact, I'm inspired by the idea that companies may actually one day value intellect this way. Reward and promote based on intellect, rather than billability. Ideas as currency. Set us loose--go forth and ponder, create, invent.

So I try not to rain on the parade I just joined. I see some of this coming to fruition in my own company. But in this horror of a market, it is always carefully balanced against billability, utilization, and any other ility and ation you can think of. In fact, it's almost a double-edged sword. We are enticed and encouraged to take the company in this direction.... but the unsaid is voiced just as soundly: Do it in your spare time.

For a while, this may have to be so. It just might be that we have to accept that. Yes, they'll let us do it. But no, It's not part of your job, not yet, and for now you won't be directly incented on it. Recognized? Yes. Sure. Great idea!!! Hey, she's a real asset. (For the corporate novice, that means you get even more work to do. But it also means you get to keep your job.) But incented directly to move the organization toward Web connections in ways that don't obviously relate to core services... not quite yet. But then, that's what Gonzo's about, right? Getting them to get religion. Inching toward it.

Right now, I'm okay with doing it split-personality style. Troops, we have to offer it up for the good of the cause. i.e., Sometimes it just bes that way.

more in a few... -j.

Well, it came today. Yes, the real book. No more funky orange galley with the ink rubbing off the back. Chinese food stains in chapter 3 (reader's doing, not author's). No collector's item here.

The real Gonzo? Cool cover--bullet holes and all. Peak underneath and and see who's on the cover. Who dat guy? Gonzo indeed. Most importantly, this book SMELLS awesome. Text-book yummy. I'm ready. Here I go.

Page 187 - Hmm. I would have thought differently. It's interesting that the Global 1000 may be in the best position to take advantage of unfolding micromarkets, at least initially. I would have thought it would be the smaller, more nimble companies--the ones founded around net belief. But I see where this chapter is going now--why the big guys may have the advantage and the incentive:
-They have the most to lose as advertising delivers fewer and fewer results.
-They have the money to test the waters.
-They have lots of "us" working for them.

Although these three motives are tied closely together, the last reason may be fundamentally important. I'm living proof. I work for global PR/marketing firm that's part of an even bigger communications conglomerate. And there are lots of "me" working for "them." (I wish there were more.) What I'm doing on this blog, my meanderings in HTML, on forums, in the vast online archives of ideas past, present, and future--all of this going on in tandem with my "real world" job. And all of this is making me better at my real world job--not as predictable, but better.

I'm meeting folks I wouldn't know unless we happened to win their business one day. Great people. SMART people. With really good ideas about blogging, kids, what makes marketing work and not work, why some companies suck to work for--stuff like that. So as this (so far) loosely-knit group of really cool people takes shape among organizations (hell, we all work somewhere--this Internet's an expensive addiction) a very important cross-organizational culture begins to emerge. We understand each other. We know the secret handshake. It's powerful. It is already amazing me. I'm so glad I caught the train.

So let's go on and see what we're going to make of all this. ... More later.

Wednesday, October 17, 2001

Page 170 - Oh Look! You're talking about blogs. I should have held that last thought in my head nine more pages. "One of the latest and most interesting additions to the suite of micromedia tools are weblogs--simply 'blogs' to the faithful," you say. Another interesting thing is that I read "additions" as "addictions." Hmmmm. At any rate, everything you say about blogging is so right on cool. Especially about the people writing them. (He says nice stuff--like, we're really smart).

In fact, I'm so excited to see you've written about blogs that I almost forgot about the incredible eye strain and sharp pain in my temple I've developed since I started blogging. Can barely see now, so I'd better get back to the book.

(half hour passes). I'm back. I got lost on Sweet Fancy Moses. I really did need that. And now, since I've done the pleasure of linking, let me share just a few lines from the inspired poem on the site, "Do Not Be My Groupie."

Do not be
my groupie
I am not so great
not necessarily deserving
of your warmth,
your soft blue eyes
your large, cantaloupe breasts
shaped like cantaloupe,
that famous melon,
which is often served with whipped cream.

At least at my house.

There's more--go see for yourself. Suffice it to say, this poem took me on an amazing journey inside the mind of a drummer--that half of the rhythm section known for its love of literature, fine wines, and things that go boom. (Get a load of the twist at the end of this poem, man. Whoa. I need to go lay down.)

The great thing about blogging is, as you remind us, there's no money in it...


That is to say, that there will be one day. That would be the good news. In Gonzo, there is hope for lucrative blogging. Wow. As you point out, micromarkets don't exist yet, but micromedia (like blogs) do. If I get it (and I hope I got it), blogs have the potential to be this networked web within a network. It's about open spaces, new territories. Who settles the territories? What's the culture? What's the weather like? What crops do you grow? Who will emerge as leaders?

So blogs are these kind of influencial settlements within a larger continent that is the Net. Weaving communities together, ground up. I like it--count me in.

But one last thing--when businesses finally do decide to come to interact with us, could you ask them to leave the small pox at home? That'd be great.

(Now, I must go rest up, because, with all the anticipation of a bottoms-up bottle of Ketchup, I await my read of--dum-dum-dum-dum.....--The Gonzo Model !)


Tuesday, October 16, 2001

Page 161 - On the subject of "subjectivity," engaged journalism, and the like, let me stand up and pledge my allegiance to the blog. A few days ago, I kind of knew what a blog was--been to blogger, read some folks' stuff, went about my novice noodling--but didn't think I'd actually have anything to say myself in one of these things.

In the midst of reading Gonzo (well really, I was still in the Introduction when the revelation hit me), I really wanted to talk about it. But who with? Book's not out yet. Husband's at work. Mom would be scared. Daughter might like the fancy graphics (cough), but she's only four. No need to alert her to what the work world holds in store for her at this tender age.

Blogging is the most natural outlet for voice that I've found. What amazing tapestries of voices they represent. No limit to topics. No IQ requirements. Nothing off limits. Unreal. Here is what I've learned about blogging in a nutshell:

Blog when you're mad. You'll save money on therapy.
Read them at night. They don't make sense during the day.
Play loud music while blogging--it drowns out the voice telling you, "It's not a good idea to say that."
Blogs taste best served cold.

While not exactly profound, it does point well to what you say about journalism, subjectivity, and the like: "We don't need press credientials to have a point of view."

So I blog on. And if anyone is listening (because this voice in my head is so loud, you must hear it), start blogging. It's time to make some news, shake something loose.

Rise up from your hibernation
These are the days of celebration
If you feel you need a boost to your pride
Ring the bell, let 'em know you're alive.
-LEADbelly, Wake Up

-see ya later.

Monday, October 15, 2001

Page 156. Objectivity. If I get what you're saying here, it ain't all it's cracked up to be--at least not in journalism today. And "Today" has turned into a heavy word. Heavier every day. It's amazing reading this book through a post-9/11 lens, as compared to how I would have read it pre. You remember pre? You wrote this thing pre.

What you discuss here--objectivity-turned-truth-hiding--is smacking us in the face right now. [Self to other self: Well jeez, no kidding, Jeneane, the whole country is embracing censorship because it's the right thing to do--to save our troops! What's wrong with you? Do you want American troops killed?] Okay, no. I don't want anyone killed... really. Well, a few people... Well, not really killed... I mean does killing the killer really accompli.... And who... Oh hell. I don't know.

These are the thoughts that hit me reading the book's public journalism thread during these electric times (is it a thread if it's in the book and I'm the only one responding? forrest... tree falls.. no one to hear it...) Anyway, ya, so, objectivity.

So here's what I think: From a media/journalism standpoint, Web conversations are going to be the only winner in America's New War. Why? Because I'm getting downright uncomfortable watching CNN and FOX-News and the like--I mean, do you see the looks on the faces of these broadcasters? If I'm right, no sooner do they put the mic down than they dive under their desks and slap on their secret gas masks. Right? I've never seen so many wrinkled foreheads staring and talking at me with this "I'm objective. Really. Just reporting the News here. Nothing to worry about. We're gonna get the evil ones." But their body language is incredible. The unspoken is unnerving. THEN to top it off, they've got like six windows inside of windows on my TV with all of these horrific stats and other reporter's heads babbling next to their new resident experts.... But that's not enough. Scroll me by some more anthrax cases at the bottom of my screen, Bob, I haven't had enough today. And why? Because the TV screen is flat and you can't hyperlink anyplace else. You can't escape. You have to absorb it all at once or not at all.

Someone, give me a Xanax, please!

Okay, now let's dis their Web sites while we're at it. Example, CNN:
Hey, Pete, Put up another still shot from the night scope, will ya? [HELLO--WE CAN'T SEE ANYTHING.] And, I know, on the top, let's put our ugly logo. Next to that, let's fill up the rest of the space with Larry King and a guest or two. In the little square just above the news, let's put a picture of Bush [good, i forgot what he looks like], then let's run the obligatory stories on the latest anthrax scare and airplane bathroom powder incident. Forget the left-hand menu bar. Just put some useless links there--no one looks at them anyways. That leaves us room to fill the lower half with CNN-contrived fact sheets, Q&As, and a really cool new thing called an "Explainer." [noodle on that word for a minute.]

Are things better over at Hell no. Same news as CNN and LOTS of pictures of their "powerful lineup." (Notice they had to put all these guys--and they are all guys--in a circle so no one's ego would explode from being placed beneath a trusted colleague.)

To save on prescription drugs, I go to the Net for my "news." There, I can find out what's "going on"--for these reasons: It's real. It's real quick when I want it to be. It can be all night long when I want it to be. I hear people's THOUGHTS not their REPORTS. Reports, you digest once. That's it. Belch.

Thoughts? What do they lead to? More thoughts. Opinions. Ideas. And sometimes... even resolution. Right? Am I on to something here?


Page 148 - Are you ready for this one? Sit down. The idea of boarder jumping and benchmarking you describe, where companies break down walls internally and externally in exchange for free-form communities, is catching on. I blogged a shout-out to my own employer eariler for the new feature added to our global Intranet that lets us regular guys start our own 'communities' -- unrestricted gathering places of our choosing -- on topics we think matter. And that's what makes it a bold move on their part. It's topics we think matter. Imagine... What community might I start? What might I join? We'll, let me hang with a bunch of writers--especially semi-psychotic mom writers who work from home (I know I'm not alone?)--and I'll be a happy camper. See, it doesn't take much. I'm not high maintenance.

Now, add on the capabilities to invite clients into these communities (yes, we can) and think of the possibilities. Immediately, I'm bonded with every other mom client because I know, through this community, her kids' names, what sports they play, that they were just diagnosed with asthma--and I say, "hey, mine too, and have you heard of Singulair, ya it's great, they take it once a day... And what nebby do you use... And the mask is better than the pipe at that age... And don't forget to put dust covers on her pillow..." Suddenly, I evolve from agency person to f-r-i-e-n-d.

Why should anyone care? Because agencies you shed. Friends you don't.

Bingo, bango... there you have it.

So, as digitally delayed companies begin to get this picture, hopefully they too will unleash and encourage their employees to build business this way... through good old fashioned chatting and gabbing. Note to monolithic enterprises: Don't be afraid to show your people off as the assets you claim them to be. You are gonna keel over when you see how smart some of them are.
Page 142 - I had never been to the Benetton web site before. I've always thought their sweaters looked comfy, but for some reason never managed to wander into the store. Overwhelmed by colors? Images? Maybe because I'm old enough to have kids old enough to wear Benetton? Who knows. But I have now officially been to their Web site.

If you were wondering whether or not they'd temper their renegade style--as advertising pundits now warn conservative approaches are "in" since the terrorist attacks--you can relax. They haven't. Add to the intriguing images they're known for --"horses coupulating in a field"--their current host of Web images... A belly button with the distinction of having been previously slit in half (probably not in the OR), a troop of volunteer Ugandan Soldiers, and a white-haired guy with his palm sliced open. Hey, I LIKE THESE GUYS!
Cause related marketing #2.... Children across America take part in an unprecedented event--a simultaneous Pledge of Allegiance. You figure it out.

Sunday, October 14, 2001


Page 136 - It would be trite here, wouldn't it, to pick up on the cause related marketing thread as it relates to the most obvious use of it this month? Seems that every organization in one way or another is cause relating the 9/11 disasters through any number of funds, blood drives, foundations and the like. The motivation is good--or I think it started out good. But I've read three articles and heard at least two talking-head newsies uncovering some ugly facts about the dough. So, well see where that all ends up, huh? Awe gee, I trust these guys, don't you?

But when I started getting emails about the 9/11 tragedy from the likes of my favorite permission marketing bullies like Lands End, Great Domains, and UPromise, that got my goat. If I'd have known you were going to talk about this stuff in the book, Chris, I wouldn't have deleted them in haste. Ah. I should read faster. Or you should write slower.

Message to above named vendors: I don't care what you think of the 9/11 events. What do you think I thought you felt? What does anyone feel? Did one of your strategy sharp shooters tell you that it was important to state your position on this matter of national importance? Did you think your competitors might be out there sending me emails that said: "We at would like to celebrate the events of 9/11 and recognize those responsible for their tremendous contribution to humanity"? Get a grip. Stop pushing the obvious at me. Tell me what I don't know. Stop talking to hear yourself talk. You're wearing me out.

Okay... enough on this tangent. There are plenty more waiting for me I'm sure. Later....
Page 125 - "Permission is the critical hurddle." I'm all over this right now. The giving myself permission thing. It is causing me lots of angst this day before Monday morning. You say that we have to give ourselves permission to speak--get past the fear. But it is scary. I wonder about organizational reverberations. Not that I've been slamming clients or management here--I haven't. No reason to. I work with some cool folks. But letting this voice out in the public domain... What will the boss think if he happens upon my blog? He's not the blogging kind, you know. Smart. Brilliant even. But not the blogging kind.

Do good girls really let it fly in blogs?
And should they in business?
Or do we drag the good girl to the altar and say bye bye forever? Seems extreme. I like her. Known her a long time.

So, I'm back to your voice permission idea. Seems to me this is the crux. Without it, the whole game gets called. So role model risk takers--like the ones you describe at Myrtle and other places--pave the way, saying, "Yes! You can be a respected pundit and twisted poet all at once. It's okay!"

It's okay.
spark to flame.
Page 112 - Here you have revealed an amazing truth: that imaginative speech is grounded in love. Wow. How else can you explain my two hours of sleep last night--trading in bedcovers for blogging on and on about Gonzo? Only one explanation--that I have fallen madly in love with the conversations inside this book--and especially with the ones going on inside my head right now. I'm whirling. So many new ideas that all come from familiar places. New meets old. Head meets heart.

Okay, so now I've traded in my depression from chapter 2 for a dizzy feeling--downright close to nausea. Like the first drag off a cigarette when you haven't smoked for two months. Feels good, feels gross all at once.

Thanks (I think).
Geez! I just realized I'm half way (more?) through this book and I forgot to comment on the dedication. Wow. Look at this sweet guy. A marvelous dedication of the book to the Laurie Doctor we EGR readers have come to know and whose sanity we hold in question in light of her long-lasting affection for Chris. Remember his first nervous moments re-discovering her? Now here we EGRers are with him still, the book dedicated to Laurie. It is an act of commitment I consider unspeakably brave.

And here's why. In the early days of email, secure logons, and passwords (remember?) I began using my dog's names as my passwords. You know, easy to remember. Aren't they sweet. That kind of thing. Then, one by one over the course of a year, the password-named dogs either died or ran away. I mean to tell you, Peanut, Bebop, Jazzy. Bam, Bam, Bam. As a result, I am irrationally paranoid of putting loved ones names in print. I won't use the name of any living organism as a password. Some might claim this attitude is superstitious. I say bunk; it's good old fashioned pessimism.

So cheers to you Chris Locke--for being man enough to push aside any number of DSMs and boldly plunge your flag of love into the fertile ground that is Gonzo.

That's all for now.

Page 105 - YES! Open Source Marketing. That is it--that is what this read of Gonzo is... an Open Source read! But, It can't be just me and the author. I have to find a way to let others join in. Otherwise, it can't possibly evolve into anything other than it is. To that end, whoever wants to jam, send me your email addresses and I'll add you to the Team (via the handy icon at the top of this here blogger). Come on; it'll be fun!

Page 111 - "I love language" - I love that line. Bumpersticker worthy even. I fell in love with it as a kid and never fell out. And the idea of Voice, which threads through Cluetrain and Gonzo, I love that too. Because, forever I have known that voice is the key, and yet, I never could explain that idea to anyone. Could not articulate it. Not even to other writers. Then these "books as conversations" came along, and I'm feeling high as a kite. Sure, you could say that's a little extreme. Sorry, I'm a nerd.

What passes as good writing is often voice that resonates. I mean, the stuff in this blog--it ain't good writing folks. I hope it resonates with some though.

Voice is more than writing. Voice draws you in, feels familiar, wraps around your head. People say, "I like Michael Criton's books." or "I'm a Stephen King freak." But when you pick up fiction, what grabs you isn't the writing. It's the voice. It's what you hear inside your head as you read.

Writing is an act--the act of fingertip to keyboard or pen to paper. Edit, spellcheck, post, and publish.

VOICE is the result. Voice is physiological. Voice resonnates. Voice is what turns a reader on or off. Draws an audience--or customer--closer or pushes them away.

Writing can't yell, or weep, or whisper. But voice can.

When voice feels right, you can't help but listen. The best skill a writer can hone is the skill of finding your own voice, and then, jamming--in other words, improvising. Twist your voice this way and that way. Turn it inside out. Play with it. Become a master of voice, and you can write anything for anyone. Better yet, because few in PR or marketing know how to use voice effectively, they'll marvel at what you do and pay you lots of money. And I suspect we'll be hearing a lot about voice and business in the next two year, thanks to Gonzo.

more later...
Reading Gonzo…engaged


My wanderings inside of Gonzo Marketing: Winning Through Worst Practices


Ah. Worst practices… I get it.

I think.

Doing the wrong thing at the right time. Like the lady at the World Trade Center who took the elevator to the ground floor after the plane hit the tower she worked in. Smoke and fire poured into her office, and although she knew you don't take the elevator in a fire, she got on and pressed the button that would take her to the ground floor. The result? She made it out of the building, while many of her colleagues are dead. I heard her on the news. She said something like, "I did exactly what you are not supposed to do, and because of that, I made it out alive." Today's organizations need to take these risks to make it out alive.

How is voice delivered on the Net? The evolution: Initially, email. Then, build your own homepage! Right now, it's blogs. What next? Interconnected communities of blogs or blog-like entities. Perhaps all hyperlinked together in a nearly untraceable map of interrelations… six degrees of separation? Every blog connected to every other not more than six blogs away? Can it happen? It is happening.

These interconnected 'places of voice' are not the communities we see today on Amazon and in other over-designed pre-fab online subdivisions, but instead real communities, with potholes and assholes--just like real life.

Page 12 - I pause. I worry about what this "America's New War" will do to our homes online. I worry at once about the online and offline world.

-Hendrix, Machine Gun, Band of Gypsies

Net markets are micromarkets. Absolutely fascinating. If not traditional demographics-if we have no previous behaviors, no history, if micromarkets are like a hundred push pins clumped in seemingly unrelated chaotic masses on my cube wall-then how do I target them? I'm used to seeing a single poster hung with four push pins, one in each corner. I can see the center of my target. I can predict. I can hit the center if I throw my pencil. But how do I target these clumps? How do I know whether or not my Anal Probe will sell?

Play is one essential ingredient shared between the organization and the voices. But real play. Not pretend brand-bolstering play… How will play among communities and members evolve when I can't touch. I can't wait to find out.


First matter of business… Yes, all your base are really does belong to us.

OH, you can't see me! I'm doing a dance just now. It's the "Market Research Is Dead" dance. We don't need no market research, we don't need no thought control, no dark sarcasm in the boardroom, marketers leave them kids alone.

That ROI, goddamn him.

The Internet-an alternative to mass media. Right. The Net is hostile to mass media. Laughs at it. Expels it in favor of me seeking out what I want to know, not you directing at me what I should want to know because that's what I once wanted to know… probably a really long time ago…

Passive yields to Active. Eyeballs to Voice.

Ideas create new markets. You are really going to confuse the Titanic Deck Chair Rearrangement Corporation with this one. I am afraid they may abscond with you, tie you to a leather wingback, and pelt you with any number of logo-emblazoned trinkets, from stress balls to those little magnetic word pieces. They will want to know-"WHAT SPECIFIC IDEAS, LOCKE? TELL US NOW, YOU ANTI-CAPITALIST BASTARD, OR WE WILL MAKE YOU VP!" Don't worry, we'll send help.

And the point is, Mass Media vs. The Net.

Companies vs. P-e-o-p-l-e.

Page 23 - How perfect the analogy of the dancing hamster to what organizations 'predict' will sell. Instead of reaching the conclusion, "Oh my God, we know nothing," they infer quite illogically that maybe they should rush Web services into developing an animated GIF of a dancing gerbil, or dancing frog-oh yes, or a dancing iguana-to display proudly on their homepage (assuming the magic must have something to do with animals small enough to fit in a glass fish tank). Can't see the forest for the trees.

It's not an equation; it's an experience, stupid.

Page 26 - the whole investor thing is interesting. Really, dot-com-dom was made possible by the generous contributions of rich white men trying to invest in the Internet. Literally. Invest in the Internet. Think about it-it doesn't work. Because investing in an Internet company is not investing in the Internet. No one owns it. It's a network. Connections, baby. Not a thing… but a thing that connects other things. Companies think they 'dominate' it, claim to 'leverage it' and build lots of gadgets 'powered by it'. But no one owns it. Get it? It's just a silly funhouse mirror to the offline world.

The last paragraph of pg 27 is beautiful.

Page 30 - I laughed out loud-snickered anyway. The office boy for Rage Boy™. That's good.

I'm scared about the Rageboy™ thing. Not your rageboy (no trademark here--I'm using it generically-notice the lower case), but the variation of rageboy you think we all have. How can I keep writing nice things about my coveted "blue chip" clients--and usually "as" one of my clients--if I admit to having a ragegirl inside of me. I can never ever acknowledge her.

Never ever let her out. Think of what could happen. Brands built by the grace of God and millions of dollars destroyed because I use the F-word in an article on The Future of Wireless in the Travel Industry…(yes, it gets that bad), or worse yet, hit the [send] button in an email that says what I want to say to a prissy editor who loathes the very existence of my kind, instead of the pithy pitch they're expecting. Oooooooh here she comes…. Ready?

"Please read our 'Getting Ink' section." Fuck you. I've gotten ink since you were in diapers you underpaid, pseudo-intellectual nobody. "Read our PR Dos and Don't's." Bite my ass. Here are three of my personal favorites:

  • Don't pick up the phone until you become familiar with our publication -- its mission, editorial focus, readership and deadline requirements. The best way to accomplish this is to study several issues of [our publication] {name deleted because it might really piss off CIO magazine} thoroughly and
    read [our] Media Kit.
  • Don't call editors or writers to confirm receipt of your unsolicited press releases or faxes. Use the "receipt" feature on your email or fax instead. We open every piece of mail addressed to us - you can safely assume we have received your correspondence.
  • Don't expect an answer to a story proposal overnight. Depending upon the demands of their schedules, our editors may not have the chance to review your proposal for two to three weeks. If you're idea is of interest, you will be hearing from us.

Could they be more condescending? How about these, for all of the mightier-than-thou Internet publication hacks who gave us grief over the last three years:

  • Don't patronize and piss off industry professionals who work for your publication for free-providing most of the stuff your readers pay you for.
  • Don't fill your publication with so many lame ads that it makes your magazine 600 pages thick and you have to start publishing it twelve times a month, you greedy fuck.
  • Don't look like an idiot when no one is buying ad space anymore, you have to layoff half your staff, and your magazine is now 3 pages and comes out twice a year.

I could go on, but I better reel her back in. Okay. You were right. That felt so good. I am sure it could get addictive. But in a profession where spin is the rule, not the exception, there is no room for a ragegirl. She must be squashed.

I am canceling my subscription to EGR--that man is a lunatic. He's got me talking all kinds of crazy.

Incidentally, now I know why you have an alter ego. So you can save your regular ego to fall back on when the alter ego gets you fired, huh?

Pages 39-41 - Did you get a new Explorer out of this deal? At my job, we now have the ability on our global Intranet to launch our own communities--it's just starting, so I don't know what kind of universe will take shape, but so far they aren't putting any restrictions on what communities we set up--and everyone has the ability and freedom to start and administer a community. As you can guess, single twenty-somethings across our network are all a twitter. It should be a fun experiment.


Pages 45-47 - Bring on the Prozac. For some reason, these pages are depressing me. The news is depressing me for starters… They just about offed Tom Brokaw, but luckily he has a minion opening his mail. Maybe the most depressing thing is the whole shoot-em-up you've just done to my old friend, the "value proposition."

You see, until the seeds sewn in books like Cluetrain and Gonzo germinate within companies themselves, then they will never ever accept from me, and other marketing do-gooders, that their "leading solution" can do anything but "deliver value by leveraging the power of the Internet to seamlessly connect marketplace participants in order to drive new efficiencies and cost savings." They won't let me say it any other way-it's the voice they pay dearly for.

They won't (not yet--hell Gonzo hasn't even shipped yet) pay those bucks for me to converse with their prospects... so that I can instead say that their beta release software might one day "let sellers find out what buyers are looking for through genuine online conversations, negotiate a deal, and then--voila--the transaction." For the same reason companies want to look like the big guys, paying for four-color bleeds in 12-page brochures that should be a page, they want to sound like the big guys. Until gonzo gets gooey, we're stuck writing the stuff you shoot holes in. It makes me feel kind of hopeless. Or useless. Hence the depressing mood I'm now in.

Let's continue. Maybe it will get better.

Pages 51-57 - Synchronicity. I just got off the phone with my friend, where I quoted Bobby McGee… freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose… been on my mind lately, and there it is on your page 51. As with my Pink Floyd reference earlier, I didn't know you quoted similarly until I got there. Which is really the beauty of writing as you review--you discover--engaged--you happen upon things. Beautiful really. I finally see a use for e-books…

Interactive reviews… write as you read… experience the book. Does a product exist for this? Read the book in the right hand column… Record your thoughts in the left… Somehow you co-write and revise what you are reading… giving it breath beyond the paper page. Continuing the voice--adding new voices to the author's voice… Then, we can merge this co-thinking, co-speaking, and co-mingling of ideas into a creation of its own. A daughter publication. And, the cycle could start again. Think of where we would end up--so far away from, and yet I suspect so close to, the original piece. Anyway… My God, How Did I Get Here?

Page 58 - Ught Oh. After that brief bright spot, my mood is getting darker. You are quite correct. Companies can't love. Oh such words of truth that so many people ignore… And I say, LISTEN TO LOCKE. Case in point. There was this brokerage company. 700 employees died in the WTC fire that melted metal beams, or had to make the most spine chilling decision any of us have ever witnessed (via the miracle of TV) to leap 100 stories to their deaths… or don't forget the other option; they could crawl under their desks and wait to be pancaked within 200 million tons of rubble.

Okay, so the CEO does what… He weeps. Sure, he's human. He's lost 700 of members of his "family," he said as he sobbed on a CNN interview, promising to do everything possible for the victims' families. Spared because he took his son to school on his first day of kindergarten, the CEO is alive. Almost all of his 'company' isn't.

SO what does he do? Ten days after the death of his extended family, he stops the paychecks. The families say, our loved ones are still missing-not DEAD (yet), you ASSHOLE! He says the insurance policies (you know those benefits they use to woo you to join their team) now have a cap of 100K. Sorry. If your husband had a million dollar policy to care for his four kids in private school--you'll have to take them out. Public schools in New York are really very good. It's a time of national crisis. We all have to sacrifice. I'm sure your house will sell. I feel your pain. I wish I could do more, but I really can't do any more than that. My company is in shambles. Really. I weep for you. Isn't that enough? [Ed. note-during this time, you couldn't access the company's web site.]

Here's my guess on what happened next: his PR Agency's Crisis Management team swept into action, grabbed him off the air, wiped his eyes, gave him a quick round of Media Training, and came up with a really great plan. This week he announced oh yes, he'll pay the salaries and has contributed $1 million out of his own pocket to a fund for the families of his company. In fact, the Web site (which is up again) now expresses the company's love for members of its 'family.'

"On behalf of all of us at Cantor Fitzgerald, I would like to express our deepest and heartfelt condolences for the loss of your loved ones in the World Trade Center tragedy. We want to do everything we can to be of assistance to you during this painful time. Through the cooperative efforts of the Cantor Fitzgerald, eSpeed and TradeSpark families, we are doing our utmost to quickly address and resolve all the issues that require attention. To that end, we are doing our best to maintain close communication with all of our families."

Ooops. I said the company name. Can I get sued for that?

Shame they didn't think of that first. He must have been busy on the phone with the payroll processing company saying-Hooo there, buddy; I can't pay 700 dead people. Stop the presses….

And I'll stop now. I don't know this guy from a bag of assholes, and I could be completely wrong about the course of events, and I'm sure he's a great guy. But the lesson remains the same: Don't mistake that the company you work for is different.

It's an organization, not an organism. It's not alive. And it's NOT your family.

Page 60 - Now I want to quit my job. What are you doing to people? I need to take my antidepressants, have one more cigarette, and go to bed. I'll see you in chapter 3.


Page 68 - You say synchronicity about your wiener/KOOLAID® experience. Earlier, I said synchronicity referring to our mutual summonsing of Bobby McGee. It's synchronicity, isn't it? I am afraid of this thing that is happening--I wonder something, and then you address it some number of pages later--usually about 6. But how do you know I've thought this thought, or asked this question? Are you writing the book still? As I read it? Or is this some kind of new personalization technique…. Permission reading…. Marvelous trick if so. Only through the miracle of the Internet.

Page 76 - Courtney Love. Hmmm. In the days of Kurt Cobain I thought she was no more than a sleezy sidekick who was likely at the root of his not-so-mysterious death. Then I started reading some of the stuff you reference here--most importantly, her reel against the record companies and her digital music philosophies. And I thought, holy shit--she's smarter than I am. So I'm glad to see her pop up here as a Hole turned 'marketing' heroine, or at least as a broad with a brain and a definitive voice… ragegirl indeed. Her music sucks, but I'd hire her for my management team in a minute.

Page 84 - "Today, competition is not coming from offshore, but from agile net startups catering to Web-based micromarkets that don't yet raise a blip on the demographic oscilloscope." Is it still so? I am hoping to add a hint of optimism here. I used to work with dozens of these nimble startups - watched many die - and now have a fresh roster of the big-old-mothers we all knew before the Net came along. When I was able to shed the big guys in favor of constructw@re, cyberoffice, Derivion, Per-Se, and Idapta…. Those were the days. Man, it was fun.

Today, like a newly sober attendee at an AA meeting, the old coots are admitting the error of their ways. Many have come back with a sense of humbleness they didn't have before. The nimble guys whipped their asses and made them shell out lots of money in order to outmarket and finally buy the little twirps.

Some of these old timers have even come to admit, "I don't know what we did wrong, but we've been doing something very wrong. (i.e., Ya'll may have something with this here Net.) My job sometimes feels like physical rehabilitation--I'm stretching out their stiff, tight joints and trying to re-teach heavy old limbs how to m-o-v-e. The jury is out. But some of them have begun to use their imaginations.

Does this mean you won't get to write gonzo 2? Yeh, right. Hey, I'm not an idiot!

Consumer networks. Uh-huh. I like the sound of that. It has rumblings. I am looking forward to this...

If you listen you can hear it
It's the laughter in the street
It's the motion in the music
And the fire beneath your feet
All the signs are right this time
You don't have to try so very hard
If you live in this world
You're feelin' the change of the guard
-steely dan, change of the guard

Page 94. Can I tell you my permission… uh intrusion marketing story? So I'm laying in a hospital bed. It's 5:30 p.m., the day after my six-hour emergency surgery, transfustion, and close-call with the grim reaper. I'm literally not doing so good. I had just hung up the phone with my Aunt Penny in New York. I'm thinking, Aunt Penny-she can always lift my spirits. The phone rings. I sling my IV lines out of the way and grab the receiver, tape pulling at the needles in my hand.
"This is (some asshole) with AT&T. I have some great news on how you can save on your long distance service…"
"Who? With What? This is my hospital room. I just had surgery. Are you out of your mind?" [click.]

Well later that day, I was feeling my oats (morphine does that), so I decide to get out my calling card (which I had used to place the call to my Aunt Penny), flip it over, and call the 800 number to say what in the fuck are you calling hospital rooms for? Well, I reach a poor call center sap. Talk about a lousy job. And I tell her about this most amazing experience-near death… surgery… hospital room… use my calling card… hang up… phone rings… want to save on long distance?… blah blah. I ask her, how on earth did you find me here and why did you call me-I was busy praying for my life. And she tells me the truth. They randomly track calls placed with calling cards, they see where the call was initiated from, and they call that number back to deliver their telemarketing message. And she admits this: They have gotten lots of complaints for people in hospital rooms who get these calls.

"It happens all the time," she says. "Sorry about that."

No free minutes. No we're working on fixing that. No we're ditching this stupid idea, don't you worry.

No more business from me.

Once I was off the morphine, I asked myself the kicker question: If the (asshole) had known he was calling me in my hospital bed, would he have made the call? You answer that. Think of the beauty of that strategy… The drugged patient says, "Sure, whatever, NURSE! My IV bag is empty." They shoot. They score.

By the way, I lived.

--Note: Spell check was unavailable due to blog maintenance at 2 a.m., so forgive me for errors. Be back later. smoke, meds, bed...--