Saturday, February 02, 2002


so how do you get the titles to show up? the title bar is up there, and the title you type in shows up in edit mode. but I must need to do something else? Hmmm.

I assume there's a Blogger template tag for the title that needs to be added to the template for this blog.
Jeneane has generously transposed to HTML and hosted one of my works, here
Wow Kevin! Much to look at and cogitate upon. Give me a couple of days.

It is true that the problem (or challenge) of networks is not new, and nor has it changed substantially in its essence.

It only appears that way to some people who haven't been paying attention, and have been distracted from the real problem by the decrease of their captive revenue flows. These (the captive revenue flows) were, in themselves, only an artefact of monopoly not of technology that happened to be shackled to the service of that monopoly.

As the Internet has shown, a technologically superior and egalitarian model is not only possible but highly to be desired by those who do not make their living from the perpetuation of monopoly.

I have written, in the course of my professional employment over the last decade, mountains of papers on this issue, but so far I have seemed to myself to be "the voice of one, crying in the wilderness."

What a breath of sweet fresh cool air Mr Isenberg's work was. Without the net it is highly unlikely I would ever have heard of it or him, or others like you who are as I am, determined to wrestle with this problem until it submits to rational enquiry.

Viva la Revolution! Viva la Internet! Viva la Blog!

Stupid networks and clueful radio

Denver, I posted a link to Isenbergs paper and several other good ones on the same topic on my own blog. Interesting convergences of ideas.

Also, I was listening to 'This American Life' today, and they were promoting the pledge drive in a very Gonzo, voice-driven way, interviewing someone about how pledge drives were like children begging for allowances. I vote for them as he most clueful radio show.
AND NOW, for another offer. FREE mug to the best design of our gonzo engaged logo for merchandise. I anted up the $35 hosting fee. I think that means I can sell gonzoengaged shirts. Unless the team poo poos it, since it's the team that makes this thing hum. If the dough pours in, I'm willing to put excess it in a kitty for charity or something creative I know the team will come up with at such time that we're rolling in dough. A trip for all of us? A cruise in the bahamas? Hey, it could happen.

Anyway, in addition to a graphic, maybe we should have - join the conversation (has that been used? I honestly am out of ideas today). Anyway, something meaningful that will bring more members maybe?

Awe, hell. Just throwing some ideas out there. Let me know what you think. I'm a little manic depressive lately. Can you tell?
so how do you get the titles to show up? the title bar is up there, and the title you type in shows up in edit mode. but I must need to do something else? Hmmm.

CONTEST NEARS END: Helen Razer is miles ahead in the "design a logo for Jeneane's allied blog" contest. Yes, well, she's the only one who's taken the bait too. Helen's gonna get a mug out of this one day and you'll all be sorry--unless you get your micrographx, corel, or other graphic engines humming. Don't miss out. Fame, fortune--or maybe just a mug--awaits you. (p.s., Helen, can you make me a version with dark blue type for merchandise and to match my "allied" blog color(s)? jpegs appreciated. I know, I know, I'm incredibly demanding. We ideologically circumspect types are.)

So, how's everyone liking the new features? Denver, you still looking for your missing post? Doc Searls' blog probably ate it. :-)
Shoot, I just entered a post and it went away... zippp. Gone. The post said something about how spellchecker works like a chump, ummm chimp... that is champ, and how I wanta use my upgraded version to demo a prototype of some "collaborative work space" for a customer. Then I hit the post button and away it went, into a bit bucket somewhere. Now I'll admit to fooling with the current/future/drafts tabs while composing, so somewhere someone may think he's writing the Googlesberg Address and actually have my insights there instead... well, he's bettah off. Anybody check the library of congress to see if my errant post ended up as the declaration of independence? How does the wayback machine work Sherman?

Friday, February 01, 2002

Blogger Pro--New Features (ready now!):

Spellchecking. If your embarrassing typos have skyrocketed since we had to take spellchecking out of the free version (because it stopped being free for us), don't fret. It's back in Pro and without ads. (Note: Windows only for the moment.)

Title Fields. An optional title field is available in the posting form, as well as in the template. Save formatting time if you like to give your posts headlines.

Image Posting. Easily upload and post photos (and any other type of file) from within the Blogger editing interface. (Not yet available for Blog*Spot blogs.)

Post to the Future (or the Past). Adjust the time a post is published, so you can move items around on your blog—or even post to the future.

Draft Posts. Ever have a thought you don't have time to complete at the moment? Just mark the post as a "draft." It won't be published and will be there for you to come back and finish later.

BlogSend. Broadcast your blog via email. Let readers subscribe to get your thoughts in their inbox on a daily basis, or by post, via your own one- or two-way mailing list. Increase reach, readership, and feedback.

Post Templates. If you routinely include similar text or HTML in your posts, create a Post Template and save loads of tedious typing time.

Secure Logins. For higher security, your password is encrypted via SSL whenever you sign into Blogger Pro.

Better Internationalization. Ninety-two languages/locales are now available for the date formatting (and now, most of them are even done correctly!). Plus, a ton of new timezones (I think we have them all now).

--enjoy ya'll!
Team, I just upgraded to "blogger pro." I'm not totally sure what it means to us at this Blog, except that we should have the latest and greatest features--that and the $35 less in my pocket. I think it's time to start selling GonzoEngaged t-shirts to cover the cost of blogging, huh?

Anyone else savvy with blogger pro yet?
Yep, agree emphatically. I take it you've read The Rise of The Stupid Network, by David Isenberg, and hence your use of the term?
No-one knows what will be useful is another great argument for a stupid network.
Personally I believe that 3G and even DSL will be eclipsed by grassroots 802.11 buildout, but linking access points with fibre is still worth doing.
Peter Cochrane (former CTO for BT UK) wrote a fascinating paper (PDF version here) on why telcos won't get it right, that basically comes to the same conclusion.
Kevin: Great point. I agree with the statements on these assumptions, but it kind of reminded me of some time I'd spent in a working group looking at Internet2 possibilities. There was a lot of general agreement that "the telcos" couldn't see the benefits of I2, just as it took them years to realise the value of the net the first time around. But my response was to remind them that the telcos are just a business like any other. Where they can see income they'll invest a proportionate amount, but where they can't see it they won't make the investment. There's nothing mysterious or particularly backward about this, other than perhaps their lack of vision.

But given the sharp decline in the whole telco industy over the last 18 months it is a brave person at any telco that asks their bosses to punt on something as (to them) speculative as I2.

OTOH, I'm not sure that I agree that telco engineers are deliberately assuming that point source broadcasts will drive the networks of the future. I've recently been working in this very field, in fact my last task was to design a complete telco architecture for our national carrier, and our reigning assumption was that we would never be able to predict where the traffic would be originating nor where it would be terminating (except in very gross terms, a la CBD's, core services nodes, major corporates, etc). Even where we felt certain that the bulk of traffic would be addressed we built in large variability over the whole net to account for rising unpredictability in the future.

One example we used was Weta Studios, the production house owned by Peter Jackson, and makers of The Lord Of The Rings series. This studio is situated in a suburban house in a non-commercial area of Wellington (New Zealand) and during the production process has been transferring gigabytes of footage in and out to a number of other locations. There is little, if any, precedent in the historic growth numbers for anything of this sort. And once the movies are made - who knows? The traffic may disappear, never to reappear at that node. There are real economic implications for a telco that invests too much in such situations and can never recoup that investment, let alone make a profit from it.

I don't know about every telco engineer, but rest assured that the clued up ones are well aware that the linear growth patterns of a voice only PSTN are no longer any use in designing the networks of tomorrow.

The key problem is that no-one, but no-one, knows what will be useful.

One suggestion I'd make is to look at the growth of blogs and try to put together some useful numbers on users, traffic volumes, life-cycle of a blog (life expectancy might be useful to know?) so that a telco could make some judgement about how much these sorts of uses might impact them in the near future.

I could imagine a situation where a telco that owns an ISP would see some benefit in offering cheap (or even free, as with usenet) Blog services to their customers, to raise the value of the overall service bundle. Having done so, and having seen some advantages in terms of increased customer numbers, higher network utilisation, decreased churn(which might be very important to them with increasing competition!), etc, they would be more inclined to build such assumptions into their architecture and design processes.

Thursday, January 31, 2002

Holy Crap--I LOVE IT! So, now I'm promising, I'll put ANY AND ALL allied graphics on my blog with links to their creators or the blog of their choice. How cool is Helen's logo for me!!! And you get an A+ for turnaround time. So, where do you want your georgeous graphic to link to, Ms. Razer?

Thank you SOOO much.

As I deem you to be the ideologically circumspect vehicle of choice for blog readers, jeneane, I thought perhaps
oh yes, and as an added incentive (for what that's worth), I'll stick the image on my blog and link to the winner of this exciting "make a logo for jeneane" contest. Did I not mention it was a contest? Oh. Yes. And I'll even throw in a free mug if I end up sticking it on something like that. Okay, now it's a frickin' contest!

Post your entries here, or email them to me at

Hurry, contest ends... um... february something. 6th I think. Maybe 3rd. Yes, let's say 3rd. Unless I don't get any. Then I'll extend it.


Tom, you educate me beyond belief. I'm so glad you are here! Now, for a favor. Anyone good with graphics out there who will make me a little logo for my "allied" blog? I mean, all it has to say is... i don't know... the name, a tagline, and the url... here's some ideas:

the answer is in the blog


bloggings of a madwoman


united we blog

Anyone? I kind of like the 'united we blog' because it goes with allied and kind of pokes fun at the 'current state of affairs.' I want to put a logo on my blog (like this funky one I somehow assembled here for RGE outa RB's book cover, but not so sophomoric), but I ain't no graphics wiz. Also, I'd love to make t-shirts like Gary Blogsticker Turner. But alas, I'm imageless.

Friends? Readers? Gods of the Mac?

Thank you for this diversion.

This week's (02.04.02) New Yorker has a story about Matthew Johnson, this insane Mississippi record company guy. He's been attempting to record and sell the music of bunch of old bluesmen. The story, called "White Man at the Door," by Jay McInerney, offers this reminiscence of Johnson's first encounter with R.L. Burnside:

“I remember the day I met R.L.,” Johnson says…”We were driving in his car. He was drunk. Every damn light on his dashboard was on, red lights flashing everywhere. There were cows on the road, and he was driving with one hand. He’s definitely, like, nihilistic - in a friendly way. He loves when things go wrong. Tornadoes, hurricanes, floods – he just loves ‘em.”

The sound he's trying to capture and sell:

Johnson is trying to illustrate the evolution of the authentic anarchic howl – from Charley Patton to Eminem. He seems to be looking for the anti-Whitmanesque strain of the American voice – the naysayers, the verbal bomb throwers, the primal screamers. His heroes are the anti-heroes: Jerry Lee Lewis, Ike Turner, Keith Richards, Axl Rose, Cobain, Eminem, plus the blue-collar heroes Lynyrd Skynyrd and Kid Rock. Genre be damned – in his mind, these are the true descendants of the lonely, libidinous, and eternally damned Robert Johnson, the true kin of Burnside and Ford.

Accused of ignorance, exploitation, and even bad taste, Johnson was unfazed: “I’ve been trying to sell out for years. I just never knew how before.”<br>
David Reed said in 2000: Collaborative creative spaces. With broadband networks we are reaching the point where "pickup" creation is possible - where a group of people can create and work in a "shared workspace" that lets them communicate and interact in a rich environment where each participant can observe and use the work of others, just as if they were in the same physical space. Yet the architects who would make the network intelligent are structuring the network as if the dominant rich media communications will be fixed bandwidth, isochronous streams, either broadcast from a central "television station" or point-to-point between a pair of end users. These isochronous streams are implicitly (by the design of the network's "smart" architecture) granted privileges that less isochronous streams are denied - priority for network resources. There are no mechanisms being proposed in these architectures to allow new applications that may be more "important" squeeze out isochronous traffic. Is it really the case that tight timing requirements of packets in a voice stream means that those packets' delivery should always take precedence over events with loose short-term timing, but vast societal impact? That is what these network engineers take for granted.

I think he's onto something again, and lots of other smart network engineers agree with him. How about some Gonzo support for these ideas - Any suggestions?

Wednesday, January 30, 2002

Gotcha b!x. And emphatically agree. Seems they urgently require the services of Marek J and the rest of the TDCRC.
but I think you've somehow sidestepped the purpose of such comparisons.

Actually, no. I was dismissing the purposes as irrelevant to anything truly useful. I understand that it's important to the corporation owners of these channels, and their shareholders, to see these figures. But if these figures represent a fight over an increasingly small share of the potential market for news and opinion -- as more and more people tune out from the bullshit and the claptrap -- what's actually important to note (but is ignored as a presumptively-unimportant matter when such figures are reported) is that the figures are actually irrelevant, the fight is irrelevant, and the companies and shareholders are trying desperately to live in a world where these ratings reflect anything of true importance.
You're right b!x but I suspect that this isn't what they're used for.

I suspect that these figures are being used:
1) by the company to add to their allure to potential shareholders
2) by potential shareholders/brokers/etc to judge the allure of the companies shares

That is why, I suspect, they are measured against their *direct* competitors, rather than all other media types.

I mean, how would *you* react to an item that said: CNN had 647,000 viewers while Google had 2,928,844,236 hits - last month. ??

What would that mean to you, when you're trying to decide which cable company to invest in? Or even which industry? Would those numbers alone be of any use whatsoever?

I'm not decrying the substance of your point, I do think that the net has had and will have a vast influence on these matters, and the losses of telcos trying to become content providers are legendary and frighteningly large, but I think you've somehow sidestepped the purpose of such comparisons.
Hang on a sec b!X, you are comparing the average viewers for a program to the total monthly vistors to an entire domain.

Why is it that everywhere I bring this up, people ignore my "not entirely fair or direct comparison" disclaimer, which I have been careful to always palce near the top? People really don't need to re-state back to me what I've already disclaimed.

The point is that X hundred thousand people watching a news network is nowhere near the X millions making use of online media, regardless of what the specific uses are. And so the cable news figures are entirely useless as a basis for determining anything actually useful or repsentative about news media use.
Hang on a sec b!X, you are comparing the average viewers for a program to the total monthly vistors to an entire domain. You're out by a big factor here. Which is not to say that either figure means anything useful. I see this bizarre mentality all the time as people cite dubious 'reach' figures for QT and WM, and say far fewer people have QT than WM, ignoring the fact that far more people have either than will ever visit the site they are making, and that they don't have to rely on these very fuzzy estimates, as they can conduct a complete census fo their own site vistors anyway.

Jonas is badly wrong, and should be sent some reading matter, like this and this.

Or maybe he should just be left to lose his shirt on making content that he controls, which no-one wants to watch.
Someone on a mailing list I'm part of posted from viewership stats for the cable new channels:

During January, Fox averaged 656,000 viewers while CNN had 596,000 viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research. MSNBC had 296,000 viewers. In Nielsen's cable measurements, a month ends on its last Sunday. In prime-time, Fox averaged 1.1 million viewers, CNN was at 921,000 and MSNBC had 358,000. Fox beat CNN during two months last year in prime-time, but by smaller margins. And it has never won in Nielsen's 24-hour average.

And all I could think of was how miniscule a portion of the pie these channels are fighting over. Okay, it's neither an entirely fair or direct statistic comparison, but look at the "audience" stats for online media. We're talking tens of millions, and the news networks are fighting in the arena of hundreds of thousands. Who cares?

In the list convo it was asserted how stupid all these people were for watching FOX over CNN. But demographic and ratings stats are all so specialized and insular that they have almost no relation whatsoever to any greater -- and therefore actually meaningful -- context. Maybe half of those watching morons on FOX (or CNN) are screaming "You stupid fucking IDIOTS!" at their televisions, in which case they aren't stupid viewers at all. Who knows. Which is my point.

These cable news numbers of miniscule by comparison to the Internet. And they don't mean anything to anyone except those concerned with the fight over an ever-shrinking audience, leaving the vast majority of viewers/users/audience/consumers/citizens to on their own merry ways elsewhere.

It's all so damnable irrelevant, but it gets reported as important.

So who put the RANT in my coffee this morning?
To slightly digress into the realm of corporate control over channel and content, see this NY Times story (encountered via Ditherati) in which the chairman of IDT has this to say:

"Sure I want to be the biggest telecom company in the world, but it's just a commodity," Mr. Jonas said. "I want to be able to form opinion. By controlling the pipe, you can eventually get control of the content."

Lest anyone continues to believe that such people aren't attempting to take control intentionally rather than just as some byproduct of conducting business.
KayPro II, 1982. I got so fascinated by it that I ended up teaching myself assembler and becoming a columnist for the KayPro user's magazine on the machine's inner workings ... the first step in a career built on writing on topics about which I am completely unqualified. First site:, 1994.

BTW, I blogged this morning about whether you can trust commercial voice, with a reference to GM and a link to this blog.

Tuesday, January 29, 2002

First Computer: Commodore PET. First program sold in 1979 to this chap from Kalle Infotec, to help him sell this exciting new concept called the Fax machine.

First got online in 1985 at Cambridge, and got linked using GROGGS and of course MUD and for multiplayer networked action games, Bolo.

First Usenet post Jan 1st 1994.

First website probably in 1996ish, though I'd put togther an offline HyperText system incorporating images, video, sound and text markup for a group of Veterinarians in 1992.

First computer - started messing around on friends C-64's in 1984 (back in grade 4) - type in all day only to see a bouncing ball - hard to believe that GEOS could run on that thing (btw, our world would be a better place if Geos had become the standard instead of Windows on PC's). First computer I owned was a Tandy Color Computer, the only cool thing about it was that it has Q-Bert. I wish I had a Timex Sinclair but oh well....

First webpage - sometime in 1994 while connecting online via my AT and 9600 bps modem via a shell account via GeoCities. On further inspection, it was normal then but hasn't aged well. It got me addicted.
First computer: Xerox 860 in 1982, followed by a Mac 128, signed on the inside by Jobs and crew, which my business partner later donated to the public school system before I could SCREAM!

First date of connection: PAN Network, 1988, at a price of $79 a month for access to this now-prehistoric worked-some-of-the-time text-based musician's exchange. They are still around, but have obviously adopted a different business model and an only slightly better graphical approach.

Built first web site: Feb of 1996. (long dead, still living courtesy of the way back machine). It stood toe to toe in its day, and on futher inspection, it still ain't bad.

For us people who have been online for a long time, I think it was sites like GeoCities that got a lot of us going

Egads. That must make people like me who were putting stuff online when there was only gopher and a line-mode web browser ancient.

I. Am. Not. Old. At. 32.
After reading the book, it wasn't so much, "What is he doing to people?", it was more, "finally someone is making sense!". I have never agreed with the traditional ideas that we all flocked to the internet to buy stuff from and WebVan, we came to have discussions like this and to be heard. For us people who have been online for a long time, I think it was sites like GeoCities that got a lot of us going (my site went online before they had 100,000 users and Yahoo! wrecked it) with the potential of the net, again it gave us a voice.

I took a class recently at a local college and was dismayed when the prof showed no interest in anything any of us said. He had his handouts ready and didn't care anything about what the class thought. Once you get your voice, having it ignored is something that you remember. Gonzo and CT made that clearer to me than anything else I had read.
No comments:
Life Blogs, Baby!
In case you haven't seen yet, Steve MacLaughlin of Saltire fame has started a cool new blog all about Satellite Radio--hence the blog's name SatRadio. Go take a read so one day you can say, I remember Steve when....
Jordon, I had an equally physical reaction reading GM. I remember thinking, what is he DOING to people? But keep the faith. It gets better when you start to notice the small ways in which things are changing.
Tom, Hee hee. Sorry bout the name thing, Shug. (is that short for sugar?) At least my little error got you posting. I could claim I did it on purpose, but I simply screwed up. Glad you're here.

Marek, you twisted son of a crack pipe, glad to see you back!

Dear Jordon:
I am glad you took advantage of our Titanic Deck Chair Rearrangement consulting practice Stage One -- Break Your Company.
We are also happy you chose to apply Derailment service from Clutrain Division at no charge to you.
We look forward to being your vendor of choice for years to come.

Respectfully yours
Marek J.
Chief Derailment Manager of the Rulebreaker Division of TDCRC

Thanks for the plug, Janeane. However, you introduced me to the group by my screen name instead of my real name. I'm Tom Shugart, actually, and Janeane has been too nice to me for me to get mad at her.
Looking forward to getting going in blogging, and to some good reads here--as well as getting further into Gonzo, which I've only skimmed to date. But, clearly I'm intrigued.

Monday, January 28, 2002

When I picked up Cluetrain, I read it in one sitting and started to feel sick. I was (am) in the middle of writing a book and as I was reading it, I realized, Locke is right and I am not. Gonzo only re-inforced that sick feeling. Everything I have ever read on branding and positioning was becoming garbage. The sick feeling grew as I knew that the way I had done my job was based on branding and positioning the organization.

At the same time I couldn't put either book down. I knew they were right and I knew that is why I had been drawn to the web, to participate in discussion and share my voice. great books but they wrecked months of work!

I've added someone to the team--one Tom Shug--who's relatively new to the notion of blogging and thinking about starting his own. I am cheering him on based on the wonderful stuff he writes in the emails he's sent me, a piece of which follows:

Suddenly, its 1958. I'm sitting in my college pad in the attic of a cheesy rooming house. My on-top-of-everything buddy, Jack, hands me a book of poetry and says, "fasten your seatbelt." It's Allen Ginsberg's "Howl" It's one of those moments you never forget. I'm practically leaping out of my chair. I know, instinctively, that somehow, somewhere, the revolution we didn't know we were hungering for has begun.

It was ten years before the streets spilled over, but, believe me, there were plenty of discussion groups going on in the interim--perhaps not so different from GonzoEngaged--people not wanting to live The Lie any longer--ferment and urgent inquiry simmering beneath the surface of the bullshit gentility of the time.

Uh, yeh, I think Tom's got a future in blogging...

You don't have to be a spammer to be a proponent of demographics-targeting personalization marketing.

Ai - that was my point I think. We may be approaching some sort of violent agreement.
Dilbert asks the key question. This is really the question Clay is asking, but the other way round - how do you know that the ad spend in FMCG or CPG or whatever you call them is actually achieving incremental sales?
What quantification techniques are used, and could one try the same techniques with Gonzo campaigns?

This reminded me of Ruth Shalit's articles in Salon a couple of years ago, such as this one about the superego of the Pillsbury doughboy. Lots more here
One tru b!x: You may be right. (I may be crazy.) But he also shits all over customisation - but only as it is (ab)used by people who think "SPAM=marketing".

Well, he seems to send personalization for a stay with the Tidy Bowl man. I don't know how opposed Locke is to customization in terms of a user making his own little information portal, per se. The argument appears to be that personalization is Just Another Demographic Tool for Command and Control, rather than any honest engagement with online markets. You don't have to be a spammer to be a proponent of demographics-targeting personalization marketing.
Mike Golby: I wasn't questioning Amazons quarterly results, but simply that these mean what they were implied to mean. Reading the article cited, they appear to have well over 2 billion in accumulated losses, with 900 million on hand. To me, this means they are quite some way from being profitable, although they have (for one quarter at least) stopped losing money I think it's still a bit early to be proclaiming Mr Bezos as "right" about anything.

One tru b!x: You may be right. (I may be crazy.) But he also shits all over customisation - but only as it is (ab)used by people who think "SPAM=marketing".

This guy (asscrawler) is a living monument to the notion that reality is an ironic aside.
So this boob is afraid of boobs. Wouldn't you know it? I hear there are some extra burqas lying around in Afghanistan--that might be a cheaper solution to his little problem with the Spirit of Justice.
Anybody else in the middle of reading Bombast right now? I stayed up half the fricking night glued to Chris' brain surgery and other brain altering experiments. I feel strung out just from having read it--can't imagine living it. Although, having lived in Rochester without doing acid, I think I got the raw end of the deal. No matter what you think of GM, or the state of marketing, or whether you're to the left or the right of the cluetrain (or onboard), you have to admit that Locke is an astounding writer and story teller and Internet historian. Anyway, just thought I'd check in because I thought I'd read a few of you who said you were also reading Bombast. Wondering your thoughts so far.

here's to monday (ugh).

Apropos an earlier post questioning Amazon's 4Q profit. Here's another.
How about this for a relevant quote:

"Samlermennesket dukker frem igjen, men nå som informasjonssamler. I denne rollen er det elektroniske menneske en nomade i like høy grad som sine paleolittiske forfedre" (McLuhan citeret i Bakke & Julsrud 1996: 5).

"The hunter gatherer is cropping up again, but now as an information gatherer. In this the role the electronic man is a nomad just as much as his pæleolithic forefathers" Marshall McLuhan.

- Andy A
This is a strawman I think, since that ain't what Mr Locke ever said. Indeed, what he said could perhaps be better paraphrased as "If you want to do mass marketing on the web, you'd better not do it the way you do it on TV or Radio."

He seems to shit on "mass" too much in the book for this to have ever been what he was trying to say.
Tom, AT&T's equity went into a huge bet on circuit switching aginst packet networks. Packet networks are simpler, cheaper and more efficient. They do require more subtle billing, but most telco's don't want to overhaul their billing systems to enable this, as that would involve writing off their exisiting investment. I can dig you out some links if you like.

Clay, you are missing part of the point of Gonzo. A big chunk of time in any business environment is speant in having conversations with people - colleagues, people you are buying or selling to, or just water cooler chats. As originator of the term 'render wander', I appreciate that many jobs often include times when you are waiting on something or someone. Historically this would mean reading the paper, or chatting about last nights game. The net lets you use this downtime to tallk in public, as we are doing here. Enlightened employers encourage this, or at least don't condemn it, as it adds value to the employees insight and hopefully to the companies perception.

I work on QuickTime at Apple as a software engineer. While compiling code, I join in many mailing lists loosely related to video, media and so on. I don't spend all my time selling Apple or QuickTime, but when it is relevant I'll mention them as options. I think this works - someone recently paid me the compliment that if you are looking for information about an aspect of QuickTime, adding "Kevin Marks" to your google query improves your hit quality no end.
I think there's a bit of terminological confusion here.

First of all, you've switched from criticising GM for saying that traditional spammer marketing methods (one way, full noise, low brow, etc) don't work on the net, to now saying that it claims mass marketing of any sort can't work on the web.

This is a strawman I think, since that ain't what Mr Locke ever said. Indeed, what he said could perhaps be better paraphrased as "If you want to do mass marketing on the web, you'd better not do it the way you do it on TV or Radio."

Apropos of which I would note that neither Tescos nor Amazon are nuts enough to spam their actual or potential cutomers with loudly insulting crap.

For example:
Human voices are expensive, and products like bleach don't do well with expensive marketing -- how much more bleach are you going to get someone to buy by engaging micromarkets? and at what cost?

Isn't that what I said?

i.e. True, But Clay still has a point: I don't want to listen to engaging voices discussing bleach any more than I want to be spammed about it across 7 different media.

Not the exact words, but I was agreeing with you on that point. There isn't any milage in changing from a low cost to a high cost method when the low cost one already works. Not for me the customer and not for you the marketer.

Why do you think I started my rant with "Clay, you got your head screwed on straight mate" ?

Did you think I didn't mean it?

I did, sincerely.

I didn't say (or didn't mean to say) that the web is inherently inimical to mass marketing, but it surely hasn't shown any signs of rewarding the traditional broadcast techniques which have been unthinkingly attempted. There's an important difference here I believe.

And, just in passing, I'd note that Amazon is far from making any profit. It *may* survive and indeed prosper - I sure hope so, I buy a lot of stuff off them because I (mostly) like the way they operate - but it is far from certain. IIRC, they are still well over 2 Bills in the hole. Hardly a shining example by any means.

Send Lawyers, Guns, and Money - the Shit has hit the Fan
- Warren Zevon

Sunday, January 27, 2002

b!x, I think you're coming at what I'm coming at, from a different angle. Gonzo, from my point of view, *isn't* about selling bleach, but most marketing dollars go for products like bleach, or toilet paper, or dishwasher detergent. Where I think Cluetrain is right, and Gonzo is wrong, is in being too literal about the nature of 'markets are conversations.' Human voices are expensive, and products like bleach don't do well with expensive marketing -- how much more bleach are you going to get someone to buy by engaging micromarkets? and at what cost?

Denver's answer is "I don't buy bleach on the net", but that misses the point -- just because he doesn't do something on the net doesn't mean no one does it. To takes Tom's call for examples, take a look at what Teso is doing with online groceries. Two points of note: their current home page features a contest relating to diswasher detergent -- doesn't get much more mass market than that -- and they are the world's biggest online grocery store, and growing like mad -- $450 million in revenues last year, $22M of which was profit.

So Denver's idea that the net is inherently inimical to mass marketing seems to me to be off the mark -- if people are making money doing it, it isn't going away. Tesco is making money doing it, as is Wal-Mart, and Amazon, etc. In this view, Gonzo is an addition to the marketing mix, not a replacement.

Sometimes examples help. This brief one to suggest the nature of changes are taking place due to market forces that include consumer choice, but go beyond it: I used to use AT&T for long distance. The company's "brand" bollocks of reliability, quality and service was good enough for me. As a journalist, I remember about 6 years ago asking an AT&T spokesman if the company had any qualms about voice-over-net technology. None whatsoever, the more the merrier, etc., came the reply, with the assuredness of a Titanic engineer. Cut to today - AT&T stock is shit; it's losing customers to companies like ZoneLD - (not a VON play, just a cheaper way to bill and service accounts). Now when I tell telemarketers for AT&T or Worldcom that I pay 4.5 cents a minute anytime, day or night, with no monthly fee, they melt away. When another AT&T rep explained to me that I am paying $1.50 for the privilege of being presented with AT&T's monthly bill, and that anytime I make a calling card call over their lines from a pay phone, the meter starts at $5, I offered the observation that there was no surer way to guarantee that I and many others would never use their lines, services, hardware or investment opportunities again. There is a trend out there, I think - a growing one - in which old industrial stalwarts like AT&T are adopting the nickle-and-diming-to-death tactics of rural Georgia police departments (no offense, Jeneane), homeless windshield washers, and entirely disreputable appliance service cheeseballs. In fact, that is what it is: the cheeseballification of the industrial elite. The question is, where did that AT&T equity go?

Cafepress is the shiznit. I wonder if they are making money. They've been around for quite awhile now, but I don't know if I've ever seen any ads for them. Could they really have lasted this long purely on word of mouth from all their satisfied store owners like myself?
What about "All your blog are belong to us" ?
Whe who are transforming the fucking world are in the house. I write to Gary Blogstickers Turner and say, Gary, let me know when you have t-shirts and stuff, because I want to wear one to my family reunion, and crap I think it would be cool to walk through the halls at work with my bogsticker mug. We exchange a couple of emails on how to, how it might work, then Gary shoots me this email:


Subject: Re: okay, merchandise now?
Date: Sun, 27 Jan 2002 18:56:48 -0000
From: "Gary Turner"
To: "Jeneane Sessum"

how's that for time to market?



I proudly dropped 30 bucks on a mug and shirt. Anticipating bumper stickers and caps. But don't wait, go get your blogwear on!

True, But Clay still has a point: I don't want to listen to engaging voices discussing bleach any more than I want to be spammed about it across 7 different media.

I don't recall gonzo being about this either, but hey maybe RB does some sort of weird 180 in the last 1/3 of the book and I should hush until I'm done.

But somehow I doubt it.
True, But Clay still has a point: I don't want to listen to engaging voices discussing bleach any more than I want to be spammed about it across 7 different media.

What I think Clay is missing is the central differences between the net and the broadcast media:

1. A fundamental difference in the *nature* of the medium (many to many/bidirectional as opposed to unidirectional/one to many)

2. A massive difference in demographics.

The net is not TV (as if that needs stating) so it is not really a source of wonder that insulting TV ads don't particularly work on it.

Does anyone imagine we fervid freakshow fetishists are making a TV program?

What do they imagine? Survivor?

There is no TV analog to Blog. notwithstanding, there is no broadcast radio analog to Blog. The astounding science fiction successes of online news magazines and papers notwithstanding (HA!), there is no print media analog to Blog.

There is no top-down, insult shouting, work or get fired, 2% efficient, elitist bullshit, 127 GigaWatts, analog to Blog.

There is no analog to Blog.
I've already gone this round with Shirky. He doesn't get it. You gotta talk math. There's a duality going on that doesn't lend itself well to equations, multiple math problems going on simultaneously. Too complex for this chick to explain. Anyone?

Now its obvious to me that Gonzo will work well in places where cost is large (e.g. cars, computers), so that there is enough money to pay for real human voices, but I am fairly sure that Gonzo will not work where cost is already small, i.e. high-volume/low-margin commodities -- bleach, beer, flour, rice, on and on, the stuff that accounts for most marketing dollars spent.

Um. Did I miss something? Where was it argued that the point of gonzo is to pay for real human voices as if real human voices aren't already inside companies -- they're just not getting paid for using those voices. None of this has anything to do with having to hire more people. On the company end, it's about getting out of the way of the real human voices that already exist.
No, I got that shit OK Clay.

Just letting you know its mutual.

But I don't buy bog rolls or bleach on the net.

See? You're still assuming that the net = mass market in there somewhere, aren't you?

The phone call thingy? I suspect nobody knows who made it up to impress whom. I'd bet a Democrat invented it myself.
Half the world has yet to make a phone call.

I doubt this statistic. Where does it come from, and more importantly, when? because I think global teledensity is too high for this to be accurate.

I *will* have your respect and your consideration or there will be NO SALE! Now, you may well conclude that I'm the lone voice of whatever, lunacy or reason, take your pick. But like I say, I'm at least fucked up enough to think I ain't so different from anyone else out there.

No, you're not different from anyone else out there. In fact, you're pretty much the same as everyone else out there. Everybody hates most advertising. No surprises there.

What I don't think you grok is about the companies selling bleach (or beer, or rice, or socks, or...) is that the don't care about you, and in particular, they don't care whether they sell to _you_ or not. They only care that they make _a_ sale, and the miracle of the market is that anybody else's money is as good as yours.

People here are going on as if telling the truth about advertising will cause the whole edifice to crumble, but the people who do it for a living have you beat in the 'understanding what works and what doesn't' department. Direct Marketing has an average response rate of around ~2%, or, put in Gonzo terms, they have a failure rate of 98%. And this is success. If your ad is only ineffective for 49 people out of 50, you're doing good. So they go to work every day knowing that most advertising doesn't work.

And you know what? They make crazy money doing it, because the cost is so low that 2% efficiency makes them like baleen whales. They don't concentrate on the the big hunt, they just swim around in the seas of the mass market, sucking up krill. If you can get enough throughput, 2% efficiency at low cost beats 50% efficiency at high cost.

So your rant, while amusing, is a poor predictor of a change in the way those companies do business. The fact that you demand some sort of "considersation" before you buy a roll of toilet paper just makes you too expensive to service as a customer for a large category of goods.

Check out RageBoy's little find on the Enron that was. Don't you love that companies have souls and always tell the truth and do such meaningful, caring work? I love that. Then they bail on us completely, shoot some people in the head, and devastate the rest. It's just what I fucking love about business and marketing. The trust. The love. The joy. I'm glad nothing's changing because of this here net. Really. I wouldn't have it any other way.

"it's the journey you take yourself on..."

Clay, you got your head screwed on straight mate.

Did I mention that broadcast advertising (spamming) doesn't work on the web? Yeah, we did that thang, I'm pretty sure.

I have a rampaging doubt that the Internet population can in any way be considered a mass market yet. Say what you like about the intelligence of the average American, - no, no, I won't have them maligned any further - I for one believe that the smartest and most prosperous people on this planet are hooked into the net.

Some of the sanest people are elsewhere, but I digress . . . . .

Half the world has yet to make a phone call. Maybe a third or more of them don't have electricity. I ain't blaming anyone for any of this; just trying to put things in perspective, see? Even in the US of A, where more millions of households own more TV's than any dumbfuck Kiwi can possibly imagine while standing in the dole queue (where you can have some pretty amazing epiphanies, let me tell you!) - well, even there, how many of those households are on the net?

The nature of the net marketplace *is* different. You better fuckin believe it, shitkickers. The spirit of monkey was - irrepressible. Just thought I'd throw that in there to screw this thing all to hell before I accidentally come to some meaningful point.

Oh yeah: I don't buy bleach. I have never, to my knowledge, bought bleach. I have no idea who or what Clorox is, nor do I care and nor, I suspect, will I ever. I don't know what's in a bleach, I don't want to know, and I don't know who makes it and nor do I care. I don't want to be told about it, and certainly not in some saccharine coated smarmy look how fucking erudite and enthusiastic I am haven't I got a big one tone by some bouffant hairdo without two brain cells to rub together as if I give a fuck.

The absolutely *last* thing I would ever want to do with my more expensive than you could possibly believe Internet connection would be to look for, look at, or be spammed with, anything to do with fucking bleach!

I would rather suck sand.

I'm also just nuts enough to think maybe a lot of other people out there aren't that different from me. I know that's shamefully 19th century of me, but hey - nobody's perfect, huh?

I recall once reading a piece by a guy who talked about the Wrigleys Man. The Wrigleys Man would visit his store and he'd say (to the Wrigleys Man) "How many cases you got for me today?" None of this can I help you with the presentation shit. None of this how many cases do you want rubbish. None of this we've got some exciting new flavours mucky mucking. This is what you get, take it or fuck off. The Wrigleys Man was The Man. Wrigleys owned the market and every damned soul that sold was beholden to them.

But slowly the world changed. Slowly, retailers acquired knowledge about what sold and where and when. Slowly, point of sale systems delivered to them intimate knowledge of what was selling, where it sold best, and how much they could sell how fast. Slowly, information systems evolved to give even deeper insight into the behaviour of different products within their stores.

The Wrigleys Man ain't The Man no more. At least one retailer, according to this perhaps apocryphal account, remembers the depredations he suffered at the hands of a supplier who thought tomorrow never comes. The Wrigleys man, apparently, now earns his living like any other salesman; he tries, as much as he is able, to please his customers to some degree not sufficiently marginally inferior to his competition so that changing suppliers would be worth the hassle.

Transfers of power can and do happen. They typically happen with most catastrophic effect to people who think they can't happen. Think British Empire, think fall of Singapore, think - hell, just think! Even if all you say is absolutely 100% genuine take it to the bank true and correct in every respect, and Locke is no more than a living parody of Sesame Streets' Animal, i.e. hairy, smelly, and mildly entertainingly loud for the first five minutes, I'd still look into it.

Sure, all Gods chilluns gots ta take care a bizzz-niss. I gotta make dough. I have the enviable task of living with a beautiful woman and a 7 year old girl neither of whom understand that you need to spend less moola than you earn. When I as a one man business talk with my customers about their business, I tell them I understand the need for a margin of value. I understand that businesses whose employees don't deliver more value than they consume don't stay in business for long. (Only the government and CEO's can do that indefinitely, apparently). I give them my commitment that they *will* get more value in return for paying me my fees than it costs them to do so. That is how they make a profit.

But if you want a piece of the dough that I make, let me tell you, it ain't coming your way in return for no flyers in my letterbox. You ain't getting it in return for the 47 emails in my Hotmail Inbox today touting Viagra, Girls With Girls!, Make Money Fast, Online Casino (Free $20 Stake Money), Human Growth Hormone, Big Jugs!, Lose Weight Fast, Hi - I'm Suzy, spam, spam, Spam, SPAM, SPAM, SPAM. Nor for the 20 or so that invade my "private" email address each day.

No Sir. Over. My. Dead. Body.

You ain't getting it for "Imagine this liquid is Colgate Toothpaste, and your teeth are this chalk. See, it *does* get in!" on the TV.

No. Not now, not ever.

You ain't getting it for Radio ads: "As Seen on TV!"

No way, No how.

Speak to me like I'm a fucking intelligent autonomous human being or fuck right off! I *will* have your respect and your consideration or there will be NO SALE!

Now, you may well conclude that I'm the lone voice of whatever, lunacy or reason, take your pick. But like I say, I'm at least fucked up enough to think I ain't so different from anyone else out there.

That is why (that is why),
That is why, (that is why),
You are my sugar-diddy.
- Otis Day and The Nights, in the movie Animal House.

P.S. "Marek J" ? You got anymore of those emails, you send em to me. I need to fucking swear more.