Sunday, September 30, 2007

2007 PNME After Thoughts

Five O'Clock Shadow 75

Originally uploaded by evo_terra

So the 2007 "Podcast Expo" has come to a close. I've been fortunate enough to attend since the beginning, all three years. And I've already booked my hotel at next years event, the 2008 New Media Expo. Yeah... another name change. :)

The expo is always an interesting and exciting time for me, as I get to meet 5 groups of people.

Listeners and/or fans
The first group is always a rush. Yes, as I said on one of the talks I gave, I'm in this for the ego boost. I'm in it for lots of other reasons, too. But the ego boost ranks right up there. As the PotUSA say, 'Everybody wants to be naked and famous'. These people can recharge me after a long day (or the morning after a longer night) without fail. Heck, it happened in the airport on the way home, when I was moments from curling up in corner waiting for the flight. Nope, wide awake afterwards and buzzing again!

Old friends
The second group is the "fall back" collective. I don't mean that in a bad way. I think of these people as family (others have called it a Tribe), and it's the most natural thing to walk up to them in the middle of a conversation and just chime in, with not much more preamble than a much-needed hug to kick things off. I truly love these people. The composition changes from conference to convention -- as does their size -- but they remain an unwaivering highlight of any trip.

Expo friends
Something strange happens every year at the Expo. I see a group of people -- some 20 or so -- who I only see once a year: at the Expo. The rest of the year, our correspondence is usually limited to the occasional Skype or email conversation, though it's been boosted this year by the advent of Twitter. But outside of that, I only see these people at the Expo, and every time we meet, we fall right back into the friendship like it's been some unit of time a lot smaller than a whole year. And when we said our goodbyes this year, it was with calls of "See you in Vegas!". There's something magical about a friendship that needs no more -- or less -- work than that.

Virtual friends
Though the Expo didn't grow a whole lot this year over last, I've gotten to know a lot more people in the new media space than before. And though we've never met, we've struck up a friendship thanks to the interwebs. Over last weekend, I got to move a lot of those into one of the two previous categories. But I'll keep making online friends through the course of this year, and I'll finally get a chance to meet them next year in Vegas.

Soon-to-be friends
But of course, no Expo would be complete without someone acting as a 'connector', dragging me along and saying "You have got to meet this person!" I do, and many times that connection leads to something more. Other times it comes from a turning to the guy or gal on the barstool next to me and saying "Hi. Tell me your story". Or maybe I heard them speak and made it a point to go out of my way to strike up a conversation. I look forward to the next year where I can get to know them better and grow the friendship. And when we meet again, we'll see which category they move into!

I'll end with a thought: as much as I enjoy the "social" aspect of the Expo, not everyone wants, needs or maybe even understands what it is that I and just about everyone listed above is talking about. At the Expo, I know for a fact that many people attended the sessions, walked the Expo floor, found a place to have dinner, and then retired to their rooms to watch TV or work the night away. All while us social butterflies partied the night away. And that's OK. People have different wants and needs. We should all be wary of assuming that what we think is required to make the show successful is really what is required to make the show successful for everyone else. I'll have more to say on this in the coming weeks/months.

And in case I don't see you before: see you in Vegas!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Hang with me at the PNME 2007

As the Lovely Wife is upstairs packing for the event, and I sit here trying to finish my presentation, it occurs to me that I need to post the "official" agenda of where and when I'll be at the Portable and New Media Expo, happening the for three fun-filled days in Ontario California. Here's the plan:

8:00 PM - We arrive at the Expo
9:00 PM - Raw Voice party- Marriott, Suite TBD

7:30 AM - Association for Downloadable Media meeting - Convention Center, Ballroom A
9:00 AM - Keynote - Convention Center, Ballroom C
10:00 AM - Selling the Unique Value of Your Content - Convention Center, Ballroom C
2:00 PM - Interview with Lulu TV - Location TBD
3:15 PM - Understanding Your Content Liability Risks in New Media - Convention Center, Ballroom B
6:30 PM - Dr Floyd Live - Marriott, Meeting Room #36
8:00 PM - Culture Catch Salon - Convention Center, Hall B
8:30 PM - Technorama Live - Marriott, Meeting Room #36
9:00 PM - Podcast Pickle Party - Marriott, Room TBD

7:30 AM - Homefries Breakfast - The Spires
9:00 AM - Keynote - Convention Center, Ballroom C
10:30 AM - Selling Advertising and Sponsorships for Your Audio or Video Content - Convention Center, Ballroom C
12:30 PM - Presenting From Commentors to Contributors: Building Rabid Fans - Convention Center, Expo Floor, Podango Stage
2:00 PM - Presenting Veterans of the Yahoo! Podcasting Board - Convention Center, Ballroom B
3:15 PM - How to Generate Buzz and Extend Your Brand with Social Media, Convention Center, Ballroom A
4:30 PM - Meeting with Wizzard- private
6:30 PM - 1st Annual New Media Expo Concert - Convention Center, Hall B
8:00 PM - Wizzard Media party - Doubletree, Room TBD

9:00 AM - Keynote - Convention Center, Ballroom C
11:45 AM - Creative Ways to Grow Your Audience Every Week - Convention Center, Ballroom A
12:30 PM - Presenting Writer’s Panel - Convention Center, Expo Floor, L.A. Podcasters Booth 607
3:00 PM - Head to the airport

Of course, this is a planned schedule. Plans are subject to change, shiny objects, beer and too much beer. Any free time after noon will probably result in me holding court at the bar at the Marriott. Come hang, and I'll see you there!

Customers, Service Providers, or People?

Five O'Clock Shadow 74

Originally uploaded by evo_terra

The client/service provider relationship is a time-honored tradition. From this we have added many terms to our cultural lexicon, the greatest likely being "the customer is always right".

I wonder.

No, strike that. I think it's wrong.

As a customer, I don't want any special treatment. If I yell and scream at you, I expect you to fix whatever is broken.

But if I yell and scream at you and it turns out I'm wrong, I expect you to yell and scream back. I mean... come on. That's how we'd do it in the real world, right?

What is it with this artificial "Customer" mantle we've created? Why do we think it makes other people immune to responding back to us as real people? I don't want to do it this way anymore. Lords know it gets worse in an anonymous intrawebs environment, but it happens in the real world, too.

So that's it. I'm officially turning in my Customer hat. I'm just a person. I'm also turning in my Service Provider hat1. I'm just a person. I sometimes shout. I sometimes curse. I sometimes overreact. So do you. So do we all. Let the chips fall where they may.

And I really don't care if money is involved or not. I'm still dealing with someone, and I hope they don't respond like a robot to anything I do or say just to improve the odds that I might continue spending money with them. I'd rather spend my time cultivating relationships with people who expect to be treated like people than some illusionary Customer which means jack-shit at the end of the day.

1 - And for the record, I spent way too many years in the service industry. I think I still am in the service industry. But I'm pretty sure that everyone in this industry and everyone who this industry services are still people.

Monday, September 24, 2007

The Two Faces of Evo

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Originally uploaded by evo_terra

I have a confession to make. I've been secretly moonlighting on all of you. And while I cannot apologize for my actions, I can fess up and offer full disclosure. Hey, I did it for you.

Well... some of you. OK, a few of you. And it is to those few -- those who are interested in online advertising and marketing -- who I am now speaking. If that's not you, then I have good news: you probably won't have to read much more of me talking about those things here.

It is with mixture of excitement and trepidation that I announce the unveiling of a blog I've kicked off for Blue Ribbon Digital, the company for which I am gainfully employed. We're a digital advertising agency, and my posts (as well as posts from others in the agency) will be about the specialties of BRD, changes in the online advertising space and how large companies can spend piles and piles of cash to make piles and piles of cash.

No, it's probably not what most of you are interested in hearing from me, Evo. So fine. Stay here and enjoy as I talk about lots of other things. But for the small number of you who care about those things or are at least moderately interested in what my alter-ego Travis has to say, please check it out. I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Maybe tomorrow I'll talk about how stinking cool Jangl is, and how damned hard it is to type that without an 'e' at the end.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Sigler v. Hendrix smackdown audio posted

OK, so "smackdown" may be taking things a bit to far. For background on what this all about, look I talked about if on this website as well as on the blog. BoingBoing tipped me off about the event first. The discussion was last week, and those following me on Twitter got a play by play.

Rick K, editor for The Agony Column brought his mics, mixer and general love of recording and editing interview. That saves you having to suffer through me getting to it. The audio is now live, with lots of links to the charity that brought these two together.

The image is courtesy of Stephen Jacob who has a whole set of photos from the event.

The Electric Church by Jeff Somers

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Originally uploaded by evo_terra

I got up early this morning to knock out the final couple of chapters in Jeff Somer's debut novel1, The Electric Church. Sucks that I have to buy books now, but such is life.

I picked up The Electric Church on a whim. Was in B&N, didn't know what I wanted, saw this on an end-cap and thought it looked interesting. What an understatement. Near future dystopian tale where a hired gun tries to take down a wacky religion and the establishment? Color me there!

This is a really well told tale. Full of nearly non-stop action, I wanted to read it all in one sitting. And while this is a stand-alone novel, it's set up to be an ongoing series. I'll definitely be getting the next one as well.

Evo rating: 4.5 damn dirty apes!

1 - I think it's his first one to be published. He's written more, but I don't think those have been published. Maybe they should be. Or maybe they should get out into the world by some alternate means?

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Turning the bullhorn around

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Originally uploaded by evo_terra

I get the occasional message, post, or tweet something to the effect of "why don't you post more frequently?" It's a valid question, and one that has a very good answer.

Though I really enjoy exploring the implications of changes in the web, social structure and just about anything else that strikes my fancy, sometimes I need to engage in another activity:


Contrary to popular belief, I do not know it all. In a similar vein, I cannot instantly process it all. Listening leads to consideration. Consideration leads to exploration. Exploration leads to understanding. Understanding leads to knowledge. And somewhere in there, the Force is supposed to be mentioned, but you get where I'm going.

Lately, I've been doing a lot of listening. Who do you listen to? Other than me, of course.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Much on my mind

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Originally uploaded by evo_terra

Holy mother of pearl, but the last two days have been busy!

I spent the better part of this day cogitating on the following:

  • creating another silo in the company I work for
  • pondering the question of enhancing the experience of blogs, social media and other Web 2.0 sites
  • how this site is impacted when I start blogging for the company I work for
  • the implications of Creative Commons licensing when multiple expressions are planned -- or not planned
  • how the heck so many great people got involved with the technical side of
  • hoping that all the bases are covered on the next book
  • putting ideas to presentation form for my second talk at the PNME
  • how much work I'm going to have since I'm taking the next two days off to watch Scott Sigler beat up on old media

Yeah, that's a lot to take in for one day. Hence, the photo fits.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Five O'Clocks Shadow 68

Five O'Clocks Shadow 68

Originally uploaded by evo_terra

I'm feeling rather frazzled today. Super long weekend (as those following me on Twitter know) and a slammed Monday like I haven't seen in a while. So this is going to be a short one as I'm going to yoga to chill out.

I think I just fired a client earlier today. That's OK. This client was kind of a pain in the ass and the business didn't really have much of a chance to grow. Still, it's always a tough decision to make. Life would be so much easier if the clients just went along with us, you know?

I'm buried with email and RSS feeds. Maybe I'll knock them out post-yoga. Or maybe I'll turn in early.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Of high school hockey and Twitter experiments

It's no surprise to many of you (especially those following me on Twitter) that I'm a fan of hockey. Strange for a guy in the desert, I know. But my son plays the sport and has for many years. He's currently on three different teams and for the next 8 months or so, our schedule revolves around his schedule. Welcome to kids.

This weekend, I decided to play around with the idea of using Twitter as an update tool. For the last couple of years, I had been the announcer for his team, calling out goals, penalties and scores live at the game. It was a lot of fun for me, informative for the parents (the refs aren't big on sharing information with the fans) and the kids seemed to enjoy it, too. But now we're in the big-town, and I don't have free reign on the microphone. And I miss it.

So I thought... how about Twitter? Well, you can take a look at my previous Tweets from this weekend. They are long. Really, really long. And that's just calling out (mostly) goals, penalties and the score at the end of each period. It was a pain in the ass on my Treo, but much better on the lappy. Trouble is, not all rinks have wifi.

I enjoyed doing it and have decided to keep doing it. But I realize that the vast majority of the 500+ followers of my feed could probably care less about my kid's high school hockey program. Fair enough. And I also realize that the majority of the parents and fans of the team probably care even less about the other things I have on my personal feed when I'm not tweeting about hockey. Again, fair enough.

So I've created a new Twitter account just for Hamilton Huskies High School Hockey updates. Find it at and follow it if you like. I have to figure out how to get my Treo to update that as well, as my phone is currently slaved to my personal Twitter account. Unsure how to do that. Better call Ev and ask.

Thanks for hanging out as I played around with this idea. Sorry for all the tweets, but such is the nature of experimentation, right? I'll only post occasional hockey stuff now on my personal Twitter account. For as-it-happens info on Huskies Hockey, stay tuned to the new feed!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Dresden Files needs to go

Five O'Clock Shadow 67

Originally uploaded by evo_terra

I consider myself a fan of science fiction. That status is open to interpretation, as some people equate "fan" with the original meaning of an abbreviated version of "fanatic", which I am certainly not. And I recognize others are. But languages -- especially the English language -- are fluid, and the accepted meaning of "fan" is now "someone who likes". And I like. But I don't 'dress up', I don't own a light sabre, and I don't blindly follow the industry, authors, producers, actors or directors and fall in love with their next project just because it's scifi and I'm "supposed to". And that sometimes puts me at odds with the crowd who assume that all fans are -- or at least should be -- fanatics.

I noticed a post from Debbie yesterday that a campaign is underway to save The Dresden Files, currently the recent SF show to be placed on the chopping block from The SciFi Channel. (I posed a comment on her LJ blog, then realized that the social aspect of the campaign gave me an excuse to talk about it here as well.) This may be the more creative of the "Save [insert show name here]" campaigns; supporters are encouraged to send a drumstick (as in, used by drummers, not a part of tasty poultry) to the president of Skiffy (a less-than-affectionate term for The SciFi Channel for those that need the reference) with the protest message "SAVE DRESDEN" marked on the instrument.

Interesting and novel as the campaign may be, drumsticks won't help save a show that sucks. Yes, I know that there are die-hard fans of SF who want every SF show ever made continually produced through the end of time. And yes, there are the die-hard fans of Jim Butcher (I, too, enjoy his writing style) who think this particular adaptation of his books is high art.

Unfortunately, a good number of people who like SF and enjoy Butcher's books think this show blows as hard as Enterprise did -- and we're not watching. When networks notice (don't get off on the measurement tangent, please) a show isn't bringing in the audience, it needs to go. That's not the fault of the original content that inspired the show. And it's not the fault of SF as a whole. In fact, it doesn't matter wherein the blame lies.

A turd is a turd, and sometimes the collective wisdom of the masses is appropriate. This incarnation of Dresden needs to go away, and they (whoever the hell 'they' are) need to try again. Note that this is not a blanket statement saying that television studio executives always make the right decision. Some times they make decisions that piss me off, too. See Firefly, Police Squad, Dinosaurs and Farscape for reference materials.

If you are fan, bust your ass to save the show. That is your prerogative, and I'll not stand in your way. Make your Facebook groups. Launch an email campaign. Storm the castle both figuratively and literally. Use every tool in the chest -- web based and real-world -- and make your feelings known. But I reserve the right to stand on the sidelines, commenting on how this is yet another example of hope's desire to triumph over experience.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Recap of the Conversational Marketing Summit

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Originally uploaded by evo_terra

I've just sat through two days of meetings, presentations, case studies and drinks with some of the smartest minds in advertising, marketing and new media. The venue was the Conversation Marketing Summit hosted by Federated Media.

All things considered, it was a good event and I hope they have it again next year. I think my time was well spent there -- as both new media advocate and traditional online advertising agency guy. Yes, I did learn a few things. But I think what I got most out of the event was validation. No, not of me. Validation of where I've been watching this industry go.

If you follow me on Twitter, you received a lot of information as it happened, as I was using Twitter as my note taking and retention device. It makes a good repository, for sure. But there were times when the internet connection was being taxed by all the other people trying to access the webbernets, so you missed somethings. Like:

  • 70% of all of thew views of Ask a Ninja come from their "back catalog". What does that mean? There is value in archived content. Those interested in monetizing content would be well served to have a solution for this. I don't think it's hard-embedded ads.

  • Embedding video from sources like YouTube and Lulu TV is cool, but what gets cooler is when someone develops technology that lets us embed the video from 1:12 to 1:56 of a five-minute video. That's coming.

  • The Jawbone headset is really freaking cool and I so want one. Johnny Vulkan! (Coolest name, EVAR!) I need a hookup!

But the biggest takeaway, for me, was this: we're early. It is very true that conversations are happening, have been happening and will continue to happen about brands, products and services around the net. It's true also that smart companies will find ways to leverage those conversations -- and that can mean many things -- to their advantage. But that is hard, and it doesn't scale for shit. Trust me. I heard that message over and over again. And it needs to. I'm thinking a lot about scale as of late.

Is conversational marketing the next gold rush? I honestly cannot say. Yes, some companies and firms will find ways to make money. And just like the gold rush of the mid-1800s, most of those companies and firms will make the picks and the shovels used in the mining process. But unlike the gold rush of old, we're talking about a currency of reputation and the ever-changing nature of "consumer conversations"... and people generally hate being talked to as "consumers".

Sorry that I don't have an easy answer for your or a solid point of view on how you should point yourself, your agency or your media property. I'm just not sure we have the right questions yet.

Photo credits: Me, in the SFO airport around 6:00 tonight.

Friday, September 7, 2007

PodCamp AZ is November 3, 2007

I have to go speak at CopperCon tonight, so I doubt I'll make a 5OS tonight. Busy weekend (assuming I'm feeling better), so I leave you with the above graphic and hope that you'll make plans to attend PodCamp AZ on November 3rd. Gonna be fun!

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Throwing in the towel

Five O'Clock Shadow 65

Originally uploaded by evo_terra

Enough of this roller-coaster. Time to be greatful that I live in a world where heroic medicine can exist with traditional medicine. I've been sick for seven days now, rolling from one version to another. Whatever this is, or whatever opportunistic little bugs keep on jumping on the make-me-feel-like-shit bandwagon, it's time to change course. Antibiotics, here I come.

So let's put this metaphor to good use. All of us have ways that we prefer to do things. We have a certain world view, and have some times strong predilections to one behavior over the other choices in front of us. Forget the conversations about "the one right way" for a minute. I think we can all agree that there are many paths we can take to get to a goal. (Note by "we" I am referring to regular readers of this site. Not the intolerant masses at large.)

Having convictions is a good thing. But living in a world where we have more than a single choice in how to behave is a good thing, too. And when your chosen path isn't getting you towards your goal, it's almost always better to stop doing More of What Doesn't Work and find a different way.

This may seem to fly in the face of the stay-the-course crowd and those dogmatic adherents of perseverance, but understand that I am not advocating you turn into a quitter when the going gets tough. But I am suggesting that there is a fine line between sticking it out, and packing it in when it's obviously not working.

I'm there. And I'm stubborn. How about you? Do you know when enough is enough? And do you hate the decision, even though you know you have to do something different?

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Am I missing something about the new iPods?

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Originally uploaded by evo_terra

For today's 5OS (and yes, I'm feeling much better), I thought I'd follow suite and talk about the latest iPod released by Apple. But I'll take a slightly different approach than you might have seen.

It's obvious to me that Apple is aiming for two very different segments of the population, and I seem to fit neither. On one hand, you have the over-the-top, more-storage-than-you'll-ever-need version of the new "classic" iPod, with a conventional click wheel. On the other, the uber-cool iPhone-wihout-a-phone touch iPods with an amazingly small amount of storage.

Neither of these fit my needs. My 60 BG iPod has loads of podcasts, music and movies, and it's about half full. So more storage I don't need. But I do need a lot more storage than the new touch screen, and that interface is just hella cool.

So I have to figure -- since I'm not all that strange (no comments) -- that I'm missing something. Apple must have some trick up their sleeve that will make me care a whole lot less about the storage capabilities of a portable media player than I do right now. But they must know that some folks won't take them up on whatever that offer looks like, so they've put out the "classic" to satisfy those needs.

The only thing that comes to mind is some sort of super-streaming method being developed, allowing you to store your media somewhere other than your portable device. I'm not deep into the tech enough to know or care how that'll happen, but it's the only thing I can come up with. If they have figured out -- or are close to figuring out -- a way to get extremely fast downloads to the device from anywhere... maybe I don't need to carry it all around with me after all?

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Holiday sickness sucks

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Originally uploaded by evo_terra

Well my Labor Day long weekend sucked major donkey dick. Yours?

Well, it didn't all blow. The flu that took me out on Friday certainly blew. The only highlight being when Mur Lafferty called me from the Pimps and Hos party at Dragon*Con and got the whole room to shout in my effigy or honor, take your pick. You rock, Mur.

It seems that about half of my friends were at Dragon*Con this year, and I had to miss it. But as shitty as I was (is) feeling, I was in no shape to attend. Woulda been miserable to be around, too.

Saturday did not suck, as the flu seemed to have passed me (I'm usually a 24-hr flu guy) and I was able to make a Luau over at Gilbert's house. Gil and I played together in a skapunk band called Spaz Kitty about five years ago. The band is still together, and they asked me, the original bass player (can't call myself a bassist, sorry) to sit in for a redux of Tantric Kitty, a song that I wrote the main riff for. A blast. Even better: NJ, who was about 10 when I split with the band, got to sit in on drums. I cannot even begin to describe how fucking cool it was to play one of my songs with my old band where my son was rockin' the set. Pics soon to be posted on Flickr.

Sunday was back to me being miserable. Flu was gone, but now a nasty cold. It subsided enough on Monday for me to get many chapter edits on Expert Podcasting for Dummies kicked out, but I didn't do much else. And today, I still feel like all that tissue I've been using is shoved into my sinus cavities. And lungs.

So... how was your weekend?

Saturday, September 1, 2007

You never know when inspiration may strike

I hope you are all aware of Beatnik Turtle. Every day this year, this horn-powered rock band releases a brand new song with their Song of the Day project. When you try to crank out a new tune each and every day, you take your inspiration from a variety of sources. Some folks, like my friends Charlie the Beer Guy & Mur Lafferty, ask for songs to be written, and they group is happy to comply. Check out Speaking of Beer and Mason Rocket.

Sometimes the inspiration comes from sad moments, as happened when Joe Murphy passed. I can't find the tune 'For Joe' on their site right now, but I'll see if I can't find it later and post a link.

Anyhow... Sometimes that inspiration comes from the strangest and most mundane places. Like a totally throw-away post I made on Twitter some weeks (months?) ago. The song is Just Getting Off The Call With Rob Safuto. I gotta start posting some high-value stuff if people are going to use it as inspiration.