By Krista

Questlove's Game Theory Tour Diary: Day 30 London England UK

Enjoy for the Amy Winehouse track over the clip, at a minimum. May have to go find her CD. At any rate, ?uest is again hilarious. Go to www.okayplayer.com if you are not familiar with the band, The Roots. Guarantee you'll love them.--K

 

Testing Tagometer

By Krista

Testing delicious Tagometer.

 




...but not what you think....I realize I didn't blog this week about my boxing workout. I was "KO'd" this week by a stomach virus, which when it cleared up was followed by a bad sinus infection. I swear if they had a vaccine for the so-called 'stomach flu' I'd be the first in line. It has always just cratered me, even as a child, and I hate it. Net-net no sweet science for me this week.

Last week, I'd just begun to learn counter-punching, and I didn't get to practice any further. In this case, when a body shot comes to the right side, you 'windshield wiper' or lean down to the right with your elbow covering your side. Then you quickly throw an upper cut from the same side to play "defense", then a left hook, and a right cross. Mind you, you've thrown two 'offense' combinations prior to this, so you have little to no wind left by the time the counterpunch part comes up. So I get the timing down and I'm celebrating like I'm about to get a belt, to which my trainer responds, "Okay two more rounds." Need I tell you I collapsed on the canvas afterward?

 


del.ici.ous has this great little widget called the Tagometer. It puts a button in either your sidebar or your post which shows 1) how many other people have tagged the post 2) allows you to tag the post in del.ici.ous. Somehow, with the design, it seems less 'needy' than the plethora of widget icons bloggers have been criticized for having at the bottom of their posts (ie digg, reddit,etc).

Thing is, I can't get it to work on my blog. I've put it in my template both above and below the comments lines, and it pushes the other posts way down the page. It also seems to pick up some random tags that don't pertain to my post. The Tagometer code is here.


Any ideas? My first thought is perhaps it doesn't behave well with my technorati tag widget.

 

Okay Mr. Churbuck, you're on...

1. I am a licensed minister in both the Baptist church and the United Church of Christ. This means I can preach and participate in worship in my home church, but you can't marry, bury, or administer the sacraments.

2. I DJ as a hobby. Yes I scratch, mix, blend, cut, etc. I spin primarily hip-hop, Chicago house, and dancehall.

3. I love MAC makeup.

4. I collect shot glasses from everywhere I've traveled.

5. I hold a yellow belt in Sil-Lum 5 Animals kung fu.

I now tag Esteban Panzeri, Mann in China, Bomani Jones, Amir "?uestlove" Thompson, and Brian Oberkirch.


 

By Krista

Mary J Blige Reflections Commercial

This clip demonstrates the power of Web 2.0 and YouTube. The star is a wonderfully precocious 4 year-old girl named Nia. Nia's mother apparently posted a few clips of her singing along to Mary J. Blige songs, (Mary's an R&B superstar who is nominated for 9 Grammys this year, for the uninitiated.) Mary's people pick it up, and the rest is history.

Wonderful campaign, and quite remarkable considering, with Mary's body of work and fan base, she could have hired any actor or actress in Hollywood to be in her commercial.

PS Even if you've never heard of Mary, watch the clip, the concept is just darling. --K

 


Just crossed 1000 visits today. Not bad for my first 3 months I'd say. Thanks to all who've visited and commented. --K

 
 
 


This past weekend, I had one of the smartest marketing experiences in my life. My father, being in the food service industry for most of my growing-up years I suppose, kept me particularly attuned to dining experiences. I grew up with him critiquing every place we went to eat. So this weekend I went to see the dance troupe Ronald K. Brown and Evidence at The Kennedy Center with a group of friends, and have dinner beforehand. One of us who was local selected Marcel's, a French-Belgian restaurant on Pennsylvania Ave. in DC. Now get this.

They offer a set "pre-theater menu" for customers attending an event at the Kennedy Center, with 2-3 choices for each course for a set price. AND a car service to take you to and from the theater. (let that marinate a second). AND, if you prefer, you can have your dessert course with coffee AFTER the show when they bring you back. One set price for all of that. Ask me if they've earned my business from now on? Oh yeah. (and yes the food is delectable.)

The proverbial light bulb is on with someone at this restaurant. In terms of marketing, to me it goes to really thinking about the customer first, and adding value above and beyond the dining experience to retain them. A company "seeing the whole field", like a good quarterback. Or better yet, rethinking the definition of "customer experience." Not only with your product, but what role does that product play in the rest of that person's life? How can a company add value around that, beyond the obvious extended warranties and service charges.

So, standing-o to Marcel's and Chef/Proprietor Robert Wiedmaier. Visit their website here.


 

1. Paid in Full - Eric B. and Rakim
2. Boogie Down Bronx - Mann Parrish
3. Everything's Gonna Be All Right - Naughty by Nature
4. Don't Believe the Hype - Public Enemy
5. My Posse's On Broadway - Sir Mixx Alot
6. 5 O'Clock - Nonchalant

 
 

The Utility Belt: Why Google should buy TiVo now

Great post by John Fortt at The Utility Belt blog on what he
feels Google's next move should be. Imagine the tech-hater posts that would generate on top of the slew we already saw from the YouTube deal. Yes I said it, professional jealousy was all it was, pure and simple. Like you'd have turned down $1.5 billion with a 'b'?

 


...that means one thing: Mark Cuban and Ann Iverson(mother of Allen) at courtside. Together. Book the reality TV show now if it comes to pass. Hey they are both radical, passionate, and team owners (Ann bought a minor league team in Virginia.) --match made in heaven.

We could add a "Mark and Mom" measurement to the Lenovo Stat.



 



The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs: Caption contest

NOTE: AS I LOVE MY JOB, I AM NOT RUNNING A CAPTION CONTEST. THIS IS A LINK TO A POST WITH A CAPTION CONTEST. COMMENTS WELCOME. CAPTION IDEAS GET WHACKED.--K

My CEO, Bill Amelio (far left, with moustache), made 'The Fake Diary of Steve Jobs' blog today, alongside frequent Fake Steve foil, Steve Ballmer of Microsoft. Does this mean Lenovo has "arrived", like when a celebrity is spoofed on Saturday Night Live? Or is Bill an innocent bystander in the Fake Steve blog celebrity roast? Stay tuned.

 


"Every time I open my mouth, no one wants to hear the truth." --Bunny Colvin

I think this line speaks prophetically for this series. It's received no Emmys because no one wants in Hollywood wants to hear or see the truth. We'd rather watch fools humiliate themselves eating maggots trying to win a million dollars on Fear Factor.

The Wire just smacks you in the face in the opening scenario when we find a inconsolable and in need of a fix Andre' Royo as Bubbles(above right) coming down to the homicide unit to confess and ask to be locked up for the accidental poisoning of his nephew Sherrod. In a recent interview I read with Mr. Royo, he shared how he'd already gotten a 'street Oscar.' After wrapping a day's shooting, but still in character and make-up, Royo was heading to his trailer when a real-life junkie approached him and said, "Man, here take this, you don't look good, you need a fix." and proceeded to shove a bag of heroin in his hand. Yeah, the acting is THAT good.
When the detectives leave Bubble's in the interrogation room, they return to find him hanging from the ceiling by his belt, but are able to cut him down and save him. The fact that this made me, and I'm sure every Wire fan in the world cry out "Oh God, Bubs no!" really speaks to the depth of character development this show carves out.

I'd conclude this the best season by saying this is a show you feel. You breathe a sigh of relief when Namond's father agrees to let Mr. Colvin and his wife raise him. You share Carver's frustration and guilt when he is forced to leave Randy at a group home. Your heart sinks to see Duquan hustling crack on the corner. You feel helpless at Michael's continued downward spiral from doting big brother, into what truly is organized crime, though we don't call it that when it's in the 'hood. You want to take Randy out of that group home and raise him yourself. You smile to see the old major crimes unit, including a 'couldn't stay away' Jimmy McNulty and Kima Griggs, back together again and finally finding the litany of bodies boarded up in the vacants.
You fall out laughing at Omar's cavalier gall going back to Prop Joe's appliance store to pick up his clock, after he's robbed Joe blind of his entire drug shipment.

Here's a standing ovation to The Wire from me, even if they never get one from your peers in Hollywood. Well done. Thanks for the weekly wake-up call.

 

Specifically the entry and exit. Who sat down and with all deliberate speed said, "Ok, let's make the entry and exit to a vehicle for rapid transit with steps at a 97 degree slope." "What's that? They'll be most likely carrying 50lbs of baggage up said slope? Screw em, let em pull their lat muscle. Then, oh this is great, for real snickers make the steps 4 inches deep and watch the passengers try to tiptoe in while they wield their Kenneth Cole roller bags up the slope like a Viking barge! What a riot! As Bugs Bunny would say, 'What a maroon!'"

I didn't fall or anything, but that has to be in the top ten worst designs of all time.

 

By Krista

Best notebook ever!

I knew our X60s were light but...

 

Trying the newest widget in blogistan, Twitter, out on the site (top left sidebar). Basically, you type in one or two sentences as to 'what you are doing right now' on your account page, and it gets published to your blog and any 'friends' you select on the site. Kind of like your own personal news crawl it seems; should be fun. Thoughts? Let me hear from you.

 


A special shout out from the Kristasphere to the newest corporate blog from Lenovo, Inside the Box, authored by our worldwide competitive analyst, Matt Kohut. Congratulations and welcome to the blogosphere Matt! I really think you'll enjoy this blog; Matt is knowledgeable, candid, and creative in his approach to his work. Anything you want to know about our products' inner workings? Hit Matt up at Inside the Box.

 

Editor's Note: Starting this series in tribute to my late mentor,"rabbi", and self-appointed godfather, William H. "Skip" Johnson, Jr., who passed away a year ago from prostate cancer. Skip was my first manager ever in my career in sales. This segment is to share some of his life lessons and honor his memory. "Book It, Dan-o" was what he'd say when he was giving you the green light on a deal.

It was the call I didn't want to answer. One year ago this week.
Clennon rarely calls me at home, so I knew it was serious.
But somehow I knew; deep in my spirit I knew. I knew. Skip was dead.

I listened to the voicemail and just sat down on the couch. Blank. Couldn't react,speak, nothing.

Just like him to not tell us he'd worsened. Skip's glass was always at least half full, if not spilling over. If it wasn't, he'd still act like it was. His last email to me went something like "Was sick a little while, but I'm fine now. Can't keep a good man down for long!" This his characterization of advanced stages of prostate cancer, after the at-home chemo failed to hold hold back the cancer that ravaged his body. Just like him.

Skip was my Morrie Schwartz. Quotable. Colorful. One of a kind. Street wise. 5'7", pot belly, balding in the crown, unforgettable laugh, great smile, loved music and concerts, and one of the most intelligent businessmen I ever met. I can remember in the very early 90s him telling a group of us that the new technology would not be pointing or clicking a mouse on the screen, but "you'll touch it!" he said with the glee of a kid on Christmas day. Back then we chuckled to ourselves as if this was one of his "embellishments." And now, I'll be doggone if the guy didn't call it right. Skip enjoyed life to the fullest. Was on his 4th wife when he passed. Saw potential in me before I did.

I just couldn't go to the funeral.To me Skip was one thing: alive, more alive than most of us will ever be, with that sarcastic high-pitched laugh and sky's-the-limit enthusiasm. I can't fathom seeing him with that life stolen from him by cancer.

If you can't understand that, you didn't know Skip.

I could see him in my mind's eye, as the tears finally washed over me that day, throwing that over-sized hanky of his across his desk and admonishing me "Here girl, get a hold of yourself first." when I'd go in his office upset over work problems, guy problems, my crises of confidence as a twenty-something professional, whatever. "Get ahold of yourself."

He seemed perfectly content to see his many protege's shine and succeed. Totally non-plussed by awards or recognition. Once when I was selected to go to the Golden Circle, (a high honor for salespeople and managers which included a trip to an exotic locale) I truly felt bad because he'd never been at that point. His response? "Don't worry about me. Hell I don't need a free trip. I got a ton of frequent flier tickets at home I haven't used yet. You are one of my superstars; you go on and shine girl." Just like him.

I love you and miss you every day. I just hope my actions and successes honor you.

Just like him.





 

This post over at THINKblog jumped out at me since: 1) it pertains to my job, and 2)I'm doing a running segment on web branding pages. What started this debate?

"What is the relevancy of a homepage when no one is going through the front door?" asked Burnham Marketing CEO, Jason Burnham, who was moderating a table discussion at the December iMedia Agency Summit on the future of home pages.

They go on to say that(despite Mr. Burnham's question) only 28% of users are employing RSS feeds today, refuting the notion that most people are bypassing a homepage visit completely. The folks at THINKblog concluded:

Homepages are still not going away - Though many users sidestep homepages, they remain a brand's storefront in the digital realm. It may provide the first and most important impression. Customization through RSS still has a long way to go before generating the kind of reach a homepage can drive for an advertiser.

See the complete article here.

And I'm breathing a sigh of relief.



 




NOW they come out with this!

I remember searching in vain for some 40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks gear at AU (Atlanta University) Complex after School Daze was shot there in the late 80s. (Remember when everyone who went to an HBCU back then SWORE they were in School Daze or knew someone in School Daze? They'd just been "cut out of the scene"?)


Unless you were lucky enough to have attended an HBCU at that time OR live in NYC where the flagship store, Spike's Place was, you were sunk. Now Designer Mark Ecko recreates Lee's director's jacket , the "Sal's Pizzaria" hoodie he wore as Mookie in Do the Right Thing, the "Wake Up!" T-shirt, and others, in honor of the 20th Anniversary of Lee's 40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks.

 


This is the episdoe I knew would come.

Won't take me long to write my reflections on it either. The four middle school boys that this season is built around-Namond(above middle), Dukie, Michael, and Randy- each are failed by the adults in their lives who are supposed to protect them. DuEach for different reasons and circumstances, but nevertheless, they are failed. Dukie comes home to find all the family's belongings tossed on the street due to eviction - no parent in sight. Randy's 'witness protection' gets suckered into leaving the detail like the Keystone Cops, allowing Randy's home to be firebombed and his beloved foster mother to end up in the hospital with 2nd degree burns. (Do I need to tell you Sgt. Carver was in charge of that operation?)

Namond's beyond selfish mother berates him mercilessly for having "the package" (his drug supply and hence, their income) ripped off by his pint-sized lieutenant, Kenard. She expects him to be like his gangster legend father, who is currently serving a sentence in the pen, so as to maintain their hood-rich lifestyle. When he states, dead on, that being like his father would get him "locked up", his mother hauls off and slaps him. Julito McCullum could not have played the pain, shock, and confusion at this turn of events any better. I couldn't help but cry as you see the realization that he will never live up to his mother's expectations fade slowly across his face like the sunset. He is a child, and that's all he wants to be. It is sad and comical that he recruits an 8 year old as a 'soldier', but it's exactly what a 14 year-old would do. He's been abandoned by his mother at this exact moment, even though he's still standing in front of her.

He is further disillusioned by his friend Michael's sad inevitable descent into violence; Michael beats little Kenard heinously for stealing the package. It's as if since arranging his stepfather's death, Michael is drawn to the new-found power of violence like a drug. Namond doesn't know Michael anymore, and he never will again. This storyline ends with us hoping Namond's teacher and surrogate father, former Captain Bunny Colvin, takes him in.

It is an indictment on all adults that these children are allowed to be emotionally, educationally, physically, and spiritially neglected. Children should not have to worry about being abused, where they will live, what they will eat, raise their siblings, or pay bills. They should be allowed to be children. Again, knowing that this entire series comes from real life, I can't dismiss it from my mind as just entertainment. It's my weekly wake up call. Wake up people. Wake UP.

 

Stuntdubl - SEO Consulting - Hit by traffic...not cars

I'm just loving the name of this blog and tagline, first of all...

 


Yesterday, I had my first sit-down with the ad agency folks since taking this job. When these folks roll in from Madison Avenue - all Prada, Gucci, Blackberries, and Seven for All Mankind- they must feel like they've been transported into an episode of Green Acres in comparison. We boast what, 30 pair of khaki Dockers per capita? I mean, I'm thinking I'm doing well to have my Michael Kors suit I got on clearance, right?

So I go get my business cards trying to act like I've got some savvy. Of course, upon exchange, the agency's cards are as uber-hip as they are: more squared, thicker (read: expensive), in a two-tone color scheme probably designed by Frank Gehry or somebody. In comparison, I feel like mine look like something just dropped off by the Staples van at the front in a shrink-wrapped box.

Dahling I love ya, but give me Park Av-e-nue! ;-)

 

Posting this is kind of like picking your own switch but....
Brian Oberkirch, SEO dude , files this post on keeping your corporate blog from being wack, resplete with t-shirt graphic claiming 'corporate blogs still suck'. Yeah. Check him out, although I'd think some of these points should be obvious.

 





You may have noticed the 'Keep A Child Alive' icon hotspot in the right sidebar on 'The Kristasphere'. This is an organization I believe so strongly in and personally have supported for a few years now. Since it's World AIDS Day, I want to devote a post to this wonderful organization.

I admit, I found out about this organization because I'm a huge Alicia Keys fan. I went to her concert when she last toured and she ran a clip about KCA during the show, and had inserts in her CD with more information. Alicia is the spokesperson for this organization and truly "walks it like she talks it" by contributing, promoting, fundraising, building and spending significant time in Africa at the clinics and orphanages KCA supports.

Their mission is simple: by literally contributing a dollar per day, you can pay for the medicines to save a child in Africa who has HIV. That's it. No strings. Money goes straight towards the purchase of anti-retroviral drugs. $30 a month. Simple as that. Save a child's life today. What more rewarding thing in life could there be? Go to Keep A Child Alive's site here. See for yourself what they're about, and I pray you decide to support them. Peace --K


 




Now THIS is what's up!

Chris Anderson, author of 'The Long Tail' and editor of Wired magazine, posted this week on his blog about the concept of "radical transparency", how social media is causing a seismic shift in corporate behavior from a closed society to one where everyone from the CEO to test engineers are blogging publicly and getting comments in return from customers.

So, imagine the serendipity I felt when I stumbled across the brilliant NC State University ncsu.edu redesign blog. NC State, located in Raleigh, NC, embarked upon a complete website redesign effort at the beginning of this year. To solicit finput on this effort as it progressed, and publish updates on progress, they very wisely employed social media via this Site Redesign Blog. Every step of the process has been published and received comments. They conducted focus groups with prospective and current students, alumni, faculty, and staff, and published their recommendations as well. They even held a contest for those readers who responded to a survey, and the winner was awarded 2 tickets to the ACC (Atlantic Coast Conference) basketball tournament. (NOTE: To put this in perspective for the uninitiated, as far as North Carolinians are concerned, the ACC tournament is the national championship. Businesses clear out like it's Christmas day during tournament week. But I digress...) Presently they have 3 proposed site designs/themes posted for voting and comments, and to-date have had 91 comments posted. According to their SiteMeter, they are averaging over 400 unique visitors per day, and just under 10,000 visits total since inception.

Just imagine, imagine how much better they've made this site already by employing social media. State's been very careful to seek out all the groups who will visit and use the site, which is no small feat if you stop and think about all the ways a college web page gets used - sports information, admissions, applications, maps, registration, and so on make for a highly complex website entity. As my boss often says, the web is the only 24/7/365 brand presence for most companies and institutions; your web presence is your company or in this case, universiy.
Clearly NC State "gets" this and takes it seriously. As State posted on Nov. 22:

Primary goals for the re-designed homepage:

  • Embody the NC State brand and convey critical marketing messages
  • Create a simplified structure and improved user-centric navigation to improve usability
  • Enhance the visual design
  • Focus on prospective students
  • Create a sense of community and collaboration

The Kristasphere takes it's hat off to NC State and will enjoy continuing to watch the site redesign unfold.

 

3 minutes never seemed so long...I so understand the infamous words "no mas" now.

My personal trainer surprised me by saying after shadowboxing and mitt work for 5-6 rounds, I'd get to spar her for two or three rounds. Yeah. Before you think I've lost my mind, the deal was, she put on the headgear and pads, and I threw punches, they didn't. I'm just doing this to get in shape, not to become a contender.

As I've said before, hitting a stationary heavy bag is one thing, but a human moving target will leave you whiffing at the air like Don Quixote chasing windmills for real. I did land some punches though which was cool. I felt like my left hook was working really well, and my uppercuts. (My left jab still needs a whole lot of work since I'm right handed.) I understand more and more why real boxers jump rope; your legs need the conditioning and stamina, especially the calf area, and keeps you light on your feet. Anyway I am not ashamed to say I co-llapsed on the canvas after this part of my training was over, trying to get my breathing back together.

Well, I at least got to live out my Laila Ali fantasy for a long 6 minutes.

More Kristalogy In:,

 


I'm know my colleagues are sick of me gushing about it by now.

But it's just so.....smooth. I can't help it. The Mercedes-Benz USA web site. I've been in love with it for about 6 months now. The site is built like their vehicles: functional, luxurious, innovative, solid, and prestigious. Whatever you come to the site for, they've got it. Lets look further at two of the aspects that make M-Bs brand personality convey to the customer.

Functionality:

The #1 thing I love about Mercedes' site is, every constituent gets equal billing on the front page. (left)Mercedes clearly understands the purpose of their site goes far beyond just selling you a car. They know they have to make you want to buy first. Promotions, Featured Product Lines (ex. SUVs), New Vehicles, and "Only in a Mercedes"(their "Why Mercedes?" microsite), all permanently reside in 'boxes' on the front page, yet you can always go shop at any time. No matter that you are looking at their history museum in Munich, the 'Build Your Own', Locate a Dealer, or 'See All Vehicles' links are plainly visible in the top right corner of every single page. This is especially remarkable considering, with 120 years in the business, Mercedes doesn't exactly have a pressing need to tell you "Why Mercedes?" or who they are, (unlike Chery.... wink wink)

Usage of Iconography:

Specifically when you go into the 'Leadership' microsite, I love how M-B makes such smart usage of icons to explain why they feel you should buy one of their vehicles.
The javascript rollovers take you to either an airbag, brake drum, keyless entry fob, or classic car grill to represent their corporate brand pillars: Engineering, Technology, Safety, and Passion. For instance if you select the classic Mercedes grill(Passion) icon, you can learn about their awards(trophy icon), history in auto racingformula racer icon), museum in Munich, classic car HQ in California, et al. Like a good movie, I think the companies that are good at this site strategy thing really take you to another place in the 'web experience' and steep you in their culture. You don't just read about the company you "feel" them, which is the whole point.

 


I've held up on this post because I haven't come up with a clever name for this segment just yet. At any rate....

Part of my job description pertains to managing the "non-product" content of our web site. This includes the task of conveying our company's personality/character/identity/brand. Typically this is he section of a website where you see all the cool flash videos pop out and graphics fly around the screen to 130bpm techno music or something else jaw dropping. Hence, I've decided to devote a significant segment of The Kristasphere to analysis and critique of these personality/ character/ identity/brand sections of various websites.

This is a section of the web I find is often overlooked or taken for granted as 'fluff', as it is technically the non-revenue part of the site. While technically true, in reality, that's highly idealistic thinking. (what I call the "should" mentality) The first two steps in the sales cycle always involve establishing a rapport with a customer and gaining their interest. When I look at it from this standpoint, if you are a new company or product, you are wasting time and money to only throw what amounts to an electronic price ad up on your site and expect Playstation 3-like crowds to come running because it's a 'good deal'. No one knows who you are, what you are about, or why they should buy from you.

Quick example: If I offer to sell you a new Mercedes sedan at 5% below invoice, you might take it because you know of the company, what the Mercedes brand represents, quality, etc. If I offer to sell you a new Chery Fulwin II sedan at 5% below invoice, what's your reaction? Who or what is that, right? Never heard of them, never seen it, don't know what quality, fuel efficiency, stability,etc. it has. Are they a green company? Do they offer alternative fuel vehicles? (Chery is a new auto maker in China FYI.)

This is the sub-genre I plan to explore. My first review and critique is almost finished so stay tuned.--K

 

Well said by Chris Anderson. Amen!


The Long Tail: In Praise of Radical Transparency: "One of the most fascinating features of the blogging era has been the inversion of corporate norms. As the tools of production and distribution are democratized, institutions lose power and individuals gain it. As the Web becomes the greatest word-of-mouth amplifier in history, consumers learn to trust peers more and companies less. And as the same trends play out within the firm, businesses are shifting from command and control to 'out of control', distributing more and more power to the rank and file.

Perhaps the most interesting of these is the shift from secrecy to transparency. The default communications mode of companies has traditionally been top-down, with only executives and official spokespeople permitted to discuss company business in public. The standard rule, explicit or not, was 'That which we choose not to announce is not to be spoken about.' Aside from some special exemptions, such as conferences where those employees trusted enough to go chatted guardedly with outsiders, employees were cautioned that what happened at work should stay at work. Loose lips sink ships, etc.

But over the past few years, a new breed of executive has emerged, and with them a new attitude toward controlling the corporate narrative. From Microsoft to Yahoo!, the public face of the company is increasingly employee bloggers who are , the public face of the company is increasingly employee bloggers who are trusted both internally (allowed to blog without legal or PR review) and externally (they're just regular folk like us!). The consequence is that much that was once hidden is now open for all. These rarely include big disclosures (the real secrets stay secret), but instead tend to be about routine issues that dominate the day-to-day life of engineers and project managers. The small cost of some competitor getting early wind of a new feature is more than outweighed by the good will generated among customers by candid insights into product development. So far, so Naked Conversations.

What really interests me, however, is when this goes even further. Not just transparency, but Radical Transparency. The whole product development process laid bare, and opened to customer input. Management in public, via blog. CEOs venting, without benefit of legal counsel, in late-night postings.

The poster child for this is, of course, Mark Cuban. His postings on everything from NBA refereeing to video competitor strategies are riveting, an unfiltered lens directly into the brain of one of the most primal entrepreneurs on the planet. Like him or loath him (disclosure: I like him), you can't stop reading him. His blog is the Being John Malkovich of capitalism--you're in the head of a extraordinarily intuitive businessman who can't help but say what he thinks.

In the spirit of transparency, I'm going to continue to build on this theme on this blog in public even as I help develop it into a story or series of stories in Wired. That is, of course, exactly what I did for my book, which worked better than I could have dreamed. Now I'd like to try applying it to magazine-making, too. The difference is that this time I won't be the author of the magazine piece (my job is to catalyze great work, not do it myself), so I'm just one party of many. We'll see how it goes...

I'll end this post with some recommended reading on Radical Transparency:

Fred Wilson: "We are living in public more and more every day. It's becoming the norm. Our kids out their personal lives on their MySpace and Facebook pages. We blog about what we did this weekend and where we ate last night."

Jason Calacanis: "The CEO of Wesabe is taking calls seven days a week for four hours a day--from any user!"

JPG Magazine: The community votes on which pictures go in the magazine.

The Sunlight Foundation: Uses Web 2.0 data-aggregating to bring transparency to politics

The OpenHuman project: Very silly. Still, a data point...

 


Omar Little(above left) is hands down the best character EVER created on television. When he broke out with another "Do tell!" Bad thing is, Omar and his lover/partner in crime Renaldo (above right) are doing better undercover police work than the police! Staking out the various members of the crime co-op in a yellow cab, Omar concludes(as only Omar can) "If it's what I think it is, our little clutch of chickens might be putting all their eggs up in one basket."

Love it how Omar brings a wicked sense of humor to everything. Bringing that mantle clock in the repair shop and telling Prop Joe the clock "ran outta time" while holding a cannon of a gun on him was beyond priceless...then making him write a ticket up on it? Brilliant, brilliant comedy....Chris goofing and dancing to Lean Wit It Rock Wit It was a TOTAL departure. Like the nerd at the school dance, minus the Tech-9.

Michael=kingpin in the making. Every real or imagined story of a kingpin, from Tony Montana to Sam Giancana starts out this way; tough times and abuse go in to a person so much, they come back out ten times harder in the form of a kingpin. He'll be the next Marlowe for next season....it'll break Cutty's heart too.

The boys.... are still just kids. That caper they pulled setting up the crooked cop to dump a can of yellow paint on him proves they are more boys than gangsters at heart.

Dukie is not gonna do well w/o Prez shepherding him.

I just wanted to hug that little boy Albert; my God I cannot imagine at his age going to school after having found my mother dead on the couch. When he said "Mee-maw said it was best to go to school but....oh my heart sank." As hbo.com put it "the emotional neglect inflicted on these kids is staggering." If you missed it, in the 'corner kids' class, Albert had 2 episodes of major acting out and stomped out of the room. So Bunny and the school counselor got him by himself and got him to open up about it.

Lester Freemon is back under Col. Daniels, and back to his genius detective work. After Bunk is tipped off by Carver that Herc dropped the ball on bringing a key murder witness to him, Bunk and Lester head off to the playground where the murder took place. Lester, remembering Herc confiscated a nail gun from Chris and Snoop's truck, examines the nails boarding up the vacants and deduces "this is a tomb. (the murder victim) is in here." Which Herc, the dumbest cop since Barney Fife, should have been able to piece together if he had a brain.

Two more episodes to go. If you are a fan I'd love to hear your take on this episode or the season. --K

 
 

Hmmmmm.....not sure if I'm excited about this yet, but very interesting to say the least.


Monkey Bites: "Today, a new partnership was announced between Automattic, a company that hosts and supports WordPress blogs, and KnowNow, an enterprise RSS vendor. The two companies are launching a blog platform built for the big business market called KnowNow Wordpress Enterprise Edition.

According to the company's press release, KnowNow will act as a vendor, selling hosted WordPress blogs while extending the basic support and functionality offered by the service. Richard MacManus, in an interview with Automattic CEO Toni Schneider on Read/Write Web, says that KnowNow will offer bundles of WordPress blogs along with LDAP connectivity, spam blocking software and a stats tracking package. Story continues here.

 

By Krista

?uestlove'sTour Diary: Day Three. Copenhagen

My guilty pleasure RSS is this Vlog ?uestlove's Tour Diary. If you want to feel like a rockstar for 2 minutes, check out this entry from the video diary from the drummer for the GREATEST band in the land, The Roots. These guys truly leverage the web to stay in touch with their fan base, like no other I've seen. Fast Fwd to 1:40 if you want to skip the backstage horsing around during Hub, the bassists', solo. I'm taking it ?uest has one of those sport cams like extreme skiers use because you literally have the drummer's eye view when the go back on stage. Very cool.

 


The Wire seems to have fallen into a pattern where it rocks you to sleep almost for the first 40 minutes, then has you on the edge of your seat for the last 5. The last 5 will be what I comment on today. The young man who plays Chris the hitman, the brilliant Gbenga Akinnagbe, to me earned an Emmy tonight for his performance, whether he even gets nominated or not. Michael, we learn, has definitely been abused by his stepfather. But we learn this not in words. Michael's facial expression when Chris and Snoop when they ask why he wants this man dead, speaks volumes. The facial expression Chris returns says he understands, and perhaps better than Michael realizes, based on what happens later.

Chris communicates with his marks in a tone so soft it is almost weirdly soothing, like a doctor delivering news of a terminal illness. When Chris and Snoop intercept the stepfather coming out of a corner store, and "walk him down an alley" Chris asks if he's an abuser (I'm paraphrasing since this is a G-rated blog). The stepdad in so many words admits he is and says "You understand?" and Chris replies softly "Yeah. I do." and proceeds to put a pistol-whipping and stomping-to-death on him more heinous than anything you've seen on the Sopranos. Interesting to note this is the first victim we do not see Chris shoot to death or take "inside the vacants(rowhouses) first" as his partner Snoop observes. Does he have some twisted bit of compassion in his heart for Michael? Or was he a victim himself as a child? They don't tell us, but it is hanging there thick in the air for the viewer to ponder.

EDITOR's NOTE: Interesting to note that although he plays an assasin, Mr. Akinnagbe is a learned scholar, graduating of Bucknell University with a dual degree in political science and English.

More Kristalogy In:,,,,,,

 



Stop. Before you think this is a hip-hop post, look again. Fast Company shows us in this article that it's actually about hip-hop superstar/record company CEO/NBA team owner (and Beyonce' purse-holder) Jay-Z as a one-man branding machine. He is hot, and his brand strategy is working. TNT,the NBA, Budweiser, HP, have all realized it by signing him as a pitchman, and oh by the way Jay cross-branded his upcoming album,single, and business interests into each and every campaign he's participated in. --K



Much Ado About Jay-Z: "Jay-Z, president and CEO of Def Jam and Roc-A-Fella Records, has become a universal brand in the past year. And don't think that any of it was by accident either. In fact, it's highly likely that it was a well-planned strategy, focused on creating hype for the hip-hop mogul's return to the rap game. On November 21, he'll release a two-disc deluxe set, 'Kingdom Come,' his first solo studio album since his retirement in 2003, and he's not relying on YouTube or MySpace, as other music artists have done recently, to garner sales. In fact, just three days before the album ships, Jay-Z plans to board his private jet and hit seven cities to perform 30-minute shows within 24 hours. Cingular is on board to sponsor the spectacle, and MTV will air a 30-minute highlight special once the tour ends.

The tour is just the latest hurrah in a year-long marketing play that has endeared Jay-Z to more than just hip-hop aficionados. Earlier this year, the rap icon called for a consumer boycott of Cristal champagne, a brand he once enthusiastically celebrated in many of his hit songs. But after a Cristal representative distanced his brand from any hip-hop affiliation in an Economist interview, the rapper vowed to remove shout outs to the champagne from earlier songs, never to cite the name again, and he also stopped selling it in his own sports bars.

We eventually realized the plan behind that play when in a recent video for his new song, "Show Me What You Got," the rapper was shown turning down a bottle of Cristal for a bottle of Armand de Brignac, aka "Ace of Spades." Jay-Z denies any stake in the brand, but it has assisted Ace of Spades with breaking into the American market. The move also further signified Jay-Z's influential position in the marketplace.

In another power move, Jay-Z used his part ownership of the New Jersey Nets to further push his personal brand. First he appeared headless in HP spots for "The Computer is Personal Again" campaign, and used his hands to illustrate how he does everything on his HP laptop, from editing new songs to handling his investments to planning logistics for his world tour. He even mentioned, '"the new Frank Gehry plans for my team in Brooklyn," at which point blueprints swimmingly turn into a spinning model for the Nets' new arena, that is planned to open in 2009. The commercial first aired during the NBA finals in June.

Taking the a relationship further, he also appears in a new ad campaign for the NBA, riding around Manhattan in the back seat of a limousine discussing rivalry, success, the spotlight, and stardom. There are five of these promotional ads in total, which promote the NBA and TNT, as well as the slogan for Jay-Z's upcoming release. Clever synergy, huh?

Jay-Z's marketing mission became more clear last month when Anheuser-Busch, Inc. announced that the "CEO of Hip-Hop," was being named co-brand director of Budweiser Select. This partnership first came to light during "Monday Night Football," on ESPN in mid-October, when a commercial featuring out takes from Jay-Z's video, "Show Me What You Got,"(right) featuring shots of NASCAR's Dale Earnhardt Jr. driving Jay-Z around the hills of Monaco in a race against Indy Racing League driver, Danica Patrick. The ad closes with the tagline, "Jay-Z is back, coming Nov. 21."

Anheuser-Busch plans to collaborate with Jay-Z in other TV ads, as well as radio and print campaigns. He's also expected to be an integral part of Bud.TV, an online entertainment site featuring both brand and user generated content.

He's even got a strong public relations arm, as evidenced when his face graced the cover of LIFE on November 3, and also appeared as one of the three covers representing GQ's "Men of the Year" this month.

And just in case opening day sales need a little more muscle behind them, Clear Channel Radio’s Online unit plans a full-length exclusive album premiere, enabling users to listen to it for one week, on demand, before its release. Also, Jay-Z will perform "Show Me What You Got" on the day of the album's release during the American Music Awards, to be broadcast on ABC.

Either Jay-Z's a shrewd business man, or he has a heck of a team behind him. Either way, will his various marketing extensions help him achieve success during a sluggish music economy? (Shhh..I know of at least five people who already have the album in digital format, and they obtained it free of charge.) Will the album even live up to its hype? And what about these brands looking to cash in on Jay-Z's appeal to the youth market -- how successful will they be? But what I really want to know is, who's whoring whom?"

 


So I went to the information session last night for NC State's MBA program. Very,very cool; a lot of my fears were assuaged. I'm still a little on the fence about online v. classroom format, but I am at least considering classroom after last night's session. After fighting the rush hour traffic to the main campus, I suspect I will look at their RTP campus! The opponents of mass transit in this area should have to brave that drive for a few days; they'd change their minds.

What I liked about NC State's program was that it was refreshingly unpretentious, and very real-world. I had enough theory in undergrad to last a lifetime; and the term that resonated throughout the session was "you will really use this." Tuition is a terrific value, considering the quality of education offered.

I could also tell by the age group and questions regarding teamwork, that many of those in attendance went to undergrad in the "go-go 80s" where it was almost a "kill or be killed" environment with your classmates. They, like me, had a healthy skepticism about being assigned to work in a team for graduate coursework. What I quickly realized was the competition element is basically a moot point. In undergrad what you were competing for were jobs and salaries. With the part-time format, everyone is already employed, so that removes the fear of a cutthroat environment in my mind.

Of course there were a couple "pieces of work" in the crowd. I'm still trying to get over the person that asked if the Robert Gallo they mentioned as an executive speaker was "as in Gallo wines" and would there be a free wine tasting if he came back again? Now watch them end up in my group!

 


I had to go back and watch this one twice, as I often do. The Wire is really a prism, and you could spend one post giving a view into any facet. As I've stated before, The Wire makes good use of symbolism. One of my favorite characters, Proposition Joe, has donned some gold-rimmed "half" reading glasses, as he's taken over leadership of the drug "co-op" from the dearly departed Stringer Bell. String used to wear the exact same glasses last season, before he met the business ends of Omar and Brother Mouzone's shotguns.

Sgt. "Herc" has to be the dumbest detective in TV history; Barney Fife in Phat Farm sweaters and Timberlands. He lets a key witness to a murder right on the corner where he found him when he assumes the nickname "Little Kevin" must apply to a kid who is small in stature, rather than a pun nickname for the heaviest kid.

The four middle school boys are growing in different areas. It is comedy and tragedy to see a boy who is probably in no more than first grade being used as a lieutenant on the drug corners, cursing the police out with the expertise of someone 3 times his age. He is so small they can't take him in because they don't have cuffs that small. Randy the budding entrepreneur, discovers he can buy candy to resell on the internet cheaper than his Korean suppliers are selling it for, but not without a credit card. He hustles his teacher, Mr. Prez, into buying it for him with cash up front. In the back of your mind you hope his well-meaining teacher Mr. Prez doesn't get fired by some overzealous administrator for it. Randy 'raised' the money using the probability skills he learned in class to advise someone in a corner dice game.

Michael ends up having to go to kingpin Marlowe Stanfield for "help" in solving the problem of his stepfather returning to the home. I'm convinced now that Michael was abused by him in the past. As has been said on other message boards, it is hearbreaking that this is his only option, that he has no other responsible adult protector in his life to go to. More than sad, it is again real life.

 




Think about it...

  • Both are geniuses at what they do, and are fabulously wealthy for it.
  • Both are true innovators. On Kanye: Heard anyone else do a rap song about having their jaw wired shut after a major car accident? And win a Grammy for it? Didn't think so.
  • They both have excelled in fields other than what you'd consider their "primary expertise."
    • MC= .com Billionaire to NBA Franchise Owner
    • KW= Producer to Recording Artist (usually other way around)
  • Both have had phenomenal success at a young age.

  • Both have questionable fashion sense at times.=========>

  • Both have a propensity to sprint out on stage/court when they think they've been unfairly treated.
    • KW= See his "I shoulda won best video"stage crashing tantrum @ MTV Europe Awards here.
    • MC= Does this really need any further explaination? MC has more fines than Dennis Rodman.

  • Both say what's on their minds, in public, and don't care who likes it.
    • MC rant here.
    • KW greatest rant of all time here.
  • Only difference is, Kanye has not discovered blogging yet like Cuban.....give him time.

 





So I'm going to an information session @ State, as the locals call it, for their MBA program. Having attended an 'engineering school' in undergrad, I'm a bit curious as to how 'business-y' State's program is. Whenever I see the words "quantitative"attributed too many times to a b-school, I have calculus flashbacks (although I did quite well in it). State's program seems to be very real-world oriented, and closely tied to the business and technical community locally. The tuition is also very reasonably, relatively speaking. The only other such information session I attended was for Duke's Fuqua School several years ago, which was kind of like going to a Mercedes dealership. You get the distinct feeling the people are being so unfailingly nice to you because they are about to ask you, with a straight face, to fork over the equivalent of a starter home mortgage for a graduate degree.

 

Boxing Blog - TheSweetScience.com » Blog Archive » Wladimir Klitschko’s Big Show At MSG: "IBF champ Wladimir Klitschko one-twos his way to victory

Wladimir KlitschkoThe big man put on quite a show in the big room. Wladimir Klitschko played the Garden on Saturday night and he responded the way all of the greats have in the past. With a flair.

Over the first couple of rounds it might have been easy to dismiss Klitschko as a guy who just doesn’t get it. It was frustrating to watch. But here’s why. Calvin Brock was doing the only thing he could do to try to win the fight. He wasn’t going to outbox Klitschko, so he tried to crowd him, tried to work inside. He tried to smother the big guy.

But give Klitschko credit. He stayed composed and he kept popping that jab. That stiff left jab won him the first four rounds. Now here’s where the fight changed. In the fifth, Klitschko finally found the distance. He had enough separation from Brock to make the right hand effective. What gave him that separation? The left jab!!!

With Klitschko immediately establishing that jab, Brock was reluctant to walk into it by the fifth round. So as soon as Brock stayed back, the right hand started finding its home. Once that happened, the fight was over.

OK. So I was off by two rounds with my prediction, but I wrote it here first on TSS, the jab and right hand win the fight for Klitschko.

One last thing, what a moving tribute to Ali – not Laila, Muhammad – as the Garden crowd chanted his name upon entering the arena. That’s all for now. Keep punching!

"

 


My good friend Bomani Jones profiles heavyweight Calvin Brock(pictured at right) in the following story on the eve of his run at the IBF world heavyweight title against champion Wladimir Klitschko(pictured at left). Brock is a North Carolina native, UNC-Charlotte grad, and currently resides in the Triangle area. Good luck and God bless Calvin! Put him on the canvas!




ESPN.com: Page 2 : Number puncher: "
CALIFORNIA, Pa. -- While Calvin Brock prepared to fight IBF world heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko by sparring with Brad Williams late on a Thursday night, David Cadieux, a 6-foot-6 Canadian heavyweight, whaled away at a heavy bag at Buzz Garnick Jr.'s Round 2 Gym.

When Cadieux finished, he asked me if I were a boxer.

The trepidation on my face was palpable. Having the waist of a teenage girl, the mere thought scared the dickens out of me.

'You don't want to go in there?' he asked jokingly. 'I was going to give you my gloves.'

Thanks, but that wasn't a Corleonean offer. My plan was to interview Brock, a good-natured, 235-pound former banker and Olympian from Charlotte, N.C., who tussles for the title Saturday night at Madison Square Garden on HBO, not to be his -- or anyone else's -- punching bag. All those years spent in school were to learn to get paid while seated.

And to avoid ever having to get hit in the face." (story continues here.)

 


Last night a couple of the amateurs were sparring in the ring, so I didn't get to do my beloved mitt work. What I did instead after several rounds on the heavy bag, was 2 or 3 rounds on this leather-covered gourd-looking bag about the size of a 3 month-old baby which is strung on a thick tethered cord that runs floor-to-ceiling. The object is to learn how to punch at an object that is moving. Rapidly. No problem I got this, right? *In Charlie Murphy voice* Wrong! WRONG! Let me tell you, heavy bag work is very deceptive. You think you can land a decent punch or combination, but doing that against an object (human or otherwise) that is in motion is another story. I basically spent the 3 minutes "whiffing" at the air and having the leather gourd come hurtling back at me and pop me in the face or shoulder. I was able to save face by learning when to roll and slip the gourd, but even then if you come up at the wrong time "WHAP!" By the 3rd round of this I'm sweating so much I'm sliding in my on my own sweat on the floor; I am able to put together a 1-2-3 combination (jab-cross-left hook) on the gourd three times in a row.

 


I have no idea why this turntable was made. 2 things are for sure about it though:

1. It won't skip when people come up to the DJ booth to make requests and bump the table .
2. You'll have to hire the Chicago Bears offensive line as your roadies to take it to gigs.
3. It makes Technics 1200s or Vestax QFO look like a bargain.


The $150,000, quarter-ton turntable | CRAVE : The CNET Gadget Blog: "With a name like the 'Transrotor Artus,' this contraption sounds like a piece of heavy machinery that might be found in an assembly plant. And by the looks of this photo, it almost could be.

But closer inspection of the top reveals the real purpose of this erstwhile bucket of bolts: a turntable. And not just any old record record player, but an 'LP player/phonograph/grammophone' that goes for $150,000, according to Hiendfi, and weighs nearly a quarter-ton. Maybe it's priced by the pound."