Welcome back.

Have you thought about subscribing? It's free.

World Peace through Bovine Humor

Thanks to Glenn for sending it over.


Apple is a fashion company


Not a computer company. The Free Prize has nothing at all to do with how fast the Excel spreadsheet gets crunched or how bright the screen is. In other words, we’re buying something other than a computer.

This site: —— Applele.com —— makes that far more clear than Apple can.

The Tandoori Free Prize

Mark Hurst writes,


i thought of another Free Prize for you:

on the corner of 1st avenue and sixth street, there are these two indian
restaurants that are mirror images of one another – both are atop the
same steps up from the street; both have the exact same (ridiculous)
red-pepper-christmas-light decorations. one is to the left of the stairs,
one to the right.

the Free Prize is, when you walk up the stairs, two guys burst out of the
restaurant doors and loudly try to coax you, as you walk up the stairs,
to go into their restaurant. whichever one you *don’t* choose gives you a
really dispirited look. quite entertaining.

food is good (and the same) in either restaurant.

thought of this last night as ali and i went to dinner..


Dinner and a show!

Remind me to tell you about Calvin Trillin’s Chinatown Dancing Chicken one day.

If you’ve got your own Free Prize soft innovation to share, go ahead and send it to bzzagent. See below.

Become a Bzzagent?

Frequent readers will know that I’ve previously talked about Bzzagent, a viral marketing firm that tries to institutionalize a lot of the ideas I talked about in Unleashing the Ideavirus.

Bzzagent did a great job with Purple Cow, and now they’re back with my new book. If you click here you can find out how to join, how to get a free copy of the new book and what they’re all about. You might want to do this to see what a buzzing organization looks like from the inside, or you might want to do this just because you like bzzing neat stuff.

Or not.

[void where prohibited. not valid outside the US. your mileage may vary. consult doctor before using.]

More on crankiness

Some people got the point of my post (below) about the increasing brazenness that I’m noticing. I think this is the result of the economy, orkut, friendster, email ubiquity, spam and a sort of neo-networking. I was making a point about ALL of us, not just me.

I wasn’t saying, as some of my dear readers inferred, that I don’t want to hear from you any more. Sure I do. I always have, and I think I always will. I’m not so subtle… if I want you to go away, I’ll let you know.

What I was saying, to be clear, is that even someone as open to mail as I gets cranky when people start acting entitled and insistent. That this neo-networking scam isn’t going to last long, with me or anyone else.

Thanks. I feel better now.

The New Google

Google changed their UI today. The scary thing is how wrong it feels. Obviously, the small changes aren’t wrong, but the fact that you notice them is a testament to how spectacular the marketing of the “original” Google was.

Challenge #17 for Google: figure out how to train users to look forward to an evolving google rather than a static one.

Thanks to Alex’s Blog for pointing this out. He’s also got a great link to an alternative to Google that’s worth checking out.

Maybe I’m just cranky

But have you noticed that people who want you to help them are getting a lot more insistent?

My incoming spam from countries I’ll never see seems to be more persistent (and with ever more spelling errors).

Incoming “personal” notes from people two or three handshakes away are now insisting that I help format PowerPoint presentations, introduce them to just the right hiring executive, contribute to their next project or drag myself downtown for lunch to discuss how I might give them some advice.

The beauty of the web is that it introduces us to thousands of people that might never have crossed our path. The problem, it’s becoming ever more clear, is that friction is rapidly disappearing. People who would hesitate to say “hello” at a cocktail party think nothing of sending a 1245k attachment. Then, when you’re foolish enough to send a courteous reply, they escalate into phone solicitation. Yikes.

Are we more desperate or more comfortable? I think it might be both. I know I’m more aggravated.

Purple Turkey?

Today’s New York Times has a great article about Cabela’s. Cabela’s Online Store – Quality Hunting, Fishing, Camping and Outdoor Gear. Turns out that they are actually BIGGER than LL Bean. Not in size (though a quarter of a million square feet for one store is a LOT of square feet) but in annual revenue.

Who says you can’t get big going to the edges? And yes, Cabela’s will sell you a camouflaged, digital turkey call.

Journeys: Shop Now, Hunt Later

The state of the art?

It’s easy to forget just how bad web sites used to be, even a year or two ago. A visit to Air Canada is a vivid flashback to just how broken a site can be.

Enter the site by pressing “English” and then book your entire itinerary. Whoops. You forgot to press “US Traveler” on the front page, so you’re stuck.

The fields are small and hard to navigate. The logic is twisted at best. The hierarchies don’t match.

My point is simple: the bar has been raised, folks. If you’re not smooth and easy and logical, people will flee.

The way it’s supposed to work

I bought two things on the net over the last few days. Envelopes and Screen Printed T-Shirts. The experiences were identical. Great pricing, sure, but human intervention when necessary and automation when it wasn’t.

In both cases, I bought stuff that used to be slow, expensive, a little scary and a big hassle. And in both cases, real people augmented by appropriate technology made it a terrific experience.