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Book Em Danno!

“What are you in for?”

“I robbed a bank. You?”

“Kidnapping. How about you, little man?”

“Well… I videotaped five minutes of Lord of the Rings.”

And they all moved away from me…

House Bill Makes Camcording Films a Felony

If I bore a cocktail party with my ability to perform, from memory, the Woody Allen moose joke (verbatim, from his live album) is that just a misdemeanor? What if I quote Arnold on my blog? Take a picture of my wife in front of a movie poster?

It’s easy to laugh at this, but it’s also insanely scary.


Treb points us to JudysBook, sort of Craig’s List meets Zagats meets Orkut.

It’s all in the details, but thought you’d like this on your radar.

Now that there’s a name for it

I’m even more frightened.

Boing Boing: SPIT: New Internet acronym!

What happens when some offshore spammer sets her computer to call, say, 10 million people, every night. At home. For free.

And yes, the name is perfect.

Three kinds of blogs

The other day, someone was taking a look at Joi Ito’s Web and asked me what I liked about it. The subtext to her question was, “this is very different than what you’re doing… is it better? worse?”

As more and more people consider blogs for politics (cover of tomorrow’s NY Times magazine) or business or ego or as a hobby, I wonder if we need to get a little taxonomic here (Carolus Linnaeus – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia). Forgive me if others have done a better job, but here’s my best shot.

There are three important kinds of blogs:

1. News blogs. These are the original model. The idea is simple. An author (or authors–see Boing Boing: A Directory of Wonderful Things) chronicles the events of the day. This can be commentary on politics or news or dieting sites or merely pointers to interesting technology introductions.

Some of the most popular blogs are just carefully edited indices of the best of today’s Net. Others include a lot of pithy commentary on the part of the writer. News blogs are a fantastic solution to the noise filtering problem.

2. Writer’s blogs. You’re reading one. These are blogs that while they occasionally riff about today’s news, are mostly an opportunity for the writer to engage in an extended monologue. The monologue is influenced by reader feedback and new happenings, so it’s a lot more interactive than a book, but it certainly isn’t a conversation. I think this is a very new form of media (it’s a process, not a batch).

3. Our blogs. This is what Joi is at the forefront of. Our Blogs are blogs that are the tip of the community iceberg. A posting on an Our blog is nothing but a firestarter, a chance to start the conversation and see what happens.

Sometimes, it’s easy to assume that all blogs are the same, and therefore a blog isn’t the right solution for a given problem. At the same time, there are those in the blogging community who are upset when all blogs aren’t the kind of blog that they’re used to. I think it’s early days, and there are bound to be a few other types of blogs as time goes on.

Less than a Decade

I think some people are missing the two giant takeaways from this study:
Study: More Net Equals Less TV
. The first? It took only ten years to topple the most important, most powerful medium of all time. TV elects Presidents, sells cars, introduces products and changes the culture. It also sucks the initiative and creativity of entire generations down the drain.

Ten years is a heartbeat. This is an astonishing change in the way we buy and learn and vote and grow our businesses. I don’t think it has really sunk in yet.

The second? That the consumers who make the biggest difference (the busy ones, the ones who earn a lot, spend a lot, vote, talk a lot and change things) are the ones most likely to be online and least likely to watch TV.

Yes, Oprah is still far more powerful than Yahoo. But at the same time, Drudge and Jeff Bezos and Doc Searls are way more influential than their offline cousins.

If someone steals your car…

you call the police.

It’s a lot trickier in the idea business. (And more and more, that’s what we do, right? Invent and propogate ideas).

I’m on record as recommending that you do very little to protect your ideas and move as quickly as you can to spread them. Michael Cader’s Publisher’s Lunch Deluxe today points to Dan Brown and Lewis Perdue — Dueling Da Vincis: Legacyan extraordinary indictment of the Da Vinci Code.

What’s so neat is that it is entirely possible that Dan Brown never read or was even aware of the Perdue book. That’s the thing about ideas… unlike cars, they go many directions at once and are quite nuanced. I bet that the books are actually quite different.

Other than gaping at the charts on this site, I’m not sure what you should do with this tidbit. Maybe just realize that if you’ve got a neat idea, it’s likely to be “stolen” one day (be prepared to live with that) and if you hit a homerun, you’re probably going to get sued (sigh.)

More proof that TV is dying

(as a mass medium, anyway)

From the Washington Post: “In fact, just one of the 13 shows that divvied up the 27 Emmys attained, in the course of the TV season, as many viewers as did Sunday’s Emmy broadcast. That one show was ABC’s own broadcast of February’s Academy Awards ceremony, which clocked nearly 44 million viewers; it was named best directed variety, music or comedy program.”

In other words, the biggest audience went to the show about the shows (same way Google has a far bigger audience than any of the sites it points to). And the Emmy’s had their second lowest ratings in recent history.

Reality TV is the new Dot Com

A friend told me yesterday that he had just sold a TV concept on behalf of a famous author he represents.

Uh Oh, I whispered to myself, I’m going to have to pretend to like another reality TV show. (good news, it wasn’t and I didn’t have to, cause it’s a great idea)

It appears to be trivial to invent bad reality TV, because, after all, it is.

Just like a bad dot com.

But in the middle of all this noise comes Mark Cuban. Mark Cuban to give away $1,000,000 in ABC’s new ‘The Benefactor’ series

Mark got snickers when he launched Broadcast.com. Not only did he prove the investors wrong when he sold out to Yahoo, he proved himself right (but early) as the web moves ever closer to TV.

Mark is smart and honest and a terrific guy. But most important, Mark Cuban is not afraid to challenge the status quo. I haven’t seen his show, probably couldn’t get my TV to work if I tried, but if you’ve got some time to kill, why not check it out? At the very least, it’ll give you a healthy dose of vitamin Mark.

Number Ten

Certainly the most noticed from my recent list (below).

One reader writes, “I know you are busy so what I write bellow is just background to the question above. I am starting a business from the ground up right now. It seems that I cannot get in ANY door unless I know somebody. Please let me know your thoughts.”

Here’s why I wrote what I wrote…

When your idea is gaining traction, the easy and obvious and natural thing to do is to fear that you won’t succeed because you don’t know the right people. After all, we see Donald Trump getting in NBC’s door, and we see some famous author getting on a talk show or some rock star getting a video on MTV twenty years after he hit his prime… it just doesnt’ seem fair or right that all too often access is determined based on relationships, not some other measure of quality.

I’m all for the momentum that goes to a creator once she establishes a brand or a hit. But the facts belie this excuse. Microsoft, for example, almost always fails when they introduce something new. Most successes (in books, music, movies, politics, non-profits, etc.) don’t come from where the established wisdom tells us they’re going to come from. No one bet on Phish or Boing Boing or Google or Dan Brown.

Yes, it looks like the big guys (McKinsey, Steven King, General Foods) always manage to win, but what’s really happening is that the big guys slowly fade away and the real growth comes from where no one expected it.

In a world where things are viral, you’re more likely to succeed with passive networking (strangers recommending you) than the old school active kind. In other words, make great stuff, do your homework, build your audience and when you’ve got something worth talking about, people will talk about it.

Lies to protect the status quo

1. Canadian pharmaceuticals are dangerous

2. Piracy is killing the ongoing creation of music and movies (notice I didn’t say anything about the movie and music businesses)

3. Dental work lasts forever

4. A bottle of Evian is dangerous to airline security and must be surrendered

5. The Microsoft monopoly pays dividends to all users (like IE, for example)

6. You can’t start a business without venture money or a big bank loan

7. Working hard for your boss and following instructions is the best way to get ahead

8. We need to spend taxpayer money on support for traditional factory farming

9. It’s impossible to make a fuel efficient automobile Americans will accept

10. Who you know is more important than what you do