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What happens when it’s all on tape?

It’s been twelve years since the videotaped beating of Rodney King started a riot in LA. Rodney King and the Los Angeles Riots.

In that time, the percentage of people with a video camera at home has increased dramatically. And the number of streetcorners and businesses that tape everything has gone way up as well. Steve Rosenbaum is trying to use that fact to change the way media is created: CAMERAPLANET

Odd segue: Today, in anticipation of a dinner party, I stopped at a lobster seller in Chelsea Market in NYC. I asked for a six pound lobster. The pricing at the store is $9.95 a pound for small lobsters and $8.95 a pound for lobsters six pounds and up.

The lobster weighed (I’m not making this up), 5.97 pounds. For reference, that’s just less than a pound by the weight of a penny. Feed the lobster a plankton and it would be six pounds.

He started to ring me up at $9.95 a pound. I pointed out the price breakdown and the guy shrugged and said, “It doesn’t weight six pounds.”

Two co-workers came over and with precisely the same uncomprehending grin, repeated his point. I added a penny to the scale but they weren’t swayed.

So, the two questions are, “Do you think the owner wanted them to act this way?” and “Would they have acted differently if they were on camera?”

I believe that the best motivation is self-motivation. That teaching people the right thing to do is far more effective than intimidating them into acting out of fear.

But I also know that people act differently when they think no one is watching.

I’ve been counting more and more mail from enraged customers (thanks, but I have enough!). These are people who feel outrage when they are deliberately mistreated by someone who should know better.

As the number of “owners” goes down (because the big chain outlets, telecom oligopolies and centrally controlled media keep increasing in number), it’s harder to find people who act the way we might like.

I wonder what happens once it’s on tape?

All as a way of asking you to bring your videocamera with you when you go to vote on Tuesday (regardless of which side you’re on). The biggest impact of the Net on this election, it seems to me, is that so many things are “on tape.” So many people are now embedded in the process that the process has changed forever.

Maybe if we all show up with a videocamera, other people will be reminded to act like citizens. Worth a shot.

Beware the CEO blog

It’s apparently the newest thing. I just got off the phone with one CEO who’s itching to start, and read an email from another who just did.

Here’s the problem. Blogs work when they are based on:
Pithiness and

(maybe Utility if you want six).

Does this sound like a CEO to you?

Short and sweet, folks: If you can’t be at least four of the five things listed above, please don’t bother. People have a choice (4.5 million choices, in fact) and nobody is going to read your blog, link to your blog or quote your blog unless there’s something in it for them.

Save the fluff for the annual report.


“I’ve worked out a series of no’s. No to exquisite light, no to apparent compositions, no to the seduction of poses or narrative. And all these no’s force me to the “yes.” I have a white background. I have the person I’m interested in and the thing that happens between us.”

Richard Avedon

Do you have a no?

Safe is Risky

Publishers Lunch points us to:

Amazon.com: Books: Election 2004: How Bush/kerry Won…

Is it risky to sign up and announce a book about the election weeks before it actually takes place? Risky to do a book that assumes the underdog won?

Of course not. It’s risky NOT to.

What are you doing that’s risky?

[yikes, the link is down. I guess Amazon wasn’t ready to be that safe…]

Is there a right way?

So, I flew round trip to Toronto from New York yesterday.

In New York, they x rayed my shoes but ignored my digital clicker, cell phone, digital camera and assorted electronics. They also made me take off my suit jacket.

In Toronto, they ignored my shoes but took apart my clicker. They didn’t care about my jacket.

On the plane from New York, they said it was fine to use cell phones as soon as we landed.

On the plane from Toronto, they insisted we not use our cell phones, even though we were on the runway for twenty minutes.

So, which is it?

One of the illusions members of the reality-based community labor under is that there’s a right answer. That if you do X and Y, you’re most likely to get Z.

This sort of rational thought certainly makes it easier to plan.

I’m rapidly coming to the conclusion that in fact, many complex problems don’t have obviously correct answers.

My best takeaway from this insight is to pursue answers that are inexpensive and easy to test. That becoming hysterical when one particular superstition is hard to implement is ridiculous.

Most of all, being serious about a superstition is not the same as being serious about the problem at hand. We shouldn’t minimize our marketing (or security, for that matter) challenges, but we ought to lighten up a bunch about the untested beliefs we bring to the table.

why do these things spread?

Why weddings?
Why this sort of humor?

I have no idea. I wish I understood the mechanism better.

eBay item 5527273221 (Ends 23-Oct-04 12:12:44 BST) – 2 invitations to a wedding I don’t want to go to (via Lecky)

The Selfish Marketer (part XIV)

If this wasn’t true, you wouldn’t believe it.

I needed to store a bunch of stuff as I move my office (the new office, no surprise, is months behind schedule). I went to one of the handy new storage companies (Public Storage), answered all their questions and got this response (click to make it bigger).


That’s right. They don’t service my area. Their solution? I should move, then try again.

“Honey, we need to move to Florida!”
“Because we can’t store our stuff here in New York.”

To be fair, I called the number they asked me to call. I spoke to Cheryl, who was very friendly. I read her the message. She said, “Oh no, we don’t serve your area.”

“Why,” I asked, “did they want me to call you then?”

And her answer, which is priceless, was, “So we could officially tell you.”

More Malcolm: The Talent Myth

A classic article worth a look: ChangeThis :: The Talent Myth

Don’t tell me you’re not in the fashion business.


akiba.sorobangeeks.com via Gizmodo.

Yes, these are USB flash memory units.

Just ask Dave!

Dave Lennox is the guy whose voice answers the call handling center at Lennox. He also appears in their ads. “Hi! I’m Dave Lennox!”

Dave always talks in exclamation points.


I just discovered that Dave Lennox died more than fifty years ago. That he’s an actor. That there is no Dave Lennox.

Contact Us :: Lennox International Appropos to my previous post, the number you call to reach Lennox (only a couple clicks down on their site) starts with the eponymous Mr. Lennox answering your call. Very quickly, though, you discover that this isn’t really Lennox, it’s an outsourced call center that can only do one thing… tell you where your nearest dealer is.

So, first they lie about Dave, then they lie about contacting them.

I still don’t get it. Maybe one day I will.