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When the echo chamber is everywhere

The profusion of media available makes it easy to assume that we’re hearing a diversity of opinion.

This brilliant post makes it clear that this is not so. What’s actually happening is that with less money per outlet (the money is about the same, the number of outlets is 1000 times more than it was a decade ago) there’s a race to find stuff to talk about. And more often than not, people just repeat what they heard.

The most depressing day of the year.

This matters a lot to everyone. Not because human interest stories are misconstrued again and again (though the current controversy over Clint Eastwood’s movie is a fine example) but because every brand, every incident, every individual runs the risk of being echoed until libeled, trivialized or, if you’re very lucky, canonized.

Redundant restatements

At the airport the other day, every announcement was preceded with (at full volume)  "Attention All Personnel." Sometimes, they said it twice.

The thing is, as soon as you start blasting audio, you’ve got my attention. Stating that you want my attention not only doesn’t get you more of my attention, it gets you less.

Not only is "Attention" useless, the word "all" doesn’t do us much good either. And "personnel" is a fancy, bureaucratic word that doesn’t mean a thing. Are they saying that they only want paid workers to listen? Paid airport workers?

I bring this up not because you’re the twit who made the announcer talk in such an officious way, but because you one day may find yourself in a situation where you’re writing a blog or a letter or an email or whatever… and you’ll be tempted to fill the space.


Short sentences get read.

Not long ones.

While we’re at it: short words are better than long ones.


Seminar changed

I’m a doofus, it’s true.

Due to popular demand, my seminar will be Wednesday, the sixteenth, not the day after Valentine’s Day.

Forgive me, cupid.

Seminars: Announcing the Whiteboard Sessions

By popular demand (thanks!), I’m holding a seminar February 15th CHANGED to February 16th, Wednesday, first come first served, the first new seminar I’ve run since September.

This one is going to be different. You can find all the details here: Seminars.

It’s at my new office in Irvington, New York (click on the link to see the neat photos). Only 13 people can attend–the whiteboard sessions are designed to be significantly more interactive than my previous seminars. You bring issues or problems or challenges and the group will work through them.

I think this is a great setting for anyone familiar with my books who’s trying to get ideas to spread–at work, in an organization, online, offline.

Please read the details at my seminar blog (http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seminars/) and be sure to reserve if you want to come. If it works out, I’ll be running as many as eight this year, but let’s see how this one goes.

And then moments later

The very funny John Aboud writes:

Since I’m essentially a shut-in, I thought it would be fun to play with Amazon’s new Yellow Pages, which I’d read include thousands of photos of LA storefronts taken by roving Amazon vans equipped with digital cameras.

This listing for Meltdown Comics (no snickering) demonstrates a problem with their system:


Admittedly, it is accurate: everything in LA *is* always being blocked by a bus.

Link: Amazon.com: Yellow Pages: Meltdown Comics & Collectibles.

Not just local, but vivid

A9 claims that the whole process is automatic (except for the driving) but the driving part! Wow.

I did a search at random (of a favorite cafe). Look what I found. Link: A9.com Search: soy luck club. Yes, that’s a photo of the inside of the cafe. No, it’s not completely useful yet, but it’s pretty amazing.

Who, exactly, makes the little tiny gloves?

Oklahoma wants cock fighting roosters to wear boxing gloves.

Just FYI
Link: Seattle Post-Intelligencer: AP – U.S. Headlines.

BitTorrent part 2

So, the interesting part of the near future re to BitTorrent is this:

When everyone can watch high resolution DVD quality video on their screen without breaking your server, what will you do about that?

Is Volvo ready with a thirty minute test drive I can watch when I’m ready to buy a new car?

Is Toshiba ready with a how-to manual for their new music server? A fifteen minute well-made video that actually explains what I should do to hook it up?

How about publishers? Are they ready to do a video news release with complete interviews with all their important authors?

This, folks, is the real 500 channel universe. It will probably turn out to be more boring than Seinfeld, but way more specific. A billion infomercials, all the time.

The winners will be people who have the guts to make the interesting ones.

What you need to know about BitTorrent (part 1)

According to Business Week, only 62% of Americans know what a blog is. Either that or 62% don’t know. One or the other, doesn’t matter. What matters is that now you need another cool piece of lingo.

BitTorrent is what p2p file sharing was supposed to be. It’s a system that is totally decentralized. The more it gets used, the better it works.

Once lots of people start using it (and I imagine it will be built into browsers quite soon) the effect is this:
Person A starts downloading a file by pointing to a "torrent" file on the web. This is not the data itself, just information ABOUT the file. It points to places where seeds (copies) of the file are available for downloading. The more seeds, the faster that person A can get going. It’s all automatic… the software does the work, not you.
Person B starts downloading, but now they’re getting the file from the original seeds and from A, too.
Person C continues the linked process, with all the seeds, plus A & B.

As a result, it’s possible to download, say, an hour’s worth of Apple Computer ads in high quality format in just a few minutes as opposed to in a day or two.

There are BitTorrent clients (the program you need to run) in just about every computer format, and they’re free. See the faq below for details.

Link: BitTorrent FAQ and Guide.

The Google Watch Continues

Ben Goodger (what a great name) the key developer on FireFox, just announced that he is now being paid by Google and will work there part time.

Link: Inside Firefox – The Inside Track on Firefox Development.

1. Running a successful open source effort is a great idea. I can’t think of an individual who has invested the time and not had a great personal outcome as well.
2. Google understands what I failed to persuade Yahoo! of a long time ago–owning the browser is a home run. Microsoft has botched their ownership of IE, because they think like bullies, and you can’t bully consumers into doing what they don’t want to do. The idea of a Google browser is powerful from both a user and a commercial perspective, mainly because Google’s culture will make it work.

The ultimate lesson keeps getting repeated but it’s almost impossible for publishers, advertisers, media companies and especially individuals to understand:
The more you give away, the more you get.