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@ChristopherHart This article calls for calm because intelligent people react calmly to scholarly work and criticize where it is justified.   I think this conversation has reached an obvious end.  Please try to stop being hysterical and have a good life.

3 months, 2 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://www.newrepublic.com/article/117914/thomas-pikettys-capital-overstated-liberals-and-conservatives

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@ChristopherHart @AttyFAM Because he is studying market effects.  What on earth are you rambling on about?  Please stop, you are utterly missing the point and making the very mistake that the author of this article decried - making far, far too much of Piketty.  It's very silly and you are only making a fool of yourself.

3 months, 2 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://www.newrepublic.com/article/117914/thomas-pikettys-capital-overstated-liberals-and-conservatives

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@ccbcco @ChristopherHart @AttyFAM @wabbitoid Yes, the Gini Coeficient was rising rather precipitously, but leveled off more recently.  Keep in mind that they have the same Baby Boom problem we do demographically, which has a lot to do with the rise in inequality since 1968.  They were able to manage it far more effectively.  Having a national health system has also helped that a lot, I think, given that the largest reason for bankruptcy in the US among the working class is health related.

3 months, 2 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://www.newrepublic.com/article/117914/thomas-pikettys-capital-overstated-liberals-and-conservatives

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@AttyFAM @wabbitoid The Gini Coeficient has been rising since 1968, as has the share of national income from investment vs wages.  

3 months, 2 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://www.newrepublic.com/article/117914/thomas-pikettys-capital-overstated-liberals-and-conservatives

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Yes, absolutely.  The topic at hand is income inequality, and that has been rising in the US since 1968.  It is a fact, whether you want to call it good, bad, or indifferent.  The idea that any of this is ascribed to a particular administration is childish and silly at best. 

3 months, 2 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://www.newrepublic.com/article/117914/thomas-pikettys-capital-overstated-liberals-and-conservatives

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I am rather stunned by these comments.  Nearly all of them have nothing to do with Piketty's work.  What is wrong with you all?

3 months, 2 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://www.newrepublic.com/article/117914/thomas-pikettys-capital-overstated-liberals-and-conservatives

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More than just reading, writing fiction is a good practice.  It doesn't matter if you write short stories, fan-ficts, or even poetry for that matter.  The practice of organizing a story is a skill that has to be learned - and it's best learned through practice.  

The other issue that is critical for content in the social media  and blog worlds is rendering conversational English into writing.  It's much harder than it looks.  A quick glance at any transcript shows that even the best speakers look hapless when their words are coldly dumped onto a page without any attention paid to the flow and organization of text absent a voice.

Fiction is important because it liberates the writer from the facts, allowing the writer to concentrate on the craft of storytelling in a clear voice.  When you have to return to non-fiction and mind the truth of the tale the craft should already be second nature if it is going to assert itself to its rightful place.  

If nothing else, reading is writing and writing is reading - it's all a dialogue between two distant people with no connection other than the warm smile of language.  All practice with the craft is good for anyone who has a message to share, either personal or commercial.  

4 months, 3 weeks ago on Fiction Makes You a Better Storyteller and Content Producer

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An excellent piece, I hope it becomes industry standard advice.

10 months ago on Six Ways to Be a Strategic Thinker in PR

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Red foxes bark.  It's kind of a yippy bark, like a rather small dog would make.  Grey foxes have more of a growly bark that almost sound like a heavy smoker clearing this throat.


You're welcome.  :-)

11 months, 3 weeks ago on Gin and Topics: What Does the Fox Say?

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Write for humans, edit for SEO.  It seems to apply more than ever.  A good 800 word article with the keyword about once per paragraph seems to get google's attention more than ever, and my own hits from google have gone up.   But, of course, the most important thing now are related terms that come from a properly written piece on a topic and that takes space.

Good for google for working so hard to get us past the era of garbage!

1 year ago on Create In-Depth Articles to Increase Your Google Authority

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 @HowieG Joyce was mad.  What's wrong with that?  :-)

1 year, 10 months ago on National Novel Writing Month Begins Today and We’re Participating

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I heard my name.  Am I in trouble?  :-)

I do a lot of initial reviews of works - there's a score sheet that I use to get into important elements like character, plot, opening, etc.  If anyone else would like to make use of this service, please let me know.  The easiest way is by using my real name, Erik Hare, as a gmail address (how's that for anti-spam?).

1 year, 10 months ago on National Novel Writing Month Begins Today and We’re Participating

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On History Channel there is a small series (4 episodes, I think) called "The Men Who Built America" that I think everyone should watch.  It's a great bio/doc on Vanderbilt, Carnegie, Rockefeller, Morgan, and Ford that includes comments from entrepreneurs so that you can really get into their heads.  It's incredibly compelling stuff - and all very true. 

1 year, 10 months ago on The Three Things, Edition 5

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This is a bit more advanced, but it can be important for Midwesterners in particular.  A scan for passive voice can be done by searching for "ing" when editing.  If it is part of a sentence with a "be" verb, such as "I am looking for someone to do this", you know it's passive.  A stronger sentence is "I need someone to do this" or even "Someone must do this".

You mentioned the over-use of "that" - a quick search for a few words as a first pass at editing (that, like, ing) is an easy way to dive into the very difficult skill of editing your own stuff.  Everyone has their own "ticks" that they need to look for - one of mine is "just", as in "just a little bit".  Once you know your ticks you can add them to the list that everything more important than a one-off email gets before you ship it.

Teaching how to edit your own stuff is a skill I love to teach people.  It helps me do a better job if nothing else.  :-)  It's also very critical, IMHO.

1 year, 11 months ago on Six Tips for Better Business Writing

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 @bdorman264 There is a huge leadership gap throughout the developed world right now.  It's not just politics - it's business, religion, and everything.  There are great leaders out there, I'm sure - or at least potential ones ready to be made.  We all have to insist on better before we will get the leadership we all so desperately need.

(Ginny is certainly doing her part!)

2 years ago on Spin Sucks…Even in Political Ads

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Having run a few campaigns myself, I have to say that the "air war" has completely disintegrated to the point of being nothing but a real liability for everyone involved.  The key to any political campaign has always been efforts on the ground to organize and mobilize - and this nonsense only makes that harder.  What's interesting is that the lessons we learn on the ground in politics have a place in general marketing, especially for small biz.  But this crap?  Feh.

Big media has been rendered useless by terrible practices, IMHO.  I think that goes all around.  As long as it doesn't ruin social media, too, but that may be too late as well.

2 years ago on Spin Sucks…Even in Political Ads

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Congrats!  You've been at it one year longer than I have.  I'm more of a deliberate rule-breaker than you are, but my blog has always been more of an experiment.  I've tested out theories about what the latest google updates favor and don't favor (that can be a ton of fun) and deliberately run against the grain of what people think a blog is supposed to be.  It still works because of consistency in posting - every MWF - but certainly not consistency in topic! 

Gini, I have a conference coming up where I'm going to get into a discussion (note: not "give a talk") about developing a community on a blog.  This is the best example I can think of.  There is really no more consistent community of people who are, by and large, engaged in the topic and not wandering too far off into inanity as many blogs do.  People are also respectful here and can get into difficult subjects without heating up the "ex machina" problem that fills many sites with flame wars.  That's your leadership, and it's important to let people know how it works!

2 years ago on Lessons (and Stats) from Six Years of Blogging

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I have experience in politics (ran a campaign, media/sm rep for 2 others) and I'm in Minnesota, where a ballot initiative banning Universal Marriage is on the ballot.  So I get to see these things up close and pretty intensely.

I don't think companies should ever get into these issues unless they have it well thought out from many angles.  That includes people on "my side", such as General Mills.  Corporate speech and politics is a much more dangerous mix than the issues around Citizens United.

For example, the fake facebook account may not have been created by Chick-fil-a - there are many people who would do that in support of a new ally in the midst of a media storm.  But this is how it all spins very far out of control very quickly when you stray into emotional issues far afield from your corporate mission.

The best advice to companies who want to take a stand?  Do it behind the scenes, and if that doesn't seem good enough and you want to be public have people completely on watch for bad behavior on your side as well as the other.  It's a time for quick action and rising above the circus that will result.

General Mills did pretty well here managing their foray into the Universal Marriage issue. When they had protesters, the CEO brought them coffee.  It was cute.  But most of the time the fire and fury will catch a company far off guard, and that's happening to Chick-fil-a right now.

2 years, 1 month ago on The Chick-fil-A PR Crisis

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"Content is King"

Yeah, right.  Some of the comments here tie this into trendy nonsense (a certain family whose name starts with K comes to mind) and I agree completely.  The pressure to create quantity of content, some of which is "nooze", has been sorely working against quality generally.  This is only one symptom of the problem, IMHO.

As a person who attempts to create quality content for both myself and my clients I find that I am being appreciated a tiny bit more every day.  That makes me feel good.  But it's still a tough battle to fight.  Until a real value is placed on quality we'll see a lot of this crap in various forms.

2 years, 1 month ago on Trust Me I’m Lying: How One Person is Hurting an Entire Industry

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 @John_Murphy  Yes, starting with "I'm not _____" is a passive way of saying "I am _____ but too cowardly to be open about it, even as it clearly defines my speech and choice of topics."  It's a sign of very weak character, IMHO.

2 years, 1 month ago on Marissa Mayer: Why Are We Still Having this Conversation?

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I've been thinking about this a bit, and I'm still pretty pissed off about how sexist most of the coverage of Mayer's appointment has been.  But when I think about how I would write this story on my own terms, I think the pregnancy is pretty important - it would seem odd to NOT mention it, since it is a first.

 

So how would *I* handle this?  First of all, if she were a man I would mention having a young and/or growing family - but only in passing.  And in this case, I think it deserves just a bit more than that.

 

We're dealing with a rather unconventional person here - a real leader in many ways who has taken several unusual paths.  Signing up with google so early on and taking that risk is worth mentioning.  A programmer rising to a management position is important.  The interview with Lady Gaga deserves a mention, just for weirdness.  And the pregnancy can be included in that same paragraph.

 

So I don't think it should be entirely left out - that would stand out as a glaring admission to many people.  But some context for understanding that Mayer is a person who does things her own way would make it a much more rich story.  Throw in how Yahoo! needs some fresh air and you have a pretty good story, I'd say.

 

But I would never offer "advice" or a comparison to Fiorina.  That's just dumb and sexist.

 

(note:  I'm from the East, and we refer to people we don't know by last name.  Women, too.  The only time it gets weird is when you reference "Clinton", so the title "Secretary Clinton" is handy.  Calling Mayer "Marissa" in an article just looks sexist and wrong, IMHO.)

2 years, 1 month ago on Marissa Mayer: Why Are We Still Having this Conversation?

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 @ginidietrich I haven't seen sexism this bad since ... well, we've talked about reproductive health as an employer option lately .... yeah, this crap is absolutely endemic.  It's like we entered a time-warp in here somehow and we're back in the 1950s (or worse).

2 years, 1 month ago on Marissa Mayer: Why Are We Still Having this Conversation?

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I think you're right on here.  For years, Yahoo! has been were good apps go to die.  Turning around the mess at Yahoo! is one Hell of a story on its own and anyone who isn't writing this that way is one seriously off the mark.  Sexism is all over this story as it's being told and it really does make me sick.

 

2 years, 1 month ago on Marissa Mayer: Why Are We Still Having this Conversation?

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Comments are what make us better.  My humble li'l blog is absolutely nothing more than the things I simply have to get out of my head if I'm going to have a chance at doing something considered "productive" in a world that has no use for what's on my mind.  And I get a fair number of comments on it, too, which is great.  But through the discussion these diversions of mine become more clear, crystalline thoughts that sometimes add up to something far more than they were when I had to clear them out.  

It's always best to talk these things through and be social about it.  So why not respond and be a part of a discussion?  I've been blessed with a community that rarely gives me "great post!" or other BS comments and they rarely stray far off the topic at hand, so why shouldn't I be a part of the discussion?  

Good comments make us better - as writers, as philosophers, as humans.

2 years, 2 months ago on Responding (Or Not) to Blog Comments

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Before I head off to another discussion on the future of fiction publishing and how we can make a biz out of what is needed, a few comments.

Publishing is changing rapidly.  The value of a real publisher used to be first the editors and then the marketing arm.  Both are really thin these days - the editing process has been trimmed dramatically and most authors have to push their work on their own.  The value of a real publisher is pretty limited.

That said, there are still advantages if you can swing it.  An advance is, of course, ideal, but few get that.  Most writers have to prove themselves first, and that usually means self-publishing.  Many people talk about "published" works now including self-published, a major faux pas just a few years ago.  So there is no reason to not go ahead and self-publish if you want to get something out.  

My own fiction is its own thing, and I'll self-publish as I see fit.  I have one self-published novel and another that is awaiting a final draft - a TON of work that I just can't get myself to do.  It's tough to get the energy up to do it.

Non-fiction business books are a very different reality, especially in the market. It's much easier to find an audience, even on your own.  If you know social media there's no reason to not give it a go and make it happen - but you do have to stand out in some way.

2 years, 3 months ago on Self-Publishing vs. Publisher: Why You Should Do Both

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I have a few contact that was formally with PostRank, the great service recently killed off by google (sniff!) after purchase.  I was told that what google bought with PostRank wasn't the technology, but the talent.  I think that may be what is going on with instagram, at least in part.  

Just like google+ (and what I consider its failure so far) the proof for facebook is always in the integration of all these kewl toys.  A seamless one-stop shop for "appliance users" is always going to have a place advantage over leading-edge stuff with too many options that appeals to the cool kids - it's a different, and much bigger market.

2 years, 3 months ago on Three Reasons Facebook Camera Will Work

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 @ginidietrich Barataria is nothing more than my own thoughts.  I'd like to be in a group with other people, but I've never been invited - so I can't speak for that.  Certainly, when I write any kind of copy for pay I do my best to put it into that person's voice or a voice that suits their organization.

But when you're talking about fluffy stuff, there's really no place for it anywhere.  The non-internet-addicts in the world usually go to a site for something much more like news than what is usually produced.  I have gained quite a bit of business from people who were advised to put up all kinds of giggly nonsense and realized that no, that's not what readers really want.

I realize that the internet mavens will tell me I'm wrong.  They more or less have, at least to the extent they'll say anything to a heretic like me.  But it's very true - ordinary people who aren't "into" this stuff are much more no-nonsense.  

There is always the question of fashion.  I never did understand fashion, and I don't understand how people cue into the latest trends.  I don't really know what even causes them to want to be that way, frankly.  It seems very time consuming and not very much fun.  The downside of fashion is that if you catch a trend at the end, you look pretty stupid.  So why bother with it at all?

So I don't get any of this, I never will, and I know most real people don't.  So to Hell with it.  I don't see any reason to play these games.  I really don't.

2 years, 4 months ago on Writing for You…Or the People?

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You talkin' to me?

 

Forget the fluff.  No one really makes money off of blogging alone - and those who make it sound like they do are either lying or (more likely) never exact about how much they make.  Visitors and retweets and all that by people who can't think outside of a list of "Top XX Whatevers" aren't going to get anyone a nickel.  It's all hype and BS.

 

Build your reputation as a smart person - if you are, that is.  You'll get some work from it.  My humble blog does decently in donations, too.  The web is far too cluttered with fluff as it is, IMHO.

2 years, 4 months ago on Writing for You…Or the People?

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 @3HatsComm Sooner or later, people will have to make stuff in this nation, yes.  In the last 20 years our accumulated trade deficit is about $7.8 trillion.  We have an economy based on printing US Dollars and sending them overseas for gizmos and oil.  It will not last forever, and may be in its last throes right now.

This "virtual money" is just part of a  bigger problem that is in the process of correcting itself, IMHO.

2 years, 4 months ago on Are We Nearing a Tech Bubble Burst?

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I think what's going on is a reflection of the secular bear market that we're in (and will be through at least 2017 if history is a guide).  I call it the "Hollywood Effect".

 

The market is ruled by fear, not greed right now.  Everything looks risky.  The market makers are looking for the one sure "blockbuster"  - the "Transformers XX" that is like money in the bank.  And when they think they have it, the flight of money into it is insane.

 

That may well continue for a long time as long as it's only a select few companies that are experiencing it. Remember that during the last 'net bubble nearly anyone could score, even toys.com and pets.com.  It's far more selective right now, which is what the "Hollywood Effect" is all about.

2 years, 4 months ago on Are We Nearing a Tech Bubble Burst?

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Here's another view:

 

Spent a lot of this evening talking with someone on twitter on "mommy bloggers" after a local scandal (really bizarre stuff).  I asked who actually reads these blogs, and the response was that it's mostly other bloggers trying to get themselves notices via comments so that people will visit them, etc.  So the contention is that most blogging is nothing more than a sub-culture.

 

This makes sense to me, in large part because I never (and I do mean never) cross paths with any of the bloggers who talk about their personal lives (mommy or otherwise).  People on the 'net who are "real" and are interested in, say, good conversation come from a very different place - and are much harder to find.  Barataria has been around for 5 years and is now in a place where it has decent traffic - but is still soundly beaten by the online version of any newspaper, including the Bemidji Pioneer.

 

So if most blogging is just a sub-culture, it may well not be worth the time for most businesses.  They'd have to break out of the usual BS and find their real customers and not the wannabee reality show contestants who think "blogging" is about their own narcissistic shortcomings.

 

Something to think about.

2 years, 4 months ago on Is Blogging Dead or Are Companies Not Trying Hard Enough?

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Blogging has to be done well to be effective, and that information is severely lacking.  My gig (well, the best paying of the gigs I get) revolves around teaching people how to be as effective as possible with their time.  My biggest problem is the deep and wide culture of mis-information about what blogging is all about and how to use social media.  Most of my time is spent dispelling nonsense.  

 

The problem is that a lot of charlatans have polluted the field and convinced people that the social media / blogging world is narcissistic crap that takes insane amounts of time.  The people who have pushed this view are much louder than those of us who know what the Hell we are talking about - and tend to get the attention of legacy media such as teevee, etc.  

 

If done properly, blogging should not take that much time and can, indeed, be farmed out pretty cheaply if necessary.  It can and should be evaluated for its ROI, and my clients are all very happy on that score.  But far too many people have been ripped off and have a bad attitude for a very good reason.

2 years, 4 months ago on Is Blogging Dead or Are Companies Not Trying Hard Enough?

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 @Julie | A Clear Sign Yuppers.  I do it for cheap, too.  :-)

2 years, 4 months ago on Is Blogging Dead or Are Companies Not Trying Hard Enough?

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"To everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven"

http://erikhare.wordpress.com/2012/04/25/k-waves/

 

What your generation is experiencing is not unique.  It is unusual, and a bit of a historical anomaly - but these things do happen.  What all of you need is a far better grounding so that you can realize this.

2 years, 4 months ago on Saving the Millennial Workforce from Bad Perceptions

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I think this is critical not just for women, but for the survival of our nation.  Seriously.

 

It's been known for a while that sociopaths are highly over-represented as a share of the population at the top of major corporations.  

http://www.forbes.com/sites/jeffbercovici/2011/06/14/why-some-psychopaths-make-great-ceos/

 

While there are some women who fit into this category (I swear, I may have dated a few!) the incidence is much lower.  "Feminizing" corporate life is essential to its long-term survival if we are ever going to get to a place where the big institutions are serving the general population and not a select few.  Granted, I say this as a "beta male" who is extraordinarily non-competitive, but people like me are rather numerous and revolted by most corporate life.  There is just no place for us in the selfish world.

 

Will women at the top make it better?  They certainly can't make it worse, and it's our best hope for serious reform.  You go, ladies!

2 years, 4 months ago on Women Entrepreneurs and Business Owners Have Social Network

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“Innovation is not scarce. Entrepreneurship is scarce. We are spending billions and wasting years of conversations on innovation and it isn’t paying off. Great business people are more valuable and rarer than great ideas."

 

So says Jim Clifton in "The Coming Jobs War"  http://erikhare.wordpress.com/2012/03/23/jobs-war/  This is how we restructure the economy to get to whatever lifts us out of the Depression.  We have to do a lot of things differently - and do a few things we're not used to doing.  You have highlighted something your profession has to be a part of, and thank you for it!  But there are many more examples out there where so many things have to come together in ways we aren't used to.

 

My favorite example is Capstone Micro-Turbines - which could easily be at the heart of a 100 MPG car, a turbine hybrid.  But there are many pieces that need a bit of a nudge and they have to fit together.  A minivan at 80 MPG has already been built as a first generation, but much more needs to be done.  Resources put into this could liberate our economy like little else, but have you even heard of them?  

2 years, 5 months ago on Flying Car Creates PR Controversy

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 @cxohuerta They have been working on this more or less 30 years.

2 years, 5 months ago on Flying Car Creates PR Controversy

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 @ginidietrich I do get some work from Barataria, certainly, but I always need money right away.  That means getting work on my own without the blog.  I would dearly love to write pieces more like those on Barataria for a living, but it is very hard to be paid to write pieces on economics.  There are far more people ahead of me with much better connections and credentials.  

 

I think it will always be where I get things out of my head so that I am clear to write what other people will pay me to do.   That is valuable in itself, but in a very limited way.  I have to have some outlet for creativity and intelligent thought or I'd be even crazier than I am!

2 years, 5 months ago on The Spin Sucks Blogging Process

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Wow.  That's in inordinate amount of time, IMHO.  I think about things all the time, but when I wake up on a Mon, Wed, or Fri I realize I have to write something.  If I'm lucky an idea came to me the night before or in the 15 minutes or so before I crawl out of bed.  There have been many days when I had zero idea what I was going to write - and on those occasions I visit a few mainstays that I have where people write insanely dense, jargon-filled pieces on the economy and more or less translate them.  :-)

 

I never spend more than 30 minutes writing, 15 editing, and another 15 adding links and snagging a picture.  If I spent more than an hour on these things I would seriously eat into my ability to make a living!

 

During the day, I steal time as I can to log in to twitter and post a link live plus respond to comments.  I don't know how long this takes, but I'm often making tea or something while I do it.  

 

Lately I've been making some videos for my YouTube Channel on Sundays with my kids.  We made two 4 minute ones last Sunday and it took about 45 minutes - all in one take out in the park.   My son did the editing for me, which was minimal.  

 

I can't see spending any more time than that on this stuff without getting paid for it.  I make something decent out of the "tip jar", but not enough to justify a bigger commitment than I have.

2 years, 5 months ago on The Spin Sucks Blogging Process

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 @Faryna I really appreciate whipping out Sartre here.  We can gripe all we want about what's wrong here and there, but it comes down to a complete lack of grounding - intellectual, moral, cultural, and ultimately realistic grounding any way you want to look at it.

 

To get this back to Gini's topic, Groupon is a real PR nightmare by any measure.  But good PR has to start with giving a damn what other people think.  I don't think these guys have the "bottom" to even start down the road of being a genuine corporation in the public realm, let alone be able to formulate good PR.  And while they are an excellent poster child at the extreme, they are far from alone.  

 

More Sartre will do us good.  If people with this much money to throw around aren't remotely serious about it, we're all doomed.

2 years, 5 months ago on The Communication Crisis Groupon Created for Itself

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I don't get Instagram, especially at a Bill, but take the money and walk (don't run), guys!  More power to ya!  LinkedIn has been in danger of losing its place in anyone's heart, so their updates were very much needed and should help some.  I'll always root for them as well.

 

But google+ .... sigh.  I am guessing that there is an internal debate as to what it is supposed to be because there is so much they should be integrating with it - and it's not happening!  Google has all these "object projects" (to use an urban planning term) that are scattered around on their own that cry out to be integrated into one seamless package that appliance users can make use of.   And it is just not coming together.  

 

Look at what they've done in the last few months - roll out "Play Store" as yet another stand-alone app/site and re-work google+ in the most derivative way possible.  This is not even close to what they need to do, IMHO.

 

Their position with android is impressive, but it will probably never make a ton of money on its own - what it has is an amazing ability to leverage loyal users forever.  They are in the position Microsoft was in circa 1998, except they also have the goods that Microsoft spent years trying to develop - mail, search, news, et cetera.  It should all come together in google+ - but it does not.  

 

Meanwhile, the coolest potential tool for curating, PostRank, is being allowed to wither and die after their buyout.  Google reader is just ... there.  So many great things and one really obvious place to bring them all together ...

 

... and they give us Basefook Lite.  Thanks.

2 years, 5 months ago on Instagram, LinkedIn, and Google+ News

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"The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt."

- Bertrand Russell 

 

I just want to emphasize the basic underlying problem that shows no signs of going away - unless we really learn from the groupon disaster.

 

Mason, et al, are indeed stupid.  They are not stupid only for turning away $6B, nor for ignoring a tremendous amount of good advice along the way.  They are deliberately stupid along the lines the great Bertrand Russel decried some 150 years ago.

 

The problem is that we live in a time that favors "cocksure" action and an aura of power.  That's how these guys got the kind of attention and money thrown at them in the first place - and not at all because their idea was a good one at all.  It was a terrible idea that was doomed to failure, but everyone looked into their dreamy eyes and saw nothing but great things ahead.  This was sold on personality, not intelligence.

 

It's important because this has been going on for far too long - and is one of the roots of the current Depression that is still running through our economy.  As long as stupid people and stupid ideas get a lot of money there is a tremendous opportunity cost to actual good ideas and hard working people who are capable of actually changing the world for the better.  I said this in a post 4.5 years ago, and I stand by it:  Stupid money drives out smart - it's a new version of Gresham's Law.

 

http://erikhare.wordpress.com/2007/08/13/stupid-money/

 

Note that this was posted a full year before the 2008 meltdown, an event that was starting to look rather inevitable long before it happened.  Note that financial institutions like Goldman Sachs (remember talking about their PR problem here?) were already floundering and the Federal Reserve was already trying to save Lehman, WaPo, and AIG.  

 

This is a problem for all of us, because as Gini has noted there is about $2 Trillion idly on deposit in the Federal Reserve right now.  The people who "own" it cannot find investments they consider worthy out here in the real world where people work hard, think intelligently, and dream of better things.  How is it that they can't find opportunities?  Because companies like groupon get all the attention and have already wasted huge wads of cash.

 

Stupid money drives out smart.  This problem is far bigger than groupon, and it's affecting everyone.

2 years, 5 months ago on The Communication Crisis Groupon Created for Itself

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I think the groupon example is important because it is an allegory for everything that can (and often does) go wrong in social media.

 

When this company was the hottest thing, it was very hot.  I can't tell you how many seminars, breakfasts, and other events came through email where sincere people gave "presentations" on how critical it was to be on board this critical trend.  I did not attend a single one of them because all of my small business clients, to a person, knew it was nonsense.  Not a single one was interested in the offerings or even the "coupon model" in general.

 

But in certain circles people were only listening to people like themselves - consumers and supposed "experts" out to make a name for themselves as they pushed the latest trend.  The disconnect was stunning.

 

The problem with groupon, from the start, was that they have apparently always believed their own bullshit - and clearly still do.  This has been reinforced by a community that is woefully disconnected from reality and extraordinarily self-centered.  Their inability to run a company is only a symptom of a much larger problem that runs very deep in social media itself. 

 

You have to ask how many good people and good ideas never make it in this "star machine" of nonsense and irrelevance while the promoters who talk the jargon successfully push themselves.   Far too much money is going to people who actively don't care about what they are doing.  It's disgusting, immoral - and doomed to failure.  

 

Groupon appears to be one of the worst examples, yes.  But it is far from alone and this disaster was made by many more selfish people pushing their views on the world despite utterly lacking clue #1 as to what the Hell they were talking about.  If we're really going to change the world we ALL have to insist on much better - otherwise this really is nothing but a bunch of time wasting games.

 

[ side note - today is Barataria's 5th birthday, join the party!  http://erikhare.wordpress.com/  Thanks! ]

2 years, 5 months ago on The Communication Crisis Groupon Created for Itself

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 @ginidietrich  @Erin F. Erin, I can't use jargon, it's just not in my nature.  I'm a teacher, an explainer, not a pretender.  Besides, as a Taoist I can't get into the whole "we understand it because we named it" routine so popular in Western thought.

 

Gini, I'm with you that changing times require us all to go against conventional wisdom.  For example, a potential gig had SEO methods that were clearly at least a year out of date - so I asked about using social media to influence google, if they knew of identi.ca, and so on.  Needless to say that was another job I didn't get.  

 

The way to get work is to keep my mouth shut and show no signs of creativity, I think.  I have to practice it before I land another interview.

2 years, 5 months ago on Social Media Breeds PR Laziness

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 @edwardmbury1 This is very good, and not all that different from what I do in the first place (for example:  "Measuring Outcomes is Preferred to Measuring Media Results") but it helps my credibility to have it in one place that I can refer to.  Thanks!

2 years, 5 months ago on Social Media Breeds PR Laziness

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 @ginidietrich Gini, I am sure you could never even get a job at the $20-$25 an hour level that I'm looking at.  Gigs like that seem to require a lot of being able to recite conventional wisdom, whether it be right or wrong, and the use of jargon, which I simply cannot do no matter how hard I try.  

So it's unlikely I'll ever get a "real job" in this field since I don't have the "agency experience" or degree to land anything above the range I'm looking.  Experience producing genuine results for small clients and working the streets with plenty of shoeleather does not seem to count.

 

And yes, "conventional wisdom" is quite wrong much of the time.  I'll leave it to the great Jeremy Bentham:  "The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt."

2 years, 5 months ago on Social Media Breeds PR Laziness

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Here's an example:

Potential Employer: Are you proficient in HootSuite:

Me: No, I believe that pre-scehduling tweets is very dangerous and should be avoided.

Potential Employer:  So you are not proficient in this social media tool?

 

(Needless to say, I am not expecting to get this job.  But it's hardly the first one I missed out on for reasons like this.)

2 years, 5 months ago on Social Media Breeds PR Laziness

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I doubt that this practice is legal and would love to see someone get their butts royally sued.  There has to be a good lawyer out there who wants to make a name for his/her self.  Hell, there has to be a bad lawyer who looks good on teevee who can take this on.

2 years, 5 months ago on Facebook Speaks Out Against Employers Asking for Passwords

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 @Soulati | B2B Social Media Marketing This is a grey area, since schools serve <i>in loco parentis</i> (in place of the parents) in a legal sense - they are responsible for the children and their well being when in school.  It would be wrong to go that far in the schools, however, for practical reasons of trust.  But I think that they could do that if there was a procedure in place that included the parents involved and other safeguards.  It would be best to not have to go that far, of course, but I think it's both legal and covered by social precedent.

2 years, 5 months ago on Facebook Speaks Out Against Employers Asking for Passwords

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I just thought about something.  Something bad.

If Goldman wanted to, they could destroy Greg Smith.  They could release parts of his personnel file that make him look like a terrible employee and drop hints about his mental stability.  They could go on a tear that makes his criticism look suspect at best.  Sure, he'd sue and probably settle out of court for $10M, maybe $100M.  It'd still be chump change to Goldman and probably worth it to them compared to what bad PR does to their stock.  And it would make sure that it doesn't happen again among their employees.

Just something to think about as we all contemplate what the "right thing to do" is.  :-)

2 years, 5 months ago on Why Goldman Sachs Needed a Crisis Plan

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