Thursday, October 27, 2005

A Small Virtual Key Open Big Door

[Blogging] business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side ...
-Hunter S. Thompson Meeting the Whole Wide World

Once upon a time I had a pleasure of reviewing a masterpiece by Dan Gillmor entitled We The Media and this week I ploughed through another global treasure entitled The Naked Conversations. If you know who the honest, naked, guys are who wrote this amazing tome then the future has never looked brighter. However, if you have no idea who wrote the story then the future has never looked more bleak.

This is a story of a modern revolution
Imagine what it would be like to live simply and purely, dedicated to a force larger than yourself. This is exactly what Robert Scoble and Shel Israel have done over the last twelve months or so. You know that both of them spent hours and hours on the story because the first page that you open of the Advanced Uncorrected Proofs - Not For Sale - is dedicated to Maryam Scoble and Paula Israel. The boys could not have given birth to this wonder without them;-) If you happened to have the time over the last twelve months to follow their virtual fingerprints you would realise that Shel and Robert are like those creatures with two legs and eight hands.

Naked Conversations: How Blogs are Changing the Way Businesses Talk with Customers taps into something under the surface, which I think is intriguing, and there is a mystery there which drags you through the new virtual world. The struggle to get ahead in the new brave world makes for a memorable read. As Tom Peters, the blogging guru, notes in his forward ‘Biz Blogging ... WORKS. It is of ... MONUMENTAL IMPORTANCE. (Or can Be) Listen. Please (If you don’t you’re a Damn Fool)’

The introduction: of Bloggers and Blacksmiths envokes an image of middle-aged white guys talking in the nude around a camp fire. Terry Catchpole gets to have the first say: ‘It began with conversations. Then we got into broadcast media. Now we are going back to conversations. It’s a full circle.’

The book consists of three parts and it is peppered with pertinent quotes and observations. In my eyes, the basic points for this book are also found inside Aristotle’s The Rhetoric. Technology changes but human nature and how we converse, think and act remains the same. We all want to practice ‘honest and, naked, conversations with customers that build loyalty and trust.’ “Three Legs of Persuasion” found inside The Rhetoric enable us to share great conversations with people. Miss any of the three legs and it is like trying to sit on a three-legged stool that is missing one leg! What are the three legs? They are: Logos, or Logic. Pathos, or Passion. Ethos, or Ethics. All 15 chapters of this book are based on these three legs. There are no tricks, no superficial concepts and certainly no short cuts. In order to obtain full benefit one needs to read one and all chapters.

When I think of Robert and Shel I think of what Oliver Wendell Holmes had to say about leaders:
‘There are one-story intellects, two-story intellects, and three-story intellects with skylights. All fact collectors with no aim beyond their facts are one-story men. Two-story men compare reason and generalize, using labors of the fact collectors as well as their own. Three-story men idealize, imagine, and predict. Their best illuminations come from above through the skylight.’

Robert and Shel are three-story men and blogging champions who even make each chapter heading thought-provoking. Where other technical evangelists and business consultants pander, lecture, exaggerate or understate, Robert and Israel are content with an intimate recitation of fact and wisdom. They lay out the core beliefs, the core practices, and the core virtues of blogging. And they work hard to get those things working in your personal and professional life.

In a light-hearted, motivating tone this book explores many nuggets of genuine wisdom. The virtual terms are all explained using real-life examples and interesting tidbits from 200 or so interviews. You will find handy 'must know,' 'should know' as well as 'could know' spread throughout the book. For instance, find out how Google delivered golden needles. This is a book that most of us need on our bookshelves and one that we will likely refer to time and time again. The authors’ extensive business and marketing experiences are evident as every page is filled with useful tips, concrete examples, and thoughtful suggestions for improvement.

To paraphrase an old song, blogging is not for everybody - just the sexy people
Naked Conversations is the ultimate reference for people wishing to develop their blogging and marketing skills. This indispensable guide is packed with professional tips on how to add more zap and clarity to personal and business communications.

This book is a delight to read for many reasons. It encapsulates the skills and techniques for improving people's blogging and writing in one accessible book. And it practises what it preaches, in the sense that it is easy and enjoyable to read.

It is hard to compete for thoughtful reviews with writers like Jeff Clavier who posted the first review of the galley proof, to boot, autographed by both Scoble and Israel, Naked Conversations

Congratulations are in order for creating something out of nothing, and may the word spreads like a good old Australian bushfire ...

Soon, around Christmas, Robert Scoble and Shel Israel of Naked Conversations are going to strike a few sparks at the Les Blogs conference
Defining together these new values:
1. How they challenge the corporate world
2. How they change the media landscape
3. How they bring more democracy in politics
4. How education evolves
5. What are the tools used and how we can all best benefit from them
6. Where we are going in the near and longer term future

CODA - Worthy reads: The PC Doctor » Here to help! I have a galley proof!
Neville Hobson makes an observation about two events that have happened since the two authors delivered the completed manuscript to Wiley and which are not in the text - IBM's global employee blogging initiative and eBay's acquisition of Skype Naked Conversations Is A Cracking Read
Steve Rubel links to Naled Conversations
Alex Barnett Markets *really* are conversations
Jim Minatel writes: I read the first 3 chapters of Scoble and Israel's Naked Conversations in galleys today over lunch. Yes, I'm reading the actual hardcopy, not a Word file or PDF. Why? Because almost everyone buying the book will read a hardcopy version too, it only makes sense to experience the book the same way the customer will. Reading and editing on paper
Church of the Customer Podcast Women's word of mouth; Wanna be a business book author?
I've Been Selected to Review Robert Scoble and Shel Israel's New Book The Mason Technologist
I got another great treat today: My galley copy of Robert Scoble’s and Shel Israel’s Naked Conversations hit my desk A Book Publisher Blog
Business Blog Consulting The Newest Blogging Book to Hit the Market
Michael Martine pointed out: Business blogs are personal in the sense that they are not the product of a marketing department or public relations firm. How Do You Draw the Line Between the Personal and the Private in Your Blog?
Robert Scoble wrote about his recent visit to high end audio/video cable manufacturer Monster Cable: Why Should Businesses Have A Blog?

After the Matter: A note from Robert and Shel - The Media Dragon Loves us

Monday, October 24, 2005

Make-believe democracy: drowning with the authoritarians

My dad came into my dream last night very vividly and, as a child, I recall him saying to me as we watched a wolf trying to attack us how the most dangerous animal in the forest is the one that is hurt. I think his words were: "Injured animal is the most dangerous animal in the forest".
In some strange way this could be said in the context of Thomas Paine: "He that would make his own liberty secure must guard even his enemy from oppression for if he violates this duty he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself."
Do we ever ask which minorities are being hurt by our economy and politics or religion? Who is hurting most? I know there is a very fine line between a freedom fighter and a terrorist - it is in the eye of the beholder. Now is the time to be very open about what we see

Saturday, October 22, 2005

To dream the impossible dream,
To fight the unbeatable foe,
To bear with unbearable sorrow,
To run where the brave dare not go.
To right the unrightable wrong,
To love pure and chaste from afar,
To try when your arms are too weary,
To reach the unreachable star!
-- Lyrics from The Impossible Dream (The Quest) by Joe Darion

My life -- a sole survivor's existence -- has been filled with depths, both the high and the low. I've seen life in a state of glory and in a state of gloom, but, if nothing else, I have felt it. I have learned to live with the risk.

Rather than having no goal, it is, as it has been wisely said by Theodore Roosevelt: ‘Far better to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered with failure than to live like people who ... neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows no victory nor defeat.’

No matter now hard you work for success, if your thought is saturated with the fear of failure, it will kill your efforts, neutralize your endeavor,and make success impossible Low aim, not failure, is crime

Art of Living & Literature Across Frontiers: That which does not kill us makes us stronger
Analysts suggest that we're burdened with an inflated sense of entitlement. Bloody hell. Some things are too awful to contemplate, and living in a world where exiles know how to excel at feeling like failures is one of them ...

A new rage has hit the streets. Pump rage. Sibling to the road variety, cousin to hose rage. No prizes for guessing its origins. Steep petrol price increases lead to flow-on rises in the cost of living. When you're operating close to the bone or on credit, your threshold for instability is shot. Enter rage.

• The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams. Anxiety about rage makes the blood boil [The way to predict the future is to invent it. On a hot Melbourne afternoon in the summer of 1900, an unwed mother sat down on the banks of the Yarra River and drowned her newborn son ; What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us Thinker in action : Be brave when others are afraid, and afraid when others are brave ]
• · Failure is never final and success is never ending. Success is a journey, not a destination: Women have little to fear when a pick-up artist reveals the secrets of his success The Game ; Leadership is having a clear idea of what you're trying to accomplish (and) articulating it to whomever you work with... and being able to overcome all the little issues that get in the way of achieving your goals. But only a leader can overcome the obstacles Hey, Kids - We're Putting on a Show!
• · · Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed Take notice, there's meaning everywhere ; Towering genius disdains a beaten path. It seeks regions hitherto unexplored A Journey to a Thousand Maps Begins With an Open Code
• · · · The road to your championship will not be a smooth, wide and easily traveled freeway. No, great accomplishments are never realized without first having to endure steep climbs, hard falls and sharp turns. The key to your success is perseverance and focus. Keep your focus on that which you desire to accomplish, your championship, and continually discover ways to, and ways not to, achieve your goals. Fall down and/or get knocked down 10 times and get back up 11..., and in so doing learn, grow and move closer to your championship A Pride of Princesses at the Door ; Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm Constructive feedback
• · · · · Man unfit for friendship are like waterfowl, which abandons a pond after it's empty or frozen,
Man fit for friendship are like the waterlilies, they remain to share both prosperity and adversity Style Gets New Elements ; It hurts. Sometimes more than we can bear. If we could live without passion maybe we would know some kind of peace. But we would be hallow--empty rooms, shuddered and dank. But without passion, we'd be truly dead Absurd Person Singular
• · · · · · Never feel sorry for yourself -- it has a deadly effect on spiritual well-being. Recognize all problems, no matter how difficult, as opportunities for spiritual growth, and make the most of these opportunities Mildred Norman The BFF Boys triumph again ; The real glory is being knocked to your knees and then coming back. That's real glory. That's the essence of it My new favorite publisher: Europa Editions ; Double Dragon Preditions

Friday, October 21, 2005

Only if you have been in the deepest valley can you know how magnificent it is to be on the highest mountain.
-Richard Nixon

New Territory: Explorers of Freedom - Yes, I now find that freedom frightens me
I write this on September 11, 2005, with voices from a television program behind me telling the horrendous stories of the terrorist attack of the World Trade Center in the United States on a September 11, 2001 -- a long time ago. Yes, it seems long ago for many. I can tell by the way a great portion of the world is reacting.

But I’m here to tell you about another horrendous time. The story, Cold River, by Jozef Imrich, is a surreal slice of the Communist Iron Curtain and a man who took the path less traveled to explore the cold and bitter reality of freedom. I’ve learned a lot from this book, I’m ashamed to say. Yes, ashamed; and worse -- frightened. Hmmm, you may be thinking if you are privy to the writings and ramblings of Roseberry Books. Isn’t this a writer who leads readers to believe in giant rats and bugs, haunted elevators and the mysteries of the tarot. What could possibly be so frightening?
As I’ve edited Cold River for Double Dragon Publishing, I’ve lived the life of Jozef Imrich – right along side him, eavesdropping from that reader’s place just outside the turmoil, the love, the fear, the bravery. That safe place – you know the place. The one that calls for the dinner dishes to be washed, the day job to be worked, the bills to be paid. The place that provides a nice soft bed allowing you to wake to four walls that are familiar and safe. A place that allows you to put a story aside. But inside this book, inside Jozef’s world, things were different. There was no safe place.
Jozef was free at one time – and then that freedom was ripped from him. Sliced away as surely as a sword tears through one of the horror creatures I’m prone to write about. Not only was his personal freedom severed, but also there was a severing of family, of country, of life as he knew it. I traveled with him through those times. This true story is of his escape to freedom and the price he was forced to pay to have that liberty. It talks of a precious thing, a thing of beauty -- this freedom.

. P. Roseberry [Cold River ; Cold War River ; Publishers Sue Google Over Plans to Digitize Copyrighted Books]

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Black dog was a sickness, they told him. The previous year he had been worried enough by symptoms of physical illness to visit his doctor and had come away with a series of warnings and prohibitions concerning diet, alcohol, tobacco—the usual nonsense. But paradoxically his efforts to comply had led him inexorably to ask himself why he was bothering; what was so bloody marvellous about this life he was trying to preserve. Such metaphysical speculations were entirely foreign to his make-up and their formulation now was light years from being precise and intellectual. It was just a feeling of hollowness at the centre, a reluctance to awaken from the safe blackness of sleep, a sense of life like a hair floating on dirty bath water, sinking imperceptibly, moment by moment, till a final, spinning gurgling rush carried it away.
-Reginald Hill, An April Shroud

It's over, man. Let her go Irony of Persistence

Art of Living & Grieving: Thanks for the Memories People need to be needed: Who willed the latest Irony of My Life?
As the Opera House celebrates it birthday, a certain 21st anniversary has moved into the realm of the absurd

As the song says, Summertime, and the living is 'easy... ," but for many, it is not. Some people are unhappy in their marriages - their mates are "not fulfilling their needs. Others are upset with their children, their parents, their bosses or their co-workers. Many are unhappy with themselves because of failure, or problems they can't seem to overcome. Yet we are not a culture of automatons, driven only by logic and reason. We have an emotional side that's every bit as important, and this is why so many institutions are failing. We are spiritual beings on a human journey. That, and our unrelenting curiosity, is what gives us hope for the future ...
Happy are those who know what sorrow means... Happy are those who claim nothing... Happy are those who are hungry and thirsty for true goodness...Happy are those who have suffered persecution for the cause of goodness

The world is still getting stranger... [No matter how great and destructive your problems may seem now, remember, you've probably only seen the tip of them Keeping It Simple On Health, Wealth and Happiness ; It hurts to admit when you make mistakes - but when they're big enough, the pain only lasts a second Doctor, cancer survivor pens book on 'living with happiness' ]
• · It is difficult to overestimate the influence of the paperback upon the twentieth century - A Revolution in Reading: 1935–1960 I dutifully read The Catcher in the Rye as a teenager, with no sense whatsoever of the irony involved in dutifully reading a novel about the dangers of being thoughtlessly dutiful The Paperback Revolution ; For every winner, there are dozens of losers. Odds are you're one of them Reader says: I'm halfway through your book. It's gut-wrenching ...; In the battle between you and the world, bet on the world. Are we happy yet?
• · · If you're not a part of the solution, there's good money to be made in prolonging the problem: Because our brain evolved during a time of ice, flood, and famine...the way the brain works is looking for what's wrong Are we born to be blue? ; Hunting for happiness? Go with the flow
• · · · When birds fly in the right formation, they need only exert half the effort. Even in nature, teamwork results in collective laziness Self-denial is a key to finding happiness ; No single raindrop believes it is to blame for the flood. Thanks for the memories
• · · · · When people are free to do as they please, they usually imitate each other Reflective Happiness ; The only consistent feature in all of your dissatisfying relationships is you: The key to happiness is to be found not in wealth, sex or sunshine but in concentration. The human brain is stimulated in the most fulfilling way when it is focused on something specific, although often the feeling of happiness is experienced after, rather than during, an intense period of concentration Therapy, equality, eye candy
• · · · · · There is no greater joy than soaring high on the wings of your dreams, except maybe the joy of watching a dreamer who has nowhere to land but in the ocean of reality Don't deny children the right to happiness ; Until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore, you will not know the terror of being forever lost at sea. Understanding the art of happiness

Saturday, October 15, 2005

This has been quite a week for literary coups. My book has been downloaded at different parts of my publisher’s world map in the last two weeks including Australia, China, the Czech Republic, Findland, France, Germany, Holand, New Zealand, the Philippines, Poland, Slovakia, and UK. As Natsume Soseki noted: A storyteller is a person who lives in the triangle which remains after the angle which we may call common sense has been removed from this four-cornered world Ugly Escape: The Three-Cornered World

The complete unexpurgated scripts of the original TV series

Art of Living & Literature Across Frontiers: The Singing Neanderthal
Music moves the human body (our feet tap, our bodies sway) and the human heart (our emotions beat in time to a song’s pulse).

Every child in every society creates music, defined to include song and dance: it’s a fundamental activity of Homo sapiens.
And it’s a mystery too, full of questions in major and minor keys. Major: Why and when did music evolve? Why is music of all kinds capable of stirring our emotions, transporting us into our past after a few chords? Minor, but not unrelated: Why some days, rifling through my CDs, do I pass Vivaldi, Satie, even Springsteen, in a craving for (wait for it….) Hall and Oates?

Emotional power [The paradox of the era since 1945 is that the greatest tragedy in Jewish history has had two utterly different consequences. Benefits of Diaspora ; Iraq: Learning the Lessons of Vietnam ]
• · Gerald Murnane's obsessive imagination ; Yoga study from American Council on Exercise, finds benefits. For My Soul Mate Gwynne ; Now, brace yourself for this. Don't panic. Don't freak out - Around 2,000 people died in 9/11. Around 10,000 have died from Hurricane Katrina. Around 100,000 died during the great Tsunami. Around 60,000,000 died in all of World War II. I cannot even fathom the impact of 150,000,000 deaths, can you? The media is selling us despair and death - How to stay calm: Bird Flu - The greatest human tragedy in history
• · · Digital technology will help alternative filmmakers ; Top 25 film scores of all time
• · · · Carry On Don't Lose Your Head, The Origins and Common Usage of British Swear-words ; Samuel Johnson: Hope is itself a species of happiness, and, perhaps, the chief happiness which this world affords: but, like all other pleasures immoderately enjoyed, the excesses of hope must be expiated by pain; and expectations improperly indulged must end in disappointment A World Turned Upside Down
• · · · · Film: Enron — The smartest guys in the room ; Hungarian Literature Online
• · · · · · Angus Wilson: Sir Edgar smiled. 'For a man of your years you have a curious expectation that life runs smoothly,' he said New Humanities ; Martha Nell Smith on Democratizing Knowledge

Monday, October 10, 2005

Can you ever think too much about freedom? Not in my book. Cold River is of such cruel destruction that it will sweep anyone away Paperback Edition

Veteran journalist and new blogger David Kline learns the bitter truth on O'Reilly's conservative talk show and speaks out in his own blog O'Reilly Factor Guest Exposes Sneak Attack on Bloggers

The Blog, The Press, The Media: Blogging to Boost Your Biz
According to blog-tracking firm Technorati, there are currently 14 million blogs with 80,000 more being added every day

Blogging is the latest innovation to take the Web by storm. According to blog-tracking firm Technorati, there are currently 14 million blogs with 80,000 more being added every day. And 30% of all 50 million Internet users are blog readers. In short, a lot of people are reading and writing blogs.

Create a Blog to Boost Your Business [The integration of blogging culture into mainstream publishing is inevitable Getting into bed with bloggers ; Blogging has come a long way from its roots as simple online diaries. Now corporations are getting in on the act Blogs go corporate ]
• · It's the End of the Blogosphere As We Know It (And I Feel Fine) ; Blog Watch
• · · David Sifrey’s epiphany occurred when he read “The Cluetrain Manifesto”, a book published in 2000 that quickly became a bible in certain Silicon Valley subcultures The life and soul of the internet party ; A generation has grown up using the internet as its primary means of communication Young blog their way to a publishing revolution
• · · · ‘Smart at Love’ Blog Gets Public Makeover after it’s Declared a ‘Loser’ by Blog Experts: How Blogs Are Changing Your Business Smart at Love blog ; Google unveils blog search engine
• · · · · Peter Henning, a professor at the Wayne State University Law School, is not just teaching courses on corporations, white-collar crime and criminal procedure, he’s documenting his findings on a law professors’ Web blog and providing an essential research tool for lawyers, journalists, professors and students WSU law professors’ document white-collar crime in blog ; For Indian authors, blogs are not just another expression of creativity — they are an intrinsic tool in creating awareness of their work A midsummer night’s blog
• · · · · · I'm kidding. Really, I am. Then again, if someone really thinks it's worth $2.5 million (or heck, even half of that), I'll take it Zawodny: My Blog Is For Sale ; The Wild West days of the Internet's digital frontier could be tamed, as bloggers await the outcome of a lawsuit in which one of their own was sued for comments posted on his Web log or "blog." Blogs vs. the law

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Federal auditors said on Friday that the Bush administration violated the law by buying favorable news coverage of President Bush's education policies, by making payments to the conservative commentator Armstrong Williams and by hiring a public relations company to analyze media perceptions of the Republican Party Buying of News by Bush's Aides Is Ruled Illegal

The Blog, The Press, The Media: The Power of Many: We the Webdiary
Historically, journalists have been charged with informing the democracy.

But their future will depend not on only how well they inform but how well they encourage and enable conversations with citizens. That is the challenge. Websites like Webdiary understand the importance of Dan Gillmor’s basic premise: "My readers know more than I do - and that's an opportunity." The ability of anyone to make the news has given new voice to people who used to feel voiceless—and whose words we need to hear. According to Dan, webdiarists and citizen journalists are "showing all of us—citizen, journalist, newsmaker—new ways of talking, of learning. In the end, they may help spark a renaissance of the notion, now threatened, of a truly informed citizenry

We the Media: Grassroots Journalism By the People, For the People [ New Politics Blog: The Fix ; Bloggers Debate Miers ]
• · Google Wants to Provide Free WiFi to SF ; Blog, blog, blog...
• · · A history of medical weblogging ; Doing Legal, Political, and Historical Research on the Internet
• · · · Blooks aplenty ; Large Firms Discover New Marketing Tool: Blogs
• · · · · Yahoo Blog/Feed Search Coming ; Companies learn the goodwill value of Web diaries
• · · · · · Blogs vs. the law: A showdown about third party commentary ; New kids on the blog: CEOs