Why Pinterest is A Fad

Consumer attention is finite, but so is your marketing department. Pinterest reached scale quickly, and I commend it for its 10 million users, but are those users so invested that the next “thing” won't become just as hot by rising 50% faster? How much of your social media team's time are you willing to bet?

How to Get More From Your Brand's Facebook Data

I was pleased to be quoted in the Ad Age "Relationship Issue" about how brands are increasingly using enhanced strategies to cull insights and marketing intelligence from Facebook Data.  The article about marketers use of Facebook data appeared in the same issue as my colleague Gregg Hamilton who commented  very real possibility of consumers owning shares in brands.

Building an application, as I noted in the hypothetical example of an airline, is one way to go, and as long as the value is there for the consumer, the financial investment is probably sound.  But strong consumer insights are key to making sure this is about value delivered to the consumer, not just meeting your marketing goals.

Join the Fight to End Breast Cancer

I'm reposting a note my sister sent out about our Mother - we're running the Susan G Komen Race for the Cure in honor of our mother's successful fight against cancer.    You can donate to our effort using this link or follow the offline instructions Miriam lists below.

Dear Friends and Family,

I hope this note finds you well.

I'm writing because I'd like you to join me in celebration! This week our mom Deborah received news of yet another cancer free screening! I remember the day in March of 2008 when she shared with us that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer. I wanted to fight it! Now that she is cancer free I want to make sure that others can achieve a similar winning outcome. 

On Sunday September 12th we'll be running in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in Central Park. It's a 5K race to raise money in the fight against breast cancer. 

Our team, "Team Bust a Move" has a fund-raising goal of $2000 this year.  Please help me reach that goal with your financial support.  Online donations are simple, and the site is secure.  Please go to my fundraising page and make a tax-deductible donation online a thttp://www.komennyc.org -- click on "Sponsor a Race Participant" and search for my name.

If you prefer, mail your donation today to:

Komen Greater NYC  Race for the Cure
P.O. Box 9223, GPO
New York, NY 10087-9223

Please make your check payable to: Susan G. Komen for the Cure and add my name in the memo so that I will be credited for your donation.

Thank you in advance for your support. It means so much to us!

Wishing you all a happy and healthy new year,

Miriam and Jake Williams, Ben Bloom, and Rachel Rothman

On Being an NWC Backer

About a year ago, for a period of around 3-4 months, I was a paying member of New Work City.  I have always been interested in the evolution of the workforce around new technologies, and so I was a spectator of this project for a long time.  When my professional needs aligned with the NWC model, I thoguht, this makes sense for me, as more than an experiment.

Having known Tony via nextNY I suppose I had less of a need to be SOLD on the experience actively, but I will say that if anything, the community under-promises and over-delivers.

It's subtle, but Peter Chislett and Tony and great folks like Frederic Guarino and Mark Bursteiner were fun to be around, full of optmism, and showed how working from the Library or the Cornell Club (some of my favs at the time) were missing something.  Those venues didn't offer stimulating conversation, beta invites to cool projects, or a sense that no matter how f#cked the economy seemed in those days, that we could make it better by our own bootstraps.

This blog is hosted on Squarespace largely as a result of meeting Dane Atkinson at New Work City one day.  NWC will find you business partners, customers, friends, and drinking buddies.  Some of them might like Iced coffee as much as you do (cheers Peter!)

My professional needs changed a bit at the end of the summer and I ended my membership, but I remain supportive of Tony and New Work City's way of discovering the best way to do things with smart and dedicated experimentation.

I pledged my support to NWC, and I'm letting you know I support NWC on Kickstarter not only because it sure looks like Tony is going to do some crazy stuff, but if you believe in something, helping is better than watching.

Top Five things from SXSW 2010

  1. Great impromptu meeting with the guys from @Foursquare
  2. Dachis Group Social Business Summit and the copy of @rushkoff's book in the goodie bag
  3. Valerie Casey Keynote @designersaccord
  4. @Jmspool's Design Treasures of the Amazon
  5. @Boxee party

I will post more about each as they marinate, but really really a great event.

A new beginning in 2009

And you may find yourself....  

In 2009, I'm sure I will.  After I was laid off from Razorfish at the end of 2008, I had the opportunity to do a jump-started job search, and a lot of the leads I turned up were very promising.  The economic outlook went from grim to super-grim in the interim, and I'm bracing for the worst, hoping for the best. 

In the interim, I have a fantastic opportunity to think about some of my longer-term goals.  2008 was a terrific ride in terms of pursuing my writing and performance ambitions.  I became stronger in body and in my sense of my own self- a very successful year.  A year of reinvention, even, as I harnessed a certain power and confidence from within.  Did I ever think I would run nearly 9 miles straight?

And yet I wondered,  describing my situation to friends and family over the course of my trip to California for the holidays, whether this isn't the time to reverse the balance of time and effort invested in my two lives, my technology/business career and my work as a writer and performer.  In particular childhood friend KS, who landed in "the biz" by accident was highly influential about this. 

I have often said that sustenance aside, I'd probably do both.  I enjoy making links between business ideas, helping businesses to be their innovative selves and presenting that to their customers; I enjoy making people laugh.  It happens to be true that the business of comedy at my level means giving away the product to as many people as possible, as a down payment on future returns- I will continue to pursue these opportunities as a secondary activity.

What I appreciate now is how much I am looking for the right fit with a new employer.  The culture and people of Razorfish were important to and supportive of, my professional and personal development.  Doing some personality and values exercises the past few weeks to drive resume development and interviewing, I have gotten a bit better understanding of myself.  I find that the more I describe myself, the more I think I describe my ideal work environment.  So what does that look like?  

What do I know about that company?  

  • Passionate people from diverse backgrounds
  • A focus on strategy across businesses 
  • Always looking for new ideas and reading from a wide variety of sources, connecting ideas and trends together. 
  • Not maniacally focused on quantitative solutions but loving the elegance of making a model work and making good judgments. 
  • High standards of quality about data and creativity about finding sources of it. 
  • Looking for long term success opportunities for the business very likely "shaper" firms rather than "adapter" firms.  
  • Experimenting with new ideas and applications and talking about them with the public.  Creating a community and recruiting passionate followers. 
  • People invested in developing themselves and a company interested in developing its staff.
  • A place where I'll find some other people with performance in their blood, writers or artists or musicians.

I'm going to be compiling a list of companies I think are on this list, and I'm absolutely open to suggestions.

On the subject of a mother's pride

My mom wrote me an e-mail about William B. Ayers becoming news again. 

I don't know if she intended me to start thinking about the relationship between the 60's political left and today's democratic party, but that's what happened.

Being infamous for pursuing "social justice" has been a sort of badge of honor in the political left since the 60's.   

While Obama is probably right to denounce acts of "domestic terrorism" I wish my generation was as politically engaged as many of Ayers' contemporaries (my mom?).  Some of it went too far, but the death of the political energy of the 60's is a sad moment for America.  It was one thing for Americans to feel oppressed by segregation, and Jim Crow, and the draft, but quite another, in my opinion, to be deceived, and it is this deception which characterized Nixon, and George W. Bush.  It is the system turned against the people, using the system's own rules, which is so corrupt.

John McCain, for all of his heroism and Maverick nature, is (dare I say this) bound up in the ruling cabal of the agents of this abuse, the Republican party.  Sarah Palin is ample evidence of this desecration of American values of truth, fairness,  objectivity, and reason, exchanging them for secrecy, corruption, and "gut".

I think a lot of Obama supporters are in a place where we can see the Weathermen, or the Black Panthers, as the youthful versions of political activists who went on to become engaged adults- well maybe some of them did.  Fox Noise would probably call this a very "northeast media elite" view, I suspect, but that's how I felt when this all came up during the primaries.    I want a president who has met some 60s radicals, and knows where he stands in relation to them.

The New Yorker's endorsement of Obama makes all these points better than I did.

Let's Run Breast Cancer out of town!

I'm running in the Komen Race for the cure this September 14 in Central Park.

My mom rocks, and I'm running for her and for the idea that others can get the kind of care she received.  Victories are sweet, as are worthy endeavors.

With any luck, I'll also figure out how long a kilometer is.  Visit my race page to make a donation or to join me on the trail.


nextny 2 years later and nextAnalytics

A personal reflection on the last two years: nextNY was really quite helpful. I first heard about nextNY in February 2006 when I was looking for a new job, back when the NY Tech Meetup had fewer than 200 people attending.

Since then I've helped organize a few events, found a new job, and learned a lot of new things.  One of those things has been web analytics. 

So, I've decided to see who else within nextNY is struggleing with these issues, and what we can learn from each other, for the benefit of clients, financial backers, employees and partners. 

Check out the event wiki.

NYT: Avenue A | Razorfish space covered in Real Estate Section

This NYT piece was an interesting description of Avenue A|Razorfish's consolidated NYC offices, which I have found to be great space for doing fun work. 

“The open floor plan allows people to get to know each other informally and helps the motivation process,” said Bob Lord, who is president, East region, for the company, which is based in Seattle and is a division of aQuantive Inc. “Everyone’s productivity skyrocketed.”

While I never worked in the offices the company previously held on Beach St., in  TriBeCa, I think our space is great!

I am I am I am I am....Superman?

So I decided to take the superhero quiz.  I'm evidently equally Superman and Ironman.  Somehow I always picture myself as less of a good guy in these things...less bound by the morays of society, but Superman is pretty cool, right?

You are Superman

Iron Man
Green Lantern
The Flash
Wonder Woman
You are mild-mannered, good,
strong and you love to help others.

Click here to take the "Which Superhero am I?" quiz...

What's in My Media Wallet

Some things I've watched or listened to lately:

Showtime's Weeds (all of season 1 and what's out there of Season 2)- Really great and sharp comedy series.  Kevin Nealon is excellent.

Howard Zinn: You Can't Be Neutral
- Very interesting- incredibly passionate guy

Stealth- boy did this suck.  Sexual tension thicker than an aircraft carrier's hull, would have been intolerable except for occasional explosions.  Sort of like Iron Eagle meets Short Circuit.  But not as good as either of them by a long shot.

Mashup of Deep Purple's "Perfect Strangers" and the Beastie Boys "Shake Your Rump" courtesy of Mashuptown's Mashup of the Week Podcast [subscribe]

Flightplan- You don't miss anything if you fast forward through this one.

Me and You and Everyone We Know- weird independent film.  Plenty of teenage girl weirdness though the film is focused on the young sons of an up and coming loser and his artist girlfriend. 

The Octagon- Delta Force is clearly a much better Chuck Norris movie.  This movie's plot is thinner than Kate Moss on a  hunger strike.  Bad, bad dialogue.

Arena - I love this movie.   I have loved this movie since I saw it long ago on cable.  I loved it so much I created the wikipedia article on it and added it to the list of movies referencing "Swordfish" as a password. Spaceborne fighting arena with electronic handicapper system pits human unknown against evil looking alien champion.  Gambler/Don King analogue tries to fix the fight but human wins the day.  It's sort of The Last Starfigher meets Rocky.

Area Man returns to Area

I'm back from a semi-vacation in California, where my dad had brain surgery (dad is ok and recovering nicely).  I found the time away from the office a mixed blessing.  Things family wise were stressful/hectic, and I had to live with the idea that things at the office might be a little helter-skelter without me, but I found the creative juices really flowing.

The lesson: there are plenty of funny things about hospitals.  My stand-up act inherited some new jokes, that is for sure.

It was also very interesting to be back in the Bay Area.  I was in San Francisco for the bulk of last week, and I was convinced that I would have Wi-Fi everywhere.  Not so.  The UCSF campus/hospital network was restricted, as were the wi-fi hotspots seemingly run by rogue departments and labs.  There were no open access points in the apartment building of a family friend.  I suppose that since I've been away, I expected that SF would have been blanketed in wireless access.  Maybe we all (er, SF and NYC) have a lot further to go than I thought before we have 100% coverage.