Here’s mine, where’s yours?

tahoe.gifAhh­h­hh. Every now and then you just have to take a moment and give thanks for the stu­pid­i­ty of your adver­sary.

Chevro­let is intro­duc­ing a brand new, gas-guz­zling Tahoe SUV which gets “an amaz­ing 20 mpg.” Yep, in an era in which oth­er cars are mak­ing more than twice that fig­ure, Antarc­ti­ca is melt­ing and the Green­land Ice Sheet is about to fall into the sea, that’s amaz­ing alright. What’s MORE amaz­ing is they’ve cre­at­ed an adver­tis­ing con­test in which any­one can make your own tv ad. What? They just nev­er con­sid­ered that they’d be set upon by a howl­ing pack of out­raged eco-hack­tivists bent on cul­ture jam­ming their lit­tle pow­er-truck love­fest? Gol­ly! That wasn’t very smart! Let’s all tod­dle over to Chevy’s House and put some tire­tracks in their fun. We’re call­ing it the cam­paign.

(Thanks, Gillo!)

Eco-Geek’s Tahoe Ad

Total Tac­tics:


Net­work Cen­tric Advo­ca­cy:

Richard Han­son

Live Jour­nal

UPDATE, April 23:

Here’s the email we all just got from Chevy, ask­ing us to join them in the Board­room. Ha ha. Wouldn’t we have a thing or two to say THERE? (hav­ing made the most “refined” ad we could.…excuse me, must go puke now…)

Add to your address book to
make sure you con­tin­ue to receive Chevy email.

Come To The Board­room.

You put in the effort. You made the most capa­ble, most
respon­si­ble, and most refined com­mer­cial you could for the
2007 Tahoe.®

Dur­ing the course of your cre­ativ­i­ty, we hope you learned a few
things about this all new SUV from Chevro­let.®

- The Vortec 5300 V8 engine with Active Fuel Man­age­ment™
tech­nol­o­gy helps Tahoe deliv­er best-in-class fuel econ­o­my.*
— 2007 Tahoe has earned the high­est pos­si­ble rat­ing for frontal
impact crash tests — five stars.**
— The Vortec™ 5300 V8 engine fea­tures Active Fuel
Man­age­ment™ tech­nol­o­gy that allows it to shift seam­less­ly
between eight cylin­ders and four, then back again.

Now it’s time to see how your work stacks up.

Join us online in the Chevy Board­room on April 27 at 8:00 p.m.,
EST, as the judges dis­cuss the entries, reveal the top five
com­mer­cials, and announce the win­ner.

In the mean­time, learn more about the all new 2007 Tahoe at

You can also request a quote from your local Chevy deal­er or at

Or sign up to receive email updates on great offers and
pro­mo­tions from Chevro­let at

Thanks for par­tic­i­pat­ing and good luck.

Ed Peper
Chevro­let Gen­er­al Man­ager

*Based on 2006 GM Large Util­i­ty seg­ment and lat­est avail­able
com­pet­i­tive infor­ma­tion. 2WD with 5300 V8 engine EPA est. MPG 16
city, 22 high­way on gaso­line. EPA est. MPG 12 city, 16 high­way on
avail­able E85. Excludes oth­er GM vehi­cles.
**Five-star rat­ing is for both the dri­ver and front pas­sen­ger in
the frontal crash test. Gov­ern­ment star rat­ings are part of the
Nation­al High­way Traf­fic Safe­ty Administration’s (NHTSA’s) New
Car Assess­ment Pro­gram (





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View the GM Pri­va­cy State­ment:

Exxon refuses to answer to audit charges at Democracy Now

So much for trans­paren­cy. Nei­ther Exxon nor Pub­lic Inter­est Watch would share a podi­um with Green­peace USA chief Trou­ble­mak­er John Pas­sacan­tan­do and the Wall Street Jour­nal reporter who broke the sto­ry on the IRS audit­ing Green­peace at the behest of PIW, an Exxon front group.

There’s a tran­script here from Democ­ra­cy now of the dis­cus­sion.

Why is it scary is that Exxon isn’t account­able for any of this? Because fun fact num­ber 123, kids: Exxon’s prof­its last year were big­ger than the annu­al bud­gets of 123 coun­tries. Coun­tries are, in the­o­ry, account­able for their dirty tricks. Fat cat cor­po­rates like Exxon can sim­ply buy the demo­c­ra­t­ic process. They’re not even account­able in the mar­ket­place. As Karma­ban­que points out, their retail sales form such a tiny frac­tion of their income that we the peo­ple can boy­cott them to our heart’s con­tent, and it won’t real­ly dent a toe­nail on the T-rex.

Exxon­se­crets keeps track of who Exxon pays to deny cli­mate change and glob­al warm­ing. Per­son­al­ly, I think there ought to be a “Cor­po­rate Crimes Court.” We can already count deaths attibutable to glob­al warm­ing, and that num­ber is going to soar in com­ing years. There are indi­vid­u­als behind the poli­cies Exxon, and they deserve to be behind bars just as much as any war crim­i­nal.

Dai­lyKos pal Plu­to­ni­um Page wrote a great blog on the WSJ sto­ry when it broke.

Iran: it will be war.

= Marten Lindquist, Peace Poster Pro­ject­In dis­cus­sions yes­ter­day in the Porn Lounge in the Green­peace office (so called because of the ornate faux-18th cen­tu­ry faux-gold thread­ed freecy­cled fur­ni­ture) a cou­ple of us talk about Iran and the ulti­ma­tum that the Secu­ri­ty Coun­cil is going to deliv­er. Is there, real­is­ti­cal­ly, any way that this won’t amount to a dec­la­ra­tion of war? Isn’t the ques­tion now what form that war will take rather than whether it will hap­pen? And what, as peace activists have we got to say about this?

I know what I say: Ban it all, dammit. Iran has no “inalien­able right” to nuclear pow­er any­more than I’ve got an inalien­able right to send my kid to school with a luger. The US won’t have the right to play good cop until it sets an exam­ple by shed­ding those 30,000 nuclear weapons they’re still hold­ing up their sleeve (and which don’t, by the way, seem to be deter­ring a damn thing). The Secu­ri­ty Coun­cil is bank­rupt for the same rea­son — recall you buy a veto in that club with nukes.

The geopoltics of this par­tic­u­lar cri­sis may be com­pli­cat­ed, but the big pic­ture answer is sim­ple. A fis­sile mate­ri­als ban for all. We have a choice: a world where there’s a nuclear weapon for every man, wom­an and child on the plan­et, or one where they’re 100% pro­hib­it­ed. No nukes. Peri­od. Now, how do we get 30 mil­lion peo­ple out in the streets to say that with one voice?????

And as to what form this war will take — here’s a chill­ing bit of spin­drift from the ocean of email I wade through every day. I find this a fair­ly cred­i­ble analy­sis of why Israel will front the attack, though I dis­agree in some details (the US doesn’t real­ly care what the world thinks either, but they will build a coali­tion around this one for the sake of domes­tic pol­i­tics):

Some thoughts on whether the US or Israel would hit Iran first (IF they do, let us hope not) — there is sur­pris­ing­ly lit­tle pub­lic dis­cus­sion. I would sug­gest the US would not jump first — it would be a diplo­mat­ic dis­as­ter as the whole
world would con­demn a new uni­lat­er­al war, and also it would imme­di­ate­ly invite the still-silent Badr brigades in Iraq to attack the US occu­piers, and it would give the Democ­rats a secu­ri­ty issue to be dif­fer­ent from the Bush admin­stra­tion about, some­thing the Dems des­per­ate­ly need.

Israel on the oth­er hand:

  • open­ly con­sid­ers that Cheney has given them the green light to do a pre­ven­tive strike;
  • is pub­licly com­mit­ted to a ‘point of no return’ in the next weeks or months — so doing noth­ing would be a sign of weak­ness and ques­tion their acknowl­edged ‘be like mad dog’ mil­i­tary pos­ture.
  • will have a new Kadi­ma gov­ern­ment that may need to prove it’s tough-guy cre­den­tials in the absence of Sharon, espe­cial­ly as it soon wants to “sell out” a few ille­gal set­tle­ments in the Occu­pied Ter­ri­to­ries to make a per­ma­nent
  • Israel has announced it wants to take out Bushehr as well. The Amer­i­cans would may­be like to do, but can­not real­ly jus­ti­fy it because they admit Iran has a right to nuclear pow­er. Israel will not sat­is­field with a diplo­mat­ic
    solu­tion to end Ira­ni­an enrich­ment — it’s said it can not tol­er­ate ANY civil nukes pro­gram.
  • unlike the US, Israel has no con­cern about what the rest of the world thinks
  • unlike the US, Israel con­sid­ers Ira­ni­an nukes to be an ‘exis­ten­tial threat’… a grave, total threat to the exis­tence of the state. So they have to act, some­time.

Not every expert in the US thinks this way, indeed the Army War Col­lege pub­lish­es papers about learn­ing to live with the Ira­ni­an bomb being a bet­ter idea than bomb­ing Iran.

From the US point of view, it is not only much more con­ve­nient if Israel strikes first, but the end result would be sim­i­lar — if Iran strikes back at either Israel or US forces, then Bush would have a legit­i­mate causus bel­li of
defend­ing an ally or of self defence — and could bomb what­ev­er it liked in Iran.

If you find that scary, go get a heap­ing help­ing of more bad news over at Pete’s blog, Don’t Bomb Iran. Then talk it up — there’s a train start­ing to roll down the tracks, it’s gath­er­ing steam, and it’s name ain’t peace.


Piñata of bad American Debt

If you love a good rant (and who doesn’t love a good rant?) check out the pod­casts from Max and Sta­cy of Karma­ban­que. I wrote a pro­file on this “Bon­ny and Clyde” of Karma­ban­que some time ago, and in the inter­im they’ve launched an out­ra­geous set of audio spews which take a kilo of eco­nom­ic smarts (Max is ex-Wall Street) adds a truck­load of activist atti­tude, a train­car of col­or­ful lan­guage and mix­es it into an explod­ing cake of fast-paced screed and invic­tive again­st the “Stu­pid­oc­ra­cy” of the west­ern gov­ern­ments and their cor­po­rate sock-pup­peteers. No holds barred, in your face, get-out-in-the-streets stuff. They have swum with the pira­nhas. They know how they work.


Lord, Here Comes the Flood…

underwater.gif “Some­body ought to build an appli­ca­tion that lets peo­ple visu­al­ize pre­cise­ly what a 2 meter sea lev­el rise might mean” we said a few years ago around the Organ­ic Water Cool­er at Green­peace Inter­na­tion­al in Ams­ter­dam as the lat­est pre­dic­tions on Glob­al Warm­ing impacts came out.

Some­body ought to build an appli­ca­tion that lets peo­ple visu­al­ize pre­cise­ly what a 7 meter sea lev­el rise might mean” we said last year when the news of the poten­tial Green­land Ice sheet melt came out.

And now, given the new data on Antarc­ti­ca, I expect we would have been say­ing “Some­body ought to build an appli­ca­tion that lets peo­ple visu­al­ize pre­cise­ly what a 12 meter sea lev­el rise might mean”…

If some­body hadn’t already done it.

From one meter all the way up to 14 — a Google Map that uses NASA ele­va­tion data to show pre­cis­ley what the lat­est sea-lev­el rise pre­dic­tions might mean for your favorite beach location/mangrove full of endan­gered species/sub-sea-level neigh­bor­hood in Amsterdam/island nation/teeming mil­lions of low­land dwellers.

Thanks to World­Chang­ing for spot­ting this one.

Greenpeace 2.0?

I enthuse to Mar­t­in Lloyd in the office about my expe­ri­ence at the South By South­west con­fer­ence, and he responds with “so what will you do dif­fer­ent­ly as a result.” 

This is a man schooled in the “verb the noun with the object” school of Get­ting Things Done man­age­ment.

Well, where to start? My respon­se was a lame mum­ble about doing more of some of the things we’ve done in the past — we turned the nam­ing of a ship over to our sup­port­ers, we launched a mas­sive friend-get-a-friend appeal with the prize of a voy­age on a Green­peace ship, we got our users to design flash ani­ma­tions and illus­tra­tions in an out­pour­ing of cre­ativ­i­ty, we’ve used the var­i­ous con­ven­tion­al pres­sure mech­a­nisms to turn Coke around on cli­mate-killing refrig­er­ants, a reverse boy­cott to hold Ice­landic whal­ing in check and mar­ket pres­sure to save the Great Bear Rain­forest. We had the Cyber­center (Note to self — ban­ish that term, it’s soooooooooo last cen­tu­ry) to do that with. At the moment, we’re stuck with­out a high­ly func­tion­al com­mu­ni­ty tool, so even some of that “been there, done that” stuff is hard to imple­ment, much less new and funky exten­sions. And many of our cam­paigns are still focussed on the deci­sion mak­ing author­i­ties of gov­ern­ments and inter­gov­ern­men­tal organ­i­sa­tions, which just isn’t always a match to the places where Peo­ple are more direct­ly Pow­er­ful: con­sumer mar­kets, brand attacks, many-to-one pres­sure tac­tics.

But there are some things I think we can do and would like to do. 

–Turn a part or all of our home­page over to some of our A-list Online Activists and Ocean Defend­ers to bring a live­ly refresh rate and new per­spec­tives to (and engage them in the task of site pro­mo­tion at the same time)

–Get a con­test going for a spot on the Antarc­tic voy­age next year — recruit the most Ocean Defend­ers, and you’re on — in order to dri­ve recruit­ment up and bring a fun chal­lenge with a real­ly cool prize to our activists

–Auc­tion of that ban­ner Mikey held up on the whale. That was a part of his­to­ry, and I betcha we could do real­ly, real­ly well with this one if we pro­mote it right.

–Get our activists into our plan­ning process. What an injec­tion of light it would be to go out of shop and kick open the ques­tion of how we apply all the pas­sion and will and imag­i­na­tion of our sup­port­er base to win­ning the most impor­tant envi­ron­men­tal chal­lenges out there.

–Start pulling Fea­tured Blog RSS feeds and some of the great stuff out there on Tree­hug­ger, Grist, World­Chang­ing into a sin­gle resource spot — Green­peace as aggre­ga­tor. We can do so much more with RSS than we’re doing now. We built mas­sive RSS capa­bil­i­ty into the Green­peace Plan­et plat­form, we ought to use it.

–Run­ning with an idea Elaine Hill has been tout­ing of an inter­ac­tive comic fea­tur­ing Ocean Defend­er heroes, in which the sto­ry­board gets deter­mined by the audi­ence.

–The Green Wiki. Some­body at the old Cyber­centre sug­gest­ed this a long time ago, and it’s still a good idea. Take Tree­hug­ger, mash it togeth­er with Grist and Green­Liv­ing Tips and cre­ate an inter­ac­tive Wiki of ways we can all decrease our envri­on­men­tal foot­print. Tips rang­ing the one Ann Novek came up with of keep­ing a buck­et in the show­er to catch water for her plants to Make magazine’s step by step plans for mak­ing your own wind tur­bine.

Well, it’s 7:45 and it’s time to get ready for the day, bundle Doony onto the bike and drop him at school. More on this lat­er: I’m going to open this thread up to folks over at the Ocean Defend­ers com­mu­ni­ty and see what they have to say.

The Bad News from Tom and Jerry

Eliz­a­beth Kol­bert is becom­ing the New York­er writer I most dread read­ing. In the most recent issue she describes the find­ings of a pair of satel­lites, nick­named Tom and Jer­ry, which have been chas­ing each oth­er around the plan­et for the last cou­ple years mea­sur­ing the mass of the Antarc­tic ice sheet.

Every esti­mate we’ve had of poten­tial glob­al-warm­ing-induced sea-lev­el rise over the past decade has been based on the pre­sump­tion that while the Antarc­tic is los­ing ice at the edges, it’s being com­pen­sat­ed by increased snow over the con­ti­nent.

Tom and Jer­ry say it ain’t so. The Antarc­tic is los­ing ice over­all. Add that to the news of the unex­pect­ed­ly fast pace of melt in Green­land, and I start to won­der if those of us liv­ing in the Nether­lands need to start think­ing about a move to hgher ground soon­er rather than lat­er.

The con­ser­v­a­tive media machine is already in full spin. Since deny­ing Glob­al Warm­ing is now begin­ning to wear thin as a strat­e­gy, they’ve adopt­ed a new tack: So there’s gonna be pover­ty, and floods, and extreme weath­er — we should deal with those issues direct­ly rather than the CO2 prob­lem. Kol­bert deli­cious­ly describes this as the equiv­a­lent of treat­ing dia­betes with dough­nuts.

I wish the New York­er would keep The Talk of the Town online. They don’t, but this was from the March 20th issue. Eliz­a­beth Kobert’s book, “Field Notes from a Cat­a­stro­phe: Man, Nature, and Cli­mate Change,” just came out.

The Iraq “I told you so” T-shirt: XX Large

I post­ed the fol­low­ing over at the Dai­lyKos this morn­ing.

It was three years ago in Feb­ru­ary that 30 mil­lion peo­ple turned out in the streets in the largest ral­ly in the his­to­ry of human­i­ty to say invad­ing Iraq was a real­ly bad idea. It was three years ago today that that the Cheney Boys thumbed their noses at world opin­ion, and did it any­way. As a con­so­la­tion prize, I sup­pose some­body ought to find a mar­ket for 30 mil­lion “I Told You So” T-shirts out there, which would need to be an XX-Large to fit the fol­low­ing facts:

Peo­ple will Die”: The Lancet puts it at 100,000 Iraqis by Octo­ber 2004. 2,500 coali­tion sol­diers, 2,300 of them from the US.

The Recon­struc­tion will be a bitch”: Basic social ser­vices have not been re-estab­lished, human rights vio­la­tions have increased.

You’ll leave behind a civil war”: The polit­i­cal process designed by the occu­piers, in which Shi­ite, Sun­ni and Kur­dish com­mu­ni­ties com­pete for pow­er has inflamed sec­tar­i­an vio­lence and has put the coun­try into, gee, civil war.

Inva­sion will feed resis­tance”: In Novem­ber 2003 the num­ber of Resis­tance mem­bers was esti­mat­ed at 5,000 today those esti­mates have increased to 20,000.

You can’t defend human rights by vio­lat­ing human rights”: The Unit­ed States has used ille­gal weapons, such as white phos­pho­rus to bomb Falul­lah in Novem­ber 2004, and tac­tics, such as mas­sive and indis­crim­i­nate deten­tions and tor­ture (not only in places such as Guan­tanamo or Abu Ghraib, but also in secret deten­tion cen­tres in Iraq, Afghanistan and oth­er coun­tries).

Rummy’s Low Cost War is a crock”: Over $300,000 mil­lion has been spent in mil­i­tary oper­a­tions (some $5,900 mil­lion a mon­th dur­ing 2005) and it is cal­cu­lat­ed that the total cost will be over a bil­lion dol­lars. This amounts to the annu­al Gross Domes­tic Pro­duct (GDP) of coun­tries like Canada or Spain. 


OK, so we were right. Big whip.

The most impor­tant ques­tion now is how those who opposed this war learn from the lessons to ensure Iran doesn’t become the next Iraq. Because the Cheney Boys have def­i­nite­ly learned a lesson, and they won’t be going the next one alone.

At the IAEA board of gov­er­nors, the US has been doing the same old same old bull­dog­ging, but their aim is build­ing a Secu­ri­ty Coun­cil con­sen­sus. As much as the hawks hate the con­cept of glob­al coali­tion build­ing, they know they have to put the elbow grease in on this one. And unfor­tu­nate­ly, they’ve got a win­ning game plan: Every­body who has nuclear weapons gets to keep them. Any­body who doesn’t have them yet gets a uni­fied front of oppo­si­tion.

That’s the real sig­nal of Bush’s lit­tle trip to India. It said “for­get about the NPT, you’re in the club.” There was also the tac­it sig­nal in the new Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Strat­e­gy, a 49-page doc­u­ment that strong­ly warns Iran that the US will “act” to keep Iran from obtain­ing nuclear weapons capa­bil­i­ty, but in the case of North Korea, which is believed to already be over the nuclear weapons thresh­old, it mere­ly mum­bles about the need to change pol­i­cy.

Unfor­tu­nate­ly, that mes­sage trans­lates as one thing to any­one inter­est­ed in devel­op­ing a nuclear weapons capa­bil­i­ty: get busy, do it fast, do it secret­ly — if you get past the door, you’re in the cir­cle. You’re home free.

And for the rest — when it comes to enforc­ing who will and will not have nuclear weapons, beware the inter­na­tion­al body whose pow­er equa­tion is defined by who did and didn’t have nuclear weapons at the time it was found­ed.

Remembering Three years ago

It was three years ago on Feb­ru­ary 15th that 30 mil­lion peo­ple took to the streets to say that a pre-emp­tive inva­sion of an aggres­sor sus­pect­ed of hav­ing weapons of mass destruc­tion was a real­ly bad idea. And it was three years ago today that the pow­ers that be thumbed their noses at world opin­ion, and invad­ed Iraq.

I remem­ber think­ing what a great leap for­ward that ral­ly felt like — I remem­ber the incred­i­ble out­pour­ing of webac­tivism, of peo­ple unit­ed by a sin­gle pas­sion­ate­ly felt objec­tive.

Well, we may need all that ener­gy again if things con­tin­ue the way they are going in Iran. The “We told you so” T-shirts we’re wear­ing today just might might serve sec­ond-hand if we don’t head this one off at the pass. Because Rum­my and Bush and the Cheney Boys all appeared to have learned a lesson about protest avoid­ance from the last round. They’re not going this one alone — they’re work­ing to build a UN man­date to go after Iran, and instead of bas­ing it on the principel that The US knows whats good for the world, it’ll be The US knows whats good for the world dis­guised as the Secu­ri­ty Coun­cil knows whats good for the world. I.e. The guys with the grip on the nuclear weapons that ain’t about to let go.

The mil­i­tary machine has been once-burned. And while it may only have been a tiny scorch, the fact is they have to reck­on with the sec­ond super­pow­er of pub­lic opin­ion.

The pic­ture at left is my son Doon out show­ing the flag three years ago. Last night as I put my 18 mon­th old son, Dylan, to bed, my good­night wish to him was that he’d live in a wis­er world.

Iraq antiwar protest and the web

If you were lucky enough to be at the Clue­train Man­i­festo dis­cus­sion at SXSW, you got a fab­u­lous treat of hear­ing Doc Searls, Heather Arm­strong, Hen­ry Copeland, and Bri­an Clark dis­cussing where we are today again­st the bench­mark of the 95 The­sis that was the CM

Uber-cool Bri­an Clark of IndieWire got asked what might be com­ing down the pike in 7 years time. He thought we might see things that behviourists say shouldn’t hap­pen, like mas­sive­ly mul­ti­play­er games in which 5000 peo­ple are act­ing as a group with­out lead­ers in the­se mas­sive­ly coop­er­a­tive sit­u­a­tions.

I think we’ve already seen it. But it wasn’t in a game and it was mere­ly enabled in vir­tu­al space, tran­si­tion­ing to phys­i­cal space. It was that his­toric moment a cou­ple years back when 30 mil­lion peo­ple agreed a date to show up on the streets all over the world to ask George Bush not to invade Iraq. (With the quirky excpep­tion of Cal­i­for­nia, which had theirs a week lat­er) I’ve been an activist for decades and what blew me away about that was a sil­ly lit­tle logis­ti­cal thing: the fact that the inter­net enabled a glo­cal group deci­sion about what day to do it. It was a com­plete­ly decen­tralised deci­sion — no lead­ers, no major groups took on a cen­tral coor­di­nat­ing role, sug­ges­tions got thrown out here and there but there was no sin­gle steer­ing com­mit­tee, no top dogs. The entire process was organ­ic in that way that looks like mag­ic, because you’re see­ing some­thing inex­plic­a­ble.

Any­one who has every tried to get 300 or 3000 or 30,000 peo­ple togeth­er to show up on the same day with the same mes­sage, much less 30 mil­lion, know how much work those sim­ple deci­sions usu­al­ly are — you have to nego­ti­ate between indi­vid­u­als and groups, there’s always stu­pid nig­gling about con­flict­ing events and the gra­di­ent of mes­sag­ing and who’s in and who’s out and who won’t be in if some­body else isn’t out. But this uni­fy­ing pas­sion of oppo­si­tion just blew that away and with­in the space of a cou­ple weeks, one or two city list­ings were up at, then that became a snow­ball that start­ed down­hill until the con­cen­sus was so clear and so big it just kept pick­ing up more cities, more snow, until it became unstop­pable. I´d still like to know what hap­pened in Cal­i­for­nia, though: some­body had a wed­ding and couldn’t can­cel?

Wisdom snags and snicker captures

Here, for your brows­ing plea­sure, my raw notes from the bits of the SXSW inter­ac­tive con­fer­ence that I attend­ed. The­se were only intend­ed as notes to myself, but there’s some links here and the occas­sion­al ran­dom grabs that may make a scan use­ful for any­one want­i­ng a flavour of this ulti­mate Geek­fest.

I had such a good time. I got to play robot pool with a hacked room­ba. I got to sit at the feet of Kathy Sier­ra. I met Bruce Ster­ling. I got to hook up with the guys from Rain­forest Action Net­work who used to work for Dean. I met the man behind Tree­hug­ger. I ate Sushi.

I took notes…

Pod­cast 2.0

Chris Pir­il­lo Pres, Lock­ergnome
Eric Rice Founder,
Rob Green­lee Sr Mktg Mgr, Melodeo Mobil­cast
Lau­ra Swish­er Com­me­di­an

Atlantic Month­ly: “Pod­casts are being cre­at­ed by peo­ple who know how to do it, not peo­ple with a mes­sage any­one par­tic­u­lar­ly wants to hear.”

Con­ver­sa­tions and inter­views as eas­i­est con­tent to cre­ate (Green­lee)

Pod­cast­ing with a mes­sage vs doing it for doing it: enter­tain­ment pod­cast­ing.

Lorem Ipsum — 15 episode film­mak­er pod­cast: check this out.

Andrew from Rock­et­boom: 300,000 view­ers a day.

yahoo pod­cast direc­to­ry
Podsinger pod­scope

Olym­pus recorders
Envi­sion in
As record­ing devices


Jesse James Gar­rett What he did
David Schie­mann DOJO How it works/Libraries
Dori Smith Devil’s advo­cate and watchits

JJG: Changes the inter­ac­tion mod­el: not call & respon­se in the way html fetched from a server, form sub­mis­sion respon­se etc. Decou­ples the syn­chro­ni­sa­tion: Asyn­chro­nous Java and XML — Google released Google Maps at same time, demon­strat­ing the term he’d cre­at­ed.

Peo­ple think Ajax is a mag­ic bul­let and improves an app imme­di­ate­ly. But it’s a mag­ic bul­let you can shoot your­self in the foot with. Mis­takes along the way.

DSch: XML­HttpRe­quest: mis­nomer, but basi­cal­ly a no-refresh con­tent fetch.

Issues: Back but­ton behav­iour, cross domain secu­ri­ty risk, JSON Rpc: call back func­tion, implic­i­ty two way agree­ment on con­tent pro­vi­sion; race con­di­tions: load of one snip­pet before a required snip­pet. Draw capa­bil­i­ty.

Toolk­its: Dojo, MochiK­it (open source)
“Learn Javascript and HTTP

DHTML Uni­vere

DS: Con­trar­i­an, but agrees AJax is where we’re going
BUT: Acces­si­bil­i­ty and Usabil­i­ty
–Degrade­abil­i­ty: do those who don’t have js enabled browsers get any­thing?
–Secu­ri­ty con­scious who turn off JS
–Old­er Browsers
–Dif­fer­ent­ly Abled
You can’t bolt on degrade­abil­i­ty
User expec­ta­tions: Back But­ton doesn’t work — i.e. she in Google Maps wants to go back to last map, uses back but­ton DOH!
Book­marks: got­ta be able to save url or send to oth­er peo­ple.
–Cross plat­form i.e. Mac

Toolk­it longevi­ty is now more robust thanks to sub­Ver­sion pop­u­lar­i­ty and open sourcing of code.
Kathy Sier­ra

TAKE NOTE: This was by far and away THE great­est thing I saw at SXSW this year. Kathy is writ­ing a book on this the­me and I am real­ly, real­ly look­ing for­ward to get­ting my brain jolt­ed by it. 

Pass­sion makes us put more mean­ing into the activ­i­ty than it has. It’s a form of rra­tional­i­ty.
Golf: It’s just a game in which you hit a ball with a stick. But to a golfer, it’s much much much more. 

How many peo­ple in this room who already had one iPod were lin­ing up to buy a small­er, less capa­ble Ipod when the Nano came out? What irra­tional­i­ty explains mul­ti­ple pur­chas­es?

So we set out to reverse engi­neer pas­sion. When some­body is pas­sion­ate about some­thing, they learn more about it. They seek out things about it and peo­ple who know about it. Where there is pas­sion — there is a user kick­ing ass. Key to cre­at­ing pas­sion if fig­ur­ing out How long does it take a user to stop suck­ing at some­thing?

How do we get peo­ple fur­ther up the exper­tise curve before they crash?

Learn­ing increas­es res­o­lu­tion: you hear stuff in jazz if you know about it that oth­ers don’t. It’s a richer expe­ri­ence.

Help­ing a user kick ass doesn’t need to be about the util­i­ty of the pro­duct. Mis­at­tri­bu­tion of arousal means the user will grav­i­tate to any of the envi­ron­men­tal con­di­tions that sur­round a plea­sure­able expe­ri­ence. Teach some­one to make kick-ass dig­i­tal videos at a web­site about trash­bags, and they’ll asso­ciate the fun with the trash­bag.

Cold­play and Fair Trade. Teenage daugh­ter sees cold­play and sud­den­ly becomes an advo­cate of Fair Trade lec­tur­ing her mom about her inap­pro­pri­ate cof­fee choic­es.

Guy from Cold­play starts wear­ing an inscrutable bar sign on his hand. Peo­ple want to know what it means. He cre­ates a con­ver­sa­tion, get’s peo­ple ask­ing and telling. And the pas­sion­ate user is cool because they know that it means Fair­Trade — they are DYING to share that knowl­edge.

Red Bull spon­sor­ing music — not lec­tur­ing about ingre­di­ents in Red Bull.

Get­ting past the crap fil­ter. The brain fil­ters non-threats, non-inter­est­ing, non-sur­vival based stim­uli.

but it also pays atten­tion to unique­ness. And some­how “I’m hav­ing fun I must be doing some­thing good for my sur­vival.”

Mind­Tax (sp?) recre­ation­al neu­ro­science. There’s a full­time ded­i­cat­ed sep­a­rate area of the brain that does noth­ing but process faces.

Unre­solved imagery, a sto­ry where you can’t quite fig­ure out what’s going on. Engage the user in fig­ur­ing out what the sto­ry is. Don’t unrav­el the whole thing for them. Can you leave some things unre­solved?

The Brain cares about:
inno­cent (young cute)

Con­ver­sa­tion­al beats for­mal lec­ture. If you write con­ver­sa­tion­al­ly, if you use the sec­ond per­son in your text rather than for­mal, third per­son expo­si­tion, the Brain actu­al­ly gets fooled into think­ing it might be in a real con­ver­sa­tion. Brains atten­tion and recall goes up.

book: Media Equa­tion

The Brain doesn’tknow that it’s not hav­ing a real con­ver­sa­tion: so your Brain engages because it thinks it needs to hold up its end and con­tribute. It fol­lows the argu­ment. It doesn’t go to sleep.

Talk to the BRAIN, not the mind. Get to the LEGACY Brain. Trick them until they’re past the I suck thresh­old to the pas­sion­ate thresh­old.

Once up the learn­ing curve, peo­ple don’t want to go up that curve again. Have to moti­vate them up the curve. 

Why does any­one snow­board twice? They all suck when they start. But they see oth­er peo­ple hav­ing a good time. You don’t see how many times they fell to get there. A com­pelling pic­ture of what it looks like to be an expert. There’s a sto­ry about what’s going to await you at the oth­er side of that learn­ing curve. But they need to see a series of steps. They need to see the path up the curve.

You need to give the user a clear pic­ture of (way to recog­nise) exper­tise and how to get there. And a mean­ing­ful ben­e­fit that moti­vates them.

Facts ————— Infor­ma­tion ————–Under­stand­ing

Sea Slugs have vis­i­ble neu­ron sys­tem. They can teach them things with one rep­e­ti­tion. Huge amount of ener­gy goes into mak­ing your brain for­get: there’s a pow­er­ful crap fil­ter which tries to get you to pay atten­tion only to things that the lizard brain believes mat­ter.

Time and rep­e­ti­tion gets things past the crap fil­ter (this is the hard way)
OR there’s the short­cut — give it emo­tion­al con­tent.

Book: FLOW (under­stand­ing peo­ple stay­ing engaged) You’re in flow when you’ve lost all sense of time. The rea­son you stay in flow is that you think you’re just one com­pile away from an incre­men­tal improve­ment. If you thought you were (as you are) twen­ty com­piles away, you’d stop.

Game design­ers get this: how to get peo­ple into flow state. 

Flow equals Chal­lenge in a bal­anced pro­por­tion to Knowl­edge and Skill to meet it.

Base­camp gets out of my way. It’s not about he soft­ware tool, it’s about what the user is using the tool to do.

Expe­ri­ence spi­ral: Get them involved, build interest/motivation, chal­leng­ing activ­i­ty, pay­off.

User as hero.
And in the hero’s jour­ney, you?re job is to be the wise help­ful mentor/sidekick.

HERO OVERCOMES BAD THING is the key point — changes user. If that’s not part of the sto­ry­board, don’t do the project.

Map out the jour­ney, how will the user change.

The mar­ket for some­thing to believe in is infinite.

google this to find the video: “visions clash planes crash” Sara McLaugh­lin vid on what a 150,000 USD video could buy.

Trib­al iden­ti­fi­ca­tion. Are they a part of the tribe because they’re pas­sion­ate about hte pro­duct, or are they pas­sion­ate about the pro­duct because they’re a mem­ber of the tribe.

Leg­ends gos­sip sto­ries.

Here’s an acid test: when you have a pas­sion­ate user base, they will get accused of being sheep, a cult. DON’T pull toward the cen­tre. Delight the peo­ple on the oth­er side.

Don’t always lis­ten to what they say, it may con­flict with what they real­ly want. When you ask peo­ple to explain their choic­es, their choic­es change.

User Hap­pi­ness graphed again­st num­ber of fea­tures. (37Sig­nals)

The secret? It doesn’t mat­ter what they think about you. It’s not abou tyou. And it’s not about what you do. It’s about what the user feels about them­selves.

How do you give the user an I RULE! kick­ass feel­ing.


How and Why to Pod­cast an Event

Mod­er­a­tor: John All­sopp , West­ern Civil­i­sa­tion
Mack May Blue Fla­vor
Max­ine Sher­rin West­civ
Eric Mey­er Prin­ci­pal, Com­plex Spi­ral Con­sult­ing
Alex Williams Exec Producer/Found, Pod­cast Hotel

Always have a Back­up AW
check your sound lev­els
Audio Hijack Pro for live record­ing.
Garage Band wasn’t reli­able. (They were record­ing at 192kbs and run­ning
oth­er apps simul­ta­ne­ous­ly)

Record as close to source qual­i­ty as you can, sam­ple down.

S5 Slideshow runs in browser while pod­cast plays.

Cre­ative com­mons music: sources?
Cre­ate an “asyn­crho­nous Event” All­sop had 60,000 down­loads for an event where 320 peo­ple par­tic­i­pat­ed.

Max­ine had some­one from WWF say they wouldn’t come next year — they’d watch the pod­cast rather than burn the car­bon and mon­ey to get there.


Daniel Catt
Glen Mur­phy UI Soft­ware Engi­neer, Google
PJ Hyett
Jared Upton-Cosulich Founder, Com­mu­ni­ty­Walk

Jared, Com­mu­ni­ty­Walk guy: 

instant maps, add a Quick­time Panoram­ic to a mark­er.

Explore pulls the pic­tures out into a click­able index.

PJ: Way­far­ing
Mis­sion to make it as dead sim­ple to make a map as pos­si­ble.
You can see oth­er peo­ple track­ing the map.

Mur­phy: MeHere : WikiEn­try to Map app.

Grease­mon­key script that lets you add a Cen­ter Map on Me func­tion, gives GPS func­tion­al­i­ty to your Browser.

Dan Catt: Yahoo
Always wrap KML in a net­work link: this ensures it will get updat­ed time to time, rather than being down­load­ed once and rot­ting.



BLUETOOTH tag­ging as well.
If there’s one blue­tooth device that knows where it is, your phone will grab that info and upload it as well. “35 Ways” search on google.

Yahoo maps can take swf mark­ers.

Zone­tag: Cel­lID gets put into an image via the CELL loca­tion on your phone.

E9? Anoth­er map­ping tour.


League of Tech­ni­cal Vot­ers

Moti­vat­ing tech­ni­cal experts to effec­tive­ly influ­ence the polit­i­cal process.”

Look­ing to extend beyond sin­gu­lar issue advo­ca­cy into a com­mu­ni­ty, bridge the gap between high lev­els of tech­in­cal exper­tise among the geeks and the low lev­el of exper­tise among leg­is­la­tors and their staff.

Rep­u­ta­tion­al sys­tems nec­es­sary so that infor­ma­tion is ver­i­fi­able and trace­able — don’t want the Wikipedia mod­el of sub­jec­tive edit abil­i­ty with no account­able track­back.

(Exam­ple Stem Cell researchers want­i­ng to ensure deci­sions are based on infor­ma­tion rather than opin­ion or belief)

Secu­ri­ty and pri­va­cy geeks want it — dif­fi­cul­ty is the leg­is­la­tors and staff: dif­fer­ent mind­set.

Don’t have time dur­ing leg­isla­tive ses­sion (but isn’t that pre­cise­ly when they need to be influ­enced?)

Tagon­o­my of Bill evo­lu­tion.

The staffer who takes the phone calls in a phone attack isn’t the one get­ting the mes­sage in to the Rep­re­sen­ta­tive. the raw infor­ma­tion she gets is I got 25 calls again­st bill X — no sum­ma­ry of why, what points. The leg­isla­tive assis­tant needs a sin­gle page expla­na­tion of why the bill is wrong, a mea­sure of the oppo­si­tion, and talk­ing points that she can feed to the rep to say explain­ing his posi­tion and respond­ing to crit­i­cism.

We nev­er do a require­ments doc­u­ment before we write a bill — and the exi­gen­cies are iden­ti­cal. Stake­hold­ers need to be gath­ered, experts need to inter­ject, and clear spec­i­fi­ca­tions need to be draft­ed.

Draft leg­is­la­tion is nev­er per­fect — it is expect­ed to be manip­u­lat­ed and mold­ed — but it’s not always the right peo­ple doing that.

Isen­berg: The tele­com bill that was sched­uled to go through the con­gress actu­al­ly said that Yahoo chat over IP would require an FCC license, that a cof­fee shop with a linksys would need an FCC license, that Skype would require an FCC license, and nobody who draft­ed the bill were aware of just how unen­force­able those reg­u­la­tions would be. Digestible, focussed, cred­i­ble infor­ma­tion.

Civic­Space has been con­sid­ered but it’s a dif­fer­ent mod­el. Dru­pel starts to choke at around 90,000 nodes.

Revenge of the Blog­gers: Elec­tion 2008

Michael Krem­pasky Edel­man Red State
Mar­cos Moulit­sas: Dai­lyKos
Ruby Sin­re­ich Web Maven of & Founder of, Net­cen­tric Cam­paigns
Hen­ry Copeland Founder,

Ruby: Local organ­is­ing in Chapel Hill again­st red light cam­eras — expos­ing astro-turf organ­i­sa­tions, involve­ment of ven­dor in polit­i­cal process. 

2.5 years 18,000 com­ments at 400–800 vis­i­tors a day, 10 keen­ers who do noth­ing but post and com­ment.

Dai­lyKos — Vis­its: cou­ple hun­dred thou­sand a day, breaks into mil­lion a day around elec­tions 400 diaries a day 10+15 thou­sand com­ments a day.

Con­ser­v­a­tive Blogs tend to focus on work­ing with­in the exist­ing mech­a­nisms, while lib­er­al or left blogs tend to focus on build­ing mech­a­nisms out­side the estab­lished struc­tures. (Krem­pasky) But it may be sim­ply a func­tion of the fact that Repub­li­cans are in pow­er. (Mar­cos)

Mar­cos: We don’t have a lib­er­al media machine like Fox, Wash­ing­ton Times, etc.

Democ­rats didn’t build the machin­ery con­ser­v­a­tives did. The left is doing what the Right did decades ago.

Krem­pasky: We’ve had a vice pres­i­dent shoot some­body, a for­mer aide arrest­ed for shoplift­ing, a busi­ness deal mis­han­dled extra­or­di­nar­i­ly bad­ly, and we still may win. We can’t be fault­ed for the inep­ti­tude of our adver­saries.

there’s a com­mu­nal dynam­ic miss­ing on the right: Kos is a big blog with a com­mu­nal aspect, most big con­ser­v­a­tive blogs don’t allow com­ments.

Krem­pasky: Not sure rel­a­tive val­ue of cre­at­ing lob­bies where peo­ple can hang out talk­ing to each oth­er ver­sus going out there and doing some­thing.

Moulit­sas: Video blog­ging will be huge in 2008

Krem­pasky: The blogs that use the things we know about pol­i­tics that already work.

Ruby: 2008 is too late. MidTerms are going to be huge. Organ­is­ing has to be hap­pen­ing now. There’s a broad­er tool­box avail­able. Blogs are the home­base for strong social net­works — want to see cam­paigns com­ing to the social net­works rather than vice ver­sa.

Krem­pasky: the argu­ment in 2004 was about who got blog­ging bet­ter. But it ought to have been about which is more impor­tant: blogs or a 6 mil­lion per­son email list micro­tar­get­ing and get­ting peo­ple out to talk to their neigh­bors.
Bright shiny objects don’t win elec­tions, and if you keep focussing on the lat­est tech­nol­o­gy rather than the most effec­tive meth­ods, you’ll con­tin­ue to get beat. Don’t think of a web­site as a 30 sec­ond tele­vi­sion com­mer­cial, think of it as the envelope to a direct mail piece. You just need to get them to open the enven­lope, then get a rela­tion­ship going and keep talk­ing.

Q: Is blog­ging the death of activism?
Mar­cos: Before you get active, you talk about what you do.
Krem­pasky: Every time the democ­rats get togeth­er and a drum cir­cle breaks out, Repub­li­cans cel­e­brate. You’re social­iz­ing with each oth­er and not get­ting out and talk­ing to any­body.

The Clue­train Man­i­festo

Mod­er­a­tor: Hen­ry Copeland Founder,

Doc Searls Senior Edi­tor, Lin­ux Jour­nal
Heather Arm­strong Author, Blur­bodoocery
Hen­ry Copeland Founder,
Bri­an Clark Founder/CEO, GMD Studios/IndieWire

Doc: Back in 98 the dot com mad­ness was hav­ing its hey­day. Locke, Wein­burg­er and I were friends com­plain­ing about the com­plete dis­con­nect between what was hap­pen­ing on the net and what was being fund­ed. Adver­tis­ing would save every­thing. We could recre­ate awful things, like Shop­ping Malls! on the web! 

So we whinged about it on the phone.

Con­ver­sa­tions are fire. Mar­ket­ing is arson.

Nail­ing up a 95 the­sis like Mar­t­in Luther on a web page — we fig­ured 95 because that worked for Luther. The Clue­train name was serendip­i­tous. Doc men­tioned an epi­taph on a star­tup: the clue­train stopped there four times a day and nev­er made a deliv­ery. We added Man­i­festo because that worked for Marx.

The seed was this: We are not seats or eye­balls or endusers or con­sumers. We are human beings and our reach exceeds your grasp: deal with it.

Mar­kets are con­ver­sa­tions.

Pow­er shift: the mar­ket can self organ­ise, they can com­mu­ni­cate to one anoth­er, it’s a health­ier envi­ron­ment for the mar­ket.

We were out to chal­lenge the con­cept that the con­sumer is a gul­let: he exists to gulp prod­ucts and crap cash.

Com­pa­nies are ter­ri­fied to their cus­tomers. Blog­gers are scary because if they have a bad expe­ri­ence they tell thou­sands of their friends. (Clark)

Do we have empow­ered con­sumers? Heather Arm­strong: she sold Nikon D70s like crazy with her pic­tures and tes­ta­ment to how well the cam­era works — nev­er been paid by Nikon, nev­er heard from them. And now she’s think­ing about a switch, and realis­es she’s a force to be reck­oned with. “My site is a high­ly effec­tive brochure for their pro­duct.”

Motoro­la doesn’t want to have feed­back about what their mobile ?phones will do. They have 150 prod­ucts lined up that they intend to make you want.

Clark: the web is the cus­tomer ser­vice for prod­ucts now. I don’t call cus­tomer ser­vice when I have a prob­lem, I google the prob­lem.

Arm­strong: Love the I Hate Best Buy web­sites. Would nev­er go there to buy a cam­era.

Doc: Microsoft has 300 blog­gers. It can’t hurt to have lots of peo­ple blog­ging from Long­horn and Vis­ta got changed because they’re out there get­ting feed­back and the feed­back shapes the pro­duct.

(Copeland) Threadless as the pre­mier Clue­train Com­pa­ny — in which the com­mu­ni­ty cre­ates the pro­duct and buys the pro­duct.

Doc: com­pa­nies get start­ed because of a pas­sion. Nobody starts a com­pa­ny to “return val­ue to stock­hold­ers.” Druck­er said your employ­ees come first, your cus­tomers come sec­ond, your stock­hold­ers come third. Nobody believes that any­more, which is a shame.

Are there non­prof­its using blogs to spread their word. Green­peace. PETA in myspace. Peta did some viral video and had 200,000 — giv­ing the com­mu­ni­ty some­thing to do togeth­er. Grey album: the gray­ing of the blogs in one day to sup­port rights of Mash Up.

Bar­lowe dec­la­ra­tion of the inde­pen­dence of cyber­space: doc rec­om­mends “Death from Above” which talks about the assym­me­try of … CEOs post WWII were dis­pro­por­tion­ate­ly for­mer bomber pilots, because one job was suit­ed to the oth­er.

Sav­ing the Inter­net” — we have big band­width down, nar­row up because the big com­pa­nies still think it’s going to be like cable TV.

Next 7 years, what’s com­ing down the pipe? Clark: Gam­ing will set up sit­u­a­tions that accord­ing to social behav­iourists shouldn’t work — peo­ple work­ing coop­er­a­tive­ly in groups of 5000 with­out lead­er­ship.

[NOTES to my com­ment] In respon­se to Brian’s point that we might in 7 years see 5000 peo­ple act­ing as a group with­out lead­ers in the­se mas­sive­ly coop­er­a­tive sit­u­a­tions, I think we’ve already seen it and that was a cou­ple years back when 30 mil­lion peo­ple agreed a date to show up on the streets all over the world to protest the inva­sion of Iraq. (With the quirky excpep­tion of Cal­i­for­nia, which had theirs a week lat­er) I’ve been an activist for decades and what blew me away about that was the way the sim­ple agree­ment about what day to hold that protest was a com­plete­ly decen­tralised deci­sion — no lead­ers, no major groups took on a cen­tral coor­di­nat­ing role the entire process was organ­ic in that way that looks like mag­ic, because you’re see­ing some­thing inex­plic­a­ble.

Ruby or Japhet or any­one in this room who has done organ­is­ing know how much work those sim­ple deci­sions usu­al­ly are — you have to nego­ti­ate between groups, there’s always stu­pid nig­gling about con­flict­ing events and the gra­di­ent of mes­sag­ing and who’s in and who’s out. But this uni­fy­ing pas­sion of oppo­si­tion just blew that away and with­in the space of a cou­ple weeks, the con­cen­sus was so clear and so big it became unstop­pable.

I don’t think I’ve seen any real appre­ci­a­tion of just what a phe­nom this was — it was the biggest sin­gle glob­al protest in the his­to­ry of the plan­et, and it was brought to us by the hive mind of the inter­net. It’s the begin­ning of the evo­lu­tion of a mam­malian brain for the plan­et. [END OF NOTES]

Doc: We are all authors of each oth­er — and that’s what author­i­ty is — the per­mis­sion to shape.


Build­ing Buzz

Jamison Stafford Iven­ta Corp
Rufus Griscom ceo, Nerves
Kei­th Rich­man Break Media
Philip Kaplan CEO, AdBrite Inc
Joan­na Angel Porn Star,

Phillip Kaplan, cre­at­ed Fucked Com­pa­ny (dot­come crash moan site — remem­ber?) which he nev­er spent a dime on mar­ket­ing. is Alexa rank #300???????????? 356 to be pre­cise. And it launched in Novem­ber.

Philip? Mak­ing it per­son­al: Con­tact Pud (Not con­tact us) Mak­ing your staff famous. mak­ing your­self famous. Mak­ing your vis­i­tors famous.

Burn­ing Angel: Have a star, have a rep, a cheer­lead­er. Go to any­thing relat­ed to Sex, Music, be there. MySpace — impor­tant to be there. More peo­ple will look at myspace than your web­site no mat­ter how big your myspace is. (Joan­na has 30,000 friends on MySpace). Keep a blog. Not that excit­ing to be film­ing pornog­ra­phy per­son­al­ly, but oth­er peo­ple are REALLY inter­est­ed in that per­son­al glimpse. Blogs are free.

PK: Richard Bran­son & Vir­gin
Hugh Hefn­er & Play­boy

Rufus: Nerve was envi­sioned as next gen­er­a­tion Play­boy but with spokesper­sons who wore glass­es and spoke in com­plete sen­tences. “We have today half the buzz as five years ago and five times the rev­enue.” (re Nerve in the NYT)

Fucked Com­pa­ny sky­rock­et­ed when mail­ing list got a write up (which PK wrote) say­ing what an awful site was. Using the Howard Sterne the­o­ry that peoiple who like you lis­ten 3 hours a day, peo­ple who hate you lis­ten 4 hours a day.

Nerve paid a dol­lar a word to attract big writ­ers to cre­ate con­tent for their site. We don’t spell check. We’re not smarter than you. We’re not bet­ter than you. We try to appeal the side of guys that likes to see dumb things.
Slow­ly added the name being incor­po­rat­ed into the video.

Iven­ta Suit: Make your audi­ence your staff, del­e­gate the respon­si­bil­i­ty and give them tools to organ­ise. If you’re a fan and you go out and post links on three hun­dred web­sites or do sten­cils you can upload a pho­to and your street team lead­er can con­firm that you get 300 points, turn it into a com­pe­ti­tion for points, may­be give them a blog or tick­ets or pro­duct give­aways or oth­er ben­e­fits. (He does this with Fan base for Korn, Metal­li­ca etc.) Not very expen­sive, but asso­ciate your­self with an excit­ing brand. Street teams start at 0 and can go to 100,000 to sev­er­al mil­lion real­ly fast.

Rich­man: Don’t do any­thing in your com­mu­ni­ty that you wouldn’t want to do. Refresh con­tent. You want to see what’s changed. As soon as it looks like noth­ing has changed.

PK: things you can do to get peo­ple com­ing back: Adbrite reach 400 mil­lion pages a day. STart­ed from 0. Every­body who buys ad space we try to turn into sell­ers. Cre­at­ed a game and you can bet on the com­pa­nies that you thought might go out of busi­ness. Office pools got cre­at­ed, peo­ple start­ed bet­ting on their own com­pa­nies telling their friends.

Nerve would trade ad space with Salon few years back. Now have 8–9 dif­fer­ent sec­tions, with Nerve Rec­om­mends sec­tions. Adver­tis­ing grow­ing faster than oth­er rev­enue streams. So our dri­ve is to increase traf­fic. The pre­mi­um sec­tions are less and less inter­est­ing. SEO of course is impor­tant


tags need to be right.

Iven­ta Suit: Loy­al­ty sys­tems. You get points for stick­ing with a pro­duct, a com­pa­ny or an arit­st will have some unique piece of con­tent like an auto­graphed album and will put it up for auc­tion.

Press: PK says press was the main dri­ver, total­ly free, for his traf­fic. PR firms cost. I could get the arti­cles I want­ed writ­ten. I wrote a let­ter to Howard Stern and how he want­ed to be on the show. Week lat­er had a 20 min­ute phone inter­view. Recent­ly raised 12 mil­lion for star­tup. Found a writer who wrote about a sim­i­lar sub­ject, his email address on and pitched it. Front page of Busi­ness sec­tion with a stip­pel pic­ture. Help them do their job and they’ll love you. Stack of press releas­es? Not the same as a phone call from the CEO.

Rufus: 1.5 mil­lion a mon­th. Help the jour­nal­ist please their edi­tor.
Peo­ple are more acces­si­ble than you think.

Ambi­ent find­abil­i­ty:

Search results page: #2 most vis­it­ed page — where’s the fight over real estate that you get on the front page.

Usabil­i­ty is not the be all and the end all. Is it rel­e­vant? Is it use­ful? Is it pret­ty? Attrac­tive images make peo­ple hap­py. Hap­py peo­ple are pleased with your site.

Bub­ble up com­mon search terms (i.e. Jobs should be on the top menu)

Archi­tec­ture and site design have direct impact on your believ­abil­i­ty and trust fac­tors.

Speci­fic search terms: was hap­py with being topped ranked return on search term can­cer. But they were being drowned by oth­er sites ranked high­er on “breast can­cer” and “lung can­cer”.

Ambi­ent find­abil­i­ty: The abil­i­ty to find any­one or any­thing from any­where at any­time.

A wealth of infor­ma­tion cre­ates a pover­ty of atten­tion.”

Child tags WITH BREADCRUMB fea­tures.

David Brin: The Trans­par­ent Soci­ety.

In a world of more and more haystacks, how do we cre­ate big­ger needles? How do we describe ‘About­ness’ in a way that increas­es the find­abil­i­ty of our doc­u­ments.

Steve Krug: Don’t Make me Think (book)

Who’s going to help? The Revenge of the Librar­i­ans!!! Meta­data. Tag­ging. Throw away tax­onomies. Lets go to a crazy world where any­one can use any word to tag their con­tent.

The old way cre­ates a tree. The new rakes leaves togeth­er. –David Wein­berg­er

The leaves are those cool flickr clouds of mean­ing. And leaves rot. To feed trees.

Pace Lay­er­ing

slow Fast
nature cul­ture gov­er­nance infra­struc­ture com­merce fash­ion art

PodZinger: speach audio to text con­tent.

Rums­feld: things we know etc etc and unknown unknowns — things we don’t know we don’t know.

Search has become the new inter­face of com­merce. And gov­ern­ment.

Invert­ed L of Nav­i­ga­tion as anchor cred­i­bil­i­ty, and leave the user to shape the expe­ri­ence with­in that (Wikipedia)

Chicago Crime mashup: live data fom chicago police depart­ment into google map.

Tran­sit strike live mashup with live reports from the streets of what was easy or hard to do.

Human Brain is not evolv­ing as fast as the explod­ing world of infor­ma­tion.

What Peo­ple are Real­ly Doing on the Web

Mod­er­a­tor: Joel Green­berg Sr Plan­ner, GSD&M

Hol­land Hof­ma Brown VP Inter­net Pan­el Mgmt, Har­ris Inter­ac­tive
Joel Green­berg Sr Plan­ner, GSD&M
Michele Madan­sky VP Corp & Sales Research, Yahoo!
Max Kale­hoff VP Mktg, Nielsen Buzz­Met­rics

Eric von Hip­pel Democ­ra­tiz­ing Inno­va­tion

94% using inter­net for 5+ years
One third would rather email than call a friend
30 percen shop online
1 in 3 pri­ma­ry sourc eof news

Gen­er­al pub­lic trusts Tele­vi­sion over News­pa­pers over inter­net.

BUT SXSW inter­vie­wees trust News­pa­pers first inter­net next 3% trust TV.

Men read­ing blogs more than wom­en. young males dom­i­nate. but 29% of males over 60 have read a blog.

53 per­c­dent of stu­dents have read a blog in last 30 days.

60% of SXSW have read a blog in the last hour.
72% have post­ed replies.

Gen­er­al users are not mov­ing every aspect of their lives on line.

Yahoo gets 2 ter­abyte of data a DAY. More than library of con­gress.

Tru­ly, Mad­ly, Deeply Engaged.

Com­mu­ni­ca­tion is killer app

MySpace is now in top ten in the US.

Face­book came into top 20 this year.

Yahoo answers: social search.

Nielsen Buzz­met­rics: Mon­i­tor mea­sur­ing cus­tomer sen­ti­ment and views expressed online.

Word of mouth far more influ­en­tial than any othe infor­ma­tion source.
67% in 1977 to 92% in 2005.
Dri­ven by CGM Con­sumer Gen­er­at­ed Media.

of the top 10 search terms on the top 20 brand names, only 26% was gen­er­at­ed by those brands: the rest was con­sumer chat­ter or even activist sites.

copies of the pow­er­points:

Social­Web: human answers to ques­tions rather than 100k search results.


Adding video to your blog

Eddie Codel Pro­duc­er, Geek Enter­tain­ment TV
Schlo­mo Rabi­now­itz Jan­i­tor, SOAPBOX Kunst­werks
Mike B Slone Founder/ Cre­ative Dir, InkNoise Inc
Michael Verdi
Sarah Hep­o­la Writer, The Morn­ing News

our­me­dia: cre­ative com­mons licence options
bliptv: dit­to, but non­com­mer­cial right to
Fire­Ant — rss video sub­scrip­tions
Val­ley­Wag (who was that guy at the par­ty)?
Vlog­ger­Con: how­to on per­son­al nar­ra­tive. Node101

Organ­ised way to cap­ture and archive dai­ly­ness.

Michael uses: Sanyo XATCI C5: Takes still pic­tures, pis­tol with a fli­paround.
Look for a fli­paround to mir­ror ToCam­eras.
InkNoise for upload­ing media, tied to your blog via RSS?

Com­pres­sion, file­size, band­width: 4–5 megabytes per min­ute 6-700kbs 320x240px
Mpeg lay­er 4,
Win­dows media encoder dual pass.
Freevlog step by step tuto­ri­al

10USD per mon­th if you don’t go Rock­et­Boom pop­u­lar

Google Video: Check their license — they get incon­tro­vert­ible rights to rebroad­cast, they own your video in per­pe­tu­ity???????

Sound­track of our life — check it out sto­ry of alter­ca­tion with secu­ri­ty over dig­i­tal rights at a cold­play con­cert.

What is the Future of Radio?

Elise Nordling Music Dir/DJ of Indie Pop Rocks!, SomaFM
Celia Hirschman One Lit­tle Indian/Downtown Mar­ket­ing KCRW
Roman Mars Pro­duc­er, Third Coast Fes­ti­val
Tim West­er­gren Founder, Pan­do­ra
Kev­in Smok­ler

Celia: Record indus­try came out of entre­peneurs who built a struc­ture for rais­ing artistss’ vis­i­bilty — radio being the back­bone.

Pan­do­ra got a lisence to play music with con­di­tions that make it more radio-like : no more than 12 skips in an hour, can’t do music on demand, you lis­ten to what they stream basi­cal­ly so it’s not com­pet­ing with buy­ing a CD, and more like lis­ten­ing to the radio.


Flickr is not a hip­py knock­off.
Wikipedia is not like any­thing that has exist­ed before.
The net­worked com­mu­ni­ty is no longer hang­ing on the coat­tails of Gates.
Only in the US do dying phone com­pa­nies lob­by the gov­ern­ment as if they were Indi­an Casi­nos.
Vision­ary in Res­i­dence: auda­cious and freaky, not a Har­ry Pot­ter book
I live out of my lap­top now.
Nation­al bor­ders are like speed bumps.
Fran­tic col­li­sions of fun­da­men­tal­ist the­o­ry with real­i­ty.
Neil Gaiman: We’re the sink that the gut­ter drains into. And today they’re so impor­tant that embassies are being set on fire over what they’ve done.
Meathook future vs the Bright Green Future. There are things that can move the slid­ers, but we’ve not invent­ed the vocab­u­lary yet. There’s smoke fill­ing the the­atre but the exit signs are a tan­gled non­sense.
Gib­son: the street finds its own uses for things.
Spime: it’s not a word, it’s a tag. it’s a the­o­ry object. Any word in any lan­guage means what the pop­u­lar con­cep­tion of it is. Cyber­space in gib­son is a con­scen­su­al hal­lu­ci­na­tion: it’s not inter­net, yet it’s dat­ed.
Spime is a Spec­u­la­tive Imag­i­nary Object. Impor­tant in 6 ways:
1. It has a chip, or a bar­code, or a tag that names, sorts, ranks, shuf­fles it.
2. Local pre­cise posi­tion­ing sys­tem.
3. Pow­er­ful search engine. Auto-googling object.
4. Cradle to cradle recy­cleable
5. Trans­par­ent pro­duc­tion

3D vir­tu­al mod­elled object
Objects exist vir­tu­al­ly before they exist in real­i­ty (think online shop­ping)
Rapid­ly pro­to­typed: fad­gets

World Chang­ing: index of ways out of the smoke filled room.
A Spime is track­able in space and time.
Infor­ma­tion­al sup­port is so exten­sive and rich that they are sub­stan­ti­a­tions of imag­i­nary objects.
They begin as data. Vir­tu­al objects first, phys­i­cal objects lat­er.
The object: to build an INTERNET OF THINGS, not an inter­net of words.
A Civ­i­liza­tion­al step for­ward.
Pri­ma­ry advan­tage: I no longer inven­to­ry my pos­ses­sions in my head, it’s done by an inven­to­ri­al voodoo below my atten­tion lev­el. I don’t need to wor­ry where they are or how to get more. I don’t hunt for my shoes in the morn­ing, I just Google them. I am at ease in mate­ri­al­i­ty in a way I nev­er was before.

Big con­cept. Needs dis­trib­ut­ed intel­li­gence.

Make no deci­sion out of fear.

What’s required is a region­al nov­el about the Plan­et Earth.

Ser­bia has a small lan­guage, so they still have poets. Poets can be pret­ty famous in Ser­bia — almost like a right-wing con­ser­v­a­tive blog­ger.

His­tor­i­cal per­spec­tive, 1937. Carl Sand­burg:

The peo­ple yes
The peo­ple will live on.
The learn­ing and blun­der­ing peo­ple will live on.
They will be tricked and sold and again sold
And go back to the nour­ish­ing earth for rootholds,
The peo­ple so pecu­liar in renewal and come­back,
You can’t laugh off their capac­i­ty to take it.
The mam­moth rests between his cyclonic dra­mas.

The peo­ple so often sleepy, weary, enig­mat­ic,
is a vast hud­dle with many units say­ing:
“I earn my liv­ing.
I make enough to get by
and it takes all my time.
If I had more time
I could do more for myself
and may­be for oth­ers.
I could read and study
and talk things over
and find out about things.
It takes time.
I wish I had the time.”

The peo­ple is a trag­ic and comic two-face: hero and hood­lum:
phan­tom and goril­la twist­ing to moan with a gar­goyle mouth:
“They buy me and sell me…it’s a game…sometime I’ll
break loose…”

Once hav­ing marched
Over the mar­gins of ani­mal neces­si­ty,
Over the grim line of sheer sub­sis­tence
Then man came
To the deep­er rit­u­als of his bones,
To the lights lighter than any bones,
To the time for think­ing things over,
To the dance, the song, the sto­ry,
Or the hours given over to dream­ing,
Once hav­ing so marched.

Between the finite lim­i­ta­tions of the five sens­es
and the end­less yearn­ings of man for the beyond
the peo­ple hold to the hum­drum bid­ding of work and food
while reach­ing out when it comes their way
for lights beyond the pris­on of the five sens­es,
for keep­sakes last­ing beyond any hunger or death.
This reach­ing is alive.
The pan­der­ers and liars have vio­lat­ed and smut­ted it.
Yet this reach­ing is alive yet
for lights and keep­sakes.

The peo­ple know the salt of the sea
and the strength of the winds
lash­ing the cor­ners of the earth.
The peo­ple take the earth
as a tomb of rest and a cradle of hope.
Who else speaks for the Fam­i­ly of Man?
They are in tune and step
with con­stel­la­tions of uni­ver­sal law.
The peo­ple is a poly­chrome,
a spec­trum and a prism
held in a mov­ing mono­lith,
a con­sole organ of chang­ing themes,
a clav­ilux of col­or poems
where­in the sea offers fog
and the fog moves off in rain
and the labrador sun­set short­ens
to a noc­turne of clear stars
serene over the shot spray
of north­ern lights.

The steel mill sky is alive.
The fire breaks white and zigzag
shot on a gun-met­al gloam­ing.
Man is a long time com­ing.
Man will yet win.
Broth­er may yet line up with broth­er:

This old anvil laughs at many bro­ken ham­mers.
There are men who can’t be bought.
The fire­born are at home in fire.
The stars make no noise,
You can’t hin­der the wind from blow­ing.
Time is a great teacher.
Who can live with­out hope?

In the dark­ness with a great bundle of grief
the peo­ple march.
In the night, and over­head a shov­el of stars for keeps, the peo­ple
“Where to? what next?”

Red Tribes, Blue Tribes

This was the com­ment I put up over at the Dai­lyKos about one of the SXSW ses­sions:

Some­one not­ed (I think it was Copeland) that there are few open forum blogs like Dai­lyKos on the right, and many of the big con­ser­v­a­tive blogs don’t even take com­ments. (Author­i­tar­i­an­ism, don’t talk back, the dia­logue isn’t impor­tant, only the dic­tat and the dis­ci­pline of lin­ing up)

Krem­pasky com­ments about Repub­li­cans rejoic­ing every time Democ­rats get togeth­er and a drum cir­cle breaks out (because it means Dems aren’t out knock­ing on doors) and ques­tions whether cre­at­ing social lob­bies for peo­ple to hang out in and exchange views real­ly accom­plish­es any­thing. (Nur­tur­ing, open debate, process as impor­tant as out­come)

Ruby notes that at the small-scale local lev­el, com­mu­ni­ty out­weighs par­ti­san­ship, and throws an open-end­ed zinger at Krem­pasky that he only thinks those drum cir­cles aren’t accom­plish­ing any­thing.

Echo­ing between the­se points I sat there won­der­ing what this says about Tribes and the dif­fer­ing way peo­ple iden­ti­fy with those they agree with on the left and the right.

It’s some­thing about Hive ver­sus Work­er Ants — the left val­ues the mem­ber­ship in the tribe intrin­si­cal­ly. The right seems to val­ue the tribe only for what it can achieve. 

I got a chance to talk to Ruby Sin­re­ich quite a bit after this, and she elab­o­rat­ed a bit about the pow­er that those “drum cir­cles” build in com­mu­ni­ty terms, cre­at­ing bonds between peo­ple, cre­at­ing shared resolve, cre­at­ing infor­ma­tion net­works.

And that’s real­ly it, isn’t it? When I think about what a great expe­ri­ence SXSW was for me in net­work­ing terms: I met Gra­ham from Tree­hug­ger, Japhet from Rain­forest Action Net­work and a bunch of his possie of web saavies who used to work with the Dean Cam­paign, Bruce Ster­ling, the good folks at Blo­gads who had some rock­in ideas about advo­ca­cy adver­tis­ing, Aman­da Con­g­don (ok, ok, she’s not an activist but hey (hair flip) yuh nev­er know…), the Net­centrics and the Net­squareds and the oth­er folks look­ing to help NGOs be smarter about tech­nol­o­gy. Now sure, there’s a Repub­li­can in me (albeit a very, very small rat­faced crea­ture) who sees that net­work mere­ly for how I can use it. But there’s a democ­rat in me (and he is vast, he con­tains mul­ti­tudes) who enjoyed the par­ties as much as the pan­els, would open my house to any of the­se char­ac­ters, and who knows that we’ll all be hand­ing out vir­tu­al mbi­ras and bon­gos around the elec­tron­ic cam­pire.

It’s not just that I don’t want to be a part of any rev­o­lu­tion I can’t dance to, it’s this: the rev­o­lu­tion you can’t dance to just ain’t a rev­o­lu­tion.


How Geek am I? When Bruce Ster­ling was giv­ing his pre­sen­ta­tion on Spime at SXSW he cit­ed a very cool illus­tar­tion of what he means my objects locat­able in space and time: when you get up in the morn­ing, you won’t hunt for your shoes, you�ll just google them. 

I was read­ing the Wikipedia entry on Spime at that moment, and there was noth­ing so con­crete there, so I updat­ed the entry live while he was talk­ing.

I told Dane Petersen this as I came out of the hall and he did the full-on Nerd Fist pump and high five, to my great amuse­ment. He also told me that last year Ster­ling had brought a 3D print­er along and had demon­strat­ed an object’s tran­si­tion from vir­tu­al space to physcial space by print­ing out some objects for the audi­ence. Dane was in the back of the hall and fig­ured he was Peo­ple in the back fig­ured they were nev­er going to get to see what one looked like, until some­one at the front took a pic­ture, upload­ed it to Flickr, and the whole room had it in sec­onds via the pro­jec­tion screen — send­ing the object back from phys­i­cal space to Vir­tu­al.

Damn. This place is Geek­out Cen­tral.

I shook the hand of the walrus

I shook the hand of Aman­da Con­g­don!!! OK, I know every geek­boy on the plan­et has a crush on the Rock­et­Boom Hostes­sisi­ma, but how many could walk up to her after an SXSW pan­el and offer to let her guest pod­cast from the deck of the Rain­bow War­rior?

Despite the fact that I am reel­ing with a Tan­quer­ay and Ton­ic hang­over from the SXSW after par­ty, I’m still jit­tery with hav­ing met so many peo­ple I’ve been read­ing or watch­ing for years: Aman­da, Bruce Ster­ling, Doc Sear­les, Jason Kot­tke James Surowiecki.

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to being a Head of State at the Earth Summit

Hi kids! Have you been watch­ing the pro­ceed­ings of the Earth Sum­mit in Johan­nes­burg? Do you wish that YOU too could take bold com­mit­ments to save the world and turn them into mushy lan­guage full of loop­holes, wig­gle room, and ambi­gu­i­ty GUARANTEED to ensure you nev­er have to lift a fin­ger to save the plan­et???

Well now you CAN! Let’s pre­tend you’re a real world lead­er in Johan­nes­burg! Here’s what you should do when hand­ed a draft agree­ment.

Let’s say this draft con­tains the fol­low­ing state­ment:

All coun­tries agree to phase out coal as an ener­gy source.

Isn’t that just awful? So clear and so sim­ple a child could have writ­ten it, but it’ll mean a lot of work for you when you get home. It may also make some of those pals of yours a lit­tle bit upset. They might not buy you any more elec­tions! So let’s swing into action!

Now, if you’re a nation­al del­e­gate, you can tell the Chair­man that you want to put that state­ment in brack­ets. Brack­ets mean you’re not entire­ly hap­py with that text, and you’d like to stran­gle it. Go on. Any coun­try can do it, all by them­selves, for any rea­son at all. Brack­ets are cheap, so sprin­kle them lib­er­al­ly through­out any text that sug­gest actu­al­ly doing any­thing! It’s so easy!!!

[All coun­tries agree to phase out coal as an ener­gy source.]

Now that you’ve got it in brack­ets, let’s add some cool inac­ti­vat­ing phras­es. Per­son­al­ly, I’ve always liked “take mea­sures to.” Watch!

[All coun­tries agree to {take mea­sures to} phase out coal as an ener­gy source.]

Still, that’s a bit too crisp. So let’s reach into our doc­u­ment hat and find anoth­er nifty nugget. How about “have instru­ments in place”??? Sounds like lawyers will get involved! Now THAT ought to slow things down! Con­tin­ue read­ing “The Com­plete Idiot’s Guide to being a Head of State at the Earth Sum­mit”