This blog will be on sabbatical starting today. I hate to do it, but the fact is I have too much happening outside this blog for me to give it the time it deserves to be relevant, useful, or interesting.
Like our colleague John Wagner, I suspect this will be useful in restoring perspective. I hope so, anyway -- that's one of the reasons I think this is a good idea.
I'm going to give this nearly a solid month, until June 15 (my birthday). That's a long time in the blog world, and I probably run the "risk" of losing readership thanks to inactivity, but I'm not going to spend energy worrying about that. If I come back and write interesting things, people will somehow find and read it. I do this mainly for my own learning, anyhow.
I will be reading your blogs meantime. Keep it coming.
I will continue to post here about plans for the Portland Geek event on June 14. And I may post on this and that if I can't seem to resist.
My friend Ray King and I will be hosting the Portland Geek Dinner on June 14. It's part of this series of 100 in 100 days suggested by Hugh as a way to get bloggers and others talking and trading ideas.
Join us. Ray is deeply involved in wikis and will be inviting his wiki collaborators. I'm putting the call out to local bloggers and marketing types I know -- we'll gather for wine and ideas.
I'll put up more info here later, but for now if you have questions, ping me (mcole aaatt vycomm dot com).
I was talking with my friend and regular workout partner Gerry this morning about this blog, and I mentioned casually that my blogging has tailed off lately because of 1) time and 2) I've run out of stuff to say, at least for now. I need to think about how or why I want to keep doing this.
John Wagner took two weeks off and says he realizes how it can eat you alive if you're not careful. No doubt. I started doing this for no one other than myself, and that really hasn't changed. It's been productive for me -- I've recorded a lot of what I hope are good thoughts and satisfied my writing itch. Most productive has been what I've learned from others. I'll keep that up no matter what.
Nonetheless, I'm considering a brief sabbatical myself. I truly have run out of productive things to say for now, and I have no interest in trying to half-ass this thing along until my schedule improves, which it realistically will not, at least for a while. I also would like to resign all my feeds, start over and get some new perspective. And finally, this blog needs a new look and feel.
I haven't made a final decision on timing or, for that matter, what I'm actually going to do, but will shortly.
This is a funny post from Mike Arrington about his trip to Spain, and it's good to see him writing in his natural voice.
John Wagner again....I agree that PR is not dead. I'm inclined to believe there indeed is a constant market for practitioners who help distill words and ideas to make them clear for others.
I just had this discussion the other day with a guy who thought the right PR strategy might be to flood editors with "a release a week." If for some reason you needed proof that this is, to put it more politely than it deserves, unsound, read this from Scoble.
If you're in Oregon on Mother's Day and need a place for brunch, you want to have it at Timberline Lodge. You're welcome.
Still think press releases are magic carpets? Read this from TheStreet.com and think again.
Got a beat-up glove, a homemade bat, and brand-new pair of shoes You know I think it’s time to give this game a ride Just to hit the ball and touch ’em all, a moment in the sun It’s gone and you can tell that one goodbye
On Wednesday, I gave a presentation at the Portland Communicators' Conference, a gathering of local marketing and PR pros.
It took me a while to triangulate what I wanted to talk about, so I did a lot of reading, and also reviewed my notes and learnings from the past year or so. Eventually, I distilled what I thought was important into a discussion on marketing successfully in today's economy, where trust is the coin of the realm. It went well, but as with anything, after reflection I know there are refinements I can make to improve.
One of those refinements is a discussion on the context in which we operate. I hypothesize that more and more, a central element of our world is its transitory nature. Duh, you say -- life always evolves, right. Yes, but if you apply the idea behind Moore's Law to human behavior today, you can get an idea about why trends and ideas cycle in and out so much more quickly today than they did 20 years ago. The today in "here today, gone tomorrow" is a day that's much shorter than it used to be.
So what? So you have to stay on your toes. I understand how right Thomas Friedman is when he says the most critical skill that schoolchildren today (or anyone, for that matter), is the continual, consious capacity for learning new things. Things are coming at us so rapidly now that the only way to make sense of our days in life is to reapply perspective, learn the skills necessary to compete and thrive, and confidently apply your capabilities. To do otherwise is to languish.
Let's apply this to marketing and PR. Here's an example: Many have written or discussed the death of the press release. I'm one of them. In most cases, they're not useful -- they're in fact annoying or trivial. Yet agencies and independents crank them out by the thousands, daily. To do so ignores the way we now collect and sort information that's important to us, and to influentials. Today, those methods include all kinds of new tools -- blogging, podcasting, RSS, you name it -- but tomorrow will almost assuredly be something else.
Advertising, same thing. Is the 30-second TV spot dead? Not yet. But it's on its way.
So if you have a service or a product or an idea to sell, it's foolish to take your square peg and keep trying to jam it into a hole that's rounding by the day. The way we do things, including the exchange of information, changes all the time, and the mode of the day is simply that -- of the day. Blogging will evolve into something else, something more refined or even completely different, and as practitioners we'll have to adapt, learn quickly and apply new skills.
And it's not just the technology or the tools or the infrastructure we use. The content is of the day for only a short day as well. Why is that? Because the context of our lives are different. To make a stark example of that, ten years ago the average price of a gallon of gas was just above $1. Energy efficiency was the last thing on our minds. Today it is a significant issue that permeates everything, from our cars to the cost of food to the price of your hotel room in Vegas.
To ignore all this -- the increasing velocity of changes in content and applicable skills -- is worse than standing still while the world races by. It's more akin to actually running in the opposite direction.
Why am I posting this here? The people that probably need to read these new concepts and discuss them aren't blogging, or even reading blogs, or even thinking about this kind of thing. So I'll ignore that and ask instead for only one thing -- to help me get smarter, learn new tools and skills, and apply them. Tell me some things I don't know but should. I will be glad to repay the favor somehow when I get the opportunity.
If you're a mother, I hope you have a great day on Sunday.
Driving in this morning, one of the a.m. radio shows invited listeners to call in with "mom-isms," the sayings or advice moms typically give that you think is lame at the time, but of course with maturity realize how right they were. Things like, "You don't get a second chance at a first impression," or even, "I'll knock you back into yesterday if you keep that up."
My mother wasn't all that big on these kinds of things, though I do remember when I would whine about something or generally lament not having what I wanted, she'd say that "people in hell want ice water, too." The fact that I can count on one hand the times I've heard my mother use profanity usually helped to drive home her point. She was (and still is) very, very good at giving perspective.
I've been very blessed my entire life to have a loving and generous family. I miss my Dad every day and both my grandparents -- I particularly will feel the loss of my grandmother, a great woman if there was one, this Sunday. My mother -- whom I'm glad to report is having a great time with life and could probably outrun me if we laced up our shoes for a track meet -- always has been a big part of my life. She arrives here next week for a long-overdue visit, and I'm looking forward to seeing her and having her spend some time with her grandchildren.
Those very children are dang lucky themselves to have my wife as their mother, someone who naturally shifted the energy in her universe to order their needs ahead of her own. She loves both of them completely, as I do, and is giving them the security a child needs to build a good life. They and I are all too fortunate to have her.
And, while I'm at it, I'd be stupid not to remember that my wife was gifted by her own mother, someone I've admired myself for the past 14 years. She deals with a difficult physical condition every day of her life, and not only have I never once heard her complain, she actively enjoys herself with travel, grandchildren and all kinds of other activity. And friends, I'm serious when I tell you she makes a serious barbecued brisket.