Latest Entries »

Lost my Apple 5s smart phone on Lufthansa flight #491 from Seattle to Frankfurt.

Besides being a $599 mistake, yours truly had no cell phone for the entire course of our 17-day honeymoon to Bavaria (e.g., Gemütlichkeit) and to Tuscany (e.g., Le Dolce Vita).

To more than a few the loss of a cell phone for almost three weeks would be the near equivalent of being sentenced to three years of solitary confinement or even worse, suicide. How can life possibly go on? How can my online disciples know exactly what I am doing at exactly this very point in time? Shudder: No smart phone means a world without Facebook “likes” and immediate gratification.

Tourists use a selfie stick on the Trocadero Square, with the Eiffel Tower in background, in Paris, Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2015. Selfie sticks have become enormously popular among tourists because you don’t have to ask strangers to take your picture, and unlike hand-held selfies, you can capture a wider view without showing your arm. But some people find selfie sticks obnoxious, arguing that they detract from the travel experience. (AP Photo/Remy de la Mauviniere)

Tourists use a selfie stick on the Trocadero Square, with the Eiffel Tower in background, in Paris, Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2015. Selfie sticks have become enormously popular among tourists because you don’t have to ask strangers to take your picture, and unlike hand-held selfies, you can capture a wider view without showing your arm. But some people find selfie sticks obnoxious, arguing that they detract from the travel experience. (AP Photo/Remy de la Mauviniere)

Even for Pollyannaish me, I immediately realized that Lufthansa was not going to find my cell phone in the messy cabin of a Boeing 747. Maybe it ended up in some flea market along the banks of the Main River.

Hopefully, I still had an upgrade at Verizon Wireless (alas that was not the case). Quickly coming to full acceptance mode, I rationalized there were at least 1,000 worse things that can happen to anyone than just misplacing an uninsured cell phone.

Besides Jeanne and I were on our belated honeymoon. Beer was on the tables in fun München and soon Sangiovese would be served al fresco in romantic Firenze. There were art museums to check out, castles to explore, and little Alpine towns that beckoned us. The cell phone replacement could just wait for our return to bucolic Ellensburg, Washington

Mobile Technology Liberation

What became immediately apparent in my first moments of Apple OS cold turkey was watching the teeming hordes on München’s famed Marienplatz, and coming to the realization about literally how many people were paying more attention to their mobile devices than the centuries worth of history all around them.

What would Mad King Ludwig think? Would smart phone narcissism drive him crazy?

And then I saw them: The narcisticks. Yes, the selfie-sticks. The same selfie-sticks that would be hocked by the bushel on the Ponte Vecchio the following week in Firenze. München’s 11 a.m. Glockenspiel play may be in full motion in the background, but the selfie-stick crowd was more interested in the folks in the foreground – the very same people they saw in the mirror earlier that very same morning.selfiestickobama

Smart phones have become indispensable, but at the same time they are addicting. This point is not novel, but to see it played out throughout Europe at the height of the summer tourist season was nonetheless stunning, revealing and disconcerting.

One week later, we were the first through the doors of the Galleria dell’ Accademia in Florence. We immediately headed for Michelangelo’s 17-foot masterpiece sculpture of David. Being among the first, we took digital photos of the statue and ourselves in front of David. We concentrated and admired arguably the greatest sculpture on the planet, dating back to 1504.

Coming back later, the crowds predictably had descended on David, including literally hundreds with their mobile phones and selfie sticks (don’t inadvertently scratch the statue!). What would King David think, if he was still around? ‘I fought off Goliath, and I have held this pose for more than 500 years, just to have you take a selfie in front of me?’

Early the next day was the Uffizi Gallery and Botticcelli’s The Birth of Venus and Primavera. Once again, the early birds caught the worm and we were virtually alone with these 15th Century masterpieces for a few precious minutes. Our relative solitude would soon change as the selfie-stick brigade came charging down the second floor hallway of the Uffizi. Yes, Venus standing on her sea-shell would serve as the mere background for the narcissists in the foreground.

Be sure to smile. Maybe Venus can even be in focus?

Behind the Iron Curtain

A little more than three decades ago, yours truly made his first trip overseas to Leonid Brezhnev’s Russia. PCs were just being mainstreamed by IBM in 1981. There were really no cell phones, let alone selfie sticks. We went into and out of the Soviet Union with no ways to communicate, other than postcards back home or an ultra-expensive KGB monitored phone call from the Intourist hotel.

During the course of this venture and subsequent pleasure and business trips to Europe and Asia, I always tried to concentrate on the dramatic change of scenery, the splendors of the Old World and the different cultures. It was about Russia, England, Germany, Netherlands, Italy, Japan etc., and not about me … and I was fine with that.

The libertarian in me usually gravitates in the direction of personal freedom. At the same time, there is a global movement toward the banning of narcisticks including Disney parks, the Vatican’s Sistine Chapel, Mecca, Lake Tahoe and wisely … The Running of the Bulls at Pamplona (great selfie shot before being gored by angry Torro).selfiestickpamplona

Autzen Stadium in Eugene (e.g., “It never rains at Autzen Stadium”) has banned umbrellas. Why? They are potentially dangerous and they block views of Oregon touchdowns. As a 25-year season ticket holder, this ban makes sense. Besides it rarely rains that hard in Oregon.

Prohibiting selfie sticks in the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles works for little ole me. According to Travel Advisor Tips, there are “17 grand arched windows facing Palace of Versailles gardens [which] are reflected in the 17 arches inlaid with 357 pieces of mirrors creating the effect of mesmerizing beauty.”

Three-hundred fifty-seven mirrors? Isn’t that enough for even the most dedicated narcissist?

Guess not. How would the narcissist’s friends “like” these pleasing reflections, if they cannot see them online? That simply will not do.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Selfie_stick

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/09/sunday-review/what-selfie-sticks-really-tell-us-about-ourselves.html?_r=0

http://www.cntraveler.com/galleries/2014-11-04/no-selfies-social-media-bans-at-landmarks

http://artdaily.com/news/76962/More-bad-news-for-selfie-stick-lovers–Paris-museums-move-towards-ban-on-sticks#.VdzA3I2FNCo

http://www.traveladvisortips.com/palace-of-versailles-hall-of-mirrors-facts/

 

 

 

“A million dollars isn’t cool. Do you know what is cool? A billion dollars,” – Justin Timberlake playing the role of Napster founder Sean Parker in The Social Networkseanparker

There are problems in America, and much of those aren’t about the sharing economy. Income inequality is rising, and the middle class isn’t better off than they were a decade ago. We don’t need government investment, and we can provide a solution.” – Brian Chesky, Airbnb co-founder to USA Today

We all have a choice: We can either hate or we can celebrate.

We can resist change and inevitably fail or we can embrace the future.

There are very few that make it to the vaunted three comma club, those with 10 or even 11 figures as their cumulative assets. Nobody has made it to the 12-figure mark … yet.

There are oodles of millionaires, but reaching the billionaire or the three comma club as Justin Timberlake as Sean Parker ($2.6 billion) offered to Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg ($33.4 billion) is quite a different story.

Some may try to dismiss the select membership of the three-comma club, contending the majority of the wealth was inherited and thus represents just another indicator of income inequality. This contention for the most part is not correct.

For the vast majority of billionaires, as opposed to mere millionaires or multi-millionaires, the difference lies with what Harvard Business Professor Clayton Christensen proclaims as “disruptive technologies.”

Under Christensen’s theory, existing corporations usually have the edge when it comes to sustaining innovations (e.g., one generation to the next generation; one model to the next model). When it comes to “disrupting innovation,” the advantage lies in the hands of new entrants/first movers into the marketplace. That is where we typically find new members of the three comma club.

Taking a gander at the Forbes annual list of billionaires, one finds Bill Gates in first place at $79.2 billion. Were Bill Gates and Paul Allen ($17.5 billion) game changers? The question almost seems silly. Microsoft became THE software side to the PC equation with its novel Windows operating system and its Word-PowerPoint-Excel business suite. Intel (e.g., Gordon Moore, $6.9 billion) provided the other half of the Wintel monopoly with its Pentium processors.windows10

Joining the celebrated three comma club is an incredibly difficult proposition. For the most part, it means the new member came up with a novel idea that changed not only the rules of the game, but society itself.

Jeff Bezos at $34.8 billion was the driver behind first-mover, digital-retailer Amazon, which transformed the way the world shopped with its long-tail strategy (e.g., 99 percent of all of Amazon’s inventory is sold at least once a year to at least one grateful consumer). Jack Ma of China’s Alibaba ($22.7 billion) is attempting to do the same as 400 million of the Middle Kingdoms’ population moves up into the middle class.

Mark Zuckerberg ($33.4 billion), the subject of the aforementioned The Social Network, invented Facebook in his Harvard Kirkland H-33 dorm room just 11 years/1.4 billion subscribers ago. Facebook has changed how we instantaneously transmit to friends and family the exciting (or not so exciting) developments in our daily lives.

Google co-founders and former Stanford students Larry Page ($29.7 billion) and Sergey Brin ($29.2 billion) pioneered the world’s dominant search engine, another first-mover victory, as well as the Android operating system for mobile devices.google1

Elon Musk (a mere $12 billion) is attempting to make climate change neutral electric cars a reality for the middle class with his publicly traded Tesla. And if that was not enough, his privately held SpaceX is delivering payloads into orbit for NASA.

Disruptive Technologies

“Change is the law of life and those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.” – John F. Kennedy

It’s not the progress I mind, it’s the change I don’t like,” – Mark Twain

Are there those out of sheer jealously, who don’t like reading or hearing about billionaires? Yes indeed. Do some people rationalize these monetary gains as being ill-acquired? Yes again. And then there is the disruptive part of the equation.uber

There are those with mobile devices with time on their hands and cars that can be put to work. Hello Uber and its $50 billion in market valuation. And who is negatively impacted? The cab industry and their drivers, who would be well advised to be fairer and nicer to their riders.

And there are those with mobile devices with houses and rooms to rent, reaching out to those around the world, who just want to couch-surf. Hello Airbnb and its $25 billion in market valuation. And who is negatively impacted? The hotel and motel industry, which soon will be facing downward pressure on its pricing model as a result of expanding supply.Airbnb

For Uber, Airbnb and other privately held “unicorns” (i.e., Snapchat, Pinterest, Dropbox), they are forcing change onto those who do not want to change. The forces of inertia have powerful allies (e.g., New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman). These change agents need effective public relations, marketing and branding to help the on-demand economy to succeed and for society to advance.

Let the storming of the barricades continue.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2015/08/19/airbnb-ceo-brian-chesky-change-agents-company-targets-new-growth-opportunities/31888851/

http://fortune.com/brian-chesky-airbnb/

http://www.forbes.com/billionaires/list/3/#version:static

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2015/07/22/attacking-uber/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2015/06/14/war-on-wall-street/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sean_Parker

http://www.claytonchristensen.com/key-concepts/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2012/01/16/in-search-of-another-suite-h33-kirkland-house/

 

 

 

 

“There are 47 percent who are with him (Obama), who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it. These are people who pay no income tax.” – 2012 Republican nominee Mitt Romney caught on a planted Mother Jones videoromney47

“I want a Lamborghini.” – Mary Gatter, Planned Parenthood Pasadena and San Gabriel Valley medical director, caught on a planted Center for Medical Progress video.

Hall of Fame football coach and legendary commentator on CBS, ABC, NBC and Fox for three decades, John Madden, was asked on KCBS-Radio what was one of key reasons for his unprecedented run on four major networks:

“Never say in private, what you wouldn’t say in public.”

Also remember that allegations make headlines; rebuttals are buried in the story.

Saying that you were quoted out of context is weak, defensive and sounds lame.

How about not making inexpedient or arrogant comments in the first place?

How about assuming that you are always on-the-record regardless of where, when, what, why, how and to whom you are speaking?

The cameras are everywhere. The microphones are ubiquitous. And soon the drones will be swooping in. And thanks to Gordon Moore’s Law (e.g., the number of transistors on a piece of silicon real estate doubles every 18-24 months), ever more complexity can be packed into smaller and more powerful than ever before devices using a fraction of the power as in the past.

Think of it as the serendipity of the consumer electronics business.

The Cameras are Everywhere

The Mother Jones hidden video of Romney’s 47 percent remark, made to a supposedly private meeting with wealthy donors, immediately fed to the growing perception of the former Massachusetts governor as a heartless plutocrat. Whether that image was real or not, really didn’t matter at that point … the damage was done.

The Center for Medical Progress hidden video of Planned Parenthood’s Gatter discussing the dollars-and-cents pricing of tiny body parts of aborted fetuses over salad and wine in a tony Pasadena (CA) restaurant, ended with her visions of an Italian sports car. She inadvertently put Planned Parenthood’s $542 million in federal subventions into the crosshairs of a Republican-controlled Congress.Lamborghini

Think of it this way: a Mother Jones planted video came from the left side of the political spectrum and a Center for Medical Progress planted video came from the right side of the political spectrum. As Mary Matalin once said: “Politics is a contact sport.”

At the same time, publicly traded technology companies, such as GoPro (NASDAQ: GPRO) and others, are pioneering ever-smaller, more reliable cameras with excellent sound pickup, which are available for reasonable prices. Top it off, uploading these videos and having them go viral is easier than ever.

Digital is Eternal.

The candidates for the presidency and everyone else serving as the FrontMann/Frau(lein) or mouthpiece for any political sensitive organization or profitable business is now on record: No conversation is harmless. You should trust no one. Should you be a tad paranoid? Hello!

Take a mundane chore, such as Hillary Clinton heading off to Bergdorf Goodman on New York’s Fifth Avenue for a $600 haircut at the John Barrett Salon. Reportedly, her entourage closed down one side of the store on a Friday and marshalled a private elevator so the inevitable nominee could have her hair done.

July 26, 2015 - Ames, Iowa, U.S. -  HILLARY CLINTON speaks during an organizing event at the Iowa State University Alumni Center .(Credit Image: © Brian Cahn via ZUMA Wire)

July 26, 2015 – Ames, Iowa, U.S. – HILLARY CLINTON speaks during an organizing event at the Iowa State University Alumni Center .(Credit Image: © Brian Cahn via ZUMA Wire)

Does this $600 haircut square with championing the needs of the struggling middle class? Or does it add to the notion of privilege?

Once again in our Twitterverse, second-screen world, everything and anything is in play. Nothing is off-the-record. Literally anything is discoverable. Have we lost to a large degree our privacy? Yes, we have.

Thirty years ago, we were all told to be wary of anything that you wrote down or typed because scary Xerox machines existed. Your ill-advised words could be copied and delivered to a non-friendly reporter, looking for “good dirt,” in a plain-white envelope.

Life was so innocent back then.

Today is so different. Who would have thought that munching on an overpriced salad, sipping nice wine, while dreaming of a nice car with the top down, could be so dangerous to the political and economic health of your organization and/or campaign?madden

Once again contemplate the wise words of John Madden: “Never say in private, what you wouldn’t say in public.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-barbarity-of-a-nation/2015/07/31/344f5140-36eb-11e5-9739-170df8af8eb9_story.html?wpisrc=nl_opinions&wpmm=1

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-price-of-fetal-parts/2015/07/23/13cb5668-316d-11e5-8353-1215475949f4_story.html

http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2015/07/21/antiabortion-group-releases-second-planned-parenthood-video/

http://pagesix.com/2015/07/28/hillary-clintons-600-haircut-puts-bergdorf-on-lockdown/

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/decision2012/leaked-videos-show-romney-dismissing-obama-supporters-as-entitled-victims/2012/09/17/5d49ca96-0113-11e2-b260-32f4a8db9b7e_story.html?hpid=z2

http://www.biography.com/people/john-madden-9542594

http://gopro.com/

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/01/08/planned-parenthood-receives-record-amount-taxpayer-support/

 

 

 

 

 

 

“For some ten years I have kept a journal more or less regularly as a vehicle for adjusting my own perspective. I’ve found it a convenient way of stepping back occasionally to see what forms and shades my sometimes hectic activities were leaving on the canvas of my life.” – Former New York Governor Mario Cuomo (1932-2015)cuomo

Seems so simple, and for more than just a few … terrifying.

Just write every day for 15 minutes a day, every day.

That was the advice to post-graduate students by University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication, Department of Women’s and Gender Studies, Professor Carol Stabile.

Good advice from my former across the cul-de-sac neighbor.stabile

Sorry to say, we are not talking about cumulative texting every day for four hours or more … With all due respect from the author of Almost DailyBrett that is not writing. LOL, SOL, BTW, BRB, JK, FOMO and the timeless WTF do not and will never constitute written expression or even coming close to contributing to the canvas of life.

Instead, we are discussing the practice of actually sitting down each and every day and writing for 15 minutes or longer.

Why would we want to do that? How about to improve our writing and thinking abilities?

Here’s the key question: What should you write about?

If you are asking that particular question, it may point to another issue: You may not be reading enough.

Yes in order to write; you need to read and read and read …

Canvas of Life

“An astrologist sent me a horoscope that said I was going to die on election day. I don’t know if she meant literally or figuratively. Just in case she means it literally, I think I’ll vote early.” – Cuomo diary on 1982 general election eve

Cuomo’s diaries of his difficult 1982 Democratic primary against NYC mayor Edward Koch and general election campaign for the governorship of New York were a hit in the mid-1980s.

Considering that my boss (e.g., Governor George Deukmejian) went through a similar process in the same year, just from the other side of the aisle, and across the country in California drew me to Cuomo’s diaries.

Cuomo wrote in the pre-dawn hours before heading out for a full-and-frantic day of politicking. Guess there are some not requiring the standard eight-hours of sleep that mumsy recommended.

The former New York governor used the old-fashioned pen and journal for his diaries, reflecting the historical fact the IBM PC had just been invented. Today, we will most likely opt for a lap top or tablet to write … even though pen and paper still works in this digital age. Heck Moses used his own tablets thousands of years ago.

There is so much happening in the world to write about, more good than bad. Yep, your author has been accused of being a Pollyanna.unicorn

The Economist just this week wrote about “Unicorns.” Yep, those highly capitalized and inventive, privately held companies with valuations exceeding $1 billion that are in no hurry to take their shares public … Uber, Airbnb, SpaceX, Pinterest, Dropbox, Snapchat …

Some lament the gyrations of Wall Street; sometimes the market is overbought and sometimes it is oversold … the choppy trend line is upward to the right.

Almost DailyBrett wrote about the Silly Season of politics, essentially recommending not getting one’s knickers in a twist about the bloviations of Donald Trump or Bernie Sanders. Believe it or not, the political process has a way of moderating itself.

Summer is upon us (at least in the Northern Hemisphere) and it is a magical time of Urlaub that wundervolle Zeit for vacationing, exploring and sampling yummy wines and refreshing microbrews. Ahh … Gemütlichkeit … Le Dolce Vida.

Soon the days will grow shorter, the air will become cooler and the leaves will start to change colors, it will be that magical time: college football season. There is something about the pageantry of the fall spectacle that serves as a rebirth and pleasant thoughts of another New Year’s Day In Pasadena.

Please excuse my bout of positive vibrations. Yes Almost DailyBrett recognizes there is and will always be the cup half-empty portion of the world. This blog is indeed pragmatic and recognizes it is much more difficult to be always positive, than the latter.

Go away Gloomy Gus and Negative Nancy.

The point is this: The Canvas of Life has so much to read about and more importantly to write about.

Sit down for your 15 minutes and write to your heart’s content. And if you are brave enough, publish your journal. The digital ones-and-zeroes of binary code will enable your self-publishing.

It only takes 15 minutes each day, every day.

http://wgs.uoregon.edu/profile/cstabile/

https://cstabile.wordpress.com/

http://www.cnn.com/2015/01/01/us/mario-cuomo-dies-new-york-governor/

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/02/nyregion/mario-cuomo-new-york-governor-and-liberal-beacon-dies-at-82.html?_r=0

http://www.economist.com/news/leaders/21659745-silicon-valley-should-be-celebrated-its-insularity-risks-backlash-empire-geeks

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2015/07/12/the-silly-season/

 

 

 

 

“This on-demand or so-called gig economy is creating exciting opportunities and unleashing innovation, but it’s also raising hard questions about workplace protections and what a good job will look like in the future.” – Hillary Clinton, July 13, 2015

“Big government liberals fundamentally can’t embrace digital innovation because it threatens the way they govern. They see car-sharing services as a threat to the local government taxi cab cartels. They see food trucks and Airbnb as a threat to urban planning and the tax and fee racket that they’ve imposed on brick and mortar restaurants and hotels.” – Jeb Bush, July 16, 2015 jebuber

How come one of the hottest IPO candidates, $50 billion estimated market-value Uber, has suddenly become a political piñata?

Maybe we should give privately held “unicorn” Uber a break? The company has not even commenced its roadshow to sell shares of Uber to the public, and yet it is caught in the middle of partisan crossfire.

Hillary didn’t even mention Uber and its $1 billion in annual revenues by name; she didn’t need too. Three days later, Jeb purposefully rode Uber around San Francisco to check out start-up Thumbtack, an on-demand provider via mobile technology for those looking for professionals from interior designers to dog walkers. Don’t worry: Jeb will not carry San Francisco, if he is the Republican nominee.uberphones

As The Economist described the issue here is the on-demand economy matching people with money and no time with people with time and no money. This is also a question of consumer choice between a cab and a private driver at a similar or even lower price. This is a question of deciding between a relatively expensive restaurant or a line of tempting food trucks (e.g., downtown Portland, Oregon), each specializing a particular cuisine for a reduced price. This is also the question of whether to stay in a standard hotel or motel or accessing Airbnb to find a guest room.

For the service provider, she or he can do the work they want, when they want to do it. The on-demand economy allows them to monetize an unused/underused asset (i.e., car, extra room, cooking talent). Does the on-demand economy make music for everyone? No, but conceivably it works for students wanting to supplement their income, young mothers needing a part-time job or the semi-retired wanting to re-engage in the marketplace and make some legal tender on the side.

The unifying characteristic of the on-demand economy is the ubiquitous smart phone used by 2 billion around the globe now, and expected to reach 4 billion users by the end of this decade or a brilliant device for more than half of the planet.

Translated: Potential customers with smart phones summon on-demand service they want, when they want it. They need a ride; they contact Uber or Lyft or Sidecar. Uber, a 2009 privately held start-up (now in 53 countries around the world), does the rest. Want a doctor within two hours, click on Medicast. Need a lawyer? Axiom is at your service. How about a contractor for a remodel? The Handy app is easy to find.

Uber: Net Plus or Net Minus? 

“Uber, a perfect example of how a disruptive technology can improve a formerly noncompetitive market, serves a real need in cities where taxis have taken advantage of riders for years.” – Washington Post lead editorial, July 20, 2015cabdriver

“Bashing Uber has become an industry in its own right; in some circles, though, applying its business model to any other service imaginable is even more popular.” – The Economist, There’s an app for that, January 3, 2015

Despite the positive features of this winning destructive technology, there are those in Washington D.C. and other bastions of the static quo that are threatened. According to The Economist, the number of temporary workers has doubled from 1.0 million to 2.0 million in the past 15 years, while private sector union membership has plunged from 12 percent in 1990 to about 6 percent now.

And there lies the rub for Hillary. Unions for obvious reasons are not thrilled with Uber and its on-demand economy, business-model followers. At the same time, Uber and its ilk appeal to Millennials, who realize the old rules don’t apply. They instinctively know this by examining the literally millions of desultory SOL Baby Boomers, who cannot or will not think out of the box.

The business model of the rust-belt factory with its long-term employment followed by a guaranteed company pension is broken. There is a life-and-death struggle underway between education and technology. What is needed to compete in the 21st Century economy is educational know-how/smarts to keep up and make technology your friend.

There are those who have services to provide and skills to offer and they use mobile technology to participate in the on-demand economy. There are an equal amount of consumers who want alternatives. On-demand companies do not offer perfection, but they do provide choices.

One of the two major parties will be pro-choice when it comes to destructive technologies, exploring and opening up new employment opportunities, particularly those with a young outlook on life. The other will look to the power of Big Brother to fight-off the relentless power of ones and zeroes of binary code.

When it comes to relentless destructive technologies: You can run, but you can’t hide.

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/disrupting-washington-unleash-innovators-jeb-bush

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/clinton-calls-for-growth-and-fairness-economy-vows-wall-street-crackdown/2015/07/13/15d42d18-296b-11e5-a5ea-cf74396e59ec_story.html

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-uber-debate/2015/07/19/8f2623ba-2cae-11e5-a250-42bd812efc09_story.html?wpisrc=nl_opinions&wpmm=1

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2015/07/17/jeb-bush-wants-to-be-the-uber-candidate-heres-the-problem-with-that/

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/10/business/an-uber-ipo-looms-and-suddenly-bankers-are-using-uber-coincidence.html?_r=0

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2015/07/06/the-worst-generation/

http://www.politico.com/agenda/story/2015/07/uber-vs-laws-000172?hp=b1_c1

http://www.wsj.com/articles/uber-1-progressives-0-1437607639

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“As well as teaching, examining and certification, college education creates social capital. Students learn how to debate, present themselves, make contacts and roll joints. How can a digital college experience deliver all of that?” – The Economist, The Future of Universities; The Digital Degree, June 28, 2014

After spending 16 years in Silicon Valley, the author of digital communications blog, Almost DailyBrett, and social media evangelist, fully gets it when it comes to destructive technologies.

Social, mobile and cloud have changed the world as we can self-publish and exchange views via the Internet to anyone around the globe instantaneously on a 24/7/365 basis.

When it comes to drinking the cyber Kool-Aid, there is one area in which I am pushing back and displaying a healthy dose of skepticism, not cynicism: teaching public relations online, particularly advanced courses.onlinegraduate

Couldn’t help but note the web ad for Ball State University (Muncie, Indiana), championing its only PRSA-certified graduate level PR program, about earning a master’s degree in public relations online. Check out the Ball State website language:

“Our online students have ongoing interaction with their instructors and classmates via e-mail, discussion boards, file sharing, online chats, web page posting, and other communications. These courses are typically taught asynchronously—meaning you can log on for class participation whenever you wish.”

My issues pertain to the incongruity of  (presumably human) “interaction” with the words, “online discussion boards, file sharing, online charts, web page posting, and other communications.” That doesn’t sound very touchy, feely to little ole me.

Making Love … Online?

Let’s get straight to the point: Can you make love online? … Real “From Here to Eternity” physical contact between two hormone-driven, amorous individuals? File sharing may fall a little short, when it comes to the real thing.eternitybeach

Now let’s take the discussion to the next logical step: Public relations is working with … target publics. Right? It is stakeholder relations. It is working in teams. It is making in-person presentations. It is motivating the public to take a favorable action that benefits your employer or your client. These are living-breathing human-to-living-breathing human interactions

There is little doubt that you can teach theory (i.e., Agenda Setting, Uses and Gratifications, Hierarchy of Needs, Diffusion of Innovation, Two-Way Asymmetrical, Two-Way Symmetrical) in the classroom, so why can’t you do that online? You can.

The same applies to ethics including responsible advocacy, honesty, guarding against copyright and/or trademark infringement, protecting intellectual property, and taking steps to avoid slander, libel and/or defamation. Yes, we can teach them all online.

In fact, I should come clean and tell you right now that I am indeed teaching online COM 270 Introduction to Public Relations and COM 280 Advertising Fundamentals, using Panopto recordings, Canvas and old-fashioned email at Central Washington University this summer. CWU’s School of Education this week was honored for its online teaching of School Administration master’s level curricula. As Martha would say, “This is a good thing.”

Where I am getting off the bus comes to the absence of eyeball-to-eyeball (Skype or FaceTime are not the same) human communication associated with online-only curricula. Sure, it may work wonders for more reclusive disciplines, such as statistics, accounting, software code writing, but when it comes to qualitative interplay with target audience Homo sapiens that needs to be done face-to-face. And that’s where online teaching falls short … it just has too.alonetogether3

Grading, Not Teaching? 

In my last few years in Silicon Valley, your author remembers the opinions of C-level publicly traded technology executives pontificating and bloviating that online schools were essentially degree factors, selling diplomas for a King’s ransom.

The Washington Post recently reported about the 20 colleges with one-fifth of all the federal student loan debt in the 2013-2014 academic year. Number one was online superstar, Walden College at $756 million. University of Phoenix was second at $493 million; Capella University was sixth at $399 million and Kaplan University was #13 at $226 million.

These numbers represent serious student loan debt and what are these mostly online students getting in return? Are the faculty at these institutions merely grading or are they actually teaching?

Another concern that comes to mind is the recent book by M.I.T. professor Sherry Turkle, “Alone Together: What We Expect From Technology and Less From Each Other.” Her main points pertain to the literally hundreds of thousands, who are in physical proximity with other humans, but their full attention is on their mobile devices. Some even sit in restaurant tables, pay attention to their smart phones,  ignoring their dinner companion(s).alonetogether1

Successful public relations professionals must be knowledgeable and practiced in digital communications – blogging, social media, websites, images, video, infographics – and must be adroit enough to adopt the next round of destructive technologies … they are out there. We must know them all.

Having made this point, we still must interact with people. We need people. We need to see the look on their faces. We need to see the reaction in their eyes. We need to deduce the inflection of their voices. We need to experience first-hand their culture.

This is the essence of public relations.

There must be a real face time component, when it comes to teaching and mentoring.

Online is good, but not good enough. 

http://www.economist.com/news/briefing/21605899-staid-higher-education-business-about-experience-welcome-earthquake-digital

http://www.usnews.com/education/online-education/articles/2015/02/27/4-questions-to-ask-before-enrolling-in-a-for-profit-online-program

http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/get-there/wp/2015/07/09/these-20-schools-are-responsible-for-a-fifth-of-all-graduate-school-debt/?tid=sm_fb 

http://www.economist.com/news/special-report/21646986-online-learning-could-disrupt-higher-education-many-universities-are-resisting-it-not

http://www.cwu.edu/cwu-online-education-master%E2%80%99s-programs-rated-among-best-country

http://cms.bsu.edu/academics/collegesanddepartments/journalism/graduateprograms/mapublicrelations

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2015/03/08/the-rebirth-of-pettiness-the-death-of-conversation/

 

 

 

As a former gubernatorial press secretary, the author of Almost DailyBrett was always concerned when reporters, editors, correspondents and pundits had too much time on their hands, and were bored.

That’s when the media pack starts to form. That’s when the “theories” are born. That’s when vacuums are filled. That is not always a good thing.

And that is precisely what is happening right now in the dog days of the 2015-2016 presidential cycle.

Welcome to the Silly Season.

LAS VEGAS, NV - APRIL 28:  Chairman and President of the Trump Organization Donald Trump yells 'you're fired' after speaking to several GOP women's group at the Treasure Island Hotel & Casino April 28, 2011 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  Trump has been testing the waters with stops across the nation in recent weeks and has created media waves by questioning whether President Barack Obama was born in the United States.  (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)

LAS VEGAS, NV – APRIL 28: Chairman and President of the Trump Organization Donald Trump yells ‘you’re fired’ after speaking to several GOP women’s group at the Treasure Island Hotel & Casino April 28, 2011 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Trump has been testing the waters with stops across the nation in recent weeks and has created media waves by questioning whether President Barack Obama was born in the United States. (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)

The real action at this point of time, 16 months before the November 8, 2016 general election pertains to fundraising and organization.

This week, we learned that Jeb and related PACs raised $114 million in the first six months of this year. Hillary’s fundraising machine brought in $69 million. Marco Rubio secured $32 million.

As former California speaker of the House Jesse Unruh once said: “Money is the Mother’s Milk of Politics.”

Alas, the easily distracted ADD political media does not want to suckle on that nipple for too long. Fundraising and organizing are akin to watching paint dry and grass grow.

Instead, the Punditocracy and even mainline reporters are hyperventilating on Donald “The Comb Over” Trump on the right and Senator Bernie Sanders on the left, even though their individual chances of winning their respective party nominations are less than zip.berniesanders

There are 97.8 million Google searches related to demagogic Trump and his daily insults against undocumented aliens from Mexico, and another 46.3 million on Sanders, who swoons to the tune of a 90 percent highest federal income tax rate and even a death tax surcharge.

Can either capture the popular vote and the more than 270 electoral votes needed to be the 45th president of the United States? Well, no. However, they both provide ample fodder for political science fiction.

Political Science Fiction?

For as long as the Almost DailyBrett author can remember there were at least two major political fantasies that crop up every four years: 1. The prospect of a brokered convention and 2.The general election being thrown into the (Republican controlled) House of Representatives.

The last real examples of brokered conventions go back to the 1924 Democratic National Convention at Madison Square Garden, which lasted from June 24 to July 9, and took 103 ballots to nominate John W. Davis. There was also the curious decision by Adlai Stevenson to leave the vice presidential nomination to the 1956 Democratic National Convention with no advance warning.

Davis went down to defeat to Calvin Coolidge, and Stevenson lost for the second time in succession to Dwight D. Eisenhower.

For sure, the Republican convention in 1976 (Ford vs. Reagan) and the Democratic convention in 1980 (Carter vs. Kennedy) were donnybrooks, and in both cases the presidential incumbents lost reelection. Nonetheless, they were not “brokered” conventions even though there was plenty of smoke in the backrooms.carterkennedy

Does anyone in the Punditocracy really believe that the presence of The Donald and/or Bernie will result in a “brokered” convention on either side of the aisle? Conventions have become über-scripted, mostly dull coronations with very little suspense … and the parties like it that way.

The next question concerns whether Trump and his reported $4 billion in personal assets will refuse to accept defeat next winter/spring and mount a third-party challenge, thus hurting the GOP nominee?

Or how about “independent” Bernie Sanders also rejecting the inevitable and mounting a socialist campaign on the far left and denying Hillary the 270 electoral votes she needs to be the first woman president of the United States?

Or … (as long as we are engaged in political science fiction) what if both run simultaneous third-party campaigns with Bernie capturing a state or two (e.g., Vermont), and Donald taking a state or two (e.g., Idaho) and not enough electoral votes remaining for either the Democratic or Republican standard-bearer?

And while we are at it, let’s factor into the equation the “Big One” earthquake/tsunami as portrayed in San Andreas with California, Oregon and Washington slipping into the Pacific, taking 74 blue electoral votes into the abyss.sanandreas

It seems far too many reporters/commentators are getting their collective bowels in an uproar about the latest of years of incendiary remarks from Trump, and growing crowds for Sanders (George McGovern and Walter Mondale drew large crowds in 1972 and 1984 respectively and won a grand total of two states between them).

They all should know better. In the end, it comes down to electability, fundraising, organizations and campaigns. Yes, campaigns matter.

The Donald and Bernie will not be accepting either party nomination in the summer of 2016. There will be no “brokered” conventions. The election will not be thrown into the House of Representatives.

Get over it.

http://www.wsj.com/articles/jeb-bushs-campaign-raised-11-4-million-in-two-weeks-1436466491?mg=id-wsj

http://www.cnn.com/2015/07/09/politics/bush-fundraising-second-quarter/

http://rove.com/articles/594

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/10/us/politics/donald-trump-republican-party-debate.html?_r=0

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/12/upshot/class-or-ideology-my-conversation-with-bernie-sanders.html?abt=0002&abg=1

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1924_Democratic_National_Convention

http://www.historytoday.com/richard-cavendish/adlai-stevenson%E2%80%99s-second-run

http://www.wsj.com/articles/donald-trumps-appealand-its-limits-1436479851

 

 

 

 

“When the war was over, the men and women who had been involved … joined in joyous and short-lived celebrations, then immediately began the task of rebuilding their lives and the world they wanted … They married in record numbers and gave birth to another distinctive generation, the Baby Boomers. They stayed true to their values of personal responsibility, duty, honor and faith.” – Former NBC anchor Tom Brokaw, The Greatest Generation 

“Tom Brokaw once wrote a book about the greatest generation, those brave people who survived the depression and fought in World War II. Unfortunately that great generation spawned a generation of narcissists: the baby boomers.” – Huffington Post blogger Gene Marks

The Baby Boomers are inevitably moving day-by-day toward the ash heap of recorded history … and not a moment too soon.woodstock

USA Today last week reported for the first time ever, the number of Millennials exceeds the population of Baby Boomers by an 83.1 million to 75.4 million count, according to the 2014 U.S. Census.

Poor Millennials and X-Gens. They will be the first generations in American history to have a worse standard of living than the preceding generation … that would be the Baby Boomers.

Many Millennials are going to college, graduating with oppressive student loan debt or for the lucky few, no debt, and settling for a job that once did not require a degree, and pays $10,000 less now than it did in the 1980s.

“Will that be a latte, cappuccino or mocha, sir (or madam)?”

And as a result of this economic dilemma, many Millennials particularly those saddled with an average of $40,000 in college loan debt, are being forced to … yes, move back into a parent’s or parents’ home.

Where will the “Hello Kitty” poster go?millennials

Can Millennials buy a house, even with near-record, low-interest rates averaging 4.19 percent this week? The author of Almost DailyBrett remembers buying his first house for $120,000 in Sacramento in 1984 at a 30-year fixed rate of 14.25 percent, paying two points for the privilege. Two years later, your blogger refinanced the loan down to 10.25 percent, once again paying two points.

Do you think Millennials can find any house in California for $120,000 that will not come with meth- lab neighbors, who will soon be auditioning for The Jerry Springer Show?

Brokaw wrote about “personal responsibility, duty, honor and faith” in describing the virtues of the Silent Generation, born between 1925-1945, which stared down the Global Depression and won World War II on two theatres of combat.

Do you think anyone would ascribe any of these Silent Generation virtues – personal responsibility, duty, honor and faith — to the hedonistic Baby Boomers? Seems like a silly question.

The Entitlement Generation 

“The selfishness that has been a hallmark of the Boomers will continue right up to the very end, as they force millions of younger Americans to devote an inordinate amount of time and resources to their care, bankrupting the Social Security system in the process. In their old age, the Boomers will actually take as much from the next generation as they did from the previous one, which fought WW II.” – The Onion, January 20, 1999

“But you know nowadays
It’s the old man,
He’s got all the money
And a young man ain’t got nothin’ in the world these days
I said nothing” — The Who, Young Man Blues

If it feels good; do it.

Sex, drugs and rock n’ roll.

Almost DailyBrett refrains for the most part in making absolute predictions, but will do so in this case:

Someone, someday will write an epic tome glorying the “Me, Me, Me” generation, and will attempt to be the Tom Brokaw of the Baby Boomers. It will be a pathetic effort that will nonetheless be coffee-table book lucrative because there will be some in the born-between-1946-1964 crowd, who will want to desperately justify their sorry existence on the planet.

They will point to the end of the Vietnam War. They will direct attention to the campaign for the equal rights for women. They will wax nostalgic about the civil rights marches. There are already plenty of revisionist Oliver Stone movies that make these very same points.

But weren’t all of these crusades … sorry bad word with religious overtones for some Baby Boomers … weren’t all of these movements mounted back in the 1960s? What have you done for us since then? Legalized marijuana?

The same-sex marriage victory? That achievement must be shared with Millennials and X-Gens.

Baby Boomers burned the flag, staged Woodstock and Altamont, the latter came with Hells Angels and bloody pool cues. Many against-the-war-in-Vietnam types still don’t like America very much,  bitching and moaning, while not even considering moving anywhere else.

Way too many Baby Boomers made lifestyle choices, which contributed to a nearly four-times increase of former workers on disability from 2.8 million in 1981 to 8.5 million in 2011. Guess who is and who will be paying the bill for these Americans, most of whom will never work again?

The federal deficit was $2.8 trillion in 1989. Thanks mainly to the explosion of growing entitlements for Baby Boomers and some others; the red ink now stands at $18.1 trillion last month … another bi-product of the Baby Boomer generation.

Many Baby Boomers, including those who decried the “Military-Industrial Complex,” became very wealthy during the Internet boom (e.g. Yuppies), buying every McMansion in sight and driving up prices, until (you knew it had to happen) the Bubble burst, and their expensive cars were repossessed.

While markets were recovering, far too many Baby Boomers drove up their plastic debt, and then turned to real estate and refinanced to the max to keep up their spending habits until (once again: you knew it had to happen) … the real estate Bubble burst. Many were left with underwater mortgages … and simply walked away from their houses.

What was left for the Millennials, holding the bag? A rotten economy. Overpriced real estate, transforming the American Dream of home ownership into a pipe dream. Soaring tuition at colleges and universities and with it, $1.2 trillion in cumulative student loan debt.

And when they graduate? Part-time McJobs with no benefits for far too many. And you wonder why the Millennials are mad at the Baby Boomers?

Before going any further, the author of Almost DailyBrett has a confession to make: Yes, I was born in 1955, and am a card-carrying member of the Baby Boomer generation.dinosaur

Does it seem that I am rooting for my own personal demise as more Baby Boomers pass into the abyss every day? Well, no.

Am I embarrassed to be part of this selfish generation and wished it was different, far different? You bet ya.

Will Steven Spielberg, born 1946, serve as the executive director for “Baby Boomer World,” featuring out-of-control, carnivorous, vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free dinosaurs?

Be afraid, be very afraid.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2015/06/25/millennials-now-outnumber-boomers-census-says/29294241/

http://thoughtcatalog.com/matthew-primeau/2015/01/baby-boomers-ruined-the-world-for-millennials/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/gene-marks/this-is-why-the-baby-boom_b_4441735.html

http://www.esquire.com/news-politics/a1451/worst-generation-0400/

http://www.forbes.com/sites/jmaureenhenderson/2013/11/30/millennials-earn-less-than-their-parents-and-the-recession-isnt-to-blame/

http://www.cnbc.com/id/102410254

http://www.economist.com/blogs/democracyinamerica/2012/06/generational-decline

http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/on-retirement/2014/05/20/8-differences-between-boomers-and-millennials

http://apps.npr.org/unfit-for-work/

http://www.theonion.com/article/long-awaited-baby-boomer-die-off-to-begin-soon-exp-647

http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2013/05/why-the-boomers-are-the-most-hated-generation/276368/

http://home.adelphi.edu/sbloch/deficits.html

“A slave stood behind the conqueror holding a golden crown and whispering in his ear a warning: that all glory is fleeting.” – General George S. Patton

A happy problem, but still a dilemma, for organizations/movements/great leaders, who have just achieved long-sought landmark accomplishments, is: What will you do for an encore?

For championship college and professional sports teams the answer is relatively easy to state, harder to achieve: repeat. The Chicago Blackhawks are tasked with skating the Stanley Cup for the fourth time in seven seasons next spring. The Golden State Warriors are faced with the challenge of winning back-to-back NBA titles, something that has never occurred in the franchise’s mostly desultory history.

[UNVERIFIED CONTENT] Gay-rights activists gathered outside of the Supreme Court on the morning when the Court handed down its decision to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act.

[UNVERIFIED CONTENT] Gay-rights activists gathered outside of the Supreme Court on the morning when the Court handed down its decision to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act.

For the same-sex marriage movement the June 26 Supreme Court ruling, legalizing the right of gay people to marry, was made by a razor-thin 5-4 Obergefell v. Hodges decision. The impact nonetheless was 50-0 as every state is immediately and permanently required to permit the performing of same-sex unions, and to recognize their legality regardless of where or how (e.g., civil, religious) they occur.

The next question, which has already been posed by The New York Times and others, for the successful civil rights campaign, is what comes next? The answer will come in the form of celebrating a great political and society victory (e.g., Pride Parades). Eventually, the cheering will subside and the reality of everyday life and the challenge of American politics returns. Now what? Certainly, there is the continued necessity of protecting hard-earned rights and preventing discrimination, and that makes sense; still the question must be posed:

What comes next?

This is an easy question to pose, much more difficult to answer … and with it, the dilemma that has vexed organizations, movements and great characters throughout the course of history.

“One Small Step for Man; One Giant Leap for Mankind”

Let’s face it: NASA has not been the same since 1969.armstrongmoon

Neil Armstrong defied death, and made it to-and-from the moon with far less computing power than can be found in a modern-day smart phone. The first man on the moon had his ticker tape parade upon returning to Mother Earth. His place in the history books is cemented. Undoubtedly, his obits had already been written by the day the Grim Reaper came-a-calling in 2012.

In the face of competing budgetary demands and $18 trillion in record red ink and counting at $3.3 billion per day at the federal level, NASA has become just another agency with a huge public relations problem as it must justify its existence in the absence of any realistic plans to put humans on other planets anytime soon.

The current edition of National Geographic has a cover story about NASA, the New Horizons spacecraft, and hopefully the first ever photos of Pluto, expected on July 14. Checking out the last planet of the solar system is cool, but Armstrong walking on the moon was legendary.

Gone are the days of John F. Kennedy and the Cold War competition and the call to put a man on the moon by the end of the 1960s. Yes, we won that technology contest against the Soviet Union, and just 22 years after Armstrong walked on the moon, the USSR collapsed. Russia has hardly bothered us since then.

Not as momentous as the Supreme Court’s landmark decision on same-sex marriage or Neil Armstrong walking on the moon was an accomplishment dear to the heat of the author of Almost DailyBrett: The opening of the long closed Japan market to foreign designed-and-manufactured semiconductors, including those originating from Silicon Valley.siliconwafer

In my tenure as the director of communications for the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) and later as the director of corporate public relations for LSI Logic, yours truly worked for three years on this contentious issue.

At one time, Japan was in its ascendancy having driven Intel Corporation out of the DRAM (dynamic random access memory) market, a technology Intel actually invented. The U.S. semiconductor industry was being ushered into oblivion in the 1980s by Japan Inc.’s “Business is War” practices, the same fate that fell upon America’s pioneering color-TV industry.

The SIA and its members worked with Washington D.C. to stop predatory pricing or dumping of Japanese chips below cost, and finally pried open the Japanese market in 1996. The opening of  Japan and the decades-long recession eased the Japanese competitive threat. The U.S. industry achieved a great victory, but then … you guessed it … the question ensued: What was next for the SIA and its members?

Just like NASA, the SIA has tried one gambit after another to recapture its sense of purpose. The problem is that without an overriding issue (e.g., man on the moon, opening the Japan market), organizations and even individuals (e.g., General Patton when World War II ended) in many cases are never the same again.pattonscott

The war has been won. The cheering has subsided. The reality of what have you done lately ensues. An organization’s, movement’s, leader’s raison d’etre is no longer certain. A new public relations challenge comes to the forefront with no easy answers.

Some organizations, movements and leaders have successfully met the challenge of victory, while others face internal dissension as they struggle to come up with an answer to precisely what they should do for Act II.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/gay-marriage-and-other-major-rulings-at-the-supreme-court/2015/06/25/ef75a120-1b6d-11e5-bd7f-4611a60dd8e5_story.html?wpisrc=nl_evening&wpmm=1

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/28/us/gay-rights-leaders-push-for-federal-civil-rights-protections.html?smprod=nytcore-ipad&smid=nytcore-ipad-share&_r=0

http://www.biography.com/people/neil-armstrong-9188943

http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/632929-for-over-a-thousand-years-roman-conquerors-returning-from-the

 

 

 

We gotta flip the script on what a gangsta is – if you ain’t a gardener, you ain’t gangsta.” – South Central Los Angeles community gardener/TED Talk sensation Ron Finleyfinley

Everyone still talks about Steve Jobs.

And why wouldn’t they? He invented the Apple II, Macintosh PC, first modern laptop, iPod, iPhone, iPad and iCloud before the Grim Reaper came-a-calling way too early. Heck, he was born only 18 days before little ole me, but accomplished oh-so-much more in his lifetime … kind of humbling.

From a communications standpoint, Jobs also pioneered (or was generally given credit for) the speaking style consisting of an iconic black turtleneck, ill-fitting jeans, tennis shoes, a lavaliere microphone, clicker/pointer, absolutely no speaker notes and of course, a professorial PowerPoint presentation.

Advanced Apple class was in session and you were lucky to attend.

Will Jobs go down in history as one of the greatest-ever orators? Probably not.

Were his audiences (e.g., Macworld) almost cult-like in their devotion of everything and anything, Apple? Is Pope Francis, Catholic?

And yet his presentations worked, and they worked big time.jobswithipad

The Steve Jobs-presentation method was a welcome departure from the stale, dry, boring, tried-and-true (usually an) hombre in a Brooks Brothers suit with a white shirt and red tie standing behind a podium and worst of all, reading to an audience. The real question each and every time with this tired approach is whether the listeners stop listening before the speaker stops speaking?

Better take the “under” on that bet.

The author of Almost DailyBrett has little, if no patience with telemarketers calling at precisely the wrong time of the day or night (which would be any time), and most of all reading over the phone with my name inserted into a prescribed point of the marketing pitch. Please, don’t read to me.

Okay reading from a text may be a necessary evil for the State of the Union Address, but keep in mind we are talking about reading from a teleprompter and not gazing down at a text. Think of it this way: Reading from a script is just so 20th Century.

Which brings us to Ron Finley and community gardening or as he so eloquently implores: “Plant some shit.”

Keep It Simple Stupid (KISS)

“If kids grow kale, kids eat kale. It they grow tomatoes, they eat tomatoes.” – Ron Finley February 2013 Long Beach, California TED Talk

Can’t help but show Finley’s 10:45-minute presentation to my public relations and advertising students. Maybe without knowing it, Finley tinkered with venture capitalist Guy Kawasaki’s 10-20-30 rule (e.g., 10 slides, 20 minutes, 30-point font) and made it work for him … and most of all, for his audience. The video of his TED talk went viral with more than 2.35 million page views and counting.

“Gardening is the most therapeutic and defiant act you can do, especially in the inner city … plus you get strawberries.”

The PowerPoint slides are not particularly spiffy, but that really doesn’t matter. The photos of smiling kids beside sun flowers and vegetables tell the story. You are not expecting a polished presentation and in many respects Finley’s talk is better because you instinctively know it is genuine and not designed by a skilled Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) firm.

He weaves humor into his story, but also the chilling reality about how “drive-thrus” are responsible for more deaths in South Central Los Angeles than “drive-bys.” Presumably, he appeals to liberals because he talks about how residents came together to plant community gardens. Conceivably, he draws positive attention from conservatives with his entrepreneurial spirit and his defiance of an unthinking, uncaring overbearing regulatory bureaucracy (e.g., The City of Los Angeles), which issues him a citation and threatens him with an arrest warrant, if he does not pull out his city parkway garden.

“Cool. Bring it. Because this time it (the garden) wasn’t coming up.”

Ron Finley, renegade gardener, on stage at TED2013

Ron Finley, renegade gardener, on stage at TED2013

Finley uses the classic marketing approach to address the issue of dearth of healthy nutrition choices, which is so beautiful in its simplicity: Here is the problem (food deserts) and here is a solution (planting vegetables and fruits along unused median strips in South Central).

“The problem is the solution. Food is the problem. Food is a solution.”

Does Ron Finley have glossophobia or the fear of public speaking? Not a chance. He seemed very comfortable speaking to the TED Talk crowd, which rewarded him with a standing ovation.

Wonder if he would have generated the same response, if he tried to read to the audience? That’s the point: The Jobs presentation method, TED Talks and the Ron Finley approach rely on holding a conversation with the audience with the linear PowerPoint slides mainly serving as prompts.

The net result is a presentation that is natural, conversational, genuine and which invites two-way symmetrical communications.

Sounds so 21st Century to Almost DailyBrett.

http://www.ted.com/talks/ron_finley_a_guerilla_gardener_in_south_central_la?language=en

http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424127887323699704578326840038605324?mg=id-wsj

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/05/fashion/urban-gardening-an-appleseed-with-attitude.html?_r=0

http://ronfinley.com/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FtBpZltfR7o

https://en.wikipedia.org/?title=Steve_Jobs

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 617 other followers

%d bloggers like this: