Blogging the Alamo

At the Alamo
Cassidy and Delaney in the Alamo

We are on the first day of a vacation in the Texas hill country. We spent part of the day in San Antonio. We took the kids to the Alamo and had lunch on the San Antonio Riverwalk.

Afterwards, we came to the Hill Country Hyatt, where we checked in and then went tubing on its man made “lazy river.” We’re going to do some more tubing tomorrow. We’re going to Seaworld on Friday.

Big fun so far.

Goal Tracking Made Easy

It’s the simple things that solve real problems that have the most potential to make a difference. When I saw those little power strip savers a year or two ago, I couldn’t believe someone hadn’t thought of that years ago.

jg-746270

I feel the same way about Joe’s Goals, which I read about today at Lifehacker.

Joe’s Goals is a straight forward, simple to use and seriously useful online goal tracking application. You sign up, set goals (both things to accomplish and to avoid) and track your progress. A neat feature is that you get one point for every goal you meet each day and lose a point for every one you miss. If you think in math like I do, you could average your weekly scores and create a trend line (integrated charts and trend lines would be a really cool feature for a future release).

I set up a few goals in about 2 minutes and now have a little tangible incentive to eat healthy, work hard, etc.

Check out Joe’s Goals- you’ll be glad you did.

Another One Goes Over the Wall

Mathew Ingram is reporting that Om Malik is quitting his job too (or at least going from senior writer to a contributing editor), having received some “funding” (where can I sign up for some of that?) and elected to blog full-time. Paul Kedrosky mentions this as well. Steve Rubel offers some marketing advice for Om’s new venture.

The way I figure it, anyone who can make hell freeze over can certainly make a go at blogging for a living. Like every other blog reader in the world, I read Om regularly and find him to be a thoughtful and reliable voice in an often chaotic blogosphere. In fact, I often look to Om to confirm rumors I read about first elsewhere. Credibility goes a long way in business, particularly media, and Om has plenty of it.

Best of luck to Om.

Now I’m off to see my VC guy at the corner market to see about a little funding for me. The Texas lottery is up to $17M.

Journaling Does Not a Journalist Make

At least not in the way Scoble means.

I have no doubt that a lot of bloggers got it wrong when reporting Scoble’s move. I also have no doubt that all of the blogging frenzy that went on comes with the territory when you’re popular and in the public eye.

In my semi-humble opinion, the biggest thing holding the blogging movement back today is a complete failure to reach any consensus on what a blog is and what a blog isn’t.

The fact is that blogs are many things. Fun, hard, happy, sad, serious, frivolous. The beauty of a blog is mostly in the eyes and fingers of the blog-holder.

To some, it is a podium to express their views.

To some it is a natural part of their larger purpose.

To some it is a way to explore their passions.

To some it is a living Christmas letter (and I mean no disrespect- that is a beautiful and worthy purpose).

To some it is an evolution in traditional journalism.

To some it is a way to entertain.

To some it is a way to grieve.

To some it is a way to have conversations with people about topics of mutual interest.

To many it is some combination of the above.

Granted, that is no excuse for posting irresponsibly. And it does not exempt bloggers from some of the good practices of traditional journalism.

But to say that bloggers are journalists is to miscast both the nature and the beauty of a blog.

Unless, of course, by journalist, you mean someone who keeps a journal.

That would be pretty accurate.

Life’s Sweet Wine’s too Warm to Sip

Here’s my question.

second life avatarIf you’re a happily married, middle aged man who likes to build things but is not big on chatting with strangers, what, exactly, do you do in Second Life after you’ve built your castle?

I can’t believe I’m about to write this, but I think I’ve lost my jones for Second Life. I have built a fine castle from scratch, with good music and lots of gadgets. Now on those rare occasions when I log onto Second Life, all I do is wander around my ghost-town of a region and ask myself “what now?”

I’m not much of a computer gamer, so the casinos hold little attraction. I’m not too interested in chatting up random strangers. I have explored about as much as I want to.

In sum, I’m bored.

Second Life is fantastic from a technological perspective and I am still sold on the business plan, primarily because of its appeal to young people. I’m just not sure what there is to do there that will keep my attention.

Any ideas?

Unless I come up with a plan, I think I’m going to bag it.

In the Wake of the Flood: What Scoble's Move Means to the Blogosphere

Dave Winer wrote today a post that is a second cousin of a post that has been rolling around inside my head since we learned that Scoble gave Microsoft the Mississippi half-step uptown toodleoo for startup Podtech.

Dave talks about how big Scoble’s presence in the blogosphere and beyond has become- and rightly so, given all the work he has done to make Microsoft relevant in the blogging/RSS space. Dave calls Scoble an “evangelist” in the Guy Kawasaki mode. Evangelist is a word that I have used with approval in a similar context that means someone with an agenda who is smart, well liked and has a strong personality. Evangelists are fishers of men and motivators of people. But sometimes, by doing what they do so well, evangelist types tend to overwhelm the systems within which they work and, while perhaps not in Scoble’s case, but definitely in others, can sometime face resistance and resentment from the coat and tie establishment. Or as I have said to colleagues, they too often are rightly loved downstream and wrongly despised upstream.

My thinking over the last couple of days is more along the lines of what Scoble’s departure tells us about corporate America and the blogging movement. I can’t help but think this is a stormy forecast for company acceptance of the blogosphere as a legitimate marketing and information distribution channel. Scoble and others have made it clear that Microsoft did right by Scoble. But if a huge tech company with billions of dollars in the bank hasn’t embraced the blogosphere enough to keep the single biggest personality in the blogosphere on its payroll, can we assume that maybe Microsoft (and likely other big companies) believes that the blogosphere is little more than an online geekfest full of people who are either already customers or not likely to become customers.

Stated another way, is the blogosphere where the customers aren’t?

Sure, there is an army of bloggers at Microsoft, but no one will deny that Scoble was the commander and chief. The successful move to keep Scoble in Redmond would have started months ago, not days or weeks, ago. I don’t know if this is just a big coincidence or tea leaves demanding to be read, but I can’t help but wonder if this isn’t more evidence of the marginalization of the blogosphere by big business.

As far as Scoble’s new gig goes, I had never heard of Podtech until the Scoble news broke- which means that he is already doing his job. I started out thinking podcasts were too hard and that nobody listened to them. Now I think they are too hard and I do one every couple of weeks. I don’t mind hard because I am interested in technology, but a whole potential podcastees do and aren’t.

Do I think podcasting will take hold in mainstream America. No, not as long as the RIAA is still circling around to make sure nobody puts anything on a podcast that mainstream America really wants to hear. But is it a growth area? Of course.

And of course I note that podcasting, unlike software, is one industry that is joined at the hip with blogging and RSS. I don’t think that’s a coincidence.

Whether he’s promoting software, podcasts, religion, apples or bass-o-matics, an evangelist’s job is to take the message to the people. I have no doubt that Scoble’s new message will soon be heard loud and clear.

It’s the other message I’m thinking about.

Scoble Leaving Microsoft?

SiliconValleyWatcher just posted an article stating that everybody’s favorite blogger and the guy who has done more to bring blogging to the mainstream than any other person is leaving Microsoft and joining Podtech.net.

I don’t know all the facts surrounding Robert’s alleged departure, but I will say that this is a huge loss for Microsoft. Scoble gave Microsoft the sort of blogosphere credibility and influence that simply cannot be replaced at any price.

Since I am sure Microsoft knows that, I have to wonder what this tells us about Microsoft’s view of the relevance and future of blogging?

I wish Scoble the best at his new gig.

As a shareholder, I wish Microsoft had stepped up to the plate and done whatever was needed to keep Scoble in the fold. Instead, Microsoft may have stumbled into another PR mess and certainly just became less relevant in the blogosphere.