Archive for March, 2005

Sorry, Kinda

Posted: March 31, 2005 in Uncategorized

Geez, I just re-read my last three entries and it seems like I’m the president of the, "I Hate Email" club.

For the record, that’s not true:  I’m the president of the, "Email is Horribly Broken" and "There’s Got to be a Better Way" clubs.

Communication networks have to be authenticated (available now via alert networks).

Opt-in and opt-out have to be totally controlled by the customer/reader (available now via RSS and alert networks).

Else, it’s the Wild, Wild West (the SPAM disaster we have today).



Completely Missing the Point

Posted: March 31, 2005 in Uncategorized

David Daniels from Jupiter comments on "RSS’s Effect on E-Mail Marketing"… and suggests that RSS feeds can fill up with annoying "bogus clutter" just like email… and completely misses the point about RSS:  

     If you don’t like what’s coming from a vendor’s RSS feed, turn it off.

It’s impossible to do this with email.  (We all know one of the electronic truism of the 21st century:  "Once your email address works its way onto lists, you’re screwed.")

But with RSS, it really, truly is just as simple as "turning it off."

That’s it.  Done.  Finis.  Nothing more from that vendor.

With RSS, the reader is in control of what messages they get by turning on or off an RSS feed.

With email, the person that has your email address is in control and can abuse you any time they like.

David, see the difference?


So Much Bigger Than RSS

Posted: March 30, 2005 in Uncategorized

Napster (the illegal variant) was a customer revolution.  People wanted — demanded — a better way to get music. 

Through fits & starts, the recording industry has changed forever.

RSS isn’t about RSS… it’s about another customer revolution:  People despise SPAM.  People want — demand — to be in control of the electronic information they receive…

… i.e., NOT at the whim of anyone with a keyboard and a product to peddle.

Whether it’s RSS or other 100% opt-in-customer-controlled mechanisms, the way companies communicate with customers will soon be changed forever, too. 

That is, if they want their communication to be effective.

Not the first to point this out. 

Won’t be the last.

Email Lists are Toast

Posted: March 28, 2005 in Uncategorized

‘Tis true — at least for the "not opt-in" variety — whether anyone wants to admit it or not.

Simple line of thinking:

People despise SPAM (it’s the only thing republicans and democrats agree on! <smile>).

SPAM is about doubling every year.

The gov’t is now involved. Political careers are at stake.

CAN-SPAM II will look a lot like the mistakenly replaced Californian SPAM legislation requiring 100% opt-in.

Active lists will dwindle and compliance costs will go through the roof.

Ergo, email will be regulated to death.

Plan accordingly.


DMA’s Super Secret Meeting

Posted: March 26, 2005 in Uncategorized

Got invited to a super exclusive DMA event in Florida… very high-powered crowd, top 100 CEO’s in the direct marketing space no less.

Got to present about RSS, blogging, and alerts.

Twist my arm or what? <smile>

So here’s the funny thing: I expected the crowd to be somewhat stodgy… somewhat, well, stuck in legacyland.

I also expected them to be shocked when I insulted one of their prized assets: "Email lists are history."

(See upcoming post re: this.)

But the joke was on me. It was a pretty hip crowd!

I even got an unexpected good showing of hands when I mentined "podcasting." (One guy was even carrying!)

They were like sponges, absorbing everything, interested at both the 30,000 foot and 3 foot levels.

Stay tuned for more consumer friendly direct marketing programs in the upcoming years… after all, these folks only care about what works and what doesn’t.


Hard to get back into the swing of things.  But, alas, we don’t really have a choice.

Thank you to all for keeping a good thought about George in your heart from time to time.

More posts soon.


Unspeakable Question

Posted: March 20, 2005 in Uncategorized

Everyone mourns differently, heals differently. 

Ultimately we’re all left with that common, unspeakable question:  "Is that it?  Here one day, gone the next?"

But then — deep in our hearts — we find the answer. 

Our loved ones are always with us — inspiring us, influencing us, teaching, comforting, even amusing us — for the rest of our forever.

At George’s memorial, we symbolically planted a cherry tree in our yard.  Our two year old daughter will grow up with "Uncle George’s tree."  My wife specially selected it because of its sturdy trunk and radiantly beautiful blossoms. 

We hope — with all of our hearts — that it becomes a safe and warm spot for her in her life just as George was for us.


It is believed that our dear friend George Vineyard passed away March 2.

This is a devastating loss for the Farros family.  George is my closest confidant and my wife’s best friend.  He is the person I chose to be godfather to my daughter.

Words cannot adequately express our grief.

George was involved in a boating accident on Lake Tanganyika, the longest — and second deepest — lake in the world, located in Tanzania, East Africa.

The very last words he wrote, the day before he went missing:

     "It’s also my birthday today, March 1st, and I’m now 44 years old spending it in the middle of Africa."

He was there to build an airstrip on Mande Karenga Island near the village of Kipili.  This was the first leg of an ambitious project to create an exclusive resort catering to European and Asian elite that George was being commissioned to direct.

What an adventure!  We talked for hours upon hours upon hours:  "Yeah, I’d be there in a second if I could."

All talk from me.  George actually did it… was actually making it happen.

His progress wasn’t a surprise to me, though.  I had the unique experience of working side-by-side — watching him perform — at for many years.

(Note to all ex-IPRT’ers:  Yes, I’m the one responsible for "unleashing" George into the workplace.  I told him that it was his specific responsibility — his solemn duty — to make sure everything worked so customers would love us… and that he was allowed to rattle any cages to get something fixed.  We all know how well he did that!  There’s no one more determined and tenacious than George when he gets an idea in his head.)

George’s real passion was Space, though.  With Lockheed Martin in the 80’s and 90’s, he was instrumental in ground-breaking projects such as the International Space Station and was even the senior manager for Lockheed’s commercial satellite program.  The stuff he did was truly out of this world.

What do you call a guy that knew Stephen Hawking-type stuff like the back of his hand?  One smart cookie.

In admiration and respect, the people of Kipili village are naming the airport The George Vineyard International Airstrip, a significant honor given the rarity of airports in the country.


Like the loss of any family member, we feel a gaping emptiness, especially when we think about the future… especially when we think about the small stuff:  Choosing the Sunday night movie.  Preparing dinner.  Running a quick errand.  Watching Elle rush to hug her Uncle George.

The memory I will carry to my deathbed is that George was one of the most supremely confident men in the entire world.  He used to joke, "hey, everyone is entitled to my opinion!"

They still haven’t found his body.  Just like George to still call his own shots.


P.S.  Thank goodness for blogs.  George chronicled the first few months of his African exploits.  Click here to read George’s fascinating, real-life modern adventure.


[March 11 Update:  They found George’s body today.  I’ve had trouble refering to him in the past tense all week, deep down hoping it really wasn’t true.  Now, well, there is no miracle.  Only deep sadness.  I miss my friend.]


My wife surprised me with a ski week in Canada.  Seriously beautiful country.  I now append all of my sentences with, "eh?"  <grin>


P.S.  My wife is the best female skier in the entire world, I kid you not, though she’ll probably kill me for posting this.  She recently thrashed a 22 year old male ski instructor in a downhill race.  Laurie is mind-boggling to watch, absolutely beautiful (both on and off skis <smile>).


Naming a blog is almost as difficult as naming a child.

No foolin’.  You want it to be professionally descriptive… but also fun and memorable and interesting.

Go ahead and try it:  In 3-5 words, create a tagline for yourself!

I’ve been changing the name of my blog every couple days and nothing feels right.

For some reason, though, "Danger, Will Robinson!" popped in my head.  Hmmm… the original tech alert.

There may be something to this one. <smile>