Monthly Archives: January 2005

big talk verses small talk

Ahhhh … New Year’s Resolutions … i actually am a big fan of them yes, i don’t kid around — i set goals for each year and then i check up on the goals every quarter and track how i am doing against these goals.

some are business goals (like revenues for my company, Stonebrick). some are more personal goals.

this year, one of my most innovative resolutions is to limit small talk and concentrate on big talk?  how, you ask?   i have no idea how i’m actually going to be able to move the average cocktail conversation to big talk … but i am going to try.   i imagine i’ll piss off a few people in the process … but no pain, no gain.

i came away thinking that we spend too much of our time on small talk.  especially people that spend most of their professional time selling (like myself).  instead of asking someone i just met "where do you live?" or "where did you grow up?" or "what do you do?" i might to try to stir the pot a little …

check back with me next quarter and i’ll let you know if this little experiment is successful …

Books: Lucky or Smart? : Secrets to an Entrepreneurial Life

Review: Lucky or Smart? : Secrets to an Entrepreneurial Life by BO PEABODY.

this is a great little book from the founder of Tripod. you can read it in a plane ride from SFO to LAX — it is short. but full of some good nuggets.

i don’t agree with Bo’s key premise that entrepreneurs are born, not made but i do agree with premise #2 that good entrepreneurs tend to be B students, not A students.

Silicon Valley 100 introduction

OK. So the Silicon Valley 100 (SV100) has been getting a lot of talk lately (see buzz below). I started the Silicon Valley 100 because I believe influence marketing is a good filter if the right influencers are involved.

(More of the Silicon Valley 100 at the Stonebrick site.)

I don’t publish the list of people in the Silicon Valley 100 (Newsweek, which broke the story, somehow got a list from either a SV100 member or a potential client), but I pick the people based on the following criteria:
1. Integrity. These are people known for their high integrity, honesty, and strong commitment to ethics.
2. Connectors.
3. Salespeople. They are naturally inclined to spread ideas.
4. they are all connected to the Bay Area. I believe it is much easier to “tip” an idea in a few zip codes
5. early adopters. they like to try new products and ideas.

Only 15% of the SV100 are regular bloggers. Most of the people meet with lots of people every day and can relay ideas personally (which, in my opinion, is the most powerful way to spread an idea).

some people share a similar view, come people think differently. I’ve compiled a list of commentary over the last three days and published it below. Enjoy:

Newsweek (Jan 20, 2005)
The Connected Get More Connected. Seeking buzz, companies will funnel free new products to Silicon Valley’s elite.

Joi Ito’s Blog (Jan 21, 2005)
Silicon Valley 100. “The idea is to make a list of ‘connectors’ and send them new gadgets and products to test.” “I think it is almost like an opt-in focus group.”

Slashdot (Jan 22, 2005)
Toys For The Rich To Cultivate Product Popularity. “wake up dudes, the world works in a hierarchical fashion not because it can but because in fact this works well.”

Nouveau by Zaw Thet (Jan 23, 2005)
The Silicon Valley 100 – Truth & Rumors. “…for the same amount of exposure the group of 100 people would each have to tell around 31 people and get them interested enough to go to the company’s website. I think that’s pretty realistic, don’t you?”

Ross Mayfield’s Weblog (Jan 21, 2005)
Free Crap. “Its kind of like schwag for a virtual tradeshow with a decentralized cocktail party.”

Dan Gillmor on Grassroots Journalism, Etc. (Jan 21, 2005)
Buzz-Makers: More Disclosure, Please “What bothers me is the lack of transparency … It’s just an extension of a concept of what some call “buzz marketing” — getting allegedly “regular people” to tout products without disclosing the practice.”

Susan Mernit’s Blog (Jan 21, 2005)
The ultimate connector “…he’s created a Silicon Valley 100 list and is recruiting companies to distribute *stuff* to the influentials he’s compiled.”

Om Malik on Broadband (Jan 22, 2005)
The Schwag Set. “This is a ridiculous idea in a decentralized media environment where experts in the blog-world are more the influencers than those mentioned in the story.”

Silicon Valley Media Watch (Jan 21, 2005)
Silicon Valley 100 will generate “buzz”. “Marketers are expecting the Silicon Valley elite to promote their products in exchange for free stuff.”

Buzz Marketing with Blogs (Jan 22, 2005)
The Connected get more Connected. “get the right handful of people talking about your product, and the masses will follow.”

Silicon Valley Media Watch (Jan 21, 2005)
Silicon Valley 100 will generate “buzz”. “Marketers are expecting the Silicon Valley elite to promote their products in exchange for free stuff.”

Digital Musings (Jan 23, 2005)
Are you a Connector? “It’s a good thing that last year was the year of the Blog because a number of influential bloggers also made the cut…”

Eight Diagrams (Jan 21, 2005)
The Disappearing Line “Traditional media has long had to grapple with the separation of advertising and editorial. At times, those lines have become blurred. Now they are further blurring in the blogosphere as well.”

MEX Blog (Jan 22, 2005)
Silicon Valley 100 macht sich die Superspreader zu Nutze “Auf den ersten Blick eine gute Idee und letztlich ist die Message klar: Mach Dir den Blogger zu Nutze.”

nonablog (Jan 23, 2005)
Cyber Elite “Créé à l’initiative d’une entreprise de marketing, ce groupe se compose d’entrepreneurs, d’avocats, d’investisseurs ou de blogueurs, qui auront le privilège de recevoir des produits gratuits.”

Minding Everybody’s Business (Jan 21, 2005)
Silicon Valley 100 will generate “buzz”

Can I Get A What What (Jan 23, 2005)
Free Crap “As I always say, the best beer is free beer.”

John Tokash’s Weblog (Jan 23, 2005)
The Silicon Valley 100 “Someone PLEASE set up a feed for the SV100. I wonder if they would standardize on a prefix for subject lines of posts that refer to these products….”

Dan Crowther’s 101PublicRelations.com (Jan 21, 2005)
Buzz-Makers: More Disclosure, Please

Scoble’s Link Blog (Jan 23, 2005)
Buzz-Makers: More Disclosure, Please (from: Dan Gillmor)

Scoble’s Link Blog (Jan 23, 2005)
Why do they get all the loot? (from: Digital Man’s Outtakes)

New Media Musings (Jan 21, 2005)
Paying bloggers to get buzz.

In Search of Utopia (Jan 21, 2005)
To Any High Tech Company…. “To Any High Tech Company…. Who wants to send me free stuff…Send away baby!”

Michael Martelli Jr.’s Blog (Jan 22, 2005)
New Age Buzz-Marketing: The Silicon Valley 100. “…this group will provide feedback to the makers and hopefully praise these products via word-of-mouth advertising.”

Media Guerrilla (Jan 23, 2005)
Influencer Marketing – The Silicon Valley 100. “High fives to the gang at Stonebrick for exploring this particular direction of an influencer program.”

Digital Man’s Outtakes (Jan 23, 2005)
Why do they get all the loot? “Since they do have the ability to purchase these things relatively easier than average Joe, why not send them to average Joe and see if his thoughts are in line with the big guys/gals?”

Geek News Central (Jan 23, 2005)
Would you write honest opinons of Products if they were given to you? “My question is why not give some of these devices to people that are down in the trenches instead of the famous, rich and well connected.”

There Is No Cat
(Jan 22, 2005)

First against the wall when the revolution comes “…an old Saturday Night Live sketch. Eddie Murphy was made up to be a white man, and when he went out into the world was amazed to find that there was a giant conspiracy among white people where they didn’t have to pay for anything ever, at least not so long as there were no non-white people around. Winks all around.”

Johnnie Moore’s Weblog
(Jan 23, 2005)

More bzzz “Neil Turner and Dan Gilmour … They’re both a bit wary of it.”

Brondell 600

Yes … i’m blogging about a toilet seat. Yes, i know …

600tI have been using the Brondell Swash 600 for a few weeks now and I’m having a hard time leaving the bathroom. The Brondell Swash 600 is my new favorite place to catch up on reading.

This thing is not just any toilet seat – the Brondell Swash 600 is a bidet with a heated seat, posterior and feminine warm-water wash, germ resistant seat, warm-air dryer, and a remote control. As Howard Dean would say … “yeaggggggghhhhhhhhhhhhhh!”

This is the first product of the Silicon Valley 100 which I will be blogging about in the future. I got the Brondell for free and there is no way I initially would have paid the hundreds of dollars for it. But after using for a month, I now need to have it and would gladly pay for it. My guess is that the Starbucks set of Americans will all be clamoring for bidets in 10 years time ….

Books: The Future of Freedom: Illiberal Democracy at Home and Abroad by Fareed Zakaria

Review: The Future of Freedom: Illiberal Democracy at Home and Abroad by Fareed Zakaria.

First book of 2005 — and this is a goodie. The essential theory is that democracy is not the end-all be-all. Zakaria brings in lots of historical and current examples and does a brilliant job refuting some well-heeled theories.

But if you do get this book — my advice is to divide it into two books and read the first half ad then stop. The second half of the book talks more about how America could be a better democracy. Instead, read Running On Empty by Pete Peterson.

Books i read in 2004

Looking back on 2004, i devoured 31 books (which is probably the most i have consumed in my adult life).   maybe that means i wasn’t working enough (though it probably has to do with the fact that i was frequently travelling overseas).   

Of the 31 books, exactly 20 where on paper.   The other 11 were audiobooks.  I have tried to find the time to listen to audiobooks while running, on safari, in the car, and even doing laundry around the house.   

I try to review/log each book that read (so i can remember later) — you can view them at http://summation.typepad.com/summation/books/index.html

Below are the books I read (books in bold were ones i actually read — the ones in non-bold were audio books).   I highlighted the really amazing books in (the ones that really made me think) in orange.

    • Fooled by Randomness by Nassim Taleb
    • Lexis and the Olive Tree by Tom Friedman
    • Liar’s Poker by Michael Lewis
    • The Fatal Shore : The epic of Australia’s founding by Robert Hughes
    • How We Know What Isn’t So by Thomas Gilovich
    • The Oligarchs: Wealth and Power in the New Russia By David Hoffman
    • Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris
    • The Metaphysical Club: A Story of Ideas in America by Louis Menand
    • Colossus: The Price of America’s Empire by Niall Ferguson
    • Longitudes and Attitudes: Exploring the World After September 11 by Thomas Friedman
    • Emotional Intelligence : Why It Can Matter More Than IQ by Daniel Goleman
    • Conversationally Speaking : Tested New Ways to Increase Your Personal and Social Effectiveness by Alan Garner
    • Running On Empty : How The Democratic and Republican Parties Are Bankrupting Our Future and What Americans Can Do About It by Pete Peterson
    • How the Mind Works by Steven Pinker
    • The Anatomy of Buzz: How to Create Word-Of-Mouth Marketing by Emanuel Rosen
    • Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t by Jim Collins
    • John Adams, by David McCullough
    • From Bush to Bush: The Lazlo Toth Letters by Don Novello
    • The Golden Ratio: The Story of Phi, the World’s Most Astonishing Number by Mario Livio
    • Why We Buy: The Science Of Shopping by Paco Underhill
    • Just and Unjust Wars by Michael Walzer
    • We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will be Killed With Our Families: Stories from Rwanda by Philip Gourevitch
    • The Influentials: One American in Ten Tells the Other Nine How to Vote, Where to Eat, and What to Buy by Jon Berry and Ed Keller
    • Out of the Madness by Jerrold Ladd
    • Authentically Black: Essays for the Black Silent Majority by John McWhorter
    • Overcoming Dyslexia: A New and Complete Science-Based Program for Overcoming Reading Problems at Any Level by Sally Shaywitz
    • Woodrow Wilson by Louis Auchincloss
    • Stand-Up Comedy : The Book by Judy Carter
    • Geronimo: A Biography by Alexander Adams
    • I Love You, Ronnie by Nancy Reagan
    • An Unfinished Life: John F. Kennedy, 1917-1963 by Robert Dallek