Archive for the ‘Communication’ Category

Brontosaurus mocks “endangered” elephant

June 18, 2009

According to TIME magazine: Facebook is for Old Fogies.

To which I can only comment: that’s like a brontosaurus calling an elephant “endangered.”

Hat tip: Ward Supplee‘s Twitter feed.

Oh, I almost forgot. TIME has a Facebook page (no link because some things are best left to die). I wonder if Facebook advertises in TIME. I’m guessing not.

We can all be Iranians now

June 16, 2009

Fascinating how the mobilizing power of social media is being used to confront the Iranian government.

Meanwhile, in a sort of digital twist on that famous scene in The Thomas Crowne Affair, a new viral campaign is going around Twitter: Users from around the world are resetting the location data in their profiles to Tehran, the capital of Iran, in order to confuse Iranian authorities who may be attempting to use the microblogging tool to track down opposition activity.

Making the best of a bad mess?

October 26, 2008

I am not a supporter of Tottenham Hotspur Football Club. I also find the claims that this is a “big club” somewhat ridiculous, as the last time that title could accurately be described was in 1961. However, as someone who is interested in businesses and the people that run them, I have to give credit where it’s due to chairman Daniel Levy.

The performance of the management of Spurs over the past summer has verged on the farcical. The person responsible for this state of affairs was Mr Levy.

However, the actions over the past few weeks, have, in retrospect been handled as effectively as I think they could have been.

First, the club had a series of games that, if keeping the team coach Juande Ramos and his assistant Gustavo Poyet (both very capable people and likely to succeed in other circumstances) was going to work, they had a chance.

First Spurs won a game on September 24, but in the useless Carling Cup (the competition the club won last season) and against Newcastle United, a club which at the time, if anything, was in an even worse state.

So at least, Mr Levy knew his coach and players could break their winning duck in the Premier League.

But then, against Portsmouth on September 28, there was a 2-0 defeat (made worse by a former player scoring the first goal).

This was followed this month by: 1-1 draw in Poland against Wisla Krakow in the UEFA Cup; defeat 0-1 at home against newly-promoted Hull City; defeat 1-2 away to Stoke City (another newbie); and defeat 0-2 away to Udinese (Italy) in the UEFA Cup.

Today, against Bolton Wanderers, a struggling team but currently above the relegation zone, was the last chance before tough matches against big rivals Arsenal, then Liverpool, Dynamo Zagreb in the UEFA Cup and Manchester City on November 9.

In my view, Bolton was the only credible chance of a win, but not with the existing set-up.

Mr Levy has therefore publicly owned up to the error of trying to have a coach/sporting director double act, the latter being Damien Comolli, who became a hate figure for many Spurs supporters. He sacked, Messers Ramos, Poyet and Comolli (with other coaches going) and swiftly appointed Harry Redknapp as the replacement, reportedly offering £5 million in compensation to the latter’s current employer.

In addition to a change of personnel, the result is a complete change of management strategy and how players will be treated. I don’t think it’s a surprise that today, Spurs beat Bolton 2-0 for the first league win of the season after 8 previous failures.

Mr Levy also provided a rationale for his position, making no excuses for not being flamboyant or for taking a commercially-minded view of the club. He did so in an open letter to the club’s supporters, which in my view was bold and clever.

By his actions in the past 48 hours, Daniel Levy has given his club a chance to turn things around, and made exactly the sort of appointment that could succeed. Mr Redknapp is renowned as a football manager for two skills: buying and selling players, and getting players other people have given up on and getting them to perform to their potential. It would be hard to argue that he isn’t exactly what Spurs need.

For Portsmouth, where Harry Redknapp was going a fine job and which has assembled a squad of players who have formed a strong working relationship with their boss, it could be a disaster. But that’s not Mr Levy’s problem.

When deciding whether to sack a manager, several factors come into the equation. One of these is “who is the best person to get us out of this hole?” Juante Ramos, whose spoken English was frankly not better than my Spanish would be after almost exactly a year, did not appear to communicate well with players from the touchline, according to this report for example. The sporting director Mr Commoli’s handling of transfers was, to put it mildly, incomprehensible to Spurs supporters and the media.

It may not work: the transfer window for players remains shut until the end of the year, by which time it may be too late to effect a rescue, the current strikers in the club squad do not seem capable of playing as a complementary unit, another indictment of Mr Commoli’s handling of the last transfer window in July and August.

But some chance is infinitely better than none. Will Tottenham Hotspur supporters be mollified? My guess is that they will, at least till the end of the season next May.

“A family blog”? Some blog…some family!

October 26, 2008

[Cross-posted from here at the Libertarian Alliance blog]

I don’t read this blog, because I find it an embarrassment. I don’t write for it as much as I’d like either for the same reason.

The header only carries pictures of dead people, most of whom weren’t Libertarians.

Most of the writing on this blog would be great, if trying to talk down at teenagers badly was a good idea.

The skimpy ladies are idiotic (get a life, failing that, go to Zoo, Nuts or FHM). It reminds me of the 1980s overgrown adolescents’ game of counting female nipples in copies of Sunday Sport.

And this prose: OMG!

This fairly pleasant-looking young woman seems to have brought several hundred hits to the bolg, merely by tamely repeating “I’m saving the planet” mantras on Sky news. Astounding really, since we are just a think-tank, and we don’t even agree with her with the people who have told her what to say.

And, she’s even from Bromley. Just down the road really. Marilyn Monroe, you are nowhere, stop hanging out with the corrupt, grasping, self-centred Kennedys, and get a life.

As this is a family blog, read by women and children too, ladies don’t take off their bras in front of people they don’t know:-

Apart from the insane reference to Marilyn Monroe, the bit that gets me is the claim that “this is a family blog”. What kind of family? You would have had to beat me near death to read anything as bad as this blog when I was child. How many women read this blog?

Using Tags like this: Tagged: , , , , may get some people who search for these words on Google to accidentally land on the LA blog. But this is no more than Spam. I’d be annoyed, not happy, to search for “bra” and “girls” to find myself pointed to some of the rubbish on this blog.

I could excuse this, if there was anything of immediate relevance to Libertarian Alliance supporters. (What has the Battle of Agincourt got to do with Libertarianism? Discuss in no more than 300 words.)

What people who are unable to attend the LA Conference this weekend might like is live-blogging [here’s a demonstration from the U.S. vice presidential debate recently] from the National Liberal Club. Instead we get Milton Friedman videos that, if I’m not mistaken, are nearly 20 years old.

Last year, I asked if we could have wi-fi at the next LA Conference so bloggers could report it live. Sadly, this was not done. I can’t be the only person unable to attend the Saturday events who would have liked to see something about the conference up by now. Does anyone wonder if the leftist Daily Kos would fail to ensure bloggers could cover their events? No, I didn’t think so.

If the National Liberal Club can’t accommodate wi-fi, the LA Conference should go elsewhere.

Was there any mention of the LA Conference on Facebook? MySpace? Google News? Guido Fawkes? Samizdata? No.

Was there any serious attempt at press coverage? Not even a press release in the run-up to the event.

Any broadcast media or live podcasts [Here’s a recent one by Patrick Crozier on the financial crisis]? No.

Any use of newer communications: Twitter? Qik? No.

Looking at the old conservative men peering down from the header on either side of Chris Tame, I see very little to inspire for the future.

Crying out for a blog: Sarah Palin and Joe Kinnear

October 4, 2008

This week, we’ve seen two people who are crying out for a blog: Sarah Palin, the Republican nominee for the Vice Presidency of the U.S.A. and Joe Kinnear, the caretaker manager of Newcastle United Football Club. Both have been the targets what one could call “the media narrative” or hostile bias.

Mrs Palin, the Governor of Alaska, let off steam in an interview on Fox News here.

Joe Kinnear vented with a lot of “c” and “f” four letter words here.

In both cases, they suffer from the need to communicate to an audience in order to succeed. But both are people that the media has decided must fail: one for being a Republican, the other for being old and not photogenic.

They both need to break out of the media box and interact with the public. Joe Kinnear bluntly announced he will not give press conferences again and will offer exclusives to two local newspapers, as a way of communicating to Newcastle FC supporters.

I’d like to think that Governor Palin is much too nice, but may have fantasized, to have this exchange with Katie Couric:

Joe Kinnear: Which one is Simon Bird [Daily Mirror’s north-east football writer]?
Simon Bird: Me.
JK: You’re a c**t.
SB: Thank you.

Funnily enough, I anticipated this sort of thing in 2003 when the Big Blog Company was starting up. I was asked by its founders to suggest some ideas for the types of businesses that would want to blog.

I said: “politicians and football clubs.”

I was very gently informed that I was completely wrong. Politicians could never tell the truth long enough to write a credible blog and football cannot possibly involve a communication, besides its sport and sport has nothing to do with blogging.

I regret to say that the Big Blog Company, despite some success, has never really made it as a major business. But, if instead of ignoring my suggestions, tBBC had taken the idea seriously, we can see where this could have led.

One cleverest use of blogging in the sporting world has been by the Association of Tennis Professionals to boost the popularity (and therefore commercial bankability) of tennis players. The ATP offered blogs for ALL ITS MEMBERS. Here are a couple of examples.
Daniela Hantuchova
Venus Williams

Today, the hardcore tennis fan reads the players views directly, unfiltered by the media. The media get their stories from the blogs too, but on terms dictated by the players. Someone, somewhere, has made a lot of money setting up these blogs.
It’s a shame that a silly bias against sport as a serious business meant that it wasn’t tBBC.

With politicians, to be fair, it would have been very hard to ignore the political blogging going on in the early 2000s. The business strategy I would have proposed would have been to offer all the political parties a deal to set up blogs for all parliamentary candidates. And I would have offered the Welsh Nationalists to do it for free as a demonstration for the other parties (about 38 seats in Wales last time I looked). But 633 seats in the Westminster Parliament.

As with tennis players under the ATP brand, a fair amount of standardization would have been possible. Lots of boot camps for politicians (tennis players I suspect don’t do group events quite as well).

But this wasn’t a business that tBBC wanted. Perhaps they should bid to do the PalinBlog and the JKblog.

The Big O: Oprah’s Obama Opera

September 10, 2008

Notice: I wrote back in February about Suzy Orman’s use of the “Oprah Effect” to promote her books. My only regret is that, because I wanted to focus on the copyright versus open source element, I did not make it clear that Oprah Winfrey was the vehicle for the million-copy giveaway. Despite the criticisms I have made, and which to her credit Oprah has allowed to be posted on her website, I’m more for her than against.

The story begins with this entry on The Drudge Report:

Oprah Winfrey may have introduced Democrat Barack Obama to the women of America — but the talkshow queen is not rushing to embrace the first woman on a Republican presidential ticket!

Oprah’s staff is sharply divided on the merits of booking Sarah Palin, sources tell the DRUDGE REPORT.

“Half of her staff really wants Sarah Palin on,” an insider explains. “Oprah’s website is getting tons of requests to put her on, but Oprah and a couple of her top people are adamantly against it because of Obama.”

One executive close to Winfrey is warning any Palin ban could ignite a dramatic backlash!

Drudge also claimed that both Oprah nor show producer Sheri Salata had “refused” to comment and that both had donated substantial amounts to Senator Barack Obama’s (Democrat, Illinois) campaign for the U.S. presidency.

So far, nothing much for me to comment on. It’s a straightforward case of political bias, but Oprah is only harming her own commercial credibility with some of her viewers, so what?

Here, the response by Harpo Productions, Oprah’s company, was like pouring petrol on a fire. Being posted to Oprah’s discussion community allowed a storm to erupt:

“The item in today’s Drudge Report is categorically untrue. There has been absolutely no discussion about having Sarah Palin on my show. At the beginning of this presidential campaign when I decided that I was going to take my first public stance in support of a candidate, I made the decision not to use my show as a platform for any of the candidates. I agree that Sarah Palin would be a fantastic interview, and I would love to have her on after the campaign is over.” – Oprah Winfrey, September 5, 2008

Now I decided to join in, focusing the point that either there had been no discussion, hinting at a Stalinist management style, or the statement was an obvious lie, which is bad for the “role model” business.

Here’s my response: (more…)

Suze Orman MUST be wrong?

February 17, 2008

Suze Orman is not enforcing her intellectual property rights the Gestapo way by treating all her potential customers as criminals.

What does the author of The Courage to Be Rich and The 9 Steps to Financial Freedom (*) know about money? The clowns, who claim that a nine year old kid who downloads a pop song is “costing” the price of a retail CD to a recording company, might do well to ask that.

Let’s see. She gives away over a million copies of her new book Women & Money. That must be a loss of $14,970,000 in sales at the discounted Amazon price! Well, no it isn’t.

Despite being available for a period as a free download, Women & Money was ranked number six on Amazon’s bestseller list when NBC talked about. When I checked just now (18:36 GMT) the book was UP to number two on the Amazon ranking.

I recently vowed to never buy a music CD, DVD, or download until the industry stopped treating me like a perp and more like a customer. I think I shall buy a copy of the Women & Money. Now that really is $14.95 in sales. I hope it makes a good gift.

(*) I have both these books and have used the latter when looking at specific money issues. I shall be reading both this year and reviewing them in due course. First impression is very good.

“My business model is screwed up, please help me look an idiot too”

January 28, 2008

… is the message going out loud and clear from Business Week. The company actually hires public relations people to get blogs to link to it, which is probably a bit daft, but it’s a coherent strategy. Then it hires lawyers to tell bloggers to stop linking.

Business Week’s content is often good , when I can be troubled to navigate the slow and ad heavy site, about once every three months. If you ask me, they need more linking. I love the following comment on Techdirt by Hellsvilla:

Right hand, please do come in and sit down. I have someone I want you to meet. His name is wrong hand. Watch him closely and slap the hell out of him when he gets out of line.

At stake is the ludicrous attempt by a company to put information on the Internet and then STOP people linking to it. It’s very simple: don’t provide permalinks, use flash pages. I promise I won’t link to you! I won’t read you either… come to think of it, how about saving some serious money and stop publishing online. No one will “steal your bandwith” then.

I hope Business Week is pleased that I haven’t linked to any of my favorite articles in their publication.

How to tap a Skype phone the German way

January 28, 2008

From Techdirt comes this curious tale.

“Vote for me because the racists will…”

January 27, 2008

…seems to be the latest bizarre message from the Clinton campaign.

[cross-posted from Antoine Clarke’s Election Watch]
The Associated Press is not exactly where I normally go looking for dirt on Democrats, but this sums up the situation nicely:

Clinton campaign strategists denied any intentional effort to stir the racial debate. But they said they believe the fallout has had the effect of branding Obama as “the black candidate,” a tag that could hurt him outside the South.

Let’s just remember that we are talking about Democrats choosing their candidate for U.S. President.
How can being “the black candidate” hurt someone’s chances of winning Democratic party supporters votes?
Let’s leave aside the obvious point that one would expect racist bigots, who have “NO N*****s IN THE WHITE HOUSE” car bumper stickers, to come from Alabama (or South Carolina, come to think of it) rather than, say, Colorado, Hawaii or Maine.

Could it be that the party of affirmative action, of civil rights and political correctness likes to have its leaders photographed next to the hired help, but not;, you know, actually let the servants run the country? “The poor dears, they try so hard, but they can’t help it, you know?”
Until last year I would have found it barely conceivable. But the more “liberals” I have met who talk about their moral superiority because they demand that other people pay taxes to provide public transportation (for blacks), public schooling (for blacks), quotas for universities (for blacks) and corporations (for blacks), the more I see something ugly.
This is not “white guilt.” These are white people who have a visceral unease with ethnicity and who project this by blaming “society,” or “capitalism,” or “a right-wing conspiracy” for racism. They remind me of nothing more than those British Conservative Party members who shouted loudest about the evils of homosexuality, demanding that it be outlawed or “all the boys will turn into perverts,” only to turn out to be repressed gay men.
Is this really the Hillary Clinton base constituency? I hope not.
I like the bluff: “Me, a racist? No! no! I voted against having black candidate because I couldn’t let him be humiliated by REAL racists.”
Senator Barack Obama is not (in my personal view) the beautiful orator that Jesse Jackson was 20 years ago. On form, the Reverend is someone I would gladly buy a ticket to hear give a sermon. That’s certainly not true of any candidate this time round for me. Sen Obama is more like a bank manager with the common touch, I like his demeanour and his “winner” outlook, but that’s not the same. In fact, without Bill Clinton’s attempt to not make race an issue, by making it an issue, it would not have occurred to me to compare the two. Senator Obama has plenty of flaws: some of his policies and the dubious Chicago connections. But if it comes to a “which candidate has the worst criminal connections” I don’t see Bill Clinton as offering much constructive help. A list of the crooks he pardoned in his last day of office, and the one whose wife by an AMAZING COINCIDENCE gave a lot of money to Bill’s wife’s 2000 campaign, will make anything Senator Obama is likely to have done look minor.
I’m not impressed with the Republican line-up so far in this election campaign, but if Hillary Clinton wins her party’s nomination by pandering to racism, I don’t see how any decent human being could campaign for her in November, against what is likely to be a fairly moderate Republican candidate.

In pure election terms, we now know how black women voted in South Carolina: they’re misogynistic witch burners, apparently.