October 19, 2006
Starfish and the Spider
I attended a book launch party in New York recently to celebrate the launch of The Starfish and the Spider, held interestingly enough at the British consulate's house on the Upper East Side. While I know both authors personally and could probably have received an early version, my now autographed copy sits on my bedside waiting to be read. I'm a little late to the game however, as major media outlets have already begun to sing its praises and more are coming I'm told.
Funny name for a business book you may be thinking? It's really a book about life in a changing world - organizations, worldwide political networks and people. Ori Brafman and Rod Beckstrom have taken a very creative approach to looking at centralized vs decentralized -- the growing grassroots explosion from a world of new media and individual voices.....says Steve Jurvetson, 'it provides a powerful prism for understanding the patterns and potential of self-organizing systems."
The creation of Starfish and the Spider came right after 9/11 when they set forth on a journey. In addition to the creative force in the book, both Ori and Rod have a passion for making the world a better place and adding more joy to people's lives around them.
Essentially in this paradigm, organizations fall into two categories: traditional 'spiders,' which have rigid hierarchy and top-down leadership, and revolutionary 'starfish' which rely on the power of peer relationships. Know a few in each category?
The book takes a look at what happens when starfish take on spiders (Napster) versus more established players like IBM and the even the U.S. government who must now integrate starfish to attain sustainable success. More after I have a chance to read it. Guys, it's on the bedside table :-) not the bookshelf.
Below is Jon Benjamin, the British Deputy Consul-General giving a word of thanks. I had an opportunity to chat with him - not only is he engaging, diplomatic and smart as you would expect a British consul-general to be, but he is funny, incredibly generous and remarkably down-to-earth.
October 15, 2006
Napstser's presence at a digital tech event this past week. They were showing private burlesque shows inside the booth.
There was a skinny frog walking around as well as a green Santa Claus.
iMeem had an old fashioned photo booth that offered fun black and white or color images, just like the kind you got for a sitting when you were ten. (Okay, when I was ten). It may appear that I was pretending to be so for this sitting. And yeah, there's also my shameless plug in a client t-shirt.
October 14, 2006
Irish Energy in New York
You forget just how many Irish live in New York until you end up watching a band you have never heard of but everyone around you knows their pulse. Irish-born Saw Doctors played at the Nokia Theater in Times Square and the place was jammed as thousands made their way through the venue doors, each of us opening our bags for the security guards to check, scan and approve or not.
They all seemed to know the drill, every word to every song and even matched the lead singer's gestures as he swayed to more melodramatic tunes, that blended a dash of Housemartins with Irish folky rock.
Then there's the infamous Connollys a couple of blocks away, where Black 47 plays weekly. They have appeared on Jay Leno and write touching but powerful songs, including references to growing up in the Bronx, home to some of the band members.
Upper East Side Plane Crash
I often stay in the lower east side, the village or Chelsea when I 'hang' in New York although lately I've been mixing it up. I usually start in mid-town and then it depends on my mood, which friend is in town and what I plan on doing. A few of these friends now live in the upper East Side, which is where the plane crashed into an apartment building this week.
I was in a meeting at the New York Times near Times Square when it happened, so our colleagues learned about it at the same time we did... those I spoke to didn't jump to conclusions as I had expected and were more likely to think it an accident, which limited aviation experience can easily lead to.....this week's crash sadly killed Yankee baseball pitcher Cory Lidle and his flight instructor. I have several friends with their pilot's license and often think about 'the chances.' The mayor who apparently also flies, is adding his own personal experience to the investigations.
October 12, 2006
Great Read in the Park
Panels will include authors such as Daniel Mendelsohn, Malika Oufkir, Abigail Thomas and Edmund White. On memoirs, they'll discuss whether the memoir autobiography is confessional or simply artful reminiscing? Do memoirs really tell the truth?
And then there's one of my favorite topics: Health, Wellness and the Politics of Food - how does what we eat not only affect our bodies, but also impact the world? This dynamic panel of food and nutrition experts debates the role that diet plays in both personal and global health, and presents a provocative look at food politics.
Panelists Carolyn Curiel, Frank Rich and Carla Robbins will talk about which voices on opinion pages are heard, why and which side to represent? This one is being moderated by Andrew Rosenthal, New York Times Deputy Editorial Page Editor.
I love this one!!! How much of an impact does the Book Review have on book sales? Would love to hear their insight versus the actual facts. There will also be a focus around latino writers: multicultural voices.
Unlike their predecessors who relied on translation to reach a wider audience, today’s Latina and Latino writers often produce their work in English, with the advantage of finding inspiration in two cultures.
Another great one. Religion: A Crisis of Faith. Panelists Bart D. Ehrman, Chris Hedges, Herbert Krosney, Suzanne Oliver, Ranya Idilby and Priscilla Warner will talk about the war on terror which has turned into a debate waged on religious terms.
RSS Vendor Speaks on Future of PR
Think it odd to have an enterprise RSS vendor speak on a PR panel? You shouldn't. It is an industry that could dramatically benefit from internal and external RSS.
October 11, 2006
New York's DigitalLife
I'm in New York for DigitalLife this week, an annual event that attracts consumers, media and entertainment enthusiasts and those looking for the latest and greatest in consumer technology trends and products. Client Sharpcast will be presenting in the DigitalLife Theater tomorrow, which is a round-up of interesting and new technologies for improving people's productivity and lives.
PC Magazine's Jim Louderback will be on stage talking about Web 2.0 'stuff.' Is this the coming of age of the long-predicted "social Internet" - or just another momentary blip? Which Web 2.0 companies have real staying power, and which will be gone with the next season? With the long-time barrier between consumers and creators blurring, even collapsing, what happens to traditional media?
More from the floor.
October 06, 2006
I met singer songwriter Gabrielle in New York a few years ago and continue to follow her. If and when you make it ot the East Coast, you should try to catch one of her shows, often in funky bars and venues throughout the city. She has a new song out called Stay, which you can listen to here.
Connecting with Vivian Gornick
Vivian Gornick wrips the rawness from you and makes you want to unveil it all, your truths, your skeletons, your loneliness, all that is real. It is not sudden however; she opens you up slowly, after several paragraphs, several pages.
We walk through every New York ‘street,’ with her....it is in the language and energy of those streets where we are also lost with her. Perhaps something only a New Yorker could understand, yet I found myself connecting with every character, every thought, every moment, every........Is it because I too, am alone living an urban world and have done so (alone and not) in several cities around the world?
In New York, there is more isolation perhaps than most urban centers, yet there are also so many rich communities, something I am reminded of everytime I set foot on its streets. While we are never left with the feeling that Gornick escapes loneliness, we experience a vibrancy on each connection to the 'street' and everything that the 'street' brings her. Perhaps it is just the promise of the street.
A smile, a quick kiosk exchange, a casual back and forth on the bus, the vibrant colors of woman's dress in mid-town, black and silver in the East Village, its richness and connection is all there for the taking. Loneliness remains prevalent and yet for those few precious moments or hours, it somehow feels like it left the conversation.
In Approaching Eye Level, we learn so much about loneliness, tributes, connection, and lacks more than haves. As I turn the pages, I think and say, yes yes yes, and probably would have at 20.
She writes, “marriage promises friendship, when it fails to deliver the bond is destroyed.”
“Community promises friendship; when it fails to deliver the enterprise is dissolved.”
“The life of the mind promises conversation; when it fails to deliver its disciples grow eccentric.”
“It’s easier actually to be alone, than to be in the presence of that which arouses the need, but fails to address it. For then, we are in the presence of the absence and that, somehow, is not to be borne. The absence reminds us, in the worst way, that we are indeed alone: it suppresses fantasy, chokes off hope.
The liveliness we start out with is stifled. We become demoralized and grow inert. The inertness is a kind of silence. The silence becomes an emptiness. One cannot really live with emptiness. The pressure is terrible; unendurable, in fact; not to be borne. Either one breaks out, or one becomes inured.”
Vivian, your rawness and authenticity is so there. So on. Thank you.
October 05, 2006
The Future of PR
In New York on Wednesday, October 11, there will be an all-afternoon set of discussions on the future of PR. It will be held at the Microsoft Executive Briefing Center, 1290 Avenue of the Americas (between 51st and 52nd Street). Registration here.
The shifts include changes in communications, such as more transparent dialogues with customers, and the ability to monitor efforts aided by the internet and its many tools. Of course it wouldn't be a Web 2.0 discussion without more (yes, even more) discussion about YouTube, MySpace, FaceBook and other viral social media sites that may increase PR exposure as well as real time interaction with the consumer.
On the agenda includes: John Bell from Oglivy, Todd Defren from SHIFT, Michelle Horowitz from PR Newswire, Ronn Torossian at 5W PR, Chas Edwards from Federated Media, Bart Feder of the FeedRoom, Earthlink's VP of Corporate Communications Dan Greenfield, and Beet.TV's Andy Plesser to name a few.