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February 28, 2003

Varnished

USAToday today runs an interview with President Bush. It prefaces the transcript with:

Excerpts from USA TODAY’s interview Thursday with President Bush, edited for length and clarity.

Edited for CLARITY? Since when is a newspaper supposed to be fixing up a politician’s garbled language? That’s what we have PR flacks for.

USAToday owes it to us to publish the full, unedited interview on its Web site. I couldn’t find it there.

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Hotel Factoids and Fictionoids

Note: Still on the road. Back tomorrow.

The speaker before me at the Hospitality Design conference was Peter Yesowitch (spelling?) who reported on trends in the “hospitality industry” — in quotes because the two words just don’t go well together.. His company does research, so he was able to give the attendees actual information, unlikely some of us. Among the items that caught my attention: While 40% of hotel decisions are affected by the Internet, only 8% of reservations are made on line. So, I ask myself, what are we doing in the delta between 40 and 8? We’re talking. We’re complaining about the hotel that forgot to leave a chocolate on the pillow and were gushing about the one where the staff was nice to our kids.

The hotel the conference was at, the Fairmont in Sonoma, was lapfully luxurious. But I felt bad for it. When I checked in, I asked about broadband in the bedroom. Yes, it had just been installed three days earlier. Oy, I wanted to shout. You should have gone wifi! Wifi is going to rock the hotel boat, so to speak, because not only will it make connectivity available everywhere on the grounds, but we’ll flock into groups if given half a chance. “Room service is running slow tonight!” “How much should I tip the shoe shine person?” “Anyone going into town tonight and want a ride?” Hotels are conversations, as Doc might say.

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February 27, 2003

Laughing at the Lies

From Mark Dionne comes this Buzzflash “news analysis”:

Ari Gets Laughed Out of the White House Briefing Room

BuzzFlash Note: Although we didn’t see this occur, we have received three separate reader accounts indicating that the White House press corps finally laughed at the absurdity of Ari Fleischer’s lies, at least once. The following is the account from one of our BuzzFlash e-mail reporters about the White House news briefing on Tuesday, February 25:


ON CSPAN — WH press conference with Ari ended just now. It’s grim. Not much new but a reiteration of the “Saddam must disarm” and some hints that Saddam and other top Iraqi leaders might be assassinated if GW gives the executive decree.

Then one tidbit floated up. A reporter asked about a French report that says Bush is offering a bundle of concessions (and I think she actually said ‘buying votes’) to Mexico and Colombia, granting worker amnesty and so on. Ari tap-danced. Then she (the reporter) started to press the issue by saying “they (the French) are quoting two US State Dept. Diplomats that Bush intends to give work permits to Colombia and Mexico.”

…. Ari just drew himself up with imperious indignation and said something like “you’re implying that the President is buying the votes of other nations and that’s just not a consideration” or words to that effect. And guess what happened? The whole press corps, normally sheep, broke out in laughter… sweet, derisive laughter. They kept on laughing as Ari turned on his heels and strode out. Sheesh.

Go down to White House Press Briefing (02/25/2003) and click on the video. After it buffers, play from about 28 minutes forward for context, 30 minutes forward to watch Press laugh at Ari’s BIG FAT GOP LIE.

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Sunny DigitalID

The Theseus Institute in the south of France (swim out of the Mediterranean, towel off in Nice, and go north a few miles) is hosting its annual conference, which this year is on “Digital Personae and Prviacy: the business, technological and social implications”:

The 2003 TIMIA conference will be led by Dr. Derrick de Kerckhove, Director of the McLuhan Program in Culture and Technology, and will be joined by a number of other leading experts and business representatives.

This is not just a one day conference but rather a month long opportunity to interact, explore and reflect on this important topic culminating in the face to face exchange on 4th April in Sophia Antipolis.

In contrast to most conferences, and in keeping with Theseus alumni’s entrepreneurial heritage, 2003 TIMIA Conference will commence before the physical meeting of delegates and speakers. Starting in March, using an interactive software tool, developed by the University of Toronto registered delegates will be able to interact with Dr. Derrick de Kerchove, other speakers and each other, by posting questions, comments and related content ahead of the event.

Nope, I’m not going. But I can dream, can’t I?

The Theseus Institute is a remarkable business/management school, and not just because it’s on the Riviera, although that sure don’t hurt. It’s quite progressive in its attitude toward the nature of business and success. Here is part of its mission statement:

…Many commentators and most educational institutions still tend to look upon the changes happening as being the result of the acceleration of transactions of various sorts due to computers and the internet. Their basic stand is that once we adjust for the speed of things, the underlying dynamics are pretty much the same, to be treated with pretty much the same tools, and to be understood pretty much with the same mental habits and methods.

We take issue with this stand.

The “information revolution” is bringing about a fundamental change in where and how value is created along the “value web” and, even more critically, who will be able extract and lay claim to the value being so created. This is not a marginal change along the edges of our understanding of management; it requires a fundamental rethink and re-conceptualization…

Unfortunately, I’m pretty sure that there are no more football scholarships available for the upcoming year.

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February 26, 2003

Kickback free

That last item about the kickbacks was a joke. Really.

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Ligh Blogging Ahead

I’m on a road trip, giving a keynote to Hospitality Design on Thursday in Sonoma about “hyperlinked organizations” and leading workshops on “The Web from Your Members’ Point of View” for an association of associations (yes, a meta-association) in Orlando on Friday.

Yes, I tell you this not only to explain why my blogging will be lighter than usual but to hint that I’m available as a speaker and consultant. And I’ll give you one rock solid reason to prefer me to my colleages and competitors: I give kickbacks.

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First You First

Gary Lawrence Murphy actually put a “You First” pledge button on the Teledyn site. “You First” is intended to encourage vendors to respect our right to maximum anonymity when dealing with them, even as the existence of digital IDs tempts them to demand we tell them more about ourselves than we want to.

It’s nice to see it on the Teledyn site. And it actually feels pretty good to press the button and read the pledge. Thanks, Gary.
One vendor site down, 5,433,22 to go!

[Note: All numbers in JOHO are guaranteed to have been made up.]

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New Issue of JOHO

For reasons we may never fully understand, I published a new issue of my newsletter yesterday, just days after publishing a gigormous one. Much of its contents comes from this blog, but the first article – the one where I make an idiot of myself more thoroughly than usual – is all new.

Is the Universe a computer?: I don’t understand it, but I’m pretty sure people are drawing some false analogies from it.
The "You First" digital ID pledge: Can we as customers get vendors to agree not to hurt us?
Bloogle: Google’s acquisition of Blogger.com puts it in a position to do Good or Evil.
Flashing and time: Who is the master of my time?
It’s a JOHO world after all: A review, etc.
Misc.: Etc.
The Anals of Marketing: Don’t be a moron when you market.
Walking the Walk: Presentation Do-Bees and Don’t-Bees
Cool Tool : Showing off your fancy graphics.
What I’m Not Playing: Syberia is a butt.
Politics: The Axis of AstroTurfing
Links: Places to go.
One email: Just one.
Bogus Contest: Taking the issue off.

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February 25, 2003

Is Cheney a Genius?

John Perry Barlow has written a surprisingly even-handed message to Farber’s list that says: “With the possible exception of Bill Gates, Dick Cheney is the smartest man I’ve ever met.” So, he asks, what’s going through Cheney’s head? How can the world’s only super-power protect its global interests and stabilize the world? Answer: By acting like “the Mother of All Rogue States, run by mad thugs in possession of 15,000 nuclear warheads they are willing to use…By these terrible means, they will create a world where war conducted by any country but the United States will seem simply too risky and the Great American Peace will begin.”

Yes, that Cheney is brilliant! And the plan can’t fail … so long as the people we’re subjugating can’t get their hands on any box cutters.

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Taking Nuclear War from Thinkable to Do-able

From Mark Federman comes a link to a press release from the Los Alamos Study Group (a “non-profit, research-oriented, nuclear disarmament organization…”) that describes the recently-released minutes of a meeting of “thirty-two senior nuclear weapons managers from U.S. nuclear weapons laboratories, the uniformed military, the National Nuclear Stewardship Administration (NNSA), and the Office of the Secretary of Defense.” The meeting was set up to plan an August meeting about how to build nuclear weapons that can be used on the battlefield, not merely for deterrence. It seems as if we’re about to build a whole new round of nukes.

Feel safer?

Says the press release:

It is impossible to overstate the challenge these plans pose to the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), the existing nuclear test moratorium, and U.S. compliance with Article VI of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), which was ratified by the U.S. Senate in 1970 and is now binding law in the United States. 

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