Monthly Archives: December 2010

There are things you just shouldn’t try to do yourself

Hire an architect – by Seth Godin

Architects don’t manufacture nails, assemble windows or chop down trees. Instead, they take existing components and assemble them in interesting and important ways.

It used to be that if you wanted to build an organization, you had to be prepared to do a lot of manufacturing and assembly–of something. My first internet company had 60 or 70 people at its peak… and today, you could run the same organization with six people. The rest? They were busy building an infrastructure that now exists. Restaurants used to be built by chefs. Now, more than ever, they’re built by impresarios who know how to tie together real estate, promotion, service and chefs into a package that consumers want to buy. The difficult part isn’t installing the stove, the difficult (and scarce) part is telling a story.

I’m talking about intentionally building a structure and a strategy and a position, not focusing your energy on the mechanics, because mechanics alone are insufficient. Just as you can’t build a class A office building with nothing but a skilled carpenter, you can’t build a business for the ages that merely puts widgets into boxes.

My friend Jerry calls these people corporate chiropractors. They don’t do surgery, they realign and recognize what’s out of place.

Organizational architects know how to find suppliers, use the cloud (of people, of data, of resources), identify freelancers, tie together disparate resources and weave them into a business that scales. You either need to become one or hire one.

The organizations that matter are busy being run by people who figure out what to do next.


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You have 96 seconds to read this or…

Of course they never really tell you what.  The paper will self destruct like mission impossible?

Being more than slightly overweight I looked into “Metaphase”.  Whether or not the stuff works (and I imagine it does, because if you eat Styrofoam for a month you lose weight) it is still a scam.  If you enroll in the VIP program they will give you two weeks’ worth of Styrofoam free.  The only catch is that you have to ACT NOW – offer good until Dec 31st.  What happens then, they aren’t going to take your money?  The other thing you get is the benefit of having them charge your credit card and ship you more Styrofoam every month whether you want it or not.  What happens to most is that they have piles of the crap in the garage and don’t get around to cancelling it (which is no easy task) for several months.

My favorite is “register now because space is limited…” for a webinar.   How can space be limited for an internet function?  I asked a few times and was told it was because they mailed out follow-ups.  OK, so Constant Contact now limits the number of emails you can send out too?  Better sign up now before they go away.

The clock.  There is nothing that makes me want to get up off my couch and grab the iPhone more than a little hourglass or stopwatch in the lower right corner ticking down the seconds till…. Till what?  Does the TV blow up if I don’t dial the magic sequence and stop the bomb at exactly 007?

For goodness sake people, wake up!  They will take your registration, commitment, time, or oh yes MONEY, any time you want to offer it.  Don’t let yourself be rushed into making a decision.  Why do you think auto dealers have a “no cooling off period” sign hidden behind the dartboard in their little cubicles.

It’s because most Americans buy stuff we don’t need, on impulse, and they are afraid that if we think about it we might just sober up and pass.  By the way, my house is paid for and my credit cards have a 0 balance.  Guess I’m just not a good American.


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Stop Comcast from blocking Netflix

It’s as brazen as it is outrageous. At the very same time that the FCC is deliberating the fate of our open Internet, cable giant Comcast threatened to block Netflix from delivering streaming movies to Comcast’s own broadband customers.

Without strong net neutrality rules, companies like Comcast can demand fees from innovative companies like Netflix in an attempt to choke consumer freedom and coerce users to adopt its own video services instead.

Tell the FCC: Don’t let Comcast block Netflix. Support the strong net neutrality protections President Obama promised during his campaign.

Comcast only relented after it was able to extort a fee from the company that supports Netflix’s movie streaming service, Level 3. According to the AP, 3 asserts “the fee violates the principles of an ‘open Internet.’ It also goes against the Federal Communications Commission‘s proposed rules preventing broadband Internet providers from favoring certain types of traffic.” 1

It’s a critical time to speak out about this. After stalling for months, the FCC is poised to exercise its power and issue net neutrality regulations at a meeting scheduled for December 21. We expect FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski to release his draft plan for protecting an open Internet in advance of that meeting — as early as this week.

There is only one Internet, and consumers should be allowed to access any legal website, service or application on any device of their choosing (whether they’re accessing the Internet wirelessly or not). Furthermore, broadband providers cannot be allowed to employ paid prioritization schemes to give favored network access to some websites or services over others. And finally, the rules must define the terms in a way that avoids the huge loopholes favored by industry and rests on sufficient legal basis.

Tell the FCC: The big cable companies and telecoms will destroy our open Internet if you do not regulate strong net neutrality protections.

Clearly the big telecom and cable companies feel confident that the FCC will bend to their will, rather than protect consumers and preserve our open Internet. What makes Comcast’s behavior even more outrageous is that in addition to the FCC’s pending decision on net neutrality, it also must rule on Comcast’s bid to buy NBC. Without tough and binding FCC rules, will Comcast ensure that NBC content is available online to its subscribers, but video streams from other channels download at a slower rate or not at all?

This is about more than getting movies via Netflix instead of Comcast. It’s about the ability of media monopolies to decide what information we can access via the Internet. Will Fox News stories be carried in the fast lane while Democracy Now! is relegated to slow lane or perhaps blocked altogether?

 President Obama campaigned on a platform that included strong net neutrality provisions. It’s time for his FCC to deliver.

1 “Web delivery firm says Comcast taking toll on data,” Associated Press, November 29, 2010.


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Who owns Wikipedia?

Who owns Wikipedia? by Seth Godin.  Too good too pass up!

You have probably noticed the big banner ads with Jimbo Wales‘ smiling face on them… they show up whenever you visit Wikipedia, the single most useful destination online.

The question: why are they there?

After all, if Wikipedia ran Google ads in the sidebar just three days a year, they’d pay for all of their operating expenses.

I haven’t talked to Jimmy about this, but here’s my guess, one that applies to other community-funded efforts: If the user supports it, she owns it. If support comes from anonymous government money, or some corporate sponsorship, then the interactions don’t matter so much, and it’s more distant from you.

I would bet than any charity or cause that gets involvement from its supporters (and I believe that volunteer support is worth more than cash) outperforms equally well-funded organizations that don’t have as deep a connection.

In other words, you own Wikipedia.


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