Tennis grunting

Found myself cheering against Maria Sharapova in tonight’s U.S. Open simply because I couldn’t abide her shrieking. She won despite my negative mindbullets aimed at the television, but honestly, who deserves to shriek save those suffering mortal pain? I know, it’s some sort of hai karate chi thing, but it still sucks.

Apparently some opponents feel the same way I do:

Sharapova, who at 16 is one of the game’s most promising young players, was warned by tournament officials after Dechy and players on an adjacent court complained about her high-pitched shrieks.”

johnon.com – good SEO blog

johnon.com

“You probably won’t listen to me if I suggest you keep your voice lower, not discuss tactical or strategic issues in a pubic forum, or speak in secret code, so this is the least I can offer you. If you finish your overly loud public “search marketing” pitch and walk out leaving your dream client behind, I will feel compelled to hand her my business card and offer her a free review of your written proposal. Like I just did.”

Ah, the perils of the Starbuck’s economy. This looks like a keeper for the blogroll.

Build a Sundae – Online Co-Creation

John Bell at Ogilvy points at this build-an-ice-cream-sundae app at Friendlys.com. This is a chain of restaurants that started in Massachusetts but has gone semi-national. Anyway, I spent some time building an ice-cream sundae, named it the “Cape Cod Catastrophe”, gave way too much personal information, and moved on.

Is this a harbinger of customer creation tools? Design-a-laptop? I dunno, but John and I are working a cool project to figure it out. The man to check out on the topic is Navi Radjou at Forrester. Back in the days when Jimmy Guterman was editing the now defunct Forrester Magazine I did a feature on “innovation networks” based on Radjou’s research. I think his time has come.

Tom Freston gets sacked for not getting the Internet joke

I guess there is some moral to the story to the news that octagenarian boss Sumner Redstone gave Viacom CEO Tom Freston the heave-ho for not moving aggressively enough into the Internet. Sheesh. Take any media company (with the exception of News Corp. which is blessed with Fox Interactive chief Ross Levinsohn) and you’ll see an org chart still dominated by dodos who don’t get the online joke.

I don’t think Freston, per se, was anti-Internet. Heck, MTV.com has done great work in that regard but got its ass handed to it by AOL during that big charity concert a year or so ago. But now it’s Bubble 2.0 time and corporate boards are demanding that their executives be on the acquisiton prowl for social network plays, tagged content services, and rich media sites.

There are days when I really miss the big online media game, but for the time being I need to sharpen my chops on the buyside — going back into production would be a step backwards — before yearning for the biz dev end of the business.

Winter projects under consideration

Okay, I have a book to write (two actually) and tuitions to pay. But I’m looking for some weekend projects to keep me sane over the next eight months. Three come to mind, all are nautical in nature, all require some new skills to be learned.

1. A strip built kayak. I want to build a cedar strip kayak using the WEST epoxy system. This has been proposed before to Mrs. Churbuck with a negative reaction. This will tax the patience of my woodworking capable friends, whose tools I will need to borrow. Plus — the final product is pretty. Minus — time, cost, smell, and space.

2. New spars and rudder for my Cotuit Skiffs. I need two new masts, new gaffs and new booms. Good buddy Dr. Del Vecchio has some experience here. This involves gluing long strips of spruce together and then planing it down into a nice round spar. Upside — seems simple. Downside, time, expense, lack of woodworking expertise.

3. Rebuild an old Churbuck Cotuit Skiff.

I have an offer from the Lowell family to take #28 and rebuild it. This is a massive, multi-year job. Pros: my grandfather built it. Cons: I have no idea what I am doing. As Cousin Pete says, “A Churbuck with a tool in his hand is a dangerous thing.”

Here’s the boat in question. I will go visit it on Friday. So many things to do, so little time. I can’t wait until I can retire.

Standardization of Publishing Platforms

SPECIAL: “Winning Online” — A Manifesto

Mark Cahill (one of the smartest guys on the topic of publishing technologies) points to this Editor & Publisher manifesto by Tom Mohr – formerly head of KR Digital on newspaper websites. Mohr posits that if newspapers want to get their acts together online, they need to converge on a common standard and set of tools. Mark and I kicked around a business plan two years ago on this very model — there is no viable reason in the world, aside from sheer hubris, for a publication to own its own CMS, metrics, and ad servers.

“Newspaper online infrastructures dot the United States like a thousand points of light. It is a massive waste of financial and intellectual capital. As Knight Ridder proved, multiple newspaper websites of all sizes (from the Biloxi Sun Herald to the Philadelphia Inquirer) can sit on common platforms and deliver Pulitzer Prize-winning quality.”What, specifically, is meant by common platforms?

“They include a common content management system, common classified marketplace solution, common ad serving capabilities, a common ad network, shared content and feature functionality within key channels, a common underlying technical infrastructure and common supporting financial systems, metrics and analytics.”

In a book I ghost-authored with some Gartner experts — Multisourcing — the panoply of IT enabled systems was stacked up against their impact on competitive and strategic advantage … a riff on Nick Carr’s polemic against the value of IT. Only the most rarified, business-transforming, bet the company initiatives deserve internal development, most, if not all systems from lowly lights-on, cost of doing business IT system such as email, can be outsourced or managed against cost.

That the publishing industries insist on building their own web infrastructures is ludicrious. It’s time for a major systems provider like IBM Global Services to step in with a common platform and let the publishers focus on what their true business is — incisive journalism.

Thank Mark for the pointer.