This is the kind of committee I’m talking about ….

“Big Business “Blog Council” created, business world yawns” from The Intuitive Life Business Blog
Dave Taylor nails it. I don’t need to spend money and time commiserating with JAMS (Just Another Marketing Suit) about corporate blogging or word of mouth marketing. When are blogs going to cease being two-headed chickens? Do PR people have associations devoted to discussion of press releases? This isn’t rocket science people, so wake up.

Anyway, Taylor says it better than I. And no, I wasn’t invited to join. Then again, I don’t own an island in Second Life either.

“I woke up this morning to a lot of fawning messages from people in the blogosphere about the new Blog Council, founded by a dozen big companies that generally just don’t have a clue about modern customer relations and marketing: AccuQuote, Cisco Systems, The Coca-Cola Company, Dell, Gemstar-TV Guide, General Motors, Kaiser Permanente, Microsoft, Nokia, SAP, and Wells Fargo.

“Let’s read their press release (press release about a blogging group?) to get a sense of what they’re doing:

“The Blog Council exists as a forum for executives to meet one another in a private, vendor-free environment and share tactics, offer advice based on past experience, and develop standards-based best practices as a model for other corporate blogs.”

Okay, ready for ten totally off-the-cuff (let me reach around the back of my chair, dig around, and pull something out of my pants) tenets of corporate blogging?

  1. Don’t join a committee devoted to corporate blogging
  2. Don’t read a book about corporate blogging
  3. Start a blog
  4. Start the blog on WordPress, enable comments, and post full text, not excerpts
  5. Be a half-way decent writer with something interesting to say (Read Strunk & White’s Elements of Style annually)
  6. Don’t use the “Royal We”
  7. Don’t bullshit or dissemble
  8. Don’t let your CEO blog unless he already has a blog or really likes to write and has the time to do it
  9. Avoid corporate blogging policies over a page long
  10. Don’t make promises to pissed off customers you can’t keep
  11. and bonus suggestion, you don’t need to pay anyone to monitor blogs for you, just figure out Technorati, Google Blog Search and Google Reader or Bloglines and do it yourself

Seriously, want to talk about corporate blogging? Ping me. I give free advice to anyone who asks.

Home NAS

With the need to rebuild my tablet becoming more dire, I hied to Best Buy and consumed a Western Digital “MyBook” World Edition — a simple, cheap ($379) NAS device with one terabyte of storage — and some decent remote control software built on MioNet.

Obligatory Churbuck-marketing-digression: standing in a massive line at Best Buy, in the middle of a busy work day, in a high state of impatience, with a single clerk at the register, the old gent in front of me turned around and said, “About enough to make you shop online. These idiots rather show you an iPod than take your money for one” and with that he ditched his stuff on an in-store display of two DVDs for $6 and walked out the door.

Any way, back to the NAS. Dumb name aside, it’s a simple white box with a power cable and an ethernet port you cable into the router. Let it power up, get settled on the home network, then off to the PC with a CD to install the stuff. That took some time — drive wouldn’t mount, so I went through the online trouble shooter, waved a dead chicken, RTFM, and got it working in three hours.

Wife’s notebook is backing up now. Mine is getting started. Issue is configuring the ThinkVantage Rescue and Recovery to do a network backup versus the bundled EMS Retrospective software. Wife is running EMC, I want to stay with the TVT because it’s native to the ThinkPad.

When that’s all finished, then it’s time to strip the X61 down to the bare metal and rebuild a new with the product recovery discs (yes Stephen O’Grady, the ones you didn’t make before your drive crashed making it impossible to make them when you needed them. I feel your pain).

Half-way to the holiday Erg goal

Crossed 100,000 today with a mighty 10K in the boatshop in 25 degree chill. Definitely getting in better shape and that’s, as Martha Stewart would say, a good thing.

Working out in Dallas was a labor of love. Up at 5 am, get a day pass from the desk, troop a couple blocks to the Texas Club, erg for an hour amidst the elliptical and stair climbers (preferred music these days is the stoner-metal band Fu Manchu  but definitely need some new noise on the iPod), build up a bodacious pool of sweat, then endure the usual flesh eating virus creepiness I feel in any public gym.

But what a difference for the rest of the day …

So, 93,000 meters to go before Dec. 24th. Piece of cake. 18 days … that’s 5167 meters per day — heck, old men can do that. The mad men are the loonies who do all 200,000 meters on November 24th — seriously — that’s like an 18 hour marathon on the wheel of pain.

“He Loved a Sunny Day, A Lobster Dinner, and Never Joined a Committee”

That’s the epitaph my spiritual mentor, the late Rev. George Vought of The Brooks School, wanted carved on his gravestone. I can attest to the first two, and wish I could say the same about committee work. When I first moved to Cotuit full-time I was a 30 year-old sitting duck with a strong back and a weak mind, and within a year was sitting on the board of the local library, was secretary to the yacht club’s parents association, and spending a night every other week on the local historic preservation district planning board.

Running the annual July book fair for the library was the killer and within two years I was off of all boards, panels, and committees and haven’t sat on one since.

The same goes for professional awards, contests, and industry associations. My college advisor, the late John Hersey, told me writing contests were especially pernicious and said anyone who wrote fiction with a prize in mind was doomed to never receive one. Apparently Thomas Pynchon felt the same way, when the rarely photographed author’s publisher hired Professor Irwin Corey to accept the National Book Award for Gravity’s Rainbow in 1972.

Industry associations are the real killer these days. I won’t name names, but there has been an increasing number of bureaus, boards and associations — most with membership fees — crossing my radar, none of which are worth attending for free (in my snobbish opinion) let alone pay for. Hey, if it’s an international standards committee and the company needs to engage in arm wrestling to establish some tech spec as the de factor or de jure standard, great, sign us up. But if it’s the Society of Corporate Underachieving Marketers (SCUM), devoted to “a knowledge exchange between like-minded individuals in a secure community environment” I rather contract a case of jock itch (and why do I despise the term “like minded?” Perhaps its because of a former Teutonic boss, the perfect James Bond villain — up there with Blofeld — who used the phrase in every other speech and pronounced it “wike-minded”) or join the Loyal Order of Water Buffaloes.

So, save the invite. I am not going to my boss to ask for $5,000 to join a dinner club to discuss stuff I know about with other people who may not know the same stuff. I keep my recipes to myself or blog about them here.

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