The Churbuckian Year in Review

Indulge me for a few minutes. I’ve never done this before, setting pen to paper and taken stock of the year behind me and the one ahead. Big events of the year? Some personal ones – daughter graduating from high school, a great vacation, a good summer in the garden – and professionally a solid one where things started to come together nicely from Olympics to search engine marketing, corporate blogging and proactive customer support. Travel wasn’t too bad. JetBlue saved me from the hell of the previous year with changes in Baltimore and no directs to New England. Only two big oversea expeditions: Beijing and Bangalore. Maybe 26 weeks in North Carolina, six in New York City. So, all in all, more than 50% of my life on the road, the other 50% here in Cotuit.

Here are the blog highlights of 2007:

January: marked the one year anniversary of my tenure at Lenovo, moved to new, far less depressing offices in North Carolina, and made some New Year’s resolutions to recover from the horrible health year experienced in 2006 following the bicycle vs. automobile incident. Spent most of the month on steroids trying to knock down some crippling lower back pain, woke up one morning, looked in mirror, and decided to get back in fighting shape. So far, success can be declared.

Posts of the month

  • My Recipe for an Editorial Infrastructure: here I give unsolicited advice to a publisher seeking a strong web publishing platform. Bullet list format. I can declare success here having seen an explosion in WordPress driven “online magazines.”
  • My advice to a middle-aged reporter: Given the one-year anniversary of my total severance from a 30-year career in journalism, I guess I was in a peevish mood and given to giving unsolicited advice. Anyway, in the same vein as infrastructure I give advice on career choices for old hacks.

February: Having the mildest winter in years in New England did a lot to make this an easy month to survive, especially given that it is part of the terrible duo known as “Farch” – for that monochromatic, sleet filled, dog-poop-surfacing-through-the-snow pair of months between February and March, or “f$%^ing March”. A four-day weekend in Florida to visit my brother did wonders for my mood – catching a wahoo with my son, walks on the beach. It was a good thing to do and I need to do it again this year.

Posts of the month:

  • Ratios and Leading Indicators:
    In which I discuss marketing metrics and ratios for performance marketing and get taken downtown by Ben Lipman who argues for a net present value model. He’s smart. Metrics are a big part of my day job.
  • Extra-mile reputations: Brands that are legendary for going the extra mile for their customers. LL Bean, Craftsman tools, etc.
  • Cotuit in winter: a frozen harbor, a digital camera, and me.

I’d report on where I was travelling, but given that Lotus Notes doesn’t archive its calendar very elegantly (or do much, if anything very elegantly), I don’t remember where I was or what I was doing. Professionally, lot of focus on interactive agency review, marketing plan for the ThinkPad Reserve Edition (leather encased X60), marketing operations, and herding the global cats into a more central approach to online marketing. Personally? Not a ton going on. Daughter received early decision to college, eldest a sophomore at NYU, one left at home. Beginning to think about life in an empty nest. Weird.

Posts of the month:

  • Over-engineering: is it possible to measure too much? To perpetually chase perfection? I think so.
  • Oyster Bags: in the clamming department, the town decides not to allow floating aquaculture project in Osterville, the tony town to the east, aka “Imposterville.” I am beginning to feel militant about water quality in the “act locally” department.
  • Erg Blogging: I start blogging about my indoor rowing. Rowing good. Ergs bad.

April: A weird month for a Cape Codder – boat goes into the water, trees haven’t leafed, all sorts of harbingers abound from shad bush to dandelions, tulips to herring. I go to Beijing and kick off the Olympic marketing plan, the program that continues to dominate my life through August of this year. I try, and stop, Twittering and to this day wonder why the hell people care about it.

My favorite posts:

  • Willy and the Herring Run: the tale of Willy, my grandfather’s cat, who decamped for the Santuit herring run every May and stayed there, feral in the woods, until the herring tapered off.
  • Living on a Sandbar: in which I turn into an amateur coastal geologist and talk about the evolution of the Cotuit shoreline and the impact of human engineering on natural processes.
  • Is there still life in the Banner Ad?: yes.

Personally my favorite month. My birth month. Month of graduations. Of spring. Of the return to fishing in and around Cotuit.

Posts of the month:

  • Me and my big mouth: While I could claim amazing predictive powers in calling Second Life a waste of time, a Forbes reporter, denied the opportunity to get me to say out loud what I wrote in my blog in late 2006, goes to that blog post and pulls out the money quote, to wit that the primary activity in SL seems to be the pursuit of virtual nookie. Suddenly blogging feels a lot riskier than it used to.
  • Happy Days: my daughter graduates from my alma mater.

Funny how June rolls around and I my primary instinct is not to blog but to be outdoors doing stuff like …

A low point in the year due to summer influx into my normally quiet little village of angry joggers, expensive automobiles, a harbor clogged with jet skis and clueless people …. Call me cranky. Going to Bangalore for a week did little to improve my mood. I don’t like July. So I go on a ten day fast in some sort of hair-shirt act of atonement.

  • Fasting: normal people doing the Gandhi thing do it in January to get over their holiday overindulgence. Me? I do it in July.
  • Moxie: the hair shirt of soda.

  • Readers Soundoff: the best part about the new/new journalism is the reader comments.

The summer doldrums. I avoid North Carolina and try to be Cape Cod based as much as possible. Major contest for the Olympics with Google make this anything but a quiet month. I do keep my sanity by doing stuff like …

  • Collars and buttons: new oars need new collars. I begin to blog about marlinespike seamanship, aka macramé for salty people.

  • Making the list: I get put on Peter Kim’s Forrester Research list of top client-side marketing blogs and realize the aforementioned stuff about clams and oars require an occasional, obligatory marketing post.

I would have to give this one the award for best month of the year. First off, I go on vacation for a week on Martha’s Vineyard. Second, I get some serious fly fishing in and realize I need to spend more time standing in shallow water throwing chicken feathers and fur at fish.

  • Menemsha: yup. This is the place. I like it here.

  • The Hurricane of 1938: I need to retire and write history for a living.
  • Online advertising not measurable enough?: in which I rant about the bullshit lingering over the impact of online advertising. 2007 goes down as the year the online avalanche really buried the knuckleheads who didn’t pay attention the first time around. I am a lucky person to be in this world and not in the old.

October: a sad month when Cotuit Skiffs come out of the water, baseball season winds down (yay Red Sox), and the garden starts to turn brown. A little travel and the beginning of the fall conference circuit.

Posts of the month:

  • Beachcombing:
    A man, a garbage bag, and a beach. Look at what turns up.
  • Eliot Turns 21: in which your humble blogger takes his son out to dinner in NYC and tries to get him carded by a bartender because he can finally order a legal drink, except no one cards him.

The beginning of the interminable holiday season. I get on the erg with a vengeance. Things start accelerating at the office.

Posts of the month:

  • On Chowder: I need to blog about food and cooking more.
  • ENFP: I take the Myers-Briggs personality indicator and come off in the category of wild-eyed “Champion.”
  • Erging:
    I embark on the 200,000 meter holiday challenge between Thanksgiving and Christmas (and make it).

December: I turn somewhat dour and snarl a lot. Too much going on, typical grinchian reaction to the holidays.

I beef at:

  • The Blog Council: a dimwitted coalition of big corporate bloggers. I’m pissed no one bothered to invite me as I am the dimmest of the wits.
  • Powerpoint:
    I sweat a big presentation to the leading PC industry analysts and wind up winging it when the tablet crashes.

So, all in all, I wrote about 486 posts in 2007. I deleted a bunch of Lenovo related ones in September after feeling this was not an appropriate place to drop the L-word. My drafts folder has about 50 posts that were started and never were finished. Traffic for the year. Pretty strong but declining slightly. About 350 Feedburner subs, Technorati rank declining, influence in the 100s.

In conclusion:

This was a great year and will be a tough one to top. I look back at these blog posts with some awe over the complexity of my life but I wouldn’t have it any other way. 2008? Olympics, lots of room for professional improvement, want to get back into competitive rowing, will probably hang up the desire to get back on a bicycle, would like to build a small wooden boat, need to endure the ultimate year in terms of education expenses, and need to start defining what exactly it is I want to do when I grow up.

Thanks to all for reading and commenting, especial thanks to (and in total random order):

My wife Daphne, sons Eliot and Fisher, daughter “B”, Jim Forbes, Tom and Kate Churbuck, Jim and Julie Cincotta, Marta Downing, Ben Lipman, Joe Nickerson, Peter Field, Henry and Jenny Churbuck, Mark Hopkins, Rob O’Regan, Dan Lyons, Esteban Panzeri, Krista Summitt, Tim Supples, Peter Kim, John Bell, David Berney, Charles Dubow, Om Malik, DeWayne Martin, Erik Vanderkolk, Michael Noer, Bill Baldwin, the late Jim Michaels, Mark Cahill, Gary Milner, David Barbara, Jim Hazen, Matt Kohut, David Hill, Deepak Advani, Ajit Sivadasan, Kelly Skaggs, Sheji Ho, Greg Moore, Tom Lowry, Mitch Spolan, Lincoln Jackson, Glen Gilbert, Parker Ransom, Jeffrey S. Young, Richard Lusk, Rick Klau, Thorne Sparkman, Mitch Ratcliffe, Esther Dyson, Craig Merrigan, Steve Starkey, Chris Kobran, Stephen O’Grady, Tom Kennett, Sam Barrett, Tim Abbott …

I am a rich man when it comes to friends.

Author: David Churbuck

Cape Codder with an itch to write

0 thoughts on “The Churbuckian Year in Review”

  1. David, you are literally an inspiration for a lot of bloggers. When I started writing I thought I would constrain myself to familiar topics– [portable copmuting, new technology–Demo like stuff– and the infrequent post on my sorry attempts to catch fish} Bu then, following your lead, I opened my blog up to more elements of my life, including my experience immediate post and long-term stroke patient. Being honest in my blog and letting it all hang out has been a joy and produced some unexpected results.
    The pickups from CNN, ABC-TV and the WSJ on my firestorm blogs knocked my socks off. SO did the traffic following my posts on the discovery of an old, used 16hp diesel Porsche tractor up the road in Fallbrook, CA.

    Of all your posts the ones I emjoy the most are the ones of you and your family on Beach Walks. Great stuff, Dave,

    In my book “A” list bloggers are people who show all facets of their lives. As such you are right up there Dave. thanks for the inspiration, kudos and links.


  2. David, Happy New Year! Another perfect entry and look forward to many more. With Love, Jennie and Henry

  3. It was quite a year. I almost feel ashamed of my 2007 review after reading yours!!

    2008 will top 2007, if it does you’ll owe me a beer, if it doesn’t I’ll be paying the bill.

    Happy new year.

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