Beachwalk news

From Your Councilor Precinct 7 Richard Barry – Cotuit – The Barnstable Patriot – Cape Cod & Islands

“In an attempt to help resolve water quality issues, there is a movement afoot to remove 425 feet of sand from the point of Sampson’s Island. The dredged material would be used to create a wider beach at the new point. This would benefit bathers, the beloved piping plover and water quality. Permitting alone is estimated to be in the ballpark of $250,000. This is in the early stages and I’ll keep you informed.”

Wow. I’m ambivalent about this news. On the one hand, bigger entrance to bay means better flushing. On the other — this is a big environmental impact, one needed because of other human actions (building the Osterville Cut, etc.”

Free word of mouth marketing idea for Concept2

I have sold dozens of Concept 2 ergometers over the past 15 years. Best rowing machine in the world, will deliver more exercise bang for the buck than any other piece of gym equipment, and actually have a competitive sport associated with it: indoor rowing.

The problem is when I’m on the road I need to find one of the machines. Luckily Concept2 has a database of ergs that helps me identify hotels and gyms that have one. The problem is when I get there I usually find a machine that is unmaintained, beaten to death, the electronic monitor is dead, etc.. The biggest problem, especially with health clubs, is that they never upgrade the machines, and at $900, it is definitely not the most expensive piece of iron on the premises.

So here’s my suggestion — give users like me stickers to apply to the erg — with a suggestion that the erg needs a makeover, and include Concept 2’s 800 number. I hate the ergs I run across (Gold’s Gym is a veritable erg museum) and wish I could do something other than tell an uncomprehending employee at the front desk that they need to upgrade from a Model B to a Model D.

Anything to activate one’s promoters — e.g. people like me, people who hangout at — is probably the biggest bang for the buck a marketer can deploy.

Give me a roll of stickers and I will be sure to stick them in my gym bag.

Tablet indigestion

My X61 is taking forever and day to boot up and I suspect it ate something that disagreed with it. Uncle Fester and I took a crack at the start-up folder on Thursday night, but it is still acting piggish, so I took advantage of the ThinkVantage System Update utility to load all new drivers, bios, etc. in the hopes it will regain its vim and vigor. Skype upgrade?  Google Updater? Post-It applet? Something is killing me here. Anyway, off to Dallas, time to do some airplane powerpoint.

Share of backpack

The past week’s discussions of Amazon’s $400 e-book reader, the Kindle, puts me in the mood to talk about my tired, needs-to-be-replaced, Eastern Mountain Sports backback with the removable padded laptop sleeve.

This blue bag was bought in 2000 before a McKinsey trip to London. The gang at pitched in and bought me a new leather Coach briefcase, but I guiltily returned it and took the $$$ to buy something from EMS that I could strap across my back and march through the world’s airports with.

Eight years later and the bag is going strong. Some zipper and buckle failure — one is permanently sealed thanks to a SuperGlue accident when I was stupid enough to actually try to tie saltwater fishing flies on the road — but for the most part it does the job of carrying everything thing from a spare set of contact lenses to Pepto-Bismol, trackpoint cap replacements, business cards, index cards, pen refills, phone and notebook chargers, sleeping pills, ear plugs, eye shades, iPod, ear buds, pencils, paperclips, most of the world’s currencies in change format, old weird PCMCIA cards for media no longer cared about, bills, bank statements, magazines, ThinkPad, etc. etc.

I would estimate, fully loaded, that it weighs about 30 pounds and consumes as much space as your average roller-bag.

It also carries books. Lots of books. I read very quickly (I can burn through a single cheesy paperback in a cross-country flight), and need three to four books with me at all times. For me — an e-reader like the Kindle — comes down to a volume/mass equation. Will it take up less room that the usual mini-library (I ditch the lower end books in the seat back pouches for the next guy) and is there a cost savings over the massive gouging one receives for a paperback in an airport bookshop (crap paperbacks are easily $8 when they should be $3!).

Hardcovers are not an option. Dragging Pynchon’s latest around the world is like packing the Manhattan white pages.

Sure, the Kindle has great electronic ink, has a free-WAN for downloading, but, in the end, will it take up less share of backpack? At $400 I will likely pass but I would love to try it.

Whereabouts week of Dec 3

Monday – 12.3: Cotuit to Dallas

Tuesday – 12.4: Dallas

Wednesday – 12.5: Dallas to Cotuit

Thursday-Sunday – 12.6-12.9: Cotuit

Little travel this week to an analyst meeting in Texas — challenge will be finding an erg so I can stay with the program for the 200,000 meter holiday challenge (86.9k rowed to date) — but lots of big projects coming to a head. Approval for a Beijing trip in January to focus on Olympic stuff came through yesterday.

Week after this coming week – North Carolina

Definitely taking the 10-day Christmas break off.

Speed clamming

Returned home yesterday from a round of errands to find a dinner invite on the answering machine. Our host is fond of clams, so I decided to be a good guest and arrive with some. It was 3 pm, the sun was low in the western Mordor-looking November sky, and a honking wind out of the north was making the anemometer os the roof spin up to 30 knots on the gusts. The thermometer displayed a nasty 24 degrees, and with the windchill (and being too lazy to look at the chart) I guess it was was 15 degrees, at least.

On went the waders and a ton of layers — t-shirt, wool shirt, wool vest, Filson packer coat — and stupidly, a pair of fingerless gloves and my Martha’s Vineyard Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby baseball hat. Grabbed oars, clam basket, oarlocks, boat keys, and drove down to the beach where I dragged the dinghy down to an extreme low-tide, and then rowed, with the wind at my back, out to the boat.
I rowed out to find an inch of mushy saltwater ice on the floor of the boat and a big smear of seagull guano over the foredeck. Leave your boat in the water until it is one of only six in the anchorage, and it is guaranteed to turn into a popular bird toilet. I dropped the motor, got it to start, and nursed the choke for five minutes until it was warm enough to idle without farting out. I picked the mooring line off of the poop encrusted cleat and headed down the bay to my favorite cherrystone and littleneck spot.

From Jason Perlow’s Off the Broiler blog.

When I got to the head of the harbor and tossed the anchor over the side, the effects of the north wind over the full fetch of the bay was very choppy and the boat was getting whacked with white caps that burst up into the air and froze all over everything. I decided to make this a fast expedition, so I grabbed my Ribb rake and jogged over to the little river where the little clams live. I made ten very productive pulls of the rake, and when I had two dozen clams, packed it in. The baseball hat was useless and my ears were at the point where they felt like they were on fire. I can take some cold, but this was nasty, windy, and mixed in with blowing sand.

The ride back was the coldest thing I have ever experienced. I tried going slowly, but that was prolonging the misery, so I knelt down behind the console, got my head out of the wind, reached up, and floored the throttle, sneaking looks over the bow to make sure I didn’t snag an oyster company float.

I got to the anchorage in time to see the fire department launch their rescue boat. For a second I thought it was for me, but then I saw Santa Claus in the bow and realized it was time for the Christmas tree lighting in the park. I was too cold to feel all festive and happy to live in a village. I needed warmth and last weekend’s leftover chowder, so I got the boat put to bed, rowed in like the last 100 yards at Henley, and was back in the house bitching about the cold to my wife exactly 30 minutes after departing.

I let the clams rest for an hour, then went at them with my favorite clam knife, a short-nosed Dexter Russell scallop knife (I know, wrong knife for the wrong clam, but I like it).

I made Clams Casino. Easy recipe, and a favorite of many as it involves bacon.

I turned the other dozen into plain old raw clams with lemon juice and cocktail sauce (real fans eschew both).

Ephemera picked up at the CMO Summit

I spoke on a panel at the tri-state CMO Summit on Friday — digital marketing — with the lead guys from Warner Music, DoubleClick and Barnes and Noble. The sessions were closed to only CMOs and marketing VPs, so the sessions were off the record and unbloggable (which is fine with me as I am sick of  being chased by the press after these things to amplify quotes or disclose details I am unwilling to share). It was a heavy hitter audience — CMOs of GE, IBM, Kodak, Goldman, Macy’s, Unilever etc. and some stuff I picked up which I don’t think will burn any confidences include;

1. In emerging markets, after food and shelter, guess what the third spending priority is? Communications. The cell phone could feasibly become the first ubiquitous object common to all people in the history of civilization.

2. Dracula as the spokesman for a mutual fund campaign in Japan? Why? Women control the management of personal finances in Japan and identified the sharp incisored one with prosperity, wealth, wisdom and a touch of sexiness.

3. There are people attempting to quantify the carbon footprint of spam.

Thanks to ex-CMO Magazine, McKinsey and PC Week colleague Rob O’Regan for the invite!

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