Hit the rack at 9 last night, too delirious to hold my eyes open, but drugged myself with a Restoril for extra insurance. Then Junior burst in with news of an unwanted phone call: “Loser!” he said. “It’s not even 9 and you’re in bed!” I pleaded that my circadian rhythms, whatever they are, were confused, and fell back into an uneasy slumber, the dog using my face as its pillow. At 4 a.m. I was back awake, this time with the usual terror dreams of naked public speaking, elevator plunges (naked elevator plunges) and missed appointments. “A fine day to slay the dragon!” I exhorted myself and my irritable bladder. “Up and at ’em!”
So now it’s five a.m.. I have eaten my daily bowl of oatmeal, am on cup number two of double-strength Peet’s French Roast (espresso ground for that full amphetamine experience), and now have the entire day ahead of me. I need to edit some college essays for a friend’s daughter – and I need to sort out travel for the next month – Bangalore, RTP, Chicago, NYC – I need to pay bills, deal with this quarter’s taxes, sort through my Olympic souvenirs, dig though 4000+ photographs from Beijing, write thank-you notes, file collected business cards, answer moldering emails, set up conference calls, ward off the bureaucrats, and fit in my daily Crossfit torture. From hanging around gold medalists to paying the garbage man …. I feel mentally whip-sawn between the alien exoticism of Beijing and the early fall despondency of a Cape Cod summer town gone quiet and to seed now that the tourists and renters are back in Bronxville and Westchester getting ready for the start of school.
The harbor is vacant. Yesterday I launched my shell at 9 and set off into a stiff northeasterly breeze, the first pure air I’ve had in a month, pumped right down across the Gulf of Maine from Greenland. It was a good row, nearly a fantastic one, with a strong pace that nearly convinced me to start filing more Fall Head regatta applications before it is too late. I lost weight in China and worked out every day using the Crossfit regime, so now is the time to really start focusing on that late February weekend when I intend to do some damage at the World Indoor Rowing Championships. I did make a request to be let onto the rowing course at Shunyi near the Beijing Airport for a personal victory lap. The CMO of one of Lenovo’s key suppliers got on the course a week before the Games and I wanted to do the same, but no, the course was locked down for the Paralympics which starts this week on the tail of the Olympics. Some other time perhaps.
I have a few posts to get out the door. They are:
- A recap of the Voice of the Summer Olympics program. The metrics indicate the program in terms of traffic, blew away the targets set late in the spring. The media campaigns that surrounded it were also strong and over delivered their targets. In terms of press and reputation, I think the program went beyond what I expected. So, victory will be declared, I need to lock down the final report on the interactive component of Olympic sponsorship today for a review with the CEO next Tuesday.
- A theoretical post on the future of athletic blogging and its place in the long tail. I sense that PC and consumer electronics marketing is going from what we call “spec pods” (speeds, capacities, dimensions) to a more task/application model. In the mid-80s, customers of the first PCs didn’t ask for an “8088 with 256K RAM” – they wanted a “Lotus 1-2-3 machine” for financial modeling. Today, Best Buy and other retails are starting to show more products marketed with an end-state, or goal in mind. “Get your video on YouTube.” I think the same is coming to consumer PC marketing as the so-called Web 2.0/Social Media revolution climbs down from the mountain of hype and into a sustainable state where everybody from chatty teens to Michael Phelps to your mom begins to seek hardware and software on the basis of how it activates the new consumer of model of “click, consume, contribute” rather than the old one of “configure and confusion.”
- Search as the proxy for brand awareness and media impact on brands. Avinash Kaushik, guru of web metrics gurus at Google throws the question at my feet about why Google Analytics is showing a decline in ThinkPad searches and an increase in Lenovo searches. As we ran a butt-load of television through NBC during the Games, TV that was designed to build awareness of the word “Lenovo” in the minds of the American public, we saw some interesting side effects, not direct effects that one would expect. So …. Share of voice. Pre- and Post-awareness. Readers of this blog know I detest the notion that one can build a brand online through mindless repetition and pure SOV – that I believe brand is earned through a reputation for customer service and word of mouth about one’s excellence. All well and good. But when the brand actually spends three weeks advertising like its top competition does all of the time what is the net effect and what can be learned the morning after?
- Digital rights vs. broadcast rights: I believe we’ll see some interesting divisions in the old broadcast model of large events, with Fox, NBC, Eurosport spending a lot of money for exclusive broadcast rights. I bet that the IOC and NFL and others are going to get wise and sell off the digital rights in a separate stream very soon. When that happens, whoo-ee, if Beijing wasn’t a web experience, just wait a few years. It’s a coming.
- China SMM: lots of smart thoughts and insights shared at a final lunch with Will Moss, Sam Flemming and Kaiser Kuo. I need to digest, but let’s say the forthcoming US blogger tour of China is going to open some eyes in a big way – not necessarily positive. First off – China is not a blogger’s paradise. As Sam F. has pointed out – the world is built on forums over there. As Kaiser puts it, blogs are what he calls “Sick Kitty Blogs” (This is my kitty. My kitty is sick. Please send me money so I can take my kitty to the doctor.)
So, lots on my mind, lots to do, a desk to clean off, mementos to catalogue and now a holiday weekend on my doorstep. The crickets are frantic in the darkness, the paperboy just tossed the Times onto the end of the clamshell driveway, in two hours the bonito should be crashing out in the Sound, and I’ve got a lot to answer for.