Tag Archives: Trigiani

America, the brand, reflected in Plymouth Rock, the symbol

Courtesy of the Pilgrim Hall Museum.

"This Rock has become an object of veneration in the United States. I have seen bits of it carefully preserved in several towns in the Union.  Does this sufficiently show that all human power and greatness is in the soul of man? Here is a stone which the feet of a few outcasts pressed for an instant; and the stone becomes famous; it is treasured by a great nation; its very dust is shared as a relic."  Alexis de Tocqueville, 1835

Happy Thanksgiving.

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She’s geeky, not angry

You know, Mike Swift of the MERCURY NEWS did some work yesterday talking with participants in the unconference.  He was here almost all day, so I don’t understand how he got the impression that the spirit of this gathering is anti-male.

THEREFORE:  I’m repeating here what I shared with Mike yesterday.  As an alum of a women’s college, I can tell you that the last thing women are thinking at all-women gatherings is that we don’t like men.  What we are doing at She’s Geeky is talking about work.  How to develop products, what we think of the Web 2.0 and now 3.0 labels, trends in Open ID, running a Linux server, how to work with the government, user interface design.

Here’s the real scoop, guys:  this unconference is not about you.  IT’S ABOUT THE WORK.  People like me — and by the way, venture capitalists and scientists — do not have the time to get together and sing your praises or kvetch about how you distract us.  We are launching startups, writing books, inventing.

AND:  I would not attend anything aimed at men.  Critical or supportive.  On principle.  I happen to like men.  Some of you, anyway.

She’s Geeky. And grounded. And performance-ready.

She’s Geeky is an unconference that continues tomorrow.  It’s for women. 

There are many attendees blogging their observations in real time.  Journalists visited today, and answering their questions revealed as much about those in attendance as it did the gathering.  Which is the point.

She’s Geeky is a beautifully spontaneous, productive and business-oriented exercise.  Most critically, the unconference is about the women on the technology playing field — not about making a splash, building a database of targets or being "where the elite meet." 

There are women from every walk of tech life, at every level and at various shades of visibility.  The result?  Down-to-earth dialog, unscripted and unrehearsed, between people who want to work and contribute as true players in one of the most exciting industries on the planet.

Last week, we had several splashy startup announcements coming out of one of the industry’s glittering events, here in San Francisco.  As I read the coverage and the company blogs, it strikes me that we are still plagued with a sort of self-centered, look at me-aren’t I brilliant approach to building visibility for startups.  Some of these startups are already funded to the tune of millions of dollars rounded up via connections as opposed to merit, bloated with employees and laying claim to the highest levels of innovation.  Yet nowhere do their leaders illuminate the underlying functionality.  Very little airtime is given to the customer experience — and what’s there is self-congratulatory hype that treats customers as props in the startups’ march to fame and fortune.

It is so refreshing to participate in an alternate experience, stripped of artifice and dedicated to facts.  She’s Geeky relies on sharing what we know with others just for the pure pleasure of the interaction.  On discussing performance, strengths, weaknesses, wins, losses — all in the context of making sure that we can contribute to the industry and own the contributions.  On showing how reason is the foundation of fairness, not the exclusive province of the connected caste.

Think of it this way:  if two heads are better than one, why not make at least one of them a woman’s?  More than likely you’ll see a fact-based result that considers all parties and possibilities.

The fall of the empire?

A few people have been writing this week of their concerns about too much connecting via social networks and too little personal exchanges.  That we’re relying too much on the Internet to sustain relationships.  And those relationships can only be of questionable quality.

It’s timely they are raising these concerns because it gives some long-time experts the opportunity to put the Internet in an historical, cultural context.  Its introduction and immersion into our lives are as important as the telephone, the airplane, men walking on the moon.

Stowe Boyd wrote a terrific post on why we must not fear use of the Internet but embrace it as the tool that it is. 

I think if the empire falls, it will be due to the importance we place on what we project instead of what we think or do.  The fact that a lot of the posturing occurs on social networks is of less concern than the fact that we humans continue to pursue status and honor acquisition.

Google + Random House = higher book sales?

Epicenter reports a rumor that Random House is caving/cashing in to join the Google book scanning initiative.   

I hope they at least wait to load books of recent vintage whose writers are still on the planet.  [Like yours truly.] 

The article reports that this might give RH a boost in sales.  Search me, but I still think publishers ought to look at their current business models before they embrace something that could mess with their writers’ intellectual property. 

They should move online to market their books, not run the content there.  Launch Internet campaigns.  Livecast author interviews.  Provide advance copies to bloggers.  Create interactive websites for books and authors.  Revive the old-fashioned serial approach, if you’re bent on putting content online.  Use dynamic language to invite readers’ interest.  Focus groups of people beyond NYC and the East Coast.

Finally, try publishing fewer and better books.  Then you can apply more marketing muscle to those books instead of spreading your staff too thin.  That means better message platforms, stronger analysis of sales trends and a brand that readers everywhere recognize and understand.

The Internet IS the platform

I’m coming up on ten years here in the hotbed of technological wonder.  I’ve had the privilege of working with everyone from brilliant computer scientists who invent useful, groundbreaking tools to carpetbagging purveyors of vapor. 

Every experience has been valuable.  But today’s era is my most comfortable working zone so far.

Maybe it’s because I understand the better questions to ask, especially the followup variety that probe grand statements and detail-laden explanations. 

I think, though, it’s also because I use the platform upon which so many young companies and inventors perform in this era:  the Internet.  Like most of us, I have personal experience with its reach, on professional and personal levels.  I know what it can do and what it should do.

So when I see as I have in the past few days, that, via the Internet, some wonderfully talented, uninhibited, courageous, energetic wizards seek a place beside the inventors who have shaped every generation of technology thus far, I’m thrilled.

This is their moment.  Yet amid the enthusiasm and the charming arrogance and the ambition, there is a threat emerging — a threat that may slow our momentum and not for very good reason.

I’m hearing and reading that these bold titans seek to change the world.  It’s said that they’re going to do it by creating platforms on top of the Internet. 

The assertions that this company or that startup will be the tollbooth to or the bridge across or the mapmaker for the Internet completely contradict what Internet sages say and write about the greatest advantage of the Internet — that it is an open platform needing only inventive ways to leverage its speed and adaptability — that it’s a territory requiring no fences or property boundaries, just tools that are inherently valuable for what they do with content, thus worthy of investment and bound to generate reasonable profit within the reach of more than the elite inner circle of northern California and its favorite sons.

The Internet is the platform.  You can make your mark on the world without owning its newest nation or gerrymandering its boundaries.  That is, if when you say you want to change the world you mean using your talents to leave the world better than you found it — not just to enter the stratosphere of gazillionaires for the purpose of power, fame and notoriety.

You see, I have a feeling that there will be many marks left upon our world in this era.  Many big things are next, not just one. 

That’s because the Internet is what it is:  territory that cannot ever be claimed or owned by a few, whatever their brilliance and drive and access to the current powers-that-be.