Category archive


Apple’s moves to the future โ€” Polish, privacy, Pad, and purpose

I have thoughts on the announcements Apple made at it’s annual “Welcome independent developers who want to see how we’re building native features that make your apps obsolete” event. I thought to keep my yap shut on this one, but since my most-read post ever came after a WWDC and I saw some meaningful moves, I figured why not…

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"Entrepreneurial Media" comes to UT-Dallas

As a startup media junkie, I’ve been both pleased and bemused by the recent trend of academic institutions starting to focus and train on entrepreneurship in media. While such training can only be good, I’ve been frustrated to see most of the activity limited to the traditional Big Media Hubs — on the East Coast at CUNY; on the West Coast at UC Berkeley; and at J-school stalwarts like Northwestern and Arizona State.
Don’t get me wrong– I laud the work of all of these programs, all led by people I consider friends and titans of the industry. Their work is critical and trailblazing. I crib heavily from their playbooks.
But there are things I’ve seen in common that I’d like to diversify:

  • All are in traditional hubs of news, hubs that in the case of the coasts may be so cosmopolitan, large and media-rich as to be anomalous in scale, or at least of limited transferability to communities in Middle America.
  • All come directly out of a Journalism school. This is on face a good thing, as Journalism needs as many people focused on business models as possible. But just as I applauded startups with different models from my old Pegasus News; and just as I’ve long lamented the lack of sales folks at myriad “Save The News” conferences, I’ve longed to see a media entrepreneurship program drawing on an even more eclectic group — Crowdsourcing the problem beyond the core, so to speak. Keep Reading

A Dyna Moe model of media

My Mad Men totem, cruising through the offices of Sterling Cooper
My Mad Men totem, cruising through the offices of Sterling Cooper

One of the first posts ever on this blog was a recognition of work by a New York artist and actress who was making weekly stylized desktop images based on episodes of Mad Men.
The artist, Dyna Moe, started doing the illustrations after doing a Christmas card for a friend in the cast of the show. I discovered her illustrations via a fansite towards the end of Season 1. We started looking forward to them every Monday during season two; quietly thrilled for her as she met the show creators when star Jon Hamm was on SNL ; and are now ecstatic to see her creations turned into the instantly-popular Mad Men Yourself” tool on the show’s official website.
I see this as a textbook example of how the new New Media should work: A fan / friend starts creating an homage to a brand. That brand does not sue or discourage the fan doing unofficial work, even though she might be making a few paltry bucks. Nor does it jump in and try to co-opt, compete or take over. It lets the homage play out. Once it becomes clear that the homage is successful and additive to the brand, it embraces that homage. It then hires the fan / friend to extend that homage in an official way that is true to the brand and the artist.
Everybody wins. Imagine that.

Teenage brits will save us all

Save us, young Britons!
Save us, young Britons!

It appears that when you climb to the top of the mountain of media enlightenment, you’re likely to find a teenage boy from England. Whether you find nirvana or fools gold depends on which young man you find.
Last week, the world was aTwitter about young Scott Campbell giving up his iPod for an original-model Sony Walkman. He wrote an article that was, well, articulate, funny and nostalgic all at once. Keep Reading

The PR / advertising disconnect

I know I tend to spend all my rant power on broken media models, but I’ve had reason lately to ponder the relationship between PR and advertising.
PR people wonder why there’s sometimes resentment towards them from media folk — I don’t think it is actually because of anything PR professionals do per se, but rather because of the utter disconnect between most businesses public relations and advertising. And I don’t think it is generally front-of-mind for most media companies because of the church-state separation. But as someone who lives in both worlds, I’ve found myself seething lately over repeated scenarios like this: Keep Reading

Hidden truth in Star Trek: Sarek and Pike are the same dude. And he's a Nazi.

Live long and prosper by pretending not to be Bruce Greenwood?
Live long and prosper by pretending not to be Bruce Greenwood?

I dragged my sainted wife to the new Star Trek flick on Friday and as usual, she found the secret hidden gem that no one else ever would.
In the morass of explosions and makeup, she was initially confused over the actor-character match-ups between Sarek (Ben Cross) and Captain Pike (Bruce Greenwood). Now neither looks much like the other, but that’s precisely what lays at the root of the strange (dis)connection. Keep Reading

Save your tears. Please.

If you don't know what this is, quit bitching about the death of print news.
If you don't know what this is, quit bitching about the death of print news.

As the long-predicted mediapocalypse finally takes hold, I find my annoyance level with the deathbed histrionics of many in the field — especially the journalists bemoaning their lost birthrights, way of life, etc. — rising. Here’s but one example from a movie critic suffering from the “when you’re being run over by a lorry, everything looks like a lorry” syndrome. Perhaps I spend too much time gazing into the media mirror, but the sheer volume and pathos of these pieces is on my last nerve.
Part of that is because it’s hard to feel sorry for the pig who built his house out of straw and got belligerent when one of his brothers tried to bring him some bricks. But a lot of it is because people in this trade (myself included) tend to succumb to the notion that because we are the storytellers, our stories are inherently the most interesting and important.
But as the dirges drone on; as the golden remembrance of things that didn’t really pass but we’d like to think did dominate the media — and they will for the next couple years — I find myself indignant that these muses of misery were largely silent when other members of our industry suffered the same fate. Keep Reading

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