hypocritical : talking the talk without walking the walk

March 31, 2006

Slashdot steals -- nay clearly draws inspiration -- from hypocritical design

UPDATE: And now, the vile theft is complete. Not only has slashdot slyly absconded with the same shade of pink I've chosen for hypocritical, but now, this dastardly deed has won them the affection of Kathy Sierra! Say it isn't so. Argh. Curse you slashdot, you clever fiend. Hypocritical was pink first. But I'm afraid it's too late now. Alas and alack. How the mighty have fallen.


ORIGINAL POST

Apparently, the appeal of the hypocritical redesign that launched yesterday has already begun to attract both its fans--and its copycats--today.

Case in point? Slashdot. Tsk tsk. I always thought better of you. How convenient that you redesigned today. Coincidence? You be the judge.

Inspiration is one thing. But blatantly taking the hue of pink that appears in the 23rd vertical pixel of my headline background image? Really.


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Slashdot steals -- nay clearly draws inspiration -- from hypocritical design

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March 30, 2006

Beat Web 2.0 design? Heck no. I'm joining Web 2.0 design

UPDATE: Another happy April Fools. For some idea about what I was describing, put on some sunglasses and visit the screenshots at "Web 2.0 design rescinded, eyeballs everywhere rejoice."

Be good, or I'll bring it back. And this time, it won't be a joke. You have been warned.


ORIGINAL POST

I can't tell you what pushed me over the edge exactly. Maybe it was my re-reading my brilliant treatise on Web 2.0 design for the twentieth time. (Yes, I'm both a blogger and a fan.) Maybe it was spending some more quality time with the Web 2.0 logo compilation. Maybe it was reading FontShop's dissection of Web 2.0 typography choices.

Or it could have been those crazy kids over at Facebook holding out for two billion dollars. Two billion dollars? Two billion! That's the kind of intestinal fortitude that puts the original bubble to shame. I mean, I remember how we all sat aghast when Mark Cuban sold Broadcast.com for one billion. That was supposed to be the pinnacle.

Not anymore apparently.

And so it made me think. Maybe I'm wrong? Maybe I shouldn't continue to beat up on the Web 2.0 crowd? It's not fair to razz the kids that way. Maybe I should try to join them? I mean, I like money. Who don't? And if someone wants to throw money at me, I'm ready.

I mean now, I'm all about Web 2.0. Check out the new hypocritical. All Web 2.0 and stuff. You can't stop me. You can only hope to contain me.

Yes, yes. I know I've been rough on the Web 2.0 crowd. I know that complaining about them by saying things like:

More gradients, big type, and nonsensical naming than even I could bear. It's so nice to be back in 1998.
That was just rude. And I know that, after all that witty banter on big fonts and gradients and whatnot, joining the Web 2.0 design crowd might seem a tad hypocritical. But, that's what I'm going to do.

I'm Web 2.0 and I'm proud. Join me. Won't you?

Oh, and for those venture capitalists prepared to start the bidding? On the check, it should be T - U - R - O - C as in "Charlie" - Z as in "zebra" - Y.


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Beat Web 2.0 design? Heck no. I'm joining Web 2.0 design

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March 28, 2006

The Brand Gap read aloud by someone else (instead of me hearing me reading The Brand Gap inside my head)

So, I just spent the day at a workshop (which was held at the lovely Hotel Lucia in scenic and refreshingly warm downtown Portland, Oregon) centered around The Brand Gap, that fantastic book by Marty Neumeier at Neutron. (Strangely enough, Scrivs just pulled a little excerpt from the book in one of his postings, today. Focusing on creating a distinctive name. Well, okay, that's not really strange, but I'll look for any fanboy-type excuse to put myself in that kind of company. So sue me. Scrivs and I were thinking about the same thing on the same day. No, he doesn't know that I call him Scrivs, but I figure he let's you call him that, so that's what I'm calling him. So that we're on the same page, chatting about Scrivs. Thinking about the same thing. The Brand Gap. Now where was I?)

Oh yes, The Brand Gap. The book, The Brand Gap, was designed to be a pretty version of the speakers notes for The Brand Gap presentation. And The Brand Gap presentation is what I sat through today. Exactly the same presentation you'll find here. And, the exact same presentation and speaker's notes you'll read by purchasing the book. Or by attending the workshop, after which they'll give you the book. And the presentation on CD. So it's like you get it four times: read the book, attend the workshop, get the book, get the presentation.

Now, the workshop did include some working sessions which were very quick "put these ideas into practice for 20 minutes" kind of scenarios. And those were interesting, but let's be honest: I didn't really pay to attend the session to listen to myself talk.

I mean, c'mon. I talk all the time. For free. At home. At the office. Hoo boy. Ask anyone at the office and they'll tell you they can't get me to shut up about "all the marketing stuff I think is so important." And about how "I just want to work on what I want to work on" and that's always tied to this unhealthy obsession with this amorphous brand thing permeating the entire company as if it were the be all and end all of our corporate existence. Talk talk talk.

If you don't believe me, read this blog. Brevity, not my strong suit.

Seriously, do I ever shut up?

Well, I try. I try to go and shut up when I want to learn something. But you know what? I just got to hear the book again.

Hear the book, in someone else's voice, mind you. Not in my voice. Which is what I hear when I read books. Of course, it's also what I hear when I type this blog. Which brings me to a very interesting point. Get down on your knees, right now, and thank your lucky stars I'm not podcasting. Because my voice is annoying and if you had to listen to it all day long like I do, or like my co-workers do. Well, it wouldn't be pretty.

So, now, all the poor attendees at The Brand Gap seminar had to hear my voice too. Why? Because I've read the book like 10 times. I reread the thing all the time. "Am I crazy?" I ask myself. And then I reread it and go, "No, no, you're not crazy." (Again, with the voice. Good googly woogly.) And so, as they were going through The Brand Gap presentation/book/hymnal, I was singing right along. Because I know all the words. I might (might) even be able to give the presentation myself. (I'm not saying that I have. In the shower. Or while mowing the lawn or anything. Or as a very strange bedtime story. But I might be able to do it.)

Which, finally, brings me to my question. And that question is...

Why? Why couldn't we go to a different level? To a deeper level. To explore the concepts mentioned in The Brand Gap book or the presentation or whatever because they're exactly the same thing. Why did we just have to gloss over what was already there.
I mean, they assigned us homework. Why couldn't the homework have been "read the book, you nut"? I mean, I could have read it, again. I wouldn't have minded. Really. Even though it would mean having that voice in my head, again.

I wouldn't have minded because I would have liked to get somewhere new. Rather than covering the same ground. I would have liked to have taken it to the next level. To have actually learned, rather than rehashed.

But I guess, for that, I have to pay the big bucks. And that's when I really shut up and focus my obsessive compulsive behavior on checking my watch every thirty seconds. Trying to compute the billable rates.

So my advice to you? If you're planning to attend The Brand Gap seminar, skip the book and see the presentation. You'll likely get more out of it.


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The Brand Gap read aloud by someone else (instead of me hearing me reading The Brand Gap inside my head)

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March 26, 2006

RSS feed functionality I'd like to see

Okay, yes. I've ranted on RSS feeds before, I realize. And yes, it's done little good. No one paid attention to the "common location for RSS feeds idea" and even though Molly E. Holzschlag was nice enough to stop by and comment on my little whine about "helping people find your RSS feed in the first place," I think it was pretty much ignored, too.

But if I quit writing, simply because I'm being ignored? Well, hypocritical would have gone under sometime in the late 1990s. I remain undaunted. So, with that in mind, I offer you, gentle reader, another random rant from the RSS soapbox. To wit:

The folks who subscribe to RSS feeds are a special bunch. And I say that not just because I am one, but because I also think it's true. I think that RSS feed subscribers are a unique market, served by hundreds of blogs and podcasts and newsfeeds and whatever else they want to consume via RSS feeds.

What's that? Oh my RSS feed? Why I thought you'd never ask. It can be found either where I suggested everyone put their RSS feed at http://www.hypocritical.com/RSS or by going directly to the hypocritical feed provided by the nice folks at FeedBurner. Please feel free to subscribe, won't you? If you do... oh wait a second, where was I? Ah yes, the folks who subscribe to RSS feeds. Let's get back to that, shall we?

But you know what else I think? I think that the folks who read the RSS feed are also being ignored.

Those folks that consume content via RSS feeds, while tending to be more interested in your content than the casual surfer (I mean, they actually had to take an action to subscribe to your feed), are treated as if they're a byproduct of a simple publishing technique.

Yes, yes. Some of us try to make it easier on the RSS feed types by using services like FeedBurner. But that's about as far as we go. And don't get me wrong, I love FeedBurner. But I think us bloggers who provide RSS feeds could do more. I think we should do more.

I mean, they are subscribers, right? And the point to really simple syndication? To be syndicated. To develop a subscriber base. Right? Um, yeah. That was a rhetorical question. I realize I'm right. But I did appreciate that ever so slight nod. Thank you.

So why don't we treat the RSS feed subscribers like subscribers?

There simply has to be more than delivering our feed to their virtual doorstep on a regular basis. We need to share a little more love than that. This is our public. Our engaged public. And we, as bloggers, need to recognize that.

So, the RSS functionality I'd like to see: I would love to be able to publish unique content for the RSS feed subscribers. Could be an article that only the RSS feed gets. Could be a coupon. Could be a fan club posting. I don't care what it is. I just want the ability to add that content. Without having to hand-code my feed. Without having to go to drastic measures. I would love it if there was some, easy way to insert an "RSS only" article into my feed and highlight it as such.

It's like getting the free book when you subscribe to the magazine. Or getting 30% off when you subscribe to the paper. Or getting the additional content when you buy the DVD. Or seeing those extra marginals when you have HDTV.

So, I guess I'd like two things:

  1. I'd like someone smarter than me to create a way to add RSS-only content to my RSS feed

  2. I'd like all the folks out there in the blogging community to provide RSS-only content


Why do I care? Because that's the only way we're really going to get the whole RSS thing to take off. Because the people who see the benefits of RSS need to be rewarded. And, perhaps most of all, because treating your subscriber base better than the casual observer is just the right thing to do.


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RSS feed functionality I'd like to see

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March 23, 2006

Feel the love

UPDATE (March 31, 2006)

Feeling even more love with a great post from Brian Fling over at Blue Flavor, entitled "Anytime is the right time to start a company." And how should you start a company, according to Brian? With love. And he makes 5 lovely points that describe his reasoning.


ORIGINAL POST

No huge insight from me, this entry. What's that? Good point. I hear you.

Anyway, there seems to be a great deal of love in the air as of late. A kind of conscious groupthink sort of vibe. But not good old fashioned love. No more the mix of love and business.

Not that kind of mix of love and business, silly.

The mix of love and business that is that unique blend of loving what you do for a living. Enjoying and wanting to do what it is you get paid to do. It seems like everyone is talking about it. Or giving a little love through your business by donating to good causes. Am I the only one seeing this?

I mean, look at this:

I could keep sighting and sighting, but here's the thing: there is something going on here. And I'm not an especially avid reader. I'm still picking up on the vibe.

Is this pervading ennui a result of some larger dynamic? Is this search for making a living by doing what one loves the new rallying cry for a whole new generation of businesses?

I don't know. But I do know this. You know what's even more strange? What's strange is that before I even stumbled across these, a friend of mine and I hit upon exactly this same concept. We had a rather fervent discussion about it. The same kind of thing.

And, yes, gentle reader, I realize this idea is not new. I may be a little slow on the uptake, but I'm not a complete imbecile. But I do find it interesting that so many people are writing on the same subject simultaneously. I mean, a butterfly flaps its wings and whatnot.

Anyway, here's how we chose to describe it in our conversation:

Talent + Feedback = Skill
Skill + Feedback = Expertise
Expertise + Emotion = Love
Love + Opportunity = Success

It's all about love. And it seems that none of us is really going to get what we want out of our business until we get to interject and focus on our one true love.

What do you love about work? Ah ha. Well what do you love to do, period? Wouldn't you like to do that for your work? Can you make a living doing that? I bet you can. If you love it enough.

Let's figure out how.

 

Feel the love

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March 17, 2006

Rerun: St. Patrick's Day, an increasingly vulgar brand that continues to remain popular

Given that:

a) We're celebrating St. Patrick's Day, today
b) I've been a little remiss in my posting
c) Everyone loves it when I take some random concept and shoehorn it into a discussion on marketing

I'd like to present a rerun: St. Patrick's Day, an increasingly vulgar brand that continues to remain popular

Enjoy.

 

Rerun: St. Patrick's Day, an increasingly vulgar brand that continues to remain popular

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March 13, 2006

Thanks to FeedBurner: Web traffic versus RSS traffic

Let me kick-off this post by first thanking the fine folks at FeedBurner, without whose RSS feed tracking information I would never have had the data into which to dig. And that would be a shame, for me. Not necessarily for you. I mean, you have better things to do. Me? I've got data into which to dig. Go figure.

Anyway, the folks at FeedBurner provide an invaluable service for folks and their RSS feeds. If you haven't gone to FeedBurner, you should. Now. That's far more important than reading my half-baked postulations. Go. Now. Please.

Oh you're still here? Fine, glutton. Suit yourself.

Second, let me stipulate that these findings are by no means "comprehensive." And they're based on a very slim sampling. (I mean, seriously. You've read these entries before. Do you think I have a huge loyal following?)

So, over the last 30 days, I've tracked the visitors to my site. One group based on RSS feeds and the other based on traditional Web surfing. And, it's actually fairly interesting. Far more interesting than my continuing to blather on, so let's get to the content, shall we?

Here's the FeedBurner tracking info on my RSS feed over the last 30 days:

  1. When good (Starbucks) presentations go bad

  2. At Sunrise sitting around the Campfire at Basecamp

  3. Newsflash: Effective typography = Ugly

  4. Yes, Virginia, there is a Web 2.0

  5. How I spent my long weekend

  6. Apple's err... Nokia's latest ad campaign

  7. Join Bode.com for a Nike URL faux pas

  8. Museum of Modern BETAs: Top 10 BETAs for 2005

  9. Almost the Web 2.0 trifecta

  10. Flashback: Mis-marketing the Portland Trail Blazers

  11. Fingers crossed, knocking on wood

  12. Join Bode.com (Redux) or Don't try to Join Bode.com...

  13. Dear Google: No more Google Image (literally and...

  14. Interland gives me a HTTP 500 Internal server err...

  15. Apparently, I'm Seth Godin tonight

  16. Adobe + Macromedia = ?

  17. Sitting around the Campfire at Basecamp with your...

  18. Web 2.0 interface design checklist (#1 on Web traffic)

  19. All work and no blogging makes for a dull feed

  20. Typepad trackback ain't

  21. Microsoft can't use PowerPoint either

  22. Work with me here

  23. Flashback: Dear Whitman College graduates of 1993...

  24. WebEx and Live Meeting absolved of guilt, charged...

  25. ... and he's stalking me


And here's the good old-fashioned Web log tracking for the same time period:

  1. Web 2.0 interface design checklist

  2. Join Bode.com for a Nike URL faux pas

  3. Les Schwab: An impeccable Northwest service brand

  4. Sunkist: A not-so-hidden logo sin (the overwrought-with-hyphenated-adjectives post)

  5. Arlington Pediatric Center: Volunteers needed

  6. Seeing, touching, hearing, smelling, and licking Martin Lindstrom's BRAND sense

  7. Museum of Modern BETAs: Top 10 BETAs for 2005

  8. Stiffing Starbucks, et in terra Pax

  9. When good (Starbucks) presentations go bad (#1 on RSS traffic)

  10. Logo : Branding :: Face : Personality

  11. Flashback: Mis-marketing the Portland Trail Blazers

  12. Sitting around the Campfire at Basecamp with your Backpack

  13. Apple's err... Nokia's latest ad campaign

  14. Good marketing communications: Somewhere between psycho stalker and couch potato

  15. Isn't it semantic?

  16. At Sunrise sitting around the Campfire at Basecamp with my Backpack

  17. Join Bode.com (Redux) or Don't try to Join Bode.com because it's no longer a site

  18. St. Patrick's Day, an increasingly vulgar brand that continues to remain popular

  19. Dear Google: No more Google Image (literally and figuratively) for you

  20. How I spent my long weekend

  21. Why business people speak like idiots

  22. Let me sign up! I'll BETA test anything

  23. Flashback: Dear Whitman College graduates of 1993...

  24. Home Depot: A procrastinator's dream

  25. Presentation Zen on Steve Jobs' conversational presentation style


Some initial findings:

  • Most Interesting Tidbit: The majority of the traffic I received via RSS feeds was a direct result of my resyndicating the content on my other site, flashgeek.

  • Second Most Interesting Tidbit: I expected that RSS traffic would be ranked by the latest content published to the oldest content published, given that the latest content had access to a larger subscriber base and we always hearing everyone talking about the "speed" of RSS. This was not the case. Apparently everyone is as far behind on their blog reading as I am. So they're trailing by several weeks, or at times, months.

  • The two lists only share 11 posts in common (44%).

  • Of those common posts, 6 received more recognition in the RSS feed and 4 received more recognition in the Web traffic.

  • Those that received more recognition in the RSS feed generally had a "buzzword" of some sort in the headline (e.g., Starbucks), but it was not necessarily the first word in the headline.

  • Those that received more recognition in the Web logs generally had a "buzzword" in the first position (e.g., Web 2.0), which no doubt, helped their search engine rankings.

  • Most popular subject matter in the RSS feed? Shockingly, Web 2.0 and those companies that have been categorized as such (e.g., 37signals) (32%).

  • Most popular subject matter in the Web logs? Marketing communications and branding related subject matter (52%). Again, shocking, given that this is what I loosely claim to be the topic of this blog.

  • The most popular content in the RSS feeds tended to consist of shorter, punchier entries while the more popular content in the Web logs tended to consist of longer, more involved (and no doubt keyword rich) posts. Guidance there? If I want RSS traffic, I need to learn to shut up or, at the very least, break it up.



Now, it should be noted that the bulk of the Web traffic tends to come from a combination of referring links and organic searches. Meaning? Meaning the work is divided between search engines that spider the content and bloggers who chose to reference the content (and thank you, as always, to those of you who do). While the RSS traffic is based purely on individuals who have acted (made a specific effort to subscribe to the RSS feed) (thank you to all of those subscribers, as well).

What else can this data tell us? Hopefully, there are some more grains of wisdom yet to be extracted. I'll keep digging. And if you see anything obvious that I missed, please by all means, let me know.


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Thanks to FeedBurner: Web traffic versus RSS traffic

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March 08, 2006

Apparently, I'm Seth Godin tonight

Meaning, I'm just going to post a quick snarky rant. By saying I was going to be Seth Godin, I didn't mean that I have thousands of loyal readers who drink in my every post as if it were the nectar of the gods. Don't take it that way. I could have just as easily said Jason Fried, so calm down.

Whoa whoa whoa! Settle down, friend. Where's all that hostility coming from? Now listen. It's not that I don't care about you. I do. (In fact, don't tell the others, but you're my favorite reader. How are the kids? Whatever happened to that business idea you had? Really? You don't say. I still think you're the best person to lead that team. I really do. Oh. I hate to cut this short, but the others are going to begin wondering where I am. And you know that one guy ain't exactly stable. You understand, don't you?)

Where was I? Oh yes. It's just that you're not exactly fighting for elbow room to read this entry, and the conversations occurring through the comments around here are downright pitiful. I mean, sure, I've got my one crackpot guessing my weight like a carnival side show, so I'm not complaining.

But I've been reading some of the other blogs. You know. The Seth Godins and Jason Frieds of the world? You know what I mean. They make one little snarky comment and it sets of an irrepressible explosion of conversation.

Well, I want in. I want some of that action. If I'm going to get disparaging comments, I want to motivate them with something more than my writing style. So here goes. Here's my snarky comment.

Ready? Okay.

Are you sure? Here it comes. Get ready.

Why, as a print rep, would you bring a colorful but crappy design as a sample? I don't care how tight the PMS matching is if it looks like crap. I'd rather have someone bring in a one-color job that's well designed. That's the printing company with whom I want to work. The one who is working with the cool kids.
What's that? No, that was it. Quick. Snarky. To the point. Riddled with insight. What do you think? I'm sorry, it sounded as if you said... Oh, I see. Yes, I've provided their URLs a little higher in the post. That's F-R-I-E-D, pronounced like "freed."

Okay. That sounds good. Have fun. Be careful out there. I'll talk to you later.

Was it the impeccable grammar that killed it? Should I have used more harsh expletives? Oh, I'm sorry, you're right. Go ahead. Go read your other stuff.

Could I have...? Oh nevermind.

 

Apparently, I'm Seth Godin tonight

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March 06, 2006

Join Bode.com (Redux) or Don't try to Join Bode.com because it's no longer a site

UPDATE (March 11, 2006): This will come as no shock to you, gentle reader, but I'm a wee bit slow on the uptake. This site has already come and gone and I just learned that Opus Creative, here in Portland, helped Weiden + Kennedy, also here in Portland, build the now infamous (if only in my mind) join bode.com. If I'd been paying attention, I could have actually dragged my lazy rear-end up to OHSU to hear Opus talk about the site. And then maybe, just maybe, I wouldn't have gone to join bode.com. But this is 20/20 hindsight at this point.

I'm writing because I'm hoping that someone at Opus (make that someone period) reads this. You see, unfortunately, as I've mentioned (ad nauseam by now), the site has been closed. Even more unfortunate is the fact that the folks at Opus continue to link a big splashy front page to the join bode site. Of course, you'll notice that I, too, am still linking to join bode.com, because all the cool kids are doing it. If they'll stop, I'll stop. Maybe.


ORIGINAL POST:

joinbodeRIP
Originally uploaded by turoczy.
I am sad to report that Join Bode.com, or joinbode.com (but not join bode.com), is no longer among the living. Rest in peace, fair site. Rest in peace.

This, of course, does not mean that my original post on the subject of Join Bode.com is any less engaging. Or any less funny. It was never that funny. But as for engaging? Quite the contrary, in fact. It's all the more engaging because of this recent news. At least, that's what I'll tell you. Read on, gentle reader, read on.


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Join Bode.com (Redux) or Don't try to Join Bode.com because it's no longer a site

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Dear Google: No more Google Image (literally and figuratively) for you

Google PowerPoint
So, I've been spending a great deal of time in PowerPoint, as of late. Almost as much as my flashgeek days, but nothing quite so cumbersome. Just a great deal of content that needs, nay wants, yearns, to be presented.

So, usually, what do I do when I need ideas? Search, search, search. And where better to search for presentation ideas than a presentation about search? Um. Well, anyway. So I grabbed the recent Google analyst day presentation.

Google PowerPoint
And, for the most part, I was impressed by the simplicity and clarity of the materials. But there were a few that just had me scratching my head.

How did the company that made simplicity so core to its brand allow this to enter the mix? I mean, c'mon guys. And this one?

Apparently all that access to flat stock imagery via Google Images has caused more problems than we all realize.

It just has me wondering. If the simple and geekily elegant Google home page can represent "all the information in the world," then why, praytell, clutter your communications with this useless fluff?



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Dear Google: No more Google Image (literally and figuratively) for you

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