Wednesday, February 26, 2003

On the road again...

I’m en route to San Francisco, where I’m speaking at the CIO Forum. And instead of leaving SF and returning next week ( for the LMA Annaul Conference), I brought the family with me and we’re staying in town until next weekend.

Of course, by the time this post hits the Net I’ll have arrived in San Francisco and things will be much calmer than they were about an hour ago. We left the house late – seemingly a routine when traveling with the kids. But the fun hadn’t even started. We got to the airport – late, but with enough time to board the plane. Then we hit our first glitch – the bags were too heavy. Fortunately Robin had packed an extra duffel bag (definitely a detail that would never occur to me) – so we were able to unload from the two bags into a third – and make it under the weight limit. Since the net weight is the same, why bother? (I really don’t know the answer to that question – there’s four of us traveling, which means we’re allowed up to 400 pounds. We only packed 120 pounds – so where’s the harm?

Anyway, it’s at this point that the skycap (who is a TSA employee) points out that my youngest son’s ticket is a paper ticket. I knew that, but somehow when I scooped up everything from the travel agent on my way home from work last night, the ticket was not in the packet of stuff I picked up. “Just go to the executive platinum desk – they’ll help you.” It’s 2:07pm. The plane leaves in 46 minutes.

Back in the car, park in the parking garage. Load up the bags, the two car seats, the briefcase and head for the platinum desk. We were blessed to get Randall, who’s been with American since (and this is a guess) the Wright brothers made their inaugural journey in Kitty Hawk. Randall, who had absolutely no sense of urgency about our plight (it was now 2:20) proceeded to try and help us. I sent Robin and my oldest son through security, and told them to meet us at the gate; I stayed with Robby (whose ticket was at issue) at the counter.

Ten minutes later, I asked Randall how long we would be. “As long as it takes.”

Trying to be helpful (honestly – I was convinced we were missing the flight), I asked Randall whether we should just try and book on the next flight. “Well, no guarantees. It will be tight.” Randall’s a font of useful information. Advice to any other exec. platinum members out there – if you get to O’Hare and Randall’s at the desk, cancel your trip. You’ll save yourself a good ten points on the blood pressure meter and you’ll have a lot more time to drink.

So at 2:35 (18 minutes to take-off), Randall freed us. I got in line at security, all but disrobed, got Robby out of his stroller, folded the stroller, and, sure enough, the scanner beeped. Trust me, you haven’t lived until you’ve endured a pat -down from a neighborly TSA guard while holding an 11 month old who hasn’t had a nap.

So I got farther with the TSA guy than I did on most dates in junior high, then sprinted to the gate. Now it gets really fun – load up the briefcase, the carry-on, my wife’s purse, the DVD player, the two car seats and you’re off. Uh, actually, you need to carry the kids too.

And the looks on the faces of everyone else in business class? Priceless when we showed up, looking like a bunch of bag people carting our life’s possessions. (Somehow, telling them that this wasn’t everything we’d packed didn’t seem like it would make life any better.

(For the record, we boarded the plane at 2:48.)

I don’t know why more people don’t do this.

Tuesday, February 25, 2003

So why did Google buy Blogger?

Pyra’s servers. As a former search engine worker, the answer seemed pretty obvious: The deal’s terms made it more attractive for Google to buy rather than build a blog-scraping system to improve their search results. Automatically scoring human behavior on the Internet is Google’s core competency, and high-availability Web services are one of their strengths. By hosting Pyra’s servers at Google (the one part of the plan actually acknowledged by both companies), the company can incorporate the latest postings from thousands of human link hunters into both its database and scoring system, all with the goal of serving better results to its search customers. [Paul Boutin]

I think this is about right. In fact, it’s about the only commentary on the Google/Blogger deal that makes much sense to me. Google wasn’t buying revenues, and they certainly weren’t buying content. And the paranoid claims that they were buying Blogger to lock out every other blogging app seemed, well, dumb.

But Paul nails it – Blogger users will systematically improve Google’s PageRank algorithm. And since Google already has an API, I’m willing to bet that they’ll make this extensible to systems like Radio and Movable Type. Of course, there will be advantages to using Blogger – instant updates, etc. But that’s all part of competition.

From my perspective, I’m really hoping that this raises the profile of blogging apps on the corporate software radar screen. This market is thirsty – actually, it’s downright parched – for some bulletproof software to show up and deliver a UI and a platform that will bring this to the masses. (Hint – Blogger may have the market cornered for idiot-proof blogging, but a resource-friendly Radio plus ActiveRenderer plus LiveTopics plus a search engine – and you’ve got a pretty compelling corporate app. Add in some functionality already in Movable Type – More Like This, TrackBack, Friend of a Friend - and you’re there.)

Bottom line – this acquisition should raise the bar for the other players in the market. That’s good.

Ripple effect from the DNC meeting

David Korn gives a thorough breakdown in the Nation of the post-DNC landscape, giving Dean high marks and rating only Edwards as a solid competitor (though the article still says that Kerry is the presumptive front-runner). The conventional wisdom seems to be that Dean is the passionate “idea” candidate, while Edwards is the central casting candidate who may be a bit shallow. Kerry’s strengths – money, military service, money, and money.

And a two-fer at Bob Schieffer says Governor Dean won the first “Did you hear…” primary – by being the only candidate who said something buzz-worthy at the DNC winter meeting. Senior political correspondent Dotty Lynch reports that Dean “rocked the hall,” and that “For now, the doctor from Vermont has gained the attention of a lot of Democratic activists and the other candidates will have to reckon with him.”

Gasoline prices

[Ian’s Messy Desk]

Monday, February 24, 2003

Six Degrees of ... Warren Buffett?

Four Handshakes. America’s Corporate Boards are Separated by Just Four Handshakes, U-M Study Shows

Much like the Hollywood association game, Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, corporate America is an interlocking network of company board directorships separated by just a few handshakes, say researchers at the University of Michigan Business School. In a study of the connectedness of nearly 7,700 board directors at Fortune 1,000 companies, the U-M researchers found that each director, on average, can reach every other director through 4.6 intermediaries and that each board can contact every other board in 3.7 steps. “What our findings reveal is that at the apex of the corporate economy  is a group of highly influential people who often either know each other or have acquaintances in common,” said Gerald F. Davis, professor of organizational behavior and human resource management at the U-M Business School. “The Bush Cabinet, whose members have served on the boards of leading corporations, including Alcoa, Halliburton and   Reader’s Digest, is a good example of how these powerful connections can work in high places.” [Web Communities] [Ross Mayfield’s Weblog]

Video on the web? No way!

Ed Helms of The Daily Show shares the joys of multimedia with the masses in this week’s “Digital Watch”. Or not, as the case may be. Particularly funny? Reading out the incomprehensible URL (or “web thingy”) to download Real Player, downloading the Real Player (“Great! Only 92% left to go!”) and buffering (“What the $&@! is buffering?!”).

Conclusion? “Multimedia is not only easy, it’s time consuming.”


Two "new" articles about Governor Dean

Just updated the press page, courtesy of “A Dean Supporter” (no name or contact info, unfortunately). Both articles are “old” – one from the May 22, 2002 Christian Science Monitor and one from August 24, 2001 in the Portsmouth Herald.

A few random details that emerge – that he’s an accomplished guitarist, and that he completed a 270 mile hike in the summer of 2001 (see photo at right).

Perhaps most interesting, from the Portsmouth Herald article – the author, Paul Peter Jesep (former publisher of Moderate Republican, now legislative analyst for Senator Susan Collins) praised Dean as “a leader” and says he’s a “maverick with vision.” He concludes by saying, “Democracy would be better served if more intellectually honest individuals like Dean and McCain were challenging the status quo in their respective parties.”

Sen. Collins is one of the “moderate republicans” who is very close to Vermont Senator Jim Jeffords. When the time comes, that could be a nice connection. Seems at least one of her staffers is already on board…

Sunday, February 23, 2003

Chicago Sun-Times: Dems keen on Dean

Some good quotes from attendees at the DNC meeting:

  • “He was the star of the show,” said a surprised Tom Lakin, a Democratic National Committee member from a town near East Alton in southern Illinois.

  • Dean’s appearance Friday—along with an appearance last month before a dinner for NARAL Pro-Choice America—earned him lots of political points from people who liked his style, even if they did not sign on to all of his message.

  • James Pederson, the chairman of the Arizona Democratic Party, said Dean was “tremendously exciting.”

  • And Margaret Blackshere, president of Illinois AFL-CIO and a DNC member, said Dean was refreshing. “I turned to somebody and said, ‘Could a guy from Vermont win?’ And they said, ‘A guy from Arkansas did.’ “

Saturday, February 22, 2003

Google polling

(cross-posted to both my personal blog and my Dean campaign blog)

Howard Dean gave a magnificent speech last night at the DNC Winter Meeting. (You can watch the video yourself – I’ve got a video archive of his speeches here; you can also read some of the post-speech reactions from the press clipping page.)

And if you didn’t really want to believe the pundits, then at least let Google tell the story. My site averaged 15-20 visitors per Saturday for the last month; today, the day after his speech, that more than quadrupled. Page views are up over 600%. The traffic almost all came from Google.

Which raises an awfully interesting question (I’m sure I’m not the first to wonder): how effective is Google as a polling tool? Anyone out there tracking Google queries for political reporting purposes? Let me know.

A little less conversation, a little more action please

Just read the lyrics to the JXL/Elvis tune “A little less conversation” (Dean’s entrance tune at the DNC meeting) and you have to believe someone picked it deliberately:

A little less conversation, a little more action please
All this aggravation ain’t satisfactioning me
A little more bite and a little less bark
A little less fight and a little more spark

Satisfy me baby…

And now a word from your pilot...

A new twist on “fly the friendly skies“ [John Robb’s Radio Weblog]

Gov. Dean at the DNC Winter Meeting

Gov. Dean was the last presenter among four candidates (Lieberman, Gephardt, and Moseley-Braun were the others) at Day 1 of the DNC Winter Meeting. (Go to the video page for the link to C-Span.) In an article in today’s St. Louis Post-Dispatch titled “Dean scores a homerun“, former Atlanta Mayor Maynard Jackson is quoted as saying:

“Howard Dean ruled the roost with the gutsiness of his remarks and his speaking truth to power. … People are dying for leadership that’s forthright, experienced and courageous.”

Watching the speech, I’m struck again by what a breath of fresh air Gov. Dean is. Committed, passionate, ethical – it all comes through. And as I’ve said before, the slight lack of polish (he stumbles over a few words every once in a while) adds a touch of sincerity to the presentation. The crowd responded well to his speech, and he struck a chord with what are now familiar themes of his campaign: race, healthcare, fiscal policy.

And the use of Junkie XL’s Elvis remix “A Little Less Conversation” was an interesting pick as background music to Dean’s intro and wrap-up. (I’m still partial to Al Gore’s use of “Let the Day Begin” by The Call, but then I honestly believe that The Call is the best band you never heard of…)

Thursday, February 20, 2003

Things are not always what they seem...

A few years back, I worked with a guy who I came to like. The barometer by which I judge co-workers is whether I’d want to work with them again… and in his case, he’d be the first guy I’d call. He’s brilliant – by far, the smartest person I’ve worked with. Scary smart.

And he does a killer Bill Clinton impression, which was so unexpected the first time I heard it that I nearly drove off the road. (It’s Phil Hartman-esque. It’s really that good.)

Anyway, we lost touch. I tried to stay in touch, even went so far as to write his Dad, who’s a professor at a major university. I sent e-mails, left voicemails… but he just fell off the map.

Several months ago I’d heard he’d been very sick – and whatever bitterness I felt about not hearing from him was overcome by sympathy. I wrote him again. Still nothing. Eventually I concluded he didn’t want to stay in touch. I wrote him off.

Tonight I found out that the sickness was a result of a suicide attempt.

Be well, friend. And write if you get a chance.

Wednesday, February 19, 2003

On the campaign trail with the un-Bush

Jake Tapper’s profile in Salon yesterday was another solid piece fleshing out details of Dean’s candidacy. It’s a lengthy piece that both reinforces some stereotypes (“the most liberal of the Democratic front-runners”) while at the same time tries to give Dean chance to counter with his side of the story. (“I don’t mind being characterized as liberal. I just don’t happen to think it’s true.”)

One interesting bit is when Tapper talked with one of Dean’s roommates from Yale (both of Dean’s roommates were black) to get to the bottom of Dean’s claim that he can relate to black voters because he had black roommates:

“No question, I would roll my eyes too, probably,” Roman says. “But you really have to understand Ralph and me more to appreciate” that Dean actually has a point. Roman and Dawson were very active in the Black Students Government and were in the first class able to major in black studies, Roman says. Moreover, the year they lived together was 1967-1968 — during the Vietnam War, race riots, the trial of Bobby Seale, and the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy.

“He was the son of a Republican investment banker, and he could not get his hands around the political views Ralph and I brought to the table at that early age,” recalls Roman, now a financial planner in Atlanta. “We weren’t Panthers or Weathermen, but believe me, we were definitely on the outskirts of the political spectrum at Yale.”

It’s still early in the race, but this is a good piece that should give Dean more exposure.


Just noticed that Ernie just went over 100,000 page views at his blog. I believe this settles it: Ernie is the best Swedish/Panamanian lawyer blogger on the planet.

31. Ernie the Attorney

Seriously, congratulations Ernie! You continue to impress!

The Unlikely Rise of Howard Dean

An absolutely fantastic article in next week’s New York Magazine outlines Dean’s growing appeal as a Democratic candidate. (Thanks to Jason Rothstein for the link.) Perhaps most interesting is the collection of quotes from Democratic establishment types:

  • George Soros (billionaire philanthropist): “Howard Dean impressed me as a serious candidate with a broad vision and a fresh voice.”

  • Terry McAuliffe (chair, Democratic National Committee): “I’m hearing great things. Howard’s got a good message, and people are enthusiastic about him.”

  • Roy Furman (Democratic fundraiser): “Howard has magnetism. [He] will be discovered.”

  • Gordon Fischer (Iowa state Democratic chairman): “Dean has made eighteen trips here and counting. He’s getting good crowds and reactions.”

Rounding out the good information about Dean – that Bulworth is his favorite movie (and apparently does a credible impression of Beatty’s rap), that he seems shockingly unguarded (what politician leaves a journalist in his house unsupervised?!), and that his position as a full-time candidate (as opposed to the Senators) may give him as much as a four month advantage in fund-raising and voter turn-out.

Tuesday, February 18, 2003

Patriot II: Now with fewer civil rights!

I am thoroughly stunned at the brazen efforts to erode basic civil liberties currently going on in Washington. “But we’re at war!” say they.

Way back when I was a sophomore in high school (1986, for those keeping score at home), I wrote a paper on ex parte Milligan. It was this case that showed me the power of an independent judiciary – I can honestly say it was this paper that made me want to be a lawyer. (Too bad that I’d first received an Apple ][+ – the geek interest ended up trumping the law degree.) If you’re not familiar with the facts, President Lincoln declared martial law during the Civil War, and suspended the writ of habeus corpus for Lambden Milligan, a citizen who was apparently wrongfully imprisoned.

Ashcroft’s Justice Department has made me think a lot about ex parte Milligan lately. So I went to Google to find what I could. I’m just going to quote the Court’s opinion, verbatim. You make up your own mind.

[…] It is claimed that martial law covers with its broad mantle the proceedings of this military commission. The proposition is this: that in a time of war the commander of an armed force (if in his opinion the exigencies of the country demand it, and of which he is to judge), has the power, within the lines of his military district, to suspend all civil rights and their remedies, and subject citizens as well as soldiers to the rule of his will; and in the exercise of his lawful authority cannot be restrained, except by his superior officer or the President of the United States.

If this position is sound to the extent claimed, then when war exists, foreign or domestic, and the country is subdivided into military departments for mere convenience, the commander of one of them can, if he chooses, within his limits, on the plea of necessity, with the approval of the Executive, substitute military force for and to the exclusion of the laws, and punish all persons, as he thinks right and proper, without fixed or certain rules.

The statement of this proposition shows its importance; for, if true, republican government is a failure, and there is an end of liberty regulated by law. Martial law, established on such a basis, destroys every guarantee of the Constitution, and effectually renders the “military independent of and superior to the civil power” — the attempt to do which by the King of Great Britain was deemed by our fathers such an offence, that they assigned it to the world as one of the causes which impelled them to declare their independence. Civil liberty and this kind of martial law cannot endure together; the antagonism is irreconcilable; and, in the conflict, one or the other must perish.

It is essential to the safety of every government that, in a great crisis, like the one we have just passed through, there should be a power somewhere of suspending the writ of habeas corpus. In every war, there are men of previously good character, wicked enough to counsel their fellow-citizens to resist the measures deemed necessary by a good government to sustain its just authority and overthrow its enemies; and their influence may lead to dangerous combinations. In the emergency of the times, an immediate public investigation according to law may not be possible; and yet, the peril to the country may be too imminent to suffer such persons to go at large. Unquestionably, there is then an exigency which demands that the government, if it should see fit in the exercise of a proper discretion to make arrests, should not be required to produce the persons arrested in answer to a writ of habeas corpus. The Constitution goes no further. It does not say after a writ of habeas corpus is denied a citizen, that he shall be tried otherwise than by the course of the common law; if it had intended this result, it was easy by the use of direct words to have accomplished it. The illustrious men who framed that instrument were guarding the foundations of civil liberty against the abuses of unlimited power; they were full of wisdom, and the lessons of history informed them that a trial by an established court, assisted by an impartial jury, was the only sure way of protecting the citizen against oppression and wrong. Knowing this, they limited the suspension to one great right, and left the rest to remain forever inviolable. But, it is insisted that the safety of the country in time of war demands that this broad claim for martial law shall be sustained. If this were true, it could be well said that a country, preserved at the sacrifice of all the cardinal principles of liberty, is not worth the cost of preservation. Happily, it is not so.

It will be borne in mind that this is not a question of the power to proclaim martial law, when war exists in a community and the courts and civil authorities are overthrown. Nor is it a question what rule a military commander, at the head of his army, can impose on states in rebellion to cripple their resources and quell the insurrection. The jurisdiction claimed is much more extensive. The necessities of the service, during the late Rebellion, required that the loyal states should be placed within the limits of certain military districts and commanders appointed in them; and, it is urged, that this, in a military sense, constituted them the theatre of military operations; and, as in this case, Indiana had been and was again threatened with invasion by the enemy, the occasion was furnished to establish martial law. The conclusion does not follow from the premises. If armies were collected in Indiana, they were to be employed in another locality, where the laws were obstructed and the national authority disputed. On her soil there was no hostile foot; if once invaded, that invasion was at an end, and with it all pretext for martial law. Martial law cannot arise from a threatened invasion. The necessity must be actual and present; the invasion real, such as effectually closes the courts and deposes the civil administration.

It is difficult to see how the safety of the country required martial law in Indiana. If any of her citizens were plotting treason, the power of arrest could secure them, until the government was prepared for their trial, when the courts were open and ready to try them. It was as easy to protect witnesses before a civil as a military tribunal; and as there could be no wish to convict, except on sufficient legal evidence, surely an ordained and established court was better able to judge of this than a military tribunal composed of gentlemen not trained to the profession of the law.

It follows, from what has been said on this subject, that there are occasions when martial rule can be properly applied. If, in foreign invasion or civil war, the courts are actually closed, and it is impossible to administer criminal justice according to law, then, on the theatre of active military operations, where war really prevails, there is a necessity to furnish a substitute for the civil authority, thus overthrown, to preserve the safety of the army and society; and as no power is left but the military, it is allowed to govern by martial rule until the laws can have their free course. As necessity creates the rule, so it limits its duration; for, if this government is continued after the courts are reinstated, it is a gross usurpation of power. Martial rule can never exist where the courts are open, and in the proper and unobstructed exercise of their jurisdiction. It is also confined to the locality of actual war.

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Deborah McMurray on Brobeck

Run, don’t walk, and visit this post by Deborah McMurray about the lessons not to learn from Brobeck’s demise. Deborah is one of my co-authors (for The Lawyers Guide to Marketing on The Internet, the book whose blog she posted this to), and I think her post is one of the most cogent to come out of the entire Brobeck fiasco.

What she’s really talking about is growth strategy, and how Brobeck isn’t the poster child that many commentators want to make it. There are firms who are succeeding today in spite of an awful economy – and there are Silicon Valley firms who are still with us, in spite of the same conditions that befell Brobeck. Brobeck will occupy it’s own chapter in the book about the boom years of the 90s - and Deborah is right to caution too many conclusions being drawn from its dissolution.

Monday, February 17, 2003

Nomination - Dean's for the asking?

So says Emmett Tyrrell, the founder of The American Spectator. (Yes, that American Spectator.) Turns out that Tyrrell and Dean did a TV show together in Montreal called The Editors while Dean was governor in Vermont. Tyrrell was writing about a perceived gaffe by Kerry – wearing an apparently leather jacket with a fur collar while going to the hospital for surgery – and said that if Kerry screws up again, Dean will be the Democratic nominee.

“I actually know Dean, and political observers who are calling him a fruitcake are underestimating his political savvy.”

Talk about a back-handed compliment. Who exactly is calling him a fruitcake? (Check out the press clippings page – seems like a fair number of people are actually paying attention.) But beyond that, this is an interesting window into Dean’s activities in the 90s. Anyone know where we can get copies of those shows?

Sunday, February 16, 2003

Isn't it ironic...

BBC America is a great channel. What a shame you can’t get it in the UK.

And just saw Coupling for the first time. What a fantastic show. Adding it to the Tivo subscriptions as we speak.

Friday, February 14, 2003

And in other news...

Lawyers are finding that Brobeck’s dissolution is going to dog them for a while:

Partners may not only lose their capital contributions — typically worth hundreds of thousands of dollars — but could be forced to fork over additional money to pay off the firm’s current debt of approximately $55 million. In addition, partners also may face potential liability for claims made against the firm following its dissolution. [full article at]

And from today’s Recorder, staff (who aren’t finding life post-Brobeck nearly so rosy as the former partners) are contemplating litigation:

Another employee said Brobeck management told staff on Jan. 30 — when it was announced that the firm was disbanding — that they would lose their unused vacation. While the firm extended health insurance for one month, the employee said coverage was not provided to those with pre-existing conditions.

Remaining employees expect to get their final paycheck when Brobeck closes down operations today. The checks will be given directly to employees rather than via direct deposit, the staff member said, since direct deposits of two weeks ago did not immediately clear and “a lot of people had bounced checks.” [full article from the Recorder]

Did you catch the quote from the first article that referred to risk as “Brobeckian”?


The spoils of Brobeck...

As summarized in Hildebrandt Headlines:

As Brobeck Phleger & Harrison closes its doors today, many of its lawyers have already found new homes. Approximately 60 partners are joining Morgan Lewis & Bockius, which is allowing them to defer putting in capital for two years. A group of 18 corporate lawyers from Brobeck’s Silicon Valley office are joining O’Melveny & Myers, 14 lawyers from Brobeck’s San Diego office are joining Heller Ehrman White & McAuliffe, 7 corporate lawyers from the San Francisco office have joined Baker & McKenzie, and Weil Gotshal & Manges has hired 8 former Brobeck lawyers for its Redwood Shores office.
The Recorder, 2/12/03 and 2/13/03, Daily Journal, 2/ 13/03

Illinois primary moving up?

Courtesy of is this nugget, suggesting that Arizona and Illinois may become more important in the Democratic primaries.

With the very real possibility of the field rising to double digits (Lieberman, Kerry, Gephardt, Dean, Edwards, Moseley-Braun, Sharpton, Kucinich, Hart, Graham, Clark, Dodd, and Biden), it will be good to broaden the field to those that can establish a broad base of support.

Wednesday, February 12, 2003

Drinks in London

No pictures, but had a great evening over beers with Matt Mower and Roger Turner in London. Roger knows more about Radio than I’ll ever know, and Matt continues to impress with his goals related to liveTopics and some soon-to-be-announced things he’s kicking around with Paolo.

Meeting people like this is by far the best aspect of blogging.

Tuesday, February 11, 2003

Now CNN is in on the survey...

I’m watching CNN International in my hotel room, and now they’re giving coverage to the “brand of the year” farce that I pointed out a few hours ago. “Respondents from 72 countries were asked…” They’re referring to this survey at – and BrandChannel explains their “methodology” (ahem) thusly:

For the purposes of brandchannel’s Readers’ Choice Brand of the Year survey, we asked respondents to make their choices based on the brands that had the most impact on their lives in 2002. Impact can be positive or negative; similarly the brand can be on the road to ruin, the cusp of collapse, the brink of bankruptcy, or some other awful alliteration and still qualify as having an impact (for instance, ex-energy company Enron got 3 percent of the US/Canada vote).
The most important thing about qualifying as a brand of the year is that you noticed it in 2002. This will explain the highly visible personalities and organizations that were submitted as write-in votes including David Beckham, Jennifer Lopez, Kylie Minogue, Iraq, al Jazeera, and al Qaeda.
The survey was hosted online at during November and December of 2002. Readers were allowed to vote once for each region and complete the demographics section once. No section of the survey was mandatory, which explains the varying response rates by region. Respondents from 72 countries participated in the survey; the strongest age group was 26 to 35 with nearly a third as many women as men participating overall.
The brandchannel readership overall comprises an above-average, intelligent group of professionals and students from over 90 countries and a range of industries who are interested in issues involving branding.

There are most definitely more troublesome things to be worried about today, but this just gets under my skin.

I've got a great idea for an ad...

Sweet Jesus – if you watched the Super Bowl and were mystified by that dumb jeans ad, well, Dooce explains it all for you. Absolutely hysterical.

And if you didn’t see it and want to see Dooce’s brilliant ad brought to life, well, go ahead.

Statistically useless survey produces odd results...

Google Finds Brand Power. The search king finished ahead of such names as Coca-Cola and Starbucks for world’s top brand. [The Motley Fool]

In other words, an insiginificant polling sample with an indeterminate number of people from unknown backgrounds voted on a subject. And from this, we get “world’s top brand”? Please.

For a more, uh, legitimate survey, there’s always the Business Week “Global Brands Scorecard” that hits every August. From last year’s survey, the top brands were:

    1. Coke

    2. Microsoft

    3. IBM

    4. GE

    5. Intel

    6. Nokia

    7. Disney

    8. McDonald’s

    9. Marlboro

    10. Mercedes

I’d have expected Motley Fool to be a bit more selective in deciding what to publish.

Tanks at Heathrow for first time in 9 years

Army Scimitar armoured vehicles patrol terminal 4 of London’s Heathrow airport, February 11, 2003. Britain drafted hundreds of troops into Heathrow airport and other key sites around London on Tuesday as a precaution against possible al Qaeda attacks during the Muslim festival of Eid. (source: REUTERS/Peter Macdiarmid)

Did I mention I’m in London?

Monday, February 10, 2003

Treo hack request

Now that I’m in the UK, I have my first chance to test out my Treo. It’s a GSM phone, so it works internationally (which is great). One annoyance though – I need to dial a + before any U.S. number, and I need to drop the country code for any local (UK) numbers.

Any chance anyone knows of a hack I could use on my Treo that would apply a filter when I’m in the UK to automatically make those changes? Seems like any other Palm-based smartphone users would have already asked for (and hopefully developed) something like this…

If you're using Mac OSX and IE...

… could you please verify that this blog loads properly and displays black text on a white background? I got an e-mail yesterday from someone who is seeing black text on a blue background (they’re using IE 5.x and confirmed it on both OSX and OS9).

It would appeear to be a CSS deficiency in IE for MacOS (I’ve tested the site extensively in Opera, Netscape, Mozilla and IE on Win2k and WinXP), but I’d love to know if there’s a workaround…

Doctor Governor? Governor Doctor?

Several new articles in the press clipping page – including a good overview in The NY Times yesterday about Gov. Dean’s position on Iraq.

And speaking of “Gov. Dean” – the Dean Blog raises a question that has puzzled me as well: is it Governor Dean, Former Governor Dean, Dr. Dean, or something else? The convention when referring to past presidents is to refer to them in the present tense: President Reagan, President Carter, President Clinton, etc. I was under the impression that for politicians, the convention is to use the highest post they’d been elected to – hence my use of “Governor Dean” when referring to him throughout this blog.

That said, it is also customary (as The NY Times does) to use “Doctor” as the proper identifier when the individual holds a PhD or MD degree. So… anyone know the right answer to this question?

Panic is the new black...

I have no idea what Tom Ridge’s color scheme means, though I thought SNL’s parody – which had the color chart in various shades of white (bone, off-white, cream, etc.) was hysterical.

But this news – that the UK troops are being brought in to guard Heathrow through Saturday – does not make me happy. Did I mention I’m in London, and fly home on Friday? (And my brother’s in Singapore right now, and flies through Heathrow on Saturday?)

Meanwhile, Europe’s going bonkers over France and Germany’s last gasp for relevance by holding Nato over a barrel. Yup, it’s a fun time to be in Europe.

In brighter news, I’m going to see David Gurteen tonight at the London chapter meeting of KMPro. And I’m having drinks with Matt Mower (of liveTopics fame) tomorrow night.

Will blog for gadgets...

Doc Searls stolen laptop.

What’s Up, Doc?. Like many of you, I was shocked when I learned that my buddy Doc had his laptop stolen. What a crock! Well, it’s time to give back to the man who’s given so much to this community. I’ve set up a PayPal donation link. Let’s get that man a new friggin’ PowerBook! The 15” SuperDrive model is only $2,799.00. If every regular Doc follower donates a few bucks to the fund, he’ll have a new machine in no time at all. I’m using for this particular campaign, and I swear (on my chest) that all monies will be given to him. If you’re going to pass the link around, please keep an eye on this particular blog post, as I’ll kill the PayPal item as soon as enough has been generated…. [C:PIRILLO.EXE ~ Chris Pirillo]

These things happen, but at least we can do something useful about it.

[McGee’s Musings]

Isn’t this the same guy whose camera was stolen a few months back? He is not having a good couple of months.

Friday, February 7, 2003

What he said.

Josh Marshall wants to know who else got help from GOP Marketplace last election.

Yeah, I think I’d like to know too.

This is what they refer to as “honor and dignity”, right?

ABA Journal: A Giant Falls

Now this is more like it. The ABA goes beyond the obvious soundbite and actually digs a little, exposing some of the root causes of Brobeck’s failure. Turns out the firm borrowed heavily to finance the debt – the article not-so-subtly lays this decision at Tower Snow’s feet – and couldn’t make its quarterly partner distributions this month in order to afford the $26m debt payment due to Citibank.

The more interesting question raised by the article is what happens to the partnership in the wake of the dissolution:

David M. Neff, a partner at Piper Rudnick in Chicago who represents Peterson Ross, says any Brobeck bankruptcy could be legally significant. It would likely help define the extent to which partners in a limited liability partnership are protected from personal liability for firm debts. (See “Partners at Risk,” August 2002 ABA Journal.)

“What I can tell you is that in any bankruptcy case, they will face challenges,” Neff says of Brobeck lawyers. “It will test the LLP structure. We expected Arthur Andersen to be the big test case. It looks like it will be Brobeck instead.”

And what of Citibank? This is the bank, after all, that has a private banking group just for law firms and counts more than  500 law firms and 35,000 lawyers as clients. $90m in debt for one client is a lot to bear. And how many other firms do you think they let finance their way to growth?


P.S. – The article also mentions two more dissolutions in the past week: Skjerven Morrill (IP boutique in the Bay Area) and Peterson Ross (Chicago insurance firm). Is anyone doing a law firm dead pool?

Hot potato, hot potato...

If you know the rest of the words to that song (“cold spaghetti, cold spaghetti, mash banana, mash banana”) then you’ll appreciate this article at Newsweek on The Wiggles.

My wife and I took our two sons to a concert last fall in Chicago, and it was surprisingly fun. The kids (well, the two year-old, at least) had a blast. The guys give a good show, and sprinkle enough “adult” humor in to keep the parents entertained.

Now, for the thread that’s relevant to this blog: I find it terribly interesting that a group who’s done a major deal with Disney insists on owning their own material. Check this out:

“We’ve read many books about entertainers who don’t own what they have created,” says Field. “It is scandalous. It’s like a real-estate agency calling and saying that they actually own the house they are selling for you.”


E-mail subscription added

If you’re interested, I’ve added an e-mail subscription form to the weblog. You can now receive posts in your inbox, courtesy of Bloglet.

If you’re interested in subscribing, visit the homepage.

New York donors waiting on the sidelines...

Nice little scoop by Joel Siegel in NY Daily News this morning: top New York financial supporters are holding off on giving any money to the Democratic contenders.

In a lot of ways, this helps the underdogs (esp. Dean) and hurts the front-runners. NY is one of the key money states for Democrats – and if 50 of the top donors are holding off on who they should donate to, that can only mean that they’re not convinced that the obvious front-runners (Lieberman, Kerry, Edwards) aren’t necessarily credible over the long-haul. This could have a ripple effect in other states (California?) and hurt fundraising for the big guys.

If I were Dean, I’d try hard to lock up a couple of senior democratic activists in NY. And I might try to get some face time in Chattauqua.

Dean making an impression

AP reports today that Dean “could be a factor” in Iowa (due to his omnipresence there of late) and “is making an impression” in South Carolina.

This early in the race, I’d say the campaign is doing well establishing a toehold in the states that matter. If they can secure strong financial support in this quarter, that’ll be a huge boost going into April.

Radio tweak: editor size

From the helpful folks at thought?horizon comes this useful tweak:

We have just added a useful tip on how to modify the size of the editor window used to write posts.  The short depth of 9 lines makes longer posts difficult. 

The basic steps are:

  1. Open the Radio Userland console
  2. Open Root.root tables
  3. Navigate to
  4. Set whatever value you like and return to your home page.

You can read more in our Radio How-To.  Look under Tricks and Tips, Look and Feel.

Thursday, February 6, 2003

Naperville house party for Howard Dean

What: An informational meeting to discuss Howard Dean’s presidential campaign

Where: Rick & Robin Klau’s house, 1416 Oswego Road, Naperville, IL

When: Thursday, February 20th, 7pm – 8pm


Rick & Robin Klau are Naperville residents who are hosting a ‘Dean house party’ to share information about the Dean campaign. Howard Dean was the longest-running Democratic governor in the country, serving as Vermont’s governor for over eleven years. Perhaps most known nationally for his controversial signing of Vermont’s civil union law, Dean is a former practicing physician who is a fiscal conservative and an outspoken critic of President Bush’s economic and social programs. You can find out more about Howard Dean at the Dean campaign web site: or at my weblog focused on the campaign: .


This is a great opportunity to learn more about Howard Dean and to identify ways to get involved in the campaign.


Please RSVP by Monday, February 17th. E-mail with any questions.

Dean in Chicago

Let’s hope that the campaign starts managing its volunteer base better – a number of us would’ve loved to host an event with Governor Dean while he was in town.

I’m sure this won’t be the last time. Stay tuned for an announcement about a local “house party” (read: fundraiser) for the Dean campaign at my house. Most likely will be February 20th, but I’m finalizing details today…

Tuesday, February 4, 2003

Weblogs vs. Websites

My good friend Erik Heels went live with his Radio-powered site last week. Part of this is an experiment to see whether weblogs deliver greater ROI than a traditional website (his “ traditional” site is a database-powered website that is at

Keep an eye on this. Erik’s analysis is always detailed and his conclusions often surprising.

Final e-mail from Columbia

MSNBC: Hello from above our magnificent planet Earth.

FTP your photos to NASA

This strikes me as an absolutely ideal use of the Internet:

For anyone who has recorded video or taken photos that they believe may be of aid in the investigation of the Space Shuttle Columbia accident, NASA has established a special location on the Web where Internet users may upload their media files to be reviewed by NASA.

Using the FTP method of your choice, log on to the server as “anonymous,” using your e-mail address as your password.

User ID: anonymous

Along with any image or video file that you wish to upload, please include a text file containing your name and a detailed description of the time and location at which the image or video was taken.

I, John Doe, recorded this video in my front yard at 1111 My Street in Nacogdoches, Texas, at 7:55 a.m. on the morning of Saturday, Feb. 1, 2003.

Please be sure that your media file and your text file conform to the following naming convention: your first and last name, an underscore, the date the files are being uploaded, another underscore and the time the files are being uploaded. Other than the file extension (.jpg, .txt, .rm), the names of the two files you upload should be the same.

Image file: johndoe_020203_0415pm.jpg
Video file: johndoe_020203_0415pm.rm
Text file: johndoe_020203_0415pm.txt

Then, upload your media and text files. [full information here]

If you need help with FTP, jump over to WS_FTP’s tutorial on the subject. (And download their application for free – it’s a great product.)

Monday, February 3, 2003



[Jon’s Radio]

This has popped up in my news aggregator a couple times. Check it out – a seriously cool example of where stuff like this could end up. The challenge of visualizing information is a fascinating one – and this applies a geographic overlay to breaking news. Nice idea.