Back to school

I am pleased to announce that I’ll be teaching a class in Victor Lombardi’s new Smart Experience professional school.
The class, Managaing the Online-Offline Partnership, derives from my career in “traditional” offline organizations and the great challenge many of us face: bringing the value and importance of Internet activity to an organization whose focus isn’t in the online arena.
The challenge is one I’ve tackled with brio over the years; indeed, “evangelism” has even been a part of my job description on multiple occasions. The task is as fascinating as it is complicated. When you have colleagues running an eight-figure business, and the Internet represents barely 10% of your readership or your revenue base, it’s easy for said colleagues to dismiss your initiatives as a side project, even when those initiatives’ impact has a much lengthier reach. The challenge is bringing that reach to light, and creating excitement and momentum in what to others may be both marginal and frightening.
I plan on hosting a fully participatory session, with light case studies, some role playing, and lots of input from the assembled. SmartEx is new, so class is entirely what my students and I will make of it. My readers are invited to join me in my session, as I make my humbly triumphant return to a classroom setting. (I last taught in the 1990s at open-i media, back in the days when HTML had to be coded by hand.) I’m looking forward to it.
Ideapad readers are eligible for a discount for enrolling in my class–contact me and I’ll pass along the code.

My family

PLAYERS: Seated from left, wife, advertising producer, pop-culture aficionado; mother; and sister-in-law, Love and Sex editor for a major media website.
SCENE: Mom and Dad’s fortieth anniversary dinner at Provence in Soho. “Josie” is playing on the house stereo.
SISTER-IN-LAW: This song is called “Josie!” It’s a Steely Dan song about a prostitute.
WIFE: So I just found out what a Steely Dan is!
MOTHER: Yeah? What is it?
WIFE pauses, considers, then explains: It’s—a vibrator. Or a dildo.
MOTHER turns, points at SISTER-IN-LAW. That’s something you’re supposed to know!
(see also)

links for 2007-08-14

The incredible shrinking newspaper

The paper felt light this morning, as it often does on a Monday in August, only more so. The columns on the right-hand side of the front page looked a little narrower than usual, and I didn’t know why.
Then I looked to the left and saw the note: today the New York Times switched to its smaller sheet size.
Unsurprisingly, I hate it. It lacks the impact, the heft, the ability to convey significant information on a single page. The accordion fold on the subway creates a meek, finished-too-fast column of text. It makes the paper feel less significant, less worth the cover price, less important.
Of course, the Times’s news coverage hasn’t dropped; some of it has simply gotten shorter or moved online. But–and I say this fully aware of the irony–I don’t really want to go to a website for continuations of content I’m reading offline. Despite my thorough online lifestyle, I am resolutely committed to reading the printed newspaper every day. I look forward to it. I have nothing to gain by reading most of the paper, I want to read all of it, and to use nytimes.com for its blogs and for sharing items with friends, not to get extra scoops or a handful of letters to the editor that I used to be able to read in print. I also find it mildly hypocritical that the Times cites rising costs in its resizing decision, when it raised the newsstand price a full 25 percent just weeks earlier.
I know that newsprint is increasingly expensive, and that readership of the print edition is down, and that my desire for the old-fashioned edition makes me something of a fuddy-duddy and a nimbyist. At some point I’m sure I’ll get used to it, just as people always adapt to change. But the new style of the New York Times, by being 11% smaller, is, for the time being, making the Times itself feel 11% lesser.

Timing

I walk into the Banana Republic Men on 17th and 5th and notice my shoe is untied. I stop near the entrance and lean over to tie it. Elapsed time in store: five seconds.
As I am bent over, a sales clerk swiftly approaches me, and asks: “Are you finding everything okay?”