links for 2008-11-25

  • "The Internet is the greatest generation gap since rock and roll." Yes and no. People who have grown up knowing the Internet certainly view it differently than the generations previous. But the uptake has been far more progressive than, say, getting Grandpa to like Led Zeppelin. The Internet is certainly the greatest *cultural shift* since rock and roll, and that creates interesting conversations and complications between those who live online and those who simply peer in.
  • Rafe's post could have been written by me. "I’ve been online in some fashion for over two decades, and I’m a fairly private person to start with, so I am very careful about not saying things that are going to turn up later." Indeed
  • No more I Want Sandy! Too bad, it was a fun tool (also, congrats to Rael)

Timely Demise: now open for business

I am pleased to announce the launch of a new blog, Timely Demise. It’s a side project of mine that I’ve been exploring for some time now, and I’m excited to share it with a broader audience.
Timely Demise is focused solely on how the economic crisis is changing the retail environment. What retailers are managing to expand? Who’s consolidating or closing outlets? Eliminating brands? Liquidating assets? Anything with Main Street consumer-level impact will be covered by the blog.
This comes completely out of my own worldview. As a consumer, I take a broader, market-level perspective to my own shopping. I see Banana Republic pants as a product of the upscale marque of the Gap Inc. company; I look at the new Dunkin’ Donuts on 94th and Amsterdam and consider the implications it has for the independent coffee shop on the corner. Linens ‘n Things goes bankrupt and I wonder what they’ll do to clear out inventory. It’s how my mind works, and it’s having a field day processing the current economy. So I thought I’d create a place for me to track such things.
I should expound here on my disclaimer, which is that I am an employee of an agency that works with retailers not unlike some of the companies covered in Timely Demise, and that my opinions are not at all of the expectation or hope of negative news. Quite the contrary–as an Internet strategist, I hope to be part of the short- and long-term solution for clients as they navigate a unique and difficult market. And I certainly hope that anything I cover regarding my employer’s clients will be objective–and only good news.
Please visit, bookmark, add to your feeds, etc.:
Timely Demise
Timely Demise RSS Feed
Timely Demise Atom Feed

links for 2008-11-19 to 11-21

links for 2008-11-17

Hey, that’s what I said

Washington Post: 5 Myths About an Election of Mythic Proportions. “Exit polling suggests that there was no statistically significant increase in voting among [black or young voters],” and other debunking. Worth remembering that Obama’s victory, as noted here previously, is far from the national mandate given to, say, Ronald Reagan.
Related: I watched and enjoyed Obama’s “60 Minutes” interview last night. Barack is an intellectual man who is not afraid of the truth; he and Michelle are balanced, quick to smile, and down-to-earth. (Although there was some bemused discussion in my home as to how extensively the “mom in chief” runs the Obama family, and what that suggests about the president-elect.)

links for 2008-11-07 through 11-12

(Compiled from several previous auto-feed posts.)

On victory margins

While America celebrates Barack Obama’s victory–particularly for what it represents–Americans would be wise to remember that his win, while strong, was far from a landslide.
The media in 2008 like to speak of mandates and sea changes, but in fact, Obama’s victory is far less decisive than some other recent elections, and McCain’s showing was not half bad.
Via Wikipedia, I compiled a list of victory margins by electoral votes for all the presidential elections since the electoral college expanded to 538 votes in the 1960s. Obama’s win is mid-pack:

  Year Elected            Won Lost
1984 Reagan             525  13
1972 Nixon              520  17
1980 Reagan             489  49
1964 Johnson            486  52
1988 George H. W. Bush  426  111
1996 Clinton            379  159
1992 Clinton            370  168
> 2008 Obama              349  163 <
1968 Richard Nixon      301  191
1976 Carter             297  240
2004 George W. Bush     286  251
2000 George W. Bush     271  266

(Note: two states are still being decided; this post will be updated when the final votes are tallied and declared.)
Obama’s victory in terms of the popular vote tells a better story but also comes with a caveat. First, a tip of the cap: his 64,908,616 votes as of this writing are the greatest number of votes ever recorded by a presidential candidate. That is a figure to celebrate.
However, John McCain received more than 57 million votes of his own. Obama’s margin of victory by popular vote is 6.3% (which is to say, if the U.S. had a straight democratic vote instead of an electoral college, he’d have won, 53 to 47 percent).
This is a sound victory. But it still leaves 9 out of every 20 people in the other camp. Four elections in the 538-electorate era have had a greater vote margin between winner and loser. Richard Nixon beat George McGovern by 18 million votes out of 77 million; Obama beat McCain by 7.5 million out of 120 million. Yesterday’s win was solid but not overwhelming.
Still, this is an academic exercise–Obama earned a far stronger win than either of George W. Bush’s campaigns, and his victory forever alters the political landscape in terms of campaigns, backgrounds and style.

Reaction

As much as anything I am astounded by the emotional reaction Obama supporters, including me, are having to the election result.
Hundreds of thousands of people are in the streets, celebrating, as though our nation has won its independence. People are elated! Full of pride, hope and excitement, invigorated in a way this country has not been in years, if not decades.
Today marks a seismic shift in how America views itself, and how the world views America. We can elect a minority candidate to lead our nation. We can back and accept an intellectual who does not hide his intelligence or pander to the ignorant (to which I refer Clinton as well as Bush). We crave pragmatism, we crave leadership, we crave class. We are ready to grow beyond the baby-boomer ideals and standards that have defined us for decades. We are not afraid of change.
The United States is no longer a country defined by narrowmindedness or simplicity. Our president-elect is wordly, clever, and cool. The nation is excited to follow his lead. Remarkable.