Monday, July 13, 2009

Dear Louisville, CO

Dear L-ville,

Thank you for being pronounced 'Lewis-ville.' And thank you for having Davidson Mesa, multiple dog parks, colorful old mining history and an old town center that makes me grateful for those that came before me. It's awfully good of you to have single track trails a block from my front door, even if I don't use them nearly as much as I should. And wild open space walks with great views of the Indian Peaks Wilderness, Rocky Mountain National Park and beyond, even though I put in no more effort than taking Annie for a 15 minute walk. Thank you for having sunny snow-capped mountain views on a 90 degree day in July. And although it's sometimes annoying, I am grateful that you continually make me wish I brought my camera almost every time I drive home from work before dark. Oh, and thanks for the surprisingly good Mexican mole and friendly people. I'll have seconds of both, please.

I'm not one of those Louisville stubbornites that tries to hide the fact that you're conveniently close to Boulder and even Denver. Thanks for that too. Let's not pretend you'd be this awesome if you were an island. C'mon, don't gimme that - I say it out of love. Really, thanks a bunch for being 25 minutes away from checking in at an international airport and 5 minutes away from checking out of reality on back beat trails where all I can see is the disappearing slope giving way to a horizon revealing 14,000 foot peaks, while make-believing there's nothing in between.

Oh, and thanks for collecting all these things while still sporting a Super Target, Costco, Whole Foods, a never crowded movie theater and a hundred places to eat. 'Cause we wouldn't want to get stir crazy or depressed thinking about how we have to go to Boulder just for a good time or a good grocer. Such thoughts may lead to us wishing we lived down the road in the People's Republic of Boulder, and we'd rather not need a zip code to support how tragically hip and aware we are. We're hip enough here without the inflated costs, but don't tell 80301 - She just gets weird and defensive about that stuff.

And last of all, thanks for waiting to drop this whole CNN Money #1 place to live bomb until a month after we purchased our first home here. Good timing, friend. Congrats. It's been a good two years getting to know you. Sorry my dog is always treating you like her toilet. You know how it is.

Keep it up.

love,
eric

Friday, July 10, 2009

There are no third chances.

GM CEO Fritz Henderson left some solid quotes in the abc news article about GM emerging from bankruptcy today:

"We have a second chance. Second chances in life are precious … there are no third chances."

"The company wants to return to designing, building and selling great cars."

My question: if there are no third chances, and GM is "returning" to designing, building and selling "great cars," isn't Fritzty going to be begging for a third chance?

The new level of effort behind buzz

In the last 20 hours, I've come across two campaigns that really impressed me. Not so much because of the creativity behind the idea, but the effort and money put into non-traditional ways of building Word-of-Mouth currency for their product. Really got me thinking about the value of WOM, and what tools are worth the effort to produce. Or rather what tools and strategies haven't even been thought of yet. That's exciting to me.

1) District-9: Sony Pictures created an 800 number, and multiple "fake" websites based on the premise of this forthcoming movie. I was pulled in when I watched the trailer on the YouTube's homepage. It's not there anymore, but you can see it here. I hope you have 45 minutes because this is gonna be fun.

Watch the Trailer. Then, call Call MNU to report non-humans at 866-666-6001.

Visit the URL you're led to on the phone call. That's how I was led down this path.

If you can't find a phone, you can open a new tab / window in your browser and google "Multi-National United" or "MNU"

Visit D-9.com.

If you haven't already, visit MNUspreadslies.com. check out the blog postings from the beginning.

There are tons of random videos, blog postings, comments on each blog posting, maps, and all kinds of content on the MNU website that was built just for the movie. There are MNU and "Christopher" twitter accounts, facebook pages, anti-MNU human rights protest videos on YouTube, etc. It goes on and on.

There's no such thing as MNU. No such thing as Disctrict 9. But Sony Pictures has raised this campaign to a new level of pseudo-reality, putting the time and money into creating all this "fake" content, adding a little more reality to the movie hype. I'm looking forward to seeing it in theaters. Leave it up to Peter Jackson to do things bigger than ever before.

[On a side note, I wonder if the movie is supposed to be blatantly symbolic of South Africa's former apartheid government. The film takes place there.]

2) Shark Week! Who doesn't love shark week? Even some of the most girly girls I know look forward to it. Aside from the Discovery Channel promoting Shark Week to TV viewers and consumers, it's normal for them to get journalists excited about it in a separate PR press kit campaign. This year's promotional effort to reporters is awesome. They are sending reporters...well, I'll just let you read about first hand accounts here....or here.

How would you like to get a newspaper clipping of your own well-research obituary in the mail? Along with the battered pair of the shark chewed swim trunks you died in.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

stuff i build at the factory

with the talented help of others, of course.
video

video

video

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

nostalgia

Had enough Michael Jackson talk for the rest of your life?

It's become obvious to me that the largest reason people are getting so caught up in the Michael Jackson story is because when we think about a life's work like MJ's, that work is intrinsically linked to our own nostalgia. We, as humans, love to wax nostalgic.

That said, the rest of this post is only for the humans out there. The rest of you are free to go.

My parents took me and my brothers to Disneyland and we saw the Michael Jackson 3-D movie Captain EO. Holy crap. Did you see that as a kid? Do you remember walking out of that theater? Do you remember what that felt like? If we watched it now, we may roll our eyes or giggle through some of it, but for the time, for the age I was, it was bigger than the universe. A seventeen-minute film costing an estimated $30 million dollars to produce. At the time it was the most expensive film ever produced on a per-minute basis, averaging out at $1.76 million per minute.

Two days before Michael Jackson suddenly died I posted this status on facebook:

“Every now and then i hear a song from Michael Jackson's "Thriller" album and am not surprised it is still the best selling album of all time. Today: Billie Jean. Danke Pandora.”

My parents had the original Thriller vinyl LP in their record collection. And they had a record player hooked up to the big family speakers all the way up until they moved in 2002.

Two days before he died, Pandora brought me back to our family room in Concord, CA. I was 5 years old. 8 years old. 12 years old. Then, I specifically remember my 16th birthday party. My house was packed with friends, music was playing from the CD player, kids were mingling and generally running amok. I always liked playing DJ. I had this planned all day: At the climax of the party, I stopped the CD player in the middle of a song, put the Thriller record on and set the needle to “Beat it.” It immediately changed the whole vibe in my house and the party became instantly cooler, even though we weren't bumping to the latest "cool" music. That's how classic pop works. We listened to Thriller, Billie Jean, P.Y.T. and Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’ until we realized the party just can’t get any better and it started to die down.

I remember the first time time I saw the Thriller video sitting on the edge of the couch one afternoon in the mid 80’s. I probably wasn’t supposed to be watching MTV or VH1, but I was blown away. I think I was even scared of all the zombies at first.

I remember the day in Germany when my zone leader taught a 19 year-old me how to moonwalk. I could then moonwalk, for real, and it was a big deal to me. I’m pretty sure I wrote home about it. As if one of the 50 things I really wanted to do in my life was checked off, and that was simply fun for me. I started moonwalking all over my apartment, like a total goober, but I didn’t care.

MJ’s work is a large chunk of the soundtrack to my young life. A carefree, sun-kissed, dancing childhood. I know I’m not the only one, so I guess I’m not that surprised to find so many people from all walks of life are a bit caught up in his departure. In reality, I imagine they're more caught up in the memories of their own lives, but Michael Jackson, the entertainer, is the common denominator.

Why the media insists on spend hours on supposed "news" channels speculating on his cause of death, whether or not Janet tried to stage an intervention a few years back, who agrees or disagrees with who has custody of his kids now, etc, i don't know. Well, i do, but that's a different issue.