Sunday, November 9, 2008

Gore sketches America's fourth republic for Obama

Two informed articles this weekend offer an inspired context and vision for the next chapter of American history. On Friday, Michael Lind outlined the three major republics of American history over at Salon. And today in the New York Times, Al Gore seems to respond by presenting a plan for the initial phase of the fourth.

Lind's "Obama and the dawn of the Fourth Republic" argues that America's republics start with a Hamiltonian impulse to big government solutions and conclude with a period of Jeffersonian reform seeking to pare down the federal buildup. His timeline lays the hammer on the outgoing administration, putting it helplessly in a class with Hoover's and Buchanan's: 
The final president of a republic tends to be a failed, despised figure. The First Republic, which began with George Washington, ended with James Buchanan, a hapless president who refused to act as the South seceded after Lincoln's election. The Second Republic, which began with Abraham Lincoln, ended with the well-meaning but reviled and ineffectual Herbert Hoover. The Third Republic, founded by Franklin Roosevelt, came to a miserable end under the pathetic George W. Bush.
But more to the point, Lind speculates that technologies and economies of the age correspond to the cycles of political backlash:
Lincoln's Second American Republic marked a transition from an agrarian economy to one based on the technologies of the first industrial revolution -- coal-fired steam engines and railroads. Roosevelt's Third American Republic was built with the tools of the second industrial revolution -- electricity and internal combustion engines. It remains to be seen what energy sources -- nuclear? Solar? Clean coal? -- and what technologies -- nanotechnology? Photonics? Biotech-- will be the basis of the next American economy.
Al Gore presents his own five-point answer in "The Climate for Change":
Here’s what we can do — now: we can make an immediate and large strategic investment to put people to work replacing 19th-century energy technologies that depend on dangerous and expensive carbon-based fuels with 21st-century technologies that use fuel that is free forever: the sun, the wind and the natural heat of the earth.
Gore's points run the fiscal-eco-political gamut: 1) large-scale government investments in solar, wind and thermal; 2) a $400 billion dollar unified electric grid that would pay for itself in three years; 3) a package for big automakers and startups alike to accelerate hybrid auto adoption; 4) tie mortgage relief to an initiative retrofitting buildings and houses with energy-efficient insulation, windows and lighting; 5) trailblaze a Kyoto treaty replacement next year capping global carbon emissions and reducing deforestation.

Indeed, these measures summarize quite nicely the new technologies and economies that will define America's fourth republic. Together, the articles lend credence to the abundant comparisons of Obama to Lincoln and FDR, the presidents who launched the last two American republics. This means the energy and sense of change felt by most Americans isn't just real, it has a historical precedent. And noting the energetic youth engaged with Obama's presidential campaign, Gore offers a very real analogy of hope: 
In an earlier transformative era in American history, President John F. Kennedy challenged our nation to land a man on the moon within 10 years. Eight years and two months later, Neil Armstrong set foot on the lunar surface. The average age of the systems engineers cheering on Apollo 11 from the Houston control room that day was 26, which means that their average age when President Kennedy announced the challenge was 18.
If Obama challenges America, as he has and surely will, to come together and make change, just think where we could be in 10 years. The mind stretches to fathom what the unified thought and might of 300 million Americans couldn't accomplish.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Talking digital with Hulu, JibJab and Thumplay

My latest segment on the LinkedIn Blog ran Monday, and it's quite a scoop. Where else have you been able to catch Hulu CEO Jason Kilar, JibJab CEO Gregg Spiridellis, and Thumbplay SVP Mitch Rotter alongside the "Don't Copy That Floppy" guy and gratuitous tours of the Oscar Meyer Wienermobile? Nowhere, that's where.

Perhaps most interesting in this piece, Hulu CEO Kilar touches briefly on piracy: "You're much better off competing and building a delightful service," Kilar says, "as opposed to thinking that you can stop and shut down things through gateways." That's a quantum leap for anyone in Hollywood. They may have realized that the best way to beat piracy is actually to compete, to actually make it easier to buy or watch your favorites than to steal them. Is that a better investment than millions of dollars in lawsuits against fans and websites? Methinks.

Also check out JibJab CEO Spiridellis touch on the best way to build a brand digitally, and Thumbplay SVP Rotter note that the mobile space is a marketplace that people keep with them every waking hour of the day. According to Juniper, goods purchased via mobile will be a $300 billion marketplace by 2013 ... though perhaps that's a conservative estimate when you're selling pdfs for almost $3000.

Juniper Mobile Markets PDF, only £1750

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Creative professionals: put video on your LinkedIn profile

UPDATE: See below for how to put video on your profile with

With the launch of the LinkedIn Applications platform, creative professionals can finally embed video on their LinkedIn profiles. Whether you're an artist, graphic designer, 3D animator, producer, filmmaker, telejournalist or actor, you need video to visually illustrate your creative accomplishments. It's one of the most common requests I've received when lecturing on LinkedIn. And now you can do it with Google Presentations or

The process is simple: use Google Docs to create a presentation and embed a YouTube video in the presentation. Then install the Google Presentation app on LinkedIn and select that presentation to be displayed on your profile. With this solution, people can watch YouTube videos right on your profile. If you prefer to have a list of video files they can download, or a video not on YouTube, you can use the application to put a fileshare folder on your profile too.

UPDATE: What the demo below doesn't cover is's excellent capacity to play Flash video right on your LinkedIn profile. So while Google Presentation requires you to embed YouTube into a presentation, simply requires you to covert the video into Flash format (.flv) and drop it into your profile folder.

See my LinkedIn profile for an example - when you click on the LinkedIn Apps video, it loads and plays because it is in the .flv format. Whereas if you click on the LinkedIn Cannes video, it downloads, because it's in the .mp4 format. Here's a simple step-by-step:

  1. Install the app on LinkedIn
  2. Click on the folder labeled "Profile folder"
  3. Click on the blue arrow and select "Upload"
  4. Select a .flv/Flash video file from your computer
Once it's uploaded, anyone can view the video from your profile.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

LinkedIn's application platform video series

So I've been mighty busy with lots of video editing work, and tonight I can finally showcase what I've been up to. For tonight's release of the LinkedIn Application platform, I produced demo videos for Amazon, Google, Typepad, Wordpress, Huddle,, Slideshare, TripIt, and two others created by LinkedIn. I also cut a sizzle reel showcasing all of them to entice you into their app-itude:

TechCrunch has aggregated all the demos together on their post, and you can read more from CNet, Newsweek, VentureBeat, Reuters, the New York Times or the Wall Street Journal. Also, the corporate blogs of LinkedIn, Wordpress, Huddle, Slideshare, Box.netTypepad and TripIt have covered the app launch — expect much more fuss made of it in the next 24 hours and beyond...

And btw, the apps are great. Log on to LinkedIn and start using them. So far, my favorites are Box, TripIt and CompanyBuzz, but I'll be trying out the others soon enough.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Craigslist barter of the day: classic car for cemetery plot

If the economy is literally killing you, Jeff in Whittier, California has a proposition:


I'm looking for a classic car 1959 thru 1973 ... I have cemetery property located at Rose Hills Memorial Park ... Are you starting to get the picture here?

I'll trade twice the valued amount of your classic in cemetery property!

... Hard times render creative times, and would'nt you like to double your money on that classic out in the driveway? I'm not going to be to picky here, but would really prefer a Chevy Corvair ...

Trading the family plot for a Corvair: a new economic low? Defying death with consumer lust? Or maybe this guy actually just wants a Corvair to be buried in. Then again, if you ask Ralph Nader, a Corvair and a cemetery plot are pretty much the same thing.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Dance Party enforce a groove embargo

My old friends from Washington, DC, The Dance Party, have redesigned their MySpace page and are enforcing the rarely used groove embargo: they've only got one track on their profile. 

"Sasha Don't Sleep" easily proves The Dance Party is the best band of the '80s, despite being a modern act. The adrenaline, the fist-pumping, the synthology. They're hyper-attuned to the mandate to move one's body to the insistent party beat. If you've ever been to their shows, you know that the mandate cannot be rebuffed. The fact that they regularly sell out the nation's best venue, the 9:30 Club, should sum it up. They play New York City this Friday night, followed by Halloween in Baltimore. If ever there were a party in Baltimore, surely it's The Dance Party on Halloween.

Go dig their latest track - hopefully a full album will emerge from this, hopefully on the well-deserved major label, hopefully with a million-dollar advance. If we're throwing back to the '80s, it's only fair.  

Monday, October 20, 2008

I dreamt of Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg

A series of ongoing celebrity encounters that happen, literally, in my dreams.

Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates

Right about the time Microsoft launched the Seinfeld ads, but before they canceled them, I dreamed that I walked into a diner around lunchtime. There, lunching at the counter were Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg. As opposed to my other dreams, where I'm old friends with distinguished leaders, I didn't know either of them. They were just there, having sandwiches at the counter. I planned not to bother them, but as I passed the counter, Zuckerberg excused himself, so I stopped and mentioned to Gates that I loved him in the Seinfeld ads. Moreso than Seinfeld, really. 

Not too long later, I got this on LinkedIn:

I may know Bill Gates

See also:

Monday, September 22, 2008

Dr. Robert Sapolsky: Stressed? Try being a medieval peasant

Wednesday night at 8 pm on PBS, check out National Geographic's "Stress: Portrait of a Killer". It's a pretty killer special itself, about Dr. Robert Sapolsky, a Stanford professor I interviewed earlier this month for LinkedIn. Read more here, and check out the video of our interview below.

All documentary footage courtesy Stanford/National Geographic.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Seinfeld Microsoft Shill Recalls Fellini, YouTube

The reviews on Seinfeld shilling for Microsoft came out long before the ad itself (below), and the verdict was unanimous: not good. The obvious facts were pointed out: Seinfeld notoriously used an Apple on his sitcom, he was featured in an Apple "Think Different" spot, he was relevant in the late '90s, and like Windows, is somewhat past his prime. And he's already shilled for American Express in the past, authoring the ads himself.

Now the ad is out, and some say that, like the sitcom, it seems to be about nothing. Perhaps that's true — Jerry offering Bill Gates a churro and asking if he wears his clothes in the shower does seem like so much whimsy, but it doesn't have the ring of everyday truth that the show had. This is not about re-gifters or man-hands or close-talkers, it's about two mega-rich celebrities meeting in a discount shoe mart. This signals high-concept.

From there, it gets muddled. Seinfeld helps Gates find the right fit for a shoe called "The Conquistador", proclaiming, "You're a 10." A Latino family asks through the window, "Is that The Conquistador?" At check-out, Bill's Clown Club membership id features the mugshot from his 1977 arrest for running a stoplight.

The spots aims for metaphor and semaphore, painting a surreal context for a grand joke: two millionaires walk into a bar. Except the bar is a shoe store, and there's no punchline, just a series of escalating one-liners that aren't especially funny, almost as if Seinfeld is the court jester of the Clown Club, trying desperately to get a laugh out of the king. But Gates is likably stolid, while Seinfeld is annoying, like a bad impression of Seinfeld's trademark humor.

Finally, Seinfeld asks the million-dollar question: "I'm just wondering, are they ever going to come out with something that will make our computers moist and chewy, so we can just eat 'em while we're working?" Gates signals yes with a discrete booty shake.

One can only think of Fellini or David Lynch, where no resolutions are offered, no conclusions are drawn, and only a vague emotion or feeling has been composed over the duration of a piece. This, combined with a production value and comedic timing that recalls a YouTube sketch troupe, makes for a disorienting experience. The high concept is respectable, but the execution is lamentable. It parodies a canon of situational comedy advertising, but it doesn't communicate an effective message or meaningful moment.

How about this: two millionaires walk into an Apple Store. One picks up an iPod and says, "What is the deal with these iPods?" and the other says, "What am I, Bill Gates?" And then security ushers them out.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Radiohead covers Neil Young at the Hollywood Bowl

I don't know why it never occurred to me that Thom Yorke would be a natural to cover Neil Young, but this is beautiful. And there's something lovely about seeing Radiohead play with a couple of acoustic guitars.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Classic MySpace: iPhone app error

MySpace iPhone app error messge

Even on the MySpace app for iPhone, error messages are part of the experience. At least the character of the app is consistent with what you get online. Though it kind of makes me nostalgic for the days when all you could get out of MySpace was, "This error has been forwarded to MySpace's technical group." Those were the days.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Go see "In Search of a Midnight Kiss"

On the LinkedIn blog this week, I cover a question from Hollywood producer Seth Caplan. It's about this film he has out, In Search of a Midnight Kiss, an indie flick that is only in 25 theaters nationwide. Because of that, I recommend going to see it. It's a good film, it has heart, it has humor. It deserves your bucks much more so than the blockbusters that are currently out there.

I happened to catch this film at its LA debut at the Downtown Film Festival. My friend Jeremiah had an extra ticket, so I came along, not knowing what to expect. The reviews out there pretty much cover all the immediate associations: this film is a fine blend of Woody Allen's Manhattan plus Linklater's Before Sunrise, with just the right amount of Clerks and a touch of Swingers. And if you can relate to the romance of social networks, you'll die laughing when the best friend tells the lead character, looking for a date on New Year's Eve, "you've got to get on Craigslist, man, you don't have time for all that MySpace shit." Where every Internet love story from You've Got Mail to Must Love Dogs failed pathetically to capture any real soul, In Search of a Midnight Kiss nails it perfectly. And subtly, without knocking you over the head with it.

Adding to the story, director Alex Holdridge told the audience that they'd made the flick for $12,000, pulling heavily from autobiographical anectodage and drawing on friends to act and shoot. Another $13,000 got the film to an HD master that they could transfer to celluloid. So for $25,000, this group of filmmaking friends made a great film. This is the kind of feelgood story that you want to get behind.

Get behind it, go see it this weekend. You won't regret it. The movies are supposed to put you somewhere, and this film does just that, proving it's not the budget that makes the magic.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Granddaddy of Phone Phreaking a Christian Scientist?

Joybubbles, the grandaddy of Phone Phreaking, was apparently a Christian Scientist, or studied it at the least. On a new website dedicated to the history of Phone Phreaking, this passage about Joybubbles' apartment caught my eye (emphasis added):

What's this? Oh, an old military AUTOVON telephone, complete with the magic extra Touch-Tone button labeled "FO ("Flash Override") that Generals were supposed to use to alert the President in the event of war. It's next to half a dozen other telephones and boxes of wires, connectors, and components. And this? Oh, that's a complete Braille bible ... next to the complete Braille Mary Baker Eddy Christian Science text ... next to a complete Braille Webster's dictionary. Which are all next to a 1970 Pacific Telephone/AT&T training manual for the #1 electronic switching system (ESS) ... a gold mine if you were a phone hacker like Joybubbles was back in the day.

Here's a guy born blind with perfect pitch who accidently discovered at age 7 that he could manipulate the national telephone system by whistling into the receiver. He's an interesting character, who can be traced as the inspiration behind Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak's first retail collaboration, a blue box that that did electronically what Joybubbles could do with his whistle. The New York Times published a fitting obituary late last year.

Joybubbles Steve Wozniak with blue box

Joybubbles was an ordained minister of his own Church of Eternal Childhood, reflecting a lifelong desire to return to the innocence of youth. But it's interesting that he was packing heat with the Bible, Science and Health and Webster's. Perhaps his reverse-engineering of the phone system offered some metaphysical insight into the underlying cause of things. If nothing else, he was a poster boy for the kind of undying curiosity that inspires people like Jobs and Wozniak to invent wonderful things. Because the world is full of wonder, but sometimes, you need a Joybubbles to remind you.

Monday, August 11, 2008

The blog was invented in 1997

...but in 2008, Office 2004 still doesn't know about them. This should be embarrassing for Microsoft.

Microsoft spellcheck still doesn't recognize "blog".

While the iPhone will autocorrect everything from Imac to Ebay (iMac to eBay), Microsoft still doesn't know what a weblog or podcast is, to say nothing of the finer points of eCommerce capitalization. I can't speak for Office 2008, but that's what updates are for. I mean, sEriously.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

I dreamt of Beck and Boris Karloff

A series of ongoing celebrity encounters that happen, literally, in my dreams. This dream is from about summer 2004.

I was hanging out with Beck and his band on a park bench on my lawn, discussing Beck's early work. In the course of the conversation, someone called out from my Victorian manor: “Boris Karloff for you, sir.” I pardoned myself from Beck to take Karloff on the telephone.

Inside, I picked up the phone and politely greeted Boris. He said hello in a Russian accent. He explained in broken English that he was trying to record a radio broadcast to a compact disc. I thought it was cute the way he was trying to catch up with technology. In my patient Mac Genius tone, I explained that he could record it with a tape cassette if he wanted to, but not with a CD.


Beck Boris Karloff

See also:
I dreamt of Neil Young and Bob Dylan
I dreamt of Chico Marx and Dave Chappelle

Friday, August 1, 2008

Leave Steve Jobs Alone! (UPDATE)

Here's a piece I co-wrote with my buddy Kris — it took commenters over at Dan Lyon's blog (the erstwhile Fake Steve Jobs) about half a day to get around to pointing out that it's knocking off Chris Crocker, which still gives me the heebie-jeebies to watch. The blog-o-zone is getting so much mileage out of the last three paragraphs of Joe Nocera's article in the NY Times, we thought we'd pile on too. Surprise and delight!

Cheers to Mario, who wanted a "Leave Jerry Yang Alone!" video, but had to settle for Jobs.

UPDATE: With the video at 4,500 views, somebody made the investment to jump-start So that's an Internet startup drafting off a YouTube mini-meme riding the coattails of a NY Times buzzquote that leeched off health speculations about the Apple CEO. Now if some sites poach misspellings like and, we'll have a complete scale model of Web economics.

UPDATE: And Valleywag has posted on it.
UPDATE: And Gizmodo.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

IBM needs help branding Pensieve

So IBM has announced a new "technology" to scan business cards. It sounds like a novel idea, scanning something for digital reference. But take a look at their video:

Techcrunch says it reminds them of the early '90s, but I don't think that's going far enough. Compare the Pensieve video to this one, c. 1978, for RCA Selectavision:

They may have been forged by the same hand. Or perhaps it's actually the same vocal talent, 30 years later. Oddly enough, the Selectavision video is so much more compelling. The Pensieve video (and perhaps, the whole project) rings like a desperate cry for youth sensibilities at IBM. Speaking of 20,000 Leagues Under Sea...

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Get a free college education at iTunes U?

Moments ago I just received an email from iTunes, which like most, I was about to delete as typical bacn. But I hesitated just long enough to let the news they were sharing pique my interest:

iTunes: Forever curious.

After going to the iTunes U store, I saw immediately the incredible utility that they were offering: a wealth of multimedia content that could essentially supplant a paid college education. Given, not all topics are covered, and not all covered topics will be in-depth, but the wealth of knowledge there is considerable. And most amazing, it's all free.

I went looking for fine arts, thinking I'd fill in the gaps of my art history knowledge, but the first thing I saw was Steve Martin above "Funny People / 92nd Street Y". Clicking through brought me to three one-hour segments featuring Martin, George Carlin and Carl Reiner talking about their crafts. For a first impression, wow. 

iTunes U: Funny People, 92nd Street Y

The only drawback I can see is becoming overwhelmed by the scope of options to feed your head. In fact, it's kind of like standing in the New York library without knowing a good book. This might be viewed as the kind of public service that the FCC used to require of television for renting our airwaves. This is truly an important moment in digital distribution: the first real global library of digital content. Thanks Apple. You had me at "Get". 

Saturday, July 26, 2008

I dreamt of Neil Young and Bob Dylan

A series of ongoing celebrity encounters that occur, literally, in my dreams.

Last night I dreamed that I was in some summer camp hall and Neil Young was performing for a small gathering of people. I was on next, but I didn't have my guitar. I'd be playing on a piano, which I rarely practice and have scarcely performed on. When it came time to play, I went to check out the piano, a small baby grand with no top. I sat down and noticed the keys were not ivory, but spines of old books lined all up and down the keyboard. When I formed a chord with my fingers and pressed on the corresponding books, the piano would sound. Of course there were no white or black keys to tell notes by, just a bunch of book spines.

I improvised a little rag while my mind raced for songs I knew on piano. The books actually played okay. Bob Dylan was on next, so I thought I'd play a take on "Like A Rolling Stone," which has simple enough chords. At the other end of the room there was a perfectly normal piano, so I asked if we could switch the keys from the good piano for the books - the thought didn't occur to me that I could just play the good piano. The keys couldn't be switched. By now it was getting awkward with the audience.

We found an old Wurlitzer electric piano that had normal keys, and I settled on playing a piano interpretation of Metric's "Combat Baby." But one leg of the Wurlitzer was wonky so it kept falling over backwards.


Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Breaking SAG news from LinkedIn Company Profiles



I do not recommend downgrading from an iPhone

The most awful of circumstances led to me downgrading from an iPhone: I lost mine on a flight from Brussels to Cannes in May, and they would not let me back on the flight to look for it. This was followed by the most awful of announcements by Apple: the 3G iPhone would not be available until July. This resulted in the most awful of necessities: I had to use a Motorola Razr for one month. Aside from the functional retardation this induced, it also enabled AT&T to screw me on the upgrade pricing for the new iPhone.

For quick reference, here's what my old Razr looked like at the end of its productive life, about a year ago:

Verizon Razr V3c, post

Admittedly, the shape it was in was purely my fault. I take pride in taking good care of my electronics, but I beat the Razr senseless out of frustration with its pathetic Verizon software, molasses-slow response, and DRM'ed restrictions. Then I tore it apart looking for the SIM card. There was no SIM card, and you had to subscribe to a paid service to transfer your data to a new phone. Want to use your own USB cable? You can't — the cable is "not approved" and you have to buy one from Verizon. Want to change the boot screen so you don't have to watch an ad for Verizon's Vcast service everytime you turn on your phone? You can't. Want to turn off the annoying low battery sound that beeps every two minutes if you need a charge? You can't — even if you set the phone to silent mode. Want to remove the cheesy default desktops and trashy gifs to save space on your phone? You can't. You can't, you can't, you can't. That's Verizon's idea of a customer's rights to the products they buy.

Having downgraded back to the Razr for a month, I must say: old phones seem positively Cro-Magnon after the iPhone. I was excited when I got a Razr in early 2005. I forgave its fumbly design flaws at first, liking the slim and sleek ideal, but eventually grew to hate fighting against it to accomplish basic tasks. Having now used the iPhone, where basic tasks are simple, complex tasks (like three-way calling and looking up a contact during a call) are logical and intuitive, and extended functionality like Google Maps and websurfing are just a touch away, downgrading to any other device is like regressing to Windows 1.0. It literally feels decades behind, where the simplest task like changing a ringtone, entering contact info or sending a text is a fight against a maze of menus and unlabeled buttons.

In downgrading to the dark ages, the unkindest cut of all came when I tried to return to 2008: AT&T refused to give me the upgrade pricing to my 3G iPhone. This pricing is guaranteed for anyone who bought the first iPhone, $199 for the 8GB and $299 for the 16GB. But because I had to use a loaner for a month, they said there was no iPhone on the account, and thus I had to pay $499 for the 3G. As the guy at the Apple Store said, "AT&T is screwing you." I spent about half an hour on the phone with support, looking for the intelligent person to make the exception. But they blamed "our contract with Apple." Apple, contrarily, said, we can't make any alterations to the price because AT&T controls all pricing.

This is a fight I plan to take to customer service ferociously until I get a rebate. That's right, I bought the 16GB at the inflated price, because I can't go on using a cell in the time of cholera. But for AT&T to penalize me $200 for losing my phone illustrates their basic inclination to screw the loyal customer.

Stealth Burger Reviews, International Edition: Scanburger

It's always a pleasure to sample international fare, particularly when it aspires to the complex chemistry of American fast food. Recently Stealth Burger Reviews reveled in Scandinavia's answer to the cultural hegemony of American hamburger chains: Scanburger.

It certainly was Scan-tastic to find a fast food drive-thru on Finland's scenic byways, though we stumbled on it quite by accident when pulling over for a rest stop. By the looks of the parking lot, the Scanburger phenomenon has yet to catch on over there. That's our Land Rover, and we were indeed the only party partaking of the Scan. I told myself it must've been packed at lunchtime.

Scanburger parking lot Scanburger drive-in sign

The Scanburger menu is a delightful ramble of cultural variations on standard hamburgery. Some highlights include the Ruisburger (hamburger on dark rye), Kebabburger (kebab meat fashioned into a hamburger), and the Kasvisburger (a large onion-ring in place of meat). In addition, it seems Finns like eggs on their burgers, though we didn't venture to try any. Consider the Kerrosburger (kerros meaning floor or story, layer), which appears to be a Big Mac with eggs:

Kerrosburger meal Scanburger menu

We ordered the American Classic burger, but oddly enough, they were sold out. Apparently they really are crazy for American culture over there. We settled on the XXL-ateria (ateria meaning meal), since Americans need everything bigger. What we got was a Big Mac, but in the dimensions of a Whopper. It was huge — as the sign notes, "2x90g patties". And the fries come in an excellent cubical box, meaning more room for more fries.

XXL burger

While the patties were clearly pre-fab and frozen, the pickles were thicker than American fast food, the lettuce was fresh and the flavors were good. The main challenge was managing the delicate principle of patty alignment, by which one patty of a Big Mac is pushed further and further out the back with each bite if not aligned perfectly with the other. By the end of the XXL, the top patty was totally gone with a few bites of the bottom patty left. But other than that, the Scanateria was money. Perhaps it tasted better because we'd eaten liverwurst and Karelian pasties all weekend, but I'd venture to say Scanburger could hold it's own against the big American chains. For a regional variation on the mass culture of fast food, Scanburger might even be considered an improvement.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Are you paranoid about a SAG strike?

There are people who can help.

Check out this informative guide we've put together over at LinkedIn, and download your own copy here.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Apparently I misbehaved on Facebook...

...because I got this message today:

So something I did violated their terms of use. I'd love to know what it was, because I'm generally not hateful or threatening, nor have I attacked an individual or group. And I certainly don't spam my friends or post obscene content on Facebook. Everybody knows that's what MySpace is for. When I went looking for some explanation, I learned this from Facebook's Warning FAQ:

Can I see the removed content?
Unfortunately, for technical and security reasons, users cannot view the removed content ... Please go through your profile and make sure to take down any other offensive or objectionable material that violates our Terms of Use.

Hmmm. So I can't know what I did, but I have to know that it was wrong, and I need to check the "I acknowledge that I have read this information" box to prove my repentance. I wish I knew what I was repenting of. Another FAQ told me this:

Wall/Discussion Board Posts that are not permitted include:
  • Posts that advertise a product, service, website, or commercial event

Just this bullet marks a huge demarcation between the Facebook and the MySpaces, as the latter's free use of HTML in comment fields was one of the primary things that a) drove adoption, and b) turned it into spamtown. Clearly there's a balance between the two—I have no idea what I did to trigger a report from Facebook, and I should at least be pointed to some sort of indicator as to what was inappropriate. If I post a link to a Daily Show clip, is that advertising a product, or sharing content in the way social media championed? Even if I post links to my own blog, video feed or Flickr stream, it's sharing content, though I rarely do this on Facebook. The more I think about it, the more I'm baffled at what I could've done. I half expect them to follow up with an apology that says this message went out to everyone.

That said, I kind of enjoy having sinned against Facebook. On MySpace, the sins are scarlett, like a semi-porn profile pic against glitter gif wallpaper. But on Facebook, the sins are white as snow, amorphous, mysterious. It makes me wonder how bad I really was...

Saturday, June 14, 2008

I dreamt of Chico Marx and Dave Chappelle

In a new series here, I'll catalog an ongoing series of celebrity encounters that occur, literally, in my dreams. 

Last night I dreamed that I was explaining the racial humor of Dave Chappelle to Chico Marx. Chico said, "I no like-a the 'n' word." I tried to put it in perspective for Chico, telling him about Chappelle's show and career as a black comedian in a white world.

But then Chico turned into Chappelle, and we were just hanging out at a club.


Chico Marx Dave Chappelle

Thursday, June 12, 2008

My Cannes coverage has become the summer fashion

Due to a favorable review in the LA Times, my video coverage on the Cannes lifestyle has garnered the attention of 937 people everywhere! At least, that's the YouTube count after a day. The video, which premiered at LinkedIn headquarters in Mountain View yesterday, was seen by Times blogger Jessica Guynn, who had this to say:
"We think Jon Stewart should give this guy a Palme d’Or. Getzschman is a natural Rob Riggle."
We here at laud Jessica's eye for talent and good taste. Clearly she's got a sixth sense about these things. We'll be keeping an eye on her work. See the video below, followed by links to the review and my original post on LinkedIn's company blog.

Link to LA Times tech blog / Link to original post on the LinkedIn company blog.

UPDATE: ValleyWag hails the video as "cheesy", showing that they comprehend the underlying premise of humor. Kudos! And also that Yahoo could take a lesson from LinkedIn's marketing. 

UPDATE: Since YouTube doesn't rep the hi-res, download an mp4 of the video:

320x240 (10.3 MB) or 480x360 (48.9 MB)

Special thanks to Rose Chamberlain for her camerawork and Marcio with Telemetrik for use of the song "Nova"!

I saw Bono stalk Woody Allen at Cannes

I've been an avid conference goer over the last few months, as my job has me going to many of them representin' and whatnot. So I've become very familiar with the post-panel stalk. Conferencegoers want to talk to the famous guy on the panel, they move to the front of the stage, they wait patiently for the appropriate moment to corner them and move in for the kill. I've seen it done to LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman, to Toto's David Paitch, to Bob Lefsetz. I know the stalk well, though I generally eschew it. I did it to Steve "guitar" Miller in April, just to tell him I was amazed how fresh he kept his catalog, and that he was a good sport hanging around to be stalked. He said he lives out in the country, so it's nice to see people.

Another guy did it to me, feeling me out to see if I was famous. When he realized I wasn't, he asked me to take a photo of him with Natasha Beddingfield.

But in Cannes, I saw something remarkable: I saw Bono stalk Woody Allen.

Bono is about as big as you can get. If Bono can get a lunch with Africa, I'm pretty sure he can get Woody Allen on the phone. But in Cannes, I saw Bono stalk Woody Allen after the screening of Vicki Christina Barcelona like a hopeful sales rep dogging Steve Ballmer. In fact, I got a photo of it:

There, see him? That's Rebecca Hall in front of Woody, and behind them both is Bono. Let's look closer.

See Woody to the left of Rebecca? And Bono behind, clapping his rhythm-gifted rock star hands to mask the post-panel stalk. I was there. I saw it. See Fig. 1:

Bono is the leader of the free world. Why is he stalking Woody Allen? Woody is an auteur, and certainly celebrated in France, but can't Bono just have his people call Woody's people? Does Bono need to bust the Cannes post-premiere screening stalk on Woody?

He moves in mysterious ways. With mysterious orange safety glasses.

They say it's in the eyes. Bono's fathomless eyes, that have beheld other worlds than these. They seem to be saying, "If I can get between him and Rebecca Hall..."

There are some things mere men may never know. But Bono knows.

Bono Knows.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Woody Allen / Muppets mashup is right on the money

The mashup culture is a beautiful thing when it nails it like this. With the present state of hype, I expected it to be Sex In The City mashed up with the Muppets, but what a relief to hear classic lines from Woody Allen's Manhattan.

And speaking of Woody, stay tuned for some first-person reporting from Cannes last week...

Via Gawker.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

CNN takes on Busted Tees, Onion with headline t-shirts

In an unexpected development, infotainment monolith CNN has moved into t-shirt sales. I can only guess the kitsch apparel market, dominated by snark purveyor BustedTees, was unprepared for the bold move by the media outlet. News agencies have typically sought to monetize their information assets through publication and broadcast, not through a wearable medium popular with hipsters, homeless and bumper-sticker activists.

CNN readers are now able to click a t-shirt icon next to selected headlines, enabling them to purchase a t-shirt featuring the headline for $19.99 with the tag, "*I just saw it on". It's like buying a transcript, only you wear it on your chest.

Selected headlines apparently cater to the coveted 18-35 demographic, focusing on soft news such as, "Another 'Idol' forgets they lyrics", or, "Suspect leads cops on golf cart chase". Other, newsy headlines like "D.C. sniper: 'Murder this innocent black man'" have not been included for apparelization. Hmmm, curious. I can't help but think what a conversation starter "Young mom dies; wedding rings vanish" would be if I wore it everywhere.

By grabbing only the featury headlines, CNN seems to be aligning their brand more with, say, The Onion than with the NY Times, the CS Monitor, or other serious news resources. Ironically, The Onion's tees don't feature headlines, but trade on the same brand of snark as BustedTees. CNN's tees really just signify which of their actual headlines are fluff. They won't be turning real news into kitsch memes, because I can't help but think somebody would object to me wearing a t-shirt about their kid: "Boy, hit by Prius, says he couldn't hear it".

...though it sounds more like an Onion headline to me. I don't foresee great success for CNN's t-shirt venture. The audience they're targeting likes crappy, ironic t-shirts because they seem more authentic than the canned culture we get from the mass media. They recall untainted youth with bad puns and schoolbook illustrations, and that's what we're going for. The off-kilter news that CNN is pitching as t-shirt fodder misses the mark because it's real. It's news of the weird, not fashion of the disillusioned. The corporate design job underscores this — they look more like something a CNN employee would wear tucked into jeans on biz-cas-Fri than anything you'd see in Williamsburg.

In summary, let's do a quick visual comparison. Which would you brand yourself with?

Fashion aside, they pretty much say the same thing.

Friday, April 25, 2008

MUSEXPO: "United Nations of Music and Media" begins today

MUSEXPO, the United Nations of Music and Media, kicks off today in Hollywood. This conference is more international in scope than any of the other music conferences, with a specific focus on building music relationships globally. Once again, if you answer my question posted on LinkedIn, you can be seen in Hollywood — the best questions posted for music industry author Bob Lefsetz will be included in his interview Wednesday afternoon.

Ask Bob Lefsetz a question on LinkedIn and be featured at MUSEXPO 2008.

Beyond the Lefsetz interview, there are tons of excellent panels and great bands playing each night, as well as the chance to network with hundreds of music industry professionals worldwide. Read up on the list of panelists below at
MUSEXPO's website, or click on the names below to see their LinkedIn profiles.

Jens-Markus Wegener
AMV Talpa G.m.b.H.

Rob McDermott
President, Collective Music Group

Justin Shukat
Founder/General Manager, Primary Wave Music Publishing

Chris Dorne
VP/Director of Production, connectivetissue, MediaVest USA

Frank Takeshita
Executive GM, Creativeman Productions

Robert N. Peirce
British Consul General, Los Angeles

Rachna Bahsin
VP Business Development, Dell-ZING

Jason Sausto
President, Onkyo China

David Pakman
President/CEO, eMusic

Oum Pradutt
Managing Director, Phase 1 Events & Entertainment Pvt. Ltd.

Nathalie Schwarz
New Business and Corporate Development Director, Channel 4 (UK)

Ian Rodgers
VP Video & Media Applications, Yahoo!

Jimmy Steal
VP Programming, Emmis Radio Properties

Kenny Gates
Co-Founder/Co-President, [PIAS] Entertainment Group

Simon Renshaw
President/CEO, Strategic Artist Management

Martin Kierszenbaum
Sr. VP A&R/Head of International, Interscop Geffen A&M
President, Cherrytree Records

Dan Diamond
VP, NCM Fathom

Lindsay Fellows
Sr. VP/Executive in Charge of Music, Walden Media and Bristol Bay Productions

Jimi Wang
General Manager, Rongxi Entertainment Media Compnany Ltd.

Carter Armstrong
VP of Music, Warner Brothers Pictures

Savio D'Souza
Secretary General, Indian Music Industry

Gary Arnold
Sr. VP Entertainment, Best Buy

Harvey Goldsmith
Founder, Harvey Goldsmith Presents

Mark Strippel
Head of Music, BBC Asian Network

Ralph Peer, II
Chairman/CEO, peermusic

Nick Gatfield
President, Island Records Group

Marianne Goode
VP Music, Lifetime Television/Lifetime Entertainment Services

Andrew Phillips
Media Consultant

Steven Stewart
Senior Manager, Nokia Music

Ron Broitman
Sr. VP Film, Advertising & Music, Sony/ATV Music Publishing

Geoff Boucher
Feature Writer, Los Angeles Times

Atul Churamani
VP A&R, Publishing & New Media, Saregama India Ltd.

John Anderson
Hunnypot Unlimited

Andy Gould

Gary Chen
Co-Chairman/CEO, Orca Digital Inc. (

Kenny MacPherson
President/Senior Executive, Chrysalis Music North America

Seymour Stein
Chairman, Sire Records Group

John Watson
President, John Watson Management and President, Elven: a music company

John Alexander
Sr. VP Creative Affairs/Membership US, ASCAP

David Vodicka
Managing Director, Rubber Records and Rubber Music Publishing

Jackie Subeck
President, Entertainment Group - CRC Jianian

Mike Tunnicliffe
Founder/President, Tuna Music LLC

Michael Chugg
Founder, Chugg Entertainment

Sean Moriarty
President and CEO, Ticketmaster

Nick Robinson
Senior Executive Writer/Publisher Relations Europe, BMI

Ande MacPherson
Programme Director, Xfm Network

Mike Walsh
Head of Music, Xfm Network

Chris Price
Director of Music Programming, MTV Networks UK & Ireland

Jim O'Mahony
CEO Latin America, Australasia, Asia Pacific & CRIB, Saatchi & Saatchi

Doc McGhee
Founder, McGhee Entertainment (Worldwide Manager of KISS)

Naoki Shimizu
CEO/President, Creative Man Productions

Tim Prescott
CEO, Albert Music

Jay Faires
President of Music & Publishing, Lionsgate Entertainment

Peter Shukat
Managing Partner, Shukat Arrow Hafer Weber & Herbsman, LLP

Folkert Koopmans
Managing Director, FKP Scorpio Konzertproduktionen GmbH

Emmanuel LeGrand
Editor, Impact Magazine

Paul Wright
Sr. VP Strategic Alliances & Marketing, Mediaguide Inc.

Erica Farber
Publisher, Radio & Records

Keith Welsh
Co-Publisher, The Music Network; Managing Director, Rough Cut Music Publishing

Robert Reynolds
Worldwide Manager, The Killers

Peter Asher
Partner, Strategic Artist Management

Kathleen Carey
Sr. VP International, Sony/ATV Music Publishing

Tess Taylor
Founder/President, National Association of Recording Industry Professionals (NARIP)

Dain Blair
CEO, Groove Addicts

Alicen Catron Schneider
VP Music Supervision, NBC Universal Television Music

Jason Magnus
President, Rock for China/Beijing Pop Festival

Chris Barton
Strategic Partnership Development Manager, Google

Kevin Lyman
Founder, Vans Warped Tour and 4Pini Inc.

Terry McBride
CEO, Nettwerk Music Group

Ron Stone
Co-Founder/President, Gold Mountain Entertainment

Diane Warren

Ali Partovi
CEO, iLike

Aarti Tandon
Partner, Law Office of Aarti Tandon

Alexandra Patsavas
Founder/Music Supervisor, Chop Shop Music Productions

Bob Lefsetz
Author, "The Lefsetz Letter"

Dalton Caldwell
Founder/CEO, imeem

David Massey
President, Mercury Records

James Patrick Dunne
President, Inspire Entertainment

Max Tolkoff
Program Director, "Indie 103.1" Los Angeles

Nic Harcourt
Music Director, KCRW Los Angeles

Nick Raphael
Managing Director, Epic Records UK

Ritch Esra
Publisher, The Music Registries

Safta Jaffery
Owner/Managing Director, SJP & Taste Music Ltd

Steve Schnur
Worldwide Executive/Music & Audio, Electronic Arts

Ted Cohen
Managing Partner, TAG Strategic

Tommy Nast
Exec VP/Business Development, CenterStaging Musical Productions, Inc.