Category Archives: publishing

Rise of the Warrior Poets..i mean cops..i mean…

The Wall Street Journal had an interesting article in August of last year that caught my attention. It focused on the militarization of the US police force. “Rise of the Warrior Cop“, which showcased the exponential increase in SWOT teams across the US.

Book image below with same title/name.

rise of warrior cop

From the article in WSJ …”the country’s first official SWAT team started in the late 1960s in Los Angeles. By 1975, there were approximately 500 such units. Today, there are thousands. According to surveys conducted by the criminologist Peter Kraska of Eastern Kentucky University, just 13% of towns between 25,000 and 50,000 people had a SWAT team in 1983. By 2005, the figure was up to 80%.”

In today’s NYT, they show a very captivating photo on the home page of of three armed SWOT type commandos rushing a protestor in Ferguson, MO. The article suggests this man was protesting a shooting. If so, why all the use of force? Curious to learn more.

military style domestic peace keeping

The question that starts to form could be…how many police officers do we need carrying sub machine guns, bayonets, or transporting in armored personnel carriers? This question can be viewed through the prism of (a) number of violent crimes committed over the last 30+ years and (b) number of crimes committed by assault rifles (and their ilk) vs smaller handguns and less powerful “force multipliers”.  Thus, maybe SWOT style responses are warranted in some cases, others possibly not (see Deterrence Theory as a possible organizing principle).

Anecdotal evidence suggests there is love affair with all things commando in the US, from navy seal books such as The Trident to modern day films such as Act of Valor or Hollywood blockbusters like Lone Survivor.

Presumably this love affair has a direct implication on how we staff our domestic policing forces and/or is a direct outcome of the much talked about “military industrial complex” in the US.

Leadership at Google, talent and education

Interesting article on how Google’s HR team uses “data” to uncover leadership qualities in its employees. Their findings may surprise a bit…”successful managers”, or however they define such qualities, are not necessarily correlated to their undergrad/bschool, SAT boards or pedigree.

Its probably some combination of autonomy, gumption, grit and innate talent?




On this topic, i recently finished a wonderful book by Amanda Ripley titled “Smartest Kids in the World”. This book outlines teaching methods and approach in disparate countries like Korea, Finland and Poland. The book juxtaposes these approaches to teaching math vis a vis “how its done” in the US. Fascinating if you have children and think about the US education system, if you are interested in US competitiveness and labor, how math influences skill sets for the work population, etc…smartest kids

Online Ad Revenue

IAB article reports: “that Q3 2008 online ad revenues were flat. The Q3 revenues of $5.9 billion were 2 percent higher than the Q2 2008 results.  For the first nine months of 2008, revenues totaled $17.3 billion, up from $15.2 billion in the same period a year ago and surpassing the record set in the first nine months of 2007 by nearly 14 percent.”

What will be telling and presumably a barometer for 2009 is the “Q’4 bump”. Advertisers always have excess money in Q4 that they “need” to spend before end of year in order to keep their budgets intact (use it or lose it). Not sure there will be such monies this Q4?

Online ad spending

Online ad spending

Will display ad spending take a hit in 2009? I bet you dollars to donuts there is a material shift in spending from display to SEM during the course of next year in tandem with a pullback in overall spending. While I don’t agree with some prognosticators that we will experience a 40-50% reduction in online ad spending…I think there is a possibility of 30%+ reduction in online spending as companies decide to sit on the proverbial sidelines during 2009 and let the bad news filter through.

Web traffic hitting all time highs? Maybe in some categories!

Mediabistro mentioned in a recent article that “ broke its monthly record of Nielsen unique users, posting nearly 13 million unique users in September. This is a 43% increase from Sept 2007, and 15% over the previous record of 11.2 million unique users in August.”  I think October is going to surpass even those types of numbers for web sites covering the news and finance space.

CNET's graph for the Finance vertical


Yahoo Finance is also experiencing some fantastic leaps, according to Nielsen’s metrics (and a recent CNET article). So whether you agree with Nielsen’s metrics (or methodology for that matter), directionally, its interesting to see large increases in on-line usage during this most volatile of periods. As always, when traffic spikes in the Finance vertical, often its due to economic calamities, which in turn cause advertisers to pull back spending.

According to another CNET article, “…we continue to believe that paid search-ad budgets will remain intact, based on our previously published analysis on the historical experience of direct-mail budgets during recessions. We also believe that display advertising could experience negative growth (we are projecting mid-single-digit growth in 2009), which would weigh heavily on Yahoo,” the analysts said.

October may register one of the biggest month’s ever for traffic in these verticals?!  I would like to see usage of online vs TV over the past 6 months and attempt to determine if users are going online more or less (vs turning on their TV) to follow the banking crisis?

Advertising and Twitter

We are getting closer to the atomic level of advertising and micro-blogging.

TechCrunch reported on a company called that allows for advertising on a person’s Twitter page. As the article so accurately points out, most folks dont visit individual pages of Twitter’ers. Instead, they read the feed on their own page. At least that is my behavior.Twittad will presumably push an ad into the feed in some form or fashion to make this work?

TwittAd application for micro-blogging monetization

TwittAd application for micro-blogging monetization

Thus, we are getting closer, but not sure this is the elegant solution. The article didnt address third party feed aggregation, such as Facebook. I have 27 people following my Twitter feed, but 448 people on Facebook that theoretically see my Twitter updates (ie my Twitter mentions show up in my Facebook feed as I connected the two).

If you extend this “audience” to my LinkedIn, my blog, etc…the micro audience will seemingly overlap, despite getting marginally larger. How do deal with this will be figured out in short order I believe.

Morgan Stanley’s Internet report – March 2008

Their annual “internet trends” slide show was released and is available in a slide show format on TechCrunch (amongst other places).

Few interesting take-aways for me:

– Enterprise solutions, 15 years ago, used to be of higher quality than consumer facing ones, due to security needs, scalability requirements, etc. (not necessarily the case these days with consumer apps and adoption/usage)

– Usage from 2005 to 2008 has evolved…less ebay and amazon and more social interaction (facebook and – projecting that forward, what does it mean for penetration and reach?

– Mobile – new computing cycles, consumer focused and application friendly (as the carriers move towards open platforms (he says skeptically) what type of usage patterns and trends begin to evolve?!

Interesting to review the charts and graphs to put into context that we are still at the early stages of a long term growth pattern for our medium, despite the shorter term ebbs and flows of the growth cycle.

Thoughts with a View – Cocktail Party at the Hearst Building

I attended the “Thoughts with a View” cocktail party hosted by the New York Times, Automattic, Sphere, Hearst Interactive, GigaOM and True Ventures.

The cocktails were served at the top of Hearst Tower last eve and attended by many a luminary in the space. There were attendess from media, tech, web 2.0 and the internet.

Hearst gave an introduction to the group, providing an overview of the building, which provided for a beautiful view of central park south. The building was constructed in the early part of the century, was retrofitted and is now gold LEED certified (which I think is so admirable and the leadership at Hearst should be commended). Another introduction was provided from the lead partner from True Ventures, thanking Tony Conrad from Sphere and giving a quick snapshot of who was in attendance.

Raanan Bar-Cohen from Automattic was holding court, with attendees from Dow Jones (Kelly Leach, Jaime Thingelstad – CTO of DJO, Christine Mohan – AllthingsD, etc), Jeff Misenti GM of Fox Business, Staci Kramer of PaidContent, Andrew Madden from Google, Lindsay Campbell formerly from WallStrip, and a host of other GMs and leads from NYT, Washington Post, Mahalo, etc.

Good times, tall tumblers and a brilliant view…..