The Bryce Harper
Ingredients: Mountain Dew disguised as Gordon’s London Dry Gin, served as a punch. Chug and chase with Wintergreen Skoal.
Bryce Harper is 20, a year below the legal drinking age, but that doesn’t stop him from getting into bars in Adams Morgan, because he’s Bryce Harper. Once he’s inside his watering hole, however, bartenders know better than to get him sauced up, you know, because he’s Bryce Harper, age 20. Whenever the staff sees him walk in, a signal is given throughout the establishment and one bartender, Chad, reaches under the bar, grabs a tub already filled with ice, puts it atop the bar, bangs a cowbell, screams “BRYCE HARPERRRRRR,” and starts making a righteous punch. By the time Bryce walks over with his five ladies, Chad, is doing that thing where you grab six bottles and turn them over all at once. These (plastic) bottles, all labeled “Gordon’s London Dry Gin,” are filled with liquid, but instead of gin, it’s Mountain Dew. Chad, the bartender, tells Bryce Harper to chug the “Bryce Harper” and then chase it with a Wintergreen Skoal. He always acts accordingly, fully aware that all eyes are on him, but completely unaware that the buzz he feels, post–chug and chase, isn’t alcohol but instead the violent chemical reaction that is Yellow No. 5 meeting chewing tobacco.
Bryce passes out. When he comes to, the punch is put away, the girls are gone, and he’s in his Nationals uniform on the Green Line toward Anacostia, a stop past the stadium, at 3:30 a.m. Another solid Monday.
Do you surround yourself with things you really like or things you like only because they are absurd? Listen to your own speech. Ask yourself: Do I communicate primarily through inside jokes and pop culture references? What percentage of my speech is meaningful? How much hyperbolic language do I use? Do I feign indifference? Look at your clothes. What parts of your wardrobe could be described as costume-like, derivative or reminiscent of some specific style archetype (the secretary, the hobo, the flapper, yourself as a child)? In other words, do your clothes refer to something else or only to themselves? Do you attempt to look intentionally nerdy, awkward or ugly? In other words, is your style an anti-style? The most important question: How would it feel to change yourself quietly, offline, without public display, from within?
via “How To Live Without Irony,” which is really worth a read.
I’m still in between jobs now, so I’ve decided to take on something big with my free time — a novel. I’ll write one in a month. Hopefully. November is “National Novel Writing Month” and lots of writers use it as a way to jump-start an idea. Over 250,000 people attempted this madness last year, only 14% succeeded. The odds are grim, but I need this kick in the pants.
So yeah, if you see me in November, ask me how it’s going, and about my word count. I need to hit 50,000 by midnight November 30th. That’s an average of 1,667 words every single day. This is exciting (and fucking terrifying) for me— I always have ideas for scenes and dialogue that come to me when I’m out and about, but now I’ll have a reason to write them down. To turn them into something bigger. No time like the present, am I right?
I apologize in advance if I do not answer your email this coming month.
I wrote a piece for Jawbone.tv. Took a lot of time to think about the qualities of art made with the internet. Perhaps it’s a little too long. Either way, I would love to hear some opinions on it. Click the image (by Mekko Harjo) to read it.
An acquaintance of mine recently reached out and asked if I had any tips to share about how to blog for your business. I was surprised with how quickly I managed to come up with some recommendations. He used them in a Skillshare class and said the response was good. Here they are below, for anyone who cares about writing for company blogs. I think they should be applicable to many industries, from web products to consumer goods and more. Let me know what you think, or if you have any additions.
- Be a thought leader. Don’t just brag about your business or product. Your blog is not a sales vehicle, it’s a confidence/loyalty booster. Obviously, you should share news and product updates but you can do more for the days or weeks in between. Find articles and news related to your industry and share it, with commentary and/or highlighted sections. Don’t focus on specific sites either for all your links. Think about bigger, more abstract news (like legislation, data research, trends, etc) and interpret what it means to your audience. Skillshare’s blog does a great job at being a thought leader in the field of education.
- Tell stories. They humanize your company. Whether you’re struggling to meet expectations or not, specific stories about what you’re working on and why it’s important will keep your customer’s attention. If you are able to glean stories from your customers or users, all the better. A great example of personal stories from employees comes from my friends of Keen.io. And a great example of leveraging user content can be seen at the Kickstarter blog.
- Be a resource. People are coming to your blog to know more about your company or product. Share best practices, tips, use cases, anything you can think of that might be helpful. If it’s obvious to you, it’s probably not to someone else and worth writing about. Keep them quick and digestible. I did this for Twitter’s Media site fairly consistently.
- Be humorous, but don’t be too clever. Your company should only be trying to make funny internet videos if that’s in your DNA. Have fun with your stories, but don’t try to be a comedian, just let it come naturally. Good examples of company blogs with personality: the Twitter blog (the early years, 07-09, when Biz Stone wrote most of the content are particularly ripe with humor), and ThinkGeek.
- If you’re at a loss for content, turn to the web. Search for news articles, or try to find an answer to a question you (or your customers) have. Look at places like Quora, Twitter, Kickstarter for ideas of things to link to or write about. Remember to attribute your links. No one likes a content thief.
(@HBO) June 06, 2012
If you’re a fan of TV and technology, chances are that last week you heard of this thing called Take My Money HBO. A movement started out of frustration with HBO’s current subscription model, which is tied to the big cable providers. Lots of people want to pay for HBO GO as a standalone service, but what many don’t realize is that this doesn’t make sense for HBO. They rake in tons of cash by having these big subscription packages (which include other channels like Cinemax, HBO Family, etc), and I don’t get why everyone just assumes the cable giants will be killed by off by Netflix, iTunes, and Hulu.
If you think these GIGANTIC companies are going to go quietly to their grave, then you’re wrong. With things like Comcast’s XFinity, DirectTV On-Demand, and more, cable providers are also getting in on the on-demand game. They are not stupid, they’ll go where their customers go. For now, those customers are still on cable boxes and satellites. This might (and probably will) change, but it doesn’t mean cable providers will fade away, they’ll evolve as well.
In addition to the Techcrunch article, you should also read this piece over at Think Progress, which does a great job outlining a lot of the issues. Alarmists will negate some of the good reasons HBO should stick with cable providers, like the way they can leverage existing customer bases (free previews are quite common and I bet they drive a decent amount of conversion), and use their technological infrastructure (HBO GO, while great, has plenty of bugs and annoyances).
Don’t forget that the TV game will change forever with the Apple screen. While it’s obvious that iTunes will be a big part of it, Apple is also partnering with existing providers. Apple knows that letting people keep their existing subscriptions with cable providers will encourage people to buy their TV screen. And more people with the screen means more money for iTunes. I just hope this means they’ll improve the iTunes user experience, because it could be so much better and smarter.