When I was younger, my Mom used to have a fairly standard ritual on Sunday; that being the reading of the New York Times: Sunday edition.
Regardless of what town/state/country we were living in, that was fairly standard fare in my house.
I'm on the road working for a couple of portfolio companies and I found myself needing to do the laundry.
[Note 1] I am clearly not an uber-geek as rather then fire up Google Maps, do a local search, get directions and lay a keyhole satellite image over the whole thing, I just asked the front desk.
[Note 2] Memo to Partners. I'm doing laundry, boys, watching those expenses, thank me later.
Like many of you, there are lots of 'rooms' where in order to complete the task at hand, I need something to read, the laundromat being one of them.
I purchased a copy of the Sunday NYT and headed off to do my laundry.
It was an interesting experience. The first thing that struck me was how 'old' things seemed. I am a pretty hefty news junkie so I may be the exception but, wow, where's the news in the news? And given the wire reports being used by everybody, it just stands out when you've seen a passage before.
The second observation was the feeling of singular view.
I was thinking of people who actually get into a routine of grabbing the NYT (or any newspaper to be fair) and hit the commuter train or breakfast table. It's what you start your day with or get your information from. When you add, potentially, news radio for the commute, it's a bit scary that this is all some people might be using to form up opinions, hence my singular view point. Scary.
Today happened to be when the NYT ran a story about Blogs with a guy named Nick Denton blasting the hype and other things about blogs. He is the chief vodoo at Gawker Media which has a bunch of blogs under one roof so they can sell advertising, etc. You can read more about this story on gapingvoid.
I had already read Hugh's comments along with others before I had gotten to the actual paper. If it hadn't been for stinky socks, it is doubtful I would have seen the NYT. What struck me is that armed with Hugh's comments and those of his readers, the story took on a slightly different tone, at least to me. It was interesting to read reactions before reading the actual story.
This also happened to be the Sunday where Seth Godin gets a body shot about his latest book, All Marketers are liars. The blog Seth is doing has some interesting stories that make the point about telling a story and, in general, it will be a good book about marketing, in my opinion.
On page 8 of the NYT Smart Money section, Paul Brown has a column about books that he calls "Off the Shelf." In this article, he talks about the need to do the right thing. The article talks about a number of books including Seth's with the bonus that Seth gets his book cover as a small inset photo along with one other book.
Here is the first shot at the book:
"The definitions range from being "authentic," in a new but disappointing work by the marketing consultant Seth Godin, to taking calculated risks, in the opinion of two long time business observers."
Then there is a blurb about the core of the book, telling stories, best stories are authentic. Has a good quote out of the book. Then it sums up with this shot:
"Unfortunately, Mr. Godin spends most of this book reinforcing what good marketers already know."
Hmm.. Well, reviewers are, of course, entitled to an opinion and this is not really a debate on the book itself. You have to wonder, tho, what happens when loose and sloppy reviews like this are the only place where somebody gets data.
Consider a few pesky details. First, Godin isn't a consultant. I tried to hire him as a consultant for a portfolio company and he was pretty clear that consulting isn't his thing. I've checked all his web stuff and the word consultant doesn't appear anywhere.
Yes, it's a very very tiny little detail that, call it 1 in 10,000 people might catch and even less would care about. But, call me old fashioned, it's a factual error and it leads people to the wrong conclusion about with Seth does/doesn't do. That doesn't seem fair to me. I'm will to bet something on the order of, well, this almost full 2 liter bottle of diet cherry 7UP sitting here, that if I pointed it out to the reporter he would pat me on my head and pretty much ignore me vs. printing a retraction.
[Note 3] Here's another reason why the rest of the world, sometimes, lets call it, shakes thy collective heads at America. Is the U.S. the only country in the world where it's '2 liters' vs. '2 litre'? I know we didn't adopt the metric system but you'd think we'd at least go along with the parts we used.
Another pesky detail. That comment about Seth offering up what good marketers already know. What about the bad ones? The new ones? The aspiring ones? While it's probably fine to say if you are an expert/good marketer, skip the book, what about saying if you're not, it's a good read. If you think about it, it is exactly what Mr. Brown is saying. And if he thinks it is material good marketers know, then why the disappointing comment?
Again, pesky detail, I know and I'm far from the expert on any subject but, this strikes me as a bit unfair and lazy reporting.
This isn't a rant on print media or Mr. Brown or anybody, rather an observation that with all the information readily available on pretty much anything and anyone, I would have hoped that media of all kinds would begin to pay attention to the details that, in the past, could have been overlooked.
There is a generation coming (my daugthers:18yrs/21yrs) that are not grounded in the print world, rather the digital world. They have multiple references for everything and trust will have to be earned from those with a much more skeptical eye then before.
Seems to me, that's a wake up call for those in the reporting biz. Do they still wrap fish in newspaper?