How long have I been blogging?

Well - if you look at the archives of this blog -- it will say February of 2005... but in truth... I've been blogging since February of 1997...

Long before I starting working at Google (the owner of blogger -- which sparked my initial interest to see what blogging was about), I studied abroad in Sevilla, Spain. At that point, I had 2 years of "World Wide Web" exposure -- and was entrenched in communicating via email for about a year or so through my @umich.edu address. Knowing I wouldn't be able to access this account in Spain -- I got my brettg@hotmail account (yes - it was that early) to communicate with friends and family while I was in Europe.

I had every intention to keep interested parties up-to-date with my activities and experiences, although I honestly under-estimated the massive effort and lack of computer time I would actually have. My solution to this issue was to create a mass email on a weekly (or bi-weekly) basis giving highlights of my study abroad experiences. So - yes - I consider myself a blogger since 1997.

The main difference, of course, is that my current effort is:
A) Available for total public consumption rather than merely 25 people on an email string
B) More easily archive-able (if that's even a word) -- so that hopefully one day I can use these web pages as a way to reminisce.

Interestingly enough, when I wrote the mass email -- most people weren't satisfied. It seemed as if everyone wanted their own personal attention. Fast forward 10 years -- and I get grief from people for not writing enough...


Cooling Down

As I've previously mentioned, over the last month, I have begun most days during the week with a cardio workout at the gym. With the weather getting nice and the routine starting to come into place, I've really only hit one snag....

For some reason -- my body and face/head in particular, takes a very long time to cool down. This causes any subsequent activity whatsoever to result in a minor (and sometimes major) post work-out sweat attack. Clearly for many reasons this is annoying and worrisome given that it hasn't even gotten hot and muggy yet (and yes - I do take the subway to work - so this could turn into a major problem this summer).

I've always been a morning shower person because I like the feeling of starting the day fresh. With the increased body heat issue - I have a cheapened "morning fresh" feeling. Now, I want to point out that this issue isn't odor related. It's the mere annoyance of sweating while in dress clothes on a daily basis.

I've purchased some Dri-fit shirts (which aren't spandex btw) - which have helped the torso sweat decrease during the gym session - but my head is still like a furnace for about an hour after my workout. Additionally, I've been drinking A LOT of water during and after the work-out to try and cool down. This helps a little as well, but it's unfortunately not the total cure. I've tried the cold shower - but that hasn't helped at all...

Does anyone have any additional suggestions?


RSS Feeds

One of the "hot topics" in 2006 marketing circles was the concept of RSS feeds. While most marketers are trying to think of ways they can exploit their marketing objectives through the practice -- I think only a handful of folks in the publishing industry are starting to get it right...

I consume a lot of online media. Most people I know do. And while this post isn't intended to be one of my Google promotion pieces, I will just say that one of the main reasons why Google is so successful is that it helps people get through the massive clutter that is the Internet to find what they were looking for.

In the case of RSS feeds -- we as users are already fairly certain of what we want - and rather than search for it - it's probably preferred if it were merely delivered. So yes, rather than going to the store everyday to pick-up a newspaper, we want it delivered to our house. The difference within this RSS vs. Newspaper metaphor, is that we are very explicit with what custom information we want delivered to us. And whenever there is an update -- I want to know about it right away. I also have the ability to customize the layout as I see fit. (There are several "readers" such as the Personalized Google homepage and MyYahoo, etc)

Now - I'm very high on the concept - and I employ it daily on a number of levels.

My personal consumption (Sports, Friends, Weather, etc)
My professional consumption (Industry news, Google News alerts, industry bloggers, etc)
My entertainment consumption (Authors or concepts I enjoy)

Now in some cases, companies have caught on to the fact that I'm a loyal reader to some portions of their content. For example, ESPN recognized that I enjoy reading The Sports Guy, but I don't want to go searching for his articles (especially with the pop-up - video downloading pages of ESPN.com!). So - ESPN provides me with an RSS feed and I am now in-tune with when Bill Simmons posts a new article and I can click on a link that directs me to it.

An example of where RSS could be better utilized is Bloomberg and The New Yorker (magazine). I'm a big fan of the authors Malcolm Gladwell and Micheal Lewis. I try and read all their books and articles, however, the publications they work for haven't made "author specific" RSS feeds available. (To be honest, I wasn't even aware that Michael Lewis wrote a column for Bloomberg until I started doing a little research for this post...I know - big fan I am)

In the world of vast information availability - if publishers want my eye-balls, they'll need to make the specific information available to me in the way I want to consume it. Otherwise, authors will become their own publishers and we fans will stay loyal to the writers rather than the media publisher.

Also if you want an RSS feed of my blog - Click Here.


Getting "the underpants"

Back in 1998-1999, Internet advertising was beginning to explode. Tons of start-up companies were getting countless amounts of money. Most business models during the time period revolved around generating revenue from advertising. After companies received this money - they consistently needed to prove something to the VCs in order to position themselves in hopes to sell the business to someone else. This began the incredible demand for "registrations." Companies believed that if they merely grew their registered user base (regardless of why users were registering), they would be able to sell that to someone else for large sums of money...

While working at Beyond Interactive, we often represented many of these types of companies. Several of us, and most notably "the big daddy" began to grow skeptical of the aforementioned business plans. But ... given that our job was to merely obtain registered users -- we did just that -- and we did it well. Whether it was using gimmicks like contests and promotions -- or only having 3 or 4 required fields to counts as a registrations -- we got our customers registered users. (To be clear - our clients always knew the tactics we were using - and always signed off on them)

So - what's the point of this "underpants" post?? Well - in 1998 - there was a South Park episode clip that is almost the perfect representation of the business practices of a lot of these .com companies. As we all know - most of these companies ran out of money shortly thereafter. As I found the clip randomly on Youtube - I felt the need to share. It's about a minute long - and worth the watch - especially if you were in the industry and the time.


Early Morning gabbing

Up until today, everyday this week I woke up early to go to the gym. It's fair to say that I'm not a morning person, but with the weather the way it was (65 degrees with a light breeze), it truly wasn't that bad jogging to the gym at 7 AM. (I know - most people who want to go to the gym in the morning have to wake up at 5:30 AM - I'm lucky I guess)

Anyway - I wasn't surprised to see the gym crowded at that hour. What I WAS surprised to see, however, is how many people no the street are talking on their cell phones at 7 AM. I mean - seriously - I have a lot of questions about this.
Who the heck are people talking to that early? Is there a whole society that I am not part of? I know we are a "connected culture" but I can't imagine why people would want to talk that early in the morning or what they are talking about. Is talking on your cell phone on the way to work a new "buddy system" where you find someone else in your social circle that commutes at the same time and have daily conversations to help the time go by?

If someone calls me before 9 AM - my first instinct is "somethings wrong." It's not a good feeling at all. If I ever have to call someone before 9 AM, I get nervous when the phones ringing....

Interested in knowing if any readers are morning cell phone junkies (BDS - I'm sure you are). Well - if any of you are - please don't call me. :)