A Critical Essay for These Times

Ann Bauer is an amazing author, writer, and capturer of truths. Out of her own profoundly personal pain and loss, she came to sense a larger illness in society.

Ann initially posted this to Facebook, outlining a caustic and pervasive issue of our times and neatly summing up what we must strive to do to overcome it:

“Imagine if that were the goal: baseline civility and warm expectations.”

Indeed. Thankfully, someone smart at the Washington Post read it and asked her permission to publish it for a broader audience. Read her magnificent, inspiring, unflinchingly honest essay here.

Thanks Ann. And again, I’m so sorry for the loss of Andrew. God love you and yours.

img_3054

“Video Content: Why”: a Free e-Book(let)

That’s right, free. With no purchase.

Twenty-two pages of facts, links, and thinking on the many ways video has evolved from a selling platform to the preferred communications platform.

Our world has changed. Smart companies have commissioned research to learn exactly how so I’ve been reading what they shared, sifting through the hyperbole and exaggeration endemic to the blogging world, all to catalogue the best thinking on how to leverage online video.

OnVideoContent

I want to share this thinking with anyone and everyone who may be interested. Download it, share it, use it however it may help; I simply ask that if you have feedback or input on how to make it better, share your thoughts. Our digital world is iterative which makes constant improvement a real possibility.

As I post this, we stand halfway between the end of Hanukkah and Christmas day; consider this my ecumenical Holiday gift to you. Read it in good health. And all the best for the New Year.

img_3054

PS: Find other downloadable links on this page.

The Best Goodbye I’ve Ever Read

The following is the final essay from “A Book of Uncommon Prayer: 100 Celebrations of the Miracle and Muddle of the Ordinary” written by poet, editor, and novelist Brian Doyle. He graduated six years ahead of me in college, spent a rich lifetime writing, and died this past May from brain tumor complications. It takes a special gift to describe the tragic or maudlin with humor, but Doyle’s essay on death works as an inspirational, life-affirming, guide to living. I never met him, but I stand in awe of his remarkable talent…

Dear Coherent Mercy: thanks. Best life ever. Personally I never thought a cool woman would come close to understanding me, let alone understanding me but liking me anyway, but that happened! And You and I both remember that doctor in Boston saying polite but businesslike that we would not have children but then came three children fast and furious! And no man ever had better friends, and no man ever had a happier childhood and wilder brothers and a sweeter sister, and I was that rare guy who not only loved but liked his parents and loved sitting and drinking tea and listening to them! And You let me write some books that weren’t half bad, and I got to have a career that actually no kidding helped some kids wake up to their best selves, and no one ever laughed more at the ocean of hilarious things in this world, or gaped more in astonishment at the wealth of miracles everywhere every moment. I could complain a little right here about the long years of back pain and the occasional awful heartbreak, but Lord, those things were infinitesimal against the slather of gifts You gave mere me, a muddle of a man, so often selfish and small. But no man was ever more grateful for Your profligate generosity, and here at the very end, here in my last lines, I close my eyes and weep with joy that I was alive, and blessed beyond measure, and might well be headed back home to the incomprehensible Love from which I came, mewling, many years ago. But hey, listen, can I ask one last favor? If I am sent back for another life, can I meet my lovely bride again? In whatever form? Could we be hawks, or otters maybe? And can we have the same kids again if possible? And if I get one friend again, can I have my buddy Pete? He was a huge guy in this life—make him the biggest otter ever, and I’ll know him right away, okay? Thanks, Boss. Thanks from the bottom of my heart. See You soon. Remember—otters. Otters rule. And so: amen.

“A muddle of a man”? Hardly. Thanks Brian. Godspeed.

img_3054

Ryan Grewell

Heard Any Good Movies Lately?

It’s amazing how well-produced and deftly-applied sound empowers a film. Much has been written about Hans Zimmer’s extensive use of “Shephard tones” in his soundtrack for Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk. I haven’t seen it yet, so I can’t comment.

I did however, just watch the trailer for Darren Aronofsky’s new star-studded horror movie Mother!  If you need a quick refresher on how to make music and SFX really work, watch this: Continue reading

I’ll Vacuum My Own Floor, Thank You

I love modern conveniences. Cruise control, gas grills, TV remotes: I’m an unabashed fan. But this whole IOT invasion of smart assistants like Siri and Alexa and Cortana skeeves me out. Even my dog Hank hates it. There’s a house on our daily walk where a Landroid robotic lawn mower rolls endlessly back and forth and he growls at that thing every time we pass.

So last week, when iRobot CEO Colin Angle mused about the value of the data their high end Roomba vacuums collect, it stopped me cold.

Screen Shot 2017-08-04 at 11.26.14 AM

Continue reading

Why Italian Lingerie Makes Me Nervous

I see what you did with that subject line.

A while back, my wife wanted to replace some underwear she liked that she bought out of town. So I found it on the web and placed the order. Good news? Problem solved. Odd news? Now, everyday, a new email from Cosabella arrives in my inbox.

There are certainly worse kinds of spam, but none that make me quite as uneasy.

Because I’m not really getting these emails from Cosabella, I’m getting them from Albert.

Continue reading

I’ll Just Leave This Here: Mary Meeker’s 2017 Internet Trends Powerpoint

I get it; no one likes Powerpoint. It’s a terrible format for communicating anything truly important, an awful source for disseminating real knowledge.

But…

Every year, Mary Meeker, a former Wall Street securities analyst now working as a Silicon Valley venture capitalist with Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers, releases this highly-anticipated Powerpoint deck: her annual analysis of internet trends.  This year’s version weighs in at a staggering 355 pages. I won’t pretend that I’ve read through it all, but I plan to. And you should too; download a pdf of it here. Continue reading

The Graduation Message Most of Us Need to Hear

“Commencement doesn’t mark an ending, but rather, a new beginning…”
Yada yada yada, blah, blah, blah, godspeed.

It’s that time of year again. The annual momentous, overly commemorated season of graduation; from grad school, college, high school, grade school, kindergarten, pre-k–basically every organization with tests and teachers.

Few of us have or ever will graduate at the top of our class. And thanks to a study from Boston College about high school valedictorians, we don’t have to feel so badly about that.

Continue reading