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Frank Patrick's Focused Performance Business Blog
This Focused Performance Weblog started life as a "business management blog" containing links and commentary related primarily to organizational effectiveness with a "Theory of Constraints" perspective, but is in the process of evolving towards primary content on interactive and mobile marketing. Think of it as about Focusing marketing messages for enhanced Performance. If you are on an archive page, current postings are found here.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Unfocused? - Not Really - My Infinite Summer -- About of a third of the way through the 1,000 page Infinite Jest, I've committed to it. Brittney Gilbert, at the Infinite Summer blog, has a great post on the experience, that matches mine. From You Have Chosen To Be In Here...
Infinite Jest takes focus. I cannot listen to music while reading this novel, nor can I take it in with television on in the background. I can't skim parts and still get the gist. The text requires 100% participation on my part. It has become a meditation. I have to be present and mindful in order to fully ingest the words before me. I cannot click to open a new tab, to check to Twitter to see if anyone famous has died, or refresh D-Listed. (Which I am proud to say I have not done even once during the drafting of this post. Yet.) It's just me and the lavish landscape Wallace created.

"I am in here."

I have chosen to care about this book, to give it a place in my life. In doing so I am rewarded with messages in IJ about the importance of being present. Of just breathing. Themes abound in IJ about focus, about choosing what it is that you pay attention to, and how crucial it is to do that with the utmost care. If only because our whole lives depend on it.


The non-linear (to say the least) structure, the constant change in voice, forced flipping, always flipping, to the back of the book for endnotes are elements that donít allow you to get lost in a story. "You are reading a book," you are often reminded. You are in here. You are not Cinderella at the ball or Hermione at Hogwarts, you are reading Infinite Jest. You may get caught up in the frenzy of Erdedy's panicked wait for pot, but not for long. Soon you are reading Infinite Jest again...
I'm glad it's the first real piece of fiction I've picked up in more than a few years.

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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Plans and Guesses -- From 37 Signals - Let's just call plans what they are: guesses. In the end, it's all in the monitoring and adjusting of your guesses along the way.

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Thursday, July 09, 2009

I Could Be Tempted -- Now dropped to $299, the Kindle could tempt me.

I'm reading the 1000-page Infinite Jest this summer and my wrist is starting to cramp up on me holding the book. The Kindle could save me orthopedic surgery in September.

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Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Chart of the Day: Turning a Corner? -- Check out this well done interactive graphic - Turning a Corner? - from the New York Times. Good depiction of data over time.

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Friday, July 03, 2009

This I Believe - Quoted at Predictably Irrational: Asimov on evidence:
"I believe in evidence. I believe in observation, measurement, and reasoning, confirmed by independent observers. Iíll believe anything, no matter how wild and ridiculous, if there is evidence for it. The wilder and more ridiculous something is, however, the firmer and more solid the evidence will have to be." - Isaac Asimov


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Thursday, July 02, 2009

Keeping Social Media Real -- This morning my feed reader served up a piece from Inside Facebook on established, but quickly spreading Facebook apps. The part of it that made me simultaneously smile and shake my head was a comment, in "emperor's new clothes" fashion, pointing out that the top movers in the list were essentially useless diversions.

It reminded me of another piece I had set aside earlier this week as potential blogfodder. Scott Berkun, in this piece - Calling bullshit on social media - brings some common sense contrarian commentary to the commotion and consternation* surrounding social media...
For starters: social media is a stupid term. Is there any anti-social media out there? Of course not. All media, by definition, is social in some way. The term interactive media, a more accurate term for whatís going on, lived out its own rise / hype / boom cycle years ago and was smartly ignored this time around - first rule of PR is never re-use a dead buzzword, even if all that you have left are stupid ones. Iíve been involved in many stupid terms, from push-technology to parental-controls, so I should know when I see one.
But he goes beyond the buzziness of the words, and digs deeper on a few often overlooked points and advice to further his case...
  • We have always had social networks...

  • There has always been word of mouth, back-channel, "authentic" media tools...

  • The new media does not necessarily destroy the old...

  • Social media consultants writing about social media have inherent biases...

  • Signal to Noise is always the problem...

  • All technologies cut both ways and social media will be no different...

  • Be suspicious of technologies claimed to change the world...

  • Always ask "What problem am I trying to solve?" The smartest thing to do with something new is to ask what is it you need it to do for you. Recognize good marketing will not make up for bad products or incompetent services...
  • As usual, the "..." in my snips indicate that there is a lot more good detail to read at the original piece.

    And, of course, I'm passing this on not to denigrate the creative work in and application of these growing channels. But they are just channels, parts of the whole media/communication landscape. Those of us who work in them tend to get all hot and bothered about the possibilities, but we also run the risk of enabling clients' excitement about sometimes questionable applications. So we do need the occasional slap across the face by a piece like Burken's to keep us rooted in reality.

    * Sorry about that. Every once in awhile I fall off the wagon and back into my alliteration addiction.

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