John Perry Barlow (1947 ~ 2018)

I’m struggling to process the passing of JPB this week. For many that got connected via dial-up in the 80’s he was the soul of the .net. He set the tone. His spirit prevailed as the founding principle of many online communities – his tone of “live & let live and be helpful and nice y’all” was foundation of many of the pinned posts of the early BBS that taught us how to behave in this new world. Whenever we struggled with some great calamity, we would turn to Barlow for guidance. Through it all, he was ever the prankster reminding that no one should take themselves too seriously.

Others have been more eloquent.

John Battelle

Steven Levy in Wired

Kevin Kelly

Cory Doctrow

Bite PR Blogging Seminar – Doc Searls

I’m attending the Bite blogging seminar at the W in San Francisco. Swish venue with not only lemons and lime in the drinking water but strawberries.

Great line up of speakers, about 50 – 60 people seated. They’ve got wireless so I’ll pass on some of the highlights.

Doc Searls – talks about his writing of Cluetrain Manefesto

On Blogging – email that I would write with “cc:world”

On time it takes to blog – if you look at your email, the volume you put out in email probably exceeds what’s up on my blog.

On marketing – it’s about conversations and not messages. Branding was a concept that P&G brought from the cattle industry. Branding is about putting out 8 boxes of soap and “singing about the difference.”

On writing as content – John Perry Barlow once said that he never heard about content until the container business felt threatened. Once you start talking about “content” you’re already off base.

On the Net – it’s a place, not a medium. The nodes of the net are not separated by time or space, a blog post is immediate. Once you You don’t send a message using “content.” You’re having a conversation in a place. You are “on the net,” you use real estate metaphors to describe the net.

Update: I left off the best line of the conference. As a parting thought, Doc described (and I’m paraphrasing” his life before blogging as one of, “pushing many big rocks a short way uphill” and his life now as a blogger as, “rolling many snowballs down a hill with the compelling ideas gaining mass as they roll downhill.”

just a little light

I’ve been trying to come to grips with the news coming in about the Indian Ocean Tsunami. It seems so surreal. The pictures I’ve seen show that it was a beautiful day when this thing came lumbering ashore and just rolled over anything in its way. In the same way, here we are in the middle of the holiday season, lights blinking on the tree, while reports of a death toll destined to clear 100,000 souls come in the background. I’m only catching in bits and pieces because this is the time of year that I try to unplug and catch time with the family but it’s clear now that this is a tremendous tragedy of uncomprehending vastness. My sister is in the region (she’s fine) so she must feel it even stronger – what to do? You want to help but showing up now would only mean she’d add her mouth to all the others looking for a bit to eat.

What really brings it home are the pictures of the dead children. As a father, I can imagine the pain that a parent must feel when they must bury their son or daughter. The innocent faces, they look like they are sleeping, it rips my heart to see them, one life cut short, the other left in tatters.

I hope that we can learn from this somehow. That we can pull together and help each other through this time, that the league of nations can set their differences aside, turn away from petty conflict and strife and take care of others in more dire need. We were given the chance to change our thinking after 9/11 shocked the world with the terror that man unleash upon itself, we’ve been given a second chance with this natural disaster.

But some good may even come of that. . . . I heard this morning that the Tamil Tigers have been working with government troops to bind the wounds of Sri Lanka. That may come to nothing, but at least they’re not killing each other at the moment.

Shadows this dark can cast a powerful light.

– John Perry Barlow

Dancin’ In the Streets

Songwriter for The Grateful Dead and, more recently, The String Cheese Incident, cattle rancher and co-founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, is organizing spontaneous outbreaks of senseless dancing in and around the Republican National Convention. It’s become a movement

We just had another brilliant expedition into elephant country. We encountered many of our quarry, converted a few, and made the rest so nervous you would have thought their thin smiles might shatter their faces. One of them said that he knew we were mocking George Bush. “How are we doing that?” we asked. “By dancing,” he snarled.

And that, my pesky friends, is paydirt

Dancarchy Reigns!