August 29, 2008

Bloggers, Twitter and the Election

Filed under: Information Supernova, Marketing Tactics, Media Origination — Robert John Ed @ 11:56 am

Watching CSPAN this morning a new media strategist was on to talk about reaction from both bloggers and Twitterers (PS find me at  A few things of note:

1.  CSPAN wasn’t doing this a couple years ago.  Good for them.  Recognizing new media is important for the old media to begin their transformation.  Broadcast media will slowly fade to the point of a much lesser presence.  Although it sounds odd now, television will some day be similar to radio in popularity.  Television producers NEED to understand this and begin altering their strategies in order to prolong the product life cycle.  A large transition to online media will be paramount to producer success in the future.

2.  The collective voices of bloggers, Tweets and other social media are getting louder.  Who can harness this energy into a more streamlined, uniform power?  Is that even a good idea?  If you look at Digg or Reddit, it’s obvious there’s a certain voice with the crowd.  I wonder at the power of creating online communities that rival the organizations of the past that had real power.  Unions come to mind.  It’s not as if the people have changed, merely the areas where they congregate and their communication lines.  The people are here, their opinions and values are strong, but there still isn’t the organization that truly creates action.  When someone figures out how to mobilize all these smart folks, watch out for some real change.

3.  It will be interesting to see the voice of new media in the oncoming election.  Last time around, Youtube was used.  This time Twitter?  Net neutrality is a big concern for us interwebbers, let’s see how that is attacked by both candidates.

4.  Creating and sustaining buzz for elections is a huge area to utilize the web.  On Digg alone, I saw a great deal of fundraising efforts (that actually worked!).  Fundraising is great and unbelievably important in this day and age, but I’d like to see some efforts to speak on the issues online.  Websites, email, Facebook messages, newsletters and anything else are used now.  I get some of them.  It will be interesting to see if there are a new set of marketing tactics over the course of the election.  We’ll just have to wait and see.


August 27, 2008

The Drain

Filed under: Random — Robert John Ed @ 1:06 pm

It has already set in, that inescapable, undeterring force which saps ambition and alacrity in all things commandeered.  Part of it is the work load, part of it is that my first sixteen hours are fueled by a cup of coffee and a M&M Kudos, part of it is the mental strain that comes with torrents of new people, ideas and class structures.  It is there, secure as the tide and moon.

There are just so many little things to take care of.  Resume finalization, loans, networking events, moving this weekend, international application, the list goes.  On and on.  The list goes.  On and on.

It’s a bit worrisome.  The coursework itself takes a large amount of time.  Just in reading there must be 20 hours per week or so, plus group work at another 15, personal problems (work on your own) at 15, class time at 20 hours, networking, clubs and social life–whatever that is.  Everyone has their own way to recharge, and unfortunately I haven’t had that time lately.  I’m hoping the long weekend will give me some time to chill, or at least sleep more than six hours.  No promises, no regrets.

One of these days,
I’m going to sit down
And write a long letter
To all the good friends I’ve known…

But until then, these half ass 500 word bitch sessions will have to do.

Lovingly yours,


August 25, 2008

Everyone Loves Marketing

Filed under: Meeting Marketers, School — Robert John Ed @ 8:26 pm

Out of all the classes, Marketing received the most enthusiastic discussion.  Many reasons for this, but the main reason is that we all live marketing every day of our lives.  We spend hours in environments that attempt to communicate and sway us all the time, regardless of who we are or what we do.  It can anger us, excite us, enrage us, pique our interest or breed indifference.

We know it.  Better than any other aspect of business, we know and feel marketing throughout our days and so everyone has an opinion on it.  In fact, everyone is an expert!  Best believe that the differential between your average consumer and the most incredible CMO on the planet is a far smaller gap than that of, say, a great accountant or statistician.  This raises the question as to whether marketing is really that hard?  Is it that difficult to be a great marketer?  Short answer, yes.  Long answer is over 80,000 words.  Trust me, I just bought the text book.

I’d love to wax philosophical, but there are too many assignments for tonight to pontificate.  A bien tot.

August 22, 2008

Metamorphasis, Changeling, Shapeshifter, etc.

Filed under: Blog Explanations, Random — Robert John Ed @ 1:26 pm

It’s happening slowly, but happening none the less. I’m turning into a morning person. I say this from the Hinman Family Patio (outside the Starbuck’s Patio in Hanson Hall) at 8am. Certainly not that early, but usually I get up around 6am now, shower and bike or catch a bus into school. It wasn’t like that at St. Cloud State. Most mornings consisted of rolling out of bed about 10 minutes before class and stumbling into my seat just in time to ignore the proceeds. After class, I’d stumble home, eat the entirety of a Jack’s Bacon Cheeseburger pizza and fall asleep until the next class. What a life. Or lack thereof.

Today, mornings consist of a cup of coffee and reflection. Perchance some writing, a bit of homework and potentially meetings. The days are long, and I don’t mind. This concept is worth a post in itself. Why is it that academia work is enjoyable? What about the environment and coursework provides sincerity in our labors? Real world jobs often produce disdain and resentment for our 40-50 hours of input. As of today, I’m doing 60-70 per week for school and couldn’t care less. It certainly isn’t easy, but it’s work that I enjoy. That will probably be my most pressing matter post MBA, finding a job that gives me the sense of accomplishment and sincerity that education has. Specifically, though, why?

School offers grades, a network of peers that aren’t nearly as directly competitive as in work, extracurriculars, and possibly most importantly a finite time line for completion. This shouldn’t be understated. Something there is to an unending pile of paperwork that breeds discontentment. Think about that, so many jobs are simply never ending piles of work. There aren’t “classes” or incremental situations. Instead, we give people one job, they do it, we give them another. As much, we don’t offer grades or approval situations upon completion of those projects that are delegated. The real world is often thankless, where reviews and such are overtly catered to our inabilities rather than our accomplishments for the betterment of our company. No wonder so many people feel lost and little value in their work. School is different, there’s something here that allows a person to really accomplish things and set themselves apart. There is a willingness to recognize efforts. I’m not sure many real world companies actually do that. They should though. It’s curious, this corporate world. It’s as though at some point we lost the ability to be human and focused sheerly on mechanism. In the long run, that can’t win.

Morning is about the only time I have to write any more. It’s also when my head is most clear, before the procession of responsibilities and wants march to the economy parade, before the relationships and situational inference overtake my inner monologue. The sun rises in salute; the breeze whispers the time for work is upon us.

I do not pace the floor, bow down and bend but yet, mama you been on my mind.

August 21, 2008

Xenophobia or Complacency? Something Else Altogether?

Filed under: Emo (EQ), Human Relations, Personal Branding, School — Robert John Ed @ 10:26 pm

Carlson certainly advocates (and advertises) a well structured and integrated international populace of students. After a few conversations with a friend about the situational differences between international and domestic students, it seems to me that the advertising isn’t necessarily living up to the actual, through no fault of the school or students, in my opinion.

I had an undergrad class on diversity that claimed America as “no melting pot,” as has been accepted lore over our existence. It is by and large a segregated community, based on racial identity and more importantly through the ongoing class war that permeates capitalistic societies. This segregation can be examined rather easily at the micro level here in school. There are 107 students, of which 22 or so are international.

There are many reasons for this disconnect. Cultural barriers play a role, albeit small. Communication barriers are the primary problem it would seem. Overcoming communication barriers is the most difficult aspect of dealing with other humans. Increasing the difficulty naturally causes a declining amount of alacrity for either party. Especially when there is another option that negates the variable. Declining amounts of communications are reciprocal for parties. People give up and resort to what is familiar, as is the case in most things human.

As an aside, I note this with the understanding that these issues are extremely sensitive. They are difficult situations to address. We do not wish to address our own biases. Complacency abounds. More importantly, I note these situations in hopes to alter them for the better. I have exactly 107 students within my class and can only benefit more from the knowledge and understanding of all those individuals. Is that idea even plausible? Probably not, but to discount a segment of that group for miscommunication or other arbitrary factors unrelated to their actual opinions and personalities would be archaic. Especially for someone who wishes to study abroad. Answering the questions will have to come later.

Back to the platter at hand. It’s easy. People naturally opt for the easier of two options. So the communication problem is sincere in that English is EXTREMELY difficult to grasp and use well, most Americans don’t. Those students who must transcend not only subject matter but linguistics are clearly above the fold. Yet building relations is still difficult. What is the reason? It isn’t xenophobia. It’s complacency. As sure as death and taxes, human nature takes control in our situations of uncertainty. More is the pity. To label it as a conscious bias would be incorrect, a subconscious gravitation toward the familiar would be more apt.

It makes me wonder how a student population all parts equal would interact and develop. You may think that it’s early in the game to be addressing development. As in chess, the first moves of the game dictate the end game. Your relationships will develop in the long run based on your disposition today. Opening communication and facilitating that growth with all parties is imperative today for friendships tomorrow. How to do that is the question. I don’t have the answers. I don’t know that anyone does. But I have been told we must be the change we want to see in the world.

August 20, 2008

Uh Oh Spaghettios! Xcel Diatribe

Filed under: Marketing Philosophy, Random, School — Robert John Ed @ 6:22 pm

Epic fail on procuring second loan. Looks like Xcel Energy gets the last laugh:

Two years ago, I moved out of an apartment on 32nd and Blaisdell. I forgot to tell Xcel to stop charging me for electricity, which is completely my fault. I moved out and they continued to charge me for electricity, unbeknownst to me. A month or so later I got a call from a collections agency stating that I owed $111 for the electricity I’d accrued (and the electricity the new tenants were using). After stating that I’d only pay the amount I owed up until my move out, the collections agency threatened me with “I hope you don’t get burned by this….” I felt threatened and called Xcel to complain about my treatment. This is the call that will prove hazardous. I spoke with a manager (of some kind, my luck it was a janitorial manager) about how the collections agency was trying to get me to pay for electricity that I didn’t use. The manager told me that everything would be fine and not to worry about it.

In looking back that was a foolish thing, on my part. I should have fully resolved the issue.

Fast forward to November, 2007. I’m buying a car. I go into the bank and try to set up a loan. A week later I get a phone call, my credit score dropped. This is odd, seeing as the last time I met with a personal banker she told me to come see her if I wanted to buy a house.

Turns out, the debt collections agency Xcel had hired filed a public notice on me! Despite being assuaged by Xcel management earlier. So I worked through that with the bank and got a loan anyway. It took about five calls with Xcel to explain the predicament, I paid $65 with our dual acknowledgment (with verification from my landlord) of when I’d moved out. After speaking with and verifying that the account would be cleared, everything seemed back on the mend.

Fast forward to today. One of my two loans was denied! That money is pretty important, seeing as it will allow me to continually procure food and shelter. Now, I’ll have to work out some other form (probably with a cosigner) because Xcel has STILL not cleared up my account. They’ve lied to me many times. It sucks. I know this sounds like a sob story, but we’re talking about $45 outstanding on account (that I didn’t actually use) stopping me from getting the loans I need. For what it’s worth, I’ve already prematurely paid off over $13,000 in loans in the last three years. Yet a $45 “late” charge is hindering me. This is what happens when corporations fail to finish what they start.

Xcel Energy, you suck. Thanks for continually assuring me everything would be taken care of and doing nothing of the sort. It’s uncaring monopolies such as yourself that give corporations a horrible name.

August 19, 2008

Gphone Looms…

Filed under: Gadgets — Robert John Ed @ 4:35 pm

Via Digg: FCC approves first HTC Dream, AKA Gphone.

This will be large. I’m intrigued, especially by an all advertising revenue model.   Edit:  Looks like $35 for unlimited data and 400 messages.  Good, good but what about wireless coverage?  Is that included?

I want answers people.  We’ll see what comes.

Accounting, 15 Hour Days, Etc.

Filed under: Random, School — Robert John Ed @ 4:28 am

Pretty sure this will be the norm.

Just got home and it was a fracking hot bike ride.  Minneapolis is lovely at night, though I could use some illuminations on my trusty steed for a safer go.

Went in to school at 7am and got back about 10 minutes ago.  That’s roughly 15 hours.  We are almost to the point of actual classes, and I’m excited.  Despite it all, I look forward to real classes because they offer some ebb and flow; a cadence and respiration.  Right now, we are in eight hour information broadcast sessions.  It drains, no matter the prolific professor and her ability.  I genuinely believe that my time online and learning on my own has warped my ability to contemplate and soak up information broadcast to me.  It’s not that I’m no longer able, I just prefer the interactive alternative when in groups.  Learning in groups and challenging peers (while being challenged) is the best way to learn.  Doing so while the peer group is “in charge” is easier for my generation.  The younger generations will only proliferate this tendency to learn as such.

Sure, it could be that as adults work within roles deviating from that of the traditional student (IE the real world), their learning processes alter as well.  That very well probably is part of the situation, but there’s something more here.  If I were to get a doctorate, I’d focus on the significance of progressively more interactive media affecting student cognition of subject matter with attribution to info taught in broadcast format as opposed to interactive formats.  Putting the onus on the student to develop and teach themselves and classmates is not easy at young ages, for a bevy of reasons such as social inability and insecurity, attention deficit, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and delicious cookies.  Still, children today are advancing in their information seeking for the simple reason that the tools have proliferated to the point where anyone on earth can CHOOSE to learn anything they want.

There will be some incredible young people who take advantage of the information supernova and become polymath virtuosos.  *Sigh*.  I want to be a polymath, dammit.


It took me 3 hours to read and interpret 2 chapters of accounting.  Kind of sad.  Whatevs.  I know what I got myself into.  It’s going to be a lot of work.  It’s supposed to be a lot of work.  I’m paying a lot of opportunity cost and expect to be tested.  Besides, work’s good.  It’s all I know.  And I can always listen to this and drink that in the humidity, smiling at the irreverence of it all.

August 17, 2008

Business Is Easy, Other Things Hard

Filed under: Emo (EQ), Personal Branding, Random, School — Robert John Ed @ 3:04 pm

Though I wrote a bit on this last week, it’s always reoccuring to me that I’d like to do much more than I actually have time for.  Staying on top of news, business, school, working out and maintaining a social life seem like too many pieces for one puzzle.  One or two have to go the way of the buffalo and methinks that the social aspect will probably deteriorate; which isn’t my bag, but sacrfices have to be made.  Life ain’t fair, I ain’t care; life ain’t and thems the breaks.

This lack of time really affects two situations.  Professionally, you are taking some great strides forward, increasing your skill sets in multiple areas.  Yet there is a natural tendency to focus less on real world scenarios (IE real time) and so technically your ability increases, but your awareness may decrease.  During the last three years, I kept up on most everything within the marketing world.  I think that during my time in school that general consciousness will recede, but after graduating, my ability to understand and perceive the news will climb.  Hopefully, that will result in having a solid understanding of all business news will jump.  We’ll see though.

Secondly, your personal situations are abstractly affected.  Family and existing friends will undoubtedly play a more reserved role during the next 21 months.  No question about it.  You will certainly make a lot of new friends, but humans have a natural tendency to only juggle a finite amount of friends.  I’ve heard a few numbers, but let’s throw out 30 people.  On average (and many are greater and lesser) a human can juggle 30 relationships decently.  At the end of that line, someone is going to drop off the radar.  It happens every day and in all kinds of ways and it bums me out.  We grow older and relationships slowly depart toward the horizon.  Before you realize it, those ships have set long sale and are a mere dot on the coast line.  Eventually the dots disappear into oblivion, and though you may well cross trajectories again, it is seldom anything but luck and a chance gust of wind.  More is the pity.

In the end, it’s not about how well you do with your career and how much money you make.  What matters are the relationships you forge, develop and maintain over the long haul.  Business is easy enough.  It’s not important in the long run.  Your friends are.

That’s somewhat counteractive to how I’ve usually described it.  The competition in business is ridiculous, getting a good job and setting your company apart is no walk in the park, but it’s still just business.  You won’t look back at the incremental market share increase you achieved in 2008 and think about those great times.  You’ll look back at the hours you worked with close friends and coworkers to build something together.  You’ll remember all of the people that wanted to know and spend time with you.  So business is easy.  Nothing in our lives really hinges on it.  Whereas the social relationships we have are anything and everything we’ll care about in the future.  Focus on them.

August 16, 2008

Community Creations and Value

Filed under: School — Robert John Ed @ 5:42 pm

Yesterday was supposed to be a short day at school, my tribulations with the resume continued and there was an information session on our Thunderbird email system.  I love Mozilla, but Gmail still owns.  I’m going to run dual email accounts because of the file sharing ability of Thunderbird.  It’s basically a cloud computing Outlook clone and I dig the Outlook.

I’m not going to lie, Carlson has some really big problems with their IT for students.  There is an online system for showing kids the syllabus which is EXTREMELY problematic for navigation, it is a royal pain to log into and use.  After about 10 hours of use, I’m still flummoxed on how to get to the area I want within a few minutes.  Trial, error, trial, error, etc.  Argh.  Then there’s the calendar system.  This thing is a pile.  It’s a task schedule and actual calendar in separate windows and it is ridiculously not intuitive and difficult.  I’m sure when you pick it up all the difficulties evaporate, but overall for a new user, it’s going to cause headaches.  There are a few other aspects of the technology there that have problems, but the biggest thing is that all the components of the programs are silos that must be ran individually.  It’s as if they built it piece by piece without thoughts on the end user and ease of use.

So yesterday we were sitting around complaining about the overall crapfest our collective boots meandered, when my new friend Scott Tran pulled the rockstar card and showed me Microsoft Groove.  That link is for the technical aspects, I’ll lay it out in layman’s.  Groove is a very simple and lovely program that allows for file sharing, IM, forums, and other components as a closed loop wiki.  Scott, well played sir.  He basically trouble shot everything we were running into in terms of difficulty and what we wanted in an integrated student IT system.  I don’t really get where the network is actually kept in terms of storage (whether it’s online or some far off server, etc.) but it’s not my job to understand the engineering geniuses and their ways.  My job is to be thankful and utilize.

“Hey, guys, check this out.”  That sentance undoubtedly altered the way 107 grad students in Minneapolis (and probably oncoming classes) will operate for the next few years and beyond.  We owe Scott a great deal of gratitude for caring enough to build something for the good of not only himself, but the entire student body.  Thank you.

Wow.  This is the beauty of community.  About eight of us sat around the MBA lounge and started downloading all the class necessities for our first four core classes (Stat, Acct, Mktg, Strategic MGMT) and uploading them up to the Groove build that Scott had made.  Basically we streamlined everything from the disjointed silos that Carlson had built over a long period of time into a cohesive area that a student could navigate easily.  It took us all maybe 4 hours collectively to get all of the content for the first few months into the system and now everyone will benefit.

So why is this a big deal?  Well for one, it shows me how much my fellow classmates own face.  Additionally, it humbles me that I get to work with such intelligence over the next few years and reminds me how drastic the differentiation of our skill sets are.  But mostly, it shows the power of a community who truly care and want to help each other succeed.  Success isn’t a zero sum game, and our efforts will result in reciprocal long term dividends.

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