Joel Vincent

Technology. Wine. Family. (maybe not in that order)

Archive for Ramblings

Quick Note: Wine Life Links update

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Image by Getty Images via Daylife

FYI to anyone who doesn’t know why I didn’t have them in the Wine Life Links – I was using a service to manage the links which disappeared (I’m a silly early adopter). So the updates I’ve made over the last 6 months or so got lost. If you don’t see your site there just send contact me on via Twitter (see “Where Else Am I” in the sidebar) or via the OpenWine Consortium messaging.

Sorry!

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A Little Comic Relief

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Image by ikelee via Flickr

Ahhh, “Dear Abby“…what ever happened to that in this age of near real-time social media…anyway, here’s one thats worth a chuckle (but not worth the e-mail bandwidth its probably taking up!).

Maybe this is a way to reduce traffic on the Internet, just post funny stuff up on a blog and send friends the links not giant emails.  🙂

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Dear Abby:

I have never written to you before, but I really need your advice. I have suspected for some time now that my wife has been cheating on me.  The usual signs; phone rings but if I answer, the caller hangs up.  My wife has been going but with ‘the girls’ a lot recently — although when I ask their names, she always says, “just some friends from work, you don’t know them.” I always try to stay awake to look out for her coming home, but I usually fall asleep.  Anyway, I have never approached the subject with my wife.  I think deep down I just did not want to know the truth, but last night she went out again and I decided to check on her finally. Around midnight, I decided to hide in the garage behind my golf clubs so I could get a good view of the whole street when she arrived home from a night out with ‘the girls.’  When she got out of the car she was buttoning up her blouse, which was open, and she took her panties out of her purse and slipped them on.  It was at that moment, crouching behind my golf clubs, that I noticed a hairline crack where the grip meets the graphite shaft on my 3-wood.  Is this something I can or should try to fix myself, or should I take it back to the pro-shop where I bought it and try to get a refund?

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Hope is the engine that drives humanity…

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Image by Renegade98 via Flickr

I’m sure there has been plenty said about the impending Obama presidency but I’m going to say my $.02.

Its really hard to describe what this means to me, to many many people for that matter.  Its not the end all be all, but its a milestone that seemed impossible two years ago.  Barack Obama, a black American, taking the head of the most powerful office in the free world.  Its not coincidence that the world looked at this as an instantaneous moral and morale boost – we just, as a collective nation – looked past everything and did what the majority of citizens (majority by popular vote) thought would be best for this country and that happen to mean putting a minority into the oval office.

A country that can do that should be able to speak rationally with other cultures and religious states, shouldn’t it?  Should be able to be open to listening to all sides of a debate and making a good decision shouldn’t it?  Clearly should be able to give the minority voice of other nations the ear they want when all they want is an ear to listen to them to restore their dignity, shouldn’t it?

Thats called hope.  Instantaneous, street credentialed hope.  For that I’m incredibly pumped for this country.  I don’t feel like cringing when I think about my president going and speaking to other nations.  I don’t have that feeling that I have a loud, obnoxious friend with me in a fancy restaurant who I love dearly but I just know he/she’s doesn’t belong in an environment that people want to be civilized and not sloppy drunk.  That is all gone today.

For me personally, I guess even expecting him to win I wasn’t expecting alot of feelings I had to bubble to the surface.  My father is my hero and he taught me basically if you’re at a disadvantage, well then too bad, you just have to work harder than the others.  Energy you waste complaining could be energy that could be putting you ahead.  Something I took to heart never complaining about the disadvantages of being black in America because I’m pretty confident in my abilities.  But even so, there is a bit of an unspoken limit to what could be accomplished.  Or at least there was one.  That hit me yesterday.  How can there be a limit?  Even with people trying to hold you back or not giving you the same chance, Obama is the president, anything can happen.  Truly.

Thinking about the people who died just on the faith that this day would come if they marched, took beatings in non-violent protest, and even lost their lives so that I could see this day and my kids would be in a different world.  Lost their LIVES on faith in this country’s ability to adjust and the hope that their efforts would make this time possible…that hit me yesterday.

My kids…I hugged my daughter (she’s been sick).  And I did cry a little.  She doesn’t have to know that limit.  She’ll never know that limit.  I’ve always thought racism was so ignorant that it was comical; something just ripe for satire.  I truly appreciated things like The Chappelle Show and Wayans Brothers productions (like Hollywood Shuffle) because they used comedy to highlight the absurdity of racism.  I love that.  But the racism takes on a whole new level of rediculousness when the leader of the most powerful nation in the world is a black man.  My daughter is 3 years old.  I have a sincere hope that could come true now – that she really won’t understand how people could be seriously racist.  That hit me yesterday too.

I think thats how I look at it.  The people that I struggle with now will be long dead and buried by the time my girls are my age.  And while it feels good for me now to see all this worldwide credibility restored and faith in our own democracy’s ability to adjust restored, its really when I think about the things my daughters will never know is when I can find the energy and enthusiasm for life.  I often think about how technology will change things, in fact I think about it constantly.  Think about how my daughters will never wake up at 6am on a Saturday to watch their favorite Saturday Morning cartoon because they can just pull it up.  In fact, my 3 year old has a hard time understanding why if “Dora” can play in her room, why can’t she continue watching it downstairs on the TV (yeah, DirecTV DVR, why the f*** not?).

Today I can think about more significant things that I didn’t really think about because I didn’t see this happening and I didn’t know when it would.  Not knowing that limit or perception of limit.  Dealing with racism (as its clearly not gone) but having a very different perspective as the racism shouldn’t be a limit on what she can do anymore than any other corporate political situation.  No more excuses – yes, “the man” might be holding you back but YOU are the only one limiting yourself because being black isn’t even an excuse for not being the f***ing President of the United States anymore!!

No more excuses for not achieving.

To me personally, it inspires me further to understand the wine industry because the lack of minorities (not women obviously) still puzzles me.  I mean, I get the demographic thing and the “snooty” thing but thats changing with social media, folks like Gary V, new generations coming in, etc…yet for some reason this industry is simply monochromatic.

No more excuses…

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Jury Duty and Life

I need to continue my WBC insiders posts but the last few days have been dominated by kids’ fevers, doctor visits, and this week potential jury duty.

Sorry for the slacking on the posts but I’ll get to it soon enough!

Still alive and kicking…

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Image by Thomas Hawk via Flickr

As a fugitive of the cubicle nation I’ve learned a few interesting things.  Some about myself and some about actually jumping ship and really trying to get things going.  In fact, I don’t have much time today but this blog is an important part of my life and I don’t want it to go dark for too long.

So its about three months since I was officially “jumped” and the main thing I’ve learned is this – have your shit together, ducks in a row, and get ready because having little visibility into where the money is going to come from is a scary thing.  Don’t let all these entrepreneurs tell you “oh yeah, just do it; shit or get off the pot; blah blah blah”.  All crap.  There is NOTHING impulsive about jumping ship and going it alone.

If you’re part of the cubicle nation you’ve most likely gotten extremely good at your job and that gives you confidence to “give it a try”.  Recognize this – while you may be a genius in your field, you do NOT know everything you should to go it alone.  Go into it with your eyes open and allow yourself to “know what you don’t know”.  Business development, marketing, networking, tech services, administrative assistant, bookkeeper, customer support, legal secretary, etc…

Its not that you CAN’T do all this stuff, but just know that you’ll need to plan some time where you don’t have money (or assume you don’t) figure out how you’ll pull that off – assuming no income – and then when you’re OK with that you can go for it.  Because what will happen is things will take longer then you think and you need to make sure you’re not rushed into bad decisions for your business just because of the uneasy feeling that “no visibility” gives you.  In fact, you want to figure out everything I mentioned in the previous paragraph as a way to give yourself visibility into your business and the more visibility you have the better you’ll feel about the jump.

Next – you can’t get away from politics.  Now granted, there are no office politics unless you want to count arguments over why the dogs haven’t been walked in a week and the potential of withholding of certain marital obligations as politics.  But the politics that I’m talking about are around meeting new people, making a name for yourself, and building your business.  I’m not big on politics and generally as a consultant, even early in building the business, I tell it like it is, turn down business that while I’m perfectly capable of doing the work, it doesn’t add to my “portfolio” if you will.  Its a tricky thing breaking into new markets and its clear that there are “circles” everywhere you go.  I’ve always known that and I’ve been ready for it.  But its more important to understand that going into it then I would’ve thought before making the leap.  So I think its important to communicate that out – You are not getting away from politics by escaping from the cubicle nation; you are just dealing with a different type of politics.  So “how to gain friends and influence people” is still an important skill!!

OK, I have to run but I think I’ll be doing more and more around communicating my Cubicle Nation Fugitive experiences as they seem to be coming fast and furious and they are actually interesting as I learn from this.

Cheers!

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Home Depot Scam

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Image via Wikipedia

Since I don’t want to SPAM my friends over e-mail I thought I’d relay this joke on my blog and let people opt-in to reading it… I thought it was funny!

Home Depot Scam

Be Careful – A ‘heads up’ for those men who may be regular Home Depot customers. Over the last month I became a victim of a clever scam while out shopping. Simply going out to get supplies has turned out to be
quite traumatic. Don’t be naïve enough to think it couldn’t happen to you or your friends.

Here’s how the scam works:

Two very hot 20-21 year-old girls come
over to your car as you are packing your stuff into the trunk. They both start wiping your windshield with a rag and Windex, with their breasts almost falling out of their skimpy T-shirts. It is impossible not to look. When you thank them and offer them a tip, they say ‘No’ and instead they ask you for a ride to Lowes. You agree and they get in the backseat. On the way, they start undressing. Then one of them climbs over into the front seat and starts crawling all over you, while the other one steals your wallet.

I had my wallet stolen March 4th, 9th, 10th, twice on the 15th, 17th, 20th, 24th & 29th.  Also April 1st, 4th, twice on the 8th, 16th, 23rd, 26th, 30th, three times last Saturday and very likely again this upcoming weekend.

So tell your friends to be careful.

P.S. Walmart has wallets on sale 2.99 each.

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Why Adwords doesn't work for Social Media…

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Image via Wikipedia

So the topic came up today in the Twitter-sphere – Adwords, social networks (Facebook in particular), and their success (or lack thereof). I think its been talked about in the blogosphere or in conversations at various tech conferences but its worth repeating.

For all intents and purposes, it boils down to what Adwords was intended for and the way it works versus the evolution of the web today.

A few years back (eons in Internet time), the Internet was a super efficient way to find things – information, places, stuff to buy, etc. etc. etc. Google came along with a great way to search through HUGE amounts of data, create Google PageRank to make “authorities”, and basically try to get you results that most closely meet what you’re looking thus avoiding a huge number of porn links when searching on children’s bedtime stories.

The algorithm they devised was evolutionary (not revolutionary, one of the most overused terms in high tech) and it worked extremely well. As time went on, since the dominant behavior on the Internet was “searching”, using the information gathered and the search algorithm Google created they devised an ultra -efficient way to advertise. They already knew that you were searching (because Google is a search engine after all) and they knew what you were searching for and therefore Google could simply place paid ads next to your search result that would turn up sponsors who had stuff related to your search. This was brilliant in its simplicity because it was (and this is the key) ADDITIVE to your current behavior. VALUE ADD – simple, straight forward, and very very effective.

Google later expanded this to allow you or I to put ads on our site that would reflect something related to the information on the page upon which you placed the ads. Again, effective, but not as clearly value add because people on your site may not have necessarily been in “search mode”. They may just have been reading out of interest. But since the Internet was still basically viewed as a giant repository for information and “stuff” that you sifted through, “search mode” is what people generally were still in and it masked the few times people weren’t in “search mode”.

Now, with the advent (or rise) of social media, behaviors are changing. “Search mode” is still a dominant behavior but not what it once was. See, social media (blogs, networks, Twitter, etc. etc.) make the Internet more and more a place to “socialize”. Behavior changes from “searching for something” to “killing time” or “marketing” or “making connections”. Lets call this “hanging out” mode.

Now if you’re on a social network, you most certainly are not in a “search mode”. So then, what happens if Google indexes my Profile page and serves up an Ad related to the content there? The answer? Who the hell cares!

Why is that?  Because if I’m on Facebook or OpenWine Consortium or any other social network, I’m probably not “Searching” but doing some sort of “socializing” (BS’ing, networking, hooking up, whatever) – I’m in “hang out” mode. Indexing my page and serving up ads related to keywords and content is NOT additive to the social media experience or the current behavior so this ad will be ignored. Even blogs, which are chock full of information, don’t see much return on Adwords because while they do typically report or inform they, more often then not, are sparking conversation or continuing conversation. Unless the blog is specifically reviewing something, in which case a few ads on where to buy that something may work, contextual ads are ineffective.  This inefficiency in the original model was masked by the fact that predominant behavior was searching.  Now with the behavior being socializing, Adwords and the searching optimization are only slightly more useful than putting up a static add.

Even Google admits that it hasn’t solved the social network advertising/monetizing behavior.

Net-net:  Save your money.  Buying keywords is NOT social media marketing.

Now, Google is looking to create a sort of “FriendRank”, in a recent patent application.  They call it “Network Node Ad Targeting” and they intend to use a person’s social map to determine the number and quality of connections they have (and therefore their influence) and pay those influencers to allow advertisers the serve ads to their friends.  Interesting, but we’ll see how it plays out.  I’m sure they’ll be takers, but I’ll be awefully pissed if a friend or other contact is the source of ads I recieve!  Still not a value-add unless the friend somehow has the ability to control the ads that get served and influence what goes to our friends (i.e. some sort recommendation and reputation system).  Reading this patent, I don’t think it cuts it at all.

Cheers!

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