Sunday, January 29, 2006

Blogging, MasiGuy, and Falmouth

I've tried to post this paragraph three times to the below post. However, each time I hit 'publish' it chopped the paragraph to only two sentences. Weird! I finally gave up trying. Here it is...I hope...

Smart Cookie, Tim, has become a contributor at! He's completed his first post and, as with everything he writes, it's a good read. He's a fabulous addition to their sports section. Maybe they are looking to gain more exposure to's sports section? If that's the case, they could look at sponsoring an event. The internationally known Falmouth Road Race is still looking for a sponsor, as far as I know. Just a thought....

Just an additional tidbit for today.

Sports related tidbits

Washington, Pennsylvania is showing pride in its state's Superbowl team. The mayor has changed its name to Steeler, Pennsylvania until the day after the Superbowl. This is taking pride to the extreme, I think.

My prediction is that the Steelers will win. How can someone who hasn't watched a whole football game all season, college or otherwise, make this statement? Well, as I've mentioned, the Steeler quarterback has a blog, but that's not the reason. He's got something better....a Rottie named Zeus. Hey, I did start this by saying that I hadn't watched a game all season so how else did you think I'd pick a team?

I read about the Tour d'Afrique 2006 this past week. 43 cyclists from 10 countries started the tour in Cairo on January 14th and are expected to reach Cape Town in three and a half MONTHS. Wow. I can't even comprehend what it is going to take for riders to accomplish this feat. We all think that Le Tour de France is a big deal (and it is), taking three weeks...this is just...well, amazing.

20 days until the Daytona 500, just in case you'd lost count.

Just a few tidbits for today. Thanks for stopping by.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

More Smart Cookies

The new Girl Scouts of America billboard campaign has a tag line that I really like. "Invest in Smart Cookies". It promotes both the yummy cookies, of course, but also the girls and their programs.

Just a little tidbit for today. Thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Coca Cola Promotes 'Stealing'

I saw one of the new Coca Cola ads the other night. It started out cute, but by the end I'd changed my mind. It can be found here titled 'fountain pour'.

A guy is standing at a self-serve soda machine filling his Coke cup. He takes a long sip, obviously likes it, looks over the machine to the guy at the counter who isn't looking and fills the cup to the top again and repeats that one more time.

The tag line reads something like "Sip Stealing. Not a felony in all 50 states."

I was almost ok with the commercial until the tag line is on the screen. It tells me that Coca Cola is, in a way, condoning stealing. Anything that is classified as 'stealing' that something we want to be teaching kids? Teaching anyone for that matter? Yikes!

They have another one titled "soda gun" that is much more appropriate and gets a positive point across.

Just a little tidbit for today. Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Random Tidbits

As of today there are 28 days left until the 2006 Daytona 500. NASCAR has a counter on their site with the days, hours, minutes and even seconds left before the green flag to get fans revved up!

Speaking of racing, the MINI to Monte Carlo team got to Monte Carlo at the end of last week and the car was rewarded. They've been taking in the spectacular sights and driving on the same roads as the Grand Prix. They start their journey back to Letterkenny today, I believe. They've certainly gone the extra mile for the Donegal Hospice. Safe travels.

There is a lot going on for the Smart Cookies these days:
- Naked Conversations is hitting Barnes & Noble bookshelves all over the country! I picked up my copy last night and will read it over the next week. Some of it I'd read online, but there is something about reading a book in your hands that is so much better. I'll let you all know what I think when I'm done, but I'm sure it is a must read. Congrats to Shel and Robert!
- Both B.L. and Jeremy are nominated for the Battle of the Ad Blogs Awards in the PR Blogs category. Yes, you can vote on all categories. Check it out. Congrats to you both!

Shel Holtz has been a 'must read' for months for me. This week he posted "Sometimes I just hate technology" and I couldn't agree more. Sorry for your frustrations, Shel, but it's nice for a newbie like me to know even a pro like you has glitches, too. Thanks for sharing that experience with everyone.

For you cycling fans....Lance Armstrong came out this week and said that Jan Ullrich is going to win Le Tour. My opinion is that Lance is a little premature on making a prediction like that for many reasons, including the 'pre-Tour' racing season. Who will be on form, who may get injured? AND, we still don't know if Tyler Hamilton is going to be in the mix or not. As regular readers know, I think he will be. But, if, for some reason, he's not, what about Ivan Basso? Smithers has a nice post on this very subject, "What happened to Basso?". The comments his readers have left are quite interesting, too.

I don't follow football much, but this time of year it is hard to miss what teams are in the playoffs. Fritz mentions that everyone in Colorado are wearing Bronco colors, but keep in mind Ben Roethlisberger, the QB for the Steelers is a blogger.

What blog do I read every day for fun? Jake directed me to The Dilbert Blog a month or so ago. Scott Adams is wonderfully zany. He cracks me up on a daily basis.

Just a few random tidbits for today. Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

A "MINI" Correction

Not only did the Mayor of Letterkenny stop by to read the post about MINI to Monte Carlo 2006 (below) but co-driver/navigator, Neil McDaid stopped by, too. Apparently, the brothers McDaid liked the post, but had a small, but significant, correction to make.

Although Tony Kelly is a car dealer in town, he's not a MINI dealer. He's a long-time friend of Brian McDaid's who arranged to get a red MINI Cooper with white roof, exactly what Brian needed.

What Neil didn't tell me from France is how to get a friend like Tony! My apologies to Brian and Tony for the "mini" mistake.

Safe travels to the team.

Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, January 16, 2006

MINI to Monte Carlo is off

What happens when one person wants to pay tribute to a friend, help a cause and remember a legendary event in sport? MINI to Monto Carlo 2005, which took to the streets of Ireland today.

Irish rally driver, Eamon Harvey, lost his battle with cancer two years ago this month. His friend, Brian McDaid, has been thinking of a way to honor his memory almost ever since. When the Donegal Hospice, the facility that had cared for Eamon at the end, had to raise much needed funds this year, Brian decided to do something for them. What a 'something' it is!

When Brian put his ideas into action, he unleashed a tidal wave of support in County Donegal. Brian approached the MINI dealer in town with his idea of driving 5,000km from Letterkenny, his hometown and the location of the hospice, to Monte Carlo. Not only would this be a fundraiser, but also a tie to rally, which was such a part of Eamon's life. Why the MINI? In the 1960s, rally driver Paddy Hopkirk drove the MINI to victory at the Monte Carlo Rally. This is why Brian wanted a MINI for this sentimental journey, which includes a stop at the 2005 Monte Carlo Rally, of course. The answer from the MINI owner was swift and Brian was off to raise the much needed funds.

Since getting the vehicle he'd take, the support has been overwhelming, most of which did not happen online. Sure, there is a website, but most people learned of this journey "the old fashioned way", through the multiple newspapers in town that have covered the fundraising, seeing the MINI buzzing around this last month and word of mouth on the streets of Letterkenny and the surrounding towns.

Brian's had support through donations of tires, fuel and hotel accommodations. He's taking all of these individuals and companies (and many, many more) on the road with him through signage on the sides and the checkered top of the car.

The only thing Brian was missing was a navigator for the round trip. In some ways that was the easiest piece of the puzzle. His brother, Neil McDaid, jumped at the chance to navigate (and do a bit of driving, of course!) on the journey. Neil gathered support in Boston, where he currently resides, before flying home to Ireland to join his brother.

Brian and Neil began their journey this evening driving through Ireland and taking a ferry to Scotland, driving through England and then across to France where their first stop will be Paris. They plan to update their journey on the website through words and photos, if you care to follow along the next week and a half. I'm sure it won't be a boring trip and you never know who they will meet along the way.

Although final calculations are not in, Brian McDaid's wish to raise awareness for the Donegal Hospice in memory of his dear friend may just have exceeded his original expectations through the generosity of the people touched by the story and goal for such a worthy cause. It's amazing what one person can do when he (or she!) puts his mind and heart into a project.

Just a tidbit for today. Thanks for stopping by.

Saturday, January 14, 2006 gets started

Once you get past all the New England Patriots' hoopla's top news story right now is about, a 'one-stop site for blogs'. This is a Massachusetts start-up that is going to pay bloggers based on advertising revenue. Could be an interesting concept, if it works. I'm always a little cautious about these things, but I'll be watching for their future announcements for sure. It's up and running right now, but apparently there is more coming in March, including the announcement of the pay model.

Just a little tidbit this morning. Thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Yes, I believe Tyler

If you are in public relations, media relations or any other marketing title you choose, one thing you should be fairly good at is reading people. We might not always be right, but we should be more right than wrong. Reading people is part of the job. You need to know your audience and read their reactions to know what is working for your company or client and what isn't.

For the most part, I think, I'm pretty good at reading people. Maybe it is that psychology minor I had in college. Sure, I've made my mistakes - who hasn't? - but I've been more right than wrong. One person I'm fairly certain I have a good read on is cyclist Tyler Hamilton. Another is his wife, Haven.

Here is where this post becomes more personal than marketing related, but that is my choice for today. As some of you know, Tyler was accused of blood doping almost a year and a half ago. From the minute the shock wore off Tyler declared his innocence and he and his wife have been fighting for his career, but more importantly to clear his good name, ever since. The fight continued this week when The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) reconvened to hear more evidence in the case (No, I do not know what happened there).

Now, I'm not a medical expert. I will fully admit that I have no idea what blood levels are supposed to be or not. But, do you know what? I don't need to know. Tyler told me he didn't this and I believe him.

Why are we so quick to believe a lab test over a person? There are false positives in lab tests all the time. Are we so jaded that we think 'all athletes' are cheaters? In the U.S. anyway you are supposed to be innocent until proven guilty, yet that isn't what happened in this case. A test was allegedly 'tainted' and Tyler was guilty. No trial. No immediate retest, even at his insistence. Just guilty - end of story. C'mon, every day in the news you see "alleged" criminals that are given more of a fair shake than Tyler's received. Before his first hearing he was guilty by many. I find that sad. For Tyler and for sports, in general.

I've had the good fortune to know Tyler for several years, and Haven even longer. These are good, honest people and I believe them without doubt. Not because of any experts they brought out to help them prove Tyler's claim, but almost in spite of it. I still want to believe that most people are good and most people do tell the truth and that not everyone is 'out to get you' or 'pull one over on you'. Maybe that is being gullible, but this man looked me in the eye and told me he didn't do this. Good enough for me.

This is just my opinion and I know there are many out there who do not share the same one. That's ok; it is what makes the world go 'round. This is just my way of 'shouting from the rooftops' that I believe in my friends.

On a very similar subject, I was extremely happy to see this come out from CAS this week. Bravo!

Just a personal tidbit for today. Thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Interview Down Under

The best thing about blogging is that meeting interesting, intelligent people is easier than ever. Through this whole process I've met some people that are simply fabulous. I recently introduced you to the 'smart cookies' that encouraged me to blog. Lee Hopkins is someone that I've had the pleasure of getting to know since starting the blog. He's smart, funny and has been very welcoming from day one. I only have one little issue with Lee...he's experiencing summer right now in Australia while we're getting snow in New England and I'm extremely jealous!

A few weeks ago Lee asked to interview me for a podcast. You all can assume correctly that I'm not set up for that to happen yet. Like the gracious person he is, Lee didn't miss a beat and didn't raise his eyebrows at me either (at least I don't think he did); he simply suggested an email interview instead. Thanks for understanding, yet again, Lee! It was fun doing the piece with you. Looking forward to conversing with you often about marketing and even about House!

Thanks for stopping by

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

What is crisis management?

As communicators we toss around the phrase "crisis management" quite a lot. For example:

- Every company needs a crisis management plan
- Consultants tout themselves as 'experts' in crisis management
- Every backseat driving marketing professional will put in their two cents on what x company should have done better during its 'crisis' because they 'know' how it's done.

But is this the right term we should be using when a non-life threatening widget doesn't perform as it should? Personally, I've been questioning that a lot today. Crisis is a strong word for strong situations.

Most of us (me included) have not ever had to deal with a real crisis at our jobs and, thankfully, we never will. The folks at International Coal Group, unfortunately, are dealing with one right now. The situation at the mine in West Virginia where 12 men lost their lives is a true crisis, not only for a company but for many families and an entire town.

Ben Hatfield, CEO, is getting a lot of accusations and anger directed towards him because of the many losses and the way the information was delivered to the families. Maybe they didn't do everything right last night (although it seems as though someone overheard something that wasn't public knowledge and spread the 'good' words), but he was there, in the middle of the night, not sleeping, just like the rest of the town. He didn't send in a VP or a lawyer, he went himself and waited with everyone else as the courageous rescuers did their jobs. I applaud him for this effort and I am interested to see how the company responds to the families in the coming days.

To hear that the miners weren't just trapped but all except one were gone is devastating. This is a true crisis for all involved. Remember all of these folks if something 'bad' ever happens at your company and you go into 'crisis' mode. I completely understand that, at the time, the issue seems huge and consumes your whole world, right? Try to keep it all in perspective. Take a deep breath, remember that you will go home that night and all of your co-workers and customers most likely will be alive the next day. Is it really a 'crisis' or should that word be saved for something more impactful?

Me? I think taking it down a notch or two wouldn't be a bad idea. Issue management. Problem management. Save 'crisis' and 'disaster' for true tragedies.

Just my tidbit for the day. Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Smart Cookies, one and all

I've mentioned the "Smart Cookies" listed to the right a few times and promised to introduce them to you, but with the holidays I haven't had a chance to do that properly. But, what better time than the start of a new year?

There are many intelligent people that I've met in the blogosphere and I'll get links up to some of them soon (really!), but the "Smart Cookies" are the reason I have this blog. They welcomed me, encouraged me and, in some cases, pushed me to start this adventure. So, if you have complaints about this blog, please address them to these folks... :)

Without further ado....

Jake McKee was the first person to welcome me into the blogosphere. Although he and I went back and forth on a few issues, not really agreeing on any of them, he was always, always patient and welcoming. Our conversation happened when I had a high fever and I could have been quite delirious at times and not making sense, but he hung in there! We came out of that discussion with some understanding of where the other was coming from and agreed to disagree on a few points, which was fine. Since that time, Jake and I have kept in touch and he's been a wonderful sounding board and teacher. He's well respected as the community person for Lego and been referenced in BusinessWeek more than once this past year. Smart, smart cookie.

Shel Israel and Robert Scoble are a twofer. They came into my world at the same time. Their book, Naked Conversations, was in the process of being written this past summer and I contacted them to try to correct a few things I knew were inaccurate. They not only heard what I had to say, but really listened. They were both open minded and willing to have a conversation with me.

Shel and I have conversed many, many times over the last few months and each time I have learn oodles from him. He's a wealth of knowledge that he readily shares with those of us who are newbies to this world. He's also a transplanted New Englander. I truly enjoy all of our conversations.

I must admit that I haven't had too many interactions with Robert, but when I have it's been refreshing to see how open minded he's been. Let's face it, whether you agree with him or not, he's an A-list blogger. Me, I'm a Z-list blogger. At the time I met him, I wasn't even a blogger...Egads! But, he's taught me a few things about blogging and how I want my blog, even by showing me some things that I wouldn't do. Half of getting where you are going is knowing what you don't want, too, right? He also 'introduced' me to his lovely wife, but I'll get to her in a minute.

Tara Hunt. She's a force of nature and I'm so glad I've met her!! The woman speaks a foreign language most of the time (remember, I'm so not techie!), but she has so much passion for what she does and what she knows it's contagious. She's feisty and let it show when she first interacted with me, but I like feisty! I was drawn in to her blog and into conversations with her that really opened my eyes to a few things. She's great and I suggest everyone read her blog daily. She's living her dream working at start-up, Riya, and doing a darn good job of it. They are lucky to have her.

B.L. Ochman. One word to describe this woman? Complex. Integrity. Ok, so that was two words, but I've always had trouble condensing. B.L. and I flat out did not see eye to eye in our first encounter (seems to be a trend on this list...), she was even very snippy, but she did something that has earned my respect forever. Her comments are moderated, yet when I called her on something she'd said she didn't just leave it in her comment section she put it in a post to make sure it was seen. She didn't have to do that because part of my comment was based more on a technology glitch that I didn't know about than her, but she did it to make sure I was heard. Respect. Respect. Respect. We've emailed often over the last few months and each time, I have found her to be sharp, warm and very talented. I mean, c'mon, did you see what she did for Budget this past fall? Brilliant!

Jeremy Pepper came into my world next. I'd seen his comments around the blogosphere, but then he did something that no other blogger has done. He wanted some information from me so he picked up the phone and called me! What a concept! In this world of companies reaching out to bloggers and bloggers expecting to sit back and have this happen, Jeremy decided to take the bull by the horns and contact me at work. We hit it off and had a lovely chat. Since then he and I have conversed on a few topics and, surprisingly for me, we agree on most things! That should scare him, by the way, because I'm a little odd sometimes. :)

Tim Jackson. Wow. It's hard for me to describe Tim without gushing. He literally walked me through blogging step by painful (for him)step. He's the only one on this list that I've met in person; this fall at Interbike in Vegas. We just hit it off right away. He's so intelligent and, like Tara, has a boundless passion for what he does. So much so, I think I caught this blog "bug" from him and proceeded to ask him question after endless question. He's a busy guy, but he always answers my questions even when they are the most basic to most people who have even one technical bone in their body (remember, I have none).

Tim also has a fierce passion for his family, which is very touching and moves. He seems to balance his home and work life quite well, too. Life is all about balance - it isn't all about work, that's for sure! I'm truly very lucky to have Tim as a colleague in the industry and as a friend.

Maryam Scoble. I can describe her in one phrase: Amazing woman. There are some people that just radiate warmth no matter how they communicate. Maryam is one of these people. I've never met her in person, but I have a feeling if we ever did (and I hope we do!), we'd be able to chat all day and into the night like old friends. She is so open about herself and why she started to blog that she was the final kick in the pants to me starting this blog. I was on the fence, but then she posted about her trepidation about starting her blog and the process she went through that it inspired me to just jump right in. I look forward to each and every one of her posts. She's fascinating, super smart, funny and, well, warm. Simply amazing.

So now you know a little about these Smart Cookies. Each of them has been instrumental, for one reason or another, in me starting this blog - whether or not they even are aware of the reason. Thank you all for sharing your knowledge and passion with me.

Happy, healthy new year to each Smart Cookie, your families and assorted critters. I truly hope that my path crosses with each of you in the coming year.

Thanks for stopping by.

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to you all. May the new year bring you all good health and interesting adventures.

Thanks for stopping by.