Category Archives: Case Studies

Digital Moms and Social Media Part 1: Beyond Email and Google…


You are a mom. You consider yourself high-tech, or at least getting that way fast. You have children who are digital natives. You are an immigrant in their world.

Which technologies are you most likely to use in their digital world?

Email? Probably a given. Facebook? A lot more this year than last. These get you to other moms and their kids.

How about Instant Messaging or Texting?

Do you have a blog? Can you explain what RSS means? Do you browse the web on your mobile device? Do you video or audio podcast?

Which of the afore mentioned channels do you use if you are a mom in your 20’s? 30’s? 40’s?

RazorFish’s latest publication gives crisp data to these and many other questions. The landscape is changing as high-tech moms increasingly reduce the gap between their channels and the channels of their children. One sample chart is worth a look: (can’t see the small numbers?… click on the chart to go to the report)


A Book Launch, A Gorilla Trek and Kids as Animators.

This Friday morning, if you are near your computer, tune into Scholastic, Inc’s website.  Scholastic Inc. is launching a new book here, and simulcasting the launch party over the web, from their auditorium in New York City. Insiders at Scholastic say this is one of the biggest launches since Harry Potter. Looking for Miza is the book.

Releasing a book today is almost like starting a new media channel. Not only will viewers of the launch party hear from the book’s authors, but they will also be able to read pages from the book, submit questions, find teacher resources, suggest solutions to the problems facing an endangered species, donate money to help the character in the book, join a “watch” community, and view animated movies made about the book, by kids from around the world.

What’s best about this story is that it is true. A real story, out of Africa.

At our house, we are especially excited about this release. Two of my boys and I spent June in Rwanda Africa with the book’s authors, workshopping animation with kids in Rwanda, and tromping around in the volcanic mountains with the Gorillas. I had the incredible pleasure to help the kids of Rwanda learn the craft of animation by producing two “gorillasodes” with young people a the Rwanda Cinema Center. The “gorillasodes” are now availble to view at Look for them at the bottom of the page. They knocked it out of the national park!

Check out this Friday’s simulcast at 10:00am EST. You just may see us at the Gorillasode premiere at the the first ever Kids Gorilla Summit!

Copytalk that, and Jott This Down: Secrets of the Mobile Blogger

If you are your own channel in the digital world, then any technology which makes it easier to spread your ideas and programming will be hotly lusted after. Today I recluctantly give up some secrets which have changed the way I work for ever.

But before I divulge, a short scenario;

You are driving. Slow commute or maybe a long road trip. You go into a semi-somnambulic state, staring mindlessly through your windshield. You get lost in your thoughts. The open loops of your life all present themselves. Soon you have an insight. An idea or a thought strikes like lightning, your mind races, seeing connections, synergies, or problems solved. Perhaps the exact words you should say to a boss, spouse or child come to you on the spot. Perhaps an idea for your next blog post. Perhaps the cure to cancer. Who knows. We’ve all been there. What do you do? If you are like me, in the past I’ve called in my brilliant idea and left a message on my own cell phone, or scribbled incoherent keywords on any paper I could find on the seat next to me.

Last month I had 127 such moments.

Good news is, I have them all in my email inbox under the “brilliant ideas” folder, as text files. And, here’s the best news, I didn’t have to key them in from my voice-mail. I didn’t outsource the keying-in via a virtual assistant or a dictation service, and most importantly I made these notes seconds after the idea presented itself.

This has made all the difference in keeping up on blog posts, on lesson plan ideas, on presentation concepts, and on and on.

My secret weapon? and  Copytalk allows up to four mintues of speaking at a time, Jott only 15-30 seconds, but both deliver instant notation from a cell phone and the results show up in your inbox within the hour. is designed for short notes, for longer musings. Jott’s basic package is free. Copytalk starts at 80.00 per month.

I’m not getting any affliate cash from promoting these two companies. I’ve used them both variably over the past year and they have changed the way I work. I’ve scratched the surface of what can be done. Other benefits include text to speech, multiple emails broadcasts, transribing of mp3s, etc.

Check it out, and capture the essense of your great ideas as soon they pop into your head.

BTW, this post was created from my cell phone, and tweaked later in email. Nifty, eh?

123 Cancelled TV Shows, a TV Memorial Day Excercise…

Back in the days of limited channels, we all watched pretty much the same things.

Here’s a list of cancelled shows sent to me by Dr. Laurie. I’ve added 10 titles. It is growing. How many have you actually watched? How many have you never heard of? With TV Land and the like on cable, your numbers are not based on your age necessarily. Much of this is also watchable on youtube.

It would be unthinkable to do the same with classic websites we all remember. To quote Carl Sagan, “billions and billions and billions…

Can you think of a few more? Ask your grandpa to look at the list too!

  1. Andy’s Gang (Andy Devine)
  2. Mission Impossible
  4. Six Million Dollar Man
  5. The Danny Kaye Show
  6. Then Came Bronson
  7. The Smothers Brothers
  8. Little House on the Prairie
  9. Dragnet
  10. Friday night fights!!
  11. Dynasty
  12. Streets of San Francisco
  13. St. Elsewhere
  14. Here Comes the Brides
  15. Peyton Place
  16. Topper
  17. Friday Nite Videos
  18. China Beach
  19. I Remember Mama
  20. The Red Skelton show
  21. Lassie
  22. Gunsmoke
  23. 60’s LAUGH IN
  24. The Dean Martin Show
  25. Sky King
  26. Dr. Kildare
  27. The Carol Burnette Show
  28. Bosom Buddies
  29. Mork and Mindy
  30. Truth or Consequences
  31. That Girl
  32. The Waltons
  33. Burns and Allen
  34. Star Trek
  35. You Can’t Do That On Television
  36. Mr. Ed
  37. I Love Lucy
  38. My Three Sons
  39. What’s My Line
  40. The Lone Ranger
  41. The Ed Sullivan Show
  42. You Are There (1953)
  43. Bewitched
  44. I Led Three Lives
  45. brady bunch
  47. Jeffersons
  49. Dark Shadows with Barnabas Collins
  50. Hee-Haw
  51. F-TROOP
  52. Rin Tin Tin
  53. Charlie’s Angels
  54. Casper the Friendly Ghost
  55. The Wonderful World of Disney
  56. Wyatt Earp
  57. Flicka
  58. Paladin
  59. The Fall Guy
  60. The Dukes of Hazzard
  61. Rawhide
  62. Bonanza
  63. My Mother the Car
  64. Ozzie & Harriet
  65. American Bandstand
  66. Route 66
  67. The Patty Duke Show
  68. Father knows best
  69. Cheers
  70. ALF
  71. The Jetsons
  72. Car 54 Where are you?
  73. Green Hornet
  74. Andy Griffin
  75. The Twilight Zone
  76. Combat!
  77. Show of Shows (Syd Ceasar)
  78. Dr. Kildare
  79. 77 Sunset Strip (Kookie, lend me your comb)
  80. I Spy
  81. The Courtship of Eddie’s Father
  82. Dallas
  83. Man From U.N.C.L.E.
  84. The Mary Tyler Moore Show
  85. The Donna Reed Show
  86. Inner Sanctum
  87. Crusader Rabit
  88. I Love Joan (Joan DAvis Show)
  89. The Cisco Kid
  90. Arthur Godfrey Show
  91. Have Gun will Travel
  92. The Beverly Hillbillies
  93. Code Red
  94. The Flintstones
  95. Soap
  96. The Flying Nun
  97. The Honeymooners
  98. Winky Dink and You
  99. The Ghost and Mrs. Muir
  100. Alias Smith and Jones
  101. The Bearcats
  102. HR Puffn Stuff
  103. A Family Affair
  104. Northern Exposure
  105. Time Tunnel
  106. Candid Camera
  107. Three’s Company
  108. Rocky and Bullwinkle
  109. Lidsville
  110. Hawaii 5-0
  111. Columbo
  112. Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kindgom
  113. American Sportsman
  114. Battle of the Network Stars
  115. Munsters
  116. Get Smart
  117. Six Million Dollar Woman
  118. Murphy Brown
  119. Wonder Woman
  120. Mighty Mouse
  121. Lost in Space
  122. Fantasy Island
  123. Sigmond and the Seamonster

Musings on the Evolution of Media Attention Spans

Everybody is aware that we live in a microwave-attention-span world. Or do we? How do you explain an opera like Wagner’s Ring Cycle still playing to sell out crowds? Didn’t opera hit it’s hey-day 150 years ago? Yet an opera which takes four days to perform with a total playing time of 15 hours, give or take a few arias, still packs them in during the Youtube generation. In fact, it sells out years in advance. Talk about a “Long Tale”!

What’s up with this? Are the baby-boomers holding up the long-attention entertainment market?

In the recent history of popular entertainment, one could argue for a cycle of evolution that goes something like this:

1800’s: Opera gives way to Theater/Broadway shows – Early 1900’s: Theater/Broadway Shows give way to Movies – Mid 1900’s: Movies give way to Broadcast Television – 1970’s/80’s: Broadcast Television taken over by Cable – Now: All visual entertainment turns into internet/Youtube.

During this cycle, each of the new-comer technology/entertainment media declares the death of the previous. Each new medium requires less time and more choice. Each new medium requires less money to mount and produce. It might also be argued that the attention span required for each was reduced.


Last year the Metropolitan Opera in New York had revenues of 249,000,000 dollars. A quarter-billion dollars for one theater, showing antiquated entertainment. The next five theaters showing opera, i.e. San Francisco, Seattle, Omaha, Los Angeles, Dallas, show revenues averaging around 50-60 million a piece. The US has 125 opera companies running in full. (for now we’ll leave out profits, subsidies etc.) This is not including Europe, where opera is still very popular.

Broadway, mostly thought of as a New York industry has spread throughout the country. Over 800 cities in the US have professional theater companies, and most new plays are developed in these theaters. Broadway is now more of a place where a finished, tested piece comes to rest. Once on Broadway, a good play can generate anywhere from 600,000 to 1,000,000 per week. Per week!

Interestingly, George Lucas recently declared the “Blockbuster” dead, in much the way one would declare opera dead. Too expensive, too risky, requires attention span too long for the average citizen growing up in the Youtube age. To add insult to this form of entertainment, Vanity Fair recently ran an article by Michael Wolf, The Plot Sickens, in which he declares the screenplay dead. I don’t need to recite the thousands blogs which have declared Hollywood dead.

For readers of this blog, television has been portrayed as a fading medium as well. Seth Godin portrays the death of the television-industrial complex as a fact of the 21st century. But, cable television still gets into 80 million homes, whether anyone watches or not. Although, MTV fired all it’s producers, directors and writers a few years ago, it still is one of the most profitable brands in the history of entertainment.

(For an interesting discussion as to whether or not newspapers are dead, see this.)

What does all this mean?

As youtube and the like expand and dominate the media landscape for the new generation, we look around the media landscape and see all the old forms still being supported by rabid fans. The raging profits are not there, but that shouldn’t be surprising. The pie is being split billions of ways.

Speaking of billions of channels, this brings us back to Opera. One does not need to have a mass audience on youtube or in opera. You just need the fans who’s attention span fits with what you do. Hundreds of thousands of video producers have connected to thousands of raving fans online. Micro-entertainment for micro attention. High choice, high traffic, high clicks, low attention spans, low pay. Opera = Low Choice, Low traffic, high attention spans, and low pay.

It seems attention spans will not kill off old media forms. Hollywood may look like opera in ten years, and television may seem like opera compared to the speed and choice on youtube. But these relative comparisons are only exercises in contrast. By and large, if attention spans are evolving in media, it seems to be going both ways, toward long tales and toward short tales.

I read long books, I write long blog posts, and I’ve been to an opera or two, but I don’t watch TV. I love short form entertainment on youtube and I can’t take watching it more than 3 minutes a clip. For me, it’s either long or short. Don’t mess with mister inbetween. The long stuff is an investment in quality, the short is drive-by chuckles. Channeling your energy this way? I’d love to know…

Simple, Elegant Peer to Peer Microeconomic Case Studies

If you could start up a business with little capital, doing something you love, and take it to profitablility within a year, would that be interesting? How about making an income worthy of a corporate executive without having to manage a fleet of employees or climb the corporate ladder?


So make your own channel, create your own media, broadcast to the niche which loves what you do. Collect their consenting emails and everytime you post something new, let them know.

Here are three small companies, one to four people strong, which have done this beautifully.

One from kids:
One from an adult:
One from a senior citizen;

Jacquie Lawson picked up the classic P2p business model in her late 60’s. She now makes 5 million per year at 72. Producer, director, animator, channel owner.

These are the early adopters of the microeconomics which will be a huge part of the global economy in the years to come. Start your own channel now and use your talents and skills to become something more than a cube slave.

Case Study #24 – Plowing through the money, one calendar at a time.

Plowing through life in the country…one calf nut at a time. Hilarious!
That is the banner text from Confessions of a Pioneer Woman. You’ll have to read it to get the inside story. Channeling her life through a blog about life in the country, Ree tells about being a city girl making her way through ranching life in Montana. Her voice is authentic. Her writing is crisp and wry. Her fans are devoted. This includes my wife.

She sells a calendar of her favorite photos of the year to her raving audience. This year she donated one dollar of each calendar to the Special Olympics. Her dontation was about 4,300.00. Her calendar sold for 15.00. Do the math. You’ve never heard of Ree? Enough people have to keep her family in fine cow-pie kickin’ boots for some time.

No fancy website, no marketing outside her blog. No gift conventions. No sales reps. Just authentic storytelling to an audience who’s following blog. Her visual voice is singular, straightforward, and satisfying.