Tuesday, July 27, 2010

On John Bolz, John Carroll, Perez Hilton, blogging, and making money

John Bolz is the number on Google Trend as this blog post is written. The problem is no one knows why. But one has to use John Bolz and "grover cleveland alexander" to generate traffic, views, and ad revenue for their blogs.

When San Francisco Chronicle Columnist and all-around good man John Carroll wrote about bloggers and wondered how they make money (in "the blog dilemma" which should have been designed to be found in a search), he looked at it, it seemed unknowingly, from the perspective of one who's used to working for someone else.

Perez Hilton shows the way

Perez makes a business of hounding Miley
The most successful bloggers own their own blogs: Perez Hilton comes to mind. Now, if you're going to tell me what you think of Perez' content, you're not going to learn anything, so you're not the person I'm trying to reach.

Perez Hilton owns his own blog, and yet he's "multi-platform:" he has millions of Twitter followers. His videos can be found on his own YouTube channel, where, like me, Perez is a YouTube Partner. That means he earns revenue from his video views. He's got over 62,000 YouTube subscribers as of this writing. Me? I'm just over 5,000 YouTube subscribers, but hey, I love every one of them.

But my point is Perez has his own channel and his own "brand" that's not all in one place.  Regardless of what you think about Perez Hilton, you know what you're going to get when you visit his blog. That "brand" has led to offers of up to $20 million for his blog.

What John Carroll missed is a look at the blogger who's an entrepreneur. Before the days of journalists looking for work as bloggers, there were journalists who did blogging, specifically Justin Hall.

Hall's called a pioneer blogger, but the point here is that Justin did his own thing as a blogger and gained fame doing it.

I encourage people who blog at Zennie62.com, or any of the blogs in the Zennie62 network, to maintain or start their own blogs and cross post their work to mine. I want each person to grow their own online value. That's what John Carroll, ever the good man, misses. But it's also my fault for not following up with Carroll on my desire to video interview him

See, John Carroll is a star. Like many long-time journalists and columnists he has a following, but he's not "branded" in the way Perez Hilton is. He's not on video or mobile devices. He doesn't have his own widget.  He should have all of this, and more.

In short, John Carroll doesn't have that set of platforms that, added together with respect to traffic, he can sell for money, or make money from. It's a welcome direction given the shrinking print media industry.

The problem is the death of print media is forcing people online, where they're quite literally lost in Internet space. Many people: journalists, publicists, and public relations specialists, are totally lost.

And they're not helped by those who are in the same professions who take money from them with these seminars and panel discussions, claiming that they know the Internet way, when in point of fact, those same persons don't even have a clear Internet presence and brand. So, it becomes the blind leading the blind, and both eventually get frustrated either because they aren't making real money or the people have realized they don't know and have stopped paying them.

If you are asked to pay over $100 to attend a social media "how-to" function, run, don't walk, to the nearest exit. Don't do it.

Just do what Former San Francisco Chronicle Columnist Glenn Dickey did, and at my pushing, about five years ago: he started his own website called Glenn Dickey.com. Plus, he's at Examiner.com And while I think he could improve on his Internet presence and website monetization by a ton, he's at least created an online home that has some value (the paywall's a bad idea). The Examiner gives him another platform that helps drive awareness of the "Glenn Dickey" brand and thus, get more traffic.

So, John Carroll, you can make money blogging, but you've got to have your own blog and brand. In short, you have to think not in terms of working for someone else, but in terms building your own media business.

Jack Tatum, 61, Oakland Raiders Legend dies: I saw Darryl Stingley hit

Tatum crushes Stingley (NY Times)
Jack Tatum, the Oakland Raiders Legend dies at the young age of 61, and this blogger is shocked: Jack Tatum is one of those people who, as an Oaklander, is like part of your mental furniture; you just expected him to be there, forever.

That's especially true because I saw Darryl Stingley as he was hit by Jack Tatum at the 1978 preseason game between the Oakland Raiders and the New England Patriots. I was at Skyline High School at the time (in fact, unbelievably, our 30th reunion is this weekend) and went to the game with my good friend Bill Boyd (who you may remember from my Star Trek video, if you follow this space).

Bill and I were nerds before the term was created. In Bill Boyd's case, he was given to a Monty Python-style of humor: he could sing the "LumberJack Song" on cue. (Well, OK, all of us - me, Bill, Lars Frykman, and Craig Prior on a good day - could.)

Anyway, it was Bill's first pro football game at the Oakland Coliseum - I got the tickets from my Mom, who was friends with Raiders Defensive Tackle Otis Sistrunk and Marvin Upshaw, brother of Oakland Raiders Legend and later NFL Players Association Executive Director Gene Upshaw at the time - and he was in rare form. When the Oakland Raiderettes Cheerleaders were introduced, Bill stood up in his seat and yelled "SEX! SEX! SEX!" When the Oakland Raiders players came out, he got up and yelled "VIOLENCE! VIOLENCE! VIOLENCE!" Well, he was right.

The New England Patriots and Darryl Stingley in particular, were having a field day on offense against the Raiders. I got used to seeing Stingley run after the catch with abandon; Tatum put a stop to that.

As I recall, Stingley caught a slant pass and headed up field; I saw a number 32 cross my binoculars, and then a resounding crack. That was it.

The Oakland Coliseum was the quietest it's ever been. Darryl Stingley was down and Bill and I thought he died. That's a wild something to experience, especially when you're a teenager.

Then, after what seemed to be an eternity, they brought out a stretcher, gently lifted Stingley, and took him to an ambulance.

As you know by now, Darryl Stingley was paralyzed.

That event forever changed Jack Tatum and NFL Football. He played with less abandon after that, and it closed a chapter in Oakland Raiders history where the team was considered to have "criminal elements" on it. The charge came from then-Pittsburgh Steelers Head Coach Chuck Knoll, who's own players had some of the same claims aimed at them...by the Raiders.

Shortly after that event, and entering the 80s, the NFL liberalized defensive contact rules, allowing receivers to run through defenses without being "chucked" beyond five yards, whereas a defender could hit a receiver and knock the person off course before.

That change paved the way for the wide-open NFL of today.

That ended the Jack Tatum era.

Jack Tatum, whom I met once, was from what I recall a quiet and nice person; not at all like his football persona.

He died too young, but his sprit lives on. Perhaps the modern Oakland Raiders will channel his energy into an NFL Championship.

Stay tuned. What a sad day for Oakland sports. Jack Tatum, RIP.

Charles E. Johnson, San Mateo's Tano Capital, invest in India, China

What's interesting to learn about Bay Area venture capital firms, and on the heels of Thursday's TechCrunch Summer Party hosted by August Capital, is that not every one focuses on the United States.

In the case of Tano Capital, the San Mateo, California investment firm founded by Charles E. Johnson, the former President of Franklin Templeton investments, who's its managing director, has its investment interests primarily in India and China.

The firm, established in 2007, started with a few small investments, but then ramped up its activity considerably in 2009. It started with an investment in AltoBeam Technology, a China-based designer of digital TV chipsets. Then Tano placed $2.2 million in TongXue.com, a Chinese-based social network, that's become one of the 50,000 largest websites in the World (and with a really cool animated activity map).

In 2010, Tano Capital's activity increased, to the point that it has now as many deals in play as it did in all of 2009. And Tano's not totally out of the United States in terms of investment deals: it started the Tano Global Hard Assets Fund, which invests in U.S. hard assets.

Tano does all of this from it's offices in San Mateo, Mumbai, Mauritius, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Taipei, and Tianjin.

Terrell Owens is more than just a Reality TV star by: Nikky Raney

Terrell Owens was a well-known football player (former All-Pro receiver) before landing a reality TV show on VH1 (The T.O. Show).

Although some have reported that T.O's career is on the decline he still has hope for the upcoming football season.

The New York Jets are set to possibly be the next to sign Owens, but the Cincinnati Bengals also have their prospects on the star.

Only time will tell which team the star will join, but the fans will definitely be glad to see him back on the field.

Move over Andrew Breitbart, here comes Hipskind!

Darlene Heslop "sighed and rolled her eyes" according to a story in the Chicago Tribune. For that she got ejected from the June 14 meeting of the City Council in Elmhurst, IL.

"Surely nobody expects the committee to conduct its business effectively if citizens are free to make facial expressions in public."
I'm serious.
"Making faces behind the mayor's back is disruptive, in my opinion,"
~Stephen Hipskind
Now, according to the Tribune's Editorial, the Elmhurst City Attorney has been directed to research the legal definitions of disorderly conduct and disruptive behavior apparently as a precursor to drafting an ordinance "to curb non-verbal outbursts." There is already a state law defining disorderly conduct as "an act in such unreasonable manner as to alarm or disturb another, or to provoke a breach of the peace." 

Somehow, to me, neither sighing nor rolling your eyes, even if done more-or-less simultaneously at a meeting of elected officials, seems likely to provoke a breach of the peace. A snort? Maybe. A chuckle or two, even? Perhaps.

July's been a busy month for dictionary makers

First we have the new verb breitbart, as in "he breitbarted the story," to describe taking something so egregiously out of context that it takes on a meaning opposite from what was originally intended.  Now we also have the new verb hipskind, as in "he hipskinded the event," meaning he caused members to walk out undermining the meeting quorum yet succeeded in wasting tax-payer money by sending an attorney on a wild goose chase - over somebody sighing and rolling their eyes.

Is it any wonder voters seem hard-pressed to trust elected officials to bring value to their work? To delegate to an attorney the task of devising a way to control facial expressions sounds like some farcical Monty Python sketch.  Sadly, it's not - it's the state of the city in Elmhurst, IL.

Thomas Hayes is an entrepreneur, Democratic Campaign Manager, journalist, and photographer who contributes regularly to various web sites on topics such as economics, politics, culture, and community. He's glad nobody could watch his facial expressions while he wrote this.

Tom Staub? City of Alameda's City Manger in trouble on SunCal Alameda Point

Victim of a can't do city
This blogger returns from Comic Con to see that Alameda's a big mess. Forget Tom Staub, or Tony Hayward, or Fugazi, or cats that look like Hitler, or any questionable content, the Internet World should pay attention to how Alameda messed up.

The City of Alameda’s rejection of developer SunCal’s Alameda Point redevelopment plan and involvement is an example of the City’s awful political and staff leadership and it will cost the taxpayers millions of dollars and lost jobs over the coming years.

Perhaps just as damaging, unless something with SunCal can be salvaged, my sources say the City’s reputation has been irreparably damaged with Wall Street and the investment community and, now, any major developer would be foolish to even entertain driving through the Alameda Tube.

(Hey investment community, come to Oakland.)

That's too bad for a project, the redevelopment of what was the Alameda Naval Air Station and what we call Alameda Point, which was closed in what was called the "Base Realignment and Closure Act" of 1992.

I was on the first Alameda Base Reuse Committee, and the time table we had called for the project to be underway by now. But, thanks to Ann Marie Gallant, that's not the case.

Alameda’s interim city manager, Ann Marie Gallant is the problem. Period. She's become the Tony Hayward of the investment community in my view, and someone should be royally pissed off; I am. Ann Marie Gallant has been single-handedly behind the collapse of the SunCal project from the view of this space.

Gallant's recent stop-the-development-at-all-costs efforts in which sources say she secretly started reading the emails and correspondence of a well-regarded Councilwoman, Lena Tam, and then hired a private attorney to file claims against Tam, taking her out of the vote for the Alameda Point development and casting aspersions on Tam’s supporters.

While Alamedan’s don’t know the full story about Ann Marie Gallant, it will soon come out in this space, as both Tam’s top attorney John Keker and, separately, SunCal are looking at legal action against Gallant and the City of Alameda.

One of the big issues is the money SunCal spent in paying the City of Alameda's staff during the negotiating period and what the staff did and did not do during that time. To say that Gallant and the City of Alameda are in big trouble is an understatement.

Tom Staub? Forget it.

Stay tuned.