WBW#43 Announced:….and breeeeeeath….

Wow, when I thought about this theme for WBW (which I signed up for about 18 months ago, btw) I had no idea how badly I was going to need this or how cathartic the topic would be for me.

I believe in balance in life. Truly. I think you must or you won’t survive. That doesn’t me you’ll never get ahead because you take too many breaks, but there must always be balance. I can work like a maniac for days at a time, but not without something to ground me, my kids, my wife, and of course wine!

So that’s where I derived this theme idea. Wine is part of my life. Even when I ran into health problems with my cholesterol some years back, the doctor said I’ll need medication and probably cut out wine…wrong on both points my drug-company influenced friend. See, wine is part of the Yang to my everyday Yin. I love it and its such a part of my life that I believe that when I have that glass, at the end of the day or sometimes at the end of an intense week, my mind and body just release and relax. I never get hammered on wine and no other spirit signals my body to transition to “relax” so its not the alcohol as some may argue. It is the act of drinking it and the memories and good times the wine brings to mind that just lets me drift away.

I think there are enough people out there who know what I’m talking about which is why I chose this theme. Comfort Wines – choose a wine, any wine, that you love to unwind to and tell us about not only the wine but what makes the experience special and relaxing for you!

For me, I’ve just finished a home improvement project (literally getting sign-off from the city in the next week), launched the OpenWine Consortium social network, got my car repaired after an accident, and my second daughter is due March 4th (with WBW#43 due March 5th!). So I’m pretty sure I’ll have a good experience that I can try to convey for that Wednesday.

Remember, I believe in enjoying the Wine Life so if wine is part of a relaxation routine for you lets hear how you unwind – whether is in front of the TV or on the roof of a villa in Spain in front of a grill. Lets paint some mental pictures of tranquility for everyone to read and enjoy. Maybe some of us will have a couple “oh man, I totally have to try that” moments!


The problem with online marketing in a 2.0 world…

Quick post on the Idea…

Marketing, the life I live outside of wine, is an interesting beast. And right now I’m speaking of the segment of marketing that inspires people and creates brands. In a traditional world, you have magazines or publications with editorial calendars and predictable subject matter. When the Web1.0 world came along, things were basically the same, predictable order of operations but with a much lower barrier to entry creating a flood of information. Search engines and intelligent algorithms began indexing this information and added a way to generate leads for business by setting up Ads based on the content. The theory goes if you’re searching for the content you might be interested some related products and/or services so here they are right next to your information. That’s great for lead generation. Interestingly enough, that has minimal branding value. You can ask anyone doing search engine marketing, paid ads are great for lead generation but they work fairly similarly to how stores are merchandised – similar items are next to each other so that you generate sales. It works, everyone’s happy in Web1.0 and the world creates a multi-billion dollar online advertising industry.

In comes “Web2.0” where there is a shift. Really the type of fundamental shift that creates markets. It was subtle and natural evolution to end users but a disruptive shift for marketeers. This new e-commerce and publishing platform suddenly became less about broadcast and more about conversations. Less about a hyper-advanced information source and catalog and more about meeting people with common interests and creating “social” groups.

Robert at WineCulture blog pointed me to an article that talks about this quite succinctly:

When people are on MySpace, the activity they’re doing isn’t search. It’s something akin to “hanging out” or “networking”. Their task is almost the opposite of search. They are already on the site they want to be on. They don’t need to click on links to take them where they want to go.

In other words, the context is entirely different. When you’re in search mode, you are playing by different rules.

Social ads don’t work as well because people are being social, not searching for something.

What the Author is saying is that in the world of conversations, social networking that happens to be online, and interaction, understanding context of the situation is king. Automating the placement of a static ad based on certain keyword matches has modest success on blogs (but the blog has to be very popular because its only those doing some searching that will be interested in the ads) and much less success on an actual social platform. Ads based on keywords in content are worthwhile if the activity the “clickee” is engaged in is searching for information (Web1.0). But if the published word that is triggering the static ad is part of a conversation that Richard and I are having on his blog about the Wine.com direct shipping whistle blowing debacle…er…debate (hypothetically), then that ad won’t be of interest to me.

Additionally, straight forward ad networks won’t help either. They just lump conversations into categories (either Tags or worse), match advertisers with categories they want to serve ads to in an automated fashion, and then serve away. Its arguable that this is even MORE Web1.0 than keyword advertising.

Marketing is being disrupted and its going to take a disruption to this market, not just in the technology but in the approach to marketing, to make online marketing effective in a Web 2.0 world.


If a Facebook Group crashes and no one is around to hear it…

Wine2.0 Facebook group. Its definitely an association that has potential but I wonder if the FB group that was created for the purpose of perpetuating Wine2.0 hasn’t done a disservice to the movement itself.

What I have found in the past is that FB groups are simply glorified bulletin boards. A community needs interactivity, networking opportunities, offline events, party hats, balloons…ok, maybe not party hats and balloons but you get my drift.

So, on day 2 of my reign (or is it 3?) here is what I find – the group is still active (there are still people joining), but it won’t be for long. What I also find is this – the group needs a purpose. Here are some suggestions:

* Create a standard for wine entries that facilitates eCommerce

* Become a resource for wine companies to learn about web technologies

* Create a venue to review new companies and award the best company with funding or business or both

I’m completely open. There is alot of potential there. I guess a basic tenet of the group will be to promote and evangelize the use of Web2.0+ technologies throughout the wine industry.

Thoughts anyone?

For Love or Money

Just read an very interesting essay that makes parallels between blogging and the open source movement in software.  There was a discussion about a year ago in the wine blogosphere regarding professional versus amateur and what the distinction is.  This essay points out some really interesting ideas relating to this topic is worth a read.  In particular, I enjoy these passages:

First this on that actually relates open-source to blogging

Like open source, blogging is something people do themselves, for free, because they enjoy it. Like open source hackers, bloggers compete with people working for money, and often win. The method of ensuring quality is also the same: Darwinian. Companies ensure quality through rules to prevent employees from screwing up. But you don’t need that when the audience can communicate with one another. People just produce whatever they want; the good stuff spreads, and the bad gets ignored. And in both cases, feedback from the audience improves the best work.

Then there is the comments on amateurs versus professionals…

There’s a name for people who work for the love of it: amateurs. The word now has such bad connotations that we forget its etymology, though it’s staring us in the face. “Amateur” was originally rather a complimentary word. But the thing to be in the twentieth century was professional, which amateurs, by definition, are not.
That’s why the business world was so surprised by one lesson from open source: that people working for love often surpass those working for money. Users don’t switch from Explorer to Firefox because they want to hack the source. They switch because it’s a better browser.

More great insights here…

Actually, the fad is the word “blog,” at least the way the print media now use it. What they mean by “blogger” is not someone who publishes in a weblog format, but anyone who publishes online. That’s going to become a problem as the Web becomes the default medium for publication. So I’d like to suggest an alternative word for someone who publishes online. How about “writer?”
Those in the print media who dismiss the writing online because of its low average quality are missing an important point: no one reads the average blog. In the old world of channels, it meant something to talk about average quality, because that’s what you were getting whether you liked it or not. But now you can read any writer you want. So the average quality of writing online isn’t what the print media are competing against. They’re competing against the best writing online. And, like Microsoft, they’re losing.

And finally, this passage is probably my favorite…

The third big lesson we can learn from open source and blogging is that ideas can bubble up from the bottom, instead of flowing down from the top. Open source and blogging both work bottom-up: people make what they want, and the best stuff prevails.
Does this sound familiar? It’s the principle of a market economy. Ironically, though open source and blogs are done for free, those worlds resemble market economies, while most companies, for all their talk about the value of free markets, are run internally like communist states.

This essay really is worth a read.  Its a couple years old by Paul Graham, an essayist, programmer, and programming language designer.  Wine bloggers are a very powerful force especially when you consider that its driven pretty much by love of the community’s past time rather than money.  And like open source, the job of following and documenting wine requires more than a single entity with several dozen people.  Its going to take a cast of thousands with a shared passion and the best will naturally rise to the top.

Enjoy the Wine Life!

What inspires you?


There are lots of things going on in my life these days. Very busy times. But for now, its a good busy…

My second daughter is due any week now (officially March 4th, but the last Dr visit said the baby was already 6 lbs and Kelly is petite so she won’t be in there too much longer…).

In my life I find I draw inspiration from many places. Usually my family and friends. A few weeks ago the wine community inspired me. I’m hatching an idea. I’ve spoken to a few of you about it and I’ll more than likely speak to a few more. But for now, I’ll use the pages of WLT to chronicle what I’m doing with my idea and its evolution.

Its amazing the what the meshing of a passion with a profession can accomplish. Its a powerful thing when that gets match with inspiration.

I have an idea…