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The Future Since 1999

This photo is actually from 1996, but it’ll do. My gear and I still looked like that when Y2K fears pooped what should have been the biggest party in a thousand years.



“A key difference between a dialogue and an ordinary discussion is that, within the latter people usually hold relatively fixed positions and argue in favor of their views as they try to convince others to change. At best this may produce agreement or compromise, but it does not give rise to anything creative…What is essential here is the presence of the spirit of dialogue, which is in short, the ability to hold many points of view in suspension, along with a primary interest in the creation of common meaning.” — David Bohm & David Peat

Market conversations

“Conversation is the socializing instrument par excellence.” — Ortega y Gasset

  1. Web site design, which is just landscaping and interior decorating for the real estate metaphor
  2. What will happen when the Internet’s capacity grows to accommodate the entire entertainment industry, including everything on TV and radio, in movies and on audio recordings (which won’t happen soon because those industries won’t let regulators allow it to happen).
  1. Publishing, retailing and real estate are proven conceptual metaphors that support working market conversations
  2. Advertising is a success to the degree that it works on the Web like it worked on other media.
  3. Entertainment awaits proof that won’t come until the bandwidth is here.
  1. The need to know; and
  2. The need to buy.

Dividing labors

“Advertising is what you do when you can’t go see somebody. That’s all it is.” — Fairfax Cone

Goodbye consumers, hello customers

“Consumption is the sole end and purpose of production; and the interest of the producer ought to be attended to only so far as it may be necessary for promoting that of the consumer.” — Adam Smith

  • Producers
  • Consumers
  • Vendors
  • Customers
  • Distributors

Funding Illusions

“Words Are Nutrition. Images Are Drugs.” — Rob McDaniel

  1. Most Americans divide their time between three kinds of activities: work, sleep, and watching TV. The average American watches more than 4 hours of TV every day. That’s 28 hours per week, 2 months per year, 10 years per life.
  2. Advertisers spent more than $45 billion on TV advertising in 1997 in the U.S. That’s more than one quarter of all advertising expenditures.
  3. Over a year, kids spend 1600 hours watching TV. That’s nearly twice the 900 hours they spend in school.
  4. Ninety-nine percent of American households have at least one TV. On the average, those TVs are on nearly 7 hours a day.
  5. Two thirds of us watch TV while we eat dinner. One in four of us often fall asleep while watching TV, too.
  6. Children spend 1,680 minutes per week watching TV. They also spend 38.5 minutes per week in meaningful conversation with their families. That’s a ratio of 436-to-1.
  7. The average kid sees 20,000 thirty-second TV commercials per year. By the time he or she reaches 65, the number will reach two million.

Marketing returns

“There can be no effective corporate strategy that is not marketing oriented, that does not in the end follow this unyielding prescript: The purpose of a business is to create and keep a customer. To do that, you have to do those things that will make people want to do business with you. All other truths on this subject are merely derivative.” — Theodore Levitt

  1. Recognize relationships as the most precious assets a company has, and invest in them
  2. Foster actual or felt dependencies between buyers and sellers
  3. Establish direct links between buyers and sellers, and use them
  4. Recognize that it is the seller’s responsibility to create and nurture these relationships
  5. Help the buyer understand the long-term costs and benefits of these relationships
  6. Prefer to humanize, rather than institutionalize, relationships
  7. Use your imagination, and start by getting down the “the simple essence in things” — in other words, don’t BS

The Killer Service

“Our ineptitude in getting at the record is largely caused by the artificiality of systems of indexing.” — Vannenar Bush, 1945.

A choice, not an addiction

TV is just chewing gum for the eyes. — Fred Allen


1. McCann-Erikson. Here.



Elijah McClain, George Floyd, Eric Garner, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Michael Brown, Oscar Grant, Atatiana Jefferson, Tamir Rice, Bettie Jones, Botham Jean

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Doc Searls

Author of The Intention Economy, co-author of The Cluetrain Manifesto, Fellow of CITS at UCSB, alumnus Fellow of the Berkman Klein Center at Harvard.