Thursday, June 30, 2005

Why are there birds in Home Depot?

I've been to six Home Depots and every one of them had birds flying around inside the building. Can that be good?

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

RoadSlave enters the BlogHer contest

While the rules are unclear (tell your story), I'd like my blog to tell my story. I'll provide some narration for my entries:

I began blogging while visiting Alaska. After arriving on a Sunday, the only thing we could find open was a Red Robin in Anchorage. The food wasn't bad, but the waiter was pure entertainment. My first posting Red Robin of our Discontent was born out of encouragement from my family members. "You should blog this."

It was a start. I was skeptical, however, that blogging would lead to the magical connected conversations that were being hyped everywhere I looked. I pondered this while attending my nephew's graduation as my mind wandered frequently during the Chugiak Mustangs Commencement.

How would I build the coveted street cred (credibility)? Doing some searching, I stumbled across Brad Feld's Alaska categories. Perfect. Brad had a lot of readers. Maybe he could spare some for me? Street cred would have to wait, however, as I didn't know any other bloggers who could comment and link to me and create a blog buzz. It didn't matter, I was having a great time in Alaska.

The rented motorhome provided more than its fair share of interesting topics, although I included what I thought was the most important one -- The difference between Grey and Black water !

Sea Kayaking in Whittier was a thrill. I renamed the tour the Kittiwake Bird Drop Special.

My first and only major Alaskan disappointment was eating at the Snow Goose in Anchorage. Only the ice water met my expectations.

Fortunately, finding a Sushi place in Eagle River brought spirits right back.

By now, I was having so much fun in Alaska, but documenting so little of it, that I began to feel
Blogger's Guilt. "No good deed goes unblogged," I thought. Would anyone really care about my Alaskan adventure, or would they rather index, link, and tag each other in shameless self promotion?

I spotted "I like cats too -- Let's exchange recipies" on a local's refrigerator. It stuck with me the whole day. Lacking any clever titles for the Bou Bacon and Polar bear pictures, I figured why not offend someone with a funny title?

Something I'll never forget is the local buzz to find the first evidence of the King Salmon run. As an experiment, I tried to use the technology to give me an edge, but in the end the Blogs failed to deliver the Salmon.

Have you ever cooked bacon and eggs on tinfoil over a smoky Alaskan campfire? The pic still makes my mouth water!

By now, I was quite frustrated with the coefficient of drag of getting my site indexed into Technorati. How was I going to experience the magic connected conversations of the live web if my posts never got indexed?

Imagine my surprise when David Sifry, himself, left a comment explaining the problem. (Brad Feld, where are your comments?) I promptly apologized to David for being a snot. And although my first connected conversation happened asynchronously, it was a conversation nonetheless.

These amazing time lapse pictures of the Alaskan summer solstice pretty much sum up my amazement when David left a SECOND comment in response to my apology.

By now, I had found the majority of VC blogs and was reading to both learn and be entertained. Venture Capitalists as Grizzly Bears left me no choice but to wonder what happens to the salmon when all these Thesis Bears arrive at the river bank.

Especially since I found myself in Alaska, I found the irony that the salmon are eaten before they complete their mission at the hands of the smarter, Thesis bears.

I knew the VC's wouldn't touch the observation is that since it didn't come from another VC, it just wasn't VC-cool. I know they have a sense of humor, as some of the funniest things I've read have come from VC blogs (whether they know it or not.)

In testing the Mark Pincus Observation, I really didn't expect Mark to respond. He didn't. If I win the BlogHer competition, will he be sorry? Probably not.

Keshava Dasarthy did appreciate my link, however.

The Gates of Aniakchak are one of those places I'd like to go someday. No offense, but can I trade the BlogHer prize for the Gates? Probably not.

The running joke in Alaska was that we would find ourselves at a Fred Meyer store two or three times a day. It couldn't be helped. In the off-chance that a VC was dusting off the WebVan plan, I wanted to point out that Fred Meyer delivers to the Alaskan bush.

Why pick me for the BlogHer prize?

Well, I have no good answer except that I remain skeptical of the blogger hype. Perhaps I really NEED to chill with my sisters and let the magic overtake me? I still need to build that street cred, so send me to meet other bloggers and let the magic begin.

Besides, let's not forget that Jane Blog is just as an important marketing force as Joe Blog.

Did I mention I was born in North Dakota? Going to BlogHer would at least allow me to clear up Niall Kennedy's obvious misconceptions about the state face-to-face. And while I do love San Francisco, I don't worship it as a technology mecca. (Niall needs to travel more -- maybe I'll sponsor a contest to send Niall to North Dakota).

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Joe Blog could prove Mike Manuel right

Warning: Mike uses a Long Tail analogy, but if enough Joe Blogs link to Marketers, Get to Know Joe Blog , his point will be made (A blogger with five subscribers can be a marketing force.)

Mike's Media Guerrilla was another of those sites found quite by accident as I'm still learning my way around the blogsphere.

I miss Webvan

Many have stated that Webvan (the defunct online grocer) was simply ahead of its time.

During my stay in Alaska, I noticed that Fred Meyer (a multi-department store) actually gets their products to the Alaskan Bush including ordering via email.

There are quite a number of clever adaptations developed in Alaska to deal with the logistics of weather, infrastructure, and hard-to-reach remote locations.

Would it be possible to re-incarnate Webvan, let me subscribe to my wanted items via RSS, and then have Technorati watch for BBQ deals for the 4th of July picnic?

Which VC has this concept as their Thesis ? It looks like Venture Capital has begun the pendulum swing back to the consumer.

When you dust off the Webvan plan, run on up to Fred Meyer in Alaska and understand why they care about consumers in the Alaskan Bush.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Gates of Aniakchak

I keep learning from the locals about more amazing things to do in Alaska. Sadly, I'm not properly funded to do everything on my wishlist.

River rafting the gates of Aniakchak looks like one of those things I won't get to this trip.

"…it was the abomination of desolation, it was the prelude to hell."

Read where that came from in this Expedition to Alaska.

Also, remember what it's like to read with no ads? See these interesting facts about the Aniakchak National Monument & Preserve .

Friday, June 10, 2005

Testing the Mark Pincus Observation

Mark Pincus's observation (Easiest way to talk to a VC...write about him) extends beyond VCs.

Just be prepared for the coefficient of drag to cause some unintended consequences. David Sifry left me a comment that he just saw my post on his watchlist an hour after I posted it.

So, the unintended consequences for me are:

I didn't expect David to respond and now I feel bad after reading his explanation.

Clearly, I owe David and Technorati an apology for the Google remark. Would it be OK to say I hope Technorati buys Google instead? (Meaning that I hope you are wildly successful.)

I do sincerely apologize.

And while I remain convinced that there is a coefficient of drag, with David's response I can now begin the search to find a blog home with a better reputation.

Keshava Dasarathy gets a link from me because I feel his pain.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Venture Capitalists as Grizzly Bears

I really did read all of Bill Burnham's Beat (Deal Flow is Dead, Long Live Thesis Driven Investing). But what caught my attention was the comparison of VCs to Grizzlies.

In the analogy, the deals are represented by the salmon swimming in abundance by the bears (the VCs).

Now, as most of you know, the salmon swim upstream, spawn, and die. You're already way ahead of me...but let's run this analogy completely up on the beach until the birds pick it clean.

Burnham doesn't specifically say that Thesis Driven Investing VCs are still Grizzlies, but he implies that they are out there "turning over rocks".

I'm thinking out loud...How can smarter Grizzlies be good for the salmon? I see how being a smarter bear is good for the bear, so I certainly want to be a Thesis Grizzlie if I was a bear.

For the salmon, however, it doesn't matter if you're a Thesis or a Deal Flow Grizzlie. You're still eaten.

As Burnham points out, the VC bear population has expanded quite nicely.

Conclusion: This is going to be a bad time to be a salmon until somebody does something about all those bears.


Moose Pass is a peaceful little town. If you have an axe to grind, do it here.

So reads the sign by the waterwheel at Moose Pass, Alaska.

Summer Solstice (you know, the longest day of the year) is indeed quite a thing to celebrate and the folks in Moose Pass have been throwing their celebration for 20 years.

Go North to the Artic Circle and the Sun never dips below the horizon. And if you can't go have a look at these amazing pictures.

Gold Mining

They say you can find gold in Alaska. That's mostly true. The Crow Creek Mine is easy to find and quite accessible. Of course, I didn't find any gold but everyone else did and showed me their flakes in the small glass vials.

Do your homework as there are many, many other places to gold prospect in Alaska. All of them come with great scenery as well.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Coefficient of drag

Technorati's about eight days behind indexing my blog. It grabbed one post. (Yeah, don't bother explaining to me how they use RSS and get updates directly in real time. They're dragging...test your own sites).

The analog for this is coefficient of drag. The more RSS catches on, the slower Technorati becomes and more drag is introduced in the system.

If it takes eight or more days for someone's watch list to trigger, the conversation becomes increasingly irrelevant.

The so-called fluid conversation of the web analog ignores the effect of coefficient of drag.

Maybe Google is working on this problem?

Maybe an opportunistic VC should throw some money at Technorati for a band-aid quick fix and then pitch Google to buy the company.

I'll go ahead and toss in a link to . There's no danger that David Sifry will see his watch list trigger before this post has decayed beyond it's useful conversational lifetime.

I probably should have linked Brad Feld again to build the street cred. Oh well, opportunity wasted.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

It's not IHOP

Can't you just smell the bacon cooking over a smoky Alaskan camp fire?


Monday, June 06, 2005

Street Cred revisited

I still have not gotten a chance to shower my blog with street cred. It's not entirely my fault. Technorati never shows any results for text in my blog posts. I'm uncertain which conclusion I should jump to (given my data point of one):

1. Technorati is hopelessly behind...and the connected web conversations will eventually take place in a galaxy far, far away?

2. Technorati indexes VC blogs that their ideas are elevated in the borg collective?

3. Technorati shuns Google blogs on purpose?

Other data points would, of course, help me with the correct conclusion. Sadly, those data points aren't going to arrive in time since my blog text isn't indexed in Technorati's search results.

Additionally, I'm going to lose interest about the time I press "Publish Post". After all, I'm enjoying Alaska at this moment and I really should leave these matters to the bloggers who already have the street cred.

In the meantime, I vote for #3 .


The law of self interest is rarely broken.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Blogs Fail to Deliver the Salmon

My expectations weren't high to begin with, but I speculated with all this technology that I'd find an RSS feed to tell me where to find the King Salmon running ... updated by the minute. By the time the Alaska fish and game reports the salmon runs, it's old news and the highways are jammed with RVs.

If you're a tourist, you have no chance. The locals, however, have quite a tight network and they share the salmon information amongst themselves the old fashioned way ... by talking to each other.

While I'm waiting for a local to call me back with the Kenai fish data, I figure I'd pass the time blogging about the lack of finding anything.

Of course, if you could show a local how to monetize the sharing of the salmon runs...the RSS feed would be up in light speed time. It's unlikely, however, that those few Google ads could substitute for taking a boatload of tourists on a guided trip.

There's the phone...time to find out the old-fashioned way on where to find those King Salmon.

The Alaska Daily News publishes this fish report which surprisingly has no dates, timestamps or even an archive. I guess they don't bother checking their stats logs to see how popular that page might be with a little effort.

If you'd like to see some really non-useful data, try the Fish Count Data.

I can't boil the ocean trying to solve this problem. There must be some VC's who can fuel a really useful service of realtime salmon runs aggregated with an RSS feed. And although I know they all like their deals on a silver platter, I've got fish to catch.

The business of how they'd actually make any money with this idea must be left to their creative collective. I'm doing my part by starting the web converstation. As soon as Technorati finds this, the rest of the magic will just happen with all that connected conversation magic, right?

Wake me when it's time to sign the term sheet.

I Like Cats Too...Let's Exchange Recipes.

I actually didn't see any cats on this trip, but we did have some good Caribou bacon this morning. Bou Bacon as the locals call it.

Alaska never ceases to amaze me, but I suspect the witness relocation program has been very successful in this area.

I've met quite a number of characters on this trip and I'm certain I've seen them before on America's Most Wanted.

No good deed goes unblogged

Little did I know how true this statement has become. I spent some time reading some blogs and discovered that if there is paint drying somewhere...someone is blogging it.

The blog hype has yet to reach its crescendo. Before it does, I'd like all the readers to know that I did see a number of moose, some sheep, no bears (except the big white one in the Anchorage Airport), and a bald eagle (in Eagle River of all places).

It's too early for the King salmon run in Ship Creek.

I've been too busy taking all of Alaska in to blog about the amazing things I find. That means you'll have to read about paint drying (or large cap deals or shameless self promotion).

As you were,

The Eagle has landed (and brought Sushi)

Shine's Sushi in Eagle River, AK has no web site that I can find. They do have some great sushi and the prices are reasonable. A nice change of pace.

Snow Goose is cooked

The Snow Goose in Anchorage was very dissapointing. My food was cold and just plain bad. The Goose is cooked...drink the beer and eat somewhere else.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Kittiwake (Bird Drop Special)

Don't get me wrong, the sea kayaking was awesome! I just think the Kittiwake tour should be renamed the "Bird Drop Special". The tour was well worth the markings.

Grey Water -- Black Water

Oh yes, there is a difference. Pulling the wrong lever results in the discharge of a foul and messy sludge not deserving of the term "water". Like the dark side, the black water is evil. Stay very far away from the black water.

Fortunately, you don't have to dump the black water unless absolutely necessary...when you rent from the fine folks at Great Alaskan Holidays .

You dump...they pump!

Chugiak - An Epic still Unwritten

A prediction...Like Titanic, Chugiak will one day be a huge commercial success. Today, it remains unwritten and undiscovered. Perhaps in the 2005 graduating class of the Chugiak Mustangs -- some 400 strong today -- lurks one writer with the passion to pen the compelling story set against the Alaska wilderness.

Chugiak, Chugiak, CHUGIAK...

It is with some sense of relief, after reading a number of blogs, that I realize that "content" is really quite a mis-nomer when it comes to blogging. I suppose there may be some jewels, but for the most part bloggers are filling the cyber landfill with their endless prattling and cross-linking.

I've decided to do my fair share and proudly place this entry onto the scrap-heap in cyberspace.

Chu Chu Chugiak.

Next, I feel the need to link to a blog. This normally would help convey some "street cred", although readers will likely see through my intentions. So I picked to keep the topic related to Alaska. Don't go clicking over to Brad Feld and his Feld Thoughts...he has enough readers. I'm just doing it for the street cred, remember?

To aid the search engine indexing, I'll mention venture capital, Homer, MIT, Boulder, and monetize. (I haven't decided yet if I should ad Google's AdSense, but I definitely want to monetize...that sounds profitable and then I can afford to come to Alaska more often.)

Clearly, I do not yet have my swing down as my name-dropping quotient is well below established bloggers. I don't even know any other bloggers who can mention my blog in their blog. Then I can comment on their link and they can re-comment on mine. It probably takes about 5 or 6 co-conspirators to create a blog buzz. I'll work on that.

I say this... Congratulations Graduates of Chugiak High School Class of 2005.