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Find The Boots

Rantings from a few corporate types about life, technology, travel, guns, politics, and everything good in the world.

Purty Guns and Supply Chain

Saturday, March 29, 2008

I was Stumbling randomly on the net tonght and came across this at a place called Collectors Firearms:

Manufactured in 1887 by serial number but shipped in 1899. Graham states that the gun is correct Sheriffs model and was not shipped until later as were other Sheriffs models.

Think about that - back in the day this gun would have cost $8, which was a months wages. And it was in the age when things were hand and machine made (thank you Eli Whitney!) - people were careful on their return on capital.

And it sat somewhere for 12 freaking years.

Sorta puts Amazon second day free shipping perspective! Supply chain has improved a bit.....


PS - It's selling for $20K, which is around 12 doubles in price in 110 years, or about one every 10 years. Using the rule of 72 you can see that the rate of return on this gun is 7.2% Year-On-Year (YOY). Nice investment.


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Coordinate Your Digg Efforts at 9:02

Thursday, March 20, 2008

It's been heartening to see the Jericho Fans get more active in the social networks. My article from Tuesday now has over 100 Diggs. There's just one problem.

To get real exposure on Digg you have to hit the front page. Otherwise, you're just seen by a much smaller group of people. Digg recently changed its algorithm to weight how fast something gets votes more heavily than the number of votes. That's one of the reasons you can see an article with 94 votes ahead of one with 740 votes on the front page -- the 94 vote article was only 30 minutes old, so the Digg algorithm thinks it's hot news.

So here's my suggestion for today: Build your friend networks up. Every Ranger should friend every other ranger. Find stories that you'd like to promote to the general public, but don't promote them. Just bookmark them in your browser to come back to.

Every day, at 9:02 eastern, every Ranger should then submit the stories they found that day and shout them to all the other Rangers. And everyone should go through their shouts and vote up all the stories they see that they like.

Digg has a 4 hour window to notice that something is hot. If everybody just concentrates their activity within that window, they'll get much more bang for the buck.

And 9:02 ought to be pretty easy for everybody to remember!


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Some More Quick Ideas on Jericho Social Networking

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

I responded to some comments on the Digg thread on the earlier article, but I decided to package those up here since I think they'll see wider play.

The first thing to realize is that search engine marketing is very big business. The networks undoubtedly pay close attention to where their traffic is coming from. If the Jericho fans start flexing their muscles and impact the buzz on the web, not only will they get their word out to people outside the immediate circle of dedicate fans, but they'll be noticed by the executives that will have an impact on the decision they want.

Do you know what a Google Bomb is? The most famous was a group of bloggers that all started linking to the George Bush homepage with the anchor text of "Miserable Failure." It was enough that it changed the search ranking in Google so that if you queried on "Miserable Failure" you got GWB's page as the top result.

I'm proposing that instead of sending peanuts, the Jericho fans should start lobbing Google Bombs. Not mean spirited ones, but they should start doing things that impact the traffic to the CBS web properties in a positive way, as well as rearrange the SERPS (Search Engine Results Pages). A huge explosion of web traffic over the next week may be what tips the decision we're looking for onto the positive side.

Here are a few proposals:

1) Every Ranger should download the Alexa Toolbar and the Compete Toolbar. Alexa and Compete provide sort of a "Neilsen Ratings" for the web. Like their TV counterpart, they're fatally flawed because they don't have a random sample -- it's just the people that have installed their toolbars that affect their statistics. If 50,000 Jericho Fans installed those toolbars and then went about their normal surfing, it would significantly impact the web ratings of CBS properties. I'll give you a hint: the amount of money CBS is able to charge for advertising on its web properties is very likely impacted by their Alexa/Compete Rank. Moving those numbers is very doable, and would have a big impact.

2) Every Ranger should download the StumbleUpon toolbar, if they haven't already done so. StumbleUpon is a social networking site that allows users to thumbs up or thumbs down articles they find interesting. Install the toolbar, and then thumb up every Jericho article, video, etc that you come across in your normal surfing. After enough people thumb something up, the traffic multiplies because other users start to have it suggested to them. It can be a very LARGE amount of traffic. A few thousand rangers clicking thumbs up on the CBS episode trailer for next week might cause a Stumble Storm!

3) Every Ranger should have an account on Del.icio.us, Digg, and Propeller. They should bookmark and vote every Jericho article they read. It really only takes a few seconds -- much faster than writing a letter. The impact on traffic and rankings would be gigantic, and overnight.

4) Every Ranger should pick one or two social networks outside of the big ones to promote Jericho articles. Don't pick networks that don't have a section on them where this would be topical as you'll just anger the users. But out of the 2,600 sites that I pointed at in the last article, there are easily several hundred where the Rangers could get their message out.

5) Every Ranger should friend every other Ranger they can find on the big social networking sites. Start off with the people that Digg articles about the Save Jericho movement. A post with several hundred Diggs is several hundred potential friends. Having a big friends list makes you an attractive target for other people looking for friends. And guess what? When you shout something, they'll hear it.

None of these cost anything. It's cheaper than paying for postage. You're already spending time reading articles about Jericho anyway, why not spend a few seconds and click an icon to help promote them?

The Rangers shook the entertainment world last May. There's no reason they can't shake the web now.


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Helping Build the Buzz for Jericho

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

As I sit here tonight waiting for the second to last episode of the season, it occurred to me that the world of social networking has really changed since the last time around. The Save Jericho movement broke new ground the first time by leveraging social networks like Digg to communicate with the outside world. We even had a few of the articles on this blog hit the front page of the entertainment category on Digg because they were heavily dugg by Jericho fans. Surely, this time around they must have gained even more momentum.

Frankly, I was a little disappointed. Looking at Digg, there were only two stories on Jericho that had made the front page during March. Schumi, the leader of the Save Jericho movement, only has 30 Digg Friends. I would have thought she would have had hundreds of fans on Digg following her every move.

Jericho's penetration into the second tier of social networks is pretty slim. The top story that shows up for "Jericho" in a google site query on propeller.com only has 12 votes.

And for some reason, CBS has changed the interface on their forums, making it almost unreadable. I've been out of it long enough that I've missed wherever the Rangers are meeting, but as an interested person it's been fairly tough to find out what's going on.

I only mention all this because I've gotten interested in social media after our friends at Promote My Site have put out some tools and lists lately that I think might be of interest to the Jericho fans.

First, I used the Digg Friend Finder to research potential friends on Digg for the query "Jericho". I found 260 people that had submitted articles that matched the query. I started going through them and friending them, and I also friended some of the people that had submitted articles those people had Dugg. It's important for the Jericho fans to establish large friend networks on the big social networks -- that's how they can break into the mainstream instead of just communicating among themselves.

Second, I looked at the big list of social networks. That list is rife with social networks that the Jericho Rangers could use to spread their message. Yes, there are 2,600+ networks, but if each ranger took 5 networks they could cover it all quite quickly. There's no reason that every article written on Jericho and the move to save it shouldn't get huge play in the social networks.

The top two search results for the google query "Jericho" is the CBS show home page and the wikipedia entry. I'm willing to bet that CBS spent quite a bit of money on search engine optimization to get that top spot. If you want to get CBS's attention on the power of the fanbase, fill the first page of the google query "Jericho" with social networking references to articles of interest to the rangers.


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Back when the Dems Had a Pair

Monday, March 17, 2008

This really struck me from On To Berlin by General James Gavin (1977, p 331)
In June 1961, when the late President John F. Kennedy visited with Nikita Khrushchev in Vienna, Khrushchev declared that "Berlin is a bone that must come out of the Soviet throat." Khrushchev then went on to say that he was determined to settle the Berlin issue for all time and that the Allies would be out of it by the first of December. It was a bitter moment for the president, who had been elected on a platform espousing the cause of peace, and likelihood of war. He promptly sent military reinforcements to Europe. As Ambassador to France, I was called upon by many ambassadors stationed in Paris who wanted to know whether or not president Kennedy really would go to war with the Soviets over the Berlin issue. I assured them that he would.
Striking, isn't it? How would Barack never-mention-his-last-name-is-H*ssein Obama react? What message would that horrible harpy Madeline Albright have given? Please try to imagine any ambassador to France under Kerry having any idea what Flippy would do.



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Are you Cutting your Business in Half?

Sunday, March 16, 2008

I've noticed a very odd trend among some of the business blogs I read. I expect to get a blast of political viewpoints when I visit Kim DuToit. That's why I go there. But when I visit a technical or business blog, I'm not looking for political opinion.

For instance, take John Battelle's post for yesterday. Mixed right in there with articles about search marketing is some left wing political drivel about the treasonous house Democrates that didn't pass immunity for telcos cooperating with intelligence agencies. Obviously, I disagree with John. I had no idea he was such an idiot. I suspect that when the next big terrorist attack happens the Dems will be crying about how Bush didn't do enough to stop it, even though they've worked against things as reasonable as monitoring communications from known terrorists in foreign countries calling into the US. FDR was lucky that he didn't have to deal with the current House Dems.

Several other business oriented bloggers have jumped on the Obama Rama wagon and made their political beliefs known. Until they spoke up, I had given them the benefit of the doubt that they knew something about their field.

And this points out why it's a bad idea to mix politics and business. John Batelle lost at least one reader this morning. If you keep your politics to yourself, you don't run the risk of cutting your readership in half. The country is about evenly divided right now, so it just doesn't make sense to come out with a big political statement on either side in the context of a business blog. Unless of course your business model is so strong that you can live with a market that is 50% smaller than its potential.

Some business bloggers respond "Hey, that's who I am and so that's how I blog. I'm showing people that I'm real." I think that's pretty irresponsible. If you're a CEO, then you've got employees and stockholders depending upon you. Unless you're Ted Turner, you can't afford to risk their livelihoods on your political dalliances. As a business person you have a duty that goes beyond expressing your personal political beliefs. You have to protect your company. If you offend a bunch of people, even if you think their opinion isn't important and you're right, you're driving customers away from your business.

Finally, getting political drivel from a business blogger is pretty close to listening to what Hollywood stars have to say about a political candidate. I really couldn't care less. It changes or confirms my opinion of the star, but it has no impact on how I view the candidate.

If you really feel the need to promote your political views, you should start a personal blog (one separate from your business) and make sure that the two are separate. Avoid the temptation to link them together. Make sure you give thoughtful reasons for your positions. Eschew Kos Kids Komedy style stuff. People may disagree with you, but they will respect your historical and political knowledge. If you can't do that, then maybe you should just stay quiet.


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How to use your Tax Rebate

Friday, March 14, 2008

Maybe I'm not reading the gun blogs as much as I should lately, but I haven't seen anyone propose using the $1200 a family will be getting back from Uncle Sam as part of the economic stimulus on the purchase of ammunition.

W says we're supposed to spend it. Given the chances that Hillary, Obama, or McCain are all likely to put in some gun control next year, I'd think mags and ammo would be a good investment. Even at today's prices, $1200 is a lot of .308.


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I Have Got To Get me One of These!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Gizmodo has the maxablaster.

This seems like an extremely dangerous weapon in the hands of civilians. Shouldn't we have registration of these flashlights? And trigger locks? And make people take a class in the use of flashlights so they can safely use them?

I remember one of the Tom Clancy books (the good ones, not the co-written crapola) where Clark and Chavez use a really bright light to bring down an airplane. I'll bet this thing is in that range.


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