Go The Distance

On this day, June 29, 1905, Moonlight Graham played in the only game of his major league career. Archibald “Moonlight” Graham’s short career is significant because its a central storyline in W.P. Kinsella’s book Shoeless Joe, which was the basis for ( in my opinion) the greatest baseball movie ever made, Field of Dreams. Here is his MLB career line:

moonlight

The story of Moonlight Graham was depicted semi-accurately in the movie:

On June 29, the Giants were the visiting team against the Brooklyn Superbas. For the bottom of the eighth inning, Graham was sent in to play right field, replacing George Browne. In the top of the ninth inning, Graham was on deck (scheduled to be the next batter) when his teammate Claude Elliott flied out resulting in the third and final out. Graham played the bottom of the ninth in right field but never came to bat, and that game turned out to be his only appearance in the major leagues.

After his short visit to the majors, Moonlight completed his medical degree and moved to Chisholm, MN where he served that town as “Doc” Graham for close to 50 years. In the movie Field of Dreams, Burt Lancaster brilliantly plays “Doc” Graham in one of the great sequences in movie history. One of my favorite lines from “Doc” Graham:

Well, you know I… I never got to bat in the major leagues. I would have liked to have had that chance. Just once. To stare down a big league pitcher. To stare him down, and just as he goes into his windup, wink. Make him think you know something he doesn’t. That’s what I wish for. Chance to squint at a sky so blue that it hurts your eyes just to look at it. To feel the tingling in your arm as you connect with the ball. To run the bases – stretch a double into a triple, and flop face-first into third, wrap your arms around the bag. That’s my wish, Ray Kinsella. That’s my wish. And is there enough magic out there in the moonlight to make this dream come true?

The way Lancaster delivers this line is amazing. You can see the twinkle in his eye and you get the feeling that he is just dying to jump into the batter’s box. So on this June 29th, pay an ode to “Moonlight” Graham, and to the idea that you can achieve what you want, even if it is for only half an inning in the field.

Tweets of the Week

  • Interesting….Google Tries Hand At Targeting Consumers With Good Credit http://bit.ly/vUn8r #mediapost #
  • Come on Golden State…let Stephen Curry fall to the Knicks!! And Minny, don’t trade my man Jonny Flynn to some backwater team like Memphis #
  • Watching rebroadcast of USA v Spain…almost as good as live. Can’t believe they beat Spain. Looking forward to final on Sun #
  • RT @TheJames: RWW: The Day Facebook Changed Forever: Messages to Become Public By Default http://bit.ly/viKri – Yes. #
  • Wow! Go USA Soccer with HUUUGE 2-0 win over Spain! Not the World Cup but great win none the less #
  • I’m in need of an iPhone from #squarespace #

Coupon Cards on iPhone

Now here’s a useful application. CardStar is an iPhone application that enables you to put all your loyalty “reward cards” on your iPhone. Right now, I have six of these “fobs” on my keychain. With this application, instead of handing over your keychain to the cashier, or holding onto all sorts of loyalty cards that you use maybe once every few months, you can have all of them at your fingertips via your iPhone.

And I’ve got to think that the cashiers would be psyched that they don’t have to handle every person’s set of keys that have been sitting in a pocket or handbag. This alone could cut down on the spread of Swine Flu. OK, maybe not.

Man, I need to get an iPhone. Apple, when will it be on the Verizon network?

Career Ladder To Nowhere

Another downturn in the economy, another rung falls off the career ladder. An interesting article over at the HBS blog argues that the current staffing cuts and furloughs that have been executed by multitudes of companies in this recession is taking us one big step further away from the antique concept of the 5 day, 40 hour work week.

But the idea of furloughs, particularly for managers and professionals, is planting the seed of a new way of looking at work in our minds. Suddenly companies have asked us to work, say, 32 hours a week rather than 40. Hmmm. What does that really mean? Most of us were never working 40 hours – we might have been working 50 or maybe even 60. We were answering emails at odd hours, writing in the early hours, calling Singapore at night. Does this mean that we should now work 20% less than we were before . . . or does it mean we should work literally 32 hours?

For many, I believe the conclusion will be that we should work the hours specified by the company and perhaps do other things – start new businesses on the side perhaps, sell stuff on eBay, take another job, go back to school, whatever – with the other time.

This shift sits well with many in Gen X who have already tended to bind their involvement more carefully than have the all-out Boomers. But for both generations, it will be a new way to look at work – another step on the slippery slope of recessionary lessons moving us from (1) you don’t have a job for life, to (2) you may never find full time work with one employer, to now (3) even a full-time job is really only a contractor job in disguise.

Corporate Social Value

There is an emerging metric bubbling to the top that I find interesting. A non-profit team has developed a Goodguide metric, which measures the “corporate stewardship” of a company and its products.

You could say social value is how well a company practices good corporate stewardship, something the typical may not concern himself with in the aisles of Walmart, but early adopters, buzz-spreaders and health-involved purchasers often do. For GoodGuide, good corporate stewardship includes product ingredients free of carcinogens, aren’t brought to market via cruel animal testing and whose packaging is environmentally friendly.

It will be interesting to see if this really catches on and if consumers will actually lean on this in their purchase decision making process.

TXT CHMP

An Iowa teenager who has had a cellphone for all of eight months won a national texting contest and took home a cool $50,000. I guess that prize money will cover last month’s cellphone/txt bill. From the article:

In the final showdown, she outtexted 14-year-old Morgan Dynda, of Savannah, Ga. Both girls had to text three lengthy phrases without making any mistakes on the required abbreviations, capitalization or punctuation. Moore squeaked through by a few seconds on the tiebreaking text, getting the best two out of three. As she anxiously waited for confirmation of her win, tears streamed down her face.

Tweets of the Week

  • Accelerate your offline networking with online tools – Paperless Biz Cards – http://bit.ly/WfYqX #
  • Whooooooooooot!! Go Sox! 8-0 v. Yanks!! #
  • Sox go for 3rd sweep of Yanks this year. Will a Penny outlast a CC note? #
  • Forgot how much I enjoy Vampire Weekend’s album #
  • Sox blanked Yanks! 6-0 v. Yanks this year. Gotta love it!!! Few more wins and we win the season series. #
  • Is it me, or does FB’s search just suck? #

Tweets of the Week

  • RT @marcyshinder got an Amex OPEN Business Card? Test drive the new OPEN Forum – http//:beta.openforum.com #
  • RT @alleyinsider Apple Launching Cheaper iPhone: $99 Or $149 http://bit.ly/B7tT very cool! Next…the iPhone on Verizon, please!! #
  • http://bit.ly/9ihxH – I blogged about some Interesting analysis of Twitter from Harvard Biz Blog #
  • feeling the urge to buy music. Any recco’s for someone who likes The Shins, Strokes, and Franz Ferdinand? #
  • If you float like a butterfly and sting like a bee, they have an app for that. #
  • Just added myself to the http://wefollow.com twitter directory under: #internetmarketing #socialmediamarketing #sportsfan #

Is Twitter a One Way Street?

Harvard Business just published a very interesting analysis on Twitter’s user trends. From a random sampling of 300,000 Twitter users, they found:

Although men and women follow a similar number of Twitter users, men have 15% more followers than women. Men also have more reciprocated relationships, in which two users follow each other. This “follower split” suggests that women are driven less by followers than men, or have more stringent thresholds for reciprocating relationships. This is intriguing, especially given that females hold a slight majority on Twitter: we found that men comprise 45% of Twitter users, while women represent 55%. To get this figure, we cross-referenced users’ “real names” against a database of 40,000 strongly gendered names.

They also found that:

an average man is almost twice more likely to follow another man than a woman. Similarly, an average woman is 25% more likely to follow a man than a woman. Finally, an average man is 40% more likely to be followed by another man than by a woman. These results cannot be explained by different tweeting activity – both men and women tweet at the same rate.

But here’s the most interesting finding and allegory from this research.

The top 10% of Twitter users represent 90% of the tweets. This concentration is higher than Wikipedia, which has its top 15% of editors representing 90% of the edits. So HB implies that this makes Twitter more of a one way, one to many publishing service, since Wikipedia is clearly a one way publishing channel and the usage patterns of power Twitter users are more concentrated than Wikipedia.

When you look at prolific Twitter users such as @Guy Kawasaki, @Evan Williams, @Pete Cashmore @Shaquille O”Neal, and others, this hypothesis resonates. Most of these folks have a huge following base and they use Twitter as a vehicle to push their own interests (i.e. links). And it would be awful challenging for them to reasonably respond to their audiences if everyone responded to their “tweets” as frequently as they sent them.  Further, if you look at the top Twitter-ers from WeFollow we see that its dominated by mass media outlets like CNN, ABC, Oprah, and by stars like Briney Spears, John Mayer and Ryan Seacrest and commercial companies such as Zappos, Dell, and Whole Foods.

To me, I don’t think this analysis surprises me too much.  It basically reinforces the 90%/9%/1% rule of online social media consumer behavior, where 90% of the audinece lurks, 9% may contribute some, and 1% account for all the activity and contributions.  But what is interesting is how these behaviors imply Twitter is a one way publishing service, even though its cleary a multi-channel (browser, client, mobile), dead simple enabler of two way dialogue.  I suppose this validates that the spoken word is still the best two way dialogue going!

Don’t Touch Holden

The reclusive author J.D. Salinger issued a lawsuit targeting a ‘rip-off’ of his classic novel Catcher in the Rye.

Lawyers for Salinger filed suit in federal court this week to stop the publication, sale and advertisement of “60 Years Later: Coming Through the Rye,” a novel written by an author calling himself J.D. California and published by a Swedish company that advertises joke books and a “sexual dictionary” on its Web site.

Interestingly, the article also notes that Mr. Salinger once turned down Steven Spielberg’s offer to make a movie of his classic novel (news to me!).