Tao Of The Auto-Correct

I recently made the following statement across most of my social networks:

Confession: I often type a word knowing full well it’s spelled incorrectly but try to get it close enough so spellcheck will figure it out

While many of the responses were commiseration, I got an amazing response from Shivi Isman, good friend and a strategic communication consultant:

Isn’t that how most of us go about life in general? Trying to do our best knowing full well it’s not perfect but settle for “close enough” hoping things will somehow fix themselves and it will all turn good?

Doesn’t that sum it up? If that weren’t enough, she followed it up with this gem:

Well, the flip side of this – also, just like life in general, is all these times you try hard to spell something right, and the stupid auto correct makes a mess out of it…

So there you have it. The Tao of the Auto-Correct.

Economics Of My Old CD Collection

Is a fair price what you think is fair, or what someone else is willing to pay?

Permit me a mild rant…

What Is A Fair Price?

I recently started going through some of my old CD‘s to rip onto my computer. There was a lot of good stuff and plenty of “what was I thinking” stuff. It struck me that I had purchased many of these CD’s — in that pre-iTunes world — for only one song. Sound familiar?

As I went through the CD’s I counted (off-hand) 20 CD’s I had purchased for just one song. At an average cost of $15 that comes to $300 for what today would cost me $20 (to only get the songs I wanted).

On the face of it, I paid a 1400% premium for the “value” of the one song I really wanted to purchase. Did I think it was fair? No. But I was willing to pay it because I had no alternative.

20 x $15 = $300 vs. 20 x $1 = $20

Broken Economics

Looking back, how can I look at the music industry in any way other than the tremendous profits they reaped because of our willingness to overpay? The fundamental nature of the product itself — a song — hasn’t changed, but there has been a disruption in the delivery model that’s changed the economics of the music industry. Innovation in the industry narrowed the gap between what I thought was fair and what I was willing to pay.

What other  industries are ripe for disruption because of “broken economics?”

Related articles

Enhanced by Zemanta

12 Most Essential Principles For A Long and Happy Marriage

I was inspired to write this by my recent wedding anniversary and dedicate this to my best friend and wife, Jennie. Over the years we are often asked by others – and frequently discuss with each other – what it is that makes a successful marriage. Building and maintaining mutual respect has been a cornerstone of our relationship.

What follows are some of the principles we try to live by. I’m no expert. All I have is my experience. These are (mostly) small things, but they add up to big things.

1. Say “Thank You”

It sounds corny, but it’s important. Relationships are about mutual respect. Don’t underestimate the value of simple courtesy and sincere appreciation.

2. Ask “How are you?”…and mean it

We all lead busy, complex lives. A marriage is about sharing your life with another person. When I first met my wife, we’d constantly talk about big hopes and dreams, and the minutiae of our lives. Now there are jobs, kids and obligations. Asking this question says “you are still important to me and I want to know what’s going on in your life.” Make it a point to connect. It may not be too often or for long periods of time. It just has to be sincere.

3. Don’t miss opportunities for praise

There’s the old joke that newlyweds should put a penny in a jar every time they have sex the first year of marriage, then take one out each time thereafter, and they’ll never empty the jar. The same is true for praise. Continuing to show admiration for each other is just as rewarding in its own way. You don’t have to go out of your way to look for opportunities for praise, but if you think it, say it.

4. Emphasize the good

Take a moment on a regular basis to recognize – for yourself – what you enjoy about your relationship. Consider the qualities that first attracted you to each other and how you are connected.

5. De-emphasize the bad

I’m not talking about tricking yourself into believing everything is great. Nobody is perfect. Everyone has warts. This is about having a little perspective. Don’t sweat the small stuff.

6. Recognize the underlying source of conflict

In the technology business we had a saying: “the problem is never where you think it is.” Very often the source of conflict in your relationship is something OTHER than each other. Take time to identify the real source. You may be fighting with the very person who can help you most.

7. Be honest

Don’t keep resentment bottled up. It may hurt to get it out, but it will be worse if you don’t. Keep it civil and respectful. It also helps small misunderstandings stay small.

8. Don’t be too honest

Total honesty is almost as bad as intentional deceit. Be aware of context and magnitude, and most important, intent.

9. Take care of yourself first

This is not to say you should be selfish. Just think about why in an airplane they tell you to put your mask on first before you help your child. To be a supportive partner you need to be in a good place yourself. Sacrificing too much of yourself breeds resentment (see No. 7).

10. Say “I’m sorry”…and mean it

Sincere apologies take a great deal of “emotional energy”, which is usually in short supply in our complex lives. In my experience, the extra effort goes a long way.

11. You don’t have to do EVERYTHING together

There’s no ONE relationship that can satisfy all your needs. There are people in your life whose friendship and support give you things you don’t (and shouldn’t) expect from your spouse. The flip-side is realizing that it’s ok to pursue different interests. My wife and I enjoy many common interests, but allowing each some “personal” time is just as important.

12. Be willing to renegotiate the contract

This is the hardest part. You made a social contract when you started your relationship. It included where you would live, if/when you’d have children, who would take care of them, work, careers – the list goes on. Relationships are fluid. People grow and change. Life doesn’t always go as planned. Life’s bends and turns – children, job and career changes, illnesses – these all put stress on a relationship. That contract you negotiated when you first met may need some updating. Recognize that you will need to revise and renegotiate this contract over time, as both your needs change.

At its heart, marriage is an agreement between two individuals to share their lives with each other. It all started with a connection. Remembering the basis for your connection, practicing simple courtesies, and keeping in mind we all change over time keeps your relationship dynamic and satisfying.

I’m looking forward to many more “Happy Anniversary’s” with my best friend.  What works for you?

History Lessons

They say those who fail to study history are doomed to repeat it. Cleaning out my office I ran across this June 2000 copy of Alley Cat News


with this great ad by a high-flying Dot.com law firm (now defunct as well).

Alley Cat News Ad - June 2000

As Silicon Alley experiences a rebirth and we move into the Social Media Bubble, take a look at some of the Dot bomb leaders. How many of today’s high flyers will still be around 10 years from now?

Thanks, But… Retweets Revisited

Let’s be honest here: we are all flattered when someone chooses to tweet or retweet our content. It tells us someone thought it was not only good enough to read, but good enough to share. It’s part of the Twitterverse dynamic.

I suppose I like being thanked for retweeting someone’s content. It’s nice, but very often it happens as part of a bulk “thank you.” What follows is a series of still more TY tweets saying the equivalent of “you’re welcome” that I have to work my way through because the thank-ers included the whole list of thank-ees. Does that whole process feel as hollow for you as it does for me?

There is an old SEO saying that “the Internet hates dead ends.” A “thank you” alone is, to a certain extent, a dead end. A one-way acknowledgement. So I propose an alternative:

What if we stop thanking people for retweets or mentions on Twitter?

Instead, try to find their content to promote or retweet. Yeah, I know it takes a little extra effort, but doesn’t it make more sense? Isn’t the ultimate goal of social media to make connections and engage more? Who’s with me?


What You Get When You Follow Me On Twitter


I saw this tweet recently and it got me to thinking. Life is more shades of gray than strict black and white. A recent perusal of my Twitter stream gave me pause to consider what it is I have to say and what value followers may find in my tweet stream. In a word, eclectic. I am fascinated by…well…just about everything. In particular, with people who know a lot about something. I ask a lot of questions.

With quite some time on Twitter (I’ve been on since 2009), I look back on my journey in life and career, and my digital media footprint. I feel that transparency is the key to creating value, digital or otherwise, so please forgive my introspection.

When I first started Twitter I was a principal in an IT managed services firm. Today, I run a consultancy focused on innovation and business strategy. But that’s only of a piece of the picture.

So, here it is. What you get if you follow me on Twitter:


For me, it all starts with technology. Thirty-five plus years of playing with computers is gonna leave a mark. So I tweet about technology. Mostly as it impacts small businesses, but with a smattering of enterprise and consumer.

Digital Age Sociology

This is a broad one. I am fascinated by how we interact in this digital age. This includes buzzwords like  “social media”, “crowdsourcing”, “gamification” as well as their impact on business, employment, entertainment, and communication. Also includes generational aspects: Baby Boomers, Gen-X, Gen-Y, Millennial. I came up with my own term: pervasive communications. I love to dig in to what motivates people. The answer is not always obvious, but always interesting.

Marketing and Communications

Lately I’ve been digging into communications. In particular, how businesses, organizations and other communities interact. The age of broadcast is over for brands and it’s now necessary to adapt and evolve the communications ecosystem. I call this corporate narrative. I wrote an introductory thesis about it in Brands, Narratives and Story Worlds.


This is a potpourri of pop culture, entertainment, and sports. I’m a Mets/Jets/Knicks fan. The legion of doom. You’ll see lot’s of complaining during the appropriate season.


I love music. I have eclectic tastes in music. I like to share some tasty gems that move me. Perhaps you’ll share back?

Entertainment and Education

I think our education system is broken, plain and simple. So I tweet and retweet a lot from people who are thinking outside the box to make it better. I am particularly interested in the convergence of entertainment and education, and the transformational potential of transmedia.

Business Strategy and Innovation

I am a serial entrepreneur. I’ve done startups. I’ve helped/guided/cajoled startups. I tweet about business strategy. Sales, marketing, public relations, customer service, operations – it’s all on the table. Even more, I am interested in innovation. What can we do that hasn’t been done? What solutions can we find to some of the worlds toughest problems?


I am fascinated by the incredible impact of something that is difficult to measure. In an era of pervasive data and metrics I am curious to see how the influence measurement genre plays out. I coined the term Influence Measurement Optimization of which Marcio Saito was the first certified practitioner.


I am a fairly active tweeter. I average 50+ tweets a day. I like Twitter chats. These are high volume, free-for-all conversations that generally last an hour. It’s like crack for my ADD personality. Try one. You may like it. You may find me in #custserv, #HBRchat, and #influencechat, to name a few.


I am gregarious by nature. It’s why they call it social media. ‘nuff said. I have a sarcastic sense of humor. After 20+ years my wife still rolls her eyes. Don’t feel bad if you do as well.

What do I look for? Challenge me. Educate me. Commiserate with me (Mets/Jets/Knicks). We may not agree, but I only ask that you treat me with respect, as I will for you. Oh, and I don’t auto-follow. Please say “hello” (thank you Sherree Worrell).

Hope this helps.

(Note: Special thanks to Jill Twiss for the inspiration.)

Update: For a smattering of what I’ve been tweeting about recently, check out my Twylah page. Want your own? Send a tweet to @twylah and cc: @berkson0 or request an invite here.

Surfing the Net — Old School

My first job out of college consisted of swapping out large reel-to-reel tapes used to back up a Vax cluster and pulling print jobs off the high speed impact page printers. You know. The ones you used to print out the ASCII Snoopy calendars.  Sounded like a massive hailstorm. I sat in a cold, loud computer room writing DCL scripts and managing print queues. Yeah. Right. Of my four hour shift, 3.75 hours were spent chatting on BITNET and perusing USENET news groups. And of course, the Hacker Test.