Category Archives: Misc

The Trouble With NDAs

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Do NDAs trouble you too? I’ve had to sign a few NDAs (Non-Disclosure Agreement) over the last few years. And they’ve stressed me terribly, as they are sometimes used as an intimidating, bullying tool, slapped in front of you at perhaps a vulnerable point in your life, and you’re told, “Sign, or else.”

I’ve refused to sign a couple, though. Particularly ones that have a non-compete clause in them. Be firm with these things and also with the kind of people waving them around. Have confidence in yourself. Don’t be intimidated. Take time to READ through documents carefully before you sign, well… anything.

And seek a lawyer. I’ve bugged the crap out of lawyerin’ friends and family with these NDA docs, getting them to review them for me, at no charge to me of course. And I’ll do it again if I have to.

From the About.com article – things to look out for in your NDA:

  • That you can’t work for a competitor for one to two years
  • That anything you conceived of while employed is the property of the company, even if you did it on your own time
  • That you give up your right for a trial if there is an issue with the contract
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For the Content Creator a New Website is a New Car

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Photo courtesy CCL

Seeing an appealing new website come online is to a content creator what an exciting new model of car is for the auto enthusiast: One is itching to get behind the screens to an operating dashboard and take it for a rich content-creating spin.

Because the best sites make it a delight, not a burden, to create and showcase new content – particularly if you’re an enthusiastic writer and photographer.

The Coastal Conservation League (CCL) of South Carolina has just such a new website. It’s gorgeous. And immediately displays the astonishing amount of conservation work done in the southern United States lowcountry by the CCL.

However, as a media professional, I went right to the press releases portion of the site, and I am now busily touting how the CCL has presented their releases within the new site.

As someone who is often called upon to write press releases, which too often serve as a client’s only new content, I am constantly bemoaning how releases are not getting the “workout” some deserve.

Not only are too many of them poorly written (not by me!) and merely fired-out via PR Newswire, they are not made interactive (live, working links), they are not visually appealing, they’re not easily found on websites, and they’re not made easily share-able in social.

It doesn’t have to be that way.

CCL’s Laurin Manning, working with Wide Eye Creative, has clearly conquered all those media-related hurdles within their new site. I’m delighted to have their example with which to beat folk over the head with.

Rather, show them. Of course, it’s up to clients where they wish to spend their time and money. But nudging them towards investing in a better website and a better press release is always a media professional’s time well spent.

Marketing The World Cup To Sports Haters

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Don’t get me wrong. I don’t like soccer (football). I don’t like most sports. It’s not so much a sport itself, but rather the mass-marketing and the mass-marketed-to people surrounding teamed ‘n themed sporting franchises that puts me off.

I find conversations from people engaged by mass-marketed team sports to be clichéd, hyperbolic, robotic and grossly uncreative. In other words, people talking about sports bore me to tears. Within 1-minute of someone talking about and/or watching sports I’ve pretty much left the room.

Needless to say, I’ve watched zero seconds of World Cup action thus far.

Then why would someone like me, who hasn’t watched or cared about 3-seconds of World Cup action, (almost) buy a U.S. Soccer team/franchise jersey?

Because the purchase of a U.S. Soccer jersey meant something to me. It spoke to my ego. A single picture of a customized soccer jersey fed my ego and my self-centeredness, along with my need for instant gratification.

The U.S. Soccer team jersey I almost bought was cute, in a patriotic red, white and blue. Best of all it was customized. On a mock-up photo, auto-generated on Twitter to get my attention, “my” jersey had my Twitter name (@SpaceyG) stamped across the back.

I wanted that thing. And to be mine, it was just a few more taps ‘n swipes away on my iPhone. An impulse sale was almost made in a mobile environment, something very hard to do, so it seems

Read the rest of this entry

Top 5 Ways To Fall Back In Love With The South

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Ah, springtime in Crackerstan! As we recover from the flood of goober politicians and their moronic policies polluting our state legislatures, while ignoring the pending tsunami of awful political media designed to make Gomer Pyle’s chest swell, there really is no better place than the Deep South for springtime frolics. We’re prettier than the rest, so let’s get on with our fun, sun, and glory. Here are my suggestions to help remind the world of our beauty and our elegance. And yes, we do have a little bit left.

1.) The Spoleto USA Festival in Charleston, SC. May 23 – June 8. You’ve stumbled into as much Old Euro elegance, grace and glamour as you’re going to get within our mostly Moon Pie walls with this one. Gorgeous people, gorgeous events, beautiful city, beaches, fabulous weather created just to show-off your best sundresses and sandals, even with its notoriously haughty and dull Charlestonians. And heck, even those people are on their best behavior during Spoleto. Just go.

 

2.) The Carolina Cup. A steeplechase race. Camden, SC. March 29. This one’s just genuine Old South. The ponies and understated 100% cotton finery give it away. And where else can you see adorable little college students hurling their cookies into the grass whilst wearing their Sunday best? (Other than on every southern college campus, of course.) Forget the SC colleges mass-partying on the infield though, and take in the horses and the serious equestrian scene around the paddock area. Southerners do horse stuff almost as well as rich Saudis. (You’ll even spot a few of those there too, but they’ll be wearing their Aiken-inspired southernwear as camouflage, and their womenfolk won’t be all covered up.) If you want a true Garden and Gun culture-feel of the South, you’ll find it at the Carolina Cup. Drink when you see an aspic on a tailgate eaten by a startlingly handsome young buck in a seersucker suit. You will, if you can stay sober for just a minute or so. Some of the gents are so comely they could give even Ralph Lauren’s male model, Nacho, a run for his horse-people money. Besides, it’s no secret now, not since that Appalachian Trail business, that South Carolinians and Argentinians have been mingling for generations. It’s a polo thing. Don’t forget your Croakies, menfolk. Even if rain is predicted this year.

 

3.) Intown neighborhoods – Atlanta. Now until late May. If the traffic and the freeways and the Braves moving to bland, kinda ugly Cobb County have just worn you down, a calming Sunday afternoon drive through Atlanta’s oldest intown neighborhoods such as Ansley Park, Peachtree Battle, Brookwood Hills, even the more gaudy nouveau riche Buckhead enclaves like Blackland Road, will perk your spirits right up with their display of floral riches and lush, leafy tree canopies. Picture pretty lawns galore, and until some piece of shit ’95 Toyota Corolla wrapped together with Bungee cords and fishing line lunges into you, you can close your eyes and think you’re on the prettiest boulevard in France. Tom Wolfe describes it well in A Man In Full. Springtime as tonic.

4.) Lakes, rivers, and water-skiing. Anywhere South. Friends-with-boats are a good thing. Make some. Borrow some if you have to.

5.) The fields and valleys of Western North Carolina. Just go driving up there until you find them. You will. Take someone you’ve been hoping for with you, if you need to fall in love somewhere special. You will.

Free America

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On freedom.

During the tedium of kids’ long, weekend sporting events (the wait around to wait around parts) the team moms’ thoughts turn to… Edward Snowden, whistleblowing, and the NSA. Naturally enough! Well, not really, but it can happen every now and then.

After the subject was broached to me by another news-savvy mom, along the lines of: Edward Snowden – traitor or hero?, I realized framing the Snowden whistle-blowing saga in that way (traitor or hero?) has me in a bottleneck. As I simply cannot answer that question. As it is an infinitely vast issue I refuse to frame in that way – merely boiling infinity (moreorless) down to two simple choices and/or components.

But in the spirit of putting everything in their simplistic little boxes I will now say that I think of Edward Snowden as a dark angel. Sent to tell us Americans we are by no means free. Nor do we enjoy freedom. At all. And to pity the fool who thinks otherwise.

Where do we go now? As if we could answer THAT question.

Stumbling Into The Fifth Estate. Movie Review.

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So I went to see a man about a dog and ended-up at a screening of The Fifth Estate. Who knew bringing about world information transparency was just a simple tale of a bro’mance gone sour?

Had Benedict Cumberbatch not been so convincing as odd-man-out, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, the film would have been unwatchable, with its cheesy, thin dialog punctuated by periodic stabs at bold statements of moral grandeur from the bottom of a pint glass. Trust me when I say Captain Kirk used to make the exact same kinds of speeches, except Kirk had a better haircut and he meant it.

My big mistake was to go into the screening (thank you for it, Atlanta Press Club, regardless) expecting a grand newsroom drama, as that’s how I’d always framed the Assange/Wikileaks phenom in my head: as a newsroom-based struggle (to redact or not) between Assange and Alan Rusbridger, editor of The Guardian. Especially after having read the excellent book on the matter, Wikileaks, by Guardian journalists David Leigh and Luke Harding.

But in The Fifth Estate, Assange gets schooled-up and sent out in the cold by flat, wet noodle Daniel, so boring he doesn’t even warrant a last name, his Wikileaks partner who, as the dreary, millennial-like IT guy, wouldn’t have known a journalism ethic if he’d accidentally fucked one.

Which, surprise, is how the filmmaker attempts to tack some character onto little Daniel – by giving him a woman; whereas Assange, by comparison, doesn’t get a princess-lady figure. As if he doesn’t deserve one. He does. But let’s move on.

Alas, the film is not the edgy, excited newsroom drama it easily could have been. Rather, it’s a story about how an unenlightened IT guy stumbled briefly in and out of greatness by hanging-out with Julian Assange at a conference, once; then blinged-out for younger, flimsier minds with sparkly footlights of unreadable digi-screen data scrolls, what passes nowadays for set decor.

That said, if you’re a borderline Assange groupie (admittedly, that would be me) and you’ve been jonesin’ for him bad during his self-imposed exile, the film will set you up nice with the calm of a Benedict Cumberbatch paper cup of fascinating-actor methadone, if not the real deal.

In other words, you’re in no danger of having troubling nightmares over The Fifth Estate, so do something nice for yourself and go see Cumberbatch on a big screen. And wake-up with a smile on your face instead of a questioning, roiled mind.

A Piece Of One’s Own Action

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You know what’s a little scary? This is:

While visiting my bank today (and I’m not going to link to them because I truly don’t want to get my “personal” banker in trouble; he’s a good guy) I was surprised to see just how much our bank(s) know about us. And how much data they’re storing. And likely selling to whomever. Or heck, giving away too, to the Justice Department, just like Facebook, Google, AT&T, etc. And those are just a few of the server farms I “contribute” to.

During our sit-down today, my “personal” banker quietly turned his computer screen towards me, so that I could see everything on the screen too, as we went along with a seemingly innocuous bit of business.

Wow! That bank is keeping all kinds of information on me/us. They know a scary amount of stuff about my life over the time they’ve had me as a customer.

And they had a very nice, er, “content management system” for it all too. It’s all just one click away. For anyone with access to that “content management system.”

Dammit! I want a piece of my own action back.