Sunday Espresso: Turning Japanese, NHL vs. Clarinet, Publish or Perish

    You know the expression, if you want to get a point across you need to make it three times? Or something like that. Don’t forget: Sunday morning, over espresso I must remind you anything I say here must be taken with a grain of salt. It’s a relaxing time; vent, ramble, hypothesize, think big, laugh.

    So, anyways, with new media, blogging and social networking, the new mantra: if you want to get a point across these days, you need to make it 300 times. At least. Especially for the independent, new guys, like us.

    Very few people are actually awaiting, bated breath on every word written here—despite what I tell Loni. While that’s not completely accurate, it simply means the Internet is a hyper-crowded place. Want to say something? Say it over, and over, and over again. Then say it again. Use different brush strokes. Think different. But hammer home your message repeatedly. A genuine smile helps. So does passion. Or you’ll never be heard. It’s noisy out there, and only the persistent, strong-willed, slightly crazy stand a chance.

    Which brings me to my first thought for this happy Sunday morning…

    Turning Japanese

    My former Tokyo boss once told me, “Yes, you don’t.”

    I had just finished presenting a $2 million budget proposal as VP for the US arm of a Japanese company. I flew back to SFO wondering if he was joking, or if it meant something I couldn’t entirely grasp. Could I spend the money, or not?

    There are many lessons to be learned working for a non-US company.

    When it comes to time-lines, the Japanese know a thing or two about a seemingly long forgotten tradition: patience.

    Here in Silicon Valley, a start-up has perhaps 12-18 months to show something. Potential. A money-making black box. Or opportunity for a juicy acquisition premium to Google or Oracle. But that’s so American. The Japanese, you see, think in centuries. What seems so urgent to us, seems less so to them. Not that it’s not important to win market share, for example, or steamroll the competition. Ii desu yo!

    All of that to say, I think I’m turning Japanese when it comes to StarkSilverCreek.

    NHL vs. Clarinet


    I’m standing at an OC Transpo bus stop on Bank Street. My face has near frozen off, and I don’t really care or notice because at some point the nerve endings stop responding. A clarinet case—a small, rectangular black box—sits on the ice and snow-caked ground next to me. I see my breath. Smell the exhaust of passing Toyotas and Fords. Duran Duran’s Rio is, again, the warbling cassette of choice on my Sony Walkman.

    I am, standing here, a strange Canadian in a strange, isolated Canadian street.

    But not really. Truth is, I’m the next Benny Goodman. Only, pretty girls don’t know it. My friends are at hockey practice, and being drafted by NHL teams; some by the Toronto Maple Leafs.

    Arpeggios or slap shots?


    I’m feeling feisty this morning, and finding this ThinkPad keyboard completely agreeable. Sometimes it just flows. So, please forgive my length, and amuse me for one more minute.

    Perfection is not the end game.

    How many businesses and companies have been killed while waiting, and waiting, and waiting some more before a product, service or idea is ready to launch?

    I say: Ship It! Already!

    Then again, the Google Buzz team might not agree on this point. However, I’m not talking about the hyper-paced Googlers of the world. I’m talking about staid corporate America, and possibly (only possibly) the future dinosaurs who are blinded by the reality that new media, blogs and social networking—while not panaceas for all; after all, they’re tools—are increasingly essential and influential in today’s publishing world.

    Want to go where the young, middle-aged and baby boomers hang?

    It’s not print. Although it’s there still, in much, much smaller numbers, the present and obviously the future is online. On smartphones. On eBook readers. On netbooks and laptops. And, soon, the iPad.

    So it galls me just slightly, when:

    (1) Old media devices such as the embargo are used incorrectly and slow information flow, because of antiquated techniques. This surely is not the way. It’s like a class detention. Everyone shall be penalized because someone threw a paper airplane onto the teacher’s desk. Talk about a bum rush. “No running in the hall!”

    (2) An idea is so perfected, so infinitely honed, it loses its energy and raw edge. Throw too much time, too many people, and too much money at anything—be it art, video, writing, new products, company projects—and you dilute its essence to the lowest common denominator. In other words, it becomes crap (if it’s not Scottish, it’s crap!)

    So I say publish or perish. Publish digitally that is.

    Words to avoid this week: impossible, delay, good enough, I’ll think about it, so, uh-huh, that’s what she said.

    Words that make it happen: take charge, yes, oui!, c’est possible!, brainstorm, frenetic, determination squared, sky’s the limit.

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