Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Is This All?

Betty Friedan asked what may be the most timeless social question in history: "Is this all?"

In 1957, Betty coined  a phrase that changed America: "the problem that has no name."

She had surveyed Smith College classmates about satisfaction 15 years later at a reunion. Instantly, almost every woman in America identified with "the problem that has no name."

It had one key symptom: a feeling of being trapped. 

* * * 

Betty appeared in Time with my kid’s maternal grandma for changing the course of human history, becoming lifelong friends.  

I often looked for common traits Betty had, beyond writing, with my kid’s grandma. They were both in another zone, able to see past what’s in front, with great confidence, to create new freedoms. 

They spent time looking at what defines a social trap and how one frees oneself from the question of "Is this all?” 

It’s a powerful question you can transpose beyond the house. There are invisible traps everywhere blocking one’s full capabilities. 

It's a regular occurrence that we subscribe to traps to accommodate what is deemed needed for work, life, creative output or relationships. 

The future can always be seen by asking: Is this all? It's a question that asks for a bigger answer than what's in front.  What is taboo one decade is often no longer taboo next decade. What is unaccepted today becomes the future. 

There is always more to see, you just have to look for it. The basis of creativity is to see more. I think that's why Betty Friedan once used creativity (as opposed to politics) as the key metaphor for freeing oneself from trapped thinking. There are no inclinations in creativity.

Betty was born today in 1921. She passed away on her birthday February 4, 2006. 

Saturday, January 11, 2014


Time (346 Broadway, NY) - In youth, time is in the moment, shining glory, unveiling discovery, dismissive of what's cheated or taken for granted. In a coming of age, time is an entire history where every moment makes sense in a bigger picture, a greater good and a reconciliation of the past. Adversity is a known friend. New York born Amanda Peet in the Clock Tower turns 42 today. A scene from Griffin and Phoenix (2006) time stamped. 

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Change How World Is Mapped (Geo-Design)

 See  highlight reel   (click thumbnails). 

"Locative media" and "Locative Art" are terms as obscure as social media once was. I anticipate this is the media that will eclipse social media. 

William Gibson got it early on when writing about a Sixth Sense visor in Spook Country  that could see dead people (like River Phoenix at the Viper Room). Location-based art and stories that once took place at a spot are seen through a visor that blends the past with the present, then and now.  Imagine seeing ghosts of what happened anywhere.

In over 17,000 hours, Jump2Spot  compiled the world’s largest GPS story atlas featuring where movies scenes,  music history, biographies, literature, art  and  disruptive inventions took place. 1.25 million geo-curated assets were compiled into 125,000 stories. 

Among assets, photos of the day curated daily over 7 years were  geo-tagged covering the world’s most photographed spots.  Locative media is about compiling the most interesting digital artifacts at a place creating a compelling locative stream. 

Jump2Spot can now power  a highly curated street view, stitching stories and visuals street by street for a new kind of geo-browser. You can see meaningful visuals and stories instead of stock imagery and status reports. 

Ley lines of inventive energy towards where notable people gravitate are mapped along creative hot spots.  

With best-of-breed geo-content, Jump2Spot  will be visually recommending notable stories for geo-tags in social media and address searches. Today one in five Google searches are location-related. Pinterest has seen rapid growth in location-related boards. Foursquare has a major initiative to recommend places nearby.  25 billion geo-tags await our story recommendations. Imagine taking a photo and being able to see stories about it. 

This atlas of inspiration is an opportunity to re-think and re-define the nature of location-awareness.

At Jump2Spot, stories of the most followed people are geo-tagged at their hot spots.  Today Jump2Spot is 4x the world's longest book in words and triple the 1st digital encyclopedia in entries. Each geo-coded entry has a notable visual, story and link. 

Connective stories  match people with stories at a place. Stories can be recommended for what you are doing -  what you photograph, what you view, places you search and where you post.  

At some locations, you can see a time lapse of photos spanning a century. At other locations, you can see where notable people intersected and made history happen.  The dreams of change-makers and history-makers have been mapped near your activities. 

Today you can open an app and instantly see stories near you. You can also search any address for stories. Tomorrow you can geo-tag your photos and check-ins and see notable stories related to your places. 

This initiative is for the rock star who wants a rock star stage


The 1st books have been fully geo-tagged 

We’re looking for a coder who wants to build a next-generation  locative media experience.  GPS and maps today show the same old stuff nearby. Geo-refreshment is the new cartography.

You’re a creative thinker and problem-solver with tremendous empathy for  user experience.   You’ve demonstrated effective capabilities working with design teams and finishing consumer products to success. That's great team work.

You’ve extensively used and worked with GPS and geo-tags. You know the depths of address searches, desiring to take your domain knowledge and define a new frontier.

You’ve worked with mapping platforms.

Coding Traits

-    You have a penchant for writing elegant code, improving efficient data processing. You are determined to de-bug every line of code to compete with the best.
-    You see code as Art.
-    You are driven to learn everything about the geo-space and to influence it, making your mark as a coder in the space.
-    Your most important product feature is “speed”
-    You are a “whatever it takes” to get the job done well person.
-    You know data (a lot of it)  and traffic (a lot of it) 

 Contact: @Jump2Spot on Twitter or Jump2Spot@Gmail.com 


-    We are currently working in Ruby on Rails and iOS and have strong demand for  Android services.
-    The data is platform neutral and API-oriented with  interest from world-class clients in the geo-tagging and address search space.  


New history is revealed 

We are looking for a designer with a strong passion for story-telling, history,  and location-awareness.

You’ve got experience organizing a high volume of data into a compelling visual experience.

You’ve finished consumer products to success. 

Design Traits 
      -         You love culture 
-         Inspiring portfolio of typography and look and feel (ideally story-related)
-         Proven user experience track record
-         Projects with a high volume of traffic and data
-         You are a great communicator with local and remote team members and clients. 
-         You think in terms of new (not old) and think outside the box
-         You are a “whatever it takes” to get the job done well person.
-         You understand media and new mediums
-         You are strong at visualizing spatially
-         You think in terms of efficient experiences (space and time are valuable) 
-         You only care about user experience as a goal, especially at  point of entry and for what will be remembered as a  takeaway

 Contact: @Jump2Spot on Twitter or Jump2Spot@Gmail.com 

* * * 

Shooting Star

Everyone's tool box starts off on a equal playing field. But there is always that special one who has no prior experience who invents the next generation of the internet. You have unlimited drive, passion and learning capabilities. You have no past. You are the future. We will listen to you. 

-   You are a “whatever it takes” to get the job done well person.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

How Geo-tags and Tags Change Historical Records

Imagine re-doing history to see where "Elvis checked in."  

That's how I spent 12,000 hours of my time. I helped a lot of dead people check-in as one friend jokes.

Applying geo-tags and tags to  people who never had the internet dramatically changes the lens of history. You can see the past - more revealed - as if social media existed in their time. 

Seeing Sheri Martinelli as a mutual friend of Anais Nin, Ezra Pound, Allen Ginsberg, Charles Bukowski, Marlon Brando, ee cummings and Charlie Parker makes you see her relevance as a muse. 

Patsy Cline checked in at Triangle Diner across from John Handley High to start a "path." Plotted paths of profiles show the where and how of a trail blazed - and intersections with notable people.  You can see places in history that had a great vibe and the melting pot of moments. A dream is mapped to answer how one goes from Triangle Diner to making world history. 

Plotting paths reveals things you never saw in written history. Like why did F Scott Fitzgerald move into the same building (38 West 59th St, New York) as one of his hate-mailers within months of seeing the letter?  Was this move a riposte? 

Suddenly Bob was his neighbor.

After geo-tagging the biography of Steve Jobs, I wondered why he never set foot in Canada. Not publicly anyways. Did he have a thing against Canadians? 

Notable addresses led to other inter-connected addresses. It was incredible to see how Steve Jobs, Michael Jackson, and Princess Diana got onto the same elevator from different floors of Carlyle Hotel. That's a metaphor for what you can see geo-tagging history.  

Geo-patterns defined pathways of trailblazers. You can see how destiny was shaped.  The people who made history at more than 400 places became legends.  Warren Buffett changed history less staying home than a globetrotting Allen Ginsberg who never seemed to have a salary.  

Jump2Spot is the world's largest GPS story atlas featuring where movie scenes, music history, art, invention, books and biographies took place. Stories are also geo-tagged at the world's most photographed spots. The present is also geo-tagged to see the future. 

Saturday, November 2, 2013

A World Without Music

The meaning of music has been a lifelong meditation of mine.

When I first heard The Beatles Across the Universe, I was only 7 years old. My mind started to drift and I started seeing things only music could show...imagined dreams.  I’d later get the same feeling listening to songs during a night drive or playing vinyl records for hours. Every time Across The Universe plays, that feeling I had at 7 still lingers. 

* * *  

Music, at its best, invents a new genre. And suddenly, new identities form for a new generation. It's been said many times, music saves lives and  gives people purpose. We are reminded of the human spirit and its power through music. 

Music is present everywhere, every minute. No business is as omnipresent. And it's probably the most taken for granted art, just because it's everywhere. 

So when tasked with  making a business out of music in the modern era, it’s baffling why it’s been such a struggle. Unlike any other business, music is everywhere. It would be hard to find a product people love more than music. Music is also behind some of the most successful technology businesses (Apple, YouTube etc). So why isn’t music as successful as a cellular service? Or a computer company? 

I’ve long blamed copyright. 

Not because I don’t want Artists to be paid, but rather,  the format for copyright is from Elizabethan times and cannot cope with modern behavior and distribution.  It takes years (more than a decade sometimes) before copyright has new laws for channels that never existed before. That's a pace for bankruptcy.

I've listened to a CEO of the world's largest music label tell me just how hard it is to have 2 songs sold together from 2 different artists. He spent years trying to get the rights. Ten years later, it's still not allowed.  If you wonder why Canada doesn't have Pandora or Spotify, look no further than copyright. The laws are different country-to-country. So when you try to make a global business for music, it's impossible. Copyright is about building impenetrable walls between territories. 

Copyright was designed to be geographical and mechanical in nature. It works in a paper world that is internet-less where the product is physical. Copyright works in a music world with boundaries that no longer exist. The industry nobly protects copyright with good intentions for the most part. But it clearly doesn’t work anymore. So keeping copyright  is in essence a slow suicide for the payment of Artists.

Let me illustrate. 

There’s long been a model of having every household pay $5 a month for all-you-can-eat music. Doing the math, that’s already far more than what a household pays for albums today. It's a guarantee of  6-12 albums a year bought by every household.  You can then also easily see how music can charge like a cell phone with premium music services. But copyright cannot accommodate new digital channels. The rights are not there to be given. There’s no geographic border or penny-counting mechanism copyright loves to enforce. And so, this is yet another feasible business model that just dies before birth. Almost every new model for music dies just like this. It gets the axe from copyright. 

I once bought 3000 downloads. But I stopped willingly buying downloads when my machine died and, along with it, the songs were gone. Sure, I had rights to re-download them again…but who has the time to download 3000 songs?  

The pain of losing so many songs has never left me. I loved each Artist. 

* * *
Suddenly, I wondered if music were ever to become extinct. What would that be like?

The radio would only have spoken word – all news, all day long. Talk shows. Movies would only have the grating sounds of the city and human dialogue. Elevators would be quiet. So would every phone, every iPod and every computer.

Phones would no longer ring.

TV commercials would be mostly silent.

You would no longer be able to walk into a bar with music. There’d be no dancing.

Music is the only creative genre where you can walk into any town and see a show. It’s the last daily community on earth in urban centres. There’d be no more community without music.

Long work hours or jogs would be silent or filled with noise.

Baseball stadiums and hockey arenas would only have the din of the crowd.  No more marching bands at football games. 

Video games would only have gunfire and sound f/x .

No choirs would fill a church. No more Christmas caroling.

Many Apple products would be out of business. I actually can't see anyone wanting to use a computer without music. Music is a machine's creative soul. 

YouTube would be would be out of business. 

The awesome spirit of life can no longer be represented in sound.

* * *

But this is far from reality. Today, the opposite is happening. We have more songs released in one year than all songs combined in music history before the internet.

It got fixed by copyright at 99 cents a song without requirement to recommend or rank 1 song admidst 28 million other songs. The odds of being found are miniscule unless you personally know the Artist.  An Artist is a small fish in the world’s largest creative pond, making less than buck if discovered.

So the net math is…great undiscovered music is buried.  Few musicians make money. Copyright rules. And there’s oversupply (by a lot). Today there are more songs released in 1 year than 25x the entire back catalogue of music before downloads. 

We have plenty of music but great music is dying.

Everyone has the tools to make a song fast. Few have the wherewithal to make a great song last, and if so, be found. 

In some years, Top 10 songs account for 80% of the revenues. 


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

"Squeezing complicated lives into a simple headline"

Media has no time for courage today. It's click as fast as possible. 

To get a story, Nellie Bly fooled NYPD, the New York Times, New York Sun, Bellevue doctors and a judge feigning insanity to expose asylum conditions on Roosevelt Island as an undercover patient.  She wrote Ten Days In A Mad-House for Joseph Pulitzer's New York World

Today, gourmet stories are no longer digested. Readers drink quick Kool-Aid. 

"Squeezing complicated lives into a simple headline." 

Nellie's next journalistic expedition set a world record for going "Around the World in 72 Days." She went from Jersey to Jersey meeting Jules Verne in France.

Today, media is about being "liked." "Like" is the world's most popular human activity for ads.  


Grew up in Pittsburgh 

Nellie broke into journalism at age 21, when women were unwelcome, writing in a steel town. She persisted writing on topics no one else had challenged, defining the essence of investigative journalism. 

929 Flushing Ave, Brooklyn

Later Nellie  invented stacking garbage cans and a new kind of milk container. She received patents, becoming a leading industrialist. That all ended when her staff embezzled funds. She returned to journalism, and the world was probably better for it. 

words no longer kept

i saw the best minds of a generation
busy hysterically
yearning to be free
from the machinery

tech lets you do more
of less and less
gives you speed
to be busier and busier

people write more 
conveying less and less
words are no longer kept
words without beats

(words that stay in the memory beat on)