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Good novels are not written by orthodoxy-sniffers, nor by people who are conscience-stricken about their own orthodoxy. Good novels are written by people who are not frightened.
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Blog Posts for June 2006

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Market with Yellow Umbrella - Day Two

A bit more in the center of the painting...

I've limited my palette to cerulean blue, dioxazine purple, permanent light green, cadmium yellow medium, and cadmium dark red.

I'm really looking forward to painting the people.

One other note: if you look at the first picture I took of this, and the one above, notice how yellowed the first picture is. The difference is that in the picture above I've turned off my overhead lights, which feature GE bulbs. They offer bright light, without a doubt, but I need to replace them with these. I have this bulb in a lamp at my drafting table and love it. But $80 for overhead lights seems exorbitant... I'll think about it.

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by Brett Rogers, 6/1/2006 6:39:02 AM
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Geometry Matters

Here's what a lack of planning will get you:

I've added the yellow lines to show where my angles go, which is all over the place. They should, instead, all point to the same spot, called the vanishing point. Like this:

All lines should point to a line on the horizon. This is logical to the eye. It's also Art 101. I forgot and didn't plan.

Duh.

Now what to do?

Fix it, I guess, but this won't be finished now until I come back next week.

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by Brett Rogers, 6/4/2006 8:45:35 PM
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Tiananmen Square: Remembered

Via Glenn Reynolds, I find this video that reminds us of Chinese rule and the lack of freedom and the fight that people in China still have in front of them for basic human rights. The Tiananmen Square massacre happened on June 4, 1989.

Asia might be a great opportunity for business, but China is brutal on its citizens who dare to disagree.

You might not agree with our nation's foreign policies or domestic agenda, but here in America, you can freely speak your mind and suffer no recourse from it.

Democracy for all mankind is a most compassionate goal. Everyone wants to be free. Let's help them.

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by Brett Rogers, 6/4/2006 8:59:00 PM
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The Price of an Idea

I read Dana Gardner's post about the "grass-roots media future - for the enterprise."

If John Lasseter can chat about what goes on behind the scenes at Pixar, why can't I get podcast "bonus materials" on who designed my favorite widget? Or my favorite iTunes feature? Or probe the accounting minds behind my QuickBooks Pro application?

Maybe a blog with comments spawned from the podcast would provide valuable user feedback and powerful market research for future products and brands. You can't beat the value of an actual ongoing conversation on what makes people love or hate the products and brands they use and they give it to you for free, if you let them.

I completely agree with Dana on this. Why have layers of people and management between the developer and the user?

But I know exactly why those layers exist: it's idea laundering. You know, with money laundering they have various "clean" fronts for the money taken illegitimately and then come up with it through a series of bogus transactions so that it looks as if the money came through legitimate means. Well, this way, the idea looks like it came to the development team unsolicited from users for the many people in between the development team and the user.

It's about protecting intellectual property.

It's about money.

Long ago, I sold shareware that I had written and put it out on the Internet and peope downloaded it and I made money from it. I had one woman write me and suggest a feature that was a good idea, but also a no-brainer for a future enhancement and was already planned. She wrote, "And if you implement this idea, which I think will make you a ton of money, I expect some sort of royalty."

As though for the sheer 5 seconds of grace from her brain I now owe her a significant portion of my product's income.

I wrote her back. "I've spent 600 hours on this product just in development alone, not to mention marketing time and so on. If I leverage my future development of this feature, plus what I currently have into this product, your demand of 20% of my gross revenue is inflated. By my calculation on hours alone, your contribution is a fraction of a percent."

Ideas are cheap; implementation is expensive and hard.

Blogs and comments for companies by the employees are a great step forward for interaction with the customer, but while people might believe that they "own" their idea and believe that it's worth millions by merely speaking it forward in less than a minute's time, companies are at risk to accept such interaction. Which is lousy for the future of products. We all benefit by a broader discussion that brings the consumers to the manufacturers in conversation. But we can't, and we like to blame that on lawyers.

It's not the lawyers, though. It's us. Until we get over the price of an idea.

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by Brett Rogers, 6/5/2006 11:27:31 AM
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A Walk

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by Brett Rogers, 6/8/2006 7:23:52 PM
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Market with Yellow Umbrella - Day Three

After a couple of days away, I'm back and working on my big painting. I've corrected the lines problem that I had and I'm beginning to add some people, as you can see in this close-up shot.

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by Brett Rogers, 6/9/2006 11:59:39 AM
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Market with Yellow Umbrella - Day Four

Yep - I'm crawling along with this one, but it's not for a lack of interest.

I've learned that my cards in the store that feature people on them don't sell. The ones without people sell okay, but if there's people, they sit idle.

Not a big deal, I suppose, but I really enjoy painting people.

So my dilemma: do I commercialize my art and go for what sells, or do I paint what I choose for myself at the risk of not selling?

Bigger question: what is my art to me?

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by Brett Rogers, 6/18/2006 11:40:47 PM
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How the New York Times Drives Business

A lot of folks on the right side of the blogosphere are up in arms this week over the New York Times' disclosure of a legal and effective money trail surveillance program aimed at finding terrorists. They should be mad; it's wonderful when you're battling America to have America's own national media serve as an arm of your intelligence services.

The reaction I've seen has been umbrage over the Times' insistence that this was in the "public interest." I say "Hooey." In fact, it was for a different reason and all of the bloggers just helped the cause of the New York Times, in my opinion.

Newspaper readership has been in decline for quite some time. But not at the New York Times. They have a winning formula. It's called "sensationalism." Here's the formula:

Write an article that is not quite as titillating as, say, Brangelina's latest escapade. Instead, write about something that skirts the edge of national security and gossip and everyday Joe concerns. An example is trending phone records for terrorist activity. Remember that one? Yep, the Times broke that too. An article like that gets the New York Times web site traffic meters humming because everyone on all sides of the blogosphere links to it. Especially those on the right. Which is perfect for the Times. This has nothing to do with reporting and journalism. It has everything to do with revenue. It is, after all, a business. And the righties help them out with furious and passionate links to the New York Times.

Me, I ignore the Times. No link from me. Why help them?

I know that attribution is important, but seriously - why help the New York Times and reward them with traffic for doing the wrong thing?

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by Brett Rogers, 6/24/2006 10:09:09 AM
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Insecurity

I read a quote a few days ago that said something like, "The problem is rarely the problem. The problem is usually the reaction to the problem."

I've been noticing lately that what seems to cause conflict in relationships - at work, at home, between friends, etc - is the response to a person's insecurity.

We're all insecure at times. This will drive us to do really stupid and drastic things to protect ourselves that we might not otherwise do, but insecurity is not really rational. And so we do the thing we never thought we'd do, or we say the thing we never thought we'd say. Did we mean to do or say it? It seems as though it were driven by a different side of us. Which is true, in a way. Our instincts rise up and it's fight or flight and we react. It's never classy when this happens. We're usually ashamed of our behavior later.

I think our reaction to someone's insecurity is where we spur the frightened beast and the problem then escalates and becomes the problem. Rather than recognize it, we can react back and make it worse.

I can't control the behavior of others, but I can control my response to their behavior. By believing that the reaction is the problem, I can usually take someone's insecurity and calm it with an even-handed response.

Cool hands, warm heart - isn't that the saying?

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by Brett Rogers, 6/30/2006 1:55:53 PM
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