Thursday, May 29, 2008

Oh, and You Can Stop Calling Everything "Viral" - That's Lame

Think you've got a handle of what's happening with Gen Y's? Not so fast--unless you happen to be a GenY'er. A thought provoking article in Read Write Web rightfully claims Gen Y is taking over.

Their attitudes about everything from social issues to work, to even the web is different than previous generations. I don't think it's a rebellious movement like has been seen in the past--just different. In fact, it seems that Gen Y's tend to have closer relationships with their parents and seem to be quite comfortable with that arrangement.

I have written many times over the past few months how critical it is that we educate ourselves on the significant differences between Gen Y's and all other generations. The writer of the article concludes the same thing:
Ignoring the voices of Gen Y is something you should do at your own peril, especially if you're a business looking to hire, a company selling a product, or an advertising firm trying to reach them.
Please read that sentence at least 3 times. It's that important.

In the radio business, we have two subsets of Gen Y's we have to be concerned about...employees and listeners. Expectations, aspirations, and goals have changed.

How we develop our on-air product, create our websites and how we help our clients reach consumers will be changing:

Marketing Has To Change: Because Gen Y is media savvy and conscious of being marketed to, brands that succeed in the future will be those that open a dialog with their customers, admit their mistakes, and essentially become more transparent (save one notable exception, apparently). Companies' web sites that want to attract GenY'ers will become more like today's Web 2.0 sites. Social networking will be just a feature. Blogs will be standard ways for companies to reach their customers. Customer service won't just be a phone call away, it will be available via non-traditional means, too. Today, savvy companies might be using Twitter, but that could change at any time if Gen Y moves on. Companies will have to keep up with Gen Y and not get too comfortable using any one format. (Oh, and you can stop calling everything "viral" - that's lame.)

Thinking of hiring a new employee? That too requires a new understanding.
Work Tools Need to Mirror Web Tools: Gen Y will drive adoption of "Enterprise 2.0" products and services. Gen Y in the workplace will not just want, but expect their company to provide them with tools that mirror those they use in their personal lives. If socializing on Facebook helps them get a sale, then they're not going to understand why they can't use it at work. For more buckled down companies, if workers aren't provided with the tools they want, they're going to be savvy enough to go around I.T.'s back and get their own.

Work Isn't Their Whole World: Sure, they're going to go to work, but it had better be fun. For Gen Y, work isn't their identity. It's just a place. Gen Y sees no reason why a company can't be more accommodating, offering benefits like the ability to work from anywhere, flex-time, a culture that supports team communication, and a "fun" work environment. They're also not going to blindly follow orders just because you're the boss. Sometimes dubbed "Generation Why?" they need to "buy in" as to why something is being done. Old school bosses may find their questioning insubordinate behavior, but they would be best to just change their management techniques and adapt. Gen Y hasn't known much unemployment and they're not going to put up with being treated poorly just for sake of a paycheck. (Bosses, your survival guide is here).
The future of radio hinges on Gen Y's discovering something connected to radio they can be passionate about. Passionate is a very strong word and might be unattainable. Let's try this: The future of radio hinges on Gen Y's discovering something connected to radio they can be interested in.

It won't be easy.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Radio 2009 Not So Good?

In this afternoon's Inside Radio update they reported:

Analyst: Tough radio economy into 2009.

Stanford Research analyst Fred Moran says rising energy costs, the credit crisis and a slumping housing market have combined to create a recession for the consumer which will "pressure advertising demand" through next year as budgets "tighten" to align with softening consumer spending.

If this analysis is correct it will be another tough year for those on the front lines at radio stations all across the country. More personnel cuts, even smaller or non-existent marketing budgets, smaller or non-existent research budgets, and the continued and inevitable loss of innovation when it's needed the most.

Just as we were beginning to deal with the onslaught of new media platforms and changing attitudes we were also beginning to make those cuts -- a perfect storm of sorts.

There were many among us who underestimated what was about to happen; after all we survived and thrived as the Walkman's, 8-track's, CD's attacked. We weren't going to stop the new media train but we did less and less to slow it down and react appropriately to it. Even today, there are STILL broadcasters who doubt the severity of seismic shift that has taken place.

2008 is barely half over and already we are being alerted to a shaky 2009. As mind-numbing as this is, at least we have a head start on thinking about how we can productively deal with what might confront us in the months ahead.

Now is the time to plan ahead and figure out how innovation can figure into your equation--no matter what that the financial situation is going forward. Here's a few thought-starters:
  • How can we better connect with and reward our most loyal listeners?
  • How can we be more than a easy to replicate jukebox?
  • How can we be better story tellers in order to capture the imagination of our listeners?
  • How can we make the "same old-same old" not so stale?
  • How can we develop content good enough that listeners would consider podcasting it?
  • How can we demonstrate to our clients that not only should they spend money with us, but it will be the best money they will spend?
For anyone interested, I would be happy to set up short-term projects and assist you facilitate these vital meetings and develop your strategic plan. Honest and frank analysis plus creative and innovative solutions to your specific issues. Feel free to give me a call [952.401.9067] if you would like to discuss.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Cellphone Only Households And Radio

There's a new survey of wireless/landline usage in the US by the National Center for Health Statistics and across all demographic groups the percentage of households that are cellphone only continues to increase. Overall 16% of households in the US are cellphone only. Even among 65+ households cellphone only has grown from .9% in 2004 to 2.2% at the end of 2007. The younger the respondent the greater the percentage of being cellphone only--18-24's are 34.5% cellphone only and 25-29's are 30.6% cellphone only. In the context of radio this trend continues to spell b-i-g trouble for ratings and Arbitron. At last December's Arbitron Radio Advisory Council Meeting the issue of cellphone only sampling was addressed: [note the updated stats in this post]

Mr. Cohen stated that the most recent cell-phone-only statistics from the government indicate that the cell-only percentage for the second half of 2006 was 11.8% overall and 25% among persons 18–24. He said that while the coverage of the landline telephone frame is deteriorating, the costs to recruit cell-only households using traditional telephone frame random-digit dialing (RDD) techniques is several orders of magnitude higher than the cost of recruiting landline households. Some reasons for the higher cost include the higher no-answer rate, lower cooperation rates and the fact that current laws and regulations prohibit the use of auto-dialers, i.e., cell-only household recruitment calls must be hand-dialed.

Arbitron is researching alternative means to bring cell-only households into the sample. The company currently is conducting a field test using an address frame to recruit households. Pending success of the tests, implementation could occur in some markets in 2009.

The Council expressed concern about Arbitron’s current practice of capping cell-phone-only households in its PPM New York service (and other radio first markets beyond Philadelphia) at 5%. Arbitron indicated that it was prepared to use the address-frame sampling method being tested in the Diary service to increase the cell-phone-only portion of the PPM sample if testing proves successful.

With all of the spirited debate recently regarding the ongoing PPM roll-out, largely over sampling, Arbitron is going to have to figure this out and quick. I don't know about you but I find the sentence, "Arbitron is researching alternative ways to bring cell-only households into the sample," frightening. Sounds like a process that is going to move at a snails-pace. Unfortunately, I have yet to hear or read anything that would cause me to adjust my thinking.

In essence, the "more real world accurate" PPM will deliver more accurate results from a potentially tainted and incomplete sample. It seems to me the very item that is causing this problem, cell phones, ought to be part of a future ratings solution.

Friday, May 23, 2008

New Media...from a TV Exec's Perspecitve

Jeff Zucker of NBC Universal went on Charlie Rose earlier this week and discussed everything from digital platform profitability to fixing NBC Primetime to Conan taking over from Leno and lots more. Of course, TV is dealing with many of the same challenges as we are in the radio business; so it is interesting to watch and listen to his answers on how he is dealing with then.

Let me boil it down to 3 key words that I think best describe his central themes: time, talent, and change.

It's a long interview, but if you are a media junkie like me it was time well spent.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The Social Network War

A little fun in the form of a short cartoon.


Innovation = Growth

Here's 22 slides that remind us how to better entice listeners AND how to council our clients to better connect with their customers--our listeners.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Email...We Don't Need Stinkin' Email!

Or the internet for that matter. According to a recent telephone survey conducted by Parks Associates and reported in PC World Magazine one fifth, 21%, of the US population has never used email. Some 20 million households in the US do not have internet access, and 1 in 3 heads of household have never used a computer to create a document.
To quote Robin from the old Batman TV show, "holy digital divide Batman!" As one might expect age and education play a role in these data. Half of the "no email" respondents were over 65 and 56% never got beyond high school.

While these numbers might seem surprising to those of us on-line consider in 2006 that 29% or 31 million households were without the internet claiming low perceived value. So in just 2 short years the divide has narrowed by 11 million households. The survey also found that over the next 12 months an additional 1.4 million households plan to bring the internet into their homes.

It's safe to assume there will always be some without connectivity of some sort--or interest; but it's also safe to assume that "the internet" in whatever form it takes in the future will be ubiquitous in the lives of most Americans.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Consumer 2.0

There's no shortage of advice on how to reach young consumers and a recently released report from Mr Youth and Rep Nation boil it down to this Top 5:

(click on the image and it will open a larger and easier to read picture)

These findings have implications and offer opportunities for both the programming and sales sides of our business.

Our challenge: radio, by its very nature is a mass appeal entity. Our entire system is built upon a platform of gathering as many listeners to our frequencies as possible and enticing them to listen for as long as possible. Therein lies the great paradox for broadcasters. How can we be personal, hyper-niched, and be a flexible brand all wrapped up in a singular mass-appeal broadcast signal? That is where our live interactions (on-air and in your communities), our websites, social networking, and mobile strategies come into play.

Some things for you to ask yourself:
  • Do you and your staff have a clear understanding of what your brand means to your listeners; and is it strong enough as the power of the brand (all brands, not just radio) erode?
  • Are your outward messages, across all your platforms, real and genuine?
  • When was the last time you used your real listeners to endorse your radio station?
  • What do your messages communicate to your listeners; and do you say anything that won't be filtered out?
  • Are you enabling your listeners to create their own content?
  • Have you planted the seeds for your listeners to form an active community centered around your station?
More and more, these are the type of conversations I have with clients and perspective clients. These discussions tend to be ongoing since things are moving very fast and not much is static for very long.

Share this list with your co-workers and then add to it. I would not be surprised if you came up with 3 or 4 times the number of questions worthy of asking.

I found this report thought provoking. If you would like to read the entire presentation simply click here.

Amazon Gets Musically Aggressive

Product widgets are nothing new to Amazon's sales arsenal --they have had widgets for video, TV & movie products as well as other products like their very successful Kindle book reader. Amazon thinks there is a fertile music market for DRM-free music and they have made it easy to sample and buy with this just released widget:

If you clicked through you were able to listen to song samples and you also probably noticed that pricing on some of the songs are less than .99. Will Amazon gain sizable traction against iTunes? Between DRM free mp3's and some lower prices, they just might.

Here's what they are saying are the top songs today:

Today's Top MP3 Songs

Bleeding Love (Album Version)
Pocketful Of Sunshine
4 Minutes [Featuring Justin Timberlake] (Album Version)
See You Again

1. Bleeding Love (Album … by Leona Lewis
2. Pocketful Of Sunshine by Natasha Bedingfield
3. 4 Minutes [Featuring … by Madonna
4. See You Again by Miley Cyrus
5. Love In This Club (Ma… by Usher featuring Young…
6. Low (Feat. T-Pain) by Flo Rida
7. Love Song (Album Vers… by Sara Bareilles
8. Violet Hill by Coldplay
9. No Air duet with Chri… by Jordin Sparks featuri…
10. Paralyzer by Finger Eleven
11. Lollipop [Explicit] by Lil Wayne
12. Take A Bow by Rihanna
13. You're Gonna Miss This by Trace Adkins
14. New Soul by Yael Naïm
15. No One by Alicia Keys
16. Leavin' by Jesse McCartney
17. Forever (Main Version) by Chris Brown
18. Sorry (Album Version)… by Buckcherry
19. Sexy Can I Feat. Yung… by Ray J
20. Say by John Mayer
21. Before He Cheats by Carrie Underwood
22. How Far We've Come (A… by Matchbox Twenty
23. Don't Stop The Music by Rihanna
24. Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen
25. Shadow Of The Day (Al… by Linkin Park

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

WiFi Everywhere....well not everywhere

As the predictions proliferate about WiFi everywhere, the folks in the city of brotherly love have been jilted by Earthlink. Users of the citywide wireless system in Philadelphia have been given 30 day notice that the system will not only be shut down but dismantled.

This from engadget:

We knew it was coming, but Philadelphia's citywide WiFi is now officially being turned off, and Earthlink is planning on pulling down all of its access points. Like basically every other municipal WiFi project, it seems like the cost of keeping the system going outweighed the benefits, and Earthlink couldn't find a buyer willing to take things over. Current Earthlink customers will get 30 more days of service, until June 12, and then it's lights bytes out. Here's hoping Philly coffee shops are ready for an influx of urban warriors. [Via Philebrity, thanks Andy R.]
One has to wonder if the economics of operating these citywide systems will slow the "wireless everywhere" train? I suspect bumps in the road like this will lead to the development of a better and more economically sustainable system.

Timeshifting and Radio

In the course of my work day I am always on the lookout for interesting things to write about on the blog. I came across the blog from the creators of Radio Sherpa-a website that aggregates radio station streams in a few major markets. They had an excellent post that I thought I would share with you. No comments from me necessary.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Death of Primetime (and CBS Radio)

There was an interesting article today in the New York Times regarding the challenges facing prime time television. The author points out that audiences for prime time shows continue to decline as time shifting and web streaming become viable alternatives. But the author also indicates that the most popular shows (e.g., The Office, CSI) have 20-25% GAINS when DVR viewing is included.

“As a result of time-shifting, the biggest shows are getting bigger and some of the smaller shows are getting negatively impacted,” the senior television executive said.

What does this tell us?

Good content always wins. And those who have it, need to leverage it.

The same lesson can be applied to radio.

Morning/afternoon-drive (radio's prime time) radio shows will continue to lose audience to alternatives such as cell phones and the iPod. But as with television, all is not lost.

Those stations with great programs (music or otherwise) should leverage these brands by posting online and elsewhere. CBS Radio appears to understand this as it recently announced the syndication of its radio content for not only its own distribution network, but also other online networks.

If played right, new technologies do not have to result in a zero-sum game.

In a refreshing moment of clarity (and honesty), Alan Wurtzel, the head of research for NBC gave this gem to the Times:

“Honestly, if I could wish away the DVR, I would,” Mr. Wurtzel added. “But I can’t. It’s growing.”

The faster Radio executives reach the same conclusion regarding time shifting and online broadcasts, the better

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Technology Is Forcing Change

May 10th, 1982 was the date that technology forced change...

26 years ago the technology was FM radio and it was an AM radio station forced to change. That station was WABC in New York. Music on AM was dieing and moving over to FM.

WABC's ratings had seen better days but it was still a big deal. Just like people all over the New York area I remember stopping whatever I was doing to tune in to hear the change. I had moved on (working in radio) and was listening to other stations; but this was the station that I grew up with--the station that I have credited more than a few times as being my inspiration that made me want to go into radio.

Here's a WCBS-TV news report from that day. The report says a lot.

Even back in the "dark ages," 1982, technology was a problem...
  • There's a whole lot of media out there, wired and wireless--it's getting tougher and tougher to compete
  • AM stereo launching to better compete with FM. AM what?
  • More stations, more choices, no giants. How quant.
Maybe a little slow to make the right moves, but AM did get it right. Interesting that AM's savior was human voices--you know the long list of talk radio stars that made that happen.

The music died on AM when the public had free and easy access to FM. Will the music die on FM when the public has free and easy access to music on ~~insert new medium here~~? I think you know what my answer would be. I will leave it at that.

Please give some thought to history since it has a nasty habit of repeating itself.

***photo credit: from a wonderful website called Forgotten NY

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

The 10 year AQH Rating Trend

This chart is through Spring '07. Source : Arbitron 10 year National AQH rating trend 12-17, 18-24, and 25-34 are all in significant decline while 35+ is down but not quite as much.

I can't get this chart out of my mind because there is so much work to do to arrest the declines and still far too many distractions slowing things down. And that brings me to this...

One of the blogs I like to read is Dave Martin's N=1. It's not the same old, same old. This morning Dave had a guest blogger, Kelly O'Keefe who was on the design team of the Radio 2020 initiative and Radio Heard Here campaign. I have been critical of both, publicly in this space and privately, and have serious doubts that either will be the catalytic to get the radio industry moving in the right direction. I want to like and support these initiatives but it is not easy.

Here's what Mr. O'Keefe had to say--it's thoughtful and well written. You can make up your own mind"

At the NAB convention in Las Vegas, an announcement was made about the first stage of a multifaceted campaign aimed at contributing to the vibrancy of the radio industry. A lofty goal, to be sure, but a worthy cause.

The radio industry is home to some of the most passionate professionals I’ve met in any industry. Radio is important to Americans and important to America. It provides the most convenient, portable and easy-to-use way to engage with fresh entertainment and information content of every description.

When I was approached to help with this effort, I was honored to play a role. The folks I’ve encountered in the radio industry are smart people. They see the opportunity to make radio better, and they recognize the need to communicate more frequently, with greater transparency. They are listening, acting and investing to ensure that radio’s future is just as storied as its past.

The recommendations we made to the NAB and RAB are more oriented to behavior than marketing. The plan entails four initiatives that have been published broadly:

  • Accelerating technology integration
  • Improving playlist diversity
  • Educating the next generation of broadcasters and advertisers
  • Engaging consumers through broader communications

Three out of four of the objectives involved tangible actions aimed at enhancing the brand. This won’t surprise any reader of my writings, or any of my clients or students. For over 15 years I’ve been writing, speaking and teaching about the fact that in terms of brands, actions speak louder than words.

There is a clear call for increased innovation in content and more support for new technology. I find it disconcerting that many of those who call for technology innovation from the industry also attack virtually any new technology introduced. Any technology investor will tell you that the road to adoption is full of bumps. There is a reason the books on this subject bear titles like Inside the Tornado.

The fact that it is difficult to develop and market new technology is no reason to stop developing it. Every effort that brings new thinking to the radio industry should be celebrated and every innovator supported. Standing still is not an acceptable strategy for this industry, and this brings me to my comments on the marketing campaign.

There are a number of goals for the marketing campaign; they include:

  • Encouraging users to fully explore the variety of content available to them
  • Stimulating usage in new ways and places
  • Generating positive discussion about radio - particularly among young listeners
  • Communicating progress in content, technology and education
  • Developing and supporting a growing community of radio evangelists

The Radio Heard Here advertising is only one of the elements developed to help achieve these goals. We’ve launched blogs that report on industry innovation, online communities aimed at encouraging creatives who work in the radio medium, and influencer outreach efforts to ease communications across the spectrum of broadcasters and support companies.

We are also engaging people within the industry, by preparing electronic and physical mailings to provide tools to thousands of radio stations, and asking them to play a role in the campaign.

So far, we’ve heard far more praise than criticism from broadcasters. The campaign is being developed by some of the most talented people business, and with the rollout taking place over the summer and fall, there is much more to see and hear. As we move forward to contextualize the words “Radio Heard Here” I’m confident that the work will win over fair-minded observers. Of course we will continue to listen, learn and adapt.

One thing we shouldn’t listen to are the comments from those critics who believe the radio brand is irreparably damaged, and therefore any campaign that leverages past equity is doomed. One such commentator says, “Radio has become a negative word.” This is simply not true!

Both the research and the listening data suggest otherwise. The only group that thinks “radio has become a negative word” are people within the industry who read too much from these critics.

Like anything, radio can be better, and the industry should be tireless in its efforts to make it so, but there is a great pool of positive equity that should not be squandered based on the rantings of a few critics.

The risk of moving away from a trusted brand is significant. Just this year, NASCAR admitted that its attempt to move away from its core loyalists was a costly mistake. They are refocusing on their historic strengths. Sound familiar? We heard the same thing after Wal-Mart fired the marketing department that tried to take them away from their core focus. They believed (rightly) that the brand needed freshening, but their actions (wrongly) involved trying to move away from any familiar imagery. Even Coke once gave in to the cynics who thought the brand had no relevance to young people, only to launch New Coke with tragic consequences. They have now returned to the shapely logos and bottles that customers of all ages love.

No less respected brands than Starbucks, Budweiser and Apple have ventured away from their core equity, only to steer back to familiar imagery. (Yes, they all have their critical blogs, too.)

Rather than reinvent radio's brand, in the true spirit of radio, we are engaging in storytelling, through visuals, video and most importantly, the spoken word. And we’ll be inviting broadcasters and listeners to participate.

A simple example of the power of these stories can be found in words on Michael Castner’s blog. He comments on a video interview we produced about Dick Lewis and his work during Hurricane Katrina, saying: “It was an amazing education of what can happen when companies come together for the good of the community. It is a story that very few have heard.”

So I’ll close with one last thought inspired by Michael Castner’s words. Every day, radio stations come together to make great things happen for their communities; imagine what can happen if they come together to tell their own stories? If any of us can play a small role in making that happen, it’s worth the thick skin we will have to grow to get there.

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Tuesday, May 6, 2008

No Brainer!


Arbitron and Edison Media Research just released their Internet and Multimedia study and it's no surprise that on-line radio listening in the workplace is growing fast. In 2007 12% said they listen on-line while they work compared with this years study which grew to a very robust 20%.
We don't question the expense of keeping the transmitter on the air and we can't (shouldn't) question the cost of streaming when it is very clear that our listeners are moving their radio listening on-line.

In many ways this is a dream come true for broadcasters. No building penetration issues anymore; no disparity between Class A and B/C signals anymore; and the opportunity to provide visual artist/song/promotional information accompanying every stream. There are few desktop radios that have RDS.

Of course, with it comes new competition and infinite choice. So we better be at the top of our game. No one ever said it was going to be easy.

Here's a short steaming basics checklist:

>Make sure the stream sounds good.
- decent audio quality (equal to FM)
- well produced
- no dead air
- DO NOT repeat the same PSA over and over and over again
>Monitor your stream feed to ensure it does not go off the air

>Remember your stream lags behind your terrestrial signal and will impact call-ins and contests

>Aggressively promote on-line listening as you would your terrestrial signal

>Make your stream open access (don't limit the stream to a proprietary player)

>Streaming listeners, already computer friendly, are strong database prospects--don't miss out on that opportunity.

>Use your stream to leverage your other on-line initiatives

Sunday, May 4, 2008

"Don't Focus On The Product...

Focus on the experience you want to create, and build a system that gets you there".

Those words were said not with radio in mind, but with hard goods. As illustrated in this (goofy) picture:

Of course, our product is the experience...except if we are talking about HD radio and then it's about the hardware and not so much about the experience.

What was supposed to always be about the experience (whatever the intended experience was supposed to be) somewhere along the way the word experience was replaced by appliance. The appliance for music, news, sports, weather, traffic, etc. Like most appliances, after a while a new and improved appliance comes along replacing the old one. In this case that would be broadband and the internet.

Let's be honest. Radio was NEVER about the experience; programming was created in order to sell RADIOS. Now, as it turned out the experience was pretty good and it all worked out.

Today, as good as a lot of radio programming is, it's lost its luster as new more flexible platforms have come to market--especially with younger audiences.

What are we to do?

Focus on the user experience. How can we leverage our deep market penetration and our deployment of new platforms (broadband and internet) into a more competitive medium for today and into the future?

We need to think beyond "the morning show" and "10-in-a-row" and be open to and TRY new ideas (many of which will probably fail).
"Focus on the experience you want to create, and build a system that gets you there".

And that brings me to the source of the quote: Peter Merholz who is the President of Adaptive Path a company that helps create products that deliver great experiences. Impressive group! Mr. Merholz put together an excellent presentation on the user experience and you can watch and listen to it right here:

Thursday, May 1, 2008

How the World Works

1) everything that’s already in the world when you’re born is just normal;
2) anything that gets invented between then and before you turn thirty is incredibly exciting and creative and with any luck you can make a career out of it;
3) anything that gets invented after you’re thirty is against the natural order of things and the beginning of the end of civilization as we know it until it’s been around for about ten years when it gradually turns out to be alright really.
So true!

Those are the words of satirist and novelist Douglas Adams.

He went on to say:
Apply this list to movies, rock music, word processors and mobile phones to work out how old you are.

We no longer think of chairs as technology, we just think of them as chairs. But there was a time when we hadn’t worked out how many legs chairs should have, how tall they should be, and they would often ‘crash’ when we tried to use them. Before long, computers will be as trivial and plentiful as chairs (and a couple of decades or so after that, as sheets of paper or grains of sand) and we will cease to be aware of the things.

This excellent piece was featured in another blog--one of my favorites: The Technium -- Wired founder Kevin Kelly's blog. His work has been linked in this space before--a smart and always fun read.