Gay men are great managers. (A tupee = No respect)

Levels of job engagement, job satisfaction and workplace morale among employees reporting to white-collar gay men to be upwards of 35% higher than nationally reported statistics.
–Kirk Snyder in Huff Post on his new book The G Quotient (Goffspot affiliate link)

And when more CEOs and senior execs come out, they’ll be more powerful, not less.

Being in the closet is like wearing a tupee, a powerful friend in a high-level corporate job pointed years ago. Everyone knows, you waste time worrying, and others think they have something on you from the get go. Being out and matter-of-fact and confident distracts them and for a bit longer can even throw them off their game giving you an advantage beyond The G Quotient.

Unless of course you’d rather sell books detailing your sexual exploits which might have some negative ramifications. At least McGreevy recognizes that just coming out isn’t that interesting in 2006.(Mcgreevey book, Goffspot affiliate link)

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NowPublic takes it up a notch

Congrats to the NowPublic management team on closing their $1.4 million angel round. (Disclosure: I’m an advisor and now a minor investor.) I got some perspective on how hard it is to facilitate and encourage citizen journalism working on Bayosphere last year.

NowPublic‘s come a long way since the first site I saw that they launched at PC Forum 18 months ago. It’s completely different now, with more than 2 million visits/month, and 15,000 reporters posting links, stories, and a ton of video footage. The NowPublic tools for protecting these media assets, managing them, and aggregating it all so others can build real stories is new and different.

I dont’ know of any other news-focused citizen-journalism entity that even comes close to this many participants. And, with the proving of their tools and platform — something of a mix of features found at Digg, Newsvine, a video editing tool, right managment, and things you just haven’t seen–the team is finishing up their first offering for other publishers, their On Demand Reporting system.

But what can you do there?

At NowPublic you can:

  • Point people to news and events that are important to you.
  • Make the news better by contributing photos, video or audio to any news story.
  • Store your footage, share your photos and videos with the world, and protect your intellectual property – all at the same time.
  • Get free news footage to use on your blog.

BS: Find Love! FREE trial! Cancel.! The Best Dating Site?

(Warning: zombie writing ahead. Poker. A search engine optimizing test. Just testing techniques in a story I read. Viagra. One-time only. Cheap mortgage. Promise. Gambling.) For research purposes i made an internet dating profile a few months ago, but never paid or used the service. I mean, when i made a Profile a few months ago, I didn’t pay to Join though i heard about the Best Dating Site And, I assume that’s why i got the email from this afternoon with the discount, Subject: Someone Wants to See Your Profile!

While there was no potential date in the message, there was a promo discount with legs: “Just For You…Find love this Memorial Day with a 72-hour FREE trial!”

Cancel I’d remember to cancel I’m not doing much this weekend, and like many others, i would like to find love. (Again.) And of course, there’s always more research. I clicked through the forms as I ran a few calls. I put “cancel” on my calendar, and was about to hit “send,” with my credit card number as required, when something in the back of my head said to be sure i knew how to cancel The notice was on the last sign-up page, in the middle of 4 paragraphs of small type.

“…mail or deliver a signed and dated notice, or send a telegram” to an address in Plano Texas.

No email. No phone calls, toll free or other. No forms on the site, or the internet for that matter. And, not a single acceptable reason for this. (The phone rep acknowledged it and then went into lilting infinite scripted loop of, “The terms are there and you can decide not to take this promotion, but you sound like you are interested…”)

As with rebates, wants unearned, undeserved revenue. wants handouts for being sneaky. It’s arguably something akin to a corporate welfare cheat.

And like other corporate cheats, they’ll keep cheating. (Many learned from their parents. And as a percent of GNP, this welfare cheating dwarfs the one you hear more bitching about.)

But back to cynicism.’s lame business model is based on entrapping people, technicalities rather than value, and forcing us to pay when they are basically letting on that they know they’re over charging for what they’ve got.

(I don’t know if info on how to cancel appears on the site. I might sign up just for the novelty of sending a a telegram. Actually, could this be a fiendishly brilliant service of the telegram industry?)

I think things are changing

I think i’ll see if Consumerist is interested. The site mixes shopping with the reality that shopping sucks, and it works. Business people of the future will have no part of this kind of thing. And, again

the San Francisco crowd is again crying “All the rules are off. The world is changing.” (See: Summer of Love; Gold Rush; Internet.)

But, even if Pinko Marketing ends up not quite a fist-raising revolution and what we get is a little more courtesy as consumers, well uh, the others didn’t exactly ignite glabal overthrow, though each had impact on the evolution of gender relations, western migration, and the modern economy. is the best dating site?, the safest dating site?, the not free hottest babes dating sex site? (More of the zombie talk. I’ll be sure to report on the results.)

Playing these games puts in the gutter with sleazier sites. It makes me mistrust and suspect’s treatment of my personal information. (While I could still be fired in much of the country simply for being gay, their “privacy” policy reads like just about anyone can have access to my non-anonymous information.) There’s a lot of damage to be done by a company bent on exploiting technicalities for profits when users trust them with their private hopes, dreams and pecadillos.

“Bless her heart” paragraph: this is a bit unfair, this picking on A lot of companies do a lot of these things. They’ve been around a while and i worked with and have respect for a bunch of folks who work there. But this is messed up, and they hit me on a rare blog day.

Bottom line, I’d never date someone who treated me or anyone else like this. It’s manipulative, passive aggressive, and speaks to a deep inner trauma. I suggest therapy.

Webnotes 2: Free phone & conf calls; MySpace explained; Treehugger notes

  • voip phone freeMy last post suggested trying Skype. This post’s tipping you to what looks to be a not bad FREE $40 VOIP phone with which to use it (or AOL, or Vonage, or any of the others. internet phone services.)
  • Check out Vyew, among the coolest of the new wave of web applications. It just works. You can sign on, invite people, and have a conference online. And it’s free. Even for the conference calling part. (Though i’ve also been using Free Conference, you can’t draw a picture, show a map, or go through a document.) Use it to chat while on a conference call…cool for that too.
  • And speaking of Myspace, if you want to understand what all that’s about as well as the rest of this social media thing (and a bunch of other things in life I find as i read more and more of her stuff), please check out Dana Boyd who’s writing it and a whole lot more at Berkeley. She’s one of those folks online who are consistently brilliant as in her piece on G/localization. I end up reading her again and again, passing on her pieces, and now sharing with you. And she joins Oprah, author (and friend of mine) Ari (Female Chauvanist Pig) Levy in cheering on Pink’s new CD. it’s political, strong and yo can dance to it.. (Warning: Boyd makes new and possibly difficult things seem obvious, and has more than once made me feel unworthy of blogging, writing, or participating. Typically academics rub me wrong, insisting they know better than those involved. That’s clearly not the case here. While i may be late to loving Oprah (another day), i’ve loved watching Pink com stretch and grow (and make a new feminism her own). And she clarifies what’s likely to be rubbing you the wrong way with the current demonizing conventional wisdom about MySpace.)
  • And a heads up on cool stuff with two sites I advise. Now Public has added a ton of features with more on the way. They boast a staggering 10,000 contributors globally. (While a bunch of the so called social media sites continue to scrape for postings and participants. It’s the tools and the community and the output that are interesting in this case. Treehugger’s expanded into TV with a bunch of different offerings and the latest spinoff, which is hard to explain, but is definitely a trendcollission mashing up with the green movement and a DIY spin. But it works!

Webnotes 1: Hook Me Up with Yahoo, Free Skype. Hold the gay misogyny

  • While I blogged at Yahoo’s expense in the previous post, we’re laughing with Yahoo’s new “reality show,” Hook Me Up (video link). I bow down in awe of the brilliant programming: Tech advertisers are among the biggest spenders per slot online PLUS, the reality show should bring in a more mass audience solving age-old problem of scarce tech inventory PLUS, Yahoo just happens to be launching a new tech property to take on CNET, PLUS it’s dorky enough to have a chance of getting a cult following, PLUS it’s actually informative, PLUS the first subject is hot but not threatening to other women, AND yes i’m still on the gay side, but a good huckster. (…and after a few beers)
  • New Yahoo front page launched as a Beta. It’s like AIMToday (the most beautiful and info-loaded page of its type) met MySpace and mixed things up with some really dorky icons. Definitely easier to use…but truth is–if the stats are similar to an analysis i saw a few years ag–no one uses this page. The Yahoo front page has served more as a branding image representing the depth of the service and has only been used for navigation by fewer than 15-20% of users on any regular basis. Most use search,, or deeper links. Also, is everything destined to become Myspace? The just-launched Goingon Network? It’s kind of a lot like Myspace for adults. And i think that’s just where it all should be headed.
  • Skype calls are free between computers, and for the rest of the year (8 months!) it’s free to call from your computer to phones in the US and Canada (usually a charge of about 2cents/minute). It’s not perfect. Lines drop sometimes, though at other times the sound is better than any regular phone. For the SlowTechies (see Slow Food movement) and who want nothing to do with being early adopters, it’s time for Skype.
  • Gay Prof’s discussing misogyny among gay men in his an East Texas blog and I couldn’t get it out of my mind. What he’s talking about is rampant, inexcusable, and embarassing. He cites gay self-loathing as the reason and notes leadership by women in winning gay rights. (Not that anyone should have to lead a movement to get respect.) Not sure why he didn’t go all the way. He wouldn’t be the first to point out that homophobia is misogyny. Effeminate gestures are the core of gay mockery, but the mere mention of a “female” sex role elicits the most contempt. (I’m talking the real homophobes here, not the majority of folks who are just unfamiliar.)
    They don’t hate us because we like guys. They hate the parts of us that remind them of women. So, misogyny among gay men doesn’t come from self loathing. It is self loathing. And, a homophobic streak is a telling indicator of how he thinks of women, my sisters.
    I’ll be reading more Center of Gravitas, and not on my rss reader. I don’t want to miss the vintage Wonder Woman comic covers with each post.

Unfortunate Adjacency: Kevin Sites and Yahoo Producers Have a Close Call with Taste

Backfence buys Bayosphere in move west

bayo backfence logoIt’s not without some sadness that i switch “CEO of Grassroots Media/Bayosphere” from the “Now” to the “Before” category of my bio.

Of course, I couldn’t be more pleased with the outcome: Backfence, the leading hyperlocal community startup has acquired Bayosphere to lead it’s move into the Bay Area and to provide an ongoing home for the community.

And, I’m pleased to be an equity holder, and am even more optimistic about its success with today’s announcement that Merril Brown has joined the Backfence board. Merril ran MSNBC when i ran programming at MSN, and was always available for dinner and good counsel. He’s also a current friend, and constant inspiration to everyone looking at the future of news.

But I will miss being Dan Gillmor’s partner with the daily opportunities for meeting the most interesting people in the world, for challenging even my basic ideas about how things work, and for inspiring better-considered decisions on one hand, and the importance of knowing something is right or wrong even without the math on the other. Dan’s seriousness of purpose and his rigorous conventional training somehow don’t hold back his, at times, wind-power-combine tilting quest to make things work “right”.

We would certainly do things differently if we had it to do again. We catalogued them in Dan’s surprisingly widely-distributed blog entry. The response to that post has been amazing, and many have remarked at how rare it is for entrepreneurs to share the detailed lessons of what hasn’t worked.
While we saw great value in what Bayosphere might become, it was clear last September that it wasn’t going to happen on the rapid timeline we needed for it to work financially. At that point we stopped taking salaries and haven’t spent investor funds over the past six months. (We returned the not insignificant investment capital that remained, covered our own expenses, and Dan covered the cut-back operating expenses. I don’t know many entrepreneurs who have done that.)

Those journalists deserve a great deal of the credit for building the site and bringing in the audience that eventually attracted the eye of Backfence management as they looked west.

I will continue to work with Dan on the advisory board of his non-profit Center for Citizen Media attached to Berkeley and Harvard and will be doing anything i can to help Backfence management with the transitions. And, i hope at some point to write a more detailed version of the year including my deep appreciation to Dan and our supportive investors, Mitch Kapor and Rob Hayes for Omidyar Network, for the opportunity to be a partner in this venture. Commuting to San Francisco to work with these folks has been life affirming and life changing at a time when I really needed that.

I’ve never had a year as intellectually challenging and stimulating. And the side benefits included reconnecting with old colleagues who have naturally found their way to the center of this internet renaissance and meeting new and inspiring people. (Lisa Stone Blogher founder who offers Backfence some great advice today ; Jonathan Weber at NewWest; the Downhill Battle creators, not just because they have the best name for a social activist group ever; and Craig Newmark, yeah, Craig with the lists, come to mind as just the tip of that iceberg.)

I’ll be doing more hybrid/user-generated/citizen/unfiltere

ADDITION: A great round up of some of the more interesting coverage.

Hot agency (cool shop) chats flash-mob instigator.

Check out the ZeitSwarm:
Wildly talented and only modestly modest, Gyro Worldwide (“We are the inventors of…guerilla and viral marketing, integrated event programs, unorthodox promotions, innovative new product development and packaging design.”) publish the Vulture interview with Bill Waskis (“We Eat Brains for Breakfast”) on his recently published Harper’s piece:

The Untold Tale of His Magnificent Flash Mob Hoax
Why Hipsters Get So Angry When You Call Them Hipsters
The Pleasures & Perils of Living in New York City
How You Too Can Write Email That Gets Forwarded

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    Joy of Sects: Chef, a cult, a Cruise, and his wives

    So much has happened in such a short time with Southpark and Scientology. A chronology is in order and Kerry Bailey’s done a great one.

    Even if Tom Cruise didn’t threaten to skip doing promotion for his next film, someone did get Comedy Central (whose parent company is releasing the next Mission Impossible) to pull the Southpark rerun in which a cartoon Cruise hides out in Stan’s closet while former-wife, a cartoon Nicole, cartoon tv reporters, and everyone else implores him to “come out of the closet.” Meanwhile, Stan is hiding out from his inevitable destiny since being recognized as the reincarnated Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard. A mouthful, like all good Southpark episodes.

    Isaac Hayes quit after many shows trashing the pope, jews, islam, and christians, saying making fun of Scientology had gone too far.

    Matt and Trey aren’t backing down, are funnier than ever, and will be back for more.

    This week’s new episode ended with a gnarly death for Chef and one of the boys saying at the funeral, “We can’t hold it against Chef, we have to blame the silly club that scrambled his brains.”

    And, they showed their mastery last week with a press release after the rerun was pulled (Defamer). It’s even better read aloud.:


    So, Scientology, you may have won THIS battle, but the million-year war for earth has just begun! Temporarily anozinizing our episode will NOT stop us from keeping Thetans forever trapped in your pitiful man-bodies. Curses and drat! You have obstructed us for now, but your feeble bid to save humanity will fail! Hail Xenu!!!

    -Trey Parker and Matt Stone, servants of the dark lord Xenu

    The Secret Message

    The Secret Message behind our tolerance of atrocity:
    When you can’t imagine, you can do anything.

    — From a post/”new game” at How to Save the World