Google: Don’t Be Evil

Last week search engine Google announced long-awaited plans to go public. The unconventional company is the first major dot-com offering since the technology bust. The IPO registration statement is full of interesting details, especially the opening “Letter from the Founders.”

The letter includes details about how Google plans to do business as a public company, which includes the principle “don’t be evil.” The letter goes on to say “We believe strongly that in the long term, we will be better served–as shareholders and in all other ways–by a company that does good things for the world even if we forgo some short term gains.”

Another guiding principle, “We aspire to make Google an institution that makes the world a better place,” may seem overly idealistic, but it’s a lot better than the corporate scandal that’s become standard.

EPA 2004

Evangelical Press AssociationThe 2004 EPA Convention finished up in Minneapolis last night. Highlights included seeing publications I’ve written for take home awards, including Advance, Go!, and I also contributed to a blogging seminar, met a lot of powerful and influential people, and took home more Christian magazines than I realized existed.

Advance really cleaned up with an Award of Excellence for Most Improved Publication and a Higher Goals first place award for Publication Redesign (what is “Higher Goals” anyway?). Go! claimed a Higher Goals first place and earned an Award of Merit for Online Publication.

On Wednesday morning I put on a blogging seminar with Steve Knight, “Blogging: Throwing a Curveball to the Publishing World” (and yes, the baseball theme was overdone before things started). Sharing my knowledge and research of blogs was a blast. I had no idea between 2 and 8 million people write blogs (depending on who you ask) and 90 percent of bloggers are between the ages of 13 and 29. An outline and relevant links will be posted in the next day or two.

Sell Out

In case you didn’t notice the enormous banner across the top of the site, I thought I’d let you know I’ve become a sell out. Coincidentally, that song was playing on the radio on the way home last night.

Selling out seemed like an obvious choice after a friend tried it and started raking in the dough. I’m sure I won’t rake in the dough because he was getting more traffic in a day than I get in a month, but some dough is better than no dough.

I’ve tried donations as a revenue stream, and with a grand total of $1 raised to date, it doesn’t seem like the best approach. The referrals are helpful, but it still doesn’t even pay for hosting. So we’ll give this a try and see how it works.

For now I’m experimenting with the ad placement. The top of the home page seems unobtrusive — and, more importantly, I don’t have to redesign anything. On interior pages I’m trying a skyscraper ad at the bottom of the sidebar. We’ll see how that works, though I’m already noticing that some pages are just too short — if this proves effective, I’ll rework some of those placements.

I’m not sure how I feel about the whole materialistic side of things. At one point I was rather idealistic and wouldn’t want ads on my site. But paying the bills helps. And this is a pretty simple way to do it. It’s not like I have control over what ads show up, so I can’t gear my content for the best monetary impact.

At any rate, it’s fun to see what ads Google decides to serve up on what pages. They basically have a computer search your page for appropriate keywords and then post ads matching those keywords. Hence the homepage has a post about the Red Wings, so ads about the Red Wings. The category pages make for pretty clear-cut ads. I also have the ability to block specific advertisers, so let me know if there are any ridiculous ads I should consider blocking.

Go capitalism!

Hang up the Skates

Well, on the plus side I can watch Sara Groves perform at the EPA Convention on Wednesday night without worrying about missing game 7 of the Red Wings/Calgary series. The Wings just lost in overtime. Season over. Jordon Cooper’s probably happy.

It would have been nice to see the Wings come back, at least to face a game 7, after losing captain Steve Yzerman in game 5. If missed the game, Yzerman took a puck to the face. It wasn’t pretty. There wasn’t any blood, but his reaction was more than enough. When the puck hit him he launched his stick and gloves and dropped to the ice with his hands on his face. He immediately popped back up and tried to make it to the bench, then fell again and started kicking violently. Thinking of the scene again makes me shudder.

Yzerman suffered broken bones in his face and a scratched cornea. The good news is that he didn’t lose an eye and he’ll recover completely. The bad news is his hockey career is up in the air. The guy does turn 39 this week and has been playing hockey for 20 years. But he’s also the heart and soul of the Detroit Red Wings. It’s hard to imagine hockey in Hockeytown without him.

Here’s to another year of playoff hockey.

Romantica. No Way.

2004_05_01 romantica.jpgThat’s what I said when the music started playing. The sound was amazing, better than I expected. But the vocals made my jaw drop. That sounds like Ben Kyle, doesn’t it? I know that guy!

Steve Knight mentioned going to see the band Romantica when he came to town, and his fawning over the band and the fact that you can listen to their CD online prompted me to head over to the site and check them out.

From the first word of the first song I knew I recognized that voice. Could that be Ben Kyle? But this sounds amazing. This sounds like a full-blown, record-signed, professional band. Not that I don’t think Ben’s capable of that, but when did that happen?

Maybe you need a little background to be as blown away as I am. I went to college with Ben Kyle. He was the cool artsy, musical guy from Ireland. He had dreadlocks and an Irish accent. He teamed up with Luke Jacobs and they played some amazing acoustic folk music. We had them on our radio show, Mission Control, multiple times. In fact, I’ve got a few tapes of those performances and have been in the process of transferring them to my computer. Abby and I went to several Ben & Luke performances at local coffee houses.

After college I didn’t hear much about Ben Kyle anymore. I did track him down for a story about playing Irish music in pubs for I went to a show in Dinkytown and filmed his performance for the article, and one song is available on the site.

After that I never heard much about Ben Kyle. Every now and then I’d remember those accoustic songs, pull out my Mission Control tapes and hear them again. Occasionally I’d Google “Ben Kyle,” wondering what he was up to. I never did find him.

I guess that’s why it’s such an amazing, drop-what-I’m-doing, fawn-like-a-fan-boy thing. I didn’t expect to hear Ben singing, see Ben and Luke’s names and pictures on the site. I always thought Ben and Luke should plunge headlong into the music biz. Maybe that’s just me wanting to hear more of the local music I loved, but I always thought they’d go far. And maybe they’re not far yet. They’re a local band on a local label, but they have an amazing CD and are being reviewed in City Pages. It’s a start.