Saturday, August 30, 2003


Why even late-bloomer Isenberg is starting a blog

The SMART Letter, an email newsletter, is the core of I have published 89 SMART Letters over the last 5 and a half years, and some of them are good. Looking back, some even have stood the test of time.

Articles like this (With E-mail Dying, RSS Offers Alternative) make me worry that The SMART Letter might need to adapt to survive.

I am not sure I believe that email is dying. The first thing I do when I log on is check my email, and the thing I do most with my computer is email. Furthermore, since I don't use Microsoft Outlook, and I haven't upgraded past Windows98, and I keep my virus definitions up to date, so far unsolicited email remains a minor annoyance to me. On the other hand, distributing the SMART Letter requires periodic attention and energy to handle bounces, address changes, et cetera.

Nonetheless, I've written that physical redundancy is the only true path to reliability. That's why I archive The SMART Letter at And that's why I am starting the

There are a few more straws on this camel's back. One particularly heavy one was loaded by Doc Searls, who put me in some rarified company when he said: "There are a lot of people I'd love to see blog [such as] Don Norman, Jakob Nielsen, Kalle Lasn, Watts Wacker, George Lakoff, James Gleick, Steven Levy, Alvin Toffler, George Gilder, David Isenberg, Dave Farber, Geoffrey Moore, Esther Dyson, Mary Modahl, Hal Crowther, Rick Levine, John Naisbitt, Randall Stross, George Lakoff, Mike Wallace and Peter Drucker, to name a few."

Tuesday, August 26, 2003


Two other non-Hollywood-ish movies

In the last several months I've seen two other not very Hollywood-ish movies that I've liked, The Quiet American and Nowhere in Africa. Michael Caine's performance in The Quiet American is just magnificent, the capstone of a great career.


Dirty Pretty Things & Bend it Like Beckham v. Hollywood-as-usual

I saw Dirty Pretty Things the other evening. It was a well done, well acted movie about immigrants holding on by their fingernails to the underbelly of the Western urban economy. It told a story of an African man (a doctor working as a hotel clerk) and a Muslim woman (sewing in a sweatshop) making their way in a London that white people don't see. It is not a romance -- that would be disloyal (for him) and violate culture (for her). After watching Dirty Pretty Things, I can't say hello to the dark-skinned checkout woman at the supermarket, or order from the obsequious south-Asian-looking waiter at the local restaurant without wondering for a moment about the life they left behind or the life they're living today.

Dirty Pretty Things shows a darker side of immigrant life than Bend it Like Beckham. Bend it is a feel-good movie about a girl growing up in a Sikh household in London who has a passion and talent for football (soccer), but whose parents don't understand because they're "old country."

I'd recommend both movies ahead of, say, Pirates SWAT the Terminator XVI.
How many special effects do we need to make a good story good? Usually not as many as there are in the movie. In other words, most Hollywood movies overshoot the needs of their audience (to use Clayton Christensen's terminology). In contrast, Dirty Pretty Things and Bend it Like Beckham do more with less.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?