The complaints about the advertising on Gillmor Gang and Daily continue in the comments. I thought I'd post here to consolidate and try and explain why I'm doing it this way. First, I believe in the power of repetition, as I discuss with Adam Curry on the two part Gillmor Daily we recorded yesterday. The length of the endorsement is basically what I feel it should be, not any specific requirement on the part of Podshow or the sponsor. I try and produce something that I feel accurately represents my views, and in particular, how grateful I am for these fine companies, Podshow in particular and each sponsor as they join the show, that they have decided to support the show and the great talent that appears with me.
Indeed, many of these criticisms are counterweighted with great respect for the show's creative values, particularly the broad and powerful themes and gathering of minds that make the shows unique. To be sure, the complaints sometimes extend to the audio "quality," to my confrontational style, and so on; all legitimate complaints for which I have varying degrees of concern. The shows may sound unedited, but they're not: they are sometimes tediously balanced to bring out the essential lack of "quality" in the variations between phone, cell, VoIP, and Skype inputs. But hearing us think is the fundamental production value of the show, and like sausage-making, it's a messy business.
I appreciate these complaints as much as the praise, not because I enjoy being called clueless, or as Richard in my previous post does, a complete asshole, because these folks are listening. I am willing to be seen as insincere, argumentative, unhappy, a shill, etc., if in return the listener pays attention to the whole package. This at its heart is just as much a business as it is an art, and we all have the right to respect or reject the contract that is implied in the act of listening.
But for my part of the contract, I promise you that whatever I do, whether it appears or even is thoughtless, angry, or lazy, on some level I have made a decision to let it stand, to let it represent me and my credibility or lack of it. Sometimes (maybe too often) I have no clear idea of why I'm letting these things stand. Sometimes I make small cuts to make myself sound better (cutting uhs and y'knows). Sometimes I even cut phrases or sentences or even whole sections, mostly for my own benefit, rarely of others. Long ago, I recorded a conversation with Ray Ozzie and took care to clean it up not just for me but for Ray, to the point where he called me up to thank me for making him sound better. All I had done was to apply the same "rules" to his voice that I apply to my own.
I don't pretend to be immune to the slings and arrows, however. When they become too shrill or insistent, I find myself retreating from the fray. The conference scene has become that for me, a cruel compromise of ego-stroking and callous-building. This is one of the reasons that the current wave of examination around the so-called attention economy rings so false for me. The notion that attention is the coin of the realm, that the end game is about getting more attention, grates like nails on the chalkboard. I do crave the attention of those I love, but not of those who would attack or feel attacked by what I say to get attention. Valleywag walks along this line, but so far I haven't felt it malignant like others might. Perhaps it's Nick's youth, his comical gears so transparently working to find a gear and thank god failing enough of the time to make it feel a little less than dangerous.
But I'm not handling it well. This forum has become a last refuge before silence for me, and for that I am deeply grateful for Dan Farber's forbearance. Like Mike Arrington, I look forward to the Gang recording on Friday, and sometimes the flow and a place in the conversation. But as Dave Winer said recently about Bloggercon, sometimes it's good to change your mind when something's not working. So I'm going to drink a toast to Scoble and Furrier and Arrington and Om and all the success stories of Web 2.0 and beyond. We need stars, and they are emerging. Life is good.