Tag: steve heimoff

What Three Guys Do Without A Guest

The best radio producer in the world (or at least in the Kaz Studios) can’t win them all. When the guest we thought we were going to have can’t make it, it’s up to Kaz, Randy and X to come up with something interesting to talk about. They apparently did a good job!

X brings a couple bottles of “mystery wine” that Kaz and Randy try to identify, and they discuss several upcoming events and recent news items. Useless information, you say? You got that right, but it’s still the most entertaining hour of wine radio you’ll find!

Pissing Off The Print Media

Apparently, I got Steve Heimoff’s dander up.

I don’t know if it was my calling Steve a curmudgeon or not, but we appreciate that he likely has a Google Alert set up for his name and checks it regularly. Good on ya, Steve!


I don’t believe I stated in the original post that the so-called “tipping point” for ad revenue was coming soon, even though I mentioned that the “transformation is fully underway”. While this may appear to some to be backpedaling the issue, let’s start by quoting the paragraph above the one he excerpted from the original post:

The ad dollars that originally went to print newspapers and subsequently into the paychecks of wine writers have been consistently (if slowly) moving toward wine blogs. Ad networks set up by online wine publishers such as Palate Press show a technique that bridges the old print world and the online world, one that advertisers can relate to and they reasonably understand. Friends, the transformation is fully underway.

I may be living in “lalaland” as Steve says, and there’s no reason to think that any individual wine blog will clean up in ad revenue. However, I specifically called out Palate Press, since it’s closer to a magazine model than an individual blog model. I was also happy to see that David Honig was kind enough to weigh in with his impressions in the comments section. I think online-only wine magazines have a real future, as do hybrid online/print vehicles (which of course Wine Enthusiast is a participant).

On the Palate Press Ad Network site, we see the following testimonial from Paul Mabray of VinTank:

“We at VinTank believe in The Palate Press Advertising Network. As our wine social media report illustrated, the aggregate audience of wine bloggers is powerful but so fragmented that leveraging them for any marketing activities used to be too cost ineffective and virtually impossible. Palate Press has changed the game and aggregated key bloggers for a powerful and easy to use new marketing channel that targets wine enthusiasts. We intend to use this new market continually for our wine digital strategies.”

So it’s not just clueless radio gasbags such as myself that believe this is happening. People who have a track record of innovating the industry believe it too.

An Aside

I don’t kid myself that we have a huge audience. Heck, I’m just thrilled we get interesting folks to come visit us or talk with us over the phone about the wine industry. I’m also not a relentless salesman capable of selling freezers to Eskimos. However, I do possess the ability to see trends, even ones that don’t appear obvious.

For example, I first saw the World Wide Web in 1993, looking at this thing called a browser running on X Windows written by students at the University of Illinois’ NCSA. I saw it and thought, “What the heck is this thing? Who would want to use this? How stupid!” and went back to playing in my text-only world. That was the last time I took for granted the small game-changing things that look insignificant at first glance.

Does this mean that I have facts and data to back up my supposition about where ad revenue is headed? None that I have cataloged tirelessly and have at hand to display as bona fides. I don’t know if it’s is a divination thing. All I know is, I have a feeling about this, and I trust my hunch.

Why My Point Isn’t Pointless

In an age where devices such as the Apple iPad are emerging (which, by the way, I believe will wipe the floor with the Kindle and Barnes & Noble’s Nook when it comes to “e-Magazines”), why would anyone believe that print magazines have some compelling advantage? The means to produce an e-Magazine are basically in the hands of anyone with an Internet-connected computer, layout skills, and writing skills and a ton of determination and follow-through. Just because an incumbent possesses the experience of running a firm that can publish and layout and otherwise stuff the same content you’re used to seeing in a print magazine onto a screen such that it looks exactly like the print edition (in fact, it looks so similar, it fails to take advantage of the interactive capabilities of the new platform — do you hear me, PDF?) doesn’t mean that a determined and skillful entrepreneur won’t come along and do it better, and drink the incumbent’s milkshake. To believe anything less is, to be perfectly honest, just kidding yourself. Such is the coming change to the wine print media, and wine bloggers are a part of it.

So I’ll stick to my opinion that ad dollars are moving online. Sure, Wine Enthusiast may see their ad numbers increase again and folks can use that as the argument why my opinion is not valid. Or, it could be that due to the economy climbing out of recession, stalwart advertisers will once again resume their ad buys for magazines like WE, to which we congratulate Steve’s publication that they still make money at this. However, time will tell whether in five years we’ll still see print media puffing out their proverbial chests at the online upstarts that happen to possess really long straws.

Posted via web from Wine Biz Radio Industry Commentary

Steve Heimoff Claims Social Media Backlash Is Forming

Backlash against social media gathers steam

Two articles recently caught my eye. Although they were not apparently related, I saw an underlying connection that speaks, perhaps, to the future of social media.

The first, on the front page of last Saturday’s San Francisco Chronicle, was headlined “Cafe asks customers to turn off laptops and start talking.” It seems there’s a coffee shop right here in Oakland whose owner “is asking customers to leave their laptops at home and actually speak to each other.” Anyone who’s ever been in a free wi-fi environment like Starbucks is familiar with the situation: people hunkered down at tables, nursing a $3 latte for hours while surfing the web. “I don’t have anything against technology,” said the cafe’s owner, a young, hip-looking guy with a goatee (i.e. not some dinosaur Boomer who “doesn’t get it”), “but it’s not the same as looking someone in the eye and pressing the flesh.”

I’ve expressed some negative feelings in this blog over the last year about the way laptops and other personal digital devices, like cell phones, are intruding into the social contract. That contract is an old one, understood pretty much by everyone, and it relates to how we behave in shared social situations. In a crowded elevator, for example, most people will be silent and avoid making eye contact with strangers. On an airplane flight, passengers understand the concept of personal space, which includes audio space: don’t let your arms stick over into your neighbor’s area, don’t make unnecessary noise, etc.

What technology is doing to us is destroying the traditional social contract. Now, that person next to you in the elevator is just as likely to be yakking into a Bluetooth. The other day at my gym, a woman was screaming at the top of her lungs into her cell phone for a good half-hour, while the rest of us had to endure her drama. With laptops in cafes, it’s just the opposite: where ten years ago patrons might have been debating about politics, gossiping, or playing chess, today they’re absorbed in their own little worlds. They might as well be on the Space Shuttle as in a crowded room with other human beings. “It’s now socially acceptable to text during dinner parties or stand alone at a party and check email,” the Chronicle article acidly observed.

Not at my dinner parties!

The second article was sent to me by Ron Washam, the famous Hosemaster of Wine. It is an excerpt from a new book, “You Are Not a Gadget,” by a Harpers Magazine writer, Jason Lanier. Lanier deconstructs many myths surrounding social media in a way I strongly agree with. His underlying message is that social media is not only not bringing us closer and making us better, more dextrous communicators, but in fact is achieving exactly the opposite. “I know quite a few people, most of them young adults, who are proud to say that they have accumulated thousands of friends on Facebook. Obviously, their statements can be true only if the idea of friendship is diminished,” Lanier writes, in a devastatingly pinpoint j’accuse whose truth is hard to deny. Lanier also demolishes one of the more persistent myths of social media: that its “hive mind” nature, in which thousands or millions of individual human minds are collectivized digitally, is somehow superior to a mere “organic human.” This is the assumption made by those entrepreneurs (and I’ve recently written about them) who are launching all these new “people’s wine tastings,” in which the collective wisdom of the crowd is said to be more trustworthy than the judgment of an individual expert. “The most tiresome claim of the reigning digital philosophy is that crowds working for free do a better job at some things than antediluvian paid experts,” Lanier writes. Tiresome, indeed.

The connection between the two articles is that there is a backlash setting in against social media. In the first case, real people, such as the cafe owner, are starting to understand how divisive technology can be (and it’s interesting that their customers are beginning to agree with them). In the second case, academics are questioning the metaphysics of social media, not just analyzing it, but peering into its destructive potential. So we have two prongs moving together in a pincer movement: normal people on the ground and the philosophers of the academy. That is now movements form, and generate momentum.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, February 9th, 2010 at 12:10 am and is filed under News, Social Media. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Steve Heimoff has never shown himself to be much of a fan of social media, and wine blogging in particular. However, in claiming that technology has somehow broken traditional social structures, he fails to realize that social media hasn’t broken those social contracts, it’s transformed them into something different. For him, he doesn’t see a benefit from engaging, which may or may not be a function of his place in the industry, his world view, his age, or any number of other factors.
Or to put it another way, YMMV (and for him, his mileage seems to vary considerably versus the unwashed masses of crowdsourcing plebes).

Posted via web from Wine Biz Radio