Sunday, September 20, 2020

LIVE Virtual Events Need More Cowbell

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I don't know about you, but I love that feature of Facebook that "reminds me" where I was and what I was doing exactly 365 days ago. It also freaks me out a little. 

Exactly one year ago, I was streaming LIVE, from NEW YORK! It was so cool to be using technology to communicate, collaborate, educate - pontificate - LIVE to the entire world. From the center of the known universe. You know, from the New York Megalopolis. I admit it, when the broadcast went LIVE that day, it was a big deal (for me). It was my first time streaming (live) with no edits. Oh, God please don't let me say anything stupid. Too often. 

I just turned 15 years old living in Boca Raton, Florida when Saturday Night Live (SNL) first went - live. October, 1975. It went on to become the longest-running, highest-rated show on late-night television. Wow, that was a lot of hyphens. 

I blog on Sundays. Sundays are my "blog days" and I try not to miss. Sometimes I'm lazy, or traveling, or have no muse. But my target is 52 blogs per year, and I think I got that from my early SNL fan days. 52 weeks in a year. Just not every week. Sure, got it. 

Blogs are cool, but there is no "live" magic with a blog. I can edit out the typos. There IS magic when things are broadcast LIVE. The extra pressure, the extra energy, the fact that this single moment in time is going to be viewed in real-time to an unlimited number of people around the world. Sports on TV - live. Super Bowl - live. Broadway - LIVE. There is indeed something about doing anything truly live.

Saturday Night Live at Home

Yeah. It wasn't. Whereas SNL typically consists of sketches performed live in-studio, these "at home" Powered By Zoom episodes were recorded remotely due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. None of the sketches were actually performed live for any of these episodes. And none of the participants in any sketch from these shows were in the same physical location. That part was obvious, but it was not obvious that it was not really - live.

So this made me start to think about all of the VIRTUAL events that we are hosting these days. Exactly one year ago this time, we were LIVE in The Big Apple, streaming LIVE to the world. It was "LIVE" live, powered by our vendor/sponsor Intrado. Not taped live, but with a hat tip to the movie Spaceballs - it was "NOWnow. 

The media and entertainment critics finally said: it essentially isn't SNL at all: "Saturday Night Live without the live is dead" and they found that while certain sketches worked, most of them did not. Music live - great. Singers live, fine. But the live (not really live) sketches fell short. RECORDED LIVE, but not really live did not work. 

I think there are some lessons to be learned here, for the new world of VIRTUAL everything. The power of live - the energy of live comes from the fact we all know it is truly live, warts and all. I felt cheated when I later learned that Saturday Night Live at Home was not really actually, live. 

If a VIRTUAL event is not going to be truly LIVE LIVE, then we should call it a webinar. If a VIRTUAL event is going to be a bunch of pre-recorded sketches, then I don't need to watch it like I was actually there live, like attending a Broadway play in NYC. Watching something on YouTube when and where I feel like it, is not what was advertised. After all, an HBO Comedy Special is recorded live - and then they edit the hell out of it. We all know that TED Talks are not live - but they were recorded live. There is no trickery implied. 

Live is hard. Live is risky. Live (anything) has a natural energy to it. Let's be careful that we don't say that something is a LIVE event when we really mean it was recorded live, before a studio (or home) audience. 

I mean, of course it was LIVE at some point, right? 

LIVE Events Need More LIVE Cowbell - SNL
( "LIVE" live )

Sunday, September 6, 2020

Weights and Measures

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The New Jersey Office of Weights and Measures represents one of New Jersey's oldest efforts at consumer protection. Created in 1911, by then Governor Woodrow Wilson, the New Jersey Office of Weights and Measures is responsible for ensuring that all commercial and law enforcement weighing and measuring devices are tested and inspected for accuracy, and meet Federal guidelines for specifications and tolerances. 

They test and inspect all commercially used devices from prescription pharmacy balances to large capacity truck scales. They test and inspect fuel meters, airplane fuel trucks, laser guns and radar tuning forks used for speed enforcement. 

The office of Weights and Measures core mission is to protect consumers from unscrupulous business practices and maintain equity in the marketplace. Consumers can rest assured that when they are selling gold, buying groceries or fuel, or making any transaction involving a weighing or measuring device, the consumers are protected from fraud. 

1911, wow. It was not until 1925 that half the homes in the U.S. had electric power. 

Early on, it was evident that without "true measurements" there can be no progress. If you cannot trust the weight, if you cannot trust the size, if you cannot trust the volume or trust the quality or trust the integrity or trust the speed or the...(whatever) you cannot build anything. You cannot operate in business, or in society if you cannot have faith in the "Weights and Measures" of the thing you are buying, selling, shipping or consuming. Trust and confidence is the key - the foundation to everything we do.

Where are you going with this, Tom?

Psychometrics is the field of study concerned with the theory and techniques of psychological measurement, which includes the measurement of knowledge, abilities, attitudes, and personality traits. The field is primarily concerned with the study of differences between individuals. 

Types of Tests Designed in Psychometrics 

Aptitude and Ability Tests: These tests may assess the following skills/abilities: verbal reasoning, spatial reasoning, numeric reasoning, mechanical reasoning, data checking, and work sampling.

Personality Tests: These tests are usually based on research by psychologists such as Carl Jung or Isabel Briggs Myers. These tests can be used to determine basic characteristics of an individual, assess their ability to fit in to a specific work environment or with specific personality types.

I'm getting ready to leave your blog, Tom.....

OK, OK. Here is my point. We care deeply that a gallon of gas is indeed a true gallon when we buy it. We care deeply that the weight of the truck is true and accurate, when it crosses the bridge just ahead of us. We care deeply that the MPG and emissions that we advertise is true and accurate - just ask Volkswagen

We care deeply that the voltage and amperage of the electricity flowing through the wires in our homes is indeed as promised, otherwise our appliances might not work. And we care that the speed of the Internet (broadband) that we are using to connect to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube is what we were promised. Google: Truth in Advertising. 

BUT: we do not seem to care that the MEDIA that we consume, the content that we download, the lessons that we learn are indeed truthful and accurate and verified. We care about the SPEED of our Internet, but we do not care about the truth, or accuracy, or the honesty of what flows to our eyes and ears VIA the Internet. That's just nuts. 

We now spend more time online than on the roads. We spend more of our lives connected to the Internet, than riding in a car. And many times more than flying. I say it is time for the Office of Weights and Measures to start focusing on what really matters to society. It's 2020, not 1911. We care about the safety of the skies, but not the safety of the Internet. We use the Internet every day - when was the last time you flew in a commercial airliner? 

Remember, one more time: Psychometrics is the field of study concerned with the theory and techniques of psychological measurement, which includes the measurement of knowledge, abilities, attitudes, and personality traits. The field is primarily concerned with the study of differences between individuals. 

Psychometrics is how Mark Zuckerberg made all of his money. Same for Google and Amazon and Twitter and Apple. And Psychometrics is how and why the integrity of our nation's elections is (once again) under attack. 

The Office of Weights and Measures needs to get "the thumb off the scale" in those areas of our society that matter the most. We took Volkswagen to the woodshed for lying to us - for violating our trust. 

THE INTERNET is: the car we are all driving, the food we are all eating, the MEDIA we are all consuming - it's needs consumer protection. 

Not everyone is going to fly commercially this year, or drive a car this week. But (all) consumers are consuming - the INTERNET. Every. Single. Day. 

We need to trust the media we consume, the same way we trust the food we consume. We need an Office of Weights and Measures for the new online world we live in - AND WE NEED IT NOW. 

We all know that the Dept. of Homeland Security was born as a result of the attacks on 9/11, right? I think we are due for something new and current and relevant to protect ALL OF US. Our personal digital security - the quality and integrity of the media we are consuming needs protecting. 

At a minimum, make 'em stop the lying. That might be a good start. 

Hey, you did it for Volkswagen, right?