About the Author:

With a career that has spanned advertising, production, technical services, and project management, Michael is able to articulate the wide range skills and professions that make the Internet work. This eclectic understanding and his desire to shine the light on those hiding behind techno babble has brought success to a wide range of projects.

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Past Postings:

Using Dissent To Enhance Your Social Influence Online

Industry Profile - Author

Industry Profiles Full Time Employees - Professional Writer

Some Thoughts On Freelancing

Building Your Online Brand

Marissa Mayer and the Change in Yahoo's Remote Workforce

LinkedIn for Professional Writers

Fake Republican Twitter Accounts

"Did you mean?" -- Google's chiding nanny of search results

Branded Technology

Sharingspree.com -- Stealing more than GroupOn's Idea

The Internet Isn't Entertaining Enough

It's not your bank... It's Apple's and Amazon's

Violated by Madison Avenue

Google+ Scares Me

"We need to..." Internet Marketing Myths

Facebook's deal with the Devil

My cool new phone is a little too cool.

You are never alone

Promotion vs. Distribution... You'd think they'd know that one...

Publishing Industry Watch

Content for Social Media

Social Media Slot Machine

Anonymous vs Me

News from the Twitter Follow Campaign Trail

The art of Indiscriminate Twitter Following

The Cloudy Meaning of The Cloud

The Demand For The Loss of Creativity

Alien Technology and Government Conspiracies

Time for a New Reality

The Death of Email

Protecting Free Speech... Anonymously (and geekily)

Amazon Shouldn't Have Shut Down WikiLeaks

The Superpowers of the Hive Mind

Time for New Ideas

Comcast, Netflix and the Mystery of the Modem

The Great Technical Disconnect

New for the Sake of New

A Retail Store Built Like the Web

Disposable Personas

When did Google Start Policing the Internet?

Getting back to HTML basics, thanks to Apple

Inspecting my Navel Base

A shoebox vs. an online backup

Is Your "Resume" Website Recruiter-friendly?

iBooks -- Creative Epicenter or Gatekeeper?

The Failure of Success

The Economy is Going to Get Worse, but that's okay

Time lost on Twitter

Client Vendor Relationships

Twitter's back alleys and dark places

Social Media is NOT Advertising

Microsoft Courier

Form (designers) versus Function (geeks)

PDXBOOM -- The power of social media and the portland pipe bomb

China and Apple -- Different organizations, same management

The volume of screens


Google Adds Biking Directions to Maps


That magical little tablet

How your website can be in two places at once

Masterpieces created by sheer volume

Suing over lack of originality

A Primer on Internet Fame -- dancing babies, hamsters, numa numa, and more...

Checking my messages

Rules are made to be broken -- in a reasoned, systematic way

So many accounts, so few passwords

Who really uses Twitter? 60% of Twitter's traffic isn't on Twitter

The Web is a Jerry Rigged Kludge

Twitter: Asleep at the Mouse Wheel

Where regulation is good: Google Voice and Vonage

How Facebook is (unintentionally) forcing programmers to piss off users

The Twit Cleaner

Perfect Secretary's pitch for @Adbroad (and the Youtube API)

The Emotions of Text

The Shorty Awards Scandal -- Manual Spam is still Spam

Google Analytics, the cloud and missing numbers #fail

Helen Klein Ross & Michael Bissell Interview at Adweek's Social Media Strategies Conference

The Internet is the New 60's

Cougars from New Zealand (and I don't mean big cats)

Adding facts together, or why you can't charge your cell phone from wifi

Social Media and the Destruction of the World

Rabid Fans vs Passive Viewers -- The Coco vs Leno saga

How to tell someone to retweet (without using up your 140 characters)

You can't buy social media

A book unopened is but a block of paper

Building the LOST: The Final Season Sweepstakes

Holiday SPAM (or the lack thereof)

Archiving Twitter

Too Many Toolbars

Random Censorship with Google Adwords

Accessibility and Shopping Online

Twisted path to customer service

Flash: Shiny objects blinding your audience

Twollow and other gold rush scripts

GPS in a Laptop computer

Thinking outside the box... There was a box?

Twitter was designed for Text Messaging

It's not the corporations, damnit

Entrepreneur or Dreamer?

Adweek Social Media Twitter for Brands Presentation

Socializing is more than Social Media

Generational Marketing is a Myth (or Who's your Daddy?)

Social Media is Just the Way We Use the Internet

Twitter Followers Don't Matter (ask the porn sites)

The Internet is Gooder than Books

Sometimes you don't want your campaign to go viral

Best Twitter Branding Campaign

Like flies to crap, Spammy Twitter Followers don't really go away

iPhone SMS Security Hole

How Flipmytweet works

Cell Phones as Microscopes

Digg is not the Hijacker -- You Are

Steve Ballmer -- the walking dead?

Twitter as an open mic poetry reading

Automatic Social [un]Awareness

New York, New York

First splash for United Against Malaria

New Media/Old Media and the CLIO Awards

Interview at SXSW: Mad Men Twitter And Tracking

We've got an App for that -- it's called the Web

Understanding Google To Get Your Resume Noticed

Made it to SXSW in Austin

The trouble with Wordpress and other templates

Wayward Words with Baggage

Speaking at SXSW March 17th

The fleeting Memory of the Internet

It's okay to say 'I don't know'

Good Morning America, now Go Fight Traffic

More surreality in Portland

Nike Takes Over Conquent

Facebook owns this title

Excuses, excuses

A little on Social Media

Feeding on Content

Attack of the Bots

Irish Music in Oregon City

Landing on an Aircraft Carrier

Got Curry? And some bizarre art?

Web 1.0

Random Music and Random Life in Portland

To the dump, to the dump, to the dump dump dump

Flight Simulator

Cold night, hot fire, happy cat

Net Neutrality

Walking to work in the snow

A window into Moreland of the Past

Getting clever with data feeds

Big and Little Beirut

The Other Credit Crisis

The Broadband Inauguration

T-Mobile owns Magenta and Other Patent Stories

The Risk-takers, Doers and Makers of Things

The noise of 20,000+ Twitter Followers

Reflections on my DC Trip

Born Again American

30,000 feet, 500 MPH Suburban Strip Mall

Cellphones, toilets and the Inauguration

The wall of pissing

National Treasure/National Archives

My trip to DC so far

Everyone is insane

Getting ready for DC

The End of Days (of song): Microsoft Songsmith Example

The Very Model of a Modern Major General

Browser Bigotry

The Death of your Soul: Microsoft Songsmith

Creative Development or Developing Creatively?

Race to Witch Mountain

The Myth of Wikipedia (or the Wiki-1400)

Online/Offline Sales -- is it really that bad?

Is PayPal Tacky?

Old School Web Design Still Works

Domain Squatting

Christmas Fire

Green Chri$tma$

QA 101

Portland Snow

Get some return on that web traffic

I think they have a backup...

I'd love to have that problem

The [un]importance of statistics

Don't be a tool of viral marketing

CAT Scan!

Follow up to the shoulder injury

Emails, discussions, blogs, wiki and web content

Ironic Injury

On the Santa Monica Pier

You Designed for Print First

You let someone else register your domain name

You figured .biz, .info, .us would work fine

What's after the Integrated Circuit?

Intelligent life is out there (but it's bugger all down here on earth)

Subject Matter Experts Talking Other Subject Matter

The Totalitarian Regime of Apple

Oversimplifying how people work


Creative Services for the New World

Reverse Anthropomorphism

The End of Time

Oil prices and birdsong

Watching Starship Troopers AGAIN!

Better Living Through Twitter

Lessons Learned From Apple

It's the Brand, Baby

Business Architecture vs. Web Construction

On Truth

You can't build life

Accidentally Drunk in Portland

Al Gore the Winner

Intelligent life is out there (but its bugger all down here on earth)

Aussie Rules Football

Trip to Nostalgia Land

I am such an idiot

Long day of travel

Miami -- as far from Portland as you can go in the US

Inverse Peter Principle

Random Knowledge

I'm fascinated with modern plumbing

Leaving Seattle (or why you should keep your ticket close)

On the Rails

The Hive

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A Retail Store Built Like the Web
2010-10-04 17:16:38

The problem with "Web Design" is that anyone with a 5th grade niece thinks they have a resource. I got to thinking about what the world would be like if I went shopping in a store built by that 5th grader -- not a web site, but an actual store.

First trick, getting there... Most people have a company name that's a lot like someone else's, which is fine if you're not right next door, but with the Internet, XYZ Co. is next door to XYZ Net, and XYZ UK, and XYZ Biz, and XYZ... You get the picture.

I'd be driving around the block, looking at these stores wondering which one was the right one. Walking into them I find that they're close, but not what I'm looking for. Oh, and there's that XYZ XXX store with all the pictures of naked women tied up...

My fictional store solved the name war by calling themselves "XYZwidgetsinternational.biz" and effectively hid the store at the end of a twisted back alley with a chain link fence out front... Of course, when I actually get to that front door, I have to wait for a bouncy animation and a song to play before the door opens. I'm still not sure what that's all about...

Once I'm finally in the store, I can't find anything... I'm looking for a red widget... And I find... Let's see... There are some two year old press releases sitting on the front desk, there's a TV that starts blaring the store's latest commercial as soon as I walk in, there's a BIG sign with a phrase like We will strive to inspire dynamic initiatives with better outcomes for the benefit of our colleagues and other private partnerships.

Oddly enough, they seem to have a lot of doors leaving the store. Some lead to other stores and each time I go through one of those doors I hear a nickel drop behind me -- apparently that's how much I'm worth to XYZwidgetsinternational.biz...

I find a little door marked "Buy Now!!!" with a room piled with products that are just scattered around. As I start blindly wandering down the aisles I find most of the products are in plain white boxes with an "Image Coming Soon!" sticker slapped on the outside. All the cartons are the same size, so I have to read the descriptions for what's in the box, which would be okay, except it's all printed in such a tiny, blurry font that I can't tell if it's the description or some kind of barcode...

Turns out there is some kind of organization to the shelves, but as soon as I leave one aisle I either get completely lost and can't find my way back to it, or I keep finding myself in exactly the same aisle, over and over again in some kind of Escher like market.

When I finally find what I think I'm looking for, I try to find a way to buy it. I can put it in my cart, but for some reason, my cart is built in such a way that it's almost impossible to see what's actually IN my cart. Then, getting my cart to the checkout is so obtuse that I find myself running in circles, coming back to the shelves, then over to the press release table, then...

Finally, I'm at a place where I can give them money. First thing they do at the checkout counter is ask me if they can keep my credit card... forever. Um... no... so I start to fill out a long form, then enter some blurry letters to prove I'm a human being (ironically, because the checkout person is obviously a robot -- as a matter of fact, I don't think I've seen a human being all day).

Then I look in my cart and I see the checkout robot has slipped a whole bunch of stuff in my cart that I didn't want when I wasn't looking. When I try to pull the junk out, they keep asking, "Are you sure you don't want this stuff you didn't ask for?"

As I pull my credit card out, and I'm told to go outside to another company to pay. "But I'm buying this from you guys..." "Oh, we use PayPal to handle all our money."

Apparently the banks don't trust these guys anymore than I do at this point, so I go outside to a little kiosk for the "trusted" people, give them my credit card, and come back in with my little slip of paper that says I can have the stuff I just bought. Which I'm told will arrive at my house in a few weeks...

My fun is over, but now some stockboy in the back has to get the order... He only works Wednesdays and Fridays and has to work through the arcane paperwork that the retail store produces. Only they don't send him the orders, so he has to keep driving to the retail store, go in the back door, and look to see if there's a pile of orders... or not.

He doesn't get the SKUs for the product that actually sits on his shelves, but rather, some kind of weird numbering system unique to the retail store.

Half the time he doesn't even have it in stock which means changing my order, going to the "trusted" bank people to give me some of my money back, which takes almost as long as getting the product was supposed to, and I'm stuck back where I started... Wandering the streets of poorly marked warehouses with dancing animations on their doors...

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