Archive for December, 2004



December 17, 2004

Does shoe polish really matter that much anymore?

There was a nice ad for kiwi shoe polish in Esquire this month. Clever, catchy ad. It had me wondering, however, how much shoe polish really matters.

When I was growing up it was a regular part of my life to see my father shining his shoes. He worked them over until they were as clear as glass and as reflective as a mirror (to mix a metaphor or two). He even shined his softball cleats. I learned how to shine watching that.

As time went on, the relevance of a shined shoe seemed to diminish. I have had a career where wearing business clothes as been mostly optional instead of mandatory. Yet, my shoes are shines. Sometimes by me, sometimes by the nice folks at Nordstrom. Leather shoes look better with the spit and polish.

Among a younger generation, however, I wonder how much time and effort is put into shining shoes. Frankly, how many shoes in the closet of the typical 20 – 40 yr old male today need shining? Not sneakers. Not hiking shoes. Not canvas shoes. And, in the Pacific Northwest, where I live, the winter calls for rain and mud friendly shoes, not spiffed up leather.

I haven’t looked at the sales figures for shoe polish over the last decade, but I speculate they are on a steady decline. Something about that saddens me.

Today, I will find some time to shine.



December 13, 2004

Traffic is on the rise…

Thanks to the mentions by Harry Pierson, my traffic has been soaring over the past few days. Nice to see so many people come by, though I wish more of them would stay and read.

Of course, the content of any blog is what keeps the audience. I realize that my content is sometimes a little out in left field for the audience seeking guidance on architecture or insight into how Microsoft is going to approach the architect audience. However, I do like to believe that there is some other redeeming value found here.

Thanks for someone commenting on my Scotch Whisky entry. I remember when I first started drinking whisky — and I was of legal age — and thinking that it was not the “easiest” to drink beverage. That was with a blended Scotch as well, something far more palatable to many than a single malt. With time, and a wee bit of trial, I learned how to appreciate whisky in much the same way I learned how to appreciate wine. It takes time for the tongue to learn to distinguish amongst all the flavors and to realize that the whole is truly greater than the sum of the parts. Drinking, or eating, is really a sequence of compose/decompose exercises on the tongue. We enjoy the whole, then seek out the individual elements, then bring them all back together again.

Sounds like programming as well, the compose/decompose cycle. Perhaps that is why I have found some of my best programmer friends also have the best wine palates.



December 13, 2004

New perspectives on architecture

Keith Pleas posts some MSDN Architecture Center. I am glad to see they created some discussion.

Marketing often exists in the mind of the audience as much as the intent of the marketer. Reading too much into anything can cause the initial impact of an image or a word to diminish. In a culture of tremendous visual and auditory noise, breaking through can be a hard task.

Here is a thoughtful piece about ad campaigns. And another, more academic.


Whisky listy

December 12, 2004

–Scotch Whisky–

My wife and I were sitting on the couch last evening. Having just come back from the UK, I was still filled with the excitment of acquiring some new Whisky. She suggested we take inventory of what I have, and then she suggested I post it on my blog.

Now, if you know me and want a taste of something, let’s make an evening of it! I am also always open to suggestions.

Scotch Whisky — single malt, to be specific — has enjoyed a tremendous market surge in the past decade. Part of this is due to inevitable backlash against the vodka popularity and all the fancy vodka drinks. Part of this is due to a generation growing older and looking for something more “sophisticated” to drink. Both have driven the Scotch Whisky companies to new heights of success and multiple new and interesting releases. So, this is a marketing entry after all.

Herein the inventory, with the offhand comments I made and my wife captured (and insisted I publish):

The Glenlivet 18 yrs
The Glenlivet 12 yrs French Oak Finish
The Dalmore 12 yrs
Oban 1980 double matured
Springbank 10 yrs (not as good as the 21)
Glenkinchie 1986 (d’lish)
Lagavulin 16 yrs (what more could you ask for?)
Glenmorangie maderia wood finish
Glenmorangie sherry wood finish
Glenmorangie port wood finish
Glenfiddich Solera Reserve
Ardbeg 10 yrs
Bowmore 12 yrs (still unopened)
Isle of Jura Supersition
Highland Park 18 yrs (all around one of the best Scotches in the world)
The Macallan Elegancia 1992 (kissed with love)
The Macallan 12 yrs (the classic)
Glengoyne 21 yrs
Laphroaig 10 yrs (separates the men from the boys)
Suntory “Yamazaki” 12 yrs (from Japan)



December 8, 2004

Microsoft names Cash to compensation committee – Computer Software – Software – Newsmakers



December 8, 2004

Time flies…

I am in the UK this week, meeting with many of my associates in both our UK and EMEA offices. Really positive trip and lots of value add for me.

Did some shopping on the London high street on Sunday. Things are not cheap, but always worth the price in London. Although feeling a bit tired from the trip and a lot of work to do, I am excited about things happening in the near future.

Thanks for Harry for letting everyone know I am managing the architecture track at TechEd. Can’t wait to do some exciting things!



December 2, 2004

Burger King Corporation Offers ‘Reward’ For Missing SpongeBob SquarePants Inflatables

Herein our regular Burger King marketing update. Enjoy.