Posts Tagged ‘Odyssey Networks’

Letter From New York 12 10 15 River ramblings…

December 10, 2015

Global warming. Todd Broder. Broderville. Uber. Trump. Goldwater. Lyndon Johnson.  West Point.  Penn Station. Moynihan Station. Grand Central. Union Station. “Newtown.” Odyssey Networks.

It’s Thursday afternoon and I’m riding north, leaving the city for the weekend.  It’s the 10th of December and the sky is bright and the temperature is hovering near 60 degrees.

Gallows humor jokes about global warming proliferate.  Burdened with things I am returning to the cottage, I got an Uber to take me to Todd’s office for a call. Chiek, my driver, and I discussed it most of the time between the apartment and office.

He just became an American citizen and so we talked about the election scene.  He said in the six years he has been in America, he’s never seen anything like it.  I must be twice as old as he and I’ve never seen anything like it either.

Trump barrels on, his foot firmly inserted in his mouth, a condition which does not seem to prevent him from topping the Republican polls.  As far as I can tell from newspaper accounts, Republicans are terrified of him and too terrified to do anything about him.

Some are saying that if he is nominated it will be the harbinger of a defeat of the magnitude of 1964, when Goldwater ran against Lyndon Johnson and was overwhelmingly defeated, taking down much of the party with him.

If that happens, there is a part of me that says they deserve it if they give the nomination to him.

The Republican circus is dismaying me.  And probably most other thinking adults…

We are gliding past West Point, the redoubt looking splendid in the afternoon sun as we move north.

When I got on the train today, I remarked to myself what a depressing place Penn Station is, especially when compared with Grand Central or Union Station in Washington DC.  Those places put a bit of pep in your feet while Penn grinds down the soul.

If I live long enough, they may eventually move train traffic from Penn across the street to what is now being called “Moynihan Station.”  Named after the late New York Senator, Daniel Moynihan, the new station will be forged from the old Post Office, designed by the same architect who built the original Penn, torn down in one of New York’s greatest moments of folly.

I woke up grumpy this morning and made a conscious choice to be happy, to enjoy the day – and I am.  Yesterday, a project I have been working on died with a whimper.

Yesterday, I was surrounded by friends and a dinner held by Odyssey for its Board and friends at which were shown clips from the films they are working on.  “Newtown” has been accepted into Sundance and The White House has asked to see their film on mass incarceration.  Much to celebrate.

But when I got home and the laughter passed, I took a little time to mourn my project, falling asleep wanting my teddy bear.

When I woke, the sadness was still hanging on me so I got a grip on myself and reminded myself that the sun had still risen, it was a remarkable weather day for the 10th of December, that other opportunities will come and there are other project joys to be found in the future.

Letter From New York August 21, 2014

August 21, 2014

Or, as it seems to me…

It’s quiet all around me. I am at Odyssey where I have been doing a long term consulting assignment and that’s coming to an end. Everyone has left and thinking the place empty, they even turned out the lights. I didn’t protest; I think I wanted the quiet and the privacy. I’ve been packing up and will drive my personal things back to the cottage tomorrow afternoon.

While I am excited about the future, new beginnings, new adventures, new directions, there IS something sad about an ending. Nick Stuart, the CEO of Odyssey, has become a more than dear friend and we have traveled the US together. He has been my train companion. Three times we have crossed the US by train, developing a rhythm and a sense of adventure for each trip.

It will be sad not to see him as frequently. We’ll still be friends but the lack of proximity will make it more work and less spontaneous. We’ve been known to sneak out on afternoon to see a film, most recently the wonderful GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY.

It also is sad because I had a friendship crash and burn here. That saddens me but I’m a tougher old bird than I sometimes credit myself for. Once I realized, knew, understood I was dealing with someone toxic, I became almost relieved – I quit thinking I was imagining it and accepted it for real. It is sad when people turn out to be not who they present themselves to be. It’s a really bad kind of betrayal. But we humans are capable of that dark bit too.

I settled in here, made the office they let me use a bit of home, hung some favorite artwork and brought in some lamps to make it homier. I will miss that sense of workplace familiarity and will have to recreate it somewhere new when I land on my next direction.

Usually in my life one thing has pretty seamlessly moved on to another thing. I have some things in play but nothing has definitely lined up. And I’m not, strangely enough, anxious about it. I’m actually looking forward to some time to sort things out and to sit more on the deck of the cottage, watching summer shift to fall and to practice working with words a bit more.

If you’re reading this blog, you know I have been doing it more and the doing more of it is so that I learn the discipline of working with words on a regular basis. There are some things on the tip of my fingers that seem to want to come out, things I want to say, thoughts I want to give form to.

It’s the end of an era, said Nick, about my departing. Odyssey is moving in a different direction and there isn’t a place for a digital person in the future they are imagining.

It’s an end of an era for me, too. While a consultant, this was a consistent gig, a place regularly come to and regularly contributed to and now it’s winding down and I’m waiting for the next adventure to wind up. The thought brings a smile to my face.

Letter From New York by way of Austin, TX and SXSW March 13, 2011

March 13, 2011

I started this blog yesterday, sitting in a room of people who are becoming untethered. The panel was entitled: The Last Broadcast: Entertainment is Social – What’s Next?
10% of this audience of about 500 have either never been a cable or satellite subscriber or have cut the cord; which I have done. These are the folks who are at the center of digital transition and so one would suspect are changing faster than others. It’s most noticeable in college graduates. Ten years ago when folks graduated from college and set up housekeeping for the first part of their adult lives, they didn’t order landlines for their apartments. Now they’re not just ordering landlines, they’re not putting in cable or satellite, relying on Internet sources for their video content.
We are now co-viewing with people all over the world thanks to Twitter, Facebook, etc. And this is expanding our natural impulse to want to co-view with people. Jeff Cole pointed out the he and his wife “watched” the Academy Awards together while she was in Los Angeles and he was in Abu Dhabi.
3rd party recommendations rule our life; Twitter and Facebook make it even more so. And we have reached a point where there is DEEP fan engagement in a way that is different from fan engagement in the past. For example, people tweet as characters in dramas that air. For example, there is a woman who tweets as Betty Draper in Mad Men. [At first AMC wanted to shut her down then went, hey! what good p.r.]
After the panel was over Greg and I interviewed Jeff Cole from the Digital Center at the Annenberg School of Business who underscored the rapidity with which the world is moving to mobile devices and the opportunities he sees for faith communities in the mobile world .
We then tracked down and got to spend some time with Daniel Hope, from the Episcopal Seminary of the Southwest who had led the panel: Everything is amazing and nobody is happy…
In this panel he and his fellow presenter, Zach Pratt, talked about how we seemed to be living in a time of technological entitlement. We have amazing technologies and we expect them to work flawlessly and are perhaps inappropriately angry when they do not. We’re living in a time of a new set of addictions generated by use of technology – of people alienated from the rest of the world because of their too deep involvement with the net. However, on the flip side of that is that technology also allows us to reach out and offer compassion to folks quickly. [My experience recently: a colleague I have been out of touch with for several years was fired from her job; I was able through the net to reach out and give my condolences and support almost instantly and have it received and appreciated almost instantly]. We are able through the net to be able to give tangible support to victims of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan in a more timely fashion than ever in history. We are able to see and experience their tragedy in ways unimaginable in the past and if we allow ourselves to be open to the information technology brings we are able to open our compassionate selves to a wider range of people and situations. As with most things, we can use technology to help better ourselves or to indulge the darker parts of ourselves.
Again, I was struck by the dizzying array of interesting choices at SXSW Interactive. I need five of me to get to as many places as I would like to get to. Topped by the fact that yesterday the Film portion of SXSW opened, the buzz has only intensified with the glitterati now joining the digirati for an intoxicating brew of people and technology.
One of the reasons that SXSW has become such an important hub is that it mixes culture with technology, technology with hope. While the decline of America is debated pro and con all the time these days, here the streets are filled with hope and exuberance for a future that is bright with possibility, not just in America but also in the world.

Letter From New York April 14, 2010

April 14, 2010

Or, as it seems to me…

In the belly…

Odyssey Networks, my base client, is a multi-faith, not for profit organization, the largest coalition of faith groups and faith organizations using media to “build bridges of understanding.” So it made every good sense that they would be attending the Religious Communicators Congress, an every ten-year event that gathered together those involved with religious communications – from denominations to religious organizations. The theme this decade was: Embrace Change.

And religious organizations, as well as anyone else in the communications biz, needs to embrace change because change is breathing down the neck of anyone who is connecting with anyone else using some form of media. It is a time when older generations don’t want to yield to digital delivery and young generations are wedded to social networking communications. Conversation is down; texting is up. Facebook and Twitter are the rage – but will they be in twelve months or is there some hot new technology about to break through? Change is everywhere. Internet viewing of video is up by 12% year to year; mobile video viewing is up 57% and with the advent of the iPad and the plethora of pretenders racing up behind it researchers are beginning to believe that in less than five years more people will be accessing ye old internet via a mobile device than they will from a land based PC. Ah, the technical times, they are a-changin’. Again. Yet. Still.

Now, if a couple of years ago someone had told me that I would be finding myself at the Religious Communicators Congress, I would have looked slightly askance though would not have ruled it out – I long ago surrendered saying I would never do something as it seemed that once I did the “never” thing became reality. But it would have surprised me so, to be truthful, it was with some bemusement I found myself at the RCC [Religious Communicators Congress] in Chicago this past week. On some level, it felt like a bit of a time warp and that I had found myself amongst many of the people with whom I had taught at a Catholic High School, back in the day. One of my colleagues, himself an ordained minister, fondly called the constituents “church people.” And they were that, good, kind, deep believing people who had dedicated much of their lives to their work which was an extension of their beliefs. They are much to be admired, as a group.
And as a group they are struggling with the rapidity of technological change that is sweeping across the communications landscape everywhere. And doing it with fewer resources – the attendance at this Congress was down 50% from the last. Many denominations are being forced into severe cut backs in staffing to deal with falling financial contributions. More and more Americans are declaring themselves spiritual but not religious and certainly not denomination focused.

Core congregations are aging and dwindling while young members seem harder to reach and the technology through which those younger members communicate can seem bedeviling. In other words, religious communicators are sharing the same problems of most of media professionals. Change is sweeping through the land and to fight it is impossible, equivalent of telling the tide not to rise. It can’t be done.

And change is affecting the way mainstream media covers religion – more and more media outlets are finding covering religion an expense they must live without. The number of reporters covering the religious waterfront is falling dramatically and those that are left behind face prodigious workloads. Say, before you leave the office could you just look over that 10,000 pages of transcript about the pedophile priest accusation and get off a story about it?

So the theme of the week: Embrace Change! was appropriate for the time. Change will come, wanted or not and there is no way to fight it so best to turn to it and embrace change as the lover you always wanted but hadn’t had until now.