Sunday, October 27, 2013

Friday, October 18, 2013

A Quick State of the Union

This blog evolves rather slowly compared to the several others I write for.  Hello, I'm the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) for this non-existent yet nascent network of coffee shops, emblematic of Philosophy (French influence) and of intellect more generally.  Portland, Oregon is a great place to experience the culture, but so is Rome, Italy.

I'm not clamoring to be a Church although that's probably the easiest way to get an easement in some of the controlled substances acts, but this is not about rushing communities to accept new standards.  If you want to experiment, try a cruise ship or charter maybe, but make sure your captain and crew don't drink the kool-aid, whatever that may be, i.e. there's a line between those experiencing the show, and those putting on the show (staff and guests, thespians and audience, newscasters and news viewers).

I mention controlled substances (like alcohol and tobacco) because the next think you imagine I'll talk about is gambling.  They go together right?  But then your Church basement was typically smoke filled, i.e. consenting adults are allowed to make wagers in some game of chance like context.  It's the shape of that wagering that states like to control.  Can you bet on dogs?  Off track?  I barely know what that means.  You had people "running numbers" in all the old cop shows.  What were they doing exactly.  Ask an anthropologist.

But yes, I'm going to mention games of change and skill both, arcade game style and other, wired up to donate to charities.  Yes you can do this from home.  Generous people right now are playing games to give money.  My late wife assiduously played a few each day.  Small amounts were presumably being made, to feed the hungry, to save the wolves, that kind of thing.

The business plan here is the product sellers, the brands behind the counter, are using games to help build brand loyalty and brand recognition.  The whiskey company maybe doesn't own the rights to the game inside, but the company logo is still a game element, product placement one could say.  Companies aren't bound to stay literal.  If an elephant is your mascot, why not go with that?

Patrons may pony up their own funds, but a lot of turns at play are sponsored.  Getting that Voodoo Donut includes a spin or two of the wheel, or maybe something more involved.  The point is you're engaged in an heroic episode at the same time the sponsor is pledging your winning to charity.  That's actually a potent mix.  Doing well to do good.  People enjoy that kind of challenge, with or without a Coffee Shop setting.

You could say the point is to give ordinary people a sense of what it's like to be a philanthropist and give generously, changing the course of human events thereby.  We can't all expect to steer at the same level in the same way, but a game with the point of giving, and requiring at least virtual heroics, is potentially quite exciting.  One could say giving to charity is addictive in this new form, but if that's the case, I can think of worse forms of addiction.  Lets have this form of addiction (unable to stop charitably giving) be a new problem, one we'd like to have.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Street Intersection: The Game

This is one of my favorite computer game genres, where you confront a city intersection and have to model muddling through in some way.

If you're a policeman, do you have the right to confiscate the property of the houseless person 30 feet from City Hall in the margin of a sidewalk, with no visible shelter?

As an old man, will your time run out before the street car lurches on without you, or will you run fast enough on your current dosage?

Is there a drinking fountain?  Unusual, but maybe we're in Portland (look up:  Benson Bubblers).  Is there fluoride in that water?  From where exactly?  So much to study (it's an ecosystem after all).

Was the intersection badly designed?

Sometimes it's just culture.

In Portland, more cyclists "felt safe" in this new green area, whereas the cars would not see them and turn right anyway, hitting them.

This was a spike in statistics after a new painting scheme was applied at, you guessed it, street intersections.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

May Day Festivities

:: May 1st / PDX ::


Fun in the sun. A day for showing spring fashions.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Daily Play

I'm in a webinar with AFSC this morning.  That's the American Friends Service Committee.  They're calling it a webinar, but it's really a live YouTube and an overview of the afsc.org web site.

Good paradigm non-profit.  I'm in the role of go-between twixt AFSC and one of the Yearly Meetings:  North Pacific Yearly Meeting.

Quakers sometimes come across as puritanical, as if against gambling and drinking for example.  My brand of Friend is not like that.  Jesus was OK with alcohol and parties.  Life is gambling, taking risks, acting on educated guesses (hypotheses).  Philanthropists strategically channel funds to what appear to be successful projects.

Here, we play games in order to build our own skills in various ways, and gaining in proficiency is by definition rewarding.  The greater your winnings, the more of a hero you are for your causes, the more you express your will through a specific infrastructure.

Even outside said infrastructure, life is the same way:  you and I have our daily bread, incoming time/energy, our allotted space and time, and we have our value-adding gaming, our livelihoods, our actions, whereby we learn (gain experience) in an instructive, feed-back rich environment.

You and I express our wills in the world.

The AFSC website is paradigmatic of a front end or brochure style access point, with the facilities to dig deeper.