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Monday, March 31, 2008

Siegel and Action Comics

Forget all those Supreme Court cases, this is the most fascinating case around right now -- especially in light of the new novel. More news to follow soon on this.

Also, picking a new author photo. Will post the 3 worst soon. So many to choose from. Hope you had a great weekend. And sorry I've been away for a bit. Just the crunch of trying to finish the book in time for Book Expo.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

DB Cooper!

Have to say, I've always been fascinated with this -- just jumping from the plane with the load of cash. How could I not be obsessed?

Plane hijacker D.B. Cooper's parachute found

via Boing Boing by Mark Frauenfelder on 3/26/08

36 years after he jumped from a hijacked plane with a bag containing $200,000 in ransom, D.B. Cooper's whereabouts remain unknown. But his parachute was discovered yesterday.

If it is Cooper's parachute, that will solve one mystery -- where he apparently landed -- but it will raise another, Carr said.

In 1980, a family on a picnic found $5,880 of Cooper's money in a bag on a Columbia River beach, near Vancouver. Some investigators believed it might have been washed down to the beach by the Washougal River. But if Cooper landed near Amboy and stashed the money bag there, there's no way it could have naturally reached the Washougal.

"If this is D.B. Cooper's parachute, the money could not have arrived at its discovery location by natural means," Carr said. "That whole theory is out the window."

Link (Via Reason)

Friday, March 21, 2008

Analyzing White People And Books

Damn inllectuals ruin the f'ing joke by overanalyzing the damn thing.

Why White People Like 'Stuff White People Like' (The New Republic)

And here's booklamp (LifeHacker), which helps you find books you like by measuring style, length, density and all the other reasons that reduce 400 pages of goodness to a lifeless bunch of words from a keyboard. Of course, I'm such a pig, I wanna know what they say about me.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Best Buy Knows Who You Are

I have to say, I'm so fascinated by what Best Buy thinks of me. Becasue much as I hate to admit it, I know they're right.

Read below (from The Consumerist). They're watching you now. They see you rolling your eyes at this...

LEAKS: Best Buy's Internal Customer Profiling Document [Insiders]

via Consumerist by Meg Marco on 3/18/08

Attention Profiled Shoppers: Consumerist is now in possession of an internal training document that teaches Best Buy blue shirts how to stereotype customers. While Best Buy's use of personas has been known for several years, our exclusively obtained document contains several brand-new Best Buy personas, including "Maria Middle America" and "Empty Nesters" Helen and Charlie.

Why do customers need to be stereotyped, you ask? Because some customers are good, and others are bad, and Best Buy employees need to know which ones are which.

Back in 2004, the Wall Street Journal announced that Best Buy had a new customer service strategy. The meat and potatoes of the new strategy was this: Best Buy would concentrate on outwitting pesky bargain-hunters (now known as "demons")and cater only to its most profitable customers, or "angels." This new philosophy was based on the work of Larry Selden, a professor at Columbia University's Graduate School of Business, and consultant to Best Buy.

Larry is all about the customer. He hates products, "...the obsessive focus on products needs to be replaced by an even more obsessive focus on the customer," he says.

One might assume that with this customer-obsessed guy directing Best Buy's strategy, there'd be an emphasis on customer service. Not so.

In fact, the first thing Best Buy did after adopting Selden's method was amend their return policy to include a 15% restocking fee. Too many "demon" customers were returning things.

The most important part this new world order is the "persona." Personas are essentially stereotypes that Best Buy's salespeople study in order to sell their most profitable services to different "types" of customers. Young urban males are called "Buzz." Upper middle class women are known as "Jill."

Each persona comes with a customized sales approach. Jill wants Best Buy to "help me find and fuel my new passions so I can remain true to myself," whereas upscale suburban Barry wants "premium brands presented as a total solution."

And what happens to those bargain-hunting demons? Best Buy CEO Brad Anderson told the Wall Street Journal in 2004 "that Best Buy will first try to turn its bad customers into profitable ones by inducing them to buy warranties or more profitable services."

"In most cases, customers wouldn't recognize the options we've tried so far," he said. Maybe this new document (which adds several new categories to the known Best Buy persona universe) can help.


Meet Carrie (Young Urban Female), Maria (Middle American Female), and (Empty Nesters) Helen and Charlie!

Click on the pictures below to bring up the slides. navigate using arrows that appear (when moused over) at the left, top and right of the slide, or using the "previous" "next" and "gallery" links at the bottom.

PREVIOUSLY: Best Buy Profiles Customers

Monday, March 17, 2008

The Book of...


The Book of Lies.

That's the official title of the new novel.

Coming out this September.

I must admit, I'm surprised by the vote. I thought it'd be so much closer. It wasn't at all. Which means something incredibly profound about our culture, but if I stated it, I'd be the kind of intellectual blowhard I so stand again. And for all the people who wrote in and asked: Why're you asking me? Well, let me say it like this: I know I'm not the smartest guy in the room, or the most handsome. I don't care where you work or what your job is, or how much money you make, or what style of shirt/jeans/anything you're wearing. That's just not important, and I'm tired of all the things in this world that make us believe that it is. We are all pathetically ordinary and spectacularly special. All of us. And I ask you because you're far more real that some marketing consultant that studies this crap so much they rob it of all its fun.

And so, The Book of Lies.

A huge thank you for helping me pick another title.

As for what it's about, that's coming soon. And so is comic news. Don't mean to tease, but I promise, real soon. And I'm excited about this one.

Thanks for playing -- and for all the kind notes so many of you wrote.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Mamet Gets Older

I'm passing no judgment on this. But that sound you just heard was a cultural icon admitting he's getting older. It's easy to ride him for it, whatever your politics are. When babyboomers whine, I just can't wait to take potshots. But I admire David Mamet. I admire his self-exploration. And I just love love love the idea that at base, he thinks everything in this world is always wrong. He's wrong (taste the irony there?). But absolutes are wrong. And can't wait to see how this affects his writing.

David Mamet: Why I Am No Longer a 'Brain-Dead Liberal' (Village Voice)

Monday, March 10, 2008

Best Readers Ever

This was the nicest letter I got this week from reader Deni. I liked it so much, I needed to share (and recommend a book in the process).

Considering the familiarity of your blogs, your writing, your seemingly-approachable self, I just finished reading The Airman by Eoin Colfer. Always nice to refer good read to others who may appreciate.

You may already know Eoin Colfer. His Artemis Fowl series is very well known (love it).

But his break from Artemis to The Airman is what great classics are made of. Like a Marvel hero in the swashbuckling 1800s.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Shilling For A Friend

When my first novel came out, I was sent to Houston, Texas (a city I love), but which still retains the title for my worst signing ever. For the first hour, no one came. NO. ONE. Not one. I felt so bad for the bookstore manager, who is still one of the nicest around. Then, in hour two, my friend showed up. With her mother. We had a total of two. I apologized over and over for not being able to draw more people. But it really was a great time. And some truly healthy humility. But the other highlight of the trip was the one radio station that had me on. It was a show hosted by Danya Steele, who, merely by agreeing to interview an unknown author for his first book, became a lifelong friend.

And so...since she supported me when, well, only two people did (hi, Marla and Mom!), I'm shilling for Dayna, who just released her first book: Rock to the Top -- What I Learned About Success From the World's Greatest Rock Stars. It's fun. She's fun. And it's got a foreword by Gene Simmons (who we love just for reading JLA on his show), so I'm sure it's got great stories.

Anyway, please support it and read a free excerpt at:

And to Houston, Texas, maybe this is the year to finally come back.