Look Up In Wonder

July 19, 2009

John F. Kennedy Speech, We choose to go to the Moon

We choose to go to the Moon speech by John F. Kennedy
September 12th 1962

We meet at a college noted for knowledge, in a city noted for progress, in a state noted for strength, and we stand in need of all three, for we meet in an hour of change and challenge, in a decade of hope and fear, in an age of both knowledge and ignorance. The greater our knowledge increases, the greater our ignorance unfolds.

Despite the striking fact that most of the scientists that the world has ever known are alive and working today, despite the fact that this Nation’s own scientific manpower is doubling every 12 years in a rate of growth more than three times that of our population as a whole, despite that, the vast stretches of the unknown and the unanswered and the unfinished still far outstrip our collective comprehension.

No man can fully grasp how far and how fast we have come, but condense, if you will, the 50,000 years of man’s recorded history in a time span of but a half-century. Stated in these terms, we know very little about the first 40 years, except at the end of them advanced man had learned to use the skins of animals to cover them. Then about 10 years ago, under this standard, man emerged from his caves to construct other kinds of shelter. Only five years ago man learned to write and use a cart with wheels. Christianity began less than two years ago. The printing press came this year, and then less than two months ago, during this whole 50-year span of human history, the steam engine provided a new source of power. Newton explored the meaning of gravity. Last month electric lights and telephones and automobiles and airplanes became available. Only last week did we develop penicillin and television and nuclear power, and now if America’s new spacecraft succeeds in reaching Venus, we will have literally reached the stars before midnight tonight.

This is a breathtaking pace, and such a pace cannot help but create new ills as it dispels old, new ignorance, new problems, new dangers. Surely the opening vistas of space promise high costs and hardships, as well as high reward. So it is not surprising that some would have us stay where we are a little longer to rest, to wait. But this city of Houston, this state of Texas, this country of the United States was not built by those who waited and rested and wished to look behind them. This country was conquered by those who moved forward–and so will space.

William Bradford, speaking in 1630 of the founding of the Plymouth Bay Colony, said that all great and honorable actions are accompanied with great difficulties, and both must be enterprised and overcome with answerable courage. If this capsule history of our progress teaches us anything, it is that man, in his quest for knowledge and progress, is determined and cannot be deterred. The exploration of space will go ahead, whether we join in it or not, and it is one of the great adventures of all time, and no nation which expects to be the leader of other nations can expect to stay behind in this race for space. Those who came before us made certain that this country rode the first waves of the industrial revolution, the first waves of modern invention, and the first wave of nuclear power, and this generation does not intend to founder in the backwash of the coming age of space. We mean to be a part of it–we mean to lead it. For the eyes of the world now look into space, to the moon and to the planets beyond, and we have vowed that we shall not see it governed by a hostile flag of conquest, but by a banner of freedom and peace. We have vowed that we shall not see space filled with weapons of mass destruction, but with instruments of knowledge and understanding.

Yet the vows of this Nation can only be fulfilled if we in this Nation are first, and, therefore, we intend to be first. In short, our leadership in science and industry, our hopes for peace and security, our obligations to ourselves as well as others, all require us to make this effort, to solve these mysteries, to solve them for the good of all men, and to become the world’s leading space-faring nation.
We set sail on this new sea because there is new knowledge to be gained, and new rights to be won, and they must be won and used for the progress of all people. For space science, like nuclear science and all technology, has no conscience of its own. Whether it will become a force for good or ill depends on man, and only if the United States occupies a position of pre-eminence can we help decide whether this new ocean will be a sea of peace or a new terrifying theater of war. I do not say that we should or will go unprotected against the hostile misuse of space any more than we go unprotected against the hostile use of land or sea, but I do say that space can be explored and mastered without feeding the fires of war, without repeating the mistakes that man has made in extending his writ around this globe of ours.

There is no strife, no prejudice, no national conflict in outer space as yet. Its hazards are hostile to us all. Its conquest deserves the best of all mankind, and its opportunity for peaceful cooperation many never come again. But why, some say, the moon? Why choose this as our goal? And they may well ask why climb the highest mountain? Why, 35 years ago, fly the Atlantic? Why does Rice play Texas?

We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.
It is for these reasons that I regard the decision last year to shift our efforts in space from low to high gear as among the most important decisions that will be made during my incumbency in the office of the Presidency. In the last 24 hours we have seen facilities now being created for the greatest and most complex exploration in man’s history. We have felt the ground shake and the air shattered by the testing of a Saturn C-1 booster rocket, many times as powerful as the Atlas which launched John Glenn, generating power equivalent to 10,000 automobiles with their accelerators on the floor. We have seen the site where five F-1 rocket engines, each one as powerful as all eight engines of the Saturn combined, will be clustered together to make the advanced Saturn missile, assembled in a new building to be built at Cape Canaveral as tall as a 48 story structure, as wide as a city block, and as long as two lengths of this field. Within these last 19 months at least 45 satellites have circled the earth. Some 40 of them were made in the United States of America and they were far more sophisticated and supplied far more knowledge to the people of the world than those of the Soviet Union.

The Mariner spacecraft now on its way to Venus is the most intricate instrument in the history of space science. The accuracy of that shot is comparable to firing a missile from Cape Canaveral and dropping it in this stadium between the 40-yard lines.

Transit satellites are helping our ships at sea to steer a safer course. Tiros satellites have given us unprecedented warnings of hurricanes and storms, and will do the same for forest fires and icebergs. We have had our failures, but so have others, even if they do not admit them. And they may be less public. To be sure, we are behind, and will be behind for some time in manned flight. But we do not intend to stay behind, and in this decade, we shall make up and move ahead.

The growth of our science and education will be enriched by new knowledge of our universe and environment, by new techniques of learning and mapping and observation, by new tools and computers for industry, medicine, the home as well as the school. Technical institutions, such as Rice, will reap the harvest of these gains.

And finally, the space effort itself, while still in its infancy, has already created a great number of new companies, and tens of thousands of new jobs. Space and related industries are generating new demands in investment and skilled personnel, and this city and this state, and this region, will share greatly in this growth. What was once the furthest outpost on the old frontier of the West will be the furthest outpost on the new frontier of science and space. Houston, your city of Houston, with its Manned Spacecraft Center, will become the heart of a large scientific and engineering community. During the next 5 years the National Aeronautics and Space Administration expects to double the number of scientists and engineers in this area, to increase its outlays for salaries and expenses to $60 million a year; to invest some $200 million in plant and laboratory facilities; and to direct or contract for new space efforts over $1 billion from this center in this city.

To be sure, all this costs us all a good deal of money. This year’s space budget is three times what it was in January 1961, and it is greater than the space budget of the previous eight years combined. That budget now stands at $5,400 million a year–a staggering sum, though somewhat less than we pay for cigarettes and cigars every year. Space expenditures will soon rise some more, from 40 cents per person per week to more than 50 cents a week for every man, woman and child in the United States, for we have given this program a high national priority–even though I realize that this is in some measure an act of faith and vision, for we do not now know what benefits await us. But if I were to say, my fellow citizens, that we shall send to the moon, 240,000 miles away from the control station in Houston, a giant rocket more than 300 feet tall, the length of this football field, made of new metal alloys, some of which have not yet been invented, capable of standing heat and stresses several times more than have ever been experienced, fitted together with a precision better than the finest watch, carrying all the equipment needed for propulsion, guidance, control, communications, food and survival, on an untried mission, to an unknown celestial body, and then return it safely to earth, re-entering the atmosphere at speeds of over 25,000 miles per hour, causing heat about half that of the temperature of the sun–almost as hot as it is here today–and do all this, and do it right, and do it first before this decade is out–then we must be bold.

I’m the one who is doing all the work, so we just want you to stay cool for a minute.

However, I think we’re going to do it, and I think that we must pay what needs to be paid. I don’t think we ought to waste any money, but I think we ought to do the job. And this will be done in the decade of the Sixties. It may be done while some of you are still here at school at this college and university. It will be done during the terms of office of some of the people who sit here on this platform. But it will be done. And it will be done before the end of this decade.  And I am delighted that this university is playing a part in putting a man on the moon as part of a great national effort of the United States of America. Many years ago the great British explorer George Mallory, who was to die on Mount Everest, was asked why did he want to climb it. He said, “Because it is there.”

Well, space is there, and we’re going to climb it, and the moon and the planets are there, and new hopes for knowledge and peace are there. And, therefore, as we set sail we ask God’s blessing on the most hazardous and dangerous and greatest adventure on which man has ever embarked.

John F. Kennedy Speech, We choose to go to the Moon


A Fourth of July Moment

July 2, 2009

Have you ever wondered what happened to the 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence?

Five signers were captured by the British as traitors, and tortured before they died.

Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned.  Two lost their sons serving in the Revolutionary Army; another had two sons captured.

Nine of the 56 fought and died from wounds or hardships of the Revolutionary War.

They signed and they pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor.  What kind of men were they?

Twenty-four were lawyers and jurists. Eleven were merchants, nine were farmers and large plantation owners; men of means, well educated, but they signed the Declaration of Independence knowing full well that the penalty would be death if they were captured.

Carter Braxton of Virginia, a wealthy planter and trader, saw his ships swept from the seas by the British Navy. He sold his home and properties to pay his debts, and died in rags.

Thomas McKeam was so hounded by the British that he was forced to move his family almost constantly. He served in the Congress without pay, and his family was kept in hiding. His possessions were taken from him, and poverty was his reward.

Vandals or soldiers looted the properties of Dillery, Hall, Clymer, Walton, Gwinnett, Heyward, Ruttledge, and Middleton.

At the battle of Yorktown, Thomas Nelson, Jr., noted that the British General Cornwallis had taken over the Nelson home for his headquarters. He quietly urged General George Washington to open fire. The home was destroyed, and Nelson died bankrupt.

Francis Lewis had his home and properties destroyed. The enemy jailed his wife, and she died within a few months.

John Hart was driven from his wife’s bedside as she was dying. Their 13 children fled for their lives. His fields and his gristmill were laid to waste. For more than a year he lived in forests and caves, returning home to find his wife dead and his children vanished.

So, take a few minutes while enjoying your 4th of July holiday and silently thank these patriots.

Remember: freedom is never free!

Wishing for iPhone fun-ctionality with new OS.

April 26, 2009

The upcoming  iPhone OS 3.0 has given birth to many wish-lists that will come with the new and expanded capabilities. 

Here are my top five wishes after eight months with my 3G iPh:

1.  A real business calendar that allows for adding invitees to meetings.  It’s getting to be a pain to have to ask my boss to book meetings!

2.  Create a meeting on calendar directly from an email address in email or contacts.

3.  Folders, or some kind of organizer for all those apps!  Pages and pages of apps are fun and kind of mesmerizing to flip through, but the fun slows down when you’re looking for something quickly.

4.  Talk about quick:  Universal search that links calendar, email and calendar is needed.

5.  Cut n Paste.  Need it now. 

Looking over this list, it appears that I am missing my business Blackberry and all its buttoned down functions.  Maybe I am a little.  The iPhone is a ton of fun, and now it’s time to turn that fun into functionality.

Hotel Ratings 1 – 6 Stars

April 18, 2009

I have been traveling to New York City about three weeks out of four since January and have sampled a couple of hotels.  

Because I have started to post hotel reviews, here is my ratings scale:

1 Star:  Never again

2 Stars:  Cheap.  But safe.  Fine for one night in a pinch.  Might be a little worn around the edges.  There might be coffee or tea somewhere.

3 Stars:  Low priced, Good location.  Low expectations for service.  Safe location.  Can get a quick cup of tea.  Fine for two or three nights.  

4 Stars:  Great value, great location (which means near the subway or easy to get a cab).  Good, non-snooty, quick service.  Coffee or tea is accessible in the morning.  Perfect for three or more nights.

5  Stars:  Probably too expensive, but a nice splurge and very comfortable.  The kind of place where I miss my husband and text him about how nice it is.  Raised expectations for perfect service.  Easy to get coffee or tea in the morning without a big breakfast.

6  Stars:  We can’t afford this.

Power Moms have media power

April 13, 2009

Mom’s new Media

I saw a Facebook status update the other day from a busy working Mom. “waiting for Grace to finish practice so I have time to check in with Facebook”. How often do Moms……and Dads find themselves with a little a downtime and reach for their smart phone, ready to check in with their favorite, or multiple social networking site?  Very often and growing is the answer.  The recent “Power Moms” Study by Nielsen reports some findings that validate what we are seeing and hearing:

“Women ages 25 to 54 with at least one child are nearly twice as likely as the average American Internet user to provide frequent online advice about parenting and family issues (88% more likely), non-food household products (84% more likely), and beauty/cosmetics (82% more likely).

These “power moms” are also 51% more likely than average Web users to provide frequent online advice on clothes and fashion, food and beverage products (39% more likely than average), home decorating (36% more likely than average), and health, dieting and exercise (27% more likely than average).
“We’re seeing women using online avenues like email, online forums, and social networking websites to extend a role they’ve long held as information seekers and relationship builders,” Chuck Schilling, research director, agency and media analytics, Nielsen Online, noted.  “Moms, in particular, look to the Web to connect with other parents for tips and support, and they aren’t afraid of new technologies – this group is nearly 25% more likely than average to author a blog.”

So what is the marketing application to capitalize on this trend?

1. Treat social media as a personal communication tool that is fundamentally different from other media channels. Simply picking up an ad from another media channel in the marketing mix and re-formatting it for social media will probably feel clunky and not work. The strategy needs to be personal and useful to succeed in social media.

2. Focus on design. Integration is one step away from homogenous, and homogeneous marketing plans can be cookie-cutter boring. The design of communications – both what marketers are offering and the invitation for feedback and more information must be designed well, and appropriately for each social networking device.

3. There’s not a one-size fits all strategy to social media design. Facebook and MySpace and Ning have almost nothing in common in terms of design and user expectations for usefulness.

4. Experiment and test & learn. Enough said.

5. Manage expectations and don’t set up social media on smart phones for big results. Look for small things that work and try to make them bigger by offering useful value to users.


April 4, 2009


my new Kate Spade shades

my new Kate Spade shades

I am addicted to sunglasses.  

Not as a fashion statement, but as a functional piece of life-equipment.

I have been (past tense) dedicated to two brands; Ray Ban and Persol.  I find the the Ray Ban “G-15” or “B-15” lenses to be perfect.  The Persol’s are also excellent, providing superb optical quality.

But, I succumbed to a pair of fashion sunglasses.  My brand of choice for accessories is Kate Spade, where design meets function.  I bought these in a shop in southwest Florida.  Wonderful styling and excellent clarity.  They are my second pair of graduated lenses where the lens color lightens at the bottom (I own a pair of old Persol’s with this feature).  This is, no doubt, done so you can wear them indoors and find your keys in your handbag.

Pure heaven.  Kate Spade gets it right.

Small Hotel, Big Art

March 28, 2009

Of all the art in the world, the work I most enjoy is the Dutch Masters.  

I have traveled and gone out of my way to see to visit museums that contain some of my favorites, including Johannes Vermeer’s The Girl With The Pearl Earring which is in the Mauritshuis in Den Haag, The Netherlands. The  Mauritshuis is a very small museum, but it also houses the small masterpiece Goldfinch by Carel Fabritius, making the short train trip from Amsterdam well worth the trip.

So, to my pleasant surprise, the very low-priced New York hotel, The Paramount where I have been staying while in town, has taken a soothing approach to decor in their teeny-tiny rooms; they hang enormous Vermeer prints as padded headboards.  The prints as huge in scale compared the size of the room, and against the white walls, linens and  (small) furniture, the eye is drawn to these wonderful works.  The other interesting note here is that the actual Vermeer paintings (including my favorite, The Lacemaker, are actually very small).

sweet dreams under The Girl With The Pearl Earring

sweet dreams under The Girl With The Pearl Earring

Towards a Better RFP process

March 25, 2009

After 25+ years on the agency & marketer-side, I’ve taken many productive meetings from my sales-side friends. Now that I am taking a break, I’ve had more time to listen closely to what they say about their roles as one leg of the troika of the media biz.

Today, I had a fun lunch with a new friend on the sales side from my new favorite Cable TV & Digital Network, The Game Show Network, GSN. He said that his biggest challenges are not research, or distribution, or competition, but getting a plan through the dreaded RFP process and getting to see decision-makers. It’s a hurry up and wait sort of process when you are on the sales-side.

Getting to see decision makers is the domain of that magical combination of timing, relationships and marketing fit.

The RFP process however seems to be disliked by everyone in the business, especially the media sellers. Popularized by the Armed Services accounts, and then by Magazine media planners, RFP’s are now a fixture in the Digital media planning & buying space.

How can we improve this process so that media planners/buyers at agencies are casting a wide net to generate the best ideas and investment for their client and where sellers can be real contributors to the process on a strategic level plus taking some of the annoyance factor out of the process?

Looking for comments.

A New Pricing Model

March 24, 2009

Marketers want big ideas, agencies want to give their clients big ideas and media companies want sustainable and valuable relationships for their big ideas.  Sounds like a win-win-win for everyone.  But creating winning marketing campaigns around great media properties is not as easy.  Why is this?  Is part of the problem the current pricing model for media?  Are we as an industry plowing all the costs into the transaction?  Is this part of the “broken model” we are all talking about.  All media is bought on some type of an audience-transaction model.  That’s what we can measure.  That’s the way it’s been for years, decades.  

Big ideas are usually “added value”, meaning pro-bono.  Are big ideas only big when they are free?

On one end of the spectrum is the CPM transaction model.  On the other is the licensing total bundle model.  Might it be time for a new media pricing model that would:

1-  protect the transactional nature of the business

2-  fund development costs and engineering on the media company side

3-  resulting in bigger, custom ideas for marketers

In order for this migration to happen, base transaction CPM’s have to come down a tick (as they are right now in the current marketplace) to leave head-room for development and engineering costs.  

As the economy returns and the media marketplace starts to stabilize, smart people in the troika of the business will hold CPM’s flat and start to fund development and engineering of big ideas whether they be content, better audiences or new applications.

Hello world!

March 23, 2009