Basic facts – a Q&A about Other Than That

January 12, 2006 in Other Than That - news, business & other nonsense | Comments (0)

 

Inquiring minds may read other sites, but in the case that you wonder about the five W’s and H about Other Than That here are some answers …
(Oh, if you don’t know what I mean by “five W’s and H”, that would be traditional Journalistic parlance for the key points that every story should include – Who, What, When, Where, Why and How … It’s to be expected that some folks won’t know that, since most media gave up any sense of editorial integrity a long time ago.)
For the curious … read on …


Why did this site come to be?
Left is left. Right is right. And never the twain shall meet. And that’s fine. Reality lies in the middle. But agreement doesn’t sell papers. Agreement doesn’t rack up Nielsen ratings. Sadly there are no voices (at least no credible ones) drawing attention to the fact that since we’re never going to change each other’s minds, how about we at least attempt to play nicely in the sandbox?
In doing so we can start finding some solutions to the issues about which we argue in the first place. That’s the genesis for this site – the desire to create a space that can serve as a forum to discuss solutions – not to argue about problems.
Think of this as a social petri dish – a nourishing environment into which we toss various elements and allow them to grow. Sometimes we’re seeking a cure for a disease. Sometimes we’re seking solutions to social issues. Sometimes we’re seeking new ways to approach business. Regardless, the hope is that the result of interactions in this petri dish will lead us closer to some goal. Whether or not it’s the goal we had in mind when we started out is something else.
The thing is, when you start out with that petri dish you can never be 100 percent certain where it will go. Sometimes it goes to your planned destination. Sometimes you end up somewhere else altogether. The thing that matters is this – there’s movement.
Other Than That aspires to be that kind of nourishing environment … just a lot less gooey and damp.
How did this site come to be?
You know that saying: “All things happen for a reason”?
This site is an example of that.
Granted, I do believe we have a certain degree of control over our lives, but what it comes down to is simple – we’re only driving the bus some of the time.
This site and its content have been racing about in my noggin’ for several years. I’ve talked about it so much that bringing it to life should have been simple. Of course being stubborn, it took me a few years to realize that not only did I not have to do it alone, there was no way I could do it alone.
It seemed that once I came to this realization the creative cavalry began thundering into my world. Each person provided invaluable counsel, advice, guidance, and – on many occasions – were responsible for creating various integral pieces of this site.
You’ll see their work throughout the site:
Bainbridge Studios – If it weren’t for Tom Carmony, the site you’re looking at now wouldn’t exist. I had an initial site in place (see next item on that), but it wasn’t until I sat down with Tom and went through the site that this fresh, easily navigable, fresh look could come into being.

Academy of Web Design
– I had to start somewhere, and the world of Other Than That began with my first Web designer, David Lieberman. He helped create the first iteration of the site which, though not the best navigationally, was one of the most beautiful and unique sites around.

Christine Herron
– Before you lay a foundation you must evaluate the land on which you’re building, and make sure you know what materials will work. Christine helped me sort through a lot of options, and enabled me to move forward. She also provided an ever-present ear and sound counsel on those days when I almost gave up! She’s now doing her brilliant work with the Omidyar Network – helping the entrepreneurs of today become the industry leaders of tomorrow!
Caroline Schiff Photography
– Usually a picture is worth a thousand words, but I know what people get paid “per word” when they write, and in my opinion Caroline’s skills shift that conversion rate in the picture’s favor.
Martha Brothers Coffee Shop – Unbeknownst to the proprietors, I also call this place the Delivery Room, because it was during an all day writing session there that I began birthing Other Than That (good thing they had plenty of boiling water). Great coffee shop owned & operated by a truly lovely family.

Mike Sigal
– In addition to being a trusted friend and respected colleague, Mike carries the mantle (or perhaps dubious honor) of being that calm voice in the chaos who keeps me honest. In addition, it is thanks to Mike that I found the perfect person to help me bring my ultimate vision for Other Than That to life. All this, and he still has time to launch his very own venture – an organization of which I’m proud to be a part (effective February 2006). Guidewire Group … check them out!
How about your story?
I refer to myself as a “genetically engineered communicator.”
All it takes is one encounter with my family to get it. It never fails. Friends or associates who meet my family (whether the Brooks clan or an extended surname branch of the family tree) smile immediately. Generally that smile leads the statement, “Now I get it.”
So long as a grimace and full-body shudder don’t accompany that comment, I take it as a compliment.
If you want to know more, you can find the details in the “about” section of this site.
Where do you get your content?
The same place that everyone else does, I watch CNN.
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I’ve always felt that asking someone where they get content is a bit like asking someone where they get the air that they breathe. You don’t have to seek it out it’s just there. (And if you listen to the interview I did with technology pundit, Esther Dyson, she talks about this very subject!) Of course at high altitudes or in particularly smog-filled towns it might help to have an extra oxygen tank around, but for the most part, one generally gets the intake they need.
It’s like that with my content. A friend introduced me to what is now one of my favorite quotes. It comes from Emile Zola: “If you asked me what I came into this world to do, I will tell you: I came to live out loud.”
With that as my perspective, I seek content. Charging every day into life seizing all opportunities and keeping my eyes and ears wide open. Sometimes it’s pretty obvious stuff – the news, a book I’ve read, a conversation at work – but more often than not it’s in the quiet moments, a chance encounter or subtle interaction, when truly fascinating ideas arise.

What side are you on anyway?

Life is a circle. It doesn’t have any sides – except inside and outside – and so in that case I guess I’m on the inside – trying to live a fully engaged life.
Nice sidestep, eh?
But you needn’t worry I’m not changing the subject. The question is “What side” I’m on.
That’s simple. I’m on both sides. Because I figure if all things have two sides (or in the case of a dodecahedron, ten sides), then it would be silly to cement myself to only seeing one. There are some things on which I’d say I’m decidedly more liberal. There are also times when I shock people by sharing an opinion that lists more to the starboard side.
Do I tend to bend to the left more often? Probably. Does this mean that any more conservative thoughts I might have are somehow held with less conviction?
Not a chance.
And if you think that I’m leaning to heavily one way or the other – tell me.
If you think I’m full of crap and my opinions suck – tell me.
Of course if you agree with my thinking and want to say nice things you can tell me that too!!

Do you have a business model?

If you’re asking because you are interested in investing, the answer is yes.
If you’re asking because you have your own radio idea and you’re thinking you’ll just follow my lead to do it … go do your own research.
Kidding.
There are several models to this business – any of which I’m happy to discuss. Either way, if you want to chat on this topic further, drop me a line directly.
Can others play in the sandbox?
Heck yes! You can’t build the REALLY big sand castles unless you have lots of help. Sand throwers and people who don’t share get kicked out. But so long as you play nicely you can stay.
If you have content, suggestions, questions or really wonder where I got the idea for the name of the Web site, just ask.

 
 

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