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DeBord Report Live with Sasha Strauss of Innovation Protocol

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KPCC

The DeBord Report Live's first guest: Sasha Strauss of Innovation Protocol. He's taller and I have the much older suit.

On Wednesday, KPCC's Crawford Family Forum team and I kicked off the first installment of "DeBord Report Live." We had a great crowd and a great guest — Sasha Strauss, Managing Director of Innovation Protocol, a strategic branding firm based here in L.A.

You may have heard Sasha on "The Patt Morrison Show." You may have watched Sasha in YouTube videos. But you haven't lived — or I hadn't anyway — untill you've seen Sasha do his thing live. We covered A LOT of territory in our 90-minute conversation, punctuated by Q&A sessions with the audience — and a few table-turners, where Sasha interviewed me (my beat-up 1998 Saab and my 15-year-old Brooks Brothers suit evidently say quite a lot about the Brand That Is Me).

You can listen to whole thing here. Advance warning: Be prepared to turn down the volume at times! By the end, I think you'll know a lot more about social media, how brands rise and fall — and about where Sasha is coming from as a person who believes that brands are deeply emotional and ultimately about more than mere commerce.

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Mashable: Not bought by CNN yet

14th Annual Webby Awards

Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images

CEO/founder of Mashable Pete Cashmore attends the 14th Annual Webby Awards at Cipriani, Wall Street on June 14, 2010 in New York City.

Just a quick follow up on yesterday's rumor that CNN is buying Mashable for $200 million. Nobody has bought anybody yet. But at Phillymag, Brian Howard provides some useful speculation on what a sale could ultimately mean:

CNN’s interest is, ultimately, a nod to the future—a tacit acknowledgment that social media may finally be the panacea that allows the robots and algorithms that search the Internet for us to give us exactly what we want: the best content available. It could signal a return to the concept of content as king (rather than the content on the first page of search results, regardless of quality, as king).

Mashable is, by most objective standards, one of the best blogs on the Internet for coverage of social media and technology issues. How ironic indeed if this were to lead to its compromised relevance.

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CNN buying Mashable for $200 million? Well, this is awkward...

Republican presidential candidates takes

PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images

CNN hosted GOP presidential debates. It may now be debating whether to buy social media and tech blog Mashable.

There's a rumor floating around — reported by Reuters and others — that Mashable, the social-media and tech blog, is about to be bought by CNN for $200 million. Mashable denies it

But what difference does that make? According to Quantcast, Mashable pulls in around 16 million page views a month and has a robust audience that accesses the site's content through what it's really good at, social media. To me, that's what Mashable is all about. It's TechCrunch optimized for Facebook and Twitter. In my own experience, that's the only way I ever access Mashable content: by clicking on Twitter links from the Mashable account that features founder Pete Cashmore's handsome, and now quite possibly rich, mug.

Does it make sense? Actually, I think it's a bargain. CNN is SUCH a mature brand that for it to grow into social-media and a more modern type of tech coverage, it needs to either build a Mashable itself — or go shopping. Is $200 million too much to pay for 16 million PVs and 5 million monthly unique visitors? That's forty bucks per user per month. Bringing those readers into the CNN fold at that price is probably far less costly than what it would take CNN to develop a Mashable on its own (Mashable has been around since 2005).

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We're not ready for the end of email yet

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Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images

A man checks his email on a Blackberry.

Thanks to Felix Salmon for pointing me to this Financial Times post by Maija Palmer about the end of email. Yes, that's right — it's yet another argument that email is outdated, badly designed, and the death of all things productive. Here's a taste:

The ability to track email is increasingly becoming a turn-off. Anecdotal evidence suggests that in an age of heightened regulation, bankers are eschewing email in favour of less traceable forms of communications, such as hand-written notes...

However, for many companies, it is simply that email is seen as inefficient. “We believe email is fundamentally unproductive, you need to sift through too many documents and things get lost,” says Leerom Segal, president and chief executive of Klick, a Canadian digital marketing company. “It has no prioritisation, no workflow, and assumes that the most important item is the one at the top. My business partner became so frustrated with how dumb email was, that 14 years ago he began to build better tools for us to manage workflow.”

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Can Google Reader be saved?

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KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images

Google Plus challenging the social media dominance of Facebook and Twitter

Bloggers have traditionally been core users of Google Reader. We need the tool to keep track of the blogosphere and have a single interface through which all posts flow. However, outside the blogging world, Google Reader is being displaced by a deluge of social-media products, like Facebook, Twitter, and Google's own Google Plus.

Meanwhile, Google has been rolling out a comprehensive redesign of all its interfaces. Reader got sucked in, much to the displeasure of the blogging community. Nobody seems to like it, but then again, those nobodies are all old-fogey bloggers who ruled the realm in 2007 but are now ready to be put out to pasture. 

The biggest complaint is that all sharing is now being bent to the will of Google Plus. Gotta get those fossils out of the second George W. Bush administration!

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