How to watch Barrett Brown propose twitter as a business solution…because Robert Stacy McCain dared me

By Sam Foster

I had to call my lawyer this morning to cancel my pending legal threat to Robert Stacy McCain. The gambit was to be my latest and greatest attempt at RSM linkage, but apparently, Barrett Brown has already tried it and from the looks, it’s an empty well. One should note that my esteemed colleague Mr. Brown (he has contacted this blog via email on two occasions, so obviously this congenial title is appropriate) has impeccable taste in his wanting of a link from Mr. Robert Stacy McCain. Stacy is sort of a disciple of quality linkage and a link from him is guaranteed to be accompanied with quality readership.

However, Brown’s failed ploy of a legal threat, forced me to get creative and turn to some alternative mode of attention seeking. Thus I found the latest update on the McCain-Brown flame war and discovered an unanswered dare. Ok, a double-dog dare!

Is there any reader who can watch all 12 minutes and 55 seconds of that meandering diatribe without concluding that Brown is nucking futz?
C’mon: Somebody transcribe the whole video and then defend Barrett Brown’s hare-brained scheme as an effective business model.
I double-dog dare you.

Below is the video in question: A 12 minute snooze fest where Barrett Brown tries to explain his Project PM idea.

Having always been a sucker in grade school for dares, let alone the almighty double-dog dare, how could I turn up the opportunity?

After all, defending Barrett Brown’s “hare-brained scheme” is unbelievably easy. Why? Because, Brown’s proposal is a total rip off of twitter. Below is Brown’s description of Project PM from his website and I swear it could have been lift from the wiki-page on twitter.

Participants A, B, C, and D are provided a widget which allows them to send or re-send an item – an idea, a blog post, input on a task – to however many of the others to which they’re connected, who will in turn have the option to send items to them. Upon receiving an item, each can “push” that item to whomever else they are connected, who will in turn have the same option. A,B,C, and D may each also invite anyone else to adopt the widget and connect with him or her, and will thereby bring in new participants with the same ability to send and receive items and connect to new or existing participants. Now let us say that A, who is very clever and possesses good judgement, invites Z, who is similarly swell. But then Z brings in X, who is only moderately virtuous and tasteful and who later brings in Y, who is much less so.

No one would argue that twitter isn’t imaginably successful. The only challenge for Brown is finding a media audience that has never heard of twitter before. Luckily, that’s Brown’s problem not mine.

The real challenge to this dare was in watching the full video, then writing about it without losing my readership. Now, that’s the rub. I have degrees in economics and accounting, by now I’m an expert in boring communication and this video seriously rates. The first time I tried to go through it, I wisely set an alarm clock. Clever yes, but a very exhausting method if you can imagine the number of times one would have to set the alarm clock to actually view the video in entirety.

To cope, I invented a plethora of methods for getting through the whole video in a single sitting. Take a pick of your favorite or use a combination, but trust me, without at least one of these methods there is no hope of you making it all the way through it.

Method one (disgusting):

Imagine that Barrett Brown has placed his webcam in his toilette bowl. Then, as he stares down at you, you can either: a) pretend Brown has reached maximum alcohol tolerance level and bet on which time frame index he’ll get to before tossing or b) watch the corners of the video in anticipation of some deuce to go floating by.

Method two (artistic):

Try and find as many pentagrams on Brown’s diagram as you can, but in only one watch. Here are three to give you a head start.

Method three (Perry Mason law TV entertainment):

Imagine Barrett Brown standing before a judge explaining how his idea is not the same as twitter after being sued by twitter’s creators for not linking to their website.

Method four (Bob Ross painting entertainment):

I got this idea from Barrett Brown’s gentle and soothing baritone voice. It reminded me of when I used to fall asleep on Saturday afternoon’s while watching the PBS painting show with Bob Ross. To master this technique, one must imagine Barrett Brown inserting the phrase “and now we’ll just put a happy little line between these two letters” before he each and every stroke of his dry erase marker.

Please note, the assistance of mind altering pharmaceutical products is helpful.

Method five (Sesame Street Count)

Each and every time Barrett Brown says the phrase “douche bag blogger” recite:

“One douche bag blogger! Eh! Eh! Eh!”
“Two douche bag bloggers! Eh! Eh! Eh!” etc…

Now all kidding aside, why am I willing to risk a potential Barrett Brown lawsuit for this poorly executed jest at his expense? Quite honestly, this is for Brown’s benefit as much as it is for my own site traffic.

The reality is that an entrepreneur gets only one, maybe two chances at bringing a product to market. That’s all the goodwill that a failed entrepreneur will get with investors. After that, you are lucky to get a Christmas card.

Now Barrett Brown is a young guy, he has much potential for coming up with great innovative ideas. He really needs to ask himself, “is this the one I want to bring before serious investors and am I ready to risk my credibility for it?” Only he can answer that and according to Brown he’s already had meetings about it.

Should he decide that he can out twitter, twitter, then he really ought to check out Harvard’s template for creating a five minute elevator pitch and delete this awful video from YouTube before someone besides me actually watches it. Honestly, it’s a teachable example of how not to sell your idea.

As for Robert Stacy McCain, I’ll be cashing in on that dare now.

Correction: Minor change to the title.

Update x1:

Barrett Brown admits that method 2 is his favorite in the comments section.

Well, that does kind of look like a pentagram, I’ll admit.

Update x2:

Chalk this post up as an awesome example of Ross Perot-esque parody


paul mitchell said…

Here was Brown's first networking proposal and the subsequent fallout.


Barrett Brown said…

Well, that does kind of look like a pentagram, I'll admit.

conservative generation said…

@ Barrett Brown – I could have said stars, but pentagram is more interesting no?

Barrett Brown said…

At any rate, kindly tell your friend Tim that, in collateral punishment for allowing this transgression, he will not be receiving any more amusing-yet-obscure YouTube videos from me for a period of three (3) weeks.

Now you begin to feel my true power.

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