My Takeaways From The Book Stonewalled

By Mike Maddaloni on Wednesday, January 10, 2018 at 09:35 PM with 0 comments

photo of the back cover of Stonewalled

You don't need me to tell you that today the news media is as much about the story as what they are covering. If you're like me you'd rather not hear about reporters and networks being the top story, rather what's actually going on in the world. Where we may hear a digested, front-end view of their involvement in the story, rarely do we get an insider's view of what's really going on behind the sense in newsrooms or how someone is being impacted, especially when they're being impacted negatively.

As someone who doesn't have cable TV or an antenna and haven't for a very long time I almost never watch the network news or major cable news networks. Instead my news comes from online, reading news Web sites, subscribe to their RSS feeds and following their Twitter accounts. In addition to this, I follow many individual reporters, reading not only what they are posting as new stories but their own Twitter timelines. Where this aggregation of information of information is probably more comprehensive and time consuming than simply “watching the news,”, but it allows me to come to my own informed consensus of what’s going on.

Among the reporters I follow is Sharyl Attkisson, a national investigative reporter who is the host of Full Measure and author of the book The Smear which I recently read and shared my takeaways from. As I have been following her and her reporting for several years, I was drawn to read her most recent book, as well as her first book, Stonewalled: My Fight for Truth Against the Forces of Obstruction, Intimidation, and Harassment in Obama's Washington, where she chronicles covering news events in Washington, and believed political forces worked against her, even hacking into her computers.

Though I read Stonewalled before I read The Smear, I still recall well the takeaways and questions I had from this book.

The “making of the sausage” that is network news – If you think about it, there is very little network news available to be watched. A 30-minute newscast is really only 23 minutes of programming and 7 minutes of commercials. In this time only so many stories can be covered and only to a certain depth. This is also costly in reporter-power plus research. Even the 27/7 news channels don’t cover all that much news as compared to opinion programming.

In Stonewalled, Attkisson states that this plays into whether stories are aired or not. As well, it can be up to the news anchor themselves what gets aired. If that person has a bias, stories may never get seen by the viewing public. She details many cases of this during her years at CBS News.

Overflow news stories on the Web – When some of Attkisson’s news reports were not aired on the evening news program, they were often posted to CBS News’ Web site. I personally had no idea this happened; my assumption was that stories on the Web site were simply what aired. As a result, I have added news Web sites to the mix of news sources I mentioned above to gather all points of view, think for myself and form my own opinion on events around the corner and around the world.

Did the government really hack into her computers? As of this writing and for over 10 years, Attkisson has been trying to get information from the government on what she suspects and was confirmed by her informants, that employees of an unknown part of the US government hacked into her personal and work computers. Why? She suspects her persistent coverage of the Fast and Furious scandal and other government investigative reporting may have led to this. And to date, she has yet to get any official answers.

Stonewalled is a well-written journey through the life in the US capital area, complete with shadowy figures as well as those operating in broad daylight. I highly recommend it as a compliment to what was observed in the news over the last decade. As I finished reading this a while ago, I also promised it to someone a long time ago, and finally the book is in the mail.


This is from The Hot Iron, a journal on business and technology by Mike Maddaloni.


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The Hot Iron at 11

By Mike Maddaloni on Saturday, December 30, 2017 at 12:03 PM with 0 comments

photo of 11 Alive jingle on an iPhone

To anyone reading this, THANK YOU! I have been writing and posting to this blog now for 11 years. Where many of you have been reading for part of the time, there are a few who have been reading the whole time. No matter even if this is the first time you have read something here at The Hot Iron, kudos and karma now and throughout 2018!

When I think 11, the first thing that comes to mind is 11 Alive, what New York TV station WPIX used to use as their tag line back in the 70’s and 80’s. For some reason, it was part of the cable package in Massachusetts when I was a kid, and here I share with you their jingle – watch the embedded video below or follow this link to watch it.


This is from The Hot Iron, a journal on business and technology by Mike Maddaloni.


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7 Blog Topics Written in 2007 That Are Still Relevant Today

By Mike Maddaloni on Thursday, December 28, 2017 at 11:53 PM with 0 comments

photo of 7Up soda bottles

Back when this little blog from which you are reading this post turned 10 a year ago, I started thinking about what I have written over these years, especially that first year. As a new writer at a time when social media was still in its infancy, I wondered what topics or “hot irons” I decided to “strike” a decade ago. This led me to pour through the archives of The Hot Iron and reading what I wrote in 2007.

As it turns out it was a mix, from well thought-out articles to short pieces that would have probably been social media posts had those networks been more prevalent. In all, I made 236 posts over 365 days. Where some in hindsight I probably would have written differently or perhaps not at all, there were many I read which pleased me that I shared my thoughts with my new audience. Overall, there were 7 topics or themes which I covered back then that I feel are still relevant today, and I would like to share them with you on a short trip down memory lane.

1. Domain Names – As the genesis of this blog was from, and was to support, my former Web consulting business, coupled with the fact I felt many people knew very little about domain names, I wrote several articles on domain names that first year. Over the years, I continued to write even more about domain names because, even after over 2 decades of they being commercially available to the public, I felt then – and still today – domain names are not well understood.

Among the posts included Be the master of your own domain (name) on registering domain names in general, Own the Domain Name for Your Name to encourage my readers to register the domain name for their own name, Know Who Manages Your Domain Name as many register domains but will forget where they did so, Beware Unsolicited Invoices for Your Domain Name on deceptive practices for selling registration and Web-related services by sending what looks to be a legitimate invoice, Domain Name Owners Not Who You Would Think on missed opportunities to register domain names and Observations of German Domain Names about how this American saw domain names in action in Germany.

Ten years later, I think all of these posts and what they discuss are very relevant. As I work with firms and talk with people about domain names today, much of what I wrote could inform them, and possibly save them time, money and headaches.

2. Networking – I never took a class on networking in college or afterwards, namely for until recently there was never such a thing. What I learned about meeting and connecting with people I learned literally on the job, through trial and many errors, as well as successes. Perhaps I should have developed a class on it (or perhaps I still should?) but as a close second I wrote about several aspects of it.

Posts on networking I wrote were My Networking Event Checklist about how I prepare for networking events, Community building is up to ALL of us on why I network, Nametags Essential for Networking on why there’s nothing wrong with wearing nametags and Time to Write The Note Cards on following up with people after meeting them.

In several of these posts I mention Jason Jacobsohn, someone whom I met online then in real life after following his blog Networking Insight, which today is still a vibrant resource on the art and science of networking. Even though I no longer have my own business, the need for connecting with others still exists, and is the driver for why I recently started dMorning.

3. Opportunity Cost – Shortly after starting my business I learned quickly about trade-offs, and when you do something it often doesn’t allow you to do another. Through this balancing act I had a flashback to college and penned All I remember from Economics 101 - Opportunity Cost. Where opportunity cost has come into play for much of my life, as it does for most of us, it was intensified when I was the boss and sole staff of my business. This discipline was an on-going effort, and helped by seeking the counsel of other small business. As time went on, and jobs replaced my business and my family grew, recognizing the opportunity cost of one decision over another became even more important in my life.

4. Customer Service – The challenges I faced as a small business owner, I learned, were not that much different than those faced by much larger organizations. However I was always stunned how an entity with many, many more employees could still miss the mark on things that, to me, were obvious. I thought that then, and sadly I still do today.

In 2007, JetBlue Airlines had an incident where passengers were stranded on an airplane. During a discussion on this with a colleague, an idea popped into my mind, which I wrote in A Free Idea for David Neeleman, an open letter to Neeleman, the founder and then CEO of the airlines, and I offered to him this idea. I have no idea if he, or any other airline CEO, ever read it. But by hearing the customer services disasters airlines still experience in 2017, my guess is not.

5. Accessbility – My first exposure to Web site accessibility came when I helped a friend who is legally blind with his PC. This was a rare case of providing tech support to a friend that had a benefit – learning the world of accessibility tools. I learned about JAWS, a leading “screen reader” which literally reads aloud what is appearing on the screen – be it icons, a menu or what is in a Web browser. Where this was great to be exposed to, I also learned of the challenges he faced with using the Web – most Web sites are not designed or programmed to make it easy for someone who is visually impaired to navigate and use them.

I wrote specifically about my experiences with my friend’s computer in a post called Unintentional Unusability where I barely scratched the surface on many areas, and mentioned how a design decision for this very blog was based on this experience. It was because of this I was eager to adopt the now-defunct service Odiogo which I went into detail in the post Hear My Blog Posts.

Today Web site accessibility is something I am still concerned with and work to overcome. As technology and their tools continue to advance in some areas, they continue to lack in this particular area.

6. Giving Back – As giving back to the community has always been a big part of my life, I made sure to include it when I came up with a list of “gift ideas” which were simply promotions of my clients. Where the idea was to send business their way so they would ideally send more business mine, I wasn’t betting the farm on this tactic, and it was probably good that I didn’t either!

Among the posts I wrote was one that would only send a good feeling back to me, and needed resources to a great organization. In Gift Idea – Help Young People by Donating to YouthBuild Boston I asked people to make a donation to YouthBuild Boston, a non-profit in Boston that I have supported for years, and at the time were a pro-bono client of mine. YouthBuild Boston works with young people to help them be self-sustaining. They offer skills training in the construction trades, as well as the support they need to succeed. They are an amazing organization, and one that is well run as well. If you haven’t made all of your year-end donations, they are a highly worthy recipient today as they were then.

7. Health – When I started my blog, my business was home-based and my office was in the den. A decade later, I am once again working from home, this time for an organization. I have a nice short commute, but it is a commute where I walk and sit, and sit for a while. When I came upon the post I wrote Walk to Work Even If You Work From Home, it reminded me that I need to get off my butt more during the workday, even when the weather is in the single-digits as it is as I write this.

Deconstructing What I Wrote 10 Years Ago

As time goes by, some things remain a constant, which I found in re-reading what I wrote over a decade ago. Many issues and thoughts I had then are top of mind today, and I this to the fact they are part of who I am and what I believe in. My quest for people to learn, understand and be able to use technology in a calm, connected, active and charitable world is a journey I am still on today. As I continue my blog into its second decade, topics I will write about will likely include those mentioned above.


This is from The Hot Iron, a journal on business and technology by Mike Maddaloni.


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My Takeaways From The Book Things Are What You Make Of Them

By Mike Maddaloni on Thursday, November 30, 2017 at 09:28 PM with 0 comments

photo of back cover of Things Are What You Make of Them

There are no shortage of books, blogs and articles out there offering career advice. In fact, you are reading something from one of them right now! If anything, they all have something in common – long narratives, loaded with stories and real-life examples, explaining in great detail the author’s point-of-view.

The new book, Things Are What You Make of Them – Life Advice for Creatives by Adam J. Kurtz, is a book that, as you can guess by the title, is in the above-mentioned genre, but its format and structures breaks the above-mentioned mold. Where it offers career advice, its format is unique – there are just over a dozen “chapters” – each beginning with a description, then a hand-written list of 8 points, followed by 8 pages, also hand-written, corresponding to each point on pages no more than 4 inches by 6 inches.

As I said, this book is unique, and refreshing. The advice is written with a mix of Kurtz’s sense of humor and his brutal honesty. It’s a short read, which you can finish in less than an hour, but gives you a lot to think about for a long time and easy to remember – each page has a colored border by chapter, and all pages are perforated for easy removal and hanging up in a prominent place.

As you can guess, this book gave many things to takeaway from it.

photo of page from Things Are What You Make of Them

Define creative – As the book’s subtitle is “Life Advice for Creatives,” some of you reading this may think, this book is not for me as I am not “creative” in the sense of a designer or artist, as the author is. To borrow a phrase, bollocks! Many of us, where we may be in a corporate job that is not defined with words such as “artistic” are actually creative in nature – we are using our brains and imagination to find creative solutions for our employers or clients. To borrow another phrase, this one by from Kurtz’s own definition of “creative” in the book, it is “… a person who defines themselves, in some way, by their creative passion or profession.” I love this description and feel it suits myself, and it may suit you as well – think about it.

Take away what works for you, literally – In any book, you can find yourself liking and disliking various parts of it. This is in fact why I write takeaways from books rather than reviews of them. With this book if something resonates with you, you can then literally and easily remove it as all pages of the book are perforated, then post it someplace as a reminder or inspiration.

More books are needed in this format – From its small size to its vibrant colors to perforated pages to its concise advice, more books should be crafted this way. It reminds me of the book 52 Motivational Quotations for Salespeople by my good friend Tom Cruz, which has each quote on a separate page so they can be removed and displayed prominently. Especially in our fast-paced digital world, it allows us to take a brief time out, read and reflect.

When I heard about Things Are What You Make of Them, I preordered it right away. I learn about Kurtz and his creative work from his book 1 Page at a Time, which I bought and am still using as an (almost) daily creative outlet. His light-hearted approach has drawn me to his work, and it makes me smile and think at the same time.

After finishing this book, I decided to give it to someone who is a very creative person, and am eager to hear their thoughts on it as they read through it.


This is from The Hot Iron, a journal on business and technology by Mike Maddaloni.


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Announcing dMorning Tech Creative Networking In Northeast Wisconsin

By Mike Maddaloni on Sunday, November 05, 2017 at 08:24 PM with 0 comments

screenshot of dMorning Web site

With great anticipation I am pleased to announce a networking event for people who work in the tech and creative fields in Northeast Wisconsin. Introducing dMorning.

So what is dMorning?

The idea behind dMorning is relatively simple - informal networking before the busy workday starts, with no set rules and no agenda. Since I moved to the Fox Valley of Wisconsin this past summer, I have been looking for something like this, as I work in the Web and I am looking to meet people who work in similar fields in my new home area.

In the past I have hosted a variety of meetups where I used to live in Chicago – some specific and some general – and I have found the latter to be more interesting. A casual gathering of people to talk about what they are working on, sharing stories and bouncing ideas off each other… this is something I have wanted to restart for a while, and why not here? My plan is for this to be a monthly event.

The first dMorning will be on Friday, November 17 at 7:30 am at All Seasons Coffeehouse in Appleton, which is conveniently located off I-41 at Wisconsin Avenue. I only say it goes until 9:30 am as that is likely as long as I will be there. There is no cost for dMorning, you only have to pay for any beverages or food you purchase from this locally-owned business.

What’s in a name?

You may be wondering about the name, dMorning. As I sought out a name for this, I didn’t want to pick something limiting. On the Web site at dMorning.com there are some ideas of what the “d” could stand for.

Hope to see you there!


This is from The Hot Iron, a journal on business and technology by Mike Maddaloni.


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My Guest Lecture On Consulting at University of Wisconsin – Oshkosh

By Mike Maddaloni on Friday, October 27, 2017 at 05:02 PM with 2 comments

photo of UW Oshkosh class with Mike Maddaloni

Last week I had the honor to guest lecture to students at the University of Wisconsin – Oshkosh (UWO) on the topic of consulting. As the students are working on group projects where they consult to organizations on the Web and social media, I was thrilled to be asked to share my experiences, stories and advice on consulting and working in technology.

The class, Application of New & Emerging Media, is taught by Dr. Sara Steffes Hansen, associate professor and chair of the Department of Journalism at UWO. The class is a required course for the Interactive Web Management (IWM) major, and also part of the curriculum for journalism and public relations majors. The interdisciplinary IWM program combines journalism, business and computer science courses to prepare students for digital careers, where all of these skills are vital.

With 10 students in the class, it was a good setting to talk on this topic of consulting, as well as the upcoming deliverables for their project, including an interim status report and a proposal to the client at the conclusion of the semester. I talked about the commonly-accepted description and roles of consulting, my take on it, as well as real-life examples (with client names properly masked) of positive and not-so-positive experiences throughout my career which spans now a quarter-century. As nobody nodded-off in class and the questions posed by the students were of a high caliber, I am hoping they got as much out of the time as I did.

Dr. Hansen said the students handed in their status reports this week, and discussed the aspects of customer service and risk. She added, "the students applied those real-world examples and consulting essentials from your presentation to their own communication efforts with clients. They could articulate the management of risk for the unknowns in their projects, which is a part of any Web, eCommerce or social media endeavor. It was nice to see the students enjoy their consulting roles in this discussion."

This is the second time I have given a guest lecture in one of Dr. Hansen’s classes. Two years ago I spoke to her class, incidentally a pre-requisite of this one, on the topic of blogging. Where the last time I remotely spoke to the students using the Personify technology and a 3D Web camera, this time I was in person in the classroom, the method I prefer much better.

I have posted the slides from the lecture on SlideShare, and you can view them embedded below or view them at this link on SlideShare’s site. On slide 11, I selected 3 famous people to help describe proposals – can you guess why I chose them?

(photo credit – Dr. Sara Steffes Hansen)


This is from The Hot Iron, a journal on business and technology by Mike Maddaloni.


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Expand Your Twitter Followers In 3 Steps

By Mike Maddaloni on Wednesday, October 18, 2017 at 10:47 PM with 0 comments

screenshot of Twitter follow button

Whether you are new to Twitter or have been using it for years, having a list of followers has always been, and continues to be, important to the social network. Where all public tweets are readable by all, most people engage with those who they follow and who follow them. This engagement makes using Twitter worthwhile.

Like with anything, quality engagement is better than quantity engagement. This is measured directly by likes and retweets of what you post, as well as replies and conversations with others. Indirectly, it can be measured in traffic to your Web site and offline in, for example, new customers or increased sales.

People often asked me, how do you get followers? “Getting” followers – real human beings, that is – is a process, as ideally you want people to want to follow you. In some cases though, people may simply not be aware of who you are. This is why I present these 3 steps to expand your base of followers. Of course, there are no guarantees your list of followers will balloon overnight, but these are geared towards getting people’s attention to you.

1. Decide who you would like to follow you – This offline strategizing is you thinking about who you would like to follow you. For people who have businesses or are in business, they will relate to this as it is similar to who their target audience or customer or other demographic information is. For some, that is a great place to start, and for others it can be who you would like to read your blog or those who work in the same industry as you.

Write this down – your target followers. Keep this by you as you go through the following steps.

2. Follow those who you want to follow you – Now that you have defined who, look for them, and follow them. Many times when people think of social media engagement, they purely look at it from their own vantage point. However, take a 360-degree approach – would the people who you want to follow you actually want to?

By following them, you are expressing interest in them, and in most cases, letting them know who you are. The hope is they will see you following them, look at your profile and what you have tweeted, and then follow you back.

So how do you find them? By searching – either for specific people or terms, words hashtags – for whatever ways you can think of to find people, businesses, organizations, whomever that you want to follow, and to follow you back.

3. Follow those who follow those you want to follow you – Apologies for the mouthful there… as you are targeting people to follow, why not check out who they follow as well as who follows them? This is a great wat to expand the scope beyond merely searching, as many times potential targets for your following may not come up in a search for a variety of reasons, including their profile not matching what you have been searching on.

Everything in moderation

One consideration to make when you follow people is there are limits imposed by Twitter to the number of people you can follow, and you can read more on these limits on Twitter’s help site. To start, you can follow up to 5,000 people. After that, you need to have more followers in order to follow more that that number. There is a ratio to this, though Twitter does not specifically disclose it. Of course if you hit the limit but want to follow others, you can always unfollow accounts to make room.

Deconstructing Twitter Followers

Wouldn’t it be great to have tons of Twitter followers? But if you think of it from the point-of-view of real life, it’s a similar approach to friends in real life – they are relationships you establish and maintain. Sometimes you are the one initiating it, and this is where following others you want to follow you comes into play.


This is from The Hot Iron, a journal on business and technology by Mike Maddaloni.


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3 Tips On Sharing Content For Reluctant Twitter Users

By Mike Maddaloni on Monday, October 02, 2017 at 09:26 PM with 0 comments

photo of Twitter quote tweet box

I’ve encountered a recent phenomenon of people who are new to using Twitter. Some are businesspeople who feel they need to use it but don’t quite embrace it. Some are employees of companies who are asked to share content on behalf of the company but don’t use it for much else. Then there are others who have been told they should be using it but are not comfortable as compared to other social media platforms.

These people are what I consider “reluctant” Twitter users. I’d like to offer them – and everyone else – some straightforward strategies to gain familiarity and comfort with this social network.

Let’s start with simply sharing content from others. When it comes to sharing content on Twitter, I offer 3 tips to help you through the process. But first, let’s define what “sharing” is. It is the process of posting, or tweeting, information you want to inform others of. It could just be the text of a tweet, a link to a Web page, a picture, or a combination of all of these.

These tips are:

1. Identify something of interest to share with others – Where this may be obvious to some of you reading, I know for others it is not. There is no “perfect” content – it can be any of the formats mentioned above.

When you think of who to share with, I am referring to the people who are following you, plus any Twitter users, providing your profile is public. As for the latter, people can search all tweets (known as the public timeline) for any topic they are looking for. They may find one of your tweets, and could like or retweet it, thus sharing it to their followers. So when you see someone you don’t know like something of yours, this extension to your network is why.

2. Use the Tweet button – Now that you have identified what, how do you actually share it? The ideal way is by clicking a button or link which will open up a text box and format a tweet for you. With Twitter now being around for over a decade, most Web sites, news media, blogs, etc. have such a link or button, as well as sharing buttons for other social media platforms (e.g. Facebook, Pinterest).

That being said, there are many sites that do not offer such a button (like here at The Hot Iron). For these, you can simply copy and paste a link into the box when you go into type your tweet. You also can use built-in sharing functions on your Web browser or mobile devices to compose a tweet.

3. Personalize it – Before you press the tweet button, personalize what you sharing. Personalizing allows you to add your point of view, your reason, your whatever to what you share. Personalization can also include the Twitter username of someone to send the tweet to as well as a personal message to them or anyone else reading it. You can also take personalization to the next level by adding keywords or hashtags (keywords preceded by the # symbol) to what you write, as people may be searching Twitter for content with these words.

Like with anything, start someplace and the more you do it, the more comfortable you will be. Following these 3 tips will hopefully make this as easily done as said. The next time you find an article or anything else you want to share on Twitter, try these tips and let me know if they work for you or not.

Deconstructing Tweeting Content

Sharing content is at the core of the term social media – being out there and social by sharing content from a media source. Any new activity takes time – more for some than others – but with practice you will get comfortable. Having some guidelines can help you get over the hump. In time, you will gain a level of savviness with using Twitter.


This is from The Hot Iron, a journal on business and technology by Mike Maddaloni.


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My Takeaways From The Smear By Sharyl Attkisson

By Mike Maddaloni on Sunday, September 17, 2017 at 08:17 PM with 0 comments

photo of The Smear signed title page

If I were to sum up the last US Presidential election process in one word, it would be “painful.” Why painful? For almost 2 years prior people were subjected to dialogue that wasn’t even worthy of an elementary school playground. I could go on and on and on and on with analogies of what I heard, but one descriptor of it would certainly not be “substance.”

All the while I’ve had a sneaking suspicion this was all intentional. After reading the book The Smear: How Shady Political Operatives and Fake News Control What You See, What You Think, and How You Vote by Sharyl Attkisson, I was unfortunately reassured of my assumptions.

The Smear was published this summer, and is a very timely journal of the 2016 US national elections, including analysis on headlines discussed, as well as a history lesson as to the people and sources – from money to information – behind the candidates. Attkisson is a veteran investigative journalist, formerly with CBS News and now host of Sinclair’s Full Measure weekly news program. As I have liked her comprehensive reporting, I was compelled to pre-order this book when it was announced.

My takeaways from The Smear went from to micro to macro, and are as follows.

There were events I missed – As I read through The Smear, there were several times I said to myself, “gee, I didn’t know that.” Especially for someone like me who, despite being a long-time cord-cutter but someone who prides himself on keeping close eyes and ears to the news, there were a few events and some nuances I missed. With all that was flung and slung by so many, I wasn’t completely surprised.

Follow the money – To say that money is influential in politics is like saying sunlight is influential in growing plants. Typically we all have seen the end results of political spending, namely in advertising of various formats, but with “fake news” Web sites coming and going, we don’t all know who is behind them or paying for them. With the plethora of political consulting firms, political action committees (PACs) and SuperPACs and their influence, it’s hard to follow. In The Smear, Attkisson does a good job in connecting the dots along the money trails.

Will it ever get better? – I believe in journalism. With this last election, about all I saw was biased opinion and very little hard news. There are journalists I know and follow and trust. It’s not an exhaustive list, but a vital one to me. Overall I follow a broad spectrum of information sources, think for myself and come up with my take.

As someone who enjoys reading about politics, I enjoyed and recommend The Smear. It’s presented in a methodical and relatively chronological order, and I found it a good read. If you’re not into this type of book, or you believe everything you hear and see on (insert your favorite news network here) then this book probably isn’t for you.

As I do with every book I read, I give it away, and this one I am sending to my favorite Father-In-Law. Where I may have an idea of what his politics are, I am still eager to hear his take on this book.


This is from The Hot Iron, a journal on business and technology by Mike Maddaloni.


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GoPats.com Announces Its Retirement As Patriots Fan Web Site

By Mike Maddaloni on Tuesday, September 05, 2017 at 05:50 PM with 0 comments

the GoPats.com logo

After 21 seasons of serving the fans of the NFL’s New England Patriots, GoPats.com announces its retirement, according to its co-founders Mike Maddaloni and Clint Mills.

At the time of its launch in the mid-1990’s, GoPats.com was one of only a handful of Patriots fan sites worldwide. In these early days of the Web, with copyright laws still murky for online content, the site, originally called Patriots Unofficial, focused on original content, including its flagship column, Clint’s Corner. Even when the NFL and the Patriots encouraged fair-use of its logo and branding, the site remained true to its origins, even with the number of fan sites increasing.

The site first launched in “beta” in the fall of 1995, when Mike created one of his first Web sites as a way of learning the emerging Web technologies. Upon showing the Patriots page to Clint – whom he met at work and they became fast friends over the team, as Clint was a second-generation season ticket holder and Mike was a new one – he expressed his dismay that it was not worthy of the team.

Miffed at this, Mike told Clint to put his money where his mouth was and provide content to the site. An extremely loyal and knowledgeable fan of the Pats and all of football, Clint wrote an off-season article on March 13, 1996, and this date is considered the official launch of the site. The eponymous domain name was added in 1997 at Clint’s insistence, trailblazing in the trend of personal Web sites being branded with their own domain name.

From its humble beginnings just prior to the Pats second Super Bowl appearance – and loss – to winning its first in New Orleans in 2002, Clint’s Corner was published in 129 editions. Additionally, guest contributors including Frank Moore, Ralph Ingrassia and others made their mark on the site, all with original content. This made GoPats.com the go-to destination for reporting and opinion on the team long before the term “dynasty” was even considered. The site and his involvement was cited when Clint won the 1998 Patriots Fan of the Year Joseph Mastrangelo Trophy, which was presented to him by team owner Robert Kraft.

A bonus, if you will, of running one of the original fan Web sites to serve Patriots Nation was the engagement with fans, across New England and around the world. This included Pats fans and fans of other teams, and where the occasional exchange out of bounds, most all connections were positive. Sporting GoPats.com t-shirts and a large banner during tailgating and other events, including New Orleans’ Bourbon Street, helped Clint and Mike engage with fans from all corners of the globe.

From a technology point of view, GoPats.com was a groundbreaking media platform. It was a content management system (CMS) and blogging platform long before those terms became mainstream. The site could be updated from home or the parking lot right after the game. Its integrated email list informed hundreds of fans of new content to the site and incorporated leading-edge design and functional features to remain a current platform and offer the ultimate user experience for Patriots Nation.

clipping of Mike and Clint with the Pat Van

That was then, and this is now. As time went on and as Mike and Clint went from single guys with plenty of disposable time to family men, it impacted the frequency of publishing and overall updates. A short-lived news blog, Out In The Loop, was added in the mid-2000’s but it didn’t keep up with the fandom landscape, which evolved ahead with more advanced Web sites, mobile apps, social media as well as cross-media business ventures. In recent years the site design was updated to keep it as an archive site, but the demand for knowledge on Bill Parcells “buying the groceries” during the 1996 season waned. Even the above-shown tailgating van is no longer in service, however one of its “PAT VAN” license plates is on display at the official Patriots Hall of Fame at Gillette Stadium.

In its retirement, the domain name GoPats.com will redirect to the very post you are reading now, which lives on Mike’s blog, The Hot Iron, which itself has been publishing for over a decade. Could GoPats.com ever come out of retirement or serve another purpose? Any reasonable offers starting at 7-figures will certainly be considered!


This is from The Hot Iron, a journal on business and technology by Mike Maddaloni.


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