Remembering Paddy Brown

Have you done a Paddy Brown lately?

He was a fireman who died in 9/11.

Over on a Web site memorializing him, one of the letters suggested doing a "Paddy Brown" every day. What's that? Doing something nice for someone else.

Why am I thinking about that?

Well, I met Stephen McCarthy last year and turned out he was working for CNBC as a producer on the Donny Deutsch show. He called my cell phone today and said "I have something for you."

We met up and he handed me a DVD. On it it simply said "Remembering Paddy."

Tonight I watched it.

The first few minutes set the tone. He just filmed Paddy's phone messages. People calling him on the morning of 9/11.

It got worse and worse. Then Stephen told us about his friendship with Paddy (he covered Paddy when he was a video news reporter) and his camera introduced us to Paddy's family and friends.

Can you make a difference in the world? Why don't you try doing a Paddy?

I'll find out when Stephen's video will be on air (he thinks it'll be on one of the major networks in about a month).

Dave Winer says we better get our s**t together soon

I spent the evening with the folks who are writing LiveSide, a blog about Windows Live. These guys aren't Microsoft employees. They just thought it'd be interesting to do a blog about Windows Live. They invited me to a dinner and also invited a bunch of people from the various Windows Live teams (there's a ton of them now).

When I got home I checked my feeds about Microsoft and I see that Dave Winer said something about us. He says that Microsoft is falling behind Google and Apple and that we better get our s**t together soon.

True.

But we're fortunate because people like Chris, Harrison, Kip, who like what we're doing enough to build great community sites.

I agree with Dave, though. It's put up or shut up time.

One thing in response to Dave: I am working very hard to make friends among bloggers. My phone number is on my blog. You know how to find me if you need something.

Meeting celebrities up close and personal

Why is it when you meet someone face to face that your opinions of them change radically? Today I became fans of Donny Deutsch and Jay Z.

Donny hosts a show called the Big Idea on CNBC. He asked Bill some excellent questions like "what do you get pissed about?" Bill tried to weasel out of that and Donny had none of it. Bill was really stumped. He also asked "what would you say to Google?" He set a high bar for interviewing Bill that I hope I'll get to meet someday.

Jay Z is a rapper. But he breaks all the stereotypes. He's astute. Personable. And is interesting to listen to.

Donny's interview with Bill Gates will be on CNBC on Monday and Jay Z's interview will be up next week.

Anyway, both interviews are ones you should consider checking out.

My weird life, continued (meeting a Discovery Channel exec)

So, this afternoon I was sitting in building 33 (aka Microsoft's conference center) listening to Donny Deutsch interview Bill Gates and later JayZ for CNBC in front of hundreds of advertising executives. I was sitting in the back row, taking notes. It was an interesting set of interviews. But that isn't what was interesting.

Three guys were sitting next to me. At the end they started saying that hearing Bill talk changed their opinions about him and Microsoft. Heh, he has the same effect on me.

But, then, I ask the three what do they do?

Two were execs at Procter and Gamble. But the third guy was an exec at Discovery Channel.

My jaw dropped. I had just written about Discovery Channel on my blog.

I was so flabbergasted that I forgot to get his name. But, I did ask him about the effect of HDTV on Discovery.

He said it is huge. They invested in the best HDTV equipment of any major cable network, he told me. It totally changed their brand and advertisers love the results they are getting. Why? Because HDTV owners are early adopters. They tend to be more educated, more affluent, more likely to buy new things. Which makes them far more valuable to advertisers, as a group, than others.

"Why isn't all the advertising in HD?" I asked. I noticed this because I usually fast-forward through the advertising. Now, if you have a new HDTV screen you know that non-HD advertising will only display in 4:3 mode, which is narrower than the 16:9 format that HDTV displays in. This makes it really easy to fast forward through. You just stop when you see the wide-screen stuff again. Well, I've found that sometimes I stop and just watch the HD advertising.

The Discovery exec concurred and said that HD advertising was working better than non-HD advertising. He thinks that advertisers are blowing it by not shooting everything in HD.

Anyway, sometimes life just brings weird coincidences. This was one of them.