April 13, 2010

Zen & The Art of Media Avenue Maintenance


"I can see by my watch, without taking my hand from the left grip of the cycle that it's eight-thirty in the morning. The wind, even at sixty miles an hour is warm and humid. When it's this hot and muggy at eight-thirty, I'm wondering what its going to be like in the afternoon".

Of all the 20th century literature written on the quest for personal truth and enlightenment, few would expect that one of the greatest would begin by taking the reader from zero to sixty, literally by the second sentence. Perhaps that is why Robert Pirsig's "Zen and the art of Motorcycle Maintenance" is so powerful and in essence, true. Great literature is an ironic thing. It's hard to describe, yet we all know it when we read it.


Before the birth of the net, bikes were one of a small handful of modern society's creations that were truly refreshing for people who used them. It wasn't until another type of literature hit Madison Avenue with the launch and evolution of Watershed Publishing, publishers of MarketingVox and MediaBuyerPlanner with an affiliation with AdRants that increased this same dynamic for racers up and down our fabled lane. Now an authoritative network of Madison Avenue-based news and analysis, people feel the rush and excitement about the new Madison Avenue, daily.

Watershed Publishing's Joint-Venture with The Madison Avenue Journal was as reflexive and balanced as the experience required by Pirsig or any other motorcycle rider needs today to successfully take their eye off the road--even for a split second--to check the time.


"Motorcycle Maintenance's" lesson therefore is that it's the attention to detail that enables a rider/surfer to experience satisfaction on any journey one undertakes.

In the 21st century one doesn't need to jumpstart a Harley, Suzuki, Kawasaki or Triumph to experience what happens when they hit a speed bump. When consumers get behind a computer terminal, virtually everyone can sense--often instantly--when they come across regurgitated news, navigation problems or wrong directions mapped out on the home page. Who hasn't experienced the frustration of being led astray from where they're trying to go?

Pirsig relied on his own skills to make sure his bike was tuned and greased properly for his uniquely singular experience. However, web surfer/riders and MadAve pros do not have that same luxury.


Trade media websites of consequence are expected to deliver the same quality news and insight to the entire communications business each day. Therefore, they need a new breed of literary mechanic. However, for as much as the terrain is different, the same attention to detail is required.

There seems to be a similarity with Pirsig and MarketingVox, MediaBuyerPlanner and AdRants, and TMAJ. MarketingVox and AdRants have consistently won Best Blogs of the year from the likes of Marketing Sherpa, Fast Company, Advertising Age and most proudly, Forbes. The only e-zine that saw the need to provide a platform for creative expository analysis, The MadAve Journal brings a fun (and hopefully insightful) literary read as compared to other trade publishing companies.


Trade media websites generally have a twentieth of a second to make a good impression with visitors when they visit their site. That's according to a new research study from Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada. They found that the human brain makes decisions in that short amount of time after seeing a web page for the first time. That first impression, in turn, plays a major role in determining whether a visitor stays on a site.

Now, The MadAve Journal is providing a much needed views-based forum that complements AdRants focus on marketing and creative, MarketingVox's focus on new media and MediaBuyerPlanner's focus on the 360 degree marketplace. It's a perfect fit for what is needed on Madison Avenue and can be purchased as a network to cover virtually all aspects of the street.


This partnership is like having a new automotive GPS navigation tool built into the dashboard on a motorcycle, something still never developed today. Given each trade media platform's leadership in their respective fields, there is little doubt that the premiere independent NavigationSytemsReview.com would give them a 4-star rating.

According to the report, published in Behaviour & Information Technology, our brains assess visual appeal within 50 milliseconds, which suggests that web designers only have that much time to make a good impression. That came as a surprise to the researchers.

They had expected users to take a bit longer to form an impression, at least 10 times longer. They also found that the first impression is often the lasting impression. Researchers found that the initial impression held sway over their entire experience on the site, affecting how they evaluated the content and all other aspects. Its no surprise that viewers spend an average five minutes reading many of these sites.


This means that whether on the road, on the net or at your desk, we make judgment calls about our choice of navigating, based on time as well as reliance on the sources we use to navigate.

Pirsig's journey was both external in sharing his experience of his trip across the country, as it was bridging and tracking his internal speed bumps. At its end, it was a pilgrimage filled with both exhilaration and confusion. His reliance on his machine and his careful maintenance of it may have been the difference between a pleasure cruise and a determined and successful expedition into the unknown.

Normally, literature of profound wisdom begins with asking a reader to slow down, to stop, to begin at the beginning, to hopefully bring order from chaos. Yet, given the reality of life today, who has the luxury or desire to stop everything? It isn't practical. It isn't realistic and it isn't fun. Judging from our feedback to date, this trade media literary combo is breathing fresh air into Media Avenue with a well-edited and exhilarating read!


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