Friday, January 30, 2009

End of Week Notes

The Meet/Network with the B2G Press event I referenced a few days ago now has a web site for registration - I would suggest registering early as this will sell out. If you attend, look for me.

My radio show Monday (2/2/09) will feature Bob Woods, CEO of Topside Consulting ( Bob is a former Federal CIO (GSA, VA, others) and we thoroughly discuss what the transition means to both senior Feds and the contractor community. This is a good interview. The show airs at noon Monday on 1500 AM in Washington, DC and is simulcast on, where it will also be archived. On Monday, Feb 9, my guest will be Kevin Plexico of Input.

I will be in the February issue of Washington Technology...comes out Monday.

At another 1105 media property, Wyatt Kash, editor in chief of Government Computer News ( , also takes the top spot at Defense Systems magazine ( while retaining his role at GCN.

And in case you missed it, I was also featured at

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Washington Post's "Book World" Vacates the Buidling

The Washington Post announced today that Book World would no longer be a stand alone supplement in the Sunday newspaper. The paper said it would continue book reviews in the Style and Outlook sections of the paper. Katherine Graham, former Post chief executive, once said "the mark of a good newspaper is its book section." I will not pass judgement until I see what the Post does, but I do not hold out high hopes. I don't blame the Post - this was simply a business decision made by someone who does not feel the same as Mrs Graham. This move will, though, contribute to the decline of reading in America.

Book World was always my "first read" on Sunday. I read between 75-100 books each year, roughly balanced between history, biography, business and fiction, and it was always fun to see the top 10 lists for DC readers. My "to read" stack is always high.

The Post rarely covered business books, though, regardless of how popular or good they might be. A couple days ago I started to fill this niche in my own way, with a section at one of my web sites to be called "Amtower on Business Books" - or something along those lines.

The first interview/review is already up -
and it is an audio interview (downloadable) with David Meerman Scott on his upcoming World Wide Rave, to be released the first week of March. David provided me one of the advance copies and I have already read it twice (that only counts as once on my "75-100" list). This is a great book and a pretty good interview.

I have already scheduled the next interview/review, which will be with my long-time friend Robert W (Bob) Bly, perhaps the most prolific business author today (with over 75 books). I will be talking with Bob about his excellent new book, Persuasive Presentations for Business. I will interview him early next week and the review will be up by next Friday. I have many of Bob's book in my business library (downstairs in the office; the fiction library is upstairs). This book is an excellent resource for anyone in business, as we all need some help when it comes to speaking.

I hope to do at least one of these every month.

A survey I read about in the Post said that one in four adults read no books last year (the study was in 2008). Most only read one book per year. Enough said.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Rodney Coleman revisited

Monday Jan 26 the Minnesota senate race went to court. Read this article - it's great!

A 3 judge panel (the judges sound like another threesome I watched as a child) will decide the outcome of this hotly contested race.

My point: Norm Coleman can't get no respect.

The ONLY reason he was in the senate is that his opponent DIED during the senate race 6 years ago. And he barely beat the replacement candidate.

Before that he lost the governorship to former Navy Seal and pro wrestler Jesse Ventura (my personal all-time favorite politician).

If you see him on TV his voice is whiny - and so is his message. That's why I gave him my AMMIE waward earlier this year.

Give it up Norm. Some things are not meant to be.....

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

If someone is hosting a government web 2.0 conference

focusing in topics like how government should use social networking, and you look them up on LinkedIn and they have 1 - yes ONE - connection, how seriously do you take them?

"Rule of Two" Delex briefing from Arnold & Porter

A& P just announced a client advisory on the GAO "rule of 2" decision - you can download the 3 page report here.

Really Meet the Media


Evan Weisel of Welz & Weisel (Virginia PR firm that is top-rated by me) sent this over. It's a very different way to meet the press (and indicative of the 'out of the norm' thinking that Tony Welz and Evan Weisel bring to the table. These are good guys (hear the show they did with me in the archives at I will be at this event.

Fairfax, VA - January 28, 2009 - Welz & Weisel Communications, a strategic public relations firm focused on creating awareness and credibility campaigns for information technology companies, today announced it will host a government media networking reception on February 24, 2009, providing attendees with unique insights into the marketing, advertising and editorial plans of the area's leading government-focused organizations. The reception offers organizations that provide services and solutions to the government an opportunity to build relationships with members of various government media, association and analyst organizations. This informal setting will allow individuals to mingle over breakfast with contacts that can help increase market visibility for organizations looking to better gain visibility in front of government buyers. Brief comments will be made from executives of the participating organizations to share their thoughts on 2009 market opportunities. Editors, writers and advertising/marketing executives from the following organizations will be participating:

1105 Government Information Group: Defense Systems, Federal Computer Week, Government Computer News, and Washington Technology

The American Small Business Coalition:

Amtower & Company:

Federal News Radio:

Government Executive:

IDC Industry Insights:

DATE: Tuesday, February 24, 2009
TIME: 7:30 a.m. - 9.30 a.m.
LOCATION: Tower Club, Tysons Corner 8000 Towers Crescent Drive, Vienna, VA 22182 COST: $40 pre-registration; $50 at door (includes continental breakfast)
REGISTRATION: Contact Claire Eisenberg or Christy Pittman at 703-218-3555 or email at or

Monday, January 26, 2009

Actually this is more than a rumor. FOSE cornerstone exhibitors CDWG and Microsoft will not be exhibiting this year. The FOSE web site lists only 248 vendors signed up so far and many biggies are missing. Others AWOL include PC Mall and GTSI. Despite massive early web PR (starting last summer, and inlcuding the prerecorded phone call I had over the weekend), overall interest in FOSE seems to be way down. Even with the merger of the show with GovSec (they say it is two different shows in the same place at the same time, but it is really one big event), I look for attendance to be down.

Other major events, like MacWorld, have announced they are folding - and Apple has something other shows did not - truly raving, incense-burning fans with little Steve altars in dark corners of their basements. Mac-ism is a cult bordering on a religion.

On LinkedIn people are asking if the Comsumer Electronics Show (CES) is done. Has the day of the mega-event passed? Or will it morph? Is this something we want to save?

With all the Web 2.0 tools out there, any show that wants to stay alive better be seeking the help advice, buyoff from the significant bloggers, podcasters and tweeters in their respective markets.
It is time once again to recognize the good, the bad, the ugly and the just plain silly in the world of Washington, DC, the Hill and doing business with the government with my occasional AMMIE Awards. The AMMIES are for recognition either ‘above and beyond’, or ‘beneath and barely believable’. There is no committee for selection, these are purely my choices. There is no statue or plaque - simply a public acknowledgement of a job well-done, undone, or shouldn't have been done. These were announced on my radio show, Monday, January 12 on WFED, 1500 AM.

First – true public service recognition: in 2008 two extraordinary women announced their intention to leave public service: Diedre Lee – who left FEMA in early 2008, and Karen Evans, who left OMB in late 2008, or maybe she’s still there for another week or so. In any case, these are two people who had a positive impact – Dee Lee in procurement and Karen Evans in IT. These ladies get the AMMIE for a Job Truly Well Done.

Second, Congress getting the SSSSBD Award for giving itself a pay raise in the worst economy in our history without having to vote on it – the get the Sneaky, Slimy Self-Serving Back Door AMMIE for giving itself more money when so many have so little.

Third, the SBA gets the Spin of the Year AMMIE for the December press release on the accomplishments of the Bush Administration in the area of small biz. Suffice it to say that there was enough spin in this document to reverse the course of history.

Fourth, and finally, to possibly former senator Norm Coleman of Minnesota. The day after the election, with a couple hundred vote lead, he called on his opponent comedian and radio host Al Franken to concede. Now, with the recount apparently done, and being behind by about 200 votes, Mr Coleman is threatening legal action. For those who do not recall, Mr Coleman is also the guy who lost the Governor race to radio host and former wrestler Jesse Ventura about ten years ago> This affords Mr Coleman the unique position of being only person in American political history to lose to both a comedian and a professional wrestler, winning him the Rodney Dangerfield I Can’t get No Respect AMMIE.

Sunday, January 25, 2009


Welcome to the revitalized and re-launched Amtower Off Center blog! This
blog replaces The Amtower Report, my newsletter which started as a hardcopy
in the early 1990s and ran until late last year. This blog will incorporate
all the features of the newsletter, be updated more frequently, and my
commentary will be more "real time".

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Stay tuned!......