Why I still love baseball stories
Do you have a lobbyist working for you?

What's missing from this picture? A Hula Hoop?

One of my goals is that I will not be one of those bloggers who eats the New York Times for breakfast and then after chewing on the ponderous cud for a few moments, I deem to release droplets of the regurgitate here on my very own blog.

There are way too many people doing that.

In fact, I don't even typically scan through the Times any more, though I do have the corrections page bookmarked, and sometimes read that for grins.

But someone sent me a story this morning, knowing my history in the traffic business. The story reports -- this may shock some of you -- high technology is changing the way traffic gets reported.

The reason someone thought I'd like to see this is that I was in the traffic business for five years. I built a company called MyTrafficNews, and sold it to Traffic.com last year. The "news" in the Times is six or seven years old.

Now I'm contractually not able to be in the traffic business, but I don't need to be. Traffic.com, now a part of NavTeq, is doing a great job.

But that's not why I wanted to write about that story; there are two things that jumped out at me. First is that the story never mentioned Traffic.com. It's like they did a story about how great "Search Engines" are, but they never mention Google. That's just weird.

The second is this quote:

“Let’s say, just for discussion’s sake, a car goes off the Brooklyn Bridge here and into the water,” he said, pointing to a live image on a monitor. “I’m on the air. I can see that instantaneously. And I’m saying it as I see it.”

“To get that on the network” of pagers and cellphones, he added, “that has to be inputted into a terminal. It takes time to write that up, and for the equipment to process it and get it to you.”

After a motorist has that information in hand, there is the challenge of reading it off of a miniature screen while driving.

“I think,” Mr. Tauriello said with an audible swagger, “I’m a little bit faster on the trigger.”

One of the reasons that I did so well as a completely self-financed standalone company for five years -- playing in the arena with giant corporations running radio stations -- was the kind of attitude shown in that quote. Even now I get the feeling that these radio people think of the Internet as something like the Hula Hoop, another fad they saw come and go.

Also clear from that quote is the essential disconnect of the radio traffic reporter. You can feel in what he is saying that he wants a car to go off the Brooklyn Bridge, and he wants to watch it happen. Leaving aside the idea that he could single-handedly see everything in the NYC metro area, it's clear his goals just are the exact opposite of all of his listeners.


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