My new gig

17 06 2010

As most of you know, I’ve been working with several companies over the past few years helping them with their marketing, communications, business development, and so on. I enjoyed the freedom that came with freelancing – but over the past year was becoming increasingly itchy for a change. I had debated starting another venture, but it felt terribly daunting and I had nothing I was sufficiently excited about to spend the 80 hours a week building it and trying to raise money.

Something I have long been very excited about was one of my clients – EdgeCast. The company is a content delivery network (CDN) competing with Akamai and Limelight (to name a couple.) In a nutshell, EdgeCast does for bits what FedEx does for packages – delivers them quickly, accurately, and intact. [OK, it's a little bit more complicated, but that's for another conversation.] The incredible explosion of demand for digital content – and the equally huge explosion in the supply of it – is combining to create a staggering market opportunity in the shuttling and stewardship of those bits. The public internet just wasn’t built for this.

Anyway, the company was founded in 2006 by friends – some very smart guys I admire a lot – and so I have been lucky enough to be involved since the idea stage and to see it mature into a serious contender.

Long story short – I’m really excited to announce that I joined the EdgeCast management team as their VP of Communications and Marketing. It’s actually been a couple of months now, but I haven’t had the chance to formally let the world know.

Everything was right about this opportunity – the timing, the team, the work I’m getting to do, the incredible market potential. I love that I’m applying my creative and technical mind in equal doses – and the company is at a very exciting stage. Perhaps best of all, I’m having a lot of fun.

So there you have it.



Zantovsky on History

13 01 2010

“Based on the known record, history is more likely a complex process in which each event is to a larger, smaller, or infinitesimal extent the result of everything that has happened before combined with a healthy dose of randomness. As such, it carries forward and perpetuates, at least for a time, not only human growth and human achievements but also our weaknesses, fallacies, inconsistencies, and failures. That is why it comes back to haunt us so often. One can only ask whether the post-Cold War world would be any different if Communism was smashed to dust and eradicated the way Nazism was. In the event, to the vast relief of people in the West and East alike, it imploded peacefully. But perhaps in doing so, it was also allowed to scatter tiny bits of its tyrannical self, its messianic arrogance, its ignorance of human nature, and its fundamental immorality to the ends of the earth. It is gone but not dead. In any case, democracies seem to have been much more aware of their fundamental values and the price of liberty when the totalitarian threat was still around.”

Michael Zantovsky, Resumption: The Gears of 1989, World Affairs Journal



Photography Site

26 12 2009

This place is (unfortunately) being neglected. You’ll find a few articles over on my photography site, which I’m slowly working on beefing up (from a Flash portfolio to a richer, more powerful WordPress site) to make it more worthy of belonging to an actual Los Angeles fashion photographer. Hoping to pretty it up – and work out the kinks – in the coming weeks, when I’m not too busy dealing with frivolous legal threats from celebrities and their blustery lawyers.



Open Source Arson Investigation

3 10 2009

The story that follows is long and a bit convoluted, but it’s necessary to understand the situation and my reasoning behind releasing the images herein.

On August 29, I decided to go shoot some breaking-news images of the Station Fire, a massive wildfire conflagration which continues to burn as I write this in early October. I spent a significant amount of that day inside the forest shooting. The forest was closed to the public and I was admitted as media – told I was “on my own” which was just fine with me. Late in the afternoon, as I was making my way back out, I came across a rather eerie looking scene at a turnout a few miles from the forest boundary. It just looked and felt weird – the fire hoses sitting there in a box (apparently staging by the firefighters), the gnarly blackened trees, etc. So I pulled in and took a couple photos of the site.

Read the rest of this entry »



Honey, I’m Home!

16 09 2009

I’m thrilled to be back in Amsterdam – one of my favorite cities – (check the Amsterdam archives to hear me fawn over her in ’06 like a lovesick schoolboy).  A couple days here on my own (doing a little work, actually) prior to D‘s arrival as she wraps up her African safari.  The plan is some time in Paris, then back here for Picnic ’09, then to Ghent, then back here again… we’re gonna have fun.



Ink Time

7 09 2009

Briefing: The Moment [Time]The Hollywood sign shot has been everywhere.  It’s been really exciting.  Thank you to all of you who saw it in your papers (Fargo! Tulsa! Edmonton! DC! London! Holy Moly!) and wrote to me.  I feel really lucky this past week.

I was at the newsstand today to check the fresh Newsweek, because they finally ran the story on the John Hancock Tower for which they had licensed a couple of my shots.  My shots didn’t make the final cut, so that was a disappointment.

But, knowing that TIME had featured my Hollywood sign shot in their weekly gallery online, I figured – just in case – I’d peek at their print edition.  I dropped Newsweek, picked up its shelf-neighbor, TIME – and there was my baby, jumpin’ off the page!  I was psyched.

[Apologize for the quality of the scan; the paper is so thin that it is hard to scan it well.]



California Wildfire Photos

30 08 2009

I spent much of the afternoon and evening yesterday up in Angeles National Forest photographing the fires and general devastation up there.  You can see some of the photos in my Station Fire photo album.  The Associated Press has licensed a couple of them – and I’m pretty psyched about that.  Let me know if you see them anywhere.  (And, in the “dubious honor” department, my smoky Hollywood Sign image is on the front page of the Drudge Report as I write.)

Once past the police checkpoints, it got very eerie.  The roads were debris-strewn and entire neighborhoods abandoned.  I explored the neighborhoods briefly but decided to save that for evening.

Once up into the forest, I was prepared for the flames and the smoke – but not the sound.  It was perhaps the oddest sound I’d ever heard.  Not just the roaring-freight-train sound you’d expect a mountainside of fire to sound like – but a strange, squealy-popping sound – almost like a cackling scream.  There were lines of fire everywhere.  It was really touch-and-go and “intense” is understating it.

It was a humbling experience; I hope to write more later – but for now, check the images.



Task Force Raids LA Marijuana Dispensaries, Shoots Dog

18 08 2009

“As perplexing as the current legal environment is for medical marijuana patients, one thing is quite clear: despite administration statements, little has changed with regard to federal enforcement of marijuana laws, even in states where it has been decriminalized.”

[From my latest Huffington Post piece: Task Force Raids LA Marijuana Dispensaries, Shoots Dog.]



Gauging TechCrunch’s Moral Fiber In One Sentence

15 07 2009

The study of microexpressions has long been fascinating to me.  If you’re really paying attention, you can learn a great deal about a person in fleeting, unguarded moments.  I think this is true about language as well.  In written and spoken conversation, passing remarks – let’s call them “microprose” – can often give a far more realistic depiction of what’s really going on than what is presented as the main course.  This is, of course, because they are less thought out – and thus less guarded – than the rest of it.

When Arrington posted his rant back in December about how TechCrunch was no longer going to honor embargoes, I stayed out of that fray.  I did that for many reasons: mostly because I think they have every right to refuse to honor embargoes, partially because I didn’t really care enough, and also because the issue was already getting a lot more treatment than it deserved.  But at the time, one little piece of it stood out to me:

“We’ll happily agree to whatever you ask of us, and then we’ll just do whatever we feel like right after that.”

I remember being troubled by that.  It’s one thing to say you won’t honor embargoes and NDAs.  It’s quite another to say you will agree to them and then break them.  The former describes someone doing what they feel is best for their business in an increasingly competitive space; the latter describes someone running a serious ethical deficit.

Last night the news broke that Arrington is in receipt of several hundred confidential Twitter documents forwarded to him by a hacker who broke into some of the company’s email accounts.  I won’t get into it all here; it’s being covered ad nauseam by the usual suspects.  Last night, Arrington publicly feigned moral contemplation about an “ethical line” he didn’t want to cross, then closed the same article with “more posts coming soon.”  Bring me the vomit bag.

I would conservatively estimate that the feedback loop of mutual-Web2.0-masturbation that goes on with Arrington and the toadys immediately around him might evacuate 40% of the oxygen from the social media ecosphere.  And that’s fine; jerk each other off all you want – it’s America.  But when you decide to participate on the buy side of a market for the fruits of criminal labor, I object – and I hope your readers do, too.



Universal Medical Marijuana Recommendation

3 06 2009

I am going to a fundraiser for the Marijuana Policy Project tomorrow night at the Playboy Mansion.  It should be interesting.  In thinking tonight about the more serious issues surrounding marijuana prohibition, it occurred to me that there’s one rather proactive medical recommendation that (I assume) anyone ought to qualify for.  Here’s my attempt at a first draft:

“I, Doctor Whomever X. Wherever, have thoroughly evaluated and assessed Patient Doe.  In light of this assessment, and my solemn duty to protect the privacy, dignity, and best interests of my patients, I hereby affirm that, in my best professional judgment, my patient’s physical and psychological health are best served by her never spending a single day in prison.”

Who wants to try first?