Saturday, January 5, 2008

Tod Maffin Abandons Podcasting

special to The Star

"I practically invented Podcasting! Don't these people know who they're dealing with?"
Tod Maffin is pacing the living room of his 20th floor apartment overlooking downtown Vancouver.
He's furious. His network of contacts on the internet have let him down.
"None of them would be anything without me. I told them, you've got to stand by your leader. These scams will not work unless we're all agreed."
A cellphone rings and Tod reaches for it, grabs it, without even looking,
"Make it quick. I'm being interviewed by The Downtowner" he says, in that distinctive voice known to loyal CBC radio listeners.
It's his old friend and webmaster Mark Blevis calling to confirm which products are to be mentioned on Tod's personal blog. Product endorsements remain a large part of the revenue supporting the Maffin empire. Each positive mention earns $100, and each negative comment against a competitor also $100.
"Make it Hp printers and the gripe about Ticketmaster surcharges" he states emphatically to Blevis and snaps the phone shut.
He sits down and reaches for the controller of his XBox, punches some buttons, then throws it in disgust on the couch beside him.
"I'm stuck in this forest and can't get out. Everyone else ran away. And I'm paying for Gold-level service!"
Off air, and unconstrained by CBC practices, Tod Maffin is even more wound up.
"Wired", he calls it. It was a condition he had noticed about himself, and later decided to make it into a Powerpoint presentation that could be sold to company luncheons.
"I told them to think low tech in a high tech world and they would be OK. I still don't know what it means myself but they bought it."
Maffin gives the appearance of a man whose mind is always working.
And it needs to be.
In the competitive world of cyberspace there's no predicting who will fail and who will come up with the next big thing. It means being vigilant and alert at all times to spotting a new opportunity, a new trend.
"I have a lot on the go at one time. A multi-tasker they call it. But I'm called a lot of things. The words themselves doesn't mean anything to me. What people don't realize is that it's not the words themselves that matter. What matters is that they make me sound like I'm better than you."
Keeping a high profile on the internet is what consumes most of Tod's time. He writes two blogs and tries to answer every email that he receives, so a Blackberry, iPhone or laptop is usually nearby. He relies on several devices at once, mostly because he keeps dropping them.
Maffin is a reporter's delight. He talks without being asked questions, and knows we need declarative statements that stand out.
"I need to write a book. I want to be introduced as an author. It sounds so much more reputable, and really sticks it to the people out there who couldn't put two sentences together."
He's reminded to explain why he called a reporter up to his apartment, which, it turns out, doubles as headquarters for Tod Maffin Inc.
"Oh right. I've called you here today to announce that Podcasting is dead. Kaput, finished."
It's a remarkable statement coming from a man who wanted to be the ultimate controller of all the podcasts in the country. How could this be?
"We simply can't compete. The big commercial outlets will always win over the little guy. Talent means nothing, just look at what Strombo is getting away with. Guests! I've been podcasting since the stone age and haven't made a single dime. I even tried to re-sell the bits I do for the CBC and they won't let me.
What's the point if nobody's listening?"
Is no one listening to Tod Maffin's podcast? How can that be?
A faint "oops" can be heard just before Tod says "what I mean is that the only thing that still counts is network radio. Stuff you can get without having to fiddle with downloads and cables and RRS feeds. People want simplicity in their lives, and they're looking for quality. Stuff that has an editor, and not just two laughing hyenas with voices in their head that tell them they should be on the radio."
He's asked if his belief that podcasting is dead has anything to do with this morning's announcement of the Top 100 Podcasts in Canada.
Tod's podcast is not on the list.
The question causes Tod's nose to quiver, and he reaches up to cover it while making it appear that he just needed to push his glasses closer to his face.
"Of courses not. That list, which I have not seen and do not have a copy of anywhere in my email that I've seen directly or indirectly is just a reflection of a demographic tuned into alternative entertainment. My Facebook group is more powerful than any of those radio wannabe's. Like I said, people are looking for quality."
And they've decided that Tod Maffin's podcast is not in that category?
Another faint "oops" is heard as Tod stands up.
"I'm a winner and will always be a whiner, I mean winner. Got that?
Now I'm scheduled to take a bath. This press conference is over."

As we go to shake Tod Maffin's hand, he reaches out as well, but there's a microphone in his.
"I prefer technology to people. More reliable, and more easily controlled. And there's usually a warranty" he says as he ushers us out the door.

No comments:

What's your problem?

Tod Maffin's version of absolute power.
I wrote a comment at a famous blog.
Tod didn't like it, and took the intial steps of legal action to have it removed.
He was successful.

It made me an unhappy camper.
And I happen to really like it here.