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Wednesday, May 05, 2010
Hey Philly, It's May 5th, Do you know where your Beer Week is?
In one month, around these Philly parts, we'll be kicking off the third consecutive annual Philly Beer Week. And more than in either of the last two years, at least as of this morning, I have very little idea what I'll be doing for the ten days that follow June 3rd. I had a long (trust me, it was...and still is...lengthy) well-reasoned argument of my own that sought to substantiate and extend Jack Curtin's argument that the Philly Beer Week website is suboptimally and inefficiently designed. Then, I figured, why write for you a lot of the same observations twice? Just go and read what he wrote if you already haven't. I'm saving the full version rant for a few more weeks if nothing changes to improve the site's visit experience. (As of this morning, Joe Sixpack promises "a couple cool, new features at the web site." The jury will remain out until at least such time.) I'll basically say at this point that I wholeheartedly agree with Jack's keen observations. For a third straight year, for those interested in planning to attend more than one event on more than one day, the exercise in using the PBW website calendar will be an exercise in frustrating productivity loss. I can only speak for myself when I say that I don't have time to deal with slow website response time to still then have to dig through layers of a cumbersome and inefficient calendar of events just to figure out what to do during Philly Beer Week. My hunch is that I'm not alone (or that Jack and I are not alone in this frustration). So, for the third consecutive year, I will put together helpful tools/aids for you---the target market of Philly Beer Week---to figure out where and how your Philly Beer Week will be celebrated this year. I am one of the city/region's biggest boosters; I support Philly Beer and its Week as much, and sometimes, more so than most others. In the world of beer, we do 98%, or at least 96%, of what we do generally in what can be described as--the right way. But, that shouldn't stop us from calling out the shortcomings...particularly when the same shortcoming rears its head for three straight years on our biggest international beer stage, as if nothing's been learned from the past two years. I tried to be the kind, but squeaky, wheel in year one. That got me no where. Last year, I tried to be a bit more aggressive in my suggestions that the site/calendar was not everything it could be. This year, what the hell, it's time to start being a bit more direct and loud. After suggestions I'd made in the past two years basically fell on deaf ears, I'm finished with trying to sugarcoat it. (I'm not just talking about suggestions made via TBL, but made directly in person and directly via email to the people who should be responsible for organizing and managing such things....isn't that, I believe, why there's a committee of members acting as a "board," right?) The 3,300 downloads of the spreadsheet calendar that I created at The Brew Lounge last year speak volumes: Something needs to change in the development and the management of the PBW calendar and website.