According to an adage from the Internet’s early days, information wants to be free. These days, the free Internet is being challenged. Many sites have recently imposed pay walls or otherwise started to charge visitors.


Here at The D&O Diary, we are about to celebrate our seventh anniversary of providing information and commentary free of charge to readers around the world. Every now and then a concerned reader will ask, with furrowed brow, “You aren’t going to start charging me to visit your site are you?” Not to worry. For a lot of reasons, we are not about to start charging. The D&O Diary always has been and always will be free.


We are committed to keeping this site free because we think of our readers as our partners. In fact, we are so grateful for this sense of partnership that we would like to give our readers a token of our appreciation.


We would like readers who are interested to have one of our limited-edition designer coffee mugs, pictured above. Just to be clear, the price of the mug, like the price of visiting this site, is free.


If you email me at and provide me with your name, address and e-mail address, I will mail you a mug. For free. (I promise that I will not use your information for any reason other than sending you the mug and for communicating with you about it. I will not share your information with anyone.)


That’s right. I am offering to mail you a D&O Diary coffee mug — for free.


There’s just one little catch.


If I send you a mug, you agree that you will take a picture of the mug and send me the picture along with a 250-300 word description of the circumstances behind the picture. I will publish the best pictures and descriptions on this site – “best” meaning the most creative and imaginative.


What kinds of pictures and descriptions might readers send in? I don’t know. I have confidence that this blog’s resourceful readers, inspired by the experience of receiving a free D&O Diary coffee mug, will demonstrate unparalleled levels of ingenuity and inventiveness.


To get everyone started, here is an illustration of what a picture and description might look like.


In this picture, I am standing at the Ledges Overlook in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, near Peninsula, Ohio. Yes, there is a National Park in Ohio, located less than 30 minutes from The D&O Diary’s world headquarters. By the way, the park, the headquarters, and in fact the entire state of Ohio are all located in the Eastern Time Zone. This picture was taken by Mrs. D&O Diary. Later, the two of us christened our new mugs with a ‘00 vintage bottle of Château Smith Haut Lafîtte. I purchased the bottle at the Chateau –which is located in the Graves wine region south of Bordeaux –when I traveled there with several industry colleagues in May 2004. (Right now, several old friends are smiling and nodding at the recollection of a great trip.) When I purchased the bottle, the wine steward fixed me with a cold look, shook her finger in my face and said, “Attention! Do not drink for ten years!” I am not sure whether she meant ten years from the grape harvest or ten years from the day I bought the bottle, but either way I think she would approve of our enjoyment of the wine as the inaugural beverage served in our new mugs.


More Pictures and an Afterword


“Information wants to be free/and so does The D&O Diary.” This is the Free Stamp, a Claus Oldenburg sculpture located on a bluff in downtown Cleveland next to City Hall and overlooking Lake Erie.












Cleveland Rocks, Baby. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is one of Cleveland’s many beautiful buildings. I know that some of you, at this very moment, can hardly resist the urge to shout, “Play Freebird!”—because “free” is good.












Cleveland may be known for its harsh winters, but the truth is that Cleveland has four distinct seasons. And after a long winter, spring is a glorious thing. Here is a picture of springtime at Horseshoe Lake, in Shaker Heights, Ohio. While it is true that no one can do anything about the weather, the weather is, undeniably, free.
















Do you know what the price of admission is for the Cuyahoga Valley National Park? You guessed it – free.



































Afterword:  I hope that you are already thinking about the pictures you will take when you get your mug. Please let me know if you would like me to send you one. Due to my upcoming business travel, it will be a few days before I can actually send out the mugs. The first batch will go out around the middle of May. When you send in your pictures and descriptions, please send pictures in the JPEG format. Send the descriptions as a Word document without text formating (that is, no bold face, italics or underlining — the  formatting doesn’t translate well into the blogging software). I look forward to seeing what everyone comes up with.