SXSW Day 2 Thoughts

Hey guys-

Fantastic first day at SXSW yesterday. I did no less than 6 interviews in the b5media sponsored Bloghaus. Met with dozens of people. It was literally the best conference day I’ve ever had. This morning, my neck hurts as I spent my second night literally camping under the stars at the “b5 ranch”. Yes there have been parties. Mostly the main ones have been blown off by the b5 crew as we made our own. Yesterday’s impromptu party was spent as well in unison with Weblogs Inc bloggers Christina Warren and Grant Robertson from Download Squad.

Weblogs Inc Crew

SezWho is here. SezWho is a great comment and rating system. The theory is commenting on a blog builds reputation in a particular area. The more reputation you have, the more weight you carry. We’re trying SezWho out at b5. Very, very early in the process on a very, very limited scope. I have a meeting with the CEO shortly. Again, just fantastic people here.

Eddie Vedder, from Pearl Jam of course, has a Texas top-rated gulf coast style seafood restaurant. Absolutely amazing. The food that is not listed on the menu is the best along with the non-menu’d “upgrades” to the steak etc. If you’re in Austin and need a middle-to-upper class quiet venue away from the 6th St bar scene, Eddie V’s is the place to go. Check it.

Krista Playing Joey's Accordion

b5media’s new tagline, by the way: 300+ blogs, 10M pageviews, one accordion. Welcome Joey deVilla to the b5 team. This is 4th day on the job and is experiencing SXSW life for the first time. Everyone loves the accordion!

SxSW vs. CxCC

So have any of you noticed a recent trend on Twitter? 

It seems that our ultra-friendly, tech community has temporarily (well, hopefully temporarily) divided.  We are now those at SxSW and those NOT at SxSW.  I, unfortunately, fall in the NOT at SxSW camp.  I have requested that SxSW folks start their tweets with “œSxSW hi” so that I will know right away to overlook them, as the pain was getting unbearable.  My friend Mike Panetta declared via Twitter that he was going to shut off SMS notifications from people at SxSW until it’s over because “œIt’s too much.”Â  Andrew Wright twittered in three separate posts all of the things he would be doing if he were there in a resigned tone. 

Well, those of still in and around the District are not going to take things sitting down anymore.  We are going to have our own party.  And it might not be as big, glamorous, and internationally recognized, but it’s all we’ve got. 

You are hereby cordially invited to Central by Central Central, or CxCC. (I had no part in that name. Aren’t we Mid-Atlantic?) Monday Thursday evening.  Exact time and location TBD.  But it’ll be great!  Y’know, kinda like how all the cool places to be at SxSW are organized at the last minute and spread virally (or so I hear).  Throw in your ideas of where we should go at my site – DC Concierge, although it looks like we’re thinking BBQ.  Uncoincidentally. 

Ebb and Flow; Blogging During a Conference; Bits and Pieces

During conferences, I think it makes the most sense to blog in a format that Jason Calacanis made “special”. Stream of consciousness blogging. In other words, during conferences, I don’t have the time to fully develop thoughts like I would normally do to post usual content here. But that doesn’t mean there’s not a lot going through my head. In fact, it’s at times like this that my mind is on overdrive thinking about everything and fully baking none of it. Introducing stream of consciousness blogging where one entry might have three or four varying topics. I probably only do this once a day if that much. Here goes.

Writing Well

It’s been alarming to me recently how many blogs I’ve been visiting, in the DC area and elsewhere, which seem to be completely disjointed in terms of thought process. They are written with poor grammar, horrendous typos, etc. Though I’m known for bad typos when “ad hoccing” my writing – and known for equally bad grammar at some times – I really do like to see well thought out writing. If it only took you two minutes to write a post, it’s probably noticeable. Copy and paste? Clean up your formatting. Close your HTML tags. Do what you have to to dress the article up. It’s your professional image on the line. For more copywriting tips, visit my colleague and friend, Brian Clark for more information overload on writing good copy than you could ever dream of.

Austin, SXSW

This is my second year. Word to the virgins (erm, SXSW virgins), bring a second pair of comfortable shoes and a few extra changes of clothes. Last year we had monsoon like conditions and it soaked my only pair of shoes. Be prepared. There’s lots of walking. In a similar vein, don’t frustrate yourself by thinking you can even attempt to go to every cool party. Go to what you can. RSVP for everything (/me ducks from the party organizers) and then only go to what you can. Don’t kill yourself, you’ll regret it at the end of the week and feel like a failure. Just have fun. As JCal says, the best networking happens somewhere after 11pm over the most expensive Scotch around – or something.

If Simon uses an Adjective Beginning with G, you should Listen

Someone mentioned jokingly that there should be a drinking game where you take a shot every time American Idol judge Simon Cowell uses an adjective beginning with G – Ghastly, Grotesque, etc. Yes, yes, I’m making an Idol reference. Sue me. When someone criticizes your company, your business model, your methods – take what you can and leave the rest. Take the criticism and learn from it. If they are just looking to deep six your company, they are probably finding another way to do it. No need to be the super hero and pretend you’ve got it all figured out. Nobody does. Take the criticism and improve with it.

I’m out. Plane’s about to board.

SXSW Guest Posting

ShayDC.jpgIn just over 36 hours, I’ll be boarding a flight to Austin, TX. This will be my second trip to SXSW – last year was a mixed bag for me but then the whole trip started out on a bad note and it through the rest of the week into a funk. This year, I’m anticipating better results and a better time.

Meanwhile, I’ve asked Shana Glickfield and Chris Parandian to guest post here while I’m gone. You’ll get sporadic posts from me as well.

Shana is better known as the DC Concierge and is an absolute genius when it comes to “things to do in DC”. Chris is the CEO of MobileDiner, a DC-based company working in the mobile space, particularly as it comes to introducing new mobile technologies to enterprise business.

mobilediner.jpgNeither of these folks have been instructed as to what to write. I leave it up to them. Maybe a fresh perspective or topic might be a healthy little distraction for a week. Also, if you’re from DC and making the pilgrimage to Austin this week, make sure you come out the the bloggers lounge on Tueday at 3pm CST to the live recording of District of Corruption. It will be the live from Austin open-mic edition and we want to talk to you on the air.

Thanks again Shana and Chris for filling in for me while I’m gone.

Photo Credits: Photo of Shana provided by Shana; Photo of Chris via Jonny Goldstein

The Official Unofficial SXSW Playlist

I know there’s probably only one of you that remembers back when I was doing custom playlists on request.

Those were the days. I should revive that game.

At any rate, a lot of geeks like myself are heading down to Austin next month for SXSW Interactive, possibly the Mecca of all web conferences. In the spirit of the event being in Austin (you never have to go far for great Texas blues with absolutely no cover charge) and in true social networking fashion, I asked people on Twitter today to name a single song that would be their theme song for SXSW. They could only choose one song. I’ve compiled this into a playlist for you.

  1. Simple Man – Lynryd Skynrd
  2. I Turn My Camera On – Spoon
  3. Parent’s Just Don’t Understand – Fresh Prince
  4. Party Up – DMX
  5. Guitars and Video Games – Sunny Day Real Estate
  6. I Feel it All – Feist
  7. You Won’t See Me – The Beatles

As a bonus, here are some tracks I would add:

  1. Video Killed the Radio Star – Amber Pacific/Punk Goes 80s
  2. Fake Tales of San Francisco – Arctic Monkeys
  3. Lights and Sounds – Yellowcard
  4. Goodbye Yellow Brick Road – Elton John
  5. In God’s Country – U2
  6. Every Night’s Another Story – The Early November

What are your theme songs for SXSW? :-)

The Technosailor World Tour

A bunch of you have been asking if you would be seeing me at SXSW. The answer is yes. It’s been a little unclear in what capacity I would be attending but those questions have been answered. b5media is sending several of our staff who have not previously attended in an official capacity. This is great for them and I’m expecting that we will be able to take away great things from the event.

I have opted to roadtrip it to Austin, and I hope to see you there. I’m also interested to meet folks along the way. I’m thinking my trip down and back could include different routes including:

  • Richmond
  • Atlanta
  • Raleigh-Durham
  • Greensboro
  • Knoxville
  • Nashville
  • Memphis
  • Dallas

Anyone up for meeting up, or letting me couch surf?

More of the Same in 2008; Or: We ain't no Seesmic

It’s Monday morning and I’m sitting here at Reagan National Airport awaiting a flight to Toronto. This is my last business trip of 2007 and… when I return home on Wednesday, I’m only looking at another two business days before I entirely knock off for the year. I’ll probably blog, but no b5media (if I can help it), none of my “mini-gigs”, and generally, no social media. I say that now, of course.

I figured it was a good time to look at what you can expect from this blog, and more specifically me, in 2008.

More Travel

I traveled more than I ever did before in 2007. Met some great people from the social media community. Reacquainted myself with others. Engaged in my first public speaking engagements. In essence, 2007 for me was about a definite maturing in my professional profile. I haven’t always executed well. Some people may not like me. Others might think I don’t like them. But, I’m happy with where 2007 has taken me.

In 2008, I expect more travel and that means more of an opportunity to meet you somewhere. Though nothing is definite yet, I’m hoping to make it to Future of Web Apps Miami and New Media Expo as well as near definite appearances at SXSWi, WordCamp Dallas, WordCamp San Francisco, Gnomedex 8 and Blog World Expo 2008.

There’s also rumor of b5media doing a cross country tour, but I can neither confirm nor deny that possibility. ;-)

Hyperlocal

One of the new buzzwords getting thrown around the Web 2.0-a-sphere is “hyperlocal” – the focus on local/regional services, community and communications. While 2007 has been critical for me in developing my reach internationally and nationally, I have neglected my profile here at home. In the words of Jesus, “A prophet is not without honor save in his own country,” and while I don’t claim to be a prophet, I did predict the Ravens loss to the Miami Dolphins this past Sunday.

In 2008, I plan to cultivate the relationships that I have begun to develop in the Baltimore/Washington region more throughly. For instance, Geoff Livingston and I will be launching a Blog Talk Radio show surrounding the social media and communications environment in the Washington, D.C. area entitled “District of Corruption”. This will begin at 2pm on Tuesday, January 8.

Other potential alliances exist between myself and Nick O’Neill of Social Times and All Facebook, Mike Brenner who is looking to launch Refresh Baltimore, Ann Bernard and Keith Casey at Why Go Solo, NewMediaJim, Frank Gruber of AOL and co-founder of TECH Cocktail, Greg Cangialosi of Blue Sky Factory… and others. In the new year, I’ll be focusing a lot of my time and energy in these areas and with these people and maybe something cool will come of it.

More Original Non-English Content

Carlos Granier-Phelps has been doing a smash up job producing original Spanish language content for Technosailor.com. I’ve learned from early mistakes and provided a separate Spanish feed for this content and I expect to learn more from the experiment. I say experiment because I did this not knowing what to expect. A month and a half in and I’m seeing definite signs of traction. It’s always hard to build a new audience, so I’m grateful to Carlos for helping to spearhead this under the Technosailor banner. Social media and business is not exclusive to English speakers and so I don’t want to ignore that demographic.

In an ideal world, I’d love to see the new year bring original French and, I don’t know, Japanese content as well. We’ll see. Certainly, let me know if you’re interested in reading or writing here.

We Ain’t Seesmic

Finally, you can expect more of the same from me. In the past year, I’ve recognized that it dilutes content to force a quota on myself. I used to force myself to write once a day at least and now I only write when inspired. As a result, my content is better and more original. Traffic has shot through the roof and my subscriber count has more than doubled. Unlike Seesmic, I’m not too concerned with what critics say. ;-)

Time to get going, the plane boards soon.

The 2007 Travel Awards

I have never traveled in my life as much as I have this past year. I have taken 12 trips and I think I’m done for the year – though I do think I may need a Toronto trip before Christmas. At any rate, I can look back at various trips and point to them as memorable for one reason or another. So, I present to you the 2007 Travel Awards. These awards are only for my own trips but I’d love to hear about your trips as well.

  • Longest Trip: Toronto, 9 days, May 26-June 3. This trip encompassed Mesh Conference as well as b5 business in Toronto
  • Shortest Trip: 1 Day (overnight), Toronto, Aug 23-24
  • Most Enjoyable Trip: Gnomedex 7
  • Least Enjoyable Trip: SXSW ’07 – The Hampton Inn was the beginning of a bad bad trip
  • Trip I least wanted to go on that I enjoyed the most: PodCamp Philly
  • Trip I most wanted to go on that I enjoyed the least: PodCamp Boston 2
  • Best Networking Event: Blog World Expo
  • Most drunken event: San Francisco, January 2007
  • Most Expensive Trip: Blog World Expo, Las Vegas

Did you travel at all this year? What are your awards?

BlogNetworkCamp SXSW

Because we like camelcasing things, I’d like to extend an invite to anyone who plans to be at SXSWi to join b5media, 451Press, Random Shapes and (add other blog networks) to BlogNetworkCamp. Jeremy has kicked things off with a little background and I’ve posted the event at Upcoming.org where you can RSVP.

Potential Topics to be discussed are:

  • Better ways to pay bloggers
  • Infrastructure requirements of a growing blog network
  • How to sell ads in today’s online ad environment
  • Challenges of 2007
  • Ways to collaborate (or not)

Word on the street is that Jeremy will have charts and graphs and robust counter arguments, so even the 9rules guys should enjoy the event (zing!). ;-)