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10 posts from February 2011

My team at Startup Weekend

At Startup Weekend, I'm working with a team headed by Jason Lee and including Gerard Matthew, Anupam Singh, and Sathish Raju. (Pictured in the same order below.) We're working on Jason's idea to build a mobile application which helps people make their desired connections at college reunions and conferences. (That's in contrast to the random connections most people experience after they arrive at the event.) It's a very good idea and working with these guys has been a lot of fun. Click on the thumbnails to see the full size image.

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Houston Startup Weekend

Restless folks with overflowing with ideas showed up for a big Startup Weekend at the Bouncing Pixel offices.

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The casual atmosphere and wide open spaces made it easy and fun to meet people. I encountered a couple of people from FastHouston days. That's Lester Buck in the long-sleeved blue shirt, who brought FOUR ideas to the meeting!

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And I met Austin Fatheree again. He looked great in the jacket, and had his next project all prototyped and described on paper. I look forward to visiting MindWallet.com

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Sarah Worthy was buzzing around helping everyone. Here she is with Startup Weekend facilitator Maris, and another FastHouston connection, lawyer-philosopher Dan Krohn.

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When communication ends, can loyalty survive?

Qv-110221a-il Business relationships can end in all the ways that personal relationships can end. And although business relationships can survive without communication, it's not advisable. When a contact cuts off communication, it's frequently a signal that the relationship is ending, but it's also possible that the consumer is dissatisfied with the way your business communicates, not with product quality or service. Ah yes, just like real life, it's complicated. 

Your messages are not measured against 'best in industry,' but against the best in the recepient's inbox. In other words, you can be 'industry standard,' boring, repetitive and self-centered. My recommendation is that you subscribe to a few fabulous newsletters are look at them regularly. Try Daily Candy, Fetchdog and Constant Contact. (Oops, and ExactTarget...)

ExactTarget.com: The Social Break-Up, 2011

Marketers have been focused on relevancy since the dawn of email marketing, but the idea of showing you “care” may be a new one. We sometimes hear marketers talk about “authenticity” as a key component to engaging consumers. However, the consumers we spoke to didn’t talk about authenticity. They talked about caring, and caring goes much deeper. Caring conveys the sentiment that brands place the best interests of their customers ahead of their own balance sheets.


Morning Glance: consider how our understanding of the world evolves

We all have a theory of how the world works, shaped by experience. Book reviewer Janet Maslin allows us a glimpse into the journey taken by Donovan Hohn, following the rubber duckies washed overboard many years ago. I love this perspective: seeing life as a scientific journey, testing our theories against experience, over and over again.

NY Times: Review of 'Moby-Duck' by Donovan Hohn, 2011-Feb-21, by Janet Maslin

And he was eager to enhance his secondhand ideas about how the world works with firsthand images and experiences, which he eagerly incorporates into “Moby-Duck.” As he puts it, he was not someone, like the explorers of old, who sought to turn the world into a map. “Quite the opposite,” he says. “I wanted to turn a map into a world.”


Why would anyone blog for free at the Huffington Post?

The rest of the article is about economic models for how journalists may get paid, but I think that's a pipe dream as long as others are prepared to work for free. The real lesson from social media businesses remains, from MySpace on - be an owner, get other sucke....sorry, valued contributors - to contribute content for whuffie and change, and sell the f*cker to some dumb mon...strategic investor before you run out yourself.

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I suppose an argument could be made for convenience when you're starting out. If, if, if you wanted to emulate the other bloggers there. A word of advice: emulate the ones who get paid. Better advice: start contributing comments on the independent blogs of your favorite bloggers and emulate them.


Why we have to be open to good ideas wherever they come from

In the midst of the Egyptian revolution, I realized that many of us in the West—and I include myself squarely in this—act under the assumption that progress in digital democracy would come here first, because our technology and our democracies are more advanced. Then it became clear to me that such advances would come instead where they are most needed: in the Middle East.

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I confess to a deep-seated resentment of Facebook, but I appreciate how it helped Wael Ghonim. Questioning our assumptions and identifying our prejudices are both hard tasks, but sometimes circumstances do the work for us. It's our job to be gracious. Thank you, Facebook for serving Wael Ghonim.