Monthly Archives: January 2009

Getting the Movie Out There

So today I went with a bunch of friends to a screening of the movie Crossing (trailer above).  It told the story of a family that lived in North Korea, the hardships, and how people try however they can to flea.  It was an excellent movie.

As I was walking out, I thought to myself that I should buy it.  When I get out to the table where they were, it was already sold out.  This was definitely a bummer.  It’s something I’d definitely want to show to friends and family.

The movie was small enough that it’s not the kind of movie that you can buy on Amazon or reserve on Netflix but it was good and you really need to see it.

When you set the bar at having to pay or having to have a physical copy of something before they can enjoy the content, I think you risk not getting your content out there at all.  There are so many great movies out there that didn’t have the massive distribution deals and ended up fading into obscurity.

You could do things like sell the physical DVD but allow people to watch it online for free.  The people that watch it online and like it are the folks that are going to buy the DVD and tell then show it to their friends.  Make sure you  allow people to make donations to your cause, if they like what you’re doing.

Taking Time To Reflect

I think one thing this blog has taught me is the importance of taking time each day to reflect and write about those reflections.  The act of sitting down and trying to write about how an experience moved me forces me to think harder about that experience and understand it deeper.  Plus I get the added benefit of sharing my reflections with all of you.   You get to tell me about your similar experiences.  We all get to grow together.

Seven Things – Tagged by Keith Casey and Shaun Farrell

So, there is this meme on the Web where you share 7 things about yourself and then tag 7 of your friends to each share 7 more things.   Well, I’ve been tagged by 2 of my comrades, Keith Casey and Shaun Farrell.  Here it goes:

  1. I love theater acting. –  Ever since I was little, I’ve always enjoyed acting.  I was always in our church plays, when I was a child.  I did most of our high school musicals. (Yes I can sing and dance.)  I found this photo of me from high school, when I was in The Music Man.  Recently, I’ve taken classes at the Shakespeare Theater Company here in Washington, DC: Basic Acting, In the Moment 1 (improv), and currently In the Moment 2.
  2. I love cooking. – I definitely have a love for eating… eating all kinds of things.  This turned into a love of cooking probably because I get to eat what I cook.  During my summers home from college, my mom would have me cook one meal a week.  Now on my own, my culinary life has gotten even more adventurous, especially with  getting to travel a lot.  I’ve even cooked two Thanksgiving dinners. One day I hope to open my own restaurant or gastro pub.
  3. I’m interested/grew up in politics. –  Since before I was born, my dad has worked in politics, mostly at the State level in Michigan.  When I was 7 or 8 years old, I started going with him to events, like going door to door for campaigns.  At age 13, I was one of the top volunteers for one of our state’s gubernatorial campaigns.  In college, I was Chairman of our College Republican chapter.  I even got a minor in American Politics.  Now I work in the Washington DC area and do nothing related to politics… heh.
  4. I’m a Conservative Republican. – I’m a firm believer in the role of government to protect my ability to pursue happiness but I don’t believe that the government is a source of hope and happiness.   Ronald Reagan was right on when he said “Government does not solve problems; it subsidizes them.”  Creating new laws and government programs may temporarily force/encourage people to change their behavior but it will never change their hearts.
  5. I was captain of our varsity high school golf team. – During my high school years, there was a stint where I played a lot of golf.  Due to the fact that I attended a small  high school and there were not a lot of folks to play sports, I was automatically on the golf team.  By my senior year and after A LOT of practice (playing everyday), I became the captain of the varsity team.  Probably my best score was around a 43 on 9 holes.
  6. I was a guest judge at a wine competition. – In college, to take a break from tech and politics, I took a lot wine classes.  During the 2nd one I took, our professor offered us the chance to be guest judges at a local wine competition.  My buddy and I jumped at it.  It was AWESOME.  Learned a ton from some hard core wine guys.
  7. I started making Web sites when I was 13 years old. – I remember when I was 13 (1997).  My dad told me about this online class that AOL (2.o) was doing about how to make Web sites with HTML.   From there on out, I saw how the Web had changed my life and could change the lives of others.   People started paying me for doing it and it just stuck.

So yeah… now you all know me just that much better.  Heh… feels like I wrote a lot.  Now here are the 7 people that I’m going to tag to go through this exercise also:

  1. Wes Thorp – my dad
  2. Adam Jones – my brother-in-law
  3. Lauren Hager – dad’s former boss, family friend, and candidate for State Senate in Michigan.
  4. Matt Raymond – director of communications at the Library of Congress.
  5. David Russell – close friend and digital pastor at National Community Church
  6. Hooman Radfar – fearless leader and CEO of Clearspring Technologies
  7. Saul Colt – jedi master of customer relations and head of magic at FreshBooks

Congrats to nclud on 2 Years of Making the Web Prettier and Way More Fun!

I’d like to personally congratulate  Washington DC-based Web creative agency nclud on their 2nd anniversary. Not only do they do amazing job of making the Web a more fun, prettier, and usable place, they’re also awesome people.  Martin, Alex, Dan, Doris, and Michael are all great friends.  Plus, they’re a pillar of DC’s emerging tech community.  I’m confident they’ll continue to do great things for many more years to come.

Approaching Everyday On The Job As If It’s Your First

My friend and head of recruiting company Fluid Hire Ian Jones just wrote a great post about how we should approach everyday on the job as if it’s your first.  Everyday we need to try and bring that same level of excitement, passion, and optimism, as we did on the first day of our jobs.  As Ian notes, I’m confident this is something Obama is feeling right now as he enters day 2.

Just think, if we all took that energy and excitement to the job, how much more ass could we kick?

I figure that while I can’t directly impact energy plans, foreign policy, or the war in Iraq – I can impact the economy by working a little harder, a little smarter, and with a little more passion. If millions of Americans did their jobs just 1% better than yesterday, think of the value added to our economy. A slight change in our collective productivity and efficiency could impact operating costs and profitability and spur investment and job growth nationwide. We have the power to help turn our own economy around.

Don’t Cry. Just Hustle.

With the current economic recession we’re in, you can tell that everyone feels a bit more run down and tired. People are looking for a lil umph… a lil motviation.  Gary Vaynerchuk provides it in his latest video, “Stop crying, think, wipe your tear and crush it!”  Definitely worth a watch.

For Me, AT&T Cell Networks Were Down For Most of the Inauguration

I was really hoping that using Qik and my iPhone that I’d be able to give more of a man on the street view of the inauguration but, despite AT&T’s assertions in the NY Times to the contrary, AT&T’s cell network was down for most of the inauguration. I tried making lots of calls and they hardly ever went through. The data network was just dead from 10am on, till the end.

It’s not just that I have an iPhone. All of my non-iPhone user friends had similar problems.  I’m not mad at them.  There were 2 million people there.  I didn’t expect it to stay up.  Just don’t say things worked like a charm.

Broadcasting the Inauguration Live on Qik

Since about 4am this morning, I’ve been able to look out the window of my apartment and see a steady stream of people walking towards the Capitol Building for the Inauguration of Barack Obama as President of the United States.

As long as the AT&T network works and my iPhone battery holds up, I’ll be broadcasting what I see live on Qik.  Just go to this address: – http://qik.com/justinthorp

Stop by and join one of my streams.  It’d great to have a conversation with folks across the country as we experience today together.

Sunlight Foundation Launches Apps for America

The cool folks at the Sunlight Foundation have launched their annual development contest Apps for America.  Basically, you create something cool with one of their APIs and you’re in the running to win a pretty substantial prize.  Check it out.  The deadline is March 31st.

Government 2.0 Camp in Washington D.C. on March 27-28th

After my tenure serving the Library of Congress, the notion of Government 2.0 has a special place in my heart.  It’s why I’m so excited about Government 2.0 Camp coming to Washington, DC on March 27-28th.  This is an unconference being organized by Maxine Teller and Peter Corbett, my co-organizer for BarCampDC 2.  It should be epic.

This is the description they give:

Government 2.0 Camp is the unconference that will bring together the leading thinkers from government, academia and industry to share Government 2.0 initiatives that are already in process and collaborate about how to leverage social media tools and Web 2.0 technologies to create a more collaborate, efficient and effective government — Government 2.0.

I’m definitely going to be there.  This event also kicks off Government 2.0 Club which looks quite interesting.

Update: There are two other organizers for this event: Dr. Mark Drapeau and Jeffrey Levy.