I’m finally at SXSW!

I’m finally at SXSW! Praise the Lord!  It took so long to get here but it sounds like I’m not the only one who had travel horror stories.

I’ve only been here for a few hours and it’s so wild.  I’ve seen SOOOOOOOO many people I know.  Everyone is here.  It’s crazy.  Like everywhich way I see people I recognize.  It’s out of control.

Right now I’m sitting in a panel on hacking your body with Gary and AJ Vaynerchuk.  The panel is pretty cool.  It’s about trying new and interesting things to stay healthy.  Lots of tips I could use.

I wanna meet up with everyone.  Where is dinner tonight?  Who’s going to what party?

Twitter in Plain English

Lee LeFeever and company over at Common Craft have put out another great video!  It’s Twitter in Plain English.  This is a great one to share with your friends and colleagues.  So many folks I know don’t get Twitter and/or think I’m crazy for using it.

Community Manager – the relationship guy

When I’m out talking to people, they’ll ask “oh what do you do?” Most have never heard of a community manager at a company so I’ve had to figure out a way to explain it.

Sometimes it feels like my job is part sales/buiz dev/tech support/pr/marketing/dev/spokesman.  It’s kind of crazy.

I guess the best way to explain my job as community manager is that I’m the relationship guy.  I’m the one who gets out there in the community and gets out there with the people who use our product.  I form relationships.  Sometimes I talk.  More of the time I listen.

I truly think that if you want to be successful as a company it’s more about being real with people and believing in your product than selling.

If you have a good product that you believe in and you’re real, genuine, and form relationships with the people you interact with, you, your product, and your company can be successful.

Stupid Snow in Dallas; Flight to Austin/SXSW is Delayed to Tomorrow

This morning at 6am I was supposed to be on my way to Austin, TX for South by Southwest (SXSW) Interactive with a connecting flight in Dallas.

Apparently, Dallas was crazy yesterday and got snow!  My flight was cancelled.  What the heck!  Isn’t Texas supposed to be crazy warm?!?  Where’s this global warming stuff when you need it?

Well all of the airlines’ flights getting into Dallas and Austin are all messed up.  They can’t get me out of DC and out there till 6am tomorrow.

All of you who made it to Austin, have fun!  See you tomorrow (unless my travel agent can do a miracle.)

Please Please Please Don’t Treat Pownce Like Twitter

There is this whole Twitter vs Pownce debate, which I’ve already weighed in on so I’m not going to rehash that.  Till things get cleared up, there is one thing I ask of you… please please please don’t use Pownce like Twitter.

Twitter is made for telling people that you’re eating a turkey sandwich. Pownce is made for sending me a photo of your turkey sandwich or a cool link.

If I get a barrage of 14 Pownce messages from you, telling me about how you just got on an airplane or are about to eat Chipotle, I’ll probably unfriend you.  It makes Pownce useless

I can take a certain level of noise on Twitter.  Pownce is for more signal and less noise. Pownce is more like sending me an e-mail.

If you found this really cool Wired article or photos of cute kittens, send that to me on Pownce.

Will I get rid of my cable television in 2008?

eMarketer recently released an interesting report on online video consumption:

eMarketer projects that nearly 80% of US Internet users will watch online video at least once a month in 2008. A great indicator that online video has hit a mainstream audience is that 52.5% of all Americans or 154 million people will watch online video in 2008.

With online video hitting more of a mainstream audience, will 2008 be the year that I can give up cable television for good?  I did a brief stint without it in 2007.

Apparently Washingtonians are unfriendly…

Found an interesting story today over at the DCist blog.

Apparently the DC Metro chief reported “customer feedback showed that Washingtonians don’t like being seated in such a way that forces us to look at one another” as a vote against a new Metro car design.

Too funny.

Gary Vaynerchuk – He’s changing more than just the wine world.

Gary Vaynerchuk of Wine Library TV talking at the Future of Web Apps

Last night I got back from Miami where I attended BarCampMiami (which Clearspring graciously sponsored) and Ryan Carson‘s one-day conference the Future of Web Apps.

One of the things that I was looking forward to the most was meeting Wine Library TV‘s Gary Vaynerchuk.  As you know if you’ve been reading this blog for a while,  I have a TON of respect for him. I’ve been watching his show for a while and love what he’s doing.

Well Gary beat me to the punch.  There was a break between sessions.  I was headed up to the foyer to grab some much needed caffeine and chit chat with other developers who were there.

I wasn’t fully paying attention to what was going on and out of the blue I hear this New Jersey accent say, “What up J Thorp!”  It was Gary V. himself.  We chit chatted for 2 or 3 minutes and then he had to run off and do somethings because his talk was coming up.  He was closing out the conference.

Side note – Kudos to Ryan Carson for AMAZING book ends to the conference.  He started with Kathy Sierra and ended with Gary Vaynerchuk.  They were both the best speakers of the entire show.

Well, onto Gary’s talk…It was entitled “The Future of Communities.”

While all the other speakers spoke from slides and notes, Gary just talked.  You could tell what he was saying was from his heart, which is really cool.

The main message that I took away from it was that if you’re going to do something, love what you do.  If you don’t love it, it will show, which is SO true.  You have to believe in the cause you’re working for.

Secondly, I think his message was that you need to be sold out to your users.  Your customers and their thoughts and needs are the most important thing.

I’ve heard my friend and social media extraordinaire Shel Israel talk about how if you want to get you first have to give, which is right inline with what Gary was talking about.

Gary talked about how, even up to right before he went on stage, he was answering e-mails from folks who has questions about wine.  He was serving his users.  This is by far the reason why he has been so successful in business and why his fans are so vocal about their support of him.  He’s willing to give of himself.

He went on to say that if you’re a CEO and you’re too busy to have a lot of face time with your user base that you should hire a community manager.  I thought this was particularly interesting considering I am now a community manager.

Gary’s words of wisdom were right on.  I’ll probably buy the video of the event from Carsonified just get Gary’s talk.

There are so many people that I think need to hear this.  So many folks have lost sight of the idea of serving.

I don’t know if Gary’s a Christian but I am.  In the Bible, Matthew 22:39, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’  Something that is talked about in every church but isn’t always show or practiced (by myself included), which is a shame.

At the end of every one of Gary Vaynerchuk’s shows he says, “With you and a little bit of me, we’re changing the wine world, whether they like it or not.”  Well Gary, you’re changing more than just the wine world.

(Photo by alex decarvalho)