Buy Gary Vaynerchuk’s Book “101 Wines”

Cover of Gary's Book

I was so excited when I heard that my friend and host of Wine Library TV Gary Vaynerchuk was writing a book that without thinking about it I went out and pre-ordered a copy on Amazon.

The book is entitled Gary Vaynerchuk’s 101 Wines: Guaranteed to Inspire, Delight, and Bring Thunder to Your World.” I’m confident it will be a great learning tool for me and will continue my wine education and excitement that started for me in college and has re-ignited with Gary’s online show.

I implore of you to go to and buy the book right now.  I know you won’t be disappointed.

I also think it’d be really cool to show the traditional media world that you don’t need BIG advertising budgets to get the word out about a product.  Let’s get this book to #1 on Amazon and show everyone that you can do it all via word of mouth on the Web.

Gary V. says that if you buy 2 copies and send him a copy of the receipt, special deals and promotions will be sent to you.

So… what are you waiting for??? Go buy the book!!!!

RSS will NEVER go mainstream

Brian Clark at Copyblogger has a great post where he asks the question, “Will RSS Ever Go Mainstream?” He goes on to say…

Over two years later, email is still very much alive… But the public at large either doesn’t care about RSS, or doesn’t know they’re using it (a la My Yahoo, etc).

So, I’ll say it… RSS will NEVER go mainstream.

Try explaining RSS or news feeds to someone outside of the tech field.  Yeah, it’s not going to happen.  Yet, RSS has become the defacto standard of every Web site on the planet.

The RSS feed is the data.  It is the content which people enjoy but it’s not a format which makes sense to anyone.

This is part of the reason why I got into widgets.  The face of the RSS feed is the widget.  In the next 2 years, every Web site, every piece of Web content, and every piece of online functionality will be broken apart into useful components (or widgets) that users can take and do what they want with.

Widgets Make Everything Better, Even the Environment

Widgets really do make everything better.  For a long time, widgets have made beer better.  Now widgets make the environment better too.

ABC and the Arbor Day Foundation are doing this REALLY cool campaign.  ABC picked 9 of their widgets and every 10 times someone watches a video on one of the widgets a tree sapling will be planted.

Use widgets, watch videos, and get trees planted.  That ROCKS!  Check out the post I did on the Clearspring blog and go use the widgets.  It’s for the environment man!

Random Thoughts from the Dulles Airport Gordon Biersch Pub

So… I’m sitting here in the Dulles Airport Gordon Biersch Pub in D Terminal and of course I have a lot of random thoughts….

  • If you survive frequent travel, the number one tip I’d give is be prepared but also be flexible.  To use technical language, “shit happens.” (pardon my french)  Your going to have a flight that is going to get delayed and there will be absolutely nothing you can do about it.  You can huff and puff but it’s not going to do you any good.
  • This weekend I was hopping out to Indianapolis to spend the weekend with my family.  My flight was supposed to be at 10pm.  It’s now at 12pm. It sucks but *shrugs*.
  • I’m excited to see my family.  They’re are my heros.  They were the biggest influencers in who I am today.  They showed me unconditional love and supported me the entire way.  I can’t wait to give them massive amounts of hugs.
  • Listen to your users.  As a community manager this has been my biggest thing to do thus far, you listen when people say good things and even more importantly you listen when people say bad things.  People appreciate you taking the time to hear their concerns.
  • When a user will take the time to tell you what you’re doing wrong, this is the time you need to listen the most.
  • Don’t always listen to your users.    Over time, things change.  Some people don’t like change.  They get so sucked into a way things are that they don’t appreciate change, even when it’s for the better.  The best current example is the Flickr Video situation.  Flickr adds the ability to do video and the people go ape shit.  It’s crazy.
  • When you have some new product or Web site you want me to use, you’re really asking a lot from someone.  It has to be helpful.  It has to give me pleasure in some way.  Otherwise, i’ll just play with it for a week and never touch it again.  I have to be able to integrate this functionality into my life.
  • Really take time to show people you care.  Be intentional about it. Yes, this may mean taking things a little bit slower and yes it may cost more but it’s WAY WAY better.  Different people like to be appreciated in different ways.  Find out what way someone likes to be loved and show that to them.  It’s the way to build real relationships.
  • Don’t be that guy.  No one likes the guy who just calls you up after not talking to you for a year and asks for something.  If you go out and form real relationships with people and really care about them, the next time you need something they’ll be more likely to fall all over themselves and do it.

Beauty and Simplicity that comes with Constraint

So yeah… Flickr has launched Flickr Video and the big surprise is that the videos can only be 90 seconds long. Before you start moaning and groaning about it, let’s sit back and think about this.

Didn’t we all moan and groan when we found out Twitter had a 140 character limit?  Now Twitter is a Web 2.0 darling.

Constraint brings simplicity.  90 seconds mean that most likely the video is raw and unedited.  It’s the video that comes from the digital photo camera or from your camera phone.

Constraint can also bring great beauty.  Think of haiku. Think of Twitter.  There is a certain level of clarity in what you say when you have a limit on how you can say it.

I’m confident that if people keep an open mind Flickr Video will be a medium for creativity and expression for many years to come.

Australia’s Powerhouse Museum Joins the Flickr Commons Project

While at the Library of Congress, I had the pleasure of helping with the Library’s participation in the Flickr Commons project.

It’s very exciting for me to see that the Flickr Commons project has expanded to also now include 200 images from Australia’s Powerhouse Museum.

These look like they equally beautiful photos.  As described by George Oates from Flickr, these are “wonderful old photos of Sydney and New South Wales from the turn of the 20th Century.”

So enjoy them, be inspired by them, tag them.  Contribute to this AWESOME project.

Also… the Library of Congress is continuing to add to it’s Flickr account.  Go check those out also.  Currently those are additions to the Bain Collection.

(Photo from the Powerhouse Museum’s Flickr account)

When You Live Online, Your Life Is Your Portfolio… Live Accordingly

On my post yesterday about starting to think about your personal brand early my friend Samantha Warren left a very wise and true comment.

Students should also be aware of the repercussions of damaging their personal brand while in college. I don’t think some students realize that potential employers will Google them during the interview process. I have seen some less than flattering pictures of candidates at previous employers.

We live in an age where we live our lives online.  We broadcast our every thought and desire via things like our blogs and Twitter.

We also hang out with people who are happy to broadcast our lives for us.  I know that when I hang out with some people, I’m almost guaranteed there will be a photo of me on Flickr or Facebook or both later that day.

You can’t live your life in fear of saying something stupid.  If I did that, I’d probably never say anything.  I’ve said plenty of stupid things on and offline.  BUT…

You do have to think about what you say and what you do. Once what you’ve done is out on the Web, it’s really out there forever.

Samantha Warren recently wrote a blog post “How Many Pieces of Work Should you Include in your Web Portfolio?”  When you  live your life online,  your life is your portfio.  Everything you’ve done will be there to represent who you are and what you do, for better or for worse.

The Google Search Engine Results page for you almost becomes as representative of you as your resume.

How does that make you feel?  What do you see on your Google page?  Embarassing college party photos or a body of work that you’d be proud of?

Start Thinking About Your Personal Brand Early… Even in College

This weekend I had the pleasure of hanging out with some awesome RIT students and alumni at BarCampRochester3.  I led a discussion on widgets and the social aggregator.  Clearspring was also one of the sponsors.

I had a fantastic time.  Kudos to the organizers.  Word is they’re going to try and do 2 BarCamps next year.  That’s awesome!!!!!!!!

Not to sound like the all knowing college graduate but if I could impart just one piece of wisdom to folks who are currently in college it’d be to start thinking earlier about your personal brand.

There is a “global neighborhood” out there that is discussing the same ideas that you’re into.  Get out there and join the conversation.

When you’re in college, it’s super easy to think that it is your world.  College can feel very insular.  Before too long you have to get out in the world and your voice competes with the rest of the world.

So… some practical tips:

Go to Vista Print or if you’re a hipster MooCards and get some business cards. Everytime you meet someone, it’s the opportunity to start a new relationship and having sometype of way to connect with eachother at a later date is SUPER important.

Start a blog.  I think it’s the best way to join in the on going conversation that’s happening.  Personal Web sites are becoming part of your personal identity.  They represent you just as much as how you dress for an interview.

Seek out people outside of your university who’re in your industry. Go to something like a or go find a business leader that you respect and talk to them.  The more you make the connections and the relationships outside of your university early the better off you’ll be after you graduate.