A Great Way to Alientate or Even Lose Friends

I love this blog.  I love that I have a venue where I can really dig deep into my life experiences and try and extract out some kind of lesson or meaning.  I love that I get to do it with all of you…   And you all rock for reading this!

The topic of this post has been noodling around in my head for the last few weeks.  I think it was Robert Scoble’s latest post about the current economic situation and his assessment of the knowledge of those that disagree with him, which really caused me to put fingers to keyboard and start writing.

In my life, one thing that I’ve noticed is that its easy for me to talk or write without thinking first.  Plenty of times, I’ve said something that really didn’t do what I set out to accomplish.  I put my foot in my mouth.  I apologize, they forgive, and we move on.

I guess if I could offer one piece of advice… it’s really not a good idea to blurt out a statement like… [Fill In the Blank] is an idiot or [Fill in the Blank] sucked.

For example, it would not be a good idea to say something like “Anyone that didn’t support the economic bailout is a moron.” On the flip side, it would not be a good idea to say “Anyone that did support the economic bailout is a moron.”

What do you accomplish by starting the conversation this way????  You just cause division.  You make people uncomfortable.  Anyone that disagrees with you is going to have their guard up.  It’s going to be harder to connect with others in your group and learn from each other.

It’d be better to say… “I disagree with the bailout because of [Fill in the blank]” or “I support the bailout because of [Fill in the blank].”  This starts conversation and back and forth.   It allows us to learn and grow.

It doesn’t even have to be about politics, it could be about a move.  It’s not a good idea to say “that move sucked.”  What if I liked the movie?  Am I of less intelligence for liking the movie?  You should say, ” I didn’t like the movie because of [Fill in the blank].”

Someone of you will be like, “Justin, this is pretty basic stuff. Our mothers taught us this when we were 5.”  Well, I think especially around election time and politics, people tend to more easily stop thinking and start just communicating their emotions without thinking about what they’re trying to say… and as the title of the post says, you just end up alienating or losing your friends.

I’m not writing this to sound self-righteous.  I’m guilty of doing this too.  By confessing this to all of you, I hope you’ll keep my accountable.  And… I hope that I can save some of you from being in some of the uncomfortable situations that I’ve put myself in throughout life.

Have any stories?  What are times you’ve put your foot in your mouth or obviously said something you didn’t mean that caused division?

BarCampDC2 Draws 30 Sponsors of All Shapes and Sizes

I’m SO proud of the Washington DC tech/social media/web community.  We’ve been working on BarCampDC2 for the last few months… specifically raising the money so that everyone can do all the cool stuff we want to do.

The community has come together in an amazing way.  We’ve pulled toether 30 different sponsors from the Greater Washington DC area/regioin together for the event. That rocks!  Go guys!

The vast array of support just shows how far we’ve come and how as a whole we really want to see eachother succeed.

If you’re interested in who the AWESOME folks are that are sponsoring, check out our BarCamp wiki page.

Clearspring CEO Hooman Radfar on “Clearspring + AddThis = Universal Sharing”

So… as you all know, this morning, Clearspring announced its acquistion of AddThis.  Well our CEO Hooman Radfar has just recently published a blog post about it, which I think is worth reading.

Here’s an excerpt…

Our vision is to create an open sharing platform connecting publishers, advertisers, and developers. This platform will enable a true first on the web – enabling users to leverage any web-based service from within the context of any application, anywhere. As we move towards this vision, Clearspring will continue deliver the best widget distribution and monetization services possible and AddThis will continue it’s run towards the goal of becoming the most ubiquitous sharing tool for publishers. Shortly, however, you will start to see the beginnings of this vision come to life.

Clearspring Acquires AddThis

Big news today at Clearspring HQ.  We’ve acquired the bookmark and content sharing service AddThis, the button thats frickin’ all over the Web.  Together, we make the most comprehensive set of sharing services on the Web.  We’re all really pumped.

Venture Beat did a really nice write up.  Here’s an excerpt:

Clearspring, the widget creation platform, has acquired AddThis, the bookmarking and sharing button, for an undisclosed amount. The acquisition moves Clearspring closer to becoming a service that allows any users to share content from any website.

AddThis will initially remain its own service. Through the acquisition, Clearspring reports that the two services combined will be reach approximately 200 million users and 300,000 publishers.

Also… check out the story on Digg.

If you have any questions, thoughts, or concerns, don’t hesitate to drop me a line – justin@clearspring.com

Fitting Into My Routine

I’m a classic early adopter.  I love to try new things.  Especially with my current job, I’m getting private beta codes to new Web apps all the time.

If I had one piece of advice to new startups who were building a product, I’d remind them that their goal is to try and fit into your user’s routine.

So often I try an new product for a week. I’ll often really intend to want to use it long term but it never becomes part of my routine.  After the week is over, I’ll have forgotten about it.  Sadly, this happens all to often.

The trick is… you need to find a way to piggy back on top of a users existing behavior.  Instead of asking the user to do some complete new thing for you, find a way to capture their existing activity for your own means.  This will increase the likelyhood of success.

Also… I already have about 20 tabs open in Safari at any given time.  Is your Web app going to expect me to have anothe open?  Does it have to?  Could it be a widget that I can stick on my iGoogle page?  I use iGoogle as a page where I can aggregate lots of that type of information so I don’t have to have as many tabs open in Firefox.

I guess the moral of the story is that if you want to build a successful product I think it’s important to spend time thinkin about how your product fits into the life of your user.

Be Inclusive

At Clearspring, a big part of my job has been traveling the country and meeting members of entrepreniual /web/technology communities and figuring out how we can help people be more successful. We want to help people get their content all over the Web.

Getting out there and meeting folks can definitely be a daunting task. Many times when I have traveled I’ve gone to communities where I haven’t known anyone where I was going.

What’s blown me away and been a HUGE blessing is how inclusive and welcoming some of these communities have been. They don’t know me… they’ve just met me but they treat me like I’m their friend who they’ve known for years.

Austin has been a fantastic example of this. The folks that I have met have been great. They’ve been a huge blessing to me. I count all of them as close personal friends. You guys know who you are. You rock.

I guess it’s really been a lesson for me. Be inclusive. Welcome people into your circles with open arms. It may be uncomfortable because these folks are new and not what you’re used to but if you listen you may end up hearing from these new folks and perspectives that you wouldn’t have gotten to know otherwise.

BarCampDC2 Tickets Runout in 2+ Days

Whoa… so we opened up registration for BarCampDC2 at 8pm on Monday.  It’s now sold out… two and a half days later.  There are no more tickets left.  I wish we had more space to hold more people but unfortunately we don’t.

We’re going to be opening up a waiting list tonight.  If you want to go and werern’t able to get a spot, just register for the waiting list and we’ll let you know if space opens up.

We’re still looking for sponsors.  E-mail me if you’re interested – justin@clearspring.com

In Austin, TX Starting Wednesday Through Saturday

I’m going to be in Austin, TX for the TechCrunch party and other business from Wednesday through Saturday.  I’d love to meetup with other folks in the area.  If you live in Austin or will also be there, drop me a line.  I’d love to meet up – justin@clearspring.com

BarCampDC2 Registration Opens Tonight around 8pm

Well, I’ve had a lot of people ask me, “When is the next BarCamp going to be in DC?” We had such a tremendous amount of positive response from this one that we just had to do another.

I’m very proud to say that BarCampDC2 will be October 18th all day at the Center for Digital Imaging Arts at Boston University in Washington DC.

Registration will open up tonight around 8pm. So check back then.

We’re still looking for a few sponsors. If you’re interested, e-mail me – justin@clearspring.com

If you’re unfamiliar with BarCamp, it’s an unconference or adhoc gathering of developers, designers, geeks, technologists, executives, and managers, in the technology space that want to share knowledge and their passions with eachother. It’s all day. Rooms are set aside for people to lead discussions or presentations.

I’ve been to LOTS of BarCamps and each has proven to be fruitful.

Read Clearspring’s Widget White Paper

Ever wonder what a widget is and why you should care?  Well, I was lead writer on a white paper that we wrote here at Clearspring on that very topic. I just announced it on the Clearspring blog.

We were recently discussing different tools we could give to the people to help them understand widgets and the value proposition of Clearspring. We decided to write up a quick white paper. It’s entitled “What’s a Widget and Why Is it Important? (PDF)

I’d encourage you to download it, read it, and send me comments. Let me know what you think. E-mail me at justin@clearspring.com.