Government 2.0 at Socia Media Club DC’s January Meeting

Being in Washington DC, the topic of Government 2.0 or how government is going to use Web 2.0 technologies is definitely a hot topic.  For the January 14th  Social Media Club meeting, they’ll be covering this every topic, with a pretty rad cast of characters on the panel.  I’d recommend checking it out.  I’ll be there.

Social media is set to make a big splash in 2009 and beyond, especially with President Barack Obama’s administration openly embracing online marketing tactics. What does this mean for government contractors, government focused media outlets, and those actively engaged with government agencies that face challenges around social media adoption? Small and large contractors who focus on military, defense, intelligence, public service and other sectors will all benefit from this open discussion on social media in government. We’ll discuss the overall government strategy and what the potential roadmap for 2009 looks like, how government agencies and contractors have collaborated so far, what works and what doesn’t, how to harness the collective intelligence of people to contribute to government, and what’s next in the relationship between social media and government.

Today is Your Last Chance to Buy an XO Laptop from One Laptop per Child (OLPC)

Today is the last day of the Give One Get One program from One Laptop per Child (OLPC).  If you want to buy one of their XO ($100) laptops, buy today and support this AWESOME program.

Here’s a new video they created:

Washington DC’s Apple Store Faces Delays

For a while now, there has been talk of Washington, DC getting an Apple Store in Georgetown.  According to Apple Insider, this is facing delays due to opposition Apple is getting for it’s building proposals they’re sending to the local Georgetown advisory neighborhood commission.

Although it’s since been cleared to raze the building at 1229 Wisconsin Ave., Apple has been unable to pass its design proposals for the new store through a review process governed by a pair of local preservationist bodies, according to the Georgetown Current [PDF].

The paper reported last week that the Georgetown advisory neighborhood commission rejected the third consecutive proposal from the electronics company at a December 2nd meeting, and that the Old Georgetown Board did the same at its own meeting two days later.

Concern that Apple’s design may be too radical for the surrounding neighborhood appears to be the primary issue. Its most recent proposal calls for a glass first story “with a solid-stone upper facade punctuated by a large window shaped like Apple’s logo.”

Speaking for all the Apple fanboys in the DC area, I hope this gets resolved quickly.

Coming to San Francisco Next Week

So… I’m going to be coming to San Francisco next week.  I’m going to get an expo pass for MacWorld and already have a ticket for the Crunchies.

I’m excited.  I haven’t been in San Fran in a few months.  There are so many of you that I haven’t seen in so long.

Who wants to meetup and grab a beer?

I want to do as many meetings, meetups, and tweetups as possible.   What events have you guys heard about that I should be at?

Feel free to drop me an e-mail –

Kitchen Table Time…

For the last week, I’ve been home in Lansing, MI and spending time with my parents.  It’s been wonderful.  It’s always great spending time with your family.  Bummed my sister and bro-in-law weren’t able to make it up but it was still a great time.

One thing which has made our family so tight and strong is that we spend a lot of time sitting around the kitchen table.  Whether it’s eating, drinking, playing a game, or just talking, we spend a lot of time sitting around the kitchen table. (Our favorite family games are Sequence, Scrabble, and Canasta. 🙂 )

During this time, we compare notes about what’s going on in each other’s lives.  We talk about what’s going on in the world and locally.

One of the biggest things that I’ve learned in 2008 is that if you want to build a tight community, whether it’s a family, company, or user base,  you need some kitchen table time.

You need to have some type of time where you’re spending time together and just getting to know one another.  You need to be in the position where you look at your community members like members of your family.

This means you need to find your community members and invest in them.  You have to show them that you love them.

It could be as easy as taking someone out for lunch or saying “hey I’m proud of you!”.  You have to show that you care and completely into what they’re saying and doing.

When you have this tight bond, you’ll see communities that will be able to do some pretty amazing things together.

Where Are The Local Bloggers That Will Replace Local Newspapers?

I grew up in Lansing, MI.  There the newspaper is the Lansing State Journal. Well, today they made the announcement that they would be changing around the print edition of their paper.

Sports will begin on the back page of the Local/State section rather than as a stand-alone section.

Lansing is a “Friday Night Lights“-like town where high school (or “prep”) sports is a BIG thing.  In Lansing, Michigan State University sports is a BIG thing.  It feels like a bit of a tragedy that these are being relegated to a page or two in the back of the local section of the paper.

Seems like this signals an on coming coming void.  Local hometown newspapers are starting to fade away.  Who’s going to report local news?

Even in Washington, DC,  the Washington Post’s Metro section is pretty piss poor.  For local news there, I use blogs like Living In the District, We Love DC, and DCist.

There is a real opportunity for a set of local blogs to rise up outside of the major metropolitan areas, (NYC, LA, SF, DC).   Who is going to write the local blog for Cheboygan, MI or Erie, PA?  Who is going to write the blog about high school and college sports?

People still need their news.  Who’s going to create the news business that’ll innovate and thrive in our current economic downturn?

Congrats to Viget Labs on 9 Years of Building Web Business

Congrats to Viget Labs CEO Brian Williams and the entire staff at Viget on their 9th year of helping to build Web business.  You guys rock.

If you’re not familiar with them, Viget Labs is a full service Web design, development,  user experience, and marketing shop based out of Falls Church, VA.

All of their staff members are incredibly talented and are pillars in the Washington, DC tech community.

*Lifts glass* Here’s to many more years of business!

Lesson from Jason Calacanis’s JetBlue Experience: Don’t Make Crap

Today, in Twitter and his blog, Jason Calacanis regaled us with his positive experiences as he walked through Jet Blue’s brand new Terminal 5 in JFK airport.

This is what he said:

If every terminal was like terminal five, and every airline was like Virgin and JetBlue, and we had wifi on those flights, air travel would EXPLODE and the economy would rebound.

If you’ve been in an airport or ridden on an airplane, you know how the typical customer experience is on par with getting herded like cattle.

Jason has found one of the few companies, JetBlue, that gets that if you create an enjoyable user experience for your customers… if you create a good product, then they’ll keep coming back for more and they’ll tell their friends.

If we keep looking at the airline industry, there are folks Virgin Airlines.  They value keeping the customer happy.  And… guess what?  I give them repeat business.  I also tell my friends about them.

This isn’t just for the airline industry.  It applies to anything and everything that you create.   Slow down, think about your users, and create a product/experience that they want.

Yes, if everyone made products that people wanted to buy and use, we wouldn’t be as much of a horrible recession that we are in today.  People don’t wanna buy crap.

Moral of the story: Don’t make crap.

Michigan Wine Country: A Community That Needs a Face

If I mentioned that Michigan has a substantial number of wineries, most of you’d probably say, “Michigan has wineries?!?”  There are actually wineries all over Michigan.  (You can find more info at

Today I went with my parents to Haslett, Michigan’s Burgdorf Winery to check out their winery.  They don’t grow their own grapes or fruit (they have some awesome fruit wines) but they buy the grape & fruit and then make and sell the wine in this pretty massive addition that put on their house.  It was good.  I walked out of their with a bottle  that I’ll be brining back with me to Washington, DC. 😉

But… unless someone would have told you about Burgdorf, chances are that you would have never have found it.  Much like most Michigan wineries (or so it seems), they completely depend on word-of-mouth as the way to get the word out.

It seems like the Michigan Wine community is in desperate need of a face.  It’s needs an evangelist or a community manager.  It needs a person that you can see and have a relationship with.   It’s in the need of someone who’s going to go out into the world and tell everyone about the wonders of Michigan wine.

Why hasn’t there been more Michigan wine on Gary Vaynerchuk’s Wine Library TV?

It’d be great if someone did a video blog that chronicled their journeys from winery to winery… talking to wine makers along the way.

You could go around the country and hold tasting parties where you showcase Michigan wine.

Have you had Michigan wine?  If so, what do you think?

What’s a community that you think needs a face?

Blew A Few Hours Today Playing Sim City on the iPhone

So… I’ve played a bunch of games that have been made for my iPhone.  Most have been cool but they all lacked that ummph that made it something that I wanted to play over and over again.

Well that all changed today…  I found out that Electronic Arts released Sim City for the iPhone.

Sim City is a game that I grew up with.  It’s a chunk of my computer game playing child hood.  When I saw it was released for the iPhone, I didn’t hesitate to buy it.

I’ve noticed that a lot of reviewers are like… well it’s missing this or that.  But it’s frickin’ Sim City on my iPhone.  I’m blown away to the extent that they were able to load so much of the game into a portable version.

There is everything from picking terrains, to changing taxes, meeting your mayoral advisors, to disasters, and building the water system.  Like seriously… seems like they put everything in.

I killed a couple of hours today doing nothing but playing this game.  I will definitely be playing this when I’m on on the subway commuting too and from work in Washington DC.

If like me you grew up on Sim City and you have an iPhone,  I’d recommend that you go buy this game for $9.99.  There aren’t many iPhone games that I’d say would be worth it.  This is worth it.