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.

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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.

The Power of Live

For Christmas, I had a fantastic time back in Michigan spending time with my parents and enjoying the snow :-).   My sister and brother-in-law were supposed to join us but because of outside circumstances they weren’t able to.

Because this weekend is both my brother-in-law and mom’s birthday, my sister and bro-in-law made the trip up to Michigan so that they could all spend sometime together but I’m still here in Washington D.C.  We were thinking, despite the distance, how could we still be able to enjoy spending some time together, especially watch my sister and bro-in-law open up the present that I got them. 🙂

We ended up opening up iChat, powering up the iSight cameras, and going live on camera so that I could be there without being there.  It worked perfectly. I was able to feel connected to what was going on with my family despite being hundreds of miles away.

This really got me thinking about the power of live.  I can imagine how amazing it must have been when television stations were able to go live to a scene.  How cool is it now that that power is in the hands of everyone with a computer and Internet access?

I just put Qik on my iPhone.  I’m excited for the next few days, as Washington DC welcomes the entire world, for the Inauguration.  I want to be on the ground broadcast live all of the things that the news cameras aren’t going to show you.

I don’t know if anyone will watch my live coverage but how long before CNN is cutting to amateur Qik photographers.  How long before CNN doesn’t exist anymore and you have whole news networks built by citizens running around pointing their cameras at the world they seeing happening before them?

FortiusOne’s Andrew Turner Presenting at the Refresh DC January Meetup on “The How of Geo”

FortiusOne’s CTO Andrew Turner  will be presenting at the Refresh DC January Meetup on “The How of Geo.

Bring in the new year with a new take on an old practice. With great mapping APIs available to anyone for free today, mapping content has become something almost any designer or developer can do. Learn the how and why of geocoding, and how to design effective mapping interfaces for your web applications.

Andrew Turner is the CTO of FortiusOne, where he is guiding GeoCommons, developing geospatial-standards and building tools to make it easy for people to create dynamic, customized maps.

It’s on January 15th at 7pm in Arlington, VA at Strategic Analysis and it’s free.  It should be a great one.  I’m definitely going to be there.  Will you be there?

Visit Your Users Where They’re At. Don’t Force Them to Go to Trade Shows.

Was reading up on the latest thoughts from the great Scobleizer.  In a recent post, he wrote:

Walking around Broadcom’s booth at CES also taught me a lesson. That the CES show is going back to its roots: interactions between tech companies and the buyers. That’s something that can only efficiently happen in a tradeshow: getting all those people to visit your company’s headquarters just won’t happen.

So, tradeshows won’t disappear.

If your a company and you want to build community with and have relationships with your users, a trade show is the LAST place you should look.

I just spent the last week at MacWorld and saw a lot of cool stuff but I can tell you that no one working booths was trying to have a relationship with me.  They didn’t want to have a conversation.  They were too busy dealing with all their booth visitors.  They wanted to get their talking points out, get their demo done, maybe sell a product, and move on to the next person.  It was all 90 second interactions.  It wasn’t anything real.

At MacWorld, I doubt very many of the people that were working the booths actually worked for the companies that they represented.   There were a few exhibitors that had OBVIOUSLY hired booth babes.

Instead of spending LOTS and LOTS of money on a booth, go visit your users where they’re at.   It’s the reason that Apple decided to pull out of MacWorld.  They have their retail stores.  There the company can get to know people individually.

I’ve been really impressed by Matt Mullenweg, the creator of WordPress and founder of Automattic.  He travels around the world to WordCamp, the WordPress user conferences.

Every time gang at FreshBooks goes to a new city.  They hold a customer dinner and take their customers out to dinner.

This is how you build relationships… friendships… winning life long customers.