Five Accounts You Should Follow on Snapchat

I’m fascinated by Snapchat as a platform for engaging an audience with authentic video and photos that give a behind the scenes look of your life.

I’ve been playing around with it a lot personally. Follow me. I’m thorpus.

I’ve been keeping an eye out for people and brands that do it well. If you’re looking for people to follow, I recommend these.

Alton Brown (thealtonbrown) – The Food Network star, entertainer, and food educator shows a behind the scenes look as he crosses the country on his national tour.

Dan Berger (danjberger) – Dan is the head of one of the fastest growing DC startups Social Tables. Get an inside look at his day to day and see what it’s like to work at his company. Dan’s Snapchat is hands down the best recruiting tool for Social Tables. It makes me wanna work there.

Dogfish Head Brewery (dogfishbeer) – Get a behind the scenes look into the craft brewery that’s taking the world by storm.

Gary Vaynerchuk (garyvee) – The entrepreneurial Yoda and head of a leading social agency Gary shows the ins and outs of the hustle. Seeing the day to day makes me not want to be that kind of entrepreneur. I’m not cut out for the 18-20 hour day grind that he is. But it’s fascinating to watch.

The White House (whitehouse) – Get an inside look at the beloved institution on 1600 Pennsylvania Blvd. See different events. See them take trips. It really makes the White House look more boring than what you see on TV or watched on the TV show West Wing. But yet, it’s also fascinating.

What’s your Snapchat handle?

Webinars Make Conferences Less Worthwhile 

I’ve spoken at many conferences where I’ve traveled far and spent considerable money to talk to a room of 50 people. Over the last month and half, I’ve participated in or produced 3 webinars that reached together over 400 people.  And I did it from the comfort of my own home. 

The ease of holding a webinar and attracting a considerable crowd definitely makes attending or speaking at a conference a little less worthwhile. When you speak at a conference, you just get the pleasure of communicating your ideas and maybe the email addresses of as many hands you can shake after. When you hold a webinar, you get your message out there  and you get everyone’s email address. It’s fantastic. 

For conferences, there’s one thing that online can never fully replicate: the serendipitous connections. A good conference will attract great people that connecting with will be worth the price of admission. For as long as I’ve been going, SXSW has been about connecting with the people over the content. 

How will conferences change over the next few years to accommodate this?  Like could I hold a virtual conference that was a series of webinars? 

Resource for Learning How to Code

After yesterday’s post, I got a lot of questions from friends and readers asking for available resource for learning how to code.

Code Academy – These are incredible self-driven online courses that’ll teach you how to code. It’s free and covers everything from basic things like HTML & CSS to programming Python. If you’re just looking to get your feet wet, this is a great way to do it.

Skillshare – More online classes.

General Assembly (GA) – They provide a mix of both online and in person classes, if you have the pleasure of having a GA campus in your town.

The Iron Yard – They provide in person classes at their campuses around the world.

Are there ones that I’m missing? Drop a comment.

Giving Yourself the Chance to Slow Down

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I’m halfway through a two week family vacation and let me say it’s been great. There hasn’t been a whole to do.  We spend time together, eat, drink coffee, and go to the beach.  That’s it.  It’s really forced me to slow down my brain and just think… reflect. It’s awesome.🙂

It’s amazing how back at home that was force ourselves to go a mile a minute. We’re trying to figure out how to jam as many things into a day as possible. There’s no time for thinking. What are we missing out on… what are we not seeing because we’re going so fast?

The other morning, Miles and I took a long walk on the island and found this beautiful old church.  Then we just sat and watched the waves roll in.  It was fantastic.

Despite the urges to the contrary, I’ve been trying to not touch my phone as much as possible and read a physical book.  I’m reading A Curious Mind by Brian Grazer.  It’s amazing how when you slow down that you find that you have the ability to comprehend a thought formed into greater than 140 characters.

Slowing down isn’t just something for vacation.  It should be something that’s part of your everyday.  I like to take 30 minutes at the end of everyday and just drink a beer. It’s my way of slowing down.  I know some people that run or do spin classes.  What do you do?

eMeals Makes Meal Planning & Grocery Shopping Easy!

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Being pretty busy, Lauren and I found it exceedingly hard to plan healthy meals for the week.  We were going to the grocery store and just getting whatever sounded good, which wasn’t always the healthiest (or the cheapest for that matter.)

Lauren discovered a site, which has quick become one of my favorites, called eMeals.  You select the type of meal plan that you want (i.e. clean eating, low fat, paleo, etc.), you select your family size, and every week you can get a PDF which a grocery list and recipes for the week.  Just recently they launched an iPhone app, that delivers the same weekly meal plan and interactive grocery list.   This is all about $5/month.

We’ve been using the site for about a year and a half now and absolutely love it.   Around January 1, we switched to the paleo meal plan which we’ve particularly enjoyed and found to be good for us as we continue our journey towards more healthy diets.

eMeals just makes things so easy.   When we go to the grocery store, we have a plan.  We know exactly what to get and exactly what to cook.    AND it’s all DELICIOUS.  We’re both consistently wowed by what we end up cooking.

If you’re looking for a way to make meal planning easy, I highly recommend eMeals.

Downside of being an early adopter

One of the big downsides of being an early adopter is that you start using or depending on technology that gets shutdown from lack or success or acquisition, like SnapJoy under Dropbox.   I didn’t use Snapjoy but there have been others.    I was a big proponent of Oink.  I also used LivingSocial to track beers, apps, books and movies back before they dived into the world of daily deals and local marketing.

Mayor Vincent Gray Loves DC Tech

Even though we don’t reside there anymore, I’m still super psyched and rooting for the DC tech & startup community. Over 7 years, it has been great to see DC Mayor Vince Gray really become a spokesman and advocate for the movement.

This year, he even went to SXSW to evangelize the region. Here’s an interview that he did with TechCocktail