My Old iPhone

I’m getting pretty excited for July 11th.  It will be the launch of the new iPhone 3g.  Unfortunately, I think I’m going to be in an airplane all day so I won’t be able to stand in line but that’s not a huge deal.

The new word is that you’ll be able to turn your old iPhone into a wifi iPod, which rocks.

Original iPhone owners who prefer not to give away or sell their old iPhones after upgrading to an iPhone 3G can instead keep their devices and use them as WiFi-enabled iPods, AT&T has confirmed.

This expands my choices for what I want do with my old one.

Are you going to get the new iPhone?  Do you have an old one? What are you going to do with it?

Bibliothèque de Toulouse joins the Flickr Commons Project

Auto Béraldi, Luchon, Vallée du Lys, 1904

The Flickr Commons Project is quickly becoming one of my favorite things online.  There are so many amazing photos to look at and more are being added all the time.

For example, Bibliothèque de Toulouse just joined the project and added 300+ photos from the early 20th century.  These are oh so cool.

Enjoy these photos. Tag them. Be inspired by them.

Of this set, which is your favorite?

The Power of Offline Community

In our Web 2.0 world we seem to talk an awful lot about online community but the offline community is almost equally if not more important.  Recently, in my parents’ neighborhood, there was an awesome example of the power of offline community.

One family woke up one morning to find their house on fire. They got out with their lives but lost everything.

I can’t even imagine.

The neighborhood… this offline community came together:

That’s when the neighbors kicked into action. A next door neighbor serves as a coordinator for offers of help. Another neighbor, Tracy, who lives across the street from us went door to door in the neighborhood with a bucket where neighbors were asked to throw in contributions. Five hundred dollars was collected to help the family pay expenses during the next few days.

Are you aware of what’s happening in your neighborhood? Would your community kick into action if a member was in need?

The Brooklyn Museum Joins the Flickr Commons Project

It’s been such a blast to watch the success and the growth of the Flickr Commons project.  Since it’s launch with the Library of Congress back in January, it’s added the Australian Powerhouse Museum to its ranks and just recently the Brooklyn Museum has also joined.

Please go, be inspired, and tag these photos.

Especially tag the photos. Take 10 minutes. The more that people tag them the more that they will be findable and enjoyed by others.

In San Fran This Week for Under the Radar Conf. and Meeting Folks

Early tomorrow morning, I’ll be taking the flight to San Francisco from Washington DC National Airport.  Tuesday I’ll be at the Under the Radar conf.  The rest of the week I’ll just be meeting with a bunch of different folks.

I definitely love the West coast, especially San Fran. I’m excited about this trip.

If you wanna meet up in San Fran, i’d love to grab coffee or a beer.  Just drop a comment in this post or e-mail me – justin@clearspring.com

Your Customer Support is Your Marketing; Why FreshBooks Rocks!

One of the most important things that you and your company can do is value good customer service. As I wrote before, if you’re in business, you are there to serve your customers.  Making sure that they have the best experience possible is CRUCIAL.  Your customer support is your marketing.

In this age of social media, where everyone of your users has a microphone to talk to the world through things like blogs, social networks and Twitter, customer support is even more crucial.

If your users have a good or bad experience, it is trivial for them to tell everyone they know about you and what happened.  This type of world of mouth can drastically affect your bottom line.

An example of folks who get it are the guys over at FreshBooks.  In a recent blog post Michael Mike McDerment, their CEO, posted about how everyone in their company takes support calls, including him.

He mentions how this has lead to him having a solid relationship of trust between his customers and himself and he’s gotten many notes from customers saying how much they’ve appreciated getting to talk to an actual person.

I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know Michael and some of the FreshBooks guys.  I can testify to their awesomeness and the level that they care for the well being of their users.  It’s truely awesome.

TechCocktail: Micah Baldwin on “SEO is All Grown Up”

IMG_0615

Probably my other favorite presentation at TechCocktail was by my friend Micah Baldwin, the VP of Biz Dev at Lijit Networks.  He talked about SEO.

Now I’ve heard a lot of talks on SEO.  Most made me feel dirty or like I was trying to get black magic.  This was a breath of fresh air.

Micah went through some very practical tips and best practices for Web development that not only help SEO but are just good practices in general.

Like…

  • Keep your code clean
  • Keep your code minimal
  • Keep your content focused
  • Keep your content short
  • Keep your clear
  • Have good content

He even went over his own SEO experiment of how he became the #1 douchebag on Google… and he became #3 after previously not being ranked it all on the term.

Check his preso out at: http://learntoduck.com/douchebag.pptx

June 1, 2008 – UPDATE: Micah put his preso on Scribd: http://www.scribd.com/doc/3167777/Douchebag-SEO

TechCocktail: Jared Goralnick on Hacking Your Life for Productivity

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I forgot to mention here that I’ve been in Chicago for the last couple days at the Tech Cocktail Conference, put on by Frank Gruber and Eric Olson.

Probably one of my favorite presentations was done by my friend Jared Goralnick.  He’s a productivity evangelist in Washington DC and rightfully so is starting to become known for some of his recent efforts like his blog or his Web app Away Find.

Yesterday he did a talk, “How to win hours back every day.”  I’d highly recommend that you check it out.  It’s a great series of practical tips or ways that you can “hack your life” to be more productive and get things done.

Hopefully next time they’ll audio record the sessions so that folks can listen to them after wards.  This would be one I’d want.

Productivity and getting things done is a HUGE topic and something that I’ve only scratched the surface of for my life.  I need to learn more.  Jared’s talk was a great starting point.

Photo of Titanic Survivors in the Library of Congress Flickr Account

The Library of Congress continues to add photos to its Flickr account.  There is one from May 23rd that particularly caught my eye and I thought I’d share.

The photo is of life boats coming from the Titanic on their way to the RMS Carpathia, after the Titanic hit the ice berg.  Whoa!!!!  What a sweet little nugget of history!

Enjoy, tag, and be inspired by this and many more Library of Congress photos over at their account.

TITANIC life boats on way to CARPATHIA (LOC)

On being a Community Manager

I really do think that every company needs to have a community manager.  Your CEO isn’t going to have the time always be the publicly accessible face of the company.  You need a community manager.

There are certain qualities that I think are necessary for a good community manager…

You need to be visible.  I just found out that two Web apps that I use on a daily basis have Community Managers.  I had NO IDEA.  What good is a community manager if no one knows them?!?!?

I remember in college we had computer labs that had grad assistants who were there to help you with your homework.  There were posters up all over the department with a photo, name, contact information, and schedules for each of these grad assistants.  The department wanted them to be visible so that a student would feel free to go up and ask them a question.

So… I apply the same principle to being a community manager.  What good are you if no one knows who you are?  I remember hearing the Flickr folks tell the story of how they started.  They’d personally welcome every new users they got.  There were that forward on making themselves visible and accessible.

You need to be accessible.  People are going to have questions about how to use your product and as I established earlier no one likes corporate Web site contact forms.   People want to talk to other people.  I want to know when I ask for help that there is a real breating person on the other side.

Put your e-mail address everywhere.  Yes you may get some spam but that’s what spam filters are for.  If it’s a problem, get a better one.

Yes, you’re going to get more e-mail.  Initially, it’ll be like “Holy Crap, this is A LOT of e-mail.”  But isn’t this the whole frickin’ point?  You’re the community manager because you want to form and nurture relationships within your community.  You can only do that by talking to your users.  E-mail is a BIG way you do this.

And… everyone of the e-mails that you get is GOLD.  They’re people whose lives you can touch in a positive way.  Gary Vayernchuk has a GREAT video on this.

You have to be able to listen.  When you’re a community manager, you’re job is less about talking and more about engaging your users.  You’re there to see where the pitfalls of your product are and figure out ways to make it better.

On this… you’re almost less responsible to the needs of your company and more responsible to the needs of your users.  Yes, in an ideal world, this should be one in the same but it isn’t always.  As a community manager, you’re there to be an advocate internally for what you’re users want.

When I find a company that is going to listen to what I say and then take action on my behalf, you’re going to endear me to that company.

These are just some initial thoughts.  As I progress as a community manager and read of other’s adventure, this is surely something I’ll be writing about often.