June 18th, 2006
Last week, at a gathering at San Francisco’s Hotel Utah, a powerful group of social media types, podcasters and bloggers corralled. Shel Israel hosted the event in honor of Jackie Danicki and Adriana Cronin-Lukas.
Jeremiah Owyang helped spread the word, as he does so masterfully, as well as putting people who should be talking together, together. One of them being, on my behalf, Mario Sundar. Mario is a passionate, inquisitive, and incredibly knowledgeable person with whom I’m interested in becoming more acquainted. Thanks for sharing some time to speak (and for the very kind words), Mario. We must continue the conversation.
Gratefully, Adriana was quick to introduce me to Mike Hudack of Blip.tv. And Jeremy Pepper was quick to point out how much he sounded like Vince Vaughn (it’s true. Jeremy was spot on). If you haven’t seen what they’re doing, take a look at Blip. We are.
It was great shaking hands and chatting with BrainJams‘ Chris Heuer and Kristie Wells. [mental note: keep in touch with them. we like what they're doing.] And just down the bar, not there for the event, was Buzz Andersen who does some interesting work with Apple’s Soundtrack Pro.
A nice surprise was seeing Mike Arrington again (the last time was at a much larger party at the TechCrunch House) who agreed on the spot to join our next interactive podcast with guest Michael Parekh. More to come on that…which will prove to be one heckuva global conversation.
What I’m finding so interesting is the concentration of immensely driven, passionate innovators, thinkers, creators and knowledge workers here in the Bay area. We’re thrilled to be a part of it all.
June 14th, 2006
On Saturday I attended Techdirt Greenhouse for the second time. It was, again, a great gathering of intellect, talent, opinion and creativity. The format and methodology is what attracted me in the first place: brain jamming, if you will. Interesting companies were pre-selected and given the opportunity to present to us, the participants. We then, armed with our color coded shapes (which defined our discussion leader/rooms), were off to separate breakout groups to ponder, debate, challenge and summize the questions asked of us by each of the presenting companies.
Two that stood out to me in making an impact, socially speaking, were Jumpcut and SalesBuilder. Jumpcut is making some waves by bringing way-cool movie making capabilities – a la iMovie SANS the Mac – alas, even to the novice. CEO Byron Dumbrill was impressive, and has already caught the attention of Warner Independent Films. Even better, he’s combined social networking (community) with digital media. We likee.
SalesBuilder is doing something really different, and close to our hearts: telling companies to stop focusing on themselves in their online presence, and really focus on their customers. If I might steal from Techdirt’s blog post subtitle theme, this stems from the It’s-not-about-you department. Really.
This is one of the reasons I take a back seat role as the host of Waxxi’s podcasts. If I didn’t, we wouldn’t be interactive, or nearly as interactive. Nor would we be any different from any other podcast (one-on-one, or one-on-few, interviews). “The floor is yours” is one of our mottos, and seemingly SalesBuilder CEO’s Olivier Chase’s mentality. Good stuff, and a powerful tool to any organization that wants to be truly closer to their customers, and outstep their competition by doing so.
It was nice to see some familiar faces, like Jackie Danicki, Hillary Johnson, Chris Sims, Anne Donker and more. It was equally nice to see new faces, one of them being my lunch mate Mike Sigal of Guidewire Group. And Sprint’s Russ McGuire, who gave a speech centralized around the theme of his excellent blog, the Law of Mobility.
Someone who left a very strong impression upon me, even before we got to know one another more, was Adriana Cronin-Lukas. There are few people in life with whom you connect on very intense levels, and know that your meeting was not a coincidence. Adriana is one of those people, to me (and others, of that I am sure). In addition to speaking at industry events – as she did the next day at Vloggercon on Net Neutrality – Adriana is making marks in the world as a Sherpa of social media, and then some.
Thanks to the Techdirt Mikes and the entire team for another great idea workshop. Keep ‘em coming.
May 25th, 2006
Our first interactive podcast with Robert Scoble and Shel Israel was not only fun and insightful, but historical. People were able to communicate, comment, share and ask questions to Robert and Shel directly, whether via chat/IM or via phone. The content is smart, interesting and the energy level is high.
Since the event ran over an hour and a half, we’ve split it into two parts. There are a few ways to listen:
1) Click on either Interactive Podcast or Naked Conversations on Waxxi’s home page. You may download parts one and two, or play it within the page. There, you may also subscribe to the podcast’s RSS feed.
A few things to note:
Fuzzy Wuzzy was a Cordless Phone. What you’ll notice in the beginning of Part One is a bit of fuzziness, especially on Robert’s line. That’s something we learned not to do in the future: have guests call in on cordless phones. Landlines with a quality headset a must, everything else (cordless, VoIP, cell phones) a no-no.
Radio Quality, Digital Sound. My voice will sound different, in terms of recording quality, than the others. That’s because I did my part from a studio. And I worked with folks with more than four decades of broadcasting experience. The goal, as Shel mentioned, was to help move podcasting forward.
To Edit or Not to Edit? Should the interactive podcasts be completely, well, Naked? In the aforementioned ‘forward’ thinking process, we felt it would only improve the listening experience to edit out some of the “uhs” “ums”, seconds of dead air here or there, and to record an intro and a close.
Chat is as Important as Voice. We implemented a chat client very close to the launch, and were not able to alert everyone to that fact until the day of the event (next time, plenty of notice so that international callers don’t have to worry about staying on a direct phone line to the US just to have their questions answered). The chat/IM was equally as important to the interactive experience as having people call in. It also allowed for commenting, and facilitated the flow of the conversation quite nicely.
We’ll detail each part in future posts, but in the meantime nobody does it better than Jeremiah Owyang. Thanks again to everyone who signed up, participated, and interacted, and to our incredible guests.
Enjoy the listen.
update: We gave Jeremiah a sneak peek (he’s good at pulling those eStrings). His announcement of Waxxi going live is here.
May 21st, 2006
Before writing about the details of the event, which Jeremiah Owyang did with lightning fast timing and hurting fingers (indeed, a Web Prophet), and which Mish, Peter Dawson and Robert Scoble live-blogged, we need to send thanks to many.
To our guest speakers:
Shel Israel, renowned consultant, accomplished and in-demand speaker, writer, genuinely nice guy, and soon to be globe-trotter. It all started at a really fun party over a glass or two of great wine. Thanks for being open to something new. Thanks also for the kind words, and continuous support. We hope you’ll come back for a future Waxxi cast to talk about the findings of your next book.
Robert Scoble, who I feel like I know yet I’ve barely met (only briefly when he signed my copy of Naked Conversations at said party). Why? Because he’s real. He’s a real guy talking about real things, Microsoft-related and not. Thank you for being bold, brave, honest and forthright. Thank you for opening up our tech/business/shareholder value-driven world to something more important: life itself. And thank you for taking time to spend with us today, so close to the time that you left your Mom. I hope you and I get the chance to sit down together someday soon.
To each and every one of the participants today who took the time on a Saturday morning/afternoon/evening (depending on where you were in the world). It was an energetic, insightful first session, albeit not without a bump or two in the road. Mr. Raftery, we owe you at least a pint of Guiness after you welcome your newborn to the world.
And last – but certainly not least – heartfelt, very special thanks to our hard-working, always on, and very patient team of developers, designers and consultants:
Bob Joyal, formerly with Fast Company; Frank Gruber, of Somewhat Frank (Frank, you rock!); Frederick Giasson of Talk Digger fame; Val Landi, Silicon Valley IT veteran and author of A Woman from Cairo; and our partner-in-design, Chicago’s Inflatble3.
Thanks, to all. We wouldn’t be Waxxi without you.
May 4th, 2006
So, who will be taking part in our interactive podcast on May 20th, other than Robert and Shel? Well, bloggers like Tom Raftery, Zoli Erdos, Alex King, Pete Dawson, Jeremiah Owyang (and many more) for starters.
There will also be neo and even not-yet-bloggers in the crowd –or people who want to explore the idea for themselves or their company.
It should be a lot of fun. We imagine some interesting conversations will result, both during and after the kickoff event (download the PDF here).
(disclaimer: Frank Gruber is currently acting as a strategic consultant to waxxi)
April 30th, 2006
These, they are exciting times. In a mere 21 days, our inaugural interactive podcast, featuring Naked Conversations co-authors Robert Scoble and Shel Israel, will be upon us. Hundreds of people globally will be able to participate, and have an opportunity ask questions of Robert and Shel the same way one or two interviewers would do in a traditional podcast.
Some are curious how this “interactive”, or participatory, podcast will work. Well, it’s easier than it sounds.
Here’s a 3 step process that explains it, hopefully, pretty clearly:
1. Go to waxxi.us and click on Register. Then follow the yellow brick road. (or the simple instructions you get along the way).
2. Once you’ve confirmed your registration, we’ll send you a toll free dial in number and a unique user code. (this allows you in to the virtual event that day, and allows us to see who you are when you are ‘raising your hand’ to ask a question)
3. On May 20, 2006 at 10:30 AM PDT call the toll free number, and the fun begins. (to find out when that is in your part of the world, go here)
You don’t have to ask a question or make a comment. You can just listen and observe – the same way you might do at a conference speech or presentation. But, for those who have read the book (and even those who haven’t) and have questions or observations about business blogging, this is your shot to pick their brain.
We’ll have simultaneous chat/IM so the “hallway discussions” can take place, and everyone who attends will be invited to continue the conversation online.
There will be some pretty interesting people in the audience. We hope you can join us!
April 21st, 2006
Podcasting has no doubt, grown by leaps and bounds. Feedburner’s latest report details some amazing podcasting factoids. Among them, as Frank Gruber points out:
1. Feedburner now manages more podcasts than there are radio stations
2. Podcasting is outpacing the speed of adoption of the last “most successful consumer product launch in history” the DVD
As popular as podcasting has become, we thought – wouldn’t it be great if people who are typically listening to a podcast, could be a part of it? They could participate in it, both the day it is recorded and after.
Comments on podcasting is not new, but very smart. Neither is social podcasting which is brilliant. But interactive, we thought would be very, very cool. Everyone’s in “the room” and as time allows, gets a chance to have their voice heard.
Our first interactive podcast will feature Robert Scoble and Shel Israel, co-authors of the book Naked Conversations. The invitation is open to anyone who wants to be a part of this experience, have a chance to ask Robert or Shel (or both) a question, comment on something they learned in the book or have observed as a blogger. Hundreds globally will participate.