Tag Archives: Social Media

Do you need to organize a Hackathon?

Some companies can rock their own hackathons! Developer evangelists do a good job with hackathons, but not all companies have developer evangelists, and not all developer evangelists can or want to organize events. That’s where I’d like to come in. I love organizing events, turns out I’m not half bad at it either. Have you been thinking about introducing your API or platform to developers and designers? Maybe you’ve got new things to show your existing communities, hackathons are great ways to galvanize community around what you offer. Generate awesome new ideas or companies (Startup weekend style) as well as find awesome new talent.

 

So there it is, you’re looking to do a hackathon and need some help actually doing it, Ping me. I’d love to talk to you about it. I wrote up some thoughts on what I can offer on the company page

 

 

to tweet or to app.net? That’s the question

so yeah App.net has almost 12,00o people on board, all of which at a minimum paid $50/year. some paid more though for API access etc. That’s awesome congrats to them!

Much like I want Samsung or someone to make a tablet that competes with the iPad, I’m glad someone is tryin to steal Twitter’s lunch money. I hope they succeed. Twitter is a classic example of a company sitting around, killing it’s most loyal fan base to appeal to advertisers while doing nothing of value for users.

  1. Promoted tweets, trades $ for my attention, which isn’t cool because it’s my attention to sell, not twitters’.
  2. Twitter has done nothing to tackle spam, one of the things that is appealling about app.net is it’s likely to be spam free, or at least mostly. Most spammers won’t pay $50 a year I suspect, since most get such low volume out of their auto tweets.
  3. I want to pay twitter. I’d happily give them $50/year if it reduced the amount of spam, though they don’t seem to actually care, so I doubt $50/year would make them care.

I saw someone tweet that Twitter exec’s are probably looking at app.net and wringing their hands, but I suspect they’re not. I’m sure they know about it, it’d be hard not to, but given twitter’s behaviour the last year or so I suspect they’re not worried at all. I’d guess they won’t be worried about app.net until they realize they’re the new myspace, friendster, plurk, etc. Like the frog in the boiling water.

That is of course if they’re not planning their purchase strategy.

In my dream world I’d pay twitter. They’d have an API hook for “Paying member?” with a yes/no bit. My client of choice would let me filter out non-paying members. It’d be easy to tell people “You’re nice and all, but you don’t pay for twitter, so you’re in the pool with the spammers and losers, so I just can’t see what you’re saying” It’d solve a lot of my biggest complaints about twitter, and net them some money. Course they’re living in the “money will come from ads” world or something, so just keep collecting funding rounds or whatever.

I haven’t signed up for app.net yet, but I think I will. If nothing else to secure a username so I don’t end up johnwilker9385 or something.

 

Why I moved to Mail.app

I’ve been reading the news and opinions about Sparrow’s acquisition (good for them!) It’s funny how these cycles go, and it’s almost always the same.

First is the news of the acquisition and almost always death of the much loved product.

Then there’s the “OMFG I Hate them, they sold out

Then there’s the “You entitled pricks are pricks and aren’t owed shit

Then there’s the  “We aren’t owed things, but there is a sort of unspoken contract

I think all three are valid. Some folks just felt mad they paid money (whether the amount is significant or not is in the eye of the spender) for abandon-ware. Some  like to take the enlightened I’m-smarter-than-you approach and some like the look at things objectively. Each has it’s merits.

This is an interesting post as well on the subject, especially on the topic of money.

My initial reaction (as tweeted) was good for them, bad for me. I loved sparrow. I bought it. I bought the iOS version, though without push I never used it. I bought it because I think the only opinion that matters is my wallet. I bought it to show the developers that I supported them. Maybe that kept the lights on 10 minutes, who knows, but I’d guess the volume of us showing our support kept the lights on a lot longer. I also bought both versions because I wanted to support and encourage updates. I was ready to buy the iPad version as well.

It’s that last point that’s the reason I moved to mail.app. As someone said to me, Sparrow works just fine as is. Yes, yes it does. But why invest another minute of my time on something that will become more and more outdated? That’s why I stopped using tweetie. It was fine, but slowly got left behind in features. Why would any user of any product (ok, except cars) want to continue to use a product that is done with, dead. Yeah it’s fine now, it’ll be fine in six months. If you want nothing more than what sparrow does right now, you’re fine, use it for 10 years. If you want new features, like push in the iOS apps, the teased  iPad app, dropbox integration, etc you’re out of luck. What it is today is what it will always be. Enjoy

Do I hate the sparrow team? no I envy them, I’m happy for their success. If someone came to me and offered me a bag or two of money, I’d take it, we’re all lying if we say we wouldn’t. Am I bummed I didn’t get more mileage out of my spend? Yes, very much so. I agree and disagree with Matt that for $10 bucks or whatever Sparrow cost, you have no right to be mad. Money is money, i’d have paid $30 for sparrow. They set the price, so really what I paid is what they wanted. It’s a slippery slope argument about some mysterious point at which the amount you spent on a product entitles you to an opinion.

Whether it’s $10 or $50 every spend means something, every spend has an opportunity cost, I could have supported another indie developer with that money.

 

I liked Rian’s post because really that’s why I buy most of my software. Two things come into play. Is it good or can I use it? and does it support an indie developer. If both answers are yes, I buy it, shoot, even if the first answer is no, I buy it. I’ve spent a good chunk of money on apps I’ll never use because the purchase supported an indie developer. So in that respect it feels on a not-conscious level like a betrayal of my support. I supported you with my money, because you’r indie and rocking it and not only do you get acquired, but you let the acquirer kill the product that everyone loved and supported you by purchasing. It’s kind of a chicken an egg thing. Sparrow wouldn’t have been acquired if the app sucked and didn’t do well. If the app sucked and didn’t do well none of us would have bought it. The didn’t suck, and did do well, and made sparrow an attractive acquisition.

 

So yeah. Good for Sparrow, they made a great app and someone rewarded that by acquiring them. Bummer for those of us that voted with our wallets and supported Sparrow because it was awesome and had tons of potential, and now we’re left with no future updates, and a few unfulfilled promises.

Oh yeah and the reason i moved to mail.app…. I know the odds of it becoming abandon-ware are next to nil, and it’s always going to get some improvements, even if only incremental.

I Am Not Busy

I’ve talked about being busy before. Lately it’s kind of come back around again with a post in of the NYT titled “The ‘Busy’ Trap”

I’m not busy. When a friend says “let’s go get coffee” I go. When my wife IM’s and asks if I want to take a walk, I go. When Bike to work day happens, I ride in it. When there’s a party in a park, I go to it. When an opportunity to take a trip with my wife comes up, I take it. I get my work done though. It just doesn’t consume me.

I run my own business, two of them actually. If anyone should be busy I could argue it’s me. But I’m not. Do I have things to do? Yes many of them. Do I need to put in 16 hour days? nope. Do i tell anyone who’ll listen how much work i put in on a daily basis? No that’s never even crossed my mind.If anything I’ve tweeted from time to time some accomplishment I’m proud of. Some result of work.

I know many folks, especially in my programmer circles might not agree, and when I wrote code for a living I spent many a day working 16+ hours. Not by choice. I never thought it was the right approach, but then it wasn’t my choice.

I have friends who constantly tweet a complaint like this “20 hours of X, time for bed, or maybe I’ll stay up” or some variation on the theme. Like the article above points out, these folks are staying up, never sleeping etc, because they take on too many things. Knowing some of these offenders I suspect the article is right, they simply wouldn’t know what to do with free time. These are often the “I don’t have time to read” types as well.

I don’t mean this post to be an attack on anyone at all, but to point out the simple fact (the one I made way back) we’re all busy with our lives, and if you’re THAT busy, you’re doing it wrong. And also, no one else cares, or is keeping tabs for future brownie point awarding.

 

Enjoy your life.

Where I drive I Chevy Volt… And Like It

So I got to borrow a Chevy Volt for a few days last week thanks to Klout and Chevy. I’m supposed to disclose things like this is it was a free loan for 4 days.

Ok that said, I’m not an American car guy. in fact I’ve never

owned, been inclined to own, or liked anything made in America. Sure there’s some nice whips coming out of Detroit, but none made me want to walk away from my beloved Austrian Engineering.

While I’m not about to sell my paid off A4 to get a Volt, if my situation was different, the Volt would be a contender.

But the Volt is a nice looking ride. Externally it’s a sporty little hatchback, with clean lines and some definite aggressiveness. The headlights (usually my first impression is based on them) are nice and angular. They were your basic Halogen, which felt cheap to me.

Before I go inside, my only complaints on the exterior are: the mirrors are a bit big and stick out like Alfalfa’s ears, and at least on the model I drove, weren’t automatic when parking, etc. And the front end sticks a bit out from the wheels. Even with just me in the car, pulling out of the alley I park in caused some scraping. My A4 with sport suspension has no issues. Big nose.

Ok interior stuff.

The inside is pretty nice. A good amount of brushed alum, which always adds class :)

The console is all touch button goodness,  with very few actual moving buttons. I found the interior quite nice, which is usually what I hate the most about american cars. Chrome does not make something that sucks, better on it’s own.

My unit came with Navigation, it was ass.  One of the worst UX’s I’ve ever seen. The screen was way too busy, the touch screen (oh yeah, the center screen is a touch screen!) buttons were confusing, and overall it wasn’t fun to use. Worse yet, if you were moving you couldn’t use it. On the move and need to change your destination? Too bad. Find yourself lost, too bad. I understand it’s a safety feature, my car displays a disclaimer that the passenger should be the one to use the nav while in motion. The Volt straight up locks the user out of the Nav until you come to a stop.

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Tips for Travelers. To Make MY Travels easier

This isn’t a ‘help others’ post, so much as it’s a ‘help me’ post. By that I mean if I can get your in and out of the airport faster and more efficiently, well that helps me!  Travel season is rapidly approaching, and in fact I’m traveling soon. I thought I’d share some tips for making travel out of DIA easier. For you, and not very indirectly and more importantly, for me. You see, your not knowing what to do  and how to do it, messes with me and my travels.

Travel sucks, it really does. The TSA has made it absolutely miserable to go between two places in our country. BUT you can try to make it as painless as possible.

So here we go, a few helpful tidbits to help you (and me) get through security and on your way.

  • Nothing has changed in the last few years with regards to shoes. Take your shoes off. Flip flops, sneakers, sexy boots, they all gotta come off and go on the belt, just do it. I actually have travel shoes i wear sometimes. They’re slip on deals, not really pretty and when not traveling their house shoes. Not slippers, they’ve functional shoes, I’m just not a slip on guy. BUT at the airport, shoes that go on and off fast are a big deal. I can’t say how often i’ve seen someone in fancy shoes (LADIES!) struggling to balance and take them off, then put them back on.
  • If you don’t know if your laptop needs to be out of your laptop, it does. Err on the side of not slowing down the process. There’s like 2 bags that laptops can stay inside of and maybe 3 laptops that don’t need to be removed. Unless you know for sure you’ve got one of those, take it out. It always makes me wonder who those people are that in 2011 that don’t know laptops have to come out of bags.
  • Is your phone in your pocket? OMG really? Pockets EMPTY! 
  • Got kids, maybe do some drills at home? Nothing messes up the line more than the freaking out mom, annoyed dad, and kid with toys in his pockets, shoes on, who’s picking up on mom and dad’s mood and starting to freak out too.
  • Prep your kid, we all benefit! I’ve seen pro families, and I’ve seen families I’ve wanted to murder. Preperation is key and you can tell the families that travel a lot or prepped ahead of time. It makes a ton of difference. I don’t have kids, so I can’t offer prep tips, but I’m pretty sure candy and rehearsals would be perfect! Or worse case, robitussin. But seriously, beready to go through security with your kid
  • Don’t be a dick in line. Here’s a true story. I suck at time zones, and one trip I showed up at the airport and the gal at the counter remarks, “oh you’re in luck, they’re just boarding now” I was like, don’t I have an hour. No I didn’t. My phone was still in denver time, or the appt reminder was, something, I was an hour late. But my plane was late. She checks me in, walks me to security and cuts the line apologizing but letting folks know I was late and my plane was boarding (honestly i coulda waited the line was 10 people long and the plane still didn’t board for 15 minutes) The guy who was next that I cut starts causing a scene “who’s he? Why does he get to cut? we’re all in a hurry.” I politely tell him, it’s my fault, she’s helping me make the last flight, and the one I shoulda been on time for but messed up my reminder calendar entry. I apologize profusely. As I’m waiting to go through the metal detector, TSA guy leans over and says “I really hate assholes” and then shouts “Bag check” on the bag behind mine. The rude guy’s bag.
    • Airports tend to bring out the worst in us, but keep in check. Karma is a bitch. I thanked the gal from the front desk, apologized again to the line behind me, and dashed off to my gate.

    OK that’s all I’ve got for ya, it should at least help you get through security and out of my way as efficiently as possible. I hope ;)

    See you at DIA.

     

    This blog post has been sponsored by CLEAR, the service that speeds you through airport security. CLEAR members save so much time at the airport, it’s like having Daylight Savings every time you travel! CLEAR, the (self-proclaimed) Official Sponsor of Daylight Saving Time, is celebrating the extra hour we get on Nov 6th with a series of travel and time-savings posts on their blog – and here, on my blog too.

    To help you see what CLEAR is all about, they are offering my readers a special 3-month FREE trial! Don’t settle for just one extra hour this Daylight Savings. No need to deal with unpredictable security lines, the stress of rushing to your gate, or the time you waste getting to DEN extra early. Click here to get your pass and try CLEAR’s enhanced travel experience for yourself. Just enter my code (CMNDST12) in the promo code field on the payment page.

    We’re all busy, stop saying it and do something

    I see this on twitter, and in real life face-to-face conversations a lot, “blah blah, working on something awesome, super super busy” or some other fairly douchey version of that sentence. Typically said by the same people over and over, as if saying something like that makes you cool, as if repeating it somehow makes you cooler. Maybe being busier than the rest of us makes you feel better? Hate to break it to you but you’re not busier than us.

    I have something to share with you ‘busy’ people. We’re all busy, just some of us are busy doing shit instead of just saying it. Shut your pie hole, and get shit done!

    I’m sure it’s a ‘for lack of more interesting things to say’ type of problem, but really if you’ve got time in your startup or whatever to tweet about being busy… you’re doing it wrong. Run your damn business, stop telling us about it.

    I have no respect for people who say (or tweet) that type of thing. As if running 360|Conferences, Cocoa Magazine, and everything else I do, didn’t keep me busy, you don’t see me telling anyone who’ll listen how many hours a day I put in, what time I get up or go to bed, etc.

    It’s simple, when you think to yourself, “Oh I should tweet some cryptic tweet about how awesome I am because I’m really busy, and that will make people think i’m even cooler…. STOP don’t do it, take 30 seconds… breathe, then get back to work.