Archives for August 2009

Bitter with Twitter

For some time, I followed most (obvious) non-spammers that followed me on Twitter.  I expected Twitter to give me better tools, and better filters over time.  They haven’t.

Today I started unfollowing people that weren’t adding any value to my social graph.  I am sure I made some mistakes, and unfollowed a few people I should not have – if that is true in your case – if we know each other, please email me and I will follow you back.

I am doing this manually, one account at a time – so I am trying to be careful.  I meet so many people in so many different contexts though – I am sure I will unfollow someone I didn’t mean to.

Don’t take it personally.  E-Mail me and I will add you back.

So – why?  Noise.  I used to enjoy Twitter, when I could have a conversation on Twitter.  Then I followed too many, and it ALL became noise.  The people I wanted to hear were lost in the clutter.

So I started relying only on Twitter Search – which only showed me what *I* was interested in, and not what each of you were interested in.  Again – much less fun – but at least manageable.  But I lost the value of your inputs.  The conversation disappeared.

So now I am going back to a “thin-stream” – a stream of input from people I know, admire, like, and/or trust.

I thinned several hundred accounts out today, and will continue to do so – one account at a time, through personal inspection.  Until I have a feed stream I think I can manage (perhaps 500-1000 people).

Sorry if I stepped on any toes.

Twitter was just becoming useless to me as a tool to keep track of what my friends were talking about.  I miss that.


Every launch is fun. And work.

I’ve been involved in a lot of launches over the last few decades. From children, to businesses, to websites and partnerships.

Every launch is fun. Every launch is a ton of work. It doesn’t seem to matter how large or small the launch is. The level of fun, and the level of work, seems to be consistent.

And at the end of he day, you never know what you’ve launched until it grows up. This is as true for websites as it is for children. Each will evolve, over time – based on their audience, friends, experience, and the feedback they receive.

This is why I am not completely wrapped up in “what are we launching today?” I am more interested in, “What could it be in two years?”.

But I love experiments. I love trying something that sounds like it should work, even if I have no idea how it will possibly work.  I had no clue how to be a father.  That evolved.  Everything evolves.

Finding out if you were right or wrong can take a very long time.  But you can affect the outcome every day.  You can influence your child, your community – and your audience.  But in the end, websites and children become what they will become.  All of your influence is best spent early in the process for both – because as each matures, your influence wanes dramatically.

Today I launched a new website/partnership – and I launched my daughter off to the college dorm.

It’ll be a few some time before I know what either of them will become.  I have great hopes for both.

I prefer “people businesses” – OR – Why Amazon bought Zappos

Wow – that title seems to be a mess, doesn’t it?

It actually is a mess.  Amazon, a company that doesn’t talk to their customers bought a company that is renowned for talking to their customers.


Why would they?  Perhaps they know they have something to learn about being a “people business”.

Werner Vogels, CTO of Amazon made that pretty clear to me with this blog post from several days ago.  Link is at the end of this post, excerpt is as follows:

Once a year however we take a moment to make sure that everyone who wants to give their input into the direction of the Amazon Web Services has the opportunity to do so.

Once a year?  Really?  That is not a “people business”.  That isn’t really even trying.  That is a poor effort at outreach – even by Amazon standards.

How often does my employer measure engagement and or satisfaction?  After every chat, or call.  Or ticket.  By being active on Twitter – because our customers are there.  By providing real people to talk to 24/7 – people that can actually help.  People.

By answering the phone when our customers call.  By caring for each of them as if they were our largest customer.

We also bring a lot of customers to the Rackspace HQ every year to help us learn how to get better.  And our CEO puts his number out on Twitter.  People.

You can build a business on technology – I’ve learned that.  But you build a following through people.

Tony Hsieh knows that.  Perhaps Amazon is looking to learn something here.  Let’s hope!

Good luck, Zappos – you got a lot of educating to do!

Feedback for Amazon Web Services

Happy Birthday, Derek!

So yesterday (as of a few minutes ago) was my son Derek’s 21st birthday.

So what did we do?  I invited Derek, and his younger sister Lauren (18), to a Tweetup here in San Antonio.  The establishment says they think we had 75 people there. I’ve been doing local Tweetups for a couple years.  This is the first I invited my kids to. It was a special day for me.  My son is now 21.  And nothing pierced, or tattooed; no records tarnished, no fingerprints taken.  My work here is done 🙂

He can now decide his own future, and either learn from my mistakes (which I have openly shared with him).  Or he can do it the hard way – and do it from scratch.  Every parent hopes they teach their kids enough that they each start in a better place than we did.

So why did I invite my “kids” to a Tweetup?  They use social media, but they aren’t overly geeky (OK, my son IS – but in a diferent way than me).  I invited them so:

a) they could meet my friends and “other family” – my community.  To include some coworkers, my new boss, and a couple of employees.  I want my kids to understand what I do, even if it seems impossible that someone would pay me for making friends and treating people well (they actually do!).

b) I could buy my son his first legal beer (and did).

c) And honestly – I just wanted to show them off.  As the custodial parent for about a decade, I wanted people to see that I didn’t screw them up!

I did NOT expect one of my employees to buy my son his first legal shot as well – DAMN you, Rocky!.  Luckily my daughter drove (and at 18 she was drinking soda).  My kids understand the perils of excess – whether that be alcohol, infatuation or anything else.  Too much of a good thing is too much.

In any case – thanks to all my friends.  I had a boss there, customers there, ex co-workers there, partners there, employees there, coworkers there, and job seekers there.  And my kids there.

All friends.

That’s what makes my job and life so cool.

There is no such thing as “Government money”

“You cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the wealthy out of freedom.  What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving.  The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else.  When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that my dear friend, is about the end of any nation.  You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it.”

~~~~ Dr. Adrian Rogers, 1931