Archives for March 2010

Leaving Corporate America – starting my own “Social Media” firm.

I’ve been really busy since SXSW.  Met some really great people there that convinced me to start my own SM “firm”.  I put that in quotes because I am not so sure just how firm it is.  But it feels firm.  Sometimes firm feels fake, but this firm feels real.  Firm but with flesh.  So kinda firm.  Fleshy-firm.

I’m going to start managing Social Media for third parties.  I’ve already obtained a lot of useful twitter handles that I think will drive business, like @comcastreallyreallyreallyfreakingcares and @buyafordbecausetheywontkillyoulikeToyotawill and @Ilovethefactthatwalmartletsmespendmoneyintheirstores

The really long twitter names are not an accident.  I really don’t want to work too hard on this stuff and really long names give me even less characters to “share” with your customers – who really don’t care who I am except for the value I add to you.  Besides – you pay me by the character so I am saving you a TON of money since I charge only 75% on the characters in the handle (LIMITED TIME OFFER!)!

I want a check and I am measuring my worth by dollars/character – so short conversations mean I make more – which adds value to you.  And if I make more I know my customers are happier.  Because that is what motivates them – making me happy.  And that is how your business wins, and gets to that next amazing level – of making me happy.

But it is all about the customer – so I hope I get a couple.  Especially some with money, because they rock.

I want to help you sell more stuff to your customers.  I have Twitter bots, spambots, robots, and ding-bats all ready to help me help you help your business grow!

I’m an online social media expert. I am a wizard at talking to your customers.  I will make you millions and take only about half of it. Sometimes I take less than more than half.  Call me – I am open to almost anything that moves money from you to me!

That is just the way I guru it.

Together we are twice as good as I am without your money!

Please feel free to contact me with proposals that gain me more than 50% of your company – but sorry – I don’t accept debt anymore.  I’m so beyond that!  So make sure you at least make enough money to pay me enough to make you look amazing and make me feel marvelous.  If you underpay me you will be perceived as weak.  And in some cultures with a small penis.  Go big or stay home.

And if you just don’t have time to talk to me, but want the benefits of working with me, just send some money to kr8tr on PayPal and we’ll both be happier. And your investors will be amazed by what you have accomplished!

And don’t forget – I don’t make money unless I take money from you.  Really! 

I guarantee it!

This should be an amazing new stage in my career – and in your business.  Prove it to yourself – take that first step now.  SEND ME MONEY.  The results won’t be measurable but they are guaranteed.

BTW – I am currently offering a 1% discount (on pseudo-services only) to anyone that gets me an iPad before 05APR10.

Today I had a different day.

I hadn’t ridden my motorcycle but once in the last 6 months – and that was  a brief trip to the office last week.

When I woke this morning it was already 64 degrees, and not quite fully light.  But before I even brewed coffee I knew I was hitting the road.

As the coffee brewed I prepared my bike, and myself.  While 64 degrees sounds warm I would be riding north, and knew it would get colder – so I layered up on clothing, filled my thermos with fresh coffee, and took off to wherever the wind and whim took me.

Normally when I head out of San Antonio I shoot straight up US281 – the fastest way for me to get to the Texas Hill Country.  But today I headed West first – until I hit Highway 16.  I’d never taken this path before, so it was immediately my favorite path. I love what I do not know.

I was near the town of San Geronimo before I felt I had truly left the city behind.  I visited the “Blue Hole” at San Geronimo Creek, where I stopped to drink my coffee and just spend some time with myself.

I followed Highway 16 in a large slow loop until I reached Bandera.  I thought I had spent time in Bandera before – but I was wrong – I must have had it confused with Blanco or Boerne.  I liked Bandera.  Of course I like Blanco and Boerne as well.

From there I took a slow ride south down HWY 173 to Hondo, TX – a familiar place to me.  After a late breakfast taco I hit the highway for the 40 minute ride back to San Antonio – and home.

I was gone a couple of hours.  Time I needed to spend away from me, and the Internet, my kids and Twitter.

I miss these days where I wake with no plan other then, “get out there and go”.  It’s part of why I hate the winter, which keeps me shut it.

The Spring begs me and my bike to find something new, and amazing.  And sometimes all it takes is me not being here.

Sometimes the journey is all that matters.

Sometimes amazing means nothing less than different.  And today I had a different day.

Some Advice for SXSWi 2011 (For SXSW, for Austin, for Attendees and for Venues)

Having ridden this pony before I can see SXSW is becoming a horse of a different color.  This year the newcomer to the Interactive, Music and Film festivals became the 300-pound gorilla, with an estimated 15,000 SXSWi (Interactive) attendees.

The rapid growth in the Interactive Festival demands some changes from SXSW.

(I started this post before I saw this one, by Jolie O’Dell – but I agree also with most of what she says.)

I’ll take each area individually.

SXSW –

This is no longer a little conference.  It is one of the major “tech” conferences in the world now – and while well run and well managed, there is always room for improvement.  SXSWi could start by defining what “interactive” means to them today and who the target market is.  Interactive could certainly include the “Social Media Gurus” that others have complained have taken over the stage.  Interactive could also refer to the proliferation of real-time data exchange applications that now exist and the real geeks that are building off of them.  Like apps built on the Twitter API, etc.  I don’t think it can be both.  Perhaps you need to add another block.

Let me pay an extra ten dollars and have my badge and shit mailed to me – the cattle-chutes are untenable.

And for the love of what makes sense – get the city to close East 4th Street between Red River and Neches, at least.  The Hilton is “Convention Center Two” even for those not staying there and the number of people trying to cross 4th to get to the convention center, along with the bikes, bike-cabs, and autos is just begging for trouble/gridlock.

Austin  –

See above on the street closure.  GET MORE CABS OUT LATE AT NIGHT/EARLY IN THE MORNING.  Borrow some from San Antonio if you must.  But the cabs are all focused on what seems to be a ten block area downtown.

Attendees –

Know what you are getting in for – don’t carry huge backpacks around with you – you block sidewalks and hallways.  Austin is a walking city – plan to walk!  Travel light. Don’t have your own mini-convention in the middle of hallways and crosswalks.  You are NOT that important – move to the side!

Stop spitting on the street, pissing in the bushes, throwing your trash anywhere you damn well please and otherwise acting like a moronic twelve year old with a doting mother.  Be a decent human being (even if just for a few days).

Remember the people who live in Austin were there before you, and will be there after you.  Respect them and their property.  I saw three arrests in Austin this past week.  I probably saw two dozen more that should have been arrests.  And I am not talking minor things, or even drug related things – I mean property damage, assaults and basic ass-hat-isms.

Venues (bars) –

Please learn to say “NO”.  You do NOT need to get everyone in every event drunk.  Really.  Tell them they have had enough – BEFORE you send them out into the streets to get into trouble.  I can’t believe how much over-serving of alcohol I saw.  People who could not stand or walk were getting served.  I know the party sponsor is paying for the booze – but the venue is responsible for serving.  Act responsibly.

Don’t pretend you hold 500 people when only 300 can fit. (Oh – this should also be under the notes for the City of Austin – re-examine your “maximum occupancy” codes – they are fucked up).

Oh – and at least have SOME plan for rain.  Like mats you can put on slippery spots where stairs meet wet concrete.  An dwhile you are at it – spray some of that adhesive grip stuff on your staircases.  You make a fortune during SXSWi – spend a little of it preventing that one lawsuit that will reverse your fortunes.

Venues (Hotels) –

Our hotels cost a LOT during SXSW – and honestly, my hotel is my sanctuary.  I would prefer that my hotel limited admission to the hotel bar and restaurant to hotel guests and their guests.  Yep – sorry, but I said that out loud, and I mean it.  Not being able to get breakfast in my own hotel because it is full of people from other hotels sucks.  Why pay so much to stay in downtown Austin if I don’t have any advantages?

There are more, and I could go on – but I’ll see what if anything you do with this simple list.

I would love to “Keep Austin Weird” – but you also need to “Keep SXSW Useful” and “Keep SXSW Safe”.

I’ve got the coolest job – thanks, Rackspace.

I know – a lot of people are out of work, and a lot of people hate their work.

I have work, and love my work.  So if a “I love my job” post is going to irritate you, you should probably leave now 🙂

25 years ago I though I was a Neonatal Respiratory Therapist – and that I would be for life.

20 years ago I thought I was a Sales guy – and that I would be for life.

10 years ago I thought I was a Developer – and would be for life.

5 years ago I thought I was an independent consultant (and that I would be for life).

Then a vendor of mine hired me.  And I thought I was a “Development Manager”.  Not for life – but I figured for a few years – that lasted less than 6 months.  It just wasn’t me.  Not in a company that loved customers as much as I love customers.  I was better at loving customers than managing developers.  It was more natural to me, and a better value proposition for my employer.

I went to work as the Director of Software Development for Rackspace Cloud (then Mosso) in June of 2008.  I loved the people and the company, but the company and I made a mistake.  I was the right guy in the wrong place – and we both knew that.  It took some time for us to both admit it at the same time.  And then find what really worked for us both.

About a year ago, during SXSW, we announced that Robert Scoble and Rocky Barbanica had joined Rackspace.  We did this from a hotel room at the Hilton in Austin – on Gillmor Gang (then hosted on Leo Laporte’s channel, and now hosted on building43.com).

Who would have known back then that Robert and Rocky would end up working for me – and that we would build http://building43.com, where Gillmor Gang – the very show that announced them joining our company, would now be hosted and sponsored by us.  Not me.

I DID recommend to Rackspace that we hire Robert and Rocky.  But I never imagined they would work for me.

So it has been just about a year since I went almost overnight from being a “dev guy” to working more in corporate communications, PR, and Marketing.  I’ve sponsored over two dozen events, and we have shot and published 99 HD videos as of today.

It’s been an amazing amount of work.  And very rewarding.  And confusing, and educational.  And challenging.

So I get to run building43, meet some amazing people, enjoy being with Robert and Rocky  – and I still spend most of my time talking to customers.  Which is what I love most of all.

I get paid to talk to people.  Which I love to do.

I work more hours in a week than most people are awake in a week.  Because I truly love what I do – and what I am allowed to do.

And I love the company I work for because they are bright enough to see the value in someone that thinks differently – and is passionate enough that it sometimes gets him into trouble 🙂

Figure out what you love, then figure out how to get paid for it.

Life is really grand once you do!

Rob