Couple tips for Twitter newbs

My friend and former Creativity professor (yes, that was a class for my advertising degree) Assaf Avni just joined Twitter [@assafavni]. I’m excited to be able to keep up with what he’s up to. So he will get the best out of Twitter, I wrote a him a list of things to do/watchout for. … here’s the list perhaps it will be helpful to yall too.

  • twit messes up quite a bit. doesnt post, late post, no sms, no tracking, etc
  • when you setup your mobile device, whether you follow anyone to your phone or not, you want to send “track assafavni” to twitter (40404). doing this will send you SMS notifications anytime someone says your name who you are not following, very handy, must do this (but beware sometimes when twitter is overloard it doesnt work and you will still miss messages)
  • Summize is a great twitter search tool and you can use it to search for your username to see if anyone was talking to you that you missed
  • setup Twitterfeed to autopost to twitter anytime you post to your blog
  • install the facebook twitter app and allow it to sync your status
  • search for people you think are cool and follow them 🙂 then talk to them, really
  • import your gmail contact list (click Find and Follow)
  • get an unlimited text messaging plan
  • update frequently, people really do care, even about minutia
  • download Twhirl for desktop Twitter client
  • if you post often to flicker from your mobile, setup Snaptweet
  • now, go read Melissa Sconyers’ post on twitter to get the real details

Am I forgetting anything???

Porter Novelli Austin, rocks

Laura Beck and her team at Porter Novelli Austin have been helping launch some of the coolest startups on the plant for years; and they’re right here in Austin. Who knew! I didn’t until I met Brittany, Lauren, and Josh at the DEMOparty last month.

OneSpot, Radar Networks/Twine, PeoplePad, Friendfeed, those are some of their clients I can think off the top of my head. I know there are several in town.

After talking with Josh Dilworth a bit about the Startup District and Conjunctured he invited me to come chat with the whole office. It was great, they had ordered a ton of tacos that morning, everyone was giving me hi-fives and hugs and talking about startups, I was like what is this place!?! … the meeting went great, they are very very supportive – Josh especially has been helping me out a ton and I’m very grateful (thanks for sure dood).

Later that day I ran into two people who were talking about Porter Novelli and that’s when I decided, “geez, I’m gonna do a quick post on them.” 🙂

Update PN is hiring, here’s the skinny:

* 2-4 years work experience – marketing or PR
* Agency experience, at least 1 year
* Tech preferred, but could be consumer tech/Internet tech
* Web 2.0/social media awareness critical, experience a huge plus (blogger, etc.)
* Strong writing
* Strong press relations/ability to pitch
* Multi tasker, well organized
* Highly responsible
* Team player
* Quick to adjust, ramp up, learn, and very flexible in an always changing environment
* MUST be live in Austin, already here, or willing to get her FAST
* Need to start ASAP.

I can tell you, because they let me sit in on their Thursday Staff Meeting an hear the nuts and bolts, this is a talented, fun, excited, and clever team. I actually found myself thinking “wow, it would be fun to work here” and I never ever think that. Let me know if you fit the above and I’ll intro ya. cheers!

Semantic Web Austin

I had no idea there were so many people in Austin who know so much about the Semantic Web. Even more, I had no idea we had several stealth companies working on a semantic offering.

Here are some pic Michelle Greer took of the Semantic Web Austin Launch Party last week. Lynn Bender and Geek Austin kick ass for helping put this on. The SWA (is that the official acronym?) is lead by Texas Ph D student and Semantic Web Evanglist, Juan Sequeda, and John De Olivera, Executive Director of the Cyc Foundation.

Quick note about the Cyc Foundation. From their website, this what what they do:

The Cyc Foundation is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the enrichment and utilization of the open source portions of the Cyc knowledge base—the world’s largest repository of machine-readable, common-sense knowledge. In this role, we will work with others to expand these resources, educate developers and increase general awareness of the potential applications of the technology.

From Wikipedia, about Cyc:

Cyc is an artificial intelligence project that attempts to assemble a comprehensive ontology and database of everyday common sense knowledge, with the goal of enabling AI applications to perform human-like reasoning.

As we move completely away from web2-0. We’re really lucky to have the Cyc Foundation and Cycorp with their 20+ years of gov funded research here in Austin.

Firefox set a world record that day with 8 million downloads.

How much do you know about the Semantic Web : How much do you contribute to the web.

Full house. Looks like Troy is doing a double take of something.

Juan and JohnDeo open up the event.

Troy Williams, founder of PeoplePad and formerly Questia talked about what the semantic web is to him, how he sees it, how it will be useful, etc. Was a great opener as the night slowly got more technical. (i know, i know. there is porn on the wall. i didnt pick the room. it’s some back room at a big bar.)

Cesar Torres and Dusty Reagan of Conjunctured on the outside.

Dewey Gaedcke of Founder of Minggl in skyblue

Lot of Proffs and researchers who asked high level questions.

Facebook owns /me online and I hate it. What can we do?

FACEBOOK, I’m sick of the singles ads and I’m sick of you owning my timeline.  I love and appreciate everything that facebook let’s us do. I love being able to stay connected to my friends. I love being able to push content I think is important. I just hate that I’ll prob never be able to get any of this out.

Why would I create a photo album (an album of my life) if you’re never gonna let me hold it.

I want to see my domain, not yours. << that’s me.


… why do you force me to stare at this. YUCK

In case you’re not instantly grokking what I’m talking about. Let’s think about this. (and this is nothing new that people havn’t been saying for a lone time now) … all the actions you take on facebook – changes to your profile, friends you connect with, messages you send, people you break up with, all those little “stories,” as FB calls them, etc. those are reflections of your life. Shouldn’t YOU own the album?

When facebook first started, you know back years ago when I was in college, I would always think: you know, facebook should record all these changes we are making to our profiles and all the friends we are making and all the pictures we are uploading and let us print it all out in a book. back then FB was only for college students, and I was expecting to drop it when I graduated, I thought, “this would be killer as a yearbook because gawd knows I’m not gonna by a real year book that includes 20,000 people I dont know.” i even sent zuck a message about this. (if facebook had a way to search my sent messages I’d go find it, but I dont feel like pressing the next button that many times.) i still think this would be a cool idea. print it out. but no worries, i have more.

ok, here’s another reason why we should stop letting facebook own all our action, specifically our social ones:

sooner or later we are going to have, as Jonas Lamis of Scivestor has talked about, something like Google Agent. It’s going to better understand what we want done because it will know a ton about us. For instance, and this only scratches the surface (and I’m totally stealing this example), if my anniversary was coming the Agent would know and it would know who my girlfriend was and where I like to take her and what my schedule was like, etc, etc. I would just click and it would take care of all that for me – and perhaps offer a couple choices. The point is. This crazy Agent bot thing has to get to know me and that takes time and data. Right now the place that knows the most about me and has the most data is most definitely facebook and google and I would bet it’s the same for you. I dont want the Agent/bot thing to have to get the data from fb/google, I want it to get it from me.

Now, I’m not worried about facebook having all this information. kdfakhfph./ well, shit. i kind of am… … it’s just that there is no where else to go with it. i’m not going to be one of those people who doesn’t use facebook because all this, i dont want to miss out on all the fun and all the great things facebook lets me do, i just want an alternative or i want facebook to openup all this data. AND I WANT IT NOW.

I’m not sure if the standards are in place yet to handle all this kind of openness… but. …That’s a good question. Does anyone know? Could they just use Google’s Opensocial or Friend Connect stuff? Is the DataPortability workgroup there yet?

How would I propose we move forward with all this? we could start with:

1.) Opensource or openup Friendfeed

Friendfeed is great, People like Robert Scoble (Loving my Friendfeed) and Mike Arrington (damnit Friendfeed gets even more useful) talk on and on about it and says we won’t feel how great it is until we join the community, but whatever, it’s just yet anther site that wants me to tell it where I am online and wants to know all about me. And until they open it up, all I really get in return is the ability to participate in threads where Loic or Robert are also chatting. At least there is RSS, but still. I should own all that data. If I want to share it and chat around it, then we can use Disqus. … I think

(NOTE: USE YAHOO PIPES!! like Zach Klein does for his Universal Feed)

2.) Make it easier for people to buy vanity domains.

We need to get people to understand how important it is that they own their identity online. Right now most people (ahem, besides leet ones who use nearlyfreespeach) goto Godaddy because they saw a lame super bowl ad. Have you seen Have you registered a domain from there? The site and domain control interfaces suck. For regular people to start doing anything with domains, which is what they need to start owning their identity, there has to be a better registar. One that is simple and doesn’t talk about DNS and or blah or blah. Just make it simple.

3.) Help people track their actions even better online.

4.) I love how Tumblr shows you how use a custom domain name. We need more of this.

I think together these pack a nice 1-2-punch and have been working on rough plans on the side for how all this should/could be implemented.

When I’m not plugging away and connecting people to the Startup District, what I need to do is get more involved in the DataPortability group (props to Chris Saad) and the DiSo Project (props to Chris Messina). …If you think any of this is cool, you should too.

What johnerik is passionate about :) – thanks @imdane

After seeing Gary Vaynerchuck last week Dane and I decided we were going to started video blogging… I haven’t started yet, but I have been watching Dane’s. His first post asks people what they are passionate about. I started writing a long comment and decided I’d just post it here and link to Dane. Here goes.


I love the language of enthusiasm. I live for it. For excitement. That’s really what attracts me to technology startups and the people involved in them.

Mission #1: Mercilessly beating and outsmarting life; forcing it to bend into the reality I choose.

How I’m doing this:

  • I’m constantly on the hunt for people with gusto. When I find them, we stick together.
  • I compete with these people each day to see who’s created the most value or done something ridiculous.
  • Follow me on twitter or via my blog to keep up. 🙂

Mission #2: Making damn sure Austin is technologically progressive and competitive.

How I’m doing this:

50,000ft Mission: Eliminate inequality with empathy and technology.

General Passions: increasing people’s self-confidence …promoting empathy (talking about why it’s important), critical thinking and awareness, spearheading conceptual ideas, building relationships

I encourage you to go check out Dane’s posts (videos and others) – they make me crack up. Also, you might look into buying The Alchemist.

(BTW, @girk took the picture above when we were in Australia in 2006 :))

@Garyvee, ruler of his context, live in Austin

Tuesday I was part of the crowd that met Gary Vaynerchuk of Wine Library TV at the beautiful and always local, Grapevine Market. People in attendance that I can recall includ Cesar Torres (he has a great write up btw), Damon Clinkscales, imDane, Kristine Gloria (the one with teh smile above) Tim Walker (also with a great LONG writeup), Robert E Taylor, RichardatDELL, Michelle Greer, Kevin Koym

I absolutly love seeing Gary and listening to him talk. Wine is slightly interesting to me because it is a big part of the Sicilian side of my family, specifically with my grandpa :). Gary is uber connected with the tech scene so he always has good insight and predictions there, which is interesting. But what I love the most about this guy is his excitement for life. He’s an inspiration to anyone who wants to be themselves and make it. He was talking about how much he loves being able to be behind the table and chat with everyone. How that makes him feel like a cat. A cat being pet and raising his butt. hhah It was like we were all just petting him.

It’s all about breaking down the situation. Eliminating the barriers between the guy behind the table and your audience. Gary did this by talking about the situation. Discussing what was going on. How it felt to him and how it must feel to us. To me, you know someone understands and can control their context when they are able to make jokes about it. Jokes that everyone gets because they have all bought in to the environment. I think everybody loves when people can do that – same feeling I get when people make puns. Very clever, very aware. end rant(rave).

I took some video with my phone from the event, but once I got it on my computer and looked at it in comparison to Dane’s I scraped it. SO, here is

“Gary Vaynerchuk’s Austin Lightning Hour”

Startup cities/Austin chat with @garyvee and @kevinrose

Some of the hippest peeps on the net have been playing with Seesmic recently. Yesterday Gary Vaynerchuck tweeted that him and kevinrose where on there chatting it up. So, I hopped over and asked a couple questions.

Here’s the deal:

(Juan Sequeda asked the city ranking question to PG at StartupSchool and was telling me about it over bagels last week.)

(oh yeah. facial hair. … like I said in my first video up there – boulder, techstars, gwen bell, andrew hyde… kickin some ass. I’ve been to Boulder once (in CO I always go to Telluride with fam) but I’m wanna come see yall soon. …totally agree on the valley talk. …I also know! Austin is a kick ass city and I’m trying to develop this sucker – that’s why we got Startup District rollin. Since southby I gave myself 1 year to see what we could turn this place into, and it’s coming along nicely.)

(sorry ’bout the sound on this one)

Gary In Austin! Tuesday, June 3rd – Austin, TX

  • 1:00 PM–Book Signing at Grape Vine Market, 7938 Great Northern Boulevard, Austin, TX 78757

These guys are a blast. Here’s a garyvee with a Radar sticker. heh

Gray is a mofo that knows how to love his fans and customers. I love how it just flows outta the guy — every time he’s talking it’s just like “Thank you sooo much for your question”, “Awesome t shirt”, “I love your burp”, whatever.. he makes ya feel good. Everyone can take a lesson. Kevin was kick ass at this too. Just more to the point – “what your question? BAM I’m gonna tell you the answer; and it’s a good one.”