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Archive for January, 2010

25

 

I want to invent a term that’s probably already been invented: Personal Thrashing (so please correct me if you know a better term).

 
I came back from Affiliate Summit last week. It took me two days just to respond to all the emails that have accumulated, one day to do (most) of the follow-up emails, and one-day to read follow up on resources that can’t wait. Once I finished with that, my follow-ups have already returned to me, and I found myself again doing the email battle. During my flight from Vegas I’ve written 3 blog posts that are nearly finalized. Nearly – but not yet.. still haven’t the time to do that.

 
It’s now Friday. A week has passed. And in this week I’ve basically done no work except email, reading, calls, more calls, and meetings. These are all crucial for a successful business’ operation, but then again, so is actual work.

 
A friend of mine suggested I hire an assistant (he did so and says the experience is “liberating”). I’m seriously considering doing that.

 
So anyway, why thrashing? This is an Operating System term. Tell me if what I just described doesn’t sound exactly like the follow definition. This was taken from http://whatis.techtarget.com/definition/0,,sid9_gci214055,00.html

 

Thrashing is computer activity that makes little or no progress, usually because memory or other resources have become exhausted or too limited to perform needed operations. When this happens, a pattern typically develops in which a request is made of the operating system by a process or program, the operating system tries to find resources by taking them from some other process, which in turn makes new requests that can’t be satisfied. A system that is thrashing can be perceived as either a very slow system or one that has come to a halt.

 
I hope this hasn’t bored to death those who are not interested in technology… but in the past week I have been… Thrashing. I can’t think of any other term. Figured I’ll share this until I find the time to share one of the, uhm, more exciting posts! :)

 

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Las Vegas

List of things to do before I leave:

 

  • Bags & everything else – not yet. Last moment.

     

  • Business cards and Poken – check.

     

  • Notepad for taking notes – check. Last time I relied on my memory for names which is really good. I did remember everyone when I glimpsed at their business cards. But not 4 weeks later. Lesson learned. This time I will be ready.

     

  • Printout of all interesting talks I want to attend – check. Last time I missed the most interesting talk I wanted to attend because of lack of organization. Lesson learned.

     

  • Printout of all the interesting companies I want to talk to – check.

     

  • Printout of all events & parties – check. Somehow I never forgot this one before ;-)

     

  • Printout of meetings, phone numbers of people I need to see – check.

     

  • Positive attitude, ready for networking and FUN! – check.

 
Las Vegas, here I come

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poken3


 
Tomorrow I’m leaving to Affiliate Summit West. I’ve been to Affiliate Summit East (ASE: read about it here), but never been to the Vegas version.

 
Before ASE, a friend told me to bring 200-500 business cards as I will be needing them. I did, and he was right. I also got roughly this number from people I met. Then I got a similar number at ad:tech. I classified them to several groups (companies I’m interested in working with, friends, people I met, etc) but it started becoming unwieldy. With so many business cards lying around, despite my best intentions I started losing some.

 
It is then I remembered the Poken device many people had at ASE. I don’t know how, I think people with Platinum passes got one for free? But all the “cool kids” seemed to have one and I didn’t. I wanted one too – was pretty easy to guess what it does based on how I saw people use it. I know I’m cool, but I wanted to be Cool (capitalized), you know?

 
Therefore, when I saw someone talking about it on Twitter, I bumped in and said “I wish I had a Poken. All the cool kids have it”. To my surprise, someone wrote me – we’ll send one to you so you can be a cool kid too (definitely boosted my ego). Awesome!

 
I got my Poken and have since then been itching to use it. It seems that next week I’ll get plenty of opportunities. Still going to bring my paper business cards as well, but it seems this will greatly help in managing the virtual ones.

 
So what is a Poken?

 
A Poken is a small device that has multiple cute shapes. Mine is the “Voodoo poken”. Using a web interface, you can create your virtual business card with everything you would’ve included on an ordinary one, and much, much more. Take a look at the screenshots I took to see what I mean.

 

poken

 
poken2

The Poken allows you to get other people’s virtual business cards instantly with all the information they include. This can be done simply by “touching” your Poken hand with the other Poken’s hand. Like a handshake :) Later on, you have access to all their information as well as the time line of the connection.

 
Sounds awfully cool to me, and definitely the way of the future. Just like the Kindle (and related devices) will eventually replace paper products, so will Pokens eventually replace business cards. Easier to manage. Easier to customize. Stored permanently – I only see advantages.

 
If you want to get one, just click the banner below. Note that if you use the promo code IndustryReview you get 10% until the end of January.

 
poken4

 

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Twitter Road

Twitter Road

In this post I continue my earlier discussion of Twitter Milestones: the idea that the Twitter experience changes once you reach a certain number of followers. This post was practically written a month and a half ago. I’ve just been so busy I did not have time to properly edit it.

 
As you might have read in my earlier post , I defined what I call the “Twitter Milestones“. Here’s a quick recap:

 

  1. The first milestone occurs at around 150 followers: this is roughly when you first realize that the experience you shared in Facebook is different in Twitter and in order not to be overwhelmed by conversations, you need to find a way to organize people. At the time only external software (such as Tweetdeck) existed, but since then the Twitter Lists feature has been added which greatly assists in this task.

     

  2. The second milestone occurs at 2,000 followers: this is an artificial limit set by Twitter and getting past it is quite a challenge for many users (read my earlier post for a more detailed explanation).

     

  3. The third milestone occurs at around 5,000 followers and was the focus of my earlier post: at this stage you really started getting noticed. You pose a question and always get answers. You get offers from SponsoredTweets or Ad.ly. You get referenced in conversations and #FollowFridays by people you don’t know.

 
At the end of the post I theorized that there are more such milestones. Turns out I was right. The fourth milestone, which I’m shortly going to elaborate on, occurs around 14,000 followers. There’s even a fifth milestone, which I’ve just recently surpassed (but can already tell it’s a milestone) and this one seems to take place around 28,000-30,000 followers.

 
So what changes during the fourth milestone?

 
The good:

  1. You become even more noticeable. Some people start listing you in “top tweeps”, “Twitter heavyweights”, “Top users” lists and such. And that comes with more attention. Of course, this is unsurprising – but the effect is more than just “double” that of having 7,000 followers. One day I realized that no matter what I say, I get a response, more often from people I don’t know (and have never spoken to) than from people I do know.

     
    Another time I noticed a user who responded to one of my tweets only so I would respond back (I looked at his profile page and it was filled with mundane comments to users with 20,000+ followers).

     
    Overall, I find this a fantastic experience – the rate I met great people: friends and business connections dramatically increased. In my opinion, this item alone makes it worth it for people like me, who thrive on interaction.

     

  2. You start getting people with verified accounts following you. Having a verified account is by no means an indication of being a celebrity. In fact, of those who followed me back then, I did not know even a single person. But still it gave me some indication that I am becoming more noticeable.

 
The neutral: I’m listing this as a category because it’s hard for me to classify these items as either good or bad (it’s really a matter of perspective).

 

  1. You get weird retweets: I’ve attended a talk by Peter Shankman who mentioned some people just RT the most mundane things he tweets (the example he gave was “I’ve just jogged and am all sweaty”). I started experiencing it myself roughly at this point. Some times I get RTed for no reason I can imagine – i.e. when I say goodnight (happens often). Sometimes it’s even more arbitrary than that. I suspect some of it is actually automated: there seem to be users who just RT stuff other people say and this is generally random – looks like a relatively easy way of making a bot seem authentic, no? With that being said, I think that’s only a small part of the weird RTs.

     

  2. You start getting a lot of requests to retweet: personally, if it’s a friend or some good content, I am happy to do so (by all means, be my guests). But if it’s someone I never spoke to who just wants me to retweet something trivial? Then I’m just going to ignore the request. At times these are people who are not even following me – in this case I often block them.

     

  3. You start getting requests from people to teach them how to get followers. How did one guy phrased it: “Can you be my mentor?”. This happened a few times.

     

  4. You start getting a lot of requests of people to look at their blogs or websites. Yeah, this happened a bit before, but the rate greatly increased. If a friend asks: sure, I’d be more than happy to. But if I don’t know you, why would I do that? Visit my blog, try to get to know me, and then I’ll happily visit your blog/site/whatever.

     

  5. Twitter Jail becomes a daily aspect of your life: I mentioned in my earlier post that I make it a point never to ignore any user who addresses me (unless he’s rude or a spammer). Since I’m a fast typist, even now I can easily do this. The problem is that Twitter has a limit of 100 status updates per hour. If you break it, you get thrown to Twitter Jail – can’t update your status for around 30 minutes to 3 hours (see my post on Twitter Jail). Ridiculously low in my opinion. Since I insist on maintaining this policy, I am often in Twitter Jail – sometimes twice a day.

     

  6. FollowFriday becomes a challenge: with so many people I like, I really feel obligated to mention them all. However, I don’t like sending more than 3 lines of FF – so it’s pretty hard to decide who to include. On top of that, at times I truly forget to include someone: usually it’s simply because we haven’t chatted in 2-3 days (“Ancient history” in Twitter terms).

 
The bad:

  1. Negative attention: This continues the first point of “the good” list. With more attention also comes some negative attention. So far I’ve been included twice in insulting lists. Strangely, of people I’ve never ever spoken to and have no idea who they are. In both times a simple “block” removed me from those lists (and I even contacted other people, just so they’ll know to do the same). I guess I should consider myself lucky it’s been only two (so far). There is one specific user who has a bunch of derogatory lists in which he includes hundreds of people (he included me too). I find it hard to believe he knows them all (obviously he didn’t know me), most likely he’s just a sad, bitter person who likes venting this way. I’m aware of more than 10 people who blocked him – I don’t understand why he’s not suspended from Twitter. Hopefully he will be at some point.

     

  2. Stalkers/trolls: I’ve had just one stalker, but that was most definitely unpleasant. He created 8 Twitter accounts to talk to me (all blocked). 3 Facebook accounts (all blocked) and 1 LinkedIn account (ignored). In hindsight, I know it was a guy with a genuine problem (who later apologized for his behavior), but it was definitely unpleasant.

     
    As a side note, and this affects all Twitter users who use their real names and details: when you put your name publicly there’s always a risk of someone becoming obsessed with you. Some of my friends and family have encountered this – nut jobs intent to tarnish their names and ruin their lives. However, anonymity has its own limitations, and that’s why I reveal much about myself… a professional hazard, I suppose.

     

  3. An even greater loss of privacy: at times people I don’t know jump into a conversation and seem to know much about me – or at least, much about things I’ve discussed in the past, sometimes weeks before. Normally this wouldn’t bother me at all, however, in one specific incident I know this was not done with good intentions. Won’t elaborate more on that.

 
This is it. As I said, I believe I’ve just reached the fifth milestone which is proving to be.. interesting. I need a few more weeks to digest this and then I’ll share my experiences.

 
Edit: TremendousNews has written a post that somewhat reminded me of this one (though funnier): 5 signs people like you on Twitter

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U Labs Logo

 

Welcome to 2010! This isn’t a real post though. I just wanted to share that I launched my new company site and I love it. If you want to check it out, please visit: the U Labs website.

 
Hey, every now and then I can share something because I want to, don’t I? ;-)

 

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