23andMe is an amazing service. It is a genetic testing company that analyzes your DNA and informs you on health risks, drug interactions, carrier status and ancestry. On Friday the FDA sent a warning letter to 23andMe telling them they can no longer market their DNA testing kit.Read More
I have been a big advocate of Wordpress for blogging (and as a CMS from time-to-time) and I have been hard pressed to find a solid replacement. I have flirted with Tumblr a few time over the last couple of years but the lack of real SEO support leaves me feeling a bit empty. Squarespace is another tool that just didn't quite fill the need. Then I happened to come across a kickstarter campaign for a new blogging platform called Ghost.Read More
Last week Facebook announced a new home screen replacement called 'Home' that makes Facebook your main launching point. The new application only works for Android devices.
The main application itself was not as intriguing as the ideology behind it, interacting using your mobile device based on an individual and not an action (call, text).Read More
For the past week I have been anxiously waiting to watch the World Cup Qualifier between the US and Mexico. As I sit here watching the game I started thinking about all the positive organizations I have come across in the last month that are leveraging the worlds most popular sport to put a smile on those children and adults in less fortunate conditions. The first innovation is a soccer ball that generates energy when you kick it call SOCCKET. With almost 2 days left in their kickstarter campaign, SOCCKET has already raised the money to fund the first round of soccer balls / lamps.
SOCCKET is powered by a patient pending pendulum-like mechanism inside the ball. Playing soccer for 30 minutes powers the LED lamp for 3 hours. The ball is airless and therefore deflation proof. SOCCKET is currently being used in rural areas of Mexico that lack energy infrastructure and economically challenged areas of the United States. The kickstarter funds will be used to scale up production, which is done in the United States, and expand the footprint of SOCCKET around the world.
The next campaign is One World Futbol Project, which is a TOMS Shoes for soccer balls. It donates a soccer ball to children in 3rd world countries for every ball that is purchased. One World Futbol built a soccer ball that is almost indestructible. The balls are made out of a rubber-like material that maintains its shape, is not sown together and does not need to be inflated.
Sting (you know, the musician) helped fund the prototype with inventor Tim Jahnigen after Tim saw a documentary about children in Africa where he saw a ball out of trash and twine. Jahnigen has delivered more than 200,000 futbol balls over the last 2 years. Chevy has stepped up and pledged to donate 1.5 million balls over the next 3 years.
I bought/donated a ball through the FUNDaFIELD campaign. FUNDaFIELD is a non-profit that works in post-conflict regions to provide soccer equipment, balls and host tournaments.
(photo credit - oneworldfutbol.com, unchartedplay.com)
SXSW 2013 was my third straight year going down to Austin. I have been fortunate enough to work for companies that thought it was important to send me to SXSW to learn and network with people from all over the world. While extremely grateful for the opportunity, I have to admit that this was a down year for SXSW. The Good
As usually the speakers and sessions were interesting and motivating. The highlight for me by far was seeing Tesla and Space X CEO, Elon Musk speak in person. Running an electric car company, a privatized space program and chairman of a solar company is insane. Few times in my lifetime will I get to see someone that is pushing mankind forward.
Another great session was by Richard Clarke, the Managing Editor at Arsenal Media Group (the Premier League football club). I am a huge soccer fan and it was great to see behind the scenes of how club news finds its way to fans through the club site and social media. It was fascinating to see how the club has to deal with social media and the magnitude of rumors, especially during the transfer window, and often being the last to report.
Every year there are a few sessions that I get locked out of because the room is too small for the number of individuals that want to view it. This year was a disaster in that aspect. One of the new mini-themes this year was sessions that focused on story-telling in the current online marketing environment. The presentations looked interesting and I'm sure they were. I have no idea because the lines were always to long to get in. The only way to see those presentations was to skip the session before it so you could wait in line.
As the conference grows and the number of sessions with it, SXSW needs more places to host them. The sprawling area that SXSW now demands means you are often going to skip sessions you want to see because you will never make it across downtown to see the next, especially with the lines (see point above). It reminds me of college at Ohio State where you had to schedule classes based on their location so you could make it to them.
Overall I think SXSW is growing faster than they are able to keep a meaningful experience.
Room and Transportation
We bought our badges and rooms about a week and a half after they went on sale. Last year that was a room downtown easy. This year that is a motel about 5 miles out in a not-so-nice part of town. Perhaps I could have done more research on the motel selected but we were trying to get as close to downtown as possible to reduce travel time each day. Oops.
Speaking of transportation, we signed up for the R&R shuttles that run from downtown to the surrounding hotels. For $60 it is a great deal as taxi's did not want to leave the city center and were over an hour any time you called them. Unfortunately this year R&R drivers were all over the place, it took 45 minutes to get 5 miles down the road and there seem to be a lack of common sense with the fastest way to drop off and pick up.
Lesson learned. Order badges on the first day and get a hotel downtown.
At the end of the day...
While the room and transportation did hamper my mood, that was ultimately my fault. Not being able to get into half of the sessions I was hoping to see really killed this year for me. I also thought that there was a lack of interesting sessions in total. There were time slots where there was nothing I really wanted to see. This was the first year that has happened.
At this point I think I will skip SXSW next year and just follow the couple of sessions that are online and read the blogs about the more interesting presentations.
RSS might be a dead man walking. Google has announced that it will shut down Google Reader on July 1, 2013. This comes right after I posted about all the RSS dying articles and how I am still reliant on it. Lame. Any recommendations on a replacement?
I read a great article by John Doherty about the shift from RSS to social media and what it means to marketers. The first thing that came to mind was, am I getting old? I have this fear that at some point I will no longer stay up on the most recent tech and marketing trends and end up being the guy in the office that doesn't get it. RSS is that one old technology that I am holding onto. I don't know what I would do without Google Reader. John's research and conclusions are pretty solid. A bunch of data from sources like Compete, BuildWith and iCrossing. The one point that didn't really resonate was the iCrossing graphic.
Visiting a website directly? That is what we did before we had RSS to consolidate it all in one, easy to manage location. I do agree with John that users are starting to follow individuals or entities. I have started to use twitter to follow individual that I enjoy reading. Facebook is still a bit of a cluster for content sorting and I use it more for personal use where twitter is (more) professionally targeted.
John also post data showing the decline in traffic from RSS feeds and the reduced CTR. I completely agree with this and it is a challenge. You want to pull people from RSS readers to your site which you can do with the "continue reading" link, but I hate only getting a snippet of the article. If the article is good there is a solid chance I am clicking over to your site, but I may be unique in that regard.
John ultimately ends with the question "Are we moving away from being loyal to sites and instead becoming loyal to individuals and brands, even outside of their websites?" I have to say yes, people are moving toward personal brands. I am yet to find a good solution to replace RSS. The closest I can find is Twitter, but unlike RSS, the content does not get drowned out in 1,000 new tweets in a day. The RSS entries are there till I mark it as read (micro-managing?).
The comments to the original post were mixed. Some have moved on and others are still avid RSS users. I do believe RSS will die off as the current "younger" generation are not using RSS like we did in college and in our early professional lives. It is time to find the next content, or even social, aggregator that can pull specific individuals and brands regardless where they post. Perhaps a RSS for authors (or brands), that collects where they post public content, whether it be on twitter, facebook, google+ or multiple blog and online magazines. Flipboard and other social magazines are on that path but you still can't consolidate all the content avenues for individuals. The space is young and I look forward to watching how it plays out.
"After four and a half intense and wonderful years as CEO of Groupon, I've decided that I'd like to spend more time with my family. Just kidding - I was fired today." - Andrew Mason, ex-CEO of Groupon
Back in June I wrote about the first Kickstarter campaign that I invested in for a soccer magazine called Howler. A few months back I got the first edition of the quarterly mag but just recently got the t-shirt for the kickstarter investment.
Best of all, the magazine is fantastic. The early word was that the design and esthetics were amazing, and they are. The biggest fear I had was how dated the content would be. The writing, much like the design, was great. But how interesting could be a quarterly magazine be when we get soccer news and stories within minutes or hours of an event? Apparently very interesting. The stories were timely and written in a timeless manner...what? The first magazine had a profile on Stuart Holden, a historic timeline of Manchester United and a look behind the quick 3-day life of the MLS All-Star team plus a ton more. I couldn't put it down.
I enjoyed it so much I ran to the Howler site and threw down $50 for a year subscription. And with reviews like the one below how can you not?
Is the new Surface Pro a musical instrument? http://youtu.be/tr3dFSzh1yU