Monthly Archives: May 2009

MC Hammer Talks Twitter

OK, I’m a groupie. I fell in love with @mchammer at the break at #twtrcon. He was standing in the hall in a beanie and a tshirt talking about music and social media.photo-6 I overheard him say that he was studying social media because it was useful in music, because music is an inherently grass roots and social activity.

He thinks that social media takes music from the real world and naturally extends its reach.

Speaking at #twtrcon, he tells how he started writing his autobiography on Twitter.  “Between 1962 and 1970, every male leader I knew was assassinated. Where were you?”

He says he never uses a ghost for a personal brand.  His whole concept is to “remove the velvet rope.” He doesn’t broadcast and he wants to engage the average person and get their feedback — about life in general, not just about specific projects.

I’ve been following @MCHammer since he got on Twitter. It was easy to see he was authentic.

For him, as a content creator, the objective is to shorten the distance between the content creator and the consumer without the middlemen.  He’s excited about rich media — movies marketed on Twitter, with revenue sharing with cable companies, saving millions in marketing dollars.

Hammer now has a voice: without paying fees. @mchammer knows who is tweeting and who is not among the celebrities. “If you tell me to view this with Ajax, I know you’re not understanding that so you’re not tweeting for yourself. But I’m not gonna blow your cover.”

What the platform does is take away the shield. You’re out there without the perception management that has been created by handlers or teams. And to  Hammer, this is good. People who are serious about Twitter are real, without ghosts.

He thinks perception is more important than reality. Tweeting that you are getting drunk changes the perception of who you are. Could take away the value of an endorsement.

“One of the things that’s intriguing is that social media is not from Pluto. There was socializing before there was a platform. Social groups are just an extrapolation of life into the digital world.”

How do you protect yourself from digital squatters? “Be an early adopter. Get to know the founders early.” –But he also says he deals with things like that with lawyers.

MC Hammer has watched himself in newspapers and magazines for twenty years. What he is finally able to do is define himself.  He says Twitter is exciting because it allows him to take back control of the perception of himself. He tweets about himself. “Big Hammer meets Little Hammer” in his tweetstream is about when  @mchammer met Hank Aaron in 1975.

He can’t answer everybody, but he tries to respond generally to questions.

You can tell that this man has given a lot of serious thought to social media. More impressive. He has been blogging for five years!

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WordPress’s Matt Mullenweg at WordcampSF

Image representing Matt Mullenweg as depicted ...
Image byMatt Mullenweg, ma.tt/about

via CrunchBase

WordPress is now one of the highest skills in demand! Large portions of the web are being built on a system that is completely open source

WordPress was born on a blog- a b2 blog
Early versions focused on ease of installation
B2 was his first experience with blogging software, and it had the GPL, which enabled him to modify the software when the lead developer went away
Wordpress was a fork from B2
1.2 had plug-ins
Themes came in 1.5
Plug-ins and themes were the most important decisions in WP history
It allowed WP to become a platform and allows others to be part of the community without mutiliating the core software, which stays clean

Stats:
10m downloads
5.5m .org blogs
58m new posts
22b page views
55% of pageviews are on .com
Predictions:
1943-Thomas Watson said there would be about 5 computers in the world
Matt probably wearing 5 computers on his body this year
1943: Bill Gates said Spam will be solved in 2008
Last year, Matt predicted Crazyhorse

Crazyhorse: Matt thought it would be super-important in 2008, but he didn’t know it was the name of a strip club in SF  The Crazyhorse project produced the interface closet to the one we use today, and the goal of it was to make WP faster and make it invisible. Quickpress came in with Crazyhorse, and so did threaded comments, the plug-in browser, and Intense debate. Also one-click upgrades

Matt also said this year would be the year of themes, and WP introduced its theme directory
Themes are free at the core, but now some themes are premium
GPL gives you freedom to charge for the theme, but then you are also free to redistribute it
(I use a premium theme)
Matt’s introducing a page for premium theme developers
The famous themes inspire innovation, and themse are built on themes
(Shows 4 incredly different themes all built on Thematic)
On the Internet, no one has to know you are using WordPress

Using the GPL in business: Introduces Alex King, who owns a company called Crowd Favorite in Denver, which exists entirely by designing and developing on WordPress. He has also produced a framework called Carrington, which allows people to build themes on it

And he has started an on-call WP Help Center wphelpcenter.com 512.788.9236 for small questions and customization

P2: It’s like Twitter.
But it moves the conversation to the home pages, threaded and in line
It’s a real time, asynchronous chat, but it’s in a blog
That is going on the home page of every blog

Buddypress: Developed by Andy Peatling.  Facebook in a blog. A social network built on open source. This will get bigger next year.
Can be skinned and branded for everyone’s site.
421 days of love to build it to 1.0
Will this be the way people socialize their WordPress sites?
Buddypress has the momentum WP had in the early days

Plugins:
Wordtwit
Yet another Related Posts
WPtouch – makes wordpress mobile from iPhone

Viddler – brings in video to WP
Comment Moderator
Licensing for Picapp
Polldaddy
Videopress – customized player on your home page. Now available on WordPress.com, but coming to .org

2.8 is coming
.

2.7 tired everyone out. And it was almost bug free. But in 2.8 the infrastructure will be better. Theme previews, 800 themes, better sidgets, multiple galleries, and a new widgets API

And big thing are planned for 3.0 already.

42% of downloads this year were international. So now videos are being captioned in various languages by .dotSub

The big challenge for internation is plug-in localization. Frameworks for different languages. Huge open sources communities in places like Indonesia and Brazil are beginning to make big contributions.

ichat with WordPress: log into im.wordpress.com on Jabber

Big news: WPMU and Worpress.org are merging their code! WordPress.org is going to evolve a community.

More big news: Canonical plug-ins are coming.
Random stuff:
Matt: “Friends don’t let friends use the wrong W”
See http://www.Edmorita.com for a guy who got  a real tattoo of the WordPress logo.  It’s gorgeous!

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Filed under Early Adopter Stuff, Entrepreneurship, Social Media, Web/Tech, Weblogs, Wordpress

Optimizing Your WordPress Blog for Google

Image representing WordPress as depicted in Cr...
Image via CrunchBase

Live blogging Matt Cutts‘ excellent presentation.

WordPress solves 90% of SEO optimization
Flash cannot be crawled–don’t use it

Cutts only uses these plug-ins:

Akismet
Feedburner
Cookies for Comments
Enforce www. preference
WP Supercache

Google crawls roughly in decreasing order of page rank
Page Rank is named for Larry Page
Number of people who link to you and how important they are
Not just the number of links
High quality content is important
Page rank is really community
Page rank evaporates each time it goes across a link
Avoid obsessing about backlinks

keywords – think about keywords users will search for. include attributes think of all the different ways someone would describe these
Check the Google keyword tool
Tweak your URL, permalink and title to optimize search “changing” and “change”
Do the post, go to the Google keyword tool, think about words you want to rank for, and make sure those words are in your post
also use categories
keywords in URL paths: stealthmode.com/keywords
How so you get a reputation?
Be interesting
Update often
Provide a useful service
Do original research or reporting
Give great information
Find a creative niche
Video can help
Feedburner.brand.com is free  Brand your Feedburner
Update your evergreen content or write a new post
Keep your WordPress updated

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Don’t Underestimate the Power of Twitter

This is a sad story, but it is also a story of communities and resiliency.

Earlier this week, I got a call in Half Moon Bay from my friend LonSafko, author of The Social Media Bible. It was a voicemail that said “Please call me back. I can’t leave a message.”

Last year, at almost exactly the same time, i got a call from a friend in Phoenix, and it was about the suicide of my friend Scott Coles, so I was alerted. I called him back immediately.

Sure enough, our mutual friend Steven Groves, a member of my OTEF board, had learned that morning that his son, Steven Groves II, had died  of an overdose. Steve doesn’t even know yet what the coroner will find, but he has lost his oldest child.

As if that isn’t enough, Steve had been out of paid work since December, when his last campany ran out of cash. He had been working with Lon to promote The Social Media Bible, but was doing that on a sweat equity basis.

So when the need to bury his son came up, it was one more big stressor on top of his grief.

Lon asked me what to do. “I’m a guy,” he said, simply, meaning “I am at a loss in a situation like this.”

“Go over there,” I said. “You are in town and I am not.” He also called Joan Koerber Walker, the chairman of the OTEF board and another good friend of ours. Joan’s a woman, so she raced over to Steve’s house.

I couldn’t get there, so I started a Chipin page and put it out on FriendFeed and Twitter. I told people to send money through Paypal to paypal@otef.org .

As of today, between our local friends and Chipin, we have almost $2000 of the $2500 Stevee needs to bury his oldest son. I’m sure that this doesn’t take away his loss, but it helps relieve one burden and allows him to  grieve.

Our country is in a bad place, and there are conflicting theories about how to come out of it. But that doesn’t mean that individuals, acting together, can’t help each other and exhibit the enormous resiliency that makes societies survive.

We see it publicly in events like Katrina, and how volunteers are still rebuilding houses in New Orleans. Privately, I have seen it this week from my Twitter community. Twitter communities, as people like @kanter and @lizstrauss can also tell you, have an extraordinary resilience and therefore the power to move mountains.

R.I. P. Steven Groves II. And my friend Steve, go forward knowing that you are in the embrace of all of us, even people who may never had met you.

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Bootstrapping: Weapon of Mass Reconstruction

Sramana Mitra’s Bootstrapping: Weapon of Mass Reconstruction is a book for our time, because it’s something real out of Silicon Valley. No more stories about legendary VC fundings or startup-to-IPO in six months. In this, the second volume of Entrepreneurs Journeys, her focus is on doing more with less, in tune with the times. The book comes out June 1, but I got an advance copy because this is my passion: starting up companies without outside investment. Unfortunately, this is another one of the books Buppy read first, so the photo isn’t what you might expect it to be:-) Bootstrapping: Weapons of Mass Reconstruction

Sramana Mitra has herself been an entrepreneur and a strategy consultant in Silicon Valley since 1994. She founded three companies: Dais (off-shore software services), Intarka (sales lead generation and qualification software) and Uuma (online personalized store for selling clothes using Expert Systems software). Two were acquired, while the third received an acquisition offer from Ralph Lauren that the company did not accept. Now she interviews entrepreneurs to find out what makes them tick. It’s quite interesting to read some of the stories, especially those of entrepreneurs you think you already “know,” like Om Malik, in my case.

The very first entrepreneur in the book, Greg Gianforte, begins by saying he doesn’t believe in raising money from investors. “The best money comes from customers, not investors,” he says, echoing what Stealthmode’s partners have always said to our own entrepreneurs. And for the same reasons. Boseman, Montana, where Greg started RightNow, a customer service software company, isn’t a tech hotbed anymore than Phoenix, Arizona is. And bootstrapping, Gianforte says, ” is a discovery process.” He goes on to say that if you got a bunch of MBAs in a room and asked them how to start a company, they’d say write a business plan and go get funding. And then they’d build a bonfire and throw the money into it. Admittedly, RightNow took expansion capital after two years.

Both Om Malik and Rafat Ali, who have found ways to monetize content online, were also bootstrappers in the beginning. Both came from India, where VC money wasn’t an everyday occurrence but hard work was, and both are writers. Ali tells of how he named his blog PaidContent.org because the .com name was taken, the Internet bubble had burst when he started in 2001, and he had nothing else going. Om has worked so hard at being a successful entrepreneur that he had a heart attack last year, when only in his early forties. He has had to learn to let things go a bit.

Ramu Yalamanchi’s father was an entrepreneur, and was the FFF (Friends Family and Fools) who gave him the first $10,000 to start the social network Hi5. To avoid mistakes, he watched Friendster. If you start a business that you think will get very big, plan for the scaling issues in advance, he says, because that’s what Friendster did not do. He watched that company in the days when people couldn’t get on the site and couldn’t register.

Mitra points out that Silicon Valley now is where Silicon Valley has been many times in the past: the IPO window is closed, the M&A market is adrift, and the VCs who can’t see an exit will not make an entrance. The economy sucks, and the layoffs have happened. The talent is out there looking for something to do. The last interview in the book is with Lars Dalgaard, CEO of SuccessFactors, who decided during the last downturn to buy companies that were struggling and turn them into successful businesses. Two of them he actually bought at an auction in Redwood City. From the portfolio of “stuff” that he bought emerged the company that’s now SuccessFactors.

This book has some fascinating histories of the different paths people take to entrepreneurship, and the difficulties they face. I would only have wished each of the interviews to be longer and deeper, because every story is worth the telling.

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It Takes a Village to Move a Blog

I decided I was going to shamelessly imitate my buddy Scoble and move my blog to WordPress.org from WordPress.com. This involved calling in favors from EVERY friend I have ever had, especially Chuck Reynolds, Darin Wayrynin and Brent Spore. I’m so grateful to all of them for their help that I tested every link here to see if it worked. I usually let it fall to the gods to ensure that typos aren’t in the links.

Here’s how we did it:

1)Because I already had a blog on WordPress.com and wanted to move it over to the more powerful platform, I asked my ISP, Deru, to set me up with access to my server. Now Deru, Darin’s company, has been our ISP since we started. I learned about uptime and downtime in 1998-99 when Ed and I were on the board of Opnix, a defunct startup with the great idea of optimizing packet delivery (ahead of its time). Darin was also on the board, and he was starting Deru. Because he was both knowledgeable and sweet (he will hate that word), we became friends, and I even crashed his bachelor party, which involved secretly flying to Las Vegas and appearing where I wasn’t wanted:-) I didn’t stay long!

So Darin set me up with a Sandbox. Then I talked to Chuck Reynolds of Rynoweb, who is a web architect and a buddy from Gangplank, Phoenix’s premier coworking facility.

Chuck installed WordPress 2.8 for me, and then I started installing plugins and widgets following Robert Scoble’s picks. I got them all installed, and half of them didn’t work. That’s where Chuck came in. He took a look and realized that Thesis, the theme I had chosen (learned this from @karoli) hadn’t yet updated to be compatible with WordPress 2.8, so he went back and reinstalled the last version.

Now I’ve got almost everything working: Facebook Connect, Google Friend Connect, search, etc. But NOT Friendfeed. And I can’t remove the widget either. So I’m waiting for poor Chuck to wake up (it’s Sunday) so I can badger him again).

We haven’t even gotten to the branding and design of Stealthmode yet, which is where Brent comes in.

I will say that WordPress.com is much easier to set up and use if you are a “normal” person (a writer with a Ph.D. in English, not from DeVry). But I found that it lacks the social components to necessary to today’s web.

I will be appearing at Wordcamp next Saturday to chide my friend Matt about these serious shortcomings in his free product 🙂

I feel that sense of entitlement welfare moms must feel: if you are going to help me, at least make it perfect for me. LOL

BTW, you can visit the work in progress here. Criticism welcome. Notice that Google Friend Connect and FB Connect are still not working. I’m now officially confused. They were working an hour ago:-)

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Filed under Early Adopter Stuff, Social Media, Web/Tech, Weblogs

It Takes a Village to Move a Blog

I decided I was going to shamelessly imitate my buddy Scoble and move my blog to WordPress.org from WordPress.com. This involved calling in favors from EVERY friend I have ever had, especially Chuck Reynolds, Darin Wayrynin and Brent Spore. I’m so grateful to all of them for their help that I tested every link here to see if it worked. I usually let it fall to the gods to ensure that typos aren’t in the links.

Here’s how we did it:

1)Because I already had a blog on WordPress.com and wanted to move it over to the more powerful platform, I asked my ISP, Deru, to set me up with access to my server. Now Deru, Darin’s company, has been our ISP since we started. I learned about uptime and downtime in 1998-99 when Ed and I were on the board of Opnix, a defunct startup with the great idea of optimizing packet delivery (ahead of its time). Darin was also on the board, and he was starting Deru. Because he was both knowledgeable and sweet (he will hate that word), we became friends, and I even crashed his bachelor party, which involved secretly flying to Las Vegas and appearing where I wasn’t wanted:-) I didn’t stay long!

So Darin set me up with a Sandbox. Then I talked to Chuck Reynolds of Rynoweb, who is a web architect and a buddy from Gangplank, Phoenix’s premier coworking facility.

Chuck installed WordPress 2.8 for me, and then I started installing plugins and widgets following Robert Scoble’s picks. I got them all installed, and half of them didn’t work. That’s where Chuck came in. He took a look and realized that Thesis, the theme I had chosen (learned this from @karoli) hadn’t yet updated to be compatible with WordPress 2.8, so he went back and reinstalled the last version.

Now I’ve got almost everything working: Facebook Connect, Google Friend Connect, search, etc. But NOT Friendfeed. And I can’t remove the widget either. So I’m waiting for poor Chuck to wake up (it’s Sunday) so I can badger him again).

We haven’t even gotten to the branding and design of Stealthmode yet, which is where Brent comes in.

I will say that WordPress.com is much easier to set up and use if you are a “normal” person (a writer with a Ph.D. in English, not from DeVry). But I found that it lacks the social components to necessary to today’s web.

I will be appearing at Wordcamp next Saturday to chide my friend Matt about these serious shortcomings in his free product 🙂

I feel that sense of entitlement welfare moms must feel: if you are going to help me, at least make it perfect for me. LOL

BTW, you can visit the work in progress here. Criticism welcome. Notice that Google Friend Connect and FB Connect are still not working.

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