Archive for the ‘Social’ Category|
Friday, March 25th, 2011
- Success doesn’t come overnight
- The amount of traffic you can get doesn’t matter if you can’t monetize it properly
- Try to leverage companies that already have a distribution channel in place
- Don’t undersell yourself
- Try to identify the hole left in the market by your competitors and go after that
- Identify your shortcomings but focus on your strengths
Friday, March 19th, 2010
No, this is not the title of a geek gay porn movie. “One laptop, two guys, six days of SXSW” is the best way to condense an awesome experience I had at SXSW. Everything started at the Fort Lauderdale International airport, when, because of a delay, a generous friend decided to buy the first round of beers to kick start the conference in the best of ways. We all know that SXSW means a lot of bar hopping and parties, and this is when the idea sparked: why don’t we build an application to keep track of who owes you drinks?
Lately I’ve been trying to learn Ruby on Rails, so I thought this could be the perfect project to flex my new Rails skill set, so I asked Emmanuel (@jewgonewild) to assist me. We decided that it would be cool to build the entire application on the flight from Fort Lauderdale to Austin so that we could use it during the conference. To be honest, Emmanuel did a little more than assist me. Ok, aside from the design, he built the whole thing. I just set up the basic structure and created a couple of controllers under his vigilance. So far so good, right? There was one small problem: I was the only one with a laptop we could work on. We ended up building the basic functions on the plane but the work continued throughout the conference. And while we had a working alpha version to use between us friends since day 3, the actual version was completed literally on the flight back to Fort Lauderdale (on St. Patrick’s day, how appropriate). It was a great experience, mostly because it shows once again how to build cool stuff (at least cool in my opinion). There really is no need for huge budgets and months of planning. You just need to execute.
So what did we come up with? I’m proud to present to the whole world Tab It Up Alpha (it took us two dinners and nine people to decide on the name). The concept of the application is actually really simple. The user just needs to login using their Twitter credentials (we use oauth to do so), and the app is ready to go. Simply add the twitter handles of the people you are buying drinks for and what type (for now we have “beer,” “wine” and “drink”) and tab it up. On the user page you’ll be able to see your recent activity.
What this really is going to evolve to is a way to find relationships and interesting data through drinks you buy and those that are bought for you. Soon enough we’ll display things like your best friend (who bought you the most drinks) and the people you should avoid (freeloaders). We are planning to add a few more nifty features, and we’ll introduce them in the upcoming weeks.
For now, I hope you will try and enjoy Tab It Up. Please let us know what you think about it.
Thursday, March 11th, 2010
Finally it’s that time of the year that we geeks all love: SXSW Interactive. On Twitter, everyone is tweeting about it. On blogs, everyone is writing about it. In meetups and gatherings, everyone is talking about it. I actually feel bad for those people who won’t go and will have to survive the next 10 days of SXSW hysteria. But for those who will go for the first time, I fell obligated as SXSW sophomore to write up few tips I learned last year (I’ll skip all those tips like “use Twitter to see what’s going on” or “if you see Mike Harrington fist bump and don’t try to shake his hand”):
- Be open to meet new people: If you are going there just to attend to the panels and not be social, maybe you should look for some webinar or books on Amazon. Last year I started meeting new people (@jbrotherlove and @ shanifilms) few minutes after the take off and by the time we took the cab from the airport to the convention center it was five of us. Meeting new people makes things more fun (and if you share cab rides even cheaper).
- Party: We all know it: panels are just an excuse to recover from the night before and getting organized for the upcoming one. Here’s a good list of parties you should attend.
- Remember people around you are big on social networks: If you decide to get completely wasted, remember that anyone over there will at least a camera and something that can be used to tweet and share with the world your worst moments. Of course I know this because last year I was the one with the camera. Drink (I heard that after 4pm drinking water is not allowed in any premise), have fun, but don’t be stupid.
- Tell your family and friends that it’s ok if they won’t hear from you for the next few days: No, the problem isn’t being too busy to make a phone call between panels and parties. The problem is that there are going to be thousands of iPhone crashing the AT&T network. If you have any carrier pigeons at home, this is the right time to take them for a trip.
- Use your damn GPS: Last year eight adults men managed to walk right into the hood in search for a party because nobody thought about using the GPS devices (iPhones) that were sitting in their pockets.
- Save space in your luggage avoiding to bring t-shirts to wear: You are going to collect so many t-shirts from different companies that you really won’t have to worry about bringing your owns.
- Check the weather before you pack: I have no idea why last year I checked the weather the week before leaving and I didn’t double check the day I packed. Check this video to see what happened.
Are you going to SXSW?
Wednesday, February 17th, 2010
As some of you may know 39 Inc. (my company) and Pikchur Inc. recently launched SquarePik, the first Foursquare client for iPhone with picture and video support. Users seems to love it, and, even if they are not a big number, most of them are really active users. That makes me happy. What really makes me happy is the fact that SquarePik is the perfect example of how we should cultivate a local tech community in places like South Florida. Yes, meetups and tweetups are important to know each other, exchange business cards and maybe create connections, but what really makes a difference is what we build. The more successful things we build, the more people will realize that there are talents to invest on here in South Florida.
SquarePik was exactly that: a group effort where local startups collaborate on something tangible. It didn’t take months of planning, neither dozens of meeting. It took two weeks of building and doing and making. Not only, we also had the support of other local geeks who helped us with testing, suggestions and trying to find every possible way to give us exposure. Doesn’t matter where we got featured and how many downloads we had since then, what matters is that we built something and now people know about it. Did it make a difference in Florida reputation as far as tech startups? No, but like Romans were used to say “gutta cavat lapidem” (a drop hollows out the stone), and a drop hollows out the stone by falling not twice, but many times. If we stop for a second to talk, and we start to build one thing after another, then we will be able to grow our community and attract those founds and that attention that everybody claim.
Do you want to help the your tech community to grow but you aren’t in the business of building things? Start using Pikchur instead of Twitpic, try Imaneed.com next time you need a plumber or give a shot to JCompare.com for your online shopping. And while you do that, give them feedbacks, talks to them, ask them what you can do to help them. This is how you build a real tech community, this is how you attract investors in South Florida, this is how you prevent the few startups we have to move away. It’s not about having the biggest group on Google or the biggest fan page on Facebook, because remember, even a pickle can have more fans than Nickleback .
Monday, November 16th, 2009
This is part of a conversation going on among the people helping organizing a tech community. First a quote from a previous message, followed by my reply. I would love to hear everybody’s opinion and create a constructive dialog. Disclaimer: I edited my reply a bit to correct some grammar horrors (yeah horrors, way beyond errors).
We saw last time the turnout has a lot to do with the topic. If we run this as a user group (like the WordPress, iPhone, and Ruby groups, etc.), then the turn out will be like last time. If we reach out wider with more general interest topics, then we’ll get 200 people.
Well I think some tech topics in a tech community won’t hurt once in a while. We need to remember that we want to build a tech community, not just a group of people as big as possible, otherwise we could just talk about sports and I’m sure we would get even 500 people to show up. The real core of Refresh Miami, in my opinion, should be “tech” and the concept of tech should go beyond using a computer, twitter, facebook or emails, cause nowadays almost everybody does those things already. I invite you all to check the schedule of the other Refresh groups (refreshingcities.org). I’m not saying it should be all about code, because that would be wrong as well, I think the September event about copyright and venture capital was great.
Refresh should talk about new technologies and help people creating tech businesses. If this means having 100 people who can put their head together and build (build, not just talk about building) cool projects (those are what really attract VC and press, not cool people), I’ll take those 100 over 200 generalists everyday.
Monday, August 17th, 2009
Last year, I attended SXSW Interactive for the first time, and it was a great experience. Not only did I have the opportunity to meet great people from all over the country, but I also felt I had the chance to bond with friends and people I already knew from South Florida.
Of course, besides the social aspect of SXSW, I also attended awesome presentations and panels, and I promised myself I would try to give a presentation or participate on a panel at SXSW 2010. And here I am. This year I submitted one presentation, “From the Idea to the App Store: Getting Apps Done” and one panel, “The Truth About Launching a Web Service.” The first one is a presentation about how to get into the iPhone applications market without being an iPhone developer, with real expectations and a clear idea of what’s going on. The second one is a panel where we are going to share our experience in launching web services and about successes and failures.
I should also be a part of another panel submitted by Brian Breslin, “Coconut Valley – Building a Tech Community on the Beach“, a panel about building a tech community in a non-tech friendly place like South Florida.
But, we are not the only two people from South Florida submitting a panel for SXSW.
Please vote for these panels to support our growing tech scene.
- Coconut Valley – Building a Tech Community on the Beach – Brian Breslin (Panel)
Starting from a mere handful of people and growing into the thousands, come learn how we grew our tech community out of the sand in South Florida. Learn tips and tricks for growing your own tech community even in the most unfriendly/untechy areas of the world.
- From the Idea to the App Store: Getting Apps Done – Davide Di Cillo (Solo)
How individuals, even non-developers, can enter into the mobile application marketplace. Also highlights realistic visions one should have about the market and probability of success. Tips and tricks on how even small businesses can be profitable on the overcrowded iTunes Store.
- The Truth About Launching a Web Service – Davide Di Cillo (Panel)
Many people want to start a web app/service, but few understand what it really takes to make it successful. We’ll go beyond the code and the design and explore what’s really involved in launching a successful service.
- What To Do If Your Design Is Stolen – Chris Jennings (Solo)
Getting your site ripped off is a pain. Find out what you can do to protect your work and to avenge your stolen design!
- How to Be an Emergency Response Technician (ERT) – Chris Fullman (Solo)
For many small businesses, the need for an IT person (aka “Emergency Response Technician” or “ERT”) often falls on one employee who primarily has non-IT responsibilities. This humorous presentation will offer valuable tips and philosophies to improve the productivity, prioritization and sanity of that often-overwhelmed individual.
- How to Get Rocked at SXSW! – Denise Jacobs (Panel)
Interactive professionals and newbies alike come to the mecca of SXSW to deepen knowledge and network with other professionals. But it isn’t called “geek spring break” for nothing! For 6 days, there is the opportunity to make connections that go beyond business. Why not rock SXSW *and* get rocked too?
- The Best.Problem.Ever: More Clients, Better Clients. – Denise Jacobs (Panel)
You’ve decided to take the big leap and venture out to launch your own business. But the clients you want aren’t beating down your door. How can you not only stay afloat, but also end up having the best problem ever: more great clients than you know what to do with?
- Domestication of Outsourcing – Craig Agranoff (Panel)
The word outsource brings such a negative connotation when in fact you can outsource to the guy down the block. All outsourcing means is doing things out of your office in hopes of saving money. There are many ways to outsource domestically and support our own economy.
- My Three-Year Old Is My Usability Expert – Dave Stanton (Panel)
Children are perfect testers for the innate usability of visual structures. Learn how neuroscience and cognitive psychology research can make your designs and interfaces more intuitive.
If are part of the South Florida tech community and you would like to share your SXSW panel, please let me know and I’ll add it to this page.
Friday, July 31st, 2009
A couple of days ago I gave spoke at Refresh Miami about the status of the iPhone applications market and to present one of my latest projects, Get Apps Done. Since the first time I gave a presentation at Refresh Miami about Twootball, the audience almost doubled, with almost 200 people showing up. And that’s even more impressive if I think about the first time I went to Refresh Miami little less than 2 years ago, when we were just 15 of us. It’s great to see the tech community growing and developing so fast.
Here’s the video and the slides of the presentation I gave for those who couldn’t make it.
Friday, February 20th, 2009
I’m planning to speak at BarCamp Miami 2009 this weekend about my experience with iPhone apps, hoping to help others to avoid mistakes I already went thru.
I’m not won’t talk about developing but more about how to make your iPhone application business profitable, or at least not burning money like a fireplace.
Actually probably more than answers I’ll give questions: questions you should ask yourself before starting the process of develop and release an iPhone application.
I asked in the past days on Twitter who else was going to talk about mobile and I found other two people, so we’ll try to give our presentations back to back, saving you to run all over the place if you are interested in the mobile industry.
This is what I found out about theirs presentations:
App Evolution: From Web to Mobile- presented by Alessandra Colaci
Synopsis: The current app market has a rich history that evolved from
early beginings on the internet. Insights into the market of today can
be gained from exploring the past trends from various earlier formats
ranging from widgets to social applications.
Alessandra is a the CEO of Republic of Wow!, the makers of Blixy.com.
With a history of success in social media marketing and applications,
she aims to be innovative and forward moving in developing trends and
markets. She speaks on various topics on social media, marketing, and
Rapid iPhone app development – presented by Auston Bunsen
How to leverage current skillsets as a web developer to write iPhone apps.
Thursday, October 30th, 2008
Last night I spoke at Refresh Miami about the concept of micro-developing and how it applied to Twootball. I was kinda nervous at the beginning but I think it went pretty well and I was very happy with it.
Here’s the video of the presentation, I’ll soon post online the slides as well.
Here’s also the slides of the presentation:
Tuesday, October 28th, 2008
The past friday and saturday I attended to Scary SEO, a small conference in South Florida organized. I had chance to meet some of the smartest people in this industry, getting a lot of value and having a lot of fun.
I really liked the format of the event because the number of attendees was limited to 50 and that made it really intimate. There was a lot of time dedicated to networking and discussion. I will attend again next year for sure, and I’ll also look forward SEM Spring break next year, organized again by Dave Snyder.
Do you want to know more about what happened at Scary SEO? Here’s a list of blog posts better written than mine:
- The ScarySEO Mini-Con Recap by Lisa Barone
- Scary SEO: 10 funniest things that happened by Brian Carter
- Scary SEO 2008 Presentation: Dealing with Unhappy Clients by Pamela Lund
Also this weekend after only three weeks since Twootball.com was launched, the project got the attention of a lot of people on Twitter, including Biz Stone (co-funder of Twitter). I have to be honest, I am really excited about all this buzz around Twootball.com and I hope that all the visitors who visited the site the past weekend will come back next Sunday to twitter together about football. Today the site was also featured on several websites such as Killer Startups and Go2Web20. This is going to be a very important week for Twootball.com because of this coverage and because of an announcement I will make on wednesday at Refresh Miami, where I will give a presentation about my project.
Thank you again to all of you for supporting Twootball.com, I can’t express how much i appreciate your help in spreading the word.