Dec 24, 2008

Just in Time for Christmas: Top 10 Ways to Spend your European Lottery Winnings

I just got this note which begins....
You have been awarded 750,000 Euros in the SWISS-LOTTO Satellite Software email lottery in which e-mail addresses are picked randomly by Software powered by the internet through the worldwide website.
Asking around a bit, I realized that so many of my online and offline acquaintances and friends have received similar winnings, we could probably do a lot of good for the world if we pooled them. But what to spend them on?

  1. A Monogrammed golf bag with matching ankle bracelet for Bernard Madoff. (Club Fed)
  2. Complete Set of econ literature for the Congress and Federal Reserve Board Chairmen.
  3. Buy back the Federal Reserve for $500 Billion, eliminating the necessity of an Income Tax
  4. Book a permanent vacation on a remote desert Island for Ben Bernanke and Henry Paulson. Send Gilligan with them so they are never able to escape.
  5. Buy a lifetime supply of nicotine patches for Obama (it's for the children)
  6. Provide resume services for GM and Chrysler execs after their companies go bankrupt
  7. Help widows in Nigeria transfer husbands fortunes into US accounts
  8. Provide "Golden Chutzpah" awards for anyone on the Obama "investigatory" team clearing itself of any wrongdoing in the Blagojevich scandal.
  9. Close down Washington for Cleaning until 2012 while the citizens fix the economy
  10. Bring all of our soldiers home for Christmas (Hurry! only one more day!)

Dec 20, 2008

Twitterer relates his experience in Denver plane crash

Tonight on twitter, I saw the announcement that a plane had crashed at Denver International at least 20 minutes prior to any major news outlet covering the story. What was even more amazing, is that one of the passengers was a twitter user who was one degree away, allowing me to easily find and follow him. Here's the story you probably even now won't get on the major news. To read this properly you need to scroll down and read it from bottom to top. Note: This was his second experience crashing in an airliner....

Dec 19, 2008

The Twitter Experiment


Almost Everything I needed to know about Twitter I learned from Guy Kawasaki

Back in March I signed up for twitter. I don't even remember why. It may have been that one of my business partners pinged me. At any rate, I am fairly sure my story isn't uncommon. In the beginning, the only followers I had were followers of whomever invited me.

I didn't know what to write. ("Hi...uh is this thing on? Testing 1,2,3"). Pretty sure my first tweet touted a press release describing a partnership our company had completed with Top Producer. I had maybe 3 active followers and didn't yet understand how twitter worked. The tweet landed on no ears. The announcement was terrific for the company but nothing happened inside the twitter domain revealing to me twitter's potential as a marketing tool.

Between infrequent following and people randomly following me, I had roughly 70 followers as of December 12, 2008, one week ago today. That was the day I started the twitter experiment.

Things happen fast on twitter. About 2 months ago, I started following Guy Kawasaki (@guykawasaki), the marketing guru over at AllTop and formerly at Apple. He's legendary among startup junkies and spends a great deal of time helping starry-eyed idiots like myself who walk away from perfectly good, paying jobs to create "something" while running up credit-card debt. Idiots, because we tend to go off and start building without any idea how we'll generate profit, funding or market our product once it is completed.

Yes, you may detect some self-effacement, but God bless the idiots because we sometimes figure it out in time to go to market with our "better mouse traps." Yes, far more fail than succeed, but I remember Alta Vista as the top search engine and never foresaw Google.

My fascination with Guy Kawasaki began when I found a video of a presentation he gave instructing budding entrepreneurs to keep their "pitch deck" to 10 slides. The 10/20/30 rule of Powerpoint was the first Guy Kawasaki piece I read. I may even have been directed to it via retweet. (Tip: retweeting, is a great way to help others. On some web discussion forums this is called "bumping". It keeps interesting information in the public eye and also credits the original tweeter. This can earn you an appreciative follower).

On accident, I went looking to see if any of my old high-school chums were on twitter which resulted in a thorough scanning of my gmail address book. From 8 or so followers I now had 40, some of whom were inactive, but some who were old workmates. Neat!

Then somebody retweeted Guy's How to Use Twitter as a Twool. Guy's advice was to follow some of the SMORES (Social Media [Wh] ORES), send @replies to give the impression that you know them and attract followers (and then follow them back). One of the contacts pulled in from my gmail account was Rob Kall(@robkall from OpEd News. I had written several articles for Lew Rockwell and posted at least one at Rob's last year so Rob was in my contact list. Rob posted to twitter a lot, promoting new articles published at OpEd News. But Rob wasn't alone. Some of my other contacts were quite prolific! My browser was inundated with tweets! Help, I'm in an aviary and I can't get out!

I suddenly doubted Guy's sanity. Two friends is quite enough thank you. I can't even think in here much less say anything that will be heard over the din.

I then went and visited Guy's profile page. The dude has over thirty thousand followers. No way. Why in the world would you want all of that noise? Maybe twitter wasn't for me. I quickly un-followed Rob and a couple of others to get some peace and quiet. Whew! I clearly didn't understand. Something was missing. How can you possibly follow that many people and have any sort of meaningful interaction?

After a bit of investigation I discovered I hadn't paid close enough attention to Guy's advice. To be fair to myself, there was a good deal of it. Guy and others manage the din using something other than a web browser. Twitter has an API. You can download clients which help you filter, search and categorize tweets. You are suddenly in control. Minimize the window and it still dutifully checks tweets for you. Later, you can scan what you have missed. It also provides a far more user friendly tweet interface than the browser. Icons make it easy to reply and direct message other users. More importantly, you don't need 9 different browser windows open just to format a better tweet.

Before I discovered my new favorite twool, TweetDeck, (it even runs on linux!) I was trying to tweet with tinyurl open in one tab, google in another, a freshly opened window containing an interesting story in another.... If you haven't figured it out yet, part of my personality curse is to do things the hard way.

What a joy tweeting could be! Not to sound like a plug for tweetdeck but, it offers several options for shortening urls, terrific search functionality which refreshes results at an interval you choose, and plenty of columns to categorize your tweets.

Now with some power in my hands, I went off to execute fully, the Guy Kawasaki way. Since our company, DriveBuy Technologies provides a mobile marketing platform for Realtors®, I decided I would start by following every agent, broker and mortgage professional I could find. Those are the people my company can help, especially in today's market.

I was taking actions I wouldn't have considered 3 weeks earlier. I was also encouraged by another twitterer who posted an article describing how dumb it is for employees not in the marketing department, to avoid marketing. I run the operations at DriveBuy - the hosting, deployments and I even code occasionally, so it never occurred to me until that tweet, that I was performing a disservice by refusing to involve myself in the marketing side of the business.

But I'm a political junkie and a cage-monkey. I couldn't transform myself into Joe-annoying-radio-announcer-phone-voice-guy. I'm still just me. Politically, I am closer to Murray Rothbard than Brack Obama. I would love to see the government's size reduced by 2/3 as that would give a better view into what government programs to keep or cut loose. That's just me. I do not begrudge anyone who doesn't agree, I just cannot keep my mouth shut or my fingers away from the keyboard if somebody mentions politics. To my surprise, there are other twitterers who either feel the same way, or are far more tolerant of contrary views than is promoted by the media. I was picking up followers in spite of my controversial opinions, and maybe even because of them.

Neat. But my main goal is to help the people I follow and who follow me. My life depends on it. Really. Guy Kawasaki led me to believe that I could change the world using twitter. When my partners and I started this company, that's what we intended. We wanted to bring mobile marketing into broad use by Realtors® across the country. We also wanted to feed our families and control our own destinies. We can't do that if we offer nothing of value to our customers.

By the third day, traffic to our website was heading upward though I had only added about 200 more followers and hadn't tweeted much about DriveBuy. I did discover that some of my followers were already customers. But I also started getting followers who weren't in real estate at all. Some were part of the #tcot group(Top Conservatives on Twitter), some were followers of followers and by Thursday, I had 500 followers from a start of around 70.

Sometimes creativity is overrated. Copying people who have found a success formula is far better than "figuring it out" by trial and error. Guy's power adapter story is a great example of Twitter's utility.

I'll try and remember to bring my power adapter on my next business trip, but knowing that I could get a loaner in a pinch, or that I could help somebody out is heartwarming. Maybe we're not alone. I mean, let's face it, the government is not going to turn this economy around and they won't be rushing out to do anything helpful next business trip (unless you consider an unsolicited full-cavity search helpful). They still haven't discovered, or admitted, that it was their policies which caused the crises. If there is any economic recovery it will be people like you and me who do all of the working and wealth creation, not Secretary Paulson and his treasury poppin' daddies. We'll fix the economy, we'll help each other figure out how, and we'll have a blast doing it.

I just wanted to share this and let you know that a newbie twitter can greatly increase followers and increase traffic while doing it. I followed Guy's advice, and it worked. I really appreciate advice that works. I've had enough bad advice to last a lifetime and frankly, most of that bad advice was given to me by me....

I'll be following you next.

PS @SandeepVizEdu turned Guy's presentation into a really neat animated slide show. Fun to watch and educational too.

PPS I am still learning. Two weeks after writing this my article was retweeted and an astute couple of tweeters wondered what my id was on twitter. Doh! @rfisk

Credit Suisse to Senior execs: 'YOU deal with these crap assets.'

Sheer genius.

Credit Suisse Group will pay senior executive bonuses with troublesome, illiquid assets, forcing employees to take on the risk that at least some of them put on the Swiss bank's books."

.... "While the solution we have come up with may not be ideal for everyone, we believe it strikes the appropriate balance among the interests of our employees, shareholders and regulators and helps position us well for 2009," a memo from CEO Brady Dougan and investment bank boss Paul Calello said.

When do we see Goldman Sachs or Citibank follow? Probably never but it doesn't hurt to wish.

Dec 11, 2008

Ron Paul is a Non-Starter

The GOP "leadership" is trying to regroup. But, at least according to what I'm seeing by posts to the twitter #TCOT group, they are still in major denial as to why they lost.

I had one #TCOT member tweet to me that Ron Paul was a non-starter. I have news for the phony conservatives who continue to suck up top celebrity rather than ideology: you are going to have to deal with us Ron Paul supporters.

Today, via one of the meetup groups I follow I received a wonderful post about RP supporters in Arizona.

Just wanted to let you all know that I was just elected treasurer in our district! Also, I was elected to State Committee! We had 9 people from our RP/Liberty group that were elected to State Committee!

We had about 30-33 people show up for voting out of 113 (I think) total---for district elections. There was an official slate presented and the RP "leader" drafted our proposed slate.

This was a surprise to the 'old guard'/insiders. The standing representative from our district stood up and scolded us for our lack of inclusion of all his ppl.... and named ppl that should have been elected. Well, he ranted so much that it did him a disservice! Our 'leader' was given time for rebuttal and she gave a stirring impromptu speech! I think that this is what swayed many people to vote for US! Also, the main thing was that the RP people had actively campaigned for a couple of district candidates and this spoke very loudly that we were there to actively contribute when we could support a candidate!

After her speech, many people came over to speak with her and this was the first time that bridges were formed. With a Dem. in office at the federal level, we can all focus on our common ground with each other. Besides, we have a majority in our state house and senate...and our governor will be Repub. (Napolitano is heading for H.S., which is good for us and BAD for the nation, i'm afraid.)

Our district chair wants to put us all to work, so we see an opportunity to network, educate, and influence!

I am really excited...just wanted to share.

Would love to know what's happening in all of your districts/states!

The Campaign for Liberty is alive and well. People really do crave liberty and the current GOP leadership still wants to defend Guantanamo, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, bailouts etc.

Some of the leadership's antics are almost funny. They are attempting to draft Mike Ditka for the Senate. WTF? When I asked what his "conservative" credentials were, I was told to look at his football accomplishments. In other words, "he doesn't have any, but he's famous!"

That's exactly the same mentality that is destroying the LP.

Dec 3, 2008

Just how scummy are neoconservatives?

Utterly and completely. Murderous pragmatists every one. And they love Obama. Change? Like hell.

Max Boot embracing Obama

David Brooks sucking up to Obama

Bill Kristol endorsing Obama's foreign policy

This isn't to say that merely being happy with Obama makes one scummy. What makes these filthy, lying bastards so scummy is that they are gleeful with Obama because he is validating their horrendous foreign policy in spite of the fact that he positioned himself as one who repudiated their beliefs prior to getting elected.

They not only possess unbridled glee that he has apparently flip-flopped, but that in spite of their complete and utter wrongness, they will still have jobs and can still look as if they have some credibility.

They possess utterly no conscience or ability to recognize their own errors.

He was wrong...

The next generation of medical "scientists" ignored the facts and have instead touted vaccination as one of the greatest advances in medical science.

He was not wrong about the absurdity of vaccination. It is a grotesque superstition. Not one major epidemiological study of the past 100 years credits vaccination with significant disease reduction yet it is still "commonly known" to have been effective in eradicating disease.