Tales from the PR trenches: How I use the web to increase my productivity

Recently, my first contributed article ran in PCWorld which covered my favorite apps to ‘Enhance Your Productivity via the Web.’ I make five web app recommendations, a couple of which are IRL services that are delivered via the web – my standout favorite is listed last.

Click through to find out what’s been my biggest time-saver in 2011.

Big Data. Noted

Great article on theme of big data at FOO Camp this year.

http://urbanhonking.com/ideasfordozens/2011/06/20/all-watched-over-on-foo-cybernetics-and-big-data/

Polo or American Apparel t-shirts for your next tech event or conference?

You’re a tech startup based outside the Bay Area, and you’re wondering if you should bring company shirts to wear or give away at an upcoming conference or event in San Francisco.

While company branding is important, to bring shirts or not is a small decision. If you have the time and money, do it. If not, don’t stress about it as it’s not going to break you.

The obvious advantage of wearing a company shirt is being easily identifiable at an event. But you can run the risk of looking sloppy, unprofessional, or out of sync with trends with a poor fit or colors. For women that’s pretty much guaranteed if you’re wearing a men’s cut t-shirt.

American Apparel is the brand I strongly recommend for fit and fabric. If you have women on your team make sure to order them women’s sizes. Zendesk has great women’s shirts. The added advantage of having women’s shirts is because so few companies offer them, they tend to get worn more.

What you want to make sure to avoid is company polo shirts. Trust me when I tell you these shirts don’t look more business appropriate, they just look like a uniform for a 90s software sales guy.

If you’re wondering if a polo shirt might be a good option for those who play golf, I would say that while I know a lot of people in San Francisco’s tech industry, I don’t know anyone at a startup or in the tech press who plays golf. You’re more likely to find those folks rock climbing at Mission Cliffs or organizing a round of dodgeball or Ultimate Frisbee in Golden Gate Park.

If you’re meeting with a VC and want to dress it up a bit, any dress shirt is a better choice than a company polo. They know what company you’re with if they’re meeting you.

Most important for your next event or conference – be rested, have a smile, bring your business cards, and an iPad to demo your app.

BlackBerries outsell iPhone in U.S., contrary to popular perception (in San Francisco)

After spending two years reading and writing about the BlackBerry, I get a tinge of parental pride every time I read an article like the one in Fortune about RIM earlier this week:

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“…According to industry tracker IDC, the bestselling smartphone in the U.S. so far this year by units is not the iPhone but the BlackBerry Curve.”

While many see the iPhone/BlackBerry competition as zero sum between consumer and business users, it turns out that Apple’s marketing job convincing consumers they’d enjoy having the power of a desktop in a handheld device has been a boon to RIM.

Jessica Hempel, author of the Fortune article, states, “Since the iPhone’s introduction in June 2007, BlackBerry quarterly sales have more than tripled, from $1.1 billion to $3.4 billion.”

Most interesting to me is the article’s note that RIM first started targeting mass audiences in 2008:

“Once considered mostly a business tool, of late the BlackBerry has made huge gains as a consumer product. RIM launched its first television ad campaign targeting a mass audience in 2008, and last quarter 80% of its new subscribers came from the nonbusiness crowd.”

During the research I conducted into RIM’s market positioning in 2006-2007, I found the campaign for the mass audience consumer to already be well under way as RIM was promoting the BlackBerry Pearl to consumers.

Below is a short excerpt from Chapter 3 of Constant Connectivity in a Wireless Age: The Discursive Promotional Strategies of the BlackBerry

The BlackBerry Pearl Website

Many of the themes found on the Prosumer and Corporate focused BlackBerry website are reiterated on the Consumer-focused Pearl website, albeit with a flashier designed website. The focus is on family and leisure, as well as the style component, as the profiles include several creative professionals who highlight the design features of the device. It is clear from the high-production value of the website that RIM is leveraging its best-in-class reputation (RIM, 2006 Annual Report, p.11) as a business tool to promote the Pearl as an aspirational, luxury brand smartphone. The Pearl is presented as an extension of the user’s personality, enabling one to mediate their successful personal and work lives with the technological assistance of a stylish device.

It seems RIM’s first foray into a consumer phones with the Pearl has been followed up by what looks to be the wildly successful BlackBerry Curve.

I wish them luck on the on-going battle for market dominance. The lack of exclusive service provider deal baggage should provide some real leverage as complaints about AT&T service continue to intensify.

Blogging, one picture at a time

Single-themed picture blogs are hawt.

I’m late to the Tumblr party, but you can’t help but notice the Tumblr aesthetic taking over the web with the proliferation of awesome single-themed picture blogs (though they’re not all necessarily Tumblr blogs).

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As with an web service or site, as soon as it hits a critical mass, the critics get snarky – a la Fuck Yeah Sharks:

Tumblarity

Copy longer than 10 words is so Q2 2008.

My favorite Single Themed Picture Blogs…

Awkward Family Photos

The lean

Look At This Fucking Hipster

Hipster

Texts From Last Night

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Maybe You Shoudn’t Buy That

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This Is Why You’re Fat

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Moron Ail – picture blog, though not single topic

pig

Fuck Yeah Sharks

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Fuck You, Penguin

egotistical deer

Shipment of Fail

Google knows your name

Fail Blog

Candle Fail

What am I missing?

What are you favorites?

Playing Feed The Head

In addition to being beautifully designed, there’s a lot of great noises in this game – trolloping hooves under the head, an ear tug that turns into breathing fire, an airplane propeller nose, bouncing beach balls, a woman laughing when her foot is tickled.

Check it out at http://www.feedthehead.net/

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Awesome mash-ups

There were some great mash-ups this week and I’ve posted a few of my favorites below.

Colbert kicked off the week during a convo with Creative Commons founder Lawrence Lessig.

Eclectic Method – The Colbert Report – Remix feat Lawrence Lessig

Other gems include a remix of excerpts from Obama’s audiobook autobiography and a hilarious video of Christian Bale’s audio rant remixed with the drooling and doped up kid in the back seat after the dentist.

Barack Obama is tired of you s**t (Techno Zuendli Mix)

Christian Bale takes David to the Dentist (Mash-Up)