Daily Archives: November 21, 2006

Trolls, wonderful trolls

Paul Boutin is right with his advice for TechCrunch. Speaking of which, I miss Chris Coulter’s bashing. LayZ needs the competition for coming up with better criticism cause his stuff is just not stinging the way it once used to. Chris is staying at our house. At dinner I was bugging him to start a blog and get back into the criticism game. If Chris wanted to, he could kick butt over Valleywag.

But, speaking of parties, I’m learning a lot more from my interviews than from any parties I’ve been at lately. Spending an hour with someone and asking lots of stupid questions gets more knowledge sharing to happen than any party I’ve ever seen.

The way I’ve been approaching my ScobleShow is I’ve been building my own little technology conference. I’m going with my video camera to people and companies I want to learn something from.

I make it a rule never to film at parties or events. Why? I tried for years to film at Microsoft events and never got good video. Here’s why:

1) It’s not intimate. When you film at an event, there are too many distractions, and the subject isn’t in a comfortable place. Eyes don’t lie, there’s always someone cooler to go and see than hang out with me (at the Laughing Squid Party Kevin Rose was there — there’s NO WAY I’m gonna compete with the guy who created Digg).
2) The lighting sucks. Even Thomas Hawk’s super-dooper fast lenses couldn’t work properly at the Laughing Squid party. If still cameras can’t do their job, don’t expect video to look good.
3) The audio sucks. Too noisy. At one of the Tech Crunch parties I tried to interview the guy who developed Del.icio.us. I couldn’t even hear his answers, so there was no way we were gonna have a good conversation.
4) Video and coverage from events is a commodity. At Laughing Squid there were tons of photographers. Business value comes from scarcity. There’s no way I’m going to get something of value at an event that someone else won’t also get (and will probably get from a nicer angle, or with better microphones, or a better looking host).

Translation: I agree with Doc Searls, you aren’t missing much at San Francisco parties.

There are a couple of HUGE exceptions, though:

1) If your job relies on relationships (like mine does) then going to parties is the best way to build relationships (I collect business cards, then call the people who are doing interesting things later on).
2) If your job relies on being seen and being photographed, then going to parties is a must-do thing. Reminding people you exist does help achieve some goals.
3) Rewarding your friends who’ve helped you out. Scott Beale, for instance, takes constant photos at every SF-area event I’ve been to lately and gives them away for free. So, spending another $100 and going to his party? Done deal. No option, gotta do it. Would be rude not to.

Oh, and getting to ask Kevin Rose for a photo? That’s a good reason too! :-)

Yes, all this stuff is making us nervous. Too much of a reminder of 1999 when big parties happened all the time.

Me? I can’t wait to get to London, Wales, and Amsterdam and see what’s going on there.

Would I link to a 16-year-old who asked for a link?

Christian Long asks whether I would link to a 16-year-old’s blog just because he or she asked.

I can’t promise a link. Hell, I can’t even promise I’ll answer the email (I’m only answering one out of 20 emails lately). But, I do read every email and I do consider it, even if only for five seconds.

To earn a link, though, I’d like to see more than just a couple of posts and I’d like to make sure that they add some value for my readers.

What’s tougher than getting a link? Getting me to subscribe. If you get me to subscribe it’s far better than earning a link. Why? Cause then you’ll get on my link blog over and over.

Best recruiting trick I’ve ever seen a startup use

When you watch my videos of SOASTA, a startup in Silicon Valley that’s building an automated Web testing tool (pretty cool, too) you’ll notice that every employee has a 30-inch Apple monitor on their desks. That isn’t all. They also bought every employee two computers: one a MacPro and another a MacBookPro. But even more, they bought everyone a 30-inch monitor for use at home with their MacBookPro.

I asked founder Ken Gardner why he did that and he said he noticed he was a lot more productive when using a 30-inch monitor and he wanted every bit of productivity he could get out his employees so he bought them all two too.

It made me want to work for Ken. And it’s not the only visionary thing he’s done with his company, either. They took the interface from Apple’s Garage Band and put it on enterprise software.

Interview and tour of SOASTA with Ken Gardner is here.
Demo of SOASTA is here.

Thomas Hawk gets schooled at Photoshop

The third Photowalking is now up on ScobleShow. Part II is here. This is actually not a “walking” one, but we sit down in my home office (Thomas says it’s my mansion, but it really isn’t) with Jan Kabili, who produces the excellent Photoshop Online TV and has written a ton of popular Photoshop books. She teaches Thomas a whole bunch of things about Adobe Photshop and how to use it to make your photography better (the techniques discussed will work with pretty much any photo editing tool). If you’re using a digital SLR, this is one hour that’ll make your photo workflow a lot better.

More on this Photowalking over on Thomas Hawk’s blog.

UPDATE: Congrats to Flickr on adding a new feature today where you can see what camera made the images you’re looking at. That’ll come in useful. But I wonder if it’ll properly track the camera that Flickr’s community manager was using today (Heather Champ was using a Polariod).