Trend for 2008: Geeks doing Good?

I really hope this is a trend in 2008. Jeremy Toeman is one of those guys who inspires me to do better. Yesterday’s volunteering at the San Francisco Foodbank was a lot of fun. Not just because we helped out our local community, either. But because people from Yahoo, Google, Wired Magazine, Mahalo, AOL, AdBrite, and quite a few other tech companies came and pitched in. This was a KILLER way to network. Certainly better than going to one of those parties where you just consume alcohol and trade cards. We got a demo of the OLPC from a geek who already is hacking it and we learned a lot about the needs in the local San Francisco community from a great tour (Part I, and Part II) — this is why you should empower your employees to talk on your behalf. Imagine if George, the warehouse supervisor, had to check with PR like most employees at big companies do. Remember, this was a weekend and that was above and beyond — it’s the kind of testimony that reminds us that some people don’t just have jobs, they have callings.

The audio with Qik is too scratchy to use for serious stuff like this, though. I gotta find another way to stream video with my cell phone.

"What's your audience size?" is wrong question

I’m reading my feeds this morning and see a few people talking about audience size for videobloggers and other content people. Here’s a sample:


Henry Blodget points out that Perez Hilton
has a huge audience, but hasn’t yet been able to sell much advertising to it.

Hugh Macleod applies some new math in figuring out the size of his audience (or other peoples, for that matter).

In the past few years I’ve had some success building audiences, but I found that that’s not really what’s important. It’s not what advertisers REALLY care about.

So, what do they care about?

1. Are you getting content that no one else is? For instance, today over on ScobleShow we have an interview with Rondee. A startup building a conference calling service that’s really great.

2. Does that content cause conversations to happen? If you use Google Blog Search, do you find anyone linking to it?

3. Does that content get noticed in the niche you’re covering? If you’re trying to cover do-it-yourself crafts or robots, for instance, does Make Magazine notice it and link to you?

4. Even more importantly, does it get the most credible and authoritative to link to you? Notice in point #3 I mentioned Make Magazine. In the do-it-yourself movement I can’t think of anything more credible or authoritative. So, getting a link from that matters more than getting a link, from, say, Loren Feldman over at 1938Media. Keep in mind that because Loren is funny his audience size might be bigger than the one hanging out over on Make. But no one will buy an ad on your site cause Loren made fun of it. They might, however, buy an ad if Make links to you a few times a month.

5. Chris Shipley’s Demo Conference proved to me it’s not the size of your audience that matters. It’s WHO is in the audience that matters. She has a micro audience. Usually about 1,000 people. But they include VCs, bloggers, journalists, and other influencers on whether startups get noticed or not. She usually has 60 companies on stage that each paid $18,000 to be there and most people in the audience paid more than $1,000 to listen to them.

6. I’ve been having lots of conversations with my producer, Rocky Barbanica, about the new thing that we’re doing (if you haven’t heard yet, we’re leaving PodTech and starting something new on January 16th — we’ll announce that on the 16th). But I never talk with Rocky about how large my audience will be. No, instead, we’re talking about who we want on the show for the first week. How can we make the quality better? Who is out there who is doing innovative stuff that we can learn from? Epic-FU, for instance, is one show I’m watching a lot. I’ve never heard Zadi or Steve (the two who do Epic-FU) talk about how they can get a large audience (I’ve been on several panels with Zadi). Instead she asks “how can I take my art further?”

And, THAT is the right question.

How can we take our art further?

How come bloggers never obsess about THAT?

back to reading feeds and thinking about taking my stuff to the next level.