Category Archives: accessibility

Back to my passions

Hey, Guy, how come you haven’t invited me over for breakfast? I thought you were my friend! :-)

Seriously, though, if you’re a company or a blogger and want a link, you don’t need to suck up. Just go to my comment and post your freaking URL along with a pitch of why your blog, software, new idea, etc rocks. But more on that in a bit.

Anyway, this weekend was really incredible. Our party was just over the top.

I find myself asking “now what?”

I’m asking myself what’ll get me excited to get out of bed tomorrow. Thanks to Rick Segal for putting that question in my head (he took Patrick and I out for sushi and we spent a bit of time talking life and technology).
Passion. It’s coming up in lots of conversations.

Today I had lunch with the team from Ether.com. I’m not allowed to say what they showed me, but I saw the fire in their eyes (that’s program manager Ron Hirson on left, and developer and co-founder Scott Faber on right). The passion for building something that changes the world. If you’re someone who sells your time and want a new way to do that (like, say, a lawyer does) then you should sign up for their beta.

I love that passion! It’s why I love hanging out with geeks. People who build things. People who put it all on the line. Who risk everything for an idea.

We need more people like that. Enough talking about me. Who’s the geek sitting tonight in a dark room typing code into a keyboard and hitting F5 to see how much further they’ve gotten in their dreams?

But, back to the Guy Kawasaki post: why suck up to anyone? If you are good, people will notice. They’ll stand in line overnight to buy your product. Word will get around. All you need is a few people to kick it off (and they don’t need to be the A list either).

I get bummed out when I hear people assume that getting me (or other A listers, or even someone who really has huge influence like Walt Mossberg or Steven Levy) to write about them will make their company.

Here’s a little secret: want to get me passionate about something? Get every single person in my life passionate about it.

Why did I return my Cingular aircard and buy a Verizon EVDO one? Cause my friends were passionate. My readers were passionate. And they were right. At Oakland my Cingular card would barely work. Verizon has five bars here and is fast, fast, fast.
Why did I try CoComment? It’s not cause Laurent took me skiing. Well, that helped. But I started hearing about CoComment from other people at the LIFT conference. Laurent didn’t come to the “A list” first. He just was passing them out to anyone. Passion. It’s not about sucking up.

It’s about being so excited by what you’ve built that you’ll tell anyone. Remember Flickr? Two years ago Stewart Butterfield was so excited that he was just pulling anyone who would listen aside at the O’Reilly Emerging Technology conference and showing them his stuff. That passion won me over as a customer and continues winning me over to this day. (Although he better watch out, cause Albert Lai of Bubbleshare is even more passionate than Stewart was!).

So, don’t suck up, get excited!

PS: are you excited about something you’ve built? Just post it here. Don’t send me email. If you send me email your excitement might get lost in my inbox. 133 emails to go.

The flattening of the press world

A dirty little secret about PR: they give certain press “exclusives” to try to get the story out better. This still goes on all the time. Why does Walt Mossberg or Steven Levy write about something before everyone else does? Cause PR types work with them to build trust, build relationships, and then reward that trust with an exclusive.

Trouble is that the world of PR is changing. Back in the 1980s you only needed to deal with a few people to get the message out. But now a kid sitting in Australia with only a handful of readers can go from obscurity to the front page of the New York Times in, what, 48 hours? (I’ve seen pretty much just that happen).

Now every single one of us has the power to have “the exclusive.” It really is messing with PR team’s heads as they try to deal with this new world of 20,000,000 people who can make or break your PR plans. It was so much easier back when you only needed to deal with a few hundred or less.

What am I talking about? Well, look at Ed Bott’s article in ZDNet. There are two forces arguing these issues inside of Microsoft. I’m here at the Blog Business Summit’s editorial meeting and I’m hearing stories of the same thing playing out all over the place. “Do we treat bloggers as press?” If so, how?

Are we seeing the death of the exclusive? I hope so. That’s what I’m fighting for. The “Z list” should have access to info as soon as the “A list” does.

I just want NDA rules that apply the same to everyone. What do you think?

Update: Chris Pirillo writes that the scoop no longer exists. Oh, Chris, we all want credit for our work! But, he’s right. To me it’s just “are you part of the conversation?” Do you want to be and are you being locked out? Then let’s fix that!

Tips for joining the A list

I keep getting asked “how do I get more traffic?” Or, “how do I get TechCrunch to notice my blog?”

Quick: go to Technorati and do the brrreeeport search. Now, which headline and opening text grabs you? Makes you wanna click? Hint: we’re all being slammed with hundreds of sites every day. The more interesting you can make your headline, the better. Think about what your headline will look like in the search engines and use every one as an opportunity to grab a little bit of traffic.

Now, look at the 98 brrreeeport results on Technorati. All are on the same topic, right? But some headlines stand out from the noise. Which ones grab your eye? The one that says simply “brrreeeport report?” Or the one that says “brrreeeport beats Mohammad cartoon?” Conflict is a story telling device. Use it in headlines!

Also, notice that Technorati has a way to “claim” a blog and if you do that you’ll get a little picture next to every one of your posts. Posts that have pictures win!

One other fun thing? Brrreeeport is a “top search” on the Technorati home page right now.

Need another tip on how to join the A list?

Here’s another one: be different. What do I mean by that?

Well, Dan Wieringa asked me for some help with his blog. It’s a decently written blog, but it isn’t getting much traffic.

First notice how his blog looks very similar to tons of other blogs? That’s hurting him.

One of TechCrunch’s popularity secrets is that he uses lots of graphics and screen shots. Makes his blog more pleasing to the eye. Sorta the way Technorati looks better than Google’s blog search.

Another thing? Dan’s title tag is boring. You need some personality! Look at Darren Barefoot’s title tag. Lots of personality and gives me some sense of who Darren is. Oh, and his blog’s design sticks out too. Different. Clean. Personal. Who wouldn’t fall in love with that smile? Yeah, WordPress.com makes it hard to change the template right now (Matt Mullenweg promises that’s changing soon, but in the meantime you can get ready by doing the other things — come up with a better title tag, write better headlines, work on finding interesting content that’ll help you stick out of the crowd on search engines and memetrackers.

Another way? Steph Booth taught me this one: tag often. Tag frequently. Tag better. In WordPress.com your categories are also tags. Don’t worry about using too many tags. The more tags you use, the more likely someone will find you in a search engine.

Another tip? Make friends with other bloggers. You know, if 15 z-listers link to you, are you a z-lister, or did you just move up to the m-list? Hint: it doesn’t take that many links to be seen as an “authority” on Technorati. Well, unless you’re Om Malik and then Technorati just thinks you don’t have any authority. Yikes. But, anyway, usually you will get noticed if a few blogs link to you and it’s not hard. Got a good post today? Why don’t you email a few people (one at a time, not in a group) and say “hey, I think you’d enjoy my post today on xxxxxx.” Don’t beg for a link, just show some passion about what you’ve written or posted.

Or, heck, do what I’m doing this week — just say screw it all and go skiing. See ya from the slopes tomorrow!

While I’m slushing at Keystone, Colorado as part of the Bloggy Mountain High trip (yes, my way was paid for, so this link is a sponsored link) why don’t you stick in your own URL and toot your own horn and join the A-List! Or, at minimum, post a good tip for getting noticed!

Popular bloggers delete comments?

Richard Brownell says that popular blogger John Dvorak is deleting comments (and theorizes it’s cause the comments that John simply didn’t like them). Hey, he’s not the only one doing that. I’ve seen lots of bloggers delete comments.

I don’t.

At least not manually. My spam filter occassionally catches a few that I don’t get to. Sorry about that. Nothing personal, you understand.

One thing, since I use CoComment I notice that when someone deletes my comments they stick around in the CoComment service. It would be interesting to start “outting” people who delete comments and show which ones they deleted.