What are the tech bloggers missing? Your business!

I’ve been watching the tech bloggers quite closely for some time now. Here’s a database of more than 17,000 of my favorite posts, Tweets, and videos from them. But I’ve noticed a few things.

1. They are AWESOME at covering news. For instance, watch how TechCrunch, VentureBeat, Steve Gillmor, Louis Gray, Hutch Carpenter, and a variety of others ask questions at the friendfeed press conference (part I, part II, part III, part IV, part v).
2. They are pretty good at explaining how to use a particular technology. For instance, here’s Marshall Kirkpatrick explaining how to use Yahoo Pipes to build an RSS and news site for your project.
3. They are really good at aggregating attention. Louis Gray even noticed that TechCrunch is making sure its headlines work well on Twitter. Why? Because lots of people hang out on Twitter and click on links.

But what don’t the tech bloggers do well?

Bring home all these new shiny objects and explain why they matter to a mainstreet business.

Yes, there are a few that are trying, like this blog that focuses on social media and your business, but notice the difference between that one and, say, TechCrunch. The headlines are boring. The text is uninteresting. There aren’t very many videos or graphics. And very little engagement on comments.

Or, on the other side, are “pro” sites like About.com that also try, but notice how bad their layout is and how much color and advertising there is surrounding their content.

It’s to the point where I’m wondering if I’m missing something. Is anyone doing a good job of explaining how to bring a business into the modern age?

Last week I was talking with Graham Weston, chairman of Rackspace (I now work for Rackspace) and I asked him whether he knew of anyone looking out for regular everyday businesses. I showed him the Web site of KSCO, a small radio station in Santa Cruz, and noted that it sucked, but that it is emblematic of a whole raft of businesses. Most of whom really don’t get the Web and understand how their customers are using it.

Heck, just yards from Facebook’s main building on University Ave is a great restaurant, Junoon. Do you think they get the modern Web? Absolutely not.

They have tons of Facebook employees as clients. Do they have Facebook Connect built into their Website? No. Do they have any real people on their website? No. Do they have any real interactivity? No. Do they have a mobile client? No. Do they have a community, er, forum? No. Do they have Twitter integration? No. Do they have a way to get people into the restaurant during dead times? No. Did they have any SEO help so people can find them easier? No (their site is largely Flash).

Now, if the business right by the front door of Facebook isn’t getting it right, what are the chances that any of the other millions of businesses around the world are getting it right?

And why aren’t the tech bloggers helping them?

On the other hand, this shows the opportunity open to Twitter, friendfeed, Google, and Microsoft.

Facebook has NOT sewn up the business market yet. Heck, they haven’t even gotten the business right by their front door to use its Connect technology yet.

This market is wide open for anyone to snatch it away from Mark Zuckerberg.

Is anyone showing businesses like Junoon or KSCO why they should use social media and how to do it? I keep thinking I’m not following the right bloggers.

Who should I be following that’s helping out real businesses figure this stuff out?

If you are laid off, here's how to socially network

I’m getting a LOT of chats from people who have been laid off. Most of the time I find that they just aren’t presenting a good face to me for me to help them find a new job.

If you are laid off, here’s what you need to do:

1. Your blog is your resume. You need one and it needs to have 100 posts on it about what you want to be known for.
2. Remove all LOLCats from your blog.
3. Remove all friends from your facebook and twitter accounts that will embarrass you. We do look. If we see photos of people getting drunk with you that is a bad sign. Get rid of them. They will NOT help you get a job.
4. Demonstrate you are “clued in.” This means removing ANYTHING that says you are a “social media expert” from your Twitter account. There is no such thing and even if there were there’s no job in it for you. Chris Brogan already has that job and he’s not giving it up.
5. Demonstrate you have kids and hobbies, but they should be 1% of your public persona, not 99%. Look at my blog here. You’ll see my son’s photo on Flickr once in a while. But mostly I talk about the tech industry, cause that’s the job I want to have: talking to geeks and innovators.
6. Put what job you want into your blog’s header. Visit Joel Spolsky’s blog. He’s “on software.” That’s a major hint that if he were looking for a job that he is totally, 100%, thinking about software. If you want a job as a chef, you better have a blog that looks like you love cooking, like this.
7. Get rid of the LOLCats. Do not argue me on Twitter about this. Google finds Twitters. Do you want your future potential boss noticing that you post LOLCats all day long? Believe me, you do not. It will NOT help you.
8. Post something that teaches me something about what you want to do every day. If you want to drive a cab, you better go out and take pictures of cabs. Think about cabs. Put suggestions for cabbies up. Interview cabbies. You better have a blog that is nothing but cabs. Cabs. Cabs. Cabs all the time.
9. Do not beg for links. If you did the above, you can Twitter me and say “check out my great software blog” though. Include @scobleizer in the tweet so I’ll see it. I’m an egotistical baaahhhsssttttaarrrrddd so I read all Twitter replies that include my @scobleizer name in them. Hint: I haven’t met a blogger yet who is not an egotistical baaahhhhsssttttaaarrrdddd. Take advantage of it. But no begging.
10. If you want to be a plumber, look for other plumbers to add to Twitter, friendfeed, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Remove all others. Be 100% focused on what you want to do.
11. On Twitter ou can tell me what you had for lunch, but only after you posted 20 great items about what you want to do. Look at Tim O’Reilly’s tweet stream. Very little noise. Just great stuff that will make you think (he wants a job as a thinker, so do you get it yet?)
12. Invite influentials out to lunch. Getting a job is now your profession. If you were a salesperson, how would you get sales? You would take people out to lunch who can either buy what you’re selling, or influence others who can buy. That means take other bloggers (but only if they cover what you want to do) out to lunch. That means taking lots of industry executives out to lunch.
13. Send out resumes. Make sure yours is up to date and top notch on LinkedIn and other sites where employers look for employees. Craig’s List. Monster. Etc.
14. Go to industry events. I have a list of tech industry events up on Upcoming.org. If you want to be a plumber, go to where contractors go. Etc. Etc. Make sure you have clear business cards. Include your photo. Include your Twitter and LinkedIn addresses. Your cell phone. Your blog address. And the same line that’s at the top of your blog. Joel’s should say “on software.” Yours should say what you love to do. Hand them out, ask for theirs. Make notes on theirs. Email them later with your LinkedIn and blog URLs and say “you’ll find lots of good stuff about xxxxxxxx industry on my blog.”
15. When you meet someone who can hire and who you want to work for. Follow them on Twitter. Facebook. LinkedIn. Their blog. Stalk them without being “creepy.” Learn everything you can about them. Build a friendfeed room with all their stuff. That way when they say on Twitter “I have a job opening” you can be the first one to Tweet back.
16. Tell others where the jobs are. One thing I learned in college is by helping other people get jobs you’ll get remembered. So, retweet jobs messages (if they are relevant to your professional friends and to you). Blog about job openings. Help people get jobs. Hold lunches for people who are jobless. Some of them will get jobs and they’ll remember you and invite you along.
17. Do what you want to do. Let’s assume you’ll be laid off for a year. Are you going to lay around on the couch waiting for a call? No. You will do exactly what you want to do. Want to be an engineer at a great startup? Go and volunteer to work there for free. Make sure you do a blog post about every day you do what you’re doing for free. Say “I could do this for you, call…”
18. Do some work on SEO. Make it possible for people to find you. THINK about how people would search for someone with your expertise and skills. Here’s how, Visit the Google AdWords Keyword Tool. Do a search on a word that you think represents best what you want to do. I just did one for “Electrical Engineering” and it brought up a ton of great info about what people are searching for. Include those terms in your blog. And, even better, blog about those things!
19. UPDATE: Mark Trapp added to remove any hint that you hated your old job from all your online things.

Good luck. It sucks. I know that. I was laid off last time and, who knows, might be laid off again, but if you’re doing all this stuff and you aren’t finding a job, let me know. You know where to find me.

Got any other ideas? Post them here or on my friendfeed.

UPDATE: you can still get a job even after weird photos and other things are posted about you. I have naked pictures of me out there on the Internet (and that’s been true for the past three jobs I’ve gotten). They still wanted to hire me. So, all of these rules can be broken, but break them carefully! 🙂

Microsoft's 320 million anti-Google weapons

Yesterday I was sitting in Brian Hall’s office when the Yahoo/Google news was breaking. Who’s he? The guy at Microsoft who runs most of the non-search Windows Live stuff. You know, Hotmail, Messenger, Spaces, and a bunch of other stuff.

We filmed a little fun cell phone video, but our longer interview will be up sometime over next few weeks.

In that he told me what Microsoft is going to do now that the Yahoo deal fell through. He admitted that he was one of the guys working on that deal.

His number one weapon to use against Google?

The 320 million active users of Hotmail and Messenger. That’s 320 million people who have signed into these services in the past 30 days (which, by the way, is WAY up from when I worked at Microsoft — when I worked at Microsoft they were saying 150 to 200 million). Keep in mind that Facebook looks like they just passed 100 million users, so you can see that these are still very popular services.

The trick is how do you get an email user turned into a user of a larger set of services.

Brian showed me several ways. One of the coolest was that if you try to email a photo to someone, which he claimed was still the #1 way to share a photo with people, it automatically uploads those photos to Microsoft’s photo-sharing service and builds links to those pages right in your email.

What did I take away from our visit to Microsoft? You can never count these guys out. They always have the potential to change the marketplace because of how many users still are engaged with their stuff.

The ties they are building between services are interesting. I think Microsoft needs a social networking component like Google’s Friend Connect, though, which would be used on all these services.

Hmmm, why doesn’t Mark Zuckerberg build them one? Imagine if that happened and the social graph showed up on Hotmail and on Messenger?

UPDATE: tons of people are talking about this post over on FriendFeed.