344/365 – I hate “social media”

I smell a scam. It has to do with all the consultants and continuing education people who are jumping on the social media bandwagon. Gotta have it!  Gotta understand it!  My God, your employees could be giving away the store on Facebook! Or twittering their way to a lawsuit!

That last one is my personal contribution to the hype. “Can you Twitter your way to a lawsuit?” is my headline for our webpage that advertises a seminar for lawyers on social media challenges (read: trouble!).  That’s the art from the seminar up on the left. I like the line; it encapsulates the supposed threat.  Thing is, the same danger has been present for over a decade with email, so social media, while being new formats, are not really presenting a totally new danger.  Nor are they the greatest marketing opportunity since sliced bread.  But consultants want you to think that and run, don’t walk, to the latest seminar so your competition doesn’t eat your social media lunch, and breakfast!

I say, shut it all down on the corporate network.  Include Ebay and Cragslist while you’re at it.  There are really very few things your employees should be doing on the Internet while they’re at work, practically nothing for most people except checking a personal email address a couple times a day on their “breaks.”

Oh shit!  I’m doing this blog entry on company time!

175/365 – Sanctuary


Safe in a sea of green, I find sanctuary — a place of refuge and protection.  And also a place of worship.  A consecrated place, dedicated to a sacred purpose, a union of souls, a place for offsping to feel loved and launch themselves from, an oasis of good and order and peace in a troubled world.

Not only are all my wordly goods here now, all that I am is here, and all that I will become. It was a long road with many twists, but my Dearest was waiting at the end to share eternity.

139/365 – Understanding social networking


Ms. Trunk

Ms. Trunk

I still don’t “get” social networking – Twitter seems to be for twits – but at least (for a Boomer) I feel I have taken a couple of baby steps toward grasping the business implications of these new media and behaviors.

I began to see the light Wenzday evening when Accelerate Madison featured Penelope Trunk, co-founder of BrazenCareerist.com, where she invites Generation Y folks to to “Define your career” and “Control your life.” Trunk (not her real name) said that while Boomers like me want to be the boss, and Gen Xers want to be appreciated and noticed, Gen Y folks are all about getting mentoring and connecting with everyone.  That made sense, as I am mentoring my own Gen Y son without really thinking about it.

As for all the online stuff, well, that sort of has a life of its own. Trunk said the younger users vote with their keyboards as to what works and what is useful to them.  She came up with the idea of creating a space where online community could form, composed of “top Gen Y thought leaders, forward-thinking organizations, and everyone else who realizes that the way we define ourselves in both work and in life needs to change.” It’s got venture financing and is based here in Madison, so it will be fun to watch what happens.

I was there to learn how to monetize a blog – ain’t a-gonna happen – and came away thinking of new online communities to form.  That’s progress.

137/365 – Madison techies know networking

An Accelerate Madison crowd at the Fluno Center for Executive Education, UW-Madison.

An Accelerate Madison crowd at the Fluno Center for Executive Education, UW-Madison.

Madison’s high-tech community knows how to network.  For years now there have usually been three events a month where you could rub shoulders with entrepreneurs, scientists, techies, and associated service people (venture capitalists, patent lawyers, and reporters like me), all as part of a concerted, organized effort to create and grow our own companies.

I was reminded of this when I attended the Accelerate Madison program Wenzday evening.  Familiar faces were everywhere, as well as new people with their minds engaged.  Even though I had been off “the circuit” for a while (no longer doing a tech column), it felt like I had never been absent.

Here’s a little about the three networking programs I’m most familiar with:

* Accelerate Madison was started in 2003 by two entrepreneurs who felt that the IT community wasn’t being represented properly.  As far as I know, Accelerate runs on membership dues and doesn’t get any public money.  Their forte is high-quality presenters, like the guy who invented Quicken, and classy venues like the Fluno Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  They usually do evenings.

* HTHH – My favorite is the High-Tech Happy Hour, a monthly free-beer fraternization event held at various bars and beer gardens around the town.  You can come as you are and you never know who you’ll meet.  Each month’s get-together has a sponsor who pays for the beer and limited eats, and because the location moves, a bunch of difference faces show up each time.  I think the Research Park people started it back in 2001.

* WIN – The Wisconsin Innovation Network is the granddaddy of them all, and was started with the help of a state grant and major backing from the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce under its visionary president, Bob Brennan, who nearly single-handedly made Madison a tech capital, bridging the “town and gown” gap and having a hand in creating University Research Park and the various business incubators.  WIN mostly holds luncheon presentations.

For a town that lacks a center, events like these are the place where brains can connected a form new synapses.