Founder of ITDatabase
This was a good read.
One of the aspects of PR that I find interesting is just how much more divergent everyone's goals are today. I think ten years ago you could truly say that journalists were predominately interested in serving readers, and the most successful PR pros were consistently those who could weave their clients into those narratives and add value to the readers. To a much higher degree today, IMHO, tech writers are merely preening for pageviews as opposed to truly serving readers with substantive education or truth telling. Publishers are clawing desperately for revenues. Readers are swimming in too much content and not enough time to read or care. When it's deteriorated to the most base level race for pageviews and dollars (and events and sponsorships account for so much of publishers' revenues), and when outstanding journalism has been so severely devalued, the floodgates open for all types of seedy behavior. Having some spine and keeping clients walking an honorable path really is critical.
I personally find paid placements (that are noted as such) a lot less frightening than the behind the scenes stuff. Investors whose portfolio co's are disproportionately / more consistently favorably written about by top tier publications and other invisible string pulling stuff like that. B/c that stuff is rampant right now.
1 year, 6 months ago on Should PR pay to play?
And I just want to add - why are these showers being diverted from the homeless to begin with? Instead of shuttling them all over the place, doesn't it make more sense to just leave them parked by where they get maximum usage? Every time I used to see a BART train go by, it just really bummed me out, because I'd think - there went an opportunity, for a nice, warm shower. It just sickens me to hear all this talk about making those things move around the city again. We should be talking about shampoo, and soap, and drains, and steam. Typical conservative media, subverting the real issues in favor of the knee-jerk. Ohhhh ... "transportation to work" ... let's just hit people with the fear mongering. It's really disgusting, people.
1 year, 6 months ago on And you thought SF cabs were bad? BART strike is crippling fledgling mid-market tech corridor
I'm confused, I thought SF's public transportation priority was turning fleet vehicles into homeless showers? What's all this talk of people getting to work? Aren't we losing sight of the real issues here, like figuring out how to get aroma therapy and massage integrated into those things? Maybe if these working 1%'s would focus more on handing out terri cloth robes in the shower areas and less on whining about "getting to work" this town would run a little more efficiently.
@FAKEGRIMLOCK not disputing the principle but saying in some ways I think it oversimplifies the reality that you have to dig through a bunch of crap to find the truths. It's like the saying that I didn't have time to write you a short letter so I wrote you a long one. On the path you encounter a lot of customers who want you to build the same exact shitty competitor products you started the company to displace - that is not very useful feedback when you have a grander ultimate vision (that may be 100% green field) and a limited amount of resources and time. But what do I know? GRIMLOCK is the ultimate predator, ridiculous IQ AND a high emotional IQ (fucking unstoppable). I'm just a human being.
2 years ago on How the Lean Startup idea went from idiotic to overhyped
@FAKEGRIMLOCK Lean startup is hard to achieve at onset. Takes some thrashing and whittling down. Complicated is easy. Simple is hard. Not everybody have brainpower to be lean out of the starting gate.
More concerning than the supposed abuses of social power is the idea that social following indicates any measure of power or influence. Any moron can acquire 20k followers, and any moron with a ton of time on their hands can acquire 100k or more. It's sad that the collective ego is so fragile that so many immediately felt this burning requirement to amass a following. And it's pathetic that so many interpreted that as literal currency.
2 years ago on Social media is a giant scam
@MattSchofield Look at the most regulated industries in the U.S. - telcos, energy, airwaves. As a consumer those are the industries you have the absolute fewest choices as a consumer. Need a landline in SF? AT&T. Need energy? PG&E. Need TV channels? DirecTV or Comcast. And with the regulation in mortgage lending, now even if you have perfect credit, large equity - you can't qualify for a loan if you started a business that isn't showing two years of consecutive profits yet, b/c that's how the govt drew up the standard for lending now. Brilliant. What heavily government regulated industry is actually pleasant for a consumer to interact with, where the actual citizens of the countries are best served?
Look at one of the most unfettered government regulation in the country - city of San Francisco. Parking tickets, astronomically high property taxes, some of the worst public schools in the Bay Area. Meanwhile the government's fervor is around outlawing happy meal toys (to fight childhood obesity) and providing the best possible services to drug addicts. That's what happens when it goes unchecked in the other direction. It becomes completely inhospitable for citizens when every possible thing that can be regulated or penalized is - all to feed the beast, under the auspicies of protecting the general population.
2 years, 3 months ago on Travis Shrugged: The creepy, dangerous ideology behind Silicon Valley’s Cult of Disruption
@MattSchofield putting capitalism in the same string as facism and nazism? Wow. I'd argue that corporate greed is of far less concern than a government that has to prey on its citizens to support itself. People have the option of who they do business with - they do not have the option to excuse themselves from taxes.
Re: "The biggest gripe about LinkedIn is how much do you need it if you aren’t looking for a job."
LinkedIn is a fantastic research tool for B2B sales research. Beats the hell out of any data you can find on Data.com, ZoomInfo, Hoovers and n- number of other tools. People are self populating their titles and relationships within the co's they work at - when you're on the outside and trying to figure out which door to knock on, LinkedIn is tough to beat.
2 years, 5 months ago on Boring Old Yelp May Prove the LinkedIn of Local
Yelp has indeed become a surprisingly useful service that has a very strong brand familiarity. I initially wrote it off as extortion - here's a page about your restaurant, here are some negative comments, cozy up to us so you can create a positive presence. But it's turned out to be pretty damn useful.
It suffers the same Amazon book reviews effect though - where you can predictably throw out the top comments (owners / employees), throw out the bottom comments (militant vegan subaru drivers who piss and moan about their side order of cottage cheese not being cold enough, and everything else that crosses their path) - and you have to find the truth somewhere in the middle.
But a surprisingly strong run and no clear sign of slowing down. They sure caught Zagat slipping and kicked their ass on the web.
I think the app is well designed. I find the public aspect very strange - after selecting "tell wife I love her" to test it out - it was a bit odd to get "Props" in an email message shortly thereafter from some dude I've never met before. But I like the design of the app, the concept, the workflow for selecting goals and marking things as complete.
I just think the hurdle to avoid an iPhone app being buried / forgotten is incredibly high. I've already gone through that exercise many times with many different task manager apps, and I'm not sure how Props will not suffer a similar fate as the rest.
2 years, 5 months ago on Can Lift Make the Human Race Cleaner, Fitter, and Nicer?
Ultimately I could give a shit about the bickering between these two. Ultimately all that matters is which is the better commenting platform. Based on my experience trying to configure both on WordPress, I found that LiveFyre does an infinitely better job of harvesting the Twitter "reactions" than Disqus (who I had problems with, pinged for help, and did not hear back from within 15 hours). Disqus has a bunch of wishy washy talk in their documentation about how the are subject to search issues on Twitter and blah blah blah. LiveFyre immediately picked up the same Tweets that Disqus missed.
Both have super easy installations. Both have similar threaded conversations. Disqus misses data that Livefyre picks up on Twitter.
Am I missing anything in my evaluation?
2 years, 5 months ago on He Said, He Said: The Disqus-LiveFyre Feud on Display in — What Else? — the Comments
Dittoe that for OfficeMax.
2 years, 5 months ago on Best Buy Needs to Fund the Hardware Revolution by Launching a Kickstarter Competitor
Cool video. Proportionate to how great their products are, Atlassian is WAY under discussed by North American tech media.
2 years, 5 months ago on PandoList: Australian Entrepreneurs
FWIW, I think the tech media world could use less of these "lists". I've seen plenty that have crowned "winners" with absolutely zero qualification or analysis. That's not directed @ Pando Lists, but all lists. Lists and rankings have infested tech content. If there's no actual careful analysis (most are purely linkbait), what's the point? With all due respect to whatever awesome lists may have been generated by Pando Lists, I'm not sure the tech world is going to care about the absence of another list generator. You stood up against embedding vendor videos in stories, but I'd argue that unqualified / unresearched lists and rankings (again, not directing that @ here specifically, but categorically) are much more detrimental to tech content today.
2 years, 5 months ago on A Sad Goodbye to the PandoList and Amanda Schwab
@mj4lifer @davidpayne11 I've been critical of some posts here before, and without a doubt there is some grandstanding that goes on that I find obnoxious - but who gives a shit what the motivations were behind this post, or how it was framed? It's the founder of the company putting some context around an editorial decision that affects readers. The "huge disappointment" traffic comment is obvious bait to try to draw a reaction. How long has this site been around? Six months? By my count it's a couple of ticks away from passing some IT trade pubs that have been around for 15 years. There are some things happening here that are working, and others that are not - like any startup. Seems like the person steering the ship has a right to comment freely, right?
It's not every day that you hear a candid explanation of why a section was dropped and the exact phrase "lasers gonads off of worms" in the same article.
@mcarney Guilty. I read most of this (not all of it) before going to the comments section. I completely missed the second to last bullet. It was sort of easy to lose interest after the first 90% of wrist slapping. Original impression still stands, which is that it strikes me as poor taste / mean spirited to jump in the fray after the big fish has already touched things off. And really? Pando Daily is the tech journalism / ethics police?
2 years, 6 months ago on Burning Questions for the New York Times About That Fake WikiLeaks Op-Ed
Is it a coincidence that this Nick Bilton zinger comes right after Arrington's Uncrunched criticizing different piece from Bilton? http://uncrunched.com/2012/07/29/craigslist-and-silicon-valley-greatly-offends-the-ny-times/. A nice, safe time to jump in and score.
I enjoyed this.
Sure, you CAN have it all. Much in the same way that you can eat whatever you want without getting fat (so long as you run 10 miles per day).
As a father of two and a founder of a startup (all roughly happened at the same time), I think the challenge of children / life balance is far more complicated than just the biological child / parent link. The responsibility of children runs wild in your brain and starts claiming synapses and cells that were once applied towards problem solving and selfish interests. Not to be one of those "you couldn't possibly understand unless you have kids" folks - but that peace of mind you had before you had kids, it's just never the same after.
I respect mothers who hold onto their work passion and figure out a way to make it all work. It's remarkable.
Not that you were suggesting the contrary, but it's also pretty tough to be a present father and achieve at work. They seem to be opposing forces. Not in the same ballpark in degree of difficulty, but difficult nontheless.
2 years, 6 months ago on Being a “Momtrepreneur” Is Hard. So Is Everything Else in the World. Let’s Move On.
It's cool to hear people at the onset of their venture, having that clean slate and the world of possibilities before them. It doesn't take long before the complexities inherent in any business surface and you're a slave to the decisions you've made. That clean slate beginning is precious. Congrats, and hope you make the right decisions.
2 years, 6 months ago on NSFW Corp. Raises Mid-Six Figure Seed Deal (Our Incredibly Biased Report)
And if you search for NSF and US Ignite on Google, the first result goes to the NSF's corresponding URL (www.nsf.gov/cise/usignite/about.cfm) - which brings back a 404 message.
2 years, 7 months ago on US Ignite: Designing Apps For Ultra-High Speed
@gcj I never once said it doesn't matter if you lie, or spread misinformation. Where are you pulling that from? You're clearly interested in riding off into the sunset as the guy who defended the truth. But not once has it been advocated that lying or misrepresenting is ok. Certain companies have ambitions to take their products in a future direction - so you're saying that describing the future (as automotive does with concept cars, as architects do with blueprints, as entrepreneurs do with business plans) is misinformation / lies that viewers / journalists can't decipher?
2 years, 7 months ago on A Far More Insidious Reason Not to Embed Demo Videos (From a Guy Who Gets Paid to Make Them)
@gcj Dude, my comment has nothing to do with the integrity of video production. My point is that human beings (journalists, readers) are smart enough to evaluate them, and that there is nothing wrong with the medium itself. And if you think it's unethical to shoot a video where you represent a future feature in a clear manner (i.e., make it clear that it is a future feature), I don't know what to tell you. I never said a company should misrepresent anything (that's how you interpreted my comment, in your desire to assert your integrity). What's funny about this whole thread is that this mock outrage at embedding commercial videos has become a free commercial for a video production company.
This is silly. There are also PR people who are paid to make clients seem more interesting than they really are. There are also VC's who whisper in journalists' ears (journalists who rely on sources and are predisposed to keep those relationships intact) and generate publicity outcomes for their portfolio companies. There are writers who are more obsessed with chasing pageviews than anything else. There are FAR more insidious problems for the integrity of tech journalism. So what? A company hires a video production company to create a video that describes the crystal palace that they're trying to build. If a journalist isn't smart enough to evaluate a video on a case by case basis and determine whether it is worthy of including, they really aren't much of a journalist. But to call out a specific medium and assert that it's lazy or irresponsible to include it - while you're at it, why not put a moratorium on linking to any company's web site? After all, that's a free advertisement to a destination where the reader is likely to get fleeced by other "insidious" claims.
This seems a little sanctimonious. The product demo is ONE artifact. The writer has every opportunity to dispute any of the claims made in the video, or otherwise shuffle the deck. Viewers are intelligent enough to recognize an embedded video as an aside, and not the gospel. If the video is useful and helps tell the story, or highlight something that's truly interesting, it should be a candidate for inclusion. Much of tech journalism is written by people who have zero technical experience - and something that shows the product in action may add more value to the story in some cases than the author's interpretations. Hearing the founder or lead technical person walk through the product, explain how it's different than other, similar products - how can that be categorically dismissed? If it's marketing fluff, hyperbole, or an otherwise heavy handed commercial, it doesn't belong. But the idea that a vendor isn't capable of describing its product and demo'ing certain features in a way that's complimentary to a story (and doesn't erode its credibility) is bogus. I think a more productive discussion would be how do vendors create videos that aren't marketing fluff - that are authentic, TRUE, and direct readers towards insights that the author might not otherwise have derived? It's perfectly reasonable that vendors are capable of contributing facts to a story via multimedia, and the journalist can make the determination of whether that asset has credibility in the same manner they evaluate any quote, interview or other datapoint.
2 years, 7 months ago on Why We Don’t Embed Demo Videos (And You Shouldn’t Either)