Our Blog

For 2011, I am adopting the Freedom is Not Free charity, which aids wounded Purple Heart recipients, their families and the families of the fatally wounded.  I will be running the LA Marathon on March 20th, 2011 to raise money and awareness for this organization.

The last time I ran the LA Marathon in 2003, my dad had just been diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer so I moved from Munich to Tacoma to be his caregiver his last three months of life. I had already signed up to run the marathon, so I tried to squeeze in moments at the gym to continue my training, but I just didn’t have the energy. Consequently, when I did show up for the race, I quit half way through. My spirit wasn’t into it, and my body was too depleted from lack of sleep and emotional distress.

My dad was a veteran of the Vietnam War and a career Army serviceman who went on to become the Sit Up King of Ft. Lewis, WA in his retirement, beating out all the young GIs with 5,000 sit-ups in one session. He was stoic, strong, and certainly no quitter.

I’m going back to LA this year, to finish what I started in 2003. For my dad, for Freedom is Not Free, and for anyone who doesn’t want to be a quitter.

Here’s a link to my CrowdRise page for FREEDOM IS NOT FREE where you can check out my progress and also help support the cause.

Wishing you good health and good love in 2011.

Thanks for reading this.

No quitting

On the eve of the last day of 2010, I’m thinking about the future and what it will hold.  If you’re intrigued about the prospects of social gaming in 2011, here’s a panel that I recommend, co-hosted by Peanut Labs and Google.

“The Future of Social Gaming” panel will be moderated by Noman Ali, CEO of Peanut Labs, and will include heavyweights from social games companies who will be offering up their predictions in the new year.

Panelists confirmed so far include:
– Alex St. John – President at Hi5
– Kai Huang – CEO & Founder of RedOctane, creator of Guitar Hero
– Mike Sego – CEO at Gaia Interactive
– Owais Farooqui – GM at King.com
– Tim Chang – Partner at Norwest Venture Partners

You can RSVP for the panel at their Facebook page here.

Posted via email from Consort Partners

Along with the print and online media coverage that surrounded RelayRides’ launch in San Francisco, CEO and founder Shelby Clark, was also featured on both the local and national news, including NBC and Fox.  You can check out his national appearance here “Riding Off With RelayRides.”

Posted via email from Kathy’s posterous

Congratulations to CEO and founder of RelayRides, Shelby Clark, and his team for launching the neighbor-to-neighbor carsharing service to San Francisco, and counting Google Ventures and August Capital as backers.  Here’s a snapshot of the story:

The trend:
There’s a massive shift in society from ownership to access. For example, people are happy renting DVDs from Netflix vs. buying DVDs, AirBNB allows members to rent other member’s houses, and Chegg lets students rent textbooks. There’s even a movement and book “What’s mine is yours. The rise of collaborative consumption.”  How about applying this to cars?

The situation:
The combined cost of owning a car – fuel, maintenance, financing and insurance – amounts to an average of over $600 a month/$20 a day, according to AAA. Meanwhile, most cars sit idle for 23 hours a day.

The opportunity:
Carsharing helps the environment: the average shared car takes 14 vehicles off the road, plus it reduces miles traveled, congestion, pollution, and lowers the carbon footprint to build new cars. Carsharing is a $12.5 billion global market and rapidly gaining popularity.

The solution:
RelayRides brings this global carsharing trend to the hyperlocal level allowing neighbor-to-neighbor carsharing. Car owners feel good because they are helping their neighbor get around. Car borrowers feel good because they know they are helping their neighbor make money. It’s like they are supporting their local small business.

Good company:
Google Ventures and August Capital funded RelayRides.

Wheels of Fortune:
RelayRides provides car owners a platform to safely lend their cars to their neighbors for a fee, while providing convenient, affordable access to neighbors who need the occasional use of vehicles. They make it possible by providing the insurance (a $1 million supplemental insurance policy covers the rental period) and technology for a safe, convenient, hassle-free transaction. Car owners make an average of $200/month.

Sharing is Caring:
Rather than putting new cars on the road like other carsharing services, the company goes the eco-friendly route by leveraging existing cars that are often idle. This allows neighbors to help each other as car owners can recover some of the costs of owning an expensive asset, while also providing a new transportation option for those in need of a car.

What users are saying:
Anthony Burdi, a 2009 Prius owner in Boston:
“It’s the perfect thing for me. It’s a good way to earn revenue from my car when I’m not using it, which helps me pay for gas, insurance and other running costs. At the same time, I’m helping a neighbor by providing them access to a car. I never thought of it and kind of wish I had, because it’s a great business to be in.”

Caterina Rindi, owner of a Toyota Prius, of San Francisco’s Potrero Hill neighborhood:
“Car sharing between neighbors is great for San Francisco, as it will lead to fewer new cars on the road, which will help decrease congestion and pollution. That’s why I’m delighted to make my Prius available via RelayRides – it’s good for me, for my neighbors, and for my city.”

Everybody knows something about Shakespeare but nobody seems to know much about his day-to-day life in London, like which pub, house or theater he frequented, aside from the reconstructed Globe.

What was Shakespeare up to at the Elephant and Castle? Why is the only place we know for certain he lived is buried under a car park with not so much as a plaque to remind us? Where are the local taverns whose names he subversively inserted into his texts even when the play was located in another country?

A new app for the iPhone – called Shakespeare’s London – uses geo-location to conjure back the buried memories of the Bard in the capital.

The creator of this app is none other than Victor Keegan, a former Guardian journalist who now specializes in creative uses of new technology in partnership with developer Keith Moon of Data Ninjitsu. Their previous apps include City Poems, linking classic poems about London to the streets and buildings that inspired them, and Geo Poems which contains all three of Victor Keegan’s books of poems geo-tagged to the places that triggered them. Victor is also co-founder of the world famous and highly regarded online painting community, Deadline Painting Group 😉

Posted via email from Kathy’s posterous

I thought this was a great chart illustrating the evolving nature of social CRM, as it also identifies the importance and growing prominence of PR as touchpoint and means to establish a two-way communication with the consumer.

Last month, I attended the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco and heard Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos and author of this book, Delivering Happiness, speak.  I was quite interested to hear what he had to say, since I’m such a loyal (and too frequent) customer (let’s just say, I made their VIP list within 2 purchases, much to my hubbie’s dismay…).  Anyway, Tony spoke about the rise of Zappos and his passion for customer service and branding.  He also told the audience that we would all get a free copy of his book (I felt like it was the closest I’d ever get to feeling like I was on the Oprah or Ellen Show).

I just completed reading the book and I must say I was very pleasantly surprised!  Tony himself wrote the book without a ghost writer thus it seems like you’re simply listening to him casually talk, which is great since he is very amusing and has a great, dry wit.  He describes the path to building Zappos into the huge success it is today – and the refreshing thing about this journey is it isn’t littered with corporate greed, envy and a relentless pursuit of the almighty dollar (although, he didn’t do too bad by selling to company to Amazon for over $1 billion).

The conclusion of the book talks more about what makes us happy.  There are essentially four key points:

  • Perceived Control
  • Perceived Progress
  • Connectedness (to others)
  • Vision/Meaning (being a part of something greater than yourself)

If you’re looking for a stocking stuffer, I highly recommend this book.  It’s great for anyone who is interested in entrepreneurism, brand building, e-commerce, or happiness… 🙂

Ahh, social media.  You can see how your friends are feeling or what they are doing or wearing at all times of the day or night… Reunited with high school chums, staying in touch with relatives and acquaintances, it’s all at your fingertips.  And now, you can see if those peeps who have been training for the NY Marathon are actually running as fast as they said they would, or if they’ve taken a detour and planted themselves at the nearest Starbucks (let me apologize now if I actually do end up in a warm and cozy Starbucks at mile 18… just kidding).

The ING New York Marathon released this app yesterday which provides inspiring video, news, and the ability to follow elite runners – as well as your friends – as they traverse those 26.2 miles through the five burroughs of New York. 

Check it out here.  The app is free, but following a friend will cost you $3.99.

Posted via email from Kathy’s posterous

I’ve been following a Runner’s World plan to run a sub 4 hour marathon for the past 14 weeks, as I made it into the ING New York Marathon via the lottery system (first time I applied – beginner’s luck!).

I’ve been testing out a variety of apps and gadgets to help keep me on track and motivated.

Here is my list of mission critical tools for runner’s who also enjoy technology:

  1. Garmin Forerunner 305 GPS Watch: I love this thing and can’t live without it.  It keeps track of my distance, laps, time, pace, and more.  I also have the accompaning heart rate monitor, but I don’t use that.  Instead, I rely on my watch to keep track of the stats I care about, and then upload them into my PC after each run so I can see how I’m progressing.  I also use it to input key data into DailyMile (more on that later).
  2. Nike Boom: I love the audible motivations (or, what they call “Attaboys”) this iPhone app delivers into my ear.  While it’s geared for atheletes playing football, basketball, or hockey, I enjoy the variety of players and coaches from around the US that tell you things like “This ain’t about being flashy. Aint no second chances up a hill. Aint no do overs either.  You know what time it is?  It’s time to leave nothing!” from DeSean Jackson.
  3. Nike+:  Pre-installed on my iPhone 3GS, this app also provides audibles letting you know how far you’ve run.  It’s not as accurate as the Garmin device, but I do like to hear the mile markers in my ear, and also like the countdown at the end, starting at 400 meters to go.  When you’ve reached a major milestone, you’ll also be treated to Lance Armstrong, Paula Radcliffe or other sporting superstars offering you congratulations.  Awesome!
  4. DailyMile:  It’s like Facebook for runners.  You can upload your workout data from your Garmin or Nike+, or input it manually.  Then you can see how other runners have fared and leave comments and motivations.  I have a small group of peeps I’ve been following and have derived inspiration – some are running the NYC Marathon as well, so maybe I’ll even meet them in person.
  5. Facebook:  Using DailyMile to populate my status update on Facebook (and Twitter), I’ve had my spirits lifted and my confidence bouyed by friends who have seen my log come through the airwaves.  I’ve even had my cousin Sheila’s second grade class give me some good vibes through a Get Well Dance during recess.  Now that’s some serious motivation!
  6. Twitter:  As mentioned above, when my DailyMile stats are Tweeted, I often get feedback from some of my Twitter friends giving me kudos or advise. I’m also now keeping track of the conversations about the marathon by watching the official hashtag #ingnycm

Now if there were only an app that would heal my cranky ITB, I’d be in business…

Posted via email from Consort Partners

Enhanced by Zemanta
Image representing MySongToYou as depicted in ...

Image via CrunchBase

Did you know that October is the most popular month for birthdays? If you’re like me, you are probably thinking about what you can do for your BFF that might delight and surprise (and not cost a mint).

There’s a free new service called MySongToYou, which I’ve tried out, that lets you pick a professionally recorded instrumental track and then lay down your own vocals on top. Add some reverb or chorus if you want to mix things up a bit, and voila, you have a sweet tune that will impress your peeps.  Even if you can’t sing like Mariah Carey, the special effects will graciously give you tonal chops that won’t make your friends wonder if you’ve hurt yourself.

So go ahead and spice up the Happy Birrrrrthdaaaay toooo youuuuuu melody or come up with something brand new.  It’s fun, it’s free, and from then on, you can legitimally add “recording artist” to your resume.

Posted via email from Kathy’s posterous

Enhanced by Zemanta
This morning, my 93 year old friend passed away from colon cancer. She was a dear friend of mine, filled with wit, charm and positivity. Aside from colon cancer, she also had MS, so she was confined in a wheelchair. She had so loved to dance with her late husband and to host dinner parties at her home, so her paralysis could have debilitated her spirit, but instead, she said, “I can’t do anything about it, so I’m not going to worry about it.” She knew I was training for the NY Marathon and would occasionally ask me how far I had run. Last week, I told her about my 15 mile run and she shook her head in jest and said I was crazy. We laughed together.

In April of 2003, my father passed away from colon cancer. He was retired military and always had the stoic nature of a soldier. When he was 70 years old, he became the “Sit Up King” at Ft. Lewis, WA for completing 5,000 sit ups in one go. He was also the “Push Up King” for 500 pushups. He beat out all the young GIs. But the one thing he couldn’t beat was his cancer. He was diagnosed in January, and after a couple of operations, chemo and radiation, he took a quick turn for the worst and struggled as the cancer metastasized to his liver, lungs and bones.

Today I have decided to run for the colon cancer charity as I have been touched by this disease, which is one of the most common forms of cancer in the US. If you’re over 50, please ask your doctor about a colonoscopy, and if it runs in your family, ask your doctor if you need one earlier.

The last time I tried to run a marathon was March 2003. I was trying to train while I was my dad’s caregiver. I got half way through the LA Marathon and had to pull out in defeat. This year, I hope I can complete the NY Marathon for my dad, my friend, for anyone who has had, has, or will have cancer or knows somebody who will.

Please check out my charity page here and consider donating to this or one of the other charities http://www.crowdrise.com/katjohn


Posted via email from Kathy’s posterous

I’ve been following this series of stories from TEDChris’s Posterous blog and have been moved by the stories and images he’s sharing.  They are heart-wrenching, infuriating, devastating and inspiring. 

The video hurts to watch, but it gives you an insight of what it’s like there.  I got chills and my eyes burned with tears at the end. 

I don’t need to see anymore, or hear anymore, to know it’s time to take action.  I’ve included TEDChris’s blog post below, as it includes links where you can help.  You can also check out his other posts which chronicle the conditions for humans and animals. 

Pakistan flood story 16: These babies urgently need your help

Just received this video from Dr Awab Avi, fresh back from a visit to a pediatric ward overwhelmed by flood victims. 

Watch if you dare…

Dr. Awab Alvi takes you through a walk-thru tour of the Pediatric ward at the Civil Hospital Shikarpur to show the deplorable conditions.

The ward looks after only the most severe cases. There are three natal wards with a total of 20 beds, which now hold over 100 children. Some generous donor had air-conditioners installed, making it barely livable. Once you walk out of the rooms, the stench and the heat of the hallway is unimaginable. Toilets down the hall are over-flooding beyond belief.

Team members from OffroadPakistan visited the ward, and desperately want to make a difference. They need help to raise funds and expertise to save the lives of these gentle little kids. Dreaming big, they hope to revamp the entire Civil Hospital in this area, as a long-lasting measure for this impoverished city.

You can donate at SARELIEF.com

Posted via email from Kathy’s posterous

A star is born. Ausgezeichnet!

According to FriendCaller’s blog

“After FriendCaller was referred by many well-known blogs worldwide, even got a report in a local newspaper, last week a team of the german TV station called WDR visited us in our office in Werl.”

This is definitely a company to keep your eye on.  Check out their blog here

Posted via email from Kathy’s posterous

For the third year now, King.com has featured a live focus group on stage at the Casual Connect conference in Seattle. This year, Managing Director, Owais Farooqui invited a group of avid mom gamers to discuss why they play, what motivates them, and what they’re looking for when it comes to the hot space of social games. Check out the presentation here.

Posted via email from Kathy’s posterous

Image by Theresa Thompson via Flickr

One of my fave peeps is Owais Farooqui, North America Managing Director of King.com.  He’s smart, nice and belly-achingly funny (no joke – he even appeared at the famous Laugh Factory in LA).

Owais is hoping to lead a panel at SXSW 2011, but he needs your vote in order to make it happen.

The panel he’s proposed will explore how TV networks are keeping fans engaged between episodes and seasons with quality online games that extend the show’s brand and interactivity – taking TV entertainment to the next level.

Panelists are voted in by popular demand so we’re really hoping you might take 1 minute and 43 seconds to complete these 2 steps:

Step 1 – create a SXSW account by clicking here:

Step 2 – vote for the ‘TV Networks Extending Interactivity for Fans’ panel by clicking here:

Voting ends on Friday, August 27, thus if you could help us out between now and then, we’d be forever in your debt (well, okay, maybe not forever, but at least for 1 minute and 43 seconds).

Owais is a great speaker and won’t let you down.  Please vote for him as Your Next American Idol (oops, wrong show).

I’m very fortunate and honored to be included in TumbleCloud’s first Artist Project featuring the works Brian Andreas, known for his Story People series of illustrations and poetry; Carole Austin and her multidimensional box sculptures; Farrol Mertes’ moving photography; and me.  A portion of the proceeds from any sales of the show will go to Architecture for Humanity’s Lulan Artisans Project, a locally driven social venture that creates an alliance of textile designers and gifted artisans in Southeast Asia to produce luxurious hand-woven fabrics. By providing economic opportunity, the Lulan Artisans Projects helps preserve hand-weaving in Asia while creating environmentally sustainable fabrics.

The reception is open from 4pm – 8pm on Tuesday, July 13th at the Tumblecloud office.  I’ll be there from 6pm – 8pm.

Posted via email from Kathy’s posterous


Technology has empowered us with the ability to broadcast ourselves far and wide. We can be like Ashton Kutcher and collect a fanbase on Twitter, we can be like Peter Bratt’s film La Mission that has an active fan page announcing the next screening, or we can be the next Tom Colicchio and judge our local restaurants and name our own Top Chef.

I love the variety of voices and personalities I can discover through social media. Most are very positive, constructive and, well, social. But it really irks me when social media is used to be anti-social.

Case in point – I was sitting in a restaurant last week where a lone waitress was managing our section and doubling as the sole bartender. A rush of people came in and suddenly she was completely overwhelmed, scurrying at full speed to accommodate the thirsty and hungry diners. Consequently, we all had to be a bit patient – but it certainly wasn’t her fault as she was clearly doing her best.

Then, in comes a machismo guy towing along his partner. He plops down in a seat and announces he wants some drinks. The waitress sprints to the bar to fulfill his request and queues up his order after the others that are waiting. Another waiter pops by and offers menus. Dude guy refuses. Then dude guy gets frustrated waiting for 5 minutes and makes a scene. “Forget about my order!,” he barks. The waitress flushes with embarrassment and apologizes sincerely for the delay. He pushes away from the table, grabs the girlfriend, and storms out. With his back to the restaurant, he loudly declares “That’s what Yelp is for.”


This really peeved me. Is this guy such a techno-bully that he has to resort to social sites to air his grievances when they could surely have been immediately addressed in person?

I agree there are times when establishments deserve public criticism by the community at large (hello, BP). But I do hope the behavior I witnessed in the restaurant is something that won’t give a voice to those who only know how to yell.

Posted via web from Kathy’s posterous

Last night we went to the opening of Brick & Bottle in Corte Madera. The restaurant employed various means to let the public know when their doors would open, including old school measures like hanging a banner outside of the premises with a countdown to the opening day, as well as new school tactics like a Facebook fan page, Twitter account from the owner/chef @chefscotthoward and email blasts from lifestyle/fashion mavens such as Thrillist.  The restaurant was completely packed, with a constant stream of locals, VIPs and foodies curious to see, taste and explore the new Marin hot spot.

In addition to social media controlled by the restaurant, they’ve also benefitted by the public voice, courtesy of services such as DeHood, Yelp, Foursquare, and others.

It was also gratifying to see the chef personally meet and greet customers while keeping an eye over the open kitchen.  While technology-enabled social media tools are helping businesses take control of their brand on connected devices, it’s important to deliver on the “last mile” which is extending the care and attention allocated on your online social media to simply being social… in person.

Here are 12 reasons compiled by MyVenturePad to use social media:

Twelve reasons to use social media to help grow your business:

1. Own your brand’s social presence: If you don’t create official channels online, it’s only a matter of time before your fans do it for you and create their own profiles and communities around your brand. It’s important to claim your brand name across all the major social media platforms. Here are two sites that will help you do this:

  • KnowEm: KnowEm has the highest number of sites (over 350) available for checking username availability. Simply by entering your desired username, you’ll be able to find out instantly if it’s still available. KnowEm also offers paid plans, from just signing up and registering you at 150 sites, to a full-featured plan which also fills in all profile details, complete with pictures, at 100 to 300 different networking sites.
  • namechk: Covering 72 major social networking sites, namechk is simple, fast, and easy to use. If your desired username or vanity URL is still available, you simply click through each one to claim it. If your brand isn’t consistent across the Web, namechk can help you by determining which usernames are still available on a number of the most popular sites.

2. Look like you “get it”: Your target audience is becoming more shrewd about leveraging social media sites as an integral part of their daily lives. If you want to appear relevant and in-step with the latest advances in technology, your potential customers will want to see you on these sites as well. If you don’t have a presence, you appear as if you’re not very savvy.

3. Brand recognition: You need to go where your customers are, and they are increasingly spending a great deal of time on social networking sites. Using social media enables your company to reach a huge number of potential customers. Getting your name out there is incredibly important — studies suggest that people need to hear a company’s name at least seven times before they trust and respect it enough to become a customer.

4. Take your message directly to consumers: Social media tools enable you to directly engage consumers in conversation. Be sure to build trust by adding value to the community consistently over time.

5. Increase your search engine rankings: Social media profiles (especially those on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn) frequently rank highly with major search engines. Creating keyword-rich profiles around your brand name can help generate traffic for your both your social-networking sites and your company’s Web site.

6. SEO benefits: Many social media bookmarking sites use NOFOLLOW tags that limit the outbound link value of posts made on their sites, but there are still many leading sites that allow DOFOLLOW tags — including Friendfeed, Digg, and Mixx. You can also benefit from posting to bookmarking sites that use NOFOLLOW tags if people read your posts and link back to your Web site.

7. Social media content is now integrated with search results: Search engines like Google and Bing are increasingly indexing and ranking posts and other information from social networks. Videos from popular sites like YouTube can also be optimized for indexing by the major search engines.

8. Brand monitoring: Having a social media presence gives you a better understanding of what current and potential customers are saying about your products and services. If you actively monitor social conversations, you have the opportunity to correct false or inaccurate information about your brand and address negative comments before they take on a life of their own.

9. Generate site traffic: You can create additional traffic if you regularly post updates on social networks that link back to your Web site. Social media bookmarking tools like Digg, Reddit, and Stumbleupon can also generate additional traffic to your site if you create frequent articles and blog posts.

10. Find new customers through your friends: You shouldn’t neglect your personal social media accounts as potential avenues to promote the activities of your business. Posting regular updates relating to your business and activities can remind your friends about what your company does and influence them to use your services or make referrals.

11. Find new customers through your company profile: Your company profile is a great opportunity for you to post regular updates on your activities and about important news and trends in your industry. This will attract the attention of new customers interested in your industry and increase your reputation as an expert in your field. It’s important to post regularly if you want to increase your followers or fans and convert them to potential leads.

12. Niche marketing: Social media enables you to reach very specific subsets of people based on their personal preferences and interests. You can create unique social media profiles to target these audiences or create strategies based on addressing individual interests.

Posted via web from Kathy’s posterous

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

I recently went to my local sushi restaurant and was compelled to “check in” via Foursquare. While location-based services such as Foursquare and Gowalla are igniting big cities across America, it’s a rare occasion to see anyone else “checked in” to a location spot here in Marin (just north of San Francisco).  On this evening though, I did see that another Foursquare member had checked in a few minutes before me, and as I looked at his profile picture, I was able to spot him sitting at the sushi bar. That was kinda cool.

The game of “checking in” is a fun way to promote your whereabouts and snoop on what your friends are doing, but the flurry of location-based services have yet to deliver real value on my local community and surroundings. With DeHood, the game has fundamentally changed.

Imagine preparing for a run at “The Dish” near Palo Alto, a scenic area of rolling grassy hills and oak trees.  You pull up DeHood, click “Reports” and see members reporting that a mountain lion has been spotted and the area has consequently been closed. In the “Shouts” tab, members are lamenting the wintery weather we’re experiencing in the Bay Area and adding comments to posts.  And in the “places” tab, I discover there are so many more businesses around me than I ever knew, as the content in DeHood is pre-populated from local directory services and with one click, I can call any of them from my mobile phone.

Another nice feature is “Shop” which aggregates deals from local and chain stores in my neighborhood. In fact, I just discovered Peet’s is offering $200 off an espresso machine – I can see the image of the machine, share the offer with others, check out the profile of the person who discovered/input the offer, and more.

There are times when it’s fun to know that my friends in London or NY or Tacoma might be checking in to In ‘N Out Burger, but it’s tangibly relevant for me to know what’s happening in my city, neighborhood, or street on a daily basis.

Location, location, location is not only important in real estate.  That triple location emphasis is where neighborhood-based services really shine

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Poems often tell us more about street life than any tourist guide or history book. An unusual new app – City Poems – for the iPhone/IPod Touch/iPad just released uses satellite location to link streets, buildings, statues, buried remains, taverns and memories in central London to classic poems written about them. Whether you are in New York or Trafalgar Square you can see how far you are from a poem and click to read it on the screen of the phone. Fresh poems will be added regularly as they are uncovered.

Vic Keegan spent months digging out poems from books and online sources and was amazed at the things he learned about a city he thought he knew very well: vivid descriptions of public hangings at Newgate, public burnings in Smithfield (“his guts filled a barrel”), the real reason men stay at the posh Athenaeum Club, the stories behind the sculptures in Trafalgar Square and a verbatim report of a rowdy street football match in Covent Garden by John Gay, author of the Beggar’s Opera in which the players are called “crews” not teams. He came across one seventeenth century poem entirely about a pub crawl across London in search of a decent glass of claret. At a tavern in Holborn they were interrupted by a man in manacles escorted by guards who was being allowed a final drink before resuming his journey to be hanged at Tyburn. This is believed to be the origin of the phrase “one for the road”.

Vic chronicles the development of his new app in his column in The Guardian – an excerpt follows:

“The truly amazing fact is that we have already entered an era in which it is possible for anyone to dream up a service for their mobile phone at low cost, which can be sold to a potential market of billions of people as practically everyone has, or will have a mobile phone. Ours is a tiny example of this. I have no idea how many copies, if any, of our app will be sold but it has convinced me that there are awesome possibilities out there for people prepared to take a risk.”

And he also shares personal milestones:

“For me it ends an interesting period. This month I finally left the Guardian after nearly 47 years. At the end of last week I had my 70th birthday and today my first iPhone app came out. Life is full of surprises.”

I wonder if City Poems will also reveal where Vic will be penning past and future poet masterpieces…

Posted via web from Kathy’s posterous

We recently completed a globally-focused 10-day social media campaign for one of our clients which resulted in over 1,300 new Twitter followers, overwhelmingly positive Twitter sentiment and also generated over 250 new Facebook fans and traffic to the company’s website and blog.

Here are a few of the basics I used to get up the campaign, manage it, and measure it.

Benchmarks:  Before your first Tweet, make sure to take note of of how many people are already following you on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn (groups, etc.) so you can compare the before-and-after scenario.

Identifying goals:  While it’s easy to see the hard results – did your numbers go up or down – there’s more to social media metrics than hard numbers.  Sentiment is hard to quantify, but it’s easy to see.  In our campaign, one day we asked people to tell us why they liked what our client was doing.  We received such a great response – comments that were creative, funny, and inspiring.  Of course, you also open yourself up for negative commentary, but in our experience, we have found the community to be collaborative and supportive.  When a snarky comment did appear on another day, the community came to the defense.  A perfect validation of why it’s important to maintain an open dialogue and relationship with the community.

Tone of Voice: For our particular exercise, the voice we used for Tweeting was humorous, approachable and a bit irreverent.  We decided to use this tone as it not only caught the attention of the community but also made people smile, question, and comment.  It was in sync with the client’s brand and messaging.  All elements of the communication – from the press release, to the blog, to the Twitter feed, to the YouTube video, to the Facebook fan page and more reflected upon one another and carried this voice.

Once we had our basics down, then began the work.

We used a variety of free tools to make our job easier, as we provided daily reports on metrics, sentiment, and milestones (by the way, I did try out a couple of paid services, but I found I could gather the same information without paying the subscription fees).  Here are the tools we used:

Tweetdeck:  Tweetdeck’s desktop client was the hub of my Twitter communications.  I set up a few different search columns to make sure I had visibility into all sides of the conversation.  One column was dedicated to the hashtag we used, anothers to particular search terms, and of course others for @ replies and DMs.

Seesmic Web app:  I also used Seemic’s web app as it provided a cleaner and easier way for me to view responses and had a deeper historical view, which was important to me as we were managing this campaign across all time zones (i.e. 24 hours a day).

TwitterCounter:  A great chart that shows how many followers you have today, how many more you just accrued, and how many are predicted to come in a day more more.

Trendrr:  More useful charts and information on the number of mentions on Twitter, blogs, and search engines.

SocialOomph:  When you want to get your message out at 8:00AM in London but you’re based in San Francisco which is 8 hours behind, there’s an alternative to staying awake late or asking your colleagues in London to take on the task for you (assuming you have colleagues in London).  This is where SocialOomph comes in.  You can preschedule a Tweet to go out on a specific date/time.  It’s a great thing to use occassionally, but I don’t advocate you use it often, as the whole point of social media is the conversation, which means you have to have a real-live human on the both ends.

Another analytic tool I did not use during this last campaign but am considering for the future is SocialMention which provides a nice snapshot of all the social media elements you can imagine.

At the end of the campaign, it was gratifying and satisfying to see the upward trend of followers, the collection of great Tweets and comments from the community, and the impact on other social media touchpoints.  We embraced the community to share and ReTweet our news, tips, and were thrilled to see our messages amplified.

RightHealth, a medical and health-related resource that provides a comprehensive collection of content, videos, photos, community commentary and more, has today launched a brand new feature on their DailyDose blog. Starting today and following on every Monday, Dr. Steven Chang will be answering questions from the community in his “Ask the Doctor” column.  All you have to do is submit your question to dailydose@righthealth.com.

The first question from reader Mark is shown below.  Who needs Dr. Oz or your The Doctors when we have Dr. Chang in the house!

QThe cardiologist who recently examined President Obama, an admitted occasional smoker, told the Commander in Chief that although he received a clean bill of health, he’s still at risk for heart disease because he is a smoker in a high-stress job. Does smoking less frequently or just occasionally reduce the health risks for smokers?

ASmoking accounts for over 400 thousand deaths annually in the United States, mostly in the form of lung cancer, stroke, and coronary heart disease. In fact, smoking increases every kind of cancer risk with 80% of lung cancers linked to smoking. It doesn’t matter if you smoke only one cigarette a day or one pack a day. The act of smoking will increase your risk of these diseases. We also know there is a clear link between second hand smoke and cardiovascular disease. Approximately 23 to 70 thousand premature deaths occur each year in the U.S. because of second hand smoke.

Does smoking less reduce health risks? The answer is yes. If you smoke three packs a day as opposed to one pack a day, you do have more of a risk for heart disease.  But it’s not until you quit smoking do you see some amazing results. Here’s what we know:

  • At 20 minutes after quitting your blood pressure decreases and the body temperature of your hands and feet increase, due to improved circulation.
  • At 24 hours you begin to see a decrease in heart attack risk.
  • At 48 hours your senses of smell and taste improve and nerve endings actually begin to regrow!
  • After 1 year your risk of coronary heart disease drops by 50%.
  • After 5-15 years your stroke risk drops by 50%.
  • After 10 years your risk of lung cancer drops by 50%.
  • After 15 years your risk of coronary heart disease and death rate returns to the same level as those who never smoked.

Posted via web from Consort Partners

By now you may have heard of Chatroulette (chat – roulette). It’s a phenomenon whereby you can “meet” a stranger via a random webcam connection. There are no profiles to fill out, no registration requirements, no ways to predict who might be on the other end. For some, it’s a heart-racing thrill to see who appears in the video box. Driven by chance, mystery, voyeurism, and that odd human behavior of having to look at things like a car wreck, it picques curiosity and takes people-watching to a whole new level.

On the other hand, as you can imagine, it’s also a petri dish of every aspect of humanity – on one occasion, I gave it a whirl with a friend and we saw a person with a Venetian mask, another who had his webcam pointed at his chest so his face wasn’t visible, and another, well, we’ll leave that to your imagination.

Nonetheless, the utter simplicity of the navigation makes this site easy and addictive. Find a weirdo, click next. Find somebody interesting, chat away.

The psychological motivations of this site fascinate me. Like watching a scary movie or riding a roller coaster, Chatroulette provides that rush of adrenalin – not knowing what to expect and not being able to control it. And with an expectation of adventure – based in the safety of your own room – you can simply click “Next” to swiftly proceed to the next stranger. For some, it’s definitely the cat’s meow.

Posted via web from Kathy’s posterous

This is an awesome idea! Social media meets running meets marketing meets doing good for others. 

Join Nike in helping rebuild Haiti after the earthquake by committing your Nike+ runs to the effort. By doing so, you will be helping Nike raise up to $100,000 as part of their overall commitment to donate $500,000 to the efforts in Haiti. $1 will be donated for every mile/kilometer run with a goal of reaching 100,000 miles or 160,000 kilometers. For more info visit www.nike.com/haiti.


I’m a member of Nike+ and while I had occasional struggles with the device, the website and social aspects of the site have never let me down.  To me, Nike+ does a great job of feeding into our natural competitive instincts and adds a touch of humor as well.  Additionally, their strategies of employing social media are chock full of inspirational ideas.  Users can create their own groups and challenges to spurn on more running (and more purchases of the Nike+ device and membership in the site), individual members can establish goals for themselves (resulting in recurrent visits and stickiness) and there’s even integrated chat called “Trash Talk” which allows members to broadcast their thoughts and opinions to the group.

This latest endeavor – Help for Haiti – is another brilliant execution by Nike.  It’s a call to action to run more with the Nike+ device because not only will it benefit yourself, but will benefit those in need in Haiti.  I’ve been feeling especially lazy after returning from Hawaii (plus, I’m still nursing my pulled muscle) but this encourages me to get out there as soon as possible.  Every mile counts.  For me.  And for them.

Posted via web from Kathy’s posterous

It’s Friday. I’m supposed to be on vacation (I’ve been on vacation for the entire week… not that anyone could tell…I’ve been online the entire time… but that’s my fault… anyway, I digress….).

I just saw this video and had to share. For anyone in the news business, I think you’ll appreciate the tongue-in-cheek lesson. Well, I thought it was funny.  But then again, I’m holed up in a hotel room with my 120 degree laptop on my legs, getting sweaty and radiated, when I should be getting sweaty and radiated by the Hawaiian sunshine.

Posted via web from Kathy’s posterous