Brian Shaler

Occasionally Interesting

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Archive for the ‘ReadPhoenix’ Category

You Are an Ambassador of Your Community

I tend to focus on Phoenix tech a lot. Hopefully, people outside of Phoenix who read what I write take the principles and apply them to their own localities and industries.

Curious to see what someone would find if they searched for “phoenix tech community,” I ran the search through Google, Yahoo, and Bing. I think we in Phoenix make a lot of noise from time to time, and we have so much going on that word occasionally reaches people across the country and even around the world. I wondered what outsiders would see, but also what locals would find if they set out to find their city’s tech community.

Astonishingly, this blog was at the top of the results — first on Google and Yahoo, but on Bing, it was second to a blog post about one of my blog posts.

What, am I bragging? Hell no.

I realized that there is room for improvement on my part. My blog post, “The Phoenix Tech Community,” was a good article, in my opinion. However, it is NOT what I would consider a good landing page for the tech community.

When someone searches for “phoenix tech community,” I want them to discover that there is a ton of stuff going on in Phoenix. They should be exposed to Phoenix events and meet-ups, Phoenix blogs, and Phoenix co-working spaces, and more.

I’m taking too long to get back to the title of this post, and it’s getting to be about time to wrap it up.

The pages people will find when they’re looking for the phoenix tech community weren’t deliberately written to be someone’s first impression. I became, without knowing, an ambassador for the community. Also without knowing, I wasn’t doing a great job with this ambassadorship.

It’s one more thing to keep in mind with my (and your) blog posts. You can become an ambassador of your community, simply by mentioning it. Try to be a good one.

Some Updates

I’ve been super busy recently (as always). I’m not going to be able to apologize for being a bad blogger, because I’m not a blogger. I’m a guy who writes code for a living, travels whenever possible, and tries to be active in the Phoenix tech community. Nowhere in there do I define myself as a blogger!

But on the topic of bloggers and blogging…

I happen to subscribe to about 200 Phoenix-based blogs (in part thanks to I like to know what’s going on in Phoenix, and there’s no one source for that. There’s simply too much going on. I doubt many people would try to stick the fire hose of information into their mouths like I do.

When the topic came up about having a panel on blogging at a future Social Media Club Phoenix meeting, I skimmed through my RSS subscriptions and picked out a few of my favorites. Here are the bloggers I recommended:

Blogs with micro-communities:
The Wood Whisperer – Marc Spagnuolo
Arizona Coffee – Chris Tingom

Blogging techniques:
The Closet Entrepreneur – Tomas Carrillo
Convince and Convert – Jason Baer
Stealthmode – Francine Hardaway

Blogging about a product:
Method ~ of ~ Failed – Tim Heuer (Microsoft Silverlight evangelist)

PR & News:
Valley PR Blog – Run by a group.
Heat City – Nick Martin

ReadPhoenix: Top Blog Posts of the Week #4-5

Busy, busy, busy. I was unable to find the time last Friday AND last weekend to review and write-up the best Phoenix blog posts of the week. The good news is that I included last week’s best in this post, under “Week #4.”

I have received very good feedback regarding what I am doing here. Thanks to everyone who has let me know they read and value these posts. Positive feedback is one of the best motivators.

Week #5

Blog: Valley PR Blog
Author: Angelo Fernando
Company: ASU
Post Title: Never too late to learn: lessons from a pizza driver

This is a story about a real estate agent who moved from Washington to Arizona and got a job as a pizza delivery driver to familiarize himself with the Phoenix metro area quickly.

Read on for more of the story.

Blog: Wurkit Books
Author: Dan Ritz
Company: Forty Media
Post Title: Quick to the Point

Some of the people I have met recently are involved in the Press Release business. After conversations with them, I have put thought into the future of the Press Release. The excerpt Dan highlighted is true for memos, web sites, and even press releases. From the book, Maverick: “The longer the message, the greater the chance of misinterpretation.”

Read on to see the full excerpt and Dan’s commentary.

Author: Jim Jeffers
Company: Sitewire
Post Title: CSS Commenting With Textmate

Jim posted a link to a great article on Think Vitamin. He reflected on the article’s overview of best practice CSS commenting. I read the entire article and thought there were quite a few other excellent points.

Read on to see Jim’s commentary and a link to the original article.

Week #4

Blog: Scrollin’ On Dubs
Author: Sean Tierney
Company: JumpBox
Post Title: Place-shift your Rhapsody service

Real Networks recently shut down a 3rd party web service called Yottamusic, which provided an enhanced interface and social networking features on top of the Rhapsody music service.

Read on to see Sean’s reaction, and click here for additional details provide by TechCrunch.

Blog: theonetogoto = aaron post
Author: Aaron Post
Company: Forty Media
Post Title: If Candidates where Web 2.0 Applications?

Aaron took the time to examine key traits in our current Presidential candidates and compare them to social web sites.

Read on to see what Web 2.0 application your favorite candidate resembles.

Author: Jim Jeffers
Company: Sitewire
Post Title: A Refreshed Design for 2008

This is not just a redesign. In this blog post, he outlines some of the specific features embedded into the site.

He put in a considerable amount of work to utilize many features that have not even been adopted yet by all major browsers. What’s great about it is that he made sure that it degrades gracefully, rewarding users with modern browsers without having negative effects on those that don’t.

Read on to see the changes Jim made to his blog.

ReadPhoenix: Top Blog Posts of the Week #3

Two weekly posts in a row. Do you know what that tells me? It says in no uncertain terms that I am not writing enough. That is one of the most valuable benefits I receive by doing this. The weekly write-up gives me an obligation to post regularly and the desire to make sure those scheduled posts are not my ONLY posts.

It is also great for me because it ensures I do not miss anything going on in local blogs. I want to keep up with what people are talking about locally, but if I did not set this obligation for myself, I probably would not spend time making sure nothing slips through the cracks.

Blog: BrainFuel
Author: Thomas Chapin
Company: Tornado Design
Post Title: Overnight Project

Tom whipped up a fun micro site recently, It allows you to input a person’s name and it will return “100 completely accurate, verifiable facts about anyone.” Everyone has probably heard a couple of “Chuck Norris facts” during the last couple years. Now those same fun facts can be applied to you, your friends, or even your enemies.

Early this week, an anonymous Twitter user popped up on my radar, linking me to I tried to track down the person responsible. Unfortunately for me, Tom used private domain registration, hosted it on a different server in a different state from his regular sites, and used a proxy service to leave a comment on my blog. I was unable to track down who made it, but Tom later confessed and allowed me to help him with some pseudo-randomization PHP code. (Try looking up facts for multiple names)

Read on and see what facts you can dig up about your friends!

Blog / Author: Sunny Thaper
Company: Forty Media
Post Title: Radiohead’s In Rainbows Dumb Business Move?

Sunny starts off this post with: “Fortune Magazine claims that Radiohead’s latest album “In Rainbows” is the 58th dumbest moment in business.”

I agree with Sunny on the fact that Fortune is absolutely, positively, confoundedly incorrect. I might not go so far as to say it was the 58th smartest moment in business, but there would be a strong argument in their favor. What I can say is that it was one of the most consequential business moves in the music industry. A band sells their album online, makes it available for free, and proves that such a model can yield massive monetary success. It provides more evidence of the music industry’s obsolete business model.

Read on to see Sunny’s side and the links he provided.

Author: Jim Jeffers
Company: Sitewire
Post Title: Advocates vs. Practitioners vs. Practicality

Jim brings up a good point about advocates and practitioners. With the success stories of Internet startups piling up, everyone is pushing the next big thing. Major companies are inventing new platforms to develop on left and right (Look at Google: OpenSocial, Android, Gadgets [Desktop, iGoogle, web], Google Gears, APIs for: Maps, Search, Feeds, Charts, Checkout, Calendar, Picasa, YouTube, etc). There are countless startups pushing everything from a new take on social networking (Facebook/MySpace-killers), communication (Twitter/Jaiku-killers), search (Google-killers), etc.

Read on to see Jim’s point of view.

Blog: Arizona Coffee
Author: Chris Tingom
Company: Tornado Design
Post Title: Boost Sales: Have a Starbucks Next Door?

Chris asks: “Could it be that having a Starbucks near independent coffeehouses actually helps boost sales?”

He provides a link to a great article from Slate Magazine that looks into the effect Starbucks has on independently-owned coffee shops. Much to Starbucks’ dismay (they intend to run competitors out of business), the presence of a Starbucks actually helps sales soar at competitors’ shops.

Read on at Slate Magazine.

ReadPhoenix: Top Blog Posts of the Week #2

This week features:
– Effective Branding Case Study
– Building Phoenix’s Tech Community
– Spotlight on Phoenix Startup, JumpBox
– Book reviews: Simplicity, Happiness, Being Busy

Blog: BrainSpool
Author: Derek Neighbors
Company: Integrum Technologies
Post Title: Make a Mark on Your Customers

I think this was probably the best read of the week. While considering how to take his company’s brand to the next level, Derek talks about one of the best examples of successful branding, QuickTrip. I have had conversations with friends about this topic and Derek did a great job of laying out specific reasons and examples. Honestly, I often drive past other gas stations or drive out of my way to get to a QT.

Read on as Derek explains why many people can feel so strongly about QT.

Blog: Code, Content, Caffeine
Author: James Britt
Company: Rising Tide Software
Post Title: BarCamp Follow-up Follow-up: Ignite Phoenix

It is no secret that I am a supporter of building a stronger, more connected technology community in Phoenix. I think this is a great idea and would definitely attend if someone set something like this up. Want to organize something like this? Bring it up with me, James (his email address is on his site), or even the Refresh Phoenix Google Group.

Read on to learn more about Ignite [City] groups in Seattle, Boston, and San Francisco.

Blog: Scrollin’ On Dubs
Author: Sean Tierney
Company: JumpBox
Post Title:

It’s always great to see local companies getting attention of some of the most-followed people in the industry. Congrats guys!

Read on about his interview. Includes video.

Blog / Author: Sunny Thaper
Company: Forty Media
Post Title: Think Small, In A Big Way!

Sunny is currently reading a book by John Maeda called “The Laws of Simplicity.” I recognized the name and title from a great TED Talk video I saw earlier this year: “John Maeda: Simplicity patterns

Read on about Sunny’s review of the book.

Blog / Author: Erica Lucci
Company: Integrum Technologies
Post Title: Stumbling on Happiness

Another review of a good book. She talks about the book “Stumbling on Happiness” by Daniel Gilbert. Believe it or not I recognized the name and title from another great Ted Talk video I saw last year: “Dan Gilbert: Why are we happy? Why aren’t we happy?” It is a great presentation. Be careful, after watching it, you might end up buying the book.

Read on about “Stumbling on Happiness.”

Blog: John Murch the Self Proclaimed Geek Guru
Author: John Murch
Company: Nomad Thinking
Post Title: Geek Guru Book Club Review Crazy Busy

Another book! John reviews “Crazy Busy” by Dr. Edward M. Hallowell and gives examples of some tips. I don’t have a video of Dr. Hallowell’s presentation on the topic, but John was lucky enough to meet him recently and watch a live presentation. Lucky!

Read on about “Crazy Busy.”

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