I’m Giving an Ignite Talk!

I have become a huge believer in the idea of serendipity, the faculty or phenomenon of finding valuable or agreeable things not sought for (link). Many of the opportunities I have been lucky enough to come across have come into my life seemingly out of nowhere. Though, when I start looking back, I can almost always find the root of the happy surprises.

Here’s a quick list off the top of my head: Continue reading

2011 Central Florida Blogger Conference

The convention I attended while in Orlando was the Central Florida Blogger Conference. I went to this convention looking at it with two different perspectives. First, I was there to connect with local Floridian bloggers on behalf of clients and secondly I was there to see what the rest of the world is saying about social media outside of the Mashable sphere.

Someone caught a shot of me deep in thought

The conference was designed to cover to audiences, the n00b blogger who was still debating Blogger vs WordPress to the professional and marketing audience. I didn’t attend any of the introductory sessions seeing as I have been blogging since 2001 and that I do this sort of work for a living.

The speaker selection was done keeping in the central Florida theme as I’m pretty sure each came from the area. Not only did this cut down on costs, it provided the visitors to the conference a more realistic scope of possibility and networking. That being said, I found almost all the topics to be much more elementary and top level than what would be beneficial to me.

Sketch artist captures the conference keynote

More often than not, I was providing asides, alternatives or more efficient/economical solutions to bloggers’ problems. At each table and each session, people gathered around me to ask my opinion, to repeat what I suggested to the speaker during the question and answer period and even to drop me their business card.

I was called a “Social Media Guru” in a bit on National Public Radio last year, a title I lament. Calling yourself an expert, guru, ninja or sansei in a field of marketing that is constantly changing is ridiculous. Never will I call myself any of those things, and if for some reason I do, please refer me to this post.

Pleasantly, only one person was referred to as a “ninja” during the entire conference. That is still one too many but far fewer than I expected.

All that being said, it is clear that there are still people, organizations and companies out there that lack the education on what social media is, what it isn’t and how it will or will not work for them. Luckily for them there are people like me who are more than happy to teach them the right way to do things.

That is the audience this conference was aimed at, those getting into blogging and social media. The amount of information gleaned by n00bs at this conference was pretty immense and invaluable. I just hope they listened carefully and took notes!

Nevertheless, the conference didn’t provide me with too much new education but I did leave with a few memory joggers, friendly reminders and suggestions. I’ll share them with you right here.

  • Don’t just talk about what you want to do, do it
  • Content is king but only when you’re able to match quality with quantity
  • Every blog needs a media page with a digital press kit
  • Fiverr.com is an awesome resource for cheap help
  • SWAG (stuff we all get) is 50% of the time SWAL (stuff we all lament)

The best part of the convention was easily the people I met, especially those that I met in my last session which was aimed at marketing, public relations and advertising professionals. We were given the opportunity to have totally open and honest dialog with not only other professionals but the bloggers we want to work with. Both parties understanding the needs and abilities of the each other is essential in a successful partnership.

Also, hear the food was terrific.

Big Wheel Truck catered the event

I look forward to my next blogger/social media conference now that I have this one under my belt. While I have presented at similar types of venues, I have never been an audience member, as surprising as that is for me.

Would I recommend the Central Florida Blogger Conference to a blogger or someone new to the world of social media? Absolutely. Would I recommend it to someone who has already accomplished quite a bit in this industry? Probably not, unless there are a few more workshops for people like me. Luckily, next year there should be more for people like me and those who went to the conference last year.

From the conversations we had at my last session, which was directed at marketing and PR people, the convention will continue to grow and become more advanced in the future. It will grow with its audience which is great..

Perhaps the follow-up mixer would make everything copacetic. Alcohol and networking go hand in hand you know!

Apple is Killing it in the Mac App Store

Of the top ten highest grossing applications in Apple’s Mac App Store, nine are made by Apple. Looks like the App Store for non-mobile was a great idea after all. Also, I predict that with the release of Lion, Apple will hold all ten, top ten grossing apps. Brilliant.

Hasselblad acquired by Ventizz Capital Fund

Hasselblad, the venerable digital and film, medium format cameramaker has been acquired by Swiss/German capital fund.The press release states that this will allow them to explore more markets and expand the brand. Let’s hope this means I’ll be able to buy one of their amazing cameras for somewhere under $10,000. Not that I have that sort of money for a camera but dare to dream right? It’s a lot better than paying the $30,000-40,000 they currently cost.

Resolutions and Revelations

I decided that one of my New Years resolutions…

Let’s stop there really quick. Yearly resolutions are about 90% total bull. I know that. I know that you are far more likely to be unsuccessful at a “resolution” if you put arbitrary timelines, start dates etc. But I digress…

I made a few including the following:

  • Post here more often.
  • Thinking positively.
  • Workout like I did when Max was my gym buddy.
  • Make more money doing what I want to do, not just making money to make it.
  • Take more photographs.

I realized tonight that I’ve put photography onto a back burner. I have stopped introducing myself as, “I’m Justin… yeah, I’m a photographer” and instead say, “I’m Justin… I help companies utilize social and new media systems and networks to reach customers, create transparency, build trust, gain respect and increase revenue.”

“I’m a photographer” isn’t nearly as big mouthful.

So in an effort to kill two birds with one stone, I will post here more often with a new photo every day. I promise it won’t turn into one of those annoying 365 photo blogs. Just a simple photo everyday of something that caught my eye. Whether the photo be from my nice camera or my iPhone camera (which is actually a pretty nice camera…)

I’d like to further challenge myself to taking each of the photos from the same place. Can I make 365 unique and interesting photos from my courtyard? How awesome would that be? If I miss a day, I miss a day. Giving up because one day I didn’t do what I wanted to do is insanity. It’s an excuse to give up. I will miss a day but, I will think positively, I won’t let it, let me down.

So, let this be the first one. The Image above is the night view from my courtyard. It is the view I see every night as I do the dishes. I’m totally ok with doing the dishes when that is what I get to see while I do it.

Amazon.com Has Quite the Package…

too bad they don’t know how to use it! Heyo!

Amazon.com is known for many things. Great products at the best prices around, cutting-edge eReaders, stellar customer service and as of the last few years, environmentally friendly custom product packaging and shipping practices.

So imagine my surprise when UPS showed up at my house today with a big box from Amazon. A really big box. I thought to myself, what did I order? Four memory cards and a Samson Zoom H1 DAC, in two separate shipments.

Amazon Box Superfluously Overflowing

Too bad they don’t know how to use it!

All of the above products are known for their size. The secure digital card is the smallest professional quality memory card. They are about the size of a quarter. The Samson Zoom H1 is one of the smallest, high-end (yet very affordable) personal digital audio recorders on the market, about the size of a Snickers bar.

So, what did I forget that I had ordered from Amazon.com that needs a 10 x 10 x 21 inch box rated for 65lbs?

Transcend 4 x 8GB SDHD Cards

Four secure digital cards of course! Seriously Amazon.com? I guess this is why they ask for commentary on how they are doing with their efforts for effective, efficient, economical and environmentally friendly shipping practices.

Check out package two, did Amazon.com do a better job?  Continue reading

Why I Was Denied Health Insurance

After months of waiting for my health insurance to be activated, and after paying for it all the while, I was informed recently that I am uninsurable.

What horrible malady might I have? Cancer? Multiple sclerosis? Heart disease? Let’s take a look at the letter they sent. I’m sure that will tell me why.

Oh, yes. I was denied health insurance because of “*”. Seriously? All you people who think the United States of America doesn’t need a major overhaul of its health insurance industry should look at this and think twice.

For no reason I was denied health insurance. Previously they told me they were waiting on the results of an electrocardiography exam I had nearly three years ago. An EKG that came back saying my heart was in perfect condition. Now they tell me because… asterisk. They literally have no reason for their rejection. I have been dealing with them since August with this mind you.

Welcome to America, land of the brave, the free and the uninsured.

Thanks Republicans who did all they could to prevent people like me from getting coverage and the Democrats that let them do it. Tea Party members… Don’t even get me started.

Share your insurance issues, thoughts on reform in the comments.