Category Archives: blogging

Working Girl’s Year One

Year One

It came rather quickly, I’ll admit. In fact, it wasn’t until this last weekend that I realized that I moved to San Francisco 1 year ago on July 4th and started my job 1 year ago today, July 7th. To think of where I was then, quaking in my new heels, ready to burst with questions and anticipation, head equally full of knowledge meant to prepare me for adulthood, never expecting the road that I’ve traveled to get to NOW.

I adjusted at first — and this could have been shock, at the time — rather easily. Emotionally tackling the sometimes-turbulent road from easing in, yet hitting the ground running, then phasing to swallowing pride and comfort for the challenge of taking criticism, learning to work hard, sleep less and take it all in stride. The last few months have seen the much more enjoyable transition of becoming a team player, (more detail-aware — I’m making progress, people) being confident that a job well done means client satisfaction and not personal gain, and realizing that loving my job makes me luckier than most.

That said, I have sorely neglected this blog, which turned out to be a vehicle for employment for me, and I’d like to take this post on this momentous day to make some resolutions for the new year as a “LaunchSquadder” and an employed person.

For this blog I resolve to:

  1. Post 1-2 times a week
  2. Write well
  3. Discuss current media issues
  4. Discuss more challenges for the (intended) benefit of those who come after me
  5. Write response posts
  6. Link more relevantly
  7. Present clear and active thinking about my work, my life, and my goals
  8. I will listen more and better

As an employed person I resolve to:

  1. Do more phone pitching
  2. Read more literature on the train
  3. Post on the Exclamation blog more
  4. Make fewer typos
  5. Continue to be an early-adopter of new technology as it remains a fantastic way to stay engaged in the space
  6. Take on more writing-intensive projects
  7. Understand the give-and-take with journalists and pursue more mutually-beneficial relationships
  8. Recognize my responsibility to myself to commit to more responsibility, initiative and leadership on my teams.
  9. Every day, be thankful for my current employment and the daily opportunities presented to learn and be taught.
  10. Every day, do better work than I did the day before.

The nice thing here is that I generally believe that this framework will not only make me a better employee and PR professional, but also a better and more committed person to not only my work, but my future and the opportunities it probably bring. Hopefully.

Anyone else closing in on a year and having some thoughts about it? Let me know what you guys are thinking… Maybe I’m the only one who’s seeing this as some existential milestone, but I have a feeling I’m not alone.

Also — a quick “Congrats!” to my coworker, Sara Schulte who also started last year on 7/7 at LaunchSquad. :)

Boulder, I’m Lookin’ and I’m Likin’

Anyone I’ve talked to lately knows I’ve been rather obsessed with the Boulder (Colorado) tech scene, even revamping my REI-chic/enviro-hipster garb for the occasion. I voraciously started subscribing to the blogs and Twitter feeds of various tech enthusiasts like Andrew Hyde, a driving force behind rad initiatives like Startup Weekend and Techstars.org, Robert Reich who founded OneRiot, Micah Baldwin who runs business development for Lijit Networks and has a sweet blog and of course there’s Brad Feld, who planted the seeds that started it all. I even watched their live broadcast of Ignite Boulder 3 this last week. Yeah, I really did.

What is it about the Boulder scene that makes me yearn so to be a part of it? My curiosity-turned-fascination-turned-safe-distance (I swear)-obsession was probably fueled by the fact that I can’t be part of it. My location prevents it and they just don’t seem interested in pursuing me as a remote member of their clan, though, granted, no overt outreach was established from my end. Following them on Twitter started out cool because I got a window into their mountainous world, but turned into a curse when they never seemed to want to reach (or follow) back. OK, no big deal. The initial pain of rejection led me to conduct an investigation on the essence of Boulder’s “cool”. Furthermore, I wanted to bring to light why we should all pay attention to Boulder now because – and even Sarah Lacy was astonished by this – Boulder won’t tell us why it’s so rad.

Let’s take a quick look at Boulder itself – not the tech scene – just Boulder.

- College town – Colorado University’s there.
- We know that there are a lot of bikes in Boulder
- There’s natural beauty like you wouldn’t believe
- Apparently the US Curling Olympic trials are there this year, being held this week, I’ve been told

Now let’s think Tech:

- Startup Town
- The afore-mentioned forward thinkers
- The sweet green tech innovations happening there
- In Boulder, you can be a geek AND athletic
- Most of their tech events are beer-centric vs. cocktails– SO cool
- They are geographically flanked by the Rockies on one side and the Mississippi on the other, trapped from the two traditional coastal sources of technological progress and yet they continue to generate technology and media innovation at an astounding and intriguing rate.

But Silicon Valley’s got plenty of mojo, right? Developers and entrepreneurs flock to the Bay Area because they have the next big thing that’s going to take “it” to the next level, going to change the world! So what differentiates Boulder? Here it is: COMMUNITY. There is an electric current that runs through Boulder that is powered by the intense support system that can only exist in a tight-knit community. That’s what TechStars.org IS. It’s for the mentoring and guiding (and funding) of sweet startups. I don’t know how you couldn’t succeed with that kind of backing.

Community must play a huge role in the success and acceleration of the startups and even the stewing of brilliant ideas among the mountains of Colorado. Looking through their blogs, seeing their Twitter activity, even being friends with just one of them on Facebook (and happening to peruse their profile with envy on a weekly basis), you understand the respect and friendship that is the lifeblood of the innovation, creativity and savvy that flows in that town. It’s really palpable if you watch some of the videos of their tech events– I mean, they have inside jokes! Yes, I may have spent an afternoon watching videos of Boulder tech meetups. Not a big deal.

Commradery, though, brings up another factor (and huge asset0 lending to their tight-knit environment: They’re still a small city. The Bay Area could never attain that level of intimacy. People come to The Bay Area to build great businesses that they can ultimately sell to go live in Boulder or, if it comes to it, run from Boulder (or somewhere of the like, you get it). People in Boulder love Boulder and never want to leave Boulder.

As a native Oregonian, my obsession with Boulder’s tech scene might be misplaced (sorry, Portland), but I can’t help feeling a little jealous of this embracing socio-professional (petty sure it’s a real term) environment. It’s not even the technology that really gets to me. It’s the people who make up this community – bloggers, entrepreneurs, copywriters, software engineers, consultants, and developers – that love what they do and want to see each other succeed.

Tell me where that community/clique/coven (?) is in the Bay Area and I’m there. Until then, I’m waiting on the edge of my seat for the next installment of “Where the Fun’s At“.

UPDATE (1/24/09): Joining Fox News in an effort to be “fair and balanced,” I wanted to highlight a response post by Brian Burns, a Boulder resident and copy writer: “Boulder Is Nice. Not Paradise”. A great read, and brings some local insight to the subject.

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This was originally posted here, at on LaunchSquad’s Exclamation blog.

Contributions of, Like, Generation Y

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It’s sort of an office joke, here at LaunchSquad, that I am a “Digital Native” – yes, that really is the punchline. Those of us born between 1982-2001 also answer to “Millennial” and “Generation Y” and occasionally, since we can still manage it, we participate in the multi-generational phase of “disenfranchised youth.”

I find that I don’t really relate to my generation since I hardly exceed five text messages a day, I generally rely on my sense of direction rather than an iPhone when I get lost, and prefer to meet new people in person rather than on Facebook – call me old-fashioned. This could probably sound like denial on my part, except that I don’t feel resentment toward my generation because while, collectively, it may look like we have nothing to offer, we are a mighty force in consumer and technology trends. And I kind of like that.

According to a 2006 USA Today article, Generation Y usurped the Baby Boomers as the most influential group to retailers, citing a statistic that 13-21 year olds influence more than 80% of their family’s apparel purchases and over half of their car purchases. How does this happen? Well, it could be that we’re the most brand-conscious, information-driven generation yet.

As far as Generation Y in the workforce? Earlier this year, an episode of 60 Minutes entitled The Age Of The Millennials asserted that members of this generation are exceptionally tech-savvy and are especially tuned to their own value in the job market. We’re a good generation to have around in tech and media dilemmas. In a world of infinite access to news everywhere, thank god that the media’s driven by a generation with an attention span shorter than a Jonas Brother.

And despite all of the negative things we’ve pioneered, like cyber bullying and the incorporation of text message abbreviations into our vernacular – contributions that might not be so memorable – we must be recognized for an increasingly established global trend: Online Oxygen. According to trendwatching.com, “Online Oxygen,” is, essentially, the idea that constant and convenient Web access is seen as an “absolute necessity” to a global degree and there’s no slowing of the integration of the internet and daily life.

Oh, SNAP! Our greatest contribution to technology is our demand for it. We multi-task better than any generation, simultaneously downloading music, sending e-mails, updating micro-blog feeds and ordering new running shoes all on the way to the gym. Our information addiction is fed by our dealer – gadgets and smart-phones always on our person – iAppendages, really. Instant access to a wealth of information keeps us clever, resourceful, ambitious and demanding.

And while we may seem obnoxious, self-serving and ridiculous, if it weren’t for that persistence, people, you’d might still be stuck with dial-up internet.

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Originally posted at here, LaunchSquad’s Exclamation blog.

Wired wants me to kill this thing: Can we just talk this through?

In a recent article in Wired, Paul Boutin of Valleywag writes “Thinking about launching your own blog? Here’s some friendly advice: Don’t. And if you’ve already got one, pull the plug.”

Not sure why I decided to discuss this over a BLOG. However this might be my only outlet with which to discuss it. I do not write for a big-name blog or contribute to an established magazine, Paul.

In the article he brings up a good point: the personality and intimacy that once drew now-famous bloggers to the activity is now gone. At least from well-read sites. He references a typical day on Technorati where the top blogging activity doesn’t highlight the personal prose of the individual, but rather sites that boast many well-known, uber-Tweeting contributers and thus mass readership and exposure. They no longer capture the discourse of an individual, but, more often, as is the case with the Huffington Post and TechCrunch, a releasing and rehashing of recent news. A professional outlet, rather than personal.

This is a problem, for sure, for PR professionals who are now including “Company Blog” as a tactic in their PR plan strategy for clients. Will it get read? Will it be taken seriously? Is it still a resource? These are the stakes in Boutin’s assertion.

I guess what I’m wondering is where this is stemming from? Why should blogs be a stagnant model for logging daily (semi-monthly, in my case) activities and thoughts and not evolve and transcend into a mass consumption outlet like ALL OTHER MEDIA?

Yes, there exist some big names that tend to monopolize the attention of he masses, but there exist many blogs that are personal and not professional. This one, for example.

Others:

The Unbride blog – A wedding blog that gets tons of readers, but is just one girl’s log of how she’s planning her wedding. Yet many people see it as a resource for their own planning.

The Cool Cat Teacher blog – Vicki Davis’ personal thoughts on education and technology. Widely read and an incredible force in the Edu-blogosphere.

Howsed – A home improvement blog written by a guy in Colorado. Gets tons of comments because he offers his personal “two-cents” on Do-It-Yourself projects.

These blogs continue to uphold the essence of the activity – a conversation, a discourse while still retaining the original charm of one person disclosing their ideas on a topic.

This whole situation reminds me of when a friend said, “You know Facebook is over when your mom joins it.” I disagree. I think that means it has become a commodity. Just because more people are starting to understand it and see its potential doesn’t degrade its value to those who originally and successfully invested in it.

I think what it comes down to is that I like my blog. I like being able to write and publish my thoughts without having to condense to Twitter all the time. Essentially, I want be able to keep blogging and not feel stupid for doing it.

Is there any hope for me?

* Image courtesy of http://www.asa.org.uk