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It’s all over the place lately – the television ads, the billboards, the radio ads…it’s the 2010 US Census. That’s right – it seems you can’t consume any media without hearing, “We can’t move forward until you mail it back…2010 census.” All I can think when I hear the jingle is, “how much are we spending on this and how can we do it cheaper and more efficiently?” Well, tonight I learned that we will spend $15 BILLION on the census over the period from 2001-2013. I’m not into politics but I am into business and am sure we could create a much more efficient data collection system and then use that money so much more wisely – just imagine if we used that money for public transit or education!
I do understand that we need to figure out how many people are inside the borders of the U.S. and where the people are located so monies are properly allocated. I finally received my 2010 census form on Tuesday.
I am splitting this post into two areas: general census questions and a “wtf technology” section. First up…general questions:
- You mean the U.S. government can’t figure out how many people are in each household by using tax forms?
- Apparently some people received a postcard and then the form – I only received the form
- The form asks for my date of birth AND for my age – you mean to tell me that our government systems can’t figure out that if I put 12/1/1950 for my dob that my age is x? Hell, my coding skills are average and I could work that up in a few hours max
- Instead of paying census workers to go from home to home, why not require anyone getting government assistance (except in certain circumstances) to work x hours on the census?
- We have a president who used Twitter once – and we are mailing hundreds of millions of forms around the country? We have a postal service that says they have no money and we are injecting all these documents into the system?
Now on to the technology side and my suggestions on fixing the census system. Why in 2010 are we sending forms via the mail back and forth? The form is amazingly simple – for those outside the U.S., here’s what they ask for each person inside the house:
Continue reading “Things I Don’t Understand: The 2010 US Census” »
We are less than a month away from the big conference down south known as SXSW — the 2010 edition. This will be my 5th year making the trip to Austin and I hear that this year will have the highest attendance to-date. I’d like to share some misc. tips for attending the conference and feel free to look through our SXSW archives containing hundreds of posts, images and videos. I’ve posted some of my favorite pictures from the last few years below with some bonus commentary on each photo.
- You won’t do everything you planned to and you will do more than you expected – after you have gone through the hundreds of sessions, circled the ones you are interested in and hit the convention center, you won’t make it to all of them. You will meet people and wind up walking off for side meetups and networking along with attending sessions that aren’t on your list. It’s ok, SXSW is all about relaxing and just going with the flow and being flexible.
- You can call the conference “south by southwest” or “sxsw” – never “south by” – thank you for your adherence to this important notice
- Bring sneakers or some sort of comfortable shoes - the amount of walking you will do is just immense.
- If you are attending SXSW and representing your startup, be ready to talk about said startup. Have your pitch down – practice, practice, practice. Have a 30 second, 2-minute and longer versions ready.
- Another startup request – I want you to say “hello” or “hi” at least 10,000 times while you are at the conference. Your goal should be to walk away with meeting as many people as possible.
- People attending SXSW are very approachable. If there’s someone you really want to meet and you see the person sitting on the floor or working on their laptop, just walk up and say “hi”. SXSW is the best place to meet the people you really want to meet because of the vibe. Make sure not to hang out with the same couple of people for the entire conference. I know it’s hard to meet new people – but the environment in Austin is seriously the best place to do it.
- The convention center is oddly-configured – apparently the designer thought it would be cool to make it near impossible to find the “3rd floor” so make sure you have the floor plan as many of the sessions are located on the third floor.
- The location for registration has changed this year. No longer will you have to wait in line for the long escalator ride upstairs – this year the registration will take place in one of the expo halls.
- Parties – there are a TON of parties throughout the SXSW conference. SXSW has a list (look at the bottom of the page for the full listing). There’s also an unofficial party list on Facebook. I believe Mashable has the biggest number of registrants for their party on Saturday late night.
- C.C. suggests that if you are planning to setup meetings, do it over breakfast. I very much agree with him – as the days wear on, it’s harder to keep scheduled appointment times.
- Don’t worry so much about updating the social networks or sitting heads down working on your laptop. Get out and meet people – and meet some new people! If you spend all of your days and nights in the blogger room, you won’t get the full value out of SXSW.
- Most importantly, have a good time, smile a lot and get ready to meet lots of new people!
Just like in previous years, I will be there and ready to shoot short videos about your startup or chat about my startup.
So there are some tips – please leave your tips in the coments and I will add them to the post.
Here are ten of my favorite photos from SXSW over the past three years:
Continue reading “SXSW 2010 Primer” »
After meeting with a number of clients of the past month and discussing goals and strategies for 2010—I began organizing my thoughts into a list of what I think we can expect to see from marketing, PR, social media, and technology in 2010:
1. 2009 was the year that social media “experts” infiltrated the masses. Everyone with a Twitter account and Facebook profile was deeming themselves an expert. In 2010, the real enthusiasts and savvy folks will emerge and the snake oil salesmen will fade.
2. The press release continues its evolution. I do not believe the press release will die in 2010—however it is undergoing a transformation. Think Optimus Prime. Organizations will always need tools to disseminate their news and adhere to disclosure rules—however never before have we had so many different options. Linking to content such as online video, blogs, social media will make the press release smarter and also improve your company’s “searchability.”
3. While not the first person to think this—I do strongly believe that Twitter will either trial an ad-based model or perhaps introduce a professional fee-based option in order to generate revenues.
Darren Herman has put together a massive list of predictions for 2010 in the media and marketing space. A few from Darren’s list include:
- 7 Things We Hope Will Come True in 2010 (GigaOm)
- Twitter in 2010: Acquisitions (The Next Web)
- 11 Smart Marketers Shared Their Predictions (Marketing Profs)
Here are some additional prediction lists I’ve come across today:
If you have a list of predictions, leave them in the comments or leave a link to your blog. Welcome to two thousand ten, it’s going to be an exciting year.
Many years ago I stopped by the Times Square visitor’s center in Manhattan. They offered a program which offered to take a photo of you (or your group) and put it up on the huge screen at the north end of Times Square. It was totally cool and a great way for tourists to say they were on top of Times Square.
Kodak is now offering something similar but with a much better screen. It’s also a lot more advanced than the previous attempts at photo on a big picture wall. Kodak is promoting the screen as part of the New Year’s eve festivities in Times Square tomorrow evening. Seems like a fun way to ring in “two-thousand ten” (sorry MG not twenty-ten).
With this new service, you email your photo to Kodak and within 24 hours you will receive a notification if your image was approved. Kodak notes that the images must be “appropriate”. In the notification email, Kodak will include a text code.
When you get to Times Square, you send a text message to the address provided and your picture, with caption, will show for 10 seconds. Assuming Kodak can get the word out about the program today (since it takes 24 hours for approval), I can imagine how many people will want their image to be displayed on the screen at exactly 12:00am on January 1st. I guess anytime during New Year’s eve would work as well.
It looks like the service will be available past New Year’s so if you are planning a trip to New York, you could send in your photos now and just use the text code once you arrive. Maybe you could use the screen to propose to your significant other?
As a side note, the Times Square visitor’s center is still a great place to go if you are coming to NYC for the first time. They have loads of maps, discounts, free Internet access and clean toilets.
Lastly, walking around Times Square today I noticed Yahoo is still advertising above the police substation. I wonder how long that ad will be there…especially since it’s never changed in all the years it has been there.
As we look forward to 2010, I’d like to propose a very serious list of 10 terms that we should no longer use beginning on January 1, 2010. Feel free to leave your list of even more serious terms that are out for ’10 in the comments. You can also agree with my list or attempt a veto on any term.
Term #1 – “I’m At…”
No one cares where you at. Even if you think your mother really cares when you are at Pinkberry, she doesn’t.
Term #2 – “Platform”
Everything is a damn platform today. Facebook has a platform, Twitter has a platform, apparently NonSociety wanted to be a platform and we even launched our own platform back in 2007.
Term #3 – “Realtime”
I just posted five of my startup predictions for 2010 over on InformationWeek. Below is the first prediction, head over to InformationWeek to read the others.
Prediction #1 – Acquisitions
Overall I expect the startup market to be very hot in 2010 and the year will see many acquisitions — especially for talent. Larger startups will throw some of their big venture capital warchests to acquire smaller startups to gain the talent in-house. An example of this style of acquisition from 2009 would be Facebook’s acquisition of Friendfeed.
In another example of “talent” acquisitions, Twitter acquired Mixer Labs earlier this month. Most seem to believe this acquisition was made because the founders were previously at Google in the mobile department. I expect Twitter to open their bank account for many acquisitions in 2010. While all will be small and for “undisclosed amounts”, it’s important for Twitter to stock up on talent in 2010.
While larger startups will acquire a large number of smaller startups, the big money will come from the tech giants including Microsoft and Google. One startup that will see acquisition bidding is NY-based Etsy. While I don’t expect the company to sell, I do expect to read lots of stories about the multiple acquisition offers they will receive.
If you have posted tech predictions for 2010, leave your links in the comments and I will add them to the post.