Archive by Author

What’s a Mini-Saga?

He writes his blog in true leadership fashion, compelling others to improve. Never a shortage of instruction, he leads by example. Onward and upward, he consistently looks for new ways to propel students ahead. Now, he shares a new technique – the Mini Saga. Are you stuck in your writing?

Note: A mini-saga is a story in exactly 50 words.

Technorati Tags: Mini Saga, , , Rajesh Setty

Can You Explain Exactly How a Microwave Works?

If I ever get asked the question of how a Microwave Oven works, I could explain all the nuances of diode and capacitor arrangements, magnetron tubes and high-voltage transformers (if you’re interested, here’s that answer), or I could talk about how to put the bag of popcorn in, set the button for 2:00 minutes on High, pour your drink, take out the bag, enjoy the movie.

I think if someone asks me that question, they’re looking for the second answer.

When we get asked, "Exactly what is RSS and how does it work?" are people asking for this answer (What is RSS/XML?) or more than likely, this answer (What’s RSS?)

The second is from Seth Godin. Here’s an excerpt (emphasis mine):

"RSS is just a little peep, a signal, a ping that comes from a favorite blog or site, telling your computer that it has been updated. If you have an RSS reader (and they’re free and easy, and two of the easiest live on the web so you don’t even have to install anything), whenever a blog is updated, it shows up in your reader and you can catch up on the news. If there’s nothing new, it doesn’t show up and you don’t have to waste time surfing around."

I’d modify to "…whenever a blog, news page or search result is updated…"

What’s your RSA (Real Simple Answer) for RSS (Really Simple Syndication)?

Technorati Tags: , ,

Who Needs PowerPoint? We’ve Got Firefox

If you’re at our Iowa Business Blog Workshop tomorrow, you won’t see any PowerPoint slides. We’ve got Firefox


I’ve set up bookmarks in an outline. Just right click a folder, open all in tabs, navigate. I’ll make the outline available to all on Friday.

If you’re planning on coming and haven’t registered yet, there are plenty of seats available in the morning, the afternoon has a few seats. Get more info and directions to the workshop.

Starting in June, we begin our rotating, Thursday evening workshops. Each session is 90 minutes, starting at 6:30 pm sharp (Cost $25 session).

  • Thursday, June 22 – Beginning Business Blogging
  • Thursday, June 29 – Advanced Business Blogging
  • Thursday, July 6   - Focus on Feeds: Signal vs. Noise
  • Thursday, July 13  – Build Better Business w/ Social Media

Technorati Tags: Blog Workshop, , , ,

Whistle Stops – 05/16/06 (The Love Train Edition)

What’s Love Got to Do With It (Business and Blogs)?    Everything!

How do I know? I read what they write. I’m confident, they write like they talk. But it’s something else besides how they write…

It’s their “Others First” attitude. They practice this in a sustainable manner. The truth always bubbles up over time.

When I lived in Maryland, my friends were amazed at how many people I knew. I lived there for just three years. I’ve been in Des Moines for just over two years (people here are probably shocked at that number), but I’ve quickly become close friends with many.

One of the ways this is accomplished is to live life loving Others First. Seriously, Why Not? (yes, I recognize this as a rabbit trail, too)…

A stranger crosses your path. Do you love them first? You bet you do — what…why not? What have they done to you? Short or tall, fancy ride or jalopy, flowing locks or sparse red-hair. Love ‘em first. Strip away the status, close your eyes, at the end of life – we’re all equal.

Ron McDaniel suggests Own the Room. To be more gentle, I’d suggest Host the Room. Mike Wagner does this like he Owns the Brand.

I’m thrilled with much of the “Change the World” talk amongst us. Want to Change the World? Host the World. Paul Chaney is taking some steps towards that goal.

For those I read online – Thanks for the love and passion you share. Hope to hug you soon. For those I see offline – Hugs on the way.

Technorati Tags: , , , Whistle Stops

GreatNews: Great Feed Aggregator?

Randy Morin posted results of a survey of his readers on which aggregator they used. Interesting results.

GreatNews landed an 86% vote as his audience’s favorite reader. Not surprising from my perspective. Though I’ve long pointed to SharpReader as a tool of choice, lately I’ve been supporting GreatNews for a few reasons:

  • Less problems with downloading.
  • The "Label This" feature
  • I love the Style Feature, allowing you to choose from several different reading styles. (I use the Newspaper View)
  • It’s FREE (I like free!)

Looking at the stats on FeedBurner, I see that 32% of my readers use Bloglines – not surprising, since much of my audience works in a cubicle nation, and are not in a position to download a stand-alone application. SharpReader has 19% of my readers, probably due to my influence. GreatNews has 5%.

I’d be interested to hear what Randy’s FeedBurner percentages, because while the survey shows a good example of what his most active readers use, the number of respondents is nowhere close to his 3800+ subscribers.

Suggestion for GreatNews…it would be super-good if I could get a "river of news" pop-up with a headlines as feeds are updating. FeedDemon only shows which feed is updating without a headline. This feature is one reason I use SharpReader most.

With a workshop coming up on Thursday focusing on using feeds, I’m still undecided on which aggregator to utilize and evangelize.

If you want to follow what’s going on in the world of feeds and RSS – you should subscribe to The RSS Blog (feed).

Technorati Tags: GreatNews, SharpReader, FeedDemon, , Bloglines

Whistle Stops – 05/15/06

Whistlestops_25 I had the privilege of talking about blogs/social tools with some Drake University grad students as part of Dr. Delaney Kirk’s Diversity class tonight. A pretty receptive group considering the amount of information they got fed in such a short session. One question which wasn’t asked, but seemed to be on the minds of several: Blogs? Why bother?

Here’s a sampling of why I read blogs (short answer: increased knowledge)

  • Like It or Not, They’re Not Going Away by Josh Hallett at hyku: Josh nails it. It’s not fear of the unknown – it’s the knowing of the conflict of an established business. Great examples.
  • Developing Your Entrepreneur Chops…by Pamela Slim at Escape from Cubicle Nation: Pam offers seven great ways to handle tough feedback. Not just for entrepreneurs, but also employees/management/students/consultants…
  • TV’s Future is an Ad-Free, A-La-Carte menu by Steve Rubel at Micro Persuasion: If you think this stuff isn’t already being drawn up and hashed out, you’re fast asleep at the remote control. Steve makes some good points. Maybe the answer is in live, reality-TV commercials…or is that just a sponsored YouTube?

And sometimes, reading blogs has nothing to do with getting smart, but getting to know someone better:

Technorati Tags: Whistle Stops,

Des Moines Register: Newspaper or Wire Service?

In today’s business section of the Des Moines Register, they run an article courtesy of the Orlando Sentinel, "Bonanza of blogs brings buzz to businesses." I can find the article in the paper, but not on their site. Not even after a search. (Here’s the piece as presented at the Houston Chronicle’s site)

In a plug for feedback, they ask readers to share their views here, but once again, there is no mention of the article or conversation.

I’ve asked elsewhere, Is the Des Moines Register serious about blogging? and I guess this exercise proves the answer.

A few colleagues and clients asked why I wasn’t part of the story, but then I point that it wasn’t written by the Register. Besides, with quotes from the likes of Robert Scoble and Josh Hallett, they didn’t need my opinions.

Maybe when they do get around to interviewing folks in Iowa about business blogs, they’ll ask some of these Iowa companies about their blogs:

There are a dozen other Iowa companies I know of that are planning on launching their blogs within the next month.  We’re just getting started here, folks. All aboard!

Technorati Tags: , ,

Blogs are NOT Important…

Blogwrkshp_4 As Jeremiah Owyang says, Blogs are NOT Important. But, the conversations taking place on blogs are very important to your business.

Conversations have two roles – Talking and Listening. Blogs have two roles – Author and Audience. Maybe you’re thinking about publishing a blog for your company. Maybe you’ve decided against it. Either way, if you want to stay ahead, you should at least be part of the audience.

If you’re like me, there isn’t enough time in the day to read all these blogs with the hope that I may find something important to my business. However, there are solutions. Most of them are free. If used right, they are time savers.

On Thursday, May 18th, you have the opportunity to find out how to use these tools to track blogs and social media for what’s being said about:

  • You
  • Your Company
  • Your Clients
  • Your Competition
  • Your Industry

Building Business Relationships Using Social Software is a three-hour workshop designed to equip you with a blog “hearing aid,” allowing you to build stronger relationships with your customers and colleagues.

There are three sessions to choose from: 9:00 AM, 1:00 PM, or 5:30 PM. The cost is only $25. There are discounts available if you bring clients or colleagues.

Don’t miss this workshop. As blogging continues to grow (it doubles every six months), a workshop like this will cost $100. In the interim, you may have missed some great opportunities to build strong business relationships.

Registration is just a few clicks away. Start Here and Now. Don’t W.A.I.T.



Technorati Tags: , , , , Blog Workshop, GeekEvent,

Whistle Stops – 05/14/06

  • Whistlestops_27How to Start a Good Business Blog by Rod Boothby at Innovative Creators: Even if you’re already deep into your blogging, it’s good to get back to basics. Rod covers them well – especially his last tip. (Kudos to Shaun Orpen for the tip)
  • Blogging Resources and Links by Jeremiah Owyang at Web Strategy by Jeremiah: A good fantastic source of links/reads.
  • Blogs as Amateur Theater: The Land We Belong to Is Grand by Ann Handley at MarketingProfs:Daily Fix: Ann shares a wonderful story about her son’s middle school class production of Oklahoma. Jittery Nerves? You bet. Enthusiastic Passion! In Abundance. As my pal Mike Wagner likes to say, “No more mild-mannered messages to a mild-mannered audience from a mild-mannered speaker.” Just let ‘er rip – after you read Ann’s story, of course.

Davenport Schools Ban MySpace

The Blogging Journalist points us to a piece found at RadioIowa about how MySpace is being banned from use in public school computers in Davenport, IA.

Rather than banning the use, why not teach them how to use these tools with some savvy and common sense. Banning MySpace isn’t going to stop kids from using it. In fact, it’s more likely to get those not on MySpace to start using it to find out what the fuss is about.

This could have been a great opportunity for this school district to teach life lessons with a positive influence. Instead, they are running away from that responsibility by shutting it down. Do they think the Internet, weblogs, photo-sharing isn’t going to exist when these kids graduate?

In the report, a spokesperson for the school district says that students don’t always use their best judgment in terms of things they say online. In this case, we see the school district not using their best judgment in handling online things

Technorati Tags: The Blogging Journalist, , , RadioIowa,