Thursday, February 28, 2008

Google Relaunches JotSpot as Google Sites

image

My Twitter friend @krishnan sent me this link to the Business week article by Rob Hof that announces the Google launch. JotSpot will be the new online collaboration service that will be included in the Google apps.

The new service lets people in an organization instantly create a wiki-style group workspace, where they can post text, videos, calendars, and various attachments for their group or department to view and edit

I agree with the author that Google is looking for new markets to move to the Google apps to spread the usage virally, Very interesting development and according to Krishnan "Google Sites (Jotspot) is listed under new features on Google Apps dashboard but it is not showing up in the service listing."

Maryland Tech Council & Network Solutions SEO Seminar


Network Solutions & MD Tech Council Search Engine Optimization ConferenceIntroduction by Mark Glazer of the MD Tech Council

Last week I attended a Network Solutions Seminar on Search Engine Optimization, Pay Per Click Advertising, Link Building strategies. Harry Brooks who conducts these conferences is a buddy of mine both at work and outside of work. We have brainstormed how to get more customers to his wife's skin care business and generally have an interest in new technologies.

This seminar was organized jointly by the Maryland Tech Council and Network Solutions. I went becuase I wanted to meet people and also because the seminar was a mile from my house at the University of Maryland campus in Shady Grove campus ( alright now you know where I live ) and it also gave me a chance to work from home.

I made one Linkedin friend and one Twitter friend @rajivdhawan. I have been swamped with work so I have been neglecting my follow-up but I am hoping to get up to speed soon. We may be looking to add antoehr person to the team. Look out for the announcement as soon I sit and complete the job description.

My business cards that say Network Solutions Social Media Swami are going like hot cakes. I need to write another post about how I came to have that title and what other titles did people come up for me including "Minister of misinformation" LOL

Blogged with Flock

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Network Solutions Stands behind its Blogger Social Media Swami

I am enjoying making these pictures. A picture says a thousand words. If you encourage me i can keep working on my drawing skills and hopefully be better at it.

This picture is meant to convey the support I am getting internally as I work on the Social media listening post for Network Solutions
Just trying to say that it was a challenge to move from product management to a newly created Social Media Position at Network Solutions. Now I have the freedom to listen and engage with the community and sufficient support to do a good job as the Face of Network Solutions in the Social Media

Good-practices-in-corporate-blogging-v1

My attempt to draw cartoons and give the message :
A Corporate blogger has to be the medium through which the company can listen to the community and communicate.

Shashi Bellamkonda : Social Media Swami : Network Solutions

Dc Area Twitter Folks - Wake Up early tomorrow to meet @cathleenritt

Cathleen Rittereiser is in town for a express visit on business . Just landed today and is going back tomorrow. I have been following her on Twitter and she is very interesting . I am looking forward to tweetup with @cathleenritt at the DC Union station on Thursday morning 8 a.m . (Feb 28th 2008)

Place:

Center Cafe
50 Massachusettes Avenue
Washington, DC 20002
Tel 202.682.0143
Fax 202.682.0347
centercafe@arkrestaurants.com

If its get busy we can just hang out in the Union Station lobby and maybe do a freeze :) http://www.shashi.name/2008/02/grand-central-how-people-work-to-make.html . No need to RSVP please just show up if you can come. ( maybe you can leave a comment here so we can look out for you)

Susan Reynolds calls Cathleen - official pea fund corporate officer to raise funds. Here is some top secret info ahead of time about Cathleen Rittereiser - She is "Wall Street by day, Comedy Legend by night" -
Comedian, writer, raconteur, firewalker and media personality.

Cathleen is the co-author with Larry Kochard, the Chief Investment Officer of the Georgetown University endowment, of Foundation and Endowment Investing Philosophies and Strategies of Top Investors and Institutions published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc. in December 2007.

You can read more at http://cathleenrittereiser.com/interestsandactivities.html

Looking forward to seeing you there. Btw tommorrow is once again a Social media Day we have the evening DC Media Makers meetup

Have >80 followers & following >70 people, then you are in the Twitter minority at about 10%.

[relationships.png]it was a nice surprise to get a email from Biz Stone of Twitter. I don't like update emails much but this was an eye opener. To me this was the first time I got some stats from Twitter.

I got this Graph from the Twitter Blog

The other stats that were interesting to me

60% of the Twitter web traffic
is outside the US and 39% of that is from Japan.

Twitterers from India please note you can Twitter via SMS using our new shortcode: 5566511

it was nice of them to mention Dave Taylor's Twittervision being displayed at MOMA

Twitter at the MoMA
Twittervision, a popular Twitter API project, is included in a
show at the New York Museum of Modern Art titled "Design and the
Elastic Mind." The show explores the relationship between science
and design and is open from February 24 to May 12, 2008.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Small Business & Start Ups - Sleep.Fm's Ryan Spahn talks to Jonny Goldstein & Shashi Bellamkonda of Network Solutions

Ryan Spahn has great dreams. Maybe one day we will see him on the front cover of FastCompany. I ran into him at the Social Media Club DC meeting.

Here is what he has to say.


This is part of a series of interviews in preparation of launching a new blog for Network Solutions.

Social Media and Small Business - Is it right for everyone ?

Jessie Newburn is a social media coach, generational consultant, speaker, hula hooper and Iconic GenXer living in Columbia, Md. You can learn more about her on her website http://www.JessieNewburn.com/. We have been Facebook friends and met her at the February Social Media Club DC meeting. Here is her view and tips for Small business and Social Media. I am doing a series of interviews in preparation of launching a new blog for Network Solutions.

Jessie thanks for the POV and wonderful to talk to you.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

JetStart : Managing your Windows Start Up Program Menu

image I have too many programs installed on my Windows XP Media Center Edition ( Sorry not yet a MAC user but may be my next computer) and its a pain to use the start menu to search and open programs.

I installed Jetstart and its so easy to use. I can now either use the alphabet menu or type the program name name to start the  program

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Have you met your Social Media Friends offline?

I have met many of my online friends offline and want to meet more of them. Social Media makes everyone's life transparent and also allows people to make new friends both online and offline. I am hoping to find out if this is common with this poll. Please answer and also tell your friends to answer. I am not looking for ppl who were your friends and then are now connected with you online.

DC/MD/VA Social Media practitioners you have time to vote yes here by coming to this tweetup on Feb 28th in DC


See the Poll results with a map

.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Social Media Club DC Meeting - February 21st 2008 - @Technosailor spills secrets


Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

There were about 20 odd people who listened to the powerful presentation by @technosailor aka Aaron Brazell of Director of Technology at b5media and a social media consultant at the offices of Viget labs in Falls Church.. The topic was “Blog Draft Day: Making it Into the Bigs” . Larissa Fair of Livingston Buzz introduced Technosailor

Explaining his history of getting into the Blog arena, he confessed that he did not own a boat :). As soon as I tweeted this Chris Brogan Tweeted back '- he doesn't need a boat. He walks on water. :)"

Instead of a point to point blog post about the presentation i can save you time by pointing you to Technosailor's Blog where the ustream archive is posted.

The key take aways (IMHO)

1) Care about your readers, find out who they are, How many ?

2) Traffic may not be important in the future but distribution will be.

3) Technosailor likes Mark Twain and does not have a boat

After a meeting specially Social Media where you meet a lot of online friends offline there should be some schmoozing. Of course Nahum who is "schmoozing" on Flickr is happily travelling in Europe so I took my usually pathetic pictures. Steven Fisher is a firm believer in making other laugh and imitated @technosailor which I captured on utterz , but Steven knows where to put his money -read his blog Venture Files. Shana aka @dcconcierge crossed the DC line for a change. It had been a long time since I met Jonny Goldstein and Jill Foster ( a full 23 hours- remember Jonny's Par-tay) While Technosailor , Nicole Brazell (@learningtoplay) and Steven came all the way from Baltimore it was fantastic to meet Jessie Newburn my friend from Facebook who drove all the way from Columbia. ( I have a video interview of her which I will post shortly). I met KeithCasey of WhygoSolo.com . Met Ryan Moede and Qui Diaz. Of course had the previlege of sitting with @mindofandre . It was wonderful to meet George Brett and yes he knows a lot about technology and knitting.

Thanks Brian of Viget Labs for giving us the space. After the meet went to the nearby AppleBees for dinner with @technosailor @stevenfisher @jnewburn @learnigntoplay keith and had a funtime

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Write the next edition of the 4 Hour work Week

I met Tim Ferriss a few months ago at the New New internet Conference organized by Executive biz. imageI met him in the speakers room and we chatted a bit and he is a very nice and personable guy.

His book is about saving time. i think he is an advocate of not letting email destroy your life. See his post on How to Stop Checking E-mail on the Evenings and Weekends . Despite my belief in Tim Ferriss and his book I have not become his disciple yet ( see the time I am making this post :) )

Now Tim Ferriss has started a wiki where anyone can contribute to the next edition of his book 4HourWork Week. To get the password and details read his blog Experiments in Life Style Design.

Great idea Tim to outsource the writing of your book ;)

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Get Attention to your email - at least Chris Brogan's Attention

In the post Writing More Effective Email on Chris Brogan's blog Chris gives tips on how to attract his attention in an email. The subject line is very important. Chris's suggestions for the Subject line:

  • DECISION NEEDED: Picking the corporate logo today
  • SCHEDULING: Check Tuesday, Wednesday, or Friday
  • PROMOTION HELP: Looking for some blog and Twitter love
  • [chrisbrogan.com] seems offline. You might want to check.
  • MICROSOFT DEAL: Should we take it? (from JYang@yahoo.com)

Please head over and read the full post but here is what I commented on his blog:

We think alike. I have had my share of bosses and as soon as I move to their fiefdom I train them on my email subject lines.

  • ACT : need an answer ASAP
  • ARTICLE INFO: Something that I saw online read at your leisure.
  • INFO : CCing you on something that u have a choice to read or ignore
  • BREAKING NEWS: All hell is breaking loose we need to talk
  • JOKE: Sending you a PJ please do not read in a meeting.
    Usually ACT and Joke gets me the quickest response :)
    Cheers !
    Shashi

Monday, February 18, 2008

Watch Out - I am going to be on Jonny’s Par-tay, the live interactive web video talk show

The world wide broadcast of the Jonny's Par-tay has a new guest this week - Your truly  ( thats me :) ). I am excited - Jonny is a very funny guy and has had celebrities on his past shows. I am honored that he has invited me.

I hope I have intersting things to say if not e I invite you to send me photos of rotten tomatoes by email :) Jonny is multi talented and with Scott Stead behind the camera the show will definitely succeed. 

What:Jonny’s Par-tay, the live interactive web video talk show.

Who: Jonny Goldstein & Scott Stead, with Featured guest Shashi Bellamkonda.

How to watch: Just go to jonnygoldstein.com.

When: 9PM EST, Weds, Feb 20


Details on Jonny's blog - 
"Weds, Feb 20, 9PM EST Shashi Bellamkonda, Social Media Swami, is Ready to Par-tay"

Search Engine Optimization Conference (Sponsored by Network Solutions) Rockville MD

Events

Search Engine Optimization Conference

February 21, 2008
08:00 am - 05:00 pm
Universities of Maryland at Shady Grove, 9630 Gudelsky Drive, Rockville, MD 20850

71% of consumers use a search engine to find websites*. To be found by new customers, your site must first be found by search engines!

Come join us for a live in-person seminar and learn the best practice Search Marketing strategies to grow your business, along with:

  • How to get increased traffic to your Web site
  • The best way to get qualified customers actively searching for the products and services you offer
  • The factors that affect your search engine rankings
  • The impact of search technology on your bottom line

Join us to hear expert speakers discuss topics such as Search Engine Optimization, Pay Per Click Advertising, Link Building strategies, and more. You get four hours of information-packed tips and techniques for only $99. Just pick which session you would like to attend when you register.

For more information about this seminar, please contact Mark Glazer at mglazer@techcouncilmd.com or 240-243-4045.

*According to "How Consumer's Find Websites in 2006", Forrester Research, Inc., October 2006

Sponsorsed by

Register for this Event
Member Plus (8:00 A.M. Session) $99.00, Member (8:00 A.M. Session) $99.00, Non Member (8:00 A.M. Session) $99.00, Member Plus (1:00 P.M. Session) $99.00, Member (1:00 P.M. Session) $99.00, Non Member (1:00 P.M. Session) $99.00
Registration Contact
Mark Glazer mglazer@techcouncilmd.com
Event Contact
Mark Glazer mglazer@techcouncilmd.com

Travis Fore Joins the Team at Network Solutions

Over the weekend I connected with Travis Fore theimage new  Senior Vice President of Sales at Network Solutions .  He is starting next week and I look forward to meeting him in person.

Travis was previously Vice President - Sales and Service at Citysearch, IAC in Atlanta . Prior to joining Citysearch, Travis was Director of Sales for Yellowpages.com LLC, a joint venture of AT&T and BellSouth, responsible for increasing revenues and expanding its sales force while managing the migration of SMARTPages.com, RealPages.com, and Yellowpages.com into a single site and platform.

Being the Social Media person ( My Choice : Social Media Swami) at Network Solutions I connected with him on social media first - On LinkedIn. We also have a shared connection Richard Rosen - FastCall411, CEO & Founder. Local / mobile search and pay-per-call expert.
Travis is a huge Social Media advocate and I am looking forward to exciting times with him on our team. Welcome !

1.14 trees/year can be saved with the smaller margins in Word

The Sunday Source yesterday (Feb 17th 2008) carried a article  by Eviana Hartman describing a project founded by Los Angeles-based actress and writer Tamara Krinsky to conserve paper. Tamara advocates a simple change that anyone can believe in: By altering the printing margin preference for Microsoft Word documents from the standard 1.25 inches to 0.75 inch, Americans can save a whole lot of paper -- and trees, and money.

This is so logical and given the minimal affect on people reading the document this is something we can all easily do. In fact on her blog http://www.changethemargins.com/ Tamara has a petition to get Microsoft to reduce the preset margins in Word.

Changing Margins Instructions

If you have a PC, here's how to change the margins in Microsoft Word:

1. Go to File, then Page Setup.

2. In the Margins tab, type in 0.75 for top, bottom, left and right.

3. Click the Default button at the bottom of the Margins tab. A prompt will ask if you want to change the default settings for page setup. Click Yes.

If you have a Mac:

1. Go to Format, then Document.

2. In the Document dialogue box, click on Margins and fill in 0.75 for top, bottom, left and right.

3. Click OK.

I do not print much paper but this is a very simple way to save paper. On a resume I am not sure how many people agree with me but I increase the margin anyway so that it doesnt appear to be many pages.

Discovering: WhyGoSolo - Connecting online buddies offline

Splendid review of WhyGoSolo by Jeff Pulver. Imagine you are in a hotel away from home and you could discover that another buddy of yours is in the hotel a block away and you didnt know this. WhoGoSolo solves that problem and meet new people instead of sitting in your hotel ordering room service. Connect with a local and do something new and fun.

I use the website tripadvisor quite a lot and then when we actually go on the trip sometimes by coincidence I talk to another vacationer and they happen to be from the same thread. WhoGoSolo can make this a reality instead of a coincidence.Now if you are a event organizer or if you are just going out to dinner and want like minded friends to join its easy to create a event and your circle can join if they are free.
image 
As I asked people to Digg this story @lalunablanca already created a Sushi dinner event for anyone to join him and his wife for Sushi dinner in Memphis. Now I wish i was in Memphis. My gut feeling is that as the network grows WhyGoSolo will have many more ancillary uses that users will do themselves to make it more fun.Is this a dating site? Is linkedin or Facebook a dating site ?

As the site progresses i can see a lot of integration points. They already have a Facebook app and are going to go mobile. I heard a rumor that they will provide a way for events to be sent to Twitter. I know Ann Bernard the Founder and CEO  who is a very down to earth person yet tough. I wont be surprised if she comes up with great features and makes this venture a success.

Ann Bernard's mantra - "We are definitely going to connect to your online world to make your offline life fun and exciting!!"

Update : WhyGoSolo featured on ReadWrite Web

read more | digg story

Sunday, February 17, 2008

New Venue for MD/DC/VA Tweetup - Feb 28th

I had posted the Tweetup details on a previous post and the venue is now changed. We have a good response and also some out of town. The venue is now in DC and is combined with the DC Media Makers meet. Sorry if anyone is inconvenienced by this but I thought this was best for a majority of people even though I would have loved to have brought the fellow tweeples to Rockville.

Details of the new place and location :

DATE:
Thur, 2/28th

TIME:
7:00-8:00pm*
*a one hour Meetup on....:
Stowe Boyd (The Stowe Boyd- @stoweboyd, www.stoweboyd.com/message/) will chat with us.
Andy Carvin will share avcool new NPR video project .
PodcampDC this April; WomenWhoTech Summit this March; changes in DC Media Makers plus

DINNER:
8:00pm-As It Flows:pm...
For all socially & nutritionally inclined, join us for dinner afterward at nearby Capitol City Brewing Co

NEW LOCATION, SECURITY, METRO (for February's meetup):
ContentNow http://www.contentnow.com/ Michael Goldstein, founder/CEO
1100 New York Avenue, NW, Suite 1090 West, WDC 20005, West tower
Nearest metro is one block from ContentNow at Metro Center, red, orange, blue lines
attendees will need to check in with security and security will use an elevator key to get access to ContentNow's floor aka Suite 1090.

RSVP TODAY so we can have a list for the building security
@jillfoster - Jill Morgan Foster jillmfoster .[ at ]. gmail(.) com

fun family finance via short-winded video
housewifery.wordpress.com

Startup in my Backyard : cookthink: Ingredients to Recipes

I saw the TechCrunch review of CookThink by Duncan Reiley and was surprised to see that CookThink is based in DC. image Techcrunch calls it "Pandora for Recipes'. How it works  is that you sign up and you can choose based on ingredient, dish, cuisine, mood. There is also a tag clud that you can click to get your recipe.

Search through or browse all the recipes. I searched for Curry +stew and it gave me a recipe for Simmered Red Curry Fish. it gave me  2 accompanying dishes ( simple whole wheat couscous- my wife will love the whole wheat part and simple pearled barley) and also 2 related tips - how to slice zucchini and Onion.

Commenters on the TechCrunch post also suggest the following sites :

www.opensourcefood.com

grouprecipes.com

Cooking With Friends

 

Being a DC company and privately funded I wish them the best and hope to meet the founders at a local event.

Printable Calendar

There used to be a time when I depended heavily on wall calendars. Now in the computer age its my Outlook and the TMobile Dash that does most of the calendaring. But when I have to plan something that involves many days and many tasks like a trip I look for wall calendars.

james-bond-007-shashi-calendar-in-office  I have a James Bond calendar on my cubicle ( I like James Bond and this was on sale :) ) . On the web I go to timeanddate.com for any time zone planning or planning a meeting in advance.

Today I discovered pdfcalendar.com that lets you choose individual months to print as a PDF doc. As i don't have Adobe 8.0 pro I cannot fill up the calendar. I don't mind  using a pen or pencil now and then.

its a simple need but Still made me excited that I could use a online tool to do a offline task.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Forbes : Presidential Candidates not courting America’s small-business owners and employees

I saw this in Rich KarlGraad's Column in the printed edition of Forbes this morning. it had a interesting ring to it because I had not read or heard the Small Business angle before. According to his Blog post / Column :

Small business employs half of working Americans. It creates 80% of the new jobs. Yet no candidate talks much about small business.

Reagan won the hearts and votes of small business.

Every Republican candidate in 2008 claims to be the true heir to Reagan. Oh yeah? If anyone is serious about claiming Reagan's mantle, he should court small business with more gusto.

What do you think? Is the small business vote up for grabs? Do you think a Republican, against the prevailing winds of 2008, could win the presidency by aggressively courting small business?

I am not adding any commentary to this since I posted this in my industry, technology blog. Please read the post and form your own conclusions

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Bradley Horowitz Says 'Goodbye Yahoo!"

According to New York Times, Bradley Horowitz was Yahoo’s face at countless technology conferences and according to Tech Crunch he was " universally liked and respected ". Bradley Horowitz  is going to join Google and work with Joe Kraus, director of product management and head of Google’s OpenSocial initiative.

On his own Blog Elatable | Bradley Horowitz provides a classic example of how cordial a seperation can be between the company and an employee. I am inspired by this blog post and anyone under these circumstances should adopt this spirit of professionalism.

Heathrow Launches RFID Trial to Track Luggage

The New York Times has a article by By Jeremy Kirk that Heathrow  airport is starting to affix radio chips to the luggage of passengers as part of an experiment aimed at reducing lost bags.

The six-month trial will involve tagging around 50,000 bags a month with RFID (radio frequency identification tags) for passengers traveling or transferring on Emirates Airline between Dubai and Heathrow, said BAA, the company that runs the airport.

I have traveled through Heathrow 2 times in the last 5 years and my baggage was misplaced both times. Both times I traveled Emirates from London . Emirates is a wonderful airline and they delivered the luggage to me the next day at 2 a.m but I still love them.

I hope this trial is successful and it gets implemented by all airlines and they also provide a way for you to track your baggage online and maybe be able to say -"Wow My Bag went to Indiana instead of India" :)

I like Emirates also because this is what they give kids and also seem to have a crew member who takes care of parents with kids

DSCN0054 DSCN0055 DSCN0056

Shel Israel Rolls out "The Revised SAP Roll-Your-Own Survey "

I was interviewed by Shel Israel for his SAP Global Neighborhood Survey - Social Media's impact on business & culture. early this month. I am very happy that Shel has a DIY survey on his Blog Global Neighbourhoods that you can answer and post on your blog or send it to him in an email.

In his words so far the SAP series has
"60,000 words based on interviews with people in 32 countries on how social media impacts their cultures and business."


Go for it if you are involved in the Social Media.

How Small Business Can Use Search Marketing - Small Business Technology Summit



Harry Brooks my friend and colleague was a guest speaker at the Small Business Technology Summit New York Feb 11th 2008 which I attended. Network Solutions was one of the sponsors. This was my attempt to record a conference speech. Please let me know how I did Score 1-10. Thanks!

Harry Brooks manages sales and search marketing education programs which trains small business owners on how to develop a search marketing strategy. He created and launched the Internet Marketing Webinar series for Network Solutions which covers topics like Search Engine Optimization, Pay Per Click Advertising Campaigns, Link Building.

Harry contributes to Network Solutions Online Marketing Blog.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Meeting Barry Moltz who asks " How do you bounce?" - Small Business Tech Summit New York

AMAZING SPEAKER HELD THE AUDIENCE SPELL BOUND
Small Business Technology Summit 2008
Barry Moltz is the author of 'You Need to Be A Little Crazy: The Truth about Starting and Growing Your Business " and just released his second book "Bounce! Failure, Resiliency and the Confidence to Achieve Your Next Great Success". I met him at the Small Business Technology Summit NYC Feb 11th that i attended with a few of my colleagues from Network Solutions. Barry was the keynote speaker for the theme "Bounce! The Path to True Business Confidence". We met even before the speech as he was going around distributing balls made of rubber bands and asking people " How do you bounce?". He captured the responses on a cool Flip camera and posted them on You Tube and on his blog "Crazy about Business, Insane for Success"



You still have an opportunity to tell him "How you bounce?" by uploading a video here or commenting on his blog.

In his captivating and full of humor speech, the message was not to accept the failure the old way (stepping stone to success). To quote a line from his Amazon book review
'with true business confidence, we can face our fears, let go of shame and failures, use all our choices, be better risk-takers, and define our own brand of success. "


He quoted the old Brylcreem ad "a little dab'l do ya" with reference to experiences related to failure. I think the message i got was not to over analyze your failures or successes and just focus on your goals and move forward. Alot of examples also came from Zen Monk stories. The audience was so captivated that lunch was not missed :) till his speech was over.

Barry has worked for IBM for 14 years. he quoted from several real life examples. his message was to achieve true business confidence you have to take success or failure as they are. Barry founded an angel investor group and an angel fund, is a former member of the Advisory Board of the Angel Capital Education Foundation, and has been elected to the Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame. He is currently a business consultant and an internationally acclaimed speaker.


Small Business Technology Summit 2008

It was agreat pleasure to meet him and you will see my picture with him on his blog at http://barrymoltz.com/books/new-york-how-do-you-bounce

I hope to meet him when he comes to DC. He was an amazing speaker and I will use every chance I get to hear him speak again.

Advice to Small Business - Backup, Use CRM , Use Social Media - Small Business Technology Summit - NYC Feb 11th 2008

This is the 2nd year that along with a few collagues from Network Solutions attended the Small Business Technology Summit at the Crowne Plaza Manhattan Times Square- New York City on Feb 11th. One of the reasons I was back was the sheer energy of the Ramon Ray in organizing the summit along with Marian Banker. image The people I met at the Summit were small business owners, marketers , business and efficiency coaches, product companies. ( Network Solutions - the company I work for was also a sponsor)

Last year I recollect the oft repeated themes from the various speakers and panels was "web sites ", "Search engine optimization" . This year "backup" was the buzz word and by the end of the summit I am sure all small business owners present went home and eagerly googled for a solution if they were not persuaded to try Jennifer Waltzer's company Back Up My Info . Backupmyinfo offers a completely automated online data backup and recovery service for your computer systems.

The CRM theme was repeated throughout the day and Ramon Ray actually said in his talk on "Technology is Not the Answer"- that "Email is not CRM". He is very good at explaining technology in very simple terms which is a great skill to have. image The CRM guys at the conference were Brent Leary, CRM Essentials ( see picture on the left) and Ridgley Evers, NetBooks. Brent Leary also co-hosts a radio show in Atlanta - businesstechnologyradio.com . I am looking forward to connecting back with him and be a guest on his show some time.

The term "Social Media" was bandied about several times. The advice for Small Business was to use the tools that Social Media provides to enhance their marketing efforts. It started with the keynote "Marketing in a Digital World: How Technology and New Media are Changing the Game" By Karen Quintos Vice President of Marketing for Small & Medium Business - Dell Inc. Taking of social media and Dell here is a great story of Dell and the Social Media from Michael Dell himself. From Karen's speech I share the opinion of Pamela O' Hara of BatchBlue about the quote "fix the issue, tell the customer you fixed it and make sure the customer feels the fix.” Pamela has a great post on the BatchBlue Blog summarizing the Small Business Technology Conference.

Troy Wing has a good post on points from Karen's keynote on his blog “Word of Mouse” will drive adoption of SaaS and defines 'Word of Mouse"= "how more people under age 35 are making purchasing decisions based upon blogs, social networking, Internet searching and forums than any other means."

image It was a great pleasure to meet Anita CampBell whose web site ( Should I call it a blog?) http://www.smallbiztrends.com/ is a great resource for SMBs and I have been a avid reader for 2 yrs. She is a fantastic person to talk to . I mentioned my new role as the Social Media Bee ( I am going to call myself the Social Media Swami :)) at Network Solutions and she was happy that the network Solutions had taken a great step to engage in the Social Media.

I also met Lauren Simonds the Managing Editor of SmallBusinessComputing.com once again. She writes articles on Small business technology for SmallBusinessComputing.com - a JupiterWeb property and also a must read resource for small business owners.

The panel presentation "How to Transform Your Business in 40 Minutes"- 4 Experts, 4 Topics, 40 Tips in 40 Minutes featured

image

The picture on the left is from Adrian Miller's presentation. She very categorically stated that typing on a Mobile device like a blackberry is not an excuse for bad grammar or typos. ( I wonder if she can tell Twitter users that) I am going to straighten up my act and make sure I make less mistakes even if I am not on a mobile device :).

The other tip for small business was that to make sales leads and if you are going to leave a voice mail to do it at night after 10 p.m. That way the person receiving the call will hear it the first thing in the morning and will have the time to act on it. Great advice !

Marshal Makstein gave us the 10 meeting commandments on the slide below. One of the attendees Nelly Yusupovaimage has a post that summarizes this panel 40 tips to transform your business. I think Nelly who is the CTO at Webgrrls International, and Cybergrrl, Inc was a panelist for the Small Business Technology Summit in 2007.

Laura Allen advice was to forget the "Kitchen sink" pitch. I think that applies to me as I consider myself a multi-talented guy and so her next advice is to "pitch to the niche" - customize your pitch.

Jennifer Shaheen gave some good advice( see slide below) on how to plan for introducing new technologies to the small business office. Plan for time to train, plan during the slow season, try to get a expert to give some tips . image She used the example of moving from office 2003 to Office 2007 where some of the Word tasks have different access methods.

Anita Campbell moderated a panel " Small Business Trends " with
Laurel Touby, mediabistro.com and Jennifer Walzer, BackUpMyInfo with
Nina Kaufman, Ask the Business Lawyer.

Laurel Touby sold her company mediabistro to Jupiter Media Corp and at the Small Business Technology Conference she shared her experience specially the challenging times when things were bad. She used her home equity and also persuaded her employees to take a pay cut so that there were no layoffs. Very brave lady and I am glad she succeeded. Almost all the panelists said that speaking to the customers was the most important.

Just like last year Ramon and Marian realizing that there were so many activities scheduled a lunch time keynote by Barry Moltz author of You Need to Be A Little Crazy: The Truth about Starting and Growing Your Business and Bounce! Failure, Resiliency and the Confidence to Achieve Your Next Great Success. I will write a separate post on this. The other speaker during lunch was Maitland Muse from Verizon Wireless . His presentation focused on how small business should take their office with them and have the ability to communicate from anywhere. Verizon seems big on wireless solutions for small business.

Post lunch Ramon Ray spoke for a quick 15 minutes on "Technology is Not the Answer" . I was thrilled when he pointed at me in the audience and asked me about the Mobile website builder from Network Solutions. His article in the New York Times - Six Rules for Business Technology Success -has the details of this session.

imageAs I said earlier Network Solutions was one of the sponsors and our New York Sales team was there to answer questions and give advice to the Conference participants. I was the smoozer and we had Harry Brooks my friend and colleague come in to give a 15 minute talk on " Search Engine Marketing Tips for Small Business". I captured the video but I am having a tough time uploading it.

Harry provided some good advice and I will let the video speak for itself when I upload it. Harry conducts Search Engine Marketing seminars for Small Business.

The last panel of the day was "What You Need Now to Succeed " and
Moderated by Marian Banker ( pictured on the right with Harry Brooks) and introduced by Brent Leary, CRM Essentials

Brain Exchange Roundtable members:

  • Ridgely Evers, NetBooks
  • Michael Findling, Salem Global
  • Jason Boltax, JHB Human Capital Management
  • Martha Soffer, U.S. Small Business Administration

I could not attend the whole panel discussion so I will point you once again to the BatchBlue Blog for Pamela's take. here are a few pictures of the Network Solutions colleagues at the conference.

imageimage
image image

I took the Acela back to Washington DC and enjoyed the ride back. Amtrak is the way I am going to travel to New York unless I take the van and drive.

Blogs that have reported the Small Business Technology Conference - Crowne Plaza Times Square - Feb 11th 2008

Insight by Design - Paul Soldera

BatchBlue - Pamela O'Hara

J-TWO-O by Jen

From the desk of next STEPH - Stephanie M. Cocker

Diversity Blogs - Troy Wing

WebGrrls Blog - Nelly Yusupova

How do you bounce - Barry Moltz

Network Solutions - Harry Brooks

Internet Website Marketing and Small Business Summit by Michael Findling

What is your Google Quotient - Shelly Banjo

Six Rules for Business Technology Success - Ramon Ray

Small Business Summit Rocked - Anita Campbell

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Small Business Tech Summit New York - ThinkXic.com

I met Paul Groncki at the Small Business Summit in New York on Feb 11th 2008 that in attended on behalf of Network Solutions. We sat at the same table and as we chatted he told me that he worked for ThinkXic.

 Small Business Technology Summit 2008

His firm helps companies with facilitation for meetings. Help companies  get productive results from meetings/brainstorming sessions. That would enable companies to adopt a disciplined, systematic approach to innovation and creativity and change the way they  perform. Paul has a impressive bio at the ThinkXic.com website.

Tim Hurson ( author of Think Better : An innovator's guide to productive thinking) one of the founders of ThinkXic will be speaking at the : Productive Thinking workshop on April 4th in NYC.

Network Solutions was one of the sponsors of the Summit and Harry Brooks my colleague and friend spoke about Search Engine Marketing for Small Businesses.

How Small Business can use Social Media - Small Business Summit New York February 2008 -

I attended the Small Business Technology Summit on Feb 11th at New York. Network Solutions was one of the sponsors. I met a lot of interesting people here and will post them in a series. Here is the first of the series with Pamela O'Hara President of BatchBlue talking about how small business can leverage Social Media. She is also a blogger at http://blog.batchblue.com/ and Michelle Riggen-Ransom who is the Communications Director at BatchBlue and blogger on the BatchBlue Blog lets us know how BatchBlue has adopted the social media.

Their company Batch Blue makes tools for other Small Business. One of their products the BatchBook is a combination of a contacts management system; a communications management system; and a task management system.

I met Pamela and Michelle as we sat at the same table and they asked me if I was a "VIP" as I was sitting at a table versus the chairs :) . They have a great story of how they started the company but that's another post. We talked about Twitter and how people used Social Media and how other Small businesses can use Social Media.



Pamela has posted an excellent recap of the Small Business Summit on the BatchBlue Blog. I agree with her fav. takeaway from the keynote titled “Marketing in a Digital World” by Karen Quintos of Dell who said “fix the issue, tell the customer you fixed it and make sure the customer feels the fix.”

Small Business Technology Summit 2008

The Network Solutions Team at the Small Business Summit in New York pictured above.

Update : As I was browsing the BatchBlue blog I saw that they have  a post on Social Media for Small Business.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

OoVoo video calling - Multimedia conversations moving to Video

ScreenHunter_03 Feb. 10 16.16

I joined the MyOovooday.com video chat with Conniereece and SusanReyolds. Today (Feb10th is Susan Reynold's Birthday) .Oovoo facilitates a video chat using a webcam so people can converse while actually seeing each other. Its in beta so there is a certain learning experience involved in joining the chat. On its own Oovoo is a chat client that you can use with your webcam , its not different from Yahoo/ MS messenger. While its easy to open a chat for now the sync between signing up for a chat at MyOovooday.com and the Oovoo client is not fully integrated. There was some feedback echo while chatting. That being said it was a great experience to be able to chat on video. I saw people's cats and dogs and also got to show my spokesperson ( 2 yr old son !). As Oovoo gets more tested it will be nice if it had a Twitter integration where you can chat in Twitter and OOvoo simultaneously.

Of course over the weekend Utterz also added the ability to chat using video and you can even upload your own video. Seesmic is also great for video chats and I heard that during DEMO they introduced a road map with a lot of new features. I will review the new features in a forthcoming post.

In the screenshot pictured with me are the smart Twitterati Susan Reynolds, Connie Reece, Marina Martin , WhatsNextBlog and David Neff ( American Cancer Society). Donate the cost of a packet of Frozen peas as a donation to the Frozen peas fund

Yesterday I joined a conversation on Yahoo live with Technosailor (Aaron Brazell) Aaron entertained us with his guitar playing and it was wonderful that several of the video chat visitors joined in with their own instruments making it a virtual band. Yahoo has this service in beta and it seems to be pretty straight forward. Soudn quality here was better than oovoo.

image

There is a explosion of multimedia social networking sites. Darwin's theory of Survival of the fittest will come into play as the ultimate judge of success will be the number of users and the number of times the user uses the service.

Yahoo Board Rejects Microsoft Offer - Washington Post

ScreenHunter_01 Feb. 10 09.13This could be a prolonged battle as the Microsoft offer was unsolicited. The Washington Post article quoted "sources close to the discussions" so no official statement yet. here are some highlights from the Washington Post article. The Wall Street Journal website  reported this online yesterday.

Microsoft's response could be:

  • Circumvent the board by appealing directly to the shareholders
  • Apply for board positions on Yahoo's board( all 10 positions are up for re-election)
  • Increase its offer per share

Meanwhile the Post article and several other news web sites are speculating on Yahoo's strategy:

  • Yahoo outsources its search-ads function to Google

Google must be happy at least for now. The Yahoo Internet properties have the largest online audience 137 million monthly visitors.

What does this mean for you and me. Life as usual for now and we may be a month away from any new developments here. Let me caveat that by saying I have been proved wrong many times.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Meeting Jeff Pulver in DC


Jeff Pulver and Shashi
Originally uploaded by shashiBellamkonda
Jeff Pulver likes the title "Technology Anthropologist ". I had heard of him through Pulver.tv and his involvement in Podcamp Boston. When I spoke to Chris Brogan about the old irc days he mentioned Jeff Pulver as a great expert on the subject. He is active on Facebook and Twitter and always thinking of something new. A group of DC twitter folks met him for diner at Chef Geoffs in DC on feb 6th. Jeff told us some intersting stories including the FCC's Pulver Order.

As I learnt more I got to know that he has been involved in the Internet/IP communications and innovation arena since 1994 . People consider him among the one of the true pioneers of the VoIP industry and a leader in the emerging TV on the Net industry

Jeff Pulver is the Chairman and Founder of pulver.com, and one of the true pioneers of the VoIP industry and a leader in the emerging TV on the Net industry. Leveraging well over a decade of hands-on experience in


I had read a post on Shel Israel's blog that Pulver Tv will go 24/7


My friend Jeff Hibbard got the inspiration to be a mobile blogger from Jeff.

One of these days when he is less busy I hope to have a good conversations with him and take some tips on successfully engaging in the Network Solutions Social media strategy.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Meeting a VC in DC - Eric Litman

I have been following Eric Litman for sometime on Twitter. He is the Managing Director of Washington VC. I was excited when my friend Rana Shobaney joined Washington VC. She is a great asset. Washington VC, a private equity fund that incubates early stage companies through the exchange of complementary technologies and marketing services

Washington VC has a great portfolio of companies . See the list at the Washington VC website. I was so thrilled to hear that they are working with non-profits like grassroots.org and Make Change! Trust .

Usually I would have been awed to be in the presence of a VC ( Guy Kawasaki always comes to mind) After meeting Eric I now realized that VCs don't bite ( My attempt at humor)We met at the dinner in honor of Jeff Pulver at the Chef Geoff's in Downtown DC.

In the brief chat I had with him I learnt that he had also worked for Apple. He answered all my questions patiently and asked me genuine questions about myself. I told him of my recent change in roles at Network Solutions.

During our discussions here are some points I retained

  • The DC VC population is expanding.

  • Not all Startups need VC funding

  • When companies decide to go the VC route there is a lot of commitment involved. From being their own masters now company owners have the responsibility to meet the goals. His advice was to make sure the entrepreuner was ready for this.
  • Not all VC funding is in some entrepreuners just needing funding like $30-40k

Media Rules Launch party - Downtown DC


Went to DC this evening for the launch of the Media Rules. The party was at the offices of Virilion. in Downtown DC. The party was spread all over the office. I liked that as the conversations were going on all over the corridors. The audience was cheerful and formally dressed. Ironically that was the first party I was dressed causally. I will review the book on a later post since I have a queue of books to catchup on. Since taking over as the Social media Swami for Network Solutions I am lucky to meet a lot of authors and its interesting to watch the tone of the launch parties. I attended the launch of Geoff Livingston's book Now is Gone and it was at a restaurant Piola (Reviewed here). I met Shel Israel virutally on Twitter. My friend Rohit Bhargava is launching " Personality not included " and I hope to go to that lauch and also see if he can speak to us at Network Solutions for a learning lunch.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Sign that welcomes me on the 3rd floor


Network Solutions helping Small Business with complete solutions Originally uploaded by shashiBellamkonda
This is a new sign that came up as I enter my 3rd floor corridor. I am trying to show more of what happens within Network Solutions and would like ideas on what you think may be interesting. I blogged about my neighbor who I was pleasantly surprised is an actress :) I am looking forward to your comments and suggestions.

As I said in my interview with Shel Israel -Network Solutions has reinvented itself to focus in on providing tools to help small businesses succeed online- ImageCafé Рthe product that I managed was one of them (Publish a website easily with absolutely no tech knowledge.).

Meeting with Diane President & CEO Communispace


Meeting with Diane President & CEO Communispace
Originally uploaded by shashiBellamkonda In the picture along with her is Andy Hessabi my friend and Manager, Market Research at Network Solutions
It was good to meet Diane Hessan President & CEO of Communispace  at the Network Solutions offices today. We discussed Social Media and got some interesting insights and advice from her. She mentioned that she had seen Shel Israel's post with my interview. ( Shel thanks for opening a few doors for me :))

Communispace has helped me a lot while I was the Product Manager of ImageCafe - Network Solutions easy to use web site building tool. My monthly chats with the Communispace community were both fun and very insightful. Gave me a indication of what the customers were looking for. Network Solutions has been been using CommuniSpace as a social media tool for a few years.

Jeremiah Owyang has a great post on the 4 tenets of Community Managers and it has a mention of Communispace.

Diane participates in several conferences and I hope to run into her again at a conference if not at thier Boston office some time.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Fresh Peel: Creativity Contest

Thank you Chris Wilson for sending me details of this contestScreenHunter_02 Feb. 04 21.14. I am not sure if he thought my Flickr pics were creative but I know a lot of friends who are good photographers and hope they will enter and win.

Details at The Marketing Fresh Peel an extract below :

Who can Enter?

Anyone can enter. The only restriction is that you are only allowed to submit one photo per person and no spamming.

All you have to do is show us what creativity means to you in a digital photograph. Entries will be judged on creativity.

How to Enter

  1. Take a photo showing what creativity means to you.
  2. Upload it to your Flickr account. (Open an account if you don’t already have one. It’s free!)
  3. Join the Flickr the Fresh Peel: Creativity Contest group.
  4. Send your creativity photo to the Fresh Peel: Creativity group.
  5. Tell your friends to vote for you when the time comes!

 

Good luck !

Funny Video - Network Solutions is a changed company

 

I got interviewed by Shel Israel for his series Global Neighbourhoods - Social Media's impact on business & culture. where I said that "Network Solutions has reinvented itself to focus in on providing tools to help small businesses succeed online" and hope this ad proves the point that we are no longer just a domain name company. As for me personally I hope people will know where I work by looking at this ad. Its funny and the Advertising folks did well in my opinion.

How to Manage multiple Tabs in Firefox

My Friend and fellow DC Twitter Andre Blackman @mindofandre on Twitter tweeted:

Have too many tabs in Firefox? Interesting post on MakeUseOf.com  I'm hoping @leslieann44 can benefit

ScreenHunter_01 Feb. 04 19.17

The site MakeUseOf.com is a really a cool site - in this post it lists 7 powerful add-ons to improve your tabbed browsing. If you open too many windows at the same time check this site out. They have a large list of free web apps too.

Business Week Reports .Post Domain Name in the works

imageJust saw a Google alert that lead me to a story on Business Week online. The report from AP ANICK JESDANUN says that

A new "dot-post" Internet address in the works aims to set apart the electronic services increasingly offered by postal agencies around the world.

Backers say restricting the ".post" domain name to postal agencies or groups that provide postal services would instill trust in Web sites using such names. By contrast, popular suffixes such as ".com" and ".org" are assigned on a first-come, first-served basis.

 

It seems a nice idea and the logic seems good.

Just wanted to make it clear that this post has nothing to do with my day job at Network Solutions. I just found the news interesting.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Twitter - A Captive Audience Measurement Tool

The Super Bowl is still a traditional media Advertising's Mega Market. While the game itself is sometimes secondary to people who watch the Superbowl for the buzz that it creates.

Today on Twitter as the game went on there was a huge twitter participation. I estimate there were about 400 tweets that included the word "Superbowlads".

Such data is huge for marketers to judge audience reaction. What are the reactions the ads caused? I am sure the demographics of the audience , geographical location , viewpoints were varied and a treasure trove for market research. The only common factor is that the audience consists of Swimmers as Jeremiah Owyang calls early adopters.
Imagine if a market research company had attempted this by inviting people of similar profiles as the Twitter community to watch it in a place there they could instantly get the reaction. Now they just have to search Twitter and analyze this data.

All the ads are available at http://www.myspace.com/superbowlads.

Some of the ads caused controversy . See Jason Calacanis blogpost about one such ad. ( Thank you Linda Sherman for the link)

Today is one of my lucky days - No not because the Giants won . I was interviewed by Shel Israel for his series SAP

Global Neighbourhoods - Social Media's impact on business & culture.

Twitter made this happen. See also this post.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

What will it take for Twitter folks to move to a Competitor?

  Every time Twitter has been down it was an event. The first major maintenance, I recall a lot of us went to Pownce during that time. Jaiku has been  allowing your Twitter feed to be posted to Jaiku so you are virtually there anyway. Last week's maintenance was a surprise to me and it seems to have gone beyond the window announced. This time some of us used a  place called Chatmaker.net  thanks to Jeff Hibbard my friend who is a mobile video blogger.

Shel Israel wrote an open letter to the Twitter Founders in his Blog 'Global Neighborhoods" where he asks the Twitter founders to fix what is broken and reveal the monetization plan. I asked Twitter in general whether they had introduced any new features in the last maintenance outage and Mike MCAllister  .Pointed me to these two links where it appears that Twitter moved Hosting companies to NTT America ( Formerly known as Verio) The Twitter Blog confirms that and Techcrunch has its own view of the move

When you use something very very often it is very difficult to wean away from that habit/tool. Just as an example I use Google and for a time I felt Ask"s results were better and used ask as my  page then realized didn't search home page but searched browser searchbox on top right. so I continue the habit of using Google.

Now I am thinking to myself what will it take for me to move from Twitter. What can a competitor do to make me move.

a) All my friends move
  • Pownce has made this easy by making it open no more invites necessary
  • Pownce already gives you the capability to move your Twitter friends to Pownce.
b)  Better features
  • Pownce has some good features that i have experienced
  • Have to try Jaiku to find what is good
c) Commitment to stay Free
  • I am very bottom line conscious and am not ready for Social Media as a paid tool
d) Reliability
  • Experience less downtime and no swallowing of messages
e) open APIs
  • Open APis for other developers to ad tools
    • My first request will be a way to search messages
    • Better Ui for managing friends
    • Full functionality on mobile devices
I am not leaving Twitter anytime soon but that does not mean that I should not make contingency plans. Laura Fitton aka @pistachio today asked on Twitter  How would you fill in the blank: “Twitter makes me more ____________.” and posted the replies on her blog Pistachio Consulting . Now that answer can very well translate to any microblogging tool. Twitter folks have a great challenge ahead of them. They should practice more transparency so any degradation of service will be overlooked.

If you have ideas on what will make you move from Twitter would be interested in hearing about them . Please comment or send me a @reply on Twitter/ Pownce or Jaiku. I am @shashib on all of them.

Blogged with Flock

Grand Central - How people work to make you smile and have fun

I saw the chatter about Grand Central on Twitter and thought Google had announced something on thier property Grand Central. I followed @jowyang Jeremiah Owyang of Web Strategist to come across this video. Watch and enjoy.Jeremiah has a SF version of a similar activity "Zombie Flash Mob"

See the website os the organizers : Improv everywhere causes scenes of chaos and joy in public places. Created in August of 2001 by Charlie Todd, Improv Everywhere has executed over 70 missions involving thousands of undercover agents. The group is based in New York City.

My Social Media Friends on Washington Post's Blog Roll

I was thrilled to see the people I know on Washington Post Blog's Blog roll.

Nick O Neil - Social Times    @biznickman

Geoff Livingston's Buzz Bin  @geoffliving

Ross Karchner's DC Tech Events @rossk

Congrats people ! One Day when I write better I hope to join you :)

Friday, February 01, 2008

Communication Overtones: Social Media Trends Revisited: What's Hot and What's Not for 2008

Communication Overtones: Social Media Trends Revisited: What's Hot and What's Not for 2008

Kami has written a good post that focuses on Social Media Predictions for 2008. Her blog is about about public relations and communications .I met her at a meetup in DC and took her help to convince my bosses to setup a Social Media Relations position in Network Solutions.

That proves a point that the new social media is about enmeshing your Social Media contacts into offline friends.

That was among the topics of the DC Media Makerss meet yesterday.

Kami's Blog - Communication Overtones - is a great read. You should subscribe to her feed.