Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Free Virtual Conference :Digital Marketing World: Social Media Marketing from @Marketingprofs

Register for FREE admission to Digital Marketing World: Social Media Marketing taking place on Dec 9th organized by Marketing Profs.

Among the speakers are Natalie Petouhoff, Matthew T. GrantKathy Herrmann and Jennifer Cisney

Sessions include:

  • Why Aren’t You Podcasting?—learn the business case for podcasting, why it belongs in your social media plans, and how to get started
  • Blast Through 3 Social ROI Myths That Can Hold You Back—learn what facets you can (and can’t) measure, and the real return you can expect from your social media program
  • MarketingProfs Classic: Seven Keys to a Successful Blog—learn how to build a blogging strategy, tie it in with other social media interactions, and measure results

More details and registration at Marketing Profs Event Page

Note: I am on the Program Advisory Committee for the forthcoming conference SocialTech 2012 - B2B Social Media Marketing Distilled that is taking place March 29th to 30th in Seattle WA. 

Thursday, November 24, 2011

This Thanksgiving Week Participate in Small Business Saturday #ShopSmallBiz

This Saturday Nov 26th is Small Business Saturday put together by American Express to help Small Business across the country. The campaign has some great resources on their Facebook page at  and encouraging folks to visit their local business on Nov 26th is Small Business Saturday.

My list for Nov 26th  Small Business Saturday around Rockville/Gaithersburg and Potomac are:
  1. Shady Grove Eye and Vision  I have been a patient for over 10 years.
  2. Bombay Bistro Rockville Very nice Indian restaurant that I have been associated with for over 14 years including working there initially.
  3. Spice Xing in Rockville  Excellent Indian food in the Rockville town center
  4. Sushi Oishii  Love the Sushi and at lunch time the Bento Box. 
  5. Traville Barber shop been going there ever since they opened in the Traville shopping center
Special mention to my neighborhood Indian Grocery store Guru Groceries and Chaat House

Also check out the special offers at

Special offer from American Express: American Express wants to help you make a difference. Get a one-time $25 statement credit when you register an eligible American Express® Card and use that Card for a purchase of $25 or more at a small business on November 26th. Registration is limited. Terms and Conditions apply.

Klout Perk:  I also got a $25 Gift card from American Express and Klout by virtue of being a Klout Influencer. I was not obligated to do anything in return. I am small business evangelist and love helping small business and this post is a result of that.

Send Real Flowers to Friends and Family using Facebook

Real Flowers: Send flowers to your friends easily using Facebook during the Holidays

This Facebook app is very timely for Thanksgiving Day and also for the upcoming holiday season. Within a few clicks instead of sending a virtual piece of code that looks like a flower you can now send "RealFlowers" - the name in itself is a nice marketing play. As soon as I added the app to my Facebook page i got a list of friends who have birthdays this week . Choosing one of the friends would allow me to send flowers. You would need to know their physical address as well  and if you do not know their address you are probably a cheapskate and have not sent them any flowers before.If you want this to be a surprise there is an option for that as well
I found a good use for this as I suddenly remembered my wife's birthday is this week and I had not thought of a gift for her.  

The credit card process was seamless, I wish they would recognize the number and automatically slelct the card type ( Visa, Mastercard etc). The other surprise was the $12.95 service fee which I hoped would have been mentioned upfront. Bottomline if you are like the person in the TV ads who has forgotten the anniversary or birthday like me, here is a easy way to send flowers while pretending to be on Facebook so your near and dear do not know. It's probably one of convenience as well as  rumor is that half the Facebook population of 800 Million is on Facebook everyday, so it is another convenient  way for them to order gifts socially for their online and real friends  with Real Flowers.

Continue reading on my column at Timely Facebook App to send Real Flowers to friends and family using Facebook .

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Tablet ! Tablet ! Everywhere - Blackberry Playbook may be discounted this week

This is a good season to be a Tablet buyer. The good news is that you have a lot of choice, and the bad news is that you have a lot of choice !

Amazon has shipped the Amazon Kindle Fire Tablet which sells for $199. I have only seen it in stores and read reviews. One that I read yesterday is from eWeek  "Amazon’s Kindle Fire is the world’s smallest vending machine disguised as a tablet ".  Generally a good device for doing what you need when you are away from your computer and before bedtime.

Now comes the news that Best Buy is selling the
BlackBerry - PlayBook Tablet with 16GB Memory for $199. I have some experience with the BlackBerry Playbook ever since RIM sent me one to use and try. As soon as I unpacked it my college going daughter ( Yes! I have a college going kid) snatched it from me and off it went to classes and lectures. It is a wifi only device and was a perfect light tablet (14 oz.)  for carrying on long walks going between classes. The 7" screen was good enough to hold in your hand and it had all the document software you needed and connect with your computer to transfer notes.

Of course I have now retrieved it back after a game of tag when the Family got a new iPad2 in a sweepstakes held at the Shady Grove Eye and Vision Patient Appreciation Day. Now I have the Blackberry Playbook , My wife gets the new and shiny iPad2 ( Wants it more for the Facetime than anything else) and my daughter gets the iPad1.

What I am loving about the Blackberry Playbook

  • Very easy to type  and write notes.
  • Easy browsing with multiple tabs
  • If you are a Blackberry Phone owner the sync between the device and the Blackberry phone is seamless ( I have not tested this)
  •  The navigation is a different from the iPad and once you figured it out it is very nice
  • You can record good quality video and also use the front facing camera to video chat

What the Blackberry Playbook could do more:

  • For non-Blackberry users the browser seems to be the only way to check email. Blackberry is probably going to remedy this in an update early 2012.
  • There are fewer apps and even fewer free apps. In the upcoming OS update Blackberry has hinted that they will enable a Android App Player which is a huge development and opens these devices to the entire Android market 
  • Social Sharing : I could not find an easy way to share links from my browser which is very important for me.
Bottom-line : If you are a Blackberry phone user and want a easy device to handle when you are not near a computer and the phone keyboard is too small, this is a good tablet to have specially if the price is $199. Do you have a Blackberry Playbook? What do you think of the Tablet wars?

Monday, November 14, 2011

DC Men Style Store : Lost Boys Expands to A Black Room

As you know this blog does not usually write about Men's Fashion usually. This is different. I met Kelly Muccio when she was still working on starting Lost Boys DC and we met at a Small Business Event organized by Network Solutions in 2008. I am so happy to see Kelly's success with Lost Boys and she announced that she is expanding her store and opening a Black Room.

Kelly also participated in a small business video cast in 2009 with Network Solutions. See clip below:

  I have not been to Lost Boys even though I know I should ( I need the advice) See what people are saying on Yelp:
The owner, Kelly, is an incredible fashionista herself and knows how to make you dazzle in the clothing she sells. You'll need a heavy wallet when shopping here but when you see yourself or your man in these clothes, you'll know that it's worth every penny...and you'll be back for more. Just ask Marc H or LOST BOY, Kevin L! The owner, Kelly, is an incredible fashionista herself and knows how to make you dazzle in the clothing she sells. You'll need a heavy wallet when shopping here but when you see yourself or your man in these clothes, you'll know that it's worth every penny...and you'll be back for more. Just ask Marc H or LOST BOY, Kevin L
Watch live streaming video from networksolutions at

Saturday, November 12, 2011

How I troubleshoot my internet connection?

Your internet connection depends on several players. 

  •  ISP (Internet Service Provider) could be your phone company, cable company
  • Modem, sometimes rented to you by your ISP but best to buy one on your own and connect to your ISP's line. 
  • Router either WiFi or Ethernet that is connected to the modem and provides connectivity to your various devices inside the house
  • Your computer or laptop that is connected using WiFi or a Ethernet cable to your router.
My house configuration:
  • Comcast is my cable and internet provider
  • Modem is a Linksys modem
  • Router is a Belkin 
  • Lenovo, Asus, iPad, Blackberry Playbook, Samsung Android Phone.
When the internet goes out here are the steps I take:

Step 1: Power down the Belkin router and then power down the Linksys modem . Wait for a minute and power it back and see if you can connect to the internet.  If not go to Step 2

Step 2: Remove the Ethernet cable connecting the modem to the router and connect it to the Ethernet port on my laptop. Check if I am able to surf the internet. If I can surf the internet then this tells me that the cable company's connection is fine and go to step 3. If I cannot surf the internet, I call Comcast. Usually the automatic voice prompt will send a signal to my modem  or will let me know if there is a system wide issue n my area.

Step 3:  Go to my modem dashboard accessed by going to and see if the router shows the internet is connected. Restart the modem. in many cases use the option of " Clone your MAC address". This usually fixes the issue.

I wish there was a automatic way for all the companies involved in giving me my internet connection figuring out that my connectivity is down and fixing it even before I notice. I guess that technology is far away or maybe too expensive to provide.

This process I outlined above will usually take me 10 to 15 minutes. The frequency is usually 2 to 3 times a year for me. Hope you are having great connectivity. Please comment and let me know if this post has been useful to you.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

DC area marketers interested in learning about video marketing check out this Nov 10th event

 Register at
 Explore industry best practices in online video marketing hosted by Poptent. Learn how brands are leveraging online video to increase engagement and drive ROI. Hear from industry experts Ronan Keane from XO Communications and Neil Perry, President of Poptent. Cocktails: 5-6pm Dinner/presentation: 6-8pm

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Dancing With Digital Natives receives a Finalist spot in the General Business category in the USA Best Books 2011.

Got the exciting news that the book Dancing With Digital Natives: Staying in Step With the Generation That's Transforming the Way Business is Done, edited by Michelle Manafy and Heidi Gautschi has been honored as a "Award-Winning Finalist in the General Business category of The USA "Best Books 2011" Awards, sponsored by USA Book News"

I think you will enjoy the chapter I wrote in this book Thanks @mmanafy I had the privilege of writing a chapter " The Social Media Imperative: Learning to Engage Digital Natives Where They Live" for the book, You can take a look at the sample chapter on Infotoday,com 

The contributors to this book include the editors Michelle Manafy and Heidi Gautschi, as well as Mary Ann Bell, Shashi Bellamkonda (me) , Sarah Bryans Bongey, Jami L. Carlacio, Albert M. Erisman, Brynn Evans, Susan Evans, Lance Heidig, David Hubbard, Richard Hull, Marshall Lager, Christa M. Miller, Emilie Moreau, Carolina M. Reid, Michael Russell, Peggy Anne Salz, Arana Shapiro, Dan Schawbel, Rebecca Rufo-Tepper, and Robert J. Torres is an online publication providing coverage for books from mainstream and independent publishers to the world online community. JPX Media Group, in Los Angeles, California, is the parent company of

A complete list of the winners and finalists of The USA “Best Books 2011” Awards are available online at

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