Gnomedex – Day One

I didn’t post/Tweet/YouTube from first day of Gnomedex for same reason I didn’t cover the Super Bowl. There were better places to get it. I really tried to listen and understand what I was hearing. Really looking forward to Day Two.

Chris Pirillo is like a really good DJ with a unique feel for the “new media music” and puts together speaker you haven’t heard before in ways you haven’t heard before. He’s less interested in “ratings” than creating something interesting.

Big Time Blogger Hangs Up (spikes/clubs/gloves)

Every now and then a super-star blogger "retires" from blogging. Or threatens to. One of the more recent is Jason Calacanis. From his farewell post:

"Starting today all of my thoughts will be reserved for a new medium. Something smaller, something more intimate, and something very personal: an email list. Today the email list has about 600 members, I’m going to cut it off when it reaches 750. Frankly, that’s enough more than enough people to have a conversation with. I’m going to try and build a deeper relationship with fewer people–try to get back to my roots."

Huh. I think this is where I came in on the Internet movie. Yeah, I’d say 750 people might be enough to keep the old conversation ball in the air.

Chris Pirillo wonders if we’re getting "too big for our niches?"

"Perhaps it is time to step back and figure out what’s possible in this new landscape. Can we maintain conversation and community at a large scale without things devolving into chaos? Is beating the CNNs and CNETs at their own mass-market game what we really want, or do we need to go back to the idea of finding our niche?"

I don’t know anything about A-List bloggers but my buddy Chuck blogs (among other things) for a living and he and his wife work their asses off. I can see why someone might run out of steam if it all got too big.

I find blogging fun and relaxing. I know –or know of– many of the 250-300 people that visit here. Blogging for bucks? Not for me.

“If it’s relevant, I’ll read about it on Twitter”

Chris Pirillo was –and remains– an early thought-leader for me. Blogging, RSS, video… Chris was always out there on the front edge. So, when he says Twitter has become one of his primary sources of information, I’m inclined to listen.

“Back in ‘the day’, we used to have to visit web pages to get our information. Those pages didn’t tell us when they updated, so we had to find out manually. Then, along came RSS. The idea was you could subscribe to something, and it would tell you when there was a new update. Now comes Twitter, with its flood of information that allows me to spot trends in general. Twitter has supplanted the information I used to receive in my news aggregator. I don’t follow many websites anymore, and don’t really ’subscribe’ to anything. For me, if something is going to be relevant, I’m going to read about it on Twitter. With Twitter, I’m able to follow people much easier. As disorganized as it is, it’s easier for me to learn about personalities. You can understand thoughts and feelings much easier than you could with a simple RSS feed.”

I’m not quite there yet, in part because I don’t “follow” as many people as Chris does. But I’m starting to see what he’s talking about.  A few of the folks I follow on Twitter are very plugged in and I can count on a line or two with a link when something in their area of interest breaks.

Guy Kawasaki, Gnomedex 2007

One of the best presentations at last month’s Gnomedex was Guy Kawasaki. He’s a managing director of Garage Technology Ventures, an early-stage venture capital firm and a columnist for Entrepreneur Magazine. Previously, he was an Apple Fellow at Apple Computer, Inc. Guy is the author of eight books, has a BA from Stanford University and an MBA from UCLA as well as an honorary doctorate from Babson College. He talks about evangelism in this video.

Six degrees of Robert Scoble

I think I knew that Robert Scoble once worked with/for Dave Winer at Userland Software, but completely forgot writing this “thank you” to Chris Pirillo, waaaay back in 2002:

“We’re always quick to talk about poor service or support, so I’d like to be equally quick to report a wonderful experience. Based on your recommendation, I purchased a copy of Radio from Userland Software. Total impulse buy. I’d been playing with Blogger and when I saw that you liked Radio, I bought it.

Fact is, I really didn’t need the program and had a little problem getting going and wound up emailing the company for some help. Which I quickly got. In my first email to the company I mentioned that mine was a poorly thought out impulse buy and it would be great if I could “back up” on the purchase, never expecting the company to go along.

Today I got a very nice email from Robert Scoble, refunding my purchase. I immediately sent along my thanks and –in his reply– got an invite to Gnomedex 02! Just a nice way to end the day. You can’t go wrong dealing with the Lockergnome community.”

Small world.

Chris Pirillo: “Apple gets the consumer”

Chris Pirillo thinks the iPhone “is going to kill.” So does his non-geek brother, Adam:

“My brother Adam isn’t a geek – and he’s never written to me about any other device (from Apple or any other manufacturer). It’s not even out yet and I already hate the iPhone… largely because someone else didn’t make it four years ago. Seriously. Apple gets the consumer in ways that no other company ever will. It makes my new Smartphone seem so… ancient.”

I’m still not convinced I need any kind of mobile phone but would like to have all other features of the iPhone. For the time being, it’s much cooler to piss on the iPhone than gush over it. Good to see someone whose opinion I value, weigh in on this.

Tips on linking

Chris Pirillo points to some excellent tips on using links properly:

  • Traditionally, links are underlined as well, but that approach is often unnecessary and falling out of favor to reduce visual clutter.
  • Links lack affordance, which means their visual properties don’t suggest how they are used and are understood only through experience.
  • Link text should indicate the result of clicking on the link.
  • Use different colors for visited and unvisited links.
  • Don’t use color for text that isn’t a link because users may assume that it is a link.
  • Always show either an underline (for any link text) or a button frame (for command link text only) on hover to reinforce visually that the text is a link.
  • Don’t underlined text that isn’t a link because users will assume that it is a link.
  • Use background colors that contrast with the link colors.
  • Use link text that is the most relevant part of the text and are large enough to be easy to click.
  • Don’t provide an infotip [in HTML, a title element] that is merely a restatement of the link text.
  • If a link requires further explanation, provide the explanation in either a separate text control or an infotip, but not both.
  • Place optional supplemental graphics that indicates the target of a link to the right of the text and use an infotip to explain its meaning.
  • Link to specific content rather than general content.
  • Use a link only if the linked material is relevant, helpful, and not redundant.
  • Link only on the first occurrence of the link text.
  • Don’t add “Click here” to the link text. It isn’t necessary because a link implies clicking. Also, “Click here” and “here” alone are poor link text because they convey no information about the link when read by a screen reader.
  • Start the link with an imperative verb and clearly describe the action that the link performs.
  • Don’t use ending punctuation except for question marks.

Don’t need no stinkin’ press release

I only go to one technology conference a year: Gnomedex. It’s small, as such events go. Just 300 attendees and sort of a tough ticket. I’ve been going since Chris Pirillo started holding them in Des Moines back in the late 90’s. I’ve gushed about it here so I won’t bore you with why I love this conference. This year Chris is doing something unheard of: No press release.

This year’s conference has sold one-third of its available seats since opening registration a mere week ago. Despite having not yet unveiled speakers or sponsors, the conference is well on its way to being sold out for the second year in a row.

If you’re planning on attending, let me know.