Author Archives: Julie Blaustein

By Julie Blaustein

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Jay Adelson of Digg and Mike Vorhaus of Magid Advisors

Jay Adelson of Digg and Mike Vorhaus of Magid Advisors

Digital Media Conference West, a one day conference held at the Kabuki Hotel in San Francisco, focused on a wide range of topics  including online video, social media, investments, online advertising, mobile entertainment, mobile apps, the future of news media and the relationship between Hollywood and Silicon Valley. There were also a number of well known digital media  leaders there to speak including Jay Adelson of Digg and Craig Newmark of Craig’s List along with other great speakers from the industry.

Bill Trancer of Hitwise and Nick Veronis of Veronis Suhler Stevenson kicked off the conference with their view of the trends of the Internet. Bill’s trends can be found in his book Click: What Millions of People are Doing and Why it Matters along with his blog I Love Data which he gave a few shout-outs about. His post about the competition of Twitter vs Facebook provides a clear analysis of the trends, spelling out his observation that Facebook, with its 6% of all U.S. Internet visits, is not threatened by Twitter.  Nick Veronis spoke of ad spending trends where $210 billion is allocated to digital advertising, search is huge and growing with over $11 billion while classified spending has been reduced by 50% most likely due to competition with free services such as Craig’s List. The main problem according to Nick Veronis is, “Distribution used to be the issue, now its gaining the attention of users”

It was like hanging out in a cafe during Jay Adelson of Digg’s talk with Mike Vorhaus of Magid Advisors, a research-based strategic consulting firm (founded in 1957!). Jay shared amusing incidents such as when he was hailed back west from NYC to return to the Digg helm and his biggest concern was the transportation of his daughter’s Gecko. He “twittered” for information inquiring how does one transport a Gecko and was blown away by the amount of knowledge his followers shared with him about Geckos – a testament to the power of Twitter. His first hire was a coder from eLance who turned into a full timer. Digg would have been Dig if Disney didn’t already own it. He isn’t thrilled with the depiction of him as despising VC’s as detailed in an entire chapter on him called Fuck the Sweater Vests by Sarah Lacy in Once Your Lucky, Twice Your Good. He does prefer Angel funding. Digg is hiring and allows dogs, even parakeets in the office. And he shared “secrets” including that Digg is releasing new features in a week and focusing on verticals, content types and also on multiple levels of promotions.

Chuck Fishman of Cisco and Craig Newmark of Craig's List

Chuck Fishman of Cisco and Craig Newmark of Craig's List

The agenda was packed with great content yet it seemed to always come back to Facebook, Twitter and MySpace in each and every conversation. Lunch was served along with a chat from Craig Newmark who still goes by his title of Customer and Service Rep from 12 years ago when he first started the site. He was candid, honest and a delight to listen to even though folks were having lunch while he spoke. His main concern is about information not being shared. He is so concerned that he gave out his Twitter, Facebook and even his email address to all, suggesting they contact him in the afternoons when he isn’t dealing with spam. Great information was shared during the conference by the speakers and through the Twitter hashtag #DMCW that was displayed front and center on the big screen on stage with the speakers. Attendees at the conference and off-site kept the live stream fresh. What were they sharing? They shared when they  arrived for the “party.” They promoted their speaking engagements coming up. They shared who they were looking forward to hearing speak. They provided links to information such as the Pew Study on Twitter Users tweeted by @nedsherman. They gave a play-by-play of who is speaking and about what. And they promoted themselves.

Check out more about the Digital Media Conference West and Buzz on its Twitter Feed at #DMCW

By Julie Blaustein

Past Panelists Robert Scoble, Nick O’Neill, Justin Smith and Dan Farber

Past Panelists Robert Scoble, Nick O’Neill, Justin Smith and Dan Farber

SNAP Summit: FailCon on Tuesday, October 27th. at the Kabuki Hotel in San Francisco focuses on the Start up failures and the lessons gained. Failures in the start up world are worn with a badge of honor and at this conference you will learn lessons learned from some of the most highly esteemed entrepreneurs around including:

Discussions will include:

•    “Social Web Branding Failures:” how major brand have messed up on the social web, and what techniques should be avoided.
•    “The Future of Failure” from Lane Becker and Thor Muller, founders of GetSatisfaction
•    “How NOT To Build Socially,” featuring the founders of Context Optional, LOLapps, Appssavvy discussing why viral apps don’t always work.
•    “Learning by Doing” with Mark Pincus, founder of Zynga, discussing his experience founding the less popular social network Tribe.net
•    “How Investors Handle Failure,” featuring lead investors Ron Conway, Paul Graham, and David Hornik discussing what they do when their investments fail.
•    “Making and Breaking a Product,” sharing what happens when a good company launches a bad product; how the recover their losses and move on.

You can also check out who will be at the conference. What would a conference be without networking!

There will be Treats for attending the SNAP Summit: FailCon Conference!!!clearlogo

*Special 15% Discount for Bub.blicio.us readers!

*Demo companies have a chance of winning $1k worth of legal services from Cooley.

*You will receive a FREE 1 year subscription to the Fast Company Magazine when you register: Fast-Company-Logo_350x92-tm

What are you waiting for? Its coming up fast. Go register HERE and I will see you at the Kabuki Hotel, Tuesday, October 27th. in San Francisco.

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By Julie Blaustein

His Holiness, Tenzin Gyatso the 14th Dalai Lama

His Holiness, Tenzin Gyatso the 14th Dalai Lama

Rather than write about a company launch, a new service or yet another conference, I wanted to write about technology itself and what it does to our quality of life. A friend of mine sent out a group email to alert all her friends and family that she had eliminated Text from her life as she “wasn’t enjoying how some people text vs. call these days and she was receiving lots of unnecessary texts. The world doesn’t need more ways to stay disconnected.” At first I though, that is a bit drastic and unnecessary as it does provide a purpose of sorts to quickly reach out to folks when needed. Then I read the quote below that she included from His Holiness, Tenzin Gyatso the 14th Dali Lama reflecting about technology.

It is ironic that the more serious problems emanate from the more industrially advanced societies. Science and technology have worked wonders in many fields, but the basic human problems remain. There is unprecedented literacy, yet this universal education does not seem to have fostered goodness, but only mental restlessness and discontent instead. There is no doubt about the increase in our material progress and technology, but somehow this is not sufficient, as we have not yet succeeded in bringing about peace and happiness or in overcoming suffering.

We can only conclude that there must be something seriously wrong with our progress and development, and if we do not check it in time, there could be disastrous consequences for the future of humanity. I am not at all against science and technology-they have contributed immensely to the overall experience of humankind; to our material comfort and well-being and to our greater understanding of the world we live in. But if we give too much emphasis to science and technology, we are in danger of losing touch with those aspects of human knowledge and understanding that aspire towards honesty and altruism.

It made me realize I too am guilty of losing touch with the simple things in life that make us human due to my never ending use of technology. Although technology can provide a better, faster, smarter and even more productive society; it can also take away from what makes us and our lives so special. Our curiosity. Our interactions with one another and our willingness to help each other. Below are some of the thoughts I had about the technology and services that I and others seem to have become distracted with these days.

  • We live vicariously through virtual games such as Mafia Wars and via other people’s lives through Gossip Sites.
  • Using Twitter has become a popularity game; let’s see how many followers we can have following us on Twitter. And when did it become necessary to share every single thought with others?
  • Companies and celebrities are bombarding us with contact as they gather audiences at no cost from Twitter, Facebook and other social network sites.
  • Anyone can promote themselves on LinkedIn and call themselves an expert without needing proof other than providing content that just may have been taken from other’s work.
  • As useful as many sites are, they also require vast amounts of time constantly updating, reading and watching such as with Plaxo, LinkedIn, YouTube, Delicious, Bebo, Hi5 and countless others.
  • Pressure on Facebook to continuously read and update one’s whereabouts, doings and witty thoughts is exhausting to keep up with.
  • Reporting where one is at all times on FourSquare makes me wonder if people are seeking their own personal stalker? Another example of how isolated people have become because of technology and the need to let people know where they are to counter it.
  • An epidemic of ADD has taken over our lives with the need for one to check email not once in awhile, but constantly, even if its in the presence of others.

I only hope that as technology continues to evolves, we will flourish with all the good it provides. One doesn’t have to take the “drastic” step of cutting off one’s Text Service, but one may want to be mindful of how one uses and contributes in life through this wonderful gift of technology that has been bestowed upon us.


By Julie Blaustein

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SOCAP09 has grown up since it first came on the radar last year. There were  about 600 attendees at the 1st event and now this past week over 1000 attendees came from around the world to attend the three day conference at Fort Mason. This is a conference about making changes to our existing profit-driven financial systems along with promoting social innovation, creating sustainability and making new beginnings for our society.  Pretty lofty goals for most people, but these folks are the best-of-the-best thought leaders and doers; driven to make change and make a difference.  These movers and shakers include those from the world’s top social innovators, investors, donors, entrepreneurs, social entrepreneurs, philanthropists, new media, NGO’s and non-profits, wealth managers, development agencies, venture capitalists, MBA students, and numerous other groups interested in the growing opportunities of social capital.

Sonal Shah, Director of the White House Office of Social Innovation was the keynote and set the stage by sharing with the audience the role that the Obama Administration is taking on with social innovation and how companies can gain access to partnerships. Additional, diverse speakers participated on Keynotes and panels from the Rockfeller Foundation, IDEO, Social Capital Partners, REDF, Change.org, Grey Ghost Ventures, McKinsey and Co. and the list goes on. This wasn’t just a conference, this was about getting together, having a conversation that  matters, and making a roadmap for change immediately.  It should be interesting to learn what those changes will be in the near future.

Technology played a huge role at the conference. BusinessBoomer provided live streaming of interviews with some of visionaries and business leaders. Twittering #socap09 was rampant throughout and after the conference along with ongoing coverage with numerous videographers, bloggers and flippers – those using the flip phone for short interviews uploaded immediately to sites. Coverage can be found throughout the Internet and from the source, SOCAP09’s Blog. There was also a photographer, me. More photos below and on Julie’s Flickr Page:

Sonal Shah, Director of the White House Office of Social Innovation

Sonal Shah, Director of the White House Office of Social Innovation

Kevin Jones SOCAP09 Convener, Sangeeta Chowdhry of Acumen Fund, Sally Madsen of IDEO, Lucky Gunsaskara of FrontlineSMS Medic & Mark Bedford of NComputing

Kevin Jones SOCAP09 Convener, Sangeeta Chowdhry of Acumen Fund, Sally Madsen of IDEO, Lucky Gunsaskara of FrontlineSMS Medic & Mark Bedford of NComputing

The Audience Listening Intently to the Speakers Words of Wisdom

The Audience Listening Intently to the Speakers Words of Wisdom

Solving Hunger One Grilled Cheese Sandwich at a Time

Solving Hunger One Grilled Cheese Sandwich at a Time - Feel Good Sponsored Break

The BusinessBoomer Team: Julie Blaustein, Ryan Billings, Janice Bailon, Arabella Santiago and Rainer Cvillink

The BusinessBoomer Team: Julie Blaustein, Ryan Billings, Janice Bailon, Arabella Santiago and Rainer Cvillink

Even During Breaks Attendees Stay Connected

Even During Breaks Attendees Stay Connected

By Julie Blaustein

Girls in Tech Attendees and Panelist xxx of Venture Beat

Girls in Tech Attendees and Venture Beat's Camille Ricketts

Girls in Tech hosted another sold out evening at the MySpace trendy offices in San Francisco. The event, coined Journalism 2.0 Round Table included a crowd of about 100 eager gals and a few guys too. They were there to learn more about the ever-evolving world of journalism. Brian Solis, Principal of Future Works PR and blogger at PR 2.0, set the tone to the evening by talking with The Wall Street Journal‘s Kara Swisher about PR and how its evolved in the last decade. If you weren’t aware, Brian has recently published the much anticipated, ‘Putting the Public back in Public Relations‘. When Kara asked Brian, “What do you need to be in PR?” Brian responded, “You need to start rethinking whatever it is that you know.” Perhaps suggesting that if you want to know about PR, its all in the book. Brian also mentioned that if you want to learn more about PR, check out the Conversation Prism, the Art of Listening, Learning and Sharing.

The impressive panel included former SF Chronicle Tech Editor Deborah Gage, ZdNet’s Jennifer Leggio, Ubergizmo Editor Eliane Fiolet, VentureBeat‘s Camille Ricketts and Techie Diva’s Gina Hughes and did not disappoint the audience with its lively discussion. Topics discussed were about blogging and how its changed the face of journalism, how citizen journalism and how it is impacting traditional journalism, and also the impact of being a woman in the male-dominated world of tech.

Kara kept the conversation moving rapid-fire, without missing a beat; even making some pretty amusing remarks. When talking about how women can find themselves in this male dominated techie world, the panel had all experienced discrimination and blatant sexism at some points in their career. Gina of TechieDiva shared how while at Yahoo! her professional picture that was waist up and seemed to focus on her breasts, solicited many unwanted comments. She would have preferred more professional comments. ZdNet’s Jennifer Leggio felt there was a belief that she wasn’t all that Techie because she worked in the marketing department and as a result she felt compelled to always be on the defensive to prove them wrong.

Some Great Advice about becoming and being a blogger:

  • Just Blog! If you are passionate about it, then you will be successful. Do not worry if you don’t have any experience, it will come.
  • If you have an opportunity to do a free internship, Do it!
  • Always say YES to any task presented to you. Kara Started delivering mail to folks that she has come to manage.
  • Follow your Instincts. If you have this crazy dream to start a blog, Do it!
  • Do not burn any bridges – you never know when that person will be the Hiring Manager
  • Be Knowledgeable. If you need to learn more, take classes, network, get involved
  • Utilize as many tools as possible in addition to your blogging platform to stay connected with your audience – Facebook, Twitter, Friend Feed, iPhones, Blackberry’s, etc
  • Link to higher ranking blog sites to help build up your own traffic. If possible, become part of a site’s Blog Roll
  • Accept that Traditional Journalism is being replace by Journalism 2.0 – the big difference is you can get things done more quickly and at times may have even more more resources
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Kara Swisher of Wall Street Journal and Brian Solis of Future Works

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Former SF Chronicle's Deborah Gage , Venture Beat's Camille Ricketts and Kara Swisher of the Wall Street Journal

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The Sold Out Girls in Tech Audience Listens Closely to the Panel.

Panelists Ubergizmo's Editor Elaine Fiolet, ZdNet's Jennifer Leggio and Gina of Techie Diva