November 08, 2010
Using Ezetop to Instantly Top Up Mobile Phones
There seemed to be no shortage of new Irish start-ups emerging in Dublin or ideas in the works that were planning to emerge in the next six months to a year. Below are a few I connected with during my recent trip to Ireland for Dublin Web Summit and F.ounders:
Mark Roden with Ezetop explains how the service works over lunch in Dublin recently. It's a fairly straight forward and easy pitch and the aha moment is pretty immediate.
In a world where everything except for cash is growing in popularity as 'currency', why not have air time as something you can give away, offer friends, customers and/or your family if they live far away from you.
Using Ezetop, you can send a top-up instantly to a mobile phone.Think of it as the Western Union of mobile air time. Remember that air time is a currency and it has a value.Imagine the emerging world for a moment: there are more places than not who do not have unlimited calling plans nor do they have salaries that support higher-end mobile options.
For people who are working abroad but still have family in South America, Africa, Asia or other pockets of the world, you could easily and quickly top off air time for family and friends.
An easy way to send support instantly and cost effectively, friends and family can call you back whenever they want at their normal low calling rates.
Their coverage is extensive; currently they support 130 countries and have another 40 on the way. Take a look at the countries supported by their service today. Forbes' Quentin Hardy calls their service Smart Tech for the Working Poor.
November 07, 2010
Weedle Finds the Skills You Need From People You Trust
Free to use, Weedle enables a better way for you to get found by people who need your skill and also, to find people who have the skills you need. Think lawyers, shoe repair, accountants, hairdressers, piano teachers, tutors, photographers, web designers and more. Leveraging social media with semantic technologies, they're combining both with their own search and social graph algorithm, to increase the effectiveness of a match that is right for you -- whether you need the skill or you are promoting yours to the world.
Because it's based on your personal community, you learn about people who have a particular skill inside your network and can see who in that trusted network has used a person and what they think. It's the kind of service that essentially anyone can benefit from; give it a try as it only takes a couple of minutes to get started. CEO with a personality -- Iain Mac Donald -- tells us more.
November 06, 2010
What Silicon Valley Can Learn From Irish Entrepreneurs
Meet a new emerging market for technology, entrepreneurship and innovation, which was realized from experiencing Web 2.0 the Irish way at the most recent Dublin Web Summit and F.ounders event that spread over three days.
Says Butcher in his Techcrunch post, "F.ounders event did exactly what it said on the tin: almost 95% founders, few investors and an extremely well oiled organisation of events to network everyone together.
Almost no investors meant the entrepreneurs could compare notes, swap war stories and generally relax.....heaven for entrepreneurs who can get pretty sick of having to feel like they are under pressure to perform all the time."
But it doesn't end there and it's only part of the story. What the two simultaneous but related events did was combine the best-of-the-best in one city from Europe and the states, during non-stop rain, to connect in a meaningful way.....and this my friends, involves the exchange of human stories not technology ones.
What made it so special? Unlike so many events in Silicon Valley, we didn't talk business models 24/7 or money 24/7 or tools, deals, plug-ins and traffic strategies 24/7.
I had an opportunity to meet with a number of entrepreneurs in the context of dinners, coffees, pints of guinness, walks in the rain, lunches and before and after Irish fiddling late in the evening. (which btw is 4 or 5 am, not 10 pm which is the time most of Silicon Valley entrepreneurs either go home or are online connecting rather than over pints and bottles of brew, whiskey and port).
I'm not trying to beat up on the Valley, because frankly despite having had a reputation of being an "energizer bunny" (you know, the battery commercial), I'm not sure I could keep up with a wee morning pub culture year round. What I am trying to do is point out cultural differences which is what was instrumental in making this event 'magical.' Multiple cultures brought their own curiosity and their unique ways of pitching, engaging and exchanging with them to Dublin.
There's other magic I discovered too and it has to do with BEING IRISH: the Irish know how to tell a bloody good story.....all the time. As one Irish entrepreneur said to me, "we live for telling a story - we'll talk at ya all day long if you'll let us." The downside he said, was that "we might be more focused on the story than the business model and making money."
Fair enough, yet my initial thought was this: HIRE someone who knows how to get your business to cash-flow positive, whether that's bringing in the right biz dev guy or finding some seed money. Any idea how hard it is to instill storytelling in someone who doesn't 'get' storytelling?
A lot of CEOs over-complicate their pitch, get bogged down with the details, the technical features and what they think is important. If you have a good storyteller on board, no one will leave your campfire gathering, when if presented correctly, can be the most powerful 'magic sauce' in your corporate recipe book. The Irish are naturals at this. And, they also know how to add humor to their story in a way that keeps you engaged for longer.
And we all know what longer engagement can lead to....it's all anyone talks about in social media circles. (modern translation of campfire gathering: your website, blog, presentation, facebook fan page, twitter page and so on).
While this discovery meant that it took a little longer to get entrepreneurs to talk about their company and products, I got to know their personalities, backgrounds and the things they cared about OFFLINE. It's amazing what you can learn about a company and their direction when an entrepreneur is more focused on their story and your story combined than their iPad, iPhone or Blackberry in front of them. No one checked in to anything, tweeted or sent an email in the middle of any of our conversations.
What a joy to have a "human" focus dominate over a "digital" one during a meeting......Imagine truly being present for the journey, participating in that journey and focusing on the laughing, breathing, singing, talking and eating around you rather than the Hootsuite stream in the palm of your digital hand.
"Storytellers, the very act of telling, communicate a radical learning that changes lives and the world: telling stories is a universally accessible means through which people make meaning."-Chris Cavanaugh
November 05, 2010
Want ta Know What Irish Web 2.0 Looks Like? Taake a Jeurney Widt Me Dten!
If you haven't heard all the buzz in the last week or so about Dublin's F.ounders event, then you're not reading the right blogs or sites. It's a must-attend says Butcher of Techcrunch and hear what other major bloggers and writers in Europe have to say. (scroll to the bottom for the links). My kick-off blog post can be found here.
Thanks to Enterprise Ireland who made sure I was on a plane for this not-to-be missed event and hats off to Paddy Cosgrave and his team for pulling together an experience that didn't disappoint. The conference combined engagement, intellectual debate, networking, food, culture, pub crawls, founder stories and illuminaries under one roof for 2.5 days. (the one roof btw was the Dublin sky.......might I add that a vivid memory was of multi-colored and checkered umbrellas, block after block, as we made our way from one event to the next). Below is the event unveiled in images. Enjoy!
What's so uncanny about this photo of Paddy Cosgrave and Michael Birch chatting at one of the hosted dinners? Except for the slight variation on angles of their glasses, do they not look a helluva lot alike? Can't recall Birch's shoes that evening tho now the yank who came all the way to Dublin and pays attention to fashion (including geek fashion) is dying to know.
Is that THE Michael Birch behind the counter serving pints of Guinness? How much did they pay you for the hour Mike? Inquiring minds want to know.
Did I mention that we took over the Guinness Storehouse?
You're probably wondering whose feet these are? They belong to THE Paddy Cosgrave of course, for those who attended but never looked down. These feet are attached to a man who gets things done.....from walking, dialing, connecting, tweeting, emailing and everything under the sun to ensure F.ounders Dublin was a huge success.
Dr. Dorian Selz with Memonic and Maurice Collins with Ticket Truck
Chad Hurley during his fireside chat with Robin Wauters (sans the fire)
Mathys van Abbe of Moby Picture, Vannesa Fox, Paul Rush, Renee Blodgett
Matt Mullenweg (aka @photomatt - his blog header rocks btw)
Laurent Feras Pierssens
Some nights were blurrier than others, like the jet-legged first night at Saba Restaurant.
Andy Young of GroupSpaces (and oh btw, this man can DANCE - anyone have photos of him from the happening Krystal night club on the last night?)
Musician/storyteller Niall Toner at the Iveagh House dinner.
Yeah, our very own Dave McClure (Silicon Valley Dave McClure that is), showed up and added a little humor with his advice. (for those who missed the memo: he called the Irish community pussies if they did NOT invest in their own, since if they don't, someone else will....like the damn yankees perhaps).
At the final night dinner (held at very cool Guinness Showroom), Paddy Cosgrave gets kudos from the community and other founders, while he thanks those who helped make the event a success! And yup, that is Tariq Krim, SimpleGeo's Matt Galligan and Jeff Clavier stage right.
Kick-off Dinner (before we got any sleep)
Vanessa Fox proudly displays her PERFECT PINT certificate (of Guinness that is, what else?)
Is that TechCrunch's Robin Wauters and Mike Butcher? (Butcher, you're a genius. Thx to you, my Kodak is working again! Note to self and anyone else who wants to know: the man has hidden talents)
Crikey and golly-gee, it IS Nick Halstead? Does that mean the English actually showed up? Yes, and then some peeps; it was well worth the trek from all pockets of the continent.
Paul Hayes and his adorable and energetic son (after too many brown sugar cubes) at Dublin's Westbury Hotel.
Matt Galligan and Tariq Krim
Product briefings Dublin style? (under an umbrella). Owen Cooney with Tunepresto.
BTW, pub crawls are VERY different on the other side of the pond. Think ambience, storytelling, dogs and drapes on decadent windows to die for. The fabrics and carpet are also incredibly rich even if they don't always match....(details, details, details...)
Had I brought a different lens with me, this shot could have been incredible!
Did I mention pub crawls were part of the agenda? Just remember that while some damn good conversations happen on golf courses, they also happen in pubs, under wet umbrellas and in cafes where they serve dark chocolate, dark coffee and dark beer.
John Fitzsimons with Camara and Ray Smith from DataHug (who won an award at Dublin's Web Summit - check out the details on www.datahug.com).
Eddy Carroll of Amulet Devices
While we're on the topic of hosted dinners, the food was fabulous -- everywhere.
A view from the front of Bono's house late at night. (yes in the rain. Did I mention that it didn't stop raining? I know I certainly tweeted about it).
While we're on the topic of Bono, there's an alley that runs alongside his house and on the stone walls and entry way gates and doors are messages that combine asks, pleas, thanks, and love to this renown superstar.
Meet Tommy the Lipp and no, he's not part of the conference but he's very much part of Dublin. I thought I'd end with a photo that could only be taken in Ireland. Many lads tdought I had an 'Irishness' abooute me and now tdat I'm back, I'm finding that my th's are disappearin' on mei and otder letters are getting a taad confuused too.
Not just the F.ounders and Dublin Web Summit rocked, but Ireland did too even in the pouring and drizzly rain. Thanks for the memories Dublin!
October 30, 2010
F.ounders: Davos for Geeks Side-by-Side with Dublin Web Summit
Founders, funders, entrepreneurs, investors, and men who can all tell a damn good story are gathering in Dublin Ireland this weekend for two technology conferences, demonstrating that it's not just the yanks and most certainly not just Silicon Valley geeks who can come up with successsful start-up ideas.
Skype founder and now Atomico Niklas Zennstrom sponsored the kick off F.ounders dinner last night, the invite-only event co-organized by Paddy Cosgrave. The event, dubbed 'Davos for Geeks' in Dublin, is spread over a 2.5 day period.
It runs along side with the Dublin Web Summit, which has managed to pull 600 attendees, all registered for a series of 'sessions' that ranged from developer tools and social media best practices to digital marketing and advertising today and successful company case studies.
Both events are extremely well organized and have a number of high-touch elements to them, including a private whiskey tasting, sit down dinners, book signings (@vanessafox has a new one out called Marketing in the Age of Google), pub crawls and walking tours.
American and European technology visionaries flew in for the event as well, giving talks at both events while holding media interviews with the local press. Jack Dorsey of Twitter (and Square) was on local TV and Jack, together with Directi founder Divyank Turakhia, Niklas Zennstrom, YouTube's Chad Hurley and Bebo founder Michael Birch were photographed for the Irish Independent and the Irish Times.
What's with the visionary GLASSES guys? No doubt, it must have been a fun one to shoot I'd imagine. Love the lighting in the hard copy newspaper that people still read in Ireland.
READING was a notable difference here - very few entrepreneurs had their Twitter handle on their business cards and I discovered countless people reading books, magazines and newspapers in Dublin's St. Stephens Green (which dates back to 1663 btw) NOT on an iPad, iPhone or a Blackberry, even in the drizzly rain.
Dublin's mayor who apparently is one of the few in office who use Twitter regularly, gave a talk at the opening dinner as well. Niklas followed before we all did a 'ching ching' (with an Argentinian Malbec) before, during and after salad, soup, a main course of chicken, potatoes, string beans and squash. Dessert? Berry tart with powdered sugar and ice cream of course, what else?
Immediately before dinner TechCrunch Europe's Robin Wauters interviewed Chad Hurley in a small but crowded standing-room only room. Funnily enough, they had English quartered sandwiches and American beer by the bottle (I guess that's what the after event pub crawls are for since there have been plenty of yummy Guiness, stouts and ciders for the taking on every corner).
Three out of four panelists in the "Life as an angel: Seeding Innovation, Culture, Clashes & Funding" panel were yanks: TechStarts Tom Keller, Dave McClure and Jeff Clavier (okay, so he's French, but he lives in the Valley which impacts perspective), and Reshma Sohoni from Seedcamp (based in London).
Everyone else outside the states has an inferior complex someone threw out there and "doesn't need to." Says Jeff regarding lack of capital, "you don't need that much. You just have to be really smart about getting $50K, then you can bring on sales, then you build a real business, then build cash flow, but just start somewhere.....raise $50K and take off from there. The whole premise of having to raise a ton of capital to build a real business is not necessary. Build a business that produces cash flow."
Others agreed and McClure told Irish investors and entrepreneurs that they better invest here at home because if they don't, developers and creators will go to the states or get funding from somewhere else. He says, "if any of you own a car that is worth more than $25K, you have money to invest."
There is increasingly more activity in the angel investment sector than there is with traditional VCs and it's continuing to grow, particularly in the states. Companies simply don't need the kind of capital they did, even five years ago, to build a company that is sustainable and profitable.
Take a look at a few fabulous overviews: Mike Butcher's TechCrunch post , David Rowan's Wired UK article (what Dublin can teach Downing Street could learn from Dublin), Matt Mullenweg's photo gallery and Ben Rooney's recap in Wall Street Journal Europe.
October 12, 2010
Organizing & Curating Events: #Pearltrees Meets #140ConfI have written about Jeff Pulver's 140 Characters Conference (more known by its now popular hashtag #140conf) on more than one occasion, starting with his first Los Angeles event now more than a year ago. He has since held events in Tel Aviv, London, New York, Boston, San Francisco and other locations, with more on the way, including a small town one in the Midwest.
What I love about his events (and no, I don't work for him :-) is that he pulls together passionate people who know how to tell really compelling and engaging stories rather than pitch them or throw insights out on a panel on the "same ole same ole" topic with the "same ole same ole" people. Let's face it, life is about storytelling. Branding is about storytelling. Kids are about storytelling. Money is about storytelling. And when we perk up and pay attention, its because of a really good story, one with passion and authenticity behind the 'voice.'
I wrote about some of the 'characters' who participated in the LA event in a post last week. And in the same week, I posted a number of videos of many of the heartwarming storytellers, entertainers and performers who spoke in LA. Just search for 140 conference or 140conf on the We Blog the World YouTube Channel to find them all.
And in the same week, I posted a number of videos of many of the heartwarming storytellers, entertainers and performers who spoke in LA. Just search for 140 conference or 140conf on the We Blog the World YouTube Channel to find them all.
Finding and sifting through content after an event is overwhelming isn't it? It's overwhelming because A) there is simply too much content out there, B) search is not perfect nor is it customized for the way we (humans) think and C) there are simply too many 'channels' and social media outlets where things are posted.
In an effort to get more organized and save time searching, browsing and reading, Pearltrees can be a useful way for you to organize and curate content the way you want to see it. Why count on a generic, broad search engine or a geeky bookmarking service to display your world of interests and passions?
Below is the Pearltree I created just for the 140 Conference in Los Angeles, which includes customized pearltrees for each of the categories I decided to curate. In other words, I created a Pearltree for just women attendees, another for speakers, one for entertainment tweeters, educators and moms who are using social media in interesting ways and so on.
And, notice that I have embedded the Pearltree inside my blog post, which was as easy to do it is to embed a YouTube video. Copy and paste the code baby and you're done. It takes seconds to share it with an audience! Imagine the branding opportunities here.
To give you an idea of how easy it is to customize and share, below is the Pearltree I created at the Los Angeles event that contains only 'women tweeters/attendees', making it a great way to keep tabs on people's activity in one central place.
You can bounce from pearl to pearl faster than you can from web browser to web browser, getting quick updates at a quick glance. It also helps you find content quickly and readily and is a helluva lot more compelling to look at than a long geeky bookmarking list. I did the same thing for speakers.
Below is a Pearltree I created for the entire 140 Characters Conference, which includes links to the schedules of other city-hosted events Pulver plans to have or has had, i.e., Boston, San Fran, Detroit, London and so on.
Below is a screen grab that I took to show you how you can organize your Pearltrees within greater folders/or pearls if you like. My 140 Conference Pearl is within a Pearltree I call Conferences & Events, but you can slice and dice it however you choose, since you, are the curator and organizer, not Google. Here's a link to how Techcrunch Disrupt was curated using Pearltrees, a very effective way to capture the best of (or all of) an event. Refreshing isn't it?
October 12, 2010 in America The Free, Client Announcements, Client Media Kudos, Conference Highlights, Europe, On Branding, On Innovation, On Search, On Technology, On Women, Social Media, TravelingGeeks, WBTW, Web 2.0 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack
Pivot Focuses On Marketers Who Target 18-34 Demographic: #pivotcon
The Pivot Conference, a new conference dedicated to branding, marketing and social media is coming up from October 17-19, 2010 in New York.
The event singularly focused on marketers who target the 18-34 demographic — their attitudes, technologies and preferences – and the media and marketing that addresses them.
Today, the brand marketers' job is made even more difficult by the rapidly changing media and the flood of new technologies and tools. Pivot is designed to help marketers sort through these issues, to better understand their customers and the environment, and to come away empowered to create a successful brand strategy and market more effectively to young consumers.
Speakers from Arianna Huffington to Evan Cohen and Doug Rushkoff (who says "Pivot looks to become the TED of marketing conferences"), will share their ideas and experiences and provoke 'Aha!' insights among attendees who are targeting the largest, most unique and influential demographic we've seen in 50 years.
Highlights of the agenda include:
• Who Are You? Profile of the Always-On Consumer
• Mind the Gap: Measuring the Divide Between "Us" and "Them"
• Motives and Motivations: What Drives the Always-On Consumer
• Media and Advertising at a Crossroads
• The New Marketing Organization
• New Rules of Engagement: Listen, Engage, Measure
• Social Marketing: The Grand Experiment
October 12, 2010 in America The Free, Conference Highlights, Events, Magic Sauce Media, On Blogging, On Branding, On Journalism, On Technology, PR & Marketing, Social Media, TravelingGeeks, WBTW, Web 2.0 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack
October 08, 2010
Curation Done Right: Pearltrees' Visual Curation of Techcrunch DisruptAlexia Tsotsis has a great post that recaps TechCrunch Disrupt, summarizing the event through human curation. Pearltrees is an incredibly interesting, easy-to-use curation tool that allows you to capture content on the web with a simple click of a button and store/save it under any topic you choose. You can also personalize each of your Pearltrees.
Alexia shares the Pearltrees' visual curation of the event, which allows you to relive the three day information hurricane on your own terms by clicking through any of the available “pearls” or data nodes. Embedded Pearltree below so you can do your own navigation.
October 8, 2010 in America The Free, Client Media Kudos, Conference Highlights, Europe, Events, On Innovation, On Search, On Technology, Social Media, TravelingGeeks, WBTW, Web 2.0 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack
October 07, 2010
Meet Blufr, Answers.com's Multi-Platform Social Trivia Game
The app is currently available for free and is downloadable from the Apple iTunes Store.
blufr has been designed to include social and location-based features. By offering registration through a Facebook or Twitter ID, blufr adds a competitive social dimension to the experience: players are ranked among their friends from those services, with the ability to earn awards or badges in their own social circles.
The game offers thousands of edgy, bizarre facts in categories including pop culture, sports, history and more, and challenges players to guess whether the trivia is true or false.
Trivia, or ‘blufs’, include:
- Lady GaGa's real name is Sarafina Angelica Giamonti.
- Actor Jake Gyllenhaal's bar-mitzvah was held in a homeless shelter.
- Boxing champion Mike Tyson has a tattoo of tennis star Arthur Ashe.
Players can rank on the leader board by location, among friends, or within categories. A real-time challenge component is planned for future iterations. blufr is currently available on the web and iPhone, with a Facebook app in development.
September 14, 2010
Use Motribe to Build Your Own Mobile Social Community
Motribe, goes live today, a South African start-up which has created a platform to enable users, brands, agencies and publishers across the world to build and manage their own mobile social communities.
Talk about a speedy execution; founders Vincent Maher and Nic Haralambous built and launched Motribe in just under 6 weeks.
They are targeting the overlooked and neglected developing world market, where they'll offer a customized mobile payment plan. People using the Internet on their cell phones will be able to build and own a fully-featured social network optimised for the mobile Internet.
Motribe will be able to activate plugins for their network including blogs, photo sharing, real-time chatrooms, user rankings and customizable HTML snippets amongst various other plugins. Various themes will be available to premium account holders for their networks as well as the ability to take earn revenue from advertising within a community.
While many companies have chosen to ignore the developing world market, Motribe is taking that market as well as the developed world head on and providing practical solutions to their social networking and communication needs.
The technology being offered up by the company is globally applicable and relevant. Users, brands, agencies and customers from across the world, in any and all markets will all find a use for a Motribe community and immediately see the value of the product.
With very little knowledge or Internet experience everyone from the man on the street all the way through to the most sophisticated advertising agency will be able to build, manage and generate income from their very own mobile social networks.