I'm in Spain this week for a class and meetings where I've been able to meet with web marketers from the US and Europe.
The question of how to engage with customers through communities and new technologies is a common theme. However, my questions about how people were using social networks and web 2.0 tools are greeted with a similar response on both sides of the Atlantic, "Oh my kids are into that, not me. I'm to old"
The combination of working remote and meeting a new people gave me aq chance to try out some of these tools in a new way.
Here's what I found.
- My plan was to use Skype & Skypeout to bring down telephone costs. I found this worked well when listening in on conference calls. The feedback was unacceptable when used for calls requiring more participation. However, at $0.02 per minute, it's worth putting up with a little pain.
- Staying connected on IM (Yahoo, AOL, iChat) worked perfectly. I made it very easy to know when someone was up and working and when they were away. I only wish that everyone was on IM.
- My Treo worked flawlessly with email. For several days I had to add "001" before my calls and some callers reported strange dial tones and messages when leaving message. I did have my IT department upgrade me to the international data plan.
- Apple's iChat as great way to stay connected with the kids.
- Jott - Have your voice mail messages sent to you in email so you don't have to be calling in for messages. I did not try but I hope to get around to it.
Staying in touch
- I've been using a combination of Blogger, TypePad, Google's personalized maps, and Flickr to keep family and friends.
- Google's Personalized Maps - It has been really fun to be able to show people where I've been overlaid on a map. I intended this for my family but also shared with colleagues and even people local to Barcelona. One of the locals viewed my map and exclaimed, "That's all you've seen of this wonderful city!?" I'm excited for this as a way to created custom walking tours designed for restaurants, shopping, and architecture.
- Blogger - Blogger is simple, free way to create a blog. It's owned by Google and provides a range of basic blogging services. There's already deeper integration with the other Google offerings such as AdWords and Google Analytics.
- Typepad - I changed from Blogger to TypePad because of the ability to create a static page like this. It's a helpful feature that I'm sure will be offered by the other blogs in the near future. TypePad's basic service starts at $5.00 a month. There's no free service except a 14 day trial.
- Flickr - The leading site for storing and sharing photos. This differs from other favored sites like Shutterfly and Ofoto in that it is geared more for social sharing.
- YouTube - Designed for sharing video. It's also a place to store video that you want to post into a blog.
NETWORKING - social & professional
"Of God, not another I'd and password"
The key to a networking or social networking site is to make it easy. Most people aren't going to put up with the hassle when the value is uncertain.
- FaceBook- This is not just for freshmen anymore. There has been a lot written about the change in usage on FaceBook. There are more corporate alumni groups popping up on FaceBook. I've been blown away with the calliber of people with whom I've reconnected on Facebook.
- LinkedIn -- LinkedIn was one of the early business networking sites. I've used LinkedIn more for recruiting than anything else but it is changing quickly and is the most active business networking site I've used.
- Yahoo groups
There are great business, technology, and education podcasts waiting on iTunes. Some of my favorites:
TED Talks - Inspired talks by the world's great thinkers and doers. This is my favorite site. The TED (Technology, Entertainment, and Design) Conference is an expensive and exclusive conference with leaders from these areas. The site hosts 18 minute talks from the leaders in these industries. Please visit. Get Inspired.
Other BLOGS and MAGAZINES worth noting.
MFavorite Venture Capital Blogs
- David Hornick @ August Capital, maintains a n entertaining and informative blog called Ventureblog
- Fred Wilson @ "A VC Musings of a VC in NYC" is a very personal and entertaining blog.
- Bill Gurley @ Benchmark has also maintained a start-up related blog, Above the Crowd.
- Guy Kawasaki. Guy is the ex-Apple Evangelist that launched the VC firm Garage.com. I recently shared his article, Ten Lies, with a European entrepreneur who was contemplating coming to the US. Guy's entertaining blog is definitely worth a visit.
Demo Conference -- If the 18 minute TED talks are too long, the videos from the Demo conferences are only 5 minutes. These are pitches from the CEO's of the hot start-up companies and is a great way to quickly understand the forces changes the technology and business climate. WATCH the talks.
Walt Mossberg, NYT tech columnist and now head of the conference, All Things D(igital), is definitely worth reading.
TrenchCrunch -- Anew technology and business blog that is all the rage.
Stanford University also has a whole section on iTunes where they post a selection of Stanford course and lectures.
I know there are that I've missed. It would be great to hear about your favorites.