Fort Smith Blogger Meetup Group

I’m organizing a meetup group for bloggers in the Fort Smith, Arkansas area. If you’re interested, contact me or join our Yahoo! Group.

Web 2.0 Marketing

Tom has a good post over on his personal blog about marketing in the Web 2.0 age. Something we’re finding a lot of people are missing, especially in Arkansas, is how to integrate their web presence into their existing marketing strategies.

It’s especially fascinating to be bringing the web to people,especially skipping the last 10 years of the Internet, and trying to bring them up to what people are calling Web 2.0. People, even in Arkansas, are either going to get that the Internet is changing everything about the way they do business, from marketing to customer interaction, or go out of business. Tom’s a leading mind in this area, IMHO, right up with the best of them.

VMWare GSX Now Free

Joel Spolsky points me to a post by Mike Gunderloy about VMWare releasing their GSX Server product for free. This is outstanding news, and I plan to test it out at the office this week. I guess VMWare listened to my advice to Microsoft, which I wrote in May of last year. Virtualization technology is already free with Xen and Linux systems, it’s about time one of the commercial vendors released one of their lower-end products for people to use for free. Way to go VMWare!

Why would you want to kill exclusives?

I like Steve Rubel. I like Robert Scoble too. Robert’s dead wrong on this one though. For some reason, bloggers seem to think that just because there’s more of us and anyone can contribute the conversation, that somehow everything has to change. Not so.

Perfect example, we just did a major release about 3 weeks ago of FireAnt. We spent a lot of time on the product. The directory was over 4 months in development. There were test sites available to the public about a month prior to release. We seeded the release out to trusted videobloggers and our users groups for the product to get feedback, but we asked all of them to remain quiet. They did. The reason? We wanted to give someone who had traction the exclusive to write about the new release such that we’d get a bit of a bang with our release instead of a gradual dull thud. That exclusive fell to Mike Arrington of TechCruch, and we were not disappointed. He got the exclusive, he was happy, his readers got the scoop the day it was released, and we got extended coverage in the blogosphere echo chamber because we gave a high-profile blogger the exclusive.

Steve groks it. I’m not sure why Chris and Robert seem to think everything has changed. I could have had the exclusive or given it to someone like my good friend Steve Garfield (whose readership/viewership is nothing to sneeze at), but why would I want to release something to my 200 readers and wait for it to maybe disseminate throughout the blogosphere when I can seed it to someone with a much larger and more influential readership? If we had given it to everyone all at once, we would have ended up with that dull thud I was talking about earlier. Somebody has to help control the noise, and a little bit of PR and marketing savvy can go a long way to doing that.

Some Local News in Fort Smith

Shareholders approve sale of Beverly Enterprises, Inc.. Kind of scary, since they have a rather large corporate office in town. They employ 600 people in the area, white-collar, office jobs, so their loss would hit the community quite heavily. The reason for the sale? Mostly litigation. Turns out it’s pretty expensive to defend a nursing home operation against lawsuists, with Arkansas, their home state, being one of the worst.

City leaders eye $175 million in tax revenue for city improvements. This isn’t really necessarily a bad idea. Funny, 15 or 20 years ago we had a study done to the tune of a couple million dollars telling us we need to develop the riverfront. Since then we’ve built an ampitheatre. The rest of the area has continue to run down, and we’re wondering why we’re having a hard time competing when the newest major buildings in town are a new police office and county jail. We don’t even have a good City Hall! Luckily, earmarked in this budget is funding for a new City Hall as well as a sports complex down on the riverfront. The majority of the funds are earmarked for fixing the sewer system, which although we always pass water quality tests, is apparantly not up to snuff according to the EPA. I’m all for improvements that don’t require increasing our already exhorbanant sales tax. As a secondary note, this article was written by Adria Lynch, who I went to school with. Strange that I’m starting to see classmates in professional jobs locally. I don’t know why that’s strange, just is.

FBI gives vague time frame for investigation. This is the real gem. Apparantly the Roland, OK and Moffett, OK police departments are being investigated by the FBI. About damn time! Those PDs have been corrupt my entire life, to the tune of confiscating and selling drugs, trapping out of state motorists for transporting alcohol interstate, etc. I hope they fry them.

Dumbest quote of the year

This came across an email list I’m on recently:

Ning co-founder Marc Andreessen recently said…

Ideally we’ll never meet any of our customers. We actually had to take the sign down from our front door because one of our customers actually stopped in, uninvited, and said, “Hi, I love your service.? And we’re like, “why are you here?? And so down came the sign.

Drop-bys like that should only happen in sitcoms as far as I’m concerned… The consumer internet businesses in a sense are ideal businesses from the standpoint of never meeting your customers.

Only in the technology business would anyone be caught dead uttering such an utterly stupid statement, and even then it doesn’t make it any less of a moronic comment. Your customers are your bread and butter. You should jump up and down if someone takes the time to stop by your office just to tell you how much they like you, and you should be just as excited if someone takes the time to tell you what you’re doing poorly, because it’s a chance to save a customer and make an advocate. This is something I’d expect to see on Rick Segal’s blog, in one of his infamous (at least to me) overheard dumb business conversations. I can’t honestly see anyone with this kind of attitude being successful in any business in the long run, technology or not.