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What Two Exits In 15 Months Has Taught Me

There's No Such Thing As Luck in Startup

Published at ExitEvent


Almost five years ago, I walked into Robbie Allen's brand new office in a horrible mood.

Robbie and I had been meeting regularly at various Starbucks across the Triangle, and we had recently started discussing whether or not it was possible to automate content for websites for each of the NCAA Men's Basketball programs, based on nothing more than StatSheet data. I loved these meetings. They were about automation, artificial intelligence, technology, writing, and sports – basically how I built my career mixed with how I spent my free time.

Robbie noticed my mood immediately. So I explained, with much animation, that I had just come from probably the worst meeting of my life –- a meeting that was supposed to have been about finalizing the funding of a project that I had been working on for close to a year.

Instead, what actually happened was an unbelievably bizarre rejection, and four months of free work, planning, and negotiation had just vaporized.

Needless to say, I was now in shock and without funding. It wasn't the first time. The technology product firm I had founded just a couple years prior was doing over $1 million in revenue, and it had taken a lot of “No” to get there.

But this time I was furious, mostly at myself. A lot of trust went into that deal, and I got burned. Badly. In fact, I had turned down a lucrative consulting contract so I could work personally on this product, which was one I truly believed in.

Robbie listened patiently to all my rage and then told me that he had been thinking more and more about automated content, and he thought we should get started.

My mood shifted instantly. “Give me the weekend to come up with a design,” I said.

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How To Know When To Let That Startup Idea Go

Published at ExitEvent


If you want to know how many times I've failed as an entrepreneur, all you need to do is take a peek at my personal domain name graveyard. I collect domain names like some people collect Star Wars action figures. In fact, some of my domain names are still in their original packaging, untouched by human hands or search engine crawlers. But unlike that vintage Han Solo in Bespin Fatigues, their pristine condition adds absolutely nothing to their value.

For every startup of mine that has made it to the light of day, there were at least a dozen or more that got far enough through the planning stages for me to plunk down the $8.99 or whatever for the .com, but then never made it to alpha. What's even more embarrassing is that I still own most of them, enough of them that it costs me a chunk of change every year to keep them all up.

In my own defense, I have let the stupidest among them go.

But my URL hoarding speaks directly to my belief in each of the original ideas, dime-a-dozen as they are, to become the next Facebook, or at least the next ExitEvent. And every time I get a notice from the registrar telling me that is about the renew itself, I think – “Yeah, maybe it's time to let that die.” But it's rare that I actually follow through, because the next thing I think is “Yeah, but all it needs is…"

For what it's worth, I believe in these ideas so much that I refuse to even name any of their corresponding URLs in this article, regardless of the laughs they most certainly would have brought you, because THERE'S STILL A CHANCE.

It's a sickness.

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How To Do a Great Conference Panel: First, Get Great Panelists

Come See Mostly Legal Marketing at Internet Summit



When TechMedia asked me to fill a slot at next month's Internet Summit, I jumped, but with some hesitation. I had no idea what kind of topic I would want to cover, but I already knew who I wanted up there with me.

For those unaware, Internet Summit is about tech, startups, and digital, but it's mostly about marketing. I'm a huge tech, startup, and digital guy, but I'm not the most proficient marketer, at least in the formal sense. I can market things, and I can sell things, and I'm pretty good at it. I sold a company last year, so there's that. But I'll admit I'd have a tough time telling you which KPIs are going to help you growth hack AdWords to funnelize your eyeballs.

I happen to know three people who are crushing digital marketing in completely unique ways, and those three people also happened to be people I would feel really comfortable being on a panel with and not having it turn into a quagmire or nap time. They don't belong to marketing associations, they're not certified in anything that I'm aware of, and one of them refuses to sport a serious haircut.

But they've all done it, they know how it's done, and they're not afraid to tell you their secrets.

I'd go to that, whether it was in digital marketing or competitive eating.

Anyway, they are:

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Why I Took My Daughters to Triangle Startup Weekend: Women

Published at WRAL TechWire


This past Sunday I spent the afternoon at Triangle Startup Weekend: Women. I went to hear the presentations, because that's kind of my thing, and I went to catch up with and congratulate the organizers, because they pulled off one hell of an accomplishment.

I also went to support this particular iteration of Triangle Startup Weekend, as it sought to give more visibility to local women entrepreneurs while casting a wide net for the hidden potential that keeps falling through the cracks of our nascent startup community.

I saw a lot of said startup community there. I wish I had seen more on a rainy Sunday afternoon. But that's neither here nor there. I've been over this -- specifically in an article I wrote detailing the reasons why this event was good for our entrepreneurs.

So there's that.

But the sneaky reason I spent my rainy Sunday afternoon at TSW Women was to introduce my twin 9-year-old daughters to a side of entrepreneurship that I can't give them by letting them into my world or helping them start their own startups over the summer. This was a public Petri dish of real startup – live and actual company-and-product-building in a way only the 54 hours of Startup Weekend can realize.

At the end of three and a half hours (mostly sitting and listening), the experience wasn't life-changing for my girls, but they got out of it exactly what I had hoped.

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How to Sell Your Company to Potential Employees

And Why That's Critical

Published at WRAL TechWire


We want Automated Insights to be the place you want to work.
We want you to love your job.
Because when you love your job, you'll do great things.
Come and do great things with us.
Thank you.

*mic drop*

That's how I ended my four-minute pitch to the 250 or so job seekers who had gathered for Tuesday night's Tech Jobs Under the Big Top. I went for the gut, the jugular, the heart -- whatever you want to call it.

In this environment, where talent is king and startups are plenty, it really is a job seeker's market for those who have the skills and the experience to help us do what we do.

This was the seventh iteration of Tech Jobs, and I've attended every single one. Unlike your normal, soul-sucking job fair, the entire process is turned on its head, and potential employers like me pay to be one of a handful of companies to pitch to job seekers.

There are short presentations by each company, followed by a couple hours of networking time. The evening is fueled by beer, hot dogs, peanuts, and popcorn, and the atmosphere is augmented by acrobats, jugglers, music, and giant balloons.

Thus, the Under the Big Top part.

This was my first time actually delivering the pitch, but it was cake. Because while it's kind of a novel thing for a job fair, as an individual this is something I've been doing for as long as I can remember.

If you want the best people to come and work for you, you have to sell them.

Here's how:

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Video: Pitching Automated Insights to Job Seekers

Steal This Strategy: Potential Employees Are a Huge Asset



Last week, I was one of six reps from companies across the Triangle to participate in Chris Heivly's seventh version of Tech Jobs Under the Big Top. I've been to each Big Top (always as a job provider), and I love the reverse job fair format -- where the companies pay to be there and pitch to the job seekers as to why they should come work for us.

To my surprise, Laura Baverman, with whom I've been working closely as I've transferred the reins of ExitEvent over to American Underground, sent a cameraman to shoot each of the pitches. He then edited them down to 30 seconds or so of sound bite each.

I'm really glad he chose the sound bites he chose from me. It's basically the beginning and the end of my four-minute pitch, and it's the most important part. It's the part where I speak directly to the job seekers and let them know how much we want to meet them, get to know them, hire them, and make Automated Insights their most favorite job ever.

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Forget Business Networking, Build Personal Relationships

A Recap of the August ExitEvent Startup Social

Published at ExitEvent


I've seen a rash of thought-expert pieces lately on the art of networking. Some of them are quite smart, like this piece on double-opt-in email introductions that I begrudgingly loved, or this one on getting to the point from Startup Factory's Chris Heivly.

Others are straight garbage. Not naming names.

I say "begrudgingly loved" about the former because I'm not a huge fan of people telling other people how to behave, especially when it comes to etiquette in the entrepreneurial pursuits. We're a breed of "it's better to ask forgiveness than permission" -- yet we still get all huffed when someone wants to get on our calendars without having jumped through the proper hoops.

Yeah, I know there's etiquette to this game, and I know there's a fine line between aggressive and douchebag. I'm also aware of the fact that being on the receiving end of everyone's meeting request is a hassle. I get about two dozen cold business emails a day and another handful of cold networking type emails on top of that. Whatever. First world problems.

One of the reasons I started ExitEvent was to give all entrepreneurs, from beginner to serial, a chance to network amongst themselves unshackled from topic, cause, or sponsor, either online or in person via the Startup Social.

But the Social, the monthly agenda-free, entrepreneur-and-investor-only, free-beer-fueled event, was never about networking. In that I mean it was never about collecting business cards and writing awkward follow-up emails the next day.

It was and still is about relationships.

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Why We Need Triangle Startup Weekend: Women

Addressing the Root Cause of Lack of Women in Startup and Tech

Published at ExitEvent


The weekend of October 10th will see the first-ever Triangle Startup Weekend: Women. And it's about time.

Liz Tracy is one of the organizers. She's a friend of mine and someone I've gotten to know while she's helped build the HQ Raleigh startup hub, which also happens to be founded by Brooks Bell, who also happens to be the founder of Brooks Bell.

Liz put in the application this spring. Once it was accepted, she sent an email out to people she knew to ask if they were interested in helping.

"Immediately, I got a bunch of responses and a strong starting point to get this going," she said.

I've always been a big proponent of finding more ways to get women involved in startup and tech. At the first startup I ever founded, my first hire was a woman. At the startup I most recently founded, my first hire was a woman.

What's more is it just happened that way. But I know it rarely happens that way.

While I've been heartened by the progress, I've been disappointed at times with the approach. Calling out companies for the existing makeup of their workforce isn't the right thing to do. Sure, it creates headlines, which one would hope puts pressure on those companies to be more inclusive in their recruiting processes. But that only addresses the symptom, not the cause.

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The NFL Provides a Quantum Leap for Automated Journalism

Published at Automated Insights


Yet another huge advancement for automated journalism was announced yesterday. Not surprisingly, it came from a vertical that's been at the forefront of automation technology for years: Professional sports, or in this case specifically, the NFL.

The NFL announced that it will expand an existing stats-tracking test program and, for the 2014/15 season, will be equipping every player with a sensor under each shoulder pad. The sensors will provide near-real-time information on each player's location and speed.

Back in May, I gave a talk on the future of automated journalism at the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University. During that talk, I devoted some time to discussing the Robot Reporter, a growing network of chips and sensors that collect and deliver data to automated content platforms like Automated Insights' Wordsmith, which then instantly creates news articles from that data.

One example I gave was Quakebot, the LA Times template-driven software that broke its first widely-recognized earthquake news back in March. The second example was about sports, and all of the sensors currently being used to track events like balls and strikes, measurements like first downs, and the NFL's existing trial with player sensors.

With those sensors in place, I said, it's easy for us to make the jump to more qualitative analysis of a game, not just a statistical overview.

That part was met with a lot of excitement, and I spent most of the Q&;A talking about whether or not it was true and how big an advancement those sensors were.

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A Rant Against Bad Startup Advice

Published at ExitEvent


Every so often, I find myself at odds with a particular bit of conventional startup advice. Usually, the advice starts out as an innocuous one-liner bequeathed to me that I've re-gifted to others and, at face value, it may make perfect sense.

But at a certain point, the advice gets so blown out of proportion that it loses context. Eventually, it becomes something less than helpful. In extreme cases, it can become harmful.

That's when I open my big mouth and get all contrarian.

The last time I went on such a rant was over advice concerning our startup community and the growing number of startup-related events that were popping up everywhere. Long story short -- conventional wisdom was that there were too many startup events and the advice was that we needed to stop having so many startup events and entrepreneurs should stop going to startup events and get back to work.

This was almost exactly two years ago, so my story needs some context of its own.

The ExitEvent Startup Social was one of the first (if not the first) in a new wave of startup-related events that sprung out of a revitalized startup community in Durham. Yeah, there were startup events and meetups and such, but ExitEvent was sparked the night I went to a startup event attended by 100+ people and wound up talking the whole time to the only other entrepreneur there.

I remember what that was like. I remember when there were exactly zero honest-to-goodness startup events in my startup community. And it sucked, way more than being a little bit annoyed by getting the umpteenth startup-related Evite in my inbox.

So when startup events started exploding shortly after ExitEvent exploded, including two events that spun out of an ExitEvent Startup Social on the same night, my response was rock on, go for it, make some noise.

And when there was a backlash, my contrarian response was: Good entrepreneurs will find the value in good startup events and both will persevere. Shitty entrepreneurs who do nothing but event-hop will gravitate toward the shitty, glitzy events, and both will fail.

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Time To Shelve the Turing Test

No, The Turing Test Wasn't Cracked, But It Wouldn't Matter Anyway

Published at ExitEvent


So the Internet collectively lost its mind last week on the story that machines had finally caught up to us cagey humans, and that a "supercomputer" called Eugene Goostman effectively passed the age-old Turing Test.

The Turing Test, as defined by British mathematician Alan Turing in 1950, portends that if a computer can fool enough humans into thinking that it itself is human, it can be considered to have the same level of intelligence as a human.

Then, as the dystopian among us would have you believe, they take over.

I had four thoughts on the subject:

1) Bullshit. That's just a chatbot.

As soon as the claim was made, it was challenged. Experts called into question everything from the low number of judges it convinced (10 out of 30) to the fact that the test was undertaken with stipulations on what kind of human this was supposed to be -- specifically, a 13-year-old Ukrainian boy who spoke English as a second language.

I mean, come on, then do the test in Ukrainian.

But the most obvious detraction is that Eugene is just a chatbot.

Human conversation is not a tennis match. It has stops and starts, it has people talking over one another, it builds on the ideas from the other participant. This chatbot, like all chatbots before it, immediately fell into a generation-old chatbot routine:

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Embracing Technology in Journalism

Takeaways from Columbia University's Quantifying Journalism Conference

Published at WRAL TechWire


I was prepared for just about anything when I walked up onto the stage at Pulitzer Hall at the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University last Friday. I was speaking on the Robot Reporter's impact on the future of journalism -- the last session of the day at their first ever Quantifying Journalism conference.

In the four years that I've been designing and developing automated content at Automated Insights, the reaction of traditional journalists to our technology has been all over the map.

At one point it was straight-up denial – there was no way machines could create content, and even if they could, it would be painfully obvious that the content was created by a machine. See: Mad Libs.

Then there was fear – machines might someday be able to create viable content, which would put suddenly expensive human journalists everywhere out of a job, and maybe even start killing them. See: Skynet.

Fear drifted into a kind of bemused resignation – machines would indeed be able to create some kind of passable content, thus reducing a centuries-old dignified art to a constant stream of listicles and slideshows with soundbites. Since this was exactly where those same defeated journalists saw the industry heading anyway, it wasn't too much of a stretch or a shock.

I had spent the entire trip from Durham to New York anticipating all kinds of questions – from the curious to the skeptical to the cynical. What I didn't anticipate was a warm welcome, but that's exactly what I got.

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ExitEvent Acquired by American Underground

Here's How It Went Down

Published at ExitEvent


How it Started - by Joe Procopio

Well, one thing to note is there was acquisition interest almost from the beginning. I'm a working entrepreneur, and ExitEvent was something I started because I was convinced it needed to exist. Because I'm an entrepreneur, I built it like a startup -- that's pretty much all I know. I don't know how to run foundations or dot-orgs, I know how to build and run companies. But because I'm a working entrepreneur, I knew I could never devote more than 3-5 hours a week to the cause.

I invited 12 founders to the first ExitEvent Startup Social, and 50 showed up. When I first opened up the network, requests came in rushes. When I first put content up on the site, the audience exploded. It was always more than I could handle, and the sacrifice was to keep ExitEvent underpowered. This sucked, because for over two years I knew it could be more than it was. Turning away business is a good problem to have, but when that business is making startups better, it's not a good problem at all. It's just a problem that needs a solution. Stat.

It took the better part of those two years for me to swallow my pride and decide that there was probably someone out there who could do ExitEvent better than me. In any case, I knew there were several people out there who could devote more time to it, because they were already coming to me. So this past summer I started seriously listening to what the options were, and thankfully, one set of options made perfect sense.

I've known Adam Klein since he was doing really cool things at the Durham Chamber, making a lot of something out of next-to-nothing. With each project he took on, there was always more to it than what the average person saw, and when he went over to American Underground, he brought that ethos with him. Today, American Underground isn't just about a place for startups to sit. It's a lot more than that. I'm not sure anyone has the exact handle on what it'll become, but now it has a voice.

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As Robot Writing Matures, Robot Reporting Is the Next Big Thing In Digital Journalism

Published at WRAL TechWire


Editor's Note: On Friday, May 30th, Joe will be speaking on the future of Digital Journalism at Columbia University at a conference at the Tow Center. In a previous column, he discussed why automated content should be considered a tool and not a threat.

Ever since the L.A. Times Quakebot broke the news of a major earthquake back in March -- a story it developed, wrote, and published in less than three minutes after the first tremor -- the profile of digital journalism and automated content has risen dramatically.

For me and my team at Automated Insights, it feels like vindication, because the industry is starting to scale exactly like we thought it would. I've been designing and building automated content for the last four years, and in 2014, Automated Insights will publish over a billion unique articles for dozens of media outlets via the web, email, and social media.

With just 25 humans.

You've probably already read automated content without realizing it. This is because the Robot Writer side of digital journalism is already quite polished. It's a fairly robust technology that we've evolved from a process of filling in templates, the method Quakebot employs when it writes an article, to the programatic determination of topic, tone, style, fact-generation, and lexicon.

In other words, our engine runs dozens of algorithms before the first word is digitally written. It keeps those algorithms going throughout the entire writing process. If you look at what we put into the machine, it looks nothing like prose. It looks more like code. Because it is.

Thus, the process of automated writing is no longer about filling in blanks between words with the proper data. Scalability, variety, point-of-view, sentiment -- all the concepts that make a human-written article sound like it was written by a human -- can be done by a machine.

So if the last few years of automated journalism were about perfecting the Robot Writer, the next few years will focus on the technology that will make automation even more mainstream: The Robot Reporter.

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Why (Good) Journalists Have Nothing to Fear from Automated Content

At Least That's What I Plan to Tell Them

Published at ExitEvent


On Friday, May 30th, I'll be speaking at the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University at the Quantifying Journalism: Metrics, Data and Computation Conference. I'll be talking about the Robot Reporter trend, based on the four years of work I've done creating over 100 million automated stories via Automated Insights.

100 million stories, each one unique and professionally written, covering everything from news to finance to sports to marketing and beyond. In fact, by the time 2014 is over, Ai will have produced over 1 billion automated articles. And what I plan to tell the gathered Columbia students and assorted journalism professionals at said conference is that we're not going to put any journalists out of work.

Well, any decent journalists, anyway.

I feel pretty good about that bold statement, basically because it's one I've backed up continually over the last four years, although the need to defend our intentions, so to speak, has lessened recently. People are starting to get it now, the fact that automated content works best in situations where live human journalists either can't produce the content, as in the case of the millions of fantasy football recaps we produce every Tuesday morning, or don't want to, as in the compiling of mountains of big data into an easily digestible narrative.

When you consider that, automated content is actually another tool for the hardworking journalist, not competition.

If anything, those who consider themselves data visualists -- the Excel wranglers and infographic ninjas and Powerpoint enthusiasts of the world -- those are the people who should be worried about automated content.

Oh, and you listicle folks, we're definitely coming for you. With prejudice.

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Warning: You May Already Be Reading Computer-Generated Content

The Stigma of Automated Content is Fading

Published at ExitEvent


In an article today in The Daily Dot, I talked with writer Aaron Sankin about the proliferation of automated content in news stories. The article was inspired by a couple recent events.

Two weeks ago, Karstad University's Dr. Christer Clerwall published the findings of his study of automated content vs. human-written content in the 2014 volume of Journalism Practice. Dr. Clerwall used samples from Automated Insights' StatSheet product (which Robbie Allen and I built over three years ago) to compare against actual journalist-written articles of the same NFL game.

His conclusion: Not only is automated content virtually indistinguishable from human-generated content, but in most cases it is deemed as more credible and trustworthy.

By the way, I've since spoken to Clerwall, and it's obvious he gets where automated content is going and why it's so valuable.

As you might imagine, this news got picked up by a lot of outlets, including PandoDaily and the Daily Dot.

Then, the Monday, March 17th Los Angeles earthquake story was "broken" in the LA Times with a computer-generated story published by QuakeBot, which monitors and reports on the data feed from the U.S. Geological Survey.

People were fascinated, and rightly so. This is a perfect example of machines being able to break news at a moment's notice. However, much like those automated weather service warnings you get on your television and radio, it's not exactly brand new.

In fact, you've probably already read your share of automated content, especially in the areas of sports, finance, weather, real estate, and personal fitness.

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Study Finds Human Writing Indistinguishable from Automated Insights Content

Published at Automated Insights


A study published in the 2014 issue of Journalism Practice proved that not only was Automated Insights machine-generated content indistinguishable from journalist-created content, but that our automated content was viewed as more informative and more credible.

Christer Clerwall, from the Department of Media and Communication Studies at Karstad University in Sweden, conducted a pilot. For the test, 46 students in media and communications studies were given either a professionally-written NFL game recap from the L.A. Times or an automated recap of the same game from Automated Insights. They were asked to assess their article on both quality and credibility. They were also asked whether the article was written by a journalist or our engine.

Robot or Human

This certainly isn't the first time Automated Insights has been directly or indirectly involved with a robot vs. human test. It's something we always do in-house as a part of our normal QA process. Considering we've been at this for almost four years, we weren't surprised at the results.

From the study:

"Of the 27 respondents who read the software-generated text, 10 thought a journalist wrote it and 17 thought it was software-generated. For the 18 respondents in the “journalist group”, 8 perceived it as having been written by a journalist, but 10 thought software wrote it. Using a Mann–Whitney test for significance, we can conclude that there is no significant difference (U = 225, r = -0.07, significance = 0.623) between how the groups have perceived the texts."

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The False Choice of Cursive Versus Coding

Don't Toss the Basics In the Name of the Future

Published at ExitEvent


This opinion is completely devil's advocate for me. As I've been spending the last few months digging down into how we could and should teach entrepreneurism, I've been investigating how we teach coding and technology in both elementary school and high school.

I also have three kids under 10, and I'm teaching all of them how to code.

But I'm beginning to wonder if we're doing it wrong.

To disclaim, I've been on board with calling out the critical need for more STEM education, specifically more technology and coding skills, for years. I'm of the generation where from eighth grade until my junior year, I was the ONLY kid in my high school's computer class.

By the way, do you have any idea how alienating that is? It's a total miracle I'm not more messed up.

Where you lose me is the argument of how pitiful and morally wrong it is that we still teach kids cursive but not coding, a false choice that reached a collective fever pitch with this article in The Week.

The same argument was made with Latin probably 30 years ago, and when Latin fell by the wayside (I remember it was still an elective just before I got to high school), there was still no coding in its wake.

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Allow Me to Introduce My Quantified Self

The Hardware Boom Opens Up a Whole New Playground

Published at ExitEvent


"Hi, my name is Joe. I run 4.1 miles a day at a 7:52 mile clip and I sleep 6.6 hours a night at 55.4% deep sleep. I have 435 friends, 1359 followers, and 1267 connections. I went to 136 places in 24 cities last year, and I drove an average of 32.6 miles a day to get there (at 42.2 miles per hour). In the last 30 days, I answered 28 questions, read 121 articles, and wrote another 12. I currently rank #7 in cool points, but also #3 in douchebaggery."

OK, so most of that is fake. Except that last one.

But frankly, I'm so excited about the opportunities springing up around the quantified self, brought about by the Hardware Revolution and the Internet of Things, that I don't want to get too specific with my examples just for a lame opening joke. There's data in them there hills, and the resulting gold rush is going to make Web 2.0 look like the dot-com boom.

Most of the last ten-or-so years of the Internets has been marked by a movement to find out exactly what it is we like. Our preferences are requested, cajoled, bartered, and begged out of us in order to produce timely, effective ads that can be shoved back at us.

That worked and it didn't. It worked in the sense that thousands of companies were formed and some, like Google for instance, rocketed to great success on the promise of a better advertisement. It hasn't in the sense that the ads still aren't that targeted, aren't that effective, and the Internet has got to be about more than pushing flavored vodka at me on every page I visit.

The beauty of quantification is that we can finally start using the web to discover and better ourselves instead of telling it what we think we want. Quantification doesn't lie, nor is it susceptible to moods or bias.

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Social Media Marketing in a Post-Twitter World

It's Time to Start Thinking About What's Next

Published at ExitEvent


While everyone is simply giddy with the notion of Twitter going public, I thought I might, in what I hope is true entrepreneurial fashion, pose the question no one is asking:

What happens when Twitter becomes irrelevant?

That noise you just heard is the cumulative shriek of thousands of social media marketing ninjas. I'm not saying they're reading this article, they just feel a disturbance in the Twitterverse, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and suddenly stopped posting things like: "Totally pumped and excited for [insert some bullshit business thing here] #motivated #neverstopdreaming #bieber"

I'll be the first to admit that I'm a Twitter slacker. I don't follow a lot of people, and 90% of the time I look at my feed, it's full of garbage. I have other accounts, because you can, and those are a bit more varied in terms of topic, but it's still a lot of noise for a little bit of signal.

I use hashtags at conferences when I know what I'm posting will be relevant to those following the hashtag within the next 90 minutes or so. I've followed hashtags on breaking news, which is where I think Twitter's value is (near real-time information), but never on television shows or movies I happen to be watching. Same for sporting events. If I want the opinion on a blown call from thousands of know-it-all douchebags, I'll just go to the game.

I can't tell you how much hashtagging a slogan bugs me. Every time you do that, Satan gets a nickel.

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you suck

why the new civility was doomed from the start

Published at Intrepid Media


You suck.

You're terrible. Everything you know is wrong. And possibly also evil, but definitely stupid. You take the world way too seriously. What you care about is trivial and superficial.

You believe everything you hear and read except those things which are true and unbiased. In fact, you blindly accept as fact a whole bunch of lies and propaganda generated by sources who have in mind only the best interests of the worst kind of people.

Now as for me, let's get one thing perfectly clear. I'm right. My principles are driven by higher intellectual thinking, a greater capacity for empathy for my fellow man, and the kind of wisdom that can only be learned from a lifetime of experiences and circumstances that you could not possibly have understood or withstood.

I can't fathom why you act the way you do, and since I don't get it, I will judge it. Harshly. With extreme prejudice. Wait. Not prejudice. Let's make that extreme righteousness.

You're going to need to face the fact that you don't make sense. You're not even close. And it's not because of the validity of your argument. That's just a smokescreen for your complete lack of capacity to recognize that what's wrong with you is latent, passive, part of your makeup.

See, it's not even your fault. You're just a dupe. But I'll hold it against you just the same.

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