Archive for Business

Web 2.0/3.0/X.X??? This One’s for the Marketers

Expert online marketer Andy Beal was not only kind enough to sit down with me for an interview, but was also kind enough to mention Road Trip 2.0 on his much-acclaimed website, Marketing Pilgrim. For those of you who may have ended up here from the Marketing Pilgrim post, welcome!

Imagine this:

You’re driving around Boston on Lifecation. You’re looking for the best Irish pub in town, and have no idea where to start or who to ask. You prefer a bit of a dive bar with sports playing on multiple TVs and a late 20s/early 30s crowd. You are looking for a hotel in a specific price range, and would like for it to be near the bar…you don’t know how late of a night it’s going to be, since the Red Sox are in the World Series, after all.

As you drive into the city, your GPS/Cell/WiMAX Phone displays a comparative list of bars and hotels within 5 miles of each other. Each bar/hotel combination also displays the level of matching criteria based on your previously-input requirements. A dive bar with sports on multiple TVs, but with a college crowd, might display as matching 67%. It may be paired with a hotel two miles away that meets your price range, amenities, and availability at 90%.

A couple of blocks later, you happen upon a bar and hotel combination that are both 90%+ matching your criteria and within a mile of each other. You set it to book your room, park at the hotel, check in, and head straight to the pub just in time for the opening pitch.

Andy mentioned the fact that so many people are trying to define Web 3.0 as Web 2.0 becomes more settled into our marketing psyches.

In my opinion, Web 3.0 is in the works and it’s a combination of three key things that are happening:

  • Microformats
  • GPS/Geographic Location
  • Open Wireless Networks

What Are Microformats?

Read the rest of this entry »

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Mobile Lifestyle Lesson: Always Have Something to Do (Especially if it’s analog)

Today, I’m spending most of the day as a work day…I just spent quite a bit of time putting receipts into our shared Google Spreadsheet, which we’re using to manage and balance expenses.

One of the things that I’ve learned on this trip is to always have something to do, because you never know when you’re going to not be able to do what you intended to, when you’ll be waiting on someone for something, or when you’ll end up on a Metro with 20 minutes to burn.  This happened a bit ago as I ducked into Starbucks to get some work done…no power outlet and my laptop battery was dead.  Here I was, with a stack of receipts and nothing to do with them.  Since I rode my bike here, I’m a few miles from the van and my books that I usually bring along with me.

What I did have, however, was the smaller of my two digital cameras and a stack of receipts.  I also have a group of virtual assistants based out of India through a company called GetFriday.

As I was organizing my receipts, waiting for a power outlet to open up, I seriously considered photographing each receipt, sending the images to GetFriday, having them enter the data into a pre-formatted spreadsheet, then I would just copy that to the shared spreadsheet.  The idea is that I would be able to at least make progress in the meantime rather than simply wasting the time away, listening to my iPod, waiting for an outlet to open up.

Cumbersome?  Absolutely.

Luckily, as I was organizing the last of the receipts, a table opened up near an outlet and I input them myself.

But, I think that this exemplifies the mantra of “Always have something to do” and what becomes possible.  When I talk to people about outsourcing, the first response I always get back is something to the effect of “I have no idea what I would outsource.”  Until I made the jump and hired them, neither did I.

In this instance, what would otherwise be considered laziness could have turned into an efficiency.

Next time, though, I’ll be sure to have a book on hand.

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How to Destroy Your Cell Phone…and Why You Should Do It

If you’re anything like me, you keep constant tabs on your cell phone. It’s your leash. Your connection to others who are so very important to you. Regardless of how often you actually answer it, etc, and like with checking your email, you’re obsessive compulsive about seeing if anyone called.

I’ve been looking at this trip to push a lot of my boundaries…something to use in order to force myself to redefine various realms, definitions, and characteristics of comfort.

On this trip, one of those ways is through my personal connectivity. I want to know what it’s like to free my mental time and space for things other than checking my cell phone or worrying about if I’m connected or not.

Now, I don’t have a choice. It’s not convenient for me or others, but I won’t know how truly valuable that convenience is until I remove it from the equation.

By destroying my cell phone, I’ve made myself virtually unreachable and unable to reach others when I may need to do so. I have backups, such as using Skype through my cellular internet card, but it’s far from convenient or luxurious.

By trashing my cell phone and getting a Skype phone, not only do I reduce my personal and business operating costs from over $80/month to $6 per month. This $6 gets me unlimited call time to any land line in the United States. I can call any other Skype user in the world for free. For an additional $3 per month, I can place unlimited calls to land lines in an additional 28 countries.

I can do all of this…so long as I’m within range of an accessible WiFi network.

From many perspectives, this makes sense.

From many other perspectives, it doesn’t.

And that’s what I’m about to find out.

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Andy Beal Video Interview: Online Reputation Monitoring, His Upcoming Book, and Traveling with Geekery.

Before we left Raleigh/Durham, Andy was kind enough to join me for a video interview. He’s making great progress in the realm of online reputation monitoring and management, and is quite possibly the top expert in the field, earning him the ability to co-author the upcoming book, Radically Transparent: Monitoring and Managing Reputations Online.

He and I worked together for several years and he has since gone on his own and now runs MarketingPilgrim.com, an online marketing blog with over 7,000 subscribers. I could go on and on and on with his credentials of speaking engagements, consulting, and groundbreaking blogging efforts. But, what I love most about Andy is his unshakable integrity and great conversations.

To see some of the great things that he’s contributed to the marketing community, check out these links here:

Without further ado, the first in our video interview series:

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Social Media Marketing Efforts for RoadTrip20.com, Part 01

One of the things that we’ve loved about this trip is being able to test some ideas and concepts for getting the word out about the website. As some of you know, I’ve become very interested in social media marketing and the future opportunities that exist in that realm…both for businesses and consumers.

Despite only two months from coming up with the idea of the trip to our departure, we pushed hard to also create presences in various realms of social media. While we’re not necessarily looking at road trip blogging to be our primary source of income, we did feel that the entire process, lessons, and adventures might be compelling and interesting enough to entrepreneurs, marketers, travelers, and other mobile lifestylers that we wanted people to be able to find this information if they were looking for it.

We also wanted to learn what works, what doesn’t, and what we didn’t know would work and did.

So, here’s our marketing/social/internet geekery that we have setup.

Social Networks: MySpace and FaceBook. Since we’re quite familiar with each site and already knew several people on there, it has been relatively easy to get started on those networks. In the coming weeks, we will also be utilizing each of the services’ groups functions in order to find other “Friends” who may be interested in what we are doing as well.

Photo Sharing: Flickr. We actually debated between using Flickr or using Google’s Picasa. I personally use Picasa because I love their photo management software. But, when it came down to it, Flickr just has more features and more ways to bend and break and shape their data and access. It was ultimately a combination of extensibility and network size that won us over.

With Flickr, we’re tagging each image with the city and state that it was taken, what the photo is of, and any other local landmarks. Despite being only 6 days into the trip, we’ve already had a couple of people find our images through this tagging, mark photos as favorites and comment on them as well.

Video Sharing: YouTube. This decision was pretty easy and straightforward. Yes, we have the option of going to Metacafe, MySpace Video, etc. (And still can distribute our videos there.) With limited internet connections and upload speeds, we decided to go solely with YouTube because of the size of their network. Surprisingly, the same day we posted our first video, we received a message from Passport America, offering us a sponsorship with a free membership offering a 50% discount to their network of RV parks.

Blogging: WordPress. The ability to utilize the largest network of plugins, along with a high-featured and high-supported platform put them square in the lead in our decision. For anyone looking to start a blog, I would absolutely recommend them. Alexi is relatively new to blogging and has often been amazed at the ability to quickly implement features and launch our blog.

So, those are the highlights of our social media marketing efforts. As they expand, we’ll keep everyone posted. Since we’re also just getting a lot of it off the ground, we’ll also let you know of how things grow and any tips and advice we may have for your campaign.

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