Dec 152011
 

We’re geeks who use Twitter, right?  And for those of us who use Twitter to its actual potential, we take advantage of Twitter lists.

While I realize that some people organize their own lists in their own way because they have their own method to their madness, then there are those common threads that most of us probably can agree on.

Just how many of us have Twitter lists that overlap?

Did you know that Twitter caps the number of lists that you can have at 20? BUT, if you follow someone else’s list, it’d only count as one!  Imagine the reduction in overhead thanks to consolidation.

For the past 2 years, I have been trying to get the South Florida technology community on the same page, and I think that this would be a great way to start.

Let’s take a look at my lists for example:

    • https://twitter.com/#!/technomensch/org-acts/
    • https://twitter.com/#!/technomensch/fl-events
    • https://twitter.com/#!/technomensch/flsocialmedia
    • https://twitter.com/#!/technomensch/sflgeeks
    • https://twitter.com/#!/technomensch/sfl-food-geeks

Now, there is no way that I’m going to say that this list is 100% complete by any stretch of the imagination.

With the number of people we network with, combined with how frequently new users join Twitter, it’s almost impossible for all of us to keep track of everyone.

…And I’ll be the first to admit that it could probably use some trimming and moving around.

But as the South Florida SOCIAL Geeks, don’t we owe it to ourselves to at least make an attempt to share our knowledge with others?

 Posted by at 10:46 am
Sep 252011
 

As most of you may remember, about 4 weeks ago, Outback Steakhouse held a promotion where they were giving away free Steak dinners.  However, unlike almost every promotion on the web today, they chose to mail the dinner vouchers through the USPS as opposed to making them available for download to be printed out.

Since neither my father, nor I, have received ours, I, of course, went to their Facebook FAN page to see what recourse is available.  Like any good promotion, the page was filled with both positive and negative responses.  Those who got their vouchers thanked Outback for their dinner and expressed their enthusiasm.  Those that did not get their vouchers or got their mailings only to find the the coupon missing were told to
contact our team http://outback.com/contact  and we will take care of you.
Out of all the responses I saw from the last 72 hours, I was grateful to see at least one customer was willing to come back to tell the rest of us how it turned out for them
I just want to say thank you! I got my free steak dinner today.. After all the confusion and issues during the giveaway— it was great to know that you guys handled it! Can’t wait to enjoy it!!!
Personally, while I do want my free steak dinner, as a social geek, I would also like to know why Outback chose to use such an antiquated method of reward distribution.

Chick-Fil-A
attempted something extremely similar about a month ago when they gave out free breakfast vouchers.  Not only was it successful because participants could immediately print out their coupons, but if someone lost theirs, the voucher was easy to reprint without any interaction with the Chick-Fil-A team.  This probably saved them time and money on mailings, stamps, and issue resolutions.
I hope Outback learns from their mistakes with this promotion and fixes them for the next one.

{SIDENOTE: I will keep this post updated if I hear back from Outback}

  • Did you participate in the promotion?
  • Have you gotten yours yet?
  • If you didn’t get it, how has Outback responded, or reached out to you?

{UPDATE 9/29/2011} Since posting this entry and reaching out to Outback through Twitter, I have received a response from Outback Steakhouse’s marketing team.  This response not only included a direct tweet, but also an offer to call and speak with me directly.  Already, that earned them some points back in my book.

It would appear as though they chose to go with the snail mail to make the voucher seem more special, and to insure that it was truly redeemed by one per person without being printed out multiple times.  This makes sense, and something that I should have thought of.  For that, I withdraw my complaint and respect their decision to go through this process instead.

They also explained that the vouchers were being sent out in at least 2 different batches and that appeared as though both mine, and my father’s, were in that second batch.  However, to address my concerns, in addition to those vouchers, they offered to FedEx me and dad 2 each an additional voucher.  

I thank @Outback for their professionalism.  They uniquely utilized Social Media through their marketing strategy as well as how they responded to various complaints.  I also look forward to continuing this newly developed relationship.

 Posted by at 10:55 am
Feb 052011
 

If you’re a member of this community, or reading this post, then I have to assume that you, like myself, are interested in helping to put Florida on the national, if not international, technology map.

What is the Startup Bus?

For those of you who have never heard of the StartupBus, imagine The Apprentice meets The Amazing Race meets Incubate Miami, but with a technological twist to build a start-up from scratch ON THE BUS.

Five buses, one from each of the following cities, are headed to SouthBySouthwest in Austin, TX: San Francisco, New York, Cleveland, Chicago, and Miami.

Since we are the South Florida Social Geeks, Steve Repetti, from Radwebtech, and I are helping the bus leaving from Miami search for The South’s best and brightest to join us on this journey to Austin.

But, before you sign up, keep in mind that this trip is not for those of you with the faint of heart.

Don’t think this is going to be your standard road-trip, oh no.  In fact, you could almost say that this is the marathon of start-up competitions.  Not only do you have to have the drive and determination that powers the entrepreneurial spirit, but you’ve got to have the endurance to live on lack of sleep and be willing to live for a few days with complete strangers.

Each bus will have an estimated 25 to 30 people, with skills ranging from Coders, Graphic Designers, Webmasters, Copy Editors, Technical Writers, and Social Media Specialists to people with financial and business backgrounds to those people who are Creative/Artistic, and like to think outside the box.

Just like an Incubate event, those who have great startup ideas will be given time to present their proposal to the bus.  Then, everyone on the bus will be given time to mingle and group up into different teams.  You could end up part of a team, or if you are really passionate about your own idea, you could even spend the entire bus working on it yourself (but where’s the fun in that).   Your team could develop a killer web application, or if you find that none of you are developers, you might just end up with jaw-dropping a power-point business model that will blow everyone away.  It will literally be a free-for-all until we get to SxSW, where all the teams from the various buses will be given the opportunity to present their in front of some of biggest venture capitalist around.

Let that sink in for a second.  You’ll be presenting to the venture capitalists.  That means that there is the potential, even if you’re not the team chosen to win, that some investor out there might say, “Hey, we really like that idea and want to talk more about it with you.”

Now, even though the entire bus might not end up together as a single team, this is still a national competition and the people on this bus would be seen as representing “The South”.  That’s why this South Florida Social Geek wants to make the contingent from Florida as prominent as possible.  We will be wearing our southern state pride loud and proud, laying down the smack and doing some trash-talking.  We want to show the rest of the country at the single largest technological start-up conference in the nation that “The South”,  not San Francisco, not New York, not Cleveland, not Chicago, and not Los Angeles is the place to be.  Let’s show them that we have the talent so they will want to either move here, or set up some offices here.

How do I get on the Startup Bus?

If this is something that has your interest, keep in mind that space on the bus is extremely limited, so there are a few hoops you’ll have to go through to get seat on the bus.

  1. Go to http://startupbus.com and click on “Find Out More: Connect with Facebook
  2. Wait for someone to “vouch” for you.
  3. While you are waiting, leave a comment below telling me why you think I should vouch for you. We are only given 2 invites/people we can vouch for, so you better make it a compelling argument.  And remember, to the right are your friends who want to get on the bus. Vouch for one of them, or vouch for someone via email, but vouch wisely.  These may be the people you’re relying on to launch a company.
  4. NOTE: leaving a comment below IS NOT the same as submitting your reasons to the StartupBus.  What we are asking for is why we should vouch for you and give you one of our limited invites.  Don’t be surprised that there are no comments showing up because they are being screened, kept private.
  5. Once you’ve been vouched for, you’ll be asked to tell the StartupBus group why you think you’re the the most scrappy hacker, do-er, thinker, designer or connector and how that’s going to help you to go toe-to-toe with some of the best minds in startups.  Personally, I would recommend that you mention in your application that you were referred by the South Florida Social Geeks, perhaps mention me and, or Steve by name, since it couldn’t hurt.
  6. Then, the StartupBus team will pick the best of the best to get a seat on the bus.

What if I want to be a sponsor for the Startup Bus?

If riding on a bus for 3 days with complete strangers isn’t your cup of tea, but you like the idea of The Startup Bus and would like to donate, we are also looking for local financial sponsors to help ease the financial burdens of each individual rider:

  • StartupBus participation costs:
    • $100 of the participation fee is a non-refundable ticket that guarantees your seat
    • An additional $100 for a refundable contribution to ensure we can cover all the cost
  • SxSW admission
    • The Interactive Badge alone is $750
  • Hotel
    • March 7th 
      • We’re having a launch party here in South Florida the night before we leave, then getting up bright and early to leave.
    • March 8-10 for the ride to Austin, TX
    • March 11-16 while in Austin, TX
  • Flights home
    • The bus is only one way.  Each rider still has to be able to get home
  • Misc costs that we’d like to be able to cover as well:
    • Air flight to Miami, if needed (although we’d prefer you drive if you’re in the state).
    • Bus t-shirts to showcase the logos of the sponsors
    • Food and Taxi/Bus/transportation for the week while in Austin.

Think about it.  Not only would you and/or your company/organization be getting national exposure at SxSW, but you would also be helping support your fellow Southerners by helping them focus on the end goal without the daily financial burdens that they might otherwise incur on a trip such as this.  Remember, this is the same festival where Twitter and Foursquare got launched into the national spotlight.  If you want to sponsor the bus leaving from Miami, please contact either me or Steve directly.

What are you waiting for? The bus rolls out from Miami on March 8th.  SxSW goes from March 11th through March 20th.  Let’s get on the bus and head to SxSW!!!!!!

 Posted by at 3:41 pm
Jun 242010
 

So how many of you South Florida Geeks have ever heard of “w00tstock“???

How about Wil Wheaton?  Of course you have.

Adam Savage?  Yea, THAT Mythbusting Adam Savage.

Well, they’ve been touring the country with music-comedy duo Paul and Storm to “…present a night of songs, readings, comedy, demonstrations, short films, special guests, and other clever widgets born from and dedicated to the enthusiasms, obsessions, trials and joys of geek pride.”

Sure they’ve gone to places like LA, Seattle, Portland, Chicago, Minneapolis, but as far as I can tell, they haven’t reached the East Coast (yet).

But that was before I had anything to say about it.

While I’m sure that places like NY, or NC, or VA might be trying to get them, I want to make South Florida one of their next stops.

According to Wil’s own blog:

Q: Will you come to NAME OF MY CITY for another w00tstock?

A: If you can get 300 of your friends together, we’ll probably come do a show for you.

So guess what, the count begins right here, with #1- me, the South Florida Social Geek.

Can we get at 300 Florida geeks together all in one place?

Tampa.  Orlando.  Sarasota.  Naples.  Gainesville.  Panama City.  Daytona.  Etc.  I’m looking at you.

Let’s put our differences aside and work together.  We all want the same thing, to geek out.

To show your support, just leave a comment below with the following information:

  • Name
  • City in Florida
  • Why you think “w00tstock” should come to Florida

Then help spread the word.

It’s time that we show the rest of the country that South Florida’s Silicon Beach is one of the great geek capitals of the country.

NOTE: After leaving a comment, you can do 1 of 6 things to hear if are able to book them:

  1. Follow me, @sflsocialgeeks, on Twitter
  2. Join our meetup by clicking on the logo in the sidebar
  3. “Like” our FAN Page on Facebook
  4. Join our Facebook Group
  5. Join our LinkedIn Group
  6. Subscribe to this blog’s RSS feed
Jun 192010
 

Thanks to everyone that came out on Friday, June 11th, to our TechCrunch Meetup.

For those of you who missed out, or did not hear about it, it all started on Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010 after TechCrunch announced that they were going to be holding Meetups nation-wide to celebrate their 5th birthday.  Later that same day, Steve Repetti, the Fort Lauderdale Organizer and member of the Data Portability Board, contacted me to inquire if our Social Geeks group might be interested in participating/attending.  After a few emails back-and-forth, I expressed that not only were we interested, but that I would welcome the opportunity to help plan/organize it with him.   It didn’t take long for us to formulate a plan and the pieces started to fall into place.

Our first successful hurtle came with the securing of our venue.  We knew we wanted this to be a party, not an “event”, and that being South Floridians, we wanted it by, or on the beach.  Enter Ocean Manor Hotel.  Located just behind their property sat probably one of the best kept secrets in South Florida, the Bamboo Beach Tiki Bar:

Within just a few short days, the number of meetups worldwide quickly rose and we quickly found ourselves competing with over 363 other Meetups worldwide just to get ONE of 50 tickets, worth almost $3000, to  their TechCrunchDisrupt conference next year in New York.

But we were not going to sit ideally by while other cities tried to pass us.  We reached out to the rest of our community and the response was incredible.  The result was, what we believe, was one of the best parties the South Florida tech community had seen in a long time.

By Friday, June 11th, the South Florida technological community had gathered together to show the rest of the country that ‘Silicon Beach’ is not just a slogan, but a state of mind.

We had representatives from several of the major local technology groups show up, including:

Deb Griffith from Incubate Miami

Steve Repetti from RadWebTech

Alex de Carvalho and Dean Bairaktaris.

Mark Laymon and the crew from NewTech

So now that we were gathered all in one place, we needed a way to show off to the rest of the country.

Enter, the man of the night.

The one-man Paparazzi.

The streaming specialist.

Francisco Jose Palacio Junior

See the results of all his hard work on our #tcmeetupsouthflorida channel over at livestream.com. Broadcast Live Free

And what would a birthday party be without cake:

So Happy 5th Birthday TechCrunch.  Here’s to another 5 years:


To see the whole album, and to tag yourself, we have two albums set up

 Posted by at 9:57 am