Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Podonomics on Wordpress is Now Live

Podonomics on Wordpress is now live. I'll be updating over there from now on. If you're reading this, click here to follow my thoughts on podcasting.

Big thanks to Jon for helping me through this. You're a gem. I can't thank you enough for doing this for me (as well as the laughs).

Monday, September 04, 2006

Dear Lord, Give Me Patience With Blogger

As you know, I loathe blogger. So, I've already started the process to move over to Wordpress. My domain name was registered months ago, and the template now sits waiting for me to post my thoughts. Yesterday, Jon started to import my posts from blogger to Wordpress. It didn't work, so Jon is going to try again.

But now, all my posts are messed up. Everything is being posted as one long paragraph. It looks sloppy and I have no clue how to fix this.


CBS Should Use YouTube to Air 9/11 Documentary

After paying out millions of dollars in fines due to Janet Jackson baring her boob during the 2004 Super Bowl half time show, CBS is worried about airing a 9/11 documentary due to the profanity and graphic images.

I saw this documentary on CBS (or was it ABC) about 3-years ago. I taped it and I still have it on VHS. The documentary captured the sounds, sights and emotions of that day. It's also the only known footage of the first plane hitting the North tower. It's available for sale on Amazon.

This documentary was filmed by 2 French brothers - Jules and Gedeon Naudet - and the original intent of the documentary was to capture a typical day of a rookie firefighter. Of course, that typical day turned into one of the most dramatic days in American history.

It is indeed graphic. The brothers talked about some of the things they saw, but chose not to film. For example, a woman exited one of the elevators and she was engulfed in flames, according to one of the brothers. She was in the elevator when the plane hit and the kerosene dripped down the elevator shaft and she was the unfortunate victim. One of the brothers said he's been haunted by that image ever since.

There was another scene where you could hear the sounds of those who jumped from the top floors hitting the ground below. I'll never forget hearing that sound in the film. Never.

So, I can understand CBS' nervousness. They don't want to be hit with more fines. However, to censor the sights and sounds of that day doesn't make sense to me. Each of us saw the mayhem, others experienced it first-hand. I remember being in my apartment at 2am after sleeping for about 6-hours, totally exhausted by the reality of that day. I was jumpy. Everytime I heard a plane go overhead, I sat up, worried that it was coming for my apartment. It took me 3-days before I could sleep without the lights on, and even then, every little sound I heard woke me up.

I wasn't there in New York that day, but man, those images were just so surreal. My sisters and I thought it was a movie. When you don't grow up around violence and you see it happening on TV in real life, we as North Americans can only equate it to a blockbuster Hollywood film.

At the end of the day and at this point in my life, nothing surprises me anymore. Emotions are still raw, even five years later. So, if CBS is nervous about airing the documentary, use YouTube. There's no censorship and then people can have conversations about what they saw.

Now, I'm not advocating that the documentary be shown raw. The brothers who filmed the documentary did say that there were things they saw that they chose not to film. And frankly, I don't need to see human suffering on TV. It's the reason why I avoid films such as Saw, Hostel and anything produced by Quentin Tarantino.

However, put the video on YouTube and just let the conversations take place. Stop being so nervous and just let the people use the documentary as a way to remember and heal through dialogue.

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Thursday, August 31, 2006

Podcamp and Why Driving With Jay Moonah is Safer Than Flying

I'm heading down to Podcamp next weekend with the ever so popular Jay Moonah and his band, Uncle Seth. One day, I'll be able to say, "I shared a 10-hr car ride with that band."

We won't be the only Canadians down there as I found out by way of Mark Blevis' blog that he's heading down with Bob and Julien.

Podcamp is taking place in Boston the weekend of September 9th & 10th and I just can't wait to see the city. I've heard so much about it and I'm going to take the opportunity to do some sightseeing while I'm there.

Chris and Bryan, just 2 of the many who have organized Podcamp, have been so gracious with their time, helping me to prepare my presentations and just generally being so nice. It's no wonder they say that Bostonians are so much like Canadians because their geniality is quite similiar to our own. I'm looking forward to chatting about Battlestar Galactica with Chris and finally speaking in person with Bryan.

Now, why is Podcamp important? I explain it on Bryan's podcast, but just to sum up, you get the practical advice, tips from the trenches instead of a pie-in-the-sky theory. If you want to podcast, Podcamp will give you a Google-like view of how to get started, how to plan, how to publish and how to promote in just 2-days.

Plus, you'll get to talk to the very people who are doing podcasting themselves. You'll not only learn the how, but you'll also learn what to avoid. Oh yeah and admission is free. You just pay to get there, to stay there and drinks later on.

I'll be presenting on 2 topics - Limited Edition Podcasts & Planning a Killer Podcast. Actually, they'll be more like conversations as I enjoy interactivity rather than me droning on and on for 30-minutes.

I may will do a 5-minute lightning talk on why you can't use podPress with Wordpress if you're using multiple feeds. I know I'll be in a mood to geek-out.

At first, I was going to fly down to Boston. May actually work out to be cheaper than spending the money on gas. But then my sister reminded me that September 11th - the day I return - is the 5-year anniversary of that tragic day when so many lost their lives.

My sister reminded me that all 4 planes left Boston that fateful morning and it'd be just my luck that some wacko may choose the very plane that I'm on to pay homage to the 19 hijackers. She went on to chastise me for wanting to put her though such grief when everything in her life is going so well.

(**sigh**) Siblings... Can I send them back? Yes, both of them?

At the end of the day, my sister's emotional state won out. And because I'm having way too much fun with podcasting, I shall drive down to Boston instead and listen to Jay sing and talk the whole way.

I'll update the blog with pictures, tales and stories from Podcamp. If you can make it down, please do so as I'd love to meet you and share ideas on podcasting.

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Global Nature of Podcasting

I was listening to a podcast today and was amazed at how Toronto-centric it was. The subject of the podcast can apply to most professionals in the English speaking world, but references to Chinatown and the CN Tower are not known to a global audience.

I recently interviewed Steve Pratt, Director of CBC Radio 3. CBC Radio 3 is a podcast that features independent Canadian musical artists. He said that about 70% of those who listen to his podcast are outside of Canada.

When podcasting, remember that the majority of your listeners will come from outside your geographical area, whether its your city, your province/state, your country, even your hemisphere.

Here are some tips to help you to be more cognizant of your global audience:

  1. If you mention a landmark, explain what it is. It's not enough to say, "I couldn't see the CN Tower on my way downtown due to the smog," without adding, "The CN Tower is considered the world's tallest free standing structure that's in the heart of the downtown financial district and on a clear sunny day, you can see it from about 100 kilometres north of the city where I live."

  2. If you say an acronym, explain what it means. Unless you're speaking to your industry peers, avoid jargons and acronyms. If you do use them, explain 'em. Once, I used the acronym NBA in a podcast interview. I then explained that the NBA stands for the National Basketball Association and they're a professional league in North America. I distinctly remembered that I'm reaching out to an international audience and not everyone will be familiar with what NBA means.

  3. Release your podcast the same time each week and ignore time of day. Since you're releasing a podcast that will be listened to by a global audience, you will never be able to satisfy the different timezones that your listeners live in. Some will be fast asleep when you release your newest episode. Instead, aim to release your podcast on the same day each week, rather than killing yourself to get it out at a particular time each day every week. Less stress in my eyes.
Just 3 things I can think of really quickly. Can you add any more?

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Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Un-Geek Dinner in Toronto Last Night

Mitch Joel and Michael Seaton organized a Geek Dinner last night at the Houston Steak And Ribs House here in Toronto. I attended along with a few dozen other people.

I call it the Un-Geek Dinner because mostly everyone that attended is in the interactive space, but don't do any lick of coding in their day-to-day job.

If you don't know who Mitch is, he's like the Canadian version of Seth Godin, bald head and all. What shocked me about this guy is not only how humble he is, but his height. I very rarely meet anyone taller than me, so I was taken aback at how tall he is. Don't let his picture fool you (as it did me).

And Michael is just excellent at connecting people. If he understands what you do and if he likes you (that's 2 stars for me), he's got your back. Michael is also (finally) planning a podcast, so I'm sure he'll report more on his blog when it's ready to go. I believe his recent co-hosting duties on InsidePR has given him the jolt he needed.

I met quite a few people last night, but here's a smattering of the ones that stick out for some reason or another:

  • Ed Lee - I was familiar with who he is due to all the comments he leaves on the various blogs I visit. He has such a lovely English accent and there was a point where Mitch, myself and Terry Fallis encouraged him to start podcasting.

  • Sulemaan Ahmed - He's in charge of the interactive group over at Sears Travel. Quite an interesting and animated guy. We chatted at length about social media, branding and just taking over the world.

  • Luca del Rosso - He organizes The Power Within conferences and was just so passionate about what he does. He explained how he's able to get big names to come to Toronto and speak. More specifically, Luca is able to fill the room with senior executives because it's cheaper for these executives to attend the event than to bring in Bill Clinton on their own for $100,000.

  • Kathryn Lagden - She's the new General Manager over at AIMS Canada. This lady was taller than me and we giggled at how we purposely wear heels to networking events so we can tower over everyone else. She told me that she was hoping for a honeymoon over at AIMS, but has been running around getting a new website and blog launched.

  • Stuart MacDonald - I have never met Stuart in person, only conversed with him over email after he left a comment on my blog about my reaction to Mesh not podcasting. He's a jovial guy who seems larger than life in terms of his personality. If you need to juice up your party, call Stuart. He'll add the spark. He's very passionate about the online travel industry, simply because he was the one who helped expedia.ca grow to dominate the Canadian market. He's on the CIRA board and you can read more about his views on his blog.

  • Terry Fallis - Co-host of InsidePR, I met Terry at Podcasters Across Borders. At first, I didn't recognize him with the suit on, but that soon passed when I saw him smile. Of course, we talked about podcasting and he shared with me the equipment he's using to record his podcasts. Terry is just so engaging and I'll be seeing him again at the Podcast & Portable Media Expo in California.

  • Mark Evans - Was a no-show and I was hoping to catch up with him. I wanted to ask him why he stopped podcasting, but hey, they'll be other events.
This dinner reminded me about the importance of networking. If you don't show your face and let people know who you are, you lose out.

It was great to meet so many people in person that I've been reading about online. Nothing can take the place of human contact and I encourage all of you hiding behind your computers to attend your industry networking events, conferences and trade shows just to relax and have a gadget-free good time.

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Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Ron Moore at Podcast Expo

In 30-days, I'll be making my way down to southern California for the Podcast & Portable Media Expo. While I still have to book my flight and hotel room, I'm one of the featured speakers at this event so I will be there.

And now, I can brag to anyone who will listen that I will be sharing the same stage as Ron Moore. Well, not directly, but we'll be at the expo on the same day presenting information on podcasting to a hungry audience, albeit 6-hours apart.

Shall I scream for excitement now or when I meet him? Probably now so I don't act like a bumbling fool or turn to gel when I finally shake hands with the man that I consider a sci fi genius. I'll take pictures, I promise.

For those of you who don't know (which is probably the majority of you reading this), I love Battlestar Galactica (BG). Love it! I love the show so much that I named the corporate arm of my company after the fictional planet on the show (plus, it's a variation in spelling of my astrological sign - that's what I tell those not versed in all things BG).

Ron Moore is the genius who brought the BG franchise back to life. I've seen the series from the 1970s and 1980s, and in one word - BORING. However, under Ron's direction, the re-imagined series that debuted on The Sci Fi channel 2-years ago is by far a ratings and cult hit.

What Ron has done so well is use podcasting to answer fans' questions about where the series is going. He also takes the time to explain why he chose to take a certain direction with a character or why a storyline turned out the way it did. He totally "gets it" when it comes to using social media - in particular podcasting - to engage in a dialogue with the fans of BG.

If you're looking for a podcasting conference to attend where you can learn everything and anything about podcasting, I highly encourage you to make your way to the Podcast & Portable Media Expo. And look me up while you're down there.

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Monday, August 28, 2006

The Tragic World of Web 2.0

Here's just a small list of the weirdest things I heard over the past few days.

  • A man accidentally dropped his iPod in the toilet on an airplane. Due to his accident, the pilot announces an emergency, lands the plane, and both the canine unit and the bomb squad were called out. He's then carted off by Customs, grilled at length about his ties to any worldwide terrorist group, then was let go. He tells his story here. Guess he dropped a pod-load?

  • I was at a BBQ on Sunday and I bumped into an old friend who was wearing a tensor band around her hand. When I asked what happened, she said she wasn't sure, but it probably had to do with the excessive amount of instant messaging she did the previous week. She had just moved back into her parents home and was so excited about using a computer again that she strained a tendon in her hand while text messaging her friends.

    I dropped to my knees and howled in laughter while she stood and looked at me in shock. "What's so funny?" she asked me, wondering why I found her injury so jovial.

    "Extreme texting!" I cried out while in tears. "You sprained your hand due to extreme texting." I had to get this lady to hold me up with her good arm while I collapsed in hysterics under the weight of this tragic (yet absolutely hilarious) tale.

  • (I can't possibly make this one up) I was in a sales meeting telling the small team of marketing folks how blogging and podcasting can help them build loyalty with their customers. The head cheese, the VP of Marketing, said that she's not interested in blogging because it was launched 12-months ago and only young kids are interested in it.

    I almost choked on the coffee I was sipping on. Then, I sniffed it to double-check that no one spiked it. "Blogging?" I questioned. "Yes," said the head cheese, "Blogging is too new for us to explore. None of the executives we're targetting are even reading those things. Let's focus on podcasting instead."

    I stood there for a second wondering if I had time warped back about 5-years, then noticed that it couldn't be true because I saw the word podcasting on one of my slides. Plus, one of the guys on her team had this evil smirk on his face which told me that he thought his boss was an idiot. Instead of correcting her in the meeting, I sent her an email with some blogging stats (by way of my pal Andy Wibbels). Have mercy.
That's it for now. I should write a book. Web 2.0 As Told By Dummies.

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Promoting Your Podcast Released Today

My colleague, Jason Van Orden, has released a book today called Promoting Your Podcast. I can fully endorse this book for a number of reasons:

  • 1. I got an advanced copy and give it my thumbs up.

  • 2. Jason simplifies the process that gives you tips on how to promote your podcast to gain a slew of listeners.

  • 3. And he has a couple of podcasts so he really knows his stuff.
Not only do I encourage you to buy his book, but Jason has a few bonuses only available to the first 200 orders. He's offering a complimentary 1-hour consultation, a weekly promotional checklist and video tutorials that you will find invaluable.

Jason's book will become a must have for podcasters and podcasting enthusiasts. Grab your copy now.

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Sunday, August 27, 2006

Podcast Etiquette - How to Make Your Guest Look Like a Star

I train alot of entrepreneurs and small business owners over the phone on how to create their podcast strategy. On one of my recent teleclasses, one of the callers said that there needs to be some podcasting etiquette, rules on how to do an interview the right way.

So here's my list of do's and don'ts when it comes to podcast interviews, specifically focusing on how to make your guest look like a star (or thought leader).

If you're the podcast producer:

  1. Do research on the person you're going to interview. Prepare some questions, get their bio and write down all the things that make them great.

  2. Do get the spelling and pronounciation of your guest's name correct before you start recording (This happened to me once where the person kept calling me Lee-za instead of Lee-sa through the 30-minute podcast interview).

  3. On the scheduled day and time of the interview, don't leave your guest scrambling to figure out how to contact you. Since you arranged the interview, you call or skype your guest.

  4. Do send interview questions at least a week before the interview. The day before is no good.

  5. Do remind your guest that the interview is being recorded. This will put your guest at ease and help him or her to relax.

  6. Do let your guest do the talking. He or she is the expert, so let their expertise shine through. I was on a podcast interview once where it took the podcast host about 4-minutes to introduce me, his thoughts on the subject and how excited he was to have me on his podcast. Four minutes!

  7. Do edit all the verbal clutter your guest makes. This will cause you extra work, but doing so makes your guest sound polished and articulate.

  8. Do follow up with a thank you email and a link to the podcast interview that your guest appears in.

  9. Do provide instructions on how the person can access and download their interview (not everyone is well versed on how to listen to a podcast).

  10. Do provide listeners with a URL to your guest's website on your blog under a special section called Show Resources.

  11. Do provide a blurb that your guest can copy & paste and send off to their colleagues, network and/or mailing list. This helps you to grab more listeners and gain additional subscribers by using your guest's database to promote your podcast.

What else would you add?

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