The Uptake

Lessons learned, words written

Page 3

News Flash: This Makes You Sound Dumb

I’ve had the distinct pleasure of working with Hillary from Blue Microphones a few times over the past couple of years. One of the best parts about emailing with her is that she never speaks like a corporate clone.

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So long TNW, hello FullContact.

There are times in life when you truly learn the meaning of the word bittersweet. Today is one of those times for me. After 3 ½ years at The Next Web, it’s time to move on to the next set of challenges. I am absolutely thrilled to announce that I will be joining FullContact effective August 1st. While we haven’t figured out a title yet, I’ll be focused on helping FullContact grow its marketing efforts.

I joined TNW as a part-time news writer while I was looking for a new job as a nurse. Little did I know that a short time later I would completely change career paths. Over the course of my time with the company, I came to know TNW as family. There have been countless times that Zee, Patrick and many others have gone above and beyond any reasonable expectations in order to help me fix personal problems, drive the growth of the site and to build something from nothing. As I sit here...

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The Dance

There are a few terms that I use to describe myself. The primary term is “problem solver”, but a close second is “observer”. It’s not just people-watching, but rather I’m a professional overhearer. That’s my word. You can use it if you want to. Some people would call it eavesdropping.

All too often I hear people talking about failure in their sales funnel. Almost without fail, they talk about each group as a separate entity. The problem? They’ve neglected the biggest part of their job - The dance.

There comes a point in your sales flow where every part of the team needs to work together, in a harmonious dance, in order to be successful. There is a constant flow of information that needs to be readily available, and it’s imperative that you have someone (or a number of someones) on the staff who can take that information and turn it into usable data.

Is your social team tracking...

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Rethinking Content: Email Marketing

I have a lot of thoughts about content, especially as it relates to content marketing and businesses as publishers. I tweet about this a lot, and I’ve even done some speaking on the subject, but I thought it was about time to write down some of these thoughts into a more coherent form.

First up, email.

If you were to go to your local mom & pop store, order something, have it delivered to your home and then wake up to their billboard in your yard the next day, how happy would you be?

Yet that’s exactly how we treat people when they provide us with their email address. That email address is, for most people, as close as they’ll come to providing us with a direct line of communication via the Internet. It’s every bit as real today as someone’s home address was 10 years ago.


I did an informal survey of my Twitter followers. Of those who responded, 98 percent of them stated that they...

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The Freedom in Letting Go

It’s 1am on a Friday morning. For the first time in longer than I care to remember, I am not afraid.

After losing my job a couple of years ago, I have spent every day since living in fear of being in that position again. But this past week, after talking to a few people and realizing that I have built up a marketable set of skills, I’m not afraid anymore.

What has happened because of that lack of fear is extraordinary. I have been able to tackle bigger problems, I’ve found true annoyances and figured out how to deal with them and I’ve been able to enact things that I know to be good sense in business.

Decisions by committee? Out. I was hired to do a job because people had faith that I would do it well so I’m exercising that autonomy.

Quiet reverence? Goodbye. I have a reputation. Be it good or bad, it is my own and I will own it in turn.

Humility related to product? Nope. We...

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Stupid Things Startups Do: Bad PR

The series continues! Today let’s talk about something that is potentially draining your finances while providing less ROI than any other purchase.

That’s right kids, we’re talking about outsourced PR!

Let’s set the record straight - There is a huge difference between good public relations and bad public relations. Good PR people (and companies) know that you need help defining and refining your brand’s message. They know how to get that perfected message in front of the right people.

But most of them suck. And you’re paying them a lot of money. And they’re providing you with negligible results. And you still keep doing it…

Almost without fail, you will get a better ROI by hiring a brand manager in house. But here’s the conundrum – they need to not drink your company Kool-Aid. They need to stay as objective as possible at all times, in order to help you reach the world with a...

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Stupid Things Startups Do: Hiring

I’m on a bit of a rant today, as those folks who follow me on Twitter might have noticed. But I’m once again reminded of the completely idiotic thing that startups and tech companies are doing, which are only serving to hurt the companies in the long run.

I think this is going to be a series of blog posts, so I’m going to tackle one topic at a time. First up on the list:

Hiring Based on Education

Are we really still doing this crap? It’s 2013 and you’re still posting your entry-level positions with a requirement for a BS or MBA? You’re posting jobs that have a category requirement of 0-2 years of experience, only to tell someone with 6 months that you want someone with more experience?

Stop it. You’re screwing yourself.

If there’s something that every single entrepreneur should know, it’s that formal education counts for very little in the scope of ability. Yet every single day I...

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Dave McClure’s Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

I’ve spent the past three days in Omaha, Nebraska at the Big Omaha conference. It’s undoubtedly the premiere conference in the US when it comes to entrepreneurship. I was excited by the speaker lineup this year, as I am every year, but pleasantly surprised to see that 500 Startups’ Dave McClure would be taking to the stage.

Here’s the thing – Dave has a potty mouth. We all know this. Omaha knew this before he took to the stage, and he even forewarned people both verbally and in his slides that he would likely use language that some people would deem to be offensive. Before he got deeply into his presentation, he gave people the opportunity to leave. I say this not to excuse his choice of words, or his actions, but rather to set the stage.

Dave was talking about how things aren’t quite as good as they could be, and giving examples of ways that industries could be easily changed. In one...

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Facebook Home (and First) – My Personal Hell

If I had to consider what my personal version of hell would be like, it would be senseless arguments, baseless debates and uneducated ranting, shoved into my face at all hours of the day.

It would be updates from “friends”, concerning things that nobody cares about such as little Billy’s first poo poo of the day (there will be 4 more such updates from this person in the next 24 hours.)

Oh yes, and between the times when I’m trying not to wretch from the vile filth that these so-called friends are spewing forth, I’ll be shown ads. Ads for things about which I couldn’t possibly care less. Because targeting only works if your audience is being truthful about themselves and allowing you to see it, targeted ads largely fail on me.

That’s exactly what Facebook has decided to provide, with the release of Home and its companion phone, First.

Can we marinate, for just a moment, on the...

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14 Hours at the Computer and How I Fixed My Eye Strain

On a typical day, I’m awake by 6:30 am and sitting at my computer. I spend around 14 hours looking at a screen and sometimes I move away from my computer to sit on the couch with my iPad. To say that I’ve experienced eye strain would be putting it very lightly.

I’m a big fan of League of Legends (psst, that’s a referral link), and I noticed Dyrus (one of my favorite top-lane players) wearing some funky yellow glasses about a year ago.

I know that these guys spend countless hours in front of a monitor, but I also know that they do a lot of sponsorship deals so I wasn’t fully convinced of the validity of what Gunnar Optiks was doing.

Then I met the people from the company.

They’ve put tireless research into the design and fabrication of their lenses. There’s a lot of thought behind why they are the specific colors that they are, how they work and why they can benefit computer users...

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