The Uptake

by Brad McCarty

Lessons learned, words written

Page 4


The Invisible Fish

On Wednesday, I’m scheduled to speak to a Meetup group here in Nashville. The talk will focus on how you can make yourself and your message heard, in a time when we’re seeing more noise than ever before.

It’s the idea of being a big fish in a little ocean.

But funny enough, when I do these things in Nashville, I find myself to be the invisible fish. Most of the people who attend have perhaps heard my name or read something that I wrote on TNW, but there’s a near 100 percent chance that I’ve never met them.

It’s that interesting conundrum of being slightly anti-social, combined with working from home. The buzz around my office is created by my wife, our dog and four pet rats. There’s also Tully, the fish. But he’s pretty silent.

Nashville’s technology scene, as it were, is somewhat sparse. There’s a huge social media “scene” – where everyone knows everyone – but the geographic...

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Truth Tellers and the Reality of Life

Over on TechCrunch, Mike Arrington wrote something that I endorse wholeheartedly. He says that Cnet staffers should be leaving in droves over the fiasco surrounding the Hopper and now another product that they’ve been instructed that they can’t review.

We can soapbox all we want about this, and those of us who do have editorial independence might somehow look down our noses at those who don’t. But the harsh reality is the people who aren’t walking out are real people, with real responsibilities that depend on having a real paycheck in order to meet them.

Would I leave TNW if I were ever instructed to do something that I felt was morally wrong? I’d like to think that I would. But I also have mouths to feed and a roof to keep over our heads. The moral high ground is a great place to stand when life is sunny.

So I’ll urge you this – Don’t admonish the people who are still there. You don...

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Quora Blogs, Branch and Other Things I Won’t be Using

It started with a question from my dear friend Jana. She was asking for thoughts on Quora Blogs, the company’s newly-released feature. My answer was this:

That’s the nutshell version. I’m highly against almost every single thing out there that wants you to contribute without giving you definitive, self-managed ownership of the content that you’ve added.

But I’m also a hypocrite, because I’m writing this on Svbtle, I’m a frequent user of Twitter and I’m sure there are other reasons as well.

Interestingly, for me, it comes down to feelings that Jason Baptiste of OnSwipe managed to put into perspective quite well:

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Women in Combat: About Time, but There’s a Catch

I’m a veteran of the United States Army. I’d have chosen many of my female friends to be in combat beside me ahead of their male counterparts. Today that becomes a reality.

But there’s a problem. As odd as it may sound, watch Demi Moore’s GI Jane for a rather parallel depiction to what I think will happen in these next few years.

The society of the United States, as progressive as some of us might like to believe that we are, will have serious issues with women on the front lines. Expect pushback and manipulation from Governors, Senators and other elected officials who are in turn being weighed upon heavily by their electors.

Though the bigger problem is the society within the armed forces. The opinions of a few, individual soldiers...

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The Inherent Value of Niche

There’s a lot to be said for being incredibly good at one thing. When someone fits that description, the results are stunning.

From the standpoint of being a competitor, I love it when our competition decides to attempt a thousand different verticals because I know (from experience) that they will ultimately fail.

From the standpoint of a potential user I loathe that behavior because I know (from experience) that they will ultimately fail.

It’s perfectly fine to locate that one thing at which you excel above all others and then capitalize upon it.

But the adage remains true – More does not always equal better.

What are you good at? Is that what you’re doing? If not, then stop it. You’re going to fail. You can challenge yourself to become better at something that’s not your strong suit, but throwing all of your time and money into it is a fool’s game.

Focus on your niche. You’ll win...

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With One Move, Microsoft Could Become a Mobile Giant

Anand Lal Shimpi is smarter than me. Chances are he’s smarter than you too. His site, AnandTech, is inarguably the go-to source for in-depth, highly detailed reviews of new products and technologies.

I got to meet Anand last year at CES, and we had the chance to speak again this year. We were discussing the successes and failures of Microsoft when he dropped this bomb (which is not a direct quote, but as close as I can remember):

“Now imagine this. Let’s say that the next Xbox falls in line with Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 where you can write once, deploy anywhere. A game developer could create a single title, then deploy it across three different devices at once.”

Given the continued, simply amazing success of the Xbox, there’s positively no doubt in my mind that we would see Windows Phone immediately jump in popularity. I can’t even begin to imagine the growth that the platform...

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“How did you get that job, living in Nashville?”

I was on a panel the other day, talking to a number of large companies about tech trends for 2013. But before the panel started, the moderator was chatting with those of us seated at the table. He asked where I lived, to which I replied “just south of Nashville.”

“How did you get that job, living in Nashville?”

Which job? The writing job that I used to have, or the Business Development job that I now carry? “Both”, he replied.

My immediate answer was one of somewhat cocky confidence, because the tone of his voice though our entire interaction was condescending. “I’m exceptionally good at what I do.”

But the more I think about this interaction, the more it bothers me. You see, the person who asked me this question is a pretty big name in the world of blogging/new media. He’s done well for himself, created a quite profitable business and he’s worked hard.

So have I. I just don’t happen...

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The Rebirth of RIM?

Over the past couple of days, I’ve had the opportunity to play around with a BlackBerry 10 dev alpha device in advance of RIM’s unveiling of the OS later this month. Here’s a shocker – BB10 is very good.

I won’t go into a review, because I’ve been asked nicely to not do so. I have the device in hand for a specific purpose, and reviewing BB10 is not included in that. But what I will say is that RIM has taken some of the best parts of iOS, Windows Phone and even the once-stellar WebOS, rolled them all together and produced an operating system that is simply a joy to use.

The smartphone market right now is dominated by iOS and Android. That’s a fact that we all know. As you might have read, I’m quite a big fan of Windows Phone, and I honestly think that it has a very good shot at being a big player in the market.

But.

RIM has done its homework. And it has a loyal base of fans. There are...

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If I Was a Consultant, I’d Do This…

Most advertisers have absolutely no idea how to actually reach customers with messages that matter.

Good writers understand exactly what information people want, and they know how to deliver it effectively.

I’d be the guy in between these two. Not ad sales. Not ad writing. But I’d be the guy who could work with both sides of the equation to produce effective messages.

If I was a consultant I’d help advertisers talk to people like people.

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Something I’ve Noticed Since Leaving Facebook…

In case you missed the previous post, I’ve stopped visiting Facebook. I’m not deactivating my account, because I’m sure it will come in handy at some point. But I’m just not going to the site anymore.

One important thing that I’ve noticed is this – I wasted a ridiculous amount of time on a site that I couldn’t wait to leave. Since I’ve stopped visiting, I’ve actually noted that I have more time in my day.

That’s scary.

It’s scary to realize that I spent enough time on that single Website for it to make a notable difference when I stopped.

It’s time for more downsizing. I just have to figure out what’s next. Because as a bit of a happy accident I’m finding that I have more time in my day. That leads me to this hypothesis – If we cut out all of the meaningless crap that we do, and we focus only on the things that truly bring value to our lives, I think we’d all have a lot more time.

I...

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