07:18 AM

Friday Wrap: Tales Of Tchotches That Suck . . . And RooStars!


sibbys-cupcakery_webcard.jpg . . . Smalltowns everywhere. I recently spoke with Hal Rucker, CEO and founder of Smalltown, a site that helps local businesses publish an online presence. The last time we spoke was in October 2006 and I really liked Smalltown's "webcards" approach to publishing information about a local merchant using a tabbed cards metaphor.

Since then, the company has extended the webcard approach by adding widget-like qualities, and launching Webcard universal business listings. Each webcard is no longer tethered to a smalltown site, such as San Mateo. Each webcard is discoverable and can be published on a wide variety of platforms such as Facebook, yellow pages and other directories without having to change formats or anything. And any changes to the content are mirrored automatically on all platforms.

The webcard makes for a very good container for many-media: text, images, podcasts, vidcasts, etc. With a little tweak here and there it would make for a great template for a new/social media release.

. . .I ran into Harry McCracken, PC World's Editor-in-Chief this week and congratulated him on deciding to leave and publish his own web site. I asked if there was anything that prompted that decision. He said no, there wasn't, he just felt that the time was right and he said that I was an inspiration in that decision. I thanked him and said I was happy to help in any way.

When I started a local newspaper in 1987, in the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco, I got a lot of great advice from my friend Richard Gaikowski, who had published newspapers in San Francisco. He was encouraging and also judicious in warning me about the challenges ahead. That was great because I learned a lot from that venture and I might not have launched it if I had known what Richard knew.

But that is the nature of all new businesses and it is essential to have a naivety about what is ahead otherwise we might not do anything.

I'm not saying Harry should think twice because he pretty much knows what he is getting into, at least most of it, and the rest is all gravy.

. . . Bill O'Reilly remixed. Bill O'Reilly is always able to weather the worst publicity and to keep on going. (Hat tip Marc Andreessen.)<

. . . Tchotchkes that suck. Usually I get a lot of t-shirts, pens and backpacks. Most of this stuff I leave on street corners in my neighborhood, especially the backpacks which kids like.

Lately though, companies are becoming a lot more generous. I was at Outcast's media launch party for Jawbone's latest bluetooth headset and as we left we were given one. I'm not an expert on these headsets but it seems to work very well and with California's new law that bans use of cell phones in cars without headsets it should prove to be very useful.

Earlier this year at a MySpace event inside the usual backpack given to media and developers, were pens, a t-shirt and a Flip video camera. The Flip is a very fun device, it makes it very easy to create YouTube videos.

Occasionally I will get a tchotchke that sucks--literally. A couple of years ago I was given a USB-powered mini vacuum designed to suck the dirt from keyboards.

. . . Coming up: I have been writing about my bad experience with Wells Fargo and wondering why nothing from Wells Fargo?! As I pointed out, I'll get over my rant but the search engines will continue to throw up my complaint and there is nothing in the comments section putting Well's Fargo side. Sure enough, every few weeks someone finds my post and shares their bad story about Wells Fargo.

I recently met the head of Wells Fargo's social media team...find out about the bank's policy and how it deals with blogging and tough government regulations on disclosure of information.

. . . SVW PeopleToWatch: I meet a lot of people and they are all very smart and very good looking. Some people have a couple of extra qualities that help them stand out, I call these people RooStars, (a play on chickens and cojones :-) and I'll be drawing attention to them in future posts as part of a regular feature.

Here are some RooStars:

Alicia Nieva-Woodgate - Profile
Jen McClure - Society for New Communications Research
Giovanni Rodriguez - The Conversation Group
Tara Hunt - Citizen Agency
Cathy Brooks - Seesmic
Tim Ferriss - Four Hour Work Week
Chris Heuer and Kristie Wells - Social Media Club
Brian Solis - FutureWorks
Jared Kopf - Adroll
Kathleen Shanahan - Boca Communications
Vanessa Camones - The Mix Agency Heddi Cundle and Kathy Johnson - Consort Partners
Julie Crabill - Shift Communications

I know plenty more...!