Assistant Producer I am (my new job title)

I love the term Producer. It sounds so Hollywood. I have the dream of rad sunglasses, fancy shirts, and beverly hills in the background. And, with a quick slight of the hand, my face is in that dream. I love it!

Guess what too….I just made that up. No one else in my business uses that title. Frankly, I don’t even know what it means myself. It just fits my current job responsibilities enough, while also giving me a lot of opportunity to grow into the role. Which is exactly why I love it (other than imagining myself as a big pimping LA hotshot). In my opinion, the job title you choose should make you excited, fit your current role, but describe your ideal role even more.

I know, i know, this sounds all very presumptuous. Well, I haven’t put it on my email signatures and business cards yet. I usually wait a little time to see how the sweater fits, giving it a few washes and wearing it to a party or two. I’m getting close tho…

Let me get back to being presumptuous now, not gonna lie to you either, it is and I am (presumptuous). But there are very valid reasons for this and I would recommend you make up your title too. Lemme essplain:

Many, many years ago a former mentor passed along an important business rule. Which is that you have to define yourself. Your role, your title, your relationships, basically everything. This happens anyways in any job, you get hired for a job and do it well. Then you do more, grow, get promoted, etc. It’s the normal course of career growth.

Trouble is, most people just stick with their official Human Resources title. Folks could end up taking on twice the responsibility, yet keep the same job title.

This is not about getting paid more either. Sometimes you just cant get good raise no matter how hard you work or how successful you are. What it is about is taking control of your future. The last thing you want to do is wait for your boss to think of more things for you to do (which they will),  you also don’t want to wait until someone gives you a cool title (no one will), and you don’t want to let others define you (lest they give you the name Rubberpants or something).

What you should do is think of interesting ways of explaining what you do to others. Make sure to have a good title and a few good stories. It will help immensely at any networking event, dinner, or other social thingys. Then as your confidence and presumptuousness grows, make it your official title. Throw it on your email signature, business card, bio, etc.

I do that. At first I get a little bit of chiding, then folks actually ask me what it means. I can always back it up, which usually impresses them. My supervisors never care seem to care because I am still completing my duties and they are not paying me any more for my new title. The most drastic result comes several months later when a new opportunity appears for me. Usually because I have steered myself in that direction using the new title as my guide, and because others have started to think of me in that way.

So, here is my new title:

Assistant Producer

what up!

Give me your deepest darkest movie thoughts!!

Hey Everyone – I finally talked myself back into netflix. They still don’t offer support for mac’s on instant viewing, but I miss my movies. I am definitely a hollywood fan. I need some quality content and good stories.

So, now that I am back into the flix of the net, I need some friendses. I never really tested out the community features on netflix, but now that I have a wonderful world of twitter friends I can do so. Let’s sink up the worlds and maybe I can get into your deepest darkest movie desires.

Here is the link netflix gave me to make friends: be my netflix friend

Lemme know if it doesn’t work and have you seen/heard/tested the roku??


Sharing the Angry Letter I sent to Comcast

Ya, I’m gonna stay away from serious ranting. Just simply going to say that Comcast pisses me off. Here is the email letter I sent to their customer service via prompting by frank at comcastcares:

Dear Sir/Madam - I recently began getting service from your company (Feb
08). At the time I was told I would be receiving 88$ worth of service
through some combined (complicated) package for cable and internet. Since
then my bill has been over 100 each time. The last two bills were 170.81 and
114.03$. I remember the bill before that being ~112.00 as well.

This is extremely frustrating and annoying. Personally, I am fed-up with the
service and will gladly cancel. Fortunately for comcast, my roommate likes
both enough to keep them, but I am working on him to free ourselves of this

Am I to understand that 22$ + is the norm for taxes on this product? I can't
imagine voluntarily subscribing to a service where taxes/surcharges account
for 25% of the charge.

I was hoping that you could explain to me these over-charges, or false
statements about my original subscription price statements?

But, even more so I would like to figure out how I can become happy with
your service. Which doesn't involve "sir you are paying over 100$ for these
reasons". It involves here are your options, how much it will (really) cost,
and a guarantee of those services/price.

P.S. The comcast site does not show old statements and is generally limited
in functionality. I guess I should just be happy that my internet provider
even has a website...

Suffice to say that I am not expecting much. I long ago learned that these companies are parasitic and really never make me satisfied. In fact, the only time I ever felt good about a cable company was last week when comcastcares actually expressed interest in helping.

Vidcast of day 1 from Web 2.0 Expo

Well, day one came and went. We had some fun, some disappointment, and a little hangover this morning. Luckily enough we put our thoughts to video before the after partying took are brains away. Check it out and send any questions.

Also, here is Andrea’s blog-up of day one. Especially check out her links to the twitter acct, flickr group, and hash tags for this exposition.


Live Blog – Dion Hinchcliffe on Next Gen Apps

One man, one very long powerpoint. Still interesting facts and stories can overcome the inefficiencies of 8 gillion words on each slide.

On to the story:

Dion Hinchliffe – Speaker – Next Gen Apps

Links: summary, reviews, personal blog, slideshare (not including this presentation)


API’s. The world of the interwebs is being taken over by them. The most common distribution methods for these open API’s are (1) RSS, (2) REST, (3) JSON, (4) SOAP.  An API is:

  • An interface for letting a program communicate with another program.
  • Interface that enables one program to use facilities provided by another,
  • The specific method prescribed by a computer operating system or by another application program by which a programmer writing an application program can make requests of the operating system or another application.

So, as you can tell an API is pretty complicated. The version we are talking about is an Open API. Which basically means you give out your data. You give up control of your data for a greater gain. When you do so, many things can happen. The current success stories for this new method are web platforms where folks interact with the site, share with it, link to it, and more. Dion, now dives into that.

Of these API’s RSS is by far the most popular. Althoug, the more complicated (sophisticated uses for) version is REST and is generally considered, as stated by Dion to be “the best practice” one in the community

  1. RSS – its a news feed. It sends you new things (news, photos, videos, etc.) whenever they are posted. The basic function is for a site to offer this service and a customer to subscribe to it. In the middle are several clients that read them, sites to store them, and much more “middlemen”.
  2. REST – “an approach for getting information content from a Web site by reading a designated Web page that contains an XML file that describes and includes the desired content. For example, REST could be used by an online publisher to make syndicated content available. Periodically, the publisher would prepare and activate a Web page that included content and XML statements that described the content. Subscribers would need only to know the URL for the page…”
  3. JSON – “a lightweight data-interchange format. It is easy for humans to read and write. It is easy for machines to parse and generate. It is based on a subset of the JavaScript Programming Language.”
  4. SOAP – “a way for a program running in one kind of operating system…to communicate with a program in the same or another kind of an operating system…by using HTTP and XML as the mechanisms for information exchange.”


Using an API to build a platform…use widgets. Widgets allow others to take your content and put into a nifty little box on some other site. These boxes are very cutesy and usable, the web loves them. Each user of this box counts as a customer for you, even though they may never visit your site, just use your widget.


Originally a term used by musicians to combine different music genres. Now, in “technology, a mashup is a web application that combines data from more than one source into a single integrated tool; an example is the use of cartographic data from Google Maps to add location information to real-estate data from Craigslist, thereby creating a new and distinct web service that was not originally provided by either source.” [1]


This is the new fab. It is the darling of the web world and for good reason. “Ajax (sometimes called Asynchronous JavaScript and XML) is a way of programming for the Web that gets rid of the hourglass.” Designed to provide rich websites with incredible speed, the example provided on this link talks about, Google Maps. Stating that you should “try out Google Maps for a few seconds. Scroll around and watch as the map updates almost before your eyes. There is very little lag and you don’t have to wait for pages to refresh or reload.”


  • Learn the business of web (i.e. attend his talks).
  • Study the competition (and then one-up them)
  • Really get to know your customers (they are in your backyard, go have a chat and/or spy from the upstairs window)
  • Fundamentals (what are they? ask your customers…)
  • Be open to the latest tools (as soon as the new iPhone comes out buy it!)


Great overview. He goes really quick, but takes the time to explain everything. I would still like to see the fundamentals continually presented throughout the presentation. This is a lot to take in and its not about just learning every programming language. Its more about the fundamentals and concepts of this new technology.  I would like to see someone think deeply about what the core fundamentals are and then provide a presentation that fits everything into those core concepts.

Looking for a Podcast Buddy

Here I am sitting at the PodCampDC kinda bored listening to folks worry about online identities.

I came to this unconference to meet other podcasters. Somehow though I got wrapped up into some new journalism talks and identity crisis. Good stuff but that is what I do during the week. This is my weekend and my hobby time!

So, mission failed for now. Still though I hope to meet other podcasters. I am really interested in meeting a group of people to podcast with. Anyone else out there interested?

Twitterati and the twitter addiction

First thing to say is watch your cell phone bill. If you start using twitter and you like it, you might as well upgrade your texting package. ‘Cause almost every twitterati I know has forked over some cash to the evil empire of cell phone companies.

So, first you say, what is a Twitterati? Not sure yet. Guy Kawasaki is using the term on his site Alltop that collects stories from the web and sorts into topics. In his site for twitter he pulls together some big names from the tech industry and he is calling them Twitterati. I guess it means the super-cool or elite class of twitter users….??

Of which there are tons of them. In fact, anyone can be a twitterati. It is so easy to gain 10,000 friends. The only real challenge comes in getting those same people to follow. There must be some sort of unique metrics play you can put onto the following:followers ratio.

However, a true twitterati has influence over folks. The recent SXSW twitter a–hole event shows just how that influence can spill over into social gatherings, shared experiences, and emotional outbursts. There are really only a few of those folks and their influence comes from everything they do, twitter just being one of their media outlets.

Still, that doesn’t mean the rest of us aren’t twitterati. In our own worlds we are kings/queens and can have just the right amount of friends we want. Grow to follow everyone or just simply keep it close and personal.

Me…I’m completely addicted to twitter. I fall into the “grow to follow everyone” category. I am following 140+ twitter accounts. I use it to get my weather, world/science/tech/political news, talk to friends, plan events, complain/rant/rave, and a nice little companion during my twice daily dog walks. Better yet I am finding new ways to use the tool everyday. Just this morning I installed Brian Shaler’s Twixxer, which allows you to view photos and videos on the twitter site.

My addiction means that I had to upgrade to unlimited texting through ATT, a 15$/month charge. I also think I’ve broken the iPhone and ATT data transfers. I get so many updates now, about 100/hr, that my service is becoming spotty and the phone is going much slower and sometimes freezing. Worse, I even start to think in terms of 140 character thoughts.

Frankly, I think the only thing keeping my sanity in tact is my respect for other people. I always try to just plain ignore my phone when hanging with others. I’m not perfect by any means, but hey admitting you have a problem is the first step right?

“Hello, my name is Steve and I have a problem, I’m addicted to Twitter”

/twitterati crowd somberly echoes “Hello Steve”

Library of Congress Partners with Flickr

There is a quite a hubub about this new partnership and its well worth it. Everyone needs to take a look for themselves. The Library of Congress (LoC) is not only releasing their photos on Flickr. They are also providing context about the photos, links to the full URL, blogging about this, and being honest about the copyright restrictions. Most of which so far say “no none copyright restrictions”.

Beyond the basics they are also tagging the heck out of each photo. Inviting the community to comment, tag, and add value to the photos. See a missing fact, add a comment about it, notice the location is wrong, comment it. Take a read about what Matt Raymond from the LoC had to say about this initiative:

“The real magic comes when the power of the Flickr community takes over. We want people to tag, comment and make notes on the images, just like any other Flickr photo, which will benefit not only the community but also the collections themselves. For instance, many photos are missing key caption information such as where the photo was taken and who is pictured. If such information is collected via Flickr members, it can potentially enhance the quality of the bibliographic records for the images.”

This is like a breath of fresh air in an age of constant battles over sharing, transparency, and public data. Here is a group of folks that are trying something new, building closer relationships with their customers, and finding new ways to make themselves relevant. Thank you Library of Congress.

Now I’m off to see some amazing photos and join the worldwide community in this amazing experiment.

Thoughts on the years past, 2007, 2006, and beyond

Better late than never. I have been thinking about my 2008 resolutions for a while. Before I lay them out I want to ponder the yesteryears. I get pretty serious when it comes to these resolutions. Spending a lot of time thinking about them and then working very hard on them throughout the year.

Over the previous years I have tried to keep them simple, usually sticking to 1 or 2 main ones. Last year, I focused on health and career. I wanted six pack abs and to figure out my career.

I was able to lose a lot of weight (down to 150 lbs). and maybe get 4 pack of abs. Still, I was unable to maintain that and have since gained a little back. Not much though, and through a steady diet and healthy habits I have maintained a much thinner body and I feel healthier than ever. My diet has even greatly improved. Resolution = success.

Career. This was also a success. This year I came into my own for my career, personally and professionally. I now have amazing hobbies that directly translate into my job, and my job feeds directly into my hobbies. A truly fabulous dynamic that stretches the boundaries of my job, and breaks any link to the negative aspect of the term “work”. Basically, I love what I do and don’t consider it work. It only took me 27 years but I finally found something I love, something that excites me, and something that I am really good at. Success.

The year before that, 2006, was the year of change. That year that I moved across the country, left my my girlfriend who I love, and left the hometown that I love. I wanted to just figure things out. I wanted to successfully arrive in Washington D.C. I wanted to get back on the horse and start galloping again. It took a lot of effort and was truly a struggle, but it worked. The change was a success.

The only resolution from 2006 that I can remember is to continue to grow and continue to have fun. I definitely did that but I was really worried about losing myself. At that time I had changed careers several times, and had no idea where I was going or what I was going to do. Fortunately, everything has come together and I succeeded.

Strange how much of my life revolves around my career and professional success. Doesn’t bother me though, because I am a devoutly passionate person and I need to dive into everything I do. Now, that I have a personal/professional balance with my career I am a much more balanced person. My passion does not frustrate me, it drives me.

It is with this new balance, that I feel a change inside of me. I have been waiting for this since I attained my adult consciousness (about 16 yrs of age). It is strangely new and scary. I can now define myself through my career, but I can also lose myself in my work. I can focus my extreme quest for knowledge in one area and meet others with the same intensity and drive. This is a place that I have been dreaming of for years.

Thanks to everyone who helped me achieve this state, I love you and cherish your help and guidance: Scott, Pat, Jenny, Sean, Don, Amy, Mom, Dad, & Max.

Another important change inside of me is deeply personal. My love. I have always been intensely focused on 2 things in my life, often at the expense of everything else. Those are career and love. They can be extremely elusive and frustratingly in opposition. The career part I confidently have down. The love part is lost to me.

Since birth I have been happy and playful, but also strangely focused. I always need constant companionship, but not through large social networks. Nope, just through simple best friends. One at a time, a whole series of them throughout my life. One after the other. Each one has changed my life, challenged me, and brought me greater joy than I have ever felt before.

Unfortunately, I am at a loss right now. I’m in between best friends and have no one to love. My puppies is amazing but nothing compared to a simple best friend. I miss Jenny deeply and I hope we will re-unite at a later time. Is it weird that I think about her constantly and dream of marrying her?

Not to me. I cherish our time together and look forward to my future, whatever it is, and whoever it is with. The future is bright.

I try to focus on my insecurities with being alone. I try to deal with being single. I now that I need to be more comfortable with myself. Its hard being so confident and knowing how much I enjoy being in love, and then dealing with being single and losing some confidence. Alas, I am learning a lot through this struggle and becoming a better person, despite constant commiseration (not a big fan of learning through struggle).

I feel like I am more balanced than ever. I often think about how many mistakes I made on Jenny. It is amazing that she stuck with me throughout my career struggles. I was quite an ornery person as I was clawing my way to the top and trying to define myself in the process.

An intensely confusing and challenging period in my life. One that contributed to the downfall of our relationship. I wish to apologize to her for what I did and what I was. Still, I want to thank her for being amazing, supportive, and always smiling throughout it. I don’t think I could have gotten here today without her.

Jenny you’re the best!

In conclusion, it is very strange to think about living in the first decade of the 21st century. The decade is almost over too!

The year 2007 is now closed and it was a revolutionary year for me personally. My career is on track. My life is on track. The future is ahead of me. I am excited and optimistic. Life is good.