Home for my rants, raves and general sharing of 'insytes'. Some of you will enjoy this gathering of text - others will wonder how I tricked them into giving me a Blogger's license...

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

BrainJams mentioned in Business 2.0

BrainJams just received a little mainstream press - Kathleen Craig wrote a nice piece in the June issue of Business 2.0 on Why "unconferences" are fun conferences, and cites BrainJams, BarCamp and FooCamp as examples in the article.

I must say - it was fun to see BrainJams mentioned in black and white - even if just one or two words.

If you would like to read the article you can find it online and in print (June issue, page 26 in the What's Next section).

Chris also wrote a little ditty on the article that can be found on the BrainJams site.

Technorati tags:
brainjams business20 business2.0 unconference unconferences barcamp foocamp informalgatherings

Palm Springs gets a blast of estrogen.

Hmmmm....stay home this weekend and find a job, or jet down to Palm Springs with 11 other lovely ladies to celebrate our girl Petrina's last few days of singlehood? Right. Palm Springs it is.

I had actually considered backing out of the weekend as it would not be very responsible of me to spend that kind of money - but then I thought - screw it. You only live once, right? :)

And I am so glad I did as I can count on my right hand the times I have had a 'girls weekend' this year, and it was really important for me to reconnect with my fellow breeders. It was a great time just lounging by the pool and baking my fog riddled body, catching up on all the latest gossip, and chatting away with some truly fabulous women. Give me more of that please - and often.

Two days later and I am finding penis cards and straws everywhere, but they instantly put a smile on my face and remind me how important it is to stay in touch with your girls.

Technorati tags: palmsprings bachloretteparty girlsweekend vacation

Monday, May 29, 2006

'Rent and Expert' needs a location - ideas?

So the hardest part for me on these little events we like to throw is securing the right venue. Part of it lies with the uncertainty of how many people will be there, the other is making sure the location has all the bells and whistles we need (primarily room to move around - for the unknown number of attendess - and WiFi).

Our very first 'Rent an Expert' event is coming up on Thursday June 15th and I am needing help to secure a few things within the next week:

(1) Good restaurant/bar/cafe/office location with plenty of seating space and WiFi. As the event will be from 5:30pm - 9pm, we need to make sure we don't impede on the busiensses prime time hours of operation and that our group will have a quiet space to play.

(2) A handful of sponsors for $100 each to cover some of the costs (snacks, drinks, other supplies).

If you have any ideas on potential sponsors or venues, please leave a comment here or shoot an email to kristie [at] brainjams [dot] org. I would surely appreciate it.

And as an FYI, a little bonus just announced for those signed up as experts...the one who collects the most money from their 'clients' over the course of the evening will win a copy of MindManager Pro 6.0 for the PC (a $349 value). This is a fantastic program that enables you to quickly organize your ideas and information.

For more information, please visit us at the BrainJams wiki and the blog.

See you on the 15th!

Photo credit: Off The Mark Cartoons

Technorati tags: brainjams brainjams:expert1 brainjams15June2006 rentanexpert mindjetneedsponsors needvenue

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Stormhoek sponsoring the 'Rent an Expert' event

Thanks to the guys and gals over at Stormhoek who have graciously included BrainJams in their '100 Dinners in 100 Days across the USA' campaign. This is another example of a stellar campaign to get the word out about a product as they have agreed to send free bottles of their wine to 100 people hosting events around the United States - all in an effort to get folks drinking, and I am sure, loving their wine. And the beauty of this campaign? It was so easy to participate. All we had to do was sign up on the wiki, note what type of event we were hosting, when it was happening, and where the wine needed to be shipped. They do the rest (thank you!).

The first packet arrived via DHL with 10 posters handsigned by Hugh McLeod, the marketing guru behind Gaping Void (if you are not reading his site regularly, start doing so now - totally insightful and hilarious all wrapped into one). We will plan to hand out the posters at the event - though I assume there will be a feeding frenzy over them, so we might choose to raffle them off for $5 and then add that to the charity donation - but we shall see how it all plays out.

The bottles of wine should be here any day, so be prepared to throw back a glass or two at the 'Rent an Expert' event on Thursday, June 15th.

P.S. A little fun note about Stormhoek wines - their bottles come with an 'Ultimate Freshness Indicator' which is a little dial that tells you when the wine is at its freshest. No more guessing when to crack that bottle open. I love it!

Photo credit: Gaping Void

Technorati tags: brainjams brainjams:expert1 brainjams:15June2006 stormhoek stormhoekwines freewine sponsor brainjams:planning marketingcampaign

The wedding saga continues...

And of course, all my original plans were ruined as I fell in love with the most amazing man...

Several folks have asked recently what the status is on the location for our wedding. I am truly embarrassed to admit we are no further ahead in the planning than we were 30 days ago. Here I thought I was being sly by turning that decision over to my consort, but he was even more sly and found a way to put it back in my lap. Bugger me. How in the world did I let that happen?

Sadly, nothing has really grabbed either of us. Well, ok that is not 100% true. I have found some places we both love, but they would either cost our friends $5k each to get there or they would cost us $75k to keep it local and host the San Francisco wedding of our dreams and I refuse to spend that kind of money (that casual pig roast is looking real good right now isn't it honey!). ;)

Part of the problem is the date as it seems we have picked the most popular day in 2007 to strap on the old ball and chain. None of the local 'afforable' venues I love are available anymore as some girls locked in these locales and were willing to wait two years just to get married on this day. The venues that are still available want site fees crazier than the Southernmost House and they know some wacky bride-to-be will pay the money to have it there so they will not budge on the price. Not me buddy. I'll get married in Tijuana before I hand you $20k just for the pleasure of having my wedding on your vineyard.

So Chris and I bounced the idea of changing the date and both agreed we needed to keep it as 07/07/07 for so many sentimental reasons. Makes life a little harder with regards to planning, but this is what we want so we decided to stick with it.

Then back to the drawing board we go. I am still looking in the Caribbean with St. Martin, The Grenedines, Belize, and Cancun at the top of the list as all places carry an affordable price tag for our guests and have the beach ceremony part covered. The only thing I need is to find the right location for the reception which we would like a little more upscale. Hard to believe, but us spending more money in the Caribbean does not always mean getting the food or the decorations we want for the reception. ARGH!

I have also found a location in Monterrey (California) that might work. I love the idea of keeping it local, but scared of what that will do to our pocketbook, so Chris and I are headed down in two weeks to check out the locale and hopefully we can work a deal. They seem pretty agreeable to play with the numbers and it sure would make my life easier, ensuring we could get the decorations and swanky feel we want. Could mean a smaller party list, but would allow most of the folks we would like to come to be able to get there easily (except grandpa, but that is a different story).

So, either way wish us luck. We will keep everyone posted and as soon as something is locked in - you will know.

Photo Credit: Gaping Void

Technorati tags: wedding weddingplanning eventplanning reception

Creative launch plan...compliments of the blogosphere

Seems Snap.com has put the request out to the blogging community to come up with ideas for their launch plan - and the winning idea not only receives 15 minutes of fame, but a nice check for $5,000 as well. Add in another $5,000 to the blog that is credited with referring the person who had the winning idea and you have yourself a pretty good campaign for just a smidgen of money.

I wonder if this will start a trend as a small $10,000 investment seems like it is a lot more cost effective than hiring a marketing guru for $200,000 per year. :)

Thanks to the fellas over at HuckaBuck,
MY favorite search engine, who turned me on to this through one of their posts.

Photo Credit: See El Photo

Technorati tags: snap.com snap launchplans marketingcampaign campaign

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

When did I ever have time to work?

Good Lord. I honestly do not know where the last seven days has gone. I have been so busy playing Holly the homemaker, the joke around the house is how did I ever fit employment into my schedule? It sounds funny, but it is true...

I will say the garden has never looked better and Spring cleaning has been in full bloom in our house with a reorganization of all the closets and a posting of over 50 things to be sold on Craigslist. But I have been out of work for three weeks and my Type A personality is freaking out as I have not secured a new job. Eek.
Of course, I say this while at the same time I knew when the axe fell that I wanted to take the month of May off no matter what a we had two big trips planned and I needed some down time to do things around the house. But I guess I thought I would have at least been interviewing by now...

I think part of it is I really don't know what I want to do next. It would be easy if I were a nurse as I would search for nursing jobs. Auto mechanic - no brainer. My 'problem' stems from the fact that my prior jobs have molded me into a versatile generalist, 'specializing' in wearing multiple hats (sales, marketing, legal, HR, PR, etc.), doing whatever it takes to get the job done... but most of the job openings I am seeing these days are for topical 'gurus' with deep expertise in one area - such as direct marketing or search engine optimization. BLECH.

So to future employers I say: Want to build a
channel or an online community - call me. Got a hot new product you want sold - let's talk. Launching a startup and want someone to be your right hand overseeing operational activities - send me an email. Need someone to manage a specific project - I can be your 'Girl Friday' (contract only please). But, if you are looking for your next Administrative Assistant - pour your own damn coffee. Think you need the latest and greatest gimmick to get brand awareness - not my style, so you should look elsewhere.

So therein lies my problem. I want to find a company that will allow me to do my job while providing opportunities to expand throughout the company, preferrably based in San Francisco (or at least allow me to work from home a couple days a week) and pay me a decent salary. But what role allows for all of that?

I guess I will know when I see it and will turn my status into...

Logo credit: SimplyHired.com (the best job search engine)

Technorati tags: simplyhired
outofwork careerchoices

Friday, May 19, 2006

Six pounds and counting...

...even though I can't see a damn bit of difference, the scale says this diet thing is working which is good as I just blew out my knee again which will keep me out of the gym for a couple of days.

BLEH. Always something - but this time I will plug through it. No excuses!

Photo credit: FatGirlSlim.net

Technorati tags: diet weightloss nutrisystem

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

NOLA gearing up for second BrainJams event

Plans are in motion for the next BrainJams event in New Orleans (coming in early June) and I am truly excited as this next event puts the feedback we received from the one we held on May 4th, straight into action.

The good folks who attended at the first one decided to launch a new program in New Orleans that focuses on helping one small business per month get up (or back up) and running by using the social media tools available today. Lofty goals, but we have an amazing group of kind hearted souls in NOLA who are willing to donate their time and their mad skills to ensure this happens.

We are looking at two businesses right now for the month of June, one has a website but could use a little marketing help to expand their reach and garner more awareness around their business. The other works on the phone and the phone only, so that will be interesting to see how they acclimate to the new technolgies out there.

The BrainJams event will be small and different from those we have held in the Bay Area as this one is focused solely on what the people in the room can do to help these two businesses. Chris and I will not be able to attend this one due to engagements we have in California, but if you are in the area and would like to lend a hand - please contact me or Chris Schultz for details. Also, if you know a business in New Orleans that could use a helping 'technology' hand, please let us know and we will pass that on to the NOLA team.

We will release a case study on the business(es) we help covering what they started out with, what we were able to provide and who participated on the project. This will be available on the BrainJams website after the event so keep watch there as sure to be some good things comnig down the pipeline.

Technorati tags: brainjams neworleans nola b2b

BrainJams presents: Rent an Expert

Do you consider yourself a 'Subject Matter Expert' with mad skills you would like to share with the world? Are you a 'Knowledge Seeker' with a burning desire pulsing through your body to learn something new? How about a 'Social Butterfly' who just need something to do the night of Thursday, June 15th?

Then say hello to 'Rent an Expert', the event providing you a forum in which you can do all - or - just part of the above. The idea is 'Knowledge Seekers' will pay a small pittance* to the 'Subject Matter Experts' who will then share their expertise and help teach you something new. And in true open space style, the topics will be determined by the participants, but some examples could be:
  • how to setup a blog
  • how to get the most from shortcuts in Photoshop
  • configure a Drupal community
  • redesign a Web site
  • customize a WordPress theme
  • create a survey
  • optimize AdSense ads
  • figure out tagging
  • how to shoot better photographs
  • how to write a press release
The event is co-sponsored by BrainJams and MindJet with soft drinks and some what nots there for you to chew on. We are still seeking a location and additional sponsors, but take the big step to lock in the date and register right now on the BrainJams wiki. The event is also on Upcoming.org, but registering on the BrainJams wiki is the preferred route to take, especially as you can let us know if you are looking to share knowledge or gain more mad skills.

*All the money collected will be donated to a charity that is chosen that night by all participants.

Technorati tags: brainjams brainjams:15June2006 brainjams:expert1 unconference rentanexpert

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Buy. Sell. Rate.

Whenever I needed to buy or sell something online, eBay was my go to marketplace. Sure it cost a bit for the 'convenience' of using their system, but the fact that I could see the sellers / buyers reputation as deemed by other buyers and sellers was a big plus for me.

Now there is another viable option. I can buy or sell items through Craigslist, (they don't charge listing fees) and then rate the buyer/seller on Rapleaf. Rapleaf launched earlier this month and promotes the idea of building a world where it is '
more profitable to be ethical'.

For those who know me, you know this is the core of all I am. Reputation.

I am excited to test them out as I have a slew of items I need to sell and will be posting to Craigslist shortly.

Rapleaf also allows you to post feedback on friends, family and other business associates - though I will admit this part is a little weird for me as I am used to having a transaction to tie it back into. But I will give it a shot as I believe in building a better world through reputation, and people need to realize we will hold them
accountable for their actions - good or bad.

Technorati tags: reputation ebay craigslist rapleaf betterworld accountable ratingsystem buysell rate

Monday, May 15, 2006

Welcome to my hell...

What you see in this photo is the next five weeks of pure hell for Chris and Kristie (aka: The Nutrisystem weight loss program).

It was time to get serious. I realized it was already May and I had tried three times so far in 2006 to jumpstart some kind of diet and exercise program to no avail. It seemed there was always some party or event we would go to and eat or drink whatever we want and then could not get back on track. But no more.

Serious money has now been invested and all the cupboards have been cleaned out of the goodies. We are going back to the basics. That's right...dehydrated food that needs absolutely no refrigeration. Say it with me people...yummy. Ok, ok - it is not too bad as we are to supplement the dead food with lots of fruits and veggies which helped ease us into the program.

And I will admit, after four days I feel pretty good. We have not cheated once and I am down four pounds with Chris being down six. Of course, this is probably all water weight, but I will take any downward movement on the scale as a sign of success.

Now only four and a half weeks to go...

Technorati tags: diet weightloss portioncontrol nutrisystem

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Fun with Flickr

As if there weren't enough time wasters floating around on the net, I just discovered fd's Flickr Toys and lost an entire night playing with photos. Bu what friggin fun it was!

The tool is so easy to use and in less than 5 minutes I can create a mosaic of any photos available on Flickr.

Last night, I put together these three:

(1) Page one of 'my favorites'
(2) Some cute photos of my consort
(3) The night Chris proposed

I must warn you - this is pretty addicting as I started to play with some of the other tools this morning before realizing I had 90 things that needed to be done before lunch. So, I stopped. But I will be back as my mind is bursting with ideas...

Technorati tags: funwithflickr mosiac photomosiac fdsflickrtoys flickraddon flickr

Ticketmaster is such a rip off

So the Red Hot Chili Peppers just went on sale this morning. In fact - just 12 minutes ago. We have been waiting for these for what seems like a lifetime, so I sat diligently at my computer this morning waiting for the clock to turn to 10am so I could throw down some mad cash.

And mad cash I did throw. I am happy I was able to get Chris and I good seats, but good Lord - I spent almost
$25 just in service fees. What gives Ticketmaster? I understand there should be a 'Convenience Charge', I mean, you do make it convenient as I don't have to put pants on or leave my house and that is easily worth $10 to me. But what is this 'Order Processing Fee'? And then you charge a 'Delivery Fee' to send me an email? Crap that adds up to a lot of money (see below).

Tickets US $51.75 x 2
Convenience Charge US $9.05 x 2

Delivery (ticketFast Delivery) US $2.50
Order Processing Fee US $3.55

Total Charges US $127.65

Well, I guess in the long run it doesn't matter because at least we get to go, right? And the concert happens to be on Chris' birthday so it makes it extra special for him. I just wish it was less expensive to go to concerts. We spend quite a bit of money to see several bands each year, but can't afford to go to all the ones we want (i.e. there are over 30 shows I want to see this year, but will only spend the money to go to five or six of them).

$52 per seat is a lot of money. Add in another $13 per ticket in fees and they are just too much for most people. Now, I am sure the Chili Peppers will sell out (if they haven't already in the five minutes it takes me to type this post), so they don't care, but I would love to see bands reduce their tickets rates and vendors stop adding fees on top of fees to allow more people to have access to the shows. I believe in making profits, but this seems like a rip off to me.

Photo Credit: Ticketmaster

Technorati tags: ticketmaster redhotchilipeppers concert ticketfees

Friday, May 12, 2006

That was the easiest transaction - ever!

So Mother's Day is this Sunday. True to form, I have been sweating out the last couple of weeks trying to get the women who has everything (and if she doesn't - she goes out and gets it) a little 'something something'.

Crap - note to mom: stop reading if you don't want to ruin your surprise...

Both my mom and dad are extremely hard to shop for as they don't really want for
anything. Well, they want their kids around them more - but honestly - they are the ones who moved six hours away so quarterly visits are all I can muster these days. Sorry folks. You should have thought of that before you went and got all selfish. You know - drinking Corona, eating fresh crab, and waking up to the sounds of the ocean out your bedroom window every day. I can't believe you wanted to leave the Bay Area for all of that. BLEH. :)

So they also don't
need anything. They both kicked ass years ago and now have the ability to lay low for a while and enjoy this next phase of life. Lucky sons of bitches. Looks like I have a lot more ass to kick as those are big shoes to fill...

Anyway, my dad hates us to spend money on them, so over the last couple
of years it has been a contest to see who can come up with the funniest or most clever gifts. I take this mission seriously and, unfortunately, have found myself faltering as of late. Sure I can find funny crap, but try finding funny crap that is not cheap looking. The last thing I wish to do is clutter my parents house with a bunch of Elvis prints on black felt. Of course, it would make them the talk of the town - but I prefer to spend my money on the finer things - you know, like a shower curtain with pink flamingos all over it. No need to thank me dad. I know it was stellar.

So here I am - two days away from Mother's Day and I have nothing. Zilch. Nada. So what do I do? Well, I do the next best thing and decide to send mom flowers. No, it is not very creative. Not unusual at all - but at least it is something - right?

So I dig through my phone to find the name of the local florist I used last time I sent our matriarch greens (my mom was speechless for a couple of days on the last one so I know this florist scored big) and gave her a ring. Within 5 minutes she knows how much I wish to spend, what my mom's favorite colors are and where they need to be delivered. And the kicker - she asked me to send her a check as she doesn't take credit cards. Should I send it via Fed Ex I ask? Nope. Just drop it in regular snail mail as she works off the honor system. Holy crap. Are you for real? I have only spoken to this lady one other time in my life - and that was almost a year ago - and yet she treated me like we were old friends.

So she gets me thinking how easy this transaction is and because of that, she now has me as a client forever. I will never - ever - use any other florist up there. hey, now that I think about it, I should see if she can send flowers anywhere as maybe I can use her for our wedding...

What a true joy to work with someone who still believes in the old 'handshake' philosophy. I give you my word I will send a check and she performs services as she believes me. Golly. This gets me so excited! She is one of those good people doing really nice things. She believes in reputation. She knows providing great customer service leaves us consumers drooling. She is one of those people who trust other people. I love it.

So thank you Janet from Creations by Janet. You saved my ass this year and you were a true delight to work with.
(Note: She does not have a website, but can be reached at 541.412.9090).

Photo credit: Vacationtime

Technorati tags: florist mothersday gift greatservice trust reputation

Overheard in our house...

Chris: You know honey, the house has really been going to shit since you've been out of work.

Me: Yep, you are right. I guess we need to hire more help. :)


It was funny as he was totally teasing me, but it stopped me in my tracks and made me take a moment to look around the house. Joking or not, he was right. I had been slacking and needed to get on a schedule - fast.

I have always done the laundry. I like my clothes washed and folded a certain way (don't ask) so I have never minded that 'chore' on the Kristie list. I also do the dishes if my fella does the cooking - and he returns the favor on the rare occasion I pick up a pan.

It did look like I was off to a good start as all the clothes had been washed, but there were 12 loads of clean unfolded clothes sitting on the couch waiting to be pressed and put away. Add in a sink full of dirty dishes and I knew I needed to figure out a schedule, or we will be running around the house naked as we battle the ants as they move into the kitchen.

So, ever the project manager - I have decided to set up the following schedule for myself:

  • Wake up: 7am - 8am (no need to kill myself now is there?)
  • 8am - 11am: Have breakfast and then focus on the job search.
  • 11am - 1pm: Head to the gym as I need to turn my fat ass into a phat ass
  • 1pm - 3pm: Out to the garden I go. The weeds and I need to make nice-nice.
  • 3pm - 4pm: Play Holly the homemaker (laundry, dishes, maybe even sweep every once in a while - but only if I feel like getting a little 'crazy').
  • 4pm - 6pm: BrainJams business, blogging, etc.
Of course, this is a living plan and will be modified as needed, but I think a good start to ensure I get everything done that I wish to get done. But I guess only time will tell...

Technorati tags: outofwork homemaker chores gettowork slackingoff

Thursday, May 11, 2006

I really am what you need. Really.

I had an interesting conversation last Friday that has been running over and over again in my mind lately. The conversation was between me and a little something known as a 'potential employer'. Well, ok. It wasn't really a conversation, it was a phone interview.

Before we left for New Orleans, I was chatting with a friend of mine who directed me towards a startup closing in on the launch of their new product who was in need of a Community / Marketing Manager. Ok, I thought. Let me take a lookie.

I kicked the tires a bit and saw the fella behind it has some professional chops to speak about. Ok. That is cool. This should not be a fly by night gig. I then spoke with a couple of other friends about the company and each one's eyes lit up, with all feeling this would be the next best thing next to sliced bread. Ok. That makes me feel good. I want to be associated with cool technology that has a positive effect on the world. And then I read the job description. Crickey. Could it really be? Had I really found the position I was born to fill? Was there really an organization out there willing to pay me to promote my belief system? With goose bumps up and down my arm...I emailed my resume.

48 hours later I had completed their written interview and it seemed I had passed the first hurdle as we were now setting up a phone interview. I was excited. Trying to play it cool of course, but I really wanted this role.

So now comes Friday. I was ready. I knew what I wanted to do with the position. I knew what the position needed me to do to make an impact on the community and bring awareness around the product, while keeping the reputation of everyone involved intact. Bring it on and let me run with it. Or so I thought...

During the interview we spent a lot of time discussing what BrainJams is and what role I play with the organization - maybe there was some concern about how much time I devote to this organization or maybe it was sheer curiosity. Who knows. We finally got to the meaty part of the interview and then came all the targeted questions; what would you do with this position? How would you get the word out? What are the new things you can bring to the table?

20 minutes later the interview winds down and I learn even though I had one of the best written interviews he has seen, I do not fit what he is looking for. Really? How is the written part and the oral part so different? Were you actually listening to me? How could I not be a perfect fit I think to myself?

With curiosity getting the better of me - I ask him why.

Well he wants 'something new'. Something out of the box. Funny, I thought I was. After I thought about it a bit, it seems to me that he was looking for a 'Tim Draper', and honestly, Tim Draper I am not. I was not placed on this planet to come up with the next big thing in viral marketing. In fact, I do not know anyone who was, and I do know some pretty kick ass marketing people. Besides, I still think there are a lot of 'old' things that are great - hello, has anyone ever heard of
common sense marketing? Why does it need to have a new name associated with it or a new gimmick attached to it? Why can't it just be? Things happen and as long as you put yourself out there with a solid reputation and a background of building companies based on ethical marketing - the community will embrace you. No, it won't happen overnight, but have we all forgotten that good things take time? Sheesh.

I know, I know. Settle down Kristie. He can hire whoever he wants, and he will when he feels he has found 'the one'. Maybe I am totally blind and I really wasn't right
for this position, but it seemed to match my skills, my experience and my desire pretty perfectly.

Well, in the meantime it looks like it is back to the couch and the Tivo box I go, while I chomp on bon bons and try to decide what color to paint my toes next. Just kidding. Chris has a million things for us to do, and its only just begun, so I guess it was good I didn't get the job (for now). And, I can live with my toes staying pink for a while...

Photo Credits: United Media and Fen Branklin

Technorati tags: interview phoneinterview gettingajob hireme perfectmatch

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

BrainJams to adopt in New Orleans...

The Big Easy kicked my butt. Emotionally. Physically. Emotionally again. So many life lessons learned. So much to say. So many photos to post. I have been home for two days now and struggling to put it all into coherent words, but I will as it needs to get out of me and it needs to get out of me fast to ensure I capture it all.

First, and foremost...I love New Orleans. I so want that city to be whole again, and it
truly breaks my heart to see what they have been through over the last eight months. We need to remember that just because it isn't on the news everyday doesn't mean everything is ok down there. There is much that needs to be done and it seems there is a large disconnect between the people currently living there, those who have moved away, and the rest of the world.

This was one of the main reasons we wanted to host a BrainJams event in New Orleans. We wanted to see what we, as techies and marketing folks, could do to help in the rebuilding cause. We wanted to lend a hand, but how (?) as neither Chris or I can build a house. Of course, I can help you decorate one, but construction is not our forte. We can't send you a lot of money as we simply don't have it. We can donate clothing and other household items (and will). We can help you by networking and linking communities together - enabling small businesses to connect with technologists, marketers, government workers, non-profits, and other business owners both in New Orleans and around the world. We can provide an easy forum for others to strike up a conversation - tell each other what resources you need or what you have to share to help one other. Yes, that by golly we can definitely do - and did - with the help of Jerry Cashman from Blodgett & Cashman, Chris Schultz and Blake Killian from HuckABuck, and Mark Lewis from the LTC.

The BrainJams New Orleans event was completely different from anything we had ever done before as we were all gathering with one specific topic in mind - helping NOLA - and I was amazed at the distance some had traveled just to spend the day with us (Dave Coustan came from Atlanta, CarlenLea Lesser and Dave Hogge hailed from D.C.). The event was small, intimate, and perfectly sized to get the 'real' conversations started.

One of the key items I quickly learned from local blogger Alan Gutierrez is there seems to be a good sized community of bloggers within the city, but most are not utilizing tags or keywords which would help many outside of the city find out what is
going on at home. So how do we correct that, you ask? Well, we adopt a NOLA blogger and teach them some basics to ensure they maximize the reach of their posts of course! I think this is totally brilliant and Alan has put the word out and will be developing a list of folks who would like to learn how to blog. Of course, his focus will be on NOLA, but we can easily find a 'mentor' for anyone (anywhere) who wishes to start blogging. It is all about supporting the 'Show. Do. Teach.' model (think I learned this from Liz Henry and/or Grace Davis). Empower people by teaching them something - then encourage them teach someone else and so on. Following this format will build a true community and will allow us ALL to learn something in the process.

Another idea is for the group to 'adopt' one business per month and focus on giving them the tools they need to get back online quickly. The room was full of a diverse group of people who wish to help by utilizing their skill sets, and I truly believe if we focus on one business per month we can really make an impact without taxing the resources we have available to us. The group is hammering out the details now so stay tuned for further information...

Chris podcasted the closing conversation where these two ideas really sunk in and took legs, and posted it to the BrainJams site here.

I think it really important to get 'thank yous' the other participants, for your support and desire to contribute made this event a true success: Jeff Harris (who I wish to
throw back some more beers with as I am sure there are plenty more stories to be told), Scott Fredrickson (who makes the most amazing stainless steel jigsaw puzzles [see photo] - hello, the holidays are right around the corner people), Brian Oberkirch (for your 'let's just get it done' attitude and willingness to open up your network), and Barrett Leibe (for coming when you didn't have a clue what we were trying to do ). Thank you all!

I would also like to send a big love out to my consort, Chris Heuer. His willingness to always put others first sends chills down my spine to this day. You have an amazing spirit and a loving heart, and I am honored to walk hand in hand with you as we help plant the seed of BrainJams across the country.

I am simply thrilled to be part of this group wishing to make a difference in the world - one city at a time.

Photo credit: Chris Heuer and Diabolical Puzzles

Technorati tags: brainjams brainjams04May2006 brainjams:neworleans neworleans nola

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Discount tickets for Backstreet Jazz Fest Series available!

Our buddies at HuckaBuck have come through again, working a deal with the producer of the Backstreet Jazz Fest Series to offer $5 off each ticket to everyone attending BrainJams. Hello, that is 1/3 off! These guys truly have the Midas touch.

If you would like to go to the Backstreet Jazz Fest and save a few dollars in the process, simply find me at one of the following locations and I will give you a pass:

(1) BrainJams Planning dinner
Wednesday, May 3rd at 8pm

Alpine Restaurant

620 Chartres Street, New Orleans (in the French Quarter)

(2) BrainJams UnConference

Thursday, May 4th from 9:30am - 6pm

Louisiana Technology Council

1215 Prytania Street, New Orleans

Of course I could always post the ticket here, but that would be cheating the system. :)

Technorati tags: brainjams brainjams04May2006 huckabuck discountticket backstreetjazzfest

Printing sponsor for BrainJams!

There are some people you love, and then there are some people you llllloooooovvveeee. Mike Evans at Paper and Ink is one of the people I truly llllloooooovvveeee.

Mike and I became fast friends several years ago when working for my previous employer, and he is one of those guys who loves his customers so much - he goes above and beyond ALL THE TIME. Didn't matter what or when I needed something - Mike delivered and he did it at a really good price. Not many businesses out there I can say the same about.

Anyhoo, Mike has graciously donated new BrainJams business cards for me and Chris, and is also sending us some BrainJams stickers - which I must admit - I am very excited about, as we have not really had schwag before.

Ok, so I am easy to please. Whatever.

So if you are in need of a printer, give Mike a call at +1.650.622.0366 (no website) and tell him Kristie sent ya
. He is based in San Carlos, CA (1/2 south of SF), but works with customers everywhere.

Technorati tags: brainjams brainjams04May2006 printer printingneeds goodprinter papernink

You know you are having a good time when...

you forget to take any photos. :)

I was clearing out the memory card this morning when I realized I had only taken two photos Saturday during the BBQ we had at our house. And the kicker, only one of those two photos turned out
decent (so cute of Lori, but came out blurry as I think my settings are all screwy).

It got me thinking back to a couple of conversations I have had recently with regards to the responsibility I feel to take photos at the events we go to and/or the events we host. Chris calls it 'digitally archiving'. I call it simply 'wishing to capture to moment and have something to look back on years down the road'. It all comes down to whether or not you feel you lose some of the conversation going on around you if you are caught up in capturing the moment through a lens.

I can walk and chew gum at the same time, so I feel pretty confident I can hold a conversation and take photos at the same time. But wishing to test the waters out - I decided to play with this theory a bit. Interestingly enough, I have noticed those around me will stop talking while I get the shot (even if I continue the conversation). When I ask them about it, most respond they stopped so they did not distract me. Funny, I think to myself, my desire to take this photo has actually distracted them.

So going forward I will be more conscious of trying not to take a 400 photos at an event, with my camera click-clicking away. Just maybe 50 or so, hoping it won't interrupt the conversations around me as much. I am an extremely visual girl and I need (not want, need) to try and capture as much of our life experiences as possible within my lens. This way, in 40 years when my mind is total mush, I can look back on these moments and have something that will hopefully trigger those memories for me. Some are times are so good, I will want to relive them three or four times around.

Technorati tags: shootingphotos conversations distraction distractions memories

Monday, May 01, 2006

Additional Sponsors for Brainjams New Orleans!

I love when a community bands together to help each other out. Over the last week, Eugene Eric Kim from Blue Oxen and Christopher Carfi of Haystack/Cerado came through with some cold hard cash to help pay for lunch and drinks for the attendees, and Tom Blossom from Mindjet just donated three licenses for us to raffle off. Stellar.

Brian also hooked up with some friends over at Stormhoek to have them donate wine to the event - not sure it will make it in time, but I love the fact they said yes.

So thank you one and all for your continued support. It really means so much to me!

Technorati tags: brainjams brainjams04May2006 blueoxen haystack cerado mindjet stormhoek

MeshForum coming to San Francisco

Our buddy Shannon Clark from Chicago fame, has put together a great conference on Networks that starts this Sunday, May 7th.

From the MeshForum website:

Networks form the basis of everything, from how your body works to who you know, from how power is distributed to how the store on the corner is kept stocked. MeshForum will bring together experts and leaders from many fields for three days of Connecting Networks. In a single, highly participatory track, panels of experts and select speakers will cover topics from summarizing current academic research to techniques for navigating and activating networks in specific industries.

Exchanging knowledge and different views and perspectives will be the order of the day. To register, please visit http://www.meshforum.

Note: Shannon has just advised a special promotion for MeshForum - if three people register at the same time, they will each save $200! What are you waiting for??

Technorati tags: meshforum networks sanfranciscoconference