It’s a wrap…

Out of curiousity, I checked ye olde blog to see how long it’s been since I posted.

A year and a half, apparently.

I think it’s safe to say that I’m no longer “blogging regularly” here. What I’ll do below is list some places where I am active. It’s not to say I won’t be back here and blogging madly again in the future, but for the foreseeable future, this will be my last post.

Social Media… these days, my primary tools are Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. I write occasional Posts on LinkedIn as well.

I submit articles occasionally for the blogs at Smart Dolphins (where I am a full-time Technology Ambassador), and Social Media Camp (where I am co-producer of the annual event).

I occasionally podcast with John, Paul and Mic, and, coming soon … Cruise Nerds.

Keep in touch … just probably not here.

Social Media Camp 2015

Social Media CampSix years ago I was approached by a casual acquaintance named Chris Burdge, asking if Victoria was ready for a big social media event (something on par with what we had seen for SEO, WordPress and a few other technology-specific conferences up to that point in history).

I honestly wasn’t sure, but figured … heck, why not give it a shot!?

Up to that point, Social Media was the new thing, and it was pretty cool and nerdy. A few of us had started a local chapter of Social Media Club in Victoria a couple years earlier, made Victoria the first city in the world to formally declare Social Media Day, and I had organized a handful of WordCamp events prior as well – which attracted a few hundred people each time we held them.

Fast forward to our 6th year, and I’m still blown away by what Social Media Camp has become. Close to a thousand people from across Canada and the U.S. converge on Victoria each year to network, learn and share knowledge on what’s still a pretty cool and nerdy technology (and there’s always something new to it, too).

And the digital footprint of this event never ceases to amaze me. It’s measured in the hundreds of thousands; this year, maybe in the millions.

Check out the amazing video produced by One Net Marketing for this year’s event to see just how far we’ve come …

Social Media Camp Video from One Net Marketing on Vimeo.

Thanks to everyone who helped put Victoria on the map as Canada’s leader, and a destination for people from across the continent. I grew up in Victoria – it’s my hometown. And I’m still super excited to invite people to my home each and every year!

One Thing Steve Jobs Forgot to Mention

Everyone knows the famous commencement speech Steve Jobs gave to Stanford University in 2005.

In case you want to skip the video, here’s the gist of it: “No matter what, follow your passion.”

I’d like to add one important thing to this, for those of us who haven’t got the fortitude to take it to the limits, and damn the consequences.

Be sure that enough people care about what it is you are pursuing before you bother making it your mission.

I took a bit of a career detour the last three years. I got very excited in pursuing an ambition I had always had: helping people succeed financially.

Actually, I was the kid that studied the Canadian Securities Course at age 9. Show me another kid that could explain bond yield curves in grade 4. When other kids wanted to be a rock star, I wanted to work on the Toronto Stock Exchange. This was young Paul, hopelessly nerdy from the very start.
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Social Media – Top 25 (Update)

You WinIn August, 2010 I made a list of my 25 favourite social media platforms.

It’s amazing to think how much the social media landscape has changed since 2010, and in other respects, how little it’s changed. I figured it was high time to update the list, and see where some of my predictions went, and where my top choices of 2010 land today.

A total of 10 (that’s 40% for you math nerds) were removed from the list completely. And the order (yes, it’s a countdown to the best) of the rest all changed, with the exception of one.

So, what am I missing? (I know I missed something.) Agree? Disagree? I’d love to hear about it!

The Countdown

25. WhatsApp (New Entry)

Is this even social? I don’t know. It made it on my list because it’s killing the old fake paradigm of telecom segregating voice, data and SMS.

It’s all data, people. You’re not fooling anyone.

24. Flixster (Previously 16)

I love movies. This is a social site/app that has been trying to be the social network for movie reviews. It’s simple – I show you what I like, I do a rating, I do a mini-review. You do the same, and the social sauce happens. Unfortunately, unlike what Goodreads has done for books, Flixster has failed to make anything truly noteworthy, and is instead begging to be outdone (which Facebook has gladly started working on). I’m still there, but barely.

23. Slideshare (Previously 18)

Still there, still great, still shares your PDFs and DOCs in a social environment. I’m just not as excited about it as I once was.
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The Glorious Renaissance of Podcasting

John, Paul & MicWho the heck STARTS a podcast in 2014? And aren’t these things a relic of the past anyway?

Answers: (1) Me. (2) No, not at all.

But let me start with the last question first.

Podcasting has moved beyond a novel fad into a full-fledged digital medium. It can serve all kinds of content, and is cross-platform and device agnostic.

The technology that runs a podcast is essentially the same as that which runs a blog (RSS). In fact, WordPress (the world’s most popular blogging platform) is a popular podcast hosting platform, and forms the core of many podcast hosting services. As such, you can listen to podcasts almost anywhere that audio can be played: your web browser, your podcast program, your iPad, your smart phone, your smart TV, and any of the thousands of other “smart” devices expected to come out over the next decades. Yes, one day you will listen to your favourite podcast on your toaster.

There’s no question that when they came out podcasts were pretty nerdy. You had to find them, and perhaps even download the MP3 file to your hard drive just to play them. On the important point of usability and user-friendliness, there has been a silent revolution over the past couple years.

The various programs you would now typically use to listen to podcasts are 100% idiot approved. Let me illustrate the point…

  • Our Podcast on the Web – In 2014, pretty much every web browser can play your podcast without any special software to install, or files to download. You can go directly to the podcast, or you can search a Podcast Directory.
  • Our Podcast on the iTunes Store and theĀ Podcasts App – In 2012, Apple removed podcasts from their iTunes app on iOS devices, replacing it with a new “Podcasts” app. This app was not automatically loaded; you had to download it. Many pundits saw this as a death knell for podcasts, as this seemingly made them that much harder to discover. The reality was that the new app put them front and center (instead of buried deep within the iTunes universe), making playing podcasts using Apple’s own tools a much better experience all around. This funeral in fact turned into a phoenix rising from the ashes moment for podcasts, particularly in the Apple universe (as the smart folks at Apple had predicted, and the pundits didn’t). So successful, presumably, has this been that new versions of iOS will now feature the Podcasts app “native” – installed automatically, and not something you can delete.
  • How popular is the Podcasts app on iOS? Perhaps a comparison of the “Top Charts” can shed some light … As of today, the Podcasts app is #111 top free iPad App in Canada (compared to #106 for Twitter, #126 for LinkedIn, or #149 for Google Drive). On the iPhone, the Podcasts app is #127 (exactly one spot above Tumblr at #128, or Groupon at #141).
  • Our Podcast on TuneIn Radio – Remember when you used to tune in a radio (and I still do, sometimes, in my car). Remember the static? Well, if you want that to go away, and to access virtually any radio station in the world, get TuneIn Radio. Of course, this is silly to say, because you are likely one of the 18 gajillion people that already have it, and use it almost every day. In fact, if you have a good data plan on your phone, you might even stream your favourite local radio station while you’re driving home – just to avoid the static. Well, guess what, in addition to traditional radio, and so-called Internet radio stations, podcasts are also available on TuneIn Radio, opening up a massive new global audience who very likely didn’t listen to Podcasts before.
  • Our Podcast on Stitcher – In addition to the native Podcasts app on iOS, there are dozens of others apps on hundreds of other devices that you can listen to your favourite podcasts on. Many, like Stitcher, are excellent and elegant.
  • Our Podcast on a Podcatcher – Apps like Podcasts, TuneIn Radio and Stitcher use their own database (podcasters like me have to submit their podcasts to be added to the database, so users of that app can search for them). Some sites and apps allow users to collate their own lists of podcasts, simply subscribing to the feed of the podcasts they like. It’s nerdy way to kick it old school, but with beautiful new Web 2.0 features.

By and large, the nerdy “fad phase” of podcasts is over.

The future of podcasts is already here: People listen to podcasts where they want, when they want, on the devices they want, using the programs they want.

On to the first question: Why are we doing it?

It’s been a secret desire of mine for the past several years to one day start a podcast. In a conversation with my some times mentor and long time friend, John Juricic, I discovered he had the same idea. So we decided we’d do it together. So far, so good – we recently produced our 10th episode, and already had a few accomplishments and recognitions.

We both care about our region, our province and our country – and wanted to dig a bit deeper into some of the local issues, talking to people, and each other about solutions and ideas. Since we’re not selling anything, we aren’t beholden to anyone, and need not confine ourselves to sensational or controversial topics.

Most of all, it’s a hell of a lot of fun, and working regularly with a community leader like John Juricic has been a tremendous privilege.

We think we can be interesting enough that people will want to listen, and we also get the opportunity to navigate this evolving and exciting segment of digital media in the process.

Strap in, and enjoy the bold new future of podcasts!

Challenge Accepted – A Personal Post [Part 1]

My friend and Social Media Camp co-founder Chris Burdge put out a challenge. I realized there was a lot of stuff I have been up to that I’d love to share with the world, so what the heck – I’d share some of mine. Challenge Accepted.

Problem is, I have too much to say. So let’s make this “Part 1.” I will do more soon… about my theatre flirtations, cool stuff from around the Sooke community, and my growing business.

This post will focus on what I did at Social Media Camp 2014 – our 5th annual event.

It’s been almost 3 weeks since. It was a tonne (yup, metric tonne) of fun! Here’s the highlights…

The Best Social Media Camp Ever

People came from around North America. We had amazing speakers, from whom I had at least a dozen “a ha” moments. Everyone seemed to have a great time, and we had a couple of epic parties, to boot. If others had even half the fun I had, and learned even 1/3rd what I did, I think we’ll call it a success.

Here’s a video from the amazing video genius Dave Phillips (@uberdave– hire this guy, seriously!) from ubervideo all about the event…

… And I Became A Podcaster

Hello 21st century! My friend John Juricic and I decided a couple weeks before #SMCamp that we were both “finally” going to start a Podcast – so why not do it together? Our podcast was officially to be all about “stuff,” and we’d interview a bunch of people at Social Media Camp to kick it off.

The result is John, Paul and Mic. We spent about 4 hours of Social Media Camp interviewing people for the podcast, and what a hoot it was! We’ve carried on, as a weekly podcast, with an idea to delve into issues around technology, society, politics, media and anything else that interests us (and hopefully interests others). Please check us out on iTunes, TuneIn Radio, or your favourite way to listen to Podcasts.

Let us know what you think, topics we should cover, or guests we should inite – @JohnPaulandMic on Twitter or JohnPaulandMic on Facebook.

The Great Tattoo #TwitFriend Caper

The tattoo challenge I made was probably the most memorable part of Social Media Camp (for me, anyway).

I (foolishly) put out a Facebook challenge to attendees of Social Media Camp. If two people would get the event logo tattooed permanently on their body, I’d sing and dance at Social Media Camp.

Nobody would ever take me up on this, right?

Ya, wrong. Just ask Sean Smith and Becky Knight.

Check out this video from my bud Aaron from BC BuzZ for the tattoo video evidence:


And the #TwitFriend video was my response:

And We Tweeted Up

A few nights before #SMCamp, Juhli Selby and I hosted a fantastic eWomen Network and Social Media Camp Tweetup with social media rock star and speaker Lisa Larter.

Which reminds me… My very good friend April Lee Taylor Vance has been organizing Westshore Tweetups for the last couple months. They are FANTASTIC, and I’ve been Tweeting up a lot more lately. Never been to one? Join us sometime…

Wheat Free Me

wheatThree weeks ago, I quit wheat.

I decided I needed to change my eating habits, one thing at a time. Wheat seemed like a good place to start.

And let me be clear – I literally changedĀ nothing else.

During the last three weeks, I have eaten potato chips, cheesies, nachos, french fries, hamburger patties, gluten-free hot dogs, fried eggs, hash browns, mexi-fries, tacos, ice cream, fast food, potato salad, mashed potatoes, coffee loaded with cream, gummy candies, gluten-free pastries and pasta, steak, white rice galore, high fat nuts and seeds, coca-cola, iced tea, barley soup (complete with barley gluten), and every other imaginable carb or greasy food. I’ve eaten at McDonald’s 3 times – I had fries, a quarter pounder with no bun, and a milkshake.

So, what happened when I quit wheat, and continued to otherwise eat like a crazy person?

  • By day 2, my joint pain, which had become more and more severe over the past 2 months, virtually disappeared.
  • By day 3, my digestive system was moving, and the pain I had become accustomed to in my gut was gone.
  • By morning 4, I woke up breathing out of my nose, instead of my mouth (something I haven’t done in years). My morning congestion was no more.
  • On evening 5, instead of binging on snack food, which everyone knows they’re “not supposed to do, but always do anyway”, I found myself simply not interestered in doing so. I wasn’t “hungry.” This has continued. It’s far easier to choose not to eat at night when you don’t feel an all-consuming impulse to do so.
  • By the second week, instead of dragging my sorry butt out of bed, I was up and at ’em at 7:30am, full of energy, and not heading straight for the coffee.
  • On day 15, I took my blood pressure at the drug store. It reported lower than it’s been in a year or two. (I take blood pressure medicine, so it’s always normal, but typically on the high end of normal.)
  • By day 17, noticing that all my shirts were “longer”, I finally weighed myself, and noted I had lost 13 pounds. Although I didn’t measure myself, I knew I lost a few inches around the middle too (my wife pointed it out).
  • Yesterday, I forgot to eat breakfast. And lunch. And coffee. (I was super busy working.) At 2pm, I started feeling a headache, and clued in. I was fine after a tall glass of water and a meal. This “not being hungry all the time” thing can be a problem.

Before all this, I re-read “The Wheat Belly” (while downing some delicious wheat-filled cheesebread, ironically). It’s not the first time I’ve read a book about the evils of wheat, but this “Wheat Belly” guy (Dr. William Davis) seemingly blames wheat for everything bad in the world.

While it won’t necessary save the world, I’m sold. Here on in, I read every package, and if it has wheat, I just won’t eat it.

I presume I’ll need to make some other changes to meet my health objectives, and will also try to make “smarter choices” moving forward, but I thought this was a pretty interesting outcome for me.

Note: I am not a medical professional or in any way qualified to give health advice. I just thought I’d share a personal experience.

My Lifestyle Makeover, Part 2

Bathroom scaleMost men with weight issues don’t talk about it. Except, perhaps, with a jovial pat on the back and a jolly belly laugh.

Facts are: diabetes runs in my family, I’m genetically predisposed to being overweight, and I’ve been obese most of my adult life. Where they don’t die of cancer first, my predecessors die of heart disease. None of this is really very funny.

Unlike many people, I never did the “roller coaster” of diets. In fact, I never really “dieted” at all, nor particularly cared to, until a few years ago.

At well over 350 pounds, I decided to finally do something about it. And I did. I started eating right. I exercised. I learned a thing or two about nutrition. I attended Weight Watchers meetings, too. All told, I lost about 120 pounds and felt great. Better still, I maintained great physical fitness for well over a year – not just “great”, but the best in my entire life. I’d like to tell you it was easy, but it wasn’t. It was bloody hard. And I fought myself every single day to stay focused and not go off track.

Anyway, here I am a few years later, after a few “life things” went sideways. I find myself pretty close to 350 pounds again (the scale says “Error” when I step on it, so I don’t really know how much).

Now I’ve decided that enough is enough. I’ve just turned 40, and I’d sure like to see 50.

Reflecting on my experience to date, I asked myself what was missing on the “first leg” of my “roller coaster”, because I’d really like to make this a “short ride.” (Too many metaphors?)

It’s become apparent that my predispositions are overwhelming, and when my will power isn’t at 100%, I lose the battle against myself. For those who have tried losing weight, you probably know exactly what I mean.

It’s on this basis, that I started doing some research. For those of you who have ever researched diets, you’ll know there are thousands out there, and most of it is bunk. It’s very hard to sort through it all, but here’s the tools I decided I needed to stack the battlefield for my side:

  • A way of managing my hunger and cravings.
  • Energy (to get up and do what I need to do).
  • Mental clarity. (Too many “carb comas.”)

In my research, I contacted a homeopath friend of mine. She has been on a plan that worked really great for her and her husband. She was very excited about it, told me all about it, and it sounded like something that would address my key concerns (the list above).

Anyway, I just started phase 1 (actually phase 0.1, which deals with the three things above specifically). A week in, and I’m already feeling great (hell, I had the energy to finally post something on my blog again). I’ll be posting my progress here for anyone who’d like to follow along and keep me accountable.

Now, as most of my friends know, I’m pretty sceptical of most things (especially diet plans and politicians). So, at the moment, I’m not going to publicly say what that plan is (first, I want to make sure it’s working). But I’m happy to share the information privately with people who are interested, and will “come out” soon with more details.

Happy Health!

Building Something Big in a Small Town

I was born in Victoria, on Vancouver Island, in British Columbia. I grew up here. Nearly everyone I know, love and care about either lives here, or did at some point. And I love this place more than anywhere in the universe.

It’s important to note that Victoria isn’t a very big city. Compared to many metropolitan areas in North America, and certainly the world, it’s downright tiny.

Despite this “small city” upbringing, my whole life has been full of big ideas. Whether it was starting my first business when I was 13 (from the trailer park where I lived with my big sister), running for City Council when I was 23, or starting my eleventh business when I was 36, I have tried at each turn to put my dreams into motion.

To some folks I was either “too young,” “too ambitious,” the idea was “too radical,” or it just plain wouldn’t work, complete with an all too common refrain of “especially not here in Victoria.”

Well, guess what? I didn’t get elected to City Council when I was 23, but I made some amazing friends trying. And some of my business ideas failed miserably, but I have absolutely no regret trying.

I guess the point of this post is that life is short. Don’t let the naysayers define what you do with it.

And, by all means, if you live in a small city or small town, do not let the town define you. Instead, you define the town.

And, above all, if people tell you, “you can’t do something like that here,” take that as a solid sign that you should do it anyway.

WordCamp Victoria 2012

I have had the absolute pleasure of hosting WordCamp Victoria for the last 3 years, and we are set to have another one on January 14th, 2012. Unlike the last 2, I am going to speak at this one.

My topic is Social Comment Systems: Integration and Comparisons.

To make it easier for people to comment on your blog, there have been numerous social integrations in the past few years. The goal is to make it easier for people to authenticate themselves, and make it easier to login. So, rather than creating an account at every blog you post a comment on, you can login using Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo!, Google, using your OpenID or other networks where you already have an account.

There are numerous ways to integrate WordPress with various social platforms, including Facebook, Disqus, IntenseDebate and more. I will explore the pros and cons of these, talk about some features people should be looking for, and demonstrate the integration and configuration for Disqus.

The target audience for this talk will be bloggers, web developers, community managers, etc. I will cover the basics, but will also cover the integration, as such I have listed it as an “Intermediate” skill level.

Want to learn more about my speaking, click here.

Still haven’t registered for WordCamp? Click here to register now.

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