Short RIMM

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I’ve been investing on-and-off from my freshman days in high school to the present, and I have never seen a shorting opportunity so vivid and clear as I do right now.  Short RIMM.  Short it hard.  I don’t care if the stock came up for air today as the new Blackberry Torch’s price got halved.  Blackberry as we know it is dead.

I’ve always thought you could trade on the fundamentals, price history, P/E ratio, and earning history of a stock and do as well if not better than the market indices.  After reading Jim Cramer’s ‘Confessions of a Street Addict’, I discovered that the big money was made when you could tap into the knowledge of someone who had an insider’s look at the market, an industry, or a particular stock.

Working in the epicenter of the burgeoning mobile location industry, I am quite familiar with the various handset manufacturers and development platforms.  Everyone is developing on iPhone and Android because the available handsets with these platforms make apps look gorgeous.  Blackberry hasn’t been able to buck up with a handset that looks as slick as the Droid X or iPhone or released a phone with processing speed equivalent to the Evo or iPhone 4.  For such a major player in the mobile market, their inability to release a competitive offering is embarrassing.

Blackberry’s latest marketing campaign, focusing on the ‘awesomeness’ of the BBM (Blackberry Messenger) is weak…real weak.

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The Blackberry BBM campaign is the equivalent of AOL running an ad campaign about the IM (Instant Messenger).  Sorry Blackberry, AOL couldn’t keep users’ attention with IM and you won’t be able to stem the flow of Crackberry users to better platforms by dangling the antiquated BBM in front of their face.  If anything, this campaign is a defensive move rather than an offensive move.  Why not just send a text message?  A Tweet?  

Blackberry can do nothing to justify their fat $28 billion valuation.  All Blackberry can do is weep softly to themselves as their stock price begins to resemble a black diamond at Whistler.

Short RIMM

30 Days, 5 Sites, Google Page 1

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Getting noticed on the internet is tough, especially for a guy like me. ??John Valentine is a common name, and as of last month any articles mentioning my name or websites including my bio were buried amongst the 3,080,000 Google results. ??John Valentine is a prominent Utah Senator, a Hawaiian musician, and a former baseball player for the Boston Red Sox (after dropping the ‘e’).

John Valentine is also a young lawyer/entrepreneur living near Boston who works for a burgeoning startup. ??At 25, with only one year of ‘real world’ experience under my belt, my presence was no where to be found on Google. ??Sure, I could type in “John Valentine” + SCVNGR and I would find my bio on SCVNGR’s website along with a ton of Spanish blog posts from my keynote speech at NokiaTalk this past May. ??Unfortunately, few Google searchers would go know that precise search strategy when seeking me out.

People don’t search beyond Google Page One (GPO). ??Gary Harvey notes that “the clickthrough rate for listings with #11 rank is 0.66%…even if you are at the top of Page 2 of Google results, less than 1% of your prospects will even click through to your site.”??http://bit.ly/jzVB5. ??No matter who you are, there are tangible benefits to getting on Page 1 of Google. ??When I Google search a colleague or prospective client, I have an expectation that I’ll find them on the first page. ??If they don’t have a presence on Page 1, the unconscious begins to think that they may not be as popular/powerful/influential than I had previously assumed.

One day last month I Googled??myself only to see Utah Senator John Valentine’s stoic expression staring into space. ??

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He looked so satisfied with himself and his status at the pinnacle of the John Valentine??hierarchy. ??Enough! ??It was time to give revered Hawaiian musician Johnny Valentine and the John Valentine Real Estate Team a little run for their money.

Step 1 – LinkedIn

LinkedIn is the first stop for any professional and aspiring Google-climber to get a foothold. ??Because of LinkedIn’s great popularity and status as the 29th most visited website in the world, the LinkedIn directory search of most names is found on GPO. ??If you are familiar with these directories, profiles with the most ‘connections’ rise to the top. ??As a young professional, I had amassed a steady following of about 275 or so users. ??Another John Valentine, the National Director of Systems Integration at TW Telecom, had hair over 300 connections. ??On an uncanny Saturday afternoon, it would all change for poor Director Valentine. ??The conferences I had attended the last 9 months provided a wealth of prospective connections…a stack of hundreds of business cards with names and email addresses. ??In one hour I had requested about 400??acquaintances??to connect on LinkedIn. ??Within a week, I hit the magical 500+ mark, and all other John Valentines were left in my dust. ??I then spent an hour filling in my profile and explaining in great detail my position and function at work. ??Google wants to see consistency in language and keywords ??BOOM!

Step 2 – Twitter

I hated Twitter. ??Thought it had very little utility in my life. ??Then I started following what others said about my company on search.twitter.com. ??Then a bunch of my colleagues got Twitter accounts and clamored for me to join in the Twitters. ??I never thought the day would come when I would give in. ??My quest to hit the elusive GPO was the trigger. ??I belabored the process of finding a great Twitter handle, almost to the point that I almost picked something generic. ??That would have likely been my downfall. ??I was laying in bed drifting in and out of sleep when it came to me: JohnnyStartup. ??Easy to remember, fun to throw out into the ether, indicative of my lifestyle, and cool. ??Persona…check! ??As I work with cities, I proceeded to ‘follow’ 800 CVBs from around the world so I could keep my finger on the pulse of the travel and tourism industry. ??I filled out the ‘follow’ roster with a bunch of my friends that I discovered through Google contacts. ??What happened next was unexpected. ??People started to ‘follow’ me! ??More links = more authority. ??After my base had been set, I started to tweet about 3-4 times a day. ??I usually like to add in 1 or 2 fun lines, a couple about news from my company, and a couple messages to members of the??Twitter-sphere. ??That worked, and after 3 weeks JohnnyStartup’s Twitter page was ranked #10 on GPO. ??BOOM!

Step 3 – Google Profile

The Google Profile feels like cheating. ??It just does. ??I simply copied and pasted my LinkedIn biography into my Google profile, and within 2 weeks I was #1 on Google profile results for my name. ??Google is trying to promote these, and thus Google Profiles litter the bottom of GPO. ??Get there. ??It’s not that hard.

Step 4 – Facebook

Facebook is a bit tricky, especially because I don’t want a ton of people looking at my full Facebook profile. ??Facebook is, however, an incredible tool to make your way to the top. ??I hide my full profile from everyone but my friends, and added all my professional information at the bottom. ??Done deal.

Step 5 – Blogging

Any GPOer worth his salt is definitely going to have a blog extolling with his/her commentary. ??I decided to maintain consistency and used Posterous to start JohnnyStartup.com. ??As you can see I’ve only written a few posts, but it definitely helps create your brand. ??I’m trying to publish interesting perspectives from the creative side of my brain (is anybody in there?). ??I attended Real Estate Connect San Francisco this week, and on two separate??occasions my self-introduction was met with, “are you JohnnyStartup?” ??That’s special.??

Step 6 – Link it all together

The last step is to link all five of these websites to each other. ??Within 4 weeks, I had hit GPO. ??Not #1 overal, but GPO. ??I now feel like I matter…at least to Google. ??Hi world!

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30 Days, 5 Sites, Google Page 1

Real-Time Writing: the Evolution of the Online Article

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I had an incredible conversation over a beer with a couple grizzled senior journalists current with USA Today last night. ??What started with Brett Favre turned into South Carolina’s run in the College World Series. ??Gamecock baseball turned into Lebron James’s pending free agency. ??Speculation about “the King” turned into a strategy session about how to best deliver journalistic content to Millenials.

I’m only 25, and ever since I stepped out of the bar exam and into the tech startup world I’ve been hooked up to an internet intravenous 24/7. ??I wake up in the morning, roll over, and check email on the iPhone. ??I flip on SportsCenter to watch last night’s highlights as I get dressed and eat breakfast. ??I’ve got the radio flipping between new Top 40s hits and talk radio as I drive to work in Cambridge, MA. ??I don’t like to admit it, but I find myself checking my email at strategic red lights along the way. ??I stare at the computer screen for 10 hours or so at work. ??I watch sports and movies while I check my email and Facebook after I get home. ??Wash, rinse, and repeat. ??My eyes sting when I close them to sleep each night…and it’s not because I’m particularly tired.

I may not be a journalism major, but I digest my fair share of news media each day. ??Forgive my tendency to live in a tech bubble, but I frequently scan Hacker News, TechCrunch, CNN.com, ESPN.com, Twitter Search, and NYTimes.com for the hot news of the day…multiple times per day. ??Everyone’s different, and everyone has their favorites.

Decades ago, consumers read newspapers, magazines, books, and reports not just for their informational quality, but also for genuine entertainment. ??News has lost much of its entertainment value for Millenials. ??I spend a maximum of 60 seconds on the most interesting, fun, and/or informative article I’ll read all day. ??60 seconds. ??Just long enough to get the essence of the piece and feel confident that I’ve learned something that I can pass along to my friends, family, and colleagues.

How can bloggers and media companies keep readers of their content engaged, entertained, and excited about their works? ??I didn’t need the full two-hour conversation with my new journalism friends at USA Today to discover that they had a special talent for the written and spoken word. ??Their perspective, their experiences…I wanted to know how they thought.

When the USA lost to Ghana in overtime this afternoon, Twitter was abuzz with tweets. ??Always the first-responder to the world’s biggest events (local and global), Twitter has incredible value as an information source, but it’s not particularly helpful for in-depth reporting, commentary, and overall quality content. ??There is only so much depth you can achieve with 140 characters. ??

Sorry to break the news, but blogs are too slow. ??By the time lead writers from ESPN.com and SI.com have drafted and published a simple recap of the game, they will have wasted precious minutes to connect with readers. ??Breaking news on the CNN.com homepage is often followed by a message signifying a quality article to come in 15??minutes??or so.

I want to see what my favorite bloggers and journalists are thinking as they write their article. ??I want to follow Jeff Carlisle in real-time as he pounds on the keys seconds after Ghana’s second goal hits the back of the USA net. ??Imagine being able to get on ESPN.com immediately after Ghana’s winning goal to follow, in real-time, Jeff drafting his article. ??Undoubtedly, this may scare some journalists and bloggers. ??Having thousands of people pouring over every word of an in-progress article is scary. ??Viewers would be able to see bad grammar, poorly-crafted sentences, and unorganized pieces in the raw. ??These mistakes are all part of the real-time writing experience. ??

The best qualities of tweeting + the insight and deep analysis of a well-written blog post = an interesting concept to experiment with. ??To all of the journalists out there, who’s first?

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Real-Time Writing: the Evolution of the Online Article