Choosing The Right CMS for Your Blog Site* – MT vs WP vs Drupal

Last Monday I had the honor of sitting on a panel for the Introduction to Online Communities class for the Online Communities program at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. That’s a mouthful. If you’re paying close attention, this is the program where I earned my master’s degree (I was in the 2007 cohort).

The topic for the session was Online Community Tools and Platforms. At the end of the program, all students are given funds to launch their own startup or online community. Back in my day *crotchety old man voice*, we built our startups from scratch: we product developed a concept, hired a developer and designer to create it;  we also did all the marketing footwork, etc. We were reinventing the wheel in 12 weeks. It was tough, somewhat miserable, and frustrating. Not because of the work, but because of the time constraints and our naivete. Anyway, in later years the cohorts got smart(er) and started using open source solutions to create their (alpha) startups. Not a bad idea.

The discussion took a few different forms. We discussed “reinventing the wheel” versus using WordPress, Buddypress, Movable Type, Ning, etc. In the end, I tried to make it clear that whatever decision you make, make sure it is an informed decision and make sure it helps you achieve your goal. I have seen people choose a platform like WordPress, and not understand that it requires frequent updates. Sure,  WordPress evangelists will tell you to use WP all day everyday, but if you are in a situation where you can’t support frequent upgrades, then WP is not the tool for you.

That being said, I would like to go over a few pros and cons when using Movable Type, WordPress, or Drupal. People ask my opinion on this topic out of curiosity, or due to my line of work, so I thought I would share! Continue reading “Choosing The Right CMS for Your Blog Site* – MT vs WP vs Drupal”

Stop The Startup Madness

It’s not often I read anything said by Robert Scoble and agree with everything he has said 100%. I find I disagree with him more often than not, but usually that’s somewhere in the Twittersphere or Friendfeed-ersphere. Either way, he’s spot on with his post, The worst things startups do.

If you don’t know who Scoble is, one thing you should know about him is that he talks to a lot of startups. Everytime I turn around he’s talking to a startup CEO, CTO, visiting their offices, reviewing their products, etc. I have known Scoble to do this for years now. Anyway, from what I know as a consultant to startups, my academic training, and my observation of the industry over the last several years, Scoble’s list is accurate. Literally every item on this list are rampant symptoms among dysfunctional startups. So. If you plan on launching a startup, or you have one and you’re wondering why you’ve spent thousands of dollars and nobody is interested in your product, please review Scoble’s list and make adjustments immediately. Your livelihood (and any good employees you’ve managed to lure in) are at stake.

VSB: First Press

For those who didn’t catch it on my Twitter, Flickr and Facebook
accounts, Very Smart was featured in The Metro News
yesterday in three markets (Boston, NYC, and Philadelphia).vsb_metro_scan.jpg

To say I was ecstatic is an understatement. A few months ago, Panama and  The Champ came to me  and said they had a blog concept in mind, with specific goals to be attained with said blog. They had their content ideas fleshed out, with a few strategic ideas being tossed around as well. I volunteered myself to make it happen on the tech side, and advised them on site strategy. Since then I have been working as an advisor/manager for the site.

Forty-five posts and 7,000+ comments later, the community over there is awesome, and is growing everyday. I’ve been applying many of the concepts I learned in my master’s program to the site, and I’m also testing out some other ideas. Even though the site looks pretty basic (for now), a lot of thought and debate goes on behind the scenes between the three of us. I am personally close with both of these gentlemen, and I have a couple academic degrees that certify me as Internet Expert #1, but they don’t let me get away with just anything. Ha. It’s great though, because I get practice in defending and supporting my arguements and cases for the strategies I pitch. So far, everything has been working better  than we ever expected.

Aside from that, I think it’s pretty cool to see Panama’s words in print in somebody’s newspaper. That’s my BFF right there.

A Startup Affair: Twiistup 3

Last night I went to Twiistup 3, which is an event for startups and the people who love them. It’s a chance for LA tech people to get together, mingle and check out the featured startups of the night. I’ve never been to an event like this before, as I’ve been keeping quite the low profile in the LA tech crowd. I think this year will be my year to get more involved and meet people. I don’t have an agenda behind this, I just think it’s important to get to know your peers. 

A run down of how the event went:

  • I got there an hour late, mostly because I like to be fashionably late to events sometimes. That, and I was at the salon getting my nails done earlier and you can’t rush perfection 😉 
  • Valet was SLOW. I ended up not using the free valet because the line was so long, I wasn’t sure they were still taking cars.
  • I got a swag bag upon entrance, and they asked me to take a picture in front of the step and repeat wall (which was low on the step, high on the repeat), but I declined. No flash photography, please.
  • The place was packed when I arrived. I went looking for my APOC friends and thought I would never find them, but luckily they found me.
  • The drinks at the bar were strong.
  • I started to walk around and look at the showoffs (those startups showing off their product that night) with one of my startup partners from my program. It was difficult getting info from the people because it was loud, and really packed. But, we got some one on one time with most of the booths, and it worked out eventually. I really liked the guy Dan at the booth. He was pretty friendly and informative, and I snagged a free webcam from him. If you haven’t seen this video of their product, check it out:
  • Perez Hilton was in full effect. To be the main dude in about 80% of the official photos from the event, I sure did NOT see him as much as the gallery suggests. He came on stage to say a few words once, otherwise, I found him posted up in a booth on my way out. My friend wanted to take a picture with him, but he looked wrapped up with these people interviewing him.
Twiistup Swag
All in all it was a good night. I like my free swag, which you can view what is what by clicking through to the flickr page. We got to thinking what it would be like to be a startup presenting that night. Maybe we’d be interested in doing it, if our startup ever gets complete, ha. The local news did a 2 minute segment on the event, check it out here.