Kel Kelly

Hey, thanks for swinging by my blog.

Whether it's topical news, internet happenings, social media, public relations, marketing, start-ups, mobile shiz or whatever, I promise to wade through the bullshit and give you my unbuffered perspective.

You'll note I never take on a "corporate tone" — whether I'm chatting you up at a party or speaking to the CEO of a multi-billion dollar company, my voice never changes. I say what's on my mind and I'm often the champion of the underdog.

I'm a social media junkie and smoke Google Analytics in a crack pipe to get my day going. I hope my immersed insight and offbeat view make you laugh. More importantly, I hope you take a second and share your thoughts by posting a comment. If you have any ideas on how to make my blog better, shoot an email to kel@kelandpartners.com.

Peace out.

Archive for May, 2008

Web 4.0…Huh?

May. 30th 2008

I’m a big believer in livin’ in the moment. Professionally and personally speaking that means being fully immersed in the Web 2.0 world. It’s almost a religion in my life. I am forever amazed and entertained at the Web 2.0 “nose bleed experts” who are already talking about Web 4.0. You know who I’m talking about. They position themselves as social media Gods, digital media gurus, and actually believe they are so clairvoyant and visionary that they can speak with great authority on Web 4.0 and even write a book about it. Yet these people don’t have a Facebook account, don’t blog and think twittering is something a bird does in the morning. They are so far removed from today’s Web 2.0 environment that they can only speak about broad, 50,000 foot topics that are usually so far from the truth that it is often times laughable. It’s like eating air. Ask a nose bleed expert about a “wall” and they start reminiscing about Pink Floyd. Ask them about a “tweet” and they tell you they’ll have ice cream. Ask them about getting “poked” and they’ll tell you it’s none of your business. Ask them about a podcast and they’ll tell you that’s what happens when your fishing bobber lands on a lily pad. Ask them about a “status update” and they call a meeting. Ask them about a “mini feed” and they tell you about the quick lunch they had. OK, you get the point.

Web 2.0 is alive and well contrary to these Nostradamus know-it-alls. Ask the real Web 2.0 experts like Max Levchin (Slide), Tim O’Reilly, (O’Reilly Media) and Marc Andreessen (Ning) and they will tell you Web 2.0 is not going away and to even speak about Web 3.0, never mind Web 4.0, is absurd. At O’Reilly’s recent Web 2.0 Expo in San Francisco, this subject was part of the opening keynote address. Think about what Web 2.0 is: the web as a platform, user-generated content, power to the people, aggregating the wisdom of crowds, software as a service, service above a single device and light business models. Yaaaauuhh (said in Bill Lumbergh’s tone of voice in the cult movie Office Space) I’m thinkin’ it’s here for a bit. Ah…I’m no genius and I went to a shitty state college (UMASS Dartmouth) but I wouldn’t bet on its demise anytime soon.

Remember Lincoln’s quote: “You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time.” Earth to Nostradamus with the nose bleed…Web 2.0 is all of the people all of the time. Careful what you say…it will define you forever unless you do something like win a Nobel Peace Prize for a documentary on global warming. Just ask Al Gore, the inventor of the Internet.

What’s the most laughable Web X.0 prediction you have heard?

Posted by Kel | in Uncategorized | 5 Comments »

Flipped Out

May. 23rd 2008

If you haven’t bought a Flip yet, finish reading this blog post and then go buy one immediately. It is the coolest technology product since the launch of the iPod. The Flip is a camcorder that’s about the size of a Treo, but thinner. It is the perfect product for shooting quick, down and dirty videos for social media purposes. All the things that make you nuts about traditional camcorders has not only been removed in the Flip, but they have elevated the bar to the point where they are giving the gorillas like Sony a run for their money.

Let’s start with the price. You can grab yourself a Flip for only $149. It runs on batteries, so you will never show up at your daughter’s championship game only to find out you didn’t charge your camcorder’s battery…’er…not that it ever happened to me. The storage allows for 1/2 hour to an hour of recording depending on the model. Unless you are serving lots of alcohol to them in a comfy chair, nobody wants to watch more than a 1/2 hour of any event you have recorded in your life no matter how thrilling it was for you personally. The hottest feature of all — that has now become the icon for the brand – is the “flip out USB key.” Gone are the tangled, USB cables that always managed to strip every drop of intelligence and patience from your body. The connector flips right out of the side of the Flip (think: VW key) and you can plug the entire Flip into your USB port. Shazaam! It really is brilliant.

The Flip accessories totally rock. The “Action Mount” ($14.99) lets you mount the Flip to outdoor gear and things like handle bars and helmets (think: Jackass). You can even get an underwater case ($49.99) for your Flip, so you can bring it to the beach and/or on a boat — two places where funny things usually happen and you may want to catch on video…like when you take the kids fishing, they catch something and then you realize they are looking to you to get the hook out of the fish’s mouth or when your five year old does his first cast ever with his brand spankin’ new $200 fishing rod off the boat and lets go so the whole thing goes flying through the air and sinks to the bottom of Wellfleet harbor. Just random examples…’er…never happened to me or anything. The Flip comes in sizzlin’ hot colors including pink, lime green, orange, white, and black. It would make a great graduation gift for any high school or college student.

In less than a year Flip has sold 1,000,000+ units. Kel & Partners gave Flips to all our employees as a holiday gift last year and each of my three teenage kids got them for Christmas. It’s a great way to learn how great your daughter is at beer pong.

Do you own a Flip?

Posted by Kel | in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

Arrogant + Ignorant = Buh-bye

May. 21st 2008

I just had an experience that I have never had in the six years since I started my company. We were the top creative agency in a coast-to-coast search by a Boston-based emerging technology company. The piece of business would have been worth about $200,000/year. We had met previously with the CEO and senior marketing guy and emerged at the top of their list after an exhaustive search. These two guys were awesome — smart, deliberate, thoughtful and respectful. Equally as important, while they were both very successful, they knew they didn’t have all the answers and were looking for a partner to help them build their brand. All their previous marketing experiences had failed miserably and they were, rightfully so, a bit gun shy.

 

The purpose of this second meeting was to give the COO an opportunity to meet my team. Enter arrogant and ignorant. This guy had a chip on his shoulder from the moment he walked into the room. He was abrasive, condescending, rude and just plain out of touch. Because I really like the CEO and marketing guy, I continued onward for about an hour covering everything from our approach to strategy/positioning to branding. During this hour, the COO refused to look directly at anyone on my team and appeared irritated. Finally, I asked him if he had any questions. He went on a self-centered, know-it-all rant about how successful he was and how we didn’t have a clue about his business or marketing. It was during this diatribe that he told me there was no such thing as Web 2.0 (note to self: remember to tell Facebook, Ning & Wikipedia). As his spewing continued, he then inaccurately referred to Web 2.0 as “Internet 2.” Huh? During this whole scene he was whipping out collateral and articles about how he was really the second coming of Christ and me and my team were a bunch of dumb-asses. His insecurity continued to rear its ugly head as he rattled off all the successful companies he had worked at. I had enough. I asked him how long he was at the company to which he replied, “Three years.” I told him, “Clearly your approach hasn’t worked.” I then said, “Dude, I can’t help you and this meeting is over.” Buh-bye!

 

And as he walked out the door, I had an epiphany. The common denominator to this company’s miserable marketing experiences was this bonehead. They will never have a positive experience as long as this guy touches anything marketing related. He is out of touch with today’s communications environment and doesn’t have a clue about marketing.

 

The most gratifying moment for me was when I stepped into my office and twittered: “just met with the most abrasive, arrogant dick on the planet & asked him to leave my office cause my peeps didn’t need his crap — yeehaw!”  The responses I have received to this twitter have been fantastic. I have created an awesome environment for my employees and I will never allow such disrespect to affect their worlds. If he worked for me I would have fired his ass on the spot.

Posted by Kel | in Uncategorized | 20 Comments »

Web 2.0 Dough

May. 19th 2008

In addition to having a roster bursting with Web 2.0 clients, my company also works with a lot of large companies who are trying to get their arms around Web 2.0. You would be absolutely stunned at how many of these titans are clueless about how to respond to the Web 2.0 tsunami. Unfortunately, their marketing people continue to come to work and approach marketing the way they have year after year, in spite of the fact that the world has changed and Web 2.0 is the new ruler. They work within their comfort zone that is usually framed by traditional marketing.

One of the excuses I hear over and over is that they don’t have any budget for Web 2.0 initiatives. They hide behind this statement as a means of deflecting from the real issue which is that they wouldn’t know what Web 2.0 is if it came up and bit them in the…’er…well you know where I’m going with this. Most of these employees are good people trying to do the best they can on behalf of their company. Many are just paralyzed by the “Web 2.0 fear factor” of not even knowing where to begin. The truth is they really don’t know how they would fund any Web 2.0 programs from their already shrinking marketing budget.

When working with a titan-like client who has this budgeting perspective, my “Web 2.0 Dough” advice is always the same. Web 2.0 should not require any incremental budget. Period. The company should look at its existing marketing budget and reallocate a percentage away from traditional marketing programs and towards Web 2.0 programs. For the companies whose cultures are slow to change, I suggest the percentage of budget redirection be small but meaningful. I encourage people to just go ankle deep in the Web 2.0 pool. What normally happens is once they have seen the ROI on the spend, they are quick to want to move more towards the deep end of the pool. Measurable results are a great way to get the whole company to join the Web 2.0 pool party. It’s also funny to see how that marketing person (from marketing managers to CMOs) goes from being Web 2.0 oblivious to suddenly becoming the Web 2.0 guru within his/her company.

What’s your experience with budgeting for Web 2.0 marketing initiatives?

Posted by Kel | in Uncategorized | 4 Comments »

Twitter’s Digital Thought Bubble

May. 18th 2008

I wrote a post not too long ago about Twitter Power. Twitter is a micro-blogging tool where the original premise was to have users answer the question: “What are you doing?”  However, like all things Web 2.0, people have taken control of the application and brought it to a whole new level — two snaps and a circle to the peeps!

Today, most people have migrated from answering the original question to leveraging Twitter as a digital thought bubble. It’s almost as if the question should now be: “What are you thinking?” It’s an absolutely fascinating evolution because it defies human limitations and allows people to see what others are thinking at a moment in time. Twistori.com is a great amplification of this evolution. Twistori aggregates global tweets and categorizes them under love, hate, think, believe, feel, and wish. In almost every tweet that scrolls live on the site virtually none of them are in response to Twitter’s original question. Check it out.

Twitter’s digital thought bubble application has never been more profound than by its use by attendees at a conference. At O’Reilly’s recent Web 2.0 EXPO in San Francisco, people twittered during panel discussions. The smart moderators monitored the tweets live and redirected the conversations based on the content of the tweets. Seriously, it was such a trip because it was as if the audience had thought bubbles above their heads and the moderators ability to read their minds (digitally speaking) forced the speakers to be accountable to what the audience wanted to hear. So the moderators would cut speakers off and say things like, “people think this discussion is too much of a sales pitch and want to hear more about x, y and z.”

I think one of the things that makes Twitter’s digital thought bubble so intoxicating is the limitation of 140 characters. People take that limitation and deliver rockstastic content in a single short statement. Generally speaking, most of us have a whole lot of buzz going on in our heads, yet Twitter forces us to communicate what we are thinking in a succinct line. The creativity in people’s tweets is more entertaining than anything else I have experienced in the physical world and it only takes a second of your time. It’s like a quick fix that infuses your world with humor and insight but doesn’t take anything more than a second or two.

If you Twitter, are you sticking with tweets that respond to the original question or are you tweeting what you are thinking?

Posted by Kel | in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

Facebook Reality

May. 12th 2008

Check out the absolutely hilarious YouTube video entitled Facebook Reality that my new BFF Ethel Rubenstein, CEO (read: maven) at New York post-production hot shop, Bluerock and Spontaneous sent me. The video takes a typical Facebook experience and has it play out in the real world between three people — the stereotypical obnoxious friend, his idiotic sidekick and the unsuspecting old classmate they hunt down and terrorize through routine Facebook interactions like wall writings, photo tagging, pokes, and status updates. Very clever and exceptionally witty.

Clearly the despised guy in the clip would be “removed as friend” in a nanosecond if this experience happened regularly on Facebook. However, it definitely gets you thinking about how what is considered acceptable behavior in the Web 2.0 world would be utterly unacceptable in the physical world.

Have you ever had to remove a friend from your Facebook friend list? Come on dish and tell us why.

Posted by Kel | in Uncategorized | 3 Comments »

The Web 2.0 Oblivious

May. 11th 2008

Yesterday, I was with someone who I absolutely love having in my life. Great guy who is always an early adopter of the latest and greatest gadgets. He also works at a technology innovation company and travels the world on a regular basis. Others in his life view him as this really technical guy.

I have been encouraging (read: hounding) him to get on Facebook. I had sent him an email the other day and the signature on the bottom of my email has my contact info for my company website, blog, Facebook, Twitter and Skype. He said to me with a bit of sarcasm and know-it-all tone, “You can’t possibly keep up with all those things.” The funny thing was he actually believed what he was saying as if he had completely busted me in a lie. It was at that moment that I realized he is totally oblivious to the Web 2.0 world. His comment was nothing short of ridiculous coming from someone completely out of touch with a wave that has taken 100+ million people by storm. His statement was as ignorant as if I said to someone, “Cell phone, email, television, computer, iPod…you can’t possible keep up with all those things.”

Web 2.0 is not a commitment or obligation (like putting out the trash on Thursday mornings because my daughter forgot…again). Web 2.0 is a world I live in and love. Web 2.0 technologies, platforms and tools allow me to stay connected with people in a way that is impossible in the physical world. And unlike physical world connections that often times are scheduled and obligatory, Web 2.0 makes the experience spontaneous, light, fun, and lively. Like most of you readers I have a full (read: chaotic) life. Running a company while juggling the follies of four kids doesn’t leave much disposable time. Web 2.0 doesn’t take more time from my life, instead it enhances my work and family experiences and takes them to a whole new level.

It’s amazing to me that a gadget geek who works at a technology innovation company still remains oblivious to the Web 2.0 world. The good news is this means there are still a ton of people who will most likely join once they realize what they’ve been missing. The more the merrier I always say.

Do you have a Web 2.0 oblivious person in your life?

Posted by Kel | in Uncategorized | 3 Comments »

Facebook Faux Pas

May. 5th 2008

As a proud Facebook pimp (who is one recruit short of winning a toaster oven), I am often on the receiving end of a lot of questions and/or Facebook faux pas by enthusiastic newbie members. Having made similar violations of accepted, although unwritten, Facebook social rules when I first became a member back in the day, I offer the following advice:

Don’t Write On Your Own Wall: Recently, my 82-year-old aunt sent me a message on Facebook and she was irate that I had told her she shouldn’t write on her own wall, but there was a link under her wall that said “write on your wall.” I patiently explained to her that, “you can write on your own wall and you can walk around naked but I’m not sure you want to do either.” Writing on your own wall is like starting a conversation with yourself. You should write on other people’s walls as a means of communicating. Always remember that unlike Facebook messages which are private, wall posts are public for all to see.

Don’t Poke Someone: The only people who poke are people who just joined Facebook. I remember when I first signed up for Facebook, I immediately poked my three teenagers who didn’t know I had even joined. Later that day, their paths crossed in between classes at school to which they all shared their horror that, “Mom just poked me on Facebook!” While poking is not cool, feel free to add the app SuperPoke! where you can throw a sheep at a friend. Very cool.

Post An Icon Photo: The quickest way to scream to the world that you are new to Facebook or not someone who uses it much is to not post an icon photo which then means it defaults to a blue question mark. I am constantly amazed at how many people don’t want to post a picture of themselves. If Freud were alive and living in the world of Facebook, I’m sure he would declare that these people all needed therapy due to deep rooted identity issues.

Don’t Use Your Kid’s Photo As Icon Photo:  Again, I’m sure Freud would have a field day with this. While your kids are cute, there is a place for their pictures in your album section on your Facebook profile page. When someone writes something sassy on my wall and there is a photo of a three month old baby next to the post it creeps me out. Enough said.

Don’t Be An App Pimp: If you find a fun application and you think someone else would enjoy it, by all means send it to them. However, you need to really personalize your thinking behind this versus sending it to everyone you know. As an example, anyone who knows me knows I am not really someone who would add the app Send Cupcakes. You also need to know your friend’s Facebook style. I tend to be a minimalist and have a profile page that leans more towards feng shui than “appapalooza.”

Don’t Friend Poach: Finding someone you know by sourcing them via another person’s friend list is a quick and efficient way to find other friends on Facebook. Going to someone’s friend list and friending everyone on their friend list, most of whom you don’t know, is not cool and referred to as friend poaching. While everyone enjoys watching their number of friends go up, friend poaching is not the way to get there.

Don’t Use Facebook To Spy On Your Kids: I have quite a few friends who use Facebook to spy on their kids and keep tabs on what they’re doing. Bad, bad idea. If your kids have allowed you into their world via Facebook, you need to respect that it is their world and let them live it. This means keeping your mouth shut if you see something that you would find offensive but is really harmless in the big picture. Don’t tell them you don’t like the language their friends use in wall postings and don’t grill them on how they know someone on their friend list from another town. My three teenage kids are all on my Facebook friend list and they have all given me full access — in other words I can see everything on their profiles. I love getting a friends perspective of their world, but I know my bounds. If you can learn to zip it if you see a bunch of them in a photo holding big red keg cups it will be a better experience all around for everyone. If you find yourself ready to pounce I remind you to remember what we all did as teenagers and I think you will find they are angels compared to us. Remember, Facebook was their world long before it became ours.

What Facebook faux pas are you guilty of or have you been on the receiving end of?

Posted by Kel | in Uncategorized | 11 Comments »

“Put The Turd On The Table” Interview With John C. Dvorack

May. 4th 2008

This post is part of the blog interview series called “Put the Turd on the Table” which consists of quick email interviews with key players in the media. At the end of the day, the objective is to allow media people to give PR people insight that will help us become more effective and less annoying. Generating a few laughs along the way would be a welcomed bonus. In the spirit of the true essence of the blogosphere, all responses will be posted verbatim without any edits. The series started off with an electric exchange with BusinessWeek’s Sarah Lacy and Forbes’ Dan Lyons (Fake Steve Jobs).

John C. Dvorak is a columnist, author, editor and blogger. Dvorak can be found in PC Magazine, Marketwatch, Info! (Brazil), BUG Magazine (Croatia), and the Dvorak Uncensored blog. Dvorak does a weekly TV video podcast Crankygeeks, a daily Tech podcast Tech5 , the weekly podcasts This Week in Tech (500,000 listeners), and No Agenda with Adam Curry. Dvorak is a featured guest analyst on CNBC. Dvorak has written over 4,000 articles and columns as well as authoring or co-authoring 14 books. You can follower Dvorack along with 13,500+ people (wow!) on Twitter.

The following are Dvorak’s unedited responses to my questions:

1. Things I respond well to:

Dvorak: Really cool new products and exclusive looks at things. I like going to dinner or lunch with the CEO to discuss both the company, it’s products and trends in a relaxed atmosphere.

2. Things that send me over the edge:

Dvorak: Getting this idiot pitch – ”Look at all these people who have written about this. You should too!” To which I always want to respond, “Yeah, so I can look like a lemming. Or the last guy in line.”

3. Favorite horror story about a PR person (no need to name names not trying to out anyone):

Dvorak: The guy who sent bullets in the mail to numerous writers. It looked like a threat and offices were shut down in the process.

4. Favorite Web 2.0 addiction:

Dvorak: None

Posted by Kel | in Uncategorized | No Comments »