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 June, 2008

Dog Food Anyone?

Jun. 25th 2008

In the spirit of Web 2.0′s “power to the people” attitude, I am going to try a little test. After listening to half a dozen people tell me — ok bitch at me — to try this I have finally acquiesced. My agency is hiring PR people at all levels. In support of eating our own dog food and washing it down with our own KoolAid, I am posting the ad on this blog to see what type of response it gets. I didn’t like the idea of using my blog for anything like this, but I’m over it. A large chunk of my audience is in the PR industry, so my hope is it will have laserlike reach. Pass it around if you know anyone interested. Finding a terrific hire through a blog post would make a great story. You know us PR freaks…it’s all about the story. Rock on!

Here is the ad:

Looking for PR pros who want to get paid to work in Web 2.0 world. One stipulation: must recognize a ”tweet” isn’t a bird, a “wall” isn’t a Pink Floyd song, ”poked” isn’t perverted and a “podcast” isn’t fishing on a lily pad.

Kel & Partners is a leading Web 2.0 marketing & PR agency for consumer & emerging technology brands. The outrageous media coverage we deliver our clients has made us insanely busy.

We’re looking for PR talent at all levels who want to drink the Kool-Aid & work in the Web 2.0 universe at our soon-to-be-opened Boston (we’re in Westborough now) & Seattle offices.

If you’re a Web 2.0-obsessed, savvy, go-getter experienced in media relations & want to vote obscure, not newsworthy pitches off the island-give Kel a call directly at 508.366.2099 x111 or blast her an email at kel@kelandpartners.com. All inquiries will be kept highly confidential.

Life at Kel & Partners is one of wildly talented employees, fully immersed in Web 2.0. We don’t just encourage Work/Life balance, we demand it. Benefits are full & satisfying, work atmosphere is fun & funky. Bring your iPod, add it to the mix.

See for yourself. Check us out at kelandpartners.com.

Come play in our Web 2.0 world.

Posted by Kel | in Uncategorized | 8 Comments »

Web 2.0 Dumpster Diving

Jun. 22nd 2008

Years ago, in old school corporate America, many unscrupulous companies would “dumpster dive” in an attempt to dig up information on their competitors. In a business context, dumpster diving is when someone picks though a competitor’s trash in an attempt to unearth discarded paperwork that holds insight about the company’s IP, employees, customers, financials, product plans, whatever.

Recently I experienced what I view as Web 2.0′s version of dumpster diving from a competitor willing to go to any length to try to encroach on my business. In a Web 2.0 world, dumpster diving involves poaching a competitor’s friends on social media sites like Facebook or picking off, one-by-one, a competitor’s followers and those they follow on Twitter. No joke. Poach eggs not friends is my theory. After getting a heads up from a few people that my friends were being poached on Facebook, I had to go in and make “view friends” not visible to anyone who wasn’t already my friend. This prevents those people who travel on their belly from identifying all my contacts and then friending them as a way to get into my biz world. Of the hundreds of friends I have on Facebook, probably half of them are business contacts — clients, prospects, media, analysts, etc.

The Twitter incident was even more ridiculous because this competitor was actually monitoring my tweets while we were competing for the same piece of business. So not cool. I believe in a Twitter world, that bird would probably be viewed as the lowly and desperate vulture. Because of this vulture, I now have a lock on my Twitter account, so I have to approve people who want to follow me.

I have a number of competitors as friends on Facebook and followers on Twitter. Contrary to the media’s perspective that all PR people are slimeballs, I have some great, trustworthy friends who are CEO’s and employees of competitive PR agencies. These are awesome people with whom I trust with blind faith when it comes to never crossing the dumpster diving line. In some cases, I even reroute new business leads to these competitors if it is not a good fit for my agency.

Is there any more of a pussy than the person/company who is afraid to compete based on the merits of their work? Results are all that matter. In a PR environment that means one thing: securing outrageous media coverage for your clients.

With any luck these Web 2.0 dumpster divers will end up in a landfill, with their second cousin, the rat.

Have you experienced any Web 2.0 dumpster diving?

Posted by Kel | in Uncategorized | 7 Comments »

Tears For Tim

Jun. 13th 2008

Like millions of people, I am so stunned and saddened by the death of Tim Russert –truly blown away on so many levels. For years, I have admired Tim for who he was as a human being above and beyond all his professional accomplishments. Today, I find myself consumed with tears for the loss of this exceptional man.

Tim was a guy who wore his blue collar background like a badge of honor, front and center for all to see. In the world of media where so many people work hard to project the perfect image, Tim was Tim regardless of whether he was moderating Meet The Press, joking around with The Today Show hosts, having an audience with the Pope, laughing with the boys in a bar in his hometown Buffalo, or receiving a pitch from an enthusiastic PR person. In spite of his success, Tim never wavered from the respect that was core to the fabric of his existence.

Anyone who knew Tim — even if only as a viewer connected via a television screen — knew he loved his family and wasn’t embarrassed to express his feelings. As spring approached this year, we all watched as Tim began gushing about the upcoming graduation of his son Luke from Boston College. While he often beamed when immersed in political coverage, the energy and glow he radiated when telling a story about his family outshone all other moments in his life. Footage of Tim with his Dad (aka Big Russ) would immediately ignite a smile on anyone.

Personally, as a political and news junkie, Tim was often the guy giving me my fix. Tim’s standout characteristic on a professional level was that he was tough, but fair. Relative to his peers, Tim could have tripped over the bar when it came to uncompromising fairness. Yet day after day and night after night, Tim sailed over the bar and set an example for all else to follow.

Tim was a devout Catholic yet carried his faith in a way that was personal and respectful. As someone who is agnostic, I truly appreciated the way Tim’s faith was forever present yet without being intrusive on others. I can’t help but think about how much peace would exist in the world today if others adopted a similar approach to their religious beliefs.

What things do you remember about Tim Russert?

Posted by Kel | in Uncategorized | 10 Comments »

Slide Inside

Jun. 10th 2008

(come on peeps, get your minds out of the gutter)

I am always in awe of the entrepreneurs who in their brilliance create a movement that touches millions and millions of people every single day. And they literally change the world in doing so. Seriously, I love what I do for a living, but come on…I hardly impact millions of lives on a daily basis. While I play in the Web 2.0 sandbox, I’m not the one who built it and I know my place in its ecosystem. We all know the cache entrepreneurs like Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook and Marc Andreessen of Ning. But it’s the lesser known, mild-mannered entrepreneurs who go about their daily lives in a below the radar screen manner whom I put on pedestals. People like Max Levchin, the founder, CEO and chairman at Slide. If you have ever thrown a sheep, or posted on a FunWall, you have Levchin to thank for it. Slide is like the “Intel Inside” of social networks. Sites like Facebook, MySpace, Bebo and Friendster have companies like Slide to thank when it comes to their stickiness.

We have all heard many self-anointed individuals refer to themselves as “serial entrepreneurs,” but I think Levchin is king of that crib. Slide is the world’s largest publisher of social entertainment applications in the world. Over 170 million peeps interact with Slide products every month. Slide apps reach 200+ countries and 100 SuperPokes are thrown every second! Prior to Slide, Levchin incubated Yelp, a company that became synonymous with the new category called City Guides. Levchin was also the founder of PayPal…hmmmm…yeah, I think you’ve heard of those guys. Levchin sold PayPal to eBay for an estimated $1.5 billion at the age of 26. At 26 I would have been out of my mind to get $150 for something I sold at a garage sale.

Yet if you go to Google News and search Max Levchin, you only get 23 results compared to a similar search for Mark Zuckerberg that yielded 522 results. Given the wildly successful ride Levchin has had at such a young age, it is absolutely amazing he is not all over the media, but once you hear him speak, you might understand why. I heard Levchin interviewed recently at a Web 2.0 conference. He was so modest, boyish, soft-spoken and thoughtful in his responses, he looked like he would be more comfortable raising sheep than throwing them. The audience fell in love with him because he was just a nice guy who happened to launch a handful of kick-ass businesses – which he completely down-played throughout the conversation. His persona was more impressive than his accomplishments and therein lies my love for him.

What entrepreneurs do you admire most and why?

Posted by Kel | in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

Crowdsourcing

Jun. 4th 2008

Before I decided to write this post, I called one of my Web 2.0 savvy friends and asked her if she knew what “crowdsourcing” is. Although I knew the answer, I wanted to ping her in hopes she didn’t know which is usually a good sign that a blog post will have broad appeal. When she responded, “yeah that’s what you do at a concert,” I knew I had something.

 

For those of you who may think it is something you do at a concert, crowdsourcing is a hip, new term that essentially means outsourcing a traditional task/project to an undefined large group of people (e.g. the world) in the form of an open call. When you think of Web 2.0 and its inherent mass collaboration power, crowdsourcing is a subset of this collaboration in that it is directed towards a single initiative in response to a direct request. The term was coined by Jeff Howe in a 2006 Wired magazine article. Although the term has been around for two years, it doesn’t appear to have achieved the mass recognition even though it is all about the masses.

 

In February of this year, Spreadshirt, the etailer and manufacturer of customized clothing, launched its new logo which was the result of a global crowdsourcing contest. The winning design was chosen from 2,800 entries submitted from 45 countries. Let me tell you, there is not a design firm on the planet that would give you 2,800 logo options. They would have terminated you after 50 and forever referred to you as ”the client from hell that couldn’t find a logo they liked out of 50 freakin’ designs.” 

 

A few other examples of crowdsourcing include:

 

  • When Steve Fosset’s plane went down, 50,000 people scoured high res satellite images from Digital Globe via Amazon Mechanical Turk. Unfortunately, the plane was never found.
  • Earlier this year, Texas announced its plan to install 200 cameras along its Mexican border and invited anyone with an internet connection to become virtual border patrol agents.
  • Galaxy Zoo, a user-generated science project, lets anyone document and classify a million galaxies from the Sloan Digital Sky.

 

When I sat back and started to wonder where crowdsourcing is going to take us, I started to get a nose bleed, so I stopped. I’ll leave that pontification up to the self-annointed geniuses who have already figured out Web 4.0.

 

While crowdsourcing has no shortage of discussion points when it comes to economic, social and ethical implications, you gotta admit it is very cool and a heck of a lot safer than “crowdsurfing.” Just ask my 18-year-old daughter who ended up with a concussion for six months after she was dropped from six feet while crowdsurfing at a concert. Don’t ask.

 

What do you think about crowdsourcing?

Posted by Kel | in Uncategorized | 10 Comments »

Drinking Kool-Aid From Utterz

Jun. 1st 2008

Whenever I get a chance, I love to try a sip of any new flavor of Web 2.0 Kool-Aid being served. Gotta admit until yesterday I never drank it from Utterz. Utterz has been on my radar screen for quite some time. Utterz CEO, Michael Bayer, is a friend of mine and fellow sushi lover. Given Twitter’s recent rash of outages, I thought I would go over and take a sip of what Utterz has been serving. And I like what I’m tasting.

My simplest definition is that Utterz is “Twitter on steroids with voice, video, picture and text capability.” I’m sure that line makes Michael cringe because in reality, Utterz is so much more. Utterz takes microblogging to a whole new level by allowing its members to create a mashup blog post from anywhere in the world via their mobile phone. Member call 712-432-Mooo (6666) from their cell and record a voice utter. Within 10 minutes of calling in their utter, members can then send video, pictures, and/or text to go@utterz.com and Utterz will mash it all into a single post and put it on utterz.com. If ya’ want, Utterz will then feed the post to Twitter, Facebook and a bunch of other Web 2.0 play grounds. Way cool.

The hump that I’m not sure I’ll ever get over with Utterz is that, like most people, I don’t like the sound of my own voice (note to self: call a therapist). The good news is you don’t have to use the voice feature. I love the thought of combining videos & photos to my mobile-based text microblogging and the opp to mash it all up into one blog post. Shazaam!

My challenge today is that having only been an Utterz member for 24 +/- hours, I’m lonely (note to self: schedule second therapy appointment). Unlike most PR people, I do not strive for mass followers on Twitter and mass friends on Facebook in order to feel a sense of self worth and importance. I tend to be very selective with the people I bring into my world. Quality over quantity. You will never see me following thousands of people on Twitter or Utterz, ’cause, guess what…it is physically impossible to do so. However, I am very lonely on Utterz because my friends/family/collegues are not there yet. Time to start pimpin’.

I think Utterz needs to simplify its positioning in order to achieve mass adoption (think: Twitter). My company has been immersed in Web 2.0 since 2005 through self-immersion and our Web 2.0 clients. When we launched Gather.com in 2005, we found the most effective line for media pitching purposes was to refer to Gather as the ”MySpace for Grown-Ups” (note: we couldn’t say “adults” because that made people think porn). While that wasn’t the language Gather used to describe themselves, it was a way to open the door and get instant attention and understanding from the media in three words, something considered nirvana in media relations. The Gather launch was wildly successful, as was the follow-on three years of media coverage. We evolved our single-pitch-line description to align with the natural evolution of Gather’s strategic direction. Utterz will have the same opp to evolve its positioning.

MySpace paved the way for social networking through its content-based approach. Facebook then came along and began eating MySpace’s lunch through its people-based approach. I think Utterz has the opp to do to Twitter what Facebook did to MySpace, they just need to tighten the messaging to reach the masses and then get it out there. Michael Bayer is absolutely, unequivocally one of the smartest people I know, so I have no doubt that will happen. He is also one of the funniest guys on the planet. That’s probably why the icon for the Utterz brand is a cow named Bessie. Moooooo…

Do you utter?

Posted by Kel | in Uncategorized | 4 Comments »