jump to navigation

Chipping for Oman at Dubai Twestival February 17, 2009

Posted by Arun Rajagopal in Conversations, Oman, Social Media, Travel.
Tags: , ,

The Dubai Twestival Tee
was one of the 175 cities around the world to organize the Twestival on 12 February 2009. Nearly 150 Tweeters gathered at Le Meridien Mina Seyahi’s fab Barasti Bar for the Dubai Twestival @DubaiTwestival.

Dubai PR agency Spot On @spotonpr estimates that out of the 1,500 Twitter users in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), over 500 are based in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Currently, UAE has the fastest growing Twitter audience in the region with over 20% per month. Considering that Twitter was banned in UAE till August 2008, these numbers are quite impressive.

With not more than 15 active Tweeters based out from Oman, we couldn’t have a Twestival in Muscat, so I decided to join the Twestival crowd at Dubai. Even more exciting for me was the fact that I drove down from Muscat to Dubai and back (my first time ever) – a distance of 800km.

The ride was exciting and before I left I was like I need to take something special for the Twitterati in Dubai. I first thought about postcards that capture Oman’s beautiful imagery, but then I hit upon a better idea.

Arun Rajagopal with PK Gulati at Dubai Twestival
If you live in
Oman, you would have definitely tasted ‘Chips Oman’ which is one of the most popular snacks in this country. It’s like staple food out here along with Mountain Dew. So I took bags of Chips Oman crisps across the border, because they stand for Oman (a chips brand named after a country is just yummy!). You might take a look at the Chips Oman page on Facebook as well.

Yes, so I made it to Barasti with bags of chips in hand. It was great meeting a lot of interesting tweeps at Dubai. There was a clear sense of camaraderie that goes with being a part of a small community. And it’s a community that will go stronger and get better over time.

I particularly enjoyed meeting @PKGulati, @Renroon, @divine_dee, @kangayayaroo, @umarpirzada, @ MaliZomg, @Lhjunkie, @mayG_UTP, @mnystedt, @DaddyBird, @skinnylatte, @esperanca, @DrBaher, @dxbluey @Carringtonm & many others. I didn’t get to say hello to a lot of people & I’m hoping to connect with more at the next outing.

I missed out on my Dubai Twestival Official Tee (actually left it on the couch & found it missing by the time I remembered) – that was a disappointment considering it would have made a lovely souvenir for my trip.

Many, many thanks to the organizers of the Dubai Twestival who made it all happen. It’s no small task to put up an event of this magnitude – and the outcome was simply splendid.

Another highlight of my Dubai trip was getting to meet David Koopmans from Melbourne @koopmans but that is fodder for another post! Tweet on, people…

News on Dubai Twestival (very extensively covered in local media):

Snaps from Dubai Twestival:

Pics credit @bojicas


Five in the Morning from Oman February 9, 2009

Posted by Arun Rajagopal in Conversations, Digital, Oman, Social Media.
Tags: , , , , , , ,
5 O’Clock, originally uploaded by surlygrrrl [ELBfoto].

When Steve Woodruff asked me to host the ‘Five in the Morning Series’ out of Oman, I had no hesitation to jump in the bandwagon.

Actually, running the series from here is a breeze. (Because 5am EST in the US is 2pm in Oman).

I’m going to use this opportunity to turn the spotlight on a couple of bloggers out of the Arabian Gulf region. They don’t educate us on social media per se, but they ‘live social media’ on their blogs by telling the world about the good, bad and ugly in their societies. No holds barred. Plus, isn’t it great to turn the mirror on a part of the world that is so less understood by the whole wide web of the world out there?

So without much ado, let’s get the show going.

The Muscatis (Muscati and his spouse Um Faisal which means ‘mother of Faisal’) publish interesting ramblings, musings and outbursts from the land called ‘Oh-man!’ on their blog.

Saudi Arabia:
Saudi Jeans written by Ahmed Al-Omran aims to provide news, commentary, and personal views on political and social issues in Saudi Arabia, with a special focus on freedom of expression, human rights and women’s rights.

Ammar aka Ammaro is a young blogger out of Bahrain who works in the financial services industry and keeps things kicking in the Pearl Island.

Two forty eight am (The B-sides) is a blog by Mark and Nat, a married Lebanese couple who are living in Kuwait. Mark works in Advertising while Nat works in TV. Both keep Kuwait on the blogging radar.

United Arab Emirates:
The blog Dubai Media Observer offers a critical view of the media industry in the UAE. If you were looking for a blog that serves you a bit of intrigue, dollops of adventure and lots of controversy, I’d lead you to Secret Dubai Diary. To top it all, Life in Dubai is a great blog written by an Australian expat with thoughts and comments on how it is to live in a city of superlatives.

Big hat-tip to Amjad for leading me to some of these blogs. Thank you Steve for this great opportunity to have a go at ‘Five in the Morning’.

Subscribe: Arun Rajagopal’s blog / Steve Woodruff’s StickyFigure blog
Follow us on Twitter: Arun Rajagopal / Steve Woodruff

From Minnesota to the World-Via Oman February 3, 2009

Posted by Arun Rajagopal in Oman, Social Media, Travel.
Muscat Festival 2009-10, originally uploaded by arunmct.

In March 2007, an enterprising guy from Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA set out to see the world. Not before selling his thriving business and home, putting his belongings into storage and spending some time with his folks before getting on the road.

For over 2 years, Gary Arndt has been traveling and blogging around the world armed with his laptop, camera and iPhone. On last count, he has visited over 50 countries. A few weeks ago, Gary was in Oman and I had the pleasure of hanging out with him.

As someone with a deep interest in travel, I found Gary’s accounts of his journeys highly fascinating and very insightful.

A visit to his travel blog Everything-Everywhere.com is more than a descriptive account of the places and people a nomadic traveler encounters. It’s a perceptive mirror of history, cultures, societies, quirky foibles, extraordinary experiences and the captivating minutiae of life across the globe.

Gary is not on a mission to change the world with his travels. There is no cause to support or an agenda to push. There’s no poring over a guidebook and attempting to recreate an experience. Off-the beaten path is more like it.

He does not make detailed plans before visiting a destination. He does not know when he will get back home. He is not perturbed that his cash will run out. He will probably not know which city will be next on his itinerary. He digs World Heritage Sites a lot. He enjoys meeting people in the places he travels to. He has been to those teeny-weeny islands in the Pacific that are probably unknown to many.

Gary plans to write a book on his travels. It will be beyond a travelogue that recounts ‘I went here. I saw this. I did that’. A chapter in the book will be on monarchs that will offer a fascinating perspective of rulers around the world. One could be on the history of Marshall Islands. Speaking engagements are also in the pipeline. His amazing collection of travel photographs could fetch him moolah.

Here are a couple of interesting thoughts that Gary left behind.

He believes that a year of international travel is as good as four years of a university education.

He says that a recession is the best time to travel around the world. Why would you want to work harder to make a living when all the economic forces are against you? You would rather go on a ‘sleep mode’ and then on a ‘refresh drive’ around the world.

He believes that the skills you learn from traveling stand in good stead when it comes to work or life.

He says that ‘cleanliness’ and ‘quality of highways’ are the best indicators of how developed a nation can be. He rates Muscat if not the best, among the best cities in the world.

He chronicled the saga of the Musandam Ferry on his blog. (Here’s another account on Muscati’s blog). Gary ran from pillar to post trying to find information on the ferry. His experience on how essential information on a service that is meant for tourists is not easily available to them should be an eye-opener for decision-makers who want to attract tourists to Oman. Change is on its way. The National Ferry Company has just launched a website with the info. Hat tip to Sangeetha at the Digital Oman blog.

His ride from Nizwa to Muscat is a fascinating testimonial of the outstanding hospitality shown by the people of this country. If you are a foreigner wary of the Middle East, Gary‘s experience will be a pleasant eye-opener.

If it were not for him, I would not have visited the ongoing Muscat Festival at Rose Garden, Qurum. It took the company of a tourist for me to go and experience the magic that is happening in my own backyard.

The Muscat Festival was a great opportunity for me to observe firsthand the amazing heritage and culture of this country, something I thought I already knew because I have lived here for 16 odd years. How wrong I was. A blog post on it is in the works.

People like him are the best brand ambassadors Oman can ever ask for. A few months from now, he might sit in a remote corner of the world and regale the locals there of how his arrival in Oman coincided with the country’s famous Gulf Cup victory. Hundreds of readers of his blog will learn about the Musandam Ferry fiasco. His book might feature an anecdote on his Nizwa ride and sharing lamb meat sticks with a stranger’ experience.

I wish Gary happy travels. Do follow his journeys on his blog. If his experiences motivate you to see more of the world yourself or make you look out more from your little shell, I’d say go for it.

Gary was profiled by ‘The Week’ during his visit to Oman. Read the story by Sujit Kumar.

A few thoughts on Brand Oman January 26, 2009

Posted by Arun Rajagopal in Advertising, Branding, Conversations, Digital, Oman, Social Media.

brand oman logo

Yesterday, national brand mark of the Sultanate of Oman was unveiled. This logo is an initiative from the Oman Brand Management Unit (OBMU).

Firstly, why is the need for Oman to go into national branding?

It’s important to project a favorable image of the country, especially after understanding how the country is presently viewed within its borders and overseas. There’s a heightened interest about Oman globally, considering its unique tourism appeal and its relative resilience in the current economic situation.

In the words of His Highness Sayyid Faisal bin Turki Al Said, who heads OBMU:

“We’re a relatively small country and generally little known.”

“Now is the time to identify what unique qualities Oman has to offer and balance this with what consumers actually want from us.

“Understand our compelling truth and look at what we have — natural resources, beauty, minerals, culture, infrastructure, education, technology — and then match these deliverables to what is really wanted from a global audience.

Here’s an explanation of the logo mark on Times of Oman.

From what I have seen of the Oman Air corporate rebranding exercise last year, I know that whenever a new logo is unveiled, you have two sides of opinion. Some like it. Some don’t.

A lot of local people do not get that the logo mark is calligraphy that reads ‘OMAN’. (I just did a small dipstick survey). People get it when I tell them it is calligraphy and ask them to read for a word. The hues are very refreshing. However, it’s only when you read the rationale that you understand the mighty burdens resting on the humble logo. Some have said the colors are similar to those in the logos of Oman Oil Marketing Co., Nawras and Renaissance Services in Oman. Read some comments in Sangeetha Sridhar’s post in the Digital Oman blog.

My point is: there’s no going back to the drawing board. From now on, it’s about how effectively you get the message across different touch points about what Oman means as an international brand.

Oman Tourism Logo

This is the current OMAN logo that is used by the country’s Ministry of Tourism, mostly used for promoting destination Oman. It’s likely the new ‘Brand Oman’ logo will take its place. How do both the logos compare?

Also, the new Brand Oman logo will not only be used to promote the tourism aspect of Oman, but also the national, international, commercial, industrial, economic, cultural, sports facets of the nation. I expect this logo to be present on any banner to do with Oman with a national or international purview… from summits, events, activities, campaigns, tournaments, festivals… you get the big picture.

It’s very disheartening that the Brand Oman website is not up and running. Please note that it’s www.brandoman.om and NOT www.brandoman.com.

In this age of social media, there’s no better medium that digital to reach out your message in a more compelling and conversational manner. I will recommend a URL that does not have ‘brand’ in it. To an end user, the word brand does not mean anything i.e. convey a positive, impressionable attitude. It’s more about ‘OMAN’ than the ‘BRAND’.

Try this: http://www.brandoman.om vs. http://www.amazingoman.om or just http://www.oman.om

Assuming you haven’t visited the website, which URL gives you a better image of the country?

A new print campaign has appeared in the local newspapers unveiling the logo with a message ‘Our universities are our legacy’. It’s too early to comment before knowing how it will unfold.

The challenge in the coming days is how interestingly OBMU will tell the story of Oman to the world. How various communication activities pertaining to Oman that happen across diverse touch points will be synergized to convey a single message, both locally and internationally? How will you bring in the voices of the amazing mix of people that make up this country?

All the best, ‘Brand Oman’!

The Best of Mack Collier January 18, 2009

Posted by Arun Rajagopal in Conversations, Digital, Social Media.
Tags: , ,

A couple of days ago, good friend Mack Collier celebrated his birthday. An acclaimed social media consultant, trainer and speaker, Mack is the man behind ‘The Viral Garden’, an influential marketing/social media blog.

His blog features a weekly ranking of the Top 25 Marketing & Social Media Blogs and also a useful Company Blog Checkup series. His motto is “Don’t focus on the tools, focus on the connections that the tools help facilitate.”

‘The Viral Garden’ is a must-read if you are a social media newbie or a brand looking to carve a space in social media or an accomplished marketer looking for voices of reason in the age of conversation. It’s a great testimony of Mack’s short yet highly impressive journey in social media waters.

Personally, what I like most about Mack is his very endearing nature, his passion to focus on human connections and the way he puts across his message in very simple and direct terms.

As a dedication to Mack on his now very belated birthday, here’s a pick of some of my favorite posts from his blog. I must confess that I was not a regular reader of ‘The Viral Garden’ back in the days, but today I had a great opportunity to go through his great work.

1. Both social media evangelists & traditional marketers have to shed the ‘only I know my stuff better’ stereotypes and learn to work together.

2. Don’t focus on using social media to ‘create’ community, focus on using social media as a way to connect with your customers and join them in THEIR space.

3. Social media is NOT a marketing channel; it is a TWO-WAY communication channel. It helps enable trust between a brand and its consumers.

4. How can you bring more value to the world of social media?

5. New to Twitter? How to transform your Twitter experience.

6. A flyswatter case study on how to have fun with your marketing.

7. How to market like a rockstar. Another post on how marketing can be a fun process.

8. 10 ways to excite your blog readers. Another one here has more tips to grow your blog’s audience.

9. How to grow your social media audience. Do you target the ‘A-listers’ or you follow the ‘smart peeps’? Lots of great comments in this post.

10. This is one of my favorites where Mack tells us not to ‘overthink’ social media and to remove your ‘perfect filter’. I suffer from the same disease to get the right posts and am considering Mack’s advice to get over the bend this year.

11. Some very sane advice to companies who are thinking about engaging bloggers and social media influencers.

Hope you enjoyed ‘The Best of Mack Collier’.

Speaking at The New Media Event, Dubai December 9, 2008

Posted by Arun Rajagopal in Conversations, Digital, Oman, Social Media.
Tags: , , ,

From 14-18 December 2008, I will be a part of The New Media Event in Dubai, the first and the biggest ever event devoted to social media in this part of the world.

Held at the JW Marriott Hotel in Dubai, The New Media Event features over 20 leading experts from Middle East and around the world who will help attendees understand the growing power of new media in corporate world and identify the key social media tools, challenges, issues and trends that brands and organizations in the region need to be familiar with.

On 15 December 2008, I will be doing a keynote on corporate blogging with Rajiv Ahuja from Muscat who writes the only corporate blog from Oman – Khimji Ramdas Bright Sparks.

Our presentation ‘Getting On The Corporate Blogging Bandwagon’ will attempt to answer the following questions:

  • Should you be on the corporate blogging bandwagon?
  • What are the lessons to learn and the pitfalls to avoid?
  • How to get more value from your corporate blogging endeavors?

A part of our presentation will focus on Rajiv Ahuja sharing his learnings and experience from Khimji Ramdas Bright Sparks, the first corporate blogging initiative from Oman.

If you are attending the event, I look forward to meeting you there and I hope that you derive excellent value from the splendid lineup of presentations and workshops that are focused on ‘you getting social media right’.

I will live-blog about the event so that those of you with an interest in social media in the region but cannot make it to the event can also stay updated.

I think it is an exciting time for social media to take off in the region, with fears of a recession widespread in Dubai and more marketers interested in using social media to create more interactive conversations and effective relationships with their customers.

Based in the Sultanate of Oman, I have seen that interest in social media has been spiking recently especially in the corporate sector. Knowledge Oasis Muscat (KOM), the Muscat-based national ICT park recently organized a Digital Nation Seminar on Blogging on 10 November 2008. This was followed by a couple of stories in local media especially on blogging. (The Week article Blogging Goes Corporate quotes me and Rajiv Ahuja.)

Beginning next year, my effort is to help organize a forum like BarCamp in Muscat so that we can help popularize and familiarize social media among followers. It’s also a long-standing promise I have made to social media guru Connie Reece who is based in Austin.

My perception is that a lot of people in the Middle East know the social media tools, but are yet to get the big picture, the big idea of social media by using the tools in an effective way that delivers value.

I think primary concerns are:

  1. Is social media just a fad I can live without?
  2. I have my corporate website, isn’t that enough?
  3. What do I say and how do I say it?
  4. What will social media do for me?
  5. What are the metrics that will measure success?
  6. Will I lose control of the conversation?
  7. Is there a business model behind blogging?
  8. How much money will I make from my corporate blog?
  9. How will get various stakeholders to buy into my social media engagement?
  10. The fear of the unknown

These are natural concerns and I would recommend that you address them head on. It is by participating in events such as these that you will get the answers to these questions and learn the ropes of social media.

This is my first ever speaking gig and I will go into the event with the message that you can make a mark in social media if you LISTEN, OBSERVE, LEARN, BE HUMAN and TRY TO GIVE VALUE. Like my good friend and marketing champ CK says, social media is an exercise in getting the basics right!

It’s my pleasure to join the following speakers at The New Media Event in Dubai.

  1. Debbie Weil, Author, The Corporate Blogging Book
  2. Robin Hamman, Head of Social Media, Headshift (Former Head of Blogging, BBC)
  3. Marta Kagan, Director of Marketing, Viximo.com
  4. Philippe Borremans, Marketing Director, Blackline / Former Media Lead, IBM
  5. Mohamed El Fatatry, Founder, Muxlim.com
  6. Angel Gambino, Former Global VP Music & Content, BEBO
  7. Dan Healy, CEO, Real-Opinions
  8. Magnus Nystedt, Founder, emiratesmac.com
  9. Omar F. Koudsi, President & Co-founder, jeeran.com
  10. David Skul, CEO, Relativity
  11. Steve Vaile, Founder & CEO, H2O Media
  12. Rama Chakaki, Chief Operations Officer, H2O Media
  13. Scott Monty, Head of Social Media, Ford
  14. Rajiv Ahuja, Head, Corporate Communications, Khimji Ramdas
  15. Bobby Kakar, Head of Marketing – Direct Channels, HSBC
  16. Mohamed Nanabhay, Head of New Media, Al Jazeera
  17. Jonathan Woodier, Director Corporate Communications EMEA Global Consumer Group, Citi Group
  18. Philippe Deltenre, Media Strategist, Microsoft
  19. Duane Nickull, Senior Technological Evangelist ADOBE & Host, Duane’s World TV
  20. Ammar Bakkar, Head of New Media, MBC Group
  21. Catherine Captain, VP Marketing, msnbc.com

More on the The New Media Event to follow. Stay tuned, folks!

Outliers, Who? November 21, 2008

Posted by Arun Rajagopal in Books, Social Media.
Tags: , , ,
1 comment so far

, originally uploaded by aloshbennett.

So, what connects smart marketers, great doctors and super sleuths?

The uncanny ability to observe the hidden side of everything, which gives them a unique perspective to understand the often subtle yet radical, plausible yet disconnected causes of what drives certain behavior, events, trends and happenings.

‘Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything’ by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner & ‘The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference’ by Malcolm Gladwell are two classic books which challenge our thinking by exploring what lies beneath.

While ‘Tipping Point’ explains how minor changes in ideas and products can increase their popularity and how small adjustments in an individual’s immediate environment can alter group behavior, ‘Freakonomics’ shows that economics is, at root, the study of incentives – how people get what they want, or need, especially when other people want or need the same thing.

In his new book ‘Outliers: The Story of Success’, Gladwell features “outliers” – the super-successful men and women of the world who have “been given opportunities, and who have had the strength and presence of mind to seize them.” Example: Bill Gates.

He also connects success to nationality and cultural contexts with the example of how Asian kids perform better in Math when compared to their Western counterparts and says that the answer may lie in a cultural legacy – that of the agricultural tradition of rice farming!

Other central ideas in the book are:
1.    How being a member of an apparently distressed minority can sometimes be advantageous. Example: Jewish lawyers.
2.    You are what your community is. Example: the super-healthy community of Roseta in Pennsylvania.

So is Gladwell right when he debunks what he calls the “peculiarly American” belief that character, intelligence and hard work determine success?

I have been thinking quite a bit about Gladwell’s reasoning and applying it to a few examples around me. Surely, character, intelligence and hard work are invaluable character traits to possess. My belief is that success is a lot determined by being the ‘right person’ at the ‘right place’ at the ‘right time’ doing the ‘right thing’. And, working smart gets you farther than working hard.

During my 16-year stint in Oman, I have noticed that it is the migrant entrepreneurs who mostly came to Oman during the early 1970s or before who made it out biggest here. One of the reasons could be that they started enterprises that were a part of the massive development and modernization of the country which started in 1970 with the current ruler’s reign.

Non-migrant workers who came in during 1980s and stayed over till mid 1990s before returning to their respective countries would probably have much better savings compared to workers who came here in the early 2000s.

As cost of living skyrockets across the Middle East, specifically the GCC region (UAE, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Kuwait), the saving potential of most expats is eroded, unless they come with skills that fetch them fat paychecks. This means that the GCC region is not the golden nest it used to be 2 decades ago, especially for blue collar workers.

Today, as the GCC economies and states race to further modernization and development that is at par with the West, the job market is more in favour of super-specialists – top experts with a wealth of experience in banking, finance, marketing, e-governance, health, safety & environment (HSE), engineering and real estate.

Back to ‘Outliers’, this  book might stir controversy for its generalizations on success vs. culture and ethnicity. But like Gladwell’s other works, it will change the way we see and understand the world. This is one book to grab right away.

From the book:
Outlier, noun.
1: something that is situated away from or classed differently from a main or related body
2: a statistical observation that is markedly different in value from the others of the sample

It’s Obama time! November 5, 2008

Posted by Arun Rajagopal in Conversations, Digital, Social Media.
Tags: ,

Congratulations Obama. Congratulations America. This morning, I got to work and discovered that Barack Obama is the 44th president of the USA. I immediately logged on to Twitter and went through my feed soaking in the collective emotions of a people who so desired a change of leadership for America. I then wished I could see his acceptance speech live (which I did a few minutes ago finally!). I thought it would be great if I captured this defining moment in history through the tweets of some of my friends on Twitter. Finally, change is here and this is what America had to say today.

jeffpulver Good morning, America how are you? Looks like the world has changed a little overnight. For the better. With love from Tel Aviv.

scottkarp Never seen so many people at a political event with tears.

kevglobal just in case you missed it: YES WE CAN!

BrianReich Its kind of a bummer that my son, just shy of his first birthday, is sleeping through this historic night.

briansolis Welcome to a new America

ChrisSaad i have tears in my eyes

mikearauz YES WE CAN.

shelisrael The only dry eye in the entire country is his.

shelisrael “Democracy, liberty and unyielding hope. That’s America‘s true genius is that America can change.”

shelisrael To all those watching from beyond our shores: A new dawn of American leadership is here.

Scobleizer For the past 30 minutes I sat holding my son, Milan, listening to Obama. More than once I wiped a tear from my cheek.

shelisrael “We rise or fall as one nation, as one people.’

DustyReagan I think the Obama win broke the Internet tonight. Too much twittering, and digging, and et cetera happening.

tamar can obama just make his darn acceptance speech so my husband will come to bed???

tbrunelle Times Square is INSANE. This is an amazing experience.

KristinGorski President Obama!!!!!!!!!! 🙂 I am so deeply happy right now.

BrianReich I just got an email from Barack Obama saying thank you…

jimkukral Yes, it’s over. Time for healing. Time for a new face for America. I’m proud of my new America.

ScottMonty Whew. We can all rest well. America returns to the top of the ever-so-important global popularity contest.

charleneli Yes We Did!


debbieweil WHOOOEEE!!!! HISTORY!!!!!!!!!

CBWhittemore This is so very exciting! Congratulations America.

thomasclifford Yes we can. 🙂

ModaMags president Obama! Wow!!!!!

ShamaHyder …And the world as we know it changed forever.

How cool is Age of Conversation 2? October 30, 2008

Posted by Arun Rajagopal in Conversations, Digital, Social Media.
Tags: , ,

How cool is it to be part of a marketing book that is written by some of the brightest, smartest and greatest minds in marketing, communications and social media from around the world?

How cool is it to be part of a collaborative book that is authored by not one, not two, but 237 bloggers from 15 nations across the globe?

How cool is that the book is based on the theme ‘Why don’t people get it?’ and goes on to share unique perspectives on topics such as Manifestos, Keeping Secrets in the Age of Conversation, Moving from Conversation to Action?, The Accidental Marketer, A New Brand of Creative, My Marketing Tragedy, Business Model Evolution, and Life in the Conversation Lane?

How cool is that my chapter ‘The Smart Beast in the Creative Jungle’ talks about creating a successful creative niche in this highly dynamic and interactive era of conversation?

How cool is that the book’s collective wisdom will help you create conversations, deliver results and generate impact?

How cool is that proceeds from book sales will benefit Variety, a children’s charity that does good work around the world?

How cool is that you can go online and get your own copy of the book in hardcover, paperback and downloadable e-book formats within minutes ?

Yes, it’s so totally cool that ‘The Age of Conversation 2’ is finally here!!! And if you agree with me, please click here to order your copy.

Please tell us how cool it is to live in the age of conversation. It’d be fun if you start off your comments with “How cool… 🙂

And last but not the least, how cool is it to be in such great company?

A Adrian Ho, Aki Spicer, Alex Henault, Amy Jussel, Andrew Odom, Andy Nulman, Andy Sernovitz, Andy Whitlock, Angela Maiers, Ann Handley, Anna Farmery, Armando Alves, Arun Rajagopal, Asi Sharabi

B Becky Carroll, Becky McCray, Bernie Scheffler, Bill Gammell, Bob LeDrew, Brad Shorr, Brandon Murphy, Branislav Peric, Brent Dixon, Brett Macfarlane, Brian Reich

C C.C. Chapman, Cam Beck, Casper Willer, Cathleen Rittereiser, Cathryn Hrudicka, Cedric Giorgi, Charles Sipe, Chris Kieff, Chris Cree, Chris Wilson, Christina Kerley (CK), C.B. Whittemore, Chris Brown, Connie Bensen, Connie Reece, Corentin Monot, Craig Wilson

D Daniel Honigman, Dan Schawbel, Dan Sitter, Daria Radota Rasmussen, Darren Herman, Dave Davison, David Armano, David Berkowitz, David Koopmans, David Meerman Scott, David Petherick, David Reich, David Weinfeld, David Zinger, Deanna Gernert, Deborah Brown, Dennis Price, Derrick Kwa, Dino Demopoulos, Doug Haslam, Doug Meacham, Doug Mitchell, Douglas Hanna, Douglas Karr, Drew McLellan, Duane Brown, Dustin Jacobsen, Dylan Viner

E Ed Brenegar, Ed Cotton, Efrain Mendicuti, Ellen Weber, Eric Peterson, Eric Nehrlich, Ernie Mosteller

F Faris Yakob, Fernanda Romano, Francis Anderson

G G Kofi Annan, Gareth Kay, Gary Cohen, Gaurav Mishra, Gavin Heaton, Geert Desager, George Jenkins, G.L. Hoffman, Gianandrea Facchini, Gordon Whitehead, Greg Verdino, Gretel Going & Kathryn Fleming

H Hillel Cooperman, Hugh Weber

J J. Erik Potter, James Gordon-Macintosh, Jamey Shiels, Jasmin Tragas, Jason Oke, Jay Ehret, Jeanne Dininni, Jeff De Cagna, Jeff Gwynne & Todd Cabral, Jeff Noble, Jeff Wallace, Jennifer Warwick, Jenny Meade, Jeremy Fuksa, Jeremy Heilpern, Jeroen Verkroost, Jessica Hagy, Joanna Young, Joe Pulizzi, John Herrington, John Moore, John Rosen, John Todor, Jon Burg, Jon Swanson, Jonathan Trenn, Jordan Behan, Julie Fleischer, Justin Foster

K Karl Turley, Kate Trgovac, Katie Chatfield, Katie Konrath, Kenny Lauer, Keri Willenborg, Kevin Jessop, Kristin Gorski

L Lewis Green, Lois Kelly, Lori Magno, Louise Manning, Luc Debaisieux

M Mario Vellandi, Mark Blair, Mark Earls, Mark Goren, Mark Hancock, Mark Lewis, Mark McGuinness, Matt Dickman, Matt J. McDonald, Matt Moore, Michael Karnjanaprakorn, Michelle Lamar, Mike Arauz, Mike McAllen, Mike Sansone, Mitch Joel

N Neil Perkin, Nettie Hartsock, Nick Rice

O Oleksandr Skorokhod, Ozgur Alaz

P Paul Chaney, Paul Hebert, Paul Isakson, Paul McEnany, Paul Tedesco, Paul Williams, Pet Campbell, Pete Deutschman, Peter Corbett, Phil Gerbyshak, Phil Lewis, Phil Soden, Piet Wulleman

R Rachel Steiner, Reginald Adkins, Richard Huntington, Rishi Desai, Robert Hruzek, Roberta Rosenberg, Robyn McMaster, Roger von Oech, Rohit Bhargava, Ron Shevlin, Ryan Barrett, Ryan Karpeles, Ryan Rasmussen

S Sam Huleatt, Sandy Renshaw, Scott Goodson, Scott Monty, Scott Townsend, Scott White, Sean Howard, Sean Scott, Seni Thomas, Seth Gaffney, Shama Hyder, Sheila Scarborough, Sheryl Steadman, Simon Payn, Sonia Simone, Spike Jones, Sreeraj Menon, Stanley Johnson, Stephen Collins, Stephen Landau, Stephen Smith, Steve Bannister, Steve Hardy, Steve Portigal, Steve Roesler, Steven Verbruggen, Steve Woodruff, Sue Edworthy, Susan Bird, Susan Gunelius, Susan Heywood

T Tammy Lenski, Terrell Meek, Thomas Clifford, Thomas Knoll, Tim Brunelle, Tim Connor, Tim Jackson, Tim Mannveille, Tim Tyler, Timothy Johnson, Tinu Abayomi-Paul, Toby Bloomberg, Todd Andrlik, Troy Rutter, Troy Worman

U Uwe Hook

V Valeria Maltoni, Vandana Ahuja, Vanessa DiMauro, Veronique Rabuteau

W Wayne Buckhanan, William Azaroff

Y Yves Van Landeghem

A day at BarCamp San Antonio September 26, 2008

Posted by Arun Rajagopal in Conversations, Digital, Social Media.
Tags: , ,
San Antonio BarCamp 2008

On September 6, I was one of the lucky few who made it to the first ever BarCamp at San Antonio.

It was my first ever BarCamp as well and I was determined to attend despite a badly injured toe. I walked into the imposing MediaRich Studio at South Alamo and felt that the event could not have had an even better venue.

barcampsa 123, originally uploaded by MediaRich.

The fabulous MediaRich den is located in a pretty San Antonio neighborhood with an impressive view of the Tower of The Americas. I believe that creative workplaces need to look creative as well and the colorful, well laid out MediaRich offices do inspire a lot of creativity in you.

So how did I hear about BarCamp in the first place? It started as a chance tweet-up between me and the ever-amazing social media diva Connie Reece. This is the second time I have linked up with Connie through Twitter and made it to a social media community event. Both Connie and Twitter rock!

Btw, for the uninitiated: BarCamp is an ad-hoc unconference born from the desire for people to share and learn in an open environment. It is an intense event with discussions, demos and interaction from attendees. Anyone with something to contribute or with the desire to learn is welcome and invited to join.

The BarCamp mantra is: When you come, be prepared to share with barcampers. When you leave, be prepared to share it with the world.

One of the first BarCampers I ran into was George Riley of TED. Thought I wasn’t aware of TED till then, George was kind enough to share with me the exceptional work they do in spreading Technology, Entertainment and Design Ideas. Later during the day, we had an exciting session named TED & BIL – Big Ideas, hosted by George Riley and Cody Marx Bailey. Watch the feed on ustream.tv.

It was a fantastic day of learning experiences with several participants sharing their 2-cents on topics as diverse as Podcasting Basics, CSS, Co-working, Evolution of San Antonio as a creative hotspot, Blogging vs. Vlogging, Email Marketing, Ruby on Rails, Open Source Web 2.0, Post/Trans Humanism, Extreme Freestyle Hacking, PR & Social Media, What’s New in Accessibility, Media Access & Ownership and so much more. That’s so much for a day!

The crowning point of the event was when Connie Reece announced the birth of Social Media Club San Antonio. And she duly noted, Texas is now home to 5 Social Media Clubs. Go Texas, go!

Some of the most enlightening discussions we had during the day centered on making San Antonio a world-class creative space. Many participants shared their experiences and insights on how to transform San Antonio into a quality creative city comparable to the likes of Austin. I agree with them that one of the first steps in that direction is to build a creative community of like-minded individuals and that’s where initiatives such as Co-working, Social Media Club and BarCamps matter.

I missed out on Vidya Ananthanarayan’s presentation on Marketing Brand “You”, judging by the tremendous applause at the end of the session. I also missed Laura Marie’s fab performance after the BarCamp, but then enjoyed her music later on YouTube and MySpace.

Jennifer Navarrete deserves a huge high-five for her efforts in giving life to BarCamp SA. I’d the pleasure of running into her at PodCamp San Antonio in May and it’s so amazing to have someone with the passion and energy to bring San Antonio onto the social media scene.

Also, a big shout-out to Dean McCall, Mandi Harrell Leman, Michael Leman, Rich Harrell, Veronica Jorden and Donald Wilcox, Jr who made BarCamp SA a reality. And kudos to everyone who turned up, and especially the presenters who made the whole event worthwhile – BarCamp’s better with you.

The generous sponsors of BarCamp San Antonio deserve a mention: MediaRich, Microsoft, Ryma, FireCat Studio, CampaignStream, BlogCatalog, CampusWire along with Casa Chiapas, Mad Hatter’s Tea House, Tito’s and El Sol Studios. Events such as BarCamps cannot be successful without the support of organizations who strive to stimulate learning and networking opportunities in their local communities.

Enjoy the action from BarCamp San Antonio:

Blogspeak on BarCamp San Antonio: