From the Internet of Things to Video Moxy

I have the great privilege of hosting the xPotomac Conference every year with Patrick Ashamalla and Shonali Burke. We just published video recordings of our 2014 sessions, including our keynotes, on YouTube. You can see the whole channel here.

Here are each of the sessions:

KEYNOTE: Robert Scoble on The Age of Context

Find out more about Robert Scoble at

Lauren Vargas, Digital Media in a Regulated Environment

Find out more about Lauren at

Toby Bloomberg, Broadcast and Print Media Adoption of Digital

Learn more about Toby here:

Peter Corbett, The Internet of Things

Find out more about Peter at

Danielle Brigida and Allyson Kapin, Disrupting Social Change

Find out more about Danielle at and Allyson at

KEYNOTE: Jim Long, The Wild World of Video

Learn more about Jim at

The #xPotomac14 Compendium

xPotomac 2014 or #xPotomac14 was held last Friday at Georgetown University’s Copley Formal Lounge. Speakers include keynotes Robert Scoble, Jim Long, and session leaders Lauren Vargas, Toby Bloomberg, Peter Corbett, and Allyson Kapin and Danielle Brigida.


Early reviews show a successful event. Mike Schaeffer wrote, “The 2014 edition [of xPotomac] brought it strong, with an array of presenters, that all told one major story: Success in communications and technology will be predominantly based on strategically taking advantage of opportunities in front of you.”


Monica added, “What I found interesting was the fact that none of the speakers used extemporaneous PowerPoints. Instead, they used handhelds with colorful mind maps to remind them where they were in their talk (kudos to Kathryn Garrett for first pointing this out via Twitter). The result was more eye contact and audience interaction than you typically get when speakers are stuck in a pre-personal computer = overhead transparencies paradigm.”


As you can see, people tweeted about the content throughout the conference. And tweet they did. xPotomac trended for 35 minutes on Friday making it the 68th most popular topic in the country that day, according to Trendinalia United States.

xPotomac14 Word Cloud

Official xPotomac influence partner Zoomph tallied more than 3100 tweets and Instagram updates with a reach of more than 20 million people were posted last week and through the weekend. Not bad for 100 people coming together for a few conversations. The above Zoomph word cloud shows the 50 most referenced words in all those tweets.


Who was the greatest influencer of them all? Tinu Abayomi-Paul rocked her smartphone and took the prize, says Zoomph.


Most folks said they had a lot of fun (including emcee Shana Glickfield, who photo bombed me), and enjoyed the conference more than last year’s. Further, it seems we’ve transcended the increasinly distant BlogPotomac series that served as a foundation for the current xPotomac.


Co-founders Patrick Ashamalla (above), Shonali Burke and myself will bring xPotomac back next year at the Copley Formal Lounge thanks to our relationshiop with Georgetown’s Communications, Culture and Technology program. Look for more great speakers like Robert, Jim, Danielle and Allyson (pictured below), Toby, Peter and Lauren. In the interim, you can see all my photos from the event here. And we will roll out videos of the individual speaker sessions over the next month or so.


Thank you to everyone — attendee, sponsor and of course, our speakers — who made xPotomac happen. What did you think of #xPotomac14?

P.S. Since publishing, Brian Conlin published his “Six Brain-Bending Ideas from xPotomac 2014” on the Vocus blog. Check it out.

The Acidic Taste of Failure

Sometimes you try to achieve things with all that you’ve got, and then you fail. Some say failure is good, that it teaches you what not to do, etc., etc.

I agree, failing is part of the process of learning how to win. But I never like failing, particularly when I feel like it happened on my watch because of choices I made.

I can feel the acid burning my gut. I always hate failure.

Last week I experienced such a failure. It wasn’t on a public project, so let’s not read too much into things. Nevertheless, I failed. What made it worse was that I felt really good about the situation, rehearsed and worked hard, and put in extra time to get ready.

When it was show time, the effort flew like a lead zeppelin.

It was so obvious that I was dead in the water from the get-go, and I had to finish the job. If the situation was a baseball game, the opposition had a 10-run first inning. No escape for three hours. Done and done. Good night.

At least I am laughing about it a week later.

Nevertheless, it bugged me. Looking back there were mistakes like a critical flaw in evaluating my audience. A big disconnect occurred. Plus, I was exhausted and that didn’t help anything.

So, I did what I always do when I fail. I got back up the next day, and started working on the next big thing, which is planning the 2014 edition of xPotomac (Patrick Ashamalla and Shonali Burke are joining me again as co-hosts this year).

Because that’s what I do. I get back up.


It’s important to take away what I can from the mistakes, adapt so next time there is different outcome, and work towards the next success. Maybe I’ll experience a win, maybe a different failure, but always move a step closer to the solution.

I also took the necessary time to rest. Self-care remains one of the best ways to overcome failure. There is always more work, and sometimes I just have to put it on the backburner. If I treat myself like crap, I will surely feel and perform like crap, too.

But no matter what, failures still burn, some more than others. That’s what makes winning all the more worthwhile. Call it fuel.

How do you handle failures?

Featured image by Mike Stimpson.

Join the Exodus!

Today is the day! Exodus is formally released.

I am giving away a complimentary PDF copy of the book to my blog readers. Simply click this password protected link to download. The password is “freechoice”. The download will be available until September 13.

The first chapter is published below if you want a sneak peak. Early feedback has been great, so I hope you decide to check it out.

In addition to the PDF, I will publish the novel one chapter at a time on this site using a second RSS feed. Subscribe if you get a chance.

Exodus is now listed on Amazon’s Kindle Store at $0.99, and it will stay at that price until after Labor Day when it will be raised to $2.99. The book is also up on GoodReads in case you wanted to leave a review. A $2.99 electronic edition is published on B&N and the iBook store, too.

Finally, print editions are currently available on Lulu and directly on my web site. Amazon and B&N will start distributing hard copies by the end of September. If you prefer print, and want to enter the GoodReads contest to win one of 10 free copies, enter here.

Want more? The hero of the story Jason is on Twitter. Check it out! The @JasonExodus Twitter experiment has been fun so far, though a little crazy at times. I hope to launch additional media elements over the ensuing months to build a stronger transmedia experience for those who want deeper engagement.

This is a great opportunity to thank everyone who has encouraged me since I first announce my intent to publish the book, particularly those who signed up for advance copies and chatted with me on back channels. Having a core group of folks interested in the novel made a big difference. As you know this is not just any book, rather a 19 year journey that has come to fruition.

In addition, I’d like to give another shout out to Patrick Ashamalla for this website, which enables the distribution of the book via RSS feed. Thank you, sir, and congrats on your recent acquisition by White & Partners!

Below find Chapter 1!



Chapter 1: A Dark Messenger

Jason looked down the path, through the farthest rays of torchlight into the eerie blue of evening and saw something crawling toward them in the distance.

“George, get Hector.” Hector was the Harpers Ferry watch commander. He was responsible for this evening’s patrol, as well as all of the watch’s activities. Usually, there were not many causes for concern. Indeed, some said the watch wasn’t needed at all. So the disturbance scratching its way toward them was reason enough to alert Hector.

“Why in the world would we do that?” asked George. He was lazy and slow, disturbed at the prospect of having to move. Neither did he want to wake Hector, who was a gruff man.

A wild dog paid homage to the full moon, splitting the silence; Jason worried it was an omen. Didn’t full moons affect all of nature’s creatures strangely?

“Look at that shape moving slowly toward us,” Jason said. “It looks like a man. Have you ever seen anything like this? Ever? Hector would want to know about this stranger now, rather than find out about it tomorrow at the tavern.”

Begrudgingly, George rose from his chair to look down the path. The black shape was close enough now for the watchmen to see its arms clawing at the dirt, dragging itself forward.

“Oh, no,” George said under his breath, and he turned to get Hector. Jason watched the shape’s tortured struggle through the flickering torchlight along the dirt path. His painful progress was mesmerizing, and soon Jason could hear the man’s labored grunts and groans.

In a few minutes, George returned with Hector. “What do we have here, Jason?” the leader asked. Why couldn’t his watchmen make these decisions on their own?

Irked by Hector’s judgmental tone, Jason bit his tongue, and he pointed silently down the path.
The watch commander saw the man, shrouded in a tattered black robe and wracked with pain by every move. “Please get him, boys,” he directed, without a second thought.

The watchmen left the fireside comfort of their post and made their way toward the man, who didn’t seem to hear or see them coming. Sweating and likely consumed with fever, he muttered and moaned. Jason and George, standing on either side, could make out only a word here and there. The words they did understand were chilling: Run. They’re coming.

The man never looked at them and instead continued to clutch at new patches of dirt, obliviously crawling toward their post, perhaps seeking the fire and the town’s comforts. He wore coarse pants under his robe, whose many tears, pieces of foreign bramble, and strange stains bespoke an arduous journey through the backcountry. The robe’s hood covered the visitor’s head, robbing the watchmen of the chance to see his face.

“Old man, can you hear us?” Jason asked.

“Please stand up, if you can,” George added.

The traveler’s muttering continued unchecked: “They’re coming.” And “Help.”

The watchmen looked at each other and stooped to raise the delusional traveler to his feet to get a better look at him. He was surprisingly light, perhaps 140 pounds, and he didn’t struggle. They gasped at what they saw.

A fever, now apparent in the man’s pale, sweat-streaked face, had wasted his long frame. On his right temple was an angry purple-and-yellow lump—the result of a fall? Or remnants of a mighty blow at the hands of an enemy? A broken arrow shaft protruded from his shoulder, and the dried bloodstains and gangrenous stench of his tunic spoke of an old wound that had festered without treatment. His brown eyes seemed to look at them without focusing. “Is someone there? Help me. Please, help me. The Christians, they’ll kill us all, just like they did my family. Don’t wait! Why are you waiting?”

Jason looked at George, and they both looked back at Hector. He trotted toward the two watchmen, concerned more by the shocked look on their faces than by the visitor’s condition. He took charge.

“George, get the elders and a surgeon,” Hector barked. “Hurry, this man may die soon.”

The wounded man laughed deliriously. “Don’t you understand? You fools, worry about your friends in the village! You’re next. The black shirts will swarm this place, swords and crosses in hand.” Tears began streaming from his eyes. “Run! Run before it is too late!”

Buy the book today!

Should Marketers Care about Google Glass?

Image by Ars Electronica
Image by Ars Electronica

The buzz about Google Glass, a form of wearable computing, reached zeitgeist status after SxSW. Now mainstream media is picking up the hype drum for a product that won’t even be released until next year. Should marketers care?

It’s a very reasonable question, and there may be two answers.

First, marketers should care, not necessarily about Glass, but what the device represents.

Wearable computing promises to take ubiquitous mobile Internet access and layer unprecedented information into our day-to-day existence. Commonly called augmented reality, users can interact in two ways: Sharing and accessing information anywhere.
Continue reading “Should Marketers Care about Google Glass?”