Twitter Tips…Ramble

Here are some of my tips for Twitter:

1. Experiment: the more people you follow, the more interesting the experience.

2. It’s okay to unfollow people. Often people are recommended blindly, or because they are an ‘expert’ in real life. That often doesn’t translate to the content of their tweets being interesting or appealing.

3. Avoid the hard sell. Twitter is like spam, don’t expect that important messages are going to be seen. Use a hashtag and you can post again, but space it out – the hard sell approach is  turn-off.

4. You don’t have to reply to everyone. If there’s a controversial issue, you can address it privately, especially with a friend through direct messaging or completely offline. Have you ever been convinced to change your mind, merely because someone approached you aggressively? Use the ‘mute’ button.

5. Take a social media break. Not every thought has to be posted.

6. Save confessional posts for apps like Whisper, Secret and Yik Yak.

7. Click on who your influencers follow, it may lead you to great accounts.

8. Hashtags -all good things in moderation.

9. Stay on brand – decide what you will and will not post about, and stick to it.  (see 4 & 5 above.) If you are a relationship ‘expert’ tweeting about how miserable you are about a break-up hurts your brand. Politics? Religion?

10. Enjoy the surprises, like Taye Diggs following you.

WIE Symposium..aka are you fabulous? …Ramble

The WIE Symposium held its first annual conference today, in fact it’s still going on while I write it up. The astounding $500 ticket price lead me to volunteer. Somehow they knew to put me with talent. Up, down, up, down chase the panelists all over the building. Oh goodie.

While schedules were incorrect, gift bags short and direction lacking, the panelists were such an incredible group of women I quickly undid a snafu for panelist Katherine Schwarzenegger. Her “people” were very nice.

Since I only got to hear snippets of the conference here and there (oh how I love you Nora Ephron, my seven sister’s school high five to you) so you’ll have to hit up Twitter for more speaking comments. I’d search for the always entertaining @CindyGallop founder of .

My day entailed chasing and then checking in VIPS like the fabulous make-up guru Bobbi Brown and trying hard to hear what Diane Von Furstenberg was saying in an on-camera interview.

The fabulous outfits on women in attendance offered such a variety of fashion it was a wonderful celebration of color. Some of the VIPS included a Baronness, A Queen, A Princess– and under the column function “Of Sweden”; the very tall and wondrously humble former supermodel Christy Turlington looking very serious in a dull grey suit. I was absolutely smitten with amazing laugher Elizabeth Banks but of course, the best geek moment was breathing the same air as Melinda Gates. I felt a little taller and wiser as she was whisked through the green room.

Now, for you Real Housewives fans…seriously, you didn’t know I could combine my love of all things digital, women empowerment and the Real Housewives, did ya? Well YA got Jill Zarin- of Zarin Fabrics-go see Bobby at the store, to thank for that. She is so thin now it seems a little unnatural on her and I imagine without the show perhaps she’d still fabulous but slightly more like her frumpalicious sister who I had not one, but two she-wishes-D-list moments with– seriously. Jill Zarin was not on the VIP list my friends. Oh no, she talked her way into the Green Room. Then all the people working the event were questioning who this Faux Celeb in our midst was and I was the one with the answer, putting my countless hours of Bravo addiction to good use for a change. I was more than nonpulsed to be on the receiving end later by Jill’s “before” representation in her sister. Egads Jill why don’t you get her a decent haircut at least? Meow! The claws come out rrrr!!! Someone must have twittered about it because then even the models who showed up for the VIP Fashion Show now-in-progress wanted to get people “on the list.” Sweethearts, are you for real?

Another fabulous conference over and out and I’m exhausted! I will find a nap seriously empowering in 5, 4, 3, 2………..zzzzzzzz

Head of Google Picks!…Ramble

When it was verified that Google is now actively seeking a new Head of Music, Billboard drew up the inevitable cast of “Six Names Likely Mentioned in Google’s Search for Music Chief.

I’ve noticed that when I attend digital conferences, Meet-Ups, Tweet Ups, and assorted gatherings, it’s very rare to run into other digital music industry folk. I’m not surprized that, being a music publication, went in the direction solely drawing from digital music executives. Google’s hiring process is legendary. The job descriptions for music personal request applicants to have a Masters (no shock now in this ever-growing MBA culture) or a PhD. While the six men listed in the article have amongst them some impressive bullet points, not all of them fit those requirements despite their endless public speaking engagements.

To give him due credit, Anthony Bruno, the writer of the article had one extremely interesting choice I immediately thought of upon hearing the news -his “dark horse” Uni-Motown EVP Cameo Carlson. This inspired me to ponder why there weren’t more women on the otherwise usual suspects list. It felt like he also lost steam on the ‘con’ side and abandoned it altogether by the end of the article. I’d like to offer up some other female candidates:

1. Cameo Carlson- yes, she’s already been mentioned but Bruno didn’t quite do her justice. Carlson was the Head of Label Relations for iTunes. She thrived in Silicon Valley before heading back to the East Coast to work for Universal. In 2008 Billboard named her one of the Top Mobile Execs. Last year she was promoted from SVP to EVP -one of only a handful of women at the top of the digital music game. Cameo doesn’t “get” the game, she owns it.

2. Karin Gilford- the former Yahoo! exec was Ian Rogers (named on Billboard’s & now Hypebot’s lists & has summarily declared he is not interested) who ascended to be the GM and Vice-President of Yahoo! Entertainment (which music fell under.) She is one of the smartest women I’ve ever encountered. Currently the SVP for Comcast-owned Fancast and Online Entertainment, Gilford could easily strategize wisely in this role.

3. Caterina Fake the quirky co-founder of Flickr and the online social network Hunch. Caterina has already taken a successful product within a large corporation in Silicon Valley. She has a unique approach, champions the entrepreneur and has used engaging questions to allow user collaboration to help ‘the almighty algorithm’ match their needs and grow community.

4. Gina Bianchini- the co-founder of Ning holds an MBA from Google Founder’s alma mater, Stanford. She left Ning in March and has been Executive In Residence (EIR) at VC firm Andreessen Horowitz. This could be just the launch to get the Silicon Valley native back in the driver’s seat.

5. Nikke Slight- one of the original Queens of ‘New Media’ she founded the digital department at Atlantic Records helping artists including Matchbox Twenty to T.I. to Bjork carve out their brands on multi-platforms. This Brit is one smart woman that defined what new media means to music.

6. Amanda Marks – currently the EVP and GM of Universal Music Group, Marks has been guiding Universal’s digital business group since 2001 bringing eLabs into its full destiny. Rumor has it she has an enviable two-step.

Thinking outside the box is what makes Google powerful. Breaking the mold is a quality that is embedded in the fabric of these women’s minds. (Disclosure: The only one of this amazing group I haven’t met is Gina.) Google kindly check out these women as I know you have a long history of elevating the right talent to the top regardless of gender. Men have dominated in the digital music game and I think it’s time for a female perspective to take the reins.

5 Questions with @iancrogers…Ramble

The second week I was at Yahoo! I was sent to a meeting full of intensely smart people who were deciding things about the future of music and which ways to move forward. Two of those people were Karin Gilford and Ian Rogers who fell into the scary-crazy-smart category and really showed me that moving across the country to work at Yahoo! would elevate my knowledge.

There are some people you meet in this life that you admire without restraint. They are not flawless or claim to be, but they even inspire the most burnt out person to whom hope is a just a four letter word. Ian is one of those people. @iancr makes you think, makes you want to do your best and pushes you past that even when you think you are done. He will hear his employees out even if he doesn’t agree with them and find solutions. I beat him at Wii bowling and he even lost gracefully. (Sorry Ian, I have to make people see you are human.) These days he moves music digitally forward at TOPSPIN.

Location: Santa Monica, CA
Vocation: Decentralizer
Sign: Virgo
Blog: Fistfulayen

1)   How has your perspective of launching an artist using digital tools changed since you added the role of co-manager of Get Busy Committee?

There have been a lot of lessons in this; it’s been invaluable.  The two major lessons which come to mind now are:

1) Content is more valuable than promotion.  Not to say money spent on PR and promotion isn’t worth it, but the most important thing is to keep creating.  New sound and imagery is paramount.

2) Know and target an audience before you start.  Attention is moving from mass media to niches, but building your own niche from scratch takes a lot of time and energy.  If possible/appropriate, target an existing niche and see if you can get the folks within that niche to lift you up higher, faster.

2) You are one of the busiest people on the planet, aside from being the CEO of Topspin, Husband, Father of two and co-managing GBC –yet you always return emails within a day. What are your time management secrets?

Well, considering my inbox has 3890 *unread* messages (forget about un-replied-to) in it that’s unfortunately not true.  I’m pretty underwater from a time perspective and the unfortunate fact is I can’t actually do everything I need to.  My entire team is in the same boat.  Plus, we’re a startup so I don’t have the luxury of hiring an assistant or all the staff it would take to support acting on every opportunity that comes our way.

I think this is the case for everyone today.  There’s no shortage of input.  You could spend all day replying to emails, reading Twitter and Facebook, and at the end of the day not have anything to show for your time.  For all of us, prioritization and filtering is important. Some people choose not to participate in things like Twitter and Facebook to cut down on these distractions.  I’m convinced in the future an ability to prioritize and focus, an ability to use these tools for what they’re good for and not be distracted by them, will be characteristics which lead to success.

I have LOTS of room for improvement but here are a few of the things I do to try to remain productive:

I make lists.  In the spirit of GTD (Getting Things Done, the book, the technique) I put what needs doing onto a list when it comes into my head so I can process serially.  If I’m at my computer I record them in a program called Things, and I assign them to projects or tasks and put deadlines on them.  If I’m not, I just write them in my notebook and process them later.

I try to keep my blackberry and computer out of meetings, and not look at my computer when I’m on the phone.  I know my limitations, and if I’m talking to you while I’m staring at my computer, I’m only half listening, if that.  If I’m going to take the time for a meeting I want to focus, know what I am really getting of value out of the meeting, get it, and move on.  If I’m not getting or giving anything of value, the meeting just shouldn’t be happening.

I try to process email only twice a day, instead of looking at it all day long.  Unfortunately that isn’t enough time to get through every message, which is why so many go unread.  But I think it’s more important to spend a couple hours a day going through “the list” than it is to reply to every email.  I’d rather have unread messages than an overflowing to-do list.  Unfortunately at the moment I have both! But I’ll burn the to-do list down faster than the inbox.

I try to use all the tools available to do what they’re good at.  Skype and Google Voice have changed the way I communicate.  I route all calls to my cell and if not answered there they bounce to Skype.  If I don’t answer there they go to Google Voice which transcribes the text and emails the message to me.  Whenever possible I do meetings via Skype video instead of driving across town, flying across the country, or just having a phone meeting where you can’t get any body language as input to the conversation.  I’ll use Twitter to get answers to hard questions, Facebook to keep in touch with business colleagues who have changing email address and to schedule events, WordPress to communicate with large groups of people, LinkedIn to post jobs.  And I’ve used all of the above to schedule meetups so you can get some scale out of your own time and meet lots of people who you don’t have time to meet with during the course of the work week.

Anyway, I’m no expert here.  I don’t sleep enough, don’t see my kids enough, haven’t been skateboarding nearly enough, etc.  But on balance I do alright, maybe the above will be useful for someone.  I’m also open to suggestions!

Grrlgenius note: I feel even more lucky that Ian made time to answer these questions – and, only hours after I sent them.

3) Did appearing on the cover of Billboard so early on in your TOPSPIN career add an extra layer of pressure to succeed?

Yes, it did.  To be honest, it was too early for that much exposure, but how could we say no to something like that?  It was great coverage, and I’m very thankful for it.  It’s been a lot to live up to but we’ve been working our asses off to do it every day over the two years since!

4) The female numbers continue to decline for women pursuing careers in technology while your daughter Zoe is earning a degree at M.I.T. What advice do you have for women on why they should pursue a career in such a male-dominated field?
Two daughters and a wife — I’m surrounded by smart, analytical women so sometimes I forget the field *isn’t* dominated by women.  But we’ve struggled to hire women at Topspin, we’re a male-dominated shop with only two women on our engineering team (Maria and Ana, but we have women in the company in business development, legal, finance, QA, and pro services) but not for lack of trying to hire female engineers, there are simply far less female resumes when you post a programming position.

Zoe attended a great UC program called COSMOS , which was established to take kids with an aptitude for math and science and nurture it before they decided it was “uncool”.  They mentioned they see this in girls particularly, that often they show skills in math and science early but by the end of high school they’ve lost interest. I highly recommend anyone (female, male, or in-between) who has a glimmer of skills here early stick with it and just keep going.  I didn’t know anything about Computer Science when I enrolled in the degree program in 1991.  I think some people think “Oh I don’t know anything about algebra, I’m not going to take that class” so they take an English class because, well, I already know how to read. You have to remember that LEARNING is what those classes are about.  Go in humble and ready to learn and you’ll do just fine.  Ask questions when you don’t know.  You’ll be surprised what you learn.

5) Why is information transparency a good thing and where do you draw the line at what to reveal?

Sharing is caring!  😉  Seriously, I’m convinced The Beatles were right — you get what you give. There have been so many times I’ve wondered if I should share what I was feeling, only to find there were other people out there who feel the way I feel, or who have feedback which could change the way I feel.

I generally only try to share things I think will be of value to at least *someone*. Not that it needs to be high value, but at least mildly entertaining or informative, etc.

People talk about “all the noise” out there online but those folks are really missing the point in my humble opinion.  TV, radio, and billboards are noise because they intrude where you have no choice.  If I’m reading a blog or a tweet it’s because I *want* to.  I control who is on my list.  Betray my trust and it’s one click for me to cut you out of my attention entirely.

Remember, the most awesome value of the Internet age have been people-powered, from Ebay to Amazon reviews to Yelp — even Google’s search results beat the competition because they were able to derive human intention through the links of the Web.  Information sharing + filtering and attention management is legitimate value creation.

5 Questions with @grrlgenius…Ramble

Look at Elle's ears!

Inspired by Mr. Billy Idol I should be dancing by myself, oh, oh oh, oh. My take? Why not interview myself today?

Location: Brooklyn!
Vocation: Writer & Digital Content Guru
Sign: Capricorn. Officially even though I’m a cusp with Sag

1) What’s so important about June 25th?

If you read this blog or know me at all you know I have loved George Michael for a very long time! Today is his birthday.

Last year I found a letter that I wrote tucked into a biography about George Michael. I had pulled it out to give it another read in honor of George’s birthday. I intended to create my first vlog posting, but then very quickly the day became about the passing of two other stars. Today, I finally have made the vlog. Please let me know what you think:

2) What are some of your favorite George Michael moments?

I got to fulfill a dream seeing him at Earl’s Court in London. We had a V.I.P. minder who took us through to a private tent. Rod Stewart was there but even more impressive there were journos and other George Michael staffers who had been with Wham! to China. It was an amazing night. George’s U.S. manager brought us a bottle of the wine he’d been drinking with George. It certainly beat waiting out for tickets overnight at Madison Square Garden and then realizing I had a fan club membership card back up at school which guaranteed me seats in the first ten rows. Simply amazing.

Meeting George wasn’t too shabby either. 🙂

3) Onto your current obsession. How did you decide to get a dog? (aka become Crazy Dog Lady)

Whoosh hot times in the city!

I have wanted a puppy for a while but didn’t think my lifestyle suited it. When I worked at Yahoo! a friend made a comment I’d be a terrible mommy because I was at work so much and travelling.

This year it seemed more like a growing need to care for a pup. I read Jennifer Weiner’s first book, Good in Bed. The main character is a journalist who feels very strongly every single person and every writer should have a dog. Then I got my tax refund…and saw a photo from the breeder…..and fell in love.

Elle makes me laugh every day. She is the most adorable creature and I’m so lucky she chose me.

4) Any advice on how to pick a breed?

Do your research. Frenchies don’t have the best breathing systems so they don’t do well in the heat. You have to monitor them closely and make sure to always have water on hand so they don’t over do it and have a heart attack.

Many quotes include “Frenchies like to be pleased but do not care about pleasing you.” In getting to know the breed I spent time with other Frenchies, watched everything and read books on Frenchies. It kept surfacing they were clown dogs. They do well in apartments and love people and dogs.

Some people like the look of a big dog. A Great Dane doesn’t need a lot of exercise and isn’t necessarily that social, while a St. Bernard can get to the size of a small bear and needs lots of exercise. You want a bear in your apartment? Yikes!

Review the laws in your state and price out things like insurance, licenses, vet fees, common health issues and which shots your dog requires. Dog sit for a friend. You should also read up on behaviour and potty training. Sites like, Dogbook (application) and the ASPCA are really helpful with a lot of information.

5) What makes you so passionate about recognizing Women in Tech?

The stats of women getting engineering degrees is on a huge downward slide. I have female friends from Yahoo! who dropped out of it because they didn’t like the way men treated them. Then I went to SXSWi this year and found myself in a meeting with several female groups. They all wanted to put down the Silicon Alley groups. WHAT?!

This is one thing that drives me crazy about minorities of any sort. Once a minority gets empowered they just want to take down others… just like when the Democrats regained control of Congress. The infighting means nothing gets done and in the end regular citizens wind up screwed.

As for women in tech, it felt like every time we made some positive connections another person would complain.One graphic designer said she wasn’t a women in tech– I told her any connection with digital be it on the content end, or marketing or encoding makes you a woman in tech.

As a group we are still pushing our way through the doors for recognition and yet, we don’t want help other factions or ask special treatment while men will run over us and push us off a cliff for an extra high-five. In the words of Queen Latifah, let’s get some

U-N-I-T-Y I’m not a bitch or a ho.

Media Bistro Circus Wrap Up…Ramble

I’m happy to see there’s been a lot of movement to make sure that women in tech are being recognized. I love Marissa Myers from Google especially since she is also showcased for her high fashion tastes, but in the scary world of sliding females in the tech field, it’s great to see powerhouse Sheryl Sandberg(now of Facebook) getting coverage in Vogue. I used to work for Sandberg’s husband, Dave Goldberg and went over to their Superbowl Parties for a few years and they know how to entertain. *Dave is also extremely passionate and crazy smart. The fact he also married Sheryl only makes me like him more.

Laurel Tobey & Susan Lyne

Today’s Media Bistro Circus was another powerful step for women with an all-day strong roster of compelling panels with  Q&As to follow. Highlights:

1) It lead off with Susan Lyne the CEO of Gilt Groupe who spoke about keeping the U.I. simple. WHAT?! Only 2 clicks to buy? Hell yeah. There is also the feeling that because there is a limited supply of what’s on offer, that Gilt Groupe’s consumers declare “I WON this on Gilt Groupe.”

2) Meredith Fisher from DVF who’s presentation was exciting, informative and engaging ended with her giving us a discount for today to buy a dress on She spoke about branding and the happy accident of DVF’s blog actually serving to inform global stores what was going on in the NY HQ and a great way to keep them informed of Diane’s visions. I love the sophistication of Diane Von Furstenberg. Her clothes are fabulous and having Meredith on her team makes it me like her even more! It also shows, once again, that just because you are an intelligent woman, doesn’t mean you can’t retain your femininity!

3) Eileen Gittins the founder/CEO of self publishing site was so inspiring in her storytelling she had people in the audience crying! I feel really inspired to well self-publish a photo book this weekend and I’m going to! No, it’s not the book I’ve been editing but she sparked a really great idea that will mean a lot to me and my loved ones. Thanks Eileen!

4)Brandon Holley from Yahoo! Shine ended a long day with a fantastic presentation. As I am a former Yahoo! myself, I was glad she was extremely engaging and a great public speaker. It’s pretty hard to be number 11 when a lot of people left at lunch. She heads up Shine which is a strong, female online community. Go Brandon, I think your ideas on community are very strong and I’m going to love getting to know more about you.

5) Lisa Hsia who I have met a few times but never heard speak revealed her Bravo philosophies and keeping the conversation going before, after and during so that you OWN the conversation.

The overall theme was listen to the users and if you can’t properly respond, then don’t go down that road. There is nothing worse than eliminating or no longer feeding an active community. It’s not just about putting the message out there, it’s about responding to the conversation around it which leads to a community.

Note: very happy to find out this ramble was linked to by NY Convergence! Thanks for supporting Women in Tech!