Walt Mossberg vs. Klout

Walt Mossberg

Let me start off by saying that I think Walt Mossberg, Tech columnist for The Wall Street Journal and co-executive editor of All Things D, is a brilliant tech journalist and I’ve admired him since I began reading the WSJ in college. This is not meant to be an against the man himself, just a conversation around the current state of journalism and word-of-mouth marketing.

Walt, and several others (like David Pogue of the New York Times), write and share for media outlets that reach a wide audience. Once in a while, I naturally stumble upon these outlet reviews within my Zite app or through Twitter or Facebook. But honestly, these journalists have to play to a wide audience and offer me very little in what I’m looking for.  I am interested in products that help me be more efficient in daily life as a 30-something tech professional who is often on the road, domestically and internationally. Sure, there may be some younger journalists at WSJ, All Things D, NY Times Bits, etc., but I organically and accidentally get my recommendations from my peers in person and on various social networks and aggregators like Zite. No publication can always be so precise.


I have never been an advocate for Klout, but they apparently they acted upon their statement in a conversation we had in 2011.

2011 Convo

Recently, Sony, via Klout, contacted me and nine others in the NYC area, to try out their new laptop, the Vaio Duo. The “perk” was that they would give us brand new Duos and fly us out, in a helicopter no less, to The Hamptons for a night. I bit. I was thinking, “I don’t know what my Klout score is but I know that it’s not high. This is something they only do for major players.” But then I started do some research and it appeared that the idea was to market this laptop to, well, professionals who travel.

Most of who were “perk’d” joked that there was someone we knew that had way more influence than we had.  Why us? As I started to get to know these other folks, I soon began to realize that we all had something in common: Travel.  Granted we all have a decent online footprint, but not massive audiences.

Frankly, I get asked by friends and family almost daily about tech products specific to their needs. “What laptop,/mobile/tablet/app/software/social network/eye apparatus/etc. should I get since I…..?”  In person, forget about it; I get my “brain picked” before I can ask about their kids, job or life. Through social networks, they know that I work in the tech industry and am often travelling around.

Our ages probably ranged from 25-40, but I can tell that all of us were that friend. Klout made it easy for Sony to find us. 

The Real Influencer?

What will determine what someone buys? Of course, it depends. While I’m sure that Sony reached out to the major media publications and the likes off Mossberg, Pogue and those from tech blogs, I think adding the combination of ads and other forms of top-down targeting along with this “middle-down”, specific approach will help get the word out about their product.

My friend, Lachlan, was visiting NYC on the Sunday I returned from The Hamptons. I told him about the trip and brought out the laptop from my overnight (I met him before going home) bag. He played around with it, looked at his wife and seriously stated, “THIS is exactly what I’ve been talking about. I need this.” It could have been a Klout AND Sony commercial.

There are 1000s out there like me and it’s now easy for the average joe to find one of us, that is looking for something very specific. I’m not saying that the tech writer is going the way of the newspaper photographer. But, I kind of am.

As for the Vaio Duo

I would NEVER have bought the Vaio. I’ve been a Mac and Google user for years and wouldn’t even consider purchasing Windows or Sony machine. This also appeared to be a trend among the others that Sony had selected.

Being a Mac fanboy since 2005, I had little expectations of working with Windows on a regular basis. The hardware has me using it daily though. It’s way too early to write a proper review on it, but I do love it so far. I keep finding myself touching the screen on my MacBook Air. I personally won’t be switching my life out of the Apple and Google ecosystems, but when friends ask about options, I now have an understanding of Sony products and a deeper knowledge of the benefits and drawbacks of Windows that I can confidently bring to the table.

The Sony Vaio Hamptons Crew list on Twitter. 
The Weirdest Gift Bag I’ve Ever Gotten
by Roni Weiss, who was also on trip.

@selfishmom WFH (Working From Helicopter) on Vaio



Crack and cocaine dealers are stuck with using throwaway pre-paid mobile phones. They know that having a mobile connected to their name is not safe. That channel was cut off to them a long time ago. HBO’sThe Wire, anyone?

I am not surprised nor bothered one bit by the “news” of government agencies having the ability to access our online data. In fact, I’m now beginning to believe that alls this hype around the story is a good thing. The internet and cloud technologies allow for the most advanced work efficiencies (what I do professionally) in the history of mankind and we’re only going to get more efficient. Anyone with horrible intentions will have to some other means to communicate and collaborate. Any criminal with any sense would know this already, but all this hype may cause the next group of nitwit terrorists (a la the “loser” Boston Bombers) to think twice of using such effective communication channels.

I don’t mind that certain key terms or phrases of plots surface to government agencies. Knowing how monitoring technologies work, I can say that it’s much more efficient to listening to phone calls. Using cloud and social technologies on the daily (probably hourly), I couldn’t imagine how difficult it would be to organize and collaborate with like-minded individuals efficiently without this amazing toolbox that the internet provides.

Is cutting these internet channels off from those with horrible intentions (now they know nothing here is private) such a bad thing?

Now SOPA, PIPA and CISPA are WAYYY scarier than PRISM in my mind and well worth fighting against.

(Further discussed on Facebook.)


Robert Scoble’s post on Facebook:

Why is the PRISM story going to disappear within two weeks? 

30,000+ people die in cars every year in the US. We don’t care. We get into cars every day. We really don’t care about this threat. Even though the consequences are MUCH worse than anything PRISM does. The good of driving outweighs the bad of death, etc.

PRISM hasn’t killed anyone (that I know of) and possibly has saved us from harm. We really don’t care about our loss of privacy (I see it every day as I look around at everyone using grocery store loyalty cards, credit cards, and hand over a ton of data to big companies from Casinos to Hotels to social networks).

We are still headed into an Age of Context where systems are going to use our private data to see new patterns and help us live our lives and companies will use that contextual data to serve us better. And governments will continue to use them to spy on us (aka try to catch terrorists). Either way, the good far outweighs the bad. So we will continue to push into the future. This week will just be a slight speedbump.

Anyway, where were you all when cameras started appearing everywhere taking photos of people running red lights in San Francisco? 

Truth is, we give away our liberties and privacy all the time. The Golden Gate Bridge just turned on cameras that capture everyone’s license plate. Do we care? No, because now getting across the bridge is one to 15 minutes faster. 

I just can’t see the story lasting more than two weeks. 

Do you disagree? Why?



Posting Daily

This is one of those posts where I say that I’m going to post daily. I’m busier than ever, but I’m sure others that post every day are even busier than yours truly. I’ve got an iPhone and a WordPress app that I’m currently using that should leave me little excuse not to say something. Sure, typos and grammar mistakes aplenty, but we’re talking about practice.

I’m skeptical, but a goal is a goal and just posting this publicly should push me.

It you’re reading this post May, 2013, give me a hard time, will ya?

(Having dinner alone in an empty BK garden helps.)


1,000 Nights Out On @foursquare – Why I’m Still An Advocate

Get me in person and I’ll go over several practical uses for the service. I won’t call it a social network, although it is, it doesn’t have to be. You can use it and NEVER share any of your data with outsiders all while using recommendations from others. Based on cumulative data, foursquare’s explore has collected enough data too accurately send me to a craft beer bar in the Village, a phenomenal hoagie shop in suburban Miami or lobster stand on the cliffs of Maine 20 miles from our campground. I imagine these would be recommended to a new user as well, but they were the top recommendation based on my historical data. I RARELY have a bad meal or go to a crappy place. (my profile)

Anyway, here’s three other practical uses, including using it as a personal journal, along with my fanboy rant:

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Where I hang in NYC according to my checkins:

(create your own map at http://www.wheredoyougo.net/)

The Historical and Sentimental Value of Geo-locating Photos
foursquare fiction  
5 foursquare practical uses (from 2010)

Bonus: Dennis Crowley, founder of Foursquare, gave me shout on Twitter after I requested a phone call.

Paid Music Service Comparison: Spotify, Rdio and Mog

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Spotify: The most users, but it with that attention it seems to be the one with the most artists pulling out or blocking (they may all be the same, but I don’t know)
Rdio: The best of the bunch for me. Make sure that you don’t pay the $15/month!
Mog: Under the radar. I like them, but the user experience needs much improvement.


foursquare fiction

It was the perfect weekend for another assassination. She took the A train towards Lefferts BLVD. The swap was easy among the unsuspecting Friday evening commuters. She wondered what her iDouble, as she called him, would do this weekend with her beloved 4Smaybe he’ll grab a few Instagrams of that graffiti building in Queens. Perhaps he’ll splurge for a lobster roll and post it to Foodspotting. The foursquare Explore option would tell direct iDouble to friend-recommended gastropubs, odd points of interest and quirky shops to keep him busy and active.

Living in NYC,  she had a smattering of friends, most of whom she’d only see every month if she and friends happened to have overlapping free time.  No one would particularly notice her absence but iDouble’s checkins and posting on behalf of her would serve as her alibi for more than one purpose.


Ahhh, finally I get my own device back! What did I “do” this weekend? Smorgasbord, duh.  Ooh, I had the Polpette meatballs according to my Things Done list. iDubs knows I’m a sucker for ECava’s food tips.  His photography is getting more likes than usual.  Well, the Lux filter helps anyone I suppose. My tweets, my tweets…  “I just missed you.” — Good, he was responsive to my friends and knows  that I’m not a fan of exclamation points. “Here’s my number, call me maybe?” — What the hell was he talking about!? Oh well, it looks like my iDouble had a better weekend than my mark. 

Get (en)Rich(ed) Quick Using Social Media

This is me ranting to the webcam about what I usually rant about to people who have written off Twitter, foursquare and social media in general.  There are a plethora additional service that I could go on about, but Twitter and foursquare are good starters for those looking to get more out of social media than Facebook. I truly believe that these apps/services can enrichen our lives by knowing our preferences, interests and surrounding us with like-minded people.

Start with https://twitter.com/search if you’ve never used Twitter before or gave up on it.

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Using Twitter to Find Foursquare Connections

I like to have Foursquare connections wherever I may travel or if I move to a new area. This way you quickly find out what’s happening around you (although Explore, Trending does this well from the Foursquare mobile app) and meet new folks who are in the same geographical region as you. These connections may lead to, well, who knows. I can’t tell you the amount of times my life was slightly altered by the recommendations that Foursquare provides through my connections and social graph. The butterfly effect to the extreme!

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Anyway, simply use http://search.twitter.com/ and enter “foursquare brooklyn” (obviously, replace “brooklyn” with city, state, country, conference, etc. of your choice). Then click on the Foursquare link and click add friend.

Always have a transient profile bio that is updated with wherever you are travelling to, conference you’re attending, or hashtag that often tweet about.