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will work for food

Posted by Ms. Herr on 04.12.2009

It seems we can’t go a day without ever more disturbing news about our downward spinning economy. Bank failures, auto industry bailouts, rising unemployment rates. Those newly laid off are just beginning to feel the pinch, dipping into savings accounts while they try to find new jobs. Meanwhile, those who were on the leading cuts have long ago turned to 401k and supplemental retirement accounts.

I first started to feel the pinch over two years ago as the company I was partner in struggled to line up new clients. First it was half-pay every other pay cycle. Then half-pay every pay cycle. At its worst, I drew only 20% of my expected monthly draw. Things improved, then declined again. The partnership ended as September 2008 ended. My stake in the company was so small that I had no say in the matter.

I’ve have yet to land another full-time position. I’ve filed applications, submitted resumes, had over a handful of interviews, and dozens more informal conversations. Some opportunities led to second and third round interviews only to be end with a “we are holding off on hiring” or something similar. In some cases, I’ve discovered weeks later that company is implementing ideas I presented during my interview. I’ve taken on two part-time jobs, a roommate, and contract work. It’s still not enough to sustain me.

The point of this sob story is not sympathy. It’s context. Yeah, things have been hard. Sure, I’ve felt defeated. And yes, I’ve sobbed. But somewhere among all the pieces, I discovered something…

Will Work for Food (photo credit: Technosailor)

Will Work for Food (photo credit: Technosailor)

We work. We earn an income. We buy things we need. We dream about things we want. We get better jobs. We earn more income. We buy the things we want. We call them needs.

That’s generally how things go when one climbs the ladder of success. But when the ladder morphs into a slide and income declines or disappears, we look for ways to decrease our needs. We turn of the lights when we leave the room. We cancel cable. We put student loans in forbearance. We take public transportation. One by one, we eliminate budgetary line items. Until in the end, you realize… We’re all just working for food!

Posted in human dimensionality, self-portraiture | 5 Comments »

#SXSW wrap & rawk: part 2 of 2 … the highlights

Posted by Ms. Herr on 04.7.2009

As I listen to the podcast of Rawking SXSW Year Round panel, I’m finally writing the last of my South by Southwest wrap up posts. What can I say, March was a busy month, first getting my #getmetosxsw on, then the event itself, then returning to a visit from my aunt and cousin from Kansas, and finally getting backing into the groove of work and the real world.

So how was it? In a word: AWESOME! In all realness: the dress rehearsal for next year.

Despite all the people I talked to and the questions I asked before I went, there really is no way to know what to expect until you’ve experienced it once. Over and over I was told that it was less about the panels and more about the people. As a knowledge lover, it’s hard to let go of the desire to attend panels, lots and lots of panels. My selection of these was hit and miss. Some I couldn’t even get into because they were over capacity. The good news is that most, if not all, of them are supposed to be available as podcasts.

But the people… The people were a definite hit. Three types of people specifically. Type 1: The people you only get to see when you’re both in town for the big conferences. Type 2: The people that you’ve connected with online, but have yet to meet in real life. Type 3: The people you never knew you never knew. My SXSW highlights are [almost] all about the people.

Blowing kisses at SXSW. (photo credit: Brian Brodeur, mightyb.com)

Darryl Ohrt2, Missy Reitner3, and Joey Leslie3 discover a new tasty bizzeverage – I’m not a beer drinker, so when I rendezvoused with Darryl for drinks, I ordered a snakebite and black. Part lager, part cider, with a splash of black currant. The slightly red coloring piqued curiosity. The taste won over a few new fans. >> Darryl and his Plaid colleagues on will venture on their third PlaidNation tour this summer. I’ll be watching, and I’m scheming on how to secure one of their super nifty retro hotel keyrings.

Clarence Smith, Jr.2 – For my part, I was captivated by @dykc from the first “Marinate.” We mutually followed fo a year, text tagged the first two days of SXSW, greeted like old friends, and the got up got up & got down and the dance floor before all was done. Not one moment was anything less than uplifting. >> Clarence, both storyteller and storyseeker, took a turn on the mic at Fray Café 9.

WLTV impromptu wine party(s) – This was my first time seeing Gary Vaynerchuk1 in a big conference setting, and he impressed me on a variety of ways. From greeting people he’s met only once or twice before to yielding over two-thirds of his panel to his audience, he has a way of seeding meaningful sentiment into each encounter. One night, Gary threw two impromptu wine tasting parties advertised with a few simple tweets and drew a significant turnout. The magnetism this man has with an audience thirsty for inspiration is awesome to behold. >> Gary’s got more projects than a girl has breath to talk about, one of which is a book due for release this fall (likely under a different title than the one listed in the article).

Kissing Penguin – By the second day, I had decided to kiss Jeremy Tanner1 every time I saw him. Plant a quick peck on the cheek, then walk away without a word. He’s like a big teddy bear. But he’s got some stealth too. The sneaky devil beat me at my own game once! >> Penguin was recently selected as a Ford Fiesta Movement Agent.

Declared missing by the #phx crew (sorta) – At the WordPress BBQ, Curtis Miller and Chris Chandler told me they thought I’d disappeared. We’d had an early dinner two nights before, but not even a passing in the halls since. I took it as a compliment. It meant I was off meeting new people. >> Chris and Curtis deliver a wickedly dry humorous podcast called Personality Flatline. It’s been on a bit of a hiatus as they get their new company, Flatterline, off the ground, but I hope it makes a quick return.

Lunch with strangers –I bumped into Jeremy Hubert3 after tweeting about wanting to have lunch with strangers. I’d met Jeremy the night before, so he didn’t count as a stranger. The two guys with him did. After lunch, and I told Jeremy I’d eat with him everyday on condition that he introduce me to strangers each time. Call it an effort in outsourcing my networking.

And gettin’ my dance onFriday night, Saturday night, Monday night… I got my dance on quite a bit. Indeed, one morning I woke to soreness and a monster blister on my little toe. More often than not I was with Chris Smith3 (aptly named @groovemonkey), Brian Brodeur3 (a #phx peep I never knew I never knew), and the Blurb crew3. Good, good times! >> Brian was at SXSW photo documenting Media Trust’s Relevantly Speaking shoots at SXSW, and is responsible for the shot of me shown above.

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how to watch every James Bond movie ever made

Posted by Ms. Herr on 04.4.2009

“The first Bond movie I saw was GoldenEye, and I confess that it might still be my favorite.”

How I did it: I recorded my progress on 43 Things in the comments under my initial entry on this goal.

Lessons & tips: Carve out time to complete this goal, either by designating a regular time to watch each movie (ex: Sunday evenings) or setting aside a handful (or two) of days to watch several movies back to back. The combined run time is 3008 minutes, or just over 50 hours. So yeah, you’re gonna need some time to watch all 24 films.

Resources: I created a PDF listing all of the Bond movies by release date. It includes both official and unofficial movies (those not produced by EON Productions). If you’d like a copy, send me an email at heather lynne herr at gmail dot com. Alternatively, you can refer to Wikipedia’s article on James Bond.

It took me 372 days.

It made me

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#SXSW wrap & rawk: part 1 of 2 … the THANK YOUs

Posted by Ms. Herr on 03.30.2009

Twelve days ago, I returned from South by Southwest. Twelve days ago, “SXSW wrap up post” has topped my to do list. I’m overdue, but before I talk about my experience, I need to say thank you.

Having been underemployed for the better part of six months, there is no way I would have made it to SXSW on my own. I needed help.

I started my #getmetosxsw hustle four weeks out. I carried a piggy bank around the third Ignite Phoenix. I secured a second part-time job (not officially hustle, but it helped). And I offered business services in exchange for contribution. This last led to some really cool opportunities. Notably:

  1. SnapFactory Twitter Interactive photo shoot – Mark Wallace of SnapFactory was given the opportunity to test Profoto lighting equipment in a fashion shoot. He opened the shoot to live behind-the-scenes interaction via Twitter and Flickr, bringing me on as his online journalist. (See video here.)
  2. Guerrilla Dance Attack press release and web presence – Aileen Mapes is a Dance MFA candidate at ASU’s Herberger College of the Arts. Her thesis explores the dynamic merging of choreography and site-specific improvisation that occurs once dance is taken outside of traditional performance venues and into the streets. Aileen engaged me to create press materials and Tumblr logs for leveraging both Guerrilla Dance Attack and future work.
  3. Texder product testing and alpha launch – Texder is a personal SMS sales tool that has been in bootstrap development for several months. As an integral part of the development team, I have led internal product testing, social outreach, community previews, and most recently, SXSW promotions.

The icing on all this cake was the outpouring of support of my community. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Diane Wallace, James Archer and Forty Agency, Jason BaerTom Chapin, Mark Dudlik, Aaron Post, Todd Huffman, Biray Alsac, and more.

Posted in events, geekery | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

piggy up spare change

Posted by Ms. Herr on 02.25.2009

I’ll have a special guest with me at Ignite Phoenix tonight. I haven’t named him yet, so we’ll just call him Byno, as in albino, cause he’s white. Byno* is my piggy bank. He was a gift a couple of years ago. He has one job: to pig up and hoard my loose change, spare bills, and random dreams of trips I want to take. I’ve snuck a few parking quarters from him a couple of times, and $120 once a year ago to pay some bills the first time things got tough. But I never used his funds for their designated purpose: travel.

It’s time to change that. The sum of Byno’s stash is going toward #getmetosxsw (South by Southwest). I don’t know how much is there yet. Maybe I’ll get a count before Ignite Phoenix. Meanwhile, if you want to help fill his big empty belly, feel free to drop a few dimes in him when you see him, and me, at tonight’s Ignite.

getmetosxsw_piggy-bank1

*As of 4:27pm, my piggy bank now has a name: Pigport (via @RunItsTheFuz). But you can still call him Byno if you want to.

Posted in events | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

#snapshoot Twitter-Interactive wrap up

Posted by Ms. Herr on 02.24.2009

It’s been only five days, but it still feels like yesterday that I was on set with Mark Wallace for the Twitter-Interactive photo shoot at Loft 19 Studios. It was a crazy amazing day!

On set with Mark Wallace. (photo credit: Danno)

Mark Wallace of SnapFactory was given the opportunity to test out the new equipment by Profoto, makers of high-end photography lighting equipment. Mark is an avid Twitterer, and conceived a live-tweeted photo shoot that allowing readers to not only follow the behind-the-scenes action, but ask questions about any aspect of the shoot, from concept to technical details. The interactive approach is such a natural fit as Mark already produces the Digital Photography 1 on 1 video series where he answers viewer-submitted questions.

Call time was 8:00am, and with only 9 hours scheduled for the shoot, all time was prime time. We had our share of challenges, from the hair, makeup, and wardrobe team getting stuck in morning traffic, to memory card failure, to the constant evaporation of time. Consider that we had four models, each with several wardrobe changes, and three sets. Add in the live uploads of behind-the-scenes photos to Flickr and the steady conversation with those following on Twitter, and you’ve got a whirlwind day.

Loft 19 was a truly amazing space to work in. The first thing that strikes you is scale. It’s a large studio offering incredible freedom for designing sets. The cyclorama is beautiful. The amenities are icing on the cake, with two lounges, ample wardrobe/hair/makeup space, and even an espresso machine which definitely got a workout while we where there.

There were so many cool parts to this project, but star of the equipment show was the Profoto Pro-8a Air which enables super fast flash cycling. The Pro-8s can generate up to 20 flashes per second. Mark shot at 10 frames per second, still incredible given typical recycle times on a flash can be up to 1 second. This clip (opens new window) only hints at the Pro-8s capability, and be sure to listen for shutter sounds as the video couldn’t capture each flash cycle.

Profoto Pro-8 Air Sneak Peek

Profoto Pro-8 Air Sneak Peek from Mark Wallace on Vimeo.

Be sure to check out the Flickr photostream, and watch the SnapFactory blog as Mark will be posting a series of recaps about various aspects of the shoot. If you have any questions, ask. Mark is great about sharing his knowledge with others.

Many thanks to the team of people who contributed time and resources that made this event possible: Mark Wallace, Diane Wallace, and SnapFactory, Loft 19 Studios and Floyd Bannister, the models of The Agency Arizona, Erin Markis, Heather Blaine, Danno, and Jeff Caroli.

Posted in art stuff, blogging, events, social networks | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Bit Gravity releases a free, customizable flash player

Posted by Ms. Herr on 02.20.2009

BitGravity just launched a subdomain for their sandbox projects, and the first release is a free flash video player. Lead developer, Dean Casalena provides a great video demonstration and writeup of player features. I don’t do a lot of video. Correction, I don’t do any video (unless you count 12seconds). But the BG player is sexy enough that I almost wish I did.

I’ve seen BitGravity players in action with MultiView, revealed during a special episode of Diggnation, and various live streams set up by Brian Shaler. Each time, I’ve been impressed by the production and player quality, so I assume this new player is up to par. But what really sets my branding and marketing heart a beating is the theming options. The interface allows you to insert your logo into the viewer and change the colors of the player’s status bar. This ability to customize is great from a branding perspective.

It’s not uncommon for individuals, startups, and small businesses to search out low cost ways to meet their needs. In the process, they must settle for the default appearance of a tool, usually designed to reinforce someone else’s brand. With the BG player, there’s no need to settle. You still have the BG logo on the left of the status bar, which is great because it denotes quality. But the rest of the player is all you!

BitGravity flasy player

Note: This message is inspired in part by BitGravity co-founder, Barrett Lyon. I’m guessing I popped on his radar with this tweet, and he reached out to say thanks. Just thanks. That’s it. Simple and easy. Yet that acknowledgement led to me to talk twice more, on Twitter and here, focusing on exactly what I liked about the BG player … twice more than I probably would have otherwise. That’s community/fan/advocate relationship building. Bravo!

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yours truly, on the job as reporter for a Twitter-Interactive photo shoot

Posted by Ms. Herr on 02.18.2009

I’ve been buzzin’ with excitement since Tuesday when I landed an awesome gig assisting Mark Wallace for an all-day Twitter-Interactive photo shoot Thursday … that’s tomorrow … where he tests out the Profoto Pro-8 Air packs.

Let me rewind and start from the beginning. I’m gonna go fast, so hold on…

I met Mark and Diane Wallace at Twestival Phoenix one week ago. I’d had a little conversation with Diane previously on Twitter, but Twestival was the first in-person meeting and the first conversation not limited to 140 characters. Over the weekend, we rectified any follows and follow-backs that were not already in effect over our many multiple accounts. Mark inquired about the #getmetosxsw project I’d just launched, and I checked out Mark’s portfolio, Diane’s portfolio, and the SnapFactory site. Mark generously offered to reach out through his connections to help me get to SXSW, and I stumbled across a blog post about a photo shoot where Mark would be live-tweeting the behind-the-scenes story of trying out some new equipment. I got a little click happy with the links, discovering Mark tried live-tweeting another photo shoot and mused it might work better if he had a reporter to tweet on his behalf. I asked to be that reporter. Mark talked it over with the team. And if haven’t figured it out by now, they brought me on board!

<insert emphatic YESSSSS!!! here>

Tomorrow morning, we’ll meet at Loft 19 Studios at 7:00am (Arizona time) for setup, model call-time, etc. The shoot will run from 9:00am-5:00pm. Mark will shoot fashion, Diane will do makeup, Erin will style wardrobe, and Danno and Jeff will shoot behind-the-scenes footage. And me? I’ll be tweeting the whole thing: the setup, the technical details, the styling, the models, the drama. I’ll be taking your questions for Mark and the team, then posting their answers.

Check out the SnapFactory blog to meet the team and meet the models. Mark tells a great story and has a wealth of prep coverage, including the model fittings.

To catch tomorrow’s live action, follow @jmarkwallace on Twitter (I’ll be tweeting as him), watch for the #snapshoot updates on Twitter Search, and most definitely tweet in with your questions and thoughts.

Posted in art stuff, blogging, events, social networks | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

untitled 03

Posted by Ms. Herr on 02.13.2009

doors thought closed,
cracked.
composed facades belied.

what unexpected draft
from ever changing source
gives body to void?

what choice
but to indulge pain
as if pleasure?

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#getmetosxsw

Posted by Ms. Herr on 02.12.2009

If you follow me on Twitter, you’re going to see the #getmetosxsw hashtag pop up a lot in the coming days and weeks. It means Get me to South by Southwest.

Where it started…

On January 29, a handful of the #phx social media / web tech / interactive marketing crowd broke into conversation about the upcoming South by Southwest Interactive March 13-17 in Austin, Texas. Lots of people are going. Some people desperately want to go but don’t know if the can. I fall into this last group with my don’t knows fueled primarily by fundage issues. But let’s focus on the positives, otherwise known as my desperate want to go and my ideas for how to get there.

What is SXSW…

What started as a music conference and festival has since expanded to include nine days of immersion in music, film and interactive media. SXSW has it all. Keynotes, panels, trade shows, film screenings, listening parties, product launches, book readings, socializing, networking, reputable knowledge leaders, unreputable celebrities, up-and-comers.

Why I want to go…

Rather than bore you to tears with the long list, here are my top five:

  1. Absorb, learn and participate in dynamic conversations that dissect the current and foreshadow the future of interactive and social media.
  2. Extend and deepen my socially-networked connections.
  3. Promote projects I’m working on, and to discover others that promise exciting opportunities for sum is greater than parts collaboration.
  4. Rock the nine to five AM that underpins the learn hard play hard lifestyle.
  5. Beat Gary Vaynerchuk in poker for the third time.

Ideas for how to get there…

This is the part where I need some help…

  1. Get on a panel.
  2. Be a spokesperson for a company or product looking to launch.
  3. Be a SWAG girl.
  4. Sell my left forearm.
  5. Trade strategy, marketing, and social media services in exchange for conference and travel expenses.
  6. Flirt my way in.

I don’t believe anyone is going to send me to SXSW without expecting a little ROI. And that’s fine. I dig mutually beneficial arrangements, so if you’ve got a lead or proposal for me, hit me up on Twitter or email ( heather lynne herr at gmail dot com ).

Posted in events, geekery | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »