Sunday, September 28, 2008

Simply Fab!

It's Been A Hard Day's Night. Well, not really. It was a great night! We were invited to go see The Fab Faux perform. I had never heard of them before. Of course I have heard of The Beatles (and grew up listening to and playing their music). Without question, seeing The Fab Faux perform live is the closest thing you will ever come to the experience of hearing the Beatles themselves on a Magical Mystery Tour. I have seen Beatles tribute bands before, but they are usually focused on assembling four young lads with Liverpool looks and and more ability to mimic than true musical talent. Not so for this Fab Faux. They are musicians first, and well established working musicians at that, with day jobs including the house bands on The Late Show With David Letterman (Will Lee) and Late Night With Conan O'Brien (Jimmy Vivino).

It's certainly a thrill, you're such a lovely audience,
We'd like to take you home with us.
The Beatles: John Lennon, Paul McCartney
Song: Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band

The audience was not just lovely but totally rocking out and engaged. The show, at the delightfully retro Parker Playhouse in Fort Lauderdale, was sold out. Even though this was the first time in their ten years as a band that The Fab Faux has performed in Florida the house was clearly packed with eager and enthusiastic fans. The goal of The Fab Faux is to bring the recordings to the stage, and it is truly amazing to experience. With strings, brass, and an assortment of bells, whistles, megaphones and tambourines, they miraculously re-create with uncanny precision the intricate and spectacular musical arrangements and vocal harmonies of hit after Beatles hit. It was truly one of the tightest and most enjoyable concerts I have ever been to. If you ever have the chance to see The Fab Faux perform I highly recommend it, Any Time At All!

Here is a taste of the Fab Faux performing "I Am The Walrus" on The David Letterman Show.

Have you seen The Fab Faux in concert? If so, what did you think? Please leave a comment and let us know!

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Saturday, September 27, 2008

Dad-O-Matic: Where Every Day Is Father's Day

Hello, my name is Jeff and I'm a Dad (Daddict?)

I am the father of three (and master of none...) The greatest joy of my life has been to watch, participate, influence and, to the best of my ability, guide ZEO (my nickname for the clan - short for Zachary, Ethan & Olivia, in birth order) as they have grown from tiny bundles of cute, to teens and young adults. Today they are truly wonderful citizens that make me enormously proud on a daily basis. If everything else I do in life should fail, I can sleep well at night knowing I have done my part in bringing three great additions into our world.

With that in mind I am very pleased to have been invited to be a contributing writer for a terrific new blog created by Chris Brogan. As one of the original "Rock Stars" of the world of blogging and social media (and an extremely good person, a true "Mensch,") Chris has assembled an impressive squad of Geek Dads to share their views and experiences on fatherhood and parenting. I am honored to be among them and invite you (actually, I encourage you) to visit Dad-O-Matic and enjoy articles, reviews and opinions on a wide range of topics and from varying points of view, all with an important common thread: being a Dad.

I hope you will read my first contribution to Dad-O-Matic, The BUXX Stops Here!, as well as the other great posts from the rest of the Geek Dad Squad!

UPDATE: I will continue to add links to my Dad-O-Matic posts here:

The Real “L” Word

How To Tell A KILLER Scary Story

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Sunday, September 21, 2008

From BARBIE to Blackberry!

Barbie girlsImage by jikamajoja via FlickrTomorrow is my daughter's 17th birthday. As most parents know, buying "the right" gift for kids - especially teenage girls - is always a challenge. Get the wrong brand of over priced, over designed T-shirt (i.e. anything that's not ED HARDY) and their mood shifts from happy to sad faster than their weekly allowance disappears off their Visabuxx debit card. I can remember the days when the biggest birthday challenge was to toil over which version Barbie Doll was "the one" that would bring eternal smiles to my little girl's face. Those were the days when life was simple, and she refused to wear anything that wouldn't "spin" when she twirled around - yes, dresses only from ages 4 - 9.


In truth, though it has been more costly than even Malibu Barbie with the Beach House and Corvette Convertible, the past four or five years selecting my daughter's birthday gift has been a cinch. Every year for her birthday she wants a new phone. As someone who works in the Mobile industry, I often tout that for teens today the mobile phone is the center of their universe, and having three kids gives me the right to say that with the utmost confidence. So now birthdays are easy (albeit expensive.)

The last two years it was the T-Mobile Sidekick, and then the Sidekick 2 that fit the birthday bill. So, as this annual ritual rolled around I assumed my daughter would be itching to upgrade to yet the latest version of her well worn temple of texting. With that in mind, you can imagine my surprise when she announced that the object of her desire, the dreamy device that kept her awake at night longing for the feel of it's tiny keys sliding beneath her calloused and capable thumbs... was a BLACKBERRY CURVE! That was the phone she wanted. That was the phone she HAD to have (the RED one, of course.)


Franky, I was honestly surprised. My daughter, whose connected life is so dependent on MySpace, Instant Messaging and Texting that she refuses to get a proper email address, now lusted after a phone that built its reputation on being the ultimate email device. She didn't just want it, either - she REALLY wanted it. I know that RIM (Research In Motion, the Canadian juggernaut that created the Blackberry) has been aggressively trying to break out of their mold as an "enterprise only" device and crack the consumer ranks with crackberries like the lithe PEARL and the sultry CURVE. If my daughter is any indication, they have succeeded, big time.

So Blackberry Curve it was. We visited the local T-MO store and made the swap, and my daughter is already completely enamored with her little red Curve-ette.

She doesn't miss her Sidekick and is already texting at speeds that would make Mavis Beacon the typing tutor proud. Below is a sample of her mad thumb typing skills on our way to buy the Blackberry. The geek in me is so proud! ;-)

Mad Thumbtyping Skillz of a 17 yo Girl on

How about you? Are mobile phones on your gift lists? How often do you get your kids a new phone, and at what ages? Let me know in the comments, and if you enjoy reading this, please subscribe to this blog by email or RSS.

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Sunday, September 07, 2008

Witnessing The Execution: Demo vs. TechCrunch50

If your online circles touch on tech it is likely you have caught wind (and perhaps even a bit of hot air) of a pseudo controversial battle between two prominent conferences, DEMO and TechCrunch50. There has been much ballyhoo in battling blog posts between Robert Scoble and Chris Shipley, and others.

Last year I was fortunate to attend both DemoFall and TechCrunch40 and frankly, from my perspective they were both really great events, and in many respects very different events. As the new kid on the block, TechCrunch40 was full of spunk and excitement, and based in Downtown San Francisco it seemed to attract everyone. It was broadly attended by start-ups, bloggers, tech-execs and enthusiasts. The hallways were networking heaven, and seemed to transcend the scope of the presenting companies and attendees. Demo, in contrast, being based in San Diego, was more like being on an island. Seemingly smaller and more slickly produced, Demo had the feel of a more elite, country club event. More focus on the presenting companies and so-called mainstream press, and few, if any, folks who were not directly involved as a presenting company, media, or investment community attendee. At both events I saw great presentations and not so great presentations. At both events I was impressed at times, and not so impressed at others. Regardless of my own impressions, and my own personal and professional agendas at each, for the companies presenting each event was most certainly an important and exciting moment. It was a time for the companies to shine, and show off their innovation and share their inspiration.

Which leads me to my point. Through all the hype and hyperbole, I sincerely hope that the companies currently involved in both events remember that the real excitement of entrepreneurship is not just having a great idea, making a killer presentation, and becoming the darling of the press or the blogosphere. The real challenge and real excitement of being an entrepreneur is in EXECUTING. In the end, its not about Demo or TechCrunch50 or any other conference or press event, but rather, it is about building a company that really serves your marketplace and customers as you have defined them. It is about executing on a plan that delivers a great product or service that generates real revenue and creates opportunities and careers for your employees and value for your investors.

In the coming months and years ahead, the success of the companies on display this week will not be measured by which event they were a part of or how cool their presentation was. The true measure of success will be based on their execution.

Good luck to them all!

Photo Credit: Tjall -

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Wednesday, September 03, 2008

A Club Worth Joining: Social Media Club

I don't want to belong to any club that would accept me as a member.

--Groucho Marx

I am a lifelong Groucho Marx fan... When I was in High School I once cut classes to spend the entire day on line in front of a Manhattan movie theater just to catch a fleeting glimpse of a frail, elderly Groucho walking the red carpet at the re-release of the Marx Brothers' 1930 classic film, ANIMAL CRACKERS. I have been "Groucho" at many a Halloween celebration and costume party. When I first created an account at Virtual World SECOND LIFE and saw that "Marx" was one of the available surnames I was able to secure "Groucho Marx" as my Avatar.

As much as I admire Groucho, however, I have to disagree with his famous quote above. I would join a club that would accept me as a member! As a matter of fact, last night I joined a club that welcomed me as a member: Social Media Club.

Alex de Carvalho and Social Media Club founder Chris Heuer organized the launch of Social Media Club South Florida and the inaugural event attracted about 40 Floridians for an evening of engagement and great conversation. With chapters all across the globe, Social Media Club is doing a great job of "
...building an organization and a community where the many diverse groups of people who care about social media can come together to discover, connect, share, and learn."

If you are looking to turn your online Social Networking into some real world social engagement don't be like Groucho. Go ahead and join the local Social Media Club, and if your area doesn't have one yet, go ahead and contact Chris to find out how you can start a chapter!

Here is Chris talking a bit about the origin and purpose of Social Media Club:

Update: Here is some audio of the conversation at Social Media Club South Florida as recorded by Chris: