Hey Hombre, What’s Your Nombray?

My one or two regular readers know that I’ve been playing around with different life streaming services for the past few months.  I’m a big fan of building my personal brand, though it is hard to do in a single location.  I’ve got a great personal URL (yeah, Schnaars is tough to spell, but you get it), but anyone that is interested in finding out more about me needs to go to Twitter, FriendFeed, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.  So I have a brand that I’m cognizant of, but I don’t have everything in a single location.  If people want to find out about me, it’s like they have to go to 5 or 6 different stores, when they could just go to Target.I tried using SweetCron, but found it far too complicated to get installed, administrate and customize.  The cool part about SweetCron is how clean it looks for the end user, but at the end of the day, it was far too difficult for me to use.I love FriendFeed and I think that it is a great aggregator of content from various sources, but from a personal branding stand point, it is somewhat limited.  There are also only limiting ways to get your content from FriendFeed from their site to mine. Why send someone to another site that, while about me, is really about them?A few weeks ago, I was looking at my friend Sean O’Malley’s site and I totally dug the way that it looked.  He had everything that I wanted, a named URL and all of the sites that had his personal information all aggregated in a common site.  After doing a bit of poking around, I discovered that it was run by a service called Nombray, a service that lets you own your name and all of the content that you create.A few days after I mentioned to Sean how much I liked the site, he introduced me to Chris Lunt, CEO of Nombray.  Chris and I spent some time together recently talking about Nombray and the importance of having a personal domain.  As a personal branding service, I think that Nombray is second to none. I immediately signed up with http://schnaars.org.

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The admin screen, as you can see above, is incredibly simple.  You simply point to the site that you want to add to your page and it automatically adds a tab.  Tabs can be moved around, notated, added and removed as simply as anything. If there is a better tool for building your own brand, I haven’t found it.Chris and I also talked about the impact that a service like Nombray can have on small businesses that incorporate their name.  If you’re John Smith and you own Smith and Sons, you need to have an online presence that is more than http://smithandsons.com.  You need to have a Twitter account. You need to have a Facebook page. You need to have a LinkedIn page.  You need to have 8 – 10 other services as well that show off your business.This is poses a challenge to many small businesses that simply don’t grok social media.  Nombray can help.  Chris and his team are working on a really nice premium version that will be available to small businesses (think law firms or doctors offices). The service will not only help you manage your personal domain, but also will help to aggregate the other social networking services to help spread your brand.  The value for a small business should be pretty huge.If you aren’t using a site like Nombray, how are you managing your personal brand?

Social Media Will Make (is making) the World a Better Place

I come from a pessimistic family.  Most of the conversations that I have with them, I leave feeling like the world is going to end in any minute. Whether it is the government, the economy, their health, there are only a few minutes left.The pessimism gene somehow managed to skip me.  I’m lucky.  I see everything as the glass being half-full.  More than half-full actually.  No matter how bleak and dark things are, there is always a silver lining.

Dow dumps 1,200 points in a couple of days – Buying OpportunityMcCain / Palin getting good numbers – Election is 4 weeks offHead of Lehman gets $480M – Well, even I have my limits

Part of that, I’m sure, is living and working in the heart of Silicon Valley.  When I moved here 13 years ago, I was confident that this would be the place that would change the world for the better.  I still have that same level of confidence.  This is an awesome place to live and everyday, I hear a new, world changing idea on the train, in the office, at Starbucks.  Everywhere. Like scripts in Hollywood and music in Nashville, everyone here has an idea that will change the world.This place is an idea mecca, but more importantly, people here have the drive and know how to implement these ideas.  People don’t care if they fail.  In fact, they anticipate it.  Who cares? They will come up with another world changing idea in a few more days, implement it and it may or may not succeed.Want some specific examples: Tesla Motors, Google Clean Energy, Twitter, Socialtext (;-P), Solyndra, TED, Pixelated, Facebook, Kiva, StockTwits, BetterPlace and Gnip, just to name a few that have received press in the last couple of days.  It is hard not to be overtly optimistic about the future when this is going on around you all the time.Truth be told, it has been hard to be optimistic the last couple of days.  One of my closest friends passed away, Sarah Palin scares the hell out of me and the stock market has gone into the toilet, yet when I spend any amount of time on Twitter, Facebook or Friendfeed, I’m filled with a tremendous sense of optimism.  The future is very, very bright.If you are a pessimist, you probably hate social media. I can only imagine that the average pessimist makes doom and gloom comments that aren’t productive and aren’t helpful on Twitter.  Eventually, like with any tribe, that person will be kicked out.  No more followers.  Who wants to hear that shit all day?What results is that optimism attracts optimism.  It always has and will as it is human nature.  What is exciting to me, in an optimistic way, is that we now live in a time, in which thousands of optimists, with great ideas and the ability to execute on them can have a conversation with thousands of other optimists and put these ideas into action almost immediately.That is how, no matter what happens in the short term, the world will become a better place.How have you seen social media used for good?  Send me comments.

Dear Mom and Dad: Welcome to Friend Feed

Dear Mom & Dad,Comparatively, I don’t live a crazy life.  I’m fairly passive and things aren’t too exciting, but I know that you love keeping up with my life.  Work, kids, house, dog, etc.Like a lot of the kids these days, I’m doing all sorts of things on the interwebs.  Blogging, taking pictures, making videos, sharing all sorts of stuff that I find interesting.  Things move pretty fast.Sadly, neither of you use IM.  I’ve tried to explain RSS on numerous occasions, but let’s face it, most people in my industry can’t explain it to their folks, so let’s skip that one.  And Twitter, I might as well try explaining things in Klingon.So what to do?My friend Alan and I were talking about creating a service that would allow you to follow just one person in Twitter.  Just to keep our parents up to speed with what we are doing.  Clever, but kind of dull, especially as your other kids start to realize that the interwebs are a series of tubes and post their own missives.But I’ve been using FriendFeed for a while.  As a parent, this should be super fantastic cool for you.  Kind of a one stop Scott shop.  Want to know what I’m up to?  Look for my Twitter feed.  Want to see pictures of the wedding I was at this past weekend (or of the kids), look at my Flickr Feed.  Want to see my latest blog post, that is fed into FriendFeed to.  That article that I mentioned from the NYTImes?  Like Prego, it’s in there. Now it’s all available in FriendFeed.So check it out.  I even took the liberty to sign you up for the service and subscribe to my feed.  Once in while check it out.  Total strangers know what I’m up to, now you can too.Love,ScottPS – yes I realize the irony of the odds of you reading this on my site.