Out of the Country. Not out of the Game. Thanks to the Virtual Office

As some of you guys know, due to family reasons and a bit more, I have temporarily left the US and am now operating from the lovely Vancouver in Canada. Leaving the Golden State was tough, and the team wondered if I could still be running the company from here.

But afterall, our team was virtual even before I left the states. We had members from a variety of places, and even team members from the same city don’t sit and work together. So as long as the time zone wasn’t different, it was not as terrible.

To prove this point, we recently entered a Vator.tv competition for $10,000 sponsored by Elance, called “A New Way to Work“. We previously got 10th place in a competition out of 140 startups and pitched the Viralogy idea in front of a number of different investors. We also won 1st place at a VC Pitch Competition.

This project was designed to illustrate the advantages of working virtually on a team without an office. Since we have people from Los Angeles, San Francisco, Vancouver, Seattle, Texas, New York, and even Turkey, this was fun to make as we each share our experiences.

An excerpt:
Breaking the mold of a localized business allows me to plan my hours and my days the way I want. Whether I work at 2 p.m. or 2 a.m. is up to me, and it allows me to manage my productivity effectively. If I need to spend more time with my dog or my fiancée during the day so that I can burn the midnight oil at night, I can do that. If I want to spend my day working on my netbook in a coffee shop, I can do that too. It’s a large responsibility that can be incredibly rewarding if managed well.

Working virtually means that our staff is extremely flexible and respectful of each other’s needs in terms of time. For example, we hold a weekly company meeting at 8 p.m. Those meeting times are extremely rare in the normal corporate culture, but we have found it to be a perfect time to collaborate and think creatively. When you can work in a virtual workplace, you have increased flexibility not only with respect to location, but time as well.

If you want to run a virtual office and don’t know how, check out the blog de Viralogy!

For Huffington Post readers who don’t know what’s the point of Twitter

george-bush

OK, so first of all, I did not mean to publicly correct this Huffington Post writer on my blog. I was just reading Peter Schwartz new blogpost called Microblogging with Shitter – I mean Twitter. I felt that he totally didn’t get the true value of Twitter, so I decided to make a long comment on his post. When I was posting, it told me I could only comment for 250 words. That’s why I was forced to make it a blogpost instead.

This post is directly in response to Peter Schwartz (like @ Messaging in a non-microblogging way)

OK. Let me address your post as best as I can to someone who has only seen the exterior of Twitter and not the true usage and value of it. Your bashing is vulgar, unfair, and mostly illogical, and I would like to point out why.

1) Twitter Journalism is possible

I know you feel that Twitter Journalism is ridiculous, but I think it’s because you are simply talking about using one tweet to describe everything. There are people who Tweet about their new experiences from moment to moment. People write stories through an aggregate of Tweets (and others DO read it). There’s also been surgeons who Tweet about their surgery operations while doing it. Now I won’t argue about the moral implications of that, but it at least proves that Twitter has at least some Journalism applications.

2) Just because something else can do it too doesn’t mean it’s not useful

I think your logic is not correct when you said Texting and Cellphone Cameras can also report headline news on the spot. First of all, saying “something else can do this too” by no means discredits the quality of the service in mind. When cellphone cameras came out, would you also say, “Normal cameras can do this too, so it’s a piece of crap” if you were not randomly biased against cellphone cameras? Probably not. Also, I can tell you that Twitter reports these news much better and faster than the 2 alternatives you mentioned. If you see a shocking event, you might text it to your 10 friends. These 10 friends will respond “No way! Are you ok?” And then maybe tell their 2 friends that are sitting next to them. End of story.

Continue reading For Huffington Post readers who don’t know what’s the point of Twitter

Seth Godin should be our advisor

I was hanging out on Viralogy, and I stumbled on Seth Godin’s profile and his post about Clout. He introduces how useful it is to map out a person’s clout(or influence) on the internet, something that can tell you all your social power and the power of your influencees throughout all the different platforms. He says right now it’s a secret that the internet will not tell us yet. That’s actually the vision Viralogy has set out to do and we have successful made some giant steps towards that in the half a year we’ve been around.

We’re not anywhere close to perfect, and we still have tons of work to do before we’re successful, but we are determined to reveal this secret on the internet, Google-style. Since Seth Godin sees the same vision that we have been working on for a long time, I know he has more direction on how to do it correctly. If he becomes our advisor, I know we can realize this vision together and change the web.

The web is our oyster. We just have to figure out how to crack open the shells.

Seesmic Desktop will Destroy Tweetdeck through Gamification

This post is outdated. Click here to see my latest post on how Diablo III uses Gamification to become so addicting

TweetDeck vs Seesmic Desktop

Up to this point, I have always been a fan of Tweetdeck. I have told quite a plethora of people to download Tweetdeck as soon as they made their first tweet (yes, I do a search on that) . Downloading Tweetdeck is also one of the major steps in my post about how to start and fall in love with Twitter.

As far as I know, TweetDeck is the only Twitter App that raised sizeable funding during the “old days” (like 90 days ago) when people still wondered if Twitter would die any day. Good job Tweetdeck!
Continue reading Seesmic Desktop will Destroy Tweetdeck through Gamification

How English being my 2nd language saved me from Facebook Scam

Being unsure of English phrases can save you from Facebook Scam

So my friend Facebook Chatted me and told me he is in trouble. He was stuck in London, mugged at gun-point, and needs some help to get back to the States. Since English is not my first language, I wasn’t sure if “mugged at gun-point” means someone literally points his gun at you, or just an idiom referring to a certain situation. After trying to look up this term (rude to ask when your friend is really mugged), I saw the official Facebook page explaining this fraud (Thank your super high PageRank Facebook). So I just want to warn my friends about it.

After knowing it’s fake, I wanted to get more details of what they are doing.

I wanted to paste the conversation but realized Facebook don’t save chat history. Sadness.

Here’s the link to the facebook article

Basically, it has these elements:

1) Friend got mugged in London
2) Needs money to get back to the states
3) Pretty perfect and sociable English. Not the usual dumb “I am the royal accountent of Nigeria”
4) Sense of urgency. “Plane leaving in 2 hours and I need to settle my hotel bill here!”
5) Goes through person’s inbox so knows what you guys have been talking about, “So…how was that investment with Viralogy.com you were talking to me about 6 months ago?”
6) Wants you to send money through Western Union.
7) Smart responses to “How come you don’t ask from your parents? They’re pretty rich dude.” “Is there a phone I can call you with?” “I’ll just pick you up from the airport and you can stay at me. Then you don’t need the money.”
7) Gets mad when you want to confirm their identity, “Dude I already got mugged and you’re asking these stupid questions. I need to leave like right now and I need help…why won’t you believe me??” and then at the same time looks through all Facebook stuff to try to answer you.

Please pass this around so no one falls for this. It also hurts friendship if they succeed. Thanks!