Armadillo Studios Inc.

Shel Israel’s Twitterville

A month ago Shel Israel swung through Calgary on a “promotional stop”:http://www.meetup.com/third-tuesday-calgary/calendar/11278682/ for his latest book, “Twitterville”:http://redcouch.typepad.com/weblog/twitterville.html. Intrigued by his previous work, “Naked Conversations with Robert Scroble”:http://books.google.ca/books?id=8tD1OOLUbJgC&dq=naked+conversations&printsec=frontcover&source=bn&hl=en&ei=dj3qSr7pBI30sQOR3fHWCA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=4&ved=0CBcQ6AEwAw, Half of the Armadillo team attended his talk to see what Shel had to say about on twitter. Shel spent the evening doing what he does best; regaling the audience with anecdote after anecdote about the growing importance of Twitter for business (and to a lesser extent society). Needless to say, very few attendees of that event left without a copy of twitterville under their arm.

Shel is a gifted story teller and _Twitterville_ is nothing short of enthralling and inspiring. From a business perspective if you are looking to properly explore the world of Social Marketing, in particular Twitter, consider picking up a copy.

See Twitterville easily overshadows the “plethora of other Twitter books”:http://www.google.ca/url?sa=t&source=web&ct=res&cd=1&ved=0CA4QFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.dummies.com%2Fstore%2Fproduct%2FTwitter-For-Dummies.productCd-0470479914.html&rct=j&q=twitter+for+dummies+book&ei=30zwSpzYCJLWtgPO7LiABg&usg=AFQjCNFPwJyyZ2O85EOsh5qHKEYzgsPJ0g, because it is *an honest look at the evolving community, from the viewpoint of someone who truly cares*. Shel enthusiasm clearly demonstrates his appreciation for the subject material. His business anecdotes have an intimate feel to them, due to the relationships he has built with the major protagonists in each story. Within each chapter he is promoting and championing businesses that understand Twitterville and are pushing it in a positive direction. More importantly, he showcases the people behind these successful accounts, who are leverage their own generosity and compassion to further the community and their own bottom-line.

In a sense, the basic take-away from Twitterville, revolves around the divide between the personal and impersonal. As Shel notes throughout the book, the downfall of many business strategies on Twitter are routed in the impersonal and archaic _broadcast_ tactics many companies are familiar with. Where businesses are seeing favourable results on Twitter, is when they shift their focus towards a more involved and open two-way communication strategy. Shel’s philosophy is that *Businesses will succeed on Twitter only when they are personable*. And he leverages many examples throughout Twitterville; from the success story of “comcastcares”:http://twitter.com/comcastcares to “scottymonty”:http://twitter.com/scottymonty and his ability to suppress Ford Ranger Fan-club backlash to the small business success of Houston’s “coffegroundz”:http://twitter.com/coffeegroundz.

That is not to say that Twitterville is only for the novice twitter user. Rather Twitterville is an important read even for the most seasoned of power users. From his own personal ideal _That Twitter is the Place where People Act The Most Honest_ to the concept of _Lethal Generosity_, Shel is able to show Twitter’s evolving ability in a different light. In addition, Shel’s business cases and anecdotes are well researched and provide even experienced marketers with ideas and concepts to work with or bring to their clients. That is not to say that there aren’t any remedial chapters intended for the novice users (the Last Chapter is dedicated to the basics of Twitter and there is a detailed chapter geared towards the darker side of twitter).

It’s easy to be sceptical of the magnitude of literature popping up regarding the business opportunities within the Twitter community; the technology is far too young for anyone to truly comprehend the future ramifications of the tool. But Twitterville is a fantastic first step in that direction. It is a book which is chalkful of insightful ideas and positive concepts, that showcase ideas that promote the community rather than exploit it.

If you are small business looking to engage with your clients on Twitter, take the time to seek out _Twitterville_.

Google Street View: What Does it Mean For Your Business?

Google Street View “rolled out in Canada yesterday morning”:http://www.techvibes.com/blog/google-street-view-now-available-in-canada. While many people are finding it to be one of the Internet’s greatest time occupiers, it does have important ramifications for your business.

*Google Street View* is essentially a street level enhancement to Google’s powerful online mapping system – Google Maps. Users can now zoom in on any address in a major metropolitan Canadian city to see a panoramic view of the area. Below are some examples of Google Street View in action at some of Calgary’s most famous intersections.


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But as a small business how is this new feature important to you? Right now it seems like a nice novelty, but what will it mean for potential customers?

First and foremost, if you happen to run a storefront business; a repair shop, a flower shop or a clothing store, when potential customers use Google Maps to find your location they will now see a street level view of your storefront. Unfortunately, for a business standpoint there is no control over the view that is available for customers to look at. Any business with information updated on Google will be tied to this viewpoint, whether it’s a flattering photo or not.

Second, if you are a Realtor or a business tied directly to the Housing Market, Google street view will be an important tool for your business. Not only will users be able to see an honest street level view of your property, but they will be able to explore the surrounding neighbourhood and the local amenities. Again, depending on the state of the property and the time the Google Car visited your neighbourhood, this might not be the most flattering photo.

So What Should You Do?

It would be almost impossible to fight the impact Google Street View will have on your business. Google’s current stanglehold on user search and business information is impossible to ignore. So our advice would be to *embrace the service*.

Google allows you to embed the streetview application directly into any web page, so leverage this feature. For Realtors this means embedding street views of you properties directly in to your showcase page. For businesses with store fronts, this means embdedding the application on your contact us page and replacing that outdated Google map.

Google Street View might seem gimiky at first, but like all of Google’s previous technological breakthroughs the business ramifications will become apparently very shortly. So rather than fight it, embrace it.

The yycPhotobook Launches

It is with big grins that we are proud and extremely pleased to announce the first copies of the “yycPhotobook”:http://www.yycphotobook.com have been published.

As mentioned in a “previous article”:http://blog.armadillostudios.ca/article/yycphotobookcom, Armadillo has been honored to team up with Duncan Kinney (of “yycBlogs”:http://www.yycblogs.com) to design and construct the yycPhotobook. And now that the book is completed, we are even more excited for the upcoming launch party on Sept 18th.

In regards to the actual design process for the book, the yycPhotobook team started by selecting a diverse collection of unique and engaging photos from a group of Calgary photographers. Next, we brainstormed a layout and order that would maximize the impact of each photo. We then assembled the basic skeleton of the book in InDesign using the easy to use templates supplied by”Blurb.com”:http://www.blurb.com. Keeping with the theme of the original web site; The yycPhotobook design utilizes the same crisp aesthetics associated with the minimalist web site. Each photograph in the book is given it’s own page with the author’s accompanying avatar and a short 140 character description of the work. In combination, this ultimately created a unique 40-page book that encompasses Calgary’s distinctive identity.

As mentioned, the yycPhotobook launch party is on *Sept. 18 at Venturion* (214 11th Ave. SE). There will be beer and wine for sale at reasonable prices and some light refreshments. You’ll be able to meet the contributing photographers and get a sneak peek of the book. The book will also be made available to the public through yycPhotobook.com and Blurb.com, on the day of the party.

SXSW10: Leave Your Job. Start An Agency.

A couple of months ago, Alex Lemanski of “Bitfyre fame”:http://www.bitfyre.net/ approached some of our mutal friends from previous “SXSW Adventures”:http://blog.armadillostudios.ca/article/?c=sxswi-09 about trying our hand at a panel for “SXSW 2010”:http://www.sxsw.com.

As a collective we’ve already built the popular how-to guide “SXSWisEASY”://www.sxswiseasy.com , so it would only make sense to throw our collective hats into the SXSW panellist ring. So with that I’m happy to present to you our potential panel “Leave Your Job. Start An Agency”:http://ow.ly/kiAK.

The concept behind our panel is simple. We want to provide an outsiders perspective on the difficulties of starting your own studio. We’ll address things like how to do transition from your solo Apartment/PJ set-up into a full on office? How to deal with arguing co-owners? How to find clients across different area codes? Pretty much every topic that someone would need to know if they were contemplating starting up their own business.

To paraphrase Joe, the idea of the panel is to get the real dirt on non-existent inter-office scandals and what to do when your partner doesn’t agree with you – there’s sure to be some heat in this panel. What else could you expect from three Americans, one Canuck and a Texan.

So this is where we need your help, if you’ve got a second and do plan on attending SXSW’10 in Austin, please log on to the panel picker and give our panel “a big thumbs-up”:http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/ideas/view/3303. Voting closes on Sept 4th, so be quick.

Seenster Alpha Goes Live

Two weeks ago, the Armadillo Team made the hour trek up to great wilderness of Banff for the latest rendition of “DemoCamp Calgary”:http://barcampcalgary.com/2009/06/03/democampbanff-in-two-days/ at the “nextMedia conference”:http://www.nextmediaevents.com/banff/. The team was up there to support Cameron Rout and the live alpha demo of the “seenster.net”:http://www.seenster.net project.

As the about page describes; *seenster.net* is for independent musicians who bootstrap their efforts on their own dime, the Prolific Compilation Card is a recommendation tool that gives artists the opportunity to get paid for recommending music in real life, at their gigs. *Unlike Last.fm, iTunes, and Myspace our product brings the social music network into Real Life to sell recommendations as a tangible commodity*.

The Armadillo team was proud to help Cameron with design tweaks and some back-end modification to get the product into a live state. In the future we’ll be working together to really enhance the product and get out of the dreaded Alpha state and into the more sensual Beta state.

If you are curious about the project or would like to get involved either follow the “team on twitter”:http://www.twitter.com/seensters or email Cameron directly at “cameronrout@seenster.net”:mailto:cameronrout@seenster.net.

Job Seekers Leveraging Twitter

Yesterday afternoon, we had a great interview with Danielle Suchet of CBC Radio One for a segment on *Job Seekers Leveraging Social Media in the Struggling Economy*. We had a wonderful chat with Danielle and a couple of quotes were broadcast during the segment.

If you happened to miss our comments, the CBC Calgary has posted a synopsis of the segment – “Calgary Job Seekers Tweet To Find Work”:http://www.cbc.ca/canada/calgary/story/2009/06/09/calgary-jobs-twitter-social-networking.html?ref=rss. Including a great little snippet of the interview:

Posting links on Twitter *will not eliminate the need for traditional job boards or online listings but it’s an avenue to reach a wider audience*, said Connor Turner, owner of Armadillo Studios, which consults on social networking for small businesses.

“People are using Twitter and Facebook just to get the word out there and show a connection and then drive them back to the original form like their website and the job posting,” he said. “*It’s just an indirect way, a more personal way to get out there and touch people and provide the information that people are looking for*.”

If your curious about our Twitter Consulting services, feel free to have a look at original article – “Twitter For the Calgary Market”:https://www.armadillostudios.ca/twitter-for-the-calgary-market/.

Bumptop Launches To the World

In exciting industry related news, local Calgary product Anad Agarwala and his team of developers have released the much anticipated desktop application “Bumptop”:http://www.bumptop.com to the world.

Buzz about Bumptop has been building for over a year now, since Anad’s infamous presentation at the “2008 TED conference”:http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/anand_agarawala_demos_his_bumptop_desktop.html. And because of a longstanding relationship with Anad (via our glory days at the University of Calgary); Armadillo Studios has been honored to be a long time beta tester of Bumptop.

It is because of this relationship with Anand and the Bumptop team, that we are pleased to announce that we have been featured on the main Bumptop site.

As far as desktop applications go, Bumptop truly is a ground breaking device. One that will revolution how you view your Windows Desktop and how you utilize it in your daily work environment. We encourage all of our clients and friends to “download Bumptop”:http://bumptop.com/download.php play with the application’s incredible organizational properties and see how it can improve your work flow.

Congratulations is in order to Anad and his team. Armadillo Studios wishes you the best of luck with your endeavor.