August 13, 2009

Cali Lewis on what goes into a successful podcast

Cali Lewis of from JD Lasica on Vimeo.

The host of GeekBrief.TV also offers 7 secrets to podcasting success

JD LasicaIf you travel in technology circles, chances are you’ve heard of Cali Lewis, the extraordinarily gifted, personaable and successful Web show pioneer who hosts and co-produces GeekBrief.TV. She’s about to top 50,000 followers on Twitter at @calilewis.

Geek Brief, launched on Dec. 23, 2005, now boasts more than 600 episodes (I’ve watched most of them), done on location or at Cali and her husband Neal Campbell’s studio in Dallas. I don’t know how they keep up the pace, given the show’s high production values. Over the years in my talks on new media, I’ve often held up Cali and Geek Brief as a spot-on example of how to “break” into new media — and of how the next generation of Web video shows will look: fast-paced, interesting, fun, personality-driven, passionate and polished.

In this interview, conducted at WordCamp SF shortly before her talk, Cali discusses the genesis of Geek Brief (after 5 months, “we were done with our day jobs and began doing the show full time” — living the dream), podcasting’s place in the mediasphere (“What podcasting offers is that anybody can do it. They don’t have to be told by ABC or NBC or any radio station that they have the talent to do this. The audience is picking and choosing who is successful.”), and how she chooses which tech news to feature (new technologies that excite her and her viewers).

Social media’s role

We spent most of the interview discussing social media and how to engage an audience. The most important rule of audience participation is “you participating back,” she said. Putting questions to the users is a good technique, through Twitter, blog comments and directly on the show itself. She’s on a campaign to coax people to communicate via Twitter rather than email (“You can have a great conversation in 140 characters.”) She’s also particularly adept at using live video streaming during some of her episodes, calling it “a great way to interact.”

Her advice to those just starting out: “Think about what you want, and then just go for it!” I often echo her advice to not get tripped up by the technology. GeekBrief.TV offers some training materials on its Podcasting Tips page.

The lighting on this 9-minute video was subpar because it was bright outside and my LP-Micro fill light wasn’t up to the task.

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January 10, 2009

Summing up CES 2009

CES 2009
Photo by J.D. Lasica

JD LasicaI‘m back home after a crazy-busy week at Macworld Expo in San Francisco (Monday-Tuesday) and the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas (Wednesday to Friday). I blogged earlier about my panel at the P2P Media Summit on Wednesday.

I’m not covering this as a journalist covering the electronics space. Rather, capturing media snippets (chiefly through video, coming soon, and photos, above) relevant to the social media and tech worlds. So if you’re looking for traditional coverage of CES, head to Engadget, Gizmodo, Fast Company, CNET, Revision 3, Geek Brief or other outlets that cover gadgets.

Here are a few random tidbits from CES:

Photos: Here’s a Flickr photo set I took of CES; I’ll add my shots of Steve Ballmer tomorrow. (Update: The set now contains more than 75 photos, including some nice shots of Steve Ballmer and Ford CEO Alan Mulally.) Alas, I lost a compact flash card on the tradeshow floor with more than 100 photos taken on Friday.

The action’s on Twitter: While I haven’t been blogging CES the past couple of days, I’ve been Twittering it since Wednesday evening, so you can see my Twitter stream here.

Citizen media: While there were many of the established citizen media sites covering the conference (Revision 3, Geek Brief TV), and lots of folks capturing video on their cell phones, and the blogger lounges were packed, I was surprised I didn’t see more citizen media outlets swarming over the place. Perhaps the low barrier to entry for bloggers inhibits many from attempting something more ambitious?

techku: One Internet video site that did launch was techku, Sarah Austin‘s new venture, which strreams live and recorded footage 24/7 on Mogulus. I appeared on the first day alongside CrunchGear editor John Biggs.

Disclosure: I’m part of the Intel Insiders social media consulting group, and Intel paid for my trip.

Highlights: The Ultimate Bloggers Dinner hosted by Social  Media Club and Lenovo, where Chris Heuer and I interviewed Ford CEO Alan Mulally; I’ll post the video within a week. … Was great to finally meet Maggie Fox of Canada’s Social Media Group and Scott Monty, a social media consultant to global head of social media for Ford. … Loved spending time with Meghan Asha of … I attended an outstanding blogger dinner Thursday hosted by Symantec, where I met some outstanding people. Amazing food and presentation at Mario Batali’s B&B Ristorante in the Venetian Hotel. Will be following up with Chris Noble, CEO of the causes site Kompolt, about my upcoming new site. … Wonderful to catch up with Steve Rosenbaum of and Staci Kramer of

Learning: I didn’t get to take in many presentations but was impressed by the unveiling of the new Intel Learning Series, a new classroom-based education initiative that’s intended to bring the conversation away from the device and toward instruction. Some highlights from the session: There are only 20 million student PCs in the United States today. … Intel announced the new convertible classmate PC design to meet the variety of elementary school students’ needs worldwide; it converts from a clamshell to tablet mode with a touch screen and was designed based on social scientists’ observations in the classroom.  … A representative from Portugal’s Magellan Initiative attended the session and gave an update on the collaborative project, which is putting PCs into the hands of 500,000 students during the current school year. The resource site, which launched in July and lets people explore, learn and ask questions about PC technology and purchasing options, is on course to reach 1.4 million hits during CES.


Small Things Challenge: Intel, and Save the children kicked off a yearlong effort yesterday called the Small Things Challenge (coverage here). The program will appeal directly to individuals worldwide and encourage them to get involved by donating money to Save the Children’s Rewrite the Future program, which is focused on securing quality education for the millions of children out of school because of war and armed conflict. 

Green: I was happy to see the latest green efforts by Fuji. I used eight Fuji EnviroMax AA digital alkaline batteries in my Nikon D300 battery grip and was impressed by how they held up under hours of shooting. They’re 80 percent more eco-friendly than traditional batteries, at comparable price, says the folks at the Fuji booth.

Lodging: It’s the first time I stayed at the Luxor and would return again, though could do without the hourlong waits for a taxi during CES. Attendance was down over past years, but I still prefer much smaller conferences than the spectable that is CES.