Showing Las Vegas how to karaoke

5096502148_8b4d6d7529

A week or so ago I had the pleasure of hanging out with Jason Shen and John Ramey in Las Vegas. No, it wasn’t some crazy weekend trip — it was actually for work as we were all attending BlogWorld for isocket (it was my third straight year going). The conference is always awesome and as with the other years I got to meet some really cool people who are doing really interesting things on the internets.

Although the trip is always exhausting it never fails that I walk away with a handful of new relationships with people who are doing way cooler things than I could ever do. For real.

For the last couple of years as BlogWorld comes to an end there is always a wrap-up party that’s put on by the awesome people at TechKaraoke (which is just what it sounds like — tech people+karaoke) and this year bash was at a sweet, Las Vegas concert venue called the Pearl Theater at the Palms and there was a live band to back up all of the singers.

Once Jason and I figured out what the dealio was we got signed up and after about 2 hours of waiting and $20 of bribing we eventually made our way up on stage to sing Brown Eyed Girl (how typical, huh?). What happened after that is a little difficult to put into words, which is why I have included a video and some pics of the epic performance below. Enjoy the show and if you can’t see the video you can check it out over here on Vimeo.

The biggest crowd pleaser of our karaoke awesomeness was definitely not our singing — it was when Jason started doing handstand push-ups on stage while still singing. Let me tell ya, there are definitely perks to going on stage with the ex-captain of a national champion gymnastics team. Just sayin’.

Yeah, this pic is good enough to be posted twice.

5096502148_8b4d6d7529

A HUGE thanks goes out to Renee Blodgett from MagicSauceMedia for snapping and uploading all of these pics. I would be so sad if I didn’t have proof of what happened that night up on stage.

5096502442_a2ab6995c3

5096502326_ede76397c4

My CEO at isocket arm wrestles our new intern (and of course I got it on video)

If you didn’t know by now, I started a new job at isocket about a month ago and one of my new responsibilities is to make all of the awesome, new people we’re hiring feel as comfortable as possible once they make their way into our office.

Well, for some reason I thought that a good way to do that for our new intern Vinoth was to make him arm wrestle our CEO. I know it sounds a little odd, but I swear that for some reason it all made sense at the time.

Check out the video of the arm wrestling intern below or over here on YouTube.

Some interstingly funny (and somewhat creepy) drawings of Frank at the HubPages office

The past few months Frank has become a fixture at my HubPages office here in San Francisco and although I think that’s a good thing, it appears that some of my other co-workers might not agree. Or, maybe they just have a sick sense of humor? Yeah, that’s probably it. See the drawings of Frank that they have recently added to our office whiteboards over here in the HubPages blog. Sickos.

Frank barks?

If you have read and seen most of the things that I have written in the blog about Frank, you’ve probably noticed that he is of the most chilled out dogs that you’ve ever seen. Whether I’m dragging him to work, driving him somewhere in the car or just hanging out at home Frank doesn’t usually cause too much trouble and he practically never barks…well, almost never.

Over the past few months I have noticed that Frank barks only at a few selective (and somewhat odd) times. Here are a few of those times that I’ve noticed:

As you can see, Frank doesn’t usually bark that much and when he does, it’s pretty entertaining. To give you a good example of one of these situations I got some video of Ren getting Frank all exited and barking the other day while we were in the office. Check it out below when you get a chance.

Flashbacks of writing research papers and learning to make money online

As you probably know, I work for an awesome web startup called HubPages here in San Francisco. What you probably didn’t know is what we actually do. Well, in short, we allow anyone to write articles about the things that they know about or have expertise in and then after they publish the article we manage various ways for them to make money from what they wrote. So basically, our authors (or ‘Hubbers’ as we call them) write stuff and we help them get search traffic from Google and other search engines, which then results in them getting paid when people click on their ads, etc. It’s a pretty simple and straight forward system that results in a lot of people having fun writing and making money while they’re doing it. We’ve grown like crazy lately and thanks to a rockin’ engineering team, hard-working moderators and a recent 100 Hubs in 30 Days HubChallenge that I put together last month, we’ve shot right into the top 150 websites in the US. Not too shabby, eh?

Anyways, as I’ve worked for HubPages I’ve started to learn more and more about how Search Engine Optimization (SEO) works and how people can make real money in a legit way online. Coming from more of a community and social-driven side of the web, it has taken me a while to catch on to the detail-oriented SEO world, but here lately I’ve really started to get the hang of it all (I think?). This past month alone I’ve made about $50 from writing articles that range from things that I know a lot about such as:

These Hubs have done well for me and have been written from personal experiences with each of the topics. However, I also have written some other Hubs that are about more lucrative topics that I knew nothing about before I went out and researched all about them. These types of topics are harder to write about (much like a research paper in high school), but if I can get them to rank in Google, they are potentially worth much, much more money. A couple of these types of research are about these super exciting topics:

As you can see, these topics aren’t quite as fun as the ones I listed above, but the have much more earning potential if I can somehow get them to rank well in Google or other search engines (which they currently don’t). Anyways, I just wanted to give you all a little update on my job and what we actually do here. I hope this makes sense, but if it doesn’t check out the video below or over here on YouTube — it’ll explain everything. :)

Happy birthday to Steph!

Stephanie turned 24 this past Thursday on January 15th and she got a pretty sweet surprise when her preschool students decided to send some birthday love out our way here in Houston, TX. Check out the video of their birthday wishes below or over here on YouTube.

Nothing says happy holidays like office parties with German beer

It’s almost time for Christmas and you know what that means – it’s time for holiday parties! Holiday parties are great for getting everyone that you work with out of the normal office situation that you normally see them, which normally results in you actually talking to them like they’re real people and not just your co-workers. It’s kind of funny how you can literally work with a group of people for an extended period of time and for whatever the reason is, never actually get to know them as real a real person. An office dynamic, even for a company that has less than 20 employees like mine, is something that has always interested me due to the fact that so many awkward situations can be created so naturally on a daily basis. I guess that’s what happens when business gets in the way of acting normal, eh? If you need proof, just look at The Office, which has taken this dynamic and turned it into one of the most popular shows of all time.

It’s funny ’cause it’s true. :)

Anyways, last night Stephanie met me up in San Francisco and we headed over to my office holiday party which was taking place in a reserved party room at Shroeder’s, a German restaurant that’s a short, yet chilly walk away from my office. Of course I wore my Christmas sweater so that I could help get everyone into the Christmas spirit and Stephanie rocked her new North Face jacket that she likes almost as much as she likes Reddi-Whip.

The party ended up being a really great time. It was nice to introduce Stephanie to everyone and to finally meet all of my co-worker’s significant others, kids (they were all so cute!) and family. The food was great, the beer was better and of course any type of event in December that lets me rock out my infamous Christmas sweater is A-OK with me.

One other thing worth mentioning is that I finally had the chance to chat with a guy that I work with named Chris. He works on the 3rd floor and I work of the 4th, which means that we might as well be a world apart and we’ve never really been able to chat. For the last 4 months or so that I’ve worked here I guess that I’ve never really made the effort to get to really get to know him and he hasn’t put in any real effort to me me either. Of course, this isn’t because we don’t like each other or that we don’t like meeting new people. The fact is that we’re both maniacs when it comes to working and neither of us have ever taken the time to grab lunch, a few drinks, coffee or whatever. Well, last night we finally got to talk for a while, which was great, and I even got to meet his girlfriend. He’s a really interesting guy who has a lot going on and it was good to finally pick his brain for a bit and see what his world was like.

I think that this is a situation that most people wouldn’t really pay attention to as they went on with their day-to-day lives, but for me it was something that made the holiday party even that much better. Not to mention that Chris is putting together an office basketball team for a league here in San Francisco that starts here soon. Looks like he just picked up one hell of a free agent, which I guess means that it’s time to dust off the ol’ Hupfer jump shot.

Let it snow, Let it snow, Let it…kind of fake snow?

As winter brings the blistery cold, short days, and icy sidewalks there is one thing that both students and teachers alike look forward to; the snow day. Although only occurring on rare occasions, the mere hope for one single day of random freedom lingers on the minds of those within the school.

A few weeks ago, during a regular faculty meeting, our director announced the date of the “snow day” for the month of December. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing… snow? In California?! Wait a second… I thought I came here to get away from that stuff. Luckily she went on to explain what exactly this “snow day” entailed. Apparently since it is still 65 and sunny here every single day (ahh yes be jealous) the school chips in to buy a truck-load of fake snow to be dumped right in the middle of the school parking lot for a day. This way all of the kids can have a chance to have their own snow day, just like the other kids in colder climates.

This past weekend, the snow day finally was here and all of the kids came decked out in their snow suits, snow boots, hats, gloves and mittens ready to brave the chilly snow. Ryan and I had to laugh when we saw the pile of “snow” mounded in the parking lot with a crowd of kids slipping and sliding on top. It certainly wasn’t like what they make back in good ol’ Indiana, but it served it’s purpose. We had a great time digging around, making snow angels, and tossing the occasional snow ball at some unsuspecting toddlers. I think the little ones took the cake however, we were certainly the prime targets of every snow ball that was thrown.

It’s safe to say that after one day of snow I have had my fill :) I’ll be good for awhile now until I have a slight craving for anymore, however, I think I might be forced to indulge on our trip back home to Indiana for Christmas. I hear it’s a little bit colder there than it has been here. All of this warm weather and sunshine has turned Ryan and I into some kind of wimps when it comes to cold weather. You know that when 55 seems frigid you’ve basically lost your ability to adapt to cold weather anymore. Hopefully we won’t be too shocked in a couple weeks. 😉

Hup gets TechCrunched

Last Friday I decided to send over an email to TechCrunch regarding some problems that I was having with MySpace’s new self-serve ad platform that’s cleverly called ‘MyAds’. After trying to get some of my ads for HubPages approved and after half of them were quickly rejected due to them classifying us as a direct competitor, I decided to pretty much give up on it. But, I didn’t just stop there, I also decided to write up my issues and see if TechCrunch thought that it was worth posting up on their uber-blog, which is the top-ranked tech news blog in the world. Basically, it’s the New York Times of the tech world.

After I sent the email over I was surprised to get a quick reply back from Michael Arrington, the founder of TechCrunch(and one of the 2008 Time 100), saying that he was taking a look at it. Well, no more than an hour or so later he had practically posted the entire email that I sent him and titled the post HubPages Blocked From MySpace MyAds As Too Competitive. Needless to say I was super-excited as I was getting messages from all over the place from friends who had already seen the post and from my team at HubPages, who thought that it was pretty damn amazing that we got a shout-out on TechCrunch.

Even though it was incredible to get a write-up on TechCrunch, the really cool stuff came as a result of the literally hundreds of thousands, maybe millions of people who read it. I will get into more details later, but this last week after being featured on this one, powerful blog has really shown me once again the power of the web(not to mention the power and reach of TechCrunch itself). I need to crash out for the night, but I promise to give you all an update on all of the amazing things that I’ve been doing over this past week. Sleep tight and don’t let the bed bugs bite.

Getting my demo on tomorrow night at the SiliconValley NewTech Meetup

Tomorrow night I get my second official chance to show the people of Silicon Valley what HubPages is all about. Me and two other web startups are going to do a 5-minute demo at the SiliconValley NewTech Meetup, which is a very popular event that introduces new web-based businesses to around 150-200 people right here in Palo Alto each month. My friend and fellow web-geek Vinnie Lauria hosts the event that, according to him, is going to have some special election-friendly additions to it such as real-time streams of the vote count during the presentations.

Wish me luck and I’ll keep you updated on how it goes. :)

Next Page →