Sparks will fly…InnoVenture Southeast 2011

A few years ago, I was chatting with John Warner and he was describing the InnoVenture experience to a group of people. As he described this conversation, this conference, this experience…he explained that “Sparks will fly!” I was wondering what the heck he was talking about…and it was not until today that I fully grasped this statement.

InnoVenture Southeast 2011 Day One…and it all started with watching my friend and client Lonnie Emard of IT-oLogy present in front of close to 200 people. As I sat and listened, more and more folks became recognizable. More and more of my close friends, colleagues, and clients began to walk through the door.

As I was walking around the follow-up conversation in the center of the room, I walked into a conversation of my own. Yes…a colleague from Clemson. This led to a conversation that led to an idea. As we were brainstorming this idea, another friend walked up and joined the conversation. This idea was growing…three minds are better than one. For some reason, something caused us to stop chatting and walk away.

A few minutes later, as I was standing in-front of IT-oLogy’s booth chatting, those two people who were brainstorming with me a few minutes ago walked over and said, “hey, remember what we were talking about…how can we make it happen?” Then it started right back up again. The brainstorming continued and before you know it…we set up a meeting for next steps and action items.

THEN…and only THEN…another friend walked up. I made introductions and after the exchange of business cards, my friend said, “I have an idea.” This sparked a whole new conversation, a whole new set of ideas, a whole new brainstorming session. This session could only happen if the right people are present and the right innovative thinking was in progress. Sparks were flying.

What you do not know, each of these people were decision makers in their organization. They had the ability to use their entrepreneurial spirit and engage in a conversation around a common theme…innovation. These were two conversations that I was a part of during day one of InnoVenture Southeast 2011. Imagine the numerous other conversations happening that led to exchange of ideas, ideas of innovation, contact information, and follow-up emails that night.

I was so excited, so struck by these ideas…I could not wait to get back to the office to send follow-up emails. We were already emailing ideas back and forth…Sparks were flying! Innovation is a funny thing…all it takes, get like minded people together and a open forum of conversation and innovative exchange. I walked away inspired!

What is social video???

So I have been thinking what makes video social? Yes….what makes our video content connect with audiences in a social, fluid environment. Well, it is my opinion that it comes down to technology and content. Seriously, there has to be relevant content that relates to an audience in a way that makes them have the desire to share. Then, once they want to share…it has to be supported by technology that does not prohibit the ability to share.

Recently I have been harping on Flash Video and how it marginalizes certain audiences…and this is all about technology. If I have a device and a friend shares a video with me, I click to watch and cannot view the content because the technology does not support Flash…then the video is not social.

So when I think about the technology aspect of social video, it can be broken into two arenas: enabling the ability to share the video and enabling the ability to search and find the video. But before we get to technology…let’s try to talk about characteristics of social video. So let’s think through this a bit…ways we can make our video content social.


  • The video message has to be compelling.
  • The video message has to have an action item.
  • The video appeals to our emotions.
  • The video message makes us want to share.


  • The video has to be hosted and compressed so that it plays fluidly in majority of online environments.
  • The video player that displays the video is using the latest technology to meet your target audience’s devices needs. If it is HTML5, Flash, Quicktime, or what ever…it needs to be able to reach the largest section of audiences to consume the video content.
  • The video content has to be associated with searchable terms. We know what it means to make our webpages rich with searchable words…but now our video has to SEO rich. So whereever it is hosted, it must support searchable tags and video descriptions.
  • The video content must have a permalink to link directly to that video. You do want people to share your video, so it must have a link to post on social sites and email for reference.
  • The video content must have rich embed options. You want the masses have the ability to embed your video into your blogs, websites, and other online media outlets.
  • The video content needs to have the ability to have a title that is associated with the video. Places like YouTube and Vimeo provide that option to make the content searchable.

Let me give you two examples:

1) IT-oLogy Open House:

I worked on a project a few months ago with the sole purpose of telling the story of a new brand at an open-house. IT-oLogy was formerly the Consortium for Enterprise Systems Management. They were launching their new brand at the open house for their new building. So we produced a video that had all their partners and supporting agencies describing IT-oLogy in their own terms. We made the video fun, goofy, yet appealing to the 250 plus people that would attend.

When I showed up to make it play on their new big screen, the people were still installing the technology that supported video playback. So…we uploaded it to YouTube in full 1080p and played it on a big 50 foot screen from YouTube. They had the bandwidth to support the higher quality and it played well. When we uploaded it to YouTube…we made sure we named it properly, gave a rich description, and implemented logical tags. When people left, they wanted to go find the video. Why…because it was cool plus most of the people in the room knew the people in the video and wanted to share with their co-workers. They were able to embed in their blogs, email the YouTube link to their friends, share it on social outlets. A quality message maximizing technology to enable sharing.

2) My Class at Clemson

I was putting together a presentation about finding your passion. I found this great video called “Where good ideas come from.” I wanted to share it with my class during my afternoon session. I like to use my business Facebook page as a place to save cool links that I might want to comeback to later. So I posted the YouTube link to my Facebook page with a description of it’s intended purpose. So when I got to class, I pulled up the video from my Facebook page and played it for the class and they loved it. Afterwards, I noticed that a conversation started happening on Facebook under the link I posted.

The conversation was around entrepreneurship and where great ideas come from. People from the academic world, business world, entrepreneurs, etc. were commenting and discussion the underlying theme behind the video. At the same time, before I could email the link to my students, one of them posted the link to their Facebook page thanking me for sharing in class. That means that they were able to do a Google search for the video, find it, grab the link from the video, and share with her friends. Steven Johnson was the speaker in this video and a group called RSA Animate produced the visuals. These people not only inspired me to share with my friends, students, and colleagues….but they also inspired and enabled others to share. The content was engaging and inspiring and the technology was seamless to enable the ability to share.

What are your thoughts? How are you using video socially?

POSSCON 2011 – Day One – It is all about COMMUNITY!

As soon as you walk into the doors of the Columbia Convention Center…you can feel the energy. It is more than hustle and bustle, it is more than meeting new people, it is even more than learning about open source software…it is about the community. There was even a special Gowalla spot created for the event…pretty cool!

I spent some time talking to speakers from the conference, that had lots to say. “POSSCON is a great event, lovely convention center, fabulous event, spectacular speakers,if you at all are interested in open source or that technology community wrap around…this is a place to be,” says Phil Yanov who is the founder of GSATC.

So what is POSSCON…well, let’s take a second to figure that out. POSSCON is the Palmetto Open Source Software Conference hosted in Columbia, SC. It is a community of conversation around the idea of how open source software can provide solutions for businesses, educators, healthcare, developers, and the list goes on. So you ask, what is open source software?

“Open source is more than cost reductions and savings, it is also about creating effective, productive, high performance production shops and there is a real connection between the empowerment that open source gives developers and their ability to put together solutions that really matter for their end users,” says Jeffery Hammond, Principal Analyst for Forrestor Research.

Wikipedia defines open source software (OSS) as computer software that is available in source code form for which the source code and certain other rights normally reserved for copyright holders are provided under a software license that permits users to study, change, improve and at times also to distribute the software.

WOW, what does that mean? Well, it is software that openly allows users to use, alter, and integrate to fit their needs. Think of a piece of software you have recently purchased and thought, man if I could change it to fit my needs. Well, open source provides that opportunity.

POSSCON is a conference that is surrounded with professionals, educators, students, executives who find value in learning and collaborating to find and build software solutions to meet their needs…outside of proprietary software. Everywhere you look, there are leaders inside the walls of the convention center; teaching, educating, and providing best practices surrounding how they are using open source software to solve problems.

Leslie Hawthorn, Open Source Outreach Manager at Oregan State University said it best, “It is also great to see so many people from the business community here, breaking out of those traditional ‘hackers’ ‘suits’ silos.”

POSSCON is more that just software…it is a community. A community of people connecting, engaging, and problem solving. This open source community is a place to freely exchange ideas, connect, solve a problem, and learn something new. “There area lot of people here and they are engaged!” Jim Jagielski, President Apache Software Foundation/Redhat goes on to say, “As you are talking, people are typing and listening…they are engaged! There is a wide variety of people here…we have students, we have CIO’s, CTO’s, we have guys in jeans, people in suites and ties.”

I think William Hurley, better known as Whurley and CTO of Chaotic Moon Studios, summed up the conference rather nicely, “At the end of the day, you want to go somewhere where you are surrounded by like minded people, who have some similar goals and objectives, who are totally willing to share very honestly, very openly…everything they know…and this is the a great environment for that. POSSCON is a little bit more about active participation.”

Enough said…check out POSSCON!

Do You Like Open Source? See you at POSSCON!

Do you like Open Source Software and Development? Well…you should check out POSSCON! What is POSSCON, well it is the Palmetto Open Source Software Conference held in Columbia, SC. There are going to be a host of presenters from four different program tracks that pertain to you: LeadershipTechnicalHealthcare, and Education.

Whether you are a student, CIO, CTO, work in healthcare, a developer, a professor, a teacher, or just and Open Source enthusiast…there is something here for you when it comes to Open Source Software.

Worldwide industries such as IBM, Oracle and Google will be presenting, along with a long list of other impressive businesses.

Open source software continues to be one of the hottest and most relevant topics in information technology as organizations strive to meet the increasing demand for innovation while struggling with shrinking budgets.

POSSCON 2011 will feature an executive forum, hands-on workshops and networking events. This one of the largest open source software conferences on the East coast.

More than 500 attendees from across the country are expected to attend this event. Registration is still available for both students (who are admitted for free) and for other people interested in open source technology.

Interested in registering…you can use the QR Code to the left or CLICK HERE to REGISTER for POSSCON.  Also…POSSCON will be giving away Three Free Galaxy Tabs at this event…so you should register for a chance to win. To see more about the Galaxy Tab, here is my review, CLICK HERE to READ MORE.

Also…I will be there, so we can meet and hang out! And if you comment on this blog post and leave your email address (and you are not a spammer), I will send you a discount code for the event! I want to meet you!

Also…If you would like to read the Press Release for POSSCON, CLICK HERE to download the PDF!

We are IT-oLogy

It is more than a building, it is more than a mission, it is more than a consortium of partners…it is an initiative. There is one thing for sure, there are lots of passionate people that believe in the future of IT. What is IT? Some define “IT” as Information Technology…others define “IT” as the discipline for tomorrow’s economic engine.

This past Tuesday (Feb. 8th), we gathered to see what all the hoopla was all about. Just across the street from the Statehouse in downtown Columbia, SC…there is a new sign. Not only a new sign hanging on the side of a building, but a new sign that there is a massive voice saying…”We Are IT-oLogy.” Yes…you do not hear people saying “I” … they are using the word “We”. It is a group of people, companies, partners, visionaries that are investing in the future…the future workforce for tomorrow’s Information Technology leaders.

Close to 250 people attended the open house for IT-oLogy. It was more than just an open house congregating the “whose who” across the southeast and Columbia…it was also the unveiling of a new name for this passionate initiative. IT-oLogy was brought to the forefront as the new brand for this growing initiative.  It is the initiative of the Consortium for Enterprise Systems Management. It was also the unveiling of the new website, aimed at attracting a younger audience to engage in an online experience, learning about a career in IT.

So next time you are in Columbia, SC…stop by and check out my friends at IT-oLogy. If you click here, you can find their new multi-million dollar facility, right downtown Columbia, SC.  They are just nice people…with a cool mission.

What is IT-oLogy? Hmm…

Welcome my friends! Welcome to your new name and your new place.

For most of my friends out there, over the last year I have been working with an organization called the Consortium for Enterprise Systems Management in Columbia, SC. You say who??? Yes, it is a long name for a big initiative.

A few years ago, Lonnie Emard of BlueCross BlueShield (BCBS) of South Carolina recognized the need to energize and empower the next wave of IT talent. He inspired Steve Wiggins the CIO of BCBS of South Carolina to perform a comprehensive study of the needs of the future IT Workforce not only internally, but across the industry. What they found was alarming and instrumental in today’s initiative now call IT-oLogy.

Did you know BCBS of South Carolina is more than just and insurance provider, they are data management/transaction group. Yes, in-order to allow insurance claims to happen…it takes servers exchanging lots of data. These servers require people to manage not only the hardware but the software that supports these transactions. Cobol is is the software that runs these servers and it takes people that know this software to support the servers and the infrastructure to facilitate these transactions. BCBS of South Carolina began realizing that the people who are managing this infrastructure were retiring and not many people to replace them. Many of the universities and higher education institutions were not teaching Cobol and the server knowledge to run the systems at BCBS. Houston…we have a problem.

So…with this problem, Lonnie Emard had the vision to bring together a “Consortium” of partners to find a solution. The solution: begin educating and empowering students in K-12 about the value of IT as a career path. Currently, to tell people the world is like telling kids it is ok to be a “geek.” IT is in everything we do, from turning on a light switch to connecting to a Wifi hotspot. It is everything we do. We have become a connected society and surrounded in world of IT….Information Technology.

So….why and I telling you this? This initiative came to fruition over a year ago with a legal name “Consortium for Enterprise Systems Management”. Well…they have re-branded their name to IT-oLogy. Yes…at little more edgy and appropriate given the audiences….young students and young professionals. Congratulations IT-oLogy…you have come so far. You have a new name and a new building. Lonnie Emard, the Executive Director of IT-oLogy, does not look at as a new building but more of a hub, a community, a place to join forces. The University of South Carolina will be teaching classes in this new facility, there will be an Open-Source Lab, a 200 person auditorium, tons of meeting space…all right across the street from the State House in Columbia, SC.

Pretty cool..huh? Well I think so!