Sunday, February 22, 2009

And there it wasn't

I opened my Sunday paper this morning and started arranging, by section, the paper for my breakfast. I knew this was coming but did not know when.

Today was the day.

I usually get up before everyone else so I can have some quiet time with the paper. For the last three decades I began my Sunday reading with Book World. And today it was not there. It has been the only section of the Washington Post that I would thumb through page by page every time I saw it. It was always filled with great reviews and it was a great way to start Sunday.

If Mrs Graham was correct, that the mark of a great paper was the book section, the Post has migrated down the food chain.

Friday, February 20, 2009

End of Week Notes

The Government Media and Marketing Networking Reception is Tuesday, Feb 24 at 7:30 AM at the Tower Club is Vienna, VA. To register, go here - I would suggest registering now as this may sell out. This is a reception - not a lecture. You can meet and talk to editors, reporters, radio hosts and a few PR folks. Tony Welz & Evan Weisel put on great events. If you attend, look for me.

My radio show Monday (noon, 1500 AM, simulcast at ) features Louis Numkin and Gretchen Morris of FISSEA, the Federal Information Systems Security Educators Association. The 22nd annual FISSEA conference will be held at the Gaithersburg, MD Capus of NIST March 24-26. These are great people who work tirelessly to get the word out on computer security in federal agencies. They also provide in-agency education on all things related to computer security and are big advocates of the various security certifications available. I have been watching them for almost 20 years, ever since Lynn McNulty (who then worked in Dr Jim Burrows Computer Security Lab at NIST) told me about them around 1991. Time flies when you're having fun!

The ASBC held two Business Over Breakfast events this week: the usual one at the Tower Club on Wednesday (with over 40 people), and then one this morning at La Madeline in Columbia, MD (with about 12 people). I was lucky enough to atend both. If you haven't attended one, come next Wed to the Tower Club, but pre-register at .

I also was at the Tower Club Thursday meeting with Bob Gosselin of EMC. While we were in the dining room, at the same time The Washington Breakfast Club (part of the ASBC) was hosting an SRO crowd across the lobby in the Fairfax Room...

This past Monday I had a one-on-one meeting with the Howard County (MD) BRAC Director, Kent Mesner. BRAC plans are proceeding and will certainly impact the national capitol area on both sides of the river. If Mr Mesner's name sound familiar, he went under the title Colonel Mesner when he was commander of Fort George G Meade.....

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Facebook: Media footnote and Mark's Random Connections

I know I was late getting the news about Facebook and the privacy issue. I also know I have made a few very minor waves about my pending FB departure. I was thinking about reducing the number of social networks I was in anyway, and this event expedite the decision process and highlighted which one I would vacate. I don't see FB making the B2B cut in the long run. I really don't want people "writing on my wall," or getting "poked." The site was built for the college crowd, not professionals, and the retrofit doesn't make the cut - at least for me.

That being said, earlier today I got my March Fortune magazine in the mail, and lo and behold, who is on the cover but FaceBookBoy - with nary a mention on the privacy snafu. The publication was probably at the printer when the privacy stuff hit the fan, so I certainly understand. And I assume when I go to the Fortune web site they will be all over this.

But I mention that because Sean Callahan of BtoB magazine (a great magazine with solid enewsletters), in today's BtoB Media enewsletter, wrote about BPA (Bureau of Publication Audit) losing about 15% of their customers due to publications folding and others cutting costs. Sean also writes:


Publications - like Fortune (one of my personal favorites - always a great read) - are getting dissed because the headlines often do not reflect what has gone on the past week or so when they hit the newsstands and mailboxes (the mailboxes on the street). This leads some, especially younger professionals, to seek other information sources. Which in turn leads to the BPA CEO lamenting that he needs to get his resume together....

no this is not going anywhere in particular. Just some random connections.

And btw: the Facebook article in Fortune by Jessi Hempel is great!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Why I Am Leaving Facebook, part 2

Carolne McCarthy at CNET has a good article on this

Why I Am Leaving Facebook

On the front page of the Baltimore Sun today there is an article titled "Facebook Faceoff" - an article that details Facebook's change in its privacy policy.

From the 2/18/09 Baltimore Sun, page 1:

"The change allows Facebook to keep user content such as photos and phone numbers even if members delete their accounts. Under the old terms, the license expired when users left Facebook."

The changes occurred quietly on Feb 4 but there is now a huge outcry. Again, according to the Sun, Facebook's Chief Exec said:

"We wouldn't share your information in a way you wouldn't want."

And just, pray tell, how the hell do you know what I want???

Their objective, apparently, is "continuity" - so others can continue to contact you. Well, continuity boy, I am easy to find on the web, and Facebook is one place you will no longer find me. While I am fairly certain they will reverse this policy, they will do it without yours truly. Amtower is leaving the building.

Adios Facebook. Here's hoping you soon become a footnote on how not to do things in social networking.

Facebook apparently did reverse it's policy
but if you read this carefully - they are far from done. I am maintaining my decision to vacate facebook altogether and concentrate on (in order of importance to my business) LinkedIn, The Federal Contracting Network, GovLoop, Plaxo and possibly PerfectNetworker. You can also find me at Twitter -

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

VAR Business folds into CRN, MacWorld Moves to the Next World

VAR Business folds into CRN, MacWorld Moves to the Next World (remember Steve’s other company, NeXT Computer?) - what’s next…
A lament sung to the tune of “Where Have All the Flowers Gone”

Where have all the trade pubs gone
Long time passing
Where have all the trade pubs gone,
Long time ago
Where have all the trade pubs gone,
Gone to land fills every one -
When will they ever learn, when will they ever learn.

Where have all the trade shows gone
Long time passing
Where have all the trade shows gone
Long time ago
Where have all the trade shows gone
Gone to the web every one -
When will they ever learn, when will they ever learn.

If anyone would like to add a verse…feel free.

Friday, February 13, 2009

End-of Week Wrap, Free ebook and New CD Programs

Aside from having a cold this week and taking a few naps, the week was fairly productive.

Although I missed the ASBC ( Business Over Breakfast Wednesday, I did speak the the Coalition for Government Procurement ( MAS Bootcamp that afternoon to a group of 30 or so. And it was a really good event.

I did attend the ASBC quarterly State of the ASBC meeting Friday, and the ASBC Board of Advisors meeting after the general session. There was a great group of 65+ for the general members-only session.

And I made it into Washington Technology with Angela Dingle of . If you'd like to see the article, go here -

And on the home page of this blog, somewhere to the right of where you are now reading, I have a free ebook called Diving in the Deep End: The Top Things a CEO Needs to Know Before Entering the Government Market. This is a free ebook - you don't even have to give me your email address. Contributors to this ebook inlcude
Michael Balsam of
Judy Bradt of
Steve Charles of
Lisa Dezzutti of
Courtney Fairchild of
Michael Keating of
Bob Lohfeld of
Robert Silverman of
Guy Timberlake of
and I'd like to thank each of them.

Finally, we have finished producing our two latest audio programs and we will have those available to ship next week. The first, The Ulitmate Jumpstart Program for Getting PR is a 5 CD set with me being interviewed by Guy Timberlake for the first 4 CDs, and by Glenn Garnes of on the final CD. Why interview me on this? Over the past 14 years I have appeared in about 200 publications and over 150 web sites and ezines. I have also been interviewed on over 50 radio stations (including web radio) web around the country, and in Canada and the U.K. I know how to generate publicity and show you exactly how I do it.

The second program is a 2 CD set called The Ultimate Jumpstart Program for Social Networking, where Glenn Garnes again interviews me on my use of LinkedIn. Cjheck out my profile on LinkedIn and see what I am up to in social networking.

If you can't wait until next week to place an order, email me at markamtower gmail com.

Have a great weekend, wherever you are! Vaya con dios!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Why People Are Leery of Events, part 3

I did not have to wait long for the next message - it came this morning at 10:38 AM with a new sender - ChangeMaker Series, and a new subject line - Economic Stimulus Briefing . But it connected to the same event page, which still lists no speakers (not the keynote of any of the general session speakers) and no topics.

So the name has now changed for the briefing since my Feb 3 posting, the price has dropped 50%, then venue has changed (limited space as the venue shrinks) and we don't know who the speakers are. Hmmm......

Check out the previous posts for this: Feb 3 & Feb 11, and let me know what you think.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Why People Are Leery of Events, part 2

Got another e-invite to this event. Since my Feb 3 post on Equity International's briefing for The American Recovery & Reinvestment the registration fee has dropped from $495 to $250, there are still no topics or speakers listed in the agenda, and the venue has changed from the Willard Hotel to the Occidental Grille.

Might one assume registration is off for the event promising "the latest information from key leaders on the bill and the resulting spending. Features Congressional and Administration leaders; top experts; key briefing materials; and unparalleled networking."?

Will my e-invite Friday (the event is next Monday) be for $1.95 and the new venue be the back table at a local Starbucks? Isn't there always unparalled networking at Starbucks?

Leery indeed.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Monday To-Do List and Social Networking CD Launch

Wed Feb 11 my friend Mac McIntosh, an expert in business sales lead generation, will be speaking at the Germantown Campus of Montgomery College with several other professionals. Info is at

I would go see Mac, except that I am speaking at the Coalition for Government Procurement Bootcamp that day. Details at

The American Small Business Coalition is having its quarterly members-only State of The ASBC this Friday. If you are an ASBC member, or wish to join, go to

Finally, my new audio program, two CDs entitled The Ultimate Jumpstart Program on Business Social Networking, will be posted later today in the member section at where it will be free for members to download during the month of February. For non-members, it will also be posted at the the store at Government Express - It will be available as a download and you can also order the CDs. The program is approximately 2 hours on why and how to use social networking tools for business. It includes step-by-step instruction for novices and pros alike to expand their reach and influence.

I listen to audio programs several times a week when driving and occasionally when I am in the office. I have over 150 audio programs covering many aspects of business, motivation, speaking, writing, and more and there is always one in my car.

Finally, my friends at Onvia have a new report, The 2009 Government Market Outlook, discussing where money will be spent in the government market. You can get the report free from their web site -

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Social Networking Myths and Voluntary Ignorance

Recently I have had conversations with alleged industry thought leaders and mavens who are loathe to acknowledge social networking as a legitimate business tool. As a result, these people are being marginalized and replaced without knowing why or how this is happening as well as that it is happening. These people are not simply not participating in social networks, but actively demean social networks and those who use them at every possible turn. This type of voluntary ignorance will result in the Darwinian elimination of these people as thought leaders.

These people are assuming several things about social networks predicated on outdated notions that may have been true when MySpace was the only network out there. These myths are perpetuated by the voluntarily ignorant, but that’s OK – they are simply making way for a new generation of thought leaders while they themselves face extinction.

Among the myths believed are

- all social networks are like MySpace and are filled with childish ramblings and pictures of people drinking in their underwear
- LinkedIn, MySpace - they're all the same
- anyone on a business social network is just looking for a job
- there are no legitimate connections to be made on these time-wasters
- they are only for people under 25
- social networks are not secure
- if you join you’ll just get more spam
- I can do all that stuff much better offline
- the “conversations” on social networks are vacuous and of no business use
- and on and on

I will not attempt to refute these on a line-by-line basis, but suffice it to say that those who believe these and other myths have missed the Web 2.0 boat, and they will be staying on Fantasy Island a while longer.

It is not incumbent upon me to attempt to educate the voluntarily ignorant, especially when they are obstinate in their ignorance. I have halted my efforts in educating these people and as a result have reevaluated their position in my universe.

When they marginalize social networks and those using them, they have marginalized themselves in a way that they may never see.

When and if they finally get a clue and test the Web 2.0 waters, they will find themselves not only behind the curve technologically, but out of the thought leadership loop they thought they were driving.

Not that I have an opinion....

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Why People Are Leery of Events

I got an email today from a company I have not heard from in a long while - Equity International. The first time I heard of and from this organization was an email right after 9/11, with a similar offer. Today the subject line said - "Invitation to The American Recovery & Reinvestment Briefing."

Where - Willard Hotel- DC
When - next Wednesday, 2:00 PM- 6:00 PM.
Fee - for corporate - $495 if you register ahead of time, $595 at the door. (Government, military & diplomats are admitted free - apparently they have not heard about President Obama's restrictions on accepting gifts, including events.)

The event "Features Congressional and Administration leaders; top experts; key briefing materials; and unparalleled networking." - yet strangely, there are no names listed in the agenda. The agenda itself is kinda vague:

1:00 PM Registration

2:00 PM Welcome

2:05 PM Keynote Address

2:15 PM Congressional Budget Panel

3:00 PM General Session

3:45 PM General Session

4:20 PM General Session

5:00 PM Networking Reception

6:00 PM Adjournment

But don't worry - it's "Brought to you by Equity International, organizer of The Presidential Inauguration Conference last month: .... More than 35,000 leaders have participated in Equity International’s highly-regarded forums."

So, in summary - you can spend several hundred dollars to hear speakers TBA, in sessions that are "general" and "unapralled networking" at the reception.

I can hardly wait.....