Webcast: Localized Search

I am a guest speaker in an Editor & Publisher webcast on May 22. If you can make the time, please join in. Details are as follows…

Stop the Presses! Localized Search is Changing the Newspaper Business


Discover How Your Company Can Take Advantage of This Evolving Model

for this FREE live Web broadcast.

Date: Tuesday, May 22, 2007
Time: 2:00 PM EST / 11:00 AM PST

Join Editor & Publisher for this FAST-sponsored Web Seminar and hear from industry experts how your newspaper operation can break into the localized search market. Attend this online-only event and learn how to overcome the obstacles and how progressive newspapers have already integrated localized search into their business models and have grown their audience and advertising base and how you can do the same.

Whatever the formula for local search inclusion may be, the newspaper industry and news industry in general are looking to get their piece of the pie. But how do newspaper companies tap into the growing local search market? What technology is needed? Is there a chance of cannibalizing the existing print base?

In this session, the following issues will be explored:

Market Size

Trends and Technology

Geotargeted Display Ads

E-mail Campaigns

Classifieds

Local Paid Search

Local Video

Letting Fires Burn

In my experience as an entrepreneur one of the hardest day-to-day battles is prioritizing. As an entrepreneur who is now fortunate enough to be running a funded company, this has never been more true than right now.

I’ve long been a believer in letting fires burn. By that, what I mean is, having priorities, a short list of priorities, and anything that is outside of that list of priorities is ‘a fire and it needs to burn.’

As CEO of Citysquares, my list of priorities is more strategic than it is tactical. For instance, one of the priorities on my list might be “get this damn sales engine firing on all pistons.” Really – that’s written down on a yellow piece of paper on my desk. That priority is a big priority – and it involves lots of tactics, but that doesnt mean I should get bogged down in the tactics. That’s why I hire people. The employees help with the execution, it’s my job to see it through from start to finish. Anything that is not in-line with that priority, strategically or tactically, is a distraction – a non-priority – and it needs to go on the “back burner” as they say. I don’t care for the “back burner” expression. I prefer, instead, to say that it’s a fire and it needs to burn! But hey – that’s what it is. It’s a little brush fire that needs to burn itself out. If the fire grows to be larger than a brush fire, well than it needs attention and someone needs to put it out.

Now that I have a board of directors to answer to, investors to please, goals to meet, a vision to reach, a real and growing staff to manage, this philosophy is only becoming more and more critical. Since we’ve become funded I’ve found myself doing a lot of operational things – things that just need to get done so everyone can get to work and do so more efficiently than ever before. Most of that stuff is done, and I now find myself taking a little time to regroup – to get even more focused, to assess those priorities and get situated and ready to go. I guess I need that once in a while, time to regroup and assess.

Right now, my priority is to assess my priorities. Anything else is a distraction – a fire, and it needs to burn.

Doing this “Local” Thing

Ali made a delicious dinner the other night; lobster ravioli with her own sherry sauce. It was absolutely delicious. I guessed that she handmade the raviolis all by herself, kidding of course (right?). She bought them at Dave’s Fresh Pasta, down the street. At Dave’s you’ll find homemade and handmade pastas – very high quality, gourmet style pastas, sauces, and a lot more. It’s a real gem in the Davis Square neighborhood. Anyway, Ali mentioned how nice the person was, who waited on her. She asked for a loaf of bread, but they were out. He then told her that next time she can call ahead and tell them what she wanted, and they’d have it all ready for her. Well… now…. that, folks, that is good service. And that, you only get from your local merchant.

The kind of service you get at Dave’s Fresh Pasta, the kind of care and treatment you get at Massage Therapy Works, at State Street Barbers, at Porter Square Books, is only the kind of service you find where the ownership is local. You just don’t get that anywhere else.

When I see reviews on Citysquares.com from members of the community, of local businesses,and when I hear stories like Ali’s, or from anyone, I can’t help but feel a strong sense of pride and honor. I’m really quite proud to be doing what we’re doing, for the community, for local commerce, from the members of the community across all areas. I couldn’t imagine doing anything else and feeling so good about it.

I’ve learned so much from Citysquares already. No matter where my career takes me in the short term or long term, I will always make sure that I’m involved in a socially responsible business.