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The Death of the Press Release

If for some reason you decide you want to irritate me by email, there’s a very easy way. OK, the easiest is telling me I’ve won the UK lottery or that you’re a Nigerian prince in a tough spot (unless there’s a funny typo in there — I’m a sucker for a good typo). But the second-best way? Send me a press release. It doesn’t matter if it’s on a topic I write about or one I’ve never heard of — I hate press releases with a burning passion.

Journalists are supposed to be impartial and unbiased, so when someone approaches me who’s being paid to promote a specific product or service, I’m instantly wary. The moment I see a press release, I give it a scoff of irritation and and quickly hit delete.

I admit: Sometimes press releases work well. Newsworthy topics can get a positive response, and online journalists use press releases frequently. But if you’re pouring money into press releases that aren’t getting you any publicity, maybe it’s time to re-examine your strategy.

Now for the good news.

There are other ways to get your name and your company’s name in front of potential customers — and they’re free. Journalists spend a lot of time looking for sources to interview. If you’re qualified to provide insight, you may well get better exposure than any ol’ press release could provide. Think about all the expertise you’ve gained in X during your X number of years in the X business. Surely these topics are in the news from time to time.

Maybe you’re an underwater photographer, and could comment on the decline of a particular type of fish. Or perhaps you’re a teacher who runs a pet-sitting business on the side, and could comment on how hard it is to make a living wage as a teacher these days. Giving the media insight into any of these topics can help provide valuable exposure for your business.

I’m not suggesting you pretend to be an expert when you’re not. I’m suggesting you think about the ways in which you genuinely are an expert in something, then find the journalists who are writing about these topics.

So how do you find the right journalists? You may already know some of them. Think about the blogs, newspapers, TV programs and magazines you already pay attention to that cover your field. Consider sending the journalists an introduction email, perhaps commenting on a recent article or report they’ve done. (We love knowing that people are paying attention to our work!)

Here are some other ways to up your odds of getting quoted:

  • Make sure journalists and editors you meet know what you do. If I’m looking for a bakery owner to interview about the rising cost of flour, and I remember someone I met a few months ago, I’d rather go to him or her than spend time searching for someone else. Likewise, sometimes a magazine editor will provide the name of someone I should interview, so even if an editor you know doesn’t do any actual writing, he or she may be a useful contact.
  • Use social media. If you know me, you may know that while I’m liberal with the F word, I don’t take the T word lightly. So believe me when I say that in this case, both Facebook and Twitter are your friends. Find journalists who specialize in your field. Follow them. When they tweet about needing to interview someone who fits your description, let them know. (Bonus points: If you know someone else who fits the description, make the introduction. We will love you and be 10 times more likely to use your expertise in the future).
  • Sign up for Help a Reporter Out, Reporter Connection and News Basis. Here’s how it works: Journalists post a description of whom they’re looking to interview, and potential sources can email them with why they’d be perfect. Just make sure you really do fit the bill before responding to a query.
  • Lastly, follow up. If you initially get a positive response from a journalist but then don’t hear back for a couple of weeks, write to him or her again with a polite reminder. Be persistent but not annoying, and you may strike gold.

SXSW 2011 Brings Together Global Coworking Community

Despite the geographic distance between coworking spaces worldwide, coworking space owners and community managers have done remarkably well at maintaining and building an online community of support to help one another grow the coworking movement. It’s not every day that you get to take a thriving online community and see it happen first hand in the real world. The Coworking Unconference and the Coworking Happy Hour brought together the coworking community like never before.

Coworking Unconference

To coincide with SXSW, the very first U.S. Coworking Unconference was organized and brought to fruition by the fine folks over at LooseCubes. LooseCubes helps people nationwide find a “friendly place to work.” Attracting space owners, coworkers, and community managers from all over the country (and a few global folks too), the Unconference was a rousing success! The event ran smoothly all day, filled with breakout sessions run in a casual, lets-have-some-real-conversations approach. In addition to the breakout session there was also a keynote led by Tony Bacigalupo, founder of NYC’s New Work City and a moderated panel to close out the day. Here’s a clip of the panel moderated by Alex Hillman, founder of (Indy Hall), where he interviews a panel of other coworking space owners from across the country, “Who coworks now and in the future?”:

0081 SXSW 2011 Brings Together Global Coworking Community
Source: GoneCoworking.com

Here’s a great article from a Shareable writer who attended the Coworking Unconference:
Visions of the Future of Work at the Coworking Unconference

SXSW Coworking Happy Hour

coworking happy hour e1301690149636 SXSW 2011 Brings Together Global Coworking Community

With the flood of coworking enthusiasts already in town, we figured there was no better time than SXSWi to invite all attendees from the unconference as well as others passionate about the coworking movement over to our coworking home, Conjunctured, for a party. (Here’s the attendee list) So we partnered with local coworking spaces (Link Coworking & Creative Space) and a variety of we-love-coworking company sponsors to host a happy hour, 4-7pm on a beautiful Saturday afternoon in the Texas sun.

The coworking movement is huge

It’s crazy to think about how much coworking has grown in the last years. There were people visiting from all over the world, and we soon found out people are coworking all over – some as far as Berlin and Stockholm. And, the coworking movement has become so huge, spaces are popping up all over. Below is a map that shows everywhere our happy hour attendees have coworked. (We sketched a basic map on the dry erase board and attendees started filling it in!)

photo 300x224 SXSW 2011 Brings Together Global Coworking Community

We met owners and community managers from all over the country – some with big, open spaces that can fit 80 people; others with smaller spaces that are better for just a few freelancers.

Coworking unifies people

One of the biggest things that was evident was how much coworking unifies people. Regardless of where the space is located, its general vibe or personality, coworking brings together people who may not have otherwise worked together. It gives them a reason to go into “the office” and get work done because that’s what everyone else is doing – and they know there’s a supportive community waiting.

Coworking is going to keep growing

Here’s a video of Liz Elam, owner of Link Coworking, here in Austin talking about the likely continued explosion of coworking spaces:

If you missed the 2011 Austin Coworking Happy Hour, take a look at some of the photos captured by Deskmag and some more here too: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?id=18547482893&aid=277409.

We want to give a huge thank you to the following companies that made the 2011 SXSW Coworking Happy Hour possible:

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Sponsors

We’d like to thank the following sponsors for supporting copartying.

Premier Sponsors

turnstone SXSW 2011 Brings Together Global Coworking Community

Partners

hparty SXSW 2011 Brings Together Global Coworking Community Sam Logo SXSW 2011 Brings Together Global Coworking Community emma SXSW 2011 Brings Together Global Coworking Community
sfco SXSW 2011 Brings Together Global Coworking Community    

Co-Sponsors

deskmaglogo SXSW 2011 Brings Together Global Coworking Community losecube SXSW 2011 Brings Together Global Coworking Community popchips SXSW 2011 Brings Together Global Coworking Community linkcoworking SXSW 2011 Brings Together Global Coworking Community
conjunctured SXSW 2011 Brings Together Global Coworking Community cs SXSW 2011 Brings Together Global Coworking Community cocoa coder SXSW 2011 Brings Together Global Coworking Community LiquidSpace SXSW 2011 Brings Together Global Coworking Community
small business labs SXSW 2011 Brings Together Global Coworking Community zanbyLogo SXSW 2011 Brings Together Global Coworking Community    

Recap: Two Years of Austin Coworking – Anniversary Party

It was definitely great to see some old friends as well as getting to meet some remarkable new folks too at our Two Year Anniversary Party on August 21 (205 RSVP’s!). It always AMAZES us the exceptionally genuine people we’ve been privileged to meet over time through the Conjunctured community of friends and supporters. So, thanks for the amazement! Also, with your help, we were even able to raise some money for an East Austin classroom.

A word about our kickass sponsors…

We’d love for all our parties to be as great as this one, but can’t do it without generous sponsors. Please let our food and drink sponsors know you appreciated their goodness by interacting with them on Twitter & Facebook:

Tito’s Handmade Vodka@titosvodka, fb fanpage

East End Wines@eastendwines, fb fanpage

KIND Snack Bars@kindsnacks, fb fanpage

Sweet Leaf Tea@sweetleaf, fb fanpage

The Green Cart@thegreencart, fb fanpage

In case you missed the party, or simply to refresh your mind, here’s some highlights from the night:

Video time lapse

- can you spot who spends the most time at the bar? icon wink Recap: Two Years of Austin Coworking   Anniversary Party

Credit: Conjunctured Two Year Anniversary Party from Nick Simonite on Vimeo.

Live Art throughout the night

There was a team of artists set up in the back doing randomly inspired pieces of artwork. Each were improvisational, and some even were based on a MadLibs-esque suggestion system. Special thanks to Zach Taylor for organizing the artists and helping to create some unique visuals

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Good eating

Special thanks to Green Cart, West End Bistro, and KIND Snack Bars.

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Good drinking

Special thanks to Tito’s Vodka, East End Wines, Sweet Leaf Tea & of course Mando and Sharlee (bartenders extraordinare!)

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Music by Andrei Matei

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Chatting it up in the back

We turned our back parking lot into extra space for the party. Some christmas lights go a long way! This was the first time we’ve opened up the back for a party, and it turned out great! We had the music from inside piped to the back too.

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4924565631 3c257490e2 Recap: Two Years of Austin Coworking   Anniversary Party

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Chatting it up in the front

A number of us were hanging out on the picnic tables or on the front porch enjoying the nice cool breeze.

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Chatting it up inside

Nothing beats a lil a/c and good people

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4925067314 11368322a8 Recap: Two Years of Austin Coworking   Anniversary Party

More Photos:

Flickr Photos:

www.flickr.com

 Recap: Two Years of Austin Coworking   Anniversary Party conjunctured’s Conjunctured’s 2 Year Anniversary Party photoset

Conjunctured Party Facebook Photo Album – Feel free to tag yourself!

Conjunctured Party photos on TwitC – The founder of TwitC stopped by and took a bunch of photos too. Check ‘em out!

Drawings by Honoria Starbuck – did you get drawn and eavesdropped on by our live sketch artist guest? Take a look and see!

Help A Classroom Out

donors choose chess Help A Classroom Out

Mr. K.'s Classroom

On our 2 year anniversary party RSVP Eventbrite invitation we asked generous party attendees to contribute money to East Austin Schools. We are thrilled to have raised $85 via this casual request for donations. To top it off some, Conjunctured is going to pitch in an additional $25 to the cause. What is the cause exactly?

Mr. K.’s mathematics class at “Austin Can! Academy” a school for at-risk students, located 5 minutes away from Conjunctured, needs color and black ink cartridges for their classroom printouts. We’ve donated the $110 in donations we raised from the party and want you to take this project on home.

If you have not already donated or would like to donate more, please go to Donors Choose right now and donate a small amount of money to this cause. If money is tight, please use their social media links on the page to promote the cause.

Thanks again to everyone who came out to celebrate our 2 year anniversary and very special thanks to everyone who donated!

Featured Artist, Lavanna Martin – Austin Guerilla Coffee Shop Portrait Artist

Featured Artist, Lavanna Martin – Austin Guerilla Coffee Shop Portrait Artist

This is a guest post from new featured artist on display at Conjunctured, Lavanna Martin, who was featured in the Austin American Statesman, Artist devoted to ‘guerrilla’ coffee shop portraits.

I started painting “live” in coffee houses in Austin in the spring of 2008. I had thought about doing it for years, and had always drawn people with my mind’s eye in public.

After almost a year of terrible stagnation in the studio, I began formulating my first attempts at “live” painting. I chose the coffee houses because I knew that the bohemian “anything goes” attitude would afford me the comfort and cover that I required. (I had worked at the legendary, original coffeehouse, Les Amis, profiled in the movie, “Slacker”).

The first day, I set out for Epoch Coffee, the 24-hour hipster hang-out closest to my house, and painted until time to pick up my daughter from school. I went back that evening. I was hooked. The first day, I did 9 paintings. I was in my element.

By August, I ran into another former Les Amis waitress at the Spider House. She got a kick out of what I was doing, and told me to start a blog. I didn’t know the difference between a blog and a website, and didn’t have a clue how to begin. While researching places to practice my “guerrilla painting” (a moniker given to me by local graffiti artists that thought I was their age), I found out about Cafe Caffeine, and the “jelly”, originally started by the Conjunctured boys. Well, I went there, hoping that they could hep me start a blog. From there, I followed the trail over to their new location on East 7th.

David Walker helped me set up my blog “I Stare At People” on WordPress, . Since that time, the blog has grown “organically” to a Page 4 ranking – pretty shocking for just a local art blog.

I’m still doing it – painting live. I keep a record of everything that I paint. At first, by journal entries pasted on the backs of the paintings, and now, my blog serves this purpose. I even record my color palette for every painting.

The paintings are all live, with no touch-up or re-dos in the studio.

I would really like to branch out of the coffee house to do “guerrilla painting” anywhere.

In the past, I have refused to sell them, or give them away. I’m rethinking that.

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If you’d like to come view Lavanna’s artwork at Conjunctured, swing on by 1309 E. 7th Street M-F 9a-6pm.

What’s Conjunctured Coworking been up to lately? July 2010 Update

What’s Conjunctured Coworking been up to lately? July 2010 Update

june newsletter header.1 Whats Conjunctured Coworking been up to lately? July 2010 Update

Howdy!

There’s been a few things going on here at 1309 E. 7th Street. Here’s a few nuggets of info to keep you in the know:

  1. We’ve been consistently building our community of members. Lot’s of new faces around here! Check out our updated members and alumni page here: http://conjunctured.com/members
  2. Last Friday, we hosted our first ever "Help a Coworker Out Night" – a roundtable discussion with members and alumni centered around one current member, in this case, Nik Daftary of Moodfish.com. We collaborated together to help brainstorm creative solutions to current business issues. It was a great success and a lot of fun. Here’s a few photos:

    http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=181169&id=18547482893&ref=mf
  3. Speaking of Moodfish…they’re in the running for "Coolest New Austin Company!" You’ve probably met Nik Daftary—he’s actually our longest consecutive member. Help a fellow coworker out by voting for Moodfish by clicking on this link: Voting closes TODAY (friday), please vote for Moodfish now

    http://abjentrepreneur.com/contest_nomination.html
  4. A month or so ago we launched our first "Launch a business night" where seven of us all got together at Conjunctured and launched a business in just one night—it was pretty crazy and random, but lot’s of fun. Read the blog post here, that Shelly Leonard (Owner of SparkNight) was nice enough to write up.
  5. We’ve been starting to use the Conjunctured Facebook fan page quite a bit to share news and invite friends to happy hours, etc. If you’re not a fan yet, "like" us here:

    http://www.facebook.com/conjunctured
  6. Back in March, We were featured in USA Today, on the front page of the "Money" Section. It’s the 2nd link on our press page:

    http://conjunctured.com/press
  7. We got all new furniture in April thanks to the generosity of Conjunctured friend, Drew Jones, and author of "I’m Outta Here: how co-working is making the office obsolete". Stop by and check it out if you haven’t yet!
That’s it for now! Cheers to you—look forward to seeing you soon!

Much love,

The Conjunctured Crew

 

Bike To Coworking Day – Oct. 23, 2008

Austin has a reputation for being a healthy, “green” city. We’re home to the Whole Foods headquarters, many up and coming green tech companies and a LEED gold certified City Hall. The University of Texas holds a Sustainable Business Summit every January who has hosted speakers from New Belgium Brewing, H-E-B/Central Market,  frog design and GE. The list goes on.

At Conjunctured, we’ve taken every effort we can to minimize the impact we have. Capital Metro buses 4/320 stop ten feet from our front door and the Saltillo Plaza MetroRail station will be three blocks away when it’s completed in October and the trains go live in March. We recycle (we’re one of two commercial accounts for the city’s new single stream recycling program); our house is outfitted with nothing but CFLs; we have a shower and are having a rack installed for bike commuters.

We love the Austin biking community so much, fellow coworker Michelle Greer has helped us put together “Bike To Coworking Day,” courtesy of Sun & Ski Sports. It’s a pretty simple concept: wear green or ride your bike (if you’re ambitious, do both!) and we’ll waive our $25 drop-in rate. Check out our ridiculous promo video below, complete with body paint, Hell’s Angels and goat sacrifices. Hope to see you October 23rd!

Progress

Howdy coworking fans,

It’s been two months since our grand opening party and about six months since we began bringing together the necessary pieces to create a central space for the community to come together. We love that we can provide a place for people to meet, work alone together or work together on projects founded within the space.

So far, we’re up to 20 members and we’ve had a blast getting to know these guys and gals the past couple of months. We’ve got developers, designers, artists, writers, real estate folks, consultants and more; meet these incredible people here: http://conjunctured.com/members/

From our early planning meetings at Jelly, our goal for the the space was to make it as accessible as possible to as many people as possible. Since our opening, we’ve learned that our initial estimates on capacity and usage were too conservative. It turns out we can support a larger community than we originally anticipated.

We’re announcing today that we are removing our tiered pricing and replacing it with one, 24/7 membership at $250 a month. That means no more keeping track of credits or wondering if coworking for one hour will cost you a full day. Flattening our pricing puts us one step closer to making Conjunctured a place where everyone can come and work.

By giving members unlimited access, we can make our resources and real estate go further than we projected. However, since the house is only so big, new memberships come on a first come first serve basis. Current members have first dibs at the new rate (if you’re already a Conjunctured member at the $325 or $425 level, we’ll be crediting your account based on the new setup; if you’re a Conjunctured member at $175 level, you’ll be credited with one full month of full-time 24/7 access). Daily rates will be given an overhaul soon, but currently remain unchanged.

We’re really excited to be at this point of growth so early since we projected that max capacity would come later on down the line. We have only but the Austin community to thank for this–we could not have done anything without your support, words of advice and encouragement and we’re super grateful. Thank you.

If you have questions, give us a shout via email or Twitter. For more info or to sign up, visit our updated rates page here: http://conjunctured.com/rates/

Again, many thanks for all your support. We love y’all
-Cesar, David, Dusty & John

PS: Last Friday, Don Teague, an NBC Nightly News correspondent, was around town with us filming a segment on coworking and the Austin scene. Make sure to watch the blog or Twitter (@conjunctured) to see the video when it’s released.

Bootstrap Web Recap – Mike Chapman on Twitter

It’s hard to deny Twitter as a major player in online and offline community building. The Austin tech community has really embraced the platform since SXSWi 2007, and Jelly in Austin, along with Conjunctured (@conjunctured), owe much of their success through word of mouth marketing as traveled through Twitter.

Last Tuesday Mike Chapman (@mikechapman) gave a great presentation for Austin Bootstrap Web at Conjunctured on the ins and outs of Twitter for both personal use and for use in business. Around 20 or so bootstrappers made the event.

For pics and an audio recap of Mike’s presentation check out the media below, provided by Austin Bootstrap Web’s fearless leader, Jon Lebkowsky (@jonl).

Mike Chapman on Twitter:

BarCamp San Antonio

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If you’ve been keeping up with tweets and RSS, you’ll know that last Thursday I was at the first-ever JellyinDenton.

On Saturday, as a part of what I’m now deeming my “Texas Two-Step,” I drove down from the DFW area through Austin, on to San Antonio to attend their first ever BarCamp San Antonio. There were talks on podcasting, branding, Ruby on Rails, email marketing, BIL & TED and more (yours truly led a discussion on how to build communities using online and real-world tools).

Early in the day, our pal, Joseph Lopez (from Austin/Austin 3.0), instigated a great panel about how to bring about a creative space in San Antonio—whether that meant a physical space like Conjunctured or Bryan, TX’s Creative Space or how to push the city to become more of a creative class city—a “space” where creative types of all industries want to flock. The exchanges I observed in the discussion were nothing short of amazing; it was really cool witnessing a community mobilizing first-hand.

Throughout the day, rumblings of JellyinSanAntonio and a formalized coworking space occurred between me and members of the San Antonio community, most likely as a result of Joey’s discussion. While San Antonio is setting a goal for having a space by 2009, one awesome announcement of the day ensures that they’re well on their way. Connie Reece, Austin (and the world’s) social media maven was in attendance to announce the creation of Social Media Club San Antonio. With the people who’ve stepped up to take the reins on this initiative, San Antonio is going to no doubt have a great SMC presence. Congrats!

It was great to get a sense for what is happening around this great (giant) state this weekend, specifically in the respective tech sectors. Things are happening around here, y’all. Stay tuned for some Texas-sized awesomeness. icon smile BarCamp San Antonio

–C