At the time, Susan was already rapidly growing a social media following that would eventually contribute to her being recognized among the Twitter elite. At least one ranking authority calling her the #1 most influential woman in her category.
So, following her lead, I created my account in October 2007. It was slow at first, but eventually I settled into a pattern that became my norm for nearly ten years. Until now.
After a recent re-evaluation of the way I allocate my time and the rewards – or penalties – for doing so, I just can’t justify using it any further. So, my account is officially in long-term, suspended animation.
I’m not ready to kill it entirely; but, I don’t see any value in keeping it active anymore. Why? Well, let’s start with the data: after all of this time, I’ve compiled 11,900 tweets, with 1,144 followers.
In other words, that’s an average of 9-10 new followers per month, or 2-3 per week. Out of nearly 100 tweets per month, or 3-4 per day.
For every day’s tweets, I would tend to scour event listings, accelerator newsletters, investor research reports, local tech and business newsletters, and more, for about 1 hour — usually in the early mornings or late evenings.
The goal was to identify unique, yet broadly topical bits of info that were interesting to me and, hopefully, my follower audience. In other words, if you translate that into 8-hour workdays, I was spending nearly 2.5 workdays per month searching for the perfect tweets.
- Being named one of the “Ten Must-Follow Tweeter for Austin Tech” by Austin Inno, and
- Having occasional tweets get featured in the online articles and blog posts of others, like this favorite on the “Pharma Bro”
And, every once in a while, I would hear from someone who followed my Twitter account and knew me, relayed that they had read some bit of news or seen some event or program listing in my Twitterstream, acted upon it, and received some kind of positive outcome for themselves.
In many ways, that was the most satisfactory to hear, because it is very aligned with my personal, pay-it-forward philosophy. But, in the end analysis, it wasn’t enough. Especially with other social media options, like LinkedIN, Facebook, and newer ones.
Sorry @Jack, @Biz, @Ev…thanks for helping to put SXSW Interactive on the map — even though the Southby launch story is more legend than truth — as a must-attend tech festival years ago. But, I’m @done.
It began when I lucked into the opportunity to teach the New Venture Creation class for the St. Edward’s University MBA program, as an adjunct professor.
While it was more work than I had expected, it was also quite rewarding. Enough so, in fact, that I re-upped for additional classes, ultimately teaching the New Venture Creation class again, as well as MBA classes in Branding & Promotion, Global Business, and the MBA Capstone class.
Along the way, I began seeing a transition path from the “all in” nature of the work demanded by the executive roles I served in various Powershift Group-related entities, to one where I could spend more time on the things I most enjoyed:
- mentoring first-time founders and students of entrepreneurship,
- using my network and experience to help promising founders, and
- promoting their ventures, where possible, to help them succeed.
It felt like a university setting, or a role with a heavy university affiliation, might be the ideal place for this career transition.
I won’t take you through the search process, because it spanned 5 years with a couple of well-intentioned starts-and-stops along the way, in pursuit of the best fit.
But, over the 2016-17 Christmas/New Year’s holidays, I finally found what turned out to be what feels like the right place to be, with UT Dallas.
Rather than going on-and-on about UTD, the School of Management, or the particular group that I lead as executive director — the Institute for Innovation & Entrepreneurship — I’ll the links below do the talking.
- Entrepreneur Joins Management School as Institute’s New Director
- What Does Edgy Art Have to Do with Startups? UT Dallas’ New Director of Entrepreneurship Explains
- Five Questions for Steve Guengerich, UT-Dallas Innovation Institute CEO
While we still have our home in Austin, I now live in Dallas and urge all of my colleagues in Austin and around the world to come visit, any time!
Miraculous, in that the world is as peaceful, prosperous, and populous as at any time in history.
Challenging, in that socially, politically, and economically, nations and multinational organizations are competing with each other and emergent groups for future primacy.
On the economic front, it’s a time when every leader of business – large and small – should be going to sleep and waking up thinking about what kind of transformation is on its way (or already underway!) impacting the viability of their company.
But, a thorough and dramatic conversion form one from to another. Like the mutation of a caterpillar to a butterfly.
Pick up your phone and check your email or voice messages. What just happened?
They say miracles are the stuff of angels. But, we live in a time where the everyday task of communicating with one another is a miracle of human ingenuity. And it involves ingenuity on a scale simultaneously so small and so large, that it is nearly beyond imagination.
Take a strand of your hair.
Now, imagine a tiny strand of glass, less than a tenth as thick as your single strand of blond or brunette or black hair. And each strand of this tiny glass is carrying up to 10 million telephone calls.
Now imagine a fiber-optic cable, made up of 100 or more of these incredibly thin strands of glass or plastic, known as optical fibers. That’s a possible 1 billion telephone calls, traveling that one cable, or enough for 1 out of every nearly 7 people on Earth to be talking on the phone at the same time.
Now feel your pulse.
At rest, the average adult heart rate is one beat per second. One beat, one second. With every beat of your heart, AT&T Labs is performing hundreds of checks on every byte of data it handles on its global networks. These checks are to ensure the data is safe, secure, ‘unbroken,’ and conforming to many other standards and government regulations.
How much data does it handle, you might ask? AT&T Labs’ former CEO, Keith Cambron, estimates an amount of 80 petabytes (a billion megabytes).
That is a number so large that it represents all of the books, all of the audio recordings, all of the movies, and all of the photographs ever taken. Every day.
IT IS EARLY
As miraculous as these marvels of human ingenuity are, we are in the early innings of a massive phenomenon that is far greater.
Possibilities coming from an age of computing power and connectivity, available all of the time, everywhere.
In the palm of your hand… in your ear… in every pane of glass surrounding you… under your skin… woven into your clothing… How each of us responds to this miracle will be different. You may revel in it, you may accept it, or you may refuse to embrace it.
But, regardless of your response, as Sheriff Ed Tom’s father says in the great modern crime movie, No Country for Old Men, says “You can’t stop what’s coming.” (Timemark 01:50 in the clip, for the impatient.)