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At the Kaldis Coffee in Kirkwood

I'm in the Kaldi's Coffee Cafe & Bakery in Kirkwood, and wondering how exactly local events get broadcast to local communities.

Newspaper subscriptions don't reach many people under 30.  The same problem exists for the local news stations, and both of these mediums require that you be watching or reading at the right time. 
The free weeklies and the Riverfront Times are good sources, as most everyone knows the RFT carries bands and nightclub information.

Other sources include TownPlannerSTL, which is the online version of that calendar you receive in the mail.

And of course, signs in the local communities still make for excellent advertising. 

None of that seems adequate to me, but then I call friends in New York and California to look up information about St Louis on the Internet when I'm out.  I don't think that's typical behavior.   I guess the bridge between local internet search and traditional marketing has a long way to go.

Maybe those Wikimaps will do the trick.


Site Upgrade

Crazy times ahead - we're sitting here working on the template for StlRecruiting.com to add some mega upgrades.  Step one on the list is the addition of inline trackbacks, which mean that someone linking to the site with a trackback will have their post show up inside the text of the original post.

It's good for discussion enabling - and it's a feature that makes trackbacks important again (avoiding the trackback spam).


Using Maps to Improve Local Communities

Nothing cooler than maps in my book.  Some new services from Tech Crunch on Live Web 2.0 Maps. 

Imagine a few years from now when bloggers and other online animals are posting information to local maps.

Coffeehouses, bars, and restaurants are clear winners (or losers when the service is bad).
Candidates looking to work for a company  can pull up a map and determine if the location is good or bad for their outside of work life (where to eat, where to play, where to live or shop).

The old concept of CitySearch was flawed because they sought to make money building out communities, when everyone knows the way things work is the community builds out resources that compete with CitySearch because it helps them go about their daily lives, and businesses than make money from those efforts.

Sound confusing?  Try to explain that while selling blogs.

Maybe a visual example will help.

Jobster provides a map of the people who visit their website.  Let's say a coffeehouse in St Louis builds a site that has a similar map.  Tracking the online movements of their site visitors helps them know if their online advertising is going to the right people (those who live and work around the coffee shop location).

Additionally, if the map is good, it will show restaurants, retail stores, government offices, and gas stations, daycare - all in an attempt to help local visitors to the site better understand the local community.

In effect, a local map centered on a business increases foot traffic for all merchants in the area.  That's why maps are exciting.

-Jim Durbin


HR Resume: Generalist

I received a resume from a HR generalist in St Louis this morning - if anyone is looking to hire, I'll forward it to them.  If you're the person who sent the resume, you might think about writing me a note in the e-mail letting me know what you're looking for and why.

Sending out blind resumes rarely brings results. 

I actually get a lot of these - jobseekers shooting a resume to me in hopes I can do something for them.   Your chances of me tapping my network of contacts goes from zero to likely if you engage me in conversation and ask for my help.  Blind resumes don't tell me what you are looking for.

-Jim Durbin


Hi, My Name Is...

I had lunch with George Lenard of Employment Blawg fame the other day, who let on that St Louis has a new celebrity.

Have you head of My Name is Scott?  He's the Nametag Guy!  You remember the NameTag Guy - he's the young man who talks about making a friendlier society.

No, it's not a plot for a Seinfeld episode starring Lloyd Braun - it's a social phenomenon.

George also mentioned a blogger's lunch - I'll have to check it out


DataServ Solutions and IQPC: Blogger or NoBlogger?

Some companies are catching on that blog tools can be used to improve their online communications even if their "blog" doesn't fit the regular descriptions:

DataServ is a St Louis-based company that specializes in document management techniques.  They help the Fortune 1000 scan, store and search the massive amounts of information required to run a large corporation.

Recently, Dataserv launched a news section of their website.  Most websites have some kind of news section on their site, where they put out press releases and the occasional company award announcement.  Dataserv, is using a blogging template to publish, post, and edit that news.

It's easy, cheaper than paying a designer to upload HTML changes, and it boosts search engine rankings for the site.

I had the opportunity to sit down with Dataserv last week, and we talked about trade shows like IQPC, one of the larger trade show organizations, especially in the area of finance (there's a lot of paper in finance).

So the larger question is whether Dataserv, although using blog software, is hosting a blog.



Coffee Nirvana

Chesterfield Valley - otherwise known as Boone's Crossing, is home to what has been billed as the world's longest strip mall. 

The coffee competition has been fierce, with Starbuck's winning in the drive-through category and the St Louis Bread Company winning with free WiFi access.

But a new contender emerges, Kaldis Coffee.  We've seen the marketing campaign that has led to Kaldi's coffee in business locations and the new stores popping up in Kirkwoord and Chesterfield, but finally lovers of independent coffee chains can now settle down in the Valley, get a cup of coffee, get food, get smoothies, and did I mention they have free Wifi access? 

Franki and I have spent a couple of days scouting out this location.  We've met a manager, David, who knows most of his customers by name.  We tasted the coffee.  We tasted the tea.  More on this, much more on this later - when we travel to Kirkwood. 

Can Kaldi's combine the Starbucks experience with the Bread Company convenience?


What's the Upshot?

Franki and I were married in Santorini, Greece, in the middle of a two week European cruise.  To commemorate the trip, we took over 6,000 photos with our digital camera, many of which were poor quality (I'm not much of a photographer), but there are some great pictures of some very famous places (she is very good).

But taking a good digital picture requires more than the initial shot, so photo-editing when you return home is a big deal. Ask any real photographer what their secret is, and the editing of the photo back in the studio is a big part of their final product.

There's a product we learned about that now brings photo-editing to the masses.  It's built by a company called Bellamax, and the product is called Upshot.  It's currently available only for the PC, and it's in a beta version, but as a private software, it automatically corrects light, color, contrast, red-eye and a host of other minor corrections that the average photo user (like me) can use to improve the overall quality of the pictures they take.

If you're curious - check out their beta version.


St Louis Staffing Blogs

Blogging hasn't yet reached into the St Louis staffing community, but I've been doing my best to spread the world to the recruiters I know on how to use, not just blogs, but LinkedIn contacts to find candidates.

If you are a St Louis area recruiter or Sales Manager, and you want a quick rundown on how to use LinkedIn, send me a note at jim@recruiting.com. 

I'll send you an invitation and show you how to get things started.

Alternately, you could go to the site and start yourself. www.linkedin.com