RIP Dan Rooney

Categories Spotlight

Pittsburgh lost a great man today.

As a baby, my parents would take walks with me through West Park and would often run into Mr. Rooney and his wife, Patricia. One thing they always remembered is how exceptionally humble and friendly they were. ~20 years later, my parents started the Allegheny City Historic Gallery, a space dedicated to the history of the Northside of Pittsburgh.

Mr. Rooney was personally always kind to me and told my father that he loves what he’s doing for the Northside and that he would like to write a book with him. My condolences to his family, he will be missed by myself and my family.

RIP Mr. Rooney.

Chris Whitlatch’s Into Pittsburgh

Categories Spotlight, Thoughts

Into Pittsburgh, made by Chris Whitlatch of the Pittsburgh Foundation, is a very informative show that focuses on nonprofits. It airs on PCTV21:

Chris Whitlatch’s “Into Pittsburgh” interviews non-profit organizations in the city of Pittsburgh, aiming to educate the public on the services these organizations provide, how to utilize these services and provide advice for those who want to work in the non-profit sector or start their own project.

I feel the program does a great job of asking the right questions. There are a lot of people who might not know about the stories behind these organizations and this show presents an open platform for them to tell the story in their own words.

He has over 30 episodes, but here are his interviews with 412 Food Rescue, the Pittsburgh Zoo (I like this one! It’s a bit different and he went on-location), and Work Hard Pittsburgh.

Take this as a grain of salt, but this contributes to my opinion that the majority of local access shows should play it safe and just use a black backdrop if they’re unsure what to use. It just looks better with less effort. Many show producers seem to get too fancy with their background and use a “beach” backdrop or something that doesn’t fall in line with the message of their show. When it’s not done tactfully, it comes off as cheesy. It’s especially apparent when the background position stays the same during camera switches.

An example of a creative use with PCTV21’s green screen is HughShows. I understood quickly the vibe of the show and it’s differentiated well with it’s groovy intro. The white and psychedelic patterned background grew on me over the course of an episode. The topic of the show is also immediately understandable: music.

I do have a small suggestion for the format of Into Pittsburgh.

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Instagram’s algorithm for ‘Stories’ and growth hacking

Categories Thoughts

Today, I wondered why a few key people in my Instagram Story feed were always the first shown and figured at first that it was chronological and they were simply making more stories than most. Then I realized Gary Vaynerchuk would sit at the top even with 3 or 4 stories throughout a day.

Side note, you should check out Jasmine Cho’s company: @helloyummyholic on Instagram. I found her through Facebook. She makes a lot of impressive and cool looking cookies.

Turns out, it’s running an algorithm to display people they think you would be most likely to watch. They’re even pulling data from Facebook to do it.

I’m always amazed by the commitment to optimize put forth by technology companies. Their bottom line is more daily active users and they build ways to grow and retain this audience directly into their platform. You know how you follow somebody or like a page and suggestions show up displaying other people you might know or be interested in? That’s growth hacking. Or when you’re signing up on a service for the first time and there’s a push to get you to import your contacts or sign in with an existing social network? Also growth hacking.

It’s not enough to simply display things in chronological order; they need you to keep coming back for more. They need you to see your favorite people, comments, pictures, and videos on Instagram because you’ll be more likely to stay and of course, return. Engaged users are one of the best marketing tools in the world.

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What Pittsburgh thinks of bike lanes?

Categories Thoughts, Video

I’ve been wanting to make a video like this for over a year now so I decided to stop making excuses and go make it.

I’m gauging people’s opinion on the format and content for this video. I put it out on my Facebook page first to drive more traffic there. The response has been overwhelmingly positive with a few people voicing their opinion that they feel more bike lane opposers should have been represented in the video. A number of them accused it of being fixed, that the answers were selectively picked to promote bike lanes: I assure everyone that these were people picked at random and everyone I interviewed that day appeared in the video. It may be selection bias, too. Many of the detractors seem to be drivers and the people interviewed were walking downtown and could have been more likely to support bike lanes.

It definitely would have been more ideal to have the opposing opinion present as I believe it would have driven more dialogue in the comments.

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Why I take notes all the time (and you should too)

Categories Thoughts

I come up with concepts and ideas throughout the day and write them down in Notepad. How they’re organized is nothing to be admired, it’s quite scattered. Most of the filenames are variations of “idea”, “ideas2”, “note3”, “notes” etc. I honestly don’t even know what’s in any of the note files without clicking them anymore, but they prove to be useful to me every day because I write down important ideas that I bring into reality.

Here’s an example of one them that I looked back on to read yesterday.

new film every week - short film on walking bob (use his old photos, scan them in the gallery)

And then I did it. With a few, you know, minor adjustments to my original idea.

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