Category Archives: Interviews

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2015 SXSWi Recap by J.R. Atkins

Some of my friends and clients ask what the big deal is with South by Southwest Interactive or SXSWi. In short; ideas, technology and trends are introduced there that affect our lives and business. Technology such as Twitter (2006), Square (2009), Foursquare (2009), Uber (2009), Pinterest (2010), iPad2 (2011),  Microsoft Surface (2012), Google Glass (2012), Pebble Smart Watch (2013), Oculus Rift Virtual Reality head gear (2014) and see more historic trends at 22 Years of SXSWi.

At the 2015 SXSWi Festival I noticed the following 5 tech trends worth noting.

  1. New social Media App – MeerKat – Spontaneous video via Twitter
  2. Health Tech – Mobile App: Measure by Phillips Healthcare
  3. 4k TV – Samsung – 2X the Pixels
  4. International Flair – It’s a global event – Krista Hendriks, Utrecht Area, Netherlands
  5. com – It’s like UBER for overnight dog care

Please let me know if you find any of this interesting or beneficial to you or your business.

  1. MeerKat: http://meerkatapp.co

MeerKat is a new app that allows users to easily live stream video from their cell phonesJ.R> Atkins uses MeerKat via their Twitter accounts. You can “Schedule” a video and your MeerKat followers will get a notification of when you are about to begin. Or, you can create a live “stream” in the moment for those who are watching. Like Twitter, MeerKat video can be seen by anyone. It’s similar to a Google Hangout or Skype video call but much easier. Just download the app, sign in with twitter and click on “schedule” or “stream” and you’re ready to broadcast. The idea is making use of our desire to have a spontaneous connection.

Related story by David Gilbert of the International Business Times.

  1. Measure: in beta test

Nike Fit bit bits the dustPhillips Healthcare is building an online portal that will allow you to feed your data from non-Phillips devices such as a Fitbit, Moves App, Misfit Flash and Phillips devices such as Blood Pressure Cuff. Even the data from my Nike Plus (no longer supported by Nike) can be uploaded to the portal.

Moves App used by J.R> AtkinsPrior to this portal, each App or fitness solution had a separate place to store and view data. With the Phillips Measure platform, you could, in theory, import health measurement data.

During my visit, I was able to meet the developers, debug some code and gain some keen insight into the future of Individual Healthcare Monitoring. A person to follow is Hans Notenboom, Global Head of Digital at Philips Healthcare based in the Netherlands.

  1. Samsung Curved 4k TV: http://www.samsung.com/us/video/tvs

Samsung 4k curved TVI first heard of 4k in early 2014 from one of my videographer friends and I was think, “I’m just getting use to HD.” 4k means 4000 pixels vs HD which is 2000 pixels. So 4k is 2X. A 4k TV will have a resolution of at least 3840 x 2160.

Samsung took over a restaurant in Austin and turned it into an “experience” with fresh juices, snacks, a big video wall made of Samsun Tablets, a virtual reality experience and a blogger lounge.

The curved, 4k TVs were the big thing for me. Unlike the past, you don’t have to wait for the Cable and local TV stations to upgrade to 4k. YouTube, Netflix and Hulu are already broadcasting shows in 4k. So now that a 60” HD TV at Walmart id $600 or less, get ready to upgrade to 4k for $2500.

 

  1. International Flair

Meet Krista from the NetherlandsWhile having lunch at a sidewalk café in Austin, I met Krista Hendriks who was in town from the Netherlands to give a presentation on “Cuddly Drones” a project exploring the emerging surveillance culture, exploring the democratization of surveillance tools and how do teach children to critically explore this drone-filled future? Yea, you can meet people anywhere, but at SXSWi there is an instant level of trust and interest around how technology is affecting our lives.

Technology is bringing our world closer together and SXSWi is helping. Check out her profile on LinkedIn.

  1. com: www.Rover.com

J.R. Atkins uses Rover.comMy dog, Forte, travels frequently with me and he went to Austin to see the sights and keep me stress-free. Yet, I needed an overnight dog sitter so my wife and I could party on Saturday night. In steps Rover.com, an Uber like solution to help you connect with home based dog sitters. Download the app and in just a few minutes you are connecting with locals who can keep your pet overnight for about ½ the price of a Vet or animal boarding service. Send a message, confirm, and set up the drop-off and pick-up time. Rover.com covers the collection of fees. I called their customer service and had a great experience.

Events Worth Considering

03/30/15 – Principles of Social Media (CTC)
04/01/15 – LinkedIn for Success (CTC)
04/06/15 – Successfully use of Facebook (CTC)
04/08/15 – Using Video for Success (CTC)
04/10/15 – Selling in the Digital Age (CTC)
04/14/15 – Website Trends (CTC)
04/18/15 – Successful Marketing Plans (CTC)

04/22/15 – Social Media Basics – Lewisville Chamber & SCORE

04/23/15 – Your Effective Strategy Plan – Webinar


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What can we learn about Social Media from the Carwash Business?

This article originally appeared in Professional Carwashing & Detailing where I was interviewed about Social Media. I thought you might find tips and relevant information here for your business.

Earning likes and profits

How to use social media to build customer relations and improve business

APRIL 28, 2014
Social media is one of the biggest buzz words in the business world, and it’s something that everyone says you need, but not everyone understands how to use. Professional Carwashing & Detailing interviewed three experts in the field of social media about how carwashes can best utilize it for public relations and marketing purposes. And while Facebook is still the most important social media site, there are others that you should be using to help improve your customer realations and get the word out about your carwash, according to the experts.

The 800 Pound gorilla

Facebook may have lost some of its “cool factor” with the youth, but Blane Russell, president of Social Eyes Marketing, said it’s still the most important social media website. “Make sure you’re doing Facebook in a big way, because it’s the 800 pound gorilla,” he said.

Facebook and why works to improve profits for washes

J.R. Atkins is the author of the book “Social Media 2.0,” and also a speaker and consultant on social media. He said that “Facebook is definitely the place to start, and then grow based upon your market and what you learn from Facebook.” While Facebook isn’t the only social media website you should use, Erin Sullivan, social media manager, agrees that it’s the most important resource for carwashes. “For the carwash industry Facebook is still number one.” She said that both Facebook and carwash industry appeal to a large audience, which makes them an ideal fit.

How to maximize your Facebook experience

The experts have some tips on making Facebook a good use of your time. Russell said that using Facebook to give away free carwashes is one way that his clients have gained followers. The hard cost of the wash is very low, and the number of followers it can help you get is high, he said. Facebook isn’t just about selling you to people, it’s also about entertaining them, according to Russell. “Everyone’s natural nature is to try to sell all the time, but if you want to get liked, amuse them, and they’ll like your page” he said. “Ask open ended questions, like: “Does your car have a name, and if so, why,” and you’ll start a conversation rather than turn people off with a sales pitch. He also recommends that you post regularly, at least a couple times a week, and that you have some humor and personality in your posts, so that people appreciate them. More articles on: Social media Social media is about building up loyalty and community, according to Atkins. He said it’s important to respond back to people on Facebook that contact you, and create posts that are designed around the types of things that your customer base is interested in. Facebook isn’t just about getting new customers, but keeping ones you have, according to Atkins. He said wash owners he’s worked with tell him that by “using social media, my customers keep coming back, and don’t stray.” A loyal customer is very valuable to a carwash, so keep them informed about what’s going on at you wash. By creating a Facebook account, and not using it, Sullivan says you’re doing more harm than good. “It hurts the business more than anything when they [Facebook account owners] don’t pay attention.” People recognize quickly when you aren’t engaged in your Facebook account, and not only will they not like your page, but they might think less of your business, she said. Her recommendation is to show some personality, and realize that every post you make doesn’t have to be about carwashes. “Your customers are not simply carwash customers, they have other interests as well,” she said. Another tip Sullivan has is to link your other social media accounts to Facebook when possible, to eliminate extra work, and connect across multiple platforms.

Professional connections on LinkedIn

While Facebook is still the most important social media website, there are many others that your wash can benefit from using. LinkedIn is a place that people go to discuss business, and because of that it has some advantages over other social media outlets. Atkins said that it’s “where your professional credentials live online.” He added that LinkedIn is important for wash owners who are hands on, and looking to work with other established businesses. LinkedIn is a better place to communicate professionally, according to Sullivan, who said it is definitely a supplemental tool, but can be effective for certain business situations. Russell agreed with the other experts that the major advantage about communicating on LinkedIn is that “no one will get upset or offended if you’re direct with them” about wanting to talk business. Setting up a profile, and learning how to use LinkedIn is very simple, so while you may not see a big initial return from creating an account, you will have a “virtual resume” and a place to connect with other businesses, according to the experts.

The pluses of Google+

While Google+ hasn’t taken off the way many predicted, it does have importance as a social media tool, even if it’s in a way that you might not think. “If you own a business, you need to have a presence,” said Russell. He also recommends usingGoogle Local as the place all of your reviews are put through to improve your search rankings, and get the word out about the great work your carwash does. More articles on: Multi-profit centers Google holds a lot of power as a search engine, and adding your business to Google+ gives your wash a better ability to be featured highly when a customer searches for it, according to Atkins. When you use Google’s search engine for a carwash that has a Google+ account, you will see information for its Google+ on the search page. “Google+ is definite must have now,” said Sullivan. She explained why it’s so important for business owners. “If I have a Google+ page, I now control what shows up in the Google search. When it comes up in search results, it will have the carwash name, it’s pulling the name, the description, the information … you know can dictate through your Google+ page.” She added that it’s important to get your presence on Google+ now, while it’s still an overlooked medium. It may not be the place you will go to communicate with your audience, but if you’re not on Google+ you’re missing out on improving your search engine optimization, which is one of the major ways people find out about a business.

Getting the picture with Instagram

The experts see Instagram as a supplemental tool, but an important one none the less. And the best thing about it is how simple it is to use. Grab your smartphone, take a picture, write a caption, add a few hashtags, and you’re done. “The beauty of Instagram is that people are going to promote you if they get excited about what you’re doing,” said Russell. Instagram is particularly popular with young people, and learning how to use it now can keep you ahead of the pack. Instagram is the perfect place to host pictures you’ve taken for a charity event or to showcase something unique or interesting that happened at your wash, according to Atkins. Another great thing about it is that it can be integrated with other outlets like Facebook and Twitter. For example, Atkins said you could “promote your event on Facebook, and then post pictures of the event on Instagram.” The ability to place pictures across multiple platforms makes Instagram a tool that can help you increase your Facebook and Twitter as well. “People respond to visuals more than something they read,” said Sullivan, which is a major reason why Instagram has become so popular. She sees it as an additional tool, and one any wash owner can utilize because of its simplicity. “It’s a good sort of extra … I think it’s a clear winner for how easy it is to use, and connect with other platforms.” Signing up for an account takes minutes, and you’ll be snapping pictures and posting them on Facebook and Twitter in no time. Taking pictures is fun, and Instagram is so easy to use.

How to follow Twitter

While Twitter is a platform that seems pervasive in our society, it is also the one that most people don’t understand how to use well, according to Atkins. You might not use Twitter to cultivate a following, but it is a great place to get direct feedback from your customers, he added. Read also: How to start a carwash articles Twitter is the place that you can “turn a raving lunatic into a raving fan,” according to Atkins. The way you do that is by responding to people who tweet you. For direct communication, Atkins sees Twitter as a better tool than Facebook, “it’s like texting,” he said. If someone finds you on Twitter and asks you a question, it’s easy to grab your smartphone or hop on your computer, and immediately respond back. If Facebook is the place to communicate to people, Twitter is the place for people to communicate to you. “It’s a conversation more so than other social media sites,” said Sullivan. “You need to expect to interact.” Twitter, more than Facebook, is about a two way communication between you and your audience, according Russell. Sullivan recommends how you can use Twitter as more than a way to communicate with your customers. She said you start by following some hashtags, and seeing what successful carwashes and other businesses do when they’re tweeting. It’s also important to think of the phrases that your customers would be searching for, and post on those hashtags. Russell said one way to effectively use Twitter is to find the important people within your community, and tweet them. Twitter is a conversation, so just like talking to people, there’s ettiquette, and things you can do to make follow and unfollow you. Once you figure out how to have a conversation on Twitter it can be a great tool. Even if you don’t want to utilize it for communicating to your audience, you should have an account so they can communicate to you.

Taking it all in and having fun with it

Facebook is still the most important tool you have at your disposal, but there are many other sites that offer their niche that can help improve your profits. If you need to connect with a local business, there’s LinkedIn. If you want more people to find you on Internet searches, use Google+. Want to speak directly with your customers, tweet them on Twitter. Need somewhere to showcase all those great pictures from the charity even you did? Well put them on Instagram. Social media doesn’t have to be hard work; in fact our experts recommend that you make it fun. Come up with a contest, and hype it up on Facebook, respond back to your customers on Twitter, and use Instagram to show pictures of the event. There continues to be those who don’t think social media is a viable resource. However, as Atkins joked, “If you can overturn the government of Egypt [with social media], I think we can increase sales 10 percent.”


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“Design Thinking” IDEO story by 60 Minutes

Check out this video story by 60 Minutes, from 1/6/13, about how “Design Thinking” from IDEO has impacted so many products over the last 20 years such as the computer mouse, stand up toothpaste despencer, Elmo calls iPhone App, even the Boston Harbor Islands National Park Visitor Pavilion.

 


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The BeanCast talks about Mobile

Author J.R. Atkins recommends Bob Knorpp and the BeanCastMeet my friend Bob Knorpp. Bob produces a podcast that is recorded on Sunday nights and released every Monday covering current topics in Marketing, Advertising, Sales, Technology, New Media, Design … you get it, all the cool and fun things. In episode 211 “Everyone else is Lying” you will hear some discussion on Mobile Apps that I hope you find interesting and informative. Click on the link below, listen and let me know what you think.

http://beancast.evanbooth.com/shows/0211_The_BeanCast_Marketing_Podcast_Everyone_Else_Is_Lying.mp3

GUESTS

Dallas Speaker J.R. Atkins likes the BeanCast


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Zig Ziglar Taught Me about Storytelling, Now There Is Science

Author, Speaker & Consultant J.R. Atkins beleives in the power of storytelling.Jonathan Gottschall, author of The Storytelling Animal, says science backs up the long-held belief that story is the most powerful means of communicating a message.

“Until recently we’ve only been able to speculate about story’s persuasive effects. But over the last several decades psychology has begun a serious study of how story affects the human mind. Results repeatedly show that our attitudes, fears, hopes, and values are strongly influenced by story. In fact, fiction seems to be more effective at changing beliefs than writing that is specifically designed to persuade through argument and evidence”

Read the full article from Co-Create

 


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Now that you can work all the time, leave work at 5:30 like Sheryl Sandberg

Professional Speaker J.R. Atkins comments on Facebook COO Sheryl SandbergI’ve been talking about the 24 hour work day for a while and how since we are connected and can work all the time, we MUST set boundaries or go crazy. The article below is a good example of what I’m talking about. Sheryl Sandberg is COO at Facebook and was a Google before that. As mother and wife, she leaves work at 5:30 each day and says “you should too.” Men, listen to the end of her video where suggest you to should be free to be with your family. Original Article

Somewhere along the line, ending one’s workday before 8:00 p.m. became a source of shame and sign of laziness — or at least that’s what many of us have tricked ourselves into believing.

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg is familiar with the funny, uncertain feeling that comes with checking out soon after 5:00 to be with family, and although she used to worry about what others thought of her departure time (which is a completely reasonable hour to head home, by the way), she has finally reached a point where she can take off at 5:30 p.m. without the lingering concern of how others are perceiving her.

“I walk out of this office every day at 5:30 so I’m home for dinner with my kids at 6:00, and interestingly, I’ve been doing that since I had kids,” Sandberg said in a new video for Makers.com. ”I did that when I was at Google, I did that here, and I would say it’s not until the last year, two years that I’m brave enough to talk about it publicly. Now I certainly wouldn’t lie, but I wasn’t running around giving speeches on it.”

To make up for ducking out at 5:30 p.m., Sandberg said, she would send emails to colleagues late at night and early in the morning as proof that she was still giving her all to work:

“I was showing everyone I worked for that I worked just as hard. I was getting up earlier to make sure they saw my emails at 5:30, staying up later to make sure they saw my emails late. But now I’m much more confident in where I am and so I’m able to say, ‘Hey! I am leaving work at 5:30.’ And I say it very publicly, both internally and externally.”

Many of us know the stigma against going home early all too well, especially in competitive work environments in which many judge work ethic by the number of hours spent in the office. There should never be any shame associated with heading home before 6 p.m. to eat dinner with one’s children and spouse, and Sandberg is sending a much-needed message to parents everywhere that it’s OK to leave work before dark for family time, especially since research has shown that children are healthier, happier and better performing students when they eat with their families.

In high school, my friends used to always say they envied my family for making it a rule to have dinner as a unit at least five nights a week, and I honestly feel I would have become a different person had my parents not prioritized it.

 

[H/T The Grindstone]

Thumbnail image courtesy of World Economic Forum, Flickr

This article originally published at The Jane Dough here.

The Jane Dough is a Mashable publishing partner that is the go-to site for news, insight and commentary on women in the business world. This article is reprinted with the publisher’s permission

Original Article


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What are you seeing in Palestine?

Social Media Speaker & Trainer J.R. Atkins meeting with techies in Palestine

J.R. Atkins meeting with techies in Palestine

In addition to the many Biblical sites I have seen while traveling in Israel, Palestine, Jordan and Egypt, I have been meeting with Social/Mobile/Tech people along the way. Here is a short list of some of the topics of conversation so far.

Brain Drain” is the trend of smart, young people, leaving Palestine for other countries where they don’t have to live as second class citizens.  They move to the US, Jordan, Dubai, Lebanon and other places where they can create a better life for their families.

Maktoob” was a popular search engine developed in Jordan and recently purchased by Yahoo. This is the dream of every young Palestinian Technologist just like Americans; to develop a start up that goes viral and is purchased by a larger company.

TEDx Ramallah” occurred in April ’11 in Ramallah and was simulcast in Beirut and Amman. For those who attended in person or on line it represented a watershed event where people could share, collaborate, develop ideas and build the Palestinian community. TED has grown from Technology, Entertainment and Design to include a broader range of topics as indicated by the 28 videos from TEDx Ramallah.

Pal Connect” was the first-ever Palestinian conference for social media, held in Ramallah in December 2011.  The event attracted social media professionals, journalists, traditional media professionals, academics, students, and civil society representatives. The folks I spoke to said they expect next year’s event to be bigger and better.

Palestine ICT Incubator” PICTI assists tech entrepreneurs take their ideas to market by helping with designing, developing, implementing, and promoting those initiatives to business ventures. A Start Up weekend was held in 2011 and another one is planned for 2012. Spark is another business and technology incubator program being developed at Birzet University.

MARKAVIP” is another example of a tech success story. Similar to Living Social or Group On, the web site offers daily deals on select merchandise at a substantial discount.

I hope you have found these as interesting as I have. Please offer your thoughts in the comment section of the blog.


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What are you reading? Me? Fast Company, D CEO and…

Dallas social media speaker J.R. Atkins is a reader of Fast Company MagazineI just completed reading my first issue of Fast Company Magazine, the June 2011 issue, and I was VERY pleased. So often I just browse a magazine, look at the Ads, pictures, and read a few articles that catch my eye. But not with Fast Company; I consumed it, reading all of the articles and most of the Ads. My favorite content was an article on “The 100 Most Creative People in Business.” I found it informative, inspiring and helpful.

For those of you wondering, I read it from a print copy, not my Samsung Galaxy Tablet. I do have reading material on my tablet but I chose the old fashion print version on purpose so I can disengage from a device for some of my informative reading.

Dallas social media speaker J.R. Atkins is an avid reader of D CEO by D Magazine

The other magazine I have recently discovered is D CEO. I like the local aspects of the content and the short stories on Dallas Companies and their CEO’s. I even see and read about people I know or have heard mentioned in business conversations. D CEO serves as a community building aid for the Dallas business community. Pick one up and see what you think.

What current periodicals do you read to keep up with trends, knowledge, competition, and local business? I’d also like to hear your thoughts on reading in print or on an e-reader.

 

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TikTok and LunaTik iPod Nano Watch Bands

Dallas social media speaker J.R. Atkins likes the LunaTik Watchcase for the iPod NanoI love cool design!

So, when my wife gave me an iPod Nano for a Valentines Day gift, I wanted to find just the right case for it. Or, why not wear it as a watch? Ok, but I wanted a cool looking and sleek feeling watch band. Check out the TikTok and LunaTik designs and guess witch one I now have.

 


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Perspective on Travel & Business

I enjoy doing business as I travel. The idea of rising above the stress of business to see the sights of a foreign land, to enjoy a good meal and relax by the pool are attractive. So I offer you the following thoughts on travel and business.

Dallas social media speaker J.R. Atkins taveled to Jerusalem

1.       Perspective

I like the perspective of getting away from home, office and town. Sometimes a trip of only 100 miles away can make a difference in how you see your current situation. Any time I travel I come home appreciating what I have. This is especially true when I travel abroad. When my wife and I went to Israel in January, my comment upon arriving in Dallas was “We are affluent, on our way to wealthy, according to global standards.” I take for granted our infrastructure, the rule of law, individual rights and all the wealth America has at hand. 

2.       Meet others who are doing things

It’s fun to meet people from other places both in the U.S. and abroad. Have you ever been someplace and met someone from your home town? I get excited to meet them since we are away from home. I’m sure if I met them in line at the store at home it would not carry the same level of excitement.

Dallas social media speaker J.R. Atkins recomends the book: What they dont teach at the Harvard Business SchoolI remember Mark McCormack’s book, “What They Don’t Teach You at the Harvard Business School” where he suggested that you fly in First Class because of the people you meet. There is still some truth in this today, that the people who fly are doing something bigger than themselves, something important or something new. I like to meet these people and keep in touch via Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter. With Social Media, it is so much easier to have a global perspective.

3.       Time away from business productivity

As much as I like the perspective I gain through traveling, on a recent trip to Atlanta it dawned on me that I need to earn a premium on my time when I travel.

Let’s say you place a value of $100 per hour on your time. That would mean in a typical day of work from 8:00-12:00 and 1:00-5:00 you would create $800 of value. This is assuming that you are in one place creating value, like your office, and take just 1 hour for lunch. If your commute is 1 hour each way, you spent 11 total hours creating $800 of value or about $73 per hour.

Now let’s look at a day of business travel where you leave for the airport at 5:30 for a 7:30 flight and land at 9:30, drive to the business location arriving at 11:00, and work for 1 hour, take a 1 hour lunch, then work again from 1:00-5:00, hop on a plane home at 6:30 arrive in your home town at 8:30 and get home at 10:30. In this day you have created 6 hours of value in an office and let’s say another 2 hours of value working on the plane for a total of 8 hours. This would mean that you spent 17 hours creating $800 of value for or about $47 per hour.

This is how I got the idea that I need to earn a premium on my time when I travel. I also need to stay longer in one place while I am there, to spread the travel time and cost over more billable days.

The other solution is to travel less and do more through video conferencing. There are many tools in a wide array of price ranges, from free services, like Skype, to premium services like Cisco Unified Communications platform.

 4.       Time away from family and friends

A little travel might cause you to appreciate your friends and family a little more, but I submit that the more you are away, the more your relationships suffer. Telephone, email, social media and video can make a positive impact on being away from loved ones but nothing takes the place of being there. So before we hop in a plane, train or automobile, we need to make sure it is a worthy trip. (Work Travel & Family Research Project at Texas Tech University)

 What have you learned through Travel? I look forward to hearing your thoughts and comments.

 Dallas sociala media speaker J.R. Atkins attends the Social Media Club of DallasFebruary Events

 2/16 – DFW American Marketing Association Luncheon

2/17 – Social Location Marketing with Simon Salt

2/19 – Saturday at the Warwick Melrose with Ambassador Akbar Ahmed

2/28 – Dallas iPhone Developers & Entrepreneurs MeetUp


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