Category Archives: Travel

  • 0

Major League Gaming, Coming to a City Near You

J.R. Atkins writes about major league gamingOn a recent trip to Atlanta, I had the opportunity to learn more about the industry of Major League Gaming. For the uninitiated, you can now be a professional gamer. All those hours in front of a screen playing Nintendo Wii and DS, Xbox, Play station and PSP, Game Boy, Atari and Pong could now equate to being a professional gamer with all the star power and perks of a rock star or professional athlete.

J.R. Atkins attends Final Round 18During the Delta flight to Atlanta, I watched a free video clip on my iPhone via the on plane Wi-Fi on Major League Gaming. (See related article in SKY) According to Wikipedia, “Major League Gaming (MLG), founded in 2002 by Sundance DiGiovanni and Mike Sepso, is a North American professional Electronic sports organization, headquartered in New York City. MLG has held official video game tournaments throughout the United States and Canada. Major League Gaming competitions have been broadcast on television, ESPN.com and other broadband sites. The company has also been involved in television production and game development. MLG’s aim is to elevate computer and console game tournaments to viable competitive and spectator events.” Although interesting, I simply watched another video on my flight and moved on with my life.

Game Stick at Final Round 18When I arrived at my hotel, I was surprised to see a group of motly dressed people with colored hair and baggy clothing reminiscent of pajamas, walking around with a gaming console they call a “stick.” Come to find out, the Final Round 18 Fighting Game Competition was being held at my hotel. Cool! I got to see firsthand what all the fuss and fanfare was all about. When my son was young, we played Mortal Combat at the pizza place and these people were still at it. The whole tournament was all about fighting games. You could watch people play in the lobby, in the main ballroom, in their hotel rooms, just about everywhere for 3 days and nights straight. Can you say “Cha-Ching?” Someone is making some serious cash here.

Based on what I learned, within the next 3 years we will probably see the following:

  • Gamer Celebrity Status like Justin Biber & Johnny Football
  • Million Dollar Signing Bonus for Gamers
  • Endorsements from games, clothing, theme parks and more
  • TV coverage by ESPN and major networks
  • Someone will suggest that gaming should be added to the Olympics
  • Stadium & Auditoriums Filled with fans to see gaming events
  • More Merchandise (coming to a Christmas near you)
  • “Fill out your bracket at work for the Championship rounds”
  • Vegas odds makers listing the likely top winners in gaming

What does this have to do with business? First, you can quit complaining about people who sit around and play games all day, it’s a profession now. Second, expect to see business applications for those with gaming skills on their resume. There could be a correlation between business intelligence, data management, coding and other workplace skills and gaming skills.

What social or business applications do you see in regards to professional gaming? I’d like to hear your thoughts.


  • 1

What Airline has the best in flight WiFi?

Check out the following article on Quartz by  Zainab Mudallal 

Do you use Wi-Fi much when you fly? If so, more for work or entertainment?


 

Wi-Fi has become one of the most sought-after things on a flight, even more important to passengers than a reclining seat or extra legroom. The latest report from Routehappy, a website that compares airlines by in-flight amenities, finds that its availability is spreading fast.

The report, published today, analyzed flights scheduled to depart this coming Feb. 5—a “typical mid-week travel day”—and found that passengers have “some chance” (i.e. one-third or better) of getting Wi-Fi on almost one-quarter of the airline miles flown worldwide. On US domestic flights, there’s some chance of Wi-Fi on two-thirds of the airline miles—up from just 38% of them a year and a half ago.

On those flights that do have Wi-Fi, its performance varies. In the US, 35% of those flights had “good” Wi-Fi, meaning the equivalent of 3G connection speeds; 38% had “better” Wi-Fi, similar to 4G; and only 1% had the “best” quality, good enough for video streaming.

There were also big gaps between airlines. In the US, virtually all Virgin America flights had Wi-Fi, followed by Southwest and Delta.

See the rest of the article at: http://qz.com/331750/the-worlds-in-flight-wi-fi-offerings-ranked/


  • 0

Gatesville, Nigeria and Tethering

GatesvilleAtkins Ranch in Gatesville TX

Yea, you might have seen some posts from me that I am spending a great deal of time at the Atkins Ranch in Gatesville, TX, about 35 miles east of Waco. It’s amazing what you can observe from outside of the Digital Life in Dallas. I still have my office in Frisco and I have opened a satellite office at the Ranch. Come see me when you are in the area.

Nigeria

Others of you might have seen a recent post about my trip to Africa with Compassion Creates Change Nigeria, a Dallas based non-profit working in Nigeria with Churches, NGO’s, Community Development Agencies and Business to:

  • Construct a Multi-Use School, Church and Community Center Raising 5k for Nigeria Mission Trip
  • Construct a Medical Clinic
  • Deliver Medical Supplies
  • Install Solar-power Based Electrification
  • Initiate Clean Water Projects
  • Provide Vocational Training
  • Deliver Compassionate Outreach

If you are able to contribute cash, products, services or just share the details on your social media, your efforts are greatly appreciated. Give at: http://www.gofundme.com/JRAtkins

TetheringJ.R. Atkins likes the Intelligence TV Show

I recall this term as the idea of connecting your Laptop to the internet via your cellphone. I’d like to expand the definition to address the way we tap into computer based information and knowledge. Today we have so many options to tether to our computer from smart phone and tablets to Google Glass. The progression of knowledge access looks something like this:

Main Frame-Personal Computer-Lap Top-Tablet-Smart Phone-Google Glass-Implant.

I know the implant is not in the consumer market yet, but it has to be in the military domain. Have you see the TV show Intelligence, it’s like a modern day bionic man, only better. Yet, all the information of the world is useless without human intelligence to create context and relationship. Here are a few business uses for Computer Information at your fingertips. Let me know what other applications you see coming.

  • Sales: Customer, Product and Service data
  • Service: Service Manuals, Customer Records, Diagnostics…
  • Decision Making: KPI’s, Industry, Competition…
  • Current News: Public, Company, Industry
  • Security: Early Warnings, Environmental Concerns,

Please share your thoughts on the blog, by email, phone or social media, “after all, I’m here to communicate with you.”

Events Worth Considering 

02-08-14 – Orpheus “From the Heart” Gala & Auction
02-11-14 – Business Link Lunch – Temple Chamber
02-12-14 – The DEC: Design for Non-Designers
02-18-14 – The Booming Business of Global Warming
02-19-14 – Marketing DFW Airport
02-23-14 – Southwest Car Wash Association Convention & Expo
02-25-14 – Last Tuesday Happy Hour at The Ritz Carlton
02-27-14 – Business After Hours – Temple Chamber
03-01-14 – Orpheus Chamber Singers – The Art of Imitation
 

 


  • 1

TripList; A Cool App for Travelers

As a frequent traveler, I have used all manner of tool to help me remember the items to bring on my trips: 3X5 Cards, Excel Spreadsheets, Word Docs, and my memory. When I saw the TripList App I was intrigued. Could this App do more than server as a check list of items to take on my trips? Yes!

Author J.R. Atkins reviews the travel App TripListYou can down load a free version and use it on one trip before you will be asked to move to the paid version for $1.99. TripList is versatile and can be used for business, leisure, camping, projects, road trips, any type of activity where a list of items is helpful.

The App also ties in to DropBox so you can reference files and TripIt so you can connect to past, current and future trips.

You can add any number of items to your trip, from clothing and medicine, to documents and gadgets. While the app comes with categories pre-installed, you can edit these categories to make them more relevant for your needs. I like the idea of having Trip Lists for various activities such as:

  1. Mobile App Consultant J.R. Atkins reviews TripList AppShort Business Trip
  2. Long Casual Trip
  3. Boating Trip
  4. Camping List
  5. First Aid List
  6. Weekend Get Away
  7. Black Tie Affairs
  8. Winter Trips
  9. Summer Trips
  10. Overseas Trips

 

For now the App is available for iPhone and iPad. The iPad version allows for multiple users and you to assign each user a picture or avatar, so you can quickly switch between them while creating lists. You can also export your trips to plain text email in order to share your information.


  • 0

The Rise of Global Business

Are you engaged in Global Business? According to USLegal.com “Global business refers to international trade … a company doing business across the world.” With today’s technology, open access to information and contacts via Social Media, every business can engage in Global Business.

Looking back on history one can see how the lack of technology and relationship slowed an organization’s global expansion. Many companies were limited to their local geography to conduct business but today, most barriers have been removed or reduced. Let’s take a look at a few:

  1. Transportation – As the cost to drive, fly or ship people and goods decreased, more organizations could reach beyond their local borders.
  2. Communication – The Telecom boom of the 1990’s expanded capacity to talk and send data cheaply anywhere in the world. Then came Video, Skype, and Smartphone expansion. With our Smartphone we can access anyone, anywhere, anytime.
  3. Author, Speaker, Consultant J.R. Atkins references the World is FlatInformation Access – Thomas Freedman writes about the “Uploading” (flattener #4) of information in his book The World is Flat. We now have the information of the world in the palm of our hand. “Not knowing” is no longer an excuse.
  4. Relationship Access – With the development of Social Networks it is easier to identify, connect and build relationships with people of other lands. Prior to my last trip to the Middle East, I was able to set 5 meetings with new contacts from LinkedIn and Facebook. After meeting them in person, we continue to build our relationship through email, Skype and Facebook. See a related article by Alana Muller President of Kauffman FastTrac, created by the Kauffman Foundation.
  5. More ways to get Paid: EBay (Entrepreneur), Amazon (Wikipedia), PayPal (Overseas selling guide), and Square (comparison by HubPages) provide 4 additional ways to exchange value for currency and the cost of these transaction has decreased as well.
  6. Where is Value built: During the industrial revolution, value was built in the factory. Today, value is built with the licensing of Intellectual Property (Inc.), on-line, in the cloud, with virtual relationships, using technology and by knowledge workers.
  7. The Rise of the virtual organization: Co-workers no longer have to be in the same room, building, floor, city, county, country, or time zone. This means that your next great hire can come from anywhere and this may help you uncover global markets as well. Why not hire a developer in a country that you would like to expand? A good example of a virtual company is 37 Signals, maker of such products as Basecamp, Highrise, Backpack & Campfire (I like the outdoor names). They have succeeded as a virtual company where other non-virtual companies have struggled (i.e. Microsoft)

Still, with technology and access, you may be concerned about your own Cultural Awareness. Someone’s cultural awareness is their understanding of the differences between themselves and people from other countries or other backgrounds, especially differences in attitudes and values. Here are three ideas I have used to improve my own cultural awareness:

  1. Someone from there is already here – I look for foreign nationals, refugees, foreign dignitaries and others who have recently arrived from another country I am seeking to learn about.
  2. On-line help – Before traveling to the West Bank of Israel, I watched 28 videos from TEDxRamallah.
  3. Go and see – It is cheaper and easier to get to other countries than it used to be. Go and see for yourself.
  4. Get professional help – I have engaged university professors (Dr Robert Hunt) and other professionals (CI Cultural Intelligence) to help me overcome my own misconceptions.

My perception is that any business can have a global outlook if they choose. A hair salon can become globally oriented by saying so on their website, building relationships with global travelers and opening up communication channels such as Skype. What about your business; can you be a Global business today? Instead of a mammoth multinational corporation could you be a micro global business?

I look forward to reading your thoughts on the comment section of my blog (see below).

Resources

Events Worthy of your Consideration


  • 0

Is your Marketing Approach like a Leaf Rake or a Leaf Blower?

Dallas social media speaker J.R. Atkins discusses The Leaf Rake Approach to MarketingMarketing to prospective clients has changed greatly with the proliferation of online tools such as websites, email and most recently, social media. Prospects can turn to so many sources for information about you, your company, and your products or services. A recent day of yard work prompted me to explain the shift in marketing to a colleague as being “more like using a leaf blower then a rake.”

The Leaf Rake Approach

Dallas social media speaker J.R. Atkins recomends ACT for Contact or Customer Relationship Management Prior to the proliferation of on-line tools, I collected contact information from prospects such as their name, address, phone number and fax number and stored them on 3×5 cards. In the early 90’s I started using ACT, a Contact and Customer Relationship Management system, or CRM, to keep up with prospect information and to schedule phone calls, meetings, and direct mail campaigns. Armed with this information, I could mail, call, and fax prospects about my products and services. This shows the emphasis on collecting contact information, much like raking leaves into a pile.

The Leaf Blower Approach

Today, I take a different approach that is more like a leaf blower. As I meet prospective clients, I connect with them on-line via email and or social media. I have shifted from collecting and hoarding data, to giving and sharing data. In other words I blow information into the wind and wait for those who are interested to reach out to me.

Dallas social media speaker J.R. Atkins explains The Leaf Blower Approach to MarketingSocial Media is a great tool for “Leaf Blower” marketing. Once a connection is made via LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, a blog or YouTube, the prospect get’s to choose if they would like to follow you and if so, they can choose their preferred method of communication. Some prospects will discard the information you share, others will collect it and save it for the future, and some will find if valuable and share it with others, while some will act on it by reaching our my email, social media or phone. The main idea is that the prospects who are interested in you and the content you publish will “follow you” and when they are ready to buy, they will reach out to you.

Yet, there is a key point with this approach. It requires the marketer to publish content that is interesting, valuable and giving in nature. This kind of content will be shared with others and your message will take on the viral affect where it gets passed around to others very rapidly.

When using the “leaf blower” methodology, your goal is to draw prospects to you by “blowing out the information” and letting those that are interested come to you.

You probably need both

Dallas social media speaker J.R. Atkins share the Big 5 off Social Media modelTo be effective in my yard work, I need both a leaf rake and leaf blower to get the job done. In business, we need both approaches to market effectively. We should use the leaf blower approach to share good content through a website, email newsletter, LinkedIn, Facebook Fan Page, Twitter, a Blog and a YouTube Channel. Then, we can identify those prospects that have an interest in our content and target them with direct mail, email blast and direct selling content and methods.

By using both approaches we can continue to grow our business while allowing the prospect to connect with us in the way that works best for them. My hope for you is that you “rake in the money while blowing away the competition.”

March Events

3/9/11 Social Media Club of Dallas Presents SXSWi Pre-Party & Chris Treadaway

3/11/11 Chicago Symphony Orchestra – Mendelssohn’s Elijah

3/12/11 Chicago St. Patrick’s Day Parade

3/13/11 The American Choral Directors Biennial National Conference

3/13/11 SXSWi – South by Southwest Interactive

3/16/11 AIGA DFW Presents Local App Developer Success Story

3/23/11 Digital Dallas – A SXSW Recap

3/25/11 DFW AMA – How Next Gen Network Capabilities are Game Changers for Telecom Marketers

3/28/11 Dallas iPhone Developers/Entrepreneurs Meetup

3/29/11 Social Media & Your Career @ Career Jump Start


  • 0

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


  • 1

When to turn back and when to push on?

“Learn something everyday”

Dallas Social Media speaker J.R. Atkins sails the BVIAs I started out on my trip to go sailing in the British Virgin Islands, I had no idea the amount of adversity I would be facing. I spent two days and traveled on 8 different transportation services before I finally arrived at my hotel. At one point I thought about turning back and starting over another day, but I didnt. Take a look at the list of trials I faced and then see what I learned.

Thursday

On Thursday morning my alarm did not go off at 2:00am but thankfully I work up at 2:20 on my own.

As I stepped outside to walk the dog I locked myself out of the house. I walked to the back to get in through the garage only to find that the battery in the keypad was out. I found a window unlocked and climbed in.

I was about to leave and I remembered I did not have my passport. The supper shuttle arrived and I was off to DFW Airport.

Arriving at check in I noticed that someone had left their boarding pass at the auto check in kiosk. I gave it to the desk attendant to throw away and instead they checked my bag to that person destination, Jacksonville Florida.

I could not check in at the kiosk so I walked over to the ticket agent for help. She noticed the mixup on the bag check and was able to catch it before my bag was loaded on the wrong plane.

The reason I could not check in at the Kiosk is I had yet to pay the annual fee to fly stand by. I called my wife at home to wake up, log on and pay the annual fee. Once done, with my bag in hand I started the check in process again.

I get on the plan and realized I had left my boat shoes at home. Oh well, there is nothing I need in the BVI that I cant buy when I get there. The flight to Atlanta was uneventful.

From Atlanta I flew to beautiful San Juan Porto Rico. We landed, I retrieved my bag and walk out of the airport to realize I am in the wrong place, San Juan Porto Rico instead of St Thomas USVI. Its my fault for burring the candle at both ends before I left. I scheduled my flight to the wrong place by accident.

So I take a cab to the local, regional air port and catch a puddle jumper to St Croix then to St Thomas. I was in the St Croix air port no longer then 15 minutes, but log enough to pull out my Ray-ban sunglass and watch the right lens to fall out and break. I hope that is covered under the warranty.

On I fly to St Thomas, get my bags, walk out to the Taxi line and ask for a ride to the Ferry Terminal. Its to late, the last ferry to Tortola has left already. So instead I go to a hotel across the street from the ferry terminal and spend the night.

Friday

Dallas Social Media Speaker J.R. Atkins visits with the famous FoxyFriday at 12:00 noon, I arrive at the Ferry Terminal for the 12:45 Fast Ferry to Road Town. Just before we depart they tell me they can not take me to Roan Town, only as far as the west end where I can take a cab the rest of the way, at my own expense. Welcome to the Islands where the people are nice but you pay for it.

I share a ride into Road Town and we are taken to the wrong place. After renegotiating the rate, we finally arrive at the Hotel.

The Lesson

At what point do we consider our circumstances and choose to retreat? The thought crossed my mind. Should I take all this into consideration and go home, get some much needed rest and try again tomorrow?

Dallas Social Media Speaker J.R. Atkins sails the islands of the BVII chose to press on, not because Im a tough minded, hard charging kind of guy, but because of an idea, a vision, a picture in my mind.

That picture was of me setting on a beach on a Caribbean Island with a beverage in my hand watching the sun set.

This process of pursuing a vision in the face of adversity is not unique to travel. Every day we make choices based on a picture in our mind. The more vivid the details, the stronger the pull.

But the ability to move ahead in the face of adversity is also like a well trained athlete with muscle memory. As we deal with adversity and push through, we build our muscle memory that says yes I can. Over time it gets easier to push through difficult situations.

Each choice we make in life build on the others. We either build positive muscle memory or negative muscle memory.

Have you ever listen to someone describe tragedy in their life and then say these kind of things always happen to me? They have built their own reality based on the negative muscle memory. Or as Dr. Phil is found of saying How is that working for you. Im not saying we invite adversity to ourselves, but I am saying we have 100% control in how we respond.

Dallas Social Media Speaker J.R. Atkins enjoys sailing the BVIThe only reason I was able to smile and be in good spirits throughout the two days of travel was I made a conscious choice to have a good time, trust it would all work out and enjoy the moment.

I look forward to reading your stories and comments.


Archives

Categories

%d bloggers like this: