Jeff the Great Spies CitySpeek in the Wild!

Jeremiah and I both had a great day today, mostly because a tech blog we love covered CitySpeek.com, just 2 weeks after launch!

had some great things to say about CitySpeek that really encouraged us and gave us some extra motivation. In part, TechVibes writes:
I really like their concept of categorized Speeks - what I think is best about it is that you can search through public Speeks by category. Check out events, questions or funny stuff; what might be really interesting tweets often get buried in my Twitter stream, and this is a way to sort through posts if you are looking for something in particular. You can receive speeks through the CitySpeek website, or through IM or email.
I've linked the full article below. Give it a read and make sure to check back with TechVibes daily for more great coverage of web startups!

CitySpeek hopes to appeal to Twitter-phobic
-TechVibes Blog, 12/23/2008

-Jeff the Great


Jeff the Great is High on Speed

A good friend of mine posted some impressive internet speeds over at his blog so I thought I'd do the same. Both of our speeds make most internet users in the US incredibly jealous.

I am running FiOS from Verizon. I am actually disappointed in this test since I am paying for 5mbps upload and as you can see I only got 3.2. Oh well, still faster than most.

-Jeff the Great

p.s. Steve...I'm still faster! j/k


Jeff the Great Participates in GPIE

I recently signed up to participate in the Great Portland Interview Experiment which was brought to the Rose city and is being managed by Chris O'Rourke. I was interviewed by one of my new best online friends, Ramona White. She asked me some fun questions and then posted the interview over on her blog. With her permission I have re-posted the interview below. Make sure to check out Ramona's blog MouthFeel for a daily dose of poetry and other great writing.

Without further to do, enjoy!

-Jeff the Great

What is one thing about you most of us don’t already know?

Besides the fact that I fell off a 60 foot cliff and survived or that I have witnessed a murder? I think most people would be surprised to know that I was a volunteer junior high youth group director for three years. The church I was attending had its entire youth staff resign in one summer so I called and said “hey, let me know if you need anyone to stuff envelopes.” I received a return call a few days later from a guy at the church who said something to the effect of “thanks for your offer to stuff envelopes, how would you like to be the junior high youth guy until we hire someone?” Next thing I know, I added the title of Jr High Youth Director to my resume and did that for three years in addition to my job at Nike. I finally resigned right before my wedding; I figured I should dedicate all my time to my new wife.

You seem to share the love of bacon common in the PDX tech community. Have you always loved bacon or did it develop through your associations in this group?

I’m what they call a “large man” and thus it’s a requirement for me to eat bacon as often as possible. Hey, you don’t get a body like this without working at it! If you asked my parents, I think they’d probably say that when I was a kid, restaurants hide the bacon when I walked in for Sunday brunch.

Do you consider yourself a geek?

Wow, I don’t know! I mean it’s cool to be a geek now, right? I do consider myself a geek but not a computer geek. I am a geek because I am writing a white paper on an economic theory I developed years ago and can’t get it out of my mind. I am a geek because to me, fun is developing a complex analysis of the thousands of mutual funds available at my online brokerage. And that’s just Saturday, wait till I tell you about Sunday!

Why do you think techy people are so fond of sporks?

Sporks are to techies as the swiss army knife is to MacGuyver. On a related note, I have some tiny plastic forks that have a hinge on the handle so that you can fold them in half. They fit in a wallet, how cool!

What is your favorite beverage while you’re working?

Coffee! I drink it like crazy. I switched to a coffee mug instead of a Styrofoam cup so that it appears like I care about the environment. I probably have 6-8 mugs of coffee before lunch. Then after lunch, I’ll throw back another 1 or 2 mugs. Around 3pm I usually need more but I have been trying to do decaf at that point.

Do you listen to music or podcasts while you’re working and if so what?

I do occasionally. My favorite source of music is Pandora Radio. Not sure how I discovered it, maybe through TechCrunch.com, but once I tried it out I was hooked. I have three stations setup. The first and most frequently listened to is seeded with Counting Crows, Augustana, The Killers, Blues Traveler, and Keane. Then sometimes I feel a little funky and I switch to a light rap station. Then, when the day has totally gone to shit, I bust out the old skool rap station which is seeded with 2Pac, Eazy-E, Biggie and Mase.

“Me and Bobby McGee”- the Janis Joplin or the Kris Kristofferson?

Bobby McWho? Don’t tell anyone this, but I have never heard either version of that song until I googled ‘em just now. However, I don’t think Janis Joplin has ever been used to describe me in any way, so I’ll say Kris Kristofferson.

How did you end up launching CitySpeek and where do you hope it will go?

CitySpeek isn’t the first project that I have developed with my business partner, Jeremiah. It is however the highest of quality and our first with a shot at being a major player. Jeremiah has an incredibly creative mind and almost two years ago now he invited me to work with him on a project. Three web sites later we have CitySpeek. The idea came from our new and shared love for micro-blogging (or micro-messaging as I prefer to say). We noticed two things: First, micro-messaging was going beyond the early adopter techie crowd and into the mainstream. Second, we saw a frustration from users as they tried to group themselves by interest and share media with their networks. Our initial idea was a site with sub-domains for each major US city but it eventually warped into what we have now: a micro-messaging site for the rest of the internet. Integrated pics and video, interest groups, message categories, message mapping and Flickr integration (the first of many social network tie-ins). A common misconception is that we are going after Twitter users and that is just not true. Twitter is great but it’s not for everyone. CitySpeek was made for the average internet users and we are marketing to groups. Church groups, softball teams, coworkers, alumni associates, etc. Of course we wouldn’t complain if a twitter user switched to CitySpeek as their primary messaging service, but we understand if they don’t.

What question do you wish I had asked you and what’s the answer?

I don’t know, there’s no one question I was hoping for. I love my wife and can always brag about her. I’ve been consuming books like bacon lately so that’s always fun. This was a blast and your questions were great! Thanks for the opportunity and your time Ramona, it’s been great to meet you through the GPIE!


Jeff the Great Launches CitySpeek.com

If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter, you've probably heard me mention a "super seekrit" project that I was working on. Well, today I am proud to announce that the project is now live on the web, ready for you to check out! Since August, my biz partner Jeremiah and I have been working late nights and exhausting weekends on CitySpeek.com.

You might recall that last year we developed a site called Goboz.com to positive reviews and good visitor traffic. As soon as we launched Goboz we realized how much we had learned, the things we did right and all the things we did wrong.

In the meantime, Jeremiah and I both became big fans of micro-messaging. Essentially, micro-messaging is staying in touch with your network through frequent and short messages. Typically things you want people to know but not something important enough to compose an email about. We quickly found the shortfalls in current micro-messaging platforms and realized the potential that was out there...specifically as a medium to connect small business with customers.

Jeremiah began working his design magic in August, we started to hash out the features we wanted and in October we found an advanced web developer to make the vision a reality. Without going into the specifics I can tell you we really stepped things up this time and did this project 'right'.

So, what is CitySpeek.com you ask?
CitySpeek is a micro-messaging service that allows you to stay in contact with your friends, co-workers, teammates and customers through an efficient means of communication. CitySpeek is different than other micro-messaging services in many ways. CitySpeek encourages communication in communities by offering a rich user experience. Messages can include integrated pictures or video and are sent as one of six different categories.
What are you waiting for, come give the site a try! Start by clicking JOIN on the site and filling out your user info. You will then get a confirmation email right away, click the included link and we'll walk you through the rest of the process. Then, find friends or interesting people to follow (me) and start 'Speeking'!

Finally, I want to thank you for your support of me in everything I do. I couldn't appreciate my network of family and friends any more than I do.

-Jeff the Great


Jeff the Great not 'Made in Oregon'

I took the rare step today of picking up the Oregonian newspaper (I typically read the WSJ and NYTimes) and read an opinion column from an Oregonian staffer that just enraged me. Here is my response.

If you are from the Portland area, you are probably very familiar with the sign pictured here. Its currently referred to as the 'Made in Oregon' sign. When driving into downtown from the east you can't miss it in the beautiful skyline.

The 'Made in Oregon' sign is now in the middle of a controversy that would make the Housewives blush. See, the University of Oregon has owned the building and the sign for a number of years now. They recently finished a spectacular renovation of the space and cut the ribbon for the University of Oregon Portland center.

Naturally, since the sign and building no longer have anything to do with Made in Oregon, the company, the UofO wants to change the sign.

Enter a bunch of angry and aparently bored Portlanders, including Anna Griffin of the Oregonian.

Anna's opinion piece in the Dec 10th, 2008 Oregonian disgusted me. She showed that sometimes Portlanders like to bitch and protest just because. Her opinion is so empty of anything meaningful that she even goes as far as to bring Phil Knight, Nike, and Oregon Athletics into the argument. What? Is she serious?

Whats the problem, anyway? Why should the owner of the building be forced to advertise a private brand? Why can't the UofO tell all of Portland and it's visitors that they University is here to serve the community? Whats wrong with change? The sign changed in 1995 and the world survived, it can change again. Is PSU affraid that a sign will destroy their business in Portland?

Where were you, Anna, when the University first bought the building? Did you protest then? Did you stand up and demand that the University stay out of your city and not change anything in Old Town?

Where were you, Anna, when the sign was changed to read "Made in Oregon"? Did you protest then? Had you lived here, would you have? Would you have been that passionate about White Stag?

I didn't think so.

-Jeff the Great


Jeff the Great Bans Toy Drives

Most would agree that the Holiday's are the season of giving. We give presents to friends and family, some give money to the mailman, I even give a gift to my doctor (its the key to good health).

This year, when you are inundated with requests to give to the poor, I urge to you to walk past the toy drive bin and donate food and warm clothing instead.

In these economic times we need to just survive. Food and shelter are what matter first. So donate some canned or dried food to the local food bank and donate an old sweatshirt to the Salvation Army. Give people what they need most. Toys aren't it. Life is what we all need.

-Jeff the Great

P.S. if you are in Oregon like I am, visit the Oregon Food Bank and the Salvation Army's web sites to get started.