May 05, 2006

A Word on Corporate Sponsorship

Jenna and I really want to go to BlogHer this year.

I mean really.

For her, California is the land of dreams and Hollywood. For me, it's a chance to meet some of the folks I hold in such high esteem. Point is: neither of us has been further west than Austin. Hard to believe, maybe. I used to think the world ended at Lake Ontario to the north and Pennsylvania to the south, so Texas was quite the leap.

For SXSW, you may remember, I put out the call for a corporate sponsor to fund our trip - air/hotel/car - because we could not financially justify the $2K it would take to make that trip to go and speak on a panel for free. Like most independents, we operate on the net without a net, without expense accounts to bill back travel. It's a writeoff, yes, but cash flow issues are the common plague of the indie. No exception here.

We were humbled and thrilled when Qumana decided to sponsor our SXSW trip. I had been using "Q" for several months before that, and I am the kind of user who generally has some opinions and ideas about the products I use. Sometimes I'm even right. ;-)

And I enjoy writing about the space, because Qumana is, in my mind, a writer's tool first, a thinker's pad, a way to make it easier to get the thoughts from head to pixels so that I can do it more often and without having to take as many naps. You can quote me.

Was the sponsorship worth doing? I would defer to Jon Husband for Qumana's perspective. For me, I wish I could sponsor them right back--in fact I am sort of am in the way that works best, because I continue to use Qumana and provide insight, ideas, and sometimes even good jokes, to the folks there.

Most of all, the relationship post-sponsorship has deepened my appreciation and understanding of their organization, of them as people. As a group of people who get it, I can now say: I'd put my reputation on the line for you.

Independents don't say that often. And we probably shouldn't. It's not something I would be comfortable saying unless we spend some time together, unless that time is mutually rewarding, unless in some way both parties grow from it. I have.

Users are funny animals. We incorporate the things you make into the way we relate to the world, and often we use your products in ways you hadn't, in your wildest dreams--or nightmares--thought of. That's what makes us so endearing!

I was telling Jon last night by Skype how I found a new application for Google Maps. It goes like this:

I've decided not to rejoin the country club pool we've gone to for two years. It's too expensive, no matter how I slice and dice it; it's time to scale back. So my friend and I decided to join a subdivision pool this summer. Problem: Neither of our subdivisions have pools. Opportunity: In Atlanta, some subdivisions sell pool memberships to outside families for the summer. Challenge: Which subdivisions have pools, and where are they?

Are you with me? I know you are. I sat at my friend's computer, and using Google Maps, found our neighborhoods, then turned on Satellite to scan the landscape for in-ground pools. Oh, you can tell, believe me. A trampoline looks very different from a junior Olympic size pool.

Scroll, scroll, plus, minus, left, right.

Whenever we located a pool that looked sizeable, we'd layer on the Hybrid map to get the street coordinates. From street names, we could generally tell the subdivision name, at which point I'd go to a new window and look up the subdivision and homeowner's association in Google search mode to see if we could get a phone number.

We found a pool--it looks awesome and it's 1/4 of cost.

That's a long way of saying, where the user has a will, she'll find a way.

But Enough with the vignettes.

BlogHer is quickly approaching, and I will be announcing a sponsorship opportunity to send Jenna and I to California. It's sort of like Stowe's Clothes, except without the clothes, although get us some T-shirts and they'll become part of our fashion statement. ;-)

Hell, we'll even do caps.

Is your fancy tickled?

Good. More soon!

Thank You, Qumana

1 comment:

...e... said...

i hope you have more luck with blogher than i did! say hi8 to all my friends for me....:)