#140conf #LA

Eight years ago I entered a bright and shiny world called Twitter. 

In 2010, I compared Twitter to a cocktail party, and I think the comparison still stands. Lots of people weave in and out of short conversations and content, with comments sometimes ricocheting like Pokéballs. About 47 of the 313 million active users “tweet” via smart phones, so Twitter’s 140 character limit makes it doable. Chatting in 140 character tweets isn’t the easiest way to carry on an extended conversation. Still, meaningful relationships can form, and when you discover a kindred spirit, it’s great!

Today I think the average person joins Twitter and feels lost. It’s not obvious what to do once you get there. I found the game changer is engaging in conversations. Once you start chatting with people, the clouds part and the Twitterverse opens up. You can pose a question and get immediate answers, and almost always find interesting people for banter or discussions. And there is an endless bounty of content to consume 24 hours a day, every day of the year.

Jeff Pulver, founder of the #140 Conference, created and produced the first #140 Brands Conference in New York City on Dec. 2, 2010. As a graphic designer who works with businesses and branding, and being a social media aficionado, I was excited to learn how brands were navigating the social media sphere. It featured dozens of speakers and panels on myriad topics

The opportunity to meet virtual friends face-to-face was fabulous! I’ll never forget the snow along the sidewalks as I walked from the subway to the venue, and the thrill of meeting for the first time, Debra Cincioni, Lori Moreno and Jessica Northey , fellow Bitrebels — Twitter #BA75 sisters.

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L-R: Jessica Northey, Debra Cincioni, me, Tommy Geraci and Sueanne Shirzay, Dec. 2010, NYC

Past #140 Conference events have featured a series of 10-15 minute presentations and 10-20 minute panels that have provided attendees with knowledge, perspective and insights into the theme of the conference. The format has been fast-paced, so if there is something you’re not too interested in, it quickly moves on to the next topic.

The SOCIAL part of social media is super special. And for first-timers, the opportunity to meet many Twitter friends in one place, in real life, is undeniably exciting.

But the educational part is equally special. The #140 Conference provides access to some of the most knowledgable people in a variety of sectors, representing a huge depth of expertise.

Fast forward to July 25 in Los Angeles 

I had the opportunity to reconnect with old friends and for the first time, meet Marsha Collier, Michele Meiche, Henie Riesinger and many others. I can only describe the moments of our meetings as pure joy!

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L-R: Michele Meiche, me, Marsha Collier, Julie Spira

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L-R: Calvin Lee and me

Over the past two months, Michele and I have been chatting on Twitter about our fond feelings for the #140 conferences. We weren’t just waxing nostalgia, although being in that place at that particular time in history was very special. Twitter has evolved and now there are many more people, and the way people and brands use Twitter (and social media in general) has changed. There is always more to learn, even for long-time users, so we concluded there is definitely a need — and isn’t it time — for another #140 conference?

At the LA event, I was hoping to talk with Jeff to see if I could convince him to organize another #140 conference. I had no idea he was aware of the conversations between me and Michele. So it was a surprise when, midway through the event, Jeff made the announcement that indeed, another #140 Conference is underway and slated to occur in Los Angeles this November. I was thrilled!

Anyone interested in Twitter, and social media in general, would benefit from attending. And some of us could find ourselves falling in love with Twitter all over again. I’m looking forward to learning what’s new, and I’m especially looking forward to meeting many new as well as long-time friends.

Earlier I mentioned how great it feels when you discover a kindred spirit on Twitter. Getting to physically meet your kindred spirit and hug them in real life is THE BEST!

Jeff invites interested sponsors to participate, and extends an invitation to all to attend.

Details to come! See you there!

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A crowd gathered around Jeff Pulver as he announced the coming #140 Conference.

The quality of the photos of the #14oconfLA gathering, shot in very low light with my Verizon Samsung Galaxy S7, impressed everyone.

And trust me when I say it’s not easy to impress a group of social media mavens!

I’m proud to participate as a member of Verizon’s social media team. My posts are about my own personal experiences.  No compensation is provided, nor are favorable comments promised. All opinions are my own.

More about Terri:

Daze of Our Lives

Am I Living in a Seinfeld Episode?

There Will Be Light

Two days last week, I worked at Alki Surf Shop while my husband, David, zipped over to Randle, WA, to do some work on our AirBNB house.

Shortly after I opened the store, a woman I didn’t know walked in and said, “I’m not stalking you, but you left your BMW lights on.” It turned out I’d parked in front of her house. She is also an aficionado of vintage BMWs, and didn’t want me to return to find my car with a dead battery. The woman’s name was Megan, and I discovered we both own businesses on Alki Beach.

I locked up the store and walked with Megan back to my car, opened the door and started the engine without a problem. She waved goodbye, I locked up my car and headed back to the shop.

Fast forward to the end of the day…

I walk back to my car and see the lights were still ON! OMG. Earlier, when I checked and saw my battery was in good shape, I forgot to turn off the lights!

But, to my delight, the engine started right up!

Sheesh. Old people. 

© terri-nakamura-BMW-2002

My classic 1976 BMW 2002 is now 40 years old!

Chewing the Digital Fat at Alki Surf Shop

Our visitors are both local and from around the world. Later that day, Jim and Suzanne Skerjanc from Bellingham dropped in, and somehow, we started talking about cell phone service.

Jim and Suzanne told me about their spotty AT&T service, and how they recently switched to Verizon. And yes, this was a spontaneous conversation!

Suzanne said, “We were with AT&T, and just didn’t get a signal anywhere. I mean, at my work there was like zero signal. I had to go outside and it was still sketchy. Jim’s a realtor, so he’s all over the place—and, I mean, he HAS to have a signal.”

© terri-nakamura-Jim-Suzanne-Skerjanc-bellingham

Jim and Suzanne Skerjanc, happy Verizon customers

Jim told me he would be driving down a main road, and bam—his calls would drop. He noticed the bars would go to zero, then a half mile down the road, they would come back. And it happened all over the county.

When they switched to Verizon, it was completely different. They now have cell phone service everywhere they go.

“We have full service now. It’s like being in the middle of Seattle,” Jim told me. “Since we switched to Verizon, we have great, reliable coverage all the time.”

Hearing about their experiences made me proud of my connection to Verizon as a brand influencer. Maybe #BetterMatters, but in their case, #BetterWins! 

AirBNB AirHEADS

By a huge percentage, the guests at our home on AirBNB are nice and responsible people. It’s interesting to see how different age groups behave almost stereotypically. “Grownups” treat our house as their own, and leave things in great shape. Millennials, on the other hand, generally seem to have a different idea of what it means to leave a place neat and tidy, or to treat our home with care.

When we first listed our house, my friend, Reg Saddler said, “Well, you know what people do with AirBNB houses, don’t you?” (And being a newbie, I said, “No!?”) He went on, “Terri, people make pornos in them!”—which kind of freaked me out!

Last year we hosted a boudoir photographer, whom we found to be a respected commercial photographer, and totally legit. Nothing too crazy has happened so far.

Generally, when we hand over the keys, we meet our guests face-to-face, and I believe the personal connection helps ensure a positive experience on both sides. That is, most of the time.

Recently we had a group of guys make a reservation for a bachelor’s weekend. The person who booked the house specifically said to me, “We will be clean and respectful.”

© terri-nakamura-airbnb-bachelor-party

Beside filling huge garbage bags with empty booze and beer bottles, and then ruining and tossing five of our plush, hotel-grade towels into the trash without a word, this group burned through all of our firewood. And they also burned a batch of stripped maple saplings that David was seasoning to make into furniture.

Long pieces of beautiful wood leaning against the wall opposite the wall of split firewood would appear different to sensible people, but they were clueless. I could only think: “Morons.”

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Not the actual doll. The real one wasn’t this nice.

And to top it off, they also deposited a blow-up sex doll in with the rest of their trash. I mean, WHO DOES THAT? EWWWWW!

If we’d known the fiancee, I would’ve been tempted to tell her, “RUN, BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE!” 

MISSION: Litter-ally Accomplished

Some of you might remember my last new year’s eve and day were crazy. A small part of it had to do with a postcard offering a trial box of OKO cat litter from the Mud Bay Pet Store.

We regularly receive OKO postcards and I usually recycle them. But recently, one arrived, and I decided to give it another shot. So I tossed it into my briefcase in the event I was near Mud Bay in the Capitol Hill neighborhood

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A typical cross walk on Capitol Hill, Seattle

Last Sunday I was near Mud Bay AND I had the postcard with me! So in a deja vu moment, I pulled into the gas station next door to the pet store, walked in, and bought something, then asked if I could leave my car in their lot while I shopped at Mud Bay.

And once again, Mud Bay didn’t have the trial size of OKO cat litter available.

I asked, “Do you guys EVER have the trial size of this product?”

They said, “No.”

Apparently the manufacturer makes no effort to ensure their retail outlets carry the items they’re promoting.

To put an end to my quest, I bought a large size of litter because we were running low. And to my surprise, Mud Bay offered to subtract the value of the trial size. So the box ended up costing only a few dollars

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Ice, the teddy-bear hamster, captured on a Canary home security camera.

I felt guilty spending only three dollars on a large box of litter, so I also bought an interactive cat toy and some hamster treats for our son’s and daughter-in-law’s pet teddy bear hamster.

OKO cat litter is odd. It’s made from paper and sort of tubular in shape. I liked the concept, but it’s difficult to sift. Our Maine Coon, Hunter, is going along with it, but our silver tabby, Grey, is avoiding it. It was good to be able to try it. Now I know. 

Grownup Kids are FUN!

Last week, our oldest son Andrew, and daughter-in-law Diana drove to Seattle from Monterey, CA. Since they were supposed to arrive Sunday night, our family decided to delay celebrating Father’s Day until Monday, so everyone could be here.

But on Sunday afternoon I received a phone call from Andrew saying he and Diana would arrive in Seattle in time for Father’s Day dinner!

I love our oldest son, Andrew. He’s such an amazing kid! He also has a knack for creating minor chaos 🙂

© terri-nakamura-Andrew-and-Diana-June-2016

Andrew and Diana — weary travelers

Hearing his updated ETA, I needed to make sure our youngest son, Charley and his girlfriend, Sheela, were going to be available in a few hours, then cleared it all with David. When it looked like we were all on the same page, I switched into high gear, trying to figure out how we could get a dinner reservation on such short notice. So I called Marée Bistro, a neighboring business on Alki Beach.

Remember Megan, the woman who told me I left my lights on? Well, Marée belongs to Megan and her husband, Andy. They said they’d be happy to save us a table, which was great!

After we closed Alki Surf Shop, our group walked a few blocks to Marée and enjoyed some amazing dinners.

© frisee-salad-maree-bistro-alki-seattle

Frisée salad with house-cured lardon, garlic croutons and soft-cooked egg

We ordered lots of different entrees, including a Galantine de poulet (like a free range chicken roulade), wild boar (tender and delicious!), hangar steak, a savory tart, steak frites; plus some yummy sides including a frisée salad and a tasty assortment of charcuterie.

It was a fun and festive meal and wonderful on every level. After dinner, we walked out, and were greeted by an incredible crimson sunset. It was the perfect end to a great weekend.

All of which started with Megan telling me I’d left my lights on. 

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The sunset as we exited Marée Bistro, Father’s Day 2016

The hamster photo was captured by Diana Horsfall, using the Canary home security system, courtesy of Verizon. The doll photo was sourced on Pixabay. Other photos in this post were shot by me, using the fabulous camera on the Samsung Galaxy 7, courtesy of Verizon Wireless.

More about Terri:

Shooting a How-to Video

ADDING RAM TO A MACBOOK PRO

This is my first attempt to shoot a video and edit it, and also my first exploration inside of a laptop!

A month ago I installed 32 GB of RAM in my 27” iMac. It was super easy! My buddy Reg Saddler was with me, virtually, providing guidance and support.

It got me thinking about my mid-2012 Macbook Pro, and how it had just 4 GB of RAM. I decided to upgrade to its maximum — 8 GB, but wasn’t sure where to start.

I’d never opened up a laptop, and installing RAM in a laptop looked more complicated than the installation on my iMac. So I asked my friend, Greg, to help me. But instead of helping me, he actually did the installation!

It worked out well, because it gave me a chance to record the process using my new Samsung Galaxy 7 (S7), which has a pretty powerful video editor built in.

I’ve never edited a video before, and had no idea what I was doing, so imagine how surprised I was to discover it’s simple to do all of the editing and post-production on the S7.

During the RAM installation, I recorded about 14 minutes of video in four different segments . Most of it was a major snoozefest, or just chitchat that needed to go away.

So I omitted the audio by turning off the volume on all of the clips, prior to assembling everything.

At the time I was editing, I actually didn’t have the presence of mind to take screen shots, so a bunch of the following images are after the fact!

Part One — EDITING THE VIDEO

On the S7, I navigated to my camera’s roll and opened the first of four segments I’d filmed.

A - Open-Edit © terrinakamura

Once opened, at the bottom of the screen there was an option to “Edit”

B Video Editor © terrinakamura

From there I found the “Video Editor” option.

C First View © terrinakamura

Once “Video Editor” is clicked, a screen comes up, showing the video represented by linear thumbnails. The yellow line is the beginning of the playback.

2-Trim or split video © terrinakamura

Hit the play button (small round arrow button in lower left quadrant) to review. To get rid of irrelevant content, you can split or trim parts of the clip. To do that, select  “Trim” from the menu. A sub-menu pops up where you can select trim to the left, right, or split into pieces.

3-Transition button © terrinakamura

I decided to “Split” the section in two. A box then appears between the two sections. By resting the vertical playback line on top of it, a “Transition” menu will come up.

4-Choose a transition between edits

There are quite a few options for transitions between clips. I just chose a simple black dissolve (top middle on this image). To add a segment, I clicked the “+” symbol in the lower left corner.

5-Add another clip © terrinakamura

I navigated back to my camera’s files and selected the next clip, which then appears in the timeline as anew thumbnail. (Note an additional “transition box” appeared.)

6-Add title screen © terrinakamura

When I had all of my clips trimmed and assembled, just for the heck of it, I decided to add a couple of titles. To do that, I selected “Title.” A bunch of choices pop up. I chose black.

7-Enter text © terrinakamura

A box opens to type in some copy. Just try to make sure you check your spelling. Typos in videos happen here.

8-Text entered © terrinakamura

For the purposes of this sequence, I typed in “Sample Title,” but in my final video I inserted three title pages. When I was finished, I looked at the video and jotted down what I wanted to say. (NOTE: There is probably a better work flow, but since I didn’t know what I was doing, this is what happened with me!)

9-Record audio © terrinakamura

I figured out I could add narration by selecting “AUDIO.” There are several choices, and I selected “Record narration.” So while the video was playing back, I recorded my voice to go with the video. The primary reason I did this is because I decided to speed everything up 2X, which meant my voice sounded like I was talking through helium. It had to be removed!

10-Export © terrinakamura

When I was done, I played it back to see how it sounded and looked. It wasn’t perfect, but hey, you have to start somewhere! I was satisfied — quite proud of myself, in fact! So I selected “EXPORT.”

The processing took a few minutes. When it was complete, I watched it again, then shared it on to YouTube.

The S7 is a great device — much smaller than my Nexus 6P or Samsung Edge 6+ — so it fit easily into my little phone mount and desktop tripod, but more importantly, it recorded really beautiful video. So beautiful, in fact, that when I did the screen grabs, the resolutions looked very nice.

Here is the final video: [ insert anti-climactic drumroll here ]

You can click the video, above, or go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ULsavG49e2U

The completed video, which was sped up 2X, cut it down to about 3 minutes.

Part 2: THE RAM INSTALLATION

Greg is a former graphic designer and art director, retired from Microsoft. He and I have a long history of geeking out, talking about computers, gadgets and related topics that make both of our spouses’ eyes glaze over. This was the perfect project for us!

It’s all covered in the video, above, but here are a few highlights:

1 S7 ©terrinakamura-10 inch width

First, we unscrewed the back. Three of the screws are longer, so we put them aside and marked the holes before removing the rest of the screws, which were much shorter.

2 S7 ©terrinakamura-sm.

Next, we disconnected the battery using a nylon pry tool

3 S7 ©terrinakamura-sm.

After discharging static electricity, ease open clips holding in the RAM, and removed the two sticks.

4 S7 ©terrinakamura-sm.

Next, the new RAM was inserted into the slots. They were firmly snapped into place

5 S7 ©terrinakamura-sm.

We closed the back of the laptop, first treating screws with an anti-vibration goop.

6 S7 ©terrinakamura-sm.

Moment of truth: Booted it up…

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Happy to hear the Mac start up sound and see the Apple logo appear!

8 S7 ©terrinakamura-tn-10 inch width.

VOILA!

So, this entire process involved learning on a couple of levels. It was amazing and fun to shoot, then edit a video entirely on my S7. Second, I’m no longer afraid of opening up my laptop. SSD, here I come!


PS: A cool way to take screen shots on the S7:

Hold your hand perpendicular to the phone screen (like you’re going to give it a karate chop).

Swipe your hand quickly to the left or right. You’ll hear a “click.” BINGO! Screen shot taken!


Video and images shot by Terri Nakamura, using a Samsung Galaxy 7, courtesy of Verizon Wireless.

I’m proud to participate as a member of Verizon’s social media outreach team. My posts are about my own personal experiences.  No compensation is provided, nor are favorable comments promised. All opinions are my own.

Thanks to my friend, Greg, for his help.

More about Terri:

The Caring Economy — Earth Day 2016

 What companies do every day

Earth Day, established April 22, 1970, has become the largest secular observance in the world, and is celebrated by more than a billion people annually. It’s a day where people are more mindful about the environment and reflect on what they can do to help preserve and protect the planet.

But the earth needs our care every day — not just on Earth Day. Here is what a few companies are saying and doing:

Alki Surf Shop 

Having our business on Alki Beach means we have a front row seat to observe Earth Day and the forces of nature. We are aware of the ebb and flow of the tides. We look out at sailboats being driven by the wind, and hear the high-pitched calls of seabirds as they wheel overhead. When the sand is hot, we stick our toes in the cold salt water of Puget Sound – home to an irreplaceable, teeming ecosystem – and gaze up at the snowcapped Olympic Mountains glistening in the sun. And we realize that all of this is interconnected and must be protected for all time. — Kahuna Dave, Beach Bum and CEO, Alki Surf Shop

Alki Beach Sunset © terri nakamura - small

Apple

Apple’s recycling efforts recovered 89 million pounds of materials in 2015, including copper, silver, aluminum, steel, zinc, and $40 million worth of gold.

A commercial featuring Siri and promoting “Liam,” debuted today. Liam is a robot designed to dismantle and recycle iPhones. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=99Rc4hAulSg

Siri and Liam commercial

Amazon

Amazon is always on the lookout for ways to reduce the company’s impact on the environment.

  • Shipping packages are made from recovered fiber content, and are 100 percent recyclable
  • Amazon incorporates sustainable and eco-friendly materials in their buildings (six of their buildings have been awarded LEED Gold certification)
  • They make “Green” products available to consumers (www.amazon.com/greeAmazon Earth Day Bookn).

Today, Amazon offers “The Four Seasons – An Earth Day Interactive Children’s Storybook” as a free download.

Google

One of Google’s goals for the products they create is to be good for the environment. A few points worth noting:

  • Google has been carbon neutral since 2007.
  • They are the largest corporate buyers of renewable energy on the planet.
  • Their data centers use 50 percent less energy than typical data centers.

“We live on a beautiful planet, and it’s the only one we’ve got,” says Sophie Diao, 2016 Google doodler.

To see a history of Google Earth Day doodles, visit: http://time.com/4304384/google-doodle-earth-day-2016/

Sophie Diao Google Doodler Earth Day 2016

Value Village 

A “clothing spill” appeared yesterday on Alki Beach. Electric Coffin, a creative company whose efforts were sponsored by Value Village, was deployed to create installation art made of discarded/donated clothing. The conical spirals appeared to be “poured” from an oil barrel into a “pool” of colored clothing at the base. Informational oil-barrel lids told more of the story to passersby. The work brings attention to the volume of textile waste generated by people each year, which averages to be 80 pounds per person in North America.

Sidewalk Art - composite © Terri Nakamura-small

Verizon 

In honor of Earth Day 2016, Verizon has made a commitment to plant 50,000 trees this year.

But on an everyday basis, Verizon is a good corporate and global citizen that works to protect our planet as well as better serve their customers. A few statistics of note:

  • Verizon has 206 Energy Star-certified stores, offices and centers
  • 289 of their retail stores are LEED-certified
  • Verizon has reused, repurposed or recycled 50 million mobile devices to date
  • Employees have collected and recycled 2.1 million pounds of e-waste.

Verizon impacts and how to make a difference

 

Whether you did something to honor Earth Day, or if  you did nothing more than enjoy family, friends and colleagues and the world around you, I hope we can all do things in the future to help make it possible to celebrate many more.


Apple, Google and Verizon images sourced at URLs cited; Alki and Value Village images shot by Terri Nakamura, using a Samsung Galaxy 7, courtesy of Verizon Wireless.

I’m proud to participate as a member of Verizon’s social media outreach team. My posts are about my own personal experiences.  No compensation is provided, nor are favorable comments promised. All opinions are my own.

More about Terri:

Shopping for a Living

Skybridge cropped

How do products end up in stores?

For nearly 20 years I created product labels and packaging. One of my clients, John Matthys, was a great mentor and friend. One of the things he championed was real-life market testing.

What is market testing?

The traditional way to test customer response was with focus groups.

Focus group testing enlists qualified participants who meet certain demographic criteria (age, gender, income levels, etc.). They’re assembled to view and respond to visual, conceptual, or theoretical goods or situations. Clients and research analysts often will watch through a two-way mirror, while participants offer feedback that helps companies anticipate how their products or services will perform.

It’s very expensive.

John realized the huge amount of money his company was paying to conduct focus groups exceeded the cost of actually producing products and placing them onto store shelves. What better feedback is there than getting real-life responses from his actual customers? So that’s what he did.

Market research and intuition

At our store, Alki Surf Shop, my husband, David Horsfall, and I have employed John’s strategy with many of our products. In addition, we also pay attention to trends, and stock inventory compatible with our store’s retro-modern brand and encompassing “Seattle, surf culture, beach and fun.”

Recently I spent four days at the Seattle Gift Show (pictured above). Shows like the Seattle Gift Show are for retail stores and businesses that sell merchandise to consumers. They are not open to the general public. There is an eclectic group in attendance. It’s akin to belonging to a special club where the members have something special in common: they’re all kind of crazy. I say that because retail is not for weenies. There are many easier ways to make money, but they’re maybe not as much fun.

Seen at the Seattle Gift Show

Tiny sample of things we saw at the Seattle Gift Show while shopping for Alki Surf Shop

I personally don’t enjoy shopping for sport. So if I find something I like, I’ll buy 2, 3, or even 9 of the same exact thing.

But the gift show isn’t like shopping for yourself. It’s more like you’re shopping to buy something for a friend, but you don’t know who the friend is, and you don’t know what the friend likes.

So you end up choosing things that you like, or imagine THEY would like. It’s a bit like mind reading. David often says I’m prescient. However, when it comes to buying for retail, it’s a semi-informed roll of the dice.

Shopping to buy for a store is hard work. We have ideas of what we might want, then search through myriad vendors and options. We compare sources, prices, quality and terms. Then if we decide to sell an item, we order it, price it, add it to our inventory, merchandise it, and track its sales.

Our real-life business education

As retail storeowners, we meet many nice, friendly people from all over the world. The flip side is, we devote so much time to nurturing this thing we’ve birthed, it leaves us with just a fraction of the free time we once had. That means we are spending much of our time with strangers, rather than family or friends.

That being said, we’re fortunate to have friends who are also fellow store and restaurant owners. They understand the relentless work it takes to make a business like ours succeed. They’ve shared their experiences to help us avoid mistakes, and generously given us great advice and support.

There’s a widely quoted statistic attributed to Bloomberg, that says eight out of 10 entrepreneurs who launch businesses fail within the first 18 months. Having recently passed that milestone, and seeing our sales increasing year-over-year, David and I feel slightly more confident about what we’re doing.

It’s a continual learning experience that’s both challenging and fun.

See how it all comes together

We’re gearing up for spring and summer and hope you’ll stop by if you’re in the area. We’ll have new items from the Seattle Gift Show on our shelves, and you’ll have the opportunity to be part of our real-life market testing.

There won’t be any two-way mirrors or research analysts. But you will be greeted with a friendly “Aloha!”


Postscript

This blog post went through seven revisions and was written entirely on a Motorola Droid Turbo 2 provided to me by Verizon Wireless.

It was fun writing in a café with only the Droid, a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse, while curious onlookers stole glances!

Droid cropped

Working at Teavana in Seattle’s University Village, home to a Verizon Smart Store Plus

You can learn more about the Droid Turbo 2, the smartphone with the unbreakable screen, by visiting Verizon Wireless.


Disclosure: As a member of a great group of Verizon influencers, I’m invited to share my honest thoughts on cool products to use and test. No additional compensation is provided, nor are favorable comments promised. All opinions are my own.

All Photos @ Terri Nakamura 2016

More about Terri:

 

20 Great Gifts for Tech-Lovers

Ideas Starting at $10 —  10 Days to Shop!

There’s a Verizon “Smart Store Plus” in my favorite Seattle shopping place—University Village. Think: Apple Store with a wide range of brands and products.

The fact that there are gobs of cool things there inspired me to put together this gift guide. You can find something for every geek on your list.

Prices were noted at the time the post was written. For specials, check this link. (Free shipping on all online orders—some items may be online only.)


1 verizon-silicone-cover-samsung-galaxy-s-6-edge-plus-iset-samg928vmsilblk

The $10 case I bought for my S6 Edge+

1. Cases for every budget — starting at $9.99 — Do you need a case to simply protect from scuffs, or do you work in a profession where your phone takes a beating? Looking for designer bling, or do you need a “power safety net?” With myriad choices, here’s a tip: decide what’s important—brand, color, features, materials, budget—then search accordingly.

x
x

2 Micro SD Memory Card Reader and 128 GB Micro SD

San Disks come in lots of sizes

2. SanDisks — start at $12.99 — Everyone needs space! When a family member or friend finds one of these in their Christmas stocking, they’ll say, “Thanks for the Memory!” SanDisk offers a range from 32 to 128 GB. They’re useful and they make great stocking stuffers, too.

3 verizon-4-8a-vehicle-charger-white-iset-vpc48wht 5 $19.99

3. 4.8A vehicle Charger with Dual Output — (5★) $19.99 — Two is better than one, right? A vehicle charger with dual output means you can charge both your phone and tablet while you’re on the go! It has a charging indicator showing when it’s fully charged, and comes in six colors—white, blue, red, pink, black and yellow.

4 Verizon Gift Cards4. Verizon Gift Cards — From $25  — When you aren’t sure what that someone on your list wants, but you know they love tech— gift cards can be a great choice. They don’t expire, and are available for $25, $50, $75 or $100. The cards can be used online or in-store to buy things, or even be used to pay your Verizon bill.

5 Sol Republic Tracks Headphones 5 $29

 

5. Sol Republic Tracks Headphones — (5★) $29.98 – (70% off – reg. $99.98) — Right now Sol Republic Tracks Headphones are available online at a ridiculously inexpensive price. With convenient playback controls and phone compatibility, you’ll experience a great range of sound from base to treble. They’re highly rated and going fast!

6 Chromecast $35

6. Chromecast — $34.99 (4★) — Good things come in small packages. Chromecast is an inexpensive way to screencast—the ability to view content from your phone onto your television. It works with Android 2.3+, iOS 6.0+, Windows and Mac smartphones, tablets and laptops. Out of stock? The Belkin Miracast (4) does the same thing at $59.99, and includes an HDMI and USB cables.

7 JBL Clip+ Bluetooth Speaker

7. JBL Clip+ Bluetooth Speaker — $39.99 — Do you need to buy a great gift for a music lover who is on the go? Super light, rugged and powerful, the Clip+ includes a carabiner to attach to your backpack or clothes. Fully charged, it will provide about 5 hours of play. It has a fun, compact design and comes in five colors: red, grey, blue, purple and black. Compatible with your phone.

8 ZAGG Invisible Shield

8. Invisible Shield Privacy Glass for iPhone 6s and 6sPlus (4★) $44.99 — One of the icky things about screen protectors is, they can look smudgy. Invisible Shield’s tinted protective glass keeps prying eyes from viewing your screen via a two-way privacy filter. It also repels skin oils, so it’s easy to apply and keep clean. In fact, it’s so good that ZAGG will replace worn or damaged Invisible Shield glass for the life of your device. (Models available for other devices.)

9 Travel Rockstar $59

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9. Belkin Travel Rockstar ­— $59.99 — 
Turn one outlet into two. As a portable power pack, the Travel Rockstar uses a built-in battery to provide 3,000 mAh to your USB-enabled device. It’s a convenient way to give your smartphone or tablet a power boost while traveling for fun or pleasure, or even on your commute.

10 LG Tone Pro Bluetooth Stereo Headset10. LG Tone Pro Bluetooth Stereo Headset — (4.5★) $59.99 Regularly $69.99 — Tone Pro has neck-behind, wireless bluetooth stereo headset with Harmon Kardon signature sound. It has a MEMS (MicroElectrical-Mechanical System) microphone, ensuring phone clarity. Enjoy up to 23 hours of standby; 16 hours of talk time; and up to 10.5 hours of music playback. Charge up to 100% in less than two hours.

11 Mophie Powerstation Plus 3 $99


11. Mophie Powerstation Plus 3x — (4★
) $99.00 — Do you know a battery daredevil? One who lets their phone battery experience near death on a daily basis? iPhone or Android compatible and true to its name—this back up battery will fully recharge your smartphone 3 times. It seems like connectors  vanish when you need them, but don’t worry with the Mophie Powerstation Plus — the connectors are built in.


12 Blue Ant Pump Mini HD Audio Sportbuds $9912. Blue Ant Pump HD Audio Sport buds MINI — $99.00 — 
The Plantronics Fit bluetooth stereo headset looked good, but this Blue Ant option was recommended at $30 less. Pump HD’s sports-inspired, sweat-proof (IP54-rated) earbuds deliver powerful audio. It delivers up to six-hours of playtime on a quick, one-hour charge. There are three sizes of the ComfortSeal ear tips, and SuperFit Stabilizers ensure a great fit.

13 FITBIT Flex Wireless Activity+Sleep Wristband 4.5 $99
13. Fitbit Charge HR — (4★)  Now  $129.99 — Regularly $149.99 — This advanced tracking wristband provides your automatic, continuous heart rate and tracks your activity right on your wrist all day, during workouts and beyond. Log your meals, track your calories, and even evaluate your sleep — now $20 off.

14 Canary all in one Home Security System 4 $199


14. Canary all-in-one home security system — (4★
) Now $179.99 — Regularly $249.99  — This beautifully designed home security device seems to do everything. It’s easy to set up, too. The HD wide-angle camera lets you see, hear and stream, with the option to record and store. It also monitors air quality, temperature and humidity. The sleek design is unobtrusive and makes it look more like a speaker than a camera.

15 Philips Hue White & Color Ambiance Starter Kit $199

15. Philips Hue White & Color Ambiance Starter Kit — $199.99 — Ease into sleep; wake gently. Adjust the ambience, or make your home look occupied. Paint with light and change colors — all remotely controlled using your phone. Very nifty! The starter kit contains 3 wireless bulbs and is Apple Homekit and Nest Learning Thermostat-compatible.

16 Ultimate Ears Megaboom 4.5 $249


16. UE Megaboom — (4.5★
) Now $249.99  — Regularly $299.99 — BOOM is right! The volume and sound quality of this UE bluetooth speaker is unreal. The cylinder-shape projects sound in all directions, allowing you to hear music at high-volume without distortion. In 2014 I found few speakers that could pair with more than one speaker. UE Megaboom lets you pair up to 8 speakers! It comes in 4 colors: red, blue, purple and black.

17 Moto260 2nd Gen Smart Watch

Love the bespoke Horween leather band. 

 

17. Moto360 2nd Gen Smart Watch 46mm — (4★) $329.99 — Simply beautiful. Compatible with a huge range of devices, this elegant smart watch is handsome and affordable. Moto360 comes in two sizes (42mm and 46mm), and delivers notifications from your phone via bluetooth or wifi. It’s also a fitness tracker and responds to gestures and voice commands.

18 Moto X 2nd Gen $449


18. Moto X (2nd Gen) — (4★
) $449.99** — The Moto X (2nd Gen) smartphone is beautifully designed and affordable. The 5.2-inch, 1080 HD display means visual content looks great, and its 13 MP camera can be activated with a twist of your wrist. It responds to voice commands and will even read text aloud. It has a metal frame, and you can choose genuine materials, like wood or leather, to fit your lifestyle.

19 BB-8 Droid Turbo2 4 $624


19. Droid Turbo 2 Designed By You — (4★
) $624** — Special Edition Star Wars: The Force Awakens Droid Turbo 2 is now available! I saw this device dropped from 8 feet onto a concrete slab. Not a scratch. It has the first shatterproof display and you can custom design your phone with than 1,000 combinations. It has a 5.9″1440 x 2560 display and whopping 21 MP camera! Works great with the Moto360 smart watch.

20 Galaxy S6 Edge+ 4.5 $768

20. Galaxy S6 Edge Plus — (4.5★) $768** — There are myriad reasons why this device is one of Samsung’s flagship phones. I love mine! The beautiful 5.7″ Quad HD display (2560 x 1440) is stunning, making it an amazing entertainment device. The 16 MP camera shoots video in 4K. (Read more about it here.) The S6 Edge Plus works in more than 200 countries. Ready for a splurge? This is it!



Besides a huge array of phones, gadgets and accessories, the University Village Verizon Store offers tech support, workshops and demos.

The items on this list only scratch the surface. I hope you find some gifts to help you get your holiday shopping holi-done!

★  Ratings based on consumer feedback. New items are not rated.
*  Qualcomm® Quick Charge 2.0 (5V/9V) device required.
** List price. Contract/monthly prices vary by device

Thanks to Jathan Lopez, Solutions Manager, and Specialist Calvin Li, both at the University Village Verizon Store, who contributed some of their favorites to my list.

Verizon Wireless has given me the opportunity to use some of their products.

More about Terri:

Racing Bigfoot in the Shadow of Mount St. Helens

Joe Galioto

Imagine running a 200+ mile race in four days, over impossible terrain, with only six hours of sleep.

Some of us think our jobs feel like that!

But in fact, this is exactly what Joe Galioto did, along with 58 other athletes who completed the Bigfoot 200, an extreme endurance run that traversed Mount St. Helens in Washington State.

When Susan Galioto inquired about our AirBNB property in Lewis County, Washington, it was a head scratcher. Based in New Jersey, she wanted to reserve the house for nine days, but for about half the time, it would be empty. She then told me the reason: her husband was coming to participate in The Bigfoot 200, and for the duration of the race, he would be on or near Mount St. Helens, one of the most active volcanos in America.

I did some checking and found out some interesting facts about Bigfoot 200:

  • Just under 50,000 feet (15,240 meters) of ascent
  • More than 96,000 feet of elevation change
  • 203.8 miles long, non-stop, point-to-point
  • Start: Mount St. Helens in the Cascade Mountains; Finish: Randle, WA in the Big Bottom Valley.

When asked if there any races as long or difficult as the Bigfoot 200, race director Candice Burt responded, “Yes. There is the Tahoe 200 and Colorado 200, and other difficult races that are even longer or have extreme weather, like snow or heat. [But] it is my opinion that the Bigfoot 200 is the most difficult 200-miler in the United States.”

Prior to a reservation, it’s important to communicate with our AirBNB guests in real life or by phone. It helps us anticipate issues that may arise, but in addition, it’s a chance to get to know interesting people like Joe and Susan whom we’d otherwise never have a chance to meet. As the race time was growing closer, we nailed down the logistics of getting them the keys and directions, and I mentioned that there is no cell phone service beyond the town of Morton except for Verizon. Fortunately, like us, they were Verizon customers.

The Horsfall House is a 100 year-old farmhouse filled with a sweet spirit.

My husband, David Horsfall, and I purchased the property 25 years ago, when we realized our two young sons were growing up in the city, and had no experience playing in the woods, building fires and doing things that we did when we were kids. There are trails running through the 22 acres of forest, and there are meadows surrounding the house, which is just a few minutes from the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. It’s an easy drive to Mount Rainier and Mount St. Helens, and a great place to get acquainted with nature.

A couple of days before the race, Joe flew into Seattle, then drove two hours to Randle to familiarize himself with the area, and to train and explore. He arrived at the property on September 4th and described his first reaction:

When I first drove up the drive and parked by the house and got out of the car, I felt this incredible surge of energy and emotion, I felt like I belonged there.  Not sure if you’ve ever had an experience like this, but it is powerful.  I didn’t even go in, I just walked around the property, the house and to the shed and then finally the front porch where I entered.  It was like I was revisiting a place I had been before and I was just walking around checking to see that everything was the way I remembered.

Before I unpacked the car, I called Sue and asked if there was any way she and the boys could fly out, I knew it was crazy and far-fetched (but hey, running 205 miles in the mountains was somewhat far-fetched too) – I just felt like I was “home” and they should be there. That they would love this house and property as much as I did, and I was only there for five minutes. 

Whenever he is asked how he trains, his typical response is “run lots,” which is funny and obvious, and not far from the truth.

He is a NASM-certified personal trainer, USAC cycling coach, and RRCA running coach, but stresses that regardless of events he enters (and the required training), the needs of his family take priority.

About his preparation, Joe says,

“I make up workouts that don’t require as much time, but attempt to duplicate the same stress my body would be feeling late in a race. Additionally, strength-training, back-to-back training runs and strategic races such as the “Running with the Devil,”  hosted by the NJ Trail Series, which consists of running 1.5 miles up-and-down a ski slope for 12 hours, all play a role, but most important of all is mindset — I’m a firm believer that with the proper training and a positive mindset, you can achieve your goals.”  

Joe reached the “downtown” Randle area early Sunday morning, and as he walked fast towards the White Pass High School finish line, many people driving by slowed down to say “hello” or congratulate him. He saw the race director, Candice Burt, along with members of her team; photographers; runners who finished earlier; friends he’d met only days before — all clapping and cheering. He continued to fast-walk until the final turn. Filled with feelings of pride, euphoria and gratitude, following a grueling four-day challenge, he began to run. Arms pumping, knees high, he sprinted the last 100 meters and crossed the finish line with his hands in the air. There was never a doubt!

Before heading back to New Jersey, Joe had several hours before he needed to get to the airport. So he made a trip to Alki Surf Shop where David and I were working that day.

Selfie of Joe, Terri and David at Alki Surf Shop in Seattle, WA

Selfie of Joe, Terri and David at Alki Surf Shop in Seattle, WA

Hearing about Joe’s connection to our home, and the exhaustion, hallucinations, and pushing himself to extreme limits to reach the end, was amazing and awe-inspiring. David and I felt fortunate to meet him, and honored to play a small part in such a remarkable achievement.

The finishers:

http://www.ultralive.net/bigfoot200/webcast.php

Joe’s path:

Joe Galioto Bigfoot 200 map

A Spot satellite tracker enabled family and friends to track Joe’s progress

The course was out of cell phone range, so it was critical to be able to have a way of letting others know his location. Joe wore a Spot satellite tracker, which enabled family and friends to track his progress, and if he had needed it, provide emergency responders a way of finding him.  Each dot in the photo represented his location. If you see it on the web site, you would see tailed information (such as time of day) when mousing over the dots.

Mount St. Helens crater

Joe approached the Johnson Observation area just prior to sunset, and was treated to the beautiful sight of the Mount St. Helens crater, awash in alpenglow.

waterfall2-L_SM

Unexpected beauty along the race path

Along the Lower Falls section of the Lewis River (approximately 110 miles into the race), the view of the waterfalls was just incredible.

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Traversing boulders

The first section of the race ended in Blue Lake 12 miles away, but required an awesome traverse of the Mount St. Helens’ blast zone boulder field.

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Fixed ropes to scale a steep wall

Climbing out of the canyon and heading towards Windy Pass (approximately 20 miles into the race), required the use of a fixed rope to scale the very steep incline.

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And as for Bigfoot? He wasn’t spotted.

Photos and captions by Joe Galioto