Saturday, March 29, 2008

On a mission from God

My friend Kevin Koym has a picture of Jake and Elwood Blues in his offices at home and work. "It reminds me that I am on a mission from God!" he says with a devlish grin. Kevin's goal is to help small teams of entrepeneurs develop synergy in Texas similar to the ones he developed in Chile and Mexico. His company enterprise teaming is starting to build a nucleus of entrepreneurs in Austin and hopefully here in San Antonio. In addition to his excellent work with this project, Kevin is also working on his first book. I can't wait to read it when it's ready for primetime, and I admire his drive and effort to help communicate how businesses of all sizes, working together to build upon their teams, can create a synergy to help them prosper.

Getting to see the real side of David Smith at HBMG

Ever meet someone so smart that he's intimidating? That was my first impression of David Smith, my client at HBMG. I met David last year through my involvement of the Austin Digital Convergence Initiative with the help of my friend and client, Sloan Foster, former the chief marketing officer at Armida. In the course of time, I got to know David, and he's one of the nicest people I've met.

Yesterday, I put out the press release that David had become the chief executive officer at HBMG. And, I also worked with the Austin Business Journal to get a story published on his new position.

Last night, I got a list of David's extensive media contacts, so I and my staff will be putting the word out this week about his new position.

Friday, March 28, 2008

When IT doesn't replace a human being

My insurance company, USAA, is the envy of my friends. The company has a great reputation for claims management and customer service. However, the company, like others is tightening their customer care by eliminating the 24 hour-7-day a week availability they once had.

Last night, I went to a Door64 in Austin on its famed 6th Street. I parked in a meter zone, not knowing that the street was zoned for valet service from 5:30 p.m. to 2 a.m. When I left the party at 9:30 to find one of my clients at a nearby bar, I scanned the street to get my car. Sure enough, there was a covered meter and my car was missing.

When I called the police, I was told that I needed my VIN number. Right away, I called the tollfree number to get a bunch of prompts. When I tried to ask for a human being, I was told that the policy service office was close and that I should go to the web site.

Sure enough, a friend allowed me to log onto the web site, and it was hard at first to find the info needed. And, after getting that, I had to deal with the Austin Police to find the wherabouts of my car.

Until last night, I had always thought of USAA as a company that cares, but obviously someone higher up in the management chain thought that in the world of IT that it is easier to go to the web to find a VIN number. Here's hoping that the senior management rethinks the issue of having everyone go to policy service through telephone prompts, especially when a customer needs their help.

If the issue is cost, I for one would support the extra funding to have an "insurance concierge" that is there 24/7 for me. When I need USAA, I want them to respond professionally and not with a bunch of telcom and Internet options.

The real "Matt" Genovese

I went to Austin to the Door64 Happy Hour. Except for having my car towed by the Austin Police Department because I had parked in a valet parking zone even though it was a metered zone, it was a great event, and I met some interesting folks. I also helped two of my San Antonio clients hook up with Austin leaders on several of their projects.

However, the funniest thing about this event was having a lot of people confuse me with Matt Genovese, the founder of Door64. In one of the rare times that I was wearing "Hi, My name is Matt," stickers, I had two or three people come up and tell me they wanted to meet me. When they saw the Matt moniker on my jacket, they assume I was the guy who confirmed their reservation at "matt (at) door64 (dot)com.)

As one guy said: "I come to this for the social networking. I spend my entire day coding, and this is a great chance to meet people." As well, there were a few people looking for a new job or a new direction for their careers. Again, Door64 has helped them find a connection or a starting point.

For those who went to the Door64 event, here's a picture of me and the real "Matt Genovese." I am wearing the sports jacket, which is not your classic Austin technology look. (Next time, I'll wear that classic Alan Weinkrantz look -- jeans and a T-shirt.)

As well, Matt Genevese is part of the Texas "Brother Matt" tribe, a group of technical entrepreneurs and go getters who have the given name of Matt. The "Brother Matt" joke has been a joke between Matt Reedy, Armida Technologies, and myself as a takeoff from the Bob Newhart show where the character Larry had the two brothers, Daryl and my other brother Daryl.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

How City Year San Antonio helps our community

Yesterday, I took part in the Computer Solutions Golf Classic. The 120-plus player tourney was held at the Hyatt Hill Country Resort with the proceeds designated to support City Year San Antonio. During the day, I got to meet some of the college students who have given a year of their lives to work with elementary and middle school students who live on the East Side of San Antonio.

It was refreshing to meet such committed people, who want to work within a community to help students in troubled homes get ahead academically. Thanks to Computer Solutions and their tech vendor community, the tourney raised over $15,000 for City Year. Much of those proceeds will help City Year pay the salaries of the college kids I met. Each of them makes $600 a month which include rent, transportation and other expenses.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Ed Guerrero -- the proactive CPA

Had a nice meeting yesterday with Ed Guerrero, CPA. Ed is a unique guy in that he's a technologist as well as an accounting professional. Furthermore, his legacy with developing CPAs who understand technology is taking on a grassroots effort in Thailand, China and overseas. My firm is going to start working with him again to help him promote his expertise as a CPA. Ed is rare in his industry in that he knows how to market proactively market himself.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Love technology and golf? Here's an event worth pursuing

Love technology and golf? Computer Solutions ( is sponsoring its first Computer Solutions’ Golf Classic to support City Year San Antonio, Wednesday, March 26 at the Hyatt Hill Country Resort. Cisco, Microsoft, Hewlett-Packert, NuStar, and BEA are the main event sponsors. The shotgun, scramble event tees off at 1:00 with registration, Putting Contest at 12:00. Limited entries are still available at $195 per person or $295 for a twosome. Please contact Rich Rivera, who is on the golf committee and is managing the player registrations, at 210-369-3042 or Kara Buchanan, Golf Committee Chair, at 210-369-0348.
Proceeds from the tourney will support City Year San Antonio (, a non-profit program which unites young people of all backgrounds for a year of full-time service, giving them the skills and opportunities to change the world. As tutors, mentors and role models, City Year San Antonio participants help to make a difference in the lives of children and transform schools and communities in 17 U.S. cities and South Africa.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Sharing the road to Austin

I am going to Austin on Thursday (schedule permitting) to attend the Door 64 event at 5:30 to 9 p.m. on 6th Street on March 27. The hope is to get other techies from San Antonio to join me for this monthly party in Austin. As one of the DCI board members, it's my job to encourage the development of technology between San Antone and what I called the "Capitol of the Republic of Texas." While we're only 70 miles apart, there are some unique differences in both cities, yet there is the possibility of synergy between both of us. I've blogged on this topic before, but I am hoping to enable others to take part in this roadie. Bob Szymanski, the chief blogger at and I are trying to set up a car pool effort for the north side of Austin. I picked the Hooters parking lot off I-35 not because of the wings or the girls but because everyone know where the former Selma police department was located. If you are a technologist who wants to meet folks in Austin, please show up at the parking lot at 3:15 p.m. (Note: If you are a life insurance, financial consultant or realtor who wants to network, please understand that you're not too welcome. A better choice would be your local chamber of commerce's next mixer.)

Heading to ISC West in 10 days

I am heading to Las Vegas for the ISC West trade show April 1-4. Thanks to Southwest, I got a great deal on the airfare. I am also going back to the Circus Circus Hotel. As hotels go, it's not the Ritz, but perhaps relocating to the towers will help me get a room where the maid provides clean towells.

As a PR professional, I have set up about 12 meetings with my clients Assa Abloy and HBMG. I hope to soon add another, but am still awaiting word from them on the terms and conditions. Still, some of my other tech clients seem impressed that I got so many meetings set up.

I am lucky in that I have a good working relationship with the editors at most of the trade publications that cover the industry. I have been going to ISC West for three straight years, and I have provided interviews, written stories or done other things to help the editors and staffers who work for publicatons such as Security or Security Products Magazine.

Back in the blogging saddle

After talking to several of my PR colleagues, they noted that I haven't blogged about what we Texicans call "bidness." Truthfully, I've been extremely busy. I admire the work of Alan Weinkrantz and his ability to keep blogging every day.