Monday, November 3, 2008

Join Me at Social Media Club LA on Wednesday, November 5th

Where is the intersection of politics and social media, how has it affected this election and how will it affect future contests? Come join us on Wednesday, November 5th at Mahalo HQ in Santa Monica, CA. I will be speaking on a panel with a lot of smart people to discuss these (and I’m sure other) topics.

For more information, click here. If you don’t yet belong to SMC LA and you are in the LA area, you should. If not in the LA area, go to Social Media Club and find the group in your neighborhood. Thanks to Jackie Peters and Brooks Bayne for inviting me to participate.

And for those who are wondering - this is not a political debate. Far from it (I truly hope!) This is about the technology, the candidates, the process and the people. Social media, the ability for everyone to get near instant information, the ability for everyone to get near instant feedback, will play a massive role in future elections. This panel will discuss how, and how not, to best engage. What the potential results can be, what the potential drawbacks can be, and how we minimize the drawbacks.

At least, those are some of my topics. Come by on Wednesday night and join the group. I look forward to seeing you there.


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Vote in the AMEX Members Project

American Express is currently running the Members Project, which has people nominating and voting for programs that are for the betterment of all of us.

One of those is called Project Brain Child, which is solely focused on ending childhood cancer.  I have learned from a friend of mine, whose daughter has a brain tumor (a diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma), that pediatric cancer does not get the money, the time or the attention in the cancer world.  Kids with cancer are left to fend for themselves.  

We can all do something about this.  Go to Members Project and vote for Project Brain Child.  You do have to be an AMEX card holder to vote.  Once you have voted, pass this blog post on to everyone you know.  Everyone in your address book, on your own blog and throughout your social networks.

Do it today.

Monday, September 22, 2008

More on No Bailouts!

The video that talks about what NoBailouts! is all about.

Pass it along to all you know.

No Bailouts!

Below is the text of a blog post I made on, my political blog.  It has to do with the recklessness and, in my view, incredible wrong of a government bailout of AIG, mortgage companies and others.  Please read, please comment.  If you agree, then join us at:

Spread the word.


Let’s Talk About Change
Posted on September 20th, 2008 by Tony Katz
Over the course of the next two weeks, you’ll be seeing a new look for, and a whole new series of topics. Why? Simple: The leadership, with bravado, mind you, gave up on what is the only smart economic system (Capitalism) and - in the guise of calm and working to help the people - have started us all down the track toward unfettered, worthless socialism.
Let me say for the record that I am not an economist. Rather, I am a student of the world like most of us are. However, I am learning at an accelerated rate, and I already know the most important rule:
Capitalism is better, and to sell it out for a quick fix in the markets is disgusting, unAmerican and despicable.
I will be talking over the course of the next weeks and months (and longer, potentially) about what the moves by the FED and the Treasury have done to us, what the President and the government have allowed to happen to the nation, what the words, the terms and the thought processes actually mean, and what the real effect is in both the short, and the long term.
There will be my articles throughout, but also consider to be a place to find information from experts, as well as a dynamic to engage others in conversations on these subjects.
The problem that we all now face is truly universal for all Americans. Regardless of your politics, one has to recognize that the “bailouts” of AIG, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and who knows what is coming next, are not sound decisions, but rather decisions made out of fear that push the nation away from Capitalism and towards socialism. The only politics on this subject, from me, is that socialism is a horrible, ineffective and unacceptable system. Capitalism works.
Further, I hope to highlight those in the public and private sector who are doing the right thing, and standing up to this egregious moment in history. I’m happy to offer this link to It offers the words of Congressman Jeb Hensarling, who represents the 5th district of Texas. He speaks honestly of how these bailouts are only going to affect the taxpayer, and goes on to say:
“These massive federal bailouts have exposed taxpayers to literally tens of billions of dollars of new risk,'’ and created a “moral hazard where companies are absolved, not punished, for excessive risk taking…”
Rep. Hensarling has it right on. The system (Capitalism) works in good times and in bad. When things are good, profits are made - and hopefully large ones at that! However, in bad times, companies can falter, and fall. These are not bad things, rather they are important functions of a system that is based on a good product at a good price and not of a system of pseudo equality and cronyism. (As an aside, it seems to me that the word cronyism is only used in conjunction with Republicans, but it exists with both the GOP and Democrats - and other political beliefs. Any idea that it is not equally spread throughout the human landscape is just an unwillingness to accept reality.)
I called Rep. Hensarling’s office to thank him and ask him questions. I have also called the office of Rep. Elton Gallegly, from the California 24th. I hope to hear back from both of them soon. If they agree to interviews, podcast or video, I will have them here. It is my plan to call all 435 members of congress and all 100 senators. I want to know what they are thinking, and I want them to know what I am thinking. 2 down, 533 to go. It’s easy to do - contact your Representative.
No one of a thinking mettle can sit idly by while the country pushes in this new direction, which is guaranteed to bring future generations much more trouble and heartache than it could ever solve. I will not sit by while others - who never learn the lessons - pass the problem down the line. This site, this change, is my start of action.
I hope you will join me.
Carthago Delenda Est!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Following Gustav

Andy Carvin has put together a fantastic site to keep people informed on what is happening with Hurricane Gustav.  Not only is this about storm tracking, but about how you can help, about getting the word out from New Orleans and other places via social media channels and about being tuned in to know where the most help is needed and when.

For more information, and to sign up, go to The Official Site.  Stuff like this is fantastic, and shows the best of people - wanting to help, and getting others the information they need to help others.  A far and wonderful contrast to people like Michael Moore, who hope for disasters for political reasons.

I like the people I associate with.  They try to do good things, and don't wish for disasters.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Good Times at NME

Happy to be back from NME in Las Vegas.  It was an incredible show.  While I missed the opening keynote from Gary Vaynerchuk, I was able to catch the Saturday keynote from Steve Woolf and Zadi Diaz of Epic-Fu.  

Also, I got the chance to do an interview with Brandice of Viddler.  It was part of their 2 minute interview series at NME.  I appreciate Brandice and Colin speaking with me about my company's ad creation tool, AdGrinder.  Here is the interview.

See you all at more events, and I look forward to blogging more as well.


Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Free Advice

Here's a fun site called Free Advice, which is put together by TanJab.  It's a site that interviews people, soliciting them for free advice.  Mine is below.

Monday, August 11, 2008

AdGrinder on TechZulu

Here is an interview I did with TechZulu at the Mashable event at Rubicon Project in July. A lot of thanks to Martine, who did the interview, and Efren Toscano of TechZulu for making it happen. It's a good explanation of what we do.


Going To NME

Glad to say that I'll be at the New Media Expo in Las Vegas, NV on Friday and Saturday.  I'm looking forward to attending with my business partner, Josh Paul, talking about and some of the ways to work it into people's podcasts.

If you're going to be there, drop me a line or call me at 818-237-5200.  I'd love to get together with you at the convention, at dinner or at the slots...ok, the craps table.

See you then.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Being An Entrepreneur Is Not For Everyone


a state, condition or instance of serious or continued difficulty or adverse fortune.

Thanks to Merriam-Webster for that definition.  Building a start-up has a lot of this.  I would more categorize it, however, as a feeling of, "Damn it!"  That's a pretty good phrase for moments in the start-up world.  You have great ideas, and lack the cash to implement them.  You have the perfect product, but not enough partners to make a significant impact yet.  You have this internal drive, but you still can't get every door opened.

The reaction to adversity is the difference between the entrepreneur and the wannabe.  The wannabe feels the adversity and complains (oft times loudly) at the unfairness of it all.  The entrepreneur recognizes the adversity, then gets back on the phones, back to the networking, rewrites the code, stays up late, re-examines their position, focuses their attention, gets on the phone again...lather, rinse, repeat.

The reason for this is simple: Vision.  The true entrepreneur (which can only be measured by spirit, and not by money) can see clearly that, while there may (will!) be adversity ahead, that nothing about it is permanent.  Go back and read the definition for yourself.  It is nothing more than a encapsulation of a specific moment in time.  It also says nothing about defining you, only about defining that specific moment in time.

It is not the adversity that defines us, but how we indeed react to it.  That is why some of us are entrepreneurs and some of us are not.  It is not about the success or failure of the enterprise, but what we learned from the experience and how we audited ourselves.  And, in the event of "failure", how long it took us to get back up and start again - with the wisdom that our last effort taught us.

Being an entrepreneur is not for everyone, but it is for me.  I am not smarter, better or tougher than anyone.  Far from it.  I simply recognize that this rough spot is followed by smooth water - I just have to know when to keep paddling the boat or when to let it sink and swim the rest of the way.  Or, if I'm really smart, build a better boat.


Friday, June 20, 2008

Back To Austin For SEM for SMB

Clear the calendars, and come back to Austin.  Once a year, for SXSW, just wasn't enough, so I am heading back to Austin July 16th and 17th to take part in SEM for SMB - which is specifically geared to help small and mid-sized businesses learn better how to effectively market, brand and reach their goal clientele in the online space.

I'm proud to be running the panel on Online Marketing for 2009 and Beyond.  It's going to be a great exploration of not where we are now, but theorizing and focusing on what is coming next.  Who's on the bleeding edge, how does the content creator find the technology or style that is right for them, how to get out of your comfort zone - just honest conversation from thought leaders on the panel, and those in attendance.  

What this isn't is another panel where a few people drone on for 45 minutes and no one learns anything.  For our panel, Q&A is everything.  Get the conversation going in Austin, and keep it going all year long.  

I hope to see you all there.  And if you don't see me at the convention, it just means I'm at Stubbs...or The Salt Lick...or Iron Cactus...or Magnolia Cafe.  You'll find me at those places as well.


Thursday, May 29, 2008

AdGrinder is waiting for you

It's a really great thing.  My company, Aweli, is done with being private and has release the AdGrinder beta to the public.

AdGrinder is a web based tool that allows for the creation of a 15 second video commercial in about five steps and in less than three minutes.  Once an ad is built, you can build a campaign and place your ad throughout the Net.  Choose your keywords, you daily budget, the length of your campaign and the area codes you want your ad to be seen in.  You can find out more by going to the site at

This is really fun stuff.  Taking an idea to fruition is, in a word, thrilling.  In addition to building ads - and being able to monetize your content, regardless of its viewership! - the blog is also going to be a place that discusses advertising practices.  What works, what doesn't, and why.  The focus of the blog is to put together smart people who have been through it, smart people who are in it, and smart people who want to learn how to do it right before they step in it.

We will also be looking for guest blog posters at AdGrinder.  If you are interested, be sure to drop us an email at business AT adgrinder DOT com.

More to come....more great great things to come.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

New Place, New Things's just as lacking in fun and excitement as you think it is.

I can finally say hello to LA, at lease for the short term, as I go after some fantastic new business opportunities in a myriad of spaces - social media, new media, existing businesses - as well as seeing what new thing I can get in to.

Then there is the return to radio. This week I should be finalizing a new radio show that will be weekly, not daily like my previous show. Also, this show is not a political show, rather it will be technology culture show with a focus on what works, what doesn't, and why. There really is nothing like it on radio today, and I hope to be able to announce when we launch in the very near future. Oh, and there will be some politics.....but, you kind of knew that, didn't you?

I can't tell you how good it feels to be living out of a home instead of out of boxes. I look forward to more posts and more conversations. In the meantime, you can always find me at:

Twitter - tonykatz
Jaiku - tonykatz
LinkedIn - tonykatz
On The Web -
Business -

Take care.


Friday, April 18, 2008

Great Things From Small Biz Survival

Becky McCray is an instant classic.  She doesn't shy away from her small town life, rather she embraces it, shares it with the world and challenges you to male your business better.

I met Becky, the founder of Small Biz Survival, at SXSW in Austin.  She has become a fast friend, and has crazy good savvy.  (I link to Small Biz Survival from this site!)  She gets "it", even when the subject of "it" changes.  She offers rock solid business advice, and facilitates the conversations and advice of others.

She was also kind of enough to give one of my comments top billing on her site.  Every Friday, Becky offers The Brag Basket on Small Biz Survival.  Its an opportunity to let everyone talk about something great that is happening to them - personally or professionally.  She enjoyed my comment, and thought it was the perfect illustration as to what the Brag Basket can be.  I'll be offering future posts based on one of my sayings that, "The Vision Is Only Achieved Through The Action."

Enjoy her site, and feel free to brag a little....or a lot.  


Monday, April 14, 2008

Politics and Social Media

I don't do politics here.

Unless you count The Daily Decompression just above this post.  I use Utterz for that, and I'm willing to bet more times than not that it is political.  It's a passion of mine, I find uniquely important, and I want to get my view across.

I have been working towards taking my political interests and pushing them further in the social media space.  Not in the sense of pushing my political views, my candidate, my issue, etc.  Rather, the work ethic I take to my political interests.  How I started with the base idea that I don't know about a subject just because I heard a few people talk about it or I saw the NBC evening news.  (Ha ha anyone watches NBC evening news anymore!)

I learned about politics, and solidified my belief system (and still do!), by studying, reading, comparing, researching, going back in history, taking time to think about the subject, recognizing when I am in over my head and then going to experts and more research for clarification.

In learning social media, I have taken the same approach.  I know nothing, now what.  Now, without being too self-effacing, maybe I know a bit more than nothing, but there's still so much to know.  So I am studying, I am reading, comparing, researching, going back in history, taking time to think about the subject, recognizing when I am in over my head and then going experts and more research for clarification.

The beauty of this space; this wide open panorama that no one owns or controls, is that no one - I say no one - can stop the learning process.  The idea of expert is solely in the eyes of the one bestowing the accolade, not the one who self describes in that manner.  The idea of expert, on a more granular level, is the one who helps you understand your issue, helps you get to that next level, gives you that jump of excitement, can help you find your own inner confidence to move forward on whatever subject or product you are working on.

And that's why I don't (try not to is more like it) do politics here.  Social media is about a unifying message, a singular soul, that is different for each person and each group that naturally has a gravitational pull towards each other.  Yet I am not so naive to believe that politics does not exist in  social media.  Who has the most followers, who speaks at the most events, who do you want blogging about you or your company?  The politics do exist - the ones who want to be in charge, claim control, dictate norms.  
And they are in charge, do claim control and can dictate norms - if I let them.  I take that back.  If we let them.


Friday, April 11, 2008

What Does Your Tweet Cloud Say?

Twitter is a really interesting service. What is more interesting is the cottage industry of applications that have been built around it. It really is amazing, as someone who is not a programmer, that so many unique applications can be spawned off of a service that asks only one question - what are you doing?

The TweetCloud is one of those services. It examines every tweet you have ever uttered on Twitter and gives you, in a tag cloud, your hit list. What is it that you are talking about, what is it that you respond to, who are you having conversations with....all of this revealed with your TweetCloud.

This is my TweetCloud.

Now, being that I do lean towards more political views in my other blogs -, - it's not surprising that Sen. Obama, Sen. Clinton and Sen. McCain get their fair showing.  What I was most happy to see is that my major Twitter points are more thought provoking.  Know, Love People, Think, Want...followed by Understand, Talking and - my personal favorite combination - Going Great.

Recently, Laura Fitton, better known as Pistachio, posted a link showing the TweetClouds of others.  When I looked at some of them, I got the impression that many people don't use Twitter the way I do - which is a constant conversation out there.  Twitter can easily be your tool for publicity.  However, I can't find the good reason why it should only be a tool for publicity.  To me, for me, the TweetCloud speaks to why I participate on Twitter.

What does it say about you?


PS - Not on Twitter...try this.  Think of what you have talked about or said to others in the past three days.  Now write it down on a piece of paper.  If you talked about it alot, write it bigger.  Not so much, smaller.  Just let the subjects flow until they don't come easily to you.  Now look at the paper.  Is that an accurate reflection of you and your message?

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

The Twitter Effect - Is Sharing the same as Reporting?

Here is a post from Tim Street, who can also be found on Twitter here, in regards to my recent flight on USAIR. More about this event, as I witnessed it and overheard it, on at a later time.

Tim's post was interesting and unexpected. The idea that Twitter can move news faster and with less filters than MSM news sources like CNN, NBC, ABC, etc. However, as I mentioned to Tim in the comments of his blog, I didn't feel I was reporting the news, just that I was sharing a moment in my life. Just as I would share it when I got home.

It begs the questions: In social media and social networking, is sharing the same as reporting? And are there needed, necessary and normalizing filters that we should be placing on ourselves when sharing?

I look forward to hearing from you.