UGame ULearn: Gary Vaynerchuk

Gary Vaynerchuk via Skypevia Skype

Gary talked a lot about his background, which is very important to his story of how he uses social media and why. If you want more info on that, make sure to read his book, Crush It!: Why NOW Is the Time to Cash In on Your Passion
(given out to all conference attendees).

Became passionate about wine, decided to build the largest wine company in the US.

Launched Wine Library in 1997

2005 – started wine library tv

spent 12-15 hours a day in social media, building a community. Has been able to monetize that community

our culture is shifting to the online world – the quicker we embrace it the better

pointing out the fact that he is speaking to us from his apartment in NYC, for free via Skype – 5 years ago, this would have been extremely pricey.

I tweeted some nice quotes and thoughts, too – here they are:

  • #ugul10 @garyvee – “our culture is shifting to the online world – the quicker we embrace it the better” 8:26 AM Apr 1st via web
  • @garyvee doesn’t do things for the money – instead, he does it for the process and because he loves it #ugul10 8:36 AM Apr 1st via web
  • #ugul10 @garyvee “i’d make a library much more like a Starbucks … almost like your favorite bar … make it more inviting.”
  • #ugul10 @garyvee – “don’t apologize for what you believe in.” Us librarians often DO apologize…
  • #ugul10 @garyvee has to play with the new tool before he’s able to do something with it – I say that too – immerse yourself, then build
  • and one I re-tweeted from someone else: johanmijs #ugul10 @garyvee about passion and conviction: beat the crap out of them because you are better. Libraries should become media companies.

UGame ULearn: Michael Edson

Michael EdsonMichael Edson is the Smithsonian Institution’s Director of Web and New Media Strategy, and spoke about change and different cultures within organizations, and gave ideas of how to bridge the gap between the two. Here are my rather random notes from his talk:

Empowering citizen scholars – goal at the Smithsonian

What environments will we need to make new ideas happen?

Cultural institutions have millennials, and have older, more traditional staff – …

Chris Anderson – he’s received two strong reactions to his book “Free” – Huh? and Duh! Younger people had the Duh moment – of course that makes sense. Older people had almost a hostile reaction – they didn’t get it.

There’s tension there, and we need to move past it.


  • complacency. We have existed for hundreds of years…
  • Urgency – we need to build a sense of urgency in these complacent institutions in order to grow a sense of change

We need to find a model that helps us drive change

the most interesting ecosystems are in border habitats between technology and content – we should not treat them separately

What is our work, and how should we do it? At those discussions should be things like mobile internet issues, 2.0 stuff, continually growing and adapting, etc.

Asked visitors to the Smithsonian if they have ever used the Smithsonian’s website – no, they haven’t.

Ex – Google search on oceans – wikipedia,, discovery education (discovery channel), NASA of all things, etc all come up in the first page of search results. But the Smithsonian is more like result #66 – even though they do a ton of ocean research.

point – Smithsonian doesn’t have a big reach with something they think is important to them.

talked about – the Smithsonian is way down on the list

compared two pages about an aircraft in the air & space museum. Their page (spaceship one) vs wikipedia, flickr, youtube videos, etc – other sites win hands-down. hyperlinks, music, video, better pictures, etc. vs a curatorial explanation with one pic.

“We’re competing with … everybody!”

Their content is now only one chunk of the greater content on any one thing.

quote – “the Smithsonian is not an organization that understands me” – used to be the other way around.

So – they are being very transparent as they develop social media strategy – they’re using a wiki, allowing people to add stuff (I think)

new media strategy structure:

three themes –

  • update the Smithsonian digital experience – act as if the digital experience is just as important as the physical experiences
  • update the SI learning model
  • balance autonomy and control within SI

eight goals – things like mission, brand, etc.

Creating a digital commons is a goal they have.

A commons should be free, findable, vast, and shareable

showing a video prototype of what the commons should look like. Walked through how an amateur astronomer can use content from SI to share his own stuff – nice.