This is what Shawn Morton would look like if he had been made of LEGO sMoRTy71.com -- the personal website of Shawn Morton
Monday, August 22, 2011
A blog farewell, 3 years too late
There are a lot of great cliches for when good things come to an end. It's times like this when I wish there were more for when very mediocre things fade away completely unnoticed.

After a couple of years of active experimenting followed by even more years of neglect and blog-related guilt about not posting enough, I have decided to stop publishing new posts on sMoRTy71.com altogether. These days, 140 characters are about all I can muster.

I got into blogging late because I didn't want to be lumped in with all of the social media hippies that had started a blog. Now, as I retire from blogging, I can go back to mocking them freely (and it feels awesome).
Monday, March 28, 2011
Upcoming speaking engagements
There are 3 events at which I'll be speaking over the next 8 weeks or so.

Bazaarvoice Social Commerce Summit (April 6th, Austin, TX)
This is my second year speaking at the Summit. Last year, I headed up a rountable discussion on social media in regulated industries as well as presented at the Executive Bootcamp.

This year, I will be sharing the journey we've taken at Nationwide over the past three years as we've moved social media forward in the enterprise. I will be joining a group of really great speakers including Jeremiah Owyang, Erik Qualman, Ze Frank and Clay Shirky as well as reps from Best Buy, Xerox, Johnson & Johnson, Dell, P&G and Facebook. See the full list of speakers here.

Midwest UX (April 10th, Columbus, OH)
Midwest UX "is a unique two-day event that combines inspiring talks with hands-on activities presented by a mix of regional professionals and international experts."

I will be participating on a mobile panel at this year's event here in Columbus. Hoping I can hold my own with the other speakers that include Jared Spool, Jesse James Garrett and local UX professionals including Bryce Glass, Bill Litfin and Nationwide's own Heidi Munc and Derren Hermann. See the full list of speakers here.

Net.Finance (May 16th, Chicago, IL)
Net.Finance is geared toward senior-level financial services marketers and includes 3 days of presentations from the largest financial services brands including Citi, Mastercard, Western Union and Charles Schwab.

I will be speaking on a mobile panel titled "What is the mission statement of your mobile platform" with Laurie Kresl. Will be sharing the approach we've taken with mobile at Nationwide over the past couple of years. See the full list of speakers here.

If you're going to be attending any of these events, please stop by and say, "Hello."
Thursday, March 10, 2011
#1 SXSWi moment: Brazilian Men Orgy (2009)
Back in 2009, I made my first visit to Fogo de Chao with Todd Earwood, Rob May, Kevin Frey and Dave Durand.



After getting seated and getting a brief overview of how the whole thing worked, we got down to our meat-eating business.

For those not familiar with Fogo de Chao, you have a card that is green on one side and red on the other. If the green side is facing up, a team of waiters will take turns delivering various meats to your table. The whole thing is made a bit more dramatic by the fact that the meat is carried around on giant metal skewers. Anyway, back to the story...

After about 15 minutes of power eating, I picked up my BlackBerry to share my thoughts on the meal. Because I wanted to get right back to it, I skipped naming the other diners at the table and simply posted:

"Meat orgy at Fogo de Chao. Unbelievable!"

After that profound tidbit had been delivered to the Interwebz, I got back to my meat pile. Over the next 45 minutes, we all ate our own weight in steak, sausage and other assorted goodies. All was right with the world.

When I picked up my BlackBerry after the meal, I was shocked to see what had actually been posted to Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn:

"Men orgy at Fogo de Chao. Unbelievable!"

Whether it was BlackBerry's autocorrect or some subconscious desire (I'm really pulling for the BlackBerry on this one), I had not gotten my original message across. After frantically flipping through my Twitter replies and Facebook comments, it seemed that my tweet had gone unnoticed. Not a single reply. Whew, what a relief.

So, I posted a quick correction and we all had lots (and lots) of laughs around the table. Todd even shared my post with our waiter who was deeply troubled by it (but still made a point to say, "I'll be right back with the check, I know you have somewhere to be.").

Of course, my post hadn't actually gone unnoticed. It turns out friends and family were simply too confused to formulate a response. It wasn't until my correction went out that the "Oh, thank goodness" and "Your dad and I were so worried" messages came rolling in online. That turned out to be nothing compared to all of the comments I received that evening from friends in Austin.

You can read my original post describing our man orgy here.
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
#2 SXSWi moment: Guitar Hero Deathmatch (2008)
In 2008, Microsoft brought the top Guitar Hero player in the world, Freddie Wong, to challenge SXSWi attendees.

One afternoon, as Freddie was doing a demo at the Microsoft booth, Todd Earwood decides to tell the Microsoft folks that I will take the title. Not thrilled, but totally on the spot, I had to do an audition performance.

GHIII challenge: Me and Freddie Wong

I ended up qualifying for the final slot in the tournament to be held later in the week. Of course, the tournament wasn't about beating Freddie. It was to see which competitor would lose the least. Reassuring.

While many of the other competitors chose the shortest and easiest song ("Mississippi Queen"), I chose a little Poison. My only requirement was that the host had to make a special dedication (listen closely to the beginning of the video).



I ended up finishing third and had a blast competing. My favorite part was listening to Earwood trash talking Freddie throughout the performance.

Since humiliating all of us at SXSWi, Freddie has gone on to make a ton of popular YouTube videos with over 135 million views (What?!). "Jedi A-holes" is one of my favorites.
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
#3 SXSWi moment: Gary V's wine party (2009)
What do you get when you cram Gary Vaynerchuk, hundreds of social media folks and dozens of bottles of wine into the outdoor patio of a gay dance club on a Sunday night in Austin, TX? Turns out, you get a hell of a good time.

Gary Vaynerchuk handing out wine
Gary handing out wine

Rumors had been circulating all day that Gary was planning to have a flash mob-style party *somewhere* in Austin. The original plan was to host it at Cedar Street. But after 10 or 15 minutes of handing out wine, the party was shut down (since there was already another event being hosted there).

Gary Vaynerchuk and me
Gary and me

Gary and team quickly regrouped and moved the party across the street to Rain. After making our way past some dudes in Speedos dancing, we found ourselves in an outdoor patio area at the back of the bar.

Christine Major, Pete Cashmore, Daniel Ha and Aaron Strout
Christine Major, Pete Cashmore, Daniel Ha and Aaron Strout

Within 30 minutes, the place was absolutely nuts. We were crammed in shoulder-to-shoulder and Gary was passing wine and wristbands back through the crowd which included Pete Cashmore, Robert Scoble, Chris Heuer, Scott Monty, Todd Earwood, Jim Storer, Aaron Strout and many, many others.

Todd Earwood, Scott Monty and me
Todd Earwood, Scott Monty and me

After the party at Rain ended, a group of 8 or 9 of us ended going with Gary to the Pure Volume event down the street. Unfortunately, they were at capacity and couldn't let anyone else in. I left the group at around 3am as Gary and crew started organizing a tweetup in the Hilton lobby.
Monday, March 7, 2011
#4 SXSWi moment: Livin' on a Prayer (2009)
The Blogger Lounge at SXSWi is always a strange and magical place. Throughout the course of a day, it is a who's who of the digital and social media space doing, sometimes, unusual things.

Day 2: Jeff Pulver, Amber Naslund and Brian Link

In 2009, I happened to find myself in a conversation with Jeff Pulver, Amber Naslund and Brian Link. I believe Jeff was sharing insights on why he was an early investor in Twitter.

As he finished his story, Jeff's attention turned to the XBOX 360 set up in the corner of the room. So, he and I cranked through a couple of tunes on Rock Band 2 (him on guitar, me on drums).

Feeling like we needed to make more of a ruckus, I enlisted Jason Falls to join us on vocals. What happened next was fake rock music history (and one of my favorite SXSWi moments)!



Note how the rest of the room isn't having nearly as much fun as we were. Also, check out Jeff's assessment of our performance on his blog.
Sunday, March 6, 2011
#5 SXSWi moment: KICKin' it (2008)
In 2008, Anil Dash brought back his annual KICK! kickball game at SXSWi. Nick Huhn and I skipped out on some of the Saturday morning sessions to join about 40 others in the largest kickball game I have ever been a part of.

KICK!08

There were no team limits, so it was 20 on 20 with everyone in the field at once on defense and everyone going through the batting rotation on offense. As if that didn't make the game challenging enough, Anil had a rule that we had to use a GIANT kickball during the 5th inning. It was nearly impossible to catch or throw, so lots of runs were scored that inning.

KICK! 08: Eric with both shoes still on
Eric with two shoes on...

KICK! 08: Eric's shoe is out
It turns out that catching a shoe is not an out in kickball

The highlight of the game was when Eric Marcoullier kicked his shoe into left field and had it caught in the air by the 3rd baseman.

KICK!08: Tacos!
Taco time!

After the game, Anil and the Six Apart team treated the group to tasty breakfast tacos and coffee. Overall, it was an awesome diversion from the morning sessions. You can see a brief video of the action here.

About Shawn Morton

Married father of 6; VP of Social Media at JPMorgan Chase; gluten-free; gadget enthusiast; hair metal aficionado; #Movember man View more on LinkedIn.