ZKQ’s Favs of 2009

If my count is accurate, in 2009, I have written more than 70 articles for Handshake 2.0. Looking back, I find myself drawn to certain articles and topics that I catalog as "favorites" of the year. An author rating her own work, choosing one post over another, is akin to choosing a favorite child. However, the selection criteria I've used are not based on what I think represents my most-loved creation. Instead, they're based on topics that held a great deal of appeal due to the process of creating the work.

Barry Welch, developer of FurnishWEB Most interesting company to write about: FurnishWEB

Of all the companies I covered, I wrote most often about FurnishWEB. FurnishWEB is a client of Handshake Media and, in my role as a freelance writer for Handshake 2.0, topics and people are often assigned to me to write about. Being a little on the geeky side, I found FurnishWEB, the software-as-a-service tool designed to serve the inventory management and order tracking needs of the furniture industry, to be a well-designed database with a solid user-interface. It's the kind of tool that when you see a demo, you come away thinking, "Doesn't every one in the furniture industry need this?" The answer, of course, is yes.

The other interesting aspect of covering the FurnishWEB story was getting to know founder Barry Welch, whom I dubbed The Sheriff of FurnishWEB.  He's an all-around great person to know who approaches life and business with enthusiasm, intelligence and kindness. I'm really thrilled to have the opportunity to help him tell the story of FurnishWEB.

Most fun to write: Selling Music Indie Style

Andrew Dickenson, a native of Christiansburg, Virginia and his wife June Suh, make beautiful music together, but their story does not end there. In fact, it's only beginning. The steps they've taken to market and promote their art online and through social media are impressive. Their story is a virtual "how to" with tools that include iTunes, Amazon, CD Baby, ThumbPlay, CafePress, and others. Writing their story was an education on how individual artists can reach a broad audience using tools and media available to all of us.

Favorite topic: Twitter

What can I say? Twitter is the velcro of social media. You never run out of ways to use it. (characters: 77)

Favorite interview: Aneesh Chopra, then Virginia's Secretary of Technology

On April 18, 2009, Chopra was appointed by President Obama as the first federal Chief Technology Officer, but when I spoke with him, he held the position of Secretary of Technology for the Commonwealth of Virginia. The fact that he returned my call, answered my email, and was willing to take the time to talk about opportunities for entrepreneurs to launch a business anywhere in Virginia, made government seem much more people-centric than I thought it could be.

I end the year as one of those people who launched a business in Virginia, confident that there is a terrific community of people and tools to learn about – and from - that will support and guide me in 2010.


Z. Kelly Queijo is the founder of SmartCollegeVisit and a frequent contributor to Handshake 2.0.

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