Easy Chair Coffee Shop Featured in Valley Business FRONT

Russell Chisholm, owner of The Easy Chair Coffee Shop and author of Staying Connected to the Local and Global Coffee Culture Using Twitter for Handshake 2.0, was featured in the January 2010 issue of Valley Business FRONT.

Here's a screenshot of the article. You can read the full story by "turning" to page 36 in the January issue of VBF.

Easy Chair Coffee Shop in Blacksburg, Virginia was featured in Valley Business FRONT

You're invited to follow The Easy Chair Coffee Shop on Twitter @baristanomics and to read more about the Easy Chair Coffee Shop on Handshake 2.0.

The Art of the Blog Post – The Roanoke Regional Writers Conference

Mastery of craft can create the anatomy of a blog post. But taking a blog post beyond craft to art?  That takes…

"The Art of the Blog Post" is the title of the workshop I'll be leading at the Roanoke Regional Writers Conference at Hollins University, Virginia, January 22 – 23, 2010.  "The Art of the Blog Post" is scheduled for 10:00 AM, on Saturday, January 23.  I'm honored to be one of two dozen presenters at the third year of this event founded by Dan Smith, editor of Valley Business FRONT.  The evening and day of talking and learning writing is only $50 and registration is available online.

Anatomy of a Blog Post graphic by Kelsey Sarles

And it's an honor to work with Dan Smith.  He was kind enough to give me a position with Valley Business FRONT as a workplace advice columnist. Getting a Grip appears monthly in Valley Business FRONT.

Congratulations are in order, too, for Dan Smith.  From a press release from Valley Business FRONT:

Valley Business FRONT founding editor Dan Smith has been named to the Virginia Communications Hall of Fame in Richmond. He will be inducted April 1, 2010 at a black-tie event in Virginia's capital. "The significance here is the induction date," quips Smith, who has been in journalism for 45 years. "Seriously, though, I am touched and honored to be included on a list of communicators as distinguished as this one. It is not something I expected or even deserve, but I'll sure take it."

The Hall of Fame includes such Virginia communications luminaries as Douglas Southall Freeman, Roger Mudd, Tom Wolfe, Ann Compton, James J. Kilpatrick, Russell Baker, Paul Duke, Virginius Dabney, Carter Lawance, Frank Batten, Guy Friddell, J. Stewart Bryan, Earl Hamner, Willard Scott, Max Robinson, Lloyd Dobbins and David Baldacci. Smith will be the sixth entry from the Roanoke Valley. The others are Herm Reavis (radio), John Harkrader (WDBJ7), Ann Compton (WDBJ7, ABC News, Hollins University), Buster Carico and Frosty Landon (Roanoke Times). The Hall has 112 members and was founded in 1986.

The HoF, founded by the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Mass Communications, "recognizes individuals who have shown [over a long period] exceptional achievement in the fields of print, broadcast, public relations, advertising and interactive media, including cable and the Internet," according to its statement of purpose.

Smith has been an award-winning communicator in several disciplines. He has won press association awards for writing (news, sports, features, opinion), photography and design; radio, for opinion; and was named the Virginia Business Journalist of the Year in 2005. He won the 1974 Marshall Johnson/AP Career Sports Writing Award as a 26-year-old. He recently won the Arts Council of the Blue Ridge's first Perry F. Kendig Award for Literary Arts (FRONT partner Tom Field was also honored), his second Kendig. In addition, he has won awards for ethics and environmental education and is a five-time nominee as the region's Business Advocate of the Year. He has taught writing and is the founder of the Roanoke Regional Writers Conference and the Arts Council's Writers Workshop Series.

A Birthday and a Handshake

Handshake 2.0 turns 1.0 - photos by Dan Smith, Valley Business FRONT

Valley Business FRONT editor Dan Smith and publisher Tom Field added to the joy of celebrating Handshake 2.0's one-year anniversary.  Dan Smith's photographs of, left to right, Anne Clelland, Cory Donovan, Nanci Hardwick, Kelly Queijo, and Tom Field appeared in the September 2009 issue of Valley Business FRONT.  Thank you so much, Dan and Tom!

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Anne Clelland writes a monthly workplace advice column for Valley Business FRONT and posts it on Handshake 2.0 as Getting a Grip.

An Entrepreneur Who Gives

In a comment on his post on the Four Hour Work Week, Jim Flowers writes, "I don't see anything there related to giving, only taking."

Here's an entrepreneur who gives:  Barry Welch, founder of Internet Databases and developer of FurnishWEB, was featured in the August 2009 issue of Valley Business FRONT for his philnathropic work in Haiti.

Barry Welch, founder of Internet Databases, developer of FurnishWEB featured in Valley Business FRONT

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An Entrepreneur in Haiti by Z. Kelly Queijo describes more about Barry Welch.

FurnishWEB, a client of Handshake 2.0, is an online data management system for the home furnishings industry that expedites and systematizes order processing and product inventory tracking to optimize partnerships between manufacturers, dealers, sales representatives, staff, and customers.

FurnishWEB is an enterprise of Internet Databases, a custom web development company founded in 1999, located in the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center, Blacksburg, Virginia.

Valley Business FRONT Post – moreFRONT

From Dan Smith, Editor, Valley Business FRONT:

At Valley Business FRONT, as at most progressive publications, we are intensely aware of the Internet's impact on the future of our industry and to that end, we're making our first concrete moves into building a Web site that will answer that need for our readers.

First, we put up the page-turning edition of FRONT, which premiers a week ahead of the paper copy of the magazine (here's the page-turning edition of the February 2009 issue). 

Now, at moreFRONT, we have created a blog for content that is original.  We have supplemented not only our cover story on the region's niche publications, but have also included a timely editorial on the future of Mill Mountain Theatre.

The publishing content is especially interesting, since it deals with the largest publication in the region – The Roanoke Times – which was only passingly mentioned in the print issue. On moreFRONT are two major pieces dealing with The Times: an interview with publisher Debbie Meade, her first outside her own outlet, and a timeline of what has happened at the paper during the two years of her guidance.

It's fascinating reading and a harbinger of things to come at Valley Business FRONT.

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The Valley Business FRONT Post is written by Dan Smith, Editor, Valley Business FRONT, a monthly business magazine featuring the Roanoke Valley and the New River Valley of Virginia.  Dan Smith writes the blog fromtheeditr.

Dan Smith's e-mail signature quotes Kingsley Amis:  "If you can't annoy somebody, why write?'

The opinions Dan Smith expresses are solely his own and are not necessarily shared by Handshake 2.0.

Valley Business FRONT Post – The Godfather of Niche Publications

Thanks, Valley Business FRONT, for giving Handshake 2.0 readers a preview of the cover of the February 2009 issue featuring Richard Wells.

Can't wait to meet Ms. Aluminum!

Valley Business FRONT is a monthly business magazine featuring the Roanoke Valley and the New River Valley of Virginia

Valley Business FRONT is a monthly business magazine featuring the Roanoke Valley and the New River Valley of Virginia. 

Valley Business FRONT Post – What to Do with Fear

From Dan Smith, Editor, Valley Business FRONT:

Valley Business FRONT, January 2009 When FDR told us that we had "nothing to fear but fear, itself,' he probably overstated the case exponentially, but he was on the right track. I’m seeing some of that fear in our current "___ession”  (fill in your own first few letters: depr, rec) and it is having a very real – hardly theoretical – effect.

I can’t tell you the number of times our own ad representatives have come into the office with a hangdog look and explained that ”they are holding off on advertising until something breaks with the economy. They say they have plenty of money and business is going well enough, but they’re … well, they’re scared.”

It’s not just the people we’re trying to sell, either. I’ve called business owners wanting to include them in stories we were planning and heard them say, ”Can we hold off on that until maybe the spring? I just don’t know what’s going to happen in the next few minutes and I don’t want to say or do anyting that will …” whatever.

At the Valley Business FRONT, Tom Field and I have decided that we’re proceeding as if the economy was just fine, as if the buzz we’ve created with our new magazine meant that we needed to be on top of everything every minute in order to make this a viable business. That dictates that we can’t lay back and wait for anything. We’re having to hire people on spec. We’re having to create a strong, ambitious editorial calendar and assume we can deliver the kind of journalism we’re capable of.

I don’t see any other alternative. If we proceed any other way, we’re giving up, admitting that we can’t succeed. And we don’t believe that.

The Valley Business FRONT Post is written by Dan Smith, Editor, Valley Business FRONT, a monthly business magazine featuring the Roanoke Valley and the New River Valley of Virginia.  Dan Smith writes the blog fromtheeditr.

Dan Smith's e-mail signature quotes Kingsley Amis:  "If you can't annoy somebody, why write?'

The opinions Dan Smith expresses are solely his own and are not necessarily shared by Handshake 2.0.

Valley Business FRONT Post – 2009 Roanoke Regional Writers Conference

From Dan Smith, Editor, Valley Business FRONT:

The Roanoke Regional Writers Conference enters its second year with a new venue, a lot of new faces and a new format. The conference is scheduled Jan. 23-24 at Hollins University. It was held at the Jefferson Center in its inaugural year. The conference is sponsored by Valley Business FRONT magazine and Hollins University’s writing program.

The new format will feature two specific topics examined by several writers each, along with 19 other classes scheduled Saturday. Southern Living Editor Cassandra Vanhooser, freelance writer Sarah Cox, Highland County newspaper Publisher Anne Adams and writer/editor Elizabeth Parsons will be part of the team presenting ”Writing For and About Women.” The second set of classes is ”Writing About the Outdoors,” featuring Blue Ridge Parkway writer Leonard Adkins, new Sportswriting Hall of Fame member Bill Cochran, and essayist Liza Field.

Saturday’s classes will be held 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and Friday will feature a wine reception with Vanhooser giving a keynote address about finding writing jobs in a tough economy. Internationally known motivational speaker Sandy Smith will open the conference with a talk on the challenge of a lonely profession. Noted novelist Sharyn McCrumb is among the teachers. Others include NPR essayist Janis Jaquith, freelance wriiter Gene Marrano, editor/novelist Keith Ferrell, novelists Lisa Solod Warren and Tiffany Trent and editor/writers Kurt Rheinheimer, Cara Modisett and Dan Smith.

The cost of the two sessions (including the reception, a continental breakfast and lunch on Saturday) is $50. Students may register at http://hollinsroanokewritersconf.eventbrite.com/
Some of the proceeds from the non-profit conference will be applied to a scholarship for a Hollins Horizon student.

Let me mention that anybody who writes anything–whether for business, pleasure, journalism, memoir, fiction, history, blogs, etc.–will benefit. The extra perk is the marvelous networking (I have hired five freelance writers out of the previous three writers conferences I've attended and this one will have about six editors as teachers, all of whom employ freelancers).

Frankly, even if you don't write, listening to my brother (an internationally-known motivational speaker, management consultant and executive coach) is worth far, far more than the price of admission. He makes thousands of dollars for an appearance like this one, but he owes me big – my mother liked me best and he used to beat the heck out of me every day.

Dan Smith wrote about the Roanoke Regional Writers Conference previously for Handshake 2.0.

The Valley Business FRONT Post is written by Dan Smith, Editor, Valley Business FRONT, a monthly business magazine featuring the Roanoke Valley and the New River Valley of Virginia.  Dan Smith writes the blog fromtheeditr.

Dan Smith's e-mail signature quotes Kingsley Amis:  "If you can't annoy somebody, why write?'

The opinions Dan Smith expresses are solely his own and are not necessarily shared by Handshake 2.0.

Valley Business FRONT Post – Predictions for the Roanoke/New River Valley 2009

From Dan Smith, Editor, Valley Business FRONT:

Because I am part of the business press, people think I am the expert that I am not when it comes to business. I have a pretty good ear and I co-own a business, but, frankly, I don't know more than the people I talk to on a daily basis, so predictions are semi-educated, but wild guesses.

Dan Smith, Editor, Valley Business FRONT, looks ahead to 2009 at Carilion Roanoke Memorial Since I've been asked by Handshake 2.0 to make predictions that have to do with the Roanoke Valley/New River Valley for the coming year, here–in the tradition of dim-bulb, big mouth commentators and pundits everywhere–are mine.

1. This region is heavy with automobile industry suppliers and one major manufacturer, Volvo trucks. These guys are already beginning to suffer and if Congress doesn't help, they're likely done. I don't like the idea of a bailout any more than the next guy, but if we dont' prop up this industry, it is at our own economic peril. Every segment of our delicate economy is interconnected and the auto industry is one of the biggest and most pervasive segments–with long, massive tentacles. If GM goes down, the guy down the street with the three-employee auto window glass replacement business is in trouble, too. (My daughter works for a company that supplies windshield wiper water bottles for the Big Three and it recently laid off half its 240 workers. That, I suspect, will be typical.)

2. Technology-based industries like Luna will find a softer market because of the economic uncertainty. These emerging titans will have to do what the rest of us are doing: figure it out and see what works and what doesn't. They'll have to be lean, inventive, smart and, my suspicion is, they'll have to be creative with financing because many of their investment angels are repairing broken wings these days.

3. Vacations will be closer to home; home-grown entertainment (minor league baseball, theater, concerts and dances, festivals) will not be seriously injured by the economy because people WILL have fun. They just won't be willing to spend as much money as a week at the beach demands. Look for a surge in swim club memberships as the weather warms. Ice skating is already picking up at the area's rinks.

4. The dramatic restructuring at Carilion Health System and the clinic will begin to return some positive results … slowly at first, but steadily. The physicians who don't like Carilion's changes will continue to attack hard.

5. Small, independent banks will become (are becoming) the vehicles of choice for small business. The big banks are too reticent to loan money and are of little use to small business. The strength of the small financial institutions through the recent near-disaster has been obvious. Some of these well-run banks are even growing. When one of the biggies collapsed recently, a board member of one of the smaller downtown banks told me, "We just had $26 million walk across the street and join us."

6. Virginia's budgetary shortfalls will have a negative effect on higher education, hitting hard at Virginia Tech, Radford, Roanoke's Higher Education Center and the several community colleges in this region (three to six, depending on your definition of the region). At our magazine, Valley Business FRONT, we've already heard from marketing people at several of the schools that their advertising budgets are extremely tight and will likely drop. Advertising budgets – unwisely, I'll suggest – are usually the first things to go and they go because they appear to be optional. I'm hearing some dire predictions from educators and, though I think they are a bit overblown, the anxiety is real.

Please don't check back on this in six months or a year. I don't want everybody to fully understand how clueless I am (or how willing to participate in fruitless speculation).

The Valley Business FRONT Post is written by Dan Smith, Editor, Valley Business FRONT, a monthly business magazine featuring the Roanoke Valley and the New River Valley of Virginia.  Dan Smith writes the blog fromtheeditr.

Dan Smith's e-mail signature quotes Kingsley Amis:  "If you can't annoy somebody, why write?'

The opinions Dan Smith expresses are solely his own and are not necessarily shared by Handshake 2.0.

Valley Business FRONT – To Be Known

Witnesses to an accident will give investigating officers entirely different versions of what happened.

One reality, multiple perceptions of it.

Business blogs featured in Valley Business FRONT A reporter and the subject he or she interviews have a similar set-up.  Will the reporter perceive the subject’s reality?  Will the subject be able to express his or her reality well enough to convey some sense of it?

I heard this quote at a workshop years ago by someone whose name I can’t remember, nor can I remember the source, but it’s woven in and out of my thinking for decades now:

“What each of us really wants is to know and be known, to love and be loved, to touch and be touched.”

How I felt when I read Keith Ferrell’s“New Way of Talkin’” and Tim W. Jackson’s “In the Beginning Was the Blog” in the November 2008 issue of Valley Business FRONT was touchingly, surprisingly known.

Keith Ferrell’s “New Way of Talkin’” addressed using social networking technologies for business purposes, including blogging, and quoted excerpts of his interview with me.

Ferrell wrote:  “’A business blog,’ Clelland says,’ should be truthful every day.’”

He heard me.  Yes and yes.  It’s for what I strive in the early mornings as I write blog posts like this and others. 

And in “In the Beginning Was the Blog,” Tim W. Jackson’s kind profile of me, begins by describing those early morning hours.  I felt as if I were reading my own diary. 

My reality, perceived by two other witnesses, as I perceive it.

What a stunning, stirring, inspiring experience.

I was moved.  I am honored.

Thank you Keith Ferrell, Tim W. Jackson, and Valley Business FRONT.