1. The video of my talk at #140cuse went up today! Feel free to check it out - I don’t think I nailed the talk, but it was my best go yet. Still need to work on actually sounding interested, I think. I get nervous in front of people like this, and while I know the content of my talk, I start to overthink the details and let anxiety get to me. I think practice will help with that, for sure.

    Also, definitely check out the other 140challengers! As I mentioned in my last post, Isaac Budmen took the challenge prize - a speaking spot at 140NYC this June - but Jeff Pulver graciously offered to bring the rest of the challengers to NYC as well, and we may have small speaking spots as well. Without further ado:

    Isaac Budmen - Building Software For Social

    Sam Morrison - Backflip.me

    Unfortunately, Alyssa Henry was too busy rocking the backstage speaker interviews to give her talk at the event, so we don’t have a video to represent her talk. Rest assured, it was just as awesome as the rest of the talks!

    Finally, be sure to check out all the speaker videos up on the iSchool’s YouTube channel. It was an amazing conference, and I can’t think of a single talk that wasn’t insightful and worth attending/watching.

  2. Counter Talk at #140cuse

    Yesterday was the big day, the much anticipated 140cuse conference. With forty-five speakers, over 600 in attendance, not to mention thousands following online, the event was a huge success, and I was glad to be a part of it. You may remember David Rosen, who I met with for Counter Talk a short while ago; the guy deserves a million beers right now. The hard work put in by David and his team paid off big time, and more than a few speakers (some of which were frequent conference-goers) were sure to mention how well-put together it was.

    David and the Tech Crew backstage getting things prepped to start.

    The crowd starting to fill in. Not long after, it was standing room only.


    As I mentioned previously, I was a student speaker in the 140challenge, which saw me giving my talk about this very project, pitted against my fellow students and friends Isaac Budmen, Sam Morrison, and Alyssa Henry. Sadly, Alyssa opted out yesterday, being fairly busy with speaker interviews, so it was just the guys presenting. I went first, switching up my talk a bit from the previous format (video to come soon), followed by Sam - backflip included - and then Isaac. The crowd turnout  was pretty good despite being during the lunch hour, and all three of us were on our game, delivering solid presentations (the other two certainly did, I would hesitate to include myself). After we presented, the show returned to the main stage in the Schine Underground, and after a quick post-lunch talk by Eric Stoller, Anthony Rotolo asked us to join him and Jeff Pulver on the stage to announce the winner. I’m happy to announce that Isaac Budmen won the prize, with his stellar talk on using digital and social technologies to enhance your world and your learning, outside of more traditional educational means. His message resonates clearly with a wide audience, myself included; after all, I just got my summer job on the internet, never having met my employer face to face. The world is changing, it’s far more connected online, and Isaac is quick to point out the merits of that trend.

    Tim Pool showing off his front flip skills after the 140challenge talks.

    Jeff Pulver, however, really outdid himself, by not only providing Isaac with a speaking spot at 140NYC this summer, but also by offering to take the other 140challengers to the conference as well. He is an incredibly generous man, and I am humbled. There really weren’t any losers in this challenge, thanks to him.

    Counter Talk “Speed Dating”

    What kind of barista would I be if I weren’t finding a way to brew coffee at this event? I was turned down by food services at the school, so I wasn’t able to set up a table anywhere, but I brought my suitcase anyway, and held miniature Counter Talk sessions with friends and speakers. It was a phenomenal time, especially since I made sure everybody exchanged something of value for their brew. Well, I intended to anyway - I forgot to ask a few people along the way. I brewed a home-roasted Ethiopia Pulp Natural Guji, via both Kalita Wave dripper, and Aeropress with Able Brewing’s DISK Fine filter (more on that in an upcoming post). I wasn’t completely happy with this roast, but I didn’t get any complaints from others, so I think they were satisfied. Here’s who I got to brew for:


    Carol is a fellow iSchool grad student, who is enrolled in my social media class. She shared a comical story from her days as a pipe fitter and welder, when a piece of slag fell down behind her protective apron and into her bra. As she struggled to pat it out, she noted that all the male fitters around were awfully eager to lend a hand. Anything to “help,” right?


    Another social media student from my class, Jessica spoke with me about her volunteerism with The Future Fund of CNY. They are a local organization, part of a non-profit, which she described as a “giving circle,” meaning they pool funding into a grant, and the membership votes on where to distribute it each year. I always like to hear about projects like this, giving back to and supporting the local communities.


    Jen paid me a rather nice compliment, saying she thought I should have won the 140challenge. Much appreciated Jen!


    Jeff needed no exchange in my mind, he’s given me plenty of stories, a trip to New York, lots of hugs, and more, in the short time I’ve known him.


    Poor Julia, I was rather dopey and didn’t realize at first she was patiently waiting her turn in line while talking with me. Still, she exchanged her musings on riding a motorcycle, and we chatted about the stark difference between riding in a car, and being more exposed on something like a motorcycle or, in my case, a jet ski that one time. She noted that the smells were most intriguing, as they come on quite vividly and suddenly when on a bike. A forest smells far different on a motorcycle than it does as a hiker.


    Once again, another social media student (#Rotoloclass repped #140cuse quite well!), Chelsea got off without an exchange, but we did chat for a bit.


    Isaac won the #140challenge, so I congratulated him with a cup of coffee! Poor guy looked like he needed it by late afternoon too.

    Isaac, Chelsea, Julia hanging out, enjoying coffee and conversation. As it should be.


    Tim Pool, known for his citizen journalist style coverage of Occupy Wall Street, came over with Jeff Pulver for a quick cup. He told us about his family’s cafe in Chicago, which sadly fell prey to prolonged construction on the sidewalks, killing foot traffic. Tim knows a bit about coffee himself, as a result, and explained how to properly taste coffee - slurping! Doing so sprays your whole palate with coffee at once, and introduces air, allowing more complete tasting. I got a good deal of practice in slurping back at Coffee Fest during the cupping class I took. It’s hard not to suck too hard and inhale, choke and cough when you’re just starting out…

    Also cool about Tim’s family cafe: apparently they got some tips and pointers on coffee from another Chi-town institution - Intelligentsia. Very cool!

    Tim and Jeff waiting while I boil more water. Friendly guys!


    Ariel is another student, inhabitant of the #NEXIS, and founder of the up-and-coming dating site YouShouldDate.Me. She offered the story of how she grew up loving architecture, cutting out furniture and things from magazines to put in her sketchbook of drawings. Her grandmother once spotted her cutting out some furniture, and commented that it was nice she was making suggestions for the interior. Ariel corrected her and said they’re  not suggestions, that’s what the room will look like. Her grandmother disagreed, and said you can’t tell them what furniture they have to use. Over the years, her grandmother’s insights pushed her away from architecture, and the single people of the world will likely be better for it!

    Ariel speaking with Jeff Pulver.


    Eric was a blast to talk to, however briefly. He left me with his awesome, slightly dizzying business cards. These ones are keepers for sure!


    I know nothing about Andy, but I offered him a cup during my final rounds in the room before it got closed up. Thanks for indulging me, Andy!

    Yesterday was a seriously great time, I can’t wait to do it again this summer, and next year!

  3. In which I ramble a bit about Counter Talk, for the 140challenge. The winner will be announced this Thursday, April 19th, at 140cuse, so fingers crossed for me?

    Honestly, though I can’t deny I kinda want to win, the other challengers are all awesome people, with big ideas; all worthy winners. In any case, it’ll be great to see the big ol’ squishy brains of the iSchool represented in New York this June. So watch all the videos, not just mine, and be inspired.

  4. #140Hamilton Tonight! →

    140cuse is going on the road this week, starting yesterday with 140RIT in Rochester, and continuing tonight at Hamilton College. I’ll be speaking about Counter Talk, so follow the #140Hamilton hashtag to keep up! A full speaker list and event details can be found here, so if you’re online or in the area, stop on in!

  5. 140cuse Schedule Is Up →

    Check out the stellar cast of characters, with whom I am humbled to even share bandwidth. I can’t even begin to say how excited I am for this event!

  6. Counter Talk: David Rosen

    My nerves were just settling down when I met with David Rosen, a fellow iSchool graduate student. I’d just given a presentation for the 140Challenge, wherein I gave my proposed 140cuse talk in front of a small audience, to compete for a chance to win a speaking spot at 140conf NYC this summer (yeah, that’s a lotta 140). There are just five competitors, each given their own day to speak, and I had the, er… pleasure of going first. I’m not the strongest public speaker, I don’t think, and I’d had limited time for rehearsal due to coursework getting in the way. Needless to say, by the time I met with David, I was glad it was all over, and ready to move on to casual conversation - coincidentally of a rather similar topic.

    I’ve known David for a few months, as he’s in my major, and thus some of my classes. He’s also part of the NEXIS crew, and one of the organizers of the upcoming, and first ever, 140cuse conference. I also know David to be a bit of a Starbucks fanboy, so I was eager to pull his attention away from the Green Siren for a chat.

    The Brew

    I’d brought my Chemex along, with some of Stumptown’s Ethiopia Yukro for the brew. I’d actually tried to roast something for this meeting, a Costa Rican bean that my older brother’s longtime friend Ben courteously brought back with him from said country. Unfortunately, being the first roast, things rather predictably went wrong, resulting in a roast that’s what we refer to as “baked.” The taste of a fresh but baked roast is roughly equivalent to that pot of office coffee that’s sat on the warmer for about 4 hours. Not. Good. Luckily, Yukro is a splendid backup bean, with ample sweetness and a well-balanced acidity.

    I actually brewed for everybody present in NEXIS this time, so don’t be surprised if that’s where the CuseBarista Fan Club gets formed…

    The Exchange

    David and I were actually both at a loss as to what to talk about at first. I usually come to these with some questions in mind, in case I need to initiate some discussion, but again, I’d been a bit preoccupied. We started by meandering through stories of his experience abroad, in London and Italy, which essentially made me infinitely jealous. Europe is full of a diverse coffee culture, and I’ve got quite a few cities and countries in a mental list of places to visit for no other reason than coffee. His experiences are obviously meaningful to him, from the lifestyle aspects to the history and food, as well as the cheap travel (hey U.S., let’s work on that one, yeah?). Europe is also where he met his current (American) girlfriend, who teaches in Chicago - another coffee town, I might add.

    The conversation ended up in very interesting place, though, when we began discussing his role as a 140cuse planner. David found his role here through an existing interest in social media, starting back when he attended SXSW last year. From there, he cultivated connections with iSchool staff, and managed to get his trip to 140conf NYC sponsored by the school. There, he got to meet the conference’s founder, Jeff Pulver, and where an interesting idea got formulated. 140conf has some history in collaboration with educational institutions, but the idea of Syracuse University hosting its own offshoot was a bit fresher. Forgetting the minutiae of initiating and planning this sort of thing, David eventually took up a Graduate Assistantship at the iSchool, where planning the conference became his essential duty. And make no mistake, that’s not an easy job.

    David kicks back in NEXIS, enjoying a cup of distinctly not-Starbucks coffee.

    There are other members of the team, but David’s description of his experiences gave me the impression that his duties are distributed quite far. He’s helped the project the whole way, from setting up a web presence, to promotion, securing speakers and sponsors, reserving space on campus, booking transportation, and so on. Conferences, it turns out, are full of little details that are easy to overlook. I related to him the struggles of Mojang, the folks behind the cult indie game Minecraft, as they put on their own first convention this past year. The first is always one of the most difficult, because there is so little experience to learn from or build on.

    The Finish

    In the few short months building up to 140cuse, you can bet David will be kept busy, and I’m hoping his work will pay off. From what I know, I can tell it’s shaping up to be a really unique event, something that will be remembered at Syracuse, and looked forward to each year. I’m excited to meet Jeff Pulver soon, when he comes to campus to attend Isaac Budmen’s 140challenge talk. If you’re in the area in April, I highly recommend attending 140cuse; it’s going to be a fantastic time and well worth the price of admission. Also, free coffee from me!

    Edit: Due to health code stuff, I won’t be brewing coffee. However, all of the 140challenge competitors will be taking the stage to give their talks! Sometime around noon, I believe.