Please excuse this outburst of blog posts. I’ve been writing them in my head for days and I decided I’d take advantage of this day off from my job to actually type them out.

This idea popped into my head on Saturday and I really want to make it happen. The idea was motivated by all of the free shirts I received this weekend from Storenvy at BigOmaha. Not only do the shirts publicize Storenvy, but they are brilliantly designed which makes me want to wear them so much more. This lead me to ask myself, “could I get companies to give me their shirts to wear as free advertising for them?” I think I can, I just don’t really know how to get companies to give me their shirts. I figured I could blog about the shirts that I get and the story behind that company. Since I’m a video person I could create a video interview or profile of the company. And at the suggestion of Christine, whenever someone asks me about my shirt, I’d take a picture of them and explain to them what the company is and what my goal is. I’m also throwing out the idea of a public, online database where I could inventory my shirts and when I wear them and anyone who cared could see the details.

I’d love to make this happen and I’d love for everyone’s help. If you have an idea for how I can make this happen, let me know! If you work for a company that wants to give me a shirt, perfect! If you think I’m stupid and should give up, let me know that too. Just be nice, I’m fragile.

On Sunday, Craig and I loaded up in my dad’s Honda and sped off (more on that later) to KC to witness the one and only Conan O’Brien live in concert. The quest to see Conan live started in the fall of 07. My parents told me they were taking me to NYC as part of my graduation present so I immediately said we’d have to see Conan. Long story short: Conan was taping the week we were there. So when I read that Conan was going to KC on my blackberry during class I freaked and ran to the closest computer after class. I bought two tickets just assuming someone would want to come along.

After killing time at the Plaza, we hit up Jack Stack for some great KC style BBQ. And it was definitely delicious and highly recommended.

Conan was everything I hoped he’d be. It was a perfect blend of comedy and music which really helped the show feel like an experience. Conan said that he hoped it would feel like “an evening with Conan O’Brien” and I’d say he definitely accomplished that. From cracking jokes at the clauses in his contract with NBC to well-crafted videos to a guest appearance by Jason Sudeikis to pull the “Chuck Norris Rural Cop Handle” the night was fantastic. It was just one of those nights I can’t really explain but I know I’ll always remember, which obviously translates well to a blog post (sarcasm).

The night was topped off my first Waffle House experience. At one point I thought I was going to die, and I think that is what the Waffle House experience is all about anyway. Some sheriff decided to rain on our parade and give me a nice $133 speeding ticket which will definitely leave a dent in my account. Oh well, I’d say it was definitely worth the experience.

We all know how concert photos turn out

@craig_nash slapping me for the camera

Photo courtesy of Malone & Co.

So BigOmaha was almost a week ago and I’m still processing some of what I learned. That’s probably a good thing actually. But I figured I’d do my best to put some of what I learned to this digital paper and see what comes of it:

First off, BigOmaha was a freakin’ blast! Last year it was cool to go and hear all the speakers but this year it was at least 100x better being a volunteer.  I worked the merch table both days which I actually really enjoyed. It’s always been a dream of mine to work at the Apple Store (weird dream, I know) and fir two days I got to kind of get that feeling. It didn’t hurt that I was using an iPad and a square to do all the credit  card transactions, which consequently made me the most popular guy in the room at times. It was also really cool to talk to some people who had come from all over the US to be at BigOmaha. I had to enter a lot of S.F. zip codes.

Being a volunteer also gave me the opportunity to connect with the other volunteers, who were some of the coolest people I’ve met in a while. While I don’t know where I fit in with the start-up and tech communities, I do know one thing: something cool is happening in those communities and I want to being around that. The whole reason behind BigOmaha is to help foster the amazing environment Omaha has for businesses and that is definitely seen all across the conference.

I only got to watch a few of the speakers which was fine with me considering that the videos will be online shortly and the fact that sometimes I get speaker-ADD causing me to just tune out what they are saying. What I did see of the speakers, I loved. Here’s a rundown of what I saw and what I learned:

  • Scott Belskey of Behance – The portion I saw of Scott’s talked focused on how to make your creative ideas happen. He stressed the importance of organization with you creativity. This is definitely something that I want to implement more from writing down a lot more of my ideas to following through and making them happen. I think I’ll start with Sojourner Shows, which hopefully you will all know about soon!
  • Scott Harrison of charity: water – This was definitely the talk I will remember, mainly due to the subject of it. From now on I will do my best to support charity: water and it’s goals. I just think that everything they do, from having two different accounts for running the business side of the charity and the charity side to their use of geo-location is amazing. It just seems like charity: water is set-up in the right way to make a positive impact and they are focused on making that impact day in and day out.
  • Matt Mullenweg of WordPress – So what I saw of this talk was very techy so I didn’t quite follow everything that was going on. But hey, he created this website and I’d say it’s going pretty well and I appreciate what he does. Plus, the interview set-up was cool.
  • Gary Vaynerchuk of WineLibraryTV – Gary is one of my favorites. Even though I’ve never had a slip of wine outside of communion I really admire what he is doing. I could watch videos of his keynotes on YouTube all day. He’s just so engaging and motivating but at the same time hilarious. The most important thing I got out of Gary’s was building a brand. I want to build the brand of Jordan Johnson (or maybe people will only know my twitter handle and it’ll be the brand of jordanjohnson23). If I position myself with people who I meet or who read my stuff online as a guy who is genuine and caring then when I move into the business world (or whatever my career is) I’m more likely to get their support. So this is my daily goal now, to grow my brand in all the right ways. Also, it was awesome to meet Gary and talk to him briefly, as well as get a tweet from him.
  • Speaker Q&A – Last year, the impromptu Q&A was a highlight and this year the Q&A was great again. It was just really cool to see 5 speakers share their different ideas on one question and see how they were similar and how they were different. It also allowed the attendees to get a better sense of the speaker’s personalities and style by putting them on the spot.
  • Dennis Crowly of foursquare – I joined foursquare the day before Big Omaha because I figured I should since Dennis was speaking. I walked away from his talk with a much deeper appreciation for foursquare. It was really interesting to see Dennis’ progression from his early projects and the twists and turns he endured to get to foursquare. I apologize to all of those who hate my “checking in” tweets. I’m getting addicted. I just want to be the mayor somewhere.
  • Tony Hsieh of zappos – Tony’s talk was definitely a good one, and paired with Gary’s it definitely gave me more insight to building my brand. I was blown away with his stories about zappos’ customer service and everything they do to create a brand that people identify with.

So that’s a quick wrap-up of BigOmaha 2010. I’ll post a link to the videos of the talks when it is available. Trust me, you’ll want to see it. I’m excited to see where the knowledge I gained at BigOmaha takes me, and I’m excited to build some relationships that I formed as well. Thanks for stopping by. Leave a comment if you feel so inclined!

So here it is, the second edition of Music of the Month. This could also be the music that  got me through dead week and finals. Enjoy.

-“Two Weeks” – Grizzly Bear: This is a song that I had heard the instrumental parts of for a while. Between an NPR podcast and the VW commercials I figured I’d better get the album. It’s great and this song is just as sweet as the commercials make it seem.

-“Currents” – Sleeping at Last: In the past month I was given the opportunity to interview Sleeping at Last for a broadcasting project. It was a big honor. The guys were really cool and gave me some great stuff (you can hear it here). This song is one of my favorites by them.

-“Animal Arithmetic” – Jónsi: I was very excited when I ordered the deluxe edition of Jónsi’s album, and it has not disappointed. While I’m still waiting for the physical copy to be delivered from London, the music itself is brillant.

-“Falling from the Sun” – The Album Leaf: I saw the Album Leaf play a few weeks back at the Waiting Room and they were spectacular. This song was one of my favorite from the night. They really have a great sound, go listen to it.

-“Kings and Queens” – 30 Seconds to Mars: 30 Seconds is a band that I’ve heard of for a long time but I had never really listened till this song. It’s great and really provides some great music for editing.

-“Opposite of Adults” – Chiddy Bang: I can’t believe I left this off of last month’s MotM. This group is freaking incredible. Watch this video now. You will love your life SO much more.

-“Lesser Things” – Barcelona: I rediscovered Barcelona a few weeks ago when my iTunes was on shuffle. They are an awesome band that has a great sound. Great for a chill night.

So I had the idea the other day to post a few of my favorite songs that I’ve been listening to each month. So I guess it’s kind of like a musical recap of the previous month. I’ll try to keep it concise and interesting, maybe. Hope you enjoy! (The following are in order of my iTunes playlist)

-“The Funeral” by Band of Horses: I’ve you haven’t watched this video, go do that right now and then read the rest of this. This song is just one of those that I can just listen to with my eyes close and get goosebumps every time.

-“There Cannot Be A Close Second” by Copeland: Copeland has been my favorite band since my freshman year of high school. It’s the music that I’ve always had with me no matter what was going on. So it was a bitter-sweet thing to see them on their farewell tour in March. But, it did inspire me to listen to them a lot more, which led me to really grasp onto this song.

-“I Can Feel A Hot One” by Manchester Orchestra: This is another band that I saw in March and have been listening to a good amount since. This song is so much different from the others on their newest album but it is incredible.

-“Boombox” by The Lonely Island feat. Julian Casablancas: Ok, so this song isn’t that serious of a song, but I freaking love it. I also appreciated it when listening to the CD but the SNL skit this month just took it to another level. I could listen to this 24/7 and not grow tired of it. I also now want to do epic things with a boombox.

-“Night/Day” by Mae: Mae is another band that I’ve listened to for a long time but this might be one of my favorite Mae songs. The bridge just inspires me–I’m gonna wake up, wake up, every morning and then decided / I’m gonna wake up, wake up, every morning and make it mine

-“The War” by Melee: This is one of those songs where you only have one or two from the artist and you are perfectly fine with that because the songs are awesome. This song is incredible. Another good uplifting, inspiring songs, and I know I can always use those. Especially at the end of the semester.

-“Time to Pretend” by MGMT: So I might have been late getting on the MGMT bandwagon, but I’m ok with that. I had always heard Electric Feel but never the rest of the album. This might be my favorite track from it, and this cover by Jonsí only makes me love it more.

-“Her Words Destroyed My Planet” by Motion City Soundtrack: This song takes me back to the summer after freshman year of high school when I saw MCS live. They were awesome, and this is just a great MCS song. Just one of those that you have a blast listening to, but the lyrics are also really good.

So that’s the first edition of my Music of the Month. Feel free to leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by.

So, this spring break was not what I imagined it would be a month and a half ago. Heck, it wasn’t even what I imagined it would be two weeks ago, but you know what, it was one of the best I’ve ever had. I’ve gone through a lot in the past 5 weeks and as much as that sucks, it is also a good thing. Like people always say, “when one door closes, another opens” and I’m hoping a few more will open. Not only did I continue to become friends with a great group of new people, I took an existing friendship to a place where I hoped it would get. I think that this break was a good reminder for me to slow down and appreciate those who are going through everything with me. So to those of you who are there with me: thanks and I’m looking forward to what is ahead. Now for a list of things that made my spring break awesome (in semi-chronological order):

  • Boombox and Smash Mouth
  • Staying up till 6:15am to play XBOX
  • Belly beans, belly jeans, and jelly beans
  • Massive amounts of Grand Theft Auto
  • Seeing my life planned out for me via PowerPoint
  • Finally going to Alvarado’s
  • Seeing a couple seriously consider which film to select from the secret room at Family Video
  • Seeing Copeland play for the last time
  • Singing Party in the USA at the top of my lung driving through downtown Omaha
  • Seeing my first tweeker
  • Some good text messages
  • Ordering my halloween costume
  • Turning a birthday party into a GTA party
  • Seeing Manchester Orchestra

Unfortunately, I was thrown back to reality quickly with this week. I’m really pretty positive about what lies ahead of me. I’ll see what I can do about posting some more interesting stuff on here. Leave me some feedback if you feel like it. Thanks for stopping by.

Manchester Orchestra

Copeland

    On March 4th, I was lucky enough to see John Mayer at the Qwest Center for the second time in my life. It was another amazing concert, and I had truly amazing seats: 6th row, dead center.

    I knew going into the concert not to expect too many older songs out of John this tour, but I thought his selection was great. It was good to hear some of the new Battle Studies tracks in his live format. He can really make a song come alive. Out of the new songs, Assassin was definitely my favorite, and it might have been my favorite of the night. He had an amazing guitar feature section in the middle which even included him using a drum stick. It was incredible. His final song of the evening was Friends, Lovers, or Nothing, which I hoped he’d play. It was another great song featuring a great solo. It’s crazy how captivated you can be by his playing. I just stared at him playing in amazement. His cover of Don’t Stop Believing was really entertaining.

    One of the coolest moments of the show was when John asked if we were “ready to go higher” and turned it over to drummer Steve Jordan who hammered out an awesome solo which the band eventually joined in on. It’s awesome to watch so many talented musicians all play together and genuinely look like they are enjoying it.

    The opener, Michael Franti & Spearhead, was pretty good. Definitely a very different style from JM but they held their own. I’m also a sucker for merch, so I picked up a tour tshirt and limited edition moleskin notebook. Why not?

    Here’s a look at the setlist and some of my photos:

    Heartbreak Warfare
    Crossroads
    Vultures
    Slow Dancing in a Burning Room
    Perfectly Lonely
    Assassin
    The Heart of Life
    All We Ever Do Is Say Goodbye
    Waiting on the World to Change
    Say
    Bigger Than My Body
    Why Georgia
    Gravity

    Encore: Who Says
    Friends, Lovers or Nothing