Subscribe: jason pettus [metafeed]
Added By: Feedage Forager Feedage Grade A rated
Language: English
business expo  business  chicago small  chicago  expo  live  long  moleskine  new  small business  small  time  wicker park 
Rate this Feed
Rate this feedRate this feedRate this feedRate this feedRate this feed
Rate this feed 1 starRate this feed 2 starRate this feed 3 starRate this feed 4 starRate this feed 5 star

Comments (0)

Feed Details and Statistics Feed Statistics
Preview: jason pettus [metafeed]

jason pettus [metafeed]

Please note that this site has been shut down by its owner, in order to use his account to post the same type of material much more quickly and efficiently. The site is being left up for archival purposes, but it should be considered as a "dea

Updated: 2012-04-11T19:06:54.285-05:00


Live from Humboldt Park: Interview with Katherine Hodges


I'm in Humboldt Park, attending an after-party for the Quimby's event we were all just at, held at the apartment of the event's organizer, Katherine Hodges and her boyfriend Shag. Here, Katherine tells us how she thought tonight's event went - but much more importantly, why they decided to serve mint juleps at tonight's event (which all of us partook of heartily), and where they came up with the recipe.

Live from Wicker Park: Random chat with Kate and Joshua


I'm still at Quimby's Bookstore, in Wicker Park. Here, we start with the last twenty seconds of a poem my friend Kate is reading to my friend Josh; then, Kate tells us about her new book, while Josh cracks wise. Viva la mint juleps!

Live from Wicker Park: Interview with Jonathan Messinger


The show at Quimby's is now over, and here's a five-minute interview I did afterwards with Jonathan Messinger, "The Hardest Working Man in Show Business." Jonathan is the organizer of the Hideout series of live literary events, plus is the webmaster of This Is Grand (user-submitted true stories about Chicago transit), plus is the Books Editor of Time Out Chicago. Whew! Here, a bit of talk about how he finds the time, how one actually gets a job at a place like Time Out, and how it is that every single person in Chicago's artistic community knows who Jonathan is.

Live from Wicker Park: Smoke break during Quimby's show


Three and a half minute monologue, recorded on the sidewalk outside of Quimby's Bookstore "soundscape" style, while drinking a mint julep and talking about the podcasts I'm listening to these days and why I'm listening to them. More audio reports later tonight.

Live from Wicker Park: Interview with Jenna of "You Knit WHAT?!"


I'm at the beginning of my long evening in Wicker Park; first, drinks and appetizers with my friend Jenna, of snarky You Knit WHAT?! fame. Here, a five-minute soundscape tour of Wicker Park's central section: we almost get hit at the North and Damen intersection; Jenna talks about her snarky website a little; we pass the building where "MTV's The Real World: Chicago" was filmed, and we both throw up some snarky comments. Many more audio reports to come tonight!

Field report: Chicago Small Business Expo


Greetings from the red line, where am just heading home after attending my first Chicago Small Business Expo, down at the campus of the University of Illinois - Chicago. And what an event it was, man! Held at least once a year, the Expo is in fact a free event, open to any random Chicago citizen who wants to register, mainly sponsored and put together by the Office of the Treasurer.

Such events, as some of you already know, can sometimes be a mixed bag; I've attended such free "community" events before, both here and in other cities, where there ended up not being much worth seeing beyond half a dozen folding tables and a bunch of bored-looking interns. The Expo I just attended, however, was quite different - it was held at UIC's basketball stadium in this case, and in fact needed that kind of room, with just hundreds upon hundreds of vendors and government agencies in attendance. I met up with banks today, small-business advocacy groups, third-party payroll companies, marketing and advertising agencies, independent auditors - just about any business you could imagine that has something to do with small business and entrepreneurship. Plus the Expo also sponsored a whole series of free workshops throughout the day as well, several of which I attended and found most informative.

So what was the most interesting experience of the day? Well, that would probably be the presentation by Scott Bruner, director of Chicago's brand-new Department of Business Affairs and Licensing. This is an agency that was just created last year for the first time, and will officially be opening their doors for business come October 1; the whole idea (spurred by Mayor Daley, of course) is to consolidate all the different licensing processes the city requires for businesses under one roof, with one shared staff that can help walk you through the whole process. So, if you need a liquor license, an outdoor-seating license, a food-handling license, a live-entertainment license, come October you'll be able to go to one office and apply for them all (compared to before, when you would have to visit three or four different agencies to get all the relevant applications), and also have one government employee who's familiar with all the different licenses and can help you streamline the application process. (In fact, I specifically asked, and this new department is promising to get the process of procuring a Chicago liquor license down to 45 days, from the two years or so it takes currently.) And here's even more intriguing news - according to Bruner, come this point a year from now, you will be able to apply online for just about every license the city grants. Well, hooray for government employees who embrace the web, man!

Anyway, more details on Monday at my personal journal; I just wanted to drop a line now and let you know how everything went, and to thank the city for putting together such a great, informative event. Thanks, Chicago Office of the Treasurer!

Audio report: Chicago Small Business Expo


I'm attending the Chicago Small Business Expo today, down at the UIC Pavilion. Here, a four-minute audio report on how the day is going, recorded on my cellphone as I was standing in line for lunch. Written report later today!

Live from the Chicago Small Business Expo



I'm reporting live today from the Chicago Small Business Expo, down at UIC. Here, waiting for the next workshop to start, this one on the various financing options available to small-business wannabes like myself.

Live from the Chicago Small Business Expo



I'm reporting today from the Chicago Small Business Expo, down at UIC; here, just killing a few minutes before the next workshop. Man, would you just look at how nice the UIC student center is? We didn't have anything nearly as nice at the U of Missouri, where I went to school.

Live from the Chicago Small Business Expo



I'm reporting live today from the Chicago Small Business Expo, at the UIC Pavilion. Look at how much crap's already been handed to me! And it ain't even 9:00 yet!

Live from the Chicago Small Business Expo



I just got to the Small Business Expo at the UIC Pavilion, where I will be filing photos throughout the day. Full written report coming tonight!

Help create and implement new "microformats" for the web


The Wharton Business School blog has a fascinating interview up right now with Tantek Celik, senior technologist at Technorati and one of the co-founders of a new website called (I'm misspelling Mr. Celik's name, by the way, and for that I apologize - damn those international characters!) And what are microformats, you might ask? Well, they're an attempt to add what's called "semantic" information to websites, without having to get rid of the existing structure or coding altogether. And what exactly is semantic information, you might ask? Well, that's an attempt to present certain types of information so that it can be of more use besides just to human eyeballs that are reading it on a computer screen. Think of an existing standard like vCard to get an idea of what I'm talking about; such a standard not only displays a person's contact information on a computer screen, so that you as a human can read it with your eyes, but also as a downloadable data packet, so that anyone using address-book software with vCard capabilities (like Microsoft's Outlook and Hotmail, for example) can simply click on the link and have that contact info automatically added to their particular address book, without having to type it in themselves. There are all kinds of semantic information like this, according to Celik, that could be of immense help to the average user - events that could be added to your calendar with one click, book information embedded within a review that could be added to your bookstore shopping cart, etc.

Granted, this is not exactly a new idea, not to mention that Tim Berners-Lee (the guy who invented the World Wide Web in the first place) has been hard at work for years on inventing "the Semantic Web," a brand-new technology that would do exactly what we're talking about. What's different about microformats, though, is that the emphasis is on using the technology that already exists (like supplementary tags in XHTML, for example) to present this information, both so that such formats can be immediately adopted by the entire planet, and so that amateur programmers like you and me can use such formats without too much of a learning curve. Anyway, the new website hopes to create a community of such microformat enthusiasts, both commercial developers and simple bloggers, in an attempt to develop new microformats without the formalized committee-and-report system you see at places like the W3C. (For example, already on board are the programmers at, one of the more popular calendar services out there for hipsters and artists.) It's one of the more intriguing new web projects I've heard of in a long time, and definitely worth looking into more. (Thanks to the TP Wire Service for pointing this out.)

"Happy News" is looking for your stories


There's a new Austin-based website online called, which is exactly what its name suggests: a real news site, full of real stories, but ones reporting only positive things going on in the world these days. (And my five-word editorial: "Man, what a great idea.") Anyway, the site is actively seeking stories from citizen journalists right now - which could be a great opportunity for artists, philanthropies and entrepreneurs, all of whom are having an incredibly tough time these days getting noticed by those in the mainstream media. Know of a charity that recently got a big grant? Know of an artist who recently got a big break? Write it up and submit it! (Thanks to BusinessWeek for pointing this out.)



Are you thinking of opening a new small business (like me), but don't have the time or money to actually attend business school (, me)? Why not just teach yourself? Even most MBA holders will admit that the majority of things they learned in business school can be learned by reading books instead - and in the age we live in, blogs, wikis and discussion boards can provide a cheap substitute for the interaction a typical business student might have with their fellow students and professors. (Now, granted, a self-taught MBA doesn't hold nearly the cache of, say, having Harvard Business School listed on your resume. But we're talking here specifically about small-business owners who want to learn the things that will allow them to actually open and run a small business - not 24-year-olds who are looking to impress potential employers at job interviews.) Anyway, a guy named Josh Kaufman has been noodling for the last six months with what he calls the "Personal MBA 40," a list of what he considers the most important 40 books in existence for such "DIY MBAers" to read, and finally has his official list finished and online. (Regular readers will of course know that this is exactly what I'm doing myself these days [that is, giving myself a self-taught business degree], and I was tickled to see that I've actually read seven books from the list on my own, before actually seeing the list itself.) This is just step one for Mr. Kaufman, frankly; he's also started up a Personal MBA website, which needless to say I will be watching this year with great interest. (Thanks to Slacker Manager for pointing this out; and if I haven't mentioned this recently, Brandon, I love your blog!)

It cannot be denied: Beth Lisick is an "alterna-MILF"


My good friend Beth Lisick, an extraordinary author and musician out of San Francisco, has a new book out called Everybody into the Pool, which was recently reviewed by Jarret Keene at Las Vegas City Life. Now, such a thing would normally not warrant a mention here at my blog - but Mr. Keene also coined a new phrase to describe Beth, "alterna-MILF," which had me laughing so damn hard that I simply had to mention it. "MILF," for those who don't know, is a term from the porn industry which stands for "Moms I'd Like to F**k;" and man, if Beth isn't the textbook example of an "alterna-MILF," I don't know who is. Needless to say, you should go out and buy the book right this second! (Many thanks to for bringing this to my attention.)

BBC Mobile updated


For any mobile-device owners who haven't yet heard, the BBC recently updated the look and feel of their mobile edition. For many of us (myself included), this long-running and award-winning site was the first regular destination for us when we originally got our PDAs, so I'm glad to see that their commitment to a smart, cutting-edge experience for mobile readers is still so strong. (Thanks to PalmAddict for pointing this out.)

PR exec: "Let's stop writing press releases"


Public-relations provocateur Amy Gahran is suggesting something interesting at her blog these days - that PR execs should simply do away with press releases altogether. For those who don't know, a "press release" is a highly formalized document, in use in the business world for decades upon decades now, in which a company basically writes a fake news story trumpeting some new feature or product by that company; that document then gets shipped out like chemical warfare to thousands upon thousands of media outlets, in the hopes that they will run the release as an actual news item. The problem, of course, is that media outlets receive thousands upon thousands of these press releases on a monthly basis, most of which can and rightly should be ignored by them, leading to the power of any one particular release being diminished profoundly in the times we now live. Ms. Gahran argues that the standardized press release has simply become a dead format in our modern times, and that PR execs are basically wasting a lot of time and money sending them out anymore; she encourages the PR industry to instead do what a lot of business people are being urged to do these days, which is to build a legitimate relationship with the media outlets they are trying to manipulate. It's an intiguing concept to be sure, and worth your attention if you are a fellow business person. (Thanks to Steve Rubel for bringing this to my attention.)

The latest from MAKE


As is typical here at [metafeed], MAKE magazine recently had a whole bunch of items I felt like mentioning; so, I'm running them all as one uber-entry, to save both you and me some time and trouble. Click the appropriate links below to learn... to change the color of your glowy little Apple logo on the front of your iBook; to turn your Gmail account into an online hard drive, accessible both on the web and directly from your home computer via proprietary software;

...more about the world's first camera tripod specifically for cellphones;

...and more about a rare Apple I computer (one of only 150 left in existence) that recently went on sale at eBay. Only $20,000, people!

A long-copy case study: Moleskine notebooks


++One of the new advertising theories floating around that is starting to get attention these days concerns the idea of "copy," or the text found in ads; in short, the theory says that extremely long, informative and intelligent copy can actually be a lot more effective than anyone in the industry had previously thought. Well, I just came across an excellent example of this last weekend, when I ended up buying a Moleskine notebook as part of implementing the "Getting Things Done" time-management system in my life. (Yes, dear readers, I have become one of those GTD freaks. God help us all.) Along with the actual notebook, Moleskine also inserts a rather long history of the product into the packaging; I'm going to retype it in its entirety here, because you need to read the whole thing to understand the point I want to make:"Moleskine is the legendary notebook, used by European artists and thinkers for the past two centuries, from Van Gogh to Picasso, from Ernest Hemingway to Bruce Chatwin. This trusty, pocket-size travel companion held sketches, notes, stories and ideas before they were turned into famous images or pages of beloved books."Originally produced by small French bookbinders who supplied the Parisian stationary shops frequented by the international avant-garde, by the end of the twentieth century the Moleskine notebook was no longer available. In 1986, the last manufacturer of Moleskine, a family operation in Tours, closed its shutters forever. "Le vrai Moleskine n'est plus" were the lapidary words of the owner of the stationary shop in Rue de l'Ancienne Comedie where Chatwin stocked up on the notebooks. The English writer had ordered a hundred of them before leaving for Australia: he bought up all the Moleskines that he could find, but they were not enough."In 1998, a small Milanese publisher bought Moleskine back again. As the self-effacing keeper of an extraordinary tradition, Moleskine once again began to travel the globe. To capture reality on the move, pin down details, impress upon paper unique aspects of experience: Moleskine is a reservoir of ideas and feelings, a battery that stores discoveries and perceptions, and whose energy can be tapped over time."The legendary black notebook is once again being passed from one pocket to the next; with its various different page styles it accompanies the creative professions and the imagination of our time. The adventure of Moleskine continues, and its still-blank pages will tell the rest."Man, talk about some of the most exciting ad copy I've read in my entire life! I mean, just look at all the brand-centric lessons these four paragraphs convey to the customer: that you are joining a long line of famous artists and intellectuals by using a Moleskine yourself; that Moleskines are worth the few extra dollars you pay (US$10 for me, for example, compared to $6 or 7 for their competitors), because such extra care is taken to make them sturdy and long-lasting; that you of course want your Moleskine to be sturdy and long-lasting, because you are of course a brilliant thinker yourself whose thoughts deserve to be stored in permanent form; that Moleskines are still conservative enough to be used by business professionals in an office environment without getting laughed out of the room; that there are certain things in life (travel notes, poetry, sketches, random thoughts) that are simply captured better in an old-fashioned paper notebook than all these newfangled electronic devices; that it's okay for you to get obsessive over your Moleskine, because artists a lot more famous than you hav[...]

Warning: Chicago cops targeting Lakeview bicyclists


Readers of my personal journal will of course know that I recently became Chicago's newest bicyclist, and am so far really enjoying it. Regular readers will also know that in Chicago, bicyclists are considered motorists in the eyes of the law - with the same rights as any car-based motorist, but also responsible for the same traffic rules. Well, I guess not enough bicyclists in the yuppie-friendly Lakeview neighborhood seem to understand this, because the Chicago police have started pulling them over for such things as failing to stop at stop signs and traffic signals. They're just letting people off with a warning right now, but starting next month they'll be issuing $75 tickets, just like a car driver would get for breaking such laws.

And I say it's about time, man! If bicyclists want to be respected by all those on the road driving those three-ton killing machines known as cars, they have to adhere to the same rules those car-drivers are required to adhere to as well. And as long as we have bicyclists zooming through red lights, riding on the wrong sides of streets, riding on sidewalks, and not yielding to pedestrians (things I see every single day as a fellow bicyclist in Lakeview), car drivers are never going to respect the rights of bicyclists while on city streets. If you are a bicyclist in Chicago, you owe it to yourself to read up on the legal responsibilites you have as such. And if you're not going to do it voluntarily, it looks like the cops are going to do it for you anyway. (Thanks to for bringing this to my attention.)

Medical book: "Some entrepreneurs just can't help being a**holes"


There's a new book out called The Hypomanic Edge, by John Gartner, a professor at John Hopkins Medical School, which is positing a pretty interesting theory: that most entrepreneurs and most self-proclaimed religious prophets actually share the same personalities, and maybe even the same genetic structure. And this is both good and bad, according to him:

GOOD: Both have grandiose visions and high energy; both are risk-taking and impulsive; both tend to get manic about their single-mindedness, and are able to convince others to share their vision. (And I love this quote from the author: "Hypomanics don't think outside the box, because they don't even see the box.")

BAD: Both tend not to listen to others' suggestions; both are impatient with other people; both are prone to making disparaging remarks about others without realizing that those remarks will hurt people's feelings. (In other words, their brains are hard-wired to be a**holes.)

The book also gives some tips for hypomanics on how to better do their managerial jobs within such an entrepreneurial environment, like listening to others, deliberately slowing down the decision-making process, and not assuming your company will be an instant success. Anyway, it sounds like a really intriguing read, especially to such admittedly borderline-hypomanics like myself; I'm going to check it out in more detail the next time I'm at the bookstore. (Thanks to Fortune Small Business for pointing this out.)

Chicagoans, come out and support city WiFi plans


Did you know that Chicago is considering offering free WiFi to all three million of its citizens? There's a plan on the books right now, in fact, for the city to invest in over 5,000 WiFi broadcasters, one for every streetcorner in the city, all of it paid for and maintained with government money. The plan was first announced a few months ago, and the committee in charge of the project has finally moved to the public-hearing stage; the first will be at Truman College (1145 W Wilson), room 3641, this Thursday (the 21st) at 6:30 pm. If you'd like to speak at it, you can call Aileen Kim at 773.736.5594. I'll be there myself, and will be posting another entry that night on how it went; if any of you are going to be there and would like to meet up after the hearing, just drop me a line at ilikejason at hotmail dot com. (Thanks to Gapers Block for bringing this to my attention.)

Fischer's "Chess960" starts getting some respect


There's a pretty fascinating article up at Wired right now, about a new game chess legend Bobby Fischer has invented called "Chess960." (Well, actually he invented it in 1996; the article is about how the game is finally starting to get some respect among the rest of the chess world.) It works almost exactly the same as normal chess, except for one profound change - instead of the pieces being lined up in their traditional order at the beginning of a game (rook, then knight, then bishop, etc), they are instead lined up randomly. (The name of the game comes from the fact that there are 960 different ways to line up the pieces randomly.) The reason for the random lineup is simple - because Fischer believes that chess has become much more these days about memorizing opening moves, than utilizing a natural sense of creativity and intelligence. With the pieces appearing in a random order at the beginning of each game, all those giant "strategies for opening moves" books instantly become obsolete, giving even part-time amateurs a shot of competing against seasoned professionals.

Hey, sounds good to me! Anyone want to play a game soon?

"Fast Company" wants your contributions


Business magazine Fast Company's blog is about to celebrate its second anniversary (on August 8th and 9th, to be specific), and the editors are once again holding what they call a "BlogJam," where the blog's readers themselves contribute stories from their own lives concerning leadership, innovation, and other related topics. Last year's Jam netted over 100 entries, and they're hoping to do even better this year; you can click here to learn all the details yourself.

The latest blog trend - group suicide


The Christian Science Monitor has this utterly fascinating story up right now, concerning the latest hot new online trend in Japan - blogs that coordinate group suicides among strangers who don't want to die alone. I had no idea before reading the article, but it turns out that suicide is becoming a huge problem in that country, with more than 30,000 reported cases every year for seven years straight now - a per-capita rate more than twice of America's, and the highest level of any industrialized country on the planet. And according to the article, just in the first three months of 2005 alone there were twenty confirmed cases of group suicide organized via blog, resulting in 54 deaths.

So what exactly do we call this new class of blogs? "Anti-social networking?"