Professional Spotlight: Jeff Pulver

The Social Media Valley, or Long Island can certainly claim some bragging rights with this professional. Jeff Pulver has not only been a contributor to the Digital Age, but a visionary leader in communications (or also the communication tools of Social Media) and specifically the power it has given to people. Jeff’s professional contributions would make him seem like a unreachable giant, but I can tell you first hand that he is all about people. Rarely do you find someone so profound that is down to earth, let alone so approachable that he will greats you in casual clothes with a warm smile and a hand out.

Jeff’s History

Growing up in Kings Point, New York, Jeff Pulver got involved with computers when he was 17.  Later, while working at his first job, an accounting firm, he developed and founded Spreadsheet Solutions Corp. an add-on to Microsoft Excel and Lotus 1-2-3, which he wrote. He also invented the CellSocket – a device which allows receiving and making cell phone calls through land lines.

Becoming interested in the possibilities of Internet Phone, a field that was unregulated at the time, Jeff Pulver put his money where his mouth is and in 1995 started a company that will go on to become Vonage, the biggest VoIP provider. He stayed as minority shareholder and member of the board until 2002. 

Jeff was the head writer of what is called “Pulver Order” about internet communication, which had become the basis for the 2004 FCC ruling regarding Internet Protocol (IP) communications.  Helping shape the VoIP landscape, Jeff set his sights on other implementations of internet communication.

In a 2006 Wall Street Journal profile he talked about Internet Video. “The same DNA that disrupted the telecom industry is well on its way to totally revolutionizing the way the TV, film, and broadcast industry is going to be.” He says in the article.

Seeing himself as an agent of change, he continued in The Wall Street Journal article, his mission is to identify the next big thing in technology.

Jeff Pulver & Basil Puglisi

Jeff Pulver proved himself right when a few years later the “Arab Spring” came to life, facilitated by social media.

For years now, Jeff Pulver organizes and hosts the #140Conf in different cities around the world. In those conferences he supplies the platform and invites speakers for short presentations and discussions about the impact of the internet on different aspects of our lives; on education, media, news, and business.  He calls those conferences “The State of NOW”.

“We are living through what is a truly social revolution.” He says in an interview from a conference in Tel Aviv, Israel on November 7, 2011. “What happens when you are living in a world where hundreds of millions of people can discover each other and communicate directly? What do people feel when they connect, engage and every voice matters? People discover that they can stand up and affect a change without really knowing that they are doing it.”

Beside the conferences, Jeff Pulver invests in start-ups: Bloom Studio, BloggersBase, SemantiNet and Seesmic among others. He lives in New York with his wife and twin boys.

Here is another Great VIdeo recordning from UStream – 140Conf NYC

The Next 140Conf in NYC is June 19 – 20

 

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The #140Confli: Fast, Informative & Interactive

The #140Conf by Jeff Pulver is known for short presentations and interactions, but for Long Island it has turned out to be one of the most potent networking and learning experiences I have ever seen.

This fast passed, energetic event engaged the attendees, keeping it under 140 Characters @katcop13: summed it up in a tweet “The word ‘audience‘ is dead. It’s a conversation.”

The engagement was both real life personal interactions and throughout the twitterverse, so much so that @namnum: was the first to break the news “Just heard we are trending in NY!”

@Krochmal has been a great host, engaging the audience making sure that all attendees are getting an experience, even seeking out an entire room to find out what they are passionate about and what they are learning.

This event has featured few if any traditional presentations, many presenters and the panels made a successful effort to facilitate conversations between presentations and during the breaks. The topics included business, personal brands, success stories, the human element, startup issues, fashion, musical performances and this thing called Social Media.

While the event is still far from over, it has this professional wondering, whats next and where can we get more?

Latest Tweets from the #140ConfLI:

— Melissa_Kue Melissa Kuehnle

@farida_h Glad we got to finally meet face-to-face at #140ConfLI.

— KennyKane Kenny Kane

@Krochmal Did you host a talk show in a past life?

— treypennington Trey Pennington

“Hugs over handshakes…that’s what we do at 140 Conferences” @jeffpulver #140ConfLI

— longislandpatch Long Island Patch

LI social media rocks RT @jmolinet Follow the afternoon sessions Long Island 140 Character Conference live http://bit.ly/lStBmK

— PsgeToNirvana Lee Carlson

RT @dhfrench: “Don’t be afraid to fail; it’s how you learn.”-@elyrosenstock #140confli How true, how true….

— levyrecruits Steve Levy

@mzayfert “take the first step, make some noise, and change the world” #140confli

Can You Keep a Secret in the Twitter Age?

Twitter has change how we communicate these days, and those who thought that the service is going to change the world in ways we cannot foresee, like Jeff Pulver, the founder of #140Conf. have proven to be correct.

But Twitter is, in a way, a double edge sword. As much as it can bring people together, pass information quickly and tell news as it happens, it is also a potentially dangerous tool.

The last events in the Middle East were enabled and perpetuated by the use of social media and especially Twitter. Whether you look at the way demonstrators passed information or cases such as Al Jazeera tweeting from Cairo when they could not report the news in any other form, social media played an important role.  The latest cases of relying on Twitter were reported in an article in Lancer, a medical magazine, when Japanese doctors used the network to get medicine to their chronically ill patients after the earthquake. The telephone communication was disrupted but the internet stayed on. It has become a convenient and wide spread tool, an “excellent system”, as one Japanese doctor puts it.

But consider other information that has been passed lately through Twitter that might have had an adverse result; during the raid on Osama Bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Sohaib Athar, an IT man living nearby, twitted:  “Helicopter hovering above Abbottabad at 1AM (is a rare event).” He continued tweeting about the explosions and gunshots he hears, but had no idea what was going on.

Had Al Qaida done its due diligence and monitored the tweets of a resident living near their leader, they would have known about the raid a little earlier. We can’t know for sure if there was something they could have done, but it raises the question; can you keep a secret anymore? He later tweeted:  “Uh oh, now I’m the guy who live blogged the Osama raid without knowing it.”

What did an actor, Dwayne Johnson (“The Rock”) know about the raid before the news broke? He suddenly tweeted “”Just got word that will shock the world – Land of the free… home of the brave … PROUD TO BE AN AMERICAN!” 45 minutes before the news broke.

What will happen with all the secrets? Remember the mayor of Los Angeles, Mayor Villaraigosa who was caught in an affair with a news reporter? All that would have come out earlier, had the neighbor who saw him in the middle of the night going into her apartment with dinner and a bottle of wine, had tweeted about it. It could have potentially changed the results of the elections.

In the days of Twitter, information can come from unexpected sources and has to be reckoned with if a secret is important and has to be kept under wraps. Twitter has had its moments, and while some believe that Facebook is the powerhouse behind social communication, I would argue that a Facebook message takes far longer to make its way around then the 140 characters that are breaking news, leading revolutions around the globe yesterday, today and tomorrow.

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The State of Now – The #140conf

Jeff Pulver is an interesting character. Not the most charismatic of speakers, yet his words make a lot of sense. He started “in computers”, as he calls it, 17 years ago. He was one of the co-founders of Vonage, and invested in Twitter back in 2007. Here is, paraphrased, what he says about the State on Now and why #140conf. is needed.

Our world is changing very quickly with the new technologies. Things we can do today were unthinkable just 20 or 30 years ago. In his opinion, one of the biggest changes happened with the invention of Twitter. He compares it to the invention of the telegraph or the radio.

Here is why:  Social Media has brought with it a new opening for people to express their thoughts and feelings and share them with others.  The ordinary, everyday folks could voice their opinion. The more people think and feel the same way, the bigger impact the citizens have on what is going on in their world. We saw the power of the internet in raising funds in the 2008 elections.

At the same time, our modern world has made us all Short Attention Span sufferers. We want the information now, and we want it fast and accurate. And we want it short. When it comes to voicing our opinions, not everyone is a good writer who has the patience and the stamina to hold a blog. Twitter combines those two elements and allows composing only a short message that even the untalented writer can do. It opens the door to so much, Jeff Pulver says, that we are still incapable of determining what kind of impact it will have on our future world.

Social media changed advertising, changed reading habits and changed politics. Even though Jeff Pulver said those things in 2009, he was right on the money when you look at the last event in the Middle East.

What Jeff does now is provide a platform for people who spend time learning all those new technologies and implement them on a daily basis, to share their knowledge and observations. He does it in the form of #140 Conferences all over the United States and Canada. He invites interesting people to speak, and the interested to listen and learn.

These conferences, like the June, 2009 #140conf. in NYC have a theme. The New York one talked about the role of news media in the world of Twitter. The uprising in Iran was on everyone’s mind at the time and the experts pointed out that the world was watching – not on CNN but on Twitter.

This year, the conferences are held in NYC (3/9), in Austin during the SXSW (3/14-17), De Moines (5/9), Vancouver (5/19), Twain Harte, CA. (5/24) and Long Island (5/26). An international conference will be held in NYC (6/15-16)

The #140conf. provides an opportunity for the Twitter community to connect, listen, share, engage and learn while exploring the effects of the real time internet on business. As an example some of the invited speakers in the NYC International conference are as diverse as:

Alicia Yarbo, producer of the Today Show and co-author “Today’s Moms”, Alon Nir, founder, Tweet Your Prayers, Craig Newmark, founder, Craigslist, Cory Booker, Mayor of Newark, NJ and Hank Wasiak, partner, The Concept Farm, together with other founder of small and large businesses, educators and writers, media and non-profit organizations representatives.

The Long Island #140Conf is set for May 26th 2011 at Touro Law Center, this event could be one of the biggest Social Media Events to hit Long Island, especially given that it has been often overlooked in the shadow of NYC. Long

Island has long been host to some great social influence all the way back to the days of AIM. With Long Island boasting a social landscape that forms the bridge between NYC and the coveted Social Elite of the Hamptons, this Social Media Valley is ripe for such an event.

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