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Jon Lee's Blog (26)

5 Reasons Why the White House Response to the Death Star Petition Was Genius

Back in November 2012, someone posted on the White House’s “We The People” site petitioning the federal government to secure funding and resources to build a Death Star by 2016. We The People is an online petition website that allows any citizen to make a suggestion, and if it receives 25,000 votes, the White House will issue an official response. The Death Star petition reached 25,000 votes in December and one month later, the White House …


Added by Jon Lee on January 15, 2013 at 1:24pm — 18 Comments

City of Houston Produces Video About Surviving a Workplace Shooter

Last week, the City of Houston’s Office of Public Safety, with grants from the Department of Homeland Security, posted a video called RUN. HIDE. FIGHT: Surviving an Active Shooter Event as part of their Ready Houstoninitiative. It’s a professionally done, six minute…


Added by Jon Lee on August 1, 2012 at 2:51pm — 8 Comments

Make Your Presentations More Tweetable

A few weeks ago, I wrote an entry for speakers about analyzing their tweets to improve future presentations. Since then, I’ve had a few people ask “how do you get people to tweet about you in the first place?” That’s an excellent question.

Whenever I attend a session, I’m always looking for something tweetworthy because it’s a great opportunity to…


Added by Jon Lee on May 3, 2012 at 3:56pm — No Comments

How Did Caine's Arcade Get Famous?

By now, you’ve probably heard of Caine Monroy, a nine year old boy who built a carnival-like arcade out of cardboard boxes in his dad’s auto shop. The short documentary was viewed more than 4.5 million times in just a week, netting him a $152,000 scholarship, a non-profit foundation to help kids reach their…


Added by Jon Lee on April 19, 2012 at 10:29am — 5 Comments

Use Twitter to Improve Your Next Presentation

Thanks to Twitter, conferences are more social and open. A few years ago, if your audience is looking down at their mobile device, it probably meant that you lost them and they were checking email. These days, audience members clacking on their devices might mean they’re tweeting something meaningful that you said. Tweets from the audience benefit in at least four ways:

  • memorializes the important points from your presentation
  • expands your reach to folks that aren’t in…

Added by Jon Lee on March 9, 2012 at 9:52am — No Comments

Who Else Does SOPA Affect?

On January 18, 2012, thousands of websites such as Wikipedia,, and Wordpress joined a concerted effort to protest against the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act (PIPA). These websites were voluntarily blacked out to demonstrate the impact of what these bills could do if passed. The federal government …


Added by Jon Lee on January 26, 2012 at 12:13pm — 1 Comment

Are Your Social Media Activities Integrated with Business Lines?

Last weekend, I attended a conference at a nice resort and brought the whole family. We tried the hotel restaurant and went on Foursquare to look for tips and a possible check-in special. To my surprise, the hotel was very active on Foursquare and offered a free appetizer for checking into the restaurant. When I showed the unlocked special to the server, he looked puzzled and said he had…


Added by Jon Lee on November 28, 2011 at 11:41am — 1 Comment

In Defense of Netflix

What do you do if you run a highly successful company with two business lines; one extremely profitable but the other, not so much? Your customers still enjoy both products, but it’s increasingly difficult to advance the first if you have to keep pumping cash to sustain the second.

The obvious answer is, you get rid of the one that’s floundering and reinvest in the one that’s flourishing. Yes, there will be backlash from people who like the second, but you know that in the long…


Added by Jon Lee on September 21, 2011 at 12:24pm — 10 Comments

Design For Yourself, Not For Your Customer?

On August 24, 2011, Steve Jobs resigned as the CEO of Apple Inc. Whether or not you like his products, it’s hard not to be fascinated by the black turtleneck-wearing visionary. Over the course of his career, Jobs has said many insightful and profound statements about technology, PCs, business, the future, and life in general. One interesting perspective he had was around…


Added by Jon Lee on September 8, 2011 at 10:26am — 14 Comments

Are You Allowed to Use that Awesome App?

I hate carrying legal pads or laptops at conferences, but I need to take notes if I want to remember anything anyone says. The perfect solution? I take notes with Evernote on my mobile device, which I can access on my desktop at work, my laptop at home, and on both my phones wherever I get a signal.


But why stop there? I could

  • share my notes with coworkers,
  • allow them to add and edit,
  • supplement with…

Added by Jon Lee on August 10, 2011 at 1:59pm — 3 Comments

Texas Passed Open Data Law, But Not an Automatic Win

On June 17, Governor Rick Perry signed Senate Bill 701 into law, which requires each state agency to post high-value data sets online. This was a great victory for transparency and open government, putting into statute the requirement for all state agencies to post “raw data in open standard format that allows the public to search, extract, organize, and analyze the information.”




Added by Jon Lee on July 6, 2011 at 12:46pm — No Comments

Angry Birds Pummel Pigs, Understand Collaboration

By now, most people are familiar with Angry Birds, the simple trajectory-based mobile game about birds that can’t fly crashing into green pigs with mustaches and helmets. This game is so incredibly popular that it made the Guinness World Records for being the most downloaded paid app in most countries across the globe. There were over 30 million downloads worldwide, with over 10 million on an Apple device, and over 7 million on Android.…


Added by Jon Lee on June 9, 2011 at 4:12pm — 4 Comments

Are App Contests Sustainable?

On May 2, Government Technology published a great article called Apps Contest Winners Need Better Government Data to Sustain Innovative Services. It was a very well-written article about the challenges of sustaining the make-data-available-for- private-sector-innovators model.

By now, many of us are aware of events like Apps for Democracy, an app developing contest…


Added by Jon Lee on May 23, 2011 at 12:04pm — 12 Comments

The Most Important Change in Twitter's Homepage Redesign

A few weeks ago, Twitter redesigned its homepage, going from





One of the biggest elements they removed was Trending Topics. This was a feature that was front and center in Twitter’s second redesign, showing what was popular by the minute, day or week. Then in the third redesign, Trending Topics shrunk to a small, unobtrusive line. Now in the fourth iteration, it’s gone.




Added by Jon Lee on May 10, 2011 at 11:16am — 3 Comments

Facebook Questions are Great for Gov, but be Careful...

On March 24, Facebook rolled out the Questions feature to all its users. It's a new way to ask and get answers from your friends or fans on Facebook. For government, this could be a great opportunity to get direct feedback for

Product development

  • How can we improve our current website?
  • How difficult was it to fill out the form?



Added by Jon Lee on April 5, 2011 at 1:26pm — 4 Comments

#DonationFAIL! Why Bing Got Blasted and What Gov Can Learn

In the wake of the recent disasters in Japan, many organizations used Twitter to raise donations for the relief effort overseas. However, Microsoft’s Bing pledged $100,000 and received a lot of criticism for their generous pledge.

On March 12, Bing tweeted “How can you #SupportJapan? For every retweet, @bing will give $1 to Japan quake victims, up to $100K.”

Some may think it’s a clever way…


Added by Jon Lee on March 24, 2011 at 4:27pm — No Comments

What's the Best Way to Follow SxSW From Your Desk?

SxSW Interactive, one of the best technology conferences you can attend, kicks off today in sunny Austin, Texas. Unfortunately, even though I'm only one mile away, won't be attending this year. But that doesn't mean I can't keep up with what's going on in my favorite sessions.


At 2:00PM CST, Tim O'Reilly, the founder of O'Reilly media and brilliant web guru,…


Added by Jon Lee on March 11, 2011 at 2:31pm — No Comments

Local Govs Should Check Out Location Check-Ins

This week, location based service Foursquare announced its new features to enhance the social check-in experience. They also reiterated their vision to go beyond “a game built on check-ins” into “making cities easier to use.” Foursquare isn’t just trying to find out whether you’re at the coffee shop or a night club; they’re gaining insight into what motivates behavior to frequent local establishments. And the…


Added by Jon Lee on March 10, 2011 at 1:24pm — 8 Comments

What Can Government Learn from a Cell Phone?

More and more government agencies are jumping on the social media bandwagon, but not all are starting with a social media policy. Some simply go forth and facebook, not realizing the ramifications of generating official information on a third party website. Are social media policies really needed?

Yes. I’d like to use an analogy to illustrate the importance.

According to Wikipedia, the first handheld mobile phone call was placed in 1973, but cell phones did not gain… Continue

Added by Jon Lee on February 23, 2011 at 1:46pm — No Comments

Is Web 2.0 Always the Way to Go?


Just because government is further behind the private sector when it comes to jumping on the Web 2.0 train doesn’t mean there isn’t a lot of chatter about getting on board. I’ve heard things like


“We need an app where citizens can take pictures of potholes or graffiti with their camera phone, geotag the location, and have it entered into a maintenance request in real time which then generates a tweet with the work order.”




“We need…


Added by Jon Lee on February 10, 2011 at 2:15pm — 14 Comments

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