Welcome

This is the official site for Stephen Hammill, digital communications, SEO tech-person with nearly a decade of experience at the agency level. I lead data-driven marketing teams with a focus on creating valuable content. Additionally, I’m a writer, a musician, a soccer player and a practitioner of the Abstraction Principle.

A New York native, I now live in Portland, OR and work as Marketing Director for Optima Dental. My resume and portfolio can be found here. Click here for my music both as a solo artist and member of the band Life of Pi.

For my blog, look below. For more timely updates, read my Twitter feed to the right. . For everything else, use the menu at top of the page.

Uber doesn’t get the difference between price gouging and disruptive technology

uber appAn article published this week at WSJ.com about the four-year-old taxi and limo disrupter Uber gets a few really important things wrong about emerging technologies, and why people adopt them.

The backstory: Uber has been upsetting some of its users by letting the cost of its car service “fluctuate with the market” during heavy usage periods. This is also known to you and me as price gouging. People hate price gouging. Uber’s CEO Travis Kalanick defends the practice in the article (and all over the Internet) by comparing his company to others in the service industry:

If you’re going and buying a hotel room, you know that prices can change. You know that if you don’t buy it now, the price could go down or it could go up. You know that if you buy a flight on the day before Christmas, it’s probably 10 times more expensive than two weeks after Christmas. You’re OK with that and you understand it.

Actually, people aren’t OK with those things at all; they just have no choice as consumers to do anything about it. The only reason it works? The airline and hotel industries act in collusion to uphold a pricing system that no consumer would ever choose.

This is where we look to tech startups to bring a little disrupt to the party, but some news sites  just want to pull Uber into the fray of decades (or century) old transportation systems. From CNN Money:

…nobody wants to pay $200 for a cab ride. But the wonderful thing about a free market is there’s always another option. You can still travel 25 miles from Yankee Stadium to Rockaway Beach for just $2.50 if you take the subway.

Clearly Uber shouldn’t worry about customer service because, hey, you can just take the subway instead! CNN’s writer seems to forget that the NYC subway is a public service. Imagine what a subway ride during a blizzard would cost if Uber or the taxi and limo industry ran it…

Desert Oasis

This is where disruptive technology is meant to come in to save the day, and why it can grow its user base so quickly, by upsetting the status quo in stale industries. Give users something better and they’ll flock to it, like thirsty crowds to water after many years spent wandering the desert.

Who would flock to more desert?

11 reasons why an old person shouldn’t make generalizations about 23-year-olds running your social media

The title isn’t mine, but stolen from a recent tweet by @mktgdouchebag, which is meant to be humorous (I think); but I thought it might warrant a real list of its own.

First off, as someone who implements social media for other organizations, I will identify with the 23-year-old in this scenario, however, this really isn’t about age, but about experience in new media and what we as social media “experts” do for a living. After all, I’m 35, not 25, and sometimes I have these types of conversations with people younger than I am.

So, here are the 11 reasons why a old less tech-savvy person shouldn’t make generalizations about 23 35-year-olds running your social media:

Continue reading

One third of all Americans walk less that 10 minutes a week

The title, hard as it is to believe, says it all. In a recent Atlantic Online article, it’s revealed that Americans are somehow walking less and more at the same time. Confused? So was I.

Essentially, fewer Americans are walking at all, but the ones of us who do walk regularly are walking more often and over longer distances. So there you have it. The most disturbing fact has to be this: More than one-third of adults in the U.S. have not walked for more than 10 minutes straight over the course of the last week. Let that sink in.

Living in a walking-friendly city such as Portland, I have the luxury of forgetting just how much most of our lives revolve around walking out the front door to our car, driving to our destination, and driving back home, never breaking a sweat in the process – -convenient, but a little too comfortable, and comfiort can often be the enemy of fitness.

Read the full story the Atlantic here.

PPSC, the Portland Pick-up Soccer Club, reaches 1,600 members

PPSC

Some of the founding members of PPSC, from L-R Andrew Callaci, Stephen Hammill, Ang Pemba and Alex Tabet

Fellow Portland soccer player Andrew Callaci began the Portland Pick-up Soccer Club (PPSC) on Facebook a little more than two years ago. In that time, we’ve grown the group to more than 1,600 members!

PPSC features seasonal fixed weekly games, plus a bunch of on-the-fly games.

All skill levels are welcome to join PPSC. No membership, fees or player’s card required. Just join the group, see a game you’d like to attend and show up. Bring a light and dark shirt to help even out the teams.

If you live in/near Portland and are looking to play some footy, check out the PPSC group here at http://www.facebook.com/groups/PortlandPickUpSoccerers/.

We play soccer inside to get away from the rain

Here are some cool action shots, taken by Andrew Callaci, during a game at Soccerplex in Beaverton.

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The Google+ circle conundrum: searching for new names for my “friends”

One thing Google+ forces me to think about — something Facebook never did: What do I call all these digital acquaintances of mine?

In Facebook world, everyone is a “friend,” which is simple enough, if not true in real life. Google+ offers circles, places where we can box-in the people we know into as many customized categories as we see fit.

The obvious circles are, well, obvious — coworkers, colleagues, family, people you went to school with, exes. But what about the big vague one: your “friends?”

Within the first few days of using Google+, I realized my “friends” circle was starting to look like my Facebook friends list: an expanding collection of people with whom I had extremely varied levels of contact, from the daily to, well, the never.

I realized what I really need are some new names for these types of friendships. If the Eskimos have 1,000 words for snow, I should have more than one name for my friends. What I need is a new taxonomy. Continue reading

Planes, trains and ferries; travel to New York by way of Boston

It was a busy week/weekend of cross-country travel for me. I took the red-eye to Boston Wednesday night for a two-day meeting/site visit with the good folks at Health Leads. We did some hands-on social media training and also took the first steps toward building their new website to launch next year.

Friday saw me take just about every conceivable method of transportation (minus helicopter) to get down to New York for a relaxing weekend with the family. The ferry ride across the Long Island Sound — during a zero-visibility rainstorm, at dusk — was a little harrowing.

It being just a week removed from my mom’s 60th birthday, it was great to spend some quality time with her and enjoy some good meals and time outdoors in the sunny New York July, something I’ve not experienced in years. On my last day out before flying back to Portland, we lunched in Port Jefferson. Some pics: Continue reading

Coding. A time-suck, but also occasionally monastic in nature. #ZenPHP
@stephensolo
Stephen Hammill

My top 5 favorite bestest U.S. cities

A native East-coaster now living on the west coast, I’ve finally reached a place where I can say I visited every U.S. on my wish list.* A friend asked for my current favorites, so here they are (in alphabetical order):

Austin, TX
Awesome: great food (cheap but good); affordable living; bars; music; cowboy hats/boots on non-cowboys; weird; liberal
Con: lack of good public transit, too hot, it’s in Texas

Chicago, IL
Awesome:
affordable living; bars; music; ocean; public transit; good sports culture
Con: way too cold in winter; far from the coasts

New York City, NY
Awesome: good public transit; liberal city; bars; music; great sports culture; cultural panoply
Con: too expensive; really spread out in some boroughs; cold in winter

Portland, OR Continue reading