1000 Twitter Followers: How Social Media is Changing the Game

April 17, 2009

Today I hit a major milestone in the life of an avid Twitterfile. I surpassed 1000 followers.  To those that don’t use Twitter this may not seem like many. They may read about such Twitterati celebrities like @aplusk, @BarackObama, @jimmyfallon, @lancearmstrong, @iamdiddy – but let’s get serious, these people were in the public eye to begin with. To hear that they have hundreds of thousands of people following them shouldn’t come as any surprise. They’re intriguing, talented people that are changing the world, entertaining the world, and breaking records.  picture-6

The reason why my 1000 landmark is monumental is because I’ve never been in the public eye.  I’ve never been a guest on a talk show. I’ve never run a country, starred in a movie , cut a rap album, played in an all-star game or crushed the Tour De France.  That’s specifically why Twitter is exploding.  I have a following. Chris Dessi, father of Talia, married to Laura, son to Patricia and Adrian.  I live in a townhouse in a sleepy little town.  I have a good education, from good schools. I’m a good guy, with good values, and a good family.  I’ve never broken a record, let a alone made one.  But for this moment, I have 1000 people that are interested in what I have to say. Now, of course this is in a micro format (only 140 characters), and I fully understand that not all of my Tweets are read by my loyal flock. What I can tell you is that I get a thrill when I find something fascinating online, Tweet it, and see people Re-Tweet it.  WOW – the power of spreading information, and passing on the good.  I even decided to start #feelgoodfriday – where you can pass on stories that make you feel good.  I tweeted it, and saw people pass on a sweet video I found on youtube.com that documented a unique wedding proposal.  This is fascinating. This is powerful. This is also.. ALMOST the pinnacle of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Self actualization will come – with the next iteration of Twitter (who knows what that company will be called). Twitter offers us the ability to fulfill this aspect of our needy little personalities. Today I’m happy that I have 1000 people listening to me. After all isn’t that what we all crave in the end? To be recognized? To be acknowledged? I see you, I’ll follow you, I’ll listen to you.  Twitter is a blast, and can be a powerful business tool. The popularity will not wane, only grow. We’re tapping into some very primal human desires in the interim.  Cool.-

A New Beginning

March 18, 2009

Thursday Miva was acquired by AdKnowledge, Inc. This is phenomenal news for the talented folks running Miva Direct.  Robert Roe and Mark Ribaudo have a vision for the Miva Direct team that I’m excited to see come to fruition in the coming weeks.  I won’t be a part of that vision because this Monday I was let go.  This is the best thing to happen for me.  This is an opportunity for growth, learning and expansion.  I worked very hard in the months that I spent at Miva Direct and I hope that the team experiences nothing but success.  They all deserve the best.  Now, I must start the journey to look for my next challenge.  

Today, I’m bursting with ideas, happiness, and a feeling that everything happens for a reason.  I’ve decided that I will take some time to be with my family and decide the best opportunity for us. A hasty decision is dangerous, and I want to ensure that I make a decision to move from a pure place, and not a place that is based in financial concern.  

There is so much opportunity in front of me, and I’m excited that this is an opportunity for me to “practice what I preach”.  I have posted on here before regarding the recession, and our perception of the world around us when we’re in the midst of a recession.   Some responded saying that my outlook was unreasonable and much too positive.  I disagree.  Life is not an enemy.  I don’t want war.  I want peace, love and a non hostile environment.  My relationship with the present moment is not a means to an end.  I see my present moment as the only thing that I have.  Life is inseparable from the now.  Now, life is abundant.

  • Now, I have the love of a phenomenal woman.  
  • Now, I have a daughter that is celebrating her first birthday next month, and brings pure joy to my life.2416575556_74337bb7cf_m1
  • Now, I have a family and friends that have reached out to me with love, support and encouragement.  

How lucky am I?

I see the disfunction in grasping for the future, of reacting to the panick of unemployment.  This will not support a smooth transition into a new role. This will only support decision making that is fear based. This won’t help me find a role that is a fulfilling career move.  I may find a “job”, but not an environment where I can be surrounded by like minded positive people.  Life’s much too short for me to seek only financial success.  I’ve seen the danger of this mentality. My actions today are empowered by my intention to do good, act for the good of the people I encounter in my life, and the refusal to feel bitter, rejected, or down.   Too many of us are unaware that we have an inner wisdom of intuition that guides us.  Today is a day I’ve never lived before, and I’m glad to be alive today.  I give to life what I expect life to give to me. I love life.  

Out of this situation, only good will come.

Top 5 Birthdays (so far)

February 18, 2009

Yesterday was my 34th birthday, and I have to say it was one of my best.  More on that later.  Sunday night I was laying in bed thinking about how lucky I am to have such a great family when I started to think about past great birthdays.  So here’s a fun recap of some of my best, and why:

10 – While it may not seem obvious why becoming 10 is the coolest thing ever – let me share why I was so pumped.  Two words – Double Digits. Plus I received the best gift – a boom box from my parents. I went nuts when I opened the gift, believe it or not I still have it (well my Dad does), he keeps it in his garage.  It was the beginning of my love affair with music – first tape? boom-boxHuey Lewis and the News.  Not the best way to start, but c’mon – I was 10. Good times – Back to the double digits… I remember bounding down the hallway whooping and hollering DOUBLE DIGITS!! I’m not sure I’m really proud of that, nor am I really sure why I was so excited (maybe it’s because Alyssa Milano was 10 and I now felt comfortable enough as a sage young man of 10 to write to her fan club and let her know once and for all “who’s the boss”..) but I digress.

13 – At 13 I was the same height I am now (which isn’t really saying much) but I was a full head taller than everyone. I’m convinced it’s where I get my confidence.  For some reason when you’re bigger than everyone there’s an odd unspoken reverence for said large person.  I never grew another inch, but that one year – I was a God (at least I thought I was). I was captain of my wrestling team, I shaved for the first time, and my parents threw me a surprise party at my house. It was the coolest.  We had a lip sync contest and the grand finale was a full party rendition of Paradise City by GNR.  There were girls at the party too and that played well into the  serge of hormones coursing through my lanky 5 foot 9 inch body.  That ruled.  On a less exciting note – I spent 3 months of that year grounded whilst dealing with said serge of hormones…..once again….I digress…

21 – I’d already been drinking legally for a few months because I was living in Leuven Belgium for a year long study abroad program.  For those of you that aren’t familiar with Leuven, it’s in the Guinness Book of World Records for most pubs per square meter – a great place to study.  30,000 students from all over the world and lots of Belgian Beer.  That weekend I knew my Mother, brother Mark and cousin Trish were coming to visit. What I didn’t know was that my Father was joining them. I remember waiting at the airport for them to land (they were delayed due to a huge snow storm back home in New York). I was lying down on a row of chairs when I said to my good friend leuvenSteve Rossi “I wonder when they’ll get in”. My Dad answered the question as he stood over me.   I was bewildered, and thrilled at the same time.  Everyone arrived safely and the “kids” decided to hit the bars that first night in Belgium. I’d been bragging to my brother and cousin that I had a great tolerance for Beer now because I’d been drinking legally and that there was no way I’d get sick.  Big mistake.  I remember running to the bathroom after a round of shots. I calmed myself and felt the urge to throw up pass. That’s when Paulo Antonio Ribeiro Montero walked in (I swear that’s the kids name, odd that I remember, but really, could you ever forget a name like that?).  When he came into the bathroom he had a pint glass of soda. I asked him for a sip because I was on the verge of projectile vomiting and I needed to settle my stomach.  He happily obliged me.  I chugged, chugged….then spit out the straight Jack Daniels.  Bummer.  Commence Vomiting.  I ran home screaming “I’m 21” at the top of my lungs.  Not sure I’ll ever brag to my cousin and brother again about much anything let alone being able to drink them under the table.  But man, it was fun.

30 – This was the biggest mind blower of all time.  While at the mall with my wife Laura one evening, we were set to leave and invite my brother and his wife out for dinner with us.  When we called my brother was stand-off ish, and not interested in leaving the house. I tried to persuade him to no avail. I hung up and told my wife Laura (then my girlfriend) that they were in for the night and not interested.  We started to drive a bit when Laura suggested we call him and tell him we’ll visit them and bring over some pizza. I called back and my brother hesitated a bit, but then said fine, just get some pizza and come over.  When we walked into the house it was packed with friends and family.  I was seriously so confused when I walked in. I thought I’d invited myself over, not the other way around. I was played, and had the best surprise ever.  This was one of the many  “she’s a keeper” events that Laura pulled off over the years.

34 Sunday the whole family came over to celebrate, and it was a fantastic time.  My cousins Trish and MK joined in the fun, and the my nieces and daughter made it a total blast.  Thanks guys!fam

5 Things I’m grateful for

January 26, 2009

1. My wife Laura – I paid her $50 if she could last 1/2 hour without talking last night (seriously, she won and I was a happy man to pay up)…but I love that woman.  Plus we laugh together….all the time..


2. My daughter Talia

– Feel the touch of a 9 month olds open hand on your cheek and feel the hand of God.


3. My home – I worked my buns off to provide a home for my family, and although it’s no palace, it’s a great place, and I feel like I enter the “no stress zone” every time I come home at night.

4. My family – I actually CHOSE to live in the same town as my brother.  Crazy right? Wrong.  He and his gorgeous family rule.  We all dig spending our Sundays together, and we even invite my PARENTS! For my Mother’s 60th Birthday we’re sending my parents to Sciacca, Sicily – the town of origin for my Mother’s family.  Family is EVERYTHING. We surprised her.  Priceless..


5. My job – I work with some of the smartest people in the online world, and they’re nice to me.  Not sure what I did to deserve that?   

Life is good people.  take a minute to list your top 5…I promise, you’ll feel great afteward!


December 29, 2008

This thanksgiving was the first time my wife Laura and I have hosted.  It was also a pretty special Thanksgiving for us because it’s our daughter Talia’s first.  We had 14 family members over the house in Chappaqua and it was a huge success.

This year I did something a bit different.  When it was time to give a toast, I took a moment for everyone at the table to really think about giving thanks and what that meant to them.  I acknowledged members of our family that are no longer with us, and I then handed out hand written letters to each person at the table telling them why I’m grateful to have them in my life.   This was a great way to start the dinner, and I was thrilled to see everyone really get into the holiday spirit.

I hope everyone had as much fun this Thanksgiving as my family.

Gary Vaynerchuk – Online Man of the Year 2008?

December 24, 2008

Question:  Who inspired you this year?

My answer:  Gary Vaynerchuk

I’m a wine neophite, yet I find myself watching Gary’s online reviews obessesively.  I like to think of myself as a positive, motivated, focused guy yet Gary’s online activity (endless tweets on twitter), and non stop production of killer content makes me question my own  work ethic (this is a good thing).  When everyone in our industry is freaking out about layoffs, and who they’re going to point the finger at Gary’s message never wanes  “love, hustle, family”….

This guy is what the online industry should all aspire to be.   How can you not love a guy that decided to proclaim a “Good People Day”.…awesomegary-masthead

When I saw Gary deliver this keynote at Web 2.0Expo it changed my life.  Seriously.  Watch it.  Then watch it again.  I even made my parents watch it.  I made my colleagues watch it.

I nominate Gary Vaynerchuk as Online Man of the Year 2008

An Open Letter to Papa

December 23, 2008


Today I really miss you.

I think it’s because I’m a father now and I’d give anything to for you to meet Talia. Although this time of year is always difficult without you, missing you hasn’t gotten easier.  There is no easing of that pain, only perhaps a greater understanding of the man you were and why you did the things you did. As I get older I can see what a truly great man you were.

This Thanksgiving I showed everyone the letter you’d written to me after I received the Coach’s Award in High School. As an 18 year old I appreciated the letter for sure, but not nearly as much as now at 33. A few months ago when I found the letter in Mom and Dad’s basement I felt like I’d been hit in my chest with a sledge hammer. It shook me to my core. So I gingerly unfolded it, framed it and put it at my bedside. Now I read it often, and I hear you. You wrote letters to others in the family. You made everyone feel special. Thank you. You’ll never know the magnitude of those gestures.

When confronted with the grief of losing you, I find myself feeling it even deeper as more and more blessings are bestowed upon our family.  I wish you were here to enjoy these moments.  There’s certainly a part of me that feels you are participating in my life every day.  There’s also that other part of me that feels you’re gone.  I suppose writing this letter addresses the latter sentiment, in a hope to connect myself to you as much as possible.

I recall Christmas’s past. I can close my eyes and smell you, feel your cheek on mine when you’d hug me.  I can hear you saying Merry Christmas to all of us.  I can hear you offering a toast to family – always making it clear that you were the “richest man in the world” because of all of the love surrounding you. We all love you so much.

Today I really miss you.

I wish you were able to sit in a chair and have Sophia, Julia and Talia crawl on your lap. I bet your face would get red, and you’d laugh your laugh. I can still hear it. I wish you were able to offer another family toast. I tried this Thanksgiving. I hope I made you proud. I think I did.

Mark and I used to sit with you and talk about what your life was like growing up with your siblings in Brooklyn. If you were still here we’d talk to you about our daughters, our lovely wives, our homes, and the town we both live in. We’d tell you how you taught us the importance of family. We’d tell you that we’ve grown closer as adults. We know you worried about that when we fought as children. You taught us how to be men.

Mom misses you. I can tell that this time of year is the worst for her. She misses your kind words. She misses your unconditional love and your ability to convey that you loved her for being her. You’ll never know how much she loves you.

I feel better now. I know you’re here. Thanks for listening Papa.

Merry Christmas buddy.


Facebook Notification

December 7, 2008

Yesterday I received an email from Facebook indicating that a video I’d posted to my profile was being removed due to Alleged Copywright Violations.  A few years ago I received a similar notification from Youtube regarding a video I posted of Prince performing during the halftime show at the Super Bowl in Miami.  I wholly understood Youtube’s request, and happily removed the video.  But this is different.

Facebook seems to have implemented some sort of automated system to determine if there may be copywrite violations occurring – because the video in question is footage of my wife Laura, my daughter Talia, and myself pumpkin picking.  Odd.

I’ll certainly push to have the video placed back on my profile page again as soon as possible, but in the interim I’ll post the video here.  You decide – copywrite infringement or fun family video caught in a crawling algorithm incorrectly by the facebook team?

Facebook receives one big bad review from me on this one.  I’m sure they’ll fix it – but thought I’d share and see if anyone else experience the same thing?

Here’s the email they sent to my attention:


We have removed your video entitled “Talia goes Apple/Pumpkin picking” uploaded at 8:46pm October 16th, 2008. We did this because we learned that your video might include copyrighted material owned by a third party, such as a video clip or background audio.

If you are the copyright owner, or have permission from the rights holder to upload and distribute this material on Facebook, you may file a counter notice of alleged infringement by following the link below. 

Please note that if you re-upload this video without filing a counter notice, or if you upload another video that infringes on the rights of a third party, our system will again remove the content. This could cause your access to the Facebook Video application to be disabled, or your Facebook account to be disabled.

To file a counter notice:
File a Counter Notification

For any other questions, view our Help page.

The Facebook Team

Get to know everyone

October 29, 2008

When I was in college I remember sitting with my advisor/mentor Dr. LoPresto. He sat with me as we chatted about my career options. At the time I was graduating in a few months with a degree in Psychology. I had spent my Junior year studying in Leuven, Belgium, and I had the “business bug”. While was in Belgium I took core business courses next to University of Chicago business students: and I was getting straight A’s. Now what?

I remember vividly Dr, LoPresto asking me what I wanted to do: and I said “I don’t know”.

Not the best answer to give to the man that had helped to make my Senior year at Loyola College so special. He pushed back and asked me

“where were you for the first two years at Loyola?”
“Who did you spend time with?”
“Who did you learn from”?

I had no answer. At this moment it dawned on me. Did I make an effort to get to know everyone that could assist with my career decisions? Had I consulted with students that were studying Psychology? Had I exhausted all resources in the Psychology Department – or had I waited until the last minute for the reality of graduation to set in.

What had happened here?

I hadn’t set Goals
I didn’t get to know EVERYONE
I didn’t listen

How can these lessons translate in business?

Dr. LoPreso helped me with many things that day. He helped to point out a few things I did wrong, but he also let me know what I did right. I was on the right path to business – but I had to cultivate that path. I couldn’t just aimlessly wander into a business interview with an answer like “I don’t know”….

Set Goals – know what you want, and go get it. I eventually realized I needed to further my business education before I could succeed after graduation. I applied to NYU, and went on to earn a MS in Direct Marketing
Get to know EVERYONE – I put myself out there, and didn’t hide. I tried to get to know everyone I could, and I picked their brains. what did they do on a day to day basis? How did they get there? Did they love it? Since then I’ve cultivated a network of colleagues I can say are friends as well. Life’s to short to use people as stepping stones. Who am I to say I’m better than anyone?
Listen – I shut my cocky mouth and started to listen. I realized I had so much to learn – and I still do. So I shut up and listen, and it will pay dividends.

Live Well

October 24, 2008

Randy Pauch talked during his last public speaking appearance not about beating the “reaper” by living longer – but beating the reaper by living “better”… He advised the audience to find your PASSION.

I want to hear from others what you think your passion is?

I think I’ve found that passion in my family. My love for my daughter is indescribable. My love and respect for my wife – unsurpassable. I strive to be thought well of. I seek my passion, and I hope that you all do as well. I believe that passion is grounded in PEOPLE – and what they will think of you when your gone. Make a connection today. Talk to you cube mate about their family. Seek out that kind of passion, seek out that kind of love.

it’s not the things we do in life that we regret – it’s the things we do NOT.

Live well today.