Social Networking

Don't Go Jason Waterfalls

Zack gregg waterfalls med

I don't know if Iceland has more waterfalls than any other country in the world, but it's ceartainly got some of the best what with Gullfoss, Skógafoss, Seljalandsfoss, Svartifoss, Goðafoss, Uberfoss, Yúdaboss, Dentálfloss etc. I'm not sure we saw all of Iceland's waterfalls, or whether we just saw the same ones two or three times.  It's hard to trust those guides.  

Nonetheless, the hiking in Iceland was fantastic.  While the weather was often cold, it was always beautiful and we were lucky with never having more than a sprinking of rain.  Hikes included mountain treks, explorations of volcanic lava fields, craters, geysers, beaches, glaciers and of course, plenty of waterfalls. Here are some photos:

Unfortunately, we did not get to see any of the famous Icelandic guard yaks.  I'm getting concerned that Kleiner Perkins might have been overly optimistic in their assessment of the potential for www.yakwhisperer.com in Iceland.  Still, it could be a nice strategic fit with their Norwegian automotive investments.


Local Jökulls

Glacier boat

I tell you, it's not easy getting away from the hustle and spin of Silicon Valley.  But I'm down with the whole #unplug thing while I'm in Iceland.  Heck, I'm not even sure they have the Interweb here.  So I'm making a point of being offline from cell phone calls, instant messaging, email, Blogger, Buzz, Digg, Facebook, Facetime, Flickr, Foursquare, Google+, Instagram, Linkedin, Myspace, Ning, Picasaweb, Quora, Skype, Typepad, Twitter, Yammer, Yelp, Youtube and every other productivity-enhancing social-networking unified messaging cloud infrastructure SaaS virtual distributed open source crowdsource system I've signed up for.  Yep, total silence.  Just me and my goold ol' Google Reader exploring the outer Yak Whispering regions of Iceland.

Nothing like exploring a glacier river lagoon to help get away from things. Here are some photos of local Jökulls at Jökulsárlón

One thing I forgot to ask the Kleiner guys just how many Yaks there are in Iceland.  They're hoping for some major revenue growth, so I sure hope it's big.  


Yak Whisperer Goes to Iceland

Reykjavik

It's been a couple of years since I've been active at Yak Whisperer.  But just when I thought I was out, they pulled me back in.  The braintrust over at Kleiner Perkins has been amping up their socio meets loco strategy and they've bought a new stake in www.yakwhisperer.com.  Turns out over the last few years, there's been rather a rapid growth in social networks for yak herders.  Oddly enough, they're sending me to Iceland to check out some opportunities for expansion and potential collaboration with some geothermal-powered MMPORG banking simulation startups.  

Sounds totally disruptive!  So I'll be updating the site for a few weeks, while checking out the local surfing and blues bars.  Iceland and blues seem to go together like fermented shark and black death.  


No Yak Shaving!

Yak_shave

Apparently Yak Shaving means a useless activity undertaken in lieu of meaningful activity. The term originated at MIT some years back in reference to Yak Shaving Day, a fictional holiday featured in a Renn & Stimpy cartoon.  

Here's a definition by uber-blogger and noted Purple Cow expert Seth Godin who got it from Joi Ito:

 

I want to give you the non-technical definition, and as is my wont, broaden it a bit.

Yak Shaving is the last step of a series of steps that occurs when you find something you need to do. "I want to wax the car today."

"Oops, the hose is still broken from the winter. I'll need to buy a new one at Home Depot."

"But Home Depot is on the other side of the Tappan Zee bridge and getting there without my EZPass is miserable because of the tolls."

"But, wait! I could borrow my neighbor's EZPass..."

"Bob won't lend me his EZPass until I return the mooshi pillow my son borrowed, though."

"And we haven't returned it because some of the stuffing fell out and we need to get some yak hair to restuff it."

And the next thing you know, you're at the zoo, shaving a yak, all so you can wax your car.

Its amazing how many times you meet people who are constantly distracted by technological Yak shaving. They need to redo the website but first get a new build of the latest Ubuntu release before they can download the compiler, to write the framework to patch the library, to write plug-in for the browser, to automate the process of updating the whatever it was they were supposed to do in the first place. 

Are we all clear?  No Yak shaving!

Unless you're a Yak Whisperer in Mongolia during the Yak shaving season.  

In that case, Namaste, Dude.


Gobi Desert: Total Silence

Threecamel

During this trip I'm officially off cell phone, IM, email, Blogger, Buzz, Digg, Facebook, Flickr, Foursquare, Google groups, Linkedin, Myspace, Ning, Picasaweb, Posterous, Skype, Typepad, Twitter, Yelp, and every other timewasting  productivity-enhancing social-networking unified messaging cloud infrastructure SaaS virtual distributed open source crowdsource system I've signed up for.  

Except on www.yakwhisperer.com site, which oddly enough, has finally found a huge following in Mongolia. Go figure.  So feel free to leave comments below.  

As it turns out, there's not much cell service here in the Gobi desert.  We're at the Three Camel Lodge, but unfortunately with zero bars of cellular reception.  Probably just an AT&T issue.  Those guys can't get anything right.  It's like total sang-froid savoir faire.

Still, this is a pretty nice place for the middle of the desert.  We're staying in Yurts, which in the local language are known as Ger.  And believe me, these are first class Ger. Might be the finest in all of Mongolia.  

And yet, no cellular reception.  

See how you like it. Just total friggin' silence. Two can play at that game, smart guy. 

We'll just see how you like it. 

Total silence.

GPS Update:
 Latitude:43.77457
  Longitude:102.33917

Click the link below to see the location:

Click on this link to view most recent week of GPS waypoints:
http://tinyurl.com/yakwhisperer


Gun Galuut Nature Preserve

We spent the night at the Gun Galuut Nature Preserve, about 2 1/2 hours southeast of Ulaan Bataar.  There was excellent horse back riding, a hike to view Argali sheep, and great opportunities for photography of sheep, goats, horses and demoiselle cranes.  I also got in a great 6 mile run that turned into an 8 mile run when I got lost and was chased by dogs.  That was pretty exciting.

On the way back, we stopped at the Chinggis Kaan monument which is very impressive.  Photos and video were shot with the iPhone 4 which does a stunning job as far as I'm concerned. (If you can figure out why the horses are nodding, add your guess to the comments below.)


Alas, no yaks sited.  I'm beginning to think I should have bought the goatwhisperer site from Sequoia instead.  But after the expensive logo redesign and branding efforts, I'm not sure it would make sense to change things now. Goddamned Kleiner Perkins.  No wonder the site never took off.

Latitude:47.605
Longitude:108.39573

Click the link below to see on a map:
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=47.605,108.39573&ll=47.605,108.39573&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1


Time Travel in Korea

Sun_jin_lost_med 

I finally figured out how they made all that weird time travel stuff work in LOST.  Instead of filming in Hawaii, I think they actually filmed it in Korea or even Mongolia.  We left San Francisco yesterday and got to Korea tomorrow.  And on the way back, we arrive before we left.  WTF?  Next thing you know I'll be seeing polar bears.

Although come to think of it, it would have been more appropriate if Locke had been attacked by a giant Yak. Talk about being in deep Kimchi!  That would have been, like, totally disruptive. 

Can't wait to get to the beaches of Mongolia. Woohoo!

GPS Update:
Latitude:37.45023 
Longitude:126.45036 

Click the link to see a map: 
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=37.45023,126.45036&ll=37.45023,126.45036&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1 

Click on this link to view most recent week of GPS waypoints:
http://tinyurl.com/yakwhisperer


The New Yak Whisperer Logo

Yak_whisper_logo_small2

You may have noticed that there's a new logo on The Yak Whisperer site.  I got rid of that piece of JuNK designed by that nobody Paul Rand. What has he ever done?  Nada. Especially lately.  

I can't believe Jobs paid $100,000 for that crappy NeXT logo.  That's like 25 grand a letter.  You never want to pay per letter.  Cuz then the bigger your brand is the more its gonna cost you.  Not the smartest approach, if you ask me.  

Still, Steve paid less than the prior Yak management paid Rand for their fancy-pants logo. Honestly, I'm too embarrassed to show the old logo or even talk about what it cost. Adiós and good riddance. Lets just say, I think the original management team was spending way more on hookers and blow, so in the grand scheme of things, its not that big a deal.  

I told the board we needed a new logo with cojones. Something better suited to our social networking raison d'etre and that I could get it done for the bargain price of $250,000.  Which come to think of it, that's still $25k a letter.  Whatever.  But its still less than that fugly UK Olympic logo. That monstrosity cost £400,000 frigging English pounds which is like nearly a million real dollars give or take a coupla pints of flat warm beer.  Lord knows, you'd need a few of those if you wrote the check for that turkey.

Plus I got the designers to throw in the tagline treatment free of charge.  So actually, we saved money.  

And it was way cheaper than going to Christo to cover the Mongolian steppe region in inflatable pink & blue yaks which was our original idea for a PR stunt.  Christo kept arguing that yaks are from Tibet.  As if.  That guy has such an ego.  


About The Yak Whisperer

Rainsoaked_yak_and_handler 

(Photo: Rain-soaked yak and handler by DeeDee)
 
The Yak Whisperer is a journal of my travels to Mongolia.  Or at least it will be when I get there.  Or more likely, when I get back.  You may find some
SPOT GPS updates here

I bought the domain name from a failed Kleiner-Perkins productivity-enhancing social-networking unified messaging cloud infrastructure SaaS virtual distributed open source crowdsource system that was, alas, ahead of its time.  Possibly by several centuries.  Despite the obvious nascent demand for the local nomadic culture to increase the size of their online ecosystem, it seems that without access to high-speed broadband, Mongolia's generation Z is going to build their social network by traveling by camel and actually meeting in person.  As if that's scalable.  

All I can say is their loss is our gain.  

Tune in again tomorrow, won't you?

Or as they say in Mongolia: Namaste, dude. 

--Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar
  June 2010

PS. Feel free to leave comments and suggestions by clicking on the comment label below.