Indie Business Podcast: 8/23: Dan Marshall On How Small Businesses Can Positively Influence Public Policy

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As you know, I enjoy advocating on behalf of small and home-based businesses. As an attorney, I am especially interested in exploring ways the small business community can work with lawmakers and policy makers to create laws that achieve legitimate legislative safety goals without unnecessarily decimating tiny companies. Monday’s Indie Business Podcast features a man who knows a lot about that.

Dan Marshall and Peapods

Dan Marshall is the owner of Peapods Natural Toys & Baby Care, an alternative toy and baby supply store in St. Paul, Mn. He is also the founder and vice president of the Handmade Toy Alliance, an alliance of toy stores, toy makers and children’s product manufacturers from across the country who want to preserve American-made handmade and small batch toys, clothes, and children’s goods. Dan is a powerful advocate for his industry, having met with lawmakers and testified on Capitol Hill about the impact of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 on tiny companies like his.

On the August 23 episode of Indie Business Podcast, Dan will share his tips and insights on how individual small and independent business owners can positively influence public policy in their various industries.

Here’s how to join the show on August 23 at 1:00pm EST

There are two players to choose from to listen to the show. If you want to make sure in advance that you’ll be able to hear the show tomorrow, click the player you normally use below and if you can hear a current show playing (someone else’s show), it means you’ll be able to click the same link and listen live tomorrow. If the links don’t work, it means you do not have the player installed on your computer, so follow the “click to download” instructions below.

Click here to listen with Windows Media Player (Click here if you need to download Windows Media Player)
Click here to listen with QuickTime (Click here if you need to download download QuickTime)

If all you wish to do is listen, you don’t need to do anything else. Just turn up your volume and listen live.

How To Chat Live During The Show

If you’d like a more robust and interactive experience (which may also increase the number of people who care about this issue who follow you on Twitter), you’ll want to either TweetChat or TweetGrid to chat live.

TweetChat is an easy to use. Web application that uses text messages on Twitter to interact me, show guests and others participating in the live show and chat. To use TweetChat during the show, go to TweetChat, then type IndieLive. If you are not already logged into Twitter, you will be asked to log in. Once you’re logged in, you will begin to see the screen update with the real time conversations of everyone participating during the show and live chat.

As you can see, you can participate in the chat by using Twitter like you normally do. The #IndieLive hashtag will automatically be added to each Tweet you send out. You can use the icons on the right side of the chat windows to ReTweet, Reply, Favorite, etc., You can pause the chat and do other things to make it easier to keep up with the conversation. If you have not familiar with live Twitter chats, my suggestion is to use TweetChat.

Tweetgrid is the best choice if you want more robust interaction, and if you are already familiar with live Twitter chats. To use TweetGrid, log onto the customized TweetGrid link set up for #IndieLive. Log in as indicated by entering your Twitter name (include the @ symbol) and your password. Once you authenticate the account, you can start Tweeting using the Tweet window at the top of the page. Note that the #IndieLive hashtag appears to the right of the Tweet window. By using this link, the #IndieLive hashtag is automatically added when you Tweet. (If you do not see #IndieLive there, please add it so it is appended to your Tweets.)

Our TweetGrid link has three columns. The far left column is where you can see the Tweets of everyone using the hashtag during the show. The center column shows my Tweets as the host of the show, and I may or may not add some of the show guest to that column. You can use the far right column for you own twitter account so you can see who is replying specifically to you. Just put @ your twitter name (it’s best to include the @ symbol there), choose search, and TweetGrid will look for people speaking directly to you so you can chat with them.

You’ll notice above your username is a #hashtag box, which should say #IndieLive– if it doesn’t, please add it there, so that it adds that tag to each tweet you send.

Use the icons to ReTweet, Reply, etc. Things may move pretty fast, so if you feel like it’s too much to follow, choose “Stop” so you can kind of catch up a bit. When you’re ready to join live again, choose “Search” and you’ll rejoin the conversation as it unfolds.

Remember that I am having the show recorded so you can listen later. I may also be able to prepare and transcript but I’m not sure about that yet.

I know this may seem like a lot to people who are not used to using live chats, but I do want you to remember that your ability to use services like these will continually enhance your ability to participate in this new economy which requires us to continually learn how to use new technologies to reach the people who want to buy our products.

And remember, of the two chat systems above, TweetChat is far less complicated for a “beginner,” so if you are new to all of this, start with that. Or just listen this time and try a chat next week. As you know, from time to time, Twitter runs slow of stops altogether. If this happens on the show, it will not affect the audio. You will be able to listen even if Twitter stops working or slows down so don’t panic if the Twitter stream is slow or stops.

Let Your Followers Know

As a courtesy, if you plan to chat and interact during the show a lot, you may wish to tell your followers that you are joining a live Twitter chat so they know in advance that you’ll be Tweeting live for a bit. Here’s a suggested Tweet you can cut and paste:

I’m joining a live Twitter chat about #IndieLive and may be Tweeting about it for about an hour.

Question: If you have questions about CPSIA, Dan or how to join the show, please leave them in the comments.

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