Tag Archives: self-promotion

A Dan Oshinsky Life Status Update That You May Not Believe Is Real (But Is).

This is the giant LOL button at the entryway to the BuzzFeed HQ

So I’ll keep this semi-brief: In two weeks, I’m going to start a new job. At BuzzFeed.

Yes, the same BuzzFeed that regularly produces stories like this.

I’m going to join them as their first-ever Newsletter Editor. I’ll be working out of their New York office. I am pretty freaking excited about this.

If you’re not all that familiar with the company, here’s what you need to know: BuzzFeed is built around the idea that great stories deserve to be shared, and they’ve made a major push into social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Pinterest.

But for the most part, they’ve stayed out of the email game.

No more.

I’m a big believer in email. I think it’s an underutilized tool. Consider this:

-There are 900 million Facebook users worldwide.
-There are 175 million Twitter users.
-There are 83 million Tumblr blogs.

But email? There are 3.1 billion email addresses in the world. (1)

Email is — by a huge margin — the most widely-used network for sharing information, ideas and content.

And yet, among news organizations, it’s a tool we’ve largely ignored. When we talk about social networks, we mention Facebook and Twitter and whatever network just launched in beta last week, but we always leave out email.

I think that’s a mistake — so at BuzzFeed, we’re going to prove just how valuable email can be.

We’re going to use that giant email network to make sure that you can see the silliest cat photos the Internet has to offer. (2) We’ll be building out some new products just for email, and we’ll be doing lots of experiments to make sure that we get the best, most shareable content into your inbox.

If you’re interested in following along with what I’ll be doing, you can sign up for the BuzzFeed emails here.

(And if you were wondering: I’ll keep posting here on danoshinsky.com, and my Tools for Reporters email will keep going out each Tuesday per usual.)

  1. Yes, I know. That includes spam accounts. But then again: Those other social network numbers are inflated, too, by fake accounts and non-active users.
  2. Plus: We’ll be sharing lots of serious news, and many awesome non-feline stories.

The Puta Grande Story, Told Live.

Back in December, I went out to Phoenix for NewsFoo, a conference for 150 of the brightest minds in news. I’m not sure why I was invited; my guess is that I was there to keep the group’s average IQ from skewing too high.

Regardless: I was there, and at the conference, I got to give a five-minute Ignite talk. The gist of Ignite: Presenters get five minutes and 20 slides. The slides automatically rotate every 15 seconds. So it’s a whole song and dance type of presentation.

My talk was on sources. Screw ups.

And, of course: My mother.


Words Of Advice From an “Overnight Success.”

My startup songwriter-in-residence, Todd Snider, has a line that I find myself quoting a lot. It’s from a brilliant little song, titled “Easy Money.” He sings:

Everyone wants the most they can possibly get
For the least they can possibly do

And he couldn’t be more spot on. I meet a lot of people who want to be an overnight success. Problem is, for most of us in the creative/entreprenurial spheres, there’s no such thing.

Don’t believe me? Listen to the Twitter guys.

And here’s more proof. Meet Dave McClure. Out there in Silicon Valley, he’s what Ron Burgundy would call kind of a big deal. He’s worked with startups, invested in startups, immersed himself in startups. His latest extravaganza is called 500 Startups, and they’re a startup accelerator. They bring in a ton of startups — this year, they’ve worked with north of 50 startups. They mentor them, they groom them, they fund them — and then they send them out into the world.

Naturally, people thought this was crazy.

But then I saw this Twitter exchange tonight between McClure and Jason Cohen, an entrepreneur and investor who runs a popular startup blog:

Amen, guys. They speak to a simple truth: Want to make change? It can happen — one day at a time, one relationship at a time.

Things happen slowly. Success has to be earned. Trust has to be earned.

It happens: One day at a time. One relationship at a time.

Start there.

The $1,000 Father-Son Belly Challenge.

This is the kind of thing that I shouldn’t go doing. It’s not nice of me to take an old man’s money.

And yet, that’s just what I intend to do.

The old man in question just happens to be my old man, Bill Oshinsky (he’s the little fella you see in the photo below). And he’s got it fixed into that bald skull of his that he can get into better shape than me.

Day 1.

So we’ve made this bet: We’re going to spend a year getting into shape. And on Aug. 1, 2012, we’ll rendezvous to decide who’s got the better belly. Winner gets $1,000. Loser pays.

I’m not going to waste valuable kilowhatevers here on danoshinsky.com with this sort of nonsense, so we’ve set up one of them Tumblrs for you to follow along. Check out bellychallenge.com for more.

Self-Promo Alert: Talking Stry.

A few weeks back, I was late for ONA10 in D.C. I had meant to get to a talk on APIs, but I missed the first subway ride down, and then I stopped for a bagel, and then I spotted David Cohn — he of Spot.us fame — and suddenly found myself even later.

Because he wanted to interview me about what I’ve been doing with Stry.

So below are three good(1) minutes I spent on camera talking about Stry. (David was also kind enough to include me on his list of ‘Smart People at ONA10.’)

  1. Warning: I’m defining ‘good’ very loosely here.

How Far Can 100 Really Good Books Travel?

That’s the question I’m asking in a new project that will soon be launching over at BooksAround.org. It’s a spin-off on the old dollar bill experiment: if I send 100 interesting books out to people around the country, and ask those people to read and pass the books along to friends, where will those books eventually end up?

To get this off the ground, I’ve enlisted the help of Kickstarter. You’ve probably got a dollar or five lying around. So watch the video below, click the link and help get this experiment off the ground.

This Was My Favorite Story To Write Here in Biloxi. Please Stop Asking.

In my three months in Biloxi, the question that’s been my “Do you play basketball?” is, “What’s your favorite story from down here?” I’ve been told of miracles and horrors, and I’ve become intimately familiar with the inner workings of both local government and insurance contracts. But my favorite story to write down here didn’t have anything to do with rebuilding homes or fighting BP. It’s about — and my mother could have predicted this for you a few months ago, for the record — football.

Specifically, an ex-football coach I interviewed during my first week in Biloxi. Here’s one of those stories that, in any other journalism job, I don’t find. It’s almost wholly unrelated to the rebuilding efforts in Biloxi, at least at surface level, and its central character isn’t intimately connected to any of the subjects I’ve covered down here(1). No rational boss says, Sure, Dan, spend an hour on a Thursday afternoon talking to a guy who doesn’t have any leads for you.

But here’s a story that I got by 1.) Not being in a rush, and 2.) Being okay with wasting a few minutes and listening. The result: the story that I had the most fun writing.

You can go back to asking me how the weather is up here, Biloxi.

(N.B. The photo above is from a D’Iberville HS football game last month. It has no connection to anything I’ve written above other than that it involves a football.)

  1. e.g.: The insurance industry, BP, business development, gaming, tourism, mental health, egregious lawsuits, et al.

Hello, Stry.

They said it couldn’t be done.(1) They said it shouldn’t be done, really. They said I would have to be an idiot to quit my paying job in San Antonio, move to Biloxi, Miss., and start my own news bureau. They said that I should find a more enjoyable way to blow my savings.

I did it anyway.

This week, the pilot project for this news bureau finally launched. It’s called Stry — pronounce it with an ‘O’ right in the middle, please — and it’s ready for your consumption at http://stry.us.

The brief pitch:

Like most good ideas, this one was born on a cocktail napkin. ¶¶ What if, we asked, we could create a new type of news organization? One that covered the issues that affect our lives. One that didn’t care about the headlines or news of the day. ¶¶ A news organization that wasn’t easily distracted. ¶¶ So that’s what we created: Stry, a band of reporters in pursuit of storytelling. We travel the country for months at a time, and when we find an issue worth talking about, we dig into it. We won’t stop digging until we’ve covered the story as thoroughly as we can. ¶¶ The stuff you’ll see on Stry isn’t like the stuff you see elsewhere, because we only do the types of stories that require patience and time. We hope it shows. ¶¶ We know that what we’re doing is different, and we’re okay with that. We’re Stry, a place that’s topical, not typical. ¶¶Welcome.

Yes, right now, I’m essentially doing this for free. But it’s been challenging and exciting and different than anything I’ve ever done. And a truth I’ve learned this week: I’m finding that I’m more productive and more satisfied with what I’m doing now than I ever was when I was gainfully employed.

Turns out that I had to quit my job in order to enjoy work.

  1. They = my parents, siblings, relatives, friends and others who generally care about my sanity.

When Suggesting That a French Man Needs to Move Lands You on New York Sports Talk Radio.


The first thought was that I was being pranked. Sure, I’d just written a fairly controversial column about why the Spurs should trade Tony Parker for Kens5.com. It had generated quite a few hits on our website, and I’d gotten plenty of e-mail feedback from readers about it.

But a radio station in New York City calling to ask if they could chat about the column? That’s a first.

And yet, I made my Big Apple debut on ESPN 1050 Wednesday night, talking with Bill Daughtry about, of all things, San Antonio Spurs basketball. And for a full 10 minutes. For loyal danoshinsky.com readers who missed it live, I’ve recaptured it below. Next week, I hope to land 20 minutes talking all things Matt Bonner on a morning show in Milwaukee.