Listen up designers and developers!

Are you an independent designer or developer looking to market your awesome services to a fresh, untapped crowd? Then we’ve got a can’t-miss deal for you.

Reach a new demo of bloggers, publicists, small businesses and others who regularly require stellar web talent by booking one of our web developer/designer tables at the KEEN Digital Summit Expo. For two days, you’ll be able to show off your skills and network with KEEN attendees, as well as the Nashville public, who will be invited to check out the expo on Saturday, October 26.

And all for barely more than the price of a pass.

That’s right: We’re offering developers, designers and other webby types a two-top table (10 available), including one all-access conference ticket, for just $500 (or $700 for a table and a pair of passes).

The all-access ticket gets you admission to the conference content as well as to the after-parties. Here’s your chance to go, learn, network and market all at the same time (while writing it off as a business expense, of course). Think of it as the ultimate targeted marketing tool to meet and mingle with people from all corners of the country who need your expertise.

Survey after survey finds employers and small business owners lamenting the lack of skilled, viable talent in the fields of graphic design and coding, so take this opportunity to make yourself known on the digital scene. Contact us at, and act fast: There is a limited quantity of tables available.

Signing off,
Your KEEN Mates


We’re KEEN on…Scott Johnson

Scott JohnsonAward-winning journalist and KEEN speaker Scott Johnson recently published his memoir, The Wolf and the Watchman, a painstakingly honest examination of his relationship with his CIA agent father and a chronicle of his time working in war zones—Mexico, Afghanistan and Iraq—as a bureau chief for Newsweek. Scott answered a few questions with us over email.

How has the field of foreign correspondency changed with the evolution of social media?

Well, it has and it hasn’t. On the one hand, technology has changed everything. You have rebel leaders in Syria, for instance, using Twitter, YouTube and Facebook to relate their latest exploits or even break news. That’s a huge change. And in a conflict like Syria, in which several Western reporters have already died and where the danger levels have surpassed what many western news organizations are willing to tolerate, that level of global presence by the victims and perpetrators themselves is indispensable, and altogether novel. Social media, in that sense, has become sort of a global forum where, as Ben Smith of BuzzFeed has pointed out, “news happens.” So that’s also a change.
The Muslim Brotherhood might announce its latest position via Twitter, a new artistic movement in Egypt might make its debut show via Facebook, and so on.As a foreign correspondent, you have to be tuned into technology and social media if you want to stay on top of things. That said, being a good foreign correspondent is still really about the basics: stories and people. And no matter how technology develops, nothing will ever come close to the real life human exchanges where stories take shape. There’s no replacement for being there.

You’ve spent the past two-and-a-half years exploring mental health issues in Northern California. Do you plan on diving back into the world of international journalism at some point?

Yes, I’d like to. I still keep a foot in the door whenever possible. Last year I went to Argentina to do a long story on a woman who’s fighting the scourge of human trafficking in Latin America. And the year before that, I spent a couple of weeks tracking Joseph Kony in the jungles of Central African Republic. I began my career doing international journalism, and it’s really where my heart lies, so if I can find ways to keep doing it, I will. The trick, of course, is finding the outlets that will send you overseas to do those stories. They’re still there, but there seem to be fewer of them, and they have fewer resources. The upside is that with the web, new outlets are emerging all the time, and one exciting recent development is a number of new sites that want to specialize in long-form digital journalism, which is a wonderful intersection between the old world and the new, and one I’d definitely like to be a part of.

You’re moving from the Bay Area to Los Angeles. Where will we find your writing now that you’re gone from Oakland Tribune?

I’m working on a new book, and I’m also exploring some options in Hollywood, which I guess is what you do in L.A. Joking aside, there are some real possibilities for turning some of the journalism I’ve done and continue to do into adaptations for TV or movies, which is pretty exciting. And I’m ramping up my efforts to do more freelance journalism. It’s an exciting time. I’m trying my hand at a lot of different things and seeing what works best.

A good amount of your work seems to rely on face-to-face communication. How important do you think real life networking (versus Internet contact) is to the success of your career?

In journalism, I’m a big believer in real, face-to-face interactions. Call me old-fashioned, but there’s nothing that beats it. When you’re sitting down with someone, you can take the time to explore his or her life in great detail. You can tease stories out that might not emerge in any other way. You can read body language, which as you know often says far more than words. You can get the context of a person’s story by the setting, by who they’re with and what they don’t say. And you have the great advantage of serendipity. When you’re with someone, you never know what might happen. A friend comes along and sheds some more light on the story, or gives you an even better one to work with. A mother, a father, a brother stops by and you flesh out a back story. You get the smells, the sounds, the flavors of the life you’re trying to understand. And you might get invited to dinner! So, that’s for journalism.
As far as career success more generally, I tend to think the same applies. It’s fine to introduce and meet someone over email or Twitter or whatever, but take it that one step further and get coffee and the interaction evolves to a new, and in my view much more rewarding level. You’re not just an anonymous digital imprint, you’re a flesh and bones human being with a story and a life, and that leaves a longer and more substantial impression than any email can.

Any other books in the works? It seems you have quite a few stories left to tell!

Yep, a novel. It’s a love story about a boy who goes to Iraq and comes back damaged and the girl he comes back to. There’s more to it than that—think war crimes and flight to Alaska—but that’s the general thrust. And I’m tinkering around with a couple of non-fiction ideas, as well.


Featured Recipe: Mini Strawberry Shortcake Milkshakes

Courtney Dial Whitmore, the styling and entertaining expert behind the popular lifestyle blog Pizzazzerie (and KEEN speaker!) shared with us a recipe she concocted for one of her favorite summer treats.

Strawberry Shortcake Milkshakes

Yield: 4 mini milkshakes


•1½ cups vanilla ice cream

•1 cup strawberries, hulled

•½ cup pound cake pieces

•¼ cup crushed graham crackers

•2 tablespoons honey

•Whipped topping, for garnish


1.Rim glasses in honey followed by crushed graham crackers.

2.You can use your favorite pound cake recipe or a store-bought one. Combine the ice cream (I used a vanilla bean but any vanilla flavor is delicious) with strawberries and cake pieces. Blend until smooth.

3.Fill glasses, top with whipped cream, and enjoy!


Southern Lexicon

y’all [pronoun]

First things first: If y’all are joining us in the South, y’all must start using our most fundamental term. And spell it correctly! It’s y’all, with the apostrophe between the “you” and “all.” Most commonly used to address two or more people, it’s meant to convey inclusion. Try it now, won’t y’all?


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