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Lunchtime Links: Avoiding the Pitfalls of Political Keynoters

By / Feb 10, 2014 (photo via Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff's Flickr page)

Democratic heavyweight Hillary Rodham Clinton’s speech at an auto dealers convention could have the drawn ire of association members with different political leanings, but it didn’t. Here’s why. Also: What the success of Flappy Birds teaches about the crunch of resources.

Bringing in a political celebrity to speak at your event can be a little dicey. Get someone whose views lean too far in one direction or another, and you might have a mess on your hands.

But there’s a way to pull it off without ruffling too many feathers, as former first lady and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton recently proved. More in today’s Lunchtime Links:

Working past divisions: When it was announced that potential 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Clinton would be giving the keynote address at the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) annual meeting in New Orleans, there was a fear among some attendees that the speech would not go over well due to her politics. “The way some people had been carping in the past months, I almost expected to see audience members throwing rotten tomatoes,” WardsAuto columnist Steve Findlay wrote after the speech at the convention held late last month. What actually happened? Clinton gave a good speech that was relevant to the audience and noted her ties to the industry (Thomas “Mack” McLarty, a childhood friend of President Bill Clinton’s and former White House chief of staff, is now a major auto dealer in Arkansas). She even revealed something humorously newsworthy in the process. “The last time I actually drove a car myself was 1996,” Clinton told the NADA crowd, explaining that the Secret Service kept her away from the wheel because of her poor driving skills. Clinton’s success with the NADA audience shows that even political figures considered to be divisive can win hearts and minds at conferences—as long as they tailor their remarks to the audience in question.

Flapping no more: An unprecedented success. A huge financial boon. A little too much at once? The decision by Flappy Bird developer Dong Nguyen to stop developing his massively popular mobile game struck many by surprise last weekend, but it may come down to a matter of resources. See, Nguyen, an individual developer out of Vietnam, essentially created a game with popularity that had grown so far beyond his modest resources to maintain and improve it that the pressure on him became overwhelming. There was criticism of the game’s quality, of its sudden surge in popularity—even of the audience willing to buy it and of its graphics (which bore some resemblance to a few Mario games). Nguyen was making lots of money from the megahit, but he’d had enough, leading to him taking down the game Sunday night. You’re not likely to run into a situation quite like Nguyen’s, but it nonetheless illustrates a problem many developers could face: With success comes resource drain—and without the resources to answer the tweets, respond to the emails, or fix all the bugs, you may find yourself overwhelmed. Be sure to have a support system in place prior to your app’s launch.

Banish smartphones from the bedroom: Not getting your proper level of beauty rest before getting to work in the morning? It might be your phone—a device many folks use as an alarm clock—that’s to blame. According to a report by The New York Times‘ Nick Bilton, smartphones have a distracting effect, with a momentary stare at the time turning into a total inability to sleep—especially if something pops up on the screen you weren’t expecting. “If you wake up in the middle of the night and check your phone, you will inevitably get frustrated and worried by something you’ve seen, leading your body to tense up,” Dr. David M. Claman of the University of California San Francisco Medical Center told Bilton. One last fun wrinkle in the piece—Bilton says that taking in blue light staring at a smartphone in the middle of the night is kinda like drinking a shot of espresso as far as keeping you awake.

Any tips on keeping your smartphone out of sight and out of mind? Let us know your take in the comments.

Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is the social media journalist for Associations Now, a former newspaper guy, and a man who is dangerous when armed with a good pun. More »

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