He loves Krispy Kremes right off the belt, once chased down a running bear, and has done his fair share of dorm duty. He'll show you how you can get the most out of your Finalsite site and how to get your kids to sleep on time. Get to know Strategic Consultant Red Abbott.
[4:43:54 PM] Angelo Otterbein: First things first: your name's not Red.
[4:44:02 PM] Angelo Otterbein: Let's talk about that.
[4:44:07 PM] Red Abbott: True.
[4:44:36 PM] Red Abbott: My real name is Jamison. Which isn't an everyday name - it's more of a Sunday name. I was Jamie growing up, which I hated.
[4:44:57 PM] Red Abbott: When I got to high school, I played football, and the older kids thought I needed a tougher nickname.
[4:45:58 PM] Red Abbott: I went to Tower Hill in Wilmington, DE, and let me tell you, Wilmingtonians consider themselves pretty cosmopolitan. So, one of the guys said, hey, you live on a farm, you're a redneck.
[4:46:21 PM] Red Abbott: So it stuck and then I went to college with a high school friend and then I met my wife in college and there you go. I'm Red.
[4:46:55 PM] Angelo Otterbein: Red's both tough AND could be a Sunday name, if you wanted. So do people call you Red on Sundays?
[4:47:43 PM] Red Abbott: Yeah - even my parents call me Red now. Most of the time.
[4:48:04 PM] Angelo Otterbein: How do you spend your days at Finalsite? You help people get found. But it's not because they're lost. Explain.
[4:49:53 PM] Red Abbott: Well, I lead a team focused on a bunch of things related to helping clients get the most out of their Finalsite sites. First there's SEO (search engine optimization) - helping school sites rise to the top of the most important web searches.
[4:50:31 PM] Red Abbott: Then there's PPC (pay-per-click) advertising. Increasingly we're helping schools shift their ad dollars out of print and on to platforms like Google AdWords.
[4:51:42 PM] Angelo Otterbein: And then there's the Dashboard. Give me some skinny.
[4:51:55 PM] Red Abbott: I was getting there. Finally, I spend a lot of time in school website stats, and out of that has grown the Finalsite DASHBOARD
[4:52:06 PM] Red Abbott: I need to get on the train now. Can I resume in 15?
[4:52:50 PM] Angelo Otterbein: Yes!
[4:52:54 PM] Angelo Otterbein: I'm flexible, you know.
[5:31:39 PM] Red Abbott: I'm back.
[5:31:43 PM] Red Abbott: Train problems.
[5:32:01 PM] Red Abbott: As in, I've got 99 problems and a switch is one.
[5:34:58 PM] Angelo Otterbein: Your wife is pretty solid I hear. What's the scoop.
[5:37:13 PM] Red Abbott: Uh, so we dated all through college and she was a 2-sport athlete. But super modest. One of her accolades - Academic All-Ivy League? I literally read about it in the local paper on the train home to see my parents.
[5:37:23 PM] Red Abbott: That's a drop in the bucket for her playing career.
[5:39:26 PM] Angelo Otterbein: You have 2 daughters? What's the secret to being a good dad? (I can't believe you have them in bed by 7:30 every night. That's when my kids start setting the table for dinner.)
[5:39:54 PM] Red Abbott: Well, I learned from a wise man not to initiate any tree fort projects.
[5:39:57 PM] Red Abbott: I love them a ton and they're as different as night and day. Campbell is 7 and loves 1st grade. Quinn is 4 and is excited to start kindergarten next year at school with her sister.
[5:40:47 PM] Red Abbott: We've always made sleep #1. They can eat dirt and ice cream as long as they get their sleep.
[5:41:35 PM] Angelo Otterbein: Ok. Back to you. You've been in schools basically your whole life. Brag about yourself for a minute. You're allowed.
[5:43:39 PM] Red Abbott: Well, I've put in my time in the dorm and doing the three-season coaching thing (football, wrestling, track), but the thing that held it all together was many years in physics and math classrooms.
[5:44:17 PM] Red Abbott: Not much to brag about, but I will say I'm more proud of some of my AP students who got 3s than many who got 5s. Everyone's on a unique journey.
[5:48:13 PM] Angelo Otterbein: Tell us the schools you've worked at. and how you survived being a dorm parent.
[5:48:20 PM] Red Abbott: I'll also add my name to the many in these pages who like to sip a glass of fine Kentucky spirits. I've also messed around with brewing my own beer and that's fun. What else, what else... Oh, I love Krispy Kremes - right off the conveyor belt.
[5:50:45 PM] Red Abbott: Um, the dorm. Well, we always lived in girls dorms, so that was a lot less work for me than it was for my wife.
[5:52:38 PM] Angelo Otterbein: I think anyone who teaches physics is a pretty impressive person. How do you even begin to explain, like, electomagentism?
[5:53:09 PM] Red Abbott: I usually found that saying it louder got them to stop asking questions, which meant they understood it.
[5:53:20 PM] Angelo Otterbein: That sounds like good teaching, yeah.
[5:53:38 PM] Red Abbott: And it's "electRomagnetism". See me after class.
[5:54:04 PM] Angelo Otterbein: Alright. Dashboard. You're all fired up about that. Throw some torches to tell me why I should be all fired up about that too.
[5:54:32 PM] Red Abbott: Is anyone still reading? Hello???
[5:55:25 PM] Angelo Otterbein: Reading what?
[5:55:34 PM] Angelo Otterbein: This is the part they start skimming. You can say whatever you want
[5:56:01 PM] Angelo Otterbein: Tell me how you nearly died from the bear at your house
[5:56:08 PM] Red Abbott: So, the first biggie is that everyone working on a site knows that people paying the bills want to know what's going on. Whether that's a scramble for a board meeting or a regular part of your process, having useful metrics that can demonstrate successes or drive decisions is critical.
[5:56:39 PM] Red Abbott: Second, we're able to pull together peer group averages so schools know where they stand on things like traffic volume and visitor engagement.
[5:57:41 PM] Red Abbott: The bear was cool - not anywhere close enough to eat me but I did jump in the truck and follow it to get some pictures. It ran pretty fast and I think that was the biggest Holy Cow moment for me. They're huge AND fast.
[5:59:00 PM] Angelo Otterbein: What other words did you use besides 'Holy Cow?'
[5:59:20 PM] Red Abbott: Ha - it was NSFW. We also see coyote, foxes, beavers, snapping turtles, owls, and I think a mink
[6:04:52 PM] Angelo Otterbein: Any parting hopes and dreams for 2014 you want the entire world to know?
[6:05:51 PM] Red Abbott: I think my wife and kids are on great trajectories for 2014. I'm hoping to get the Dashboard project up and running by Finalsite U so that we can get it into lots of folks' hands.
[6:06:02 PM] Angelo Otterbein: Score. Good luck!