Dom Sagolla Profile

A software engineer in Silicon Valley during the dot-com boom, Dom Sagolla has been in research and development at HP Laboratories, the MIT Media Lab, and Adobe Systems. He helped build Macromedia Studio, Odeo Studio, the original Twitter, Adobe Creative Suite, and now produces iPhone apps with his company DollarApp in San Francisco. His successes include the official Obama ‘08 iPhone App, as well as two iTunes Staff Favorites: Big Words and Math Cards.

The advent of Twitter and other social networking sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, as well as the popularity of text messaging, have made short-form communication an everyday reality. But expressing yourself clearly in short bursts—particularly in the 140-character limit of Twitter—takes special writing skill.

Dom’s book, 140 Characters: a Style Guide for the Short Form, deals with the deluge of information in social media, and how to command an audience using one’s unique voice. 140 Characters does for Twitter and other short forms, such as text messaging, email, and status updates, what Strunk & White’s The Elements of Style did for good writing via lessons in grammar and composition.

Dom Sagolla grew up in New England before attending Swarthmore College, where he earned a degree in English Literature in 1996. Dom returned to get his Masters in Education from Harvard University in 2000.

Dom Sagolla Speaking Videos

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Dom Sagolla's Speech Descriptions

    Twitter: Changing the World with 140 Characters

    With over 100 million users worldwide, Twitter has become an instant part of our culture. Not only is it changing the way we communicate, but it has proven to be a tool for social and political change. In this presentation, Dom tells the story of Twitter and introduces the concept of “tweets per capita,” giving us a snapshot of our current status as a planet. He’ll also provide a glimpse into the future of writing and journalism, as well as information and social networks, concluding with a lively Q&A session.

    Why A Dollar

    Focus, focus, focus. Then continue to focus. In the freshest of emerging markets like the iTunes App Store and Android Market, your team has to eliminate variables in order to succeed. The first variable that we should collectively eliminate is: Price. Start with the one thing that your app does better than any other app, and focus on polishing that feature until it shines at the $0.99 price point.

    Charge a dollar because you can deliver that one feature faster, at a higher quality, to more people than if you′d waited to add things and charge more money later. Your one-dollar-app will help you bootstrap your two-dollar-app, and on upwards over time. Begin with a dollar because there are certain expectations that users have, once they pay just a little bit of money for something. Don′t charge too much, or expectations could be inflated. Ship just enough software that your customers recognize value. One dollar can get you valuable feedback and praise, where two or three dollars may get you wishful thinking and complaints.

    In his talk, Dom will describe lessons learned from HP Labs, the MIT Media Lab, Twitter, and Adobe Systems about the value of simplicity and a focus on the mobile market. Case studies will include his work with the Obama ′08 iPhone App team, and his San Francisco-based iPhone Apps company DollarApp.

    Success Through Simplicity: Apps for Everyone

    What does the phenomenal success of the iPhone and iPad and their Apps tell us about what consumers want? Dom Sagolla knows. After his success with Twitter, he founded DollarApp, an iPhone development company, and helped build the official Obama ’08 iPhone Application. Dom has spent the last four years building the world’s largest independent developer community for the iOS, iPhone Developer’s Camp. He is uniquely positioned to explain the explosion of Apps, and what this says about technology culture and how we live today.

    Culture of Innovation: Creating A Marketplace of Ideas

    Twitter started out as a podcasting company but is now the world′s fastest text communications channel. Blogger began as project management software and is now one of the most popular publication tools in history. Google began with a search box, and is now the world′s largest advertising network, changing its identity almost yearly. Adobe started out shipping printer drivers, and is now producing the standard in professional content creation tools.

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Books by Dom Sagolla:

    140 Characters: A Style Guide for the Short Form
    How to write short and sweet for the Information Age

    The advent of Twitter and other social networking sites, along with the ubiquity of text messaging, have made short-form communication and constant contact an everyday reality. Expressing yourself clearly in short bursts—particularly within Twitter′s 140 character limit—takes special writing skill.

    For marketers and business owners, social media and text messaging have become an increasingly important avenue for promoting a business, but you have to be able to get your message out in just a few words. 140 Characters is the first writing guide specifically dedicated to communicating with customers, colleagues, and contacts with the succinctness and clarity that the times demand.

    Twitter User #9 Dom Sagolla teaches the lessons of great short-form writing, including the importance of communicating with simplicity, openness, and humor. What Strunk and White′s Elements of Style did for traditional media, 140 Characters does for the social media revolution happening today. Inside, you′ll learn all the basics of:

    • Developing your own honest and unique writing style
    • Evolving rules of grammar for the short form
    • Principles of brevity, including tech-speak/leetspeak
    • Avoiding the too-much-information syndrome
    • Mastering the art of the text message
    • Winning techniques for writing poetry, news, fiction, and much more

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