October 7th, 2013


The NSA protest set for later this month, to be held on the anniversary of the Patriot Act’s signing. 

I’m curious just how big or not big this protest will end up being. I cover a lot of the underlying issues here and the legislation swirling around Congress to change surveillance law. The coalition of protest backers include Free Press, the ACLU, Public Knowledge, CDT, Mozilla, Reddit, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and a bunch of other groups that Communications Daily focuses on. Not a bad protest trailer. 

Reblogged from Hendel in D.C.
September 18th, 2013

Stop Tweeting Boring Sh*t. A new book to help you navigate the new office politics.


Stop Tweeting Boring Sh*t. A new book to help you navigate the new office politics.

Reblogged from Fast Company
September 12th, 2013

Nobody cares about your coalition.

There are so many coalitions in DC…

In my opinion, they seemed to come in vogue about ten years ago. Now there is a coalition for every single issue out there. Collaboration is great but nobody cares about your wonky specific coalition. Add to that the “do nothing” state of DC, and you are just spinning wheels.

Three quick thoughts…

SOCIAL MEDIA is not going to help you… So you got your FB page and your cookie cutter website (that looks like all the other coalition websites), and a twitter that has ten people following (who all work on the account). This is going to move people in DC?

In order for you to gain some traction online you must be different and interesting. You have to experiment and try new things… Follow some professional sports teams - you’ll get some good ideas.

GET TO THE POINT… I’ve watched one company constantly lose in the battle of ideas. In many cases, their arguments are more substantive and technically significant than the opposition. However, they make a dozen or more points in filings or messages to the media.

If you got six points, make it three. If you got three, make it one. Otherwise, you sound like Charlie Brown’s teacher (blah, blah, blah).

YOU NEED HOOKS to carry you… Analogous to the traditional media space, you have to find a meaning bigger than your wonky cause. Latch on to it. Make it yours… A rising tide lifts all boats.

April 5th, 2013

Change the Game!

Does the Obama Administration count on the major news outlets to shape the conversation? No… The communications team creates tons of content and utilizes social media to drive their messages. Forget the Post, Times and the WSJ. These guys are leveraging Huffington Post, Buzzfeed, and Politico.

How do the Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens handle the media? Lots of PR folks? No… Their communications team has four traditional flacks and eight people focused on digital. Remember the crisis the team had during Media Day at the Super Bowl (Deer Antler spray and Ray Lewis) - it went away in a day.

If your organization looks the same and does business the same as the competition —- continue to accept mediocrity and the fact that not much will get done…

Or change the game and be a champion!

February 13th, 2013

I’m Callie Thompson, And This is How I Work

I came across this format for a blog post from our friend Dave Yankowiak at Lift Development. It’s based on a series from Lifehacker that gives readers a glimpse into how everyone from entrepreneurs to CEOs to tech gurus work. So, here’s a look inside my work world…


Location: Washington, DC

Current gig: Account Executive at Tin Can Communications

One word that best describes how you work: Purposefully

Current computer: 13” MacBook Pro

What apps/software/tools can’t you live without? Spotify and my Outlook calendar. I’ve also come to love Basecamp through my website design projects. 

What’s your workspace like? Tin Can’s office is in a really neat space in downtown DC. We share a floor with two other cool companies, so there are always people coming and going. It’s the perfect combination of an open floor plan, co-working space with our own private office. On Fridays, you can find me working in Starbucks. 

What’s your best time-saving shortcut/life hack? If I can act on something immediately (send an e-mail, upload a file to Basecamp, edit or format a document), I do so. I find if I put things off, or let my momentum lapse, it will take me twice as long to complete the task. The internet is way too distracting.

What do you listen to while you work? Everything! Listening to music keeps me focused. I’m on a country kick these days, so I’ve been rocking my Luke Bryan Spotify radio. Other days, I need some Beyonce in the afternoon to keep me going through closing time. If I really need to zone out the outside world, I throw on my Jay-Z Spotify mix. 

What’s your favorite to-do list manager? A pen and a pad of paper. I keep almost every aspect of my life in digital format now, but I am still a pen-and-paper person when it comes to making my to-do lists. 

What’s your sleep routine like? I stay up too late (again, internet = distraction) and have to set my alarm for much earlier than I need to get up because I’m a notorious “snooze button” user. 

What everyday thing are you better at than anyone else? Organizing and de-cluttering. 

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? 

  • Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance.
  • Figure out what it is you want to be the best at, and make it happen.
  • "Swim Fast" -My mom, before my high school swim meets 
  • And lastly, my grandfather Archie always tells me the following: The three most important things in life are “Education, finance, and Archie.” I’d have to agree he’s pretty right. 


February 7th, 2013

25 Things I’ve Learned About Life: Lessons from an entrepreneur

A great set of lessons for any stage of your career, whether you’re an entrepreneur or not. While I agree with all of these, I think numbers 2, 5, 7, 21, 22, and 24 are particularly accurate and important. 

~ Callie


Here are 25 things that a young entrepreneur named Derrick Fung has learned about life.

When I turned 25 a few months ago, I wrote down some of the things I’ve learned over my short time on earth. The last year has been a crazy roller-coaster ride which has enabled me to see certain things like never before. Last year during this time, I was working at what I would consider my “dream job” - well, before I discovered my current “job” (I don’t think I can even call it a job). Over the last year, I’ve tried to learn from people who have “made it” in life - entrepreneurs, figureheads, lawyers, bankers and even politicians. I’ve realized that there is no formula to success in life, but there are definitely lessons that can be learned to help along the journey. I came up with the following list which I hope to someday come back to - but for now, I think it’s a pretty accurate depiction of how I think ;) So without further adieu:

  1. Take risks when you’re young. The older you become, the harder it gets. But they should always be calculated.
  2. The most important thing you learn in school is how to learn. Once you master that, nothing will stand in your way. Never stop learning.
  3. I would rather say that I tried and failed than live a life of regret. You miss every shot you don’t take.
  4. Dream big. Life is too short to only be mediocre.
  5. Music is the cheapest and simplest cure to life’s problems. Queue up your favourite play list, put on some headphones, and take a walk. You’ll instantly feel better.
  6. Drink beer. Lots of it. It makes you think more creatively. Oh, and wine too.
  7. Join clubs and put yourself in as many different social settings as possible. It will help you understand people and make you a better communicator.
  8. Start your own business as young as possible. Even if it’s a lemonade stand, it will teach you business lessons you’ll use for the rest of your life.
  9. If you’re going to fail, fail fast and make it public. Don’t drag it on. Then pick yourself back up. Knowing that others watched you fail will encourage you to prove them wrong.
  10. Meet lots of different people. Life is serendipitous in many ways and you never know what can happen.
  11. When life throws lemons at you, make lemonade. Then pour it for all your friends. Be optimistic. It spreads like wild fire.
  12. Success does not lead to happiness. You need to be happy first before you can become successful. Find what makes you happy. Don’t stop until you find it.
  13. Many people don’t want to start businesses because they are scared. Successful entrepreneurs got to where they are because they were willing to tread where others wouldn’t. If you’re too scared to leave your 9-5 job, entrepreneurship is not meant for you.
  14. Surround yourself with people way smarter than you. That is the only way you will be challenged to grow.
  15. Only those who are with you during the struggles deserve to be with you when you celebrate the successes.
  16. Pick and choose your battles carefully. There are only 24 hours in a day. If something isn’t worth your time, just say no…or outsource it to India ;) (thank you 4 Hour Workweek)
  17. The most important asset to invest in is yourself. Take classes to make yourself a better person and never stop learning. Buy books. Lots of them.
  18. True friends will never question why you disappeared off the face of the earth. They will be there for you unconditionally.
  19. The more comfortable you are with a job you don’t want to be doing, the harder it will become to leave it and chase your dreams. Learn what you can, then go change the world.
  20. A dream job does not exist. You have to create it.
  21. Travel as much as you can. You will come back with a wider perspective of the world and more ideas on how to change it.
  22. “Thank You” - the most powerful two words in the English dictionary.
  23. God gave us all a purpose. Don’t settle until you find yours. I didn’t think mine was to sit in front of computer screens and trade foreign exchange, so I kept looking.
  24. The world may seem big and scary. But the older you get, the more you realize that everything is man-made. Nothing is set in stone. Don’t stick with the status quo.
  25. Life is not easy. But having the right support group with you during your journey goes a long, long way.

Do you have any more to add to this list?
Reblogged from Fast Company
February 6th, 2013

I’m in a major country mood this morning… ~ Callie

(Source: Spotify)

January 30th, 2013
Some of BlackBerry 10’s ideas are truly ingenious. A subtle light blinks above the screen to indicate that something — a text, an e-mail message, voice mail, a Facebook post — is waiting for you. Without even pressing a physical button, you swipe up the screen; the Lock screen lifts like a drape as you slide your thumb, revealing what’s underneath. It’s fast and cool. ~ David Pogue

     You can really feel David Pogue’s excitement about the new BlackBerry 10 in his New York Times article from earlier today: "The BlackBerry, Rebuilt, Lives to Fight Another Day."

Among the words he uses to describe the device are “sleek,” “thin,” “lovely, fast and efficient, bristling with fresh, useful ideas.” He says the typing is “freaky and brilliant and very, very fast,” and writes that “The camera software is terrific. One feature, Time Shift, is mind-blowing.”

We can’t wait for the device to hit the U.S. shelves!

January 30th, 2013

Back in Black!

Today is the day! RIM is launching its BlackBerry 10 device in simultaneous events around the globe. Checkout live coverage of the event here.

Photo from CrackBerry.com

Tin Can Communications® is a public affairs and new media focused communications firm based in Washington, D.C. This is our space to highlight what we find interesting -- from tech to culture to politics and policy. Thoughts here are our own and not views of our clients.