Personality Types and Change Management
Oct 1 2012

Organizational alignment, managing change, and/or getting ready for company growth is not easy.  Companies who spend time addressing organizational health definitely have a competitive advantage.  One way to help assess health is to help management and everyone on the team understand their strengths and weaknesses.  I’ve written on this blog several times about self analysis and assessments from Strengths Finder 2.0 to career inventory tests to reading tons of articles fiction or non-fiction based.

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One tool that many companies and business schools use is Myers-Briggs.  I have taken that assessment 3 times and each time I am an ENTJ.  I recently took it again as part of a management team exercise and my T was softer (probably due to the tons of heart related work I’ve done) and my J was stronger (probably because I’ve had to rely more on my planning skills with 2 kids, working full time, consulting part time, and attempting to work on my music).

Below is an infographic on Myers-Briggs Personality Type and Social Media Usage and here are some other interesting articles having to do with how people process decisions and change:

Ten Reasons People Resist Change

7 Social Psychology Studies to Help You Convert Prospects into Paying Customers

Making Choices: How Your Brain Decides

Author: | Filed under: diversity, entrepreneurship, singing, social media, social networks, twitter | Tags: , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Insta-Success, Connected But Alone, Finding Your Voice
Apr 12 2012

I, and many others, still can’t fully figure out how Instagram got sold for $1 billion to facebook within 17 months of being founded.  Why are some people in the right place at the right time doing the proverbial right thing to bring them that kind of lottery like winnings?  It makes my head hurt trying to rationalize it all, but congratulations to them!  May they use their new found wealth wisely.

A friend sent me a link to this Ted Talk called Connected, but alone? by Sherry Turkle.  It’s an interesting take on the dangers of us being connected virtually but not personally.  I agree with some but not all of what she says.  We are a much more distracted society and what we define as being alone and lonely have changed over time.  She says that people flock to social networks because deep down they feel like no one is listening and said “we expect more from technology than we do from each other and being alone feels like a problem that needs to be solved.”  And more profound “I share therefore I am.” And “Solitude is where you find yourself.”

Fred Wilson, A-list venture capitalist blogger, posted about Finding Your Voice and how blogging has helped him and his wife find and express their voices.  Social media has helped him and others find their place in the Internet world.  Arguably, there are some out there who many of us would be fine not reading or hearing about, but for many of us who struggled to express ourselves growing up, it’s a great medium to share and discover we are not alone in the way we think, feel, and process information.

Author: | Filed under: blogging, entrepreneurship, random stuff, social media, social networks | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments »

South By Southwest Interactive – 2012
Mar 9 2012

This is the first time in 4+ years that I don’t have a badge to SXSW Interactive (March 9 – 12, 2012).  I attended for the first time in 2008 and then did a panel in 2009 called Building A Web Business After Hours.  My last few years of posts on this event can be found by clicking HERE.  I’m using a picture (facebook, twitter, myspace) in this post I took last year of a woman’s t-shirt that almost perfectly describes the last few years of the SXSW experience.

I’ll be in and around the scene at parties (starting March 8) when and where I can.  I’ll do my best to support my entrepreneur friends in their shameless self promotion and wild depravity.  I’m looking forward to networking and running into people I haven’t seen in a while, including some of my loyal readers. :-D

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Bazaarvoice Goes IPO
Feb 25 2012

Congratulations to the Bazaarvoice team!  They are the latest Austin technology company to go public.  It happened yesterday.  I have friends who work there and I’m very happy for them.  It takes a lot to go from zero to public and for Austin’s sake, I hope they continue their growth trend and create value.  As I commented on the Austin Startup post on the topic, Bazaarvoice’s going public creates value not only for those who work there but also value in terms of dollars invested in future start-ups and experienced people to advise/mentor them.

The founding team also emphasized building a positive culture and showed that policies like having no set vacation days can work when you trust your people.  It will be nice to have people in the community who have experienced that kind of culture go seed other companies.

Their success is Austin’s success!

Author: | Filed under: entrepreneur, entrepreneurship, social media, social networks, success | Tags: , , | 2 Comments »

Going With The Flow – SXSW Interactive Days 3 and 4
Mar 14 2011

Following up on my Day 1 and 2 post on SXSW Interactive, I continued days 3 and 4 following my zen-like strategy.  On Day 3 (Sunday), I went to the Girl + Guy party hosted by Guy Kawasaki (well known in the tech start-up world and a big supporter of women entrepreneurs) and companies like Culture Map.  Last year, I got a picture with Guy at the party they hosted at Allen Boots which I think was why I was wearing a pink cowboy hat.  Afterwards, I went to eat Indian food with some new friends that I met at the party and one of them emailed me the picture of her friend wearing the t-shirt that I put in this post because it’s pretty funny.

Today, I caught a panel led by my friend Thom Singer called You Can Impact Charity Without Being Rich.  Eugene Sepulveda (also a friend), who runs the Entrepreneur’s Foundation of Central Texas (where our company’s at ATI donate a portion of their equity) was on the panel.  I caught most of the keynote with Felica Day, a former World of Warcraft gamer who created an online TV series called The Guild, and although I had no idea who she was before I walked into the room, I was impressed with her youth and energy.

I walked the Trade Show (a whole separate blog post to come about that experience) before going to a panel run by another friend, Enrique Ortiz, on mobile development and applications.  He had the founder of Rovio Mobile, which makes Angry Birds on the panel.  My kids love playing Angry Birds so I asked him if he had a couple of those stuffed animals he could give away.  He didn’t have the big ones, but he gave me two small ones.  He was also giving away t-shirts that said “Chillin’ Like A Villian” with a St. Patrick’s Day theme.  My kids thought I was awesome for a few short moments.  He said they have surpassed $100 million in revenue, Angry Birds was the 52nd game they made, and it had 1.2 billion hours of played time last year.  Amazing!

Then it was off to the ATI co-hosted Entrepreneur’s Lounge to network with a bunch of folks and I got a Fandor (facebook fan page) video/flip book done with one of my co-workers that is supposed to be uploaded to their facebook fan page sometime tomorrow.  Then a few of us headed over to the Silicon Valley Bank (SVB)/NEA party which was pretty rockin’.  The CEO of Groupon was there playing the keyboards for one song that apparently had to do with some lost bet.  I’m not sure who the singer was, but it wasn’t his best voice night.

Overall, this year’s SXSW has been pretty low-key for me.  I think I tweeted (@aruni) more these past few days than I have all of last year.  I’ve been home by 10:30 pm each night despite the lure to stay at the parties longer and go to yet another party afterward.

One more day to go…

Author: | Filed under: conferences, entrepreneur, entrepreneurship, networking, social networks | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

Your Online Image. Your Real Life Image.
Jun 27 2010

Human Statues on the Ramblas in Barcelona

Yesterday after I checked out facebook and updated my profile picture to one of my daughter wearing a flamenco dress that I bought her during my recent trip to Barcelona where I got to explore a little bit of my poetic side, I began thinking about people’s images.  I like facebook because I can see what is going on with friends & family who are all over the world.  I check it once every couple of weeks…sometimes once per week depending on the notifications I get.  I set all my privacy settings so that only the people in my network can see my pictures, comments, etc.  I used to use twitter almost daily but in the last year, my usage has decreased drastically.  Most of my tweets are just my automatic tweets when I publish a blog post.  Even the frequency of my blog posting has decreased mostly because of lack of time, I haven’t been inspired to write, and I’m writing more offline.   LinkedIn is another site that I’ve checked out periodically.

The reason I started using twitter was first because I had wanted everyone to know I had gone to a Duran Duran concert, and then more importantly to see what it could do for my business Babble Soft, that is now run by Nicole Johnson, who was my business partner and who thankfully was able to take over the company and run with it.  Twitter is a valuable tool to meet people and get the word out about your business.  Most of what I tweeted was pretty upbeat or business related.

As I was looking at some facebook pages (mine included), it’s clear that what we show online and often what we show people even in “real” life isn’t really what’s going on with us.  We often show a rosy picture with glamorous photos of us or our kids/family smiling, and we tweet about events or fun things.  There are a few crazies out there who let it all hang out, but soon they are ostracized even online.  Sometimes even those closest to us in real life don’t really know what’s going on with us because we’ve been told it’s not good to share too much of the hard, ‘real’ stuff.  So we stuff it inside or say to ourselves ‘who cares’ or ‘I’ll get over it.’  I agree in one sense that we should keep some stuff to ourselves if we can (but sometimes as crazy as it sounds we just can’t), but I’ve also discovered that not sharing at all, which is what I used to do, meant that people didn’t really know me and after I started sharing things like others shared with me, I realized how strange things sometimes sounded.   When I started talking and writing, I and others started to hear and see me differently.  Even the greatest writers of all time couldn’t tell us explicitly through their writing what they were processing because of social pressures, which is part of what makes their writing so provocative!

Social networks enabled millions of people to share things about themselves…their daily lives that in some ways validated the mundane lives we often live.  I used to share things about where I was going or notes on events, etc.  Thankfully not things like people joked about (i.e., going to the bathroom)!  But people shared, continue to share, and make connections to individuals they might not have otherwise in a mostly safe environment.  twitter is a fire hose, or as I like to describe it a river, of information sharing.

Social networks have given people a medium to be heard and you cannot argue with the fact that it has fundamentally changed the way many people interact with each other and think of each other.  Tools like twitter, facebook, and LinkedIn have brought customers, job seekers, stay-at-home parents, entrepreneurs, and companies closer together and it has shown a very large side of humanity that craves attention & connection that they apparently weren’t/aren’t getting in their real, offline lives.

I think we will see and are seeing an auto-correction on the use of these tools, but I believe these kinds of human connection tools are here to stay.  When you tap into an aspect of someone or a group of people that needs/wants to be heard, they can often overdo it, spin out of control and then just like in the financial and political markets there will eventually be an auto correction that when it happens seems huge and out of control in a different way.  Although markets are supposed to behave rationally, just like people who drive them, they often don’t.

I still remember this guy I knew at a Southern Baptist church I went to during junior high and high school.  He was older (i.e. in college), wiser, and I think he was one of our Sunday school teachers.  I looked up to him and adored him.  There was so much going on in my life that I wanted to share with him pieces of it and get his advice, yet I couldn’t because I felt if I did he would think differently of me.  Like most teenagers, I already felt I was different enough.  I remember sitting with him somewhere alone trying to tell him something that seemed so ominous at the time and now is just a fact of my life, and I think because he could sense my angst he said ‘some things are better off left unsaid.’  I suddenly felt relieved because it took off the pressure, and gave me a sense that he understood, but it still left me feeling the same, different person.

So, yes some things are better off left unsaid except for when they aren’t.  If by saying them online, offline, to people you trust, to people you don’t know if you can trust, you find a kindred soul, someone who can help you figure it out, or someone who changes you or your path for the better, or even realize that you really aren’t that different because there are other people out there kind of like you, then it’s better to say it and take the risk.  Unless of course you are saying & texting things like Tiger Woods. :-)  You certainly learn who you can and can’t trust when you are at your most vulnerable.

But when you consciously or unconsciously take that risk, it will have an affect on your online image and/or your real life image.  The type of affect (positive or negative) will depend on what’s going on around you and how you deal with the aftermath.  It’s important to manage your online and real life image/reputation but if you over manage it, no one really knows the real person like Bernie Madoff, who everyone thought was a great guy…until they didn’t.

Author: | Filed under: entrepreneur, social media, social networks | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

The Entrepreneurial Ledge
Nov 20 2008

I had to talk myself off the entrepreneurial ledge yesterday.  Of course there is the often publicized glamour of entrepreneurship and then there is the unsung story of the not so glamorous side.  I think most entrepreneurs are a little bit neurotic, myself included, so when I heard that the first company I was founding CEO of officially shut down recently, I entered a state of…well I still haven’t figured out what state that is.  

The company was alive for 11 years.  For 11 years it provided experience, salaries, products and services to employees and customers.  I left in 2001 and my husband, Erin, who was the CTO left in 2003, and we have had nothing to do with the day to day operations since.  But the profound affect it has had on me cannot be reduced to mere words.  In many ways, it was like my first child (without the diaper changing).  It was a difficult parting of ways for me both personally and professionally.  

I knew a few good people who were still there and through the years they have reached out to me to help them find another job or share their experiences about working there.  Good people came and went.  Some bad ones came and went and some bad ones stayed, but overwhelmingly greatness was among us.  I heard about the company shutting down a few weeks ago but just mentioned it to a group of college friends on an email group I’ve been a part of since 1995 (pre-social networking sites for people who love mushrooms, pre-blogging, pre-twitter).  I had convinced one of the guy’s in the group to join us for the journey and he replied by saying this: 

Aruni – I know I’ve poked at you and Isochron since I left but I have to say it was the best business class I could have taken. This piece of Oil Field Trash was polished quite a bit while in Austin. I do want to thank you and Erin for giving me the opportunity to be a part of it. From that trial I learned sooooo much. I’m not sure I ever put it together sufficiently for you guys to know what the experience meant for me. Thanks! You and Erin were a rock I could depend on during my time in Austin as well. It meant a lot.

When I read his note on my phone before going in to an invitation only IBM Women Entrepreneur’s Webcast event held at IBM, the flood gates cracked a little.  I was sitting in my car in the parking lot so I had to pull myself together and go in.  The rest of the day I was on edge and I still am. 

I had to walk into my day job after the IBM Webcast and deal with bureaucracy, with people wanting 5 approvals to get something done, with collections, with employee allocations, and with being extremely underpaid because I’m doing much more than I was hired to do.  I had to suspend reality to make it through the day.   I repeated to myself “floodgates don’t open at work” over and over.  If I was a man and punched the wall, it would be more acceptable.  I had a “What am I doing with my life?” moment.  I had a “I’m working for ‘the man,’ I have two kids, I’ve been married for 7 years, we have a house and car payment, I have to keep our insurance benefits, our savings have sunk due to the crazy economic situation, and I feel trapped” moment. 

I had already committed to guest lecture at an executive MBA class yesterday evening so I went in not knowing what would come out of my mouth.  I shared the ups and downs of entrepreneurship and received several questions about Babble Soft and my day job.  I was surprised at how calm I felt giving my talk given the emotional roller coaster I had been riding all day.  One of the students took my card and said he wanted to see if he could help me get introduced to someone for a possible opportunity for Babble Soft.

I also happened to receive an email through facebook from one of my former students (I taught entrepreneurship at The University of Texas at Austin) who happens to be expecting a baby.  He sent me a link to a new book by Randy Komisar who wrote The Monk and the Riddle: The Art of Creating a Life While Making a Living (a book I made required reading in my class) called This I Believe.  Komisar writes about the Deferred Life Plan and how we make excuses about not doing what we want to do and putting off things until the time is right.

So despite all of that, I talked myself off the entrepreneurial ledge because I live in the real world.  The real world is where I have two beautiful children who smile and laugh.  A world where I tell my son after he ate a big dinner tonight that he was a ‘hungry hippo’ and he immediately replies and says in a comedian (trying to make his voice sound deep) tone “There’s a Hungry Hippo in the House!“  My daughter laughs, and I look at him with a smile on my face and know instantly he got his sense of humor from me. 8)

[Hippo photo by my friend Sandy Blanchard]

So I take solace from some words my day job boss told me the other day.  When I asked him why he wanted to hire me he said ‘because he heard I was a natural entrepreneur and he wanted one on staff.’  When I thought about those words later in the day, my soul said ‘thank you grandpa’ because he is who I gained my natural entrepreneurial tendencies from…I just happen to be a woman girl.

I hope both my children will be able to express themselves throughout their lives in ways I was never able to in the past but aspire to in the future.

Author: | Filed under: blogging, entrepreneur, entrepreneurship, social networks, working mother | Tags: , , , , , , , | 18 Comments »

Adventures in Blogging
Sep 9 2008

I’m sure many of you have noticed that I haven’t been blogging as much recently.  It’s not due to lack of desire, but due to lack of time and mental energy.  I have a full list of topic ideas I want to blog about, but by the end of the day after interesting and bureaucratically taxing events, kids, dinner, husband, baths, teeth brushing, catching up on Babble Soft stuff and personal emails, I feel pretty dazed. 

I have blog posts floating around in my head with rarely enough thoughtful time to get them down in a post.  Fortunately, I have had some timely guest posters who have filled in some of the gaps. 

I can’t say I’ll be able to get to a blogging pace (in the near future) that can keep up with my blogging ideas given my current schedule and life situation, but so far I’ve done a better job at posting than Marc Andreessen, founder of Ning and formerly Netscape, who hasn’t consistently blogged since May 2008!  But he’s running a heavily venture backed company so I’m guessing he has just a few more people breathing down his neck than I do.  

I’m glad I’m not in his shoes right now in this economy, with the news constantly talking about the questionable results of social networks from a business model perspective, and with some of the widget partner issues his company is facing.  But Marc’s a tried and true entrepreneur so I’m sure he and his team will figure something out.  If not, he is a millionaire and married to a millionaire so chances are they won’t be out on the streets any time soon. 

Yep, it’s all relative and I’m thankful for the opportunities I’ve been given and the opportunities yet to come.  Thank you to all of you loyal readers for sticking around!

UPDATE: On an interesting note, Seth Godin, the famous author and blogger on marketing tips & ideas, did a post on September 10 called How often should you publish? and in it he says: “Key assertion: you don’t publish it unless it’s good. You don’t write more blog posts than you can support, don’t ship more variations of that software than your engineers can make marvelous.”  So I guess my haphazard blogging is OK because it fits what I can support!

Author: | Filed under: blogging, entrepreneur, entrepreneurship, social networks, venture capital | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments »

Moms Gone Viral
May 2 2008

I was planning to write a post updating everyone on our search engine optimization experience today but the real world injected itself with a sick kid at home.  High fever and rescheduling meetings doesn’t leave much time for writing long, heavy posts.  Plus I had to sneak in a nap in the afternoon while our daughter napped since we didn’t get much sleep the night before. :)

So instead, while my husband takes care of the kids this evening, I thought I’d write a post on the example of an unanticipated, viral marketing story with a mom twist.  So here it goes…

Once upon a time I met a friend on the Internet.  I found her blog and commented away.  After some time, we realized we had similar visions and she invited me do a guest post on her blog called Entrepreneurship: A Blessing or a Curse.  We kept in touch, spoke on the phone a few times about ways to work together, became twitter pals, and finally met in person at SXSW here in Austin back in March and clicked even more. 

While at SXSW she got further proof of what she already knew which was that the name of her blog, then called eMoms at Home, was not really reflective of the demographics of her readers and would-be readers so she had a mini-meltdown, picked herself up and came up with a cool new name called Sparkplugging!  Since she was and still is an advocate of entrepreneurs and especially those who work from home, her cool, new name opens the door wide open to many of us who are moms or not but like to spark up ideas and play with them until something happens.

So after SXSW, she went home and saw a post about dads on twitter and decided to do one for moms.  Within hours she got tons of replies and created a post called The Ultimate List of Moms on Twitter that started with 250 moms.  I commented and subscribed to comments on that post and every day new moms would leave a comment with their twitter name until May 1, 2008 that is.  Twitter sent out an email to everyone yesterday, May 1, and in it they included:

Mother’s Day: On The Way

We’ve noticed a trend of parents twittering the moments of their baby’s birth so we know there are some new moms on Twitter. Are you a mom on Twitter? Is your own mom on Twitter? Maybe you even made “The Ultimate List of Moms on Twitter”? Mother’s Day is just around the corner so don’t forget to @reply the moms you know with a thoughtful phrase–but keep it under 140 characters, moms are busy people.

List of Moms on Twitter: http://tinyurl.com/6cxgp5

And today I had 150+ comments in my inbox and they are still coming.  Now she has close to 400 comments on that one post! Did she do anything extraordinary to make it happen? Not really.  Did she tell people on twitter about it? Yes, of course.  Did she know others would tell and re-tell more people about the list? Possibly.  Did she know twitter would pick it up in their mass email to everyone? Doubtful (but I don’t know what went on behind the scenes).  So in hindsight what played in her favor to have a post she wrote on April 8 (before her name change) take on a life of its own?  Here’s what I think:

  • She took the initiative to do something that ended up being quite time consuming, but she saw from the responses it resonated with hundreds of moms on twitter that it was a worthwhile endeavor. 
  • She told her friends about it who re-tweeted and blogged about it. 
  • The tweeters kept the link going within twitter and in the blogosphere. 
  • Mother’s Day was around the corner and the guys (I think they are all men) at twitter saw the activity and might have said to themselves “Hmmm. How can we mention a major holiday, get brownie points with our wives/mothers, and promote twitter at the same time” and voila a mention was born!

UPDATE: I sent a link to @Biz to this post and he informed me there are several women who work at twitter!  So of course I followed them.  Here is his tweet: 

biz @aruni awesome! I included the moms list because it was noteworthy – also, women who work at Twitter: @crystal @krissy @alissa @lane @sara

In case you haven’t guessed who this friend is, it’s Wendy Piersall.  I guess only Wendy can tell us if she planned all of this, but to me it’s another example of viral marketing that in hindsight makes sense but when started, the current result would have been highly unpredictable. 

To me, this is why it is so hard to orchestrate a viral campaign.  You can plan everything down to the “t” and still not have it work out the way you wanted.  It’s hard to predict when there are so many variables.  You can also just do something you enjoy doing that helps others and see a “spark” turn into a flame!  Way to go Wendy! :-D

Oh and by the way, I am @aruni and Wendy is @eMom on twitter…

Author: | Filed under: entrepreneur, entrepreneurship, mom, mother, mother's day, networking, seo, social networks, success, working mom, working mother | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments »

Yoga and Other Blog Mentions
Jan 14 2008

I’m making some progress on my personal 2008 goals.  I signed up for yoga and have lost between .5 and 1 pound.   Regarding my business goals, I’m still working on the executive summary, financial projections, visuals, and finding an attorney in order to raise funds. If all goes well documents will be substantially ready by end of next week, and I’ll be well on my way to finding the perfect lawyer…if that’s even possible. :-)   

Posting will be light over the next few weeks so in the meantime please check out the Work It, Mom! interview of me where they asked me the following questions:

  • What inspired you to become an entrepreneur?
  • You’ve written that you and the other founder of your first company were “washed out.” How did you recover from that? Was it hard to jump back into the entrepreneurial game after that experience?
  • Many women entrepreneurs have mentioned that they felt they were not taken as seriously as businesswomen once people knew their companies were geared toward mothers. Has this been your experience?
  • What lessons from your first company are you applying to your second?
  • What’s most challenging part of your working-mom juggle?
  • What advice would you give a working mom who is trying to start her own company? What pitfalls would you tell her to avoid?
  • You have a great general attitude — what motivates you besides, well, creating a super-successful company?

Then pop on over to Thom Singer’s Some Assembly Required blog and check out my guest post on Building your e-Network where I expand on the following tips:

  • Do what you say you will do when you say you will do it.
  • When someone reaches out to you for help, answer them.
  • Build and foster trust by being consistent.
Author: | Filed under: blogging, entrepreneur, entrepreneurship, mom, mother, social networks | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

Twittering About Frozen Peas
Dec 30 2007

twitterblog.gifA fascinating thing happened to me and many a folk on Twitter last week.  I went from 30 followers to over 175 followers worldwide in just over 24 hours all because of a woman known as @SusanReynolds.  Susan blogs at Artsy Asylum and started a new blog called Boobs on Ice to document her journey fighting breast cancer.  A woman who I have mentioned frequently on my blog, Connie Reece, helped start a campaign called the Frozen Pea Fund.  You can see a great interview of Connie on this particular topic called PEAS and Passion on Thom Singer’s blog.  Connie also helped start Frozen Pea Friday where people change their twitter avatars to “peavatars” in support of Susan Reynolds and to build awareness of the Frozen Pea Fund.

As I mentioned in my Social Media Mania – What’s A Gal to Do? post I joined Twitter on December 13, 2007.  Near the end of last week, I saw @lizstrauss, @princess-belle and others making challenges that they will donate money to the Frozen Pea Fund if twitterdom would help them get to X number of followers within a certain time period.   I decided to join in late on December 27 and put forth the challenge of 175 to donate $50.  I had 30 followers at the time.  It was down to the wire but just as midnight was closing here in US CST on December 28 a tweet went out to some Aussie twitter folk and I ended up with close to 180!

I would have donated even if I didn’t make it to 175.  I was having so much FUN seeing people take action based on 140 character or less tweets to help fight cancer, a worthy cause.  Talk about instant gratification for almost all parties involved!  I donated my $50 right then and there.  To me, the Frozen Pea Fund endeavor has been the best example of a social media campaign I have seen or been a part of.  Kudos to people like @conniereece for taking the time to show us how social media can be used to make a difference!

Now I’m going to see if twitter can help me find a good reference for a beginner yoga class to take in 2008.  I’ve got a lot to do in 2008 and Yoga will be a big part of it.  I even saw that they are offering a Deepak Chopra Center Yoga Retreat at the Crossings in March.

If you’d like to follow me on twitter, you can find me @aruni.   If you’d like to see how I figure out how attempt to use social media to help build awareness of my company, Babble Soft, you might want to subscribe to this blog’s feed.   If you have any suggestions on how to reach our target market, please don’t hesitate to send me your ideas…they are always welcome!

Happy New Year!  Oh and don’t forget to donate to the Frozen Pea Fund

Author: | Filed under: charities, social media, social networks, twitter | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Social Media Mania – What’s A Gal To Do?
Dec 13 2007

Wendy at eMoms at Home did a post recently where she asked her readers “How do you Use Social Media to Promote Your Business?“  I didn’t have time to answer then and I’m sure I missed out on the free books, which is OK because I never seem to have time to read any books these days.  I’ve had a few days off from software testing, so I figured I’d do a post about it.

There are so many aspects to social media that it’s tough for an entrepreneur to keep up.  I mean we still have to sleep!  Fortunately, I’m fairly social.  I mentioned on a post that Liz Strauss did recently called Business and Life: Are You Making the Most of the Conversation? that “I am a Participant, rarely a Lurker, and often a Listener.”

It is fun making friends all over the world and it’s easy to be social from behind your computer when it fits with your schedule.  In the past I resisted joining sites like facebook because of the time commitment

To do a social network right, I figure it means committing significant time to it.  When you are launching a start-up, planning to raise funds, taking care of kids, maintaining a house, etc., it’s not easy to be as active as one should be in these networks over time.  But so far it’s been fascinating to see how other people interact with the networks.  I mean can you believe that facebook has over 55 million users all over the world?  That is amazing!  So here’s what I’ve done and what I’ve observed:

I started this blog (it had a different name before) with the help of Connie Reece. She gave me the kick start I needed! I think I did my first post back in May 2007. The blog has been fun and I know it has driven some additional traffic to my company site, Babble Soft, but to date I haven’t seen that it’s resulted in more than just a few additional sales. As a result of having a blog, I joined MyBlogLog, FeedBurner, Technorati, StumbleUpon, Digg, and BlogHer. Wendy was also kind enough to invite me to join the Home Business & Entrepreneur FeedBurner Ad Network. I haven’t made much money from these particular ad networks (maybe in total $100) but it has given me exposure to other bloggers and made me aware of other businesses.

I entered some competitions to hopefully win prizes and get additional exposure. I can’t remember all of them but I know I did one at Alpha Moms and I just entered Intuit’s Just Start challenge where I have the potential to win $50K for my business! The ‘vote for me’ widget will be on the right hand side of my blog until shortly after their voting deadline of December 16. After I sent an email to some friends asking if they would vote for me, I found out that people had to log in to do so. Knowing how much I hate to create unnecessary logins, my guess is that I won’t win on votes, but I might win in the unique idea category and because we have jokingly referred to our Baby Insights application as “Quicken for Baby.” :-)

I have participated in some blog memes: 8 Random Things About Me and Blogging Tip Meme. Neena just tagged me again for a My Favorite Words theme. Memes give you exposure but they are time consuming so I think after doing this last meme, I will have to put a notice somewhere to let people know not to tag me unless they let me know first because I would hate to leave a meme go unanswered. I’m answering the Favorite Word meme by bolding my favorite words in this post (in case you were wondering why some of the words are in bold text). Isabella at Change Therapy I hope that’s OK with you! What do these words say about me? I guess that I’m a driven, committed, somewhat zany, looking to learn, searching for connection/peace, sleep deprived, mom-ified, and sometimes creative.

I joined LinkedIn. I’ve found LinkedIn to be useful for business related networking…for answers to specific questions. I haven’t yet established a deal or attempted to look for employees there which I hear is what it’s meant for. I’ve been able to answer a few questions on LinkedIn but I don’t think I’ve contributed to the increase of anyone’s business yet.

I joined facebook. Mostly to learn from the king of social networking sites. I may do some targeted ads there some day when time and money permit.  I also set up a company page on facebook for Babble Soft.

I engaged a full service SEO/SEM firm.

I just joined twitter. I even added the little widget to my sidebar, and I integrated it with facebook. I really resisted joining twitter. I had no idea why anyone would be interested in my day to day activities. More importantly I didn’t think I would be interested in anyone else’s day to day activities! I already have about 20 followers. You may be wondering what pushed me over the edge and made me join twitter…well it was the Duran Duran concert I attended earlier this week. I was there and I suddenly thought ‘wouldn’t it be great if I could tell my friends and random strangers about the fact I’m at this cool concert?’ and then all of a sudden I “got” twitter! Will it result in additional business? I’m not sure. Time will tell.

I have not yet joined MySpace or YouTube (but I’ve been to the site many times).  If I had to guess, I will probably join YouTube before MySpace, but first I need to create some videos!

Overall, I think I’m still at the tip of the iceberg when it comes to building a powerful online network and I’m a little bit afraid of getting in too deep and getting stuck in a networking hole somewhere.  I’m not sure if that makes sense to anyone, but it’s a fear I face nonetheless.  Maybe I’ll find peace there instead.

Author: | Filed under: babble soft, blogging, competition, entrepreneur, entrepreneurship, feedburner, networking, seo, social networks | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments »

Babble Soft on facebook – Please ‘Fan’ Us (Pretty Please?)
Dec 1 2007

As I mentioned in a previous post (that Robert Scoble himself commented on!) I finally set up my own personal facebook account.  After reading a post by Fred Wilson (the big-wig NY venture capitalist) about people setting up fake company facebook pages, I figured I should act quickly and add a Babble Soft page…before some ‘bad guys’ (as my 5 year old would say) decided to co-opt a parent/baby related site that hardly anyone knows about and make it their own on facebook [insert sarcastic chuckle here].  If you’d like to become a fan of Babble Soft it would make me ever so happy if you would click here.

I wouldn’t have been able to set up the Babble Soft page as quickly as I did without some links and support from Lee Aase.  He showed me how to add Simply RSS and how to import Notes (blog posts) into both pages.  Thanks Lee!

Now for a screenshot of the Babble Soft facebook page that is so new that it’s screaming please become a fan of my site… :-)

facebook-babblesoft.gif

Author: | Filed under: babble soft, FYI, networking, social networks | Tags: , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Why I Finally Joined Facebook
Nov 20 2007

So I’ve been putting off joining Facebook mostly because I haven’t had time to set it up (lame I know) but partly because I wanted to be one of the last people on the planet (just kidding) to join.  I sometimes refer to myself as the late adopter high-tech CEO.  Kind of strange to think about really.  I broke down and joined Facebook today.

So why did I join now?  Here are some reasons:

  • I had some friends invite me to join
  • I saw Robert Scoble post about Facebook ad noseum.  I think he has to get a commission or something from Facebook or maybe he got a finder’s fee for Microsoft’s recent investment, which probably made him very happy.  I tried to add him as a friend but I got a notice saying he has too many friends
  • I started to feel like I was missing out on something (peer pressure, curiosity)
  • I wanted to learn more about the advertising options on Facebook (Facebook Ads) that Fred Wilson has been mentioning in some of his recent posts.
  • I’m hoping someone at Facebook will discover me and my company and give me lots of moola. :-)

There are quite a few parenting and baby groups on Facebook so I’ll sit back and observe and see if that might be a good avenue to advertise Babble Soft

If anyone has long term experience with Facebook (or has any news on what they are planning to do with the Microsoft money) I’d love to hear about your experiences.  Do you click on the ads and if you do, do you purchase anything?

Author: | Filed under: advertising, babble soft, entrepreneurship, networking, social networks | Tags: , , , , | 8 Comments »