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.

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 »

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

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

Opportunity Knocks…
Oct 23 2011

Elephants at a Buddhist Temple in China

When opportunity knocks where will you be?  I imagine I’ll be at my son’s soccer game, making sure my kid’s take baths, cooking, or I’ll be doing their laundry.  How do we recognize when opportunity knocks?  Entrepreneurs are supposed to create opportunities, right?  But really, I think we see an opportunity and we try to take advantage of it.  Ideas are a dime a dozen.  People who can validate the idea are rare but those who can execute against those ideas to profitability are even rarer.  It’s not easy to execute against most ideas or take advantage of most opportunities.

One day I want to write a novel.  I want to write a fiction novel and I’d like to write a novel about business.  But right now I’m working full time, making sure my kids take their baths, watching their soccer games, going to swim classes, making sure they do their homework, doing dishes, and folding laundry.  It’s certainly all great material for that novel I’m going to write one day which may or may not ever see the light of day.  I recall my grandfather wanted to write a book.  I think he started writing something, but he was too busy doing great entrepreneurial things, helping kids, hanging out with grand kids, dealing with a sick wife (my grandmother), and helping other people so he never finished putting down in words the wisdom that was in his head.  He died of leukemia at the age of 82.  I bet if he could have blogged, he would have tried it out.  He was a brilliant, yet flawed man like most of us humans are.

Opportunity knocked and I went to China.  Opportunity knocked and I found a guy who I used to work with, Brian Hurdle, to redesign my blog who just redesigned my twitter page.  While flying to China, I read Little Bee: A Novel (about a refugee girl who escaped from Nigeria to England) and The Secret Life of Bees (about a White girl who runs away from her abusive father to live with a bunch of Negro women in the southern US in the 1960s).  The first was written by a man, the latter by a woman.  The overarching theme of both books from my perspective was “men suck!”  Interestingly, little boys did not suck and they too needed protection from men, who ironically were at one point in their lives little boys themselves.  What happens between cute, sweet little boyhood and manhood?  I don’t know, but I hope my boy stays sweet, thoughtful, and caring.  Of course both fiction novels were written for the female audience, which is kind of distressing.  But as I was reading them, I thought these are well written novels.  Not as superbly written as others I’ve read but well written overall.  So after doing some calculations, I figured I need to be a millionaire by the age of 45 to even think of having the time, resources, and health insurance to write such a novel.  I’m not too far away from 45….

Any benefactors out there?

Author: | Filed under: book review, books, entrepreneur, entrepreneurship, parenting, travel, twitter | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

The Twouble With Twitter
Jun 7 2011

I’m sure that’s not a unique blog post title.  I’m trying to figure out if I can get back engaged in twitter.  It was a useful tool and a great way to stay connected when I was working on Babble Soft from home.  Now Babble Soft is up for sale by my business partner, and I’ve been at a full time job day job for three years.  I was a relatively early adopter of twitter (@aruni), and I think I started losing my interest in it probably about two years ago.  I’ve hardly tweeted much the past year and half or so except for when I’m at events like SXSW Interactive.  My blog posts feed automatically into my twitter stream as well as into my facebook account.

I currently have over 2,200 followers on twitter who probably a) really don’t read my tweets, b) are happy with links to my blog posts, or c) think I’m somebody else.  I guess I was somebody else back then and I’m somebody else right now.  I’m just wondering if the somebody I am right now has the time or use or I guess more importantly the ability to contribute meaningful tweets to my followers.  I guess time will tell…

Author: | Filed under: entrepreneurship, twitter | Tags: , , | 7 Comments »

entrepreMusings – New Blog Design
May 9 2011

It’s finally here!  I have a new blog design and it’s really cool.  It’s simple, it’s clean, it’s pretty, it’s fabulous and it was designed by Brian Hurdle, IT/network guy by day, wedding photographer extraordinaire by night/weekends.  I’ve changed the subtitle from “babbling about business, babies, and parenthood” to “babbling about business, parenting, and music.”  My kids aren’t babies anymore.  I realized it’s been closer to 4 years since I started blogging (thanks to Connie Reece) and a blog redesign was way overdue!  And my current entrepreneurial endeavor is music related.

The design incorporates musical notes, buildings, paisley type designs, and of course elephants!  Elephants are my favorite animals, and I have a collection of various elephant figurines.  My songwriting partner and I have been making progress on music creation, and we have 5 songs in various stages of completion.  We even have a band name, a facebook page (if you are really curious to know the name, you’ll just have to click that link), and a YouTube channel.

We haven’t done much promotion of any of these because our songs aren’t ready to publish, but we may begin promoting at least the facebook page so we can get support from folks to help us make sure we do complete what we set out to do.  This will be no easy task given both of our busy schedules and different worlds.  He’s a professional musician and I’m a professional “wondering what to do with my life next while wreaking havoc in some small business” type of person.

Thanks Brian for exercising your creative muscles to come up with a design that makes me happy!  Next he’ll be updating my twitter page (which I rarely use but may one day be worth something since I was a fairly early adopter) to match the blog design.

Author: | Filed under: blogging, entrepreneurship, FYI, marketing, twitter | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

It’s Over – SXSW Interactive Day 5
Mar 15 2011

Today was the last day and apparently this was the highest attended SXSW Interactive ever with 19,364 attendees up from 14,251 last year.  I made it for Reid Hoffman‘s keynote.  Reid is the founder of LinkedIn.  He had a lot to say and I wish he a few slides for us to look at because it was hard to keep up, but here are my notes.  I missed the first two “rules for entrepreneurs,” but here they are:

1. Zoned out, was checking email or twitter. UPDATE from Jeffrey in comments below: Pay attention to your customers.

2. Zoned out, was checking email or twitter. UPDATE from Jeffrey in comments below: Stay focused.

3. Aim big. It’s the same effort to do a small businesses as it is a big business so it’s better to try to change the world.

4. Plan for good luck.

5. Maintain flexible persistence.

6. Launch early enough that you are embarrassed by your 1.0 product release.

7. Always keep your aspirations and aim high but dont drink your own kool-aid.

8. Having great product important but good distribution more important.

9. Pay attention to the culture and how you hire from the beginning.

10. These rules are not laws of nature. You can break them.

Then I headed to the Austin Technology Incubator’s Entrepreneur’s Lounge for some networking and then to the Game Salad (an ATI company that is doing very well) party, which I left a bit early from.  I’m too old for loud music and late nights.  And so concludes another SXSW Interactive, but wait, I still have one more post to do about SWAG that I’ll hopefully have time to write later.

Good bye tens of thousands of out of town visitors.  We love having you here each year, but we don’t want you to all move here and clog up our roads anymore than they are! :-)

Author: | Filed under: austin technology incubator, conferences, entrepreneurship, twitter | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments »

In The Blink Of An Eye, It Is Over
Dec 31 2008

magic-8-ball-2009-1magic-8-ball-2009-2And so 2008 comes to an end and the old saying ‘time flies’ is yet again reaffirmed.  It seems to go faster with each passing year, especially with little kids jumping all over you, sucking your energy dry underfoot.  Each year is a smaller fraction of our total lives.  To our kids each day seems like an eternity full of laughter, playing, occasional tantrums, asking their parents for candy, and fun!  And to us grown ups, the movie of our lives keeps going faster…slipping through our fingers….with fond and sometimes hard memories behind us and interesting times ahead. 

So I’d like to thank all of you dear readers for joining me on my entrepreneurial parenting and business journeys.  I haven’t spent much time trying to monetize my blog, and I don’t make much money from it.  So your blog comments, your emails, your conversations, and your tweets mean so much to me!  Most of us bloggers don’t blog for money, we blog to share ideas and to create conversations whether on or off the blog that might not have happened before. 

My favorite form of compensation comes from those of you who comment directly on a particular blog post.  The way to a blogger’s heart, after all, is through comments left on her blog. :D

But, I also very much enjoy the comments from those who recieve the free blog updates via email who simply hit ‘reply’ and let me know their thoughts.  I get many replies on twitter, and I wish someone would figure out how to integrate tweet replies directly into the blog comments, but that hasn’t happened yet (as far as I know).  

And then there are those of you who I talk to on the phone or see in the business community who mention they read my blog and mention a particular post.  I’m often taken by surprise by who reads my blog and what their interpretations are of my posts.   The people who know me well usually know how to read in between the lines, and I keep it fairly tame because my mother and my favorite aunt read my blog!  I wouldn’t want to shock them too much.

Special thanks goes to my husband, Erin, (who I honestly don’t think really reads most of my blog posts or he might feel more compelled to comment on some of my snarkier ones) for making sure this blog works smoothly.  He upgrades the blog when a new version comes out, he installs the latest/greatest WordPress plugins that help make this blog as effective as it can be, and helps troubleshoot any random technical glitches that occur.  He is our resident rocket scientist, and I have yet to see a technical problem that he can’t figure out. 

THANK YOU AGAIN DEAR READERS for enriching my life!  Have a HAPPY, PROSPEROUS, and JOY-FILLED NEW YEAR!

Author: | Filed under: blogging, entrepreneurship, parenting, twitter, wordpress | Tags: , , , , | Comments Off

I Wanna Write A Blog Post, But I’ll Settle For A Haiku
Nov 12 2008

And I wanna be a cowboy too, but given my crazy self-inflicted schedule of two, three, four, five (yes each kid, the husband, and the house are also job-like at times), I can’t seem to find the time to get all those deep and meaningful posts written.  So, I’ll have to settle for a haiku and hope I win a MacBook Air.  Copyblogger is running a contest where the person who writes the winning Haiku on twitter will win a MacBook Air.  The second and third prizes look interesting too, but winning the MacBook Air will impress my husband more than the Epson printer I just wrote about. :)  

Not being one who writes haiku’s often (i.e., probably not since 5th grade), I had to rely on these examples from the Copyblogger post:

“Haiku is a form of Japanese poetry. It consists of 17 syllables broken up into three phrases of 5, 7, and 5 syllables respectively.

Here are two quick examples found on Twitter Search with the tag #haiku:

Been up way too long / Need about a week’s more sleep / Might not be enough

~ @MFlanders

The furnace is fixed / breath invisible again / how much is the bill?

~ @badboc

Got it? Obviously, the more clever, comedic, or compelling your haiku, the better your chances of winning.”

So here’s my haiku:

Working day and night / To change the world for parents / One diaper a day

I was going to write at the end ‘one diaper an hour’ but since it’s late and my brain isn’t at 100%, I wasn’t sure if ‘hour’ would be read as one syllable or two depending on what city/state/country the judges were from.  So I changed it to ‘a day’ to avoid any controversy.  Plus it can be a stinky (wish you could change that diaper more often) experience in a a start-up/small business/Internet endeavor so I figured if the diaper shoe fits…

Author: | Filed under: blogging, Just For Fun, twitter | Tags: , , , , | 5 Comments »

Printing and Tweeting – A Good Combination!
Nov 8 2008

I never thought I’d be that excited about a printer, but here I am writing about one.  The main reason it’s so exciting to write about this one is because I got it free!  That’s like getting $350 (including ink) of stuff you can really use! 

I bet you are wondering why I got it free. Well it’s because I (@aruni) and Barbara Jones are both on twitter.  Barbara runs a company called One2One Network – The Women’s Word of Mouth Marketing Network and she discovered me on twitter and began following me a while back. 

OK, it’s not just because I’m on twitter, but part of getting lucky is being somewhere where people are looking for people like you.  So she probably thought since I write reasonably well in English and my blog is read by many entrepreneurially minded women, men, moms, and dads, that my experience with the printer might provide an interesting perspective. 

When she first asked me if I’d like an Epson Artisan 800 All-in-One printer, I tweeted back something like “heck yeah!” I then told my husband and he being the one that manages our home IT set-up as well as being our resident rocket scientist, was immediately skeptical.  First he grumbled “Well, what’s wrong with our current HP Photosmart 3210 All-in-One” that we’ve had for a few years.  The only response I could meekly muster was that the scanning feature didn’t work well.  He then asked if it was network ready (not just wireless…it had to be able to be plugged into with an Ethernet connection).  He also said it had to be Mac compatible.  Of course Barbara cheerfully tweeted it met all of those requirements.  She was probably wondering why I was looking a gift horse in the mouth or at minimum what kind of man I was married to. 

When it arrived and he opened the box, he took one look at the design and features and cracked a half smile (a rare occurrence when it comes to technical items – unless it’s a new Mac, Blackberry, or other Apple product) and said “You did good.”  I nodded knowingly thinking to myself ‘don’t I always!:-)  

He set it up and the last few weeks we’ve been using it for a variety of things from printing work related stuff, to kid’s birthday cards, maps, to scanning documents.  I have to say I’m impressed and here are the top 5 reasons why: 

  1. My husband was impressed making it easier to get it installed and tested!
  2. It has a document feeder just like a copier.  This is such a *HUGE* feature for scanning or copying multiple pages.  I no longer have to put one page down, open the lid, put another page down, etc.  I just set the pages I want to scan or copy on the top and press a few buttons.  It also scans to .pdf which I love!
  3. It’s Mac compatible (see also item #1 above)
  4. It’s WiFi and Ethernet ready (see also item #1 above) [Interesting side note: the Wi-Fi Alliance is headquartered at the Austin Technology Incubator, which is where I work during the day]
  5. The design is very cool, modern, and sleek and fits perfectly on top of my little file cabinet.  It has a touch screen front interface for one touch copy and scanning.   

The only issue I’ve had with it is printing pages with heavy color and that’s probably because we use newspaper cheap paper.  A few months ago (for some cheap wad/had a coupon unknown reason) I bought a case of Office Depot premium multipurpose paper and it’s pretty thin.  I think I just began printing on it using the HP and now with the deep colors in the Epson, the pages sometimes come out feeling wet.  I changed the setting to draft but then it kind of dulls the color.  I guess I’ll have to suffer through some wet pages until I finish this case of cheap paper! 

So, although inertia (and the economy) might have prevented me from replacing our HP printer, I can honestly say that the ability to scan multiple pages easily would have swung me over to the Epson Artisan 800 All-in-One printer side of the camp quite some time ago. 

So thank you Epson, Barbara, and oh yeah twitter!

Author: | Filed under: entrepreneur, entrepreneurship, twitter | Tags: , , , , , , | 8 Comments »

A Vote for Brown, Brains, and Change!
Nov 4 2008

I haven’t written about politics on my blog for a variety of reasons but mostly because I think everyone has a right to their own opinion and my blog is primarily about business and parenting…not politics.

However, given that a historic, unprecedented event has just happened in our lifetime, I felt compelled to write this post.  I am SO excited that Barack Obama was elected to be the next president of the United States!  Not just because I agree with much of his political philosophy, but also because he’s brown, has brains, and has the potential to heal wounds created throughout the world.

If you are someone who has not grown up with brown skin, this might not make sense to you but in my opinion this is a huge affirmation of the American dream.  My uncle, a geography professor, was turned away from a restaurant while visiting Virginia New Mexico because of the color of his skin.  When I was 8 or 9 years old, a blonde little boy turned to me in the walkways outside my elementary school and yelled at me calling me the ‘n’ word.  I had never heard that word before, yet I felt the hate emanating from this young boy, and I still remember the fear I felt standing there all alone wondering why this boy hated me so much. 

I’m not even Black (I’m South Asian), but I (and other members of my family) were lumped into the non-White category.  When I lived in West Texas, the difference was even more pronounced.  I grew up self conscious of my skin color and even now I have moments where I wonder if I truly fit in…despite being married to a White man!   Women and Black men have had to consistently work twice as hard and be twice as good to be recognized at the same level as White men in this country. 

Time will tell if Obama was the right pick, but the fact that he was picked in this country in 2008 means to me that we’ve reached a turning point in our history.  People who are not White and not even men (thanks to Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin) now have a living breathing example of how it can be done.

Obama, to me, epitomizes working hard (no riding daddy’s coattails), focusing on education, prioritizing family values, and taking a thoughtful analytic (that man is smart!) approach before acting.  As an added bonus, he appears to know how to speak proper English! :-)

Not only has he broken color barriers, he has broken social media barriers.  He has run the biggest, first, and most effective political campaign that has ever been run (oh what money can buy)!  By his campaign’s avid use of twitter, YouTube, blogs, MySpace, email campaigns, etc., he has single handedly affirmed an entire new industry and demonstrated how using the Internet and social media can have a huge impact on the success of campaigns, businesses, and causes.  If there was any doubt by individuals and big companies as to the efficacy of social media, it has now been shattered!   

I was 3 when I came to the United States with my parents, and we landed in Pennsylvania.  I was 21 when I became a naturalized citizen in New Mexico.  I am now many years older, live in Texas, and tonight I saw the window of opportunity open wider for my light brown kids…

God Bless America!

Author: | Filed under: competition, diversity, parenting, social media, success, success story, twitter | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 32 Comments »

How To Recover From A Scathing Blog Post
Jun 5 2008

Just over a year ago, we officially launched Babble Soft’s first web and mobile application (then called Baby Manager, now called Baby Insights).  A prominent blogger, Jennifer Laycock, whose personal blog is called The Lactivist, a popular blog on breastfeeding, saw the release and created a post that made me feel shocked, anxious, depressed, angry, and misunderstood at the same time.  Jennifer also happens to be the founder, editor, and a writer for Search Engine Guide, a widely read blog on all things search. 

Fortunately, soon after discovering Jennifer’s post, I contacted Connie Reece who blogs at Every Dot Connects.  Connie helped me set up the first incarnation of this blog and gave me advice on how to get started blogging.  She is a veteran blogger and a social media guru.  I took several deep breaths, typed up something that I felt would be a good comment to Jennifer’s post and sent it to Connie for a sanity check.  She gave me a few recommendations and I posted it. 

Turns out that comment led to a few other comments and then an amicable online relationship with Jennifer when we both realized that we were supporters and donators to our local Mother’s Milk Banks.  Jennifer and I now follow each other on twitter and read each other’s blogs.  [As an aside, we offer all eligible milk bank donors a free subscription to Babble Soft applications to help them keep track of their pumped milk!]

Last week, Connie decided to create a case study on the incident and did a post called Case Study: Engagement Turns Critics into Allies.  Where she outlines what happens:

Company
Babble Soft, provider of Web and mobile software for parents of newborns

Challenge
A press release for a new product launch was picked up by an influential blogger who wrote a very negative review.

Solution
Every Dot Connects worked with Babble Soft on a strategy to engage the blogger in constructive conversation.

Success
The blogger apologized for the tone of the review and continued to interact with Babble Soft founder via her blog, email and, later, on Twitter and other social networks.

Well soon after, Mack Collier who blogs at The Viral Garden and Marketing Profs did a post about it too called Worried About Bloggers Dissing Your Company? Read This and he starts with:

“Babblesoft founder Aruni Gunasegaram found herself in a position that any company would dread. She had launched a new product that she had hoped would be well-received by her target audience, mothers who breastfeed their children. Unfortunately, the product was immediately reviewed, and shredded, by Jennifer Laycock, a very popular mommy-blogger who blogs at The Lactivist. What happened next is a great lesson for companies wanting to handle crisis-management in the blogosphere.”

Then, Jennifer decided to write her own post about it. I was just beside myself with 3 blog mentions from 3 prominent bloggers within the span of a few days!   Jennifer called her post Bloggers Need To Accept Responsibility Too and she says:

“Last year Aruni was launching her new parenting software. I happened to pick up the press release right as it went across the wires and had some pretty harsh words for the idea on my Lactivist blog.

‘Apparently, the company feels that there’s an untapped market in parents with extreme breastfeeding OCD issues, so they’ve made available some snazzy (I use the word loosely) new software that will allow these Ezzo-wannabes the absolute, total scheduling control that they long for.’

It got worse though. In fact, rereading that post I made more than a year ago I found myself chuckling and wincing at the same time. Chuckling because some lines in my post were really funny, but wincing as I realized just how biting and scathing my critique was. I’m generally a pretty easy going and nice person. I don’t tend to like to rely on snark, and yet there I was, throwing out snark like I was Perez Hilton.”

And continues:

“Ultimately, many of my readers ended up checking out the software and seeing the value in it for certain situations and while I still think the software’s a little on the anal side for the average mom, I fully recognize how helpful it could be for moms who DO need to track things.

Even more important to the story is the relationship that developed because of the way Aruni responded. Aruni became a regular reader of my blog and I became a reader of hers. We follow each other on Twitter and we’ve exchanged quite a few emails over the past year. Not long after the incident, I ended up sending her an email to share how refreshed I was at the way she handled things.

‘I want to compliment you on the way you handled your response to my blog post. I was pretty hard on you guys and you came in with class and style and really did a great job of turning the situation around to make yourself look good. I work in online reputation management and it’s rare to see a company respond so well. Just thought you should know that you gained my respect with that.’

So needless to say, I am honored at their mentions and I have learned a lot in the past year.  I hope I have at least become a better press release writer. ;-)

Personally, I think the biggest lesson that I have learned over the year is that although Jennifer’s choice of words were hard to read, her sentiments are reflective of what most new moms and parents think.  It’s not easy to introduce a new way of doing and looking at things to the truly oldest and arguably the most important profession in the world: parenthood! 

I think our applications can help a new mom having trouble with breastfeeding reach the other side of the breastfeeding bridge.  It can help her and her family understand patterns, positions, pumping schedules, etc.  But at first blush, most people don’t think of what we do that way.  The reasons why that’s the case would be a good topic for another case study! It always takes longer and costs more money to build a business than anyone ever thinks when they first start out.  Hence, my recent Fork In The Road post.

I just read a quote I can definitely relate to by James Cherkoff left in the comment section of a blog post that Fred Wilson of A VC did about sharing information on your company:

“Or in the words of Howard Aiken: “Don’t worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you’ll have to ram them down people’s throats.””

I saw it as I was finishing up this post and it made me smile  laugh out loud!

Author: | Filed under: blogging, breastfeeding, case study, entrepreneur, entrepreneurship, milk banking, parenting, twitter | Tags: , , , , , | 13 Comments »

Thanks for the Mentions!
May 29 2008

Trish and I were pleasantly surprised at the number of people who blogged and tweeted about our partnership with eMail Our Military that we announced just before Memorial Day weekend.  We are forever grateful for them in helping us spread the word about Babble Soft giving free subscriptions to Baby Insights and Baby Say Cheese to active duty military with newborns who are members of eMail Our Military!  We’d like to thank each and every one of them! 

Please check out their posts and leave them a comment and let them know how great it is that they picked up a partnership created by two entrepreneurs who are trying hard to make a difference in the world.  :-D

If you’ve blogged or tweeted about it and we missed it, please let us know and we’ll add you to the list.  Even though it’s past Memorial Day, if you are only now finding out about our partnership, please continue to tell everyone about it because the partnership is ongoing and Father’s Day is just around the corner.  We will still link to your post!

Blog Posts

Fred Wilson at A VC – Memorial Day

Jeff Nolan at Venture Chronicles – Markets are Communities

Maryam Scoble at Maryamie – Memorial Day

Lauren Vargas at This Mommy Gig – Serving the Homefront

Robert Hacker at Sophisticated Finance – Memorial Day

Barbara Ling at – 77 Great Resources for Memorial Day (she links to www.eMailOurMilitary.com)

Jeremy Bencken at PR4 Pirates – Anatomy of an A-List Blog Mention

Omar Gallaga at Austin 360 – Post-Memorial Day Web catch-up

Ashlee Allen of Mama Speaks – Keeping in Touch State Wide

Nicole Johnson at Pick Nick’s Brain – Quick Tip – Logging Sleep

Tweets

Pistachio – Challenging: newborns. More challenging: while your partner’s on active duty. @emailourmilitary @aruni memday help http://tinyurl.com/5gmmrs

KeithBurtis – (aruni)Happy Memorial Day! Help us spread news of @MailOurMilitary (aka @Dayngr) and @babblesoft partnership http://tinyurl.com/5gmmrs...

MikeChapman – Two of my favorites! @MailOurMilitary and @babblesoft join forces post http://tinyurl.com/5gmmrs

TroyTurner – @aruni , @dayngr FYI – I just fwd’d your offer to some insiders at Walter Reed, Ctr for the Intrepid-BAMC, and Naval Med Ctr-San Diego.

MackCollier – Retweeting @aruni: @MackCollier @MailOurMilitary and I have positive news to share too re: Memorial Day http://tinyurl.com/5gmmrs :-)

NewMediaJim (we know he tweeted but can’t seem to find the tweet now)

Hametner – @aruni @mailourmilitary Glad to see the partnership between www.BabbleSoft.com and www.eMailOurMilitary.com, looks like a great fit!

Author: | Filed under: babble soft, baby, baby care, baby insights, baby say cheese, blogging, entrepreneurship, twitter | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments »

Memorial Day – Babies and Our Military
May 23 2008

I met a gal on twitter who tweets by the name of @MailOurMilitary and @Dayngr.  Her real name is Trish.  We got to tweeting and emailing and then talking. 

Since Trish had gone through the hardship of being away from her husband when her first child was born, we both thought it would be a great idea to join forces to offer members of her non-profit organization, eMail Our Military free subscriptions to Babble Soft applications as well as access to a discount code for 20% off purchases for non-active military and friends.

So please let the military families you know about our offer and encourage them and others to sign up at eMail Our Military.  We know there is no way to make up for the lost time and touch of a parent who is away but now they have access to a free tool that can help bridge the unavoidable physical gap between two parents of a precious newborn.  We wanted to give people another reason, which is often overlooked (i.e., being away from their baby), to remember all those men and women who have put their lives at home on hold and/or laid down their lives to protect our freedom.

You can see the press release below, on our site, on PR Web, and on eMailOurMilitary’s blog.  Trish also wrote a more personal blog post called Baby Memories, Milestones, and Our Military where she mentions her experience as a new mom whose husband has to leave one week after her baby was born!

Happy Memorial Day everyone! 

Babble Soft and eMail our Military Join Forces to Offer Free Subscriptions to Babble Soft Applications for Active Duty Service Members with Newborns

Just in time for Memorial Day, Active Duty Service Members with Newborns now get free access to Babble Soft’s web and mobile applications through their membership at eMail Our Military.

eMail Our MilitaryAUSTIN, TX; MIAMI LAKES, FL – May 22, 2008 – Babble Soft and eMail our Military are partnering to offer free subscriptions to Baby Insights and Baby Say Cheese for active duty service members with newborns. 

“We are very excited about the opportunity to partner with Babble Soft.” said Trish Forant, Founder and President of eMail our Military. “My husband was called into service only one week after our first child was born.  I had very few friends and family to turn to for support where we were stationed and it was difficult for me to convey to him what I was going through with our new baby.  I would have loved to have the online tools Babble Soft provides to communicate to him how often and when our baby was feeding, sleeping, etc. as well as important picture milestones!”

 “Our goal at Babble Soft is to help strengthen and enhance connections between family members during that wonderful, yet chaotic time after a baby is born.” said Aruni Gunasegaram, founder and president of Babble Soft. “We support our troops and know how important it is for new parents who have to be away from their newborns to feel connected to what is going on at home.  Partners can share experiences and photos with each other through Babble Soft’s unique web and mobile applications. As an added bonus, members of eMail our Military will have access to a discount code to purchase gift subscriptions for their other family members who may or may not have military ties.”

Baby Insights helps caregivers keep track of baby’s breast & bottle feeding, sleep periods, diaper changes, medicine doses, immunization records, as well as mom’s breastfeeding, pumping and medicine intake. Having important information stored in one location makes communication between parents, their nanny, babysitters, grandparents, or doctors seamless and reliable and gives new parents insight into their baby’s patterns to help with crucial baby care decisions.

Baby Say Cheese lets you create a wonderful online baby’s first year photo album with milestones such as ‘first crawl, first smile, first word’ and family tree that you can share with friends and family.  You can even send a fun, cute picture postcards of any of your baby’s milestones to anyone with an email address!

About eMail our Military, Inc.
eMail Our Military was created in 2001 as a response to the DoD’s cancellation of the “Any Service Member” and “Operation Dear Abby” mail programs. As a safe alternative, eMOM picked up where these programs left off. eMail Our Military is composed of volunteers from all walks of life who understand that regardless of our political views, our military service members deserve our respect, support & encouragement. Website visitors can join and take part in a number of support projects ranging from sending eMail on a one-on-one basis with a service member to year round support projects that are open to the public. For more information on eMail Our Military, please visit http://www.eMailOurMilitary.com

About Babble Soft, LLC
Babble Soft is based in Austin, Texas and creates products that help make the transition into parenthood babblesoft-babyeasier.  Whether you need breastfeeding support, are experiencing baby sleep issues, are expecting twins, or taking care of a premature (preemie) baby and would like to create your baby’s first year album, Babble Soft offers unique, easy-to-use Web and Mobile software solutions that improve communication between caregivers.  Babble Soft makes a great baby shower gift that you can easily send via Email to any new parent anywhere in the world!  To learn more and purchase Babble Soft applications, please visit http://www.babblesoft.com.

For more information, please contact:

Trish Forant
eMail our Military, Inc.
(786) 228-7096
Info(at)eMailOurMilitary(dot)com

Aruni Gunasegaram
Babble Soft, LLC
(512) 961-6002
aruni(at)babblesoft(dot)com                                                                                   

 

Author: | Filed under: babble soft, baby, baby insights, baby say cheese, baby sleep, breastfeeding, diversity, entrepreneurship, father, FYI, national holiday, parenting, twitter, working father, working mother | Tags: , , , , , , , | 13 Comments »

The Blogger Mom, In Your Face
Apr 12 2008

The Wall Street Journal ran a piece on Thursday, April 10, 2008 called The Blogger Mom, In Your Face written by Sue Shellenbarger featuring none other than the most well known mom blogger on the Internet today: Dooce.  She has been blogging for close to 7 years now…before most people (including myself) even knew what a blog was!  I got the opportunity to meet Heather Armstrong (a.k.a Dooce) at SXSW and exchange a few words with her after she finished her panel.  She is such a down to earth person.

I think it’s great that the WSJ has chosen to highlight a mommy blogger who according to the article might be making as much as $40,000 per month on ad revenue for her blog!  Wow!! It’s not without its downfalls though because full time blogging for that kind of money is a crazy, often stressful job.  I blog very part time (3 or so posts per week) so I can’t say I can relate to the stress of full time professional blogging, but I can certainly imagine it…especially if I had to post original, often personal content every day like Dooce does.

According to the WSJ article, “Among the Web’s 200,000-plus bloggers on parenting and family, few have succeeded to the extent of Ms. Armstrong; countless at-home parents would love to be in her position. But less obvious is the behind-the-scenes price an at-home mom pays to shoulder her way to prominence in the blogosphere — giving up her privacy, sustained time off and any remnants of work-family boundaries at all.”

Sue Shellenbarger did a fantastic job with this article by illustrating both the ups and downs of professional blogging, unlike the recent New York Times article called In Web World of 24/7 Stress, Writers Blog Till They Drop which emphasized primarily the negative aspects of blogging as a profession and inferred that full time blogging can be fatal.  If they had mentioned how many journalists had died in the same period, then I think it might have made the article a bit less biased against blogging.  Check out Marc Andreessen’s funny take on this article called The New York Times Covers Blogging including statements like “Bloggers Have Bad Breath,” “Bloggers Have Herpes,” “Hitler Probably Blogged,” and “The Bloggers Have WMD.”

Other mommy bloggers that were highlighted in the WSJ article are:

5minutesformom.com
designmom.com
parenthacks.com
scribbit.blogspot.com
fussy.org
notesfromthetrenches.com
stirrup-queens.blogspot.com
izzymom.com
suburbanbliss.net

Asha Dornfest at Parent Hacks linked to a guest post on my blog about traveling with a baby and I saw a significant amount of traffic because of her mention, which goes to show that she definitely deserves to be on this list!

If you think there are a lot of mommy bloggers, you should check out Twitter because there are a ton of mommy tweeters out there.  In fact, Wendy Piersall at eMoms at Home just did a post listing the Moms on Twitter and the list is still growing! 

I have to say it’s much easier sometimes to come up with 140 character or less tweets than full blog posts!  I wonder if we can monetize our tweets.   Anyone want to pay me $10, $5, $1, 25 cents for a tweet? :D   Twitter are you listening reading?

Oh and if you haven’t already done so, please subscribe to my feed because if I survive the next 5 years of motherhood, maybe I’ll end up being one of the top mommy/entrepreneur bloggers!  Unlike Dooce, however, I will have to hire someone other than my husband to help me figure out how to monetize my blog…

Author: | Filed under: blogging, mom, mother, twitter, working mom, working mother | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Choosing A Corporate Attorney
Jan 20 2008

Picture by Sandy Blanchard
rocks-across-water-sblanchard.jpgChoosing a corporate attorney is an interesting endeavor.  I have avoided using attorney’s for Babble Soft in the past because a) they are very expensive, b) sometimes they make you feel like they need to review everything you do for fear of some horrible thing happening, and c) I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with my life what my strategic business plan was.   Since I have a new business strategy and have decided to raise funds, an attorney is a must have.

I’ve met with a couple and spoken to a few more.  The first I spoke to was the attorney at my first company and although I would love to work with her we both agreed that the firm she is at now is catered more for more established businesses (i.e., very, very expensive).   It is so much better to understand that up front because we have worked on many outside projects together, and I consider her a friend.

The second attorney I spoke to was referred by another entrepreneur in the area.  I liked her and her partner but a few things gave me pause.  One potential area of risk is the fact we might end up doing business with the other entrepreneur’s company which might result in a conflict of interest.  They had good rates and good experience but did not have an in-house tax attorney.  Since Babble Soft is currently an LLC and we’d like to continue as an LLC for at least our first round of financing, having someone who understands the tax implications could be important.

The third attorney I met had done some pro-bono work for me a year or so ago because I guess he knew I couldn’t afford his services at the time.  What I liked about him is that he does have a tax attorney in his firm, has represented several small companies in the technology space, one of my business Advisor’s has worked with him in the past, he was on time for our meeting, said he could help with introductions to potential investors, and he sent a brief follow-up note after our meeting expressing his interest in working with me.  However, his rate is $125/hour more than the attorneys at the second firm I spoke with!

Special thanks to @princess_belle who blogs at GloKay, @chelpixie who blogs at Chelpixie.com, and LPT who blogs at Direct2Dell who tweeted me things to think about and questions to ask the attorneys.  I plan on making a decision in the next couple of weeks so if you have attorney stories or suggestions to share with me or the blogosphere, please leave a comment.  Thank you!

Author: | Filed under: babble soft, entrepreneur, entrepreneurship, fundraising, twitter | Tags: , , , , , , | 11 Comments »