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 »

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, The Lactivist, twitter | Tags: , , , , , | 13 Comments »

5 White Men, Rebranding, and Dads
Mar 22 2008

What do 5 White Men, Rebranding, and Dads have in common?  Well other than the fact that Dads are usually men, probably not a whole lot.  These are just some of the interesting things happening around the blogosphere.

5 White Men Talk About Social Media was written by Connie Reece at Every Dot Connects.  Connie is a huge presence in the world of social media especially here in Austin, yet was overlooked for a panel on Social Media the Chamber of Commerce was putting on.  She voices her frustration at women still being “invisible” even when they are playing a major role in the world of social media.   Connie got me started in blogging almost a year ago!  She is also one of the main reasons the Frozen Pea Fund initiative got started as a result of Susan Reynolds struggle with breast cancer.  Here’s a quote from her post:

This afternoon I got an email from fellow Dot-Connector Brenda Thompson with the subject line: “Five White Men Talk About Social Media.” That got my attention and I opened the email right away. …

It irked me too. It’s not like the organizers would have had to look very far to find some outstanding women to speak, and I’m not just referring to myself. In less than 30 seconds, Brenda and I came up with a list of five or six local women who would have made great panelists.

See, lists are easy to make. But women on lists are still invisible if conference organizers aren’t looking for the list.

Looking Minnesota. Feeling California and The Gaping Void Between Our Brand And Our Audience were two recent posts written by Wendy Piersall of eMoms at Home.  After her recent trip to SXSW Interactive, she realized she needed to rebrand because many of her readers are not eMoms or even parents!  I love Wendy’s blog for a variety of reasons but mostly because she is open and honest about her experience as an entrepreneur and she readily shares her blogging and business tips.  We met through our blogs, had a couple of phone conversations and when we finally met in person at SXSW, it was like we just “got each other” as entrepreneurs and as moms!  I’m not sure if she has come to a decision on the new name, so go check out her posts and give her your 2 cents!

AllTop Dads launches.  Thanks to Guy Kawasaki of How to Change the World my entrepreMusings blog is near the top of AllTop Moms blogger list.  It’s a great place to go to check out all the top mommy and daddy bloggers.   If you don’t know Guy, he was once asked to interview for the CEO position at Yahoo! take on the CEO position of Google and he turned the opportunity to interview down thinking there’s no way Google Yahoo! would amount to much.  He often refers to it as his $4 billion dollar mistake, but he reflects back and realizes that instead he was able to be involved in his children’s lives, which is priceless!  

So as I said when I began this post, there isn’t much in common between these links, but all are great reads!

Author: | Filed under: blogging, dad, diversity, father, mom, mother, parenting, random stuff, social media, working dad, working father, working mom, working mother | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments »

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 »