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 »

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 »

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 »