Women 2.0 Conference – The Rest Of The Story
May 16 2008

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So here’s the rest of my Women 2.0 Conference story.  If you want to see tons of pictures (which sadly I and my deep pink Banana Republic shirt don’t appear) please check out the official Women 2.0 Conference Wrap Up post.  You can also see Sophia Perl’s (another semi-finalist) post on it here.

Friday – May 9, 2008
I took my rented yellow car and drove around the Palo Alto/Menlo Park area to meet some people.  I met Jeff Nolan, who was one of the venture investors in my first company, for lunch at a place called Buck’s.  We only just got to know each other while at my last company before I left, but he seemed to be one of the good guys.  I mentioned him in a post I did about angels and venture capitalists a while back.  We might get to work together again and this time in hopefully a more creative and collaborative way.

I tried to meet up with Guy Kawasaki later that afternoon but he had something mildly important to do like make some sort of silly book submission deadline, so we traded tweets and emails instead.  Then I went to the Stanford mall.  I’m not a big shopper, but since I had a few hours to kill, and my husband wanted me to get him a Stanford t-shirt (It’s one of his alma-maters) I wandered around a bit and read The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle, but was not feeling in the “now” at the time so didn’t make much progress.  So I got some hot chocolate, my rings cleaned, and happened to find a couple of light-weight jackets at really good sale prices to protect me from the Bay Area cool evenings!

Later I had the pleasure of meeting up with Maryam Scoble for wine and fabulous brie with a flakey crust. Yum! Maryam and I met through our blogs.  I initially heard about her and her husband Robert Scoble from our very own Austin based Connie Reece.  Robert even did a Qik video of me at SXSW but I don’t think that many pregnant moms or parents with newborn babies, preemies or twins are watching those videos.  Go figure!

Saturday – May 10, 2008 (conference day)

You can see the agenda for the conference here.  It was an interesting day in a tent near the Stanford golf course.  Walking in grass was a challenge for many of us who were wearing heels.  Those wearing pointed heels especially suffered by sinking into the grass/dirt, but since I would trip and fall on my face in pointed heels, I wear more flat ones.

The most interesting sound bites, in my opinion, came from the Power Panel: “Igniting the spark through strategies taught and lessons learned”

Terri Ghio, Unique Solutions and TBS Connect said: Make sure you have an audience, a secret sauce, strategic alliances, and ability to build the blocks and barriers for success.

Amy Love, Protégé Performance Group said: Build an inner circle, share your dream, think big, and have the confidence & energy to move forward.

Dr. Jwala Karnik, JwalaCo said: Be open to inspiration, tell people what you want to do, and just take the first step!

Dr. Maggie Haertsch, VOICEMAP said: Have passion and be totally committed, focused, and fearless!

Pat McEntee, AuxoGlobal said: Women entrepreneurs are different and that’s OK.  Women look at things they want to spend their time on differently.  Women build different companies. The fact that many retail companies are currently dominated by men is not going to last long, but women should build companies that men feel comfortable in.  By the way, Pat is a guy!

I mentioned the winners of the napkin business plan challenge in my yellow car post, so I won’t mention it here again, but I did want to mention one company and founder who was on one of the panels: Erica Estrada of d.light design.  She is impressive and her company is very cool!  They make affordable, small, solar power lighting units for people in third world countries who have no access to electricity.  So the kids in who live in shacks can study/read after dark and parents can cook or work after dark without having to use a kerosene lamp that not only stinks and has to be bad for your lungs, but also doesn’t last very long.  I really do wish her and her company great luck, good partners, fabulous investors and perfect timing!

I ended the day by eating sushi with the friends I was staying with.  They even took a picture of me (see below) drinking this huge cup of sake! The waitress finished the bottle on me, so the sake overflowed into its holding bowl.  I was glad I wasn’t the one driving us home in my rented yellow car. :-D

Coming soon I’ll post an update on my SEO experiences, so you might want to subscribe to read more about the birth pains of a web business.  It’s not pretty.

 

Author: | Filed under: competition, conferences, diversity, entrepreneurship, silicon valley, venture capital | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

A Yellow Car and Women 2.0
May 14 2008

So I lost the memory stick with the pictures I had taken while in the Bay Area for the Women 2.0 conference.  That’s why it has taken me this long to do my first post about it.  OK, so it’s not that long because I got back Sunday and it’s now Wednesday, but it feels long in Internet/blog time!  I had to harass the friends I stayed with to email me the pictures I took with their camera because, yes, I forgot to take my camera with me.  I guess when your brain is also trying to keep up with two kids, things like cameras get forgotten from time to time.  Thank goodness we live in a time where lost memory sticks can be backed up by good friends and email!

As you may know, I was selected as a semi-finalist but not a finalist, and decided to go to the conference anyway.  I’m glad I did.  I saw the 5 finalists present and was quite confident that my company, and several others I met while there, would have probably been better (i.e., more fundable) than at least 2 of the teams that presented.  But hey, it would be hard for most people to decide what teams are the best based on a one-page summary and 2 minute video.  

Koollage was the winner and their tag line is Kool, Kolorful snippets of your digital world to go.  The People’s choice award was Gaiagy and offers residential and commercial building owners recommendations for how they can most economically make their operations more eco-friendly. To see a full write-up on the winners on TechCrunch go here.  But I digress.

It all started with a yellow car.  I reserved a car at Hertz and got a pretty good $22/day rate and the lady at the counter asked me if I wanted a yellow car.  I had expected a compact Hyundai or something so I said sure, but what do you mean by yellow?  She said it was sporty and the notes said it was yellow.  She told me if I didn’t like it I could exchange it for something else.  I half expected it to be some sort of light yellow, champagne color, but it was in fact bright yellow and here’s the picture to prove it.  I smiled when I saw it and figured everyone could see me so chances of my being hit in California traffic would be significantly reduced so I took that Chevy Cobolt, sporty, 2-door with sun roof car and headed towards highway 101!

 

Stay tuned for the rest of the Women 2.0 and yellow car story by subscribing to this blog.  I’ll be writing about who I met and what I learned in the days to come.

Author: | Filed under: conferences, entrepreneurship, networking, silicon valley | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

I’m a Semi-Finalist for the Women 2.0 Napkin Business Challenge!
Apr 17 2008

Go to www.women2.org to learn more

I made it to the semi-finals for the Women 2.0 business plan competition in California for my company Babble Soft! It’s so exciting because it’s a great opportunity to meet people who ‘get’ what I’m trying to do.  People in Silicon Valley live & breathe social media and social networks which is very different than here in Texas.  The grand prize includes some money ($1500) but more importantly access to a network of people with great experience!  Here’s the email I got this morning:

Congratulations! You’ve made it to the semi-finals of Pitch 2008. This is the next step you should take.

Please log into your application via Angelsoft and upload a 2 min video pitch. Any pitches that are more than 2 mins will be disqualified.

Upload your video by Apr 20 2008, 11.59PM (PST). If we do not receive your video pitch by Apr 20 2008, you will be eliminated from the competition.

If you have already submitted a video, please ignore this message. You are only required to upload a 2 min video pitch. Do not upload any other files or presentations.

Please RSVP to this message so that we know you have received this email. Thanks.

All the Best,
Women2.0 Team

I guess my napkin handwriting skills were better than I thought! My husband, who has much better handwriting than I do, didn’t have time to help me, so I ended up doing it myself.

Now I have to submit a 2 minute video for a chance to make the finals.  I haven’t done a video pitch for Babble Soft before so I’m not exactly sure what to do.  Actually, I have never done a video pitch.  Should I be formal about it? Should I have my kids in it? Should I walk through a slide deck? Should I beg, borrow, or steal a professional to help me with it? Should I just use our digital camera and record something in our house or should I do it outside, etc., etc., etc.?!?

Help!

Author: | Filed under: babble soft, competition, entrepreneur, entrepreneurship, fundraising | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 25 Comments »