SXSW 2014: Edu, Music, and Pi Day
Mar 17 2014

Pi-In-SkyThis is the first time in several years that I did not attend any SXSW interactive events…not a single one.  I don’t feel that I missed out on anything other than not seeing some folks in person who I usually “see” online.  Instead I attended SXSWedu and finagled a wristband for SXSW music, and I had a great time.

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I was at SXSWedu for my company and it felt to me like the early days of SXSW interactive.  There is so much going on in the world of ed tech.  I learned a lot and we all met some great potential partners.  A friend invited me to go with her to SXSW music, and I heard some really great bands including Kelly Willis & Bruce Robison, Suzanne Vega, David & Olivia, Boy & Bear, and I even got to Pi-Day-Interviewwatch a hip hop contest. I saw a few performances by amateurs who made me feel better about my two songs that I’m about to release via DistroKid (after I get an album cover created & designed).  I will do a blog post soon linking to the places where you can find my songs.

My kids are helping me create a YouTube video of images.  We are going to draft up a contract so they get some experience with a business negotiations (i.e., mom decides what they get paid), they get experience creating something and putting it on YouTube, and I get a good deal a beautiful video created by my kids.

Well, I don’t have anything else I want to write, so I’m leaving you with some photos and images of Pi Day that happened on 3/14/14.  One is a photo in downtown Austin at SXSW where planes where creating Pi in the Sky and the other was an image that showed up somewhere in one of my email accounts.

 

 

Author: | Filed under: entrepreneurship | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

150,000 Miles
Mar 10 2013

I wrote a post on October 19, 2009 when my car reached 100,000 miles.  I don’t know why I wrote that post, but it was a milestone for me since I’d never owned a car with that many miles on it.  Oddly, I remember a few minutes of the morning of the day I went into work after writing that post as well as what I was wearing along with a conversation I was having with the office manager at the time.  Here are a few quotes from that post updated for now:

And now here it is 8 [11.5] years, 2 kids, 3 [5] jobs, several written articles, 381 [600] blog posts [1,977 comments], and one mid-life crisis later and the car has been solid (knock on wood).”  I did just have to spend about $1,500 to fix a timing belt tensionar pulley issue and a side engine mount thingamabob a week ago…the timing (pun — or whatever — intended) wasn’t great from a cash flow perspective, but hey it’s still running!

I was too busy chatting with my [best] friend [driving to/from SXSW] at the time to notice when it hit the 100,000 [150,000] mile mark.

I wonder for how many more miles I will own this car…

Not that 99.5% of most people really care about my car or it’s mileage, but let’s just say these last 50K miles on my car have felt like a 100K miles in my life.  The amount of change that has happened in my life personally (myself and my kids) and professionally has been astounding.  And sometimes I’m surprised I’m still standing, but since the kids and I have regular check ups with friends & doctors and an active social life that keeps us driving around, I guess the life maintenance plan is working okay so far… I think I need to get an oil change.  How does one get a personal oil change? :-)

Author: | Filed under: Just For Fun, random stuff | Tags: , , , , | 6 Comments »

SXSW – 2013
Mar 8 2013

South by Southwest is upon us here again in Austin.  There are tons of people here.  They’ve expanded it to include an Education category, followed by Interactive (for the geeks), followed by Film and Music.  There may be some other categories, but it’s gotten too big for most of us here to keep up with.  I don’t have a badge this year. I attended a few parties last night including the annual High Tech Happy Hour at Molotov and the Start-Up Crawl.  My perspective on the evolution of sxsw interactive is that it’s starting to get unwieldy.  It’s a great time to catch up with many friends and business connections that I don’t normally get to see during the year, but there is so much noise that it’s easy to miss the substance.

Welcome to everyone who is here visiting our fine city!  We have a lot of a lot of interesting entrepreneurial activity going on here and a very open/collaborative community.  I hope the new, viable start-ups get lucky, make some great connections, and generate some good buzz that will sustain their businesses for another year.

 

Author: | Filed under: entrepreneurship | Tags: , , | 1 Comment »

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

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 »

SXSW 2010 Panel Pimping Time
Aug 18 2009


Vote for my PanelPicker Idea!
Last year I submitted a panel for SXSW Interactive on Building A Web Business After Hours that got selected.  It went really well and we got a lot of great feedback.  I really enjoyed pulling it together.  I’ve since learned that for me building a business like Babble Soft after hours is not something I can continue to do given the many things I’m juggling so we are looking for a new home.

This year I proposed a panel called Online/Offline Networking in the Age of Social Media inspired by one of my co-workers, Bart Bohn, Director of our IT/Wireless incubator at the Austin Technology Incubator.  I’m hoping to get some great speakers from key social companies to talk about the importance of leveraging online tools to enhance your offline networking in order to meet your personal and professional goals.

Please vote for the panel at http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/ideas/view/2851 and if you have any great speaker recommendations, let me know.  You do have to register to vote.

Thank you and I look forward to seeing some of you at SXSW Interactive next year!

Author: | Filed under: conferences | Tags: , | Comments Off

Building A Web Business After Hours
Mar 18 2009

SXSW Interactive 2009 is now over and what a grand event it was!  It was a nice break from my day to day routine.   I had a few late nights but not later than just after midnight one night and most other nights I was home by 10:30 pm and one night I was even home by 7:30 pm.  I met up with so many cool people…people I already knew in person and people I had met online.   As many of you know I work at the Austin Technology Incubator by day and work on Babble Soft whenever I can (i.e., After Hours).  ATI helped coordinate and sponsor a nightly party called the Entrepreneur Lounge at Fogo de Chao (a Brazilian restaurant) which was a great success.

The panel was extremely well attended and I’d say about 85% of the people in the room were working on a business after hours and 10% were thinking about it.  It was a perfect and very engaged audience!

I had been hearing that the panels at SXSW overall had not been going well.  I experienced a few myself, but I and others kept hearing they weren’t organized, inexperienced people were either running them or on the panels, and people weren’t getting much out of them.  Based on that grapevine talk, I decided to adapt and get a little more formal than we had planned to be.  We originally were not planning on having a PowerPoint presentation but literally hours before the panel, I asked Jeremy Bencken to meet me and we pulled together on his cute and really small laptop a brief presentation as simple as putting our names, jobs, information and key takeaways on separate slides.  As simple as they were, it helped us frame the discussion.  We also decided on some opening questions and remarks as a team while we waited in the “Green Room” before the panel started.

I was a bit anxious beforehand because it’s been quite some time since I’ve spoken to a room of 150+ so I was out of practice but after a few minutes it came back to me.  It’s an amazing and surreal experience to have so many people looking at you to impart knowledge and share your stories with them.  The panelists did an awesome job of describing the ups and downs of doing a business after hours.

Here is a copy of the content on our basic slides:

Aruni Gunasegaram – moderator
Day Job: Operations Director, Austin Technology Incubator
After Hours: Pres/Founder, Babble Soft, LLC
Company Blog:  Babble Soft Blog
Blog: entrepreMusings.com
Twitter: @aruni

David Altounian
Day Job: Co-founder/CEO, Motion Computing
After Hours: Co-founder, iTaggit
Twitter: @daltounian

Jeremy Bencken
Day Job: Co-founder/GM, ApartmentRatings.com
After Hours: Chairman, BuzzStream
Blog: buzzstream.com/blog
Twitter: @jeb512

Elisa Camahort-Page
Former Day Job: 2005-2006: Worker Bees
After Hours: Co-founder/COO, BlogHer Inc
Blog: http://BlogHer.com
Twitter: @elisac

Gretchen Heber
Former Day Job: Journalist, Austin American-Statesman
After Hours: Co-founder, NaturallyCurly.com
Blog: naturallycurly.com
Twitter: @natcurl

7 Takeaways

  • Protect your IP from your day job
  • 8pm to midnight is a beautiful thing
  • Don’t beat yourself up
  • Set expectations with your family/friends
  • It works for some but not all niches
  • Partners rock; get one
  • Use care in raising external funding
Author: | Filed under: entrepreneurship | Tags: , , | 6 Comments »

A Long Overdue Fortune Cookie Post and SXSW
Mar 11 2009

Blogging will be light over the next several days (I think) because I’ll be at SXSW end of this week, part of this weekend, and early part of next week.   I hope to meet many of you there at my panel called Building A Web Business After Hours.  I’m not really into live blogging but I’ll probably be sending out a few tweets so if you are interested you can follow me on twitter @aruni.

It’s been a while since I’ve done one of my random fortune cookie posts.   I’ve collected quite a few and I thought I’d share them, but before I do go check out some of the posts I did a while back with fortunes from those crazy cookies:

Business (Love) Is Like War; Easy To Begin But Hard To Stop – Nov 2, 2008

Those Who Seek Will Find – Sep 21, 2008

A Dream You Have Will Come True – July 30, 2008

Life Always Gets Harder Near The Summit – July 8, 2008

Look Forward to a Great Fortune and a New Lease on Life! – June 25, 2008

You can’t ride in all directions at one time – June 19, 2008

So here are the ones that have been sitting on my desk or in my purse for a while.  I won’t be writing full posts about these so here it goes:

A lifetime of happiness lies ahead of you. - Ah, that’s so nice to know.  I would be pretty bummed if a lifetime of misery lay ahead of me.

Your ability to trust fuels your ability to love. – Interestingly I have a hard time really trusting people for a variety of reasons, but oddly I love people.

The secret of vast riches begins with a single penny. - True but a bit simplistic, don’t you think?

You are compassionate and fun-loving.  – I do like being compassionate and fun! :-)

People will find it difficult to resist your propositions. – This is exactly why I don’t make too many hard core propositions!  Understanding what it means if someone does accept your proposition is extremely important to know before you make the proposition…

Now, I’m off to watch Battlestar Galactica (recorded) with hubby who just completed the Landmark Forum and thought it was amazing!  I knew he would despite the fact he’s a rocket scientist and a know-it-all.   I’ll be doing the Advanced Forum in April where we are supposed to discover who we are…and I have a feeling I might be an elephant.

Author: | Filed under: Just For Fun, random stuff | Tags: , , | 1 Comment »

Building A Web Business After Hours at SXSWi
Feb 15 2009


South by Southwest Interactive is just around the corner!  I was honored to have my one and only panel idea selected and it’s called Building A Web Business After Hours.   The idea/thought came to me to submit this topic because I found myself living it when I took on a day job back in June 2008 so in October when they were looking for panel ideas….  If you keep up with my blog, you’ll realize that I get some strange thoughts sometimes and I’ve been known to unwittingly follow them.  This time I got lucky!  It will be on Monday, March 16 at 3:30 p.m.

Many entrepreneurs spend time after hours building businesses for a variety of reasons and let me tell you it’s NOT easy but given this economy, it’s a very viable bootstrapping option.  I have lined up some really credible, fun, and amazing people to be on the panel.  All of them have either built businesses after hours or are currently doing so now.  Here’s the info:

Building a Web Business After Hours
Room 18BCD
Monday, March 16th
3:30 pm – 4:30 pm

Many businesses are built after-hours or during odd hours of the day and night. Join us for a panel discussion by entrepreneurs who built (or are building) their Web/E-commerce/Other business while holding a day job, multiple jobs, or who are currently balancing two+ career options.

Gretchen Heber CEO/Co-founder,   NaturallyCurly.com

Jeremy Bencken Co-founder,   Buzzstream

Aruni Gunasegaram Founder/CEO,   Babble Soft LLC

David Altounian President/Founder,   iTaggit

Lisa Stone Co-Founder & Pres Of Operations & Evangelism,   BlogHer LLC

Please tell all your friends who are attending SXSWi about this really cool panel.  8)

Author: | Filed under: conferences | Tags: , , | 3 Comments »

Building A Web Business After Hours
Aug 14 2008

Earlier this year, I had such a great time at SXSW Interactive 2008, that I submitted a panel idea for SXSW Interactive 2009 called Building A Web Business After Hours and more people than I thought are interested in seeing it happen! 

Panel Description: Many businesses are built after-hours or during odd hours of the day and night. Join us for a panel discussion by entrepreneurs who built (or are building) their Web/E-commerce/Other business while holding a day job, multiple jobs, or who are currently balancing two+ career options. 

For those of you who don’t know, I am attempting to build a web business (Babble Soft) after hours and lets just say it has it’s ups and downs but mostly it’s really hard and challenging with a big upside bejng that in my day job I get to be around other entrepreneurs.

How many of you (or people you know) are building sites and businesses in their spare time (on the side)?  What kind of businesses are they?  Many great businesses start with tinkering on the side…

I’ve started to assemble a great group of panelists including: 

  • One of the co-founders of BlogHer, the top female blogging site in the world that has partnerships and customer relationships with some of the top recognized brands in the world!  Elisa Camahort Page, a co-founder, awesomely mentioned my panel in her Time to vote for SXSW panels post.  Check out Elisa’s post to see the other great panels she’s recommending.
     
  • Thom Singer is the director of business development for Austin based vcfo.  Additionally he is the author of four books about the power of business relationships and is a professional speaker.  With the support of his employer, he successfully manages his job and his own business, speaking to companies around the country on how to network.  He blogs at Some Assembly Required.  

 

  • Karen Bantuveris, Austin founder & CEO of VolunteerSpot, knows firsthand what ‘juggle’ means.  She’s built VolunteerSpot from the ground up while running a successful management development and executive coaching business, and being active in her daughter’s school PTO Board and Scout troop.  She even manages to sleep, occasionally.�
     
  • Jeremy Bencken, co-founder of ApartmentRatings.com, Tenant Market, and PR for Pirates.  Jeremy and his wife, Katie, founded ApartmentRatings.com in 2000 out of their one bedroom apartment in Mountain View.  They bootstrapped the site while attending business school at UT-Austin and then during full-time jobs for 4 years before selling the company to Internet Brands in 2007.  Along the way they grew traffic to over 12M unique visitors per year (without an ad budget), built a base of advertisers, fought off frivolous lawsuits, and got their site featured on NPR Marketplace, and in stories in the NY Times and AP.

 

  • Gretchen Heber is CEO and co-founder of NaturallyCurly.com, a multi-dimensional company for people with curly hair she founded with business partner Michelle Breyer. She and Michelle founded NaturallyCurly while holding full time jobs as a journalist for the Austin daily newspaper.  NaturallyCurly.com is an online magazine, social network and shopping boutique dedicated to curlyheads. The site came about, in part, because of Heber’s having been told as a child: “It looks like you combed your hair with a stick!” among other beauties. She is married, has three boys, and resides in South Austin. She is active in her neighborhood association and not much else because she’s an entrepreneur and has three young boys, and goodness, who has time!?
     

Please, please, please go vote for the panel by clicking on this link: Building A Web Business After Hours.  I believe 30% of the weight on whether a panel is chosen is from people like you voting.  The only downside is that you have to create a log in, but the upside is that you will be in the SXSW system and see all the other cool panels going on and vote for many more! 

Thanks and I look forward to seeing some of you at SXSW next year. 8)

Author: | Filed under: babble soft, conferences, entrepreneurship, FYI | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 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 »

I’m Applying for the Women 2.0 Napkin Business Plan Competition
Apr 7 2008

Go to www.women2.org to learn more

I’m applying for the Women 2.0 business plan competition in California for my company Babble Soft.  Thanks to Angie Chang for leaving a comment on my recent Economy and Entrepreneurs post letting me know about it.  At the time the deadline was April 1, but they’ve since extended it to April 15.  They encourage companies located outside of California (and the Bay Area) to apply so we’ll see if they will actually select a company from l’il ‘ole Austin, Texas.

It’s a pretty short application form that challenges even the most frequent twitter user (i.e., type your thoughts in less than 140 characters) with maximum character requirements between 210 to 410 characters to describe things like your target market, business summary, or competitive advantage!  It sure made me focus on picking what I believe are the right words.  The online application form is run by Angelsoft, which I mentioned in one of my SXSW posts.

I will be submitting my application later today and then mailing in my paper napkin with my best paper napkin handwriting ability (UGH!) soon thereafter.  I might have to ask my husband to write it for me because his napkin handwriting talent is much better than mine. :-)

Wish me luck!!

Author: | Filed under: babble soft, competition, entrepreneur, entrepreneurship, fundraising | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 8 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 »

SXSW Interactive – Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Mar 12 2008

Yesterday was the last day of SXSW Interactive and I have practically a desk full of business cards.  Our son came yesterday (yes, it’s Spring Break here) for part of it as well but went with husband this time to a panel he attended.  I was only able to make one panel yesterday and spent the rest of the time networking.  Check out my posts on events I attended on Sunday (including my take on the Zuckerberg/facebook interview) and Monday.

Robert Scoble even did an interview of me that was posted to Qik but for some strange reason (due to the 3G connection) it got broken down to 16 different few second clips.  Here’s the first one, here’s a middle one, and here’s the last clip.  They are going to try to see if they can string it together, but it’s looking doubtful.  Guess that means we’ll have to do a more official one next time!

UPDATE: Qik was able to string pieces of the video together and you can see it HERE.  Once they get Robert’s phone, they will see if they can fill in some of the missing gaps using the files on his phone.  Once they do that, I’ll embed the video in a future blog post.

The Insiders Guide to Angel Investing
angel_button_frame.jpgThis panel was not really a panel because the only speaker was David Rose.  David is the founder of New York Angels and Angelsoft, a software application that helps angel investing groups manage plans received by entrepreneurs.  He had some great info on angels and angel investing.  He mentioned that he would make his slide-show presentation available and I will update this post if and when he sends the link, but here are some highlights:

  • There are 600K new companies started each year.  Of those 350K are self-funded, 200K are funded by friends and family, 50K by Angel investors, and a mere 1200 by venture capitalists.
  • Angels are generally about 57 years old, they have a master’s degree, 15 years of entrepreneurial experience, have been involved with and/or started on average 2.7 ventures.
  • To be an accredited investor you must have $1 million in assets and have to have made $200K of annual revenue for the past 2 years.
  • The average angel investor has spent 9 years investing, had done 10 investments, had 2 exits (profitable or lost their money), and 10% of their wealth is tied up in angel investments.
  • Angels look for companies with Scalable Business Models, an “Unfair Advantage,” a Great Entrepreneur, External Validation, Low Investment Requirement, Reasonable Valuation ($1 to $3 million pre-money range),  and a 20 to 30 times return on their investment within 5 to 7 years.
  • The single most important characteristic an Angel investor looks for in an entrepreneur is Integrity.  Then they look for Passion, Experience, Knowledge, Skill, Leadership, Commitment, Vision, Realism, and Coachability.

David said most angel investors don’t end up making a ton of money from angel investing.  In fact most lose money.  Many invest because they want to give back and help other entrepreneurs.  He even offered us a joke that goes like this:  How do you make a small fortune angel investing? You have to make a large fortune first! :-)

He then went on to talk about the process of applying to an Angel network and described what the entrepreneur as well as the Angel investor sees if they are using the Angelsoft software application tool.  If you are an entrepreneur, he suggested you submit your plan at www.angelsoft.net/entrepreneurs.   They will soon be launching a site called Open Deals where entrepreneurs who don’t have access to a local angel group can submit their plan.  For a full list of angel groups, check out the Angel Capital Association site and their directory of angel groups.

All in all, I had a great time at SXSWi.  I look forward to attending next year and maybe even being a panelist!

Author: | Filed under: angels, conferences, entrepreneur, entrepreneurship, fundraising, new york city, venture capital | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments »

SXSW Interactive – Monday, March 10, 2008
Mar 10 2008

It’s been a long, fun filled day at SXSW Interactive today.  So this post won’t be as meaty as my previous SXSW post.  I met tons of people today and many people who know me and who I know from twitter.  It was so cool to have so many people come up to me and say, ‘hey, aren’t you @aruni on twitter?’  I guess I kind of stand out in a crowd. :-)  I probably gained about 30 followers just from tweeting about the panels I attended.  Here’s a quick overview because honestly I’m kinda worn out:

The Care and Feeding of Your Startup
This panel was made up of some local entrepreneurs from Unwired Nation as well as a venture capitalist from Texas based DFJ Mercury and a couple of others.  Some key insights:

  • Someone needs to serve as the “Belief Engine” for your startup which I took to mean the “evangelist” but I thought that was a unique way of saying it.
  • Make sure your product fits into your users way of life and they don’t have to drastically change what they are doing
  • Understand if your concept is a feature or a business.  It could be a feature that expands into a business.
  • You should aim to exceed investor’s expectations.
  • 9 out of 10 entrepreneurs can’t go the distance so they really should identify a strong mentor.
  • Make sure the people you hire have ‘karmic velcro’ which means they have the fortitude to stick around when the going gets tough.
  • There are 3 key people you need in a start-up.  1 in charge of product, 1 handling business development who can close the early deals, and 1 evangelist.
  • It’s not appropriate to go to VCs in the first 2 years of a business, because in the first 2 years you are still assessing the market risk.  Almost all the VC deals that occurred with Web companies in early stage have not worked out and they are struggling to get their money back.
  • Keep two sets of books.  One you show your investors and one with even more aggressive numbers that you aim for internally.

True Stories from Social Media Sites

This panel was moderated by Guy Kawasaki, who was so kind to put my blog near the top of his new AllTop Moms site.  It was notably a panel of 5 women and 1 guy.  Two of the women were twitter pals so when I got up to ask a question and say ‘hi’ one of them was tweeting about me.

I had my son with me at this panel because he’s home for Spring Break so I wasn’t able to take a lot of notes or do many tweets because half way through he wanted to play a game on my phone!  He actually did really well, scribbled a bit, and then drew a funny looking dinosaur who he felt the need to show was pooping.  Such a funny kid!  He wanted me to go up to the mic and say something, but when I tried to get him to come with me, he got shy…he is only afterall 5 1/2.

The panelists discussed their great and not-so-great experiences using social media.  What funny and sometimes unbelievable stories they shared!

I met up with my husband after that panel and we took our son for a late lunch at Bennigan’s and then he took him home, and I went to the BlogHaus to network with more bloggers.

Online Adulation: Use Don’t Abuse Your Fans

This panel had an editor from CNET as moderator and some pretty fabulous bloggers including the infamous Dooce whose current post is called Fueled Entirely by Advil.  

I was sitting next to Wendy Piersall from eMoms at Home during this panel and she was twittering away.  She had her laptop so she could do it much faster than I could so I let her take over so go read her twitter stream if you want to read all about it.

Went back to the Bloghaus after this panel and met none other than Darren Rowse (aka Problogger).  Someone took a picture of us and said he’d email it to me so I’ll post it when I get it…assuming he remembers.

Conversation Starters

This event was hosted by DELL and Federated Media and they booked the entire Iron Cactus restaurant on 6th and Trinity.  Richard at DELL was the lead blogging rep from DELL, who I had met a few weeks earlier at an Austin Tweet Up.

Because I’m twitter friends with Kim Haynes, I volunteered to help with registration since it was an RSVP only event.  Of course, that meant I had access to extra drink tickets and people wanted to get to know me! 

The key speakers were top blogger and FastCompany.tv producer Robert Scoble (aka Scobleizer) and Shel Israel of Global Neighborhoods.

I met so many twitter buds at Conversation Starters, including the famous Chris Brogan, and throughout the day that it would take me all night to type up their names.  Already, this post is longer than I thought it would be!

Stay tuned for my next SXSWi post on Tuesday’s events.

Author: | Filed under: blogging, conferences, entrepreneurship, networking, social media | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »