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Showing posts from November, 2013

Your Personal Brand: You're a Walking, Talking Billboard

How often are you walking around when you notice someone wearing a Jawbone Up or Nike Fuel band?  They're really starting to blow up and be everywhere, aren't they?  The movement for wearable technology is just a growing wave, poised to be a tidal wave that consumes the world along with Google Glass, smart watches, and of course, those wearable devices for fitness.

I have a Jawbone Up -- received as a gift from my brother and sister-in-law for graduation earlier this year.  It's always intrigued me being a guy who loves to quantify myself because I'm always looking to be smarter, faster, stronger, whatever.  I've always been a terrible sleeper, and the Up band's ability to track my sleep patterns was a pretty cool function (how accurately is another question).  I did have a couple issues with my band, but I found myself wanting to get it remedied with Jawbone quickly not necessarily because I wanted to track my sleep or count my steps.  I missed having it on my …

An Exercise in Humility: Talk with Your Mouth Closed

Last Friday, I had the chance to sit down with several successful entrepreneurs over lunch.  (Successful in this case being "happy" about their previous startups' outcomes either sold or otherwise while under their leadership.)  Over the lunch, I remember introducing some of the entrepreneurs to each other, but after that, I feel as if I might have spoke too much.  You ever get that feeling that you were a bit of a chatter box?

That evening before bed, I felt a bit guilty about it, and as I often do, reflected on my day's events -- what happened, what did I like, what didn't I like, and what could I have done better.  I realize now that I've come to this point where a cocktail of confidence, passion, and experiential exuberance mixed too strong can be interpreted as arrogance and rigidity.  The experiential exuberance, in this case represents, is the energy I have from lessons learned through building a startup and other "wise" events through life.  …

Throwing Money at Marketing... Perhaps You're Trying to Solve the Problem the Wrong Way

(Source: http://superblog.crazyengineers.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/wrong-problem.jpg)

Quartz isn’t a publication that I’m well-versed in, however, I stumbled upon an article on qz.com by Drew Williams arguing some of the validity of marketing expenditures for startups – “$1 is too much for most startups to spend on marketing”. Williams is an entrepreneur and a co-author of Feed the Startup Beast: A 7 Step Guide to Big, Hairy, Outrageous Sales Growth. 
Now, the title slapped me in the face as one of those, “what??  $1?!  Too much?!”  And the exclamatory questions continued.  But after reading the article, I fully get it, and now, his advice and this article is one of my favorites.  The gist of the argument is that startups tend to spend a lot of money on marketing looking for growth when the real deal in achieving growth and sustainability is simply taking a closer inspection of the products and services provided by the companies. 
Williams cites, “over half of all startups are gon…

Effective Innovation -- in Supply Chain, in Startups, in Social

Thought this was a good article from my LinkedIn feed: 10 Tips to be an Effective Innovator by Gijs van Wulfen.  Innovation is one of those buzzwords that people think is for entrepreneur or companies with disruptive technology.  However, it's really applicable everywhere.

From a supply chain transformation perspective, outsourcing logistics (for example) can be innovative.  The tasks to accomplish this feat are tough, and you will find yourself on one side of the table challenged by internal team members.  You may be in the position where you need to be the one to connect all the dots (key stakeholders) and really drive change.

In startups, innovation is the name of the game really.  Point 4 about Discovering Needs is so critical.  Being innovative means nothing if you don't know the pain points of your target market.  Further, you can quickly realize potentially an innovative way to approach a problem by brainstorming with prospective customers.  It's likely that founders…