CheckyChecky answers a simple question: how many times a day do I check my phone?  If you’re anything like me, the number is high and teeters on the brink of addiction. Yesterday I took BART from San Francisco to Berkeley.  I checked my phone at just about every stop.  A total of 10 times in less than 30 minutes.  This new app is much needed in our technology addicted culture.  I can only speak for myself, and my sense is that once I can actually observe this disturbing habit using data, I can monitor myself in a more mindful way.  This hyper-vigilance around instant gratification is unhealthy.  The way forward is to free up time that’s wasted on impulse phone checking and use it for more productive endeavors, allowing a sort of spaciousness to emerge.  From that expansive place, creativity can flow.  Tapping into this creative wellspring is good for business.

Ojai’s Best Library

August 25, 2014

Kratona Library ~ for SaraI spent time at the Kratona Library in Ojai studying my new non-religion—theosophy.  My daughter Haley (pictured above), a Cal-grad, joined me to visit this well-stocked library, which was built in 1924 and houses rare, out-of-print books focusing on the esoteric branches of knowledge such as alchemy, astrology, and mysticism. In my opinion, the Kratona Library invented and now owns “New Age.”  Sometimes we have to get out of the digital world and smell the scent of books.  Often I would simply sit in the library while looking out from the floor-to-ceiling picture window at the Heritage Oak tree and rose garden, absorbing the teachings without ever opening a book. Does anyone remember the osmosis joke from college days?  I’m just soaking it in, osmosis-style. 

Business Advice 101

August 11, 2014

 

so-you-want-to-be-an-entrepreneur_large

I’m riding BART from Richmond to Daly City when a young man steps on at Embarcadero.  We lock eyes and he smiles.  I move my backpack from the empty seat and he slides in next to me. 

“How are you today?” he asks. 

“Super good,” I say, even though I’m running on fumes after an eight-day, whirlwind SoCal trip to visit my mom, attend a friend’s wedding, and an overnight visit to check on my son who’s just graduated from UC Davis.

“Did you just get off work?” the young man asks, eager for conversation.

“No,” I tell him, allowing the weight of silence to either discourage further questions or to pique his interest.

“I just finished for the day,” he said.  “I’m an IT tech.”  

It’s on, I thought to myself, and engaged in the playful banter between two strangers who have only a short time to talk before a final train destination arrives.

“Do you work?” he asks.

I tell him I’m a social media strategist and his ears perk up. His face, which looks to be about the same age as my 23-year-old son, animates.

“Wow.  That’s great.  Me and my friend have started an IT consulting business.  We’ve got the URL and everything.  Right now I’m still in school, going to SF State and will graduate in one year.  Maybe we’ll use your services.  That’s just what we need, social media.  Do you have a card?”

I reach into my purse, find my wallet, extract a business card and hand it to him.

He examines my card with a tenderness I equate with innocence. 

“I’m Elvyn,” he said, reaching out his hand for me to shake.

“I’m Ingrid.”

The Balboa Park station arrives and Elvyn quickly exits BART. 

He flashes a smile and extends a little wave of his hand.

I relax into the train’s rumbling, close my eyes for a moment and consider this chance encounter. 

There are no accidents, only opportunities for discovery.

Soon enough the Daly City station arrives.  I gather my purse, backpack and then step off the train.  The scent of salt air from the Pacific Ocean fills me with longing for my Half Moon Bay home, only 20 minutes away.

As I pull into the driveway of my home, I hear a Ding! chime on my cell phone, and recognize the sound of incoming email.  It’s Elvyn. 

“It was nice to meet you today on BART. As I mentioned, myself and a couple friends are starting a company that will offer A through Z business solutions.  Any suggestions or advice regarding business success?”

I turn the cell phone to the off position.

My exhaustion complete.

I have nothing left to give anyone, especially an eager kid who was planning to embark into the entrepreneurial world, a place where the price of entry is true grit, only the super gnarly need apply.  Check your fear at the door, there’s no place for it here.

That night, I slept for 12 hours. 

When I awoke, I thought about Elvyn’s query.

Any suggestions or advice regarding business success?

Yes, I do have business advice. 

 #1 ~ Passion requires risk

An entrepreneur must be passionate about the service or product they are providing.  This passion is a lot like falling in love.  It’s a sense of empowerment at finding the right idea at the right time and then doing all you can to keep it going.  That means talking about it with others, and sharing the enthusiasm with great clarity and focus.  At this phase of entrepreneurship, there’s no room for fear.  It’s all about confidence and the ability to execute the idea. 

Look for the next post called “Generate an action plan.”

PR Web Screen Shot jpgWhen I first thought about issuing a press release for the book I wrote “My Year In California,” I searched the Internet for a service to support my effort. After careful planning, I went with PRWeb. The reason? A recommendation from Deltina Hay, author, publisher, developer, blogger, and professor. I’ve taken Deltina’s excellent online course on app marketing. I selected PRWeb’s robust premium package at $369 because of its interactive, web-optimized ability. It’s like having my own website hosted on the PRWeb server. As a social media strategist for a travel app that will soon be released, I may use PRWeb to promote our launch. I’m using the book’s promotion as the proverbial canary in the coal mine. Keep your fingers crossed for me and my partner PRWeb that the media will pick up the release and write a story on my book. Thanks a bunch!

ImageAt a Nitro event in San Francisco, Zendesk’s VP of Marketing JD Peterson shared his company’s stellar IPO trajectory leading to their hockey stick moment.   “The biggest drivers of success are a free trial, easy to buy, easy to use, and affordable pricing.” Then JD pointed to the image on his black t-shirt.  “If you have a Buddha on your shirt, good things will happen.”  What’s your hockey stick moment?

 

 

abeTalk about simple.  Geez.  Take a look at Abe Vigoda’s website.  It’s a modest, one-page status of his existence here on the planet.  Is Abe Vigoda dead or alive?  Chances are, you might not even know who Abe Vigoda is.  Lemme tell you about Abe Vigoda.  He played the dead-pan, dry character named “Fish” in the Barney Miller television show in the 70s.  Yeah, I know…whatever.  At 93, he’s still got a sense of humor.  But there’s something more. At his advanced age he’s got a knack for usability and direct communication.  That’s why I believe his website is a stroke of genius in its simplicity.  Ultimately, that’s where digital is heading, towards a total and complete streamlined user experience.  So thanks Abe, for blazing the path and showing us the way.  Status check? Alive.

community manager imageForbe’s has written a great story on community management.

#1 Growth ~ The role of a community manager is pivotal in getting people not only to your community, but actively involved in your community, which is commonly referred to as “driving early adoption.”

#2 Engagement ~ Community managers humanize your brand by connecting with your customers.

#3 Listening ~ Frequently referred to as “measuring,” your community manager will listen to user feedback and social media metrics to evaluate the community on a regular basis.

#4 Improvement ~ Your community manager should be building on the “listening” phase to ensure that your community doesn’t fall behind.

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