sqwawqs business life
written by entrepreneurs, for everyone
StartUp to Scale Up
10 Rules for Nailing Your Business Pitch
The Worse Swear Word
Unethical & Unprofessional?
Andrey Andreev CEO of Badoo
365 Million Users Meet the man that taught you to swipe right Is Your Business too BIG For its Britches?
5 Ways to Optimize Your Video Marketing for 2018
We’ve studied the internet since 2004 Here is what we’ve learned
Steve Jobs asked me to work for him I said No
sqwawqs Issue 1 2017
International Man of Mystery
Stop Wasting Your Customers Time
Steve Jobs Wanted Me To Work For Him
Bonin Boughâ€™s 10 Rules for Nailing Your Business Pitch
International Coin Offerings (ICOs): You have been warned
The Next Unicorn or Just a Load of Hot Air? Is Your business Too Big for its Britches
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16 9 Truths No One Will Tell About Start Ups How Different should my Brand Positioning be
How I raised $8.5 million with an idea I had in the shower
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How to Staff Your StartUp
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34 36 38 40 42 44 47
contents 2 contents
Is Hourly Billing Unethical & Unprofessional 10 Tips for StartUps working with Corporates Go-To Market Lessons Launching an International StartUp The Worse Swear Word In Business is Canâ€™t From StartUp to Scale Up, Key Challenges How to Build a Marketing Engine that gets Results What does Your Audience Smell Like?
48 51 52 55
Why Empathy is the marketing buzzword You should actually care about Leadership Lessons from Julius Caesar The Art of Ignorance in Innovation Why does Wine cost more with a story? Page 3 Sqwawqs.com Issue 1 2017
76 How Boss Ladies are Redefining Power Why Your Company’s Innovation Process is Broken The Future of Video Marketing In 2018 & Beyond We’ve studied the future of the internet since 2004 No! Organic Content Isn’t Dead Wozniak and The iPhone 8/X IPO prospect Lyft May Go Public Sooner Than Uber
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As Snapchat struggles to increase ad revenue 5 Ways to Optimize your Video Marketing 13 Saas Tools I Cannot Live Without Is Tesla The Secret Sauce of Automotive Manufacture Where Do We Stand On Altered Reality? Never mind the Lithium, what about the talent? Immersive Attractions a better marketing tool than VR When Industries Grow, New Brands Rise Page 5 Sqwawqs.com Issue 1 2017
from the editor Welcome to Issue 1 Welcome to sqwawqs There is a familiar saying in the startup community: ‘If you don’t become later embarrassed about your version 1.0 launch, then you launched too late.’ I’ve never been the type of entrepreneur that wants to launch that V1.0 that I will come to regret. I choose to research more, kick the tires more, analyze more; do more due diligence, and whatever possible (within reason) to make that first launch as good as it can be. Hindsight can be an embarrassing looking glass though, and I can say that I have a familiar feeling of embarrassment when I reminisce about many of those V1.0 experiences. It’s all part of the tension, the almost sadistic thrill of that first step into a new business. Will it be well received? Will it succeed? How much improvement will we have to make to get it to where we want it to be? Or have we completely misjudged the scale of potential interest? And here I am with sqwawqs, another new venture, another V1.0. Why sqwawqs and why me? The answer is a fairly simple one. For many, many years - as well as my forays into business, I have also spent much time supporting others. Mentoring, advising, sharing ideas and strategy - helping individuals and businesses to reach their potential has become something that I enjoy as much as my own entrepreneurial endeavors. Hence the goal for sqwawqs is to create a platform that can provide an informative insight into all aspects of modern business, with a vast majority of the content from the mouthpiece of those that have walked the walk. I want this platform to celebrate effort. For me that is the admirable part of entrepreneurship; getting yourself out there, sticking your neck out and trying to make something happen. Whether the end result is good, bad or ugly, at least that person can say that they gave it a go, rather than spending the next 10 years thinking ‘what if’? Is sqwawqs the finished product? Absolutely not. But if I kept trying to improve, and kept tinkering here and there - then this project is destined to remain sat in a folder on my MacBook forever. So it is a start. And we all have to start from somewhere. But to start is THE most important thing. I hope you enjoy the start of this endeavor and I appreciate your support. Please share this magazine with anyone that you think will be interested and visit the sqwawqs.com website for regular updates. Best Regards Dean O’Grady Managing Editor Page 6 Sqwawqs.com Issue 1 2017
sqwawqs PUBLISHER Onside Partners www.onsidepartners.com EDITORIAL Managing Editor: Dean O’Grady Phone: +1 646 593 8887 Email: email@example.com CONTRIBUTORS THIS ISSUE Ben Machell, Dave Crenshaw, Magdalena Yesil, Bonin Bough, Enrique Dans, Tracey Noonan, Mathieu Le Roux, Lindsay Pedersen, Nicolas Pasquier, Arlen Meyers, Ron Baker, Marie José Van Den Boomgaard, Alexandre Berriche, Christopher Bird, Robert Mollen, Patrick McFadden, Paul Wilson, Margaret Magnarelli, Yoshito Hori, Peter Hinssen, Lisa Earle McLeod, Roni Frank, Edward Plaskow, Aaron Agius, Lee Rainie, Jill Sherman, Sramana Mitra, Julian Gamboa, Kelly McCaughey, Shira Abel, Joe Martin, David Hunt, Sean Reyes, Bernie Schroeder. ADVERTISING & MARKETING ENQUIRIES Phone: +1 646 593 8887 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org SUBSCRIPTIONS To subscribe to updates, please visit www.sqwawqs.com and add your details via our subscription box. Subscription is free. CREATIVE & DESIGN Onside Partners COPYRIGHT All material appearing in Sqwawqs Magazine is copyright unless otherwise stated or it may rest with the provider of the supplied material. Sqwawqs Magazine takes all care to ensure information is correct at time of publishing, but the publisher accepts no responsibility or liability for the accuracy of any information contained in either text or advertisements. Views expressed are not necessarily endorsed by the publisher or editor.
WORDS: BEN MACHELL/THE TIMES/THE INTERVIEW PEOPLE
His dating app, Badoo, is available in 190 countries and has seven times more users than Tinder. He’s worth over $700 million and says the swipe was actually invented by him. Ben Machell meets Russian entrepreneur Andrey Andreev, dubbed the most mysterious businessman in the West.’ By Ben Machell, Journalist, The Times. London, UK
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On my second day with Andrey An-
dreev, the Russian tech entrepreneur behind Badoo, the world’s most popular dating app, he suggests an impromptu lunch. So we go to the Greenhouse in Mayfair, which has two Michelin stars and serves, Andreev insists, the very best foie gras in London. He orders a bottle of mineral water – “Room temperature, please” – and after scanning the menu decides that we will both have a selection of starters, to better enjoy “the gastronomic experience” of it all. Then he says that he has something he wants to show me. I assume it will be to do with Badoo or at least relate to online dating in one way or another. But instead he produces a thick, round metal tin. It looks like a landmine. He cracks it open to reveal thousands of tiny, pearly, greyblack balls. It’s caviar. “The best caviar,” he says quietly, with a smile. It’s chilled and shipped, apparently, straight from Russia in the same kind of containers used for transporting urgent transplant organs. He tells me to try some. He tells our waiter to try some. He tells the chef to try some. Andreev speaks with a pronounced Russian accent. He’s 43 years old, with a round, boyish face and a floppy fringe. He is worth £700 million. He spoons some more caviar onto a piece of bread
and gestures that I should do the same. “I love to attend good places,” he says. “I love to explore good food.” This is not our first meal together. The previous night, we’d had dinner at an opulent Chinese restaurant. He wore a white T-shirt and jeans – he always wears a white T-shirt and jeans – and we were glad-handed to within an inch of our lives by the beaming maître d’. Andreev ordered pink champagne and suggested we share a sea cucumber, which was slimy and chewy and cost just shy of a hundred quid. The Peking duck was, he assured me, the best in town. There were soups. Dumplings. Other stuff. I forget. To be honest, I had not really been expecting this. Andreev does not, as a rule, give interviews. This is the man who has done more than anybody to redefine the way an entire generation now navigates dating, sex and relationships and yet, with the very occasional exception, he’s remained out of the spotlight. Russian Forbes once described him as “the most mysterious businessman in the West”. As Badoo – and his fortune – grew, so did the rumours about him. He is Mark Zuckerberg’s secret half-brother. He buys his friends private islands as wedding gifts. His real name isn’t even Andrey Andreev. Actually, that last one
is true. He was born Andrey Ogandzhanyants, but switched to using his mother’s maiden name when his family moved from Moscow to Spain in the mid-Nineties, simply because it was easier to pronounce. “There have been lots of stories and gossip surrounding me,” he says with a sigh. “I’m not mysterious. I just don’t like to have a big public profile.” We first meet at the Badoo offices, spread across two sprawling floors high above Soho. In the reception, you’re greeted by a large screen showing a map of the world. Little pink hearts flutter every time two Badoo users match with one another. A figure in the bottom left corner, ever increasing, shows the current number of registered users. Tinder, Badoo’s nearest rival, has an estimated 50 million global users. The figure for Badoo stands at 361,377,240 when I arrive. The basic mechanics of Badoo are simple and, for anyone who has used dating apps over the past five years or so, very familiar. You upload photos of yourself and create a profile. You state the gender and age range of people you would like to meet. Your phone’s inbuilt GPS then works out if any Badoo users matching your criteria are nearby, and if so, you are able to browse their profiles. If you don’t like what you see, you simply swipe left on their photo to dismiss them and move on to the next person. But if someone grabs your attention, you swipe right. If two people both swipe right on each other – if there is a mutual attraction – then it’s a match, and you are free to start sending messages to one another in order to arrange a date, a drink, whatever. Andreev launched the Badoo app in 2009, becoming one of the very first dating platforms to use satellite location technology in order to hook you up with people. You can pay small amounts of money to temporarily boost the visibility of your own profile. Some of Badoo’s early innovations, says Andreev, have subsequently been aped by competitors. “Swipes, by the way, were invented by us at the very beginning,” he says. “Other apps took it. For example, Tinder made it their number one feature. But we had it
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for ages.” Despite its global ubiquity, in the UK, for whatever reason, Badoo seems to exist below the pop-culture radar. It claims to have 14 million users here, but despite this “Badoo” does not serve as the shorthand for modern dating apps in the way that “Tinder” does. Andreev will hope to change this. He grew up in Moscow. His mum was a teacher, his dad a professor of mathematics. “My father was a very big name in technology in Russia.” As a result, their flat was always full of electronic hardware. “I was surrounded by bits of radio, wavelength devices, lots of stuff. I spent my childhood with all these toys,” he says. In 1984, aged ten, he built his own radio: “Just a basic radio, to hear music.” Two years after that, he made a gadget that he could use to keep in touch with his best friend. “He only lived a block away. It was just to chat to him. ‘What are you doing tonight? How’s your mum? I’m going to sleep.’ That kind of thing.” Two years after that, though, Andreev constructed an elaborate radio antenna for the roof of his apartment block. This turned out to be huge. Because suddenly, a 14-year-old boy living in the Soviet Union was able to communicate with the world, to talk to strangers on the other side of the planet. “I was talking to Americans! It was funny. It was cool to hear their voices, although I didn’t speak English so well.” It felt, he says, like “an adventure”, and planted the seed for everything that would follow. “It inspired me to keep building things.” In his private office, which Andreev says he never uses, there is a concealed clothes rail on which hang a dozen of Andreev’s crisp white T-shirts. They are by Jil Sander, and sell for around £200 a pop. Nobody on the planet, he says, has more white Jil Sander T-shirts than he does. I’m not sure if he’s being serious or making a joke; I suspect a bit of both. We pass a huge hard drive, 6ft tall, housed in a secure cabinet. It contains the credit card information of every paying Badoo customer. Only Andreev can access
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this, by placing his right index finger in a special scanner. Which he then does. “See?” he says, opening the tall glass door. Wow, I say. He smiles happily and shuts it again. Andreev studied management at university in Moscow, but dropped out and joined his family in Spain. In the late Nineties, he founded the first of a series of start-ups and in 2003 became a millionaire after selling a majority share in an online advertising service called Begun. It was around this time he turned his attention to dating. “I really felt that I needed to know more people. Specifically, girls,” he says. So in 2004 he created a service called Mamba. The idea, in hindsight, seems obvious. You create an online profile, state your location and can then start swapping texts with other users nearby. This was before the advent of smartphones – there was no satellite location tech in our mobiles at the time – but the ability to scope out nearby singletons and start swapping flirty messages was an immediate hit. “It started to grow. Crazy, crazy, crazy,” says Andreev. “I would say Mamba was the first [modern] dating service. When I say ‘dating’, I’m not talking about traditional sites such as eHarmony or Match. com. It wasn’t about looking for marriage. It was the same as Badoo is these days – it was for exploring the world around you, making friends for whatever reason.” To this day, Mamba remains the most popular dating service in Russia. Much of Andreev’s success has come from his ability to anticipate what people want before they know they want it. He leans forward and taps his nose. “I always compare my nose to the nose of a mouse, always sniffing out the cheese,” he says. “I smell the cheese and say, OK, everyone go in this direction.” But after 18 months, Andreev again sold his stake in Mamba – a deal that will have made him many more millions – and moved on to his next project. There is, you realise, a twitchy restlessness about him – indeed, he has an interest in several other dating apps, including Bumble, Page 10 Sqwawqs.com Issue 1 2017
whose CEO, Whitney Wolfe, worked for Tinder before falling out with her co-founders after a sexual harassment lawsuit. “A lot of people in my life like meditation and wellness,” Andreev says. “I have no time for any of this. I just drive. Drive, drive. drive. Nonstop. I never have any time in my life where I can stop and think, ‘What am I doing here now?’ ” He says that every time he has sold a business, he’s never been satisfied with the amount of money he’s received. He shakes his head and his fringe dances. “Never been happy. But by then, I already have a new idea. I’m running to the next thing, so that stops me thinking about the money.” Badoo was originally launched in 2006 in Spain, as a website where you could share photos, post updates and keep track of your mates. “We were in competition with Facebook for two years before we realised there’s this big American monster coming to Europe, so it’s better not to fight. So we changed direction.” Now the point of Badoo would be to meet new people, to see who was out there. The idea came to Andreev when, in 2007, he was waiting for a train at St Petersburg station. “I found this bar called a telephone café. There were hundreds of tables, and each table had a number and a phone. If you saw a girl sitting on table 45, you could take your phone and call table 45. The same month, Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone. I said to myself, we should go hyper- local. We should make
a tool on this iPhone that will compete with this telephone bar.” And so, thanks to the GPS function on these new smartphones, Badoo became one of the very first location-based dating apps, launching in November 2009, almost three years before Tinder. It was, he says, a technological response to a simple human need. “A service like Badoo, sitting in your pocket, gives you possibility,” he says. “We kill aloneness. We take these very basic needs and make them exist on mobiles.” Almost eight years later, Badoo is available in 190 countries. In the Indian Ocean, on the remote Christmas Island (population: 2,205), Andreev says there are 198 Badoo users.
Later, in a cab to the Chinese restaurant, he shows me a photo on his phone: it’s him with some of his employees, in the Wembley VIP seats, posing for a picture with David Beckham. Andreev admits he doesn’t even like football. But everyone else did, so he treated them.
There are about 300 people working at Badoo’s Soho HQ. In many ways, it has all the trappings of a successful tech firm: everyone is young; there are developers receiving massages at their desks. But there is also a certain loucheness that feels more like something you’d find in the City than in Silicon Valley. Every meeting room has a fridge containing bottles of Moët, because you never know when a meeting might require some bottles of Moët. Impromptu jollies sometimes occur.
I get the impression he finds the asceticism of some of his US counterparts amusing. He describes visiting the Google head office and seeing nothing but Tesla electric cars in the car park, with the exception of one Bentley, parked right at the back. He laughs. The owner, he says, was bashful about his Bentley. He talks about visiting San Diego to attend an environment conference. Some of the biggest names in tech were attending, all flying in on private jets. He laughs again. Private jets! To an environment conference! Andreev – and you may have noticed this – has a less tortured relationship with his own wealth. He does not present himself as some kind of messianic visionary. Which means he is free to be normal and do what most normal people would do with £700 million. “I love to travel. I love to eat. Like everyone, I love to drive sports cars,” he says. “I like to laugh and go to clubs. I do everything that other people do.”
“They can be spontaneous. We had a party here on Friday with my designers. The next morning, we woke up in Paris. We didn’t know how we got there.” Well, you must have had some idea? He shrugs. “Or I might take my team skiing to Courchevel. Or to Italy sailing.”
Up to a point, at least. “A few years ago, I took the biggest sailing yacht in the world to Myanmar.” What, literally the biggest sailing yacht? “Oh yeah,” he says. Not only does he like good food but, for many years, he was granted access to many of the kitchens of London’s top
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restaurants in order to cook, taste and advise. L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon, which is Michelin-starred, even put Andreev’s onion soup on its menu. He is mates with Raymond Blanc. “I love to spend hours and hours and hours with him. You learn so much. He is full of stories.” Andreev has a girlfriend. “I am off the market. I am taken,” he says. He refers to her as his “lady”, and while he doesn’t say too much about her, he does confirm that they did not meet on Badoo. “It was a friend’s introduction. And we are still together. We love each other, I hope.” Is he romantic? “Am I romantic? I am too busy with my work. I’m trying to balance the things I am doing and spending time with my lady. I cannot give you any romantic advice. I don’t think I am romantic. I am not romantic,” he finally decides. “But you don’t need to be romantic to build a product like this. You just need to have intuition, understand what people want and give it to them at the right time.” And what does Andreev’s intuition tell him people will want in the future? He takes out his phone to show me. The next big thing in dating, he says, is going to be lookalikes. One Badoo feature allows users to search for nearby people who resemble their favourite celebrities. “Say you’re a fan of Cara Delevingne,” he says. “She is a big celebrity. So to date her is difficult.” I suppose you could say that, yes. “Well, we can show you Cara Delev-
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ingne lookalikes that you can talk to.” He then scrolls through some nearby young women’s faces who all, I guess, look a bit like Cara Delevingne. He points some out. “How about Joanna? Or someone like Natalia? Or Jessica?” He studies her profile. “She is from Brazil,” he mutters. This face recognition software was originally designed to stop users uploading photos of celebrities such as David Beckham or Ryan Gosling and posing as them. But then Andreev thought, hang on, what if we just flip it round? And you’re not limited to searching celebrity lookalikes. What if, he says, someone has a taste for men like me? Andreev takes a snapshot of my face, taps a few buttons and, suddenly, we are looking at a load of Badoo users who have been judged, via a series of algorithms, to look like me. Quite a few of them are clearly southeast Asian. “Why are there so many Indonesians?” says Andreev, frowning. “Are you sure you’re not Indonesian?” But the point is, exact ethnicity aside, a lot of those guys did look quite a bit like me. If, for whatever reason, you had a kink for that, then you’d be away. And it might seem like a novelty, but who knows? Swiping on photos of nearby singles seemed like a novelty at first. Now everyone does it. Andreev, remember, has his mouse’s nose, always sniffing out where the cheese is going to be. If he thinks that people want something, there’s a very good chance they do. He’s got the money to prove it. We leave the Greenhouse less than an
hour after we arrived. The foie gras was as good as he promised, although he barely touched his. I have caviar stuck between my teeth. “That was probably the quickest Michelin-starred lunch you ever had,” he says, grinning, as we walk back through Mayfair. He’s not wrong. Andreev says he can’t stick about – he has a meeting –but, before he goes, he wants to show me his custom-built Range Rover, which is parked in Berkeley Square. Everything has been stripped out, he says, and a huge sound system installed. He makes me sit in the front passenger seat and then sticks on a CD. “Are you OK with loud?” he asks, before hitting
‘Am I proud?’ he asks himself. ‘Of course I’m proud. I changed the world’
play. We listen to dubstep, then some Pink Floyd. It’s deafening – the windows are specially soundproofed – but Andreev just sits in the driver’s seat smiling happily, watching me wince. Sometimes, he says, strangers will approach him on the street and ask him if his name is Andrey. He’ll say yes, and then they’ll tell him that they met their wife or husband on Badoo, and they wanted to thank him. “One Italian guy stopped me and invited me to his wedding,” he says, chuckling. “Badoo is a big thing. Hundreds of millions of users. We’ve probably made tens of millions
of babies. We’ve increased the population of the planet. Am I proud?” he asks himself. “Of course I’m proud. I changed the world.”
the author Ben Machell
Ben has been a journalist for The Times (London) since 2005 and is also a Columnist for the London Evening Standard, and a Football Columnist for VICE Media.
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If you want your company to succeed, stop wasting your customers' time By Dave Crenshaw, President, Invaluable Inc. Salt Lake City, US.
What if we could convert the money we spent today into time that we could have tomorrow? This isn’t science fiction, this is a business fact; the companies that make it happen are taking the lead. Last Friday Delta announced it would be saving their customers time by eliminating check-ins. Rather than requiring flyers to go to a boarding kiosk or front desk, they can simply check in using their phones. Sure, we can’t yet totally bypass the nightmare of airport security. Well, not exactly, anyway. However, as someone who spends a lot of time flying from A to B talking to leaders about time management, I not only appreciate the effort, but I see time-profit potential in this investment. The companies that will succeed in the future are those that make an active decision to save the customer time. We must analyze every one of our business processes from the standpoint of "customer time investment." If not, we are destined to fail.
Taking care of ‘frequent flyers’ I recently delivered the keynote for an event at the Hilton at Disney Springs in Orlando. Orlando can be a busy town, especially for out-of-towners. I got up bright and early and went down to the small cafe near the lobby. Needless to say, the line of people ready and willing to give money, perhaps too much money, for their coffees and breakfast sandwiches was long—needlessly long. I traced the row of people to the front counter. I saw two, count ‘em, two cash registers and one lonely, stressed out cashier. Page 14 Sqwawqs.com Issue 1 2017
Don’t get me wrong, the cashier had hustle. If I were thrust into that job, I wouldn’t last 15 minutes. I’d probably overheat from the espresso steam and pass out on a pile of poppyseed muffins. The problem when an establishment is understaffed is that even employees with the most hustle lose tips from impatient customers. Everyone loses. Later that trip, I went to STK Orlando, a wonderfully touristy steakhouse restaurant in the heart of the Magic Kingdom— the most magical place on Earth, indeed. I’m pretty sure I blacked out as soon as soon as I picked up my fork. It was that good. It didn’t take long before I was ready to grab the bill and leave a healthy gratuity. The trouble was that the entire staff was so overworked that they didn’t seem to have a system in place to grab my check. Look, I’m not interested in berating folks in the service industry. They have a tough job. Forget that I felt mildly annoyed. I got over it quickly. I was more worried that their business was losing money by not being able to open up another table. In fact, if I were to do an audit of STK’s systems and processes I would bet that my experience was systemic. There was a rule in place that created the blindspot that I experienced.
The rule of thumb here is: Leaders in business should make it as easy as possible for customers to give them money, especially when their time is at stake.
Eliminating “check-ins,” where possible Do you remember the last time you checked a bag? I sure don’t. Carry-on luggage has become so efficient that most of us can live out of them for weeks at a time. So why don’t more airlines allow more users to skip the check-in process? Well, I suspect, Southwest, Alaska, and United have taken note from Delta. However, this issue is not unique to the airline industry.
Remember this rule: Every minute you make customers sit on hold is another minute that customer spends questioning their decision to buy from you.
What check-ins are you creating as a business leader? For example, offering customers a “loyalty program”—sounds great, right? After all, customers love rewards, right? Wrong! Many loyalty programs have morphed into bizarre hostage situations. You’re telling me I have to enter my 10-digit phone number before I can buy a pack of Mentos all so that I can continue to collect Walgreens Balance Reward points? You want to offer me a credit card to go with those Express slacks? Where is the line where I just give you my money and exit quietly? Before you create another roadblock for your customer, ask your employees and yourself the following question: Where can we save our customers precious time? When you ask that question, you might find a slew of bugs in your system that have kept you from getting your customer in and out. What’s more, with that unnecessary step eliminated, you’ll build true customer loyalty, the kind that comes from serving others rather than taking advantage of face time with them.
and made me an offer, but I needed to think it over. They gave me a ticket code and a number to call back once I had the right information. After a few hours of mulling it over, I realized that this deal was too good to pass up. So, I called back. Lo and behold, when I called back, I had wait on hold for a whopping 45 minutes while a new rep contacted their manager to figure out if the deal the first rep offered was legitimate. (It wasn’t, by the way.)
Remember this rule: Every minute you make customers sit on hold is another minute that customer spends questioning their decision to buy from you. Companies destined to survive the next generation need to go out of their way to cut down on wait time. Often, that means hiring more people than you actually need. This may strike some as excess, but I see this as a good return on investment. It’s much better to have employees wait for the customer than to have customers that have to wait for employees. While having employees at their desk with nothing to do might not be the most efficient use of resources, having quick, real-time service creates customer loyalty and trust, better reviews, and repeat business.
Sitting on the tarmac If your company has a call center, but calling customer service requires customers to be on hold for long periods of time, you are making yourself less valuable in the marketplace. Inbound callers are simply looking to get what they need and get out. Recently, I thought about cutting the cord— the one connected to my satellite dish. So, I called DirecTV to break up with them; it’s been a ten-year love-hate relationship. They didn’t want it to end
the author Dave Crenshaw Dave Crenshaw is the master of building productive leaders. He has appeared in Time magazine, USA Today, FastCompany, and the BBC News. His courses on LinkedIn Learning have received millions of views. He has written three books and counting, including The Myth of Multitasking which was published in six languages and is a time management bestseller. His newest book, The Power of Having Fun, is in stores now. As an author, speaker, and online instructor, Dave has transformed hundreds of thousands of businesses leaders worldwide. DaveCrenshaw.com
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Steve Jobs wanted me to work for him.
I said no.
By Magdalena Yesil, Executive Chair, Drive Informed. Founder, Broadway Angels. Board Member; RPX Corporation. Smartsheet. Zuora. San Francisco, US.
As you’ve probably heard, if you have not yet experienced it yourself, it’s
not easy to power UP as a committed parent in the United States, where business and culture are so invested in rapid growth. It’s even harder in Silicon Valley, where every company is in a race to ship first and where, in large part, men with spouses who take the domestic lead, if not the entire burden, still write the rules of professional engagement. One time I was about to be interviewed for a live technology news broadcast. It was minutes before we went on the air, and the reporter and I were seated in our chairs next to each other. The reporter noticed me jotting things down on a small notepad and asked if I was preparing my answers, reminding me that I could not read anything off my pad while filming. I showed him what I was writing. When he saw it he laughed. “I’ve never had anyone about to go on live TV writing their grocery list!” he said. Maybe I was the first working mother he had as a guest. “It’s my next stop after your show,” I said. “When else am I going to write it?” Even with a full-time grandma at home, my children influenced my career choices from the moment they were born. That said, I never thought of the opportunities that I turned down as being sacrifices. I always believed I could find alternatives that would suit our family and satisfy me professionally. My children were the reason I turned down a job at Apple for the second time. (I turned them down the first time because a professor advised me against working for a technology company that had a fruit for its name.) Steve Jobs had just made his big comeback to Apple and was considering me as his vice president of marketing. After spending a few days with him at his office, brainstorming around Apple’s ad campaign and working on a potential PR strategy, he asked me to continue working over the weekend. Sure, I said. I went over early Saturday, and we had a terrific day working together, finally breaking around eight at night. Before I left he said, “Hey, today was great. Let’s work together again tomorrow?” I agreed and was again working with him from morning to late at night. It was exhilarating and exhausting. Needless to say, I didn’t see my children, then seven and nine, at all that weekend.
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Monday came, and Steve offered me the opportunity to join Apple and to continue to work with him. I smiled and told him how honored I felt. Then I said, “But this job isn’t for me.” Steve was shocked. “But didn’t you have fun? Isn’t this incredible?” he wanted to know. Of course, I did, and it was. But I had a family and responsibilities outside of work, and I suspected that the way we worked that weekend was the way I would work with him going forward. There was no way that would be sustainable for me. Though technically the support of my mother and babysitter made seven-day work weeks possible, it wasn’t what I wanted. So I turned Steve Jobs down and never looked back. Someone recently asked me if I regretted that decision. As a matter of practice, I don’t “do regret” because it’s a waste of energy. What I took away from Steve’s offer was positive: confirmation of my skills and my commitment to choose a job that fit my own needs.
Image: This Page; A Madame Tussauds recreation of Steve Jobs at Beijing Madam Tussauds April 2016.
PHOTO: ANTON IVANOV / SHUTTERSTOCK
If you’re someone who cares about being home at 6:30 to have dinner with your kids and you work in an organization where the real work and face time happen in the late hours of the evening, you’re going to feel like an outsider and fall behind. Look for a company that positions you to thrive given your limitations. I’ve always believed that your most important “marriage” in terms of making your career work is the professional cohort you choose, whether that’s a company or your business partners. If you choose an environment that’s in conflict with your needs, you’ll feel you’re being forced to blow up your life to accommodate your work, an uncomfortable arrangement that makes you feel victimized instead of in control of your choices. You might start to feel like you’re trying to do everything and succeeding at nothing. That feeling of being pulled apart has given rise to a widely accepted notion that parenthood and career can only be in tension with each other. Do well at one, and you’re doing it at the expense of the other. In fact, parenthood can make you a better, more effective, more ambitious professional than before. Lynn Perkins of UrbanSitter can rattle off a laundry list of ways that her kids have enhanced
her professional life. First of all, she owes the birth of UrbanSitter to the birth of her children. Lynn also told me that despite having fewer hours for work, as a mother she still gets more done because she’s become so good at prioritizing her attention and managing her time. “It’s amazing,” she told me. “I look back and I think, what did I do in my twenties? When I woke up on a Saturday morning I went out for brunch, and I thought 9 a.m. was early. Now by nine I’ve done twenty things!” Lynn was once the kind of worker whose brain was churning 24/7, whether she was at her desk or on her couch. Today she gives her kids her full attention when she walks in the door after a day of work. But doing so has had an unexpected benefit. “You know how sometimes you actually come up with good ideas when you’re not thinking about your work? A forced break is really, really a good thing,” she says. Finally, she says, the fact that she stays home in the evenings after her kids go to bed at 7:30 means she’s actually more likely to do evening work than she’d be if she had a swinging, outon-the-town social life. The key is finding a way to shape your work life and your family schedule together.
the author Magdalena Yesil Magdalena Yeşil is a founder, entrepreneur, and venture capitalist of many of the world’s top technology companies, including Salesforce, where she was the first investor and founding board member. Yesil is a former general partner at U.S. Venture Partners, where she oversaw investments in more than thirty early-stage companies and served on the boards of many. A technology pioneer, Yeşil founded three of the first companies dedicated to commercializing Internet access, e-commerce infrastructure, and electronic payments. UUnet, CyberCash, and MarketPay earned her the Entrepreneur of the Year title by the Red Herring magazine. Yeşil is a founder of Broadway Angels, a group of female venture capitalists and angel investors. She is currently working on her fourth startup, DriveInformed, a technology company bringing trust and transparency to the auto finance industry.
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Bonin Bough’s 10 Rules for Nailing your Business Pitch By Bonin Bough, Host of CNBC’s Cleveland Hustles. New York, US. Page 18 Sqwawqs.com Issue 1 2017
I get pitched business ideas a lot. I hear from aspiring startup founders at speaking events, at conferences, on planes, at parties, the list goes on. All of these entrepreneurs are looking for an answer to some version of the following question, “How do I get capital for my business?” During the first week in October, I headed to Buffalo, New York to serve as a finals judge in the 43North pitch competition. With $5 million in capital on the table for winning startup ideas, 43North has grown into one of the largest global pitch competitions. It also served as the perfect opportunity to get some answers for business entrepreneurs looking for advice. During the com-
petition, I pulled aside some of my fellow judges, all investors and thought leaders in their respective fields, to get their advice on what makes a great business pitch. When it comes to a great business pitch, there is no one size fits all, but if you follow these 10 Rules, you’re well on your way to finding a ‘funding fit.’
1. Keep It Simple When it comes to your pitch, Dave Jakubowski, Director of Publisher Solutions at Facebook, said there is one fundamental rule, “keep it simple.” The key to simplifying your pitch is envisioning delivering it to someone who has no knowledge of the industry you’re working within and then breaking things down from there. Make sure you answer the most basic question, ‘What does your business do?’
‘What’s the big breakthrough?’ Many unicorns started out as businesses that sought to disrupt established markets (Uber, Netflix, Airbnb.) Does your business improve upon a tested-way of fulfilling a societal need? Great. Does your business develop an entirely new way of fulfilling that need? Even better. When you’re forming your idea and your pitch, look for the cracks in market infrastructure, and use those cracks to blow that market right open.
5. Don’t Go it Alone “Partnering with people is one of the most effective ways to move your ideas forward,” Says Virginia Giddings of Stryker Neurovascular. But remember,
a partnership isn’t always financial. Partner with community leaders for support, mentors for advice, or existing businesses to fuel symbiotic growth. Leaning into the people and the networks around you will only grow your sphere of influence more quickly.
6. Solve a Problem The first question you should be asking yourself is, ‘What does the community need?’ A lot of people are consumed with working on something that they’re passionate about, and that’s great, but what you’re passionate about doesn’t always coincide with community-need or market demand. Look for the happy medium.
2. Differentiate Yourself Create clear market segmentation. In today’s competitive business landscape, many companies are entering into crowded fields. When you are making an argument for your business, you must demonstrate why you are uniquely qualified to solve the problem at hand. Simply put, differentiate yourself. Somewhere in your pitch should be a version of the following, “My business _____ is the only solution to the ______ problem because _____.” 3. Clarify Your Idea Startup CEOs forget that not everyone is living and breathing the business that they’re in every minute of every day,” says Jakubowski. Make sure you clearly state the opportunities your business provides for consumers, and the opportunities it provides for the city, the community, or the institution in which your business is embedded.
4. Seek out Disruption Page 19 Sqwawqs.com Issue 1 2017
When you stumble upon an idea that excites you, take a step back and ask yourself, ‘does this solve a problem that is bigger than me?’
7. Screw ‘Winning’ In my conversation with Rodney Sampson, a Partner at Tech Square Labs, he pointed out a current problem prevalent in business competitions. Rodney stated, “a lot of folks can get consumed with pitching on stages and winning and not actually building their business.” It doesn’t matter how many competitions, awards, or funding your business ‘wins,’ at the end of the day, the only thing you should be concerned with is the growth of your business.
8. Show Growth Many investors will roll the dice for a big pay off, but ultimately, they are looking for businesses that can demonstrate growth. Outlining the opportunity that sits in front of potential investors will be crucial in selling your vision. Your core idea will get you in the door, but your ability to show past, and more importantly, future growth for both your business and the market you’re entering into, will be vital to the success of your pitch.
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9. Know your Audience Most pitches I hear fail to adequately address their audience. If you want to increase the effectiveness of your message, you need to know whom you are speaking to. Spend time researching the investors or firm you will be pitching to. Being able to specifically address a potential investor, or in the case of pitch competitions, a judge provides an instant personal connection. You wouldn’t go into a test expecting to receive an ‘A’ without studying first- the same goes for your pitch. Don’t expect to receive capital from an investor without doing quite a bit of background research.
10. Be Passionate Public speaking does not come naturally to everyone, but beyond practice, the core principle you should keep in mind when pitching is passion. Excitement and enthusiasm for your idea can be contagious. Work on developing your tone, cadence and body language in a way that directly conveys your enthusiasm. If you’re not passionate about your idea, how can you expect others to be?
the author Bonin Bough B. Bonin Bough is one of the foremost-awarded marketing executives in his field, the host of The Cleveland Hustles, and the author of Txt Me (646) 759-1837. Throughout his illustrious career as one of the youngest C-suite executives in a Fortune 50 company, Bough has spear-headed some of the industry’s largest global marketing campaigns across digital, mobile, television, print, and experiential, including the premier of the first ever 3D printed food product, the customizable, real-time 3D printed Oreo at South by Southwest.
Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs): You have been warned. By Enrique Dans, Senior Advisor for Innovation & Digital Transformation, IE University & Professor of Innovation at IE University. Madrid, Spain.
A timely entry by Fred Wilson, a wellknown venture capitalist and prolific blogger (one of the few who write daily, like another I know :-) calls for caution in the face of the huge number of Initial Coin Offerings, or ICOs, and in particular against celebrity endorsements, famous people who use their social media profile to attract potential investors. An Initial Coin Offering, or ICO, is simply company requesting a round of financing by launching blockchain-registered coin issuance, creating its own crypto-currency through a mechanism that validates transactions, linking it with an investment in the company. It’s not a bad idea in principle, allowing as it does, for the establishment of a flexible mechanism of financing anyone, not just specialized investors, can take part, and free of many of the barriers to traditional financing rounds. Which is precisely where the problems arise: in the face of the pull effect and news coverage of crypto-currencies and their rapid increase of value, some investors seem to think that the use of a blockchain guarantees profits, and that all ICOs are, by definition, a sure-fire investment opportunity. When something appears to be too good to be true, it’s usually because they are. ICOs are no different to any other investment opportunity: some are issued by companies legitimately using this
unregulated mechanism as a legitimate way to raise capital and are willing to use that capital to generate value. At the same time, there will also be fraudsters trying to raise money through their own crypto-currencies that will soon be worthless. There will also be other kinds of frauds taking advantage of the popularity of crypto-currencies’ popularity and the inexperience of many small investors through tricks like changing a letter in the company name, offering an incorrect URL, etc. Given that right now, anyone can launch an ICO, we have seen hundreds of ICOs in the first half of 2017, raising $ some $1.2 billion dollars. Now that celebrities are joining the gold rush, telling their brainless fans to join them in investing in this or that ICO, we might reasonably wonder if those celebrities are endorsing an ICO in exchange for money and that the impact of legal action and a fine will be of little consolation to the idiots who put their life savings in an ICO because their favorite boxer, soccer player, actor or whatever told them to via social networks. When evaluating a possible investment, as ever, you have to take into account the nature of the project and its expectations of profitability, its management team and its ability to implement the project, the money they intend to raise and what they say they want to do with it, the reasons for which they are resorting to a particular
financing mechanism, and above all, what they have demonstrated so far, including, in the case of technology-based projects, prototypes or technological developments. ICOs can be a very interesting way to raise capital by directly involving potential investors, but they can also be an opportunity to take advantage of inexperienced people for who think that anything to do with crypto-currencies is an opportunity not to be missed. If the team launching the ICO is still working on plans and has not produced anything solid or demonstrable, if they have nothing special or outstanding to contribute, if they intend to outsource all development to third parties or if they intend to raise a lot of money without saying clearly what they want it for, then they are probably scammers. China and South Korea have recently banned ICOs, while the Russian authorities have issued warnings and are likely to follow suit. The United States has is about to issue regulations, although it wants to avoid excessive control that could hobble their potential to finance some ideas and projects. I am sure that ICOs will play a very important role as a funding mechanism in the future, but for now, let’s not forget the way a project is financed doesn’t make it better or worse, that there are shysters out there looking to take advantage of the popularity of ICOs, and that allowing scammers to create their own currencies is, at best, hugely irresponsible.
the author Enrique Dans Professor Dans is one of the most prominent Spanish academics in the fields of technology adoption and innovation. He keeps a permanent presence in the Spanish and international media panorama and he advises startups and consolidated companies as a consultant or a board member. He has been blogging in Spanish at enriquedans.com since 2003, and in English on Medium.
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The Next Unicorn or just a load of hot air? (Founders. The Unicorn queue is over there, next to the queue for the genie that will grant you three wishes) By Dean O’Grady, Managing Editor, Sqwawqs.
Let me start by making something
For those involved in a startup, my message is short and (probably not so) sweet: Stop focusing on investment and get stuff done. And for Investors the message is shorter: Get some sanity.
Some crappy idea that they have, that isn’t worth ten cents will become the next unicorn. The idea is so good (sic), that the ‘founders’ don’t have any product, no designs, in fact, nothing but a bare web holding page, a marketing plan and three-year business plan. Of course they don’t have any money either, so they need a million dollars (or two) to spend the next nine months making a beta product, while at the same time paying themselves a salary of $60-100k each (or more) as they don’t believe why they should have to produce any of their own sweat for the lions share of equity that they still seek to keep. The CMO pitches hard, but none of the founders have any business track record (of course not, the CMO and the rest of the team are 23 and just out of College/working in a warehouse for minimum wage). Investors, dizzy on hearing stories of the golden circle of investors that hit either the seed or A round at the likes of Uber when these fledglings were valued at not much more than a corndog, clammer for a piece of the startup's action. Sanity has well and truly left the building.
Whether the root cause is globally low interest rates, or global warming; I’m increasingly seeing Startups that are living in a completely, utterly, delusional world. Devoid of any reality or common sense whatsoever.
What has happened to making something viable to take to the market? What has happened from starting small and scaling? What has happened to growth based on viability and profitability?
very clear. I love startups, entrepreneurs, founders, business and all the rest of it. Love it. Entrepreneurship has been my life for over twenty-five years and likely will be until the day I die. If life is a game, being an entrepreneur is every game ever invented, all rolled into one. It is awesome, terrifying, exhilarating and a lot of the time ridiculously mundane as well. However, the last five years have seen a gravy train that has continued to gather momentum and will likely do so until we reach the next financial crisis (otherwise known as 'a moment of sanity'). The successes of Zuckerberg and the like have produced a new kind of fame. For over 40 years, most High Schoolers wanted to be either a movie/music/sports star when they grew up; now they want to be an entrepreneur billionaire (or be Instagram famous).
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We are now living in a world where marketing hype, the right contacts, and enough leverage can produce investments of mind-boggling proportions.
Two years ago I was at a particular tech/startup conference that will remain unnamed. At the said conference there were over a thousand startups either represented or pitching for investments. How many of those startups still exist today I don’t know (I have better things to do with my time). But I would be surprised if more than ten percent were still alive and kicking. The main focus for investments appeared consistent with what has become the accepted norm of the tech startup, to be purely on an exit strategy. The hypothesis generally being: Invest X now and in 5 years time the exit will produce Y. Between X and Y is a flimsy product and/or service which although it is barely different from one hundred other products that already exist, this one will somehow set the world alight and outperform far better (existing) products, even though the new business is being run by people with little or no prior startup or product development experience. Before reaching the pitch stage to investors; the startup has not sampled market opinion or tested via a focus group (unless you count the CEOs mum, who loves it). Indeed the only effort is on the pitch deck. The marketing/sales/customer acquisition plan (if actually available) is as watertight and durable as a paper bag. The financial plans contain projections so optimistic they would make Bernie Madoff blush and make the paper bag the stronger part of the overall ‘business plan and strategy.’ Where is the real business? Do these people actually want to be in business? Or are these startups nothing more than a Ponzi? Buy now, and if enough other idiots (sorry I mean investors) put money up, we will attract more 'investors' for another 2 or 3 rounds of investment. The money will be spent on the acquisition of data and
‘customers’ (who don’t buy anything, the product is free and being paid for by the investment rounds), to which point we will IPO on a valuation of 10 or 11 figures, everyone cashes out and lives happily ever after. Along the way, no genuine profit has been made, and little in the way of the actual product (which was awful anyway) succeeded in the market, as once people had to actually pay for it they duly turned their back on it. But that doesn’t matter… with the cash pile available the invested business merely goes into the market and buys up investable (and often already profitable) existing businesses. We are now living in a world where marketing hype, the right contacts, and enough leverage can produce investments of mind-boggling proportions. Many years ago, there was a saying that ‘the first million is the most difficult to make.’ As such businesses are now starting at a point of million(s) invested (or much more), the answer shouldn’t be will it succeed, but surely how can it fail? To add a sense of perspective – it is one thing to create a profitable venture, but it is in a different stratosphere to expect that venture to become a world dominating disrupter. I am not telling entrepreneurs to aim low, but to change their perspective. If a business can only succeed on a global scale, with huge amounts of investment, then chances of success are extremely slim, unless you are extremely lucky in attracting investment vehicles that have the contacts and leverage to allow your company to leapfrog ten levels. By attempting to create a sustainable business at a smaller level – if your business really is pioneering or groundbreaking, it will attract the interest you want, as its success will naturally become attractive for growth and the associated finance required to generate that growth. Page 23 Sqwawqs.com Issue 1 2017
Is Your Business Too Big For its Britches? By Tracey Noonan, CEO, Wicked Good Cupcakes. Boston, US. Many of us are operating businesses during a very interesting time right now. We’re all trying to keep up with the pace of the world which is no easy task. Today’s landscape has changed dramatically from 10 years, even 5 years ago. The internet has opened up a new world for businesses. In the grand scheme of things, Wicked Good Cupcakes is still a small business. We’re growing steadily and definitely above the normal industry standard. What we don’t want to do however, is lose our small business mentality. I know. I know. The goal for most business owners is growth. But hear me out. Big businesses need to start doing business like their smaller counterparts. They need to think and act like a small business. Why? Because in this day and age, anyone with a laptop can
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start a business. There’s little barrier to entry. Platforms like Shopify and BigCommerce allow you to sell for little cost. Taking it even further, companies like Amazon and Goldbely will do all the selling, processing and shipping for you. Anything you need to conduct a business can be purchased as software for your services. Startups are hungry! And though the bites they take out of larger companies may be small, they are collectively devouring big business’ bottom line. Also, these startups don’t need to be multimillion dollar companies to survive – many of these businesses are 1 to 10 person companies that are very lean. They don’t need millions in sales to survive. Big companies need to think like small companies if they want to remain in business.
Smaller companies are disrupting the business environment. Yup. I used the “D” word. Disruptive. Disruptors. You've undoubtedly heard this before.
Have a real presence on social media. Not a persona. People can see right through the bullsh*t. Be genuine. Share with your customers. Encourage feedback. And for God’s sake, stop selling all the time. GIVE something to your followers and watch your numbers grow.
We were a disruptor in our industry, albeit an accidental one. We changed the way people looked at the commodity known as the cupcake. Others are now chasing us. What does that mean? We need to be nimble as a business, stay on top of trends and be able to pivot quickly if and when necessary. No business is too small to be disruptive. And no business is too big to be disrupted. This is exactly where bigger companies are missing the boat. They’re not quick. They take 2 years to develop a product. Smaller startups move at lightning speed. They give the consumer what they think they needed yesterday, right now. Big business gets caught up in “Analysis, Paralysis”. Ten to twenty people all must weigh in on the most menial of decisions slowing down processes and ultimately losing out on market share. Big businesses are nameless and faceless. With most people working two jobs and saving to purchase or retain a product or a service, people want to spend their money with a company that instills confidence and trust. Consumers need to feel if they need help there's a real person on the other side of their laptop or phone screen. People are sick to death of phone trees. They’re done with calling outsourced answering services. Consumers are longing for that human touch. For human interaction. They want assistance now. They don’t want to have to click ten times and wait on hold endlessly. And equally as important, you need to empower your customer service team.
By focusing less on the product and more on the experience your customer is having, you’re sure to build a loyal sales team…Satisfied customers. Have a real presence on social media. Not a persona. People can see right through the bullsh*t. Be genuine. Share with your customers. Encourage feedback. And for God’s sake, stop selling all the time. GIVE something to your followers and watch your numbers grow. So…Are you a disruptor or are you disrupted? What is your company culture? Customer service? Your knowledge of your industry? Who’s your competition? In our push to be the biggest and best, let’s not forget where we’ve evolved from. Whether you started at a farmer’s market, in your basement, home kitchen or garage, the things that were most important to you at the time, like putting out the best product or giving someone unbeatable customer service should be even more important now. These qualities are your differentiator. These qualities set you apart. They make you the disruptor.
the author Tracey Noonan Wicked Good Cupcakes and our famous Wicked Good to go cupcake jars were created by my daughter Dani and me in our South Shore kitchen in 2011. Since then we have been named #511 on Inc. Magazine’s 2016 fastest growing US companies, the Boston Business Journal’s Fast Fifty (#9). Tracey was a finalist for Ernst and Young’s prestigious Entrepreneur of the Year in 2015, 2016 and 2017.
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9 Truths No One Will Tell About Startups and I decided to tell because no one knows where my mom lives... By Mathieu Le Roux, Cofounder, Le Wagon Latam. Paris, France. Translated with the help of Diego Van Dyk
1- Big Corporations love startups and will do everything they can to make sure that those startups in their field shall remain small, cute and harmless forever.
co-working spaces, incubators and hackathons is nice. Lobbying to prohibit Whatsapp, preventing fintechs entering your field or creating a special tax for new services like Netflix, way less nice…
There are only a few things that make me lose it as much as the hypocrisy of old businesses; that while under the spotlight they launch innovation programs offering mentoring/acceleration/co-working/ free beer, but, at the same time, behind the scenes, lobby hard to prevent any new player access to its market, with politicians’ complicity. Everybody wants to innovate in traditional big business, but no one seems to admit publicly that the very objective of a truly ambitious startup is to eat your cake, not help you make it fancier. Hilton could never have collaborated with Airbnb, taxis with Uber or NBC with Facebook. Traditional business is caught in the fear of missing out on the trendy digital innovation just as long as its own bottom line is not affected. Financing
CEOs love the “garage startup”, but when a gigantic transformer robot comes out of the garage, that starts stealing customers, they run towards politicians to beg for regulation. Every startup founder should keep that in mind from the start and focus on building the robot.
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2 — Expeditions to Silicon Valley is tourism, plain and simple. Innovation is born out of a company culture that allows members to express aloud the crazy ideas freely, and gives him or her freedom to experiment without risk losing the job. Tesla’s factory is beautiful, but never turned anyone into Elon Musk.
Thinking that visiting Silicon Valley will
make you innovate is the same as visiting a gorilla in the zoo and hoping it will help stop you going bald. 3 — The majority of mentors for “startups” and “innovation” have never had experience with neither startups nor innovation. Those who know do. They also generally have an idea that, as Confucio said, “Experience is a lantern hanging on your back. It only sheds light on the path you already took.” The most experienced people usually give you advice in the most humble and cautious manner. The ones which are the most confident in their own advice, with no perception of the fact that every situation is different usually never created anything close to what you’re building.
The ones daring to call themselves “innovation mentors” usually aren’t, and those who are would never dare to call themselves that.
At an early stage, every single founder must be focused on user experience, either helping build the product or getting feedback to prototype the next feature. The rest is just a waste of time. 6 — One “serial entrepreneur VC” is worth Ten “McKinsey VC.” Ex-McKinsey are always very smart and articulate minds, but in most cases the only experience they have is of designing established players’ strategies in big old markets. When the time comes to convince the crucial CTO to join a team of two founders, close a deal at any cost or pivot your business model, always look for the intuitive gut feeling of someone that already did the trick, with the humility proportionate to all the scars that came with it. But I don’t want to trash talk McKinsey, at the end of the day One “McKinsey VC” is still worth Ten “Banker VCs”.
A VC that came from the experience track of entrepreneurship knows how hard it is first hand. And just that is worth gold. 7 — If you keep your startup project a secret, you’re going nowhere… fast.
4 — Startup Business Plans for more than 12 months are just BS. By definition, a startup is born without a business model. What you need to plan are costs to survive the first year. Enough time to assess if 1/some users got interested and 2/ there is a way to turn this interest into revenue in a scalable way.
If a potential investor asks you about the cash flow hypothesis in the fourth year’s third quarter, run. 5 — Design Thinking is cool, but Product Coding is cooler. If the founding team of a startup is really good at design brainstorming sessions but needs help setting up a landing page, I recommend you jump off… In the valley, the joke goes: “to value an early stage startup with just a team; you add $300K for every programmer in the team… and take off $500K for every MBA.”.
When a startup founder explains to me that he can’t reveal the idea because “it’s not ready”, I think “poor guy”. First because if he has to wait for the thing to be ready, he’s never going to launch. But most importantly, because the most crucial thing you need at first is gathering feedback about the problem you are trying to solve, about your pitch and the appeal of your solution, way before it is even ready. Keeping it to yourself is just nonsense. And if the idea is really worth it, chances are you already have ten competitors working on the very same thing and the race will be won by those able to build the best dialog with potential users. So I recommend you talk about your idea to every f**ing single person you engage a conversation with.
And if your grandmother didn’t get what your startup does, you have a pitch problem, not her. 8 — Birth stories of famous startups are all storytelling to create fairy tales. Don’t believe the official history, even Mark Zuckerberg, far from the confidence of his character in the Hollywood
movie, had to be convinced by a friend to open a bank account for (the) facebook because he was not sure it would get anywhere. Ebay was not created to complete the founder’s girlfriend’s Pez dispenser collection… Apple wasn’t even born in a garage!
“History is a set of lies that we decide to agree upon.” Napoleon Bonaparte. Don’t waste your time mimicking fake fairy tales. 9 — If your only objective is to get rich, choose another career, seriously. Gathering a team to create a startup is extremely difficult, convincing a first customer is extremely difficult, raising funds is extremely difficult, growing 3 digits per quarter is extremely difficult, finding a business model is extremely difficult, and reaching a point where an exit opportunity to sell your company for a good price is the hardest of all. So if you’re in all of that for the $, enroll in a trainee program in a Bank because your chances are way higher. Or join a startup that seems to be on track to something great. At Facebook’s IPO, more than 1000 employees became millionaires overnight. And the 1000th employee at facebook made more money there than 90% of Silicon Valley startup founders who managed to have an “exit”.
Startup is an adventure, but probably the hardest and least guaranteed path to retire rich.
the author Mathieu Le Roux My name is Mathieu Le Roux, cofounder of Le Wagon Latam, a coding bootcamp for entrepreneur. I have been a VC, a reporter, cashier in a supermarket, startup executive, bellboy in a Parisian palace, entrepreneur and Tennis teacher, but not in that order.
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How different should my brand positioning be? By Lindsay Pedersen, Brand Srategist & Owner, Ironclad Brand Strategy. Seattle, US
“Differentiate or die.” Everyone who owns a business has heard this warning. In order for your business to survive, let alone thrive, you need to stand for and offer something different. Brand can be both a source for and a result of differentiation. When I worked at Clorox, in some cases, as with Clorox Bleach, brand was even the primary differentiator among largely similar household products. It was good for our brand position to push away hard from the rest of the category. But what if you are not in a mature category like household cleaning? What if you are a start-up, or a business with low awareness, or a business disrupting an old category to create a new one? These Page 28 Sqwawqs.com Issue 1 2017
businesses are usually not short on differentiation. They are short on familiarity. Without a familiar anchor, your offering won’t feel relevant to people, and so they won’t know how to process what you’re offering. So, when you think about your brand, you should be trying to strike a balance between familiar enough to be understood and different enough to stir curiosity.
Aim for "Optimally Distinct" The way that our brains work, in order for us to perceive, attend to, learn, and remember something, we need that something to be relatable in some way. It needs to piggyback on top of something
else that we already have in our brains in order for our brains to be able to let in the new information. We’re wired to conserve cognitive energy, so before a business asks a customer for something — their precious cognitive energy, and perhaps their dollars — that business needs to make it easier for them to see and understand the offering. Wharton School marketing professor Jonah Berger writes in his book Invisible Influence that people like a blend of similarity and difference. When it’s the right blend, he calls it “optimally distinct.” This idea is exceptionally helpful for brand building in new or disruptive categories. Strive to be optimally distinct rather than radically different. For an innovation to be contagious, it should be
similar enough to something that a customer already knows, so that the person will latch onto it and feel “the warm glow of familiarity,” as Berger has called it – yet it should be different enough that it stirs the customer’s curiosity and desire to be different themselves.
Skinny + Jeans = Optimally Distinct Take one of Berger’s examples of this: skinny jeans. They became super popular over the last decade because they are similar enough to something our brains already know (jeans) but different enough (the skinny shape) to be a breakout product. Or consider a product like Reese’s candies. The familiarity lies with each individual ingredient: we know chocolate, and we know peanut butter. The differentiation lies in the brand putting the two together.
Position Your Brand to Push Off the Known Toward the Unknown I often say that the most underused component of a brand strategy is the unsexy but quite useful “frame of reference.” The frame of reference for skinny jeans is jeans. It’s familiar. I already spend money on jeans, and I already wear them and have a place for them in my head and closet. Of course, you can’t stop with the familiar, no matter how warm the glow from it. You need to be distinct as well so that people will be intrigued and motivated to purchase. While you want something in the brand positioning that is familiar, something you can establish your product as similar to, you don’t want to linger long on that similarity. You want to push away from that familiar anchor with the thing that makes you different.
What Is Your Uncommon Denominator? This is where my Uncommon Denominator framework comes in handy. It shows that you can’t rely on the overlap of what the customer wants and the expected category benefits – instead you must base your brand positioning on what the customer wants that only you can provide. In other words, identifying the familiar is your starting point, not your stopping point. It’s your doorway in, but your benefit needs to then push away from that by being distinctive too.
Successful Brands Embrace the Familiar While Creating Difference Let’s examine how this works by imagining the brand positioning framework for three major companies: Netflix, Uber, and Amazon. Here is the classic brand positioning structure that we’ll complete for each:
To [the target customer], [our brand] is the one [frame of reference] that [differentiating benefit]. That’s because only [our brand] brings [reasons to believe] so that [the target customer] can [end reward].
Netflix: The Limitless Video Rental Store •When Netflix launched, the familiar frame of reference was brick-and-mortar video rental stores, epitomized by Blockbuster. Netflix used that and then pushed away from it with its breakthrough differentiator of no late fees. Here’s a positioning statement they might have used: •To film renters, Netflix is the one video rental service that has no late fees. That’s because Netflix charges you a simple monthly rate for DVDs you send back when you’re finished watching so that you can catch movies whenever without limitations.
Uber: The On-Demand Town Car •When Uber launched, no one knew what this concept meant. So, Uber aligned itself with an existing and familiar idea, the idea of the private town car. The company’s positioning statement may have read:
category, tablets), it could then push off of that with its differentiator, which is low price. Their positioning statement might have been: •To Amazon customers, Kindle is the one tablet that is low priced. That’s because only Kindle is less than $100 so that Amazon customers can enjoy the freedom of a tablet at an accessible price. •The source of familiarity is the frame of reference (tablets), and the source of differentiation is its astonishingly low price (my Apple iPad was $700, by comparison). If Kindle were to push away too far from the familiar category of tablets, its benefit of being super affordable would be less compelling because there’d no longer be a relative and familiar frame. Kindle has a superb brand positioning in part because it embraces the familiar.
Ground Your Uniqueness for Peak Customer Interest As business owners, we know that differentiation is the crucial element to drive and grow a purposeful business – and brand plays a key role. When you are creating your brand positioning, focus on what drives your distinctive competitive advantage, but don’t forget to first identify your doorway in, that all-important frame of reference. While your differentiator is essential, don’t get so carried away that you forget to anchor it in the familiar. Get this right, and you’re working with – instead of against – how the human brain perceives new ideas.
•To users of town car services, Uber is the one town car offering that is on-demand. That’s because Uber connects you to a fleet of town car drivers via an app so that you can get where you want to go pronto. •If Uber hadn’t embraced the familiar category of town car services, they’d have nothing to push off of. Customers wouldn’t have readily understood it.
Amazon Kindle: The Affordable Tablet
•Amazon Kindle came out with a positioning around value. It is the tablet that is affordable. By showcasing that it’s familiar (by playing in an established
the author Lindsay Pedersen
Lindsay Pedersen is a brand strategist and founder of Ironclad Brand Strategy, which builds brands using an exacting and analytic method. Lindsay’s background as a P&L owner at Clorox fostered a deep appreciation for the executive charge: to create sustainable value. Ironclad advises companies from burgeoning startups to national corporations, including Zulily, IMDb, T-Mobile and Starbucks.
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How I raised over $8.5 Million with an idea I had in the Shower (Article prices in Euro as Money raised in France €7.5M raised)
By Nicolas Pasquier, President, Skinjay. Paris, France.
There are so many huge companies that got started
in a garage: Amazon, Apple, Disney, Google, Hewlett Packard… Well mine started in a shower. Can you believe it? This is a story about an idea in the shower and a prototype made out of a Kinder egg that raised 7.5M€ and now equips the Suites of the most luxurious hotels in the world.
This is not a success story; we are not there yet. It is the journey of me taking an idea out of my shower and into your shower. On April 1st 2012, believe it or not, I did the stupidest thing: I took a shower. How original. I was staying in a hotel in the South of France and something unusual happened. The shower’s water had an agreeable taste! And it gave me an idea : Page 30 Sqwawqs.com Issue 1 2017
How come no one ever thought of putting taste, color, fragrances directly in the shower’s water? But in order for people to accept to transform their shower ritual, I had to find a form factor that would be easy to use and would allow them to personalize their shower. Right away I thought of the coffee capsules. I went home a couple of days later and started working on a prototype. Because I did not have capsule that I could use, I used the only thing available to me: a Kinder egg (the yellow plastic part, not the chocolate layer) I put food dye in the Kinder egg and was able to deliver dye in the shower’s water for 45 seconds making it blue, red, green… It went from this prototype to many other in order to be able to draft and deposit a patent and went on to try and raise money.
I created Skinjay, called a few friends and I was able to first raise €100,000 euros in December 2012 including some of my own money. That allowed me to create the first working prototype: the device is basically a 12cm tall half sphere with a faucet nut on top and bottom allowing you to screw the device in place between your existing faucet and your flexible hose, or between your water pipe and your shower head.
No work, no tools, it does not change the way your shower operates but allows you to insert capsules that will deliver cosmetic care in your shower’s water I then deposited a second patent and turned to Business Angels to start thinking of industrialization. That’s when I learned that, although I had raised money for my two previous companies in the web and IT sectors, having an idea that was so simple to explain made ALL THE DIFFERENCE.
« Hi! I have invented the NeXXXXXX for the shower. A device and capsules that can deliver any kind of cosmetics or skin treatment directly in the shower water! » I was able to raise 422.000€ on the first round of investment with Business Angels in December 2013. From that day on, every time we would raise X amount of money, we would ask the bank to lend us the same amount of money. And that’s what they did ! Having no industrialized prototype at that time and being far away from having a single customer, a French bank lent us 400,000€ on top of the €422,000! That allowed me to recruit the first engineers and focus on industrialization. We started dealing with water flow modeling, metal casting, molding, plastic injection, cosmetic formulas… One year later, in December 2014, we were ready to go to market. So I went out to raise more money. I used our existing Business Angels to find more BAs and raised €522,000 euros. Once again, the banks came along with €300,000 more. We started selling our products to the Luxury Hospitality market. I did not want to start with consumers since it would require a lot more money than what I could raise at the time having no sales track record. Luxury Hotels were also a good way to position our brand and products as Premium.
Some of our 1st clients included the George V and the Plaza Athénée Palaces in Paris, the Metropole Palace Hotel in Monte Carlo, the Serras Hotel in Barcelona Within 2 years we sold our products to 150 luxury hotels in the World in Paris, London, Rome, Prague, St Barth, Barcelona… By 2016, I decided it was time to present
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our product to the consumer market. Having had a B2B track record with prestigious clients, we decided to make our first round with VCs. We raised 1M€ from a VCs firm in Paris that was backed by one of the largest VC firm in France and… the money was never transferred. The small VC firm was using startups to raise money elsewhere to fund us. When their money did not come true, they defaulted on their binding agreement. That story is still being disputed in court.
an extra 1.5M€ loan making it an even 5M€. We are now a 13 person company and have used this money to address the B2C market in Europe with our products being available throughout Europe since September 2017. We are still a long way from being in every shower in Europe, but we are on our way. Looking back, we almost went under a good 3 or 4 times, and I'm not talking metaphorically.
In order to come back from this, I had to go back to new Business Angels and I raised an emergency €722.000 euros in a month. No, this is not a walk in the park! That allowed me to properly present the project to 3 or 4 different serious VCs with the help of a small fundraising firm in Paris and…
we raised 3.5M€ within three months. This has to be some kind of record time VC round :) The banks and BPI (the French government investment bank) came in with
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the author Nicolas Pasquier Nicolas Pasquier is the founder of SKINJAY, a Paris based company that disrupts the bathroom having adapted the coffee capsule concept to the shower. Before being devoted to Skinjay, Nicolas founded 2 companies in the web and IT industries and held several executive positions both in Europe and North America.
1. Hope for the best and expect to fire fast. Give yourself lots of wiggle room. 2. Don’t hire hood ornaments (doctors with fancy credentials that you parade on your website and pitch deck) unless you simply need one for credibility and don’t expect them to do much more. 3. Clarify expectations, timelines, and benchmarks 4. Rent advisors, don’t buy them. 5. Barter, don’t rent, if possible. 6. Expect most people to put a hand up, not show up. 7. Define your next critical success factor (like raising 2M dollars in seed money) and find people who can help get it done. Once it’s done, stop and empty the bus, and reload. For example, suppose your company has achievements to date that include FDA 510(k) submission, provisional and non-provisional patent filing (there is no such thing as a non-provisional patent granted by the USPTO), and patent attorney freedom-to-operate letter (here’s what that is). You have raised $200,000 from angel investors and are currently raising $1.5M in the current seed round with a valuation of $10M. Who do you want to help, how and how much will you compensate them and for how long? 8. Don’t give away the store early in the game. If you are successful, you’ll have to give it away to get the money anyway so keep your powder dry.
How To Staff Your Startup Every entrepreneur who has succeeded or failed (is there a difference?) has advice about how to get the right people on the bus. What questions should you ask at the interview? What character traits should you seek and how do you do that? How much is science and how much is just going with your gut and whether you click?
9. Hire people who are card-carrying members of the Get Shit Done Club.
What Google found was that interview scores had no correlation with performance, of those who got hired.
10. Evolve as fast as you can from a knowledge technician to manager, to leader, to entrepreneur to leaderpreneur i.e., work on the company, not in it.
Likewise, advisors or potential employees want to find the right fit as well. The rules are somewhat different when it comes to the board of directors, the management team, employees, consultants, and advisors.
11. Be careful about hiring interns since there are practical and labor law issues that can make your life more complicated than it already is or is going to be. Internships are supposed to be about helping the intern. You want people who primary purpose is to help your company as much and as soon as possible. 12. Don’t overhire for quality or quantity. Do you really need to hire that expensive CFO when what you really need is someone to keep the books and do payroll at this stage of the game? What about business development, sales, and marketing? 13. Figure out whether you are hiring someone, or joining someone, to help with strategy or tactics. In the beginning, it is usually a cacophony of both. As the company validates its model, though, there is the risk of the distraction of traction. For a surgical benefits management company, for example, you need to focus and define your SCOPE. 14. The single most important question you can ask yourself is, ‘Do I like and trust these people?’ The second is, ‘Can I deliver what they want, or am I just doing this to stroke my ego and make some bucks?’ 15. If you had one more day to live, would you spend it in a coworking space wearing a hoodie?
Maybe flipping a coin or a job lottery would save a bunch of time and money and get the same results. I’ve been on both sides of the table so allow me to share my two cents on how to staff your startup. Hiring the right people makes the difference between fun and misery. Plan to make lots of mistakes and fire fast. Pivoting often means taking casualties.
the author Arlen Meyers I’m a professor emeritus of otolaryngology, dentistry, and engineering at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and the Colorado School of Public Health and President and CEO of the Society of Physician Entrepreneurs at www. sopenet.org . I have created several medical device and digital health companies. Most of them failed. My primary research centers around biomedical and health innovation and entrepreneurship and life science technology commercialization.
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Is Hourly Billing Unethical and
By Ron Baker, Founder, VeraSage Institute & Radio Talkshow Host, The Soul of Americal, VoiceAmerica Talk Radio. San Francisco Bay Area, US.
Ethics—originating from the Greek word ethos, meaning habit—is a branch of philosophy that explores and analyzes moral problems, concerned with questions such as: What kind of moral principles and values should guide our actions? What do we mean by right and wrong? Immanuel Kant proposed broad principles to provide a framework for making moral decisions, described as categorical imperatives: 1. Act only on that maxim by which you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law (e.g., no stealing). 2.Act so that you treat humanity whether, in your own person or in that of another, always as an end and never as a means only (people are to be respected because they have dignity. Moral agency is what gives humans dignity). 3.Kingdom of Ends formulation: You should act as if you were a member of an ideal kingdom of ends in which you were both subject and sovereign at the same time. Page 34 Sqwawqs.com Issue 1 2017
If you apply this test to hourly billing, you find it fails miserably on all the questions, especially the first and third. Would you want hourly billing to become universal? Would you want all businesses to utilize it? If the Golden Rule is true—treat others as you yourself would want to be treated—how can one defend the morality of hourly billing? Would you accept that method of pricing from a hotel, an airline, or a grocery store?
Is Hourly Billing Unprofessional?
“A professional is someone who is responsible for achieving a result rather than performing a task.” ––Michael Hammer The billable hour (and timesheets) are unprofessional as they keep the professional focused on the tasks, not the result. Day laborers are paid for performing tasks. Professionals should create
results. Yet the empirical evidence from nearly a century of the billable hour regime proves it has deleterious effects on professionalism. William Ross states the following in his book, The Honest Hour:
Most dishonest billing is the perfect crime. Because there is no practical manner of verifying the accuracy of most time records, every attorney who has billed time knows that hourly billing creates tempting opportunities for fraud. Ross ends his book The Honest Hour by saying, “Despite its potential for abuse, time remains the best means of billing clients. Hourly billing, therefore, ought to be reformed rather than abandoned.”
Misalignment in interest The American Bar Association and courts have opted for imposing standards on hourly billing. Here’s a partial list of where legal brainpower is being applied: • Double billing—billing two custom-
ers for different work performed at the same time. A lawyer who flies for six hours for one client while working for five hours on behalf of another, has not earned eleven billable hours. A lawyer who is able to reuse old work product has not re-earned the hours previously billed and compensated when the work product was first generated. • Recycled work—billing customers by the hour for work that was created at another time for another customer. The ABA Opinion suggests that the lawyer is reaping a windfall from “the luck of being asked the identical question twice,” just as the attorney who is able to bill two clients for work performed at the same time is receiving an unfair advantage. • Overstaffing of lawyers—assigning too many lawyers to a case or project to fulfill billable hour quotas. • Excessive research. • Attorneys performing clerical and administrative tasks and billing at their hourly rate, or what I call surgeons piercing ears. As one judge wrote, "Michelangelo should not charge Sistine Chapel rates for painting a farmer’s barn.
with respect to alternative pricing methods:
Indeed, subject to the economic realities of the situation an attorney’s professional obligations, virtually any billing method that attorney and client can both agree upon and abide by will result, almost by definition, in a fair fee. Conclusion Aristotle wrote, “It’s not easy to be a good citizen in a bad society.” Hourly billing creates a bad culture, focused almost exclusively on the convenience of the seller, not the customer. It is not how you purchase anything else in your life. You would not tolerate it for one minute if any other business tried to price this way. Hence, it is unethical, and unprofessional. I think Kant would agree.
• Charging for travel time. Slippery slope: Shower time? • Attorney conferences—chitchat on the customer’s dime or valuable timesaving devices? • Charging for small units of time— rounding up to the quarter hour or charging for every minute? • Overhead expenses—charging (and possibly marking up) general overhead expenses such as copies, faxes, phone calls, secretary time, and overtime. There is some sanity. The New York State Bar Association had this to say
the author Ron Baker Ronald J. Baker started his CPA career in 1984 with KPMG’s Private Business Advisory Services in San Francisco. Today, he is the founder of VeraSage Institute—the leading think tank dedicated to educating professionals internationally—and a radio talkshow host on the www.VoiceAmerica.com show: The Soul of Enterprise: Business in the Knowledge Economy (www.thesoulofenterprise.com). He is the author of seven books, including: Professional’s Guide to Value Pricing; The Firm of the Future: A Guide for Accountants, Lawyers, and Other Professional Services, co-authored with Paul Dunn; Pricing on Purpose: Creating and Capturing Value; Measure What Matters to Customers: Using Key Predictive Indicators; Mind Over Matter: Why Intellectual Capital is the Chief Source of Wealth; Implementing Value Pricing: A Radical Business Model for Professional Firms; and his latest book The Soul of Enterprise: Dialogues on Business in the Knowledge Economy, co-authored with Ed Kless.
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tips for StartUps on working with corporates
After working two years as a Liaison Manager, Startups at KPN, (my best job ever!), it’s time for reflection and giving back. Having seen over 950 startup pitches and after making over 100 deals within KPN with startups, I’d like to share some personal tips for startups who want to work with corporates. I take no scientific approach, but my observations are from the heart. I hope these tips help you scale and gain commercial traction. 1. Be selective
2. Do research
Getting your first corporate customer will probably be hard. You can start by making a list of the corporates who could truly benefit from your solution. Consider your solution from their point of view, not using a “push” mindset. Proposing partnerships where each party benefits is typically easier – and more fun – when you offer a collaborative environment. It’s easiest to start with a contact who isn’t at the top of your list, but who is still relevant, someone open to experimenting and learning and who executes a well-devised plan. Your time is limited, so be focused and selective in choosing your partners. I sometimes receive pitch decks which clearly show I’m one of many receiving it. Those don’t resonate with me. The customized pitch decks which show research and solutions relevant to KPN’s challenges or issues are the ones that get my attention.
Do. Your. Research. Invest time to research the pain point of the corporate. As with any pitch, you identify the problem, offer a solution, and present it to the interested party. Research online, read news articles, visit the shops, interview people, call the call center. All this takes time and effort, but you have a significantly better chance of scoring a meeting if they see you’ve put thought into your pitch.
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3. Be clear in your needs I sometimes get more than 50 requests per week in my position, but I still love it! What seems to be missing from many of these is clarity. Be crystal clear in conveying what you want from the corporate. While you may see many opportunities with a corporate, focus on the one that is most relevant to the corporate’s needs NOW. Once you have established the relationship and can show some success with the first project,
the others will follow. There’s always room in the conversation for more. Don’t ask for an appointment to discuss the pitch deck. The pitch deck is simply a communications tool. I want to hear about a custom opportunity for my company (or whomever you may approach).
4. Be aware of your timing This is a hard one. Everyone wants traction, and it’s hard to know where to start. If you’re in validation stage, make sure you’re asking for help with validation. Don’t pitch a pilot program or try to make a deal. It’s too early in the game. We stimulate validation for startups with our Startup Friday lunches. We hold these monthly, and you can find them on Eventbrite. It’s open to all and can be used to validate your proposition with potential users or experts. If you’re testing your MVP, make it clear. Ask for a pilot that is mutually beneficial for all, but DON’T overpromise. Remember, it must benefit both parties. Ready to scale? That’s big business. For
me, it always helps if you share your list of paying customers and testimonials. This shows me you’re on the right track, and we see clear potential for a partnership. Timing is important for you, and it’s important for me. It’s my full-time job to scout for partnerships with startups, but I only get one chance with my business partners to make a clear case for working together. Having said that, I’m on your side!
5. Be transparent This might be a tricky one. You are in selling mode, and sometimes that leads to exaggerating the potential benefits. Don’t do it. It pays to be transparent. It’s the basis for any relationship, especially a business relationship. Go over all the questions we will ask: · Are you scalable? · Did you perform all the security and data checks? · Is your customer service in place? · How difficult is installation? We know you need to learn and your startup might be at an early stage, but manage expectations before you start the deal. This will generate a low-term relationship based on trust that pays off in the long run.
6. Be concise I sometimes receive pitch decks with more than 60 slides. It’s information overload, and my business partners don’t have time to digest the details at the introduction stage. In my experience, your chances of making a match decrease with an oversized pitch deck. Large slide decks are usually ineffective. While it seems like a simple tip, focus your pitch deck on two things: your audience and your goal. A 10-page slide deck is sufficient provided it includes all the crucial elements we require to move forward with a meeting. Investors typically need additional information, so more detailed slides are appropriate for their scouting purposes.
7. Be comprehensive on
Corporate Policies We often use the image of an elephant dancing with flamingos at KPN, which to me is a great analogy. A big, old elephant dancing with a beautiful, quick and fresh flamingo. Large corporates are less agile than startups. That’s reality. We have complex purchase processes, strict rules on security and data usage, and a brand image that must always remain unblemished. We are always exploring ways to streamline our processes to work more easily with startups, but security and privacy are top priorities from which we do not waiver. And neither should you. I’m happy to share our document on doing business with KPN. It explains what is important to us and why and is probably similar to missions and principles of other corporates.
8. Use your network In my role as a startup scout, I have an extensive network. They help me when I need it, add value to my job, and are great fun as well. My best advice: build a solid network. There are countless ways to start. Go to networking events related to your expertise (e.g., Venture Café in Rotterdam, KPN’s Startup Evening, demo days etc.), use LinkedIn, Twitter and other social media channels to get and stay connected and build on relationships. This will be mutually beneficial over time. Some people are not natural networkers, and that is a difficult hurdle to overcome. But once you gain some confidence and become more skilled at networking, you understand the benefits. Watching some of my personal network understand this value and become skilled networkers has been a pleasure.
9. Be the best at what you do During my scouting, I have met several startups in the same area of Innovation. For me, that’s beneficial since I’ve seen different approaches and business models and am aware of the opportunities and pitfalls in a specific area. It makes
it easier to select the one who is best at what they do. This is a luxury you as a startup will usually not have. But there is hope. Go back to tip #2 and do your research. Search engines could be your best friend as well as potential customers since every good idea always starts with validation. On the competitor side, it pays to dig in deep. Do exhaustive research, learn from different business models and try to find a proposition that showcases your knowledge in your area of expertise.
10. Be likeable This seems simple but is actually very helpful. We – all of us – do business with those we like. It’s just human nature. In my experience, I’ve met some incredibly likable people who may or may not be related to innovation for KPN. For the likable ones you are always willing to take that extra step (and they know who they are). Be genuine. Be yourself. These are the types of people with whom we want to do business. It pays off; I can assure you that, and, moreover, it makes working together so much more fun. And shouldn’t it be fun? I hope you find these tips helpful, and I hope more corporates are willing to share their experiences and advice. This is just my experience, but I hope together we can bring great innovations to the world and make life better, easier, and more fun for everyone.
the author Marie José Van Den Boomgaard As well as Liaison Manager StartUps & Incubators for KPN in the Netherlands, Marie José is a board member of Tekdelta,; sits on the Advisory Board for the Restart Network and acts as a mentor for Port XL. Shopping-guide and Startup Bootcamp in Amsterdam.
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Go-To-Market Lessons Learned Whilst Launching an International Startup in Paris By Alexandre Berriche, Head of Expansion, Ironhack, In a Country Soon Near You. In February 2017, François and I
were hired at Ironhack, a Tech School, to launch its Paris Campus from scratch. The decision was made by Ariel & Gonzalo, Ironhack co-founders, and we were left alone to survive, with feedback from previous openings but still having to go from 0 to 1. It was a great but tough challenge. Since it was both our first months within the company and our first time opening a new campus, there were good and bad decisions taken. Some actions had a great impact, and some didn’t. Here I share with you key takeaways from both our achievements and shortcomings, so that it could hopefully serve you to avoid pitfalls in your journey.
Lesson 1: No matter how long it takes, don’t compromise on hiring. We were lucky that both Francois and I have varied profiles (Francois was an entrepreneur, and I was Managing Director for Rocket Internet in Africa), so we were ready to handle multiple tasks (growth, sales, finance, legal, etc.). But we couldn’t just continue doing all those tasks alone forever; we needed a bigger team. However, we didn’t rush to find the perfect fits. It took many interviews to finally hire after three months our Page 38 Sqwawqs.com Issue 1 2017
awesome Growth Manager (Charlotte); Program Manager (Maya) and Lead Teacher (Eduardo). It took us two additional months to find our Admission Associate (Antoine). So why not just hire the first profile that has the right background/skillset and is motivated to join? Basically for two main reasons: Fit: When you’re launching from scratch in a new market, you’re working very hard, long hours going through tough moments. Then, you also need to enjoy spending time with the team you work with. DNA: Your first colleagues will be more than simple employees, they will be your company DNA in the country in the long run; so you need to choose them even more carefully. So, lesson learned, always take the time you need to get the right people on the bus (cf. Jim Collins book, “Good to Great”). Gonzalo, co-founder of Ironhack shared tips to bulletproof if there is a fit: “Would you enjoy having a beer with this guy/
girl? If not, don’t hire him/her”.
Lesson 2: Finding the right business partners is almost as important as hiring. Having the best team is for sure a big deal, but finding the right business partners will make a huge difference too. So how to find them? Start by leveraging your personal network. Re-working with partners you previously were pleased to work with are always a good idea since you won’t lose (precious) time and won’t have to rebuild a relationship from scratch. You can also work with someone from your network (from business school; etc.) If you don’t have anyone within your personal network, you should ask some startups/entrepreneurs for recommendations: since the startup mentality is the most important “skill” you will look for in a business partner. Indeed, some Tier 1 PR Agency or Lawyers with excellent standards and client-oriented might sometimes still not be adapted to work with startups in a flexible and fast-paced environment. Those we have collaborated with (our lawyers Alto Avocats, our coworking
space WeWork, our PR agency Elan Edelman, etc.) have helped us sometimes beyond their scope. For example, Elan Edelman our PR Agency introduced us to Florian Jourda, who became the Mentor of our 1st cohort in Paris which was a great plus for our students.
Lesson 3: It’s never too early to start doing growth actions There are always reasons delaying your first communication issue and growth related actions: your website is taking too long to translate, you don’t have a proper bank account/legal entity yet. In startups, perfectionism is the enemy. Nothing is ever perfect, so you better go sometimes for 80 / 20 % done, quick and dirty. First of all, startup growth, in this case, is like dominos, you push one tile down and the other tiles follow. It starts growing and bringing you organic deals everyday, it’s a snowball effect. You never start too early since there are always some external events you never predicted. For instance, in France, May 2017 was a really awful month to seek to launch since there were presidential elections and many days off. In our business, it’s even more challenging because you can’t postpone the beginning of your first course since you already have your first paid student. You can’t justify to someone that organized himself to do a nine weeks boot camp (sometimes left his/her job) that you are delaying for a couple of weeks because you didn’t reach your target - Students come first.
done remotely before go-to-market. Admin tasks such as opening a legal entity, opening the bank account, etc. are always more time consuming and painful than what you expected. In an ideal world (I know it’s not always the case), you will try to prepare as much as possible those painful tasks remotely before arriving on the ground. When you do those admin tasks you have the feeling you’re doing important stuff but at the end of the day this is more “housekeeping” (as we used to get told at Rocket) than real business (i.e. growth actions and building the team). So the best practice to keep in head: try as soon as possible to have those things settled prior to market entry.
opening from Paris so that once there I can just focus on growth and building the team. Our first employee in Mexico (Manon) was recommended by Charlotte our Growth Manager in Paris. Employee recommendation is always a great guarantee on value-alignment and fit. We started our first growth actions way earlier vs. in Paris. And don’t forget, going from 0 to 1 is for sure challenging but it is above all rewarding ;)
That being said, despite of those tight schedules and thanks to hard work, we reached our target. So even when you make mistakes it doesn’t determine everything. So… final words? I’m starting already to apply those four lessons in our upcoming launch in Mexico City! We are going to work again with partners that we were satisfied with and that are global (i.e. WeWork & Edelman). I’m trying already to handle all the legal entity incorporation/bank account
the author Alexandre Berriche
After starting his career in audit (EY) and in Private Equity, Alexandre joined Jumia (Rocket Internet) as Head of Operations North Africa then as Managing Director Tunisia. As Head of Expansion of Ironhack, Alexandre is in charge of international development and launching new campuses starting with Paris.
In some other businesses, you have some margins to postpone. For instance, when I was at Jumia, one of my good friend, Mohammed postponed the launch in Algeria for a couple of weeks to offer a deeper assortment to customers. He could do that because it had no negative impact on customer experience.
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The worst swear word
in business is
CAN’T By Christopher Bird, Chairman, Goshawk Technology and Survey. Aberdeen, Scotland, UK.
I wrote this post then thought “I can’t
post it as it is too personal”. However, a senior oil and gas executive was in my office yesterday, and he talked about his frustration on why most people say why they can’t do things, and he used the ‘can’t word several times to demonstrate this. This made me think about leadership which requires insight, vision, a big dose of courage and most importantly the ability to bare your soul, even if this is just a little bit. One of my team once said, I want to know you, not just what you stand for. So here goes…. When I look back over my life, I sometimes pinch myself when I see where I am today. In my high school days, I was bullied a little bit which was not helped by my form tutor highlighting my form report to the rest of the class on how good it was. It also did not help that I was highly focused on science and engineering studies and that sports and social studies were secondary. So, I was always the last one picked for the soccer team, and my tutors at both school and university said I would never be good at English. The trouble with this type of feedback is it can reinforce the ‘I can’t do this’ mindset.
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However, it was always being focussed on the end game and never letting the problems of today or the challenges of tomorrow get in the way. Life’s fortunes are about your passion, your belief, your commitment and most of all courage to power through and break down the barriers. You are where you are today predominately because of the way that you think. This brings me to the word ‘Can’t.’ In my martial arts training, my instructor on day one said, “there is only one swear word in the training hall, and this word is CAN’T.” I can’t do this sir.
The word ‘can’t’ is the biggest blocker to you achieving anything; it is a fundamental mindset to stop progress. I can’t learn languages; I can’t be good at sport, I can’t be a director, it is all about how we think. Even worse, in business is – I/we can’t do this because….
In my Martial arts school in Aberdeen, we say to our students “just give it a go, as then you know your limitations. Then through practice, you can raise those limitations and be everything that you desire to be”. We may take a few knocks, a few bruises, feel a bit silly if we fall, but… we develop more confidence, we develop more resilience, and we get better and better and even better at what we do. The brain has such a big capacity to either restrict what we do or help us develop out of all recognition in what we initially thought was impossible. The question is “If you do not fall over, are you trying hard enough?” In my early days, I believed sport was not for me so focussed on mathematics, science, and engineering, as I experienced these subjects in my early years with my grandfather. His love of transport, engineering and technology was infectious. It was not until my martial arts master told me “can’t is a swear word and he believed in me” that I really started to get good at sport, finally becoming a grand cham-
and English prose. Now it is becoming natural; I am finding a love of writing and story-telling, engaging the artistic side rather than just the logical side of my brain. It is quite simple; the brain needs training, development, and practice as much as any other part of the human body. But it needs a balanced approach of both left brain and right brain activities jointly together to help build and strengthen the neural networks between the two sides. If we can do this and remove the ‘CAN’T word from our vocabulary and just give things a try, then anything can be possible. The starting point is we need to believe, and then we need someone to believe in us. Then it is all about practice. As Bear Grylls says - “The harder I practice the better I fight.”
pion six times, competing up to world level, running a school for 18 years and will soon promote to 5th degree master which very few achieve, but many dream about. It does not stop there, the more I practice, the more I give, and the more I teach, the step changes in my understanding, my enjoyment, and my passion just continue to increase to a level that I would not believe was possible. It has become a journey where over every hill new possibilities open in front of me. It all starts with being inquisitive every day and having the right mindset. Written English and languages have been a weakness for me in the past. I was told throughout my school and university life that my written English should be improved, and this never really changed I until I started writing on a regular basis. I was asked to write some chapters in a new forward-thinking HSE publication, and the editor-in-chief, rather than saying my writing skills were poor worked with me to help improve my chapters and then helped me improve my storytelling
Another one of my coaches explained it in slightly different terms. “Life is like a bank balance – if you put a lot in and you have a positive bank account then you can move forward positively, if you take out a lot out and have a negative bank account then it is difficult to move forward.”
So, a strategy for future success is: •Remove the word Can’t from your vocabulary and the way you think •Believe in a clear future and have someone that believes in you
the future. So, what are you doing to remove the ‘Can’t mindset,' to help create positive belief for the future and adding value to our society? Only then, we can all be great together and ensure a great future for the next generations. Quotes of the day “You don’t have to be great to start, but you do have to start to be great.” “The goal is not to be better than the other man but better than your previous self.” “Use your fear… it can take you to the place where you store your courage.” “People don’t buy what you do; they buy how you do it” “Leadership is about making others better because of your presence, and this impact lasts in your absence.” “How you treat people ultimately tells all. Integrity is everything.” “If you really want to succeed then do not use ‘OR’, ‘CAN’T,’ BECAUSE’ and especially ‘BUT’, use the words ‘AND’, ‘WHY’ and ‘IF’ instead.”
•Seek guidance from key mentors / coaches that have your best interests at heart •Be open-minded to possibilities •Gain courage to drive your limitations to a higher level through practice •Balancing and integrate your time with both logical and artistic work-scopes •Commit and act •Develop resilience and tenacity – don’t give up The UK is a wonderful place to live and bring up our families, the energy sector in which I work has been great, but the challenges ahead require us to change, to open up new doors, to break down barriers and create a new level of performance so that we can maintain sustainability into
the author Christopher Bird Chris has several decades of experience, starting in engineering. He has a distinguished career in the Energy sector developing numerous technologies and innovative ideas. One of his major developments was televised by the Discovery program. He has held senior executive positions many years and is now involved with business start-ups and active mentoring.
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From Startup To Scale Up Key Challenges
By Robert Mollen, of Counsel, Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson LLP. London, UK.
Itâ€™s hard to build a successful startup.
It is even harder to turn it into a successful scale-up. The transition from startup to scale-up poses a new set of challenges, and requires a new set of skills. Here are the problems I see most often at the initial stages of a scale-up.
People The people problems that scale-up founders face fall within three categories: (a) having the wrong people; (b) not having the right people; and (c) not being the right people. All three are really difficult.
Having the Wrong People. The
â€œwrong peopleâ€? problem is that the team that helped get the company off the
ground is not necessarily the right team to scale the company. Managing this transition is always going to be difficult because it means that some team members will need to be shifted to positions that they will see as less central, or even asked or encouraged to leave. Needless to say, this is really hard, particularly if these individuals are, or have become, friends. And it is never going to be pleasant. I think there are two key elements in handling this appropriately: (a) you need to be as transparent as possible about why there is a need for change; and (b) you need to treat people fairly. As to the former, I think it is possible to tell people directly that they do not have (or do not yet have) the skillset necessary for scaling the company without suggesting that they have failed. It may help if there is a third party, such as an investor or independent director or advisory board member, who can be involved in the process and provide some level of objectivity and intermediation. With regard to treating people fairly, you need to treat employees whom you are managing out in the same way as you would want to be treated if the shoe was on the other foot (as, at some point, it may be, if your investors decide you are surplus to requirements). This requires a level of respect, appreciation for the contribution that they have made, and a balanced approach to exit compensation, including the handling of any equity grants that they have received.
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Not Having the Right People. The
flip side of the “wrong people” problem is the difficulty of recruiting the right people. I think there are several aspects of this: •There are not that many people in Europe with the experience of scaling up a startup. •While there are many experienced executives who have managed a range of activities for incumbent corporations and have grown their businesses, many find it difficult to adjust to the difference between a traditional corporate environment and an emerging company culture. •Your emerging company may need more expensive people than it can afford. •You will find it difficult to tell the difference between those who just “talk the talk” and those who can actually “walk the walk”. There are no easy solutions for these problems, and your skill in finding, and successfully hiring, the right people is likely to be the difference between your business succeeding and failing. However, a key element in making this work is your network. In my experience, your investors, directors and advisory board members, business friends, professional advisors and others whose judgment you trust are likely to be the best sources of potential recruits. In addition, there is no substitute for appropriate due diligence. You should talk to past employers and others who are familiar with the performance of the candidate. While there are sometimes constraints on your ability to do so (e.g., where the individual is currently employed and is very concerned about confidentiality), there is usually a way to manage these problems (for example, by limiting your initial discussions to an agreed list, obtaining views on a long list of individuals that include your preferred candidate, raising the topic in a way that does not seem employment related etc.). In checking references suggested by the candidate, even short silences in response to specific questions can speak volumes.
Not Being the Right People. Found-
ers also need to be brutally honest in
self-assessment. For example, you may have had the right skills to be the CEO or COO of a startup, but may not be the right person for that role when the business is scaling up (or, at least, may need support or training). So, in considering how the organization needs to be reshaped to scale up, don’t forget your own roles. If you need to develop additional skills to perform, consider how you will do so, and whether you actually are capable of doing so. You are key owners as well as managers of the company, and you need to do the right thing for the business even if it means that you should move into different capacities.
Processes In an early stage startup, you may be able to get away with a certain amount of disorder. Some of this will cause you problems and delay when you do a Series A financing, and it may be expensive to fix things that should have been done properly in the first place, but a modicum of company untidiness isn’t likely to kill your business. However, when you are scaling up, it becomes much more important to make sure that key processes are appropriately handled. You really do need a proper CFO who is on top of the finance and accounting, a proper COO overseeing operational matters, a head of sales with clear targets, and clear delineation of responsibilities for all of your other key functions. Some founders may resist this level of formalization as inconsistent with the nimbleness of a startup. However, the reverse is true – in a scale-up, the founders can only retain the ability to move quickly and strategically if they don’t become bogged down in putting out administrative fires or otherwise cleaning up after messes.
Delegation A corollary to the two points above is that founders need to learn to delegate, and not just in respect of administrative matters. In a startup, founders can get accustomed to doing it all themselves. In a scale-up, having hired the right people, founders need to learn to delegate, with
oversight. You can’t do it all yourself. You need to trust your people while exercising sufficient oversight so that you are confident that they continue to deserve that trust. Needless to say, you also have to be prepared to take appropriate action if they lose your trust.
Culture Maintaining culture is easy in a small startup – you can all sit around a conference table and go out for a beer together. However, keeping a consistent company culture becomes much harder as you grow and hire people quickly, and it is easy to lose the values that you as founders see as key to your business. Consequently, you will need to think carefully about what elements of culture distinguish your company, and what steps you will take to maintain culture. There is no “one size fits all” solution to this problem. The one thing that is clear, however, is that this is not a problem that will take care of itself. If you fail to address company culture in an organized way, you will find over time that you have lost the essence of what distinguishes you as a company, as your new arrivals swamp the original team.
Conclusion The teams and skillsets required for running a scale-up are very different from those needed to run a startup. Founders addressing scale-up issues need to take a long and hard look at their organizations and make sure they understand what they will need to succeed.
the author Robert Mollen
Experienced US M&A/corporate/securities lawyer now focused on helping non-US early stage and growth companies address a broad range of US issues. These include cost-effective US establishment, contracting with US commercial counterparties, dealing with potential US investors . Also mentors on early stage funding and other start-up issues.
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How to Build a Marketing Engine that gets Results By Patrick McFadden, Founder, Indespensable Marketing. Richmond, Virginia, US.
An essential component of a successful marketing engine is a core marketing strategy. Think of a marketing strategy as a guide or a structure for all the products, services, content, sales, support and messages that will be crafted to deliver on your marketing and business goals. In my experience, one of the main reasons cold calling, direct mail, social media, SEO, advertising, email marketing and other tactical activities fail or fall short of meeting business objectives is they aren’t determined by a clear marketing strategy, or they veer significantly away from the established marketing strategy. Yes, a marketing strategy is merely a guide and not always set in stone, but it’s like a map where if you stray too far and too often, you will lose time, money and direction altogether. All that being said, it’s critical to build a marketing engine focused on meeting the objectives of your business. In this article, I’ll explore what you need to do to build a marketing engine that gets results.
1. Determine your end goals I believe setting goals is the most important first step. Until you can specifically define the results you want to achieve or the primary reason you’re marketing Page 44 Sqwawqs.com Issue 1 2017
that supports your overall business goals, your business will fall prey to the “shiny object” syndrome. When you devote time and energy at the beginning of your marketing engine, with setting your sights and defining the results expected of your marketing, you give yourself a greater opportunity to make frequent deposits at your banking institution.
Before you start choosing markets to target, places to show up, keywords to rank for or topics to produce content about, you must determine the end goal of your marketing engine. It can be as specific as “Realize a 20% increase in organic website traffic in six months” or less specific in the case of “Increase leads by referral, build brand awareness online, and establish thought leadership.” 2. Do keyword research There are several types of research you should perform to guarantee your marketing engine gets results. The first is keyword research. Even if improving organic rankings isn’t your end goal, you still want your business - whether in visual, audio, or written form - to show up in search results for prospects. Use tools like Google’s Keyword Planner to find relevant keywords that have strong search volume. Make a list of twelve to sixteen keywords that you want to focus on with your marketing engine.
3. Define your ideal customer A great deal about marketing has changed over the last few years, but mostly what’s changed is the overall way people shop and buy and that’s what you have to understand in order to thrive in the world today. Building the trust and rapport needed to convert a lead into a client can be a slow and difficult process—especially when you as the owner or your sales team has to adjust to changes in this buying environment. But what if instead of constantly struggling uphill with unqualified leads, every prospect in your pipeline was interested right from the start? Impossible? Hardly. All you need is a little customer defining. For marketing, it’s important to continually have the ideal customer at the center of all your activities. Read here how to build your ideal customer profile in 3 easy steps.
4. Conduct competitive research Another type of research that helps with building an marketing engine is competitive research. Look at three to five of your closest competitors. Check their website, blog, reviews or any other marketing or educational materials available. A real secret here is to understand and analyze your competitor's customer journey. Gain insight by researching every stage of the customer journey they use to interact with and move its prospects to customers. How are our competitors generating awareness among the target market? What does the education about their value proposition look like? What is their offering for prospects to
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sample their expertise, product or service? What does their new customer gain access to when they say yes: online account log-in, client only events, key personnel, or specific content? How do they encourage or motivate their current customers to refer? The goal here is not to copy anything that your competition is doing, but to use research as a way to grow, learn, and discover. Ultimately helping you identify opportunities to grow your market share.
5. Survey existing ideal clients Hint: If you followed this process so far to build your marketing engine that gets results, you've already done this! If not read below.
not have an ending. It is a never-ending process. Every business owner essentially wants to know the one thing they can do to get massive results, the magic pill they can take, the one bit of advice from an expert that will turn the ship around. Truth is, marketing is mostly a bunch of hard work, done consistently. Once you build the various elements of your marketing engine you must map it out on a calendar, test, analyze, tweak and improve it continuously. Go!
At this point, you should have a well-orYou know your end goal, identified your dered list of keywords to use to get in target keywords, have a clear picture of front of ideal customers, content topics your ideal customer and researched what arranged by month to produce content your competition is up to. Now it’s time to on, a powerful value proposition that will ask your existing ideal clients some very im- attract customers, insight into improveportant questions. This can be an informal ments that will create happy customers process or a formal email survey. For many = more referrals, a general idea of what small service-based businesses, it simply competitors are doing, and direction as entails listening closely to clients during all to what marketing tactics to spend your conversations (including emails). resources on.
6. Ask customer-facing employees The biggest struggle business owners and marketers face when building an marketing engine is getting the real scoop aka the truth. The great news is that you have a wealth of real-life data and insight at your fingertips and all you need to do is turn to your customer-facing employees. I suggest starting with those involved in sales, business development, customer service or service delivery. These folks deal with new clients and long-term clients daily and can typically provide a slew of wonderful insight around messaging, process improvement, marketing channel success, and new offerings. Often, all you need to ask is “what are some frequent questions you hear?” or “what would help our clients?”
7. Map it out on a calendar One of the little secrets of marketing is that it’s a process; it’s NOT an event. It’s a process that has the beginning and the middle, but if you’re going about it right, it does Page 46 Sqwawqs.com Issue 1 2017
Congratulations! Now it’s time to get to work. Launch that marketing strategy and keep an eye on the marketing engine throughout the process to ensure you and the marketing stay on track.
the author Patrick McFadden Patrick McFadden is Founder and Marketing Consultant at Indispensable Marketing, a small business marketing firm that makes the phone ring for service businesses by taking a process approach to marketing based on strategy. He helps in developing a core marketing strategy, building a marketing action plan and then orchestrating the implementation of that plan. He’s passionate about the consistent, predictable and repeatable results that can be generated by installing a marketing as a process.
Every business owner essentially wants to know the one thing they can do to get massive results, the magic pill they can take, the one bit of advice from an expert that will turn the ship around. Truth is, marketing is mostly a bunch of hard work, done consistently.
What does your Audience smell like? By Paul Wilson, Director of Strategy, EMEA at Starcom. London, UK
When I started in advertising I used to
moderate my own focus groups. These were often conducted in someone’s sitting room in a small town somewhere in the UK. But sometimes groups would be conducted in a fancy market research facility complete with a two-way mirror so other people could view the session. On these occasions, although I saw and heard the same thing as the people sitting behind the glass, the experience was different. It was as if the glass created a barrier to connection. Not only did the people behind the mirror have slightly better wine and nicer food but they didn’t have to connect with the people they were listening to as much. They weren’t sitting in the same room so the experience wasn’t the same; it wasn’t as visceral. They heard what people were saying but they didn’t feel what they said, and so they didn’t connect as much. Without that connection, people can’t empathize and understand why people were doing what they were doing. Troy Carter, Lady Gaga’s ex-manager, helped mastermind her rise to fame and was instrumental in her use of technology, particularly social media. Amongst other things, he used Spotify data to help customise Gaga's playlists to different towns and countries ensuring songs that were popular in those locations were incorporated into each local show. But he also knew that there were limits to the power of technology and data. He was keen to gain a deeper understanding of Gaga’s ‘Little Monsters’ so he used to walk around the stadium during gigs. When asked why he did that he replied ‘I want to know what the audience smells like.' Notice he didn’t say he wanted to know what they looked like or what they spoke
about but he wanted to know something more primitive; something more base. He knew that understanding goes beyond mere numbers to something deeper and more fundamental– and that understanding helps you to create a deeper relationship and connection. Google talked about the same thing during their ‘Machine learning for everyone’ talk at Cannes this year. They not only demonstrated the power of Machine Learning but, perhaps surprisingly, they also focused on the need for deep, human understanding to compliment this. Their project to reduce the toxicity of online comments was particularly eye-opening. It is worth quoting one of Jared Cohen’s comments in full... “We get out into the wild. You have to do that in order to appreciate things first hand. You can’t sit in a Google office. You can’t sit in front of a screen. You have to build the human intelligence necessary to complement the engineering.” So Google is doing something as well as collecting massive data sets and building computer science capability to make use of that data. Google is also using ethnography to understand and empathize with people and to put that data into context. The death of the focus group grows ever closer. So as we increasingly rely on data and advanced analytics for insights the danger is that this becomes the easy default. The danger is that we believe that data provides the only answer, so we don’t bother to speak to the people we want to connect with. This creates a barrier to understanding. Just looking at data on its own you can see what you want to see and find data that confirms your own prejudices. You are not confronted with anything uncomfortable and you don’t have to engage and
empathize with people. Sitting in a room talking to someone about how a bank caused the collapse of their small business is a very different experience to reading a research report about the causes of bankruptcy. So next time you are about to kick off a big project or just have 30 minutes to spare go and hang out with the people you want to connect with. See what they are wearing, hear what they are talking about and yes, get close enough to give them a sniff.
the author Paul Wilson
I think it is an amazing time to be working in the communications industry as technology has opened up so many new opportunities and possibilities. I’m a Global Strategist with experience that spans a variety of sectors (CPG, Tech, Pharma and Finance) and disciplines (Media, Advertising, CRM and Sales Promotion). I love working with brands at moments of change whether that be industries deregulating, companies rebranding or, recently, whole categories being disrupted.
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EMPATHY is the marketing buzzword you should actually care about
By Margaret Magnarelli, Senior Director of Marketing, Monster.com. New York, US.
Practicing “empathic marketing” can help you turn prospects into profitable pals. I dug into the psychology of empathy to find out exactly how we can do it. (Because that’s just the kind of friend I am.) Think back to the last time you had a terrible-no-good-very-bad-I-want-tomove-to-Australia kind of day at work, and needed to talk to someone about it. You may have turned to an amazing partner or friend who let you ramble on near endlessly and incoherently, asked appropriate questions at appropriate intervals, handed you Kleenex when needed, periodically interjected with horrified guttural sounds and nasty names for your boss ("The Kim Jong Un of the SaaS C-suite!"), and only when fairly sure you’d gone through the complaints at least 15 times, said something gently solutions oriented like “Have you thought about…” Most likely, that’s the same friend you went back to the next time your toxic boss hit the nuclear button. Empathy is everything when it comes to friendship— maybe it should also be everything when it comes to marketing? Between wacko despots, natural disasters, human-caused tragedies, and political divisiveness, 2017 has been a pretty crud year for a lot of people. So I’ve been thinking a lot about empathy and how brands can be better at it. We’re living in an era of unprecedented data, and automation, which should skyrocket our business results forward, but I have Page 48 Sqwawqs.com Issue 1 2017
a sense that in this crazy world, we—and our customers—need human-to-human contact even more. So I started digging into some research on empathy to see what I could learn. I now feel even more convinced that through “empathic marketing,” we can build real relationships, and be the good friends our customers will come back to.
WHAT IS EMPATHY, ANYWAY? First, let’s make like marketers and level set on what I’m talking about when I talk about empathy. It might surprise you that the word “em-
pathy” didn’t emerge out of psychology or sociology, but from an 1873 German philosophy Ph.D. candidate referring in his dissertation to the emotional connections people have to art. Using the age-old academic trick of trying to impress his profs by creating a new word, he referenced “Einfühlung,” which translated from German means “feeling into.” (Drop that little piece of trivia the next time you take Aunt Lucy to The Met.) Today Google reports a staggering 53 million results for the definition of empathy, and I would wager that very few of them are about art. Over the past 144 years, the word has come to represent connections between people.
And after trawling through a few of the search results, I went rogue in SERP to find the one I liked the best: Empathy is “an affective response that acknowledges and attempts to understand individual’s suffering through emotional resonance.” The reason I like this one? Because it comes from the mouths of people who know better than anyone: cancer patients. It’s from a study, published in the journal Palliative Medicine, that was attempting to get those dealing with the disease to identify the differences between sympathy, empathy, and compassion.
The more colloquial definition of empathy is something like “being able to walk in another person’s shoes.” But to align that to the above, I’d add “no matter how much those four-inch heels hurt you”— because the difference between empathy and sympathy, according to that study, is the act of truly experiencing someone else’s pain.
Use empathy to power action. To go make things. Things that serve people’s needs. Things that brighten people’s days. Things that add value. Things that make people love your brand, because your brand is thinking about them.
And I’m being literal here not figurative. The area of our brains responsible for empathy is the insular cortex, which is also the part of our noggin that connects information and emotions, as well as the area of our gray matter where we experience physical pain. cont> Page 49 Sqwawqs.com Issue 1 2017
Empathy is “an affective response that acknowledges and attempts to understand individual’s suffering through emotional resonance.” A plethora of studies have found that empaths have particularly responsive “mirror neurons.” In these experiments, scientists hooked people up to MRI machines and other brain scanning devices to see what happens in their brain when, say, they see other people being touched. For highly empathic types, the same part of their brains light up as do in the people who are actually being touched. In other words, when you’re empathetic, you actually feel something. Some people have more natural inclination for this than others (e.g. Mother Teresa vs. psychopaths). The good news for marketers—and, well, humanity in general—is that there is also scientific evidence that empathy can be taught. The plasticity of the brain allows us to become better humans. And I’d like to think that better humans make for better marketers.
WHY SHOULD EMPATHY MATTER TO MARKETERS? Most of us in marketing recognize the importance of understanding our customers—we drill down to their every last action to come up with a detailed journey map that includes what they ate for breakfast and their final word before purchase. ("Rosebud...") But while we’d like to think that customers make decisions on facts, that’s patently untrue. Case in point: I’m currently staring at a box of organic whole-wheat ranch-flavored crackers I bought not because I believe in GMO-free ingredients and recycled packaging (though I theoretically do) but because they reminded me of Doritos which I desperately want even though I know they’re terrible for me. So yeah, I brought some emotional baggage to this $4.99 cracker purchase. Empathic marketing consultant Brian Carroll put it in more coherent terms in a podcast: “If you ask customers what steps they went through in the buying process or you do focus groups, you Page 50 Sqwawqs.com Issue 1 2017
find that customers actually don’t fully understand how they make decisions. In fact, up to 90% of our decision-making is unconscious. We often make our decisions emotionally, and we backfill with logic. The better we can understand the emotional side of our customer in their world, the better we can help them have an amazing customer experience.” So we can use empathy to better feel for our customer; that’s benefit number one. Benefit number two: We can use empathy to better connect with our customer. In a Harvard Business Review article called “The New Science of Customer Emotions,” Scott Magids, Alan Zorfas, and Daniel Leemon of consumer intelligence firm Motista write about the financial value of customers who feel an emotional connection with the brand. On average, these people bring in 52% more value for the company than the typical “highly satisfied” customer, as their graphic at left shows. Wow. And in some buying categories—weirdly, household cleaners?—these buyers can deliver 103% more value. I’m going to guess that these companies that have lots of fully emotionally connected consumers haven’t unlocked this achievement by accident. They’ve very purposely taken steps to make a connection, most likely using empathy.
HOW CAN WE USE EMPATHY TO OUR BUSINESS ADVANTAGE? This all sounds well and good in theory, but in practice it can be a bit more challenging: How do you institutionalize something as human and authentic as empathy? I don’t want to oversimplify it. But I do love former Olsen Chief Creative Officer Kevin McKeon’s thoughts in AdAge on this topic: “Use empathy to power action. To go make things. Things that serve
people’s needs. Things that brighten people’s days. Things that add value. Things that make people love your brand, because your brand is thinking about them.” I felt a kind of “yassss!” empathy reading that because it's exactly what I think we should do too. Let feelings be a catalyst as much as we let facts be a catalyst.
Yes, sure, embrace your big data; you need it in order to compete. But also hug your customers; you need them in order to win. I think that being an empathic marketer comes down to the same three steps necessary for being an empathetic friend: Listen to the person’s pain, show that you understand, and then propose solutions. Part of empathy is listening to people, and I’m working on being a better human—and a better marketer. Want to join me?
the author Margaret Magnarelli Margaret Magnarelli is the managing editor for content and senior director of marketing at Monster, the leading global platform for connecting jobs and people. She oversees a B2B/B2C brand newsroom team of seven that creates written, video, and interactive content aimed at helping candidates find jobs and companies find talent. Her team was awarded Best Content Program in the 2016 Content Marketing Awards from the Content Marketing Institute, best blog in the 2017 awards, and she has been a finalist for CMI’s Content Marketer of the Year. She’s presented on content marketing for Content Marketing World, ANA, SXSW, Content Marketing Conference and PR News. Previously, Margaret worked as a journalist, most recently as executive editor at Money magazine and money.com.
Leadership Lessons from Julius Caesar: Invest in your education and network By Yoshito Hori, Founder & President, Globis Corporation. Tokyo, Japan.
Everyone has heard of Bill Gates, Jack
Welch and Richard Branson. They’re among the most successful business leaders of our times—as well as major influencers.
What about Julius Caesar? Can a Roman politician, general and writer who was assassinated more than 2,000 years ago offer us any valuable life-lessons for now? I believe he can. Caesar was only sixteen when his father died. Because of his family’s connection to the losing side in the civil war, Caesar was immediately stripped of his inheritance. He was short of money for most of his career as a result. But that didn’t stop him doing two very important things. 1. Investing in his education In his mid-twenties, Caesar traveled to Greece to study public speaking under Molon, a famous orator who had also trained Caesar’s contemporary Cicero. (Being a good public speaker was an indispensable skill for a Roman politician.) 2. Investing in his network Caesar spent vast amounts of money hosting expensive dinners designed to win the support of his fellow politicians. He also put on lavish festivals to win the support of the ordinary people. For this he needed to go heavily into debt.
Most of the things for which Caesar is celebrated today—invading Gaul and Britain, taking control of the republic etc. — he only did after being appointed consul in his early forties. It was in the last third of his life that his investments in his education and his network really paid off. While there are some things about Caesar that one doesn’t want to imitate — his habit of sleeping with other men’s wives, for one — I admire him unreservedly for the way he invested in himself despite not having much money to do so. Caesar Your Opportunities!
rum which I launched in Japan in 2009, has grown to become a powerful network, in and of itself. Ultimately, your biggest asset is never financial. Your biggest asset consists of your SKILLS (derived from your education) and the size of your NETWORK you enjoy (based on trust). That’s why I urge everyone to learn from Julius Caesar. If you invest in your education and your network when you are young, in later life you will be able to perform heroic feats of business that will echo down the ages like the triumphs of Julius Caesar!
I was lucky. Even though my family was not well off, my parents were committed to funding my education. I also won scholarships, such as for a high-school exchange program in Australia (where I learned to speak English fluently), and a company scholarship to go to Harvard Business School. And I believe in lifelong education. That’s why I regularly go to the Aspen Institute in Colorado, the World Economic Forum at Davos, the Singularity University in Silicon Valley, and the Vedanta Academy in India. Similarly, I continue to invest in building my network. I belong to EO (Entrepreneurs’ Organization) and YPO (Young Presidents Organization). The annual 3-day G1 Conference, an economic fo-
the author Yoshito Hori Yoshito Hori is founder and president of Japan’s largest business school and one of the country’s most prominent entrepreneurs and philanthropists. Through his prime startup venture GLOBIS, Hori has provided business education to over 70,000 people, invested billions of yen in over 100 ventures and disseminated management expertise to over 1.3 million people through the GLOBIS MBA book series.
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The Art of Ignorance In Innovation
Why the ’Ignorants’ are the future By Peter Hinssen, Chairman & Founder nexxworks
You may find this very hard to believe,
but the people in your organization who don't know what they're doing – the Ignorants, as I like to call them – are absolutely crucial for the future of your company. As paradoxical and illogical as this may sound, I believe one of the main tasks of modern leadership is to protect the 1% in your organization that is trying to do things that have never been done. Let me explain. For the first 20 years of my career, I created and grew technology startups. I loved it. It was great fun to build a company from scratch and to see it evolve. I always preferred the messy early days: that pioneering embryonic rudimentary period, when you're trying to build something new, something innovative, something that has never been done before.
Innovation starts with ignorance because it's never been done before When you're out there in your startup, trying to do something that no one has ever done, you by definition have no idea what you're doing. You’re utterly and completely ignorant. You need to achieve that magical zero-to-one moment of creative conception, with people who have never done this before: people who supposedly don't know what they're doing. But they are not stupid. Quite the opposite, in fact. In my opinion, the current incarnation of the God of the People Who Don't Know What They're Doing is Elon Musk. He is constantly challenging the status quo, reaching out beyond the horizon to do Page 52 Sqwawqs.com Issue 1 2017
things that never have been done before. I wouldn't call him stupid. But when he says he wants to land a rocket vertically on a barge that is dancing on seven-meter ocean waves, there is a legion of conventional NASA scientists who will tell Mr. Musk that his idea impossible, ludicrous and crazy. But when people tell him what to do, his answer invariably something along the lines of, "I don't care. I'll do it anyway." He loves doing what has never been done, and therefore is the uncrowned King of the People Who Don't Know What They're Doing. You might call these the people who DKWTD for short, or even "Ignorants", in a way.
When you’re out there in your startup, trying to do something that no one has ever done, you by definition have no idea what you’re doing. You’re utterly and completely ignorant.
The more innovative the startup, the higher the percentage of Ignorant People. I would argue that, in Silicon Valley and other hi-tech hubs around the world, the most promising disruptive startups have a percentage of people who DKWTD that can rise as high as 99%. You might have 1% of the people who do know what they are doing (KWTD). This could be a serial CEO, for example, who has done a startup before. Or a grayhaired investor, who understands the dynamics of building and scaling startups. When startups grow, and find out more about their market, zoom in on their product-market fit, and pivot through a number of MVPs, they start to zoom in on their journey. They lock onto a trajectory of growth, and start to transition from the zero-to-one zone, towards the one-to-many zone of scale and growth. That is the moment that they start to hire more people who Know What They Are Doing. This is the moment when leaders hire growth-hackers and marketing experts. The period when investments are made in quality control, management layers, an experienced sales force. You don't expect these people to keep on innovating; you expect them to scale, to grow and to add solidity to the fledgling enterprise. And therefore, the number of people who KWTD grows steadily in percentage terms.
From 99% to 1% If you visit a scale-up, the percentage of people who Know What They Are Doing might be around 40%. And if you
observe a company such as Facebook, the percentage might already be up to 60%. I would argue that a company such as Google, only 20 years old but already massive in size and scale, would probably have less than 20% of people Who Don't Know What They Are Doing. Google has invested massively in salespeople, in managers, in building a bureaucracy of mechanisms to manage its gigantic empire. But when we work with established companies, like banks or insurance companies, retailers or automotive companies, we might find that almost 99% of the people that work there are people who Know (Exactly) What They Are Doing. And often less than 1% of the staff at these companies is trying to do things that have never been done before. And that’s just fine. Unless the world changes faster than ever before. Unless you have to innovate faster than ever before in order to survive and remain relevant to your customers. Then you have to closely watch that group of Ignorants and make sure their number never dives below 1%. At my current company, nexxworks, we love working with the one-percenters. These are the radical innovators of companies, the people who are trying to re-imagine the bank for the Day After Tomorrow (a 'distant' future that comes faster at us than ever before in these exponential times) people who are innovating in order to rethink the role of the insurance company in the age of blockchain, people who are thinking how they can recreate the relevance of a retail player in the age of super-platformcategory-kings like Amazon or who are trying to reinvent the business model of the automotive industry in a car-sharing, self-driving world. In a government context, the situation is often even more unbalanced: perhaps there we often find the ratio is closer to 99.99% of people who Know and less than 0.01% of people who Don't Know What They Are Doing. When we look at the context of this 1% within organizations, we observe that
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PHOTO: PHIL STAFFORD/SHUTTERSTOCK
they often don't spend their full attention and energy on innovation. Instead, they are wasting an extraordinary amount of (emotional) energy and focus on convincing the other 99% of employees in the company that what they do actually matters.
The 1% are your company's shield against corporate myopia The dominant coalition of the 99% is always in danger of nurturing corporate myopia when it comes to radical change: they just donâ€™t see disruption coming. While the 1% are in fact the Day After Tomorrow glasses that the 99% so often refuse to wear. The people who Do Know What They Are Doing in your company are frequently the Number One reason why the 1% of "Ignorant" people get frustrated and burnt-out, and often leave to join a startup where they can become the 99%. When I work with this marvelous 1% Ignorant group, I encounter an insane amount of frustration, anger and disappointment. When I give a lecture on radical innovation, the room is often filled with these one-percenters. They often reach out after the talk, to voice their concerns, their irritation and their feeling of lack of recognition. This situation is incredibly dangerous. The fate of an organization, the future of a company in the Day After Tomorrow, rests on the capability of the one-percenters to achieve greatness. Modern leadership faces an enormous challenge to foster, encourage and endorse this 1% of 'Ignorants'. It is vital for a 21st-century leader to seek out the 1% and understand, support and shelter them. You might have to ringfence them; you might have to isolate them from the 99%. The 99% isn't evil. They're not necessarily malicious. But the natural reaction of the 99% people who KWTD is to keep doing what they've always done. And that is definitely not what is going to bring you to the Day After Tomorrow. So please, find out now who the 1% are in your company. And then let them show you how they will build your future, your own Day After Tomorrow. Page 54 Sqwawqs.com Issue 1 2017
Image: This Page: Elon Musk at the Tesla Worldwide Debut of Model X on Feb 9th, 2012 in Hawthorne, Los Angeles, California.
the author Peter Hinssen
A serial entrepreneur, advisor, keynote speaker and author, Peter is one of the most sought-after thought leaders on radical innovation, leadership and the impact of all things digital on society and business. He lectures at various business schools such as the London Business School (UK) and MIT in Boston. Peter has founded nexxworks to help organizations become fluid, innovate and thrive in 'The Day After Tomorrow'. www.peterhinssen.com
Why Wine Costs More With a Story By Lisa Earle McLeod, President, McLeod & More, Inc. Atlanta, US.
The hand-blown bottle was labe-
led with the year 1787 and the word “Lafitte,” a top French vineyard, etched into the glass. The wine was taken from a bricked-up cellar in Paris hundreds of years ago. It eventually became one of most expensive bottles of wine ever sold. Also etched into the bottle were the initials “TH.J.” Many wine experts concluded the bottle belonged to Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson was America’s Minister to France between 1785 and the French Revolution. After his return from France, Jefferson had several bottles of French wine delivered to the states for himself and George Washington. The bottle of Lafitte sold for £105,000, $157,000 US dollars, in 1985 to Christopher Forbes, son of Malcolm Forbes. In today’s dollars it would be $350,000. After the auction, other serious collections sought out Jefferson bottles. There’s speculation as to whether all the bottles labeled as such are legitimate Jefferson bottles. Yet, they still go for astronomical sums because people are captivated by the story. When Patrick Radden Keefe wrote about the Lafitte Jefferson bottle in the New Yorker in 2007, the article was widely shared. While most readers aren’t going to shell out the price of a starter home for a bottle of wine, the buzz was about the
story. Notice, it wasn’t the bouquet of the wine that got people talking, it was the mystique of the people involved. It’s the same thing with art. When there’s a story, it becomes more valuable. Take Van Gogh’s famous “Portrait of Dr. Gachet” for example. A nice painting no doubt, but art lovers fawn over the story behind it. Van Gogh painted the portrait of the doctor he stayed with after he was released from the asylum. The two had a complex relationship through anxiety and mental illness, eventually culminating in the famous painting. The same goes for Marilyn Monroe’s dress or Benjamin Franklin’s glasses. The story matters almost more than the piece itself. The lesson applies to more than just artifacts collected by the rich and famous. The same thing applies to your career or your business. A story will differentiate you. I remember one of the most effective elementary school principals I’ve ever met telling me when she was a kindergartener, she was sitting in class one day looked at bored kids around the room, thinking, “School could be much better than this.” Picturing her as a five-year-old imagining all the ways her teacher could be more engaging, makes me smile every time I think about it. That little girl went on to become a kindergarten teacher herself, ultimately getting a PhD, and becoming
a principal, then later a mentor to new principals. Whenever I think about her, I think about her story. It makes me value her even more. You may think of yourself or your organization as a plain old bottle of grocery store wine. But chances are, you’ve been places and done things that make you interesting. Ask yourself, how did your organization start? Why did you choose your profession? Why does this matter to you? If you want to differentiate, find your story and start telling it. When people know your story, they’ll value you and your business a whole lot more.
the author Lisa Earle McLeod Lisa Earle McLeod introduced the concept of noble purpose in her best selling book, Selling with Noble Purpose. Her research documents how organizations with a purpose bigger than money make more money, and experience greater customer and employee retention. Her firm’s clients include Hootsuite, Roche, Volvo, and Dave & Buster’s.
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How Boss Ladies are Redifining Power My Experience on the Marie Claire Power Trip
By Roni Frank, Co-Founder & Head of Clinical Services, Talkspace. New York, US.
In October I had the pleasure of attending The Power Trip, Marie Claire’s popup summit for female business leaders in a variety of industries, spanning tech, media, fashion, and policy. Every person who was part of the event was a woman, including the pilot who flew us from New York City to San Francisco, where the event was held. The chefs at meals were women. The wait staff was entirely female. You get the picture.
Many things struck me about The Power Trip, especially the conversations about leadership. In a panel called “Raise Your Voice,” three female powerhouses (Cowboy Ventures Founder and Partner Aileen Lee, 23andme Co-founder and CEO Anne Wojcicki, and Uber Chief Brand Officer Bozoma Saint John) emphasized the need for encouragement and collaboration in the workplace, rather than just blanket notions of productivity and success. Wojcicki expressed that more women must take on the responsibility of going out and mentoring their female peers. In a similar mode, Lee and Saint John brought up “Shine Theory”— the idea that women, in particular, should encourage other women to "shine" at work. “Often we’re loud about the injustice and the things that are going wrong,” Saint John pointed out. “But we don’t do Page 56 Sqwawqs.com Issue 1 2017
enough to encourage each other when there’s something that has gone right.” It’s true. Traditionally, businesses structure their value systems around efficiency, strategy, and competition— stereotypically “masculine” qualities. But during The Power Trip, all of the strong and successful female leaders I met were modest and displayed a quiet sense of empowerment. Several of the panels focused on things like the importance of creating work environments that value empathy, connection, inspiration, and safety—without losing sight of what power and success can mean. These qualities may be seen as “feminine,” but recent data simply indicates that the most efficient leaders possess the following seven qualities, regardless of chromosomes: empathy, vulnerability, humility, inclusivity, generosity, balance, and patience. The biggest takeaway for me was also more universal. Great leaders emphasize collaboration among their team members, not competition. They engender feelings of safety and trust in the workplace, showing that a company can be more committed to its values on a daily basis than to quantifiable metrics. Liz Matthews, Dell’s Senior Vice President of Global Brand and Creative, remarked that she encourages employees to work from home in the name of work-life bal-
ance. The well-being of her team is more important than her feeling in control of their time and workflow. In many moments during the summit, I tried to imagine what it would’ve been like had The Power Trip been a 200-person, all-male conference. For one, it wouldn’t have been as novel of an idea: to be celebrated for success and intelligence is something men take for granted, and experience every day. It’s not a coincidence that we live in a society where Donald Trump is the President of the United States. As Mila Kunis said in conversation with Marie Claire Editor-in-Chief Anne Fulenwider, “This is a human rights issue, a mental issue….I worry for the state of our country... because irrational behavior leads to irrational actions." Unfortunately, it’s rare to see rich and powerful men punished for bad behavior. As a tech entrepreneur, I’m used to being around a lot of men. I used to be a software developer, where I worked alongside men all day, every day, and I’m now the co-founder of Talkspace, an online therapy platform. As we all know, the startup and VC world continues to be male-dominated; I’ve definitely found myself in a meeting room with mostly men. Now, as one of the leaders at a mental health company, I am realizing that
“great leadership” isn’t just a business issue—it’s a mental health issue. If we continue to idealize people in power simply because they’re wealthy and successful, we perpetuate male privilege in our value system, which has detrimental effects for our society. During one poignant moment on The Power Trip, I sat next to a quiet woman who couldn’t have been more humble and kind. When I asked her what she did, she told me she’d sold two businesses (and I later found out that she’d sold one of them for one billion dollars). At first, I didn’t know why I was so struck by her. I later realized that it was because I was so used to meeting arrogant, ego-driven male leaders wearing their power on their sleeves. Our conditioning starts early. If you Google the phrase “mommy’s little genius,” more than 150,000 results come up, most of which are for pale, blue-colored infant onesies, marketed for mothers to buy for their baby boys. Most men are raised to want to be—and be treated as— exceptional. Thankfully, events like The Power Trip and current psychological research about leadership are emphasizing that we need to reinvent our culture of male exceptionalism, at work and beyond. While many of us know the recent data about the correlation between strong leadership and emotional intelligence, the pay gap between men and women is vast. A recent study from McKinsey and Facebook CEO Sheryl Sandberg’s organization, LeanIn.org, showed that men are 30% more likely than women to get promoted at work. The disconnect is stark, but not surprising. It will take a lot to reverse all of our cultural assumptions about gender, but I’ll propose a start: we need to stop idealizing men in positions of power. It’s bad enough that men are predisposed to feeling superior—believing they can “get away with” qualities like aggression and hostility because qualities like success, business savvy, and intelligence set them apart. But emphasizing this mentality to men encourages them to feel that the rules don’t apply to them. And this attitude is dangerous. There’s a reason sexual harassment is such a pervasive problem in the workplace. A survey conducted by Cosmopolitan in 2015 showed that 1 in 3 women
have been sexually harassed at work. In an interview at The Power Trip, Priyanka Chopra addressed the problem of sexual harassment head on, saying “It’s not just about sexuality. It’s not about sex. It’s about power.” And yet it takes an international news story about a Hollywood producer who sexually assaulted a laundry list of celebrities for our culture to stop and think about the real and present dangers of male privilege. However, this isn’t just a workplace issue, but a global mental health problem. If toxic masculinity continues to define “power” in terms of aggression, dominance, and one-upmanship, then all of us will continue to emulate behaviors that are destructive to our society. Furthermore, sexual harassment and bullying at work happen in more subtle ways than you might think. Another high-powered woman at The Power Trip told me that she consistently has to leave her office after meetings to cry—simply because of insulting interactions with one of her male colleagues. If we don’t want to continue perpetuating narcissism, instances of sexual harassment, bullying, depression, and anxiety— at work and beyond— we all need to stop idealizing people in positions of power for their power alone. If someone is a jerk, no matter if they’re male or female, smart, intelligent, or wealthy, they’re still just a jerk. This is about changing our value system—and redefining power and success in terms of our humanity.
the author Roni Frank Roni Frank is a co-founder of Talkspace, an online therapy platform and mobile app that connect clients directly with licensed therapists anytime and anywhere. Roni also serves as Talkspace’s head of clinical services, leading the company’s provider network of more than 1,500 therapists and responsible for quality of clinical service and therapist network growth. Before co-founding Talkspace, Roni was a software developer at Amdocs, a leading software and services provider to communications and media companies.
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Why Your Company’s Innovation Process is
As the old proverb goes, “give a man a fish
and he’ll eat for a day, teach a man to fish and he’ll eat for a lifetime”. It turns out the same principle applies to the world of corporate innovation, only the competition for ‘food’ is becoming ever fiercer and the ‘fish’ much harder to catch. The organizations that survive in this environment will be those that invest now in becoming self-sustaining and learning how to systematically search for new sources of growth.
Hedging against disruption Companies have never faced as much uncertainty and disruption as they do now and the pace of change will only accelerate. In this environment, merely iterating and ‘feeding’ off existing core business models has no chance of leading to sustainable growth. If your company is not at least exploring adjacent or transformational ideas that may cannibalize your core products, you can be sure that eventually someone else will. Companies therefore need to invest significantly more time and resources in transformational ideas that actively hedge against future disruption. There is one big problem. Organisations are set up for continuous optimisation of today’s reality rather than the creation of a new one. The resulting impact is that most companies try to manage brand new inventions in the same traditional manner as they manage incremental improvements to their core business, often with damaging effect. For example, a recent client wanted to develop a new online business model renting products directly to end consumers. This differed significantly from its traditional core focus, selling wholesale products to just a handful of large B2B distributors. Their approach was to jump straight to execution mode and they planned to invest in an enterprise-grade software platform. However, basic questions about the new offering Page 58 Sqwawqs.com Issue 1 2017
(and how to fix it)
By Edward Plaskow, Strategy Consultant, Deloitte. London UK
remained unanswered. Did customers really want the new service? What features did they value? What were they willing to pay? In helping them explore these key uncertainties, rather than simply build the offering, we were able to save the company millions of pounds and months of wasted effort. In summary, optimisation initiatives need to be treated completely differently to genuine invention initiatives.
The two ends of the innovation spectrum 'Core' innovation ideas are relatively certain bets where the focus is on execution and delivering forecasted results (e.g. a process improvement or product enhancement). With these types of ideas, failure is rightly frowned upon as it typically highlights a failure of execution. At the other extreme, 'transformational' breakout growth opportunities are entirely uncertain (i.e. those that target brand new business models or new customer segments). Naturally, with these new ventures a degree of failure is to be expected. As a result we need to create hypotheses we believe to be true and then systematically prove or disprove them in a series of experiments. The goal of an early stage venture team is therefore to search for value as quickly and efficiently as possible, rather than simply building and scaling untested concepts.
The benefits and challenges with lean startup This approach of iterating and testing ideas is increasingly referred to as ‘lean startup’ and can radically improve the speed and effectiveness of corporate innovation. When executed correctly, it enables organizations to systematically invest further in ideas that prove successful and quickly discard those that don’t. In short, adopting lean startup is becoming crucial for the survival of large enterprises.
So why aren’t more companies adopting ‘lean startup’? There are two key reasons that prevent corporates from adopting lean startup at scale. The first is simply a lack of widespread knowledge about the lean startup methodology, although this is slowly changing. The core principles behind innovation business
cases and investment decision-making processes have remained largely unchanged for decades so new and improved approaches have taken time to become mainstream. However, the second reason is more fundamental. Despite efforts to the contrary, the operating model of large organizations actively discourages innovative behavior. Humans naturally all respond to explicit or implicit personal incentives and the ones in large corporates are typically linked to traditional financial metrics like short-term growth, sales and margin. This puts significant pressure on employees at all levels to deliver those core metrics. They are rarely, if ever, asked to genuinely experiment with new ideas to either prove or disprove them and instead are expected to follow orders and meet forecasted plans. That means all ideas in the organization are required to prove return on investment (ROI), to make money and thus be perceived as successful. In other words, there is little or no room for failure. We know this is entirely unrealistic, as failure is a natural part of transformational innovation. The startling implication, therefore, is that the majority of large corporates are simply not set up for longterm survival in the digital age.
Consider whether the following common mistakes are present in your organisation… 1.There’s no formal selection process for innovation ideas, leaving a portfolio that doesn’t clearly tie back to the corporate strategy. 2. Senior leaders get excited about certain ideas and rush to execute without actually validating demand for their concept. 3. Innovation ideas are thought of as large, waterfall projects that quickly get out of hand in terms of budget and scale. 4. Ideas are invested in without clear targets or metrics to prove or disprove success. 5. People are expected to run innovation projects alongside their existing duties, leading to a lack of speed and focus.
The need for an innovation engine If you recognise one or more of these problems then it’s likely that your organization, like most, is not innovating as effectively
as it needs to be. Companies that want to survive ongoing disruption need to become what’s often referred to as an ‘Ambidextrous Organisation’ - one that can exploit the present whilst also exploring ideas for the future. In practical terms companies need to build an innovation engine in parallel to their core business, that can sustainably cycle through tens if not hundreds of ideas a year. This means developing new teams, culture, skillsets, processes and governance, all designed to proactively search for the company's future sources of growth. To create an innovation engine that works at scale, companies will need to develop two key things:
1) A lean startup method to test and validate new ideas rather than just execute on them 2) An operating model that allows that new approach to thrive Preparing for an uncertain future The truth is that no company knows exactly how their market is going to evolve, especially in the longer term. It is therefore impossible to plan for this uncertain future and there is no silver bullet that can ever be relied upon. Therefore, the companies that truly thrive in this environment will be those that have fully invested in learning how to iterate, test and build new offerings. It's the ability to systematically, yet efficiently search for new sources of growth, that will help organizations continue to reinvent themselves and 'eat for a lifetime'.
the author Edward Plaskow Edward is an Innovation Consultant and leads Deloitte’s Venture Path proposition; helping large enterprises to respond to disruption and innovate more effectively. Edward teaches clients how to apply tools and techniques from the startup world, to speed up and de-risk their innovation activities. He also specialises in advice on operating model changes required to help organisations build their own innovation engines, in order to continuously evolve and launch new products and services.
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The Future of Video Marketing in 2018 and Beyond By Aaron Agius, Co Founder & Managing Director, Louder.Online. Sydney, Australia.
By the end of 2017, video con-
tent is expected to account for 74 percent of all internet traffic. What does this mean for your content marketing strategy? If you want to continue reaching customers, making an impact in your industry and standing out from the competition, you need to invest in video. Video is already taking hold as a powerful tool for engagement as the nature of marketing shifts from advertising to cultivating customer relationships. More companies are adding video to their content marketing campaigns, meaning your strategy has to be unique to grab the attention of consumers who are constantly encountering visual ads as they surf the web and scroll through social media feeds. With 2018 on the horizon, it’s time to turn your attention to video and discover how it can help you make new connections, bring in qualified leads and drive conversions.
What’s Your Video Type? Choosing the appropriate video format allows you to reach the biggest
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group of potential customers. As video grows in popularity, businesses have an increasing number of marketing options.
Social Videos Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat have all adopted video as part of their platforms, and videos can also be pinned on Pinterest. Content turnover is fast on each of these social networks, making video a key player in capturing attention. Video ads are available on Facebook and Instagram, allowing you to boost your posts for greater visibility.
Make it “Native” The “native” option keeps video ads from being relegated to a sidebar where they can be blocked by an ad blocker or ignored. Native video content appears directly in users’ social media feeds, giving you a golden opportunity to drive engagement by providing valuable content catered to the interests of your audience.
Live video on Facebook and Instagram taps into the desire of young consumers to connect with brands in the context of experiences instead of ads. These on-the-spot videos lack a polished finish, meaning that your content has to be compelling enough to draw viewers on its own. Whether it’s a grand opening of a new location or a demo of a product on its release date, live video invites your customers to share the experience no matter where they are.
Following the Trends What’s happening now with video suggests an evolution similar to other types of content. A look around the web reveals companies are using brand storytelling and behind-the-scenes “sneak peeks” to create deep emotional connections with their consumers, and it’s working. Eighty-two percent of customers take some kind of action after seeing a video, an impressive number in today’s competitive online landscape. As customers continue to demand higher levels of engagement and
personalization, 2018 is likely to see interactive video and virtual reality (VR) take off. YouTube currently allows companies to include interactive links in videos, and many brands are starting to experiment with VR experiences using smartphone apps and simple headsets like Google Cardboard.
Quick Connections Today’s consumers live fast-paced lives and are often on the go, especially millennials and the upcoming “Generation Z.” They’ve become used to experiencing content in short bursts during or in between tasks. Dubbed “micro-moments,” these increments of interaction occur throughout the day and are the best times to grab a potential customer’s attention. According to Think With Google, 91 percent of smartphone users seek information while they’re performing a task, and 82 percent look up product information during shopping trips. Putting your products or services front and center during these times increases the chances of capturing qualified leads from your target audience. People seeking information are primed to make decisions, and they’re in too much of a hurry to scroll through a wall of text in search of what they want. Videos deliver information in the perfect format for micro-moments:
• “Explainer” videos to showcase how products or services work • Demo videos showing products in action • “How-to” instructions to answer common questions • Testimonials to establish trust and provide social proof By using these types of videos to provide practical information and insights, you show you understand the needs of your customers and are interested in helping them solve problems.
Making the Sale with Video Consumers interacting with videos are purposeful in their consumption of content. Statistics show 74 percent of users make purchases after watching an explainer video, and putting a product video on a landing page can increase your conversions by 80 percent. If you’re serious about growing your customer base and boosting sales, you need to take advantage of these moments of focus. Your videos must be crafted to draw attention to the specific attributes of your products and services you want to emphasize to customers and make these details applicable to their lives.
Google gives preference to video content, and pages with embedded videos are 53 times more likely to show up in the first position of search results. Being in the top slot just about guarantees you one-third of search traffic for a given keyword or phrase, and this alone has a powerful influence on conversions. As 2018 approaches, video is set to become an essential part of marketing for all businesses. Video demands more attention than traditional marketing and sets your company apart from competitors still engaged in outdated tactics. The right video strategy can earn you a position as a thought leader and influencer in your industry, making your brand an integral part of your customers’ personal experiences. Don’t wait for your competitors to step up their video marketing efforts. Get started today with a campaign designed to address the unique needs and desires of your target audience, and create a plan to deliver high-quality, relevant content through the channels where consumers are most active. Learn all you can about upcoming trends in video, and apply this knowledge to establish a strong and effective marketing strategy to propel your company forward.
Video marketing also has the potential to improve search rankings.
the author Aaron Agius Aaron is one of the world’s leading digital marketers according to Forbes. He is CEO of Louder.Online, one of the world’s leading digital agencies with offices in USA, Australia and Asia. Aaron works globally with clients such as Salesforce, IBM, Coca-Cola, Intel and scores of leading brands, showing them how to technically optimize their sites, perform influencer outreach and link acquisition and produce and distribute content that drives significant lead generation and ROI.
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We’ve studied the future
of the internet
since 2004. Here’s what we’ve learned. By Lee Rainie, Director Internet & Technology Research, Pew Research Centre. Washington DC, US.
Since 2004, the Pew Research
Center has been asking thousands of experts to predict the impact of the internet in the future. In the summer of 2016, the Center and Elon University’s Imagining the Internet Center fielded the seventh such canvassing of technology analysts. The latest batch of insights from these experts has been released in a series of reports exploring the future of fake news, trolling and free speech, jobs and jobs training, algorithms and the Internet of Things. These predictions also inform a new article I wrote in the Pew Charitable Trust’s Trend magazine about how the pace of technological change poses enormous problems to economic, social and legal systems. I highlight four major changes tied to the ubiquity of technology, especially through the Internet of Things and the disruptions it causes. First, technological innovation will create a “datacosm” that infuses data into almost every nook and cranny Page 62 Sqwawqs.com Issue 1 2017
of life. Second, algorithms will become more important in understanding and implementing insights from that plethora of data. Third, humans will continue to develop a new relationship with machines and complementary intelligence. And fourth, all this change will produce innovation in social norms, collective action, status credentialing and laws. The Center has pursued these medium-term “futurism” efforts for more than a decade because those in our expert cohort have been prescient about major trends in the past. They have anticipated such things as the rise and potency of cyberattacks and extremist communities, the shift from desktop to mobile connectivity, the rise of (and challenges posed by) big data, the evolution of privacy concerns and shifting views about anonymity, the appeal of augmented and virtual reality and the baffling unpredictability of what technology will become “the next big thing” – even to those who invent the future for a living.
Looking ahead, these experts predict more disruption, starting with digital interfaces: They say voice-recognition (think “Siri” and “Alexa”) and “air typing” on connected surfaces of all kinds will become mainstream activities. A data layer will be superimposed on the physical environment, allowing more context, history, and insight to be gained when people interact with their surroundings. Artificial intelligence will be ever-more-deeply ingrained in decision-making and logistics. Gigabit-enabled applications will be common – as people interact with holograms of others in both artificial and real worlds that otherwise may not be easy to get to. They predict the very notion of “being present” with another person or encountering another place will change. In all, the expert respondents to Center questions argued that by the year 2025, the internet will become “like electricity” — less visible, yet more deeply embedded in people’s lives for both good and ill.
Roughly half of respondents predicted that robots and artificial intelligence will destroy more jobs than innovators can create; while half believe the opposite.
What do they mean by “ill”? They worry about the prospect of greater social and digital divides, including new divisions that arise as some people cope well in the new hyper-connected reality, and others fall victim to its distractions and pathologies; that bad actors will exploit the new affordances of the internet to hurt others and worsen social intolerance; that nations (especially authoritarian ones) might take steps to balkanize the global, open internet; and that privacy will erode to the point where it might just become a “commodity” that only the well-positioned can purchase, while others cannot escape surveillance. Perhaps most urgently, many experts worry that robots and artificial intelligence will displace existing workers, and possibly at a pace too fast for economic actors to create newer, better jobs to replace those that have
vanished. They are skeptical, too, that government institutions and policy makers will act to mitigate the wrenching societal changes this would cause. Yet, others are not as downcast about the future of jobs. In fact, our first expert canvassing about the future of jobs in the age of robots and artificial intelligence produced a split verdict: Roughly half of respondents predicted that robots and artificial intelligence will destroy more jobs than innovators can create; while half believe the opposite. The optimists point to history’s pattern where technological change produces serious economic stress, but eventually yields more and better jobs and a wealthier society that has higher levels of well-being. So what’s next? We will soon ask about the future of truth-verification systems. We will question these analysts about how successful human ingenuity and machine insight will be in helping people find reliable information -- or whether darker forces will prevail in tomorrow’s information wars. Once we get their answers, I will report back in this space. If you’d like to participate in this expert canvassing, email email@example.com with “Future of the Internet” in your subject line.
the author Lee Rainie As Director of Internet, Science and Technology Research at Pew Research Centre, I run a research operation that explores the social impact of digital technologies - and the intersection of science and society. Previous to Pew I had a 25 year career in the Media which included 12 year spells as Managing Editor at US News & World Report, and Politics Reporter at New York Daily News.
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Organic Content Isn't Dead. It Just Has a New Purpose.
By Jill Sherman, SVP of Social Strategy, DigitasLBi. Boston, US
You probably heard that Facebook is
testing a separate feed where only promoted content appears alongside posts from friends and family. While the test is small (6 countries) and only applies to publishers, I've been inundated with “organic is dead” emails, tweets and posts from clients, co-workers and industry thought leaders. Reality check. Even if Facebook eventually splits the feed, organic content isn’t going away. (One could argue that they split the feed awhile back with the trending topics and video tabs.) But all panic aside, now is a good time to revisit why brands need an organic content strategy. First, let’s acknowledge that organic content as a “reach and scale” tactic is fruitless and has been for some time. Currently, a brand’s organic social content is getting 2-4% reach on Facebook on a good day. (Significantly more reach on platforms like Instagram and Twitter, but with a much shorter shelf life.) As a result, many brands have mistakenly scrapped organic altogether.
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Why is this a mistake? What if I told you that, instead of the feed, organic content is now being tethered to things like brand searches, trending topics and contextual video recommendations on platforms like Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram? And what if I told you that promoted posts are only a tiny fraction of the content that appears in these spaces? Do I have your attention now? The fact is, social platforms are evolving. Yes, the feed (while still central to the user experience) is now losing its luster as more on-platform features like trending topics, image search, video tabs, etc.
are luring people to branch out. And, as the platforms change, so must your organic content strategy. Instead of reach and scale, discovery and relevance are now the keys to the castle. Here are six reasons you shouldn't abandon your organic content strategy:
1. Capitalizing on social discovery.
Seeking behavior is rapidly evolving on all social platforms. As social search provides users with up-to-the-minute relevant content, brands need to take notice. Let's focus on Facebook: •When people do a search for your brand in Facebook, “Featured Posts” ap-
pear right after the link to your page. And these posts are your most recent organic posts. Not promoted posts. •When people do a topical Facebook search because they're looking for something they remember seeing in the feed (like “unicorn hair”) the first thing to appear are videos. Right now, the brand Lime Crime is taking top spot with a great video that's six months old. Very organic. And probably still relevant. At least to the person seeking it out.
And the next time somebody says, “organic is dead,” remember this. While social platforms will always look for a way to monetize, human behavior will always win. And without a constant barrage of content to link experiences and keep people from going elsewhere, these platforms would die a very quick death.
2. Riding a trending topic. Users following trending topics is growing on all social platforms, but let's focus on Facebook again. When a user clicks a trending headline in Facebook, a video carousel of the latest associated videos appears beneath the articles. These include organic brand posts. If you’re not paying attention, you can miss the opportunity to have adjacent content. I've seen countless brands miss this opportunity, even when it's their own brand's breaking news trending. Facebook will simply grab the latest organic post from the brand page, even if it’s a month old or not topically relevant.
3. Offsetting negative algorithm scoring. Algorithms look at overall
engagement vs. reach as part of their scoring mechanism to determine if future content should get an added (earned) algorithmic boost. Because broad reach can negatively impact engagement in promoted posts, having organic content in the mix can offset this.
4. Optimizing media spend. Organic posts can be leveraged as the “vetting” stage for content. If your fans and followers don’t love it, it’s likely dead in the water. Don’t waste your precious media dollars to promote.
mation. Planting content in social channels quickly means you’ll be providing much-needed answers, whether its directly or indirectly related to your brand. But, even with the potential benefits of organic social content, you’ll need to focus in on the type of content that makes the most sense in a discovery and relevance model. I recommend aligning content with what your customers or fans will likely seek out. For example, if you’re an automotive brand, perhaps it’s positive owner stories. If you’re a CPG brand, maybe it’s how-to videos, or product benefits. Or, if you’re a fashion or beauty brand, maybe it’s limiting content to trends people are actively following. Ultimately, your paid social strategy should focus on what you want target audiences to know, whereas your organic strategy should focus on what you want them to find. (Also remember that your paid posts are likely dark posted, which means that the content isn’t searchable.) If nothing else, don’t let your social presence go stale. Because the likelihood of people finding old, outdated content is now a very real possibility. And the next time somebody says, “organic is dead,” remember this. While social platforms will always look for a way to monetize, human behavior will always win. And without a constant barrage of content to link experiences and keep people from going elsewhere, these platforms would die a very quick death. It’s about understanding the “why” and “where” your content needs to live.
5. Brand validation. Potential employ-
ees, customers, brand ambassadors, etc. often look to social channels to validate their decision to have a relationship with a brand. Because the people that see organic content are your best fans and leave the best comments, there will be more positivity for anyone researching.
6. Crisis response: The first thing
people do in a crisis is seek out infor-
the author Jill Sherman Jill Sherman is the Senior Vice President of Social Strategy for DigitasLBi where she leads their North American social practice. Clients include national and global Fortune 500 brands across retail, QSR, financial services, healthcare and technology.
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Wozniak and The iPhone 8/X Have we reached the limit of current smartphone innovation? By Dean O’Grady, Managing Editor, Sqwawqs.
Image: This Page; Steve Wozniak during a WOBI conference on October 28th 2014 in Milan, Italy.
you subscribe to, sales of the iPhone 8 have either been doing great/ok/bad/ awful, but this all seemed to be more of a drumroll for the much vaunted (and in theory more exclusive and/or desirable) iPhone X, which as we all know was released on November 3rd. The iPhone X is in short supply, at least for the first few months, as pre-order demand has been speculated to be much higher than the 8 launched in September (at time of going to press stock of the 8 in-store at various locations was not an issue).
However, speaking to CNBC at the Money 2020 conference in October, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak made comments which were widely republished that was sure to disappoint the Apple faithful, with an apparent lack of support for the latest iPhone models. Speaking about the iPhone X and 8, he stated: “I’d rather wait and watch that one [iPhone X] For some reason, the iPhone X is going to be the first iPhone I didn’t, on Page 66 Sqwawqs.com Issue 1 2017
day one, upgrade to. But my wife will, so I’ll be close enough to see it.” If that wasn’t bad enough, he was reported as following up by saying: “I’m happy with my iPhone 8 — which is the same as the iPhone 7, which is the same as the iPhone 6, to me.” In mitigation, Wozniak had already stated earlier in the interview that his personal attention wasn’t so much in following announcements around the latest smartphones, rather he was more interested in articles about electric cars, self-driving vehicles and what companies were doing in other technology sectors. He went on to say that he felt that smartphones had reached a form that was right - where only small jumps could be made from one model to the next, citing the slow development of cars over the last hundred years as an example. And his comments are right. When something gets so good, it can’t be
reinvented with a circus type ‘wow’ every year. It doesn’t matter how much the public wants more and how much the media hype it up, there is only so much development that is feasible each year. Evidence of this is in abundance in the smartphone market, where a majority of manufacturers handsets are almost indistinguishable from each other. The common sense through this being ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,’ but this does highlight the challenge that smartphone handsets have of distinguishing themselves in a market that is becoming ever more convoluted. When handsets look the same, carry the same specifications, run the same software (pretty much every smartphone apart from Apple phones now run Android) and do the same things, it is difficult to have a USP – you either go upmarket and carry more features or downmarket to appeal to the price conscious. No doubt it is a conundrum that isn’t going to go away shortly.
Dependent upon which media that
IPO Prospect Lyft May Go Public Sooner Than Uber By Sramana Mitra, Host of CNBC’s Cleveland Hustles. New York, US.
Earlier this year, I had observed how it might be a while before we see the IPOs for ride-sharing apps like Uber and Lyft. For Uber, that prophecy appears to be holding good considering the widespread scandals surrounding the company concerning its corporate culture and business practices. But, recent reports suggest that Lyft may instead be on a fast ride to the stock exchange. Lyft’s Financials Started in 2012 as Zimride, Lyft is a peer-to-peer transportation platform that is also the biggest rival for Uber. Like Uber, Lyft connects passengers who need rides with drivers who are willing to provide these rides in their personal vehicles. Earlier this October, Lyft completed its fifth anniversary. It claims that the service is now available to 95% of the US population, compared with 54% at the beginning of the year. Unlike Uber though, Lyft is yet to make an international appearance. Since inception, it has provided more than half a billion rides to the passengers in the US. Lyft is now delivering more than 1 million rides daily. It took Lyft four years to deliver the first 100 million rides, but since then it has grown at breakneck speed. Its last million rides took less than a quarter. Like Uber, Lyft earns revenues by charging a fee on the ride fare. Lyft does not disclose the share it takes from the gross bookings, but analysts estimate that it is anywhere between 20% and 30%. According to recent reports, Lyft’s gross bookings grew nearly 25% to more than $1 billion in the second quarter this year. That would translate to revenues
of $200-$300 million for the quarter. Lyft’s financials are still modest when compared with Uber’s gross bookings of $8.25 billion during the same period. Despite the high revenue growth, Lyft remains unprofitable. Analysts estimate that Lyft reported a loss of $130 million for the first quarter of the year, compared with Uber’s loss of $708 million for the same period. More recent financials for both companies are unknown. Lyft has been venture funded so far and has raised $3.6 billion from investors including Capital G, Icahn Enterprises, Rakuten, Coatue Management, Andreessen Horowitz, Founders Fund, Mayfield Fund, FLOODGATE, K9 Ventures, and fbFund. Earlier this month, it raised $1 billion in a private equity round led by Alphabet’s Capital G. The funding valued Lyft at $10 billion. An earlier round held in April this year had valued Lyft at $7.5 billion. For comparison, Uber was last valued at $70 billion. Lyft’s latest round is expected to help the company prepare for an IPO expected to happen in 2018. Lyft’s Self Driving Service Lyft’s latest funding has helped it secure a partner in Alphabet. Alphabet is currently involved in a legal battle against Uber over the IP involved around Alphabet’s self-driving service Waymo. While Uber continues to battle that, Lyft has been entering into agreements with automakers and technology companies with the intention of accelerating the technology development. Automakers like Ford Motor Co, Tata Motors Ltd’s Jaguar Land Rover, and General Motors Co have signed up with Lyft to test self-driving
vehicles in the network. Its most recent agreement with Ford will allow Ford to place self-driving vehicles on Lyft’s open platform. Its agreements with technology companies including Waymo, Drive.ai and nuTonomy will help them develop this technology. Integration of the autonomous vehicle technology into Lyft’s fleet will not only accelerate but also improve the evolution of the technology. Regulation issues, of course, remain to be sorted out. Uber and Lyft are both in the pipeline to list on the stock exchange. But Uber’s new CEO Dara Khosrowshahi has a lot more on his plate. While he is focusing on taking Uber public within the next 1836 months, he still has to deal with fixing Uber’s image and culture and fight incessant interference from its rogue founder, Travis Kalanik. Lyft does not have to deal with that sort of controversy, such management intrusion, and thus may find it simpler to list sooner than Uber. It may also, in the long run, be a more sustainable company. Uber seems to be a combustible situation.
the author Sramana Mitra Sramana Mitra is the founder of One Million by One Million (1Mby1M), a global virtual accelerator that aims to help one million entrepreneurs globally to reach $1 million in revenue and beyond. She is a Silicon Valley entrepreneur and strategy consultant. As an entrepreneur CEO, she ran three companies:DAIS, Intarka, and Uuma.
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As Snapchat struggles to increase ad revenue - here's what they currently offer brands By Julian Gamboa, UC Berkeley I Campus Editor at LinkedIn. San Francisco Bay Area, US.
Snap CEO Evan Spiegel said the compa- components that provide Snapchat's with ny would overhaul it's Snapchat messaging app after it announced a $443 million loss this quarter. On top of that it added only 4.5 million users, missing Wall Street expectations.
Given how analyst expectations on revenue and daily active user growth were not met, Spiegel says that the app will undergo a major redesign. But what changes can we see Snapchat adapting to better ad revenue? Filters, Snap Ads, and Lenses are key Page 68 Sqwawqs.com Issue 1 2017
ad revenue. We take a look at the current status quo and see where the platform might be headed in regards to paid advertising.
Filters: The Start of Branded Content on Snap "Filters allow you to be where your product is bought, thought about, or consumed." According to Snapchat, +1 billion filters
viewed every day on average. Filters are the staple feature of Snapchat; it is one of the many key characteristics that helped distinguish the platform from competitors early in its days. Filters used to be solely curated by collaborative work from Snapchat and graphic designers, but the Venice company has made it easier for everyday users to create and implement their own filters. Filters allow you to select a location to fence in users able to utilize your filter. The filter will appear once users have
taken a picture or video and then scroll through the filter options - where they can encounter geo-filters (filters specific to a certain location or business).
Snap Ads: Swipe Up! Every company has to make money. Snap Ads began in Snapchat's Discover section, in-between publishers' articles. For now, you have probably seen them as you swipe from one friend's story to the next, usually lasting 10 seconds. Snap Ads are full-screen video ads made for Snapchat. With one swipe, Snap Ads can drive visits to your website, views for your short film, installs for your app, and more. Snap ads can appear in between stories from friends, or even inside premium content like Our Story, Publisher Stories, and shows from brands you know and love. As of now, the ads remain skippable, thus users that do not want to see the ads could easily tap away. For those interested, however, you can swipe up and be redirected to either the advertisers' webpage or an article within Snapchat. Snapcodes serve as user profile URLs within the platform. Simply scan the code with Snapchat's camera and it will recognize the QR code and open a message.
Interactive Advertising: Gaming One of the earliest brands to innovate with its marketing on Snapchat was Gatorade. The playable game was first encountered in the ESPN Snapchat Discover channel, prompting readers to swipe up to play the game. The game itself takes you alongside Serena Williams as you play through 22 levels, representing the 22 Grand Slam singles titles Williams has won in her career. The game works simply by tapping on the screen to strike the tennis ball. However, it was the first playable ad made available on the app. Another successor came from Under Armour, where much like the popular game Temple Run, had Cam Newton as a protagonist running from a pack of wolves.
Dominating Vertical Content
Snapchat can most definitely be credited for popularizing vertical content. In a space of horizontal videos, Snapchat has been able to encourage their users from preferring the 9:16 ratio; where in platforms like YouTube users are pretty vocal about the content being horizontal. Regardless, Snapchat has made vertical content their priority. Viewing a preview of videos on Discover will sometimes be exclusively vertical, but upon swiping for the full video you will be prompted to a horizontal view of their content. Vertical content has allowed Snapchat to champion digital editorial content. Expanding from articles and polls, brands have also noted vertical contents' potential and have created campaigns exclusively revolving around it. While vertical content would not work well on platforms like YouTube and Instagram (before its introduction of Stories), Snapchat did so seamlessly. Colgate was one of the first brands to hack vertical content. For World Water Day, Colgate created an upside-down video to highlight the importance of turning off the faucet. Users would encounter upside-down text, thus would turn their phones to be able to read it. Many ads within Snapchat are vastly vertical and it is quite a differentiating feature for the platform. While vertical videos are constantly hated in platforms like YouTube, it is the standard on Snapchat.
L'Oreal's latest lipstick. In regards to Virtual Reality, Snapchat is still exploring its potential. Snapchat partnered with Netflix to debut their "Stranger Things World Lens." The lens allows you to go into the Byers' living room and spot references to the first season of the Netflix Original. While it's still in the early stages, Snapchat is betting hard on AR & VR, especially since Apple gave AR a big push with its iPhone X capabilities. On Snapchat, context matters. That's why your ads don't appear in a feed; they appear in a message sent between friends or in stories from the close friends and storytellers you choose to watch. It's a great place to tell any kind of story and get the results that matter most to you. Snapchat finds itself in a troubled spot: no growth in revenue or users. We can only wait and see what new business models the creatives at Snap, Inc. will curate. Will it continue to be subtle, skippable ads in-between content, or do we see the platform leaning into 15-second unskippable content, much like YouTube. Snapchat must figure something fast and create a sustainable ad model for brands while also not drowning their users in 10-second commercials to watch a six-second picture, like Vine.
Lenses: Augmented and Virtual Reality Lenses are an exciting way to increase awareness on a massive scale. Snapchatters just tap to jump into your world and express themselves, or discover something new. +1/3 daily audience plays with Lenses every day. Lenses are Snapchat's most exciting feature for advertisers. Lenses range from Augmented Reality to Virtual Reality. AR takes place when 3D-digital models are placed on the real world landscape through your camera. Examples of these include (but are not limited to) changing Snapchatters' heads to Taco Bell tacos, a virtual Gatorade cooler dropping on users' video selfies, and letting you sport
the author Julian Gamboa I am a fourth year student at the University of California, Berkeley, with high interest in digital marketing. I am also a big supporter of education, and seek to help individuals better themselves to their fullest. Iâ€™m currently a course instructor of Digital Marketing Today at Berkeley-Haas, as well as a Campus Editor for LinkenIn.
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5 Ways To Optimize Your Video Marketing For Social and Mobile By Kelly McCaughey, Marketing & Visual Communications Specialist, Grey Sky Films. New Jersey, US.
Video marketing has claimed an important space in many companies’ marketing plans, with over 46% of marketers aiming to add YouTube or Facebook videos to their content strategy in the next year. Video has a unique ability to connect with viewers, plus we have so many options now for sharing video and measuring results. More and more social networks have rolled out the ability to host or share video natively. This alone demonstrates its great value. In order to truly capture the full potential value of social and mobile video, you need to know how to optimize your video content for small screens and for social browsing feeds that give you limited time to reach your audience. Video performs best on social or mobile when it is optimized these conditions. Here are five ways to do just that:
1. Convey a Message in the First 3 Seconds You’ve got a narrow opportunity to capture attention or leave a valuable brand impression. On Facebook, people spend about 1.7 seconds on each piece of content in their mobile feed, and it only takes .25 seconds of exposure for people to recall mobile feed content, meaning it has made an impression on them. The value of your content or ad is established very quickly (within the first 3
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seconds) and increases with duration: Up to 74% of the value of your post/ad is delivered within the first 10 seconds. 65% of people who watch the first three seconds of a Facebook video will watch for at least 10 seconds. 45% will watch for 30 seconds. This is why it's crucial to do one of 3 things within the first 3 seconds of your video: Capture attention with your video’s thumbnail images, opening frames or onscreen text titles. Convey a specific message with onscreen text, sub-titles or imagery. Expose your viewer to visuals or content you want people to notice and remember, adding to overall brand recall.
2. Don’t Rely on Audio (But Don’t Exclude It) Most social feeds have native video play with the sound off by default, and many people browse on their mobile phones while they are in busy, public places or while they also have televisions on at home. In fact, more than 85% of Facebook videos are watched without sound.
communicate your message quite effectively. There are also CTA (call-to-action) buttons and other linking opportunities that can help you prompt action and show where viewers can find more information.
Viewers on social or mobile are likely to watch without sound or may only activate sound after a second or two if they are interested in the video. You must rely on subtitles, the built-in post text, and the opening visuals of your video to capture attention and communicate information.
This does not mean you should exclude sound altogether…
Captions, logos and video visuals can
When a viewer does become interested
es your viewers’ experience.
3. Short vs Long Video – Each Has Its Place A good rule of thumb if you’re just starting out with social and mobile content is to keep it short. In general you can expect exposure time to fall below 3 seconds, and full-length should be no more than 15 seconds. Depending on the content, the viewer and the place of exposure, however, longer videos can also be highly successful on mobile. A good strategy employs varying lengths of content across different platforms: Micro-content (up to 15 seconds) used as teasers, previews, in social feeds or as social or mobile ads. Full-length videos (up to 2 minutes) used on a website home page or landing page, or YouTube. Longer than 2 minutes for content of proven interest, like mini-documentaries, interviews, presentations for a targeted or established audience. An efficient video marketing strategy can utilize footage to its greatest potential by editing it in different ways to create different pieces of content. Videos of varying lengths, of various styles, can be created for sharing on each different platform.
5. Create ongoing content Viewers use their mobile devices and social feeds every day, and seeing the same content repeatedly can start to have a negative effect on the brand it represents. People browse social feeds and mobile apps for something new each day, so it’s a great way to show that your company is active and fresh. The best way to do this is by producing ongoing content. Release new content, or update the creative of your ads as frequently as possible. You can do this by producing multiple versions of micro-video content at one time and releasing them slowly according to a schedule. This will enhance your brand image by showing new visuals and new communications on a regular basis. As more tools and resources emerge in the world of social and mobile, you can be sure that video will continue to be a crucial part of them. Video has always been more effective than text, and digital interactions with other people, businesses and brands will continue to use video to provide motivation, inspiration and information to their customers. The best way to stay on top of this rapid growth in technology is to start with the essentials and work up from there, according to the strategy that works for your brand.
4. Target Your Millennial Customer
and activates their audio, discovering that there is none can make them feel like your product is unfinished or details were overlooked. They were interested in furthering their experience and they weren’t able to. This is a hallmark of amateur video, and a professional business should strive to create polished content. Choose an audio backdrop that reflects your brand in style and tone, and enhanc-
The valuable demographic of 18 to 33-year-old millennials spend most of their time viewing and browsing on mobile devices as compared to desktop devices or broadcast. If this is a large part of your target audience, be sure to craft content that appeals specifically to them and their needs. For example, if you’re a financial services company you may wish to focus on products used by millennials, such as mobile banking or first-time home buyer products, with content optimized and shared on mobile.
the author Kelly McCaughey I help businesses enhance their brand image, and communicate key product and service information by delivering clear and effective design elements, collateral and other marketing materials. I feel strongly about using high-quality, brand-right imagery and streamlined communication. I also believe in the value of creating natural and authentic brand representation.
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Saas Tools I Cannot Live Without
By Shira Abel, CEO, Hunter & Bard. San Francisco Bay Area, US.
These are the MarTech, project, and sales SaaS tools I cannot live without. Some of the list is for Hunter & Bard and other SaaS tools are Must Haves for our clients. I go through phases with tools. Sometimes I love them and cannot live without them. Other times I get fed up (typically when something isn’t working as it should) and I’m ready to throw out the lot. Right now marketing/project tools and I are having a bit of a romance. I’ve been testing a bunch, and I’m looking to test even more (so if you have a MarTech, Sales, or project tool that you want me to check out – feel free to reach out.)
MixMax MixMax is an email reminder tool that has replaced Boomerang for me. Which I didn’t expect because Boomerang has been a favorite of mine for years – and its Respondable product is really cool. However, MixMax has the capabilities of Boomerang (return to Inbox & scheduling emails) with templates and a calendar addition where you can put the calendar invite inside the email (see above). That calendar addition is a game changer for me. I feel very strongly about Calend. ly. I find it a rude tool that puts the onus on the receiver and makes them take a lot of time and far too many clicks to get the meeting scheduled. If you’re after me for a meeting and you send me a Calend. ly request, claiming that it’s for my ease of use – I am likely to ignore your email. MixMax is the most polite way to offer someone a meeting. The other things you can use it for (and there are a lot) are just a bonus. If you’re getting an invite to a meeting Page 72 Sqwawqs.com Issue 1 2017
what do you prefer, a calend.ly link where you have to go back and forth between the sender’s dates and your calendar and a million clicks – or this? This wins hands down.
Wordpress If your site is on anything than WordPress, then it better be a seriously complex site. If you have a Drupal site – honestly, why? Just why?! As someone who has used a million CMS’s over the years, nothing beats a good WP backend system and there are so many plugins and things you can do to optimize your SEO, etc. I don’t care if your best friend, developer, or Project Manager likes something else – think about the Marketing Team. They need to update the site without being at the mercy of a developer. They need to make sure that the site is SEO optimized, and they need to be able to do all of that on their own. WordPress provides that. It’s universal. Plus it gives great plugins.
Just say Yes to WordPress.
Hubspot HubSpot is perfect for more companies than any marketer actually wants to admit. It’s straightforward to use for Marketing Automation. Once the templates for email and landing pages are set up – it’s dead simple to create workflows and campaigns. It’s not the most robust tool, but it has a great tutorial system for new users to learn and a CRM that is good enough until you start hiring sales and need to upgrade to Salesforce. If you’re pre-series B, it’s likely you won’t need something else. And even if you are post Series B- you have to have a massive list and be doing a lot of segmentation for the complexity of Marketo to make sense for you. On the other hand, once you have a massive list and need a more robust outbound tool – Marketo wins hands down.
With LinkedIn, you can reach prospects, get mentors, and build your network. If you’re looking to be a thought leader, there isn’t a better place to post blog content. All of the posts I do on Hunter & Bard I add to LinkedIn after. You can find almost anyone in business on there. I only reach out to people I’ve met, but I accept anyone who is in my industry that I think could be helpful to my network. If I’m wrong and someone spams me after I accept their invite, I block them. This is the best place to research key people in an account you’re selling to – most people keep their LinkedIn info up to date. I haven’t found much value from Groups, but I love the updates and newsfeed for articles and keeping up with contacts.
Trello Kanban is your friend, and while there may be better kanban project management tools out there, Trello is free for all basic purposes. Can’t argue with that.
Folloze For enterprise field marketing you won’t find a better tool for post-sale marketing. Folloze is the best at increasing engagement because you can put all different types of information on a Folloze board and see exactly what each recipient is interested in for focused follow-up. Increase your renewal rate and make your salespeople’s lives considerably easier by setting up success boards. We use Folloze at Hunter & Bard to show off our portfolio of work – you can see our portfolio at hunterandbard.com
Google Analytics Of course. Watch your conversion, set goals, and measure your traffic. Wondering what path your site visitor takes to get information? Google Analytics can tell you that. Where are they from? That’s covered too. It no longer tells you what keywords you rank for, which I could use some strong words about, but there are other tools out there which can help you
Nudge Nudge.ai is a sales tool that is like Rapportive on steroids. It’s a Must Have for Hunter & Bard and our post Series A clients that use Google Suite for their email and work tools. It’s better than HubSpot’s inside email Business Intelligence (BI) tool, better than LinkedIn’s tool. Plus it’s the absolute best email BI tool I’ve ever tried, and it’s free. Which means it will probably be bought soon and then ruined or disbanded, so download it for your Gmail account now and use it while you still can.
Mailchimp Need to send a newsletter? MailChimp is so easy to use I can set it up without our designer. You can segment your lists, create multiple lists, do drip campaigns and more. The company keeps adding functionality without adding complexity. That’s a wonderful thing.
Gmail I love Gmail as long as it’s set up with Tabs. If you haven’t done that yet, go to Settings –> Configure Inbox –> Choose Your Tabs (I recommend adding Updates) and Save. Yes, that means the newsletter we send you will end up in Updates, but you’re less likely to lose an important email. We want you to get those important emails.
Google Webmaster Tools Your customer is 60% through their decision making process before they click on Contact Us, which means they have spent time on your site, and on your competitors. This is why you’ve spent so much time and budget on building your site. Google Webmaster Tools helps you be sure that your website works as it should. It will list any and all issues, and gives suggestions on how to fix them.
Toggle Your time is money and not everything
you do is worth the time you’re spending on it. If you don’t track your time – how do you know if you’re wasting it? Toggl is a great time-tracking tool with a hilarious blog. We use it in the agency and we used to pay for it. Then I realized that all of the functionality we used could be had for free – so we stopped paying for it. This is why I believe in cheapium and not freemium. On the other hand, yay free.
Salesforce I’d be lying if I said I loved Salesforce, but it’s what every salesperson I know actually knows – so you give them what they know so they can focus on the job of selling instead of wasting time learning a new tool. Salespeople should use the same tool in every workplace because their time needs to be focused on selling, not on learning new tools. That’s why every business that has a full sales team should have Salesforce. If you’re hiring salespeople with years of experience, this is what they will know. My only advice is to keep that data as clean as you can because it can get ugly fast.
the author Shira Abel Shira Abel is the CEO of Hunter & Bard (H&B), a marketing, PR and design agency that works with fast growing, revenue generating SaaS companies on building their brand, awareness and thought leadership. Shira is also a sought after Corporate Speaker - and has spoken at AdRoll, Axa Tech, Allianz, eToro and more. A thought leader in the startup marketing space, Shira works with companies to build and implement smart marketing strategies and build online communities that grow companies. Shira has experience speaking worldwide at conferences on marketing for startups, judging competitions, teaching marketing for startups, and mentoring at several startup accelerators. She also works with companies to build the marketing into the product. MBA from Kellogg School of Management.
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Is Tesla The Secret Sauce of Automotive Manufacturing? By Dean O’Grady, Managing Editor, Sqwawqs.
The history of niche car manufacturers is a brutal one. Over the last five decades, a number of imaginative and niche projects have developed into some of the most desirable automotive marques in the world. But have they lasted?
Ultimately every car manufacturer has to deal with the cold, hard realities of the industry, no matter how much emotion their brand evokes, no matter how much a loyal following it creates. Production, distribution, and service are economies of scale that require massive investment. Eventually most don’t survive on their own and if they don’t go out of business, they are bought by a behemoth of the industry, that not only has the deep pockets which ultimately every large-scale automotive manufacturer needs, but also the expertise in getting over the speed bumps that regularly occur within the business cycle. What Elon Musk has done with Tesla is, without doubt, brave and bold. He has forced an industry to accelerate adoption to technology that has been around for a long while but has been extremely slow to integrate – generally because they didn’t need to as nobody else was doing it either. Sure you could buy a Prius, but there wasn’t a single manufacturer that was dedicated to the upheaval of the industry until the advent of Tesla. As a disruptor of the moPage 74 Sqwawqs.com Issue 1 2017
tor industry, whatever happens to Tesla in the future Musk will leave the legacy in succeeding to drag consumer vehicles (and maybe even commercial vehicles by the latest launch of the ‘semi’) into the twenty-first century, by forcing evolution beyond the internal combustion engine. Most major manufacturers are now in the process of developing electric vehicles and looking at alternative energy. Sure they will say that this was a process in development that would have happened with or without Tesla, but only a parallel universe without Tesla could tell if that would hold true. Or whether Tesla has truly succeeded in changing an industry that was happy building a product around engine technology, which is more than a hundred and thirty years old. Problems have been building for Tesla since the summer. The well reported ‘production hell’ for the Model 3, together with the equally well-reported cash drain it is currently facing (whilst production issues of the 3 are resolved) – an equally big problem they could be facing is public perception. While Tesla has become a darling of the technology industry, the media have the scent of blood in their noses, and once that happens, the chase until the kill is relentless. The media love bad news. Recent issues which include the sacking of 700 people have not helped public perception. Delays in the production of the Model 3 will no doubt be frustrating those customers that have been eagerly anticipating the handover of their new pride and joy. If public support wanes for Tesla, then substantial future investment (which will undoubtedly be required) and pre-order sales will become subdued. The devil called cash flow will do the rest.
There is no secret sauce in Tesla, they use the same lithium batteries as everyone else.
Rivals state that Tesla isn't a threat to the industry because of their small numbers (which is true, for now), but not many are complimentary towards Tesla nor their position in the marketplace (and why should they, this is business after all). Bob Lutz, former vice chairman of General Motors and well known as a Tesla skeptic was scathing in an interview with CNBC just before we went to press
(interview on 17th November). He told Power Lunch that Tesla is a “losing enterprise” and that “the company, folks, is going out of business. At this rate, they’ll never get to 2019.” His words seemed harsh, but are true if Tesla doesn’t quickly ramp up production of the Model 3, which will, in turn, have a major effect on reducing its current cash burn. Lutz suggested that the launch of the semi and the surprise addition to the launch of the second generation roadster was a stunt to raise instant cash, by saying, "they are hemorrhaging cash. They're going to have to go for another capital raise." He could well be true. With a deposit of $50,000 for the roadster, just five thousand orders could raise $250 million. Lutz talked about fundamental issues at Tesla which can’t be waved away or forgotten just by the launch of a new future model, stating that fixed costs are out of control, inefficient manufacturing processes are in place and the lack of a large dealership network, adding. “Plus, there's nothing about Tesla that can't be easily duplicated by other automobile companies. There is no secret sauce in Tesla. They use the same lithium-ion batteries as everybody else.” His comments were true, but at the same time, perhaps he is wrong. In just a few years, Musk has created a brand that has not just created a devout following, but sales worldwide. We are continually being told that we are entering a new world order of brands. If a brand is honest, has integrity, and acts in a manner to continually demonstrate the best values that we seek, then we will stand by it no matter how many bumps in the road there are. Maybe Tesla is that. Or maybe that is what people want Tesla to be. Maybe Tesla is the Dark Knight of the automotive. Or maybe, just maybe, Tesla IS the secret sauce.
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Where Do We Stand on
By Joe Martin, Head of Social Insights, Adobe. Salt Lake City, US
“Pokémon Go: Meaningless Obsession or Augmented Reality Catalyst?” was a headline of a post I wrote in
the summer of 2016 shortly before the gaming obsession hit full steam. Nearly 18 months after, where do we stand with the future of “reality”?
We’re now virtually through 2017 and the hype surrounding virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) continues to boom. In fact, Goldman Sachs forecasted that by 2025, virtual and augmented realities will become an $80 billion market. With great potential, how can we truly integrate this technology into our daily lives as consumers and businesses to get the most value out of it? Malia Probst, partner at VRScout and an AR/VR expert, had this to say about how AR/VR can be successful. “To deliver actual value to users and drive conversions, marketers must integrate AR functionalities into existing infrastructure — including incentives like rewards, social aspects, exclusive content, etc.” With a move to get these technologies Page 76 Sqwawqs.com Issue 1 2017
into our infrastructure, here are a few places that I think AR/VR could fit in nicely with and could be fun to see as a consumer and a business.
Social Media Integration Augmented Reality has become a standard within social filters and effects added to pictures — the greatest example being Snap, who brought AR to the hands of anyone with a mobile device. Facebook has also expanded its AR offerings to match Snap and at F8 this past summer, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said, “We are going to make the camera the first augmented reality platform.” Whether it’s glasses, a headset, or through existing mobile phone technologies, AR is already deeply rooted within social. In April, Facebook announced its VR social network Spaces. Through it you will have the ability to link with others using headsets in a virtual world. With friends and family all across the world, it’s a fun situation to think of being able to login to a Spaces account with some family members living in Florida to tour the Louvre in Paris for a few hours.
I have experienced VR and AR in the real estate space where you can tour a home, make remodeling decisions, and even work with interior designers. Malia Probst had this to say about the work in design: “The best real-world use case of mobile AR right now is interior design. It’s difficult to imagine what a new sofa or table will look like in an existing space, and items like furniture have a higher purchase threshold for consumers — these are big-ticket items that are costly to ship and expensive to return. AR apps can reduce the “investigative phase” for potential consumers and lessen friction to buy — especially if integrated well into an existing e-commerce platform.”
Last month I went to Costco for paper towels and I ended up with over $200 worth of goods. I partially blame the hurricanes in Florida for wanting to stock up on essentials, but it brought up so many questions for me. Has this in-store experience and potential for upsell been replicated online? I think many try to create that impulse opportunity, but haven’t fully succeeded in a 100-percent upsell like Costco did with me.
Companies have also found ways to integrate VR into their existing products. Adobe has found usable ways to implement VR into its creative products to allow designers the ability to be fully immersed in their creative space.
Sports A ticket on the 50-yard line to the 2017 Super Bowl cost about $9,000 according to Ticket City. That’s a price reserved for a very small portion of the population, but what if you could buy the same seat in a virtual environment for $50? Many sports are already on board and as camera and technology continues to improve, sports experiences are becoming exactly like being in the stadium with the same sounds, smells, and excitement. My friend and VR expert Cathy Hackl had this to say: “2018 will be a big year for VR and one of the reasons will be 2018 FIFA World Cup. Companies like NBC Universal/Telemundo are betting on VR to bring the fans closer to the action of the world’s largest sporting event. Bringing fans to the sidelines of the matches will prove fruitful for brands that invest in VR for the event. It will help with further adoption of VR in the mass market.”
Virtual reality could be a key to producing the ease of online with the upsell potential of an in-store experience. I could imagine myself spending quite a bit of time in the virtual REI. There could even be gamified opportunities where people could purchase a $0.99 climbing wall experience along with their virtual goods. Virtual and augmented reality may take some time and even a generational shift to be completely integrated into our daily lives, but it’s hard to ignore the investments that the four horsemen of the “techpocolypse” (Apple, Google, Amazon, and Facebook) are making towards making it mainstream. I haven’t jumped on the VR headset bandwagon yet, but you may find me enjoying the benefits of AR which is already at the fingertips of 95 percent of Americans who own a smartphone.
the author Joe Martin I have 10 years experience managing various areas of marketing including research, media buying, social, and overall strategy. For the past 5 years I have been blessed to work at Adobe surrounded by some great leadership. As the Head of Social Insights my team is responsible for using data insights from social to influence strategy, product development, monitor our brand, and improve content strategy.
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Never mind the Lithium WHAT ABOUT THE TALENT? As the clean energy transition grows, focus has been continually on scarcity of supply. Is it now time to address the talent and skills gap before it is too late?
By David Hunt, Managing Partner, Hyperion Executive Search. Liverpool, UK.
Throughout my time in the clean energy sector there has always been talk of scarcity of supply; first it was silicon, then in the boom times of solar development it was solar PV modules themselves. More recently we read of the potential scarcity of Lithium, a core ingredient for Lithium-ion and related batteries, driven by the significant growth in energy storage and EV Vehicles. Now we have scare stories about the scarcity of electricity at certain times of the day, if we all plug in our EV’s to charge. But what about the scarcity of talent? Clearly as the clean energy transition grows, there is increasingly a skills and talent gap, one which is seldom talked about. Demand is very much outstripping supply. That might be a good thing, in the short term, for headhunters like us, but for the growth of the sector as a Page 78 Sqwawqs.com Issue 1 2017
whole it is something that will significantly hinder the growth of companies and the smart energy and cities sector as a whole. At utility scale, we have an aging electricity generation and distribution network, managed by a hugely talented and experienced number of engineers. Significant numbers of which are at, or fast approaching retirement age. In a recent report, ‘Engineering 2017’*, it is suggested in the UK there is, conservatively, a 20,000-annual shortfall in graduates in engineering disciplines. That’s an annual shortfall. Not only are we not seeing enough graduates though, decades of hands-on practical experience is disappearing rapidly. On top of this many parts of the smart energy sector are very nascent. Yes, bat-
teries have been around for a very long time, but the energy storage sector, as we see and understand it today, is just a few years old. The same can be said of the e-mobility sector. As for the digitization of the energy supply, or the ‘internet of energy,' we’re making it up as we go along. There is no experienced talent pool. To exacerbate this problem, the demand for the new breed of coders, software architects and fully IT literate electrical engineers, doesn’t just come from the energy sector, or MaaS (Mobility as a service). These same individuals are in demand from Fintech, medical devices, and finance and banking, among others. It takes more than a dress down policy and bean bags to attract them. The challenge must be met head-on and
quickly. The industry, in my opinion, must focus on three key areas. Firstly, we need to encourage more children and those at school age into STEM subjects, then into engineering and computational subjects through higher education and into university. The industry needs to engage fully with the whole education system to make sure we get the raw talent we need.
I don’t believe in positive discrimination, the best person for the job should always be recruited, regardless of their age, gender, religion or sexual orientation. But I do believe we have a lot to do to encourage more diversity in the workforce.
Having a government that doesn’t politically interfere with education and curriculum would be a great start. In many of the most successful countries, such as Singapore and Finland, education is separated from the political sphere. We could do with the same for energy, but that’s another story. At least we need consistency and strong engagement between industry and educational establishments, and not just by the large corporations, but also SMEs and startups which are the backbone of the energy transformation. Secondly, companies need to be far more prepared to look at transferable skills and to be prepared to invest in training. This can be difficult, particularly for SME’s and start-ups. Time and resource are very tight, and the industry moves at breakneck speed. But if everyone is chasing the same very small talent pool, we’re creating a big problem, not least Premier League (super star soccer player) salaries, and a transient workforce as an example. We have helped many companies, in the UK and Germany to find exceptional talent in allied industries, as well as directly from competitors. For example, it’s not a great leap for candidates from a solar background to adapt to the energy storage or e-mobility sectors. People who have been involved in traditional lighting, HVAC, BMS or UPS companies, have the raw experience and capability to adapt to new digital and interconnected versions of the same. We always recruit as much for cultural fit, and the ‘soundness’ of the individual, as much as the skills and experiences they
have. Companies need to show some patience at times and recruit for the long term, not the potential instant fix. Thirdly, as an industry, we really need to address diversity. In an already limited pool of talent, whether by accident or design, we limit our options by not recruiting or encouraging candidates from all genders, ethnicities, and sections of society. It’s shocking when we look at the lack of diversity in the people we place into new roles. Certainly not by our design, and not by design of our clients, but because of lack of alternatives. I don’t believe in positive discrimination, the best person for the job should always be recruited, regardless of their age, gender, religion or sexual orientation. But I do believe we have a lot to do to encourage more diversity in the workforce. This starts with engaging with children at school, but we have to find a way to engage with all sections of society at all stages of their careers. Otherwise we not only limit the pool of talent, but we limit our potential as businesses and as an industry. Diversity is good for innovation, for learning and for growth. These are exciting times in the smart energy world; there is so much potential, innovation and opportunity happening all around us. We can’t afford to be stifled as businesses or a sector by the lack of talent, or a lack of willingness to actively broaden our horizons in regard to our people.
the author David Hunt I am an industry expert and insider. As Managing Partner of Hyperion Executive Search I help clients in the energy storage, e-mobility and related fields, finding the key talent they need for their businesses or divisions to succeed. I do this quickly, discreetly and professionally.
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PHOTO: HAYK SHALUNTS/SHUTTERSTOCK
Why Immersive Attractions might be a better marketing tool than VR By Sean Reyes, UC Berkeley. Berkeley, US.
Nowadays, just about every entertainment company uses some sort of virtual reality experience to promote their latest movies, TV shows, and video games. They typically set up booths in popular areas and invite the general public to experience their imaginary worlds using headsets. Look around at your next convention, and you are bound to see endless rows of Samsung Gear VR tie-ins. At times, though, these activations can be a bit bloated and tiresome. Some companies have learned to lean away from this overused trend, focusing instead on creating real-life, engaging attractions for people to enjoy. The results aren’t just fun – they’re memorable. VR just wasn't enough At last year’s Comic Con, the marketing team Page 80 Sqwawqs.com Issue 1 2017
for the HBO series Westworld had to come up with a way to promote the first season, and so (unsurprisingly) they created a VR experience. What did they realize? VR wasn’t enough. “The VR was getting a good reaction,” Steve Coulson, the creative director, says, “but the thing that really blew people out of the water was interacting with the hosts, and getting a little bit of immersive theater. So this year, the showrunners came back and said, ‘We really want to explore that as far as it can go. Can we really take people to Westworld?’” And that’s what they did. This year, “Westworld: The Experience” was launched, transporting visitors inside the TV show. One Westworld fan waited 15 hours in line to secure her spot. “This was definitely an experience that was totally different than any-
thing I've done,” she says. “It definitely makes me interested to pursue more events of this type. I wish more events went to this level.” It didn’t bother with trendy technological gimmicks. It was a tangible, human experience, relying on sets, props, and a cast of actors to create a certain type of magic that you won’t get from VR. Create something memorable and the people will follow.
Images: Opposite Page; Neibolt House from ‘The IT Experience’ in Hollywood. This Page: Evan Rachel Wood at the Los Angeles premiere of the HBO drama series ‘Westworld’ at the TCL Chinese Theatre, Hollywood 28th Sept 2016
More and more companies are following suit. In September, Warner Bros. conjured up “The IT Experience,” a temporary haunted house in Hollywood to promote the horror film inspired by Stephen King’s famed novel. In groups of seven, visitors formed their own Loser's Club as they wandered the haunted lair of the murderous clown for a 20-minute experience encountering pop-up scares, live actors, and animatronic beings. The attraction became so popul ar that tickets sold out online within 11 hours (resulting in a waitlist). Just recently, Netflix created a one-night interactive walk-through at the Nuit Blanche arts festival in Toronto. Titled “The Red Forest,” the installation featured a recreation of the Twilight DriveIn from Riverdale and the Upside Down, the mysterious and dark underworld from Stranger Things. Attendees were instructed to wear hazmat suits (or varsity jackets, whichever one they preferred)
and explore the fictional worlds of the streaming service’s most popular shows. Getting into the exhibit wasn’t easy, however, as the line reportedly lasted over two hours. Virtual reality versus, well, reality It’s clear that audiences have an appetite for something that goes beyond passive watching; they want something real. Through these limited-run activations, they are able to play a scene opposite an actor or interact with an iconic character. As opposed to VR – a digitally made up world, this actually is reality. This isn’t to downplay the role that VR has had in the advancement of modern day entertainment. It’s just that if you’re going to do VR, do it right. We’re in an age where VR is increasingly becoming the norm, and companies need to know how and when to stand out. Creating engaging, real-life attractions, coupled with a few hashtags and word of mouth, can bring more viral and reach potential than ever before. This is just a prelude to what’s to come next. It’s going to become important to not think of films and shows as two-dimensional worlds, but as story worlds that can be explored and promoted in a number of different venues and media — including physical, immersive experiences that can really take experiential marketing further.
the author Sean Reyes A freshman at UC Berkeley who is deeply passionate about entertainment, technology, and business. Currently, I’m a general member of Business Careers in Entertainment Club (BCEC), where I market networking events and engage with professionals from various industries. Entertainment, technology, and business have always been the leading force in everything I do. My obsession drives me to innovate in the way I lead and change how audiences consume entertainment.
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When Industries Grow, New Brands Rise In marketing, as in life, timing is everything. So is paying attention. Leaders pay attention earlier than others because they take a larger risk to create a company when others don't yet see the industry growth. When I was in the Northwest in the mid 90's, craft beer was exploding. A few years later I was in San Diego turning around a mutual fund company. At a networking event, I met a young entrepreneur who was focused on building his brand in craft beer, not technology. He was going from bar to bar trying to get his new craft beer on just one more tap handle. He was convinced that craft beer was going to grow very rapidly in San Diego (based on his observation of two other regions in the country where craft beer was growing rapidly). He also noticed that people wanted to drink a better quality beer. That young entrepreneur I met, Greg Koch, saw something based on observations and spotting trends. He also saw just how large the beer industry was and if it transitioned just 25% of its volume to craft, that was a multi-billion opportunity. Well, today his company, Stone Brewing, is probably one of the top ten independent craft breweries in the USA. Lesson? Pay attention to trends, large industries where upstarts are growing and the habits of the target population. You just might build an amazing brand.
the author Bernie Schroeder
A senior level marketing professional, successful entrepreneur and now entrepreneurship/marketing lecturer at San Diego State University. A significant track history includes building CKS Partners to a billion dollar company, and Stellcom to a $110m sale.
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In marketing, as in life, timing is everything.
Sqwawqs magazine. Issue 1. Modern business life, startups, strategy and technology, written by entrepreneurs and those that are passionate a...
Published on Dec 4, 2017
Sqwawqs magazine. Issue 1. Modern business life, startups, strategy and technology, written by entrepreneurs and those that are passionate a...