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A very early Internet experience

I was reminded of my first experience in the commercial Internet space the other day as I drove through Sebastopol, the headquarters of O’Reilly.O'Reilly Logo

Most people don’t know how hard it was to get on the Internet at the beginning. Or that Internet usage was essentially mono-tasking back then. Thank you Marc Andreessen and the Mosaic and Netscape crews for helping to fix that! Continued…

Posted in Back in the day.

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Real, practical social networking where you’d least expect to find it

Rodin's The ThinkerI’m a lifelong learner. If I had to describe myself in one word, it would be curious. And once again, I’ve found that learning something in one discipline can be important in another. In this case, implementing DemandForce at the auto shop I ran for a while has turned out to be important knowledge for a new project I’m starting on. One company was in auto maintenance, and the other is in people maintenance. Except for the second word, I don’t think you could think of two more distinct business lines. Continued…

Posted in Management thoughts, Marketing, Startups.


How can you write about things people want to read?

Most people I talk to about blogging are pretty scared about the whole concept.

  • “What can I write that people will want to read?”
  • “I don’t have anything to say…”
  • “Can I write about golf?”

I’m going to share some of my statistics with you, which may give you some ideas. But first, I’d like to share some of my original goals and how they evolved over time. Continued…

Posted in Personal branding.


A 53-year-old startup???

I just finished with my latest gig. Would you believe a 53-year-old startup? Seems like a contradiction, doesn’t it?

What did I learn? Even a third-generation company can seem like a startup. Same challenges, same problems, same leadership dynamics. And even though you can’t get much further from software hi-tech, this auto repair business wasn’t all that different. Continued…

Posted in Management thoughts, Startups.

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Yahoo redefines snail mail

I used to speak frequently about how to get found on the Internet. One of my suggestions was to get a GMail account. This often ended up in a vigorous debate. Seems many Yahoo mail users like their email service.

Sorry, I ain’t one of them. I’ve had a Yahoo email account for many years. I hardly ever use it, because it’s so bad. Why? Continued…

Posted in Job seekers, Reviews.

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So, is a CPG startup any different from a high-tech startup?

Bucha Live Kombucha Image

Kombucha CPG =Consumer Packaged Goods

The simple answer is NO. Same excitement, same communal spirit, same partner advantages and gripes. In my case, we even had a food scientist who could easily have been a lead programmer or architect in a different setting. Same personality characteristics.

I guess this shouldn’t be surprising. People, after all, are still people. All startup founders I’ve known work long and hard. The early days are like a honeymoon – everyone is still getting to know each other, and everyone is amazed at how much they love working with their partners. But even at the beginning, if you’re watching you can just make out seeds being planted and germinating. I’ve always said that people eventually become caricatures of themselves, and this is especially true in startups. Those seeds become BIG weeds. Continued…

Posted in Management thoughts, Startups.

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Startups – what’s their allure?

Picture by Mike Dierken

Having just left a startup in which I was a founding partner, I’m going to shift the emphasis of this blog – at least for now – from branding to startups. This is the first in a series of articles I plan to write.

…And I’m changing my personal branding statement to “I put the start in startups.”

 

In my long and varied career, I’ve spent more time in startups than in established companies. Let me relate an experience I had in my first post-graduate school job – I think you’ll understand immediately why I hated big companies. Continued…

Posted in Personal branding, Startups.

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From personal branding writer to founder

Almost one year ago, I got found. Getting found is what I had been blogging about for the previous year. In fact, my personal branding statement was “I help you get found on the Internet.”

And then it happened to me.

One of my articles caught the attention of an entrepreneur in Los Angeles who wanted to start a beverage company. He was looking for information on Google Reader, and he got to my blog through a Google search. (Isn’t that what getting found is all about?) He spent some time on my blog, and liked what I’d been writing about, and asked me to join the company.

So the past year has been a real roller coaster. An experience of a lifetime. And it has taught me many lessons.

I left the startup this week. It had consumed me, as most startups will, 24 x 7 for almost a year. But for personal reasons, it was time to move on, so I’m back to writing on my blog! If you’re curious about what we were doing, you can look at the website here. (I expect the site to change over time since I only got the first page implemented. So if you are reading this post some time after I published it, the link may not make sense.)

I’m not clear yet about the direction of my blog going forward: I’d like to write about some of the collaboration tools I implemented for our startup, but I may come back to personal branding at some point. Do you have any suggestions?

Posted in Personal branding.

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Using Twitter for primary research

TwitterTwitter can be an awesome research tool. Does that surprise you? And so can Facebook – and probably dozens of other social networks I haven’t tapped into yet.

Not long ago, I got involved with a startup that is creating a new beverage – it’s a unique new Kombucha. Every founder thinks their product is unique and new, but honestly, this one really is. I say that because almost all Kombuchas taste like vinegar – but the one we’re working on doesn’t. If you’re wondering what Kombucha is, you’re not alone: it’s a fermented tea that contains “stuff that’s good for you.” Here’s a Wikipedia article that will tell you more than you ever wanted to know about Kombucha.

FacebookBefore I get into how we’re using Twitter and Facebook, I want to say how I got involved with this startup. I have often written about using your blog to find work or consulting assignments. Well, that’s exactly what happened here. One of the founders of the startup I’m helping commented on a blog article I’d written about how publishing can help our personal branding. Continued…

Posted in Job seekers, Marketing.

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How to use Google Reader to track tweets

Note: this article is now an anachronism… Google killed Google Reader. Too bad…

An awful lot of information passes out of Twitter into obscurity every day. Contrary to most sites, where what you write exists forever, tweets are temporal. That’s usually not a bad idea – who wants to keep a history of somebody else’s bowel movements?

Aha! But there’s also a valuable stuff getting lost. So, if you want to keep a record of tweets, you can easily do it in Google Reader. Continued…

Posted in Job seekers, Personal branding.

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