Taking 60 seconds a day to make it a better one

Archive for the category “Entrepreneurship”

Love-Hate relationship with LinkedIn

LinkedIn is getting on my nerves. Sometimes I feel a bit schizophrenic about it all.

You see, in the beginning, I kind of liked them for their sense of purpose, their niche, their focus.

They weren’t for everybody to find everything. It was for professionals (mainly business/office types) looking for other professionals. Period. Simple.

But then things started feeling bad for me.

You can’t totally blame LI.  We humans have a certain way about us.

We have weird needs; cognitive & psychological needs, if you will. One of those, of course, is the need to be liked. To be popular. To be cool.

Linkedin connections

LinkedIn popularity

Facebook friends number

Facebook popularity

Twitter followers

This need has a bad way of making networks smarmy.

Pretty soon, the networks erode our trust in it and its purpose, and some start jumping ship.

I’m starting to look for the lifeboats.

This love-hate relationship has really intensified as I started using the network more over the past three to four years and I discovered why my L/H relationship is so intense:

1. LOVE:  I like the focus and purpose of LI. For business professionals to connect, share introductions, help people move along, even accelerate, in their careers and professional development.

2. HATE: User experience. On mobile, on desktop.  Just not intuitive in spots you’d think a company the size of LI would be able to produce on. (Why can’t I remove a connection when I’m looking at it on my iphone?)

3. LOVE: Ability the platform gives those of us who have some real specific reasons to talk with incredibly accomplished and awesome executives the slim chance to get connected.

4. HATE: The growing number of members (including senior LI employees) who connect to others willy-nilly and when the time comes to connect others to their network, their replies are: “Sorry, I met them once at a Conference two years ago and I really don’t know them” or my favorite “I don’t know Suzie”.  (gotta give it to him for his honesty)

What happens in the digital world of socializing and networking, we know, is downright nuts compared to what we’d do in real situations.  In the world of events, conferences, meet ups, sales dinners, etc, just tossing someone you don’t know your business card, walking away, and expecting to be “connected” afterwards, is a bit ridiculous.

But in the LI world, accepting a request from someone you don’t really know, probably won’t stay in touch with, or don’t care to, happens all the time.

Even as LI has given us all a means to ignore the request entirely. 

[Don’t get me started on people who send requests without even a charming “Hello, great to see you here old friend!”, or a couple of sentences about why I should consider being connected to you]

The latest string of #4’s have gotten me particularly snarled, but in a good-fired-up-want-to-build-something-better kind of way.

As I continue to build my startup, a curated connection service built on trust and personalization, I’m reminded of the supreme power of the under-served and the open holes of opportunity these tiny pet-peeves present for the entrepreneur. For it was only one very specific thing that differentiated Southwest Airlines, Virgin, Dyson, and so many others from their competition.  And they each continue to leverage their respective competitive advantages all the way to the bank.

Yes, there are lots of other reasons besides popularity to keep connecting with people you barely know. But I wonder, when – or how – will we be able to control for these so our online networks don’t lose their value for the purposes in which they were created?


You are not alone

“At the beginning of a novel, a writer needs confidence, but after that what’s required is persistence. These traits sound similar. They aren’t. Confidence is what politicians, seducers, and currency speculators have, but persistence is a quality found in termites. It’s the blind drive to keep on working that persists after confidence breaks down.”

American Novelist, essayist and critique, Walter Kirn said this about writers, but it’s just as applicable to people who build something out of nothing. Whose empty canvas isn’t a page with a blinking cursor, but an idea floating amidst their wrinkled grey matter.


Kirn could have easily been describing all of those people who lost limbs and go for a run every day anyway; kids who hear “You’ve got cancer” and smile through Christmas, and mothers with four kids under 10 and still make time to prepare for  running, walking, swimming, triathlon or cycling events each year.

Being alone and persistent is a fairly difficult proposition.

I’m not suggesting you need someone physically present with you at all times to help you maintain your persistence; in fact, Dr James Fowler and Dr Christakis Third Degree of Influence rule conclude it’s not necessary.

But being persistent becomes incredibly easier when:

– You start to realize little wins

– Others see those little wins

– The impact of your persistence starts affecting others around you {positively}

And, in all of those, others are necessary.

Who and where are your ‘others’?


painting the car while you drive it

In this Fortune interview with authors W. Isaacson and J. Huey (who wrote biographies on Steve Jobs and Sam Walton of Wal-Mart, respectively)


Courtesy of CNNMoney.com

John Huey shares one of his fav stories of his time spent with Walton.  It just happened to be at his bedside in the hospital shortly before he passed away.

What I loved about it is Walton’s true heart as an entrepreneur.

A moment spent worrying about how you’re going to actually DO something is a moment spent NOT doing it.


He [Sam Walton] was dying, and his family had gone out for the day to go shopping and left me there. He says, “John, I want to get out of here,” and he starts pulling the tubes out of his arm. I said, “We can’t leave.” And he said, “I’m going. Are you going with me?” And he picks up the phone and he calls the Bentonville airport — his airport — and he says, “Send a plane down here. I’m going to be there in 45 minutes.” And I have to pull him out of the bed. I roll him out, down into the lobby. He’s a shrunken little old guy, and he gets down to the lobby and says, “How are we going to get to the airport?”
I said, “Yeah, you didn’t think of that, did you?”


Entrepeneurs — the crazy folk who say they’re going to make shit happen, but worry about how they’ll do it as they’re doing it.

Onward and upward, always.

what happens when the ladies get together

Courtesy of BusinessInsider.com

As the media continues to produce stories on finding the women operating in tech companies, whether it be health related, internet or otherwise, the ladies continue to do what they do well, quietly move behind the noise and [in the words of a wise friend] make AWESOME happen.

Nobody’s told these women there isn’t enough of them out there in the tech space. And for that matter, that’s not the reason they’re building companies in that area anyway.

I’m not sure if I’m yet on a first-name basis with Sheryl and Marissa, but I’m going to go out there and say anyway that my sisters-of-anotha-motha are doing just what I expected they would ….  having a chat and making AWESOME happen.

There’s been plenty of judging going on about Yahoo!’s future, and Marissa’s role in it.  And that’s good. It happens whether a man takes the helm, or a woman. (‘Course when a man is expecting his first child, does the media write about it as if it were a miracle the human race has never witnessed?)

If there’s one thing these two do well is role model for the rest of us.  And in this case, I am stoked to see two of the most influential women in technology doing just what we need more of:

Forming an alliance and figuring out how, together, their companies can make awesome shit happen.  And oh — Everyone Benefits. Consumers. Yahoo!. Facebook. Employees.

Go on ladies — get on with your bad selves.  More meetings, please.

Onward and upward, always.

Haunted houses

Starting a company is like being in a haunted house with those characters following you around with big knives…


a. It looks scary at first. But I’m still somewhat intrigued by what’s inside.

b. The best ones have a huge line of people wanting to go in. [nothing attracts a crowd like a crowd, right?]

c. And they come out with smiles on their faces, even though somehow they were scared to death going through it.

Despite all that, and knowing I’d likely freak out in the dark not knowing who or what is around the corner, [sometimes even wishing to get out as fast as I can], I can’t stop thinking “Nobody’s gonna kill me in there, and it is pretty dark , so who’ll know if I poop my pants a few times?” – so I keep moving forward.

Onward and upward, always.


Making hairy audacious goals happen

Finishing 620 miles on your bike over the course of 7 days would’ve made me vomit on the spot a decade ago.

Fortunately, it isn’t a decade ago.  It’s now.

And in 2012 I made a hairy, audacious goal:  Raise $10,000 buckaroos in support of the Challenged Athletes Foundation – and then ride my bike 620 miles down the coast of Cali with 100 others who did the same.


Note to self:

There are perks to working your ass off.

The training wasn’t ‘work’.  Meeting your buds for rides around San Diego county every Sunday doesn’t qualify. Neither do the other 4-5 days a week of jumping in the saddle for some QT with my steed count as work.

The fundraising can be qualified as work. And it’s not for the faint of heart.

Fortunately, I’ve been fundraising for my business.  Unfortunately, that act doesn’t get any easier, no matter if you’re doing it for charity or for corporate investment opportunities.

In the end I learned a few important nuggets:

1. Hairy audacious goals are hairy for a reason. Hair = friction And there will be plenty of that on the way to reaching a worthy-to-reach-goal.

2. You’ve got to surround yourself with the best peeps you know (and ones you don’t know yet) in order to realize your goals.

3.  A huge portion of optimism, Can-Do attitude and endurance goes a really long way during those hairy, rough patches that come along during the journey.

Onward and upward, always.


the perils of work


Besides Americans not getting enough vacation (unless you work at FullContact and want to get paid, PAID vacay), or at least using their vacation, we also tend to have despicable eating habits.

Normally, meaning around 76.2% of the time, I eat pretty good.  Grilled fish, gluten-free pasta, chia seeds, spinach, with a dash of protein powder and a smathering of fruits/veggies for good measure.

Today, at 3:20 pm PST, I realized i hadn’t eaten.  Since last night.

I somehow bypassed my growling, grumbling innards (around 6:30 am) and found another gear.  A few bucket loads of water likely made the ridiculous eating schedg possible, but still.

No exercise today likely was the culprit.  Constant tapping on the keyboard, phone calls and more tapping meant most of my energy expenditure went towards the tips of my fingers, my saucy grey matter, and my vocal chords. I did straighten up in my chair a few times.

The result?

A choco/almond butter/blueberry/protein powder shake at 3:27 pm with a bowl of top ramen. (Beef-style; a girl needs her protein)

Now, back to work.

When it rains it pours

When it rains, it pours.

it’s a proverb that is dripping with negativity.  just the imagery of it implies grimness….

But what if the image in our heads looked like this instead?

Totally different mental image. Totally different perspective. How does that change someone’s behavior?
Anyone who knows me well knows the raining dollars image doesn’t do much to motivate me to do anything. Yes, it’s part of “The Necessary’, but it’s not the Raining  Money that gets me up in the morning.  It tends to be more of the “I’m going to make the world a better place today” variety.

As a firsty-start-up founder, I’ve been lucky to experience things that I don’t think the hardest of criminals could take. and yes, I said lucky.

I’m speaking metaphorically of course. I’m not one to judge, normally, but if they are taking cool drugs, driving fast cars and shootin bad guys all the time, that’s stuff I can’t really stomach. What I mean is the mental toughness required to be hit where it hurts (the heart) and be told in many ways, shapes or forms that what I’m creating isn’t great, or great enough, or big enough, or it’s too small.  I can’t just punch back. [would a hard criminal if their egos were pummeled in public?] I have the stomach to smile, ask for more, and then walk away with a promise to follow up.  And it’s all done with authenticity.

And lately, all the start-up biz has been met with some very personal challenges; making my resolve to turn the rain — as in the water —   from a torrential downpour in my mind, to a more positive outlook on the road ahead.

Take a look at this last week, and tell me your perspective on ‘when it rains, it pours’….

My aunt, my father’s sister, is dying from complications due to aggressive form of breast cancer.  She doesn’t tell anyone about how aggressive it is until she is transported home from the hospital under hospice care. She passes away Saturday.

My sister, recovering stoically for 2 years due to severe traumatic brain injury due to a car accident, and then diagnosed with neuroendocrine cancer (for which she is given treatment the last 3 years), is given some life-threatening news.  She goes underground. Our family, a very close one, does a tailspin.

Two dear friends surprise me within a few weeks time with a dozen cupcakes delivered from Georgetown Cupcakes, which i devour each time within a few days.  I feel guilty about it for about 30 minutes – before and after the carnage.

I am an endurance athlete – which basically means i find joy in running, cycling, swimming and sometimes doing all those things together for long distances, even at a relatively fast pace.  I’ve had a hip injury that has caused me more anger, angst and anxiety than normal, and kept me from running for 2 weeks. This is cause for drug-use, and not the kind you get at CVS or Rite-Aid.

My own attempt at turning the rain into a positive?

Riding with friends for 75 miles, over 5500 ft of hills and gorgeous roads, in blazing sunshine.  Celebrating my health, my friends, my ability to mish-mash a crazy lifestyle of starting a company, caring for my family and staying true to my goals of  living an active, healthy lifestyle.

And the mental reward? My friend, Nick, pictured below (a world class triathlete and runner), saying to me “Tanya, you really can ride that bike up hills can’t you?”  (my response: “Well when you only have one bike, and it’s not a road bike, you kinda gotta make do”)

— intermission  —-

(boring clarification:  I was riding a triathlon specific bicycle. they are not ideally suited to lots of hill climbing rides. The other 15 or so riders that day were on road bicycles, the kind you see the guys riding in the Tour de France)


What is special about this ride, and others, was that it’s also a celebration of my ability to focus on giving back, or paying it forward. I’m a fundraiser for Challenged Athletes Foundation, and will be riding 620 miles from San Fran to San Diego in 7 days in October. If i can raise another $6K, I can do the ride. If I don’t, well, none of my training miles goes to waste…. I’m still smiling on each and every ride and loving the fact that I can. And if I can, I’m not going to waste that. It’s a gift.

Any ideas you have for me on changing the rainy imagery to the positive, I’m all ears.

part pack rat, part librarian, part Good Samaritan

I like to follow women that are a bit contrarian. Whether it’s in their writing, their actions, their opinions, or how they do (or opt not to do) their nails. Heck with it! Who needs well groomed cuticles!

Meghan Casserly is one of those women. She’s an online author for Forbes and she covers a lot of good stuff on business. Specifically, women in business. Nothing on manicures yet though.

In her post today, there was something I found myself smiling at. (and this is  my blog so i can end a sentence with a preposition if i want)  She was questioning the value of womens networks.   She had come across four questions in this HBR Post that made her think deeper about it. One – well several – of her findings resonated with me:

Where too many focus on the strength of numbers, the real sign of a healthy—and helpful—professional networking group is who’s there and how they communicate.

What do i love about it?

It’s one more teensy bit of data that confirms my own belief about GOTRIbal {and whether it’s good, bad or otherwise, that’s what we mere mortals do sometimes}.  And, it happens to be one of the things I stand behind when an investor or business-type says “So when do you anticipate reaching 1,000,000 uniques?”

Look people, I get it. The old rules of high school still apply in the digital age:  The more ‘friends’ you have, the ‘uniques’ you have, the more ‘followers’ you have, the cooler you are.  Which translates into dollar value.

To me, and to others in any community, it’s not so much about the billions we share membership with — it’s the value we derive from those billions.  If i could get the same value from 200, who needs another 1,000, 100,000 or million? In fact, in my own Facebook “friend” circle, I have over 400. Small comparatively. But really, when I need help, support or truthfully some shoog, I get it from about 25-30 of those people. And I’m a lucky recipient of some serious shoog.

Let’s look at another [smaller] community.  How about those guys in middle school and high school who were banging away at their keyboards and who had 3 shirts and 1 pair of flood-water khaki’s?

Or the ones mixing goo in petri dishes, playing games with mathematical equations that didn’t have one number in them and more letters than the alphabet?

They all run Google, Instagram and Facebook now.

In their communities, they had members who played part pack rat, part librarian and part Good Samaritan.

GOTRIbal has a good number of pack rats, librarians and Good Samaritans… and it’s not going to take 1,000,000 of us to make the planet a healthier, more connected, more fit place either.

Onward and upward.

damn it feels good to be a founda

ate 3 cupcakes.

one at 12:30.  that kept my eyes open for 20 minutes until I needed another one at 1:00 – a.m. – when my hubalicious made a drive-by and asked if i was coming to bed tonight.

Uh no… hello, cells E3-E5 on my Assumptions sheet weren’t going to magically jibe with the ones on my Advertising model sheet for FY 2013 and 2014 by themselves. (maybe he needs a cupcake)

hitting the rack at 2:30 has it’s benefits.

But getting up at 6:30 to prep for a 7:30 call doesn’t.  So i’m going to watch this again to change my mood and call that my preparation. I think Nightingale would’ve been proud.


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