Thank You For Keeping Me Smart

Thank you 2015

In my constant quest to stay smart I’d like to wrap up 2015 by thanking:

Gary Vaynerchuk for ‘walking the talk’ and hustling like no one. #genius.

Michael Moe of GSV Capital for publishing #AtoApple which I read religiously each Sunday evening to understand market analyses and perspectives on innovation.

Wayne Breibarth for his free LinkedIn tips and constant value.

Twitter (Lists) for the ability to save me TIME in organizing my information so succinctly. Here are the 111 VCs I follow daily.

ChicagoInno for keeping an ‘ear to the ground’ on the Chicago innovation scene.

Kendra Olvany, my Up n Running Co-Founder and co-researcher/curator for The RUNDOWN for her insights and attention to detail.

Built in Chicago for a thoughtful, organically  grown community covering this great city of Chicago.

Technori for impactful monthly pitch nights here in Chicago and for recognizing that people still want to get together in person.

theSkimm for bite-size but intelligent supplements to my daily news reading.

The Muse for its ‘Companies Hiring Like Crazy’ emails and Sunday Inspirations. Even though I am not looking for a new job it is critical to see who is hiring, where they’re hiring and why they’re hiring.

Business Insider for ’10 things in tech you need to know today’.

Mattermark Daily for its compiled Sunday Weekend Edition.

Medium for daily digests and to see what is trending.

Re/code Decode Podcasts by Kara Swisher for fantastic in-depth interviews with tech leaders. I listen while bike riding or walking and always learn something meaningful.

The Information to fill in gaps.

Blue Sky Chicago for attempting to cover innovation in Chicago (part of the Chicago Tribune).

Kellogg Insights for research coming out of Northwestern’s Kellogg School.

McKinsey Insights for the occasional alert/report on technology and the internet.

The Broadsheet from Fortune mag for boiling down c-suite female news.

Simply Measured which provides valuable insights on Instagram trends with meaningful industry reports.

Skillcrush newsletters and the brilliant Adda Birnir for reminding me of the importance of coding.

Lastly, the obvious ‘go-to’ reads: Wall Street Journal, Crains  NYTChicago Tribune (special shootout to Scott Kleinberg who always shares social media tips.)

It’s been a great year of growth and staying smart. Here’s to a 2016 of keeping up!

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Just DO It: Part II

A few weeks ago I wrote a blogpost about the whole concept of “just do it”..dive in. Embrace this crazy world we are in right now. Since that post, Facebook agreed to purchase Instagram for $1 billion when just a week prior (or was it days?!) Sequoia Capital led an investment round that had valued Instragram at $500 million. OK. So let me repeat: “just do it” !! Things are moving thisquickly.

I am trying my best to “just do it” – to dive in, roll up my sleeves, read as much as I can, ask as many questions as I can, connect with as many people as I can.  Any results? Yes. In spades. I’m “putting myself out there” which can be scary. It is possible my family will disown me out of embarrassment – but truthfully, I do not care. (Ok, I would care, but they won’t.)

I went out on a limb this week by submitting a guest blog for Built in Chicago (“BIC”). Their request? Write about your favorite Chicago start-up – which I did (Dabble is my favorite). Why would I possibly “put myself out there” to a community of entrepreneurs and risk earning a tarnished reputation? Because BIC was giving out tickets valued at $350 to attend “The Art of Marketing” conference – that’s why I “put myself out there”  and submitted a post. I was anxious to attend The Art of Marketing. Lucky me: I won a ticket.

At the Art of Marketing held at the Chicago Sheraton I was able to hear the following speakers, many of whom I have admired from afar as stellar marketers and even brands : Seth Godin (thisissethsblog), Gary Vaynerchuk (The Thank You Economy), Mitch Joel and Avinash Kaushik (of Google); unfortunately I missed hearing Keith Ferrazzi, whose book Never Eat Alone I really liked.) How fantastic to listen to the marketing genius’ of our day! If you still do not think things are moving thisquickly, I can assure you that Gary Vaynerchuk’s ability to use the “F” word over 50 times would have hammered home the truth: things are moving thisquickly. Just DO It.

Upon my return home from the conference I received an invite to speak on the #BBRadio Show hosted by Beth Rosen of 4Keys Media. Even after alerting Beth that I was a beginning blogger (aside from the blogs I posted for Patch.com all last year for my Plum District work)  – she confirmed her desire to interview me. I Just Did It and said yes. Two nights later I was on with Johanna Cook @mommacuisine as hosted by Beth Rosen. Both Beth and Johanna were so nice – once again confirming what I already have felt: the blog world I am exploring is so welcoming. I look forward to meeting each of these moms in July where we will connect in person.

Lastly, not to be left behind, I wanted to try online education firsthand  so I enrolled in Computer Science 101 being offered by Stanford. For free. Through Coursera. I’d like to get a sense for how it feels to take education into my own hands. I may have an MBA but I have never learned a thing about code! In Robin Sharma’s bestseller The Leader Who Had No Title his number one rule of new work (out of 50) is: “You are not just paid to work. You are paid to be uncomfortable – and to pursue projects that scare you.” If I can do it, anyone can. Just DO It.

Connectedchicagomom: making connections on and offline.