[Note: This is a post that was written two years ago and was updated following the news announced yesterday about Jewel’s new coupon app.] “Instructions for living a life. Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.” ― Mary Oliver I have always noticed … Continue reading
In honor of its 8th birthday, last month Twitter set up the ability to find a user’s first tweet. If you are on Twitter, it is fun to see.
My first tweet:
Why on earth would it say “finally”?
Here’s why. Crystal clear. I had worked full-time at Jones Lang LaSalle in consulting until I had my fourth child. Stayed home. Had a fifth. “Worked” at home as a mom but stayed current on all things business, still loving startups, entrepreneurs, etc. In addition, I had a few board and advisory roles. In early 2010, before Google made their offer to buy Groupon, I literally drove down to 600 West Chicago Avenue to sit in Groupon’s lobby to see whether I’d be too “old” to work there! I could see that they were going to be big..and I was ready to go back to full-time work and be part of the changing landscape. I so vividly remember sitting with my old HP12C calculator trying to “back into” Groupon’s revenue model! To make a long story short, I ended up landing a job at Plum District, which satisfied my desire to be in a rapidly growing company and not hide – but rather benefit – from my experience as a mom.
What did “finally” mean back in January, 2011? Here’s what it meant:
I am finally back in the game.
I am finally rolling up my sleeves to jump back in to the crazy frenzy of a venture capital backed start-up in the newly developing space of “daily deals.”
I am finally going to embrace ‘all things social’ even if I have no idea what I am doing.
I am finally going to adapt to the “new” way of doing business: working remote, embracing every social tool required for “social selling” such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, mom blogging community, Twitter parties, social media contests, daily deals, etc; affiliate links; widgets, no phone calls (rather, schedule gmail invites via calendar), onboarding, echosign, docusign, the resumator, Salesforce, Chatter, Intacct, people as dispensable and peers hired and fired with very short runways, churn on steroids, blogging for Patch, manual pivot tables, ExactTarget, dashboards, Zendesk, webinars, stand-ups, all-hands, customer acquisition, screenshots, Compas, GAN (Google Affiliate Network), Radian6, Klout, social capital, gamification, data analytics, videos, and much more! Phew.
I jumped over the hurdle to get to the other side.
And it feels great.
I am a crazy voracious reader of pretty much anything – especially when it comes to my three favorite subjects: business, start-ups (particularly Chicago-based), and moms (after all, I do have five children.)
Saturday mornings are among my favorite mornings: I awake early and in the quiet of the home I read the Wall Street Journal (“WSJ”), New York Times, Chicago Tribune and Barrons.
I’ll be darned if I didn’t read an article in the WSJ entitled “Ivanka’s World” http://on.wsj.com/Q9X2at which was an interview of 31 year old Ivanka Trump.
By way of background, I do not watch much television. I do, however, watch The Apprentice. Shocking, but true. Even worse (or better) I let my kids watch the Apprentice! Why? Because the entire show is like a business school case study. The problems are real, the timing constraints are real and the ability to impact a brand is real. Regardless of whether one likes or detests Donald Trump, the actual business part of the show is really great. In addition, over the last few years I have come to marvel at the fact that Donald Trump managed to raise three seemingly nice and bright children in spite of their ridiculous and over-the-top upbringing. Clearly those kids were born with “silver spoons” which is the very reason I have come to admire and even be intrigued with the kids – especially Ivanka Trump. How would you like it if your father and his personal life is constant public knowledge AND he is mocked publicly? Ivanka seems to have beaten the negative PR with brains. She demonstrates her intelligence by giving excellent feedback to Apprentice teams and always delivers the message in an intelligent yet firm fashion. She was graduated from Wharton with a degree in business and has a fantastic job. Duh. But when I read about the fact that she is seemingly happily married, has an 18 month old, and cooks homemade dinner for her husband every Friday night, and manages to”unplug” from technology once a week, I was pretty impressed by her “normalcy.” Again, like or hate the Trumps, Ivanka could’ve sat back and eaten bon-bons. But she didn’t. She seems to be somewhat grounded amidst a fairly fancy world.
All of this brings me to the reason I tweeted the aforementioned Ivanka interview with the WSJ. And yes – you guessed it – within 10 hours I had lost 25% of my Twitter followers. Poof.
If I had to do it all over again, I would send that Tweet. If I cannot admire a young mother who is smart, grounded and successful REGARDLESS of her father’s personal choices, then who am I?
The technology explosion is forcing us to move quickly. Really quickly. The world is changing SO quickly that it’s hard to stay on top of the constant change – especially when it comes to technology, and its impact on business. “Old ways” of doing things are being disrupted. What to do?! Just do it. Just hop on. If I can do it anyone can!
Do WHAT ?!
Read. Open. Follow. Check it out. Huh?
Here’s how. Read. Read. Read. Whatever you happen to be interested in, follow it. Probe. Dive in. Somehow I seem to think I am managing to keep up with “the new” ..maybe I am fooling myself – but I feel good about my own personal “continuing ed” program!
Here’s how I keep up:
1) Read anything you can get your hands on. I read in the morning before the kids are awake, read while waiting for carpool, read in the bathtub (true). My favorite categories happen to be business, start-ups, digital, anything Chicago and parenting.
2) Keep your iPhone handy. If you read something cool go directly to Twitter and follow it. Even better, if you are near your laptop, press the url once you get to the Twitter handle and check out what the company does.
3) Use your “Peter Lynch approach” and take a look at the company. (Peter Lynch: Fidelity Investments stock-picker whom I’ve always admired for his no-nonsense approach to understanding what a company does and how it plans to make money. )
4) When you have extra time (say on a weekend) dive deeper. Whatever your category is, dive. Look at lists. Again, I like business. Maybe I’ll spend extra time checking out TechCrunch’s top 25 start-ups in CA. Then I’ll probe – see what they are, get my iPhone so I can follow them on Twitter, etc Maybe I’ll look at Crain’s 40 under 40 and dive deep; maybe I’ll read a few articles in Barron’s or Fortune and get out my iPhone again. Or, if the computer is nearby, I’ll go check out the start-up and watch its 1 minute vimeo/company promo – I just love seeing how and what a new company is doing!
EVENTUALLY, a pattern will emerge: you will begin to see similar sectors experiencing growth. You’ll begin to see certain areas that entrepreneurs are “going after”. You’ll see real live age-old problems trying to be solved. (Example: EDUCATION!) The race to use technology to disrupt “old ways” will begin to make sense for you – at least some sense. Maybe you love fashion and once you begin to see trends emerge (the box/club/whatever of the month) – start thinking about your habits. What do you think? DO you like the idea? Is it passe? Is there room for exponential growth? We are in an incredible period of growth right now – why sit on the sidelines?!
So jump in. Fasten your seat belt. And join the crazy fun that is this ever-changing world we live in!
After working at Plum District where bloggers and mombloggers are key to understanding the social reach of the powerful mom segment, I am finally jumping in to start my OWN blog! Before working in ecommerce I really didn’t understand – or even want to understand the online social world that exists.
Today, I feel very differently. I have an amazing level of respect for the females and males I have “met” online. The truth is, whether reading about business, family, recipes, the tech world – whatever – getting a glimpse into a person through his or her writing is powerful. Very powerful. While I’ve blogged for Patch all last year, it was mostly for work. This will be different.
It is my hope that I will be able to stick to a post each month. Further, it is my hope that I am able to share a bit and maybe even learn a bit along the way! Family. Business. Chicago.
Connecting people on and offline.