Why My First Tweet Said: “finally.”

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:

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.

Finally.

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Why I am Taking My 13 Year Old to Hear Mark Cuban

My son was thrilled when I told him his early birthday present will be a ticket to hear Mark Cuban speak in Chicago at 1871, Chicago’s tech innovation hub. NOT the usual birthday present. Why Mark Cuban? Because we love to watch Shark Tank. [To those of you who were unable to obtain a ticket for the sold out event I am sorry to have this one seat taken by my son. I hope you’ll understand why.]

What are the “teachable moments” from Shark Tank and Cuban? Observing the importance of:

  • Telling your story (What makes it good? What makes the founder and his or her company investable?)
  • Math:  (Quick: what is the company being valued at if the entrepreneur is offering a 10% stake for $250,000?!)
  • Tenacity (Often times a founder ‘sticks with it’ in spite of seemingly insurmountable obstacles.)
  • The importance of listening (It is shocking to see how frequently entrepreneurs ignore the advice of the 5 experts sitting in front of them!)

and lastly,

  • Good old fashioned hard work pays off.

My son is “hungry”. Maybe not the I’m-going-to-change-the-world-with-my-disruptive-idea hungry. But hungry to work. He sets his goals and works to accomplish those goals. He currently has his eyes set on buying a certain type of fishing rod (he  loves to fish.) He picks up any job he can to earn money – nothing fancy: snow blowing, mail collection for people on vacation, babysitting, lawn mowing, etc. He runs all of his correspondence from his iPhone – I have nothing to do with it. He has learned the importance of customer service both from providing a job well done…and an occasional job not well done. I have been awakened at night when he realized he had forgotten to bring in the neighbor’s mail and to let me know that he planned on walking to get it..in the dark…in his pajamas. Nothing glamorous about forgetting; just another lesson learned.

I’d like to think that Shark Tank, Mark Cuban and the other sharks had something to do with my son’s will to take ownership of work. It is my hope that we will get a chance to say thanks to Cuban for being part of a movement to make hard work and corresponding results “cool.” 

Hard work is cool. Especially cool for kids. They are the future of our country.

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.

Welcome to connectedchicagomom!

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.