1871 http://www.1871.com Where digital startups get their start Fri, 31 Jul 2015 21:31:44 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Tullman: Five Failures Unwinding the Apple Watch http://www.1871.com/tullman-five-failures-unwinding-the-apple-watch/ http://www.1871.com/tullman-five-failures-unwinding-the-apple-watch/#comments Wed, 29 Jul 2015 22:33:13 +0000 http://www.1871.com/?p=13141 By 1871 CEO Howard A. Tullman. To view the original post, visit http://www.inc.com/Howard-tullman-five-reasons-the-Apple-watch-failed.html

It’s surprising how long it takes for ... » Continue]]> By 1871 CEO Howard A. Tullman. To view the original post, visit http://www.inc.com/Howard-tullman-five-reasons-the-Apple-watch-failed.html

It’s surprising how long it takes for even those of us who think we’re fairly astute and self-aware to realize that certain behaviors, in retrospect, seem frightfully obvious. I don’t want to appear to be piling on here, but I have to admit that I’ve put my Apple Watch aside because – in a ridiculously short amount of time – the novelty wore off. It swiftly turned from a necessity into a nuisance. I’ve already got plenty of those in my life, so taking on another chore and charging another device wasn’t high on my list. And I’m not alone.

I’m convinced that my personal reaction isn’t unique. That it’s actually part of an increasingly common consumption pattern. We need to find a new term to describe this recurring phenomenon because it’s only going to become more prevalent. The truth is that I’ve been talking about the problem for a couple of years now and, more specifically, the risks it poses to new businesses trying to introduce new products and services.

Early adopters are becoming even more rapid rejecters. If we’re fairly quick these days to try new things, the big change in our behaviors is that we’re far more unforgiving and demanding of them. We’re dumping things that just don’t cut it at an ever-faster rate. The abandonment curve is probably 10 times steeper than the adoption curve on new products. You’ve got to get it right – right away – because the world doesn’t wait and you rarely, if ever, get a second chance or bite at the apple. The foolish fad of Minimum Viable Products is over-;trying to release a half-baked MVP to a voracious but highly critical and choosy marketplace is simply suicide.

Maybe it’s all about living in a world where we’ve come to expect instant gratification in all things, but it goes deeper than that. If you’re going to try to launch a new product these days, even if you have the best designers and marketers in the world, you need to take a longer look at how we live and the five major dimensions/distractions of our daily lives and build those considerations into your offerings and launch plan. If your products aren’t properly aligned and consistent with how we behave and/or if you haven’t developed a strategy to address each of these areas and potentially help change the underlying behaviors, your product will quickly move from smart to superfluous. In today’s social world, you can fly from being the “belle of the ball” to being the “butt” of late night jokes in a flash.

In addition, once you do launch, you better have a team set and ready to help you authentically manage (yes, I realize that’s somewhat of an oxymoron) the word of mouth and the inevitable and highly-opinionated conversations that are sure to follow. There are no vacuums left in today’s world of social media, which means that, if you’re not talking about your products and driving the discussion as much as possible, someone else will be.

We talk about free will, but we are all creatures and captives of our habits. And our days are dictated to a far greater degree than we understand by the 5 C’s: conversations, conventions, comparisons, compromises and chores. Think of these as multi-dimensional descriptors-; some are more like scales, some are buckets of conclusions, some are expressions and choices, and some are points of reference and departure.

As you try to make sense of where the Watch is headed, and as you plan the introduction and rollout of your own new products or services, look out for these early indicators:

Conversations

As surprising as it may be in this “all-talk, all-the-time” world, we still learn the most by listening. A large part of everyone’s day is still consumed by conversations. The difference is that in the old days, conversations were largely consensual, two-way deals. Today, not so much. There have always been braggarts, blowhards and bullies, but today it seems that everyone’s his own outbound broadcaster (regardless of whether they have anything to say) and opinions, not necessarily facts, are omnipresent whether we’ve asked for them or not.

We’re trapped in this awful place between TMI (tiresome) and TMZ (tawdry or worse), but the aggregate direction of the conversation’s flow is still important and instructive. Ominously, the talk about the Watch is already shifting in tone from high-energy advocacy and endorsements (“Can’t live without it”) to more moderate and measured discussions about value and utility. From religious fervor to reasonable analysis is never the way you want the talk about your “gee-whiz” product to progress. It’s a slippery slope and the Watch is already headed in the wrong direction. Just listen to the folks talking on the train.

Conventions

We’re not all sheep or lemmings, but we do still love to follow the crowd and the standard conventions in most things. And, very often, the entire compliance process is so internalized and unconscious that we don’t even realize what’s going on. You may imagine that your new watch is going to be a great messaging device, but the guy sitting opposite you in the meeting thinks you’re an inattentive asshole who keeps looking at his watch and wishing that the meeting can’t be over soon enough. Not exactly the message you want to be sending to that important client or customer.

If you’re old enough, you’ll recall that a certain President named Bush not too many years ago probably lost an entire Presidential debate because he got caught sneaking a peek at his watch instead of paying attention to the discussion. The message was clear – he wanted badly to be somewhere else – and the millions of people watching on TV felt that he was disconnected and that they were being dissed. It’s almost the same for younger employees who try to be conscientious and take their meeting notes on their phones while the elders in the room see them as insufferable idiots who are checking their email and newsfeeds instead of focusing on matters at hand.

And then there’s the basic question of who wants or needs to wear a watch anyway these days? Certainly no one under 30. We’re completely surrounded by digital devices and the time is everywhere. Telling the world to take two steps backwards to re-adopt a device that was once essential, but which is now largely extraneous, makes no sense at all.

Comparisons

We generally like to proceed from the familiar and not stray too far from the tried and true in our decisions – especially about new devices and technologies. And we never want to be the guy testing the depth of the puddle by jumping in with both feet since that puddle might just be a sewer or a well. The way we manage this process day by day is by constantly performing mental comparisons – how much is something new basically the same and how much does it differ? How big a leap of faith will the transition require and how deep is the chasm? And ultimately-; and most of all – are the differences actually improvements that are worth the price of change, the costs of acquisition, the pain of the mistakes due to trial and error, and the time spent on new training and learning curves?

We are all realistic enough to know that there’s no free lunch and that no new products are pain free. So we look at how well our current tools and technologies serve our needs and then compare the new products or services to the old. In the overall scheme of things, it’s hard to make the case that the Watch brings that much new to the party. It’s a lot less clunky. It’s got a bevy of nice and expensive bands. It’s got most of the same apps as my phone, but only a few that have already been successfully transitioned to mini-mobile use. And not much more to set it apart for half a dozen other devices.

But really the worst sign of all is that we’re engaged in measuring and comparing at all. The best and most compelling products never even get this kind of a down-and-dirty review and product proctology. They’re a passion, not a process. You take them on faith. And that’s the kind of connection that you can also take to the bank.

Compromises

Our lives are all about choices and compromises; we make these coin flips every day. Unfortunately, the lion’s share of them are rarely between diamonds and rubies. Very often they’re “either/or” selections between okay and not so good. So when we do have something to say about these decisions, the analysis often goes like this: (a) is it going to save me time; (b) is it going to save me money; or (c) will it make me smarter or more productive? And, more recently, (d) will it increase my status?

We’re willing to make deals every day but we have to believe that there’s some actual value in each transaction to make it worthwhile. When you run the Watch through this calculus, it’s hard to make much of an argument in its favor. If you apply the traditional tests (time, money, and productivity), there’s not a lot to hang your hat on and absolutely nothing that your phone alone won’t pretty much do for you already. Ask yourself what it really buys you to have your watch tell you to take your phone out of your pocket so you can do something. And when you get to questions around status, all I can say is Glass. Just remind yourself how quickly the Google Glass went from cool to creepy to compost. It’s just a matter of time before people will start to check out your Watch and quietly wonder if you didn’t get the memo.

Chores

We’re all beyond busy these days and things aren’t gonna get better any time soon so the last thing we need is more chores. Keeping our critical devices charged is enough of a hassle as it is and worrying every night about your Watch as well is just too much. And I’m pretty sure that having my phone ping my Watch all day long over Bluetooth is sucking the juice more quickly out of my phone as well. And don’t get me started on the question of what kind of fitness monitor the thing can be when it’s sitting on your desk charging for a few hours instead of being on your wrist keeping score. I’ve written about battery failure and Fitbit anxiety before. (See Fitbit Anxiety Is Part Of A Larger Problem) But until someone really makes an 18-hour watch battery, I’m just not a believer.

So that’s my take. These are just my humble opinions. And while I may be lonely for some time – just you watch – I won’t be alone for long.

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Workshops for 1871’s Newest Members http://www.1871.com/workshops-for-1871s-newest-members/ http://www.1871.com/workshops-for-1871s-newest-members/#comments Mon, 27 Jul 2015 22:09:18 +0000 http://www.1871.com/?p=13113 In addition to the new member orientations that take place every Monday, 1871 has implemented a special program to help ... » Continue]]> In addition to the new member orientations that take place every Monday, 1871 has implemented a special program to help our newest members get off to a good start. A needs assessment of our members identified that many startups required help in explaining their product and service offerings, as well as the go-to market strategies behind them. We believe that these two areas are critical for all companies in the space, and we are pleased to announce a great new program to allow our members early access to support in these areas.

The first part of that program involves Business Models Inc. – the creators of the Business Model Canvas – which worked with 1871 VP of Programming George Vukotich to establish a three hour workshop specially designed for new members where they learn to use the Business Model Canvas to identify and plan their business strategies. As an added benefit, a number of our mentors are familiar with the tool and use it in their mentoring sessions, making for more effective use of time and more in depth coaching opportunities. Business Models Inc. also offers regular office hours where members can sign up to work on and revise their business models.

Another recent addition to the new members workshop series is “How to Form Your Company” with Perkins Coie. This session helps startups determine the best corporate structure for them using the patented Perkins Coie assessment tool located on startuppercolator.com, and addresses a number of topics around funding, acquisition, and exit strategies are addressed.

These new member sessions are both currently held monthly, and are open to new 1871 members as well as longtime members. For more information on the benefits of becoming an 1871 member, check out our membership page. If you’re interested in becoming a mentor at 1871, email programming@1871.com.

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Tullman: Slow Down. It Might Save Your Business. http://www.1871.com/tullman-slow-down-it-might-save-your-business/ http://www.1871.com/tullman-slow-down-it-might-save-your-business/#comments Fri, 24 Jul 2015 16:12:59 +0000 http://www.1871.com/?p=13100 By 1871 CEO Howard A. Tullman. To view the original post, visit http://www.inc.com/howard-tullman/slow-down-it-might-save-your-business.html

Sometimes, when I’m telling a young entrepreneur ... » Continue]]> By 1871 CEO Howard A. Tullman. To view the original post, visit http://www.inc.com/howard-tullman/slow-down-it-might-save-your-business.html

Sometimes, when I’m telling a young entrepreneur that slowing down makes a lot more sense than hurrying along what will most likely turn out to be the wrong road, I get the sense that I could just as well be talking to the radio. It might make me feel better, but it doesn’t really change anything.

I see that glazed look in the entrepreneur’s eye, and I know what he or she is thinking. It’s exactly what I might have thought myself 30 or 40 years ago, when I’m sure I didn’t listen any more closely to my own mentors: This guy is old. He doesn’t want to charge up the hill because he’s tired. He doesn’t have the “start-up” spirit any more.

This is a big issue for three reasons:

  1. Lots of young, eager and energetic young entrepreneurs get hooked on the adrenaline buzz and constant stimulation of living on the edge and doing something new and different every day. They can’t or won’t take the time to slow down and catch their collective breath; to take stock of their situation; and to really think about what should come next. It’s too easy to confuse meetings for movement, motion for forward progress, and smoke and mirrors for substance.
  1. The very culture of start-ups and the myth of killer customer service breeds a “can do” attitude that treats the everyday business as a constant emergency and a fire drill. You have everyone running around fighting fires and no one minding the store. That’s a formula for failure, and a great way to burn out your best people. A good test is to ask yourself whether you are working off your inbox (in which case you’re reacting) or whether the business is working off your outbox (in which case you’re leading).
  1. Managing and growing a business is all about carefully navigating and trying to hold your course through complex and changing circumstances. If you’re consumed by the immediate, you aren’t going to be asking the questions that will determine the future course of your business. These aren’t the kinds of questions that walk in your door and deposit themselves in your inbox. The really tough questions won’t come to you–they will have to come from you. Your original business plan is a good guide and a useful reference, but only if you stop from time to time and use it to see where you thought you’d be, where you’ve been, and where you’re headed.

Going slow from time to time isn’t about age or energy. It’s about conserving scarce resources and applying them smartly. It’s about essential course corrections and changes, and, most importantly, it’s about making sure that your team is with you and right there beside you, and that you’re continuing to bring them along and not running away from them.

My second-least popular piece of advice is that not everything worth doing is worth doing well. Apparently this concept stinks of compromise, settling, and accepting necessary evils. Those, in turn, violate some unwritten law of entrepreneurship and the manner in which we are all obliged to conduct the sacred crusades that we call start-ups.

But the best leaders understand that you can’t do everything at the same time, with the same energy and speed, and with all the resources at your disposal. This doesn’t mean you’re a sucker or a sell-out. Most of the time, it means that you’re being smart and keeping some powder dry. It’s equally foolish to try to do something on the cheap that you shouldn’t do at all.

All too often I see people driving themselves crazy trying to accommodate foolish, unrealistic or insincere requests from investors, customers, vendors, or even their own people, and wasting their time and money in the process. In many cases, they’re just going through the motions. They know it’s stupid, too, and that the end result won’t actually matter to anyone.

So give yourself a break. Take some time, take stock, make some hard choices, and, believe me, your business will thank you.

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Tullman: How Chicago Can Steal Tech Talent http://www.1871.com/tullman-how-chicago-can-steal-tech-talent/ http://www.1871.com/tullman-how-chicago-can-steal-tech-talent/#comments Wed, 22 Jul 2015 14:09:50 +0000 http://www.1871.com/?p=13098 By 1871 CEO Howard A. Tullman. To view the original post, visit http://www.inc.com/Howard-tullman-how-chicago-can-steal-tech-talent.html

Startups and early-stage growth businesses need three ... » Continue]]> By 1871 CEO Howard A. Tullman. To view the original post, visit http://www.inc.com/Howard-tullman-how-chicago-can-steal-tech-talent.html

Startups and early-stage growth businesses need three critical things to succeed: capital, customers and coders. In Chicago, capital isn’t really a question.  Chicago’s investors have plenty of investment dollars for new and growing businesses. Customers aren’t that hard to come by either.  The city has more large corporate customers in different sectors than any other major U.S. city without being dominated by any single industry. Boston doesn’t want the health care guys to catch a cold any time soon. New York and L.A. both better pray that mainstream media still matters to millennials. Here in Chicago, things are doing just fine across the board. And it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg to reside here either. It’s a great place to make a living and a life and to start your business and your family as well.

But we can do much better in the coder department. We graduate tons of engineers and computer scientists each year from our colleges and universities and too many of them still head to the coasts. Those patterns are starting to change and 1871 and the city both have specific attraction and recruitment strategies in place, but it won’t happen tomorrow. So I’ve been thinking about what else we can do to help coax the talent that our growing businesses need back to Chicago from the coasts.

I have a modest proposal. We can work together to make the whole here larger than the sum of its parts. We can make it work by taking advantage of a unique attribute of the Chicago tech community – our constant and unselfish willingness to reach out and help our peers. No city has the kind of public/private and philanthropic partnerships that are everyday affairs in Chicago, partnerships that support a culture of collaboration and cooperation unmatched elsewhere. Sure, we’re fierce competitors in many ways-;especially when it comes to scarce talent. But we still don’t steal people from each other like they do every day in the Valley. We’re actually caring competitors who spend more time sharing, supporting and giving back to the newer folks just starting out than you’ll see in most other cities. This attitude has been a defining Chicago trait and tradition since forever and it keeps getting stronger as places like 1871 continue to grow and expand. This is one of the reasons that hundreds of volunteer mentors at 1871 spend their time every month helping our member companies.

So how can we help each other be more successful in attracting talent to Chicago? I think there’s a pretty simple answer that – if we do it the right way – will help to expand and bolster the entire city’s tech economy over the long term as well as helping each of our businesses attract better and stronger people.

It starts with a couple of simple facts. Attracting super talented technical people from the coasts, and convincing them to return to the city or suburbs, isn’t ultimately about money. Frankly, a lot of them grew up here, were educated here, and would love to return to raise families here. These are exactly the kind of experienced candidates-; who’ve lived through the rocket ship rides and seen these hockey stick movies before-; that our early growth-stage companies need to help them expand quickly and avoid the typical pitfalls while they do. Been there, done that, makes a big difference these days when you’re moving a mile a minute in multiple directions. And many of these “players” who’ve been to the Valley or the Big Apple and made plenty of big bucks have also figured out that it’s not the cash, but the community and the challenges that really matter. They’ll readily admit that the bloom is long off the rose in their current positions, but they’re still reluctant to make the move home. Not because of dollars or option grants, but because of optionality-;or the lack thereof.

They are simply afraid of what might go wrong if they make the tough call and pick up their families and move across the country and things don’t work out. No one wants to make a career mistake like that, but we know it can happen. And the fact is that the consequences are far more severe when there’s a limited local pool of fallback options. Basically, the breakage costs are higher when there’s no established safety net or a host of other equally viable and attractive job choices waiting in the wings.

Optionality is NOT a concern in the Valley, where there is a constant demand for talented people and a multitude of companies competing for them. But it is definitely still “perceived” to be a problem in Chicago even though this is no longer the case. There’s no question that in the last few years we’ve had our share of big-name and big-company recruits from elsewhere who spent some time here and then headed back West. But now we have dozens of companies that ought to provide the glue we need to grab and hold these folks even if they hit a bump in the road the first time around. Just the “G’s” alone would tell you that: GrubHub, Gogo, Groupon, GoHealth, GiveForward, Georama, Google and Guaranteed Rate, to name a few. But we have to do a much better job of getting the word out-; along with the facts and figures-; and here’s what I think we need to do together to get better.

So here’s my simple suggestion. When you’re recruiting a techie from out of town, make it your business to tell him or her about some of the other opportunities and cool companies in our town that might also be important to check out. In fact, suggest that he or she see a few of the other great tech businesses while they’re here-;put a few less carbs and a few more companies in each visit-; and help make those meetings happen. You know who to call. And maybe we should even start thinking about sharing the costs of bringing some of these candidates into the city. Sure, I get that you might lose one or two prospects over time to a neighbor, but-; in addition to broadening the pool of talent for all of us-; you will reassure and comfort every single one of these people on the only real issue that matters. Convincing them that there are solid alternative employment options and choices here is the smart thing to do for your own benefit and for the overall tech economy here as well. It’s a pretty small thing in the scheme of things, but every little thing that you can do to add to the reasons to return makes the outcome that much more likely. It’s never gonna be a sure thing, it’s just the right thing to do.

It’s like the physics of candles. When I ignite your candle with mine, it doesn’t diminish my light, it makes things twice as bright.  It works the same way with ideas. We can make a lot of things better if we do it together. Or as the Beatles would say: in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.

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1871 and Ms. Tech Announce Innovative Partnership to Facilitate Opportunities for Women in Technology http://www.1871.com/1871-and-ms-tech-announce-innovative-partnership-to-facilitate-opportunities-for-women-in-technology/ http://www.1871.com/1871-and-ms-tech-announce-innovative-partnership-to-facilitate-opportunities-for-women-in-technology/#comments Fri, 17 Jul 2015 15:47:30 +0000 http://www.1871.com/?p=13088


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

July 17, 2015

CONTACT

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Melissa Wooten

press@1871.com

 

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

July 17, 2015

CONTACT

1871

Melissa Wooten

press@1871.com

 

 

1871 AND MS. TECH ANNOUNCE INNOVATIVE PARTNERSHIP TO FACILITATE OPPORTUNITIES FOR WOMEN IN TECHNOLOGY

Ms. Tech to become co-facilitator of WiSTEM, will move to and grow at 1871

CHICAGO (July 17, 2015) – 1871 and Ms. Tech announced an innovative partnership today that will dramatically expand opportunities for women in technology in the Chicago area. Ms. Tech, a well-known Chicago-based organization that is dedicated to fostering the growth of women in tech through programming, mentorship, networking and other resources, will move its operations to 1871. Nicole Yeary, Ms. Tech’s founder and CEO, has been named the co-facilitator of the exciting new WiSTEM program at 1871. Ms. Tech will also offer its curriculum and programming to all interested 1871 members and will use the 1871 space to facilitate new opportunities and special events for women throughout Chicago.

“Ms. Tech is made up of some of the most forward-thinking tech leaders in Chicago, many of whom are already members of 1871. WiSTEM and this partnership will bring not only our members, but the entire community access to capital, technology and educational resources, and play a part in continuing to build a stronger and more inclusive tech environment,” said Nicole Yeary of Ms. Tech. “We are really looking forward to rolling up our sleeves and getting to work on vibrant curriculum and exploring interesting opportunities for taking more women-owned businesses to the next level.”

The partnership between Ms. Tech and 1871 follows Ms. Tech’s rapid growth and success in the tech community. Under Yeary’s leadership, the organization has grown from a private Facebook group to one of the most established groups in Chicago, boasting some of the most talented women in tech, digital media and technology related fields.  Through her work with Ms. Tech, Yeary is viewed as one of the leading women in Chicago tech and has passionately dedicated herself to creating an environment that will foster the growth of women in tech.

The 1871/Ms. Tech partnership includes three major elements:

  • Ms. Tech staff will move its base of operations to 1871 and they will use the 1871 space to conduct their programming, mentorship and classes.
  • Nicole Yeary, founder and CEO of Ms. Tech, will become the co-facilitator of the WiSTEM program and will develop a curriculum that is exclusive for the WiSTEM cohort, in addition to broader efforts in support of the WiSTEM program at 1871.
  • Ms. Tech will work with 1871 to craft offerings of Ms. Tech services that are available to all 1871 members as their companies grow, as well as to the entire Chicago technology community.

“Ms. Tech is an incredibly valuable resource and advocate for women entrepreneurs in Chicago,” said 1871 CEO Howard A. Tullman. “We are excited to partner with Nicole and Ms. Tech to create opportunities for WiSTEM and for women across the city.”

The WiSTEM program is a women-focused program that will take place at 1871. The first cohort is slated to begin on September 14. The program is centralized around three major pillars:

  • Access to capital – The program will support women entrepreneurs as they seek capital and resources for their businesses. Included will be specific mentorship and advice about the capital raising process, as well as introductions to VCs and angels looking to invest in women entrepreneurs.
  • Access to technology – The program will focus on supporting the women entrepreneurs as they build their technological solutions for their businesses, including guidance about finding technical solutions, technical support for critical issues with websites or applications, support in hiring, and support in finding additional female developers for opportunities in the tech economy.
  • Access to community – The program will build a network of women entrepreneurs throughout the Chicago technology community and foster workshops, programming, and other events designed to facilitate discussion and interaction around this critical issue. Additionally, the program will have a robust curriculum, mentoring, and support system for the women entrepreneurs who are participating in each cohort.

The first cohort of WiSTEM was announced recently, and includes thirteen companies. The program will kick off in September and will run for five months. There will be two cohorts a year — September through January, and March through June.

The members of the inaugural WiSTEM class are:

  • Alex Buck – Co-Founder and CEO, Plumwise
  • Amanda Greenberg – Co-Founder and CEO, Baloonr
  • Annie Mohaupt – Founder and CEO, Mohop
  • Catherine Merritt – Founder and CEO, MUMZY
  • Elena Valentine – Co-Founder and CEO, Skill Scout
  • Holly Bellmund – Founder and CEO, Werenro Group
  • Julie Novack – Founder and CEO, PartySlate
  • Linda Zabors – Founder and CEO, Honorary Chicago
  • Michelle Smyth – Founder and CEO, Pay Your Selfie
  • Parminder Batra – Co-Founder and CEO, Sekure Trak, Inc./TraknProtect
  • Reva Minkoff – Founder and President, Digital4Startups and DigitalGroundUp
  • Rose Afriyie – Co-Founder and CEO, mRelief
  • Veatrice Glenn – Founder and CEO, Insightful Decisions, Inc.

One of the key areas of partnership between Ms. Tech and WiSTEM will be around the development of WiSTEM-specific classes and educational sessions that will be led by Ms. Tech and will be based, in part, upon Ms. Tech’s successful curriculum and existing programming. Ms. Tech and WiSTEM will also work together to find other opportunities for mentorship and interaction with the businesses.

“Ms. Tech already does so much for female founders in Chicago and beyond, so it’s very exciting to hear that Ms. Tech will be involved with WiSTEM on such an impactful level,” said Reva Minkoff, founder of DigitalGroundUp – one of the companies from the first WiSTEM cohort, and a Ms. Tech member. “I am confident that Ms. Tech’s programming will be extremely well received by the members of WiSTEM and will have a lasting positive influence on the program and the member companies alike.”

The partnership between Ms. Tech and WiSTEM is effective immediately.

About 1871

1871 is the home of more than 325 early-stage, high-growth digital startups. Located in The Merchandise Mart, this 75,000 square foot facility is also the headquarters of nationally recognized accelerators, Techstars Chicago and Impact Engine; half a dozen industry-specific incubators in key areas such as real estate, education technology, food and financial technology; several emerging tech talent schools (Flatiron, The Fullbridge Program, Designation and the Startup Institute), and the state’s leading technology advocate, the Illinois Science and Technology Coalition. It is the second home to Chicago-based VCs, Pritzker Group Venture Capital, MATH Venture Partners, Hyde Park Angels, OCA Ventures, OurCrowd and Chicago Ventures, as well as satellite offices for Northwestern University, University of Illinois, University of Chicago, Loyola University Chicago, Illinois Institute of Technology, and DeVry. 1871 has fast become recognized as the hub for the city’s entrepreneurial/technology ecosystem and has been featured in TechCrunch, Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Chicago Tribune and Crain’s Chicago Business among other top media. 1871 is the flagship project of the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center.

About Ms. Tech

Ms.Tech is a social impact focused, membership organization with a learning community that provides women in technology ventures and innovative companies the inspiration, knowledge and connections to reach their full potential. With a mission to evolve the conversation of female entrepreneurism and women technologists beyond the issue of ‘changing the ratio’ and towards actively advancing the quality of businesses, networks and resources, Ms. Tech encourages its members to develop entrepreneurial thinking, educated risk taking, creative problem solving and inspirational, supportive leadership within their teams, organizations and businesses. Together, we are a community and forum for early, mid-career and executive-level individuals who are committed to developing themselves as leaders through education, mentorship, networking and knowledge-sharing.

 

 

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Tullman: 3 Deadly Startup Sins to Avoid http://www.1871.com/tullman-3-deadly-startup-sins-to-avoid/ http://www.1871.com/tullman-3-deadly-startup-sins-to-avoid/#comments Thu, 16 Jul 2015 00:47:50 +0000 http://www.1871.com/?p=13085 By 1871 CEO Howard A. Tullman. To view the original post, visit http://www.inc.com/howard-tullman-three-deadly-sins.html

We have almost completed our efforts to ... » Continue]]> By 1871 CEO Howard A. Tullman. To view the original post, visit http://www.inc.com/howard-tullman-three-deadly-sins.html

We have almost completed our efforts to stamp out venture tourism at 1871, our digital startup factory in Chicago. There’s a right way to do these drivebys, but it’s not by the bus load or by constantly bothering and interfering with the busy people who are trying to build their businesses. This isn’t exactly what we mean when we talk about disruption. Seeing the sights is nice, but doing real work together is what gets the right things done. If it was a straightforward or easy process, everyone would be doing it instead of talking about trying to do it or pretending to do it with fancy coffee makers and free beer.

And I’m also hoping that we’re seeing the last few groups of corporate executives who think that 1871 is an entrepreneurial petting zoo where they can stop by for a short visit while they’re downtown before a ball game or dinner and have an ounce or two of innovation juice spill on them and also discover that maybe a few drops of digital disruption have made it into their own systems. Here again, success and results are a matter of analysis and application rather than attitude and artifacts. You can’t win a race with your mouth, and all the pretenders and the props in the world won’t change that simple fact.

But, unfortunately, putting an end to most of this superficial stuff in our place hasn’t really solved the broader problem. Because it’s just oozed out into the world: you’ve got a bunch of bozos taking their bullshit on the road and way too many people willing (for their own reasons) to help make that happen. Week in and week out there’s a tech event everywhere you look and a bunch of promoters and sponsors trying to sell tickets and fill seats along with a million media outlets looking for cheap content and talking heads to wrap their ads around. They’ll basically take anyone they can get to talk about tech topics, whether they have anything valuable to say or know what they’re talking about. And putting five know-nothing speakers on a series of panels doesn’t make things any better any more than combining two lukewarm cups of coffee makes a hot drink.

This isn’t a new phenomenon, but it really hurts our industry in particular (where a lot of older buyers and conservative executives are already reluctant to commit to new solutions) to have a situation where (a) the real talents are heads down and too busy working their butts off, often in stealth mode, to participate in these circuses and, as a result, (b) the vacuum is being filled by wanna-bes and wishful thinkers who have loads of time because their own businesses are going nowhere. I find it especially interesting that a lot of these guys are the very big talkers who’ve never built or exited even one successful business on their own, but they’re more than happy to tell you all day long how you should be building yours.

And-;the saddest thing of all-;is that a large reason that their own startups suck is that they’re always on the road talking themselves up and focusing on manufacturing “buzz” instead of taking care of business. All the marketing in the world won’t turn a pig into a prince if there’s no substance behind the talk. And all the “promotion” that these guys keep saying is critical to get the word out about their companies (in order to justify their non-stop trips and travel) doesn’t help make payroll or get the products built.

Great buzz comes from real results and the best solutions and not from the guys with the biggest set of lungs. It’s even worse when they don’t know what they are talking about and end up giving their audience a brutal mixture of bullshit and bad advice in the bargain which is obviously not a good deal for anyone.

I’ve just suffered through 3 or 4 of these business implosions and in every case you can point to an entrepreneur who was too busy spewing this stuff and drinking his own Kool-Aid to realize that his business was slipping through his fingers and down the drain. These screw-ups come in all sizes and shapes, but here are 3 primary potholes and pieces of bad advice that you want to be sure to avoid. Remember that it’s much smarter to miss the pothole entirely than it is to get a great deal on the tow truck that eventually pulls you out of the ditch.

(1) Don’t fake it before you make it

Recently, I read about one of these blowhards explaining to an audience that not too long ago he didn’t have a real product or service (as if he does today), but he was out there trying to sell investors and other gullible people his unbuilt and ultimately unscalable “solution.” While he was going from demo to demo his back-office people would try to pull it off manually in real time. This was supposed to be a form of market research to determine if real customers would buy the actual, to-be-built, service in the future.

We actually saw this guy’s “pitch” a while ago and had a really good laugh afterwards that he could seriously imagine that anyone with the slightest technical know-how wouldn’t understand instantly that there was no “there” there. Nonetheless, at the talk, his sage advice to the listeners was to “fake it until you make it” which has to be the worst single thing you could suggest to anyone who was serious about building an actual business. It is, I suppose, useful for raising money from a bunch of people too stupid to look behind the curtain of the operation and see that there was nothing there.

And, what’s worse, is that this kind of loose and ignorant talk encourages other young and eager entrepreneurs to tell investors and prospective customers just the rosy parts of their story and a few white lies in their pitches thinking that this is the way to get their deals done. It’s never been a good idea to assume that the guys with the dough are dumber than you or that they can’t see through these kinds of stories. You may feel better at the end of the meetings and think that you pulled it off, but it’ll be just short of forever before you get a call back from these people so I wouldn’t be celebrating or holding your breath.

(2) Nail it before you try to scale it

We try to work with our 1871 member companies and – where possible – to use their products and services ourselves. Most of the time this approach has worked out well. But where it hasn’t, when disaster strikes, the single largest cause has been that the entrepreneur is so focused on expansion and growth that he or she drops the ball in the base business and fails to do a first-class and reference-ready job of taking care of the existing customers-; the real bread and butter of the business. If your biggest backers and strongest supporters aren’t happy and satisfied using your service, you shouldn’t be worrying about how soon the San Francisco office will be up and running. The market will wait for a superior service – but if your foundation is flawed and falling apart, you’re not going anywhere. Ultimately, no one remembers who the first provider was; it’s the best one that wins the gold.

The second part of this particular pothole is a variation on the same theme. If the dogs are eating the dogfood, make more dog food and keep selling it until you get to a size that matters and a level of operations where you are self-sustaining and not burning cash. Taking your foot off the sales accelerator and starting to worry too soon about the next version of the product and how many killer new features your tech guys can add is a great way to lose your way. Telling prospects that you’re already working on the next version of the product (because you’re so smart) isn’t a way to pull them into the boat; it’s an invitation for them to wait until V.2 is there and ready to go. They don’t want to be your inadvertent beta testers, or the victims of your learning curve. Sell them what you can deliver today and then build on their real desires and demands for your future enhancements and offerings.

(3) Don’t be a mile wide and an inch deep

Trying to be all things to all people is always a formula for failure. Try to do a very few things really well in your products and services and in your business. Trying to solve too many problems and serve too many masters is foolish. Feature and function elaboration (especially when it’s superficial and not deep) is just an ugly form of pollution and something that is driven almost always by your tech team and rarely by your customers or serious prospects. Unserious prospects will bend your ear for hours about all the things that they would like the product to do and – just as soon as it does – be sure to call them back so they can buy it right away. This is why I always say that there’s an infinite demand for the unavailable. Real buyers and especially new buyers hate feature creep – it makes it hard for newbies to get started and costs time and money in training, mistakes and adoption. Not every product or service needs email built in as well. Do a few things really right.

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Meet our first WiSTEM cohort: Veatrice Glenn, Elena Valentine, and Alex Buck http://www.1871.com/meet-our-first-wistem-cohort-veatrice-glenn-elena-valentine-and-alex-buck/ http://www.1871.com/meet-our-first-wistem-cohort-veatrice-glenn-elena-valentine-and-alex-buck/#comments Fri, 10 Jul 2015 20:22:47 +0000 http://www.1871.com/?p=13020 Following 1871’s announcement of the thirteen inaugural members of our WiSTEM cohort, we will be profiling each of the accomplished women entrepreneurs ... » Continue]]> Following 1871’s announcement of the thirteen inaugural members of our WiSTEM cohort, we will be profiling each of the accomplished women entrepreneurs who are joining the program. Learn more about three of the first WiSTEM members below:

VeaVeatrice Glenn – Founder and CEO, Insightful Decisions, Inc.

Tell us about your business.

Insightful Decisions, Inc. is an education-technology (ed-tech) firm that develops innovative tools and programs for middle-high school students. Our objective is to inspire and assist students in taking a more proactive and effective role in their development process.

This process entails:

  • Discovering and defining their academic and career trajectory
  • Becoming the driver of their destiny
  • Staying engaged and accountable to the process to achieve their goals

Our one-stop shop platform eliminates antiquated procedures and puts the control, knowledge, and power into the hands of the most valuable person – our student.  We aggregate and curate educational and enrichment data that empower students to learn to make habitual, insightful decisions through hands on, interactive tools that allow students to swiftly execute the task at hand.

In the end, students can go from being just another college applicant to becoming their incoming Ideal Student.

Why did you become an entrepreneur?

Initially, my entrepreneurial aspiration was the result of a simple conversation I had with one of my nephews about applying to colleges. Over a period of time, I noticed a consistent pattern of frustration among some parents and teenagers, including my own son, as they applied to colleges while attempting to manage a multitude of associated task on their to-do checklist. Eventually, I felt more could be done earlier in the educational process to better assist and encourage students to take ownership over their development. I was frustrated with the lack of adequate tools on the market that provided support and guidance for students to become the driver, while keeping them engaged, accountable, and on top of what needed to be done for one of the most important phases of their life. My decision to develop the required tools and support resulted in the launch of Insightful Decisions, Inc.

How is your company making a difference in the community?

First and foremost, we invest in our youth. Our investment in them will allow the students to make a positive impact in the schools, and in turn, the schools can transform their communities. Therefore, we design products and services to help students discover and develop their individual, and often unrecognized, talents, abilities, and passions.

We believe, as the student’s trajectory aligns earlier in life with their interests and passions, their behaviors will be more attuned to that path, creating well-rounded students who willingly look for opportunities to enhance their profile, and be more prepared for a holistic post college experience and productive life.

College graduates enjoy a higher quality of life, and are more likely for civic engagement, thus creating a circular pattern in education and community involvement. The students less likely to graduate will face limited employment prospects, increasing their risk of poverty, poor health, and involvement in the criminal justice system.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

There is a proverb that says “As a man believes in his heart, so is he.” What it has taught me is that the person who thinks he can, can, and the person who thinks he can’t, can’t. Both scenarios are true. I chose to think I can.

Has being a woman affected how you’ve created and developed your business? Tell us about it.

Absolutely! Being a women tech founder has definitely shaped how I develop my products and my company. While women have made great strides in society, unfortunately we know the glass ceiling still exists, and women still face challenges that men do not often encounter when advancing in their careers. In addition, although women represent the greater percentage of college graduates, they are still underrepresented in STEM fields. Therefore, I would like to develop products and services and build a company that has a social impact on eradicating these types of issues. In addition, as a woman, a minority, and a mother, each of these titles has significantly impacted how I’ve invested myself in the company and its products.

This entails consistent development as a leader and influencer for the younger generation. I must continue to position my company as a model they would want to mimic utilizing their own ideas and innovations, and developing products that expose their full potential as leaders who are able to positively impact their communities.

 

Elena(L)_Abby(R)_HeadshotElena Valentine – Co-Founder and CEO, Skill Scout

Tell us about your business.

Skill Scout is an HR services company that elevates how companies attract and identify talent. We’re turning the transactional nature of online job boards and applicant tracking systems into a relationship and brand building capability through video job postings, social recruiting, and hands on interviews. Our approach enables our clients to build authentic workplace equity and an ongoing pipeline of qualified and engaged talent- one of the scarcest resources in building and growing companies today

Why did you become an entrepreneur?

I’m an accidental entrepreneur. I spent several years as a design researcher on a workforce innovation project. We saw real opportunity to impact job seekers and companies beyond our project scope. Being an entrepreneur gives me cart blanche to dream for the stars and then implement just as quickly.

What are you most looking forward to about WiSTEM?

Being a part of this first cohort is an opportunity to be a part of something much bigger than myself and my business. This is an opportunity to help shape what this becomes for women after me, and contribute to making Chicago the go-to destination for women entrepreneurs around the globe.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

You should be so passionate about what you do that your emotions move you to tears. It is an honor and a privilege to wake up every morning and do what I do. I still get teary eyed thinking about the opportunity I’ve been given. Skill Scout isn’t my job, it’s my calling.

 

Alex-Headshot-BW-b71069348ffa860a8300fe05f7907477Alex Buck – Co-Founder and CEO, Plumwise

Tell us about your business.

Plumwise is the one place consumers can go to find trusted recommendations for providers they will love for services they need without endless reviews, vendor influence, or mediocre options.  Our goal is to eliminate the research that goes into selecting a service provider.  The recommendations come from members and are then vetted and curated by Plumwise.

If a member needs a service that is not listed, Plumwise will anonymously ask the community for specific recommendations.  If no Plumworthy providers are recommended, Plumwise will do the legwork for our members.  We will research, vet and send the member personalized provider options.

Why did you become an entrepreneur?

My co-founder and I both have demanding careers, husbands who work, and three children each. We became increasingly frustrated using review sites to find various service providers – from a handyman, to birthday party venues to great doctors. We were spending too much time sorting through endless, conflicting reviews and still not finding trusted recommendations. I became an entrepreneur because no one else was solving our problem. We just had to do it ourselves.

Has being a woman affected how you’ve created and developed your business? Tell us about it.

Absolutely. One of my best friends and I had been talking a lot about ways to make it easier for ourselves and others like us–moms, busy professionals, women who wear so many hats that our necks can’t take the weight of it all.  We started Plumwise to make it easier to find the very best local providers, so that we could make our lives a bit easier. And we started building Plumwise with a cohort of women (affectionately referred to as “the Betas”) who all shared the same too-many-hat problem.  The enthusiasm, support and engagement of this group of women had been nothing short of amazing. [In full disclosure, there are some male Betas too, and they are just as amazing.]

Tell us something no one knows about your business.

While Plumwise is helping busy people find providers they will love for services they need, we are also dedicated to ensuring that our recommended businesses grow and succeed.

The public face of Plumwise is the curated recommendation/search platform, but behind the scenes much of our work is focused on helping local businesses find the resources they need–often that’s making connections with new customers, but it’s also finding them providers for services they need.

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Chicago Bitcoin Center Launches at 1871 http://www.1871.com/chicago-bitcoin-center-launches-at-1871/ http://www.1871.com/chicago-bitcoin-center-launches-at-1871/#comments Fri, 10 Jul 2015 16:13:12 +0000 http://www.1871.com/?p=13024

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 10, 2015

 

CONTACT:
Martin Stein
Transform Public ... » Continue]]> ChicagoBitcoinCenter

1871_plate_logo_3in

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 10, 2015

 

CONTACT:
Martin Stein
Transform Public Relations
martin@transform.pr

 

Melissa Wooten
1871
press@1871.com

 

Chicago Bitcoin Center Launches at 1871

Chicago’s First Bitcoin Incubator Officially Launces at 1871, Welcomes Inaugural Class of Startups Focused on Blockchain-Based Technologies

 

CHICAGO (INSIDE BITCOINS CONFERENCE) July 10, 2015 Prominent Chicago entrepreneurs and investors today announced the launch of the Chicago Bitcoin Center, an incubator to serve as Chicago’s key resource and center of gravity for blockchain-based technologies. Opening its doors today at 1871, Chicago’s hub for digital startups, and officially announced at the Inside Bitcoins Conference in Chicago, the Chicago Bitcoin Center will work to foster a new wave of technological innovation on the blockchain. The Chicago Bitcoin Center is dedicated to education, innovation, and development of blockchain-based technologies.

Chicago has a rich history and DNA in financial technology, and the blockchain has the potential to provide a new, open-source rail for FinTech innovation,” said Matthew Roszak, founder and CEO of the Chicago Bitcoin Center and founding partner of Tally Capital, a Chicago-based venture capital firm focused on blockchain-enabled technologies and currencies. “The Chicago Bitcoin Center is open to designers, developers, entrepreneurs, and all those dedicated to building tomorrow’s next chapter of financial technology.”

The launch of the Chicago Bitcoin Center at 1871 provides a number of resources and opportunities for startups focused on blockchain-based technologies. In addition to office space in the Chicago Bitcoin Center, incubator companies will have access to mentorship by leading Bitcoin entrepreneurs, technologists and investors. The Chicago Bitcoin Center also provides a full suite of public relations and government affairs services to member companies. This incubator is one of many efforts being undertaken at 1871 to foster innovation around financial technology.

“The financial industry is a key vertical that is profoundly affected by technology, and the Chicago Bitcoin Center establishes a leadership position for 1871 and Chicago in this important field,” said 1871 CEO Howard A. Tullman. “We are excited to welcome the Chicago Bitcoin Center and its first cohort of startups to 1871.”

In conjunction with the launch of the Chicago Bitcoin Center, 1871 has announced that it will now be able to accept payment in bitcoin. Additionally, members will be invited to pay their rent in bitcoin, should they so desire. This is one of several steps 1871 will be taking to promote the use and acceptance of bitcoin.

“At the Chicago Bitcoin Center, I look forward to working with FinTech entrepreneurs to build on the growing momentum in the FinTech industry, while drawing on the city’s deep legacy of financial innovation,” said Jonathan Solomon, who serves as the first executive director of the Chicago Bitcoin Center.

The Chicago Bitcoin Center’s Board of Advisors includes: Andrew Filipowski, chairman of the Chicago Bitcoin Center and founding partner of Tally Capital; Don Wilson, founder and CEO of DRW Trading; Jeff Garzik, bitcoin core developer and founder of Dunvegan Space Systems; David Johnston, managing partner of Decentralized Applications Venture Fund; Perianne Boring, founder and president of the Chamber of Digital Commerce; Josh Metnick, CEO of Navier; Luke Sully, director of advisory services at PriceWaterhouseCoopers; and Ezra Galston, venture capitalist at Chicago Ventures.

The Chicago Bitcoin Center’s inaugural incubator companies include: Bloq, a blockchain technology company; Glidera, a digital currency merchant services provider; Red Leaf, a bitcoin ATM operator; and OasisCoin, a bitcoin remittance provider.

About the Chicago Bitcoin Center

Leveraging Chicago’s rich history and DNA in financial technology, the Chicago Bitcoin Center is an incubator focused on blockchain-enabled technologies and provides a platform for education, innovation and development. The Chicago Bitcoin Center is sponsored by a group of Chicago-based technology entrepreneurs and investors, and is located at 1871 Chicago. For more information visit: http://www.chicagobitcoin.com.

About 1871

1871 is the home of more than 325 early-stage, high-growth digital startups. Located in The Merchandise Mart, this 75,000-square-foot facility is also the headquarters of nationally recognized accelerators, Techstars Chicago and Impact Engine; half a dozen industry-specific incubators in key areas such as real estate, education technology, food and financial technology; several emerging tech talent schools (Flatiron, The Fullbridge Program, Designation and the Startup Institute); and the state’s leading technology advocate, the Illinois Science and Technology Coalition. It is the second home to Chicago-based VCs Pritzker Group Venture Capital, MATH Venture Partners, Hyde Park Angels, OCA Ventures, OurCrowd and Chicago Ventures, as well as satellite offices for Northwestern University, University of Illinois, University of Chicago, Loyola University Chicago, Illinois Institute of Technology, and DeVry. 1871 has fast become recognized as the hub for the city’s entrepreneurial/technology ecosystem and has been featured in TechCrunch, Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Chicago Tribune and Crain’s Chicago Business, among other top media. 1871 is the flagship project of the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center.

 

 

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Tullman: Why Your Brilliant Marketing Is a Waste of Time and Money http://www.1871.com/tullman-why-your-brilliant-marketing-is-a-waste-of-time-and-money/ http://www.1871.com/tullman-why-your-brilliant-marketing-is-a-waste-of-time-and-money/#comments Thu, 09 Jul 2015 13:13:09 +0000 http://www.1871.com/?p=13018 By 1871 CEO Howard A. Tullman. To view the original post, visit http://www.inc.com/howard-tullman/why-context-is-killing-content.html

I’ve been saying for a while now ... » Continue]]> By 1871 CEO Howard A. Tullman. To view the original post, visit http://www.inc.com/howard-tullman/why-context-is-killing-content.html

I’ve been saying for a while now that the context in which you communicate with your customers is actually more material to the success of the communication than the content itself. Your pitch can be Hollywood-quality and utterly heroic, but it will only hit home with those who genuinely hear it. We want to be talking to the folks who are willing to listen (and maybe even interested in our story) and not to the accidental observers, the poor suckers who are duped into clicking on random crap, or the people who don’t even see our offerings because they’re positioned “below the fold” in digital terms.  I pity the fools who are still paying millions for videos “shown” but not seen by any humans. And I can’t wait for the media agencies that are still selling clicks instead of real, measurable results to credulous cretins to take their last desperate breaths and disappear.

It’s becoming increasingly clear that the source of the information and the credibility of the referring/sharing party matters more than brand, celebrity endorsements, bogus rankings, etc. This is precisely why social is rapidly overtaking search as the primary source of everything we want to know about and why Facebook continues to blow away Google on every possible scale. We want to hear from the people we know and whose opinions we value and not from the crowd or a bunch of strangers with nothing better to do. People who have broad connections and networks within their organizations or cohorts turn out to have just as much (or more) viral power and amplification capacity as the for-sale “influencers” everyone has been chasing for years.  We’re just not as dumb as the dopes on Madison Avenue continue to think we are. We are looking for authentic, accurate, actionable and timely information to make our buying decisions and it has become a reasonable and realistic expectation that this is exactly what the best and most competitive businesses will provide.

We call this approach “smart reach” – what I want, when I want it, wherever I am, and without asking. And smart reach keeps getting smarter as our data and our tools continue to improve. What has changed the game recently is that the degree of accuracy in targeting has continued to become more precise, detailed and granular. It’s simply no longer sufficient to use proxies, placeholders, and best guesses to properly identify and reach your audience. Just knowing an audience isn’t enough information any longer to be the predicate for an effective communication strategy. You’ve got to know what they are interested in and – even more importantly, when, in terms of their behaviors – to reach out to them and complete the circle.

There’s a simple reason that high-value product searches are almost all taking place these days on Amazon and not Google or other search engines. When I’m engaged in a defined activity, I go to the power tool for that job – the specialist, not the GP–because I’m time-constrained and I’m trying to get something specific done. I’m not browsing and I’m not bored — it’s not a discovery exercise, it’s a task.

And it’s in this mode that the more valuable assistance and offerings you can provide for me (including suggestive selling and “nudge” commerce ideas), the more real value you are providing and the more receptive I am to the pitch. This seems pretty obvious and simple-;you’re being helpful and additive, not distracting or irrelevant. But it’s a message that’s being missed by the masses of marketers at the moment. If you don’t incorporate the mode of my behavior into your marketing model, you’re missing the boat.

There’s an interesting debate developing right now that addresses exactly these kinds of concerns. It has to do with the fact that while Facebook has now caught and possibly passed YouTube in terms of the number of video views per day (call it 4 billion plus a day for each), YouTube argues that the engagement levels of its viewers are dramatically different and much more substantial. The company claims this “context” makes YouTube a much more attractive channel for video ad placements. YouTube says that Facebook’s video “views” suffer from all the same complaints I mentioned above — inadvertent views, distracted viewers, drive-bys, etc. and, as a result, the appropriate context for delivering the right video ad to an interested viewer isn’t present. The counter argument is that if the videos you’re watching are sent by friends and are theoretically meaningful to you, you might be more receptive to related video content, as opposed to when you’re bored and scrolling thru random video recommendations on YouTube hoping to find the next great cat video.

In any case, the bigger takeaway is that we do many materially different things when we’re online and our attitudes and receptivity to messaging varies as well. We also behave differently when we’re on mobile–which almost everyone is these days– as opposed to when we’re sitting in front of a screen. In order to reach us effectively, your plan needs to take into account not only the device I’m using, but also that my interest in your message will vary greatly depending on whether I’m shopping, gaming, socializing, or just scrolling. Messages that aid and assist me in the process are welcomed–things that interrupt or are irrelevant are ignored.

The bottom line is pretty simple: if your audience isn’t listening, it doesn’t matter what you are saying or how well you are saying it. The right pitch at the right point in time and place is the only message that matters and the only one that will make it through the confusion and the clutter to the customer.

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1871 Statement on Changes to Cloud-Based Technology Taxes in Chicago http://www.1871.com/1871-statement-on-changes-to-cloud-based-technology-taxes-in-chicago/ http://www.1871.com/1871-statement-on-changes-to-cloud-based-technology-taxes-in-chicago/#comments Tue, 07 Jul 2015 22:20:34 +0000 http://www.1871.com/?p=13015 There has been a lot of discussion in recent days objecting to the City’s recent announcement that it will continue ... » Continue]]> There has been a lot of discussion in recent days objecting to the City’s recent announcement that it will continue to enforce a long-standing tax on the use of certain streaming and cloud-based technologies. This is primarily because the enforcement and collection of the tax would hinder the development of startups whose businesses rely upon or provide cloud computing and related services. Taxes like this would conflict with Mayor Emanuel’s agenda to make Chicago the premier location to develop new technology businesses, an agenda that the Mayor has pursued with great success over the past four years.

Mayor Emanuel listened to the concerns expressed by 1871 and others in our community, and will be introducing exemptions and other relief for startups and other small businesses from these taxes. By ensuring that startups dependent on cloud-based technology are not subject to the tax, the Mayor has created an effective solution for our community and reaffirmed his commitment to ensuring that new digital businesses can continue to grow and create jobs throughout Chicago. We are appreciative of the growing vibrancy and economic contributions which the tech community is making to the city, and look forward to more opportunities to represent the community and to help shape Chicago’s economic future.

The Mayor’s Office sent us the following statement:
“… we will announce that the administration will be taking measures to provide relief to small businesses so as not to put them at a competitive disadvantage with their peers in other cities. It will take us a month or so to formalize the proposal, but it will basically exempt start-ups (based on revenue) from paying the tax. Obviously a lot of legal issues here as this tax has been on the books for decades, but we are confident we can work through them.”

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