It’s a jam-packed winter in the Norfolk-Virginia Beach startup community

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Norfolk-Virginia Beach startup community with conferences, meetups and lots of new companies Hatching!

Big Events

Start Norfolk

When: March 22-24
Where: Innovation Research Park at ODU, 4211 Monarch Way Norfolk, VA
About: Start Norfolk is a weekend long event bringing together individuals
of different mind and skill sets— join over 400 entrepreneurs, engineers, developers,
designers, and business people—with the goal of building a viable startup over a weekend.
Drop Anchor

When: April 18-19
Where: Roper Theater, 340 Granby Street Norfolk, VA
About: Drop Anchor is a 2 day conference with over 600 attendees in
Norfolk-Virginia Beach, VA and will explore innovation, entrepreneurship
and startup community building with
featured speakers Jesse DraperErika NapoletanoThor Muller and Scott Case.

Upcoming Meetups

.Net User Group

When: February 12 6-9 PM
Where: InfoTec 100 Constitution Drive Virginia Beach, VA 23462
About: The Hampton Roads .NET Users Group is a group of developers in
the area who are dedicated to expanding their knowledge of technology.
unWined
When: February 12 4-6 PM
Where: 4211 Monarch Way, Norfolk, VA

Drinks Downtown Smartmouth Brewery

When: February 13 6-9 PM
Where: Smartmouth Brewery 1309 Raleigh Ave, Norfolk, Virginia 23507
About: We’re are just a bunch of local creatives making connections, sharing
ideas, and actively changing the way we see life downtown.
When: February 21 6-8 PM
Where: Hatch, 111 Granby Street Norfolk, Virginia 23510
About: Join the 2,500+ member strong New Tech Meetup Norfolk-Virginia Beach,
started in Feb ’10. Meet other entrepreneurs, investors and tech enthusiasts
who come together to network and watch demos of hot new local technologies.
We meet once a month, the schedule goes like this.
When: February 22-24
Where: Hatch, 111 Granby Street Norfolk, Virginia 23510
About: Start Academy is a 48-hour event that allows students across
the campus to collaborate to build their own entrepreneurial ideas or
join in public open data projects that will be facilitated during a single weekend.
Rails Bridge

When: February 22-23 6 PM
Where: 757 Creative Space, 111 Granby Street Norfolk, Virginia 23510
About: A free two day Ruby on Rails workshop for women and their friends.

UX Norfolk

When: February 28 6-8 PM
Where: Hatch, 111 Granby Street Norfolk, Virginia 23510
About: The purpose of this group is to provide a social platforms for
professionals in Norfolk area to engage in the field of User Experience.
These include topics in design, human factors, human-computer
interaction, information science, web development, informatics,
and marketing.
Ruby User Group
When: February 21 5-8 PM
Where: Jack Quinn’s, 241 Granby Street Norfolk, Virginia 23510
About: Software Engineers and Leaders from Amazon Web Services
EC2 team will be at Jack Quinn’s in Norfolk on February 21st, from
5-8pm, for a happy hour. I’d like to invite you to come and meet
the team. This is a great opportunity to learn more about
Elastic Cloud Compute (EC2) and to meet other great engineers.

Drupal User Group

When: March 6 8:30-9:30 AM
Where: ArtSmith Media, 101 West Plume Street Suite 600 Norfolk, Virginia 23510
About: March 2013 Monthly Drupal Meetup

Code For America: Code across the Silicon Anchor

When: February 22-24 7 PM
Where: Hatch, 111 and 259 Granby Street Norfolk, Virginia 23510
About: Connect in Norfolk with citizens regionally and throughout
the country who are passionate about technology and their communities.
Together, with our friends, colleagues, and neighbors, we’ll
Code for America in service where we live.

Start Coffee (bi-weekly)

When: February 22, 8:30am to 10am
Where: Bean There, 1860 Laskin Road Virginia Beach, VA
About: Being that the Norfolk Virginia Beach Area (#orfvb) has so much energy around the startup, business creation and technology initiatives we wanted to host an event that allows for conversations and meeting people to happen.

AIGA Student Social

When: February 22 7-9 PM
Where: AJ Gators, Second Floor 244 Granby St Norfolk, VA
About: If you’ve been looking for creative inspiration at the
bottom of a cup of noodles, under your pillow, or behind a
dartboard, we’re here to tell you that you are not alone. A
lso, those dark days are over.

 

Recent Local Articles

Rojo Word

Building a startup country

Stumbling into a new market

Hook Hunt

Dress Pal

Hope Floats

Podium Pro named to Forbes Best Of List

Grow Interactive: Google Creative Sandbox

 

Want to get invoked in the Norfolk-Virginia Beach startup community? Check out the GoTo Guide.

Thanks to our partners! 

Arcphor Strategy 

xTuple

Norfolk Fair Trade Company

SendGrid

Smartmouth Beer

MidSouth Assurance

Startup Virginia

RoboCent.

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Norfolk Area Entrepreneurs ROUND 2: Connect w/Amazing People to Start Companies/Projects With

Click Here to Apply!

Wanted to share info. about a great service that seems super relevant for this crew – FounderDating (no, it’s not romantic).  Norfolk Area of FounderDating is kicking off Round 2 of accepting applications into this private group for people looking to find a Co-Founder of their startup business!

Click here for more info on FounderDating.com

FounderDating (FD) is an invite-only, online network for entrepreneurs to connect with cofounders. What makes them different?

 

  • High Quality – members are carefully screened for quality and readiness (no recruiters, etc.) Applications and members’ identities are confidential, but a few of the folks who are part of the network are former founders or early employees from: stackmob, snapfish, Zynga, Loggly and Gilt just to name a few.
  • Balanced – 50% engineering & 50% non-engineering
  • No Idea Necessary – FD is about the people, so you don’t need to have an idea, just be ready to work on a serious side project

Upcoming Round: September 20th, 2012 Norfolk Area

 

Deadline to Apply: September 10th, 2012 Apply Now http://members.founderdating.com/application/

If you have applied in the past and received an email about not being accepted in Round 1 you will be considered for an invite in Round 2   Zack Miller and I can  work with any type of groups like alumi associations, professional organizations, and government agencies to ensure their members know about FounderDating and can apply.   Just let us know how we can work with you to announce this round and opportunity to your club via email or other appropriate channels?  If so, I’ve included a small blurb below.  Also, we are happy to jump on the phone/skype or scheduled a face to face visit and tell you more about us or answer questions about FounderDating.com. You can read more about FD on here and here   Here are Photos from the Round 1 Members Kickoff:

Member Building Activity

Member Building Activity

 

Jessica Alter of FounderDating at Hatchnorfolk


Do you want to invest in Hatch? Its an incubator ya know

I went back to my northern roots on that title hey!  Wanted to share an email I received from Zack Miller of We are Titans about the incubator for startups he has created called Hatch! There is a deadline for applications coming up fast. So make it a point to check it out and if you are serious about your idea for a business, well then what are you waiting for?

Now that is one side of the equation the other side is investing.  If you are wanting to invest some serious money in some businesses that are not yet supported and are in your own backyard.  Well here is your chance.  To start investing today reach out to Zack Miller at [zack dot miller at wearetitans dot net ] about the details about how being on the ground floor in your community with investing is the new black!

+++++++++ Below is Zack’s Email to the Community ++++++++++

Friends:

A lot of people talk about generating new high-tech jobs in the region and attracting fast-growing startups to downtown Norfolk and other parts of the region.

We’re done talking.  This summer, we take action.

On June 15, the visionaries who created Start Norfolk and brought TechCrunch to Granby Street are launching Hatch, an 11-week long startup accelerator.  Hatch will put a handful of teams from around the Mid-Atlantic region through the crucible and create new companies.

We know this will work because we’ve already done it.  The two weekend long startup marathons known a Start Norfolk resulted in the formation of 19 companies.  Many of them have already launched their products.   And that was just two weekends.

Imagine what we can accomplish with 11 weeks.  This time, however, we can’t do it alone.  The startup companies can’t quit their jobs or put them on hold for 11 weeks and still eat and pay rent.  That’s why we’re raising $25,000 for each team.  As a result, we need $200,000. 

 

If you invest $10,000?  A cornucopia of payback.  First, publicity.  Hatch will be a very public event.  The City of Norfolk has contributed the Design Center, a retail space near the corner of Main and Granby Streets (directly across the street from the new urban park, The Plot).  People walking and driving by will see the companies working around the clock (and your logo on the storefront window).  The center, which has great meeting space, will become a hub and hangout for area entrepreneurs and their service providers all summer.  Also, we’re great at getting press coverage.  Here’s what we got for a couple of weekends and the TechCrunch event.  Imagine what we’ll get for an 11-week event.

 

http://hamptonroads.com/2011/11/entrepreneurs-gather-norfolk-spawn-startups

http://hamptonroads.com/2012/04/hatch-norfolk-aid-firms-growth

http://www.inc.com/jeff-haden/how-an-accidental-entrepreneur-found-a-big-idea.html

http://techcrunch.com/2012/03/28/dc-richmond-and-points-south-lets-plan-the-first-tc-mini-meetup-in-the-virginia-area/?fb_comment_id=fbc_10150645653272842_21587251_10150645963302842#comment-box

http://techcrunch.com/2012/04/02/the-first-of-the-tc-mini-meet-ups-dc-norfolk-and-richmond/

http://youtu.be/PtI-DZb3uOshttp://hamptonroads.com/2012/04/regent-worker-wins-business-prize-d8nightcom

http://techcrunch.com/2012/04/16/aeir-talk-gives-a-fathers-autistic-kids-a-voice/

http://www.altdaily.com/features/news/what-can-happen-in-a-weekend-start-norfolk.html

http://www.wavy.com/dpp/news/local_news/norfolk/entrepreneurs-gather-for-start-norfolk

http://insidebiz.com/news/its-techcrunch-time

 

Next, you’ll also get equity.  We’re forming a fund that will get equity in each of the teams that is accepted into Hatch and receives a $25,000 stipend.

Finally, you’ll get satisfaction.  You’ll be part of the solution to making Norfolk an even more vibrant downtown community, a magnet for technology startups, and a regional job-creator.  Plus, you’ll be the part of the first and only angel investor fund in the area.

 

Hatch is coming.  Become a part of it today.

Cheers,

Zack Miller


Lethal combination of books for any business! #startnorfolk

Since I am heading off to #StartNorfolk in a couple hours wanted to share some info with the folks that will be there this weekend to consider picking up this lethal combination of business books as they kick off their business dreams!

I have read 3 and half of these books (Meghan and Nancy still working on yours!) and I have come to the conclusion! If you are a business owner, getting a business off the ground, reinventing your business, and or innovating your business these 4 books have to be read together!

Suggestions while reading these books:

  1. Take notes with a pen and paper (old school I know)

  2. Highlight and dogear the crap out of these books. You will come back to those, TRUST ME@

  3. Start constructing the what, how and why plans, strategies, tactics and metrics for your business or career development while reading.

  4. Find the patterns of how to’s and why’s between the four books – WRITE THEM DOWN! They are there!

  5. Encourage many at your company to read these 4 books together.

  6. Talk with the authors online. They are all available & very conversational!

 

Pick these books up today if you have not already. I have made it easy and provided a link to the books on amazon and also the authors online information. Have fun!

As Pictured above top to bottom:

1. Rework written by Jason Fried @jasonfried Founder of 37signals

“Most business books give you the same old advice: Write a business plan, study the competition, seek investors, yadda yadda. If you’re looking for a book like that, put this one back on the shelf.

Rework shows you a better, faster, easier way to succeed in business. Read it and you’ll know why plans are actually harmful, why you don’t need outside investors, and why you’re better off ignoring the competition. The truth is, you need less than you think. You don’t need to be a workaholic. You don’t need to staff up. You don’t need to waste time on paperwork or meetings. You don’t even need an office. Those are all just excuses.”

2. Social Media ROI by Olivier Blanchard @thebrandbuilder of

TheBrandBuilder.com or additional information at SMROI.net

“Use this book to bring true business discipline to your social media program and align with your organization’s goals. Top branding and marketing expert Olivier Blanchard brings together new best practices for strategy, planning, execution, measurement, analysis, and optimization. You will learn how to define the financial and nonfinancial business impacts you are aiming for–and achieve them. Social Media ROI delivers practical solutions for everything from structuring programs to attracting followers, defining metrics to managing crises. Whether you are in a startup or a global enterprise, this book will help you gain more value from every dime you invest in social media.

You’ll learn how to:

  • Align social communications with broader business goals and functions
  • Plan for effective performance measurement
  • Establish clarity of vision, purpose, and execution
  • Implement guidelines and operations for effectively managing social media
  • Get started by “listening before talking”
  • Integrate social media into long-term marketing programs, short-term campaigns, and brand initiatives
  • Use social media to deliver real-time, optimized customer support
  • Leverage mobility and the “on-the-fly” social media culture
  • Measure FRY (Frequency, Reach, and Yield)”

3. Interactive Project Management Pixels, People, and Process by Nancy Lyons @nylons and Meghan Wilker @irishgirl of Clockwork Active Media

“As an industry, interactive is different. The work entails elements of software development, marketing, and advertising, yet it’s neither purely technical nor traditional “agency” work. Delivery methods are different, and because the industry is relatively new, the gap in understanding between the clients buying the work and the teams building it is often wide. Enter the geek girls guide. Nancy Lyons and Meghan Wilker don’t just tell you how to deliver digital work, they demonstrate how to think about it.

Interactive Project Management: Pixels, People, and Process helps clients, agencies, and industry professionals better understand the critical role of interactive project management, and presents a collaborative, people-focused approach to delivering high-quality digital work.”

 

4. The Power of Unpopular by Erika Napoletano @readheadwriting of RedHeadWriting.com

ErikaNapoletano.com

“Every successful brand in history is inherently unpopular with a specific demographic. Somewhere along the way, people felt they had to be popular in order to be successful, when in fact, the opposite is true. The brands playing in the space you want to dominate have already figured out the inherent power of being unpopular. In The Power of Unpopular, you’ll discover the difference between flash-in-the-pan brand tactics and those designed to place you miles above the competition.

  • Brand Personality: What’s yours? Explore the importance of taking a stand and why brands become road kill without a distinct personality.
  • Community: It’s the number one thing that unpopular brands have figured out—learn how to build yours.
  • Brand Advocacy: It knows no scale and your fans don’t care how big you are. A guide for businesses on the proper care and feeding of their biggest asset.”

I have had the pleasure of meeting and getting to know Olivier, Nancy, and Meghan over the years. I know one of these days Erika and I will meet IP (In Person, looking forward to that!!!). Jason and I have only occasionally tweeted back and forth.  So there are my disclosures. In no way was I paid or asked to write this post. I just sharing great people with other great people I know!

 


Change Executors vs NaySayers

In running your business, project, or strategy where do you focus:

1. Time

2. Energy

3. Rewards

4. Attention

5. Resources

So this is a fundamental path you and your company are going to need to examine for moving into the next evolution of business.  Will you be accepting mediocrity, status quo, and “well that is just the way we do things here” if dedicating too much of your focus on the NaySayers in these areas…YES!  Business leaders, workers and agents of change really need to start looking at these fundamental activities to get desired outcomes.

Or will you be focusing the above things on the people and teams that demonstration:

1. Curiosity

2. Plan the Work, Work the Plan

3. Willingness to change

4. Bring solutions or options to the table

5. Want to be accountable and responsible for a body of work

 

By refocusing the attention, energy, and rewards to the bottom list you start getting in return the desired outcomes.  Too many times I see the Naysayers winning in this game and then blown away when the leadership makes demands to have the bottom list. You can only wish in one hand for so long without cultivating and rewarding people and teams for the desired outcomes.

In my book if you don’t have something  documented, modeled out, or dates and activities planned out you don’t have accountabilities and if you don’t have accountabilities you don’t get a say. Hence Naysay all you want you, I do not understand the words that coming out of your mouth!

 

This was just swirling in my head past few months. You did notice I gave NaySayers second billing in my title, right?   What do you think?

 

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2011 The Year of 52 Phone Calls #yearof52calls

One of my 2011 goals was to find a new way to deepen online relationships.  Since some of the people I wanted to chat with are not within the cities I lived in, in 2011 I had to overcome location. So I wanted to try a different channel, what I came up with was “The Year of 52 calls”. The premise was to call a different person every week throughout the year. Sounds easy right? Well after making it through the whole year I partially succeed at my goal!

I partially succeeded in number, but I fully succeeded in making some awesome connections even better! I think for 2012 I am going to continue on this path, but with major refinements. Below are the results of the fun I had and people I called.

 

Week 1:

Called Robyn Flach 1/7/2011: we talked family, business happenings, social media in the social context.  Scheduled a lunch appointment.

Robyn Flach

 

Called Sarah Kay Hoffman 1/7/2011: left Sarah and voicemail, she left me a tweet about not using the phone well.

 

Week 2:

Called Nicole Nicolay 1/12/2011: left a voicemail about what I was doing with the year of 52 calls.  Gave her my phone number and told her if she wanted to call that would be totally cool, but know running a business and being a mom life is busy!

Called Alissa Ausan 1/12/2011: left a voicemail

Voicemails for 52 Calls

Week 3:

Called Shelly Kramer 1/18/2011: Talked with Shelley about the business for 2011. Found out a little more about company. She helps companies with strategic planning and content management. Talked about Yammer and streamlining communication.  What I do for Target, what I have planned for 2011.

Week 4:

Called Leigh Caraccioli 1/27/2011:Had a wonderful conversation with Leigh about all things going on with her business, the family, and her book she is writing. I did not know about the book, so this was an awesome surprise. I also learned that her husband works for a company based out of Minneapolis and we started talking about her and her family coming up here to hang out. Leigh and I have known each other online for 2 years and this was the first time she and I talked on the phone.  This phone call is why I am doing this activity!

Leigh Caraccioli

Week 5:

Called Katie Felten 2/04/2011: This was the first time we had ever spoken via the phone. Katie and I had a wonderful conversation about finding what the next steps of career are, exchanging social media stories, and told her about my tracking airport check-ins to find and connect with people.

Katie Felten

 

Katie Felten

 

Week 6:

Called Kris Colvin 02/17/2011:  Ring Ring Ring Ring Ring….so wanted to talk with Kristi too!

LeeAnn Youngquist and Kristi Colvin

Called LeeAnn Youngquist 02/17/2011: Let a message for following up a previous lunch that was cancelled.  Really looking forward to catching back up with LeeAnn!

 

Called Ria Sharon 02/18/2011: So I used skype for the first time for the year of 52 calls!  Ria and I have known each other online for roughly two years.  We had a wonderful conversation about business, how to succeed and creating new business models instead of fixing the ones we have currently.  Ok now my head hurts!

Ria Sharon

 

Week 7:

Called KT Wall 3/09/2011: Great conversation about life in Atlanta. Working for the Ad Agency in Atlanta and many of her friends getting married this summer!

KT Wall

 

Week 8:

Called Angel Oakley 3/11/2011: Since Angel and I were both attending #ungeeked in May I wanted to get to know her before going to the conference. We have a great conversation about Chicago and owning her own business.

Angel Oakley

 

Week 9:

Called Me Amy Roark 3/20/2011: This is was a reverse rule for the year of 52 calls, but hey I am making the rules! Amy and I got to know each other and discussed some strategies about marketing, cultivation, and formal ask for money for a whole new community of givers.  This conversation brought to light an uptapped market in Minneapolis!

Amy Roark

 

Week 10:

Called Sima Dahl 5/19/2011: After meeting Sima at #ungeeked in Chicago, I had to talk more to this very powerful, energetic, get stuff done woman!  We had a wonderful conversation about personal brand (and my take about some of it being bullshit, she agreed partially), speaking, and running her own business.

Sima Dahl

 

Week 11:

Called Erika Napoletano 6/06/2011: I finally got up the nerve to call Erika! This was a long process for me gaining the courage to talk with her live.  I am so glad I did! We talked about live in CO, writing 2 books (that are completely unrelated to each other), and just getting to know each other stuff.

Erika Napoletano

 

Week 12:

Called Peggy Fitzpatrick 6/29/2011: Peggy and I met and hit it off big time at #ungeeked! During all of the transition stuff to Virginia I wanted to chat with her about some east coast stuff. Plus I wanted to catch up on all the happenings since the conference!

Peggy Fitzpatrick

 

Peggy Fitzpatrick

 

 Week 13:

Scott Wild Called Me 9/16/2011: So this was a turn of events, Scott called me after a question I made on twitter. We had a great conversation about relocation and catching up after doing a podcast with him and folks from TodayMade.com

Scott Wild

 

Week 14:

Called Liza Sperling  10/07/2011: Liza and I met while I was out in San Francisco back in May 2011 for the SMOC Conference. I wanted to chat up to see how Liza was doing and hear about the Valley happenings.  We talked strategy, job seeking, and tech stuff!

Liza Sperling

 

Week 15:

Called Jen Howver on 10/13/2011: Jen and I actually went to High School together and she reached out to me via twitter about a year ago to reconnect. We also had a chance to reconnect IRL at #ungeeked in Chicago. We caught up about all the moving I had done, ungeeked related news, and general family things.

Jen Howver

 

Week 16:

Called Cassandra Girard on 10/17/2011: Cassandra and I met through Tara Hunt when Buyopshere.com launched about a year ago. We have still connected through the year while the evolution and revolution of their business model on the web. Cassandra and I chatted about release of version one of buyosphere community. Very excited I have had the opportunity to participate and add some value to their evolution!

Cassandra Girad

Week 17:

Called Brianna Foulds 10/26/2011: Brianna and I have known each other across the social web for the last couple of years. I reached out as part of this Year of 52 Calls starting back in May of 2011. Because Brianna lives in LA and I at the time lived in Minneapolis made lining up the day to chat difficult.  We plugged thru it though throwing messages back and forth until we finally connect.  We had a wonderful conversation about relocation, reestablishing networks, and just plain getting to know each other! It was finally great to see hard work pay off!

Brianna Foulds

 

Week 18:

Called Kasey Skala 12/29/2011: Kasey and I met in Minneapolis a few years back. I had planned on making him a part of the #Yearof52Calls and finally made this happen. It just so happens Kasey and I  are now in the same business model of working for a corporation that sells and operates franchises.  I needed to get some advice, insight, and knowledge dropped on me about this business.  So Kasey and chatted about processes, people, and especially technology.  We will be doing this again!

Kasey Skala

 

Missy Berggren called 12/29/2011: A reverse #yearof52calls Missy Berggren called me after I posted a funny comment on one of her facebook posts.  She got a kick out the topic that a feller would touch with a 10 foot pool! We had a chance to catch up and touchbase since I had moved from Minneapolis in July.  See how the connected world leads to more connections through different channels!

Missy Berggren

 

Experiences:

  • Seems awkward at the beginning when I say who I am and they pause.  Typically I ask do you know who I am or no?  Keith Privette from Twitter, usually blings the light bulb.
  • The conversations do not seem to flow as easy as they do online.  Adding voice and natural conversation ques seem a little awkward on the phone. 3. Conversations enhance the on and offline relationship.
  • Making the time to make the phone calls. If you don’t setup the schedule and figure out who you are going to call….you don’t do it! Next time around I am setting up a 6month schedule.  Then 3 months in setting up the next 6 months!
  • Keep track of new people you establish a rapport with! These are great candidates to connect with early to strength the connection!

 


Whoa what a 2011

So I have never done a wrap up of a year post before, but I thought back on 2011 and actually wanted to write it down! So here goes, this is what happened to me in 2011 and hoping 2012 is just as exciting…it may be hard to top!

 

1. I worked at 3 different companies and worked for 4 different companies. Ok let me explain:

Started the year at Target Corp, then went back into consulting for Analysts International working on contact at Best Buy, then went to work for Liberty Tax Services in November. See 3 companies worked at and worked for 4.  All very exciting and challenging project work in a short amount of time!

 

2. I moved from Minnesota to Virginia!

After 16 years of living in Minnesota the Privette family decided to pick up our roots and head south!  My wife Tara got a huge career opportunity, so we decided as a family to take off on this adventure.  This has turned out to be one of the best decisions we have made in a long time!  Upon moving here within a month the Great Dismal Swap started on fire and burned for 3 months, an earthquake happened while I was having lunch with Joe Ruiz in Richmond, VA and finally we got to experience our first hurricane called Irene.  I hope Virginians did not attribute this to the Privette family arriving to Virginia! Luckily it has been quite quiet since August.

      

Joey Me Jace 1st Picture in VA July 2011

 

First Day of School VA

 

Hurricane Irene

 

Norfolk Tides Game

 

Norfolk Tides Game

 

3. Got an opportunity to publicly speak at  2 venues!

I have always wanted to publicly speak and I finally got my opportunity to do so at 2 venues this year.  The first one was at #Ungeeked Chicago.  I had been following this venue since the beginning and wanted to get on the docket at one close to Minnesota.  That turned out to be in Chicago (sort of a homecoming for me, which added to the excitement of going) and decided to submit a topic and by golly I got selected.  At first this was supposed to be a mini-session, but when another speaker bowed out at the last minute, I was given an opportunity to speak in a larger session! This was such an awesome experience. I was able to bring in a different perspective about how a business analyst or a good technology project manager offers the marketing, HR, marketing, and social technology organizations a resource they might not have considered in the past,  to successfully implement and manage their technology landscape.

The second venue was at the Social Media Optimization Conference in San Fransico, CA.  I was asked by Todd Tweedy (which I got to meet in 2011 and hang out with at this conference!) to be on a panel discussing Advanced Social Media Advertising Techniques.  This was a blast because I got to bring the perspective of the social consumer based on the techniques implemented. It offered up a ying and yang to the discussion!

@PegFitzpatrick & I at #UnGeeked Chicago

 

Amanda Hite @sexythinker #UnGeeked Chicago

 

SMOC 2011 San Francisco, CA

 

SMOC 2011 San Francisco, CA

4. The people I had an opportunity to meet #IRL (in real life)

Probably the most exciting part of 2011 was the people I finally had an opportunity to meet this year! Here is the list of folks I got to meet and have some great conversations with.  Thank you for making time to meet!!!!

Olivier Blandchard   Peggy Fitzpatrick    Sam Fiorella    Sean McGinnis   Cd Vann   Amanda Hite Liza Sperling  Katie Felten   Zack Miller   Joey Hill   Jan Ferguson   Jason Falls   Amber Naslund Troy Janisch   Dave Murr  Lauren Breuning  Shanna Gratton  Jeff Willinger   Ray Wang   Dawn Miller   Joe Sorge   Joe Ruiz   Brandie McCallum   Cam Gross   Robert Stephens   Corie Rose   Jay Senn   Jenny Renynolds   Nina James   Joshua Garity   Kristin Elizabeth Smith   Rohit Bhargava   Tim Moerke   John Blaska   Todd Tweedy   Digital Rebecca  Andrew Hodel   Jim Keenan   

ps: If I missed you on this list please drop me a comment & I will update. I can update it’s my blog after-all!

5. Participated in my 1st startup weekend here in VA!

One the first people I met when moving to Virginia Beach, VA was Zack Miller of We Are Titans.  While chatting over coffee he mentioned he was bringing the first ever StartUp weekend to Norfolk.  I had always wanted to participate in an event like this, so I signed up. Little did I know I was going to be working on a project team vying for a potential to receive $20,000 startup money to make the app become a reality!  Our team did not win, but the experience was an overwhelming success in my book.  So much so, I have volunteered to help plan, organize and make the next one even bigger!

StartNorfolk Nov 2011

 

StartNorfolk Nov 2011

 

StartNorfolk Nov 2011

 

StartNorfolk Nov 2011

 

6. For the past year got the opportunity to help out the Buyosphere.com team

Back in January 2011 Tara Hunt of Buyosphere asked if anyone in the community wanted to help out and dedicate some time to testing, using, and providing feedback to the beta version of Buyosphere.com (back then it was Shwowp.com). I jumped at the opportunity to be on the ground floor of what I think has huge potential in the buying experience space and #VRM (Vendor Relationship Management) space.  Over the past year I have used the product, tested releases and provided feedback this past year.  It has been a wonderful experience to truly help some really fantastic entreprenuers in the technology space.  Thank Tara Hunt, Jerome Paradis, and Cassandra Girard for the opportunity to get to know you and help out!

Buyosphere.com

 

7. Got an acknowledge in a Book…uh me? Really?

Yes really! I had no idea my good friend Olivier Blanchard gave me an acknowledgement in his book until I got the book.  Someone sorta tipped me off before my copy arrived (you know who you are…), so I was on the lookout. To be acknowledged by someone I respect and consider a virtual mentor was pretty darn cool in my book.  I opened it up and started reading and sure enough! If you would like more information on this book, just click the image. I HIGHLY recommend this book any person or company heading into, already in, or wanting to evolve their social business.

Social Media ROI by Olivier Blanchard Acknowledgement

 

So here is to hoping 2012 is as fun filled, adventurous and exciting!  I set the bar pretty high for myself in 2011, which I don’t mind trying to climb over in 2012! I wish everyone the best of luck in 2012. Have an idea pursue it, have a bucket list cross some stuff off, want to try something different try it, lose weight, quit smoking, meet new folks, start a hobby, etc, etc etc…the only person stopping you is YOU. Found this out first hand in 2011!


The First Social Salsa: How relationships make dreams come true

Todd's Salsa

 

The other day I received an email from [ilink url=”http://twitter.com/audiencemachine”]Todd Tweedy[/ilink] of [ilink url=”http://www.audiencemachine.com”]Audience Machine[/ilink] that really warmed my heart (no I was not eating his salsa at the time, more on that further on). Finally a story about how you leverage personal relationships and the social interwebs to make an idea come to life.

Todd has been experimenting with perfecting his salsa reciepes and felt he was onto something that people would love to eat.  He brought some to a local [ilink url=”http://www.freshtart.net/”]Minnesota food blogger[/ilink] [ilink url=”https://twitter.com/freshtartsteph”]Stephanie Mayer[/ilink] and she convinced him to go for it.  So Todd did and leveraged every relationship on and offline to get his dream off the ground.  I will let the email speak for itself about how [ilink url=”http://www.wedge.coop/”]Todd got his dream on his first shelf at the Wedge Co-Op in Minneapolis[/ilink]

You can check out all the latest developments of this story at [ilink url=”https://www.facebook.com/toddssalsa”]Todd’s Salsa over on Facebook[/ilink], because I have a feeling it will be a long one. And speaking of Facebook he was just at their headquarters with his Salsa!

Happy Thursday!  

I hope you’re doing well.  I have some news to share…  I’m a Salsa Maker!

I started making three types of fresh refrigerated salsa that are available exclusively at The Wedge Co-op – www.wedge.coop – in Minneapolis, MN.

My salsa line is called Todd’s Salsa.  I use nine types of chiles to make a Fresh Roasted Tomatillo Salsa using two 40 pound cases of fresh tomatillos to make 1 case of my roasted tomatillo salsa, a classic red salsa with Roma tomatoes from a dedicated field that just grows premium Romas, and a Hot Roast Chile Salsa that is about 80% chiles.

Facebook will be my site’s my presence online => http://www.facebook.com/toddssalsa  I hope you’ll give my page some LIKE love and post a message on my wall.

What makes my salsas The First Social Salsa.  The President Obama hasn’t tried them — yet!!  Besty – little help here!  But, I was on AIM with Len Bilello from USAToday talking about salsa of all things.   And, I shared the story of how I almost missed my launch because my printer came back with a print date that was two-weeks too late while I was playing golf on a Thursday afternoon!  So what did I do?

I posted on Facebook that I needed help on Friday morning and by early afternoon thanks to Tracy Naghshineh I was introduced to Fern Peterson with Imagine Print Solutions http://www.imagineps.com – who rescued me!  My print job of 18,000 labels was delivered Tuesday thanks to Facebook.

How did I learn about UPC codes?  Social media of course!  Keith Privette introduced me to Paula Giovannetti the UPC code goddess at Best Buy. Paula saved me from making a huge mistake.

Cathy Paper of Rock Paper Star http://www.rockpaperstar.com/ turn social media networking via an event she was hosting into an opportunity for me to meet foodies like Donn Kelly who provided great tips and insights.

Joe Paulini introduced me to Robert Farr a fellow salsa maker.

My insurance agent Mark Phillips at Dolliff Insurance http://www.dolliff.com made so many introductions.

I don’t know where to start but Stephanie Meyer – MN Food Blogger – http://www.facebook.com/groups/minnesotafoodbloggers/ was the catalyst.  Her reviews inspired me to go for it.  Check out this Fish Taco recipe – http://www.freshtart.net/Screw–Snow-Fish-Tacos-15173087

Hat tip to Andrea Vollmer of Feed the Dog http://www.feedthedogcreative.com/ for an amazing label design!

My salsa company was launched on Facebook!

Best,

Todd
P.S.  No I’m not quitting my day job!
Todd Tweedy
Managing Director
Audience Machine Inc.
http://www.audiencemachineSo if you have an idea, dream, passion leverage the relationships you have built! You never know where it will lead and who they can potentially introduce you too.  This is a great example how to effectively use on and offline relationships to get ideas from your head out into the wild!  You to can make things happen too. I know I will! Will you?

I think the dingo ate my Network…

This post was inspired by a person I have never met in real life, but have struck up conversations across the social web about relocationing and networking. [ilink url=”http://www.linkedin.com/pub/maryanne-shew/7/950/202″]Maryanne Shew[/ilink] and I have both moved to new cities at the same time.  Maryanne has moved to Salt Lake City and I have Virginia Beach, VA. We have been having conversations about our experiences over on facebook, so I decided to share some experiences and tips about how to establish a new network of people, organizations, and companies. Some of things that may work for me as a guy, may not work for woman and vice a versa.  More about this later in the post.

Here is the conversation that inspired me to make this post:

   

Keith Privette

How to start over in a new city where you barely know anyone.  Let me tell you it is not easy. I lived in Minneapolis for 15 years. That is a long time to be in one place, right? Well it is for me since graduating college. So we picked up everything and moved to Virginia Beach, VA in July 2011. The reason my wife got a huge career opportunity here and we decided to take the risk and dig up the roots and plant them here in Virginia. From what I am told this is rather unique. I do believe in the next five to ten years this will become common place, so you fellas support your woman when they have this chance.

Here are some tips at going about rebuilding a new network, while maintaining the one you have have already built. This is very important. Just because you are in a new city with new people does not mean you neglect the relationships you have built and cherished.

1. Use your connecting skills on twitter

Being that I have fully engaged on twitter since April, 2008 it has become second nature to find people on twitter for me.  I find twitter being the lowest barrier for connecting.  All you have to do is hit the follow button and bam you are partially connected already.  Now with the follow button has to come some organization of this noise or you will not effectively use it for reestablishing your network. Once the decision had been made that we were relocating I setup a Twitter List called Virginia Beach to start adding profiles to it as I found people that lived in this part of the country.

This list contains people, companies, and news outlets for the region.  By following people and adding them to the list right away I was able to setup a column on my Seemic web and a short cut on my EVO to follow the conversations happening in this list. That is only 50% of the equation of this networking activity.  Then you have to start having conversations with people to truly make the connections. If you find interesting things people or companies are saying ReTweet them. If you find something to respond to, respond to it.  Start promoting things in the area events, conferences, and jobs.

This helps to show commitment to helping out the area not just broadcasting.  Now the conversations may not happen right away, that is ok.  These new people have to get to know.  Have patiences the conversations will happen!

2. Use searches on Meetup.com

I have to admit I really forgot how much organizations and people use meetup.com!  I used to use this tool a lot a couple years ago, but like many tools if the communities you are involved are not using them, you tend to place them on the back burner.  Well when starting in a new city Meetup is a vital resource to finding out, engaging and getting involved in a new city or region.  There are a many many many organizations that use meetup to schedule events and organize communities.

The first thing I did was update my profile to begin my searching and getting new information email to me based on my new city. After updating my profile I bagan searching for organizations that fit my professional and personal interests.  This can be many different things to many different people, so right size it to your needs.  I have been looking for recruiting organizations, social media organizations, project management organizations, and non-profits to get involved with here in Virginia Beach or Norfolk.

I have already joined one meetup group and looking to join others real soon. The biggest step you will need to take is registering for events and showing up.  This will changer everything for you.  You can not play on the sidelines of this platform.  This tool is used to truly live the long-tail of the on and offline relationship.  Trust me you will be nervous, unsure about going and scared.  It is ok, everyone is, I know I am sometimes.

3. Find events on Eventbrite.com

Much like meetup.com Eventbrite.com is an events planning and community organization platform.   Once again update your profile so people know you live in the area.  Then start doing searches for events you want to attend.  Many of these events will be paid events, so break open the wallet.

There will be return on the small investments you make.  Now what I have seen you will find all kinds of events to attend on eventbrite! So invest time is searching one time events and reoccurring events. This platform will get you involved very quickly.  Additionally if you don’t find what you are looking for create your own event!

Yes you being new to a city can start your own events. I saw this a lot in Minneapolis and many of them have built quite a community of participation. So if you think your new city may be missing an organization or a monthly type of event CREATE IT!  This will for sure be a benefit to the community as well to yourself getting plugged in and engaged.

4. Find new folks by their bio’s on twitter using Followerwonk.com

This platform has proven to be my biggest asset in finding people in my new city! I was introduced to this tool by my very good friend Kary Delaria about a year and half ago! This platform let you find people based on their twitter bio’s.  Once again when I learned we were moving I started researching people’s twitter bio’s in the cities that I was going to be living in and by.

Now I am not suggesting start following everyone that shows up in your search. Start with a plan and some criteria you would like to find people.  First search find people with the same city as you. You may already be following people in that city based on previous interaction. The platform shows the following relationship.

Here is an example of how the tool shows the relationship: Followerwonk after searching Virginia Beach:

5. Use Tweet.Grader.com to find top Tweeters in your new area!

Hubspot has made a great free tool to find people and or companies in your new area.  You can read bio’s and view how the internet views people and companies in your new area.  To take the next step is follow these people and utilize suggestions #1. This will keep all these new people organized and actionable.  You will be able to reach out quicker if you add to list or you are just adding them to your following and hoping you see in your feed.  Here is an example of the search I used:

 

These tools along with your online profiles should help you get started rebuilding your professional and personal connections in your area. Then it is up to you to start meeting people offline. None of these tools can help with that.  The platforms can help you organize, find, and lower the barriers for communication, but they will be all for naught if you don’t take it offline and let people get to know you IRL (In Real Life). This brings me to the the interesting point Maryanne brought up.

I started making the above suggestions to make connections, then I mentioned to start asking people to meet for coffee or lunch. Which she promptly told me this is much different for woman than it is for men. Which I had to pause and think about this comment. My perspective was and has always remained “It is just coffee or lunch!”  For me making this suggestion did not matter to me whether you were a woman or a man.

With Maryanne’s explanation that a single woman in a new city the opposite gender may get the wrong idea, which makes the next step of IRL in a one on one situation not as quick. A few group events may be the direction before this step is taken in most cases for woman. Which has now enlightened me to understand when making the request out of the blue to woman.

Woman go through a different thought process about this request than I do. So thank you Maryanne for that suggestion. Don’t let this stop the connecting, I am suggesting just be aware of the situation, gender, and perspective when making the ask. Now go forth and rebuild that network!

If there are other platforms or people I should be connecting with please leave a comment below! Oh and Maryanne and I have also discussed doing a co-written post about what does our networks and experiences look like 4 or 6 months later. Also I have asked Maryanne to make a guest post on my site (can not wait for her to do this, giddy actually!!!)


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