Mari

Archive for the ‘Networking’ Category

Jon: DesktimeApp.

In Be memorable, Just plain fun, Networking, Super Helpful Info, Tech on 01/27/2013 at 4:17 pm

I met Jon at an event in town (I think it was 37signals related, which would explain Jon’s techiness). Our conversation went something like this:

Jon: What do you do?
Me: I make cupcakes. What do you do?
Jon: I make apps.
Me: Cool.

Then, I asked more questions and found out that Jon’s app, DesktimeApp, is actually really cool, really pretty, and really useful.

Desktime App Coworking

Whenever I travel, I’ve found it’s much more fun to work in a co-working space and meet new entrepreneurs, than it is to go to a coffee shop and share space with a potentially unstable person and a really loud steam machine.

Solution: DesktimeApp.

I’ve met so many cool people, discovered so many new places, and gotten such great feedback – all because of this tiny little web app that I keep bookmarked on my phone whenever I’m in a new city.

You may enjoy it too.

Shannon: Grant For Good.

In Be memorable, Create, Dancing, Marketing, Networking, Organization, Relationships, Tech on 10/23/2012 at 1:29 am

I met Shannon when we were both on a panel last year in Chicago. She’s the super smart, hard working, inspiring founder of Pivotal Productions. We discovered that we were both tap dancers in a past life (although she won national tap dance competitions and I never even entered them). Here’s a snapshot of us doing a triple time step before our panel:

So, one of the best things she brought up was how she joined forces with a bunch of other small businesses to provide an amazing grant (like, $100K+ in business services) to one non-profit applicant via Grant for Good. Why is this brilliant?

1 – Two heads (or seven companies, in this case) are better than one. Businesses can do more when joining forces than operating solo.

2 – Harnessing requests for donated product or services – which is every small business’ challenge – is much easier if it’s handled in an organized, official way. (Saying, “Apply for our Grant for Good” > reviewing a million scattered requests for donations.)

3 – This gets more press. Let’s face it: we donate “in exchange for free press” all the time, but what does that really get us? A tiny logo on a banner? A quarter page ad in a program that nobody reads anyhow? By collaborating and doing something truly impactful, it’s likely to get more buzz.

I’m excited to apply this concept – and to tap dance again with Shannon. Next time, on stage!

Paul: What VCs Look For.

In Business, Create, Networking, Tech on 06/19/2012 at 3:04 pm

I met Paul when we spoke at an entrepreneurship dinner last fall. He’s a partner at Lightbank (which invested in some local coupon company and I guess did okay with that.) When I met him, we joked that we were the Asian invasion. I also told him that I never have and didn’t plan on going after any external funding. He said genuinely, “Okay, but if you ever think differently, you know you can reach out.” So I do, regularly – but just to talk shop and get his feedback.

The last time I lunched with Paul, he said he hears hundreds of pitches on a monthly basis. I asked him how he even starts to figure out what would be a good investment.

“When I’m looking at a business idea, I check to see if it’s relevant, non-obvious, and robust. That’s it.”

As I’m (finally, sort of, timidly) contemplating talking to investors about expanding our current offer, I’m for SURE making sure that it’s

relevant
non-obvious
robust.

Easy enough. Time to get back to work.

Stu: Nice to Meet You

In Be memorable, Networking, Super Helpful Info on 05/08/2012 at 11:09 pm

I met Stu at a 37Signals-new-office-open-house thing last year. When I met him, I had a super tough time remembering his name. So he taught me this trick he learned in an improv class:

“When you meet someone, sandwich “nice to meet you” in between their name. So, I would say, “Mari, nice to meet you, Mari.” The act of saying someone’s name twice cements it in your mind. Try it sometime.”

So guess what? If we meet, I’ll be saying, “Blog reader, nice to meet you, blog reader.”

And I’ll even remember that your name is “blog reader,” thanks to Stu.

Julie: Three Months.

In Cooking, Human behavior, Networking, Organization, Relationships on 04/15/2011 at 2:24 am

Julie is one of my heroines. She’s mom to four amazing grown children, is a power attorney, drives a stick shift Mini Cooper and bakes the world’s best pot roast. Nom.

I was over at her house one Sunday a few years ago for dinner, and we were all chatty and having a good time. In the middle of the conversation, she said, “Hey, Mari – let’s schedule another one of these dinners in three months. When’s good for you?”

I said, “I have no idea. Three months?”

Her reasoning was fourfold:
1 – If we say, “Let’s do dinner sometime soon,” that ‘soon’ turns into a month, turns into six months, turns into 10 years. BAD.
2 – If we say, “Let’s do dinner next month,” there will inevitably be some scheduling conflict and then we’ll say, “Let’s reschedule for another time – sometime soon,” which turns back into #1. BAD.
3 – If we say, “Let’s set a date three months out to do dinner,” there are fewer scheduling conflicts, we can both put it onto our calendars now, and then we have something to look forward to in three months. GOOD!
4 – A lot can change in three months, so conversation will be fresh and fun. GOOD!

Now, I use Julie’s “three months” scenario with those who lead super busy lives, but who I MUST see again.

Julie, just so you know, aside from your pot roast, this is the BEST tip I’ve ever gotten from you. (Get it? Oh, I kill myself.)

Mrs. Dunn: Save a party.

In Experience, Human behavior, Just plain fun, Networking on 02/10/2010 at 10:10 am

A few weeks ago, Sydney and I went to the most random dinner ever with the most random group of people ever. It had serious potential awkwardness written all over it.

But then I remembered a game my 4th grade teacher Mrs. Dunn made us play on the first day of school to get us all to start talking to each other:

1. Talk about yourself, your accomplishments, your life, your goals, your dreams, your fears – for two minutes.
2. No embellishing allowed – just straight facts.
3. Those listening shouldn’t be judgmental.
4. Stop after two minutes.
5. Allow the others in the group to do Q & A / follow up on any interesting points for two minutes.
6. Move onto the next person.

By the end of this game (and before our dinners even showed up), I had something in common with everyone. No joke.

Mrs. Dunn, thanks for coming to our rescue – 21 years later. If you’re reading this, could you please remind me what the name of this icebreaker is? Because right now, it’s just called the 2-minute-bragging-game. And I’m positive you had a better name for it . . . .

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.