Silicon Valley

Community needs its own CxO level representation at social tool companies

Your Entrepreneurship Goals Are Your Online Presence Goals

Your entrepreneurship goals are your online presence goals and community is how you get things done.

These are the slides from last month's workshop for startup founders that Tanya Monsef Bunger and I conducted at the Women's Startup Lab in Menlo Park.

Founders Have Vision & Goals, Need Community To Get Things Done

Screen Shot 2014-06-03 at 2.21.34 PM Screen Shot 2014-06-01 at 2.30.20 PMClick here for the slideshow. Last month we had a great day at the Women's Startup Lab in Menlo Park, workshopping online community building for founders. (See details here.) The questions these entrepreneurs asked got us off to a good start:

  • "How do I reach people I don't know?"
  • "Which tool can I use to bring together two communities and get them communicating?"
  • "My community lives on Twitter but what if my end users are on Facebook?"
  • "How do I combine my posts in two different languages?"
  • "How do I maximize social networks to grow community, and where I do find the time for content creation?"

It was wonderful to meet and get a peek into the businesses of founders Dedra Chamberlin (Cirrus Identity, for social identity management in the higher education space), Cynthia Litchi (she's launching Tejul, a social learning site for Latin American female artisans to teach each other), and Vicky Zhang of Fledgg (a company to connect young entrepreneurs and mentors globally).

Screen Shot 2014-06-01 at 3.20.34 PM Cultural and personal sensitivity issues we covered in this workshop included how to strike a balance between one's CEO presence and personal presence online since "it's risky!" We also talked about optimizing your profiles at all the social media services and sites you're a member of. Cynthia Litchi mentioned that in Mexico, where she's from, professionals don't use LinkedIn because of security issues -- so if you want to connect with Mexican pro counterparts online, more closed settings are where you're going to find them. Thanks to Tanya Monsef Bunger, a coach at the Women's Startup Lab, for coleading this workshop and Ari Horie and everyone at the Innovation Lab for hosting.

I want to do more workshops with entrepreneurs about how they can use social media, online presence building, content creation, curation and content marketing and personal branding to grow community...

because entrepreneurs come to the table uniquely prepared to use their online presence to meet their goals.

They have a huge vision, they have distinct goals, they have content, they have a platform of some kind. And they are driven to make the most of their resources. And that's exactly what they need to combine in order to connect with their peers, their customers, mentors, advisors, investors.

Speaking At The Innovation Lab For Silicon Valley Startup Founders

Screen Shot 2014-04-27 at 6.49.59 PMLooking forward to speaking about social media for entrepreneurs along with Tanya Monsef Bunger at the Women's Startup Lab's Innovation Lab on May 13th. Innovation Lab is an intensive and interactive learning lab for startup founders "to develop the skills and competencies needed to be effective leaders/founders."

Screen Shot 2014-04-27 at 8.26.08 PMTanya and I will be leading a 3 hour workshop in the ‘Grow your Startup’ section of the lab.


To complement six other ’how to’ subjects offered in this series, such as essential sales techniques to close deals, lean marketing strategy, lean startup training, UI/UX design, IP Strategy and Valuation/Financial modeling, we will be instructing the group on using social media to build an online community.

Tanya is my GlobalNiche team member, and for the past year has been a business coach at the Women's Startup Lab founded by Allison Chapman and Ari Horie, who's pictured below.


Screen Shot 2014-04-27 at 6.53.25 PM

Mapping My LinkedIn Network

Screen Shot 2013-09-16 at 4.41.07 PM My network has a new branch since I last did this network map in March 2013. That maroon group on the lower lefthand side is from PJ Van Hulle's 90-day list-building challenge, Listapalooza.

The blue are Turkey and Expat Harem-related. The green are Turkish diaspora. The pink is Bryn Mawr College, the orange is social media and online marketing pros, and professional coaches. The bronze is NYC, SF, writing and travel peers. The yellow at center is Silicon Valley, startups and the VC world, while the light blue is the TED community.

Click on the image to see a larger version. Here's where to get your own.

At TEDxBayArea Global Women Entrepreneurs, LinkedIn Headquarters - Mountain View

Happy to attend for the second time in two years this TEDxBayArea event organized by Tatyana Kanzaveli to celebrate women leaders around the world.IMG_0117IMG_0105IMG_0087IMG_0090 IMG_0081IMG_0091IMG_0099IMG_0101IMG_0094IMG_0102

As Tatyana explains, "Speakers come from diverse backgrounds in the Bay Area and beyond, spanning half way across the globe. Our goal is to highlight a broad spectrum of ideas, thought leadership and business models, addressing a select Silicon Valley audience, while providing an engaging day full of presentations, entertainment and conversation in the renowned TED style."

Joined by Dahlia Krausse Stein (who I met at the 2011 event!), Tara visiting from Istanbul, fellow San Francisco entrepreneur Pamela Day, Google expert Jeris JC Miller, the founder of Tealet at 500 Startups, and speakers Singularity University's Vivek Wadhwa, fashion designer Rebecca Minkoff, Sumaya Kazi and finally got to meet in person Whitney Johnson, president of a disruptive innovation investing firm and author of "Dare, Dream, Do."

Pitched to Silicon Valley VCs At Orrick's Elevator Pitch Roundtable

 Orrick's Elevator Pitch Roundtable in Silicon Valley.This is a photo of my fellow entrepreneurs and I *do* mean fellow --I was the only woman pitching in a room of 40 --  at global law firm Orrick's Elevator Pitch Roundtable last week in Silicon Valley. We all practiced 30 second pitches to venture capitalists like Blue Run Ventures' Jeff Tannenbaum (seen here in a blazer leaning against wall).

Many of the companies I heard pitched were about cars (either traffic or parking), sports (events, or extreme sports video communities), entertainment (YouTube analytics, movie tickets). There was only one other educational venture, and none specifically aimed at women, or personal/pro development.

Before the event I'd already cut down my  current pitch by half (see it below) and it was still twice too long. Mine were the longest 30 seconds of anyone in the room. Back to drawing board.

Many people feel out of place in their own lives, surrounded by the 'wrong' culture or people.

GlobalNiche empowers those people to find their place on and offline by tapping our 25 years of global experience living and working off the map.

GlobalNiche is an educational online destination of live video events, course material and a supportive environment to teach every day people personal branding, platform building, creative entrepreneurship and global community development.

Our market is 180 million people interested in life-improvement using new technology and the web. Our first product launches in September and we're recognized as top expat entrepreneurs in social media by Telegraph UK and

A comment I got from a veteran entrepreneur that GlobalNiche sounds like "a therapeutic solution for unactualized people" and few investors I might pitch will ever personally connect with the idea of being unsuccessful.

Now I am thinking about how I might aim for resonance: "You know that person in your life who's talented or creative, or has an adventurous spirit, but simply cannot make it work for them? Pretty much all of us have a friend or family member we've been watching and trying to help but don't know how to light their fire. That's what GlobalNiche does. We guide people to light their own fire."

The same entrepreneur said he sees GlobalNiche getting funded by sponsorships (as in nonprofit) than by investorship.

VC Tannenbaum gave me feedback. He said VCs care less about HOW it works and our pitching goal is to get to that first meeting. He also said if you have a difficult to understand business find an existing solution to compare it to. Analogies. I am looking for something like that for GlobalNiche.

If you're interested in participating in a similar event, consider joining Orrick's TOTAL ACCESS mailing list to be notified of future opportunities.

Utopian Cowtown

Davis, California gives us a hint of the future, a future that suggests that small communities can do great things where mega-cities just don’t have a clue. Most definitions of utopia don’t include submitting to grass police. Yet in one northern California hamlet, residents are lining up for the privilege of having their lawns monitored for eco-incorrect sproutings. “They send people around to check for Bermuda grass and they fine you if they see it growing,” admits Paul Teller, a University of California professor and long-time resident at the exclusive communal Village Homes housing scheme in Davis. When asked if this kind of scrub-scrutiny is a small price to pay for being part of a forward-looking community, the philosophy teacher is passionate in the affirmative. “I paid extra to secure a spot here and now I’m never leaving!”

Due to its unique concept, the professor’s vaunted neighborhood—a 240-home, 60-acre development in an agricultural town 16 miles (26 km) outside the state capitol, Sacramento—has been the subject of national and international television documentaries on environmentally sustainable living. Conceived at the height of the unsettling Ford-era gasoline crisis and economic recession and built in 1975, Village Homes attempted to recreate a traditional sense of community while conserving energy and water in the most efficient ways. Solar water heating and passive space heating designs are incorporated into each home. Neighbors share not only the unfenced yards around each home, they also meet in the large village green, entrust their children to a community day care center, hold performances at the village amphitheatre, and relax in the community-run pool.

Yet this environmentally-conscious sanctuary has not built high walls to shut out a cruel world, as the surrounding town of Davis is also dedicated to an excellent quality of life, clean living and sustainability; it was named one of the healthiest U.S. communities in which to live and retire. With an approach combining innovation, education, recreation and social awareness, Davis is brimming with unique community aspects. In addition to its community-built Art Center, more than $200,000-worth of publicly owned objets d’art are exhibited throughout the charming pedestrian-friendly town, for the residents’ strolling pleasure. The numerous cafes are equipped with modems for easy laptop internet access, the morning Farmer’s Market is an institution of fresh produce and down-home cooking, and neighbors volunteer their time to run the Co-op, a popular communal health food and natural supplies market. The wholesome-looking students in the well-tended public school system consistently get the best test scores of the entire region. Down at City Hall, citizen committees advise 30 boards and commissions on issues ranging from natural resource conservation to childcare.

If pioneering California often fulfills the most progressive of its nation’s dreams, then Davis must surely fulfill the most progressive dreams of its state. With its emphasis on recreational opportunities and greenery (including 25 miles [40 km] of greenbelts winding through town), the City’s budget for parks and community services, unusually, exceeds the combined public safety (police and fire) budget. Recognized since 1977 by the National Arbor Day Foundation as a ‘Tree City’, Davis boasts 18,000 trees—from flowering crabapple and apricot, to oaks, eucalyptus and redwood—lining its streets and parks, with species chosen for both drought resistance and their evergreen and flowering aspects.

Meanwhile, wheelchair ramps, audible traffic lights and Braille signs for the seeing-impaired round out the politically-correct public services to aid independent living. As for the impact of 25,000 University students on the relaxed township, resident Colleen Stanturf proclaims, “They’re not a problem, they all ride.” Bicycles, that is. Also known as the bicycle capital of the U.S., Central Valley-bed Davis sports a renowned system of bikeways that cover 40 miles (65 km) of parks, greenbelts and roadway bike-lanes.

Davis’ commitment to utilize non-traditional approaches to solve traditional problems owes a great debt to its world-class university. One of the ten University of California campuses, it was founded as the ‘University Farm’ in 1908 and its focus on life sciences has led to a stellar international reputation in agricultural, biological, biotechnological and environmental sciences. With students and faculty making up nearly half the total population of 62,000, Davis is one of the last ‘college towns’ in California—and its residents boast the highest level of education per capita in the state, ranking second in the nation.

Many of the university’s ground-breaking research programs influence the way the town works. For instance, the city is on the national forefront of multipurpose storm drainage facilities, with its drainage ponds also serving as wildlife habitats. The school researches commercial farming practices it describes as “more sustainable, ecologically sound, economically profitable and socially just”. Meanwhile organic compost material, a staple of clean agricultural practices, that is derived from the collected yard waste of Davis residents, is redistributed free-of-charge by the City “while supplies last”. Roses as large as salad plates were fed off this rarefied city-issue compost.

Davis has been recycling on a city-wide basis since 1970 and now diverts from its landfills a whopping 50% of its waste-stream (including mixed papers, glass, cans, plastics and yard waste). The extensive curbside recycling program, detailed in its publication Garbage Guide (printed on 100% recycled, 100% post-consumer unbleached paper with soy-based ink of course), also accommodates hazardous waste (like car engine oil and batteries), which the city will pick up and safely dispose. Truly putting its money where its mouth is, City Hall places a priority on the purchase of products made with recycled materials as well.

Throughout neighborhoods visited by jackrabbits, woodpeckers, deer, bluejays and hummingbirds, community gardens which protect rare and endangered species are sponsored and maintained by the University and residents alike. In a state beset by drought, native scrub and water-hardy plants are not only encouraged by the authorities, they’re readily available at local nurseries. Private greenhouses can be spotted all over town, along with rainwater cisterns, windmills, solar panels and innovative wildflower rock-gardens.

In an important stewardship, the school administers more than 30 nature reserves that represent the spectrum of California’s ecological biodiversity. A study with the U.S. Department of Energy focuses on the global environment and climate change. The school’s Center for Design Research meanwhile tackles issues of ecologically-appropriate design (including resource and nature conservation) and socially responsible design (that is, environmental design emphasizing user needs and participation). Yet another institute works on improving the scientific basis for making decisions on environmental issues, both natural and human.

With heady stuff like this going on, it’s no wonder even the heavens aren’t beyond Davis’ utopian reproach. In 1999, mayor Julie Partansky’s pet project unanimously passed into a city ordinance: to reduce ‘sky glow’ (otherwise known as light pollution) so residents can see the stars again. From now on, all new outdoor lighting will be shielded and pointed downward. “We needn’t light this place up like an airport,” Partansky declared. “We’re not San Jose, after all,” the mayor added, taking a swipe at the state’s fastest growing, soulless, highway-laced city in the heart of another Valley, the high-tech Silicon one. In the face of continuing expansion San Jose was bidding adieu at that same time to its last remaining fruit orchard, the principle produce of its fertile valley for much of the past century. For agriculturally-based Davis and environs, the march of progress has very different plans.

++++ Variations of this appeared in numerous publications around the world, including New Renaissance, Vol. 11, No. 3 and its website May 15, 2006