Development

Listening deeply: getting to know you, developing products, advising startups

This is my last week at the Storia App by Selfish Inc's headquarters in San Francisco. After more than a year leading early growth, product strategy, community building and operations management of this visual story sharing app at RocketSpace, I’m moving on…

I’ve really enjoyed exploring a new realm of expression with everyone in the Storia development, design and product management team and the Storia user community, the gift of getting to know creative thoughtful people better through your creations in the app, sharing stories with hundreds of people around the world, and all the candid discussions we've had about our life and passions.

I also admire the vision of so many beta testers and content creators for this new storytelling service and its budding community. The feedback shared with me about shaping Storia as a technology that supports your life and most important relationships and pursuits has been insightful, and generous.

To everyone I've talked with in the past 16 months -- whether you used the app or not, whether you're on Android or iOS or only the web, whether we've known each other for ages or just met on the side of the road for a few minutes, believe me, we talked about it -- I thank you for your contributions to the development of this story sharing social network and want you to know that I was listening deeply.

Even as I move on, I'm looking forward to what Storia has planned, and what people everywhere are going to do with Storia in the future.

What's next for me? I'll be around, and engaging with you about where we're headed with content, community, visual storytelling, and all things digital media and startup.

I'll also be talking with startups about chief product or chief community builder roles, and consulting on product, operations, marketing, growth.

On June 4, I'll be holding a speed advice clinic for startup founders in San Francisco.

With CXO advisor visiting from London Shefaly Yogendra -- who recently exited her fine jewellery venture and has two decades of international business building, and has been named a top writer at Quora for the past three years -- in 20 minute slots, we'll listen deeply to your problem and offer possible implementable steps.

Let me know if you want to come that day with a question related to product strategy, content and community building, branding, market outreach, governance, global growth. We'll get you a spot, and tell you where we'll be.

Can A Visual Story Become A Book Proposal?

That's what Toronto celebrity chef Zane Caplansky and I are going to find out, and you're invited to join us.

We're collaborating at Storia.me (formerly named Selfish), the new visual storytelling service where I've been heading content and community for the past year, to create the foundation of a book about his adventures building a deli empire.

Zane's a great storyteller, and his quest for the perfect smoked meat sandwich has taken him on a personal and professional journey around the world, from dive bars and divorce into foodie business ventures on wheels and construction lots, and onto the shelves of Whole Foods and television shows judging donuts and national radio airwaves talking about what makes Canadian food uniquely Canadian.

He's changed his name and returned to his roots and now he's serving handmade, homemade Jewish deli food the way his mother and grandmother taught him, and sharing his biggest lessons about life and how what we crave -- yes, it could be a sandwich -- holds the key to our future.

It's a story we can all enjoy.

In fact, a major Canadian literary agent requested Zane's book proposal.

Two years ago.

Does that sound familiar?

It's a common story and nightmare of many promising writers. You're busy. It's a lot of material to get your arms around. It's overwhelming! It takes time to pick out a narrative, pin down the content you want to draw from when you start writing. It also takes time to compare and contrast other related titles.

So here's what Zane and I are going to try at Storia.me, with its topic-specific, ongoing stories and its moments of photo, video and text:

We'll start capturing chapter ideas for his memoir in an exclusive story, and in this collaborative story Proposing Deli Man we'll walk you through what we’re doing together. Kind of like a blueprint for how we're doing it.

If you're a writer you'll probably find it interesting in a behind-the-scenes-in-publishing kind of way (and you might want to try it yourself, right along with us).

If you're a fan of Zane's food and his life stories, you might like to see him put together this book like he puts together his lovingly made smoked meat sandwiches.

He'll also be sharing about this project on all his platforms -- like a media- and audience-savvy book author needs to -- and inviting people to come peek in and comment. That includes you. We want to hear your thoughts every step of the way.

"It's a good example of collaboration, as well as a brilliant idea and useful for me," Zane says.

We can't wait to get started. So subscribe right now to our behind-the-scenes story Proposing Deli Man, and Zane Caplansky's Storywhere we'll be capturing all the delicious material representing his story, and be sure you're following Zane too so you don't miss any new stories he starts.

If you know anyone who would like to watch this unfold, or take part themselves, share this right now.

See you in the story!

#FilmHerStory: Anicia Juliana

For women's history month,  #filmherstory, an addictive Twitter meme calls attention to female protagonists and their forgotten, ignored, or too-little-known stories we want to see on screen...there are so so many. As far as I can tell, it was started by  curator Shaula Evans, film producer Cat Cooper, Miriam Bale and film and TV creator Lexi Alexander. Read through the suggestions in that Twitter hashtag, and suggest your own.

I suggested a story I've been researching and developing for years, the story of a forgotten monumental woman builder who built the most decorated building in the world and spurred an emperor to best her.

Here's where you can see more about my Byzantine princess story in development, including images and research:

 Click on this mind map to get the scope of the story:ANICIA JULIANA & her church of PolyeuktosScreen Shot 2015-03-04 at 12.04.21 PM

I’ve been developing this story since, while creating an Istanbul walking tour for National Geographic Traveler, I literally tripped over the foundations of a social grudge between my superlative-but-forgotten 6th century princess and Justinian — which prompted the Holy Roman Emperor to build his world-beating Haghia Sophia Church a mile down the road. The man needed to best Anicia Juliana. See my Pinterest board about it.

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I'm doing an AMA on Reddit. Come ask me a question.

EDIT: Here's where you can see my completed AMA.

 

Wut.

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I'm doing an AMA on Reddit this Thursday February 5 11am Pacific, 2pm Eastern.

AMA stands for "Ask Me Anything", an interview where everyone can participate.

Come ask me some questions?

 

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My topic is "What's so wrong about being Selfish?" and in true AMA fashion, that's just a starting point for what we'll be talking about. I'll be joined by Brock McLaughlin, manager of the Luke Austin Band and a Canadian Selfish brand ambassador who racks up karma points with his obsession of dressing up his pug Sidney Vicious, and Selfish's iOS project manager Marat Kinyabulatov checking in from the Ural Mountains.

 

Here's one of my favorite questions from the day: "Do you think the name "Selfish" might turn people off from joining the network?"

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My answer:

"Yes, it's a hurdle because our associations with the word are so one-sided. Since childhood we've been admonished "don't be selfish." When someone's breaking up with us, we dread hearing the reason "you're selfish." But we have to put the oxygen mask on ourselves before we can help anyone else, right? And there's also a growing trend that we need to take care of ourselves, and nourish what we care about.

"We have an assortment of interests and relationships and ways of being. Social networking and mobile apps and visual capture tools should be able to map to those realities, and give us the control and power we desire."

Byzantine Paving Stones For My Istanbul Intern Marina Khonina

Marina KhoninaSO PLEASED to be able to provide this LinkedIn reference to my Byzantinist intern Marina Khonina on her road to applying to grad school!

And what a fun walk down memory lane on my pop cultural/historical project that remains in development...

Marina was a joy to work with in Istanbul on my pop cultural, Byzantinist research project about the Church of Polyeuktos.

Her facility with Byzantine history and exuberant curiosity helped me develop the outline for an art historical saga of interest to a modern audience about a Byzantine aristocrat, Anicia Juliana, and her architectural rivalry with Emperor Justinian which resulted in him building a wonder of the ancient world and seat of Christianity for 1,000 years (Haghia Sophia), and her forgotten.

Marina contributed valuable context and insight into the story’s most compelling themes of religious symbolism and gender roles, including the link between Jerusalem and Constantinople and

  • what it meant for a woman to be a non-royal patron of the arts
  • what it meant to equate herself with King Solomon and the emperor
  • what it meant to claim she was head of the Christian church

...all of which Juliana did in building her edifice.

 

(You begin to see why I picked this subject to develop.)

Marina added rich new perspective to how Juliana was misrepresented historically vis a vis the lesser-accomplished Empress Theodora, and the daring Chalcedonian statement Juliana made in restoring another woman’s building project.

I’d recommend Marina for inclusion in any advanced research venture.

2014 Marks 2 Years Of Offering The GlobalNiche Program: An Update & Shifting Of Gears

An update from me, my GlobalNiche cofounder Tara Agacayak, and our team member Tanya Monsef Bunger. 

Today over 3000 are taking the course, with 13 study group leaders working to bring the program to their own communities of artisans, expats, servant leaders, writers and academics, and women entrepreneurs.

Screen Shot 2014-02-10 at 10.36.28 AMIt’s been a privilege and a pleasure to have worked full time on this endeavor for the past 24 months.Today we’re excited to share what we’ve achieved -- as well as how we’re shifting gears.

Back in 2009, we envisioned a professional alliance of people connected online sharing ideas and supporting each other’s work.

 

We began speaking to groups about how to use social media to develop professionally by building an online web platform. We conducted on and offline seminars and workshops, masterminds and community-building programs.

By committing to work in community, we evolved the GlobalNiche program as an easy, systematic, iterative way to build a platform for opportunity to happen. We realize that our individual platforms open us up to opportunity -- not by magic, but by connecting us with our global community via the social web.

In the past two years, we’ve won an award for our global community-building methodology, hosted 20+ live web conversations with emerging thought leaders on cutting edge GlobalNiche issues, designed, created and delivered email tutorials, program pilots, a self-study workbook, a high-touch 6-week coaching program, on-demand multimedia programs, 2 online study groups, a peer study group training, supported 3 peer study groups with more on the calendar and published a Kindle handbook. We’ve also provided our platform building tutorial to the Global Tech Women conference, become a LeanIn platform partner, spoken at numerous events and broadened the GlobalNiche network to include women leaders, content creators, social business people and entrepreneurs everywhere. We’re proud to have contributed to, participated in, and added GlobalNiche’s definition and practice to these global life/work movements:

  • every-day entrepreneurial thinking and acting, creative entrepreneurship as a solution for everyone
  • location independence and lifestyle design in populations beyond expats, travelers and life hackers
  • recognition of the importance of digital identity, personal branding, digital footprints and online social networking for personal and professional development
  • re-envisioning the future of work with online collaboration and co-creation
  • the adoption of global communication best practices
  • the tidal wave of online content marketing
  • the rise of the transformational consumer and transformational online communities

Working on GlobalNiche educated us in what it takes to build a business. We’ve gained a new appreciation for what we know, as well as identified gaps in our own knowledge, skills, abilities and experience.

Our early stage founder experience took us into the startup world. We opened and maintained profiles at accelerator and incubator application platforms like Gust.com, Angel.co, and F6s.  We attended founder events, applied to accelerators, got VC training for elevator pitches, learned the investment landscape. We learned about the role of mentors, advisors, and equity positions.

We tried our hand at investor presentations, worked toward that elusive thing called “product-market fit”, learned about choosing vendors, designed logos and website look & feel, investigated shopping cart and affiliate network solutions until we ran screaming in the other direction.

We worked on what seems like a lifetime about brand messaging - writing taglines and elevator pitches on a weekly basis (and still not there yet).

We discovered what it means to be a globally distributed team managing a variety of time zones, test driving collaboration software.

Looking back on all that we’ve achieved and learned, we realize that we’ve reached our 2009 goal of building an online global support alliance. More than that, we developed a curriculum that teaches people the skills they need to do this for themselves.

Now we’re turning the method over -- to you, and to your communities, and to people far beyond those in our current networks -- to let it grow.

2014’s shift toward a community-based movement not only makes the method available to more people but it also allows the founding team to focus on applying what we’ve learned, what we built, and the skills we developed on new projects and in ever wider communities. This is the next chapter for GlobalNiche thinking and methodology. Screen Shot 2014-01-20 at 5.03.33 PM Tara is leaving her position with GlobalNiche. She is putting her strategy and analytical skills to work doing market research for a London-based company and she has been contracted as project manager on an upcoming socio-cultural book about Turkey.

Anastasia continues to lead the GlobalNiche movement by holding the vision and on-going operations. She has taken a community-building position in a new social storytelling startup being incubated at RocketSpace in San Francisco. As a speaker and consultant, this spring she’ll be talking about platform at the Exceptional Women In Publishing conference, and leading a workshop with Tanya about the GlobalNiche Method at Women’s Startup Lab.

Tanya is continuing business development related to the GlobalNiche movement. She is working with female founders/entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley to accelerate their businesses and has also accepted a professorship at Santa Clara University where she’s exploring opportunities to use the GlobalNiche curriculum. She will act as director of the Global Fellows program.

As we shift gears, we’re grateful and proud of what we’ve created together, how the GlobalNiche movement continues to support our growth through the principles we’ve established in the program and using social technology.

And as ever, we appreciate being on this journey with you.

Curating My Influences On Entrepreneurship, Global Women Entrepreneurs, & Future Of Work

Screen Shot 2014-01-15 at 12.38.28 PMJust started this curation topic at Scoop.it and I've already got more 100 links of evergreen value and cutting-edge thinking.

I've been harvesting all the links I've been discovering, sharing, posting and discussing for the last couple of years in the dark social of email and private (and some now defunct) discussion settings.

That includes material I discovered and shared over the past four years at my LinkedIn GlobalNiche group, my Facebook Creative Entrepreneurs group, my Facebook GlobalNiche graduates group. I'm also posting my original comments on each of those shares.

Expect more as I pull links from more than a year's worth of postings at Basecamp, a collaborative service I've been using to discuss entrepreneurial issues with my GlobalNiche team members.

If you're interested in these topics and the thinking from around the web that has most influenced me, it's easy to subscribe to the collection in one click over at Scoop.it.

Here's A Way To Ask For And Get Support For Personal & Pro Challenges, On An On-Going Basis

Graduates of my program are prepping to bring GlobalNiche's online presence & online community building methodology to their own worlds as servant leaders in peer-based workshops (like this group led by Silvana Vukadin-Hoitt starting in November). With this framework, in six weeks the network is connected and has a model to continue working together and a place to do so.

I've also been brainstorming the groups of people in my life I want to connect with more effectively. (You try it. Bet you can name three groups of people close to you that you want to see succeed.)

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My groups share a common thread.

We are peers and colleagues and friends and acquaintances -- and we are siloed in what we know, what we are trying to do,  how we do it, and with whom. We don't fully consider or know how to tap the resource we represent to each other.

That's what I'm proposing. A methodology to work in community on our own goals, with a stronger network as a result. A way we can all be cocreators of an effective network using the backbone of the social web. A way to ask for and get help and support for personal and professional challenges, on an on-going basis.

I see you.

You are people whose dreams I've been privy to, whose skills and talents I'm aware of, whose personal and professional pressures I know, whose untapped potential I recognize, and who I feel a commitment to helping put it all together to get where you want to go.

You're also people I would love to be better connected to, and who I'd like to connect better to fellow kindred spirits in my network. People you'd like to know. People who can help you and improve your life.

 

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Groups I'd like to be a servant leader to are:

1) people I've collaborated with professionally or been in peer work groups with, including writers and media pros and publishing world types.

Often coming out of traditional models and feeling the brunt of disruption, I understand your skepticism and why you are slow to adopt today's social web tools and ways of operating;

2) friends whose work and dreams I'm aware of but we've never really brought our full professional selves together to make things happen.

We can go beyond commiserating over coffee and silo-ing the personal and professional in our relationship;

3) people I have a history of interacting with intellectually in the long term, like fellow alumnae of my college;

4) acquaintances who ask me about what I do or how I do it, but don't imagine yourself doing it.

This would include my hairdresser who as an independent professional who moves from salon to salon could use the continuity and discoverability of an online portfolio. The young pilates instructor I met at the Wisdom 2.0 conference who could be establishing her practice with instruction videos online. The woman I met at a cocktail party recently who hadn't heard of local and online gatherings of people who share her cross-cultural experience;

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5) people who have followed and appreciated my cultural work like Expat Harem the book and also the blog but don't see how it translates into GlobalNiche's social web training and online community building and personal brand building -- or why any of that is a way to help you live in the world the way you saw glimpses of in my cultural work.

People who haven't yet grasped that your cultural understandings, sensitivities, interests, experiences are assets and guidance you can use to live more fully with the help of social, mobile, and online tools and life. People who don’t yet see how your cultural understanding can help you on the internet, and in fact, give you an advantage online.

I see you, and I can envision what will emerge from our better connection. Don't wait for me to contact you. Reach out right now and let's get started.

Takeaway from PJ Van Hulle's 90-Day List Building Challenge

The take aways from PJ Van Hulle's 90-day Listapalooza list-building challenge amount to: Be the Leader of Your Own Movement with clear brand marketing, your signature system and people who are already in motion

1. We are moving from the Information Age into the Transformation Age.

2. Some people are immovable and aren't going to budge, no matter what. Some can make a change with lots of encouragement. And some are all ready to go. When you bring people who are moving through your signature system, you have a movement!

3. Brand marketing focus. "You can help everyone with your work, but you can't market to everyone."

Making This Site A Reconstruction Blog

This portfolio site is the #1 Google result for my name. This month I've started a reconstruction blog here.

It's going to be the blog that would have existed if I'd known then what I know now.

 

...if I'd been telling my personal and pro story all along with today's perspective on where it leads, and what matters.

Few little edits, but mostly going in as it already exists. Later I'll start linking all the pieces together, and developing further some of the content.

I'm also pulling together my material that's been scattered around the web, plus adding unseen pieces that germinated in the dark social of email, and in general, bringing out unpublished and otherwise fallow pieces of all kinds.

I'm thinking it'll be a way to refresh my own interest, and, with the help of web search, eventually connect me with others who are interested in those topics or treatments. They may even be future collaborators to bring the work to fruition. A public filing cabinet of sorts.

Have you tried this, or another retrospective approach to building a blog?

Update: Social media marketing pioneer Chris Abraham posted this related and detailed suggestion to "Fill in your entire social media and blog history", July 26, 2013.

"Spend this week digging through memories predating the moment you joined the online conversation and start posting them," Abraham writes.

Using Pinterest As An Author

Literary agent Amanda Luedeke posted at Jane Friedman's blog about using Pinterest as an author. Anastasia Ashman's memoir in progress at PinterestHere's how I use Pinterest as an author.

I have a board for a memoir WIP which is a way to keep it active as a project (and something others can peek into the themes of) even when I am not writing.

Here's what I pin.

Comparable titles. Images of people who remind me of characters. Expressions and sayings that capture major themes. Images that capture what it feels like to be writing the book.

 

I have pinned news items and fashion pictures that would be of interest to my subject (my best friend, who's deceased).

I have pins of settings in the story, and figures she liked and things she'd be interested in today.

In this way, the project is alive. The subject is alive. The whole thing can be interacted with, now, before it has been published.

And, the transmedia storytelling is taking place right now.

Identifying The Job Your Customer Wants Done; Why Survivors Of Dysfunction Make Good Entrepreneurs; Where We Fail In The Cycle Of Entrepreneurship; And The Cultural Relevance Of The Internet: Takeaways From Startup Grind 2013

IMG_0348 Thanks to my fellow mindful-tech entrepreneur Pamela Day for the invite to Startup Grind conference this week in Silicon Valley. It's a 40-city event series in 15 countries to inspire, educate and connect entrepreneurs.There were many takeaways, from practical to philosophical, out of mouths of founders and incubators and investors, including The Lean Startup Method's Steve Blank, entrepreneur-turned-VC Mark Suster, and Udemy's cofounder Gagan Biyani.

Below are some of the big ideas I jotted down:

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On selling: Harvard biz prof and author of "How will you measure your life" Clayton Christensen talked about achieving product/market fit (a core aspect of selling) as being able to identify what job your customer wants to get done.

Never mind the purchaser personas "who's my customer" issue, what is it that your thing serves their need by being, by doing?

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Example: I need something to do during my commute that I can do with one hand, something that fills my stomach, something that doesn't spill or make a mess in the car, something that takes the whole 45 minutes to consume. This is the job done by a milkshake bought by a guy first thing in the morning. He's not buying it and comparing the price, or the flavor, to other milkshakes. He's comparing it to options like a banana (too fast, smelly, the peel!) and a donut (sticky fingers, not filling). When you know why they choose you and your product or service, you can better get that message out there about it. "So thick it takes 45 minutes to drink". (Or, develop product to get the job done).

Enter with great products, competitors will eat you. If you enter with slimmed down specs, they flee upmarket.  (This is good to know, since many of us are in that boat of not being able to compete with established players...)

Here's Fast Company about the Clayton Christensen talk with a link to the video.

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On founding a venture: ventures fail when they run out of $ -- and then can't keep going.

(The money thing is not the end itself!) They fail when the founders run of out energy to keep doing it. We need to take care of ourselves so we can keep doing this.

Also, survivors of dysfunctional families can operate at chaos, which makes them successful entrepreneurs.

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Same was said about ADHD people. Regarding the psychological conditions for entrepreneurship, see this article on PandoDaily about the link between bipolar spectrum and entrepreneurship --"Building businesses can be a great way for hypomanic entrepreneurs to apply their energy and creativity."

Entrepreneurship is not job, it's a calling. Like being an artist, composer. We're driven to make something happen out of nothing. We need to make decisions out of passion, not fear.

From a now-billionaire who started by tutoring ppl at his house after work: Think big start small. Portion of your earnings belongs to creation of your future. You can only earn if you save.

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The cycle of entrepreneurship, Carlos Martins says, is: Strategy->Plan->Execute->Assess->Correction->start again.

That correction -->strategy part is where businesses fail since what worked yesterday may not work today, what works today may not work tomorrow.

And from the brilliant guy behind icanhascheezburger: cultural relevance is resonance.

 

Creation no longer binary, says Ben Huh, my favorite speaker of the conference since he's talking about my culture-view of the Internet. It spans a spectrum of create, curate, remix. Internet culture will make the rock stars of tomorrow.Being weird doesn't mean you're alone. Internet and social media is matchmaking, surfacing connections previously unavailable.

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Relationships are now matched to your interest. Let your fans tell their story not yours. There are more of them than us, Huh says. Don't try to outshout them.

Rather than big social where we get our cues from big brands, ICanHasCheezburger is little social. We stand for something little and let our users build messages around our brand.

Embodiment of Internet culture is user driven, rather than transactional. I want you to understand me. We want to express our best selves and expression allows you to do that. It's like we're playing SIMS with our own identity.

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I participate therefore I am. Now we can consume a world that is more personal and more real, have real convos with real people, our world view tweaked and challenged by our peers.

Other speakers let us know that people will try to discourage you.

Listen double hard to people who disagree with you on a particular point, you might be missing something. Otherwise, only listen to people who have successfully done this thing you want to do. Disregard other status signifiers like power & prestige & pedigree, these aren't good reasons to follow their advice.

There was also talk of outgrowing your mentors, and not giving away your power to partners and investors just to be "fair" or because you're flattered they want in on your thing.

Formulating My Own Future Of Work

Talking about GlobalNiche with someone considering producing a Future-of-Work-themed TEDx in the Bay Area...this is what I told her.

I'm currently working on putting years of theory and practice into a marketable solution.

Basically, positioning the life hacks of internationals and other operatives who have found themselves at cultural disadvantage as an approach that many many people can benefit from -- from those who've never left their hometown but have dreams they think are impossible there, those who've been retired prematurely or otherwise lost their jobs, to those who just graduated and face a bleak job market, to WAHMs and others in nontraditional work settings.

Life Hacks Of Mobile Progressives Can Inform Everyone Else's Dislocations & Transitions

Location independence begins at home! ...some informal notes from a discussion I had with a TEDx future-of-work organizer, Joan Blades, the founder of moveon.org

At global niche, we're currently working on putting years of theory and practice into a marketable solution. Basically, positioning the life hacks of internationals and other operatives who have found themselves at cultural disadvantage as an approach that many many people can benefit from -- from those who've never left their hometown but have dreams they think are impossible there, those who've been retired prematurely or otherwise lost their jobs, to those who just graduated and face a bleak job market, to WAHMs and others in nontraditional work settings.

There is also the  dislocation of favorite identities, ppl close the book on them when they no longer are convenient or the prevailing culture. The lost aspect then gets buried as if it can no longer be alive, like ppl who enjoyed salsa dancing in college, or reading poetry all summer -- and no longer do. But with a global niche they can keep a toe in/reenter that conversation, follow the latest news and advances, meet up with ppl who are more active in these areas than they are (on travels, or in their current location).

When we speak of all the different worlds we belong to, for non-expat types this could be gap between work and life balance...you are not in the worlds and cultures you feel you belong. But you can be, regardless of where you are.

Mobile progressives come at social media from the side of really needing it to live our lives with possibility. not as a plaything. Our globalized selves easily use/adopt tech to continue to be global. But learning to be global is what people who come from the other side are struggling with.

Pitch Practice At Women Launch To Golden Seeds Angel Coco Brown

Exciting slash horrifying!Screen Shot 2013-11-16 at 4.36.58 PMScreen Shot 2013-11-16 at 4.37.42 PMScreen Shot 2013-11-16 at 4.38.21 PMScreen Shot 2013-11-16 at 4.38.30 PMScreen Shot 2013-11-16 at 4.37.55 PM

I'm up at bat next week, for the first time ever, at this event to practice-pitch investors on your startup held by the women entrepreneur peer-accelerator group Women Launch.

Coco Brown, the COO at Taos Management and Angel investor with Golden Seeds will be discussing funding strategies for mid-career entrepreneurs.

Pitch Practice is a time for pre-selected women to present their startup and get some thoughtful insight from the seasoned women in the audience.  This is a supportive, insightful process in helping each other be successful entrepreneurs. Screen Shot 2013-09-01 at 10.01.01 PM If you're in the Bay Area, consider coming, it's free! RSVP at link.

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June 8, 2012: Notes and photos from WOMEN LAUNCH. We heard from Allyn Taylor, a director at Golden Seeds.Screen Shot 2013-11-16 at 4.26.02 PM

Theory Into Practice

Hope you're enjoying the nature in your part of the world, and as you make your mid-year plans, you're using the playful travel buzzwords bursting out all over: (palidays! set-jetting! buddymoons! frightseeing!) +++++ AT expat+HAREM

Those April showers have us blooming too. We've got a new video section at the site, with some golden oldies like the Expat Harem editors on NBC's Today Show with Matt Lauer, a steamy talk with Martin Anthony on The Crossroads, and recent material like my "Evolution of a global niche" slideshow (about how to use an identity crisis to your advantage!) and a talk at Microsoft Turkey for Turkish Women's International Network last month.*

Hybrid life coach Amna Ahmad shows us how to "decolonize your inner world" with a simple writing exercise, while Rose Deniz grapples with a unique lingo as she leaves her native tongue behind. Sezin Koehler calls for essays about Third Culture retirement issues -- a pressing concern for Baby Boomers and adult-onset Third Culture types like many of us.

+++++ AROUND THE WORLD & AROUND THE WEB

We're intrigued by the concept of Trunk, a global culture magazine "in the spirit of a Hemingway novel" which proclaims "there are no foreign lands", but we can really use the real-life logistics of expat women packed into a just-released book from ExpatWomen.com (download a sample here). Check out author Andrea Martin's $5,000 launch lottery too.

+++++ *BTW, these fresh videos offer a sneak peek into expat+HAREM's newest initiative -- Globalniche.net --  a private and practical membership community to learn exactly how to operate professionally and personally independent of traditional limitations. Putting theory into practice. Join us on Facebook and Twitter!

+++++ YOUR THOUGHTS

What would you want to learn in our new educational community? Which expert do you want to hear from? Your votes will determine the topic of our first (complimentary) webinar...coming soon!

Click here to share your most burning question.

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Perennially yours,

+++++ MISS LAST MONTH? Check out April's Upheavals +++++

Masterminding An Expat's Reluctant Entrepreneurism

Along with Tara Agacayak, I run a private mastermind group on LinkedIn (it’s a subgroup of my Creative Entrepreneurs & Social Media group). Each participant presents her case study and we brainstorm next steps.

Here are some of my thoughts on an expatriate writer's mention that if she weren't an expat and forced to find ways to make a living outside the norm, she wouldn't be an entrepreneur.

It reminds me of the Dialogue2010 conversations at expat+HAREM, and how our hybrid lives have *forced* us to be flexible about a lot of things most people (especially those in our 'previous lives' if we're living outside an original territory, including who we might have been if we'd stayed) never have to deal with. Our careers are one of those things.

The beauty of being a creative entrepreneur is that it's about making your work type and situation *work* for you, for the type of person you are, and the situation you face. That doesn't mean it's the easy choice, just that it has the potential to deliver much more than you'd get from being a cog in someone else's wheel.

Was also reading something the other day about how we don't have to make money from everything we produce (or even try to sell it), but if we're professionals (or hope to be, that is, we're not hobbyists) earning money for the work we do has to be part of the larger plan.

Writing ONLY for money is different type of job than writing what you want to write and receiving money for it (at some point on the journey, and maybe not directly from the writing).

If your interest in writing dries up at the prospect of selling it, or using it as a form of content marketing for something else you are selling, then maybe writing is not an element of the paid work you want to do. Maybe you want to keep it as a hobby, a special form of personal entertainment. That's totally cool.

But, if you harbor dreams of yourself as a professional writer, not only sharing your work widely but receiving compensation for it, then writing *is* an element of your livelihood. If you have the luxury of already knowing what you want to write, and already writing what you want to write (some people are on a different carousel, where they write for hire and dream of writing from the heart and soul and it's hard to get off that carousel for the very reason that it's scary and hard) then all you have to add to your picture is a strategy to get paid for what you are already doing.

Will you have to make changes in your plans, will you have to improve to be competitive, will you have to be sensitive to your readership? Will you have to be aware of the market and how it works and what the shifts are in publishing? Will you see clearly whether you have achieved your professional writing goals or not? Yes.

In fact, writing might suddenly seem like a different kind of work if all that stuff I just mentioned has previously been kept separate from your writing life. I think this might be the key for you. Integrating in small steps your writing as professional, and with a market purpose.

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Another participant of the group points out this post by creativity coach Mark McGuinness of Lateral Action that if Shakespeare had continued to work for a patron, we may never have heard of him.

Masterminding A Membership Site

Along with Tara Agacayak, I run a private mastermind group on LinkedIn (it's a subgroup of my Creative Entrepreneurs & Social Media group). Once a week someone steps into the center and asks for feedback and suggestions on their next steps. A week of discussion ensues. Here's my prompt about what I'm thinking of doing.

Hey all! Besides the in-progress shift at expat+HAREM (which includes among many other changes, making the content evergreen and getting off the feed the beast with original content every week treadmill), with Miss Tara I am working on creating a spin-off community.

Globalniche.net. GN will be a private and paid membership site for the same global citizen/multiculti/expat audience, but focused on solutions rather than simply discussion and entertainment. Adding practice to the theory.

In many ways Globalniche.net will reflect what we’ve seen at ThirdTribe.com this past year: bulletin boards for discussion of numerous topics, regular hosted seminars, audio and video interviews with experts and fellow seekers, custom-created educational material and special offers from solutions providers, and a support community to enact the things being discussed. It will be an actionable space, and since it will be shielded from public view, it will also have an intimacy we can’t experience on the open web.

Everyone in this mastermind group (along with some other solid members of our current eH and creative entrepreneur community) will be invited to join as founding members. When we’re ready to launch a monthly membership option will open more widely.

When we get started (date not set but within 6 months) we’ll be asking the below kind of questions to our founding members. It would be great if you could get the ball rolling, tell us what would make this a VERY valuable community for you, as well as throw out your own questions about the plan, or what we might also want to ask our founding members.

What is your biggest pain in finding your place in the world outside of your culture and comfort zone, and operating to your true potential both professionally and personally?

What is your biggest pain embracing all the worlds you love to belong to?

What drew you to e+H (and kept you coming back)?

What improvements to e+H’s brand and offerings would you like to see in a membership community at globalniche.net?

What tutorials, resources and educational material would you want from GN? What do you want to learn how to do? What do you need support for?

What kind of people would you want us to interview and make accessible to the community (by name if you know them)?

 

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Here are some of my responses to the feedback I received (I'm not sharing the direct feedback since the group is private). Five people participated (thanks to Catherine Bayar, Catherine Yigit, Sezin Koehler, Jessica Lutz, and Tara Agacayak!) and contributed 34 comments:

Thanks all, keep it coming! Characteristically, I have so many other deadlines this week I am practically missing my own party.

Thanks for the broader view of who might be of interest to hear from. Yes, futurists. In particular, may be able to address the tensions of living ahead of our time...because that certainly encapsulates a lot of the issues we face. It's coming for many others too, but we happen to be dealing with it all now.  Agree, Global Niche is a widening of the Expat Harem window, and I'm looking forward to transitioning to it, as well as bringing in new people for whom expat+HAREM may have seemed too 'niche'. Glad that the questions feel deep to you, and thanks so much for plumbing them. The deeper we can go here, the better we can start off the block. It's heartwarming to be able to trace where we came into each other's lives -- and so far back, too. Want to hear the revolutions the link has caused in your life, because it's a natural path to where we are taking this -- together.

Ooh yes I like the idea of being able to discuss whatever topics of the day that people are interested in (like art and culture and world affairs)....that would be possible in the bulletin board area where anyone could start a thread of their choice. Definitely on my list of interviewees are Amna Ahmad and Justine Musk!

You guys are really giving me some good direction here, about bringing my own worlds together. Being that bridge to make sense of how different communities and the leaders in them are informing who we are, and what our issues are. In particular, you're giving me some very clear ideas about how GN.net can synthesize all the best elements of what we know to be happening out there (rather than cover the same ground other expat or travel sites do and in the same way...because frankly, if those other sites were speaking completely to what I/we need, we wouldn't even be talking about this right now.) <- Exciting, challenging!

Thanks for your words about the newsletter, and the type of people and ventures mentioned in it. The newsletter can be a bridge between expat+HAREM and the GlobalNiche, and be a way to transition those who are interested into GN.  I'm also thinking about upgrading the newsletter to be more graphic...will need some tutoring please. Yes to the real-world meetings as often as possible (Tara and I've been making plans for a recurring Istanbul gathering) and I think we could also use a freaking major retreat on a regular basis.

This is really great feedback, thank you!

$$$ >> ONE LAST QUESTION << $$$

if you have any thoughts on it: price range. What would membership in this private community be worth to you?

Could be a range of prices...from the most basic offerings we talked about to more intensive and developed services.

Like Third Tribe -- the early adopters pay very little, and were part of the growth of the community. Now, they've just capped the community at a much higher rate and when they reopen, it will be still higher. All the while they've improved their offerings and built a year's worth of equity that new members can tap into from the very first day. So, can you share some comparable prices for memberships you have paid for, or know about?

Yes, the target market is a widening of the demographics attracted by eH material. Expanding to everyone who finds themselves geographically disadvantaged (could be and American in Kansas), culturally fragmented, etc. The idea is that this notion of a global niche may have come from our own need to find solutions but it can be applied to many other life situations too that may not seem so extreme in their disconnection.

Third Tribe is an example of an educational support community. It happens to be for online marketing. That does intersect with part of our interests at eh/GN but I don't mean that GN = internet marketing community. The model is instructive. As for cost, they opened the community at $27/month. I found that easy to sign on for, even though I'd never been part of a paid online community before. I think one of the reasons is that they had done a good job of letting me know what I'd be getting, and how I needed it.

I agree it would be great to have a resource area of best links on different useful topics...and self-help/self-improvement experts too. The counseling leads: There's a newish website of counselors globally (ExpatExpert.com was passing it around), as well as whole organizations for online counseling. Things have really changed, and it would be good to be on top of what's available.

Today we wrap up...thanks again to everyone for your fantastic comments and food for thought. (And excitement at the prospect of GN.net!)

FYI, we've got a Global Niche Facebook page as of today, and are collecting interested parties over there -- so head on over and like up. Thanks again for a terrific week of masterminding. You are all wonderful.

Masterminding Optimizing A Writer's Online Presence

Along with Tara Agacayak, I run a private mastermind group on LinkedIn (it’s a subgroup of my Creative Entrepreneurs & Social Media group). Each participant presents her case study and we brainstorm next steps.

Here are some of my thoughts on optimizing a writer's presence online, including consolidating her blogs and deciding on which social media services to use and how.

I changed my anastasiaashman.wordpress.com blog to my own domain and there were no posts lost. it took a hour or something, no big investment! The method is actually easy and since so many people before you have done it, there are tutorials too. do you have a domain and host ready to go? if so, i think there is even a option inside your wordpress.com dashboard to take you through the steps. If i find a tutorial i'll post it. Here we go, first returned on google: http://www.labnol.org/internet/migrate-wordpress-blog-to-own-domain/12776/ Here are more considerations but an older post: http://remarkablogger.com/2008/03/18/moving-wordpress-com-self-hosted/

Actually if you read the second post above, you'll see a good reason to consolidate your site and blogs under one URL: "search strength". Will be talking more about this soon, but it's something to consider -- bring everything under one umbrella, with a menu that sends us to different areas. And if you're not blogging often, you don't need a separate blog for those different interests. just use categories to separate them, and one blog with unlimited static pages.an idea for what to do on twitter (which i think is best SM platform for you to be active on besides your own blogs) -- focus on twitter chats for writers.

Here is a list of Twitter chats by Inkygirl. Look thru the schedule, pick the ones of interest and then show up for them. Participate. Use the hashtags, talk to the people there, follow them.

This way people will get to know you, and your time on twitter will be spent in groups of professional interest to you.

 

There are also agent chats and book seller chats and publishing world chats. Branch into them as you see fit. Talk about your work in the context of the chat, but also just be engaging with others and people will check out your profile, follow you, and see what you've got going on. Talking to other writers who have books they want to publish is a way to talk about your own...

I wouldn't spend a minute more on LinkedIn (besides this group, I mean). Facebook is nice but if you're going to put in time or drive traffic it should be to your own site. Twitter + blog/site it is!

Alexandra Samuel is a woman who knows what she's talking about: "How to sustain a social media presence in 3 hours a week." Take a look at her suggestions and see what you can do to set up a system like this.

Also, look at this "Strategic tweeting for authors: If you’re an author who isn’t active on Twitter, you’re making a huge mistake, say savvy book-marketing gurus."

If you're going to tweet add a twitter widget to your site so your more ephemeral activities and the conversation and info you share can be seen by visitors to your site. It makes it look like someone's home. Here's how.