technology

TBT, training expat entrepreneurs to use social media

This was seven years ago, in Istanbul: talking to a group from the International Women of Istanbul about using social media for entrepreneurial ventures based on intellectual property -- aka creative entrepreneurship! 

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We started with a round of introductions and got an overview of the various enterprises run or being developed by IPWIN members. We heard distinct stories, and overlapping concerns. “How can I sell my service when the local market doesn’t value it yet?” “How much of myself should I expose?” “I had to take time off to raise my family, and we moved a lot but I want to get a career started in Istanbul.” “How do I present my company, my product, my idea, my brand?” “I run multiple businesses, should I merge them in one site or have separate Facebook pages?” “Which language should I blog in, how do I decide if French or Spanish is best?” “I’m trying to figure out what new business is going to last.”

 

Here are some of the issues we discussed during the meeting.

 

Why is social media important today?

Social media used professionally is an unrivaled way to become visible to a global audience at very low cost, by building a virtual network and sharing your expertise. People now want to do business with people, not faceless corporations. Even big companies are now trying to appear “more human”. Solo entrepreneurs everywhere can thrive in this new online environment.

 

What does the ‘social’ part of social media mean?

It means user-generated web content -- as opposed to static web pages -- that allows us to interact with each other through various web technologies. Think of “liking” a Facebook page, or tweeting a blog post, or even commenting on a blog. We can get feedback on our work, we can respond to customers in a public forum and demonstrate the quality of our service, we can meet and learn from others who are interested in the same things, and we can share our best discoveries on the web with our own networks.

 

What is creative entrepreneurship?

A successful business provides a product or service that solves a problem or fills a need. Creative entrepreneurs design offerings based on their personal inclinations, skills and talents. Often these develop out of a need to live and work in non-traditional situations. Social media is a wonderful vehicle to build professional projects on the web regardless of your location, time or language constraints. Creative entrepreneurship is a perfect solution to the problem faced by people who move around a lot or live in cultures not their own. It’s how to “bloom where you’re planted,” as Tara’s Turquoise Poppy catchphrase suggests.

 

What is a global niche?

Coined by Anastasia for global citizens to feel at home,  a global niche is where you uniquely belong in the world, both personally and professionally. Your sweetspot. A place occupied completely and perfectly by you -- so naturally there are no competitors, there are only neighbors. It’s where you can operate to your potential, and embrace all the worlds you love to belong to. Finding your global niche is part of being a successful creative entrepreneur. 

 

How do I define my profile on the net?

Building your global niche -- in this case, a professional web platform --  involves uncovering your place in the world and defining that place on the web. Inevitably one of the first steps in establishing your digital profile is communicating who you are in a way that others can relate to and may include using text, images, audio or video. For those who are in the process of self-discovery, social media is an extremely useful tool to explore and have conversations with like-minded global citizens.

 

Does being accessible on the web require extensive personal exposure?

Social media facilitates your interaction with others. People want to know who you are before connecting with you whether personally or professionally, help them find ways to relate to you. You’re not required to share private information that might compromise your security. By using a clear photo of yourself in your profile and including a link to your hub site people can learn exactly what you want them to know. (Don’t know what a hub site is? Find out in Tara and Anastasia’s free email tutorials.)

 

How can I find potential clients, customers and collaborators using social media?

Your ideal customer or client (or employer, if you’re a job seeker!) finds you by entering specific keywords into a search engine like Google. By entering these keywords yourself you’ll learn where you rank amidst the competition and you’ll also see where conversations relevant to your niche are taking place around the web. Social media enables you to monitor these conversations (with tools like Twitter and Google alerts) and participate in them with your own ideas, expertise and professional solutions.

 

How do I fit social media into my work day?

Social media is useful to creative entrepreneurs because it allows you to work in a way that suits your lifestyle. Setting your own schedule for publishing content as well as interacting on sites like Facebook and Twitter means you can work at your own pace. Keep your posts short and “mindcast” rather than “lifecast”. Share important thoughts, what you are reading, what moves you -- not mundane things like what you had for breakfast. Give your network value through the things you share. Use automation and syndication services to reach relevant audiences at key times around the world -- without actually working around the clock!

 

What is my ROI for the time I spend using social media?

Using social media to build your network and reputation is an investment in yourself. The time you dedicate will pay off when you want to sell your product or service - whether it’s a book, a necklace or a coaching program. Use social media to educate yourself and stay on the cutting edge of your field. In today’s market, trust and attention are valuable commodities that you can only develop by being well-informed, authentic and providing useful, accessible content.

 

 

Building a multidisciplinary engineering program for scale

...you need to systematize the curriculum and delivery.

Here's a day of Challenge Lab training led by Ken Singer at UC Berkeley, to get a set of potential instructors for 2018 on the same page.

 

This was a really fun day! Got to connect with my fellow European Innovation Academy mentors Tommaso Di Bartolo, Mike Kyriacou & Stephen D. Torres, among other new friends & colleagues.

A delegation from Finland was also there, because this multidisciplinary Sutardja Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology class in the engineering school is being built for scale. Really cool to see it happening and take part. 

Judging at the Berkeley Method of Entrepreneurship Summer 2017

It was so much fun to mentor & judge the tech startups at Berkeley Method of Entrepreneurship (BMOE) at the Sutardja Center for Entrepreneurship & Technology. 120 global participants gathered at UC Berkeley for a one week immersive experience into entrepreneurship, team-building, mentorship, and more.

Here's the team I & my fellow judge chose as the winner of our 40-person cohort: BrainyT, an AI-for-manufacturing going to market in Brazil.

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I also ran into familiar faces from last month's extreme accelerator in Europe, the European Innovation Academy #eia2017italy: participant & UCB student Bailey Farren, and fellow EIA chief mentors UCB faculty Stephen Torres and Pamela Day, who also was a judge at BMOE!

Looking forward to Harika Kalluri's upcoming interview with me and Pamela for the Berkeley Point Of View. We yakked Harika's ear off about tech investing, product building, and the empowering spirit of entrepreneurship.

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A few snaps from some of the seven venture pitches my fellow judge Kal Deutsch (managing partner and founding investor of The Batchery, a Bay Area-based global incubator for seed stage startups) and I judged.

Good job to these teams from Berkeley, Denmark, Brazil & Hong Kong:

  • BrainyT, the AI for small manufacturers
  • SoWa the wireless professional speakers
  • A Slice of Reality interactive media system
  • the ed-tech play for lesson plans Athena
  • CoffeeX, a connected coffee kiosk
  • Candle Sense electric candle for memory boosting
  • LedoAds, the marketplace for space ads

Thanks to UCBerkeley's entrepreneurship faculty Gigi Wang, the director of BMOE, for including me in her awesome program!

Photo: Gigi Wang

Photo: Gigi Wang

Congrats to BrainyT for making it into the top 3 startups at BMOE Summer 2017!

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Thanks to Harika Kalluri for the interview! You can read it at the Sutardja Center site here.

Considering the Arab Innovation Academy in Doha, Qatar

I'm considering joining the Arab Innovation Academy (AIA). It's patterned on the European Innovation Academy, this new extreme accelerator for the Arab world is run by Maher Hakim, the managing director of the Qatar Science & Technology Park. I had the pleasure of working directly with Maher when he was the Chief of Chief Mentors at the European Innovation Academy in Nice in 2016! The AIA program will be delivered for the first time in Doha, Qatar in January 2018 

The Berkeley Method Bootcamp: Mentor & Pitch Judge

This was one of the startups I judged at The Berkeley Method Bootcamp, Fall 2016, UC Berkeley's Sutardja Center for Entrepreneurship & Technology -- and the team our room sent to the finals.

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Featured in a video interview for BMOE, talking about the issues of early stage startups.

Featured in a video interview for BMOE, talking about the issues of early stage startups.

Takeaways from the European Innovation Academy

Enjoyed working with these fine fellow mentors, and the students and administration of EIA! 

Click through to read Nine takeaways from keynotes at the European Innovation Academy in Nice, France this summer. All the presentations are linked there too.

Thanks to Dany Augustinho, an innovation specialist at Amadeus IT Group, for including mine! 

 

Dany writes, "90% of startups fail. Every entrepreneur should bear this in mind. So, if you’ve been playing around with our APIs, and considering launching a startup in the near future, it is time to learn from the experts!

"For the third year in a row, Amadeus has sponsored the European Innovation Academy, a summer school that teaches students from the world’s most prestigious universities – and some selected Amadeus employees – how to innovate and launch a startup. Three weeks is all that it takes for them to find the right idea, draft a business model, prototype their product and learn how to fund their project."

 Here's my keynote, which used Product Hunt as an example: "How Meaningful Community Can Grow Your Revenue"

A few slides...click through to Slideshare to view the full presentation.

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And what a surprise appearance in the keynote of another mentor in the program, Gigi Wang's "Know Your Customer: Customer Persona & Customer Validation"!