Fun Fall Activities for This Weekend

Still haven’t made plans for the weekend? Check out my top three picks for fun fall activities this year on the Eastside.

Pick #3 – If you want to stick to the Eastside this weekend, check out The South 47 Farm (just minutes away from thinkspace actually). They’ve got fresh vegetables, gourds, and pumpkins galore (complete with pumpkin pie recipes) and a corn maze that can be explored by day or by night. This maze normally takes about a half of an hour to complete and includes are interactive questions in that test your knowledge of local farming and provide clues to help you find your way out! Call 425-869-9777 for more information or visit their website at www.thesouth47farm.com.  

Pick # 2 – If you’re okay with a cozy fall drive, head out to Everett for Biringer Farm’s autumn celebration, Pumpkin Country! They have a ton of pumpkins (u-pick or pre-picked), Hay Rides, Face Painting and a “Boo Barn” (filled with not-so-scary frights for the youngsters). Biringer Farm is open this Friday and Saturday from 10am-5pm! Check out their website at www.biringerfarm.com or call them at 425-259-0255 for more information.

Pick # 1 (TOP CHOICE for Three Years Running!) – My number one pick is unquestionably Stocker Farms in Snohomish – it’s well worth the drive and has something for everyone! They host a difficult 10 acre corn maze called the Boeing 787 Dreamliner that can take up to an hour and a half to complete, The Haunted Field of Screams (complete with grim reapers and ghosts and not recommended for younger children), pumpkin launches, the Children’s Festival Field and fresh cider. Open for business through this Saturday! Check www.stockerfarms.com out for more information or call 360-568-7391.

,

Lessons Learned from Office Space

The fact that people are most productive when around others has been proven in more conventional ways. But, we are going to mix it up a bit and bring it right back to 1999 and the release of the movie Office Space.  If you haven’t yet seen this epic comedy, please stop reading here and pay a visit to your local video store.  Believe it or not, Office Space can actually teach us some core lessons about the benefits of working with others.

If you are trying to start a business, attempting to finish a project or anything in between, a little time working right from home can be a good (and sometimes necessary) thing. But what happens when you get writer’s block? Or when you need a professional reference that really knows your business? Or, what if you just can’t muster up the strength to pull yourself off the couch in the middle of “Family Guy” and get to work? The answer lies between the lines of Office Space: surround yourself with like-minded professionals to reach your true potential.

Lesson 1: Collaborate

Remember the scene in which Peter Gibbons has just informed his two friends of their unexpected termination from Initech (your typical late 90’s software company)? After tons of thought (and a couple drinks) they come up with their brilliant plan for making millions. (For now will ignore the fact that it almost lands them in jail.) Without their collaboration they might not have found a solution; Samir Na..Naga…whatever and Michael Bolton (no, not the singer) would have been left without a job.

Lesson 2: Coworkers Count

Milton (the squirrely one with fishbowl glasses who mumbles a lot) teaches us yet another lesson when he is repeatedly asked to move his desk multiple times further and further away from his coworkers. When Milton ends up in the basement, with only storage boxes and rats to keep him company, he claims (again) that this is “the last straw.” The lack of human presence in that basement was quite eerie and I hate to say it, but some homes resemble just this during the day. No matter who you are, at some point, you are going to crave human contact and this contact could give you a step up over your competitors.

Lesson 3: Camaraderie

Peter, Samir, Michael Bolton and Milton also teach us how vital it can be to have friends in the work place to share a few laughs with. Get into an office and send along your favorite joke from the weekend or forward on those silly cartoons (not on company time, of course). Having professional friendships can only be beneficial. Along with the business referrals received the connections you make in a workplace can have a lasting impact on your professional career.

Who would have thought you could learn that much from a couple of Initech employees in Office Space, huh?

Check out www.thinkspace.com for all of our coworking and shared office programs.

EO Accelerator Style Learning Event – Oct. 27

EO Accelerator is an incredible program for entrepreneurs that want to scale their business or startup from $250,000 in gross revenues to the $1 million dollar mark and above. I have been very impressed with the Accelerator Program’s  learning day events. I’ve attended two events this year.  The first one was focused on cash flow and business finances.  The second event was focused on sales and marketing.  I was quite impressed with the speakers Doug Hoselton and Nancy Juetten, two of which are going to be speaking again at this upcoming event on Oct. 27.

The morning program will deliver high-impact content with valuable handouts of finance from Entrepreneurs’ Organization member Greg Crabtree. Greg is the CEO of the strategic accounting firm Crabtree, Rowe & Berger, P.C. He is a true subject matter expert and a highly sought after EO Accelerator presenter.

Doug Hoselton, Sandler Training has titled his presentation “Break The Rules…and Close More Sales”. The Not enough prospects?  Not closing enough business?  If you are committed to overcoming the changes in the marketplace, economy, and your prospect’s business environment, I invite you to join Doug Hoselton, President/Owner of Sandler Training, and discover how you can improve sales performance.

Nancy Jutten will speak about “Get Seen, Heard and Celebrated in Your Own Backyard…and Beyond through the Power and Impact of Free Publicity”.  Nancy will share with you how to become an expert in your field through the power of free publicity!

I definitely encourage thinkspace Members and any entrepreneur to attend this event. If you’re interested in attending it’s free and you can RSVP ASAP with Donna Carrigan dcarrigan [at] eonetwork [dot] org.  The event is on Oct. 27 from 9am – 12pm.

Peter
Seattle, Accelerator (Communications Chair)

,

Nicole Donnelly at thinkspace

Wednesday, November 4th  |  12:00pm  |  thinkspace

Nicole Donnelly, Founder of BabyLegs

“Selling cookies for profit as a little girl was the first in a long line of successful entrepreneurial ventures. Whether I was riding off a big jump at the X Games as a world-class professional snowboarder or launching, growing, and ultimately selling the majority of Babylegs LLC — an international business — to a major hosiery manufacturer for a price that exceeded even my own high expectations, performing at the top of my game has always been priority one.

“Today, I am fiercely committed to sharing the powerful lessons learned along my journey to empower aspiring and growth-focused entrepreneurs to travel their own remarkable, memorable, and profitable paths to success. What I know for sure is that there is marketplace magic in finding extraordinary solutions to common problems. It’s just a matter of making the right steps, taking the right risks, and being prepared to pick yourself up and keep going when things don’t go your way.

“Serving a leadership role for the Entrepreneurs Organization as EO Accelerator Chair offers me the rewarding opportunity to guide growth-oriented businesses from $250,000 through the million dollar mark. I enjoy giving back to a global network of truly outstanding business owners that have been equally generous in providing personal and professional resources to guide my own journey. My daughter and husband inspire me every day to reach higher, think bigger, and to find humor in the chaos of entrepreneurial life.” Nicole Donnelly, Founder of Babylegs

Nicole will be sharing a bit about her journey and what it took to bring her company full circle, from founding to eventually selling. If you are planning on coming to this event and have something that you would specifically like to hear from Nicole, please email me and I will pass on the information to our speaker!

Hope to see you there! For more information, please email: alyssa [at] thinkspace [dot] com.

What are you doing October 22nd?

I assume that most of you have heard of the upcoming release of the new Windows7. I will also assume that you have heard of the global launch parties and the degree of lameness that was applied to the marketing. While some of these parties might very well be somewhat lame (for lack of a better word), I can assure you that we (thinkspace) and Sysgain will put on something that is far from you-know-what.  

We will be co-hosting the one and only Windows7 Launch Party in downtown Redmond on Thursday, October 22nd from 6-8pm. And, dont worry, our activities wont be quite as boring as those you may have seen on the Microsoft videos featured online.

We are going to be helping out any and all party-goers with creating 30 second podcasts to market their businesses. You will be able to give a little preview of what your company is all about and then we will feature it on our blog and have it on our flatscreens throughout thinkspace so that other members and clients alike can hear more about your company! Remember, more publicity equals more business! You will also have access to a copy of your podcast for yourself to use on any marketing collateral that you would like.

If that’s not enough to sway you into spending your Thursday night with us, we will be providing drinks (yes, this will include a keg) and refreshments for the evening and this event is all at no cost to you! We’ll also be giving away drawing prizes, so bring some business cards and come on down to 8201 164th AVE NE on Thursday, October 22nd at 6pm! C’mon, what else do you have to do on a work night, anyway?

Starent Networks acquired by Cisco #tsmember

Starent Networks, one of our very first thinkspace members has been acquired by Cisco. Congrats to members Jeff Jackson, Kevin Smith, Vinod Kumar, Steve Bailey, Paul Mentz, Dale Zook, Brett Johnson, and Mark Nelson!

The NY Times reported that on Tuesday, October 13th, Cisco announced that it would pay $35 a share, or $2.9 billion, for Starent Networks, which makes products that help wireless telecommunications companies ship large volumes of data to phones and computing devices.

The deal represents about a 20 percent premium over Starent’s closing price on Monday of $29.03 a share. After the announcement, Starent’s shares rose $4.88, or almost 17 percent, to close at $33.91 on Tuesday.

The all-cash deal is expected to close in the first half of 2010.

Pankaj Patel, SPV/GM of Service Provider Business talks about Starent Networks acquisition: “The growth of smart devices and networks have changed how consumers use the Internet.  Cisco and Starent share a common vision and culture and bring complementary technologies designed to accelerate the transition to the mobile Internet where the network is the platform for service providers to launch deliver and monotize the next generation of mobile multimedia applications and services. Starent will combine Cisco’s strengths in IP NGN and Video and allow Cisco to expand its Mobile Internet offerings to truly be Next Generation Internet offerings.”

Watch to the entire video on Cisco’s website.

Parnassus Group: Behind the Scenes @ The Twitter Conference Los Angeles #140tc

Tony Robbins (Photo by Jim Alden @techfrog)

I recently got back from The Twitter Conference LA. The organizers of this event, the Parnassus Group (Steve, Jason, Kim, Joseph) are thinkspace members. I’m fortunate to be able to hang out with them on a daily basis and see what goes into creating events of this magnitude. It’s kind of like getting a backstage pass! One of the best things about the event was having dinner with them after the first day and hearing the team recap the day from their perspective.

I thought Steve and his team did a great job handling the unexpected at the Conference. The first big surprise was The Iron Sheik crashing the Comedy Panel. It turned out to be absolutely hilarious and was truly a unique experience that probably could never be duplicated at any other conference. It was moderated by Jason Preston, and featured a panel of Chis Hardwick, Tucker Max, and Loni Love. The second big surprise was Tony Robbins. Tony was the second day keynote. The schedule said one hour for Tony’s keynote, but, Tony got on a roll and I think he finally stopped after 2+ hours. I looked at Steve a few times during that 2+ hour run and thought there was no way Steve was going give Tony the hook and pull him off the stage. I’m sure glad Steve didn’t either because I really enjoyed what Tony had to say.

The other kudos go to Joesph, by himself he configured a massive WIFI network for the conference. While the first few hours were rough, it wasn’t his fault. It was a bad router. He singled out one bad router out of 16 of them. That’s tough to do with all the pressure of a live event. Normally, what he did would have taken a team of people to pull off.

One of the big surprises for me was with the celebrities. They all show very strong commitment and enthusiasm to managing their own Twitter account. Most everyone was very adamant about not using a ghost Twitterer (someone tweeting on their behalf). They want the interaction to be authentic and they genuinely like to connect with their fans. I contrast that to small business owners who seemly want to hand off this duty to the intern or receptionist. I’ve never understood how the most important thing, which is communicating directly with your customers, could be handed off to someone with the least vested interest. I was equally impressed with iJustine, who has 800,000+ followers and answers every single direct message that she gets. Absolutely impressive. I got to meet her and she’s a really sweet gal too.

I thought I would just link to some of the best recaps that I read about the conference. They each bring their own perspective about what happened and if you really want to get the full flavor, you probably should read each of these!

Adam Schoenfeld: 140 Twitter Conference Recap: The #140tc Tweet Data

Dave Peck: The 140 Twitter Conference.. For The Win!

Betsy Aoki: Bing at the 140 Twitter Conference

Erin Coller: The Ultimate Tweet-Up: 140|The Twitter Conference LA

Mari Smith: Tips, Tricks, & Tools from 140 | The Twitter Conference

Scott Beale: The Comedy Panel at 140 | The Twitter Conference

Some of the cool people that I met are the people behind some of the biggest brands out there. Such as Winnie Hsia the person behind the Whole Foods Twitter account. Barbara Dybwad, a journalist with Mashable, Guy Kawaski, managing director with Garage Technology Ventures. Check out the photos below.

Krystyl from SF | Pee Wee Herman & Steve Broback

Winnie Hsia (Whole Foods) | Guy Kawasaki

Kim Larsen (Parnassus Group) | Chamillionaire

Team thinkspace (Photo by Randy Stewart)