Brand Advocates Through Influencer Engagement in Social Media

While I am excited for this upcoming 3 day weekend, I also just cant wait for next Wednesday! thinkspace is going to have the pleasure of having Sean O’Driscoll of Ant’s Eye View here to tell us a little bit about how to build brand fans for your business through social media. If you still think that a Tweet is just a sound that a bird makes, then is this the event for you!

Building Brand Advocates Through Influencer Engagement
Sean O’Driscoll Co-Founder of Ant’s Eye View
Wednesday, June 2nd
12 – 1pm thinkspace Redmond, WA

If you heard Sean speak at thinkcamp 2010, then you know you should be here! O’Driscoll and his team have years of experience with companies that you’ve actually heard of like Dell, The LEGO Company, Intuit, Apple & Microsoft. Sean will use his experience and expertise to help you get on the path to creating meaningful relationships with your clients.

This session explains how identifying and fostering deeper connections with a company’s most loyal and respected fans (or influencers) can help to infuse the customer’s voice back into the business and empower customers to become advocates in speaking on behalf of the brand. The Ant’s Eye View team consists of experienced practitioners delivering proven expertise in internal collaboration, social media, community building, and influencer strategy development.

We would love to see you there and don’t forget to invite your friends! This event is FREE and you can register by emailing us at events@thinkspace.com!

Super cheap DIY Treadmill Desk

My friend Anne-Marie Faiola, CEO and founder of Brambleberry, tweeted that she just put in a treadmill desk in her office. I saw a picture of it and was inspired to make one for my wife and I. I figure I could probably get an hour of exercise every day just by having a desk on top of my treadmill. This weekend I went to Home Depot and bought the materials to build out a super cheap DIY treadmill desk. I did a little research on the Internet to see what other people had made and it seems like most people screw the desk onto the treadmill which requires drilling holes into the handles and using mounting brackets. I watched this YouTube video before I came up with my own idea. I decided to take a different approach. I wanted to secure it on but have the flexibility of being able to remove the desk without having to unscrew it.

I ended up using the following materials:

  • Wood shelf (11.8″ D x 35.8″ W): $7.84
  • Hook and Eyes (need four): $1.96
  • 24″ Bungee Cords (need two): $6.89

Tools used:

  • Dewalt Cordless Drill

For less than $17.00 in materials, I constructed the desk in less than 15 minutes. It feels very sturdy. I’m pretty sure that I will be putting one of these inside thinkspace too.  I think our team office will have one so that my team can use it when they want to. I’m on the hunt for a used treadmill on Craigslist which I’ve seen running anywhere from $150 – $250 for the same Nordic Trac treadmill that I own. Cheap! If you’re in need of more table space and money is not an object, you can get a Steelcase Walkstation which costs $4,199. It’s quite amazing looking and if I had money to burn I’d like one of these. Another option is the TrekDesk Treadmill Desk which has a larger surface area and costs $479.

Pair your iPad to Comcast Cable Box

I saw an article and video on Tech Flash by Todd Bishop and thought it was pretty cool. The moment this app is available, I’m definitely going to download it and put it on the thinkspace iPad. Right now our cable boxes are tucked inside the server room which is behind locked doors. Changing channels has been kind of a pain. If the Comcast iPad App is able to do what the video says, it’ll be able to pair the iPad to your cable box and be able to remotely control it!

thinkspace Turns Two: Reflecting Back

I fall into a classic pitfall that many entrepreneurs fall into — I have a tendency to look so far out at the horizon, pushing and pressing after the goals that have been created.  As I get closer to the goal, I merely just push the finish line further out.  I’ve been told by other successful entrepreneurs and business coaches that I need to celebrate the wins.  They tell me things like I need to slow down and recognize the achievements and celebrate with my team.  Over the last month, I have been taking time to reflect back on the last month, quarter, and now last two years.  Along the way there have been many “wins”.  Here are some of the wins:

Wins

The other day at our 2 year anniversary party, I looked around and saw people that have decided to start their business in the middle of the worst economic climate that we have ever known.  Everything is more challenging than ever before.  A few weeks ago my father said to me “I’ve never seen a financial climate like what we’re experiencing right now, this is really difficult”.  This is coming from a man that has been through way more cycles than I have.  He’s a man that lived through the brutal Boeing layoffs.  He’s a man that used to sleep on a retail store counter with newspapers as a pillow.  When he says something like that to me, I believe him.  So getting through the toughest part of the recession is a win!

Sharing Stories about Wins

There’s a statistic by the SBA that says only 50% of all startups make it to the two year mark.  When I look around, I see entrepreneurs, startups, small businesses, and non-profits that are reinventing themselves and innovating their business models.  Every day, I hear different stories from thinkspace members.  Members come by my office and are telling me that they are getting a new customer every day over the span of a month, or they have twice as many customers as what they projected in their business plan!  These kinds of stories help keep me pressing and I’m inspired.  Entrepreneurship can be lonely, which is why I genuinely love it when other members share their wins with me and I get to reciprocate by sharing my wins.

Be Remarkable

I read a book called Linchpin by Seth Godin.  I highly recommend this book, it was a total thought changer for me.  So much so, that I bought a copy for each of my employees.  In the book, Godin says “We’re in a new economy where outsourcing and automation and the new marketing punish anyone who is merely good, merely obedient, and merely reliable.”  I looked at this statement not only from an individual level but from a business perspective.  I also see examples of this time after time, how businesses inside thinkspace are doing just that, being remarkable.

The Law of Attraction

Like attracts like is at the core of the Law of Attraction.  I’ve heard Paul Anderson, founder of Prolango Consulting, say things in his career seminar that if you’re unemployed and all you’re doing is hanging around unemployed people at WorkSource then that’s what you’re going to be.  However, if you’re looking to be a successful entrepreneur then you need to start hanging around successful entrepreneurs.  So goes the same with thinkspace, if you want a successful business then you need to surround yourself with other successful businesses like the one’s that are inside thinkspace.

Appreciation

We do appreciate each of our members for being here and allowing us to be part of your success.

To view a bunch of photos from the event, here’s our Flickr Stream.

Understand that business is not the same as hobby where you can take it lightly. If you treat your business like a hobby, you will never be able to achieve true success.

Please Welcome Elizabeth Kent!

The thinkspace team has grown once again! Please welcome Elizabeth Kent to the team as our new Administrative Assistant! Elizabeth Kent has spent the last several years primarily working as a theatrical stage manager, but has always maintained a deep interest in the business world. Helping people, paying attention to details, creativity and learning new things are at the heart of who she is. She is thrilled at the prospect of learning the ins and outs of a small business like thinkspace where she will work as the Administrative Assistant. In her spare time Elizabeth likes reading, exploring coffee shops, getting outside, and baking something new at least once a week.

We are very excited to have Elizabeth as part of our team!

Fearless Entrepreneur: Nicole Donnelly overcomes Obstacles in Business & Life

Nicole Donnelly, Founder of BabyLegs

I’ve always thought of my friend Nicole Donnelly, founder of Baby Legs, as being absolutely fearless. She defines it. Look up the word “fearless” and you see a picture of Nicole. I see her as a person that see’s no walls or if she does she goes right through them. I started to read her book “Ride Like a Penguin” and got some valuable insight into how she appears to have no fear.  In her own words on page 10 of Ride Like a Penguin:

Fearless

“I’ve been described as fearless.  I’ve been told I live without barriers.  Sometimes it’s easier to recognize bravery in others than in ourselves, so it is with great ease that the girl flying through the air on a snowboard is the one we often identify as having a torrent of courage.  It isn’t that I live without fear — it’s that I choose to live with my fears until they subside; I walk alongside them, embrace them and then harness them into a means of preparation and self-navigation… It’s this method of not allowing my life to be ruled by the question of “What if?” and choosing instead to get out there and feel the world around me that has consistently brought me pain as well as every next great chapter of my life.”

Nicole has an amazing and inspiring story (see her bio). She’s a person that has had tough times in her life.  She’s shared with me that while she was trying to get her professional snowboarding career going (at a time before she had sponsors) that she didn’t have much money and used to sleep in her car. It’s not about the suffering and pain, but, it is about how tough she is and how she overcame it. She visualizes the best possible outcome and then makes it happen.

Major Obstacles

Most people have some sort of adversity that they have overcome. For me, I look back at one of the toughest times in my life and it was when I lived in a foreign country. I was 17 years old and just finished high school.  I moved to the city of Taipei for one year because I had absolutely no focus and felt like I really wasn’t ready for college. I wanted to travel and experience a different culture. I uprooted to a place where I had no friends or family there, no support group. I couldn’t afford much and slept on a bed that consisted of plywood with a sheet over it, at least I had a pillow.  One of the hard parts was when I had nearly run out of money and my parents would not accept a collect phone call from me.  I had to stretch the cash that I had.  The cheapest thing I could buy was plain white bread.  I survived for an entire month living on just loaves of bread and water and wondering why my parents wouldn’t take my phone call.

Another person that I’ve gotten to know well over the last year is Alyssa Magnotti, my Community Manager. She also had a tough situation back in college where she was working two jobs, taking a full load of classes, and captain of the college soccer team. For quite a while, she survived on cereal and water.  She didn’t even have enough money for milk. When I hear things like that I know that she’s capable of facing most anything… in business, you rarely face a similar kind of adversity. If on a personal level you can get through something like that, you certainly can handle most business challenges.

Overcoming

Hearing Nicole’s story and myself having slept on a plywood bed, I know how hard it can be. I look back at the biggest work related obstacles/challenges that I’ve faced such as working 37 straight hours and having to sleep on the floor in my office or having absolutely insane project time-lines where not only have I had to work long days and weekends but I’ve also had to motivate my team of 12 others to do the same with me for a long period of time.  It’s through these experiences that I know I can make it through. Starting up a new business in the midst of the worst economic conditions known to our generation has definitely created fear for me, but, it also has allowed me to gain greater clarity on what I have to overcome in order to survive it with an ultimate goal of thriving in it.

If you would like to meet Nicole Donnelly, she will be doing a book reading and signing inside thinkspace on May 20 at 4:30pm.  For more information about this event you can go to Nicole’s website: www.saltywaffle.com.