Campfire Show & Tell | Join us for s’mores!

campfire-show-and-tellCome join us around our imaginary campfire as we kick off our 2015 Campfire Show & Tell event series with some good, old-fashioned s’mores. The event will take place in the second floor lobby of our Redmond location on Wednesday, January 21 at 1:00 pm.

Campfire Show & Tell is an ongoing monthly event that allows us to showcase our incredible members—their successes, what they’re launching, what they’re​ working on. We’ve seen the launch of a new lunch option at thinkspace in Redmond, discovered recyclable furniture, learned about website heatmaps and explored the value of the hashtag.  This month, we’re keeping it casual. We’re getting together and roasting marshmallows. So stop by to meet and mingle with the thinkspace team and your fellow thinkspace members!  We’ll have marshmallows and good conversation ready for you.

New Year’s Practices

happy-new-yearFor the next few weeks, you’re going to need an answer to the daunting question “What’s your New Year’s Resolution?”  This year, resolve to answer with something you’ll practice.

Allow me to explain.  In the past, my resolutions have had a common denominator – they’ve all shared a lofty (and usually unattainable) goal.
I’m not going to eat sugar.
I’m going to lose 20 pounds.
I’m going to stop watching TV.

These resolutions had an all or nothing approach, leaving little wiggle room and no plan to achieve them.  #Fail

Furthermore, our resolutions usually stem from unhealthy behavior, so to just resolve not to do them doesn’t deal with the root cause of why we do them.  #DoubleFail

Those two reasons combined is probably why 75% of people quit their New Year’s Resolution after the first week, and 46% of people are off target after six months (source).

So the more I’ve thought about resolutions, the more I’ve decided I’m done with them.  This year, I’m making New Year’s  Resolutions Practices.

What’s the difference?  A resolution is an empty statement, but a practice involves an action plan.

Resolution: I will get more sleep at night.
Practice: I will have less screen time one hour before I go to bed and read a book instead of watch TV/check my email/play on my phone.

So what’s your New Year’s Resolution Practice?

Campfire Show & Tell | Showcasing Tagboard

josh-decker-nteIt’s that time again! Join us in the second floor lobby at our Redmond location on Wednesday, December 10 at 4:00 pm for our monthly Campfire Show & Tell event! This month, new thinkspace member Tagboard will be joining us for some Christmas cookies and craft brews at our Holiday Happy Hour.

Tagboard offers hashtag-based curation, collecting posts from the social media platforms that you already use. Why hashtags? According to Tagboard:

No other social discovery mechanism has the same speed, versatility, and widespread adoption as the hashtag. It may seem geeky or trendy to some, but the hashtag is a powerful tool that unites people around common interests and goals. We believe every community needs a hashtag, and every hashtag needs a tagboard.

You’ll want to be on time for this one. Tagboard’s founder and CEO, Josh Decker, will be kicking off the event with a short presentation, to be followed by Q&A, as well as the opportunity to sign up for a free trial and group training session.

everymoveIn case you need another reason to be on time, our friends from EveryMove will be here to motivate you to get moving! Come learn about their @Work program, where you can compete in challenges, earn points and win prizes! Read more about it here.

We’ll see you on Wednesday for some seasonal goodies, free giveaways and holiday cheer!

#13DaysOfRainbows

13Days_smallThe holidays are called “the most wonderful time of the year.”

And that can be very true.  Especially when festive foot-tapping sing-a-long music is played in every store you enter, decorations are around every corner, and a fresh dusting of snow is just another sign of the magic of the season.

But the holidays can also be hard.  Really, really hard.

If you’ve experienced the loss of someone close, you know this.  You dread the holidays because of the absence it points to.  When someone who was there – or you planned to be there – isn’t there anymore, your life is changed.  And so are your traditions.

How do you honor and mourn a loss in the midst of excessive celebration?

#13DaysofRainbows (which you can read more about here).

A good friend of mine lost a baby boy named Noah much too soon in life, and around this time last year decided to honor his sweet life through random acts of kindness called #13DaysofRainbows.  Things like: snow shoveling a driveway, delivering a poinsettia to a local coffee shop, a care package for a boy in the hospital, and bringing a pot of soup over to a neighbor.  In the midst of the “merry and bright” holidays around my friend, she sensed a dark and hard time settling in.  #13DaysofRainbows didn’t provide an out from this hardship, but it did provide a glimmer of hope.  Because sometimes even the smallest act of kindness and generosity can remind you that good still exists.  

#13DaysOfRainbows is celebrated December 5-18th.  Join many of us as we participate with the movement to spread love and joy through random acts of kindness .  #13DaysOfRainbows cards are available here, and don’t forget to use the hashtag!  There is so much you receive when you give.  Let the kindness-spreading begin :)

thinkspace Community and EveryMove @Work

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thinkspace is teaming up with EveryMove @Work to encourage our entrepreneurial community to get moving! EveryMove is a free application you can download on your phone or computer in order to log your activity and movement throughout the day. The more activity you do, the more points you will receive! And if you receive enough points, or meet a challenge, you can win neat prizes.

thinkspace will be launching different challenges throughout the year with prizes and incentives for participants. We will be posting leaderboards throughout the halls of thinkspace so that the most active people will be spotlighted. So, whether you want to use EveryMove for motivation, to join the competition, or to track your physical progress, make sure to download the app and participate! Let’s make this holiday season an active one.

Who can join? Members of the thinkspace community and employees of thinkspace.

How to join? Create an account and join page. http://everymove.org/thinkspace. Space is limited to 25 people.

Also, come join team thinkspacers in the 30th annual 5k Jingle Bell Run/Walk! This is a great way to kick off the holiday season while raising money to fight arthritis.

The event takes place on Sunday, December 14th at the Westlake Center in Seattle. It is a 5k (about 3.1 mile) loop and you can choose to travel the course at whatever pace you like!

You can register online before December 5th and make sure to join team thinkspacers. Let’s make this a great turn out for the thinkspace community!

Here is the link to join our team. If you have any other questions feel free to contact Katie Walvatne: katie@thinkspace.com

 

LinkedIn’s #RockYourProfile Event in Seattle Showcases How to Stand Out in the Crowd

On LinkedIn there are millions of users but not all profiles are created equally. Many are a direct reflection of their resumes, but at a recent pilot event held in Capitol Hill, LinkedIn instructed the crowd  to think of their profile as a “living, breathing” way to get a new job, customer, or even volunteer opportunity. That can be accomplished by adding rich media, from pictures to videos to links of your work.

To help those in attendance achieve those goals LinkedIn brought together a panel of experts to speak about how LinkedIn has helped them grow their brand. It included: Peter Chee, CEO and chief pot stirrer at thinkspace; Carol Vecchio, founder of Centerpoint Institute for Life and Career Renewal; and Alexis Baird, Product Manager for Profile at LinkedIn. It’s the first time the San Francisco-based company held an event like this one. They chose Seattle because of the large number of startups here and the diversity of the city.

Personality Prevails – “Talk about what you are passionate about.”

LinkedIn panel

“People do business with people, not businesses,” Peter told the crowd. “Find ways to connect on a personal level.”

That wasn’t the only time the eager group of nearly 200 entrepreneurs, small businesses, and students were encouraged to show their personality especially on a professional website. Alexis explained the importance of sharing what you are passionate about. Adding your hobbies could lead to a professional ice breaker.

When talking about how LinkedIn has worked for him, Peter described what he called his “Alex from Target moment” a few months ago. It began with posting a long form blog on his LinkedIn page late one night titled “Questions To Ask Before Quitting Your Job To Work At A Startup.” It was part of an event promotion aimed at helping those wrestling with the same decision. Several hours later the post had 3,000 views and eventually ballooned to more than 92,000 views worldwide, hundreds of comments on LinkedIn, and it helped sell out the event. Peter said the post “created value” for the event, making it a bigger success than he initially anticipated. It’s the perfect example of using personal experience to connect with your audience.

Actionable Tips

So maybe you’re not an established business owner with an expansive network and more like me. I’m in the midst of changing the course of my career and need help with the transition. Peter provided other actionable tips.

For example, after meeting someone at a networking he suggests including “why you enjoyed the conversation” in your LinkedIn message. And don’t procrastinate.

Experts suggest:

1) Tailor your profile around what you want to be doing. It’s not necessary to list every job you’ve held.

2) Avoid job titles and use statements instead.

3) Show examples of your work whenever possible e.g. pictures, links, and presentations

The LinkedIn team also offered profile makeovers. I found this one-on-one time to be invaluable. Crystal Braswell offered me tailored tips that I utilized as soon as I got home. They included changing my profile picture because she said I looked younger in person. (Yikes!) The changes instantly made my page look better. I’ve already received positive feedback which let me know I was on the right track.

Crystal Braswell gets her makep done

Whether or not you think of yourself as being photogenic the experts say don’t ignore your profile picture. The LinkedIn team converted a small area into a professional photo shoot complete with make-up artist. All night this booth had a continuous line. Your profile picture is one of the first things people see and taking the time to ensure it’s representative of who you are is important.

LinkedIn photoshoot

By the end of the event I felt rejuvenated. Receiving usable tips and being in the company of others who are working on improving their digital footprint helped recharge my career batteries. Change isn’t always easy but events like #RockYourProfile showed me that improvement isn’t an insurmountable task.

Here are more Growth hacking with LinkedIn tips from Peter Chee.

Seattle Startup Week | Angel investor Andy Liu illustrates the importance of building rhythms

andy-presentingBy 1:00 pm on October 23, the day of his Seattle Startup Week presentation, Andy Liu, local dream investor and CEO of BuddyTV, had already been in contact with four prospective customers. According to Andy, his number one job is to sell.

“You know what? As CEO, sales is actually my number one job. Sales to customers, sales to employees, sales to investors…Sales to everybody else that may eventually come into contact with the company…I need to constantly be doing that.”

Getting in front of the customer is one of the best ways to learn about a business.

Andy also explained that businesses are built on rhythms. Therefore, it’s crucial that a company reevaluate the rhythms that are in place to be more effective on a day-to-day basis. To do this, Andy has implemented a number of rhythm-boosting practices. For example, every Monday morning he sends out an email to the entire team with BuddyTV’s latest happenings, team recognition, and any other relevant information for the upcoming week. Another tool he uses is a refined system of key performance indicators.

“It’s not 30 numbers that you need to track, it’s one or two.”

Andy wrapped up by highlighting the importance of celebrating.

“Even in the darkest days, there’s always something to celebrate…There’s always some reason to ring the bell.”

Andy follows his own advice quite literally. In BuddyTV’s office, one of the developers has a cash register linked up his computer speakers. Each time a sale comes in, the cash register dings.

What does your startup do to celebrate?

You can hear more about Andy’s rythmatic practices here:

Check out Andy’s SlideShare deck from his Seattle Startup Week presentation:

Or see the entirety of Andy’s talk here:

Check out our recaps of our other Startup Week events:

Kicking off with Aviel Ginzburg of Simply Measured
Matt Heinz explains why you have to fail in order to succeed
Russell Benaroya talks night runs and how to ease the loneliness of entrepreneurship

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Hospitality with legs.

people_walk_wallWith Halloween behind us, you know what that means…yes, the holidays are upon us. And with them come parties, entertaining, and expectations. Some expectations will be met: “The prime rib was succulent” and “This is the best pumpkin spice latte. Ever.” While other expectations will fall short: “The turkey was too dry” and “The pumpkin pie was store bought.” But despite food-driven expectations (of which mine are always high), I think what people truly long for during the holidays is hospitality. Being welcomed. Just as they are.

I recently heard an entrepreneur give a talk on hospitality. And it’s her perspective that I’ll try to remember and adopt during this holiday season. Most of us limit the definition of hospitality as being kind and generous towards those you welcome within your home. But this clever entrepreneur widened the scope of hospitality to include not just being hospitable to those that come to you, but also exiting the comfort zone of your home and going to others.

Think about it. Isn’t the person who brings a home cooked meal to someone just as hospitable as the person that prepares a meal at home and has people over to enjoy it?

Or that candy bowl on your desk, that is most welcoming indeed. But how much more welcoming is it when you stand up from your desk and walk over to a coworker to ask how their weekend was?

Okay, one more example. You’re alone at home after a fight with your boyfriend. Your friend calls to see how you are and invites you over to their house (hospitable). But then that friend decides to come over to your house to make sure you’re really, truly okay (also hospitable).

Some of the most hospitable acts are when we check our agenda and comfort zone at the door and meet people where they are at. On their terms.

So this holiday season, adopt some hospitality. And give your hospitality some legs. Let it travel around a bit.

 

 

 

Seattle Startup Week | Russell Benaroya talks night runs and how to ease the loneliness of entrepreneurship

russell-presentingLast week, thinkspace and Seattle Startup Week, with help from Russell Benaroya (co-founder and CEO of EveryMove) and Andy Liu (angel investor and CEO of BuddyTV), took over the incredible space that Graham & Dunn occupies on the Seattle downtown waterfront. For twenty three minutes, we had the opportunity to bounce around inside Russell’s mind.

Russell opened his presentation with a wonderfully vivid and intensely personal description of the 75 mile journey that he took on the Pacific Crest Trail, from Steven’s Pass to Snoqualmie Pass, called Section J. According to the Washington Trails Association, Section J “is not for the beginning backpacker. There is considerable elevation gain and loss—about 16,000 feet! Some places are impassable until well into August when the snow melts out.”

Russell did it in 24 hours. Yes, 75 miles of rough terrain in just 24 hours. Bearing in mind that this was a Herculean task, it was not surprising, then, when Russell said:

“We ran through the night, entirely self supported, and when I finished that run, I was…Broken.”

This story of course came full circle when Russell explained how this run, this fantastic personal accomplishment, translated into so many areas of his life, specifically entrepreneurship:

“This is the road of entrepreneurship, right? This very lonely road, in many ways, where we are.. Where it’s broken on so many levels, and it’s so painful, and it’s so emotional, but at the same time, we’re so alive, right? We’re stretching ourselves to do more than we thought possible and it’s emotional. And this rollercoaster of emotion is something that we can’t do alone.”

There’s a reason why shared offices and coworking spaces and organizations like the Entrepreneurs’ Organization exist—and not just exist, but thrive. Sure, you can start a business out of your basement, or your spare bedroom, or Starbucks. But the benefit of surrounding yourself with a support system, with like-minded people? Invaluable. Entrepreneurship may be a lonely road, but that doesn’t mean we actually have to walk it alone.

Like Russell said, “We’re all in this together.”

For those who were unable to attend the event, watch the full video here:

Check out our recaps of our other Startup Week events:

Kicking off with Aviel Ginzburg of Simply Measured
Matt Heinz explains why you have to fail in order to succeed
Angel investor Andy Liu illustrates the importance of building rhythms

 

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Seattle Startup Week | Matt Heinz explains why you have to fail in order to succeed

matt-and-audienceThe dust surrounding Seattle Startup Week is settling, but on Wednesday morning, in the midst of the hustle and bustle, we hosted a Startup Week event in our Redmond location. Matt Heinz, president of Heinz Marketing, joined us for breakfast and told us how we could scale our sales and marketing without breaking the bank. One of the ways to do this is to assess what you’re doing on a regular basis. Regular as in weekly, or—better yet—daily. Another way is to fire a lot of bullets. As Matt said, “You will not get it right right away.” Because what works for one company may not work for you.

Matt explained:

“Even if you do the math of what you need to achieve, even if you define your customer in a really crisp way, you will still fail a lot. If you’re doing it right. The path to innovation and success is paved with failure.”

Matt described the following scenario: A company thinks they have a great idea and they just go for it, guns blazing. But what if it doesn’t work? Or what if parts of it don’t work? You have an entire program or organization built around something that’s broken. They just built a cannon that doesn’t fire. They just wasted a lot of resources.

“What if you fired a couple of bullets instead? That’s faster, easier, cheaper. Some of those bullets will hit the mark, some of them won’t. But if it hits the mark, and you validate it a couple more times? Put down the gun and pick up a cannon.”

“We all need cannons in our business,” Matt explains, “But we can’t figure out which cannon to build until you do some testing and actually validate that.”

Check out Matt’s SlideShare deck from Wednesday’s presentation:

And for those who were unable to attend the event, you can see the full video here:

Check out our recaps of our other Startup Week events:

Kicking off with Aviel Ginzburg of Simply Measured
Russell Benaroya talks night runs and how to ease the loneliness of entrepreneurship
Angel investor Andy Liu illustrates the importance of building rhythms

matt-and-peter
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