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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.

loop-erin-burchfield-hf-posterErin Burchfield (CEO) and Teagen Densmore, will demo Loop, their Social polling app which recently raised $450K. Erin and Teagen’s app that gives you feedback on questions, whether it’s to an entire network of people or just a few friends. I’ve been using this app regularly for about three weeks now and when ever I want to get a pulse on something I ask the question on Loop. My last question was “What’s your favorite red (wine)”. I personally like a nice glass of syrah but apparently I need to try out a zinfandel or malbec sometime!

Come join us to hear their entrepreneurial story, how they became cofounders, and raised $450K to jump start their startup. We’re holding it at our new Seattle location in Fremont on September 26 at 6pm. RSVP here on our Hackers and Founders page.

carly-slater

Carly Slater, CXO

The urban dictionary describes “when the stars align” as: “When an unexpected and nearly impossible event takes place. Usually due to pure luck or the divine intervention of God.” Carly joining thinkspace has nothing to do with pure luck.

Carly Slater joins thinkspace as our CXO, Chief Experience Officer. The reason why I’m so excited about Carly is because she has 16 years of experience in so many areas such as strategy, marketing, event planning, and she completely understands the #socialera (thank you Nilofer Merchant for writing such a great book!). I love the recent Tweet by Nilofer: “Who you choose to surround yourself by informs what you create. Because the future is not created, the future is co-created”. nilofer-merchant-social-era

Carly comes in knowing a lot about thinkspace and is looking to work with me to extend what thinkspace is and expand the company (thinkspace Seattle is coming!). Carly, founder of People at Large with a mission of: “To find Things Worth Doing”, has experience in the gaming industry, was the former Business Development Manager with Washington Interactive Network, Carly is a curator of TEDxSeattle 2013, and was Minion Overlord for Emerald City ComicCon.

She loves venn diagrams and here’s one that she shared which I thought was pretty cool.

god-santa-spiderman-unicorns

Please give Carly a warm welcome!

Thank You Shannon Evans, author of The Definitive Twitter Guide: Making Tweets Work for Your Business, for her willingness to be our guest author for today’s blog post. Shannon has hit the Twitter and Social Media scene like a freight train, she’s everywhere! We are so lucky to have her as a friend of thinkspace, and and the author of today’s post. If you would like the chance to hear Shannon speak at thinkspace at November 16th’s 3-5pm Thinktank Symposium workshop, please email frontdesk@thinkspace.com. The event is $45. If you are a member of thinkspace, we will buy your ticket!

The following content was written by and belongs to: Shannon Evans

Twitter…140 characters of what? Push marketing from spammers? Conversation with friends? Intense negotiations between partners? What is this Twitter thing and how does it fit into the small business owner’s toolkit?

Twitter is an effective marketing tool and listening post for businesses both large and small. The perception is that in order to get any return on the tool you must invest huge amounts of time and energy. Others believe the larger the following on Twitter the more diminished the return. Other than staying connected to social communities many just can’t seem to find the real value in Twitter as a marketing tool. As a stand-alone marketing tool they often question its value.

What value is to be found other than social connections? Unlike email marketing campaigns where the return yield is so small, a highly targeted Twitter campaign can have a much higher rate of return if you have done your homework ahead of the campaign! In other words, you have to invest time in the community and established relationships before you begin the campaign! So many small business owners are limited in marketing time and energy and so they automate everything they can. Honestly, that contradicts the meaning of social media. The word social, by definition, means engaging with others through dialog and listening and continued interaction, so automating your work on Twitter and syncing it with your Facebook posts is actually counter-productive unless your only purpose is creating promotional channels. Twitter is a great place to collect and act upon cultural and brand as well as competitor intelligence. Think of it as a pulse point on the internet for testing the health and stability of the market place as well as way of participating in a community for building trust and likability for your brand.

If you only want to use Twitter to deliver a conventional direct marketing – fuhgetaboutit! Think about the last social gathering you went to and you got stuck talking to the blowhard who attacked you with unsolicited advice or tried to sell you on how wonderful they were…you know the blowhard types! They are so desperate for attention that they latch on to you and bore you to tears or royally piss you off. Honestly, no one likes to be sold to and your followers are the same way! They want to be informed, inspired, entertained, and excited about things relevant to them. They really could careless that your gadget is on sale FOR THE NEXT TEN MINUTES ON TWITTER! Thoughtful conversation, the sharing of ideas and participation is what gets your brand noticed.

Twitter is not about the quick hit on a link, it’s about engagement. The key to Twitter is establishing your brand in a community of like-minded interested and interesting people. Never lose sight of the fact that the key to any social media action is sharing what people are interested in reading. Make sure the message you put out is right for your audience…and that you are cultivating the right audience. If you were dog food company you really would not be seeking cat owners to talk about your product, dogs, etc. Get your message out to the people who need or want to hear it. Find others who are talking about your topics and add to the conversation. Listen, engage, and listen some more.

This is not rocket science! We all have some level of social skills or we would not be in business long. Test the waters, find what works, rework, revise, revisit, and test some more. But get out there, introduce yourself, and listen and learn from those in your community. Twitter really is that simple!

Follow Shannon on Twitter!

One week ago, we sent out a office space survey through Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to find out if we expanded into Seattle where would you like to see thinkspace be located.  We got back a lot of responses, more than I expected!  The chart shows the results from the question “Location – Where do you want this to be?”.  Pioneer Square 42% of the votes. South Lake Union at 22%, Fremont at 14%, Capitol Hill at 8%, and 14% fell into the “other” bucket.  My question to those of you that picked South Lake Union as your number one choice — if we take office space in Pioneer Square would you still come use our space?

Parking is another thing that we polled on.  31% of the responses said “Parking should be free”.  Not a big surprise here, but, seriously free parking in Seattle went the way of the dinosaur a long time ago.  I’m very happy to see that 22% preferred to Walk or Bike as I personally like walkable neighborhoods (thinkspace Redmond has a walkscore of 97).  That was followed by 17% Pay Lots and 14% Street Parking.  Having worked in Pioneer Square for about five years, I’ve accepted the fact that if I want to work in Seattle I will have to pay for parking.  I think that’s a small trade off considering how cool it is to work in the downtown.

Our next step is share some photos of the office space that we’ve identified in Pioneer Square and get your feedback on the atmosphere that you’d like to have!  It’s really important to us that we have the right “vibe” as it’s also the highest ranking survey question based on how everyone responded.  We’ll post some photos later this week and we’ll want to get more feedback from you all.  Thanks again for filling out our survey!

Robert Scoble from FastCompany toured our space and posted an article about us.  Here’s what he said:

“Want to work with a ton of cool startups like iPhone app developer Shazam? Well, then you’ll want to check out Thinkspace which is run by Peter Chee up in Redmond, WA. Right near Microsoft’s campus. Here Peter gives us a tour and talks about why he has one of the hottest places to work in the Seattle area. Read Peter’s blog too.”

Here’s a link to the FastCompany thinkspace article.

Robert also interviewed Newline Software and wrote an article about them too.

“It’s not every day that you get to see a company before they have their product finished, before they hired PR people, or have everything together. Which is why it’s interesting to see Newline Software, which is a startup located in Redmond, WA and is housed in Thinkspace, which is a green coworking space designed for startups. Here the two founders tell you about their company which is designed to back up your PC in a new way and they also tell you why starting up at Thinkspace is important to them.”

Here’s a link to the FastCompany Newline article.

Hollywood Hill Vineyards was the wine sponsor for the Sustainable Art + Wine event at thinkspace on October 29, 2008. It was a great match where both of our companies operate using sustainable business practices. Hollywood Hill Vineyards grows many of their grapes here in Woodinville. They have approximately 2,200 vines. Their Cabernet Franc is really tasty and I highly recommend that you try a bottle! Their tasting room is open every Saturday from 12-4pm. Here is an interview with Becky Snyder of Hollywood Hill Vineyards.

 

Andrea Becker, Yellowbook & Mary Benz, thinkspace

We had a successful event last night and had nearly 70 people inside our space.  I want to say thank you to everyone that attended.  Great tasting food was provided by Grand Peking and splendid wine provided by Hollywood Hill Vineyards.  We had all kinds of tasty Chinese food and I wish I had time to eat more food but everyone kept asking me questions about how much debris was recycled during the thinkspace build out, btw, the answer is 98%!  Becky Snyder from Hollywood Hill Vineyards poured 2006 Rattlesnake Hills Cabernet Franc and Syrah.  I tasted the Cab Franc and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Before the holiday’s, I will swing by their tasting room which is open every Saturday from 12-4pm and buy a bottle of the Syrah.

The art hanging throughout thinkspace was created by Drew Stone.  I want to give him a big thank you as we are quite lucky to be able to enjoy looking at his art every day we are inside our space.  His art will continue to hang in our space through the month of November and many of the pieces are for sale!  I also want to compliment Amy Woidtke who has been doing interior decorating in our coworking space, conference rooms, and 3rd floor lobby.  She has added a special touch to each of these spaces.

I’d like to thank the companies that donated the door prizes too: Accents Et cetera, Biznik, Country Meadows, DT Marshall, EcoKind Design, Hollywood Hill Vineyards, Kelly Green, Parnassus Group, and Resort Homeshare.

Click here to view our Flickr stream of photos from the event.

Jacki Pietromonaco, thinkspace & Ulrika Claesson, Edward Jones

Becky Snyder, Hollywood Hill Vineyards

Becky is talking about the 2,200 vines planted in their Woodinville Vineyard

Our next event is November 20th — we’re hosting Green Drinks Eastside at 5pm.  More on that later!

Event: October 14, 2008 from 7:00pm – 9:30pm.

Register: The Writing Doctors are In.

In a world of Web sites, blogs, e-mail, electronic records and written proposals, the written word has become just as important as prototype design, contract negotiations or the first handshake. But how do you know your writing is snappy, substantive and spotless?

Enter the writing doctors!

Bring up to three writing samples — articles, brochures, e-mail, letters, news releases, proposals or other original written work — and, in a one-on-one consultation, the writing doctors will give you a personal prescription to power-boost your prose. Also enjoy mixing, mingling, tricks and treats.

What’s in it for you?
** 20-minute personal writing consultation
** Opportunity to introduce yourself and your business
** Grammar tricks to impress your customers and friends
** Tasty treats and beverages

Presented by:

Annika Hipple, Freelance writer, editor, travel photographer: “I am a freelance writer and editor with more than a decade of experience in editorial work. I have written for a wide range of newspapers, magazines, newsletters, and web sites, and also provide editorial services to businesses and nonprofit organizations. … As an editor and proofreader, I am an expert at fixing grammatical errors, catching typos, and smoothing out stylistic issues to create a quality editorial product. I can clean up a document without losing the individuality of the writer or streamline a product with multiple authors so that it speaks with a single voice.”
Read more at http://www.annikahipple.com
Read more at http://biznik.com/members/annika-hipple

Jenny Lynn Zappala, Writer, journalist, content creator: “As an independent writer and journalist, I offer original writing, reporting, research and editing services as well as media expertise. My specialty is fact-driven storytelling that captures the personality and purpose of the subject, whether its people, places or events. Today, I primarily write for Web sites and magazines, including 425 Magazine and Seattle Business Monthly. Most recently, I worked as editor of the Lynnwood/Mountlake Terrace Enterprise.”
Read more at about Jenny Zappala.

Your business goes through different stages and depending on your stage, your need for office space can have very different requirements.  Shared office space can help provide a business’s a place to go from seed to stem to branch and leaves.

  • Seed: Your business could be a concept that you’re trying to get started.  You might be self funded or even have an angel investor.  One of our virtual office clients registered his domain name and is starting his business.  He is using our address as his mailing address and that shows up on his domain registration.  When his address is “googled”, his business shows up on a map in the middle of Redmond, rather than, a residential neighborhood.  In the seed stage, your business might need creative space that helps foster new ideas, where you can collaborate with other likeminded people.  Our shared coworking space is an excellent option for those of you who want creative space without a lot of overhead. You’ll find desks, chairs, bandwidth (up to 30mb/s down and 5mb/s up), printer/copier, etc.
  • Stem: Your business is starting to grow and you want a professionals space to hold meetings with potential clients, a place to close the deal.  With the space and infrastructure your company of has the professional presence to convey to your customers that you’re operating a sustainable business.  Many of our clients tell me that they used to work at home, but, now need a quiet and private place focus and operate your business.
  • Branch and Leaves: Your business is growing and you are hiring employees.  You don’t have to move to traditional space or taking on more space than you need.  You can grow right inside this space.  We have space that ranges from 100 SF to 1000 SF.

Benefits:

  • Less financial risk.  You are able to grow your business without having a large capital investment.  In traditional space you have to commit a lot of money into office space deposits, lobby furniture, conference room table and chairs, phone systems, data networking infrastructure.  Don’t forget that you need to furnish the kitchen too.
  • No personal guarantee. You are a small company that may not have two years of operating history.  Trying to get a business loan in this economic climate is not always so easy.  You don’t have to sign a personal guarantee to move in.
  • Business insurance is not required.  Here’s something that often goes over looked but when you’re leasing traditional space you might be required to obtain business insurance that is rated AV-X.  That can be costly and is money that could be used elsewhere when starting up a business.
  • No lengthy and complicated lease terms. Negotiating a lease with a landlord can be as fun of an experience as buying a car from an auto dealer.  Lease documents can also be tricky to understand.
  • Economic climate:  Given today’s economic climate, it makes good sense to not get over committed in leasing office space.  With shared office space, you do not need to sign a long 3-5 year long term lease.  You can go with a 6 or 12 month lease.
  • Flexibility: You have the ability to grow or downsize.  You pay for what you use and not one square foot more than you need.
For more information you can contact me at peter [at] thinkspace [dot] com.