I got contacted by Tyler Hurst @tdhurst to see if thinkspace would be interested in doing a screening for “Lemonade The Movie” created by Erik Proulx @eproulx.  After watching the trailer, it brought back the memories of my past back when I got laid off from a startup that I was at back in November 1999.  I knew the company that I was working for was a ship that was going to sink, yet, because I was employee number eight there, I decided that I needed to feel what it was like to ride the ship into the ground. Getting laid off was part of entire experience. In a sense I’m sure it has helped shape me to be who I am today. I recognize that yes it sucks to get laid off no matter what the reason. I’ve come to learn that I’m also not one to let that hold me back or define my happiness.

The thing that I really liked from watching Lemonade was a quote by Michelle Pfennighaus @MPfennighaus who’s now a health counselor and yoga instructor.

“…sometimes there are things that you like to do that you forget about. So put your energy into the things that you love. Put all the energy you can into those things and see what happens.”

Well, here I am, doing exactly that right now and I’m going to see what happens! We’re going to try and set a date in the upcoming month or so to gather and watch this as a group. Let us know if you’re interested to join us…

Updated 6/24/2010:
We are showing the movie on Friday, June 25th at 3PM.  If you’re interested to watch, email events [at] thinkspace.com.

Since the start of 2010, I’ve been recieving a lot of requests to meet with different business owners and consultants to review how thinkspace uses social media to generate business. It seems that companies are finally starting to grasp the fact that Social Media in the business world is here to stay and they are now frantic to figure out how these new platforms work.

Social Media ROI:

Whether a quick chat through email or an hour long meeting, one question always seems to come up during these conversations; How do you measure the ROI of Social Media? I’m here to tell you that this should not even be a question, let alone the most important one. That might sound a bit absurd, but don’t stop reading yet!

At Social Media Breakfast Seattle on January 19th of this year, Sean O’Driscoll of Ant’s Eye View put this in terms that could resonate with anyone. One of the key points in his presentation and one that really stood out to me were the questions he had for the audience. “Have you ever asked what the ROI is on the desk phones that you provide for your employees? What about your cell phone? Ever wondered what the ROI is on that?” Sean’s guess (and mine as well) is that you haven’t ever asked those questions, because you realize that you need phones to communicate with your customers; it’s the exact same way with Social Media! Your clients are out there trying to communicate with you, so you need to set up your profiles on those sites so that you are able to communicate back. Right now they are there and possibly ready to buy from you, but if you are’t there to answer their questions or foster relationships with them, expect them to go to your competitor. If they can’t find your phone number (i.e. your twitter account), they aren’t going to call you. Is this all making sense?

The Next Step:

I’m sure you’ve heard the case for Social Media multiple times now. I think you know that its time to just take the leap and make the next step! Sometimes that can seem a bit overwhelming, especially because of how many Social Media sites their are that your company should eventually be present on. However, you can start with baby steps to get yourself where you need to be.

1. You can hear Sean O’Driscoll  of Ant’s Eye View present his very relevant and ingenious ideas on Social Media at thinkspace on June 2nd from 12-1pm. If you’d like to attend, we’d love to have you and it’s a free event! Just email events (at) thinkspace (dot) com to RSVP!

2. Read up on these things and how to create relationships with your clients through Social Media. The way people do business has shifted; a large part of it is now about relationships and you can build those relationships online. Mashable is a great site to refer to if you want to keep up on the latest happenings in this arena.

3. Find someone who can help you get started on creating your Social Media accounts. You really don’t want to soil your name by beginning incorrectly, so be sure to start out on the right foot. Get an idea of what you should be tweeting, posting and digging by speaking with someone who has experience in the field. I’m always open to helping out and can get you going on the right path with Social Media! You can contact me at alyssa (at) thinkspace (dot) com or find me on Twitter.

Hope this helped convince you of the intense need for your business to embrace Social Media and this new way of communication. Social Media will directly affect your bottom line, but you’ve just got to get the “phone” that they are going to “call.”

This weekend I finally sat down and figured out how to tether my iPad to my Windows Mobile phone. After getting it connected I’m so glad that I didn’t wait and buy the iPad 3G which costs $629 + $30/mo or $360/yr. for a data plan.

In order to figure this out, I started searching for an application that would turn my phone into a Wifi Router.  From there it’s simple to just go into the settings of the iPad and select the Wifi Router (my cellphone).

My friend Alvin, posted on his Facebook wall that he successfully tethered his iPhone 3GS to his iPad.  He said it was super simple with an application that he bought called Cydia.  There is a very good detailed blog post “How to tether your iPad to your iPhone (via Wifi)“.  Basically to recap it here are the steps.

Tether your iPad to your iPhone

  1. Download and run blackra1n on your Mac or PC.
  2. Install Cydia on your iPhone.
  3. Use Cydia to search for and download MyWi which costs $9.99.
  4. Enable your iPhone as a WiFi hotspot, and give it a 40 or 105-bit encryption key.

Tether your iPad to your Windows Mobile phone

Download “WMWifiRouter“.  It’s basically turns a smartphone into a WifiRouter. The installation is quite easy.

  1. Download a trial application from the website to make sure it’s compatible with your phone.
  2. Configure the name of your WiFI Router and create a WEP Key.
  3. Go into your iPad settings and pick the WiFI Router.
  4. I was able to jump on the Internet and quickly connect to a few websites.  After a few minutes the trial program tell you that trial key is expired and you’ll be forced to buy the application if you want to keep using it.  It costs $19.99, which is a bit steep in my opinion because the iPhone Application that does the same thing costs $9.99.

There’s even a YouTube video on how to tether an iPad to a Droid. Here’s the link. Later this summer, I’ll be upgrading out of my Samsung i760. I’m glad I will have a ton of good choices like the new iPhone 4G, Droid Ultimate, or even a Windows Mobile 7!

Also check out: The 8 Best Business iPad Apps.

I haven’t done a post like this in a long time, but, here goes a product review.  I recently decided to get an external drive to backup my MacBook Pro, iMac’s, Desktop PC’s, and servers in the office.  All of our stuff is backed up to a file server which is RAID 0+1.  However, I also wanted to get something else that is portable and could backup an entire hard drive.  Since disk drives are so cheap, I decided to get an external drive and drive enclosure.

Here’s what I went with:

  • Rosewill RX81-MP-SC-BLK 3.5″ SATA to USB & 1394 a/b & eSATA External Enclose
  • Samsung EcoGreen F2 HD154UI 1.5TB 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5″ Internal Hard Drive

The Rosewill Case ($59.99) is nice looking, has a front vent to let the heat out, heavy and solid case design.  It has every kind of connection interface that you can imagine needing.  eSATA, Firewire, USB2.0 and it comes with all the cables! It does have a ton of screws that you need to remove when you mount the drive into the enclosure.  It took me about 15 minutes to get the drive hooked up including putting back all the screws.

The Samsung EcoGreen ($99.99) drive is really quiet and the size of the drive is huge at 1.5 terabytes.  I didn’t realize how long it took to format the drive… had to leave it formatting all night long.  Other than the slow formatting time, the drive itself is working great.

I’m pretty happy with this combination! I bought everything from NewEgg.

Starting Friday April 16th, members of the thinkspace community are going to come together and hit the golf course!  This will be a fun way to start off every weekend, and it will give us a chance to network with other people inside the thinkspace walls.  Bring a club, or even your whole bag, and we’ll head down to Willow’s Run around noon every Friday and hit the range for about an hour.  If you have some extra time, feel free to get a foursome together for a quick nine holes!  All those interested can meet in the thinkspace lobby at 12 pm sharp to head out to Willows Run, or just meet us at the course shortly after!  Contact Danielle at Danielle [at] thinkspace [dot] com if you have any questions! See you on the course!

Willows Run:
10402 Willows Road Northeast
Redmond, WA 98052

For me the iPad has been amazing. While it is a bright shiny object (BSO) and I have been known to become distracted by “BSO’s”, I have found it to have utility beyond just a cool new gadget.  I’ve been intent on finding new ways to use the iPad for business reasons and have discovered a few ways and apps that help me justify buying an iPad.  I’m a guy that just doesn’t buy something without getting some kind of ROI on it.  So far the thing that I love about the actual iPad is the mobility, weight, size, speed, touch, and ease of use.  Those are all advantages over my 13″ MacBook Pro.  Of course it can’t do everything my laptop can do, but, my laptop can’t beat the iPad in those items that I just listed.  Here are my favorite business apps on my iPad:

Credit Card Terminal ($14.99) Credit Card Terminal: “Say you own a small business, and you need to ring up a customer’s order. Well… there’s an app for that.” Thanks to Derek Del Conte and Ryan Anderson, founders of Innerfence and creators of the Credit Card Terminal which turns your iPad or iPhone into a portable point-of-sale credit card terminal.  It can tap into your list of business contacts which helps speed up the credit card processing. From a business perspective, I LOVE pushing the big “Charge” button.  The application is super easy to use and it’s reliable, safe, and secure as I process transactions through Authorize.net.  A smart app that makes it super easy to process mobile transactions on the fly.  I also love the fact that Derek and Ryan are thinkspace Members and their company provides excellent customer service.

Memeo Connect Reader (free): This App is sweet, it connects to Google Apps and synchronizes and downloads all of your Google Docs locally on your iPad so that you can view them even when you’re not connected through WIFI.  There have been a number of times where access to this information has been helpful for me.

Air Sharing HD ($9.99): “It lets you wirelessly mount your iPad as a drive on your computer so you can load it up with files. You can then view, share or print everything from PDFs to Excel documents. For anyone complaining about the lack of a file system on the iPad, this gives you one.… Highly recommended.” — Gizmodo.

Twitterific: ($4.99): A Twitter Client that has a beautiful interface, allows you to manage multiple accounts (business/personal), view all your lists etc. Only feature I don’t like is the “retweet” RT action.  It doesn’t allow you edit/modify the RT before you send it. The free version does not allow multiple accounts + it has ads.

Evernote (Free): Great app for taking notes. “One note, many devices” that’s their tagline.  It works across the computers and phones you use daily, allowing you to capture something in one place and then access it from another.

WordPress (Free): One of my favorites because I’m in WordPress all the time. I love the fact that I can manage multiple websites/blogs from a single application.  The UI has a similar look and feel to the online app. Adding a new post, making changes to existing pages is super easy. Definitely a must have.

PixelMagic ($2.99): Quite a powerful photo touch-up program. Use your fingers to control image parameters like brightness, contrast and saturation, apply filters, draw with many brushes, apply effects or perform fine-tuned histogram corrections.

VNC Lite (free): One of my favorite apps. Mocha VNC provides access to a VNC Server. Using your iPad, I am able to connect to my Mac OS X and even control Windows 7 through Parallels. It was exactly like sitting in front of my MBP and controlling it with my finger. I’m surprised shocked how good it is!

Also check out: Yes, you can tether the iPad to an iPhone or Windows Mobile Phone

I just finished reading an article in the USA Today column titled “Give thanks to job creators“. I am honored that every day I work in a community of entrepreneurs, startups, non-profits, small businesses who are not only doing the very thing that they are passionate about, but, I see new jobs being created and people being hired. It also takes nerves of steel to be able to create new jobs.

“It’s an outlook that’s unfortunately rare these days. While the recession might officially be over, the 10.2% unemployment rate is still high enough that politicians have become obsessed with job creation. Of course, few politicians actually create jobs. Most new jobs exist because an entrepreneur like Martinez decides to start a business and then add employees. This is perilous in the best of times. When the economy is weak, it requires nerves of steel… Creating a job feels like winning.”

I’ve had a number of conversations with CEO’s in my Entrepreneur Organization about how great it is to be able to scratch and claw to grow our businesses in this economy and create jobs in the process. We as group, definitely have extremely high expectations for our employees and we also recognize how hard it is to create a single job. Michael Brown, founder of Affirma Consulting, also told me how much he cares about his employees. Michael also told me that he treats his company very serious and wants his employees to be very high performers because if an employee does not perform at a high level, they are putting at risk their fellow co-workers jobs and their families at risk. Quite a big impact when you don’t have high performing employees. The reverse can be said when you have an entire company of employees that are giving it everything that they have.

It’s very cool and inspiring to be surrounded in an environment where there are companies that are successfully growing in this economy and jobs are being created.

I really can’t wait to hear Nancy speak at our upcoming “Bye Bye Boring Bio” workshop on Wednesday, April 14th from 3-4pm! She always has such great insight and terrific takeaways that you can use immediately to spice up your bio. Her information is priceless and there is so much to learn that it’s often hard to write fast enough! This event is free of charge at our thinkspace location in Redmond, WA. All you have to do is sign up by emailing events(at)thinkspace(dot)com. Hope to see you there! To check out more about Nancy and what she will be speaking on, please visit http://mainstreetmediasavvy.com!

Would you like Nancy to Workshop Your Bio Live at This Event?

Rules: You must email nancy(at)nsjmktg(dot)com your “best effort” bio draft and a link to your website no later than Friday, April 9 at noon in order to be put in the “hot seat” for this Extreme Bio Makeover.   Just send it her way with “thinkSpace” in the subject line so she knows what its for.  And you have to be present at the session to benefit!

People rave about their Extreme Bio Makeovers, and you will too.   You just have to be bold enough to put your hat in the ring.   Can’t wait to hear from you!

Please RSVP to this event by emailing us at events(at)thinkspace(dot)com! We’d love to have you!

More audio at MyNorthwest.com

Paul Anderson, founder of ProLango was interviewed by KIRO’s Frank Shiers last night. (Listen in at the 24:00 mark) One of the key questions that Frank asked Paul was:

Frank Shiers: “What is one piece of advice that you can give to a job seeker?”

Paul Anderson: “Leave you behind.”

Frank Shiers: “What’s that mean?”

Paul Anderson: “Don’t go in looking what can I get out of this. Go in with what needs can I identify that I can become a resource to. If a employer has a need, show how you can solve it. Don’t go in saying here’s who I am, here’s my background, here’s my experience, here’s my education, at the end of the day none of that matters. It’s all about their needs and what can you do for them.”

Frank Shiers: “I know what this is, it’s need satisfaction selling.”

While Frank understands this, I don’t think most people get this. It’s totally about what are the needs and how can they be solved. I think that some employers like myself are sitting there thinking why don’t people get that? I bet some employers are also looking to solve problems but they haven’t even created a job description yet. It’s the smart job seeker listening keenly to understand what is important to the employer. I would create a job for someone that could solve my needs. I bet some of the best jobs are the one’s where the job description hasn’t been written yet. By the time the job description is written it’s already too late and there are hundreds of applicants.

Paul next Career Mixer is Monday, April 5 from 6-9pm at Maggiano’s Little Italy in Bellevue.