Nilofer Merchant | Scaling a Startup in the Social Era @ thinkspace

October 8, 2013

nilofer-merchant-posterNilofer Merchant, Harvard Press author of “11 Rules for Creating Value in the Social Era”, A TED Speaker, and former CEO of Rubicon. Nilofer has launched more than 100 products that have netted $18 billion dollars… and Nilofer will be speaking at thinkspace tonight!
Nilofer is a very important person to me as are her thoughts and concepts that she covers in the book “11 Rules for Creating Value in the Social Era”. While Nilofer is not aware of this, her concepts are very much intertwined into the fabric of what thinkspace has evolved into over the last five years and attribute much of our success to Nilofer concepts of “co-creation”. Nilofer’s has put a lot of words together for me as I’ve traveled my entrepreneurial journey. One of the things that has become the foundation of thinkspace is:

“Things we once considered opposing forces – doing right by people and delivering results, collaborating and keeping focus, having a social purpose, and making money – are really not in opposition. They never have been. But we need a more sophisticated approach to understand business models where making a profit doesn’t mean losing purpose, community, and connection.” – Nilofer Merchant

I’m very much goal oriented and focus on the outcome that I’m looking to create. If you took a look at all the goals that I’ve set for the company in order to be successful you would see things like be listed on the PSBJ’s Fastest Growing Companies List for consecutive years (check) be named as Washington’s Best Places to Work (check) and now be listed on the INC 5000 (open check box) with a goal of having 2000 recurring revenue customers (open check box). The goal is not solely about making a profit but for us it’s totally about creating community and connection.
Four years ago I created a Community Manager position in my company, when the typical Community Manager was not something you would see in a company that happens to lease out office space to startups, entrepreneurs, and non-profits. Yes, the position does handle leasing functions within the business, but, the goal and definition of success for the position is to create connection. Quite simply, the one thing that brings me the most joy every single day is creating connections to entrepreneurs. My most recent example is last weekend when I was at an Entrepreneur Organization retreat and connecting that group to a thinkspace member, Don Gerould, CEO of Cogent Equity, who helps entrepreneurs think through the process and build the plan on how to exit their company, either by stepping back or selling their company.
I’m truly looking forward to meeting and hearing Nilofer speak tonight at thinkspace. One question that I’ll be sure to ask Nilofer to address is how to scale a startup in the social era. Click here for more information on the event.


Picture of thinkspace