It’s HARD work building businesses from scratch. Don’t let anyone fool you with the lure that working for, or creating a startup of your own, is “freedom” and “work-life balance”. It is, depending on your perspective and lifestyle preferences, but not quite so glamorous as it would sound or appear. (For a great post on this subject, check out Jonathan Field’s blog.)
But alas, for good or bad, I’m off to create (not find) more happiness with my latest venture… Let’s Eat SF….and wanted to provide an update for my friends and followers.
To put this new venture in context, I have an insatiable appetite for two things:
INSPIRATION from PEOPLE and PLACES
My life didn’t please me, so I created my life. – Coco Chanel
A walk about Paris will provide lessons in history, beauty, and in the point of life. ― Thomas Jefferson
CREATING EXPERIENCES from THINGS WE DO
Find something you’re passionate about and keep tremendously interested in it. ― Julia Child
Let’s Eat encompasses all of the above, which is what makes it such a delightful concept to build out. Perhaps it will be my Magnum Opus, or perhaps it will not. But none-the-less it’s a new venture to feed my passion for culinary art and to create a meeting ground for others to connect with others who share the same.
A little about Let’s Eat….
I’m admittedly way overdue on crafting an original post for Get Scrappy. It actually saddens me how long it’s been since I’ve written. But no fault of anything other than a full schedule, a desire to find solstice and fresh creativity and having just come off a vacation to Paris. (Yes, Paris…it was awesome.)
But what I wanted most to share now is just how crazy (and fun) the startup train can get. And what I’ve been really up to, other than running around like a mad women.
Been utterly nose down in a special project for iCharts. iCharts is my first love – my day job – and we got a little creative (or crazy) a few months ago and decided to launch a custom chart section for Elections 2012.
Our objective was very simple – to showcase the data centricity of politics and especially the US Elections – via iCharts. We joined hands with Experian Marketing Services and Peoplebrowsr to highlight a combination of online and social analytics, on top of charting open date sources like Pew and Gallup. And short story – I’ve been loving every step along the way. Yes, I’ve lost a few hours of sleep along the way and I’m a walking encyclopedia of election oriented data points. But none-the-less, I urge you to check it out. (I genuinely know of no other source on the web that has aggregated and created as many original Elections related charts.)
At the root of what we’re doing is showcasing data - data that can persuade voters, and accentuating that (data) journalism can in fact be done via short-form visuals. Not just through a Twitter post, but in data-rich chart formats that quickly spotlight information in a way that’s easily digested and distributed on the web via social networks, email, advertising, etc… and doesn’t just reside in elongated blog posts or dense articles. Call it a larger call to “citizen responsibility”, but it’s in all of our best interest to keep the larger population informed – at a glance – and that is what we aim to do, even if a very short snippet of what could be done with a larger editorial/marketing team.
Paris inspired me. It has and always will, but this time was different. I was admittedly beyond tired as I started the trip. I couldn’t even see straight the first day due to an exaggerated case of jet lag, but after a few days in I found myself wanting to bring my everyday life back to somewhere between Paris and life in San Francisco. To somehow combine (necessary) creative outlets into a business model that I never tire of – cooking.
Many of you know I love (no really love) cooking…and making specialty cocktails. It’s my go-to when I’ve had a long day, and no matter how tired I might be, I find myself in the kitchen rejuvenated by fresh ingredients and a deeper connection with earth and the rhythm of life.
True, there’s a little necessity out of it given I’m a mom now and would be guilt-ridden if I put frozen dinners in front of my child. But bigger picture, having a child has become an awesome excuse to try new recipies, keeps me from only focusing on tech-oriented projects and in the kitchen.
So out of my love for food, annual fall dinner parties were born a few years ago, adhoc cooking and entertaining ventures with friends and family have followed me for years….and now… there’s Let’s Eat, a unique dinner party experience that incorporates the casual environment of a home, and the fabulous fanfare of gourmet home-cooking. :)
Bear with the newness factor and non-existent website (coming soon!), but the simple truths hold true to start out: dinner will be served, with awesome cocktails, for an inaugural dinner party on October 4th. Bring a friend, or two, and raise a toast as we/I aspire to bring together more foodies, more friends and even some out-of-towners to enjoy the basics – food – in it’s most glamourous self.
Cheers and Bon Appetit!
Deep from the trenches of startup marketing we hear voices. We hear voices that tell us if we just send one more email, draft one more press release, test one more variation on a landing page…that we’ll hit gold.
What we sometimes forget though in this process is our mental health and our team’s strength and stamina. And while I will (still) say most startups fail from lack of effective marketing, I’d also venture to say it’s because the leadership team burns out. They push until they start spinning, losing sight of what really matters.
I’ve been going hard with startups on and off now for over ten years. And the flame of the midnight oil often just burns brighter because as I/we see success, it persuades us that working hard(er) pays off and can (or should) replace our personal time.
It. Can. Wait.
If there’s one lesson I’ve learned in the past six months is that racing for the gold has its value. But not at the expensive of regularly eating dinner without always multi-tasking (working), or failing to read a bedtime story to my son several nights in a row, or repeatedly sparing sleep to get a few more projects done late at night. If anything, my/our work quality begins to degenerate and our prowess for seeing the more finite details becomes blurred.
Most projects can wait another 24-48 hours. (Let’s be honest – few of us are saving actual lives with our work.) In fact, people and projects are surprisingly forgiving to allow a little extra time for sleep or a family dinner which re-charges our brains and produces extended creativity.
An impressive addition to this topic was a little book on The Greatest Science Stories Never Told by Rick Beyer. Though I’m still working my way through all the fun stories like who really invented the lightbulb; the greatest, most inspiring section thus far was the introduction. The intro highlighted that many and most great scientific discoveries happened serendipitously. That in the less forced, casual moments we often have our biggest break-throughs.
So to that – I’m not suggesting myself or others stop working all-together to achieve major break-throughs. But I do recommend more lunch breaks sans checking email, a 30 minute run every day, a happy hour meet-up here and there, and an exerted effort to learn something new (not work related) every week like a language or the history of Medieval Times.
It’s the unique facets of being human…of catching up with a friend for a few minutes, taking a walk outside, of pushing our physical and mental limits through exercise, or simply seeing things outside our 9-5 work zone that allow us to truly innovate and go from good to great.
It. Can. Wait.
Simpler said than done, or maybe it is just that simple?
Find out how a scrappy, focused approach to (startup) marketing will unleash your potential and strengthen you for the fight ahead.
Interviewer: Michelle Fitzgerald
Interviewee: Jeffrey Hayzlett
The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.”
- Theodore Roosevelt
Today we are marketing to a Scanning Society – a society that embraces, even participates, in more topics and conversations than ever before — but, when distilled to our basic human nature (and brain power), do we actually only remember and truly care about a handful of things?
Just how much do you, or they, remember?
*As published on Upmarket, June 21, 2012