Have you ever thought about what advice you would want to receive as a fledgling entrepreneur? Are you someone who looks back with longing and wonders what you might have said to your younger self 5-10 years in the past about how you could do better or what you would change? Sure, hindsight is clearly 20/20, but in a time when there’s a booming industry of young entrepreneurs or people who want to create the next Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or LinkedIn, role models and advice are heavily sought out in order to help them grow their business. For many, it’s not about finding a mentor or an advisor–they probably don’t know where to start. But with events like the Startup Dream Team Speaker Series, young people might be able to get the advice they need so that they can become more successful. This past week, I happened to stumble upon one of them and the featured speaker just happened to be Marcus Nelson, founder of Addvocate and the former Head of Social Media at Salesforce, and co-founder of UserVoice.
The Startup Dream Team Speaker Series is a seven night event that’s taking place between July 25 and August 10 and is meant to be essentially an 8-week summer program for 30 interns and young entrepreneurs from around the world. The focus is to help create what they call an “environment favorable for team creation and teamwork“ that will help the founders make the best educated decision to form the right team and launch their own startup. The night that I heard Mr. Nelson speak was the fourth event in the series–past speakers they’ve had include KISSmetric’s Hiten Shah, Zappos’s Will Young, famed technology evangelist and blogger from Rackspace, Robert Scoble, and managing partner from Maples Investment, Mike Maples.
What the audience is supposed to walk away with is a better understanding of what the speakers went through when they started their endeavor or made their investments. This week at Rally Pad HQ, Mr. Nelson gave some interesting tales about his rather diverse path.
Silicon Valley sure has a lot of food trucks rolling around the area. Whether it’s Korean BBQ, Vietnamese, burgers, local cuisine, Asian, Italian, or anything else, there’s going to be something for everyone. Chances are that you’ve probably ventured around town and stumbled upon one of these popular mobile restaurants and picked up something to eat. Well, while it’s great that there’s more entree-style food choices for people to select, there’s one thing that sometimes you just want to crave: dessert.
Now, okay…so there are some dessert street vendors, but not that many–and after eating all those appetizers, burgers, noodles, and other assorted meals from the main vendors, shouldn’t you just take it easy and decide to go for something sweet and good? Hey, what about cupcakes? Well, there’s not a popular street vendor that just serves cupcakes. I suppose you could go to Safeway and pick up some day-old cupcakes to eat, but that’s just that fun. And cupcake stores aren’t that close to most of us. So what are we to do?
If you’re a part of the tech industry, then chances are you’ve managed to venture out after work to a club, lounge, or an office where some type of party is happening. This industry is infamous for its parties (in addition to its hard work ethics). One person seems to recognize that this phenomenon holds some opportunity and he’s looking to bank on it in his brand new venture.
Mike Prasad, a long-time Los Angeles fixture who is renowned for being a serial entrepreneur, has spread his wings and ventured out to the Hawaii in search of new opportunities. Mr. Prasad is probably more well known for being the founder of the popular female gaming community site, GirlGamer, the anime fan site, Ani.me, the new social media event tool, Screenfuse, and definitely for being the guy who helped put the popular food truck, Kogi BBQ, on the map, social media-wise. About a year ago, Mr. Prasad decided to create a new venture called MXLGY, which is a “free private newsletter for the drinking enthusiast, dedicated to the art of craft cocktails & modern mixology.” During his adventures in the Aloha state, he decided to pursue his interest in mixed drinks and cocktails and slowly started to foster an idea to bring a little bit of Hawaii to the rest of the world.
The world of business has just drastically changed and one of the most established enterprise companies in the world just gained one of the most liberal and rebellious to have ever emerged onto the social scene in the past decade. Ever since Yammer, a well-funded social collaboration company, first came on the scene after taking the top prize at TechCrunch 50 in 2008, there has been a shift in the business paradigm. And now, on the heels of their recent announcement of Yammer’s acquisition by global software giant, Microsoft, this popular startup is poised to achieve even greater success and help disrupt the way people are doing business.
Perhaps commonly known in its beginnings as the “Twitter for Enterprise”, Yammer has come a long way in its short four year history to become the de facto service for millions of customers, many of whom are represented in companies that make up the Fortune 500 group. Under the terms of the acquisition, Microsoft will purchase the social business company for $1.2 billion in cash and will join the Microsoft Office Division, which is led by the division president, Kurt DelBene. When asked why they purchased Yammer, Microsoft CEO, Steve Ballmer, responded with “The acquisition of Yammer underscores our commitment to deliver technology that businesses need and people love.” It seems that the software giant saw some great potential that Yammer had versus what they could have possibly mustered using their own social enterprise software called Sharepoint. We’ll explore that a little bit later on, but suffice it to say, according to the announcement, Yammer won’t be integrated into the collective of software right away:
Yammer will continue to develop its standalone service and maintain its commitment to simplicity, innovation and cross-platform experiences. Moving forward, Microsoft plans to accelerate Yammer’s adoption alongside complementary offerings from Microsoft SharePoint, Office 365, Microsoft Dynamics and Skype.
We’re mere days away from the much anticipated Facebook IPO and all interested parties seem to be in an eleventh hour frenzy. First GM pulls $40 million worth of Facebook ad revenue from the site. Next comes a report making the rounds in major news outlets that Facebook ad clicks pale in comparison to Google ads. The AP now says this lack of trust may even cut into Facebook ad sales, which make up 82% of all current revenue for the site. Things don’t look so good for this week’s stock market darling…
But keep in mind this is all right before Friday (the rumored IPO D-day). The initial poll data from Associated Press-CNBC suggesting the ads on Facebook are ineffective comes in conveniently right before the IPO.
And these results only serve to heighten fears that the stock may be overpriced. Facebook lifted the stock price on Tuesday from $28-$35 to $34-$38 a piece. More seasoned investors caution against investing right away, while over half of those surveyed say they think Facebook is a good bet. However, one poll of 1004 users (by telephone, ahem) does not make for an accurate picture.
Facebook has almost 1 billion active monthly users, more than half use a cell phone and are under the age of 40.
There’ve been plenty of previous case studies (Expedia went from 250k fans to over 1 million with effective Facebook advertising). Ford even made a jab at GM on Tuesday with a post about how they model their advertisements to have engaging content. And those searching can now find a swirl of discussion around how to make their ads more effective if they weren’t initially.