5 Things You’ll Learn in the Start up Culture



I’ve always gravitated toward entrepreneurs, start ups and small business owners not just because it is them that need the services I provide, but because they live a different lifestyle than what most people choose when it comes to work.

“Work” in a start up never stops. The reason is because the people behind start ups are deeply interested and personally invested in their business and what it is working toward. These aren’t the advertising executives that have been directing and grinding out multi-million dollar television commercial campaigns for the past 15 years reusing the same themes and templates. These are the people who stumbled upon an idea and have formed it into an innovative dream they are dedicated to seeing come to life — soon.

Here are five things that you can learn by being a part of the start up culture:

1.) There is no such thing as impossible.

Entrepreneurs and start up leaders know that anything can be accomplished with the right team and a few resources. This isn’t to say that you can just snap your fingers and see things come to light. Sometimes, you are too early to the market or you have to wait for the right other stars to align before your idea really takes off.

2.) Risk is only another “What If” scenario.

When you played the board game Risk or Monopoly as a child, chances are your parents were always better at it than you were at first. Why? Because their risk analysis emulators have been running many years longer than yours has. This means they can make better predictions while being more in touch with their gut feelings regarding scenarios. The amount of what if scenarios you’ve processed increases your ability to mitigate future risks.

3.) The quickest way to scale is to keep your team lean.

Keep your overhead and payroll costs down or eliminate them all together by harnessing volunteers and voila you have a shot at scalability. It’s common sense, but don’t take on additional staff you don’t need and don’t keep anyone who isn’t adding value.

4.) Passion keeps the opportunities rolling in.

You control your message and your destiny. If you speak critically about your product when you are introducing it to others how is that helping you to open another opportunity? Negativity breeds conflict, while positivity opens the pathway for acceptance. When there are scarce resources and little time, passion is what attracts new opportunities.

5.) The “Someday, Maybe” outlook is pointless.

In a start up, you don’t have the luxury of waiting for the next McKinsey report on an issue before testing it yourself. You are your company’s own R&D. The minute an idea strikes, you need to investigate it, delegate it, or forget it.

Like this post? Read some of my other submissions on this site. I write about business, culture, marketing, social media, branding and technology.


I See Bananas Every Day! Do You?

photoConsumers are choosing apps that fit their lifestyle. I have over five apps on my phone and mobile devices that help me to track my health and fitness. But, like any good American, before downloading another app, I’m always asking, “What’s in it for me?”

Pact app rewards users for their healthy lifestyle choices. Users who don’t fulfill their Pact goals are fined while users that meet their goals are rewarded. This sounds like the type of thing your mother would teach you, right?

I’ve been using the app, formerly known as GymPact since 2012 (you can see my review here). Pact has helped me to keep up with my exercise schedule and to be accountable for meal tracking.

Now, Pact has introduced a new incentive program for users to track and document the fruits and vegetables they eat. It’s as simple as: Snap, Upload, Vote.

Users take a picture of the fruit or vegetable that they are eating and share it to the app. Then, other users get to vote whether the picture counts toward the fruit or vegetable commitment.

The result. You get to see a lot of weird food pictures.

Mostly bananas.


Adding this social element to the app has changed my experience as a user. It’s made me spend more time on the app because I want to vote for more users’ pictures. It’s also given me great ideas for smoothies and other healthy eating ideas.

Introducing a community and social element to any app will give users a sense of being apart of a clan or group. In this case, imagine if all the people who uploaded banana pictures united. That’s bound to be over 2,000 people. Social elements can be introduced into apps to reinforce healthy behaviors or promote relevant products or services.

Want more bananas in your life? Get the Pact app today.

And You Thought Business Wasn’t Personal?

business personal

When surveyed, people indicated that they wouldn’t want to automate any portion of their personal relationships. However, in business, we are constantly suggesting that we automate repeatable processes in order to increase productivity and to earn more money. While, initial conversations aren’t often harmed by automation, you need to make sure that you make a personal impression.

You’ve heard it said, “Separate your business and personal life.” Now, if you are taking this simply as a prescription to avoid the complications and potential unethical behavior associated with entertaining an office romance, it’s a fine epigram.

Getting Personal is Unavoidable

However, you can’t overlook the fact that business is indeed personal. Especially, if you are in a professional services business, you are selling what your company can do or what it is you offer. You are repackaging and marketing the skills and talents that your team has. Communicating that value is an endeavor that’s uniquely personal, based on integrity and demonstrated experience.

I’m sure you’ve also heard, “No one cares what you know if they don’t know how much you care.” If your client doesn’t think that you have their best interests at heart, you aren’t going to get very far.

Use the Situation to Your Advantage

I’m not suggesting that you obliterate the boundaries between your business and personal life, but, in many cases, it is helpful to recognize that creating a business relationship starts much the same way as any healthy relationship. Use your personal skills in your business life to explore information, create affinity, establish trust, and honor commitments.

Old Navy’s Sly Spring Ad Campaign Featuring Amy Poehler

sscroppedHave you heard about Old Navy’s current sale? I have. . .but for multiple reasons. . .I’m a member of their emailing list, I’m sure I’ve visited the site enough to be targeted for ads in my browser (like the one to the right), and I heard a young girl scream yesterday, “All dresses are on SALE,” as I passed the store.

Aside from the real life uninhibited screaming of a young shopper, one of the best ways that I was informed about the sale was through a bit of advertainment. I opened an email blast, clicked through the video, and voilà without realizing it I was knee-deep in an advertisement, indulging in a short entertaining skit. The video shows the epic Amy Poehler as a mock chain Mexican food server (seems like Chipotle!) having a vivid conversation with a customer regarding her eating and shopping preferences! It’s been viewed 258,646 times in the past 6 days since it’s been posted! Watch below!

Old Navy created a call to action asking the reader to watch, “Old Navy TV,” drawing the subsriber in by offering a seemingly fun distraction. Advertainment isn’t anything new in the advertising world, but, the way that brands choose to execute and deliver this type of messaging to consumers is become more and more subtle yet interactive.

Old Navy Call to action

One other thought. . .I wonder how many of Old Navy’s shoppers and credit card holders watch Parks and Recreation, eat at Chipotle, and have a buying history of snatching up dresses at the beginning of Spring? If I had to pick the customers that this campaign would most appeal to, it would be those that fit that profile.

Here’s more hilarity from Old Navy and Amy if you haven’t already watched it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DVK9ShkqN_s#t=26.

How Diverse is Your Media Diet?

Media diet_cropped

Back in 2009, WIRED magazine released a media diet that the average American could follow to spread their daily hours spent with media across different modes. Take a look at it here:

media diet pyramid

Now, a recent study from Nielsen shows that Americans spend 11 hours with digital media each day.

mashable graph

You are known by who you associate with. How are you spending those 11 hours each day? With which companies/brands do you spend the most time and for what purpose? Just something to think about.

Share in the comments below if your heart so desires.

How Many Brands Touch Your Life in a Day?

branded chocolate

It’s not often that we pay attention to how we are interacting with brands on a daily basis. The other day, I was thinking about my to-do list and listing each store that I was headed to. Then a light bulb went off. Does this mean that I’m a brand subscriber for each of these places simply because I shop there? Some would say “absolutely,” while others would ask how often I shop there and if I am a member of the company’s rewards program.

From the clothes I wear to the car I drive, to the label on the food I eat, there are so many brands that I interact with everyday. This got me wondering … if I could count them, how many brands touch my life daily? I’m going to do my best to count each one tomorrow. My guess is I’ll notice about 80 percent of them. Look out for a follow up post with a list. Share your own daily brand interactions in the comments below.

FedEx Procession Surprise


No, this group of FedEx employees wasn’t driving in tandem to make a many part delivery, they rounded up 100 FedEx trucks to honor a fellow worker, Mickey, who had passed away. They surprised his family by escorting them to the cemetery. Heart warming and an easy kindness, really.

How do you create a culture of people who care about one another deeply and are willing to come together? It’s simple, give employees opportunities to: create friendships, connect with one another, and rely on each other. The rest will take care of itself.

Source: SlipTalk