Tiny Startup Camp | Day Two

While the first day of Tiny Startup Camp was all about fundamentals, the second day was about execution, actually making something. And as we were launching the test beds for our very own tiny startups, the room was filled with the sounds of keyboards, excitement, confusion, answers, and awesome. We were executing on Jason Glaspey’s 15-step plan and getting our hands dirty. Proverbial dirty. There was lots of Purell.

Three bad brothers you know so well said it best, “Now here’s a little story I got to tell.”

6:59 am | Alarm goes off.
7:00 am | Think about idea for my first tiny startup.
7:30 am | Take a sip of cofee.
7:31 am | Think about idea for my first tiny startup.
8:57 am | Get on Max.
8:58 am | Think about idea for my first tiny startup.
9:40 am | Check in.
10:13 am | Jason Glaspey welcomes us again, tells us not to trash Urban Airship, and talks through what the day holds.
10:25 am | Let the tiny startup making begin. Everyone buries their heads into their laptops.
10:26 am | Jason holds an impromptu session for tiny startupers to talk ideas.
10:30 am | Picked my domain name.
10:35 am | Registered my domain with Hover.
10:49 am | Signed up for ZippyKid hosting.
10:55 am | Pointed my nameservers.
11:02 am | Stared blankly at my laptop trying to figure out how and if I had to install WordPress.
11:11 am | Tried to install WordPress. Andrew Spittle helped me. WordPress was already installed.
11:36 am | Struggled setting up MailChimp.
11:40 am | Figured it out.
11:44 am | Configured a mailing list in MailChimp.
11:45 am | Felt like a god.
11:49 am | Email form configured.
11:59 am | Added the form to my site.
12:02 pm | Jason talks about what to put on your landing page:

“You have to let people know that they have come to the right place. Quickly.”

“Keep people from hitting the back button, because they want to.”

“Have four things for them to do depending upon their intentions and what you want them to do.”

12:06 pm | Lunch provided by ZippyKid.
12:20 pm | Jason introduces some sponsors and they give a quick word: Jon Summers of WhiteSummers, Vid Luther of ZippyKid, Saul Colt of FreshBooks, Doug Gould from Cloudability, and Andrew from Automattic.
12:31 pm | Jason thanks Cami Kaos for being awesome (and all her work in making Tiny Startup Camp happen).
12:32 pm | Chase Reeves on finding your audience:

“#PSCS10: Pick an audience – specific as possible, one you care about, and serve them for the next 10 years.”

“When we get specific, super narrow, it’s hard to miss.”

“I want to make weird stew for Steve.”

1:11 pm | Saul Colt on being memorable:

“How do you get people’s attention? You do interesting things, be different, and do what people don’t expect.”

“Don’t ask why? Ask why not?”

“People don’t share your features and functions. They talk about you.”

1:27 pm | Free “World’s Best Boss” coffee cup from Tiny Startup Camp.
1:30 pm | John Gagnon of Bing does a breakout session on Bing Ads and walks us through the mechanics and approaches.

“The conversion sequence from marketingexperiments.com forever changed my approach to search marketing.”

2:38 pm | Back to working on my tiny startup.
2:59 pm | Google AdWords setup complete.
3:03 pm | Cuss at Google Analytics.
3:04 pm | Cami talks about the importance of good customer service and reminds us:

“Anytime you have a social account, it’s going to be used for customer support, so monitor it or don’t have it.”

3:32 pm | Twitter account activated.
3:35 pm | Back to Google Analytics. Andrew helped me (again).
3:45 pm | I yell, “You got served!” at Google Analytics.
3:59 pm | There are 14 windows open on my laptop.
4:05 pm | Vid Spandana on Art of the Hustle:

“To create something out of nothing, you have to convince other people to join you when you have nothing.”

All startups start tiny.”

“Build confidence with metrics. Measure growth from day one.”

“Relationships are salient and super relevant for tiny startups.”

4:50 pm | It’s pitch time. Six tiny startupers pitch their tiny startup. Awesome shoots from their mouths as they ptich their tiny startups in 3 minutes or less. Rick Turoczy of Silicon Florist is there to write them up (his write-up will be included once it’s published).
5:19 pm | Jason closes the first Tiny Startup Camp. We sing Kum Ba Yah.

Final words: I got through 12 of Jason’s 15 steps and am only a few hours-ish away from launching my first tiny startup. A lot of tiny startupers got much further. For me, this was a great experience. In addition to a solid ROI, I learned a lot about things – both concepts and tactical execution – I wasn’t familiar or comfortable with before. And I met some amazingly amazing and talented people. Based on the excitement, inspiration, and execution I saw, I’m sure you will see some highly successful tiny startups hitting the Portland scene really, really soon. Well, that is if you have the very, very specific problem they are solving.

Thanks again, Jason, Cami, and everyone else that made Tiny Startup Camp happen.

On Twitter: #tscpdx

Disclaimer: Most of these quotes probably aren’t exact quotes. I’m not Rainman.

Tiny Startup Camp | Day One

Overall, the first day of Tiny Startup Camp was a solid introduction to the fundamentals. In addition to the key concepts, there were a lot of tips, tricks, and resources presented. I realize I don’t dig into the details of those, but hey, you’ll get all of that when you attend Tiny Startup Camp 2.0. Personally, today alone was worth the price of admission ($50). Sure, some of this stuff I already know, but it was great to hear validated approaches as well as save countless hours on the Google machine trying to figure out the stuff I don’t.

If I were to testify in court, it would go something like this:

6:59 am | Alarm goes off.
7:45 am | (6 Year Old) “Where are you going?” “Tiny Startup Camp, kinda like a class.” “DADDY’S GOING TO COLLEGE! DADDY’S GOING TO COLLEGE!” ” Not exactly, but…” “The Ducks stink! *pinches nose and gives a thumbs down*” “Yes.”
8:30 am | Heading to Tiny Startup Camp at Urban Airship.
9:01 am | Detour to Powell’s.
9:29 am | Back on track.
9:37 am | Check in.
9:58 am | Spill coffee all over my lap and worse, all over my phone.
10:00 am | Jason Glaspey welcomes us & opens with The Art of Tiny:

“Tiny is an attitude, not just a startup.”

“Don’t be so invested that failing hurts.”

“Solve a single problem, for a group of easily identifiable people, who want a solution and can afford to pay for it.”

“Don’t confuse a startup idea with a genie wish.”

“Become a problem solver. Don’t be an idea guy. Think about making everything in your life better. And a tiny startup solution will come to you.”

11:05 am | Jason Van Orden talks information-based businesses:

“You do not have a business until you have a sale.”

“Information products are the fastest, easiest way to make money. You can do it in a week.”

“There are three formulas for information-based businesses: coaching, ebooks, and memberships sites.”

“Define your very specific audience and talk to them. What is this their biggest problem? What is the solution? Have you looked for a solution? Record and write down, so you can hear their exact words. And they can be used to market your tiny startup.”

“What are the top five to ten needs and wants of your audience?”

11:40 am | Break. Didn’t spill coffee on anyone.
11:47 am | Andrew Spittle owns Understanding WordPress:

“WordPress powers 17% of the web.”

“You don’t need to get fancy because that’s time not spent on other important stuff.”

“Five things on WordPress: relax, simplicity, backup, update, and give back.”

12:13 pm | Mike Pacchione on How to Tell Stories that Connect:

“Essential, figure out a way to tell your story.”

12:17 pm | I’m explaining the plot of We Are Marshall to someone I just met.
12:22 pm | Mike continues:

“People make decisions based on emotion, justified by facts.”

“Don’t talk about your self or your product. Talk about the problem and solution.”

“Follow a simple construct of talking about the problem’s pain and the solution’s pleasure. Then, repeat until the story is told.”

“Tell someone else’s story.”

12:40 pm | Breakout sessions with Jason (Van Orden), Andrew, and Mike.
12:45 pm | Andrew is dropping more WordPress knowledge in his breakout session.
1:05 pm | Told Little Big Burger to get in my belly. It listened. Met a couple of other tiny startupers. Talked tiny.
2:11 pm | Introduced myself to Rick Turoczy because I’m a stalker.
2:33 pm | Jason gives a shoutout to Tiny Startup Camp’s sponsors: Automattic, MailChimp, ZippyKid, FreshBooks, PIE, Silicon Florist, Woo Themes, Urban Airship, AppSumo, Bing, WhiteSummers, & Cloudability.
2:36 pm | Kim Toomey educates us on Pay-Per-Click marketing:

“Only worry about Google & Bing. That pretty much covers every major search engine.”

“Optimize for the different phases of the buying cycle: research, evaluation, & buying.”

“When building a keyword list, use your brain – what would you search by, use Google’s keyword finder, just start typing into Google, and check out Amazon – the next largest search engine after the big ones.”

3:04 pm | Rory Kaluza simplifies SEO:

“The more competitive the AdWords, the more competitive the SEO.”

“The most important thing in SEO is website format, specifically the title tag.”

“Provide killer content better than your competitors.”

3:31 pm | Rick Turoczy gets all up in social media’s grill:

“Don’t expect to get more out than you put in.”

“Land grab and speculate real estate, but live where your customer lives.”

“Be clear about what your social presence does and doesn’t do.”

“Be polite. Be thankful. Share.”

3:58 pm Jason tells us we are all going to fail, but it’s a good thing. And gives us an overview of the next day, where we execute on what we learned today.
4:01 pm | Breakout sessions with Kim, Rory, & Rick.
4:02 pm | Rory answers questions and points us to some great resources.
4:36 pm | I sneak out before the social hour because I’m socially awkward.
Tomorrow | We execute on what we learned today. And I’ll be testing my first tiny startup.

On Twitter: #tscpdx

Disclaimer: Most of these quotes probably aren’t exact quotes. I’m not Rainman.

Upcoming Mobile Portland Meeting | Amazon’s Appstore Opportunity

Come hear Aaron Rubenson, business leader for the Amazon Appstore for Android, discuss Amazon’s end-to-end value proposition for mobile application developers.

Note: Different Time & Location
Monday, November 12th | 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Ziba Design | 1044 Northwest 9th Avenue | Portland, OR 97209

RSVP here.


Articles from across the Web on entrepreneurship, leadership, and other stuff.

How Bad Leadership Spurs Entrepreneurship, Harvard Business Review
“What do 70% of successful entrepreneurs have in common? They all incubated their business ideas while employed by someone else. Indeed, most people start their own companies — or go freelance — in order to stop working for others. Why? Because most managers are simply unbearable. Year after year, Gallup reports that most employees are unhappy at work, and that the number one reason for dissatisfaction is their boss.”

5 Powerful Things Happen When A Leader Is Transparent, Forbes
“Trust and transparency have become popular workplace demands as employees seek to be aware of what is real and true.   People have grown tired of surprises and want to exist in a work environment that allows one to have greater clarity of thought – by eliminating the unknowns that continue to creep into our minds with each decision we make or relationship we foster.”

Don’t Freakout About Facebook’s Mobile-Ad Revenue, ReadWriteWeb
“News outlets breathlessly reported last week that Twitter was projected to overtake Facebook in mobile-ad revenue for 2012. But they missed the bigger picture.”

10 Leadership Lessons from Jeff Weiner, CEO of LinkedIn, Forbes
“Jeff’s open and compassionate leadership style keeps the company focused on growing at the rate of two new members every second (that translates into 175 million registered users in more than 200 countries) while reducing the business mantra to just two words: “Next Play.”

Bounce Back From Startup Hiring Mistakes, Upstart Business Journal
“Hiring for a startup is a challenge. The team dynamics are vitally important, especially since the group is often so small that one staffing mistake can turn a happy workplace into a war zone. With that in mind, we asked members of our Young Entrepreneur Council what was the most common hiring faux pas they’ve experienced—and how they rectified the situation.”

5 Things Brands Should Consider When Running Mobile Video Ads, iMedia Connection
“In “Messaging, In-App and Mobile Internet Strategies 2012-2017,” Juniper analyst Charlotte Miller stated, “Mobile advertising gives marketers the chance to reach consumers on a more personal level than any other types of advertising. Creating immersive and entertaining experiences to attract the attention of the consumer is essential for marketers wanting to take advantage of the massive increase in app usage.”

The Best Entrepreneurs Are Undaunted By Failure, Examiner
“If you haven’t had a failure, you aren’t pushing the limits. If you are really an entrepreneur, you are a risk taker and less cautious by nature, so failures should be expected. Wear you startup failure as a badge of courage. Don’t go after failure, but embrace it when it does happen and grow from it.”

Why Eyeballs No Longer Matter For Startups, ReadWriteWeb
“Need funding for your startup? Don’t load up your PowerPoint with nifty charts showing all the users your online service has grabbed. Venture capitalists are no longer impressed. These days, investors want to hear about the revenue you’re generating, not the traffic.”

Do You Need To Be A Jerk To Be A Successful Entrepreneur?, TechCrunch
“I recently read Ben Austen’s WIRED article about Steve Jobs, which prompted me to put together my thoughts about the tradeoffs of being a successful entrepreneur. Austen’s article draws a caricature of Jobs and puts forth a series of false choices. After reading it, you might be convinced that you can either be a jerk and successful or decent and mediocre.”

What Recruiters Wish Job Seekers Knew, Forbes
“A lot of job seekers wonder what happens behind-the-scenes in the hiring process. I asked a diverse group of recruiters from private sector to non-profit, from start-up through Fortune 500, from business to creative: What do you wish more job seekers knew?

Project Management Tips For Launching A Startup, Web Design Ledger
“Any Internet-based startup will require a lot of attention during the early phases of development. To launch a successful product you’ll need a targeted market share and a solid idea of what you’re looking to accomplish. For startups this often leads to monetization, building a community, or offering a unique service to the public.”

If You Want To Be The Donald Trump Of Startups, Learn To Code, Fast Company
“The Donald built an empire because he knew what every piece and process cost him. If you can’t say the same for your software, you won’t.”

Mobile Portland: Athletepath & Responsive Web Design

On Monday, I attended my first Mobile Portland event. The topic was responsive web design and presented by Athletepath, who provided the race results for the Hood to Coast and Portland to Coast relays last weekend. This was especially interesting to me as I participated in the Portland to Coast event and used Athletepath’s web application.

Christian Reed, the Lead Front-End Developer at Athletepath, shared why and how they got to where they are and then went on to explain that they decided to move forward with responsive web design (a browser-based interface that has been optimized to scale to various screen sizes) rather than develop native mobile apps. Ultimately, he said it was timing. They really wanted to put their best foot forward at the relay events and given the time frame they had to work with, they decided that it would be more viable to leverage responsive web design than build multiple platform mobile apps.

The Q & A session that followed was great. Lots of solid questions from the group, but, from my vantage point, it was clear that a majority of this group (at least the ones that spoke up) favored building native web apps, so Christian got a number of why-didn’t-you-build-a-mobile-app questions asked in different ways. And he admitted that responsive web design had some downfalls and that they would likely build mobile apps in the future. Downfalls included not being able to take advantage of some of the sexy mobile interface features and people simply wanting an app for that. At the same time, he emphasized that each project needs to be considered independently to determine the best approach based on audience, available resources, etc.

As a relay participant, I shared with Christian that although I didn’t use it as much as I would have liked because most of the time I didn’t have a data connection on my phone given the remoteness of the event, I did like what I used, especially the push notifications that let me know I was done. I look forward to seeing what they come up with in the next year.

All in all, it was a good event and I’ll definitely attend future Mobile Portland events. The group is very interactive, which makes the event that much more engaging.

Side Note: During the announcements time, there were a good number of people looking for iOS developers, so if you know how to do that type of thing, you should consider going to the next meeting. And if you don’t know how to do that type of thing, you should consider learning.