Category Archives: Networking

NWEN First Look Forum Top-20 Redux

I’m happy to announce that HyLo (and the Community Magazine Network) has advanced (again) to the Top-20 of NWENs First Look Forum. Sometime over the next three weeks we’ll be meeting with a few advisers and based on those conversations they narrow the field to 12… the final 12 pitch to investors in October.

Given our progress and some of the new things we’re working on I’m hopeful about our odds of advancing. That said, things have been very busy for us and it’s likely we won’t get to put quite as much time into the deck to give it all of the trimmings we’d like but hopefully traction speaks louder than PPT.

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TechStars Seattle Selection is Out – We’re NOT In :(

Well, the good news is that we (Hyper Local Media) made the Top-30 out of an apparent 500 applicants for the first year of TechStars Seattle. The bad news is that TechStars was only looking for 10 companies. I look forward to learning about the teams that were selected, I’m sure they’re all doing interesting things and I wish them the best.

We haven’t formally launched but the Community Magazine Network’s website is now live. If anyone is wants to take a look and give me some feedback I’d love to hear it before we start actively promoting it in the coming week or so.

I made it!

Yesterday was a good day, I got the news I had been waiting for. I opened the e-mail and there it was, “You’ve been selected.”

No, this wasn’t the TechStars acceptance e-mail (although I’m hopeful I’ll get one of those next week) this was an e-mail from John Cook of TechFlash fame inviting me to join the TechFlash foursome for the WTIA’s Annual Golf Scramble on July 26th. John wrote a blog post asking for submissions by people who were interested in filling out the foursome and I replied with 100-words that I’m sure could only be described as brilliant… I also gratuitously leveraged my cute toddler, I suspect the pic to the right is the real reason I was chosen.

Playing 18 with John Cook at a tech-related golf tournament is going to be a great way to spend a Monday in July (although, I hope the round is the sub-6-hour variety).

We’re TechStars Finalists!

I was excited to learn today that we (Hyper Local Media) have been selected as finalists for TechStars Seattle 2010. As you can see from Andy’s explanation of what it means to be a finalist, we haven’t been selected but we’ve made it through to the more detailed review round.

TechStars is a great program that has been proven in just a few years to give startups a leg up. HyLo is off to a good start but we’d definitely stand to benefit from the insights and introductions that comes from being a TechStars company plus there’s something special about being a part of the first class of startups to go through the program in Seattle – from the way the community has already started to rally to the friendly competition that the selected companies will have that pushes all of them forward.

Well, I better start working on the stuff they requested. Hopefully in a couple weeks I’ll have another positive update.

Don’t mistake curiosity for a lack for understanding

It’s funny the assumptions we make. The more we interact with people the faster we get at lumping someone new into a bucket. We use heuristics to keep us from taking an interminably long time to come to decisions or form assessments of situations but when we apply them to people, particularly people that don’t fit the molds we’ve formed in our minds, a funny things happens – we get it entirely wrong.

I’m been on both sides of this quick judgment and in most cases the same issue is at play, mistaking curiosity for a lack of understanding. In our culture, bravado and a sickening desire to impress have created an environment where a person who seeks to learn from other’s experiences is often viewed as having a lack of understanding (the inverse is this situation occurs when someone understands something about the subject and then spends far too long trying to prove it to the ‘mentor’). Ironically, I’ve found, that most people who truly seek to understand something don’t stop pursuing truth once they grasp the concept rather they continue to turn over every rock they can to find new nuggets that enhance their mastery of the subject. On the flip side, when I meet people who purport mastery the extent of their expertise is usually limited to the exact situation for which they experienced or else its dated expertise that stopped being relevant once they believed they knew all that could be known about a subject.

So, I guess my takeaway is, if someone approaches you for mentorship and seeks expertise and insight take a moment to understand whether they are seeking a preliminary understanding of something or if they’re well versed on the topic and looking to add depth or breadth to their mastery of the subject. Getting past the initial assumption will help both of you get the most out of the conversation.

It’s official, we’re an ad network

Yesterday was the 2010 University of Washington Business Plan Competition Investment Round. That mouthful describes the flagship event which featured 36 competitors in tradeshow/science fair format with some 250 judges hearing pitches.

John Cook of Tech Flash was there and visited with us at our booth for Hyper Local Media. He also was shooting video of some of the pitches, I’ve included mine below and you can see John’s post on the day here.

I’m sorry to say that we didn’t advance, I fear we didn’t play the game well enough. We ended up having terrific conversations, many that lasted 15-20 minutes, but that may have done us in. It’s a numbers game and we were enjoying telling our story… maybe a little too much. Nevertheless, it was a great experience and we have some great new contacts as a result.

For those of you who are curious, we going to be formally opening our publisher platform in the next few weeks but we’re recruiting publishers now and we started generating revenue last week.

Whatya mean you don’t get it?

I like talking about my startup, it gives me a chance to refine the message and get feedback on what I’m doing from smart people (and some not so smart people). My goal in every case is to take something away from the conversation no matter how brief the conversation is.

I realized recently that sometimes what has become a given to you others may simply not get, especially if what you’re doing is clever. Of course, you’ve spent countless hours in bed thinking about it and they’ve just been hit upside the head with your idea so it makes sense. Lately I’ve gotten a few blank stares and I’ve realized it’s because they’re not the customer. The benefits our solution would provide, no matter how simple or strange, simply don’t resonate with non-customers.

Selling your idea to non-customers can be a futile effort and distract from the opportunity to glean insights that people who ‘get’ your business can’t provide. It’s seems that in starting a company you don’t just need to learn but you need to devise new ways to learn. Why would you want to do anything else?