Great intro to the concept of Lean Startups by the man himself

Five digital marketing tips for small businesses at the Crain’s Small Business Forum

This morning I am on a panel at the Crain's Small Business Forum in Chicago talking about how small businesses can use digital marketing generally and social media specifically to build their businesses.  I thought it made sense to use this blog to help think through what I was going to say, write it down and be able to refer people to it in the future.  

First, if you are like me and you always want to know more about the person providing the advice and what real experience they have, feel free to check out my Linked In profile. I have spent the last 15 years of my professional career building businesses that leveraged the power of the Internet.   Three years ago we took CoolSavings private and I founded Viewpoints Network so I am speaking both as a provider of social technologies but more importantly as a business owner who uses all range of digital technologies.

So without further ado….

Five digital marketing tips for small businesses

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Are you are starter or a joiner?

As someone obsessed with social media I got to thinking about crowd dynamics at the Cubs game a few days ago.  Next time you are at a big sporting event, watch how crowd action is first started and then how it spreads.  This might seem strange but I think those of us who think long and hard about how to create vibrant online communities have something to learn from how the wave gets started .

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Five lessons learned as an early stage entrepreneur

In my 16 year career (uggg, I must be getting old!), I spent 4 years at Microsoft in business development and then joined a start up (CoolSavings) as the VP of Sales and worked there for ten years, the last five as the CEO.  I ran CoolSavings as a public company with 150+ employees and while revenue exploded from $21 million to $80 million.  Then we took it private and I left to pursue my dream of starting from scratch, as the say –  tablua rasa or with a blank slate.  Now almost exactly two years later from absolutely nothing two years ago, Viewpoints Network has 12 full time employees, 750,000+ monthly users and as they say, the world is our oyster.   Allll right, I hear you, get to the point.  What are five lessons learned about starting an early stage start up?   

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Blogging is tougher than it looks

So for the last two years I have run a social media company, which hopefully you know is Viewpoints Network.  You would think that blogging should come second nature to me.  But it doesn’t and I need to fix that.  Starting today I am resolving to post something at least four times a week. I know of no other way to get my juices flowing. I will confess though, it seem odd to start blogging without an audience or a real clear sense of who your audience is.  I admire people like Fred Wilson, Mark Andreseen and Jason Calcanis who seem to be able to churn out some very thoughtful posts one after the other.

Here are some of the topics I hope to cover on this blog:

1. Interactive advertising and marketing

2. Social Media

3. Entrepreneurship

4. Politics (occasionally)