I am now in my second week at SendMe Mobile and I have thoroughly enjoyed doing anything and everything I could to make myself useful here. It wasn’t hard to do, because SendMe Mobile’s revenues are totally marketing driven through what Kwedit CEO Danny Shader calls indirect sales. This means that everything I do at SendMe Mobile has an impact on their bottom line, and that’s incredibly motivating. My projects include creating scripts for both SMS and audio advertisements, building a foundation for better and faster ad creation with an ad creation template complete with suggested best practices for increasing the hit rate of the advertisement, and completing multiple database and data amalgamation projects that have sit on the back burner. I love the fact that every day I come into my job and maybe have half my day planned out, tops. It is up to me to keep myself busy because everyone’s got projects they need to have done, but they don’t realize that I can do them or that I am available. I essentially get to write my own book on how I impact this company and it’s up to me to decide where I want to get involved and how I help. It’s great fun because it lets me utilize my entrepreneurial spirit as an intern.
Speaking of entrepreneurial spirit, every speaker we have seen in the past two weeks has had that quality in spades, and you can see how it drives them and their businesses. John Burke and Om Malik both brought wisdom and experience to a group of interns that were just beginning to build their own libraries of knowledge. It was clear from these speakers that entrepreneurship is a long road that almost no one knows how to navigate the first time they ride on it. But Raising the Bar author Gary Erickson took that disadvantage and turned it into a strength through the growth of his company, Clif Bar. Erickson saw his road less traveled, the proverbial “white road”, as a way to not only set yourself apart from the pack but also grow as a person and a company along the way. Many of the lessons I took from Erickson’s books will guide me as I attempt to start my own company some day, but especially his triple bottom line: people, profit, planet. The way Clif Bar treats its employees is extraordinary and its treatment of the environment as both sacred and valuable is a necessary step forward in corporate thinking. It is amazing to think of the difference we could have on the way that the world and its people are treated if we all ran our companies in this fashion.
As for running companies, all three of the speakers that we met with this week are currently running their own companies. Toni Schnieder and Tony Conrad are running Automattic and (insert stealth company name here), respectively. They both had a lot of lessons on starting their own startups and what it was like to be at the helm of a growing company. It was great when Tony Conrad said you had to be ‘unreasonable optimistic’ because you are faced with seemingly crippling challenges to your business every day and your only hope of getting through them all is to keep your head above water and keep swimming forward. We then heard from Danny Shader, CEO of Kwedit, which is a fascinating company with a great idea. The last speaker we heard from this week was Hiten Shah, the founder of marketing tool KISSmetrics. His talk helped me as a marketer understand how companies are affected by marketing and how the web has created a whole new channel for marketers to use to reach their audience. His perspective on marketing is very forward thinking and I expect him to be an innovation-driver in the marketing field with both KISSmetrics and his future projects.
SendMe was founded in June 2006 with the goal of bringing products to users that didn’t have expensive smartphones. They saw an opportunity with use text messaging, connecting with other people and personalization as areas where they could make fun products available for anyone with any phone. SendMe has stayed true to its original mission in this regard and now provides many great cellphone products to any phone on the market. They have hit many road bumps along the way. The key is to keep focusing on what you can, and you will eventually get over the road bump or find a way around it. Something I was exposed to this week first in Raising the Bar, and then yesterday from Tony Conrad, was the phrase “que sera, sera”, which loosely translated means ‘what happens, happens’. It’s a nice way of looking at road blocks as an entrepreneur: you will find them, it’s inevitable. You just have to shrug and find a new way. If you are too focused on something having to be a certain way, you will never pivot and evolve your company into something that it could truly build a business out of.
I’m going to take a page from Jacob here and post a song every week. I will admit that I have an agenda in doing this . I am a big fan of electronic music, more commonly referred to as “techno”. I love sharing it and I actually feel like there is a serious potential for electronic music to forever change the way music is made. You can already see it happening with modern pop adopting many practices found in electronic music, but what really excites me is the explosion of different sub-genres that are turning electronic music into its own community of new, creative forms of art. One of the most famous and popular artists that creates electronic music is a Canadian called Deadmau5 (pronounced dead-mouse). His music is complex, rhythmic, and dare I say intellectual. I also find that electronic music in general makes for great work music. I am going to post one of my favorite tracks of his, which is a long, slow buildup that my friend called “Stairway to Heaven for electronica”. So while you grind away at your respective internships this week, I hope you all give it a shot.
Until next time,