LDV Vision Summit

Spent the day at an amazing event – the LDV Vision Summit. Evan Nisselson brought together amazing folks who are involved in photography and video in every capacity. Whether they are developing new apps or SaaS platforms for storage or editing, or producing Justin Beiber’s YouTube videos – it was the full spectrum of talented creative and technical professionals.

The main takeaways were as follows:

-The costs of video and photography production have gone way down. Anyone can participate, and with high quality production values.

-Brands are not just publishers, they are network production planners. They are storytelling with text, photographs and video. They should be looking at their editorial calendars more like television networks develop their schedules.

-Authenticity counts. If you’re doing product placement or celebrity plugs, the context needs to make sense and be authentic.

-If you want to be a successful founder of a startup, VC’s participating gave the following advice:

-“Solve a real problem.”

-“Create something that other people say cannot be created.”

-“Be confident, not arrogant.”

There were so many great pitches and panels. I wish I could do them all justice. Click here to see the full agenda and get on the distribution list so you can catch the next event.

The bottom line is this: marketing is storytelling. What’s your story and how are you going to deliver it? What tools will you use?

 

Reverse Demo

Have you ever heard of a “Reverse Demo?” I hadn’t either…until I was asked to participate in one…so…tomorrow night is the big night.

Yes, that means ME——>PITCHING TO——->MANY ENTREPRENEURS! The shoe will be on the other foot!

It’s all good. Jesse Middleton, Co-Founder, WeWork Labs and Kathryn Minshew, Founder & CEO, The Muse are judging! David Concannon, Partner, Orrick is moderating.

The competition is tough. Check it out here – http://blogs.orrick.com/totalaccess/events/event/panel-event-reverse-demo-day-with-rre-softbank-greycroft-37-angels-and-other-investors/#.UmW-tsOHV-A.twitter

Well, keep a good thought, because as you know, anything goes on Demo Day!

Follow me @KristinCalve to see how it goes.

Are you building a product or a company?

As an investor or an entrepreneur it is easy to get caught up in product development. And yes, it is incredibly important to have an excellent product – or ten.

But, in the long run, entrepreneurs need to be building healthy companies. I meet with lots of incredibly smart and hard working entrepreneurs, and I am often surprised by how little thought they’ve given to the development of their company. We usually discuss pitch decks, market, competitors and customer acquisition/conversion – but there is not a lot of talk about how the company is organized or their plans to “build.” Staffing conversations are usually about developers, sales staff or marketers – almost never about COO’s or CFO’s. Even among themselves, founders often have not clearly defined their roles and responsibilities, leaving gaps that will cause problems as the company grows.

So, the next time we meet, don’t be surprised if I ask you about your company and how you plan to build it.

The Entrepreneurial Family

Not so long ago, I would roll my eyes when my children begged to have tag sales or a lemonade stand. They wanted to raise money to buy new toys, cheats for Minecraft or, better yet, a trip to the candy store. I would offer to buy them what they wanted or tell them to use their allowance. Anything to avoid the hassle of one of these projects.

Earlier this year I was lucky enough to hear Gary Vaynerchuk speak at an event hosted by 500 Startups. Since then, I’ve been following him on Twitter (@garyvee), and I have a new perspective on the kids and their desire to be entrepreneurial and raise money to fund their own hobbies. If you don’t know Gary’s books or blog, I suggest you check them out. He’s a terrific storyteller.

So what have I realized since hearing Gary speak? Children and adults alike are empowered by their ability to earn their own way. Whether it is selling gently used toys or baseball cards, opening a lemonade stand or braving it with your own new business or scaleable startup – there is something to be said about people who are willing to put themselves out there that way.

Entrepreneurship entails a great deal of rejection and, most times, failure. Learning to be resilient to those factors at a young age is an amazing opportunity. And it is terrific chance to learn how to set prices, negotiate and market a business.

So let them build those lemonade stands and help them with their ventures. Entrepreneurship is a most often a family business, so why not start young.

My Two Cents on Working from Home

Since Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer announced the end of employees being able to work from home, there has been a tremendous amount of discussion about employee productivity, innovation and work~life balance. Among my friends and colleagues, we all seem to agree that this policy change makes Yahoo appear a bit disconnected from other large corporations and trending policies.

In my experience, there are 2 main criteria for work from home situations.

1. Is this a job that can be done from home?

2. Is this an individual who can be successful in a work from home situation?

If the answer to either question is no, then working from home is probably not a good option. However, my guess is that the most common work from home situation is where employees are able to work from home part-time. And let’s be honest, with iPhones, Blackberry’s, Droids, and all of these mobile devices – most of us are working from home or otherwise in our personal time anyway.

When we talk about working from home, the discussion usually leads to a conversation about mothers and flexibility. I have never found this to be a productive use of time. There are plenty of men in the workforce who benefit from the flexibility to work from home. Just ask around…

The question is more about productivity and the quality of work. Happy employees make more productive employees, and if they don’t – then you’ve got other issues to deal with.

Welcome

Greetings Blogosphere! I am  thrilled to be back in front of a blank page. The blank page that is both inviting…so many ideas. And, at the same time, it is incredibly intimidating.

Last November when I was visiting a good a friend named Sara in London, she offered to let me read the unedited pages to a novel she is working on. She is an amazing fashion blogger and an extremely witty writer. She emailed me the first fourteen chapters, which I promised to read on the long flight home.

Well, it turns out that travelling with 4 children, 8 years old and under, from London to NYC is not exactly relaxing. Nor is it conducive to some light reading.

I promised myself I would read the pages when we were home and all settled in.

At Christmastime, I still had not read but a couple of chapters. “I will read all the chapters while we are in the Dominican Republic after Christmas,” I told myself.

Then, I forgot to print the pages for the trip to the DR. I felt terrible. Here it was over a month later and I had not said one word to her about her book. I knew that she had put a lot into her writing. And, being a writer myself, I knew that she had trusted me and opened herself up to criticism by sharing her pages with me. When we returned, I made sure to read a few more chapters and then emailed her with my apologies and some comments. Luckily, she was kind and understanding, as always.

As I sit here worrying that my writing will be criticized, I cannot help but think about Sara. I am also thinking about my children, who we always encourage as readers and writers. And, I know, that even though I am worried about being criticized or letting down readers, this is where I belong.

So, please forgive me as I find my voice again. It’s been a while.