Bootup Puts A Bow On It and Passes the Torch to Launch Academy and Van Pixel Crafters

On June 12, Bootup Entrepreneurial Society hosted our last #hurrah to celebrate the past three years and say thank you to our many supporters, advisors, and all of the entrepreneurs, who hustle hard everyday to build something that matters in Vancouver.

I didn’t get a chance to say all of the things I wanted to last night. So, if you will indulge me, here goes…

It’s in Our Blood.
One of the questions I was frequently asked over the past three years was why were we doing this?  If you are an entrepreneur, you will understand my answer was quite simple: From our amazing board and mentors to our GSD organizing committee, we were and forever will be entrepreneurs. And when you have risked it all and sold your house to seed fund your startup, helping other entrepreneurs is just part of your DNA.

As fellow Yankee and local Vancouver entrepreneur, Paul DeJoe of Ecquire so eloquently wrote in his popular Quora response about What it feels like to be a Startup CEO:

You start to see that the word “entrepreneur” is a personality. It’s difficult to talk to your friends that are not risking the same things you are, because they are content with not pushing themselves or putting it all out there in the public with the likelihood of failure staring at them every day. You start to turn a lot of your conversations with relatives into how they might exploit opportunities for profit. Those close to you will view your focus as something completely different because they don’t understand. You don’t blame them. They can’t understand if they haven’t done it themselves. It’s why you will gravitate towards other entrepreneurs. You will find reward in helping other entrepreneurs.

Finding reward in helping other entrepreneurs was at the heart of everything we did at Bootup.   One day last March, I recall looking around Bootup and noting an international mix of entrepreneurs from Belgium, Czechlovakia, England, Singapore, Canada, and the US, working out of our office. I kid you not. I loved that they felt welcome at Bootup and that many of them were choosing to start their companies here, in Vancouver. It was a very cool moment for me and something you can’t really quantify.

By the Numbers.
I have worked with and met some incredibly talented people and I am really proud of what we have accomplished over the past three years. While there are many things I can’t quantify or measure, I can tell you that our team:

  • Organized 100 startup events and supported many others like Metabridge and Grow Conference.
  • Welcomed 10,000 attendees
  • Launched 95 companies
  • Hosted more than 30 startup talks with experienced mentors like Brad Feld, Dan Martell, Mike Macadaan, Paul Kedrosky, Dave Olson, Guy Kawasaki, Jonathan Ehrlich, Matt Galligan, Tom Higgins, Patrick Lor and many others
  • Launched Bootup Garage Pilot Program and had over 40 signups
  • Worked with 40 Local Mentors and hosted regular office hours at Bootup including Boris Wertz, Jason Bailey, Ryan Holmes, Dennis Pilarinos, Danny Robinson, Milun Tesovic, and David Ascher to name a few
  • Brought 8 startups to SF on a road trip to pitch Valley VCs
Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!
You have all made a huge difference and helped many.  Thanks again.
Passing the Torch.
If you are looking for great startup events and programs for entrepreneurs, here are two organizations you need to check out and get behind:
  • Launch Academy a collaborative community space for tech founders and hackers was founded by Ray Walia, Jesse Heaslip and Roger Patterson. It is everything that Bootup Garage aspired to be and they are just getting started. If you are looking for a place to start your company and learn from the best, you should apply now. Their space is presently located in the GrowLab open office.  We need this in Vancouver. Support this and get involved.
  • VanPixelCrafters is a community driven organization recently founded by Boris Mann and Mack Flavelle. Boris and Mack have been organizing popular tech events like Democamp, Lean Startup talks and HackVan since I have known them. Vanpixelcraft will continue to put on community tech events targeted at the web, software, and design craftspeople of Vancouver and share your startup stories on their blog. If you want to help out or contribute, you should get at them.
As for me, I am still here to help.  I will be focused on working with Mike Edwards at Initio Group, my startups, supporting the groups above and personally, trying to spend more time with my growing family.
It’s been a good run!  Thanks for everything.
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Dave Olson’s Social Marketing Kung Fu, Green Belt: Building a Posse

Owly at Launch Party 9 Vancouver

On Wednesday, June 29th, we welcomed back Dave Olson, Community Wrangler at Hootsuite, for Social Marketing Kung Fu session number four at Bootup HQ, entitled Building a Posse.

Rockstars, Gardeners, & Interns

Dave talked about three different types of people that want to be a part of your posse: rockstars, gardeners, and interns. They all have different motivations for being a part of your community, and have different talents to offer you, thus, they should be rewarded accordingly. You must provide them with some restraints, though, so that no one is speaking on behalf of your brand but you.

  • Rockstars are the ones who are concerned with their personal brand, and what they get out of their relationship with you. A great example of a rockstar is a high profile blogger. If they help promote your product online, they are going to want to be rewarded publicly online, so Dave’s suggestion is to thank them on the blog with trackback links, pictures (flickr), twitter mentions, etc. Plus, everyone loves some good swag every now and again.
  • Gardeners are the power users of your product that do things for you because they are fans, and they care about the product. This might be a developer who discreetly tips you off about a bug or glitch in your system, or a keener who makes a video tutorial on a product you just launched. Dave’s tip for rewarding these types of people is obviously a huge personal THANK YOU, and a mail delivered package of company swag, to make them feel like the special person that they are.
  • Interns are exactly what you think they are. Recently graduated from university, looking for a career, and wanting to be a part of an awesome company. Dave’s advice on interns (and he’s an expert, he’s had about 20 at Hootsuite, and calls himself the “intern whisperer”) is to NOT treat them like interns. First of all, give them a title that means something, not just “intern.” Don’t make them go get your coffee. There are always going to be mundane tasks in every job, but give them inspiring tasks to feel like they are doing a real job. In the process, you will find out what they excel at. They are going to be an extension of your company, and they’re going to be talking about your company.

Twitter Lists

Hootsuite uses twitter lists to monitor these different types of people and their conversations. Using just search terms and hashtags gets too messy and too complicated. One thing Dave told us, is that when he finds someone who has said something interesting about Hootsuite on twitter, he will go to their profile and find out: who they are (even check their LinkedIn profile), where they’re from, what do they tweet about, and who are they having conversations with. He then jumps into their conversation to “lob the tennis ball,” and then waits for them to hit it back.

HootUps

A new initiative Hootsuite is working on is organizing Hootups (like a tweetup, but for Hootsuite users), and they have encouraged people to start organizing their own Hootups. If you organize an event, and send an e-mail to Hootsuite telling them about it, they’ll send you some hootkits (swag) to give away as door prizes. Obviously these people are going to be posting pictures, tweeting and blogging about the event, so it’s a wicked way to get people talking about your product.

Talk is Cheap

Another thing Dave pointed out is that it doesn’t require a lot of money to be an influential brand. Hootsuite was named one of the top 5 influential companies at SXSW in 2011, and the biggest expense for the conference was for handing out free beer koozies. They didn’t do any major stunts like sponsor parties and give away free booze, but they DID pay someone to wear the Owly mascot suit every day during the conference. See, marketing can be cheap!

Tips & Takeaways

Lastly, I’ll leave you with some of the main takeaways that stood out to me from Dave’s talk:

  • “Hi. You Matter. We’re Listening.”
  • What makes people want to feel a part of your community? Find out and amplify their story.
  • Inspiration is the key to motivation.
  • Amplify your success to make more!

Please share any ideas you have or takeaways we may have missed in the comments below.

Missed SMKF? Find the Notes here:

Our notes from the last couple of talks can be found here and here, and Dave posts all of his notes on Tumblr for those that have missed the previous talks.

 

Social Marketing Kung Fu, Purple Belt with Dave Olson

Dave Olson

Photo by Kris Krug

On Wednesday, April 27th, I sat in on my first startup talk at the Bootup Garage. Dave Olson, Director of Marketing at Hootsuite, came in to do his third talk in a series aptly named Social Marketing Kung Fu (#smkf).

In January, Dave started off with Social Marketing Kung Fu, White Belt (Maura’s notes from that session are here), then in March, he came in for the Yellow Belt – “Listening Everywhere” session.

Dave is always a joy to listen to – I’ve seen him speak at a few different conferences – so I was eager to hear what he had to say in session number three: Social Marketing Kung Fu, Purple Belt – Release Day. His talks are always full of interesting tidbits and useful information, and this one was definitely no different.

I jotted down a few notes to share with you, but you can also find Dave’s notes on getting your Purple Belt here.

What to Release

  • Should be something substantial, or a few things bundled together and released around the same time.
  • Code names for product releases are always smart, as they’re memorable.

Know Your Coverers

  • Reach out to the media that you want to cover your story: RT them, comment on their stories, add them to twitter lists, etc.
  • Get to know them, and what they write about.
  • Personally invite them to join your media e-mail list.
  • When you send them info, make their life easy. Respect their time.
  • Spoon feed them the story, but never be condescending.

Craft Stories

  • Take 3 important talking points, and craft them into different forms.
  • Tell them why your story matters!
  • Get quotes from your customers, not your CEO (unless it’s a special circumstance, where a quote from the CEO is appropriate).
  • Putting a boiler plate “About” section at the bottom of a press release is unnecessary and a waste of space. Link to your website/blog instead.
  • Tune your vocab. Make it active, not passive. Lose the buzz words, and keep your vocab as consistent as possible.
  • Include image(s) to support your story, so they use your image and not their own.

Line up Dominoes &/or House of Cards

  • Constantly keep your media kit up to date. If you have one page on your website, this should be it.
  • Thursday before the release: Send an internal memo to your team to share the master plan. Include your 3 main talking points, who you’re telling, and why it matters.
  • Monday 1PM: Local press release, & media preview e-mail. Include assets, like an infographic, if possible. Make them feel like they are getting the story first.
  • You can also send a preview e-mail to your key clients, to keep them in the loop, and ultimately, make them feel special.
  • Tuesday 5AM: Scheduled blog post. Make everything point here, so it answers any questions people may have. This way you are controlling the conversation.
  • Next comes Twitter & Facebook updates, a general e-mail to clients, and a wire release (with links, tags, etc.) Keep the Facebook update light and airy. You don’t want it to become your main feedback channel.
  • Tuesday 9AM: Make sure your dominoes have fallen into place! You can also update any LinkedIn groups, Forums, Q & A sites like Quora, Formspring, etc.
  • Tuesday 11AM: Optionally, you can host a webinar, an hour at most, to go over any details that go along with the release.
  • Schedule any interviews requested by the media.

Then…

LISTEN
REPLY
THANK
SHARE
REPEAT

Prepare for the haters

  • If you comment on articles right away and thank the author for sharing your story, you may prevent a good portion of negative comments, because they know you’re there listening.
  • Prepare some stock comment copy for the trolls, so that you don’t take their criticism personally.

Finally

  • Thursday: Send a News Round-up. Share your favourite coverage from the release. If someone has created a video tutorial on your product, make sure to include that. Don’t forget to trackback to those articles.

Next month, Dave O will be back for the fourth installment of Social Marketing Kung Fu at the Garage, so be sure to come check it out.

After the talk, most of us headed over to the Alibi Room for Startup Drinks. Sign up for the Bootup Meetup Group if you haven’t yet, so you don’t miss out on the next one!

Additionally, if you have any other notes or tips that I have missed, please feel free share them here.

This Week in Tech Events, February 21-25, 2011

Good Morning Vancouver!  Hope everyone had an amazing weekend and enjoyed the beautiful sunshine.

This week is a busy one in tech as the VEF, BCTIA and Bootup are all hosting events we think you should check out:

Clean Tech Panel Discussion: How to Capitalize on Current Business Opportunities hosted by the VEF

  • Tuesday, February 22nd – 5:30pm
  • Vancity Theatre
  • If you haven’t bought your ticket yet, your outta luck.  This one is Sold Out!

Social Marketing Kung Fu, Yellow Belt – “Listening Everywhere” with Dave Olson hosted by Bootup

  • Wednesday, February 23 – 5:00-7:00pm
  • Bootup Entrepreneurial Society – 163 West Hastings, Suite 200 Vancouver
  • $30 for non-members

Mac McIntosh – Marketing for Leads and Sales hosted by BCTIA

  • Thursday, February 24th – 8:00am -12:30pm
  • The Sutton Place Hotel
  • Tickets are $155.
  • Friends of Bootup can receive 20% off by using the Promo Code: Bootup when registering.

If we missed  your event, feel free to let us know by leaving a comment below.

For more tech events and news, you can also check out our media partner, Techvibes.