Wednesday, December 11, 2013

What Hugo Barra Said About China at #LeWeb

If you missed what Hugo Barra said about China at #LeWeb, you missed an important presentation.  He made it clear the sheer numbers of users around any start-up or social media company that takes off in China are gigantic and need to be noticed.

I thought his presentation was simple and to the point, but the point is still hard to wrap your head around. What's happening in China economically, politically and culturally is an amazing story. Don't miss it.

Look Who Just Walked In

Welcome to our global party at LeWeb. It’s always strange to realize it’s easier to see someone who happens to live 20 minutes across town from you back home, by going to a conference in Paris.  Go figure! I guess at home you get so caught up in stuff, booking time for coffee even with a best friend is a challenge.  It’s one of those things about conferences I really love.

In August, we had an amazing party in Half Moon Bay, CA thanks to Robert Scoble and Guy Kawasaki, to celebrate the launch of my novel about entrepreneurs, Founders Less Than Three.  Some of the earliest bloggers and other new friends attended and rocked the place. Now we’re together again in Paris in December.  I’ve been traveling through Europe since Nov. 9th talking about and reading from my book in Italy, Austria, Germany, France and next week I go to the UK.  

On my trip, I’ve met an amazing army of startup warriors in the EU, women and men at accelerator programs, co-working spaces and all over.  They’re not too different than their comrades in the US in their go-for-it attitude. But, I thought Guy’s advice yesterday when he was interviewed by Loic at @LeWeb was spot on –- don’t copy any US startups, be unique and be yourself!

I’ve met so many of my friends in tech through blogging and conferences. I live in Boston.  I’ve never lived in the San Francisco Bay Area but when we come to a conference like @LeWeb we see friends from there all over the world, as if we’d created a country all our own. Welcome to our new union of #makers and shakers. Don’t be shy, if there’s someone you want to meet, go for it. Take time to say hello with two more conference days left.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Our Daily Bread // Notre Pain Quotidien

I’m looking forward to James Courrier’s panel on Bitcoin Tuesday at @LeWeb, but I have to warn him he’s got his work cut out for him when he talks about value and growth. It’s a tough subject on every level.

Bobby Manhattan's site will tell you lots about baguettes.
A few days ago I was chatting with a young French woman in Grenoble who’s never been out of France about the euro versus the dollar and gave her some examples of what shoes cost, or a car or gasoline in the US versus France, just to explain the difference. 

But really, it only made things more complicated as I explained that we pay a lot less for shoes, especially for brands like Converse. Our hightop sneakers might be $50 and theirs are100 euros. And cars … how do you explain that many more cars in the US are Japanese brands and we don’t have many of the major French brand cars?  Or that despite the major US auto brands on the brink of bankruptcy (or in it) most Americans didn’t feel any loyalty about buying American cars a few years back when OUR companies were cratering.

Then even try to explain gasoline prices – forget it.  Europeans have a price for a liter that looks like the price we pay for a gallon I told her, giving rise to a more and more confused French face in front of me.

I could see her reaching for something more basic. Finally she said, “Quelque chose simple.  Une baguette, combine ça coute aux Etats Unis?”

"How much does a baguette cost in the US?"  This blew my mind and I started to laugh.  A baguette. I suppose you could translate it into “a loaf of bread” but ours and theirs hardly compare.   Their loaf of bread is so deeply entrenched and so essential to the French way of life, it is something completely alien to our notion of a loaf of bread. So now we were in deep muddy cultural waters, despite her trying to give me an easy point of comparison.

So how do I explain to her, we don’t even HAVE baguettes as a basic item. A baguette is some fancy French thing you pay $3.50 for in high-end stores and is often as not practically stale.  While the French pay less than a euro in many towns for incredibly delicious, fresh bread and it’s available in bakeries on every street corner in every town in the whole country. 

And the French base so many moments in their lives around their iconic bread.  From the moment they are welcomed at the table, as little kids,  drinking bowls of hot cocoa and jamming their mouths with buttered "tartines" and "confiture", their marmalade (which is not marmalade really), or nor is it our idea of jam.

And the freshness of a new warm baguette.  How do I explain that we don’t actually get much fresh food in the US compared to Europeans.  We get a lot of food, but it’s not that fresh because it’s trucked around endlessly. If you’ve eaten anything in Italy, you know what I’m talking about.  The food is so fresh and simple it feels like they just picked it out of the garden and it’s still growing, because they probably just did go out the door and pick it five minutes ago.

And we don’t have bakeries every three feet and people carrying fresh bread under their arms heading home after work ready for an amazing French dinner.

And we don’t have bakers regulated and subsidized by the government.  The French government has to do this I suppose, since not having French bread in France would be like not having gravity on Earth. Inconceivable.

And we don’t have very many schools where kids learn to be bakers or apprenticeships where they perfect the art of baking amazing bread and incredible pastry. We don’t have the tradition.  Nor do we pay bakers a living wage. She would cry if she ate what we consider “a loaf of bread.”

I was flummoxed. This conversation was just not going the right way.  “Attends,” I said. I picked up my phone and searched Google for the exchange rate.  1.00E is about $1.31 now.

“Voilà,” I said, ending the conversation but not answering the big question at all.  Can you compare two cultures and what they value and come up with a real understanding of what the words expensive or inexpensive mean?  No.

And in a market or the older version – an actual marketplace – can you predict how another buyer might feel about a price that you, as the seller, feel is fair?  No.  There is no price or cost or value without a context.  It gets back to supply and demand and the oldest underlying principles of what people value. 

Now that I’m in Paris for @LeWeb I see this same issue.  When people talk about the value of Twitter or Pinterest or Dropbox, does it make sense that they are worth billions?  And don’t get me started on that new rollercoaster of high tech value, Bitcoin, I’ll leave that to Courrier and his colleagues to figure out.

It’s just like the French open air markets we’ll pass along on the bus, heading up to LeWeb, no better place to learn that value is subjective. As for technology, sometimes, it's about living your life and what makes it easier to live and ultimately what you care about. So perhaps it is about earning and eating our daily bread.   

Photo Credit: Bobby Manhattan

Sunday, December 8, 2013

John Lennon: One Person Can Change the World

If you ever wonder if one person can change the world, remember John Lennon today.  As I get ready to take the TGV up to Paris to join the amazing crew at @LeWeb, I think of someone ending John Lennon's life so early and it really is a loss.

Never doubt how much you can change the world.  As we gather at @LeWeb every single person brings their energy and inspiration to share with others to make the next ten years a time of startling innovation.  Share that desire to make a difference.

Looking forward to hearing the inspirational speakers including pals Guy Kawasaki, Robert Scoble, Gary Vaynerchuk as well as our amazing hosts Geraldine LeMeur and Loic LeMeur.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Hashtag: #BEST2014 Ever!

#BEST2014 ever! 
Ready for the best 2014 ever?  You are closer than you think to making it a truly transformative year.  What if you started demanding the best ever for yourself?  And what if you took action towards that today?  What's the one thing you want to change?

Talking with friends as we approach the new year, when they share their concerns or problems, I can't help thinking of the very few things they can change in their lives that could really make a difference. They are not big things.  They are little things.  So small, so easy to do and so powerful. Even one thing can change the quality of your life in a big way.  What's your one thing?  Start by asking, what's #MYONETHING?  You might want to share it.

1. Get an hour more exercise every single day and see what a great new year you have to show for it.  Add an hour walk to every day.

2. Take your significant other a gift every day. It doesn't have to be big.  It can be a small thing -- a cookie, flowers, a back rub, a special phone call, a new ball of yarn, a new pair of running shorts, an hour of parenting so your "other" gets a break.  You decided they were the most important person in your life.  Remind them how significant they are. And show them by your actions.

3. If you stop and think "I deserve the best" you will quickly know what areas of your life need a little fixing -- a little jiggering -- a very small change to make a very big change in the quality of your life. If you drink wine with dinner and one glass feels healthy, but two glasses makes you waste the rest of your evening, time for one glass.

4. Go with the urge to purge. I have friends who did a big purge of all sorts of clothes and household items, donating them to help others and replacing them with the BEST versions of certain core items. They tossed a lot of not-so-great bedding for instance and replaced it with a few wonderful 100% wool blankets from Austria for winter and some great Egyptian cotton sheets for every other day of the year. They have a few beautiful things, instead of a bunch of mediocre stuff they don't like.

5. Don't talk bucket list with me if you're not crossing some of your dreams and desires off the list on a regular basis.  If you've always wanted to go to surfing school in San Diego -- show me your plane ticket to San Diego. Just go.

6. You will never go wrong spending one hour more a day helping others.  Give back, you know you can.  People need your help. So many people. You could be teaching someone to read, giving lessons in how to start a company or passing out hot bowls of soup at a shelter an hour from now if you committed yourself.

7. Are your bills or your budget out of control?  Sit down and work on them for an hour … now.  Be clear with people about what you can afford.  Even if you're in a really bad financial position, work with one of the people you owe money to today, to get that one debt off your list.

And if you think these small changes won't really make a difference, think about their opposite. Turn two glasses of wine into three and imagine a year with a DUI arrest, or worse.  What about more junk in your house that never comforts you? Not a pretty picture.

Big problems are good at getting bigger when ignored, but strangely addressable if you just do something small. Can't get to San Diego for a week in the ocean?  How about one day on the water in a closer location and make that day soon.  Show me your ticket.

What's your #BEST2014 look like.  Start with #MYONETHING.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Guess who I saw in Paris … @LeWeb

You know why people come to Paris.  You don't really have to ask.  People come to Paris to fall in love.

A warm cafe on a cold December day.  The coffee, the wine, the amazing food.  Chocolat chaud ou bien, cafe creme. Sitting with someone you haven't seen in a long time.  Sharing your passion. It's hard to resist. And there's no better place.

I'm there Monday at LeWeb and I expect many of you will be in Paris to fall in love with the next ten years of amazing technology heading our way, or just simply falling in love.  It's so easy.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

BlogHer PRO

I'm speaking at BlogHerPRO '13!
BlogHer Pro LINK
I'll be speaking at BlogHer PRO next week on Tuesday and Wednesday, Oct 22-23. You can still join and attend.

Just click here to register and you'll be in full-on "California Here I Come" mode. Would love to see you there.

I'll be speaking about self-publishing, how I used Kickstarter to fund my book, Founders Less Than Three and signing copies of my book as well. Here's my book on Amazon, check it out!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Age of Context: Why it's headed for a bestselling future.

The Age of Context
It's fun to look at the New York Times Bestseller List like an anthropologist. Browse the titles and ask yourself, "what does this strange tribe of humans really want?"  Two things jump out at you immediately.  They are the basic questions all humans ask about their lives.  Is there life after death?  What's the future going to be like?  These have always been questions no one could really answer with authority, but that's about to change. 

You want to know about life after death? Now the bestseller, Proof of Heaven by Eben Alexander can answer that first question for you. You'll see it's No. 6 on the bestselling nonfiction list this week.  Heaven and nonfiction don't seem to go together to my mind, but obviously many people want to know about life after death.

And how about the other question -- what's the future going to be like?  There's a new book out called The Age of Context that's headed for a bestselling future, since we all want to know about what comes next and how to prepare for it. 

The book caught my attention from the very beginning when it described a future full of amazing things:  "Cars without drivers. Calendars that send messages on your behalf. Front doors that unlock and open when they see you approach."

And what does it mean for business and for you on a personal level?  In their intellectually thrilling and thoughtful book, The Age of Context, geek authors Robert Scoble and Shel Israel help you grapple with those big questions about the future -- especially the concerns with privacy and context. They answer, "what's the future going to mean to me?"   

But relax, you don't have to be a mega-nerd to understand where we're headed and how to prepare for it. They break it down for you and help you understand what context means in specific areas and then they point out the financial upside.  "All five of these forces--mobile, social media, data, sensors and location—are enjoying an economic sweet spot."

How can we participate fully in this exciting economic future?  How can we avoid the privacy pitfalls?  As you read their book, you'll suddenly realize that Robert Scoble and Shel Israel are already living in the future and they can't wait to welcome you to it. The Age of Context is the ultimate travel guide to a future you're going to navigate with ease and love living in, just as much as the authors love describing it. With Robert and Shel's insights into an amazing future,  you really will be ready to live long and prosper. 

Halley Suitt Tucker is the author of  Founders Less Than Three, a novel about startups and the fun of founding a new company that might just change the world. 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Sept 15: Half empty or half full glass?

We're half way through the month and how's it working out for you?  September is a tricky month. It feels full of much loss and much gain to me.  Summer is over, or trying to be. In Boston we've had 95 degrees and 45 degrees all in the same week recently.

But that hot weather didn't last more than a day or two. And we probably won't see much more of it.  So it's bye-bye beach and hello ... WINTER as many of us New Englanders can't help thinking. But wait, wait, it's not winter yet!

In fact, it's the best time of year EVAH!  It's autumn! And get ready to love everything that goes with autumn. The football, the pumpkins, the cool breezes, the soccer, the cider, the amazing leaves, even going back to school.  And how about the clothes, fleece jackets and wool sweaters and corduroy pants!

And for all you friends who are really sad to see summer go, why not do the right thing and book a winter vacation in a warm place today. Now. Just do it.  If you haven't been to New Orleans, get a few crazy friends and decide today to get down there in late November or even that dead time in January when nobody is going anywhere. You'll love it and be so glad you planned ahead.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

TitStare: All Men Behaving Badly or Has Ageism Caught Up With Sexism?

Sadly, I noticed how many high tech women I know weren't even particularly shocked by the TechCrunch TitStare CircleShake story. We already know high tech is just one big circle jerk and don't need a new app to remind us. Women are so accustomed to sexism in the startup community, it's never news. Strangely, I found many more MEN commenting on this story. And I have a theory as to why.

I think ageism has finally caught up with sexism. Women and serious men of a certain age have said, "Enough!"  Something has changed. These two young dopes at TechCrunch may have actually done some good by drawing a line in the sand.  I think men over 40 are being pushed out of high tech opportunities in this fluid economy and don't like young punks like these taking center stage.

And these kids are making other serious high tech men look really bad, as women damn the whole lot of them. Perhaps a new coalition of men and women in technology have had it with 18-year-old white male punks getting the lion's share of the funding, attention and publicity.

Even the specious notion that these kids can solve the big problems of our world with their bright young minds, is being questioned. With so many serious issues from climate change to failing infrastructure to biotech challenges, perhaps we've sobered up to realize well-trained entrepreneurs of any sex armed with graduate degrees are the next big thing.  Seriously, it's distressing to see a top notch tech conference giving time to "new apps" that solve problems Playboy Magazine pretty much took care of around 1960.

Okay, maybe it was only and always meant to be a joke, but it touched a nerve with women and even more men. And something may actually change.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Slow down please

Slow Down Please

Founders Less Than Three
by Halley Suitt Tucker
My purse is littered with receipts, business cards, brochures, bookmarks, boarding passes and matchbooks from restaurants 3000 miles from here this morning. I'm tossing things and straightening out what I mean to keep. I've been going here, there and everywhere promoting my new book, inviting people to take a bookmark so they'll recognize the title and cover art next time they need to read a new book.  I hope they'll buy my book, but I really hope they'll find time to read it. 

But the go-go-go-everywhere blah-blah-blah side of me is at war with the SLOW DOWN PLEASE side and I know who wins this Civil War. The slow down part of me is the reader and the writer and always wins out in the end. I'm a binge reader. I read like it's a dirty little habit, sneaking the time when no one is looking and I don't care who walks in on me while I'm in the act. Just can't help myself. I've been reading like crazy since I finished writing this book. But I've got that itchy finger feeling about wanting to start writing the next book too. 

All of that requires silence and endless hours going nowhere in the world and everywhere in the world in my head. It's about slowing down and taking the time. Some people can write anywhere, but I find it best to be firmly planted at my desk in my house. 

As for my "readers" I am wondering if they have the same crazy need to read that I do. When people show genuine interest and even buy the book, I know it may take them a while to actually read my book. I know many will buy it, but not read it. I suppose I should be fine with that, but I'm not. It seems a little sad for them, not me. I'd much rather have someone read it and not like it, than not read it at all. 

Sometimes I imagine my characters on a bench like a little baseball team, all ready to take the field. But they can't even get on the scoreboard unless a stranger -- a new reader -- slows down enough to read about them. They are so pumped when that happens, lining up proudly in their mismatched uniforms, ready to "PLAY BALL!"

Meanwhile, they just hang around the dugout with nothing to do, wishing they could take the field to bat one out of the park. Please don't make them linger too long.  I know the the alpha male characters will end up in a fight, showing off in front of the alpha females, or end up bullying the background characters to stand up and fight like a leading man! I can hear them slamming empty lockers in the locker room and that means trouble. Give these guys a chance to show off their stuff. 

[The book:  Founders Less Than Three -- right HERE on Amazon.]

Thursday, August 15, 2013

My new book, Founders Less Than Three is done!

The ebook is done!* Check it out on Amazon. 

The Boston Globe says it's a great beach read and the best way to read at the beach is using the Kindle of course! 

What's it about?  Startups and sex. (That's the short version.) 

The longer version:  Founders Less Than Three is a funny, sexy novel about 10 start-ups with 5 CEO girls, 5 CEO guys and their race for funding and fun.

A quotation from the Boston Globe piece, when asked about the entrepreneurs who inhabit the startup world I invented in my novel: 

The startup world can feel very exclusive – like it happens exclusively in Silicon Valley in California and only young white males need apply. My startup world has lots of women, LGBT entrepreneurs, geeks of color – all colors – and is a very inclusive world. I want anyone reading it to know that great ideas have no gender, race, age or sexual preference. 

I also believe Boston will be increasingly important as a place for breakthrough ideas, since we have the best talent in the world right here in Boston when it comes to mobile technology, biotechnology and educational innovation, to name only a few areas of our expertise.

Here's the link to my successful Kickstarter crowdfunding program.

Need to get in touch -- I'm @halley on Twitter.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

The House Where I Grew Up // La Maison ou j'ai grandi -- Françoise Hardy

Friday, June 28, 2013

I Found It!

I found it!  My journal!  It disappeared and then I found it behind an old radiator in this lovely 1912 house we're house sitting in Lexington, MA. It's my Gatsby summer here with the gardens and rolling green lawn. My wonderful generous friend needed house sitters and we're re-doing our master bath which means our house is a construction site, so the timing worked perfectly. 

Perfect, except for one thing. I lost my journal a few days after our arrival here. You journal writers know the dilemma. Do I go nuts searching for the journal I lost, which is half written in, or do I just start a new one?  Starting a new one is like taking your umbrella with you on a day it may rain, to chase the rain away. When you start a new one, suddenly the old one seems to come out of wherever it was hiding, like a cat you thought was lost. 

But I held out and did not start a new journal -- which was just about killing me. I have written in a paper journal, nearly daily, with gaps to be sure, since I was about ... 12 years old. 

And this was a journal my husband bought for me -- not my usual black cover Moleskin plain journal. And it's full of details on these last few weeks of finishing my book, so I didn't want to lose it.  It says "Remember, ideas become things." on the cover.  Another reason I did not want to give up on it. So glad I got it back!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Writing: A Medium of Quiet

I write most mornings.  Today I'm in Connecticut on the shore at South Norwalk.  I'm waking up in my best friend's mom's house, like I did many mornings in junior high school and high school.  We lived in Greenwich then and their house was right on the water by Byram Shore Road. We could walk or swim before school in the early summer months on warm days like today.  Of course the water was freezing, but we were young and foolish.

I'm here for the Book Expo in NYC, a busy noisy place I also used to live in, but now, I crave this quiet sunrise and slightly dewy porch furniture waiting for a new day to start. No hustle and bustle need apply.

No noise here, just so much quiet and as I finish my book, I was thinking about the privacy and quiet neighborhood of a book. It's a place you go to find the thoughtful quiet, reflective musings of another person. I can share the delicate noise of one bird on the porch and the peaceful silence of this shore at sunrise with you in a book and it's hard to find that peace many places these days.

Despite the many ways you can write now (blogging, tweeting, facebooking), a book still has a solid weighty feel like no other.

No surprise there. For goodness' sake, a book is made of trees, like any good neighborhood. The medium has a luxurious quiet and whispers a story person to person, which we share, writer and reader, because as the writer I get up early and carve out the time to take you to the places I see and imagine.

Her house stood in Hurricane Sandy while many to the right and left of her house did not, because it was built in the 1960's by a contractor who already knew how rough Mother Nature could get.  He'd shored it up on a higher level with a rocky undercarriage to keep it out of harm's way, never knowing in 2012 his house would have the last laugh on this street, as his house stood up to the proverbial test of time. That's my idea of a good story with a happy ending.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Getting Back to Normal

After the terrorist bombing of the Boston Marathon only week ago and lock down only four days ago, we're all keen on getting back to normal here. People are doing their level best to just get back to normal and from normal, we long for a day that's boring and routine.  We'd savor that.

It's finally spring and we need to let it remind us of how you can rebound after a long dark winter.  You can start over.  You can (sort of) forget, you can (maybe) forgive, move along wiser and stronger and put one day after another behind you until plain old Boston is just our fair city again.

Monday, April 8, 2013

My Good Advice for Mike Arrington

I'm a mom. Can I sit you down, offer you a cookie, a glass of milk and share two words of good advice?

Shut up.

Let me remind you, dear, that a person can win in court and still lose in the court of public opinion.

If someone has made allegations against you along the lines that you are a threatening person, try not to end a blog post with something that might sound threatening, like this:
I’ve also asked my attorneys to contact appropriate law enforcement agencies about these false allegations. Given the gravity of the claims, I think it’s important that the police be involved in this now.
You've done many people much good and many favors, but you have also gotten a few people a little pissed off at you.

You're a gifted writer, but it's time to keep all your words to yourself.  Okay, dear?

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Top Ten Mistakes of Entrepreneurs by Guy Kawasaki

I think you might like this.  I thought it was awesome.  Guy actually gives you 11 mistakes since he likes to underpromise and over deliver.

Check it out!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Endless Disruptions / Welcome to Saturday

Oy vey!  There are so many forces pulling me in so many directions today.

Okay, here's my mantra.

Write Write Write Write Write Write Write Write
Write Write Write Write Write Write Write Write
Write Write Write Write Write Write Write Write
Write Write Write Write Write Write Write Write
Write Write Write Write Write Write Write Write
Write Write Write Write Write Write Write Write
Write Write Write Write Write Write Write Write
Write Write Write Write Write Write Write Write
Write Write Write Write Write Write Write Write
Write Write Write Write Write Write Write Write


Friday, April 5, 2013

Lean In Fun

Sheryl Sandberg in Boston / Lean In
Terrific day to hear Sheryl Sandberg speak about her book #LeanIn at the Harvard Club event sponsored by HubspotMITX, and TechStars among others.  Honestly, as great as it was to see her, it was even better to meet a roomful of amazing women CEO's and entrepreneurs and learn about what they are all up to. Let me dig up some pictures here.

I am really intrigued by how practical her advice is -- it's almost a business etiquette of inclusion and welcoming -- instead of keeping women outside of the circle.  I am encouraged and hopeful about it.

Thanks to my trusty Kindle I downloaded and read the book asap the day it was published. Now to hear her speak and have her make it real is very exciting. Thanks so much C. A. Webb from New England Venture Capital Association for inviting me to ask her a question.

C.A. Webb and Katie Rae
I asked her about startups can change the rules and help women lead. I mentioned as I write my book Founders Less Than Three, even I find it hard to create fictional women founders who are not the male, hoodie-wearing, unwashed, code monkey stereotypes. Her response was great and encouraged all of us to show the world what these women entrepreneurs look like by BEING one.

Here's the video and a paraphrase of her reply to my question about the images of women entrepreneurs. "A local SF magazine did a piece on female entrepreneurs and they took drawings of male entrepreneurs' bodies -- Mark Zuckerberg and Larry Page -- and then just put women's heads on them.  ... For my book, I worked with a researcher and we looked for female characters in popular media ...  who were married, working women, who were happy -- they're are none!  There's no image of  married working women who are happy. There are plenty of images of men who are working and happy.  ... We can be women AND entrepreneurs.  We can help make that happen.  Women need to be at the table and one of those tables is the funding table."  And if that wasn't good enough, she reached out to me personally.  It's not every day you have Sheryl Sandberg say directly to you, "come out and visit me in Silicon Valley and I'll introduce you to more women entrepreneurs," so I do hope to take her up on it.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

How to Keep On Keeping On

Found it!  Cleared my desk and found the three most important pages from APE, Guy Kawasaki and Shawn Welch's book on self-publishing.  I printed them out last summer and they surfaced again just when I needed them most.  When it comes to writing books, they are so right on here:

How to Continue:
-- Control your doubts,
-- Remember the value you're adding to peoples' lives.
-- Ask for help.
-- Don't hide under a bushel.
-- Write every day.
-- Embrace the pain.
-- Don't let successful writers awe you. 
How to Finish:
-- Edit on paper.

Paper!  Wow!  I remember that stuff and it works so well!

And didn't Guy also recommend drinking tea and eating gobs of toast with tangerine marmalade on tough mornings when it's hard to get started?  Let me take a look at the book again, I'm sure it's in there somewhere.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Painted Ladies and Golden Retrievers

Here's my mug that features the Painted Ladies houses in San Francisco's Alamo Square, my tea ticket, my Kindle hiding behind the cup.  I'm ready to start the day but this will be a heck of a day for my manuscript -- have to pull it apart big time to reassemble it just the way it should be.  Thank God I have the greatest editor in the whole wide world.  I need your help big time today Erik!

I'm thinking of my friends in San Francisco who host us when we visit the area.  They have vacation rentals that are a great deal -- houses in North Beach near Coit Tower and their house at Alamo Square.

Here's their site for more info.  They filmed the TV show Full House near here, so their place is often rented for film shoots these days, making it hard to book as an overnight stay location, but their other houses are great too and you can do long stays there since they have full kitchens, multiple bedrooms.

The golden retriever puppies were born in December, three fluffy little balls of crazy energy.  I had no idea they get so big so fast.

I'm keeping a trip to San Francisco in the front of my mind as an incentive to get this book done asap.  I hope we can all get out there for a visit after it's done.  We try to see our friends there at least once a year.

Here's a picture of the parents with their baby on the front steps! If you get a chance, go to my FB page, check out the pix and link to Hakan and Ebba, the parent dogs' FB page.  They are the greatest.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Warm Up

In the morning before I jump back into writing and editing my novel, I do a warm-up exercise of sorts, a writing warm-up, but also have a few other warm-up activities.

First, we have two thermostats -- one for the first floor and one for the second floor -- so at night we leave the downstairs at around 55 degrees,  even in winter and keep the upstairs fairly cool too.  We are NEW ENGLANDERS for God's sake and have quite the selection of blankets, duvets, you name it.

My book: Founders Less Than 3
I write on the first floor, so it's cold when I start and the first warm-up is putting on the tea kettle and cranking up the heat.  I almost always pull on a wool hat to start my early morning writing too.  Don't you? I favor the Peruvian with ear flaps lately. "What?  You want to talk to me?  Sorry, can't hear you!"

A little bending and stretching is good too, a small physical warm-up, but I find if I put my exercise before my writing, it's so easy NOT to get the writing done.  If you're someone who puts their exercise before everything in their day, you know what I mean.  I would rather exercise first, but as I'm finally getting near the end of this book, I can't risk it.  A B C D E F G ... Z come first.

That said, I start by writing something unrelated to anything.  Not part of the book, not part of a story, not part of anything, I open a file and just start scribbling.  Sometimes I pull out a fountain pen and start scribbling on paper. Either method works, just to get the words flowing.

The house is warming up.  The tea is warming me up.  The hat always warms me up.  And now here come the words. Sound the bugles! 

Monday, April 1, 2013

Bless Me Father For I Have Sinned

Yes, confession time, I need another month to finish my Kickstarter book, Founders Less Than Three and I'm officially slipping my March 31 deadline today. I hate slipping deadlines, but I have two very good reasons.
1. Sheryl Sandberg
2. Guy Kawasaki

So it goes like this.  My book Founders Less Than Three is about a brave, bold, female entrepreneur just the kind of person Sheryl Sandberg is writing about in her book  Lean In  which was released March 11, 2013. I have the chance to meet her this week and more importantly, meet all the people (women and men) inspired by her book and get a sense of what they are thinking. I need to experience all that and incorporate it in my book. I need to "lean in" to her literary launch happening this month, watch up close and publish my book AFTER experiencing it. When I set my deadline last year, I didn't realize her book was coming out so close to the date.

I am seeing her twice this week in Boston and I need to connect with the crowds of people at her events even more than with her. I see her Thursday in Brookline and Friday in Boston.

And as for Guy Kawasaki, he's a pal and I love the new book he just co-authored with Shawn Welch,   Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur -- in fact, he's nice enough to call me the "mother" of the book in the acknowledgements.  I haven't actually started using all his good advice on how to get out there and social media market the heck out of it.  If I don't follow his lead and get cranking on marketing my book using the ways he and Shawn have made so easy to understand and follow, I'm an idiot.  I've just been writing it (not promoting it) and that's not enough anymore when it comes to this new world of ebooks.  So I need this month to work on the launch of the book. (Yes, Guy, I should have been doing it all along! Mea culpa!)

Also, I plan to blog every day in April about the book, just to give you an idea about how these things work.  Keep an eye on this blog. Some of it will be thrilling and happy, some down, depressing and dark, but I know i can get this thing out there and can't wait to complete it. I keep two mantras next to my screen -- Perfect is the enemy of good -- and the one that really is kicking my ass today, Steve Job's famous -- Real Artists Ship -- ironic I know.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Are You Good At Bouncing Back?

After reading Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha's The Start-up of You where they point out that our lives, resumés and certainly our LinkedIn profiles will show lots of ups and downs in this global and turbulent economy, I've been thinking about resiliency. By the way, it's a great book. Even if you aren't the least bit entrepreneurial, we're looking at a world of work where you better be good at bouncing back. I'm saying it twice. You better be good at bouncing back and quickly. You must be resilient.

When you get down, do you know how to get up again quickly?  One thing I learned from sales was getting back up quickly after being rejected. Seriously, sales is all about being rejected and the most successful salespeople have proven strategies for bouncing back. And bouncing back FAST. I was taught that nine "no's" usually meant the tenth time might be a "yes" -- so after I've been rejected about eight times, I can get excited and happy as I think, "Yes, yes, yes! I'm closer and closer! I'm almost there!" I really do think that way.

Studies have shown a most fascinating metric of success -- the shorter the time it takes people to recover from a failure or disappointment and get back in the game the better -- and it is predictive of overall lifetime success. In sales, you have to have strategies for bouncing back, or you'll never make it.

Sometimes, you just get down and feel a little hopeless. Everybody does. I have a mental list of things to do that get me back on track, and I think we all need to make that list and revise it every few years. It's more important than revising your resume. We need to build out a foundation of resiliency, like a foundation for a house we plan to build. The foundation of resiliency for me is reading, exercise (dancing in particular), being with friends, being in nature, faith and more than anything, having a very supportive partner.

I know so many people who are not happy in their relationships and since I've "been there, done that" and did get divorced, I know it matters a lot to have a good partner. I bet you didn't think I was going to talk about divorce (or break up) but honestly, maybe it's time to downsize your partner. If they don't make your life and home a place to rest, relax, restore yourself and bounce back, you need a new partner. It makes a world of difference. Make a list of ways to bounce back today and if your partner isn't on the list, well ... you know where I'm going. Time for them to appear on someone else's list.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Most Fun Ever / Working with Guy Kawasaki

One more APE fan!
Of course, I want to thank Guy and Shawn for mentioning me in the acknowledgements of their book APE, Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur. Before I get going on why it's so much fun working with him -- I must stop and ask you -- did you read his book yet!? Go get it!

We met when I worked on Enchantment since I was one of many other excellent contributors to the book and his social media push for the book. I really didn't know all that much about him. I knew he was an Apple Evangelist for the Mac. I knew he'd done 9 books before Enchantment. I knew he was smart, but I didn't know how funny he was, or how ANNOYING he can be.

Seriously, he is as annoying as some brainy younger brother who is always asking you questions about why something is done the way it's done and why not try something new.   I use the word "annoying" here as a high compliment, since he is relentlessly innovative. There's not one thing he takes for granted.

He's the original "push the envelope" guy and "think out of the box" guy and "why not" guy. I'd worked with him on his book Enchantment, met him online, met in person, connected with him on social media often, then worked with him on the What The Plus: Google+ for the rest of us and still, for some odd reason, had never heard him speak at any conference. He speaks at lots of events and conferences, and I was busy most times he was in town to speak, but then I finally heard him speak in Boston after knowing him for about two years.

Maybe I'm a little critical of speakers, because I was involved in putting on events and hearing many speakers at Harvard Business School Publishing and at TTI Vanguard. I figured he would be good. I did not expect him to be TERRIFIC. He's serious, smart, funny and hilarious at times. He also speaks the truth when it needs to be spoken, which most people don't do. So this makes him even more fun to listen to. Anyway, if you have been busy and have some good excuse for not having read his last few books, I forgive you, but go get them! Read them! Enjoy them! I know you will!