Stephanie Azzarone (@ChildsPlayComm) wrote an interesting post 2013: The End Of The Mommy Blogger?(Hat tip to intrepid tech reporter Esther Surden over at NJTechWeekly for drawing my attention to that article – we had JUST been speaking about it!) After I read it I posted a comment on Twitter.That conversation (thanks to Embedle!) engaged @packfutur who asked me a question that has inspired me to write this post.
I love social media (how else could three of us engage in a conversation about a topic that interests us all without ever having met before that moment!).Okay – so those shout outs out of the way – here are my thoughts on the question:
“Think we’ll ever get one—“influence tracking tool,” I mean? Right now it’s a shifting landscape as people try out everything.”
First of all – I think that its something that any entrepreneur worth their salt should be working on figuring out.Heck, even if you just figured out how to gauge the influence of specifically mom bloggers – you are talking about a $5 trillion reach!
KLOUT has started tracking social media influence.BIT.ly also shows people the influence that they have on the links they share on social media.But for me – as both a business owner and a blogger, neither one helps me figure out my reach.After all, KLOUT tracks my social media outreach, but cannot tell me about the influence of my FORBES blog posts.It doesn’t analyze the comments section of my blog.And it doesn’t track the comments I make on other blogs or other sites.The comments section of blogs (especially of mommy blogs – where some easily rack up to a hundred or more comments per post) are really important on analyzying the influence of certain people online.
New tool Embedle offers people a way to bring those comments into the social world, and maybe as they take off in popularity KLOUT will also include them in their influence analysis algorithm.
The solution?I don’t know.But there are ways that hopefully these analytic tools are discussing implementing.
Wouldn’t it be great if KLOUT offered me a toolbar button that allowed me to leave a trackable “signature” every time I offered a comment or posted somewhere that they didn’t track.I could leave a comment on DIGG and leave my KLOUT signature on the comment and that would track all the comments that respond to mine! Of course, we’d also need it to work when we post from our phones, but one step at a time J
The interesting idea would be giving everyone a single online identity by which they could track and analyze the reach of their personal brand.
This is really what Facebook had in mind – by creating the Facebook Citizen – whereby we all have one real online identity.It’s why Google suddenly realized they needed to get into that game and created Google+ - which I believe has been built from conception to someday achieve this sort of analytics.
It’s a really cool thing to think about.And whoever can create the tool that allows brands (big and individual) to track their influence, will not only do the web a great service, but all of us who work so hard to create original content, engage our users and the people we interact with online and need a way to show that value to the people who want to pay for that influence!
I was watching Project Runway All Stars last week (on DVR - not sure when it aired) - and yes - I am admitting that sometimes I DVR Project Runways - look - there’s not a TON to choose from on tv…
Anyway - this one episode claimed that the show was going to have DIGITAL INTERACTION with the audience. Well that perked my ears up. Sounds cool.
I wonder what they are going to do?
What would the Jetsons be doing to interact with Project Runway?? (because please if you are going to tout yourselves as having a digital interaction with your audience - you really better Jetson the hell out of me).
Would they be live streaming a hologram fashion show into homes across the nation?
Would I be able to face the same challenge as the crew from my home and whip up my own creation and let the judges see it via a skype teleconference?
Would votes be tallied by measuring the heart rates of the global audience through their FDA approved iPhone cases? (that’s a good one, huh?)
They would pick pictures sent in by viewers. The interactive part is that the pictures would be sent in through Twitter (which wouldn’t even let you send in an artsy Instagram filtered photo now anyway). SIGH.
They may as well have told us to mail the pictures in. So much for digital interaction.
Remember to give her lots of cash. For lunch money. For afterschool snack. For taxi service to tennis lesson. For dinner at tennis club.
Make taxi reservation.
Drop her tennis stuff off at my sister’s house so she has it afterschool.
Go to starbucks. Order Venti Mocha.
Kill 30 minutes reviewing emails and site stats.
Try to order breakfast sandwich - learn deli is not serving breakfast.
Go to work (and by work I mean the temp job I do 40 hours a week to keep food on the table!)
Eat sleeve of ritz crackers for lunch.
Drive through bumper to bumper traffic to Hoboken.
Attend NJ Tech Meetup group.
Smile and chat with people during networking session.
Tweet brilliant angel investor’s talk.
Hoof it back to car and drive 30 minutes home.
Spend 5 minutes of quality time with kid.
Eat leftover quesadilla that kid didn’t finish for dinner. (silently berate myself for not yet going to supermarket to replenish food lost to Hurricane Sandy 12 day power outage).
Work on site stuff.
Put together info for pitch to brands.
Procrastinate working on white paper.
Decide to write Tumblr post.
Take picture for post. Spend 5 minutes lamenting how my fat knees look. (How does one get fat knees when all one has eaten all day is a coffee, a sleeve of ritz, and two pieces of leftover chicken quesadilla????)
Procrastinate on going to bed because I’m just going to lay there thinking of the million and one things I should be working on.
Hope to get 6 hours of sleep before I do it again.
You know why I will do it again? Because I love it.
You know how I can do it again? Because I helped build www.hatchedit.com the very site that as a mom - lets me stay organized and coordinated with my support network.
I consider myself very lucky. I was able to flee to my parents house last Wednesday after the Hurricane hit and have been warm and comfortable in their house waiting for electricity and heat to be restored to my apartment in Springfield.
However, having 5 days with nothing to do and not much planned is not ideal when you are an entrepreneur and are chomping at the bit to get USERS USERS USERS!!!
So - I sat here, made a list and tackled everything I could in the downtime - rather than be tempted by all of the soap operas my mom has had running on the television. Hopefully this may give someone else some ideas of things that can be done in downtime.
1. Create a new video.
I used Powerpoint and Camtasia to create the below video which we will swap out with our old one and use on our landing page. I think it looks pretty sleek! I bought the music online pretty cheap, and bought all of the images on iPhoto (I’m paranoid about copyright infringements - and I’m also an artist that likes to play by the book when it comes to other artists’ work). The music site I found was pretty damned cool - melodyloops.
Pretty cool right?
I’m also working on some step-by-step videos for some areas on the site that need better “how to” prompting. Videos are hard because they really require a person to sit down and think it out and create and edit at a few hours a clip. You can’t really just do it for a few minutes at a time - so this hurricane refugee thing really worked well on forcing me to sit still and get this all worked out.
Also - FYI - it took quite a few tries to get “right”. At first I had a lot of wordy voiceover talking. But then - I thought about my filmmaking roots (NYU TISCH Grad here!) and everyone knows you only use voiceover when your story or imagery is weak. So I rethought all of the imagery and found we didnt’ really need the voiceover at all for this video. (Although I will do voiceovers for the briefer “How To” videos) And isn’t that music great?
2. SEO your YouTube Account - I went back in to our videos on our YouTube channel and tried to really make them more search engine friendly. Re-tagged them and put in our new lingo.
3. Brush up on your social media skills. This weekend I learned all about buying youtube views as well. We’re experimenting with that - we’ll see what happens. I find all of this very interesting. And heck - its cheap - so we’ll see. I will take it with a grain of salt now if anyone ever tells me a video of theirs has gotten 100k views. Because you can get that for about $100!!
I am also taking the time to try and be more vigilant about interacting with our Facebook followers - and using Embedle.com to upload interesting stories to my Twitter feed.
4. Check your Brand. How are your branding efforts doing? Thinking about tweaking some things? Take some time to sit down and really think about what should define you to your users. Then go back and see if your wording on the site and in social media - matches what you want your brand perception to be.
5. Press - go through and organize press contacts and your press outreach plan. I’m also working on the release of a big white paper later this week (although I’m procrastinating like a mofo on actually writing the damned thing!). But I can procrastinate through organizing the press outreach and then its not so bad. :)
Sometimes it feels like when you create a product for women that anyone can compare (even distantly) to another product then everyone dismisses you. Yet products for men can copy each other and never face the same - “we’ve already seen that” comments.
Women in business often grow from the bottom up, learning all the complicated ins and outs rather than coming in at a higher level,” Daniels Webster says. “Nobody plucked her out and said, ‘Oh, she looks and sounds just like me at this age, so I’m going to have her move from division to division every three years so she can build up her resume.’ No, women succeed by building a steady string of successes.
We just returned from Bloggy Conference (#bloggycon), which was held at the Hyatt in Downtown Cincinnati from Thursday September 27-Saturday September 29th.After doing a number of conferences this year, we have become used to large crowds, loud noises, and generally needing nothing shy of a full fireworks display to grab the attention of attendees.So, this conference was quite a welcome change up for Megan and I – as we shared the sponsorship space with only a handful of other great brands, and had time to speak with almost every attendee one on one.Wow.That’s a pretty amazing experience.
Don’t get me wrong – large conferences are great, and a lot of fun.But for a sponsor introducing a new company – or even a new product/brand – it is very important to make some sort of actual contact with people in order to tell them about what it is you are selling (or in our case giving away for FREE!).And even if there are a few thousand attendees at an event – you still can physically only talk to a certain amount.So at some point it does become more about the quality of the conversations than about the quantity of conversations – especially if that is what is important to you.
Our initial thoughts after leaving Cincinnati and BloggyCon?We felt that the interactions we had with attendees were possibly more valuable than other conferences we attended.This was because we had the chance to meet with tech savvy women (who also tend to be the mom-influencers within their social circles), and to walk them through how Hatchedit.com works.Additionally, we had time to ask each person about their blog, their life, their home situation so that we could show them different ways that Hatchedit.com might help make their life easier.
Homeschooling?Hatchedit.com is a great way to organize lesson plans and keep track of assignments and projects.
Special Needs Child?Coordinating doctors’ appointments is an enormous part of juggling those extra responsibilities.And for some of these moms – who are also businesswomen, they really need a tool that lets them manage their family schedules (including making changes) from the road.Once you show a mom how she can input information on her calendar or on a to do list of medicine dosages and know that grandma, or dad or the sitter who is at home will also see them – the smile on her face will light up your entire day.
Married? No Kids?Sometimes I feel bad about the fact that we target moms because it’s the user group that makes the most sense to reach first in getting our product out and into the public eye.We conceived of Hatchedit.com before Megan actually gave birth to her little Miss M – and she saw how it would fulfill a need in her life trying to coordinate her schedule with her husband’s.Instead of sending each other invitations to individual events (like the invitation to the Saturday golf she actually wasn’t really ever being invited to!) through Outlook (where you still can’t see your spouses calendar) they could have both populated the Hatchedit.com calendar and seen what the other had planned – and probably avoided a lot of arguments.
Not Married?No Kids? – We were able to speak with more than one person who wasn’t married – but as I like to point out – everyone has family somewhere.Realizing that a heavy travel schedule for work, might be something your mom may want to track even if she lives far away…or being able to see what siblings or nieces and nephews are up to can make people feel more connected to their families especially as we all feel like we are getting busier every day.Sending invitations and coordinating workouts or girls’ night out with friends is even easier if you are all sharing calendars!
Single Parent?Divorced?Chances are you are coordinating a custody schedule somewhere – and chances are even higher that custody schedule is causing a lot of unnecessary arguments.Being able to give another parent the ability to see what is going on in kids’ lives means there is no more “well your mother/father didn’t tell me about that” argument to be made.If your kids are older, and they have a Hatchedit.com account it also gives them the chance to be more proactive in managing a schedule between two households too.
At Bloggy Conference, with plenty of time to really delve into people’s lives I had conversations around each and every one of these situations.Those conversations also gave us some great ideas for other groups that might find a real niche use for Hatchedit.com
We really had a great time, and found enormous value in a user base that was so willing to listen to us, connect with us, and give us great feedback on what they need in their lives.
Our FAQ page looked like CRAP. (I really should have taken a before picture). But TRUST me.
It was all WORDS!
I love words, but had I been a new user, I too would have thought - crap - if they have this much to tell me about how to use the site - I’m scared already.
In fact, according to our Google Analytics report an astounding 89% of new visitors DROPPED OFF the site after visiting the FAQ page.
So I spent the day doing a big revamp.
Now we SHOW - we Don’t tell.
I tried to keep it light. Fun. Pretty. Like our site.
I’m sure I can keep tweaking and improving it with time.
I’m also going to do a series of 30 second videos (30 seconds! that’s gonna be TOUGH!) and include those in different areas of the site when people might need to see all of the ways that they can leverage HATCHEDit.
Well - its a damned good thing I stopped to smell the roses over the weekend at BlogHer - because this week the shit hit the fan in the personal aspects of my business life, and it feels like the whole world is collapsing around me.
Thankfully - that is not true.
Thankfully - our immediate reaction is never to give up - but to figure out how to best survive.
Thankfully - my family kicks ass.
But the reality is - my personal $$ flow is out. Nada. Nilch. Zippo. Zilch.
That’s a tough nut to face. I mean - if I were a twentysomething - I’d shrug it off, buy some Ramen and couch surf.
But I’m not 20. I’m 41. And my kid hates to couch surf even though - that looks to be exactly what we will do.
Wonder why there aren’t more women entrepreneurs out there?
Entrepreneurship has better results when you have experience.
When you have experience - you are older.
When you are older - you tend to have more responsibilities.
When you have responsibilities it is harder to look them in the eye and say - “no”.
So the shit has hit the fan.
But we will get through it. Things are really just starting to gel - so while I am crumbling a bit on the inside - it is not a full on meltdown - because as bad as it is - I feel crazy optimistic at what the future holds.
My kid on the other hand - who faces the prospect of switching schools 3 weeks before the fall semester may not be quite as optimistic as me.
But when I stated the obvious - “We are all healthy. We have each other. That is all we need to get by in this world” we both started to feel better.
Nobody said it was going to be easy. I never imagined it would get so hard.
We spent Thursday, Friday and Saturday at BlogHer 2012 and had a blast. But as a co-founder my favorite part by far was speaking to one in particular blogger. She came by about halfway through Saturday - and made me feel like a million bucks.
It was one of those moments that could have quickly passed by and not made an impact on me, but luckily, I realized how important it was.
Our conversation went a little something like this.
Her: This is such a fabulous idea - is this company yours?
Me: Yes, me and Megan founded it. We are sisters in law.
Her: That is so awesome. I’m so jealous. I really really really want to be able to chase a dream like that. Congratulations!!
We actually had quite a few women who cheered on our bid for success in the entrepreneurial race. But this woman was a designer, and we had a conversation that covered a few things - so her enthusiasm at the end was perhaps more out of the blue and rewarding than had it been the only thing we discussed.
In any case, at that moment I felt a bit “dead on my feet”. I was sick of smiling, my cheeks hurt, my brain hurt, I could hardly work up any spit into my mouth because it was so dry and no matter how many mints I popped it felt like I was still speaking with bad breath - so really - there is no better way to say - I had hit the wall - or as Megan says “The wheels are coming off the bus!!!”
And in that moment I realized “WAIT. This is really amazing. Its amazing to be here. Its amazing to be working my ass off for something that I own, and its amazing to be using 200% of my energy to try and accomplish goals and dreams that I have had to be my own boss for my entire life.”
So to that woman - thank you. Really. You re-energized me and gave me a special thing - the ability to stop for a moment, look around in the midst of all the craziness and say - This is really awesome.
Its funny. I have $40 to my name. I am completely exhausted. I haven’t vacuumed my apartment in weeks and I made my poor kid work the past two weekends in a row. But you know what? When I stop for a second? All I can think is: I lead a very charmed life. :)
Marissa Mayer is a great pick for Yahoo, and on top of that exciting information we found out that she is pregnant.
Awesome for her! Truly. Pregnancy - for anyone who has been through it (ME!) can be the best and the worst time of a person’s life. But - barring extreme medical conditions (which can happen to anyone at anytime anywhere) it has limited bearing on whether or not someone can successfully accomplish their professional commitments. (FYI my business partner Megan helped me launch this business from her sixth month of pregnancy through childbirth and the first months of her daughters life - ALL while also holding down a full time executive position at an investment firm - women can TRULY do Spectacular things).
Of course, pregnancy isn’t really the issue. I mean - out of sight, out of mind for most men (and that surprisingly includes a gigantic belly sticking out in front of you). Seriously - I did some of my own research - and found that SO FEW MEN give up their seats on the subway for pregnant women that it is ASTOUNDING.
Anyway - I am sure the concern isn’t whether or not Marissa can run a company now - the concern and the focus will be on whether or not she can run a company once her bundle of joy arrives. And, I’m sure there will be multiple articles on whether or not she deserves the company - or the bundle - because it seems as though the general consensus is that motherhood requires sacrifice, and too much business success means you aren’t sacrificing enough of one for the other. (Its way too crazy a thought that there are women who are so mentally superior to men that they could successfully run a business with anything less than 200% focus).
But PLEASE - for the LOVE OF GOD. DO NOT be the asshole who write’s the article “Can Marissa Mayer Have it All?” (I’m talking to you Freelance ladies aiming for choice real estate in The New York Times or The Atlantic Monthly).
Of course Marissa Mayer can have it all. She is smart, successful, young, and as far as we can tell has a supportive partner in life. She can hire a team of childcare experts to help raise her child, and she can certainly afford to make every ounce of her time away from Yahoo as easy as she pleases so that no extra energy is wasted not appreciating her family.
Let’s put it this way - should she choose - Marissa Mayer will not likely need to spend time out of the office worrying about how to balance the bills at home (starving Peter to pay Paul), or cleaning her bathrooms and doing 8 loads of laundry in a weekend, or clipping coupons to make ends meet while still putting groceries on the table.
Women - let’s stop doing ourselves a disservice by focusing on the the women who have every advantage life can give them in maintaining a successful work/life balance, and instead concentrate on the women who struggle each day to make ends meet to provide for their families - and do not have the LUXURY of deciding “maybe I’m working too hard, and not spending enough time with the kids”.
With wide swaths of women either raising children alone, or working long hours out of necessity (whether it be because they have a spouse that is unemployed, or underemployed, or for some reason cannot be employed) it is imperative that we ask ourselves why our own Government does not back women and make it illegal to pay them less than their male counterparts.
It will be interesting to learn what Mayer’s pay package will be. At that level of the game, one would hope that things are so public, and her level of intelligence so high that there will be no discrepancy between what she is being paid and what her male predecessors have been paid. However, when you are counting in the millions - little of that number will have an impact on her ability to “have it all”.
Take a woman who works just as many hours in a much lower position, and subtract $20,000 or $30,000 a year from what she would make as a man - and we start to see why the answer is no - the bulk of women will never have it all - because we have made it financially impossible for them to have it all.
But to the mainstream media - don’t you worry your pretty little talking heads over it - Marissa Mayer will be just a-okay.
Marissa Mayer has blazed trails in Silicon Valley — as Google’s first female engineer, as one of its most prominent executives when she oversaw its search business, and as a serious technologist who was also willing to show her feminine side.
Now she will blaze a new trail, as a pregnant woman taking the helm of a major public company….READ MORE»»