Yunha Kim, Founder of Locket: Why I Quit My Job To Launch A Startup

When you initially meet Yunha Kim, you wouldn’t automatically assume that she is the mastermind behind Locket, the super successful lock screen app for Android, but that’s before she begins to speak with an intelligence and passion that you would expect from the head of a company. I’m not the only/first/last person to take notice. When companies like TechCrunch and VentureBeat are writing about your company and when Tyra Banks expresses interest in investing in your idea, people are bound to jump on the band wagon. During my visit to San Francisco, I got a chance to speak to Yunha about her journey from Investment Banker to Founder and CEO of  her very own startup. Find out below what exactly it takes to get an idea from concept to realization.

1) You started your career as an Investment Banker and with your switch from iPhone to Android user, you quickly found the calling for this company. Can you tell me a little bit about your first couple of months of the company?

YK: I can barely remember the first couple months of the company. It was just so crazy.

In the first month, I was running around pitching our idea for investment. After getting funded by Great Oaks VC, I was then running around pitching to advertisers and I did that for a half year. Then I started pitching again for another round of funding.

When we had no money or product, I was getting somewhere around four hours of sleep every night. I was living with five other guys out of a two-bedroom apartment with three dogs and a hamster where we worked and lived. We were also getting by with hot dogs and ramen noodles.

Sometimes, I wondered, ‘What did I sign up for?’ but I think I was really happy, getting things off the ground, creating something out of nothing.

2) This idea actually came from our culture’s tendency of constantly checking our phones. Can you give us a little more insight into that?

YK: While pulling long but boring hours in investment banking (prior to Locket), I wasn’t able to do anything fun on my monitor, so I was checking my phone a few hundred times per day. That’s when I realized I keep on checking my phone every single day, bringing it to the restroom, everywhere I go. Every single one of those moments I was unlocking my lock screen which was a picture of a daisy which came as a default lock screen with my Galaxy S3.

One day, I was looking at it wondering why anyone wasn’t doing anything with the most valuable real estate in advertising. If people check their phone 150 times per day, with 71 million Android users, that’s 10.7 billion glances on the lock screen every day in the US that we have not been able to monetize. It occurred to me that this will be the next big thing in mobile advertising.

3) What do you feel are some of the benefits of Locket?

YK: Locket brings content you care about to your lock screen based on your interest, swiping habits and time of the day. It’s a quick passive way to learn about what’s going on around you, in your world. I am too busy to check out all my apps on my phone, but with Locket, I am consistently updated. I was able to learn about a fire in Soma which is only a few blocks away from our office through my lock screen, then I looked outside my window and I saw that fire.

4) How do you find a life work balance with being in such a busy and quickly expanding company? What does your typical day look like?  

YK: When you are in a startup, it’s really difficult to balance your work and life (if you even have a life). It’s like when you have a baby (your startup), and the baby cries, you can’t really say you are off your work hours and let it cry. So, it will feel like you are on call 24/7.

5) I know focus on the company has changed, can you tell me a little about that?

YK: Recently, we have stopped our paid-per-swipe-ad service. We are now focusing on contextual content on your lock screen. Based on an user’s interest, swiping habits and time of the day, we serve content that people care about in a visually delightful way on the Android lock screen, and as the apps is consistently used, the content becomes more relevant

For more on Yunha and Locket, please visit: http://getlocket.com/.

Stephanie Carino has spent over the past 10 years working in the city in the Fashion, Food and Event industries. She currently works in the PR Department at leading Technology and Business Book Publisher, Apress.  On the side, she also writes event coverage and reviews for, Socially Superlative, a NYC-based event website, covering predominantly food, travel and entertainment stories. Connect with Stephanie on Twitter.

 

Social Matchmaking for Startups & Job Seekers

Social technology startups are one of the highest growth verticals in the emerging technology space. So, it’s no wonder there’s a larger focus on startups at SMW this year than we’ve seen in the past.

Companies are looking for the right match of talent and personality. Job seekers are looking for the right blend of security and “Awesome Sauce.” There is no Tinder for job seekers…..yet. But it’s coming. Until then, how can social startups + job seekers = match made in heaven?

If you’re a job seeker, you might love these SMW sessions

Beyond LinkedIn: Using Niche Social Media Platforms in the Job Hunt
Sure, Twitter and LinkedIn are the go-to platforms for keeping up with news and staying in touch with professional contacts, but have you considered using niche social media platforms to help you get a job?

Startups to Watch in 2014 presented by Entrepreneur.com

It’s imperative to stay on top of new social technologies and startups who are redefining communication. Social Media Week and Entrepreneur.com are bringing together a carefully selected group of startups that show the greatest potentially to break through to the mainstream in 2014.

Where else you can look for credible startup jobs

Aside from attending Social Media Week for panels, POVS, and networking opportunities where and how can you endure your plan beyond the business card/handshake game….which if you’re a social start up, Twitter IS your business card and virtual handshake. In addition to platforms we’ve all come to know and love (i.e., LinkedIn), where else can you find startup job opportunities?

There are hundreds of job postings to read and Meetups to attend, but the most credible early stage startups are on AngelList, whereas more of the mid-full funded startup opportunities are listed opportunities on VentureLoop (syndicated from multiple sources). These sites have company history so you can vet their history, funding status, financial stability, and other team members.

You can also vet these companies via CrunchBase. Any legit startup will be listed on CrunchBase and AngelList— Google them– what kind of press coverage do they have and what’s the general POV on them?

How to get a job at a startup
  1. Startups hire inspired, energetic, creative, and personable individuals.
    Be creative and concise in your attempt to gain their attention (no one has time/or wants to read a traditional CV). Vanilla need not apply
  2. Use data visualization to your advantage
    Create an infographic, one-page scroll website, a custom FB page, or Pinterest board. Or make a video about who you are, your skills, and your experience. Be Different. DO YOUR HOMEWORK, and personalize it each startup you’re approaching. Attach a POV on what you’ve gleaned and what you can bring to the table to optimize their existing efforts and team.
  3. Make sure you have relevant case studies/experience to share on demand.
  4. Be discoverable across social platforms, and make sure your “personal brand” is well represented.
    Most startup founders are active across all social channels. Opening a dialogue with them that way is a GREAT first impression — just be careful what you openly share and be mindful of embargoes
  5. Most importantly: be active in the startup community in your city.
    Set up a Google Alerts for the list of startups your interested in, and pay attention if they are speaking at an event or Meetup. GO THERE! Meet them. Get in front of them and show your personality. Team/personality chemistry is everything.

So if you’re a job seeker, make sure to join SMW and get more tips!

 
Jess Seilheimer runs a consultancy called Cretegic– your insight-driven partner for a digital world. We accelerate strategic planning into actionable ideas & marketing for brands and startups. She is also the Strategy & Marketing lead for a startup Birdi. Prior, she was the SVP of Digital Innovation and Strategic Planning at Havas.

Crowdsourcing: Be an Artist at Prodigy Networks’ Unplugged Playground

Prodigy Network is known for its emphasis on the power of the crowd and crowdsourcing. The crowd can make decisions about where to spend their money, the crowd can pool money together to create increase visibility and access to real estate development; and the crowd will be responsible for the world’s first Cotel, 17 John.

Unplugged_Playground_Artwork.psdThis Cotel in New York’s Financial District will be specifically designed for today’s business travelers, with spaces to connect with other guests, places to work and places for downtime. In addition to hosting an event, Prodigy Network will be joining us with an installation on our ground floor that takes collaboration back to its roots. The resulting piece will be incorporated into the design of 17 John.

When you first enter the “Unplugged Playground,” you will find yourself surrounded by white walls. These walls are your canvas to be creative by writing a message or drawing a picture. This exhibit not only let us live out our childhood fantasy of drawing on the walls but also lets us collaborate with others in a tangible, real-time way. After creating a masterpiece in the unplugged playground, feel free to plug back in to share your creation using the hashtag #MyCotel.

To put your artistic mark on 17 John, register now for Social Media Week. Also check out our schedule to see Prodigy Network’s event about the power of the crowd, along with many other incredible masterclasses and panels. The countdown is on!

Pitch it to me!

The art of “the pitch” has gone from a 60-minute opportunity to 3-minute opportunity for startups. While many accelerators, like 500 Startups and TechStars, include fast pitch and media training in their programs, some startups don’t have mentors to help perfect their pitches. Enter the agency pitch experts.

Agencies have been taught to say more with less and get to the value proposition within five seconds, or else risk losing their audiences. Agencies do this for myriad scenarios: AOR accounts, strategic roadmaps, tactical plans, and/or singular social tactics….just to give context to the range of things we pitch at any given time. So, the idea of pairing agencies + startups together makes perfect sense to me, given my background in strategy at agencies for 12+yrs.

The art of pitching is one that does not come easily.
Tenured agency folks are well-honed pitch ponies. We are. It’s the truth. 50%+ of our time is spent pitching ideas to clients, existing ones and new. We have been taught to Get. To. The. Point.

Specifically:

  • + Say how it solves a problem
  • + Say what it is
  • + Say what it does
  • + Say how/why it’s applicable for the brand you’re pitching to (most important)
  • + The less buzz words you use in this approach, the better off you’ll be

Considering most people (clients/investors, etc) allocate one minute to understanding your core idea before they float off into the world of “wait— what did she just say?” and stop listening to the remainder of your pitch because they’re still trying to figure out what you just said— the art of perfecting your pitch is of great importance for every startup to master.

It doesn’t surprise me that KITE has engineered a great session for SMW, titled A Visit from the Startup Pitch Doctors<, where they secured a few impressive agency executives (ie: the pitch doctors) to listen to, and evaluate three startup’s pitches. It’s a brilliant pairing. The Pitch Doctors:

  • + Gemma Craven, Exec Director, Head of Social Customer Engagement at OgilvyOne WorldWide, @gemsie
  • + David Berkowitz, CMO of MRY, @dberkowitz
  • + Jason Newport, SVP, Head of Mobile Strategy, Aegis Media

The Startups

In prep for the session, each pitch doctor is paired up with a startup to evaluate and give feedback on its pitch. The startups proceed to improve their presentations, based on that input, and will present 3-minute pitches during the session.

It will surely lead to a vibrant conversation and Q&A about the process and lessons learned after the pitches, moderated by Tarah Feinberg, CMO of KITE (@TarahFO). This type of collaboration is a real-world version of KITE’s platform, which fosters innovation within brands and agencies by helping them to discover, evaluate and partner with startups that align with their strategies.

A must attend-event for anyone in business development or at an agency or startup — secure your pitch perfecting spot here, and if you have a Campus Pass, join our 7×7 Mentor Session: Industry Leaders Share Career Advice on Getting Ahead.

 
Jess Seilheimer runs a consultancy called Cretegic– your insight-driven partner for a digital world. We accelerate strategic planning into actionable ideas & marketing for brands and startups. She is also the Strategy & Marketing lead for a startup Birdi. Prior, she was the SVP of Digital Innovation and Strategic Planning at Havas.

The Future of Business: SMW in the Eyes of Sara Holoubek

Sara Holoubek is the founder and CEO of Luminary Labs, a network of experts that helps create the business models that make organizations resilient to changing markets. Technology and social media are an important part of the business models that will be successful in the future of our always-on, always connected-world. Something Sara understands intimately. As a longtime friend and partner, we trust her recommendations completely — and so should you.

These are the events that Sara is most excited for:

  1. Startups to Watch in 2014 presented by Entrepreneur.com
    Because I always love big, messy, industries, and the startups about to disrupt them.
  2. The Future of Now: Health Innovation Track, Presented by Merck
    Health tech is hot.
  3. What (bio)Tech Entrepreneurs Can Learn From Tesla.
    If you haven’t been to the Harlem (bio)Space yet, it’s a must. Right here, in New York City, evolutionary biotech ideas now have a space where they can become the products that solve real health problems. Plus, they have really cool t-shirts.
  4. Fueling Social Fandom at MTV, VH1 and Comedy Central
    Everything I learned about influencer engagement came from Don Steele.
  5. Upworthy’s Real Mission: A Keynote Announcement from Eli Pariser, Founder.
    Because it is brilliant to make “what’s important popular, even if what’s popular isn’t considered important by the masses.”

To catch up with Sara at Social Media Week, check out these events (and others) and register now! We are excited for her to join us and we want you to be there!

Can Your Office Design Make You a Better Worker

At home, most of us understand how much space impacts our lives, spending large amounts of time and money choosing the perfect furniture and color palate. However, we often forget the ways that our physical surroundings at work affect our productivity and sense of well-being. In addition to affecting our mood, our office spaces can dictate how much serendipitous interaction occurs throughout the day and affect worker perceptions of leadership.

Many offices are expanding or planning to expand in the next few years, making office design a topic that leaders will want to understand fully. People are leaning more and more towards open floor plans, making private offices as a thing of the past. This increases trust in executive level leadership and reduces barriers to access that leadership. Additionally, by opting for more open layouts, employees have more and more unplanned interaction throughout the day opening doors for creativity and collaboration

As important as the floor plan is, another important factor for the office environment is color. Few things are more soul crushing than spending 40-plus hours per week in a drab brown/ grey office with bad fluorescent lighting. Adding bright colors can increase workers’ moods and well being. Green and blue are calming colors; good for the busy and fast-paced office. Red has been shown to boost performance in detail-oriented tasks. Yellow and orange are great colors for the break room, with their cheery and energetic effect.

Poppin is a start-up that strongly believes in bringing color into the work place. Their motto is “Work Happy,” and they believe that people should be surrounded by beauty wherever they are. Not just another office supply company, Poppin considers itself a company that sells workstyle products. They carry an assortment of typical office products, like desks, staplers and folders, but in atypical, happy colors.

And this SMW NYC, they want you to share what your happy color is. You’ll get to see more of what their products look like, vote on your favorite happy color, and then strike a pose in their photo booth. So, grab your pass and help us see what color makes New Yorkers the happiest.

To Endorse or Not Endorse? The Value of a LinkedIn Endorsement

I was confused and flattered when I first received an “Endorsement” notification from a connection, which happened to be my friend and from someone who I didn’t really know. Some of my endorsements such as writing and editing matched my skills. However, it was given by most of my close friends instead of my former coworkers or college classmates. I must admit that I felt content that they were considering me a talented writer or editor. Even though, they never read any of my works, and I never had a chance to edit their papers. Were they just being good friends or maybe they just want me to return the favor by endorsing their skills?

I was also endorsed by unknown connections, which was strange and confusing. Yet, I still accept the endorsements and left them in my profile because, I thought that it was going to attract recruiters. However, after researching about LinkedIn Endorsements, I ended up with mixed feeling about my endorsements. According to the article “Everything You Need To KnowAbout LinkedIn Endorsements” from Forbes, endorsements make it easy to put in a positive word for a connection without going to the trouble of writing a recommendation.

But at the same time many recruiters are not impressed by the given endorsements of their potential candidates. They tend to pay more attention to the elaborated written recommendations.

However, who has time to sit and write recommendations? Therefore, LinkedIn had the confusing and practical idea of the endorsements, which is considered the Facebook Poke of professional marketing, according to the article “LinkedIn: Thanks for the Endorsement, Do I know you?.

LinkedIn tried to save us some time when it comes to recommend our connections by endorsing their skills. They should have developed this feature in an efficient and reliable manner, such as describing briefly (perhaps in less than sixty words) why are we endorsing our connections. In other words, ask their users to be more descriptive at the time they endorse their connections. Lastly, endorsements should be exclusive for people that work with each other or were involved either in a college project or freelancing project. It is time for LinkedIn to develop a feature that’s more professional and reliable in order to keep their reputation as the professional social network.

Want more on your online reputation? We recommend keeping an eye on this during SMW14.

Featured image courtesy Sheila Scarborough.

10 Questions with PINCHme’s Executive Chairman, Jeremy Reid

When I was introduced to PINCHme at TechStyle Lounge in September, I knew the Australian venture was going to be huge before they even debuted in the US. The thought behind it seemed like Birchbox, but free. The idea of getting complimentary care packages sent to you with products that you choose seemed too good to be true.

Since their US launch on November 12th, 2013, the company has had over 400,000 people signup for the chance to get their very own blue boxes sent to their homes. I had the chance to pick Jeremy Reid’s brain, PINCHme’s Executive Chairman, to find out how they started this consumer revolution.

  1. How did you come up with the concept for PINCHme? 
    JR: I started looking at the way CPG (consumer packaged goods) companies were marketing their latest products, and it became evident that product sampling was the most effective means. However, I realized that product sampling in its traditional form is very wasteful and inefficient, so I started looking at the ways in which the CPG industry had embraced the digital age. It became apparent that in comparison to other industries, CPG was significantly behind the curve. I thought that if I could marry both in an efficient and accountable sampling platform, it would prove as a pretty exciting initiative.
  2. Where did the company name come from? 
    JR: ‘Pinch me, I’m dreaming. How great is this? I get to try all these new and great products for free in exchange for my feedback.’
  3. What made you decide that the US should be your second market?
    JR:It was always our intention to launch PINCHme in the US. We launched first in Australia, serving as our beta market since the PINCHme business model did not yet exist, or rather had been tested before in the US. Following the success of the Australia launch, it was always our goal to expand to the US within 12 months, which we achieved.
  4. When PINCHMe launched in the US, the website advertised an once in a lifetime trip to Australia for two winners and their guest. Were the winners chosen?
    JR: The competition closed on December 31, 2013 and winners will be announced next week.
  5. What can you tell me about your experience with “the power of free” through this experience so far?
    JR: Free clearly sells very well. In the past 8 weeks alone, we have had over 400k consumers sign up to be members of PINCHme. This, by any means, is extraordinary growth. Our goal, over time, is to build a multi-member community, which we are on track to deliver.
  6. How do you decide what products get featured? Are there only specific items you guys are willing to showcase or is it “the more, the merrier”?
    JR: Yes, we have a curated approach where we are really trying to offer our members both exciting and new quality products to try. In order for sampling to work well, consumers must have a rewarding experience with the product. Thus, it’s important for us to ensure that we maintain a high standard of offerings to keep both our members engaged and to deliver an attractive experience for our brand partners.
  7. What’s the craziest story you have through the brand thus far? It could be pertaining to a customer or brand or the experience of building up the company, etc. You can be as vague or specific as you want.
    JR: We recently ran a campaign for a major car air-freshener company. The company was focusing their marketing efforts on an older demographic that they believed were buying more expensive cars and wanted to keep those cars smelling nice. Once they offered the product on the PINCHme platform, we saw significant demand from a much younger demographic. Particularly, 18-29 year olds.

    What we discovered through our insight was that the product was substantially more popular for younger people who were smokers concerned with keeping their cars smelling good. Through the PINCHme platform, this brand now has a whole new target market to go after.

  8. Your company is very social media driven. Can you tell me why you think this was important for PinchMe?
    JR: In today’s world, where everybody is connected online by numerous social media platforms, it’s critical for all brands to have a strong social media presence. Additionally, brands  need to be well represented within the social realm, as many consumers today will look at peer-to-peer recommendations before buying a product.
  9. What would your dream accomplishment from this company be? 
    JR: From a consumer standpoint, PINCHme is the go-to destination where consumers can discover, discuss, and buy new CPG products. From a manufacturer’s standpoint, PINCHme is the preferred media platform for launching new consumer products and receiving valuable feedback.
  10. Any exciting news coming up for 2014 that you’d like to divulge? 
    JR: PINCHme is currently in discussions with several major CPG companies, where they will be using the platform to launch new and exciting products into the market. Also, we are on target to have the largest database in the sample box category.

Stephanie Carino has spent over the past 10 years working in the city in the Fashion, Food and Event industries. She currently works in the PR Department at leading Technology and Business Book Publisher, Apress. On the side, she also writes event coverage and reviews for, Socially Superlative, a NYC-based event website, covering predominantly food, travel and entertainment stories. Connect with Stephanie on Twitter.

The Power of Relationships: Helping You Harness It

Relationships matter. We all know that. But do we really know how to maximize our relationships in the workplace? I’d venture we could all use a little help in that regard. And that’s where Erica Dhawan excels.

Erica is a globally recognized expert who helps teach business leaders how to lead better and improve innovation with specific strategies and creative actions. If you’ve ever heard the term “Connectional Intelligence,” she’s part of the reason why. It’s a methodology to drive innovation by harnessing the value of networks and relationships. In short, she helps you understand and do your relationships better.

Connectional Intelligence consists of these capabilities:

      + Contextualization: the ability to gain a broader, peripheral perspective and use it as a catalyst
      + Community: the ability to bring together people
      + Combination: the ability to take different ideas, resources, or products and combine them to create something entirely new and generate a new way of thinking
      + Combustion: the ability to mobilize and curate diverse networks and resources in pursuit of a goal
      + Courageous conversation: the ability to begin charged difficult discussions and raise their awareness for greater good

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Erica brings with her some serious Wall Street experience. So, what is doing with us at SMW NYC and what will you learn? SShe’ll be leading a session at our new Campus with other thought leaders trying to reinvent the workplace and sharing their strategies. When almost everyone has at least the capacity to link up with people, power, ideas, information and faraway resources, how do we connect better, faster, more efficiently. It’s a deep look at the power of our relationships.

Join us — you won’t walk away thinking of your connections the same.

Blow Shit Up: Cindy Gallop Taking SMW NYC By Storm

Cindy Gallop, Porn

Cindy Gallop has been a long time friend to Social Media Week. An active member of our Advisory Board and a frequent speaker, we’re honored to have her on our team. She’s a woman of action. The founder of two powerful organizations, IfWeRanTheWorld and Make Love, Not Porn, Cindy stays busy. IfWeRanTheWorld helps create microactions to turn human and corporate good intentions into action.

IfWeRanTheWorld works with businesses to create specifically tailored and unique Action Programs that integrate social action and their business objectives. Her goal is merge business and social responsibility. Cindy’s vision is that this creates Action Branding, communication through demonstration. Cindy acts like a business innovator for these brands, selecting only brands that want to change the game. What we love is Cindy is straightforward and not afraid to shake things up. Her motto sums it up best: “I like to blow shit up. I am the Michael Bay of business.”

In addition to IfWeRanTheWorld, Cindy launched Make Love, Not Porn. Stemming from a realization that hardcore pornography is distorting the way a generation of young men think about sex, she launched a site to counteract it. Make Love, Not Porn expanded into a series of talks and even a TED Book.

Cindy is known as a staunch advocate for women, but as with all of her activities, she’s not your standard feminist. Not shying away from the word, she wants to see women be more self-confident, aggressive, and a general shift for more gender parity. Something we love here at SMW (check out our Gender 50/50 initiative).

“Because it is uncomfortable to work with women, because we are different from you. Women ask tough questions, they ask them in life and they ask them in business. Greatness comes out of discomfort. Hire women, champion women, promote women, spend time with women. It is not as comfortable as hanging out with the guys, but it’s going to be more productive.”

We think you’ll love her disruptive views. Challenge yourself and join us at SMW NYC this February.

Get your pass here.

The Power of The Idea: Steve Case & Entrepreneurship at SMW NYC

When you think of philanthropy and entrepreneurship, Steve Case is one of the first people that come to mind. Steve is a visionary, seeing the potential in things. Starting with co-founding AOL in 1985, Steve has a legacy of helping build things up. AOL under Steve’s leadership became the world’s largest Internet company and helped establish the Internet.

Now, he uses that experience to help other companies thrive. Steve just launched Revolution, a $200M venture fund focused on innovation outside of Silicon Valley. He has backed more than thirty companies, including LivingSocial, Zipcar, and AddThis.

“You can be entrepreneurial even if you don’t want to be in business. You can be a social entrepreneur focused on the not-for-profit sector. You can be an agriculture entrepreneur if you want to change how people think about farming. You can be a policy entrepreneur if you want to go into government. The idea of an entrepreneur is really thinking out of the box and taking risks and stepping up to major challenges.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Yi4ipsWNLc

Steve is passionate about fostering a sense of entrepreneurship and philanthropy. He lends his time to helping promote entrepreneurs in the US, being an active chair member for UP Global, an organization created by Startup Weekend and the Startup America Partnership, as well as the National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and President Obama’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness. In 1997, he founded The Case Foundation, investing in hundreds of organizations, initiatives and partnerships with a focus on leveraging the Internet and entrepreneurial approaches to strengthen the social sector.

And now he’s bringing that experience and his insights to SMW NYC. Join Steve and us this February. Get your pass now.

Robin Chase, founder of Zipcar & Buzzcar: Building a Sustainable Economy through Collaboration

Few individuals can claim to have impacted the future of transportation more than Robin Chase. She is co-founder and former CEO of Zipcar, the largest carsharing company in the world. And she hasn’t stopped there.

“I’m very interested in looking at excess capacity everywhere.”

Most car owners only use their vehicles 5% of the time. Robin wanted to find a way to create additional resources from that, similar to how Airbnb maximizes additional space for vacationers. Buzzcar is the child of this process, a service that brings together car owners and drivers in a new carshare platform, and GoLoco, an online ridesharing community.

She’s a huge proponent for developing more platforms for participation, so more consumers have more ways to trade resources instead of continually purchasing new items. Robin has declared, “We are transitioning from an industrial economy to a new sustainable collaborative economy.”

We’re thrilled to announce Robin as one of our headline speakers. She is truly a pioneer, bringing social commerce to the forefront with peer-to-peer lending in innovative ways. She has been recognized for her work by being named one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People, Fast Company’s Fast 50 Innovators, and BusinessWeek’s Top 10 Designers.

You’ll want to hear what Robin has to say. Join us at Campus this February. Grab your pass here.

Seasons of Change: A New Mayor, A New SMW NYC Vision & Home

The city has a new mayor, creating a new beginning and shift in the air. And here at SMW NYC, together with the city, we embrace this change. We celebrate change. This February, we’re bringing a new vision; a renewed passion.

This is our sixth year of SMW NYC, and we’re bringing you a totally new experience.

A New Home: Official Campus

We want your SMW14 experience, to be more social, more interactive, and more productive than you ever thought possible. Powered for a third year by our long time partners Nokia, we’ve moved all official programming to our Official Campus venue at Highline Stages to give you a more unified and cohesive experience.

A Unifying Theme: The Future of Now

SMW is where we make progress in terms of how technology and humanity come together. This February we will look at this through our theme The Future of Now, which will explore our always on, always connected world. Driving the conversation will be our keynote speakers, which this year include:

+ Steve Case – Revolution, founder of Case Foundation, and founder & former CEO of AOL
+ Robin Chase – co-founder of Zipcar and CEO of BuzzCar

Both Steve and Robin have built and sold hugely successful businesses, and both continue to drive change in their respective fields. In addition to these pioneers in business, you will also hear from:

+ Nancy Lublin – DoSomething.org
+ Doug Rushkoff – Author of Present Shock
+ Eli Pariser – UpWorthy
+ Scott Heiferman – Meetup
+ Cindy Gallop – MakeLoveNotPorn.tv
+ Soraya Darabi – Zady

We will be making many more speaker announcements over the coming weeks, but for now we have a really exciting offer to get in early! All events at Campus will require a pass, and today we are announcing an incredible offer, just for you, our existing community.

Because you’ve been a long standing member of our community, we want to thank you with a special offer. If you buy your pass in the next 24 hours and share it with your friends, you get 50% discount. SMW is designed to be social, so invite your friends.

Three floors of activities; four stages of content; four days of programming; and four ways you can experience it all.

Learn more and get the pass that’s right for you here.

Thanks and we can’t wait to show off all we’ve been working on this February!

Building an East Coast Tech Center: What’s in Store for NYC’s Future?


Last week’s panel, “New York City’s Tech Future“, got everyone thinking about how far New York City has come and how much farther we need to go. There was a lot of discussion about how New York City differs from Silicon Valley. In New York the innovation is at smaller venues and companies, we haven’t quite gotten our big Google or Facebook yet. However, Jonathan Bowles, Executive Director of the Center for an Urban Future, noted, “we’re seeing that a lot of corporations are reaching out to these smaller companies for acquisition and services”. Alan Patricof, Managing Director of Greycroft Partners, also noted that the model of fundraising is different in NYC. He noted that few firms do B-Round ($5-$15MM) here and there is a lot of seed capital around, a lot of VCs have cashed out and become angels. Additionally, Patricof noted, “A-Round requires going to an organized firm like Greycroft and there aren’t a lot of firms like these in NYC.” Nevertheless, Bowles noted that 486 start-ups got VC or angel funding last year and of those, 15 had raised $50MM+.

There are also several issues related to the recruitment of talent in NYC. Bowles pointed out – liveability and quality of life are key issues. He suggested that, in order to attract more talent in engineering and entrepreneurship, the next mayor will have to focus on creating more middle-income affordable housing, as most tech/start-up employees aren’t making six figures.

Students are another big issue. A few of the panelists suggested that there is a tendency for recent grads to start their companies near where they went to school, especially because of the focus on intellectual property on campuses, how students can and will take risks, and the advantageous recruiting opportunities that proximity presents.  This focused the conversation on the new Cornell Tech campus on Roosevelt Island. Anne Li, the Managing Director, EVP at NYCEDC, argued the case for NYC to focus on tech. Li said, “NYC is underweight in the number of engineers we produce…there are not that many industries we can diversify ourselves into but tech is one”. She also noted that similar projects in other countries have been funded by the government. However, our city’s government doesn’t have those kinds of funds to give. So, the focus has really been on the universities. That’s where the partnership with Israel’s Technion came to play on this campus proposal. Israel has demonstrated itself as a country that has a strong grasp on how to commercialize research. Additionally, several other city universities have started to further develop their tech programs. NYU has started a Center for Urban Science & Progress in Brooklyn and Columbia University is expanding its engineering school. Li estimates that the three projects combined will double the number of engineers (PhDs) in 20 years. She also suggested that work is being done at the high school level as well. Li says, “great coders learn how to code in high school not college”, so there’s a computer science high school in the works.

The discussion of what students want to do after they graduate also came into play. Patricof suggested that most students in NYC want to start their own company when perhaps instead they should be “looking to join a big company to bring entrepreneurial spirit or join an existing start-up”. He noted that there are a lot of companies that are imitating one another these days:  “You should start a company if you have a passion and you’ve learned a lot about it and you have a plan, not hunt for ideas or copy what someone else has done and say ‘I’m gonna do it better'”. Scott Anderson, Partner & Chief Strategy Officer at Control Group, backed him up by saying that his company looks for more skilled workers and sees great value in new recruits who have failed before. Patricof furthered the argument of the value of having worked at a failed start-up: “They don’t assign people different roles so you learn everything…you watch and learn from an unsophisticated leader and then you’re ready to do a start-up because you’ve seen the pitfalls and not spent your own money.”

So, the overall feeling was that New York City can become a more attractive destination for engineers and entrepreneurs by building more academic resources for students and by making the city a better and more affordable place to live for experienced talent. Recent graduates will need to start shifting the attention toward joining existing start-ups rather than creating imitative start-ups of their own. There will also need to be the economic support and incentive to allow them to do this – through improved fundraising avenues for  start-ups, affordable housing options, etc.

Victoria Harman (@vc1harman) is a social media content & strategy specialist and entrepreneur based in New York City.

Social as the Great Equalizer

By now we’ve all heard about the pervasive presence of social media, and we as a society join increasingly more platforms all the time. In the business space, thought-leaders have started to wonder if social media can be the great equalizer between small and large businesses alike. So, those at Social Media Week gathered some of the industry’s most recognized names in social media and held a panel moderated by Dominic Chu from Bloomberg called Social as the Great Equalizer: Interviews with Companies Large and Small.

Representing the small businesses were Divya Narendra, founder of SumZero, and David Fudge, the Director of Brand Marketing at Bonobos. Hailing from the larger companies were Craig Hepburn, Global Head of Digital and Social at Nokia, Scott Roen, VP of Digital and Partnerships at American Express, and Sara Larsen, VP of Digital Marketing at SAP.

One of the first questions put to the panelists was: How do you know whether your social media efforts are working? David Fudge explained that it starts with figuring out what your goals are. Before you are able to measure success, you have to figure out what metrics you are going to use.

Craig Hepburn chimed in next and said bluntly: “If you don’t understand the value of social, don’t do it. You need to make sure it fits the culture of your business.” Hepburn advocated creating contextual experiences to build stronger relationships with customers, and using social to understand what your customers really want and need.

After this discussion the conversation came around to exploring what makes content engaging, and how you can drive conversation. Scott Roen noted that in B2B relationships it is all about getting the emotional connection. For American Express’ Open Forum they tapped into business’ challenges and they saw a huge influx of participation. American Express gave small businesses a tool to utilize during the tough economy, and established their site as an insightful resource.

Hepburn championed getting behind a social cause as a brand that people already care about, and helping the community amplify it and make it more successful.

Ultimately, the panel agreed that any business or individual could get into social very easily. However, it can also get complicated really easily. Researching to truly understand the psychology and sociology behind social media makes a huge difference.

Last tips for businesses using social media focused on being authentic and timely. You have to be authentic to the brand, but you also have to be authentic to the social channel you’re using. As long as a business stick to their core values and uses social to benefit their customers, social very well could be the next equalizer.

Image courtesy of Flickr, luc legay

Ford Remixes Old Fiesta Campaign for 2013 Strategy

Social Media Week has taken New York City by storm, as thought-leaders and innovators discuss industry trends and developments. Kicking off Tuesday morning at the Business and Entrepreneurship Hub at Bloomberg HQ was Global Head of Social Media at Ford, Scott Monty. Scott Monty has been ranked by Forbes as one of the Top 10 Influencers in Social Media, and his presentation clearly demonstrated his mastery in the industry.

Scott Monty started the session by emphasizing the importance of personal relationships in our rapidly developing digital age. Monty believes that social media is bringing business back to a trusted relationship, and it helps combat the impersonality of our mass media age.

After establishing these sentiments, Monty took the audience through the history of Ford’s social media efforts and the lessons they learned along the way. He pointed out that the lessons Ford learned were universal, and that both big and small businesses could benefit from them.

Four years ago, Ford launched the Fiesta Movement introducing their new Ford Fiesta. The campaign involved giving away 100 Ford Fiestas to digitally connected people around the United States for 6 months, and then tasking them with video challenges each month. The whole campaign was documented via social media platforms, and the Fiesta Movement videos earned 6.2 million views on YouTube, 750,000 views on Flickr and 40 million impressions on Twitter with the hashtag #Fiesta Movement.

All in all, the success of this campaign was measured by the 82% increase in consideration by consumers new to Ford, and a 30% gain in consumers below the age of 25. The lesson Ford learned: If you have a good product, let go of your fear and let others tell your story.

The success of the 2009 Ford Fiesta campaign must have pleased the Ford executives, because Monty announced a revamping of the same campaign for their 2013 initiative. This campaign is called Fiesta Movement: A Social Remix and is extremely similar to the campaign four years ago. It will feature 100 people, a mix of celebrities, alumni from the past campaign and regular people who will get to use a Ford Focus for six months. Like last time, each of the people will be tasked with creating a video around a specific theme each month, and this content will be eligible to be Ford’s advertising content.

Ford’s advertising for this campaign will be largely user-generated and crowdsourced from the missions and activities of the Focus advocates.

Recruitment to become a Ford Focus agent started Tuesday, February 20 and the whole campaign is expected to roll out in late April or early May. If you’re interested, you can register online at www.fiestamovement.com or follow the hashtag #FiestaMovement.

Image courtesy of toprankonlinemarketing

Thursday: Newly Added & Open Events

Day 2 is almost over, but that doesn’t mean SMW NYC is close to ending. With so many events, you could have missed some great ones. We also added a few new ones. So, to highlight open and newly added events, we recommend you checking these out:

New at our Global HQ

9:30: Master Class: Build Insanely Effective Landing Pages With Old School Secrets
4:30: Social Collaboration: Nokia Lumia 820 Design Challenge: The winner is…
5:00: Performance: Max ZT, Hammer Dulcimer


At our Content Hubs & Across the City

9:30 at JWT: FORTUNE Interview w/ Bonin Bough, Followed by panel: The Secret Sauce of Native Advertising? Authenticity
9:30 at 92Y: Half The Sky Movement: Using Transmedia to Inspire Real Impact
9:30 at Hearst: The Shift from Presentation to Participation, A Discussion With HuffPost Live’s President Roy Sekoff
12 at 92Y: Healthy Living: How Behavior and Patients Can Fix Healthcare, with Jay Parkinson, Greatist, StartupHealth.
12 at JWT: Technology, Advertising & Startup Council (TASC)
2:30 at 92Y: Cowbird and the Storytelling Life: A Visual Story Workshop
2:30 at Bloomberg: Purpose: Driving the New Economy
6 at JWT: Deep Focus Presents: An Evening of Disruption
6 at 92Y: Connections: How the Internet of Things is Transforming Our Social World
8 at JWT: Controller Rocks the Stage: A Night of Music at JWT
7 at Projective Space: “The Magical Sharing Experiment”: Launch of yerdle in NYC presented by Let’s Collaborate!

Don’t wait any longer- we’re running out of time! Register now, and join us tomorrow!

The Secret’s Out! Ford To Distribute 100 Cars Through New Campaign


Today, Ford unveiled its new 2014 Ford Fiesta campaign at SMW NYC! It is the first innovative ad campaign created entirely by consumers.

The campaign, Fiesta Movement: A Social Remix, will choose 100 social influencers, or “agents,” and give them cars for a year! In exchange, the agents will compete in exciting challenges across major entertainment hubs including American Idol, Bonnaroo and all 4 Summer versions of the X Games. Along the way, agents will generate content that Ford will feature and distribute through paid media, social media and experiential events. To be clear: the entire ad campaign will be crowdsourced content — a bold and incredibly progressive move!

Think you have what it takes to become an agent and score one of those cars? Well, in honor of Ford kicking off this campaign at SMW, they are beginning their search for agents at our very own Global HQ!

Stop by! Check out the campaign and tell us why YOU should be the next Ford Fiesta Agent. Their fully experiential kiosk is a great place to flex your agent muscles — and it’s fun! Plus, while you’re there, you can pick the brain of our production partner MKG’s Digital Director, Dave Brown – he used to be an agent. (Where else are you going to find that kind of inside information?)

Can’t make it the Global HQ? No problem. Join the fun at fiestamovement.com

See you there!

5 Minutes With MKG’s Dave Brown

MKG creates experiential programs that connect trendsetting consumers, influencers and the media to brands. They exist to engage, entertain and brighten people’s lives through the experiences they create. So, obviously, it was a no-brainer when we chose them as our partner in crime for the production of this year’s Ideas Connected at Global HQ. While we’ve enjoyed working with the whole MKG team, we’ve got a real soft-spot for Dave Brown, MKG’s Director of Digital Strategy. Here he shares his thoughts on social marketing, digital innovation and our upcoming event!

1. Tell us about your goals for SMW. As co-host of Ideas Connected and our first Global HQ, what do you hope attendees will take away from the experience?
We’re totally excited about co-hosting Social Media Week’s first Global HQ. We’ve all attended way too many conferences that left us feeling underwhelmed, so this event provides us with an opportunity to flip the idea of a typical conference on its head and create something new and fresh with Crowdcentric. It’s been really enjoyable working together and we hope to make this a memorable experience for our attendees. From the very beginning it’s been our goal to create a space that’s warm, inviting and would organically facilitate networking, connections and the sharing of ideas. We hope attendees walk away feeling like they’ve had a powerful and encouraging experience.

2. As a pioneer in experiential marketing, how has social media affected the field? How does that inform MKG’s work?
Social Media has evolved to the point where we don’t see it as a separate strategy for experiential marketing. It’s fully integrated into the entire vision of a brand and we bake that into our approach here at MKG. You can’t discuss marketing or branding without deeply considering social media. That’s the most exciting part. It’s a new language. It’s a new craft. And, whether you’re a community manager or a digital strategist it’s become an art form to bridge online and offline experiences for audiences so that it’s a frictionless experience which ultimately delivers meaningful results.

3. What has been MKG’s greatest success with Social Media to date?
Fortunately, I’m part of a team at MKG that has seen a lot of success. Our creative execution of ideas is notable. But, if I had to pick one event that stood out for me, it would be the Delta Instawalk at Madison Square Garden. The challenge was to break through all the noise found at major sporting events. We solved this by inviting a talented group of Instagram photographers to come in and document the New York Rangers’ playoff run. We provided them with unprecedented access and experiences that even traditional media hadn’t done before. The outcome was nothing short of beautiful. Our use of Instagram as a storytelling mechanism created a really rich experience for audiences. It reached millions of people in an organic way and set a new standard for what can be done in the realm of social media.

4. What do you think is the most exciting thing happening in the emerging technology and/or new media space right now?

I love the level of personalization I’m seeing across the board. From social connections to anticipated results based on my actions and networks, it’s really exciting. It’s the humanization of big data and how its service is relieving pain points in peoples’ lives so we can spend more time focusing on the things that matter. A great example of this is the social connections feature on Airbnb. There’s no doubt we’ll be seeing more brands and services incorporating this level of personalization and speed of delivery into their offering. This is where things get really exciting and we’re just scratching the surface.

5. What brands do you think are leading the way in innovation with social and digital?
There are so many I admire. Holstee is one of my favorite brands. They’re a great example of how creativity and positive inspiration can build an eco-friendly brand. Another is Photojojo. They consistently remind me that passion, personality and strong communication can build audiences. Oh, and I can’t forget The New York Rangers. They have a really strong digital presence and provide fans with so much access and information through the use of various social channels. As a die-hard hockey fan, I find this both valuable and engaging. All of these brands use social media in fascinating ways to do basic storytelling. It’s exciting to see them grow and resonate with their audiences across the globe.

6. What are you looking forward to most at SMWNYC 2013?
I’m looking forward to watching people connect with what we’ve been building for the last three months. It’s been an incredible, collaborative process and I’m really excited for people to take it all in, get their hands dirty, build things, learn and share skills, make new connections and forget that you’re even at a conference. In one section of the experiential space we have an area called HQ Office Hours where we’ll be offering our ideas and advice to attendees. Anyone can approach us on anything from social media marketing, pitching us their ideas, asking for advice, sharing tips on their favorite app or wanting a restaurant recommendation for the night. It’s going to be a blast and the team and I can’t wait to engage in great conversations with the audience and give out a few solid Hi-Fives.

7. This year, our global theme is “Open & Connected: Principles for a Collaborative World.” How does MKG embody or support this idea?
Our founder, Maneesh K. Goyal is an architect for brands and his expertise is at the heart of our company. We’re passionate about creating memorable experiences that bring people together and deliver meaningful results. This matched with Social Media Week’s Open & Connected DNA spawned our natural partnership. We’re not just saying “ideas connected,” we’re living it.

8. What is the most creative way you’ve seen social media used?
I’ve witnessed so many creative applications of social media. Everything from crowdsourced funding for positive social change to neighbors helping each other in moments of crisis. Social Media always finds a way to surprise me in its application. Its beautiful. But on a more simple level, one of the most creative applications of social media (that anyone can do) is when a brand or a person recognizes a need and fills it with unbending kindness. We call this love bombs and they’re some of the best bi-products of social media. I really enjoy when I see someone say they wish XYZ would happen, and someone with the ability to make that happen does. It’s awesome. You see brands do it. You see people do it. And I hope that contagion continues to spread as social media grows into the future.

Follow Dave_Brown on Twitter: @holidaymatinee

What Is Social Customer Service Anyway?

This is a guest post by Josh March, CEO of Conversocial.

Social media may seem like such a fully-ingrained part of our lives, but in reality we’re only hitting adolescence. Conversocial has worked with businesses since their first steps into social media engagement. At the time, this seemed revolutionary to most marketing departments – that customers would speak back, and that companies needed to do something about it. Over the past few years, we’ve come leaps and bounds and today social customer service is a standard concept, program and even team in many businesses.

But we’re still left with questions about what this really is. How will the contact center have to change, with customer support and engagement open to the public? Next week, I’ll be talking about “The Social Engagement Hub” alongside speakers from Edelman Digital, Ogilvy, GoDaddy and Nokia, and what this looks like for the future.

At Conversocial, we’ve worked with marketing, customer service, customer experience, customer insight, product, and sales teams, because social customer service calls for new rules of play for customer relationships. Social media presents opportunities for every part of your organisation – from customer retention in offering service to dissatisfied customers, to new sales from customers grumbling about your competitors. And the wealth of insight available in volunteered social data is wasted if your insight and product teams can’t action it to make better business decisions.

Developing great social customer service is the only way for companies to tap into this. We recently conducted research on the Twitter mentions of some of America’s biggestretailers. In a day in the life of Twitter, it’s astounding what’s out there for the taking. Major opportunities raised by customers constituted over 1/3 of all mentions, and include customer experience, customer dissatisfaction product availability enquiries, sales and pricing questions and service and facilities feedback. We’ll be sharing more of this data on the 19th.

In my vision for the contact center of the future, social relationships with customers sit at the heart of your organisation. Companies will have to consider some serious structural reorganisation of not only how they manage communication with their customers, but also how they perceive it. Customer service will no longer be relegated as an inconvenient cost center, but as the front line of customer engagement.

Join us next Tuesday to discuss market trends, the experiences of leaders in this space and pick the brains of our panel of experts as to how you can start delivering real social customer service in your company. We’ll be opening up discussion that’s relevant for every customer-focused role in your company, so if you’re looking for answers to ‘what is social customer service anyway?’ we should be able to help.