Are Your Dreams as Big as Amsterdam?

I'm not on Facebook very much these days (more of a Twitter girl myself) aside from getting news from friends in far flung places. Well, those places became even more far flung this morning with the Facebook announcement that a couple I'm friends with are moving to Amsterdam for her dream job. It was shocking. Thrilling. And thought-provoking.

After working until 1am last night this got me thinking. Am I dreaming big enough? Are the fruits of my efforts bringing me closer to my dreams so that a year from now I can say that my life is much better and my dreams fulfilled or at least on the horizon?

Here's a smattering of the big dreams my friends have accomplished just since the New Year.

  • Next weekend I will attend the wedding of a friend who was dreaming about finding the right person just two years ago. She did meet him--just mere weeks later.
  • Two friends moved to NYC to pursue their startup.
  • A girlfriend and colleague of mine is always dreaming big and having an impact on her local community. This time with an event next weekend, Tellerpalooza.
  • Another friend has been traveling the world for two years, recently checking Dubai and Nairobi off his list.
  • A couple finally sold their home in another state and bought a place in their new city--something they'd been dreaming about for over 2 years.
  • Australia was the destination for a couple of co-workers who married and had kids. 
  • A good friend of mine finally finished the book he's been writing and is submitting it to book publishers.

And finally, to bookend the dreams...a friend is working from Amsterdam this month just because he wanted to see if he could do it.

All this stupendous news has me pondering. What are my dreams? Are my dreams big enough so that if you stacked them up they'd reach the sky? Am I working towards the exciting lifetime dreams or just grinding through the to do list for the day?

While I know all this big news isn't every day and won't continue at this pace, it excites me. It makes me want to go after my dreams and make sure that if I'm working until 1am that it better be on something that's moving me down the football field to my goal line.

What about you? Are you dreaming BIG? Are you actively pursuing your goals like a dog with a bone? Are you working on your own dreams or those of someone else?

A Letter to My Neglected Blog

Dear blog,
You've been neglected. Frankly, you've been starved lately. I'm sorry about that.

We need to talk.

It's like this. I've got lots of clients lately and they've asked me to blog for them. And? It brings in the bacon. So I've been blogging--just not on your pretty digital pages. I've missed you. I know, I know. Everyone says that. But I really mean it. The thing is, I'm just not that good at balance. I tend to swing from one extreme to the other. I don't say this as an excuse. This is more of a reality check. There are times when my client work is just going to have to come first. I hope you'll take solace with the fact that I have been blogging.

Here are a few of the things I've been blogging about lately.

  • Perusing Twitter helps me find unearth cool new gems like the fact that the new SimCity will be rad with alternative energy sources and other cool additions. Thanks to Miss Courtney O'Rourke for the tip.
  • Earlier this year I walked the High Line in New York City. When I heard about The LowLine a KickStarter project that aims to re-purpose an abandoned trolley station into an underground park I just had to write about it. And? They're using innovative new fiber-optic solar technology.
  • Apparently there's a World Water Day and we recently celebrated. I wrote a little piece about how to  save some water !
  • I also wrote about the cool new 918 Spyder hybrid sports car from Porsche. Um, it's a sexy car. That plugs into the wall. And it goes 0 to 60 in 3 seconds.

Let's see. I've written about saving the planet, playing fun games that help save the planet and a sexy sports car. You have to admit--it's pretty cool right? No? Does it make you feel any better that it was for a good cause?

You can take your time to make up your mind on that one. In the meanwhile I hope you'll forgive me for needing to focus on client work and be happy that at least I've been blogging. A lot actually. And? I promise to make more time for you--ok?

Now, what have you been up to?

How to Kick Ass at Customer Service

As you get older even if you've had perfect vision, glasses become a necessity. Think about the market for glasses. Just about everyone will need them at some point. But while we need them we still want to look good right? As for me...I'm finally at that point where after a long day (14 hours some days) on the computer means my eyesight is a bit blurry without reading glasses. So, I went to startup Warby Parker

Why I Selected Warby Parker
- Buzz.
They were the talk of the town at SXSW so I figured it would be good to learn more.
- Charity. When you buy a pair they donate a pair of glasses to a needy person.
- Great pricing model. Each pair costs only $95!

What I learned as I ordered my pair was that they're fantastic marketers. The best part of their marketing is that it feels so natural and organic to who they are as a brand. They strike just the right balance between being cool and being too earnest. Of course they have a product that is just ripe for kick ass customer service and yet...they still knock it out of the park.

The Evidence

Video. When I mentioned how excited I was that my very first Warby Parker glasses were coming soon I got this message in reply.

High Touch. They have high-levels of engagement on their facebook page. People consistently post their Home Try-ons with multiple people giving feedback. Warby Parker weighs in on every. single. post.


 

 

Sense of Humor. Their April Fool's Day joke was just brilliant, well done and super fun. Take a look yourself.

Yes, this post has far more dogs than it really should. I know, I'm shameless like that. But c'mon. A dog--wearing a monocle? How could I resist?

You Don't Have To Be a Millionaire To Support Creativity

Growing up I spent most of my free time doing creative activities: writing, singing, theater and playing 5 instruments. As an adult I've always wanted to support the arts more but wasn't quite at the $100,000 donation level. That's why I love KickStarter. I can support creative endeavors at an investment level that works for me.

While I was in NYC for an extended stay, I walked the High Line along the Hudson from Mid-Town Manhattan down to the Meat Packing district. I loved how the project re-purposed old train tracks into a beautiful space. LowLine, one of the projects I funded, seeks to turn an abandoned trolley terminal into the world's first underground park.

They're 96% of the way there. Wanna help them get the last 4% so they can make their "first" a reality?

8 Weeks Away From Having To Get A Job

The latest episode of TechStars shows the entrepreneurs at week six of the program. It seems that most of the teams are settling in. This episode was filled with many great sound bite gems. It was the Fred Wilson and David Tisch show in this regard. My favorite is this one...

"They're about 8 weeks away from having to get a job."

I love this quote by David Tisch because it highlights a real problem for most entrepreneurs: having a short runway money-wise. Many, many teams face this dilemma.

Here are a few others...

"Don't make it too complicated." Fred Wilson (about the product)

"He is mind numbingly frustrating." David Tisch (about OnSwipe CEO)

"Do they have the entrepreneurial DNA to create an interesting and innovative company?" Fred Wilson

"I've been disconnected with his ability to relate with me as a person." David Tisch (again, about the OnSwipe CEO)

The Themes of this Episode

1. Name issues continue
This week three of the teams officially change their names. Homefield became Shelby.tv. Urban Apt transformed to Nestio and Socrated metamorphosed into Veri. Generally better names. The name change of the latter actually made Fred Wilson proclaim that this made them go "from the outhouse to the penthouse." Wiji's name, although not loved, sticks. For now.

2. CEO leadership

This theme showed up all over the show. Particularly questions about whether the CEO's had the right skills to be a great leader. The questions range from whether a CEO can sell, if another one has the ability to connect with people and yet whether another one can really build a business. We'll see the answers to this soon and I suspect at least one or more of these CEO's will pull through.

3. Pivots

According to Bloomberg, 1/3 of TechStars companies pivot during the program. With Homefield and To Vie For looking at pivots it seems this class is on target with this. Some of the mentor's concerns with the Homefield pivot to a web-wide video recommendation site was that it's a crowded category and whether they had false passion for the category. To Vie For was also looking to pivot but to what? That still remains up in the air. As the CEO said, they're having an identity crisis. Looking forward to seeing what happens.

Pivots are common but tough to navigate. And sometimes they're something more akin to what I like to call Startup Schizophrenia under the guise of a pivot. Preparing a post about this. In the meanwhile, pivots are looking very possible for a number of our TechStars companies.

We'll see how this all plays out.