A successful entrepreneur shares her thoughts on business success and failure.

Posts published in the Hacks category:

The “Macklemore Effect”: How to Rocket to The Top of Any Industry–Even If You’re a Nobody Right Now

Macklemore Years ago, when I lived in Silicon Valley, there was a core group of about 50 people–the “cool kids”–who would make or break any social application that came about. Even though it often seemed, back in those days, that Twitter was down more often than it was up, the “cool kids” persisted in their use of it, and so it grew. Twitter’s founding team befriended and embraced the “cool kids” and success ensued.

Twitter was successful on a small scale until 2009, when Oprah joined it and Ashton Kutcher became the first person to get 1 million followers. The “cool kids” had started the revolution, but Oprah marked the day when Twitter became mainstream.

Over the years, the core group of “cool kids” slowly fragmented. Some of the influencers, like Robert Scoble, went on to grow huge networks of their own. (Scoble currently has 325,049 followers on Twitter and nearly half a million followers on Facebook.) Others returned to running startups, blogging, or even working a day job, much as they had done before. The “cool kids” didn’t as heavily influence Facebook’s rise to the top of social media, and they barely registered a blip as Pinterest pulled in record-breaking amounts of obsessed followers.

Many startups today try to implement that same model of getting Silicon Valley’s “digerati” to pay attention to their app/website/new social media network/whatever. The founders are convinced that if only Robert Scoble will do a video of their new company, or if TechCrunch will write an article about their latest round of funding, that they, too, will be successful. They see the outside results of something like Twitter, without understanding the view from inside the Valley–and how much things have changed over the past few years. (more…)

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My 30-Day No Email Trial: The Results

No email for 30 days In early June, I embarked on a radical experiment: I gave up email for 30 days. Here are my results…

When I started the trial, I felt completely overwhelmed by email, and I just wanted a way out. I was waking up every morning to an incessant barrage of PR people, sales letters, chain emails, people wanting me to write about their product, companies wanting me to promote them without compensation, and–generally–a bunch of junk. Not “spam”, really, because it was sent by real people (sadly.) But a ridiculous pile of useless crap that wasn’t easily filtered.

Since my email address is public, and my blog is popular, it seemed like every day I’d end up on some list that I didn’t ask to be on. People would sign my email address up for everything from political updates to PR posts about seemingly random companies sent from a “do not reply” address.

In short, my email inbox was a micro-Hell waiting for me every morning. (more…)

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The Riskiest, Most Radical 30-Day Trial I've Ever Attempted?

30-day trial Something has to change, because this is killing me. It’s taking over my life, and it’s slowly but surely sucking my soul away. And yet, getting rid of it may prove to be one of the most difficult feats I’ve ever attempted.

Before I tell you what it is, let me share with you a typical day in my life as of right now. I want to show you exactly what the hell is that I’m going through. (more…)

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How to Be the Most Memorable Person in the Room

Be memorable “I came to South by Southwest. In a kayak.”

Tyler Tervooren and I were walking along the street toward my rental car to head out and grab the best chicken wings in town for lunch at South by Southwest.

Tyler decided to stay in a hostel directly across the river from the Austin Convention Center. And although he took the bus from the hostel to the convention center every day, he told me he envisioned renting a kayak and simply kayaking across the river. “It’s a straight shot,” he said.

While Tyler saw kayaking across the river as an interesting story, I saw it as an example of something else: something I’ve recently been completely fascinated by. I call it the 100% verbal opt-in, and I’ve lately become obsessed with documenting this phenomenon. (more…)

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How to Reach Executives at Large Corporations

How to reach executives Ever had an issue with a company where you just can’t reach a human being? You’re directed through endless email queues, tedious “tech support”–your issue is falling on deaf ears. Isn’t it incredibly frustrating? It’s enough to make you wonder if any human beings actually work at these companies!

Here’s how I not only found a top executive at a large company, but got an urgent issue with that company fixed in record time… (more…)

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