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A version of this article previously appeared on Inc. The ability to consistently give horrendous investor pitches is within your grasp. If you follow the...

How To Give A Horrendous Investor Pitch

A version of this article previously appeared on Inc. The ability to consistently give horrendous investor pitches is within your grasp. If you follow the tips outlined in this entry, you will be guaranteed to suffer absolutely no dilution, as there is zero chance a reasonable investor will give you money. Investors are overrated. Who needs them?
A version of this article previously appeared on Forbes. The CEO of Expertcity (creator of GoToMyPC and GoToMeeting, acquired by Citrix) was born in Germany...

The Power Of Mouth To Mouth Marketing

A version of this article previously appeared on Forbes. The CEO of Expertcity (creator of GoToMyPC and GoToMeeting, acquired by Citrix) was born in Germany and grew up in South Africa. Although his English was impeccable, he was occasionally tripped up by colloquialisms. One that he particularly struggled with was "word-of-mouth marketing,”which he consistently referred to as "mouth-to-mouth marketing." We adopted his phrasing and made it our mission to devise creative, mouth-to-mouth marketing initiatives. Startups must economically counteract the pervasive drone of large incumbents' messaging. One way to do so is to ensure that when your customers share their experiences with your products and solutions, they do so with the passion and intensity of a soulful kiss. Such mouth-to-mouth communications have sufficient intensity to cut through the confusion of the noisiest markets. Over the years, I have documented a number of clever mouth-to-mouth stunts, from DoubleClick to TestFlight. These articles have inspired readers to experiment with their own mouth-to-mouth campaigns, including the one described below by Hubba's Emma Nemtin.
      A version of this article previously appeared on Forbes. Mike Falzone nearly died twice in a two-week period, during which he was...

From Near Death To YouTube Stardom, A Startup Story

      A version of this article previously appeared on Forbes. Mike Falzone nearly died twice in a two-week period, during which he was also fired from his job. On the way home from the hospital, he vowed that he would never work for anyone again. Since that day, Mike has written a successful book and toured nationally as a musician and comedian. With nearly 70,000 subscribers to his BestFriendmenship YouTube channel and 6 million video views, Mike is an emerging YouTube star.    
A version of this article previously appeared on Forbes. It is only a matter of time before a YouTube filmmaker wins Oscar gold and my...

Do Not Know This YouTube Superstar? You Will When He Wins An Oscar

A version of this article previously appeared on Forbes. It is only a matter of time before a YouTube filmmaker wins Oscar gold and my money is on Joe Penna. His videos have 325 million views and he has over 2.5 million subscribers to his MysteryGuitarMan YouTube channel. Mainstream America was first introduced to him in THIS McDonald's commercial. YouTube is largely populated by videos that cater to the medium's overwhelming young and male demographic. Thus, channels focused on gaming and adolescent humor abound. Yet, despite the explosion in the number of YouTubers, the medium has relatively few genuine filmmakers. Joe's intelligent, creative and entertaining videos satisfy the young YouTube viewer's comedy fix while crossing over to a more mature and sophisticated audience.
A version of this article previously appeared on Inc. John Lusk, along with his Co-Author Kyle Harrison, leveraged their humble company's newsletter into The MouseDriver...

From Startup Newsletter To Best Selling Book: How This Entrepreneur Pulled It Off

A version of this article previously appeared on Inc. John Lusk, along with his Co-Author Kyle Harrison, leveraged their humble company's newsletter into The MouseDriver Chronicles, a New York Times bestselling book. Along the way, they created a supportive community of emotionally attached stakeholders that would be the envy of any Social Media Manager. Here's how they pulled it off.
  A version of this article previously appeared on Inc. Last week, Divshot turned a simple April Fool's Day joke into a marketing coup, generating...

How This Startup Turned An April Fools Joke Into Customers

  A version of this article previously appeared on Inc. Last week, Divshot turned a simple April Fool's Day joke into a marketing coup, generating nearly 6,000 Tweets and over a thousand Beta customers. Unlike many viral marketing events, the company's latest guerilla marketing stunt was not luck. As noted in Hacking Hacker News, the company previously dominated the mindshare of the web development community by facilitating the spread of a random posting on Hacker News.  
A version of this article previously appeared on Forbes. According to Tige Young, Founder and CEO of Tui Tai Expeditions, entrepreneurs should de-emphasize ROI and focus...

Entrepreneurs Should Forget ROI And Focus On Return On Life: The New Measure Of Wealth

A version of this article previously appeared on Forbes. According to Tige Young, Founder and CEO of Tui Tai Expeditions, entrepreneurs should de-emphasize ROI and focus on a more accurate measure of wealth, Return On Life. I became acquainted with Tige, when I was researching examples of exemplary online customer service. In the resulting article, I describe Tige's deft handling of online trolls via the deft use of social media. My subsequent correspondence with Tige led me and my 13-year-old son to Fiji, where we experienced the Tui Tai firsthand.   As luck would have it, a large group cancelled their reservation at the last minute. As such, my son and I had the boat essentially to ourselves. Fortuitously, Tige's children were on school holiday, so he and his family joined us for several days. As I got to know Tige, I became intrigued with his story. How did an American software engineer come to own an adventure travel company cited by National Geographic as, "one of the best adventure travel companies on earth?"
A version of this article previously appeared on Forbes. With no industry connections or family ties, talent agent John Ferriter applied basic entrepreneurial principles to...

A Surprising Entrepreneurial Journey To The Pinnacle Of Hollywood

A version of this article previously appeared on Forbes. With no industry connections or family ties, talent agent John Ferriter applied basic entrepreneurial principles to reach the pinnacle of Hollywood's elite. You can watch John describe his surprising Hollywood journey in the following 20-minute excerpt from his recent talk at UC Santa Barbara.
A version of this article previously appeared on Forbes. Jim Andelman, my Partner at Rincon Venture Partners, aptly describes the genesis of the Series A...

The Series A Crunch Is For Entrepreneurs Who Cannot Create Their Own Luck

A version of this article previously appeared on Forbes. Jim Andelman, my Partner at Rincon Venture Partners, aptly describes the genesis of the Series A crunch, stating that: "Over the next 12-to-18 months, a lot of good companies that have been Seed financed are going to have a tough time raising a Series  A from a new outside lead. This is due to a fundamental disconnect between the increased activity of high-volume seed investors (that fill out lots of Seed rounds) and the relatively small number of Series A investors, who only make 1 or 2 investments, per partner, per year."
A version of this article previously appeared on Inc. For many small businesses, their online reputation is their passport to virtual word-of-mouth referrals. Unfortunately, an...

Using Social Media To Deal With Customer Trolls

A version of this article previously appeared on Inc. For many small businesses, their online reputation is their passport to virtual word-of-mouth referrals. Unfortunately, an articulate and engaging negative review on Yelp!, TripAdvisor or Amazon can have an outsized impact on a small business. You operate your business from a small boat in the remote waters of northern Fiji and your customers are spread across the globe, residing in the US, Europe and Asia. How can you protect your company's reputation when a rouge customer unjustly flames your startup? In searching for world-class examples of public responses to irate customers' complaints, I found one that emanated from an unlikely place, Savusavu, Fiji. The respondent to the customer complaint was Tige Young, CEO and Owner of the Tui Tai Expeditions, cited by National Geographic as, "one of the best adventure travel companies on earth." With an excellent online reputation, it would be understandable if Tige chose to disregard the occasional negative review. However, rather than ignore discontented customers, Tige does a masterful job of crafting rebuttals that are informative, appropriately deferential and amusing.   In addition to utilizing reputation management services such as YellowBot, entrepreneurs must become proficient online advocates, defending their businesses against unjust and unfounded attacks. Left unattended, such attacks are detrimental. Inartfully handled, such reviews can be disastrous.
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