Buffer gets $400K funding — and tells exactly how they did it

Every day, it seems like there’s another bland press release about startup seed funding. So when Buffer closed on $400,000, it wanted to announce it differently — by explaining exactly how the process happened. It’s a fun read, and a good lesson for other startup founders.

Network Like a Man

One of my favorite blogs recently has been The Art of Manliness. It’s not a boneheaded celebration of dumb machismo, rather a thoughtful exploration of what being a man can and should mean in a post-feminist world. With values anchored in equality, the writers explore everything from employment and relationships to parenting, grooming and etiquette.

Last month, in response to the deepening recession, one contributor wrote “How To Network Like A Man.” It’s a great essay on networking, oriented around the story of a man losing his job and immediately putting to work his network of professional relationships to find new work. The advice in the essay isn’t gender-specific, and applies pretty broadly to almost anyone in a professional context — for web workers, good networking skills are even more valuable than understanding CSS or Photoshop inside out.

Here are some of the key points to take away from the piece: Read More about Network Like a Man

What’s Your Favorite Web App, Guy Kawasaki?

I’ve been at SXSW attending sessions, seeing product demos and interviewing tech company founders. I’ve also been asking anyone who identifies themselves as a web worker about their favorite web app and how it helps them with their work.

Here is the first of a series of short interviews with a variety of web working types, starting with venture capitalist and co-founder of Alltop, Guy Kawasaki, who reveals his favorite web app: the “ultimate marketing tool for Twitter.”

What’s Your Favorite App, Guy Kawasaki? from WebWorkerDaily on Vimeo.

You can find Guy Kawasaki on Twitter: @guykawasaki.
Stay tuned for links to upcoming video sound bites from SXSW by following us at @webworkerdaily.

Networking: How to Work a Twitter Party

Networking has always been a high art in business. Just ask Susan Roane, my mentor and author of the seminal tome, “How to Work a Room.” (I know a handful of VCs and startup kings on Sand Hill Road who have her book tucked into a drawer.) I’ve been showcasing Roane’s lessons for founders in my Found|READ series, “What They Don’t Teach You At Stanford Business School.”

By now it’s time to address the latest, and arguably the most powerful, networking tool in any founders’ arsenal: Twitter. It’s simple. If you’re not “tweeting,” you’re missing half the conversation. Just ask Sarah Lacy. (How different Lacy’s now-infamous SXSW interview of Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg might have been had she been plugged into the tweets flying around the conference room floor!) Don’t know how to use Twitter? No sweat. Here are my 8 Tips for How to Work a Twitter Party.
(Photo credit: News.com. SXSW Tweeters celebrating before the ill-fated Zuckerberg interview.) Read More about Networking: How to Work a Twitter Party

1 1/2 Years, 10 Lessons and My New Love for Jim Collins.

I’ve being doing the ’startup thing’ for close to a year and a half. That might not sound like much, but I feel that I’ve learned a ton and gained much experience. Following a recent startup-oriented weekend adventure I took a part in and some introspection, I thought I’d offer my take on Ye Olde ‘Top 10 Pitfalls’ of starting up in the web environment:

1. Lack of focus

Keep it simple, stupid. This might sound obvious, but a lack of focus is a real killer for a young start up. Define your core business and avoid temptations to branch out in other directions as opportunities come along (Jim Collins calls it the hedgehog mentality). Know what you do best, and stick with it.

2. Lack of discipline

If you don’t have the discipline to pursue your goals with single-minded determination, you will fail. This doesn’t mean that your vision has to be set in stone (far from it, your vision should be constantly adapting), but you have to know what your core ideals are and believe they will take you where you want to get. You will encounter hardships and things will get much worse before they get better, so have the resolve to follow through (or save yourself the time and go work at some software company).

3. Overuse of buzz words

If the first two points were universally true, this one plagues web startups to a much greater degree. People throw around concepts such ‘viral’, ‘SaaS’, ’semantic web’,’web 2.0?, ’social community’ to describe how their brand spanking new start up is going to succeed. If one of those concepts happen to apply to your idea, people will understand it themselves. If you need to keep using them to convince others of your certain future success, you might be experiencing the buzz-word syndrome. Read More about 1 1/2 Years, 10 Lessons and My New Love for Jim Collins.

Socket Tuit- mobile gadget charger uses 4 AA batteries

I have been in conversations with the folks at Socket Tuit and, no, despite the name it’s not an April Fool’s joke.  Socket Tuit is being launched at CTIA and it is a gadget charger that runs on 4 AA batteries to charge cell phones and other devices.  We’ve seen this type of charger before but what sets Socket Tuit apart is it uses the car charger for the particular device meaning there is no need for special cables nor tips to use.  This also means that a single Socket Tuit device can be used for multiple devices for you gadget heads who have them.  The charger will work with any device that needs up to 12 volts (despite what the web site says) including Nokia phones.  No word on pricing yet but it should be launched in May.


All the News a Web Worker Needs

Since I started writing for Web Worker Daily last month, I’ve been trying to remember a web app I’d seen a year ago that make it possible to catch up on a lot of breaking online news in just a few minutes. That app was popurls – but now there’s something much, much better: Alltop.

Alltop’s the unannounced creation of Guy Kawasaki and his two partners at Nononina. (Yes – that Guy Kawasaki). The beauty of Alltop is by providing the latest of the best on say politics (or 20 other topics presently), you can get a sense of what’s really happening in that world, quick. Alltop refreshes every 10 minutes or so, so are really seeing what’s happening now.

Read More about All the News a Web Worker Needs

How to Work the Room 3.0: Cyber-schmoozing

In my first Found|READ post, How to Work the Room, I gave you tips on how to amp up your social graces for the business party circuit, because — a much as we might hate to admit it — a founder’s startup success depends almost as much on networking as it does on engineering skills. And since there is no such a thing as Social-Business Protocol, Found|READ has asked me to establish one.
This is Chapter 3: killer tips for how to network better in cyberspace a skill which may be more meaningful now than how you ‘work it’ in the real world. And here is one thing I know for sure: it’s about to become #11 on the list of Business Skills Stanford B-School Won’t Teach You. So get out your pen… Read More about How to Work the Room 3.0: Cyber-schmoozing

Why ‘word of mouth’ marketing won’t work

Seth Godin wrote a terrific post Friday on what the Iowa caucus can teach you about marketing and (by our reading of it) the necessity of evangelizing your message to customers. It’s called The truth about word of mouth, and Seth’s point is that it doesn’t really work — at least, not as well as we think it does, or should.
Why, you might ask, doesn’t “word of mouth” work? And what does a political caucus have to do with this — much less the task of marketing to my customer base?
Ah! This is why Seth is the guru… Read More about Why ‘word of mouth’ marketing won’t work