The Glamorous Life of an Entrepreneur part 7

This week I was somewhat slowed down because I was working on several things in parallel (what’s new about that?). It is amazing to live a life when new and different things happen all the time.

My newly launched social movement I wrote about in part 6 has kept me extremely motivated. Both men and women expressed opinions and support. Even my dad had one (he thought it was bullshit.. But that’s ok too..). I am learning a lot about engagement of all kinds of audiences.

As for LetMeKnow, I tried to outsource logo design to Russia but the outcomes were very unsatisfactory. Now trying again to find someone locally. There are a couple of leads and hopefully I will have something done soon.

In parallel, I am trying to promote a fellow start-up, Codifique, which is promising to become the next oDesk of Brazil in exchange for IT services. This is something we see often in start-up world: Bootstrapped start ups exchanging skills. I love the sense of community.

I’m trying to keep a bit of a healthy work-life balance and so on Saturday I went hiking and during the night I mixed business and pleasure, at the lovely rooftop Paixeco Bar in Jardim Botanico, when I enjoyed a caipirinha to the night view of the Christ while catching up with friends and meeting some of the bright young faces that are destined to star on future business magazine covers.

to be continued..

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The Glamorous Life of an Entrepreneur part 6 – On to the challenges

Continuing my saga, which I last described in part 5:

I recently read a book called Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions, by Dan Ariely, and he was talking about how difficult it is to change behavioral patterns. One interesting example he mentions is about bloggers that tackles issues through blogging about them to the world, and creating a support self-motivating community this way. The common objectives are to stop smoking, save more money, repay credit card debt, etc. I figured that perhaps I could follow the same pattern in order to keep motivating myself about the business (as some of you may know, motivation is one the most critical ingredients of start-up road which is full of potholes and curves).

Having said that, I thought I would share the progress I had had this week:
  1. Spoke to an advertising professional and a retail professional to get some new contacts at fashion brands
  2. Had dinner with a local entrepreneur veteran who said she will introduce me to her contact at FIRJAN – an industry association, which apparently among rest is investing in promoting Rio as a fashion capital.
  3. Started preparing materials in Portuguese for a digital marketing agency targeting high-end retailers
  4. Helped a friend to make a valuation model for his start-up business. Thinking I should invest in it based on the numbers I got..
  5. Met an entrepreneur who is working on software tool to recruit IT professionals for projects and discussed potential collaboration options. Offered my help in getting investors.
  6. Started collecting a group of people to invest in setting up a hostel in Rio (got 4 people excited, now only need to find a property).
  7. Talked to a designer in Russia to help me create a logo for the website.
  8. Decided I need to find an intern (no luck yet but asking everyone)
  9. Went to visit some fashion stores and got business cards of the management office
  10. Carpet bombed some retail professionals on LinkedIn to see if they would want to talk to me
  11. Started a social movement to empower women to take leadership roles in business. The facebook page is up so obviously the sky is the limit! I realized lately that it’s a cause I care a lot about and have a chance of making some difference in. So hope everyone joins and shares inspiring stories of women leaders.
  12. You can read about what happened with it in part 7.

  13. Made a presentation to a group of USA MBAs visiting Brazil. They seemed to enjoy it. I hope I inspired at least some of them to try something else aside from consulting or banking in NYC or SF.
I suppose I also got some sleep, did all the other stuff that I normally do: went to work, gym, met with friends, went to a house party, read my book, watched Mad Men. I guess time really stretches when one multi-tasks.
Looking forward to the next one..

The Glamorous Life of an Entrepreneur part 2 – Name Branding

Soon after we decided to go for our idea (which I wrote about in part 1) we realized there was a huge ocean between dreams and reality when it came to execution.

We defined our future product idea but then we need to figure out to whom we should sell it and how do we do it. We first needed to determined the gender of the baby and then decide on a name for it.

We started with targeting:
Many questions had to be answered:
1. Do we target a specific gender or do we get even more specific in terms of age or occupation (women aged 20-40, students, housewives, etc.)?
2. Do we target a specific social class Class C vs. Class A/B (mass or elite product)?
3. Do we go for an emotional appeal or do we go after a rational solution?
Etc., Etc.

Well, guess what? It was the chicken and egg problem. We were entering a new market with a new way of doing things: Online; Shopping; Fashion, were just some of the dimensions that shaped our world. The couldn’t really get responses before we tried but how do we try if we don’t know what we are offering?

We decided on the combination of all – we were going to target a more sophisticated consumer that seeks solutions and answers(logical) but also a sense of comfort (emotional). Our clear goal was to be simple and straightforward both in terms of visual identity and in terms of approach.

Naming the business was a parallel process that required a lot of brainstorming and creativity. We started with the name Spartana and even bought a domain for it. After much debate and consideration it was deemed too strong to represent our idea. We were in a search of something catchy but also cool that will communicate the above dimensions of comfort and helpfulness. Some people recommended using something that has a cool sound like: google, livo, fab, asos, etc., others suggested using a word play, while a third school talked about functional names like: shoes.com, gethelpshoppingonline.com. Another consideration was about using a name in Portuguese vs. a foreign sounding name.

We opted for a foreign name (LetMeKnow) both because it sounded catchy (Brazilian loveee America), it was not gender specific and the domain for it was available (a significant amount of time was spent on mapping available domains). Finally, all of our friends loved it and we figured we can trust their judgement 🙂

In my next post – on how we become technology gurus (well, not quite…), or the definition of a bottleneck of innovation.