This time, the ease of jumping in the car was replaced with security lines, takeoffs and landings, Wi-Fi issues (I came very close to blowing the 10Gb limit on the MiFi in September), forgetting to buy food for 4+ hour flights, and my “I-love-train-over-air-travel” revelation!
Once again we set off across the country with dozens of Practice Safe Crowdfunding™ t-shirts in hand – the reviews are in and everyone loves the soft tri-blend (but we do not want people sleeping in them, that is hardly advertising!). Stops included: Orlando, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Boston, Washington DC, NYC, Philadelphia, back to Boston twice, NYC one more time, plus a quick jaunt to beautiful Durango, CO! It has been a fun-filled couple of months, but I am looking forward to fall in Arizona…until at least mid-November!
Equity crowdfunding: Education needed
At the Crowdfunding Professional Association’s annual conference in Orlando, I spoke on the topic of Practice Safe Crowdfunding™; I found that many were not aware that equity crowdfunding can potentially expose such issues as listed below in Steps 1, 2 and 5.
Practice Safe Crowdfunding™ Steps:
Identify your intellectual property (IP)
Protect that IP
Pick the right crowdfunding platform for your needs
Build your social capital (this is not an overnight step!)
Create the pitch (be very careful not to infringe)
Those in attendance certainly understood crowdfunding, but the notion of infringing, even accidentally, on others’ protected images, videos, or copy online was viewed as “something that could happen to someone else, but not to me.” More work still needs to be done to educate crowdfunders on how to prepare for equity crowdfunding as well as how to adopt best practices to protect their ideas.
This theme echoed through the startup panel presentation at Kingonomics and again during the Licensing Executives Society (LES) panel on IP and Crowdfunding.
One message from INBOUND13, Hubspot’s annual conference, was that “content is king.” The right content, tailored for our markets, can add value and attract business. But that content must be created on a regular basis.
Preparing for a crowdfunding campaign is no different than building your brand and audience. Social capital is not just about social media, and becoming a thought leader and industry expert covers many bases. If you have an IP, crowdfunding, or startup topic that you would like to learn more about, reach out to email@example.com and let us know! Our new commitment is to post three blogs per week. We do also welcome guest blogs, so again, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have something to share!
Mobile Boarding Passes
In the first Practice Safe Crowdfunding (PSCF) road trip blog, I wrote about the Waze app (turn-by-turn navigation) so, in keeping with trying something new on these flights, I tried out the mobile boarding pass. I figured, I have the bag consolidation thing down, purchased the correct size carry-on, and can put my crap in those tiny bins in about three seconds, so I might as well see if the mobile boarding pass will speed up the security process. But I must say I was not a fan. I like certainty when I travel. It would be just my luck that I would get up to the security officer right as the batteries die on my phone and laptop, leaving me boarding pass-less. That being said, until there is widespread use, I’m sticking with good ol’ paper boarding passes, thank you very much.
Carry-on luggage is out of control
Although not really on the PSCF topic, I must admit I am truly struggling with trying to remain positive (nod to Peter Shankman’s talk at INBOUND13) during the boarding process. First, two carry-on items means exactly that: two carry-on items. Second, three carry-on items is not two carry-on items. And third, two carry-on items does not mean two suitcases! One carry-on and one small item! When my bag has to be checked because everyone has two large items, it is hard to smile (I do prefer Southwest because they actually care; other airlines do not!).
Entrepreneurs = solve personal pain
I have met many entrepreneurs over the past few years and have always enjoyed hearing their ideas. This curiosity has spurred me to take a small poll during many meetings and Q&A after presentations on these trips to see what sparked their ideas. I discovered that although startups are notoriously difficult at the onset, entrepreneurs are passionate about their companies and willing to overcome the issues that inevitably arise.
Nothing beats face-to-face meetings
As I was leaving one meeting last week in Boston, I was asked whether I would be returning before next year. Yes – I would be back, if not for the simple fact that “nothing beats face-to-face meetings.” In the interest of really stressing this point, I am going to repeat myself because we talked about relationships and the need to look someone in the eye: People do business with those they trust. And you cannot earn that trust over email (thank goodness for frequent flier points!).
The highlights of these trips included: touring the Hubspot offices in Boston with our CFO; everything about Hubspot’s INBOUND13 (and thanks to Dan Tyre of Hubspot for all his tireless Traklight Advisory Board work); meeting my friend’s cousin for an amazing dinner in Philly; attending a NYC dinner party at a dear friend’s where we met other entrepreneurs; meeting a friend in Central Park; attending the Kingonomics event and meeting Mark Cuban; shooting seven videos at Docstoc.com; and watching Kinky Boots (a must see musical)!
We are expanding our resources in the IP Cloud on our SUCCEED page through relationships. P.S. Check out the videos that were on the re-launched Docstoc.com home page...why can’t they freeze those at better places? :)
Stay tuned for Part III, where three Trakers – Kenady, Jill, and I – hit the road for the 2nd Annual Global Crowdfunding Bootcamp and Convention.