Jake Finkelstein is the founder and President of Method Savvy -- a data-driven advertising agency that works with growth-stage and enterprise class companies to build repeatable processes for revenue growth. Jake began his career in the music industry, most notably working with artists such as Johnny Cash, Incubus, Modest Mouse, Ben Folds Five and The White Stripes. When not working with entrepreneurs or playing music, Jake can be found cooking, reading and writing. You can catch up with him on Google+.
At the heart of Nashville's historic Cannery Row District, something's brewing. Part South by Southwest, part Southeast Venture Conference... with a little bit of something totally new - Southland is mixing startups, investors, a little bit of rock 'n roll and southern hospitality this week in Tennessee.
Slated to run June 12th and 13th, Southland is a "southern culture and technology" conference that is drawing handpicked startups, investors, musicians, makers, chefs and distillers (yes, distillers!) for two days of talk about technology, innovation, investment and early-stage entrepreneurship.
Bookended by the CMA Fest and Bonnaroo the conference is working hard to show attendees first-hand how Nashville is a great place to build a high-growth startup.
And its off to a hell of a start. In addition to concerts and BBQ dinners, Southland has over 50 startups from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia lined up to showcase at the conference. --Read On
How do you know when you're ready to become a full-time entrepreneur? To throw caution to the wind and dedicate yourself, fully, to building a company? Is it when you have a minimum viable product? Paying customers? Investors? Or is it something more?
That's the question I posed to Jody Porowski, founder and CEO of Avelist, a company that has built a web-based service that helps users to create and share lists.
I find Jody's story fascinating. A graduate of the University of North Carolina, Jody joined SAS straight out of school as a Content Manager and Social Media Analyst. She worked with a vibrant team filled with entrepreneurial spirit at what is ranked by Fortune Magazine as the #2 best company to work for. By all accounts she loved what she was doing. Then one day she decided to resign to focus her energies on Avelist.
What brings a person who has a fantastic and well paying job at one of the top companies in the world to quit and spend her time on an unproven business?
As Jody explains it to me, "I had a vision of a world where Avelist existed and I didn't want to live in a place where it didn't come to be." That, my friends, is what makes an entrepreneur an entrepreneur. The total dedication to a vision and the guts to do what it takes to make it a reality. --Read On
Constraints are a good thing. They force us to think creatively, become innovative and operate in a highly efficient manner.
They're also frustrating as hell.
Wanting to do something and not being able to do it because you don't have the resources is enough to make you want to pull your hair out. But as entrepreneurs we all face the same problem: Accomplishing more with less.
As a marketing guy I'm regularly asked by early-stage founders about the best methods for acquiring customers on nonexistent budgets. The unfortunate truth is that there are no silver bullet answers. However with some creativity, smart prioritizing and lots of sweat equity, it is possible to win business without much of a marketing budget.
How? Glad you asked.
Create something insanely useful and give it away for free.
The best way to win a customer's heart is to help her solve a problem, preferably a really hard or annoying one. While all businesses exist to make customers' lives better in one way or another, as an early-stage company looking to make hay of your product without the money to fund large scale marketing muscle, a neat run around is to create a tool that is niche in focus but incredibly useful. --Read On