Entrepreneurs: To impact the world in a big way

Growing up in Berkeley, Calif., in the 1970s, Reid Hoffman was entranced by role-playing tabletop games.
	By the age of 12, he was a paid editor at Chaosium, a game company. Two years later, Hoffman's name was on the box of Borderlands, Chaosium's role-playing game.
In high school, Hoffman drove oxen, farmed maple syrup, and studied epistemology. After graduating from Stanford, he earned an M.S. in Philosophy as a Marshall Scholar at Oxford University.
	By then, Hoffman wanted to make a positive impact on the world in a big way. After considering academia, he concluded that academics write books few people read. Hoffman wanted a more vigorous platform than that.
	After a brief internship at a Napa Valley winery, Hoffman joined Apple Computer in 1994, then Fujitsu, before co-founding, a dating platform that focused on matching people with comparable interests. A few years later, dating platforms were a worldwide trend.
	Hoffman was on SocialNet's board of directors during the founding of PayPal, an electronic money transmission service. Soon he was at PayPal, where he became known as "firefighter-in-chief" while honing his competitive skills to a razor's edge. In 2002, Hoffman was PayPal's executive VP when the company was purchased by eBay for $1.5 billion.
	That same year, Hoffman co-founded LinkedIn--a site that enables registered users to create professional profiles and connect with each other.  According to Forbes, LinkedIn is now the most effective social networking tool for job seekers and providers in the world. Hoffman's stake: an estimated $2.34 billion.
	In 2016, Microsoft bought LinkedIn for $26.2 billion. A year later, Hoffman was on Microsoft's board of directors.
	Today, Hoffman is among Silicon Valley's most active and prosperous angel investors. In fact, according to the book, "The Facebook Effect," it was Hoffman who arranged the first meeting between Mark Zuckerberg and Peter Thiel, a meeting that led to Thiel's initial $500,000 angel investment in Facebook.
	Hoffman was an investor too.

Take care on social media

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg once said: Nothing influences people more than a recommendation from a trusted friend.
	That's helpful for dispensing good advice on dog health. But quite the opposite on employment matters.
	Suppose a social media post hints of proprietary company information or even criticizes the company.
	If even some people trust that post, that's bad public relations for the company and it is bad for the person who posted it. 
	Not only can an employer find those comments, future employers can, too. Badmouthing an employer on social media is a black mark on a resume that will likely stick.
	Even if you use separate accounts for business and private purposes, you never know who may be watching your social media accounts. Social networks are a sort of public space -- your billboard to the world -- and there are always people who can discover and share something inappropriate that you posted. That includes your remarks about your company, its plans, clients, bosses, and your fellow employees.
	According to, always think before you post, and don't post any sensitive comments that you haven't proofread carefully. Also, keep business and personal social media posts separate.
	Never post party photos showing you inebriated or attending an event when you're supposed to be sick at home, among others.
	Never connect your personal sites to professional business sites like LinkedIn.

Show booth needs access, not just size

Bigger isn't necessarily better when it comes to a trade show booth, marketing companies say.
	Instead, traffic flow and location can better influence sales.
	According to, first determine the booth space required for the company's products, their size, and how many of them will be featured in the booth area.
	Assume these exhibit properties will require at least 50 percent of the available space. Consider how much of the remaining space will be occupied by tables, chairs, and kiosks, among other things.
	In addition to the more expensive island and perimeter spaces, trade shows typically offer exhibitors booth space in 10'-by-10' areas. This type of space is the most cost-efficient and serves most small to medium-sized companies with adequate space for three or four company representatives plus visitors to the booth.
	Since the booth's location is far more influential than its size, there is little risk in keeping its size -- and cost -- to a minimum.
	Renting a larger booth can generate a better location on the show floor. Even so, there is no justification for increased booth space unless a company's size, product line, or its number of sales representatives need it. There is little risk to minimizing a company's booth space at a trade show.
	According to, the primary factor in determining a company's booth size in a trade show should be the size of its team. The more representatives present, the more floor space needed. A typical 10'-by-10' booth can be overwhelmed by too many employees at the show, leaving potential customers, sales prospects, and casual visitors on the outside looking in -- and going elsewhere.

Local marketing: Voice search; Google business listings

Voice search is on the rise.
	Maybe it's because big fingers on tiny keyboards are clumsy. Or maybe just because it is so easy and becoming fairly accurate.
	But whatever the reason, voice search now accounts for 46 percent of all local business searches, according to the marketing expert Bernadette Coleman.
	Businesses should be voice-ready today to snag not just young searchers, but also older ones on all voice-enabled devices from phones to voice assistants such as Alexa.
	"Near me" searches are up 900 percent since 2015. People want something close and they want something now.
	All voice searches refer to Web pages and Google My Business listings.
	Local marketers must be absolutely sure their Google listings are correct with address and phone number.
	Be sure your Google ads use natural language, not complicated industry or business terms.
	Use an FAQ page filled with natural language for common questions and answers.
	Be direct in your ads and websites.

The Power Of Business Storytelling

Storytelling in business is just like doing so in a motion picture, television series, a Broadway theater, books, newspapers, magazines and on the Internet.
	Everybody loves a good story.
Stories connect people with people, businesses, brands, products, needs, and dreams. Few enterprises succeed without this connection.
	According to, storytelling has become a top-of-mind issue in recent times because technology has "democratized" the power to share our stories with the world.
	In ancient times, people used stories to communicate, learn, and connect. 
	When people think of a business, they want to learn more about it, why to trust it, why to believe what they hear. They need to know why they should care.
	From the evolution of a product to marketing it, from culture to talent, storytelling is omnipresent. Few people are convinced by cold facts and figures today. 
	Stories carry meaning and lots of it.
Too often, according to, a business focuses on the product or idea instead of the people behind it. Stories answer those questions.
	To attract and retain the best talent, a business needs a good story to tell.
	Simplicity is functional, but business development requires more than a question-and-answer approach. Your strategy--your story--must be personalized to make your potential customer care.
	For a branding campaign, tell the story of your struggle, how you faced it, and how you succeeded with your product(s) or service(s).
	Keep your story consistent through advertising, marketing, social media, print and electronic media, website, public relations--and most importantly, your employees.
	When you've got a good story, tell it.

The tiny get-rich-quick idea that worked big time

While growing up in the tiny country town of Cricklade in north Wiltshire, England, Alex Tew was known as a maverick entrepreneur. At the age of eight, he already was peddling hand-drawn comics at school for $5 each–including a chocolate bar “freemium.”

According to The Hustle newsletter, in August 2005, Tew, then 21 and needing college money, was in bed jotting down schemes for selling something cheap for a million dollars. Among his absurd ideas was a pouch for chewed gum that he called the “Gum Slinger.”
Suddenly, an idea glowed in his head:
He would create a website that sold ad space for $1 per pixel. Advertisers would buy a 100-pixel block for $100 to promote their logos or images with its hyperlink.

Tew designed the website in two days, spent $50 in domain fees, then introduced his brainchild to cyberspace. It was new. It got press. It caught on.
In 30 days, “The Million Dollar Homepage” made $250,000. It was attracting 65,000 hits a day. By the end of October, it had made another $500,000 from nearly 1,500 advertisers.

By New Year’s Eve, Tew had sold 999,000 pixels and auctioned off the last thousand on eBay for $38,000 from
His four-month earnings: $1.04 million.

Tew’s fundamental idea of selling pixels on the Internet was something countless other people could have done. However, Tew beat them to it, and everyone was wondering why they didn’t think of it first.

Among his subsequent ventures, in 2012 Tew co-founded the meditation app, “Calm.” Five years later, Calm was named Apple’s App of the Year.
According to, Calm is now worth more than $1 billion.

Book Review: Is Online Interaction Worth Our Privacy?

Although it’s easy to shop online these days–and communicating with others is faster than dialing a phone number–it all comes with a price.

Our privacy.
So warns Shoshana Zuboff, a Harvard Business School professor emerita who has written “The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for the Future at the New Frontier of Power” following decades of scrutinizing labor and power in the digital marketplace.
With scant resistance from the law or society, Zuboff writes, surveillance capitalism is very close to shaping the digital future and–in the process–ruling social order.

In its book review, the New York Times notes that instead of serving the needs of people, surveillance capitalists make billions more by monitoring, purchasing, and selling the characteristics of peoples’ behavior. Simultaneously, the fundamental production of goods and services is being governed by “behavioral modification.”

Comparing companies like Google and Facebook to the slaughter of elephants for their tusks, Zuboff writes that instead of being the product, the public is the “abandoned carcass” from the wrenching of raw material from the daily experiences of humans.
Such big tech platforms continue to sell advertising, but now it’s targeted by the behavior information gleaned from users.

The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for the Future at the New Frontier of Power
Author: Shoshana Zuboff
Publisher: PublicAffairs
Pages: 704

Trade show magic: A treat that draws a crowd

Here’s a trade show treat that draws a crowd. And it’s a simple trick: Hire a magician.
Armed with the requisite savvy and strategy, magicians can weave a company’s message into moments of wonder, awe — and memory.

According to, an experienced magician’s close-up tricks, machinations, and chatter entice trade show attendees to visit their booth.

People enjoy getting involved in trade-show activities, and more often than not, they’ll depart the booth of a compelling magician with heightened awareness and a desire to learn more about a company’s products, services, and way of doing business.

Instead of big booths and flashy technology (or in addition to it), a magician appeals to people from all walks of life.

High tech companies: Lots of jobs and skills in demand

They are the elite positions of the 21st century: Tech jobs, where the magic happens in companies that have changed the world.
The surroundings can be glamorous like Apple’s spaceship headquarters or the Googleplex, where talent is rewarded with big bucks and a bevy of tasty benefits.
How do you get there?

First and foremost, be great at something. Pick an area that truly grabs your soul. Some engineers love hardware, the systems and components that drive devices. Narrow that down: Become an expert at cameras, audio, system architecture.
Get the right training. It’s not always about college. Nearly every Apple ad specifies a degree, but also says ‘equivalent experience.’ For example, if you know Linux servers inside and out, Apple could be the place for you. One tech employee said he got his job at Google, in part, because of his chess championships.

Develop something. Learn scripting languages (Python, Bash, Perl, Ruby, for example) and apply your knowledge on personal projects.
When your knowledge matures, get online with other experts and discuss your projects.

If an interview does come your way, be ready. Google, Apple and Microsoft, for example, don’t have you fill out a form and throw a resumé at them.
Being interviewed for such a job is in itself a research project. Interviews can be a week long or more. Candidates will be asked to solve relevant problems on their feet. Software engineers might be asked to write code, for example.

Remember that, as with all large companies, tech companies will conduct a review of your social media and do a background check. Keep your social media clean: Don’t bad mouth former employers or talk politics. Keep posts upbeat.

Learn about the company. Be prepared to ask questions.

Highlight your projects and be prepared to show your passion for them.

How to lure visitors to your trade show booth

In the trade show business, it’s all about bang – but with minimal traffic to your booth, all you’ll hear will be the whispers. Here, for future planning, are a few practical ways to lure folks to your location on the trade-show floor.

According to, use visual, audio, and written incentives on social media that typically attract people to stores, shopping centers, and auto dealers, among others. Also, be sure to promote the number of your booth every way possible. Invite current customers to a Happy Hour on opening day. Not only does it give them a good reason to stop by, but their presence also makes your booth look like it’s the place to be. Seize attention with the ever-present senses of smell, hearing, and touch. They increase your chances of separating your booth from the crowd.

In the morning, many wandering the exhibit hall are still awakening from the night before. Fill the air around your booth with the aroma of hot coffee and welcome your visitors with a large styrofoam cup of premium java.

A hanging digital sign is one of 2019’s most talked about trade show trends. The motion and light of a digital sign above a booth catches the eye and lures attendees to investigate further.

Provide a demo station for visitors to use your software, handle products you’re promoting, or try out your newest technology for themselves. They’ll leave with an experience that’s more than just pretty graphics in your trade show booth.
The website also recommends Geo Marketing, a tool that specifies the convention site and your message to those in attendance or soon to come. Such targeted, personal messaging is useful in driving traffic to your location.