31 results for author: Melissa Joy Kong


You are Wasting More Time on Social Media Than You Think

In a single day, this is the number of times I checked the following applications, whether on my phone, tablet, or laptop: Facebook: 9 LinkedIn: 5 TweetDeck: 17 Instagram: 4 Now, let's say I spent an average of 4 minutes on site every time I checked one of these social media platforms: 35 x 4 minutes = 140 minutes = 2.3 hours Unbelievable. Let's say, on average, I can produce $1,000 in revenue with an hour of my time if I'm working on the right project. That means I lost $2,300 in revenue in a single day in order to check social media platforms that generated a return of exactly $0 for me. This does not even begin to ...

13 Smart Ways to Spend and Manage Your Startup Money

"What's the best financial decision that you've made for your company in the last six months?" This is the question that was posed recently to 13 members of the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. Here are their tips for making great financial decisions for your startup. 1. Raised the roof I gave my employees raises across the board. They earned it after we had a great year in 2012, and they are also intelligent and loyal employees. Why not share the success with them? -- Shahzil (Shaz) Amin, Blue Track Media, LLC 2. Took our entire team to a trade ...

Rent the Runway Co-Founder Jenny Fleiss: Always Keep a Pulse on Your Customer & Company Culture

Jenny Fleiss is an entrepreneurial force to be reckoned with. She started her career as a strategic planner at Morgan Stanley, and then Lehman Brothers. After a few years of strategy work, she went off to Harvard Business School in 2007. When she first started at HBS, Jenny couldn't have predicted how going to business school would forever alter the trajectory of her career. But, that it did. It was during those two years that she met her future co-founder, Jennifer Hyman. While in business school, they launched Rent the Runway, a one-stop shop to rent dresses and accessories by famous designers. If you're reading this and you're a woman, ...

The 7 Important Entrepreneurial Lessons I Learned at Big Omaha (They’re Not What You Think)

I just came back from Big Omaha this past week, which is pretty much the best conference in the country for entrepreneurs. The event is thrown by a truly spectacular team, and it is evident the moment you walk in to a Big Series event that they really care about creating an unforgettable event experience for everyone who attends one of their events. Check out the in-depth coverage of the event, and stay up to date on Big Omaha news. I had the privilege of interviewing some incredible entrepreneurs and investors during the conference, including: Tony Conrad, Dave McClure, Marc Ecko, and Gentry Underwood. I learned an enormous amount from ...

CoSupport Founder & CEO Sarah Hatter: Swagger is Not Something You Need to Be Successful

On Tuesday evening, we kicked off April Technori Pitch with keynote Sarah Hatter, the Founder & CEO of CoSupport, a Chicago-based company that offers expert customer support training and help for all web and mobile apps. Sarah kicked the evening off with an energy-filled presentation, sharing with the audience a lot of the big lessons she's learned through her decade of business experience. Here were the top 5 (of many) pieces of advice:  1. Don't take advice from people you know nothing about. You may think you know who people are based on what they tell you, what other people tell you about them, or what you read in the media. That ...

Exclusive Interview With Jason Fried: Everything You Didn’t Know About the Basecamp Co-Founder

Who is Jason Fried? He is best known for co-founding Basecamp, a Chicago-based web application company that built the quite popular project management tool. He also co-wrote New York Times Bestseller Rework in 2010 with his business partner David Heinemeier Hansson, the creator of Ruby on Rails. Fried has been writing on the Basecamp blog for over a decade. Lately, he's been writing always-honest, sometimes-controversial opinion pieces for Inc., covering everything from startup investing to why he gave his entire company a month off. If you're part of the startup and tech community, you know all of this already. You use Basecamp (and Highrise ...

TechCrunch Disrupt 2013 Kicks Off in New York City

This morning marked the beginning of TechCrunch Disrupt 2013 in New York City. Startup Alley When you first enter the venue, the energy immediately feels frenetic. You walk almost immediately into Startup Alley, a room buzzing and filled to the brim with about 50 startup companies—the best of the best who apply for a coveted table at TechCrunch Disrupt. A brand new set of 50 startups will fill Startup Alley tomorrow, as well. Attendees can mingle and check out all of the tables in between morning sessions, everyone ultimately voting for their "Audience Choice Winner." Each day, the audience favorite then goes on to compete in the Startup Battlef...

Another 54 Hours, Another Successful Startup Weekend Chicago

Sunday evening marked the wrap of the latest Startup Weekend Chicago. For those reading who are not familiar with the brand, Startup Weekend is a " global network of passionate leaders and entrepreneurs on a mission to inspire, educate, and empower individuals, teams and communities." Essentially, startup enthusiasts come together and present new ideas, form teams, build actual products, and then present them to an audience—along with a panel of official judges. This is no small operation: in 2011 alone, Startup Weekend hosted 400 events in 100 countries around the world. This is quickly becoming a massive movement. Here's a great video about ...

Why To-Do Lists Don’t Work (and What to Do Instead)

It's extremely easy to lose track of your goals without even realizing it. Earlier this week, I talked about: Time tracking & optimization The #1 Reason People Don't Succeed at Accomplishing Their Goals The Most Effective Goal-Setting Plan You'll Ever Find Even if you implement the to-dos in the above articles—even if your system is perfect—you'll still falter along the way if you don't take the time to review how you're performing. I recently stumbled upon the daily schedule Benjamin Franklin kept: Woah! The man was super reflective. He started the day by asking himself, "What good will I do today?," and ended the day ...

The Most Effective Goal-Setting Plan You’ll Ever Find. (Plus Template Worksheet)

Recently, I talked about the #1 reason why people don't accomplish their goals: lack of genuine connection and commitment to them. But once you've figured out what you really want to do, you still need a strategy for accomplishing it. Your goals are not going to get you anywhere if you don't actually do something about them. And not just anything—but the right things. So here's a very straightforward, fail-proof goal setting template for achieving your goals. I say it's fail-proof not because error isn't possible (no one can predict the future or control all circumstances), but because if you follow this plan, you'll accomplish more ...

If You’re Not Succeeding at Accomplishing Your Goals, This is the #1 Reason Why.

I wrote a blog post recently on how to plan and analyze the current way you spend your time. Once you know exactly what work and ongoing tasks you're doing that generate the greatest return on investment (the 20% of work generating 80% of your results), it's time to figure out how to do more of the stuff that's making a difference through goal setting. Goal setting is a hotly and widely talked about topic. It sounds pretty straightforward: Figure out what you want to accomplish, choose a specific goal and then create some benchmarks so you can assess how you're performing. Right? Except that plan doesn't work. How many times have you set a ...

Why You’re Not As Productive As You Want to Be (and What to Do About It)

If you're struggling right now with time management and are looking for a simpler, more effective system, I've got one for you. I'll talk about various different parts of the system this week, but let's start with fixing what's broken first. I'm convinced there are two major reasons why people don't create and follow systems that work: Problem #1: Most people have no idea how they're spending their time. It's the same thing with a diet. A ton of people track their diets. Why? Because you're a lot more likely to intake fewer calories and eat less crap if you're tracking exactly what you're eating. Well, the same is true for tracking how you ...

Amy Jo Martin: Your Hustle Factor is Often Your Differentiating Factor. Work Hard.

How many entrepreneurs can start a business and bring Shaquille O’Neal on as a first client? Pretty much no one. Except Amy Jo Martin, that is. I had the pleasure of meeting Amy Jo for the first time a few weeks ago, and what immediately struck me about her was how calm she appeared to be—even amidst a swarm of people at a conference, waiting in line for a few moments of her attention to tell her about their startups or how much they admired her. She treated everyone she met with the same grace and attention she would've given to one of her celebrity clients.This is one of those "It" factors no one can quite put a finger on in the business ...

Shama Hyder: Build Something Worthy of Your Life and Legacy

Shama Hyder is a rockstar female entrepreneur and marketer. Seriously. She's also the quintessential startup hustler. After graduate school, she discovered that corporations didn't agree with her take on the future of social media and thought it was just a temporary fad. Most people would throw their hands up and say, "Oh, well." Not Shama, though. She decided to go out on her own and follow what her gut was telling her: that social media was and would continue to be extremely important to individuals, companies, and brands. And so, The Marketing Zen Group, a full-service online marketing and digital PR firm, was born. Since then, Shama has ...

10 Unexpected Business Strategies That Helped Startup Founders Thrive

Ever wonder what unexpected business strategies have worked for other startup founders? The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only nonprofit organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs, recently posed this question to 10 of their members. Here are the unexpected business techniques that helped each of these founders and their startups thrive: 1. Writing Individualized Emails Individualized personal emails to potential customers. While it took forever, the payoff was huge. —Jennifer Grayeb, FitFluential 2. Renting Shared Office Space I originally decided to rent an office for the professional look and ...

Want to Make Sh*t Happen With Your Startup? Take Jenny Blake’s Advice.

Technori partnered with the Young Entrepreneur Council to bring you a Q&A series featuring some of the most successful young female entrepreneurs in the country. The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only membership organization comprised of hundreds of the world’s most successful young entrepreneurs. First up in our 7-part female entrepreneur series is Jenny Blake, the author of best-selling book Life After College. Jenny runs a 10-week "Make Sh*t Happen" course, built to help people accomplish their biggest goals. Her goal—through this course, along with speaking and consulting—is to help people discover what makes them ...

The 8 Important Lessons I Learned About Building Relationships at SXSW

This past week, I took my first trip down to Austin for SXSW Interactive. I learned a lot of lessons while at the conference. After all, you can't help but soak in a lot of learning when you're with 30,000 of the leaders and peers in your industry. I initially thought my SXSW event recap would be a first-timer's guide to conquering SXSW. But, honestly, what I discovered is that it's not about the panels or parties or celebrities or startups at all. It's about human relationships—how people engage with one another, and why people do what they do. SXSW is basically one giant semi-professional, semi-revert-back-to-college-behavior social experime...

The Basic Elements of Visual Design

This past week in our The Starter League UX class, we dove right into the basic elements of visual design. The purpose of the class wasn't to go in depth on visual design, but rather, to become familiar with basic terminology so we have familiarity with some of the powerful features in design programs, like Photoshop. Using Color First, we talked about identifying color values and choosing complimentary color schemes. In the wheel below, color pairs that are exactly opposite one another are perfectly complimentary:   There are also a handful of ways you may see color values show up in programs like Photoshop. Here's a visual example ...

Building a Website? Make Sure You Choose Design Patterns and Build Wireframes First.

It’s Week #6 of the UX Design class I’m taking at The Starter League! By the way, they are still accepting some late applications for the spring quarter, but spots are really limited–so make sure you sign up very soon if you're interested. Last week, we talked about determining what features you should include while building your products. This week, we moved on to design patterns and wireframing—which is one of the most important exercises in UX design. Let's dive into design patterns first. Intro to Design Patterns Let me start my saying there are an overwhelming number of design patterns from which you can choose when you're building ...

UX Design: What Features Should You Include When Building Your Product?

It’s Week #5 of the UX Design class I’m taking at The Starter League. Last week, we talked about tools you can use to build your best product. This week, we're diving right into the nitty gritty of product usability analysis, site maps, and user flows. The objective is really to arm you with techniques that allow you to think through the creation of your product in a strategic, user-friendly way. Let's start with something called Kano Analysis. Kano Analysis Kano analysis is one particular product development theory that is useful when you're figuring out exactly which features you want to build into your product. Under this model, you ...

UX Tools You Can Use to Build Your Best Product

It’s Week #4 of the UX Design class I’m taking at The Starter League. Last week, we covered techniques to help you define your user base and position your product. And what better way to start this week off than by talking about the infamous lean business model canvas—most starters hear the word "lean," and their eyes light up in recognition. Lean Business Model Canvas We kicked off this week's class by going over the Lean Business Model Canvas, which is a different (and you guessed it—leaner) adaptation of Alex Osterwalder's original Business Model Canvas. The lean version looks like this: So, what's the point? Ash Maurya, the founder ...

Excelerate Labs to Become TechStars Chicago

Excelerate Labs, an intensive summer accelerator based out of Chicago, IL, will become the new TechStars Chicago. For the past three years, Excelerate has served as an summer accelerator for startups, driven by proven entrepreneurs, investors, and mentors. Led by successful entrepreneurs Troy Henikoff (SurePayroll) and Sam Yagan (Sparknotes, OKCupid), the accelerator selects ten companies each spring to take part in a 13-week intensive summer program, culminating in a demo day to pitch in front of investors. This rebranding news comes just as Excelerate opens up applications for their fourth class. Each year, the accelerator takes on only ten ...

Starter League UX Design: How to Define Your User Base & Position Your Product

It’s Week #3 of the UX Design class I’m taking at The Starter League. After covering top visual design techniques and research methods last week, we dove right into affinity diagramming, user modeling, and product vision. It's not as complicated as it sounds, I promise. Affinity Diagramming We left off last week's recap with some field and survey research tips. Research is critical in the field of UX because, well, the most important thing is people and how they interact with the world, and thus, whatever it is you're trying to build. Once you conduct the research, though, you have to somehow parse through all of the data you collect. That's ...

The Starter League UX Design: Top Visual Design Techniques and Research Methods

It's Week #2 of the UX Design class I'm taking at The Starter League. After covering UX design heuristics last week, we dove right into these three topics: Visual Design Principles Conducting Surveys Conducting Field Research Visual Design Principles Visual design principles are essentially the aesthetic rules you should be mindful of whenever you create something (like any website). There are four major categories of design principles we talked about: 1.) Unity Unity is the extent to which all of the elements in your design are clearly associated with one another. Unity can be demonstrated in various ways: color schemes, shape of ...

The Starter League: An Intro to UX Design

"Design is a funny word. Some people think design means how it looks. But of course, if you dig deeper, it's really how it works." - Steve Jobs I just took my first Starter League class: User Experience (UX) Design. If you aren't already familiar with it, Starter League is a rad school currently based out of Chicago that teaches: HTML, CSS, Ruby on Rails, visual design, and UX design. People from all over the world come to Starter League—which is hosted at the popular community and co-working space, 1871—to learn how to code, design, and develop web apps. The in-person classes are quite intensive, ranging from 1-3 meeting days per week, for ...