Hey, #journos! I’m judging #SheHacksNYC

Hey, #journos! I’m judging #SheHacksNYC #startup hackathon for @SocialMonarq http://shehacksnyc.splashthat.com Any #writers interested in covering?

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Reporting live from TED2015

“In 1998, both my parents feared that I would be humiliated to death. Literally.” Worried constantly she’d kill herself. Monica Lewinsky #ted2015

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Cop or disco driver?


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by | May 22, 2012 · 6:18 pm


Attending Jon’s Aunt Penny’s funeral.


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Interview with Jack Dorsey at the Techonomy Conference

Here are some comments made by Jack Dorsey, co-founder of Twitter/founder of Square, in an interview with David Kirkpatrick at Techonomy. These are very rough notes. Just wanted to get the info down!

Kirkpatrick: Were you thinking that you’d create such a tool for empowerment when you started Twitter? [not sure of this question. fudging it!]

Dorsey: Empowerment wasn’t in my mind when I built twitter. It was a just a technology I wanted to use. To go anywhere and be in contact with people I care about. Turned out to be more of a utility…Shortening the gap of feedback between [all kinds of entities].

Kirkpatrick: Why are so many leaders/organizations still operating in the old way [top down]?

Dorsey: Stubbornness and ignorance. As humans we resist change. It’s not fun all the time to be reflective/self-aware. It means we have to do work.

Kirkpatrick: How do you balance the two companies you run, Twitter and Square?

Dorsey: Discipline and practice. I theme my days.
Monday is for management meetings and running the companies.
Tuesday is product day.
Wednesday is marketing/communications/growth day.
Thursday is partnerships day.
Friday is recruiting day.
Saturday is for hiking.
Sunday is for reflection.

Kirkpatrick: How much time do you spend on each company?

Dorsey [quips]: Each company gets 8 hours a day

Kirkpatrick: What unites the two companies?

Dorsey: Both are utilities that an individual or organization of any size can use immediately. Twitter you can broadcast to the world, figure out what’s happening in the world right now. Square, anyone can instantly start a business. Currently, 90% of people pay with plastic cards. Small businesses can’t tap into this. Square enables you to immediately start accepting credit cards. Individuals can do this.

Both Twitter and Square are true utilities. Everyone comes to each and defines the service and what they want to do with it. [Dorsey states that he wants to keep Twitter/Square a bit amorphous. Doesn’t want Twitter to just be for entertainment. Doesn’t want Square to be just for taxicabs.]

Kirkpatrick: Why should I not be skeptical about Twitter’s prospects for revenue [really being worth its multi-billion $$ valuation]?

Dorsey: The business model is focused around serendipity. You are searching for certain things, all of these searches and interests expressed equal intent. It’s a signal you like certain things….Promoted tweets, promoted trends, promoted accounts. Through those, you see introductions to topics that are deeply meaningful to you…What matters most is user experience, if experience fails, we have the wrong model. When adwords first launched with google, people were resistant. Google has found it makes search better. Advertising should be content. Targeted well enough, it’s something you want to see. How do I introduce you to something you want to find, another algorithm or more curation.

Kirkpatrick: How do you imagine Square in 5 yrs? What will it do in five years?

Dorsey: A point of sales system that handles every single payment device in your pocket. Interesting channel with receipts. It’s a publishing medium. Square is about that communication channel. Cardcase [new product Square recently introduced]…links credit card. Can see merchants around you. You can automatically open a tab with that merchant.

Kirkpatrick: What about NFC – near field communication — aka Google Wallet? [the competition]

Dorsey: I would rather just use my name to pay. From the technology standpoint, NFC only gives a merchant the person’s name after the transaction … With Cardcase, the merchant can know and delight the customer. That builds loyalty.

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Deirdre Bolton’s “Media Training 101 for Startups”

Here at the Calliope Group Women in Tech Breakfast at Bloomberg, Bolton gave a talk on the basics of media training. As a TV anchor, her insights were excellent:

Be Brutally Focused

Boil down to 1 point you want to control. Something simple like revenue growth.

Practice at home. Time your answers at home in practice

Have answers and comments you can expand and contract

Prepare with the media organization

Do a pre-interview with someone at the organization, the booker or the anchor herself

Provide visuals to tell your story, charts, graphs, etc.

Google your anchors to see their style

Execution while on air

Stick to your talking points

If you don’t understand what the anchor is asking, change the subject back to your comfort zone.

Tweet out your appearance. Know the show’s official name for maximum RT potential by the organization.

Put your TV clip on your own web site/Facebook page for more exposure

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POLL: The NYT’s Revised iPhone App

I’ll be sharing the results on Twitter/LaurelTouby…. Thanks for weighing in!

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Receiving the Exceptional Woman In Publishing Award

We all know the numbers:
Women may own 40 percent of the private businesses in the United States, but they create only 8 percent of the venture-backed tech start-ups.

Women account for just 6 percent of the chief executives of the top 100 tech companies, and 22 percent of the software engineers at tech companies over all.

It doesn’t help matters that of all venture capitalists, just 14 percent are women.

I am not going to be able to speak on the topic of women and technology, why there aren’t more of us in the tech business, why we aren’t running more companies, etc.

I can only speak about my own experience and observations starting and running one small tech-ish company in New York City, mediabistro.com
I am not an engineer; but I did learn how to build a company heavily reliant upon tech and I did learn how to manage engineers.

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Nepotism 101: My Niece Needs a Job

People often remark: My, Laurel, what a big network you have. Well, what’s a network worth if not to use it shamelessly to a) promote your book or project or whathave you and b) get your niece a highly desirable PAID fashion internship in New York City. So, I’m putting my network of 1.5 million media people and counting to the test.

Please, please, please help me get my fabulous Southern niece an internship in NYC in Fashion. She’s in school at Charleston College, SC, in the Honor’s Program. She’s smart, adorable and incredibly thoughtful. She will blissfully bring coffee or write copy, run errands or make copies — in short, she will happily do whatever is asked of her. (You don’t get that from 20-somethings anymore!)

I so appreciate your help and will dutifully report any good Samaritans in this space. My email is Laurel Touby AT G Mail  Dot Com

Hannah Touby

Here’s a short interview I did with Hannah to give you a sense of her personality. Along with a link to her resume:

Hannah Touby: The Interview

1. When did you first discover you were a fashionista?
My first-recorded interest in fashion was at the age of 6. I was determined to pick out my own outfit — along with accessories and shoes, of course — for my kindergarten yearbook picture. From then on, my love for fashion only grew: I read my mom’s fashion magazines instead of Harry Potter, secretly tried on her high heels and resorted to stealing jewelry from my favorite board game when I lost my own. For me, fashion was the easiest and best way to express myself.


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The Million Dollar Memo

It was March, 2000, and the market was crashing. The Internet world as we knew it would never be the same. Startup CEOs who were gazillionaires on paper one day were broke the next. And I was trying to close my first round of financing. After rounds of meetings, conversations and emails, I thought I was pretty close to closing a deal for $750,000. But the investors weren’t convinced. They had sent me one last round of questions. Here’s how I replied. I like to call this my million dollar memo:

Dear David and Bill,

I really appreciate the time and thought you’ve put into this process thus far, and I know you still have some concerns that are preventing you from taking the plunge with me. But, please hear me out before making a final decision.

1) This is a “real” business.
a) There is a huge market for mediabistro’s services.
Companies spend over $2 billion dollars a year trying to hire the people in our target verticals. Without even trying, we’ve captured a portion of that in the NY region in one vertical. And, we’re already getting many job listings from other parts of the country and in other verticals.

With your money, we can get our name out there more quickly and effectively and capitalize on a very clear market need that we’ve identified in the media industry.

b) mediabistro.com inc. has a solid and growing customer base.
Over 300 customers (from Fairchild Publications to ZDNet to The Wall Street Journal) are currently posting jobs on the web site, coming back to the site and reposting more jobs (see attached list). These customers do NOT have a personal relationship with me. They hear about the site through word of mouth.

With your money, we can reach them more directly.

c) mediabistro.com has loyal site users.
Over 80,000 journalists/media people come to the web site a month, far beyond the number who know Laurel Touby. Furthermore, news of the web site has spread virally, nationwide and even world-wide. Yes, we have loyalists, but I think you have mistaken the people who come to my parties and who know me personally for my customer base. Please allow me to disabuse you of this notion. I could not possibly be fulfilling the needs of 100 to 150 employers a month with my relatively tiny (4,000 names) database of loyal Laurel followers. They’d be doing a lot of job-hunting, if that were the case!

e) mediabistro has a brilliant marketing plan
We have clever (inexpensive) ways of reaching our target market and letting them know about our web site — through their friends, through our parties and co-sponsored events such as the one you attended May 3rd. Like hotmail.com and geocities.com and other similar business models, ours is a viral community, and a little bit of marketing goes a long way.

f) mediabistro can attract a management team.
I have absolutely no doubt that if I have some backing, I can attract excellent candidates in our verticals, who have the right experience, contacts and attitude to make our plan work.

2) I have been running a “real” business, with all the verve, chutzpah and ingenuity of any entrepreneur.
I saw a market need, put my own money into developing the web site, convinced clients to use a new type of service that was NOT the norm, delivered a superior product and serviced their accounts with speed and care.

3) I can inspire highly qualified people to join the mediabistro team.
Ask the guys at Kenyon & Kenyon, the biggest intellectual property law firm in America. They took my case PRO-BONO because they like me. Ask my business advisors, Glenn Boyd, co-founder/CEO of WebTrends (a multi-billion software company); Joseph Atick, the CEO of Visionics; Charlie Crystle, founder of Chili Soft (multi-million dollar company); David Gumpert, co-founder of NetMarquee and an author of well-respected business books; Nan Talese (who runs a successful book imprint at Random House);

Ask my 20 volunteers.
Ask my designers and programmers, who donated their time or worked for cut rates because they believed in what I was doing.

If I can get all this wisdom, expertise and man-power with NO MONEY, just imagine what kind of talent I can bring on board if I have backing.

4) This is NOT a cult of personality.
While it has elements of that, this business has its own legs, possibilities and momentum. It will succeed; someone will make it succeed. I want to be that someone.

5) You’re betting on a winner.
I’m hungry, I’m smart, I’m aggressive, I’m a leader, a natural at marketing. I am humble enough to bring expertise in (when this becomes necessary, I’ll be the first to find someone to put in place above me) and listen to it. I can delegate.

6) Remember, I came from nowhere and built a name for myself in New York city, in a cutthroat industry.
If I have to kill myself to make this business work as I envision it can, I will not let you be sorry for getting involved with me.

I do not want your time.

I want your money to leverage my ideas, to grow what is already a vibrant, burgeoning business.

7) Finally, I want you to close your eyes and imagine me with a sex change.

I mean this seriously. Picture me as a young guy: the Jeff Taylor of Media, let’s say — who has achieved as much in as short a time, with as few resources. A small Internet company in a booming market, with strong REVENUES, customers, loyal site visitors, personal charisma, a team of willing and able business advisors, etc. Would you hesitate an instant to back such a fellow?

I can’t help feeling that my chutzpah (like that of so many other female entrepreneurs who have trouble getting funding) is no match for a lack of testosterone…I am Woman. Help me roar.

Guys, I want you to know that I really treasure my correspondence with you thus far. Rarely have I come upon two people with whom I’ve felt such an instant affinity. There are lots of places I could be going to get money (we both know this). I want you.

Let’s not break the chain. Let’s make the fun happen.

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