Inside My Brain

Thoughts about startups, tech, marketing, and life

TAG: Startups

Guest blog post for CEA: How to Think of a Startup Idea (with co-founders)

startupblog2

Check out my latest guest post for the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) titled, “How to Think of a Startup Idea (with co-founders)“.

Coming up with a business or product idea is the easy part of launching a startup, but it’s an important one. This is especially true when you’re doing so with an existing team. This post highlights the process my co-founder and I used to agree on a startup idea that aligned with each of our interests, strengths and experiences.

Enjoy!

I hope you found this interesting! If so, please connect with me on TwitterGoogle+, and LinkedIn for future updates.


Guest blog post for CEA: How 100 Hackers, Hustlers and Designers Launched Companies in 54 Hours

SW_washington_DC

Check out my latest guest post for the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) titled, “How 100 Hackers, Hustlers and Designers Launched Companies in 54 Hours“.

I’m a co-organizer of Startup Weekend DC, an event where entrepreneurs get together to pitch ideas, form teams, build products, and launch companies, all in 54 hours. We just held an event last weekend, and here’s the recap. The winning team (see pic below) – Orate, a platform for event speakers to get gigs and build their brand – won the grand prize of $25,000 in engineering services!

SWDC Winning Team Orate

It was an amazing, motivating event. Read more about it here.

Enjoy!

I hope you found this interesting! If so, please connect with me on TwitterGoogle+, and LinkedIn for future updates.


New Consulting Partnership with WiserAdvisor.com

Wiser Advisor LogoI’m happy to announce that I’ve entered into a consulting partnership with WiserAdvisor.com, a startup based in Fairfax, VA, that helps connect people looking to better manage their wealth with accredited, pre-screened financial advisors (FAs). WiserAdvisor.com is part of Respond.com, which is a similar but more broad-based site that helps consumers find and hire local businesses for a number of categories such as home improvement, insurance, photography, and many more.

WiserAdvisor is building tools and processes to better engage and educate people about personal finance with the eventual goal of connecting them with FAs to help them achieve their financial objectives. My role is to help lead content strategy and marketing, which means I’ll be acquiring, creating, and reviewing this educational content and leveraging technology to deliver the right content to the targeted audience at the right time.

Murtaza Amil, the CEO of Respond.com, reached out to me last September via the contact form on this blog (I knew this blog would pay off someday!). After a few meetings and phone calls, he brought me on board to help. He has put together a strong team that has a solid grasp of technology, strategy, marketing, and operations and how it all works together to acquire new clients.

For me, this is a great balance between consulting and startups. I’m looking forward to contributing to this project and helping WiserAdvisor grow.

And if you need a financial advisor, please check out WiserAdvisor.com!

I hope you found this interesting! If so, please connect with me on TwitterGoogle+, and LinkedIn for future updates.

Looking back to 2013 and forward to 2014

Happy New Year! Though I believe we should continuously think about where we are and where we’re going, the new year is always a good time to summarize it all. So here goes!

Recap of 2013

Mike Vicky Vows

This past year was really eventful on a personal level. I attended seven (!) weddings in 2013: two were mine (the Best Wedding Ever in Mexico and an awesome family reception in Queens), my sister got married in September in NYC, and four other friends got married in New Jersey, California, and Florida. Combine those weddings with traveling to New York and New Jersey for Thanksgiving and Christmas, it’s pretty clear that Vicky and I have been a couple of weary road warriors. But it was a year full of great celebrations.

Cute

One of the tougher parts of the year was when our dog, Sweet Dee, was paralyzed in her hind legs by a compressed spine. We had to cut our vacation short to take her to the neurologist, get an MRI, and have her undergo surgery. The aftermath was really difficult, as we had to frequently express her bladder (she didn’t have much control of anything in the back half of her body) and retrain her on how to walk. Regardless, she’s a tough cookie and made a full recovery! She probably has no idea that she was even paralyzed. Silly dog.

Regarding my 2013 New Year’s resolutions, I pretty much shat the bed. While I accomplished not drinking for two weeks, I failed to run at least two Tough Mudders (I only ran one) and didn’t make much progress on launching a startup. While 1 out of 3 makes for a good batting average in baseball, it really sucks for New Year’s resolutions. On the career note, some positives included taking a more active role in Startup Weekend DC (I became an official co-organizer), and blogging for the CEA, which has been fun and has increased my visibility.

Onward to 2014

While 2013 was an amazing year, I’m really looking forward to 2014. There will definitely be fewer weddings, so I’ll travel a bit less this year. This should keep me fresher to accomplish my resolutions, which are:

1) Seriously get my startup going

While I didn’t make much progress launching a startup in 2013, my co-founder and I did narrow our list down to three ideas to potentially pursue. Over the next couple of weeks, we’re going to run some experiments to figure out which may be the most viable idea and work towards it. I’m excited!

I stress out everyday about the lack of movement on my startup, but making a little bit of progress everyday will help, and that’s what I intend to do.

2) Drop five pounds

I’m blessed with the high metabolism that many Asians have, so I haven’t had to worry too much about my weight. I work out a good amount but I think being more disciplined with my diet, which I’m pretty horrible at, will help me stay healthier and keep my energy up. Dropping five pounds will be the result of this discipline.

3) Avoid alcohol for two weeks every quarter

While it was tough (for me) to not drink for 14 days straight, I’m going to do it 4 times this year. This should also help me achieve resolution #2.

4) Start a family

Whoa! This is a big one that may have a detrimental impact on all of the above resolutions, but it will be totally worth it. I should let Vicky know about this one. 🙂

If all goes well, 2014 will be an unbelievable year in both my personal and professional lives, and I can’t wait.

How did your 2013 go, and what are your resolutions for 2014? I’d love to hear about them in the comments.

If you found this interesting, please connect with me on Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn for future updates.

Guest blog post for CEA: Recap of Startup Weekend DC

SW_washington_DC

Check out my latest guest post for the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) – Companies launched over 54 hours: A Recap of Startup Weekend DC.

I’m a co-organizer of Startup Weekend DC, an event where entrepreneurs get together to pitch ideas, form teams, build products, and launch companies, all in 54 hours. We just held an event last weekend, and here’s the recap.

Enjoy!

Like this post? Then follow me on Twitter at @mikewchan, connect with me on LinkedIn, and add me to your Google+ circles for future updates.

SWDC Fall 2013 group pic

Guest blog post for CEA: Team First or Idea First – What’s the Best Option for Launching a Startup?

Team First or Idea First?

Check out my latest guest post for the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA): Team First or Idea First – What’s the Best Option for Launching a Startup?

Looking back on the experiences of my short career in entrepreneurship and startups, I’ve been thinking a lot about whether it’s better to start with an idea first then build the team, or work with some potential co-founders first before coming up with a specific idea together.

Both situations have pros and cons, but which is the better path to startup success? Read more about this here.

Enjoy!

Like this post? Then follow me on Twitter at @mikewchan, connect with me on LinkedIn, and add me to your Google+ circles for future updates.

Guest blog post for CEA: Date Before You Get Married – The Lesson Learned From My First Failed Startup

Check out my latest guest post for the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) – Date Before You Get Married—The Lesson Learned From My First Failed Startup.

In a very-early stage startup, a cohesive team is super important. When building the team for Dokkit (my smart calendar app startup), I moved too fast and placed little importance on team fit and alignment. The team quickly broke up and that was the end of Dokkit. Here’s the story.

Enjoy!

Like this post? Then follow me on Twitter at @mikewchan, connect with me on LinkedIn, and add me to your Google+ circles for future updates.

Guest blog post for CEA – How I Came to the Decision to Quit My Job and Become an Entrepreneur

Jump_400x400_1

Hi All!

As I mentioned before, I am guest-blogging for the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) about entrepreneurship and startups.

My first post highlighted my journey to entrepreneurship and how there’s no one path to becoming an entrepreneur.

My most recent post takes you through my decision process of quitting my job with the Washington Capitals and taking the leap to launch a startup.

I hope you enjoy!

Like this post? Then follow me on Twitter at @mikewchan, connect with me on LinkedIn, and add me to your Google+ circles for future updates.

My first guest blog post for CEA – My Path to Entrepreneurship

I’m proud to announce that I’ll be guest-blogging for the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) about entrepreneurship and startups! I’ll write about my ups and downs, lessons learned, and any other experiences as an entrepreneur.

Check out my first post where I talk about my journey to entrepreneurship and how there’s no one path to becoming an entrepreneur. I hope you like this article, and stay tuned for the rest of the series!

I’d like to thank Sean Parker, Jamie Carracher, and Lindsay Bianco at CEA for this opportunity.

Enjoy!

Like this post? Then follow me on Twitter at @mikewchan, connect with me on LinkedIn, and add me to your Google+ circles for future updates.

New Partnership with Exhilarator

Exhilarator Logo

I’m proud to announce that I’ve forged a consulting partnership with Exhilarator, a unique “startup factory” based in DC, and will provide them with marketing consulting and business development services.

Exhilarator Overview

Exhilarator is so unique because it is part accelerator, part services company, and part events company, all focusing on scaling startups.

The accelerator accepts 4-5 consumer tech startups on a rolling basis, houses them in their offices in Georgetown for four months, and provides them with business model refinement, customer acquisition, mentorship, and anything else that will help these companies grow.

The services part, with which I’ll be most involved, helps entrepreneurs execute on their vision. Whether the entrepreneur has an idea that needs validation or looks to grow her existing company, Exhilarator can provide these services on a fee basis. I’m partnering with Exhilarator to both bring in new business and help execute client projects.

Finally, Exhilarator runs SwitchPitch, a series of events that helps startups enter into strategic partnerships with large, multi-national corporations looking to get projects off the ground. If you’re a tech entrepreneur in NYC, check out the upcoming SwitchPitch NYC event on October 1.

The company is all about scaling startups and it’s doing it three different ways, two of which that actually bring in revenue. Really smart.

How This Opportunity Unfolded

I first met Exhilarator Founder Michael Goldstein last year at a startup conference; at that time, I was working on my failed smart calendar company Dokkit and he was running his accelerator named Endeavor. After the event, we immediately connected on LinkedIn but didn’t interact with each other too often after that.

Then a couple of months ago, Michael reached out to inquire about my consulting work. We met for coffee and chatted about the projects that I was working on and what he was building at Exhilarator. I thought the concept of Exhilarator just made so much sense and I was really interested. We met twice more and decided that a partnership would be a good fit, and recently pitched our first project together.

This is a great opportunity because it combines the two worlds that I’m involved in and passionate about – marketing and startups. I’m really looking forward to a long, mutually beneficial relationship with Michael and the Exhilarator team.

And if you’re a startup or small business and need help launching and growing your business, please reach out!

Like this post? Then follow me on Twitter – @mikewchan – for future updates.