Thursday, November 06, 2014


Girls' Guide to Conferences

First BlogHER conference 2004
If you're attending the #WebSummit in Dublin or thinking of heading to Paris for #LeWeb, I've got some advice for women at conferences. There are things that can make it way more fun.

(BTW, here's a photo of the BlogHER Conference where you will likely NOT get into too much trouble. Just wanted to say congrats to them, as they were bought for $30-$40M this week!  Way to go!)

1. Don't drink! I know you'll get lots of chances to drink free booze, lots of guys wanting to buy you drinks, lots of meals where beer or wine make sense, but I'm telling you, it's a very good idea NOT to drink. The person who doesn't drink gets to hear a lot of drunken people tell a lot of secrets they shouldn't be telling, as well as the obvious fact that it keeps you from going back to the hotel with some idiot you should not go to the hotel with. Also, it means you'll be fresh in the morning. Certainly hold a drink in your hand or have a glass in front of your plate which is full of wine or beer, so you LOOK like you're drinking, but believe me, you'll be glad you didn't drink.

2. Don't sleep with anyone. Bring a stuffed animal and sleep with him.

3. Set up a co-ed team of friends to hang with at the conference. Conferences have gotten so big now, you need to plan your own mini-conference with your own team of pals way before you arrive. Meet every morning for a breakfast to compare notes and get your team assembled. This gives you time to check in with others and find out if there are new fun things you might want to add to your day. Make sure you have guys on your team in case some guy is trying to bother you, they can tell him to get lost.

4. Write your own schedule for "Must-See" sessions. Prepare a schedule way ahead of time. Limit it to 3 sessions a day. When you are there at the conference and people suggest other sessions, think about how far away they might be and if they are really worth it.

5. Have an objective. I often decide that meeting one particular person I've been eager to meet is enough for a conference, even if 200,000 are actually attending. Who cares. Plan to meet one person who matters and make sure you do that.

6. Don't do drugs in foreign countries. Do I have to even SAY this? Nobody wants to read your blog from a foreign prison, especially your family.

7. Take comfortable shoes.

8. Take a coat with a hood. (No need to carry an umbrella which you will lose anyway.)

9. Add a day up front to your schedule to get over jet lag.

10. Remember you can have your phone or laptop stolen anywhere in seconds -- especially when you're tired or jet lagged.

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Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Bill Aulet introducing
Charlie and Brad Feld at MIT

The Calloway Way: Results and Integrity -- Fireside chat with author Charlie Feld at MIT Sloan



Last week it was a pleasure to sit in an auditorium full of MIT Sloan students who love everything about leadership and know their tech down cold. Brad Feld, the TechStars founder, and mega-entrepreneur is a rock star in this crowd. He was in Cambridge to host a fireside chat introducing his uncle Charlie Feld’s new book on the legendary leader, Wayne Calloway, called The Calloway Way; Results & Integrity.

Wayne Calloway joined Frito-Lay in 1967, stepping up to CEO in 1976. After this he was PepsiCo’s CEO from 1986 to the mid-1990’s. The book’s foreword was written by current PepsiCo CEO, Indra K. Nooyi demonstrating how high female talent has risen since the Madmen days when Calloway ran the company.

In the book, CEO Nooyi explains how fortunate she was to have worked at Pepsi when Calloway was there and explains his leadership mantra. “The Calloway Way … meant getting results with integrity.” As she says, “He understood that … talent is the deciding factor that takes a company from good to great.”

The fireside chat ranged from challenges CEO’s in our digital networked age will face, to Calloway’s sage advice for leaders and how timely it still is. “I think Calloway would be an extraordinary leader today,” Brad Feld said after explaining what an inspirational CEO he had been to so many current business leaders, "more influential than Jack Welch."

Calloway was an early pioneer in leadership theory about how to attract and develop great talent in order to make a company grow. “We aren’t going to run out of financial capital but human capital first,” author Charlie Feld said as he and Brad talked about the book and Calloway's great thoughts on talent.

Charlie credits his own success in business (his company was sold to EDS in 2004 and then to HP in 2008) to the 20 years he spent at PepsiCo learning about leadership from Wayne Calloway.

Brad Feld had more to say on CEO’s and leadership as well, quoting VC Fred Wilson’s 3 lessons for CEO’s from his blog, AVC and his well-known MBA Mondays series, “A CEO does only three things. Sets the overall vision and strategy of the company and communicates it to all stakeholders. Recruits, hires, and retains the very best talent for the company. Makes sure there is always enough cash in the bank.”

Brad Feld recent trilogy of books on the entrepreneurial ecosystem is essential reading for this crowd at MIT Sloan. His Startup Communities, Startup Boards and Startup Life teach entrepreneurs how to thrive in a world Wayne Calloway would have welcomed.

Brad and Charlie Feld talked about how you grow a small start-up team or a very large company, leading with Calloway's simple advice. In 1995, Wayne Calloway gave a speech explaining how growth and great talent go hand in hand, "... eventually, a non-growing business withers and dies. Nobody with real ambition goes to work there. The good ideas and good people go elsewhere." “Calloway believed in results, not at all costs, but results with integrity,” author Charlie Feld explained.

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Monday, September 15, 2014

Throwback Monday? Looking foreword to seeing Guy Kawasaki and Laura Fitton at #FutureM.

Ironically, found this picture I took on another website where a message about copyright popped up as I tried to download it.

Yo! I took the picture in 2011, and yes, you took MY photo without permission.

(Boston 2011:  Laura Fitton @pistachio Twitter for Dummies author, with Guy Kawasaki, Canva Chief Evangelist)

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Friday, September 12, 2014

Make Peace: Pope's Advice to Newlyweds


My absolute favorite story today was this -- the Pope will marry 20 couples at the Vatican and he gives them advice about how to stay happily married.


Monday, July 07, 2014

Crowdfunding:  What's the Big Rush?

I'm in the last week of another Kickstarter crowdfunding project and was thinking about why these projects are so intense. Crowdfunding is new and strange still, as it was two years ago when I did my first successful Kickstarter program, and much has changed as it gains visibility, but one thing about it has not changed from the beginning. It needs to be urgent. It needs to go fast.

What's the big hurry to raise money in a very short month and jump into #making and #prototyping so quickly? Well, #makers understand something it took me a while to learn. There is no limit to problems in this world and equally no limit to great ideas, smart people, capable makers and money in this world.

You've heard it before: the only limited resource is time.  Time. Why are we rushing to get things built and invented and in the hands of customers?  Because these things are solutions to problems.  And these problems need solving as quickly as possible. Because there are many more problems to solve after we solve these. Why do we keep asking for your financial support?  Because "With a little help from my friends" is the leverage point that makes crowdfunding take off fast.

WrightGlidersSideBySide.jpg

"WrightGlidersSideBySide" by Wright Brothers -
Library of Congress. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

With the impatience of youth and the wisdom of age, we need your help to fix things now because time is wasting. And it is a rush to hit your goal and then fly into #maker mode. And backers can be equally proud that they are changing the world.

My first project was raising money to write a book about women entrepreneurs. I felt it was urgent to get more women into technology, make them believe they could be founders, show them it wasn't such a mysterious business, encourage them to join startups and accelerator programs. If I convinced one woman to start a startup, I'm thrilled. She's out there solving more problems just like us!

This project is about #LED lighting adoption. It's not going fast enough. My team at MIT has integrated #LED light with sound and made a beautiful way of marrying the two called The Q by Belleds.  It's important that people start using this amazingly low-cost, green, beautiful way of lighting their lives. We also want hackers to join us in developing new ways to use The Q.  We need this to happen fast!  As we reach our goal, we feel an enormous rush, just to see our ability to fix things in this world take hold.  Please don't make us wait!

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Sunday, July 06, 2014

Entrepreneurs, Get Ready to Adore The Tour de France



Day 1: Tour de France: Victory to Marcel Kittel
If you're an entrepreneur, I'm going to make you a giant fan of the bike race known as the Tour de France (#TdF) this summer, because nothing comes as close to life in a startup as this crazy month-long race of short- and long-term challenges.  Nothing can teach you how to crash better, how to get up, dust yourself off and get back in the race fast, how to build and work with a team and most importantly nothing can teach you how to endure and just keep going.

I've been an entrepreneur for many years and I've been a CEO, a CMO and a founder.  I've been in startups that were successful with exits that included a sale, a stock swap, a merger, as well as in startups that flopped and died a sad death. But until I spent the summer of 2011 sitting in a fifth-floor walk-up apartment in Grenoble as the breeze blew the cold mountain air through the big French windows, waving the gauzy white curtains like race flags, watching the race day after day on a small French black and white TV with no remote, as well as going to stand in the rain for several stages to watch the race live, did I finally get it.  The race includes every up and down any start-up team member can ever face.  It's perfect that we took  the word "entrepreneur" from the French to describe the insane enterprise of startups.

Watch the first few days of the Tour de France as the terrain is mostly flat and reasonable and the riders are fresh and strong -- doesn't it look like fun?  Anyone can do it! Then watch the second week as they hit the mountains and the fair-weather players start to drop, peel off, crash or have to give up due to injury.  And then, by the third week, you'll be sitting there watching how each team works together or doesn't -- and you'll understand in a deep visceral way what a team is, why they matter, how they work (or don't) and why they can do more together as a team, than one person ever can do.

And if you're lucky enough to be sitting in a bar in a quiet dusty town in the south of France for the last week or in Lyon or Limoges or LeMans or Lourdes, you'll be be blessed to watch it in the hot afternoon with some Frenchman or woman who will get a little drunk with you and a lot more philosophical and tell you what the race is all about.  "Il s'agit de ... " they will start to explain to you and then pour you more Pastis or Pouilly Fuissé and you don't have to be a student of existentialism or Sartre to get it -- the bike race and the race you're running are both about enduring.  Enduring and keeping on the course.  It's about the amazing grit and strategy and luck (or lack of) and how you face it.  It's about the pleasure and the pain (equal parts) of staying in the race. It's about the trade-offs each rider has to make every day of a long, long race. They might fall back one day and rest in the slipstream of their team's unsung heroes the next day, so they can live to fight another day.  They might take crazy chances when a downhill speed can put them way ahead today in an early stage, gaining them 30 seconds, which later turns into a sheer 2 seconds they need to win the whole race and stand on the highest perch at the final ceremony in Paris on the last day. They know how to face danger, and when to avoid it. They learn to be courageous, decisive and act quickly. You need to pick up every skill they have, if you want to thrive as an entrepreneur.

In 2011, I had the amazing luck to spend most of the month of July in France and watch the Tour de France up close with my then 16-year-old son Jackson who incidentally was already an experienced bike mechanic and bike lover.  As any parent knows, just to have your teen want to go on any vacation anywhere with you is miracle enough, and you treasure every precious minute of the trip together knowing they will probably won't travel with you as their first choice ever again.

When Jackson was 13 and the economy was ridiculously bad, he told me he wanted to get a job as a bike mechanic.  I looked at him like he was crazy.  He was an entrepreneur in the making too, so he ignored me, had already done his research and found a great guy to apprentice to and asked me to drive him over to Paramount Bikes in Somerville, MA near Tufts where he went in and got a job fixing bikes.

I'd learned French in grammar school all through college and lived there on and off as a student, so when our friends in Grenoble asked us if we wanted to visit three years later in July 2011 and watch the race with them, I was all in.  Jackson was just learning French, but he was already an accomplished biker and mountain climber.  Since Grenoble was in the foothills of the Alps and many of the most important days for the Tour de France would take place in that town, we were over there as fast as we could scrape together enough Euros. Grenoble is also the home of Petzl another of Jackson's favorite companies, as they make world-class mountain climbing and rescue equipment, so he was the proverbial kid in a candy shop.  He climbed, he biked and we watched the race day in and day out with our friends.

One more entrepreneurial lesson -- it's never over until it's over.  One of the most important days for the Tour de France 2011 took place in Grenoble, the penultimate day of the race where the game-changing "time trials" happened and we walked over to watch them.  Cadel Evans delivered that day, go read about it. Of course my kid didn't want to get a photo with the famous bike racer, he wanted to pose next to the pit crew cars that were filled with mechanics, especially the Mavic Wheels yellow sedan. The day after the time trials, as the teams went to Paris, we took the TGV train to Paris too, to follow them and watch the last event, as the conquering heroes finally reached the capital to ride around the Arc de Triomphe.

Have I said enough to make you love the race yet?  Okay, I give up.  Take a shortcut.  Go to France and fall in love with some French "ami ou amie" who adores their national race and can teach you how to love it too.  You'll drink their wine, fall in love with the peleton and Pau and Paris, and if you're lucky, dance late into the night to old Piaf records, as she sings, "Non, je ne regrette rien," because whatever race you're running, entrepreneurs and riders who stay the course rarely regret it.

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Monday, April 21, 2014

Happy Patriot's Day


I wrote this a while back, but here goes.  This year we're celebrating the big day on April 21. Notice I used the words "cell phone" when I would use "smartphone" today.  

Patriots Day in Lexington, April 15, 2002

I saw a Minuteman,
Get in a minivan,
Down by Battle Green.
I saw a Redcoat,
Chatting on a cell phone,
Press one for land, two for sea.

The Regulars are coming!
The Regulars are coming!
To our town on a regular basis,
On a regular day in April
They bloom in colors bright
Poppies red,
Crocuses blue,
Snowdrops white,

They've come complete, with fife and drum
Just to remind us
That behind us, at Buckman's Tavern
They'd had enough of April Tax Time.
And from that day, as shots rang out,
Tea would pour free
And brave they could be
To make a new place for you and me.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Aquent's 3 floors of content




Content is a word that means too many things. It takes so many forms.  It requires so many hands on to make it bright, shiny and correct. This cool graphic from Aquent will show you all the folks creating content in an organization.

I like the way it shows how much content is percolating through three floors of a small company and then imagine a much bigger organization and all the content they have to deal with.

I've written nearly every kind of content they mention and run a most important content department -- Proofreading -- at Communispace where we were generating gorgeous and fascinating content every day.

Do you like this graphic?  I think it's great. BTW, I don't know the folks at Aquent but I think I'll have to wander over there and learn more about them.

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Tuesday, March 04, 2014

My new job -- Director of Publishing at Techstars Boston start-up Litographs.com

I'm really excited to announce I'm joining Litographs as Director of Publishing, one of the #TechStars #Boston startup companies this session. We put the text of books on t-shirts, tote bags and posters. We have many classic books but we will now be taking living authors and helping them get their designs out there and reaching more readers -- my favorite thing!

Danny Fein, his brother Corey Fein and their long-time friend, Jack Neary are the guys at Litographs. They make beautiful … wait … I mean,  WE make beautiful stuff. Check it out.  
Alice in Wonderland takes a fall on our Litographs poster.

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Wednesday, October 16, 2013

California Here I Come

I'm speaking at BlogHerPRO '13!
Join us by registering HERE
I'll be speaking at BlogHer PRO next week on Tuesday and Wednesday, Oct 22-23. You can still join and attend.

Just click here to register and you'll be in full-on "California Here I Come" mode. Would love to see you there.

I'll be speaking about self-publishing, how I used Kickstarter to fund my book, Founders Less Than Three and signing copies of my book as well. Here's my book on Amazon, check it out!

Monday, September 09, 2013


The TechCrunch Scandal (featuring the embarrassing TitStare and CircleShake apps) was a big deal this week as it "outted" the ugly sexism and locker room atmosphere of the high tech community, but it's never the big stuff that really makes high tech a terrible place to work for women.  It's something far more insidious that never gets called out.

It's the little stuff.  It's the quiet, hostile, uncomfortable moments which women endure in all tech companies, on an ongoing basis that are difficult to pinpoint and then call out as unacceptable. There are hundreds of daily put-downs, dismissive shrugs, disrespectful responses from men you get so used to, you actually stop noticing them.  There's always an accepted atmosphere of women not being taken seriously, often being interrupted in meetings, or likely as not, not being even invited to meetings, parties, lunches, trips where men are free to share plans, future scenarios and job leads.

The tolerance for intolerance is suffocating. How ironic that something called CircleShake was there to conveniently remind everyone that tech culture is one big male circle jerk? There are so many little cultural misdeeds committed against women on a regular basis, you stop noticing and just get tired of the whole thing. For one thing, the culture of high tech accepts developers and entrepreneurs coming in late and staying late which is another disconnect between men and women. If you are a woman with responsibilities at home, as many women are, being able to hang out late with your fellow geeks to learn new things is not an option. But many of these guys are also parents -- why aren't they home?  Men are the ones who can change this by pointing it out to good managers and insisting on changes.





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Sunday, September 08, 2013



Slow Down Please

Founders Less Than Three
by Halley Suitt Tucker

My purse is littered with receipts, business cards, brochures, bookmarks, boarding passes and matchbooks from restaurants 3000 miles from here this morning. I'm tossing things and straightening out what I mean to keep. I've been going here, there and everywhere promoting my new book, inviting people to take a bookmark so they'll recognize the title and cover art next time they need to read a new book.  I hope they'll buy my book, but I really hope they'll find time to read it.

But the go-go-go-everywhere blah-blah-blah side of me is at war with the SLOW DOWN PLEASE side and I know who wins this Civil War. The slow down part of me is the reader and the writer and always wins out in the end. I'm a binge reader. I read like it's a dirty little habit, sneaking the time when no one is looking and I don't care who walks in on me while I'm in the act. Just can't help myself. I've been reading like crazy since I finished writing this book. But I've got that itchy finger feeling about wanting to start writing the next book too.

All of that requires silence and endless hours going nowhere in the world and everywhere in the world in my head. It's about slowing down and taking the time. Some people can write anywhere, but I find it best to be firmly planted at my desk in my house.

As for my "readers" I am wondering if they have the same crazy need to read that I do. When people show genuine interest and even buy the book, I know it may take them a while to actually read my book. I know many will buy it, but not read it. I suppose I should be fine with that, but I'm not. It seems a little sad for them, not me. I'd much rather have someone read it and not like it, than not read it at all.

Sometimes I imagine my characters on a bench like a little baseball team, all ready to take the field. But they can't even get on the scoreboard unless a stranger -- a new reader -- slows down enough to read about them. They are so pumped when that happens, lining up proudly in their mismatched uniforms, ready to "PLAY BALL!"

Meanwhile, they just hang around the dugout with nothing to do, wishing they could take the field to bat one out of the park. Please don't make them linger too long.  I know the the alpha male characters will end up in a fight, showing off in front of the alpha females, or end up bullying the background characters to stand up and fight like a leading man! I can hear them slamming empty lockers in the locker room and that means trouble. Give these guys a chance to show off their stuff.


[The book:  Founders Less Than Three -- right HERE on Amazon.]

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Sunday, September 01, 2013

See You In September

A man asked me why I don't blog more often, he missed my blogging. So here I am. There's an easy answer as to why I haven't been blogging very often.  Lately, all my early morning writing has been poured into a book, not a blog.  It's pretty tricky to pull off both. Think of the plate-spinning guys.  Yes, I suppose you can do it, but does anyone like the sound of plates crashing and smashing?  I don't.

From Vogue: Saint Laurent by Hedi Slimane
Photo by David Sims
There's one thing I want to write about this September morning, the 902 pages of the new September Vogue magazine. Actually, I just want to write about the first fifty pages or so.  I like the Saint Laurent girl Hedi Slimane has dreamed up in those pages. She reminds me of my heroine Monica Kroy.

She's got clunky boots and skinny legs and a short skirt with a big wool sweater thrown on top that doesn't match.  She's headed out on some amazing heroic adventure (think Hunger Games girl, Jennifer Lawrence, who happens to be on the cover of the magazine this month) and the romantic and sexy men who might long for her, really can't keep up with her. She's impromtu and spontaneous. She has an inkling of something far away she needs to find, wants to visit, might even invent, a world to conquer. The loose wool sweater or cute jacket she throws on doesn't need to match, she just needs to get out the door.

She might wear the scent of the horse-back riding Ralph Lauren woman, page one, inside the cover of Vogue -- called Romance -- but she's not that girl.  That girl is all passionately wrapped up in a guitar-playing man and pretty children.

Saint Laurent's girl is the lead guitar player. By 50 pages into the magazine, you see her peering out a very large castle-size window at the ocean. She's got a large, ominous vision. The next page she's gone from full-color to black & white, from looking at fish to sporting fishnets, clunky mini-dominatrix duds and an impatience for the guy taking her picture that says, "Let's just get on with it. I have places to go,"  But "it" is not about romance or sex. It's something larger.

She is not looking for a hero. She's the hero. She's not looking for a man.  She'll pick one out when the spirit moves her and she can take any one of them she wants.  She's got a very wide world to investigate. Get out of her way guys.


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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Are You Good At Bouncing Back?


After reading Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha's The Start-up of You where they point out that our lives, resumés and certainly our LinkedIn profiles will show lots of ups and downs in this global and turbulent economy, I've been thinking about resiliency.  By the way, it's a great book. Even if you aren't the least bit entrepreneurial, we're looking at a world of work where you better be good at bouncing back. I'm saying it twice. You better be good at bouncing back and quickly.  You must be resilient.

When you get down, do you know how to get up again quickly?  One thing I learned from sales was getting back up quickly after being rejected.  Seriously, sales is all about being rejected and the most successful salespeople have proven strategies for bouncing back. And bouncing back FAST. I was taught that nine "no's" usually meant the tenth time might be a "yes" -- so after I've been rejected about eight times, I can get excited and happy as I think, "Yes, yes, yes!  I'm closer and closer!  I'm almost there!" I really do think that way!

Studies have shown a most fascinating metric of success -- the shorter the time it takes people to recover from a failure or disappointment and get back in the game the better -- and it is predictive of overall lifetime success.  In sales, you have to have strategies for bouncing back, or you'll never make it.

Sometimes, you just get down and feel a little hopeless. Everybody does. I have a mental list of things to do that get me back on track, and I think we all need to make that list and revise it every few years. It's more important than revising your resume.  We need to build out a foundation of resiliency, like a foundation for a house we plan to build. The foundation of resiliency for me is reading, exercise (dancing in particular), being with friends, being in nature, faith and more than anything, having a very supportive partner.

I know so many people who are not happy in their relationships and since I've "been there, done that" and did get divorced, I know it matters a lot to have a good partner. I bet you didn't think I was going to talk about divorce (or break up) but honestly, maybe it's time to downsize your partner. If they don't make your life and home a place to rest, relax, restore yourself and bounce back, you need a new partner.  It makes a world of difference. Make a list of ways to bounce back today and if your partner isn't on the list, well ... you know where I'm going. Time for them to appear on someone else's list.

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Friday, January 25, 2013

Kawasaki's Books

If you haven't read Guy Kawasaki's last two books -- APE, Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur -- and of course -- What the Plus: Google+ for the rest of us -- get over to Amazon and check them out!  Today's the day!

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