Tag Archives: entrepreneur

National Entrepreneurs' Day Petition

Can you imagine a World without entrepreneurs? David Hauser and Siamak Taghaddos can’t, and that’s why they started the National Entrepreneurs’ Day Petition. This petition will hopefully make its way to President Obama when it has garnered enough support. Entrepreneurs make the World go ’round – they are the people who help our countries, people and way of life continue to evolve by bringing new and innovative ideas and products to the table.

The petition is a call to action, asking the President to officially name March 20th, 2011 as National Entrepreneurs’ Day in the United States. As stated in the document, “It’s not just another day on the calendar. It’s an opportunity to recognize America’s rich history of entrepreneurship and make sure there’s a strong foundation for its future.”

It will only take a few seconds of your time to add your name to the list of supporters by signing with your Twitter handle. You can then shoot a tweet to your followers, asking them to sign their John Hancock, as well. There are already many notable supporters, including the founders of Rackspace, WordPress and Mixergy.

Even if you aren’t an entrepreneur yourself, you likely know someone who is. Keep in mind that an entrepreneur is someone who “has possession of a new enterprise, venture or idea and assumes significant accountability for the inherent risks and the outcome.” If you have an idea for a much-needed service, you don’t have to have a ton of money to get started. There are many resources out there which can help connect you with the people and places who can make your dreams come true.

What are the Economics of Internet Business?

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I’ve been in the Internet business for many years now. Some of what I’ve done has been very successful. Some of it has been – not so much so. I’d like to think I’ve managed to do fairly well for myself, though. Chris B. emailed me recently, commending me on the things I’ve been able to accomplish. He is working on a paper for his Economics class, and wanted to approach his from a different angle than other students – that of the Internet business. He asked me to answer some questions to help him with his research, and I was more than happy to oblige!

  • Owning and operating a website is something that many people take for granted. They all claim it’s easy to do. Being successful, though, is something else entirely. I know you started Lockergnome many years ago. What brought you into this sort of business? Lockergnome started back in 1996. There was no such thing as blogging, so I used email as a means of communicating. The email newsletter still goes out several days a week, to more than 100,000 people. No one else was distributing information this way back then. I was finding awesome tips and tricks for Windows and other software, and wanted to be able to share the info with others. This is what is behind the beginning of Lockergnome. I have plans to be adjusting things about the site soon, though!
  • Many people who are not tech savvy wonder how Internet businesses make money – especially if there’s only content and not products to buy. How have you managed to make money with your content, including things like AdSense? You have to find a way to do what you’re doing better than anyone else. Leverage your assets! The relationships I generate on Twitter are just as important as those on Lockergnome or my blog. You have to think that your brand is distributed. Lockergnome is still around, and will be for the long haul. I am making money through sponsorships and such, or even through consulting. It’s about spinning plates – having more than one financial leg to stand on.
  • The Internet is always changing – there are new services and technologies popping up daily. This means that existing ones must grow and change in order to keep up. Do you find that you have to constantly grow and change yourself in order to stay fresh, and at the front? Once Wicket stopped arguing with me over which social sites are more important, I was able to clear my thoughts enough to answer this. Wicket is right about one thing, though. You have to think outside of your box. The Internet is your box – but you have to think beyond it. Go where the conversations are at. Engage conversations of your own. Don’t confine yourself inside your little box (your own website). Ultimately, you have to adapt.
  • Do you really feel that any competition exists between you and other bloggers? Or do you feel that all the different bloggers and sites kind of flow together? This is a very astute observation. When information goes out, it doesn’t matter where it came from. The information is what is important. It’s all about staying relevant, and realizing you don’t really have “competition”. It’s about your value add. What are you doing that’s different? What are you bringing to the global conversation? I know I’m giving rise to voice for people via Lockergnome and Geeks. If people use my tools, there’s a greater chance they’ll be seen and heard. It’s all about having a balance. I’d rather get along and share things with my colleagues, rather than view them as “competition”.
  • Running a business on the Internet is drastically different than running any other types of business. What kinds of costs are associated with running your business? Do you have employees? It’s a business, bottom line. We have things set up so that we have contract employees, and regular ones. We try to keep our costs extremely low. We work right out of our home, as do our employees. Therefore, we don’t have office overhead costs. We file taxes, just like with any other business. The major costs of course, are the people we pay for the work we do. And a note to add – they are some of the best!
  • It could be argued that you’re now famous for live streaming your life. What did live streaming change for you, if anything? I honestly don’t think I’m famous at all, and especially not for live streaming. If anything, I’m “famous” (or INfamous) for those stupid TechTV bloopers that will apparently never die!! Live streaming has made me more aware that there are so many people out there who are interested in what we’re doing, and where we’re heading. I’ve also learned to be aware of the things I say and do.

Live streaming isn’t recommended for everyone, that’s for sure. I wish people would remember I’m not a monkey. I don’t just sit and entertain everyone all day long. I work! And I just happen to keep the live stream running so you can work along with me. Good luck on your paper, Chris B. Let me know how it turns out.

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My Silicon Valley Chest

Guy would never hire me. And you know what? I’m fine with that. I stayed up all last night crying my eyes out – wondering why Mr. Kawasaki never talks about my chest. Today, those prayers were answered in tip #11 of Everything You Wanted to Know About Getting a Job in Silicon Valley But Didn’t Know Who to Ask:

Confess your sins. If you did something stupid in your past, the company will find out, so it’s better if it finds out from you rather than from a search on the Internet. A tech entrepreneur once told me how he rented out his chest as a billboard and made $2,500 (it’s a long story). A woman that he met on Match.com found this out, and it was an issue. If a date can find this stuff from your past, you can bet an interviewer will. Hopefully, this makes you think twice about the stupid things you’re tempted do on MySpace.

Yes, it was stupid – but I refuse to take my chest off the Internet until someone pays me a million dollars to do it. Guess we’ll just have to live with the horror, eh? Guy is right about thinking twice before you put something (anything) online. Wanna know the truth? There’s a happy ending. I started renting my chest years before Ponzi and I met.

She found my profile on Match.com late one night and sent me a response almost immediately. It took me a day to get back to her, but I was sure to pass along my AIM handle for quicker correspondence. It wasn’t too long before we started to blast messages back and forth on IM. Within the first ten minutes, she asked an innocent question:

You don’t have any naked pictures of your chest online, do you?

WTF?! Did she know me? I really didn’t want to date someone who watched me on TechTV, read Lockergnome, etc. She asked this question because (apparently) a lot of guys upload “studly” photos of their greased-up chests to dating sites. I, however, didn’t realize this – as I never peruse male profiles. To her query, I responded:

Do you know who I am? 🙂

Now, Ponzi took this question differently than the way I intended – as if I was asking: “DON’T you know who I am?” She said she didn’t know who I was, and so I sent her a link to RentMyChest.com. If she didn’t laugh, I’d have to throw her back into the sea. Long story short: we met the next day and have been with each other ever since.

If someone doesn’t like my chest, then I don’t need them in my life. Guy referenced my chest without naming me, specifically – but I’ve had ten friends send me the link in the past half hour. Are there really that many tech entrepreneurs renting their chests online?! I think Guy was afraid his Technorati ranking would dip if he made the correlation. No matter, I’ve cleared about $10k with my chest so far – and that number is steadily climbing. Not so stupid, eh?

Oh, by the way: Guy might be speaking at the next Gnomedex…

Why is it Called Gnomedex?

So, why is it called Gnomedex, anyway? As “pointed” out by the recent entry in the YPN blog, And Don’t Forget Your Pointy Hat, we have our reasons:

“What’s the opposite of COMDEX?â€Â? asks Web entrepreneur and Lockergnome.com founder, Chris Pirillo (see Polls, at right). “Gnomedexâ€â€?something small that’s really big, something people want to attend instead of being mandated to attend, something where everybody gets treated like a VIP.â€Â?

Before the question changes to another, you might try your hand at YPN’s current poll (found in the sidebar on their main page). Why is Chris Pirillo’s website called “LockerGnomeâ€Â? and his conference, “Gnomedex?â€Â? The real answer will surprise you:

· Chris’s favorite book is “Gnomesâ€Â? by Wil Huygen and Rien Poortvliet.
· Chris’s favorite Disney movie is “The Gnome Mobile.â€Â?
· Chris’s high school senior nickname was “Gnome.”
· Chris is originally from Nome, Alaska.
· Chris prefers GNOME to KDE in Linux.
· Chris wears tall, pointy hats when he’s in Internet chat rooms.
· Chris was arrested for stalking Noam Chomsky in 2001.
· Chris wants to go where “Gnome man has gone before.”
· Chris was a German Folklore major in college.
· Chris won the Midwestern Gardening Open Championship in 1998.

What’s your guess?