Feeling Stressed? Watch My TEDx Talk and you Will be Fine!

Feeling Stressed? Watch My TEDx Talk and you Will be Fine!

Have you ever been chased by a bear? How about an imaginary bear? Your body’s instinct to stay alive is intended to be good for you, but sometimes it can cause trouble. Our brains work a delicate balance to keep us out of danger and free of disease. Understanding how your body reacts to stress is vital for people who lead busy and extreme lives. Being aware of the cogs and gears within your involuntary responses helps you live a happier and healthier life. Ryan Foland coaches leaders on the art of simplifying their words for greater impact. Holding degrees in economics, business, and the dramatic arts, Ryan Foland brings a dynamic perspective to business strategy. A writer, speaker, Toastmaster and emcee, Ryan’s communication theories have been featured in TechDayNews, Inc., Entrepreneur, and Huffington Post. Ryan works for the University of California, Irvine where he oversees communications for 27 divisions on campus. In addition his company InfluenceTree, helps people learn how to develop and grow their personal and business brands. Learn more at www.RyanFoland.com. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at http://ted.com/tedx

3 Speaking Tips To Make Sure Your Message Resonates

3 Speaking Tips To Make Sure Your Message Resonates

The person on stage talks through the bullet points of what they think the audience wants to hear, they stand stagnant on the stage often looking to wear her presentation is being shown on the wall. And to add insult to injury she spoke so fast I could hardly understand let alone put together all the components in which she was explaining. We’ve all seen good presentations and we’ve all seen bad presentations. We want to make sure that we are on the better end of presentations. Here are three of many tips to make sure that you take some basic steps to giving yourself a better chance at being someone who puts on a great presentation. Here are three speaking tips to make sure your message resonates: Tip #1. Start with a Story – People love stories, so give it to them. Start with one, and end with referring to the same one with some sort of resolution. Let me tell you a quick story… Did you know as soon as you read that last sentence you started to relax and become a little more engaged? That is because human beings are genetically wired to enjoy stories. We have passed down knowledge for generations through tales and stories and that is why they are so engaging. If you have a point to make, the best way to make it impactful is to use a story to illustrate. In fact, a great formula to follow is: tell a story, make a point Doing it in that order will make you much more effective as a speaker. Tip #2. Use your Gestures to Increase your impact Often we don’t think about what to do with our hands, until we get up onto a stage and realize it feel weird having them by your side. Its then we start folding our arms, sticking our hands into our pockets, and making strange, unnatural gestures all over the place. Here are few key tips to help you with your hand gestures: – Its totally ok to have your hands resting at your sides. It feels weird to you, but doesn’t look weird to the audience. One little trick to make it more comfortable to have your hands at your side is to just connect your index finger and thumb together. Doing this makes it feel less weird holding them down like this. – You can use you hands to emphasize a point, but make sure not to overuse gestures. This is especially true for large gestures. If you use a big hand or arm movement, it is very noticeable, and you need to make sure to use it sparingly. Tip #3. Slow Down – If it feels awkward to you, then it is the right speed. Each of us has a natural pace of speaking. Some of us are faster, some are slower. There is no right or wrong speed, however as a general rule, you can slow your speaking rate by about 50% and still sound normal. Now, when you first try this, you will feel weird. It will feel like you are talking so slow that its insulting to the audience. But the truth is that with every word you speak, the audience will be thinking their own thoughts, and the spaces you leave is their time to think. A great way to start to slow down your speaking rate is to read passages of test out loud. Focus on placing more emphasis on certain words and leaving pauses. Share your tips as comments!

Take Flight

Take Flight

When was the last time you made a paper airplane? Here’s a fun exercise: stop reading this article for one minute, grab a blank piece of paper, and make the best paper airplane you can. Ready? Go. Now that you have your airplane, (you DID make it, right?) it’s time for the fun part… take your airplane, stand at the door and test how far your plane can fly. I’m guessing your plane crashed..? How do I know that? Because all paper planes crash; just like how all startups fail. But the most successful people are those who pick up their crashed plane, and try to improve it for the next flight. Those who continue to adjust their planes after crashes, start to fly further distances. If you want your plane to fly high, then every time you crash, go pick it up and try again with small modifications to see how your plane reacts and performs. Look at the paper airplane you just created and evaluate your first test launch. Does the bow needs more weight? Do you need some sort of tape to hold the wings together? Are the wings large enough? Did you throw it at the right angle? There are an unlimited amount of variables that affected your flight. Startups are like paper airplanes. We have a vision, we do some initial work, we create, and then we see how far things will fly. Often times, things don’t work as planned. So we re-adjust, we trim it up a bit, and we try again to see what happens. We fail, then we pick ourselves up, knowing that 99% of all businesses fail. But real growth comes from these failures. For every single success an entrepreneur has, they probably have 99 failures. The big difference is that they accept temporary failure. I challenge you to measure the distance of your first paper airplane flight.Then improve your paper airplane design based on what went wrong. Try again and record the new distance. I imagine that most people will achieve a greater distance the second time around, and even further the third! Share your initial distance, then your subsequent distances and share it with me in the comment section. Others can learn from your mistakes and thus go further on their first launch. Entrepreneurial success is no different. All of us want to hit the market perfectly the first time. But this can’t be a reality. Ultimately, the distance your paper airplane can fly might hit a limit, even if the plane has the best design. This happens with startups as well. They seem to launch and then hit a plateau. As an entrepreneur, you need to continue to reinvent yourself and your business, that is the definition of innovation. The next time you have a temporary failure, think of it as walking to where you’ve thrown your airplane, picking it up, and throwing it again. Challenge yourself to continue. See how far it goes, and regardless of the distance, walk to where it landed, pick it up and throw it again. Don’t be dismayed by shortfalls. Just pick it up, adjust your wings, and throw it again. The person who keeps picking up their plane and throwing it, will get the furthest.

How Traffic Can Help you Learn

How Traffic Can Help you Learn

Your alarm goes off. Even though you don’t have to be at work for another two hours, you need to prepare for the horror that is traffic. Everything seems to move slowly, except for how fast you drink your coffee on the way to the car (trying not to have a tragic spill on your dress shirt). The engine starts with the push of a button, and you’re off. The local streets seem to take forever as you catch mostly red lights. You finally get to the freeway to find that it’s actually more of a parking lot with it’s lack of movement. You notice the radio playing commercials, so you change the channel until you find music. You change it again because you don’t like the song, only to find more commercials. With a frustrated poke of the finger, you shut the whole radio off. Silence. You’re going 5 miles per hour. You are miserable. The coffee hasn’t kicked in. Is it Friday yet? Welcome to my morning commute…before I had a traffic education revelation! You can look at traffic in one of two ways. On one hand, it sucks. On the other, it’s a great chance to get educated. Ever since I discovered Audible.com (owned by Amazon), and the easy accessibility of audiobooks while I’m driving, traffic doesn’t seem that bad. Don’t get me wrong, I like some Ryan’s Roses in the morning, a little Kevin and Bean to make me laugh, a bit of Frank and Heidi for some crass humor, and Hilton Perez for the top celebrity gossip. But for the most part, I have been using my morning commute to listen to a long list of books that I have wanted to read. Think about it… how many good books have you heard your mentors tell you that you need to read? How many books have you bought that just sit on the shelf making you feel guilty? The great thing about audio books: not only can you listen to them in my car or at the gym, but you can also listen to them at different reading speeds (I like 1.25 or 1.5 times normal speed). When things get interesting, you can slow down and really concentrate. When things get less interesting, you can speed things up and buzz by the lame parts.There is also an awesome bookmarking feature that allows you to tag the good spots for quick reference later. Each month of membership costs less than $15, which includes one book credit that will buy any priced book on the site. I will oftentimes buy extra credits, which means more books, especially when I drive to LA, which has more than its fair share of traffic. I find that listening to books while driving in traffic is an amazing use of time. By the time I arrive at my destination, I feel more confident, more educated, and more excited about the challenges I face as an entrepreneur. Often times the advice I hear or lessons I learn can be applied that day! I’ve decided that I will make mini book reviews as I finish books to give my input on whether a book is worth your time or not. But to start off, I’d like to give the top three books that I’ve listened to recently that I believe you will love: The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss – This has to be one of my favorite books, and it is a MUST read for every entrepreneur. Author, Timothy Ferriss has so many great life and business hacks it is incredible. And he has such a fun, blunt, and engaging way of telling real life stories. You will want to stay in the slow lane when you listen to this one! The Happiness Hypothesis: by Jonathan Haidt – This was referred to me by Isaac Saldana of sendgrid.com. Isaac is an inspiring entrepreneur who is driven by his passion for people being happy in the workplace. He values culture more than most CEOs and his vision has helped him create one of the fastest growing companies out there right now. I was very happy to listen to this one, and would suggest it to anyone interested in learning how the human brain works (it is like someone riding an elephant!). It will really change your perception, and make you realize how much control you have over your happiness in life and business! How to Win friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie – Suggested to me by my friend Steve Andrews from Platinum Bay Technologies, this by far is one of the most empowering books ever, seriously. I went for the original unabridged version from the 1930’s and it is crazy how relevant it still is. This book will give you fundamental tips that will change your life. My favorite tip from Mr. Carnegie: smile more! Now what? In just a few minutes you can create a free account at Audible and get your first credit free (use the promo code Pandora, it usually works). Or if you don’t like Audible, find some other audio book service. If you don’t know what to listen to first, start with the short list above. Tomorrow morning, before you endure another commute from hell, download your first book, plug in your phone, and start listening your way to success. It’s a great use of time, and there is a lot of value in being well-read, especially with such large amounts of amazing information right at your ear buds. #readmore #DriveSave Also, if you have any must reads, please share in the comments!

GloSho’15: 6 Questions and 3 Takeaways from the Event

GloSho’15: 6 Questions and 3 Takeaways from the Event

I ducked under a spiderweb revealed by the drops of dew from the early morning. As I drove along PCH, fog floated in the air along the coast. The traffic lights diffused into translucent snow cones, and the slick roads ruined any hope of a clean car for the day. The smell of the ocean creeped through the car filter, and the fog felt like the ocean’s blanket from a long night’s sleep. Once the sun rose, the fog lifted and life went on along the coast of Southern California. Did you know fresh water can be harvested from fog by using a “fog net?” I sure didn’t, but I do now. An actual fog net imitates the way a spider web collects moisture from early morning dew. I met the company leading this project at theLos Angeles Cleantech Incubator’s (LACI) third annual Cleantech Global Showcase: GloSho’15 at the JW Marriot @ L.A. Live. I was thrilled to engage with many other cutting-edge green tech startups who were displaying their new and innovative technologies positioned to solve some of the world’s biggest problems. The two day conference, presented by JP Morgan Chase & Co., kicked off with a speech from Mayor Garcetti. Its focus was connecting entrepreneurs with investors, as well as a discussion of the evolving cleantech investment ecosystem not only in Los Angeles, but globally. GloSho’15 Expo showcased over 80 startups representing entrepreneurs from the US, Canada, Mexico, Germany, Italy, Finland, Israel, China, Japan and India. This world-wide slice of startups had the opportunity to meet with local and international investors, as well as interact with Los Angeles community cleantech enthusiasts. More than just a showcase and competition, GloSho’15 provided the stage for an impressive list of speakers, featuring expert panels on cleantech and clean transportation issues. The ballroom drew large crowds on both days for speakers, including California Secretary of State Alex Padilla, who shared his passion for innovation in regards to renewable energy and clean technologies. I had the pleasure to sit down with Fred Walti II, President and CEO of LACI, and Executive Director of the GloSho’15 conference. Here are six questions and three key takeaways for startups interested in the cleantech space. Q1. What is the GloSho’15 event all about? The purpose of the conference is to gather the ecosystem players in cleantech together: all of the entrepreneurs, all of the investors, the scientists, business associations, and corporate players, all in one room for two days. The goal is to listen and learn together, meet and greet, and do some deals. Q2: Tell me more about the different elements of the conference? We have structured it into three parts. The first day is all about investors. If you are an entrepreneur looking for investment, we had over 30 investors from all classes, from seed to corporate players to venture capital. Investors took the stage and talked about what their respective investment landscapes for cleantech as we gear up for 2016. The second day is the reverse, focusing on innovation. The third element was our GloSho’15 Expo with 80 companies, 25 of which gave presentations about their disruption and innovations in a range of seven different technology sectors. Q3:Why do you think LA is a hub for cleantech? Los Angeles is a leading city when it comes to sustainability. We have the second largest green economy in the country, we employ more people in the clean economy, it is fast growing, we do more hybrids, we do more recycling. One great example of how LA continues to be a leader is how Mayor Eric Garcetti has appointed the very first ever City of Los Angeles Chief Sustainable Officer, Matt Peterson. And Matt has put together a sustainability plan to make the city sustainable in the next 5 to 10 years, a big part focusing on electrification of the fleet, such as police cars and trash vehicles. Q4: Do you see more hardware or software? Our companies tend to be more hardware oriented because they are clean technologies; they are motors, generators, batteries, and solar. Yet at the same time, we have a lot of IT companies aimed at making greater use and efficiency of energy. There are a number of sensor companies that gather data, and then figure out how to sell the data to make the environment of the building more efficient. We have a number of companies that are a combination of hardware and software, companies I call deep tech. They all have very difficult jobs to do, but particularly difficult and more time-consuming when they have to introduce new technologies to deal with existing infrastructure. Takeaway #1: Think about how you can gather and sell data to make existing infrastructure or systems more efficient. Q5: Is there a sector that entrepreneurs should look at that is underserved? There is one that I’m most interested in, but it is pretty well understood. It is energy storage. The key to the entire sustainability world resides in driving down the price of either lithium ion batteries or figuring out utility scale energy storage solutions. That way, we can harness wind power and solar power 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Once we can do that, the sustainable generation of energy will change everything. I just believe that energy storage is the key to everything and there are a lot of people working on it, but no one has really solved it yet. Tesla’s batteries are incredibly expensive. Elon Musk is approaching it via scaling, which is a terrific thing. He is building a huge battery plant, one way to drive down the cost. But there is a lot of new and interesting technologies out there. The Holy Grail of sustainable energy is energy storage of one kind or another. There are a lot of people working on it, but when someone cracks that code, it will all change. Takeaway #2: Crack the code for energy storage and you shall find the Holy Grail! Q6. What are the biggest mistakes you see entrepreneurs make in the cleantech space? I think that entrepreneurs make two primary mistakes, regardless of the sector, but it is more accentuated here in cleantech because it is more difficult. First mistake is they don’t talk to the customer as they are designing their technology. They design the technology, and then and only then do they refer to the customer, leading to a mismatch between the features and customer satisfaction. We encourage our folks to iterate quick, but iterate with customers, so that you are building something satisfying the needs of someone willing to pay for it. Second mistake is not watching your cash. Cash flow is critical for all startups, and too often I see companies run out of cash. Takeaway #3: Iterate with your customers closely, and keep your cash close! View the conference program here for more insight to the topics of discussion, and if you are interested in learning about how to get involved with either the LACI or next year’s GloSho’16, find more information atwww.laincubator.org. #Cleantech #glosho’15 #sustainable #greenbusiness What are some green tech and sustainable energy companies that we should all be on the look out for? Please share via comments! Green Technology Sustainable Energy Sustainability

The 5 D’s: How to Turn Your Invention into a Reality

The 5 D’s: How to Turn Your Invention into a Reality

In the shower, my mind is calm as the hot water destresses my body. The day was normal. Busy, stressful, and I didn’t remember to eat lunch till 3pm. But it was a great day. My eyes close, things go dark, and I slip into the abyss of a hot shower after a long day. I don’t want to move and don’t feel like I even have the energy to go for the shampoo. BAM! All of a sudden, it hits me. An awesome idea. Eureka! My eyes open immediately, only to be blasted by hot water. Ouch! I shut the water off. Silence. I blink hard and rub my eyes as I try to find the shower door, and step out quickly but with caution, aiming for the carpet so I don’t end up on the floor. I find a nearby towel, quickly dry my hands, and grab my cell phone, holding it away from my dripping face. I quickly open up the recorder, feverishly talking into the device to get all the details of my new idea down before I forget. Wet and naked, I take a deep sigh of relief when I finish. The idea is in the bag. Now what? Have you ever come up with a new invention or a new product, then found yourself not sure about what to do next? I come up with ideas all the time (usually in the shower), and I decided to talk to a pro about a good process to follow after my initial Eureka moments! I called my friend, serial inventor Eric Huber. I asked to sit with him and chat in hopes to learn his process for bringing his inventions into reality (which he has done many times, check them out www.vonhuber.com). The next time you find yourself with a great idea but no idea what to do next, follow the 5 D’s: Describe, Discover, Debunk, Define, Decide. 1. Describe: With as much detail as possible, describe your idea. Write down notes, make sketches, and iron out the initial details of what it looks like and how it will work. 2. Discover: Do some serious research to see if your idea has already been described or created. Begin by performing the Google Trifecta. a. Search Google Images based on any keywords that you can think to describe your new invention. Since we think in visual representations, using Google Images is a quick way to search if it exists. Plus it’s easier on the eyes and quicker to recognize. b. Search Google using the main web search function. Pretend like you are trying to purchase your invention online, and use search terms you think you would use to find it. c. Search Google Patents. Yes, just like Google Images, Google has a specific search engine for patents. You might not see it at first, but click the “more” option and it will appear. This is a great way to do the deep digging on your idea, especially if the prior two searches did not yield any results. As a note, only about 2% of patents are commercialized, so just because you do not see it in the marketplace, doesn’t mean it is free to pursue. 3. Debunk: Do your best to debunk your idea and think of all of the reasons that your product or idea will NOT work. Look at the results in Step 2. Is it already patented? What are the existing products that solve the problem? Is there a big enough market? Can it be manufactured (does it defy the laws of physics) at a cost and sold at a price that consumers will be willing to pay? Be creative and honest, focus on all the reasons why people would not want it and why it cannot be made. 4. Define: Think of who would buy your new invention and define the market. Do not assume that your invention serves everyone, because it does not! Talk with friends, family and other trusted people to see what they think about the idea. Ask them who they think would use it or buy it. Focus on what they think, and don’t try to sell the idea. Sometimes we are too close to our ideas to really see the forest through the trees. Gauge their honest reaction, and ask them many questions to really get an idea of who would need it, use it, buy it, etc. 5. Decide: Is the idea something you want to try to license, or some you want to try to form a business around? There are advantages to both, but an honest conversation with yourself about this topic is crucial. You need to really think about the above steps and determine if this is something that you want to license and have someone else do the heavy lifting, or if you want to do it all and pursue your new invention as the root of a new business. Know that both options will take time and money, and there are no guarantees that either will work. In fact, the odds are against you, and it will probably fail! But if you decide that you are passionate enough to bring your idea to the world, just decide if you want someone else to bring it or if you want to hand deliver it. Filing provisional and full patents is something to worry about after you work through the 5 D’s! So start inventing, and stay tuned for another blog on the steps you must take to secure a patent and get your invention to market. One side note for all of you tech inventors out there. If your idea is only tech based, like an app or actual code, you can still follow the same process, but understand that your code or technologies might be a challenge to protect. But challenges should excite you, because that is how we learn. If you have invented something purely technological, it is worth meeting with an Intellectual Property attorney to explore any and all ways that you might be able to protect your new brilliant idea. If you find that you can’t protect it, that just mean that you need to be first to market and run like the wind! #5Ds #DDDDD #Describe #Discover #Debunk #Define #Decide

How Pitching Can be Like a Scary Movie

How Pitching Can be Like a Scary Movie

It’s dark outside, and you’re alone in the house. The rain pounds on the windows, rattling them in a creepy way. You hear creaking behind you, so you turn around. The door to the basement sways ajar. With shaking hands, you set your glass of wine on the counter and tiptoe your way over to the door… I hate scary movies because of the scary parts. If I’m watching something and it gets scary, I oftentimes find myself instinctively covering my eyes. But then I look through a tiny opening by parting my fingers so I can see what’s happening. This creates the illusion of safety, protecting me from things I don’t want to see but still allowing me to gauge the situation. Imagine yourself getting ready to pitch someone. Now imagine that your pitch consists of a scary movie. Assume your audience doesn’t like scary movies, and they are watching your pitch through a tiny opening between the fingers over their eyes. The individual keeps shutting their fingers, then slowly opens up a crack to see what you are saying, then suddenly clenches their fingers closed again. If this absurd situation actually happened, I want you to ask yourself, “What core nuggets would you want them to know during the short times that they were peeking through their fingers?” Put your hands over your eyes and peek through a small crack between your fingers and notice your visibility range. Imagine now that you only have this opportunity when someone is getting introduced to your idea for the first time. When people look at things through a filter, it helps them eliminate what’s unnecessary. If you’ve ever had to clean out your closet because you’re moving to a place with less space, you’ll understand the importance of filtering in real life. You have to get rid of everything but the core clothes that you need. Imagine that each person you pitch has a different-sized closet in their brain for your information. Some may have small closets due to lack of attention, or some may have larger closets because they are very passionate about the things you’re bringing into the space. Understand that you cannot fit everything you want to pitch into their respective closets. In the fast-paced, reduced attention-span world we live in, it is crucial to be able to get across enough information to get people excited but not too much information to overwhelm them. Comments welcome!

PowerPoint Tips and Things to Avoid

PowerPoint Tips and Things to Avoid

You see the whole situation unravel right before your eyes, right in front of everyone’s eyes. You wish there were something that you could do to help, but at this point it’s too late. The presentation is a goner. You cringe inwardly at the horrendous sight of the PowerPoint from hell. The presenters should’ve reviewed it one more time before they decided to present, or at least practiced in front of someone else first. Why? Because the font is too small, it’s a weird color, and it reminds you of something along the lines of an optical illusion. You squint your eyes with an honest effort to read the slide. You shift your attention back to the presenter, and you attempt to catch up with his explanation of his BIG idea while wishing for a pair of sunglasses to shield your eyes from the UV rays exploding off of the PowerPoint. As an audience member, have you ever seen a PowerPoint presentation that made you really wish the presenter did it differently? As a presenter, whether at a competition or at an investor panel, have you ever seen a mistake on your PowerPoint, or noticed that the color you saw on your desktop is totally different projected up onto a screen? This happens to the best of us, but in order to be better, here are the top three mistakes that I’ve seen on PowerPoint presentations, so that you can do your best to avoid them. Too much text – The worst violation of PowerPointing by far is too much text on a single slide. Please understand that when you are presenting something in front of a screen, there are competing interests: listening to what you’re saying and reading what is being presented. The more text you have on your PowerPoint slides, the less people will listen to what you’re saying and the more time they will spend trying to read the text. You really want them to listen to what you’re saying, and have the slides reinforce your story, vision, and message. I believe that an effective PowerPoint has more pictures than words, because the way to get people to care about what you are saying comes from you as a presenter talking to the audience about the problem you’re solving, how you’re solving it, and who you’re solving it for. White text – I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen a PowerPoint with white text. It ends up being very difficult to read when projected. Looking at your PowerPoint on your computer is much different than having your presentation projected onto a large screen. I don’t claim to be an expert, but all I know is that white color for text is never a good idea. (And it doesn’t even matter if it’s on a dark background, it’s still a bad idea.) No call to action – The last slide in your PowerPoint slide is the most important, because oftentimes it is on screen for the longest amount of time. That is why it’s crucial to have a call to action that you want out of your intended audience. If you just want the audience to have your information, then have your information on the slide. If you want the audience to follow you on social media, then you better make sure you have your social media on the last slide. Be wary of having your last slide simply say “Thank You, Questions?” Remember that when you’re in front of a large group of people, there are an even larger amount of questions and inquiries and meets-and-greet possibilities. Make it easier for people to find and contact you, and simply put your information on the slide itself. What are some other PowerPoint mistakes that you’ve seen? Please use the comment section to share your own. I think there are at least 96 more.

B Corp Vs. Benefit Corp: What you Need to Know

B Corp Vs. Benefit Corp: What you Need to Know

You want to start a company in which the core idea you’re working with solves a very big problem. It feels like a nonprofit because your technology can alleviate physical pain for those in need. You feel like you don’t want to be a sellout, but you want to be knowledgeable when it comes to what type of business entity would best reflect your new venture. You’ve heard about nonprofits and how it takes a long time to get the proper status. Then there are B Corporations, which has something to do with filing and the fact that you can still be a for-profit company yet have nonprofit status. You also see articles on Benefit Corporations, and those have to be the same as a B Corporations, right? Wrong. It all seems a bit jumbled in your head. You want to make sure you know what to tell early enthusiasts and potential investors, so they know you’re planning ahead and structuring things properly for your new sustainable and philanthropic idea. The B Corporation concept has been creating quite a buzz in the marketplace as of late, and I have heard people use it interchangeably with a Benefit Corporation. No matter what type of tech company you are starting, understanding this landscape before you start might help. Worst case scenario, you are able to eliminate what is not correct for you, and best case scenario it might help give you a site on the horizon for a type of entity that creates status that may help you differentiate yourself in the marketplace. Before you read further, I’m not a lawyer. I’m an entrepreneur who sees value in this topic. I’ve done some research in hopes of giving you a valuable oversight of the B Corporation and the Benefit Corporation structures. Here’s what you need to know about each: B Corporation B Corporation is a term used for any company that is certified by the Nonprofit B Lab as voluntarily meeting higher standards of transparency accountability and performance. It’s similar to the LEED Certificate for green buildings or the USDA certification for organic products. Unlike the other two certificates, however, B Lab Certification evaluates the whole business, including quality, worker treatment, and environmental accountability, rather than just the specific product. B Corporation businesses have to apply for membership, as well as renew their membership every two years. Benefits include an extensive network with other B Corporations, support among investors, and access to many other things. There are over 1,000 Certified B Corporations in 35 countries across 80 industries. They all work towards the common goal of making businesses the best in and for the world. A Benefit Corporation A Benefit Corporation is a new type of corporation that voluntarily meets higher standards of higher purpose, accountability, and transparency. Sounds just like the B Corporation, right? Not entirely. The Benefit Corporation originally arose because many entrepreneurs felt that the B Corporation Certification cannot provide the kind of legal protection government-recognized forms could provide. Like a certified B Corporation, a Benefit Corporation has to consider the impacts of any action not only to shareholders but also to its employees, its customers, its community, and the environment. Evaluated by an independent third-party to ensure the overall social and environmental performance is acceptable, a Benefit Corporation must provide a general public benefit. Particularly, it provides a material positive impact on society and the environment as a whole. Some examples would include providing low income individuals or communities with beneficial products or services, preserving the environment, promoting economic opportunity, and improving health in the community. Four key differences. 1. B Corporation can be any for-profit entity – Benefit Corporation is an actual corporation. 2. B Corporation has to be certified by B Labs – Benefit Corporation is free to use any third party assessment tool to evaluate its impact on employees, customers, the community, and the environment. 3. B Corporation has no reporting requirement – Benefit Corporation is required to provide a report of its overall social and environmental performance to its shareholders and the public in an annual benefit report. 4. Benefit Corporations can only be recognized by specific countries that have passed benefit corporation legislation. I would encourage those of you who are serious about the topic to take a deeper dive online or via other resources to fully understand all of the intricacies between the two. #BCorp #BenefitCorp Which do you think is better and why? I would love to hear your comments.

The Iceberg Theory: What Vs. How

The Iceberg Theory: What Vs. How

It was 9:30 on a Monday night in Santa Monica. My brain was frazzled after meetings with nine individuals. The next person in line was a well-dressed ginger-haired gentleman with a bright smile, red beard, and the air of either confidence or arrogance. I couldn’t tell. Being a ginger myself, I welcomed him into the booth and introduced myself, mustering all of the cheer that I could afford. “Fellow ginger, it’s great to meet you. Let’s get started. What is the problem that you are solving?” He began, “We are about to embark on a massive transition from cable to cable cutters. I’m launching a new way for people to access digital media like never before. This is going to make lots of money. Investors will flock to this product. Think of it as a live streaming TV system that blah, blah, blah . . . I have my website up, we are ready to launch, and we are going launch to the entire United States, because people are sick of cable companies having all of the control. Blah, blah, blah . . .” He rambled on. I was lost after the fourth sentence. When he finished and waited for my reply, I sat on my chair, stumped. I was utterly confused, feeling as if he verbally threw up all over me. He grinned from ear to ear, having just unleashed what he thought was the perfect pitch. When I didn’t give a reply, he kept going, talking about monetization, investors, website, on and on. I finally muttered, “I have no idea what the hell you are talking about,” He took a deep breath, preparing to say it all over again. I stopped him with a gentle motion of a hand. “Help me understand what you do without telling me how you do it,” I said. “Tell me what you do in one sentence.” Mr. Ginger’s smile melted into a look of concern and concentration. He began, then hesitated, took another breath, and finally said, “I don’t understand.” “Well, at least we are now on the same page,” I said. “I don’t understand what you were explaining to me for the last five minutes.” 99% of the time, people will ask entrepreneurs what they do, and 99% of time entrepreneurs will say how they do what they do instead. When you answer a “what” question with a “how” answer, you run the risk of confusing your audience right out of the gate. There is value in answering a “what” question with a “what” answer. My concept, called the “Iceberg Theory,” helps to prevent confusion when sharing your idea for the first time. It is important to share what you do first before getting into the details of how you do what you do. There is a huge difference between the words “what” and “how.” “What” begins at the surface level, and usually describes things in a general sense. Think of “what” as the very tip of the iceberg that you see above the water’s surface. “How” describes the process of something or the underlying steps and actions that are done to get results. Think of this as the iceberg below the surface, which is much larger. It contains specific details on your product or services, but remains unseen to the naked eye. At the surface level, you should be able to explain what you do in one sentence. You should have a clear understanding of how your business operates and be able to reference the individual points that are relevant to the customers. Simply telling people what you do instead of getting into the details of how you do it has more potential to spark a conversation. Because you haven’t given them all of the information, they will naturally want to know more. They’ll soon be asking you questions such as “How does that work?” or “How do you do what you do?” At that point, you can deliver relevant elements of how your business works. Don’t be afraid to give less information initially. This enables you to create connections between the problem you’ve already mentioned and the solutions. As you continue to have a dialogue, you can add the “how” information so that your audience is able to connect the dots of your problem and how your solution works. Remember, the most difficult task requires you to get your idea into someone’s head. If you spill all of the beans out of the gate, there will be less to discuss and less for your audience to learn. Have them start at the tip of the iceberg, and let them discover everything else beneath the surface. The more you talk, the less people will listen. The less you talk, the more people will ask questions. Telling people what you do, and not how you do it, is a good way to say less and have people listen more. They will be interested in listening to your answers to their questions. #icebergtheory #313book #lessismore Is less more when pitching? Comment below!