Monday, April 10, 2000

Get a boot start's Bootcamp for Startups got a kick-start on Monday, April 10, with a morning full of informative and panels and presentations for entrepreneurs and those getting businesses off the ground.'s president Bill Reichert spoke on the differences of valuation, stocks and corporate structures. And on this presentation's heels was the "Basic Training" panel, moderated by Guy Kawasaki, CEO and Chairman of Seasoned professionals like Murray Alter, partner, New York Technology Industry Group, PricewaterhouseCoopers; John Delaney, partner, Morrison & Foerster LLP; Debra Larsen, CEO, TechSpace LLC and Lawrence Calcano,
managing director, Goldman Sachs, offered their opinions and solid advice on how to turn a good idea into a great company. The panelists’ banter didn't just circle around on generalisms, however--they explained how to start a company, pick key investors and other tactics to ensure starting off on the right foot.

The first day's activities continued on in the basic educational vein, and afterwards there was a big "mixer" between the Angels and the Entrepreneurs at Chelsea Piers, Pier 60 with views of the Hudson and enough space and food for an army of entrepreneurs. I ran into Ian Shapolsky and Christian Seelos of and then spoke with Murray Alter, who had positive thoughts on the morning's panel, to which Jonathan Perkel of agreed. Jonathan introduced me to Christian Lesstrang of and Michael Tannen of Tannen Media Ventures and a panelist (for Tuesday). We thought we spied Frank Sinatra (or the spitting image of him from his Brat Pack days) across the room, only to find ourselves face-to-face with not Ol' Blue-eyes, but a blue-eyed entrepreneur, Bill Schell of August Schell Enterprises. Far across the way was Steve Schaer of InteractiveFutures, who introduced me to Igor Saulsky of Veritas. It was only Monday, so we kept it an early night.

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Bing! Round Two! I learned a thing or two from the striking and well-spoken Seth Godin of Yahoo! Consider this: When speakers are rushed by audience members after a presentation/panel, it's called "scrum." He outlined what makes a good marketing program, how to deepen and retain customers, and the cost of retention and growth for each. He used an example of tribesmen from Indonesia, and the analogy of needing to try and get them to take their paper rowboat hats off, listen and accept your pitch.

A hard act to follow, but follow we did with the panel I was on "Let's do Launch," moderated by the efficient facilitator Guy Kawasaki. Lance Podell, chief marketing officer of Dealtime, had some good points to make about useful and reasonable ways to spend marketing dollars – his company’s major holiday bash was a success on many levels, not just media exposure. Phil Terry, CEO of Creative Good, did not recommend PR firms. But he did say that an excellent way for companies to work towards receiving press is by establishing relationships with journalists early. Get to know them and what they cover. And keep the relationship focused on the exchange of information.

I'll admit I'm fond of the folks over at Creative Good. All my interactions with them socially and professionally have been fun, intelligent and informing. Or maybe I was just won over by the origami frog business cards Mark Hurst handed out from a glass jar at a One Club awards reception! Andrew Zolli, vice president of Interactive Media of Siegel & Gale, told me that writing White Papers and organizing influencer breakfasts have been useful PR vehicles for them. Sam Meddis, Technology Editor of, and I offered the journalist POV for attendees. As Guy pointed out, and as Sam and I can attest to, be nice to local reporters lower down on the food chain. One day they might be in a more visible position at a larger publication -- and they'll remember you were kind and respectful to them in the early days! Our Q&A segment ended with someone from asking how to promote their service in a creative, guerrilla way. My answer? Sponsor the swag bags at conferences, of course!

A smooth, polished, professional and engaging speaker, Guy Kawasaki rounded out the Bootcamp with "The Mother of All Keynotes." He brought home points from the previous day's panels and inherent facts anyone in the new media space should consider while working in the perpetually entrepreneurial world of business today.