About Kate


I’m a scrappy, southern marketer loving the west coast and all things related to branding, marketing, startups, mobile, and technology. Art, music, and pop culture fuel me. I love Twitter, finding viral videos first, dresses, and design thinking. See what inspires mehere and please reach out and say “hi!”

Anything written in this blog is strictly my opinion and not the opinion of my employer.


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When to Quit

I recently received a phone call from an entrepreneur who was trying to decide whether or not to lay his startup to rest.  It was a challenging yet therapeutic call for me.  Having made the decision to close my first startup five months ago, I felt his pain.  It also brought to surface my feelings of "what if" and the pain of turning away from a project that took so much of my heart, time, and money. 

So the question is, when do you quit?

For me, deciding to close felt like an agonizing and long process, but in reality it happened in a matter of weeks.  The economy was going south.  I had a technology deal go south as well, and I was out of money.  I had risked all that I was willing to risk in terms of time, money, and energy, and I was exhausted.

As we all know, the numbers and assumptions hold the answer.  With the collapse of the technology deal and a cold investor climate, I knew that the end was near, as it would be at least six more months before the business was out of the red.  In order to make the final decision, I brought in consultants to go over the big picture and numbers with me and to see if they saw something I didn't.  Years ago, I heard that if more than three advisors tell you "stop" that you really should stop.  I wanted plenty of confirmation, and I got it... even from supporters that had been following me for years.

Failure is a difficult thing that doesn't get any easier with age.  I think it's important for entrepreneurs to know when to quit, and to stay very concious of the fact that startups are high risk and that things can change quickly.  It's important to control risk, and to protect our stress levels as much as possible, so that we stay on top of the game.  You also have to trust that you will continue your entrepreneurial spirit, if it's at the core of your being.  You just need time to appreciate the lessons you learn and to save energy for the next one.


Why do you need a video presence online?

Ksenia Oustiougova, CEO of Lilipip, wrote this awesome article several weeks ago. If you're thinking of creating an online video, but you're not sure why, how,or what to do with it, read this article.  We had a great time at our Online Video Roundtable event yesterday, and I'll share some of Ksenia's tips for creating your own online videos soon.

For now here's her latest article:

Why You Need a Video Presence Online
By Ksenia Oustiougova

Everyone seems to be looking for fast, inexpensive, quality video marketing. According to Dr. Silvia Pfeiffer, Vquence’s CEO and former CSIRO research scientist: “A video is 50 times more likely to rank on the first page of Google search results than any other content. It is therefore imperative for every product, brand, and marketing campaign to have a social video element.” What do you need to do to join the frenzy?

First, change your website’s main landing page from text to video (but don't forget to keep all other text as text and not images to still allow Google and other search engines to crawl it to get you more traffic):

  • Information presented in text is correctly recalled by only 8% viewers, where as same information presented in a graphic animation is recalled by the whooping 65%.

  • It takes your web site visitors only 0.3 seconds to decide whether to stay or leave (compared to 4 seconds 4 years ago). With video, it increases from 15 seconds up to 1 minute, if the video content is holding their attention.

  • Keep your video to 1 minute long max, we do not recommend having a video longer than 2 minutes. People have short attention spans nowadays. Also, don't forget to let people know how long the video is, indicating it on the player - 20 minute long presentations will scare them off and cause them to leave. If you absolutely need to get information across in 20 minutes, consider making a 1 minute "teaser trailer" about it to get them to watch the whole thing.

Second, share your video on Social Networking Sites (and that is entirely free, although it does take up your time at the beginning):

  • If you haven’t done so yet, you’ve got to jump the wagon and joinTwitter(we assume you are already onFacebookandLinkedIn).

  • Follow us on Twitterfor daily dozes of selected animated marketing videos, or simply for your inspiration.

  • Post your video at least onYouTubeandVimeo(there are dozens more sites, but these tend to have the most focused audience). In 2008 search engines were responsible for 11.18% of all video referrals, followed by social networks with a 3.66% share of all referrals.

  • Tag your videos with up to 20 keywords that your prospects are likely to search for.

Third, update your video to a new one at least once in 3-6 months (or, depending on your business, it might be every month or once every year):

  • Market changes constantly, and you’ve got to continue the conversation with your prospects before they’re bored again.

  • Research shows that people forget about your brand if you haven’t updated them with new information in 3 months.

  • Depending on the size of your business, you might want to create "internal" videos to let everyone in your department know exactly what it is they are working on - and help boost the overall business and brand understanding with each product release.

We hope this article will be helpful to you in deciding whether or not your particular company needs an online video presence.




Let's Talk about Social Media.

Most of us are using a combination of LinkedIn, Facebook, Biznik and Twitter to do this. Is it working? How could we be more effective?  Can these platforms lead to sales?  Partnerships?

Ksenia, CEO of Lilipip, and I are interested in discussing social media with other entrepreneurs, so we've organized a Social Media Roundtable.

At this roundtable discussion, we'll discuss our efforts and successes in using these tools. We'll put our heads together and share our experiences to learn what's working and how. If you're an entrepreneur embracing social media, join us!  You can read more about this event and RSVP on Biznik.

When: Thursday, May 7 10:00 AM to 11:30 AM


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We're also having an Online Video Roundtable this Thursday, April 30 from 4p-6p.  If you are thinking of creating an online video to market your product, this is the meet up for you. We'll give you tips on creating your own videos, avoiding editing nightmares, and help you choose between animation and video.


New Directions

As entrepreneurs, we rarely take the time to stop, and if we do stop, it's not without checking our Blackberrys every ten minutes.  Earlier this month I went on my first "no technology" trip in 6 years!  I traveled through Tunisia, riding camels in the Sahara (Douz) and bargaining with rug dealers in Kairouan. 



This trip was perfect timing.  Five months before, I made the decision to close my first startup, TheSecretIngredients.com.  These last five months have been a mixture of freedom, sadness, curiosity, relaxation, worry and excitement, and this trip helped me with the process to move on to my next phase.

This phase that I'm beginning is going to be busy, but not in the same ways that Secret Ingredients was.  I will continue my consulting work, helping businesses embrace social media and grow their brands through websites.  I have also accepted the position of Director of Sales & Marketing at Lilipip! Studios, a company that specializes in doing cheap, fast, and outstanding (yes, all three) animated marketing videos.  I have also launched a market test for a new startup, GetYourChick.com where men can ask their dating questions to a panel of women.

Over the next several months, I will be performing some marketing tests through all of these endeavors, and I will share the results with you. In the meantime, feel free to ping me if you're in Seattle and want to talk about marketing, video, dating, social media, or anything else!



Social Networking Etiquette & Tips: Facebook

As I mentioned in my Social Networking Cocktail for Entrepreneurs, Facebook is an important tool that you can use to connect with your professional and personal networks . Because you are connecting to old high school friends and business colleagues through the same profile, it can be a little tricky. In this article, we'll discuss Facebook etiquette, and how to connect with everyone you know without experiencing an embarrassing "incident" (aka unfortunate wall post).

FaceBook Etiquette

When using Facebook, "The Goal" is to stay connected with your contacts, both personal and professional, and to give your friends a glimpse into your personality and life while keeping your professional class and cool.

  • Your Profile-

    • Photos- Yes, it's true that Facebook is more casual than LinkedIn; however, it's a good idea to choose a pretty neutral photo for your main profile pic. Stay away from photos of drinking beer with the boys or partying it up with the neighbors at last year's 4th of July picnic. As a matter of fact, I wouldn't upload these photos to your profile at all.

      Photos with the spouse and kids are fine. They show that you're family-oriented and responsible. Avoid using photos that question your character. Also, friends may tag you in photos that they have uploaded. Visitors to your profile will be able to see these, so please feel free to remove your tag on these photos. It's not rude.

    • Personal Info- Topics that can become awkward at a dinner table can also be awkward online. I suggest leaving Relationship Status, Political Views and Religious Views blank, unless these are very important to your work and you. Remember that Facebook announces any changes you make to these fields to your entire network.
  • Adding Friends- Be careful who you add to your network. I believe in quality over quantity, so I only add people that I know well. I'll consider adding someone I don't know well, if I want to build a business relationship with them.

    This may sound cold, but be weary of adding family members- especially parents. The same common sense applies when choosing not to live next door to your parents. You don't want them to have instant access to your life. The last thing you need is "remember when" or "where are you" comments left on your profile!
  • Status Updates- It's very easy to get carried away with Status updates. They make us feel cool, hip, and proud of ourselves. Don't post anything that you wouldn't say in a conversation with a business contact. Asking questions is fine, as is telling people small snippets about your life. Just keep the tone positive. (See Facebook Don'ts below.)
  • Writing on Walls- If you need to catch up with someone, it's better to do this by sending them a message than to post full life updates on their wall. Also remember that inside jokes are fun, but can leave a weird impression online.
  • Posting Content- Articles and links should compliment your professional expertise and some of your personal interests.  Viral videos are often funny, but send those via email instead of posting them for your entire network.  What you think is funny may be considered inappropriate to someone else.

Facebook Do's

  • Ask questions through your Wall/Status. Examples: iPhone or Blackberry? Wordpress or Blogger?
  • If testing a market or idea, ask your network for feedback on your Wall.
  • If you're launching a new product or business, tell your network and ask them to spread the word. Just don't do this too often.
  • If your website or product is doing well and is established, add a Facebook page.

Facebook Don'ts

  • Drop the sarcasm and ego. (Social networking has a tendency to bring these out!)
  • No swearing or sexual content.
  • No finger pointing or angry words.
  • Do not use Facebook under the influence! You'll regret it.
  • If you wouldn't say it in front of your momma, don't type it.
  • If you wouldn't say it to a business colleague, don't share it.