Thursday, July 19, 2018

Jot Your Thoughts

We are all familiar with Field Notes, those rather basic, yet timeless, notebooks in which you can do what the name implies, take notes. Beginning a few years ago, the Field Notes people came out with their own Field Notes Brand Books, the first of which was “A Drive into the Gap” by Kevin Guilfoile. It’s a nice, little, fits-in-your-back-pocket-sized book set against the backdrop of Roberto Clemente’s 3,000th and final hit before his early death, the stories and memories that have created a mystery about which bat Clemente actually used for his historic feat, and the relationship of the author to his father who worked with Clemente while with the Pittsburgh Pirates and eventually had a career with the Baseball Hall of Fame before falling victim to Alzheimer’s. 

This little book caused me to reflect on my own memories and ability to remember. Sometimes it seems that our brains pick and choose at random what they want to retain and discard (or hide from us).

Tuesday, July 10, 2018


American businesses were just getting used to compliance with the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) when, on June 28, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law the 2018 California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). 

The CCPA was passed quickly with little debate after a consumer privacy organization agreed to withdraw a much broader privacy initiative that would have appeared on the November ballot. The law does not go into effect until January 1, 2020 and will likely go through several revisions as efforts are made to amend and clarify this hastily drafted piece of legislation.

CCPA is GDPR-like in the notification and access rights it gives consumers and may become the de facto national standard for how businesses use personal information to market their products and services. New systems, processes, and policies may need to be implemented.

Get ready for even more requests from individuals seeking access to or deletion of their data. 

The same data mapping exercises performed for GDPR regarding personal data processed of EU residents will now have to be performed for Californians.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Enough with the book reviews! Who has time to read?

I’ve been at this for several years now. If you’ve been following along, you know the drill: I read a book, usually something not in any way readily relatable to business or entrepreneurship, and—presto chango—I highlight an entrepreneurial lesson drawn from the text, just like pulling the proverbial rabbit out of the hat.

Sometimes the little voice in my head gently suggests that I might better serve entreVIEW’s readers by zeroing in on books directly relating to building a business. You know, the kind of books with themes like “how I did it, and you can too.” This month, before mentally swatting that thought away, I decided to take action, and this post is the result.

There are lots and lots of good books on or relating to entrepreneurship out there, and I’m betting you can name at least one or two, but at the end of the day most successful entrepreneurs I’ve known have had the same complaint—when do they have time to read? Point taken. 

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Influencer Marketing: Trendy, Effective, and Potentially Deceptive Under Section 5 of the FTC Act

Influencer marketing has become an attractive prospect for companies seeking to advertise to younger generations and social media users.

Today’s consumers have many options to avoid the traditional platforms used by advertisers: streaming music helps consumers avoid radio commercials, streaming television prevents exposure to television commercials, ad blockers help to avoid advertisements online, and upgrade options on media providers such as Hulu, Spotify, and YouTube disable most of the advertising on those platforms. As more consumers are exercising their ability to “turn off” advertisements from their lives, advertisers are perilously trying to adapt.

Here is where the influencer comes in. From the Instagram model to the YouTube star, influencers, or social media users with significant followings on social media, have the unique ability to “influence” their followers. Influencers run the gamut from makeup artists to fitness gurus, from world travelers to gamers. Advertisers have been keen to explore this medium of advertising and are spending millions on influencer marketing each month. Indeed, many influencers can command thousands of dollars per post. 

While influencer marketing may feel like a foreign concept to many, it emerged from the recognizable celebrity endorsement. Social media has made the status of “celebrity” or “public figure” significantly more accessible and those same social media platforms provide a way for influencers to directly engage with their followers. Advertisers, in turn, are happy to provide free products or a sponsorship to influencers in exchange for the influencer featuring the advertiser’s products in their social media posts. For instance, a clothing company may pay an Instagram model to wear their clothing in his social media posts or a video game company may pay a gamer in exchange for reviewing one of their games or DLCs. 

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Instead of a Post About Musicals, How about a Piece of the Brooklyn Bridge?

I was thinking about my recent semiannual musical theatre fanatic trip to NYC and what might be interesting about it to entreVIEW readers. I usually try to find some entrepreneurial hook into the several musicals I see in the course of a brief sojourn (over this past Memorial Day weekend, six musicals in three days). You can judge for yourself whether I’ve successfully done that in my last few post-NYC theatre posts like this one about Ken Davenportthis one about "Ernest Shackleton Loves Me," or this one about "Hamilton" (which, in case you missed it, is coming to the Twin Cities late this summer as part of the Broadway Season presented by Hennepin Theatre Trust, and, in case you were wondering, no, I can’t help you get tickets). 

Anyway, I was trying to find an interesting entrepreneurial hook about Tina Fey, the author of the "Mean Girls" musical, which was one of my favorites this trip and which is up for 12 Tony Awards. Surprisingly, considering how creative and prolific Fey is, I didn’t find anything I thought was all that interesting. Nor did I find anything compelling about Robert Lopez, who wrote the score for my other top-two musical of this trip, Disney’s "Frozen." (Lopez also wrote the scores for a couple of my all-time favorites, “Avenue Q” and “The Book of Mormon.") 

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Timing Matters in the Entrepreneurial Process

For those who did not catch Richard Bennett’s recent insightful blog post, he provided a link to a great article aimed at helping entrepreneurs navigate the “do’s and don’ts” of starting a business. I thought about his post when I came across the article, “When Should Entrepreneurs Write Their Business Plans?” during my weekend reading (yes, I’m an entrepreneurial geek).

Using a 2016 survey of over 1,000 entrepreneurs, researchers Francis J. Greene and Christian Hopp studied the relationship between the timing of certain business tasks and the likelihood of success. Their study found that the probability of launching a successful business not only hinges on whether an entrepreneur undertakes (or does not undertake) certain activities, but at what point in the process such activities take place. 

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Don’t Network. Have Fun.

Since law school, I have known that I do not generally enjoy traditional networking events that involve a large group of people meeting in a ballroom, event space, or bar and chatting over drinks and appetizers. Even putting aside the fact that I am an introvert (despite what others may believe!), I have always felt more engaged and that my time is better spent when either (a) meeting with a small group of people or (b) participating in activity-based networking. In the recent Harvard Business Review article, “Go Ahead, Skip that Networking Event,” David Burkus addresses the latter and explains why many people, introverts and extroverts alike, leave traditional networking events feeling that they have wasted their time. 

As Burkus explains, “…schmoozing at a mixer is far less likely to lead you to a powerful network than jumping into projects, teams, or activities that draw a diverse set of people together. The problem with networking events is that there’s no bigger purpose other than just having conversations with people, and without that bigger purpose—without that high-stakes activity—there’s little incentive to move beyond conversations that make us comfortable.” For many people, this means that a large amount of time spent at a networking event involves talking with people that they already know.