Nick Seguin
Jan
10

entrepreneurship versus starting a business

January 10th, 2011 by Nick Seguin

so i think this topic is going to be the basis of a few

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posts for me. at least, i hope so. please hold me to it.

there’s actually a lot to be said about this. i’m seeing and learning a lot.

the first:

i find it interesting that in a major city i know, there are major universities with ‘entrepreneurship departments ‘. also, there is an independent student organization called

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business builders club‘. what’s in a name? everything.

Nick Seguin
May
27

the consumer story

May 27th, 2010 by Nick Seguin

brand can mean a lot of things to a lot of things to a lot of people these days.

we’re hearings about consumer goods and retail products living and dying based on ‘brand’ as actual product has little true differentiation. we know that consumers have the control – that they dictate what the brand is. we’re also seeing millions of dollars being spent/invested in brand development, strategy and deployment.

Here’s Seth Godin’s definition of brand:

A brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another. ()

i think he’s on to something here. instead of talking about all of the assets and palettes and logo variations and guidelines and taglines and paid representatives and placements that comprise ‘major brands’ and ‘billion dollar brands’… talk about the role of a brand in a story or experience and the outcome because of it.

companies should be telling their consumers’ stories. if a product/good/brand is truly doing its job – if it is serving the customer/client and adding value by enhancing or creating an experience, then telling the consumers’ stories will, by hgh improves speed default, be telling the brand story.

the vids below are examples in a specific industry – spirits – but i think the spots do a great job of telling stories about people. you find yourself understanding them not only in these instances, but imagining the back stories as well as projecting into the future and being able to construct what very well could be. you are thinking about people and experiences and thus the brand evolves from a usage situation into much more. it is a part of a lifestyle, a component in a process, an element in a look, a feel, an atmosphere. the brands assume characteristics of those who have purchased it, or, is it vise versa? the blur is the goal.

what brands should tell your story? what are the brands that, removed from your life, would remove part of your story?

and my very favorite (messaging and execution)

Nick Seguin
May
24

show me the [digital] money

May 24th, 2010 by Nick Seguin

i am notorious for not carrying cash. im not so notorious for not carrying a credit card, but i’d like to be.

over the course of a recent week, i participated in transactions between me and one of my friends (or my bank) in the following ways:

1. – wepay is an uber-convenient web app that “helps groups easily collect, manage and spend money”. i ski every year with friends i lived in europe with. we use wepay to distribute invoices to the group, collect money and pay the chalet.

2. – the rad little contraption that a recent issue of TIME just named one of the top ten inventions of the year. it pops into the top of your [iPhone, iPod touch (2G+), iPad, Nexus One, Motorola Droid, Motorola Droid X, HTC Droid Incredible, HTC Evo, HTC Hero, HTC Desire, Samsung Galaxy S series, and the LG Ally ] and allows you to swipe a credit card and dump straight to your bank account. businesses and individuals are utilizing this and, i think, it’s going to transform retail (and what can be/where retailed). a recent meal with 12 friends rung up on 1 friends credit card, and before we left the table we had all ‘squared up’, signed with our finger and were even.

3. – i am generally not able to get to the bank when it is open. while i know you can deposit checks via ATM these days, i just don’t trust it. my dad taught me to always deposit with a teller. so while this is a digital mechanism (and not a teller) i get an instant response and verification, so im down with it. also, its in an iphone app so it’s extra cool. the already great chase iphone app was significantly enhanced (at least for me) when they began allowing me to snap a picture of my checks and deposit in that manner. saves me a trip!

4. – for some reason, my friend who owed me money didn’t want to use square. so, we opened our iphone paypal apps, were obviously in the same proximity, and ‘bumped’ to transfer. the transfer was immediate, and i proceeded to dump from my paypal into my bank account. a cinch.

12 months ago – this stuff wasn’t happening. what will 6 more months bring? what are people’s expectations on banking and money transfer in general? is the sector prime for upheaval? i tend to think so. im keeping my eye on , who are looking to shake up our notion of an actual bank and atm network, along with a few non-bank mobile-based account groups to enable lower-income individuals to keep and spend money without going through banks.

Nick Seguin
May
21

facebook and privacy

May 21st, 2010 by Nick Seguin

i’ve listened to plenty of people complain recently and have read hundreds of reviews and positions on the topic of privacy and facebook.

my take? grow up. be a big person (tech literate or not) and deal with it. they wrote the code. you are benefiting from that code. you’re not paying anything for the experience. you don’t like it? get out. you’re not competent enough to understand controls or settings? get out.

if enough people leave, they will have rethink or augment their decision process. o, wait, they’re still adding thousands (hundreds of thousands?) of users per day. sorry, you lose.

take responsibility and quit leaning on other people. have expectations of yourself and if you decide to use something for free, stop whining. don’t

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like it? vote with your feet.

Nick Seguin
May
10

execution/killer instinct

May 10th, 2010 by Nick Seguin

im a fan of lebron james. he’s my age, from ohio, and doing pretty well at his job. he’s a physical specimen, what seems to be like a pretty good guy (enter tiger snark here) and some are calling him one of, if not THE, best who ever lived…

except he’s not that last bit. not even close.

lebron has a problem. he’s not alone. plenty of people our age have it. it’s a product of environment and upbringing. it’s a reflection of society.

lebron (maybe the best finisher ever) has a problem finishing things. he has a problem sustaining focus and maintaining intensity across a series. the guy can take it to the rim, get his shot or get a call any Any ANY time he pleases. however, in game 4 he had 18 shots and 7 turnovers.

unacceptable.

game 3 – he owns things. game 4, not so much. he needs to bring his A-game every single night. he needs to finish a series. he may bring up his lack of supporting cast, or the difficulty in sustaining that level of play, but quite simply… i don’t want to hear it. jordan and kobe can do it, so can you. until you decide to, you don’t get to be part of those conversations. your name is scrubbed from those sentences.

i find this pattern with a lot of people my age. our generation has been celebrated at every twist and turn of our lives. medals for trying, ribbons for effort and applause no matter what. guess what – no one cares. we need to champion achievement, period. we’ve bread a culture of mediocrity and entitlement. until you are on top, don’t stop. until you’ve won it all, lebron, you’ve won nothing.

decide to be great. work until you get there. don’t turn it on and off. win, and leave no room for questions.

Nick Seguin
May
07

First 3 days — Kauffman Labs Education Ventures

May 7th, 2010 by Nick Seguin

It’s the Sunday after my first 3 full days at . I’m sitting at the Starbucks on the Plaza, a stone’s throw from my apartment catching up and getting ahead (don’t have internet hooked up in my place yet). After plowing through stuff for 3 hours, wanted to write about the first couple of days at the new gig.

I walked in on Wednesday morning ready for orientation. Man, I should have listened to when he said this place isn’t like any other. After a quick chat with HR and IT to make sure I could swim, and numerous texts from Bo inquiring as to my whereabouts, I headed over to to touch base.

I walked into exactly what I was looking for! 50 ridiculously talented and driven people looking to start companies that will change education. We’re in the middle of the selection process for the next iteration of Kauffman Labs Ventures – 4 month program where we bring in founders and help build companies. The focus of this iteration: education. We’re looking for founders of high-growth, scalable education enterprises.

We had applicants in from all over the country ranging in age from 18-55. These folks were incredibly experienced and credentialed: graduate and post docs from Yale, Harvard, Stanford, Columbia, etc, folks working in the major school districts around the country, people who have started businesses in the past. All of them have great ideas or already existing companies in the education space.

After a few exercises/challenges early in the week, we utilized a format I know and love to continue to evaluate and learn about the group. We ran a . Though they are all experts in education, we asked them to build companies in the food sector. (Startup Weekend COO) was in town to facilitate. Along with Shane, and a bunch of us from Kauffman, we had some friends of the foundation in to help out. That group included entrepreneurship professors, psychologists, entrepreneurs and venture capitalists.

So, while the teams formed, worked and presented, we observed and learned. We got to see how people worked in groups, how they thought, how they led, how they solved problems. In short, we got to interview founders.

What an awesome way to interview, right? I found it a powerful and useful utilization of the Startup Weekend format we’ve refined over the years.

While the companies/ideas were meant for evaluation purposes, any time you bring talented people together, great things happen. Some of the ideas/companies were great! I expect to see a few get started. Per my usual experience at Startup Weeekends, the energy, creativity and collaboration was incredible. It always amazes me how people who don’t know each other can come together and achieve so much in so little time.

The participants got a lot out of the exercise too, I think. While we observed we also coached – refining problem solving and approach constructs.

So, not a bad first few days on the job. It was great to meet everyone and be a part of something so high pace and so productive. Ideas and partnerships emerged and I think it will help the Labs program pull together a great group to launch companies.

Of course, I’ve been keeping up on things at too. Thank you technology for enabling me to do our weekly traffic meeting and stay up on all of our projects. Will be challenging but fun balancing everything.

Nick Seguin
May
03

Kicking off at Kauffman

May 3rd, 2010 by Nick Seguin

I’m beginning a new job at the today. Kauffman is the preeminent entrepreneurship

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foundation in the world. It’s an amazing opportunity.

I’ve moved to Kansas City (where Kauffman is based) and am living right off the . It’s a and I chose it because of access to the Plaza, to many art museums and because I can walk to Kauffman.

I’m remaining a partner at () and look forward to continuing to build and drive our company. dynamit continues to grow at a fast pace and work in partnership with great clients. The experience and perspective I’ve gained in helping start and grow dynamit have certainly positioned me well for my new opportuntity with Kauffman.

The new gig will be fascinating. I’m extremely excited. While I’m not completely positive of what lies ahead, I know there will be tons of travel and untold new ideas and people. I look forward to learning, a lot. I’ll be blogging on a much more consistent basis here, on NickSeguin.com.

See you around!

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Nick Seguin
May
28

what the F*ck is social media? (a year later)

May 28th, 2009 by Nick Seguin

the first preso was fantastic

but the second one, with new perspective and learning, is just great. key point here – not about tools. about behaviors, patterns, psychology… all that good stuff.

Nick Seguin
May
28

What Generation am I?

May 28th, 2009 by Nick Seguin

GI Generation – The Silent Generation – Baby Boomers – Generation X….

to my peers:

I say we just keep killin’ it, & let them define our generation by our results, not by our ‘childhood’ & default uncontrollable environment.

-Nick

Nick Seguin
May
28

when things work without you

May 28th, 2009 by Nick Seguin

you know you’re in the right direction when the founders can be away, and every aspect of the business continues and even grows.

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