Chicago Events Celebrating International Women’s Day on March 8, 2018

Ladies! This week is a good week to network and meet other amazing, entrepreneurial women in Chicago for International Women’s Day on Thursday, March 8, 2018. I went to a beauty event with the Tulle Project today and as we were introducing ourselves, one women shared the four, yes four jobs she has. Another woman, in awe, noted how ambitious Chicago women are. I wholeheartedly believe that. I encourage you to meet these Chicago girl bosses this week at one of the many Chicago events for International Women’s Day on March 8, 2018. Look for events and opportunities to connect all month long for women’s history month.

Quick note: International Women’s Day theme is #PressForProgess.

Global Strategist Association Event:

The Global Strategists Association is hosting a luncheon in honor of International Women’s Day to discuss opportunities for women of color.

Details:

Time: 10:00 am – 1:00 pm

Location: The DuSable Museum of African American History

RSVP

1871 Event:

1871, a Chicago incubator for startups is hosting a day of workshops and speaking events for women. 1871 is such a great resource that female founded companies like this 3D printing jewelry company, this beauty services company that is now offering company perks to GrubHub, and this designer clothes and accessories startup all used to help grow their business.

This event series has several sessions that you can drop into throughout the day. I’m personally looking forward to the Building Your Company’s Brand Panel Discussion.

Details:

Time: 8 am – 9 pm

Location: 1871, Merchandise Mart

RSVP

SheSays Chicago Event:

SheSays Chicago, a Chicago chapter of a national organization of women in creative fields, is putting together an event with Leo Burnett on Thursday, March 8, 2018 right after work.

I’ve been attending SheSays Chicago events for years and even spoke at one of the panels about networking. You can read about some of my past coverage of their events like Turning Passion into Profit and Networking Advice from Edelman, PR Agency.

There will be a panel discussion.

MODERATOR:

Jessica Papilla, Data Analyst at Leo Burnett

PANEL:

Monika Black, PhD, CPC | Chief Strategy Officer at DyMynd

Kayte Malik, CEO and Co-founder of Dresscode

Beth Sehgal, Global Director of Diversity & Inclusion for A.T. Kearney

Priya Shah, Founder and Executive Director of The Simple Good

Details:

Time: 5:30 – 8:00 pm

Location: Leo Burnett Office

RSVP

Ladies Get Paid Event:

Ladies Get Paid, an organization that helps women achieve their professional goals and get equal pay, is hosting an International Women’s Day event at Ace Bounce. This looks like a causal event to get drinks and meet other professional women.

Details:

Time: 5:30-7:30 pm

Location: Ace Bounce

RSVP

WeWork Kenzie Event:

WeWork Kinzie is hosting an International Women’s Day workshop for freelancers and female entrepreneurs. Over 150 people have signed up for this event. In this workshop, speakers will present four topics: (a) finding the courage to lead, (b) the foundations of entrepreneurship, (c) a woman’s story of finding her purpose, and (d) establishing a position of influence in a competitive industry.

Details:

Time: 6:00-9:00 pm

Location: WeWork Kinzie

RSVP ($20)

She Means Business Event:

She Means Business will be presenting a panel discussion and gender equality and female leadership in the workplace.

The Panelists:

• Naima Prince, Expert Budget and Financial Analyst at GSA

• Lindsey Branding, Controller at Hireology

• Colleen Wilson, Founder & CEO of Collaborate Chicago

• Holly Glowaty, Co-Founder at K+H Connection and Founding Co-Producer at Flourish

• Katharine Hebenstreit, President & COO at Link Capital

Details:

Time: 5:30-8:00 pm

Location: Topstep Trader

RSVP

Edgewater Chamber of Commerce:

If drinks aren’t enough for you, the Edgewater Chamber of Commerce is hosting a dinner crawl. Get all the savory details below!

Time: 5 pm

Location: Edgewater, over 10 restaurants

RSVP

Conclusion:

I hope to see you at one of the Chicago events for International Women’s Day or you can join the conversation online using the hashtag: #PressForProgress.

How do you build a professional community in Chicago? Tag me on Twitter or Instagram @windycitycosmo.

Amanda Elliott is a writer and speaker and a relationship builder. She believes that meeting people in person is important. After attending numerous fashion, startup, and creative events, she founded Windy City Cosmo is 2015 to help people make connections in the city as they build their businesses, start and end relationships and see and be seen. Over the past three years, the entrepreneurs she’s interviewed have become the most successful in Chicago and Windy City Cosmo won an award in 2017 for her work for female entrepreneurs.

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Chicago Women Talk Social Media, Charging Clients, and Why They Pursued Entrepreneurship

Six female entrepreneurs shared their stories of success at Kristin Ford’s first LevelUp – Building a Stronger Her event at The Frontier in Chicago, IL in October 2017. 

This was better than a Forbes article – it was the real women – all young, all successful, all entrepreneurs sharing their stories about how they – well, how they got terribly ill, how they were under-resourced, how they were deemed too young, how they failed and how, despite all of those things, they made it. They built the businesses they said they were going to build. And some went on to build more businesses.

Kristin Ford, a successful entrepreneur, who has extensive work coordinating and running events for Nike Inc., and then in LA where she’s assisted with big events like LA Fashion Week and movie premiers, decided to break out on her own and start a company.

For her first event, she gathered strong, female entrepreneurs for a ladies brunch in Chicago at The Frontier in October 2017.

After a mimosa and some of the freshest and decadent food, including beignets, we all gathered to hear from these six women.

By the end of the luncheon, the bartender turned to me and told me about his dream to start his own company.

Female Entrepreneur Panelists:

Samantha Frontera- A former morning news producer at KQTV and television news reporter at WFFT-TV, Samantha didn’t want to be told she wasn’t good enough every day. She decided to take her talent and build her own PR company, Exclusive PR. Windy City Cosmo has worked with her agency on several occasions including this female entrepreneurship story and this Grateful4Her campaign. 

Chrishon Lampley – Despite several setbacks, Chrishon followed her passion for wine and in 2013 founded Love Cork Screw wines. She also has six wine scented candles in Target. As she’s built her brand with 20,000+ social media followers, she’s been recognized for her brand. Chrishon was awarded Fifth Third Bank’s Entrepreneur of the Year and is a tastemaker for Mariano’s. 

Chrishon Lampley, a sommelier who founded Love Cork Screw in 2013 and partners with grocery store chain, Mariano’s. Photo: Love Cork Screw

Chiara Graham – Chiara believes in creating a lifestyle with multiple forms of revenue.  She is the co-owner of Graham Financial Mall. She is also a realtor in Atlanta at Keller Williams. On top of that, she founded iGoalDig, where she helps others become an entrepreneur and tap into their passion. From Chicago, Chiara now resides in Atlanta.

Theresa Siaw – Theresa is a serial entrepreneur. She is currently directing Omni Healthcare, a multi-location Chicago health clinic for the underserved. One of the projects at the  Omni Healthcare Division Street location is to launch a program to reintegrate former gang members back into the Humboldt Park community in a positive, productive way. You can read about one of their back to school initiatives here. 

Theresa Siaw, Chicago Entrepreneur in the healthcare sector. Photo: Omni Healthcare

Dominique El Jones – She is Miss. Illinois United States 2016. She is also a project engineer at Reed Construction.

Jessica Zweig Fisher – Jessica is one of Inc. Magazine’s  top digital marketers to watch in 2017. She founded SimplyBe Agency where she does content development and content growth and much more. Prior to that, she built Chicago’s largest magazine for women.

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THIS IS A PVA: (Positive vibes announcement) Yesterday, my team and I went out for cocktails at @thechicagodelta for a Friday happy hour. (My new favorite bar in Chicago, PS.) The guy who sat us was named Eddie, and as he passed out our menus and filled our water glasses, he casually asked us how we were all doing. "Great, thanks. You?", we casually replied. His response: "Living the dream. I get to wake up every day, breathe, live this life, work this job, be in this cool city, hang around new people all the time. Living my best life." He meant every word of it, I could feel it. It wasn't cheesy, it was 100% sincere, and it shell shocked me. It made me super present to the language I use when describing how I am. It reminded me that we can ALL "live the dream," in any moment, of any day, no matter what it is we think we are chasing. The fact that we get to wake up to a life that let's us breathe, connect, work, do and meet people like Eddie IS the dream. So next time someone asks you "how are you doing?," consider that your answer could change someone's entire perspective, and that genuine positive vibes are not only effective, they are essential. Happy Saturday, guys. 💛✌🏼#positivevibes #livingthedream . . . . . . . . #liveyourdreams #followyourdreams #liveyourbestlife #spreadlove #kindnessmatters #positivevibesonly #vibes #vibesdontlie #youareloved #sincere #ootd #stylesaturday #styleinspo #igstyle #connection #girlboss #bossbabe #ladyboss #dreamteam #dreamwork #hustlehard #bareyoursoul #realtalk💯 #happysaturday #saturdayvibes

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What made you take the leap into entrepreneurship?

“Entrepreneurship was always in me,” Chrishon Lampley. 

“I think I got turned down a lot of times in the job market. I started my own business. It was very hard to get my first client. I saw a check for $5 one time. I loved being my own boss. I started with one employee and now we have 20. Everyone has it in them – you have to find your own passion and what you’re good at,” Theresa Siaw.

“Right now I still work for a corporation. I think it’s important to understand your own goals. Yes, you’re working for someone else but it’s going to benefit you. Never lose your dream while serving someone else’s dream.  I started my first company when I was 26,” Chiara Graham.

“I did what a lot of entrepreneurs did – I solved my problems. I launched Cheeky Chicago,” Jessica Zweig Fisher.

“I feel like I fell into being an entrepreneur. I was a broadcaster and it’s not glamorous. In small markets, you don’t have your family and the women are very competitive. I didn’t love going into the cornfield and hearing I wasn’t good enough for the news director. I worked at an agency who fired everyone a week before Christmas…Someone just said, ‘why don’t you try to do this and go for this?’ Having that one person who believes in you, helps you take that step forward,” Samantha Frontera. 

When Do I Start Charging Clients? And When Do I Start Charging Them More?

“Money. I have none. It has to move off the shelf. And consistently move off the shelf. You always have to feed profits back into your business,” Chrishon Lampley. 

“When I started iGoalDig, it was just a t-shirt line. I wasn’t charging people for picking my brain and for consultations. I was talking to strangers for 30 min. I realize the value of just talking. Everything costs. Someone asked if I can sit down with a stranger about business. I thought, ‘You want to have lunch? You have to pay,'” Chiara Graham. 

“A year ago a couple came to me who owned a restaurant. Again, my company is a re-launch. So, I was willing to take smaller clients…Now, people try to low ball me, I just say ‘no.’ Know you’re worth. It’s okay to have a lower price contract, but once you have several case studies, you need to keep going,” Samantha Frontera. 

“When you feel that fear rise up that you’re going to ask for more money than you’re used to, lean into that,” Jessica Zweig Fisher.

Social Media is All About Me: A Wake-Up Call to Turning Likes Into Dollars:

“People aren’t picking up magazines like they use to. They’re looking at Facebook. Tell people to like your Facebook page,” Chrishon Lampley.

“Social Media is no longer social media, it’s the Internet. I’m in branding. They don’t call it ‘talk media.’ They call it social media because it’s about socializing. You want to inspire, entertain,” Jessica Zweig Fisher. 

She encouraged everyone to read, “Jab, Jab, Jab Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World.” As a branding expert, Jessica shared that people don’t really care about you, it’s more effective when your social media comes from a place of service or value.

Resources to Pursue Entrepreneurship:

This LevelUp luncheon addressed several questions, but one of the main ones is how to start a business. We all have ideas. We all wish that things existed that don’t. But, there’s only a select few that pursue their dreams every single day. So, how do you get started?

I encourage everyone to take these three steps:

  1. Find a group: there are so many female groups and resources out there to help you get started and to introduce you to the people you need to know. There are these professional networking groups and then there are groups like Ms. Tech, SheSays Chicago, and pop-up events like this panelist discussion: Chicago Female Entrepreneurs and ArcLight Partner to Discuss ‘Joy’. Get to know the women who are raising over $1 million for their startups or those who are building their empire in Chicago. We all need people to bounce ideas off of, learn from, and encourage us on the journey.
  2. Write down your goals. Write out your ideas. And put them into a business plan. Do some research about the industry. Find out how you can make a profit. Think about how much money you will need. Consider how you will bootstrap or raise money.
  3. Start. After you have thought about everything that could go wrong – the money you don’t have, the knowledge you don’t have and every other fear or doubt – start, despite it all. Don’t quit your job. Don’t do something irrational. But where you are right now, you can start working on your passion.  

 

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Product Development Powered By Social: Chicago Social Media Professionals Panel

We get it – you know what social media is. But do you know how to test products and build interest in a company using social media? That’s part of what product managers do.

You can produce content all day long – but if no one is looking at it or interacting with it – then you’re kind of just talking (to yourself).

We know you’re a girl boss who wants to build her brand and empire – so there’s help. Taylor Gaines, Chief Executive Officer at T&T Digital Media Agency, started networking classes once a month. Her current series, Powered by Social Media (R) brings together digital media experts to discuss how social media is changing the landscape not only in marketing but business in general.

Powered by Social Media touches on topics from search marketing to cyber security to highlight differences, overlap, and trends in every area of the online world and how it can be applied to everyday decisions.

In their April Powered by Social Media event, the topic was Product Development Powered by Social Media. Digital experts gathered at Breather in the West Loop for the panel discussion.

The Gist:

Yes, product managers do mock feature releases. Yes, it really is all about the money – if you don’t have revenue, you can’t keep developing your product. And finally, message boards and feedback can make or break product development, but also knowing what your product is intended for and if people are using it as intended is imperative. The right people need to be testing the right products.

“Just because someone doesn’t like x,y,z maybe they are not the right fit for your product,” one of the panelists said.

Read below for more detailed answers from the product development panel discussion.

The Product Development Panelists:

Heather Campos is a Senior Manager of Digital at Brandmuscle. Campos oversees digital marketing strategy and solutions for spirits, wine, food, and hospitality clients.

Chris Kelson, MBA, is a Global Product Manager, IoT & Connected Home, at Whirlpool Corporation. Kelson is a graduate of the United States Naval Academy and a Masters in Business Administration from Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University.

Colleen Wilson, MBA, is the Founder & CEO of Collaborate Chicago – a product strategy and product marketing consulting firm. Wilson has 12 years of financial services, fintech, and SaaS product leadership experience. Most recently Colleen led product strategy and product marketing for the small-business lending platform Square Capital, turning it into the fastest growing product at Square.

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Amanda Elliott, Founder of Windy City Cosmo with panelist Colleen Wilson, Founder and CEO of Collaborate Chicago at the Product Development Powered by Social Media event in April 2017.

Social Media Conversation with Product Managers:

In an hour panel discussion, these product managers answered questions by Gaines that helped social media experts understand more about how product developers leverage social media to test products and how end users engage with their brands.

Question: How does social media affect what you’re doing?

“I work with a Fortune 500 companies that have local entities. They are looking for ways to break through,” Campos shared, “For independent retailers – 9 times out of 10 don’t know how to market themselves. Then we’ll do audits and pull up the responsiveness of their site or their Google maps. Some people post one star, and that can kill you.”

The Product Development Process:

“We will take any data we have access to, and then within 2 weeks, we’ll spin off a lean product and see if we have any bites. That would take anywhere from 4-12 weeks. When you’re rolling out to 5k users it’s a little different than 200,” one of the panelists described.

“It’s very easy to have analysis paralysis. You don’t want to handicap yourself and never take action. Ask yourself, is there a huge regularity constraint that you need to consider?”

“When you have more users, it’s faster. If you see a product selling, you can literally test anything. The more users you have, the more a/b testing you can do.”

“We do fake lead pages. I want to see if people want it. Are they enticed by the tagline and the product?”

Question: Do product developers utilize emerging technology?

“AI is huge. Budweiser just integrated AI into age drinking,” Campos shares, “I work in Alcohol/Beverage, there are 15 documents that you have to look to. There are lots of things that you can’t say online.”

Question: How closely do you work with other departments?

“In tech organizations, product manager, engineering manager and UX designer. At Square, we had a product marketing person, too,” Wilson shares, “Product marketing is how you tell the world about your product.”

“We monitor social to get personas from them, then we look at Open Table and Yelp for the bar industry – based on user personas, we determine who is going to use the product and how,” Campos shared.

Automated Responses (Twitter DMs, etc.):

One of the bigger discussions of the night was whether to automate responses or respond personally.

“If you have an auto DM – save a customer by not using auto responders. If it’s your company, then turn your notifications on and answer. It’s the hustle,” an audience member shared.

“AI is intelligent enough to get the tone and emoji right,” a panelist added.

One of the audience members shared that the CEO of Amazon – social media is used to start conversations. No one said they wanted Prime, but they created it. So, how do you know if they need the product?

The panelists shared that you can’t create pain points – they need to exist. They [customers] don’t know they need Prime, but they know that they want to get a product in a week.

Question: Where are there unmet pain points?

Panelists agreed that social media is a necessary evil – people will BITCH about things that they will never say about to you to your face. That’s their job.

Take a look at Powered by Social’s previous events below.

Want to be part of this exclusive monthly social media mixer? Email Taylor Gaines at taylor@tntdigital.media.

Do you organize social media, blogging, or marketing events in Chicago? Email Amanda at windycitycosmo@gmail.com if you would like Windy City Cosmo to cover your event.

Happy networking and learning!

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Using Social Media to Build Your Brand and Gain Sales

There’s a lot of people addicted to social media or taking vacations from it. But, with any tool, it can be used to make a profit or be used to waste time or just not used at all.

Windy City Cosmo sat down with Nicole Smartt, author of “From Receptionist to Boss: Real-Life Advice for Getting Ahead At Work” (www.nicolesmartt.com). She is the  co-owner and vice president of Star Staffing in Petaluma, Calif. She also is co-founder of the Petaluma Young Professionals Network and was the youngest recipient of the “Forty Under 40” award given by the North Bay Business Journal.

We caught up about social media and how to power our personal branding to reach sales goals.

Windy City Cosmo: With social media it’s a lot more difficult to actually get likes than it is to simply use. For instance, a photo put on a wildly followed site will have more likes/comments than the same photo placed on another account. So, following is important. How do you build a following? 

 

Nicole Smartt: Building a following on social media is important. Start by engaging with your current followers. This can be done by daily interactions, a friendly hi, a shared article you think they may like, or commenting on their posts. It’s always about quality over quantity. Many social media pros have a huge following but when you look deeper into their account, you’ll notice they don’t have many comments, likes, or interactions. Be personable and engage with your audience. If on Twitter, join Twitter chats and dive in, not only commenting, but also providing answers. And interact with other chat members. On LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram, comment on posts. This allows other users to see you and you’ll pick up more followers.

 

Windy City Cosmo: How do you maintain a following? Once you have 1k plus followers, like Windy City Cosmo, how do you keep your followers engaged. You can’t like 1k photos everyday. 

 

Nicole Smartt:  I post about 70% original content and 30% shared content to keep my followers engaged. I review my Twitter analytics to make sure I’m attracting the right audience so that I can keep them engaged. Understanding your audience is key to your online success. Schedule tweets throughout the day with valuable content and also take time to be on those platforms each day dedicating human interaction to the platform.

 

Windy City Cosmo: What is a brand and how do you start to build one? Are their certain components or platforms that you need to be on to create your brand?  

 

Nicole Smartt:  Your brand is what people think of when your name or product is mentioned. You want to be where your customers are. If they’re on social media, then you need to be on those platforms too. In a field like mine, staffing, a vast majority of my connections utilize LinkedIn regularly. If you’re in tech, Twitter or Google+ may be where your peers live. For wineries and product-based companies, Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest are solid platforms. Use analytics to see where your audience “lives” and make sure you have a strong presence in those places.

 

Windy City Cosmo: There are a lot of lifestyle brands out there that are all encompassing. How do you make sure there is enough of a focus even though you cover a lot of topics? 

 Nicole Smartt: I have many clients who come from a wide array of fields and industries. On a given day, I may share content about the wine industry in northern California, knowing my wine clients will enjoy it. On another day, I may share information about manufacturing trends in the United States for my industrial clients. Sometimes I share data about jobs for my candidates. But there’s something that ties it all together—my desire to help companies and individuals improve their business prospects. So my brand is very consistent, though topics vary.

 

Windy City Cosmo: Getting people to like your photos or tweets is one thing. How you transition to influence your followers to go to an event or subscribe to your newsletter is another. What are some steps people can take to facilitate sign-ups? 

 

Nicole Smartt:  You influence followers by being personable, trustworthy, and consistent in your content creation. Once your followers trust and believe in you, they are willing to subscribe, purchase, or attend an event.

 

 

 

Amanda Elliott is a writer and speaker and a relationship builder. She believes that meeting people in person is important. After attending numerous fashion, startup, and creative events, she founded Windy City Cosmo is 2015 to help people make connections in the city as they build their businesses, start and end relationships and see and be seen. Over the past three years, the entrepreneurs she’s interviewed have become the most successful in Chicago and Windy City Cosmo won an award in 2017 for her work for female entrepreneurs.

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Facebook is a Lame Dinner Party: Where Are The Cool Kids?

I can’t think of a worst way to spend the past weekend than deleting pictures on Facebook from 2008.

But that’s what Justin Romano, co-founder of Backspace, a new social app, did when he was job hunting as a recent graduate.

“[From] 8:00 am to 8:00 pm [I was] deleting content on a Friday,” Romano said, “Nothing is relevant. It doesn’t reflect who I am today.”

After going through the process, there was that one question lingering in his mind,

“Why isn’t there a full social network where content completely deletes by default?”

I, too feel inundated with content.

It’s so easy to take a photo. To write a note. To send a text. To create content.

In the one month I have had my iPhone (more on that later), I generated over 2,000 photos.

Two Thousand!

Granted I went to Paris Fashion Week, and I am a lifestyle blogger. But after sifting through all of those photos, I realized I don’t want to remember who I danced with on Friday night or  how long it took me to make brunch plans.

It’s not relevant.

And that’s what a new messaging app, Backspace, is aiming to do—keep content relevant.

Disappearing Content: The Power of

The tagline for Backspace is “experience social freedom.”

The concept of the social app is relevancy. And, it’s a concept that a lot of social media networks are aware of. Twitter has the “top” and “live” tabs for hashtag searches, and Instagram is about to join the game, by rearranging profile content from reverse chronological order to a new metric “based on the likelihood you’ll be interested in the content, your relationship with the person posting and the timeliness of the post,” reports TechCrunch. 

User Discovery:

When you join the iPhone social app, you create a profile and discover the top 10 influencers on Backspace. So, you immediately see what and who is trending.

Content Disappears Based on Popularity:

With each content you post—a photo, a video, or a quote—your content is on a clock and will automatically disappear in 24 hours.

But, there’s a catch. You can add time to your content based on the number of “likes” you receive.

The longer your content lasts, the more influence you receive. While your content disappears, your influence builds.

The longest your messages will last is a weekend.

So, you could enjoy spring break while you are on spring break, but you wouldn’t have to do damage control later by deleting your messages later.

“In 2014, 51 percent of employers have not hired someone based on content online,” said Romano, quoting a  CareerBuilder survey, “It doesn’t sound like a big deal but it is.”

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Meet the Co-Founders:

I felt like I met Mark Zuckerberg when I met these guys, co-founders Justin Romano and Matthew Harris.

They were passionate, they were laid back, but most importantly there were on to something.

They were cute in that they look out for each other. I scheduled a meeting with Romano after meeting him at Bloggers Meet Startups. When our meeting began, the coffee shop, Fabcakes, closed. So, we moved location to his office, the shared workspace, Industrious Chicago (320 W Ohio St #3w) , where I could see a true Chicago startup working.

Everyday, these guys are testing their messaging app, Backspace, to improve it. When I walked into their office, Harris was on his iPhone with the developer, who is working remotely from Austin, TX, fixing a bug.

 

 

He smiled, and joined our conversation. I could see the passion and dedication, but also how effortlessly they made the startup business look.

“Statistically we are going to fail,” Romano looked at me, “Everyone wants to be the next Mark Zuckerberg.”

The Story Behind the App: Remember AIM?

There are essentially four people building an app to change the way we create and consume content. It’s not that the Backspace team invented the wheel, they are just perfecting it.

The iPhone messaging app’s competitor is Snapchat, the mother of disappearing content, and of course Instagram and other social media apps – because where the people are is where tech goes.

Think about it, if you can’t share content with the people who you want to receive the message, then why would you share the content?

“Backspace will fill a void,” Romano said,

“AIM was the sh** but you couldn’t find anyone new. You had to type in a username exactly.”

This is similar to how Snapchat works, you have to use other social networks and social media apps to tell people who you are on Snapchat. There’s no search function within the messaging app unless you have their phone number. Most people change their profile picture to the Snapchat image. But, it’s more complicated than that, because even if they are on Snapchat, you have to type in the name exactly for it to appear.

Unless you’re Kylie Jenner, where you can just type it “kylizzle” and the rest of her name will autofill to the full “kylizzlemynizzl”, you have to remember every “z” to find the person you want to follow.

P.S. if you are looking for friends on Snapchat, these are my faves.

“Snapchat is the AIM,” said co-founder Harris, “The next step is you need disappearing content, but you need to find people.”

And that’s what the co-founders of Backspace are working on—the next step.

The Data Research to Make a Messaging App

Backspace began like most startups do, with a problem that they wanted to solve.

That problem is that things you post on the internet will last forever.

In April 2014, Romano and Harris started surveying people and a year later, in April 2015, they built the social app, Backspace.

For research, Romano looked to research firms, CareerBuilder, and universities.

Facebook is a Lame Dinner Party:

They surveyed people from ages 13-35, starting with people they knew and then attending career days and scheduling high school visits.

“They have a Facebook, but they don’t use it,” Romano recalls a recent survey at a business class at a Chicago University, “They compare it to a lame dinner party. You go there to see your family. Twitter is a noisy bar. Instagram is an over glorified part of your life.”

 

While Romano calls these social media platforms “household names,” he says that he waits to hear feedback about Snapchat because it is different and the majority of the people in their target market are on it.

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Surprisingly, when the Backspace co-founders asked a class at Illinois State University in Bloomington, only 25 percent liked Snapchat.

Among the most negative aspects for Snapchat was the discovery and interaction aspect. You can have influence, but it’s like a secret society, unless you are invited, you don’t have access to someone’s Snapchat.

Currently, Backspace messaging app is in beta and available for download on iOS only.

The messaging app for iPhone has over a thousand users.

feature image photo credit: Blonde & Blonder via photopin (license)

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