Just under five weeks on the road, with a worcation* in Kelowna, British Columbia jammed into week number two, and only one rain shower when I crossed the Colorado River back into Arizona. Intern Jake Hoekstra and I traveled from Phoenix to Vancouver, BC in five days and I returned solo (it was planned that way!), splitting the return drive over six days.
Armed with dozens of Practice Safe CrowdfundingTM t-shirts, we met with entrepreneurs, attorneys, customers, and partners in Santa Monica, LA, Santa Cruz, San Francisco, Palo Alto, San Jose, Seattle, Everett, Vancouver, BC and more on our PSCF tour.
Equity Crowdfunding is still a bit of a secret
While wearing my PSCF t-shirt, someone would inevitably ask, “What is Crowdfunding?” I would immediately ask whether they had heard of Kickstarter or Indiegogo. If no, then I knew I would have to haul out the long version available here <more on Indiegogo here>. If yes, then I would ask if they knew about JOBS Act and equity crowdfunding and take it from there <more about that here>.
On average, not counting Bret and Ben from Indiegogo for obvious reasons, I estimate that about half the people knew about rewards-based crowdfunding but less than a quarter had even heard about equity crowdfunding.
Practice Safe Crowdfunding is achieved with these 5 easy steps:
- Identify your Intellectual Property (IP)
- Protect that IP
- Pick the right crowdfunding platform for your needs
- Build your social capital (this is not an overnight step!)
- Create the pitch (be very careful not to infringe)
Waze = cool app for avoiding traffic (love the crowdsourcing)
Crowdsourcing information is different from Crowdfunding. The Waze app accesses location, speed and other information from your phone but in addition you can earn points for reporting traffic, cars on the side of the road, police speed traps and so on.
The estimated time of arrival and traffic routes are superior to other systems and winning points for miles and updates brings out the competitor in even the mildest mannered Traker. Plus this type of gamification gave us the idea for a cool twist on PSCF so stay tuned.
P.S. Waze does not work on Blackberry so well plus no audio and as solo driver on the way back, had to resort to pulling off the side of the road to use it 🙁
Safe Driving: Books on CDs put me to sleep
Solo on the way back, I thought I would use some of the CDs that we won in the SUCESSS contest to pass the time. Not good, I was nodding off because the voice was oddly soothing.
However phone calls, using the hands-free option, were invigorating and kept me entertained for miles. Although by day six, few Trakers were taking my calls, they did a fabulous job of talking me down the coast. The only challenge was coming up with a great idea and not being able to write it down (or ask the co-pilot because he flew home!). So I would beg whoever was on the phone with me to send me an email or text.
Rear view Mirrors are vastly under-utilized
Not really on the PSCF topic but I have to say that I could have paid for the gas and maybe the hotels if I had a dollar for each person that did not see me in their rear view mirror for miles and miles. I am thinking that maybe next year we should have Practice Safe Crowdfunding bumper stickers based on the number of tailgaters I experienced!
Nothing beats face-to -face meetings
In addition to spending time with new Trakers like Michael and Sam and some of my favorite (related to me) Trakers, Philip and Jake; meeting people for the first time in person was invaluable. It is a cliché that business is about relationships, but it is the truth. Relying on Skype or phone or, even worse, email for a relationship is the equivalent to the long distance relationship, it is not sustainable.
It is well worth the hours of planning to piece these meetings together to sit across from someone and chat about not just business.
Highlights included touring the Indiegogo’s headquarters in San Francisco, Stanford University, Startup Weekend in Seattle, watching Trakers Michael and Jake on the rides in Santa Cruz, listening to Wendy Lea at DocStoc’s entrepreneur series in Santa Monica, meeting fellow entrepreneurs in Vancouver thanks to Joy Case from AnIdeaNation. We truly do build the resources in the IP Cloud on our SUCCEED page through relationships.
Stay tuned for Part II, where I turn in my car keys for a series of boarding passes.
* worcation is defined as working before everyone gets up, limiting calls or Skype to one per day and development/website testing is done at the crack of dawn or after dinner until it’s done. Very fun activities are from mid morning to early evening.