Why should early stage startups invest in their brand?

Branding supports internal management.

— Forces management to articulate, plan, and manage the goals of the organization.
— Provides an honest, charismatic, and executable identity to unify a company’s purpose.
— Creates a channel for expressing a company’s core values, business methods, and company mission.
— Forces research into audience.  Encourages a focused company, product, and communications strategy.

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Mt. Shasta Packing List

Yes, all this gear fits in that backpack.
Yes, all this gear fits in that backpack.

This weekend, I’m hiking up Mt. Shasta with a couple of friends.  This will be one of my friend’s first winter mountaineering ascents, so I wrote up an email with a detailed packing list. Here it is:

Hey, I’m finally getting around to sorting my gear and wanted to send you some infos just so that you’ve got another perspective on the gear required. My general philosophy is going to be “bring lots, leave some in the car.” It will allow for changing conditions before we start. Also, there’s a balance between extra layers, backups, and taking as little as possible. Just know that this list is going to err toward taking extra layers. With the conditions looking fairly mild, I’ll plan on ditching some things.

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Global Value Chains and Catvocacy: Making progress toward solid slumber and international prosperity, one Smoochums at a time.

Globalized economies impose on many industries a variety of opportunities and obstacles. Efficiencies created by the global resource market, both resources from which to create products as well as the global demand for such products, have challenged acceptable business models throughout the world. However, the development of an industry that uniquely leverages the strengths of both a globalized economy and stimulates the development of strong, multi-faceted local economies might inspire world-wide economic development with fewer negative externalities than an effort to adapt an existing industry to global competition. With that goal in mind, I strongly advocate the adoption of domestic cats as night-time head support systems and intend in the following paragraphs to demonstrate the viability of the product model and describe some ways in which an industry oriented toward the development and implementation of cat pillows might participate in local and global economies.

Feline Nightime Head Support System
Feline Nightime Head Support System

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Short: Hyperlapse and Making Data Beautiful.

I found Teehan+Lax LabsGoogle Street View Hyperlapse project today and was inspired to think a little bit about the data we’re collecting in this Big Data era.  It’s so often seen simply as an ineffably large database that requires obscene technical skills to understand and utilize.  But the Hyperlapse project demonstrates how the accumulation of data—images of roads for navigation—can be adopted to provide a different kind of “big data” experience, one predicated on intuitive interfaces, beautiful images, and a sense of awe.

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Mountaineering, Communities, and Brand Strategy (sorta)

This coming mountaineering season, I have three trips planned: my second ascent up Mt. Shasta, a trip to summit Mt. Adams and Mt. Hood, and, if all goes well, a late summer climb up Mt. Rainier.  Rainier is home to 26 glaciers making it the most glaciated peak in the lower 48 states, and has more prominence—the vertical distance from the peak to the surrounding area—than K2, the second highest mountain in the world.  I am very excited.  At the same time, however, these sorts of trips are so out of character for me, I cannot believe my gear is already spread out over half my floorspace.

Mt. Shasta Summit
Me and my climbing team on the top of Mt. Shasta. May, 2012.

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How InMail Feedback Works

I just wrote an email to a friend about how to use LinkedIn’s InMail system more effectively.  I thought it might be valuable to the rest of my network, so I’m just pasting the whole shebang here.  Have at it:

I really believe LinkedIn is a great tool, and cold emails are a tough thing to do well.  The InMail trick isn’t so much of a trick as just a little insight into the way the system works so that you don’t go wasting time and money.  Here’s the deal in huge wall of text format:

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