Meet the Team, Follow Progress and Enjoy the Ride

This blog is about the lives of a few entrepreneurs who are aiming to establish the next trend in social networking and the concept that will make it happen. Since our venture is all about connecting people together, we want to be involved and connected to you and we want you to be involved and connected to us. We'll be sharing with you: who we are, how we got started, how we’re doing and where we’re going...we're taking you along for the ride!!

Monday, July 30, 2007

What do your Friends Know About the Web 2.0

As I venture into starting Why Go Solo, a social networking site and company rooted in web 2.0 technology and functionality, it’s dawned on me, that one of the major benefits on my side is that my friends, acquaintances and family are pretty clueless about the Web 2.0.

Obviously, I’m not referring to my network of friends I run around on the web with, I’m referring to my friends from school, from the Marine Corps and my other business venture. The majority of them have little to nothing to do with the web besides using the internet for online searches/shopping and using email. This also included Martin, just a few months ago. Per his post yesterday, when I approached Martin he didn’t know much about the web 2.0, however, he still saw the full potential of Why Go Solo.

Same goes with my friends, acquaintances and family. They really haven’t thus far participated in any online communities, or blogs and they don’t know much about feedbruner, twitter, pownce, digg, delicious…etc.

While for many of you reading this post, this might be pretty absurd, since you can’t live without those applications and yes, there are millions upon of millions of other people who are in the same boat—many people are still uninterested and untouched by the web 2.0 movement.

The reason why? Nothing out there has really answered a real need they have in a simple fashion through web 2.0 applications.

So when I pitch Why Go Solo to people who are not web 2.0 savvy and they absolutely love it and then add…will I be able to do this, and this and what about that; I get really excited. Now, I’ll admit, that the funny part is some of the features they are looking for already exist on the web in other areas however, Why Go Solo will apply those features in a format that provides value.

Martin’s dad is a retired Reserve Marine First Sergeant and Corporate America business man who traveled a great deal and when Martin explained Why Go Solo to him, his first thoughts were “This is perfect for the baby boomers”. Our banker, also a baby boomer, thought the exact same thing.

I hadn’t thought of the baby boomers…a mistake many generation X and Y folks do, because Why Go Solo is web 2.0 type company, but once again, the light bulb went on—this will be attractive to those who haven’t participated in the web 2.0 arena because we are providing real world applications that meet and fulfill a need.

Every day that I meet more web 2.0 savvy people and gurus the more I learn and enjoy the interactions, but I’ve also realized how important it is for me to keep looking into the web 2.0 from a bird’s eye view and to keep talking about my thoughts with people, who know nothing about, what I’m about to do. They are very valuable resources and they will keep me from losing focus on who I want to serve and how.

This is also called “avoiding working in a bubble”.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

What does Web 2.0 and Aspirin have in Common?

According to Wikipedia, “Web 2.0, a phrase coined by O'Reilly Media in 2003[1] and popularized by the first Web 2.0 conference in 2004[2] , refers to a perceived second generation of web-based communities and hosted services — such as social-networking sites, wikis and folksonomies — which facilitate collaboration and sharing between users.

Sounds like some jive talk that will occupy my spell check for 30 minutes. Since partnering with Ann back in January ’07, I’ve put on my cowboy hat and handkerchief, and investigated all sort of sites: Myspace, Facebook, Pownce, Friendster, and Twitter, etc. in my own sad attempt to educate myself, and what have I learned?

1) If this is the best Web 2.0 can muster, there is much room for new entrants to provide more value-added experiences and services.

2) We have a duty to launch Why Go Solo and provide connections that do not currently exist.

My two cents is that the Web 2.0 overlooks the fact that Brick and Mortar operations would LOVE to build relationships that will benefit the member, online community, and the business.

For example, Ann, Ruth, and myself met with Steve Gavula, the President of the
MHG Group, a local restaurant chain owner in the DC Metro area Friday night. They have a gorgeous restaurant location called, Circa Dupont, in the heart of Dupont Circle, Washington DC. As you walk up to the location, you see an inviting outdoor eating section and hip storefront appearance.

Once you walk in, you can choose from 3 different experiences:
1) trendy coffee house
2) bar and grill with big screen TV’s
3) fine dining

Steve is constantly looking for ways to be a part of the Web 2.0 world and to have his establishment used as an extension of the online community world. To date, the Web 2.0 world has not extended an invitation to the dance.

Some Web 2.0 Perspective and Food for Thought

My eyes are sore I have spent so many hours online this week reading, researching and further exploring the various communities, blogs and tools that make-up this vast thing we call the Web 2.0. I have come up with some conclusions, which you might or might not agree with and I would certainly love the feedback.

Please note, that I obviously can't mention everything in one post and these observations are kept simple and in broad overviews.

I’m going to start off with my thoughts that I initially shared on Pownce after reading Fred Wilson’s write-up on the Union Square Venture blog about their new investment in Twitter. What fired me up so much about the post was this:

As we stated when we made our investment in Delicious,

The question everyone asks is "What is the business model?" To be completely and totally honest, we don't yet know.

The capital we are investing will go to making Twitter a better, more reliable and robust service. That's what the focus needs to be right now. We'll have plenty of time to figure out the business model and there are many options to choose from.

I was absolutely amazed that millions of dollars would be invested in concepts (Delicious and Twitter) that have no solid revenue models. No solid revenue models equal one thing, a need for real strong exit strategies that probably involve either Google, Yahoo, Microsoft or some other big company coming in for a buy-out. (This of course already happened for Delicious)

This then, also takes me to the ever-so-talked about Facebook. What is Facebook’s real revenue model? We’ll get back to this…first lets cover Ann’s simple view, in simple terms and minus a timeline of the web 2.0 history has it applies to the market (basic people using these tools).

I don’t want to debate if Friendster was the first online community or not, what I think we can all agree on is that MySpace was the first online community to really take off . For the first time in web history people really began to flock to the internet to “check other people out”. Humans are a curious bunch (for information, knowledge and for the sake of being curious)…and MySpace offered a peek into other people lives and an opportunity to “connect” with people you would ordinarily never meet or encounter.

That is the root of what has since then spawned everything else we now utilize and see has part of the Web 2.0. Ultimately, people are getting more and more curious about what other people think, what they are doing, what they are watching and what other people recommend. We call this curiosity communication, the sharing of information, networking and dare some say, real interaction. It’s a beautiful thing, because we are learning more about each other, discovering new things and exploring new territories.

What’s also really obvious, if you spend any time on the web, is that the market (general public) comes into the web 2.0 arena with different levels of knowledge, interest and involvement.

Let’s talk business a little bit. Marc Andreessen wrote a great post on what makes a start-up successful and he drives home the point that in the end—the market will spell success.

When addressing the start of a new business and whether or not the market will support it, the first question should always be: Is there a NEED for my product or service. This question is often overlooked in the Web 2.0 world and instead people think…Wow, this is a really cool application, let me build a business around it.

So let’s talk market, and let’s bring our no income revenue Twitter and weigh it against Pownce.

First off, Pownce has an income model. They are 1) running very discreet and well integrated ads and 2) they have a $20 Pro option.

In regards to the market, here is why I think Pownce will come out a winner on top of Twitter and it’s based on passed history of the market.

Twitter greatly limits your ability to feed people’s curiosity and share information. 140 characters isn’t much and there’s no way to send content other then text. Twitter is much more of a one way street and does not promote user interaction.

Pownce to be perfectly honest reminds me of a chat room and discussion boards. Never really participated in chat rooms in the past, but chat rooms have been around for awhile and have always had huge markets, same with discussion boards. The interchange between people isn’t limited to only 140 characters and text only. People can easily reply to the content that is being shared and the topics span many different areas.

Pownce provides a lot more of what people are looking for…and by people I mean the average person who spends time on the internet.

I don’t think there is a NEED for Pownce, but at least it feeds people’s curiosity in better ways then Twitter, so they have a definite shot at making it. And once you do spend some time on Pownce, you realize, there is something to definitely be gained from taking part in this new community and the sharing of information. Pownce does provide value to their users.

That’s me touching on another critical point about business. If you don’t directly answer a need then do you provide VALUE?

Okay, so back to Facebook. What NEED does Facebook answer? What value does it really provide their users? And who is really driving the expansion of Facebook?

I’m not going to answer the first two questions. Personally, I don’t need Facebook and I haven’t really gotten much value out of it. I do, however, want to discuss what’s driving the expansion of Facebook because I think this will help people think wisely about their future involvement with Facebook.

In my humble opinion, Facebook is NOT being driven by the market (the basic web user and non-web 2.0 businesses), it’s being driven by web 2.0 businesses, entrepreneurs, people and investors. Facebook is an inside job being pushed out to the market.

Will these tactics work? Time will tell. But, if you are basing your success and bottom dollar on making applications and widgets for Facebook (or Twitter for that matter)…I would diversify your business portfolio a little.

Need and value. Keep them in mind as you watch new web 2.0 companies appearing and disappearing. If the business does neither: does not answer a need or provide added value…then, do they feed human curiosity?

Run down the list of successful web 2.0 companies and see what you get…

Oh, here is another question I'd love some feedback on...Is continuously trying to simplify the use of the web 2.o really a need or an added value or are insiders creating this as well?? I do love my RSS feeds!

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Ignorant, Stupid or Both...What Was He Thinking I Was ??

We are one less programmer. I have to say, I have not had any luck with programmers thus far.

Almost a year ago, when I started LGS Coaching Agency one of the major things I wanted to accomplish was add a whole level of web 2.0 services into coaching. This would have included exciting interactivity between clients and coaches, easy tracking systems for clients used by coaches, and a matching system for clients to select their coaches. (This is still not being done by the way and needed)

In order to do that, I needed someone who could develop the platform we would use. I met someone and after some discussions, he agreed to partner with me and do the development. Through the process he actually told me “Ann, technology isn’t everything…” I should have known then and there, this was not a truly dedicated programmer.

Anyway, shortly after that comment and conversation that ensued, he decided he was unhappy and wanted to dissolve the partnership…on top of that blow, he wanted me to pay him over $40,000 for the work he had already done. Work we had implemented and that coaches were already using.

Long story short, he hasn’t gotten a dime, but that was a big factor as to why I had to put the Coaching Agency on hold.

Fast forward to this Thursday. Remember my post on finding this amazing programmer and finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel…that tunnel, has now been thoroughly destroyed with vast amounts of C4. We will call the programmer in question, whose name and company I will not disclose at this time, LeftJab, since that’s what he delivered to us.

When I met, LeftJab, and after further investigating what he had to offer, I realized he did indeed have a 75% perfect solution for our needs, at a very affordable cost, since what he was offering was part of a package deal he had been developing for the past 5 years.

His package (the code) was great…however, I didn’t and nor did Martin really click with LeftJab or felt that he truly understood our vision for Why Go Solo. But, no matter, what I really wanted was the product.

I realized after our first meeting with LeftJab, that we would need a legal Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between our companies as soon as possible. Since he did package his code and we would greatly improve and expand that code; we needed to make sure we protected ourselves and our ideas. I certainly wasn't against offering his other clients some of the features, additions and widgets we would develop and open through our partnerships, but each would be agreed upon on a case by case basis.

I should have done this right away, but a month had elapsed by the time I finally told LeftJab we needed to get the MOU. This is when he dropped the A-Bomb on us. He emailed and said to make sure we included in the MOU that he would LICENSE his package to us and would retain all rights to the code.

I worked real hard at keeping my cool and emailed him back letting him know that it would make absolutely no sense to build a potentially 100 plus million dollar company on borrowed code. Further more, although he had mentioned his code was a part of a package he had never, ever mentioned that it was a LICENSED Package. Had he properly disclose this information we never would have agreed to sign-on with him.

With all that being said, we only needed him to agree we had ownership of the code and he would retain his own rights to his initial code. We would further agree to not sale his code to anyone else or use it for any other projects other then Why Go Solo. All future expansion of the code we had developed to meet our needs and paid full development cost for, would solely be ours, unless, we deemed is safe to share.

He replied saying, he disagreed and he didn't see anything wrong with using licensed code and that he had mentioned his code was a package, which is why he can offer it at low cost. Thankfully, he also agreed to give us our money back.

A package is night and day from a licensed package. A part of me wanted to reply and ask him if he thought I was really that stupid or ignorant and what in God’s name gave him that impression. I didn’t. I asked for our refund and wished him luck. Although, I did clue him in that he needs to legally disclose his terms and conditions and that he is NOT the only show in town offering what he has to offer, he ought to check-out Ning.

He missed a golden opportunity. It’s a set-back for us…but then again, Thursday afternoon we were in someone else’s office discussing our needs.

Back to LeftJab for a second, I did have him sign a non-disclosure agreement and we did already provide him with a new feature he hadn’t thought of—I will keep an eye on what he does. If I see him implement our idea, I will legally jump that his throat at that point. If by chance, he’s arrogant enough to still think I’m ignorant, stupid or a push-over; he’ll get a rude awakening.

I do wonder how many of his other clients might someday be looking to sell the company they developed on his platform and he’ll then, at that time, tell them that his package has been a licensed deal and if they want to sell, they have to buy his code first…

I don’t understand dishonest people, business people who lack customer service skills and ability to build partnerships, or people who lack vision.

There is a huge difference between business owners and entrepreneurs. In my own words here is how I see things: Business owners have their businesses work them and most often, not for all that much money. They usually lack vision and ability to take real risks. Business owners will work for the rest of their lives and they might retire comfortably after selling their businesses, but they never really stepped out of their comfort zones.

Entrepreneurs on the other hand, create and work their businesses for the joy, challenges and excitement. They take big risks (if they fail, they do it again), they grow their businesses and eventually they hit big pay days. They never stay in a comfort zone and they are always exploring.

Well, heck, I believe everything happens for a reason…and this too shall pass. Success is the best form of pay back.

I've Been Tagged...

…and right after doing my first Thursday Thirteen and already laying down thirteen things about myself!!

Sherry, at What’s Next…formerly Entrepreneur’s Journey is “pimping me” for another eight more. Okay, here goes nothing with a shocking attention grabbing opening:

1. I am developing a thing for younger men. Might be part of my quarter life crisis or something…

2. I have a sarcastic, witty and at times dry sense of humor. (Did you read #1) I also love to banter. I have a way of taking everything seriously and at the same time taking nothing too seriously. I’m funniest under extreme stress, pressure and “everything going wrong”!!

3. I bought, paid for and insured my first car and didn’t know how to drive it…it was a stick; an hour later I was ready to take my new-used car home.

4. I bought, paid for and insured my first motorcycle and didn’t know how to drive it…a few days later; I was driving it to my class to get my motorcycle license.

5. Speaking of vehicles…I’ve had a crush on corvettes since I was in my teens.

6. I was class President of my High School class and in the top ten for academics. Many people (friends and teachers) thought I was wasting my potential by joining the Marine Corps. I personally wanted to live life, have adventures and be actually challenged by something.

7. My Commission in the Marine Corps came in the form of a Meritorious Commission, I don’t have a bachelor’s degree—I’m right there with Bill Gates and Steve Jobs!! There’s a lot to be said about drive, determination, hard work, common sense, and having a vision. Alright, I'm minus a few billion dollars, but that's just a matter of time!

8. My #1 motivator in life is FEAR. If I’m afraid of something then I MUST do it. I refuse to harbor, empower, and live with fear. I’m currently fear free. I embrace the next challenge that will provide me the opportunity to face fear again and conquer it.

I guess this is where I need to tag eight other bloggers…this is slightly problematic, many of the blogs I read either, don’t participate in these memes, or they get continuously tagged therefore, it would be pointless to tag them again.

My first tag is Jacob. I made friends with Jacob on Pownce and he just started his blog. He was kind enough to add me to his blogroll and I figured this would be an excellent way for him to introduce himself to us. Nothing like being in the spotlight right away…hope he doesn’t mind!!

My second tag is for Vince at Try Change. I met Vince through Martin and his blog is very positive.

My third tag is for Labruinbear. He’s been slacking on his blogging, so this will help him out!! (I’m teasing…I know he’s been very busy)

My fourth tag is for Marian. Talk about an amazing woman, I definitely want to learn a few more things about her life.

My fifth tag is for rainbowreels. DO NOT CLICK IF AT WORK or if you aren’t interested in hot looking men with little to no clothes on.

My sixth tag is for Erik at Foneshow…I’m hoping he’ll participate and tell us a little more about his entrepreneurish journey thus far.

My seventh is for GrahamJ. I’ve enjoyed quite a few of his blog entries and it would be nice to find out few personal details about him.

My eight goes to Trik. Sorry to tag you buddy…especially after your last post thanking me for not tagging!! I wouldn’t be a friend if I was taking you on the journey with me. DO NOT CLICK AT WORK EITHER and be prepared for women with little to no clothes on. I'm an equal opportunity provider!

Okay, now I’m going to go and write the actual post I had planned for today.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Some Answers to Real Questions

I was messing around yesterday in my last post; below are some real questions you could very well encounter when briefing VCs.

The excerpt comes from Guy Kawasaki's book, The Art of the Start. It's an excellent MUST read for anyone starting or thinking about starting a business, whether or not you will seek funding. It's filled with great tips, advice, information and what I considered to be Guy's sarcastic humor (which I absolutely love).

Can you guess who is the VC and who is the entrepreneur in the picture?!?!

Investor Trick Question

What you Want to Say

What You Should Say

“What makes you think you’re qualified to run this organization?”

“What makes you think you’re qualified to run this venture capital firm?”

“I’ve done OK so far, getting us to this point. But if becomes necessary, I’ll step aside”

Do you see yourself as the long-term CEO of the organization?”

“What did your limited partners see in you?”

“I’ve been getting focused on getting out stuff to market. I will do whatever is necessary to make this successful—including stepping aside if needed. Here are the logical milestones at which we can make this transition…

“Is ownership control of the organization a big issues for you?”

“I’m going to be putting in eighty hours a week to make this successful, and you’re asking me if I care how much of it I own?”

No, it’s not. I realize that to make this successful, we need great employees and great investors. They all need have a significant stake. I will focus on making the pie bigger, no on getting or keeping a big part of the pie.”

“What do you see as the liquidity path for the organization?”

“An IPO that sets a new record for valuation for NASDAQ!”


Thursday, July 26, 2007

Ann's Answers to this Unlikely Scenario

I’m gonna have some fun here. I was reading my Entrepreneur magazine and there’s a quick one page article Women 2.0: Where Do Women Really Stand in the Tech Industry? I’ll let you read the article. My thoughts on this is that obviously women stand in the same exact position men stand…however, stay tune for another post from me on this point.

But here’s where I’m going to have some fun. They quote Elaine Wherry, the co-founder of IM website Meebo, saying, “I’ve heard horror stories from other [women], like venture capitalists asking if they’re planning to become pregnant”

Here are a few of my replies if I were asked the question:

VC: So, we are wondering if you are planning on becoming pregnant?

Me: Hmmm…are you planning on becoming pregnant?

VC: No, that’s a silly question

Me: My thoughts exactly

VC: So, we are wondering if you are planning on becoming pregnant?

Me: Are you asking me if I’m practicing safe sex?

VC: (Blank Stare)

VC: So, we are wondering if you are planning on becoming pregnant?

Me: You mean besides this pregnancy?

VC: (No answer)

Me: (Pause for effect)

VC: (No comment)

Me: I mean, isn’t the birth of Why Go Solo enough?

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

My First Meme: Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen Things about Ann

1) I have dual citizenships. I was born in Edmonton Canada and grew up in St-Georges, Quebec, Canada.

2) I learned first to sixth grade reading and writing skills, in three months, after we moved to Palmer, Massachusetts and I started grammar school in the U.S. I’m still working on learning pass sixth grade…

3) I won the bookworm award in 8th grade. I still love to read. Any book recommendations?

4) I play absolutely no instruments

5) I started running and dieting when I was 10 years old. I stopped worrying about weight once I discovered weight lifting at 15, a few years ago my friends gave me the nickname “sweetguns”.

6) I (still) have a rabbit named Boogey Boo. If you read previous posts you know he came close to extinction. We have finally come to an understanding and he doesn’t wake me up at 5:45 every morning anymore. Rabbits can’t be directly trained like cats and dogs (no newspaper smacking his nose) but they are pretty smart and they eventually understand what’s best for them.

7) My first business was a coaching agency ( and it’s currently on pause, or is it... it never took off?!!?

8) I spent 10 years on active duty in the Marine Corps. The hardest thing I ever did, while I was in the Corps, was escort a fallen Marine back home. It was heart breaking.

9) I’ve been the only female in an Iraqi chow hall (cafeteria) on an Iraqi base. Not any different from being the only female in any chow halls…everyone stared, I got extra food, and a few brave souls waved and said hello.

10) I love to dance and I know I could make some serious money as a stripper...unfortunately, I’m too much of an advocate of using brain power to achieve.

11) I’m a chocolate addict. Nutella rules, chocolate taste without all the saturated fat. I blame my departed grandmother for that!! Love you grandma Bernard.

12) I live much more like a bachelor then a bachelorette. I had Pringles and Frosted Flakes for dinner last night, I have been known for drinking straight out of the orange juice container and all my walls are white with no decorations. However, ALL the toilet seats are DOWN and I don’t have any pizza boxes anywhere. I will say that I’ve been to some seriously well decorated and organized bachelor pads…so I know, and am aware, that not all bachelors live the simple and unbothered lifestyle.

13) I believe everything is possible and that we can climb our own Mt. Everest by taking baby steps everyday and maintaining momentum and a positive attitude!!

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!
1. Amy

2. Thomma Lyn

3. Denise

4. Ed

5. Comedy+

6. Damozel

7. Matthew Didier

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

Overpromise and Underdeliver

Wrong Memo. It’s Underpromise and Overdeliver. Don’t tell your clients you will have the work done by Friday, then by Monday, and by the time Wednesday comes around your clients are having to chase you down.

Don’t agree you can do everything, plus more of what a client needs done and then say “Yes, but…” once payment has been received. It’s not good for business and your clients will rapidly lose confidence in you.

Yes, you received and made money from your client, but they will likely not work with you again. They will also NEVER recommend you to anyone else and if they are aggravated enough they will give you a bad review—the internet and bloggers are very powerful things in today’s world…

Every client is important and deserves great treatment and service, but it’s even more imperative to realize the importance of taken care of a B2B client. Your actions or inactions are impacting their business, their customers, and their bottom line. They will have even less tolerance for bad service or late delivery. A B2B client is also connected to many other businesses and individuals whose business you might want to seek out, or at least, definitely want to keep.

Very quick post that’s helping me blow off some frustrations.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Cuddling with the Usual Suspects

If you’ve been reading this blog then you know I’m not talking about a thorough and distinguished list of men, but rather, I’m referring to my list of business magazines I read (Inc., Entrepreneur, Fast Company, Fast Money, Forbes, Business Week etc.)

Yesterday, my Inc., and Entrepreneur magazines came in. I’m not quite done reading Entrepreneur just yet. Inc.’s main focus in the August edition is on articles related in having and creating business/corporate fun.

Great topic, but I found myself just browsing the articles. I have a vision of the type of corporate culture WGS, Inc. will have and it definitely include tons of fun. I will have a state of the art air hockey machine in my office for sure.

There is however, an article that I want to highly recommend you read: Mapping the Entrepreneurial Psyche. It was written by Thomas K. McCraw, Pulitzer Prize-winner historian and teacher for many years at Harvard Business School, who happened to also be the author of a recently published book Prophet of Innovation: Joseph Schumpeter and Creative Destruction. The two-page article is a brief, but fascinating overview of economist Joseph Schumpeter and his revolutionary (early 1930s) understanding of entrepreneurship.

I’ll be checking out Thomas K. McCraw’s book. Click on the book to read the reviews on

Two Worlds Collide Around Two Keys to Success

Growing up in my former world, as an Enlisted Marine and later as an Officer I was first embedded with a notion that I later taught my Marines. A notion that is now in my world as an entrepreneur just as important to my success, as it was back then. The notion is wrapped up in three words: Adapt And Overcome.

Adapt :The ability to adapt to all environments, situations, personalities, problems or anything else that might be ‘a moving target’…therefore, susceptible to change is a critical skill to develop for success. The ability to adapt creates chameleons who never find themselves out of place or uncomfortable in uncertainty.

Obviously, this is important in military settings, particularly in the Marine Corps. At a moment’s notice, everything can change and uncertainty is a constant. There’s another saying in the Marine Corps that ties into this—most people have heard Semper Fidelis (Always Faithful) but not many people, unless current or former Marines and military, know about Semper Gumbi (Always Flexible)!!

Not all that different in the world of an entrepreneur. There is always uncertainty, a need to take risks, walk into the unknown and be prepared to face all sorts of situations, people and unforeseen circumstances.

Failure to adapt has costs in both worlds.

Overcome: Having the flexibility to adapt to any and all situations and circumstances is not enough for mission accomplishment or in the world of an entrepreneur, real and continuous success. It’s important to not be or remain passive, you must overcome the change and aim to excel in the new environment, under the new circumstances.

Creativity and innovation, in both worlds, are pretty significant in getting this done. When the going gets tough…get creative. Whether surrounded by the enemy or the competition released the same new item a day before you did—get creative and find a way to overcome the situation.

I have an idea…every business plan should end with Adapt and Overcome so when things totally don’t go according to the business plan entrepreneurs will always know what to do!!

Of course, there is also another saying in the Marine Corps if you can’t adapt and overcome…SUCK IT UP!!

I'm applying all of them repeatedly, accordingly and appropriately!!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Force Multiplier: Pownce Invites

I thought about this after turning off my computer and it wasn't worth laying in bed awake wishing I had done this entry before going to here I am, took a shower and rebooted my laptop.

The reason I didn't think about this right away, wasn't just the excitement of getting on Pownce (I'm not that pathetic :)). It was actually the verification of the power of internet networking and how quickly it works, that got me all excited.

Anyway, here's the deal--I'm out 3 invites but Why Go Solo is up 15. Of course I'll send Martin and Ruth each an invite...they are, after all, my partners and this will increase our ability to pass invites to our readers.

Here's a get an invite, you have to vote in our poll!! So vote, leave a comment with a way to reach you and one of us will send you an invite.

I'm of course assuming that the folks reading this blog actually care about Pownce, hmmm...we'll see.

I'm on Pownce!!

Yep!! I'm one happy gal...thanks to two people. My man Trik read my post today and left me a note in MBL about quite a smart young lady named Jessica. I went ahead and visited Jessica's blog, left her a comment, asking if she would share one of her invites with me...and she did!! We also had a splendid chat on Skype. Jessica is a 17 year old sophomore in college and entrepreneur, you can check out her company's blog: I remember being on my own at 17 and already being an adult. It's not easy, but it holds great rewards and experiences!!

Oh and by the way, I have SIX invites now. One of them has Trik's name on it, if he wants it, but the other five are available...

Weekly Recap and Stuff I Missed (wk5)

Be Sure to Vote: Yes, in the upcoming Presidential Election, but more importantly place your vote on our new poll...see right there, to the left. Yep, that's it.

What Do You Dislike The Most Doing Alone:

a) Going out to dinner
b) Going to the movies
c) Going out to a bar
d) Traveling
e) Going to a sporting event
f) Going to a cultural event (this includes going to the Opera, museums, concerts, festivals etc.)

Here I am...Lets Connect: I joined a few new communities over this past week and since starting this blog. It makes perfect sense if you think become a successful online community, you have to know what's happening everywhere else and what's hot. Click on the logo to see my profile and leave me a comment with a link to your profile or send me an invite. And yes, I know, this is a very small fraction of what's out there and I will soon break down and get a profile on MySpace again.

You can also see what I'm doing on Twitter from the blog. I deleted it off MBL so I'm trying to figure out how to get it back. Would love to find interesting people to follow...

Amazing what you can discover browsing SU and people's profile. I haven't given any site a thumbs done...I just don't have the heart for it.

My favorite right now. I'm really enjoying meeting people on MBL and discovering cool new blogs

Not sure if you'll be able to reach my page...this is a brand new online community that just launched as a preview. It's different--and all about sharing stories, life experiences, tips and advice in areas such as career, business, hobbies, love, dating, and life in general. It full of trained life coaches who can help and assist!!

I don't use LinkedIn very much...but, I'm on there!

Want to know what's up with Web 2.0 and beyond...this is the place to be. Great blog content and full of information. I haven't really connected with people on there yet. I probably need to apply myself a little more. I do really like the way the profiles are set-up.

Thus far...NOT A FAN!! I really don't see what the big buzz is all about. Someone is gonna have to clue me in as to why, FB is so awesome. I was really ticked off I couldn't joined the Marine Corps Network, unless I had a valid Marine Corps email address. Once a Marine always a Marine...but not according to Facebook...

Yeah, right...I wish. If you have one of those invites laying around, I'd be very grateful :) I think I was too late getting on the Mashable invite scheme.

Thank you: I want to take this opportunity to say thank you to Trik for the shout out and for the support and encouragement. Trik has come out of nowhere...well, okay, we met on MBL and is rapidly becoming a great sounding board and someone who is really looking out for us.

Website and Community Development: Slow week on this end. But, we did clarify a few points that needed to be addressed. One of the features we wanted to add needed some scrubbing.

Brain is in Over-Drive: It's good to be back home but it appears that the time off has sent my brain into over drive. I've been thinking of new features, applications and utilizations for Why Go Solo like a mad woman, since I've returned. I'm writing everything down, so when we're at a point where we can make the leaps...I'll have a notebook full of cool stuff.

Well, that's about it for this week. Don't forget to leave me a way to come find you!!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Blessing the Investor Binders

Last night I finished the investor binders. We started them about two weeks ago in the hope they would already be well on their way and finding us investors.

A few things held us up:

1) A misunderstanding of what needed to be in the binders.
2) Getting the appropriate feedback back on the executive summary included in the binder (we finally decided to print it the way it is, although my good friend Alex did send me some feedback).
3) It took longer then anticipated to receive our business cards.

The binders include a 12 page extended executive summary, a 10 page power point presentation and one of mine and one of Martin's business cards. Nothing too fancy or complex. Enough to provide an overview of Why Go Solo, our product and services, mission statement, target markets, marketing plan, management team and projected earnings.

The binders will be mailed out on Monday, 35 will to go Florida and 31 (4 were already hand delivered) to Connecticut. Once they reach their destination CJ and Gregg, respectively, will then further distribute them to their joint partners they have identified as potential interested partners that are affiliated with accredited investors who seek out this particular type of investment.

The same documents included in the binders will also be posted on secure websites for other accredited investors, who can browse our project at their leisure, when they are seeking investment opportunities. Our goal in the first round is to find 25 investors who will make a minimum investment of $10,000 for a certain amount of shares.

While I was looking at the binders last night, I definitely said a quiet prayer. Getting the initial round of funding will allow us to implement Why Go Solo, prove the concept and then go for more money. Getting the initial round of funding means that I can take a sigh of relief (however short) and proceed with making Why Go Solo happen.

It's been over six months that Martin, Ruth and myself have been working at getting Why Go Solo ready for show time. The business plan has been reviewed, chopped, changed, and edited multiple times...with many more changes to come since that's the nature of the beast; we've talked to over a hundred people, continued to do research, and expanded the concept, but the core of what we are aiming to do hasn't changed, only grown and so has our passion.

This is our moment of truth. Yes, we've hit road bumps, dead ends, and many obstacles and we’ve persevered, adapted and we've kept on going which has gotten us here today. Why Go Solo will not appeal to all investors and we're ready for that however, we look forward to welcoming the investors who share our vision, who are ready to join our journey and who are ready to make a positive impact in people's lives.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Went Solo to the Movies

Last night, I decided I needed to unwind and relax after doing so much driving and visiting of family in such a short time, so I went to the movies. I debated between going to see Live Free or Die Hard and The Transformers. I'm a big Bruce Willis fan—I think he's very sexy in a confident and rugged way.

I watched both previews, and after watching The Transformers’ preview I knew that was the movie I wanted to see. When I was a kid, I was a huge Transformers fan. I watched the cartoons all the time and I also actually had my own Transformer toys. (I think I still have them stored away at my dad’s house…wonder if they would be worth anything on eBay). My childhood fondness of The Transformers won over my adult crush on Bruce Willis. I’m glad it did…I thought The Transformer Movie was AWESOME!! I loved it. What a great flick, even if you are not a Transformer lover. I realize I’m a little late writing about this but, I don’t go to the movies very often.

I’m very accustomed to going to the movies alone. It’s really no wonder I thought of Why Go Solo. It normally doesn’t bother me to go places alone…it’s just that after the movie and having taken a trip down memory lane; I really wanted to share some of my stories with someone. Since I was alone—I didn’t get to. You get tired of doing things alone. I can’t wait for Why Go Solo to be operational…even in the spare of the moment, I’ll have the ability to find someone to go do things with.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Radio Surfing

I covered 1400 miles in the last six days driving from Lakeridge, Virginia to St-Georges, Canada with stops in Palmer, Massachusetts and during my travels, I found myself doing a lot of radio surfing. Since all my favorite stations are pre-programmed I rarely radio surf in my neck of the woods...and I obviously don't have XM Radio or HD Radio which is why, I get the pleasure of radio surfing the old fashion way and sometimes painful way, while I'm on the road. It's painful in places where there are very few radio stations to select from, places like Vermont.

However, I forgot how fun it can be
instead of going directly to the stations you like, you have to 'scroll' through the stations and you find some hidden treasures. I got to listen to some old tunes I hadn't heard in a long time, music from: Bon Jovi, Def Leppard, The Beatles, Steve Miller Band, Phil Collins, Whitesnake, Bob Seger, Aerosmith and even Garth Brooks' Friends in Low Places. I'd like to note, that in the Northeastern part of country, there are a lot more classic rock radio stations!! I normally listen more to classical music, R&B and Hip Hop. The latter stations are a little hard to find...especially (once again) in Vermont.

I was a little surprised to hear "Live in the Den" with Big Tiger on a Hartford Radio Station, since Big Tiger is on Washington's WPGC. I guess in Radio Land, you don't really need to be in the actual just need to be LIVE!?!?

I got on the road early this morning and the weather was pretty crappy. Every station was covering the Micheal Vick Indictment. I haven't read the 19 page indictment report myself...not yet anyway, but, it's some serious accusations and disturbing stuff (animal cruelty and gambling) he was apparently involved with. I'm sure it will make headlines and be a source of discussion for morning shows, and sport talk shows for a while to come.

The bad weather persisted and the morning shows went off the air. I wasn't in the mood to radio surf anymore and I needed something to occupy my mind and my time. Thankfully, my older brother gave me some CDs last night, he wanted me to listen to. Initially, I was a little hesitant to accept them from him and I was hesitant again to play them. Why, would that be!?!? Well, my brother (and I love him dearly) is definitely a Conservative Republican and we don't see eye-to-eye on a few (like many) topics. However, I figured, since I still had 6 hours of driving ahead of me it wouldn't hurt to try out the CDs. The CDs are released by Trends Magazine and they turned out to be very educational and interesting.

The Trends editorial staff is backed by a network of business experts who share tips, inside information, privately distributed reports, speeches, and their own developed sources. These inputs are filtered through a time-tested content analysis process coupled with Trends' own proprietary methodology.

Trends is a solid source, an informed source, that will tell you what trends to expect -- and how you can profit from them. It will give you "inside "information so you'll have a terrific jump on others who don't have red-hot trend-developments.

Think of the monthly Trends listening experience as a brainstorming session designed to get your creative juices flowing. Many firms have purchased Trends subscriptions for their whole executive team. As such, the monthly issue forms the agenda for a meeting at which the team discusses the possible implications of the latest trends for their specific business. And it’s not just the current issue that’s discussed but the implications of trends from prior issues in the context of new issues.

I'm actually considering getting my own subscription.

Well, I'm back home now and probably won't be radio surfing again for a while. It was fun, but it's nice to hear the familiar voices and to know what stations to jump to when commercials come on!!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Springfields and the Simpson Movie

I went out to dinner with my older brother and my niece tonight in Springfield, Massachusetts, which came in fourth in the Simpsons Movie Springfield Challenge. Fourteen Springfields across the U.S. participated and Springfield, Vermont won. (On a side note, I drove by on my way to Canada...I passed 3 Sprinfields on my trip)

What did they win?? The honors to host the Simpsons' Movie Premier on July 21st.

That's FOURTEEN Springfields!! That's a lot and not even all the Springfields. Springfield, Virginia which is located on I-95, about 15 minutes from where I live did not participate. Each town had to submit a video, to prove why they believed they are the Springfield from the Simpsons. Check out
the videos...too bad it's too late to cast our votes.

Springfield, Massachusetts
does have some interesting history. The city is one of the largest (and also historically the first) city called Springfield in the United States. It has a notable history as the home to Theodore Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, and as the birthplace of basketball and home of the Basketball Hall of Fame, invented by James Naismith at Springfield College. It is also home to the western world's largest collection of Chinese cloisonné at the G.W. Vincent Smith Art Museum.

It's also where I enlisted back in 1994 and from where I left in August of 1995 to start my ten years in the Marine Corps...

The building where I enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1994

Staying in Mass One More Day: Family Matters

I decided to hang out in Massachusetts one more day. It would be wrong of me to take off without seeing my brother, sister-in-law and my other nieces and nephew. I don’t plan on coming back to visit anytime soon, and once Why Go Solo takes off, who knows when I’ll be free and available again.

I was up late last night talking with one of my sisters—I don’t get to fulfill my role as the older sister very often. I left home when I was 17, she was 10 and I’ve only made quick yearly visits since then. I’ve always been very independent and therefore, to some extent, a stranger to my sisters. She listened to my “old war stories” with amazement and I got to share some of my wisdom. When I was her age, I was in charge of 40 Marines, overseas and fighting my way through a completely male dominated world. My family has no way of knowing what I’ve encountered, surmounted and survived, if I don’t tell them.

We want people, especially our families, to understand us, and for that to happen, we have to share with them who we are and who we are becoming.

I also had the opportunity to sit down and explain to my dad and step-mother what Why Go Solo is all about. My dad was slow at really understanding it. He doesn’t spend anytime on the computer or the Internet, nor does he necessarily care about meeting new people. He has a good group of friends and family, especially in Canada; he could probably run for the town Mayor and win. Thankfully, my step-mom really ‘got’ the concept of Why Go Solo right away; she could really see the multiple ways it can grow, and impact people’s lives. They’re going to watch and see what happens. They might not know everything I’m capable of doing or exactly who I am…but, they do know; I always accomplish what I set out to do and overcome whatever is thrown my way.

My step-mom has one of the most amazing Winnie the Pooh collection. She’s been collecting Winnie the Pooh collector items for over ten years. The pictures don’t even begin to give the collection justice…and the bed in the picture—that’s where I slept last night and will sleep tonight. I’m lucky I haven’t fallen off!!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Where Have I Been??

I’m sorry I never told anyone I was leaving…and I’m sorry I was out-of-touch these last few days. It’s been really tough…I mean, I’ve been without the Internet for well over two days!!

On Friday morning I left Virginia and headed North to Massachusetts with a stop in Connecticut to meet up with Martin and Gregg, the CFO of Millennium Capital Quest Corp. (The Company helping us raise funds for Why Go Solo). The meeting went well; although, I ended up being an hour and a half late. An accident in Delaware made it so it took over an hour to go 11 miles. We have a solid road ahead and plan to follow, which makes me feel good about getting funding pretty quickly.

Saturday morning after having breakfast with my sister and nephew, I continued further North and went to St-Georges, Quebec, Canada—where my mom lives. I lived in St-Georges, until we moved to Palmer (MA), when I was in 6th grade. I visited with my mom on Saturday and on Sunday my Aunt and Uncle came from Quebec city and we all had lunch. Sunday night, I went and visited my dad. It was short visit because this morning I was on the road again making my way back to Palmer. (My dad has a house in Canada and Massachusetts).

My Nephew Alex. He wanted to ride with his Auntie Ann to Friendly's, where we had breakfast.

The ride today SUCKED. It took me 2 ½ hours to cross the border back into the U.S. (Vermont). I had to pee so bad, that I finally broke down, and asked a complete stranger to sit in my truck while I ran to Duty Free store and went to the bathroom.

I haven’t decided yet, if I’ll make the drive back to Virginia tomorrow or the day after. Each leg of the trip is over 300 miles (6-8 hours). I’m tired.

The drive to Canada is very pretty though. Vermont and Canada are both unbelievably lush, blooming, and a breath of fresh air. It’s like the trees and grass are a brighter green…

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Money and Goals

Do you know your financial goals and are you doing what it will take to have that check written with the desired amount? My wife, Ruth, and I believe we will be financially free within the next eight years, and I would go so far as to bet my life on it. We view Why Go Solo and all its potential as one of the vehicles by which we will achieve our Goals. Now, I understand we have not been able to divulge much information on our venture and how it will positively impact millions of people once presented to the world. But if you hang in there until this fall all will be revealed.

Why Go Solo is currently raising equity and that will have an impact on how soon it will take us to reach our end point. Will we reach our end point is not a question we are willing to entertain.

Ann and I met with the firm who is raising capital for this venture Friday night and we had a very interesting conversation with the CFO of the firm. My question for this firm (and any other firm that raises money for start ups) is always, “why go with us?” The capital raising firm we contracted with has been in business for over 30 years, has endless sources for money, an abundance of start up companies to choose from, and is not in the business of wasting their time on bad people and/or bad concepts.

There reply to my question: “we work with businesses where the concept can be easily understood and used by many people.” This made perfect sense because Why Go Solo fits that bill to a “T”. The CFO went on to give an example, “we would prefer raising money for a pen that looks nice and can have screen printing done to it for impact rather than raising money for a spring manufacturer that sells springs that fit in the pens. In other words, the pen can be understood by almost anybody and will be used by millions of people, and the spring can mainly be offered to pen manufacturers.

I understand that there are plenty of start ups with widget inventions that are coming to market in very specific industries, but that is not the focus of our capital raising firm or Why Go Solo. We feel that finding the right firm will get us what we need to achieve our end point. Everyone wins at that point (especially the millions of people we will be serving). Martin Saenz