250 Members and Beyond

One month and one week into existence, Founders LIVE has officially hit the 250 member mark.

This is a great milestone (one of many to come) and all of us should be proud of the initial growth thus far given it was a soft launch with zero media or marketing. Thanks for all the help in taking action, you guys rock!

If you would allow me a few minutes, I will expand on what I have learned in the short time launching Founders LIVE and what I envision for the next phase of growth.

You may recall when I announced the launch of Founders LIVE I was opening it up for free registration for a limited time – the first 100 members, then it became first 200 members to join would get Founders LIVE memberships free for life – and then turn on paid subscriptions as we built it out. That is still true today, and it’s still free to register as of this publishing so go tell that friend you’ve been thinking would love Founders LIVE right now (maybe even use the share buttons at the bottom of this post!).

Paid subscriptions are indeed on their way. The current functionality is not where I’d like it and I am awaiting a technical update to take effect so the registration and payment process is a seamless as possible. It should be implemented within the next month so until then, share away and let your friends know this thing is open for free just for a limited time more.

Launching Founders LIVE has been an incredible experience for me. The biggest thing I have learned during this first month is how much people actually crave community. This might be elementary to some of you but for me I am quite surprised how much we as humans desire to belong and be a part of something larger than us. It’s just human nature to want to belong and connect with others; to explore and meet new people; to learn new uplifting and positive things each day. A community. A group of like minded people. A collective that talks the same language and is heading in the same direction for the same reasons. That’s what we are building here on Founders LIVE and the feedback thus far has been centered on how cool it is we together are forming this unique virtual community around the entrepreneurial spirit.

One of the other things I learned has to do with the word “Founder.”  The word has numerous connotations and meanings. Some of you may not directly identify with being a “founder” or call yourself one when talking with others. You might even say “oh, I’m not a founder…” as if to be hesitant to self identify with the word. I don’t fully understand that position given what I do – and given I started this platform called Founders LIVE – but regardless it is a feeling some have and I respect it.

Yet I don’t believe it. I actually DO think you are a founder. I think most – if not all – people are founders in their own ways. Yes Founders are people who start companies but they are also much more than that. Founders are creators. Founders are starters. Founders are dedicated people working on things that bring value to the world. Founders are leaders who influence others and bring out the best in people.

Any of those sound like you? Being a founder is a way of thinking and a way of life, not just a title on LinkedIn because you started a company.

It seems to me the word Founder is a little scary due to people like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and other highly successful, famous and wealthy people who are leaders of very large organizations. Many of us simply cannot see ourselves in a similar light as those individuals because the media has warped what it means to be a founder. The “myth of the founder” – wiry haired (usually young white male) who is working 20 hours a day in their garage – has also played into influencing how we view ourselves as founders or not. If you don’t fit that stereotype, it’s easy to think to yourself you are not a founder.

I’d like to urge you to drop the assumption you are not a founder – or that founder is something to not be embraced. If you have joined this platform already, you have self selected as a founder. If you are hungry everyday for wise and helpful information you can use to move yourself forward, you are a founder. And if you are one of the millions, no billions, of people creating things in this world – be it a painting, a song, a technology, a company, a non-profit, a family – you are a founder.

Welcome home. And in the end if you really don’t feel you are a founder, sticking around and getting to know the founders on here will give you better insights on how we think, act and work.

(Not on Founders LIVE yet. SIGN UP HERE.)

My vision for what’s ahead is as ambitious as it is exciting. And I think is well within reach. I believe Founders LIVE will be the new destination for entrepreneurial education, entertainment and encouragement.

I started Founders LIVE as an effort to create a new approach to content creation and community engagement. The realization came when I noticed blogging was really just one->many and not much of a social experience. Also, that experience was really just about me and my work. Not others.. I quickly realized there’s a better model. I determined to create a platform for creatives, entrepreneurs and go-getters to connect with like minded people and if desired, be provided a channel to display their talents – be it crafting pithy nuggets of wisdom, writing blog posts, conducting interviews, distributing podcasts or creating fascinating videos, art or music. More importantly, I wanted to create a central channel for others (outside the network) to find this type of valuable content and in the process maybe become better people. And to open a space where all of us creatives can see and be seen, to read and be read, and to hear and be heard. I believe everyone has a unique set of talents. Founders LIVE allows you to share yours, and discover other talented people and enjoy what they have to offer.

The 3-5 year horizon I envision for Founders LIVE is to become a thriving media property specifically created around entrepreneurship and creativity. Replacing the current lean-back entertainment of TV shows, Founders LIVE will embrace new forms of participation media such as live mobile streaming, live events, blogging and writing, commenting, messaging, sharing, content curation and social interaction. All this in one channel specific to founders and the greater entrepreneurial population around the world.

Within this property, Founders/entrepreneurs – as well as others that simply want to learn and be entertained – will be delivered hyper relevant content around aspects of starting companies, creating products, art, music and anything that tugs at the creator’s soul urging to be brought to society. I envision this channel to be truly authentic, built for entrepreneurs by entrepreneurs, with content generated and crowdsourced by the community as well as curated by the Founders LIVE team so as to retain a high level of quality aimed to add value to the people subscribing to it.

Also, Founders LIVE will become the default “social network” (if we can even still use that term) for any would be/existing entrepreneurs, a must have platform to be active on if you want to move forward. LinkedIn has become too corporate-y, professional, recruit-y and spammy, and really only serves as your new resume. And now owned by Microsoft! Founders LIVE should serve as both one’s channel to display their talent/work as well as the most authentic, safe and enjoyable space for creatives to connect with others who see the world as they themselves do.

For the near term, I’ll be starting the new live streaming experience shortly with a new monthly event specific to this community. I won’t dive into too many details soon but rest assured it’s going to be cool, fun, entertaining and most of all uniquely ours.

I am excited for what lies ahead. Honestly – and I am not just saying this – you should also be as honored and as excited as I am to see something like this form right in front of your eyes, because you will gain just as much value, connections and experience from this platform as I will.

Here’s to 250 and beyond!

Not on Founders LIVE yet. SIGN UP HERE.

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Interview: The Myth of the Lone Entrepreneur

cover170x170I was recently interviewed on a new podcast called Planet Business in a wide ranging conversation titled The Myth of The Lone Entrepreneur. We covered many things, from my early career transition, to my newest project(s) to how to deal with failure and depression resulting from challenging times as an entrepreneur. It was a great conversation, and one I think many will find interesting and entertaining.

From their page:

Nick Hughes, the visionary behind Founders LIVE! and Feature Friday, gets real with us about the ups and downs of Entrepreneurship. Nick shares how he stepped into to the role of entrepreneurship through organizing community events and creating platforms to learn and share with fellow leaders in Seattle and beyond.

What Is Founders LIVE And How Can Someone Join?

Blogging has been a way of life for me for the past 5 years. Through telling stories of entrepreneurship, documenting my own journey and wrapping in little nuggets of wisdom I picked up along the way, my words touched people in ways I never imagined. A few years ago I also started creating videos detailing others journey’s, aiming to capture the raw authentic truth of entrepreneurship. It worked.

Screenshot 2016-05-02 at 2.47.13 PMYet I recently came to a crossroads in the creative side of my life, and have been contemplating which long and winding road I should take next. I’VE COME TO DISCOVER THERE’S MORE UNDERNEATH ALL THIS CREATIVITY. The common theme in all these experiments is seeing the inspiration grow in people and how they desire to be a part of something bigger.

So about a month ago something became much more clear to me.

It’s not about Me, it’s about Us.

I didn’t want to just start another blog, or another social network. I wanted to create a space for creatives, entrepreneurs and go-getters to connect with like minded people and be provided a channel to display their talents – be it crafting pithy nuggets of wisdom, writing blog posts, conducting interviews, distributing podcasts or creating fascinating videos or music.  I believe we’d all be better founders and entrepreneurs if a space such as Founders LIVE served us entertaining and educational content each day, and allowed us to connect with equally talented people with one click. I also believe everyone has a unique set of talents. Founders LIVE allows you to share yours, and discover other talented people and enjoy what they have to offer.

So what is Founders LIVE and why use it?

Connection

At its core, Founders LIVE is an exclusive network of talented and creative individuals. By providing a space to connect with like-minded people, Founders LIVE goes above and beyond a simple blog with interesting content. Watch as your experience comes alive through meeting new people, chatting about new ideas, helping someone with challenges and possibly meeting a new business partner.

A Well of Talent

In addition to a mobile first network, Founders LIVE is a platform for talented people to showcase and distribute their work. Authors are free to publish blog posts from within the app or point to their own blogs outside of it. Video producers are encouraged to upload their latest creative works and gain valuable feedback from the community. Podcasters on-board new listeners when they disseminate their latest podcasts within the community. Founders LIVE is a channel to see and be seen, to read and be read, and to hear and be heard.

Knowledge and Learning

Acknowledging many of us are not the creative type and opt to consume more content than we create, Founders LIVE is organized so that you can simply sit back and learn new and useful tidbits each day from our members. From the employee who is just considering leaving their job wanting to start a company, to the rookie founder who can’t sleep at night because they have no idea what to do next, to the veteran entrepreneur who enjoys publishing all their secrets of success, Founders LIVE is overflowing with golden nuggets of entrepreneurial wisdom craving to be eaten up each day.

Monthly Membership

[FIRST 200 MEMBERS ARE FREE FOR LIFE! Join now before it’s too late.]

We support Founders LIVE with a monthly membership fee of $5. This allows  us keep the quality of members and value to you very high.

Your contribution will be used to help our strong community grow globally, organize and run events and meetups, conduct live chats and cover our costs to ensure this community becomes your secret weapon in achieving your dreams.

We understand most social networks and content sites on the web are free, yet Founders LIVE is not your average WordPress blog or LinkedIn group. It’s a full fledged mobile network connecting you to a vast sea of talented people and incredibly insightful content. For the price of a Starbucks coffee each month, its a dang good investment in you and your future.

For your assurance, we employ a REFUND POLICY: You have 30 days to try out the Membership. If you feel that it’s just not your thing, we’re happy to offer you a full refund within 30 days of your initial purchase only.

[FIRST 200 MEMBERS ARE FREE FOR LIFE! Join now before it’s too late.]

What to do First

Say Hello! And swim around the app to find content and people you find interesting.

One thing that makes Founders LIVE great is the ability to follow Topics so that you can always see the conversations that are most relevant to you. Feel free to post in Topics or message another member privately if you want to learn more about their experience. You’ll quickly realize Founders LIVE will be your go-to daily resource for entrepreneurial goodness.

Founders LIVE -A Creative New Project That Needs YOU!

It must be Spring, the time for new things and emergence into a bright new world because that is what I seem to be doing lately.

I recently came to a crossroads in the creative side of my life, and have been contemplating which long and winding road I should take next. Yes I have posted on here my blog for years (thanks for reading!) and created scores of video conversations (thanks for watching!) with all the enjoyment, excitement and satisfaction that comes with sharing those nuggets out to the world. I have also been experimenting with events, meetups and live shows all the while conducting social observations and reading people like a hawk… AND I’VE COME TO DISCOVER THERE’S MORE UNDERNEATH ALL THIS CREATIVITY. The common theme in all these experiments is seeing the inspiration grow in people get and how they desire to be a part of something bigger.

All I can say is it’s gotdamn infectious.

So here I am offering a new approach to content creation and community engagement. I didn’t want to just start another blog, or another social network. But then I thought why not combine both… I realized I wanted to create a platform for creatives, entrepreneurs and go-getters to connect with like minded people and if desired, be provided a channel to display their talents – be it crafting pithy nuggets of wisdom, writing blog posts, conducting interviews, distributing podcasts or creating fascinating videos, art or music. More importantly, I wanted to create a central channel for others to find this type of valuable content and in the process maybe become better people. And to open a space where all of us creatives can see and be seen, to read and be read, and to hear and be heard. I believe everyone has a unique set of talents. Founders LIVE allows you to share yours, and discover other talented people and enjoy what they have to offer.

So here you are – Founders LIVE. Some things to know.

1) You are the first to know about this. OMG. Join with satisfaction you will be the first of many to be a part of this exclusive club connecting with like-minded individuals and being in awe of (hopefully) thousands of talented people. Quickly join, say hi and share with people you may think are a good fit.

2) Membership to Founders LIVE will be $5 per month. Yes, great things in this world actually cost money. Here’s a little more info on the app.

3) THE FIRST 100 PEOPLE TO JOIN WILL BE FREE FOR LIFE. Zero dollars. This means you should probably, no… most definitely click this link and join simply because it doesn’t cost you anything and the worst thing that happens is you never go back. I’d hate for you to delay and have to pay $60 per year when you don’t have too!

4) I plan on holding (and encouraging others to hold) cool and entertaining live events, talks, podcasts, shows, pitch contests and experimenting with other cool ideas on Founders LIVE from time to time, so SEE #3 and follow said instructions.

5) Does someone actually have to be a founder to join? Nope, it’s just a catchy name!  If you feel you really aren’t a creative, entrepreneur or go-getter who would add their content, see #4 and follow said instructions.

Lastly, I want to give thanks from the bottom of my heart for everyone’s support, for being a loyal reader and a fellow creative entrepreneur, and inspiring me during the times my hopes were hanging dry on a vine wondering when the next rainstorm would come. I hope I give back as much as I receive and please join me in creating something fun, cool and unique in this world.

Join here > founderslive.com.

I also have created a new blog founderslivemedia.com which I will probably be posting more from so might want to check that out as well.

Creating Your Own Wake

As a founder your survival is a function of how you create your own wake.

Wikipedia defines a wake as:

A wake is the region of recirculating flow immediately behind a moving or stationary solid body, caused by the flow of surrounding fluid around the body. There is formation of vortex in the wake which is the region of low pressure in it.

…The formation of these waves in liquids is analogous to the generation of shockwaves in compressible flow, such as those generated by rockets and aircraft traveling supersonic through air.

wake

Circulating flow.

Vortex.

Pressure.

Shockwaves.

If you read the entire definition you’ll likely get lost in a hell of a lot of science but those are the words that jump out to me when I read the definition of wake. It doesn’t just apply only to water either, if we could see movements of air we’d be seeing the impacts of wakes and shockwaves all around us.

To me, in human terms wake simply means your lasting impact on the world around you.

I have been thinking about this phenomenon recently since I made the leap back into entrepreneurship as a founder, (re)discovering all the painful and challenging issues you deal with as you are just starting out. So many things are working against you and the inertia of the world is quite similar to the inertia of water. A boat doesn’t create a wake unless its moving. Same for us. Forward progress in life requires some sort of energetic force to drive you forward, pushing against the inertia of the world and creating a wake that ripples outwardly away from you and positively impacting others around you.

There’s some social science for ya.

One of the most important lessons I learned in the last couple of years is you can make the entrepreneurial path a little easier by creating a wake around/behind yourself. This is not easy, because it requires effort and energy to do things we generally don’t want to do.  Going above and beyond our normal comfort zone to stand out is almost the antithesis to what we as humans feel we want to be doing each day/week/month.

But standing out – creating a wake impacting others – is what is required of you as a first time founder who is desperately wanting to make it to the next level. That or get lost in the thousands of others vying for the same attention, money and position.

What would a wake look like in real life? How would it involve humans, social interactions, business decisions, etc?

I find the key to gaining an edge when just starting out is finding specific actions to take to create a wake in an industry – shockwaves that keep spreading and impacting people you might not even have direct contact with.

Start writing on topics people in your industry might find interesting, posting them on social media and guest posting on other media outlets. Who cares what you write about (okay that’s kind of harsh but you get what I am saying) and what others might comment on, just having a voice and putting it out there places you at the top 10% in your industry. Be consistent in your writing efforts and don’t worry your audience will find you. Create video or other visual content which is entertaining and educational and that others can share with their networks. It doesn’t exactly matter what you record and put out, it just matters that you start and don’t stop so others start to recognize you. Organize local events and meetups around relevant industry topics so you can help others connect with each other. Be seen and be known. Work on and release products which are both interesting and have high potential to change your industry. Who knows, you might learn something new! Carry yourself, shake hands and talk in a way where people will be impressed.

These are the things people remember, they are what people share with others and what sticks in a room once you leave. That’s your wake.

 

Look No Further Than Shinebox Films For Your Next Videographer

10100696_300x300A few months ago I was desperately searching for a new film crew for Founders RAW and after interviewing a number of other candidates I was introduced to Ahamed and Dominic at Shinebox Films. We met over coffee and even after just a few minutes I quickly knew these guys were going to be my next film crew. I hope you (or them) do not mind this unsolicited praise as I simply would like to voice my satisfaction thus far with Shinebox Films.

The unique thing about producing Founders RAW is there are a few nonnegotiables I have as we put these segments together. First, we must be on location at a neutral place, typically at a bar or restaurant. My intention here is to create a naturally comfortable environment for myself and another individual to have a quality conversation, and for you the viewer to feel like you are a fly on the wall in the bar listening to us chat. This is not easy for a film crew to accomplish, and Shinebox has done a great job accomodating this challenging request. The other nonnegotiable is the level of quality – visual, audio, content, editing – they all must be world class. That or no one will want to keep watching these clips and over time the project will whither away. I will definitely say Ahamed and Dominic have fulfilled their promise of putting an incredibly high quality into their work.

And as you can see below, they haven’t disappointed. This is a clip from a recent Founders RAW conversation with Seattle Angel Investor Gary Rubens where you see their work in action. We filmed in the Pharmacy, which is a Speakeasy in the downstairs of The Temple in Pioneer Square. Notice the quality of Ahamed and Dominic’s editing work as well as aligning Gary and I in chairs in a well lit area so as to create a casual conversation between two friends.

Another conversation we shot in the fall was with Nathanael Nienaber, the CEO of on-demand moving service Ghostruck. We shot this specific episode in Easy Joe’s bar in downtown Seattle. The lighting and background in this shot is damn near perfect.

Here is a short description from the Shinebox website:

Shinebox Films imagines, executes and delivers moving pictures that convert  ideas and goals into compelling visual messages. Whether your project is a few seconds or a few hours we have the creativity and experience to make you and your passions shine.

We offer full support and service before, during and after filming so you don’t have to get bogged down in the details. We’re here to help no matter how much experience you have with videos and can help you navigate the often intimidating universe of videos.

If you want to engage viewers with your message we have the proven creative and technical skills to do so.

In an age full of videos we deliver the unexpected. We’re ready to make the world take notice of what you have to share. Send us a message or stop by for coffee at our office in downtown Seattle.

These guys fit my mold and I would suggest any company looking for high quality videos reach out to Shinebox Films via their website, email them here info@shineboxfilms.com or shoot me an email and I can connect you with them directly. You won’t be disappointed.

Founders RAW: Rahul Sood Full Conversation

I recently had the awesome opportunity to sit down with Rahul Sood, CEO and cofounder of e-sports betting platform Unikrn. Simply put, as a safe, legal and fun way to gather, game and bet on eSports, Unikrn is at the cusp of an industry just about to explode onto the world scene. In fact, I’ll suggest it already has given there are tournaments where people can compete for multi-million dollar winnings in front of tens of thousands of fans in sports arenas. Crazy stuff.

It’s an interesting conversation since Rahul has a very intriguing past. He started his first company right out of high school, sold it to HP years later and then started Microsoft Ventures within the global tech behemoth.

Lots of gems in here, better watch the whole thing!