Advertising on Facebook is complicated. You can spend tons of money getting ‘Likes’ without making any sales. Smocked Auctions is very smart about actually ‘selling’ on Facebook. Much to learn!
Sramana: Amy and Nicole, I would like to start by talking a bit about your personal journeys. Where are you from? What circumstances were you raised under?
During this week’s roundtable we had a very interesting discussion on the subject of women, careers, children, and entrepreneurship. Last week, my article Talented Women: Please Do NOT Quit went viral on LinkedIn. As of this writing, the article has received 313,016 views, 8,009 shares, 4,007 Tweets, 891 comments, and 3,100 likes. So we invited readers to come discuss the subject today.
Of course, we also had our regular presentations.
First up, J.T. O’Donnell from Hampton, New Hampshire, pitched Careerealism Media. J.T. had pitched a few years back at one of these free roundtables, and at the time she was thinking of raising money for her career portal business. I advised her to bootstrap, because typically, online media businesses tend to be slow growth, and not appropriate for the venture capital model.
Online Education continues to be a fast-changing field, and various people are working on various aspects of the industry to make a complicated puzzle come together. This conversation explores some of those pieces.
Sramana Mitra: Let’s start with introducing our audience to you as well as Academix Direct and CourseTalk.
Karen Francis: My name is Karen Francis. I’m the CEO and Executive Chairman of Academix Direct. I’ve been in my position for just over four years and I come with a strong marketing and general management background. I was fortunate enough to be on the Board of Trustees at Dartmouth College where I got my undergraduate degree. I have a Harvard MBA. That gave me a unique perspective on education and on what’s behind the curtain of putting together an academic institution. I’ve always been very >>>
Sangeeta Banerjee, CEO of apartment society management software firm ApartmentADDA, grew up in a modest environment in Kolkata, India. As a child, Sangeeta faced a lot of ridicule for riding a bicycle to school, plodding through the immense, bustling metropolis that hummed with bus horns, zig-zagging cars, rickshaws, and scooters. She would ride her bicycle to a ferry, then once on the other side of the river, she would take a bus to school. People would tell her to keep her bicycle off the road and in the playground. They felt her parents were careless with their daughter’s safety.
Her parents, however, thought differently. They wanted her to be self-sufficient and know how to take care of herself. They wanted to instil in her the belief that she could do anything and that she was no different from a man.
Despite growing up in a conservative area where girls were not encouraged to do most activities that boys took for granted, she went on to be the first woman to get an engineering degree and the first entrepreneur in her family. Her parents instilled in her the right attitude to become an entrepreneur but it was the support from her mother-in-law that allowed her to become an entrepreneur.
[This interview is featured in my Entrepreneur Journeys book, Bootstrapping With a Paycheck; Also check out my Entrepreneur Journeys book, Seed India – How To Navigate The Seed Capital Gap in India]
Sangeeta (San) Banerjee is the co-founder and CEO of ApartmentADDA.com, an Indian web application company. She holds a degree in electrical engineering from Guindy and earned her master’s from Louisiana State University. Prior to founding ApartmentADDA, she worked for Tata Consultancy Services from 1999 to 2003 and then went on to postgradate education. After graduating from Louisiana State University she worked for Capgemini in Chicago for a year before returning to India to work for SAP India.
Sramana Mitra: Sangeeta, let’s start at the beginning of your story. Where are you from, and what were the circumstances of your childhood?
San Banerjee: I am from Kolkata. I grew up in a very conservative environment. Where I was from, girls were not supposed to ride a bicycle. I went to school on the other end of the city, and I commuted to school by myself. I would ride a bicycle to a ferry, then once on the other side of the river I would take a bus to school. Many people felt that my parents were careless with their daughter’s safety, but my parents really wanted me to be self-sufficient. They wanted me to know how to take care of myself. My belief that I can do anything I want to stems from my parents. I used to face a lot of ridicule for riding a bicycle. They would tell me to stay off the road and tell me to keep my cycle on the playground. >>>
The following is an excerpt from my new book, Feminine Feminism.
Five years ago, a good friend of mine hanged herself.
I had coffee with her the day before.
She was married to a successful Silicon Valley entrepreneur who ran a couple of major companies and had a brilliant career. She did not work. But on the surface, they had everything.
I knew both of them well. It was a deeply disturbing incident that shook us all up.
Five years have passed. I have observed society around us closely. And today, I am writing this with a certain amount of lingering sadness.
One of the greatest defeats of the feminist movement in America has been the phenomenon that women in the thirties are quitting the workforce in large numbers. Many of them are highly educated, and just as they acquire sufficient experience to take on more substantial roles, the body clock sets off an alarm.
The feminist movement has suffered some major setbacks. One of the greatest is talented women in their thirties dropping out of the workforce in large numbers. In the latest volume of her Entrepreneur Journeys book series – Feminine Feminism (Amazon Kindle) – Silicon Valley entrepreneur and writer Sramana Mitra presents the struggles and triumphs of successful women entrepreneurs who have chosen to make the most of their many talents. Through this collection of essays and interviews, she illustrates how entrepreneurship may be the answer for many women looking for a flexible way to balance a fulfilling career while raising children.
As the founder of the One Million by One Million (1M/1M) global virtual incubator, Sramana Mitra strives towards 1M/1M’s audacious goal of helping 1 million entrepreneurs globally to each reach $1 million in annual revenue by 2020. With Feminine Feminism, she aims to inspire women to explore the path of entrepreneurship as part of their pursuit of work – life balance. This series of complex, emotional, intimate, and candid perspectives from a great collection of female role models fall under such headings as:
Working mothers are constantly struggling to strike a balance between spending time with their kids and making the most of their professional skills or supporting their families financially. Jana Francis, co-founder of Steals.com, has achieved this balance, and for her, the most rewarding part is that her employees are able to strike a balance as well.
The motivation for Steals.com came to Jana Francis right after she had a daughter, her third child, when she had to head back to work in the sales management team for a dot-com startup at the end of her maternity leave. She realized she was a smart, capable woman who could come up with a way to earn money from home. Once she started thinking along those lines, the ideas started to flow.
Daphne Kwon is the chief executive officer of Expo TV, a free-to-join community where consumers post “videoopinions” about products and services they acquired. Daphne studied at Harvard Business School and was a financial analyst at Morgan Stanley, senior analyst at The Walt Disney Company, and CFO at Oxygen network, among other positions. In this interview she talks about Expo TV’s unique view on user-generated content and how it affects or can affect content marketing for brands and retailers.
Sramana Mitra: Daphne, let’s start with some background about yourself as well as Expo. What have you been up to until now and what is Expo? >>>
Jana Francis is the co-founder of Steal Network, an interactive marketing company that delivers top-quality brands and products one day at a time to their online communities of women through the websites babySTEALS.com, scrapbookSTEALS.com, kidSTEALS.com, and sheSTEALS.com. Before founding Steal Network, Jana spent her career specializing in advertising and marketing for technology and internet companies in Silicon Valley, California, and for KSL, the largest media company in Utah.
Sramana: Jana, where does your story begin? Where are you from and where did you grow up?
Jana: I grew up in Utah. My father was an engineer. I was raised in a household that had computers in every room when virtually nobody else even had one in their house. We had the original Apple, and my father would teach me how to write programs to get my name to flash across the screen. I was a very early adopter of technology. >>>