Friends and Colleagues

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2011 year-end update

Readers, Followers, Friends & Colleagues,

A year after launching Winders Consulting Group, the new year is a perfect time to reflect on progress and, more importantly, to thank the clients who made 2011 a banner year. My typical engagements have been as “CMO-for-hire” for marketing technology and Internet companies looking to increase awareness and sales through more effective market positioning strategies and creative, cost-effective and accountable marketing and communication programs.

One personal highlight has been the opportunity to stretch beyond my expertise in digital marketing technology to gain valuable experience in cause marketing, clean tech and social media. The diversity of my work has also afforded me the rare opportunity to experience firsthand several different business models, systems, processes, styles and philosophies, and to both affect and learn from how founders and CEOs deal with a wide range of challenges.

Below is a summary of my recent projects, including links to my volunteer work with Room to Read and the Digital Family Reunion, an annual holiday event I co-host for the technology community in Los Angeles. I plan to feature more tech startups and great marketing campaigns on “Winders on the Web” in the coming months, so please let me know if there are companies you think I should profile.

It would be great to connect and explore how we can collaborate in 2012. Until then, happy new year!

Thank you to these great companies who I have had the sincere pleasure to advise, collaborate with and learn from throughout 2011:

CanaryVoice applications turn collections of voice messages to into digital greetings that can be shared online to celebrate occasions, express opinions and preserve treasured memories.

Causecast delivers technology to engage employees and activate consumers with timely and relevant CSR information and nonprofit donation and volunteer opportunities.

Fanzila is a social media management platform for Facebook and the web, with applications, analytics and CRM features that engage consumers and create valuable marketing opportunities for small businesses and brands.

Rocket Fuel makes digital advertising work better for brands by combining the best of DSPs and networks with advanced response prediction technology.

Fraser Communications is a full-service advertising agency providing integrated solutions for the healthcare, environmental, nutrition, banking and automotive industries.

Digital Family Reunion is an annual holiday networking event for LA’s diverse technology community.

Room to Read partners with local communities throughout the developing world to provide quality educational opportunities by establishing libraries, creating local language children’s literature, constructing schools, and providing education to girls.

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Digital Family Reunion Celebrates SoCal Innovation

dfrIt’s become a holiday tradition I look forward to each year. Co-hosting the Digital Family Reunion reconnects me with friends and colleagues from the dot-com era and opens new doors too. More importantly, when we gather several hundred of Southern California’s most influential digital media, technology and entertainment leaders on Wednesday, we will recognize the connectedness of our community and celebrate those who inspire us with their success.

Part of the ritual is to bestow the Outstanding Achievement Honor on one person whose leadership, technical innovation and business acumen has made a significant impact on Southern California’s digital media community. This year, we will honor William Quigley, managing director at Clearstone Venture Partners. Additionally, Mark Turk and Stephen Hughes of Silicon Valley Bank will each receive the inaugural Industry Catalyst Honor.

William Quigley joined Clearstone Venture Partners more than 10 years ago, helping launch many successful companies, like MP3.com, Tickets.com, and Emusic. His current portfolio reflects his passion and belief in the digital media industry with companies like AOptix, SoonR, Meru Networks and Novariant. Prior to Clearstone Venture Partners, Quigley worked at The Walt Disney Company for more than seven years in a variety of business planning and operational roles. William received his MBA with distinction from Harvard Business School, and holds a BS in Accounting with Honors from the University of Southern California. He is also a CPA and a Kauffman Fellow.

Mark Turk, Managing Director, and Stephen Hughes, Senior Relationship Manager, of Silicon Valley Bank, lead the Los Angeles Corporate Finance Department focused on the banking and growth needs of early and late stage technology companies. Together, Turk and Hughes have completed more than $1 billion in debt financing to more than 250 different Los Angeles-based technology companies in the past five years.

Mark Turk is a managing director at Silicon Valley Bank and he manages the SoCal Corporate Finance team. Prior to joining Silicon Valley Bank in 2000, Turk was chief credit officer at Pacific Century Bank, a $1.3 billion business bank headquartered in Los Angeles and was also a vice president at Wells Fargo Bank and Bank of America. Turk earned a bachelor’s degree from Purdue University and an MBA from UCLA’s Anderson Graduate School of Management. He is currently a board member of the Los Angeles Venture Association.

Stephen Hughes leads Silicon Valley Bank’s (SFV) Early Stage team in Los Angeles. The Early Stage team focuses on the banking needs of technology, life science, and clean-tech companies from start-up through mature companies with revenues of $75 million or more. Prior to joining SVB, Hughes served as Founder and CFO of a venture-backed software company (How2TV) and Head of Royal Bank of Canada’s US Technology Banking Group. He earned both his MBA and an Honors BA in Business Administration from the Ivey Business School in Canada.

The Digital Family Reunion will be held at Wokcano restaurant in Santa Monica from 6-10 p.m. on Wednesday, December 8, 2010. The event is sponsored by: Geico, Namesake.com, Catalonian Trade and Investment Agency, City Sourced, SoCalTECH.com, Social Radius, Digital Media Wire and WITI. Tickets to the event are available at http://www.digitalfamilyinc.com/dfr/2010/.

Digital Family serves to unify the Southern California technology and business communities by convening 30+ regional trade groups which reflect the digital spectrum and interweave them into one memorable night celebrating everyone’s connectedness and honoring those who’ve made major contributions to the industry. Selected by members of the Digital Family community, the Outstanding Achievement and Industry Catalyst Honors recognize those exceptional individuals whose achievements have impacted our local economy, advanced our community and inspired our collective vision for what is possible in the greater technology and business communities.

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What’s Your Superhero Power?

MOTM logLast night I had the pleasure of dining with 18 fascinating technologists and entrepreneurs, reminding me again of the depth and diversity of the talent pool in Los Angeles and the emergence of our region as a technology center for the world. We were gathered for a “vision-casting” session for MOTM (Meeting of the Minds), a salon made popular over the past two years by its unique format and the ability of its thoughtful founders, Kurt Daradics and Baron Miller, to lead intimate discussions of well-curated groups of individuals gathered around important industry issues of the day.

The hallmarks of MOTM networking events are their spontaneity, unscripted introductions by the hosts of each of the 40 or so invited guests and a speakers whose role is equal parts teacher and moderator — all buttressed by networking made richer by the contextual relevance of the participants.

Last night was different. Gathered around a large dinner table, our commonality was not around an industry sector, but rather our desire to help the founders chart a course for the group in light of two key developments: 1) MOTM is expanding beyond Westlake Village to include events  in Santa Barbara, Los Angeles and Orange County; and 2) MOTM is partnering with Ben Kuo’s socalTECH.com, bringing a live events component to the venture-focused newsletter and introducing the local financial community to MOTM’s mostly technology and entrepreneurial set.

As often is the case at MOTM, I was impressed by each of the guests in their own right — CIOs, gamers, musicians, programmers, content developers, bloggers, an executive coach, a television personality — and the potential not just of those assembled, but what’s possible if the power of all MOTM’s participants were to be harnessed, either for commerce or for good.

About halfway through introductions, and as an offshoot of a Marvel/Disney discussion, Kurt began asking each person to state their “Superhero power,” obviously intending to call attention to something special about each of his guests. While some were more comfortable joking about fictional powers like X-ray vision and the ability to breathe under water, more thoughtful answers included “guitar shredder” and “social chameleon.”  

Although not called upon to answer this question, my faux answer would have been the transformative Wonder Twins powers my sister and have enjoyed joking about since childhood. My more serious answer would have been “master networker,” for the enjoyment I receive from meeting new people and my desire to connect those who haven’t met yet in order to help each other advance their own agendas.

So, what’s your Superhero Power?

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Digital Family Summit Recap

dfsummit_banner_125x125Returning to LA to co-host the Digital Family Summit ended an abbreviated Advertising Week on a high note. It was an honor to interview Gerry Philpott of E-Poll and Karen North from USC, who graciously helped us implement the first-ever Managing Online Communities Survey. It was also fun meeting our speakers Mike Jones and Peter Hirschberg, and getting to introduce Jason Calacanis who interviewed them during a live broadcast of his show “This Week In Startups.” 

The best part of the evening was seeing old friends, including Brian McCarthy, Craig Moody, Liz Heller, Jim Jonassen, Joey Tamer, Darren Chuckry, Tony Greenberg, Mark Jeffrey, Tracy Bagatelle, Olivier Chaine and the list goes on. I was also pleased with the high caliber of attendees — at one point I found myself having just had six conversations in a row with CEOs.  

Here are some photos, blog posts and tweets if you’re interested in seeing what others are saying about the event. Also, please visit our sponsors, without whom great events like this would not be possible. Thanks too to all who attended and helped us promote the event.

When the crowed of 250 or so thinned out around 11 p.m., I enjoyed a yummy sushi roll and fried rice from Wokano, along with the company of my old friend DJ Loomer whose musical influence added just the right ambience and downbeat funky tempo to our affair.

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Digital Family Summit – 9/23/09

dfsummit_banner_125x125After introducing my new pal Kurt Daradics to my old friend Brad Nye one evening last summer, our after-dinner conversation led to an idea to host the first Digital Family Reunion, something that would not have been as relevant just a few years ago. What kind of opportunities could we stimulate by introducing the web1.0 community Brad and I were a part of, having hosted VIC parties in LA throughout the late 1990s, to LA’s new generation of digirati whose post-dot-com-era networking groups include the likes of Mixergy, Twiistup and DigitalLA? 

Held on December 11, 2008, the Reunion struck a chord with the digital media community in LA, attracting 800 energized professionals to the Skirball Cultural Center for a special evening of education, networking and entertainment.

Since then, we’ve had many conversations about how to harness the positive energy created that night. Beyond just networking parties for technology, media and entertainment professionals, what type of organization could the Digital Family become that would provide value far beyond anything else out there today? I’ll keep you posted on the outcome of that debate. In the meantime, we’ve planned an educational event to rally the community around a topic of common interest and importance later this month.

Digital Family Summit ’09 will be held Wednesday, September 23, 2009 at the Wokano Restaurant in Santa Monica. With a theme of “Managing Online Communities,” the program will feature a live broadcast of This Week In Startups, during which Jason Calacanis will interview MySpace COO Mike Jones and Peter Hirshberg, CEO of The Conversation Group. Use the code DFR30 when registering and save $20

In tandem with the theme of the event, we’ve partnered with E-Poll Market Research and the Charles Annenberg Weingarten Program on Online Communities at USC to launch a research study to uncover best practices for managing online communities. If you an online community builder please take our survey. If not, please forward it to somone who is!

I hope to see everyone on Sept. 23rd!

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