Posts Tagged ‘Forbes.com’

  • What Is Your Stage Presence?

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    Elvis by William Medeiros, courtesy www.toonpool.com

    Elvis by William Medeiros, courtesy www.toonpool.com

     

    This week, I read two great articles that highlighted the importance of authenticity in today’s brand-crazed world. The first, What do you reveal onstage?, was by the inimitable singer, Suzanne Vega, who lately in her tours has been doing a fair amount of workshops. She describes her two kinds of workshops — “one in which I watch performances, and another where I lead the participants through a kind of guided meditation called ‘What Is In Your Toolbox?'”

    Vega tells her students, “Whatever you carry in your mind while you are onstage shows up through the magic of theater, so that everyone in the audience sees it, too. This is something my director, Kay Matschullat, said to me while we were working on a play together a couple of years ago. This is so intriguing to me. How can that be? And yet we see it happening over and over, not just in theater or dance, but in music, too. We go to see a performer. We like his music. We like the way he looks. We prepare to see him by listening to his music and thinking about his life and the stories he tells. And yet once we get to the show we look at him on the stage, in the lights. But his mind isn’t on it, he doesn’t like the audience, he’s not inspired, he’s thinking of his laundry. How do we know? We can just tell. He sees his laundry, and we see it, too.”

    Another article, Rethink ‘Brand You:’ Find Your Authentic Self, by Meghan M. Biro in Forbes.com, reinforces Vega’s insight that you can’t hide your laundry, if that’s really what’s on your mind. You may not be a songstress like Vega, but as Shakespeare said, “All the world’s a stage.”

    For Biro that “stage” is your business world, and she says, “If there’s one business slogan/fad/concept that’s in danger of becoming meaningless through overuse, it’s ‘brand you.’ These days I can can spot a ‘brand’ (as opposed to an authentic person) from the first word out of his or her mouth. ‘Brands’ tend to be a little too perfect — packaged, programmed, and plastic. They’re pushing what they think we want to buy, not their real selves…  You won’t get very far if you try to be something you’re not. Rather, your personal brand is about figuring out who you really are and what you do best, and then living that brand out. It’s the essence of authenticity.”

    Recently, we published 6 Tips to Charge of Your Brand in These Hyper-connected Times. Check them out, for as the great Bard also said, “This above all: to thine own self be true.”

     

     

     

  • 89-year-old Grandmother Takes on Kickstarter with Happy Canes

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    Photo courtesy of Marc Malkin

    Photo courtesy of Marc Malkin

    While some of us are still trying to figure out the intricacies of crowdfunding, Pearl Malkin, as reported by Parija Kavilanz in CNN Money this week, has, in her almost 9th decade, launched a campaign to raise $3,500 on Kickstarter.com for her first startup. Her business is Happy Canes. She buys old canes at Good Will stores and turns them into snappy walking sticks by decorating them with artificial flowers.

    Pearl is what my grandmother used to call a pistol. Bored with her plain black cane, she decided to glue on a few flowers. It did not take long, Kavilanz reports, for Pearl to branch out, creating different canes to match different outfits. When a close family friend visited, he suggested she turn the canes into a small business. He told Pearl about funding through Kickstarter and selling through Etsy, an online marketplace for handcrafted goods. He set her up on both sites in January, and Happy Canes now sell for $60each on Etsy. Pearl has raised $1,856 from 71 backers so far and, if she gets the full $3500, she wants to hire some helpers to create 10-20 made-to-order Happy Canes a day.

    When Kavilanz asked Pearl, “Why start a business now? The self-proclaimed rebel said, ‘I can’t sit idle and watch boring TV all day long. I want to make people happy, spread a little cheer around and maybe buy some nice shoes again.'”

    Kickstarter, for those not as much in the know as Pearl, is a crowdfunding platform for creative projects – everything from films, games, and music to art, design, and technology. Since Kickstarter’s launch in April, 2009, over $450 million has been pledged by more than 3 million people, funding more than 35,000 creative projects.

    For more startup funding info, check this Forbes Beginners Guide.

    In the meantime, take a peek at Grandma Pearl’s Happy Canes in her Etsy shop.


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