This post was originally posted on my work blog. http://blogs.rhsmith.umd.edu/execed/Happy Thanksgiving to all.
Why wait for either Black Friday or Small Business Saturday when you can shop local start ups as your turkey cooks? There are lots more ways of finding great deals than shopping locally-based Living Social, one of the DC/MD/VA regions greatest start up success stories of recent times. Check out UmbaBox and sign up for a handcrafted little something to be delivered all beautifully wrapped every month from the New Year.
Umbabox sources artisan must-have/don’t need items and mails you a surprise for just $26 a month. A pretty nice holiday gift for your mom or any grown woman–especially if she doesn’t spend much on herself or get many treats. I bought a subscription for myself within two minutes of checking out the site. Just couldn’t resist…
Another instantly appealing idea is Shopsy , founded by Lisa Morales-Hellebo and run out of the DC suburbs. The site is still in development but the idea is easy to explain: you fill in your style preferences and vital statistics and Lisa and her team act as your online personal shoppers, suggesting best buys that will flatter your figure and not break the bank. You can also send them pictures of designer looks you like and they’ll find a way to create the look for much, much less.
There are at least three local start ups working to improve the security of mobile devices, helping you create a secure and searchable archive of your text messages and making it possible to share your SSN without fear. I tried to sign up for Uppidy but had trouble connecting it to my Facebook account. I linkedin to CEO Joshua Konowe and I’m sure he’ll help me sort it out after the holiday. (It’s important to build a relationship with the Steve Jobs’ and Mark Zuckerberg’s of tomorrow before they stop picking up their own emails) Koolspan (their CEO also accepted my linkedin invite) and Gryphn (invitation still outstanding–he probably has family in NoVa for the holiday) are other local enterprises working in the same area.
Speaking of archiving, check out Veenome, a company that can tag video making it possible to search and organize your family or company archive. Television production companies and broadcasters–and I am sure organizations like NASA and NOAA–have been struggling with this for years. Veenome has had angel investment from, among others, the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship at the Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland.
If you are struggling this Thanksgiving and need or would like to change your job, check out Jobon —you can post a video online to allow prospective employees to check you out in person, not just on paper, before they call you for interview. Employers: make sure to post any upcoming positions you need to fill on VeteranCentral.com, a resource to help those who have served with resume-building and job hunting.
If you are one of the 1% who is finding it hard to avoid the other 99%, despair not: go to the excellently named Ruck.us, share your political priorities and make connections with others who feel the same way you do. This is people organizing at the grassroots level, and could be a sort of flash mob service for anyone who needs a following.
If you recognized yourself in the character of the compulsive listmaker who was the hero of High Fidelity take a look at Rankpad–you’ll love it. Just sign up and create your own top tens or vote on other people’s. Like many of the sites above, you can sign in using your Facebook account and so share your list with your friends–no topic too big or too small. Try it–it’s a lot of fun. I’m thinking of creating a top ten Thanksgiving vegetables list. Look for it if you feel as strongly as I do about Brussel sprouts.
If you are part of a start up in the DC/MD/VA region, plan to join our sessions on Strategies for Managing Innovation, Customer Centric Marketing, Negotiation/Partnerships, Dynamic Project Management and Raising Capital on five Fridays in Spring 2012. You’ll earn a Certificate in Innovation Management from the Smith School of Business and the Clark School of Engineering at the University of Maryland and you’ll make valuable connections with entrepreneurs and investors like those mentioned above. Find the time and find the money–it will be a good investment in your future.
If you are a start up who was featured in this article, get in touch and let us know how it is going. If you would like to be featured in future posts, contact Liz Barron, firstname.lastname@example.org or call 301 405 5387