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Taking the HTC One mini on Tour in Europe

This was originally posted on the HTC Blog.

laura kimball taking photo with htc one mini

One of the highlights of my job is talking to our most passionate fans online every single day. So when I was given the opportunity to take the newest member of the HTC One family, the HTC One mini, out on the road and introduce it to some of our top fans in Europe, I only had one question: “When do I leave?”

London

ManchesterThe first stop on our trip was London and the Abbey Tavern. We entered the tavern and snuck through a tight hallway into the backroom where 40 HTC superfans from the London area, and few from as far as Ireland and Italy, were eager for their introduction to the HTC One mini.

We spent the night giving them their first hands-on experience with the mini and other HTC devices. They spent the night drooling over the HTC One in Glamour Red, lusting over the Butterfly S, and adding custom music to Zoes they took on the HTC One mini.

As the night winded down a group of three musicians sitting at a table pulled out their instruments and started singing. This wasn’t an official show, just three friends hanging out at a bar and jamming. It was a great way to end our first night in Europe.

Manchester

Amsterdam Meet-up

The next day I strapped the mini securely in my backpack and boarded the train to our next stop. While on the train admiring the English countryside, I couldn’t help feeling like I was in a Harry Potter movie.

The venue for that night was the Metropolitan, a grand Victorian hotel outside of the core of the city. The interior literally felt like a tavern house from the eighteenth century, with plush, overstuffed wingback chairs and leather couches surrounding large wood tables.

It felt very English and was a great backdrop for introducing the latest technology to some of HTC’s top fans. The excitement was evident. Several enthusiastic fans drove nearly four hours to join us.

And what did they think about the mini? Heidi Rawling probably said it best, “HTC One mini is the most beautiful phone in the world, if you’d held it you’d know!”

Off to the continent

It’s the phrase no one wants to hear at airport security: “Whose bag is this?”

“It’s mine.” Oh, right, I forgot to remove the dozen smartphones from my luggage as I was heading to Berlin. He grabbed the case filled with phones, unzipped it, and started counting. “What does a person need so many phones for?”

“I work for HTC.”

“Oooo, this one’s nice,” he said with a smile, pointing to the red HTC One.

Berlin

In Berlin, we were at Café/Restaurant Neu, a trendy destination tucked off the beaten path. Fans drove hours to get there, some from far-away Romania. We started off with a champagne toast and introductions before handing the mini over to everyone to play with. Just as before, the fans in Berlin loved how the mini felt in their hand and loved taking Zoes.

The next morning I had a few hours free before heading off to the airport, so one of our fans, Alex, graciously gave me an impromptu tour of his city. Piling into his Peugeot, he took us everywhere: through the Tiergarten, past the Siegessäule, Brandenburg Gate, to Checkpoint Charlie and the Berlin Wall Memorial, and we even met Maxi, one of the two famous Berlin bears living in a park in the center of the city. Maxi was 27 years old and passed away last week.

Here’s an HTC share of Paul’s tour:

Thank you, Paul, for showing me your city.

Amsterdam

Amsterdam is a city of history, canals, bicycles, and tourists. With the narrow semi-circle streets that curve around canals that wrap around the center of the city, there’s barely room for one lane of traffic let alone a taxi, row of bicycles, and pedestrians, most of whom are tourists.

The final meet-up was held at Sluizer, a gorgeous restaurant in the center of the city that has a charm of old Amsterdam mixed with modern fare, and an ideal venue to unveil the mini once again. Fans swapped stories about their first HTC device, took Zoes, and compared the size of the mini with their current HTC.

As Jasper, an HTC fan from Delft, Netherlands, put it: “Brilliant how the HTC One Mini has all the power the HTC One has, in a more compact package.”

Heading home

In each city, the HTC One mini won the hearts of our superfans. I still can’t believe that some traveled by train, others hours by car, and by airplane from the other side of Europe to join us and see the latest from HTC. Just as our phones work to bring friends and family together, I was thankful that HTC gave this opportunity to bring us and our fans together. I hope you see you at our next meet-up!

Europe Meetup

Thank you very much, London and Manchester. Until we meet again! Vielen dank, Berlin. Bis wir uns wiedersehen! Dank u zeer, Amsterdam. Totdat we elkaar weer ontmoeten!

WordCamp Portland and the WordPress Community

Laura Kimball (@lamiki) and Harmony Hasbrook (@deedeemama) on bicycles in Portland

WordCamp Portland was amazing. This was my second WordCamp as an attendee and a speaker. I traveled with my friend and fellow blogger, Harmony Hasbrook of 100 Days or More. 300 WordPress users and developers attended the daylong conference with the majority of people from Portland but there was a nice representation from Seattle too.

The content and atmosphere of WordCamp Seattle back in May was geared towards how to use WordPress for business. The talk I gave included heavy marketing strategy, so naturally the conversations I had with attendees after my talk were about business and how to market your blog. It was also the first time that I gave a solo talk and as I attended the sessions before my own, I was very nervous and kept to myself.

At WordCamp Portland, the atmosphere was less about the tools and more about the people of the community that has formed around WordPress. The talks created this theme, as did the layout of the venue, the questions the attendees asked of the speakers, and how they mingled with each other. I also had a much better experience at WordCamp Portland because I was more open to talking with other attendees than I was at Seattle (way too nervous). (more…)

Building My Brand: Laura’s Next Chapter

What is one thing that About.me, LinkedIn, Facebook, and even Twitter have in common? It’s that all four of those sites were designed to tell other people about you. About.me does it in a brief biography and by connecting all of your other personas around the web in one place. LinkedIn is tells your professional story. Facebook has an ‘info’ tab as well as the story of your likes, friends, and activity. And Twitter does this in the 160-character bio and through every single thing that you tweet.

All four of those sites were designed to tell others who you are and determine which box to put you into.

Up until last week, most people knew me as a nonprofit marketing girl. And before that I was a book-publishing girl. But I was never okay with that title either and that’s because in all of these cases, both labels only described one facet of my life and answered one question that people would ask of me, and that is: “What do you do?”

We are more than what our job titles and our job descriptions define us to be. And titles are kind of outdated anyway. It’s not so much who we are, but what we do that matters. As a good friend once said, it’s not how you begin or end a story, but what happens along the way that matters.

Find the common thread in your brand

You are not your job title and you are not your career. But you are the person who does incredible work within the functions and responsibilities of your job.

Whenever I advise people who are unhappy with their job, but don’t know what they want to do next, I ask them to write a list of all the projects they worked on in the past and especially the ones that they felt the most empowered and successful doing. From there, we’ll be able to see the common thread that connects their past positions and recommend the step they should take in the future.

I have had a professional background that covers a lot of job industries and backgrounds, but there’s one thing that’s in common in every single position that I’ve held. In each position where I was the most successful, it was at a startup or a new company that allowed me to build things. It was usually a marketing communications role (either officially or not) that was never filled by anyone else before. I had big goals to fulfill and it was up to me to figure out how to get there.

In the simplest words – I build things for a living.

I helped build Wordstock, Jolkona, and this blog. This is what I love doing. And that is why when I was given the incredible opportunity to help build another company, it was an offer I couldn’t refuse.

Time to put on my Scrappy Face

Scrappy Face's Scrappy Dachshunds

Starting today, I am joining Scrappy Face, a small business consulting firm that is launching soon. My official title is social media strategy and community manager, but what’s more exciting is with this opportunity I will:

Build – their brand, their community, and their service offerings. I’ll be leading social media strategy for Scrappy Face and for their clients, product and service development, and another cool, super secret project.

Be a part of a company on a mission – Scrappy Face was born out of heart. It was created to help the dreamers and risk takers move from overwhelming stages of paralysis to action. Scrappy Face was designed, as the banner on their website says, to help “a person who is little but can really kick [butt].”

Continue to be an entrepreneur in training – three weeks ago I came out as an entrepreneur in training, and while I am not the founder or owner of Scrappy Face, my position on the ground floor of this firm will allow me to learn the skills I will need to launch my own business when the time is right.

Learn – from an amazing founder and CEO, clients, and community of thinkers, builders, and do-ers who are bootstrapping, self-funding, and side hustling to make their dreams happen.

Scrappy Face logoToday, I’m excited to put on my Scrappy Face and I hope you will too. Join us on Facebook and follow us Twitter, you don’t want to miss this.

For more about the journey that’s ahead, read this post from the founder and CEO of Scrappy Face, Kate Walling: Claiming Scrappy Face: The Story of Launching My Second Startup.

Every Ending is a New Beginning

Today is my last day as a full-time employee and the Director of Communications & Social Media at Jolkona. This is a hard post to write because, while this departure was my choice and I’m very excited for what’s next, it’s hard to say goodbye to an organization I worked so hard to build.

From Volunteer to Director

Jolkona-Team-Pier66

When I started at Jolkona, it was as a volunteer to run their social media. I remember my interview with Adnan Mahmud, their co-founder of Jolkona. It was probably one of the most rigorous interviews I had ever been on – and it was for an unpaid position. It was a challenge because I was selling him on my social media skills that had only been tested on my personal brand, but not on a business or a nonprofit. But I knew what I was doing. And I told him that I would figure it out and deliver.

I got the position (obviously), and my first assignment was to write the social media strategy for the organization for the entire year and present it at the leadership retreat that following weekend with all of the directors of the organization.

I won’t go into the nitty-gritty details, but that weekend as I sat around a boardroom with the other volunteer-directors of the organization – still not knowing what I was getting myself into – I knew I was sitting in a room with some of the most ambitious and passionate people than I’ve ever had the chance to work with before.

And I was right.

Throughout that year I learned, first hand, how to build a community online, launch a fundraising campaign solely by promoting it through social media, manage a communications and marketing team, land my first speaking engagement, and make a name for myself in the nonprofit scene.

And I was ‘just’ a volunteer.

I volunteered with Jolkona to help me build the experience to land me my next job; I just had no idea that at the beginning of 2011, Jolkona would be the position that I was looking for.

Almost 2 Years, 1,500 fans, and 3,000 followers later

The part that I have enjoyed the most about my role with Jolkona was the process of building their strategy, brand, and community online to the point where they are today. When I started, Jolkona had 805 Fans on Facebook and 1,028 followers on Twitter. Today, they have increased their fans by 90% with over 1,500 Likers on Facebook and have over 3,000 followers on Twitter (+195%). Not bad numbers for an organic following. And as of today, Jolkona has published 200 blog posts, and 15 newsletters – not bad for a scrappy nonprofit startup with extremely limited resources.

@NickKristof Jolkona tweet

The best part about my role at Jolkona was creating campaigns and partnering with some incredible businesses like Waggener Edstrom, CRAVE, thinkspace, and Bill the Butcher. I got to plan the branding, creative, launch strategy, and marketing elements of each campaign – oh, and launch each one. It’s an awesome feeling to work really hard and really long on a campaign and watch how people respond in real-time via social media. Not to mention donations.

There are three campaigns that I’m the most proud of:

Give to Girls: Invest in the Women of Tomorrow by Giving to Girls Today – Which launched on the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day and was sponsored by CRAVE. This campaign had a modest matching fund to help launch it and after one-day raised $6,000 for projects supporting women and girls through Jolkona and is the highest single-day of fundraising to date.

12 Days of Giving – Last year’s holiday campaign where 12 different campaigns launched by 12 different members of the Jolkona team were ‘unwrapped’ over 12 days in December. This campaign was 100% my idea and one of my favorite efforts, not because I learned first-hand how hard it is to fundraise, but because I designed, built, and rallied the team throughout this campaign and watched when people not-related to any of the 12 Days campaign owners left messages on Jolkona’s Facebook page and tweeted at Jolkona that they were so inspired by the campaign that they decided to donate. That’s why.

12 Days of Giving-donor testimonial on Facebook

Jolkona’s Groupon Campaign – At SXSW 2011 I met with Groupon’s G-Team and learned about how they’re leveraging their platform for good. In July we launched a campaign with G-Team and over the course of 3-days, we ignited our following and raised $5,380 in about $10-increments (total includes the contribution from our matching sponsor). Oh, and it landed Jolkona in the ‘cool’ book and this awesome blog post written by Debra Askanse: Groupon Case Study: Jolkona’s Groupon Experiment.

Eat Local, Give Global – This last campaign that I designed with Bill the Butcher and launched only yesterday. This campaign came out of something that I love doing, networking, and I’m excited to see how well it does from now through the end of the year!

During my time at Jolkona, I helped raise over $45,000 in micro-donations during nine giving campaigns that were marketed through social media alone. My work landed me the following press:

Over the past two years I have learned a lot about myself and grown by leaps and bounds as a marketing communications professional.

What I am thankful for the most

Jolkona Floor Brainstorm

Branding brainstorm on the floor (with Ariel Gold and Nadia Mahmud)

Beyond the work itself, the part I enjoyed the most was the people. I am thankful to Jolkona’s co-founders, Nadia Khawaja Mahmud and Adnan Mahmud, for their trust and the opportunity to develop Jolkona into one of the most socially-media savvy nonprofits in Seattle. They set the strategic goals for the organization, and gave me the opportunity to figure out how to get there. Along the way I grew by leaps and bounds as a communications professional and as an individual. I got to develop and launch creative, marketing and fundraising campaigns; work with some amazing corporate partners; and talk to people, all day, through social media. For that I am forever thankful.

One of the thing I enjoyed the most is the team at Jolkona – the young 20- and 30-somethings who spend their free time working to build Jolkona and lending their skills are just amazing. And our interns, the sugar-crazed awesome interns who have taught me a lot about being a manager – I’m definitely going to miss them.

It’s been an incredible two years at Jolkona and I’m thankful for the opportunity to work hard and prove myself while building their brand. And I have been given the opportunity to join another startup and build again. I’ll go into more details about my new role with my new company on Monday, but for now I want to sit and reflect on the end of my era with Jolkona.

You never stop writing the book of your life; you just start a new chapter.

Mashable Article: How Non-Profits Can “Woo” Corporate Partners

Last Friday at 8am while John was making me breakfast, I started the computer and my TweetDeck notifications went wild all because my article, HOW TO: Choose & Approach a Corporate Partner for Your Non-Profit, had just been posted.

Mashable Social Good Screen shot 2011-05-30 at 11.24.27 PM

This is the first article I’ve had published on Mashable, and you can image how excited I was and still am. Here is an excerpt:

Making the First Move

Now that you have a list of corporations who would make a perfect match for your non-profit, it’s time to ask them out on the first date. Even though you’ll be dating the entire company, you’ll want to start with anyone who can get you in the door. Think of your first point of contact as your matchmaker.

First Date Rule: Keep it causal. Share with your matchmaker what you’re working on and why his company would be a good fit to sponsor your campaign and partner with your non-profit. Woo them.

Second Date Rule: If your matchmaker is interested and sparks fly, ask him for an introduction to the decision makers at the company and set up a formal meeting. If your matchmaker is truly passionate about your idea, invite him to be a part of this meeting as an advocate for the partnership. Again, woo them. Advocates are key.

You can read the rest of the article, including what to do on the third date, here.

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