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    You can reach me anytime @cmckella. I'd love to hear from you!


    I'm Campbell.  This is my blog. I founded Loosecubes, an office sharing community, and live in New York City.

    I believe everyone has the power inside them to do something great.  Although not everyone aspires to greatness, I think you should.  I hope my blog will encourage you to take a couple steps forward every day. Let's do it together.



    So long...and hello again

    It's with a heavy heart and a deep breath that I rejoin my blog after more than 18 months.  As you may have guessed, things got a bit crazy when L. (and all of my possessions) moved to San Francisco. We were forced to shut Loosecubes down in November after building an amazing team and wonderful community. I've learned quite a bit over the last while to share with you.  It's been almost 2 months, a hurricane, a wedding, and a restorative trip to Africa since the shut down.  I'm finally ready to be back.

    So many people made this journey possible and I’d like to say thanks to a few. I wouldn’t be worth a dime without Anna Thomas’ relentless positive energy, magical foresight, and organizational skills.  To Pete, Yanda, Sep, Luke, James, and Lisa, thank you for encouraging me and for teaching me the ins and outs of this crazy industry. To Brian, Theresia and all of our wonderful angels who took a chance on me in the beginning when very few people even knew what coworking was – thank you. It’s been an exciting, exhausting, hilarious, wild ride. 

    Most of all, thank you to Team Loosecubes who worked day in and day out to bring our community a product they could be proud of and a service they could rely on.  You made me laugh every day – from nerf gun target practice, to fireside chats at SXSW, lunches at Foragers and pop up Loosecubes around the city, talking to TV crews (or programming for them), maintaining a positive attitude and bringing your all every day to work.  You guys are the real deal and I’ve never before worked with such a talented yet humble group of people.  I will be forever indebted to you for all that you have taught me.  

    And last but not least, to L., my partner behind the scenes, my advisor, my confidante, and the love of my life.  Thank you for keeping me sane and for always reminding me to stay close to my center.  Here’s to the next chapter.  Tomorrow is a new day – let’s make it count.


    C'est la vie, fabuleux

    Ten days ago, I found out that my boyfriend got a job in San Francisco.

    Seven days ago, we planned a trip to Paris to celebrate his last week of independence, and our last week before becoming a bicoastal couple.

    Fourteen days from now, we're bringing you (the real) Loosecubes 2.0.  

    Needless to say, I had a bunch of work to do, but I'm never one to pass up a week filled with bordeaux and baguettes!  

    A couple awesome things you should know about before Loosecubing it in Paris: 

    1.  SFR unlimited data: Go into any SFR store and for 9 euros you can get a micro sim card for your ipad. Which means...Skype from your iPad anywhere there's a good 3G connection.  Which is basically anywhere but the Louvre. Including on the Metro!! I am now a total iPad convert. Well worth the cost.

    2. Velib(!!!!!!!): Just in case you've been under a rock (or your computer) like me for the last two years and haven't heard...Paris has an amazing bike sharing program! For 8 Euros a week, you can unlock a bike from stations all over the city and ride to your heart's content.  When you're ready to stop and walk, there is always a site to park within 3-4 blocks of where you're going.  

    Several days found me doing our daily standup call on Skype, with my iPad in the basket of my Velib bike, pedaling furiously along the Seines trying to find a good 3G signal.  

    2011 Goal: Find some Loosecubes near the museum district in Paris so I can do my meetings in a civilized way, then go for a bike ride or check out the L'Orangerie.  Bon soiree!


    People are boring

    Someone said to me the other day, “Campbell, I hate to tell you, but most of the people working out of Loosecubes are not going to be super interesting people.  Most of them are probably pretty boring.  Especially outside New York and San Francisco.  Perhaps you shouldn’t hinge your business so much on bringing interesting people together.” 

    People are boring? 

    No, maybe you’re boring.  

    There’s always something you can learn from another person, whether it’s your hairdresser, a finance guy, or the guy working in the mailroom.  Most people don’t spend 16 hours a day being boring and 8 hours a day sleeping.   They spend their time doing something.  Maybe they know how to cook Thai food.  Maybe they’ve read every presidential biography.  Maybe they’ve seen every episode of Seinfeld and can retell all the jokes.  You can never tell by looking.  If someone seems boring on the outside, look inside yourself and ask if you’re asking the right questions.  It’s up to you.  Get creative.


    You're sales

    I want to reframe my post You’re product and community. 

    Product and community are the two most important parts of my business (other than technology, which I can’t actively work on). 

    If the most important part of your business is selling your product or services directly to customers, don’t outsource sales.   It’s fine to outsource everything else.  If the difference between success and failure is your ability to close sales with ad agencies, spend 80% of your time understanding your customer, engaging them, and closing the deal.  Spend 20% sleeping.  Have other people do the rest (website, marketing materials, taking out the trash). 

    Don’t hire a sales guy so you can make sure the trash gets taken out.  You are the best (and only) person to tell the story.  Tell it.



    You're product and community

    When I was first starting work on Loosecubes, one of my friends and trusted advisors said to me, “You’re going to need to be the product manager and the community manager for now. You can’t delegate these early on.” 

    I had no idea what a product manager was and had some idea about what the community manager might be.  I’d run a nonprofit after all. 

    For those of you who don’t know what a product manager is, check a great post by Colin Nederkoorn (Product Manager for Challenge Post and generally awesome person): 

    If you’re starting a company on your own, start thinking about how you balance manager time (community) with maker time (product).  These are two very different ways of thinking.  I found doing product (wireframes, user flows, reviewing comps) at night and on the weekend and doing community during the day (emails, marketing materials, meeting with people, talking to users) the best way to balance both.

    This is why it’s hard to find time to exercise when you’re starting a company.  Hang on, it does get better (I hope). 


    Why don't we get drunk and screw

    Names matter.  Especially in a world of SEO and links, trademark costs and web domain brokers.  Yikes, you better pick right.

    People need to remember the name of your company.  How many awesome new products do you hear about that you can’t google for the life of you?  I want to share - or god forbid - buy your product and I can’t get the name right!  You’re dead in the water.

    Functional names work in industries where figurative names dominate (like songs). Why don’t we get drunk and screw is so obvious it’s shocking. and memorable. no subtlety there. Jimmy Buffet was freaking brilliant.

    On the other hand, figurative names work well in industries where functional names are the norm.  Amazon, for example, is way better than and zappos works much better than, or was it  double consonants are a killer. We had that with  I always want to leave out one “h.”

    How does your company's name make your customers feel? How many times do you have to remind people what your company is called?  Try before you buy.  Test a name for a week and see what people say.  And please don't pay $10,000 for a domain name that you haven't tested.  Don't wimp out.  Get this one right.


    Fun is androgenous

    I was on a train recently with a fellow member of the new york tech community (who we’ll call Steve to protect the innocent) talking about engineers (as one does).  Several names came up of people that I knew who were close with the other person.

    Me: “I love those guys! Please tell them I say hello.”

    Steve: “How do you know them?”

    Me: “I don’t know, I met them at NY Tech Meetup or something. I was trying to hire one of them. We grab lunch or beers every now and again.”

    Steve: “Well, you know the only reason they hang out with you is because you’re a girl.”

    Me: shocked (thought: is he fucking serious?)

    Me: (politely) “Actually, I’m pretty sure they hang out with me is because I’m fun to hang out with.  And I’d be fun to hang out with if I was a guy too.”

    What I should have said: “Hey dude, judging by our conversation, doubt they’re hanging out with you for your personality either!”

    Ouch.  Tech sucks like that sometimes.


    To the moon

    I met with a very wise person the other day who'd been involved in building/managing/selling/IPO'ing several significant internet businesses over the last twenty years.  Like me, he is someone without a technical background.  I asked him if he had any advice about communicating with technical people.  He said to me: 

    "I think of it like making a car.  Sometimes I need a car that can take be back and forth from the train station.  Sometimes I need a car that can get me from here to Denver.  Sometimes (but not often) I need a car that can get me to the moon." 

    It's often more interesting to work on a car that can get you to the moon from an engineering standpoint, but that's usually not what you need.  You just need to be able to get to Denver. 

    Make sure when you're talking to your engineers you're clear about where you need the car to take you.  And don't be afraid to say, "I just need a ride to the train station." 



    Chunky startups

    Maybe this is a lady thing but I spend far too much time worrying about being fat.  

    Then I started an internet company and all of a sudden I’ve got to spend a bunch of time worrying about being “lean.” In case you’ve been in Siberia (no offense) the last couple years, lean means build a minimum viable product (MVP) using as little money as possible, get your product out there, get feedback, iterate, repeat.  Here’s the thing: we started lean, put an MVP out in June, then had a breakdown in our engineering team that led to a regrouping and planned re-release that’s coming in March.  Yes, ten months later.  In my book that’s not a short iteration.  

    We had to build the whole backend again from scratch.  Which means, we are building the MVP (again) plus several features I know we need based on months of learning.  See, that’s the awesome thing.  While our site was stalled out, I spent day after day talking to potential customers.  It’s kind of painful not to release the MVP again, but it would further push out our v2 release date. And we know what people think about our current site. This development cycle will be two months long. That’s hardly lean.  But it’s not really fat either.  It’s perhaps a bit chunky.  And I’m OK with that.

    Pass the pizza.


    Warren Buffett's paper route

    I recently read an article in Vanity Fair about Warren Buffett.  I usually leave those to my boyfriend, but this one intrigued me.  Buffet says in the article that he's a big believer in a study that had looked at trying to identify what made certain entrepreneurs more successful than others.  The study looked at factors like education, network, and experience.  

    The only factor that showed any correlation at all with the entrepreneurs' success, across the board, was the age they were when they started their first venture.  Warren was 11.  

    If you haven’t done it yet, maybe this is your year?  


    A lesson from the master

    My mom is a really talented oil painter.  What's remarkable about it to me is that she picked it up last year. We were talking about painting the other day. She said some days it can be frustrating because she can't get the color right and then has to wait over night for that layer to dry before correcting it.  

    Then she came out with a bit of wisdom.  

    "It can take longer than you think, but what I do know is that a sustained effort yields results.

    I think about this a lot.  Especially those days when it feels like I'm waiting for the paint to dry and there's nothing I can do to make it dry any faster. 



    Cheer yourself on

    I was talking to someone today who remarked that I was being hard on myself. "Oh, the new site's not up, I haven't returned these emails or dealt with this, or called my mom, etc etc."

    She stopped me and said:

    "You have too many things to do to spend any time beating yourself up."

    She's right. We all have way more important things to focus on. Every minute you spent beating yourself up about the 20 things you didn't accomplish today is a minute you didn't spend either doing stuff or celebrating the things you did get done. 

    Let's not beat ourselves up. If for no other reason, it's a waste of time. Cheer yourself on.


    You have no choice

    I’ve talked to a lot of people about their business ideas.  “What do you think?” they ask.

    These are tough conversations.  Chances are you know way more than I do about your market and what strategy you are going to use to attack it.  I can’t tell you to move forward or not.

    What I can tell you is some advice a good friend gave me: 

    You know when you’ve hit on the right idea because you’ll have no choice but to pursue it.

     If you have to ask, chances are it’s not the right idea.


    I love my "job"

    When I set out to create Loosecubes, my primary goal was to create a job for myself that I loved doing.  And while I didn’t expect it to be an eighty-hour workweek, I have in fact done just that.  

    So here we are.  The first step has to be: define your goal.  


    Is this thing on?

    I’m Campbell.  Thanks for checking out my blog.  I started it so I could share my ideas with you and stop distracting my coworkers.  Hopefully you’ll find some useful tidbits, particularly if you’re starting a business or contemplating it.  

    Inspired by the blogs one of my all time heros, Seth Godin, here are the rules: 

    - Short (less than 200 words)

    - Actionable (one thing to take away that you can apply today)

    - True anecdotes (most of the time)

    I like to write about chunky startups, human nature, and the ridiculous situations that come up when you live and work in NYC.  I used to be involved with construction which means sometimes I swear.  I’m working on the swearing but I can’t make any promises (sorry Mom).

    Buckle your seatbelts, people. This is going to be fun.