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It's a wonderful life - starting a news venture

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Advice on launching a news startup based on the classic film "It's a Wonderful Life." Presented at the Fall 2010 Journalism and Women Symposium.

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It's a wonderful life - starting a news venture

  1. 1. JAWS Alchemy III :: reinvent yourself @wendynorris
  2. 2. an unconventional path @wendynorris
  3. 3. The rules have changed Old Man Potter rules • Don’t underestimate yourself and your skills for running a business • Don’t surround yourself with sycophants • Don’t allow research paralysis to prevent you from launching Clarence the Angel rules • Do find partners, mentors and collaborators • Integrate your values into your business • Iterate. Fail. Iterate. Fail. Iterate. Ding! Win.
  4. 4. focus on what matters @wendynorris
  5. 5. What problem are you solving? Where's the intersection between the customers' pain and your idea? • Don’t get miserly about your idea. Share it widely • Imagine what if and what never? • Seek feedback about your business idea • Note audience reaction for clues on the need to fine tune your idea
  6. 6. Old Man Potter: the imaginary foe @wendynorris
  7. 7. What do you fear? • How is that fear holding you back from launching? • Identify the problem you are solving • Crystallize it into a single sentence • Who and what will prevent you from solving that problem?
  8. 8. Uncle Billy: the real enemy @wendynorris
  9. 9. Be smart about delegating important tasks • Well-intentioned partners can sabotage the business • Bootstrap to prove your case and work out the bugs without the pressure of financial partners • Perfect is the enemy of the good
  10. 10. makin’ money: Mama Dollar and Papa Dollar @wendynorris
  11. 11. Hit the financial books • Learn about disruptive business strategies and lean startups • Get creative about financing your business • Adopt a Dollar Store mentality about expenses
  12. 12. ask for help: crowdsource @wendynorris
  13. 13. All crowdsourcing is not created equal • Think through the operational, ethical and quality assurance issues of working with the public or posting user generated content • Many consider it high praise to be asked to help • How I used crowdsourced investigative reporting and lessons learned Link to: Quora response
  14. 14. belly up to the bar @wendynorris
  15. 15. Community engagement • Talk to your public. Even the grouchy ones. Learn from their valid criticisms • Use social media, public forums, surveys, commenting and free tech tools for both qualitative/quantitative metrics • Make yourself easily accessible to the community you serve
  16. 16. give it your best shot @wendynorris
  17. 17. Break a few windows • Experiment with new technology, editorial direction, newsgathering process and revenue model • Always map how a specific decision may affect business goals and organizational values. Not everything will always align but at least you're prepared • Iterate. Fail. Iterate. Fail. Iterate. Ding! Win
  18. 18. rock that bathrobe like a queen @wendynorris
  19. 19. Go lasso that moon! • The secret sauce of successful entrepreneurs: a healthy dose of chutzpah, humility and humor • Confidence attracts money, attention and new opportunities • What’s your Alchemy speech?
  20. 20. Slides posted at wendynorris.posterous.com twitter @wendynorris | email wendy@wendynorris.com | mobile 720 281 9378

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