Archive for February, 2009

Christopher Flett, Heather White, and Getting Back on Track

Posted in Loaded Bow: Following Our Story with tags , , on February 27, 2009 by genennis

My puppy woke me up at 4 this morning.  As she has done every day this week.

The downside to this is, well, rather obvious.  The upside is that I now have 3 more hours a day to reflect.

So this morning, as I watched Lola chase her own tail around the living room, I gave more thought to our most recent meeting with our mentor, Heather White.  Heather had invited author and serial entrepreneur, Christopher Flett, to join us.  He is the go-to guy when it comes to professional development for women.

Zoe and I have a pretty exciting project in the works (I’m afraid it is still hush hush… we will share soon), but we had found ourselves a bit stuck.  We had reached a point where we had lost momentum.  We frequently receive all kinds of warm fuzzies about Loaded Bow, often embedded with the message if you build it, they will come.   Except that we didn’t believe it.  The whole ‘Field of Dreams’ thing didn’t really resonate with us, and one of our greatest fears was creating something that is either redundant or sub par.

Leaving our meeting yesterday, Zoe and I were back on track (I believe our exact words as we got into the elevator were, that was awesome).  Chris and Heather offered invaluable insight and advice, and perhaps more importantly, reaffirmed that we’re heading in the right direction.

Generally speaking, we’re pretty confident and competent.  So why did we have so much doubt?   Perhaps it’s because we started our first business in Grade 3 making tie-dyed swimsuits and scrunchies to sell at school, so sitting in a board room together feels more like playing dress-up, than doing “real” business.  But beyond that, I suspect we had fallen into a place that many women find themselves in.  Is what we’re doing valuable? Is it feasible?

Last night I was reading Joel Spolsky’s column in Inc. and came across this:

Paul Graham, [of] Y Combinator, has tackled this subject on his website. “The biggest reason founders stop working on their start-ups is that they get demoralized,” he writes. “Some people seem to have unlimited self-generated morale. These almost always succeed. At the other extreme, there are people who seem to have no ability to do this; they need a boss to motivate them. In the middle there is a large band of people who have some, but not unlimited, ability to motivate themselves. These can succeed through careful morale management (and some luck).” 

Uhoh.  That sounds familiar.  So, what to do…?  Start by taking a major inventory of what you’re doing, and where your fears are coming from.  Second, surround yourself with people who can give you concrete, authentic feedback. 

I have no doubt that both Heather and Chris are honest with us about our potential and what it is going to take to get where we want to go.  Furthermore, they bring experience and knowledge that allows this feedback to be well-founded.  As much as we love the kudos we receive from our friends (keep’em coming, ladies), it is a relief to hear  from impartial sources.

So go find those people.  It is amazing how much people are willing to help if you are willing to ask.

Thank you, again, Heather and Chris.  Your time is valuable and much appreciated.




Best Twitter Advice Ever

Posted in Tech Talk (Social Media for your Biz) with tags , on February 25, 2009 by zoepawlak

I just found this advice on Twitter, Tweet-ed to us by Gwen Bell.  SEE!!?  Twitter really can show you the good stuff!



Mhairi Petrovic: How to Twitter

Posted in Tech Talk (Social Media for your Biz) with tags , , , on February 24, 2009 by zoepawlak

Here’s a guest post from one of our favorite people on planet earth.  She’s Scottish and says ‘Aye’.  Mhairi is one of the most sought after ladies in Social Media and is based in Vancouver B.C.  She is the owner and operator extraordinaire of Out-smarts


Mhairi (said Va-ree) visits Loaded Bow to tell us how to use Twitter in the most time efficient and effective way. Follow us if you want to start adding people to your Twitter and follow those we follows (we think they’re grand!)


Twitter – 10 Ways To Kickstart Your Tweets
I’ve been on Twitter for almost 2 years now. At the start I was rather skeptical as to the value the medium brought especially from a business perspective: most of the “Tweets” (noun used to describe the statements people make on Twitter) were narcissistic comments made under the assumption that people were actually interested in hearing what others had for breakfast (for example).

I have watched Twitter usage evolve and today it’s much more sophisticated. Here’s a few tips for you to use to tweak your Tweets and get more out of your Twitter presence:

1. Add value – don’t just spout off about boring stuff. Nobody is interested in what color shoes you are wearing (maybe your underwear but definitely not your shoes!).

2. Share interesting stuff you’ve found on the web that relates to your business or area of interest.

3. Use TinyURL or a similar url abbreviation tool to shorten the length of url links in your Twitter posts so they fit in the 140 character limit.

4. Look at Twitter as a forum to let followers know what it is you do for a living – you never know who might read and say ‘I need someone to do just that for me!’

5. Don’t spam or sell.

6. If someone starts following you don’t automatically add them and follow (don’t be a sheeple) – take a look at the number of followers they have compared to their following. If they are following way more people than they have followers then it might be best to avoid them – chances are they are only looking to follow so that they can in turn spam you.

7. Don’t let Twitter suck up too much of your time – it can be very distracting.

8. Limit the number of people you follow to avoid Twitter overload.

9. Use Twitterfeedto feed your blog to Twitter.

10. Use Tweetscan to monitor whats being said about you or your company on Twitter.



 Photo Credits

Amy Teuteberg has No Reservations: An Interview with a Female TV Producer

Posted in Bended Bow with tags , , , on February 19, 2009 by genennis

A few months ago Loaded Bow interviewed Danya Alhamrani and Dania Nassief of Eggdancer Productions, the first female owned and managed production company in Saudi Arabia.  Danya and Dania had hosted and worked on the Anthony Bourdain’s television show, No Reservations.  But there was another important woman working on the project – American television producer, Amy Teuteberg.  Amy offers her perspective on working in a male dominated industry, particularly when she’s  “in a country where women can’t drive, can’t vote, and really aren’t supposed to hang out with non-related males

Loaded Bow: You have worked as a producer on numerous projects. Can you tell us a little bit about how you entered into production?

Amy Teuteberg: Like most of the best things that have happened to me, it was kind of an accident. After I graduated, I was working in theatre, and knew many performers. I met a producer named Cathy Hurwitz who was trying to cast non-union talent, and mentioned that I could easily help her just by reaching out to my friends. She took me up on the offer, I cast her project, and then she offered me a full-time job. It was an entry-level administrative position, but she mentioned it could lead to other things, and she was right. Cathy ended up becoming my first mentor, and I attribute every good working habit I have to her guidance–she taught me a long list of valuable lessons that I use literally every day. Within a couple of years working together, I became a producer.

LB: The film and television industry is traditionally been a male-dominated industry. What has it been like for you working in this environment?

AT: Well, I’ve been surrounded by strong women my whole life. Having a female mentor early on helped me navigate a lot of the crap that you need to deal with, just by calling attention to the reality of it all. Sometimes the glass ceiling is a bit easier to break through if you know there’s glass there, versus being blind and looking right through it, you know? For the most part, I think smart people are able to recognize smart people, and it doesn’t matter if you’re male or female. That said, there are guys that can’t get past the fact that you’re a chick, no matter how you try. You are first and foremost a sex object, and if they can’t get beyond that, you can end up in some tricky waters. And let’s face it, that sucks. But then there are those situations that surprise you, like my experience working in Saudi Arabia. If ever there was a place I thought being a woman would be a hurdle, it was there. But working with such strong Saudi women just reinforced what I suppose I’ve always believed: you get where you need to go by refusing to take no for an answer, no matter what.

LB: You have worked on various television series – how do you seek out your next project?

AT:  I’m freelance, and honestly, looking for work is the part of the process I like the least. Jobs in my industry aren’t really listed anywhere, it’s all by referral. I’ve been really lucky in that for the most part, work finds me. Somehow it just happens, the phone rings and the next thing I know, my next job is there waiting for me.

LB: You have worked on multiple episodes of Gourmet’s Diary of a Foodie. We’re assuming that this has taken you to different corners of the world! What is it like travelling so intensely while on the job?

AT:  Well, I do occasionally travel for work, but these days I’m more big picture so I’m not on the road quite as often. I do still love to travel, especially for a show like Foodies. There’s really nothing better than being somewhere beautiful and exotic, telling the story of folks that are following their dreams. But it’s so not glamourous, or a vacation. It’s 16-18 hour days, 7 days a week. Typically, you’re on the road by 5 AM to catch the light, shooting all day, then on the phone or email till late at night, then you get up and do it again. After a week or so, you feel like someone has chewed you up and spit you out. And I’m sure you can imagine what a number that does on your personal life, since you are AWOL for weeks at a time. But I could never fully give it up–I’ve seen things and met people that I never would have otherwise. Like anything else in life, it’s about trying to find balance.

LB: You recently produced an episode of No Reservations in Saudi Arabia. Can you tell us a little bit about this experience? Were you expecting such an incredible response from readers after you blogged about it on the crew blog?

AT:  Well, I could probably write 20 pages about that experience. It’s actually a hard thing for me to describe a little about, since it was mind-blowing on so many levels. I’ve always said that the great thing about travel is the way it opens you up–there really is no substitute for first-hand experience. And that show was a great example of why I could never completely give up traveling–to have a chance to go somewhere like Saudi, a country you basically can’t visit without an invite, and spend time with a remarkable woman like Danya, her friends and family, plus get paid to do it? Well, that’s a pretty great couple of weeks at the office. Of course, the most exciting part of that gig was having the chance to tell a story about people in the Middle East, just being people. Those kinds of stories almost never get told, since they are overshadowed by stories of war, conflict or human rights abuses. I don’t mean to undervalue those stories–they are obviously critically important to tell, but they aren’t the only ones. As cliche as it sounds, I feel like it’s more important than ever to take the time to get to know folks from that part of the world–or at least to try. That’s certainly part of what that show was about, and I think we were all proud to have made that point. The response to the blog was a complete surprise-I never expected to have so many people reach out to say “thanks” for taking the time to consider their point of view. I guess it just goes to show that the dialogue has only just begun. Once it begins, funny how quickly you realize that we’re all just human–with far more in common than you’d ever imagine, no matter where in the world we may find ourselves. 



Loaded Bow interviews Darlene Liebman of Howcast

Posted in Bended Bow with tags , , , on February 17, 2009 by genennis

Do you need to learn how to have great tent sex or grow grass in someone’s keyboard?  Then Howcast is your go-to site, providing the best online how-to videos and wikis.  It bridges user-generated content with professional quality video, and offers opportunities for emerging filmakers to gain exposure, experience and income. 

Howcast just celebrated its first birthday, and has achieved great credibility and visibility during its short life.  It has received ample praise from media heavy-weights such as Wall Street Journal and Fortune, and was one of TIME Magazine’s 50 Best Websites of 2008. Co-founder, Darlene Liebman, chats with Loaded Bow about her company and the impact it’s having in the world of social media.

Darlene Liebman

Darlene Liebman

Loaded Bow:  Can you tell us a little bit about how you made the transition from producing film and television to co-founding Howcast?

Darlene Liebman:  I was working at Viacom and my twin brother, Jason, was working at Google Video. He had an idea for a How-to Video site and asked me if I could help put together a budget and a game plan. It was really exciting to start something from the ground up and to work on something that hadn’t really been done before. Essentially I tried to just come up with a formula where we could make the most high-quality videos for the smallest amount of money – unlike a movie or a television show where you would go to a facility we would need to own everything and bring everything (shooting, editing, audio) in house.

LB:  You have bridged your background in production with social media. What’s the draw for you? Why are you passionate about social media?

DL:  The direction that Social Media is going really blows my mind. We have all watched it evolve from Friendster to MySpace to now Facebook, growing and becoming more robust. Video on the web is so exciting because it’s open to everyone !!!!

Web video used to only be in the hands of a few elite areas: Ad Agency’s, TV stations… these were the only people creating content for the masses. Now this power is in everyone’s hands. Anyone with a vision can finally own their own t cameras and editing equipment relatively cheaply.

This change of power also changes the entire face of production. You don’t need to spend 2 million dollars to make a commercial, the quality of cameras allow anyone to capture great looking video, and the availability of editing software allows anyone to manipulate it easily in post.

LB:  What is the value in entrepreneurs joining Howcast’s network?

DL:  Getting into the film/video world is tough. Even tougher if you want to be the creative person in charge. Howcast gives everyone the same exact oppourtunity to show off their stuff. It’s also a great way to learn how professionals work. Just like when you work for a TV production company, we provide people with a script, a voice over, graphics, music, and instructions how to put it all together. Everyone is on a level playing field and it lets the filmmakers creativity come out.

LB:  What is it like running Howcast’s studios? Can you tell us about building a community for emerging directors?

DL:  Howcast is a really fun place to work. We are surrounded at HC STudios by wonderful and creative people, plus you honestly learn something new everyday.

We also decided after our launch to extend this environment and production opportunity out to young aspiring filmmakers, to build the Howcast community and offer a way to educate new filmmakers. Our Emerging Filmmaker program is really inspiring because it shows how many talented, eager and dedicate people there are who want to get into production.

LB:  While Howcast provides us with heaps of helpful info, like How to Cow Tip, it is also much bigger than that. For example, in December Howcast organized the Alliance of Youth Movements Summit at Columbia Law School to look at how online tools can facilitate social change. Why is it important for Howcast to take a broad perspective on the applications on social media?

DL:  Howcast is an instructional place, a place to explore and give advice on everything from the less serious topics like How to Use Your Cell Phone as a Wingman to the serious, How to Start a Grass Roots Movement.

People have been protesting and wanting to have their voices heard forever, but no one had ever succesfully created change online. When we saw Oscar Morales and his One Million Voices Against the Farc Movement use Facebook as a catalyst to get 12 million people in the streets to protest a regime in one day, we were amazed. If 1 man could get 12 million people to the streets, showing how he did it effectively could help others. We know that online video is an important part in that effort, like the how Invisible Children showed the atrocities happening to children in Africa, so to use our site as a platform to explore how to effect change using social networks and video seemed only natural. I feel very proud that we create all types of How to videos – from the entertaining to the globally powerful.

LB:  Howcast has just celebrated its first birthday. How does it feel to have watched your company achieve so much in such a short amount of time?

DL:  Who doens’t love a birthday? It makes me very proud to see what we have accomplished in such a small span of time. Everyone here really give 150% everyday. The air here buzzes with electricity – always creating, always working on something new and exciting. It also is cool becuase we are really helping to mold the face of online video, with our custom player, our level of quality that we insist on in our videos and our innovative solutions to getting videos to everyone anywhere they might be (we distribute on web, tv broadband and mobile platforms). Sometimes I think the feel must be a similar environment to early television.


Thanks so much, Darlene, for sharing your time with us!  Congratulations on Howcast’s fantastic success and the impact you are having on the industry. 


Host Papa: A Web Hosting Service

Posted in Resources, Tech Talk (Social Media for your Biz) with tags , , on February 10, 2009 by zoepawlak

Okay, so you have your website ready or in the works, you have chosen a logo and title for your business, but you need some online real estate for your domain name.  Even if you are still in the planning stages of your business, you can buy your domain name in advance so no one snags up your great business name.


You are looking for a web hosting service.  For all you Canadians, or those who want to support Canadian business, looking for a host, this website is the most easy to use and has the best green practices of any hosting company we have come across. 


HostPapa is a privately-owned company located in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. They have VIDEO tutorials for how to change over your website or upload a new one!!

HostPapa currently offers the following services:

Web Hosting Services
Domain Name Registration
Small Business Pak
Web Site Design

Host Papa is %100 run by green energy.  We highly recommend Host Papa. 



The Facts about Women in Business

Posted in Resources, Tech Talk (Social Media for your Biz) with tags , , on February 6, 2009 by zoepawlak

The facts are here.  It is our time (as our mentor Heather White says) “to evolve or die.”  Here we are ladies.  Let’s make the most of each day, employ great people, love our jobs, have free time, build our families, have healthy relationships and in the meantime…why not make it a million $ business??!


Consider the facts:

Women-owned businesses employ approximately 27 million people

Women own 48% of all businesses in the United States — that is 9.1 million businesses *

Women business owners contribute more than $3.6 trillion to the marketplace each year, and women account for more than 70% of consumer spending *

55% of women provide half or more of their household’s income, yet 48 million women — that is 80% of all women in the workforce — earn less than $25,000 a year *Facts from “The National Foundation for Women Business Owners

Join us this month for Tech Talk February.  Though we may not grow your business to a million dollars by the end of Feb. we will commit to teaching you all we know (and don’t know) about technology and it’s relationship to growing your small (and big) business!