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Revised Release Date For Vsnap 2.0

By Dave McLaughlin, CEO at Vsnap

We’ve decided to delay releasing our new product until October, to give ourselves extra time for testing and refinements on some of the key features. This is a completely rebuilt platform, both front and back ends. We’re really excited about how this product simplifies the process of creating vsnaps, making it easier for sales reps to send short video messages that build trust with their buyers. We’re also super excited about how the new product puts us on a path to iterate more rapidly than ever before. The coming year is going to be super exciting! 

Current users will be moved into free trials (no credit card info will be taken), as outlined in earlier communications. That will just happen in October rather than on September 1. If you have any questions, please let us know. 

Finally, this is a reminder that we are doing away with free Vsnap accounts. If you already know that you do not want a free trial or will not be moving into a paid account, we want to remind you to log in now to download the vsnaps you’ve created if you want to keep them. 

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Vsnapper Spotlight: Nineteenth Amendment

By Trish Fontanilla, VP of Community & Customer Experience at Vsnap

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(Pictured: Nineteenth Amendment co-founders, Amanda Curtis and Gemma Sole)

I don’t think I could pick just one Vsnap Value to represent Nineteenth Amendment’s CEO Amanda Curtis. It’d probably be a tie between “Only Help” and “Be a Doer”.

Nineteenth Amendment was born out of an idea Amanda had when she was a designer. She wanted to create an easier and less expensive way (“stiletto-strapping”) for people in the fashion industry to launch their first line. After two years of incredibly hard work and curating a list of amazing designers, Nineteenth’s site launched this past June. They’ve been getting a lot of great coverage, and somehow in between all of the chaos, Amanda found some time to chat with me about community, brands they love, and using our new Viewer API.

Tell us a little bit about the Nineteenth Amendment community.
The Nineteenth Amendment community is the greatest emerging fashion talent from around the globe, paired with shoppers who love being at the forefront of unique fashion and the future of trends. Our designers and consumers value individuality and it is our mission to give them all a voice in the future of fashion.

Are there any designers or brands you look to when it comes to engaging with your community?
We think that Alex and Ani, as a brand, does a superb job of engaging with their community - from non-profit Charity by Design initiatives to a policy of leaving no tweet unanswered that the founder, Carolyn, made sure was in place since day one. You cannot fake that kind of commitment to community, and valuing everyone’s voice.

How do you use Vsnap?
We use Vsnap to welcome new designers to our platform and engage with our shoppers. We also use it to follow up on in-person meetings we have with potential designers, employees, and investors. Occasionally we use Vsnap to reach fashion’s VIPS, like the Anna Wintours of the world!

You were one of the first companies to test out our API, how’d it go?
Using the Vsnap Viewer API helped us communicate our brand, while providing our customers with a personal and transparent experience. The API was easy to implement and we were able to create unique calls-to-action that enrich the consumer experience.  

Any interesting reactions from people who have received vsnaps from you?
Our designers love it.  So much in fact they often share our vsnaps with their personal networks, especially on Facebook. Terry Lundgren, the CEO of Macy’s, loved our vsnap to him.

And of course, what’s your favorite pie?
Gluten-free whoopie pies from Trish*!

(*Totally not a planted comment, we do what we can to accommodate our guests when they visit!)

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Thanks for the interview, Amanda!

What about you? Do you want to share how you’re using Vsnap in your business? Contact our team at info@vsnap.com or fill out this form and you could be in our next Vsnapper Spotlight!

Filed under trish blogs vsnapper spotlight nineteenth amendment

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Thank You, Trish Fontanilla

by Dave McLaughlin, CEO of Vsnap

This post is a thank you to Trish Fontanilla, our Vice President of Community and Customer Experience. She will be moving on from Vsnap next month, and we’re really going to miss her energy and passion, which are truly extraordinary. 

Trish has not decided yet what is next for her, but my guess is she will be creating and nurturing online and offline communities at some awesome, values-based company, helping them nurture conversations and inspire amazing customer evangelism. 

But then again she might just decide to solve global warming or some other big, gnarly problem instead. Whatever she does, she’s going to be outstanding, and if anyone needs a reference, please get in touch with me at dave at vsnap.com. Set aside some time for that call though, because the list of Trish’s Awesomeness is longer than you can imagine. 

At Vsnap, we’ve refined our focus through a series of iterations, as most startups do, and now we are about to launch a new product that is very targeted to people in sales. Given that focus, we have less of a call to invest in the kind of broader community efforts that we’ve been engaged in, and that Trish has been so great at leading. 

An example of this is the Customer Love series, which we started three years ago to bring together a cross-section of businesspeople who believe that making customers feel loved is the fastest and most enduring path to growth. We’ve held an annual Customer Love Summit on Valentine’s Day each year, and we’ve put together semi-regular meetups on this theme both in Boston and New York. It’s been fun and valuable, but given our refined business focus, the Customer Love movement is a little too broad for us to really invest in growing. 

I bring up Customer Love as an example, but it also brings me back to Trish. In our conversations, she talked about how important that community is to her — and we agreed that she should own the Customer Love brand after she leaves Vsnap. So I’m happy to share that she will continue to convene that conversation, and I hope that Vsnap can continue to be involved as a participant. 

I know people will be curious about our immediate hiring plans at Vsnap. The truth is I haven’t decided on that quite yet. I want to be very specific in terms of who we’re looking for, and I need to take a little time to do that. 

Trish was the first person I hired at Vsnap. She started as our Community Manager, and she just kept taking on more and more responsibility. Honestly, I never could’ve anticipated how influential she would be in our company. She’s just so good, and her voice has so much power, and her name carries so much cred. I’m deeply grateful to her. 

If you know Trish, I hope you’ll reach out and congratulate her on her many, many accomplishments here at Vsnap. And if you don’t know Trish, I encourage you tweet at her and say hello. She’ll change your life. 

Filed under dave blogs trish fontanilla vsnap

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Thrive in Q4: Event Recap & Invitation

By Dave McLaughlin, CEO at Vsnap

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Yesterday, Mike Sadeghpour (LinkedIn, Twitter) led a discussion at Vsnap about understanding the role of emotion in sales, both for buyers and for sellers. The participants were from sales teams at a range of companies, from startups on the rise to a multi-billion dollar business with a thousand-plus reps.

A bit of background on Mike. He began exploring the mental and emotional aspects of high performance in the context of competitive sports. He won the NCAA hockey championship at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, then stayed at RPI as a member of the coaching staff. At the same time, he earned his Masters in Performance Psychology.

After school, Mike entered the sales realm, and over the years he has sold everything, from class rings to competitive research. And he’s held every role, from individual contributor to VP, SVP and EVP. Today, Mike is a sought-after speaker, mentor and coach through his consulting practice, edgeThink (www.whatisyouredge.com).

Yesterday’s conversation was called “Thrive in Q4” and it was framed around what sales leaders can do right now to impact 2014 revenues. We covered too much to recap, so here are just two big ideas I think are worth highlighting.

Q4 Pressure Vectors
Mike deconstructed that pressure that creeps up in Q4, breaking it down along four key vectors where pressure builds — the pipeline, the forecast, the quota, and the W2. All of that bubbles up to the overarching pressure around job security.

What is the effect of rising pressure? Well, think of it as a pipe that is constricting. Your brain actually begins to behave differently, explained Mike. In high-pressure contexts, people have a tendency to rely on intellectual shortcuts, or what Mike calls “thinking traps”. He spelled out eight of them for us, things like Tunnel Vision, where reps start to see only the negative aspects of a situation. Or Mind Reading, where the rep unwittingly begins to invent the details of what the buyer is thinking, creating a false basis for their next actions.

The takeaway here is two-fold. First, you need to recognize how real the pressure is for your reps, and where it’s coming from. Why? Because that helps you watch for the patterns that will probably start to play out. And understanding those patterns gives you the ability to help your reps rise above their thinking traps and all the misleading, counter-productive emotions that go with them.

Fixed Mindset or Growth Mindset?
This is less of a Q4 comment and more of a framework for thinking about the connection between emotion and achievement more broadly. Mike referenced a concept from the work of Stanford professor Dr. Carol Dweck, author of the book Mindset (video). In short, the idea is that we are either Failure Avoiders or Success Seekers, and the distinction comes down to mindset. Failure Avoiders have a rigid or fixed mindset. They believe they know what they need to know, full stop. Success Seekers have a growth mindset. They have high self-confidence, but they also believe they can become better at what they do — and they actively look for learnings to help them do that.

For sales leaders, this idea offers another lens for looking at your team and identifying how to help them succeed. The mindset lens helps you identify what’s going on internally in those situations, and it connects you with a resource — Dr. Dweck’s book — that you can explore more deeply.

Also, since my company advocates a new behavior — one-to-one video messaging — for our clients, I see this mindset lens as valuable relative to identifying our most likely buyers. After all, fixed mindset “failure avoiders” are very unlikely to take on the risk that comes with being an internal champion for a new tool, even one as powerful and impactful as Vsnap.

Let’s Do It Again!
The people who sat at our table yesterday are Success Seekers. They are growth mindset people. They want to learn and they want lead their teams, whether by authority or by example, to bigger and better outcomes. Personally, I love to be around people like that. As Mike said at the start of his talk, emotions are contagious!

So we’re going to do this again — we’ll host another conversation on the same topic, right after Labor Day. Because we’re going to keep it small, we will ask you to fill out this form if you’d like to participate. We just want to be sure we’re involving people who are committed to participating with that all-important spirit of learning and enthusiasm, and the desire to put new ideas into action and capture the benefits.

Filed under dave blogs edgeThink vsnap sales Mike Sadeghpour

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Recap: #satechBOS UnConference

By Trish Fontanilla, VP of Community & Customer Experience at Vsnap

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Last week I had the opportunity to go to the #satechBos UnConference at Simmons College. As some people know, my past life was in higher education, first at Emerson College and then at Berklee College of Music. So I jump at opportunities to combine my love of video and the higher ed community whenever I get a chance. 

If you’ve ever been to an unconference, you know that the energy is palpable. It’s great to see people jump in to suggest or lead sessions to help their edu peers be more successful at what they do. And while I didn’t get a chance to attend both days, I still had a few key takeaways from the event. 

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Stop dreaming big, start acting big.

Ed Cabellon of Bridgewater State University challenged the audience in his keynote: “What have you set into motion thanks to last year’s conference?” Most people admitted that not much had changed. But it’s not just this audience, this reaction is quite common. You go to a conference, get incredibly inspired, and head back to the office talking about how moved you are instead of putting together a set of action items that make the conference more applicable to your team. And not only do you have to take time to figure out how to apply it to your work, you need to figure out how to communicate that set of actions to your internal audiences. Ed’s suggestion is to lose the boring Powerpoint explanations and make the information more visual with the help of some resources like Nancy Duarte’s slide:ology and Garr Reynold’s Presentation Zen

Stop asking for permission.

Another point that’s applicable to all organizations. Sometimes the instinct is to immediately pitch an app or program to the whole department. Instead, focus on small scale implementation before bringing it up the ladder. So if it’s a new Facebook app, don’t play around with your institution’s main feed, experiment with a specific program’s feed instead. And whatever you do, don’t go into a decision-maker’s meeting empty-handed. Make sure you’re measuring all your initiatives and how they relate to your students. Talk about data instead of only sentiments. I’d even suggest asking the app / program maker for help too. Most companies are more than happy to help you sell to your organization, and may even have a Convince Your Boss doc.

At the end of the day, for folks in education, if the student is at the center of the project, no one can fault you for trying something new.

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Know the difference between non-literacy, literacy and fluency.

It’s important to realize what people bring to the table. Just because a colleague has never been on Twitter doesn’t mean she can’t be good at it with a little training. And just because a student has a Twitter account doesn’t mean he’s trained to manage a brand. Take time to train your team and help them understand the underpinnings of why you’re doing what you do, not just how to use a product. Another one of Ed’s suggestions is to measure how your trainings are going, so be sure to test their aptitude before and after the training.

I want to say thanks to Thomas Kelley for allowing us to partner with the SATechBos unconference, Eric Clark for the introduction, and to all the hard-working professionals in this community that showed up and shared all of their learnings!

For those of you interested in using Vsnap in education, we’ve actually got a case study coming out soon. If you’re interested, let me know and I’ll send it over when it comes out.

For other recaps of #satechBOS, check out:
Paul Gordon - #satechBOS Day 1 Twitter Recap
Paul Gordon - #satechBOS Day 2 Twitter Recap

Filed under trish blogs vsnap edutech edu satechBOS unconference