The Flu, Resolutions, Bribe the Chicken, Startup Crushes

The title of this post is absurd. But that’s because we have a lot going on.

First of all, one of the Clucks is writing this post from a tres-chic hotel in a fancy ski town in Colorado that will remain unnamed. She is with her very sweet fiancé, who is currently down-and-out with the flu. What’s a startup girl to do? Break out the Mac and get to work! We feel badly that there is a part of us that is gleeful for a night that began with completely unfiltered Twitter surfing, and that has yielded enough time for a new blog entry. We are sorry, fiancé, but we are making the best of things.

Next, both of the Clucks are fired up about 2013. We have business plans in the works, beta testing (hopefully) in the near future, and we’re planning on stalking some other companies (mostly other startups working in the same general galaxy as ours) to see if they want to partner with us. If you are reading this, awesome startup with a parenting/content/distribution focus, we may come calling.

In addition, we are always impressed and humbled by the sage advice of the folks that have built successful companies. Tonight the thoughts of David Cummings (http://davidcummings.org) really resonated with us – what to do with the chicken and egg scenario when you are building a startup. When you (we) need one thing to reach another (equally important) thing, and the growth of each is co-dependent. “Bribe the Chicken” can be found here: http://davidcummings.org/2012/12/30/startup-strategy-bribe-the-chicken

It sounded a little iffy at first, but when we dug in, the premise was authentic for us. We have more thinking to do about how My CluckCluck is going to run around bribing other chickens (terrible play on words – could not resist).

Lastly, while we are working away at our app, there are parts of it that will ultimately only work out if other partners think it’s a good idea too. We’re compiling our wish lists… and in that process finding ourselves with a few startup crushes. It’s the equivalent of gazing across the gym with puppy dog eyes just hoping that guy/girl will somehow intuit that we are really, truly meant to be together if s/he would just look our way. Stated another way, we’re constantly impressed with the cool, daring, thoughtful, great things other people build.

With all of this, this Cluck is going to sign off, and perhaps use the remainder of the free evening to refine some 2013 resolutions.

Happy New Year from My CluckCluck!

We’re Still Here!

We have been quiet (far too quiet!) but never fear, it’s not because we’ve given up! It’s because we have been hard at work with our developer, as well as working on some of the less glamorous parts of being a start up. (Are there any glamorous parts of being a start up, now that I think about it? It’s challenging and great fun, yes. Glamorous? No. Or at least, not so far.) More to come from Leaning In soon!

Being Stealth and Other Topics

Well, it’s been a quiet time for us at My CluckCluck. “Stealth” – in startupspeak.

Stealth indeed.

I guess we are still “stealth” and will be for awhile longer… but I just wanted to post some recent experiences and observations.

First, I attended an Atlanta TechCrunch event last week, and wanted to report back. For starters, more than 1,200 people showed up at the event. It seems sufficient to say that I was one of very few women in the room…and quite possibly the ONLY woman in the room with 3 kids, 2 cats, a chicken and an overweight Golden Retriever, who also happens to be a startup founder and (why does this feel like a side-note??) a tech lawyer with special affection for computer engineers. There is a good chance I’m biased (in my own favor) but I departed from the event with confidence that our company is indeed on a path to solving a big problem, and that the passion E and I share on potentially moving the needle in helping parents balance their lives at work and at home will ultimately come out through our product. I was also intimidated by the dudes wearing neon, startup-branded headbands.

Next, I will admit that I was irrationally thrilled by the “Marissa Mayer” newsbreak. I won’t pontificate. Just cheering for one of our gals, and hoping that the mighty Yahoo can find its place and direction. Also looking forward to seeing Marissa carve out a new path for smart girls, who also happen to be parents. Maybe Marissa will beta test our app?? (#youneverknow)

That’s it for this week – we have much to do… must get to it.

H

“Mommy Wars” Are Dumb

I said it.

I have thought this for years.

I’m going to admit that I have bought into various segments of the issue at various (conveniently synchronistic) times in my life.

But I swear I am older, wiser, less silly.  Mommy wars are dumb.

I am prompted tonight – exhausted after working at my (challenging!) day job all day, combined with a school pizza party that ended with ice cream, followed by a rather difficult “winding down” time at home…  I’m just tired, y’all.

So when I read this blog tonight, I agreed completely:

How about all of us — working, stay at home, whatever – collectively agree that we’re doing our best, that the world goes around because we’re all different, and nobody NOBODY is right.

But what’s absolutely right is this:

kids. just. need. parents.

I ALSO wanted to interject that guys (I’m referring to dads, step-fathers, uncles, friends and other awesome guys that care a LOT about the kids in their lives) also deserve equal credit.

Furthermore, I want to interject the notion that those of us that actually participate in these so-called “mommy wars” may actually just have the privilege of doing so because we are the benefactors of education, and opportunity.

In my own case, my mother deserves most of the credit — she turned me down when I asked if I could “travel in Europe” instead of embarking into my first year of law school.  I ended up thanking her outright when my life circumstances didn’t work out as planned.  I’m happily working (some days harder than  others) as a single mom to 3 kids — and I don’t doubt for a second that my own daughter AND 2 sons are going to ultimately understand that the privilege I actually enjoyed was this:

The choice not to work outside my home for awhile, and the privilege to get back to work when I wanted and needed to do so.

But no matter what, my kids have me, their dad, and a lot of other people around them that truly care about them.  Each of them will grow up to be as complicated as the next person (aren’t we all?), but no matter what, I know each of my children knows that he/she is loved.

Which is more than I think we can say for kids that just don’t have parents.

So how about we quiet those so-called wars, do the best we can, and maybe even do better and open up the world of love and opportunity to some kids whose needs go beyond whether they got formula or breastfeeding for the first 6 months of their lives.

I’ll step off my soapbox here. Isn’t this a startup blog?

Yes.

But we’re building our app ONLY because we believe so passionately in the connection that parents feel to the little people they care about.  We actually think we can do something that matters to a bunch of us (which, in turn, matters to our little people…)

Thanks for being patient with this blog entry….

H

Yoga as Startup Inspiration

Went to yoga this morning. My favorite instructor, Phil, was teaching. When he saw me, he gave me BIG EYES… as in “Holy wow, I thought you must have QUIT yoga…it’s been so long…” But, as most lovely yoga people are, Phil was forgiving and funny and great.

About an hour into the class, we moved to the wall. This is part of Phil’s yoga magic, of course. The part where we practice handstands.

I dutifully moved my mat, placed my hands on the mat, and walked my feet up the wall until my torso and legs formed an EXACT (irony included) 90 degree angle. I took a few breaths, smiled, pretty much collapsed onto the mat.

When it was all done, Phil had us all move back into our places on the floor, and offered this wisdom:

Handstands are scary because you are afraid that you will fall on your head.

Pretty much everyone that tries to master this rather challenging feat does, actually, fall.

You practice on the wall so you learn that you have all the power you need to support all that will come when you fully commit.

***

As a part-time, totally humble yogi, I appreciated his humility.

As a full-on entrepreneur trying to bootstrap a startup, in this wild, wild world where all of the rules have changed, I heard something else:

In the new, crazy world, we (along with all of you) have the power to realize your dreams. That power is based on all of what’s inside of you. In our case, that’s a collective foundation of 20+ years of being students, lawyers with serious jobs, 5 kids, 2(ish) years of blogging, and (with much much humility) leaning in on all of the connections, goodwill, friends, and friends-of-friends that all of the foregoing has given us.

And as a direct result, E and I are also spinning. We realizing that, ironically, the biggest challenge in all of this is staring down (and planning for) what happens if your dreams and plans GO BIG. It’s actually easy to deal with the opposite… an app and idea that lives in mediocre-land for awhile, sputters along. That’s easily scalable, not that hard to support.

But GO BIG? Oh sheesh. Lets start with the fact that it’s a champagne problem. But more realistically, it’s a challenge – how MUCH do we care about the problem we’re trying to solve here?

A very good friend (who happens to be awfully awesome in the VC world) pretty much asked us this question last night. At almost midnight. On a flight, far away from his sweet family, and at the humble request of a friend he had not seen since the 80’s, and with whom I was only connected in a real sense via Facebook. THIS, friends, is the new paradigm. “WHAT are you willing to do? HOW are you going to compete with all of the 20-somethings with unbelievable connections??”

Got it B. As lawyers, we plan for the worst. As entrepreneurs, we absolutely MUST plan for the best.

Thank you B. Truly.

E and I have our own answer.

And, I suppose we’re posting this because we wanted to share the same query to our other friends – far and near- considering the same thing.

WHAT are you willing to do in your life for what truly moves you?? Do you have a plan for the best?

Thanks y’all — good week!

xo

H

Thanks Frank

Thanks Frank. Seriously. We so enjoyed your op-ed this week.

Our readers can find your article here: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/15/opinion/sunday/bruni-working-and-women.html?_r=1&ref=frankbruni

We appreciated it for a variety of reasons — but the biggest one was the fact that you stood up for your mom. As mothers (2 founders, 5 littles, many pets), we just like guys that stand up for their mothers, no matter what. But as MOTHERS, entrepreneurs, lawyers, wives, girlfriends, women and people, we just liked what you had to say today.

Hilary Rosen’s comment about Ann Romney set fire to the always-there-so-called-mommy-wars firestorm. And as you so respectfully commented, none of this noise really matters. We’re all working hard. At home with kids. In the office.

Hello, y’all? Taking care of other people is one of the wonderful gifts in this life, but it’s also hard.

We raise this here because our idea is built on this exact issue. Taking care of people is both wonderful and hard. We believe, so passionately, that technology can make it easier.

And so… the wheels of progress turn on…

Just wanted to put out there that we are nodding in agreement with you Frank. Hugging our little boys in the hope that they might stick up for us in the NY Times someday too. And working really, really hard behind the scenes to get our business up and running so we can play our part in the progress that we all need to do more for all of the people and places that require our time and attention.

Anxiety + All In

Friends.  This is a wild ride!

First of all, we were excited to set up our Twitter profile.  You can find us at @mycluckcluck.

Also, in startup news — first, we had a couple of meetings with potential developers last week. One was on vacation this week, the other promised us some info, and was busy, which we understand.  But when we saw a certain **new** social media site go up, and go crazy, this week, we got very, very anxious. We made a few calls, everyone is engaged again, and we are happier. More to come…

So… we’re working on executing some action items this week!  Talk to developers! Check!  Ask our super-smart friends to look at our business plan! Check! Fret, needlessly, over factors we cannot control?! Yep!

But don’t be fooled, we are loving this.  E sent me an article, with a title of “All In” today. It gave me chills… and inspired me to get after it…  here it is – happy reading: http://techcrunch.com/2012/04/11/instagram-all-in/

We are ALL IN. Stay with us… more to come..