Today I was offered share in a company while I worked the StartupPrincess swag table at the Seth Godin lunch for Haiti. (Think of that as background information, not name-dropping). A man approached me, saying he felt impressed to tell me about his great idea for a Twitter/Facebook-type networking site that would fill a niche for online moms.
I said that sounded good, in fact there are already several (probably hundreds of) great sites out there (including #gno and TwitterMoms.com on Twitter and pages on Facebook, and Today’s Mama and the Motherhood, and various ning social sites, not to mention local message boards and forums and pretty soon it was clear that he didn’t have a clear vision for his company, and he hadn’t done any market research (how sad is it that I think I used that term correctly in a conversation) to see what’s already out there and what he could offer different and special.
What he does have, basically, is the domain SuperMom.com, and the conviction that this could be big, really big. And you know what? It could be, with the right person (a woman who happens to be a mom probably), the right vision, the right strategy, a higher purpose (donating 10% to charity or something), the right relationships with social media gurus, and time and luck.
He wanted me to be that person. I said I’d work on it if he’d pay me. He offered me a share in the company (which is basically, share in the domain SuperMom.com), which might be an opportunity, I suppose, if I could make it my passion.
But it’s not, and I can’t.
I told him about Kalli’s quilting bee I went to last month and Sue’s new blogger charity posse and how the “networks” I participate in are all “organic.” I’m on Twitter, yeah, but only because I enjoy it and there are fun people on there who have interesting ideas or happenings to share. (Yes, a lot of it is beyond banal, but how about this tweet from @QueenScarlett yesterday: 5YO:I like going to Church to have a play date with Jesus. Me:What? 5YO:Church is His house. It’s a reverent play date & Jesus is not whiny.)*
Then I said, to be honest, (prepare yourself): The name “SuperMom” is kind of off-putting to me. I have no interest in being a SuperMom, or an AlphaMom or a Type-A Mom. I even lost interest in being a What About Mom? Mom, though sometimes I think of going back to that.
He still insisted that that person with the vision could be me. I demurred, told him about the social media club of slc and Utah Valley, where he could go and meet people who might be more visionary.
He handed me his business card, told me to think about it, and let him know if I was interested in being a part of the next big thing.
I’m interested, all right, in what people do and think they can do online.
But I lost his card somewhere on the ride home.
Here’s what I learned at the Seth Godin thing, for Lauren (@supermomcentral), because I told her I was writing a post about said event, and this post really isn’t much about that, except to say that I know it’s important to have passion, if you want to succeed in business (life). Seth Godin says if you can write down what your job is then “they” can find someone to do it cheaper. And that public school is a scam perpetuated by factory-minded people who want to produce a compliant, obedient, not-thinking-for-themselves workforce.
And that fear is what keeps us from doing great things, from creating great art (the kind that is being awesome at whatever you do because you’re doing it your way). And then he said that the emotionally hard work of being an artist (again, not a painter but a DO-er, a Create-or, etc) is doing it even when you don’t feel like doing it, which I need to think about a lot because I haven’t felt like writing or doing anything lately, and I like to blame my evening pregnancy sickness for that, but really it’s probably also fear — fear of failure, and also fear of success. (Which is nonsense, because really, who fears success?)
The other big take-away I got will be the subject of my post “Lessons for being a Mom from Seth Godin” if I ever get around to writing it, but since I might not, the upshot was I started thinking that probably I can be an artist as a mother, I can do it the way only I can, I can do it my way, a way that can’t be written down in interchangeable parts. I can stop demanding blind obedience (not that I am successful at that) and instead encourage making good choices and trying new things, and I can see that the messier my house is, the better, because it means those kids are DOing something.
A lot of what Seth said sounded like Ayn Rand to me, and I wonder if that means I didn’t get it at all or if he is a not-so-secret Galtist. Because he talked a lot about giving and generosity, but it sounded like non-coerced giving, not namby-pamby “giving back.”
And finally, Seth actually asked me a question, but I didn’t know the answer. I did, however, know the answer to the number one question asked at events like this: “Where is the bathroom?”
* If you’re on the fence about Twitter, (and Seth Godin today said it was terrible, that it was what kept people from creating their art (not arty art but whatever it is that you do that no one tells you to do), but you could say that about any distraction that has the potential, if misused, to become a time-suck), consider this:
Fun Happenings that were a direct result of Twitter:
That time I spoke at BYU about Twitter because Kelly King Anderson asked for a substitute on Twitter.
That time I met @sahans on Twitter, who happens to live just 30 minutes away and then she fed my family one night and another night we got to go to the Timpanogos Storytelling Winter Concert for free because she knows how to Direct Message me on Twitter.
All of the times I have discussed meeting at Barry’s in Spanish Fork for Malibu Chicken and the best French fries in the world, and yet the one time I drove down there I was too grungy to ask anyone to meet me on Twitter.
That time I heard about the #gno at Seo.com and I took Chrysanthemum and we ate pizza and laughed with @jet_set and @petitelefant.
That time I attended the Wasatch Woman of the Year luncheon and got all inspired because Pam Baumeister asked for volunteers on Twitter.
That time I attended the Start-up Princess Seth Godin lunch because KKA asked for volunteers on Twitter.
I can’t list all of the Utah people I follow on Twitter because I am lazy, but here are the ones who were at lunch today. Just go to Twitter.com and add these fine folk: @jillkaufusi, @sahans, @inevergrewup, @sweetlifeinth, @JoanieAtwater,@emihill, @makeitworkmom, @wasatchwoman, @startupprincess, @bigbags, @thomallen, @newspapergrl, @cuteculturechic, @JylMomIF (I didn’t see her but I’m believin’ she was there), and if I forgot anyone it is because I am a terrible person and you should forgive me (if you even see this because probably if you read me, and if I know that you read me, I would probably have remembered seeing you there today, and so really it’s your fault. Not that all of these people read me religiously, but they should.)
You should also follow @LauraMoncur, because she is the first person in social media that I met in Utah, she’s really nice, and she makes a living online. I know! Crazy, huh?