Celebrating The Startup Life: Gina Bianchini on Social Media, Failure, and Misconceptions

September 3, 2013

3:00 am

How do you Celebrate your startup’s success?  In a world where hustle is the mantra, sometimes taking the time to pause, reflect, and commemorate is more beneficial to your team’s morale, and consequently your long-term success.

On October 23 – 25, we invite you to Downtown Vegas to Celebrate entrepreneurship at Tech Cocktail Celebrate, a three day national startup showcase, inspirational speaker series, and parties.

The event will feature a slew of big-name speakers and judges. Included on this list is Gina Bianchini, former CEO and co-founder at Ning (purchased by Glam Media for $150M), current founder and CEO at Mightybell, who also spent time serving as executive in residence at Andreesen Horowitz.  Bianchini has been featured as one of NPR’s “5 Nerds to Watch in 2013,” Fortune Magazine’s “40 under 40,” Huffington Post’s 10 technology “Ultimate Game Changers,” and 7×7 magazine’s “Hot 20” list.

I had the chance to catch up with Gina to learn more about how she Celebrates the startup life.  Our conversation is below.

Interview with Gina Bianchini

Tech Cocktail:  What’s the biggest difference between being an executive in residence and an entrepreneur? Are the motivations wildly different?

Gina Bianchini:  Being an EIR (either as an executive in residence or entrepreneur in residence) without having been an executive or entrepreneur would be a bit weird. An EIR is just an entrepreneur planning their next move and helping other entrepreneurs out in the process. In my case, I used the EIR time to help a few companies and then founded Mightybell to be a place for communities to learn and share together in groups.

Tech Cocktail:  What will the future landscape of social media look like over the next 2-3 years?

Bianchini:  I believe the next wave of social media will be about taking action and organizing communities towards goals, not just being satisfied with collecting passive followers. In this context, I think social will also get a lot more specialized and vertically focused.

Tech Cocktail:  What’s the grand-scale vision with Mightybell? How is it different from Ning?

Bianchini:  We want to be the platform for organized social, which means delivering the ability to people to meet other relevant people based on your interests, passions and goals faster and more efficiently than what is possible today.

Tech Cocktail:  What has been your biggest failure as an entrepreneur? What did you takeaway from the experience?

Bianchini:  I am both tenacious and patient, which happens to be a very good combination to have as an entrepreneur. I have had more product failures than successes and the one thing that I have learned: if you choose to get better based on every experience – good and bad – and keep following your mission, it will eventually work no matter where you start.

Tech Cocktail:  What’s the biggest misconception about being an entrepreneur / starting up?

Bianchini:  That it is sexy. Most of the time, it is a slog. As evidence of this, the best entrepreneurs I know aren’t out at every tech start-up networking event. However, the part I love about the start-up life is getting to work with a killer team of equally passionate believers everyday towards a big goal. When you like your team, this path is awesome.

Tech Cocktail: Give an example of a time you’ve celebrated your startup’s success?  In your mind, why is celebration important?

Bianchini:  As I write this, I have had an awesome start-up day. That is after three months of hard, focused work where I barely went outside. And it is summer in California. The key is in both cases to just keep going. What do I mean by keeping going? I’m here filling this out at 8pm and have more to do, but I’m doing it smiling. That’s the celebration. Oh, and I bought a new keyboard because I spilled water on my other one. Technically this means I gave myself a gift too.

Want to get your Celebration on?  Join us in Downtown Vegas for Tech Cocktail Celebrate!

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When Zach Davis isn’t getting lost in the mountains, he is hustling from Boulder, CO as Tech Cocktail’s Director of Marketing. He is the author of Appalachian Trials, a book chronicling the mindset necessary for thru-hiking all 2,181 miles of the Appalachian Trail, a feat he accomplished in 2011. Zach is a green tea enthusiast, die-hard Chicago sports fan, and avid concert-goer. Follow Zach on Twitter: @zrdavis.

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