Brandywine Valley College Specialists was featured in the Daily Local News this week for the recent launch of their online program which makes college admissions a breeze. Founded by two experts in the field of admissions, we were approached in the Summer of 2017 to help transform their previously face-to-face consultative approach into a digital experience for increased accessibility. Fast forward to Summer 2018 and we launched a fully produced platform experience with video and downloadable supplemental materials!
We talked with Jim Sueffert, Senior Partner at Wheelhouse Analytics.
How do Walnut St. Labs videos differ from what you’ve done in the past?
Well the video in the past; very scripted, very planned, more like theater. The videos we’ve produced; very natural. What pops into my head [and] hopefully comes out [are] sincere, meaningful, smaller bites. And I think people get a clearer feeling and message as to what what we’re trying to say; where we’re trying to go.
Can video change the culture of financial services?
I think when you put an unscripted video out there with hopefully people that you know, know the subject matter and you don’t have a script version if you will I think the audience can tell pretty quickly whether or not the individuals real. And once they’re for real that tends to lead to maybe a face – at least a phone call – and then maybe a face-to-face meeting and then that thread continues to be bold hopefully in a positive direction.
What dies video accomplish for Wheelhouse Analytics?
I think for establishing credibility you can look at a resume but I think the video is a better medium nowadays than paper.
How did you take your video media to the next level?
Walnut St. Labs actually took us to this place we we needed help you know messaging, we need to be crisp, concise to generate the velocity and they did it.
Part innovation center, part work-space and part auditorium, Walnut St. Labs is a regional epicenter of tech entrepreneurialism. It hosts networking events, brainstorming sessions, and talks from the region’s most successful tech entrepreneurs. “We created an ecosystem, the purpose of which is to build and generate ideas,” says founder and CEO Chris Dima.
That wasn’t Dima’s goal when he got to Walnut St. Labs in 2013. Then, it was just shared office space. Dima was working for Economy.com while expanding his own software-development and marketing company when the lease expired. Five other entrepreneurs worked in the building. “No one wanted to, so I signed the lease myself,” says Dima. “I created a logo and hung a piece of paper on the front door with tape. Walnut St. Labs was born. Lesson learned: You can wait for other people to lead, or lead yourself.”
Grants from the Chester County Economic Development Council helped Dima transform the former taxi garage into an innovation center. “You need a clubhouse where like-minded people can gather,” he says.
In early 2016, Dima moved Walnut Street Labs to a new space—still in West Chester and with the same vibe. “I want to nurture tech entrepreneurship in the suburbs—and Chester County, specifically,” he says. “That’s who I am, and that’s the story I want to tell.”
instrapption.com@InstrapptionWhat’s wrong with the appstore’s current model/tech? I used to Love finding new Apps. I’ve been talking to people, and we’re all in the same boat. We just aren’t looking anymore. Apple’s App Store is an amazing creation, but – it’s been around so long it’s become a mess. Organization does not exist that supports the volume and breadth of its Apps. Currently, App Store search is only based on the App’s title (leading to very long titles) and most people download based upon the look of the icon. This is not ideal. I believe Apple is waiting for someone to fix this. And to their credit, they are buying and incorporating any company that offers solutions.
What are you doing to solve it? I’m fixing it. It’s not about Apps, it’s about YOU and what brings YOU Joy in life. InstrApption listens to your interests and finds you Apps that support them. That’s it. If you like weather Apps and need one that provides radar maps and low/high tide information, InstrApption guides you to those Apps. When better Apps come along, it let’s you know. InstrApption also finds Apps to help in ways you didn’t realize. That’s really valuable because great Apps keep being made and changing how you experience life. InstrApption is also about community. The community submits Apps, identifies their features and comments on how appealing and valuable an App is. This information is processed by a back-end recommendation engine that is constantly rehashing new data from multiple sources. A radically different communication interface serves the community. You’ll have to see it for yourself. I didn’t like anything that existed so I merged the best of chat, blogs and forums.
What helpful insight did you gain from you demo night?
The Walnut St Labs audience was insightful – They sliced and diced ideas that I have held and made me rethink and justify each one. I have several new ideas to improve InstrApption, as well as ideas on how to push InstrApption forward as a company.
Lucinda Duncalfe finds that training in the martial arts is a lot like running a company. “You have to be willing to be vulnerable, the same way as when you come to full speed in an attack in martial arts. Women in particular are terrible at this. We ask for less money, we worry about what people will think. Just GO.”
With a tenure that includes a string of successful CEO gigs in the tech industry as well as a vegan meal delivery service, this Wharton Business School grad has always enjoyed a good match. Starting out at SEI and Infonautics, she formed relationships that would follow her throughout her career.
A consulting gig with Elverson-based online banking software company Destiny Software led to her first CEO-ship, which was a surprise. “Destiny founder Skip Shuda called me on a Saturday to talk about doing marketing for them, and I told him what he really needed was a CEO. On Monday, he called me back and said, ‘we think you’re right–we do need a CEO–and we’d like you to do it.”
Lucinda advises wanna-be entrepreneurs to keep their lifestyles in check so they can be fearless. “At SEI, I was making a lot of money. When I went to Infonautics, I took a 50% pay cut, and when I moved to Destiny, I took another 50+ percent cut. I’ve always lived well below my means, so I could do that without it being a problem.”
“I like to do what I like to do. You can do that if you make a lot of money, or you can do it if you don’t spend a lot of money.”
When the tech bubble burst in 2002, Lucinda sought out her next endeavor. She and a partner founded TurnTide, an anti-spam tech company. “We bought the technology with stock from our new company. And 6 months later we sold it to Symantec for 28 million bucks.”
“I believe that if you keep doing the right thing, then the connections will happen.”
Lucinda joined Conshohocken-based Monetate in 2008, citing her excitement about the big scale and international presence. “There is a whole new set of lessons to learn when you’re working on something that you didn’t build yourself.”
Monetate marks her fifth stint as CEO. “I believe that if you’re good, it just sort of works out. At the end of the day, it’s about results. If you’re good, just keep being good.”
Real Food Works
The film Forks Over Knives changed Lucinda’s life. Extolling the virtues of a plant-based diet and condemning big pharma and factory farming for making people sick, the 2011 documentary “made me really politically angry,” she says. “If you don’t know about the power of food on our lives, go watch that movie.”
Struggling with arthritic joints since early adulthood, the lifelong athlete was at a point she needed to do something. “I was too young for knee replacement. After seeing this movie and doing research, I changed my eating. In about 3 weeks I was pain free.”
Her dramatic results inspired an idea to make those dietary changes accessible to anyone, leading to the formation of Real Food Works, a plant-based meal delivery service partnered with Forks Over Knives. “Real Food Works uses the excess resources in the existing food infrastructure to make a healthy meal-delivery service. We make it easier to get people eating healthy food every day.”
Launching Real Food Works has had its own challenges. “Food is a cash flow business and it’s not super scalable. It was tough.”
She called in favors. “One of my contacts said, ‘you have 3 passes and you’ve used one. Is this another one?’ And I said ‘yes it is.’” But Lucinda thinks Real Food Works is ready. “We have 17,000 people on a list ready to sign up for the service.”
On Doing What You Love
“I’m 52 and I’m still passionate about doing this. When I look around at other people my age, there is a small percentage of us who are all still engaged doing what we love. There then is another small percentage doing something totally different. And then I have a whole bunch of friends who are kind of going on cruise control.”
“As my mother is fond of telling me, I gave up napping at a year old and haven’t looked back since. I’m not one to go on cruise control.”
Teaching is on the horizon. “I want to start a CEO school. There are specific things that you need to know how to do.”
Like managing risk. “One thing I always tell people who say that entrepreneurs are risk takers. Not at all. Entrepreneurs manage risk, but we don’t get emotional about it. People tend to be afraid of all the stuff around a “thing” that happens, and not the actual thing itself.”