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Mary Schmidt Business Builder & Renovator


Idea Pool

A Patent Isn’t a (Commercial) Product.

Mary Schmidt

Apr 07, 2016

Consider the ballpoint pen. John J. Loud patented a “rolling-pointed fountain marker” on October 30, 1888.  Over the next 30 years, 350 similar patents were issued by the U.S. Patent Office. But none of these products appeared on the market.  The idea was fine—they just couldn’t get the ink right. If it was too thin, the pen leaked. Too thick, the pen clogged. Eventually two French brothers solved the problem and licensed their patents, in 1950, to a Frenchman named Bich. He then took

In Brain Food, Start-Up Sanity Checks, Marketing Troubleshooting

Mindful Monday: Sometimes I’m Not Okay and Neither Are You.

Mary Schmidt

Apr 04, 2016

“I’m not against having a nice day. I’m not against happiness.”— Barbara Ehrenreich at TEDxZaragoza (video here).  Ms. Ehrenreich conceived of her book, Smile or Die, How Positive Thinking Fooled America and the World, when “she became ill with breast cancer, and found herself surrounded by pink ribbons and bunny rabbits and platitudes. She balked at the way her anger and sadness about having the disease were seen as unhealthy and dangerous by health professionals and other sufferers.”


In Brain Food, Mindful Mondays, Pet Peeves

Do Good: Do Nothing.

Mary Schmidt

Apr 01, 2016

Yes, you read that right. Do Nothing.

We are all faced with URGENT! IMPORTANT! every day. If we don’t ACT RIGHT NOW, all will be lost.  Well, maybe…maybe not. And if we rush in without knowing what we’re doing, we could actually do more harm than good.  These days, thanks (or no thanks) to social media, we can be instantly aware of all the world’s ills and outrages.  And, of course, the world is full of really awful people and terrible tragedies (and always has been. Over all, the quality of

In Do Good. Do Well.

Social Media Isn’t Marketing.

Mary Schmidt

Apr 01, 2016

Certainly, marketers have glommed onto SM for communications. Especially the increasingly desperate (and clueless) ad and PR agencies (who anoint themselves social media experts…and send out cold email spam to bloggers - such as me - about topics that aren’t even remotely related to my blog and biz.  Jelly Belly jelly beans and moms? Really?)

However, social media isn’t marketing.  (Just as advertising isn’t marketing, another one of my pet peeves.)  It’s a tool set that can - properly used -

In Marketing Troubleshooting, Pet Peeves, Social Media Reality Checks

What’s your “duh” score?

Mary Schmidt

Mar 28, 2016

  Years ago, I worked with a start-up company that was full of scary smart geek guys.  One of my many “herd the cats” tasks was to facilitate product planning and development meetings.  As you might imagine this was a challenge.  Each thought they were the smartest person in the room.  We were neck deep in testosterone (several ex military in the group contributed significantly - HOOAH!)  And, they were all afraid to look stupid in front of the others. 

This meant important questions went

In Start-Up Sanity Checks

The Three Most Abused Words in Business

Mary Schmidt

Mar 16, 2016

In no particular order:

1. Partner.

As in, “We want to partner with you, Mr./Ms. Customer.”  Calls to mind a meeting I once had, in a Fortune 50 gig, with one of our top sales executives.  He had great fun (snort, snort), “Yes, we want to be YOUR PARTNER, Mr. Customer. Give us all your money!”

“Partner” implies that both parties in the transaction are in it for more than dollars or that single transaction. There’s nothing wrong with being an operationally excellent company who excels at

In Brain Food, Marketing Troubleshooting, Pet Peeves

Mindful Monday: The Busy Myth

Mary Schmidt

Mar 07, 2016

“I know how busy you are!”  “The first opening I have for lunch is three months from now!” “I just can’t fit that into my schedule!”  “Gosh, you’re so lucky! You have time to meditate!”

Sound familiar? Said any of these yourself? 

From Busting the Myth of Busy:

We’re surrounded by people who have bought the idea that busy equal good, and often we feel threatened by those doing it differently. A friend who consciously downsized her life to work part-time, live in the country and spend more

In Mindful Mondays

Start-Up Sanity Check for B2B Tech Ventures

Got a great idea? Are people telling you it’s crazy? Good! You’ve got to be a little insane to take that start-up leap – rather it’s out of your garage, the lab or a day job. I'll help you decide where and when to leap (and what to do when you land).

Investment: $500.00 (Why do I call it an investment? Two reasons: 1. If you’re willing to pay, that tells me you’re serious. 2. When you pay for advice, you’re more likely to value and use it.)

Drop me a line and we’ll see if we’re a good fit. If I can't help you, I’ll tell you (and if possible, tell you who can.)

Got funding? I work with one to three start-ups a year, on retainer (minimum of three months, maximum one year).

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Social Media Isn't Free, Easy or Magic.

If one of the self-anointed experts contacts you, pitching magical thinking, ask:

1. What results can I expect if I work with you? (Note: Twitter followers aren't necessarily customers.)

2. What kind of time will I have to invest? (Social media, properly done, is all about personal relationships. You with your customers...and a good relationship takes time.)

3. How do I integrate social media tools with my current operations? (Your salespeople need to know what you're saying on Facebook. Your customer service process and policies should be consistent across the board, from phone to Twitter.)

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