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I just sent this email to a few friends of mine who work in advertising (most are pretty high-up and senior). I'm sharing it here for record-keeping and because it might be useful to someone (file under: how to ask for help) 😉
Hey there friends who know advertising!
As you may know, I am in the process of starting a little tiny software company of one person. I know enough about this person to know that brand strategy is something I could really use some help with.
I need to develop a corporate identity, a design style-guide, corporate values and all that good stuff. Basically I'm pretty much at the "blank slate" stage (I don't even have a domain yet!), but I do have a head full of ideas about the company, the products I'll be building and what I like and dislike about the World and other people's brands.
So, I'm looking for someone to help me. I don't know much about the process but I wouldn't mind if the first session was held over dinner at my house. 🙂
One little tiny insignificant issue is that I don't have very much money to spend on this, at all (my budget is a meager $300, which might cover one of you for what? 10 minutes?). So here's what I'm thinking: do you know anyone (friend / at work) who seems like a talented up-and-coming person with a bright future ahead of them who wants to get into brand strategy and needs some practice? Or do you have any contact at your alma mater for professors who teach this kind of stuff? I would make for a pretty good senior project I think. Or I could contact a "branding" professor to see if they can recommend some star student that just took their class?
Don't get me wrong, I would absolutely LOVE (yes yes yes!) to have one of you senior peeps help me out, but I don't like to shortchange friends and would feel guilty unless I could return the favor somehow. Which makes me think of two more options: one is: you help me with this, I help you with something you need (I'm pretty good at the following: programming Flash/Flex, managing people to get stuff done, coming up with processes to increase productivity and general workplace happiness, counseling for career development in tech, evaluating tech business plans ideas, interviewing people, advising about tech investments, baby-sitting, cooking...I'm sure I could think of something else).
The second option is for you to treat this as an investment in my startup: you donate work and get equity back, so if I'm successful you'll be too. This is a deeper involvment than what I was thinking when I started this email, but it might be the right thing to do, since branding/marketing questions will come up over and over in the next years I'm sure, and I can only "wing it" so much. So this would be more of a counseling role / contracting sometimes / angel investing with your time kind-of gig. Think about it, and if you're really stoked about this option, let's talk.
Ok thank you for reading this far. This is all very exciting, I get to have a brand that's my own, whoo-hoo!
Peldi for the Balsamiq Team
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Hi DannyT, I just realized that I never replied to this comment. So, 5 years after you asked, here’s my reply. The response I got was from two friends, who were more than happy to let me cook dinner for them in exchange of chatting about branding with me. I learned a lot from them, one became an informal company advisor for a while.
Re-reading this post felt pretty weird: it feels like a couple of lifetimes ago. I have to admit that I smiled, I was so fresh and clueless back then! But I do like how eager I was. 🙂
HTH (5 years later, ha!)
Hey Peldi, out of curiosity I’ve dived into the archives of your blog and stumbled across this post. You may have shared elsewhere in the blog but if not I’d be interested to hear the sort of responses you got from this. I’d also be interested in your thoughts on some of these older thoughts and how you reflect on them now?