Gathering Around Modern Campfires at TEDxSoMa

 

There’s nothing like sitting around a campfire sharing stories and creating conversation—but is it possible to recreate this warm and whimsical experience in a tech-obsessed city like San Francisco on a Tuesday night? TEDxSoMa thought so.

On January 15, about 700 attendees braved rainy weather to gather in the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts to receive inspiration from six hand-selected speakers, each with an idea worth spreading. The TEDx event theme? Modern Campfires. The TEDxSoMa website creatively elaborated on this theme of choice sharing, “The campfire has been a place for people to come together - a place to tell stories, learn from each other, and gain a sense of belonging and community.

A handful of us from the cred team had the pleasure of volunteering at TEDxSoMa. We loved interacting with other San Franciscans passionate about attending a “modern campfire” to create community and connection.

Ideas Worth Spreading

After months of coaching and training, six speakers took the TEDx stage for a night of modern campfire conversation. Here’s a recap of TEDxSoMa’s 2019 speakers:

  1. Juliana Delgado, an award-winning Colombian writer, spoke about the language hierarchy in the United States and how it limits a group’s access to opportunities and social acceptance.

    • “...staying up late to practice pronouncing words so the kids at school wouldn't make fun of me. I hated myself for not fitting in, not realizing that there was a hierarchy much bigger than me at play here. I felt I was the one who was wrong.”

  2. Mazin Jamal, founder and director of Holistic Underground, spoke about masculinity in today's culture and how to redefine what it means to "be a man."

    • “When I was hopeless, I was useless to everyone, and I was making things worse. And that’s what happens, men feel useless and hopeless so they double down on the problem. And everyone pays the price-especially women and transgender people.”

  3. fnnch, an artist who believes art is for everyone, spoke about how street art is art for the masses. He shared the importance of looking for canvases everywhere, taking back public spaces, and investigating your town's local regulations around public art.

    • “Public space is our space...our way to communicate with each other. To express ourselves. To be heard. To listen. To inspire each other. To comfort each other....And you do not need to be a professional artist to join in….”

  4. Chief Sylvia Moir, a California native who serves as the Chief of Police in Tempe, Arizona, spoke about mindfulness.

    • “There was plenty of Resistance. To some it meant that by encouraging the practice of mindfulness, I was softening policing. The science and research suggested that building resilience to trauma and toxicity was hard work, and changing culture and climate is tough.“

  5. Dr. Yoni Alkan, a professional cuddler, sexual educator, and consultant, spoke about the power of platonic touch.

    • “Rejection feels so searing to us, that we try to avoid hearing ‘No’ at all costs and stop asking. Rejection is hard, but I’d much rather have an honest ‘NO’ than a ‘YES’ you don’t mean.

  6. Bishop William Swing, the former Bishop of San Francisco and current President and Founding Trustee of United Religions Initiative (URI), spoke about unity within community.

    • “I thought: ‘If the world has a United Nations, then most likely the world needs a United Religions. Someone should do something about that.  Why not me?’ The question captured my heart.”

Besides the original content coming straight from the lips of these six  speakers, the audience enjoyed an intermission filled with a meditation session and  dance performance from Vancouver dance troupe TWObigsteps Collective. The dance titled “Veils” was influenced by W.E.B. Dubois' theory of “double consciousness.”

Takeaways

The original and carefully crafted TED talks from these speakers did not fall on deaf ears. There was a full house and the audience was extremely excited to be there. One cred team volunteer even took a photo for a man in front of the stage who he said that being there was "a dream come true."

While the speakers and topics were diverse, TEDxSoMa 2019 had the resounding theme of mindfulness as the common thread–the consistent theme about reframing how we think about our everyday lives.

 

Staying on Top of It: 5 Helpful Tools to Stay Organized

 
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We all come from different professional backgrounds. We hold different positions, work in different industries, have different titles and responsibilities, but one thing is the same: we all strive to stay organized.

Staying organized is an art form many of us struggle with. To kickoff the New Year, getting organized is essential. There are hundreds of fantastic tools to help you meet your organizational needs. Not sure where to start? Here is a breakdown of our top five favorites.

1. MixMax: MixMax is here to make your email life easier. If you are like us here at cred, then you live in your inbox. This gmail extension has great features to enhance and customize your inbox, including setting reminders, scheduling emails, and creating templates. It helps us keep our constant client communications in order, so important tasks don’t slip through the cracks.

2. Quip: When your to-do list needs a makeover, try Quip. This list can be used as an app for your phone and/or desktop, and can also be used in your browser. You can collaborate with other colleagues by sharing lists or tagging them in tasks, and you can add trackers, calendars, and spreadsheets to keep you ahead of your long list of to-dos (if that is even possible). We use Quip for some of our personal to do lists and for our team meeting agendas.

3. Zoom: If you haven’t heard yet, we started an office down in Sacramento! A huge part of our everyday schedules is utilizing video-calling tools like Zoom to stay connected to our long-distance friends. We use Zoom during one-on-one, team, and company-wide meetings and even use it for having virtual coffee dates to better get to know each other outside of work.

4. Slack: Slack is a must-have in our office. Collaboration is a huge part of our values, and we are constantly working together and communicating within our office. Slack allows us to chat individually, or in groups. We also have different channels, or group chats, where we post updates depending on the topic of interest for that channel. We utilize this tool for many reasons, especially for asking quick questions to those in and out of the office, and for updating each other on industry or personal news.

5. Google Calendar: Don’t we all love Google applications? We take advantage of all things Google, but a personal favorite is Google Calendar. Calendars are meant to keep track of important dates, calls, meetings, events, etc., but that’s nothing new. The great thing about Google Calendar is being able to share co-worker’s calendars, so we are always on the same page. We are always moving and shaking, and having a calendar that we can sync with other coworkers is a must.

The best part about organizational tools is there are a bunch to try and see how they work for you. We’ve listed a few of our many favorites, now what are yours?

 

No Bull at No Fleece: Bullpen Capital Talks the State of VC

 

On Dec. 12, Bullpen Capital hosted a new kind of venture capital conference, inviting 100 GPs from the Bay Area to discuss some of the most pressing topics in VC today. The conference, dubbed No Fleece Allowed, aimed to get everyone out of the closed door, portfolio-pitching mindset and into a collaborative discussion about what works in VC and what doesn’t.

To allow for this free-flowing, unbridled chat, the conference was kept off the record–no press, no social media, and anonymized stories. Breaking the typical conference mold, the room was arranged in two concentric circles of chairs to keep everyone engaged in the discussion with no place to hide behind a laptop or step away for a call.

Without microphones and without a stage, speakers sat together in a circle to kick off each session before the floor was opened to continue the conversation. To encourage everyone to add to the dialogue and keep the conference fun, participants voted on the MVP (Most Valuable Participant) of the day. The winner had the honor of taking a picture next to the six-foot winners trophy.

No Fleece Allowed would not have be complete without hosting an ugly fleece competition. Participants were invited to bring their ugliest fleece to compete, and the winner went home with bragging rights and a prized trophy photo opportunity.

One of the many highlights of the day was the closing session with Bill Gurley of Benchmark. Following the format set by the previous sessions and speakers, he was an open-book and addressed crowd-sourced topics in what turned into a dynamic Q&A with eager attendees.

As the day wrapped up, the discussion moved into a networking and cocktail hour where attendees took in Commonwealth Club’s picturesque views of the Bay Bridge and SF Ferry Building.

 

2018: A Year in Review

 
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For cred, 2018 has been a year of winning. From January through December, we’ve achieved multiple milestones such as growing to a team of 20 people, opening an office in Sacramento, and ramping up our Events Management arm of the business. As we wrap up 2018, we’re excited to reflect on the year and highlight one win from each month.

January

We said hello to our new home at the brand new WeWork Montgomery Station in San Francisco’s Financial District. We love our new location, with easy access to BART and public transportation and endless lunch options.

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February

The blog launched the first post of our credTen series, which highlights the top 10 events across different industries. These lists have become the most popular posts on our blog and we look forward to building out more in the months to come. A few of our favorites include our credTen for events in marketing, blockchain, female entrepreneurship, and design.

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March

It was Pi Day (3.14) at cred and there was no shortage of pie at the office! Since the launch of our cred Culture Club, a group designed to plan events and sustain our strong company culture, we observe engaging holidays like Pi Day with a celebratory treat or activity in the office. To stay in the loop with our office culture (and office dogs), follow us on Instagram.

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April

We continued to partner with Hamilton Families, a San Francisco-based organization on a mission to end family homelessness. Having volunteered at their kid’s carnival and wrapped Christmas gifts in previous years, our team endearingly refers to the organization as “Ham Fam.”  Throughout 2018, cred volunteered with Hamilton Families by participating at Friday night bingo nights and donating Christmas stockings.

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May

cred turned 3! We took our birthday celebrations to Neyborly Union Square, a modern and chic art gallery here in San Francisco, and reflected on some of our major accomplishments, including confirming 1,800+ speaking opportunities for our clients, growing our team to 17, building a database of more than 7,500 events from scratch, and launching our first official internship program for summer 2018.

June

Our team had the pleasure of volunteering at Hustle Con, hosted at Oakland’s historic Paramount Theatre. Hustle Con is an annual event started in 2014 to answer the question: what does it mean to hustle? We’ve secured speaking opportunities at multiple events put on by The Hustle for our clients and love working with their team.


P.S. If you want to ramp up your speaking strategy, feel free to reach out to hello@credpr.com.

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July

Our fearless CEO Caitlin Bartley spoke on a panel of female founders at the She Leads breakfast hosted by WeWork. Caitlin shared insight on how she started cred and provided practical tips for female founders.

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August

We had our first cred Cupcake Wars in honor of Cupcake Day on August 19! Who knew there could be so many talented and competitive bakers (and cake lovers) on one team? With four judges and nine bakers, three winners were selected for best taste, best design, and best apron. We all enjoyed a week-long sugar rush due to endless homemade cupcakes, but agreed it was worth it.

Until next year, Cupcake Wars, until next year.

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September

September was a productive and memorable month for our Events Management team. We put on two events in one week— plus three events packed into one day shortly after! Check out Caitlin’s recap on one of these events here.

Going into 2018, one major focus was to grow the Event Management side of the company and we did just that! We worked with multiple clients to coordinate events, from one-day summits to multiple-day conferences. The team planned and managed a total of 19 events in 2018 alone.

Interested to learn more about how we can help you with your event? Email us at events@credpr.com.

October

We reached our largest team size to date with 20 employees strong. One reason for this growth was launching our brand new office in Sacramento! We’re thrilled to have expanded outside of the Bay Area in 2018.

November

We put on our first international event in cred history! Our Events Management team flew across the pond for RampUp London, which attracted more than 300 attendees at the prestigious Savoy Hotel, the sister property to Fairmont San Francisco where RampUp SF is hosted each year.


December

We took to Livermore Valley for cred’s Holiday Party. To commemorate our incredible growth and success this year, our team spent an afternoon at Rubino Estates Winery for wine tasting, lunch, bocce ball, and a Secret Santa gift exchange.

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Thanks for the memories, 2018! Looking forward to an epic 2019.

 

Bowery’s Sales Summit Closing the Year Strong

 

Bowery Capital wrapped up its fourth and final thought leadership Summit for the year, closing out a quarterly Series bringing together similar roles beyond the CEO to learn from some of the biggest leaders in SaaS. One hundred attendees came together with a goal of learning tactical lessons from some of the most experienced executives in the space. CROs, Heads of Sales, and CEOs from Slack, Stripe, Yext, Bitly, and more discussed themes around hiring, culture, sales velocity, and what it takes to successfully scale.

One of the best parts about being onsite running these events is the having access to elite thought leaders and a front row seat to insights and content. Here are my top five tips I learned from these Sales Execs (in no particular order):

1. Slack’s motto when building a “freemium” model: Build a product people love (make them want to buy the product).

2. Lesson Learned from CEO of Bitly on scaling: Everybody is in sales. Recruit your allies. Nobody wins unless everybody wins.

3. Everyone is always trying to master email marketing: SalesLoft discovered ending with a colon (:) is 35 percent better than ending with a comma (,)—I personally prefer a dash!

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4. Hiring Strategy (and applicable across not just sales teams): Your starting pitching pitcher (i.e your first hire) won’t be your closer.

5. Even if prospects aren’t ready to speak now, keep ‘em warm with insightful content:  Give them a reason to come back.

 

Reflection: My Time as a cred Intern

 
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From working at Greenbrier’s Crisis Con to pitching clients for top tech events, our fall intern Helen Matt was an essential part of the cred team. During her time here, she worked behind the scenes assisting with the planning of several events and securing some great wins for our clients. Don’t just take our word for it—check out what Helen had to say about her five months as an intern at cred:

cred: Describe a typical day in the life of a cred Intern.

Helen Matt: My days are usually filled with a wide variety of projects! I really appreciate that I had the chance to see all aspects of the company, from the speaking side to the events side and social media/website strategy.

cred: What was one of your favorite projects that you got to tackle?

HM: When I first started, I was introduced to NGP Capital’s World of Connections conference planning and I worked on it up to the day of the conference. When it finally all came together and I got to see my work pay off, it was so rewarding!

cred: What was one thing that surprised you about working at cred?

HM: I was really surprised to see how much goes on behind the scenes when securing speaking opportunities! From the initial outreach to keeping relationships with event organizers, the whole process is very calculated and requires a lot of hard work!

cred: Biggest takeaway?

HM: With any small company/startup, the work everyone does on a daily basis REALLY matters (even if you’re an intern!). It is really important to stay organized to finish all of your projects on time.

cred: What do you think makes a successful intern?

HM: An internship is all about learning. To get the most out of your experience, I think you should be open to projects from all sides of the company to find out what you do/don’t like. I also think it’s important to take initiative and spearhead tasks that need to be completed instead of waiting for someone to tell you to start.

cred: What’s one thing you’ll miss about cred?

HM: The people, of course! The company culture is awesome and everyone is so nice and supportive. They definitely made the Ohio to San Francisco transition very smooth.

cred: What event was your favorite?

HM: Again, it would have to be NGP. Seeing an event come together after months of work is so rewarding!

Interested in applying for the cred Intern program? Email work@credpr.com.

 

Storytelling Elements for Public Speaking

 
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Whether you are speaking to a small room of five people or an auditorium of 5,000, storytelling will make your presentation memorable. Studies show people are more likely to retain information when it is told through story. Here are some helpful tips to get you started:

1. Keep it simple.

Make sure the details you’re sharing are necessary to the story. Too much information can be overwhelming for the audience and make your story hard to remember. It’s easy to add fluff, but it’s hard to refine your thoughts to align with what matters.

  • Tip: Edit, edit, edit. Read through your story multiple times and take out unnecessary fluff.

2. Use emotion.

Make people care about what you’re saying. Yes, statistics and data can be helpful, but using a genuine, real world example that utilizes emotion has been proven to be more effective. It makes the information stick with your audience and has a lasting impact.

  • Tip: Use names! Giving a face to a story makes it more personable and memorable.

3. End strong.

Every good story has clear conflict resolution. This is where your message should be clearly defined without open ends. It should be obvious and leave the audience feeling inspired! Use wording that will resonate with your audience and remember to keep it short and sweet.

  • Tip: Try limiting your message to one sentence or just a few words. Setting a word limit can help center and focus your thoughts.

 

Digital Transformation at World of Connections 2018

 

On November 14, Nokia Growth Partners hosted its fourth annual World of Connections event at the Golden Gate Club in San Francisco. This year, 300 entrepreneurs, innovators, and technology leaders gathered to hear industry executives discuss this year’s theme of Digital Transformation. With a packed schedule consisting of three simultaneous tracks running throughout the day, attendees could listen in on sessions covering Intelligent Enterprise, Smart Mobility, and Digital Health.

The day kicked off with an inspirational talk from Nokia CEO Rajeev Suri about the power of communication and value in addressing world problems. The schedule then split into the three key themes, each featuring varying formats of keynote speakers, panels, and fireside chats.

Smart Mobility, one of the most popular tracks of the day, drew speakers from Ford, Uber Freight, Lime, and BMW i Ventures to touch on topics ranging from autonomous driving technology to the implications of smarter commutes creating smarter cities.

Boasting another large crowd, Google Product Management Director Sampath Srivinas kicked off the cybersecurity session debating the increasingly prevalent topic of authentication. He was followed by a series of ‘innovator views’–emerging companies disrupting the space–who are tackling securing your workforce and addressing security threats.

As the three successful tracks wrapped up for the day, attendees gathered one last time to hear from Oracle Executive Vice President Amit Zavery on the industries most likely to be transformed by software and the factors driving rapid adaptation. As the final keynote came to a close, everyone headed outside to conclude the day with a cocktail reception and networking.

Check out some highlights from the conference below!