21 episodes

Welcome to the practical podcast for technical people who want to start their own company. From founding to building your business, we’re here to help.

Hello Blink Show Harris Kenny and Shawn Hymel

    • Entrepreneurship

Welcome to the practical podcast for technical people who want to start their own company. From founding to building your business, we’re here to help.

    Episode 21: Changing Careers with Lisa Lewis Miller

    Episode 21: Changing Careers with Lisa Lewis Miller

    We want to thank Cyber City Circuits for sponsoring this episode! Cyber City Circuits is an electronics shop and contract manufacturer based in Augusta, GA. Use the coupon code HELLOBLINKSHOW to receive 10% off your order of electronics or mention that you heard about them on the Hello Blink Show for a 25% discount on the assembly costs of manufacturing.

    We chat with Lisa Lewis Miller, career coach, owner of Career Clarity, and author of an upcoming book about changing careers (or starting fresh!). Lisa describes the four pillars for career fulfillment that make up the framework she has been using throughout her coaching practice to assist many clients in their journey. She also discusses the importance of finding a good lifestyle fit (even if that means working for a company rather than entrepreneurship) and how a “bridge job” can help make a career transition smoother.

    Lisa runs her own career coaching service and is releasing a book, Career Clarity, which is due out on November 17, 2020.

    One Powerful Quotation:

    8:45 – Lisa: “Phase one of the career discernment journey is: you need to start with who you are, what you value, and what you prioritize, and use all of those data points to then help you generate some hypotheses and some ideas for what could be next.”

    Key Topics:

    0:45 - Lisa talks about starting her journey as a career coach and her upcoming book, Career Clarity, which you can pre-order here (due out on November 17, 2020): https://getcareerclarity.com/order/.
    6:30 - Shawn asks Lisa to describe her “Career Clarity” framework to career coaching. Lisa responds by talking about how someone can prioritize happiness in their life and career to achieve success.
    8:45 - Lisa talks about doing some self-discovery to figure out what drives a person and makes them happy before trying to find the right job or career.
    11:00: - Lisa lays out the four pillars for career fulfillment: strengths and gifts, interests and passions, personality, and lifestyle.
    15:30 - Shawn asks where making money fits into the pillars.
    20:45 - Shawn asks Lisa to share her views on how much luck plays into career success.
    24:15 - Lisa talks about finding a “bridge job” to help people transition from one career to another (or to help prepare for entrepreneurship).
    28:15 - Harris asks Lisa about the benefits of not working for yourself. Lisa mentions that if safety and security are high priorities for someone, they may be better off working for a company.
    34:00 - Shawn and Lisa talk about “paving your runway,” which involves taking side hustle jobs before jumping into full-time freelance or entrepreneurship.
    36:30 - Harris and Lisa discuss the risks of working for yourself while trying to start a family.

    List of Resources
    Career Clarity by Lisa Lewis Miller
    Good to Great by Jim Collins
    Pivot by Jenny Blake

    Guest Contact Information:
    Lisa Lewis Miller
    Career Clarity
    The Career Clarity Show (podcast)
    Twitter: @CareerClarity
    Instagram: careerclarity
    Facebook: Career Clarity Show

    Host Contact Information:
    LinkedIn - Shawn Hymel
    LinkedIn - Harris Kenny
    Twitter - Shawn Hymel
    Twitter - Harris Kenny

    License Information:
    “Hello Blink Show” by Kenny Consulting Group, LLC and Skal Risa, LLC is licensed under CC BY 4.0
    Intro and outro song is “Routine” by Amine Maxwell is licensed under CC BY 3.0
    Special Guest: Lisa Lewis Miller.

    • 43 min
    Episode 20: Creating a Marketing and Sales Pipeline with Cyber City Circuits

    Episode 20: Creating a Marketing and Sales Pipeline with Cyber City Circuits

    In this episode, Harris and Shawn chat with David and Chris, owners of Cyber City Circtuits. David and Chris are working to expand their contract manufacturing (for electronics and PCB assembly) business and need help reaching new customers. As a result, Harris and Shawn perform a live consultation with them to give advice on how to approach marketing and sales.

    In particular, Harris gives his thoughts on best ways to set up a sales pipeline, and Shawn helps brainstorm marketing ideas. Both Harris and Shawn agree that marketing and sales must be approached with a scientific mindset: experiment and learn from the experiments.

    One Powerful Quotation:

    58:45 - Shawn: “Everyone thinks marketing is fun colors and shapes and photographs, and while that is a part of branding, real marketing comes down to ‘what do customers engage with?’...you have to take a scientific [approach] to go ‘I have a hypothesis, I’m going to test it, and see the results.’”

    Key Topics:

    1:00 - Shawn asks David and Chris to explain what Cyber City Circuits does.
    3:40 - David talks about how he’s working to ramp up a contract manufacturing business within Cyber City Circuits.
    4:45 - Harris asks David and Chris about why shipping is a hard problem.
    9:00 - Shawn talks about automating shipping processes to allow for capacity and time to work on sales and marketing.
    12:00 - David talks about wanting to find more CM customers to help pay for his and Chris's time and provides some examples about what ideal customers would look like.
    14:00 - Shawn askes David and Chris to define whether they want to be B2C or B2B.
    15:30 - Harris gives his thoughts on setting up sales pipelines.
    18:15 - Shawn asks David and Chris to elaborate where their current customers are coming from.
    20:30 - David mentions that they currently test 100% all of their boards.
    21:30 - Shawn and Harris help David define their current sales pipeline.
    23:00 - Harris gives some advice on setting up onboarding techniques when hiring a salesperson.
    28:30 - Harris talks about how a good, simple CRM tool can help Cyber City Circuits.
    32:00 - Harris and David discuss the various ways to position a brand when it comes to sales.
    33:45 - Harris recommends that David and Chris create marketing and sales personas and then use outbound marketing to validate hypotheses about those personas.
    36:30 - Harris talks about the customer acquisition process.
    37:15 - Shawn asks if Cyber City Circuits is seeing repeat customers for their CM service.
    41:00 - Shawn recommends following Hubspot’s tutorials for developing personas.
    43:15 - Shawn and David talk about potential problems Seeed Studio’s CM service might run into. Correction in the show: Seeed Studio still offers their Propagate service for low-to-medium volume manufacturing.
    45:00 - Chris and David talk about why tooling costs are so high for CMs.
    46:45 - Shawn talks about how to find potential customers outside of an existing network along with how to engage with people on Twitter.
    50:30 - Harris gives feedback on Cyber City Circuits’ Twitter profile page.
    54:30 - Shawn talks about what it takes to create good content.
    58:00 - Harris and Shawn talk about experimenting in sales and marketing.
    1:00:00 - Harris and David talk about the difficulty in setting up a bootstrapped business. David mentions that he used Shopify to build his ecommerce storefront.
    1:01:30 - Harris and Shawn talk about how to test and measure various sales and marketing tactics.
    1:07:00 - Harris and Shawn discuss ways to develop good content and apply search engine optimization (SEO) to appeal to a particular audience.
    1:12:30 - David and Shawn talk about the necessity of having a good product to start with before being able to market it.
    1:14:30 - David talks to Shawn about handling poor designs or customers that want things outside of what a CM can provide

    • 1 hr 27 min
    Episode 19: How to Become an Engineering Consultant with Chris Gammell

    Episode 19: How to Become an Engineering Consultant with Chris Gammell

    In this episode of the Hello Blink Show, Harris and Shawn interview electronics engineer, Chris Gammell. Chris shares his insights into how he manages his clients and education for his businesses. Chris works as a hardware engineering consultant designing boards for clients as well as teaching through workshops and YouTube videos. He is a co-host of the Amp Hour Electronics Podcast and organizes several Meetups, such as the Hardware Happy Hour in Chicago.

    Listeners will hear Chris's advice as he delves into his wisdom from his principal companies, including getting initial clients for consulting, billing, and managing his time.

    One Powerful Quotation:

    3:10 - Chris: “When it comes down to it, I usually say you know get your name out there somehow…it could be a YouTube channel, it could be a Twitter account, it could be a wide range of things, but it has to basically be as what I say is who thinks of you as the second person to call…if you can start to build those second connections, that is the most powerful thing you can do.” --

    Key Topics:

    1:18 - Shawn opens the show by asking Chris about his background and why he wanted to start his own consulting business.

    2:36 - Chris goes into how he acquires clients and why he believes you should build that second connection.

    5:05 - Chris explains his hourly billing and deliverable process. Check out Website - Steve Friedl's Tech Tips: So you want to be a consult-ant…?.

    6:22 - Chris shares his latest workings with RF/firmware as part of his consulting expertise.

    7:21 - Shawn inquires with Chris about finding tutors for learning about RF/firmware.

    9:56 - Harris asks Chris his thoughts about diversifying in the areas of his personal brand.

    13:43 - Shawn curiously asks Chris how he transitioned himself into managing contract work with his other roles.

    18:07 - Shawn shares the sentiments with Chris and asks why he avoids academia learning.

    23:02 - Chris expresses his intrinsic motivation and how he likes to freestyle his work. He also describes how this lead to the creation of the Hackaday Supercon from Maker Faire.

    29:00 - Chris agrees with Harris’ remarks on the rise of hardware and explains why he believes sensor technology is the future.

    30:20 - Shawn and Chris discuss designing neural networks for anomaly detection and machine learning on microcontrollers.

    35:00 - Chris shares how his inbound client leads come from his podcast and referrals. He notes how this process is more open ended and conducive for his business.

    36:44 - Shawn asks a follow up question to Chris on how often he declines client leads and manages their interests.

    39:03 - Harris inquires with Chris on if he has experimented with value based pricing for projects. Chris delves into why that strategy is more applicable to software than hardware by proof of the end customer value.

    43:13 - Harris asks if Chris believes in strategic advising and selling prototype hardware sets the tone for lead generation.

    55:53 - Shawn and Harris wrap up the show, and Chris shares his contact information to listeners.

    List of Resources
    Website - The Amp Hour Electronics Podcast
    Website - Contextual Electronics
    Website - Analog Life LLC.
    Website - Steve Friedl's Tech Tips: So you want to be a consult-ant…?
    Book - The Start Up of You: Adapt to the Future, Invest in Yourself, and Transform Your Career - Reid Hoffman
    Website - ABB
    Website - Supplyframe
    Website - Hologram
    LinkedIn - Brock LaMeres
    LinkedIn - Thomas Lee
    Website - Hackaday Superconference
    Website - Maker Faire
    Website - Tiny ML
    Website - Embedded FM - A Little Bit of Human Knowledge With Daniel Situnayake
    LinkedIn - Daniel Situnayake
    Website - OpenMV Camera
    Website - The Engineering Commons
    Book - Value-Based Fees by Alan Weiss
    Article - Saas Pricing by Patrick McKenzie
    Website - Tindie
    LinkedIn - Ryan Cousins
    Website - Kr

    • 57 min
    Episode 18: Building the Black Tech Pipeline Community with Pariss Athena

    Episode 18: Building the Black Tech Pipeline Community with Pariss Athena

    Pariss Athena is the creator of the #BlackTechTwitter community and founder of Black Tech Pipeline, which helps connect Black technologists with companies looking for employees. She shares her story of growing and managing an online community and how she is turning that into a business.

    Pariss also provides some great tips on steps companies can take to diversify their applicant pool when hiring engineers and developers.

    One Powerful Quotation:

    26:00 – Pariss: “If I’m unsure about something, [I] don’t agree to it. Tell people you’ll think about it and get back to them. If you don’t want to do it, don’t do it. You don’t have to feel pressured to do things you’re not ready for.”

    Key Topics:

    0:40 - Pariss talks about launching Black Tech Pipeline, which grew out of the #BlackTechTwitter community and serves to open more opportunities for Black technologists. The site offers a job board for applicants as well as profiles for companies to be more transparent about their commitment to diversity and inclusion.
    3:37 - Haris asks Pariss how she keeps her platform to be centered on the job candidate.
    5:40 - Pariss talks about how she’s working with others to build out the website.
    8:00 - Haris and Shawn commend Pariss on her social media presence and ask how she keeps an authentic voice on Twitter.
    9:10 - Shawn asks Pariss about what skills prepared her to launch Black Tech Pipeline. Pariss gives great advice on learning how to say “no.”
    10:54 - Pariss talks about how interactions with people changed as her Twitter following grew.
    14:17 - Haris asks Pariss which platforms she used to grow her following. She says that Twitter was her main platform and she got lucky with the timing of the #BlackTechTwitter movement.
    16:59 - Shawn asks Pariss what companies, especially tech startups, can do to make sure diversity and inclusion are baked into their founding. Pariss recommends that companies engage with various online communities, such as the #BlackTechTwitter community, to build relationships with more diverse groups of potential employees.
    19:58 - Pariss, Shawn, and Haris talk about how a more diverse design team can create better products. Haris mentions that engineers and companies should reach out to diverse groups of people to test their products.
    27:10 - Shawn asks Pariss about which other social platforms she uses to manage her community.
    29:09 - Pariss and Haris talk about their experiences using Basecamp to manage projects..

    List of Resources
    Black Tech Pipeline
    Black Tech Twitter

    Guest Contact Information:
    Pariss Athena
    Twitter - @ParissAthena

    Host Contact Information:
    LinkedIn - Shawn Hymel
    LinkedIn - Harris Kenny
    Twitter - Shawn Hymel
    Twitter - Harris Kenny

    License Information:
    “Hello Blink Show” by Kenny Consulting Group, LLC and Skal Risa, LLC is licensed under CC BY 4.0
    Intro and outro song is “Routine” by Amine Maxwell is licensed under CC BY 3.0
    Special Guest: Pariss Athena.

    • 30 min
    Episode 17: Creating Quality Content: Why SERP Matters More than SEO

    Episode 17: Creating Quality Content: Why SERP Matters More than SEO

    Search Engine Results Pages (SERP) are the pages displayed by various search engines when a user searches for a particular word or phrase. When creating content as part of your inbound marketing strategy, you’ll want to employ various Search Engine Optimization (SEO) techniques to have your page rank higher in search engine results. You can use SERP rankings to measure the effectiveness of your content and SEO techniques.

    In this episode, Harris and Shawn discuss how founders and marketers can use SERP as an important metric to measure the performance of content against particular keywords. They begin by talking about the need to understand a product’s niche and audience before moving into various SEO and SERP tips and tools.

    One Powerful Quotation:

    30:10 – Shawn: “You employ all of your good SEO techniques to make [your content] rank more highly, and then you use SERP to measure how well your page [performs in search results].”

    Key Topics:

    1:00 – Harris and Shawn talk about life events and various work projects. Shawn mentions that he’s working on a collaboration project with @Odd_Jayy and @glowascii.
    4:20 - Shawn gives tips on how to find time to read books.
    9:00 - Shawn gives a definition for Search Engine Results Pages (SERP) and why it offers a better metric than Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
    11:45 - Harris asks about good versus bad (trickery) SEO.
    14:00 - Shawn defines SERP, which is an indication of where your site shows up in search engine results when a user searches for particular keywords
    16:15 - Harris talks about Google’s new shopping tab
    17:15 - Harris and Shawn talk about how product search engines within a site (e.g. Amazon’s search) differs from broader search engines, like Google.
    19:00 - Shawn mentions a recent development where people are receiving random packages containing seeds. It turns out that this is a part of a scam to boost Amazon reviews for vendors.
    21:08 - Harris and Shawn give their perspectives on running traditional outbound marketing techniques, such as running Google or Facebook ads.
    23:52 - Shawn recounts his experiences creating content for SparkFun and how successful it was at driving pageviews.
    25:40 - Shawn talks about creating content to maximize SERP number. Namely, “evergreen” content that continues to draw users for years after posting offers some of the best SERP value.
    29:53 - Shawn describes how SEO can be used to boost SERP.
    30:30 - Harris and Shawn give reasons for why they’re using Binho, LLC as an example of how to create evergreen content for a niche audience.
    31:01 - Shawn describes the importance of patience with inbound marketing.
    33:20 - Harris talks about reusing and distributing content.
    34:27 - Shawn talks about why voice and video should (probably) not be your primary content for inbound marketing (at this point in time). Most search engines still prioritize written content, so written content should be your focus.
    39:03 - Harris introduces his new project: Intro CRM.
    41:11 - Shawn helps Harris brainstorm ideas for evergreen content that could be created to drive traffic to his new service.
    49:58 - Shawn mentions that Neil Patel’s Ubersuggest tool can be very helpful for discovering keywords, creating article titles, and analyzing people’s search patterns.
    51:29 - Shawn introduces the concept of pillar content, which is a collection of related articles that link to each other and all pages link back to a single, important piece of content.
    56:22 - Harris asks what would be good content if your audience doesn’t know the right words or jargon to use (i.e. they don’t know what a “host adapter” or “CRM” is).
    1:02:23 - Shawn talks about setting your expectations when competing with content from large companies.
    1:03:05 - Harris stresses the importance of having a good, differentiated product to start with.

    • 1 hr 23 min
    Episode 16: Hiring Your First Employees with Jermaine Murray

    Episode 16: Hiring Your First Employees with Jermaine Murray

    On this episode of the Hello Blink Show, we welcome Jermaine Murray as our special guest to discuss best hiring practices for a company and how a startup can go about recruiting top talent. We ask Jermaine about his experiences that led to founding his own recruiting firm, JupiterHR, and about his role at TandemLaunch.

    Additionally, Jermaine tells us about his personal experiences growing up and how early experiences with STEM can help keep kids, especially minorities, interested in tech.

    One Powerful Quotation:

    56:23 – Jermaine: “How you manage your business is how you manage your relationships with your customers, your employees, and with your investors.”

    Key Topics:

    1:28 - Jermaine talks about his work as a recruiter.
    2:27 - Shawn asks Jermaine about TandemLaunch, a startup incubator in Montreal.
    7:09 - Jermaine discusses running his own business, JupiterHR, and how he focuses on recruiting members of the Black community into tech jobs
    9:15 - Shawn asks Jermaine about his inspiration for starting JupiterHR
    12:47 - Jermaine talks about how his experiences led him to helping companies recruit talent and create a more diverse workforce
    16:08 - Jermaine expresses how education (formal and informal) can help create a safe culture at work and curb microaggressions
    19:38 - Jermaine mentions that the 2020 goal for JupiterHR is to help 100 Black jobseekers find employment with tech companies.
    20:47 - Harris asks Jermaine about his thoughts on companies being more deliberate to hire from a diverse pool of applicants.
    23:31 - Jermaine discusses the need for a better education system for low-income communities in the United States and Canada and how that can help with diversity in STEM.
    25:04 - Harris and Jermaine talk about the importance of cultivating a safe work culture
    30:51 - Shawn and Jermaine talk about how accountability starts at the top of an organization when it comes to creating a workplace culture
    31:00 - Shawn asks Jermaine what companies can do to attract top and diverse talent
    35:41 - Shawn and Jermaine talk about how a small company can compete with large companies when it comes to attracting talent
    37:10 - Jermaine talks about his podcast, the “Launch” by TandemLaunch, which focuses on running startup companies
    40:23 - Shawn asks Jermaine what steps companies can take to get a more diverse set of applicants when posting a job opening
    42:30 - Jermaine talks about how companies can donate to and volunteer at organizations that help with social causes, such as introduction STEM to low-income schools
    48:24 - Harris asks Jermaine what smaller companies can do to show that they care about diversity.
    50:37 - Jermaine shares his experiences growing up and how he emotionally connects to the Black Lives Matter movement and protests

    List of Resources
    The Launch podcast

    Guest Contact Information:
    Jermaine L. Murray
    LinkedIn - Jermaine L. Murray
    Twitter - @JermaineJupiter

    Host Contact Information:
    LinkedIn - Shawn Hymel
    LinkedIn - Harris Kenny
    Twitter - Shawn Hymel
    Twitter - Harris Kenny

    License Information:
    “Hello Blink Show” by Kenny Consulting Group, LLC and Skal Risa, LLC is licensed under CC BY 4.0
    Intro and outro song is “Routine” by Amine Maxwell is licensed under CC BY 3.0
    Special Guest: Jermaine L. Murray.

    • 59 min

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