Maya Bisineer, Memetales

Maya is our Mom Organizer for the 11/3 Tuesday book event at Books, Inc. on Castro in Mountain View, CA.

YOU CAN RSVP HERE!

(This interview originally appeared on Entrepreneur Mom on WorkitMom.com)

Maya Bisineer is the founder of Memetales – a revolutionary marketplace for children’s picture books. Memetales opened doors March 2010 and has been growing steadily in both community and content. The site helps writers and illustrators collaborate through an online collaboration space, and they recently launched their mobile storytelling app for kids for iPod, iPhone and iPad.

Previously, Maya worked as a software developer, architect and consultant in bigger corporations for a number of years.

Entrepreneur Mom: Why did you start your biz? What were your intentions from the start? (lifestyle, income, growing or go big or go home)

Maya Bisineer: The idea for the original Memetales came about early 2009. A bunch of us set up a collaboration space to create children’s stories and books.

That original idea grew into the Memetales product as it is today – a platform to share children’s stories.

In the beginning Memetales was simply that – a collaborative community. It evolved mainly because I saw a real need to help people share their creations with a wider audience. Creating good children’s stories are hard work and good stories need a platform to be shared.

Entrepreneur Mom: You were based at home for a while-how long? How long before you began working with a team?

Maya: Memetales beta was launched mid 2010. We were based at home. We had two members on the founding team and hired out some of the dev work. So, we were a team from Day 1.
Today we work in a team of five and have two interns.

Entrepreneur Mom:  Then you moved into a space outside of your home?

Maya: I had an official office space for Memetales. It was shared by a few different companies and individuals who were a part of the winning team at StartupWeekend Redmond.

I pitched an idea at StartupWeekend Redmond and about 7 of us worked together to build DoodleADoodle – an ipad app to teach kids drawing in under 15 minutes a day. At the end of 48 hours, we won top place (out of 13 companies) and as a result won office space at Thinkspace (a co-working space).

We won a few different things and shared the goodies amongst the DoodleADoodle team and I was lucky enough to get office space that some of us share and I also use for the Memetales work.

Entrepreneur Mom:  What is the best way to describe your business?

Memetales is like a curated YouTube for children’s stories.

Memetales consists of a mobile app and a web platform where kids can read stories and engage in a number ways around stories. Approved publishers can publish their books on Memetales will incredible ease.

Our mission is to continuously innovate at the intersection of great stories, passionate individuals (authors and artists) and creative children. Good stories/books will go away if we do not find ways to reinvent them in the most interesting, valuable and scalable ways.

Entrepreneur Mom: You recently moved to Silicon Valley from Seattle. How has relocating affected your business?

Moving is hard. Period. Moving with kids and family means lost work time for sure. The Silicon Valley is really great, however. I have already met  several startup folk and made a lot of progress on the fundraising end. It really is the best place to be for a startup to be.

Entrepreneur Mom: You also recently presented at the VentureBeat event DEMO. How did that go?

Yes, thanks to the Kauffman Foundation, we got invited to pitch at DEMO on a scholarship.DEMO was a great experience. We got great press and met some amazing companies. Here is a recap on our blog with our video –

http://blog.memetales.com/2011/09/memetales-at-demo-fall-2011/

Entrepreneur Mom: As the techie mom of two little girls, what advice would you give to other moms about letting their children use mobile devices?

I strongly believe in moderation. Digital is yet another way to learn and interact with the world, it is not the only way. With that belief, we, as a family are very conscious of or device time. My kids certainly use my devices but not for more than 20 minutes at a time and mostly only on the weekends. My belief is that as long as device use is in moderation and does not come at the cost of outside activity/playtime or family time it is fine. The onus is on us as parents to handle that. It is not very different from the role that TV played in our early years.

Know a mom entrepreneur we should feature on our site? Tell us about her. Or YOU!

Introducing our Mom Incorporated Book Tour Sponsors!

We wanted to introduce you to our main book tour sponsors for the Mom, Incorporated book tour and thank them publicly for their support as we embark on our 10+ city tour.

Wine Sisterhood

Wine Sisterhood is a big supporter of women’s causes and are building a vibrant community for women who love wine that goes beyond just wine but celebrates girlfriend gatherings, food, entertaining and more. Aliza has been working closely with Wine Sisterhood, first on their social media initiatives and now with their appearances at women’s conferences and their foray into mobile including the creation of their Drink-u-lator iPhone and Android app. At select Mom, Incorporated book tour events, we’ll be pouring some of their wines such as Sweet and Sassy, Sweetie Pie and Purple Cowboy.

Join the Wine Sisterhood on Facebook!

Or follow them on Twitter @winesisterhood.

LikeList is a website that helps you compile and share lists of the businesses you love with your friends and to get smart and trusted recommendations from them. Who better to recommend restaurants or doctors and dentists or hotels or tourist attractions, you name it, than the people who you know? Instead of getting random reviews from total strangers, you can search your friends’ lists or pose a question to them. In return, you get genuine recommendations based on experience from the folks in your life who care enough to provide you with quality information. You can also mark recommendations to try in your TryList.

Sign up today to start making your LikeLists!

You can also follow them on Twitter @LikeList and like them on Facebook.

Special thanks to DotMine for the cute and handy day planners that we’ll be giving away at each of our book events! Dotmine Day Planners has been making award-winning products for moms, students and professionals since 2001. As moms themselves who know well the challenges and joys of growing a business while raising a family, they are helping us support the launch of Mom, Incorporated! Their mission is to celebrate all women who are defining life on their own terms. Find them at www.timemine.com.

Check them out and use Code “MOMINC20” for a 20% discount starting today!

And a warm thanks to GM for providing us with a Chevy Volt to drive around South Florida this weekend! #voltmoms are rocking the car!

We couldn’t do our book tour without the generous support of these companies along with others who are sponsoring us locally.

We thank you!

4 Ways Being an Entrepreneur Made Me a Better Mom and vice versa

This guest blog post from Adelaide Lancaster, co-owner of In Good Company Workplaces, originally appeared on WorkitMom’s Entrepreneur Mom blog.

Adelaide and her business partner Amy Abrams are also co-authors of the new book The Big Enough Company. You can meet Adelaide and Amy when they join Aliza Sherman and Danielle Smith on Oct 4, 2011, in New York City. Find out more here.

Here’s Adelaide’s official bio:

Adelaide Lancaster is an entrepreneur, speaker and co-author of The Big Enough Company: Creating a business that works for you (Portfolio/Penguin). She is also the co-founder of In Good Company Workplaces, a first-of-its-kind community, learning center and co-working space for women entrepreneurs in New York City. She is a contributor to The Huffington Post, and a columnist for The Daily Muse and The Hired Guns. She lives in Philadelphia, PA with her husband and daughter.

Here’s Adelaide’s post where she explores some core lessons she has learned from being both mom and entrepreneur.

I think that moms make excellent entrepreneurs. I also think the reverse is true. After spending the last year navigating these two roles simultaneously, I’ve been surprised at how many of the core lessons overlap. It occurred to me that most of the things that make for a successful experience as an entrepreneur are also the things that make for a successful experience as a mom.

In my case, I was an entrepreneur for seven years before I was a mother. And although I still consider myself a new mom, I felt more prepared (in some ways) for the tremendous journey of motherhood because of what I’ve learned running my own business. I’ve heard lots of experienced mom entrepreneurs talk about the secrets of their success before. Some point to the ingenuity, creativity and resilience, while others highlight their keen multi-tasking and prioritization skills. I agree these have come in handy, but for me it was four different lessons that resonated most strongly.

Lesson 1: Get comfortable with “good enough”

Entrepreneurs often find themselves battling impossible and unrealistic standards. Moms do, too. Entrepreneurs contend with overnight success legends — small wonders who “hit it big,” while moms constantly battle all sorts of mythological creatures from Mrs. Brady to the modern-day super woman who can (wince) “do it all.” What’s more, neither moms nor entrepreneurs have jobs that are ever done. There is always more that you can do. More that you can give.

As an entrepreneur, I had to learn to embrace my limits and limitations despite and in spite of an endless number of tasks. Once I realized that I couldn’t “do it all,” I gave up trying. Instead I focused on doing what was important, as defined by my priorities and goals.

As a result, I was more successful. This proved to be quite a valuable motherhood lesson. Tempted to be fully equipped, fully prepared and overscheduled with enrichment opportunities, I recognized early on the negative impact that doing too much was having on the experience. It turns out that one recommended parenting book is enough, that fewer toys encourage creativity, and less gear makes life simpler. Once I forgot about everything that “should” be done, I was actually able to do a lot well and enjoy myself.

Lesson 2: Accept that progress happens in its own time

Businesses grow and develop at different rates, same as children. Some startups take longer to get out of the gate, while others explode overnight. This causes a lot of angst about what “should be” happening. Many entrepreneurs battle to speed things up, proclaiming, “look at how much we’ve done!” Other entrepreneurs feel bad that they haven’t yet reached  particular milestones. However, experience shows us that most businesses get there at some point and what matters is positive progression, not the rate of development.

Instead of comparing against businesses “born” around the same time, I learned to appreciate the uniqueness of my business, its goals and its own path of achievement. Again, this was a very helpful experience to have in my arsenal as a new mom. It made me less anxious when my baby was slow to roll over and also less boastful when she was quick to crawl. I understood the futility of comparison and the importance of the freedom for her to figure things out in her own time.

Lesson 3: Be honest

Entrepreneurs often feel obliged to paint a very rosy picture. Worried about displaying any hints of doubt, uncertainty or incompetence, we tend to spin things all the time. “Business has never been better!” “We are right on plan.” But the truth is that being an entrepreneur is all about embracing the uncertainty, reveling in the unknown and constantly recalibrating as you go along. In order to do this successfully you need feedback and input from others, which you will only get by being honest. No one will give you suggestions if you are already claiming that everything is great.

Instead, you need to give an accurate assessment. “Here’s what we are doing well, but this is what I don’t quite understand.” The same is true for the experience of motherhood. You won’t get anywhere by pretending it is all roses. Hard days get mixed right in with the blissful ones. And you only get the support (and answers) you need by sharing the truth about what is going on. What’s even more important is realizing that being honest doesn’t lessen your (perceived) commitment. I love being an entrepreneur even when I feel stuck. I love being a mom even when I’m tired, frustrated or at a loss for what to do.

Lesson 4: Understand the value of self-awareness

Both entrepreneurship and motherhood bring with them an onslaught of unsolicited advice and strong opinions about how to do it “right.” But what most entrepreneurs and moms quickly learn is that there is no such thing as one-size-fits-all. Trying to follow what others think you “should do” is a recipe for dissatisfaction both at home and at work. I learned that I would only be able to create a business that delivered the rewards I wanted if I was very clear about what kind of entrepreneur I wanted to be. Because of that, I’ve been able to strive for my own definition of success and eschew well-meaning but ill-fitting advice that I’ve received along the way.

My experience doing this as an entrepreneur encouraged me to give a lot of thought to what kind of mother I want to be and what kind of family environment I want to cultivate. I knew that the more aware I was of what I wanted, the better choices I’d be able to make. There’s nothing better than to be able to comfortably and confidently say, as an entrepreneur or mom, “This is what works for me.”

How is being an entrepreneur – and mom – informing your life?