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[#AhaNH Summit] Follow Your Own Path, by Abby Fichtner (aka @HackerChick)

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Uploaded on Jan 26, 2012

Abby Fichtner, Evangelist for Startups at Microsoft (aka @HackerChick on Twitter) took an unexpected path to success. As the Keynote Speaker for the "A-Ha!" NH Social Media Business Summit, she brought attendees along the path, and used the "minimum viable product" concept from lean startups to help attendees identify a sweet spot between their passions and strengths.

Check out Abby's thoughts and passions on The Hacker Chick Blog at http://www.thehackerchickblog.com!

[Video by Dan Freund (@MyFriendDan), digital content creator and messaging strategist, online at http://myfrienddan.com]

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PRESENTATION SUMMARY:

The Game of Life - Abby started playing it at a big, pretentious Management Consulting Firm. She hated it, and then got fired. Then she became a "geek" - a coder, a hacker - at a scrappy little startup. Passionate, creative, awesome, right smack in the middle of the Dot Com era. When the bubble burst, she started thinking: "How else could I change the world?"

Software was her next move. It was a good idea in theory, but most of the companies she worked with were slow-moving and a far cry from the fast-paced brilliance of the startups she loved.

She wanted to reach a larger audience. She finally decided on "The Perfect Blog Post." Her manager didn't like it. He was quite fond of conformity, and Abby was not supposed to leave her well-defined box as a coder.

Thus, she launched the Hacker Chick Blog. She started to write about what excited her. What she was passionate about. Famous people in her industry - like author/leader Jim McCarthy - found her blog. She had a voice!

She started presenting at conferences and events in her spare time and during her vacations.

Every time she gave of herself, she got back a hundred fold.

MicroSoft took notice, and invited her to do what she loves - share her passion for software AND startups for the startup community - as the Evangelist for Startups for MicroSoft.

"My message to you today is forget what others think is success. Because I believe there is a correlation - a very STRONG correlation - between how happy your are with what you're doing and how successful you will be. I want to encourage all of you to do the crazy thing and STRAY from this 'path of success' to follow your passions. Because I believe when you do, that is when YOU WILL ROCK."

ENTREPRENEURS: the creators, the fixers, the rock stars of today!

When you put yourself out there and share what you're doing - what you're thinking and creating - with the world, you will succeed. It's an exciting time, indeed...

IF we can find a way to get out of our comfort zones!

Good news: You don't have to do it alone. There are others out there who share your passions and interests.

Ask yourself: "Who is it I want to reach with social media?" This is your community. Work with these communities, and you can amplify your efforts a thousand times over.

Abby shares how she first started working with the Boston software community.

A few years later, she reached out to help the Lean Startup community in Boston, despite the fact that she was "vastly under qualified."

Tune into your strengths, and it's easier to take action on the right things.

"If I'm not saying 'HELL YEAH!' to opportunities, then I'm saying no." - Derek Sivers

Help people share THEIR amazing things, too.

How do you become a Thought Leader in YOUR space? How do you become successful in YOUR desired community?

You don't follow what everyone else is doing.

Think about the intersection of your PASSIONS, STRENGTHS, AND COMMUNITY. That's your SWEET SPOT.

"To change one's life, start immediately. Do it flamboyantly. No exceptions." - William James

Abby leads an EXERCISE: Find your Sweet Spot with the startup community's MINIMAL VIABLE PRODUCT model

The audience really dives into this exercise to discover: "What's Your Path?"

Abby invites five daring souls to share what they did.

Excellent feedback from the audience!

What an inspiring start to the full-day adventure. Thank you, Abby!!!

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