Today’s founder profile is on gokit™ business development lead, Wayne Sutton
Wayne Sutton helps individuals, startups and businesses succeed in understanding how to communicate on the social web via brand strategy, marketing (Mobile and Social). With 10 plus years of experience in the technology and social media sector, he has provided counsel to business leaders ranging from founders of small startups and representatives of nonprofit organizations to CEO’s of large and small corporations. Wayne is the founder of CoverTechNews, co-founder of TriOut, partner at NewMe Startup Accelerator and manages business development for gokit™.
Wayne is the former president of the Triangle (Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill) Social Media Club chapter. Wayne has spoken at various conferences and events such as SXSW, Social Media Breakfast, Triangle American Marketing Association, PRSA, FutureM/GEOM, Pubcon Austin and Blog World. Staying current with the ever changing trends in the technology community, Wayne loves making videos, blogging, educating and inspiring others. Wayne is excited to be a part of the gokit team and hopes to bring experience, passion…and more exposure, business and clients that can help establish gokit™ as a successful company.
To connect with Wayne:
Today’s founder profile is on gokit™ Content Strategist, Terrance M. Gaines
Terrance Gaines has been interested in technology ever since he can remember. He realized his passion for technology of all kinds when he worked at an electronics store selling Audio/Video gear to make some money during college. As a result of his love for tech, he was exalted as the “Tech Guy” by family and friends. Terrance always stayed on top of the latest tech trends for his own personal enjoyment, and on the side, would inform those around him on how to use technology to empower their lives.
In 2008, he decided to make his passion a profession and started his own personal technology consulting business and blog BrothaTech. Using his techie background and unique writing skills, Terrance writes about the latest technology trends, and works with individuals and small businesses for the sole purpose of assisting those who want to embrace all that technology has to offer, but are not sure where to start or who to trust. In addition to his blog, Terrance has also written technology news that empowers the African American community for BlackWeb2.0 and currently writes mobile app news and reviews for AppScout, and small business mobility and productivity articles for SmallBizGoMobile.
Terrance has been repeatedly called on for his tech knowledge in such online articles like Social media is THE new “word of mouth” and Palm Pre 2 Plays Flash, Multitasks but what About Apps; in addition to speaking at local technology events and reoccurring appearances as a tech specialist on the “Mario Armstrong Show”, XM ch. 169.
Even though Terrance was the last man in during the “Founder’s Dinner” that spawned gokit™ during the SXSW 2011 Conference, he felt he had to be a part of the start of something great in the gokit.me online identity platform, and offered his technology insight and writing ability as a Content Strategist; achieving business goals by maximizing the impact of content.
To connect with Terrance:
This summer, gokit.me will be participating in the NewMe Accelerator, a two-month program in Silicon Valley that matches minority startups with mentors, makes connections with venture capitalists and other funding individuals/organizations, and offers presentations from startup industry leaders and supporters. In short, gokit.me will get the “low-down” on all things startup during its stint in San Francisco.
gokit.me CEO Hajj Flemings, along with NewMe co-founder Angela Benton, and head of Foursquare of Business Development Tristan Walker, who will be speaking to the participating startups, were all recently quoted in a story by The Wall Street Journal about the NewMe Accelerator and its plans to boost minority startup involvement in the “Start-up Lifecycle”. Oh yeah, MC Hammer will be there too…
Read the entire story at VentureWire:
“New Accelerator Program Aims to Boost Minority Entrepreneurs”
P.S., gokit.me team member and adviser Hank Williams will also be participating in the NewMe accelerator in dual roles with his own startup kloud.co. Be sure to visit the site to support fellow startups!
Today’s founder profile is on gokit programmer/developer extraordinaire, Andre’ Barnes
Not only does Andre’ bring a wealth of programming knowledge to the gokit team, he is a problem solver at heart. As an online identity platform, gokit answers the “where can I find out ALL about you in one location” question that many people currently can’t answer in one clear and concise statement, and Andre’s skills helps gokit answer the question “How can we make finding out ALL about you as easy as possible on one platform?” Andre’ hopes that his programming work, along with his project management, business analyst and customer service skills shine through gokit.me and serves as a valuable tool for the myriad of people who will utilize our experience.
Not only is Andre’ hard at work on the gokit.me platform, some of his recent works include constructing websites or brands for the following: fashionfightscancer.org, planningworkz.com, natefordc.com and digitalguestlist.com. However, the majority of his time is spent as the Technology Director at !mpact Church in Atlanta, GA where is oversees all of !mpact’s technology resources from software to hardware and subsequently was interviewed by BlackWeb2.0. Outside of !mpact, he is the founder of RTers.com and Pandi.me which are measurement and content analysis tools for Twitter.
Andre’ auspiciously synthesized art, technology and logical thinking with public service and joined the Black Data Processing Associations as the Lead Instructor over their High School Computer Competition program. In his first year, Andre’ lead the Atlanta Chapter to 10th Place at the National Black Data Processing Association competition in Philadelphia, PA.
To connect with Andre:
Blogs for MediaSalt: http://www.mediasalt.com/
Starting today, every week will do a profile/short bio on each of gokit’s founding members so you can get an inside look at not just gokit.me, but the people working the magic. Today’s profile is on the CEO of gokit - Hajj Flemings
As CEO of gokit.me and a Personal Brand Strategist, Hajj Flemings wears many hats but his real passion is operating in the personal branding space and helping people operate in their genius. Hajj is also the managing partner/founder of Brand Camp University, which runs the largest personal branding conference in the Midwest. Hajj authored “The Brand YU Life: Re-thinking Who You Are Through Personal Brand Management” which was selected as one of Fast Company Magazine 2008 Readers Choice Business Books of the year.
Hajj is a mechanical engineer, former sneaker designer and creative thinker. The birth of the gokit idea goes back even further than meeting in Austin, TX as he started looking at press kits and the way that people packaged themselves as personal brands and noticed the lack of creativity which fueled a photo shoot and a desire to redefine how press kits are created, designed and used. Why not make press kits sharable and a piece of content that people are sharing with their community because they love it. Basically, trying to duplicate the, “Will it Blend” effect where over a million people shared their video where they put an iPod in a blender. Gokit is the perfect project to help people rethink their personal brands, which is lacking in this field according to Flemings.
Hajj has been featured on WDIV 4 (NBC), Fox 2 News, ESPN.com and BusinessWeek.com and travels nationally speaking as a brand strategist enabling personal and business brands to remain relevant. His clients include Walt Disney, Ford Motor Company, Sketchers Footwear, U.S. Department of Defense (Telecomm Division). He has spoken at Iowa State University, Davidson College, University of Michigan and numerous colleges and universities around the nation on personal branding, social media and career development.
Hajj was selected as one of the featured authors in “Age of Conversation 3”, a collaborative book of 171 of the brightest marketing, branding, and social media minds in the world (Released April 2010.)
To connect with Hajj:
Fox 2 News: http://bit.ly/Hajj_Fox2News
Flashpoint (WDIV 4): http://bit.ly/flashpointHajj
We are hard at work getting ready for the beta releases of the gokit.me instant identity platform. But that doesn’t mean you have to wait until then to learn more about the gokit.me story.
We will keep our blog updated with internal news, updates, and general knowledge/best practices about eBranding, digital media/press kits, and the like; but it’s always better to read what others are saying.
So here is some news around the interwebz about gokit:
The Black Web 2.0 crew was the first to break the story of gokit.me’s founding during SXSW 2011. So we want to put them first and send a special shout-out for all of their hard work bringing stories like ours to the light.
Founded at SXSW: gokit Announces New Web Identity Platform
Another major thanks to Marcia Talbert over at Black Enterprise for writing a very uplifting story about the need for diverse startups to arise from conferences like SXSW (wait until I tell my Momma that I was in Black Enterprise).
Of course, our story started over dinner during the conference, but the story also highlights other minorities like Kiratiana Freelon whose session during SXSW helped inspire gokit.me, and Adria Richards, who was inspired by the gokit.me story to launch her own startup within days of leaving the conference.
Diverse Startups Connect at SXSW Technology Conference
We definitely want to thank all of the outlets around the web for shining the light on gokit.me. A VERY special thanks to all of those who signed up at gokit.me, or visited sites like Beta List or StartupLi.st and follow/like us on Twitter and Facebook, and blogs like The Hustletown Chronicle, who have spread the gokit.me story to its faithful readers.
We sincerely thank you for all of your support! That makes us even more eager to deliver the most instant, complete, and beautiful online identity platform imaginable!
The hook is if gokit signs up for The Lean Startup Challenge from AppSumo, throw up a blog post about our startup story, gokit could win a plethora of startup tools including startup capital, mentoring, a seed investment, business tools…and money from AppSumo and its partners.
We’re in the The Lean Startup Challenge from AppSumo please click the button below to vote for us!
So here goes…
gokit’s AppSumo Lean Startup Challenge Entry
What happens when a few creative minds come together at SXSW? We come up with an idea…gokit founded at SXSW!
While most SXSW attendees are wrapping up their conference sessions, hitting up the happy-hours, and finding out who is doing what and where later on in the evening, there are some attendees coming together collaborating, designing and possibly creating the next big thing.
So several of us got together, most of us meeting in person for the first time, and decided we were going to do just that. Over dinner at one of the Austin bars Sunday night, March 13th, we decided to essentially create a startup from scratch right smack-dab in the middle of SXSW interactive. Among the group was two coders/designers/developers, a community manger/biz. dev guy, a tech blogger, a startup veteran, and a brand strategist all motivated to make something happen.
One of the team members brought the idea to the table to create a online platform that would give users the ability to select from a number of templates to create a very clean and beautiful online press kit. The reason why this made so much sense is because there is no single method for an individual to create an online identity profile complete with all the ingredients of a press kit to share with the world in an instant. So the idea was formulated and that same night, the work began. We grabbed our smartphones, laptops, tablets…and plenty of cables and converted the Hilton Austin lobby into our very own satellite office for the next couple of days.
Late Sunday night and early Monday morning, using Lean Thinking a clean, clear, and concise strategy to launch our platform was born. Also note two of the team members attended the SXSW Lean Startup Track the day before. Some of the best entrepreneurs, startups, social media gurus, and all-out geeks travel through that lobby to get to and from SXSW events - They were our “customer base”. So we were aggressive with our face to face networking and received instant feedback. We pitched, and received instant feedback. We coded and developed, and received instant feedback.
We are all techies, so we systematically employed tools we were already familiar with that would help us collaborate on our strategy, create our platform, and communicate gokit - “Instant identity kits to tell your story. Beautifully” to sxsw and beyond.
Since our team is spread out across the nation, we are using Yammer for our daily conversation tool and overall team social network. We also use Yammer to share links, talk within groups when specific conversations shouldn’t include the entire group, and to keep our conversations focused. Yammer has a web platform and a mobile app, that keeps us plugged in and informed. We love free around here, and Yammer fit the bill.
We also use Basecamp to stay on task, for task-specific communication, and for general project management. We can assign tasks, complete with updates and deadlines to ourselves and other members, and of course, scratch them off the list when they are complete. I can’t speak for the rest of the team, but obliterating my tasks visually in Basecamp keeps me pumped! Basecamp has a mobile-friendly website that works with all of our smartphones, no app required! Way down at the bottom of the pricing schedule in tiny print is a low-cost (read: free) option that works well for us, so we jumped on that!
Since two members of the team were coders/developers, they created the landing/launch page, designed and created our logo, and integrated all the functionality into to page to get gokit on the map and people signed up BEFORE THE LAST TEAM MEMBER LEFT SXSW - Yeah, they are that good! The rest of us worked together to make gokit look “official”.
Well, we already were official (in our minds), but we wanted the “all on the same page” look. So we set up a free Google Apps account, complete with team and individual emails, to give gokit that “polished” look. As time goes on, we will start of thumb through the Google Apps Marketplace and integrate even more business services into one location for easy access and to streamline our operation.
We mapped our Google Apps email addresses to our domain name gokit.me we registered at GoDaddy.com (cheap domain names…’nuff said), and used Blue Host for our web host.
Once the product was identified, the basic operation was finalized, and the logo and landing/launch page was setup, we were ready to spread the news. So we used WordPress for our official news blog to keep people informed as our company starts to unfold; and of course, created Twitter @gokitme and Facebook accounts to keep gokit in the conversation on a daily basis. We also set up a Postmark as our email marketing platform. Instead of worry about all of the setup, collecting, correspondence and cost that goes into an effective email campaign, we just set up our Postmark account and let the folks over there handle that.
Back to the story: By Monday afternoon, we now had the operation, logo, graphics, a functioning launch page to create buzz, and the framework setup to push the product. One of the team members made a connection that eventually lead to an actual three minute presentation with a Venture Capitalist that same day. The result of the presentation was to expand beyond just online press kits to creating online identity kits for anyone to curate. So now, our idea is to offer gokit to individuals, writers, authors, athletes, entertainers…anyone can create their online “gokit” to tell their story. Beautifully.
To go from “hey, let’s do something,” to “Signup for early early beta access of gokit” in a matter of two days took a couple of late nights and early mornings, the ability to drown out some of the hoopla during sxsw, and Lean Thinking to crank out a startup from scratch.
As we write this blog entry, we are hard at work finalizing our prototype, refining our startup’s organization and infrastructure, while creating a quality product. A product that will allow anyone in a matter of clicks, create a beautiful, but functional gokit that’s more than just an online bio page, but can serve as their online identity kit that tells anyone who visits your gokit your complete story.
As we build gokit to be a world changing platfrom funding will be used to support hosting, marketing and talent to be successful for years to come.
Thank you from the gokit team:
gokit team from left to right in group photo
Justin Dawkins, User Interface / Software Engineer
Andre Barnes, Software Engineer
Hajj Flemings, Founder/CEO (front middle)
Hank Williams, Adviser (back middle)
New York, NY
Wayne Sutton, Business Development
Terrance Gaines, Content Strategist (front right)
Want to get just a little more insight to what gokit is all about? We aim to please, so below is gokit’s very first press release that was sent out to the masses:
For Immediate Release:
gokit Announces New Web Identity Platform
Site Helps Individuals to Create Virtual “Press Kits”
Austin, TX USA – March 15, 2011
gokit is an easy standardize way to create identity kits, whether they are press, media or social kits.
With gokit, users pick from custom themes and then users integrate their talent, text, and images into a simple friendly identity “kit” that they can create in a few easy steps. The end result is a beautiful digital site.
“We realized that there is not an easy way for individuals to create a virtual ‘press kit’ about themselves,” said Hajj Flemings, founder and CEO of gokit. “Our site gokit helps people to tell their story and to share it easily.”
The web site gokit.me evolved from a conversation over dinner during the South by Southwest (SXSW) Interactive Festival 2011 about the lack of an easy customizable platform that an author, athlete, journalist/writer, publisher, or PR firm can use to create an online identity kit. gokit is the first tool designed to make an instant identity kit to tell your story. Beautifully.