How to Raise AWESOME Money on Kickstarter

When I worked at GoErie.com, I worked on content generation, including expanding our online video offerings.

Using my iPhone4 and a ragtag kit of mobile equipment, I was a one-woman band, and shot, interviewed, edited, voiced, and produced videos.

The Kickstarter success of the Glif

The Kickstarter success of the Glif

I sucked at first, but in the process of learning and making lots of videos, produced some content I could be really proud of.

The secret to our success? The brilliant little piece of plastic that allowed me to connect my iPhone4 to the tripod stand. Thanks to my boss, who found and ordered it online. Its name?

The glif.

(Not to be confused with gilf.)

Here is their studio page.

A quick type into the Google search bar, and you find “glif…” and Kickstarter becomes one of the options. Apparently, they had an awesome run, and there’s a few blogs, including Kickstarter and their own, that tell how they did it.

They offer lots of great advice, including on making a great Kickstarter video.

 

My best advice: do lots of takes. And take a couple whiskey shots.

 

Worth a look, especially if you’re wondering how to get your own products/projects off the ground.

 

The purpose of this piece is two-fold: to give an inside look at our creative process, and to offer guidance and inspiration for those who have their own ideas they’d like to see brought to reality.

 

They initially asked for $10,000, and came away with $137,417 in funding after their campaign.

What would you create if you had that much funding? Ever try a Kickstarter campaign? Tell me about it @GinnyTonkin.

Don’t Be A Mean Girl. My Lean In Story

Speaking at Palms LA for the Lean In Second Anniversary Brunch

Speaking at Palms LA for the Lean In Second Anniversary Brunch (Image via Jessica Liu)

This speech was originally given as an off-the-cuff speech for the Lean In Beijing Second Year Anniversary Brunch at Palms LA in Liangmaqiao, and then posted on the Lean In Beijing WeChat account (follow at WeChat id: leaninbeijing) on Wednesday, July 29, 2015; please forgive any inconsistencies.

Life is far better when you extend a hand: The power of passing it on

I was just speaking with Alicia; her story inspired me, and made me think—we’ve all really been creating our own “lean in moments” for a long time. Every time we make a decision that takes courage, when we do something that’s a right decision for ourselves—we’re having a “lean in moment.”

I’ve now lived in Beijing for over three years, and my experiences with Lean In Beijing have helped me find and secure my “dream job,” and has allowed me to develop some of my most treasured relationships. But better still, these experiences and relationships have shown me the values, qualities, and character I want to express and embody in my own life.

The biggest takeaway in my Lean In experience is that life is far better when you extend a hand.

Lean In Beijing Circle Kick Off event in 2014 (Image via Lean In Beijing)

Lean In Beijing Circle Kick Off event in 2014 (Image via Lean In Beijing)

I read the original book Lean In while on vacation in the States, and loved it so much that I shared it with my Chinese girlfriends back where I was living in Beijing. I lent the book to friends and blogged about their reactions to the text. One of the original co-founders told me about a potential Lean In Beijing group forming when I told her about my blog. She immediately extended an invitation and said to come along to the first meeting—that’s the power of passing it on.

Life is far better when you extend a hand—and we are more powerful when we support each other than if we try to tear each other down.

The Nigerian-American feminist author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, whose TED talk “We Should All Be Feminists” was famously sampled on Beyonce’s ***Flawless, says, “We raise girls to see each other as competitors.”

We can see this highly dramatized in Hollywood movies such as Mean Girls, but it can happen so much more subtly in our own individual relationships.

Have you ever gotten jealous over someone else’s success? Tried to compete with other women over a guy? We’ve all been in “Mean Girl” situations.

Through my experiences and personal relationships I’ve developed with these women (gesturing to the women in the room), I’ve seen the power of collaborative relationships—the strength in supporting each other, rather than working to tear each other down.

There are so many practical ways we can support each other—forwarding and circulating potential job posts, revising work such as resumes, speeches, and other writing, connecting friends with potential interviewers, mentors, and other valuable connections. Pulling people into your network not only supports them, but it strengthens you. One of the biggest ways that I’ve seen how we can “extend a hand,” and pass it on, is simply to be inclusive and loving, supporting others in the ways that we’d like to be supported.

We joke as a group, because we say in our first year as Lean In Beijing, all of us left our jobs or found new ones. I ended up finding my “dream job,” not only through the emotional support of the group, but also through their practical guidance and support.

I want to also emphasize and celebrate the importance of including men in this extension. It was the actions of many men that helped me lean in. In particular, it was the practical support of two former male coworkers that showed me what I needed to do to find the next right job for me on my career path.

Goofing at Palms LA for the Lean In Second Anniversary Brunch (Image via Lean In Beijing)

Goofing at Palms LA for the Lean In Second Anniversary Brunch (Image via Lean In Beijing)

One in particular was patient enough to offer his insights and advice through the job hunt. He provided me connections to different agencies. He helped review and revise my resume. When I did get the interviews, he had me call him and coached me through a mock interview process—what a way to lean in together. That’s the power of passing it on.

One of his favorite topics to discuss was the salary package—and how to negotiate to get what you want. He showed me why I needed to ask for more, how much I should be asking for, and how to effectively stand up for myself and my needs.

It was being on the receiving end of these selfless acts that today, one of my greatest joys is being able to pass it on–helping others by sharing the knowledge and insights I have gained thus far from being a young professional working abroad.

It’s an act of power to extend a hand—and passing on your own knowledge and experiences only allows for more gratitude and abundance for you.

Instead of seeing each other as competitors, we can see each other—the entire brotherhood and sisterhood of humankind—as collaborators and teammates as we lean in together.

Find others’ Lean In Stories and more about Lean In Beijing on their WeChat account; follow at WeChat id: leaninbeijing.

The original Lean In Beijing circle meets with Sheryl Sandberg in 2013

The original Lean In Beijing circle meets with Sheryl Sandberg in 2013 (Image via Lean In Beijing)

Jill Abramson and Mean Girls

“She’s not even that pretty.”

I was hanging out with a group of new and old coworkers, and I found myself openly trash-talking a girl who had left with a flippant remark.

“I mean she has a hot body, but her face is ugly.”

“Morning after guilt” is simply the best, said no one ever.

How did I get home?” “Where is my bike??” “They sharpied what on my face???”

Our firsts thoughts are often funny, unfiltered, and 100% where our minds should have been before we did the aforementioned guilty deed. In this case, there was no humor, just remorse.

How could I have said that?”

Last week, I had gotten into an argument with a close guy friend of mine about Jill Abramson and her dismissal at the New York Times. Our “debate”: Was gender an issue in her dismissal? Me: Duh. Editing while female. Wage gap. A male editor would never be criticized for being “pushy.” Him: Downplaying the role of gender, indicating there are other factors that go into a compensation package, and he was saying that was probably what happened in the Abramson case. Despite the many wrinkles of the Abramson issue, including the way it messily unraveled–to paraphrase Jessica Goldstein, embarrassingly to the Times, being a media organization–this is not the main point of my story here.

The point is, quoting Tina Fey as Ms. Norbury in the now cult-classic Mean Girls, “There’s been some girl-on-girl crime here.”

The morning after our night out, I guiltily realized that I’d put down that girl I hadn’t even properly met.

By saying those things, I was just perpetuating a cycle, making it okay to judge, enshrining “attractiveness” as the #1 criteria for that judgment.

As someone who lives and works abroad, with friends from around the world and with backgrounds different from my own, I’d like to think I’m a pretty open-minded, non-judgmental person.

I’d also like to think I’m a feminist. I’m involved with a women’s professional development group that strives to give women the tools they need to carve their own paths and define their own version of success and happiness.

But I was not exactly pleased with myself when I recalled, “She’s not even that pretty.”

Before the Abramson discussion, my guy friends had been sitting with a college-age girl, but by the time we left for a different joint, she’d left.  I hadn’t spoken to the girl, or even learned her name. And when we bounced to grab some late-night snacks, I threw out my dismissive critique without a second thought.

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“I mean she has a hot body, but her face is ugly.”

Given the social context, what was the role those words played? In other words, if I’m so open-minded and feminist, why would I tear this girl down?

With my new, successful female colleague to whom I said the comment, I was “strengthening ties,” bonding with her by making fun of someone else.

With my guy friends present, the comment was as much for them, I was cutting this girl down to elevate my own status. If she “wasn’t that pretty,” maybe they’d see me as “hot.”

But I was just threatened, insecure.

The language we use to describe others has a large, lasting impact.

A well-circulated, but little-known fact is that the movie Mean Girls was actually based off of the book Queen Bees and Wannabes: Helping Your Daughter Survive Cliques, Gossip, Boyfriends & Other Realities of Girl World by Rosalind Wisemen. In high school, I’d picked up the book, sitting unread on my mom’s desk, and couldn’t put it down. I remember gaining a set of new vocabulary for things I “knew” but couldn’t form into my own words. Concepts like the “Act Like A Man/Woman Box” helped me understand some basic theory about social and gender dynamics.

And the hilarious Mean Girls script Fey cooked up conveyed powerful lessons in feminism. The gym scene intervention where Fey addresses the high school’s female population is particularly representative of Wannabes, delivering an impactful message cleverly woven into the humor of the movie (I mean, we both know audiences wouldn’t want to know they were receiving a positive education, amirite?).

“You’ve got to stop calling each other sluts and whores. It just makes it okay for guys to call you sluts and whores.” (2:40)

Later in the movie, Lindsay Lohan as Cady Heron says, “Calling somebody else fat won’t make you any smarter. Calling someone stupid doesn’t make you any skinnier. All you can do in life is try to solve the problem in front of you.”

Describing this unnamed girl as “not pretty” with an “ugly face” is of course less insulting than calling her a slut or a whore… but it’s not far off. Debasing her in front of others to lift my own status, it just further enforces the idea that it’s okay for anyone to be judged by their level of attractiveness—and makes it “okay” for women to be judged by something other than their job performance.

By treating others the way you would like to be treated, you help to circulate a superior model of communication and of life.

By cutting others down, calling other women “sluts and whores,” you’re just making it harder for yourself—and for gender equality in the long run.

Follow me on Twitter @Ginny Tonkin.

How does a shampoo commercial do badass and touching? At. the. Same. Time?

Boss v. Bossy.

Persuasive v. Pushy.

Dedicated v. Selfish.

A recent Pantene Philippines commercial matches common descriptors for men with common-held perceptions about women — showing that what’s seen as leadership for men becomes detrimental when it’s a woman.

Set against a cover of Tears for Fears “Mad World,” the ad is thoughtful and inspiring quite opposite to the way most commercials ironically belittle their most powerful consumers.

Not only did Pantene win with this empowering video, they are championing the push to end outdated stereotypes about women with their new campaign #WhipIt.

Their twitter feed is peppered with great shareable messages like this.

Cheers to Pantene Philippines for creating a campaign that’s creative and empowering. Makes us want to whip our hair back and forth. Sorry. Had to.

“Don’t let labels hold you back. Be strong and shine,” declares the video’s pre-fadeout take-home message.

See the original above or on the Pantene Philippines YouTube page.

 

How much money did we raise? Beijing Marathon Update

Thank you so much to everyone who contributed to the fundraiser for United Foundation for Children’s Health!

Participants raised over RMB 200,000, which was RMB 50,000 over the year’s target. Donations will be used directly to pay for the costs of three orphan’s surgeries.

Read more from the news piece on the Beijing United Family Hospital and Clinics (BJU) website (which yes, I wrote).

(Internet being slow today; sorry I can’t post more interesting photos!)

Want to feel like a million bucks? Give $10 to charity!

GT's turning 25!

GT’s turning 25!

This month I’m celebrating a few cool milestones:

  1. I’m turning 25 (October 19)! 
  2. I’ve been in Beijing, China for a year and a half (October 6)!
  3. I’m running a half marathon for charity (October 20)!

Want to know how to celebrate with me?

Help me raise money for charity.

October 20, I’ll be running in the 2013 Beijing Marathon, aiming to complete the half marathon. A half marathon is 13.1 or 21.1km.

Why am I running?

To help raise funds for the United Foundation for Children’s Health (UFCH), which helps provie life-saving surgeries to orphans in China. I’ll be writing about individual cases in an upcoming post. My company, United Family Healthcare (UFH), supports UFCH by providing time, expertise, and 1% of gross revenue in medical services to treat orphans and other impoverished children in need of quality medical care. It’s a pretty cool group, and my coworkers and I running in the marathon are all running to raise funds for UFCH.

How do I donate?

If you’e donating in USD ($), follow these steps:

1. Click this link to go to PayPal.

2. Fill in preliminary information, for “to” email address use gift@unitedfoundation.org.

3. Next page will ask you either quick register or put user ID (proceed accordingly).

4. Fill in all the required information to submit the donation.

5. Before you push “Send Money,” there is an option to send an email to the United Foundation (DO IT). In the spot, include the following information:

• UFCH BJ Marathon Charity event

• Name of person you are sponsoring

• Amount donated

• Transaction ID (optional)

6. Send ME (Ginny) an email, telling me you donated and the amount, so I can THANK YOU!

 

If you’e donating in RMB (¥), follow these steps:

1. Click this link to go to YeePay.

2. Scroll down the page until you see the fields to enter information.

3. Fill in all the information accordingly.

4. In the “我的祝福” – please have your sponsor include the following information:

• Name of person sponsoring

• UFCH BJ Marathon Charity event

• Donation Amount

5. Send ME (Ginny) an email, telling me you donated and the amount, so I can THANK YOU!

 

All pledging should be completed by October 23, but I’m looking to wrap things up by my birthday, Saturday, October 19!

If you miss the actual day, that’s OK, we still have until October 23.

 

2013 Beijing Marathon course

2013 Beijing Marathon course

This is the race course from the Beijing Marathon site.

Cheap Air Filter in Beijing: Day 6

Cheap Air Filter: Day 6

Cheap Air Filter: Day 6

This week’s Air Quality Index (AQI) has been a roller coaster, oscillating from the good-for-Beijing below 50 to well over toxic 300. Unfortunately today it was so bad, the US Embassy released this email (click to enlarge, toggle back to keep reading my blog), warning against “physical activity outdoors.” What an upper. Although when I told my two Italian roommates over breakfast that my embassy had issued an email warning, they were mad jealous.

US Embassy High Pollution Alert

US Embassy High Pollution Alert

With this high pollution day, I figured it was time to show my cheap air filter in action. Earlier this week, I made my own air filter for 200 rmb, or $32, through this workshop put on by Smart Air, the same guys who brought you Particle Counting. Cheap solution to a seemingly difficult problem (this problem being the expensive filters, not the air pollution itself).

Working at the 2013 China Open

Working at the 2013 China Open

Monday, the day of the DIY cheap filter workshop, I worked at the China Open for the Beijing United Family Hospital and Clinics (BJU) booth. It was a fun day, practicing Chinese and playing games we offered at our booth, with mini-basketballs and foam darts. But before we left the hospital for the stadium, I insisted that the crew working at the outside booth all get masks to wear, as the AQI was hovering around 300 that day. Above you can see me and my coworker ZiZhang (nicknamed ZZ), pointing, unamused at the grey smog.

Here you can see me prepped to bike to work, normally one of my favorite parts of the day, but one I need to be careful about, if the AQI is over 200.

Find out more about N95 masks, and why wearing one with that rating is important here.

Biking to work: PM 2.5 Mask and all

Biking to work: PM 2.5 Mask and all