Building a business in five days

Lessons learned on the StartupBus to SXSW

How long does it take to build a business?

For some, it takes years. For others, it might just take a few days. Well, as long as you have the necessities: a team of bright, curious people, a common goal, and lots of snacks. We're talking Corn Nuts here, people.

Such is the way on the StartupBus, which kicks off a journey to South by Southwest from a city like San Francisco or New York, pitching business ideas at stops along the way and picking up new "buspreneurs" to join on the fun.

When the bus stopped at Emma's Nashville office a couple weeks ago, Alex Ezell, director of technology, hopped aboard. And now he's back from his StartupBus journey, telling his tale of life on the road (and one creepy night in an orphange-turned-hostel) on his personal blog.

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The Brainiac Guide to Welcome Email Automation

Sketchnotes: Jim Sherraden of Hatch Show Print

A recap of the first speaker series event by AIGA + Emma

Last night, Emma was pleased to co-sponsor (with the Nashville AIGA chapter) and host a talk by Jim Sheeraden of Hatch Show Print.

To read a recap – or I should say, to feast your eyes on the amazing sketchnotes that came out of this presentation – visit the personal blog of Emma senior designer Taylor Schena. You'll be glad you did.

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Instagram: Mobile-first, but not mobile-only

Three staffers weigh in on the new-to-desktop social app

In such a mobile world, where everyone wants to convert their web-based software to a mobile app, Instagram is the only example in recent memory where users pined for a desktop version of the beloved mobile app.

And now those piners pine no more. Instagram profiles are here!

But now I’m wondering: Has Instagram become a full-fledged social network? Is that what spurred the cry for a web app, or is it just that we expect content to be delivered through every available channel?

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Hacktoberfest: 48 hours of coding and endless boxes of pizza

Two Emma developers reflect on last weekend's hackathon

This past weekend, Emma hosted Hacktoberfest, a weekend-long hackathon (yep, there are sleeping bags involved here) for Nashville's tech community. It's a perfect example of where technology in Nashville is headed: developers -- both experienced and novice -- getting excited about building great things together.

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Care to share the email marketing campaigns that land in your inbox?

Emma staffers explain when & why they share emails with their social networks

I imagine you don't know this about me, but I've got a soft spot for furry four-legged critters. So every time that I get an email marketing campaign (like this one) full of cute, adoptable dogs, you can count on it being something that I share with every social network that I'm on.

Extra special email campaigns and causes seem to rise up, grow a pair of legs and earn a new life outside of the inbox.

The inclination to share hits everyone differently, so I spoke with four of Emma's social-savvy staffers to find out what makes them click the share button. Read on to see if you can spot a trend or two.

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A tale of four email templates

Emma designers share the inspiration behind the templates they created

Recently, you may have heard us talking about our brand new template gallery, a slew of free, readymade email templates created by Emma's design team. Each template collection comes with three stylish designs – a newsletter, postcard and note – and they're easy to customize with your brand colors, logo and more.

I asked four designers to choose one of their favorite template designs and tell us its inspiration. Read on to get a glimpse at a few members of Emma's creative team.

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A conversation with Emma’s CEO and co-founder

Clint Smith talks about leadership, Emma and, um, pecans with the Nashville Business Journal
Clint Smith of Emma Email Marketing

Last month's edition of the Nashville Business Journal featured an executive profile of our very own CEO, Clint Smith.

The Q&A covers a host of topics, including the leaders that inspire him, how he's overcome challenges and the exciting stuff Emma has in the works for the next few months.

Unfortunately, it's also publicized the incriminating information that our chief executive has no idea how to pronounce the word "pecan."

What is the simplest thing you never learned to do?
The ability to accurately pronounce the word "pecan."

Dubbed by pundits as "Pecangate," the scandal has rocked us to the very center of our snack closet and calls into question Clint's familiarity with the entire mixed nut landscape. Can he tell a pistachio from a Brazil nut? Does he even know that peanuts are technically a legume?!

All the pecan drama, as well as the other non-nut-related topics, is available here for your reading pleasure.

Meet Lisa Creamer, our newest Portland favorite

Lisa, our new biz dev specialist in Portland, loves the Decemberists and potatoes.

Back in November, we published a blog post letting the world know we were looking for the right someone to lead our business development efforts in Portland. In a magical ask and they shall come moment, we met Lisa Creamer and liked her so much, we immediately wanted to put a ring on it. Recently, we sat down with our newest Portland member to chat about her new role and her plan for friendly Emma domination in the city of roses.

You're been with Emma for six weeks now. What excites you the most about your new role?
I think it's the opportunity that excites me the most. Portland is a hot bed of creativity. People feel a sense of freedom to bring forth new ideas, knowing that the town will embrace them and engage in their growth. Emma just seems like a logical fit. We fit the Portland personality. Sure, we're quirky and fun-loving, but we also provide the perfect venue to help people grow and flourish. Emma has the unique ability to help people communicate their ideas with simplicity and style without breaking the bank.

We're intrigued. Can you tell us a little bit about your grand plans for bringing the Emma brand to the Portland community?
In a perfect world, I would have local indie darlings, The Decemberists, compose a love ballad to Portland from Emma. While we wait to hear back from Colin Meloy on that, I'm really looking forward to getting the Emma brand in front of the Portland community, to let everyone know we are right on E Burnside in the heart of the central Eastside neighborhood. We moved to Portland three years ago because we wanted to join and support this vibrant community.

One of the things I love about Emma is the giving back initiatives. It just fits organically into the lifestyle out here. At Emma, we do what we do very well. Outside of being an email marketing service, we pride ourselves on building relationships with our customers, making their experience as personable as possible while delivering an awesome product. You pair that up with giving back campaigns, like planting 5 trees for each new customer who joins, and it seems very Portland to me.

Okay, now that we've got the business stuff out of the way, let's have some fun. What's your take on IFC's break-out hit Portlandia?
I think most of it is pretty spot on. Let's be honest. People are a little weird here. It's part of what we all love about Portland. And I gotta say that the "Put a bird on it" skit really has us pegged. We do love birds. On everything.

Portland's food cart scene is leading a conversation on a national level. What's your favorite cart in town?
My favorite cart is Potato Champion. There's nothing more satisfying than a heaping cone of perfectly cooked fries after a bicycle pub crawl. My six-year-old son, Enzo, prefers PFE, a cart downtown that serves sushi and Chinese food. Whatever you're craving, there's a food cart dishing it out.

What are three Portland companies you would love to introduce to Emma?
One company that is near and dear to my heart is Looptworks. Looptworks is dedicated to upcycling, repurposing abandoned materials into clothing and gear. It really addresses the issue of using what's already available and sparks an invitation for people to think about what they buy, where it came from and what natural resources it required to produce it. Plus, their product line is super cute.

Another brand that I love is New Deal Distillery. Add a little Hot Monkey Vodka to a Caipirinha, and I'm a happy camper. Portland's riding a distillery boom right now. Thanks to the DIY culture, it's always been a great place for beer, coffee and tea, and it's nice to see a notable number of quality handcrafted, locally distilled spirits join the scene. It's also worth noting that our office is just blocks from what's known as Distillery Row.

Lastly, I would be remiss if I didn't mention Powell's Books. Outside of being the world's largest new and used bookstore, Powell's is a Portland institution. I'd love to get Emma on their radar and find a way to unite two companies that bring quality service to the community.