Marshall Kirkpatrick

CEO, Little Bird

THIS CHAT HAPPENED ON December 01, 2015

Discussion

Marshall Kirkpatrick@marshallk · founder, Little Bird
Hi, I’m Marshall Kirkpatrick. I’m a co-founder of Little Bird, a B2B influencer marketing and research platform funded by great investors like @mcuban and @Jason and used by some of the biggest companies in the world. I’ve worked in social media for the past 10 years, including being the first writer hired at TechCrunch and the long-time co-editor of ReadWriteWeb. I like to help businesses engage with the most influential, innovative people in their industries. I like to think and write about the future of the internet. I can share tips and answer questions about any of those topics.
Erik Torenberg@eriktorenberg · Former Product Hunt
What is your stance on whether content sites should allow anonymous comments?
Marshall Kirkpatrick@marshallk · founder, Little Bird
@eriktorenberg I think anonymous comments are really, really important. I also think community moderation is important. Heather Champ, from Flickr's earliest days, is the best example of this. http://readwrite.com/2010/04/02/... I also think that everybody should consider doing it like NYTimes does it, with "Editors picks" comments called out. Anonymity = freedom, though. Freedom requires responsibility but both are important and one shouldn't come at the expense of the other, IMHO
Allison Park@allisonkpark · Customer Success Guide, Little Bird
@marshallk @eriktorenberg Do you think banning anonymous comments discourages people to voice their true opinions? I wonder if allowing anonymous comments only encourages people to become trolls since accountability is so limited.
Marshall Kirkpatrick@marshallk · founder, Little Bird
@allisonkpark @eriktorenberg Personally, I think burying abusive comments and highlighting good ones can help capture a mix of accountability and freedom.
Harry Stebbings@harrystebbings · Podcast Host @ The Twenty Minute VC
@marshallk how was the fundraising process for you with Little Bird? Also, who in the realm of social media do you feel has done particularly well in terms of contribution and engagement and why?
Marshall Kirkpatrick@marshallk · founder, Little Bird
@harrystebbings Hey Harry, fundraising for Little Bird has been a wild ride. On the positive end, we've got great brand customers, a really strong team and good social connections. On the hard side, we struggle with calculating straightforward ROI for our users and the product category is crowded. Our tech is uniquely intelligent but intelligence only takes you so far. ;) Early adopter power users in enterprise marketing organizations love Little Bird, that's been really important and helpful! I'll answer your second question asap.
Ryan Hoover@rrhoover · Founder, Product Hunt
Marshall! Welcome and good to see a fellow Oregonian here. What's on your homescreen? BONUS QUESTION: What's the most embarrassing app or site you regularly use?
Marshall Kirkpatrick@marshallk · founder, Little Bird
@rrhoover hey Ryan! Oregon FTW. Maybe you should move home, if you're not busy ;) On my home screen are Gmail, Evernote, GCal and Safari in the tray, then from top left, Twitter, Quantified Self apps, Business apps, reading apps, SimpleMind mindmapping, SMS, Instagram, Chegg flashcards (for reviewing the things I"m learning), Voxer, LinkedIn, Swarm, Forecast.io, PRODUCT HUNT!, Pomodoro, Trello, and Google+ to try to make it a habit
Sam Whitmore@samwhitmore
@marshallk Marshall, what is the most powerful "discovery" feature in Little Bird?
Marshall Kirkpatrick@marshallk · founder, Little Bird
@samwhitmore well Sam, I like to say Little Bird discovers People, Connections, Content and Communities. All of those are opportunities to learn and engage, to grow your business. Today I use the content discovery most - like "find me the world's most influential influencers & experts in this field and tell me what they're most excited about today" and in 5 mins boom, there you go. Content to engage with, learn from, and build your own business's visibility with. But I also love being able to discover Connections that people have, both long-running connections and new fresh connections. Before I get on the phone with someone I'll often use our Discover Connections tool to compare someone with a network of our competitors. That way I can find out if they've long been connected to someone competitive, who they've been connecting with recently etc. Those are all cool, but we've got something even more powerful regarding discovery coming soon. Something no one else surfaces... but that's for another time.
Marshall Kirkpatrick@marshallk · founder, Little Bird
@samwhitmore A more succinct way to put it is: Little Bird discovers the most influential people in a field and then puts them in context. That context is really important - because being relevant is really important in an increasingly noisy world.
Ben Tossell@bentossell · miniOS
@marshallk Hey! How do you think VR will affect social media marketing in the future?
Marshall Kirkpatrick@marshallk · founder, Little Bird
@bentossell imagine how much fun it would be to be doing this AMA in VR ;) I bet ProductHunt does it first.
Andrew Ettinger@andrewett · PMM @ Twitter, Previously @ Product Hunt
What has been the most radical "disruption" to social media? Bonus: how do you pronounce GIF?
Marshall Kirkpatrick@marshallk · founder, Little Bird
@andrewmettinger I'd say the most positive disruption in social media was the rise of the API. The most negative has been the decline of the URL or the privacy backlash due to overzealous government surveillance. And bonus: http://howtoreallypronouncegif.com/
Marshall Kirkpatrick@marshallk · founder, Little Bird
@andrewmettinger framed another way, I'd say the most radical disruption to social media has been the influx of marketing attention it's received. It's a mixed bag, because people don't like being marketed to, but the opportunity for authentic engagement is transformative. Every time a marketer gets on social and has an experience both doing business and genuinely connecting with other human beings at the same time, an angel gets its wings!
Theoharis Dimarhos@theo_dimarhos · Marketing+Biz Dev at AngelouEconomics
Thanks for doing this! What stories/messages do you find compelling online and is there a common thread between them?
Marshall Kirkpatrick@marshallk · founder, Little Bird
@theo_dimarhos I always found stories about platforms with potential to be the most interesting. There's nothing as exciting to me as a doorway to new opportunities. A new data set, a new API, things like that are a big win for freedom and discovery. Those are the kinds of things I wrote about. I was probably unusual in that though, and I'm not sure if there are other tech bloggers active today who approach things in the same ways I did. Some overlap, but unfortunately I don't think you can really use me as an example of what typically works in reaching out to tech bloggers. Sorry!
Emily Hodgins@ems_hodge · Community and Marketing, Product Hunt
@marshallk What has been the single biggest surprise for you in the social media space across your ten years working in it? Do you have any predictions for the next 1, 5, 10 years in social?
Marshall Kirkpatrick@marshallk · founder, Little Bird
@ems_hodge I was pretty surprised by Facebook's plan to fly solar powered drones over remote parts of the world beaming down wifi. That probably shouldn't be too much of a surprise, though. It's totally Zuckerberg's vision to bring connection to as many people as possible. On some level, I'm surprised there haven't been more surprises. Things have been moving along pretty steadily: more publishers (human and non human), more data, more technology to analyze the data. I'm disappointed there hasn't been more innovation built on top of that, faster. Why are we still so stuck on the basics? I love that Wikipedia announced today, for example, that they are using Machine Learning to augment the judgement of human editors. I expect things will move more in that direction.
Marshall Kirkpatrick@marshallk · founder, Little Bird
@ems_hodge here's another way to look at it: the solution to every problem contains the seeds of the next problem. (Don't hold it against me that I read that from Ken Wilbur). So the centralization of information was overcome by the democratization of publishing (social media) but that led to information overload. Now we're awash in information overload and I believe there's a big competitive advantage and opportunity to slice through it, discover, create and engage with the very best content and conversations. We're building technology to help with that at Little Bird, as are others. So I expect that problem to be solved and then some other problem to arise from the solution.
Emily Hodgins@ems_hodge · Community and Marketing, Product Hunt
Hi Marshall! Thanks for joining us today. During your career to date, what is the best piece of advice you've ever been given? Flip side - what's the worst?
Marshall Kirkpatrick@marshallk · founder, Little Bird
@ems_hodge some of the best piece of advice I ever got was not so much as advice as an attitude, which was from Michael Arrington, who always left me with the feeling "what have you done for me lately?" Like, every day almost. I love how Michael has said "when TechCrunch breaks a news story, that's one point for TechCrunch. When someone else breaks a news story, that's one point against TechCrunch." :)
Marshall Kirkpatrick@marshallk · founder, Little Bird
hey everybody! thanks for the questions, Team Product Hunt! I'll go through and start answering them now.
Theoharis Dimarhos@theo_dimarhos · Marketing+Biz Dev at AngelouEconomics
Hi Marshall! Which have you found to be the best ways to communicate with a big influencer in your space and strike a collaboration?
Marshall Kirkpatrick@marshallk · founder, Little Bird
@theo_dimarhos I've found that three things matter most: 1. Consistency showing up, engaging with influencers and others over time. 2. Being really interesting so influential people notice other people noticing your work and are open to thinking of you as a peer. And 3. Face time at events, where possible.
Emily Hodgins@ems_hodge · Community and Marketing, Product Hunt
@marshallk what was the first thing you ever wrote about at TechCrunch? What was your favourite story covered at either ReadWriteWeb or TechCrunch?
Marshall Kirkpatrick@marshallk · founder, Little Bird
@ems_hodge the first thing I ever wrote at TC was a profile of a now defunct midwest startup that used SMS to power web search. It was cool and the founder had an interesting story. Michael Arrington at TechCrunch always emphasized the importance of including details about the founder's background. I love that. Ben Horowitz says he always asks what a founder has done in the past too, as everything else takes at least twice as long. I always tried to include those kinds of details - and the very best critical perspective I could find too. Eventually once I was at RWW, I started using expert discovery systems to quickly incorporate the perspective of subject matter experts in my coverage as well. Those lessons learned informed what we've built at Little Bird!
Marshall Kirkpatrick@marshallk · founder, Little Bird
@ems_hodge as for my favorite story, that's a tough one. I loved winning and breaking news, so I liked everything that got subsequent mainstream media coverage - which I kept track of at http://marshallk.com/media One of my favorite stories was covering Amazon's acquisition of Zappos http://readwrite.com/2009/07/22/... because I took a unique angle on it. I knew it was interesting from a Supply Chain perspective, so I tweeted "who knows a supply chain analyst I can interview right now about this news?" And I got 3 phone interviews done in 45 minutes or something. That led to a really unique, interesting story, informed by expert perspectives. That's the kind of thing that led to me creating the startup we're building now (because we can tell you who you know that's an influential supply chain analyst) but it also made me proud like the old days when I hitchhiked around the country, inspired by Neal Cassady's character in On the Road, who took pride in his ability to talk to anyone about anything, whatever they were interested in, when he got a ride from them. I loved doing that, have tried to do that as a journalist and now try to do that as an entrepreneur as well.
Emily Hodgins@ems_hodge · Community and Marketing, Product Hunt
@marshallk What one piece of advice would you give to someone looking to start a new business?
Marshall Kirkpatrick@marshallk · founder, Little Bird
@ems_hodge record your thoughts and feelings as you go. Keeping a journal is good. Sometimes I write down big questions in Evernote, then write down my answer to them, and then come back weeks or months later. Right now I'm really benefiting from being able to read the things I wrote down about my experiences a year ago. Self knowledge enables continuous improvement and appreciation of the journey.