About S@

Sandira Calviac by Carole Omoumi

Sandira started her first company in her teens in London signing clients such as Forensic Science Service (Scotland Yard's equivalent of CSI), which set up the world's first DNA database.

Subsequently she moved to Paris for iBazar (now eBay France) where she built and marketed a consumer site then acquired by LibertySurf (now part of Telecom Italia).

Asked to handle business development partnerships and special projects at 01net (Vivendi Universal), she produced and launched its successful chat service, which is still in use today.

In NY for 9 years, she developed an expertise for the em­erging mobile industry and was one of the first people to evangelize and pioneer QR codes in the US, while spearheading the marketing for Baracoda and Scanbuy.

Prior to joining Seattle Angel Conference, Sandira started, a carpooling site endorsed by Burning Man & featured on the Rachel Maddow Show, as well as the Wall Street Journal and The Observer.

While Sandira’s efforts have contributed to the successful growth and exits of 4 entities, Sandira enjoys photography and exploring. She has lived in Europe, India, New York, Seattle, and is now a San Francisco resident. She can often be found connecting like-minded people, all the while reminiscing about her trans-siberian journey into Mongolia…

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Entries in business (11)


Mobile Hackathon this Sunday @ CES, 20K cash prizes & more by AT&T 

Let's begin the new year with some good news for my fellow mobile entrepreneurs and developers.

For those of you flying to Las Vegas for CES this week, AT&T is putting together a hackathon this Sunday, January 8!

It's a great opportunity for startupers, developers and talented students to launch their app and get the opportunity to market it thanks to the free PR and prizes.

Full details here:
(Use code HDS903 to register for the hackathon)
It's this coming Sunday!

1st Place gets:
•$20k Cash Prize
•Featured in AT&T TV commercial
•Video Interview with Andrew Keen to be posted on TechCrunch
•Six (6) month membership in Alpha API program where we help setup networking events where you get to rub elbows with significant peers
•Three (3) days of AT&T Foundry business and technical support
•One month feature in AT&T Promotional Widget (platform dependent)
•"Back-Stage" meet and greet with Developer Summit Band (up to 4 people)
•Microsoft Xbox 360 + Kinect for the entire team if Microsoft Azure is used as a backend

Feel free to retweet & share with your peers.

Also, they are still open slots for startups & organizations who want to meet up with the AT&T one-on-one.
Email me for that so I can hook you up directly.

Best wishes of health, love and mobile prosperity & May the Force be with You!


P.S. Yes, my sister's name is really Leia... no kidding! Mmmh, what does that make me? Luke?! 


Thank you Steve for everything, R.I.P.

Dear Steve Jobs,

Many thanks for your dedication, for your inspiring passion to do what you love, for bringing colors and beauty to the grey world of computing, for making products our grand-parents AND kids love showing off, for making products that connect people to each other, generation Y with generation, for being our muse.

I couldn't help shed a few tears over your death this evening. I know it sounds weird, given I didn't know you personally. But I practically grew up watching you and Bill Gates arguing and making up ;) After all, I'm one fo those who learned how to spell my name on an Apple keyboard before even knowing how to write it with a pen. Another reason I feel sick to my stomach is the realization that my opportunity of meeting you one day is forever gone. Completely vain I know, yet it is oddly frustrating and shakening... As you pointed out during your famous commencement address, life is indeed very short...

My dear Friends,

May Steve Jobs' spirited legacy inspire you for many years to come...


2 pieces of advice for hospitality entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurship advice can come from the most unexpected places... Have you noticed how it often occurs when you happen to be wandering around or on your day off?

After the intense launch of Ridehack, this labor day weekend was indeed welcome. And to make the most out of it, a trip to Upstate NY seemed the perfect way to find peace, quiet and nature.

A great Airbnb find led us to Rhinecliff, NY in a private and charming guest house surrounded by magnificant trees, still standing after Hurricane Irene's passage. Our hosts, a very friendly family, were grateful the water "only" destroyed their garden and covered everything up to the first floor of their house...

Alana, owner of the Red Dot, in Hudson, NY

Yesterday was spent exploring the quaint town of Hudson, NY following the advice of a CouchSurfing friend. After walking around the main street and enjoying the beautiful architecture, we found our way into the welcoming Red Dot, a local bar/restaurant owned by Alana. It quickly surfaced that Alana had lived in the city, i.e. New York City, for more than twenty years (it turned out that all the people who spoke to us that day were ex-New Yorkers...).

After years spent in the city in the extrememely competitive world of Fashion, and having launched Versace Jeans Couture in the US, serendipity brought Alana a welcoming parachute and a nice piece of real estate in Hudson NY.

A trip in Mexico led her to Alberto's Continental, a restaurant in Merida, which had welcome anyone and anybody including Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.

The Lebanese owner, who obviously knew what he was talking about, gave Alana, then toying with the idea of opening a restaurant in that Hudson NY building, two pieces of advice.  She was kind enough to pass these along:

Advice #1: Serve hamburgers

Advice #2: Treat the place like your own living room

If you can't do any of these, then forget about opening your own restaurant!


DON'T Do A Startup, You Will FAIL

David McClure shares with us all the reasons one should not waste their time doing a startup...

Click here to see why your startup will fail →

Yes I know these slides look ugly but they're hilarious!

(Source: Business Insider)


Niche dating sites for Geeks + Dating-related panels at SxSW

Keyboard romance, a new fragrance by...

I just came across an ad for Geek 2 Geek, a dating site for... geeks!

It reminded me of a site back in the days. Can anyone remember which one, wasn't it part of CNET or some equivalent?

Anyway, this definitely picked my curiosity and - while looking for the answer - I decided to research the space and find out which other sites are attempting to cater to the romantic needs of fellow geeks and nerds out there.

Here is a sample: 

(Please note these are currently web-based only. So feel free to send me links for mobile and Facebook apps as well as International sites)

South by SouthWest: Where are the experts

Unfortunately, for those will also be in Austin this week for SxSW and were hoping to learn a thing or two about this fascinating industry, it appears there are only a couple of related panels:

 (Again, comments & emails are welcome, should you know of any other panels/events worth mentioning.) 


Geek matchmaking, a new eldorado?

Coming back to our main topic, anyone will agree that nerds and geeks are now part of the pop culture. Thanks to the democratization of Internet and mobile devices and of course the portrayal of nerdy heroes stamped by Hollywood, it has never been so cool to be a nerd.

Content publishers attracting a high volume audience of geeks and nerds may soon decide to seize the day and release their own branded dating platform following the footsteps of more traditional players.

Indeed, both The Guardian's and Condé Nast's have jumped on the opportunity by partnering with The Dating Lab, a white-label company which makes it easy for any substantially important online community site to play at the dating table...

This potential "match made in heaven" for a or IGN could very well help them also get a piece of the pie.

Indeed, TechCrunch and more recently the New York Times have reported on the growthof niche dating sites... But I will leave it up to Business Insider to show us the actual market potential with a lovely chart that would resemble to this one. By the way, how about a customized ;-P



To conclude this piece, let me share with you some retro geeky bonus content:

Geek Dating Flowchart

as well as a Craigslist homage:
Why Geeks and Nerds Are Worth It...

This post is dedicated to my #NYTM single friends.


Essential app for GDC, SxSW, CTIA or some other cool events

I don't know about you, but my month of March is packed with conferences, fairs and tradeshows. Unfortunately I cannot all these great events (except for SxSW!!!). But for those heading to the GDC in San Francisco, CTIA in Orlando, The Book Fair / Salon du Livre in Paris, or SxSW in Austin, then you will understand right away the pain of having to go through literally a couple of hundreds of business cards after each event...

Luckily, ScanBizCards released its new version just on time to make us all more efficient and networking-friendly.

Available on iPhone and Android. I have discount codes for the iPhone version, feel free to ping me for it and please don't forget to rate the app :) 


A very entertaining sales job posting

I recently received a phenomenal job posting.

Loved it (except for the macho & ageist comments of course)...

Here we go:

Hey there,

This is a job post for the first non-technical hire in an established software startup. 

Our 2 founders are full-time coders and have built a profitable product in the financial software sector -- operating income about $250k in 2010.

We have reached the point where we can't grow it any more on our own, and we aren't very good at sales anyway.  We should focus on the code while someone else does the bizdev.  We have outsourced everything that can be outsourced and need someone to step in as head of marketing/sales.

This is what you will be doing:

? selling stuff and making money, in the financial services / legal space
getting partnerships and marketing/distribution of the product
? social media - blog posts, tweets, facebook crap..or get interns to do it
? team recruiting, particularly of other business-type people and interns
? client will be the face of the business
? figuring out which features we should code next based on customer feedback
? take us from $250k profit to $2 million in next 18-ish months.

You will not be fundraising or talking to VCs.

Pay is some mix of equity, salary, and commission.  You will have a marketing budget to deploy.  You will live in New York.  You will work full time and not have any other jobs or companies on the side. There will be a 3 month trial period where you show us how awesome you are and take less cash / more commission.  We work remotely but if you need to get an office of some type we could get you one if you convince us it's necessary.

You should probably have some sort of business experience, as most of the people we sell to are pretty sophisticated professional types.  Software sales experience is good, but so is experience in the client side of financial services.  Because our product deals with securities, financial analysis experience is helpful but will not be the focus of the job.  You should look polished or hot and be good on the phone -- we will send you to conferences and give you lists and expect results.  You should follow up with people reliably and quickly and go to a lot of networking events.

However, you should also be up to date.  Like, if you don't have an iPhone 4 or recent Android phone, or if you use Windows at home, don't apply.  It sounds arrogant, but you need to be comfortable with our stack and with the increasingly mobile nature of software.  We trialed one person who was older and didn't jive on this particular point, and it didn't work for us.

We are essentially looking for Alec Baldwin's character in this scene: 


We will build/install software tools to make your life easier and whatever apps you convince us will sell.  We will use our designers to build you marketing materials.  We will use our large network of connections in the VC/nerd world to get you the right introductions.  We have a curated list of 15,000 sales leads.  One of us has exited a company before, and we hope to flip this one within the next 18 months.  We are operating in a highly acquisitive space with a lot of old, cash-rich companies and few innovators. 

You should be comfortable with the idea of working in an extremely small team, and you should expect the team to remain small (< 10) and possibly distributed until we exit. 

This is a good opportunity as most of our competitors suck and we are rapidly gaining market share despite being gigantic nerds with no sales initiative, and we are already making a lot of money.  

Thank you,




How to live before you die, by Steve Jobs

To start this new semester inspired, may I invite you to watch Steve Jobs' Commencement Address to Stanford University's graduates.

Although performed in 2005, its content remains extremely actual and will hopefully resonate with you for as long as you live... If not, you can always do like me, which it to read the transcript or watch it again occasionally ;-).