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07 May

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Oh, MOM!

May 7, 2016 | By |

Screen Shot 2016-04-14 at 4.11.36 PMWe here at LittleHoots celebrate and give a big ‘ole “HOOT-HOOT-HOORAY!!!” to these Mom-Persons in our lives….and we can think of no better way to show our love to them than by having our very own staff of copywriters—arguably the largest group “employed” by any organization—share their wisdom, advice and no-holds-barred observations of the noble profession of Motherhood for all to enjoy and ponder. Who ARE these copywriters you ask? Why, the kiddos themselves—duh! Here’s to a Happy Mother’s Day brought to you by LittleHoots!

Over 60,000 parents around the globe use The LittleHoots app for iPhone to capture quotes and conversations with their children. 190,000+ memories have been saved with LittleHoots. See more wise and wonderful hoots on Facebook and Instagram.

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17 Oct

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LittleHoots gets BIGger…

October 17, 2014 | By |

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We here in the land of LittleHoots like to think BIG. In fact, several of us recently attended the second “Big Kansas City” conference brought to our metro area by the Silicon Prairie News. According to their website, “Big Kansas City is: Founders, designers, developers, investors and the like converging on the Midwest for two and a half days sharing ideas, co-creating experiences, and inspiring altered landscapes”

photo 5As part of “the like”, LittleHoots can also claim to have founded a company, designed a brand-spanking-new mobile app, developed a platform for Memory Keeping, and invested lots and LOTS of time, hard work, energy and passion to bring this dream of Lacey Thomas Ellis to fruition. During the conference time,we shared the idea of LittleHoots with many, we co-created experiences by connecting and telling stories with people who had been strangers to us before the conference, and most importantly, we altered our own LittleHoots landscape by gaining much needed clarity of vision and priorities, topped off with a new found sense of urgency to raise our own high bar.

I love how this description of Big KC has no punctuation at the end—no period. I feel sure that this was intentional, giving attendees the sense that we only limit our own possibilities by thinking we are done, that we have arrived where we want to be—that’s the thing about possibilities—they are endless, one step leading to another.

So. Wide awake, coffee, phones and notebooks in hand we listened to a wide and totally diverse group of doers and thinkers, ranging from robot makers to world class drummers—yep drummers, as in “playing the drums”. I would just like to point out a couple of highlights from various presenters and share with you how we think they might be things that the LittleHoots team will be considering and hopefully implementing as we navigate into our future.

Some random bullet-point take-a-ways:

“Are you building a great product or a great company?”; “Know that your vision and values matter—and should evolve.” -John Wirtz, http://www.hudl.com co-founder

“A lot of great businesses are started by asking the integral ‘why?’ “; “Entrepreneurs should always be empathetically authentic when it comes to their user base and figuring how to better serve them”; “Empathy for the user is what turns curiosity into a business.” -Shradha Agarwal, http://www.contextmediainc.com cofounder

“There isn’t a single face of entrepreneurship”;  “You must be 100 percent committed to the things you believe in”; “That being said, you must be 110 percent OK with changing everything else outside of what you’re committed to”; “Opportunities don’t come to you, you make them.” Four things that Maxine Bedat, https://zady.com co-founder wished someone had told her before starting a company.

Three marketing truths “that work anywhere”, shared by Anita Newton, marketing guru:

“The biggest lies are the ones you tell yourself—one common ‘big lie’ —thinking you have a good market fit when you don’t.”

“Your marketing team is not a reality show; there is no such thing as viral marketing or silver bullets to solve everything. You must put in actual effort to get results.”

“The scarcest thing on the planet is human attention. You aren’t going to be able to hold this generation’s attention with past tactics. To break through that lack of attention, you must present ideas that are unexpected or create an emotional connection. If you are able to figure out the emotional/universal truths for each of your market segments, your company can do great things.”

Mark Hemeon, co-founder http://www.hemeon.com, had many “gems”: “Say yes”; “Show up”; “Hire smarter than you”; “Value emotional intelligence”; “Measure all the things”; “Punch above your weight class” [HA!]; “Use peer reviews”; “Get rid of your ego”; “Be civil”; “Acknowledge that all jobs are hard”—among many others.

Mike Johnston, founder of http://www.mikeslessons.com, not only had a number of unconventional bits of wisdom for the entrepreneur, he also gave a stellar performance on his instrument of choice, a set of drums. “Pave your own way. Do things the way they’re not telling you to do them in the [business] magazines”; “The moment you say ‘I wish’ out loud, you need to act”; “It’s seriously time to rethink your social media approach—FaceBook, YouTube, Twitter and Instagram are each avenues leading to different fan bases”.

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Good stuff. All, really good stuff—and believe me, only the tip of the iceberg. These “nuggets” of wisdom from some of the best and brightest on the scene may seem a bit heady and disjointed out of context like this, but I feel that it is important to state how “sponge-like” we are at LittleHoots now, as we continue building to make this the “go-to” Memory Keeping Platform for now and years to come. This kind of bigger picture thinking could not have been more timely for our small but mighty team—we have been at it for more than a year and it is time to play with the Big Kids, the winners. This is certainly not to say that we have not been winners—look at all the wonderful Memory Tiles that have been created by you—our users, our fans. We DO, however, need you to keep engaging with the “more than you may realize now” importance of documenting what truly is important—those family moments, priceless memories that once forgotten are gone forever—you know, “Outta sight, outta mind”. There is so much more to be done, and we are poised, at the tip of our own iceberg of possibilities that we will continue to bring to you and the ones you love as LittleHoots evolves. [Insert smiley face here.]

27 Aug

By

LittleHoots Goes Big [Kansas City] Time!

August 27, 2014 | By |

LittleHoots has some big news to share—Big Kansas City that is! Founder and CEO Lacey Ellis has made the tabloids yet again with an outstanding testimonial for the Kansas City based arm of the yearly event sponsored by the Silicon Prairie News. As Big KC website http://bigkansascity.co describes the event, “Big Kansas City is: Founders, designers, developers, investors and the like converging on the Midwest for two and a half days sharing ideas, co-creating experiences, and inspiring altered landscapes”. To quote Forbes magazine, it is “one of the top conferences to attend for entrepreneurs”.

LittleHoots, the “dream big” idea brought to life by our very own Ms. Lacey, has caught the attention once again of Silicon Prairie News, the go-to publication for any news of local cutting edge technology and the entrepreneurial community. The LittleHoots story has been captured in part by SPN in two earlier additions, and this time, the LittleHoots/Big Kansas City connection is explored. The article in full can be read here: http://siliconprairienews.com/2014/08/lacey-little-hoots/

Working closely with Lacey for the last six months, I feel privileged to hear the story first hand—you, know, with out-loud spoken words…?!? Granted, her LittleHoots journey has been a part of her conscious reality since the birth of her first child, Mr. Jett Ellis, the rock-star, four-and-a-half year old who literally became the “spokesperson” for her dream—but it was Big Kansas City that flamed the spark. No shrinking violet, Lacey truly made the lessons she describes in the article her mantra during the Big KC Conference in 2013—and I will say, she has also incorporated these “lessons” into her ongoing leadership of the LittleHoots team, and the implementation of the its mission. A note about the founding team—it was a mere two weeks after Big KC 2013, [where Lacey was encouraged and inspired to take her dream to Startup Weekend], that she met her LittleHoots Co-Founders, Kim, Steph and Wade—at Startup Weekend…!  It is our belief at LittleHoots that some things are just meant to be—[insert smiley face here]

Lacey at Big KC—2013:

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I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to to actually attend Big Kansas City 2014 with Lacey this year—what better teacher could a “student” have to get the very most out of the experience??? Stay tuned, we’ve only just begun!

Startup Weekend—2013:

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Stephanie Lashley at Big KC before meeting Lacey, Kim and Wade:

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Founding Team—2013:

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16 Jun

By

Why Littlehoots?

June 16, 2014 | By |

Littlehoots what and Littlehoots how.

with her Littlehoots Jett and Andi

Lacey with her Littlehoots Jett and Andi

Okay—by now you know that Littlehoots is a mobile app that allows you to capture memorable quotes that tumble out of the mouths of your kiddos, your grand-kiddos, your friend’s kiddos—words that you can save, along with photos, encased in a nicely designed Memory Tile. Created on the spot by you—yes, YOU—it’s that simple. They say it—you crack-up, tear-up, scrunch your eyes in disbelief—and, with a couple of clicks on your mobile device, you send it on its merry way to the archives of your camera roll, your social media of choice—and yes, your heart—for however long you want to keep it there. You can bet that twenty years down the road, those kiddos are going to look at these, roll their eyes, and say “no! C’mon—I didn’t say THAT…did I?”

Littlehoots why!!! [pay attention! :)]

Daddy Nate and And1

Daddy Nate and Andi

So. This is what you know [hopefully!] about Littlehoots—the “what” and the “how”. There is a part of our brains that can understand, process and articulate a fair number of facts and bits of information about any number of things—but there is another part that asks the question, “why?”, in the sense of “why is this so appealing, why does this matter to me?”. This makes things a little trickier, a little more difficult to articulate. I think it might have to do with the fact that, for the most part, as adults we have an intuitive emotional response to these “hoots” that is hard to define. We are connected to our families and friends as emotional beings which brings this natural response to the innocence with which “our” kids express themselves.  We can’t help but be drawn in with delight. This is our “why”.

Littlehoot meets littler-hoot!

Littlehoot meets littler-hoot!

You might ask “why” this would even matter to me, a single guy with no kids, no nieces or nephews, and obviously, no grand-kiddos. Well, let me tell you. As I mentioned above, the “friends” category is huge for me—they are my “family”. And yes, my “family’s” little ones say some pretty amazing stuff. One of my own very personal “why”s is all about the example of one new friend, Lacey Thomas Ellis—CEO and Founder of Littlehoots. This smart-as-a-whip wife [of Nate] and mom of two—Jett, coming up on five years and Andi, all of, as of today, ten DAYS old [!]—is the person, the living, breathing articulation of “why” Littlehoots. Jett Ellis, bless his little heart-:), has come out with some real winners of “hootable” quotes, the most memorable one being “look, Mommy! The moon is on!” which was the beginning of Lacey’s pursuit of her dream. She knew in her heart that this was only one of many  memorable quotes that would come out of this little guy’s mouth, as well as the mouths of countless other kiddos. That’s the “why” key—she was not just looking to preserve her own family’s story, but the stories of ALL families. It is truly her mission, it is that important to her—and now, to me as well.

sibling-itis

sibling-itis

That being said, as a company, Littlehoots is 100% committed to helping everyone, every family-[yes, we—everyone- are all part of a larger family]-capture that special memory and tangibly keep it for years ahead to savor. All those countless “little” memories, that, when put together, form a story—a story of a life. Again,it is that important. Thus, Littlehoots, once a dream, is now a reality for Lacey Thomas Ellis—she is living her “why”.  This is a calling, a blessing, and I feel like the luckiest guy in the world to be able to be a part of this “why”, helping her and her small but mighty team of amazing co-founders [yes YOU Kim, Wade and Stephanie, Jeff and August] realize this dream and move it ahead—and yes—you can be a part of that dream.

Team-work

team work

Hoot-Hoot-Hooray!!!