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January 6, 2012
Learning The Ropes

Our next Washington Women's Series will focus on the media. (Yes, we're a part of it, but our speakers are much cooler than us.) Join ABC News White House Correspondent Ann Compton, Travel Channel president Laureen Ong, and Atlantic Media Company VP Linda Douglass. Thursday, Jan. 12 at the Renaissance Dupont. Sign up today!

For the DC startup scene, LivingSocial is kinda like that cool big brother who we so want to be like. So when big brother says he’s going to teach us the ropes, we giggle with excitement. (And hope it's not a prank...as big brothers have been known to do.)
LivingSocial engineering VP Chad Fowler
LivingSocial will be doing just that through its new Hungry Academy, led by engineering VP Chad Fowler. The intense five-month program will teach up to 24 hand-selected techies about Ruby on Rails, e-commerce, and everything that goes along with building a successful tech company. (It's like summer camp without the embarrassment—or joy—of losing your bathing suit in the lake.) The Washington company has already been overwhelmed with applications but expects to get started with the training by March. Participants are hired as LivingSocial employees and whoever makes it to the end gets a spot on the engineering team.
LivingSocial CTO Aaron Batalion
When LivingSocial CTO Aaron Batalion and his peeps launched LivingSocial four years ago, it was known as Hungry Machine. Now Hungry Academy is looking for truly passionate, hungry engineers who are willing to put in the effort, says Chad. They may just be coming out college or have years of programming experience. The company hires about 6 people daily (so if anyone you know disappeared and took their laptop, you know where to look) and one way to continue that kind of growth is to mold your own talent. If all goes well, the company will continue Hungry Academy. Chad says: “We’re trying to package several years of experience in five months.”

Pivot Ends With 10M Consumers
Mobile Posse CEO Jon Jackson
Don’t let the Kermit-colored walls frighten you. They only represent the color of money for McLean, Va.-based Mobile Posse. CEO Jon Jackson says the mobile advertising and CRM provider hit the 10M consumer mark last month and is poised to double revenue this year, following on the heels of a revenue-doubling 2011. The company’s success comes from partnering with carriers like Verizon, MetroPCS, U.S. Cellular, and Cricket to provide targeted advertising on phones, as well as content for customers needing help navigating their smartphones and calling plans. The market potential for US mobile advertising alone hovers around $3B, Jon says. Potential in the worldwide mobile CRM market doubles it.
Mobile Posse
The 42-person company was launched by Jon October 2005 after spending some years working on advertising at AOL. (If you didn't notice theiy really love primary colors.) When he left, he knew advertising would eventually hit the mobile phone, but it was way too early to make a go at a business. But he didn’t let go of the idea and eventually launched Mobile Posse to offer carriers a way to exchange advertising to their customers on their cell phones for some perks like free minutes. The idea didn’t go well in the first six months Jon and his team tried to sell it. The venture-backed business eventually pivoted its strategies to how it sells today. (It was a lot harder than it sounds in 13 words.)
Mobile Posse CEO Jon Jackson
Jon proudly stands next to his company’s sign which at one point was a small white piece of paper taped to a door at TeqCorner. He says some of the best business lessons he’s learned along the way are to disregard the naysayers. (Hundreds told him his company would never fly.) But one of the hardest things about launching a business is knowing when to change course. The only way to do that is to just get started. And on that note....the end
So what's your pivot story? Tell it to tech editor Tania Anderson.
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