12 Days of Giving

Joanna Kulesa and Angelique Faul—December 2012

Today we launch Kulesa Faul’s 12 Days of Giving. This year we all had our personal and professional challenges, but there was so much to be thankful for. Now it’s time to give back!

By the end of 2013, our agency’s goal is to fully implement the 1/1/1 philosophy of giving pioneered by Marc Benioff of salesforce.com. This is an integrated philanthropic model where companies contribute 1 percent of profits, 1 percent of equity, and 1 percent of employee hours to charitable causes.

Many leading companies including Google have adopted this simple, yet profound framework. Today, Kulesa Faul is a third of the way there, on track to donate 1 percent of our 2012 profits by years’ end.

We recently got together as a team to decide how and where to give. Our chosen non-profits span animal and child welfare, environmental protection, medical research, disaster relief and veteran support.

As we donate over the next 12 Days of Giving, each day we’ll highlight one non-profit and cause close to our heart. We hope you’ll learn more about these charities and consider them in your own year-end giving.

American Red Cross
Be The Match
Clean Water Fund
Make a Wish
Restoration Gateway
Rock the Earth
SEVA Foundation
Sierra Club
St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital
Stand Up 2 Cancer
Swords to Plowshare

Happy Holidays,
~Joanna & Angelique

Joanna Kulesa and Angelique Faul are principals of Kulesa Faul, based in San Mateo, CA. Kulesa Faul focuses on public relations, social media and digital marketing for enterprise software and consumer technology companies.

May   April   March

Reaching Outside the Valley to Help Fuel East Coast Startups

Angelique Faul—November 2012

Two years ago, I was fortunate enough to cross paths with Murat Aktihanoglu, co-founder of the Entrepreneurs Roundtable Accelerator in New York City. The ERA program is a haven for big ideas. Twice a year, the organization chooses ten early-stage technology startups and gives each company the tools needed to grow their business and prepare for Demo Day, where the companies present to hundreds of angel investors and venture capitalists.

As a successful serial entrepreneur, Murat has a deep understanding of what turns a good idea into a thriving company. So, as he started putting together an accelerator program for NYC startups, he wanted to ensure the companies had the best chance for success. One of the key differentiators of the ERA is its tremendous sponsorship and mentor support. Murat, networker extraordinaire, built a mentor program of more than 200 qualified individuals in their fields including marketing, accounting, legal and executive coaching.

Based on Murat’s reputation and extensive network, I was thrilled when he approached me about becoming an ERA public relations mentor and getting Kulesa Faul involved. Although not local, he believed I could provide much needed tech PR insights to help the organization’s fledgling startups build greater awareness locally and nationally. So far as part of the program, the startups have received a PR workshop, giving participants the PR “know-how” to develop and pitch story ideas, as well as tips and tricks for briefing the press. Ongoing, they benefit from general PR counsel during and after the four-month program.

I thoroughly enjoy being part of such an amazing organization. Seeing these companies secure funding and press and build their businesses gives me great career inspiration. In fact, one participant just inked its first piece of coverage in The Wall Street Journal. As a business owner, I can only take on so many pro-bono clients and still manage a full staff. The ERA program has been a way for me to give back and help pass on my expertise to the future of NYC tech.

Who knows maybe a NYC office is in KF’s future?

Angelique Faul is a principal of Kulesa Faul, based in San Mateo, CA. Kulesa Faul focuses on
public relations, social media and digital marketing for enterprise software and consumer
technology companies.

Getting our Head in the Cloud!

Joanna Kulesa—September 2012

In our business conferences come and go ‘round the clock,’ but we’ve been anxiously awaiting the opening of Dreamforce this year. And, it’s here!

This year looks to be the most exciting yet for the 10th annual shindig. With over 70,000 expected to attend and a performance by The Red Hot Chili Peppers, next week won’t be short of surprises. Though the widely discussed buzz around this year’s conference rightfully concerns the host. Salesforce is expected to unveil Dropbox’s enterprise rival, Chatterbox (as well as Do.com and Identity to take on the rest of the industry competition).

Speculation has that the rest of Dreamforce will weigh heavily on cloud marketing, sales and advertising. KF has been steeped in cloud computing over the last five years having represented industry players from cloud systems integrators (Appirio, Model Metrics) to cloud applications (Host Analytics, CloudShare) and cloud infrastructure (Piston Cloud). Our final frontier of late is the cloud network and Software Defined Networking space with the newest edition to the KF family, Midokura.

I’m looking forward to walking the expansive show floor in my new Cole Haan pumps, billed as the ‘22 hour’ pump. Wish me luck and hope to see you at our Dreamforce Happy Hour on Monday evening. Come have a glass of great Pinot and get your ‘head in the cloud’ with the KF team!

Joanna Kulesa is a principal of Kulesa Faul, based in San Mateo, CA. Kulesa Faul focuses on
public relations, social media and digital marketing for enterprise software and consumer
technology companies.

Why is “Lifestyle Business” a Dirty Word?

Joanna Kulesa—June 2012

Recently, more than one person has referred to our agency as a “lifestyle business.” For those who are unfamiliar with this term, it’s a veiled dig.

Ask.com defines a “lifestyle business” as one that is set up and run by its founders primarily with the aim of sustaining a particular level of income, and no more. Referring to a business by this name is a roundabout way of saying, “Your cutesy little business will never be big and you don’t take it seriously.” It’s a sly way to ding a business with priorities above growth and expansion.

Because of the condescending implications, my first instinct was to defend my business against the reference. After I did some research and looked at the descriptions objectively, I actually had to agree. Kulesa Faul fits the definition of a lifestyle business. So what?

I originally created my business because as a mom I wanted to spend more time with my children and without being chained to an employer. I did it so that I could work fewer hours, vacation on my own terms, and still pay the bills. But I also did it so that I could create jobs and provide employees with full careers complete with healthy salaries, health care, retirement funds, and the ability to pay for their children’s’ educations.

Building a business that is run primarily around its people and its product, not just capital and growth, is something to be proud of, and it’s something I see more and more people catching onto these days.

For example, I recently read a blog post by a guy called David, appropriately dubbed, “The Lifestyle Business Bullshit.”In it, David effectively describes the many reasons the “lifestyle business” dig is out-of-date. He explains that the use of this term stems from an archetypical false dilemma.This false dilemma, he writes, is that “either you 1) Let your business devour your life and you’ll be incredibly successful, or 2) You balance your life with things other than work but are relegated to paying-the-rent success.”In my view, it has been a long time since there was a direct correlation between the number of hours someone works and the success they enjoy.As David’s blog notes, “When you’re building products or services, there’s a nonlinear connection between input and output. You can put in just a little and still get out a spectacular lot.”Kulesa Faul is a “lifestyle business” that cares deeply about employees, products and success of the business, and whose principals and employees simultaneously chose to live a full, enriching life outside of the office. And, I don’t think there’s any shame in that!

Joanna Kulesa is a principal of Kulesa Faul, based in San Mateo, CA. Kulesa Faul focuses on
public relations, social media and digital marketing for enterprise software and consumer
technology companies.