Listen to the Interview with Liberty Madison

Meet Liberty Madison

Liberty MadisonThis special episode of the Innov8social Podcast features an interview with Liberty Madison, a futurist, tech and media expert, and entrepreneur. Through her various lenses of experience and expertise we explore what it mean to be a millennial startup entrepreneur.  Liberty, who has also popularized her social media persona #ThatTechGirl, is a founder of multiple entrepreneurial endeavors and initiatives—with the overarching goal of furthering tech entrepreneurship among millennials.

Liberty has been featured on HuffingtonPost, ABC, CW, Perth Australia Tech and she co hosts SF New Tech, a monthly pitch session, in San Francisco.

As you’ll hear from the interview, Liberty has worked on initiatives such as a wearable tech apparel line called Python Ear Code and launched a startup hub for entrepreneurs in Oakland. When she interviewed Tim Draper, he affectionately called her the “Oprah of Silicon Valley.”

Liberty’s passion is translating tech to talk by introducing technology to the masses and removing barriers to entry. As she works to build tools, resources, and platforms for millennial entrepreneurs, we get to ask her about the shift in the mindset of millennials from creating traditional businesses to create mission-driven businesses.


Find Out More

More About Liberty Madison


So, let’s say you agree that telling a social impact story is different from other kinds of pitches.  How, then, do you decide the optimal channels you should use to develop and deliver your impact story?This incredible graphic posted by provides a helpful perspective of relevant channel, engagement, and can help you make a strategic decision on where your social enterprise can get the most value for the time, resources, and paid advertising you might spend.



There are lots of new things in the pipeline for Innov8social!To kick off this new chapter, read about some of inspiration behind our work here and a few plans ahead on this recent post on LinkedIn’s publication “the Pulse”.

Here is an excerpt:


A New Chapter for Innov8social, and a new Podcast

“Exploring social innovation through conversation.”

That is the theme of Innov8social’s new podcast. And what a true exploration the past four years have been. In June, Innov8social will turn 4 years old.

Innov8social started as a blog

It started in 2011 as a blog–one to examine a phenomenon of new legal structures, resources, and tools, at a time when five states had passed to create legal standing for companies that sought profit and mission.

in a changing landscape

Fast-forward to 2015, over hundreds of blog posts and dozens of interviews, and the landscape has continued to evolve. Twenty-seven states now have a form of the benefit corporation, just one of a few legal structures to recognize companies seeking something more than a single bottom line. To boot, another four states have passed a form of social purpose corporation legislation. Still others, nearly a dozen, have passed another form, called the low-profit limited liability company (L3C)… read the entire post on LinkedIn.

Over the past few years, Innov8Social has featured dozens of interviews with a broad spectrum of doers and thinkers in the social innovation space. We have used different means of capturing and sharing the interviews, including text interviews, video, and audio formats.

After a few months, and interesting journey of consolidating and centralizing the audio interviews, we are excited to announce our new Innov8Social Podcast on SoundCloud! With sound design and sound engineering by Schizophrenic Housecat, over 20 interviews have been posted and are ready for your listening pleasure!
We are constantly looking for ways to connect social innovators and aspiring social entrepreneurs to the knowledge, experience, content, and inspiration to help them on their journeys. This is another way to reach listeners, and we hope it simplifies the process of finding and listening to the stories and experiences of these thought leaders.The journey continues! As every, thanks for joining us and hope that together we can find new and innovative ways to think about define, and create positive impact.

Innov8Social Podcast on Soundcloud



Through a confluence of interesting happenings, I had the chance to do a quick phone interview with Gary Vaynerchuk, social media headliner, last month. It. Was. Awesome.

Gary talks social entrepreneurship. Listen in.

A few notes: this was done on Google Voice, so you will hear the “start recording” message. You will also hear the runaway guest star of the interview, i.e. Gary’s GPS.


  • Gary’s thoughts on social cause marketing–It is at an interesting point in maturation. Business people are leveraging cause marketing, not sure if it’s a good thing–will it cause consumer cynicism?
  • Business models that have caught Gary’s attention: buy one, give one is clever, so is giving percentage of retail price. He is more concerned about the passion of founding entrepreneurs of a startup—how are they evangelizing the message of impact + business?
  • Social enterprises Gary likes: Warby Parker, charity: water


Gary Vaynerchuk, a household name after 2008 TED Talk

A little background on Gary, and my sincere enthusiasm in having a chance to chat with him. Gary has been a household name for me and my entrepreneurial siblings since we watched his TED Talk  —“Do What You Want (no excuses!)”— about a year after it was posted.

To be fair, I think we were as captivated by his passionate, colorful speaking style (note emphasis of phrases such as “please stop doing that!” and “there is no reason [in 2008] to do $#@! you hate!”)  as by the clarity of his message. [tune in, esp. to 25-55 sec :]

There is something refreshing about his vigor and unapologetic, no holds bar approach to entrepreneurship. He went all in for his new venture, saw traction, and was committed to making it grow. Let’s just say, at moments demanding inspiration, I have tuned back in to this talk—and maybe even joined him in some of his memorable phrases.

A book, another two, and an empire

Since those early days of breaking into the social media scene, Vaynerchuk has attained certain celebrity status among social media superstars. There was the first book in 2009, Crush It!: Why NOW Is the Time to Cash In on Your Passion, which was well-received and frequently quoted. The follow-up came just a couple years later.
The Thank You Economy and has been topping charts as a best-seller. Gary will be releasing his latest book this year,  Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy, Social World.

Gary V’s empire now expands beyond WineLibrary TV to include books, a social media consultancy, and investments in upcoming startups. He frequently headlines large social media events and conferences, is popular for his candor and humor, and is unabashed in giving advice to new entrepreneurs. (See him give his two cents to this entrpreneur at a talk at 59:00: warning, expletives)

What would Innov8Social have to ask Gary Vaynerchuk?

Gary Vaynerchuk does not profess to be a social entrepreneur, so why interview him for Innov8Social?

As has been mentioned before, in this blog’s authentic exploration of social innovation, I have found (repeatedly) that one of the hardest part of social entrepreneurship is being an entrepreneur. It is the initial hurdle.

Whether you are enterprising for money, world domination, or social good—there is a pervasive emphasis on taking on the challenge with an entrepreneurial mindset. And that’s why Gary Vaynerchuk was a great candidate to continue and deepen the exploration. In a few words (some of them likely four-letter) he can get to the heart of the matter when it becomes to being an entrepreneur.

Notably, not every entrepreneur needs to be like him. Not by a long shot. But there is an infinite depth that can be learned from his enthusiasm, belief, and strategic thinking when it comes to launching and growing enterprises.


Gary shares what he really thinks about Innov8Social

As you may have noticed from the audio interview (above) we spent part of our 15-20 minutes doing a Q&A for Innov8Social readers. The rest of the time I talked blogger-to-blogger with Gary. I caught him up on my efforts with Innov8Social at the meta level, asked his opinion of how I can focus on growing, and what would be “success” for this blog and effort.

As I anticipated (and hoped), he was frank and honest. From dealing with readership in hundreds of thousands of pageviews, and millions of clicks—Innov8Social is at best a humble effort. It was good to talk to him openly and pause for reflection on my efforts so far, and how Innov8Social can grow into the expansive vision I have for it.

Hope you enjoy listening to our conversation as much as I did having it., and that it provides a different perspective on how a through-and-through entrepreneur views social enterprise.

The field of social innovation, impact entrepreneurship, social enterprise is expanding at an incredible pace. It is a moving stream of information, barreling forward…in a hurry.

For a blogger, that can a unique challenge. You know that what you pen today may be outdated by the time you hit “publish”. However, the dynamic nature of blogs (and the ability to update them) is a silver lining and can make our work more agile.
Blogging in the space, we learn tremendous amounts from other blogs that focus on different niches, hone in on discerning nuances, structure their information distinctly, adopt unique takes on design, and bring something wholly their own flavor to the social innovation table.
With the caveat that this list will be updated as new blogs come to, here are a few interesting blogs in the social innovation space to check out.
We would love to hear your picks and favorites (and even your #socinn blog titles) in the comments.

40+ Blogs on Social Innovation, Impact Entrepreneurship, and Social Enterprise You Should Check Out

  1. Acumen Blog – bold ways of tackling poverty
  2. Armchair Advocates – blog where social media meets social good
  3. Ashoka – blog for and by innovators for the public
  4. B Corporation Blog – voice of the B corporation community
  5. Beth’s Blog – how networked nonprofits leverage networks and data for social change
  6. BlendedProfit – blog of past shows of thought leaders in good business
  7. Building43 – compilation of blogs highlight small teams + big impact
  8. Business for Good Blog – authored by CA social enterprise attorney
  9. Calvert Foundation Blog – blog on impact investing
  10. The Centre for Social Impact Blog – academic excellence fit for social purpose
  11. Co.exist – Fast Co. blog on world changing ideas and innovation
  12. – industry blog on crowdsourcing
  13. CSRWire – corporate social responsibility blog
  14. Cutting Edge Capital Blog – strategies for the impact economy
  15. DailyGood Blog – news that inspires
  16. Dowser – blog on who’s solving what and how
  17. Echoing Green Blog – unleashing your talent to solve the world’s biggest problems
  18. Foundation Center Blogs – knowledge to build on
  19. – social network and blog for social good
  20. Blog – technology for social impact
  21. The Hub Bay Area Blog – where change goes to work
  22. HuffPost Impact – blog on causes, volunteering, and people making a difference
  23. Idealist Blog – small and big ways people are facing obstacles, turning good intentions into action
  24. IDEorg Blog – cultivating potential
  25. Innov8Social – blog exploring social innovation
  26. Kiva Blog – blog by Kiva fellows field partners, entrepreneurs, and staff
  27. Mashable Social Good Blog – blog on social good
  28. Net Impact Blog – students and professionals creating positive impact in the workplace & world
  29. New Empire Builders – blog on startups, nonprofits, + companies making the world better
  30. NextBillion Blog – development through enterprise
  31. Nonprofit Law Blog – information to empower leaders, by NEO Law Group
  32. Non-Profit Law Prof Blog – a blog part of the Law Professors Blog Network
  33. Skoll World Forum Blog – Skoll original content
  34. Social Earth – blog promoting entrepreneurship, business, and ideas
  35. SocEntLaw – law & entrepreneurship blog
  36. Social Capital Markets – blog on the intersection of money and meaning
  37. Social Enterprise UK – national body for social enterprises in England
  38. Social Innovation Exchange Blog – global network for social innovation ideas
  39. Social ROI – blog on how social entrepreneurship is making the world a better place
  40. Stanford Social Innovation Review Blog – informing and inspiring leaders of social change
  41. The Sustainable Economies Law Center Blog
  42. TriplePundit – blog on people, planet, profits
  43. UnSectored Blog – looking beyond sectors to collectively define progress and enact change
  44. White House Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation Blog
  45. Nonprofits Source – digital marketing resources for nonprofits
Other Resources
List of Books, Blogs, Funders, and Conferences – compilation by socialvelocity
Top 50 Social Entrepreneur Blogs – compilation by (it)magazine
Top 50 Social Entrepreneurship Blogs – blogs ranked using 20 different factors
Amid the dark wood and high ceilings of the second floor of an upscale Irish bar & restaurant in downtown Sunnyvale, CA over fifty people gathered to celebrate and honor the achievements of three local winners of the 40 Under 40 Leadership Awards.The 40 Under 40 Leadership Awards, hosted by New Leaders’ Council (NLC), recognizes emerging leaders across the country who have created impact in fields such as political leadership, social entrepreneurship, media leadership, and effect advocacy.The Silicon Valley Chapter of NLC organized the event to honor the three local award recipients.

New Leaders Council offers an annual fellowship to inform, tool, and connect emerging progressive leaders interested in fields such as social entrpreneurship and advocacy. You can find out more about the fellowship program on the NLC website and learn about other fellowship programs here: 50+ Fellowship Programs for Social Innovators.

Here is a recap of the event in photos.

Photo Essay: 40 Under 40 Leadership Awards, New Leaders Council Silicon Valley 2013

NLC SV 40 under 40 Awards Reception
Attendees including current NLC Fellows, Alumni, Board Members, and
friends gather, mingle, and connect.
NLC SV 40 under 40 Awards Reception
NLC Silicon Valley Co-Directors, Reeta Sharma and Kalen Gallagher 
 welcome guests and give opening remarks.


NLC SV 40 under 40 Awards Reception
Ash Kalra, NLC Silicon Valley Honorary Chair, San Jose City Council Member
introduces the 40 Under 40 Leadership Awards and reflects on his own
experience in progressive leadership.
NLC SV 40 under 40 Awards Reception
Award recipient Sarah Granger, prolific impact blogger, journalist,
 entrepreneur, and new media expert & trainer, accepts her award in
Media Leadership.


NLC SV 40 under 40 Awards Reception
Services of Silicon Valley, accepts his award for Leadership in
NLC SV 40 under 40 Awards Reception
Award recipient Alexandra Acker-Lyons, Director of Youth Engagement Fund,
accepts her Media Leadership.
NLC SV 40 under 40 Awards Reception
NLC SV Co-Directors thank the honorees and attendees, and the crowd
continues to connect and engage amid the drum beats and
vocal sound-checks of a live band warming up.
If you love social media, online communities, and the people that power the magic…yesterday’s Community Leadership Summit West 2013 (held Sat. Feb 2nd 2013 in San Jose) was the it place. Period.

If you, like me, couldn’t make the event—-there is a silver lining. At a conference bringing together community leaders and managers adept in the digital space, there is a wealth of learning and sharing about the event online.

Below is an overview of what went on at #CLSWest using Storify.

[View the story “Catching Up on Community Leadership Summit 2013 (#CLSWest)…For Those Who Missed It” on Storify]

backlink strategyAt some point in a social entrepreneur’s journey, there will likely be a need to build a website, a blog, or some meaningful web presence so you can be found. When that happens, you are immersed into the sometimes-clear, often-murky sea of search engine optimization.At the end of the day the goal is to be found online by major search engines such as Google and Bing.When it comes to placating search engines, and even impressing them, the idea of backlinks comes to play. A backlink is when another site links to your site.

Simple, right?

Part Art, Part Science

Google actually evolved from a project originally called BackRub was a way to look at backlinks to a site to determine that site’s importance or relevance of a site.  It kind of makes sense, right….if Jane tells you about a great new bakery in town, you’ll listen and maybe be interested. But if Maya, Juan, Roger, Penelope, and Dwayne also tell you about it—-there’s a good chance the bakery recommendation may be more valuable to you.

Now, search engines come up with complex algorithms to try to discern the relevance and importance of a website based on a variety of factors, including valuable backlinks.

There is a great talk on about Backlink strategy called “SEO Link Building in Depth” by Peter Kent. While Kent goes into great detail about various nuances of the art and since of increasing backlinks to your site, here are a few broad overview tips that may be helpful.

5 Tips on Building Quality Backlinks

1. Look at keywords. As you get more comfortable with the logic behind search engine optimization you will start seeing the connection between the words you use on your website and how search engines tend to notice.  And you may become an evangelist for effective keywording (i.e. the key terms or phrases you use throughout a page or post to describe its main crux). One place that you can place keywords is in the link title and anchor text used to describe the link. Make the most of these opportunities to be found by using deliberate, researched keywords.

2. Build relationships with websites with related content.  If your site is about cake decorating, a back from an auto repair website might be great. But don’t you think a link to your site from a cake decorating tools manufacturer would be even better? There’s a good chance the search engine algorithms agree and value links that are related a similar nucleus of content.  It may be worthwhile to build relationships with bloggers and web administrators and social media folks of sites related to yours. Plus, it may also help you discover ideas and other great sites related to yours.

3. Use awesome anchor text. Once you’re in the keyword know (i.e. see #1), try to score great anchor text umbrella-ed in the backlink to your site.  Sure you can connect a backlink to site with phrases like click here. But why not use the opportunity to say something meaningful about what the link is linking too, and including some of those snazzy keywords you are trying to highlight…

4. Don’t forget to link within. You may have some wins with closely related sites, linking to yours, and using great anchor text–but don’t forget about your own site as a way to highlight your content. You can use the same practices to link back to relevant content in your site and use great anchor text and rich keywords. You may want to keep track of your content in some content management way so you can easily reference related posts or pages.

5. Focus on what you can control = write great content. Building an army of quality backlinks is challenging. There’s so much you don’t have control over—i.e. whether sites will link to you or not, whether you can suggest that they use great anchor text, and whether you can ever amass enough links to bump up your PageRank. However, there is one thing that you have direct control over. Building amazing, awesome, relevant, helpful, useful content that is off the hook. Focus on this and other sites won’t be able to resist linking back to you. The industry calls this link bait, but link chocolate sounds pretty good too.


Wpromote published this illustrative infographic on how brands leverage social media to create social impact., TOMS shoes, Pepsi, OneHope, and Acai Spirit are featured here.

These statistics can be a powerful tool in engaging supporters to champion brands not only through purchases but also through social media. The challenge can become articulating and distributing a compelling narrative that can connect the dots on how social media popularity results in actual social impact.

As of September 2010 TOMS shoes gave away 1M pairs of shoes—with over 1M likes on Facebook. There’s not a direct relation—but as a potential FB fan that is a compelling narrative for how ‘likes’ might be translating to action.

While TOMS has built a brand deeply rooted in a social mission, the infographic also serves to show how popular consumer-facing brands such as Pepsi may be committing more resources to social good projects than most people consider. With over 5M Facebook likes and 100K+ Twitter followers in 2010, Pepsi invested over $20M in improvement projects.

Social Good: Taking Social Media to Social Action
Browse more data visualization.