Follow-up to Shark Tank Post


Everyone thinks their ideas are the best. I get ideas pitched to me all the time. Some arrive on the back of a paper napkin and others are presented in full-blown written proposals.

I am a target of their dreams because they know I know the right people. “The right people” consists of angel investors, venture capitalists, bankers, CEOs, writers, industry analysts, and people who know people.

I try to explain to wannabes what it takes to get money, but very few really get it. They believe their ideas are so good that everyone should stop what they are doing and give them a round of applause.

It doesn’t work that way. There are a million good ideas only a handful of which are by people who know how to execute them. I do know that investors look for certain characteristics and accomplishments in a person before they part with a dime.

The Sharks were interested in the Breathometer because the guy behind the technology had already started and sold a successful company. He has also pre-sold thousands of units, is willing to work around the clock to make the business a success, and has an exit plan that will make money for everyone involved,

Let me give you some very important tips.

1) Don’t ever admit to money people that you need them to be the brains behind the operation. They are supposed to be investing in you and your ability to get things done.

2) Be ready to prove that your concept makes money. Real proof, not daydreams. Investors want concrete evidence that your business will be profitable and that they will get their initial investment back in record speed.

3) Investors like entrepreneurs who have skin in the game. You have a better chance of getting money if you have also invested in your idea. Show them that you are serious.

4) Be ready to live modestly. Investors do not want to see their money being used for sizable salaries. No one makes money until they do.

5) This cannot be a part-time venture for you. If this is not your ful-time job, forget it. You are not getting a dime. Your commitment means everything.

A few years ago, it was pretty easy to get money. Today, it is very difficult. Be ready to fight the fight.


Shark Tank Prevents Drunken Drivers

The other day, I admitted that I am an app hoarder. Just when I thought I had this nasty habit under control, it got worse. Today, I bought the Breathometer Breathalyzer App which measures your blood alcohol content. The whole purpose of the app is to tell you if you had too much to drink and if you’re in a condition to drive. Everyone knows that I am one of the last people on earth who needs this app. I barely drink. I could however, prance around parties taking the blood alcohol level of others who I think drink too much. If I thought they were in danger, I wouldn’t hesitate to try to stop them from driving.

The reason I rushed to buy the Breathometer Breathalyzer is because I saw the new invention on Shark Tank last Friday night. For the first time ever, the five Sharks, (Mark Cuban, Barbara Corcoran, Lori Greiner, Robert Herjavec, Daymond John, and Kevin O’Leary) will all be chipping in a total of $1 million to invest in what they think is going to be a great payoff. The Sharks will have 30 percent of the action.

The Breathometer is part app, part hardware. The app is needed to read the Breathometer Breathalyzer which is a small, key fob designed to plug into a phone’s headphone jack. By blowing into the Breathometer, the app reads your blood alcohol level.

For just $49.00, the new invention not only tells you your blood alcohol, but tracks your recovery process. It let’s you know when it’s safe to drive. This app can potentially save lives and prevents DUI’s.

The star of the show was Charles Michael Kim, the developer of the technology. The Sharks loved him. I will spell out why in tomorrow’s post. I have been around too long not to understand why money deals get made. I would love your comments as well after I give mine.

So far Yim is a big success story. This past March, he raised way more then his initial request on Indiegogo, the crowd funding platform. Yim’s goal was $25k. He raised $138,000 from over 3,800 contributors.

Yim is a good bet. He was the founder and CEO of Chatterfly, a start-up which was acquired by Plum District (a Kleiner Perkins Co.) who was only interested in the technology to further grow their version of the Daily Deals Business.

The Shark Tank visibility on Friday night has to be a major win win for both the investors and Yim. Seven million viewers learned about the Breathalyzer.

If a small percentage of viewers rush out to pre-order the hardware and download the app, the venture will turn out to be a whopper of a success.


Facebook Connected the Dots

It all started with an NBC TV news segment last night. We learned that “The Salty Paw,” a pet store in the South Street Seaport, was having its grand reopening today after the Hurricane Sandy disaster. We were elated. We decided to be a part of the celebration.

While the store was closed, store owner Amanda Zink used social media sites Facebook and Twitter to stay in touch with her customers. She felt it was important to reassure everyone that she would reopen.

Eleven months ago, the pet store was filled with 11 feet of water as Hurricane Sandy surged through the neighborhood. She watched as her dog collars and cat food cans floated out the door.

She has spent most of her time since then on the Internet. She thinks she picked up even more clients through her social networking efforts. Amanda hopes to stay in business for a long time to come.

Amanda Zink

After we wished Amanda well, we made our way over to Dumbo in Brooklyn for an art festival. Here are some photos of the day.








Appy Times


I probably have more apps on my iPhone than 10 other people combined. Every time I hear about a new application, I have to have it. I have so many apps that I can’t find most of them. I could be called an app hoarder.

This week alone I downloaded People Celebrity Watch, Khan Academy, Trip Advisor, and Klooff. I should be embarrassed to say this but I love my apps. I am amazed at what they can accomplish and I’m hopeful that the innovation will continue.

I have filled all the pages on my cell phone with apps, and the rest are stored behind the scenes. I have to use the search box to retrieve any given app because I would never be able to find it on my own.

I am not alone. About 102 billion mobile apps will be downloaded in 2013, according to a Gartner Group study. Those will generate $26 billion in revenues.

Ninety-one percent of the apps downloaded this year will be free. That percentage will climb to 94.5 in 2017.

We waited a long time for these appy times. Enjoy them. Explore!

Don’t Throw Out Your Pen and Paper Just Yet


I will never forget the day my client The Tea Ambassador asked me to get him a cup of coffee during a break at the International Home + Housewares Show in Chicago. The Tea Ambassador’s job was just what you would imagine it to be. Aubrey Franklin (yes, he was a Brit) promoted tea drinking in the United States for companies that made tea kettles. (What a surprise!)

At the time, Aubrey and I were sitting in the cafeteria area of McCormick Place in Chicago. Sporting a pith helmet and mutton chops, Aubrey was easily recognizable. I was mortified. I had just spent months promoting tea drinking with Aubrey and now he wants to drink coffee in front of the housewares industry.

I don’t remember if I actually got him the coffee but, knowing myself, I probably did. I also probably hid someplace while Aubrey drank his coffee and had a good giggle.

I haven’t thought about that incident in many years. It came back to me when I read that Evernote, the very successful digital note-taking software maker, had partnered with 3M for a line of Evernote-compatible Post-It notes, and had expanded a deal with notebook maker Moleskine. Evernote had already sold hundreds of thousands of the Moleskine notebooks.

Evernote now says there are lots of good and convenient uses for paper. “Evernote is better off augmenting than trying to replace,” said Evernote CEO Phil Libin. “Technology has a long way to go to catch up with that.”

The company has products from socks and T-shirts and the new backpacks to scanners and in-app and online stores in its mobile and desktop apps.

Evernote wants to bridge the digital and analog worlds. That may be a good thing, but then again they told me over a year ago that they loved tea. Ha!

Read all about Evernote’s new offerings here.

Ditch the Toilet for Better In-Flight Wi-Fi


I think Americans have lost their minds. I just read a survey commissioned by Honeywell that said 13 percent of Americans would be willing to forgo a bathroom for a better in-flight wireless Internet connection.

This is what life is all about these days. Everything has to be connected. Eighty-six percent of Americans now really want Wi-Fi onboard. Nine out of 10 would even be willing to sacrifice amenities if Internet was available on domestic and international flights.

Another surprising number was that 73 percent of flyers said they want Wi-Fi for non-work purposes. They want to talk to family and friends during the flight, download music, and stream movies. No one could have predicted the importance of the Internet during flights. Most passengers complained that the strength of the Internet currently provided was only fair at best.

Honeywell is currently in the midst of developing technology that should enable Wi-Fi speeds of up to 49Mbps for airlines flying Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner, 747-8 Intercontinental, 777, 737NG, and 737 MAX. That is pretty powerful.

Wi-Fi is now available on 38 percent of US domestic flights. Delta is the leading Wi-Fi provider.

So, for better or worse, in a year or two every flight will have a strong Internet connection. Bye-bye to those quiet moments.

Small Letters, Big Thumbs


One of the biggest challenges I have writing my blog are the typos. They pop up out of nowhere. Between tapping on one letter and getting another, I am a typo manufacturing machine. I really do check my copy but I don’t generally see the boo-boos until after they are published.

Many people don’t realize that smartphones can help you type better just by changing your settings. In addition, there are app options. Roy Furchgott of the New York Times just provided a sampling of tips and apps to help us improve our typing experience on Apple iOS and Android touch screens.

Furchgott mentions that many of us make the mistake of tapping out whole words one letter at a time. He says a “quick way to speed up typing on almost all phones is through predictive text. Once the feature is turned on, the device will predict what word you are typing after filling in only a letter or two. Choosing the full word takes just a single tap.”

One of the apps he mentions is Fast Keyboard, which is free. This app eliminates the need to switch the keyboard from letters to numbers by displaying both. Fleksy, a free iPhone app, helps the visually impaired.

iOS and Android both have typing expansion programs that you can turn on or off in your settings. You can even personalize abbreviations like “omw” that usually turns into “on my way” to any phrase you like — “on my way, Honey!”

Read more new tricks here.


Two Unlikely Partners Get Together To Cross Promote

Power real estate agent Howard Margolis



It was love at first sight. Email love. I met one of the most prominent real estate brokers from Douglas Elliman over email a few weeks ago. I emailed a few of the top real estate agents in New York City because I was looking for a unique space to hold a press reception for one of my clients, Revlon Hair Appliances. Howard Margolis, super agent, was one of three to answer my email.

The reason why we finally hooked up to do this project together was because of the stunning location he offered me. I got really lucky. Out of nowhere, a knight in shining armor answered my cold-call email. I also learned that Howard takes advantage of the digital revolution like no other.

He is constantly marketing his properties in the most unique ways. Watch this video to see one of his newest properties from the rich and famous on Park Avenue.

Here is Howard introducing us to the New York real estate market.

Watch this video to see Howard the pilot.

This Wednesday, I am hosting the Revlon event at one of his properties in Tudor City. The Revlon Laser Brilliance line will make its debut in the Penthouse of 5 Tudor City Place. Over 100 members of the beauty and fashion press will get the rare opportunity to see the magnificent inside of a $5 million estate in the sky that boasts one of the most dramatic terraces overlooking Manhattan.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

4 to 7pm

5 Tudor City Place, Penthouse 3
New York City

Lois Whitman
(917) 822-2591

Some of the pictures below show the mountain of boxes that are in storage waiting to go over to the event. The boxes are filled with wines, snacks. press releases, goody bags, paper goods, plastic ware, coat racks, hangers, tables, table cloths, and press badges.

This is going to be one heck of a home made event from a non-Balabusta.




Woman Trades Louis Vuitton Bag for the iPhone 5S


Lisa Hoffman’s Tribute to Steve Jobs

Lisa Hoffman of Charleston, S.C. now represents a growing part of our society that is addicted to smart phones. Her decision last Friday to trade her Louis Vuitton handbag for a spot closer to the front of the line to buy the iPhone 5S shows how much values have changed. Having the newest  trendy smart phone may now be even more important than a few-thousand-dollar fashion accessory.

In the last week or so, there have been several high profile stories about how Americans are becoming more obsessed with their phones. Hoffman couldn’t help herself. She was fifth in line to buy the iPhone 5S at the King Street store in Charleston, S.C. An Apple store manager suddenly announced a limited supply of phones. Hoffman couldn’t stand the pressure.

There were two ladies in front of her in the line. She figured they might get the iPhone 5S instead of her. Hoffman then pulled one of the best moves ever. She swapped places with the ladies in front of her for a better chance of getting the newest iPhone. In exchange, the ladies wanted the popular handbag. Hoffman made the local news that night which got rolled out throughout the United States. CNET covered the event.

Many Americans are getting worried about how much their smart phone means to them. They can’t stop checking it. The addiction has gotten so bad that groups of friends are coming up with games to discourage each other from looking at their phones during get-togethers. Read about that here.

Finally, comedian Louis C.K. made big news on Conan last week when he talked about the impact of cellphones on kids today. Catch it on YouTube.

Here are a few of his words:

“Just because the other stupid kids have phones, doesn’t mean that, oh, my kid has to be stupid too. I think these things are toxic, especially for kids. It’s bad. They don’t look at people when they talk to them. They don’t build the empathy.

“Kids are mean. They look at a kid and they go, you’re fat. Then they see the kid’s face scrunch up and say, ooh, that doesn’t feel good. But when they write “they’re fat,” they go, hmm, that was fun. The thing is you need to build an ability to just be yourself and not be doing something. That’s what the phones are taking away.”

Baby Love


I have the perfect gift suggestion for every parent of a newborn starting next year. This is also a blessing for your own grandchildren. A startup called Sproutling will be selling a baby monitor that offers sensor data never before available this way.

The device tracks heart rate, ambient light level, and the temperature of the room and of the baby. It also alerts parents if their child stops breathing

Parents can access all the information on their phone. A companion app sends alerts if there are changes they should be aware of. All very civilized.

Apparently, a lot of venture capitalists are investing in the company because they believe this is just the beginning of a whole new trend in baby wearables. Sproutling raised $2.6 million in funding from First Round Capital, Forerunner Ventures, FirstMark Capital, Accelerator Ventures, Lemnos Labs, BoxGroup (David Tisch), Shawn Fanning.

If you are in the money business, you know that these are big names in VC.

The Sproutling is a kidney-shaped Bluetooth device that slips onto a baby’s ankle. It also has a base station and camera. Another feature that new parents will love is that the device will track sleep patterns. This will help determine optimum conditions for each baby.

By the way, the device and camera were designed by the same folks who created the famous Rolls Royce of strollers, the Bugaboo.