“Effective Executive” Series with Ric Calvillo of Nanigans

ricThis week’s “Effective Executive” interview is with Ric Calvillo, co-founder and CEO of Nanigans. Nanigans is pioneering the next evolution in media buying with its predictive lifetime value platform for performance marketing.

Ric Calvillo is Nanigans’ co-founder and CEO. Ric has over 20 years of startup experience, having founded and led three technology companies. Prior to co-founding Nanigans, Ric was Founder & CEO of Incipient, Inc., a venture-backed data storage infrastructure software company.

We asked Ric about his current role and the early days in his career as well as what is next for Nanigans for the remainder of 2013.

Can you explain your technology in simple terms for our audience?

Nanigans is the transformative SaaS platform for performance marketers, focusing on customer predictive lifetime value at scale. Most of our clients right now are in the e-commerce, travel and gaming verticals and use Nanigans across social and mobile.


What is the most exciting part of your role as CEO and Founder at Nanigans?

The most exciting part would be watching the growth of our customers, employees and the overall business. I started Nanigans in 2010 with the simple idea that performance marketing was inherently broken, and just a few short years later we’re up over 200 customers, 100+ employees and have offices around the world. Feeding off of the energy and successes of Nanigans employees is also contagious, and that vibrant culture is seemingly always on display walking around any of our offices.


Back in the early days of your career, what did you envision Nanigans to be? Have you met or exceeded your expectations?

I always wanted marketers to buy media based more on data than anything else. We know that consumers want to see a certain amount of offerings from advertisers and engage, especially online. For us, it was helping our customers find those purchase-minded consumers at scale and develop long-term relationships with their best target audiences.


In such a fast-paced tech industry, how do you keep up with the constant changes and developments?

We have an always-on engineering team. There’s no “easy solution” or “10 step method” to keeping up with the ever-changing tech industry. We focus on partnerships, planning and execution to ensure we’re always meeting goals. Our team meets every day to confirm nuances or updated plans, and we all sit together in an open floor plan to ensure open communication can happen in-person not just via email or phone.


You recently celebrated a huge milestone (1 Billion conversations enabled), how did you celebrate internally and how does this milestone motivate you and your Company to achieve future goals?

It’s always nice to highlight “big wins” for the company, so we celebrated the same way we always do, which means to take a step back for a moment and understand the impact and then move on. This industry changes on a dime, and we’ve seen great companies fail in the past few years so we don’t like to spend too much time on “accomplishments” but rather focus on how we can continue to provide value for our customers and innovate within the industry.


What is next for Nanigans for the remainder of 2013?

We’re focusing on how to best scale the business. In terms of verticals, we like ecommerce, travel, gaming and a few others while also looking at where to expand geographically. We currently have offices in Boston/NYC/SF/UK, which leaves a lot of opportunity on the table so finding the right combination for growth while continuing to maintain our level of quality and success for our customers is the main priority right now.



Influencers Who Inspire Series: Ramon Ray of SmallBizTechnology.com

We begin our PerkettPR “Influencers Who Inspire” series with a chat with Ramon Ray, Editor & Technology Evangelist, Smallbiztechnology.com.

Ramon is a journalist, technology evangelist & editor of Smallbiztechnology.com, author of “Technology Solutions for Growing Businesses” & “Technology Resources for Growing Businesses” and a national, in-demand speaker.

What made you choose journalism as a profession? 

I didn’t choose it,  it chose me and it was quite accidental. I just really loved to write and so I started writing, then one day Black Enterprise and Inc. Magazine said could you write some articles for us – and the rest is history :)

What four  or five things are always “routine” in your day?

Deleting email, sorting email, sending email, toggling tons of tabs in my browser, wishing I could do puppet shows for poor kids in Mexico, Dominican Republic or somewhere.

Why is small business technology news of interest to you in particular? What has it taught you?

Not sure. I’ve always been a tech tinkerer (as in take apart talking teddy bears in the 1970’s/80’s, shutting off the lights in my home, etc). I think this love of tech and the blend of my love of reading/writing became the love of small business technology news. It has taught me that things change, companies go and come but relationships are forever, ideas are a dime a dozen, successful execution is all that matters.

 Over the years you have had the opportunity to interview some truly great public figures and influencers (such as Hillary Clinton). What has been your favorite interview thus far? Why?

A few things stand out… Back in the days when I didn’t know how to be a journalist I tried to slip Bill Gates a hand written note. His team saw it and took the note away. I didn’t know you were supposed to asked his PR person to interview him. This was many years ago.  I opened an event for Michael Dell and he said he read my blog – that was cool.  Scott Trip founder of TripIt – his story of his company’s growth was really nice (listen to customers). In another context I’ve meet President Obama, President Bush (both) and several other heads of state.  I also really love SXSW and other events where I can meet with my media peers from the world of small business.

What tips do you have to help PR professionals better work with you?

True relationships are so important; where I like you and you like me. Not giving me a story that does not fit. Knowing that I love the story and the market at times more than the feeds and speeds of a product. I like talking to people, but I’m also a massive reader so I get much more (at times) out of some video, blog posts, pdfs and other things than a phone call with an executive running a prepared PPT.  NOTE: the PPT talks are GOOD I just mean that there are other ways to get one’s message across.

What advice would you give to a small business to help them continue to compete with larger competitors this year?

Wow….I could write a book on that.

1)  Be honest

2) Over give

3) Be very excited

4) Do not take NO for an answer

5) There is plenty of room at the table for the big guys and the little guys

6) Fit in where you can and show your value

7) Don’t be afraid of big companies – even those who are direct competitors

8) Big companies who are evaluating you and a bigger one of your competitors will give you a big chance if you’re prepared

9) If you screw up, fess up and OVER make it right

10) I could go on…

You traveled a lot as executive producer of the Small Business Technology Tour and for other events you attended in 2011. What travel secrets save you time, money or sanity when you are on the road?

Plan in advance. Be redundant (I often have 2 notebooks, a tablet and 2 phones) failure is NOT an option. Leverage your network of friends. Pay people (even friends/or “child labor”) for work done (even if you ask for a discount). Review, review, review. Get a team member (I have lots of areas where I’m not so great – hence my team shine in those areas), have a virtual team – even if you are solo,  your virtual 1099 team can do wonders.

How do you unwind after a hectic work week? Do you have any interesting hobbies or little known facts about yourself you would like to share?

I play piano, love doing puppet shows, love joking around and laughing loud, love great food at restaurants (I hate those restaurants that give you a big white plate and a tiny piece of food and charge you $78 for it), watching movies (Bourne, Bauer, Ethan (as in MI3) are my heroes and others like that). But really in my downtime – I TOTALLY ENJOY email, RSS feeds, Twitter – related to small biz tech (I know it’s lame but I really, really LOVE IT).

What are you most looking forward to in 2012?

I’d love to speak lots more to audiences on tech, marketing/pr and/or entrepreneurship. I’d love to provide more content on my own site and for others. I’d love to speak lots more to audiences on tech, marketing/pr and/or entrepreneurship (you know I think I wrote that twice..hmmm). Event production is tough, but I really love it and I think I do it well so working with bigger companies to produce events for their audiences would be like mint!

I’m looking forward to being 40 years old in 2012!


Do you have any follow-up questions for Ramon? Suggestions for other influencers you would like to see interviewed in the PerkettPR Influencers Who Inspire Series? Please add them in the comments below.

10 Things I’ve Learned from Steve Jobs

Unless you live under a rock, you’ve likely heard the news that Steve Jobs resigned as CEO of Apple yesterday. I’ll leave the detailed reporting to the journalists, but as a fan girl of Mr. Jobs and the products developed while under his reign, I thought it would be fun to share 10 things I have learned from following his career so far:

  1. Innovate, innovate, innovate – but only if it’s useful
  2. Stay hungry – don’t give up
  3. Listen to yourself – trust your gut
  4. Thing big, talk big
  5. Stick with what works – like a nice OS
  6. Be cool – be colorful
  7. Say what you think. (Wired gathered some of the greatest Jobs’ quotes.)
  8. Don’t settle – say no if it’s not right
  9. Keep going – as long as you can, but be honest with yourself and others when it’s over
  10. Go out on top – but stick around to see what happens, if you can

“The end of an extraordinary era,” indeed. (As Walt Mossberg reports on Jobs’s legacy of “Changing How we Live,” in the Wall Street Journal.)

Doreyne Douglas – SMB Executive, Mom & VP at PlanetMagpie – Shares Insights on Tech, Design and Advice for Entrepreneurs

PlanetMagpie is a technology and design partner of PerkettPR. They specialize in delivering IT Consulting, Web Design, App Development, Web Marketing, Hosting and Comprehensive Network Support.

Where did the name PlanetMagpie come from?

Our dog Magpie, a black lab, was the company’s mascot. She embodied all the traits we believe any good business should have.  She was fun, smart, a great friend, incredibly loyal and worked really hard to please us. That’s what a true partner should be.

What do you like about living and working in the Bay Area?

I love that there are a million things to do here – plus the lack of mosquitoes and cold weather!

How did you get into tech?

My husband Robert incorporated PlanetMagpie in 1998. Five years ago the business had grown to a size where he needed additional support in marketing so he recruited me to help out. Prior to that, I was in legal marketing and recruiting for 15 years, most recently with the second largest law firm in California; Gibson Dunn & Crutcher, probably best known for representing President Bush in Bush v. Gore.

What are three things small business owners and entrepreneurs should be sure to have in place when launching a new company?

1)      A solid IT infrastructure that can grow with them

2)      An identity and brand that inspires employees, customers and partners

3)      A customized, professional website that captures who they are; custom sites are not that much more expensive than template sites and are worth the investment.

What sticks out to you like a sore thumb when you see a badly designed website?

1)      The site is disorganized and all over the place

2)      There isn’t a clear message of who they are and what they do. That is particularly frustrating to a marketer because what they don’t realize is people will leave immediately if they can’t get a feel for what you can offer them.

What are some of the pitfalls or security risks businesses should be aware of when setting up their IT infrastructure?

Be sure to consult with an expert. Just because Microsoft (or any vendor) says a certain software or system will suffice for your business “up to 50 people,” doesn’t mean it will perform equally fast whether you have 1 or 50 people using it.  We see systems meant for 50 slowing down at 20, and that can hurt your productivity.  Build your systems based on your planned growth and be sure they fit your needs for the foreseeable future.  Consulting with someone who has built/used/implemented these systems in the past is your best bet for ensuring you are set up for success.

What advice do you have for entrepreneurs starting their own business today?

After “Don’t do it?” :)

I think the most important thing to remember is what starts twisted will stay twisted. If you don’t have a vision and a plan in place to execute on that vision in an organized way you won’t succeed. Ask yourself, “What is the right way to do this?” – then plan it out from there. A lot of entrepreneurs will just take it as it comes and roll with the punches but they need to develop a plan first.

Secondly, I would say find the right employees and partners. No one gets there alone, and you need to have good people you can trust, that are reliable and loyal to move your business forward. Once you find those people hang on to them. They are the ones that will help you protect your company.

As a working mom and business executive/owner what do you find gets lost in the shuffle most?

Working on our house, which we love to do.  When the economy started taking a turn, we had to abandon our house renovation project mid-stream and devote all our attention to the company.  That was about 2-1/2 years ago.  When we start working on our house again, that will be proof positive to me that the recession is behind us.

What is your favorite tech gadget and why?

If I could only have one tech toy for work, it would be Microsoft Office Communications Server.  The “presence” and “IM” features of OCS are indispensable. My web development team’s collaboration and work efficiency went way up after we implemented those tools.  We can’t work without them anymore.

What inspires you to work as hard as you do?

I guess it’s the midfielder in me.  I don’t stop running until the referee blows his whistle … and that’s usually around 1 a.m.!  But seriously, I do it for Robert and the kids.  For Robert, because I’ve never met a harder working person more deserving of success.  For our kids, because I want to be able to leave them something tangible when we’re gone, to make their lives a little easier and to make sure they have a common place to gather and call home.

What are your favorite blogs?

I like Women on Business, The Business Insider (Silicon Alley Insider), and ReadWriteWeb.  I’m still trying to find a favorite blog on web design/development.

What would you be doing if you weren’t in tech?

If I could do it all over again, I would be a professional soccer player. I play on three soccer teams and absolutely love it.


If you are interested in learning more about PlanetMagpie’s services visit PlanetMagpie or contact Doreyne directly at: doreyne [dot] douglas [at] planetmagpie [dot com]