Author Archives: Kevin Sandlin

About Kevin Sandlin

Kevin Sandlin is a serial entrepreneur and 7-time startup veteran, including one IPO and two acquisitions. Kevin founded CWNP with $500, and grew the company into the industry standard for vendor-neutral WiFi certification & training through great digital, email, and content marketing. Kevin is the founder of Atlanta Tech Blogs and Pitch Practice and teaches General Assembly's part-time Digital Marketing course in Atlanta. Follow Kevin on Twitter @kevsandlin.

The Skills & Tools Every Data Scientist Must Master

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Photo by WOC in Tech.

“Data Scientist” is the hottest job of 2016.

According to Network World, the median base salary for a Data Scientist is $116,840. This fact shouldn’t be big news. In 2011, McKinsey predicted there would be a shortage of 1.5 million managers and analysts “with the know-how to use the analysis of big data to make effective decisions.” Today, there are more than 1,700 Data Scientist positions open on GlassDoor.com.

It makes perfect sense that this job is both new and popular since every move you make online is actively creating data somewhere for something. Someone has to make sense of that data and discover trends in the data to see if the data is useful. That is the job of the Data Scientist. But how does the Data Scientist go about the job? Here are the three skills and three tools that every Data Scientist should master.

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5 Questions You’ll Be Asked In Your Next Digital Marketing Interview

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The landscape of digital marketing continues to change at a rapid pace, and for all the right reasons. Employers are gaining a stronger understanding of what are now considered “basic” digital marketing skills that any candidate should have, and the knowledge and skills that will set you apart from the rest of the pack. For example, just being able to use the various tools of the trade is now the new level playing field. It’s expected. However, what you can do with the data that you gain using those tools will set you apart.

At your next interview for a digital marketing position, you can demonstrate that your knowledge and skills are above the rest by being prepared to answer these five questions.

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How to Define “Brand”

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When we deliver the Digital Marketing class at General Assembly, we start off with branding. Not digital branding — just branding. Digital marketing is, after all, still marketing, and in order to market effectively, you must first define your brand.

Early in the very first day of Digital Marketing, we ask the class to define the word “brand,” and then we offer up several other definitions from people who are much smarter and much more experienced than I am.

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How to Meet Your Target Audience Online

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Your target audience is the first place you go to spread awareness about your product, and likely your first adoptors, too. Assuming you’ve done the necessary amount of customer discovery — identifing and validating the problem that you’re solving, and identifing your potential customers — your next step is effectively communicating your message to this audience. When you are speaking to your audience, remember it’s not about you or what you do. It’s about their pain point and your recognition, understanding, and empathy towards that pain. That’s why you set out to solve the problem in the first place.

Once you understand that part of your message, you have to find the channels that are the most effective for your communications strategy. Ask these 7 questions in order to properly locate and target your audience.

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4 Steps to Better Content Marketing

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How is your content marketing strategy going? If you’re blowing the doors off with tons of new content every week and thousands of inbound leads, read no further. But if your attempts at lots of content have resulted in lots of inbound leads that just aren’t happening, perhaps it’s time to pull over and do a quick check.

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How to Write the Best Problem Statement for Your Startup

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The Lean Startup Methodology changed the way we go about starting businesses. Instead of creating a business plan worthy of a Harvard Business School case study, we go out into the market space that we know and find a problem. Then, we validate the problem and see how the market is dealing with, compensating for, or otherwise working around that problem. Next, we determine if the market participants are willing to pay for a solution to the problem. If they are, then we solve the problem.

Of course, it’s never that simple, but that’s the basic process in a nutshell. Atlanta entrepreneur David Cummings recently wrote that this process, from discovering the problem to getting to product market fit, generally takes about two years. Finding a problem is usually fairly clear. Validating the problem takes longer. Finding customers who are willing to pay takes a little longer, and building a product that fits the market takes a long time and usually includes several pivots or small deviations from the original product idea.

At the core of everything involved in creating a startup is the problem. But many times, the best product for solving that problem doesn’t win. Why? Because the makers of that solution are really good at solving said problem, but not good at all at explaining what exactly the problem is. In other words, the entrepreneur who can communicate better usually wins. That is why it is so vitally important to be able to explain the problem you are solving to anyone so that they understand it completely. But how do you do that?

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The 5 Pillars of Your Brand’s Business Model

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A marketing firm in Atlanta, Syrup Marketing, recently wrote a great article about how your brand is the “lead domino,” to quote Tim Ferris. What that means is that, once you create and solidify your brand, everything else tends to fall into place easily. One of those other dominoes that falls into place after you’ve created a fantastic branding strategy is the actual nuts and bolts of your business model.

Any business model is made up of many different moving parts, but they can be boiled down to these five pillars, on which you should build your business.

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How to Master the Art of Bootstrapping Your Startup

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In the world of startups, one fact that is very often glossed over is that most startups do not ever raise any money, much less Kleiner-Perkins venture capital money. Even then, only a very small percentage of companies do raise any venture capital – and the majority still fail.

For the startups who don’t raise venture capital, how do we fund our businesses from startup, through cash-flow positive, through profitability? We bootstrap it. But what does that look like?

Completely simplified, bootstrapping a business is very clear: you use only the money you have and the money you make from the business to start, build, and grow the business. More specifically, here are a few of the things that you may and may not do in order to bootstrap your business.

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Top Personality Traits of Every Successful Startup Founder

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Photo: WOC in Tech

A recent University of Phoenix survey showed that 63% of 20-somethings have a strong desire to start a business. That’s a great first step: desire. But what else does it take to start a business that is sustainable? Since 1999, right around the time many of these 20-somethings were born, I’ve started seven businesses. Five of them failed. In that time, I’ve learned from experience what it takes to be a startup founder. 

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How to Land Your Dream Job at a Tech Startup

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This July, General Assembly’s Atlanta campus hosted a panel discussion called How to land a job at a startup. Three in-house recruiter panelists were there from three Atlanta high-tech startups: Ionic Security, InfusionSoft, and Pindrop Security. All the companies have raised several rounds of VC financing, and all are actively hiring tech and marketing talent.

They discussed providing an outlet for the Atlanta tech startup community about how to land a job at a fast-growing, VC-funded tech startup. The lessons we learned from this panel discussion can be broken up into three categories.

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