An Interview With Elke Govertsen

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An interview with Elke Govertsen, founder and publisher of Mamalode. Originally published on MT Uses This

Who are you and what are you doing?

My name is Elke Govertsen and I am the publisher of Mamalodewhich is a multi-platform media company for moms. We intersect new media and traditional advertising for the most powerful demographic in the world–women with children at home. We are in print, online and on ipad. I am building and growing a signifigant business from Montana. I am also dedicated to growing business and opportunity in MT so I host aLearn As You Go Lecture Series for business training, and also a business book club.

What hardware are you using?

Mamalode is an Apple based business—iMacs, iPhones, iPads, desktop. Most of my business is conducted via my iPhone. My desktop is an iMac7 and also a macbook laptop– both woefully due for upgrades! My phone is an iPhone 4. What I am coveting right now is a Cannon EOSM with a nice range of lenses. I currently have a Cannon DSLR Rebel XT with terrific lenses.. lenses are the key in my opinion. I also use an old Rolleiflex camera–yep, film.

What software and web services do you use?

Mamalode currently operates as a cloud based virtual office. We use Submittable for our online submissions. Creative Suite (several versions across our team), Acrobat Pro (in particular their stellar online review process), Highrise and Basecamp by 37 Signals for contact management and project management respectively. Google Docs are my best friends. Social media–Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Linkedin and Instagram. I have used both TweetDeck and HootSuite to manage these. I am a huge fan of analytics so Google Analytics and alerts. AlsoFacebook has pretty amazing analytics available for business pages that is amazingly helpful for A/B testing. I also use Google Voice–it is a designated number for Mamalode, but can ring wherever I set it to, so I am able to manage my phone activity without a bunch of phone lines. It also transcribes and emails me my voicemail so I can easily forward to the appropriate staff person.

Describe the system you use to manage your time and resources to make sure the right things are getting done?

Oh, boy. I think I just like to be busy! I am pretty dependent on my iphone for much of this–I use weekcalnedar, Evernote,Submittable and more to keep me organized. I also surround myself with very task oriented people which allows me to be a very big-picture leader. We coordinate through weekly staff meetings, and then standing meetings with individuals, but often these are determined that week. I personally work from 6-7 am, 8:30 -3:00 and then again after 9 pm, usually for a few hours. I also often do an hour or so of work at 3 am because it is an infuriatingly creative time for me. I really try to hold the space after school until bedtime for family, but increasingly my kids have activities in the evening so I do some work then too. And yes, I am very often working on the weekends– I really, really like my job. For my to do lists I really like Evernote, and also the task list standard to the iPhone, but at the end of the day I need paper– I love, love, love my Moleskin notebooks and have stacks of them– EVERYTHING goes in, notes, to-do lists, etc. I am also totally addicted to whiteboards and know that is the best way for me to create/plot/strategize/visualize.

What books, ideas and people have influenced your thinking and might be of interest to others?

I am a huge fan of Brad Feld (VC with a very educational blog), Bill Payne, MATR. I also am a total geek on TechCrunch,CrunchBase, Lisa Stone from BlogHer, Astia, The Levo League, Fortune's Most Powerful Women facebook feed. I read Inc., Wired,Fast Company, The Harvard Business Review for magazines.

I am also a book nerd, and you can always find a business book and novel on my bedside table. The next book in my business book club is Startup Communities and I am so excited to have a movement in Montana based around this idea of working together.

Most of all I have been influenced by my family–my parents, husband, sister and my sons all have pretty spectacular melds of left and right brain brilliance. If there ever was an activity that needed a balance of creativity and logic it would be business.

What can Montana do to increase its creative and entrepreneurial cultures?

I am excited by all of the momentum I see around economic development. I would love to see Montana be more intentional– so many of us are really trying to grow a significant business from here– I think we all need to come together more often or attend events outside of MT en masse. Last year Michael Fitzgerald of Submittable, Molly Bradford of Missoula Events and I all went to a conference in CA together and I believe it made an impact on people who started wondering “What's going on in Montana?” I would love to see more of this. I also believe there needs to be more of a connection between the arts and entrepreneur communities. Think of a filmmaker- they are going through the same processes as a business owner–turning any idea into a reality takes money, strategy, vision, a team. I also think there needs to be a focus on entrepreneurism in the K-12 school system. Our communities need an inherent believe in their abilities to actualize ideas. It is also a great reason to learn (math, science, reading, etc) if you are motivated in this way. I am excited by the shifts starting at the college level, and want to see this spread.

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