The Telltale 10 is a blog about entrepreneurship, finding the motivation to start something new or the strength to change directions. The Telltale 10 is a set of 10 guiding principles for work and life.

  • Create Value
  • Be Honest
  • Be Genuine
  • Invoke Passion
  • Inspire Ideas
  • Be Clear
  • Have Fun
  • Take Risks
  • Motivate Others
  • Be Reasonable

I wrote the Telltale 10 on my first day at SoapBoxSample. I was sitting in an office by myself wondering why I thought I could attempt to launch an online research company from scratch. I decided to focus on determining what the company culture would be. The Telltale 10 was born out of this — these are a set of 10 principles for how I strive to conduct myself in the workplace and the qualities that anyone who works with me must believe in and practice.

I LOVE the idea of building companies from scratch and I LOVE people. The company isn’t just products and services – it’s the people.

I am not a believer in drawing the line between our personal and professional lives. I’ve lived that way before and I don’t believe you can do that and be undeniably authentic. I am super excited to share an every day journey of living my principles and surrounding myself with those who do the same.

My path to COO at Soapbox Sample was unexpected, as most happenings in life tend to be. I had retired from the Market Research industry, opened my own business and was NOT interested in exploring new opportunities. Yet…

  • Okay, I’ll have a conversation.
  • Well, that was an interesting conversation.
  • These people seem REALLY cool and SUPER smart.
  • But who in their right mind wants to launch an online panel company in 2012???
  • MAYBE one more conversation.
  • Wow, this is really tempting.
  • We might actually be a good fit.
  • Oh… what about my business Song and Snack and Tea Parties with kids?*


They made me an offer, which I delayed responding to while considering my options. Could I do both companies?

  • They noticed I haven’t replied.
  • Phone call from a stakeholder.
  • Sure, I’ll have another conversation – who wouldn’t?
  • Wait… did they just make an offer that I accepted? And we are all super stoked?
  • Yup! I can’t wait to launch a startup!


Interestingly enough, “startup” means nothing is started-up yet. Like nothing. No one even works here. Except me… which is a start. Staring at walls trying to think, think, think was not proving productive. Nothing was going to magically appear. What I had was the necessities.

  • Check!
  • Check!
  • Check!
  • Check!

I mainly needed a plan. All good businesses start with a plan, right??? Tasks, timelines, all those good things. I had nothing. Nothing tangible anyways.

I realized the first step was really to focus on what type of company I wanted to build. That’s what I was most excited about anyways. And this is how the Mission, Vision and Guiding Principles for Soapbox was born. I am still the most jazzed about our Telltale 10, which is a simple list of ten things that every member of SoapBox must believe in and live by. You can be smart, skilled and experienced, but if you don’t have, and are not willing, able and genuinely pumped about working for a company that embodies these ten things, then I am sorry (not really sorry), you can’t play with us.

At the risk of offending people, I was not the most excited about Market Research. I wasn’t and I’m still not. Look – I like it okay, it’s kind of cool and more importantly I’m good at it. I’ve been working in this business for 20 years, so yeah, I know a few things. I can solve a few problems here and there.

But that’s not why I accepted this role. I accepted it because I LOVE the idea of building companies from scratch and I LOVE people. The company isn’t just products and services – it’s the people.

As I’m sure you can tell by now, this has absolutely nothing to do with 10 Little Monkeys. I just figured you wouldn’t read a post titled Telltale 10 since you don’t know what that is. Some may call it trickery. It really falls under “Taking Risks.”

* The business, For the Day, was a Children’s Birthday Party and Activity Center. The fact that I had one child apparently was not a clear hint that perhaps it was not the calling which would lead me to ultimate happiness.