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Posts Tagged ‘Entrepreneurship

Lost your job? How to Kickstart(er) your new entrepreneurial career

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Liberty in traditional conservative thought also depends on maintaining the underlying institutions of free-market capitalism-above all the independence, culture, and energy of the entrepreneur. The entrepreneur once did play a central role in the system-but this was more than a hundred years ago. Today roughly 90 percent of working Americans are employees-a very different kind of individual.    –America Beyond Capitalism: reclaiming our wealth, our liberty, ans our democracy

Breaking old Paradigms

I know there are a lot of people out of work.
So, what are you going to do?  Stand there and wait for someone to give you a job?
Waiting around for someone to tell you what to do was an excellent fit for the 20th century “industrial age” factory worker.
“Why, when I ask for a pair of hands, does a brain come attached“, says Henry Ford.
Show up on time, respect authority, don’t ask questions, head’s down, do your work.
We will tell you when you can leave – maybe at the end of the day.
Do the same thing tomorrow, and the next day, and the day after that.
Until we tell you to stop and do something else.
If you do that for this (same) company, at the end of 30 years, we will give you a pension (maybe) and a boot out the door.

Got an idea?  Get funded!

Well, that’s not the way it works, and will work, in the 21st century.
It may be hard to break out of an old paradigm of “waiting for someone to give you a job”
It’s about leaving your comfort zone and exploiting your talents.
It’s about taking initiative and being responsible for your own outcomes- no excuses,
“No one will give me a job”

Back in the days of the “irrational exuberance” of the dot com bubble and burst it was a challenge to get funding.
You needed to convince angel investors or a venture capital firm to give you seed capital.
And then there was the business plan, term sheet, equity, issues of control, governance, legal issues, and all the rest.
Not something for the small guy to take on.

Today for the entrepreneurial individual or the small team it’s a lot easier to get funding for a project.


It’s been around for a while and it’s available to anyone who has an idea and a good pitch

Kickstarter is a funding platform for creative projects. Everything from films, games, and music to art, design, and technology. Kickstarter is full of ambitious, innovative, and imaginative projects that are brought to life through the direct support of others.

Since our launch on April 28, 2009, over $350 million has been pledged by more than 2.5 million people, funding more than 30,000 creative projects.

Thousands of creative projects are funding on Kickstarter at any given moment. Each project is independently created and crafted by the person behind it. The filmmakers, musicians, artists, and designers you see on Kickstarter have complete control and responsibility over their projects. They spend weeks building their project pages, shooting their videos, and brainstorming what rewards to offer backers. When they’re ready, creators launch their project and share it with their community.

Every project creator sets their project’s funding goal and deadline. If people like the project, they can pledge money to make it happen. If the project succeeds in reaching its funding goal, all backers’ credit cards are charged when time expires. If the project falls short, no one is charged. Funding on Kickstarter is all-or-nothing.

Read more here  –

Check out this quick video from Seth Godin on his project

Or search the Kickstarter web site for sample projects.  Then think of what project YOU could do – if you had financial backers.

Ham Radio Projects

Technology (Arduino) Projects

The Take

There has been a lot written about reforming the educational system away from its traditional role of generating a supply of “workers” in the true industrial-age sense.  What we need now are people who have ideas, the entrepreneurial spirit and those who can leverage networks of people for collaboration, knowledge, and effort.

Kickstarter is a platform and a resource, made possible by the internet and global communication – new in the 21st century – that can provide the individual and small team access to millions of potential financial backers to fund projects.  If you have a good idea and a pitch then there are people waiting to help you along your way.

The Millennial generation has given the out-of-work Baby Boomers a gift.
Leave your comfort zone and use it.
What are you waiting for?


The  Deliberate Dumbing Down of America – A Chronological Paper Trail by Charlotte Thomson Iserbyt
Read the reviews here
Get the book for free here –

What is school for?

Do we want management consultants messing with higher education?

Written by frrl

December 28, 2012 at 6:47 pm

Caine’s Arcade

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If you have kids or just want to see innovation and entrepreneurship in action you might want to take a look at this short film (10 minutes) about nine year old Caine who lives in east Los Angeles.

These are the things that came to my mind when I first saw this short film

  1. Caine, 9 years old, has tenacity.  How many entrepreneurs give up if they are not immediately successful?  How many people don’t even try a new endeavor or venture?  How many people are out there “waiting” for someone to give them a job?
  2. Caine built the arcade himself.  Imagination, innovation and committment required – for every new venture.
  3. Entrepreneurs help other entrepreneurs.  Why was it only Nirvan that spotted Caine’s talent?  How many people walked past Caine’s arcade without seeing what Nirvan saw?  Some people can spot talent – other’s can’t.  Part of leadership & entrepreneurship is spotting and developing talent no matter where you see it.
  4. Social media.  The amplifying effect of social media.  Nirvan used Facebook to spread the word and generate a flashmob for Caine’s arcade.

The net effect

Raised $176,000 (to date) to help kids like Caine go to college.  98,000 likes on Facebook.  The Goldhirsh Foundation will match dollar for dollar contributions up to $250,000.

Goldhirsh Foundation – “The Goldhirsh Foundation funds that are providing the seed funds to create/incubate the Caine’s Arcade Foundation, which will help find, foster, and fund creativity and entrepreneurship in other innovative kids.

Visit Caine’s arcade on facebook –

Caine’s Arcade website –
Interconnected –

Caine’s Arcade is a story worth telling…  and passing along.  Your turn.

Written by frrl

April 19, 2012 at 5:09 pm

FUNCube Dongle and the Entrepreneurial Adventure

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The FUNcube Dongle is a USB-based Software Defined Radio capable of reception of 64MHz to 1.7GHz.

Far more interesting (or equally interesting) is the entrepreneurial story behind this product.

Entrepreneurs should check the archives on the blog site below going back to October 2010. Reading the history of this product gives you an insight into how products unfold from design to manufacture.  There are also some great pictures of the elements that go into the manufacturing process.

Just a few sample’s

The main site –

Which is a larger part of this –

Dave of EEVBlog did a great video on the manufacturing of short runs of prototype products like this leading to full production runs.  Very long, and detailed, but worth the watch if you are an entrepreneur manufacturing a product or if you want to see how this all works.

More Resources

Watch some videos

Forum Discussions

Written by frrl

July 20, 2011 at 5:53 am

The secret history of Silicon Valley & the defense industry

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The Secret History of Silicon Valley

This is a very long GoogleTechTalks video.  But, if you are interested in “black projects” related to  radio, electronics, radar, electronic counter-measures, signal intelligence, and electronic intelligence in the context of World War II, the Korean War, and the Cold War and lots of information about Stanford’s participation in classified military projects – this may be worth the watch.

If you are in to it, this is a fascinating history of military/university collaboration on black projects and the symbiotic relationship among University Engineering schools, the defense industry, and how all this gave rise to entrepreneurship in Silicon Valley and the founding of well-known companies.

Get a cup of coffee, and take a watch…  (don’t foget to check out the list of references in the Resource section below)


See below for the list sources for the above GoogleTechTalk
Read the rest of this entry »

Written by frrl

July 4, 2010 at 5:49 am

For Accidental Entrepreneurs – 12 + 12 Factors to Consider in Starting a Business

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A while ago a new term entered the lexicon of popular culture; that term was “Accidental Entrepreneur”.  This came to denote a person who got laid off or otherwise lost their job and started their own business.  What could be better than being your own boss?  Well plenty, if you don’t know anything about business.  One would do well to remember the E-Myth:

… refers to the idea that most businesses fail because the founders are technicians that were inspired to start a business without knowledge of how successful businesses run.  The mythic and often disastrous assumption is that people who are experts regarding technical details of a product or service will also be expert at running that sort of business. Many small business owners eventually realize that just as they had to learn their technical skills, they have to learn business growth and management skills…. (read more)

Many Accidential Entrpreneurs don’t have a written Business Plan.  The point is not to have a business plan to have a business plan per se but to have a written business plan to demonstrate that you have thought it through and you have covered the predictable pitfalls that cause businesses to fail.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by frrl

April 24, 2010 at 4:16 pm

Insights on Innovation from Apple

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Steve Jobs on Market Research – and why they don’t do it.

It’s not about pop culture, and it’s not about fooling people, and it’s not about convincing people that they want something they don’t. We figure out what we want. And I think we’re pretty good at having the right discipline to think through whether a lot of other people are going to want it, too. That’s what we get paid to do. So you can’t go out and ask people, you know, what’s the next big [thing.] There’s a great quote by Henry Ford, right? He said, ‘If I’d have asked my customers what they wanted, they would have told me ‘A faster horse.’’’
– Steve Jobs, Apple CEO

Read the full article –

Cached Copy –

Written by frrl

April 12, 2010 at 4:45 pm

The danger of outsourcing everything that is not your core competency

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This is a great story told by Clayton Christensen at a lecture entitled “Business Model Innovation”

Here is the get – “This is a very common phenomenon.  It is how the Indian IT companies are hollowing out the inside of their customers.  They started out just doing the bare bones simple code, and they just keep integrating more and more forward, taking more and more of the value-added until it is really not a, it is almost a, it is not clear whether the IT departments are outsourcing to TCS and Infosys or whether Infosys and TCS are outsourcing the brand from their customers”

Now there is another kind of disruption that occurs that is rooted in the gospel that we should always outsource everything that is not our core competence.  I’d like to just walk you through an interaction between a supplier and a customer that is typical of this interaction in many different industries.  So I am just going to describe this as an interaction between Compaq, a late, great computer manufacturer, and Flextronics, one of its suppliers.  But I’ll just use these as representatives of Dell and Asus Tech and a bunch of other interactions.

So Flextronics starts out making the simplest of the circuit boards inside of a Compaq computer, piddly little Singapore-based company.  They came to Compaq then with an interesting value proposition.  It was, “You know we’ve been doing a good job on the little boards, why don’t you let us do the mother board because circuit manufacturing isn’t your core competence, and if you give it to us we could fabricate those for 20% lower cost.”

Well Compaq’s analysts looked at it and realized, “Gosh, they could.  And if we gave the mother board to them, not only could we drop cost by 20%, but we could get all the circuit manufacturing assets off the balance sheet,” because it was very capital-intensive.

So they shoveled that over.  Compaq’s revenues were unaffected but their profits improved, it felt good to get out of the mother board.  Flextronics’ revenues improved and its profits improved.  It felt great to get into the mother board.

Then Flextronics came back.  “You know we’ve been doing the mother board for you, come to think of it, that is really the guts of the computer.  Why should you have to bother to assemble the rest of the stupid computer because assembly is not your core competence.  Let us do it.  We could do it for 20% lower cost.”

And Compaq’s analysts looked at it and realized, “Gosh they could.  And if we gave assembly to them, not only could we drop costs but we could get all the other manufacturing assets off of our balance sheet.”  So they shoveled that over.

Compaq’s revenues were unaffected but their profits improved.  It felt good to get out of assembly.  Flextronics’ revenues and profits improved, it felt good to get into assembly.

Then Flextronics came back.  “You know we’ve been assembling your computers for a while, doing a good job.  Come to think of it, you shouldn’t have to bother to manage the supply chain, dealing with the component suppliers, working out all these logistics headaches, shipping your dumb computers to your stupid customers.  And logistics isn’t your core competence.  Let us take on the supply chain.  We could reduce the cost by 20%.”

And Compaq’s analysts looked at it and realized, “Gosh, they could.  And if we gave the supply chain to them, not only could we drop costs even further, but we could get all the current assets off the balance sheet.”  And so they shoveled that over.

Compaq’s revenues were unaffected but their profits improved again, especially return on assets, because they’ve got no assets.  And Wall Street loves asset-like companies.  Flextronics’ revenues improved and their profits improved because they are getting into value-added services.  And Wall Street loves value-added services.  It felt good to get out of the supply chain and good to get into the supply chain.

Then Flextronics came back.  “You know we’ve been managing the supply chain for a while.  Come to think of it, you shouldn’t have to bother to design your dumb computers, because design really is little more than component selection and we’ve got all those relationships.  Why don’t you let us design your computers?  We could do it for 20% less cost.”

Compaq’s analysts looked at it and realized, “Gosh, they could.  And if we gave design to them, we could fire all of our engineers, drop our costs even lower because our core competence in the end really is our brand.”  So they shoveled that over.

Compaq’s revenues were unaffected but their profits improved.  Flextronics’ revenues and profits improved.

Then Flextronics came back one more time, but this time they did not go to Compaq, they went to Best Buy.  “You know here we are, one of the world’s best manufacturers and designers of the world’s best computers.  Come to think of it, you know those brands Hewlett-Packard and Compaq and Dell on your shelves, you don’t need to stock those brands.  We’ll give you our brand, your brand, any brand at 20% lower cost.”

And bingo, one company is here, another one takes its place.  And just like the mini mill story, you notice I was able to tell this story without using the words “stupid manager” once.  Because Compaq did everything that good managers are taught to do, focus on what they believe are their core competencies, outsource the lowest value added of the activities they are performing if there is somebody who could do it better.  And yet when this happens you create again that same asymmetry of motivation that one company is motivated to flee from the very market that the other company is motivated to attack, until ultimately the outsourcer liquidates its business model to its customers.

This is a very common phenomenon.  It is how the Indian IT companies are hollowing out the inside of their customers.  They started out just doing the bare bones simple code, and they just keep integrating more and more forward, taking more and more of the value-added until it is really not a, it is almost a, it is not clear whether the IT departments are outsourcing to TCS and Infosys or whether Infosys and TCS are outsourcing the brand from their customers

Written by frrl

March 24, 2010 at 5:00 am

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