TALKING POINTS: 4 Things Every New Entrepreneur Should Splurge On; Colorado’s New Innovation High

January 3, 2014 1 comment
(Photo by RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post)

(Photo by RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post)

4 Things Every New Entrepreneur Should Splurge On {HuffPo Canada}

There are investments you need to make as a start-up — like design and marketing, for example — that seem like a non-negotiable no-brainer. But there are other, perhaps less obvious, investments that are important to the long-term success of your business.

Is Colorado About to Get a Rocky Mountain Innovation High? {Washington Post}

The decision to legalize marijuana for recreational use in Colorado has already been considered from a number of perspectives, many of them focusing on the economic, social and political implications of the move. Here are three ways to think about Colorado’s groundbreaking move from an innovation perspective.

BlackBerry Sues Ryan Seacrest’s ‘Typo’ iPhone Keyboard Case Company Over ‘Blatant’ Copying {ZD Net}

First it was Alicia Keys getting the can from the former smartphone making bigshot. Now it’s Ryan Seacrest lined up in BlackBerry’s sights. Either BlackBerry is gearing up for a war on celebrities, or the Waterloo, Ontario-based company is less than pleased at the idea of bringing a former killer feature of the keyboard-enabled smartphone to a rival device. It’s probably the latter.

Breakthrough Fuel CEO to University of Wisconsin Grads: Be creative, entrepreneurial {UW-Green Bay}

Business entrepreneur and UW-Green Bay graduate Craig Dickman delivered the commencement address at his alma mater Saturday, Dec. 14. Dickman talked about his business philosophy, and shared a favorite quote from the late Michael Hammer, a former-business professor at MIT and well-respected author and analyst. 

“Business creates,” Hammer wrote. “Medicine heals… education enlightens… science discovers… art inspires… but business creates.  It creates products, it creates services, it creates jobs. It creates value for its customers and assets for society.  Without the vital creative force of business, our world would be impoverished beyond all reckoning.”


TALKING POINTS: How to Use Video to Promote Your Crowdfunding Campaign

December 6, 2013 Leave a comment

Cash from the CrowdHow to Use Video to Promote Your Crowdfunding Campaign {Entrepreneur}

In her book Cash From the Crowd, Sally Outlaw, founder and CEO of crowdfunding website peerbackers, reveals the secrets of funding your business with help from colleagues, peers, family, friends and even perfect strangers through a crowdfunding campaign. In this edited excerpt, the author offers easy tips for creating a pitch video that attracts funding.

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This Video Will Make You Want to Be An Ass-Kicking Entrepreneur {Ad Week}’s epic parody 1980s entrepreneurial video has all the right things. It has the word “epic” in the title. It has that one-take, walking toward the camera while grabbing props out of nowhere thing that people go nuts for. It has a great actor who went to the Shatner school of pausing. And if you don’t love it for all that, watch it to see the best example of a business card ever conceived:

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How Melinda Walton Went from Corporate Employee to Creative Entrepreneur {Women’s Agenda}

Melina Walton had worked for 10 years in the corporate world as a communications professional when she started to feel something was missing. “The main thing I wanted was to have a job and life where I really wanted to go to work every day,” she says. “I wanted to have the lifestyle that made me happy every day. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy my corporate role but something was missing.”

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New from Russell Simmons: Narrative, a B2B Digital Marketing Firm {Business News Daily}

For nearly 30 years, Simmons has been building and promoting brands in the entertainment and fashion industries. Now he’s applying that branding experience to the world of tech and manufacturing with his innovative marketing firm, Narrative.

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What Does It Mean to Be An Entrepreneur Today? Reflections for 2014 {Huff Po}

December is a month where people hit the “pause” button and think about the past year. About what was attempted, accomplished, remembered, forgotten, created, and discarded. About where one is headed; physically and metaphorically.

TALKING POINTS: Secret millionaires; musical stress reduction for entrepreneurs; more

November 28, 2013 Leave a comment


Is That An American Apparel Ad Or a Balthus Painting? {Fast Co Design}

Many of the clothing retailer’s ads look an awful lot like the provocative nudes of the French modernist. Who’s pervier, Dov Charney or Balthus?

Hey, Entrepreneurs: Pick up the Guitar! {Huffington Post}

It’s important to remember that launching and building a business is a marathon, not a sprint. Finding ways to stay energized, focused and motivated through the highs and lows of startup life is vital for success. Preparing yourself for the long term game can make all the difference in the world. Your well-being, success, relationships, productivity and employees’ enjoyment and enthusiasm all depend on your ability to stay creative and avoid burnout. Given that my pre-startup formal training was in music, I’m a big advocate in seeking an escape from the daily pressures of entrepreneurial life by picking up a musical instrument.

A New Website Selling ‘Extraordinary Experiences’ is the Latest Trend in Luxury {Global News}

Sure, you could buy that flat screen TV or logo-studded designer handbag. But wouldn’t it be a bit more exciting to have a private dinner cooked for you by celebrated chef Tyler Florence?San Francisco tech entrepreneur Trevor Traina certainly thinks so, which is why he’s launched, a website where you can buy encounters with stars in the culinary, sports and entertainment world, with part of the proceeds going to charity.

In Philly, a University City Cafe Caters to Creative Thinkers {Philadelphia Business Journal}

University City Science Center is going through unprecedented growth. Entrepreneur-and-business owner Keith Leaphart, owner of the graphic design-and-printing firm Replica Creative, has responded with a new cafe to serve the burgeoning neighborhood.

What Happens When Your Neighbors Turn Out to Be Secret Millionaires? {Huffington Post}

Pro tip: Always be nice to the neighbors. You never know when one of them will turn out to be a multimillionaire. That’s the lesson of the story of the Magowans, a pair of elderly twins from Connecticut who lived in a modest house, working middle class jobs — and died with an estate worth close to $10 million.

TALKING POINTS: Success tips from Box CEO Aaron Levie; 3 tips for the next generation of entrepreneurs; more

November 27, 2013 Leave a comment

Aaron Levie, Box

Paranoia is the Key to Success, Says Inc. Magazine’s Entrepreneur of the Year {Inc.}

[Aaron] Levie has successfully run a $1.2 billion company for eight years, and he’s only 28-years old. This year Levie, CEO of Box, a cloud computing company, has been named Entrepreneur of the Year by Inc. magazine. Inc.’s Editor -In-Chief Eric Schurenberg says Levie “is doing what all great entrepreneurs have always done. He sees the future before almost anyone else, and then, by the force of his personality and drive, he gets his colleagues and his customers to see it too.” –from Yahoo Finance

Three Tips for the Next Generation of Would-Be Entrepreneurs {Forbes}

The road to successful entrepreneurship is by no means easier that the traditional American Dream. In most cases, it’s harder — and it takes a lot of time, effort, energy and more often than not, money too. So whether you’re brainstorming how to make it on your own or are a seasoned entrepreneurial vet, here are three tips for today’s generation of entrepreneurs.

What Type of Entrepreneur Are You? {HuffPo Canada}

Today’s venture capital community and media have heavily emphasized the youth oriented nature of entrepreneurship. While young entrepreneurs populate the front covers of today’s magazine covers, they are part of a bigger entrepreneurship ecosystem. From serial entrepreneurs with decades of experience to hobbyists turned business owners, there is a complete spectrum of entrepreneurship that has been overlooked by the media and those providing startup resources.

Is Entrepreneurship Contagious? {CNBC}

A British news correspondent recently emailed me to ask for any research that helps answer the question of whether there really is a dirty secret that high-growth companies are usually led by founders from privileged families.

Gary Vee’s New Social Media Guide is Finally Available

November 26, 2013 Leave a comment

Gary VaynerchukI obviously can’t tell you a whole lot more about Gary Vaynerchuk’s new book – “Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World” (HarperBusiness) – than what you can easily discover yourself on, say, the book’s Amazon page. So please consider this post a friendly announcement, and not an actual endorsement. (I haven’t gotten around to requesting a review copy, so I haven’t read it.)

But with that said, I’m nevertheless fairly confident in saying that if you’re someone who takes social media seriously – especially if you’re someone who’s tasked with promoting your company’s or business’ products or services via social media – you’d do very well to pick up a copy.

Gary VaynerchukI actually never did get around to reading “The Thank You Economy” (HarperBusiness), but I did tear through Gary Vee’s “Crush It! Why Now is the Time to Cash in On Your Passion” (Harper Studio) when it first came out back in late 2009 … and it totally blew me away.

“Crush It” is packed full of all sorts of wonderful, entrepreneurial-style tips, although I think a good part of the reason I ended up reading the book in (more or less) one sitting had just as much to do with Gary’s tireless enthusiastic style, which somehow manages to seep through whenever the guy so much as opens his mouth.

Maintaining an endlessly positive mental attitude is clearly of utmost importance in the DIY-style creative entrepreneurial world, and you’re probably not going to find a more effectively enthusiastic cheerleader for the lifestyle than Gary Vee anytime too soon. Personally, I’d recommend his work just as much for the energetic shot in the arm it offers as I would for the valuable tips and instructions he’s so fond of sharing. And don’t forget to spend some time on his blog, which is always filled with the same sort of never-quit advice you’ll find in his books.

One more thing: If you’ve got four minutes to spare, watch the video below, in which Gary Vee chats about Shopify and the Huffington Post’s Build A Business Competition. It seems like a pretty interesting deal: Over $500,000 in cash, prizes and mentoring sessions is being given away; click here to check it out now.

Categories: Social Media, Video

TALKING POINTS: NOLA snow cone legend dies at 103; the (jobless) kids are getting creative; more

November 26, 2013 Leave a comment

snow cone vendor

In New Orleans, Shaved-Ice Entrepreneur Josie Marino Ortolano Dies at 103 {The Times-Picayune}

Josie Marino Ortolano, a powerhouse in the local snowball business who not only devised a stream of fanciful flavors such as wedding cake and blueberry hill but also sold the extracts and equipment for making and serving the hot-weather treats, died Wednesday in Metairie. She was 103.

Can Entrepreneurship be Taught? {HITC Business/CNBC}

Vietnam is one of the most entrepreneurial countries I have visited. Every very inch of street in Hanoi is crammed with mom-and-pop vendors selling everything from homemade chicken soup (pho) to batteries to nail clippers to toys. Vietnam’s government is now searching for innovative new ways to tap that spirit. The goal is to boost technology-based entrepreneurship that could lead to significant job growth and wealth creation.

Global Youth Unemployment Crisis Spurs Young Entrepreneurs to Get Creative {HuffPo}

The Lost Generation is increasingly producing what one might call the “opportunistic entrepreneur.” Unemployed young people from Europe to the Middle East to North America are adapting to the realities of a chronically weak job market by launching their own businesses.

Freebie Alert: Volunteer Vacations In Latin America travel guidebook

November 26, 2013 Leave a comment

Moon Volunteer Vacations in Latin AmericaI’ve been a Moon Handbooks travel guide author for almost seven years now; the first edition of “Moon Pittsburgh,” the guidebook I update every few years for Moon/Avalon Travel, was first published in June 2007.

The guide’s third edition, for what it’s worth, is currently scheduled to be sitting on store shelves (virtual and brick-and-mortar) sometime in mid-2014.

The good people at Avalon Travel create very high-quality products, which is why I was excited to see that the company is currently giving away a 100 percent free e-book download of a new guide titled “Volunteer Vacations in Latin America.”

Researched and written by journalist and long-time volunteer Amy E. Robertson, the guide is packed with 236 pages of potential volunteer experiences in Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Brazil, Argentina, and Chile.

The book’s print version is selling for the very fair price of $11.99, although you can download a complete EPUB or PDF version for free, here. Not a bad deal.