John's Feed
Jul 23, 2012
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IDEO’s Tom Hulme on visualizing your business model

In this video, Tom Hulme, Design Director at IDEO and founder of OpenIDEO, introduces a tool that IDEO and HackFWD designed to help founders design and build startups. Although the focus is on tech startups, non-tech entrepreneurs will likely find some applicable lessons from Hulme’s 12-minute talk, including strategies to identify the “backbone of your business,” marketing and how to refine your business model.

HackFwd: Visualize Your Business Model in 15 Minutes Flat from IDEO on Vimeo.

Jul 9, 2012
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Q & A with Greg Damerow, athlete and adaptive bicycle builder

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Greg Damerow is an athlete and small business owner. Damerow, based in Ohio, is the owner of Personalized Cycling Alternatives, which builds custom adaptive bicycles. He was attracted to handcycling after he became ill with ankylosing spondylitis, a severe form of arthritis that affects the body’s joints. The Hartford recently awarded Damerow with a small business grant, and he spoke with Reuters about competing and running a small business.

First off, can you tell me about your disability?

I was diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis at 18 years old. It causes inflammation of the major joints. It’s a form of arthritis. It affects knees, ankles, shoulders. It was a very painful time for me. There are two forms that the disease can take. One is chronic and you lose function over years. The second form moves rapidly. This was the form I had and so I lost function over a matter of months. The major part of the disease burned itself out after about two years time. I was spared. I was essentially bedridden for two years time and as the major symptoms of the disease dissipated finally, I didn’t have any movement in my hip sockets and much secondary damage in the spine. I have limited neck rotation. Out of that experience I learned how to walk again using my knees and ankles.

Jun 28, 2012
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Tech Tonic checks in with HealthTap

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HealthTap wants to make visits to the doctor’s office a thing of the past. Anthony De Rosa talks with HealthTap founder Ron Goodman about his new app that allows users to ask doctors questions without ever leaving home. But is less face time actually a good thing?

Jun 26, 2012
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As video chat becomes easier, text chats still rule

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Sean Parker and Google are both pushing group video chat products pretty hard right now. Parker’s latest product is Airtime, and Google’s is the Google+ Hangout. The idea, it seems, is that video conference calls offer a better, more social experience.

But based on my totally unscientific research and observations about how I communicate with friends and family, phone calls are pretty much out, as are video chats. Text messaging is the preferred method of communication; I really only video chat with friends and family who are abroad, and because of time differences, these happen pretty infrequently. Phone calls, and voicemail especially, are seen as almost rude impositions among my friends. So I have serious doubts about Airtime and Google+ Hangouts.

Jun 13, 2012
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Tech Tonic checks in at Foursquare

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Have you used Foursquare to promote your small business? Anthony De Rosa and Tech Tonic recently visited Foursquare HQ to see how the newest version of the location-based app could change the way users find new restaurants, businesses and things to do.

Image: Co-founder of Foursquare Dennis Crowley presents an award during the 15th annual Webby Awards in New York, June 13, 2011. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

Jun 7, 2012
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Tech Tonic checks in at the NY Tech Meetup

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Reuters’ Rhonda Schaffler checks in at the first New York Tech Meetup since the Facebook IPO to talk financing and startups with entrepreneurs and venture capitalists.

May 30, 2012
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In Berlin, a startup hub emerges

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All the elements of a thriving tech/startup scene are coming together in Berlin. The engineers are there. The VCs are there. The local tech blog, aptly named “Silicon Allee,” is there, and now a new office complex, built in the structure of an old brewery and designed to bring entrepreneurs together, will soon be there. But don’t expect to get office space anytime soon as it’s already oversubscribed without even being fully built yet, Reuters reports.

Some 1,300 startups call Berlin home, attracting 136 million euros (U.S. $169 million) in funding. And as the tech scene in Berlin grows, it’s attracting the attention of international investors and entrepreneurs too, like LinkedIn co-founder Konstantin Geurike who just joined EarlyBird ventures, a Berlin-based VC dedicated to funding European startups. Another company, SoundCloud, launched in Sweden and relocated to Berlin to attract talent and take advantage of the international city’s thriving creative class. They’ll be the first major tenant in the brewery-turned-office space, which will have room for some 30 companies.

May 22, 2012
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Small Business Week heads to D.C.

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It’s Small Business Week, and here are a few links to help you know what’s going on.

Inc. has a list of ten impressive attendees in D.C., and the New York Times has a post packed with useful Small Business Week links. At Entrpereneur.com, Victoria Tifft, the Small Business Administration 2012 National Small Business Person of the Year and founder of ClinicalRM, a medical device and vaccine research company, discusses the growth of her business.

May 21, 2012
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Small business owners are optimistic

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Small business owners are optimistic about the future of the economy. That’s the gist of a new Bank of America survey released last week. The first of its kind, the survey included some 1,000 small business owners.

“The overarching theme here is despite of all the stress and challenges, small business owners in this country are confident folks and feeling pretty good about the near term future of their business,” said Robb Hilson, a small business executive with Bank of America. “Optimism has improved over the last several quarters.”

May 15, 2012
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GoCardless tries to disrupt the credit card industry

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For small business owners, frustration with credit card companies is nothing new.

“You are a slave to the lender,” said Doris McMillon, owner of a communications consulting business, in a recent Reuters article. “What some of these banks have done to small business owners is unconscionable.”