Archive for July, 2007
So far, on my little journey into the blogosphere here, I’ve enjoyed highlighting businesses, business models, people, etc. that have an innovative bent. I’ve also discussed in the past my hopes of completing my business program with a narrative, interactive, multimedia-based (I’m going to have to work on narrowing those descriptives down to something more malleable) business plan.
The New York Times reported today that Sean Combs, aka Diddy, P. Diddy, Puff Daddy, is looking to recruit a new personal assistant. He is rumored to be a rather demanding boss judging by the NY Times article. If you like the idea of being yelled at and holding his umbrella, it may be your type of job. The interesting slant to this that makes it worthy of the Conceptual Age is the fact that Diddy is not accepting resumes. Not paper ones anyways.
Diddy has uploaded a video on YouTube alerting cyberspace he is looking for a new assistant. He is not accepting resumes, but rather maximum 3 minute video clips describing what makes you the right person for the job, to be uploaded onto YouTube. Viewers will pick the finalists, and Combs will pick the winner.
It would be of interest to those considering applying for the job that Diddy’s last personal assistant, Fonzworth Bentley, used his position to land a recording deal, endorsements, and launch his own line of umbrellas!
I’m starting to see more and more evidence that my idea of a multimedia narrative business plan will be something that we may see more of in the future and likely we will see more employers asking for videoclips to be attached to resumes to give them a more personal quality.
Check out Combs’ video below:
So I’ve been suffering from a little “infomania” lately. You know, compulsively checking your inbox and your RSS reader, trying to process all of the information you go through daily combing the web for interesting tidbits to blog about. Even worse, compulsively starting projects until you reach a point that you have so many things to tend to, your head begins to spin and you don’t actually get anything done. This is my current predicament. The thing is though, I shouldn’t be in this predicament at all. I haven’t come up with all 100 goals I’d like to achieve yet, but I have plenty to keep me busy until I do. So I’ve decided to buckle down this morning and come up with a list of things I’d like to accomplish by the end of 2007. These are the objectives I will focus on until then and nothing else, unless I happen to complete all the objective before my December 31 deadline. This is what will occupy my time for the rest of 2007:
- complete research and first draft of business plan (currently I have several ideas that I’m testing the viability of; one idea so far has been taken off of the viable list for the time being)
- blog a minimum of 4 postings/week (I really am finding using this blog to explore the business environment is a very useful learning tool, not to mention an effective personal branding and networking application)
- run 3-4 times/week (I enjoy running first off; secondly, it’s a great way to reduce stress and just feel healthier)
- keep my daily “life lessons” journal (inspired by Mr. Billings advice in Teacher As Servant, I’ve began to keep a journal with the aim of deriving one lesson out of each day I live. I hope to pass these journals on to my children once they reach adulthood)
- finish up my stats course (currently I’m just finishing up the one course as I have some other financial committments that are forcing me to take a break for a bit. Perfect timing though, as my current employer is going through a major restructuring process and whether or not my job position will survive is unclear; hence I need to time to work on my business plan)
- organize stock-picking competition on Moving Into The Conceptual Age (I think this will be neat, so stay tuned for further updates on this one)
- look for some freelance writing gigs to make a little extra money (I enjoy writing alot
This is basically it for the rest of the year. There are some other projects I’ve mentioned on this blog in the last month or so that will be on hold. For instance, I began to work on developing a wiki for discussion and collaboration regarding finding viable ways to develop economies in developing countries. This is something that interests me deeply and will eventually integrate itself into any business plans I have.
Okay, so I’ve set a basic framework for the rest of 2007, but what steps should I take to be absolutely sure they are accomplished. Here’s a few:
- develop a project timeline for business plan development
- check email and rss reader twice daily
- schedule times to write blog postings and exercise
- journal at the same time everyday
- every evening write 3-5 items to accomplish the next day, that once completed are rewritten on the back of the index card (an anti-to do list; taken from the blog of Marc Andreesen)
So there we have it, an extremely simple plan for the rest of 2007 “set in stone”, so to speak. It’s written down now and I can refer back to it whenever I need.
In these days of congested marketplaces and commoditized products, success in the business world requires a person to be a “designer”, or at least be able to think like one. At DesignBoom, low-cost industrial design courses are offered. They are unaccredited and I’m unsure of the actual content, but I thought it looked interesting enough to highlight given my heavy interest in “design thinking”.
I will continue to refer back to the economic situation in Africa in my postings. I feel called to serve in that are and whether or not I can do it at the moment, I will continue to chronicle the situation there. I found this interesting link via NYTimes.com. A New York Times and Pew Global Attitudes Survey conducted in the spring of 2007 found that of the 11 Sub-Saharan African nations, 10 of the 11 found the state of their economy to be SOMEWHAT GOOD! I should mention that the survey replies were a)very good, b)somewhat good, c)very bad, d)somewhat bad. 10 countries had a majority of “somewhat good” replies, with only Nigeria having a majority of “somewhat bad”. Not surprising given the government corruption and poor leadership rampant in the country.
All 11 countries had more respondents believing that their families were better off financially than they were 5 years ago than options a)worse off and b)about the same.
9 out of 11 countries surveyed had more respondents believing their children would be better off than themselves. The exceptions were Uganda and Tanzania.
Finally, while the ability to pay for food is becoming more and more viable, all 11 countries could use a huge amount of assistance in paying for basic medical care. This would go a huge way in allowing these countries respective economies to develop.
At the time, Grockit, started by Farvood Nivi was unfunded but apparently lower cost and higher margin than other GMAT prep programs. Using WebEx-platformed online classes, Grockit could actually save MBA hopefuls anywhere from the $600-900 extra they would pay if they were to chose popular programs such as Kaplan and Princeton Review instead. To market the startup Nivi and partners signed up as “expert consultants” on Bitwine and planned to rely on the word-of-mouth marketing generated from the huge monetary savings of users.
Fast forward to July 2007. Grockit has now raised $2.7 million in Series A financing and their promising-looking business model is very different. Instead of using WebEx to provide teacher-to-many-student classes, Grockit aims to take advantage of data showing that students learn better from other students. Nivi and technical co-founder Michael Buffington are aiming to design a platform from scratch called MMOL, or Massive Multiplayer Online Learning. They believe the student2student teaching platform will be more successful than the original teacher2student WebEx platform originally utilized. According to TechCrunch, Grockit has refused to release any other details at this time.
Stay tuned for updates however. I believe this will be an interesting startup to watch.
I was reading throught the China Cleantech Venture Capital Investment Report this evening, after it was highlighted by Earth2Tech earlier. I believe that the Earth2Tech posting didn’t quite do the market potential of cleantech in China justice. The posting definitely pointed out the quantitative projections of growth over the next few years, especially in the energy sector (mainly solar), but failed to highlight some of the more qualitative issues that show huge potential in the cleantech market in the next five or so years. Here are some of the qualitative reasons we should expect a cleantech boom in China within five years:
- Effective Chinese environment policies and increased global pressures related to sustainable development in light of global warming
- A huge amount of funding is being poored into the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics at the moment. Post-Olympics, look for astronomical growth in 2009-2010
- Venture capital has only caught on in the past 3 years in China due to the slow transitioning from a centrally-planned to market economy
- The other side of China’s booming economy=”environmental deterioration, energy scarcity and resource restrictions”
- Climate change will equal water scarcity for parts of China. Hence the prediction the the water & wastewater sector will be the next booming cleantech market
There is an interesting posting on the blog of Tim Ferriss, author of The 4-Hour Workweek from a few days back in which he highlights the 3 best ways to get on TV. The first two points he makes surely work, but not really the best method of achieving television publicity. The third point he makes, however, is interesting:
“Create and pitch a trend + segment instead of you and your product”
The majority of people when pitching a story to the big networks tend to pitch the person and the story, buy Ferriss makes a good point in saying “a single person, unless already a celebrity, doesn’t fill 30 minutes on the most popular shows”. It’s very true.
So what does he propose?
“The solution is to develop an entire segment based on a new trend or phenomenon.“
Here would be Ferriss’s list of steps to successfully pulling this off:
- Compile statistics that indicate a new trend
- Connect yourself and your personal brand into that trend
- Add experts, case studies, PhDs, and other guests to help fill 30 entertaining and
credible minutes about the trend
- Give the pitch a sticky headline and head to the big producers
Ferriss seems to have derived this insight from the business know-how of Richard Branson and recommends Branson’s book, Losing My Virginity, as a must-read for learning how to “pitch media and create buzz”. Another influential book was named as being Author 101 Bestselling Book Publicity by Rick Frishman, Robyn Freedman Spizman, Mark Steisel. I’ll have to add those two to the must-read list.