Help Give a Family in Rwanda Clean Water

Did you know that 30,000 people die each week from unsafe water and unhygienic living conditions? That’s 1,560,000 people a year.

90% of those deaths come from children under 5 years of age.

But you can help.

Take 5 minutes today to make a donation.

In July I attended the World Domination Summit and saw Scott Harrison speak about being an greedy nightclub promoter. Then he joined Mercy Ships, helping to provide free medical care to the people of the world’s poorest nations. The experience transformed him.

He returned to the U.S. to found charity:water, a charity dedicated to providing clean water to everyone in the world. But he did more than form another charity. He transformed the charity model. Continue reading >

Create a Startup Scene: Leverage Template Events

The theme of this year’s North Carolina Entrepreneur Summit is “Creating a Scene”. During today’s opening session, I asked myself how attendees could effectively create a scene.

One answer: template events.

Attendees for the summit include entrepreneurs, economic developers and government employees ranging from large, urban cities like Raleigh and Charlotte to small, rural communities like Cherokee and Chatham counties.

While larger cities may have the resources to plan, organize and host their own custom events, smaller cities can benefit from the trail blazed by others with template events. Even larger cities can find it valuable to tap into the network and resources of the communities that have grown up around these events. Continue reading >

Notes from Less Is More: Simple Productivity Hacks

This past weekend I attended the World Domination Summit in Portland, Oregon. One of the sessions I attended on Sunday was Less Is More: Simple Productivity Hacks presented by Julia Roy (@juliaroy). For those who missed the session, my notes are below. For more productivity hacks, check out Julia’s web site. Continue reading >

Notes from Book Concepts That Sell

This past weekend I attended the World Domination Summit in Portland, Oregon. One of the sessions I attended on Saturday was Book Concepts That Sell  presented by David Fugate (@LaunchBooks) of Launch BooksFor those who missed the session, my notes are below. 

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Notes from Indie Publishing Demystified

This weekend I’m attending the World Domination Summit in Portland, Oregon. One of the sessions I attended today was Indie Publishing Demystified presented by Matt Gartland (@MattGartland) of Winning Edits. For those who missed the session, my notes are below. You can also read the Winning Edits web site or follow @WinningEdits on Twitter. Continue reading >

How To Write a (Useful) Blog Post in 30 Minutes

This week I launched a new blog called Lean Decisions to help people make better decisions. In preparing for the launch, I wrote a month’s backlog of articles by writing one post a day. Since I have limited time, I had to learn how to write fast. Keep reading to see what I learned.

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How to Express Appreciation

Do you tell others often how much you appreciate them? Does it come across sincere?

I struggled in the past with expressing appreciation. Especially with employees, but also with loved ones, colleagues and even strangers.

I aim to get things done. Once I complete a task or project, I’m onto the next one. I used to forget to stop and appreciate the people and things around me. To take a moment and express a heartfelt thanks.

And even when I did, it often felt empty. I knew I needed to appreciate my employees, and I did. But I didn’t do it effectively. I just said “thanks”, and left it at that.

For my Leadership Asheville class, we each had to choose a personal development goal. I chose to learn how to appreciate and encourage others more. Read on for some of the lessons I learned over the past year.
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Boston Startup Weekend Presentations

Startup Weekend stormed through Boston once again this past weekend. With almost 150 attendees and 17 teams making it through the weekend, the energy was high.

Sunday night each team presented their business to a team of five judges. Each team was given five minutes to present and three minutes to answer questions. Awards were then given by the judges for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place, Best Design, Most Technical Achievement and Most Fun. In addition, there was an Audience Choice winner and awards for best use of Twilio and Cloudmine. You can see the winners here.

Below are my notes on each team’s presentation and questions the judges asked that I thought would be insightful for people who’ve never attended a Startup Weekend, plus some I didn’t have time to edit out. When possible, I also included part of the answers by each team.

I didn’t transcribe any of this exactly, nor was I able to type as fast as people were speaking, so expect errors. I aimed to capture the gist of what teams presented and what judges asked, rather than the specifics.
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Mavens, Aggregators & Miners: Expanding Social Dynamics Terminology

In building an entrepreneurial ecosystem, we often talk about the roles people play. Do we have enough investors, entrepreneurs, seasoned executives?

Roles give us a language for talking about gaps in our ecosystem, and the complex interactions between its participants. By defining roles, we simplify the web of human interactions into concepts we can grasp, and through this comprehension, take action to improve the system.

When talking about the social dynamics of an ecosystem, it’s important to have a shared language to ensure we’re discussing the same problems and creating common solutions. To be useful in teasing out the important dynamics of a system, our shared language needs to be specific and actionable.

To aid in recent discussions, this article reviews terminology laid out by Malcolm Gladwell for analyzing the spread of change, relates that to social dynamics in an economic development context and then elaborates with other terms that may be useful in building an entrepreneurial ecosystem.

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The Danger in Google’s New Privacy Policy

Google announced a new privacy policy and terms of service today. Buried within, was this innocent sounding, but insidious language:

We may use the name you provide for your Google Profile across all of the services we offer that require a Google Account. In addition, we may replace past names associated with your Google Account so that you are represented consistently across all our services. If other users already have your email, or other information that identifies you, we may show them your publicly visible Google Profile information, such as your name and photo. [emphasis added]

Essentially, as of March 1st, Google can change your identity and expose your details to others without asking you. And there’s nothing you can do about it.

No opt-out. No recourse other than to stop using Google services entirely.

Google has made clear they would prefer everyone use a single online identity, which they control. Two years ago, Eric Schmidt, Google’s CEO at the time, during a panel at Techonomy stated:

“The only way to manage this is true transparency and no anonymity,” Schmidt said. “In a world of asynchronous threats, it is too dangerous for there not to be some way to identify you. We need a [verified] name service for people. Governments will demand it.”

Governments demanding everyone have a single, verified online identity has dangerous consequences. Google voluntarily forcing people into a single, verified online identity before governments demand it is just plain evil. Continue reading >

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