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August 21, 2014
Kendall Kunz

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Biz Dev Entrepreneurs Wanted

November 17, 2011

Four major trends are happening now that will change the world of technology as we know it:  Cloud computing, Social, Mobile and the Millennial generation.  We are looking for two thought leaders who want to help transform the world at the convergence of two of these trends:  cloud computing and mobile devices.  Mobile devices, particularly tablets, will transform the use of clipboards and paper forms.  95% of companies today still use clipboards and we have a unique opportunity to help them make that massive transformation to tablets.  If you’re somewhat technical and love introducing people to life-changing ideas, get in touch with me.

The second opportunity is a little less “worked out” and we need not only a biz dev entrepreneur but also someone who wants to work in developing the customer profile.  Both opportunities require taking equity in exchange for sweat.  We want people who can eventually take over as CEO of both these companies.  Must be based in the Seattle area!

The Future Is So Bright…

November 7, 2011

If you spend any time watching the news about Greece, our deficit, the unemployment rate or the economy in general, it can be pretty depressing.  But last week, I took a break from all that and attended both the Seattle Interactive Conference (#SIC2011) and TechStars Demo Day (@TechStars).  If you want to lift your spirits about innovation in America, then you need to look no further than Seattle to find many people (entrepreneurs really) taking advantage of the most dramatic changes in technology happening in a generation.

Some key takeaways from the event:

@jeffbarr of Amazon Web Services said that EC2 cloud storage costs $0.14/GB/Mo.  That is cheap, but not that much cheaper than 10 GB of storage on iCloud, which costs $20/year…still cheap.

@scottlipsky of Photorocket gave an excellent talk on UX Innovation being Business Innovation – we must focus on the total customer service and interactive experience.  Customer service is user experience.  Some examples he gave of outstanding user experience:  CraigsList, Amazon, iOS, DropBox, Twitter, UrbanEars and Virgin America.

@shayang, co-founder of Zoosk described some of the lessons learned at Zoosk about building the next generation dating platform on social.  One of the most interesting ideas he talked about was building your own social graph.  The thing is, I didn’t get it.  I’ve gotta look more closely at my notes…

Will hunsinger, CEO of EVRI (@billykid) moderated an interesting panel entitled “The Transformation of News Media”.  Panelists included @johncook of, @mikeindustries (Mike Davidson) of Newsvine, @markbriggs of @King5, and @curtwoodward of @Xconomy.  Key takeaways:

  • Most news is 90% AP (Associated Press) content.
  • Appetite for long-form news is dead or dying.  (Agree but for some news articles, long-form is necessary…try understanding the Greek/EuroZone situation).
  • Mobile TV is about a year away.  (WHAT?  I can watch King5 in HD on my iPhone?  That’s what was said by @markbriggs.)  
  • Community engagement in news helps shape the facts and the story, with short stories on blogs being driven, perhaps, from CPM advertising.  Traditional media never got this.
  • People consume news 15 times a day for 3 minutes at a time on their phones.  However on tablets, people spend 20 minutes at a time.
  • Crowd-sourcing or crowd journalism is growing FAST.
  • A more informed public will be the result of these trends.

I tried the new EVRI iPad app and I think it is quite good.  A few improvements are needed but it appears to be a more comprehensive platform than Flipboard.  The improvements needed include:

  • From the homepage, sometimes a news article will say something but when you click inside, there is no news article that touts such headlines.  This is frustrating.
  • Like in Flipboard, I want the ability to reply to a comment directly in the app, or share with LinkedIN, not just Twitter and Facebook.

@ShaunaCausey, beach vball player, VP of SMC Seattle, digital strategist who manages social media for @nordstrom gave an interesting talk on how conversation sparks innovation.  Key points:

  • 95% of companies don’t answer questions on Facebook.  (WHAT?)
  • Don’t delete comments on Facebook (look at Chapstick case study – TOO FUNNY!)
  • is a great example of using the crowd to innovate.
  • @sethsays “How can you squander even one more day not taking advantage of the greatest shifts in our generation.

Ben @Elowitz, co-founder and CEO of WetPaint was perhaps the most inspiring and intriguing presentation.  @Elowitz writes a very interesting blog on  Key takeaways (not including Ben’s 5 steps to know and serve your audience):

  • In the last year, Facebook usage by individuals has increased on average 69%.  Everything else has declined by 9% (WOW!).
  • 75% of interaction about TV shows happens on the day the show did not air.
  • Customer segmentation in social is critical.  For WetPaint, that is interest-based segmentation.
  • Google+ does not add anything new.  Only about 40 million users (us techies to understand it) are using it.
  • WetPaint is about being an expert at Social Distribution.  (How can you use them?  Is there a services play around WetPaint???)
@sicarter Shannon Carter, Director of Design for the Zumobi Network, gave us 5 principles for designing mobile apps (applicable to any app, really – but especially mobile).  Some takeaways:
  • Zumobi apps get 200MM page views, all outside the google ecosystem.  WOW!
  • Design patterns for tablets must be different because usage patterns are very different – longer.
  • The five principles include:  Make it personal; make it focused; make it fresh; make it lucrative; make it flexible.
@DerekHalpern says on his twitter page, “I’m 99% useless, but that 1% when I’m not, I’m dangerous. Find out how I’m dangerous by checking out Social Triggers.”  Derek gave a super short presentation on social triggers.  Key takeaways:
  • Nobody cares about you or your product, they care about what you can do for them.  (DOH)
  • The allure of NOW is irresistible.  Add NOW to all your messages like “you can save 1 hour today if you try this product”.
  • FOCUS on doing one thing well.  The HALO effect will help you to sell other stuff to satisfied clients.
  • Give people fewer options and they’ll make a decision.  Do “chunking” – 3 choices, then 5, then a few.
  • Make a claim, show the proof.
  • Switch your message from benefits to fear of loss messages.  Focus on what people will lose by not using you, perhaps painting the worst case scenario.
Finally, @TechStars Seattle, with @AndySack and crew, put on a most incredible demo day.  Over 700 companies applied for TechStars Seattle with only 10 chosen and it appeared that nearly all of them were on their way to gaining funding.  To read more about these promising companies, visit GeekWire.
The future is so bright in Seattle “I gotta wear shades”.
My notes from the conference, taken on Note Taker HD for iPad:  SIC2011

Run Your Project Like a Startup and Win

September 30, 2011

I recently finished reading the hit book “The Lean Startup” by Eric Ries.  This book describes how “today’s entrepreneurs use continuous innovation to create radically successful businesses.”  Much of the concept for The Lean Startup movement is centered around Agile thinking and the Toyota Way.  Having started four of my own companies, including one complete failure, this movement is a great step in the right direction.

Agile thinking is becoming pervasive among the project management profession; one such example is the newly released PMP-ACP (Project Management Professional – Agile Certified Professional) certification from the Project Management Institute. The growth of Agile in our project management practice at Bellevue Tech is gaining momentum as evidenced by the number of Scrum Master/Project Managers we have in our client engagements.  However, the focus of the PMP certification around agile and our consulting services are mostly targeted at software development projects.  These Agile concepts can be applied well beyond software.

Eric Ries defines a Startup as “an organization dedicated to creating something new under conditions of extreme uncertainty.”  Wow, doesn’t this sound like a project team and what we as project managers are managing everyday?  Nearly every project is chartered to building some new capability under conditions of extreme uncertainty.  Yet, how much are we applying experimentation through a process of building, measuring and learning in our projects?  The Lean Startup thoroughly discusses these concepts of first testing the major assumptions of our plan:  are we building something valuable?  And it follows that every idea, every feature, every organizational capability can also be tested as to its value and viability.  So often we are told by our client and/or sponsor that what we’re building is valuable.  This is a leap of faith!  We must begin to rigorously invest the tiny amount of time up-front testing these hypotheses.

So many of our projects are set up for launch dates (and initial testing date, I might add) way into the future.  Like my startup Kickplay, which launched in late 2007, our team found out very quickly (and disappointingly) that what we thought was valuable with growth potential was marginally valuable and likely not scalable.  Though we followed an Agile development methodology, we failed to test some of our leap of faith assumptions early in the process using tiny experiments.

Following startup principles from The Lean Startup can help make your project a winner.  If you are using Agile on your projects, and even if you’re not, pick up a copy of The Lean Startup and start focusing more on value creation than on meeting deadlines and scope.  Your customers and sponsors will be glad you did.

Buying From Companies With a Stated Giving Program

July 29, 2011

Are you more or less likely to work with a company who has a stated charitable giving program on top-line revenue?

RIM Gets the Gist

February 14, 2011, founded by TA McCann, announced today that it has been acquired by RIM.  Congratulations to my friends at Gist, who last fall touted 100 million professional profiles in their database.

Around the web on the Gist/RIM hookup.

Executive Vision: Technology

November 29, 2010

Replay from CNBC – A must see for ANY executive, not just in technology!

Technology has morphed beyond chips and bytes into a tool powerful enough to fundamentally redesign the human species, creating a new DNA for how we live, work and socialize. CNBC’s Simon Hobbs gathers renowned experts to tackle the challenges facing technology today.


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