1871 http://www.1871.com Where digital startups get their start Mon, 27 Apr 2015 07:31:53 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Tullman: Your Work Is Not Your Life http://www.1871.com/tullman-your-work-is-not-your-life/ http://www.1871.com/tullman-your-work-is-not-your-life/#comments Fri, 24 Apr 2015 13:50:18 +0000 http://www.1871.com/?p=12354 By 1871 CEO Howard A. Tullman. To view the original blog, visit: http://www.inc.com/howard-tullman/your-work-is-not-your-life.html

Very few things in our lives are ... » Continue]]> By 1871 CEO Howard A. Tullman. To view the original blog, visit: http://www.inc.com/howard-tullman/your-work-is-not-your-life.html

Very few things in our lives are absolute. Everything is measured by degree, from our attention to our patience to the range and intensity of our emotions.

At the same time, some things are absolute: You can’t be all things to all people; you can’t dance every dance; and, throughout your life, you’ve got to make hard choices, sacrifices, and compromises, and then you’ve got to live with them through thick and thin for a very long time.

We become the sum of the choices we make over time; those choices determine the kind of person we end up being–and how the world sees and values us.

What we become isn’t a necessary result of fate or destiny. It’s certainly not foretold or pre-ordained. Throughout our lives we remain a work in progress. Iteration isn’t just a business process; it’s also a strategy for a life well-lived. We can bend and shape outcomes to match our desires if we consciously, actively, and continually apply ourselves. But the good things we all hope for don’t happen by themselves; you’ve got to pay attention and make them happen.

Purpose, Perspective, Proportion

One of the most critical choices you’ll need to make when you start out in your career is exactly what kind of person you want to be. I think it’s somewhat back in fashion these days to be a workaholic. For some of us it never went out of style. Almost everyone today wants to be an entrepreneur, build a business, and be a big honking overnight success. But that’s only part of the story. Ultimately it’s not about making money, it’s about making a difference. It’s also about more than making a living: It’s about making a life. And the “you” that you become is a big part of the life you build outside the office, as well as within your business.

In the frenzy of the work and the world it’s really important that you don’t lose your sense of purpose, perspective, and proportion–and risk losing yourself in the process. Your business and your work will always be what you do. These things are not who you are. And it’s critical right from the start that you not confuse or conflate the two.

This isn’t as easy to manage as you may think. Today too many of us worship our work, work at our play (fitness uber alles), and play at what little worship we make a part of our lives. Where are the soul and the value in that? And (assuming that we want to) how exactly do we get ourselves back on top of things before they veer entirely out of control?

To handle the constant barrage of useful information, occasional insights, and useless chatter that increasingly assaults our senses and impedes our ability to get successfully through the day we need a new plan. You can drown in many ways today – in data, in documents, in deliberations, and in endless discussions. We all need to develop new skills for managing both the data and the people in our lives. It’s similar to the radical and rapid choices that drive the triage process in an emergency room. But there are many different kinds of choices in the mix.

At work, we tend automatically to focus on the fiercest fires and the highest flames. We let our attention be directed toward the newest crisis rather than remaining in some kind of control and attending to the critical things that really matter. Attention is as slippery as mercury, and as easily redirected. If no one is paying attention to the things that count, people just stop caring. Once you stop paying attention to the people in your business who are important, and they stop caring about you and your business, they’ll go someplace else, to someone who does pay attention and who does care. It’s just a matter of time.

But that’s on the business side of the equation. As the number of physical, mental, and emotional inputs we absorb each day continues to increase it becomes all too easy to apply the same systems, formulae, and checklists we use at work to our friends and families. This is where things can go very wrong very quickly.

That’s because some of the people decisions we confront every day aren’t mathematical or subject to standard rules and procedures–they’re choices about other people, about feelings, and about our relationships. These concerns are fundamentally different, non-mechanical, and far more complex. People aren’t products, positions, or policies–they’re our co-workers, friends, and family. There’s no fixed formula for getting these things right.

So it’s equally incumbent upon us to decide what’s truly important in these interpersonal situations, both in the moment and in the long run, and to devote to them the same passion and energy we apply to our business problems and concerns. It’s a given that there’s never enough time in the day (and that’s never going to change); there’s never enough of any one of us to go around (cloning may help, someday); and it’s way too easy to find an excuse rather than finding the time to deal with these issues.

But here’s the bottom line: Your family (when you have one) will be a much more important extension of yourself than any work you do. There’s always more work, but you only have one family. And, believe me, good friends are also few and far between. Friends are the family that you get to choose–they’re hard to find, even harder to leave, and impossible to forget. So, as you make ’em, make a plan to hang on to them. They’re as important an investment over time as anything else.

Take a little time now to decide how you’d like things to turn out when you look back in 50 years at your accomplishments, your family, and what you’ve built. It’s all right there before you. Everything is possible; ultimately, it’s all about what you make of it.

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Tullman: The Real Benefits of Knowing How to Code http://www.1871.com/tullman-the-real-benefits-of-knowing-how-to-code/ http://www.1871.com/tullman-the-real-benefits-of-knowing-how-to-code/#comments Wed, 22 Apr 2015 15:42:07 +0000 http://www.1871.com/?p=12348 By 1871 CEO Howard A. Tullman. To view the original blog, visit: http://www.inc.com/howard-tullman/the-real-benefits-of-coding.html

I started writing computer code when I was ... » Continue]]> By 1871 CEO Howard A. Tullman. To view the original blog, visit: http://www.inc.com/howard-tullman/the-real-benefits-of-coding.html

I started writing computer code when I was in high school in a special program at the Illinois Institute of Technology. This was in the early 1960s, long before there was such a thing as a personal computer. I continued coding through my college years, and in the early 90s I designed and developed computer games for multiple platforms. So, yes, I’m a geek — and no one believes more than I do that computer literacy is an absolutely essential skill for students in this country if they want to have even a fighting chance of succeeding in the digital economy.

Enrolling your kid in a coding class is as good a way as any to spend some time and money on their future — and if they’re in high school, it’s a great addition to college applications. But if you’re going to make the investment, you should also give some thought to where you’re headed and why.

It’s important for parents today to remember to not go crazy with coding. Learning to code is a desirable skill to be sure, but it’s just that. It won’t make your kid a better person. It’s not a shortcut to building an earthshaking app or a certain path to a dream job. It’s a great beginning and a solid foundation to build on.

Given the rate of change in the tools and platforms that we use every day, it’s also important to understand that the specific technical skills you learn — even in the best programs at the best schools — will go rapidly out of date or out of fashion. But that’s OK (and to be expected) because the real value of learning to code isn’t in the mastery of the tools; it’s in the internalization of the methods, the analysis, and the critical thought processes that are the foundational skills of all great programmers. I’m almost certain that the world doesn’t need another scheduling service or sharing site. But we need all the critical thinkers and change agents we can create.

It’s never too late for an adult to learn to code, whether you’re looking to change jobs or boost your skill set. And as far as kids go, smart parents want to equip their children with these skills as early as possible. They are life-changing — not mainly because of the implications for heightened college admission or employment prospects, but because, just like debate class or chess club, they provide your offspring with a methodology to approach whatever challenges they’ll face in the future. Your children won’t be put off or paralyzed by these prospects — they’ll have learned to take them on and vigorously attack them. I call this “approach behavior.” It’s about leaning into the wind and moving forward rather than standing still or turning away from difficult situations. And it’s a powerful life skill for anyone.

Here are a few other invaluable skills and ideas — I call them the ABCs–that coding teaches. These are the outputs that matter most in the long run.

(A) Approximation

Successive approximation is better than postponed perfection. ‘Done’ right now is always better than ‘perfect’ sometime down the line — because the world isn’t waiting for you.

You learn early on in creating code that it’s a constant series of small steps, with a ton of failed attempts included, that slowly get you to the end result. Each accomplishment is itself only the next level in the process. There are no shortcuts. Doing things right takes time and patience. All of the great ideas are cumulative — they incorporate disparate components and elements that eventually combine to deliver a solution that is broader and more effective than anything that came before. But nothing ever happens if you don’t get started.

(B) Better and Better

Code can almost always be faster, cleaner, and more efficient. You want to copy everything that came before (except your mistakes, of course) and make it even better. Raising the bar, constantly iterating, and building upon your successes are the reasons there’s never a finish line in these businesses. It’s also because every business today is engaged in an arms race with tons of other people running right behind you, looking to build quicker and cheaper versions of what you already made. If you don’t constantly improve on your own products and services, you can be sure that someone else immediately will.

(C) Curiosity and Confidence

The best competitors today are those who are constantly learning everything about their business. This requires an openness to change and an immense curiosity: why things are still being done in certain ways; how things can be improved. Entrepreneurs see the same things that everyone else has already seen, but they think about them in new ways and are willing to explore new alternatives. Coders share this same type of unrestricted perspective. They rarely ask why; they always ask why not. One of the most satisfying parts of the entire development process is when you get the rush of excitement as you come to understand something you’ve known all along, but in a new and different way. Daily epiphanies, bursts of adrenaline, and the alchemy of creating something from scratch are some of the greatest joys of the job.

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Tullman: Great Entrepreneurs Do These 3 Things http://www.1871.com/tullman-great-entrepreneurs-do-these-3-things/ http://www.1871.com/tullman-great-entrepreneurs-do-these-3-things/#comments Fri, 17 Apr 2015 17:20:56 +0000 http://www.1871.com/?p=12287 By 1871 CEO Howard A. Tullman. To view the original blog, visit: http://www.inc.com/howard-tullman/great-entrepreneurs-do-these-three-things.html

Columnist Howard Tullman has started more than ... » Continue]]> By 1871 CEO Howard A. Tullman. To view the original blog, visit: http://www.inc.com/howard-tullman/great-entrepreneurs-do-these-three-things.html

Columnist Howard Tullman has started more than a dozen tech companies. Here are the three things he says separate the winners from the losers.

Why is it that large established corporations, even when they see upstarts bearing down on them, can’t react or at least to get out of the way before the new guys roll right over them? These companies are in search of perfection, and that’s deadly. They can’t get anything started in time to make a difference. It’s a foolproof formula for failure.

As Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg says, “Done is better than perfect.” It’s absolutely clear that a good plan executed today beats a perfect plan that may never arrive. You need to start with what you have, iterate like crazy, and fail fast.

Starting with what you have

If you’re going to try something new, you need to begin with the tools, people and resources that you have on hand. Crucially, you also need the confidence that, as the project progresses, you will find and attract the right new tools, people, and resources.

Here’s a great recent example. Aviary.com makes photo editing software -simple tools to help your pictures look better or different. When they started their business, their customers were the millions of people taking zillions of digital photos every day. Aviary.com used a freemium model with ad revenue to follow, and they put some pretty respectable early numbers on the board. At their peak, on an average day, about 50,000 photos were being edited using their tools.

But Aviary.com wasn’t growing fast enough, and their space was getting increasingly crowded. Mobile was emerging, and it was going to bring big changes to their marketplace. So Aviary started targeting large firms such as Walgreens that were developing and digitizing photos for consumers. They gave the big companies photo editing tools for free, and encouraged them to incorporate the tools into their consumer offerings. Now Aviary.com was marketing to a couple of thousand companies rather than tens of millions of consumers.

Aviary.com is now working with about 1,500 firms, and customers of those companies are editing about 5,000,000 photos a day. Aviary.com got started; they watched the market and the opportunities develop; and they changed their approach and their offerings just in time to catch the mobile wave.

Avoiding perfection        

Iteration is the single most important business process in the world today. The smartest way to develop and grow any business is by starting small and scaling rapidly. I call this “successive approximation,” as opposed to “postponed perfection.” It applies to everything you do. You test the water and the depth of the pool with a toe or two, and you try to never lose sight of your overriding plan. You constantly adjust your strategies and tactics to suit the changes in conditions and circumstances. As Amazon’s Jeff Bezos likes to say, “We are stubborn on vision, but we’re flexible on details.”

Iteration starts with the belief that anything and everything can improve. There are four simple steps: (1) experiment; (2) measurement; (3) analysis; and (4) reaction and modification. Repeat. The best businesses never stop iterating. They may change direction, abandon a product line that isn’t working or meeting expectations, or decide that an entire venture should be shut down. But they make these decisions rationally and quickly based on the facts. Above all, they learn to fail fast.

Failing fast

Being willing to fail fast doesn’t mean that you don’t plan to succeed. It doesn’t mean that you aren’t confident in your idea and the likelihood of your success. It certainly doesn’t mean that you’re going to give up without giving it your best shot. What it means is that you understand the concept of opportunity costs (knowing when your time and resources are better spent elsewhere) and that you’ve learned the First Rule of Holes: When you’re in a hole, stop digging.

So don’t wait for an invitation. Don’t wait for a schedule. Don’t wait for all the data you need. And most of all, don’t wait until things are “just right” or perfect, because you’ll be too late every time. Start with what you have, get better every day, and keep moving forward. After a while, it gets to be a habit and a way of life.

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the.1871.scoop (a.k.a. the 1871 Community Newsletter) 4.16.15 http://www.1871.com/the-1871-scoop-a-k-a-the-1871-community-newsletter/ http://www.1871.com/the-1871-scoop-a-k-a-the-1871-community-newsletter/#comments Fri, 17 Apr 2015 14:42:11 +0000 http://www.1871.com/?p=12270 Welcome to the.1871.scoop (a.k.a. the 1871 Community Newsletter) – your new source for interesting news from the 1871 team, members ... » Continue]]> Welcome to the.1871.scoop (a.k.a. the 1871 Community Newsletter) – your new source for interesting news from the 1871 team, members and friends. From mergers to member opportunities, this is the new place to stay updated on all things 1871. Contact Melissa Wooten: mwooten@1871.com | @1871Chicago

TODAY – RM72 with Virgin Hotels and 1871: Virgin Hotels Chicago and 1871 have partnered to host the first ever RM 72 – a movement featuring insight and inspiration from expert entrepreneurs. The inaugural event will focus on crowdfunding and features Howard Tullman and Sir Richard Branson as panelists. Be sure to watch the live-stream at 9:15 a.m. today – you never know what Sir Richard will do when faced with an 1871 member’s product. bit.ly/1ywTXYr | @virginhotelschi

Say Cheese: We are extremely excited to announce that we have ​arrange​d​ for a full-​​time photography service to be available to 1871 members through a partnership with 1871 company CloudSpotter. CloudSpotter’s Greg Rothstein will serve as our primary photographer for all of our major events, visitors, and other activities in the space. He will also provide free head shots to members, as well as other photography services at an extremely discounted rate. Welcome Greg!

Campus 1871: This past weekend brought 84 college students from 5 of 1871’s partner universities together for the second annual Campus 1871 – a weekend hackathon filled with pitches, business plans, web design, and lots of sugary cereal (who knew you could buy Cap’n Crunch Berries with *just* berries? Life-changing.). The winning team, Languallama, built an app that connects users who want to learn languages. Two additional teams, YoFI and Invest Together, tied for second place. bit.ly/1ayp2PD

Blackbox Connect – Female Founders Edition: Google for Entrepreneurs announced that 1871’s Elisa All, founder and CEO of 30Second Mobile, has been selected to participate in Blackbox Connect Female Founders Edition, a two-week immersion program where the most promising global startups connect, collaborate, and grow. Congratulations Elisa! @elisatalk

Pitch Perfect: The second PGVC Pitch Deck Session at 1871 will be held on Wednesday, April 29, from 5pm-6pm. Don’t strike out with your next pitch – submit your decks by 5pm this Friday to attend.

Got Moxie? The nomination process is now open for the Fourth Annual Moxie Awards! Take a moment to suggest your startup and some of your fellow member companies (don’t worry, there are enough awards to go around!). Several 1871 members were recognized last year, so this is a great opportunity to continue showcasing successes in our community. bit.ly/1CMr3Qk

Future Leaders Today: Congratulations to Reva Minkoff and Chris Motley, the 1871-ers being recognized as two of the Chicago Scholars’ 35 Under 35 Young Leaders Making an Impact. They’ll be recognized next Friday at the Chicago Scholars UnTied Gala – an event intriguingly billed as an urban-chic anti-gala. bit.ly/1CPT0p0

Divvy Data: Divvy visited 1871 on Tuesday to announce the winners of the 2015 Divvy Data Challenge, which encouraged designers, developers and scientists to visualize over 3 million Divvy trips. Awards were presented for the most creative, insightful, beautiful, and comprehensive projects, and Divvy also used the event to officially announce that it will begin adding more bike stations throughout the city. So, no excuses for not getting in your exercise before work. bit.ly/1DkO5Ae

Broadening Broadband in Illinois: 1871 member Broadband Illinois just launched a telehealth crowdfunding campaign for the Illinois Telehealth Initiative (ITI). Basically, they’re working to use technology to help underserved communities have better access to healthcare. Good cause? Absolutely. bit.ly/1IfERGD

ANY Interest in Mentoring? The newly-launched Illinois chapter of American Needs You (ANY) is recruiting for their inaugural class of mentors. ANY is a not-for-profit that works with first-generation, low-income students to provide a two-year intensive career prep program. Attend their happy hour info session this evening if you’re interested in helping out. http://bit.ly/1ziu09Q

Slack: A few members have suggested that we try Slack as a way to communicate within the 1871 community. If you’re interested in trying it out with us, shoot Manny a note and he’ll invite you to the 1871 group! bit.ly/1IMBzhn | manny@1871.com

Dublin Down on Your Business: Gateway to Europe joined us on Wednesday to host a Lunch and Learn (read: bribed us with Chipotle) to discuss how startups can benefit from expanding their businesses internationally via Ireland. If you missed the event, you can learn more (sans Chipotle) on their site: bit.ly/1JLFoBj

Tweet of the Week:

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Welcome new members! Todd Dunham (Twice the Speed) – Michael Herlache (M&A Nexus) – Michael Reczek (Contractlytics) – Kathryn Kerner – Jack Cascio (Twice the Speed) – Ben Strahan – Josh Sklar (Detroit Labs) – Flaz Sami (WindyCityLabs) – Matt Shea (HS2 Solutions) – John Telford (HS2 Solutions) – Christine Hutchison (Proxfinity) – Lisa Carrel (Proxfinity)

Just For Fun – In preparation for the release of the new Avengers movie, check out this science behind why Tony Stark can fly around in his Iron Man suit without killing himself (because #science). bit.ly/1cxdwWx

Birthdays this week: Sunday 4/12 – Atticus Francken (Omicron Financial) – Dennis Leancu (Hashtagr) – Monday 4/13 – Shachar Schiff (Bad Testing) – Wednesday 4/15 – Zachary Price (Blog Into Book) – Ann Javier (Startup Institute) – Thursday 4/16 – Gavin Martin (The Performance-Built Group) – Friday 4/17 – Brian Eng (Bluebuzzard) – Saturday 4/18 – Brenna Hardman (Buy Side Design)

*Don’t see your birthday here? Make sure you fill out your Weave the People Profile!

Essential Links: @1871Chicago | http://www.1871.com | weavethepeople.com/w/1871/2015/ | http://www.facebook.com/1871Chicago

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1871 Member 30Second Mobile Selected to Attend Google For Entrepreneurs’ Blackbox Connect Accelerator Program http://www.1871.com/1871-member-30second-mobile-selected-to-attend-google-for-entrepreneurs-blackbox-connect-accelerator-program/ http://www.1871.com/1871-member-30second-mobile-selected-to-attend-google-for-entrepreneurs-blackbox-connect-accelerator-program/#comments Thu, 16 Apr 2015 20:22:48 +0000 http://www.1871.com/?p=12268 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 16, 2015

CONTACT

1871

Melissa Wooten

press@1871.com

 

1871 Member 30Second Mobile Selected ... » Continue]]> FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 16, 2015

CONTACT

1871

Melissa Wooten

press@1871.com

 

1871 Member 30Second Mobile Selected to Attend Google For Entrepreneurs’ Blackbox Connect Accelerator Program

Elisa All, Founder and CEO of 30Second Mobile, to spend two weeks at Google for Entrepreneurs’ Blackbox Connect program for female founders

Chicago (April 16, 2015)—Google for Entrepreneurs announced today that 1871 member company 30Second Mobile, a women-led mobile media company, has been selected to participate in Google for Entrepreneurs’ Blackbox Connect Female Founders Edition, a two-week immersion program where the most promising global startups grow and connect with top VCs and game-changers in Silicon Valley. Elisa All, founder and CEO of 30Second Mobile, will travel to Google Headquarters with other companies nominated by partners of Google for Entrepreneurs for a two-week accelerator program exclusively available to high potential women entrepreneurs.

“1871 is constantly working to offer a wide variety of opportunities and resources that help our member companies succeed,” said 1871 CEO Howard A. Tullman. “As one of only nine members of the Google for Entrepreneurs North American Tech Hub Network, our close relationship with Google continues to create amazing opportunities for 1871 companies. We are especially excited to work on a program that focuses on supporting women entrepreneurs, and we congratulate 30Second Mobile on being selected for this year’s Blackbox Connect program.”

Google for Entrepreneurs selected the most promising startups from across the globe to participate in its first Blackbox Connect program focused specifically on female founders. These startups will travel to California from April 27 through May 8, where they will have the opportunity to collaborate with like-minded entrepreneurs from around the world and partake in an intense agenda of strategic meetings and workshops with entrepreneurs, investors, experts and executives. Each of the participating companies is required to have launched a product and received customer feedback.

“I am thrilled and honored to have the opportunity to participate in the first Blackbox Connect program to focus specifically on female founders,” said Elisa All, founder and CEO of 30Second Mobile. “I look forward to collaborating with other female entrepreneurs while learning from Google’s experts and representing the amazing startup community at 1871 and in Chicago.”

30Second Mobile is a women-led mobile media company creating authentic, easily-consumed content for mobile and social users. The company licenses its content to media companies and creates custom branded content for companies that bring their brand messages to life. 30Second Mobile’s first vertical, 30Second Mom, is a free website and app that enables mothers to access quick and helpful information tailored to their interests and share that information via social networks – in about 30 seconds. The company has received numerous accolades, including being named “One of the 5 Hottest Startups in Chicago.”

Prior to 30Second Mobile, Elisa All founded iParenting Media, a highly-regarded dotcom acquired by The Walt Disney Company in 2007. Elisa led the company to be recognized as “Best of the Web” by Newsweek, US News & World Report, The London Times and more. After iParenting was acquired by Disney, Elisa served as Director for the Disney Interactive Media Group, where she led the integration of iParenting into the Disney Family Network. Elisa also has served as a video and radio host, newspaper columnist and editor-in-chief of six national newsstand magazines: Pregnancy, Baby Years, Women’s Health & Fitness, Family Energy, European Homes & Gardens and The Buyer’s Guide.

In September 2013, Google for Entrepreneurs launched a network of partnerships with eight coworking and accelerator spaces around North America. In addition to 1871 in Chicago, the network now includes incubators in Austin, Denver, Detroit, Minneapolis, Montreal, Nashville, Raleigh-Durham and Waterloo. Created to help local startup communities thrive, the Google for Entrepreneurs network assists tech hubs by providing them with technical content, business tools, and infrastructure upgrades so that they can support increasing demand from developers and startups. Incubators in the network can offer free Google Cloud services to their members, and each year they nominate companies to pitch at the Google Demo Day.

About 1871

1871 is the home of more than 325 early-stage, high-growth digital startups. Located in The Merchandise Mart, this 75,000 square foot facility is also the headquarters of nationally recognized accelerators, Techstars Chicago and Impact Engine; half a dozen industry-specific incubators in key areas such as real estate, education technology, food and financial technology; several emerging tech talent schools (The Starter League, Code Fellows, Flatiron, The Fullbridge Program, Designation and the Startup Institute), and the state’s leading technology advocate, the Illinois Science and Technology Coalition. It is the second home to Chicago-based VCs, Pritzker Group Venture Capital, MATH Venture Partners, Hyde Park Angels, OCA Ventures, OurCrowd and Chicago Ventures, as well as satellite offices for Northwestern University, University of Illinois, University of Chicago, Loyola University, Illinois Institute of Technology, and DeVry. 1871 has fast become recognized as the hub for the city’s entrepreneurial/technology ecosystem and has been featured in TechCrunch, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Chicago Tribune and Crain’s Chicago Business among other top media. 1871 is the flagship project of the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center.

 

 

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ICYMI: Inaugural 1871 Community Newsletter (4.2.15) http://www.1871.com/icymi-inaugural-1871-community-newsletter-4-2-15/ http://www.1871.com/icymi-inaugural-1871-community-newsletter-4-2-15/#comments Wed, 15 Apr 2015 15:20:27 +0000 http://www.1871.com/?p=12213 Welcome to the inaugural 1871 Community Newsletter – your new source for interesting news from the 1871 team, members and ... » Continue]]> Welcome to the inaugural 1871 Community Newsletter – your new source for interesting news from the 1871 team, members and friends. From mergers to member opportunities, this is the new place to stay updated on all things 1871. Contact Melissa Wooten: mwooten@1871.com | @1871Chicago

 

Support your fellow members – watch inRentive’s Melissa Moline pitch for Google Demo Day! Join us in the auditorium at 11:35am today (4/2) to watch the live-stream, or watch it on your own here: bit.ly/1CyqqMf

 

Audience Choice: Infiniteach wins big at the Google-Autism Speaks Pitch Playground. 1871 member Infiniteach is doing amazing things for people with autism through their innovative platform, so we’re excited to see that they won the “audience choice” award and a $10,000 cash prize at the Pitch Playground competition for autism-focused apps. bit.ly/1CKDPCB | @Infiniteach | @autismspeaks

 

Cinderella Story: 1871 member Nick Petit shares how the failure of his first company, a new focus, and a cold call to @properties set Kahoots on the road to success. All that’s missing is the glass slipper. bit.ly/1ECM7sM

 

Senator Durbin visited 1871 on March 16 to announce legislation that would boost scientific and tech research funding by $100 billion over the next ten years. Spotted: NU President Morty Schapiro, SIU System President Randy J. Dunn, U of I President Robert A. Easter and President-elect Timothy Killeen, UChicago Provost Eric Isaacs, and NIU VP for Research and Innovation Partnerships Lesley Rigg. bit.ly/19LmRci | @SenatorDurbin

 

Future 1871 Members: Eleven-year-old Lily Born attended the White House Science Fair to showcase the Kangaroo Cup, a spill-proof cup she invented to help people with Parkinson’s disease. You might remember Lily from the PowerPitch Competition at 1871, where she took home first prize with her Kangaroo Cup pitch; or you may know her father, 1871 alum Joe Born. bit.ly/1CW0XQb

 

Digital Makeover: You may have heard the rumors…now John Pletz confirms: a new 1871 app will allow members to pay their dues, schedule mentors, reserve meeting rooms, see a schedule of upcoming events and even order lunch! bit.ly/1xGjBcP

 

Caffeine Confessions: In her recent article on 1871 CEO Howard Tullman, Crain’s reporter Shia Kapos “reveals” that Howard drinks at least 100 ounces of Diet Coke a day. This doesn’t come as too much of a shock given that artist Nadine Robbins recently chose to paint him holding his standard Double Gulp, but it does make me less worried that I’m drinking too much coffee. bit.ly/1HB7O2H

 

Can’t get enough of March Madness? Follow Chicago Inno’s Tech Madness with us to see which local tech companies are leading in this bracket-style competition. Vote for your favorite startups here.

 

Rumor Mill: 2014 CEC Momentum Award Finalist Coyote Logistics is “reportedly eyeing an initial public offering later this year that may value the firm at more than $2 billion, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.” bit.ly/1HrLjcO

 

Wondering if your S.O. is marriage material? There’s an app for that! Watch 1871 member Bobby Leach teach Steve Harvey about his Marriage Material app, which helps users learn about and improve their relationships through activities and quizzes developed by relationship experts. bit.ly/1HuahM0

 

Awesome Alum: 1871 grad PrettyQuick was recently featured in Crain’s Chicago Business. Founder Coco Meers’ “technology integrates into any salon calendar system, so small-business owners don’t have to upend their own programs to work with PrettyQuick. It’s easy for those seeking services, too: Women scroll through nearby, editor-vetted salons and choose appointments within their desired timeframe and price range. All payments, including tips, are billed to a credit card on file—a relief to any salon-goer who’s had to dash to the closest ATM and fork over a bank fee in order to leave a cash tip.” bit.ly/1BnP7qS

 

Harvard Business School hosted several competitions that saw 1871 members pitch their startups. Lihtec and ClosingBid were selected to participate in the Harvard Business School Real Estate Venture Competition, and Breakwater Chicago placed second with their pitch at the Harvard Business School Alumni New Venture Competition finals.

 

Tweet of the Week: @BeauDarcy “Rule #1 of Startup Life: Always be dressed to pitch.” @lshenoy @1871Chicago @BreakwaterCHI bit.ly/1NKdKqw

 

Options Away worked with 1871 Recruiter Laura Fendrich to hire two Senior Engineers, Steve Barg and Russell Lee, who will assist in the company’s efforts to expand internationally following their Series A. Other new hires from the 1871 Recruiter include Jessica Allison for Telnyx, Ben Lampere for Caremerge, April Muller for PeopleVine, and Chhay Tea for Spot Hero. Welcome to 1871! Aim higher with your hires: lfendrich@1871.com

 

Speaking of tech hires, last month President Obama announced his TechHire Initiative, a $100 million plan that “aims to convince local governments, businesses, and individuals that a four-year degree is no longer the only way to gain valuable tech skills.” The program is set to use 1871 alum Better Weekdays’ platform to help participants connect with tech jobs. Sounds like good news to us, and especially for our tech talent schools. wrd.cm/1BnPl1r | @BetterWeekdays

 

Welcome new members! Will Little (Code Fellows) – Jerry Graunke (Vokal) – Jeff Palmer (Object Partners) – Jeff Servos (Philo Broadcasting) – Tim Luo (Classkick) – Jose Sanchez (Georama) – Baffour Osei Takyi (Zero Percent) – Qianqi Guan (Foodtrace) – Spencer Kovacevich (ThinkCERCA) – Adam Miguest (Pickup) – Mike Oleon (Kahoots)

 

Just For Fun: Is it a radio? An alarm clock? Watch how some cute kids react when you show them a VCR. (Spoiler: they might be unimpressed with your collection of Disney movies on VHS) read.bi/1ECPqQJ

 

Birthdays this week: Sunday 3/29 – Beau D’Arcy (Breakwater Chicago) – Alex Novak (Dentprio) – Monday 3/30 – Adam Rosenblum (Package Zen) – Tuesday 3/31 – Tylar Masters – Wednesday 4/1 – Ezz Abdelmagid (Delivvy) – Jonathan Speh (Pixl) – Thursday 4/2 – Phil Ramsbottom (Minium) – Saturday 4/4 – Fabricio Costa (DataGenno)

*Don’t see your birthday here? Make sure you fill out your Weave the People profile!

 

Essential Links: @1871Chicago | http://www.1871.com | weavethepeople.com/w/1871/2015/ | http://www.facebook.com/1871Chicago

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Tullman: How to Create a Business in the Adult Education Space http://www.1871.com/tullman-how-to-create-a-business-in-the-adult-education-space/ http://www.1871.com/tullman-how-to-create-a-business-in-the-adult-education-space/#comments Tue, 14 Apr 2015 19:23:44 +0000 http://www.1871.com/?p=12247 By 1871 CEO Howard A. Tullman. To view the original blog, visit: http://www.inc.com/howard-tullman/how-to-create-a-business-in-the-adult-education-space.html

Beware the “curse of the cohorts”–teaching fellow ... » Continue]]> By 1871 CEO Howard A. Tullman. To view the original blog, visit: http://www.inc.com/howard-tullman/how-to-create-a-business-in-the-adult-education-space.html

Beware the “curse of the cohorts”–teaching fellow adults brings a series of extra challenges. Here’s how to deal with them.

If you thought it was difficult to start a new business in the education space, you’d be right. To start up in the adult education space? That’s even harder.

This is unfortunate. As a country, we’re in dire need of companies that provide cost-effective retraining and up-skilling programs to adult learners, whether they be career changers, new job seekers, or just folks whose skills haven’t kept up with the growing technical and digital requirements of their jobs.

Having large numbers of people sitting on the sidelines because of their lack of training represents a major loss to our economy. Not only are these individuals not working, but they also represent a wealth of accumulated institutional knowledge that will be lost if we can’t figure out how to move them and their aggregated wisdom forward into the digital economy.

Clearly, creating more effective systems of adult education and re-skilling is critical. Yet it’s especially hard, mainly for one overwhelming reason. I call it the “curse of cohorts.”

School teachers–even college professors–have it easy in the cohort department. As I used to tell my faculty: Sadly, we keep getting older while the students every year are the same age. And that’s precisely the point. Our traditional education system does the selection, segmentation and other sorting for us. The majority of students in any class are roughly the same in terms of demographics, prior experience and education, and–maybe most importantly–expectations and aspirations.

Of course, this is not to say their individual needs are the same, or that they should even be taught in the same manner. But given their ages and academic backgrounds, these students are cohorts by definition and, from a curricular perspective, can be dealt with in a fairly consistent fashion.

When you get to adult education, however, it’s a vastly different ballgame. It’s almost impossible to figure out who will respond to your ads or what each prospect will be expecting to get out of the class. Add the considerable confusion over outcomes, next steps, and what the extent of the actual preparation is expected to be, and it’s amazing anyone can manage this process at all.

Some students expect that 12 weeks of coding instruction will turn them into entrepreneurs; others plan to immediately jump into a mid-level, high-paying programming job at a major corporation; and still others think that–with enough passion and energy–you can actually wish a real business into existence. Turning even the best ideas into invoices takes a lot more than that. In fact, the matchmaking function itself may be the absolutely hardest part of building a sustainable and profitable adult education business.

Frankly, if I had the time, I’d quickly build a national registry of the course offerings from all the different providers in every city that would be the “go-to”, one-stop place to find exactly what you were looking for. It would have its own tipping-point mechanism built right in so that each specific class would move forward only after the minimum required number of interested people had actually signed up. Hard to believe that it doesn’t already exist, and yet, it doesn’t. But, alas, that’s for another day.

Right now, if you’re intent on trying to help in this space, I’ve got plenty of scars, lots of experience, and some specific tips for you.

1. Find a Channel (Outbound)

Trying to reach a cohort of ready and qualified students that are interested in precisely your particular offering (and in a specific location and at specific times) is an expensive proposition. Customer acquisition costs are far in excess of what you can realistically charge a given student for your course offering–and you’re not going to make it up in volume, either. Because unlike colleges or universities, adult courses are often one-off deals where there isn’t even a way to amortize your acquisition costs over multiple sessions or courses.

You need an outbound, cost-effective communication channel to reach your targets. You want to ride on someone else’s back and rely on their bucks to help you get the job done. This is a lot easier than you think–fashioning win-win partnerships these days is all the rage. In particular, membership organizations (think AAA or AARP) are all under growing pressure to demonstrate the value they provide to their members in order to retain them when so many of the things they traditionally offered to their groups are now available elsewhere and often at no cost. So find yourself a free ride–associations, membership organizations, alumni groups, etc.–and choose the ones most closely aligned to your offerings and see what happens.

2. Find a Feeder (Inbound)

A staggering number of traditional schools (high schools, colleges and universities) aren’t giving their graduates the concrete, practical skills they need to secure the jobs that are being created in the digital economy. We need more vocational training at every level of the education chain. This is the precise niche that high-end, technical adult education programs can fill if we regard them as education extenders rather than as places for grown-ups to occasionally pursue their hobbies.

The traditional schools aren’t going to get around to changing their programs any time soon (the community colleges are actually beating them to the punch), but their students (and graduates) are starting to get the picture and they make great targets for these kinds of programs even before they’re officially done with school. It’s easier than you would imagine to get the word out about what you’re doing on college campuses–and much, much less expensive than other channels.

Keep in mind that professors have considerable sway. An endorsement from a professor who can vouch for your product can be invaluable. Having a few professors pitch your programs is worth a lot more than persistent emails or piles of pamphlets at the student union.

3. Find a Food Chain (Upward Bound)

The single most discouraging thing I hear from the graduates of so many of these short-term courses is this: Now that they have made the investment and spent the time to learn the material, they don’t know where to go or what to do next–either because the actual training they’ve received didn’t include all the skills necessary to move forward in their job search, or because there’s no placement support from the training provider to help them take the next critical steps.

Now I realize that, as good as your intentions may be, you can’t do everything for people. You can’t push them forward all by yourself. But it’s up to you to show them that there is a path to success–and it’s your job to not only give them the skills needed to get there, but to help them define this path. Let your students know that it’s manageable as long as they’re willing to make the effort.

I realize that most people offering these courses aren’t even equipped (and they certainly don’t have the necessary time and/or resources) to run a placement service. So if you can’t do it yourself, it’s critically important to become a feeder to the organizations that need the very people you’re training. They’re not only the logical employers; they’re also equipped to fill in the gaps. You inexpensively source qualified people for them; they finish the process for you. It’s a win-win.

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Anyone Can Learn To Code Filling The Talent Gap http://www.1871.com/anyone-can-learn-to-code-filling-the-talent-gap/ http://www.1871.com/anyone-can-learn-to-code-filling-the-talent-gap/#comments Mon, 13 Apr 2015 19:17:46 +0000 http://www.1871.com/?p=12202 By Giselle Gonzalez. To view the original blog, visit http://www.builtinchicago.org/blog/anyone-can-learn-code-filling-talent-gap-0

 

Since last June, Anyone Can Learn To Code ... » Continue]]> By Giselle Gonzalez. To view the original blog, visit http://www.builtinchicago.org/blog/anyone-can-learn-code-filling-talent-gap-0


 

Since last June, Anyone Can Learn To Code (ACLTC) has been doing its part to address the drought of available developer talent. Students of this 1871 based web development training program arrive as coding neophytes, and emerge fifteen weeks later ready to join the ranks of skilled programmers, and have already landed positions at a variety of tech companies. From more established companies like DialogTech and Leapfrog Online to nimble startups such as CancerIQ and HealthEngine, ACLTC graduates are making their dent in the Chicago development community.

ACLTC’s success is manifest in its growth. While it started with a handful of students, its upcoming class will be completely full with fifteen students. In addition to its rapid growth in Chicago, ACLTC is now announcing their expansion to other cities nationwide, beginning with its first course in San Francisco this Fall.

On April 16th, ACLTC’s third and largest cohort yet is celebrating its graduation with The Showcase, a free lunch event in the 1871 auditorium where all employers and the tech community at large are invited to network with each of the graduates, and receive a personal walkthrough of a web application that each graduate individually created. It’s a unique event that has been described in the past as a hybrid of a job networking event and science fair, with free lunch and beer.

In addition to celebrating the students’ success at The Showcase, ACLTC will be presenting its first Strategic Partnership Award to 1871 recognizing the latter’s role in helping ACLTC get its start. “While 1871 is the ideal location for ACLTC due to its prominence and accessibility for the Chicago tech community, it’s really a lot more than that,” says Jay Wengrow, ACLTC’s founder and CEO. “1871 supports us in so many other ways, from helping us connect to key people within the community, to promoting our events, to hosting our meetups, plus more.”

“We are thrilled to see the success of Anyone Can Learn to Code and are excited about helping the program grow at 1871,” said Howard A. Tullman, 1871 CEO. “ACLTC is a wonderful element of our ecosystem and fits nicely with the overall offerings and organization of 1871. Some of their graduates have even found high-paying jobs with our companies. We are very excited for the future of ACLTC.”

The ACLTC Showcase is free and open to the entire community. To attend, once can RSVP here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-anyone-can-learn-to-code-showcase-tickets-16381663998

To learn more about ACLTC, you can visit its website at http://anyonecanlearntocode.com or email them directly athello@anyonecanlearntocode.com.

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1871 Community Newsletter 4.9.15 http://www.1871.com/1871-community-newsletter-4-9-15/ http://www.1871.com/1871-community-newsletter-4-9-15/#comments Fri, 10 Apr 2015 15:40:47 +0000 http://www.1871.com/?p=12206 Welcome again to the 1871 Community Newsletter – your new source for interesting news from the 1871 team, members and ... » Continue]]> Welcome again to the 1871 Community Newsletter – your new source for interesting news from the 1871 team, members and friends. From mergers to member opportunities, this is the new place to stay updated on all things 1871. Contact Melissa Wooten: mwooten@1871.com@1871Chicago

 

Divvy Data: The 2015 Divvy Data Challenge encourages designers, developers and scientists to visualize over 3 million Divvy trips from the past year in an insightful, beautiful, or creative way. Grab a free Goose Island beer and check out the winners at their Awards Ceremony at 1871 on Tuesday, April 14. bit.ly/1ChZ9LJ | @DivvyBikes

 

Making the Case for inRentive:  inRentive’s Melissa Moline took home a $100,000 investment from AOL co-founder Steve Case for her pitch at Google Demo Day last week. The opportunity to send members to Google’s annual Demo Day is just one of the many resources 1871 receives as one of only nine Google for Entrepreneurs Tech Hubs in North America. bit.ly/1a7blHa | About GFE | @GoogleForEntrep | @inRentive

 

Help us tell the 1871 story. If you’ve done something interesting with your company, 1871 would love you to write a blog on the experience to be featured on the 1871 website. These posts are a critical way of helping tell the 1871 story, and something we want everyone to be involved with.

 

Your Life…Only Better: 1871 member Yolobe is hosting a Teen Expo next Saturday, April 18 to connect local students with community resources and potential employers. Join 1871 in supporting a great event. bit.ly/yolobeexpo | @YolobeInc

 

Mayor Rahm Emanuel stopped by 1871 last week after a get-out-the-vote visit to Braintree (just a few days before his successful re-election). The Mayor shook hands, watched a few members demo their products, and wound up in more than a few selfies. on.fb.me/1CqEjZN

 

Housekeeping: Tired of squeaky wheels interrupting your evening events? Never fear – the squeaky wheel will be getting the grease (literally and metaphorically)! Per your member survey requests, we’ve asked The Mart to make the cleaning carts quieter or to hold off on cleaning the 2.0 space until after evening classes have ended.

 

Help Vets Vet Ideas: 1871 member AALLII is running a Kickstarter campaign to help military families smooth the transition from the service to civilian employment. It’s a great cause – be sure to check out their Kickstarter campaign to learn how you can help. kck.st/1NUXiln | @careeraallii

 

TIME to get away?: If you’re dreaming of warmer weather or planning your next vacation, check out 1871 member company Options Away and the nine other apps for travel junkies recently featured in TIME. ti.me/1NbyQRY

 

Early and Often: Election season may be over, but you can still vote! Check out the video of 1871 (pre-2.0 expansion), and vote for our space in the Chicago Creative Space Awards. You can vote once per video per day, so “early and often” is key here. bit.ly/1Iu4SW3

 

Stoked for Stoltz: Our partner Pearson has offered to waive the registration fee for 1871 members for their Learning Summit taking place today and tomorrow in Chicago. We hear that Paul Stoltz’s keynote tomorrow morning on gauging and growing GRIT in education is supposed to be particularly interesting. We’re also expecting Paul to stop by 1871 while he’s in town.

 

Awesome Alum: You might remember Randiss Hopkins from his time at 1871 last summer. His organization at NIU, The Remember Project, just announced a partnership with After School Matters to provide opportunities for college students to be present in the lives of inner-city youth in Chicago through their Alternative Spring Break initiative. Randiss has landed an internship in DC for the summer, and was just selected as a Newman Civic Fellow. Between all of those things and his promotion in the NIU Jazz Ensemble, we’re really not sure where sleep fits into his schedule. bit.ly/1FnAari | bit.ly/1Plrwli | @RandissWonder

 

Become a Member of the Member Council: 1871 is getting ready to announce the first members of its member advisory committee, which will meet regularly to provide direct feedback on issues relating to membership at 1871 (including, but not limited to: making corporate connections, improving community involvement, attracting more free pizza to the space).

 

#CoworkingProblems: In order to make sure that everyone has equal access to conference rooms, please remember that members are allowed to book no more than two consecutive hours for the same conference room (e.g., booking R3 from 9am through 5pm in four separate two-hour slots is not cool).

 

Sun-Times Ed Board Shines Light on Equity Crowdfunding: The Chicago Sun-Times released an editorial this week supporting a bill that would legalize intrastate crowdfunding in Illinois. The bill was formally announced last month at 1871 by IL Rep. Carol Sente, the SBAC, and 1871 CEO Howard Tullman. While the Sun-Times hopes that interstate crowdfunding will be legal soon (and we agree!), they noted that intrastate crowdfunding is an important step for Illinois while we wait for the national regulations. bit.ly/1ILgjW1

 

Tweet of the Week: @HakaProducts: Newest addition to the team. She’s ready to code! @1871Chicago bit.ly/1DKRPOQ

 

Welcome new members! Jonathan Murfey – Alex Krauskopf – Andrew Hill (Food Trace) – Amy Hanna (Luxe) – Thao Nguyen (Star Anise Foods) – Daniel Goff (TechBridge) – Dave Caulton (Cloudspotter) – Christophe Dilworth (GuideUs) – Drew Bassler (GuideUs) – Collin Adler (Cabaray) – Michaela Neatherton (Sente Advisory) – Gregory Stevens (TerraBridge) – Lizzie Ekeberg (Mercaris) – Anthony Loss (Pixl) – Daniel Slowinski (Classkick) – Leah Fine (Classkick) – Siena Reese (Hard Rock Hotel Chicago) – Bryce Bowman (Citizen Schools) – Cristin Zweig (Agent Ace) – Shaun Kremin (CMUK.)

 

Just For Fun: Ever wish it could be easier to send GIFs while texting? No? Okay, well anyway…a few members of the 1871 team (especially Kristi Dula) are loving a new app that lets users send GIFs directly from their messenger keyboard. Check it out, and keep your GIF game strong. Thanks to the amazing Jill Salzman for the recommendation! bit.ly/1ILgBvP

 

Birthdays this week: Sunday 4/5 – Eric Brown (Tripador) – Thursday 4/9 – Diane Lee (Alpacu) – Friday 4/10 – Saagar Gupta (Hashtagr) – Jill Salzman (The Founding Mom) – Saturday 4/11 – Adam Milich (1871)

*Don’t see your birthday here? Make sure you fill out your Weave the People Profile!

 

Essential Links: @1871Chicago | http://www.1871.com | weavethepeople.com/w/1871/2015/ | http://www.facebook.com/1871Chicago

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Tullman: How to Innovate Like a Startup http://www.1871.com/tullman-how-to-innovate-like-a-startup/ http://www.1871.com/tullman-how-to-innovate-like-a-startup/#comments Wed, 08 Apr 2015 14:30:38 +0000 http://www.1871.com/?p=12187 By 1871 CEO Howard A. Tullman. To view the original blog, visit: http://www.inc.com/howard-tullman/sneakernet-innovation-technology.html

Innovation at companies of all sizes requires ... » Continue]]> By 1871 CEO Howard A. Tullman. To view the original blog, visit: http://www.inc.com/howard-tullman/sneakernet-innovation-technology.html

Innovation at companies of all sizes requires a willingness to test out inelegant solutions. In other words, break out your sneakers.

Many years ago, I saw a great cartoon that completely encapsulated the leap of faith that is a crucial part of every entrepreneur’s dream. The drawing showed a guy standing under a series of thought bubbles reflecting the development of his great new business idea, from creation through development and on to commercialization. Right smack in the middle of the process was a modest little bubble, which read “miracle happens here.” For me, that simple illustration said everything there was to say about how critical faith and perseverance are to the success of a startup. And how sometimes, it’s not about seeing; it’s about believing. You have to believe it and concretely envision it, then, you can convince others to see it as well.

In addition to that initial takeaway, I have retained–all these years later–a completely different thought about that critical link in the process. This has helped me to understand and formulate inexpensive, practical, and rapid solutions for small and large businesses that can help move things forward without asking anyone to bet the farm. Mine isn’t a new concept, in some respects; we’ve all heard of “try it before you buy it.” And I used to remind my MBA students that you never wanted to test the depth of a puddle by jumping in with both feet. Making cheap mistakes–and getting over them–is an art form.

But this simple concept continues to be a major challenge for large businesses that want to introduce new ideas and innovations but are also grappling with the need to deploy enterprise-wide solutions and manage the tangled code of decades-old legacy systems. They long for the speed, flexibility, and low costs of the startup world, but they’re stuck in an environment where the passage of time and the prior investment of millions of dollars makes it harder and harder to change. They need an approach that will let them investigate and iterate before they invest and adopt new solutions. And they need a buffer to be sure that as they’re testing new tools they aren’t disrupting the ongoing business.

My solution–which I call a “sneakernet“–isn’t groundbreaking or revolutionary–it’s just the heart and soul of how startups think about these things. Large businesses need to think like this to get over that first hurdle of doing something “good enough:” quick and dirty–with duct tape galore–in order to get things going. It won’t be pretty–it certainly won’t be perfect–but if you wait until it is, you’ll never even get started.

As with everything, it starts with a definition. I’ve found that properly defining the problem often gets you more than halfway to the solution. And, as often as not, the solution that you need to get the ball rolling is something that’s painfully obvious and sitting right in front of you. Very often, it’s not a step or two forward; it’s a look backwards at how things used to work and how they were done before all those expensive computers got in the way.

So what exactly is a sneakernet? 

It’s a back-to-basics perspective that recognizes that sometimes shoe leather and sneakers are better system connectors than six months of re-engineering, thousands of wasted man hours, and unending attempts to get two separate systems to talk effectively to each other. It’s when you can’t solve things the hard way, so you take a much shorter and simpler path and just walk the data from one system over to the next. And even though you may have to re-enter critical information and there may be some redundancies, you’ll get the job done, as far as these tests are concerned, and you’ll actually save time, money, and a lot of sleepless and sweaty nights.

This is an approach that doesn’t try to solve 100 percent of the problem on Day One. It doesn’t attempt to create a comprehensive and complete process (which will cost too much, will take too long, and will most likely never see the light of day). It’s an approach that says, if I was starting from scratch and just had to get the thing from here to there, how would I do it?

If you can’t breach the four walls of an enterprise or legacy system and get your job done directly, the next best attack is to step back and do things the old-fashioned way for a while, especially when you’re just trying something new. For example, if you can’t readily or inexpensively integrate a new mobile ordering system with your old payment system, then do it the easy way. Capture the orders quickly and easily from the new mobile system (thereby making your customers a lot happier), print them out, and then quickly walk them over and re-enter them into the old payment system, which will take it from there. That’s a classic sneakernet approach.

Sure, it won’t scale, but who really cares? For the moment, you’re just trying to see if the dogs like the new dog food. No one really needs to know what’s behind the curtain. It’s really not important how the critical information moves or who moves it; it’s just critical that the information move.

  • This approach is smart, because you limit your investment and your dedicated resources while you are still able to effectively test the consumer’s interest and appetite in the new approach.
  • It’s secure, because there are none of the data issues that a real-time connection might involve–and which would give your IT people ulcers for sure.
  • It’s swift, because it is supplementary to everything you are now doing and can be immediately implemented without any material changes or integration into your current operations. To those ancient and immovable legacy systems, it looks exactly like the “same old, same old,” but you’re actually appending new solutions to the system.

It’s a sneaky sneakernet.

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