If you’re in a brainstorming rut, check out Springwise.com. It has a plethora of articles about interesting business ideas from around the world. I tend to observe more business ideas from Europe than that of other geographical areas though.
The Silicon Valley area is based on the principles of cooperation and collective innovation. Really, this means that techies from other companies interact with one another frequently and even job hop every 2-3 years in order to gain more skills and experience. In my personal opinion, I think that techies are doing themselves a disservice by not getting involved with the local tech community. Imagine if you were in Nebraska or Ohio, you wouldn’t find such an innovative, entrepreneurial environment there like you would here. If you don’t take advantage of what SV has to offer in terms of a vibrant tech community, go live somewhere else because you’re paying too much for cost of living.
Local companies have a great opportunity to tap into this rich community in many ways. Here are my suggestions for managers of tech employees:
• Recognize external involvement during annual employee review time
• Be open to new ideas and technologies
• Hire more experienced candidates from the local area, not just new college graduates and internal transfers
• “Walk the walk” – interact with managers from other companies
• Cultivate an environment that encourages your employees to build marketable skills that other companies desire
• Sponsor and promote local tech community events
A few days ago, I was looking for a custom t-shirt website to make a few one-off t-shirts for fun. There are a lot of companies out there such as UberPrints.com and Zazzle.com. This is great for anyone who wants to promote his/her business without having to print up 100s of t-shirts at a time. I’m stilling waiting for my t-shirt to come in the mail, so I’ll let you know if they are of good quality. Then I happen to run into CNN’s website about t-shirts. You can purchase a t-shirt with a current CNN headline including the date and time of that headline. That’s pretty neat. Maybe I’ll buy one.
Did you know that Japan produces 2/3s of the world’s robots? I’m reading up on robots and agricultural and some of these robots look very scary. It reminds me of that evil character in one of the recent Spiderman movies with the long arms. If I was a farmer and saw this on my farm, I would have a heart attack.
Some open questions about robots to consider. Does it make sense for a robot to be the next best alternative over humans or a set of other technologies? For instance, can a robot do it better, the same, or worse? How much does a robot cost in comparison to human labor? Does the task require a few robots or many robots? How long should the robot operate when it’s on? So my question out to the folks, in what way ways can robots help today’s fruit farmers?
UC Davis Graduate School of Management has this great program called the consulting project. A company can submit a project proposal and have about 5-6 MBA students work on a real-life business problem at no cost to that company except for time for meetings. It’s a win-win situation – students get real work experience, companies get free work from MBA students. Check it out here.
(Author’s note: I found this gem while sifting through old posts. Apparently, I was very good about protecting the privacy of the speakers. So sorry that the names aren’t included, but I still think the takeaways are useful.)
Keynote Speaker #1 – President at William-Sonoma
1) Make your job personal
2) Be your best self
3) Hold the highest level of integrity
4) Stick with it (it could be job, career, company, etc)
Entrepreneurship industry breakout session
1) Make decisions quickly
2) Hire smart
3) Wear comfortable shoes
Keynote Speaker #2 – VP of Sales and Marketing at Nintendo America
1) What you know counts
2) Be true to who you are
3) Nice people can finish first
4) Embrace change
5) Watch your language
6) Intellectual curiosity is good
7) Treat feedback as a gift
8 ) Develop your own personal board of advisors (e.g., group of mentors)
9) Don’t be afraid to ask for help
10) Develop passions outside of work