April 2017: Think big or go home, Networking Apps, Richard Branson’s poem, Israel, Australia…

What’s in this newsletter… 

  • News from startupsinnovation:
    • Continuing to unearth Boston’s entrepreneurs and innovators through our Alpha Training
    • Talked the Astropreneurship and medicine in Space Hackathon at Harvard University
  • Quotes to inspire yourself and your team more:
    • What Mark Roberge (Revenue Officer at Hubspot) said at Harvard Spark 2016
  • Interesting VC investment activity in Boston:
    • VentureApp (Whatsapp/Linkedin for entrepreneurs) receives another $4M in funding from Boston VC Firm Accomplice.
  • Innovator’s tip:
    • Think big or go home says guest post author this month. Guest Post by Chris Kalaboukis
  • Market shift / interesting disruptive trend:
    • Innovation getting bigger in outback Australia – Guest Post by Dr Louise Teo
    • Road trip in Israelite Innovation ecosystem: 5 Top startups – Guest Post by Patricio Julian Gerpe
  • Networking opportunities & events:
    • Discover the Shapr (Networking) app to meet inspiring people and shape your life.
  • A dose of fun:
    • Richard Branson wrote a poem for entrepreneurs

Newsletter:

News from startupsinnovation…

Quick talk at the Astropreneurship and Medicine in space Hackathon @Harvard

First of all, a big thank you to the Quantly team for inviting us at their annual hackathon. The event was very well organized at the Harvard Science center in Cambridge. It was a two day event sponsored by many partners. The event included several talks aimed to help scientists, astrophysicists / entrepreneurs as they were working on their ideas. Startupsinnovation was one of the talks and we covered several topics, excerpts from our training, in front of a group of entrepreneurs from the event (Business models, networking and answered questions).

At the end of the two days a judge panel voted for the top ideas. For more (Pictures, winners, sponsors etc.) visit directly the event site here

Few pics from the Hackathon:

Continuing to unearth Boston’s entrepreneurs and innovators through our Alpha Training

In March 2017, we’ve continued to take entrepreneurs through our content in our all day sessions with them. The feedback we have been receiving is very encouraging. (See for yourself the comments posted here at the bottom of our Alpha Training page).

The Alpha training is probably one of the best content available right now in Boston. We developed it using years of business experience, a year in the Silicon Valley topped up by quality research as well as serial entrepreneurs interview. At the end of the training you will receive a certificate of completion and our companion e-book. More importantly, you’ll have all the knowledge you need to thrive in the tech (r)evolution era and help you take ideas to reality limiting the pain and time.

Few pics from workshops with Boston entrepreneurs.

Check out all the details and book a seat here

A special thanks to Health Innovators for sharing their space with us to enable these.

Today’s quote to inspire yourself and your team more…

Mark Roberge Source: Hubspot.com

Start with the problem. Don’t start with the technology and then look for  problem to home the technology”

Mark Roberge (Former Chief Revenue Officer – Hubspot)

Quote from a talk he gave at Harvard University – Spark 2016. A good reminder to entrepreneurs. Be very clear on the problems you want to solve first. We can’t repeat this enough. If you are not clear about the problems you are resolving, it’s difficult to explain the value you create with your solution…

VC investment activity in Boston…

VC Firm named Accomplice funds VentureApp second round ($4M). An app for entrepreneurs…

  

What it is: VentureApp (Whatsapp/Linkedin for entrepreneurs) receives another $4M in funding from early stage Boston VC Firm Accomplice

Why it’s important: Designed for professionals in the innovation economy, VentureApp makes it easy to chat with your closest business contacts and connect with new partners. It helps grow your professional network without email inbox overload.

Selected / proposed by: Startupsinnovation team

Innovator’s tip: 

Think big or go home! Guest Post by influencer & Innovator Chris Kalaboukis (Silicon Valley)

What is the post about: The mindset to have with regards to risk taking and innovation

Why it is important: Innovating implies risk. To make progress you need to take some risk

Who is it best suited for: Entrepreneurs, Intrapreneurs

Read here

VIP Guest author:

Chris Kalaboukis is the co-founder of helloFUTURE, a foresight, innovation, and patent development consultancy in the Silicon Valley. A visionary disruptive innovator and prolific inventor, he is named on 60+ patents in the internet, social networking, and fintech space. An experienced technologist and coder, he has architected, developed, and launched a multitude of apps, both web, and mobile. A serial entrepreneur, he has helmed several startups from inception to launch. Recently, he has been specializing in the development of innovative new products and services via innovation, patent and foresight programs for financial services, technology, media, and retail/e-commerce companies, from startups to enterprises. He has authored several books on innovation and the future and blogs and podcasts at thinkfuture.com.

Market shift / interesting disruptive trend:

Discover top 5 startups from the Silicon Wadi (Israel) to watch out for. 

 

 

 

 

 

What is the post about: 5 high-tech Start-Ups from the Israeli entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Why it is important: Emerging markets are important for global entrepreneurs as these economies are becoming new players in the global business sphere.

Who is it best suited for: Global Entrepreneurs, Intrapreneurs, Business developers, Agents.

Contributing guest author:

Patricio Julian Gerpe, is an Argentine 24-years-old high-tech entrepreneur, TEDx speaker, coder, digital nomad & business student who is currently living in London. He is specially interested in AI technologies and emerging economies. He is also co-founder of the Argentine Artificial Intelligence Community called “IAAR” . 

Discover Australia’s outback tech (r)evolution. A post offered by Dr Louise Teo (Startupsinnovation guest blogger)

What is the post about: What we can learn from Innovation and tech programs in rural and regional Queensland, Australia. 

Why it is important: Innovation isn’t limited to the major capital cities, whether in the States or Australia. By spotlighting some of the local initiatives in rural Queensland, a state known for its abundant natural resources and the World Heritage Great Barrier Reef, readers can learn how innovation begins at home, whereever they are. 

Who is it best suited for: Anyone interested in global entrepreneurship and innovation, and readers curious
about Australia.

Read here

About the guest author

Louise Teo is a medical doctor and writer who founded themedicalstartup.com, a site dedicated to medical entrepreneurship and innovation. She is also the News Editor for the Journal of Mobile Technology in Medicine (journalmtm.com) and is based between Melbourne and rural Queensland. She is passionate about local innovation being a global interest.

Networking opportunity & events:

Discover the Shapr (Networking) app to meet inspiring people and shape your life.

What it is?

Shapr is a cool app that enables you to network and meet other professionals or entrepreneurs looking to network.

Why it’s important?

Shapr makes it easier for you to connect with new people who may be able to help you with your start-up project. As an entrepreneur, having a complete network is mission critical. It’s sometimes through the most unexpected connections that the biggest opportunities appear…In some cases, simply grabbing a coffee can turn out to become the next big thing…

A dose of fun: 

Richard Branson’s poem to entrepreneurs

Sir Richard Branson Source: Wikicommons

Richard Branson’s poem for entrepreneurs…

The road to success is paved with tests,
So you’ve got to believe in yourself above the rest.

Dream big, and let your passion shine,
If you don’t, you won’t end up with a dime.

Challenge the status quo, disrupt the market and say YES!
And remember that innovation is an endless quest.

Read the full poem here

 

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Spotlight: The Tech Revolution in Regional Australia, and Opportunities for Future Growth

What is the post about: What we can learn from Innovation and tech programs in rural and regional Queensland, Australia. 

Why it is important: Innovation isn’t limited to the major capital cities, whether in the States or Australia. By spotlighting some of the local initiatives in rural Queensland, a state known for its abundant natural resources and the World Heritage Great Barrier Reef, readers can learn how innovation begins at home, whereever they are. 

Who is it best suited for: Anyone interested in global entrepreneurship and innovation, and readers curious about Australia. 

About the guest author

Louise Teo is a medical doctor and writer who founded themedicalstartup.com, a site dedicated to medical entrepreneurship and innovation. She is also the News Editor for the Journal of Mobile Technology in Medicine (journalmtm.com) and is based between Melbourne and rural Queensland. She is passionate about local innovation being a global interest.

 

The Tech Revolution in Regional Australia, and Opportunities for Future Growth – by Dr Louise Teo

Picture by Louise Teo

There’s a tech revolution Down Under- and we have ideas on where the next opportunities will be. As a frequent city-hopper throughout Australia, we’ve noticed that the tech revolution isn’t solely limited to our most famous capital cities.
The rural towns dotting the 2300km expanse of the Great Barrier Reef have long been subject to “boom or bust” economic conditions in Australia. With the recent Australian mining sector downturn affecting once-bustling cities throughout Central and Northern Queensland, the time is ripe for entrepreneurialism to take place.
The Australian Federal Government’s Innovation Agenda has helped foster an environment for numerous innovation events. One such event coming up is Myriad, the global entrepreneurs’ conference to be held in Brisbane, Queensland’s capital, at the end of March. Bringing speakers from TechCrunch, Estonia, Western Europe and rural Queensland to the city, the event promises to help connect and inspire attendees as Australia’s answer to SXSW.
Myriad’s timing coincides with the World Science Festival, which will host Hack The Reef, the world’s first hackathon dedicated to the Great Barrier Reef. Held in Townsville, one of Northern Queensland’s largest Reef gateposts, Hack the Reef will bring participants together to brainstorm solutions for the Reef’s rapid bleaching crisis, with global warming sending water temperatures 1-2 degrees Celsius higher than usual and irreversibly bleaching the beautiful coral. Hack the Reef will send winners to Myriad, and help boost tech and entrepreneurial skills in a region not known for its Opera House or laneway coffee spots.

Picture by Louise Teo

Maker spaces and coworking centres have also opened up in Mackay, Cairns and Townsville. Startup Mackay is a hub for the sugar cane city and former mining hub now focusing on tourism. The Assisted Devices Hackathon will be held in Mackay, Toowoomba and Townsville later this year, with support from Advanced Manufacturing Queensland helping to re-energise Queensland manufacturing and engineering. theSPACE Cairns and Canvas Coworking in Toowoomba also host startup events and coworking space for locals and visitors.
Additionally, Australia’s largest corporate startup accelerator Slingshot has announced a presence in Cairns this year. It will dedicate funding and resources to projects focusing on travel, hospitality and entertainment in this city of 160,000 people which hosts international guests such as Elton John. Slingshot is known for running one of Australia’s largest health-tech accelerators, and currently has Australia’s first Human Resources Tech accelerator open for applications to be the next Freelancer or similar.
Finally, small business groups in these towns continue to host events for local startups and small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) alike. Small Biz Big Future has been held in Cairns for several years’ running, bringing together web developers, agricultural, marketing and legal experts in the region to deliver Top 3 Business Tips for attendees.

Picture by Louise Teo

Advance Queensland also completed a regional tour featuring 6 of Queensland’s most successful entrepreneurs, including Shark Tank Australia’s Steve Baxter and We Are Hunted’s Stephen Phillips, visiting ten rural cities to share their experiences with locals.
How else can regional towns pivot from existing business models and upskill in entrepreneurship? Currently, the options for rural business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs are to attend local events or education providers; otherwise, if they can afford it, to relocate to one of the capital cities. In our opinion, education shouldn’t be limited to local TAFE centres and universities, which are often costly and not suitable for time-poor owner-operators. It’s also worthwhile remembering that many small business owners are successful despite not completing school, or not having a strong tech culture within an Indigenous Australian community. Private tech skill educators such as General Assembly and Academy Xi are based in major capitals such as Melbourne and Sydney (with GA opening in Brisbane). These cities are doing their bit for entrepreneurship, but are becoming saturated with choice of events. Surely such schools could also aim to broaden their reach to rural areas by offering free or paid video access to classes and talks.
In times of crisis, there is a long-held resilience demonstrated by local farmers, retailers, and other small business owners, with communities devoted to buying local. Much can be learnt from business owners who have dealt with cyclones, droughts, banana plantation destruction and international trade adjustments. Perhaps a platform needs to be developed for giving these stalwart regional business owners a chance to share their lessons virtually with young and tech-savvy entrepreneurs across Australian cities. This could help introduce a new revenue stream to such business owners, in a valuable collaborative effort of Ideas Exchange.
It helps that Australia’s current Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, a former tech entrepreneur himself, has tried to shine a light upon regional innovation. Taking in rural Queensland towns such as Bundaberg and Rockhampton last year, Prime Minister Turnbull was impressed with technologies such as drones used by farmers for crop surveillance and pest control. As mentioned during his visit, it’s important to remember that entrepreneurs are not just city-based friends in T-shirts coding in a garage for fun. The real need for tech and entrepreneurial skills comes from those who are geographically isolated and time- and resource-poor.
Ongoing support for local businesses and education providers, whether rural or metropolitan, will continue to drive the future of Australian innovation. We’d be glad to hear your thoughts on this article and other ideas you may have.

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Spotlight: What is the Silicon Wadi? 5 Israeli Startups to watch.

What is the post about: 5 high-tech Start-Ups from the Israeli entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Why it is important: Emerging markets are important for global entrepreneurs as these economies are becoming new players in the global business sphere.

Who is it best suited for: Global Entrepreneurs, Intrapreneurs, Business developers, Agents.

About the guest author:

Patricio Julian Gerpe, is an Argentine 24-years-old high-tech entrepreneur, TEDx speaker, coder, digital nomad & business student who is currently living in London. He is specially interested in AI technologies and emerging economies. He is also co-founder of the Argentine Artificial Intelligence Community called “IAAR” . 

 

In this article, I will explain what the so-called “Silicon Wadi” is and will introduce you 5 outstanding innovative start-ups from this
ecosystem. While taking part in an Argentine entrepreneurial program called “Innovation Experience”, I had the opportunity to meet some of the brains behind these start-ups.

First of all, the Silicon Wadi is an important technological hub located over the coastal plains of Tel Aviv and Gush Dan, including cities such as Ra’anana, Herzliya, Caesarea, Haifa as well as the cybersecurity hub Be’er Sheva, located 108 kilometres from Tel Aviv.
When I traveled to Israel I also found out that the country is a prominent emerging high-tech entrepreneurial hub with outstanding research and development. Despite its low population, military conflicts, and scarcity of natural resources, Israel appealed to me as a resilient country with a mature entrepreneurial ecosystem. Universities, the government, and business people are united to solve real-life problems.

In my opinion, these are the top 5 high-tech start-ups that stand out:

1) Ride On

The first Augmented Reality goggles for snow sports.  It can make snowboarding even cooler!

2) Temp Drop

Temp Drop is an IoT device that helps women to track and monitor their fertility. The founder is currently looking for sales partners around the world.

3) SuperSmart

Think Amazon GO sounds interesting? Well, it turns out it is nothing new. I highly recommend you keep an eye on Supersmart and forget about the lines at the supermarket.

4) Pillcam

A pill that has a camera inside used as a substitute for traditional invasive endoscopy methods.

5) Netafim: 

A sustainable smart drip and micro-irrigation service for agriculture.

 

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Go Big Or Go Home : Risk Taking Makes The Difference

What is the post about: The mindset to have with regards to risk taking and innovation

Why it is important: Innovating implies risk. To make progress you need to take some risk

Who is it best suited for: Entrepreneurs, Intrapreneurs

Guest author:

Chris Kalaboukis is the co-founder of helloFUTURE, a foresight, innovation, and patent development consultancy in the Silicon Valley. A visionary disruptive innovator and prolific inventor, he is named on 60+ patents in the internet, social networking, and fintech space. An experienced technologist and coder, he has architected, developed, and launched a multitude of apps, both web, and mobile. A serial entrepreneur, he has helmed several startups from inception to launch. Recently, he has been specializing in the development of innovative new products and services via innovation, patent and foresight programs for financial services, technology, media, and retail/e-commerce companies, from startups to enterprises. He has authored several books on innovation and the future and blogs and podcasts at thinkfuture.com.

One of the big differences between those who succeed and those who haven’t succeeded yet is the ability to take a risk. To leap into the unknown, and deal with the results. It’s often cited as one of the reasons why investors will not back entrepreneurs over the age of 35 – their potential for risk taking is lessened (personally I think that it more like they expect the entrepreneur to not have a life outside of the business and pour their entire lives into it – something that if you ask me, stifles innovation and serendipity which leads to new thinking) because of their age – that they have less stomach for it.

This is BS, if you ask me.

There is no specific age where your risk taking muscles just suddenly cease to function. The propensity for risk taking can be something that you are born with and runs throughout your life, something that you start off with and lose, or something you can build. It’s like a muscle we all have – sometimes its strong, sometimes it’s weak, and you need to work at it to make it stronger. But it’s not something you lose, unless you want to lose it.

I’m not saying that you can’t succeed without risk taking, but you have a much better chance of it if you do. The good thing about your risk taking muscle is that you don’t need to take huge risks in order to work it. You can start small – pushing slowly out of your comfort zone, then push to bigger and bigger risks, until you get you where you want to be.

There are a number of techniques that you can use in order to build up your risk taking muscle – one of the quickest ways to do it is to get yourself a coach or guide to push you there. As I said in an earlier post, you can bring someone in to push you out of your comfort zone, build up your risk taking muscle, then eventually, you will be able to tackle it on your own. Unlike physical training, where even if you do months and months or boot camp, you may fall back into your old habits, the mental coaching is more likely to stick.

Another method which seems to work for many is the “act like” model – where you put on a show – you act like you are already able to take the risk, and your outward self-pushes you enough in order to go ahead and take that risk.

Risk taking is at the core of success, it’s at the core of disruptive innovation, and it’s at the core of new breakthrough thinking. If you are not taking risks, then you have to ask yourself, am I really doing something innovative?

This post originally appeared on thinkfuture.com

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Newsletter March 8th: Strasbourg-Boston, find investors, Silicon Valley mindset, Universal Base Income, 80’s fun

What’s in this newsletter… 

  • News from startupsinnovation: Nicolas Pellerin on Strasbourg’s ecosystem. Re-watch Jay Samit. Our training is available…
  • Quotes to inspire yourself and your team more: See what Sergey Brin said at the World Economic Forum in Feb. 2017…
  • VC investment activity in Boston: Useful database to find investors in Boston (New England Venture Capital Association)…
  • Innovator’s tip: Applying the Silicon Valley State of mind for corporate innovators and entrepreneurs…(By Chris Kalaboukis)
  • Market shift / interesting disruptive trend: Universal Base Salary. A solution to cope with job automation?
  • Networking opportunities & events: Let’s go to space! Quantly’s annual Hackathon at Harvard University
  • A dose of fun: Grasshoper.com 80’s Entrepreneur Training Video. So you want to be an entrepreneur? 🙂 Check it out…

Please share this newsletter with your friends if you like it or even with your worse enemies if you hate it! 🙂 Please feel free to provide suggestions or comments. It’s always great to have others opinions etc. These are big times…

News from startupsinnovation…

Interview with Nicolas Pellerin, head of innovation hub in Strasbourg, France (Sister city to Boston) 

This time around we are putting in the spotlight, here in Boston, Nicolas Pellerin, a Phd in Neuroscience and Head of Innovation at NextMed (Innovation center / hub) of the European metropole: Strasbourg! In this interview he presents to us the growing local innovation ecosystem, opportunities for entrepreneurs and investors and his ambitions to grow the partnership between cities with Boston.

Read the full interview here (Includes videos of Strasbourg)

 RE-WATCH our interview with Jay Samit – Time to disrupt you…

 

In the last months we worked hard to bring you many amazing and insightful individuals. Our list of interviewees includes Jay Samit! The world leading expert in innovation (Author of the best selling book Disrupt you, Tedx speaker, Keynote speaker to Visa, Adobe and many more). Re-watch our interview / discussion on disruption with Jay here and access all other insightful interviews here.

Jay Samit on the side of Bill Gates! We interviewed Jay Samit in 2016. A very insightful interview we recommend you watch again. Source of picture. Jaysamit.com

Please also make sure you subscribe to the newsletter because we have more coming up (especially one coming soon that will leave you very surprised that we were able to do it!).

Why don’t you get trained on how launching a startup / innovation works today? 

We cannot stop repeating it. The world is changing and requires a changing you! Make sure you get today’s basic new competencies to be able to evolve (survive) in the world of accelerated innovation and disruption. The era of entrepreneurs is on, the era of regular 9-5 employees is over! Equip you /your team with the knowledge you need. Our training is probably one of the fastest way and best one available right now in Boston. It is experienced and researched based. We developed it in the Silicon Valley and Boston so you get the best of both worlds in one go!

Check out all the details here and make sure you book your seat with us!

Today’s quote to inspire yourself and your team more…

“Younger folks today…want to be number one in the world. That is a really tall order. This can be discouraging…be the best [first] in your city, state…”

Sergei Brin (Founder of Google – Alphabet Inc.)

(Quote from the interview of Sergei Brin at World Economic Forum interview at 27:30)

Watch full interview: Davos 2017 – An Insight, An Idea with Sergey Brin here

Why watch it? Google is one of the most powerful companies in the world, and Sergei is it’s founder. He talks about how he succeeded, responsibility etc.

VC investment activity in Boston…

Find the investors you need for your start-up project using the NEVCA database

 
What it is: The New England Venture Capital Association provides a search database that helps you filter by categories to find the Boston area / New England region investors you need to get funded.

Search investors here

Why it’s important: As an entrepreneur funding is of course critical to launch your venture. Though it is even more important to approach the investors most suited for your project. That can add value, understand your market. This database will help you identify your potential investor leads and provide an entry point to contact them. Please! do us a favor though…Do not start your e-mail with “I need one million dollars!” Contact us so we can help coach you a little on how best to augment your chances and level your expectations and funding strategies.

Selected / proposed by: Startupsinnovation team

Innovator’s tip: 

Applying the Silicon Valley State of mind for corporate innovators and entrepreneurs…

What it is:  An article written by Chris Kalaboukis, a futurist from San Francisco, author, CEO of HelloFuture a full stack innovation company and blogger on how to apply the Silicon Valley state of mind for corporate innovators and entrepreneurs.

Why it’s important: Even though innovation is a process it is also a state of mind. One that the Silicon Valley has mastered. Chris in this article explains what makes the Silicon Valley unique and so prone to yield exceptional innovation results. Take a trip with this article in the heart of the Silicon Valley. Land of the birth of the technology revolution…A must read.

Article: Read it here

Selected / proposed by: Chris Kalaboukis. Hellofuture.com   

Market shift / interesting disruptive trend:

From job automation to Universal Base Income (Getting a check for doing nothing…)

 

What it is: An article, research from Peter Diamandis a tech futurist and speaker published only 2 months ago on the Universal Base salary or minimum guaranteed income. A response to the job losses that could be driven by automation and robotization of the world.

Why it’s important: Automation, accelerated innovation, artificial intelligence and robots are replacing / threatening jobs. Think about it Truck driver, according to Jay Samit, is the number one job in America. Well, technology advancements are such that we have now self-driving trucks. What does it mean to truck drivers on the long run? Loss of jobs? This applies to many other fields, if you look closer, it can even be a little scary. No panic though! One idea is floating around and even being tested already some countries: The universal Base Salary.

Article: read it here

Selected / proposed by: Startupsinnovation team

Networking opportunity & events:

Quantly presents their annual Hackathon at Harvard University on March 17th-19th…

What is the event about?

Quantly a data analytics start-up from the Harvard i-lab is organizing its annual hackathon on Astropreneurship space medicine and the dataverse. More details here (Booking here).

When is the event?

March 17th (Speakers), and March 18th-19th (Hackathon-Trainings etc.)

Where is the event?

Harvard University.

Why you should go?

How can an event on Space, Data and medicine cannot be awesome!!? In addition, they have lined up some speakers that will for sure be very insightful. You should try to go there even if it’s just for the sake of serendipity!

A dose of fun: 

An epic 80’s fun entrepreneur’s training video

Entrepreneurship can be hard sometimes so it’s important to put a bit of humor into it. Positivity is key. Like Jay Samit, serial entrepreneur and world leading expert in innovation says “You’ve never seen a great idea come out of someone in a bad mood”. So here you go, a cool video that we found funny watching…That should help put you in a good mood. An old school video to teach you to be an entrepreneur, the 80’s way…

Are you ready to be an entrepreneur? Are you ready to take the bull by the horns?

Enjoy…

 

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The Rise Of Homo Nexus: Are We Now The Borg Collective?

Recently, I have been binge watching Star Trek: Voyager (such a geek, right – love those 90s hairstyles). One of the key premises of Star Trek (all versions save for the new JJ Abrams dreck) is that  individuals can always triumph over a “collective”.  The Borg was evil because it was a collective. When you were assimilated by the Borg (resistance is futile) you were robbed of your individuality, which meant being robbed of your humanity, since your humanity was inextricably tied to your individuality. The message: Individuality is good, the collective is bad.

I’ve been making some interesting connections and observations over the last little while about the future of humanity and what we’re becoming or what we have become. While I’ve said before that we are already cyborgs, only recently have I realized that we have become closer to the Borg depicted in Star Trek than I thought.

As a libertarian futurist (yes, you knew that, didn’t you?), I believe in the individual. Every adult is an individual, and should be allowed to make their own decisions for themselves.

I mean if you think about it, those are the precepts upon which America (and modern democracy) was founded.  All humans are created equal. All humans are individuals. They can make decisions for themselves. These individuals are adult enough and smart enough and they know enough to know what they’re doing. This is why we have drinking ages, driving ages, ages to join the military, and ages to marry.  We figure by the time that somebody gets to that age they should be an independent, intelligent individual who can make those decisions for themselves. (Well meaning governments notwithstanding.)  Right?

The individual is good. The collective is bad. From Wikipedia:

Also referred to as the “hive mind” or “collective consciousness”, the Borg Collective is a civilization with a group mind. Each Borg individual, or drone, is linked to the collective by a sophisticated subspace network that ensures each member is given constant supervision and guidance. The collective is broadcast over a subspace domain similar to that used by the transporter. Being part of the collective offers significant biomedical advantages to the individual drones. The mental energy of the group consciousness can help an injured or damaged drone heal or regenerate damaged body parts or technology. The collective consciousness not only gives them the ability to “share the same thoughts”, but also to adapt with great speed to defensive tactics used against them

I think that that message has been recently turned on its head: the individual is bad and the collective is good.  I think that part the reason for that is our ability to be instantaneously connected to anyone, anywhere, all the time, Borg Collective-like. High speed, always on, mobile internet hyperconnectivity has made this happen. Why make your own decisions on anything when all of your friends opinions are a simple swipe or tap away? You can always blame your “collective” if you make a bad choice, and its super easy to let others make the call for you.

It feels to me that we may be moving away from a period of time where it was important to be an individual and that individuals made decisions for themselves, by themselves or at least within a small unit, like a couple or a family. That’s what we used to prize. That’s what we used to think was good. That’s what we used to think was the ultimate good: people making decisions for themselves. But I’m sensing that has changed.

Here’s an example. When we used to go shopping, you’d go alone or you bring maybe one or two trusted friends, or your significant other.  You’d try on a number of different things.  And you’d look at what you’re wearing, and you’d think to yourself  “I look pretty good in this” or maybe your significant other agrees but that was that, it was you and maybe one or two others. But now it’s a collective effort.  It’s a group effort.  You send pictures of your proposed outfit to a hundred of your Facebook friends and have them decide what you should wear.

The collective is becoming more important than the individual. Think about that for second.  If that is true, then everything changes. It affects the app you are building. It affects the startup that you’re about to launch into the world.  It affects the kind of business you’re doing: if individuals farm out all of their decisions to the collective, how does that change things? Instead of asking a user for their preferences, maybe you need to go direct to their social network instead. Assume that they will farm out the decision, and ask the collective instead. After all, isn’t it the same as asking what the most popular dish is at a restaurant, or the most popular cocktail at a bar?

Maybe this hyperconnectivity has evolved us into creatures who don’t just consult others, then make our own decisions, but a new kind of human, a new kind of humanity, disconnected from individuality, or Homo Nexus. Homo Nexus lets the collective make the decision for them.

We’ve all become mini hive minds. And we’re OK with that. We never used to be OK with that. We don’t make decisions individually anymore.  If that’s the case, leveraging the crowd is no longer an option, its mandatory. If you don’t leverage the crowd, your customers are out in the wilderness.  They won’t know what to do.

So, I’m posing these questions to you:

  • Have we moved from an individualistic culture to a collectivist culture?
  • Have we gone from making decisions for ourselves to somewhere where collective (social network) reigns supreme?
  • Have we disconnected individuality from our humanity, and in so doing, in some way are beginning to evolve into Homo Nexus?

And if so, how does that bode for your business, our political systems, our culture and the world?

Discuss.

This post was originally published on thinkfuture.com

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How To Apply Silicon Valley Thinking

Silicon Valley Is A State of Mind, Not A Place

I’ve been through a lot of economic ups and downs in the Bay Area and it’s always been very interesting to me the way things work around here; it’s a very unique place. The weather is great, never too hot never too cold. The amount of people who are here who are just amazing blows my mind. There are a lot of places that aspire to be like it: Silicon Alley, Silicon Prairie or Silicon Beach or Startup Paradise (I think that’s the Hawaiian one – which is probably more accurate since very few of these startups have anything to do with Silicon)

There’s something about this place that makes it very different from other places. I think may be something about the sheer, unending optimism, the entrepreneurial spirit which seems to be everywhere, and the huge, disruptive thinking, perfectly willing to blow up and rebuild things in a way which empowers humanity, helps make us better, freer and more human.

Everywhere you go, everywhere you turn, everyone you know is involved in something new and exciting and amazing and the sky’s the limit. Even in the deep dark depths of every recession that I’ve ever been through here there’s always the overheard conversation in Starbucks about how someone I left their job to start this new startup. You hear things like “I don’t know where it’s going to go. I don’t know where it’s going to lead.  I don’t know if I’m going to starve.  But by God I’m going to do this thing.”

This may be the single greatest concentration of real and aspirational entrepreneurs in the world, where they feel that they have the freedom to think big, to think disruptive, not just think out of the box but blow up the whole damn box. It’s exciting. There’s the positive side, and the negative side is that if are here and you are not involved in one of the super successful startups (which is of course more likely because most startups in general fail – although you wouldn’t think that according to the press around here) you go “Damn I missed that one and I missed this one” and if you keep on missing it and the funnily enough what you read in the media is all the successes you very rarely hear about the failures.  So people think “Silicon Valley is great.  There’s all these startups and they’re making all this money and they’re changing the world.”

Actually, I think it’s not really about the money. There are many much easier ways to make money than to become a technologist or a software developer and join a startup which then rockets to the stars. While developers do make good money here, it’s doubtful that they make HUGE money – that’s saved for the founder in the spotlight. If you are really in it for the money, then just get into the “business of money” – go to Wall Street, do your time, become a trader, go work for a bank. In fact, if you just want to make tons of money, just go work in the “money business”, aka finance.

In fact, let’s forget about the money. A lot of times it’s not even about the money. It’s about changing the world. It’s about doing something massively transformational.  It’s about doing something incredibly amazing. It’s about impacting the world. It’s about making a huge dent in the universe. And you don’t need to be here to think like that.

Companies are outside of the Bay Area come here and ask “what is it that’s so special? Why do people come here? Why are there so many amazing things coming out of this place?”

Silicon Valley thinks big and thinks disruptive, and thinks – how can we empower people to help them overcome obstacles placed there by big institutions that are forcing us to do things their way? We think that with the use of the right people, processes, tools and technologies you can blow apart and remake whole industries for the better. We look at those institutions which are causing pain in people’s lives, and we are blowing them up and remaking them as “customer first” businesses.

Look at the music industry, the publishing industry and now the educational business is getting totally blown apart and rebuilt with online learning. The taxi business is getting totally blown apart by Uber, the hotel business is getting totally blown apart by AirBnB, all these ideas came from Silicon Valley thinking – maybe your industry is next.

How do you apply this kind of thinking to your company?

  • Stop thinking about revenues and costs and start thinking about how you are going to change the world for the better
  • Start thinking about how to empower your customers even if it’s sacrificing those systems and institutions that have made you so profitable
  • Start truly thinking: customer first. In an ideal world, how would your customers use your products? Don’t think about what can’t be done because the systems in place can’t do them – think about what you could do it there were no constraints, then work back from there.

What is your massively transformational purpose? What are you going to do to make the world a better place for your customers and prospects? Are you just doing this to make a buck, or are you doing this to actually improve their lives?

Let’s make the world a different, better place, together.

This post originally appeared on thinkfuture.com

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Big times newsletter – February: Drizly raises $16.98M, Fear of someone stealing your idea, MIT Top 10 tech…

What’s in this newsletter: 

  • News from startupsinnovation: Learn about our new training…
  • Quotes to inspire yourself and your team more: See what Elon Musk, Jay Samit said…
  • VC investment activity in Boston: Drizly raises $16.98M, discover what they do…
  • Market shift / interesting disruptive trend: MIT lists the top 10 tech to watch in 2017…
  • Innovator’s tip: Should you fear that someone will steal your idea?…
  • A dose of fun: Steve Ballmer’s response to I-phone launch (legendary and funny!)

Please feel free to join the discussion by commenting on what we share, giving your perspective on some of our opinions and insights we share here.

News from startupsinnovation:

Want to make an impact?

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Quotes to inspire yourself and your team more:

“I can either watch it happen or be part of it” 

Elon Musk (Founder Paypal, Tesla, Space X, Solar City)

“The best big idea is only going to be as good as its implementation” 

Jay Samit (Author of Disrupt You)

VC investment activity in Boston:

Polaris Partners funds Drizly another $16.98m on February 21st

 

What it is: Drizly is a technology company transforming the way alcohol is shopped, sold and shared online. Drizly is a Boston based start-up founded in 2012 which raised on February 21st, according to crunchbase another $16.98M of funding from also Boston based venture capital firm Polaris Partners.

Why it’s important: This represent an improvement for consumers since they do not need to drive to the traditional liquor store to buy alcohol anymore. Deliveries are said to be done within an hour. Much like instacart (groceries delivery), mixmenu (restaurant food delivery) Drizly is disrupting the traditional commerces. Liquor stores need to adapt to these changes…

Learn more about Drizly:

Selected / proposed by: Startupsinnovation team

Innovator’s tip: 

Don’t Let the Fear of Your Idea Being Stolen Hold You Back

What it is:  An article that aims to explain to entrepreneurs if the fear of having someone steal their idea is justified.

Why it’s important: Many early stage, inexperienced entrepreneurs have the fear of someone stealing their idea which often leads them to become very secretive about their idea. This can become sometimes counter-productive as if no one knows about the idea or if those who need to understand it can’t (e.g. investors), the entrepreneurs may lose precious opportunities. This article will provide some light on that topic that comes back again and again. Entrepreneurs need to understand that in reality the implementation is the hardest piece, so even if someone steals the idea, they still have to implement it. Our message to entrepreneurs is: Focus on the implementation, move fast and work on your fears.

Article: Read it here

Source: Authored by Stephen Key for Entrepreneur.com

Selected / proposed by: Startupsinnovation team

Market shift / interesting disruptive trend:

MIT’s Top 10 breakthroughs technologies for 2017

 

What it is: Each year MIT, one of the most prestigious universities in the world shares its top 10 most important to know technologies.

Why it’s important: These technologies all have staying power. They will affect the economy and our politics, improve medicine, or influence our culture. Some are unfolding now; others will take a decade or more to develop. But you should know about all of them right now.

Article: read it here

Selected / proposed by: Startupsinnovation team

A dose of fun: 

 Steve Ballmer, ex CEO of Microsoft response to I-Phone disruption

Microsoft is today one of the most innovative company in the world. Nonetheless, Steve Ballmer’s response to a question asking him what his thoughts were of the I-phone back at the time is legendary…

A good example of unforeseen disruption.

Enjoy…

 

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Discover Strasbourg: Growing European Innovation hub and ties with Boston…

In this interview we are going cross-atlantic. In Strasbourg, Alsace, France. Some of you might know Alsace for it’s delicious gastronomy, wines, history. Strasbourg is the european capital and has always been a place where interesting innovation happened: Think Bugatti as a starter, probably one of the most beautiful cars in the world, was built in small town of Molsheim. If you’ve been there you’ve surely seen or travelled into their magnificent and modern electric tram system that transport people in and out and across the city everyday. Strasbourg is also known for its impact in healthcare: Nobel prize winners, best hospitals in France, invention of remote surgery, the aspirin and more.

Our interviewed guest today is Nicolas Pellerin, an executive part of the Strasbourg Innovation ecosystem development initiative. We exchanged with him on what is going at the present time in Strasbourg. We can tell you that: There is a lot happening…and it involves opportunities for Boston entrepreneurs, start-ups and investors!

Nicolas Pellerin

Before we start let us introduce you to Nicolas Pellerin. Here are few credentials about him…

  • PhD in cognitive neurosciences, Unistra, France
  • Professional experience
    • National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS – Centre national de la Recherche Scientifique) Research for Décathlon –Areva – EDF
    • Renault SAS (CAC40)-Research and Development Engineer
    • Alsace Biovalley – MedTech Project Manager- E-health
    • Eurometropolis of Strasbourg – Head of Innovation and Investment, Scientific Research Manager of the Nextmed, (Strasbourg medtech campus) program

Nicolas, can you describe briefly your role in developing the Strasbourg Innovation ecosystem?

For many years now, we have been placing considerable emphasis on the “scientific research and university courses” sector, an initiative recognised by the 4 Nobel prizewinners currently working in Strasbourg. We provide the interface with sectors where innovation is key, such as healthcare, higher education, digital, clean and green tech and the creative economy.

What’s is Strasbourg’s vision for 2030 and how can people get more information about it?

Economic development is a political priority for the Eurometropolis and it was with this in mind that it has set out to drive a partnership-based effort to get everyone working towards boosting the area’s attractiveness. This was the basis for the Eco 2020 and the Eco 2030 roadmaps and the ambition is to lay solid foundations for the creation of 27,000 new jobs by 2030, by highlighting this city’s specific features, such as its being a European and regional capital, a hub for innovation and a network node central to European transport. This roadmap represents a strategic platform for leveraging the strengths of the Eurometropolis to drive its economic fundamentals.

Take a tour of Strasbourg NextMed ecosystem. Exclusive video!

Strasbourg and Boston are sister cities. In what fashion, would you like to develop further this relationship. Especially on the topics of innovation?

Strasbourg is located in the centre of Europe and as such can help companies gain access to the important markets of France, Germany and Switzerland, as well as Eastern Europe. While it is interesting for North American companies to set up right in the middle of the European business environment, in the same way, French and European companies are looking to develop internationally and the North American market is strategic. We would therefore like to see Strasbourg as a launchpad for Boston-based companies, and reciprocally it would be useful for our companies seeking to expand to set up in Boston and have help getting into the American market. What might be particularly worthwhile is to have a Boston-based incubator/accelerator in Strasbourg (for example, an affiliate of the Cambridge innovation center).

Contact people for companies interested in setting up in Strasbourg are Nicolas Pellerin (nicolas.pellerin@strasbourg.eu) and Guillaume Facchi of Alsace Biovalley (guillaume.facchi@alsace-biovalley.com)

Can you describe MedTech? When and how was it founded, what is it and why it’s an important move for the region?

Reducing time-to-market, this is the central aim of Nextmed, the medical technologies campus, which first got underway in Strasbourg in 2012 (the opening of the pH8 incubator for innovation-led start-ups). The real-estate part of the campus is simply the starting point – the real added value lies in the support given to companies, irrespective of their size. The internationally-renowned competitive cluster, Alsace BioValley, and the Satt-Conectus accelerated technology transfer initiative, play a leading role in helping companies bring their products to market, find licensing partners and raise funds. Support is vital for ensuring project suitability within an ecosystem encouraging business development, and for this, financing and support need to be consistent. No stone is left unturned to help local companies open up to the worldwide healthcare market. Some 1000 new jobs have been created since 2012 and over 25 start-ups have got onto the development path.

What is the call to action to people for MedTech? Who are you looking for? To help or participate? What is it offering?

Strengthening the connections between scientific and medical research and industrial development. Bringing key players together through a dedicated city-centre location. What the campus is offering is 3 key cornerstones for developing the sector: a city-centre location on a site with 1000 years of history, dedicated sector-specific services with market professionals, ongoing exchanges of best practices and meetings within the network.

Today, it’s all about statistics and data: do you have any figures to share so readers can put in perspective the

objectives and progress made both by the vision 2030 and MedTech?

  • 30,000 m² for businesses with the Technoparc, including 7000 m² of office space in renovated historical buildings.
  • Strasbourg Teaching Hospitals, the largest employer in the east of France, with 12,000 hospital staff and ranked 4th-best hospital in France by leading French magazine Le Point.
  • IRCAD : 6000 surgeons from countries throughout the world trained every year in the Strasbourg Institute
  • IRCAD : 3 sister institutes in Taiwan, Rio and São Paulo
  • University of Strasbourg : leading French university in terms of scientific impact (scientific papers cited worldwide, a key quality criterion) and 4th-ranked in France (leading university outside Paris), based on the Shanghai ratings
  • 4 Nobel prizewinners in chemistry and medicine currently working in the city
  • Business incubators on 13/01/2017 :
  • pH8 : 1000 m²
  • Biocluster : 800 m²
  • IRCAD 2 : 2000 m²

= 3800 m² for businesses

  • 300 million consumers in the world for medtech products
  • 300 medtech companies within a diameter of 400 km²
  • 14 world-class technological parks within the same diameter.

Who would you say are the most important players right now in the Strasbourg innovation ecosystem?

  • The SEMIA incubator: provides support for project leaders to help boost their chances of successfully entering the market, through links developed with university research and business.
  • SATT-Conectus: accelerated technology-transfer initiative helping to promote innovation and economic development through public-sector research
  • University of Strasbourg: ranked no.1 in France through its scientific papers , 4 Nobel prizewinners working in its faculties.
  • Alsace Biovalley: world-class healthcare competitiveness cluster
  • IRCAD: an institute with a worldwide reputation in digested-system disorders, 3 sister institutes worldwide (Taiwan, Sao Paulo and Rio opening soon)
  • IHU: University Hospital Institute specialising in image-guided surgery: the only one of its kind in France, unique operating facilities.
  • Strasbourg Teaching Hospitals: ranked 4th best hospital in France, largest employer in the east of France (over 15,000 employees in 6 units).
  • Local authorities: region, Metropolis, city, etc…

Are local “big” companies actively supporting the ecosystem yet? If so can you name a few? How important is that?

Industry is playing an important role in the innovation ecosystem as executives are often on the boards of agencies for developing and promoting innovation. Examples include the partnership between the Eurometropolis and ENGIE (Suez US trademark) for developing an intelligent transport system, and the partnership with the Orange group in digital innovation.

Strasbourg is known for medical innovation already. Can you describe some of the reasons why and name few key players you think contributed or contribute to this status?

There are a number of key players in Strasbourg involved in innovation in science, while our 4 Nobel prizewinners illustrate the city’s excellence in the area. We also have Professor Marescaux, the head of IRCAD, which he founded in 1994, and the 3 others. We have world-leading surgeons in the Teaching Hospitals, and it’s no surprise that Strasbourg is rated the 4th-best hospital in France (other examples include Professor Gangi and the interventional imaging department, and Professor Dollfuss and the world’s first bionic eye). These skills are constantly being enhanced through the crossover between University research groups, basically because in addition to the unique range of University courses offered in the region, Strasbourg has some 58,000 highly-qualified students coming to study in the city every year.

Finally, the fact that major groups such as Siemens, Medtronic, GE Healthcare, Karl Storz and Intuitive Surgical have set up in Strasbourg speaks eloquently of the attractiveness of the area and the real advantages it offers. Let’s not, however, forget the start-ups that we, along with other public authorities have helped in their development stage through, the city’s business incubators, such as pH8  (http://www.europtimist.eu/implanter-a-strasbourg/les-lieux-dimplantation-a-strasbourg/le-ph8-la-pepiniere-dentreprises-innovantes-de-strasbourg ).

The development of the Technoparc also sets out to offer real-estate solutions for these companies, but, more importantly, provides the link between start-ups offering innovative solutions and majors looking out for innovation-led initiatives.

Video of Strasbourg innovations

Take a video tour of Strasbourg’s innovations! Strasbourg has a lot to offer…(video in French but images pretty explanatory)

What are the main hurdles you have, if any, you wish you could overcome to achieve quicker the vision of Strasbourg 2030 and MedTech?

The biggest challenge is for stepping up partnerships between industry and scientific and medical research to facilitate the creation and development of start-ups and to help them gain access to major companies in the sector.

They need easy access to premises and venture capital and a fast-lane time-to-market process.

How easy is it today to get capital to finance innovation in France? Are foreign investors welcomed?

Investment in France in start-ups often means public seed funding, followed by private funding. The difference between France and United States is that in France the initial funding for getting a start-up off the ground is often too low and innovators are having to spend more and more time looking for money rather than getting their products onto the market. International investment funds are obviously welcome as they are crucial for getting into international markets.

In healthcare, the Alsace Biovalley cluster has set up a special innovative enterprise label which helps gear companies up for raising funds.

What is the Cluster Innovative Enterprise Label (LEIP – Label Entreprise Innovante du Pôle)?
If you are selected by the Alsace BioValley cluster:

  1. You submit your project to the LEIP committee *, which will give you recommendations for improving it.
  2. You can receive expert assistance for implementing the LEIP committee recommendations.
  3. You resubmit your project to the LEIP committee, which can then give your company the Cluster Innovative Enterprise Label.
  4. The Label gives you privileged access to our network

The Alsace BioValley LEIP committee:

Investors: 

  • Alsace Business Angel
  • Grand Est Capital
  • CM-CIC
  • Mérieux Développement
  • Medevice Capital
  • European Materials fund
  • Seventure Partners

To have further information on companies seeking funds, you can contact Alsace Biovalley (http://www.alsace-biovalley.com/en/)

What do you see as the strengths and biggest opportunities for Strasbourg / France’s Tech on going revolution?

Strasbourg, and France in general, have always had a strong tradition of innovation and medical and scientific research. We now have the SATT (http://www.conectus.fr/en) technology transfer accelerators to help us and we need to focus on boosting start-ups, both with regard to investment funds and market internationalisation.

Strasbourg’s geographical location gives what is already an international city a genuine competitive edge, amplified by its importance as a European capital at the core of European innovation and markets.

Any last words Nicolas?

A big thank you to you, Alistair, for this opportunity and we would be delighted to answer any enquiries (Nicolas Pellerin : nicolas.pellerin@strasbourg.eu ) + linkedin

Thanks a lot Nicolas and to your team for the opportunity to interview you. This was a very insightful interview and I look forward to seeing the progress and next successes of the Strasbourg innovation ecosystem! For sure, more great things are going to happen here and we will do our best to spread the word here in Boston, USA.

Everyone, stay tuned…This is just the beginning!

Few Strasbourg web link for more information:

Blog medtech : www.medtech-strasbourg.eu

Alsace Biovalley : http://www.alsace-biovalley.com/en/

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In 2017, with us: Launch your idea in the market!

You have an idea and you are not sure where to start?

You’ve started with your idea but it’s not moving fast enough?

You wish you or your team was more innovative and entrepreneurial?

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Just say hi using the form below, tell us a bit about you, your ideas, issues and let’s see if we can work together in 2017. We can get on a short phone call with you. We are always delighted to connect from new or “old” folks…Be prepared for one of kind, disruptive and immersive experience in the world of startups and innovation: How it is done in this day and age…

Talk soon, let’s do amazing things together

 

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