9 Stages of an Accidental Doer

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Some mornings I have deep insights about myself. I’m now on a start-up quest – that tingling time when your start-up is an oozing mass of excitement, lives no where but in your head, and the whole universe lights up when you talk about it. To your friends, you sound like a bumbling baboon on PCP. They are trying to …

Two Butterflies Flapping up a Nano-storm

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Although I am not a believer in the inevitability of inventions, dueling technologies certainly make me pause. Consider this: within a week of each other, I came across two articles reporting on developing nanostructures inspired by…butterflies!  Two different species, at that, with very similar underlying characteristics.  Inspired by these colorful, fluttering creatures, two separate research groups have built nanosensors, sure to …

Three Big Barriers in Energy Innovation

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  The traditional energy industry is ripe for change. Oil and gas adorns a century and a half old crown. Electric power has doubled in the last 25 years, driven by an impressive growth in global markets. The cheapest fossil fuel seams have been effectively depleted – there is no such thing as “easy coal/oil/name-your-favorite-fossil-fuel” any more. Sustainability has become the …

A Bright Blue Future

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Blue LEDs: little bright shiny sources of incoherent 405-nm photons. Back in 2004, if you happened to be a graduate student in nanotechnology, there were few things cooler than a blue LED.  When these started invading consumer electronics, even the poorest of consumers (= graduate students) started upgrading to quality toasters just because the new toasters had 3 of these …

The Season of Red: On Fashion, Trademark & Aequitas

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Two fashion giants are currently locked in a deadly battle, a regurgitated fight over red. Fashion houses Christian Louboutin and Yves Saint Laurent took to court the issue whether the color red can be trademarked. In fact, Louboutin was granted the trademark in 2008 but YSL is challenging that action. You might laugh, but Louboutin has the clear win on …

Entrepreneurial Lessons from a Farmers’ Market: Part 3

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Thanks to entrepreneur Richard Kaplan’s savvy in adopting Square, I could walk away from his Farmer’s Market booth with chocolates, a business lesson and… cash. Armed with cash, once more, I came upon my last delightful class of the day: Case Study 3: Maison Burdisso. Lesson:  Embrace your customers: recommendations sell more than ads  True Parisian macarons at Maison Burdisso’s stall. The story: Jackie …

Entrepreneurial Lessons from a Farmers’ Market: Part 2

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I had just spent all the cash I had on a key business lesson à la Lavende Farms . It was a farmer’s market after all, so credit cards weren’t welcome. How could any more businesses have benefited from my patronage? For that, we have Richard Kaplan’s versatility to adapt by using neat, smart technologies to help him face cashless customers: …

Entrepreneurial Lessons from a Farmers’ Market: Part 1

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With ardent determination to enjoy the panting July Houston heat, I ventured into H-town’s streets to see what afternoon delights she held in store. As always, armed with goodies, Houston surprised me: a fantastic Farmers’ Market filled with key entrepreneurial lessons: Lesson # 1 :  Share your story  Lesson # 2:  Use new technologies to adapt Lesson # 3:  Embrace your customer: Recommendations sell more …

Move the World – Presentation Lessons for Tomorrow’s Leaders

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TED has some of the best talks ever – the content, the message, and the delivery are unparalleled. Needless to say, some of the best brains of the world contribute here. This is an exemplary instance of such a skill: Here, Hans Rosling, Professor of International Health at Karolinska Institute and Director of the Gapminder Foundation, which developed the Trendalyzer …

All that Glitters can be better than Gold

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People have been talking about investing in gold as an inflation hedge for a while now. As Peter Schiff likes to point out, in the Roman Empire an ounce of gold purchased a Roman citizen a toga (suit), a leather belt, and a pair of sandals. Today, one ounce of gold will still buy a man a suit, a leather …