Archive for March, 2007

Category Admin

Mar 24 2007 Published by under General

Thanks to Armenian Eagle’s Category Converter I was able to easily do something I’ve wanted to do for a while: clean-up the categories on Disruptive Thoughts. It was straight forward and easy to use.

The site now has four categories:

Startup Strategy: covering all topics start-up and business related
Social Enterprise: covering all topics on social entrepreneurism
Media: covering music, books, movies, …
General: covering everything else…

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The Star on Social Enterprises

Mar 24 2007 Published by under Social Enterprise

Ken sent me this great article from The Toronto Star titled, Beyond Profits.

The article provides a great introduction to social enterprise and it’s inspiring to see how advanced the social enterprise system is in Quebec. It’s also nice to see the movement getting attention in Ontario.

Some good quotes:

“”Our goal is not to make billions of dollars,” says Jerry Thistle, kitchen manager at the Raging Spoon. Instead, profits are used to build the business so more people can be helped in more ways, not to simply generate more profits.”

“These enterprises are self-run, self-financing and just as entrepreneurial as any small business, but with a guiding philosophy closer to a social service agency.”

“Most people continue to have trouble pinning down what exactly the social economy is, this much is certain: the projects are run like businesses, but the profit motive comes second to helping such groups as the mentally ill, the homeless or struggling immigrants.” [I’d say the profit motive comes second to addressing social issues]

“Social economy enterprises… can be as single-minded about growing their businesses as the most ardent capitalist, but they measure success differently. It’s not about the bottom line, but about making society a little better any way they can.”

Finally, two great things to take away from the article:

1) “We are building a movement,” Absolutely the movement is growing, and for good reason. Retune’s focus is to build the movement in Hamilton and the surrounding Golden Horseshoe region.

2) “Neamtem’s group now administers a $53 million fund, made up of contributions from corporations, pension funds and the federal and provincial governments, that provides seed money for social economy enterprises”.” This is a huge thing to understand – the ecosystem that supports for-profit start-ups can be mirrored to support early-stage social enterprises. More on this later.

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Innovation Capitalists

Mar 24 2007 Published by under Startup Strategy

The Forethought section of March’s Harvard Business Review has a piece titled Meet the Innovation Capitalists.

“Innovation capitalists are firms… that seek out and evaluate ideas and technologies from the inventor community and other external sources. They develop and refine those ideas to the point where their market potential is validated, and they pitch them to large client firms. An innovation capitalist reduces a client company’s acquisition costs and early-stage risks.”

This is another piece in the specialization company thesis that sees companys/investment firms specialize along business stage / process pathways and leverage a technology through their network, one business stage at a time, until it scales and comes to market.

Innovation Capitalists “add value not through capital investing, as venture capitalists do, but through a unique combination of market expertise, networking skills, and early-stage innovation management acumen.”

Generally firms looking to acquire newly developed technology had two options, each introducing a forced tradeoff; however, Innovation Capitalists help fill the middle of the spectrum offering a solution free from the two tradeoffs.

One traditional option has been to seek out and acquire technology that’s still far from market-ready. In this situation costs are reduced but risks are elevated. The second traditional option has been to buy innovation that’s ready for market. This situation brings low risks but high costs.

Innovation Capitalists fill the middle of the spectrum – using their particular industry expertise to seek out and identify emerging technologies, develop and refine the ideas to validate market potential and mitigate risks, and then push them forward to different organizations that can advance them further or bring them to market.

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Explaining the Lull of 2007?

Mar 22 2007 Published by under General

If you look at the archives you’ll realize that I have not written a deep piece exploring the business potential of web innovations in 2007. In the past year+ my posts were driven by a desire to get my mind around the innovation, the possibilities, and the raw energy that web 2.0 encompassed.

The thought experiments and discussion was so engaging that it became, unintentionally, a major focus of my writing on this site. My posts are driven by what’s on my mind as I try to work my way through my thoughts towards three goals: to find meaning in, make sense of, and advance said thoughts.

I’ve been trying to make sense of the lull (honestly, I’ve been bothered by it) and Peter Rip’s excellent post, Web 2.0 Over and Out, has helped bring clarity to my search.

“We now know the fourth quarter of 2006 witnessed the mainstreaming of Web 2.0. It began with the YouTube acquisition, followed by a rather incumbent-centered Web 2.0 conference, culminating with the coronation of user-generated media as Time’s Person of the Year.”

I disagree with Peter that the ‘easy’ innovation of web 2.0 is over. I think the lull in posts can be explained with the fact that the explosive innovation of web 2.0 is over. I had become so enthraled with the raw energy of the innovation that my posts started to focus solely on the area, and gradually, as the innovation has become less intense my need to explore my thoughts here has waned.

This isn’t to say that innovation around core web 2.0 ideas is done. It’s not. It’s simply that the ideas are mainstream now, and that’s a good thing because the mainstream deserves to benefit from the promise of these innovations. I do suspect, however, that the web 2.0 moniker will slowly fade and there’s nothing wrong with this.

So, I think that’s the explanation for the lull in 2007. I stumbled into an intense focus due to the rawness of the innovation, and as it faded so to did my need to dig into my thoughts via posting.

Nothing wrong with that. The real question though is what’s going to capture my focus going forward?

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What Riya Did Wrong Cont’d II

Mar 21 2007 Published by under Startup Strategy

I don’t mean to dwell. Really. But c’mon Peter/Munjal.

Fail Fast, Fail Often but keep enough money in the bank to last (with no revenue) until 2009?


At least a commenter (sort of) catches the flaw: “the probability increases after every iteration i.e. it does not stay at 5% after the 2nd iteration because you have valuable learning from the first iteration”.

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