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Creating your Unique Value Proposition to gain your Competitive Edge.
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3 Dirty Little Habits That Will Kill Your Entrepreneurial Dreams

3 Dirty Little Habits That Will Kill Your Entrepreneurial Dreams | Competitive Edge |

If it seems like everyone else is succeeding but you -- you might be sabotaging your success with these bad behaviors.

If you look around and see other entrepreneurs who are succeeding where you are not, you may want to look deeper. Sometimes our lives simply don’t progress at the same rate as others.

However, if you’re noticing a trend that your ship never seems to be coming in, you may be guilty of unconsciously engaging in one, or even all, of these three dirty little habits that will hold you back from greatnes.

Do a self-assessment and see if you are practicing any of these destructive behaviors. Read more: click on image or title.

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I downloaded your business plan template ...It is  great!!! we have a successful delivery service already running today ...This plan is for a new liquor store idea tax consultants say your plan is amazing..Thanks Dave!!!
Aja Noyes
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Via StartupYard
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

The main obstacle to success is yourself. If you can believe you can do it, you will. Stop putting it off, get started, line up your ideas, make a plan, weigh your options, and get going.

Chrissie Webber 'Powering Business Potential''s curator insight, April 28, 9:35 AM

1 More Dirty Little Habit id 'Priority Inverting'. By that I mean concentrating on doing very busy work that you have given a high priority to. This is work you love doing but no clients have requested it and no short or medium term sales will be generated from the activity.

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Marc Andreessen teaches startups what disruption is really about (in 17 tweets) | VentureBeat | Entrepreneur | by Jordan Novet

Marc Andreessen teaches startups what disruption is really about (in 17 tweets) | VentureBeat | Entrepreneur | by Jordan Novet | Competitive Edge |
Marc Andreessen is one of those few people whose opinion about disruption is actually worth paying attention to.

You’ve probably heard about “disruptive innovation,” a concept from Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen. But prominent Silicon Valley Marc Andreessen wants to be sure that you actually understand disruption — because the term does get thrown around a lot.

In his latest onslaught of tweets, Andreessen this morning first quoted from Christensen’s writings and then went on to provide examples. And then he went on to show why people really should be in favor of disruption.

And it’s worth paying attention to Andreessen on disruption, given that he was one of the key people behind the Netscape Navigator web browser, a hit among consumers that improved on the Mosaic web browser he had developed for the National Center for Supercomputing Applications.

The position from Andreessen, a cofounder of the venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, amounts to a strong defense of the concept. It’s quite a bit different from New Yorker writer Jill Lepore’s critical take on it.

Andreessen’s newly articulated stance could well bring on a whole new round of discussion about the already widely cited term.

To see the series of Tweets, go here to the original article:

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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Every wondered what disruption is really all about? It's probably much more than you imagined.

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7 IT Startups That Will Change How Businesses Innovate In 2015 | TechCrunch

7 IT Startups That Will Change How Businesses Innovate In 2015  |  TechCrunch | Competitive Edge |

IT is going through a renaissance right now. New products and services are released every month that dramatically change how we can develop products and manage our IT shops. Innovation is everywhere; it can be hard to keep up, but that is part of the fun.

To help people get a hold of this rapidly changing landscape, I highlighted seven technologies that will help you innovate faster, beat your competition and deliver outstanding customer service. They each address the common challenges of how businesses operate today, and are setting the stage for a new era of IT.

  1. ElasticBox

ElasticBox offers IT-as-a-service. Its platform enables IT and developer teams to collaborate so they can quickly build, manage and deploy applications to any cloud. ElasticBox eases the friction between the two teams. Generally, IT teams want to slow things down and ensure stability, while developers want to speed things up and innovate. ElasticBox is changing the DevOps dynamic into one that’s more collaborative and efficient. It also offers a wide variety of features for businesses. This gives companies more flexibility with how they move to the cloud by not locking them into a single cloud provider or a specific way of deploying applications.

ElasticBox will be interesting in 2015 because it is in the midst of greatly expanding the scope of its platform. I look forward to seeing how they build more features around their clever solutions to longstanding developer and IT pain points.

  1. Zimperium

Zimperium has solved the puzzle of protecting mobile devices against advanced mobile threats. Too many players in the security space are stuck on mobile device management (MDM) like the common “Find My iPhone” apps. This has resulted in a lack of truly intelligent enterprise security apps. Zimperium has found a way to fully secure the devices that employees carry everywhere they go, which when exploited, can be a vulnerable entry point to a company’s network and intellectual property.

MDM leaves much to be desired for forward-thinking organizations, and Zimperium will become even more noteworthy in 2015 as MDM continues to die an all-too-slow death. People will soon realize that putting “shackles” on their devices is a losing proposition. This will cause solutions that secure data at rest/transit, as well as support strong authentication (Cert-Based-Auth) and “app stores” to be more broadly deployed.

  1. ZenPayroll

Startups and SMBs are getting some very cool tools nowadays to give them the power to act like a more established company with greater resources. ZenPayroll takes care of all the payroll legwork for SMBs, vastly simplifying the process of managing employee pay. The startup automates things like tax calculations, payments and direct deposits, which is a godsend for businesses that don’t have a corporate office to deal with managing paying employees.

ZenPayroll will be particularly intriguing in 2015 as the next wave of SaaS solutions meets the challenge of the old-guard of traditional applications like SAP and Oracle. ZenPayroll and others in this new crop of HR upstarts are eliminating the one-year-notice prior upgrade cycle, contentious pricing true-up (which enables revision to pricing after a contract commences), and a few other things that cause IT schedules to fall behind schedule and over-budget.

  1. OneLogin

OneLogin provides single sign-on and identity management for cloud applications. It eliminates the need for lengthy integration and provisioning projects, manual de-provisioning, protracted on- and off-boarding processes, username and password resets, shadow IT policing, and other inconveniences caused by too many digital identities.

As the security perimeter becomes more and more elastic and location agnostic with further cloud adoption, there will be a slow migration of identity management services such as Active Directory and LDAP hosted on-premises to cloud identity providers. OneLogin will be among the preferred cloud identity providers. Furthermore, stronger authentication factors will be adopted by those who truly understand the shortcomings of password authentication.

  1. Conjur

The underlying infrastructure of cloud-based apps is pretty complex. There are many moving parts that are often strung together across several servers and databases. This complexity creates friction between the developers who need to write new code and the operations team who needs to watch all the components to make sure nothing crashes. Conjur is great because it easily manages who has access to what code. So for instance, a developer can’t accidentally mess with live code when he should be in a development environment. It can also set rules for what certain pieces of code are allowed to do.

In 2015 and beyond, cloud adoption will surely continue to grow across businesses. This means more and more people will be looking for tools that help them manage the complexity of their cloud apps, so I expect to see lots of growth for companies like Conjur that bring order to the system.

  1. Illumio

Illumio takes a new approach to securing enterprise applications specifically designed for the cloud-based world. Instead of putting a firewall around everything, its approach is more granular. Illumio secures individual computing workloads as they are en route to the appropriate servers, whether they are in the cloud or bare metal. It’s security regardless of what the underlying infrastructure is.

Enterprise security was a hot topic in 2014 due to massive breaches at consumer retailers and enterprise vendors. Companies in every vertical are more aware now of their vulnerability and more committed to protecting themselves from threats. In 2015, I expect to see increased adoption of tools like Illumio that close dangerous security gaps. Illumio made headlines this year by raising $42.5 million from an A-list group of investors, before even coming out of stealth mode. Now with this funding under its belt, I expect to see continued headlines in the year to come.

  1. RelateIQ

RelateIQ uses searches of unstructured data from email, social networks and calendars to automate large portions of the sales process. Its system eliminates the need for manual data entry to track sales leads, and adds greater insight into business relationships. Like other companies on this list, it takes complex, unstructured data from a variety of sources and integrates it into a workflow that helps people deliver real business results. In this case, with sales.

Salesforce’s acquisition of RelateIQ earlier this summer points to a strong market demand for the product. Following the acquisition, it will be interesting to see what other boutique CRM options continue to innovate in this space, like Propeller CRM and Insightly.

The market for cloud technologies is experiencing disruption at an exhilarating pace. What seemed unfathomable or impossible just five years ago is now a reality, and the possibilities are endless for what lies ahead. I, for one, am looking forward to what 2015 brings.

What about you, developers and IT folks, what trends do you see coming for 2015? What tech is helping you drive results and get things done faster?

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Coca-Cola Launches New Program To Recruit Startup Founders

Coca-Cola Launches New Program To Recruit Startup Founders | Competitive Edge |
Coca-Cola Founders is a new way to create startups, the company's vice president of innovation and entrepreneurship declared.

Coca-Cola announced the launch of a new entrepreneurship program at Fast Company’s Innovation By Design conference today, in conversation with Fast Company senior writer Linda Tischler. David Butler, Coca-Cola’s vice president of innovation and entrepreneurship, (who has written a book with Tischler) announced the Coca-Cola Founders program, a way for startups to gain access to Coca-Cola's tremendous reach and for Coca-Cola to tap the ideas of independent entrepreneurs. The company goes into startup communities around the world and hand-selects founders, giving them insider access to Coca-Cola--both the company’s assets and its challenges. The founders’ ideas are then shaped by what they see inside Coca-Cola.

“It allows us to move much faster than we could internally using the least amount of money,” Butler said. “What they struggle with is scale,” he said--something that Coca-Cola does better than almost any company around. According to Butler, Coca-Cola is local in 207 countries, and sells roughly two billion servings of its products a day. The ideas--all still in development--that have emerged from the initiative include a food startup in Berlin, a mobile convenience store, and even a company related to wearables.

“The normal model working with a startup, you’re trying to find your strategic partnerships,” Butler said. “Startups come to big companies and try to get in. On the big company side, they pitch their thing, but how do we connect that [to what Coca-Cola does]? It’s very difficult.”

With the Coca-Cola Founders program, he said, “We’ve designed a new way to create startups”--one that not only helps grow Coca-Cola as a company, but allows them to churn out new products and services faster and cheaper.

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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Integration of startup founders with a big multinational company. It's a great idea since there will be a great exchange of innovation and experience.

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This Woman's Revolutionary Idea Made Her A Billionaire — And Could Change Medicine

This Woman's Revolutionary Idea Made Her A Billionaire — And Could Change Medicine | Competitive Edge |

She created an amazing blood test that can be done without a doctor and is incredibly cheap. The new testing methods developed by Holmes' startup Theranos, that lone drop can now yield a ton of information.

The next time you get a blood test, you might not have to go to the doctor and watch vials of blood fill up as the precious fluid is drawn from your arm.

No more wondering to yourself, "Ah, how much more can they take before I pass out?"

Instead you might be able to walk into a Walgreens pharmacy for a reportedly painless fingerprick that will draw just a tiny drop of blood, thanks to Elizabeth Holmes, 30, the youngest woman and third-youngest billionaire on Forbes' newly released annual ranking of the 400 richest Americans.

Revolutionizing the blood test is a golden idea.

Because of new testing methods developed by Holmes' startup Theranos, that lone drop can now yield a ton of information.

The company can run hundreds of tests on a drop of blood far more quickly than could be done with whole vials in the past — and it costs a lot less.

A Billion-Dollar Idea

Holmes dropped out of Stanford at 19 to found what would become Theranos after deciding that her tuition money could be better put to use by transforming healthcare.

Traditional blood testing is shockingly difficult and expensive for a tool that's used so frequently. It also hasn't changed since the 1960s.

It's done in hospitals and doctors' offices. Vials of blood have to be sent out and tested, which can take weeks using traditional methods and is prone to human error. And, of course, sticking a needle in someone's arm scares some people enough that they avoid getting blood drawn, even when it could reveal lifesaving information.

Holmes recognized that process was ripe for disruption.

It took a decade for her idea to be ready for primetime, but now it seems that her decision to drop out was undoubtedly a good call. Last year, Walgreen Co. announced that it would be installing Theranos Wellness Centers in pharmacies across the country, with locations already up and running in Phoenix and Palo Alto, California. And Holmes has raised $400 million in venture capital for Theranos, which is now valued at $9 billion (Holmes owns 50%).

The other two 30-year-olds on Forbes' List, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his former roommate and Facebook CEO Dustin Moskovitz, also have access to a wealth of information about people — but their data is less likely to directly save a life.

How It Works

One closely guarded secret is what MedCityNews calls "the most interesting part of [the Theranos] story": how exactly the technology behind its blood test works. The company's methods are protected by more than a dozen patents filed as far back as 2004 and as recently as last week.

In an interview with Wired, Holmes hinted at some of the key ideas behind Theranos.

"We had to develop ... methodologies that would make it possible to accelerate results," she said. "In the case of a virus or bacteria, traditionally tested using a culture, we measure the DNA of the pathogen instead so we can report results much faster."

While we can't yet assess independently how well that method works when compared with traditional blood tests, it already seems to be upending the old way of doing things.

Why Blood Tests?

Holmes told Medscape that she targeted lab medicine because it drives about 80% of clinical decisions made by doctors.

By zeroing in on the inefficiencies of that system, the Theranos approach completely revolutionizes it.

The new tests can be done without going to the doctor, which saves both money and time. Most results are available in about four hours, which means that you could swing by a pharmacy and have a test done the day before a doctor's visit, and then the results would be available for the physician.

Quick tests that can be done at any time are already a total change, but the amount of data the company can get from a single drop of blood is amazing.

Blood samples have traditionally been used for one test, but if a follow-up was needed, another sample had to be drawn and sent out — making it less likely that someone would get care. The Theranos approach means the same drop can be used for dozens of different tests.

It's cheap, too. One common criticism of the healthcare system is that the pricing structure is a confusing labyrinth that makes it impossible to know how much anything costs. Theranos lists its prices online, and they're impressive.

Each test costs less than 50% of standard Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement rates. If those two programs were to perform all tests at those prices, they'd save $202 billion over the next decade, Holmes said in an interview on Wired.

Plus, people get access to their own results.

As an example of how helpful that can be, Holmes told Wired that Theranos charges $35 for a fertility test, which is usually paid for out-of-pocket and costs up to $2,000.

But she also said that this data could be useful for anyone looking to gain a better understanding of his or her health.

"By testing, you can start to understand your body, understand yourself, change your diet, change your lifestyle, and begin to change your life," she said.

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Via Justin Jones
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Great idea and lots of work: 10 years.

malek's curator insight, October 5, 2014 12:53 PM

The "Steve Jobs"  of blood analysis innovation.A woman, entrepreneur and youngest Forbes 400 self-made billionaire. 

M. Philip Oliver's curator insight, October 6, 2014 7:24 PM


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The Main Reason Startups Don't Last

The Main Reason Startups Don't Last | Competitive Edge |
Innovate or fail? Which will be the path of your new entrepreneurial venture?

As a child I used to go to the local video store to rent movies to watch on the weekend. The store, part of the Potomac Video chain, was one of the last video stores in Washington, D.C. But after 33 years, the business suddenly shut its doors last spring. Why after so much success did the business shutter its operations?

The reason businesses don’t last is they fail to innovate.

Regardless of your past business model, if the market has changed, your business needs to change, too. Potomac Video didn’t latch onto the trend of streaming movies online or shipping videos straight to customers’ doors. It stuck with its old business plan, simply renting and selling videos from a store.

For that matter, remember how you used to love to stop by Blockbuster? You know, the place you’d stop by on the way home to pick up that new release on VHS? (Blockbuster filed for bankruptcy in 2010; yet even after Dish Network acquired its debt, Dish decided to close all retail stores, according to MarketWatch.)

Did you know that in 2000 Blockbuster had a chance to buy Netflix (now worth $28 billion) for a mere $50 million? And the company opted not to. Netflix was losing money at that point. Blockbuster was hesitant to gamble, not looking ahead, perhaps looking for a short-term profit rather than a disruption of the industry.

An entrepreneur who wants to experience continued success in business must stay on top of his or her industry and predict the future. Entrepreneurs Giovanni Mannella and Misha Mitsnefes have done just that with their startup Bmpur, whose social music network puts the power of music sharing and discovery into the hands of users. Mannella and Mitsnefes beta launched Bmpur this spring and fully launched Sept. 8.

Mitsnefes owns a music blog, Fist In The Air, and Mannella had owned a music-video curated website. "We both saw an opening in the market for this type of sharing and discovery platform and developed bmpur together, starting in fall 2011," Mannella wrote by email. After connecting with others in the industry, they noticed a shift in the market. People wanted to add value to others’ listening experiences.

Although other music blogs recommend songs, the Bmpur website enables anyone to recommend and “repost” music he or she is interested in, as Mitsnefes described on Fist In The Air:

"Post anything from YouTube, Soundcloud, blog links, Instagram links, etc. Then the community interacts by “bumping” posts, commenting, favoriting (like repost/retweet), and sharing the link!"

Mannella and Mitsnefes are taking a gamble with their new approach. They realize that Bmpur won’t last without innovation.

If you’re looking to change up your business model to make your startup last, use these three approaches:

1. Continue to build a brand.

Innovating with a startup doesn’t mean just changing the name of a business or overall brand. Instead use the leverage of an existing brand to draw attention to its evolution and innovation. Bmpur built excitement for its platform through its social media channels. Consider making ambiguous announcements to keep people on their feet.

2. Gather feedback.

The best way to see if a business will grow as a result of innovation is to see what others think. Before a new product launch or redesign, show family, friends, acquaintances and even die-hard customers. The team at Bmpur unveiled its new concept months before it was fully developed.

3. Connect with other industry leaders.

The key to a successful change in a business is ensuring that others know. Connect with other industry leaders to see if they have advice. If you have a blog, connect with other bloggers to see if they want to help promote your business shift. You could end up leading a whole industry swing.

Making a startup last is a challenge that every entrepreneur faces. Businesses often see a period of strong growth, hit a peak and then the business begins to dissolve. Ensure your business doesn’t peak by continuing to innovate. 

Correction: This piece has been updated to correct the date of Bmpur's start and details about its focus. Bmpur always provided a social music network, which beta launched this spring, although its founders started its development in 2011. One of the founders, Misha Mitsnefes, runs his own music

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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Never stop innovating. A business thrives on change.

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Will your new business idea succeed?

Will your new business idea succeed? | Competitive Edge |

"What if you can test your idea without wasting time and money?"

That's a question worth thinking about. 

Many of people have ideas, and every now and then they come across ideas that might be worth pursuing. Most however, do nothing with those ideas due many reasons such as:

They simply don’t know where to start -  

“I have a great idea! but no clue on what to do with it”. The thought
process of turning an idea to a product can be daunting to certain
individuals, especially when it exists outside of their field of knowledge.

They’re afraid of FAILURE -

The word “failure” above is in all-caps because thats how much people get intimidated by the idea of it. Will my idea work? Is this going to be worth all my time and money? What if I fail?

One way of finding out if an idea is feasible and worth pursuing is to
produce a MVP (Minimum Viable Product). 

QuickMVP is a website that does just that. It helps you test any business idea in just five minutes, without writing any code. Through building a landing page and creating a Google Ad, you can see how real customers respond to your idea before investing precious time and money.

Here's the basic setup:

Landing Page

* Get it live in 3 minutes
* Plain and simple--test your idea, not your design
* Connect any domain name
* Customize the CSS and add your own HTML (optional)
* Test unlimited ideas

Google Ad Creator

* Takes 2 minutes with no expertise necessary
* Add keywords and a budget and you're done
* Automatically optimized for Google's Algorithm

QuickMVP is designed specifically for validating new business ideas and it helps you identify the important metrics to decide if an idea is worth pursuing.

Let us know in the comments if you try QuickMVP. Did it work out for you? 

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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Sounds like a great tool for testing new ideas and startup businesses. Give it a try.

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How A Feisty Start-Up Uses A Relaxed Management Style To Take On The Big Banks

How A Feisty Start-Up Uses A Relaxed Management Style To Take On The Big Banks | Competitive Edge |

Every day, it seems, brings a fresh scandal from the financial sector. But what is bad news for the bankers and their investors is good news for those trying to steal away some of their business. A case in point is TransferWise, a young start-up that has recently been seeking to get its message across through provocative ads at bus stops and underground stations across London.

Based (in the modern way) in London and Estonia, the company was born out of a frustration with what the founders saw as excessive hidden bank fees for cross-border money transfers. Taavet Hinrikus, one of the earliest employees of the internet-based phone company Skype, and Kristo Käärmann, a former consultant in the financial sector, hit on the idea when they were each sending money between Britain and the Eurozone and spending huge sums in commission charges on the exchange rates. Kaarmann explains how the friends devised a simple plan. He worked in London, but had a mortgage back in Estonia that he needed to pay in euros, while Hinrikus worked for Skype in Estonia and so was paid in euros, but lived in London, and so needed sterling to pay expenses. Once a month, the two of them checked that day’s mid-market rate on Reuters to find a fair exchange rate. Kaarmann put pounds into Hinrikus’s UK bank account, and Hinrikus topped up his friend’s euro account with euros. Both got the currency they needed, and neither paid a cent in hidden bank fees. Realising that others in the increasingly mobile economy must be in the same situation, they decided to make a business out of it – and TransferWise was born.

That was back in 2011 and since them the fledgling company, which has fewer than 100 employees split between London and Tallinn, has picked up numerous awards and accolades as well as attracting funding from investment vehicles headed by the likes of Virgin founder Sir Richard Branson and Peter Thiel, a co-founder of PayPal and early backer of Facebook. More importantly, perhaps, it has already helped hundreds of individuals transfer more than $1bn around the world, saving them substantial amounts in foreign currency commission charges. Since Kaarmann points out that the global market is about $200bn a year, that gives TransferWise a tiny share. But – with substantial backers now on board – he and his colleagues believe that they can make inroads, once they educate people. Hence those ads.

Kaarmann – who looks after operations, technology and regulatory issues, while Hinrikus focuses on marketing and related matters – acknowledges that the rapid growth that has already occurred and is set to continue requires a special kind of leadership. “I am a big believer that people don’t need to be managed. They need to know why they are doing what they are doing,” he says. One of the problems for large organizations like the banks with which TransferWise is competing is that it is hard for employees “to see that the things they do make life better for somebody else. The chain between the customer and the person doing the work is very long”. As part of making clear the link between the work done and making things better for TransferWise and its customers, engineers spend time with customers to understand their needs. Possibly more contentiously, Kaarmann is a great believer in measuring effects and believes extensive measurement of employees’ efforts is not a problem, provided they know it is happening. “Building a team fast is tricky and building technology fast is tricky. A lot of the magic is in making sure everybody knows what they are doing and doesn’t need to be told.”

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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Great ideas grow into great businesses. This start up proves it.

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Startups shell big bucks for ideas; part of seed capital used for investing in R&D - The Economic Times

Startups shell big bucks for ideas; part of seed capital used for investing in R&D - The Economic Times | Competitive Edge |
“Earlier big corporations such as IBM, and Bell, used to invest in R &D labs and hire top notch scientists, now startups to drive innovation,”
PUNE: One innovative idea can launch a company but expanding it requires a constant stream of new ideas that several startups are now willing to pay good money for.

Several of these ventures are setting apart nearly a fifth of their seed capital for investments in research and development in sectors ranging from information technology to online retail and clean technology. While those strapped for cash are collaborating with doctoral students, partnering with research agencies or hiring ..

To read the full article, click on the title or image.

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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

The Economic Times of India is a great source for information on Indian startups. Here is another interesting article.

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Universities must become entrepreneurial hubs to help our economy - Telegraph

Universities must become entrepreneurial hubs to help our economy - Telegraph | Competitive Edge |
A third of new businesses will not survive to their third birthday, so they need all the help they can get

The Beatles teach entrepreneurship better than business schools."

That was the contention of a Business Week leader last week. That might be true in the US but in Britain business schools are about to become the new rock’n’roll.

On Thursday, a ceremony at Downing Street will celebrate outstanding businesses schools that are as much for David as they are for Goliath. The Small Business Charter Award will recognise the 20 pioneering schools developing a national network of support for small businesses.

The Charter was established as a result of last year’s Growing Your Business report from Lord Young, enterprise adviser to the Prime Minister, and has already seen more than 4,500 graduates working with small businesses, led by business schools from Southampton to Strathclyde. These schools have directly supported more than 8,000 small businesses and helped create 800 new student-led companies.

To read the full article, click on the title or image.

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Via Zonata, Michael Binzer
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

New business and entrepreneurship are the engine of the economy, especially in this day and age of technology and internet. Entrepreneurship must be part of our educational system.

Michael Binzer's curator insight, June 5, 2014 6:32 AM

Our current educational system doesn't support entrepreneurship. How come? And what to do to change that

Rescooped by Marc Kneepkens from Ideas, Innovation & Start-ups!

The Startup Curve

The Startup Curve | Competitive Edge |

oh no ... the trough of sorrow

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Via Justin Jones
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

It's a learning process. When reality hits, the 'work' comes. Mastery and success are much later. The work needs to be done.

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Rescooped by Marc Kneepkens from Ideas, Innovation & Start-ups!

$1 Million for a Great Idea

$1 Million for a Great Idea | Competitive Edge |

Behold the world's largest business idea competition. Eyes on the $1 million prize. Come and collect your cash ...

With $5 million in cash prizes, including a top award of $1 million, six $500,000 awards and four $250,000 awards, 43North is setting out to turn the best new business ideas from around the globe into reality.

Winners also receive free incubator space for a year, guidance from mentors related to their field and access to other exciting incentive programs.

43North is open to applicants in any industry, with the exception of retail and hospitality. Winners agree to operate their business in the Buffalo, New York for a minimum of one year and provide 43North with 5% non-dilutive equity in their company.

The competition includes three rounds of judging:
        1.  Feb 5, 2014 to May 31, 2014: 43North accepts applications via – apply here.
        2.  Sept 15, 2014 to Sept 20, 2014: Semifinalists present their plans via webinar
        3.  Oct 27, 2014 to Oct 30, 2014: Finalists present their plans during a weeklong series of events in Buffalo, NY

43North is part of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Buffalo Billion initiative, which is driving new economic opportunities throughout Buffalo and Western New York. The competition operates through the support of New York Power Authority and Launch NY.

To see the site with full information, click on the title or image.

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Via Justin Jones
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Ideas finally get rewarded! This needs to be done everywhere, not just in the Buffalo,NY area.

Don't forget your business plan.

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Design Thinking: A Unified Framework For Innovation

Design Thinking: A Unified Framework For Innovation | Competitive Edge |

Over the years the question of what makes some companies, and the people within, more or less creative than others has been studied ad nauseam. The idea of innovation within business has long been thrown around, it’s a kind of catchall term used for everything a company must do continue to remain relevant. We are led to believe that without a strong amount of “innovation,” your company is surely doomed. But the realities of innovation and creativity are much more complicated than simply a willingness to be more creative.

To read the full article, click on the title.

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Via Justin Jones, Günter Schumacher
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Innovation makes the real difference. If you don't take part in it, sooner or later you'll miss the edge that put you in the lead in the first place. Make it a priority to be feed innovation, in yourself, your team and your company.

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Guide to 12 Disruptive Technologies

Guide to 12 Disruptive Technologies | Competitive Edge |
Description of 12 disruptive technologies for 2014

What is a disruptive technology? According to Clayton M. Christensen, an Harvard Business School professor a disruptive technology is a new emerging technology that unexpectedly displaces an established one.  Christensen used this term for the first time in his 1997 best-selling book entitled “The Innovator’s Dilemma”.  In it the author established two categories of new technologies: sustaining and disruptive. Sustaining technologies corresponds to well-known technologies that undergo successive improvements, whereas Disruptive technologies means new technologies that still lack refinement, often have performance problems, are just known to a limited public, and might not yet have a proven practical application. Disruption can be seen at a different angle, if we look at how the word means, something that drastically alters or destroys the structure of society. Disruptive technologies hold within themselves the capacity to alter our lifestyle, what we mean by work, business and the global economy. What are those technologies? And what will be the benefit they will bring to the world where we live in?

According to a report published by the McKinsey Global Institute, there are 12 technologies that can produce great disruption in our near future as they might transform the economy and our lives. McKinsey Global Institute report also offers quantitative data on how the outlined technologies can impact the economy, and what are the risks these will bring. Curiously, the concepts behind those technologies have been around for a long time. Here we outline a list of 12 of the most disruptive technologies:

Click title or image to read article.

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"I have so much gratitude in my soul right now. Growthink has helped me to come a long way since I've found the company and started making my business plan.
I'm counting my blessings every day."
Best Regards,
Trevor Houlihan

Via Richard Platt
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

That's about all of them lined up, know of any others?

Pierre Casanova's curator insight, January 6, 2:43 AM

Another list of disruptive technologies.

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3 Reasons You Can’t Just Ask Customers What They Want | TechCrunch

3 Reasons You Can’t Just Ask Customers What They Want  |  TechCrunch | Competitive Edge |

Do you like apples or bananas? Coffee or tea? Pepperoni or cheese pizza? Simple questions result in simple answers which, when researching and developing a product is every product owner’s dream. “Just tell me what you want, and I’ll make it.” Quick. Easy. Simple.

But herein lies the problem; product development isn’t normally quick, easy or simple. Asking these types of questions, as tempting as they are to ask, bring about certain dangers that can result in skewed results, missing information, and, potentially, failed products. Listed below are the three primary reasons why asking customers direct questions can be a very dangerous endeavor.

The Customer Doesn’t Always Know What They Want

The first reason you can’t just ask customers what they want is that they aren’t always attuned to what they really need. Steve Jobs famously said, “People don’t know what they want until you show it to them.”

Typically, it is easier for people to review and comment on something that is placed in front of them rather than asking to imagine something that doesn’t yet exist. This can mean anything from developing a fully functioning prototype to a clickable presentation, or even simple, hand-drawn “screens” to help customers get a sense of the experience.

Additionally, it is also difficult for customers to articulate what it is they want or need, especially if it relates to a topic that is not something they often think about. People have a tendency to use what they know, which is why user adoption for certain products may take longer to catch on than others.

The Human Desire to Develop Patterns and Habits

The second danger in asking customers direct questions is the human desire to develop patterns and habits. Sigmund Freud called this phenomenon “repetition compulsion,” in that humans seek comfort in the familiar as well as a desire to return to an earlier known state of things.

What is even more desirable than returning to an earlier state of things is the desire to maintain certain habits. In the book The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business, Charles Duhigg spends much of the book describing various examples of products and adjoining habits while using a simple “Cue –> Routine –> Reward” diagram that illustrates the psychology behind how habits are formed and maintained.

These habits are sometimes formed over long periods of time, which makes trying to break or introduce new habits an extremely difficult and delicate process. During our user research phase, we try to avoid asking questions about potentially disrupting a customer’s current habit, instead asking questions that are related.

For example, in attempting to understand how a person organizes a party or trip, we may ask them to tell us how they typically go grocery shopping. This way we can begin to understand from a contextual standpoint, whether they are more strictly organized (have a specific list of items written down and go directly for those specific items) or they are more casual and spontaneous (venturing up and down each aisle and choosing items as they go).

Rather than asking individuals to “imagine a new world” that would alter the current habits of their lives resulting in potential resistance, we are able to gain a better understanding of their natural tendencies, current mentalities and preferences, which results in more rich and insightful information.

Our Overwhelming Need to Please Others

The final risk is people’s overwhelming desire to be a part of something, to be well liked, and the need to please others. While this is a slightly easier peril to overcome than the others, it is still important to understand how this behavior can influence individuals and skew results or information.

Often during interviews, customers will attempt to answer a question the way they think they should answer the question or provide an answer they think is “correct.” One of the primary causes is the asking of what are called “leading questions.” In other words, questions that are asked in such a way that there are only one or two answers that a person can respond with.

Likewise, questions such as, “Do you like coffee or tea?” leaves little room for original thoughts or answers because the question is too rigid and the answers too pre-defined. These types of questions establish a barrier to discovering how people truly feel about a subject, which can be counter-productive and result in unusable information.

Interviews are treated as more of a conversation than a survey or interrogation in order to build a rapport with customers so they feel comfortable enough to share the stories and events of their lives. It is through these stories that we uncover an individual’s thought processes, how they react in various situations, and additional insights that point to how they truly feel about certain products, applications and experiences.

The dangers mentioned in this post are not to say that “this-or-that” questions are completely useless. In certain situations and settings, such as AB usability testing, these types of questions can be quite valuable and informative. It is during discovery research, when you are trying to understand customers’ needs, desires  and pain points regarding a product, that these questions can be detrimental to a project.

So when you’re looking to improve an existing product, develop a new experience or enter a new marketplace, remember there are no quick and simple answers when it comes to understanding what customers want or need.

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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

The classic question: "What do you want" does not always result in the right answers. People need a choice or see what's in front of them...

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7 Lessons On Business And Success You Won't Learn In School

Here are 7 important lessons on business, entrepreneurship and success I have learned from interviewing over 60 successful entrepreneurs from around the world.

Less than 3 years ago, frustrated by my lack of success, I made the decision to start reaching out to and learning from successful people.

There was just one problem: I barely knew any. So I did the only thing I could think of, and that was to start a blog.

With a blog as my platform, I started interviewing successful people. It took me over a year to find my groove (I had absolutely zero online marketing experience before doing this), but eventually the blog became a podcast, and the podcast became a community.

As I write this article, I’ve had the privilege of interviewing over 60 successful entrepreneurs from all over the world. Their collective stories and advice have rewarded me with an education on business and success unlike anything that is taught in a classroom.


Here are 7 important lessons on business and success I have learned from this journey:


1.Success is 90% failure.

Some people define success as doing everything right – as getting the result they want. They view failure as something to be avoided at all costs. They try to create a perfect plan, and they only take action if they are confident that their plan is going to work. They try to avoid failure, thinking that by avoiding failure they will achieve success.

One of the things I’ve learned from interviewing so many successful individuals is that they’ve all experienced failure, and their failures often preceded their successes. This led me to conclude that a person’s failures actually serve as the stepping stones to their successes. Therefore if you avoid failure, by default, you also avoid success.

Stop worrying about failure and stay focused on your results. When you get the result you want, you might call that success. When you don’t get the result you want, you get the feedback you need to change your strategy.

Don’t be afraid to take action with no promise of success. It’s better to take the wrong action and pivot than to not take any action at all. Expect 90% of what you try to not work. Sometimes you have to learn what doesn’t work in order to find what does.


2.Hire help. Great people are not as expensive as you think.

We live in a global, digitally connected economy. This means that we all have access to a global talent pool of incredibly skilled individuals for very competitive rates. Even if you’re not a business owner, do yourself a favor and hire help as soon as possible. You’d be amazed how much of your precious time you can get back if you leverage the time and expertise of others.

Whether for a specific project, or on a long term basis, it isn’t hard to find the right people for the job and it isn’t expensive either. I currently manage a full time virtual assistant and doing so takes only a few minutes of my time per week. I also hire contractors and freelancers for specific tasks and projects on a regular basis.

If you haven’t already, check out or and see for yourself just how easy it is to find and hire great people. You’ll be glad you did.


3. Don’t get too attached to your ideas. Test them before you invest in them

I once met an individual who told me they had a ground breaking idea for a new business. There was just one problem: they refused to tell anybody what their idea was because they were scared someone would steal it. This person failed to recognize that ideas, by themselves, ideas have little value. The real value comes from execution.

There is no shortage of ideas in this world. Many of us have ideas on a daily basis. Are all of them good? Absolutely not. Until an idea is actually implemented, there is no way of knowing how valuable it really is.

Testing an idea on a small scale to see what result it creates is much wiser than investing time, energy and resources pursuing something only to discover that it doesn’t work. Let go of bad ideas early and quickly. More ideas will always come to you.



4. Stop networking. Start building relationships

In the context of business, networking is typically defined as “interacting with other people to exchange information and develop contacts, especially to further one’s career.” It’s a pretty straight forward definition, and yes, networking can yield many benefits. The problem is that most people haven’t been taught how to do it properly.

The typical approach to networking consists of attending conferences or events in your industry, delivering your “elevator pitch” to everyone you meet and giving out and/or collecting as many business cards as possible, hoping that those connections somehow turn into employment or business opportunities. This has become one of the least effective ways to build a strong network.

To build a strong network, shift your focus from collecting contacts to building relationships.

Become genuinely interested in the people you meet. Encourage them to talk about themselves. Ask them about their current projects, and find out if there are any challenges they are currently facing. Offer a helpful suggestion, idea, or an introduction to someone else who can help them. Give without any expectation of receiving. You’ll soon discover that when you selflessly add value to others, they will gladly return the favor at some point in the future.


5. Model other successful people but don’t try to be them

Regardless of which industry you’re in, there will likely be other people who are ahead of you and who you consider to be more successful than yourself. This is perfectly fine. In fact, one of the most efficient ways to succeed in any industry quickly is to learn the principles and model the strategies of those who are already successful. But always remember one thing: you are not them.

Learn and apply what has worked for others to see if it will work for you, but never try to be something that you’re not. Remember that you are unique. Do what feels true to you. Always be authentic. Don’t get caught up in comparing yourself to other people. No one succeeds overnight. We all must start from where we are and with what we have. Respect the journey that other people have travelled, but remember to stay focused on your own.


6. Results speak louder than credentials

I definitely respect the dedication of people who invest several years obtaining degrees and credentials to advance their careers, but the harsh reality is that credentials alone have almost no bearing on the level of success a person attains. In fact, many highly qualified individuals often find themselves without work or beginning careers in new industries for reasons that were beyond their control.

We live in a results-based economy. To ensure your success regardless of which industry you are in, you must acquire any and all skills that will enable you to get results. If you’re an entrepreneur, you must learn how to get results for your business. If you work for someone else, find out what result they want and help them get it.

Many of the successful entrepreneurs I have interviewed barely made it through high school and yet no one questions their intelligence or skills. Why? Because they have a track record of tangible, hard won results. A track record of positive results speaks louder than any credentials you print on a business card or a resume.


7. The journey is the reward.

The final lesson that I’d like to share with you is to enjoy the journey. The trouble with ambition is that it causes us to chase the future, often at the expense of appreciating the present. Pause and reflect often. Praise yourself for how far you’ve already come. Stay focused on the outcomes you want, and respect the process required to create them.

Set big goals not because of what you will get when you achieve the goal, but for what it will make of you in the process. The person you become as you achieve your goals is more valuable than the goal itself.

“The ultimate reason for setting goals is to entice you to become the person it takes to achieve them.” – Jim Rohn

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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Wow, great article, so much wisdom.

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Can These Young People Save the World? 50 Emerging Global Entrepreneurs to Watch |

Can These Young People Save the World? 50 Emerging Global Entrepreneurs to Watch | | Competitive Edge |

From South Africa to Silicon Valley, young entrepreneurs are employing a variety of strategies to help their new companies thrive. 

From overcoming education hurdles to finding a new use for agricultural byproducts, many of today’s young founders aren’t just dreaming up big business ideas--they’re attempting to save the world.

To get a better s

ense of who is making waves in the global business community, we tapped the Kairos Society, an international organization seeking to develop entrepreneurs worldwide. Each year, Kairos names 50 promising ventures with founders under age 25. Those who make the list receive huge exposure and networking opportunities, including tickets to this year’s Kairos Global Summit on October 17-19 in Laguna Niguel, California. Before they present their ventures at the Kairos 50 Demo Day, we landed a sneak peek.

Meet this year’s 50 global entrepreneurs to watch: click on the image.

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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Great to see young people come up with true change in all aspects of business.

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The Importance of Staying True to Your Roots as an Entrepreneur

The Importance of Staying True to Your Roots as an Entrepreneur | Competitive Edge |
Staying true to your industry’s roots can return great value to a niche entrepreneurial business.

Should you stay or should you go? This is a question many aspiring entrepreneurs ponder as they are building their startup dream on the side while working a full-time job. It can be a tricky time, as many people need a stable income but also want to focus more time on their entrepreneurial endeavor. So when someone is finally able to quit their 9-to-5 job to pursue their passion, some founders never look back. I recommend taking caution before straying too far from your roots.

Quite often, an entrepreneur's pursuit stems from an area she is an expert in -- a field she has been working in for some time. So why someone would choose to throw away valuable resources established during the course of her career is anyone's guess.

For 10 years, I practiced (and still do) as a registered dental hygienist treating patients. But that was only half the story. In that position, it also became clear that there was a significant need for an online portal focused on connecting dental professionals. I decided to launch DentalPost to fill that void. Because the platform grew so quickly, I began working less and less in the office to dedicate more attention it.  Eventually, I made the conscious decision to don my hygienist coat and return to the dental office once a week, shifting my focus from the tech world back to my physical practice and patients.

Staying true to your industry’s roots can return great value to a niche entrepreneurial business.

Here are a few tips to consider:

Keep more than a foot in the industry door. Nothing substitutes in-person networking and putting live, smiling faces to names. As an entrepreneur you are your brand, the physical representation of your product or service. As you network with others in your field, talk about your business in the context of your physical job. This reinforces credibility and shows you practice what you profess.

Remember real world means real-time marketing research.  We can all learn more about trends and pain points in our industry by standing at coffee pots than by reading comment boxes on your website or social-media pages. Office work allows you to see firsthand the customer side, the employee side and provider side of things. By keeping yourself entrenched in the industry, you are right there among other professionals and constantly hear stories and feedback about “inside” issues and trends. This makes your niche business better. You are able to understand the needs of its players -- who also happen to be your users.

Seek continual inspiration. Consider where you can find inspiration to take your idea to the next level,or reaffirm your commitment to serving your target audience.  I originally fell in love with the dental industry because of the personal connections I foster with my patients. I establish relationships, offer comfort and, in some cases, even help save lives.

Keeping yourself involved in your industry (once a week or a few times a month) and staying true to your entrepreneurial roots keeps you connected.  With this grounding, you will never lose sight of why you built your venture in the first place.

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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Inspiration comes mostly from what you know and experience. It's a huge treasure, keep on nurturing it.

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10 Ways to Destroy Fear While You Startup

10 Ways to Destroy Fear While You Startup | Competitive Edge |

You stand at the edge of the deep-sea of your life, afraid to cast sail.  You know you should, but it seems oh so safe in the harbor.  But is it truly safe? 

If you listen to the crashing waves, you just might hear the words of Maud Muller echoing in your ears:

For of all the sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these. “It might have been!”

So, what is greater?  Is it the pain of trying for what you want and possibly ending up smashed upon the rocks?  Or is it the pain of wondering what might have been?

If you are an adventurer or an entrepreneur, you know as part of this grand voyage you must set sail, cast all fears aside and travel into shark infested waters if you wish to arrive at that tropical island where Cuervo Gold Margaritas flow from glass fountains.

1. THE ROCKING CHAIR TESTSo the first step in considering your fear is to go through the “Rocking Chair Test.”  Imagine yourself when you are 90 years old, sitting on your rocking chair, and consider how you will feel if you didn’t do the thing you are afraid of.  If it does not bother you, then don’t do it.  But if you feel like you missed out and you regret not going for it, then there is the moral imperative to move forward.


Know that fear is always going to be a player in your life.  I know you don’t want to hear it, but if you are human (and I assume you are) fear is always going to have a habit of raising its sea-serpent head just when it seemed there might be calm waters to the horizon.  The trick is understanding fear will show up uninvited and that it is a normal part of life. Just recognize the fear and say to yourself, “oh, there you are,” then focus on managing fear with the strategies below.

First, why do we fear?  According to Anthony Robbins, except for the fear of physical pain, when all is boiled down, we have two main fears.  Either we fear:

1)       We won’t be enough; or

2)       We won’t be loved.

So, just examine your fear.  Is it rational?  How likely is it that the fear will actually bring you pain?  Why do you think you won’t be enough or won’t have love.  Sometimes, just knowing you are acting like an irrational idiot will take the energy out of the fear.

I’ve had a lot of worries in my life, most of which never happened.  Mark Twain.


Part of the sting of fear is your feelings of helplessness.  Sit down with a piece of paper and think of at least ten things you can do today to mitigate or protect you from the circumstances you fear.  Then do everything you can do to protect yourself from the unwanted outcome.


Even if the fear is irrational, sometimes you will do something called “looping,” where the fear just keeps repeating itself in your head.  This is what some Buddhist monks call, “bad-ass monkey mind.”  The best cure for monkey mind is to sit quietly in a room, count your breaths and focus on the silence between the thoughts.  Strangely enough, science has unequivocally shown meditation may reshape your brain and your reality.


Sometimes you are just stuck in fear and need to move out of your head and onto a different perspective.  Napoleon Hill would often imagine a boardroom of trusted advisers, people he admired and would ask the how they would handle the fear.  Carl Yung would have you imagine first a wise king (or queen) and have you ask for answers to your concerns.  Then Yung would have you follow that same process with a warrior, a lover, and a magical person.


Despite Tom Cruise’s Scientology based rant against drugs, as a last resort, you may want to talk with your doctor about looking into medications that may take your mind off the pain and at least let you step back a bit to get a handle on the fear.


I’ve experienced first-hand the benefits of Neurolinguistic Programming and Human Needs Psychology, which is taught by the Robbins Madanes Center.  If you can find a good practitioner, the results can be amazing.  Here is a video of the process: Video

8) EMDR  

Although this sounds a bit strange, you can help alleviate fear and post traumatic stress with  Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR).  The process requires you to move your eyes in a specific pattern, while conjuring images. More than 20 studies have shown its effectiveness and it is endorsed by the US Department of Defense and the American Psychiatric Association.


Also, it helps to understand the fear is mostly an illusion.  Consider the worst case scenario and then think a year ahead, then five years and then ten.  If you’re not going to be worried about it a year from now, why don’t you give yourself a gift of not worrying about it now.


Sometimes fear can disappear just by having a lunch with a friend, going for a run or just doing something different.  Try this three-step process:

1) Get moving.  Get your body moving.  Take deep breaths.

2) Change your focus.  Use your voice to say empowering things.  Tell yourself how powerful and happy you are.  Your mind might say “BS” but if you do it long enough with enough physical emotion, you will soon change your state.

3) Cancel.  Maxwell Maltz, in his book Psycho Cybernetics, instructs that whenever the fearful thought raises its ugly head that you specifically say, “Cancel.  That is not the truth.”  Then you should say something that is empowering.

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Via Deb Bailey, malek
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Excellent article. Often the main problem with moving forward is yourself. Break through the resistance. Observe, contemplate, and just 'do it'.

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Five Startups That Are Reshaping The Web Economy - Forbes

Five Startups That Are Reshaping The Web Economy - Forbes | Competitive Edge |

Five Startups That Are Reshaping The Web Economy

People are always trying to define and explain the different stages of the evolving economy of the Web. It started way back when no one had a clue what the Internet would become and Al Gore was still talking about the ‘Information Superhighway.’ Then, after the web was a bit more mature, technologists started talking about Web 2.0, and all of the user generated platforms and social media. Today, the biggest buzzword might be Internet of Things, and it’s certainly an exciting area of development.

Yet, all of these buzz words seem less important today than they used to be. The Web is a mature and thriving economic powerhouse and no one questions the fact that it is going to continue to grow and evolve at a rapid clip – if not quite as dramatically as it has in the past. Some might see this as a sign that all of the most exciting services have already been developed. With giants like Amazon, Google, and Facebook firmly entrenched, what role is there for startups?

In truth, the opportunity for startups is as great as it’s ever been. While there may be less room for $100 billion dollar companies, there is a lot of room between that and zero. A more mature web economy requires an army of smaller companies to keep it humming along. For these companies, there is not only a great opportunity for growth and wealth creation, but also to help content providers, publishers, and other entrepreneurs tap into the incredible energy that drives web businesses.

It can be hard to sift through all the amazing (and not so amazing) web companies in business today, so here are five incredible startups that are helping to reshape the web economy:

Sharewall – Moving Beyond The Paywall

Is there a more beautiful word than ‘free’? For consumers of content, it’s clear that the answer is no, but some of the producers of that content might beg to disagree. This is perhaps one of the greatest challenges facing the Web economy – how are companies going to monetize the massive amounts of content being produced when so many aren’t willing to pay for it? Ads are always an option, but so far they aren’t generating the huge numbers that some publishers were used to back in the days of print. For some, the answer is to lock content down behind a paywall – you may limit your audience, but you’ll generate more revenue per individual piece of content.

Sharewall is a young startup that believes there is another way. Instead of locking down content behind a paywall, users will be able to access content in exchange for a social share. The site wins because its content is passed on to a wider audience and the reader wins even more free content. Beyond that, the company is looking to build a closer relationship between publishers and readers, which will help content providers find new pathways to monetize.

Mobilizr – Monetizing The Selfie

Every decade has its iconic images, and for this decade that might just be the familiar look of someone with an outstretched arm taking a selfie. Most of these selfies usually go straight up to Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter where they don’t provide any additional value – well at least to the people who posted them. One startup is looking to tap into this trend and reward users for the multitude of photos they snap with their smartphones.

Mobilizr created a mobile app that allows users to become “brand ambassadors” and get rewarded for the photos they post online. The idea is simple: a brand posts a campaign idea and Mobilizr users post selfies and other images along the guidelines of the campaign. Users are rewarded (with real money) for every like, share, and tweet their images generate. Others have attempted this form of crowdsourced engagement before, but Mobilizr is banking that the power of smartphones and the mobile revolution will help it take off.

Webydo – Power To The Designers

In every industry there are gatekeepers, key players who dictate the pace of change and control the flow of new ideas into the system. In the current web economy, that role is played by developers who have mastered the coding languages that are the behind the scenes force of the Internet. But, that leaves the creative side of the web – designers – on the sidelines of the industry, dependent on developers to make their designs a reality.

Webydo, is a cloud-platform for designers that allows them to build and manage websites without the need for coding. It automates the development process while providing designers with what the company claims is pixel-perfect accuracy of their designs. While I’m sure this isn’t the right fit for the largest and most complicated sites, it does empower designers to take a more leading position in the creation of sites for small businesses and other entrepreneurs. This seems like an exciting step for the web economy that could inject some much needed creative mojo into the designs of hundreds of thousands of SMB sites.

Wibbitz – News Videos For Everyone

As I writer, I’m naturally a fan of the written word. I’m also an entrepreneur, so I recognize the power and the incredible value of video content for news sites and other content providers. Unfortunately, making high quality video content is often an expensive and daunting task that consumes a lot of time and resources.

Wibbitz is hoping to make that process easier for online publishers by automating the process of video creation. The startup has created technology that automatically creates news summary videos based on the text content of a post. It pulls in photos and relevant video clips from news services and provides a human or computer voice to narrate the story. While some readers may be wary of computer generated content, the incredible demand for video news updates shows that Wibbitz has found one corner of the web with tremendous potential.

Atosho – Read, Click, Buy

The world of online media is a harsh place to do businesses. Publishers are faced with the difficult challenge of competing against a vast sea of other websites, while looking for a way to make money when content is expected to be given away for free. Atosho, a Copenhagen-based startup is betting that publishers can turn sites into ecommerce engines as an additional path to monetization.

The platform lets websites sell products without users ever leaving the site. It enables consumers to buy a product directly out of a publisher’s editorial content – whether that’s an article, a product review, an image, or any other digital content that creates demand – and the user completes the purchase right on the site. We have all come to accept ads as a given in free content – perhaps an easy and transparent path to purchase those same advertised products is the logical next step?

The Web is an exciting place to do business, but it’s also proven to be one of the most challenging. These startups, and many others, are working to make sure that there is a rich and varied array of options for professionals doing business on the web. Do any of these startups provide a solution that you need, or do you think there is still a huge problem out there waiting to be solved?

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Via ventureLAB
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

More interesting startups all the time.

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Coaching on How To Ask Powerful Questions

Coaching on How To Ask Powerful Questions | Competitive Edge |

Here are ten ways asking questions can help us be more effective leaders and create breakthroughs in our impact.

If there were one single tool that would help you inspire greater creativity, drive stronger engagement, and get better results,would you try it?

It’s called a question.

Voltaire said “Judge a man by his questions rather than his answers”.

In my executive coaching practice, asking the right questions is the single most important tool I use to help others discover and grow themselves as leaders.

To read the full article, click on the title or image.

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Via donhornsby, Michael Binzer
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Questions will start the process of communication, resolving, thinking, etc. Great article.

donhornsby's curator insight, May 27, 2014 9:21 AM

(From the article): 

Here’s the real challenge to asking good questions. It requires a shift in our own mindset as leaders. We have to let go of three ego needs that hold us back.

Let go of the need to be superior or to prove ourselves (e.g. I’m the smartest person in the room so let me tell you everything I know).Let go of the need to control outcomes (e.g. the best and most efficient way to do this is my way, so let me just help you by telling you what to do).Let go of the need for perfection or need to succeed without any tolerance for failure (we have to do this perfectly because anything less than success will make us or me look bad).

This is where executive coaching really works to uncover limiting beliefs and paradigms we have so we can let our curiosity naturally flow through. Do these apply to you?


Michael Binzer's curator insight, June 25, 2014 4:36 AM

Ten good ways to ask difficult questions. Worth reading

Rescooped by Marc Kneepkens from Daily Magazine!

5 Tips To Become a Morning Person

5 Tips To Become a Morning Person | Competitive Edge |

A majority of people in the world are night owls, staying up late either catching up on “to-do” lists, watching a late night show or socializing with friends, but is staying up late into the night and sleeping later in the morning a smart approach?

To read the full article, click on the title or image.

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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Being a morning person definitely makes you more competitive. You can get an incredible amount of work done in the morning, and then you still have the whole day available to be creative and relaxed and to enjoy what you do, or want to do.

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Rescooped by Marc Kneepkens from Secrets of Success for Women Entrerpreneurs!

6 Ways to Free Your Business From Stagnation

6 Ways to Free Your Business From Stagnation | Competitive Edge |

Has your small business hit a sales plateau? Follow these tips for successfully navigating a no-growth period so you can come out strong on the other side.

Your small business has been thriving, and the pipeline is always filled with upcoming work. For the first time since leaping into the world of small-business ownership, you finally have a sense of job security.

But don't get comfortable too soon. Jacob Aldridge, a licensed Shirlaws business coach, says this state of bliss ultimately comes to an end for most businesses. “They experience a successful period of uncontrolled growth," Aldridge says, "but then find themselves in a no-man's-land situation where they're at capacity but not profitable.”

To read the full article, click on the image or title.

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Via Deb Bailey
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Keep on innovating, renewing, adding on, being creative. It's a necessity in this rapidly changing business world.

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Scooped by Marc Kneepkens!

Innovation Excellence | Seven Things the Competent Innovation Manager Should Know

Innovation Excellence | Seven Things the Competent Innovation Manager Should Know | Competitive Edge |

f you have recently been promoted — or perhaps demoted — to the position of innovation manager, your first action has probably been to do a bit of research. In so doing, you may understandably have been overwhelmed by the amount of information on-line, in books and peddled by over-priced consultants. Worse, a lot of that information is contradictory, uses unintelligible jargon or requires you hire an over-priced consultant.

If you are feeling overwhelmed, don’t panic! I am here to help! Here are seven basic things every innovation manager should know. And if you have questions, please ask!

To read the full article, click on the title or image.

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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Also check the article on 'innovation' posted today on 'Mobile Development News':

Steve Jobs' idea about innovation!

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Rescooped by Marc Kneepkens from It's Your Business!

10 Secrets of Becoming a Successful Entrepreneur

10 Secrets of Becoming a Successful Entrepreneur | Competitive Edge |

I've been an entrepreneur most of my adult life. Recently, on a long business flight, I began thinking about what it takes to become successful as an entrepreneur--and how I would even define the meaning of success. The two ideas became more intertwined in my thinking: success as an entrepreneur, entrepreneurial success. I've given a lot of talks over the years on the subject of entrepreneurship. The first thing I find I have to do is to dispel the persistent myth that entrepreneurial success is all about innovative thinking and breakthrough ideas. I've found that entrepreneurial success usually comes through great execution, simply by doing a superior job of doing the blocking and tackling.

But what else does it take to succeed as an entrepreneur, and how should an entrepreneur define success?

Here's what I came up with, a Top 10 List:

To read the full article, click on the title or image.

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Via The Fish Firm
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

It's not just about having the 'big idea'? Of course not. Don't forget to
'Do it' too. Good article.

Rhonda Hunter's curator insight, April 4, 2014 9:43 AM

What keeps you awake at night as a small business owner or entrepreneur?  Let LEGG (Lincoln Entrepreneur Growth Group) help you find those we can all rest better!  Rhonda Hunter 704-732-1511 x 1 or check out the Entrepreneur Growth tab and Tools for Business.

Cathy Matthews's curator insight, April 4, 2014 12:30 PM

Great insights. - So true that no-one can do it all by themselves. It's important to find the smartest people around who can complement your strengths and 'run with the wind'. Giving back is also vital and  helps to make it all worthwhile.