Wednesday, April 18, 2007

I've seen the future

This exciting video was recently released by the brains behind Intel's Ultra Mobile PC. Since Microsoft personal home kitchen project, this is the most progressive, sophisticated multimedia technology I've ever laid eyes upon. Goes to show how effective, well-designed technology can truly enhance our life experiences without being too overwhelming.

So, this is what my day will be like as CEO of a next generation business. Pretty cool, huh?

Thanks, Greg Verdino.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Ready to make history?

Tomorrow, on April 14th, I will be in Ann Arbor, MI in conjunction with the University of Michigan to "assimilate" during the nationwide Step It Up 2007 campaign. Start by Bill McKibben of Burlington, Vermont, Step It Up 2007 will hold over 1,300 sites filled with people urging Congress to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by the year 2050. According to the word on the street, Step It Up promises to be the single largest global warming urgency rally since Earth Day in 1970. The campaign has even been featured by BusinessWeek.

Over the last year, global warming has become an issue dear to my heart, and I wish to make considerable energies towards alleviating this problem. In addition to Al Gore's incredible efforts, John Doerr has really convinced that global warming must become apart of our social and environmental conscious. Not to mention that global warming = green business = lots of green.

On another green-related note, here are some awesome sites that I have visited, plenty of times. I've even subscribed to some of their podcasts:

So, check out the site, see were the closet Step-It-Up locations is from you, get there, and do the earth some good. You'll be glad you did it!

Back from Aspen

Yeah, so... I was gone; gone to Aspen. I went skiing, did some fine dining (SkyHotel), walked around town, enjoyed a few cups of Ink! Coffee, saw John Legend perform at the Belly Up Aspen, and meet some real incredible people (entrepreneurs). I must confess that I fell in love with Aspen. ultimate dream would be to buy a place out there (10 years from now?).

So, I apologize for the week-long intermission between postings. I assure you that I'm well-rested, energized, and ready to dish out some great content!

But, here's what's been on my mind...

While in Aspen, I stayed in a condominium that provided a local cable program called Plum TV. Before visiting Aspen, I was partially familiar with the station, but it wasn't until I started watching the footage that I was transformed, and compelled to discover the story behind this great, entertaining channel.

For those who are uninformed, Plum TV was started by young entrepreneur Tom Scott, founder of Nantucket Nectars, who envisioned a niche local station that would exclusively cover major vacation spots in the U.S., such as Nantucket, The Hamptons, Martha's Vineyard, Vail, Telluride, and Aspen, highlighting the events, styles, activities, and people surrounding these great sites. Tom graduated from Brown University and went on immediately to start a general store called All Serve in Nantucket with his friend Tom First.

But what I found most fascinating was his ability to get a "jump start on things," right out of college knowing that he wanted to start a business, whatever it would be, with the explicit intention of never wearing a tie (or being an ivy-league, corporate sell-out). Instead, he took the unconventional route, followed his passions, had fun selling juice (in his little red sail boat) around Nantucket Island, and later established a well-respected, and profitable brand.

Tom Scott also provides a great example of why an entrepreneur's career isn't limited to just one successful business. Being an entrepreneur allows you the chance to make a business out of any of your interests or passions. As soon as Tom had grew Nectars into a viable business, he decided to reach further and start a new-age television channel. In essence, Scott was always open to growth.

This has lead me to realize my true calling, an entrepreneur: one who thinks differently, takes risks, create new ventures, and starts early. In the pursuit of my dreams, I'm about to take an unprecedented risk in the coming week. Once plans are finalized, I will announce it on my blog.

Stay tuned.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

World-wide conference call

Today, at 1:30pm, I'll be taking it live with CEO of Wikipedia, Jimmy "Jimbo" Wales, during a Waxxi interactive podcast. As mentioned in Kevin Hylant's earlier post, Waxxi is the service offering a totally radical way to participate in podcast conversations. By registering in advance, you can guarantee one of the 500 participant spots that are available. From what I've heard, registration was closed within two weeks prior to the event.

Waxxi works a lot like "one big skype conference call." It's exclusive, but it allows you to chime in your thoughts at any time, be it with Jimbo, the Waxxi staff, or other listeners.

Eventually, when I start up a podcast of my own (this summer?), I would like use Waxxi my model. But, for know, I urge anyone to send me your dying questions. Keep in mind that, Waxxi will soon release a downloadable version of the podcast via iTunes.

Here's the e-mail I received on Tuesday:

Hi, Austin!

Thanks for signing up to participate in Thursday's (April 5, 2007)
interactive podcast with Jimmy Wales. As a reminder, it will begin at
1:30PM EDT. To see who will be participating in the conversation, go
here: (only those who have given us
permission to post their information are listed).

For Thursday's event, here are the three things you'll need to know:

1. Your Code
In order to take part in this exciting event you will need to use
your unique event code which is:
********. Only one person can use that code: you! It acts as your
ticket to join the event, so please keep it in a safe place.

2. Chat/IM
In order to enjoy a true, interactive experience we invite you to a
simultaneous chat/IM session: You'll see a
chat room, where you can personalize your ID/screen name and say
hello, ask a question, comment on the conversation or just hang out.

3. Dial in Number
You'll also need a number to call into in order to ask Jimmy Wales a
question by phone:

Toll free (within the US): .1.800.976.0840
Direct dial (International): + 1.404.920.6336

In order to ask a question, simply press the star key and the number
one (*1). You will then be placed in line, indicating you are raising
your hand.

If for any reason you'd prefer to have us ask Jimmy a question on
your behalf, simply email your name, city, country and question ahead
of time to

Talk to you soon!


Team Waxxi

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Money To Be Made

On Tuesday, I made a visit to University of Michigan Ross School of Business to hear a special lecture given by long-time business professor and consultant, CK Prahalad. A legend and "guru" for so many years, (even when my dad had him in class twenty years ago), CK has devoted the later part of his years in developing new strategies for doing business with the poor. In February 2006, CK published The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, a widely-popular source on how to alleviate poverty through profitable new business ventures.

While I got lost in some of CK's professorial terminology, I found CK's speech to be, overall, quite fascinating. It definitely widened my perspective on how big money can actually be made through businesses that are geared to the world-class poor, and the obligation for big-businesses to be pro-active in developing new products and services, while maintaining social responsibility. So for companies willing to take the challenge, I think they ought to start-off by initiating their own in-house departments that are specifically geared to this new market. i.e. "Team for the Emerging Poor."

But, here's what I found most illuminating:

  • The traditional question to globalization asks, "Is globalization good or bad for the poor?"
  • This question should now be re-phrased to,"How do we make globalization work for the poor?"
  • At the Bottom of the Pyramid (world's lowest poverty level), the unrealized market potential $5 trillion.
  • In Asia, it's $95 billion.
  • Companies that have shown success at B.O.P:
    • Frito Lay - In India, regular packaging, yet flavored with local curry powders
    • McDonalds - Low cost, veggie burgers
    • BP - new village cooking stoves
  • The "normal" business model views business as: "price minus cost equals profit."
  • The "new" business model views business as: "price minus profit equals cost."
    • By fixing your projected profit, products such as the $100 MIT laptop can be made feasible.
Lastly, I thought it would be appropriate to include a 2005 TedTalks video featuring Jacqueline Novogratz, who is the CEO of the Acumen Fund, a third-world venture capital program that is putting a lot of CK's teachings into practice. (CK also mentioned that the other top pioneers of social change were: The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and

Check it out: