Wednesday, November 16, 2011

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Saturday, November 05, 2011

The Names Game on Inside Indiana Business

Inside Indiana Business featured my Names Game iPhone app in a short segment presented on WFYI in Indianapolis, the public television channel in Indianapolis.

Gerry Dick is a great host of the popular local television program that features interviews with business people from around Indiana.  It was an honor to be on his show!

Here is how Inside Indiana Business described the game:

Hoosiers Produce iPhone Game 
If you need help remembering names of business connections, and Indianapolis entrepreneur has an app for that. Kim Brand has co-developed Names Game, which incorporates Facebook and turns name and face memorization into an iPhone game. Brand recently discussed the idea to launch the app during and appearance on Inside INdiana Business Television.

I'd like to give credit for the software development for the game to John Holtkamp.  John is a talented programmer and has been a valuable partner throughout the process of launching my first iPhone app.  His experience and insight belie his youth!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Business Ownership Sales & Marketing Links

I am proud to be on the Board of the Business Ownership Initiative.  At this time in a poor economy, entrepreneurship will be one of the principal drivers of prosperity and job creation.  I'm glad to play a small part in the economy (aside from owning three businesses.)

Meanwhile, I present short seminars to BOI clients on Sales and Marketing.  There are millions of resources on the web - the vast majority are free.

I collect the information I present primarily in two places:

My Entrepreneurship Wiki is located here (which is hosted for free by PBWorks - a WONDERFUL resource.)

My Entrepreneurship Bookmarks are located here (which is hosted for free by DELICIOUS.COM - VERY COOL!)

Check them out.  Let me know if you have any questions or comments.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Cosmic matter distribution & talent diversity

The distribution of talents in a person may be compared to the distribution of matter in the universe.  We have gotten much better at visualizing this matter over time – and a person gets better at recognizing what he is good at as he gets older.

This picture sums it up:

We start off with talents that are fuzzy.  Some boys are good at sports.  Some girls may be good at music.  Either sex may have talents commonly associated with the other.  I believe the brain is predisposed to some talents at birth, but that doesn’t preclude learning to be better at anything.
The point is that as we get older we figure out where our talents lie.  We accept that we are naturally good at some things and, while we can develop a weakness into a strength, there are so many areas where we are just naturally better; Why invest the energy to do so?

Recognizing and accepting ourselves as who we are simply acknowledges this prenatal organization of brain stuff.  We ought to consider it a gift.
Schools simply reflect society’s priority to develop general individual utility for the sake of general prosperity.  In an increasingly interconnected and complex society, the role each of us play can be more granular.  Unfortunately it is not economical for schools to produce individualized curricula – so we settle for generic education ill suited to the individual talents of students.

Perhaps in some enlightened future educational system we will enjoy new capabilities being developed in pharmacology: to custom engineer drugs to suit the unique characteristics of human molecular architecture at the DNA level.  Some education leaders are advocating the same for schools.

As the noted education expert Sir Kenneth Robinson has criticized: The principal organizing characteristic which determines the education of our youth should not be their date of manufacture.

Friday, August 19, 2011


The late Richard Holbrooke used to give the essential piece of advice for a question-driven life: Know something about something. Don’t just present your wonderful self to the world. Constantly amass knowledge and offer it around.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

How has the Internet changed the way you think?

Just yesterday, my son asked if he should take Huxley's Brave New World on a flight with him to Los Angeles.  The book is a dark portrayal of a dystopic future.  I guess the questions and my mood made be a bit more sober than usual.

Then, a friend (Bruce Frank) was reading from a compilation of articles published on which answered the question: "How has the Internet changed the way you think?"

Here is my response...

The ability to connect 24/7 with media has affected everything.  I'm sure a book could be written, but in a sort of recursive way (like the way Escher painted,) the answer is 'infected' with the Internet.  Like defining a word using the word.

The first thing I did was Google it.

I read an article recently that claimed one of the changes is the way we remember information.  Why do you need to remember anything if you can find the answer on your mobile phone?  I used to pride myself on my memory of clients' phone numbers.  I can honestly say I don't know my mom's phone number: it's in my cell phone along with (I was aghast to learn when I backed it up) 900 other contacts.  HOW CAN THAT BE POSSIBLE?

And why would kids want/need to learn anything?  They all have iPads (or will) and the answer to any question will be delivered by Google.  And if Google can't find it - how important can it be?

What about spelling, grammar or punctuation.  Seriously, when I'm texting you and using Ur, 4, 2, sup? and :) to communicate, who cares about apostrophes, possession, conjugation or tense agreement?

You've all chided me for my multiple e-mail addresses.  I recall creating them.  Each was an escape from the torrent of messages.  It used to be Spam.  Now, the Spam is gone - but the torrent remains!  Good messages from important people I should read, file, respond to or just think about.  It's like getting 50-70 pieces of mail a day!  How can you deal with that?

The Luddite movement responded to the onslaught of automation with violence.  John Henry supposedly died competing with a machine.  And now Chess and Jeopardy are proving that machines are as smart as they are strong.  No less, the Internet?

Of what use are humans?  To keep the lights on?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Otto Wichterle, my new hero

This guy beat the odds, kicked their ass and invented something hundreds of millions of people use - but you don't know him.

I volunteer at Business Ownership Initiative in Indianapolis, an SBA funded Womens Business Development Center. We help mostly women and minorities start businesses.

When I counsel these startups I try to convey what it takes to be successful starting and running a business. Persistence is at the top of the list. (My favorite quote on the subject is from former president Calvin Coolidge.)

I always enjoy using examples from history of scientists or entrepreneurs who exhibited remarkable persistence to become successful. There are many. Today's news media too often makes success seem like it comes out of a microwave.

I came across this story about Otto Wichterle, the inventor of contact lenses. His picture spoke to me: It was like: "I kicked their asses, and I can kick yours too!" I LOVE THAT IN AN ENTREPRENEUR!

But unlike The Donald, this guy had a brain.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Somewhere, Nicola Tesla is smiling

Anyone who knows me knows I admire Nicola Tesla.  The man was an unrewarded genius.  It is too soon to tell if I will be among that cohort, or break out.

But to make a fraction of his impact on the world would be an achievement.  So mode it be.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Business Ownership 'Operations' Section Notes

I presented the CoreFour Business Planning section on Operations offered by the Business Ownership Initiative tonight.  You'll find my links to the materials I presented here.  Hope it helps!

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Friends and mobile devices

If you do this when you meet up with friends, they should be looking for another friend.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Cloud services reliable?

I read Reddit all the time.  It depends on Amazon's EBS.  It's down all the time.

If Reddit can't keep it up, what chance do 2nd and 3rd tier providers have?  Better bring an umbrella.

ILTSO releases standards

The International Legal Technical Standards Organization initial draft standards (to which I contributed) has just been published.

I predict that they will be the subject of much debate over the next few months, but the idea for the standard, the brainchild of Jeff Goens, CEO of Dialawg, is a good one and will be refined over the next couple years.  There have already been a few blog posts - Press Release here.

There is an Internet meme that applies to most standards: TL;DR.  At under 50 pages, these standards are a scintilla of other standards that many industries - let alone 'The Law' - have come to be governed by.  But from my experience in the technology service business, any sentence that includes the word 'computer' is likely to be too long for most normal people to read.

Nevertheless, I'm pleased that the ILTSO standards emphasized brevity and clarity and are targeted at the technical acumen of a 'normal' person rather than, say, the audience of the MSDN.

With so much change happening in technology today - from cloud computing to mobile devices - these standards are intended to help law firms keep their clients' data safe and their partners out of trouble.  Worthy goals for any standard.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Personal vs Cyber relationships

A professor speaks about substituting personal relationships for technology...

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Four things

My Rotary Club invocation of March 5 simply recounted Robert Fulghum's All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten.  So far as I know, this was the first time an invocator presented his or her remarks with an assist from Powerpoint.  The result was that most of the audience followed along outloud - Mitch Miller style!

I mentioned to myself today that if a struggling, but proud, parent wanted to do the best they could for their children, they should lie to them about the cruel realities of life.  Better that they manufacture a fantasy that would create the hope that their life would be better, than sew despair that the future held no relief from the pain they saw in their parents' eyes.

And another thing, parents should at least prepare their students with a respect of diction, grammar and the rewards of speaking as if you care to be understood by people that matter.  Right after appearance, the words that fall from your mouth create an impression that fixes you in the mind of a listener.  A negative impression is hard to overcome.

I mentioned my belief (to Cy Wood of Franklin University of Ohio,) that the future of education is The YouTube Degree.  Venerable institutions of higher education will 'certify' graduates based on standardized tests - most of their degree programs will be too expensive, take too long and become irrelevant to the majority of lifetime learners.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Waiting For Superman
We loved this movie.

I'm left with the depressing feeling that we may not have the courage to let the market work to solve this problem.  If we resort to lotteries to ration good education too many students will be left to the 'Failure Factories' and too much potential will be unfulfilled just when our country needs all the help it can get.

Charter Schools are a great start.  But can't we expect more from Public Schools?  Doesn't everyone want every school to succeed?

Sunday, March 06, 2011


We've had a lot of fun introducing our 'Half Price' wireless mesh networking product.  EVERYTHING is going to be wireless soon.  And the 802.11x standard is not going away for a while.  So customers: schools in particular but anyone that has a large space to 'light up', really need this.

Turns out there aren't very many economical solutions - that's was the same story behind FileSafe.  So it was second nature to invent something!  Irvington Community Schools loves it at their three campuses and I hope we'll deliver it soon to several more.

We've had a range of reaction to the name: ClusterMesh.  Everyone smiles.  What could be better?

Oh, and we got the Facebook page up: last week.  Over 30 friends already!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Just make it go away

Windows 7 introduced the concept of Libraries.  Like symbolic links in Unix.  I'd describe them as a layer of abstraction over the hierarchical directory system that most people have learned to deal with since DOS.  It's not terribly hard to shove 'folders' down peoples' throats.  They see filing cabinets filled with folders all the time.  Hard drive = filing cabinet.  Folders = subdirectories.  Simple.

But Microsoft just had to give Windows 7 something more than a pretty face (like the Mac) and better security (like the Mac.)  So it added a file system abstraction that aggregates folders from different places and/or computers into the mix.  When you delete something here it isn't deleted from the source.  When you copy something here there aren't really two copies of it.  More properties control the listing order and the new indexing service can be enabled to search by more metadata.

Trouble is 100% of my customers don't care.  Actually, 100% of the comments on the Microsoft website explaining this little gem of a feature want to know how to make it just go away!

Don't they pilot this stuff?  Or do they just not listen?  We've reached the stage where the Windows operating system has simply morphed into an engineer's feature dreamworld.  One would think they'd focus on the user's productivity.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Google Rex

I'm fascinated by the power of search in general and Google in particular.  Like drive through windows on information - fast, convenient, accurate results to curiosity about anything has made us obese in a digital way.  Sloppy scavengers of data, factoids and random nodes.

Anyway, two recent articles on Google are just too interesting not to mention here:

Today's NYT: The Dirty Little Secrets of Search brought focus on how search results can be manipulated.  Staying with the fast food alalogy, like adding sugar to high fat food to appease the animal brain's hunger for calories.

Then there was A Bully Finds a Pulpit on the Web (also from David Segal and the NYT.) 

Manipulation has always been the simplest form of larceny.  The game is simply faster, more profitable and less obvious today.