Category Archives: Start Ups

Why do Time, Money & Relationships matter?

Consultant J.R. Atkins discusses time, money and relationshipsVery simply, these are the only three things that matter. I assert that all other issues, goals, solutions, answers …can be boiled down to one of these three. Let’s go through each one and see.

Time is often considered the most valuable commodity. After all, you can get more money, love, people, cars, books …but you cannot get more time. The closest thing to getting more time is to leverage your time or other people’s time. Time is the first commodity we are given to manage. As a young salesman with E&J Gallo Winery, I was taught to manage my time first, then I could manage others, and this held true.

“Too often, when we have money, we don’t have time and when we have time, we don’t have money.” Jim Rohn

Professional Speaker J.R. Atkins address money, time & relationshipsMoney is held in high regard in most of the world. It represents power, accomplishment, wealth, knowledge, wisdom, and even love is often expressed in the form of money or gifts. With money, you can do almost anything. Without money, there are so many obstacles to overcome that most people cannot do anything without money. When I consider the issues I face in life; most of them would either go away or be less important with the addition of more money. Not all problems can be solved by money which brings us to people or relationships.

Money is not the root of evil; “the love of money is the root of evil.” 1 Tim 6:10

Relationships affect us in both our work and personal lives. I have heard many people joke that their life would be so easy without these darn people messing it up. While comical, it is also true. We are made to be in relationship with each other, some more Author J.R. Atkins points out that Relationships Matterso than others, and relationships create issues. As leaders, we are asked to get people moving, creating results. As workers we are asked to follow our leaders and get things done. It is a two way street. Gone are the days where one person orders and the other person complies. We all have to work together, get along, collaborate, avoid confrontation … to generate results and keep the peace.

“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love” 1 Cor 13:13

With these three “commodities” addressed, let’s look at an example of Starting a Business.  To start a business you need all three: time, money and relationships. For example, I connect with many people wanting to build a mobile application for smart Author, Speaker & Consultant J.R. Atkins is a member of Startup Americaphones. Most have little or no money so they put in time and strive to find others that will contribute their money, in exchange for future earnings. Relationships are key in this environment as the entrepreneur must interact with people in order to get them to support his/her idea. They must attract talent, investors, customers, mentors … and all of these require some level of time, money and relationships. Can you think of an issue an entrepreneur might face that cannot be addressed by these three?

The model below represents a “Balanced Approach” where time, money and relationships are seen as equals. Yet, most of the entrepreneurs I speak with would rather have more money and less time and relationships since they can “buy” time and relationships with money. I call this “A Money Centric Approach.” Without enough money, even with plenty of time and relationships, the road to success is very, very steep.

Consultant J.R. Atkins comments on the intersection of time, money & relationships 

How do these concepts and ideas fit into your world view? Do you have an idea of your “hourly billable rate?” Claiming an hourly rate that you desire will help you choose what task you will do and what task you will hire others to complete. Your hourly rate will also help you compute the dollar value of your participation in a project or business.

I look forward to reading your comments, please post them at http://somethingdifferentcompanies.com/blog/

 Events Worth Considering:


The Dallas Startup Scene

Author of Success Simplified J.R. Atkins is a fan of Startup DFWMy friends and I often lament because Dallas does not get the attention and press for a Startup community like Silicon Valley, Boston or event Austin. One reason could be because we are so spread out and another could be because not enough people know what is going on in the Dallas Startup community. Over the last few years I have been consulting on a few Startups and have observed many Dallas startups, so I thought I would mention a few sources for information, funding, incubators and current startups.

In March, I traveled to South by Southwest (SXSW) in Austin, to specifically observe the Startup activities. One floor of meeting rooms in the Hilton Hotel was dedicated to Startups and on Thursday night before SXSW began there was a “Startup Crawl” or a tour of some 50+ Austin based Startups. I’d like to see us do this in Dallas but we’d need buses to haul us around town.

While in Austin, I got to know the people with “Startup America” a kind of clearing house for information and resources for Startups. We have a local group called Startup Texas that is part of the national group. As it grows we will see more localized “chapters” such as Startup Dallas.

Tech Wildcatters has been named one of the Top 15 Incubators/Accelerators in the US and serves as “a mentorship-driven microseed fund and startup accelerator.” Tech Wildcatters companies receive $10K per company and an additional $5K per founder, up to a total of $25K. You can learn more at the FAQ section of their website. A few of the Startups that have been through the program include Proxomo, MemoryReel, and RentSavey.

J.R. Atkins consultatn to Startups for Marketing likes TechCocktailsTech Cocktail “is a literal “cocktail” of emerging technology and startup events, news, resources and reports for the entrepreneurial minded, tech enthusiast.            “ In May, Tech Cocktail came to Dallas and hosted a Startup showcase at Tech Wildcatters. Here are a few of the Startup companies I visited with at the event:

Rethink Books “is a technology company focused on helping readers buy, interact, and share more books.” Or as I like to say, as you read a book on a tablet, you can interact with others on your social networks, the author or other readers; a real interactive experience. I met the co-founder Jason Illian in 2010 at a kick-off event at the Park Cities Club and have been watching the company and platform grow and mature. The product is solid and the publishing industry is slowly coming around. This is a good company to keep your eye on.

Blurtt is an iPhone App that allows you to share pictures with funny captions. Or put another way, Blurtt helps you add images to your messages to better express yourself. I met the co-founder, Jeanette Cajide, in 2010 and have watched the App go from concept to full function. Check out the Tech Crunch interview with Janette.

Mobile App Consultant J.R. Atkins likes the Meta Watch platformMeta Watch is a watch “platform” that can connect to any Bluetooth enabled device. It has a similar appeal as my iPod Nano I wear in a LunaTik watchband. The difference, the Nano does not have an open API and you have to press a button to see the time and other functions. Meta Watch highlights the “touch free” access to time and more. Meta Watch is also a development system that allows developers to quickly and easily extend the interfaces of devices and applications to the wrist. CEO Bill Geiser is proud to point out the Meta Watch works with both iOS and Android mobile phone platforms.

Clubster is a social networking platform for private clubs. This timely App serves the elite and private person very well as they too want to share and communicate using social media but they do not want the details of their life spread beyond their intimate friends and associates. COO William King says they have set up several clubs and are looking for more.

Climapak, by Kewl Innovations, is a portable temperature control device for carrying insulin. As a diabetic, I know how hard it is to be compliant with your insulin regiment when you need to carry insulin with you all the time. The heat and cold can ruin the insulin. Founder and Chairman, Mike Wilkinson, saw the need and was committed to bring the product to market.

Qwigg is a social sharing site designed with the restaurateur or retailer in mind. It is so simple to use: snap a picture, post a price, and share on Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites. When someone comes in for the advertised special, complete the transaction. Simple and effective. In time, the restaurateur or retailer can see metrics and track the effectiveness of different specials. Co-founder Jack Wrigley’s  goal is to start with a tool that is simple and delivers results for his customers. “Once they see the results, they are willing to learn more about the details; until then, they are too busy running their business.”

Fancorps is a word of mouth marketing platform using social media. It works for big or small companies and brands. “Fancorps brings structure, performance tracking & actionable guidance to today’s stream of social media, which has become even more important than traditional marketing.” CEO and co-founder G.I. Sanders  tells me that “Fancorps has been used across all facets of social media, for focus groups and survey feedback, consumer product reviews and recommendations, live events, and virtually anywhere else a valuable impression is needed.”

Social Media speaker J.R. Atkins like BookShout book platformGravity Centre “is a place for Entrepreneurs in the Dallas Metro area to have the tools necessary for success, and to enable an ecosystem of incredible Startups that are impactful and relevant globally.” You can rent permanent spaces for full-time residents are available or flexible office spaces are available for the drop-in types; gain access to world-class technology, devices and resources that will help your Startup and product become successful. Jennifer Conley, the Director of Operations, says “Gravity Center community is made up of early-stage startup companies, innovators, investors, mentors and Universities. Housing more than 20 startups since its opening, the incubator has produced a significant number of entrepreneurs and developers who actively participate and engage with key sponsors.”

Co-Habitat Dallas is a co-working space for developers, creatives and entrepreneurs. As co-founder Blake Burris puts it “We’ve got great coffee, Wi-Fi, a variety of workspaces and best of all, a vibrant community of creative thinkers, coders, designers, and entrepreneurs.”                                                                                                                               

Events worth Considering


Angry Bird’s Ravio valued at 9 Billion; who owns the most?

I love to play Angry Birds and down load every new edition as soon as it is released. Ravio is certainly a model that mobile game developers yearn to follow. But how much is it really worth and who owns most of the stock.

Check out this article from TNW – The Next Web by Robin Wauters.

Moble App consultant J.R. Atkins comments on Rovio's ownership and valueAngry Birds is most certainly a fun game, but it’s also turning into a huge franchise that is apparently poised to make some Friendly Fins a sizeable chunk of cash.

Finnish financial magazine Arvopaperi this morning revealed parent company Rovio’s ownership structure, based on public information from the country’s governmental registry. Let’s take a look, shall we?

Here’s a shareholder list, shamelessly copied from ArticStartup (with permission):

Kaj Hed / Trema International Holdings BV — 69.7%
– Niklas Hed — 4.3%
– Peter Vesterbacka — 3.1%
– Mikael Hed — 0.6%
– Employees — 1.3%
– Accel Partners — 10%
– Atomico Invest — 10%
– Felicis Ventures — 1%

The most striking thing about the structure is that someone actually holds a 69.7 percent stake in the fast-growing entertainment company, and that someone is chairman Kaj Hed, also the founder of investment firm Global Inter Partners.

Kaj Hed is the father of Rovio chief exec Mikael Hed, who is in turn the cousin of COO Niklas Hed. The management team is rounded out by globetrotter Peter Vesterbacka, Rovio’s CMO, who has acquired a 3.1 percent stake over the years.

Together, the Heds hold a nearly 75 percent stake in the company, and including Vesterbacka’s share, the management team controls 77.7 percent of Rovio.

It’s remarkable that Mikael Hed, who co-founded the game development studio in 2003 and has been its CEO for years, holds ‘only ‘ a 0.6 stake, but I assume there are agreements in place within the family to make sure the man is – and will continue to be – adequately compensated. 🙂

If Rovio is indeed currently valued at up to 9 billion dollars, that 77.7 percent translates to roughly $7 billion on paper between the four of them (at the high end of the company’s estimated value, to be perfectly clear).

Recent investors Atomico and Accel Partners together hold a 20 percent stake, while Felicis Ventures, the U.S. venture capital firm founded by former Google exec Aydin Senkut, has a 1 percent stake. That leaves 1.3 percent for Rovio employees.

As ArcticStartup points out, that means the post-money valuation of Rovio was $210 million when Atomico, Felicis and Accel pumped $42 million into Rovio.

For the record, Rovio is planning to go public. According to some reports, the company is even plotting an IPO in Hong Kong as early as next year.

 


Can your Smart phone serve as your PC?

I saw this on “the Next Web Apps” RSS Feed and thought it was worth sharing.

What if you could run around town with your Android phone using it like you normally do and when you get to the office all you have to do is dock it and start your day? That’s exactly what Ubuntu wants to do with its pitch to Android handset manufacturers to embed the operating system into its devices.

Ubuntu for Android
is a full-featured operating system for desktop computing and all you would have to do is dock your phone to use it.

In addition to a desktop operating system, all of the functionality from the phone would be available to you at the click of a mouse. If your phone gets a call or text message, it would pop up on the external monitor you’ve set up to use it. As we noted yesterday, Apple is taking a unification approach to its mobile and desktop operating systems, and this Ubuntu solution would be even better since it doesn’t require two devices:

Dallas Mobile App Strategist J.R. Atkins comments on Ubuntu for Android 

While the operating system isn’t available right now, Ubuntu wants to get consumers excited about it so the pitch to handset creators will go that much smoother for it. Ubuntu states that a desktop environment hosted only on the web on devices such as netbooks haven’t gone over well with consumers since the desktop requires horsepower and storage for optimal productivity.

The approach makes total sense and I could see Android handsets jumping on this bandwagon. One device that provides multiple functions, especially business functions, could become extremely attractive to IT professionals who are looking to control the costs within their organization. Instead of providing each employee with a desktop machine and a mobile device, all they’d have to do is provide them with a phone. Since employees would only be using one device, there would be less security concerns as well as issues with syncing things like calendars and contact information.

As mobile phones get more computing power, the one device approach is becoming a reality and it’s one that I’d be interesting in giving a try. Even though Google does a great job at syncing information, I’d much rather only have to worry about having one device that could replace my laptop with nothing more than a few peripherals that I can leave behind when I’m on the road.

There’s no time-frame for when we could see Android handsets with this capability but if the company can prove that consumers want something like this, it’s a no-brainer for handset manufacturers.

See the original article “the Next Web Apps”


Online Music, like Radio on your PC or Mobile Device

As I read the blog post by Adam Vincenzini of TNW aka The Next Web, I realized it was worth sharing. There are many options to listen, share, discover, and discuss music. Check out “10 new ways to discover, share and listen to music online

Marketing consultant J.R. Atkins comments on TNW Blog1. mSpot.com – store your music library in the cloud

The creators of mSpot have cleverly called this a ‘music service that follows you’ and it couldn’t be a more apt description. mSpot collects all of your music, uploads it to an online folder and gives you access to your music from anywhere and on any device.

2. Maestro.fm – store your music library in the cloud (option two)

Almost an identical service to mSpot but it also comes with a desktop shortcut that is quite handy. I have some invites for those who want to test it out – just click here.

3. Top10 Spotify app – Collaborate and create your Top 10 lists

Proceed with caution: The Top 10 app makes Spotify even more addictive than normal! Spotify unveiled app functionality in late 2011 to bring added features to the Spotify platform and this is probably the first one you should add to your player. Awesome.

4. Soundrop Spotify app – Enter or create your own listening room

The wannabe DJ in you will fall in love with Soundrop. It allows you to create playlists and then invite your friends to listen to your ‘sets’ all within the Spotify interface. Boom.

5. Tinysong.com – Tweet any song in a flash

Have you ever had the urge to share a tune with the world via Twitter? Then bookmark this site and use it to satisfy that urge on demand. Powered by Grooveshark.

6. QCmixtapes.com – ‘Pinterest for mixtapes’

If you like getting your paws on new mixtapes, then you should head over to QCmixtapes.com (presented in an easy-to-scroll Pinterest-style format).

7. MixCloud.com – The home of ‘cloudcasts’

MixCloud is one of the more well-known ‘new’ online music destinations which brings you a true social music experience. Follow friends, vote and recommend music and users, and connect your other social media accounts all from the one place. Nice.

8. SoundCloud.com – Share your music with the world

The focus of SoundCloud, as opposed to MixCloud, is more on creating and publishing but that also makes it a great place to discover music too.

9. RaRa.com – An alternative to Spotify

A slightly cheaper way to enjoy a Spotify-like experience, created by a team based in the UK.

10. Grooveshark.com / Deezer.com – Steaming online music goodness

You’ve probably heard of both of these services but if you haven’t they are worth adding to your mix (pardon the pun).

Make sure you check out TNW. It’s a great source for tech trends and more.


What are you seeing in Palestine?

Social Media Speaker & Trainer J.R. Atkins meeting with techies in Palestine

J.R. Atkins meeting with techies in Palestine

In addition to the many Biblical sites I have seen while traveling in Israel, Palestine, Jordan and Egypt, I have been meeting with Social/Mobile/Tech people along the way. Here is a short list of some of the topics of conversation so far.

Brain Drain” is the trend of smart, young people, leaving Palestine for other countries where they don’t have to live as second class citizens.  They move to the US, Jordan, Dubai, Lebanon and other places where they can create a better life for their families.

Maktoob” was a popular search engine developed in Jordan and recently purchased by Yahoo. This is the dream of every young Palestinian Technologist just like Americans; to develop a start up that goes viral and is purchased by a larger company.

TEDx Ramallah” occurred in April ’11 in Ramallah and was simulcast in Beirut and Amman. For those who attended in person or on line it represented a watershed event where people could share, collaborate, develop ideas and build the Palestinian community. TED has grown from Technology, Entertainment and Design to include a broader range of topics as indicated by the 28 videos from TEDx Ramallah.

Pal Connect” was the first-ever Palestinian conference for social media, held in Ramallah in December 2011.  The event attracted social media professionals, journalists, traditional media professionals, academics, students, and civil society representatives. The folks I spoke to said they expect next year’s event to be bigger and better.

Palestine ICT Incubator” PICTI assists tech entrepreneurs take their ideas to market by helping with designing, developing, implementing, and promoting those initiatives to business ventures. A Start Up weekend was held in 2011 and another one is planned for 2012. Spark is another business and technology incubator program being developed at Birzet University.

MARKAVIP” is another example of a tech success story. Similar to Living Social or Group On, the web site offers daily deals on select merchandise at a substantial discount.

I hope you have found these as interesting as I have. Please offer your thoughts in the comment section of the blog.


Yes, my watch is a Nano & here is the story

iPod Nano watchband called a Lunatik and worn by Dallas social media speaker J.R. AtkinsIf you have not heard the tale of how Scott Wilson conceived the idea for a cool watchband for the iPod Nano, then got it funded via the KickStarter program and went on to get his creations sold in the Apple stores by negotiating a better than average profit split, then here you go!

Below is an excerpt of the Fast company Article on “The United States of Design.”

From GM to 3M, in boardrooms and on Wall Street, in Silicon Valley and on Madison Avenue, design matters more than ever. Around the globe, American designers have never been more influential. Welcome to an unexpected and inspiring moment.

Early last November, Scott Wilson was feeling a little gloomy. The partnership in a startup he had
worked on relentlessly for a year had fallen apart, leaving him with little but regret over the time he had spent away from his family and his Chicago design studio, Minimal.

But this is the United States, a country famous for second acts. So after a few days of moping, Wilson, a serial
entrepreneur with a corporate stint as global creative director of Nike’s watch division, jumped back in. He had a new idea–and a novel plan for funding it.

Wilson’s brainchild was an innovative watch that grafted the body of an iPod Nano onto an aluminum case, turning the little touch screen into a cool, wrist-circling gadget that could wake you up in the morning, play your music, and even, with the help of a Nike+ chip mounted on the side, track your daily run.

The challenge, of course, was how the designer–who normally makes his living providing creative services to clients such as Steelcase, Google, Dell, and Microsoft’s Xbox–could raise the money to bring the concept to market. Potential partners had balked at his design, saying it would be too expensive to produce.

Design can be a critical competitive advantage–if American business seizes this moment.

That’s when Wilson turned to Kickstarter, the web-based funding platform for independent creative projects. He posted his idea on November 16. Within a week, he had raised $400,000 from 5,000 backers. Within a month, 13,500 people from 50 countries had ponied up nearly $1 million. In total, he sold 21,120 units on Kickstarter and roughly 20,000 more through his own site, lunatik.com.

Then Apple took notice and called Wilson to urge him to sell his wares in its stores. This brings us to the particularly delicious part of the story: When Apple offered its customary profit split, Wilson pointed to a Kickstarter survey indicating that 76% of his buyers had purchased a Nano because of the wristband. In other words, his accessory was spurring Apple sales. “That let me negotiate more favorable terms,” Wilson says. And now, Apple is selling twice as many watchbands as it had forecast.

To read the whole article online at Fast Company.com, click here.


What’s up at The North Texas Regional Center for Innovation & Commercialization?

Social media trainer J.R. Atkins recommends the NTRCICIn an attempt to keep Entrepreneurs, Start Ups and Developers informed, I thought I’d share an update from the NTRCIC or The North Texas Regional Center for Innovation & Commercialization.

With the Texas Emerging Technology Fund not receiving funds the last two funding rounds, the NTRCIC is offering a “Pitch Day” to fill the void. Pitch Day will be held quarterly and will be attended by a large group of venture capitalists (including VC’s outside of Texas), angels, family offices, and financial firms.

Pitch Day is open to all early-stage technology companies (even if you are not a fit for the ETF). Here are the key dates for the first Pitch Day round of applications:

Sep 27th ~ Applications Due (www.ntxrcic.org; go to the Process Tab to learn more)

Oct 13th ~ Quick Pitches (10 minute presentation with 10 minute Q&A)

Nov 3rd ~ Long Pitches (20 minute presentation with 15 minute Q&A)

Nov 17th ~ Pitch Day (20 minute presentation with 15 minute Q&A)

To learn more about Pitch Day go to the new NTRCIC website (www.ntxrcic.org),

 


A short cut in Mobile App Dev: PhoneGap

Now developers can write their app once and deploy it to six major mobile platforms and app stores, including iOS, Android, BlackBerry, WebOS, Bada and Symbian.

Dallas social media speaker J.R. Atkins talks about an App for every business with PhoneGapPhoneGap is an HTML5 platform that allows developers to use HTML, CSS and JavaScript to create native mobile applications. With the open source code receiving contributions from a dedicated community of developers, PhoneGap has increased in both stability and durability – which has played a large part in the project averaging approximately 40,000 downloads per month.

I’m not suggesting this is how all Apps should be developed. Yet, I am suggesting that HTML5 and similar tools are capable of creating App like functionality using “Mobile Web” sites and driving value for the user, the brand and the developer.

Every company, association, and non-profit will have a Mobile App delivery method in time. Some will have a customized app, some will get their app from a vendor or channel partner, and many will have a “Mobile Experience” delivered via PhoneGap and similar HTML5 tools.

I look forward to reading your comments.

Reference Article: http://thenextweb.com/ca/2011/07/30/phonegap-is-a-swiss-army-knife-for-mobile-app-developers/


Have you heard about the new “Verizon LTE Innovation Center?”

Similar to the AT&T Foundry concept, Verizon has opened a creative technology space to showcase their latest and greatest tech toys. The Verizon LTE Innovation Center is located in Waltham, MA about 10 miles from Boston with a future site in San Francisco, CA.

Verizon is saying that they will provide support to developers to foster app development and free of charge to developers. The center will host app development on a platform- and device-agnostic basis, and Verizon says that developers are not obligated to just releasing apps for Verizon devices.

Dallas social media speaker J.R. Atkins writes about the Verizon LTE Innovation Center

However, it is anything like the AT&T Foundry, what they really mean is the Innovation center is for large corporate partners not the small independents or startup companies that are the hallmark of innovation. Only time will tell.

Dallas social media speaker J.R. Atkins writes about the AT&T Foundry


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