Category Archives: Innovation

Green Stadiums, High Tech

As green technology improves and cost decrease, we are seeing all types of commercial buildings “Go Green” including Professional Sports Stadiums and Arenas. Major sporting events in general consume massive amounts of energy. From lighting a stadium to waste generation, a professional game is an expensive undertaking.

In the last few years, sports venues have started to incorporate energy-efficient strategies and green design elements, such as more efficient lighting systems, composting and on-site power generation. These stadiums are already seeing great returns on their investments and saving lots of money on energy. What kind of savings could we generate if we combined all the energy-efficient and eco-friendly measures available into one ultimate green stadium?  

Check out the info-graph below for a quick update on the use of green technology in stadiums.


Have you Built your own Mobile App yet?

Hey what are you waiting for? Building your own simple Mobile App is easy now with a tool called Yapp App. Granted it may not be as dynamic and complex as Facebook or Angery birds, but you can have an App for your:

  • Events
  • Gatherings
  • Groups
  • Fundraising

Here is a segment from their website:

At Yapp, our mission is to empower people to interact and express themselves. We aim to do this by democratizing the creation of mobile apps so that anyone – even if they lack technology or design skills or resources and time – can create a mobile app for parts of their lives that matter to them.

We believe that app creation is something that anyone should be able to do and everyone will do, but don’t believe one platform can create apps for everyone. The needs of IT departments, brands, SMBs and consumers are very different.

We aspire to make it fun and simple for consumers to create a beautiful, content centric mobile app, or in our case, a Yapp. Yapps are user created, themed, customizable, mobile experiences that can be updated in real time and do not require their own binary.

Yapp Events

Our first product, Yapp Events, aims to help organizations, groups, and individuals quickly and simply create rich and elegant mobile apps to enhance events and gatherings such as weddings, conferences, reunions, classes, book clubs, fundraisers, parties, etc. 

How Successful Startups Hire

Check out this short video on “One Minute MBA” on how to hire people for your successful start up. Thanks to Emily Stewart for shaing the content. Please add your comments below.


Who are your Advisors?

As a new year begins, many people have their mind on New Year’s resolutions, goals, wrapping up last year, and focusing on the new year. During this time my mind drifted to the role advisors play in our lives.

Build a better 2013 with Advisors by J.R. Atkins

For some people, they claim they have not advisors, yet these people can be found talking to bar tenders into the night or discussing politics with friends and neighbors. However they appear or whatever we call them, we allow and even encourage others to help shape our thoughts, actions and lives.

For other people, we recognize how what we read and think as well as the people in our lives, shape our future. I like to call these people advisors. Let’s take a look at how Advisors shape our business life and contribute to business success.

My life advisors have come in the form of teachers, professors, religious leaders, authors, speakers and very close friends. As a young businessman in the Financial Services Business, I had a Board of Advisors who I would meet with quarterly, on an individual basis over lunch. I’d share my goals and activities and they’d offer their thoughts to help me. For some reason, when I left that business I quit meeting with my advisors and wish I had not. Through various religious organization I have meet with men’s groups on a weekly basis to encourage one another. From these men I have drawn support, insight and accountability to the things I say I wasn’t to do. What a great reflection on one’s self. Certain authors and speakers have come to mentor me such as Zig Ziglar, Jim Rohn, Steven Covey (these three have passed) John C Maxwell, Seth Godin and others. I take what they write and say and apply to my life, I often quote them or refer to their work when I speak and write. A very few, very close friends also count as advisors as I can tell them things that I would share with no others and know I will not be judged. My dad’s mentor told him if he had 3 close friends like this in life he would be very lucky and I have found this to be true.

Another type of business advisors come in the form of Official Boards; Boards of Directors with fiduciary responsibilities and Boards of Advisors with less responsibility, both offering great business insight. If you are looking to grow your community influence, then you might consider serving on a board such as:

  • Non-Profits Boards
  • Association Boards
  • Churches, Synagogues and Temples leadership boards
  • Company Boards, for small, medium, large private companies as well as public companies.

As an example, I serve on an Advisory Board for one of my clients, Copper Mobile. My role is to identify potential candidates for both their Board and Advisory Board, offer insight into the Mobile App industry, help identify market opportunities and refer prospects. In return, I get to interact with quality people on their boards, share ideas with their staff, learn from their projects and help others grow.Mobile App Enterprise Solutions

A friend of mine asked “why I serve on boards?” the best reason I have is because of the good you can do. As a board member, you have a chance to make an impact, to help others, to do something bigger than yourself and it is very rewarding. Another reason to be on a board is for the growth you will experience. You will see and hear issues and opportunities that cause you to be a better you. Finally, as a board member you meet great people that encourage you, challenge you, befriend you and make you laugh.

I have hear people say they are bored enough with the meets they currently attend, so why join a board to be bored. If this is the case then you need to find another board. I still laugh every time I hear of the board for the Dallas Area Rapid Transit; The DART Board J

As I look into 2013 I do have one resolution, to reestablish my advisory network for three reasons.

  1. To have a consistent, regular source of input of others
  2. To be “on purpose” about my business and personal growth
  3. To be accountable to others for the things I say I want to do and be


What about you? Do you have advisors, do you serve on any boards? I’d like to hear your thoughts and suggestions. Please add them to the comments section below.

Events worth considering

“Design Thinking” IDEO story by 60 Minutes

Check out this video story by 60 Minutes, from 1/6/13, about how “Design Thinking” from IDEO has impacted so many products over the last 20 years such as the computer mouse, stand up toothpaste despencer, Elmo calls iPhone App, even the Boston Harbor Islands National Park Visitor Pavilion.


Mobile Monetization Growing Rapidly

As I am often in discussions about Mobile App Development, the question of how to monetize an App is frequent and opinions vary. So when I saw the Blog “MBA Mondays: Revenue Models – Advertising” I thought it worth sharing with my community. It is written by Fred Wilson a VC and principal of Union Square Ventures.  I have included an excerpt below and a link to the original article.

It is true that the vast majority of consumer web apps have been and continue to be monetized with advertising. On mobile that is less true, but becoming more true every day.

Mobile Monetization Growing Rapidly

There are all sorts of ways to generate advertising revenue online. Here are the entries under the advertising category in our revenue model hackpad:

Web & Mobile Revenue Models

This list is most certainly not exhaustive but it does cover the most common advertising approaches and you can see how many there are on the Internet. There has been a lot of innovation in this sector in the past 18 years since the first banner ads were created and sold.

Original Article Link

What does the Cheesecake Factory have to do with Healthcare?

Healthcare, Big Medicine, The Cheescake Factory
Medicine has long resisted the productivity revolutions that transformed other industries. But the new chains aim to change this.

Last month I attended a panel discussion on the future of healthcare. The event was sponsored by the local University of Michigan Alumni group and I was invited as a member of the Dallas Business Club (MBA group).

In addition to the thought provoking presentation and Q&A time, I noted two resources worth reading.

1. An article in The New Yorker, Big Med, How restaurant chains have managed to combine quality control, cost control, and innovation. Can health care? by Atul Gawande

 2. A Book: The Innovator’s Prescription: A Disruptive Solution for Health Care by Clayton Christensen, Jerome Grossman MD and Jason Hwang MD.

I look forward to reading your thoughts and comments on these resources and the general topic of the Healthcare system in the US.

User Experience

User Experience

Author Speaker & Consultant J.R. Atkins MBA address user experienceHave you noticed an increase in the use of the phrase “user experience?” This term first entered my vocabulary when I was on a project at a Mobile App development lab and it was used to describe the interaction between the person using the Mobile App and the Mobile App. Now I see the phrase “user experience” creeping into many more conversations and situations.

When I go to McDonalds and receive poor customer service, I call it a poor user experience. If I’m at a retail store and have to wait too long, it’s a poor user experience. When I’m on a website or mobile app and it’s difficult to navigate and find the information I’m looking for, it’s a poor user experience. Let’s look at a few examples.

Food Service

Author J.R. Atkins discusses customer service vs user experienceI recently visited a McDonalds about 9:30 at night and there was only one car in front of me in the drive through. Yet, it took 15 minutes for McDonalds to service that car and allow me to pull up to the order window. I used to call this “poor customer service” now I think of it as a poor user experience. I will remember that experience the next time I’m in search of fast food in the vicinity of that particular McDonalds’ and choose a different option in hopes of a better user experience.

Retail Stores

At a recent conference on “Retail’s Leading Trends”, the key for “Brick & Mortar” stores to compete with Consultant J.R. Atkins MBA believes Apple creates a great user experience“Click & Mortar” on line stores was said to create a better customer experience, like Apple Stores provide. Apple creates the highest dollar per square foot ratio out of any other retail chain ($5626). They do this by creating an impressive user experience in the store. Where else can you meet with a Genius then their Genius Bar? Just look at all of the devices and accessories you can touch and sample in the store.  The Apple associates are there to help, not to sell, meaning they do not earn a commission on selling. At the retail conference, other retailers were encouraged to create a good “user experience” or lose sales to stores and websites that do.

Speaker J.R. Atkins MBA address JCP rework of the retail modelAs I look at what JCP (J.C. Penney) is doing by changing their store configuration, pricing models and advertising, I see it as trying to improve the customer experience, (all this from Ron Johnson of Target and Apple success.)

Software & Apps

Can you recall the early days of software when the manuals and FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) were cumbersome and not very helpful? I do and when I compare those days to today’s software and mobile app experience I see a tremendous positive difference. What passed for acceptable “back in the day” would be shouted down as unacceptable on Social Media and review sites According to J.R. Atkins MBA LinkedIn provides a good user experiencetoday. One of my favorite examples of a good FAQ and online support comes from the LinkedIn Help Center. The search tool is robust, there are plenty of videos and if you cannot find resolution to your issue via the Help Center, you can contact the support team for one-on-one help. To me, this is a good “user experience.” And, the LinkedIn Mobile App is also a good user experience.

So now it is your turn. Do you see and hear what I see? Is the term user experience creeping into your vocabulary? I look forward to reading your thoughts in the “comments” section below.

Events Worth Considering

POP, an iPhone App Design & Prototyping Mobile Apps

When I speak on Mobile Apps, I mention 3 mock up tools:Mobile App stratigest J.R. Atkins recommends POP for IOS App designing

As of today I am adding a 4th tool: POP – Prototyping on Paper “POP helps you make interactive prototype with ease. If you can draw, you can design apps. The workflow is ridiculously simple.”
Check out the article on the TNW Blog.

How would you like unlimited storage on your DVR?

Check this out. Unlimited Cloud Based storage for a DVR. So it is your personal “On-Demand” solution?

Professional speaker J.R. Atkins comments on Boxee Cloud Based DVR

Here are the details as published on “No Camels – Israeli Innovation News”

Israeli-American company Boxee has unveiled a new product, called Boxee TV, a digital set-top box which incorporates cloud-based DVR capabilities with online video content from Netflix, Youtube and VUDU, and online musical content from providers such as Spotify and Pandora.

Related articles

Boxee TV has a $99 price tag, similar to Apple TV and other internet-TV providers. One of Boxee TV’s prominent advantages over its competitors is the internal digital antenna, which enables TV reception, such as the Israeli “Idan+” system. Boxee TV also has the processing power of two digital converters, one for streaming content and the other for recording content while watching, similar to what you would find in standard DVRs such as Tivo or the Israeli Yes MAX.

Unlike regular DVR devices, content is not stored locally on the actual unit, but on Boxee’s digital storage. The cloud storage is available for Boxee Tv owners for a monthly fee of $15 and has no storage limit. Users can stream their stored content onto any device that has internet connectiion, including tablets and smartphones – not unlike services offered by Amazon, Google and Apple.

“I like comparing it to the transition from film cameras to digital ones,” says Boxee CEO Avner Ronen. “You don’t need to overthink it. If, for instance, you wish to save six seasons of Seinfeld, go for it,” Ronen added in in an interview with technology blog The Verge.

The Boxee TV is based on the company’s experience with its previous streamer, the Boxee Box, which was commercially unsuccessful. In Ronen’s opinion, the cause for the commercial downfall was due to the fact that they did not have an understanding of business moves done behind the scenes of the content industry. For that reason, he believes that the television industry saw Boxee as a device to be used for streaming content downloaded illegally.

“We didn’t understand the ploys and interests [back then], today we are much more sophisticated,” says Ronen, “I believe that internet providers will love us now, since we give them a reason to offer their customers more bandwidth,” he says with a smile.

To read this article in Hebrew, click here.
Via Calcalist
Photo by Boxee