Category Archives: startup

The Need for Integrated Business Applications: Chris Heuer, Alynd

I recently had the good fortune to run into Chris Heuer, CEO and Founder, Alynd, at the Launch Festival. Chris is a true thought leader when it comes to thinking about the social enterprise and the future of work.

In this interview, he explains the problem his startup Alynd solves and why, given the consumerization of IT, it is increasingly important to offer employees the most engaging and integrated tools to get the job done.

He also explains key challenges for startups and the importance of the cloud for young companies that need to get to market and scale rapidly.

He is a great speaker so I encourage you to listen to Chris:

More on Alynd

More on the IBM Global Entrepreneur Program for Cloud Startups

the top hashtags on twitter for startups and entrepreneurs

So where exactly do startups congregate on Twitter? How can you follow along with the broad conversation? If you are looking to get in front of the startup crowd, which hashtag should you use?

Take a look at this ranking report for the last 90 days:

startup hashtags nov 2014

Source: Sysomos

I was surprised to see #entrepreneur outrank #startup. I somehow thought the shorter anglo-saxon term would win out.  Also surprising to see #podcast on the list (although ‘Serial’ may have something to do with that).

So, what are you waiting for? Go ahead and plug into these convos now!

How do startups best partner with big biz? Advice from IBM’s Nigel Beck

In the startup world, the allure of partnering with big business can be tantalizing. You’ve got your killer product but now face problems building a customer base, reputation, and the momentum needed to become continuously and securely viable.

However, as many an entrepreneur or VC will tell you, partnering with big business can be a huge, potentially dangerous, time suck.

Does that mean you shouldn’t even try?

No, said IBM’s Nigel Beck, VP for Ecosystem Development, at a recent talk at the F50 event in SF. The trick lies in figuring out what makes that big corporate decision-maker tick and making yourself notably valuable.

He started by explaining what might seem reflexive but what you shouldn’t do: launch in with a big pitch about how great your product is and how it’s going to transform a market (quite probably one that the big company exec cares little about).

Neither is it worth getting too deep too fast into the economics and showing impressive growth numbers. Let’s face it, you’re David to this Goliath and no matter how much you talk up your slingshot, your words will be met with guffaws.

So, what is a good initial approach?

Do your research and tie your product to the message driving the big business. If they are all about big data, show how your wearable can bring in new inventive data streams. If they are a cloud provider, sell the idea that your app will make their platform look cooler. That’s where they are struggling, and to quote the oft-used adage in the startup world: you need to address their pain point. Quite often that will be getting their message to resonate with a market which barely sees them as relevant.

F50 Nigel Beck Social Card Oct 2014

Just in case the big business you are interested with partnering is IBM, check out the Global Entrepreneur program.

Oh, and if you want to take a deeper look at why big business might partner with startups, check out the Business Tech Trends study which highlights the growing role citizen developers are playing in transforming top-performing businesses.

From STEM to STEAM: it’s a carnival!

Now, if you hang anywhere around the education and tech space, you’re probably familiar with the STEM acronym: science, technology, engineering and math(s) – the core skills on which a tech industry is built. Or so it used to go.

What’s missing from the equation (excuse the pun) is the creative mind. The importance of design and art. Think of how Mr Jobs was more fixated on Bauhaus than physics, and used those principles in his iconic tech designs. Our own Phil Gilbert pointed out that when it comes to technology, the nuts and bolts of development have now been largely commoditized. There’s a service and script for just about everything. So how do you differentiate your product or app?

Design is the answer!

Hence that takes us from STEM to STEAM: science, technology, engineering, ART and math. The Maker Movement on high-tech psychotropics. Burning Man step aside.

The STEAM carnival is coming to LA on October 24-5. To set things off, IBM has teamed up with Tl;dr and Two Bit Circus to throw a hacker preview party on Thursday October 23.

The afternoon program includes:

  • Sneak preview of the games and amusement
  • Networking, entertainment and demos
  • Open bar and cocktails made by our robot bartender
  • An app challenge with $7,000 in cash prizes!
  • Lasers, fire and robots!

Want to come along and show off your inventions?

Check out the event and register for an invite.

And of course, let me know your STEAM creations in the comments here.