Tag Archives: founder

How change.org was turned into the internets biggest tool for social change

“The idea was to build every possible tool for nonprofits, social fundraising, skills based volunteerism, a blog network…really big, unobtainable objectives,” said Ben Rattray who, at 22-years-old, founded Change.org. “We failed.”

Rather than giving up, he pivoted. Instead of attempting to provide every technological service to anyone trying to make an impact, the business narrowed its focus, developing on online platform for concerned citizens to start petitions. And he started to see real changes.

Bank of America dropped its $5 debit card fee after more than 300,000 people signed a petition started by a 22-year-old Molly Katchpole. The Sanford neighborhood watchman who allegedly shot and killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was arrested and charged after his parents gathered more than 2 million signatures. South Africa convened a task force to address rapes meant to turn lesbians straight after citizens organized to protest and collected 171,000 signatures.

 

Source: Fast Company - The Pivot That Changed The World

 

 

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Wooden surfboards are on the rise – interview with Spirare Surfboards: Kevin Cunningham

Just a few questions from the Liquid Salt interview:

 

Tell us a little about yourself. What is your background?
I was born in Baltimore and spent summers growing up in Ocean City Maryland. I moved to Rhode Island to attend the Rhode Island School of Design in 2000. I started shaping boards while I was still a student in 2002 and was hooked on the experience of shaping and riding my own boards. I kept shaping more and more boards for myself and eventually friends were asking for them too. I was turned off by the negative environmental aspects of the polyurethane foam and resin though. I began to look for more sustainable means to shape boards while maintaining a high performance standard, and being an artist the aesthetics of the boards is important to me too.

What’s next for Kevin Cunningham and Spirare?
I’ve been working with reclaimed found marine debris lately. I am currently using fishing nets and lines that wash up on the beach to make fins and accessories. It’s amazing how much trash you can find on the beach when you start to look for it. I hope to develop more uses for this material in the coming months too. Other than that I’m going to keep shaping as many boards as I can and push the performance of my shapes as far as possible.

 

Keep reading: Liquid Salt - Spirare: Kevin Cunningham

 

You had me at Baltimore…and the wealth of ocean trash. So far I’ve found a kayak paddle, three leashes, wetsuit, several sand-toy sets, and a nail file – Ocean Recycling!

 

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Klout – using data to determine your influence and then give you free stuff

I love this story of Klout founder Joe Fernandez:

With his jaw still clamped shut, recovering in his Lower East Side apartment, Fernandez opened an Excel file and began to enter data on everyone he was connected to on Facebook and Twitter: how many followers they had, how often they posted, how often others responded to or retweeted those posts. Some contacts (for instance, his young cousins) had hordes of Facebook friends but seemed to wield little overall influence. Others posted rarely, but their missives were consistently rebroadcast far and wide. He was building an algorithm that measured who sparked the most subsequent online actions. He sorted and re-sorted, weighing various metrics, looking at how they might shape results. Once he’d figured out a few basic principles, Fernandez hired a team of Singaporean coders to flesh out his ideas. Then, realizing the 13-hour time difference would impede their progress, he offshored himself. For four months, he lived in Singapore, sleeping on couches or in his programmers’ offices. On Christmas Eve of 2008, back in New York a year after his surgery, Fernandez launched Klout with a single tweet. By September 2009, he’d relocated to San Francisco to be closer to the social networking companies whose data Klout’s livelihood depends on. (His first offices were in the same building as Twitter headquarters.)

via Wired

 

Fast forward a few years and Klout has become a big deal (in social media).

One more interesting element of the story:

As the child of a casino executive who specialized in herding rich South American gamblers into comped Caesars Palace suites, Fernandez saw up close and from a young age the power of free perks as a marketing tool.

Which provides the final piece to the puzzle. The perks that Klout gives out allow the company to connect users with brands, and monetize their business.

It’s brilliant because it gives everybody something they want, whether it be free stuff or engaged customers.

Google Ventures – venture capital funding through data

A fascinating article in Fast Company profiles Google Ventures, the company’s venture capital division. Like everything the search giant does they are aiming big with delusions of changing the entire VC industry with data as the vehicle.

They start out with some interesting facts:

Despite the mythology that has built up around venture capital, it has become a slowly moldering investment vehicle. “The past 10 years haven’t been very productive,” Bill Maris points out. According to the research firm Cambridge Associates, during the decade ending last September, VCs as a class earned a 2.6% interest rate for their investors–less than you could have earned in an S&P 500 index fund. The numbers look slightly better over shorter periods; VCs have delivered a 4.9% return the past three years and 6.7% over the past five, still far from terrific.

 

 
Then they move on to insights gained through data-crunching:

Joe Kraus says that analysts have discovered research that overturns some of Silicon Valley’s most cherished bits of lore. Take that old idea that it pays to fail in the Valley: Wrong! Google Ventures’ analysts found that first-time entrepreneurs with VC backing have a 15% chance of creating a successful company, while second-timers who had an auspicious debut see a 29% chance of repeating their achievement. By contrast, second-time entrepreneurs who failed the first time? They have only a 16% chance of success, in effect returning them to square one. “Failure doesn’t teach you much,” Kraus says with a shrug.

Location, in fact, plays a larger role in determining an entrepreneur’s odds than failure, according to the Google Ventures data team. A guy who founded a successful company in Boston but is planning to start his next firm in San Francisco isn’t a sure bet. “He’ll revert back to that 15% rate,” Kraus says, “because he’s out of his personal network and that limits how quickly he can scale up.”

 

 

The article continues to describe the actions Google is taking to change the game. The most important of which seems to be bringing in ringers rather than partners, challenging the VC model at its core…

read the full articleGoogle’s Creative Destruction

The famous center of venture capital - Menlo Park, California.

 
// Thx to Guillaume SPillmann, Photo – Mark Coggins

Berlin cracks the startup code

“We looked at each other and knew in that moment that we’d be crazy not to move here,” says Ciarán O’Leary, a partner at the German venture capital firm Earlybird. “There was just so much happening—founders everywhere, in every bar, cafe, every corner.”

Berlin…has become a global tech hub, one which foreign money discovered years ago. According to data from Thomson Reuters, 103 Internet startups received global venture capital funding in Germany in 2011, more than in any country besides China and the U.S. Although the numbers are not broken down by city, Berlin is where most German startups congregate.

Encouraged by all the interest—and the money—many Berliners have gotten startup fever. The Berlin Chamber of Commerce reports that 1,300 Internet startups have been founded in the city since 2008, 500 of them last year alone.

 

keep reading at Bloomberg BusinessWeek

Create a Facebook Page for your pet (like Mark Zuckerberg)

At the last big Facebook conference Mark Zuckerberg and SNL comedian Andy Samberg kept talking about Beast, Mark’s new dog. They would show a Facebook Page with all these photos, comments, and fans.

Which got me thinking that if Mark Zuckerberg, the founder and CEO of Facebook, can have a page for his dog…then so can I!

I have been hoping for a way to bring my puppy into the social network, after all, my parents and friends from birth are on it. Why not our pets?

In four easy steps we can set-up a Facebook Page for your pet and have it look professional, just like Mark Zuckerberg’s. All you will need is some basic information and a few pictures. Let’s get started.

Step 1 – Create a Page

Choose what type of page you want. For your pet, start with “Artist, Band, or Public Figure,” then for your category choose ‘public figure’ and add the name of your pet.

Step 2 – Edit Info

After creating your page there will be a wizard but I suggest skipping it. After that you will be on your main page, click on “Info” on the left side menu. Then click “Edit Info,” located towards the top/middle.

From here you have a wide range of options, but if you want to follow Mark Zuckerberg then only fill out these:

  • Location
  • Affiliation
  • Birthday
  • Biography
  • Gender
  • Personal Interests
  • Website

*Note: you will need to wait a while or get 25 fans to choose a username. This is important because it also becomes your website URL (facebook.com/beast.the.dog). So start thinking of the username you want (I chose facebook.com/fuzzy.the.dog).

Once completed, hit “Save Changes,” (located at bottom) and then “View Page” (located at top right).

Step 3 – Add Photos

Mark has over 60 photos of Beast. I have twelve. You will need six to get started. Five of them for the photo bar at the top of your page and one for a profile picture.

Get your photos on your computer and then click “Photos” on the left menu, and then click “Upload Photos”.

You can select multiple photos at a time. Try to upload all six at once. While they are uploading add a name for this “album” like profile pics or getting started.

Once they are uploaded you can add descriptions and names to each photo. Hit “Save” and then “Publish” to finish the process.

Now, you are looking at all your photos in your album. Click on the photo you want as your profile picture for your pet. Scroll down towards the right and click on “Make Profile Picture for Page”.

Adjust the cropping and hit “Done Cropping”.

Good job! Now your page should be nearly complete and looking good:

Step 4 – Add Owners

From main view of your page go to the right menu where it says “Admins” and click “See All”. You will already be listed but you can add your partner, spouse, children, etc.

Once you add in the admins and verify everything, go to the menu on the left side and click “Featured”. Click on the box that says “Add Featured Page Owners”. Check all the boxes, hit save, and then on the top right-click “View Page”.

On the left menu you will now see the “Page Owners”, a great way to bring the whole family onto the page.

Done!

Voilà!

You now have a page for your pet. Let all your friends know so they can become a fan/like. Keep adding photos, share some stories, and enjoy having your pet on Facebook.

For more help and info check out the one I created: Fuzzy.the.Dog