Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Company Blog

That is affirmative. Collective Intellect has officially jumped onto the corporate blog bandwagon. We are sharing some of the blogging duties, so hopefully will be a good mix of technical and business insights!

Friday, November 24, 2006

Entrepreneur's Idea Journal

As with most companies, I started mine with an idea. Ideas always seem great when they first arrive. Most are tossed around casually during conversation and never followed up. I try to keep a notebook of ideas and the ones which seem worth following up I will write down a hypothesis for. The hypothesis is a simple statement that captures the gist of the solution.

Mice can be driven away, eliminating the need for a trap.

I would then add a date, a few notes about the idea and a "next step." Most of these ideas never make it to the next step either, due to lack of time or dependence on a resource that is currently unavailable.

For those that do make it to the next step I would recommend starting a separate journal. This journal should be date stamped and the hypothesis restated as a problem/solution pair.

P. Mice are a problem and traps only provide a temporary and messy solution
S. Create a device that discourage mice from coming on the property

The next step then takes two paths dependent upon your personality type. If you are a solution oriented tinkerer then write down some ways to solve the problem. If the problem appears to have a feasible solution work towards creating a prototype, carefully noting the paths you go down in your journal. This invention chronology can be used later for the patent process. If you are market oriented then answer the following four questions and then go back and pursue the technology feasibility question
  1. Who does the idea benefit
  2. How much will they benefit
  3. How many of these people are there
  4. Is anyone else providing a solution

Logging all of this data in your journal will help give you the discipline to follow through and encourage the rigor to test your hypothesis.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Walker Evans exhibit in NYC

I was in New York City this week visiting with VCs and our channel partner Soleil. I love coming to New York and am always amazed by the density and variety of the population, the vibrancy, the beauty of the skyline, and central park. I usually go for a Central Park run in the morning. It's a great place to clear my thoughts and soak in the vibe of the city before starting my work day. I also usually try to get in a couple of new things that I haven't experienced each trip. On this visit I stopped by the Walker Evans exhibit at the UBS building on 6th Avenue.

A couple of weeks before I left I was having coffee with someone in Boulder who mentioned the Walker Evans exhibit (thanks for the recommendation Dave). I am an art enthusiast but have never really followed photographic art, so I didn't know who Walker Evans was. The back ground from the brochure found at the beginning of the exhibit sums him up this way:

"His greatest single body of work was documenting the effects of the Great Depression on rural families for the Farm Security Administration in 1935-36. The FSA mission was to generate visual evidence reinforcing Roosevelt's New Deal programs. Evans loudly resisted anything political - right or left - but soon realized the futility of his denial. He wisely compromised and seized the opportunity to work incognito as a photojournalist, producing work satisfying his own vision plus the job's demands."

As I walked along the corridor the pictures jumped off the panels and grabbed something deep inside me. Seeing the faces of sharecropper families, knees, feet, and hands worn by careless circumstance, their expressions resolute, neither happy nor sad, struck a strong chord of reality. In most cases life is forced down the throat of the living and you just have to deal with it. There is something sublime about the non-biased view that the lens provides, taking the viewer voyeuristically back to a different place and time and shreds the perspective of today's assumptions.

If you get the chance, I would highly recommend taking in this exhibit.

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