Friday, March 23, 2007

eBooks

I remember starting an e-zine for my high school many years ago (when such things were not yet common and were called "e-zines") and subsequently doing my senior year project on the rise (or not) of the e-book.

I was thus fascinated by Geeksugar's poll on whether people would read books online. When I last checked, 57% of visitors said they would not read books online (although 24% are willing to give it a try).

Relatedly, I recently browsed Google Book Search, which is trying to archive books online. Most of the titles I searched were only available with limited view (which was free and so I got a better view than I would have gotten otherwise...).

I recall a case study in my entrepreneurship class about ebook readers and difficulties with compatibility across different hardware. It was an interesting glimpse into the difficulties faced by start-ups that are trying to enter a market where they need to interact with many different players (i.e. authors/publishers, distributors, etc.) to which the start-ups have limited access.

So, apart from difficulties with users willing to adopt new technologies, start-ups in the area have to deal with various barriers to entry resulting from dispersion of resources and potential partners (and one of the competitors already in the market was Microsoft...).

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Tumblr'ing

I stumbled across Tumblr today - Tumblr is like a blog, except it's an online scrapbook.

I wonder if the concept of the "online scrapbook" is sufficiently different from the blog, though.

I would sign up, but I am now a member of so many online, Web 2.0 communities that I can no longer keep track (MySpace, Facebook, Flickr, LinkedIn, Plaxo, and way too many others...).

The Next BigThing

More than 700 IEEE Fellows predict the next big things, including:
  • "Things starting to think" (from Neil Gershenfeld, director of MIT's Center for Bits and Atoms)
  • "Lightweight infrastructure" (quite significant to emerging economies, perhaps?)
  • "Extending biology - genetic engineerings and bioinformatics applied to create new life forms and reshape existing ones"
  • Integration of nanotechnology into MEMS and biosystems (we've seen this one coming for a while, in theory?)
Check out the details...

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Web 2.0

I've recently come across a few blogs musing about the state of Web 2.0 (check out Peter Rip's and Paul Kedrosky's articles, for example).

Peter Rip (not alone) suggests that Web 3.0 will be about building platforms and "web services" that will integrate sites and ease interoperability issues.

I thought it might be fun to see where you thought Web 3.0 was heading (I guess I'm still stuck in Web 2.0 in calling for user generated content!).

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Learn about Intellectual Property

Join YII online for the Intellectual Property for Start-Ups webinar with Suvashis Bhattacharya of Thelen Reid Brown Raysman & Steiner (Silicon Valley) on Thursday, March 22nd, 6 - 7 PM EST.

Find out more and register on the YII web site.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Oprah AND QVC!

Oprah and QVC teaming up is huge because both shows can provide inventors with instant credibility and an audience of millions!

Check out how you can get in on the action.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

New Incentive to Innovation

If independent inventors cannot afford the expenses of patents, perhaps prizes should be used to induce innovation? This approach has been used since the time of the Industrial Revolution, as I discovered when writing a paper that I presented at the Canadian Law and Economics Association at the University of Toronto a few years ago.

The XPrize does exactly this, offering large monetary rewards for specific break-through inventions. In the first round of the XPrize competition to build a private, manned spacecraft, most of the sponsors were able to raise funding to build their prototypes (and working models) by recruiting sponsors who received substantial media attention from their participation.

(Young Inventors was excited to have the Canadian Arrow Team and XPrize competitors present at our second annual conference in Toronto.)

Yet2.com is another site that is a competitive market for technical solutions, as well as a market for stand-alone intellectual property.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Innovation in the United States

Inc. Magazine recently published a great visual and interactive representation of where innovation takes place in the U.S. based on a report from The Information Technology & Innovation Foundation.

Massachusetts tops the list (and the accompanying article quotes Colin Angle of iRobot, the keynote speaker at Young Inventors' last conference).

Pennsylvania (my new home state) ranks 21st.

I was particularly interested in the large number of metrics employed by the study.

In terms of promoting entrepreneurship and innovation, the article cites Maine as a particularly successful state. Angus King, the governor of the state, attributes the state"s success to start-ups.

The entire report is available from the Kauffman Foundation here.

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Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Survey from one of our members

One of Young Inventors' members is conducting a survey that analyzes the narratives of founders in starting web 2.0 companies. Feel free to check it out and contribute your thoughts if you are a company founder.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Outsouring and Manufacturing Overseas

To celebrate Entrepreneurship Week USA, Young Inventors held a webinar with Ashton Udall of Global Sourcing Specialists about manufacturing and outsourcing products overseas.

The webinar was jam-packed with information about how to get quotes from suppliers, establish requirements and first manufacturing runs, deal with customs and payment, and protect your intellectual property.

I asked Ashton about some helpful web sites for people interested in manufacturing and outsourcing and he suggested Alibaba.com and the Federation of International Trade Associations (FITA).