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From a homeless man to a millionaire – life lessons from the real hero, Chris Gardner

“The world is your oyster. It’s up to you to find the pearls.”   Who hasn’t cried buckets while watching Gabriele Muccino’s The Pursuit of Happyness? We perched on the edge of our seats, our hands on our moist cheeks and praying that Chris Gardner would dodge the clutches of sheer bad luck and make it to the finish line. I know I did, and I’m venturing a guess that you did too. The Pursuit of Happyness traces Chris Gardner’s journey from a homeless man to a multibillionaire. With a pearly smile on his face and the tough lines of age and experience setting base on his face, Gardner is the ultimate personification of a self-made entrepreneur, someone who refused to give up even when life was kicking him to the curb. With no degree or experience, he managed to find himself a low-paying gig of selling medical supplies. A chance meeting with a man in a Red Ferrari changed his life forever. He caught this person’s attention and asked him what he did to afford such a car, to which the latter replied that he was a stockbroker. Gardner often describes this as ‘the moment he knew’ – he…
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Mason’s computer-game design program welcomes, Nolan Bushnell, Atari founder

The founder of the Atari video-game company and the Chuck E. Cheese’s restaurant chain is bringing his technology know-how and business acumen to George Mason University’s Virginia Serious Game Institute in Prince William County.         Nolan Bushnell recently was named VSGI’s “Game Pioneer in Residence,” and he began his service by connecting with GMU computer-game design students and giving a public lecture Oct. 3. Scott Martin, founding director of GMU’s computer-game design program, said the college wanted to work with Bushnell because he’s such a big name in his field. “He’s known as one of the fathers — or the father — of the game industry,” Martin said, noting that Bushnell was a mentor to Apple computing legend Steve Jobs and is still close with Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak.He also pointed out that, as an entrepreneur, Bushnell can teach GMU students about running a company, as well as about using technology. “So he’s ideal for what we do at Mason,” Martin said. VSGI, Martin’s creation, is a video-game and computer-simulation business incubator on GMU’s Science and Technology Campus near Manassas. Bushnell said last week that students need to understand that they can’t simply create a video game…
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Brian Solis: Brand experience: Write a style guide and emulate Beyoncé

Does your brand have an experience style guide? Marketing author Brian Solis thinks it should, and that you should watch today's top music acts for cues on how to craft compelling experiences.       Most companies have a brand style guide, but few are prepared with an experience style guide for their products and services. This has to change in an era where successful brands like Apple, Tesla and Starbucks are built on satisfying customer experience, according to Brian Solis, principal analyst at Altimeter Group (part of Prophet) and the author of X: The Experience Where Business Meets Design. "If you have an experience style guide, brands will think about what they want consumers to feel, how consumers would react to the experience and what consumers would talk about them after the engagement," Solis told Campaign Asia-Pacific in an exclusive interview in Hong Kong. Then, the brands can design the details to create a consistent user experience for the consumers." Because every app is telling consumers that they are the most important person in the world, Solis, a self-described "digital analyst, anthropologist, and futurist", said brands have to work out how they want consumers to feel in every moment.…
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Guy Kawasaki’s Advice for Aspiring Entrepreneurs

Veteran Silicon Valley businessman and marketer Guy Kawasaki grants entrepreneurs his keys to launching and running a successful startup.   Guy Kawasaki is a Silicon Valley name that needs no introduction. He's been a leading voice in entrepreneurship and evangelism for years, beginning at Apple in 1983. As an adviser, author, investor, and marketer, Kawasaki has cultivated a unique perspective on what it takes to start a company. He's particularly adept at helping startups and early-stage companies get off the ground—and guiding them towards becoming well-known, successful businesses. Kawasaki is always willing to share his advice for founders and aspiring entrepreneurs through his writing and speaking (including at Lean Startup Week this fall). Over the years, he's seen the good, the bad, and the ugly, and also uncovered many misconceptions held by new entrepreneurs about starting companies. We asked him to chat about what he's learned in his career, what's changed since he's started, and what today's entrepreneurs need to know to be successful. Kawasaki's Golden Touch Given the impressive list of companies for which Kawasaki has worked over the years, you might think there's some complex formula or secret behind his success and influence. But in his mind, it's…
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Julie Meyer: The Fight Back Strategy

People tend to over-complicate what is glaringly obvious most of the time.   Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google are four of the most important companies of our age. Each in slightly different ways, but more similarly than differently, have won big in this digital, exponential age by doing a couple of things consistently and systematically: • Using consumer data to power their services • Recognising that all business models have that data as an implicit party in the business model, and then organising the economics for their industry, re-imagined as an ecosystem • Using their reach, distribution, audience, scale as a ‘highway’ for applications to drive over (the Ap Stores). They understand that start-ups and applications are really just revenue-generating algorithms or digital cars in search of a route to market and a customer base to exploit. In essence, these are the characteristics of ‘platforms’. They are open to the revenue in the App Economy and take advantage of the infrastructure. There are really three versions of the future: • The technology platform companies mentioned above, and a couple others like LinkedIn and Salesforce.com take over every industry. There is a lot of evidence for this assault. • The second…
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Bernardo Hernández, new partner of E.Ventures

There’s more evidence of European VC stocking up before a potential LP winter. This time it’s e.ventures, which has closed a new $150 million early-stage fund to invest in European startups. The VC, which has offices in Berlin, San Francisco, Beijing, Tokyo, Moscow and São Paulo, is also announcing that Bernardo Hernández is joining e.ventures as a general partner. Hernández has founded multiple companies, including real estate listing site idealista, and has been a senior director of product at Google and the general manager at Flickr. Bernardo Hernández also has 10 years of experience investing, including founding his own VC firm in 2008, StepOne Ventures in San Francisco, in a bid to help European companies access the U.S. market. Mobile marketplace Wallapop, social network Tuenti, and retail CRM Index are some of Hernández’s more notable investments. Meanwhile, e.ventures’ new fund will be focused on seed and Series Arounds, and, says the VC, will be deployed alongside its existing $290 million growth fund, which invests at later stages and is used for subsequent funding rounds. In this regard, e.ventures is talking up its ability to support its portfolio startups with capital and operational expertise through the “full investment lifecycle,” although that isn’t entirely…
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Peter Cochrane: How big tech trends will impact the future of work

Peter Cochrane and chief sustainability officer at BT, Niall Dunne, cast their gaze forward to future tech trends such as big data and autonomous vehicles and how they will transform our jobs.   “So what do you do?” is probably the most common line uttered in bars and cocktail parties the world over. Western society is obsessed with work, and more recently, what it will look like in the future. Scientists predict machines will take over 50% of our jobs in the next 30 years but maybe in the end, automation will make us happier?  While we can’t predict the future, we can make predictions about how tech trends will potentially transform the way we work. Robots and artificial intelligence. Machines will become more intelligent than humans within our lifetime and will change the world of work forever, says Niall Dunne, chief sustainability officer for BT. “Humans evolve slowly but a machine’s development is rapid,” he adds. “The power is scary, but if utilised properly it will improve our lives, including what we think of as ‘work’.” With robots working the land and serving in shops and restaurants potentially becoming a reality, a harsher one is the impact it will…
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Dambisa Moyo, “Let’s talk about agility”

“Time Magazine” has named her one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World. But it’s not just as a macroeconomist that Dambisa Moyo is blazing a trail. She’s a passionate marathon runner, too.       Q. Dambisa, you travel the world giving talks and attending symposia, you write books, you sit on various boards: how do you fit it all in? A. I feel I’m very lucky in that I have found my vocation. I had long dreamed of having a career like this. I went to school and then was fortunate enough to work for the World Bank and Goldman Sachs. After my first book, “Dead Aid”, came out in 2009, my car eer took a different path. I’ve now had the privilege of visiting almost 80 countries. Q. During your travels, I understand you met with Chinese President, Xi Jinping: What does one talk about with such a powerful head of state? I was part of a small group invited to meet with the Chinese premier. To be honest, I mainly just listened. Xi Jinping’s way of thinking and his visions are truly impressive. I think a lot can be learned from listening more often.…
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David Orban, “We’ll Live Forever and We’ll Become Cyborgs”

Super-smart droids will work instead of us. Whereas we will be data sets with the ability to reincarnate at will. The future according to Singularity University’s David Orban.         “We shall be living side by side with robots and droids who will be more intelligent than people. While they work in our place, the new human race will spend its time exploring the unknown potential of the mind. People will become cyborgs, with capabilities enhanced by technology. We’ll be able to live forever by transferring our brains (including the sentient self) into other bodies and to explore outer space by transmitting our grey matter at the speed of light as if it were bits travelling through the ether.” This is the future awaiting us in the next 50 years according to David Orban, the founder of countless successful hi-tech companies, but above all a visionary and professor at Singularity University, a “factory” of geniuses and start-ups funded by Google, founded in 2008 by scientist Ray Kurzweil and entrepreneur Peter Diamandis in the heart of California’s Silicon Valley. Orban is not a sci-fi author, but a world-famous business manager and futurologist, who spends a third of his time in…
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Who Owns This Mess? financial crisis by Hernando de Soto

Here we are, three years into the global financial crisis, and we’re still flying blind. We don’t even know what we don’t know. What we do know is that we’re stuck in a huge contraction of private credit; no one is making enough loans and investments to expand or start businesses and get the economy growing. The remedies applied by U.S. and European governments tried to treat the symptoms — bad debts, shaky banks, floundering businesses, people losing their homes, rising unemployment, currency wars — and not the disease. Had those symptoms been the real cause of the crisis, “vulture capitalists” should have swept in by now. They should have spotted the signals that send knowledge of who is in trouble and — following the laws of supply and demand — picked up on the cheap the potentially lucrative remains of the nonperforming assets and transactions, correcting the deficiencies that led to them. They would have bought a block of old houses and revamped it into a 20-story high-rise with two restaurants and ample parking. They would have taken over an airline unable to fill its first-class section and rearranged it into a discount, no-frills option with twice the number…