Tag Archives: Entrepreneur

Spike Lee Developing Comedic TV Series Inspired By ‘Young Black Mark Zuckerberg’ Tech Entrepreneur

 Spike Lee Developing Comedic TV Series Inspired By ‘Young Black Mark Zuckerberg’ Tech Entrepreneur
LEE: MATTEO PRANDONI/BFA/REX/SHUTTERSTOCK; SANDERS: JONESWORKS

Spike Lee is gearing up to shop around a new TV series with tech entrepreneur and multi-hyphenate rising star Chad Sanders, according to sources.

The series, titled “Archer,” is a dark comedy and sociological thriller capturing the life of a 20-something African-American coding genius and iconoclast living in Brooklyn who has developed a dating app that reads sexual chemistry. The central character is described as a “young, black Mark Zuckerberg-like protagonist,” and the story will travel between New York, Silicon Valley, and Berlin’s famously sexual environment.

The project is loosely based on the life of Sanders, a tech entrepreneur who formerly served as a partner and head of business development at Dev Bootcamp, an intensive coding school that was eventually sold to Kaplan for double-digit millions. Sanders spent the first four years of his career with Google. He recently founded the business development agency Archer Genius Management, which is the basis for the title of the series.

Sanders is the creator and star of the series, in addition to serving as executive producer, writer, and director. Lee is on board to direct the pilot episode and will executive produce through his 40 Acres and A Mule Filmworks production banner. Sanders and Lee, who both coincidentally graduated from Morehouse College, first met through a mutual family friend.

The series will be pitched to a wide variety of networks, and no particular platform is being eyed at this point.

For Lee, “Archer” marks the filmmaker’s latest television project, following his upcoming Netflix series “She’s Gotta Have It,” which launches this November.

Sanders is repped by WME and managed by Oronde Garrett at Headshell Management. Lee is repped by ICM.

Source: Variety

On This Day In Comedy… In 2002 ‘Undercover Brother’ Was Released

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Saddleback Leather: Lessons of an Accidental Entrepreneur

Posted by Ranga Bodla, Industry Marketing Lead, NetSuite

Dave Munson is not your typical entrepreneur. The founder and CEO of Saddleback Leather, a NetSuite customer and maker of high-end leather bags and accessories, doesn’t have a business background, nor did he spend his young adulthood dreaming up ideas for new products. Munson was a dedicated youth pastor, teacher and frequent traveler before starting Saddleback Leather.

The idea for the business grew out of a personal quest for a strong leather book bag to carry his gear during a volunteer teaching stint in Mexico. Unable to find a bag rugged enough for his needs, Munson sketched out a design and asked a local leather maker to build it for him. Upon his return to the U.S., he was quickly overcome with requests for a similar bag. It wasn’t long before he realized he could sell a few each month from the back of his car and make enough to fund his teaching and travel.

saddleback Saddleback Leather: Lessons of an Accidental Entrepreneur

That was the plan, but after selling eight bags within three hours on his first sales foray, Munson realized he might just have a real business on his hands. When two of the bags sold for $ 700 each on an eBay auction shortly thereafter, his hunch was confirmed.

That was in the early 2000s. Today, Munson’s company has its own leather-working plant in Mexico employing 180 people, with another 50 employees in the U.S. and even a couple in Scotland. Munson uses the profits to support several charities, and he is heavily involved in one in Rwanda that provides educational services and food for poor children and business help to women. He and his wife Suzette frequently travel to Rwanda, often subsidizing the tab for employees who want to go too. He’s continues to teach, most recently in in Mexico at his factory’s school for worker’s children.

As Munson sees it, business shouldn’t be just about profits, but a holistic endeavor that positively effects the lives of its employees, customers and the community at large.

To achieve that, however, Munson had to master the science of profit and loss. One such lesson was that QuickBooks doesn’t scale well with rapid growth. In 2011, the company’s expansion strained the capabilities of its home-grown ecommerce site and its QuickBooks/Excel accounting system. The lack of integration was a strain on productivity, as was the constantly-updated website. Munson also wanted visibility into key metrics.

He turned to NetSuite’s cloud-based, integrated platform with CRM, distribution, ecommerce, financials, inventory and sales, and the scalability that Saddleback needed for growth. Being a hosted cloud-based application, NetSuite also relieves Saddleback of the cost and worry of maintaining an in-house system. The switch was a major step up and the company has since achieved double-digit growth in its yearly sales.

But there’s a lot more to the Saddleback story. Dave Munson recently shared more in a podcast with Dirk Beveridge, a business consultant and the founder of the UnleashWD, the only innovation summit for distributors.

Posted on Mon, December 5, 2016 by NetSuite filed under

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Chinese Healthcare Entrepreneur Passes Away

Sad news for technology watchers during the Golden Week holiday: tech startup and former editor Zhang Rui has passed away.

Zhang was ironically co-founder of Chinese healthcare mobile app Spring Rain Doctors, and previously an editor at Netease and a Beijing newspaper.

The Beijing-based mobile healthcare app maker backed by China International Capital Corporation Limited and other investors just completed a RMB1.2 billion pre-IPO round and is preparing for an initial public offering.

Entrepreneurs have expressed shock on Weibo and WeChat in the past two days as the sad news spread of his heart attack.

Spring Rain Doctors has 29 million active users and is one of the largest healthcare mobile apps in China.

Zhang Rui reportedly did not want to pursue an IPO, but yielded to investor pressure and agreed to spin out the company’s online consultation business and potentially list it via a reverse merger with an A-share company.

Spring Rain Doctors, or Chunyu Yisheng in Chinese, saw its online consultation business recording revenues of RMB130 million in 2015 with a profit of RMB30 million, according to previous media reports.

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ChinaWirelessNews.com

Chinese Healthcare Entrepreneur Passes Away

Sad news for technology watchers during the Golden Week holiday: tech startup and former editor Zhang Rui has passed away.

Zhang was ironically co-founder of Chinese healthcare mobile app Spring Rain Doctors, and previously an editor at Netease and a Beijing newspaper.

The Beijing-based mobile healthcare app maker backed by China International Capital Corporation Limited and other investors just completed a RMB1.2 billion pre-IPO round and is preparing for an initial public offering.

Entrepreneurs have expressed shock on Weibo and WeChat in the past two days as the sad news spread of his heart attack.

Spring Rain Doctors has 29 million active users and is one of the largest healthcare mobile apps in China.

Zhang Rui reportedly did not want to pursue an IPO, but yielded to investor pressure and agreed to spin out the company’s online consultation business and potentially list it via a reverse merger with an A-share company.

Spring Rain Doctors, or Chunyu Yisheng in Chinese, saw its online consultation business recording revenues of RMB130 million in 2015 with a profit of RMB30 million, according to previous media reports.

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ChinaWirelessNews.com

4 Things Every New Entrepreneur Should Know (And A Review For The Rest Of Us)

Generation Z’s arrival in the workforce means some changes are on the horizon for recruiters. This cohort, born roughly from the mid-90s to approximately 2010, will be entering the workforce in four What Gen Z%E2%80%99s Arrival in the Workforce Means For Recruiters 740x431 300x175 4 Things Every New Entrepreneur Should Know (And A Review For The Rest Of Us)short years, and you can bet recruiters and employers are already paying close attention to them.

This past fall, the first group of Gen Z youth began entering university. As Boomers continue to work well past traditional retirement age, four or five years from now, we’ll have an American workplace comprised of five generations.

Marketers and researchers have been obsessed with Millennials for over a decade; they are the most studied generation in history, and at 80 million strong they are an economic force to be reckoned with. HR pros have also been focused on all things related to attracting, motivating, mentoring, and retaining Millennials and now, once Gen Z is part of the workforce, recruiters will have to shift gears and also learn to work with this new, lesser-known generation. What are the important points they’ll need to know?

Northeastern University led the way with an extensive survey on Gen Z in late 2014 that included 16- through 19-year-olds and shed some light on key traits. Here are a few points from that study that recruiters should pay special attention to:

  • In general, the Generation Z cohort tends to be comprised of self-starters who have a strong desire to be autonomous. 63% of them report that they want colleges to teach them about being an entrepreneur.
  • 42% expect to be self-employed later in life, and this percentage was higher among minorities.
  • Despite the high cost of higher education, 81% of Generation Z members surveyed believe going to college is extremely important.
  • Generation Z has a lot of anxiety around debt, not only student loan debt, and they report they are very interested in being well-educated about finances.
  • Interpersonal interaction is highly important to Gen Z; just as Millennials before them, communicating via technology, including social media, is far less valuable to them than face-to-face communication.

Of course Gen Z is still very young, and their opinions as they relate to future employment may well change. For example, reality is that only 6.6% of the American workforce is self-employed, making it likely that only a small percentage of those expecting to be self-employed will be as well. The future in that respect is uncertain, and this group has a lot of learning to do and experiences yet ahead of them. However, when it comes to recruiting them, here are some things that might be helpful.

Generation Z is constantly connected

Like Millennials, Gen Z is a cohort of digital natives; they have had technology and the many forms of communication that affords since birth. They are used to instant access to information and, like their older Gen Y counterparts, they are continually processing information. Like Millennials, they prefer to solve their own problems, and will turn to YouTube or other video platforms for tutorials and to troubleshoot before asking for help. They also place great value on the reviews of their peers.

For recruiters, that means being ready to communicate on a wide variety of platforms on a continual basis. In order to recruit the top talent, you will have to be as connected as they are. You’ll need to keep up with their preferred networks, which will likely always be changing, and you’ll need to be transparent about what you want, as this generation is just as skeptical of marketing as the previous one.

Flexible schedules will continue to grow in importance

With the growth of part-time and contract workers, Gen Z will more than likely assume the same attitude their Millennial predecessors did when it comes to career expectations; they will not expect to remain with the same company for more than a few years. Flexible schedules will be a big part of their world as they move farther away from the traditional 9-to-5 job structure as work becomes more about life and less about work, and they’ll likely take on a variety of part time roles.

This preference for flexible work schedules means that business will happen outside of traditional work hours, and recruiters’ own work hours will, therefore, have to be just as flexible as their Gen Z targets’ schedule are. Companies will also have to examine what are in many cases decades old policies on acceptable work hours and business norms as they seek to not only attract, but to hire and retain this workforce with wholly different preferences than the ones that came before them. In many instances this is already happening, but I believe we will see this continue to evolve in the coming years.

Echoing the silent generation

Unlike Millennials, Gen Z came of age during difficult economic times; older Millennials were raised in the boom years. As Alex Williams points out in his recent New York Times piece, there’s an argument to be made that Generation Z is similar in attitude to the Silent Generation, growing up in a time of recession means they are more pragmatic and skeptical than their slightly older peers.

So how will this impact their behavior and desires as job candidates? Most of them are the product of Gen X parents, and stability will likely be very important to them. They may be both hard-working and fiscally savvy.

Sparks & Honey, in their much quoted slideshare on Gen Z, puts the number of high-schooler students who felt pressured by their parents to get jobs at 55 percent. Income and earning your keep are likely to be a big motivation for GenZ. Due to the recession, they also share the experience of living in multi-generational households, which may help considerably as they navigate a workplace comprised of several generations.

We don’t have all the answers

With its youngest members not yet in double digits, Gen Z is still maturing. There is obviously still a lot that we don’t know. This generation may have the opposite experience from the Millennials before them, where the older members experienced the booming economy, with some even getting a career foothold, before the collapse in 2008. Gen Z’s younger members may get to see a resurgent economy as they make their way out of college. Those younger members are still forming their personalities and views of the world; we would be presumptuous to think we have all of the answers already.

Generational analysis is part research, but also part theory testing. What we do know is that this second generation of digital natives, with its adaption of technology and comfort with the fast-paced changing world, will leave its mark on the American workforce as it makes its way in. As a result, everything about HR will change, in a big way. I wrote a post for my Forbes column recently where I said, “To recruit in this environment is like being part wizard, part astronaut, part diplomat, part guidance counselor,” and that’s very true.

As someone who loves change, I believe there has never been a more exciting time to be immersed in both the HR and the technology space. How do you feel about what’s on the horizon as it relates to the future of work and the impending arrival of Generation Z? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Social tools are playing an increasingly important role in the workplace, especially for younger workers. Learn more: Adopting Social Software For Workforce Collaboration [Video].

The post What Gen Z’s Arrival In The Workforce Means For Recruiters appeared first on TalentCulture.

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Entrepreneurial Adventures in Missing the Point: Why Defining Entrepreneur Doesn’t Matter

Is it just me, or is there a lot of debate, mostly among entrepreneurs themselves, as to what it truly means to be an entrepreneur?

Unfortunately, most of these conversations focus around what an entrepreneur is not. For example, a recent post by Leela Cosgrove on Profitalist called “Face It: You’re NOT An Entrepreneur,” in which Cosgrove classifies people as either artist or entrepreneur.

I don’t want to pick Cosgrove’s article apart point by point. It’s an opinion piece, and that’s fine. What I really want to discuss is how we talk about entrepreneurs vs. pretty much anything else: artists, business owners, innovators, what have you. 

Let’s talk about why self-proclaimed innovators and businesspeople feel the need to classify their world. 

Let’s talk about why it’s apparently OK to say this:

Entrepreneurs are good quitters. They know when to walk away.

Artists suck at letting go. They hold on to things long past the point of them making sense, because they care so much.

And even though Cosgrove prefaced her comments by saying “there is no value judgment here,” saying one group is “good” at something while the other group “sucks” at something is in fact a value judgment, and the whole post is an excellent example of a false dilemma. Implying that there are only two options – artist or entrepreneur, reduces entrepreneurship to an either/or, while it is anything but.

Cosgrove’s post highlights a simple truth that I think is lost in all this bickering about definitions: it’s not what people say when talking about entrepreneurs, it’s how they talk about being an entrepreneur – or “not.”

For some reason, entrepreneur has become an elitist label of working for yourself/owning your own business, and if you don’t possess the right amount of risk acceptance, unacknowledged privilege, competitiveness and, apparently, detached calculation from your business, you’re something, but you’re definitely not an entrepreneur.

Why is being an entrepreneur completely exclusive of being anything else? Why is it entrepreneur OR artist? What I want to know is this:

How did entrepreneurship become a country club?  

Well, if you read this Quartz article, it’s sort of always been that way:

[What] often gets lost in these conversations is that the most common shared trait among entrepreneurs is access to financial capital – family money, an inheritance, or a pedigree and connections that allow for access to financial stability. While it seems that entrepreneurs tend to have an admirable penchant for risk, it’s usually access to money which allows them to take risks.

Surely we who share this space don’t wish for the word “entrepreneur” to become shorthand for “privileged white guy who started a business.” (I don’t think that’s what Cosgrove thinks or is asserting in her article. But I do think that the constant bickering around narrowing the definition of entrepreneur will eventually narrow it into the aforementioned undesirable shorthand, whether it’s intentional or not.)

Here’s why it really matters how we talk about people: The more restricted we make the label entrepreneur, the more people we exclude. In fact, most entrepreneurs rely on help from and collaboration with others like them. Getting into the game of who’s an entrepreneur and who’s “just” a business owner or “just” an artist creates a chasm among people who probably have more commonalities than differences.

It also makes being a “true entrepreneur” seem purer by imbuing that label with traits that are meant to sound more admirable, like taking “going all in” instead of working for someone else (unless they’re working for free) or being “good leaders” instead of being passionate. These traits are not inherently better or worse, they’re just traits, and they are so personal that there’s almost no way to draw a clear definition, so whether one “is” or “is not” an entrepreneur is decided by solely subjective virtues (which usually validate the person dictating them).

Being an entrepreneur isn’t about purity or an arbitrary metric of risk (while an entrepreneur is by definition willing to take risk, we can’t quantify what’s “enough” risk nor qualify risk by what’s a “real” risk and what’s “not.”) 

Most of the time, there’s a host of other factors aside from risk at play; a lot of people become entrepreneurs to follow a dream, whether that dream is to disrupt an industry, solve other people’s problems, build and sell a company, spend more time with their family, or to do the thing they love until they die. Being an entrepreneur is not conditional on the why people started their business – it’s the having of one’s own business that matters. 

There’s a vast array of entrepreneurial types out there. Why, why, why are we trying so hard to narrow the label? What do we truly gain by doing so? More importantly, what do we lose?

Because while there are plenty of entrepreneurs out there with family money and top-tier connections (and there’s nothing wrong with that), there are plenty of people out there who are standing up to a lot of risk without a substantial safety net. Some of them might have a lot of passion for their business, some of them might be running it with the intention to sell. Some of them might be working day jobs or holding onto a few contract jobs to make sure their rent is paid. 

So my question to Cosgrove, to Gary Vaynerchuk, to anyone saying that an entrepreneur is a very specific subset of unquantifiable traits, is this: Why is it so important to put people in such narrow boxes? 

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How Has Technology Molded the Modern Entrepreneur?

The denouement of a calendar year is the perfect time to reflect not just where we are, but how we got here. How did entrepreneurs get here, social-savvy, always on, and running a business from a phone?  There are many people who take the end of a year as the time to make resolutions and positive changes And then there are the rest of us.  

While I love the idea of a new start come the stroke of midnight, New Year’s is just that to me: midnight.  It happens every 24 hours and I like to believe that with the start of each new day, I get the opportunity to refocus, realign and rock out on the things that I’m most passionate about. I’m not waiting for someone to give me the go-ahead. Does that sound like the attitude of an entrepreneur to you?  Yeah, that’s not a coincidence.

A while back, I owned a custom baking business that created unique cookies for special occasions and to get business, I had to hustle. I founded an LLC, created a website that accepted online orders, printed marketing materials, used social media to tempt new customers and chatted with anyone who would listen about how delicious and beautiful my custom cookies were.  Each day brought a new challenge and opportunity, so I tried to take advantage as often as possible.  But what if the year had been 1994? Would my business have been as successful? Would I have been able to launch as easily as I did?

Technology as an enabler

A lot has changed for entrepreneurs in the last decade, most of it brought about by improvements in technology.  It has never been easier to purchase a domain name, use a do-it-yourself web design platform and launch a website for your adoring fans.  Nor has it been easier to find the educational resources that empower us to do these things ourselves, or for a low price.  These are the opportunities that my father wouldn’t recognize when he started his own accounting firm in the 1980s. 

No more thumbing through the Yellow Pages, or worrying that you’ll miss a call when you step out, or wondering how to stay in touch while you’re on vacation. Who would have imagined we’d have a solution that fits in your pocket? 

Now most entrepreneurs see the opportunity to work anytime anywhere  as a double-edged sword: free from the desk, but tethered to the smartphone.

Age doesn’t discriminate

Given the wealth of opportunities and resources available to virtually everyone, starting a business isn’t just a grown up thing anymore.  Kids are taking their ideas and learning the ways of – and dominating –  the business world at a much earlier age.  Take, for example, culinary whiz kid, Remmi Smith.  She started cooking healthy food with her mother at a very early age, filmed the cooking sessions in their kitchen and posted them to YouTube, where her culinary skills were noticed.  She embodies the newly coined phrase “kidpreneur,” with her cookbook, cooking show, speaking engagements and stint as an ambassador to Sodexo to put healthier school lunches in place across the country. Talk about a far cry from your average lemonade stand.

With the ability to easily record videos, post photos or record music, younger people are turning their smart phones and laptops into studios, sound booths, canvases and online stores.  And the best part is that they’ve grown up with this technology as the norm, so this it is second nature to them.  It’s often easier to learn new habits, languages, technology and skills at a younger age, so it should come as no surprise that kids are taking on their own businesses well before they’re of age to vote. And they’re got the energy, ideas and optimism to hustle.

But being an entrepreneur filters up to the older generations as well. Now adults who might be contemplating or in retirement can put their wisdom to use by starting businesses that might be passion projects or continuations of a great career. 

Social is second nature

Social platforms are woven into the lives of younger people (who already learn new technology much quicker than adults), so when they opt to become entrepreneurs, marketing through social media is a snap.  Granted, the strategy behind social marketing for a younger entrepreneur might not always be as airtight as someone who has a few years’ experience in the business world, but they know they need to do it to spread the word. 

Social media as an entire marketing entity has only exploded within the last few years and I say that knowing just how recent my own company has put an emphasis on the activities that occur through social media. We see brand sentiment over social channels and use it as a good barometer of where we stand with our own customers and prospects. By monitoring the comments across our social platforms, we can connect one to one with these people and address their concerns almost in real time.  It truly is an amazing development in marketing and customer relationships.  

Don’t think for a minute that when I refer to our business’ social practices it doesn’t apply to the modern day entrepreneur or small business owner, because it does.  Engagement with customers and potential customers alike through Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram (to name a few) can really help build a small business’ brand and create a positive sentiment.  And while social media may seem like it’s second nature, especially to the younger generations, we all know how much work and time it takes, but we also realize the payoff and the impact that a single positive or negative comment can have.

While the foundation of entrepreneurship remains the same, the way it manifests itself has changed significantly even in the past decade.  We can be young or old, well connected or on the verge of creating a network, business savvy or self educated. From granny’s post-war gas station to the sneaker head’s e-commerce site, entrepreneurship remains firmly planted in grit, determination, bright ideas and hustle. There really isn’t a definitive face of entrepreneurship.  But was there ever?  

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