Archive for the ‘business.commentary’ Category

Eddy Cue Joins Ferrari Board

Eddy Cue commented on his appointment to the Ferrari board:

“I am pleased and proud to become a member of the board. I have personally dreamed of owning a Ferrari since I was 8 years old and have been lucky to be an owner for the past 5 years. I continue to be awed by the world-class design and engineering that only Ferrari can do,” said Eddie Cue, commenting on his nomination to the board.

And Ferrari’s Chairman Luca di Montezemolo was happy to have Cue join the company’s board:

“I am delighted that Eddy Cue, one of the main driving forces behind Apple’s range of revolutionary products, has now joined our board. His huge experience in the dynamic, innovative world of the Internet will be of great assistance to us.”

Ferrari’s Press Release

Are future Ferrari’s going to look more like iPhones? What kind of a discount does a Ferrari board member get? Man, the perks that come with being an Apple Executive ; )

Official Backer: AppTag Laser Blaster for iPhone

Kickstarter, the crowd-source funding platform for creative projects, is moving into the mainstream. Last week, two projects – Tim Schafer’s Double Fine Adventure, and Casey Hopkins’ Elevation Dock: The Best Dock for iPhone raised over a million dollars each in just one day.

Kickstarter  is democratizing the product development process by putting the decision of whether or not a product should be funded in the hands of the consumer, and consumers are coming out to vote.  A new generation of makers (prefer makers over inventors) is responding to the opportunity.

AppTagJon Atherton (t: @tunes) is a maker that recognized the Kickstarter opportunity early. He successfully used Kickstarter to fund jaja, a pressure sensitive stylus for iPad, and he’s at it again with AppTag – Laser Blaster for iPhone.

AppTag brings first person shooter console gameplay to smartphones in the real world by combining the smartphone with a laser tag like system. You can use AppTag with the included pistol grip or attach it to any blaster (a Nerf gun for example) that has an accessory rail. You can read all about AppTag on Kickstarter; Jon does a better job of describing his product than I can – and because it’s a great product, I’m sure the project will be funded. In a post on his blog, Jon talks about how Kickstarter is changing the way he does business.

Kickstarter is going to disrupt a lot of businesses! Previously an inventor like me would pitch inventions, then the toy company has a bunch of committee meetings, they then decide to evaluate it with an option, if they then proceed they offer a small prepayment and an eventual 5% royalty on wholesale. They cover all marketing and manufacture. Inventors can do really well with the right toy!

So for example with the jaja pressure sensitive stylus (which we pitched as a kids coloring in toy) we have now had over 1000 backers, and raised enough to do the tooling and final development work ourselves – we own the IP, and we can sell direct online for a cheaper price with a greater margin.

Now with Kickstarter, I can develop an idea and do the same work as I pitch to the toy companies (create a movie and do a presentation). I then upload it to Kickstarter – where thousands of people evaluate the product! Real customers put there money down if it is good! – Jon Atherton / AppTag 38% Funded – LOVE @Kickstarter

AppTag is the first Kickstarter project I’ve backed – probably because it caught my ten year old son’s attention and he can be pretty convincing.  I’m not sure why I haven’t backed a project before. I’ve definitely benefited from the platform – I love my olloclip: iPhone Lens System.

Good luck Jon, and thanks for inspiring me to back my first Kickstarter project. Keep making.

Concentric Sky Launches

Recently, I started working for a great company called Concentric Sky here in beautiful Eugene Oregon. At Concentric Sky, we build innovative web sites, iPhone applications, and a whole lot more.

Concentric Sky has a wealth of technologies at its disposal and we have a great team of developers with decades of combined development experience. A couple of the technologies we have a great deal of experience with are Python and Django.

Recently, we used Django to implement Michael Moore’s new website and we couldn’t be happier with the results. Concentric Sky developed the back-end code for this site in Python/Django with a custom administrative interface and social media aware Content Management System (CMS). The site is optimized for millions of hits per day and it has been humming along nicely since it was launched. You can read more about this project on the Concentric Sky blog.

We have a lot of interesting projects in the works and I look forward to sharing some of them here in the future. Stay tuned!

Jason’s 120% Solution

If you aren’t already subscribed to Jason Calacanis’ mailing list – subscribe. Jason is smart guy with a lot to say and he gets things done. Jason replaced his blog, for the most part, with a mailing list a while back – I’m a subscriber and reader. Jason’s email today – The 120% solution – talks about the economic crisis, why it happened, and suggests possible solutions. Check it out – it’s a great read.

Origins of Bootstrapping

The Art of Bootstrapping, over on American Express OPEN Forum, is worth reading and appropriate for the times. I learned a little about the origins of the term Bootstrapping as well.

The term bootstrapping comes from the German legend of Baron von Munchhausen pulling himself out of the sea by pulling on his own bootstraps. That’s essentially what you’ll have to do, too.

Quote: Jason Calacanis

A co-worker forwarded a quote from Jason Calacanis to me this morning that I think is worth sharing. I like Jason’s view of the situation and I agree w/ his recommendation to unplug from the news sites and constant updates on the DOW and focus on yourself and your work. Get to work! Make your future.

Fortunes are built during the down market and collected in the up market.
Now’s the time to build, so turn off CNBC and forget the Dow. It’s meaningless to you now.
All that matters is your work and your personal progress. – Jason Calacanis

John Doerr’s 10 Tips for Start-ups

AllThingsD captured video of John Doerr, a top VC, presenting his 10 Tips for Start-ups at VentureBeat’s “How to manage your start-up in the downturn” roundtable event. Doerr presents his ten tips in just about four minutes so this is definitely worth your time – start-up or not.

Executive Ecucation and Spelling

I’m can be a terrible speller and average wordsmith so I try to make the effort to always run the spellchecker and have my more important documents edited by somebody other than me. A poorly prepared document can reflect badly on you or your organization. Below, is a good example of a document that should have received a little extra attention before it was sent to thousands of people. I’m sure I’m not the only one that was surprised to see a misspelling like this from the U.C. Berkeley Center for Executive Education.

UC Berkeley 


Seth’s Inbox Culture

Do you spend your day responding and reacting to incoming all day… until the list is empty? … and then you’re done. – Seth Godin

I do.

Email, Instant Messages, Tweets, SMS Messages, Alerts, and FogBugz reports monopolize the bulk of my day. I try to carve out time for “projects” but it’s getting harder and harder to temporarily dam the “incoming” flow. I need to get better an this before I loose perspective on the big picture.

Subprime Foreclosures Illustrated

The New York Times designed this excellent chart to illustrate the subprime foreclosure mess.

Subprime Foreclosures 

The airline industry is stupid …

Surf Report: Ed Cone talks about the stupid airline industry.
I agree with Ed – the airline industry is stupid. I recently had a similar experience on a United flight but I was one of the guys that paid (in advance) for the Economy Plus seat. Tall people (I’m 6′ 5″) think about these kinds of things in advance ; ) By the way Ed – I would have been pretty pissed if they let people move into the Economy Plus seats that didn’t pay for the extra inch. I’m pretty sure smarter airlines will start to emerge from this mess.

Creating Infectious Engagement

The Stanford is hosting a free mini-conference on Creating Infectious Engagement May 6th from 3:30 to 6. The event is open to the public and it is a great opportunity to connect with smart people and benefit from everything the Creating Infectious Engagement team is working on. I will be attending the Stanford Managing Teams for Innovation and Success Executive Education program June 1 – 6.

Our Stanford class on Creating Infectious Engagement is holding a conference next Thursday May 1st from 3:30 to 6:00 that is open to the public.  We have some great speakers lined-up who will talk about what it takes to spread good ideas. Please RSVP to Joe Mellin at if you will be joining us, as we need to plan for food.  The conference is in the new space in building 524 in the learning theatre. A big thanks to Joe for designing this wonderful poster.  Please send it along to your friends!

NOTE for the Creating Infections Engagement class: I discovered this event in Guy Kawasaki’s Twitter stream.  Lot’s of streams (Twitter, Flickr, Blogs) feeding the rivers (FriendFeed, Facebook, TechMeme) which feed the ocean (national media) these days. Interesting stuff.

BIG Blog Post – Green? Say It!

Are you running a “Green” business? Are you building “Green” products? Is the brightness of your “Greenness” important to your customer?

Read the rest of this post over on the Business in General (BIG) Blog – a small business oriented blog I contribute to on a regular basis.

Elkhorn Rod and Reel


Yesterday I wrote about a great customer service story over on the Bplans Blog. Check out Great customer service makes a difference for Elkhorn if you are a business decision maker interested in great customer services stories. If you are a fly fishing enthusiast considering a rod or reel from Elkhorn Rod and Reel the story will probably be enough to get you to click that “Buy Now” button on the Elkhorn website.

Lessig On TED

The post Copyright Extremism Begets Extremist on Tim Berry’s blog, Planning, Startups, Stories, pointed my browser towards a TED presentation by Stanford Professor Lawrence Lessig. Lessig, very eloquently, uses a series of historical stories to support his argument that existing copyright law is impeding creative expression in a digital world. Lessig did a good job of presenting the problem, a potential solution (CC), and hope that things will change in the future if history has anything to say about it (BMI).
Copyright law, like patent law, needs to be reformed. It’s broken and it’s stifling the creators. Given the importance of IP to our economy; you’d think this would be a higher legislative priority. Unfortunately, I think the legislative branch isn’t equipped to keep up with the speed of the information economy. Reform will start at the source (the creators) and work it’s way up through the system. Will? Has.

Trunk Monkey

I love the Trunck Monkey series of advertisements developed by Sean Sosik-Hamor and Subaru. Guaranteed to make you laugh a little. Here’s a complete list of “monkey” videos.

Suburban Auto Group released a series of Trunk Monkey Super Bowl commercials for 2003 and 2004. The ad agency that produced these commercials is R/West. Although the Suburban Auto Group popularized the Trunkmonkey with their Trunk Monkey commercials, Sean Sosik-Hamor and the Subaru community were responsible for creating the concept back in 2000. —

Do you love what you do? Should you love what you do?

There’s a good conversation going on over on the Planning, Statups, Stories blog. Tim Berry responds to the question “What’s more important–passion or ability?” when it comes to selecting a career. Check out the comments section. A copy of my comment appears below.

It’s hard to make a living doing what you love. Why? Because introducing the green stuff into the relationship often leads to relationship problems.
Love blinds, often making it difficult to mix business with pleasure. I think this is why most people keep what they really love far, far, away from the JOB. NOTE: A lot of people claim to be doing what they love but it isn’t often the case. Everybody wants it so it’s natural for people to claim they have it – it’s in our nature.
Most of the people (there are exceptions) I know that have turned loves/hobbies into businesses regret it. Why? They turned that special thing they really loved into a JOB – it isn’t fun anymore, it’s work. It’s the thing that puts food on the table. That, usually, comes with stress and external pressure. Other people start messing around with the thing you loved.
My advice to the reader – keep doing what you’re good at, become the best at it, and find a way to leverage that success so you can spend more time doing what you really love. That way, you keep the green stuff out of the relationship.
– Cale

Fortunately, and I’m not just saying this because Tim Berry is the President and Founder of the company I work for, I love what I do for a living. Or, maybe, I’m just claiming to love what I do for a living to make all of you jealous. You’ll never know. I do however think the word “love” is getting tossed around here a bit too freely. Love, for me at least, is a word reserved for my wife, my kids, and my family. It’s a powerful word that carries a lot of meaning. I don’t really believe you can “Love” a car, your house, a hobby, or your job – really “Love” it. Or, maybe you can.

Craislist’s Jim Buckmaster Interviewed // Refreshing

Jim Buckmaster, CEO of craigslist, did a fireside chat interview with BusinessWeek editor Jessi Hempel, at The Nantucket Conference. – Don Dodge on The Next Big Thing

Craigslist‘s approach to doing business on-line is refreshing. For example I loved Jim’s response to this question.

Craigslist could generate hundreds of millions in revenue and be a public company. Why haven’t you done this? “You can’t serve two masters. You either have to serve Wall Street or
customers. We chose customers. Sure, we could generate more revenue,
but we have enough to support the things we need to do.”

Unfortunately, Craigslist shines the way it does because their approach to business is rare.

Contributing to BPlans Blog

I’m a contributing author on the Bplans Blog.

The Bplans Blog offers commentary on startups, small business, business planning and growth strategy. – brillant workspaces

10 seeeeeriously cool workplaces eye candy from 10 different innovative, well-designed workplaces. –

About palmIT

palmIT is authored by Cale Bruckner [LinkedIn], President at Concentric Sky, and former SVP Product Development at Palo Alto Software.

Cale Bruckner

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