quote by Steve Maraboli
,

5 Ways to Be Grateful: In Entrepreneurship and Beyond

November marks a special time of the year. Summer is now in the rear-view mirror (even here),  trees display their Fall brilliance, and all things pumpkin shift to all things mint and gingerbread.

It is also a time of gratitude. Thanksgiving ushers a nice reminder of our progress over the year and the things we can still achieve before the clock resets.

How can we cultivate gratitude along the path of entrepreneurship, with its many uncertainties, ups, and downs?  Here are a few ideas.

 

1. By being thankful for all of it

quote by Cicero

Yes, for all it. The time we nailed the pitch. The time we lost a big account. The time we shut down a startup after working really hard on it. The time we decided to launch something we believe in. The time social media was our friend, and the time it really wasn’t.

We can be grateful for finding a way to look at everything as a whole, an amalgam, and being thankful for all it. Because it has led us to where we are exactly right now. The awareness, the experience; and best of all, the ability to reflect and make changes ahead.

2. By being grateful for any of it

quote by Maya Angelou

Okay, if we’re being honest—it can be hard to be thankful for all of it. Some of it wasn’t (and isn’t) fun—emotionally, financially, and in a number of other ways. With the holidays ahead, there can be all kinds of stress and pressure to assess progress in the past year and make projections for the year ahead. In quiet moments, social entrepreneurs might be thinking about if their work is really making the impact they set out to create. And entrepreneurs of all kinds are likely thinking about how much runway they have and how they can build the next “point oh” of their products.

But, gratitude can start small. Even, infinitesimally so. Being thankful for our health, food on our plates, our favorite jeans, our ability to breathe, a pen that works. Gratitude can start from any point, without expectation. Even the most simple thoughts of gratitudes can take the mind space of other, potentially less positive thoughts, and attract more things to feel grateful for.

3. By letting someone know

quote by Bob Kerrey

When was the last time someone reached out and unexpectedly acknowledged you or your work. It happened just the other day for me when a friend at a co-working space, mentioned that he listens to the podcast, which has been newly added to iTunes, and left a great review. It was incredible and igniting to hear that something I have been working on created a positive experience for a listener. And when he told me himself, it also created an instant feeling of gratitude. It, in turn, made me think of the ways I can ‘pay it forward’ to acknowledge the positive impact something has had for me.

Just two days later, I had a chance. A specialist at a print shop went above and beyond to ensure delivery of my late-added print job. Her warmth, professionalism, and commitment impressed me and I had a chance to say thank you in person, and then by leaving a note with her employer.

The act of sharing our feeling of gratitude not only lets us cultivate the feeling of gratitude within ourselves but also pass it on to others.

4. By letting go

quote by Buddha

Ah, but not all relationships are in the state of flowing gratitude. Sometimes, the energy just may not be in the right place to resolve or solve in this moment. And sharing might just exacerbate. Gratitude here can be feeling thankful for the opportunity connect with the experience, relationship, and opportunity, learning more about ourselves in process—and then letting go, even if temporarily.

It can catalyze a mini fresh start. The act of letting go, can create space for what we seek to attract in our journey forward.

5. By giving the best we have

quote by Emerson

We have the ability to show up with our best—as a simple expression of gratitude. Show up extra prepared, early, bearing a gift, with a smile—whatever the best is that we have to offer. We don’t have to save it for that special occasion or special opportunity. By sharing our best, we not only can improve on it, but can also empower others to show up in their top form too.

Showing up with our personal best can shift the game, and the energy.

Thank YOU

I want to take a moment and express my gratitude. I know that in the past few months you have seen more posts over social media from me and from Innov8social—and I am grateful for your reception and engagement. I am beyond grateful for this opportunity to create and work on something so aligned with what I believe to be my life’s purpose.

Giving you my best

As a token of gratitude, I want to give you (an extra dose of :) my best.

It is one of my joys to host the Innov8social Podcast. Those special moments involve my favorite things—connecting with people, listening and sharing stories, and hearing about peoples’ personal and professional commitments to creating positive impact.

This week, instead of the single podcast on Thursday, we will be sharing four amazing interviews with thinkers and doers in the social impact space.

Here’s who you can look forward to tuning into this week:

 

 

sec equity crowdfunding rules
,

5 Quick Things Social Entrepreneurs Should Know About SEC’s New Equity Crowdfunding Rules

Well, it happened. This guy innovated a crazy awesome Aladdin magic carpet for Halloween.

And, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) finally passed rules for online crowdfunding for investment (“equity crowdfunding”) on October 30, 2015.

Why does this matter for social entrepreneurs?

So, let’s say you are a social entrepreneur. You are creating tons of meaningful impact through your startup and have a business model that is starting to work. How are you going to scale? You may have pitched to dozens (if not more) investors. Maybe they like your idea and your impact, but if your experience is anything typical, you have amassed more rejections than a kid collects candy on a good Halloween night trick-or-treat run. What are your options?

Since its rise to popularity, crowdfunding has been a formidable option for social entrepreneurs raising early-stage funds. Why? It lets you build an audience, support, and outreach as you raise funds. Best of all, you get to appeal to people who can vote with their dollars. They can ‘invest’ in your idea because they believe in you and what you are doing; they are not restricted by the same demands for return on investment that VC’s or even impact investors may be bound by.

But up until know, this kind of crowdfunding was based on donation. It has been your good word or promise to deliver something amazing that your crowdfunders depend on. And, while they “invest” using popular crowdfunding sites such as Kickstarter or Indiegogo, there hasn’t really been a chance for them to receive a return on their investment beyond what you promised.  They donate to support you and to receive first access to your game, book, product, or service.

It has been a bit more complicated (but not impossible) to set up equity crowdfunding. State tools such as Direct Public Offerings (DPO’s) have provided these pathways. But they have restrictions on where your investors can be located in order to invest in your campaign—i.e. they are bound by state law and scope.

And, though the JOBS Act with its equity crowdfunding provision, passed in 2012….the SEC hadn’t found the right way to formulate rules to both allow any US citizen to invest in startups, and to protect said citizens from fraud, deceptive, or unscrupulous practices by said startups.

Until last week. That’s when the SEC passed rules that attempt to satisfy both the buoyancy of democratizing early-stage investment and the concern of protecting the tomorrow’s new early-stage investor, i.e. you and me.

This matters for social entrepreneurs because this democratization of investment into startups has the potential to change the game for good ideas and meaningful impact. Social entrepreneurs who meet all of of the SEC requirements, can appeal to people and not just investment and impact investment firms to raise funds. They can validate and scale businesses at a pace set by the social enterprises, without necessarily trying to be tomorrow’s unicorn or polka-dotted zebra.

 

5 Quick Things Social Entrepreneurs Should Know About SEC’s New Equity Crowdfunding Rules

So, what are a few quick things every social entrepreneurs should know about these new rules? Here is the one-minute primer.

1. One million dollars in 12 months. Startups can raise up to $1M through online equity crowdfunding from unaccredited investors, in a 12-month period.

2. 5% or $2K for the under $100K club. Aspiring crowdfunding investors making less than $100K can commit 5% or a maximum of $2K toward equity crowdfunding, within one year. For the those making $100K or beyond, the limit is 10% or $100K, also within a year.

3. Newbie audit exemption.  first-time equity crowdfunding issuers are exempted from the requirement for a financial audit (costly!) prior to raising equity crowdfunding fund

4. Raising $500K – $1M. Startups looking for less than $500K funding in online equity crowdfunding can provide tax returns that have been “reviewed” by an independent tax accountant. This is also true for first-time equity crowdfunding companies raising between $500K-1M.

5. Yup, there are more questions than answers. Have more questions? Join the club (and the crowd )! The best thing to do now is to stay informed as new crowdfunding platforms appear, and existing crowdfunding platforms pivot to make room for this new way to invest. For social entrepreneurs, though there are so many questions still in the air, the big thing doesn’t change: crowdfunding works best when it is backed by integrity. For every hardworking, mission driven social entrepreneur trying to stake a claim, there might be a few others who are “greenwashing” their way to online equity crowdfunding investment. Stay above the fray and and make good choices about whether your startup is in a good position to have ROI-seeking investors, how you measure impact, and whether taking on equity-funding might hamper, impede, or otherwise negatively impact your drive and focus to create positive impact. It’s an exciting time, for sure! But a few wayward examples, and this potential boon for social entrepreneurs could take turn for bust.

 

Read more

  • SEC: SEC Adopts Rules to Permit Crowdfunding
  • Entrepreneur: The SEC Just Approved Rules Opening Up Equity Crowdfunding to the General Public In a 3-1 Vote
  • New York Times:  S.E.C. Gives Small Investors Access to Equity Crowdfunding
  • Gizmodo: The SEC Just Made a Big Change To What’s Legal In Crowdfunding
  • Equities.com: Rapid Reactions to SEC’s Approval of Title III Crowdfunding Rules
  • Entrepreneur: What the New Equity Crowdfunding Rules Mean for Entrepreneurs
  • FinanceMagnates: SEC Passes Crowdfunding Rules: ‘Investing Will Be Forever Changed’
  • Huffington Post Business: US SEC Votes YES to Equity Crowdfunding Today, More Than 1300 Days After 2012 Law and 80 Years After 1933 Law
  • Wikipedia: Crowdfunding exemption movement
  • Wikipedia: Equity Crowdfunding (US)
  • Innov8social: What is Crowdfunding?
  • Innov8social: What are 3 Crowdfunding Options for Social Entrepreneurs?

The pitching startups
, ,

5 Tips on Pitching Your Social Enterprise Startup to VC’s

Effective pitching or telling a compelling startup story can take many hours of practice to perfect, is honed and shaped by feedback coming from diverse perspectives, and can require a different kind of courage than in actually building your startup. One of the most important things inevitably, is to start. Pitching early and often lets you get comfortable with telling your story in a natural, conversational way; receive feedback like a pro; and find ways to process and integrate comments without losing sight of your company’s vision and your personal momentum and drive.

These are the sentiments I had in mind when I submitted an application to pitch Innov8social, an engagement platform that connects people that want to create social impact with actionable tools and resources on ways to create impact, to a panel of 5 VC judges at Pitch2Sharks in San Francisco. The pitch event was a valuable and insightful experience. And though I have heard many startup pitches (and serve as a judge at times), I learned a great deal from being in the hot seat both about pitching, and about pitching a social enterprise startup.

As social entrepreneurs explore how and where to pitch their startup ideas, I thought it might be useful to share what I learned from my experience of pitching a social enterprise startup here.

1. Define success, then decide if it’s the right time to pitch

 

It can be helpful to define what success looks like to you before pitching. It’s a way to set expectations and also to be able to process critical feedback in a constructive way.

Since it was the first time pitching Innov8social to investors, and that too at a public event, I decided early on that showing up, not freezing or melting mid-sentence, and articulating my key points with clarity and confidence would be success. Those things fortunately happened, though I did read much of my pitch which the judges mentioned, and I left feeling satisfied and glad for the experience.

Had I set the goal of receiving funding and/or doubling my social media followership, I could have left feeling pretty lousy about the situation, and may have missed the incredible value of getting feedback from a group of people who listen to numerous startup pitches regularly, and that too fund a few too. A comment or insight from them could potentially inform my pitch in meaningful, impactful way, that could save me time and effort effort ahead.

2. Pitch events can be a great way to start…

 

Depending on the stage of your social enterprise startup and your goals, a pitch event could be a great way to start pitching. If you select the opportunity wisely, you can pitch at an event that aligns well with your social enterprise startup’s mission, or is for  startups at the same stage you are in, or features a VC or judge you particularly want to engage.

A pitch event can also be a bit more of a ‘safe space’ to test out your pitch and receive some initial feedback. Before you hear more fierce, unapologetic criticisms that VC’s can be famous for at pitch meetings, a pitch event can provide you a platform to share your startup story and get feedback, all in an abbreviated timeframe.

For my experience in pitching Innov8social, it was a great place to start pitching and I learned as much by what the VC’s didn’t ask as by what they did. It gave me some quick investor feedback of what was conveyed in my pitch and what may have been unclear or ambiguous.

 

3. …but DON’T expect an investment

 

From my experience in attending dozens of pitch events over the past half-decade, one thing I have noticed (and have even asked startup founders about) is whether they expect investments from pitch events. The consensus seems to be a pretty consistent no. Some pitch events, by default, however, do offer a prize to the winning pitch. Winning a pitch event comes with the bragging rights, that can be shared not only over social media and the company website, but at future pitches to potential investors as well.

But even without an investment or a win, a pitch can be the start of potential connections. Whether it is building relationship with one of the VC panelists, with someone in the audience, or the event organizer—those relationships may actually be incredibly valuable as you progress and grow your social enterprise.

 

4. DO plan to educate your audience/judges about the concept of social entrepreneurship

 

Perhaps one of my biggest takeaways was that as social enterprise startups, we are wise to explain and contextualize social enterprise in a simple, easy to follow way within our pitches. Since social entrepreneurship is a growing space, VC’s or audience members may not have heard of related buzzwords in the field, and frankly, may come away thinking you are pitching as a nonprofit. If you are, that’s not a problem, but if you are trying to show a for-profit business model, potential of growth, scale, and revenue potential and/or relay the double or triple bottom line—this may be problematic. Especially since you might not even realize the confusion until the pitch is all but over.

Better, is to be proactive and avoid assuming your audience’s familiarity with the social entrepreneurship space. As a still-emerging and evolving space, social entrepreneurs are also ambassadors of social entrepreneurship. We have to find easy and accessible ways to explain how impact and business models can co-exist and even thrive.

 

5. DO use your pitch experience to THINK BIGGER about your social enterprise startup

 

One of the undeniable advantages of pitching to VC’s—who have likely heard hundreds of pitches, is that in just a few words or with a question or two—they can help you think bigger about your company, goals, and process.
I was asked about Innov8social’s traction and value proposition. Though I had mapped it out, in the context of hearing the other pitches and understanding the viewpoint of the judges, their questions actually helped me to think bigger about the scope and potential of our work.

So, as ever, it’s a good rule of thumb to pitch your social enterprise startup early and often. If you can take the good, the bad, and the ugly in stride you will be able to effectively iterate and improve your pitch and may even gain new clarity about your startup’s path to success.

 

A few photos from the event

Here are a few photos from Pitch2Sharks, hosted by The Expat Woman. Photography is courtesy of Yeluguri Entertainment (see all of the photos on Facebook here). Good luck with your social enterprises…and remember, always be pitching!

 

 

 

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAMRAAAAJDg5MWRjMDVjLTFiNWMtNGJiNC04NGQxLWMxZGE0NGE2ZmU0ZA
,

Recap: 8 Audiobooks Every Social Entrepreneur Should Hear

“I remind myself every morning: Nothing I say this day will teach me anything. So if I’m going to learn, I must do it by listening.” – Larry King

With Larry King’s sage words, here is a recap of the 8 Audiobooks Every Social Entrepreneur Should Hear, originally posted on LinkedIn Pulse.

 

Recap: 8 Audiobooks Every Social Entrepreneur Should Hear

1. The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer

This candid, honest memoir is not only well-written, but compelling read by Amanda herself. Based on her 2013 TED Talk, this memoir tells the story of her journey as a musician, artist, an entrepreneur but also her reveals her mindset of creating impact through engagement. Whether wordlessly asking for a donation as a human statue or using social media to find a place to stay, or reaching out to her fans to crowdfund her music, she asks and does so unabashedly. I was struck by her unambiguous message told with honesty, vulnerability, and humor—Ask. often, honestly, and authentically.

2. My Beloved World by Sonia Sotomayor

If we’re being honest, I was unexpectedly blown away by this audiobook. Perhaps I was anticipating a formal, even academic, account of a US Supreme Court Justice’s journey to the golden bench. This incredibly well-written, personal, and moving account shifted my course and commitment to pursue my calling. From administering her own insulin shots from the age of 9 as a Type 1 diabetic, Sonia (aka Justice Sotomayor) surprises, enlightens, and inspires with her personal stories of difficult realities at home, her unfettered pursuit of excellent, and her one-of-a-kind journey (as a woman, minority, diabetic, etc.) to the highest court.

3. Walking Papers by Francesco Clark

I hadn’t heard of Francesco before listening his book, and now I find his story and resolve unforgettable in every way. Francesco tells his story of a random pool accident that resulted in paralysis from the neck below, all at the age of 24. His gritty, honest, detailed account of the hours, weeks, and months after the accident not only showcase how precious every moment we have is, but also his innate resolve to persevere amid challenge. It’s this same quality that leads Francesco to find new treatments and ways to improve his health, and to become the founder of Clark’s Botanicals–a skin care line designed especially for individuals with extremely sensitive skin.

4. Bonobo Handshake by Vanessa Woods

This audiobook is a perfect example of the potential of powerful impact storytelling. I knew very little about bonobos, a member of the ape family found only in a particular region of the Congo Basin in Central Africa. However, with Vanessa’s personal stories lined with her unique observations of the goings-on at the sanctuary, her relationship with her now-husband, and the personalities of each of the bonobos with whom she interacted, the Congo and the need to protect the bonobos came to life in a new way. As an animal lover, I appreciated the small details about the rescues and the findings, and may have even blushed when Vanessa so casually described bonobo interactions that are as common as a human handshake.

5. Use What You’ve Got by Barbara Corcoran

This honest, thoughtfully-organized, and entertaining memoir read by the author is a delight, especially for any fellow fans of Shark Tank. We hear Barbara tell stories of growing up as one of fourteen children, to moving to New York City, and taking bold steps to establish herself as an adult and an entrepreneur. Her storytelling is very accessible and direct, and her tales reveal simple but powerful aspects of entrepreneurship. Social entrepreneurs need to survive as entrepreneurs in order to make sustained impact, and this is a wonderful account of what it takes to make it above all odds.

6. Everybody’s Got Something by Robin Roberts

How does a very public person survive very personal challenges—if you are Robin Roberts, you do so with openness, heart, and strength. Former athlete and current Good Morning America co-host, Robin tells the story of her cancer reoccurrence and treatment—all which took place at the same time her beloved mother passed away. As someone who has gone through the loss of my mother to cancer, it was touching and inspiring to see how Robin found strength to persevere and to hear her resounding message to “make your mess your message” in her own voice.

7. Creativity, Inc. by Ed Catmull and Amy Wallace

This engaging book may have creativity in its title, but it is as informative on important aspects of leadership, team-building, entrepreneurship, and scaling as well. Ed tells the story of Pixar–from its early days to its post-Toy Story and post-multi billion dollar acquisition by Disney. What makes this book special is that at its heart, Pixar tells stories for children and adults. Authors Ed and Amy disarm this account by being able to toggle from high-stakes business meetings to how Woody’s character changed from early renderings to be less mean.

8. Talk Like TED by Carmine Gallo

Wouldn’t it be great to have an index to amazing TED Talks along with a review of key aspects on why they were so effective? Talk Like TED is precisely that resource. I only wish the audiobook version would interrupt Carmine’s narrative to insert the aforementioned TED Talks, and then continue so I could catch all of the references. This however definitely led me to look up various TED Talks and examine them more closely for their powerful storytelling features.

And one more thing 

I have written about it more lightly in Svbtle, but one of my absolute favorite genres is humorist audiobooks—and for these to work, I think it pretty much has to be read by the author.
These authors / artists / comedians are masterful storytellers that tell stories through the lens of humor. Even as they elicit a chuckle, they may also be imparting some of their deepest wisdoms or toughest life experiences. The quality of being able to laugh at our own situations is powerful, engaging, inclusive, and well— contagious.
You can take my word for it, or I highly recommend you check out authors including: Sloane Crosley, Mindy Kaling, Amy Poehler, Tina Fey, David Sedaris, Nora Ephron, Sarah Silverman, Carol Burnett, and BJ Novak. I have thoroughly enjoyed and learned a great deal from their audiobooks. And perhaps because their narrations were so effective, I might be even walking around with the mistaken belief that we’re actually friends in real life :)
Screen-Shot-2013-07-19-at-6.58.56-AM
,

Looking for Social Innovation Book Recommendations? An incredible list by Sustainable Brands.

As we ease from the crowdfunding phase of our social innovation book project and deepen our research, one big personal goal is to read more books spanning leadership, innovation, design, and sustainability.

I shared this fantastic infographic for business books a few weeks back. Now, thanks to an incredible post by Dimitar Vlahov of Sustainable Brands, we have a robust list of 13 sustainability-centered books by some of the leading thinkers in the space.

Read the full post: http://i8s.us/16OeW4G

Read the full post and see the graphic on the Sustainable Brands website here.


A few that caught my eye:

The Upcycle: Beyond Sustainability — Designing for Abundance, by William McDonough and Michael Braungart, is the long-awaited sequel to Cradle to Cradle, arguably one of the few most influential sustainability books of all time. The Upcycle promises to be at least as impactful and comes fresh off the printing press!
Winning the Story Wars: Why Those Who Tell (and Live) the Best Stories Will Rule the Future, by Jonah Sachs, has turned into an instant must-have classic on storytelling, a tool vital to the success of any corporate communications campaign in an era of information overload and instant content gratification. The New Sustainability Advantage: Seven Business Case Benefits of a Triple Bottom Line, by Bob Willard, shows how sustainability strategies can increase revenue, reduce costs, avoid impending risks and enhance brand value, resulting in profit improvements of 51-81% within three to five years for a typical company.We First: How Brands and Consumers Use Social Media To Build a Better World, by Simon Mainwaring, is a powerful account of everything brands have to gain from an always-on and always-authentic social media presence.You Unstuck: Mastering the New Rules of Risk-Taking at Work and in Life, by Libby Gill, discusses the (surprising) difference between True Hope and False Hope, and formulates wise lessons in getting unstuck in one’s career, finances, health and relationships. As a renowned executive coach, Gil offers timely tips on employee engagement and organizational change.

9086832035_f7506ffb0f
,

Photo Essay: MIT-Stanford VLAB Event on Virtual Currencies

On June 18th, MIT-Stanford Venture Lab (VLAB) hosted its monthly event on virtual currencies, titled “Virtual Currencies: Gold Rush or Fools’ Gold. The Rise of Bitcoin in a Digital Economy” at the Stanford Law School campus, Munger Conference Center of Paul Brest Hall.For social entrepreneurs, virtual currencies represent new potential for the democratization and distribution of funds to further local and international work. As startups such as Coinbase, Ripple, and dozens of others, are building payment rails & making math-based currencies more accessible and usable for a broader base of users—there is a real opportunity for social enterprise to take notice and action as early adopters. This can be through accepting funding via bitcoin or other math-based currency, transacting via virtual currency, building crowdfunding sites that allow portions of raises to be made in bitcoin, and/or at the least become knowledgable about the topic and exploring its potential.To crowd of standing room only, the panel explored the topic of virtual currencies through various vantage points, with a focus on actionable discovery for entrepreneurs, technologists, and investors. The panel, pictured below, from the left included: Chris Larsen (CEO and Co-Founder, OpenCoin, the company developing the Ripple protocol), Fred Ehrsam (Co-Founder of Coinbase, a digital Bitcoin wallet), Wendy Cheung (Director of Compliance and BSA Officer, Silicon Valley Bank), Cameron Winklevoss (Principal Investor at Winklevoss Capital) and Tyler Winklevoss (Principal Investor at Winklevoss Capital)

VLAB Virtual Currencies #VLABvcurrency

VLAB Virtual Currencies #VLABvcurrencies

 

 




Event brochure

Virtual currencies (aka math-based or digital currencies or cryptocurrencies) are emerging forms and units of digital transaction, outside the realm of government regulation (so far, anyway). They usually can be transacted with virtual anonymity, and be transacted globally fairly quickly.

VLAB Virtual Currencies #VLABvcurrency

Infographic, adapted from Visual Capitalist, on Bitcoin

Bitcoin is the first such digital currency to gain traction. Created by a developer or group of developers named Satoshi Nakamoto (pseudonym) in 2009, today there are 11M bitcoins in circulation and the current market for Bitcoin already tops $1.5B. The currency itself is quite unique. Bitcoin are created (or “mined”) by computers completing complicated algorithms. The first to solve the algorithm and achieve the closest answer effectively claims an allocation of bitcoin. This goes on until the outer limit of 21M bitcoin are mined.

VLAB Virtual Currencies #VLABvcurrencies

VLAB Executive Chair, Ron Chavez, welcomes the audience 

VLAB is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit comprised of volunteers who pitch topic ideas that span innovation and disruptive technology and work in small teams to understand the space, identify controversies, and form an engaging panel.
VLAB Virtual Currencies #VLABvcurrency

Featured speaker, economist, and Stanford Business School professor Susan Athey introduces virtual currencies as an economic concept.

Professor Athey focused on four unique uses of virtual currencies as: a way to store value (especially in light of inflationary currencies); as a ledger; as a method of making anonymous transactions, and possibly as a basis for government monetary policy.

VLAB Virtual Currencies #VLABvcurrency

Moderator & Forbes Online Sr. Editor Kashmir Hill introduces her unique experience with Bitcoin, sushi, and cupcakes

Hill, whose work has lately focused on digital privacy took on a unique challenge in early May. She lived only on bitcoin for one week. She recapped challenges such as finding retail food locations beyond Cups and Cakes Bakery and Sake Zone sushi in SF. She recalled how things got interesting when her landlord didn’t accept rent in Bitcoin, causing Hill to have to find BTC-friendly housing for a few days.

 







Founder/CEO Chris Larsen (OpenCoin, Ripple) explains  math-based currencies and their potential to disrupt payment processing, exchange, and currencies

 

VLAB Virtual Currencies #VLABvcurrency

Panel discusses various topics related to virtual currencies, with questions posed by Moderator Kashmir Hill

VC’s Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss commented on the scope they see for math-based currencies as a disruptor to industries such as remittance. They own approximately 1% of bitcoin in circulation, and most recently funded a Bitcoin startup called BitInstant.

Wendy Cheung of Silicon Valley Bank spoke about state and federal compliance concerns relevant to bitcoin and math-based currency startups. SV Bank currently works with a number of startup companies in this space.

Fred Ehrsam (second from left) touched on unique challenges as a startup in the space. He co-founded Coinbase after noting efficiencies of current systems  as a foreign exchange trader on Wall Street. Coinbase  has had to navigate through the compliance and regulatory requirements and is poised to become the leading bitcoin wallet on the market.

Audience members could text in questions that were fed to the moderator’s iPad. Kashmir selected a few to ask to the panel and noted common questions. Of these a few popular questions were—directed to the Winklevoss investors—whether their firm would ever fund a startup using Bitcoin. Other questions asked about how mining for bitcoin actually works, and yet others touched on inherent limitations of a finite curency (i.e. There will be a total of 21M bitcoin available to be mined).

VLAB Virtual Currencies #VLABvcurrencies

You can view the video of the virtual currencies event when it is posted here

Events in the past year have included: the Founders’ Series, Collaborative Consumption, The Future of Diagnostics

, Commercial Drones

, Young Entrepreneurs

, Synthetic Biology

, Grid Energy Storage

, Software-Designed Networks

, and Gamification

.

VLAB Virtual Currencies #VLABvcurrency
[photo credit J. Fuqua]
A few of VLAB event team members with moderator Kashmir Hill

It was a wonderful experience co-chairing the event team for the virtual currencies panel with Frank Martinez (far right). A huge thank you and recognition to event team members including Edward, Jerry, Richard, Jenny, Tony, Lisha, Chethana, Prashant, Geeta, Luca, Jeanne, Michelle, and marketing team Siejen, Chitrak, Tom, Jae and the broader VLAB community.

 

Screen-Shot-2013-05-24-at-9.11.02-AM
,

Infographic: Anatomy of a Winning Pitch

Entrepreneurs of any feather, including (and perhaps especially) social entrepreneurs need to be able to explain their concept, the problem it solves, and the vision ahead clearly and succinctly. We talked about the ABP (always be pitching) approach earlier.dThe reason it is particularly important for social entrepreneurs to nail down their ‘elevator’ pitch (i.e. being able to deliver your pitch during the time equivalent to an elevator ride) is because social entrepreneurs are often operating in a double or triple-bottom line setting, or with a defined mission in mind.

This infographic by InvestorPitches, breaks down a winning pitch into small, digestible parts. Though the visual is framed for startups pitching for VC or angel funding, the tips and approach are applicable in a number of settings.

Enjoy the infographic, be sure to pitch well & often!

 

The Anatomy of a Winning Pitch

 

Screen-Shot-2013-04-30-at-7.11.21-PM
,

40+ Blogs on Social Innovation, Impact Entrepreneurship, and Social Enterprise You Should Check Out

The field of social innovation, impact entrepreneurship, social enterprise is expanding at an incredible pace. It is a moving stream of information, barreling forward…in a hurry.

For a blogger, that can a unique challenge. You know that what you pen today may be outdated by the time you hit “publish”. However, the dynamic nature of blogs (and the ability to update them) is a silver lining and can make our work more agile.
Blogging in the space, we learn tremendous amounts from other blogs that focus on different niches, hone in on discerning nuances, structure their information distinctly, adopt unique takes on design, and bring something wholly their own flavor to the social innovation table.
With the caveat that this list will be updated as new blogs come to, here are a few interesting blogs in the social innovation space to check out.
We would love to hear your picks and favorites (and even your #socinn blog titles) in the comments.

40+ Blogs on Social Innovation, Impact Entrepreneurship, and Social Enterprise You Should Check Out

  1. Acumen Blog – bold ways of tackling poverty
  2. Armchair Advocates – blog where social media meets social good
  3. Ashoka – blog for and by innovators for the public
  4. B Corporation Blog – voice of the B corporation community
  5. Beth’s Blog – how networked nonprofits leverage networks and data for social change
  6. BlendedProfit – blog of past shows of thought leaders in good business
  7. Building43 – compilation of blogs highlight small teams + big impact
  8. Business for Good Blog – authored by CA social enterprise attorney
  9. Calvert Foundation Blog – blog on impact investing
  10. The Centre for Social Impact Blog – academic excellence fit for social purpose
  11. Co.exist – Fast Co. blog on world changing ideas and innovation
  12. Crowdsourcing.org – industry blog on crowdsourcing
  13. CSRWire – corporate social responsibility blog
  14. Cutting Edge Capital Blog – strategies for the impact economy
  15. DailyGood Blog – news that inspires
  16. Dowser – blog on who’s solving what and how
  17. Echoing Green Blog – unleashing your talent to solve the world’s biggest problems
  18. Foundation Center Blogs – knowledge to build on
  19. Good.is – social network and blog for social good
  20. Google.org Blog – technology for social impact
  21. The Hub Bay Area Blog – where change goes to work
  22. HuffPost Impact – blog on causes, volunteering, and people making a difference
  23. Idealist Blog – small and big ways people are facing obstacles, turning good intentions into action
  24. IDEorg Blog – cultivating potential
  25. Innov8Social – blog exploring social innovation
  26. Kiva Blog – blog by Kiva fellows field partners, entrepreneurs, and staff
  27. Mashable Social Good Blog – blog on social good
  28. Net Impact Blog – students and professionals creating positive impact in the workplace & world
  29. New Empire Builders – blog on startups, nonprofits, + companies making the world better
  30. NextBillion Blog – development through enterprise
  31. Nonprofit Law Blog – information to empower leaders, by NEO Law Group
  32. Non-Profit Law Prof Blog – a blog part of the Law Professors Blog Network
  33. Skoll World Forum Blog – Skoll original content
  34. Social Earth – blog promoting entrepreneurship, business, and ideas
  35. SocEntLaw – law & entrepreneurship blog
  36. Social Capital Markets – blog on the intersection of money and meaning
  37. Social Enterprise UK – national body for social enterprises in England
  38. Social Innovation Exchange Blog – global network for social innovation ideas
  39. Social ROI – blog on how social entrepreneurship is making the world a better place
  40. Stanford Social Innovation Review Blog – informing and inspiring leaders of social change
  41. The Sustainable Economies Law Center Blog
  42. TriplePundit – blog on people, planet, profits
  43. UnSectored Blog – looking beyond sectors to collectively define progress and enact change
  44. White House Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation Blog
Other Resources
List of Books, Blogs, Funders, and Conferences – compilation by socialvelocity
Top 50 Social Entrepreneur Blogs – compilation by (it)magazine
Top 50 Social Entrepreneurship Blogs – blogs ranked using 20 different factors
social innovation

7 States that Allow Apprenticeship Route to Practicing Law

There are seven states that offer some form of apprenticeship program to pursue practicing law. While all states require passing the state bar examination to practice law, these seven states let people pursue some combination of apprenticeship and/or independent study instead of the traditional three-year law school route.At a time when financial publications such as Forbes add their sentiments to the debate on the future of law school with headlines like, “Why Attending Law School Is The Worst Career Decision You’ll Ever Make,” exploring the possibility of the apprenticeship route to practicing law can be a constructive, empowering tool for a certain type of aspiring lawyer.Innov8Social recently interviewed Christina Oatfield who is a policy director at a legal non-profit and is pursuing independent study to practice law through program through the State Bar of California. California Lawyer, in their article “The Path Rarely Taken”, also profiled seven lawyers who pursued the apprenticeship route to practicing law.

7 States that Allow Apprenticeship Route to Practicing Law

  • California
  • Maine
  • New York
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • Wymoning

You can find each state’s requirements in the Comprehensive Guide to Bar Admission Requirements (2012) [PDF]  published by the National Conference of Bar Examiners and the American Bar Association, Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar.

Screen-Shot-2013-01-16-at-12.14.01-PM
,

Submit a Solution for Planetary Sustainability by January 31st 2013

SustainableSV.org/ecocloud

Back in Fall of 2011, Innov8Social interviewed Sustainable Silicon Valley’s Executive Director Marianna Grossman to learn about the organization and its efforts in building a consortium of diverse partners (corporations, non-profits, research institutions, agencies, consultants) dedicated to sustainability.

And now, Sustainable Silicon Valley (SSV)—in partnership with NASA Ames Research Center—has launched a bold, innovative initiative to actively encourage and seek out the best, viable, scalable solutions for advancing global sustainability.

SSV is calling for submissions for its Solutions for Planetary Sustainability Competition in conjunction with its 5th annual Water, Energy, Smart Technology (WEST) Summit set for May 23, 2013. At that event, sustainability solutions are usually showcased.

This year, for the first time, SSV is leveraging a competition style entry process (in addition to its regular registration) with professional review by a panel experts. The competition will also including a crowdsourcing component which will open up voting for solutions to the general public.

Innov8Social had a chance to catch up WEST Summit Program Manager, Martina Frndova to learn more about the Sustainability Solution Competition.

Here are a few highlights she mentioned:

What Do I need to Know Before Applying?

There is no cost for applying.
The deadline for submissions has been extended to Thursday, January 31st, 2013.
Finalists will receive recognition, marketing resources, as well as the opportunity to deliver their pitches in front of VC’s, angel investors, and NASA Ames experts.  There is a possibility for a cash prize as well.
Solutions should be comprehensive—specifying technology, policy, processes, and ability to scale within a community, city, country, and even globally.
Solutions can be at any stage—they can exist at the idea level, or be further along.

What is the Timeline for the Competition?

  • Submit a Solution: Oct 1, 2012 to Jan 31, 2013
  • Vote for Solutions: Feb 1, 2013 to Feb 22, 2013
  • Finalists Announced: March 7, 2013 (evening event)
  • Showcase Conference: All day May 23, 2013

How to Submit a Sustainability Solution

1. Register with Sustainable Silicon Valley

2. Submit a sustainability solution

Here is SSV Executive Director, Marianna Grossman explaining the competition.