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30 Can – t miss Harvard Business Review articles on Data Science, Big Data

#harvard business journal

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KDnuggets

30 Can t miss Harvard Business Review articles on Data Science, Big Data and Analytics

Here are 30 Harvard Business Review (HBR) articles on big data, data science and analytics that provide insights about the latest technology and happenings in the world of data.

There are dozens of HBR articles that are worth recommending, but here are our picks on big data, data science and analytics collected using most popular and next recommended article filters based on search term.


Full Disclosure. You can view 5 articles per month without the need to sign up and upto 15 articles can be accessed after sign up. KDnuggets derives no form of benefit if you subscribe to HBR.

On Data Science

  1. Data Scientist: the sexiest job of the 21st centuryby Thomas H. Davenport and D.J. Patil (Oct 2012)
    How the idea of LinkedIn’s People You May Know feature really clicked! The key player involved was a “Data Scientist”, a title coined by the two authors.
  2. The Sexiest Job of the 21st Century is Tedious, and that Needs to Changeby Sean Kandel (Apr 2014)
    Which phase does a data scientist spend more time on? Data Discovery, data structuring and creating context. Should they shift their focus?
  3. What Every Manager Should Know About Machine Learningby Mike Yeomans (July 2015)
    With the right mix of technical skill human judgment, machine learning could be a new tool for decision makers. Learn what mistakes to avoid.
  4. Data Scientists Don’t Scaleby Stuart Frankel (May 2015)
    We are at a new phase of big data. Is Data capture and storage now less relevant than making it more useful impactful?
  5. Get the Right Data Scientists Asking the “Wrong” Questionsby Josh Sullivan (Mar 2014)
    What makes an exceptional data scientist? Data by itself is meaningless. The skill curiosity is what makes the difference.
  6. A Data Scientist’s Real Job: Storytellingby Jeff Bladt and Bob Filbin (Mar 2013)
    How to derive insights intuitions from data? We “humanize” the data by turning raw numbers into a story about our performance.
  7. What Separates a Good Data Scientist from a Great Oneby Thomas C. Redman (Jan 2013)
    Better than the Best! Great data scientists bring four mutually reinforcing traits to bear that even the good ones can’t.
  8. Still the Sexiest Profession Aliveby DJ Patil (Nov 2013)
    Data scientist jobs are very much in demand as companies grapple with the challenge of making valuable discoveries from Big Data. Is a huge crowd just joining the bandwagon?
  9. 10 Kinds of Stories to Tell with Databy Tom Davenport (Nov 2013)
    Narrative is—along with visual analytics—an important way to communicate analytical results to non-analytical people. Explore the 10 types.
  10. How to Start Thinking Like a Data Scientistby Thomas C. Redman (Nov 2013)
    You don’t have to be a data scientist or a Bayesian statistician to tease useful insights from data. The author demonstrates how to think with a small exercise.
  11. Stop Searching for That Elusive Data Scientistby Michael Schrage(Sep 2014)
    Stop hunting for that data science unicorn and/or silver bullet. What to do instead?
  12. How to Explore Cause and Effect Like a Data Scientistby Thomas C. Redman (Feb 2014)
    While we can use data to understand correlation, the more fundamental understanding of cause and effect requires more.

Top Stories Past 30 Days

  1. The 10 Algorithms Machine Learning Engineers Need to Know
  2. 7 Steps to Mastering Machine Learning With Python
  3. 21 Must-Know Data Science Interview Questions and Answers
  4. Bayesian Machine Learning, Explained
  5. How to Become a Data Scientist – Part 1
  6. Why Big Data is in Trouble: They Forgot About Applied Statistics
  7. Data Science for Beginners: Fantastic Introductory Video Series from Microsoft
  1. The 10 Algorithms Machine Learning Engineers Need to Know
  2. Data Science for Beginners: Fantastic Introductory Video Series from Microsoft
  3. How to Become a (Type A) Data Scientist
  4. 5 EBooks to Read Before Getting into A Data Science or Big Data Career
  5. A Beginner s Guide to Neural Networks with R!
  6. How to Become a Data Scientist Part 1
  7. Reinforcement Learning and the Internet of Things




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Don t Just Start a Business, Solve A Problem #business #mailing #lists

#start up business

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Don’t Just Start a Business, Solve A Problem

Founder of Alltopstartups.com

As long as consumers have problems, they will always search for solutions. People will always look for better, faster and smarter ways to accomplish everyday tasks. And fortunately for entrepreneurs, there are still lots of rooms for improvements in existing products. That said, the biggest issue for most founders is finding these painful problems and matching them with the best solutions possible.

Here are a couple pieces of insight to get you started.

Focus on building a must have not a nice to have product. Consumers are overwhelmed with the paradox of choice on daily basis. Attention spans are getting shorter in the age of multi-tasking and only few products are getting noticed with many being a solution for a must not a want. The demand for quicker and faster results make it difficult to fully satisfy the needs of consumers. You need to be doing something different and better to make it in this world, as donsumers expect and demand more than just another product.

Solve real painful problems. Google made search better. Amazon simplified online buying and selling. Netflix solved on-demand streaming media. Uber is trying to make on-demand car service better. What can you make smarter or better?

What is the one painful problem you can solve without struggle? To grab your customer s attention, start by solving their needs, wants rarely make the cut. If your product is not a must-have, you could still find a way to repurpose it to solve a pressing need. If you have been able to identify a crucial problem that you can effectively execute and deliver to market, you will be able to create a real business that matters.

Your business should be your passion. Some entrepreneurs look to solve problems they identify with or feel passionate. They choose this path because work because less about work and more about enjoying the journey.

You will need all the inspiration, commitment and the perseverance you can get to make it as an entrepreneur, hence the need to start a business you are passionate about.

The happiest and most successful people I know don t just love what they do, they re obsessed with solving an important problem, something that matters to them, Dropbox co-founder Drew Houston said during the 2013 MIT commencement address.

Coupled with passion, is the ability to execute. If you can t deliver, you are not in business. Products with a real need are easy to market and you won t have to convince people about the existence of the problem and the need for your product because they identify with it.

You don t want to start a business that may not survive. Do your homework, validate your idea and make sure you have a real market for your idea. Don t just start another business, solve a real problem people actually have to increase your chances of success.





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Denver Business Journal warns some renewal notices aren – t legit – The Denver

#denver business journal

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Denver Business Journal warns some renewal notices aren t legit

The Denver Business Journal has alerted subscribers that they have no connection with United Publishers Network, a company sending out renewal notices for subscriptions that have not expired.

They are not authorized to offer our subscriptions. If you received one of these notices or phone calls, we suggest you ignore it, a message left on subscribers phones said Monday morning.

United Publishers Network is accused of improperly soliciting subscription renewals for magazines and newspapers, including the Denver Business Journal and other publications in the Charlotte, N.C.- based American City Business Journals newspaper chain.

ACBJ is attempting to determine how United Publishers Network obtained its subscriber list.

American City Business Journals parent company has our in-house counsel doing the due diligence right now to figure out exactly what we need to do to get these guys to stop, Denver Business Journal publisher Pete Casillas said, adding that UPN s solicitation is more or less a scam. In the meantime, our position has been to inform our subscribers that these folks are out there and to disregard their notes.

We do know that no credit-card information has been compromised, he said.

In the past three years, the Better Business Bureau has received 875 complaints against United Publishers Network, including 153 problems with the product/service and 371 billing/collection issues.

Carol Garton, vice president of marketing for the Better Business Bureau Denver/Boulder, said that United Publishers Network has an F rating from the BBB.

Consumers allege they receive bills from this company for magazines they currently have subscriptions for, implying it is time for renewal, Garton said. However, consumers claim the subscriptions are not expired, nor did they originally order through this company.

She said consumers alleged that United Publishers Network s renewal advertisement states it has the lowest renewal fee, but subscribers find that renewing directly through the publisher costs less. They also claim that the company charges a $20 processing fee to cancel renewals.

Garton said people who are solicited by phone or letter should always call the Business Journal they are working with and check to see what they received is an actual bill.

The Denver Business Journal said legitimate renewal notices and subscription offers will always display an official logo and ask that payments be sent to the company s service center in Charlotte. People with questions about their subscriptions can call 866-853-3661.

United Publishers Network did not respond to a request for comment.





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Funding a New Small Business? Don – t Bother With Banks #home #business #ideas

#new business financing

#

Funding a New Small Business? Don’t Bother With Banks

Question: What steps should I take before applying for a loan to open a small business? I’d like to maximize my chances of getting a good response.

Answer: Getting a small business bank loan is never easy, and it’s been especially difficult since the financial crash of 2008 and the lingering credit crunch. Even though small business lending is rebounding somewhat, it is still virtually impossible to get a loan to open a new business.

That’s because lenders want to see a financial track record for your business that demonstrates your ability to repay the money they’re lending you. Without that kind of history, the lender has no way to know if your venture will be successful enough to make good on your obligation. Banks are lenders, not investors, and they’re not interested in knowingly making equity investments in businesses, as an industry representative told me in 2011.

So what are your options? Most entrepreneurs start their businesses with savings; they put startup costs on credit cards; or they get loans from friends and family. There are also more creative ways to raise startup capital, such as babysitting or renting out a room in your apartment.

The void in bank lending has spurred the growth of alternative lending, which can be costly but gets money to entrepreneurs quickly and without a lot of hassle. Another new option is crowdfunding through websites such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo.

Some niche alternatives that have sprung up are less well-known. For instance, culinary businesses can apply to the Whole Foods Local Producer loan program, which the company says has lent $10 million to businesses making local food products since its inception in 2007. Interest rates range from 5 percent to 9 percent, and it helps if your company is already a Whole Foods supplier, though it’s not mandatory.

Or maybe you need a loan to buy a franchise business. Many franchisers started to recognize that they’d need to help prospective franchisees with financing after home equity—once a common source of startup cash—plunged in many parts of the country. Matco Tools, which has been selling tools to auto mechanics via independent distributors since 1979, ramped up its in-house financing program in 2008, says John Green, vice president for marketing and e-commerce at Matco Tools. The program can cover up to 100 percent of initial inventory and working capital costs for qualified prospects who want to buy Matco franchises, which range between $89,000 and $144,000.

Perhaps a more realistic option for you is connecting with a nonprofit microlender. Caitlin McShane, communications director of Opportunity Fund. a California microlender, says her organization is making several times as many loans as it did five years ago. “We lend between $1 million and $2 million a month and do over 1,000 loans a year,” she says. The organization has offices in San Francisco, San Jose, and Los Angeles. It is currently running a startup funding challenge that aims to provide loans of up to $50,000 at 7.5 percent interest.

When you do get your business to the point that a bank loan is a more realistic possibility, after two to three years of operations, here are some tips from Laurie Pettinella Zona, a partner in early-stage startup accelerator K5Launch.

Make the loan officer’s job easier by “clearly illustrating why your business is a less risky investment,” she says. Be clear-eyed about what the risks are, however, as pretending to be risk-free is a bad idea. “Show that your business has a proven business model” with steady, paying customers, she says. And “put your best foot forward and sell yourself: your résumé, background, references, prior successful businesses, and history of paying back loans or investors.” Paying down your personal debt and getting your credit score as high as possible are also good ideas.

Before it’s here, it’s on the Bloomberg Terminal. LEARN MORE





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Moo Is Now Selling Letterpress Business Cards That Aren t Really Letterpress #internet #business

#letterpress business cards

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Moo Is Now Selling Letterpress Business Cards That Aren’t Really Letterpress

p I m pleasantly surprised by a href= http://us.moo.com/products/letterpress-business-cards.html target= _blank Moo s recently announced letterpress efforts /a . /p “> I’m pleasantly surprised by Moo’s recently announced letterpress efforts .

p The Moo Letterpress Cards are available in 12 different designs (most of which are tasteful, with elegant typography and vivid ink colors) and coms printed on a thick weighted card stock (Mohawk Superfine, 32pt weight), which is then debossed on both sides to give it a feeling of texture and depth. /p “> The Moo Letterpress Cards are available in 12 different designs (most of which are tasteful, with elegant typography and vivid ink colors) and coms printed on a thick weighted card stock (Mohawk Superfine, 32pt weight), which is then debossed on both sides to give it a feeling of texture and depth.

p Moo sent me a pack of samples to see for myself, and I have to admit, they look nice, they feel great in the hand, and there isn t a Mini Card to be seen anywhere. But let me be 100% clear here: these are letterpress in name only. Moo tells me there s no movable type involved here at all, which is the very definition of letterpress. /p “> Moo sent me a pack of samples to see for myself, and I have to admit, they look nice, they feel great in the hand, and there isn’t a Mini Card to be seen anywhere. But let me be 100% clear here: these are letterpress in name only. Moo tells me there’s no movable type involved here at all, which is the very definition of letterpress.

p You get what you pay for, and Moo s cards em are /em cheaper than real letterpress. For example, a pack of 500 two-color letterpressed business cards from a href= http://brooklynsocialcards.com/ordering-process/ target= _blank Brooklyn Social Cards /a will cost you $500. A similar pack of fake letterpress cards will cost you $339 on Moo. /p “> You get what you pay for, and Moo’s cards are cheaper than real letterpress. For example, a pack of 500 two-color letterpressed business cards from Brooklyn Social Cards will cost you $500. A similar pack of fake letterpress cards will cost you $339 on Moo.

p If ultimate letterpress fidelity is important to you and you want to see every letter in your business details branded right into a card s skin, you might still want to spring for traditional letterpress, but my guess is all but the most discerning letterpress fans won t even notice, which has got to have some small hot metal presses sweating. /p “> If ultimate letterpress fidelity is important to you and you want to see every letter in your business details branded right into a card’s skin, you might still want to spring for traditional letterpress, but my guess is all but the most discerning letterpress fans won’t even notice, which has got to have some small hot metal presses sweating.

The Moo Letterpress Cards are available in 12 different designs (most of which are tasteful, with elegant typography and vivid ink colors) and coms printed on a thick weighted card stock (Mohawk Superfine, 32pt weight), which is then debossed on both sides to give it a feeling of texture and depth.

Moo sent me a pack of samples to see for myself, and I have to admit, they look nice, they feel great in the hand, and there isn’t a Mini Card to be seen anywhere. But let me be 100% clear here: these are letterpress in name only. Moo tells me there’s no movable type involved here at all, which is the very definition of letterpress.

You get what you pay for, and Moo’s cards are cheaper than real letterpress. For example, a pack of 500 two-color letterpressed business cards from Brooklyn Social Cards will cost you $500. A similar pack of fake letterpress cards will cost you $339 on Moo.

If ultimate letterpress fidelity is important to you and you want to see every letter in your business details branded right into a card’s skin, you might still want to spring for traditional letterpress, but my guess is all but the most discerning letterpress fans won’t even notice, which has got to have some small hot metal presses sweating.

Slideshow: 5 images

I ve got to be honest. I ve never really liked Moo business cards, even after they ve been foisted upon me by half a dozen companies. Moo is a Rhode Island-based company that sells custom-printed business cards online. They get the job done, but I ve always thought Moo s efforts were just cheap and unexceptional. Except for the little stick-of-gum sized Mini Cards. of course: those are so twee, easy-to-lose, and unwieldy that the only practical use I can think to put them to is as instruments of papercut torture applied to the Moo executive who first came up with them.
There s no movable type involved here at all, which is the very definition of letterpress.

So I m pleasantly surprised by Moo s recently announced letterpress efforts. The Moo Letterpress Cards are available in 12 different designs (most of which are surprisingly tasteful, with elegant typography and vivid ink colors) and coms printed on a thick weighted card stock (Mohawk Superfine, 32pt weight), which is then debossed on both sides to give each card a feeling of texture and depth. Moo sent me a pack of samples to see for myself, and I have to admit, they look nice, they feel great in the hand, and there isn t a Mini Card to be seen anywhere.

So they re great. But let me be 100% clear here: these are letterpress in name only. Moo tells me there s no movable type involved here at all, which is the very definition of letterpress. Instead, Moo is still just using digital printing techniques to squirt out your business details on a pre-designed business card stock, which is the same as the company has ever done. The distinction here is that those cards come on a quality stock for a change, and get a pre-set pattern debossed on them after they are printed. You still won t be able to feel the type under your fingertips, because that part is digitally printed. It s a shame. There s a reason it s called letter press: using real movable type on high-quality card stock creates a sharp, tactile feel otherwise missing from printed text.

You get what you pay for, and Moo s cards are cheaper than real letterpress. For example, a pack of 500 two-color letterpressed business cards from Brooklyn Social Cards will cost you $500. A similar pack of fake letterpress cards will cost you $339 on Moo. If ultimate letterpress fidelity is important to you and you want to see every letter in your business details branded right into a card s skin, you might still want to spring for traditional letterpress.

Me? I m still not going to order business cards from Moo. If I m going to spend money on letterpress, I d rather give it to artisans and craftsmen, not a faceless Internet printing company. But I have to admit, Moo has me closer to making an order than ever before.

You can order Moo Letterpress business cards here .





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AT – T Business In A Box – AT – T Enterprise Business #business

#att business

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AT T Business in a Box

AT T Business in a Box

Creating an infrastructure for converged voice and data.

Keep your existing analog phones and move to VoIP with a simple, cost-effective solution that delivers business-class voice and data services to any small office. AT T Business in a Box provides one device, managed by AT T, which can connect with existing key systems or PBX. It provides what you need for fast, highly secure business communication:

  • Support for specified AT T BVoIP services
  • Support for AT T Managed Internet Service or AT T VPN Service
  • Built-in firewall
  • Built-in Wi-Fi access point
  • Integrated router
  • VPN termination
  • Built-in LAN switch

Cost effective, managed solution

Get the benefits of advanced voice and data technology, without the costs and complexity of administering it. Because AT T manages Business in a Box, your organization may avoid expenses and responsibilities such as:

  • Purchasing racks of equipment
  • Maintaining local IT staff
  • Dealing with multiple vendors
  • System upgrades and maintenance

AT T Business in a Box is easy to set up and use

Have your small office wired and working quickly. With AT T Business in a Box, you experience:

  • Simple set up
  • Web-based tool that makes it easy to add or change users and features without the need for dedicated staff
  • Streamlined dialing and connection with other company offices
  • Technical support and assistance from AT T

Choose the best communications option(s) for your business

Whether you already own existing equipment such as a key system/PBX, or would prefer AT T to host the solution for you, we work with you to help you choose the perfect option(s):

  • SIP Trunking Managed integrated access for PBX or key system that you own
  • Hosted VoIP Fully hosted and managed by AT T as a cloud-based service
  • Data only Internet access only; this option does not use the device for voice

Obtain business-class voice services and fast Internet bandwidth at a competitive cost, in one simple solution. The flexible and robust capabilities of AT T Business in a Box can assist with many business scenarios, including these common uses:

Business VoIP for your key system

Provide satellite locations with advanced connectivity that integrates with your existing analog investments. With SIP Trunking and AT T Business in a Box, you can retain the phone system and features that you are already familiar with, and gain these benefits:

  • Get the most out of your previous investment without having to purchase additional phone equipment
  • Simplified, converged voice and data over a single connection giving you bandwidth efficiency and potential cost savings
  • Automatically adjusts to give voice highest priority for best quality
  • Dynamically allocated bandwidth automatically adjusts to give voice highest priority for best quality

Hosted VoIP for your new business phone service

Set up a brand new office quickly, or choose to move away from old outdated PBX equipment. With Hosted VoIP and AT T Business in a Box, you can eliminate equipment concerns and enjoy complete end-to-end management, monitoring, and support. AT T provides and manages your voice and data service for you. This option also gives benefits such as:

  • Advanced calling features and versatile support for remote workers
  • Fully hosted cloud based service for maximum flexibility and security
  • Single vendor for your connectivity support

Managed Internet Data Only

Business in a Box:
Great for Small Businesses

A Complete IP Communications Solution for Your Business.

Prepare for your future transition to VoIP with the data-only option. If you are not yet ready to use the device for voice purposes, you can use AT T Business in a Box to provide business connectivity such as:

AT T Business in a Box positions you for a seamless transition to VoIP and advanced technologies, when you are prepared to do so.

Bring AT T Business in a Box to any small office

The simplicity of AT T Business in a Box makes it an ideal solution for a multitude of industries such as healthcare facilities, retail establishments, restaurants, financial offices, legal services and any situation where remote offices need full-featured communication services.

Move into the future with AT T Business in a Box

Provide enterprise-grade technology to your small office. The versatile AT T Business in a Box eases the transition to VoIP and prepares you for future technology. With a converged voice and data solution, you will enjoy:

  • Optimized network utilization through shared bandwidth and flexible allocation of capacity
  • Reliability of inbound and outbound calling
  • A solution to grow with your business

Rely on comprehensive support and expertise

Count on AT T to be there every step of the way. In addition to the included equipment, management and maintenance, AT T Business in a Box includes:

  • Deployment assistance AT T sends a technician to your location to help make sure the installation goes smoothly. We install the included equipment, hook up the router, and test and verify connectivity to make sure you re up and running.
  • Proactive monitoring and customer support 24x7x365
  • Easy-to-use web portal Our web portal allows you to handle routine administration tasks such as:
  • – Bandwidth usage reporting
    – Reports and tools
    – Viewing online billing
    – Online support and ticketing

Brochures





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Funding a New Small Business? Don – t Bother With Banks #business #magazines

#new business financing

#

Funding a New Small Business? Don’t Bother With Banks

Question: What steps should I take before applying for a loan to open a small business? I’d like to maximize my chances of getting a good response.

Answer: Getting a small business bank loan is never easy, and it’s been especially difficult since the financial crash of 2008 and the lingering credit crunch. Even though small business lending is rebounding somewhat, it is still virtually impossible to get a loan to open a new business.

That’s because lenders want to see a financial track record for your business that demonstrates your ability to repay the money they’re lending you. Without that kind of history, the lender has no way to know if your venture will be successful enough to make good on your obligation. Banks are lenders, not investors, and they’re not interested in knowingly making equity investments in businesses, as an industry representative told me in 2011.

So what are your options? Most entrepreneurs start their businesses with savings; they put startup costs on credit cards; or they get loans from friends and family. There are also more creative ways to raise startup capital, such as babysitting or renting out a room in your apartment.

The void in bank lending has spurred the growth of alternative lending, which can be costly but gets money to entrepreneurs quickly and without a lot of hassle. Another new option is crowdfunding through websites such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo.

Some niche alternatives that have sprung up are less well-known. For instance, culinary businesses can apply to the Whole Foods Local Producer loan program, which the company says has lent $10 million to businesses making local food products since its inception in 2007. Interest rates range from 5 percent to 9 percent, and it helps if your company is already a Whole Foods supplier, though it’s not mandatory.

Or maybe you need a loan to buy a franchise business. Many franchisers started to recognize that they’d need to help prospective franchisees with financing after home equity—once a common source of startup cash—plunged in many parts of the country. Matco Tools, which has been selling tools to auto mechanics via independent distributors since 1979, ramped up its in-house financing program in 2008, says John Green, vice president for marketing and e-commerce at Matco Tools. The program can cover up to 100 percent of initial inventory and working capital costs for qualified prospects who want to buy Matco franchises, which range between $89,000 and $144,000.

Perhaps a more realistic option for you is connecting with a nonprofit microlender. Caitlin McShane, communications director of Opportunity Fund. a California microlender, says her organization is making several times as many loans as it did five years ago. “We lend between $1 million and $2 million a month and do over 1,000 loans a year,” she says. The organization has offices in San Francisco, San Jose, and Los Angeles. It is currently running a startup funding challenge that aims to provide loans of up to $50,000 at 7.5 percent interest.

When you do get your business to the point that a bank loan is a more realistic possibility, after two to three years of operations, here are some tips from Laurie Pettinella Zona, a partner in early-stage startup accelerator K5Launch.

Make the loan officer’s job easier by “clearly illustrating why your business is a less risky investment,” she says. Be clear-eyed about what the risks are, however, as pretending to be risk-free is a bad idea. “Show that your business has a proven business model” with steady, paying customers, she says. And “put your best foot forward and sell yourself: your résumé, background, references, prior successful businesses, and history of paying back loans or investors.” Paying down your personal debt and getting your credit score as high as possible are also good ideas.

Before it’s here, it’s on the Bloomberg Terminal. LEARN MORE





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Moo Is Now Selling Letterpress Business Cards That Aren t Really Letterpress #current #stock

#letterpress business cards

#

Moo Is Now Selling Letterpress Business Cards That Aren’t Really Letterpress

p I m pleasantly surprised by a href= http://us.moo.com/products/letterpress-business-cards.html target= _blank Moo s recently announced letterpress efforts /a . /p “> I’m pleasantly surprised by Moo’s recently announced letterpress efforts .

p The Moo Letterpress Cards are available in 12 different designs (most of which are tasteful, with elegant typography and vivid ink colors) and coms printed on a thick weighted card stock (Mohawk Superfine, 32pt weight), which is then debossed on both sides to give it a feeling of texture and depth. /p “> The Moo Letterpress Cards are available in 12 different designs (most of which are tasteful, with elegant typography and vivid ink colors) and coms printed on a thick weighted card stock (Mohawk Superfine, 32pt weight), which is then debossed on both sides to give it a feeling of texture and depth.

p Moo sent me a pack of samples to see for myself, and I have to admit, they look nice, they feel great in the hand, and there isn t a Mini Card to be seen anywhere. But let me be 100% clear here: these are letterpress in name only. Moo tells me there s no movable type involved here at all, which is the very definition of letterpress. /p “> Moo sent me a pack of samples to see for myself, and I have to admit, they look nice, they feel great in the hand, and there isn’t a Mini Card to be seen anywhere. But let me be 100% clear here: these are letterpress in name only. Moo tells me there’s no movable type involved here at all, which is the very definition of letterpress.

p You get what you pay for, and Moo s cards em are /em cheaper than real letterpress. For example, a pack of 500 two-color letterpressed business cards from a href= http://brooklynsocialcards.com/ordering-process/ target= _blank Brooklyn Social Cards /a will cost you $500. A similar pack of fake letterpress cards will cost you $339 on Moo. /p “> You get what you pay for, and Moo’s cards are cheaper than real letterpress. For example, a pack of 500 two-color letterpressed business cards from Brooklyn Social Cards will cost you $500. A similar pack of fake letterpress cards will cost you $339 on Moo.

p If ultimate letterpress fidelity is important to you and you want to see every letter in your business details branded right into a card s skin, you might still want to spring for traditional letterpress, but my guess is all but the most discerning letterpress fans won t even notice, which has got to have some small hot metal presses sweating. /p “> If ultimate letterpress fidelity is important to you and you want to see every letter in your business details branded right into a card’s skin, you might still want to spring for traditional letterpress, but my guess is all but the most discerning letterpress fans won’t even notice, which has got to have some small hot metal presses sweating.

The Moo Letterpress Cards are available in 12 different designs (most of which are tasteful, with elegant typography and vivid ink colors) and coms printed on a thick weighted card stock (Mohawk Superfine, 32pt weight), which is then debossed on both sides to give it a feeling of texture and depth.

Moo sent me a pack of samples to see for myself, and I have to admit, they look nice, they feel great in the hand, and there isn’t a Mini Card to be seen anywhere. But let me be 100% clear here: these are letterpress in name only. Moo tells me there’s no movable type involved here at all, which is the very definition of letterpress.

You get what you pay for, and Moo’s cards are cheaper than real letterpress. For example, a pack of 500 two-color letterpressed business cards from Brooklyn Social Cards will cost you $500. A similar pack of fake letterpress cards will cost you $339 on Moo.

If ultimate letterpress fidelity is important to you and you want to see every letter in your business details branded right into a card’s skin, you might still want to spring for traditional letterpress, but my guess is all but the most discerning letterpress fans won’t even notice, which has got to have some small hot metal presses sweating.

Slideshow: 5 images

I ve got to be honest. I ve never really liked Moo business cards, even after they ve been foisted upon me by half a dozen companies. Moo is a Rhode Island-based company that sells custom-printed business cards online. They get the job done, but I ve always thought Moo s efforts were just cheap and unexceptional. Except for the little stick-of-gum sized Mini Cards. of course: those are so twee, easy-to-lose, and unwieldy that the only practical use I can think to put them to is as instruments of papercut torture applied to the Moo executive who first came up with them.
There s no movable type involved here at all, which is the very definition of letterpress.

So I m pleasantly surprised by Moo s recently announced letterpress efforts. The Moo Letterpress Cards are available in 12 different designs (most of which are surprisingly tasteful, with elegant typography and vivid ink colors) and coms printed on a thick weighted card stock (Mohawk Superfine, 32pt weight), which is then debossed on both sides to give each card a feeling of texture and depth. Moo sent me a pack of samples to see for myself, and I have to admit, they look nice, they feel great in the hand, and there isn t a Mini Card to be seen anywhere.

So they re great. But let me be 100% clear here: these are letterpress in name only. Moo tells me there s no movable type involved here at all, which is the very definition of letterpress. Instead, Moo is still just using digital printing techniques to squirt out your business details on a pre-designed business card stock, which is the same as the company has ever done. The distinction here is that those cards come on a quality stock for a change, and get a pre-set pattern debossed on them after they are printed. You still won t be able to feel the type under your fingertips, because that part is digitally printed. It s a shame. There s a reason it s called letter press: using real movable type on high-quality card stock creates a sharp, tactile feel otherwise missing from printed text.

You get what you pay for, and Moo s cards are cheaper than real letterpress. For example, a pack of 500 two-color letterpressed business cards from Brooklyn Social Cards will cost you $500. A similar pack of fake letterpress cards will cost you $339 on Moo. If ultimate letterpress fidelity is important to you and you want to see every letter in your business details branded right into a card s skin, you might still want to spring for traditional letterpress.

Me? I m still not going to order business cards from Moo. If I m going to spend money on letterpress, I d rather give it to artisans and craftsmen, not a faceless Internet printing company. But I have to admit, Moo has me closer to making an order than ever before.

You can order Moo Letterpress business cards here .





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Why The SBIC Doesn – t Work For Venture Capital Anymore – Feld Thoughts

#small business investment company

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Why The SBIC Doesn t Work For Venture Capital Anymore

There are so many things wrong in the article I felt compelled to write about it. This isn t a knock on the writer (Alicia Wallace) I like Alicia and think she does a good job. Rather, it s an example of the difference between signal and noise in any kind of reporting around the VC industry.

I’m an investor in over 40 VC funds around the world (mostly in the US) and three of them are SBIC funds. Each of the SBIC funds were raised in the 2000 2002 time period. On paper, only one is in positive return territory as a fund, but the SBIC leverage is a substantial negative factor for the LP investors in that particular fund. And, in the other two, I don’t expect to ever see any of my capital back because of the SBIC leverage. Furthermore, I don t believe any of the GPs in any SBIC-backed fund would ever take money from the SBIC again.

So I’m speaking from at least a little experience albeit indirectly with the SBIC, as I ve never been a GP in a fund that had SBIC leverage.

The article starts off saying that “Matthew Varilek has traveled across the state, proselytizing the potential benefits of the Small Business Investment Company Program.” As a partner in one of the most visible VC firms in Colorado and an LP in many of the Colorado VC firms, I’ve never heard from Matthew or anyone from the SBIC. Matthew, if you really want to have a deep discussion about why the SBIC program isn’t effective for VC funds anymore, feel free to give me a shout. I’d be happy to meet with you.

Next, there is the wonderful PR quote about the SBIC that says “Since the program s inception, SBIC success stories include the funding of companies such as Apple, Costco and FedEx when they were burgeoning small businesses.” The SBIC was instrumental in the creation of the venture capital business. The Small Business Investment Act of 1958 helped catalyze many of the VC firms created in the early 1960s. When I first heard about VC firms in the late 1980s, and my first company (Feld Technologies) started writing portfolio management software for some Boston-based VC firms, many of them had funds with SBIC leverage, although even by the late 1980s this was changing and many of them had shifted away from the SBIC. If you want to see a fun quote on it, read A History of Silicon Valley which quotes:

“ …many venture capital pioneers think the SBIC program did little to advance the art and practice of venture investing. The booming IPO market proved the model of investing in new companies, as some SBICs cash out at attractive levels. SBICs did give a boost to early venture firms, and some like Franklin “Pitch” Johnson, profiled below, thought the new law made the US “see that there was a problem and that [venture investing] was a way to do something… it formed the seed of the idea and a cadre of people like us.” Bill Draper, the first West Coast venture capitalist, has been more blunt: “[Without it] I never would have gotten into venture capital. it made the difference between not being able to do it, not having the money.” Many believe SBICs filled a void from 1958 to the early 1970s, by which point the partnership-based venture firms took off. The US government, however, lost most of the $2 billion it put into SBIC firms.

So, while Apple, Costco, and FedEx benefited, the PR would be more credible if the SBIC was trumpeting iconic companies created after 1990 or even 2000, especially where the lead investors (rather than follow on investors) had SBIC capital.

Peter Adams, head of Rockies Venture Club, is quoted a few times. I like and respect Peter, so this isn t aimed at him, but rather at the clear lack of understanding of the capital dynamics around VC funds.

It looks really great on the surface, said Peter Adams, executive director of the Rockies Venture Club, a nonprofit aimed at connecting investors and entrepreneurs. Then when you dig into it, there were some problems. Adams, who has been involved in many of the meetings with the SBA and members of the investment community, said the greatest concerns voiced by investors and venture capitalists involved management team qualifications, investment track records and the addition of debt to the equation. No. 1 for us is they want a management team with multiple people that have track records in venture capital and have worked together as a team before, he said. I can see where they re going with it, but the VC industry in Colorado has been fairly decimated through the economic downturn.

Peter is right about the context, but has two fundamental things wrong here. First, the VC industry in Colorado wasn t decimated through the economic downtown. It was decimated because of lack of performance between 2001 and 2009, just like much of the rest of the VC industry around the US. There s nothing special about Colorado in this mix, and it has nothing to do with the economic downtown. This dynamic has been reported thousands of times so I don t need to go through it again, but we don t have to look back very far to hear the drum beat from the media, LPs, and everyone else about how VC is dead. And if you re curious, it wasn t too long ago that Silicon Valley was also dying .

The other problem here is the need of the SBIC to invest in a management team with multiple people that have track records in venture capital and have worked together as a team before. Any VC firm that fits this qualification is unlikely to have difficulty raising money in today s environment, and subsequently has no need for the SBIC leverage. And, more importantly, the only firms that will look for SBIC leverage are one s that don t have this, which is a classic adverse selection problem.

Then there s this:

The recession also then plays into requirements that the management team members have been involved in a meaningful number of successful exits during a four- to six-year period. From 2008 to 2013, that was not a good time for exits, Adams said.

Huh, what? At Foundry Group, our significant exits (at least 10x capital returned) since we raised our first fund in 2007 include AdMeld, Zynga, MakerBot, and Gnip. We ve had plenty of other exits, but these are the big ones. One of those companies, Gnip, is Boulder-based and another from our older funds (Rally Software) also generated a greater than 10x return for us. Techstars (which we helped start) have also had a steady stream of significant exits, including local Boulder companies like Filtrbox, GoodApril, and SocialThing. And then you ve got plenty of Boulder / Denver monsters on paper some in our portfolio (like SendGrid and Sympoz) and others like Zayo, Ping, Logrhythm, and Datalogix. Finally, if you look across the country, the exits have been awesome the past three years.

It keeps going. There s talk about the angel cliff (e.g. we need funds to invest between angels and VCs nope, been there remember gap capital not so effective) and the SBA rules and regulations (which I believe are toxic and inhibiting to a successful VC fund.)

One of the other problem is SBA and SBIC s behavior in governance of the fund. The paperwork is silly and the overhead is non-trivial. The control over distributions and negative incentives to hold or distribute capital often generates bad decisions when companies go public. And at least one close friend who is a partner in an SBIC fund has now found a new LP to buy out the SBIC so they could actually invest capital in their winners, rather than be limited by the SBIC s constraints on the amount of capital you can invest in any particular company.

The SBIC could be a powerful force for good in the venture capital industry. But it has to approach things very different and based on my experience with the SBA over the past decade, I don t see it happening unless there is real leadership somewhere in coordination with leaders in the VC industry. I m certainly willing to help, if only someone bothered to reach out to me.

UPDATE: It turns out my partner Seth Levine had met with Matthew a while ago. Seth said Your blog was right on and much of the type of thing I related to Matt and some senior guys he brought in. The gist of my conversation with them was pushing them to consider a different model that the current one basically led to lowest common denominator GPs and sub-optimal returns. Plus the SBIC leverage could be crushing. I don t think they have a ton of flexibility around this but they at least listened to the feedback. I m going to see a bunch of them in a few weeks I agreed to help judge a business plan competition they were hosting. Like you I m not a huge fan of the program as it has existed but I give the new guys some credit for both reaching out and trying to be proactive about thinking through this.

UPDATE 2: Matthew Varilek reached out to me and we are setting up a time to talk.





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What SBA Doesn – t Offer #stock #markets #today

#small business grants

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SBA does NOT provide grants for starting and expanding a business.

Government grants are funded by your tax dollars and, therefore, require very stringent compliance and reporting measures to ensure the money is well spent. As you can imagine, grants are not given away indiscriminately.

Grants from the Federal government are authorized and appropriated through bills passed by Congress and signed by the President. The grant authority varies widely among agencies. SBA has authority to make grants to non-profit and educational organizations in many of its counseling and training programs, but does not have authority to make grants to small businesses. The announcements for the counseling and training grants will appear on grants.gov. If Congress authorizes Specific Initiative Grants, organizations receiving such grants will receive individual notifications.

Some business grants are available through state and local programs, nonprofit organizations and other groups. For example, some states provide grants for expanding child care centers; creating energy efficient technology; and developing marketing campaigns for tourism. These grants are not necessarily free money, and usually require the recipient to match funds or combine the grant with other forms of financing such as a loan. The amount of the grant money available varies with each business and each grantor.

If you are not one of these specialized business, both federal and state government agencies provide financial assistance programs that help small business owners obtain loans and venture capital financing from commercial lenders.

Application Forms for Non-Construction Grants

Application Forms for Construction Grants





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