Ask the What if Question?

Sunshine Coast Innovation Centre

Innovation starts when people ask the What if Question? Today I attend a great lecture in connection with the 10 year anniversary for the Sunshine Coast Innovation Centre. The lecturer was Steve Huff, form managing director of Typefi, an automated publishing too used by companies such as Apple, Lonely Planet and Telstra.

Steve Huff was sharing his entrepreneurial experience, which he did really well. In 1999, just after the IT bobble busted, he founded Typefi, after asking the question; What if we could automate book publishing and save the publishers money by shortening the editing process from several days to today’s just 3 minutes. The entire lecture was framed by this question of: What if? Because as Steve said, that is the main question entrepreneurs ask themselves.

Steve shared a great story of an episode with an online conference call with Apple in Cupertino, where they experienced constant fall outs. The Apple employees became pretty frustrated about the situation and Steve Huff and his team had to admit that they did not have broadband.

Even though Steve’s story was pretty amazing, he underlined that being an entrepreneur is a hard job and he also had a few stories to about sleepless nights, extreme frustration and fear. But as he stated, if you are passionate about what you do, you don’t want to take a break from it.

Today Steve has asked himself the question: What if we could supply refugee camps in Africa with lightning and by that minimize the risk of assault and rape of women and children? With this question has Steve set out to create jobs in a whole new industry of lightning under the name of Doble.

The anniversary also gave the opportunity to say hello to Gideon Shalwick, an online video marketing entrepreneur specialized in turning online videos into cash. I had the pleasure of sitting in on a guest lecture held by Gideon just a week earlier on Campus. It was a great lecture, and I was happy to be presented with the opportunity to have a little chat about Gideon’s book publishing history.

All over a regular Thursday turned into an extraordinary Thursday. Now I am about to ask myself the What if Question? And so should you?

Have you heard about Everplaces?

Everplaces

Everplaces is a web based bookmarking service, created to make it convenient for everyday users to save and share unique places they like, to be rediscovered on a later entry. Everplaces is still very young, and is still in Beta, which is very common for technology businesses.

So what is Everplaces and what can it be used for?

Well, Everplaces is as simple as it sound just very good a bookmarking your places. So when you go out for dinner somewhere new, and you have an enjoyable time, you will be able to save the location, an image and a short description, for you to find it later. This can be applied to all sorts of categories that you might find interesting and it is all operated via your Iphone, or you can go online on your labtop and access the service online.  Furthermore, Everplaces allows you to share those places with friend and followers on Facebook and Twitter. It is as simple as that, So Far!

So why is Everplaces different?

I’m not so sure that Everplaces really is that unique, as a lot of different services out there allow you to save or bookmark stuff. However, Everplaces approach might be just be what separates them from the crowd. What Everplaces have done is to aim at the later adopters of the geo location service and make the product very simple for everyday people to use.

Everplaces have in a short time become very good at bookmarking, and is now moving on to bigger adventures. Everplaces is extending the service to now include the opportunity for exploring the places of ones friends. This is a necessary strategic move for Everplaces to become a real service and not just a cool feature, mainly centred on an App.

Near future for Everplaces!

No one should ever try to predict the future. However, looking at the challenges Everplaces is facing, a very interesting future is ahead of them. I’m not to say whether or not the service will be a success or a failure, but for me it is very clear that for the service to evolve, the development of its “Explore” feature is very important. Everplaces must look into how to utilize all these bookmarks and make them beneficial for the user, in relation to exploring new areas.

Without knowing, I could hope that Everplaces over time will make it possible to pick up the bookmarks of friends, and via GPS location be able to tell me what the people I trust liked in just that place. Still without knowing, I could imagine that this is what Tine Thygesen and the rest of the team at Everplaces is working on.

I’m on Everplaces…

I have been playing around with Everplaces online service and if you want to take a look yourself, visit my Everplaces profile here.

You can sign up and start adding your favourite places, so you won’t ever forget them.

Ivaerk & Vaekst 2010

Ivaerk & Vaekst 2010

Every year for the past 6 years there has been held the fair Ivaerk & Vaekst in Copenhagen Denmark, and I was visiting for the second time. Ivaerk & Vaekst is a forum for Danish entrepreneurs offering the opportunity to network with relevant expert, successful and experienced people, as well as likeminded entrepreneurs. A wide variety of interesting companies were represented at the fair and as well as less interesting organisations such as the Danish tax office. But common for them all was that they in one way or another could or would be relevant for business owners.

My own personal mission was to witness some of the great lectures taking place at stage. A large handful of known people were speaking about their success with entrepreneurship, and to recognise a few of them can be mentioned Andrea Elisabeth Rudolph, Leif Beck Fallesen, Jesper Kasi Nielsen, Christian Bitz, Peter Aalbaek, Angela Jia Kim, and many others. Especially one caught my attention. Angela Jia Kim is an American entrepreneur living in New York City and was never meant to become an entrepreneur, as she was educated a pianist.  However on a tour around the states with the orchestra, her skin suddenly breaks out in a rash, and she realize how many chemicals there is in here skin cream. From there she started to experiment with creating her own skin cream. According to Angela herself it was never thought to be commercialized, but as the interest grows from friends and acquaintance of her, she begins to receive orders from wellness centers around the states and business is rolling.

Through the process with selling skin creams, the talented pianist spot another opportunity in creating an entrepreneurial network specially minded for women. From her experiences with creating a business she knows how many questions there is in the process, and she decides to found the network concept Savor the Success. Special for Savor the Success is that men are not allowed and the goal is to advance women entrepreneurs in to success with their business.

Angela Jia Kim speaking at Ivaerk og Vaekst 2010
Angela Jia Kim speaking at Ivaerk og Vaekst 2010

Angela Jia Kim is great speaker and has a great story to share, and what she have done is quite impressive. However it strikes me that a strange tendency is appearing in the business life. For almost hundred years women have been fighting for equal rights with men, which is FAIR. However, today when men and women in many cases are equal the women starts to denying men access to their networks and businesses, just as men did to them hundred years ago. And I start to wonder if it soon will be men fighting for equal rights… It might be a subject for later debate.

Overall Ivaerk & Vaekst 2010 was a good experience with a great focus on networking. I personally took with me home, excessive ideas and knowledge for later use. I can strongly recommend others entrepreneurial minds to attend next year’s event, which probably will be held in Forum, Copenhagen like this year’s event.

Read further documentation for Ivaerk & Vaekst 2010 here. (in danish)