Archive for the ‘Pure Incubation’ Category

BusinessWeek's for sale, the industry is surprised. I'm not.

Wednesday, July 15th, 2009

NOTE: I’ve got some new blogging gigs – primarily for businesses that I’m operating and launching as part of Pure Incubation – and I want to make sure that I’m sharing the content that I’m producing on those blogs here (in case you care!) So when I blog elsewhere, I’m going to include pieces of those posts here and link to the full posts. FYI!

Here’s the article…

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Apparently the media industry is “stunned” that BusinessWeek is for sale. Really? Stunned?

Today’s article in B2B Media Business cites the following:

  • - BusinessWeek lost $85 million in 2008
  • - BusinessWeek has already lost $20 million in 2009
  • - BW’s ad pages declined 17.2% in 2008
  • - This year, BW’s ad pages have declined 36.8% compared to the same period last year- This year, BW’s ad pages have declined 36.8% compared to the same period last year
  • - BusinessWeek’s online catalogs sellers of viagra and cialis in the usa ad pages have dropped 69% since their high point in 2000
  • - Print ad revenue has fallen 59% in the same time period

BusinessWeek coverWhy are people stunned that McGraw-Hill would want to offload a business unit that is bleeding so severely? I understand that BusinessWeek’s brand is valuable and important, but most companies – including McGraw-Hill – can’t absorb $80 million in losses year after year.

I suppose that the shock and dismay people feel at the loss of well-established print entities shouldn’t surprise me. Just look at the outrage that people felt at the thought of the Boston Globe possibly closing its doors, even though that publication is on track to lose $85 million this year.

Read the full article on the Sauce Technology blog

Quiz: What tech entrepreneur are you most like?

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009

I’m a start-up founder just like many of you, and there are days when I wonder if I’m the only one who feels, acts and thinks the way I do. But there are others that have gone before, and you might be surprised to see which tech founder you are most like. Take our quiz and find out your answer to the question: What tech entrepreneur are you most like?

Click here to take the quiz

(UPDATE: I’m going to ask you for an email address at the end of the process. I wanted to warn you up front so that I don’t catch you off guard!)

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Quiz Sauce logoOne erectile dysfunction viagra of the things that we’re working on at Pure Incubation is launching a variety of software tools for publishers aimed at helping them solve their most crucial business issues. (If you want to know more about those publishing problem areas, read this post.) We’re doing this through our Sauce Technology business unit, and today I want to introduce you to a specific application – Quiz Sauce.

The quiz above was built using the application – give it a whirl and let me know what you think. Here’s the link to take the quiz in case you missed it above – What tech entrepreneur are you most like?

Quizzes, weddings & fancy men's shoes

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

Today we launched a new application at Pure Incubation. It’s an assessment/quiz tool. The application allows us to create multi-page quizzes or assessments with a wide range of question types, point values and responses, and then build results based on the answers that were given by the person taking the test. It’s exciting to launch something new, and I can’t wait to start publishing quizzes, assessments and Websites in a whole range of markets to take advantage of the application’s capabilities.

Like I said, the app launched today and the first quiz is out – What Style Wedding Gown is Right for You? Although this quiz will clearly be the most useful for anyone planning a wedding (and I hope that you’ll forward the link to any bride-to-be that you know), I would love for anyone vigrx reviews reading this post to take the quiz and send me feedback. You can find my contact details here or post your comments to the bottom of this post. Seriously – I want to know what you think about the whole thing, specifically the application, but also about the content of the quiz. All comments, both positive and negative, are welcome.

Since I’m talking about the wedding Websites, here’s one more random bit. On the March 12 episode of The Office, Michael Scott (the show’s “hero”) is talking about a business idea that he has planned. Although his imaginary company is called “shoe-la-la,” I couldn’t help but find it humorous that I actually HAVE a site called Shoella. The names are eerily similar. Here’s the clip – enjoy.

And please send me your comments and feedback!

Something worth celebrating

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2008

I have been writing about the recession since March. Specifically, I’ve been writing about the benefits of starting a company during a recession. As this year has unfolded, and as I watch the loss of thousands of jobs taking a toll on people around the country, I can only feel more and more grateful for what I’m working on. I saw this Twitter post from Penelope Trunk today, and it made me want to clink glasses and toast to one year down.

Twitter about the recession

By the way, you can follow me on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/mchang16.

10 ways to stay positive when times are tough

Tuesday, November 4th, 2008

When times are tough, one of the hardest things to do is stay positive. But being positive is important for every aspect of our lives. It improves our health. It improves our outlook on work and family. And it makes us more pleasant to be around.

Right now, the economic news is bad. Lots of companies are laying off employees. The housing market in the U.S. is continuing its slump. These definitely qualify as “tough times.”

I am an optimist, but I’ve been feeling this slump like everyone else. As an entrepreneur, I feel a little bit like I have a split personality, reminding myself of all the reasons that starting a company during a recession is a good idea, internalizing all the reasons that owning a business in a recession is a very difficult prospect. It’s emotionally draining.

But the optimist in me has been fighting to the top. So instead of dwelling on the bad, I came up with this list of 10 ways to stay positive, even when times are tough. Here are the first three tips; I’ll be posting the rest throughout the week.

1) Spend time doing something that makes you happy. What do you love to do? What is something that makes you happy just because you like doing it so much? Anything that has an ulterior motive attached doesn’t count. For example, I am happy when I go jogging because I know that it will help me get in shape, but I don’t really like jogging, and I wouldn’t do it if it didn’t have positive health benefits.

I usually would cite playing basketball as something that I love doing just for the sake of it. When I play, I get to hang out with friends, be competitive, exercise, and be social. It also takes my mind off everything else.

A couple of weeks ago, however, I got an even better example to use. My brother Matt and his wife Michele had their first daughter – my first niece – Willow. The only way that I can describe her birth is complete joy. Focusing my attention on her and my family is something that helps keep me optimistic and positive in a way that few other things ever have. Figure out what it is that you love, and spend some time doing it.

2) Vote! Living in the United States, the election is top of mind for me and most other Americans today. Being part of a larger movement of people who are all doing the same thing on the same day is empowering and gives you a sense of belonging. Today, a record number of voters are heading to the polls, and we will end the day with either a black President-elect or a woman Vice President-elect. History will be made either way.

voting in the United States

Get out to the polls and you’ll feel the energy and optimism there that is inherent in the voting process. Voting will give you a sense of optimism and hope for the future.

3) Volunteer. There are always opportunities to help people, especially in a time of economic uncertainty. There are volunteer opportunities for every personality type and skill level. My sister-in-law has donated her time to helping non-profits put together professional business plans. A co-worker is part of the Big Brothers Big Sisters program. A friend and his family have donated their time in helping to raise Great Danes that are used for rehabilitation. Not only does helping others help you feel better about yourself, but it also reminds you to look outside yourself to put the needs of others first.

Up tomorrow on 16thLetter – reasons 4-6 to stay positive when times are tough.

*UPDATE: I obviously missed the “tomorrow” deadline! I should have said “Up next week…*

Photo by mudpig

Jumping into the medical market

Thursday, September 25th, 2008

This month marks a milestone for Pure Incubation in the medical market – we just launched our first directory-based site: Orthopedic Product Guide. The site features more than 400 product categories with 1,200 companies, 6,000 products and hundreds of orthopedics resources, including white papers, surgical techniques, case studies, videos and product literature. Come on over the site and browse around if you’re interested; and if you’re really interested and have any feedback or suggestions, those are defintiely welcome, as well.

Orthopedic site 

Up next – 16 more sites focused on various medical specialties.

Pure Incubation's surprise party

Monday, September 22nd, 2008

The beginning of September was the one year birthday of my company Pure Incubation. And last week, my friends surprised me by throwing me (and my company) a surprise party to celebrate! I had no idea that they were planning this party (who would?!) but it was so fun to have a bunch of my friends, some of my family and a variety of egg-themed food to celebrate.

Everyone wore a Pure Incubation label on their shirt, and some of them (like Moe and Kim) wore blue and white.

Moe and Kim

The egg cake was as delicious as it was cute.

Pure Incubation cake

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Celebrating milestones

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2008

I am a firm believer that it’s important to celebrate milestones. Anniversaries, birthdays, project launches – in my opinion, they all need to be marked and noted, with proper gift giving, eating & drinking, and celebratory toasts.

Birthday cupcakeToday is the first birthday of Pure Incubation. To celebrate, I’ll have a glass of wine with dinner. But perhaps the most fitting tribute was that today was also my first full-time employee’s first day of work. Today I spent four hours out of the office in meetings, but even so, we got more done today together than I get done in most days of working alone, even when I put in 12+ hours.

The timing was coincidental, but it turns out that a new employee was probably the best gift that I could have given Pure Incubation on its first birthday. Here’s to many more (birthdays AND employees)!

Wanted: A better workplace coffeehouse

Thursday, July 24th, 2008

As I’ve documented many times on this blog, I work alone, from my home office. This is usually great, but sometimes the house gets too quiet or constricting, or I’ve spent too many days in a row with the same walls around me. When that happens, I usually head to a local coffeehouse that has free Wi-Fi, usually Panera Bread.

CoffeehouseToday I’m working at Starbucks in the Barnes & Noble near my house. I needed to buy a book so it was more convenient to stay here rather than make the 10 minute drive to Panera. But here the Wi-Fi’s not free. Granted, it’s only $3.99, but instead of buying the 2-hour pass, I’m opting to do all the offline work I can, and then send everything when I can connect again at home. Not ideal.

All of this has started me thinking about the trend of remote working and the virtual company. The more wireless devices we have, the more places that have access to broadband, the easier it is to work from home, vacation…anywhere really. And companies like Sun Microsystems are even starting to make moves to dismantle entire offices in favor of the cost savings that they get from having an at-home work force.

I am clearly in favor of telecommuting and working from home. But I realized today, in my imperfect, impromptu Starbucks office, that the at-home worker is up against a number of challenges that a better workplace coffeehouse could help fix.

First, the obvious source of the trouble is that humans have issues with isolation. People are born into communities and we are geared toward being around people. Even the extreme introvert likes their aloneness more when they have recently been around people. There are days when the solitary at-home office is too much and we just need to see little kids doing handstands in line while their frazzled mom waits for her Vanilla Latte. (Yes, that is happening in front of me right now.)

Second, the current options to escape that isolation aren’t really working. Aside from the coffeehouse with Wi-Fi, the only option that I have is the library. But both of these options have problems – the library doesn’t allow the conversations and social interactions that at-home workers are craving, and the coffeehouses aren’t equipped for workplace needs (and there are people trying to enjoy a cup of coffee or lunch without having to be immersed in other people’s work).

Finally, there is another problem with the at-home worker that isn’t often talked about. There is a hole that is left by the lack of idea interchange, the constant refining and tweaking of ideas that happens in an office environment. Even with social networking tools and technology to keep us connected at our disposal, at-home workers do the majority of our thinking and planning and decision-making in a vacuum. It’s not our fault – the majority of decisions that are made day-to-day are too small to set up a conference call to discuss. But without the constant input from our co-workers, and the benefit of the collective brain of the group, our decisions are going to lose some edge, some brilliance will be lost that could have been found if we had a group around us to help us refine our visions.

My suggestion to solve this issue is a workplace coffeehouse. My imaginary coffeehouse would have:

– Free unlimited Wi-Fi.

– Coffee and food to be purchased. Perhaps also some kind of a fee structure for use (a monthly membership, like the gym, perhaps?). This business would have to be able to make money, even with a clientele that doesn’t turn over frequently during the day.

– Tables with locks to secure laptops. Nothing is more annoying than having to pack up all your stuff to use the restroom. Locks that can be used temporarily by the person at the table at the time would be incredibly helpful.

– Comfortable chairs that are meant to be sat in for long periods of time without hurting your back.

– Different areas that can be used for different things. There should be areas for tables of 1, 2, 4, 6, and 10 people scattered throughout the room, as well as a couple of glassed-in rooms that people can use for brainstorming or meetings.

– A start-up open pitch night. Once time per week, people would be able to get up and pitch their ideas and invite the crowd to give them instant feedback – this is like an open mic night for businesses.

– A schedule of speakers who would come in periodically to give advice for the at-home worker. Help desk people to answer questions about home networking issues. Financial advisors. VCs. And even management specialist, all with seminars on how to work remotely better.

– Ways for people to meet each other. Too often people look up from their computer only to avert their eyes if they accidentally look my way. These places would need to encourage communication and interaction.

– Social events surrounding the coffeehouse. The coffeehouse’s softball team could compete in the city league, bowling teams could be formed, or maybe the coffeehouse has a bocce court next to it.

Does it seem like I’m recreating the office? Maybe I am, just a little bit. But this could be the office of the future, where people go to work with other folks from their geographic area, all of whom are working on different projects, jobs and careers. Sounds like an interesting place to me.

What other features would you like this workplace coffeehouse to have?

UPDATE: Another possibility would be for bars to do something like this during the day, when they otherwise wouldn’t be making any money. Just think – WiFi during the day, vodka tonics at night. I think that the clientele would become much more dedicated…

Photo by John Althouse Cohen

My greatest weakness

Monday, July 21st, 2008

WeaknessAnyone who tried to visit any page on this site since last Wednesday already knows what I am about to tell you – my blog has been down for five days. It’s back up now, working just fine, but it appears that the damage has been done. My good SEO ranking on some good terms has been lost, 1/4 of my readers have unsubscribed.

I just wanted to send a quick note out to all of you who have stuck with me through the downtime – thank you! And I’m sorry for the technical difficulties. The short explanation is that this blog is using a technology that one of my new businesses/applications is also using, and when the developers made a change to that application, they managed to take down my blog at the same time. It appears that everything is now fixed and working like it should, hopefully there won’t be any more issues.

This outage really brings to light what I think is my biggest weakness as an entrepreneur - I am not technical enough. I know a bit about technology, definitely enough to talk about it and to understand the concepts, a smattering of HTML. But I am not a “do-er” – and so, when things like this happen, I am at the mercy of others. This fact is hard to take.

I am honestly not sure what the solution to the problem is, either. As the president of my company, I shouldn’t be the one who is doing all the nitty gritty work – that would be a waste of time and resources. I also don’t have the time to go back to school and to take classes to learn all this stuff that I wish I already knew. I could regret my college major (maybe computer science would have been a better choice than English, no matter how much I loved reading those books), but then again, if I had majored in computer science, who knows where I would be now. Maybe the influences of Maya Angelou (On The Pulse of the Morning), Sylvia Plath and Ralph Ellison are part of what has inspired me to be the person I am today, to do what I am doing right now. And regrets aren’t helpful, anyway.

So I put my lack of technical expertise in the category of unavoidable things that suck. At least for now. And I try to use this weakness as a reminder that I can’t build this business on my own, that I need help and input from a wide variety of other people to be successful. And I breathe. Slowly.

Photo by solidstate