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Archive for the ‘Things Heading North’ Category

The crew at Venture 360 (a North venture…) has just teamed up with Marc and Clint over at Startup Weekend to bring their throngs of ambitious entrepreneurs some valuable insight and to support Startup Weekend in their mission to foster more innovation around the globe.

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Startup Weekend is a 54 hour startup event that provides networking, resources, and incentives for individuals and teams to go from idea to launch. Yep, you read it right. Attend a weekend and you’ll be able to network with like-minded local developers, innovators and entrepreneurs. Be apart of creating a company. And as they like to say about their events, they’re “No Talk. All Action”.

Attendees of upcoming Startup Weekend events will not only receive some pocket-pleasing discounts on Full Venture 360 analysis reports, each formed team will receive complimentary access to the Venture 360 analysis software to help them develop their business plans and put their weekend ventures on the right track.

The strategic partnership will kick off at the upcoming Women 2.0 Startup Weekend in San Francisco, August 28-30, 2009 and the Startup Weekend Redmond @ BizSpark on the exact same weekend. Both events will have excellent turnouts, so we recommend you snatch up a ticket fast.

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Mobile post (please forgive the possible thumb related issues)

Risk and reward are typically tied together.

The standard formula; more risk = more reward. The clear problem with this equation is that there is a specific point where risk outweighs reward, and the chance of achieving a profitable outcome becomes statistically impossible.

This decision point is hard to see, feel, and measure….But we have to try if we want to be more effective at managing risk.

Sometimes we need to test these boundaries in order to know where they are… Fully aware that we might fail, in fact unless we do fail we will never know where that point of decision really is.  Now, I’m not a big fan of failure, but if you don’t push yourself or your business to a point where failure is a clear option, you may never reach your (or your businesses) full potential.

Today I was snowboarding off the back side of Snowmass in Colorado and I saw a sign that reminded me of this point in a clear and direct way.

Rarely in business do you get the benefit of a bright red sign that lets you know you are at a major decision point… certainly not with the skull and crossbones for added emphasis.

(BTW, the snow out of the standard ski area was amazing, well worth the risk to lay down some fresh tracks in the waist deep fluffy stuff.)

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It’s already late Friday. And many of you are feeling woefully unprepared. Why? You’re going to have to fill out a ballot for an Oscar pool in less than 48 hours and you haven’t seen 75% of the nominated films.

Have no fear, North is here. While we excel in providing early stage venture analysis, occasionally we enjoy conducting due diligence on other innovative & ambitious undertakings.

In case you’re wondering, I HAVE seen all but two of the nominated films from the major categories (a perk of having friends and family in the “the biz.”). I’m also co-defending champion of a very prestigious Oscar Party Pool in Echo Park. Okay, now I’m just setting myself up for a bashing on Monday.

So without further ado, here are my picks for the 81st Academy Awards.

Disclaimer: Film enthusiasts should always conduct their own research and due diligence and obtain professional advice prior to making any Oscar ballot decisions. North and its management or associates will not be liable for any loss or damages caused by a reader’s reliance on information obtained in this blog posting…

Best picture: Slumdog Millionaire – seems to have all the momentum right now

Best director: Danny Boyle – Slumdog Millionaire – deserving

Best actor: Mickey Rourke – The Wrestler – he was damn good (Penn a close second)

Best actress: Anne Hathaway – Rachel Getting Married – upset special over Winslet

Best supporting actress: Penelope Cruz – Vicky Cristina Barcelona – upset special over Taraji Henson

Best supporting actor – Heath Ledger – The Dark Knight – sentimental pick, but he was good

Best foreign language film – Waltz With Bashir * – Israel – going to see tonight

Best animated feature film – Wall-E

Best adapted screenplay – Slumdog Millionaire

Best original screenplay – Milk

Best original score – Slumdog Millionaire

Best original song – Down To Earth – Wall-E

Art direction – The Curious Case of Benjamin Button – i fell asleep in this too…boring

Cinematography – Slumdog Millionaire

Costume design – The Duchess

Best documentary feature – Man on Wire – my best film of the year

Film editing – The Dark Knight

Make-up – The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Sound editing – Iron Man

Sound mixing – The Dark Knight

Visual effects – The Dark Knight

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This rainy morning I was invited by Clean Tech Los Angeles to attend a pretty cool announcement at City Hall. Mayor Villaraigosa and former President Clinton announced a five-year project to make the city’s street lights more energy efficient. Anytime you can hear a former president speak in person on President’s Day, you gotta go for it. And he didn’t disappoint, providing compelling insight on the new stimulus package and the global economic crisis.
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Spearheaded by the Clinton Climate Initiative, the plan calls for swapping out 140,000 of LA’s residential street lights with more energy efficient LED lights and would be the largest program of its kind undertaken by a city. A little perspective – normal street lamps last four to six years, while LED lights last up to 10 years. The Mayor says it’ll save Los Angeles $48 million over the next seven years, and is expected to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 40,500 tons each year (the equivalent of taking 6,700 cars off the street).

LA is on an ambitious mission to become the model “green city” and this is just one of the trendsetting (hopefully) initiatives they have in motion. The city is backing up their talk too, with billions of dollars of investment and attractive incentives to make Los Angeles the premier destination for innovative cleantech ventures and entrepreneurs.  I’m currently part of the Clean Tech Kitchen Cabinet, which is a group of talented entrepreneurs, evangelists, investors, creatives, and media professionals in the socially-constructive space that get together once a month to discuss and share their ideas for a better & greener LA.

Even Tamara Henry , Ms. Arkansas 1997 showed up with her vintage sash.  A tad bizarre. Not sure if she got her hard-hitting interview with Bubba or not, but she definitely attempted to badge her eco cred with her choice in wardrobe color.

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In all seriousness, let’s hope the street light conversion initiative will further establish LA as credible leader in the Clean Tech movement. It’s definitely another encouraging step. The city is proving more and more than it wants to be known for impactful results other than just box office receipts and cosmetic surgeries.

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As you know, the North team is on a mission to accelerate the rate at which innovation gets created in this country; and that effort begins with being more transparent with and helpful to entrepreneurs. Our new paper called Breaking Through The Broken: The Transparent Guide To Overcoming The Inefficiencies In Early Stage Venture Capital has over 30+ pages of insight, inspiration, and rarefied honesty on what’s wrong with the early stage venture capital market and of course some suggestions on how we (that’d be you and North) can fix it.

The feedback has been fantastic. In just over two weeks, we’ve had thousands of entrepreneurs and investors download the guidebook. Get your own FREE copy on our website www.dontgosouth.com.

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North was asked to parachute in and concept BIG brand ideas for Peet’s Coffee and Tea 2008-2009 marketing campaign. As Peet’s is the “official fuel” of North Venture Partners, the decision to offer up our collective brainpower for this initiative was an easy one. The focus of the assignment was to expand the audience for Peet’s by converting the universe of coffee lovers who are motivated by the story and heritage of Peet’s. In recent months, the coffee wars have been heating up with the jolly green giant (Starbucks) quickly encroaching on Peet’s “the place for coffee lovers” positioning.

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North delivers world class due diligence to the early stage venture market with the Venture 360 Report. Building on several years of evaluating, structuring, and launching new products & companies, the North team has combined human intelligence and data driven decision making in a powerful new package.

If you’re looking to become a more effective and efficient entrepreneur or investor, read more here to get a more detailed explanation of our methods and the reason behind them. Or you can always shoot us an email at northventure360@dontgosouth.com and we’ll set up some time to talk shop.
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