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Idea: ModShoes

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Shlok Vaidya  -  
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Disrupt the product differentiation rut that the shoe industry is stuck in with modular shoes.

Build the base, with a layer of padding (that over time conforms to the shape of your foot). Make this part Birkenstock-comfy (though thinner).

Then, unleash upon the world a long tail of options you can swap out at any time, depending on your requirements and aesthetic. New covers, heels, become a sneaker, or formal wear. Running would be a specialized function, but sliding in a steel tongue for boots is not a big deal. Make each one of these options $5/$10 and enable them to be locally produced (you earn royalties on the plans).



-Shlok
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Can Entrepreneurship Be Taught?

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Shlok Vaidya  -  
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A study shows that the more entrepreneurial classes taught at the MBA level, the more likely students are to become entrepreneurs.

Professors at the Wellesley, Massachusetts-based college analyzed a survey of some 3,755 alumni and found that two (“or better yet three”) entrepreneurship classes strongly affected students’ decisions to pursue start-ups, and that writing a student business plan also had some influence, though not as strong.

It doesn’t, however, explain what kind of entrepreneurship these graduates engage in. If the metric is as basic as ‘started a business’, this is next-to-useless knowledge. Why?The kind of entrepreneurship matters.

Rentiers coming out of an MBA and domain squatting, starting a GroupOn clone, door-to-door insurance, or worse, realtor etc shouldn’t be weighted the same as catalysts – who shatter old assumptions, build out new markets, etc.

That is, those who create opportunity and not simply capture it are the kind of entrepreneur the world needs. If that’s what these 3-entrepreneurship-class-graduates are doing, then great. Else, this study in no way proves the idea that entrepreneurship can be taught, despite the declarations of this MBA program, these professors, and these students (all of whom share a huge financial interest in doing just that)

“It’s time to cast off the prejudiced question, ‘Why teach entrepreneurship?’, because we now have excellent empirical evidence that it makes difference.  We think that entrepreneurship should be taught not only for the production and training of entrepreneurs but also to help students decide if they have the right stuff to be entrepreneurs before they embark on careers for which they may be ill-suited,” they write.

Of course entrepreneurship can be taught. But the solution isn’t the superficial application of two, maybe three classes when you’re 30 and paying a $100k entrance fee to the upper class.

Like any other form of thinking, it’s a lifelong process, and not a destination. Institutionalize that, and the world changes.



-Shlok
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Idea: Lucky Magazine Mobile App

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Shlok Vaidya  -  
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Lucky has streamlined the magazine business. It’s essentially a curated compilation of ads for particular demographic. I realize this isn’t unique to this brand, but they do seem to be ahead of the curve a bit.

For example, they include a ‘text to purchase’ code for each item, which they then charge and ship to your account with them. (No doubt, what they loosely call articles are just a veneer for affiliate relationships.)

In a ham-handed approach to mobile though, Lucky built an app that curated random selections, and just shoved tons of advertising into it. The user reviews are terrible.

What would be cooler, and they do this in dead-wood by including a page of stickers to mark stuff you’re interested in, is if they included QR codes. Gives you the option to text if you’re so inclined, but more useful, it captures, stores ‘your’ collection (data they can turn around and sell), and pipes you (through their affiliate channel of course) to where you can buy it (can even include a best deal option if they have the right bizdev team). Option to get AR snazzy if they want to put in some investment.

Anyway, I don’t ‘read’ the mag, but it’s an interesting case study in curation.



-Shlok
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Idea: Rethinking the Resume

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Shlok Vaidya  -  
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Think of a resume as a dashboard for your workflow rather than a static document of what you have accomplish (or claim to have). I originally came up with this in ’08 as a business to sell to LinkedIn – an approach being used by VizualizeMe now 😉 .

  • Graph is updated in real time – via social media presence rather than administrative backend. #accomplishment tag.
  • Your roles are listed, in this case ‘author’ is selected and the timeline highlights when that took place, the showcase box is populated with proof of product.
  • The world map highlights international experience by connecting nodes where you have worked while a heat map layer reveals concentrations, where you live, your network lives, etc.
  • Timeline metic can be customized (for sales: $$$ amounts etc)
  • Media can be as simple as Google news alert or a live webcam feed or a archive of video footage.

This could be useful in a LinkedIn context (though that company is way too stuck on the static resume format with a superficial application of social statuses). The graph + an introduction could help land a prospective employer.

Vastly more interesting in an open organization, where social is embedded in the DNA. You want to monitor social reputation? See who can do what inside a large organization? Inform your peers, colleagues, and even family as to what you’re up to? This is the way to go.

 



-Shlok
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Review: 2030 by Albert Brooks

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Shlok Vaidya  -  
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2030: The Real Story of What Happens to America

Basically, this is a great book about what happens to America if we don’t take control of our future.

If you love near future dystopia, or just a darkly humorous tale of a country gone awry, buy this book now. Simply could not put it down, and read it in an afternoon. Both entertaining and thought provoking.

Books has managed to taken every trend shaping America today to its logical conclusion, and the results are great. This includes: massive government debt, absurd security protocol, the San Andreas faultline, race relations, age relations, America’s dependence on China, and even has a bit of White House intrigue. (I would have loved it if he had included hydrocarbon and financial markets too.)

Sure, there’s some cartoonish elements (in the romance and revolutionary stuff), but you don’t really care as you consider the ideas presented (would a network of robot wielding remote doctors and nurse practitioners really work?) and laugh at Brooks’ running commentary.



-Shlok
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