Play the Global Innovation Game during GEW

One of the really cool, global activities taking place during Global Entrepreneurship Week is the Global Innovation Game. A social game played via Facebook (play GIG here) in which participants generate innovative solutions to some of the world’s most pressing challenges. From a release about the launch:

Global Mind Games, a producer of social games that provoke debate and inspire real-world change, officially launches Global Innovation Game during Global Entrepreneurship Week, celebrated by 10 million people in 100 countries. GiG is the official game of GEW 2010.

and later,

“The ability to reach millions of people through free online games has opened up a new world of communications and engagement,” said Fred Skoler, co-founder and president of Global Mind Games. “But with this ability comes a responsibility for developers to produce not only games that entertain, but also empower, teach and challenge. GiG is our contribution to help entrepreneurs develop strategy, collaborate with others and engage in healthy competition to capture market support in a global exchange of ideas.”

GiG is an interactive online game that engages aspiring and serial entrepreneurs to solve real-world problems by presenting innovative ideas. Unlike many GEW events, the game is not limited by time or geography – innovators from around the world can play GiG from wherever they are, whenever they choose.

Congrats to GEW and Global Mind Games for a great effort. Get in there and play!


via Official Game of Global Entrepreneurship Week Launches on Facebook® Platform – Global Mind Games –


The Immoral Dorm Days of Facebook’s Formation | Dan’s FC Blog | Fast Company

Crazy post from Fast Company blog on a recent 3 part series by Business Insider tracing the early days of Facebook (oh about 6 or so years ago I think). Good stuff.

Haven’t had time to read all three fully, but apparently it covers Mark Zuckerberg and hacking and yes, Facebook has settled lawsuits with some of the people named in these stories. Can’t wait to read the rest of the stories.

Got this from Dan Nosowitz over at Fast Company. Lets not forget, that during the period of these stories, Facebook was an unfunded dorm room project — it was not a 400 million user juggernaut.

The Heady Days of Facebook’s Formation: Hacking Competitors and Smack-Talk Over IM | Dan’s FC Blog | Fast Company.

Selling Facebook Book with Sex

Wandering in Barnes & Noble today I noticed a new non-fiction book called, The Accidental Billionaires: accidentalThe Founding of Facebook a Tale of Sex, Money, Genius, and Betrayal. The cover looked like something I remember for the Nanny Diaries or some other kind of chick lit.The author is Ben Mezrich of Bringing Down the House fame.

It seems reviewers of the book on Amazon are equally mixed. I am probably not going to read this one, but I am happy to see campus based entrepreneurs getting the attention of major non-fiction writers. BTW, the book is selling on Amazon and doing pretty well in various business categories. Let us know what you think if you read it.

The Social Media Revolution Video

Is social media a fad? Or is it the biggest economic/social change since the industrial revolution. Good soundtrack, some good information, though I am not sure what the value of a lot of the ‘stats’ in this video are. Enjoy.

Facebook Nation Calls for Protectionism

Today on Facebook I participated in a ‘Davos’ question regarding protectionism. You can see from the image below that I voted against it, while 61% voted for it.

This is yet another bad data point for entrepreneurs as the Federal Government has more leeway to dig picture-69deeper into our economy. This will allow govts to use protective measures to preserve 19th/20th century industries and business models. Entrepreneurs, alternatively, benefit from international competition, cooperation, and interaction.

If this ‘Facebook Nation’ attitude represents wider swaths of the public, this will open many policy windows for those who want to buy many votes in the short and medium term. This will lead to higher prices, lower quality, and less innovation. This will also damage international opportunities for social entrepreneurs looking to work outside the US.

The worst part about this is that it highlights that consumers of products and services from global firms (like Facebook, Nintendo, Toyota) have no notion of the international web of partners, suppliers, financial markets, competitors, and others that help produce the goods or services they love. 61% supporting protectionism is shocking.

The fight to keep markets open and barriers to trade and cooperation low is crucial to entrepreneurs (both social and commercial) and overall societal improvements in standards of living.

Online Media Continues to Present Opportunity

In the early days of my internet experience I worked for Howard Tullman at and Stuart Carlin at Though the firms were very different (industries, customers, revenue models, products, etc.), the ‘3 Cs of the Internet’ were present in each firm’s strategy — commerce, community, and content.

These last two elements have formed an especially tight relationship of their own in recent years and this new partnership has forever changed the publishing and media industries. From music and movies to newspapers and magazines, the combination of community and content have introduced a new production model — user created content — that is taking greater and greater market share.

I was reminded of the power of this new model when I saw a piece in Advertising Age highlighting that the Huffington Post is more valuable than many old line newspaper publishers in the US. From the article by Michael Learmouth:

As long-rumored, The Huffington Post took $25 million in new funding at a $100 million valuation. It’s a healthy sum given the company has aggregated a huge audience — 8.8 million people a month, accordng to Quantcast — primarily on links to content it does not produce (newspaper stories) or pay for (columns).

The funding means Arianna Huffington’s news blog is now considered more valuable by its backers than quite a few publicly traded newspaper companies, such as Lee Enterprises, owner of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and 52 other papers (market cap: $36 million), A.H. Belo, owner of the Dallas Morning News and the Providence Journal (market cap: $35 million), and Media General, owner of the Tampa Tribune and Richmond Times-Dispatch (market cap: $34.6 million).

It puts Huffington Post in the same league as McClatchy Corp., owner of the Sacramento Bee, Miami Herald and 28 other dailies (market cap: $150 million).

Of course, there are also huge publishing/media firms who are struggling horribly — including The Washington Post and the Chicago Tribune Company — and appear to be shrinking by the day. They too have no idea how to combine community and content and they are incapable the cannot just jettison their industrial era infrastructures and mindsets.

The article briefly mentions this new production model when it mentions links and unpaid columns. This of course is simple blogging and is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of new content models based on communities.

While Huffington started with Arianna’s huge rolodex and brand, there are big advantages and opportunities for campus entrepreneurs in the media space. The most obvious and famous campus entrepreneur in this space is Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook.

The campus offers a great place to target specific ‘communities’ and provide ways for them to spend time together and share content. From photos and videos to status updates and group membership, Facebook has allowed its community to share content in endless ways. It has also allowed advertisers and application providers to join in. Of course, Facebook, like many products, services, and activities, has moved well beyond the campus.

Entrepreneurs looking for opportunities in an economy full of bleak news and shrinking spending take note, the combination of community and content continues to present low barriers to entry, low capital requirements, and growing markets demanding innovative products and services.

Facebook and the Life Cycle of Campus Ventures

Our most recent poster-boy for campus entrepreneurs has been Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook, and social media. But, with nearly 100 million users and almost $350 million in revenues,  Facebook is a giant.

An article in the WSJ by Guth and Vascellaro explores the recent departures of Facebook co-founder and head engineer, Dustin Moskovitz, and other high level employees. According to the article, “As a number of Facebook’s earliest employees move on, its ranks are being stacked with Senior Executives from Google Inc., Yahoo Inc., and other established technology firms.”

It interesting that Yahoo and Google (firms that were also founded by campus entrepreneurs) execs are specifically mentioned. The article goes on to explain that most of the changes they bring are related to managing of employees — “Among the changes they’ve brought are new guidelines for performance reviews, new recruiting processes and training programs.”

In researching what makes the campus a unique place to uncover opportunities and create new firms, we will also have to wonder at what point a successful firm will ‘grow beyond the campus’ and perhaps change into an entity that can no longer fully take advantage of the campus. Does that venture become a more ‘traditional’ firm?

Though I am stumbling with this new question — it boils down to whether or not there is a life cycle for certain successful campus ventures. When they leave their status of campus venture or campus entrepreneurs behind them.

It could be when the firm and entrepreneur move from their college/campus town to some ‘better’ location (ie Facebook’s move to Palo Alto from Boston). Or perhaps it is when they move beyond the original ‘campus as market’ model that they used (ie Facebook opening to the whole world). Or perhaps it is when they take venture funding and have serious board members and professional managers brought it (Facebook took its first real funding in the summer of 2005, one year and 4 months launch).

This life cycle question is important as is the question of whether a campus birth will have lasting effects on a firm (and its founders) even when it matures beyond being a campus venture? Any thoughts?