Trish Costello

Entrepreneurial Thinking Shifts the World


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Cloud Will Generate 14 Million Jobs By 2015: Thats A Good Start – Forbes

Cloud Will Generate 14 Million Jobs By 2015: Thats A Good Start – Forbes.

One thing we know about the current environment is that today’s trending high value jobs often didn’t even exist just 3-4 short years ago.   That’s a challenge for all of us, especially those working outside the leading tech hubs or coming out of college where curriculum often severely lag new market trends and practice.  Over the next three years, Cloud with create over $1 trillion in revenue and 14 million jobs, many in tech but in all areas of enterprise as well.  The tech world that drives high value jobs in all fields shifts so rapidly that we need an intelligence and preparation unit to keep ourselves ready for the next high value opportunities.  How do we predict and prepare for new opportunities, especially if we’re not in one of the companies on bleeding edge of technology?  Three steps will move you forward:

  • Budget time and dollars for at least 2 events monthly that inform you of new tech break throughs or innovations.  If you live in a thriving tech hub, there will be unlimited meet-ups (www.meetup.com) and events available to you to keep your finger on the pulse of change.  Outside the innovation hubs, events are available through webinars, TedTalks and other venues.  You simply can’t afford not to stay on the information edge.
  • Maintain a ‘hot list’ of those in your network who are constantly pushing the technology bounds.  Each week, ping at least one people about something happening in your respective fields, an event, view or thought for the future.  Repurpose it and add it to your blob/tweet.  If you don’t have people ‘in the know’ in your network now, make it your business to add at least one a week — ideally, someone who you met in the meet-up’s above.
  • Investigate the plethora of new high level, self-paced on-line courses.  Udemy is one of my favorites as their instructors are often world-class and practice-focused, and many class units can be experienced for a small amount of cash or free.  Maintain at least one on-going class at all times.

Spending just an hour or two a week can make a huge difference in keeping current on new business methods or technologies.  Today we have to be able to ride the tech wave to ensure professional success.

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Could Many Universities Follow Borders Bookstores Into Oblivion? – Wired Campus

Could Many Universities Follow Borders Bookstores Into Oblivion? – Wired Campus – The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Brilliant discussion, and a quick read, on the massive changes happening now in higher education.

The world’s master thinkers  in every field are now widely available to everyone with a computer and many are teaching in MOOCs (Massive Open Online Course) to 100’s of thousands of students.   Do we need thousands of mediocre courses/lectures on the same topic around the US or is there a new model for receiving knowledge by the best digitally, and applying it in smaller settings with key teacher/facilitators?     Done right, it will give students a superior learning experience.

Soon we’ll select from the best of many institutions and ‘masters’ putting together our own highly personalized educational curriculum, which will then be certified for quality based on the rigor of that learning experience.   This is a good thing.  The current accreditation system is meaningless in regard to quality and ridiculously expensive.  With this, I believe we’ll see a superior learning experience, delivered in a more efficient and effective way.

Change has come slowly to higher ed–it’s the nature of huge governmental and non-profit entities.  Your memory of college 25 years ago would be similar to today’s reality–except the cost is approximately 20X  what you paid and nothing else in our world is similar, including the demands and career sophistication awaiting the new college grad.  Welcome disruption! Our students and economy deserve it.


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The Great Disconnect: Top tech companies focus products on women, but they have no tech women

Giving Women the Access Code – NYTimes.com.

“As recently as 1985, 37 percent of graduates in the field were women; by 2005 it was down to 22 percent, and sinking.”

Many of the fastest growing tech companies today are targeted to an overwhelming female market–think Pinterest, Groupon, Zygna.    The truth is that to have a vibrant economy and long term tech innovation, women’s talents have to be utilized in software development and product creation. Yet there are few women making a career in software development– the great economic ‘muscle’ in the high value work world today and as far out in the future as we can see.   Women are killing it in other areas–making massive strides in all other fields and professions, as their numbers dwindle in the computer sciences according to a recent article in the NYTimes.

In Giving Women the Access Code,  Harvey Mudd President, Maria Klawe, and others, are working to change this by creating computer sciences programs that appeal to women.   College is the time to both understand the breath of what one is able to learn and do, but also understand the external value proposition of their work.  The same transformation needs to happen in the field.  I know many women who have excelled in engineering or computer science education programs, but left these fields after a few years due to dysfunctional environments that had nothing to do with the actual work responsibilities.     

We need to do three things:

1) Revolutionize the teaching of computer sciences and software development, especially with the newer platforms available, to draw in women of all ages, both through university settings such as Harvey Mudd and the other great CS schools and the growing non-university education platforms, such as Codecademy and Udemy.

2) Recreate software/product development environments, from man caves with man rules to women inclusive environments. I know many amazingly bright women engineers/CS who have left the field, as ‘life is too short to live this way.’  Its not that hard to do–just takes some insight, open-mindedness and a willingness to make changes.

3) Investors should insist on women on the team, when entrepreneurs pitch a company with even a 50% women’s market.  Many of today’s companies have predominant women’s markets, yet no women on the team?!  Come on!  This is not rocket science!  Over the last few years I’ve heard dozens of pitches from young tech guys developing products for women-predominant markets that haven’t a clue about the market they’re looking to serve.  This often doesn’t preclude them for blowing through money–lots of money.  They have unlimited research but still don’t ‘get’ it.  Women around the table, women in the scrum meetings makes you stronger and ‘derisks’ your ventures.

Good for Maria Klawe and others like her–it’s just the beginning of what’s to be done….


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Thank goodness its not about cheese!

Having heard about Sequoia and others investing in a gourmet grilled cheese company by the creator of the Flip Camera, Jonathan Kaplan, who incidently has no experience in restaurants, one was left with only one thought (paraphrasing a silly woman’s book), “Smart People, Foolish Choices!”   Flip founder wants you to melt for grilled cheese – San Francisco Business Times.

After reading through his concept, I still question how capital allocation decisions are being made by the gurus, but feel some relief that it really isn’t about grilled cheese–though the reporter seems to miss the bigger picture in the story.  Kaplan’s company, by my interpretation,  is actually focused on creating a delivery system that enables technology to control just-in-time provisioning of food stuff to consumers, beginning with a very simple little product.    One orders on-line, gets a QR-code which is scans inside the store and within 2 minutes you hop the line to pick up your food; later versions will have the system scanning for your arrival by mobile signal and — Voila! — when you walk through the door your steaming hot food is waiting to be handed to you.  I imagine a future world, when I’m driving witin 5 miles of the shop, it reminds me of how much I love my particular style of grilled cheese–with a big slice of tomato pressed in the middle–and if I just hit reply, it will be waiting for me at the door.  This will become the ‘must have’ technology at all food establishments.  And I’ll also be getting that text as I pass by my favorite night spot, letting me know my special martini and a stool is ready at the bar; or my nail salon advising that an open chair is available with my favorite shade of amber awaiting my arrival.

I like this so much better than a pile of Silicon Valley money and brain power going into a gourmet grilled cheese.

 


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New Avenues for Talent

HubSpot, with its characteristic flair for creative positioning, is targeting experienced engineers in large corporate with its “Prison Break” program.  HubSpot will incent engineers with a bonus of $1k for each year of experience in a 1,000+company as they search to round up talent to fuel their growth.  If they only get 3-4 people, says their CTO Shah, it will be worth the effort.

HubSpot is making the right moves. The real constraining factor to growth today is not venture capital or technology–its people. And not the ‘people’ that VC’s often talk about when they’re referring to founder talent, but the professional talent that fules the growth–the engineers, project managers, digital marketers, product mangers, etc., who muscle the start-ups to growth. Even with 9% unemployment, we have a shortage of prepared and up-to-date talent in engineering, marketing and tech manufacturing.

My company, The Professional’s Accelerator, is targeting this challenge.  It provides innovative  development programs, based on the current demands of  growth companies, that enables  motivated professionals to continually optimize career opportunities as they enter and shift careers.

For innovative growth companies, it creates an expanded and enhanced ‘supply chain’ for highly prepared and technologically up-to-date professionals to fuel company growth with less risk, financial and opportunity cost.

Technology and digital business models are moving too rapidly for colleges or training programs to keep up, but companies don’t have to should the full burden.  The Professional’s Accelerator makes Attitude vs Aptitude an unnecessary choice.

Start-ups courting older talent – Boston.com.


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This is the model for academic/corporate partnership: MIT Launches New Center for Mobile Learning – MIT Media Relations

This is one of the most exciting moves in using innovative thinking and technology to move education forward, and comes about through a true development partnership between Google and MIT.    The Media Lab has always had a reputation for inter-disciplinary doing, creating some of the most forward thinking applications in the world.

 “The Center, housed at the Media Lab, will focus on the design and study of new mobile technologies and applications, enabling people to learn anywhere anytime with anyone. Research projects will explore location-aware learning applications, mobile sensing and data collection, augmented reality gaming, and other educational uses of mobile technologies.”

 

The genesis of the program according the press release was MIT Prof Hal Abelson’s work at Google, during his sabbatical, in creating the App Inventor for Android.  App Inventor has established a new system of programming, using what my non-engineering mind translates as a plug-and-play building block development process. This is the type of sabbatical & corporate/academic partnership that catapults opportunity–putting together the most creative researchers with the most innovative companies, with phenomenal results.  Add to this, MIT’s history of open sharing of results, data and product, and everyone can benefit.

MIT Launches New Center for Mobile Learning – MIT Media Relations.


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What great educators create on line–real innovative thinking in education

Virtual and Artificial, but 58,000 Want Course – NYTimes.com.

58,000 people from around the world have signed up to participate in a Stanford class on artificial intelligence.  From one woman who emailed the announcement to her network of colleagues it has become a virtual firestorm to sign up to learn free from the world’s experts on AI.  Students will get a certificate of participation and all will be ‘graded’ using new tech approaches such as personalized exams; new techniques include having students vote on which questions they want the instructors to address.

Instructors Sebastian Thrun and Peter Norvig articulate the vision:  changing the world by bringing education to places that can’t be reached today.

This is an exciting development that is sure to bring others forward in innovative thought in truly providing education to the world.  SAD TO SAY, but higher education has been one of the most backward industries in terms of innovation, technology or effectiveness.    Only the oil industry can outdo them in % increase in cost of product over the past 20 years, and higher education’s approach hasn’t changed much in the last 500 years.    Can you imagine any other industries using virtually the same ‘technology’ that it mastered 500 years ago?   Think about medicine, communications, transportation, manufacturing to name just a few.   And what turms ineffectiveness into tragedy is that arguably no other service is more important to our personal and economic well-being globally.

The for-profit participants in the field, for the most part, have taken the low road, preying on the uneducated and unsophisticated, to tap into the government’s student loan coffers, almost universally providing substandard education.

A few bright lights can begin to change this–Stanford’s pioneering work in the field, the pheomenal Kahn Academy, and perhaps 2Tor, in the for-profit space.

Kudos to Thrun or Norvig