Social Good Startup: Kopernik

kopernik dlight solar lanternKopernik is one of the 8 finalists to Startups Good Challenge that was held about a month ago, sponsored by the good guys at Mashable, 92Y and UN Foundation. I tried to reach out to all of the finalists, however, only 5 responded – with one left the event early, before I had the chance to interview the founder.

The criteria:

“Startups that are building or using technology to make a positive impact on the world will compete for a chance to present at the Social Good Summit and win a $10,000 cash prize for their company.”

So this is the first social good organizations out of four (that I was able to have conversations with) that will be featured here. The lineup: Kopernik, Empower Energy, Simple Energy and the winner of this competition – a 19-yo kid, Sun Saluter.

In this interview, I talked with Toshi Nakamura, the co-founder of Kopernik, a social enterprise who’s also a member of Clinton Global Initiative. Toshi and I shares one thing in common: Indonesia. Oh well, his organization is based in Indonesia, and I was lifted from there. That’s about it.

The problem that they’re trying to solve is in the distribution of life-changing technology to the last mile in the developing country (read: the poorest). Think of this business as the online store for innovative technologies, i.e. technology like what you see from the picture above showing d.light lantern, which is one of the products available from their store.

Continue reading “Social Good Startup: Kopernik”

Why Upskilling is Key to Staying Employable

why skilling up is key to employableWhat is it about the world that makes it more challenging to find work? I know at least a couple of friends who are educated and still looking for jobs.

Technology has lowered the barriers for people to learn. For example, ever since English become one of the official languages use on the Internet, teenagers in Indonesia these days speak better English than when I was their age!

So now because of technology and access to Internet, competition for the same kind of jobs can come from anywhere in the world.

A robot can even replace you, the worker. This is already happening (as we speak). Diapers.com, uses robots (not people!) to move things around. How about that?

It’s either another person or robot or machine. Whatever. You’ve got competition! This competition leave us with few choices: either reinvent, redefine – or toast.

How do you stay employable?

Well, I’ve got news for you. You can. Here is what you want to do: skillup and keep on learning – for as long as you able to work – for life! Because a college degree alone won’t be enough to keep you employable. You want to keep moving forward and continue to reinvent and redefine your career.

3 REASONS WHY YOU NEED TO SKILLS UP 

1. The future lies on your (continued) education

The  US Congress on Joint Economic Committee, recently did a study “Nowhere to Go” to see the impact of Free Trade to US workers. The study finds that older workers and those without a college education – are at risk (of losing jobs). That being said, jobs are hard to come by for those without college degree. “Since most of the jobs expected to be created are in sectors that require education beyond high school.”

According to Bureau of Labor Statistics, almost 11.9 million jobs between now and 2018 will be in professionals category, where 65% of employees have a four-year degree.

chart shows how jobs growth needs higher education Continue reading “Why Upskilling is Key to Staying Employable”

The Path to Find Your Next Big Ideas

bright ideaI recently had the opportunity to chat with Peter Sims, the author of “Little Bets,” at the Social Good Summit. Peter is also a co-founder of Fuse Corps, a social enterprise that partner up with government, mayors, etc. to help tackle the nation’s most pressing problems. This is part of his little bets.

Little bets are a way to explore and develop new possibilities. The idea is to start small experiment to discover big things. You have to go through the process to discover bigger and better ideas. There is no shortcut for that.

For example, comedian Chris Rock would practice (read: experiment) with his lines at small comedy clubs around where he lives – before he uses those lines (that worked) for the big stage.

The same is true with VCs, how they would invest in a number of different companies. Not all companies would succeed (if it works out 100% success ratio, it would be a dream!), however, from the companies they invest one of two would grow big and give multiple times payback to investors.

So before you dive in to the conversation, here are some the things you can learn from this conversation:

  • where Peter finds his inspiration
  • that it’s okay to fail

Continue reading “The Path to Find Your Next Big Ideas”

Flooding and Impact on Businesses

CLIMATE SKEPTICS need to pay attention here. This man, Richard Han, CEO of Hana Microelectronics talks to CNN how the floods impacting businesses. The water is 2 meter (about 2.18 yards) high and you have to get to the industrial park – by boat!

There’s a correlation between deforestation, climate, rainfall. When we talk about Thailand’s worst flooding in half a century, look at the impact on people and business.

Half a century ago, Thailand was not as populated as today. Probably few manufacturing companies set up shops here.

Now is a different story.

Down the chain line, since the beginning of this month Toyota, Nissan and Honda combined are losing 6,000 units/cars a day! If you add this to the overall Thailand’s exports. And calculate its impact deeper down the chain line – how it impacted their businesses around the world – the  number could be really huge!

Check this out.

Brands and the Power of Connected Citizens

Best global brands 2011

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to interview Simon Mainwaring, the author of “We First,” at Social Good Summit. If in the past, brands controlled the conversation. With social tools at people’s disposal, that is no longer the case.

Game changing: We First

The use of social tools changed how consumers view their relationships with brands. (even for those that do not fall under the category of big brands, i.e. business or people – like you and I) Because consumers now have the power to drive ‘the’ conversation.

So we talked about how connected citizens – those who are actively sharing their values via various social networks like Twitter, Facebook, etc. – choose to communicate with brands.

Some of the things that we discussed:

– The power of connected citizens.

We saw what’s happening in Egypt, Tunisia, Bahrain how people are reaching out despite the state of oppression in communicating the value of what they care. In the business world, for example, citizens’ participation in Pepsi Refresh Project. This is a project, where anyone with an idea can get their initiative funded.

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Think like a Startup. Visualize Your Business Model.. in 15 Minutes

“Ordinary people believe only in the possible. Extraordinary people visualize not what is possible or probable, but rather what is impossible. And by visualizing the impossible, they begin to see it as possible.”

~ Cherie Carter-Scott

This is the challenge for most entrepreneurs is that we often get caught up so much in daily things that we failed to see the big picture, focus on that and put it to work.

“Ordinary people believe only in the possible. Extraordinary people visualize not what is possible or probable, but rather what is impossible. And by visualizing the impossible, they begin to see it as possible.”

~ Cherie Carter-Scott

This is the challenge for most entrepreneurs is that we often get caught up so much in daily things that we failed to see the big picture, focus on that and put it to work.

The startup business framework created by Tom Hulme, IDEO’s Design Director at their London’s office, is simple enough for anyone to use. Whether you just have this idea that you think is very interesting, to large companies.

Continue reading “Think like a Startup. Visualize Your Business Model.. in 15 Minutes”

TV is so the ’90s

These are signals that show us that the next generation – Class of 2011 – don’t watch as much TV as the general population (that’s us). They use mobile for video viewing, blogs/ social networks for interaction and info.

These are signals that show us that the next generation – Class of 2011 – don’t watch as much TV as the general population (that’s us). They use mobile for video viewing, blogs/ social networks for interaction and info.

Kids Today…

  • Are the Heaviest Mobile Video Viewers: On average, mobile subscribers ages 12-17 watched 7 hours 13 minutes of mobile video a month in Q4 2010, compared to 4 hours 20 minutes for the general population.
  • Are More Receptive to Mobile Advertising than their Elders: More than half (58%) surveyed in September 2010 said they “always” or “sometimes” look at mobile ads.
  • Out-Text All Other Age Groups: In Q1 2011, teens 13-17 sent an average of 3,364 mobile texts per month, more than doubling the rate of the next most active texting demo, 18-24 year olds (1,640 texts per month).
  • Talk Less on the Phone: Besides seniors 65-plus, teens talk the least on their phones, talking an average of 515 minutes per month in Q1 2011 versus more than 750 minutes among 18-24 year olds.
  • Grew Up in the Age of Social Media—and It Shows: While they make up just 7.4 percent of those using social networks, 78.7 percent of 12-17 year olds visited social networks or blogs.
  • Watch Less TV than the General Population: The average American watched 34 hours 39 minutes of TV per week in Q4 2010, a year-over-year increase of two minutes. Teens age 12-17 watch the least amount of TV on average (23 hours 41 minutes per week).
  • Spend Less Time on their Computers: American 18 year olds averaged 39 hours, 50 minutes online from their home computers, of which 5 hours, 26 minutes was spent streaming online video.

via Nielsen Wire

Continue reading “TV is so the ’90s”