Monday, October 30, 2006

Networks as Education

Valdis Krebs, of the Ohio-based has a stunning display of the network of mathematician Paul Erdõs, and the more than 500 collaborators with whom he published scientific papers.
Experts have long argued about the optimal structure of a person's professional network. Some say that a dense, cohesive network brings more social capital, while others argue that a sparse, radial network, one that provides opportunities for innovation and entrepreneurial activity, equates to greater social capital. Erdõs's network shows both patterns -- a densely connected core along with loosely coupled radial branches reaching out from the core. According to Ron Burt -- a leading expert on social capital . . . radial ties reach diverse information and knowledge to create value, while the dense, trusted ties deliver value in discovered opportunities.
Related work in community development is reflected in the NetworkWeaving blog, ..."about creating smart economic networks... using network weaving and social network mapping and analysis." An example that's accessible online is E4S. The blogs, Brewed Fresh Daily and The Nati from the same area already reflect these emerging networks of shared knowledge and information.

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VA Companies among the Fast 500

Congratulations to Charlottesville's Blue Ridge Numerics and Richmond's Amentra among the 33 Virginia companies recognized in the Deloitte Technology Fast 500, announced in mid-October.

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Friday, October 27, 2006

Visualization of Text

This one of the stunning images created by Magnus Rembold and Jurgen Spath at Interaction Design Institute - University of Applied Sciences and Arts in Zurich

There are additional images here, as well as a description of the creation of this set of visualizations from the 2004 book, Total Interaction, which contains 19 essays on "the interaction" as a part of the world of man-machine-communications.

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Thursday, October 26, 2006

Images of

Very different images, all in some way unimaginable without the web, all worth being seen on their own pages.

An intermittently mobile favicon at Crown Sil.

A country relationship browser, courtesy of the CIA and

A collection of historical maps, and the software to see them in detail, at David Rumsey.

A graphic display of engagement at the 2006 O'Reilly Emerging Technology Conference BackChannel, complete with the technical explanation.

A presentation made manifest as a poster at Pop!Tech.

The quirky Holy Shallot and Delicious Soup (the latter requires a log-in).

An evolving image of dialogue in three languages at Spheres

Finally, at the Clock of the Long Now, the Longviewer display of long term bets and predictions.

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Wednesday, October 25, 2006

BGN Entrepreneur's Minute, Oct 24, 2006

(About one minute)

Welcome to Sean Tubbs, founder of the Charlottesville Podcasting Network

The BGN Entrepreneur's Minute is made possible by the generous support of the Robins School of Business at the University of Richmond

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Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Tools, Arriving and Departing

UPDATE: Try our new Google Co-op custom search engine at Entrepreneurship Search.

OptIn lists "...most of the online entrepreneurs consider it as the most treasured tool online."

We're sorry that Audioblogger is discontinung their service effective November 1, 2006. The BGN Entrepreneur's Minute started with Odeo's Audioblogger, and we appreciated their service.
Note: We use Evoca now, and have converted all the old files.

We do miss PubSub, our once-reliable means to "Search the Future!" Perhaps it's some consolation that we can now CallTheFuture

Looking forward to MoBeeline, a company out of the NYU Interactive Telecommunications Program, which features clothes with Bluetooth-enabled LEDs that display emoticons sent from cellphones. Thanks to Paul Kedrosky for pointing to the Telecom Asia article

The open source Timeline Tool (Longviewer) was designed as a server side tool for showing a series of events over centuries and millennia: Here's an example Biotechnology milestones

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X Prizes to Long Now

The Wirefly X Prize Cup wrapped up this weekend in New Mexico. Take a look at the amazing things our inventive entrepreneurs and students are doing. The Space Elevator contest did not have a monetary winner this year - Rumor is we can expect VA Tech to be a strong competitor next year.

For a different perspective, see The Long Bets Foundation started in 02001 in California. It is a partial spin-off from The Long Now Foundation, which is building a 10,000-year Clock (see sketch, below)and tools for a 10,000-year Library. Long Bets is one of the Library tools.

Their Current Predictions are intriguing:

Gregory W. Webster predicts: That by 2020 a wearable device will be available that will use voice recognition capability and high-volume storage to monitor and index conversations you have or conversations which occur in your vicinity for later searching as supplemental memory.

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Jefferson Corner Group Invests

According to McGregor McCance, of the Daily Progress
A new “angel fund” organized by the University of Virginia’s Patent Foundation could be just weeks away from announcing its first investments in startup technology businesses.
Jefferson Corner Group is the second local group focusing on angel-level financing to get started in the past year. The first, the Virginia Active Angel Network, formed last October and has invested in five startup companies.
“That’s a tremendous improvement for local entrepreneurs,” said Jim Lansing, executive director of the Charlottesville Venture Group, a nonprofit that focuses on offering practical education to entrepreneurs. “Financial capital is an essential element of commercializing great research.”
Lansing said having more early-stage financing in Central Virginia plays a role in developing the kind of climate that allows companies to keep their inventions and ideas in their backyard, while beefing up the coveted technology employment.
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Monday, October 23, 2006

Business Competitions

The Haas School of Business at Berkeley Lester Center for Entrepreneurship has published a long list of competitions open to students at any business school. The list beginns with the Innovation Challenge at Darden next month, and ends with the global business plan competition at Singapore Management University next July.

The World Bank Development Marketplace has pointers to several competitions in addition to the Global Development Marketplace, held every 12-18 months and open to all ideas that meet the published eligibility criteria. Awards range from US$50,000 to US$200,000. (Proposals for 2007 are due November 17, 2006)

This year they are seeking projects that improve health, nutrition and population outcomes for poor people in developing countries. Proposals should also address sub-themes, such as cost-effective approaches/methods/technologies to improve local capacity to gather, analyze and apply health, nutrition and population data. Last year, 2,600 proposals were submitted; 30 were funded.

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Saturday, October 21, 2006

Gravanity and Status Skills

From Springwise, we have a jet-sized example of gavanity from Trasavia Airlines.

And what is gravanity?
This is where graffiti meets vanity, an entire industry catering to the obsession of ordinary citizens wanting to leave ‘something’ behind in print, audio or imagery, preferably in the public domain. . Snippet from Trendwatching
Newest trend trendwatchers are watching: Status Skills
In economies that increasingly depend on creative thinking and acting, status symbols tied to owning and consuming goods and services will find competition from 'STATUS SKILLS': those skills that consumers are mastering to make the most of those same goods and services, bringing them status by being good at something, and the story telling that comes with it. Snippet from Trendwatching
Status skills originated in video gaming, in which skills are chosen, assigned or earned. Of course, Trendwatcher provides how-to guides for spotting and reporting new trends.

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Thursday, October 19, 2006

Flashy Maps

Images of the Charlottesville area, courtesy of Flash Earth by Media Temple. You can re-set the scale and map type as well as rotate the map.

Charlottesville, up close, by Microsoft

Charlottesville area, by Yahoo

Charlottesville area, by NASA

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Northeastern EntreTech Talks

Northeastern University's School of Technological Entrepreneurship has a nice library of podcasts by and about entrepreneurs in technology. Thus far, there are interviews (15 - 20 minutes) with students, venture capitalists, faculty and entrepreneurs.
The first question addressed in the EntreTechTalk series:
Are entrepreneurs born or can they be bred? Northeastern University’s School of Technological Entrepreneurship (STE) is exploring this debate through a first-hand look at the real-life experiences of future and current entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and professors in this podcast series.
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Wednesday, October 18, 2006

GRTC Welcomes VCU dean Dr. Russell Jamison

The Greater Richmond Technology Council's Good Morning Technology! series continues on October 20th with the new dean of the VCU Engineering School, Dr. Russell Jamison.
For more event information and details, see Zbutton and register with the GRTC.
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SolarPower2006 Online Coverage

From Paul Kedrosky:
This week's SolarPower 2006 conference in San Jose is seemingly turning into one of those epochal events in technology & finance, one where markets, popular imagination, and risk capital are in alignment.

Whatever your feelings about the near-term market, solar is interesting stuff, so it's nice to see the SolarPower conference organizers have put up videos from the event. Lots of good stuff, both in the archive, as well as live today and tomorrow. Check the photovoltaics market overview for one archive example.

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Commercialization killers

Guy Kawasaki on commercialization of research.
In an economic boomlet, organizations like research labs want a piece of the action. Their logic will go like this:
“The technology we invented for satellite imaging can be used for amateur video, so we could have created YouTube and sold to it to Google for $1.6 billion. Let’s find an investor to fund this since our budget is set for the year. How hard could it be to create a better YouTube?”

I’ve been on the other side of the table as these organizations try to negotiate a deal to spin out, license, or sell their technology. I can tell you that it’s almost always Mission: Impossible to get a deal done because most organizations try to stipulate the following conditions.
These conditions rest on the assumption that research is difficult, and creating a commercial product and a thriving business is easy.
Don't miss the comments by Chris at Eclectic Tech and by Michael O.

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Different about Silicon Valley?

Chris Shipley, of DEMO, on the concentration of entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley
... the marked difference between the Valley and Valley wanna-bes. This difference is the intangible “it” that is as difficult to describe as it is to replicate. The spirit and culture of entrepreneurship thrives in Silicon Valley. It is a culture that eschews stability and certainty. When a business fails, its people scatter to new ventures that are the basis of new possibility and economic growth.
The technology innovation that comes from outside the [Silicon] Valley is much more diverse, and arguably much more practical. I met about 30 companies across four days outside the Valley last week. Only two of those might have laid a claim to a “Web 2.0” moniker. That was refreshing.

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Tuesday, October 17, 2006

For Panelists, Moderators, Event Bloggers

For 10 rules on being a great panelist, see Paul Kedrosky. And those for being great moderator.

For advice on event blogging, see Eric Kintz's blog and Josh Hallett at Hyku.

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Monday, October 16, 2006

VCU Real Estate Institute

Virginia Commonwealth University has announced a gift of $2.5 million from successful developer Sam Kornblau, and the creation of the Kornblau Institute of Real Estate in the Business School. This announcement was made at the 16th annual Real Estate Trends Conference at VCU.
David H. Downs, the ranking real estate professor at VCU, added that the institute will examine issues such as land use, housing and commercial development, as well as homelessness, housing affordability and predatory lending.

VCU plans to engage departments and schools throughout the university to help examine those issues in what Downs called a "tapestry of expertise." Snippet from the Richmond Times-Dispatch
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Prosper - an E-Loan Marketplace

E-LOAN Co-Founder and Technology Entrepreneur Unveil the Next Evolution of Consumer Lending; An ''eBay for Credit'' for Loans up to $25,000.
In February 2006, Chris Larsen, co-founder of E-LOAN, and John Witchel, technologist and entrepreneur, formally announced the public debut of, America's first people-to-people lending marketplace, after two years of development.

The loan statistics as of October, 2006, are available here.

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Sunday, October 15, 2006

University Investments

Aaron Kessler's UVA Endowment Fund article includes an interesting perspective on hedge funds and University investment.
the University of Virginia Investment Management Company found out in fiscal year 2006 that while new money is great, too much of it at one time can cause its own challenges.UVIMCO, which manages UVa’s $3.5 billion endowment pool, has nearly 65 percent of its holdings invested in “alternative assets,” primarily in hedge funds. Snippet from the Daily Progress

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Saturday, October 14, 2006

The BGN Entrepreneur

Visit the BGNentrepreneur beta site.

Be a part of the Business Growth Network in Virginia. We welcome partners, Friends, and feedback.

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Friday, October 13, 2006

Event blogging

A different approach to blogging about an event in progress. Jon Lund of New Media Trends has opened his blog to a team of guestbloggers attending the New Media Conference, October 11 and 12 in Copenhagen. Lund is the director of the Association of Danish Internet Media.
Posting continues today.

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Warner on 2nd life

Second Life: Kissing Virtual Babies
Former Virginia Governor Mark Warner became the first politician to appear in an online video game Thursday. Governor Warner made an appearance in the 600,000-member Second Life universe, a kind of virtual world where participants can assume any identity they like. And his character played the part well, decked out in virtual dress pants, a sport coat, and a very presidential-looking red tie. Snippet from Red Herring.

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Attention Trust

The Attention Trust recently sponsored an event with "the Einstein of Attention, Michael Goldhaber" in San Francisco.

The Trust was co-founded by Steve Gillmor, creator of the Gillmore Daily Podshow:
Steve has been the leading voice on attention over the past few years, and AttentionTrust came into being when he and Seth Goldstein put their heads together and determined that an independent, nonprofit organization was needed to support the principle that users should control their own attention data. is a non-profit organization that is in the process of obtaining its 501(c)(3) designation from the I.R.S. While we work toward becoming an independent organization, we are operating under the fiscal sponsorship of the San Francisco Foundation.

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The Fall of Tower Records

A discussion of the demise of Tower Records in the context of The Long Tail. More detail and discussion from Mike at TechDirt.

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Thursday, October 12, 2006

VC Standards?

Interesting list of what VCs will fund and for how much at O'Reilly Radar.
From Marc Hedlund: The VC world needs to look at what Paul Graham and Y Combinator are doing with 1- to 3-person teams funded at $6,000 per team member.

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ADD and F Cubed

Tom Evslin's Fractals of Change points to a discussion about the qualities that characterize entrepreneurs, managers, VCs and others.
Fred Wilson at A VC Blog apparently re-started this discussion, which Jeff Stewart of Applied Disruption took back out to the web, referring to Dave Taylors' February post at Intuitive Sytems blog and Matt Inglot's Mattinglot in May, and a review on Powells of Thom Hartmann's The Edison Gene published in 2005.

See Matt Inglot's Five Reasons to be an Entrepreneur!

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Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Entrepreneurs, Widgets, Gadgets and Baseball

Andrew Fife's Entrepreneurship (and baseball) blog has several interesting widgets along with thoughts on entrepreneurship and investing.

Widgetbox is a great place to find free widgets. Last week, Google announced some free gadgets including Babelfish translations, satelitte maps, and Song Search (by tapping on the space bar), available here. Test drive three gadgets (including car pictures!) on Business Forum IX.

The Widigify blog is full of tips and explanations, as well as pointers to new widgets and gadgets.

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New ... Social Shopping

Ed Sim, of Beyond VC, has an interesting observation on an emerging business model.
The next step in this evolution of commerce will be social shopping or companies leveraging Citizen's Media (blogs, podcasts, videocasts, tagging) to drive commerce. According to, "Social Shopping is based on the principles outlined in the wisdom of crowds where a large group of users can recommend products to each other and between them work out what to buy and which ones have the most buzz."

Note the Bloglog Community on his sidebar. There are two other business-related Bloglog Communities at BusinessBlogWire and Loic Le Meur.

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Tuesday, October 10, 2006

New Business Books

A long post by Tom Ehrenfeld, reviewing the recent Financial Times/Goldman Sachs business book award shortlist, The Long Tail Small Giant Huge Box Wal-Mart Effect Shakes The World.

Snippet from 800CEOread:

I’m throwing them [the book titles] all together because they really fit as a group. To read them all in a group (as I have—with the exception of one) leaves the clear impression that, while each of these books shares one clearly realized and distinctive story, they all inform one another in a fashion that is more than additive.

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Guy Kawasaki interviews Polly LeBarre about her new book, Mavericks at Work: Why the Most Original Minds in Business Win, written with Bill Taylor.
Mavericks are defined by the power and originality of their ideas.
Mavericks may be fighters, but they’re not rebels without a cause and that is the critical distinction.
Just because you have a sharp-eyed point of view, doesn’t mean you need a sharp-elbowed approach to pursuing it.
The open-source insight is simply that you don’t have to be smart enough to have all the answers-you just have to be smart enough to invite other people to play in your sandbox.
Mavericks are fierce competitors, and they’re always measuring how they’re doing. But they’re also remarkably generous, and they’re always asking how they’re helping.
Taylor's and LeBarre's Manifesto on ChangeThis.

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Monday, October 09, 2006


It seems that Michael Buckbee of Virginia Beach, has founded Fabjectory, a startup that sells real objects custom-created from the digital items coded by Second Life folks. He turns electronic characters and objects into incredibly detailed real-life statuettes.
From Buckbee's blog:
We’ve been having fun struggling with the first batch of avatars. I’ll save it for another post, but there are MASSIVE differences in complexity and work between avatars. In the prototypes, I thought I was pushing things with finely detailed tattoos, etc. Turns out the real test is avatars sporting 1000+ prims on their bodies (argh).

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Blogging in Motion

Yahoo's Hack Day winner was Blogging in Motion.
Jeremy Zawodny's Recap has a quick summary of the event.

From David Homack at Venture Blog:
The fact that Yahoo embraced engineers from startups and design shops throughout the ecosystem is indicative of the sort of coopetition that is going on around the web these days.
Big organizations like Yahoo, Google and Amazon are making significant pieces of their infrastructure available to third parties for development of new applications.

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Sunday, October 08, 2006

ETRE 2006

The European Technology Roundtable Exhibition ETRE 2006 begins today in Barcelona. The theme is Disruption, Globalization and New Challenges.
Keynote speakers are primarily CEOs of global technology companies, including Sony, IBM, SKYPE, and Lucent this year.
An ETRE signature forum, “Meet the Money” provides a select group of 10 entrepreneurs of early-stage companies with the opportunity to deliver an elevator pitch to a panel of leading venture capitalists. The panelists provide immediate and valuable feedback.
The CVG Business Plan Review is a great first step toward this international event.

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Saturday, October 07, 2006

Netflix Competition

Earlier this week, Netflix offered an award of $1,000,000 for improving the accuracy, by at least 10%, of movie recommendations based on personal preferences.

The Information Week article, and the NetFlix announcement.

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"Writing as IT"

Joshua Porter, of Bokardo provides an excerpt from a book in development. The author, Bill Hart-Davidson, seeks feedback from readers. Snippets:
for most users of information technology, the digital, computational nature of the information they work with is all but invisible in the day-to-day tasks they do. And, more importantly, in the goals, hopes, and even the pragmatic activities and tasks that users engage information technology to accomplish, computation is conspicuously absent, even actively avoided. Through information technology, computation provides a medium for augmenting our ability to create and use information (Dourish, 2001). Writing, it turns out, does this too.
Traditional views of writing assume writers and readers are engaged in a special kind of conversation, one where the text stands in for one or more absent participants. My view of writing, on the other hand, assumes that writing is a medium, and that people are more often users of texts (as opposed to participants in a conversation); writing is not the focus of the action, but a powerful context for action.
Comments on this are welcome and encouraged at Bokardo, where the author is engaged in the dialogue.

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Thursday, October 05, 2006

BGN Entrepreneur's Minute October 5, 2006

The BGN Entrepreneur's Minute is made possible by the Robins School of Business.

Warren Thompson, founder and CEO of Thompson Hospitality and graduate of the Darden School of Business, recorded immediately after his presentation to the Charlottesville Venture Group.

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Welcome to the Center for Nonprofit Excellence

BGN welcomes the Center for Nonprofit Excellence of Charlottesville.
The Center for Nonprofit Excellence (CNE) is the first local resource center founded to help strengthen the capacity of the nonprofit community through training and technical assistance, information sharing, education, and collaboration. Located in Charlottesville, we also serve the surrounding counties of Albemarle, Fluvanna, Greene, Louisa, and Nelson.

Founder Wendy Brown (center, right) greets guests at the CNE launch.

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Archon Genomics X Prize

On October 4, the X Prize Foundation announced the Archon Genomics X Prize of $10 Million.

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Celebrating Entrepreneurs

Thanks to Cafe Hayek for this quote from Johan Norberg:
The people we should thank are the innovators and entrepreneurs, the individuals who see new opportunities and risk exploring them -- the people who find new markets, create new products, think out new ways to handle commodities commercially, organize work in new ways, design new technology or transfer capital to more productive uses. The entrepreneur is an explorer, who ventures into uncharted territory and opens up the new routes along which we will all be traveling soon enough. Simply to look around is to understand that entrepreneurs have filled our lives with everyday miracles.
Entrepreneurs are serial problem-solvers who search out inefficiencies and find more practical ways of connecting possible supply with potential demand.

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Demos and Funding Presentations

Aspiring entrepreneurs with funding presentations coming up - there are more than 60 short video examples to watch from DemoFall 2006, including BriteSoft Corp. from Reston.

The next step: contact CVG for their Business Plan Review.

And for developers, check out BrainJam and the Silicon Valley CodeCamp 2006, October 7 and 8.

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Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Warren Thompson to Address CVG

Warren Thompson, of Thompson Hospitality, will share his advice on collaboration for success on with CVG on Thursday, Oct 5 at 5:30 PM the Darden School of Business.
Register at CVG, Information and map at Zbutton

Speaker Bio:
Warren Thompson is the President and Chairman of Thompson Hospitality. After beginning his career with the Marriott Corporation in 1983, Mr. Thompson founded Thompson Hospitality Corporation in 1992. In 1997, he formed a new division, Thompson Hospitality Services, L.L.C., in partnership with Compass Group North America, to concentrate on the booming contract food service business.
Thompson Hospitality now is located in 45 states and is on the campus of more than 20 Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Today, Thompson Hospitality is one of the largest minority owned businesses in the United States and the largest minority owned foodservice Company in the world. From 1994 through 2005, Thompson Hospitality has been recognized by Black Enterprise Magazine as one of the country’s top 100 minority businesses in total revenue. Thompson received his B.A. in Managerial Economics from Hampden-Sydney College and his M.B.A. from University of Virginia's Colgate Darden Graduate School of Business Administration.

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The BGN Entrepreneur's Minute, Oct 4, 2006

(about one minute)
October and November events:

Warren Thompson speaks on Collaboration at CVG
TVF Ventures Out
The Virginia Capital Day
Business Forum IX and the BusinessForumIX Blog
The Innovation Challenge at Darden.

The BGN Entrepreneur's Minute is made possible by the Robins School of Business.

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Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Entrepreneurs in the Spotlights

Several sites focus on illumnating entrepreneurship as it is unfolding on the web.

Start-up Review consists of case studeis of successful online entrepreneurs, including Zappos and Craigslist.

TechCrunch looks at new applications after 6 and 12 months.

ZBiz interviews emerging entrepreneurs.
ZBIZ.TV is dedicated to broadcasting weekly interviews with entrepreneurs from early stage companies. Most of the companies we interview have received at least one angel round of financing and are less than one year old.

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Monday, October 02, 2006

Tao of Backup

Thank you to Guy Kawasaki for pointing to The Tao of Backup.

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