Thursday, May 31, 2007

Copyright and Authorship

Professor Tim Wu, of Columbia Law School, recently published "On Copyright's Authorship Policy", available to download from the Internet Archive

It has long been the stated aspiration of copyright to make authors the masters of their own destiny. Yet more often than not, the real subject of American copyright is distributors ... who control the rights, bring the lawsuits, and take copyright as their industries’ “life-sustaining protection.” Modern American copyright history revolves heavily, ... on distributors, either asking for more industry protection, or fighting amongst themselves.

Today, there are lessons for copyright’s authorship policy in the more than five million items under Creative Commons licenses, the proliferation of Open Access licensing in academia, and the use of open source licenses by commercial entities like IBM and Apple. Snippets from On Copyright's Authorship Policy

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Startup Questions

In an oddly titled post, "Flattery Will Get You Nowhere", the Early Stage VC Peter Rip gives some good advice to the CEOs of startups, in the form of questions to pose to potential partners and investors.

He concludes: But if they have a well-formed interest, they will be all too happy to share these data [the answers to his questions] with you to move the conversation along rapidly. If they don’t, they are looking for an education.

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D5 Reports

c|net news has a summary of last night's Jobs/Gates event at the D5 conference. Video clips are available at All Things D

Interestingly, many of the early blog posts about this event include at least one of the video clips, and non-English text. Perhaps Jordon Bedwell's comment (in English) explains this:
They discussed Windows 95, Basic and Floating Basic, yes I know it makes you blush and feel fluffy inside, its sad that we all couldn’t be there.

Steve Kulp of Free Association has posted an old B&W picture of Gates and Jobs on stage together back in the day.
UPDATE: Thank you for the clarification, Steve.

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21st Century Careers

Even Carmine Coyote at Slow Leadership thinks well of Penelope Trunk's new book, The Brazen Careerist: New Rules for Success, saying:
Penelope Trunk does [offer young people career advice], so if you’re in the early stages of a typical 21st-century career — feeling lost, staring at your resumé and trying to work out how to hide the blemishes, wondering whether you made the right choice, or trying to plan the best way to get that promotion — this is the book for you.

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Wednesday, May 30, 2007

D 5 Underway

The D: All things Digital, The Wall Street Journal Executive Conference underway in California will include Bill Gates and Steve Jobs together.

(Live info here)

Current video at 3:00 PM Eastern Time: John McCain


Copyrights, Lessig and Helprin

Lawrence Lessig has started a wiki discussion of copyright in response to Mark Helprin's recent OpEd article in the NY Times, "A Great Idea Lives Forever. Shouldn’t Its Copyright?", who suggests that copyrights, like physical property rights, should last forever. Helprin concludes: No good case exists for the inequality of real and intellectual property, because no good case can exist for treating with special disfavor the work of the spirit and the mind.

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reCaptcha Barnraising

Word puzzles known as CAPTCHAs (completely automated public Turing tests to tell computers and humans apart) will become part of the effort to digitize texts. The project, named reCAPTCHA, is one of many projects that enlist the wisdom of the crowd to organize and evaluate information.

Luis von Ahn, professor of computer science at Carnegie Mellon, helped develop the CAPTCHAs about seven years ago. He says that optical character recognition doesn't always work on text that is older, faded or distorted. The only way to digitize those is to type them into a computer manually. Von Ahn is working with the Internet Archive, which runs several book-scanning projects, to use CAPTCHAs for this instead.

It's definitely a barn-raising to try to build the great library," said Brewster Kahle, co-founder of the Internet Archive. Snippets from CNN Tech News and Tech Shout.

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Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Copyright and Writers

Fresh from Madelyn Wessel's brief but excellent presentation on copyright in the context of web publishing for the UVA New Horizons conference, I thought folks might be interested in Eric Faden's animated Fair(ly) Use Tale. The above link is to the Stanford Law School Center for Internet and Society, which provided the following synopsis of the short video:
Professor Eric Faden of Bucknell University created this humorous, yet informative, review of copyright principles delivered through the words of the very folks we can thank for nearly endless copyright terms.

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Online Publishing

Paul Kedrosky recently published a new graph from the Online Publishers Association (below). Founded in June 2001, the Online Publishers Association (OPA) is a not-for-profit industry trade organization dedicated to representing high-quality online content providers before the advertising community, the press, the government and the public. The OPA produces groundbreaking research into online advertising and media consumption, including an Internet Activity Index.

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From Where 2.0

From O'Reilly Radar, Arthur Bergman's quick overview of Where 2.0 presentations on various aspects of the geo world:

National Geographic MetaLens is a new service and API to integrate maps, media and data. It then allows you to do spatial filtering and temporal tags.
GeoCommons allows people to create maps based on data available under a Creative Commons Attribution license. Allows layering multiple datasets together to create custom reports, without any programming skill.
FatDoor is a new location based social network site with a twist. With over a 100 million pre populated profiles, it builds a social network of people living around you.
Swivel G allows you to take Swivel datasets and plot them over geographical maps.
Dopplr is a tool for people that travel a lot. By inputing your trips into dopplr, it will show you where you are going, and who else is going to be there.
UpNext has a 3d cityscape of New York, with a mashup from You can click on any building to find out what is in it, as well as tag buildings.

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Saturday, May 26, 2007

Edu-Entrepreneurs in SL

The education community, especially librarians and specialists in educational technology, just succeeded at something that many corporations and emerging businesses have attempted. They became a community in-world that quickly developed enough experience in online collaboration that they were able to present a large public event in SL that stretched, but did not break, the system capacity. The Education in Second Life: Best Practices conference arose from a model of best practice within SL.

Over a 24 period, there were hourly presentations in three locations, as well separate locations for vendors, posters and a welcome area. There was a wiki for registration, presentation abstracts, event schedules and vendor and sponsor information and logistics updates. The SLIC2007 blog was updated all day by Ryan Bretag, who provided brief descriptions and snapshots of presentations as they were being completed. The presentations were available live on the web as streaming video from Second Life Cable Network, and will be available online soon as archives.

There were more than 1,000 advance registrations; and an in-world headcount of more than 850 unique avatars part-way through the day. Most presentations were held at capacity, with just a bit of room available at the overflow locations. Both the poster area, at Rockcliffe University, and the vendor displays, at the New Media Consortium's Outreach site, were crowded all day. These display locations will remain available over the weekend.

Kudos to the organizing committee, especially Chris Collins of the University of Cincinnati, and Beth Ritter-Guth of LeHigh Carbon Community College. It speaks volumes for this group that the wiki front page was updated last night with a thank you from the organizing committee to the 200+ avatars who helped make the conference a success.

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Best Practices in SL Education

Fleep Tuque presented some preliminary results from her survey of educational institutions in SL. Here are some of the initial observations and recommendations:
  • Identify the educational institution clearly - on the ground in SL, in directories, in links from the institution's existing web site.
  • Provide clear navigation - footpaths, teleport systems, signage. For a great example, take a look at the Chilbo region - Fleep is responsible for most of the helpful signs, sidewalks and teleport kiosks.

Much of the SL conference will be archived, and available at Second Life Cable Network TV

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Friday, May 25, 2007

Fleep and Wainbrave

Two very creative SL avatars are speaking tonight at the SL Education Conference, avatar Wainbrave Bernal, of the University of Oregon, and avatar Fleep Tuque of the University of Cincinnati.

Wainbrave will talk about the Salamander project. Fleep, organizer of the conference, will wrap up at midnight (EST) with an overview of best practices in SL.

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SL Education Best Practices

An extraordinary event is unfolding in SL today.

The International Education Conference has been underway since midnight, and SL is full of educators and librarians presenting their experiences in formal keynotes, posters, panel discussions, and informal meetings.

I checked out the Poster display, and spoke briefly with avatar Elaine Tulip of the Chicago Public Schools about their librarians' work in SL. For more information, see her blog and site.

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SL Education Posters

Here are some of the posters available during the SL Education Conference, illustrating some of the SL educational activities and installations. The full list is here.

Mary Ann Clark's Gene Pool, a Second Life educational site where anybody can learn about genetics.

Yvonne Heyning on the use of Machinima in the virtual world, a mash up many of our previous and future projects in a single look at moving cross-platform with new media.

Lisa Perez from the Chicago Public Schools on K-12 librarians' use of SL.

Alan Hudson on collaboration in the SL Genetics Center.

Jean-Claude Bradley on intellectual property in the sciences.
UPDATE Correction: teaching and research in organic chemistry in Second Life - Thank you for your comment, Jean-Claude.

Sharon Tettegah on SLQuest: What happened to WebQuest?

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SL Education Presentations

Here are some of today's presentations at the SL Education Conference: Best Practices. The full schedule includes times and locations in SL.

Deb Butler on A Living London: Non-Educational Sims that Work for Education.

Jeremy Koester on Gaming and Learning in SL Talk. An outside the box look at immersive environment opportunities in SL.

Marie Digne on The Center for Water Studies: a virtual simulation for real life education.

Suku Sinnappan on Virtual Identity and Representation.

Josephine Dorado and Dan Winckler on Creative Collaboration and Cultural Exchange.

Beth Ritter-Guth on Monsters to Monarchs: Teaching Literature Using SL, and later, The GenX Professor: Teaching Issues for the Non-Tenured.

En Ye on Using SL to Enhance Software Engineering Education: The MO-SEProcess Game & SL Groupthink Game.

John Jamison (avatar Virtual Bacon) on Two Years of Introducing Educators to Second Life in 60 Minutes, or: Tips for Dinosaur Wrangling.

Jonathan Richter (avatar Wainbrave Bernal) on Creating a community of practice and searchable database of learning objects in Second Life: The SaLamander Project.

Chris Collins (avatar Fleep Tuque) on SL Best Practices in Education: An observational survey of educational institutions in the virtual world of Second Life.

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SL Education Conference Reports

Akela Talamasca of SL Insider points to an interview with Rebecca Nesson on SL as a classroom in ComputerWorld.

Eloise Pasteur has posted an early report from the Education Conference in SL, which began earlier today with a presentation by Birdie Newborn, entitled Breaking Loose - Educators at Large.

Presentation abstracts and posters are online.

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Thursday, May 24, 2007

New Horizons at UVA - Final Day

The New Horizons for Teaching, Learning and Research wraps up today with a series of workshops on tools and technologies covered earlier, including Collab/Sakai, podcasting, videoconferencing, Camtasia, and the Google Books Project.

In addition to presentations covered earlier, U.Va. Library’s global information system specialist Chris Gist demonstrated some of the new design and presentation opportunities emerging with GoogleMaps, including GMapEZ and MyMaps. Kathy Gerber covered date mining, and Ed Hall and Katherine Holcomb addressed Computational Science at UVA.

The conference has been a fascinating look at some extraordinary UVA initiatives and experiments, and the creative and expanding use of technology in teaching and research at the University. Although designed for students and faculty, the conference was open to members of the larger community.

Congratulations to the UVA Library on the success of this first conference!

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Darden Alumi in 50 under 50

According to UVA Today, three alumni of the Darden School of Business have been named to Black MBA Magazine’s Top 50 Under 50 list. They are Eric P. Brown (Darden '84); Octavia Matthews (Darden '89); and Lewis M. Warren (JD/MBA '87). Brown is a divisional vice president for Charter Communications. Matthews is vice president for regional branch services at Grainger, Inc.; and Warren is deputy head of global investment banking at Banc of America Securities.

In 2006, four Darden graduates were among those honored: Thomas Baltimore (MBA ’91), Bryan Simms (MBA ’94), Warren Thompson (MBA ’83), and William Wright (MBA ’87).

Darden’s Executive Education program has again been ranked among the world’s best according to the Financial Times.

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Overviews of Education in SL

The Chronicle of Higher Education has a blog on the Wired Campus, including a short video on the recent opening of the San Jose State University's School of Library and Information Science in SL.

A Trailfire trail points to numerous recent articles on Second Life in higher education.

Librarians Matter and eLearning Art and Design summarize the recent SL conference, Virtual Worlds, Real Learning? sponsored by the UK-based EduServe Foundation.

Also from the UK, Dave Taylor's Knowledge Transfer Innovations.

SLOZ, the Australian Second Life News Source on educational institutions and projects in SL.

Dembe Wellman's Puritan's Guide to Second Life guide to real life education places.

Avatar Milosun Cervik's Milosun's Musings

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007

BGN Entrepreneur's Minute, May 23,2007

(About one minute)

Talking with Martha Sites, University of Virginia's Associate University Librarian for production and technology services, about the New Horizons Conference.

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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Preparing for SL Education Conference

Wesley Fryer, at Moving at the Speed of Creativity, points to the upcoming education conference in SL this Friday. Are we far enough into the educational uses of SL to have “best practices?” I’m not sure, but I’m guessing we’ll find out at the conference!

Joop Van Schie, of Aggiornamento II has series of short posts about educators and educational experiments in SL. They include a pointer to a SL listserv for educators.

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Virtual Heritage Imagery

Institute for Digital Theology hsd created a virtual tour of the Upper Church of the Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi in San Francisco.
The tour is based on architectural aspects of the building and images taken prior to the disastrous 1997 earthquake that caused extensive damage to the structure. The result is a stunning electronic tour of the basilica before some of its artwork was irreparably damaged.

Dr. Glenn Gunhouse, of the Georgia State University, School of Art and Design is involved in adapting new technologies to the needs of teachers and researchers in the field of Art History. See some of his work among the Pelican Crossing's Virtual Heritage images. (Sample below)

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Collab and Collex

Day 1 of the University of Virginia New Horizons conference pointed to some sophisticated projects using Collex and Sakai Collab.

Bethany Nowviske's PataCriticism blog addresses the development of NINES (Networked Infrastructure for Nineteenth Century Electronic Scholarship) with Collab.

David Germano described his Sakai Collab work on the Tibet and Himalayan project for coursework.

The conference continues through Thursday, with several early presentations available again. The schedule is here.

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Tuesday, May 22, 2007

New Horizons at UVA

The University of Virginia New Horizons for Teaching and Research conference is underway, with presentations and demos of new online tools and collaborative projects.

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Sloodle: Moodle + SL

The Sloodle White Paper by Jeremy Kemp and Daniel Livingston outlines the advantages and weaknesses of Multi-User Virtual Environments for teaching and explores the possible benefits of integrating them closely with traditional Learning Management Systems.

Sloodle offers an extraordinary array of new tools, reviews, and emerging technology for educational uses in SL. Sloodle 1.0 was presented at the Higher Education Academy, UK, in late March.

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Educators in SL

Many online collaborative groups for educators in Second Life are summarized here.

Jeremy Kemp manages the Second Life Education Wiki for Linden Lab.

Sarah (avatar Intellagirl) Robbins manages the SL Researchers list She has just launched UberNoggin, and is preparing a Second Life for Dummies. Earlier this month, she reviwed Jaiku, an alternative to Twitter.

The wiki for SLED (Second Life in Education) includes a great introduction to SL education resources.

WebHeads, a community of practice online, has a new article on MUVEs, and education in SL.

To round this out, there's a Grad Student Colony, and 19 pages of posts tagged education and Second Life on

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The New Media Consortium 2007 Horizon Report includes an overview of virtual worlds as learning spaces.

This reports points to new forms of scholarship, including new research, publication tools and standards. It describes virtual worlds as environments in which we can collaborate, explore, role-play and experience other situations in a safe but compelling way. Social networking may become a key way to increase student access to and participation in education.

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Monday, May 21, 2007

Intro to Education in SL

Fresh from our coverage of the Mary Washington University Faculty Academy, and in anticipation of the first International Education Conference in SL on May 25, we are looking at education in SL this week, beginning with the current Terra Nova post on teaching and learning, and an earlier Terra Nova post on the Trinity University student-designed SLeuth.

Ian Lamont interviews Rebecca Nesson, of the Harvard university father/daughter team of Charles and Rebecca Nesson who taught CyberOne: Law in the Court of Public Opinion, a joint Harvard Law School/Harvard Extension School course that was presented jointly in Second Life.

Mike Sellers points to a recurring issue for the use of virtual worlds as teaching and learning tools:
In many virtual worlds its possible to get a hundred or more people together in the same place, which creates great dynamics for chatting, trading, fighting, etc. In SL, it’s all but impossible to get more than a dozen or so people together unless they ... disable their more intricate user-created content. What this means is ... the unbounded complexity of user-created data puts a low ceiling on the number of people who can get together, and thus limits the social dynamics that can emerge.

The MacArthur Foundation Digital Media and Learning Grants list is an interesting context for education in virtual worlds.

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Educators and Librarians in SL

The University of Cincinnati SL Wiki provides several papers on educational resources and groups in SL, including Blended Realities by Cynthia Calongne, Colorado Technical University, and Jeff Hiles, Wright State University. Snippets follow.

Education organizations with a presence in SL
• New Media Consortium (
• Alliance Library System
• Second Life Educators Wiki at SimTeach
• Second Life Education SLED community email list
• Real Life Education in Second Life group

Educators can pick up teaching tools at the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Library. Founded by Ross Perkins (avatar Milosun Czervik) of Virginia Tech, the ICT Library is part of a cluster of libraries on Info Island, an initiative originally funded by the Alliance Library System. The Second Life Library at Info Island, HealthInfo Island, and Caledon Library in Caledon’s Victorian sim support researchers, scholars and residents thanks to the efforts of Lori Bell (avatar Lorelei Junot), Carol Perryman (avatar Carolina Keats), JJ Jacobson (avatar JJ Drinkwater) and other distinguished librarians.

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Education at the 2007 Maker Faire

O'Reilly Publishing's hybrid magazine/book MAKE created the Maker Faire. Here are some recent blog posts:

Great photos from PBrush at Live Journal

More photos from the Makezine Blog

Photos and convention coverage from Think Andrew

From Little Devices that Could

From MacBookPro

Daniel Terdiman on Power Tool Drag Racing

And my favorite so far: A c|net article about Nifer Fahrion, who took skill she learned at last year's Maker Faire and turns it into a business she brought to this year's event.

BTW, I came across these last two items at the Findory mobile news aggregator.

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Sunday, May 20, 2007

The Groups and the Faithful in SL

Wagner James Au provides a reasonable picture (below) of the social circles of SL.

He also notes that efforts to create a non-denominational group of the faithful in SL have again collided with real world issues in a recent New World Notes.

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Academy Awards, Virtually

According to CNN, Ailin Graef, Anshe Chung in Second Life, and Jon Jacobs, Neverdie of Entropia Universe, have announced the creation of a Virtual Worlds Academy.

The academy will accept nominations on its Web site for categories like "Best Virtual World," "Best Virtual Fashion Designer" and "Most Dynamic Virtual Economy."

In February, the winners will receive virtual statues at live ceremonies in Second Life and Entropia Universe.

BTW, Graef, with her 60 full-time employees, has business interests in Entropia Universe, There and IMVU, as well as Second Life.

Thanks to avatar Wolf Pau for pointing to this news.

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Saturday, May 19, 2007

Fast Companies of Virginia

The current issue of FastCompany profiles Fabjectory and The Martin Agency:
In fact, even though gauging ROI (return on investment) has become the advertising mantra of the moment, that has been a Martin strength since the agency bought a little New York direct-mail firm in 1986 and moved it to Richmond. Snippet from FastCompany.

Fabjectory is profiled in the Future Tech section. Founder Michael Buckbee meets clients online in Second Life for the avatars he re-creates as resin statues. Pathfinder Linden's avatar is here. We first took note of Fabjectory last October.

More on recognition of the Martin Agency, as well as their new Wal-Mart project.

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Friday, May 18, 2007

Thanks, Evoca

A special note on Evoca, with which we produce the BGN Entrepreneur's Minute live from events. The support team has been wonderfully responsive, and fixed every mistake I've made thus far. Thank you, Evoca!

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FA07 Wrapup

Creators of the Mary Washington Faculty Academy provide insight into faculty use of sophisticated, and simple, web applications to expand and transform the creation, transmission, archiving, and sharing of knowledge.

First up, Martha Burtis:

(About 2 minutes)

And Gardner Campbell:

(About 1 minute)

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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UMW and the New Media Consortium

Alan Levine's presentations to the Mary Washington Faculty Academy are available through the FA07 web site and wiki. Here is his quick take on the conference.

(About 4 minutes)

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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BGN Entrepreneur's Minute, May 17, 2007

Mary Washington intrapreneur Jim Groom on the work of the Teaching and Learning Technologies division, and their engagement in the Faculty Academy.

(About 4 minutes)

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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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Faculty Academy Day 1

The University of Mary Washington Faculty Academy is a jewel of a conference. The variety of faculty experiments, and depth of experience, in using new web applications in course delivery is exceptional. There are blog posts as well as presentation material at the Faculty Academy site.

The podcast, below, by Professor Gosetti-Murrayjohn deals with her use of web tools in a recent course in Homer that was taught in conjunction with a course on Dante. The blog for that course is The Afterlife in the Italian and Classical Traditions.

Tomorrow afternoon, Karen Stephenson will speak on Transforming Higher Education. UPDATE: Live video from the Faculty Academy here.

(About one minute)

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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Guy and the Brazen Careerist

Guy Kawasaki interviews Penelope Trunk, the Brazen Careerist, on career guidance for this century. Snippet follows:
Question : Is it more important to be competent or likable?

Answer: People would actually rather work with someone who is incompetent and likeable than competent and unlikable. Most people nod in agreement when they read this. It’s the unlikable people who form arguments in their head.
But there’s more. At work, if you are unlikable, people start thinking you are less competent.

If you need some time to perfect this likability stuff, you may want to check out NoSo.


Matt on Entrepreneurship

Matthew Mullenweg, the founding developer of WordPress, and PhotoMatt blogger on a Meaningful Overnight Relationship:
I think what they [the media] really want is an unusually young founder, possibly with a partner, who stumbled on an idea in an epiphany moment, implemented it in days, and then enjoyed overnight success, preferably capped with some sort of financial hook such as a huge VC funding or selling out to a large company for millions of dollars.
I’m not a millionaire, and may never be, but there are now hundreds of people making their living using WordPress, and I expect that number to grow to tens of thousands. That’s what gets me out of bed in the morning...

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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Social (Editorial) Calendars

Steve Rubel of Micropersuasion says:
Editorial calendars break out some ... of the major feature articles an outlet plans to publish. This helps PR professionals target their pitches to fit into these stories. However, it's really intended for media buyers so they can purchase ad space near very relevant articles. These are guides and the information changes frequently. The information is usually part of a media kit. They tend to be sparse too.

There's a lot of room for innovation when it comes to editorial calendars. For starters, why shouldn't they be social?

In the interest of furthering this discussion (and structuring my life a little bit) I have published an editorial calendar for Micropersuasion.

MyEdCals is a large database of editorial calendars. ARA Content provides copyright-free content as well as editorial calendars. But the Forward blog explains why editorial calendars are long out of date.

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RedHerring 100

The list of 100 RedHerring Innovators includes some favorites like Dabble, Pandora, and Right Media.
The conference, Ten years of Innovation and Disruption, featured presentations from the Red Herring 100 North America Award winners, and keynote addresses from legendary VC investors and CEOs of leading Internet, information and communications corporations.

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Monday, May 14, 2007

MWU Faculty Academy

The 12th annual Mary Washington University Faculty Academy begins Wednesday, with Change and the 21st‑Century College Teacher: Deep Learning, Slow Blogging and the Tensions of Web 2.0 by Barbara Ganley of the Middlebury College Center for Teaching, Learning and Research. Today is the last day to register for this event.

The keynote talk by Dr. Stephenson of Netform will be delivered on Thursday. Alan Levine, of the New Media Consortium, will present Being There: Networks, Tweets, and Avatars on Wednesday.

The results of the NMC survey on educators in Second Life should be available in June.

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Hobbyist Baby Boomers

The latest installment on Ruinous Baby Boomers: A Wall Street Journal article describes the Baby Boomers as hobbyist employees and entrepreneurs, and Joe Queenan of CEO takes them to task, saying that
In a piece of genuinely alarming news, The Wall Street Journal reports that baby boomers reaching retirement age are increasingly taking jobs as “hobbies".
If what The Journal is saying is true, if the American work force—on the very brink of being handed over to the care of hard-working, enthusiastic youngsters—is instead ready to morph into a glorified activities center for early retirees, then woe betide this society.

Another point of view: Carol Osborn argues on Change This,
that instead of participating in a complicated generational tug-of-war of who is more relevant, Gen X and Gen Y must learn from Boomers because these following generations will also face the same elongated lifespans and increased vitality…and buying power.

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e-state Vermont

According to Tom Evslin on Fractals of Change, the Vermont House and Senate has just passed the legislation to become the first e-state:
As defined in Vermont, e-stateness means cellular and adequate broadband coverage – fixed and mobile – everywhere in the state by 2010.

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Saturday, May 12, 2007

Paul Graham's Wisdom on Investors

Snippets from Paul Graham's Hacker's Guide to Investors:

... the angel investors are probably the more critical ingredient in creating a Silicon Valley. Where do angel investors come from? From other startups.

... VCs like publicity. They need to market themselves to the investors who are their "customers"— [those] whose money they invest. What they're good at is reading people, and making deals work to their advantage. Think twice before you try to beat them at that.

Investors always say what they really care about is the team. Actually what they care most about is your traffic, then what other investors think, then the team. If you don't yet have any traffic, they fall back on number 2, what other investors think.

In principle investors are all competing for the same deals, but the spirit of cooperation is stronger than the spirit of competition. So you will not, as of this writing, be able to get investors into an auction for your series A round. Note: See Prosper for a different take on this for small investments.

Instead of acting tough [with investors], what most startups should do is simply always have a backup plan. Always have some alternative plan for getting started if any given investor says no.

My advice is to err on the side of safety: when someone offers you a decent deal, just take it and get on with building the company. Startups win or lose based on the quality of their product, not the quality of their funding deals.

See also Graham's 2005 piece on How to Fund a Startup.

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A VC on Investors

David Homik of Venture Beat has a long piece on participating in the recent Web 2.0 Expo panel "Venture Capital 2.0: Bright Future or Broken Forever"
Moderator Mike [Arrington] tried hard to get the traditional VCs (me included) to fight with the angel guys (Josh [Kopelman] and Jeff [Clavier]). His thesis was that angel investors will ultimately get all of the returns because there is so little money required to build a big internet business these days. The panelists disagreed.
The TechCrunch 2007 Conference scheduled for September has just been announced.

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Friday, May 11, 2007

San Jose Opening in SL

San Jose State University’s School of Library & Information Science is holding its Second Life Campus Opening on May 16th, noon - 6:30pm in Second Life. SLURL

Dr. Daniel Livingstone from the School of Computing at the University of Paisley in Scotland will be delivering a talk on “Immersive and Web-based Virtual Learning Environments: Bridging the Gap with Sloodle” at 12:00 noon. The talk will be video simulcast in Second Life.

More information from InfoIsland Blog

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Microsoft's Virtual Institute

According to c|net news, Microsoft has announced the creation of the Latin American Collaborative Research Federation, and $930,000 in seed funding in the hope that each university hub will then attract the interest of national funding agencies. The mainly virtual institute will have physical headquarters at the University of Chile and the Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile.


World's Best Presentations Announced

With thanks to Guy Kawasaki, here are the winners of the Slideshare World's Best Presentations contest:

Shift Happens, Meet Henry, PanPuri and The Sustainable Food Lab

According to Kawasaki:
The commonality you’ll see in these winners is big fonts, big graphics, and a “storytelling” orientation. These are three crucial qualities of a good presentation.

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Thursday, May 10, 2007

New Yahoo! Research Team

According to c|net news, Yahoo is expected to announce today that two scientists in the areas of economics and sociology will head up its research in online markets and social networks.

R. Preston McAfee, the J. Stanley Johnson professor of business, economics and management at the California Institute of Technology, will be a vice president and research fellow leading Yahoo's microeconomics research group.

Duncan Watts, professor of sociology at Columbia University, where he was director of the Collective Dynamics Group, and author of Six Degrees: The Science of a Connected Age, will lead Yahoo's research in human social dynamics, including social networks and collaborative problem solving.

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GRTC Award Winners

The winners of the Greater Richmond Technology Council tech awards were announced last night. The following companies and individuals were recognized for technology innovation, leadership and growth in the Richmond area.

Scott McKay, chief information officer and senior vice president, Genworth Financial Inc., won the Leadership Award sponsored by IBM.

SnagAJob was recognized in the Emerging Company category, sponsored by Cherry, Bekaert & Holland

Tec-Access was the winner of the Community Support Award, sponsored by Northrop Grumman

Amentra Inc. won the IT Builders Award, sponsored by Parsons Point IT.

Agility Healthcare Solutions was recognized with the Technology Innovation Award, sponsored by Qimoda.

The Timmons Group won the Technology Skillbuilder Award, sponsored by Strategic Staffing Solutions

Tim Couillard, a physics teacher at James River High, won the Educator Award sponsored by the Computer Resource Team.

The council singled out the Virginia BioTechnology Research Park for its impact on economic development in the region.

More information is available from the Richmond TimesDispatch

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Wednesday, May 09, 2007

BGN Entrepreneur's Minute, May 9, 2007

(About 1 minute)

Recent and Upcoming Awards:
Virginia State Chamber of Commerce Fantastic Fifty information
Greater Richmond Technology Council information
VPTC+CVG Tech Awards Gala information

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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Virtual Worlds and Education

Thanks to the EduGeek Journal for the pointer to the recent Emerging Virtual Worlds and Education paper by Stan Trevena. He has made it available as a pdf on Pacific Rim Exchange. This overview is especially interesting in terms of projects such as River City, funded by the National Science Foundation, Sloodle, and emerging virtual worlds and tools for education.

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100 Year Predictions - from 1900

Thanks to the Yorktown Historical Society we have the 100 year forecasts published by the Ladies Home Journal. Many of these predictions dealt with super-sized fruits, but here are several about global communications:
  • Photographs will be telegraphed from any distance. If there be a battle in China a hundred years hence snapshots of its most striking events will be published in the newspapers an hour later.
  • Man will See Around the World. Persons and things of all kinds will be brought within focus of cameras connected electrically with screens at opposite ends of circuits, thousands of miles at a span. American audiences ... will view ... the coronations of kings in Europe or the progress of battles in the Orient.
  • Telephones Around the World. Wireless telephone and telegraph circuits will span the world.

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Tuesday, May 08, 2007

SALT for Humanity

I've been following the SALT talks presented by the Long Now Foundation. Long Now Members can see edited videos of the SALT talks online. Membership is $8/month ($96/year) and helps support the series. Join here.

The SALT schedule through December.

May 11 - Steven Johnson, "The Long Zoom"
Johnson examines how humanity is transformed by its new scaling capability--- our ability now to examine and relate events at the nanometer and nanosecond scale and then zoom right out to a cosmic scale and time frame. With tools like Google Earth and Will Wright's "Spore" game, we all are learning to zoom with comfort. How does that change us?

June 8 - Paul Hawken, "The New Great Transformation"
June 29 - Francis Fukuyama, "'The End of History' Revisited"
Mid-Sept. - Niall Ferguson & Peter Schwartz, "Historian vs. Futurist on Human Progress"
Oct. 12 - Juan Enriquez, "Mapping the Frontier of Knowledge"
Nov. 9 - Rosabeth Moss Kanter, "Enduring Principles for Changing Times"
Dec. 14 - Jon Ippolito & Joline Blais, "The Edge of Art"

The Foundation's Rosetta Stone Project is a global collaboration of language specialists and native speakers building a publicly accessible online archive of ALL documented human languages.

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DeVenCI Coding

From c|net and the New York Times comes this report on DeVenCI (for Defense Venture Catalyst Initiative), a program that recently emerged from an experimental phase.
The Defense Department is using some of the nation's top technology investors to help it find innovations from tiny start-up companies, which have not traditionally been a part of the military's vast supply chain. For the investors, it is a chance to get closer to a branch of government with vast spending power that is a potential customer for the start-ups they have backed.
Bob Pohanka is the director of DeVenCI. The following VCs were selected last October:
Tom Banahan (Lehman Brothers Venture Partners)
James Barrett (New Enterprise Associates)
Kevin Fong (Mayfield Fund)
Wilber James (RockPort Capital Partners)
Mark Kvamme (Sequoia Capital)
Jeb Miller (ComVentures)
Roger Novak (Novak Biddle Venture Partners)
Don Rainey (Intersouth Partners)
Morgan Rodd (Arrowpath Venture Partners)
Ted Schlein (Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers)
Robert Simon (Alta Partners)

See the program Overview (pdf) for the program history and objectives, the National Venture Capital Association (pdf) for their take on the program, and FedBizOpps for registration and search.

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Business Week 2007 Innovators

Business Week announced the 50 Most Innovative Companies for 2007.
Apple, now greener, won again.

Business Week is all over innovation this week, with the Greatest of All Time, The Backlash, New Official Measures, Design, Interactive Tables, Innovators of Last Year, etc.


2007 Cyberstates Report

The AeA has published their 2007 Cyberstates Report, tracking high tech employment in 2005-2006. Key findings include:
  • High tech employment rose 3% from 2005 to 2006.
  • California, Texas, New York, Florida, and Virginia led the nation in high-tech employment in 2005.
  • California pays its tech workers the highest wage - $95,300 in 2005 - followed by Massachusetts, New Jersey, Washington, and Virginia.
  • Virginia surpassed Colorado to lead the nation in concentration of high-tech workers in 2005, with 89.0 high-tech workers per 1,000 private sector jobs.

Order the full report from AeA.

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Volunteering in Virginia

The recent Corporation for National and Community Service 2007 report, Volunteering in America, summarizes volunteerism across the nation, comparing states, age groups, and types of volunteer activities.
The Virginia section indicates that the citizens of this state volunteer at about the national average, with one exception:
  • Virginia college student volunteers had the highest average number of service hours in the nation.
The value of Virginia volunteers' 243,000,000 hours in 2006 is estimated at more than $4 Billion. The 3 year average volunteer rate exceeds 40% in three states - Utah, Nebraska and Minnesota. The Virginia rate is 28.5%.

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Monday, May 07, 2007

Virginia MUSE Award Winners

Intrinergy LLC, the Ashland renewable-energy company, was the top winner at the MUSE awards of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. These awards honor businesses that have a creative touch to them.

Other Muse award winners were Appomattox Tile Art Inc. of Petersburg; ARE-Energy, a division of American Railroad Equipment in Roanoke; Richmond intern-placement firm InternDirect; local garden furniture maker McKinnon and Harris Inc.; the New York Deli here; Richmond graphic design and ad shack Punch; Glen Allen-based child and after-school care Rainbow Station; and local e-commerce service Visure Corp.

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Sunday, May 06, 2007

Tesla Roadster on Display

The Tesla Roadster was on display in San Jose this week.
Tesla's first $92,000 two-seater [electric] sports car is expected to ship in November or December of this year, according to Doug Bourn, senior electrical engineer for Tesla Motors. Among the first 180 owners of the Tesla--125 of whom paid in full up front--will be Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, who invested in the San Carlos, Calif., company. Snippets from c|net news.
Tesla Roadster photos.


Saturday, May 05, 2007

The Web Represents Us

Joshua Porter of Bokardo points to comments by Tim Berners-Lee in Weaving the Web This information about Berners-Lee's book is made available online by W3, the World Wide Web Consortium.
“The web is more a social creation than a technical one. I designed it for a social effect—to help people work together—and not as a technical toy. The ultimate goal of the Web is to support and improve our weblike existence in the world. We clump into families, associations, and companies. We develop trust across the miles and distrust around the corner. What we believe, endorse, agree with, and depend on is representable and, increasingly, represented on the Web. We all have to ensure that the society we build with the Web is of the sort we intend.”
He goes on to say: Every time I read Tim’s words, I am reinvigorated and am glad to be part of this thing they call the Web.

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Insmed Inc. Sells Shares

Richmond's Insmed Incorporated (NASDAQ: INSM) announced today that it has obtained agreements from investors to purchase approximately 20 million shares of its common stock at a price of $0.90 per share. Insmed Inc. is a biopharmaceutical company focused on the development and approval of drugs for the treatment of metabolic diseases with unmet medical needs. In March 2007, Insmed settled a patent litigation suit with Tercica, Inc. and Genentech, Inc.

Insmed Inc. was founded on technology licensed from pharmaceutical research performed at the University of Virginia by Dr. Joseph Larner, who was Chairman of the Department of Pharmacology, and Director of the UVA Diabetes Center. Insmed COO Ronald D. Gunn received his Masters degrees from Virginia Commonwealth University.

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Friday, May 04, 2007

Pandora, Not Out of the Box Yet

TechDirt is one of many sites commenting on the restrictions limiting Pandora access to US subscribers. From the Pandora blog on May 3:
Tonight we began the heartbreaking process of blocking access to Pandora for listeners outside the U.S.

Delivery of Pandora is based on proper licensing from the content rights holders - we have always believed strongly in honoring the guidelines as determined by the artists, labels and publishers. In the U.S. there is a federal statute called the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) that provides this license for all the music you hear on Pandora. Unfortunately, there is no equivalent license outside the U.S.
We will be posting updates on our Blog regarding our ongoing effort to launch in other countries, so please stay in touch. In all honesty, we don't have the resources to pursue licensing arrangements in many countries in the immediate term, but we do have the ultimate goal of being able to offer our service globally. As always, we welcome your feedback and would love to hear your thoughts and suggestions. We greatly appreciate your understanding and support. Snippet from Pandora's FAQs.

Founder Tim Westergren now spends most of his time as Pandora's chief evangelist - traveling the country to meet with listeners to collect feedback, research local music, and spread the word of the Music Genome Project.

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Yahoo! Right Media

Michael Walrath, Founder and CEO of Right Media on the recent Yahoo! acquisition:
Yahoo! has been a great partner to us, continually demonstrating its commitment to the Exchange and all that it stands for–openness, fairness, greater efficiency, value and opportunity–as a fundamental vehicle for driving our industry forward. Yahoo!’s acquisition of Right Media further validates all that our company and Exchange members have worked for, and it means a bigger part of the world will understand the value of that work. This is a true milestone for the Exchange community. Snippet from Right Media Blog.
In a move to compete with Google's ever-expanding advertising empire, Yahoo announced a $680 million deal of its own on Monday. The acquisition of Right Media is Yahoo's partial answer to Google's string of recent wins in online advertising. Snippet from Newsfactor.
Walrath, a graduate of the University of Richmond, founded Right Media in 2003 to transform the business of online advertising, leveling what has traditionally been an uneven playing field. He sees the industry moving towards more efficiency, transparency and accountability for every transaction.

The Right Media blog features interviews with web publishers such as Ulrich Tausend of gaming website NeoDelight, and Khayam Iftikhar of FreeOnlineGames.

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Thursday, May 03, 2007

Online Retailers

Who is the one of the five largest online retailers? According to BusinessWeek, it is J. C. Penny's:
In recent years, Penney's has consistently ranked among the top five Web sites in terms of the number of paying customers it attracts, according to Nielsen//NetRatings ... in the company of eBay,, Ticketmaster, and Bertelsmann's online music business. The achievement has gone largely unnoticed ...
Penney has one of the most productive Web sites among mainstream retailers, says Heather Dougherty, a Nielsen analyst. Internet sales accounted for 6% of Penney's $20 billion in total sales in 2006. That compares with 4% at Sears and less than 1% at Wal-Mart Stores Inc., according to Internet Retailer. Even more promising for Penney: The average age of its online shoppers is 25 to 35, considerably younger than those in its stores.

The WSJ Startup Journal has a cautionary take on guerrilla marketing stunts.

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Assignment Zero - Revisited

Wired looks back at the first assignment, launched seven weeks ago. See BGN project summary from March.
The first assignment in this experiment was chosen by editor, Lauren Sandler. It details The Citizendium, a new Wikipedia-challenging crowdsourced encyclopedia.

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Wednesday, May 02, 2007

XKCD Map of Online Communities

XKCD's map of online communities. Second Life sits astride the Noob Sea, the Ocean of Subculture and the Sea of Culture.

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Adam Rubenstein, Colorado Life Science blogger, invites readers to meet him at Bio2007 in Boston, where he will be doing live video broadcasting. May 6 - 9. Note that both these links include podcasts that launch themselves.

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VA Googles

Virginia joins Arizona, California and Utah in partnering with Google.
Through the partnership, Google and state employees have created a Sitemap protocol, which allows Web site owners to provide more of its site content to Internet search engines. In addition, the search tool on the state portal has been updated. Citizens can now use the search portal on to search for information from local, state and federal governments. Snippet from Virginia Business Magazine.

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Tuesday, May 01, 2007

R and D and Innovation

Endless Innovation points to the top ten companies for R and D spending, with the usual caveat that spending levels do not equal innovation.

This week, the AAAS Forum on Science & Technology Policy is underway in DC. Topics under discussion include states' expanding roles in science and technology. See BGNentrepreneur Library for related reports and podcasts.

The R&D Magazine Innovator of the Year award nomination deadline is July 1. Dean Kamen was the 2006 winner; Gerald Rubin of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute was the 2006 Scientist of the Year.

For some practical advice on innovation, try Strategyn, or Innovation Tools.

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