Archive for March, 2012

Several weeks back I picked up Steven Johnson’s Where Good Ideas Come From, its an engaging read which focuses on the ecosystems which foster innovative thought. Johnson details the slow hunch, which is a thought or idea which takes a great deal of time to evolve and build into some concrete action plan. I’ve taken up his suggestion of keeping a thought journal, and cultivating this space to allow all of the thoughts on the fringes of your mind to be recorded and distilled. Its been a great exercise thus far.

Johnson’s most striking example of a slow hunch is FBI field agent Ken Williams, and his report filed on July 10, 2001 warning of the airborne threat posed by Osama Bin Laden. For a variety of reasons this one report was not connected with other reports by field agents, and no one pieced the information together. The report alone was not enough to cause alarm, but if Ken had been connected with colleagues who found similar evidence then maybe there would have been more meaning put into his warning. This is one, albeit extreme, instance of failed communication within an organization.

Communication is a pain point for most firms. This was apparent to me during the first week I interned with a Fortune 500 firm – it took nearly the full week for me to get logged into their computer systems to start working. Clay Hebert, a former Accenture executive, is currently working on a new technology startup called Spindows. His mission with this project is to enable video speed networking across large enterprises.

Imagine Chat Roulette (minus the nudity) and Skype blended together. That is something close to what I imagine Spindows will be when its launched. I was lucky enough to see Clay speak at an Under 30 CEO Demo Pitch, and he framed Spindows as a "high-value, high-discovery" communication tool. Over the course of an hour you could meet and chat with 20-30 colleagues.Spindows utilizes tags, to facilitate discussion by pairing people with similar interests. I don’t envision few minute conversation to produce an immediate value-add for corporations, but it will surely lay the foundation for future collaboration and engagement among peers who work in the same capacity, in different geographic locations.

I believe the potential for Spindows – both in terms of impact and profit – is huge. This is clearly a pain point for large organization, and Spindows should be able to solve a great deal of their problems. Clay is an engaging speaker. His experience at Accenture lends him credibility to corporations, and his involvement in the tech scene in NYC should benefit him as he finds talent to help him execute this vision. I am excited to see this idea evolve into a real product – and if I had the resources I would love to be an investor.


Read Full Post »

Three years ago I started snowboarding. My first time out my buddy, Nick, was teaching me the basics. When we got to the mountain he took me down the mainline trail; it took me nearly 45 minutes to get down the mountain. Being thrown in over my head forced me to get the skills down, and by the end of the day I had the basics down.

Two weeks ago I went to Mt. Okemo in VT for the day. I was out with four friends, all of whom have been on skis since they were quite young. It was my first day hitting double diamonds, and the first few runs I held up the group. By the end of the day though, I was (more or less) keeping up. I have never progressed as much in one day as I did then. Being surrounded by a group of really talented skiers made me push myself like I never have before – it was the best day I’ve ever had on a mountain.

Being apart of a great team makes me want to excel. I’ve found this to be the case in every class, team, or office I’ve worked in. Surrounding yourself with exceptional people elevates your expectations.

Read Full Post »