Friday, February 27, 2015

Hope is Not a Strategy

We are Wearables at 1871 - Sports

March 2015: Wearables and Sports 

  • Monday, March 16, 2015

    6:30 PM to 
  • 1871

    222 Merchandise Mart Plaza, Suite 1212, Chicago, IL (map)
  • Equipped with sensors and access to our bodies 24/7, wearable technology is positioned to change the landscape of fitness and sports. Professional sports teams are employing wearables to measure and monitor athletes to improve performance and mitigate the risk of injury. Data from these devices is also fast becoming a competitive advantage for teams. 
    This month we will be featuring Catapult Sports, the global leader in athlete analytics, with FOX Sports Anchor Lou Canellis in a panel discussion on the impact of wearables on sports from player performance to the fan experience. We will also feature some great tech in the exhibitor area + beer & pizza! 
    Spread the word! #WWCHI 
    - - - 
    6-6:30: Registration & Demo Area Opens
    6:30-6:35: Opening Remarks & Welcome
    6:35-6:50: Presentation by Catapult by Brian Kopp, President for North America 
    6:50-7:20: Panel: "The impact of wearable tech on sports & fitness" moderated by FOX Sports Anchor Lou Canellis
    • Brian Copp, President for North America at Catapult  
    • Additional panelists to be announced soon
    7:30-9:30: Demo Area Open + Bar & Food 
    • More Exhibitors to be announced soon 
    - - - 
    A big thanks to our sponsor Uproar PR for making this event possible. And to our community partner 1871 for hosting us again this month.
    - - -
    About the Tech
    Catapult empowers elite coaches globally with scientifically-validated metrics for the advancement of athlete performance. Catapult engineers wearable technology that provides objective information behind athlete risk, readiness and return to play. The company was born out of the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) and a scientific research organization and provides an all-encompassing solution with research-based insights in to athlete management.
    TRAC  is a company focusing on simplifying the track and field experience via an integrated RFID timing platform. 
    - - - 
    About the Speakers
    Brian Kopp is Catapult’s President for North America. Brian is a well-known sports executive with significant industry experience working with teams on emerging technologies. He was named a 2013 Idea Innovator by Sports Business Journal. Prior to joining Catapult, Brian served as Senior Vice President of Sports Solutions for Stats LLC. Brian was responsible for new business development including the revolutionary SportVU player tracking technology which is installed in all 29 NBA venues. Brian previously served as Senior Director of Strategic Planning for Career Education, one of the world’s largest for-profit education companies. He was also Manager of Corporate Development for NAVTEQ Corporation. Brian received his MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and his BA in Economics from Wabash College. 
    About Our Sponsors
    1871 is an entrepreneurial hub for digital startups. Located in The Merchandise Mart, the 75,000-square-foot facility provides Chicago startups with programming, access to mentors, educational resources, potential investors and a community of like-minded entrepreneurs that help them on their path to building successful businesses. Recently ranked 9th in the world in the 2014 UBI Index list of top university-associated business incubators, 1871 has become a global leader in the entrepreneurial community. 1871 is the flagship project of the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center. For more information, visit
    Uproar PR is an innovative consumer technology public relations and social media agency. Along with their other technology practices, the firm has successfully built brand recognition for its wearable tech clients.  Within the Toronto and Waterloo communities, Uproar works with Thalmic Labs, Bionym Kiwi Wearables and PUSH.  With Uproar's media relations experience, those companies have been featured in media outlets including The Today Show, Business Insider, New York Times and CNBC, just to name a few. The firm specializes in developing campaigns that drive awareness and sales, creating industry buzz.  For more information, 
    - - - 
    We Are Wearables Chicago runs bi-monthly events in the city. Mark your calendars for our next event which will be on May 13, 2015 at 1871.

Modest Advice: Life Lessons from Harper Reed and Inside His New Startup

Modest Advice: Life Lessons from Harper Reed and Inside His New Startup

Burton Rast (left) and Harper Reed (right) at 1871 Fireside Chat

If you don’t hear that your idea is crazy, then you might not be trying hard enough

Harper Reed, the former CTO of both the 2012 'Obama for America' campaign and Threadless, is one of the most influential, accomplished, and well-known members of the Chicago tech community. 

And - with his thick, black specs, long red hair and big beard - he's also one of the most recognizable.
Now, after this week's Fireside Chat, you can add 'wisest' to this already long list of titles. At 1871 on Monday, Reed was on-hand to share advice and stories with fellow Chicago entrepreneurs and discuss his new startup, Modest.

Below are our favorite 'Life Lessons' from one of the city's best tech minds.

Forgetting Success:
“It’s very difficult to unlearn success,” said Reed. "But you need to if  you want to innovate."
Entrepreneurs have the greatest freedom when success is still unattained. Ignorance allows startups to freely explore and to eschew norms rather than immediately jump into a particular model based on accepted benchmarks and guidelines. Granted, rules and success are comforting, but they can constrain innovation and endanger a group’s ability to stay relevant.

Reconsidering Practicality:

Reed acknowledged that, throughout his history as an entrepreneur, he’s been behind a number of successful though arguably "impractical" projects. But one of the major takeaways from his work has been that prioritizing practicality is rarely ideal.

“If you’re talking about practicality, then you’re talking about fear,” said Reed. “If you don’t hear that your idea is crazy, then you might not be trying hard enough.”

Yes, developers and groups should understand user needs, but, like reliving success, clinging to practicality may cripple innovation and development more often than not.

Dropping Hierarchy:

Successfully running a project or startup hinges on managing people and building a driven community. And the temptation may be to opt toward a rigid hierarchical power structure where everyone listens and follows the direction of one or a handful of people.

But Modest's community is built on something better. Specifically, Reed has leveraged holacracy as the social technology behind his fledgling startup. Holacracy is an organizational system that distributes authority equally so that everyone in a group contributes. If optimizing communication is a concern, then holacracy may be the answer.

Building in Chicago:

Chicago’s innovation space is unique. It is not and will likely never be a carbon copy of Silicon Valley or New York, and that is a good thing. The question that startups have to ask is whether they can handle work in Chicago.

“I’m here because Chicago is the best. I want Chicago to continue being Chicago…[but startups] need to know what you’re fighting for,” said Reed.

Chicago’s innovation space is rapidly expanding, but startups need to understand how their particular vision leverages the power of the city.

Inside Modest:

Reed is currently applying these lessons to his new startup, Modest, Inc., which launched out of stealth mode this week.

Modest is a new platform for companies to create mobile commerce apps. Unlike platforms like Stripe, which process only one payment for a particular product, Modest allows retailers to sell larger store inventories to consumers via a simple and fast interface.

The concept is elegant. With a few simple taps, retailers can more easily sell electronically to consumers  and consumers can more conveniently purchase exactly what they want, when they want it. And Modest is a SaaS product, powering its clients from behind-the-scenes.

Finally, in a landscape where dev shops will charge thousands of dollars to build a transactional app, Modest is offering its services for free. (The startup also has a $200-a-month tier that provides additional features, like push notifications). Companies such as Chicago's Intelligentsia Coffee have already started to use Modest to increase consumer sales.

Mobile commerce made easy? Sounds pretty practical.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Special Report: Are more tech professionals skipping grad school for tech vocational programs?

Special Report: Are more tech professionals skipping grad school for tech vocational programs?

Garrett Reim
Graduate school isn't what it used to be.
At least that's the growing sentiment among some entrepreneurial professionals, especially in fields like computer science and business. Instead of earning a graduate degree many are attending new tech vocational schools as an alternative — a choice that might be the start of a new trend.
They are attending schools like General AssemblyGalvanize and 1871’s XBA program — programs that are pushing off academic and theoretical curriculum and pulling in lessons to be quickly applied within the tech industry. The result is a post-college education that is less abstract than typical graduate programs, and according to its creators better at producing results. 
Teaching practical tech skills
File 45019
General Assembly’s Los Angeles campus, for example, has set out to train full stack web developers through 12 week intensive courses, and to instruct students in subjects like digital marketing, business fundamentals, and product design through eight to 12 week evening and weekend courses. These courses are designed to update or boost the skills of professionals who often already have college degrees, but who see traditional graduate school as too expensive and removed from the tech industry for their career advancement.
“I think there’s been a huge realization that graduate school is not creating the type of outcomes that it used to maybe 15-20 years ago,” said Ryan Meyer, regional director of General Assembly. “Getting an MBA, for example, that's very valuable if you’re going to a top 25 or 30 institution. If you’re going to an institution a little further down the line the value is a little skewed.”
To fulfill the demand for more practical, bite-sized, and relatively inexpensive programs, General Assembly has developed a line up of vocational courses designed to teach students about the tech industry through a series of projects that mimic real tech industry work. The courses are constantly updated by instructors who have worked in the industry and through consultations with tech companies. 
“It’s iterative. To stay on the bleeding edge you have to take a bleeding edge approach,” said Meyer. “As the pace of change has increased dramatically in the last decade, new ways of teaching skills have emerged.”
That differs significantly from traditional undergraduate and graduate programs, which have changed little in the last 30 years. In fact, after learning their education was too far removed from the demands of the job market, many college graduates are scrambling into industries they did not study. In 2013, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York found that only 27 percent of college graduates had a job closely related to their major. Many of those graduates are surviving on skills learned on the job — skills desperately needing enhancement if they want to advance their career.
File 45020
Partnering with the tech industry
Galvanize, a Boulder, Colorado-based vocational tech school, has a similar strategy to General Assembly. The company runs coding classes and co-working spaces across Denver, Boulder and San Francisco and has plans to expand to Seattle, Ft. Collins and an additional campus in Denver.
“We are really hoping to build the next generation education institution,” said Ryan Orban, general manager of Galvanize’s gSchool. “Having a degree without the practical knowledge of how it is applied in industry is not setting someone up for success.”
Similar to General Assembly, many of Galvanize’s students tend to be well educated, but looking for more practical skills — skills they want to translate into employment and higher pay.
In particular many students are looking to learn data science, a field that is growing quickly and offering high salaries. Unfortunately, masters degrees in computer science — once the route for learning data science — don’t always cut it. 
“You can actually go and get a masters in computer science without writing a single line of computer code,” said Orban.
To learn which skills the industry demands Galvanize has built partnerships with local tech companies. For example, GalvanizeU, a 12 month Masters of Engineering in Big Data program based in San Francisco and launching this year, has over 300 affiliated “member companies” which give Galvanize critical information on their curriculum.
Member companies also let students shadow their data scientists on the job, a part of the course which Galvanize hopes will close the gap between their students' experience and the job market. 
“It’s like a teaching hospital but for data scientists,” said Mike Tamir, chief science officer and head of Galvanize education. “There is something to having an onsite experience.”
The hope is, when GalvanizeU graduation comes around many of the member companies will hire students.
Galvanize said it has had success with this approach before in its other Colorado-based courses. The company also runs a shorter 12-week data science immersive program that it claims has a 93 percent employment placement rate. Its six month full stack web developer intensive program has a 98 percent placement rate. 
By closely tracking individual tech companies through partnerships Galvanize claims to have improved the education to employment pipeline.
File 45021
Even tech entrepreneurs want alternative education
While Galvanize and General Assembly are a hack into the tech industry, 1871’s Fullbridge XBA in Entrepreneurship program is designed for tech insiders.
1871 is a co-working space and incubator in Chicago and is offering a new XBA program to member companies two nights a week for 15 weeks to teach them practical business lessons. The program came about after 1871 CEO and founder Howard Tullman noticed there was something missing from member companies — something they were hungry for.
“Over and over again there was a sense that they were good at tech, but they didn’t understand the non-technical components of building a business,” said Tullman. 
However, traditional MBA graduate programs didn’t seem like a good fit. 
“Who has the time to put their business on hold while they go back to school?” said Tullman. And, “none of the business schools do even a remotely good or primitive job at teaching people about selling.” 
Thus, the XBA program honed a startup essential tool kit.
“What do they still need to be successful in building their business?” said Tullman. “We’re shrinking it down to what is really the meat.”
The program has come up with five areas of focus essential to a startup’s success: sales, the investor pitch process, tools around finances like Excel, what the venture capital world looks like, and financing alternatives to venture capital.
Many of those subjects are covered in a traditional MBA program. However, instead of going for the breadth of a traditional MBA program, the XBA tries to cover entrepreneurship studies more practically and narrowly. The hope is by keeping the program focused on startup skills, 1871 can help a group that was poorly served by traditional programs. 
“Even entrepreneurs can use a practical skills boost,” said Tullman. 

Friday, February 20, 2015

Baltimore Musicales

Howard Tullman: We didn't come to play, we came to win.

Howard Tullman: We didn't come to play, we came to win.

Metropolitan Planning Council
On Thursday, Feb. 12, the Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) hosted an Urban Think & Drink featuring Howard Tullman, serial entrepreneur and CEO of 1871. Our goal for the event: highlight the bond between MPC’s vision for the Chicago region and the work of the tech and entrepreneur sector here.

Together with our 2015 Annual Luncheon on June 3, which will feature renowned Chicago investor J.B. Pritzker and honor Miles D. White of Abbott Laboratories, this event highlights the emerging, intertwined roles of tech, data, entrepreneurship and regional planning in creating a stronger future for the Chicago region.

MPC’s Urban Think & Drink series invites creative urban innovators to share their philosophies on what makes cities better, what drives them and how we can all pitch in to get there. Tullman’s talk focused on the “entrepreneurial mindset,” the future of 1871 and how the 60 people in attendance can help support those goals.

Tullman delivered a wildly entertaining talk that illuminated the importance of 1871 as a major economic engine for the Chicago region. He pointed out that in today’s rapidly changing economy, businesses must embrace the tech sector (or “we’re going to eat your business and destroy you”), and reinforced that he is eager to collaborate for the benefit of Chicago.

He’s become known for his boot camp management style, where he wants his entrepreneurs to move “up or out”— he runs a tight ship and believes that the life of an entrepreneur never gets easier and doesn’t have a finish line. Tullman is a man who speaks in bold statements—here are a few that inspired us all to think outside of the box and embrace the entrepreneurial mindset:

These points resonated with MPC because collaboration is central to our success. For more than 80 years, we’ve been proud of our ability to bring businesses, communities and governments to the table to do important things that address the region’s most pressing problems. Some of our most recent examples of successful collaborations include our work on the Calumet Stormwater Collaborative, Corridor Development Initiative, Employer-Assisted Housing and our work to streamline Regional Public Housing—all of which relied on partnerships to make our region a better place to live and visit.

The talk was moderated by Michael Krauss, president of Market Strategy Group, a boutique consulting firm headquartered in Chicago. Krauss was a member of Mayor Daley’s tech advisors for over a decade and co-chaired the Mayor’s Technology Council from 2004 to 2011.

Are you interested in other MPC Urban Think & Drink events? Join us Tuesday, April 21, when we host Toni L. Griffin, director of the J. Max Bond Center on Design for the Just City. Griffin will discuss the Just City Design Indicators Project and how she has applied similar principles in cities like Detroit.


Thursday, February 19, 2015

1871 – Chicago Startup Incubator


1871 – Chicago Startup Incubator

1871 is the biggest Chicago-based tech incubator that offers entrepreneurs, startups and tech companies space to work, meet and share their knowledge together. It is located in Chicago’s River North neighborhood.
Location: River North – Chicago, Illinois
Design: Gensler
Size: 75,000 sq. ft
Photos: 1871
Breakout space…
1871 branding…
Breakout space…
Huge kitchen…
Small lounge…

Reinventing America, The Forbes Summit in Chicago Part II - 1871 CEO Howard Tullman will Participate

Reinventing America, The Forbes Summit in Chicago Part II

Posted: Updated:

Because Forbes is such a strong business brand and controls the bulk of the Business of Everything readership, its forays into the live, tangible, Forbes summit experiences continue to grow. Witness the outstanding connecting events with their coveted invitations to participate in the Under 30 Billionaires Summit and the Forbes Women's Summit. Bringing live leaders from the new generation of entrepreneurs and CEOs together with the new wave of Funds into the same room is an experience most business leaders and investors find profitable, creating a Forbes experience Off-Page. Especially when the mixer is chaperoned by the highly experienced and practiced eyes of the Forbes media machine--the same eyes that have recorded the growth of Google, the comeback of Apple, and the emergence of 3D manufacturing.

Forbes Reinventing America Summits are growing in influence and following. These small, invitation-only congresses bring together Wealth, Politics, Business, and Government as well as Education and Disruptive Innovation and are a winning formula for stimulating growth, forging new partnerships, and in this case, the reinvention of industrial power.

From left, Forbes Managing editor Bruce Upbin and Steve Case. Photo by Glen Davis/Forbes

Having debuted the Reinventing America Summit in Chicago last year to much acclaim, Steve Forbes, editor-in-chief of Forbes Media, is returning with his combination of pragmatic and in some cases new leaders in industry, finance, education, and government under the imprimatur that the nation's industrial core is rebounding. The guests that FORBES has assembled across America's Heartland and participating in the new Industrial Revolution include billionaire Harold Hamm from Continental Resources, who is singularly credentialed to speak to oil pricing and energy as well as Steve Case , co-founder of AOL and Chairman of Revolution and the Case Foundation along with the multi-tasking Howard Tullman , Chief Executive Officer and the Man behind the Curtain at 1871, a Chicago based incubator that is now home to more than 325 early-stage, high-growth startups and second home to the Pritzker Group and Chicago Ventures.

Steve Forbes and Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Photo by Glen Davis/Forbes

In Chicago on March 11th and 12th the "REINVENTING AMERICA" Summit is scheduled to host a congress of 350 powerful minds at the JW Marriott where Mayor Rahm Emanuel will preside over the educational forces and supportive environment required to foster a creative and supportive climate for economic growth and new industry. Because Mayor Emanuel, former chief of staff to President Obama, is a big believer in government supporting Business and urban based educational programs allowing the underserved to catch up in the competitive arena of Jobs Getting, it is highly likely he will take the opportunity offered to him at this Reinventing America Symposium, to announce his intentions to expand the program Year Up, doing vigorously well in New York to re-arm and educate the unemployed young adult populace for a year and then augment them in finding careers and jobs for the people who participated in the year long program to bloom in Chicago. Year Up founder and CEO Gerald Chertavian will be attending the conference as well as Marc Utay, Managing Partner, Clarion Capital Partners, LLC, a contributor and supporter of Year Up.

Governor Bruce Rauner, the newly elected Republican governor of Illinois brings Forbes list status to the table as well as hard-earned business acumen. It will be a relatively new experience and revelatory for both the Illinoisians and out of town guests at the Summit to hear the new governor espouse his initiatives, such as social programs to expand job opportunities, along with his principled Business practice.

Karen Kerr of GE Ventures. Photo used with permission.

Another interesting panel will include Karen Kerr, Senior Managing Director, Advanced Manufacturing, GE Ventures which helps entrepreneurs and start-ups succeed by providing access to GE's technical expertise, capital and opportunities for commercialization through GE's Global network of business, customers and partners.

As Steve Forbes has said "We kicked the [Reinventing America] series off last year in Chicago and it went very well. Everything that's happened since underscores that the heartland is on the uptick."

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