Category Archives: Weekly Newsletter

NASA Prepares for First Ever Female Spacewalk

In the latest of a series of firsts for women in STEM, March 29th of this year will see the first all-female extravehicular spacewalk. Timed perfectly to coincide with Women’s History Month, the seven-hour walk will be carried out by NASA’s Anne McClain and Christina Koch on the International Space Station. Coordinating the walk from the ground will be a crew of all female scientists. The walk gains special significance in the fact that McClain and Koch are both part of the NASA astronaut class of 2013, which was the first ever to have an equal number of men and women. This is another landmark in the history of women in space, a legacy that began in 1984 with cosmonaut Svetlana Savitskaya becoming the first woman ever to do a spacewalk. This is an exciting step in the continuation of the reduction gender imbalance in space exploration and bodes well for the future of extraterrestrial expeditions. Read more>>

The Downside of Transparent Decision Making

When making decisions within a company, upper management wants its employees to be transparent about what they think about a situation. Being up front and honest has always been a huge factor in creating a strong organizational culture. However, according to a pair of Kellogg School researcher’s transparency does not always allow for company’s employees to be completely honest and open about their thoughts. Instead,  sometimes having private conversation and “backroom discussions” can often be more beneficial for getting employees to share information.  Read More>>

AirAsia Targets Startups With New Venture Capital Fund

The latest in a number of airlines that are seeking to diversify their portfolios, AirAsia has started a fund called RedBeat Capital to provide seed money to burgeoning businesses. Sean O’Neal of Skift.com describes how the company is following the examples of JetBlue Technology Ventures and the unsuccessful Qantas AVRO Accelerator Program in its bifurcation of its focus into new and promising businesses. Whether the motivation for this venture capital fund comes from a desire to boost revenue, boost innovation within their cultures, or to insulate themselves from the uncertainties of the market through diversification, it is an undisputedly interesting and savvy move on the part of the Asian budget airline. Read more>>

The Ten Stages of Successful Strategic Alliances

Businesses may enter into alliances for the purpose of realizing any one of the dozens of benefits that these partnerships offer. Offer, that is, when executed successfully. Paul Sanders of INSEAD.edu details the different considerations that are pertinent to the selection of a successful alliance partner — many of which are not far off from the considerations taken into account when selecting a spouse. Successful relationships and successful alliances are not scenarios where you settle for your second choice of partner. They require maintenance and commitment to success by both involved parties. They require demonstrations of devotion and deep ties between alliance members. The parallels continue. How can businesses find and lock down “the one” to attain all of the full benefits of partnership? Read more>>

Reflecting on My Failure to Build a Billion-Dollar Company

Failure in business is never easy however, what you learn from the failure and what you choose do with with that knowledge is what sets a good entrepreneur apart from a great one. Sahil Lavingia the founder and CEO of Gumroad, which is an online platform that helps creators sell their products directly to consumers is a prime example of this. In 2011, Lavingia left his job as being the second employee at Pinterest and used the profits of his stock to begin the creation of his own venture. Like many entrepreneurs, Lavingia had one goal in mind- building a billion-dollar company. During the beginning stages of his company, things were looking up for Sahil but as profits started to drop he had to start making tough decisions. Slimming down his company and firing more than 75% of his employees are what started to make Sahil feel like the scheme of this “billion-dollar company” were in the days of his past. However, if Sahil never had endured this set-back he may have never made the company what it is today. Read More>>

2019 US VC Funds Take A More Boutique Approach

There are multiple types of venture capitalists (VC) who put up money to startups that need some funds to grow. Examples include business angels, small businesses, individual investors, and families. All of these VCs tend to provide support to certain categories of startups. Historically they have been the main lenders of capital to upstarts. That is until a couple of years ago. Since the tech boom of the 2000s a new and increasingly dominant type of investor appeared to snatch high growth and massively scale-able new business up into its clutches: the “supergiant” venture capital fund. These investors dominated the VC market for years and shelled out billions of dollars to startup businesses that they believed in. But Joanna Glasner of Crunchbase.com reports that a new trend may be emerging in the United States VC market — that of the boutique investor. Rather than awarding huge boluses of money to businesses, VCs are being more selective with their money, distributing it in smaller, more focused amounts to candidates. How are VCs establishing themselves in this new niche and what does it mean for startups? Read more>>

Can Predictive Analytics be Made Safe for Humans?

Everyone operating a computer in 2019 is aware to a greater or lesser degree of the war going on quietly under their fingers and in the cloud; a war involving subterfuge and attacks, heroes and villains. We are, of course, talking about the war on data privacy. From its very inception, technology has been a wild west that regulators have battled to control through the enacting of laws and policies. Unfortunately, as technology has rapidly outpaced regulation, ethical dilemmas such as the one posed by the increasing accuracy of data analytics will continue to arise. As TechCrunch.com writer Danny Crichton explains, “people can’t understand the extent that inferences can be made with their data”. A very public example of this concept is the story from Target, in which the software used by the retailer suggested maternity supplies for a teen based off of her early stage pregnancy shopping items. This suggestion alerted her father to the fact that she was pregnant. How are regulators attempting to tackle the significant ethical issues that arise from the undressing of people’s privacy through data while still allowing businesses and individuals to enjoy the benefits of these predictions? Read more>>

Looking to Innovate? Ditch the Startup Mentality and Adopt a Venture Capitalist Mindset

Once a company is up and running, many say that staying innovative and “acting like a start-up” is the only way to maintain this success. However, Joe Dwyer and Sean Johnson, adjunct professors of innovation at the Kellogg School and partners of Founder Equity are suggesting to these companies in this stage of maturity to act like a Venture Capitalist instead. This approach encourages companies to think big, take risks, and to look into a different cluster of opportunities at hand. Companies like Amazon have dove into some of these opportunities, which are very risky but have led to many great breakthroughs. Although, Amazon is an extremely successful company it is also possible for smaller companies to take on this approach.  Read More>>

Startup Sales — 5 Common Sales Mistakes by Founders

Sales in business are an instrumental part of what makes or breaks a company. For start ups, this can not ring more true as during the first launch of your product you will discover what exactly you might be doing wrong. In order to discover what your mistakes are before this first launch founders must avoid these 5 possible mistakes; weak outreach, low prices, incorrect customer profile, hiring salespeople too early, and assuming “yes” means payment. Avoiding these possible mistakes at the beginning stage of your venture will help you to start and retain a successful business. Read More>>

Seattle-area Earth Observation Satellite Factory LeoStella is Open for Business

For many people, when they are prompted to describe what they think the future will hold, they will respond with a common theme: space exploration. Our curiosity to learn about the planets in our solar system and ultimately the galaxy have led to huge initiatives by various companies to assemble technology that can traverse our universe. Less ostentatious but just as exciting to savvy business-people is the development of technologies that can be used closer to home, such as the small observation satellites being produced by the company LeoStella in Tukwila, Washington. According to an article by James Thorne of GeekWire.com, as soon as later this year LeoStella will be producing 110-330 pound telecommunication satellites for companies that need immediate and timely information via pictures. Could this technology be the differentiating factor between success and failure for businesses in a few years? Read more>>