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innovation DAILY

Here we highlight selected innovation related articles from around the world on a daily basis.  These articles related to innovation and funding for innovative companies, and best practices for innovation based economic development.

baby computer office intern kidA few years ago companies trusted their social media campaigns to interns. Part of this was because interns equaled cheap labor for a non-trusted task, but part of it was also because interns, frankly, were better at social media then their superiors.

Let’s face it, CEOs may have the power, but interns are the better characters. And that’s what social media (and the USA Network) is based on – giving characters a voice and customers someone to hold on to.

I wouldn’t advise that you hand off all your social media interactions to an intern*, but do start thinking like an intern. Because while your paycheck may be greater, your intern is trumping you in sheer number and depth of social media skills.

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marc-andreessen-netscape-tbi.jpgHP’s CEO ouster. Facebook’s coming war with Google. Skype’s IPO. What do these headlines have in common? One man: Marc Andreessen.

As the baby-faced cofounder of Netscape, Andreessen gave birth to the dotcom boom. His Web browser granted the masses access to the Web. And Netscape’s amazing 1995 initial public offering broke the rule that tech companies had to show years of profit before going public, letting ordinary investors bet on the growth of the Internet.

Now, at the age of 39, he’s an elder statesman of Silicon Valley, on the board of eBay, Facebook, Hewlett-Packard, and Skype — four companies that bridge generations of innovation. His new venture-capital firm, Andreessen Horowitz, has vaulted into the top ranks of Sand Hill Road on the strength of his connections and influence.

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altLast week I mentioned that sometimes I am at a loss for something to post about on MBA Mondays. Andrew Parker, who got his MBA at Union Square Ventures (largely self taught) from 2006 to 2010, suggested in the comments that I post about the differences between Enterprise Value and Market Value. It was a good suggestion and so here goes.

The Equity Market Value (which I will refer to as Market Value for the rest of this post) is the total number of shares outstanding times the current market price for a share of stock. To make this post simple, we will focus only on public companies with one class of stock. The Market Value is the price you are paying for the entire company when you buy a stock.

Let's use .com/company/open-table/" mce_href="">Open Table, a recent public company as our real world example in this post. Open Table (ticker OPEN) closed on Friday at $48.19 and has a "market value" of $1.1bn according to this page on According to Google Finance, Open Table has 22.77 million shares outstanding. So to check the market value calculation on, let's multiply the market price of $48.19 by the shares outstanding of 22.75 million. My desktop calculator tells me that is $1.096 billion.

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In August of 2007, Lewis Weinstein launched the beta version of ReferralKey, a site intended to help digitize the process of sending referrals from one professional to another. If a real estate agent sent one of his clients to a mortgage broker, the site would track that ? and also keep tabs on whether the mortgage broker ever returned the favor. Weinstein envisioned building a new kind of social network for small businesses that would provide continual streams of leads to its members, in a way that sites like LinkedIn and Facebook do not.

But the site didn't immediately take off. Weinstein, a serial entrepreneur and third-generation tax accountant in Needham, found that professionals using the site felt it just wasn't helping them generate enough new business. "The common response was, 'I thought you were gonna send me referrals,'" he says.

That's where the steaks come in.

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factory, 1940s, library of congressEven if employment somehow does recover to pre-recession levels in the next few years, some jobs won't ever return.

These doomed jobs come from industries in decline. Already fading, the recession was a death blow for manufacturing, administration and other work that can be done cheaper by foreigners and machines.

The double hit of recession and secular changes means employment will NOT come back easily. America's unemployed are stuck with the wrong skills and little to contribute to modern industry.

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 The phrase "building a green economy" means different things to different people, but in general it refers to encouraging economic development that prioritizes sustainability.

Sustainability is working with nature in the quest to meet people's needs and wants, instead of disregarding environmental concerns in the process of growing the economy.

The primary way governments around the world are trying to "green" their own economies today is by increasing investments and growing jobs in industries on the cutting edge of non-polluting renewable forms of energy, such as solar and wind power.

President Obama has repeatedly invoked his vision of a green economy as a tool for helping the U.S. lift itself out of recession and position itself as an economic powerhouse in a carbonconstrained future. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the $787.2 billion stimulus package that Congress signed into law in 2009, was chock full of provisions to boost renewable energy, energy efficiency and environmental restoration initiatives.

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LISBON — Five years ago, the leaders of this sun-scorched, wind-swept nation made a bet: To reduce Portugal’s dependence on imported fossil fuels, they embarked on an array of ambitious renewable energy projects — primarily harnessing the country’s wind and hydropower, but also its sunlight and ocean waves.

Today, Lisbon’s trendy bars, Porto’s factories and the Algarve’s glamorous resorts are powered substantially by clean energy. Nearly 45 percent of the electricity in Portugal’s grid will come from renewable sources this year, up from 17 percent just five years ago.

Land-based wind power — this year deemed “potentially competitive” with fossil fuels by the International Energy Agency in Paris — has expanded sevenfold in that time. And Portugal expects in 2011 to become the first country to inaugurate a national network of charging stations for electric cars.

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You often hear people saying “entrepreneurship takes guts.” The reason it’s true is that every successful entrepreneurial story starts with grappling with many unique failures and fears. One of the first questions you need to answer is: Are you one of the rare breed of fearless entrepreneurs?

From the time we are born, we were constantly being told how to do things, what not to do and the importance of being careful. Be it the electric switch or the water-park slide, we were cautioned by protective and well-intentioned parents and guardians all the time. We were told that we should study hard so as not to fail. Failure is considered so bad that some students’ commit suicide under exam pressure every year.

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'Place-based colleges' are good for parties, but are becoming less crucial for learning thanks to the Internet, said the Microsoft founder Bill Gates at a conference on Friday.

"Five years from now on the Web for free you'll be able to find the best lectures in the world. It will be better than any single university," he argued at the Techonomy conference in Lake Tahoe, Calif. "College, except for the parties, needs to be less place-based."

An attendee captured the remarks with a shaky hand-held camera and posted the clip on YouTube.

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Recently I began to buy eBooks for the Kindle application on my iPad. While I still love paper books, the digital wiles of eBooks are looking increasingly attractive to me. Below are five eBook features that may tempt you to buy electronic books too.

I should note that I wasn't a hold-out on eBooks for moral reasons. I simply couldn't access them until recently. Amazon's Kindle, Sony's Reader and Barnes & Noble's Nook have all been either unavailable to people outside the US, or the eBook stores to populate them have been inaccessible. However with the Kindle for iPad, I've finally been able to enjoy the forbidden fruit of eBooks.

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"We're growing dramatically," Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory staff scientist Ryan Wiser said of the wind industry's 2009 performance. "We're on a path to achieve much higher levels of wind." This is in stark contrast to wind's 2010 first half performance, which American Wind Energy Association CEO Denise Bode characterized as "dismal."

The 2009 Wind Technologies Market Report, by Wiser and Mark Bolinger of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), describes a record-breaking 2009. Yet a 71 percent drop in installation in the first half of 2010 forebodes a completely different kind of year. Things will pick up in the second half, but the forecast is for a 20 percent to 45 percent year-on-year reversal. Careful scrutiny of the LBNL report turns up possible telltale signs of the turnaround that are an indication of things to come.

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The whole thing began by accident, says David Baker, a biochemist at the University of Washington in Seattle. It was 2005, and he and his colleagues had just unveiled [email protected] — one of those distributed-computing projects in which volunteers download a small piece of software and let their home computers do some extracurricular work when the machines would otherwise be idle. The downloaded program was devoted to the notoriously difficult problem of protein folding: determining how a linear chain of amino acids curls up into a three-dimensional shape that minimizes the internal stresses and strains — presumably the protein's natural shape. If the users wanted, they could watch on a screen saver as their computer methodically tugged and twisted the protein in search of a more favourable configuration.

Thousands of people were signing up for [email protected], says Baker, which was gratifying, but not entirely surprising; this kind of digital citizen science had become almost routine by then. It was first popularized in 1999 by the [email protected] project at the University of California, Berkeley (UCB), which harnessed volunteers' computers to sift through radio telescope data in search of alien signals. And in 2002, UCB engineers had released a generalized version of the software known as the Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing (BOINC). By 2005, there were dozens of active BOINC projects — [email protected] among them — and hundreds of thousands of users worldwide.

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