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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.

startupRunning your startup, don't waste time on tasks that apps can help you do -- especially if those apps are free or cheap.

Thankfully, there's a post on the Flexvite blog that put together a list of 12 cheap or free web tools that help you with that.

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Industry WeekMore investment in public-private partnerships and prioritizing key technologies are crucial if America is to avoid losing its competitive edge in manufacturing, industry and policy leaders warned Congress in recent testimony.

With a heavy focus on manufacturing innovation and government’s role in stimulating new technologies, experts from private, public and academic backgrounds said rival economies have already mobilized their resources in more efficient, targeted areas.

“In order to be relevant, we need to ensure that government R&D programs are focused on ways to provide high-quality assembly, non-destructive evaluation, and high rates of repeatability at large volumes,” said Susan Smyth, director of General Motors’ manufacturing systems research lab, in testimony to the House Committee on Science and Technology on March 17.

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While the rules of poker are simple and the game itself is quite accessible, success typically requires more skill than luck. There’s a wisdom there that we can take from the game and apply to the startup life.

So if you’re looking to win a big pot, here are a few things to keep in mind:

Calculate the odds – Good poker players calculate two kinds of odds before playing: the Pot Odds (or the ratio of money to put divided by the money to gain – the Pot itself) and Card Odds (the probability to have a winning hand). Anytime the Pot Odds are higher than the Card Odds, the hand is worth playing.

Likewise, you must try to evaluate the odds of your startup’s success: How likely is it to succeed? And how big would the ‘pot’ you’d win be?

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Former Microsoft VP Dick Brass published an opinion article in the New York Times, arguing that the Redmond giant has become "a clumsy, uncompetitive innovator," with "a dysfunctional corporate culture in which the big established groups are allowed to prey upon emerging teams." The company, though hugely profitable, "is failing," he says. Here are some of Brass's key points.

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It’s hard. You know how important a blog can be to your social media efforts so you’ve dedicated real time to building it out and making it the focal point of your social marketing strategy. You slave over it trying to make your blog a place that houses both useful content and great community discussions. But even so, your closest competitor has 2,000 more blog subscribers than you do and you feel like you’ll never catch up. How is he/she doing it and what can you do to not only match, but beat the numbers?

Here are ten reasons why your competition has double your blog subscribers and what you can do to help turn it around.

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BlackBerry maker Research In Motion (RIMM) is in trouble.

Not because of yesterday's earnings problems -- missing revenue and unit shipment expectations because of a one-time inventory adjustment at one of its carrier partners. But, rather, because RIM is simply not positioned well for the future.

Jim BalsillieSpecifically, RIM is at risk of becoming a mid- to low-end player in a smartphone market that is rapidly becoming more sophisticated, with Apple's iPhone and Google's Android leading the way.

And unless RIM can make big changes to its hardware, software, and platform products, it risks losing its high-end status, getting pushed down carriers' priority lists, and facing shrinking margins. It risks becoming another Palm, which was once a smartphone leader, and is now struggling to make a comeback.

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Social games company Playdom announced the acquisition of Buenos Aires-based developer Three Melons today.

This is the latest in a series of acquisitions in social gaming over the past few months.

Playdom CEO John PleasantsWith industry leader Zynga raising $180 million in December, and gaming giant Electronic Arts making a huge play in social games by acquiring Playfish, there is a lot of cash lying around and plenty of pressure to scale up to stay competitive.

Some of the deals that have been announced thus far:

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Regular Anthill readers will know by now that we are big fans of the TED talks series. This talk by marketing maverick Seth Godin — delivered at the TED 2009 conference in Long Beach, California — ranks in the top 10 most popular TED talks of all time. And rightly so.

Over 18-minutes, Godin outlines his theory that the internet has banished the era of mass marketing, and that the ancient social unit of the tribe has returned, empowering ordinary people to lead extraordinary movements.

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Sometimes it seems like we are all puppets being manipulated by the puppeteers. Think about what influences our behavior. It is media that permeates our lives everywhere we turn.

Behavior is the result of actions created by beliefs. Beliefs are created from experiences that influences the four components of the human DNA. Our DNA is like capital waiting to be used to “produce” something with or for others. The four capital component we each possess are intellectual, social, creative and spiritual capital. (see The Emergence of the Know Profile)

These four elements represent the human DNA that determines our individual and collective productivity. Our individual and collective productivity represents an economy. An economy is fueled by rates of production and consumption. Consumption is influenced by media used to propagate the value of things  produced.

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It strikes you when you first touch an iPad. The form just feels good, not too lightweight or heavy, nor too thin or thick. It's sensual. It's tactile. And that moment is a good way to spot a first-timer, too, as I observed with a few test subjects. The dead giveaway for an iPad n00b is a pause, a few breaths before hitting the "on" switch, just letting it rest against the skin.

Flick the switch and the novelty hits. Just as the iPhone, Palm Pré and Android phones scratched an itch we didn't know we had—somewhere between cellphone and notebook—the iPad hits a completely new pleasure spot. The display is large enough to make the experience of apps and games on smaller screens stale. Typography is crisp, images gem-like, and the speed brisk thanks to Apple's A4 chip and solid state storage. As I browse early release iPad apps, web pages, and flip through the iBook store and books, the thought hits that this is a greater leap into a new user experience than the sum of its parts suggests.

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Technology Review - Published By MITMENLO PARK, Calif. (AP) -- One of Silicon Valley's top venture capital firms is doubling its bet on Apple's mobile gadgets in hopes of cashing in on the highly anticipated iPad.

Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers has added $100 million to an "iFund" that started with $100 million two years ago. That's when the firm began to invest in startups focused on building applications for Apple's iPhone and iPod Touch.

With that initial round of money now invested in 14 companies, Kleiner Perkins sees another golden opportunity in the iPad. Apple will start selling the computer tablet Saturday.

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