Interesting Reads – July 10 2014

Two interesting articles that I’ve come across this week:

1. Failingforward.org publishes a document discussing the art of making a failure reports based on the same model that the Engineers Without Borders (EWB) have used for years to help keep their organization moving forward without giving into the crippling fear of failure:

http://goo.gl/sV72RF

2. I also found the below article on the boom in Pre-IPO funding to be incredibly interesting as well. Whether you are an investor or a startup looking for financing, this article is a must read:

http://goo.gl/6dzvtj

Happy reading!

Online Tools and Resource List

Back to the blog to start sharing updates on new learnings from my current job as a startup ‘helper’ of sorts in Kitchener-Waterloo’s Communitech Hub. 

There has been much written about how early implementation of tools that help organize startup teams can significantly improve your likelihood of success as well as your ongoing efficiency as a team. So check out this PDF that has a lot of great resources categorized by utility:

http://bit.ly/1l1ulef

Any and all feedback is appreciated,

Sam

Accounting for Poor Start-ups

Hey All,

Thought I would share a nice addition to my start-up arsenal. 

If you are looking for a cheap and robust option to the expensive accounting software packagers out there I would highly suggest taking a look at GNUcash . It is a perfect example of what open software can do to enable SMEs to succeed in today’s competitive marketplace.

So far I have found some reliable forums and websites dedicated to discussing options and different ways of manipulating the software package to do anything that I might want to do at in basic accounting. I’ve yet to stress test it to some serious options and scenarios, but thats mostly due to my lack of accounting knowledge and understanding than it is to the software’s ability. 

Pros: Free, Multi-platform, very flexible, and highly customizable

Cons: Lacks support and built-in (ready-to-go) customization that other packages have, tougher learning curve for non-accountants to pick up

 

Cheers,

Sam

Camping Trip

Time for some more pictures!

I went to Blue Creek Campground outside of Banff, AB last weekend and truly enjoyed some very nice September scenery. The rivers were low as it was late in September, but the colour of the water was as spectacular as ever. Theres something to be said about the calmness of a quick moving river full of ice-cold glacier run-off. Here are some of the best pictures I have to share: 

2012 09 29 16 52 03

2012 09 29 16 50 44

2012 09 29 16 20 12

2012 09 29 15 58 40

And then of course we find a lone cow in the middle of the road…only in Alberta:

2012 09 29 15 15 43

And then of course, nothing like a nice campfire to wrap up a beautiful day:

2012 09 29 23 10 42

 

Cheers,

Sam

Patent Searches

I thought I would touch on a couple take aways that I have found while doing a patent search regarding my startups upcoming product. Please feel free to comment and add anything that you find more important or if I’ve missed anything crucial (which is quite likely). 

The first couple basics to take note of, and when I say take note of, I mean actually write down and record in an excel sheet or word document are: 

Patent #: (country where its from #) example: US 2012/02020202

Inventor(s) Name – I like to just put the first name that is listed as that is usually the primary person on the patent but adjust according to your preference

Assignee – company/foundation/university 

Patent Date – I have seen references that say that the file date is important as well, but have yet to see why this is pertinent

Related patents – usually provisional patents, or earlier iterations of this design/invention that is drastically different from this design is important to look at just for your knowledge as well as help you further understand the progression of this invention. 

Invention title – self-explanatory

Abstract – I like to use this as it gives me a brief summary for my records. I don’t usually write the whole abstract but I take bits and pieces that are important in understanding the overall device. 

Invention Description – I use this as a space to describe what I have gleaned from the overall patent information. Mostly description of important claims made and important milestones met for the invention. 

Invention Category – This is a nifty location to put in some key phrases to categorize the patent. I find this helpful as it makes me figure out and think about where this invention fits within the space that I am looking. 

Software (y/n) – If it is a piece of software, I like to just make note of that because then there are some special considerations to be made regarding its documentation such as platforms made for/standalone?/licensed/sourced/object/executable form etc. 

Lastly, I like to put down in my own words how this patent fits into the industry it is invented for as well as any disadvantages and limitations it may have purposefully listed or are not listed but I can criticize from my own knowledge and understanding of the marketplace. And if there are any listed companies within the patent either as suppliers for parts or end customers I record those just so that I know where products are being sourced from and where they are going to if possible. 

Hope this helps if you are in need of some guidance in this area. Like I said earlier, if you have any more suggestions please comment as I do not consider this a perfect list and would like to improve it myself if possible. 

Cheers,

Sam