Archive for the ‘Business’ Category

Groupon Chicago

May 28th, 2011 by Collin Canright | No Comments | Filed in Business, Chicago

Why Groupon is a perfectly Chicago company

It’s hard not to read about Groupon, currently the most mediafied of Chicago companies. It’s got a What’s Hot tab on TechCrunch. It’s national burger weekend deals made Crain’s and other media, and it’s one of several pre-IPO companies cited as examples of a new tech bubble. Groupon brings a lot of tech start-up luster to Chicago.


All that attention–along with discussing innovation at last week’s MIT Enterprise Forum Chicago Whiteboard Challenge and reading Malcom Gladwell’s May 16 New Yorker piece on the story of creativity and innovation at Apple Computer and Xerox PARC–got me thinking about Groupon and its Chicago location.


Chicago is not technology like Silicon Valley or Boston. There is not the mass of high tech here out there. The mass of innovation in Chicago spans a much wider range of industries, as shown by winners of the Chicago Innovation Awards, now in their 10th year.


Chicago is manufacturing (food, healthcare, drugs), finance (economic thought and trading products), and media-entertainment (Oprah and improvisational comedy).


And retailing.


It’s retailing and advertising I think of when I think of Groupon.


Like Chicago retailer innovators Sears, Wards, and Spiegel, Groupon is a retail sales organization. Like old catalogs of those retailers, Groupon relies on a clever copywriting style for its pitches (not without its critics). It also relies on a savvy sales force (akin to buyers) to source and sell local deals. It’s a direct-response sales organization using email rather than postal mail.


Where else would Groupon be? Not the technology garages of Silicon Valley but the old Wards warehouse in Chicago. As Gladwell suggests with innovation, the new Chicago spirit of progress is a new incarnation of the old.


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Whiteboard Challenge

May 27th, 2011 by Collin Canright | No Comments | Filed in Business, Chicago

Ideas for Blood Vessels, Captchas, and Cars Win
2011 MIT Enterprise Forum Chicago Whiteboard Challenge

Winners of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Enterprise Forum Chicago provide additional evidence that innovation is alive and well in Chicago in a wide range of sectors. The three winners spanned medical, internet, and personal services.

The MIT Enterprise Forum Chicago Whiteboard Challenge, now in its sixth year, is an ideas contest, with the winners receiving a share in $5,000 in cash prizes. Ten finalists presented their ideas Thursday May 26. The three winners are:

Blood Vessel “BullsEye” Locator, presented by Colin O’Donovan, won the top prize of $3,000. The idea solves the problem medical professionals have in locating arteries when drawing blood and veins for injecting medicines. The BullsEye device provides a two-dimensional representation of a patient’s arteries and veins, allowing medical professionals to insert a needle tip accurately. Consisting of a disposable patch and a reusable optic sensor, the system uses a “razor/razor blade” revenue model. Income would be generated through sales of the patches. The BullsEye locator is being developed by Vaccess Medical, a group of business, medical, and legal students at Northwestern University.

Fun Captcha, presented by Bryan Arturo, captured the $1,500 second prize. Fun Captcha is designed to make the often frustrating process of entering “captchas” in websites easy and profitable. Websites require humans to enter captchas, distorted text, to prevent spam. The Fun Captcha concept uses questions about images that appear on the screen rather than distorted text. One image could be a product, providing a source of advertising revenue.

I-GO Peer-to-Peer Car Sharing, presented by John Brophy, won the third prize of $500. This idea extends the existing I-GO Car Sharing service, allowing people who own cars to share them with those who don’t. After installing I-GO equipment, the car is registered with the I-GO system and made available for reservations either at home or work, whenever the owner wants. The cost of insurance and gas is included, as they are with I-GO’s own fleet, and profits are split between the vehicle owner and I-GO.

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Noteworthy Links (Ideas, Service) for 2011-04-25

April 25th, 2011 by Collin Canright | No Comments | Filed in Business
How To Steal Like An Artist (And 9 Other Things Nobody Told Me)
I liked Auston Kleon’s idea of newspaper blackout. I really like this post on how ideas evolve. Nothing is original. Yet combinations of existing ideas (mashups in today’s parlance) can produce strikingly original results. This post provides a good description of the process of making that happen.

How To Steal Like An Artist (And 9 Other Things Nobody Told Me)

I liked Auston Kleon’s idea of newspaper blackout. I really like this post on how ideas evolve. Nothing is original. Yet combinations of existing ideas (mashups in today’s parlance) can produce strikingly original results. This post provides a good description of the process of making that happen.

What you should do with your crappy little service business

I had to read this. As someone who runs a crappy little service business, the title pissed me off. It’s a very good article on why NOT to raise venture funds, why sales is a great form of financing, how to build a service business, and why service businesses can be fun and rewarding.

Why trends are for suckers

“It feels good to be trendy.  You can be sure that you’ll have a lot of company.  And that’s exactly the problem.  It’s easy to go wrong when everybody around you thinks it’s right.” Good post covering some of the dominant models of innovation adoption, with a focus on how not to be taken in by the crowd, no matter how wise it may seem.

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Chicago Payments

February 8th, 2011 by Collin Canright | No Comments | Filed in Business, Chicago

The Chicago Payments Information Exchange (CPIX) is live on the Built in Chicago. The group’s purpose is to build on Chicago’s history of innovation in payments and create greater visibility for this financial technology market.

In addition to providing a good overview of treasury management and payments in 2010, they are also good examples of my financial writing–the kind of solid content companies can use in bylines articles, white papers, blogs, and like.

Built in Chicago is fast-growing community that serves as a “resource for “digital professionals” working to build great web and mobile businesses and mind blowing user experiences. ” For details, read this interview with founder Matt Moog: http://bit.ly/fWrnlp (links to Crain’s Chicago Business’ Enterprise City blog).

CPIX is moderated by long-time payments, banking, and payments writer and communications consultant Collin Canright. The group is intended to build a network of financial institutions, payments processors, software firms, and consultants will strengthen this niche in Chicago’s technology community through collaborative communication and help propel its future success.

To join Built in Chicago, visit: www.builtinchicago.org

To view CPIX group content, visit www.builtinchicago.org/group/payments

For more information, contact:

Collin Canright
Principal
Canright Communications
www.canrightcommunications.com

773 248-8935 ext. 9404 (office)
773 426-7000 (mobile)