Sunday, March 18, 2007

Open Gardens covers Project VIEW

In the interest of blog reciprocity (do we need a new portmanteau like blogiprocity?), I wanted to thank Ajit Jaokar, author of Mobile Web 2.0 and main writer at the Open Gardens blog for writing a nice article about the Digital Vision program and Project VIEW.

Ajit spoke to the fellows about Mobile Social Software earlier this year, it was a very interesting topic and quite useful in development of my own social service.

(update: also covered in an MS Mobile Development blog here)

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Dr. Lehrer I presume

Just a quick note to publically thank and embarass my friend Dr. Lehrer for helping consult with me on a curriculum plan. As of now, I have an excellently detailed plan for implementing a digital storytelling workshop in an afterschool program. Mix in the existing pilots, add a dash of new students and a pinch of digital cameras, and BAM! We're cooking.

The basics were already there, but it was exciting to see them come together more formally.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Newsletter 3

Greetings loyal reader! Sorry it's been a while, but I have several exciting updates.

January was a big travel month for me. My first destination was Colombo, Sri Lanka, where I did some field work. My friend (who wishes to remain anonymous) is working there, so I visited Colombo and met some of the local folks she works with. It was an amazing place to be; there is tremendous hardship but also tremendous potential. One of the Digital Vision fellows from last year did a project in Sri Lanka, so I also met his local contact. He is working to set up business process outsourcing companies in rural areas that already have computer literacy and English education available.

After Sri Lanka, I went to Switzerland for the Schwab Summit for Social Entrepreneurs. I was very honored to be invited, and it was extremely inspiring to be chatting with the same people who were my initial inspiration for this type of project, such as Nick Moon and David Green.

My favorite panel at the Schwab Summit was called "The Business Case for Working with Social Entrepreneurs." The panel was made up of executives from Microsoft,, BCG, Deutsche Bank, Swiss RE, and Ernst & Young. All of the companies were working with social entrepreneurs in some capacity. For example, Microsoft has a group that works with social entrepreneurs, which increases their employee retention as well as exposing them to new business ventures. Akhtar Badshah, a Senior Director at Microsoft said that their long-term view was toward changing how society views poverty and development.

The Project VIEW team is also growing. In addition, to me, myself, and I, there are now four Bay Area Video Coalition interns on the team as well as a professional product manager, who volunteered from a Stanford class.

Finally, my big news is my first academic publication. I am presenting at the Digital Stream Conference in Monterey, and my paper will be included in the conference proceedings. Voila! A publication!

The next big step in the project is the website. I have registered a domain and the web interns and I are working on a full website to showcase everything. Stay tuned, I'll announce the launch in the next newsletter.

Until then, please email me if you have any ideas or feedback.

John Kuner
Digital Vision Fellow
jkuner AT stanford DOT edu

Bay Area Video Coalition:
Digital Stream Conference:
KickStart (Nick Moon):
Aravind (David Green):

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Liveblogging Guy Kawasaki at Stanford

Guy Kawasaki came to speak at Stanford today for Entrepreneur Week, talking about failure. He was a very funny and also down to to earth.

- The only way to guarantee failure is not to try.

- Failure is forgiven, it may even be a badge of courage.

He also told a funny story about coming into business and how one of the benefits of youth is that you don't know what you don't know. When he came to apple from the diamond business, he thought

"One day I was schlepping diamonds, the next day I was schlepping computers.. how hard can it be to sell people on using a platform with zero install base?"

He talked about the steps listed in 'The Art of the Start', then gave a few tips from the VC viewpoint.

- When they listen to financial projections, they divide by 100 and add a year. "We know you're lying, we just want to figure out by how much. It shouldn't be the Mariana Trench"

- Most projections seem to be $25 million for some reason, even if they're for shrimp processing software.

- One other thing to look for in companies is did they start out with 'Wouldn't it be cool..' rather than 'Is there a market for ..."

Ryan Says.. also covers this event (and has a better picture). :)

EDIT: Fixed Marianas to Mariana, added a new picture, added link to other coverage.