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Founders Share Advice at Entrepreneur Bash

Seven founders featured in How They Did It gave great advice at the Great Lakes Entrepreneur Bash on November 16th in Chicago. Take a look at these videos from the panel that included:

Bill DeVille, Health Personnel Options, Ohio
Jim Dolan, The Dolan Company, Minnesota
Tim Krauskopf, Spyglass, Illinois
Vince Pettinelli, PeopleServe, Ohio
Chris Moffitt, Rubicon Technology, Illinois
Michael Polsky, SkyGen, Illinois
Mark Tebbe, Lante Corporation, Illinois

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Are Leaders Today Really Leaders?

I thought this was funny, so I’m asking your opinion. As blogged by ExecuNet on LinkedIn, Lauryn Franzoni, ExecuNet vice-president and executive director of membership, recently attended the World Business Forum in New York City where she had the pleasure of interviewing Nando Parrado about his experiences as a plane crash survivor and entrepreneur. I thought that Nando’s story was inspirational and worth sharing with you.

After you view the video, read this comment from ExecuNet member Matt Jackson:

Jackson posted this:

A touching and pointless story. Corporate executives should look at Parrado and the Chilean survivors as the EXACT OPPOSITE of everything they represent. A bunch of pampered and pretentous B-school pr**ks sitting in offices trying to glom onto any example of courage and leadership because they have neither. What “commitment” does the audience have? Commitment to make money at any cost? Commitment to work 15 hour days and suffer all manner of abuses and beurocratic indiference in the constant fear that their livlihood will be taken away on some vice presidents whim?

What’s the message here? Through someone else’s staggering neglect and incompetance your life could become a total disaster? That to survive you will need to eat your fellows? That you have no choice but to put up with a bunch of crap or die?

Every corporate executive fancies himself to be a modern reincarnation of Ernest Shackleton, Neil Armstrong or Douglas MacArthur or… whoever. The fact that they typically have NONE of the qualities of great people who accomplish great things is the reason most of them are sitting in an office somewhere.

So: what do you think about leadership today? Gutsy, or gutless?

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Great Lakes Entrepreneur Bash Recap Video

November 16, 2010 marked the launch of  How They Did It: Billion Dollar Insights from the Heart of America and the first ever Great Lakes Entrepreneur Bash. The evening was a HUGE success — with almost 350 people joining us in Chicago to celebrate entrepreneurship. Here is a short video recapping the event.

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Phil Soran, Founder and CEO of Compellent, Shares How He Founded Xiotech

Phil Soran, Founder and CEO of Compellent, recently sat down with Casey Allen of TECHdotMN. In this interview, Phil shares how his journey from middle school math teacher to IBM storage expert led to the founding of Xiotech in his Minnesota basement with his two partners. Phil discusses their strategies for securing investors, acquiring their first customers and their eventual sale of Xiotech to Seagate for $360 million.

Executable #1: Phil Soran, CEO, Compellent from TECHdotMN on Vimeo.

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SoCore Energy Receives a Chicago Innovation Award

Congratulations to Glen Tullman, featured in How They Did It, whose company SoCore Energy was one of ten out of 332 nominees to receive a Chicago Innovation Award this past Monday. SoCore Energy is revolutionizing the way that commercial buildings are able to harness solar power and was chosen for its “game-changing approaches to making solar energy systems financially viable for corporations.”

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7 Minute Voyage You Will Not Forget

Proof positive my friends of endless ingenuity:

http://www.brooklynspaceprogram.org/BSP/Space_Balloon.html

Take 7 minutes and give yourself a thrilling ride inside a takeout container that Luke Geissbuhler rigged to a weather balloon. The video camera and iPhone hit 19 miles up, about 100,000 feet and at bursting point for the weather balloon, at which point the container parachuted back to earth, remarkably just 30 miles away from launch point in Newburgh New York.

There’s a great story at NYT but really just watch this video.

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UPS Gets It Right with “That’s Logistics”

A great new TV spot from UPS and the only negative comment I see from viewers is that they can’t get the tune out of their heads. Really well done.

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Michael Polsky Scores Big

Congratulations to Michael Polsky, founder of Invenergy Wind and featured company champion in How They Did It.

The news just came out: Detroit Energy, the utility subsidiary of DTE Energy Company (DTE) got regulatory approval for a 20-year renewable energy purchase contract. The Michigan Public Service Commission (“MPSC”) gave approval for the company to purchase 200 megawatts (MW) of wind energy from Invenergy Wind.

The project plans to use 125 wind turbines, installed across 30,000 acres, generating enough power to supply nearly 54,000 homes with renewable electricity. Using 1.6MW turbines supplied by GE, the facility is expected to begin operations in late 2011.

When we interviewed Michael for the book, he told me that “if you want to grow, you always stay ahead of your means.” With his level of drive, I surmise that this news is both a conclusion from a big bet and a new chapter for the company. He’s a rare individual in a utility-oriented industry who still owns most of the company and can finance and land a $1.1 billion deal.

Well done Michael.

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