NYTimes Elaborates on IDC Prediction of “End of the PC Era”

Smartphones and Tablets Will Take Over in 2011, Researchers Say – NYTimes.com.

Another perspective on how the shift in the computing paradigm will redefine the market for how consumers and businesses take-up technology offerings, mainly software applications and cloud services.

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Look at these Top 5 2011 IDC Predictions

5 Predictions for 2011 From IDC.

We are indeed at the beginning of a major transformation of the social economy driven by intuitive and fluid software applications for social interaction; made possible by exponentially greater levels of power and performance of hand-held mobile hardware devices and higher speed telecommunications networks. We are rapidly progressing into the new era of an always-connected mobile community that transforms the way our society and the world at large engages in services such as entertainment, digital conversation, interactive media, education and in commercial transactions such as health-care and public services.

The entrepreneurial and enterprise potential through production of software-aligned technology products and services is at the level not before realized except in comparison to the completely revolutionary and trans-formative cycles of the two prior generations of end-user software computing: the PC-based applications of the 1980/90s and the Internet/Browser bounded applications of 2000s.

Through the evolution of digital social communication that is accessed and engaged through fluid software applications on mobile devices we will no longer be constrained by the internet in our social computing.  The orders of magnitude for value creation within the mobile-computing, software application space is almost immeasurable; rest assured it looks very promising for developers, for cloud services providers and the entrepreneurs that align the capital to make these things happen.  This is Generation 2020 coming your way.

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A 25% Tax Credit For Angel Investors in Michigan (maybe Oregon too?)

Bill Allowing 25% Tax Credits For Angel Investors Heads For Michigan Governor’s Signature | Xconomy.

Do we have this in Oregon? If not, we should have this.  Note the comment about how this tax action will unlock investment funds for the entrepreneurial ecosystem.  Sounds good to me!

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US-South Korea Trade Pact Could Mean Thousands Of US Jobs

US-South Korea Trade Pact Could Mean Thousands Of US Jobs.

This is a great development, $10B in exports, 70k jobs. My community can benefit through exporting commercial software technologi­es for mutual economic developmen­t


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Portland: Lifestyle & Financial Success, We Do Have Both

Last week the Mayor presented a progress report on the efforts to date by the City and Portland Development Commission in creating a plan to drive economic development within the Software Industry.  It was an informative and well-organized delivery of survey results and findings, reflecting great work by the team that spent significant energy on data gathering and analysis.  I left the Portland Software Summit feeling that my time was well spent and that, just as promised by the Mayor, this was a mid-point report reflecting a significant journey ahead to reach the goals of creating jobs and a healthy economy through the software industry; the call to action was very clear: get involved,  invest and innovate.

So why the picture of the Airstream?  Well, one popular topic of discussion during the post-presentation Q&A reflection had to do with a key data-point of the report on lifestyle: the attributes of community values, culture and social DNA of Oregon and really a celebration of how this makes us unique.  A big survey finding to most in attendance was that we value our lifestyle more than we value financial success; and the fear, perhaps already realized, that outside venture capital funding has a tendency to bypass Portland in lieu of more money focused communities.  Of course this is not a good thing for a community seeking to up-level its entrepreneurial endeavors that seed the root-bed of disruptive and compelling innovation that is mission critical in the software industry.

I do not disagree with the key points underscoring why Oregonians have this preference for lifestyle first and money second; that Oregon is a community by design that desires cultivating enduring wealth in a measured, purposeful manner and with relative quiet; much more so than the get rich gold-rush mentality found in other locales (looking due south right now).  We proudly cultivate our lands with ingenuity, we rely upon trusted community as an essential element to survival and we invest the many, many seasons of hard work needed to produce the best harvests; this is the Oregon frontier legacy.  These are qualities that we do indeed celebrate loudly in Oregon each day, they definitely make us unique; and the team delivering the report did an excellent job explaining how these elements and attributes form our community values, culture and social DNA.

Back to that nice $75k Airstream.  We love our lifestyle here, and we love the abundant recreation opportunities that are part of Oregon’s geo-scape.  We take the time in our lives to pursue those interests that give us good balance; if not, you should.  This focus on balance of life, and lifestyle, does not at all mean that we don’t work hard or that we do not value reaping the monetary fruits from our commercial enterprise; far from it.

But…. and this is where we all need to do a better job… there is nothing wrong with championing the cause of being successful, making money and building wealth in the most opportunist fashion.  Sometimes it is almost too quite in Portland about being aggressively entrepreneurial and celebrating our wins.  Corporations, commercialism and capitalism are the good and needed mechanisms to build healthy economies and create jobs through enterprise; good community-focused business ethics are assumed.  The pursuit of these business efforts to become financially successful reflect values that are not mutually exclusive with the community values, culture and DNA the presenters highlighted in their report based on data gleaned from the community survey.

Our well-balanced lifestyles rich in bountiful recreation in a very beautiful geography and community culture require us to be financially successful.  We like our toys just like folks do in other places; we like to ensure our families are secure and have promising futures in a healthy, financially thriving community; and these finer things don’t come cheap.  They come to those who work very hard and persevere through the risks, set-backs and endless unknowns; typical frontier stuff.

My point today is let us not misstate where our priorities lie, especially when we present our persona-vitae to the outside world.  We can compete with the best of the best, we can produce the most innovative, free-market capitalistic and commercially successful production outputs of any economy; we celebrate making money and our peers applaud loudly our success. And at the same time and with equal priority we differentiate ourselves strongly as competitively unique and with definite advantage through our community, culture and our DNA.  The action point here is that we should balance our voice in a way that trumpets our financial prowess as much as we sing the praises of community.

Let’s celebrate both.  RC

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He Found a Niche

I’d say he found a good formula for wealth creation! RC

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Portland’s Startup Dilema

Portland’s startup dilemma – how do we get investor money to flow toward the start-up?  I agree with David Hornick of August Capital in the recent TechCrunch article, http://tcrn.ch/dNP7oN,  that you first need to establish a solid local ecosystem that is all about launching new technology-driven enterprises.  This is the critical mass that Silicon Valley has had for decades now.  Portland leaders, in both public and private sectors, have advanced great ideas about what needs to occur to better enable economic recovery through building new businesses within the Software Cluster; one thing that is mission critical to make this happen is to have a robust community of interest that creates this ecosystem of services facilitation focused on launching new software-driven enterprises.

Portland does have a strong community of interest via OEN, SAO, PDC, PSBA, OTBC, BizOr and the likes; Portland does also have an established investor community in several forms with funds targeted at the Seed, Angel and traditional VC phases. Given all of this, we still seem to lack the critical mass needed to gain the level of traction and trajectory required to put us on the map.  I am as frustrated as anyone to continually read the stories about the great leaders of influence in the start-up community investing their energies in other geographies.  And our situation is not because of our tax attitude toward business; we have a healthy tax environment for business, especially when you compare Oregon to Silicon Valley.

What is missing?  Portland would benefit greatly from more ‘second generation’ entrepreneurs catering to the launch community.  The second gen leaders are the people that have experienced the entrepreneurial exercise of creating companies and brought them through to their appropriate exit point.  We need more seasoned leaders in this space to make more sweat equity investment helping build critical mass within the Portland ecosystem for building durable sustaining enterprises.  The software industry segment, driven to a great degree by startups, will become one of the great ways that we recover the Oregon economy.  My comments about Portland do indeed apply statewide, and Region-wide.

Building Portland’s momentum within the Software Cluster is going to require a lot of energy from people committed to creating jobs and restoring a healthy economy; it is going to require people with financial resources to take greater risks with new investments than what we have traditionally seen in this community; and it is going to take economic development leadership in the public sector to continually advance the ball by providing a great proactive example in supporting innovation through local startup enterprises.

In doing research recently on funding mechanisms available to startups, I found a publication of the National Science Foundation, Division of Industrial Innovation & Partnerships; their programs, Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) & Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR), makes grant awards of $150,000 in Phase I and up to $1 Million in Phase II to startups.  The IIP Vision is to be the preeminent federal resource driving the expansion of our nation’s innovation capacity by stimulating partnerships among industry, academe, investors, government and other stakeholders. In addition, the IIP mission is to enhance our nation’s economic competitiveness by catalyzing the transformation of discovery into societal benefits through stimulating partnerships and promoting learning environments for innovators. The strategy for the SBIR/STTR Program is to invest in cutting-edge, high risk, high quality applied research in science, engineering and education with a clear goal of innovation that benefits society and the nation through commercialization. I found one submission/award from the University of Oregon and one for a Portland software company; there is money available through this federal program and I am not sure this is something that is being pursued aggressively through local public-private partnership efforts; I plan to find out more about local efforts around this federal program.

From my point of view, the top priority today and one that is very actionable is strengthening and scaling-up our entrepreneurial ecosystem as the mechanism that fosters the creation and development of new enterprises that have innovation through technology as a mission.  Anyone who has lived within the circle of Intel knows what is meant by the term ecosystem; this is the fundamental and influential process to building the foundation for creating a community of thought that drives investment and business activity to form around a hopeful breakthrough innovation; it moves the sphere of thought leadership around desired specifications, and it creates the leap in intellectual market-share that digs the moat.  It creates the critical mass needed to build momentum required for commercialization.

We need to build upon the great progress the organizations within the Portland technology community have made over the past decade in advancing capability and competency in this area and take it to the next level; we can do this by building a more robust ecosystem that improves the success rate of Portland area start-ups.  How do we do this?  It is not scientific but here are a few general common sense ideas:

1.       Build up the network of service providers that serve this industry; this will enable the connections between creative engineers, business managers and investors to happen more fluidly; this is private sector activity for entrepreneurs that want to build their business in this services space.  Seed the idea space through networking and reinforcing the positive outcomes of healthy economies by supporting development of an ecosystem for startup incubation.

2.       Drive awareness of the importance of job creation through outreach programs and market development efforts facilitated by public sector leaders focused on economic development; the recent work of the PDC can really help build momentum if sustaining.

3.       Mentor, mentor, mentor; bring seasoned ‘second generation’ proven entrepreneurs to the forefront and enable the ‘give back’ to occur; passing on the knowledge and experience to help foster the ideas of those just starting out.  We can do this by continuing the good work of the organizations working in this space that bring people together that want to help rebuild the Oregon economy (i.e OEN, SAO, PDC, PSBA, OTBC, BizOr etc). Augment this with private sector services support.

4.       Persist in applying personal and group creative energies toward building commerce around taking great ideas for breakthrough innovations, advancing their enterprise form and substance. This means always being entrepreneurial and not giving up on your ideas; just refine them based on discovery and always work to give your efforts true business form.

5.       Always complete your due diligence as the basis for making good decisions; this is what flushes out the hidden risks; once risks are known, it is easier to define the problem and create a solution. Decisions are what makes or breaks new business.

Once we have reached a greater level of sustained inertia than we have today in driving this ecosystem, I believe investor money will more readily step in.  I believe this because I also believe that the process of how money gets invested will transform to become more efficient in response to demands of the market.  Like all things technology, the cycle times in our new economy for producing compelling value are shortening; this applies to investment opportunities in the new enterprises that will become the superstars of tomorrow in driving innovative breakthroughs via disruptive technology products.  The good bets for investors will require the smart money to step in much earlier in the evolution cycle of an enterprise; I believe this will shift the traditional cycle of investment toward taking investment positions in promising ventures sooner, and this will be based on the enhanced level of investor confidence that is based on Portland’s expression of critical mass within the ecosystem that supports the start-up community for enterprises that have innovative technology as a mission.

If we build the foundation as a robust ecosystem supporting the technology startup community, and we persist with the energies needed to build momentum, the investment dollars will find its way.

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What’s in a Name?

Our name? Just in case you were wondering. The meaning for us is that the best decisions, the most influential, truly differentiating, and construct critical decisions are based on the sometimes nuanced expressions and analytical outcomes that rest within the gray shades.  To be successful in today’s world of commerce requires more than executing the obvious mechanics of business planning; it requires a framework for unbounded creativity yet bridled unobtrusively through leadership.  We help young companies do that.

Early inspirations are definitely from Ansel Adams; and to the wonderful and silvery Pacific Northwest winter skies that inspire contemporary ruminations.

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Greetings from GrayShayds

Hi, Just a quick note to say hi and thank you for visiting my blog.  We’ll see how it goes and always improve along the way.  Check out the About tab to learn more about who we are and what we do.  As our thanks to you for taking time to visit, please enjoy this beautiful musical expression from the lovely Eddi Reader:

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