gapingvoid

Jul 27

Race Face

Race Face is a performance bicycle components company based in Vancouver, BC.  They design, manufacture, and distribute beautiful, high end products. So, what qualifies them to be nominated? Well, first is that they do it all themselves.  Not only do they hold their own against “giants” in the industry (billions of dollars a year companies like Shimano and SRAM) they also frequently upstage them.  They design ALL their own stuff.  No off-the-Taiwan-shelf-with-our branding-crap here.  They make real components from the ground up, start to finish.  They are trend setters.  They have passion.  They give a shit about the people who buy their stuff.  These folks are worthy…start to finish.

[Note: this is one of the Cube Grenade entriesShare your story for a chance to win a commissioned piece of art.]

Jul 24

Outlier Clothing Company

Abe and Tyler make incredible cycling clothing.  Their philosophy (http://outlier.cc/philosophy.php):

The sun is rising, the air clear, the city unfolds below you as you reach the top of the bridge. Your legs are spinning fast, heart pumping, maybe you are sweating just a touch. It’s a magical feeling of exhilaration and liberation that comes from riding a bike in a city. Inside trains, humans are imitating sardines, while drivers stall and stew in their own exhaust. The cyclist however is completely free, in motion, almost flying, a huge smile wiped across their face.

We firmly believe that the bicycle is the best form of urban transit for the 21st century, and our clothing is designed to make that fact even more true. Your clothing should work as well on a bicycle as it does on the subway or in a car, without shouting to the world “I’m a cyclist.” We are a clothing company first, not a cycling company. But we’re a clothing company that designs simple, good looking and hard wearing garments for a world where bikes are a part of your daily life.

At the core, Outlier clothing is about a certain freedom. A freedom to ride, regardless of the destination. You should always look like you belong inside the city, not just out on the road pedaling. A freedom to ride, at any speed you want to. Sometimes you ride slow sometimes you ride quick, but no matter how you ride, you should always look and feel fresh and clean. A freedom to ride, no matter the weather. A cyclist is exposed to the elements in a way that few other city dwellers are, and your clothing should be ready to handle whatever the sky and streets kick at it. Our garments are designed to make getting to that freedom just a little bit easier.

In many ways Outlier is a child of the Garment District. When we started this company neither of us really knew how to make clothing. We just knew that we couldn’t find the garments that we wanted and if no one else was going make them then we would have to do it ourselves. We began hunting down the best technical fabrics in the world and brought them to small factories in New York City where craftsmanship still reigns supreme. Through a constant process of experimentation and refinement we started producing a line of goods we can believe in.

Our goal is always to produce future classics. Garments that work as well half a century down the road as they do today. We believe in making the highest quality garments possible and we sell them at the best possible prices. We refuse to compromise on quality and we refuse to compromise on ethics. We use the best materials for the job and we make sure they meet the highest environmental standards. We keep production values sky high while keeping the work local.

We believe in strong communities and we see both our production people and our customers as an integral part of our personal community. We are here to build a long lasting company dedicated to quality. Quality in our product of course, and also quality in how we relate to the world. We treat people fairly and we treat our environment like it’s not just our home, but the home we want our grandchildren to ride their bikes in. We think we are making clothing for a better way of life, and hopefully you’ll join with us to get there.

[Note: this is one of the Cube Grenade entriesShare your story for a chance to win a commissioned piece of art.]

Jul 12

Blazin Brittle

I’m nominating my wife, Marie-Clare Prisco.  Maybe you automatically toss out spousal nominations.  Go ahead.  But thanks for the opportunity to stop a moment and write about her anyway.  Marie-Clare has been trying to find a way into her own life for many years.  She’s worked for Caterpillar, Abbott Labs, and American Hospital Association as a corporate communicator.  She’s also been a high school teacher and a project manager.  She’s telecommuted for a national conference A\V firm; she’s been a corporate trainer for Toyota.  Everything has come up short of her passion.  She’s now working hard to blaze her own path with an artisan pecan candy she calls Blazin Brittle, a spicey brittle she thinks perfect for the Texas tongue.  She’s been blogging about her adventures at www.blazinbrittle.com.  And here’s a photo of her in San Angelo with her booth set up at The Chicken Farm Art Center’s 1st Saturday Sale: http://www.flickr.com/photos/lemusgro/4758513719/

I nominate her.  But more than anything, you should get to know her.  It ain’t that far from Alpine.

[Note: this is one of the Cube Grenade entriesShare your story for a chance to win a commissioned piece of art.]

Laurence Musgrove

Hip-Hop Word Count

Jay-Z

The Hip-Hop Word Count is a searchable ethnographic database built from the lyrics of over 40,000 Hip-Hop songs from 1979 to present day. The database is the heart of an online analysis tool that generates textual and quantified reports on searched phrases, syntax, memes and socio-political ideas.

The next development phase of the Hip-Hop Word Count includes adding: data, a basic visual identity and data visualization to the prototype and developing a mathematics and language arts teaching curriculum that helps students in the critical, but difficult middle-school years.

[Note: this is one of the Cube Grenade entriesShare your story for a chance to win a commissioned piece of art.]

Cube grenade for Renew Adelaide

Hugh - I’d like to nominate Renew Adelaide for a free cube grenade - they are into rejuvenating inner-city locations by organising to use vacated buildings, shops and offices for short-term projects such as art exhibitions. The idea is to bring some life and activity back into parts of the city that are run-down/seedy/unloved with the hope that increased temporary activity will lead to longer-term renewal. Their blog post explaining the basic idea is at http://renewadelaide.wordpress.com/2009/12/07/renew-adelaide-the-basic-idea/.

Renew Adelaide is run by volunteers, is generally art-based (but is open to expanding the repertoire) and is trying to bring life back to unloved parts of my city - so I think they deserve some gapingvoid love!

[Note: this is one of the Cube Grenade entriesShare your story for a chance to win a commissioned piece of art.]

Small Town EMS

This isn’t a grand cause, it isn’t a brilliant start-up idea, it is a request to help 4500 people in the rural northern part of Sumner County Kansas. It is an effort started by a few people at Belle Plaine Emergency Medical Services in Belle Plaine, Kansas to provide the best possible care to the people living in and traveling through their service area.

The service is trying to recover from several years of minimal budgets and being shut down for several months due to budget issues. They are now trying to replace outdated equipment and add much needed equipment for the staff. While they have been successful in acquiring some grants there is still a long way to go.

Thanks

[Note: this is one of the Cube Grenade entriesShare your story for a chance to win a commissioned piece of art.]

"I Love Your Guys" - submitted on behalf of a friend

http://www.iloveuguys.org/

The last contact he had with his daughter was via a text message saying I love you guys sent to both his wife and his own cell phone. His daughter was being held captive by an armed gunman who eventually turned the gun on himself but only after killing the girl.

And then his life changed. I mean, here was a very successful developer who lieterally dropped EVERYTHING and immediately started to try and come up with a way to make sure this never happens again. Knowing that being able to universally protect our children was virtually imposible, he set to do the next best thing - make implementing an emergency response system for any and all schools to better manage/protect the children in case of crisis. RIght now he’s got it in over 150 schools, by next year he’ll have his system installed in over 270. The phone lines are the first to go out in any type of emergency, especially pbx based land-line systems that most school are setup with. What doesn’t go down is the internet + SMS. While he’s already managed to create an entire robust centralized backend where each school has their own ‘crisis-page’ that pulls from it (his server + backup cloud system in case it should ever go down in time of need). 

I met him actually by pure chance. I volunteered to be a project manager in an event held here in boulder, co to help out local non-profits that had technical or strategy questions, concerns, needs, etc.. with the local tech community. The passion he’s be able to put towards this project - focusing on educating teachers + institutions on how easy it it is to setup and maintain a simple emergency plan that could ultimately protect the children they’re in charge of has been pretty intense. He turned his sadness into passion. That’s the best way I can put it.  Right now i’ve been (even though the even is long over) in talks with various sms + voip services so that we can implement another aspect of the platform which is a click to call emergency as well as sms-call-list that would notify parents and teachers of impending threats/crisis situations as well as what to do. I’ve so far been getting great advice, as well as ways around most system limitations (including the standard policy that voip services refuse to allow you the ability to call 911 services through web-based interfaces…and the best part is most was shared by those who were developers/even senior management level types at each of these companies.  Even with the promised donation of any outgoing calls/sms fees by certain companies, there still would be a large cost in any actual emergency by using any system of this type. That $10k would make sure that the school not only wouldn’t have to pay any of the fees (as they currently don’t pay for any of the I Love You Guys foundations’ services), but would make sure one situation doesn’t take down their foundation. Please, just see what I mean by even just emailing him.. He has no idea that I’m posting this.  johnmichael@iloveuguys.org 

[Note: this is one of the Cube Grenade entriesShare your story for a chance to win a commissioned piece of art.]

VerdeStrategy Helps Clarify Lasting Value

VerdeStrategy believes in the power of the entrepreneur.  We also believe entrepreneurs can be even more powerful if they can communicate with clarity and purpose.

Investors look for entrepreneurs with a clear sense of purpose and vision — and clarity in communicating that purpose and vision.  Too often, however, words get in the way of good ideas.

Investors look for companies that have the greatest chance of making an impact.  But if they can’t understand a company’s product and business model, go-to-market strategy or how it intends to make money, they won’t invest in the vision. 

And if customers can’t figure out what a company’s product or offering is, they won’t buy it.

VerdeStrategy helps clarify a company’s message to ensure the real value of a company’s products, services, and impact is as clear as their vision for a better world. 

Unlike pure-play marketing and advisory firms, VerdeStrategy understands both the entrepreneur and investor perspectives.  We use this insight to help refine, focus and clarify a company’s value in the minds of potential investors, strategic partners and other important audiences. 

Whether honing a company’s business model, improving their go-to-market strategy or developing strong messaging and positioning, we help entrepreneurs develop a professional, investor-ready business plan, compelling executive summary and presentation deck.

VerdeStrategy helps create robust, sustainable businesses that attract investment, improve profitability and extend market share.  We are in the business of helping entrepreneurs and investors come together into lasting and profitable relationships.

For cleantech, energy and environment start-ups that need help attracting capital and marketing their company, VerdeStrategy is the go-to consulting and advisory firm.  We help entrepreneurs clarify and articulate their lasting value to investors and other networks, so they can focus on delivering results and impact.

[Note: this is one of the Cube Grenade entriesShare your story for a chance to win a commissioned piece of art.]

Jul 06

Calling for a reform in business education

Here’s an overview of the manifesto for a new generation of business schools. We think we need revolution in business education, not evolution. Cheers Hugh!

The evidence is explicit: achievement in business school is not correlated in any way with success in business.

In fact, even holding a business degree at all does not increase likelihood of success, increase either starting or ongoing salary nor increase happiness.

Nothing.

In spite of this, business education has grown exponentially in the last decade.

We believe the old Industrial-age model is flawed. This is a manifesto for a new generation of business schools, the first of which is planned to launch in October 2010. Here are the founding concepts:

No full-time professors. Telling people what to do full-time and doing nothing yourself is bound to corrupt your thinking (no matter how top-notch your research is). To keep teaching, professors must prove they continue to build outstanding and challenging businesses.

If you’re not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with anything worthwhile. Too often, school is about suppressing mistakes and about making sure you follow the tried-and-true route. We disagree. To graduate from our school, you need to prove you’ve contributed to society in a meaningful way and built a sustainable business. That’s it. Take the time you want, we’re here to help. The school is part-time only.

The Internet is changing the way we see the world. We’ll make available plenty of TEDTalks and lectures from Khan Academy and Academic Earth. Stand up, discuss and defend your opinion, you’ll develop an understanding of the world like never before.

Meet amazing people. We think school should be about building genuine and long-term relationships and people you care for. We’ll make sure that happens.

It’s a miracle if curiosity survives formal education. That’s Albert Einstein speaking. We’re looking for diversity, creativity, people who get excited and passionate about their projects. And we strive at bringing back the “learning” part of education.

[Note: this is one of the Cube Grenade entriesShare your story for a chance to win a commissioned piece of art.]

Gangplank and the Cube Grenade

Gangplank Collective is a collaborative workspace and tech incubator devoted to helping talented individuals and innovative companies create the new economy in Chandler, AZ. Yes, we’re starting small, because that’s how great things happen. Start small and tight, grow large and powerful.

We are a group of connected individuals and small businesses creating an economy of innovation and creativity in the Valley. We envision a new economic engine comprised of collaboration and community, in contrast to the silos and secrecy left by the dependence on tourism and land development.

We know we’re ready. We’re looking for more people.

We have the talent. We just need to work together. Different environments need to overlap, to connect and to interact in order to transform our culture.

We offer Gangplank Academy, where kids can learn how to create with Legos, develop programs with professionals and even create their own comic panels straight from the artists. We have Gangplank Brownbags, where once a week local business leaders talk about what makes their companies worth paying attention to. We have Hacknights, where everyone from hardware to software hackers and roller hockey players to PR professionals are invited to kick back with pizza, some WiFi and share their plans.

We believe that innovation breeds innovation. We will transform the Valley culture into one supportive of the entrepreneurial spirit, of risk taking, of pioneering into the unknown territories as the founders of our municipalities once did. This requires education, entrepreneurship and creative workspaces.

We are Gangplank.

Your move, MacLeod.

[Note: this is one of the Cube Grenade entriesShare your story for a chance to win a commissioned piece of art.]