Category Archives: The Economy

HYPERLOCAL SOCIAL ECONOMIES (HSEs)

by William Arrington

While most of our lives have transcended into the digital world through experiences such as social networks, friends are still very much tangible. We make friends because we share common ideals, motives, beliefs, activities, influences, communities and even consumption patterns. Social media sought to capitalize on this relationship by broadcasting our lives to the world and then selling them to the highest bidders (i.e. advertisers and retailers) for lack of a better illustration. The effects of this commercialization of our digital lives has left a divide in the purpose and utility of social networks begging to ask the question whether our friendships and connections online have become nothing more than apparatuses for advertisers and marketers to spam us through? Continue reading

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CHICAGO—THE BEST INCUBATOR IN AMERICA?

by Denny O’Malley

Recently, Inc.com published an article about the best cities for early-stage companies. The premise: Chicago is the surprise winner.

Why would that be? San Francisco and New York are both beautiful, thriving cities that dramatically represent the diversity of American ideas. San Fran—younger, more venture-oriented, with beautiful natural vistas. New York—the classic, bustling private and public equity concrete jungle.

What do they have in common? It costs a kidney to pay rent for a closet. Continue reading

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DRIVING VALUE WHEN FUNDING RUNS LOW

funding-tDavid Johnson

Overview

The funding environment for early stage startups has been shifting for some time, but as shifts accelerate, founders, executives, and investors should look to reassess their strategies to ensure that they remain optimal in a capital constrained environment. Q2 2016 saw the lowest rolling 12-month average deal flow for early stage investments since Q2 2013, this in spite of actual early stage dollars invested having increased by 127% over that period. Increasingly, early stage investors are looking to place fewer but more sizable bets on startups that are perceived as having the most promise. This can, and likely will, lead to a widening gulf between early stage startups that have a clear path to additional funding and those that may struggle to generate investor interest. Continue reading

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TRUMPED

donald-trump-tby John Jonelis

Political outsider elected president! Nationwide shock!  Emotions run wild!  Markets in turmoil!  Worst riots since Orson Wells’ WAR OF THE WORLDS broadcast!

Loop Lonagan watches the mayhem on television. People on the streets shout lewd obscenities—carry hate signs—crawl over cars—destroy businesses—throw bricks at police. “Da theater o’ dee absurd,”  Lonagan mutters, “Did deeze folks even vote?” Continue reading

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APPLESAUCE AND APPLE

Light Bulb TTHE FINANCIAL MINDSET OF A NEW GENERATION

Tom McBride and Ron Nief

The students who began college this past fall have a forty percent chance of graduating in four years, and a seventy percent chance of graduating in six. Having grown up in the Great Recession they can rarely take money for granted. They are more interested in money than in love, unlike their parents, who may have grown up as hippie advocates of free love during the far more prosperous 1960s. Continue reading

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THE DRAGON LADY AND THE BIG BAD DUCK

The Donald T

By John Jonelis

                ■

“Tell me a story, Uncle Loop.”

“Okay Princess, that’s what I’m here for. First let’s get you all tucked in and ready fer bed.” Loop Lonagan sits back in the chair and opens the news app on his phone. “Let’s see what we got here.” He runs down the headlines.

  • “GANG SHOOTING ON HALSTED—No that’ll just get ya all riled up.”
  • “TERRORISTS ABDUCT CHILDREN—Nope. Too scary.”
  • “LOCAL REP ACCUSED OF EMBEZZLEMENT—”

“What’s ‘bezelment, Uncle Loop?”

“Ferget it kid. Way too boring . Here’s another one.”

  • “TRUMP IN BED WITH CLINTON—”

The small voice turns suddenly shrill. “That one! Read me that one, Uncle Loop. It’s a bedtime story.” Continue reading

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YOUR BUSINESS AND YOUR CHILDREN

Child Executive0001 TBy Nick Arvis

“Why am I doing this?”   That’s the question dominating a President’s Advisory Committee board meeting (PAC).  None of the members—all business owners—intend to give or sell their business to their children.  Instead, in a reversal of traditional social norms, all of them plan to use their wealth to empower their children on whatever paths the kids happen to choose.The members range in age from early forties to mid-fifties. Each of them has done very well. Their children range in age from the early grades to out-of-the-nest adults.

. Continue reading

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OIL FROM WATER

oil well T2by John Jonelis

What if you can make oil out of water? What if, you also end up with more water? A discovery like that will benefit our country and the world.

The technology now exists. Commercialization is beginning. Continue reading

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TOUGH LOVE

Sandee 15TTechbash – Part 5

John Jonelis

This is a story about raw love. Tough. Rugged. Unashamed.

I’m at i.c.stars—the premier social incubator in Chicago—and I find myself a bit overwhelmed by it all. I stop in to thank Sandee Kastrul, their President and Co-founder and she pours me some hot coffee.

“I think,” She says, “that at the end of the day, there are three things that you should know about us:

  • We’re positioned as an opportunity, not a charity.
  • Rather than exploit our interns, we exploit our CIOs.
  • We’re funded by the technology industry—not the government.

Those seem to me rather interesting assertions for a social venture. But she goes on to explain: Continue reading

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THE APPRENTICE MEETS DIGITAL BOOT CAMP

icstarg 1Techbash – Part 3

VERBATIM – John Jonelis

This is a story of high expectations, high reality, and high energy. I may as well give it to you straight, because Loop Lonogan would want it that way. He’s in the lockup. Too much hard partying on Twelfth Night. His guests spilled into the street and all kinds of trouble erupted—part of it involving a policeman he knocked cold. So I’m here at i.c.stars headquarters. Here to finish Lonagan’s series of articles. I’m talking to the president and co-founder, Sandee Kastrul. Continue reading

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VAST PILES OF MONEY

Chicago Social Enterprise Eyes a Trillion Dollar Market

Piggy BankImpact Engine Part 9 – by Jeff Segal, Message Therapist –

“Anyone who has ever struggled with poverty knows how extremely expensive it is to be poor.”— James Baldwin Continue reading

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BNC TUESDAY NIGHT SMACKDOWN

WeDeliver T2 - photo courtesy TechweekTechweek Part 3 at BNC Venture Capital –

John Jonelis –

The audience roars! This roomful of raucous investors demand answers the way hungry wolves tear at meat. Men and women shout as if in the trading pits of the CME. I see wallets wagging in eager hands, but the kids presenting tonight are unprepared for such a high level of scrutiny and the questions keep coming—one louder than the last. Now the speaker shouts to be heard as the meeting spirals out of control. Continue reading

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