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It's Who You Know at The Technology Showcase

Posted by Handshake 2.0 at 9:36 AM on October 31, 2008:

VT KnowledgeWorks will feature the regional technology community in its annual Technology Showcase, held this year on on Friday, November 7, 2008 at the German Club Manor.

There's time to expand your "It's who you know" connections.  You can still register as an exhibitor for the Technology Showcase or register to attend.

Check off who you know from this up-to-the-moment list of exhibitors received at Handshake 2.0 this morning at 9:05 AM.

Attaain, Inc.

Automation Creations, Inc.

CCS-Inc. & subsidiary Qualtrax, Inc.

Click & Pledge

DynaSoft, LLC

EnergyWare

GenTek Ventures

Handshake 2.0

Innovative Academic Solutions

Keystone Materials LLC

Koofers, Inc

M&P Copy and Ship Center

Mailtrust, a division of Rackspace

New City Media

NewVa Corridor Technology Council

Polymer Solutions Incorporated

Schultz-Creehan Holdings

StellarOne Bank

TORC

Virginia Tech Intellectual Properties

VT Business Technology Center

Wessex Incorporated

Defining the Local Social Entreprenuer - HALF WAY THERE!

Posted by Melinda Marcus at 6:00 AM on October 31, 2008:

From Melinda Marcus, intern with Handshake 2.0:

First impressions.

Ah, yes.  We are told they are so important, yet most of the time first impressions are very, very wrong. I am sure each us has a story where we had a bad first impression of a person, and now we realize how wrong it was.

I feel as though that is what is happening with my ideas about Social Entrepreneurship (not that I want to marry the idea, just that I really like what I see now). When Anne Clelland, my boss (actually, my internship supervisor) and CEO of Handshake 2.0, first mentioned the idea of Social Entrepreneurship, I thought it would be a small topic, unpopular, and, honestly, not applicable to what I wanted to do with my life.

Now, as I reach the midpoint in my semester,  I realize how wrong I was about Social Entrepreneurship.

For this blog post I want to take a step back and evaluate what I have learned, what I want to learn, and basically state what this internship is teaching me about myself and my passions.

Here are a few thoughts on what I have learned so far about Social Entrepreneurship (SE):

  • SE isn't just for the "non-profit" sector
  • An SE can be an architecture firm, a retail store, high-tech companies, and so much more
  • In essence it is all about giving back - taking what you have learned though school, experience, and life and applying it to a business mission
  • I have a lot to learn about businesses and how they work
  • An SE places ethics and social justice at its core (not profit)
  • SEs are changing the world

The more I learn about the business world and the world, the more I realize how important SE companies are for our future. 

In the last half of my internship, I really want to learn about opportunities in which to practice social entrepreneurship as a business student. I want to develop my own expertise in this field.

This is where I need YOUR HELP!

If you have any ideas about innovative and socially-grounded RNR (Roanoke and New River Valleys) businesses that practice even a hint of social entrepreneurship, please let me know!

I am very interested in talking to all kinds of businesses that have included "giving back" in their business models.

You can follow the entire Defining the Local Social Entrepreneur series by Melinda Marcus.

***

Melinda Marcus is an intern for Handshake 2.0, a member company of business acceleration centerVT KnowledgeWorks, located in the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center, a technology park, a research park, and a science park on the Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg, Virginia.  The research park provides high-technology companies access to university faculty, university facilities, university equipment, and business-related support services.  The Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center fosters commercialization and technology transfer of university research for both high-tech start-up companies and established technology businesses.

Keepin' Connected at Coldwell Banker Townside, REALTORS®

Posted by Handshake 2.0 at 6:00 AM on October 30, 2008:

From Margaret Galecki:

As general manager of Coldwell Banker Townside, REALTORS®, I field a large volume of solicitations on how to make my business and the business of my agents better.  Most of what shows up in my mailbox, physical and virtual, ends up in the trash.  Margaret Galecki, general manager of Coldwell Banker Townside, REALTORS®

As mother of many and sister of one, I also field a large volume of requests for help on how to make business, both the personal and the professional,  better.  Most of my suggestions to my children end up in the trash, but my sister seems to welcome any idea I can throw her way. 

When I picked up my complimentary first issue of Valley Business FRONT from my mailbox, I immediately thought of my sister, Anne Giles Clelland, founder of Handshake 2.0, and how this might be a great place for her to advertise her product which I call "business blogs for people who are too busy to write them."

As I picked up the phone to call her, I continued to thumb through the magazine, only to find her ad was already there (designed by graphic artist, Kelsey Sarles, a referral to Anne because of the fine work she does for Coldwell Banker Townside, REALTORS®). 

While I was still looking through the magazine (for a much longer time than most), an e-mail arrived from Anne asking me if I could confirm that Eric Schmidt of Google fame was of the same Blacksburg family that we knew something of when we were in high school.  I knew that he was because of a conversation I had with Coldwell Banker Townside, REALTORS® agent and long-time Blacksburg and fellow past Airport Acres resident, Steve Ayers, so I suggested she send Steve a quick e-mail to ask for details. 

As I continued perusing the issue, I also found a picture and advertisement for Mary Miller, a client and friend of another one of my agents, John Skelton.  I showed the picture to John in case he wanted to commend her for the fine-looking ad.
 
The next day, I went to check with Steve to find out if he had been communicating with Anne about Eric Schmidt.  He was chatting with agent Tommy Clapp.  I mused out loud, "I wonder if Anne got in to see Eric Schmidt."

Tommy answered, "She was first in line!" 

"How'd you know?" I asked.

"Twitter."

I then checked out Handshake 2.0 to find out about the event.  While reading Anne's blog post about Blacksburg Eric Schmidt and her communication with Coldwell Banker Townside, REALTORS® agent Steve Ayers, I read down through her blog and found a post about the new magazine.  I learned that one of her favorite parts of the magazine was the ad showing Blacksburg businesswoman, and Coldwell Banker Townside, REALTORS® client, Mary Miller. 

Furthermore, Tommy knew Anne was first in line because another Coldwell Banker Townside, REALTORS® agent Jeremy Hart, had gotten her started on Twitter.
 
That was all under 24 hours... The connections in even my small world continue to amaze me, and I wasn't even trying.

***

From Handshake 2.0:  Margaret Galecki, general manager of Coldwell Banker Townside, REALTORS®, was featured in A New Outlook on Sales Prices by Sarah Cox (.pdf), The Roanoke Times, 10/26/08.

***

Coldwell Banker Townside, REALTORS® is a full service real estate agency specializing in Blacksburg, Christiansburg, Roanoke, and Salem, Virginia real estate and homes.  We strive to be the best online source for real estate listings in Blacksburg, Christiansburg, Roanoke, Salem and all of the  Roanoke Valley and New River Valley.   Experienced agents are available to provide expert real estate advice and quality customer service.  You're invited to view this week's featured properties, search all area listings, and to read agent tips on the Coldwell Banker Townside, REALTORS® blog, Keepin' It Real Estate.

High-Tech Fan

Posted by Handshake 2.0 at 6:00 AM on October 29, 2008:

Anticipating long lines and no parking spaces, when my husband’s schedule and mine didn’t match for an early morning ride to the Lyric Theater for the Governor Mark Warner-Google CEO Eric Schmidt talk, I made a mental list of who might be a high-tech groupie with me. 

Nanci Hardwick, CEO of Schultz-Creehan, was up for going with me, but she planned to arrive later, too late, I worried, to get in.  I schemed another scheme.

What I needed was a Virginia Tech Professor Emeritus who created and maintained a massive site, wrote two blogs, followed contemporary events with acumen, and set his alarm at 6:00 AM every morning, even on weekends, so he could write a few hours before the day began. 

Wednesday night, I called my dad.

At 7:15 AM on Thursday morning, my dad arrived.  I knew when I opened the car door the heat would be blasting, as it always had been, so his daughter wouldn’t be cold.  It was.  And just as he had when I was a kid, my dad drove his hope-filled daughter where she dreamed of going.

***

I’m from here, was in Tampa for twenty years, and now I’m back.  Ah, Tampa, the land of air like wrung washrags, parking lots euphemistically termed highways, lines for mall bathrooms like the entire troupe of Beijing dancers waiting to perform in the Olympic stadium, the land where all adventures require an arrival early enough for a commute to Reykjavik.

In the quiet, just dawning light of a morning in downtown Blacksburg, my dad parked in one of a dozen open parking spaces on Draper Road, just around the corner from the Lyric Theater.  He kindly hustled with me around the corner as I hurried to see whether my scheming had come to naught, whether I would have to ask my dad to drive me back home because there would be no use in waiting, because everyone had gotten there before I had.

Only one guy.

So, okay, I'm not in Tampa any more.

But this was Google!  Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google!  Surely, the new edition of the American Heritage Dictionary would place by the word “ubiquitous” the Google logo!  And Governor Mark Warner!  Where was the crowd?!

Still, here was one like-minded guy.  He was rolling out what looked like a tarp.  Surely it was a blanket on which he would camp out in line.  A fellow tech star fan!

With great delight and anticipation, I asked, “Are you in line to see Eric Schmidt of Google and Governor Mark Warner?!”

“No,” he said.  “I work for the Lyric.  I’m changing the marquis.”

Mark Warner, former governor of Virginia, and Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, visit Blacksburg, Virginia

I treated my dad to coffee at Bollo’s, then we walked back to the Lyric.  As a high-tech fan, I sighed with great relief. 

I took out my cell phone and my reading glasses.  A 75-year-old man and almost 50-year-old woman composed and sent a Twitter tweet to cover the latest, breaking, local high-tech news for Handshake 2.0:

"1st in line 4 schmidt & warner @ lyric"

***

This post is part of a series by Anne Giles Clelland, founder of Handshake 2.0, on the visit of Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, and former Virginia Governor Mark Warner, to the Lyric Theater, Blacksburg, Virginia, October 23, 2008.

Links to the series:
Tech Stars

"Highlighting Folks" with Twitter
High-Tech Fan

Jeff Sturgeon of The Roanoke Times wrote about the event in Google CEO says Virginia ripe for new businesses on Roanoke.com.  Here's coverage from Virginia Tech's Collegiate Times, the Warner campaign, and Virginia Tech Campus Gallery.

You don’t have to be Google to get your company’s story on Handshake 2.0

"Highlighting Folks" with Twitter

Posted by Handshake 2.0 at 6:00 AM on October 28, 2008:

"Celebrating the first Connecting People in the RNR Show"

At 12:13 PM on October 21, 2008, that was my first tweet using Twitter for business.

Thank Jeremy Hart.

Two days before the visit of Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, and Governor Mark Warner to Blacksburg, Virginia, Hart e-mailed me this:

“And why are you NOT on Twitter?  The whole idea of Handshake 2.0 is to highlight folks throughout the RNR [Roanoke and New River Valleys of Virginia], many of whom are already on Twitter!"

Good point.

Hart had tried to explain the business value of Twitter to me a month earlier in his guest post on Handshake 2.0, Twitter for Business.

When I first began to blog, I researched blogging software.  As most business deals do, I began with "It's who you know."

Seth Godin and Pat Matthews use TypePad.  So I use TypePad.  Seth Godin doesn’t use Twitter.  But Pat Matthews does

On October 21, 2008, I signed up for Twitter.  Our developer set up Hart’s recommended Twitterfeed on Handshake 2.0.

On October 22, 2008, as I was setting out layers of warm clothes to wear for an early arrival to get a place in line for at the Lyric Theater for the next day’s Eric Schmidt and Mark Warner appearance, I thought about lugging my laptop so I could blog about the event for Handshake 2.0.

Then I realized I could tweet the news onto Handshake 2.0 from my cell phone.

Jeremy Hart said he would never tell, but I’ll confess.

I phoned Hart that night and said, “I keep calling the number that Twitter gave me to activate my phone connection, but I keep getting ‘Verizon is not able to place the call.’”

Very gently, Hart said, “You have to text.”

He must have sensed that I didn’t quite get it yet, because he elaborated.

“You have to send a text message.”

Oh. 

I got out my reading glasses and peered at my cell phone's metal-on-metal keypad.

I sent Twitter a text message, slowly. 

Twitter phoned back!  Okay, it was an electronic voice.

I was ready to "highlight folks."

I would tweet the next morning’s tech star news.

***

This post is part of a series by Anne Giles Clelland, founder of Handshake 2.0, on the visit of Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, and former Virginia Governor Mark Warner, to the Lyric Theater, Blacksburg, Virginia, October 23, 2008.

Links to the series:
Tech Stars

"Highlighting Folks" with Twitter

Jeff Sturgeon of The Roanoke Times wrote about the event in Google CEO says Virginia ripe for new businesses on Roanoke.com.  Here's coverage from Virginia Tech's Collegiate Times, the Warner campaign, and Virginia Tech Campus Gallery.

You don’t have to be Google to get your company’s story on Handshake 2.0

Defining the Local Social Entrepreneur - The Shelter Alternatives Answer

Posted by Handshake 2.0 at 3:00 PM on October 27, 2008:

From Melinda Marcus, intern with Handshake 2.0:

As a kid, I struggled with organization and clutter.  The wisdom my mother shared with me is that if I cleaned up right when the mess happened, I wouldn't spend hours cleaning my room on the weekends. What valuable advice my mom gave! (Although I rarely did listen to it, in fact - I still don’t! Sorry, Mom!)

After my interview with Ed Tuchler of Shelter Alternatives, Inc., I feel as though my mom's advice is a part of defining a social entrepreneur.

If a social entrepreneur is one who makes a difference in the community and helps people by filling their basic needs, then Shelter Alternatives is one of them. Shelter Alternatives is an architecture firm whose main aim is to provide green, energy-efficient, beautiful homes. Shelter Alternatives has been around for 20 years and is involved in building and remolding projects all around the New River Valley.

When asking Ed Tuchler, the owner and project manager of Shelter Alternatives, his definition of a social entrepreneur, he replied, “Using one’s ethics and morals for business to better the community.”

Shelter Alternatives boasts that they are very environmentally friendly, making sure they are responsible for how they use material and in what material they use. On top of that, they plan for the long-term. They believe that what they are building is "immortal," and should last long after they have passed.

One exciting new adventure they undertook about a year ago is called Energy Check. In this project they “check” old homes for their energy efficiency, and suggest improvements.  This program helps homes to be greener while looking beautiful.

Ed’s passion comes from his own personal ethics and moral values. He believes that it is vitally important to give back. He lives by the simple idea that, “If everyone makes a small difference, we can make a big difference.”

So why is Ed Tuchler in the New River Valley of Virginia?

The first reason is, of course, Virginia Tech. Ed came to Virginia Tech as an architecture student, fell in love with the area, and decided to stay here.  He finds the area "naturally beautiful, rich with natural resources." The people around here are "like-minded people" who are very socially aware. They live responsible lifestyles and are very interested in being more green (a popular trend in the NVR Valley - See Sustainable Blacksburg).

Making a small difference seems to be the goal of Shelter Alternatives, and maybe even other social entrepreneurs. Is that all a social entrepreneur can make? A small difference?  With over 1.5 million non-profits in the United States alone - that is a lot of small differences! (Source:  NCCS.)

So my mom's wisdom is perhaps part of the puzzle to social entrepreneurship.

To change the world through entrepreneurship, all it takes is making a small difference (just like cleaning up the small messes). THANKS, MOM!

xMelinda Marcus and the Virginia Tech Student Alumni Associates

Being a part of the Virginia Tech Student Alumni Associates (SAA), I understand the importance of making a small difference within one community. In SAA we do service projects each week within the university and community, helping the Alumni and homecoming events go well, and to be a success.

You can follow the entire Defining the Local Social Entrepreneur series by Melinda Marcus.

 Melinda Marcus is an intern for Handshake 2.0, a member company of business acceleration center VT KnowledgeWorks, located in the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center, a technology park, a research park, and a science park on the Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg, Virginia.  The research park provides high-technology companies access to university faculty, university facilities, university equipment, and business-related support services.  The Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center fosters commercialization and technology transfer of university research for both high-tech start-up companies and established technology businesses.

Tech Stars

Posted by Handshake 2.0 at 6:00 AM on October 27, 2008:

Visits from the great and powerful and famous and infamous to Virginia Tech are everyday events as part of the university’s on-going invitation to thinkers and creators from every field to inspire and provoke through talks to students, faculty, and the community.

Since the appearance--sponsored by the Virginia Tech Alumni Association--of Eric Schmidt and Mark Warner at the Lyric Theater on October 23, 2008, I have had on-going and un-everyday observations and insights.

Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, and Mark Warner, former governor of Virginia, visit the Lyric Theater in Blacksburg, Virginia

I first heard of the joint visit of Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, and Mark Warner, former governor of Virginia, now running for the Senate--an amusingly self-described “job applicant”--from an e-mail to NewVa Corridor Technology Council, NCTC, members from Executive Director Cory Donovan.

I e-mailed him, “Do you want that news Handshaked or do you want it on the down-low?”

He replied, “Shake it like a Polaroid picture!”

So I did.  While waiting for Schmidt and Warner to arrive, Susan Mattingly, Executive Director of the Lyric Theater, said that when she searched for information on the event, it was that Handshake 2.0 blog post that answered her question.  Cool.

But that’s way ahead in the story.

Every entrepreneur has a passion underlying his or her business ventures.  The fundamental passion underlying my own ventures, particularly Handshake 2.0, is that I am a starry-eyed, starstruck, stardust-loving fan of high-tech creators.  Handshake 2.0 originated to showcase high-tech creators, their high-tech, and their businesses.  It’s that simple.

So when I heard that Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, was coming to town?  Might as well have been Mick Jagger.  Rock star, tech star?  All the same to me.  I had the response any fan of any star has.

I was camping out.

No way I was going to miss getting a seat in the Lyric Theater to hear the CEO of Google.

***

This post is the first in a series by Anne Giles Clelland, founder of Handshake 2.0, on the visit of Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, and former Virginia Governor Mark Warner, to the Lyric Theater, Blacksburg, Virginia, October 23, 2008.

Links to the series:
Tech Stars

"Highlighting Folks" with Twitter
High-Tech Fan

Jeff Sturgeon of The Roanoke Times wrote about the event in Google CEO says Virginia ripe for new businesses on Roanoke.com.  Here's coverage from Virginia Tech's Collegiate Times, the Warner campaign, and Virginia Tech Campus Gallery.

You don’t have to be Google to get your company’s story on Handshake 2.0

The Hypothetical Entrepreneur - Diversify

Posted by Adam Scouse at 2:00 PM on October 26, 2008:

From Adam Scouse:

As Non-Timber Forest Products Research Scientist Jim Chamberlain advised me, The Hypothetical Entrepreneur, I need to start thinking about diversification.

To create a business profitable enough to support me will require incorporating multiple medicinal plants instead of offering ginseng as a stand-alone product. This is really no problem at all.

According to Dr. Jim Chamberlain, Dr. Robert Bush, and Dr. A.L. Hammett in their essay Non-Timber Forest Products, The OTHER Forest Products, there are multiple plants that come from the woods that offer value and which fall into one of four categories: edibles, floral greens, specialty wood products, and medicinal and dietary supplements.

Edible plants are represented mostly by mushrooms but can also include nuts, berries, resins, blackberries, and maple syrup. Floral greens are typically associated with decorations such as wreaths and include dried flowers and fruit, greenery, and roping. Specialty wood products are products from the tree that are used without having to cut it down such as burls, twigs, and cypress knees. These are used to make handicrafts or musical instruments. Last, medicinal and dietary supplements are those products that have some sort of therapeutic value.

Medicinal and dietary supplements offer the largest potential market of the four categories. Author Peggy Brevoort investigates the current herbal market in her article The Booming U.S. Botanical Market: A New Overview

Brevoort gives a specific look at herbal industry growth in the United States as of 1998. Table 4 (pictured below--used with permission) from Brevoort’s article indicates an herbal market increase of over 300 million dollars in just seven years. 

From Peggy Brevoort's The Booming U.S. Botanical Market: A New Overview

Of tese herbal plants, are any known to grow in the local Appalachian Mountains? '

To answer this question, I referred back to Non-Timber Forest Products, The OTHER Forest Products. Dr. Chamberlain et al. have produced a list of local medicinal plants that are considered dietary supplements. The plants range from shrubs used to combat enlarged prostate, like saw palmetto, to hardwood trees, like slippery elm, that treat sore throats.

All that is left is to dust off that old field identification guide that has been sitting on the shelf and bring it along with me on my next hike.

You can follow the full series of posts by Adam Scouse for Handshake 2.0 at The Hypothetical Entrepreneur.

Adam Scouse is an intern for Handshake 2.0, a member company of business acceleration center VT KnowledgeWorks, located in the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center, a technology park, a research park, and a science park on the Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg, Virginia.  The research park provides high-technology companies access to university faculty, university facilities, university equipment, and business-related support services.  The Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center fosters commercialization and technology transfer of university research for both high-tech start-up companies and established technology businesses.

The Hypothetical Entrepreneur - A Family Affair

Posted by Adam Scouse at 6:00 AM on October 26, 2008:

From Adam Scouse:

In this entry in my chronicle exploring starting a ginseng business, I wrote about the opportunity to meet an official “sang” hunter, Sylvester Yunker. Mr. Yunker represents all the folks hiking the Appalachian Mountains with an eye for plants that people just seem to want for some reason. I want to take a step further into the system to investigate what Mr. Yunker does with his ginseng once he has harvested it.

Before a collector travels into the woods to harvest a specific Non-Timber Forest Product, most likely he or she has already given the local dealer a call to see what is currently in demand.  This dealer, who prefers doing business with larger quantities of product, will act as a go-between for diggers to brokers.

What does this mean for my ginseng business research? That I have to talk to a dealer and find out how they operate!

To do just that, I searched for ginseng dealers on Google, a popular search engine.  It wasn’t easy to find dealers located in Virginia, but I did come across one commonwealth resident by accident when searching through a list of West Virginia dealers. His name is Samuel Daniel, owner of Daniel’s Country Store, and his family has been collecting ginseng for four generations.

I gave Mr. Daniel, former State Inspector for the Highway Department, a call to ask about his business as a ginseng dealer. Mr. Daniel was interested in buying any amount of ginseng that I might have to sell, provided it was dried, for 420 dollars a pound. This price is down from 900 dollars a pound this time last year. From his office in Horsepen, VA, he mentioned that at least ninety-five percent of that ginseng would go straight on to Hong Kong.

My call to Mr. Daniel further reinforced a previous conversation between myself and Dr. Jim Chamberlain.  In talking with each other, Dr. Chamberlain had recommended focusing on multiple Non-Timber Forest Products, not simply ginseng by itself. Mr. Daniel mentioned that as a dealer, he would collect anything there was currently demand for. A few examples of other herbs in demand which he would be interested in collecting are black cohosh, goldenseal, and snakeroot.

Mr. Daniel also mentioned that a lot of what he collects is dependent upon the harvest season. Working closely with a group of familiar diggers, all who share his same family tradition of Non-Timber Forest Products collection, Mr. Daniel amasses the harvested herb and reimburses the collector according to its current demand.

What does this interaction teach me, The Hypothetical Entrepreneur? It is evident that from a dealer’s perspective, ginseng collection alone will not be a feasible business operation.  In order to create a large enough revenue of income I should seek to deal with multiple Non-Timber Forest Products alongside of ginseng.

You can follow the full series of posts by Adam Scouse for Handshake 2.0 at The Hypothetical Entrepreneur.

Adam Scouse is an intern for Handshake 2.0, a member company of business acceleration center VT KnowledgeWorks, located in the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center, a technology park, a research park, and a science park on the Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg, Virginia.  The research park provides high-technology companies access to university faculty, university facilities, university equipment, and business-related support services.  The Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center fosters commercialization and technology transfer of university research for both high-tech start-up companies and established technology businesses.

Future Web Versions

Posted by Handshake 2.0 at 6:00 AM on October 24, 2008:

While contemplating naming this site, I asked my developer, "Is Handshake 2.0 a high enough version number?  Should I choose Handshake 10.0?"

His answer was a link. I have Nitrozac & Snaggy's permission to post this comic from The Joy of Tech.

The Joy of Tech by Nitrozac & Snaggy