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Exploring www.kiva.org

This week as we explore www.kiva.org, remember to pursue our two primary goals:

1. Learn as much as you can about the story of the founders, Matt and Jessica Flannery. What drives them? What is unique about their values, skills, vision, and passion for what they do? What entrepreneurial characteristics do you observe that could be replicated in either a for-profit or not-for-profit setting?

2. Dig into the Kiva model and explore what makes this incredible organization work so well. In the world of social entrepreneurship, the needs are so great and so pervasive, that part of the challenge is narrowing the focus to a manageable scope of service. What are the core needs that Kiva serves, both for donors and for the entrepreneurs they help? In what sense is Kiva, ironically, like ebay, ie. creating a marketplace where meaningful exchanges are made? How does this make you think about identifying and connecting need in terms of your own entrepreneurial focus? What principles are at work at Kiva that may be replicated in other IE environments?

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Symbiotic Entrepreneurship

One of the strategic angles we may want to look at in this course is how to tap into the flow an existing group of users to meet needs that are not currently being met by, say, popular Web 2.0 sites. Not all Internet startups need to be stand-alone applications. In fact, to the degree that you can piggyback on the success of current applications, to that degree you gain leverage for powerful marketing and/or the opportunity to be acquired at a later date. We can point to dozens of successful endeavors that have taken this path.

So with respect to ebay, like PayPal and Skype before us, we’ve got to ask “Are there tools or functions that would be really helpful to users that are not currently being met by ebay or its associated applications?”

That may be a great starting point for identifying entrepreneurial opportunity.

Maybe we’d call it “Symbiotic Entrepreneurship.”

Create an application that benefits both users and the owners of the application itself, and you might just position yourself for a nice acquisition.

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We Are Not Alone

I just came across the post of another class that is using WordPress to publish class discourse.  Cool.  You can find it at http://bus442.wordpress.com/.  Check it out.  Who knows?  There may be opportunities for collaboration of some sort. 

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Blogging is Easy – Just give it a try.

As you make an attempt to start blogging, remember this: READY, FIRE, AIM.

Your blog does not have to be perfect. That’s not the point. In fact, the main thing right now is just to START – start to ask questions, start to offer thoughts, start to open up subjects that are worthy of dialogue.

If you have some experience blogging, demonstrate what a sample blog might look like.

“Blog” comes from the term “Web Log.” It is a series of brief, related or unrelated thoughts on a subject that is posted and managed on a web platform. Think of it as a collective stream of consciousness.

People don’t expect perfection, just effort. Go ahead – give it a try. Write a few thoughts, and if you don’t have a lot of thoughts, start asking some questions. We can all participate and stimulate discussion.

And remember, you can start a blog and come back and edit it at any time. You can save your work and NOT publish it initially, and then, as you complete it, publish it for all to see.

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Questions to Consider Regarding Facebook

Here are a few questions for you to consider as you start to blog about Facebook:

  • Who are the target user groups?
  • What are their needs and how is Facebook meeting those needs?
  • Why are people so addicted to this application?
  • Is there anything you don’t like about Facebook?
  • How are businesses using Facebook to reach customers?
  • What about the founder, Mark Zuckerberg? How did this idea start? How did he develop it? What makes him tick? What is his vision?
  • Is there anything controversial about Zuckerberg or Facebook that is being discussed in blogs or news sources?
  • What sets Facebook apart from other social networking sites?
  • What is the revenue model here? How are they making money?
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