Posts Tagged ‘economics’

Groupon Chicago

May 28th, 2011 by Collin Canright | No Comments | Filed in Business, Chicago

Why Groupon is a perfectly Chicago company

It’s hard not to read about Groupon, currently the most mediafied of Chicago companies. It’s got a What’s Hot tab on TechCrunch. It’s national burger weekend deals made Crain’s and other media, and it’s one of several pre-IPO companies cited as examples of a new tech bubble. Groupon brings a lot of tech start-up luster to Chicago.

All that attention–along with discussing innovation at last week’s MIT Enterprise Forum Chicago Whiteboard Challenge and reading Malcom Gladwell’s May 16 New Yorker piece on the story of creativity and innovation at Apple Computer and Xerox PARC–got me thinking about Groupon and its Chicago location.

Chicago is not technology like Silicon Valley or Boston. There is not the mass of high tech here out there. The mass of innovation in Chicago spans a much wider range of industries, as shown by winners of the Chicago Innovation Awards, now in their 10th year.

Chicago is manufacturing (food, healthcare, drugs), finance (economic thought and trading products), and media-entertainment (Oprah and improvisational comedy).

And retailing.

It’s retailing and advertising I think of when I think of Groupon.

Like Chicago retailer innovators Sears, Wards, and Spiegel, Groupon is a retail sales organization. Like old catalogs of those retailers, Groupon relies on a clever copywriting style for its pitches (not without its critics). It also relies on a savvy sales force (akin to buyers) to source and sell local deals. It’s a direct-response sales organization using email rather than postal mail.

Where else would Groupon be? Not the technology garages of Silicon Valley but the old Wards warehouse in Chicago. As Gladwell suggests with innovation, the new Chicago spirit of progress is a new incarnation of the old.

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Whiteboard Challenge

May 27th, 2011 by Collin Canright | No Comments | Filed in Business, Chicago

Ideas for Blood Vessels, Captchas, and Cars Win
2011 MIT Enterprise Forum Chicago Whiteboard Challenge

Winners of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Enterprise Forum Chicago provide additional evidence that innovation is alive and well in Chicago in a wide range of sectors. The three winners spanned medical, internet, and personal services.

The MIT Enterprise Forum Chicago Whiteboard Challenge, now in its sixth year, is an ideas contest, with the winners receiving a share in $5,000 in cash prizes. Ten finalists presented their ideas Thursday May 26. The three winners are:

Blood Vessel “BullsEye” Locator, presented by Colin O’Donovan, won the top prize of $3,000. The idea solves the problem medical professionals have in locating arteries when drawing blood and veins for injecting medicines. The BullsEye device provides a two-dimensional representation of a patient’s arteries and veins, allowing medical professionals to insert a needle tip accurately. Consisting of a disposable patch and a reusable optic sensor, the system uses a “razor/razor blade” revenue model. Income would be generated through sales of the patches. The BullsEye locator is being developed by Vaccess Medical, a group of business, medical, and legal students at Northwestern University.

Fun Captcha, presented by Bryan Arturo, captured the $1,500 second prize. Fun Captcha is designed to make the often frustrating process of entering “captchas” in websites easy and profitable. Websites require humans to enter captchas, distorted text, to prevent spam. The Fun Captcha concept uses questions about images that appear on the screen rather than distorted text. One image could be a product, providing a source of advertising revenue.

I-GO Peer-to-Peer Car Sharing, presented by John Brophy, won the third prize of $500. This idea extends the existing I-GO Car Sharing service, allowing people who own cars to share them with those who don’t. After installing I-GO equipment, the car is registered with the I-GO system and made available for reservations either at home or work, whenever the owner wants. The cost of insurance and gas is included, as they are with I-GO’s own fleet, and profits are split between the vehicle owner and I-GO.

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Economy Links 01-29-10

January 29th, 2010 by Collin Canright | No Comments | Filed in Technology

More reports on the transformation of the economy through the convergence of social networking with media and the emergence of the mobile economy.

Towards a socialised state

The Economist does a special report on social media. “Online social networks are changing the way people communicate, work and play, and mostly for the better.”

A segment of a social network
A segment of a social network from Wikipedia

Data Show That Self-Reference Does Not Get Followers

Simple lesson here for social media marketers: “Want more followers? Stop talking about yourself.”

Public relations in the recession: Good news

In another article, The Economist reports how public relations firms are weathering the recession. “After all, companies that fall foul of the rules will need the help of a PR firm.”

Apple’s iPad: Just Good Enough to Transform the Publishing/Media Industries

And perhaps the Apple economy will bring good news to media companies as well, Patricia Seybold suggests.

Mobile: It’s Here and It’s Real

Meanwhile, the emerging mobile economy reportedly is breathing new life into retail. Retailers should “like social and love mobile,” one industry analyst suggests.

Mobile Trends 2020

And here’s a look at the future of mobile media from

Brainwashed: Seven Ways to Reinvent Yourself

Finally, who better to talk about reinventing yourself and career than Seth Godin. “As power shifts, so does opportunity,” he writes. “The economy just gave you leverage—the leverage to make a difference, the leverage to spread your ideas and the leverage to have an impact.” To tie this article with PR, see a video interview of Godin by the man who ties together social networking and PR, David Meerman Scott.

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Marketing Links 01-25-10

January 25th, 2010 by Collin Canright | No Comments | Filed in Business, Technology

Social media marketing takes the next step in 2010, from the next new thing to a powertool in the integrated marketer’s toolbox, for both business-to-business and consumer marketing, as reported last week in major marketing and technology media articles and blog posts.

Optimism, accountability, social media top trends

BtoB Magazine reports “cautious optimism,” especially over ad budget increases, and the “integration of social media as a marketing tool” as top trends in 2010.

Study Finds Marketers Embracing Social Media Marketing In A Big Way

TechCrunch reports on an Alterian study showing that “66 percent of respondents will be investing in social media marketing (SMM) in 2010.”

2010: Marketers Get Serious About Social Media

Forbes columnist Jeremiah Owyang opines that “senior marketers must have a plan for social marketing” as consumer adoption grows and CMOs get organized around social media–“get over the cool factor” and relate to customers.

The New Social Gurus

Adweek reports that “big brands are on the hunt for help in figuring out their approaches to connecting with consumers on Facebook, providing service on Twitter and instituting internal social media guidelines.” Are the new experts up to the task?

Spending on custom content expected to increase this year

BtoB Magazine reports on an Junta42 study showing that spending on “custom content,” the lifeblood of social media marketing, is set to increase in 2010, with marketers surveyed planning to allocate some 33% of their overall budget to custom content.

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