Thursday, May 25, 2017

Does your software make you WannaCry?

The recent WannaCry ransomware attack brought back memories of my own experience with ransomware more than four years ago. 

Thankfully, that was the only time I fell prey to this cruel malware that encrypts the user’s files and demands payment for unlocking them.  At the time, I was annoyed. It was an inconvenience to be unable to use my home computer, but it wasn’t a crisis.  I could afford the time to find a way to decrypt the ransomware (or let my husband figure it out while I was at work, although I think he might have preferred that I just pay the ransom…)  

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

MNvest and Crowdfunding Tips

A few weeks ago, I attended a luncheon hosted by the Association for Corporate Growth, or ACG, regarding MNvest.  For those who may be unfamiliar (or who haven’t been reading posts like this one from my colleague and fellow entreVIEW author Dan Tenenbaum), MNvest is the shorthand reference to the MNvest Securities Registration Exemption, an amendment to the Minnesota Securities Act. MNvest, which “went live” on June 20, 2016, permits eligible Minnesota businesses to engage in “intra-state” equity crowdfunding campaigns. An equity crowdfunding campaign is an online approach to raising small amounts of capital from a large number of people. Whereas donation-based crowdfunding – think KickstarterIndiegogo, or GoFundMe  – permits individuals to contribute to various causes without necessarily receiving anything in return, through an equity crowdfunding campaign like MNvest, a Minnesota business can solicit investment funds from Minnesota residents in exchange for a financial stake in the business.  

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Mother’s Day Gift? Look no further than Shark Tank!

Shark Tank, the hit business-themed reality show on ABC, is a favorite for many of us who are entreVIEW authors. Back in 2014, Dan wrote about watching Shark Tank with his daughter in this post.  Now in its eighth season, Shark Tank continues to draw more than five million viewers who are drawn to the excitement of watching entrepreneur-contestants pitch ingenious businesses to a panel of “shark” investors. 

Have you ever been inspired to purchase a product as seen on Shark Tank? My husband and I have been fans of the show for years and we’ve been inspired by some great pitches to make a few purchases after learning about products on the show:

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Recommended Reading re: Resiliency in the Workplace


I recently had the opportunity to visit my law school as a guest faculty member, along with five other young lawyers, to speak about managing the early years of practice. Over three days of workshops, panels, and breakout sessions, we provided second and third-year law students with the “inside scoop” of what it is really like to practice as a young lawyer. Despite the various types of legal practice we represented (private practice at large and small firms, in-house corporate, government, and higher education), the overarching skill requirement was the same – resilience. 

Merriam-Webster defines resilience as “an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change.” Though often considered in a personal context, resiliency is a critical skill for individuals who work in a fast-paced, high-stress environment.

In Rich Fernandez’s Harvard Business Review article, “5 Ways to Boost Your Resilience at Work,” he explains that “[m]any of us now work in constantly connected, always-on, highly demanding work cultures where stress and the risk of burnout are widespread. Since the pace and intensity of contemporary work culture are not likely to change, it’s more important than ever to build resilience skills to effectively navigate your worklife.”

Fernandez's article is a quick read that offers five tips based on neuroscience, behavioral, and organizational research to help individuals develop and strengthen the resiliency skills necessary to stay motivated in the face of stress, failure, and missteps. Like any skill, resilience can be learned (and lost), making Fernandez’s article a great read for younger and more experienced workers alike.


Monday, April 24, 2017

Jack Mayer, Life in a Jar: The Irena Sendler Project (Long Trail Press, 2011)

I have been known to find—or perhaps more accurately, create—an entrepreneurial angle on some pretty esoteric topics, so much so that my co-editor has from time to time challenged me to do so with some topic out of left field.

It just so happens that the day on which this blog post comes due is Holocaust Remembrance Day (also known as Yom HaShoah). A reasonably enlightened person might wonder how an entrepreneurial lesson might be drawn from the marking of the anniversary of the 1943 Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.

For starters, consider the definition of “entrepreneur.”  Those of us who practice corporate law have a very specific idea of what an entrepreneur is—we know one when we see one.  But our use of that word is, in fact, a very narrow interpretation.  According to Dictionary.com, an entrepreneur is “a person who organizes and manages any enterprise, especially a business, usually with considerable initiative and risk.”

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

MORE FAKE NEWS: INTERNET PRIVACY DEAD

Congress recently overturned online privacy rules created by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that would have applied to broadband providers like Comcast and Verizon who operate as internet service providers (ISPs).

The overturned rules were adopted last October under the Obama administration and had not yet gone into effect.  They would have required ISPs to obtain customer consent in advance – otherwise known as opt-in consent – before using or sharing sensitive information, including precise location, financial, and health information, social security numbers, web browsing history, app usage, and the contents of communications. The rules would have allowed ISPs to use less sensitive information (such as email addresses), unless customers specifically opted out or indicated that such use was not permitted. The ISPs would also have been required to clearly explain their privacy practices and implement best practices to maintain data security.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

30-Day Offline Shopping Challenge

I’d like to start this entry on a personal note, with a tribute to my dear uncle, Robert Mattern, who passed away on March 25 at the age of 80.

Uncle Bob was my first entrepreneurial inspiration. During my entire lifetime, he owned and ran Mattern’s Bait Shop in Aberdeen, South Dakota, and was still running his beloved shop at the time of his death.  As a child, I spent hours in the shop during every trip to Aberdeen, gently fingering the colorful lures and fancy rods on display, playing with the minnows in the tanks, and - most of all - observing Bob as he interacted with, and truly helped, his many loyal customers.  Bob’s obituary captured these relations well: “Customers sought out Mattern's expertise in fishing and hunting, his knowledge of the best fishing spots and his skill in repairing fishing reels, rods and ice augers.  Bob and [wife] Linda appreciate their customers and consider them friends.”

To me, this is the essence of the small business experience.  I love the personal touch, the joy of a bright and tidy display, the pleasant sounds of people working together, and the knowledge to be gained from an experienced shopkeeper.