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Mentor Hours with Tom Wszalek

January 26, 2017
   Mentor Hours with Tom Wszalek Tom is an accomplished media, entertainment and technology executive with over three decades of diverse corporate and entrepreneurial operational and consulting experience. He was most recently the Chief Operating Officer of Outlook Amusements, a marketing and technology company focused on advice-based products and services. During his tenure there, Outlook delivered consistent double-digit profitable growth while becoming the category leader. Tom is a founding partner of SW14 Group LLC, a marketing and management/coaching consultancy. He was also President and COO of Radical Communication Inc., a pioneer in plug-in free audio/video content delivery for use in Internet marketing and communications. Prior to that, Tom spent more than 12 years in several key U.S. and international executive positions within the Walt Disney Company. During that tenure, he launched and led Disney’s first International Disney Channel. Before joining Disney, Tom began his career at Mattel Toys, holding positions in sales, operations/manufacturing, and marketing. He has a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the State University of New York at Fredonia and an M.B.A. from the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business. MENTORING TOPICS Business Development/Strategy Marketing/Branding Strategy Customer Acquisition Organizational Structure/Design MENTOR SESSION 1 February 22, 2017 8:00am – 12:00pm MENTOR SESSION 2 February 24, 2017 1:00pm – 4:00pm (directly following our CommunityCation luncheon- Register Here!) LOCATION The Innevation Center 6795 S Edmond St, 3rd Floor Las Vegas, NV 89118 QUESTIONS? Send us an email! events@innevation.com   

Small Business Chat: Ways to Grow Your Company Culture

January 25, 2017
This article is courtesy of BusinessCollective, featuring thought leadership content by ambitious young entrepreneurs, executives & small business owners. Company culture is a vital part of any successful business model, because happy employees equal happy clients. In today’s competitive global marketplace, maintaining a thriving (and happy) office environment often gets pushed to the bottom of a CEO’s to-do list.   When I launched STRV, a mobile app and web development studio, more than a decade ago, I didn’t give much thought to company culture. There were just five of us crammed in a tiny shared office space with one toilet, working round the clock to make ends meet. I didn’t have the time or resources to plan elaborate team-building retreats or Friday-night mixers. Today, my little studio has exploded to more than 100 employees in five offices. Now, company culture is one of my top priorities. Regardless if you’re a seasoned chief executive or just starting out, improving your company’s culture doesn’t have to break your budget, but investing in your employees will certainly improve your bottom line. Here are a few tips that will help you grow your company’s culture: Validate Achievement If something good happens at the company, like a project wining an award, the sales team landing a big client, or an employee being promoted, spread the word. Your office’s internal message boards are a good place to start, whether it’s through Slack or old-school flyers throughout the office. Highlighting the achievements of your company and its employees sends a positive message, not only to your team but also to your clients (and potential clients), so make sure to broadcast good news on all your public social networking networks as well! Personalize Birthday Gifts Everyone likes to be remembered on their special day, even if they don’t want to admit it. Cake, flowers, balloons are nice, but make sure it’s a consistent part of your social calendar. We use Slack, which automatically sends out birthday well-wishes on our #social channel. CEOs should also make time to personally wish his or her employee a great day. The good cheer can be followed up with a cake, perhaps featuring your company logo and a personalized message to the birthday person. Even a gift certificate to popular restaurant chain for later use can show them you care. Create Welcome Kits For New Employees The first day of any new job is always stressful. Make sure to have a detailed on boarding process in place. Personally greet each new employee and ask them what they are hoping to get out of their new job. A welcome kit is also a good idea to break the ice. Some include an employee manual, a guidebook to how the company operates as well as a number of fun sundries like a company “superheroes” T-shirt, water bottle, laptop sleeve, stickers and pens. Create Collaboration To help facilitate cross-department company culture, find ways to bring people from other departments together. Sure, team-building events would certainly fit into this category. But introducing

#TechTalkTuesday: 5 Essential Programming Tools for Every Software Startup

January 24, 2017
Having killer programming tools at your disposal makes all the difference when it comes to running a software startup. They allow you to spend less time working on mundane programming tasks and more time wowing your new customers. It also gives you a chance to try your hand at that whole work life balance thing, which is apparently quite important. As a self-confessed workaholic, I won’t comment on the work life balance part. But I’d be happy to share a few of the helpful programming tools that I’ve used along the way as a full-time entrepreneur. GitHub GitHub is one of the best programming tools for collaboration between development teams. As changes are made, you can choose whether or not to have the code updated across your platform based on your desire to tweak and test every component of your web platform. Everything is always up-to-date in the cloud, giving your entire team visibility on what’s being developed across the office, or around the world. And, when things go wrong, it’s almost effortless to go back in time and reset your code. Toggl The easiest way to keep track of time spent on each aspect of your project, across your entire team, is a web-based and mobile app-based tracker called Toggl. It’s simple interface betrays how powerful it is as a tool for creating accurate invoices and measuring productivity. Each user has their own account where they can log time spent, with detailed descriptions. The time can be assigned to a project, which makes invoicing a lot easier at the end of every week. JIRA Project planning is complex for software developers. There are so many moving parts, with specialized programming tools based on different coding languages and platforms. JIRA brings everything together into one place. Where basecamp is incredibly powerful for startup organizations, JIRA focuses every aspect of their suite on dev infrastructure and communication. Boards make sharing code and insights easy. For overseeing software dev from a distance, accept no substitute. QASymphony – qTest Manager Arguably the best test case management tools are offered by QASymphony. Creating the code that makes technology roar to life is one thing, but testing that code is something else completely. For managers, working with teams of specialized devs, rolling out tests to the end-user is just one more thing on their list of daily time eaters. By utilizing qTest Manager, companies are able to ensure test case schedules are maintained, without following up with each team member individually. The color-coded dashboard allows management to spot-check project status with a glance. And, if they need more detail on which area of the test is falling behind, they can drill down to get further details. Trello Trello is like having all your index cards with random ideas organized into a single place that’s accessible from anywhere. The interface is so simple, it’s almost idiot proof. You can use it to supplement other project management software as well. As inspiration strikes, or a random insight is gained on a

#TechTalkTuesday: Startup Trends to Keep an Eye on in 2017

January 17, 2017
This article is courtesy of BusinessCollective, featuring thought leadership content by ambitious young entrepreneurs, executives & small business owners. This year, competition will increase. Find your niche and own it. Although 2016 showed some slowdown in startup and funding activity, I believe we were taking a “wait and see” approach to the presidential election and how it would affect the market and economy. Now that it’s post-election, we can be more certain on how to move forward in the startup world in 2017. From my own experience as a founder, advisor and investor, these are the startup insights I see for the coming year. Keep these in mind whether you’re looking to partner with other companies or hone your own business: Larger Companies Will Invest in Startups As larger companies and multinationals see the competition in disruptive startups, they recognize opportunities to partner with them as investors and mentors. Similarly, it’s a great opportunity for startups to partner with a company with larger resources. Here’s why this relationship will work: It provides money and expertise to these startups, while the larger company can see a sizable return, diversify its own product portfolio, and add critical technology that it might not be able to develop on its own. Crowdfunding and crowd-sourcing will gain momentum as more startups focus on the stories that accompany their products. These stories will illustrate how they solve problems big and small, offering both value and connection. Crowdsourcing may become even more popular because investors can actually take part in the product development process and feel more involved in the day-to-day operations. Investors Will Look for Lean Spending And by lean spending, I mean 95 percent or higher. Much of my advisory responsibilities have been around helping startups learn how to do the most possible with the least amount of money, and we’ve seen positive results. While funding will be available, it will be much more modest because investors want to max out their returns and minimize the number of startup failures that defined the last two years. More emphasis will be placed on efficiency in terms of how resources are used, as well as the availability of tools and platforms that facilitate a more efficient operation. It’s a good idea to build a lean initiative for your business. Aim for the lowest overhead costs in 2017. Competition Will Increase The numerous startup success stories in the last few years have encouraged more individuals to start their own businesses. However, because of the larger number of ventures across all types of industries, competition is heating up and will continue to do so in 2017. This trend means that entrepreneurs behind the newest startups will have to develop an edge to what they are doing and differentiate themselves in order to be valuable to investors and attract their target audience. Find your niche and own it. Niche Technology Industries Will Grow This will be important to keep in mind if you are looking to partner with or invest in a

#TechTalkTuesday: #VegasTech Events During CES 2017

January 3, 2017
One of the great advantages of living in Las Vegas is that everyone you could ever want to meet for your business comes to Las Vegas sooner or later. Ok, maybe not everyone, but pretty close. One example of this are the 170,000 people that attend CES each year in Las Vegas. That’s the perfect opportunity for startup companies to meet with people who are in town for the event. This year is no different and even if you’re not attending the CES conference itself, there are a whole group of events you can attend. Many are hosted by Vegas Tech companies and community organizations. Here’s a look at a few of them you might want to check out: GO-NV Highway for Innovation – Tuesday Jan 3, 2017 from 2-6 PM at the RedFlint Experience Center Tech Debut (Formerly Startup Debut) – Tuesday Jan 3, 2017 from 8-11 PM at Mandalay Bay (Press Only, but Tech Companies Can Sponsor if there are still slots available) Startup Night in Downtown Vegas (Tech.co) – Wednesday Jan 4, 2017 at Gold Spike CES Smart Cities Happy Hour – Thursday Jan 5, 2017 from 6-10 PM at UNLV Drones and Autonomous Systems Lab Startup Grind with Robert Scoble and Shel Israel – Saturday Jan 7, 2017 at 6 PM at Private Residence (Henderson) Check out the original article on VegasStartups.com here.

Veteran Jacket Drive at Innevation

December 16, 2016
Clean out your closets for a great cause this holiday season!
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