Wednesday, February 27, 2008

A New Paradigm Taking An Optimistic View of the World

An Optimistic View of the World via NPR Series: This I Believe on 2/17/08
Looking down from the International Space Station, astronaut Dan Tani says he can't help feeling hopeful about the future of the planet. "I am stunned by the intense colors of the Earth," he says, "The intricate patterns and textures, and sheer beauty of our home."

New Marketing Authenticity Over Exaggeration

GapingVoid raises the question, which I have been pondering for some time regarding new marketing.

gapingvoid: "cartoons drawn on the back of business cards": so what's all this new marketing stuff, anyway?

  • 0712ifyoutalkedtopeople.jpg

Part of the answer comes from this article from Harvard Business School Working Knowledge.

Authenticity over Exaggeration: The New Rule in Advertising — HBS Working Knowledge Annotated

tags: communications, marketing, web2.0

    The new rules

    But what does this all boil down to for companies that want to be successful in this relatively new environment? In the working paper, Deighton and Kornfeld discuss 5 aspects of digital interactivity, including

    • Thought tracing. Firms infer states of mind from the content of a Web search and serve up relevant advertising; a market born of search terms develops.

    • Ubiquitous connectivity. As people become increasingly "plugged in" through cell phones and other devices, marketing opportunities become more frequent as well—and technology develops to protect users from unwanted intrusions. A market in access and identity results.

    • Property exchanges. As with Napster, Craigslist, and eBay, people participate in the anonymous exchange of goods and services. Firms compete with these exchanges, and a market in service, reputation, and reliability develops.

    • Social exchanges. People build identities in virtual communities like Korea's Cyworld (90 percent of Koreans in their 20s are members). Firms may then sponsor or co-opt communities. A market in community develops that competes on functionality and status.

    • Cultural exchanges. While advertising has always been part of popular culture, technology has increased the rate of exchange and competition for buzz. In addition to Dove's campaign, Deighton cites BMW's iative to hire Hollywood directors and actors to create short, Web-only films featuring BMWs. In the summer of 2001, the company recorded 9 million downloads.

        Educating With "Bit" Of Literacy

        I am still working on bettering my web 2.0 blogging habits. It turns out that a number of visitors reach this webblog through the Paradigm Online Writing Assistant, so another reminder to be careful with my writing. Looking to proper grammar and spelling is in addition to technological issues related to web 2.0 correspondence. This post from Good Experience combines both an educational perspective and a technological one.

        Good Experience - Educators and bit literacy by Mark Hurst
        The educator's perspective on bit literacy is slightly different from that of the businessperson. Rather than focusing on productivity in the workplace, the educator is more concerned with giving students basic skills to organize their thoughts, know their resources, and properly research their papers. Resourcefulness is important, as is evaluating digital sources.

        Here's one educator's review of Bit Literacy (by the president of NAIS, the National Association of Independent Schools) and a transcript of a Web chat I conducted recently with the same folks.

        Some of the lessons I wanted to take away with me are:

        Compelling Principles, Sensible Tips and Awesome Ideas from Bit Literacy

        1. As long as one always empties the inbox at least once a day, bit literacy gives users the freedom to choose when, and how often, to engage the bits.

        2. Use the same discipline for one's media diet.

        3. First learn, and then, in the business of schools, teach how to evaluate digital sources by surveying

        4. Model proper sourcing and citations. When you keep and/or pass along interesting articles, save them in "clip format": i.e. copy and paste the article, source, author, title, date, and the URL into your e-mail — then save and/or mail to friends, so you are modeling source authentication.

        5. Use "bit levers."
        Bit levelers are what Hurst calls the digital equivalent of Archimedes' fulcrum ("Give me a lever long enough and a place to stand, and I could move the earth") to achieve the Jim Collins goals of using "technology as an accelerator.":
        • Use keyboard commands (CTRL-S to save, CTRL-C to copy; CTRL-P to paste, etc.) to keep the hands on the keyboard and away from mouse, saving precious time.
        • Use macros. Create your own macros (ask your IT director to show you how) to streamline laborious tasks, similar to using Find and Replace in a Word or Excel document.
        • Try ActiveWords (PCs) or Typinator (Macs): Google for the free downloadable trial versions of these applications, which allow you to create shortcuts for actions (opening a file, folder, or program) and for words, phrases, or whole messages that one frequently types.
        • The downloadable Google Search Bar includes amazing tools:
          • Scholar Search for ERIC and other database listings of scholarly articles.

        Many of these I already do. I will endeavor to do better on crediting people for their work by providing fuller citations. Others, I will give some more thought.

        Stumbling Through the Crowd On a Path To Wisdom

        One topic running, at least in the background, through the recent posts of this weblog has been crowdsourcing. Despite having a working definition for this newly created term, I am still wrestling with fitting it within related web 2.0 jargon. At its most basic it seems to be an individual or entity with an entrepreneurial bent using the labor of unnamed masses transforming services into commodities.

        How does this differ though with what was considered under the Challenging The "Popular" Theory Of Group and Individual Interaction regarding social influence? What factors move the process from crowdsourcing to collaboration or is it to a great degree a matter of perspective? All these perspectives would seem to depend upon one degree or another on some form of the wisdom of the crowds concept, without ever knowing what elements make up the crowd. We become connected without ever knowing who we are connected to, but does being connected to hundreds intimately to accomplish a specific task that is part of a larger goal really make any sense? Maybe if discussing one's favorite pizza, but preparing the financial statements for a business plan?

        Some people, as this Wired article demonstrates, can make this aspect of the new economy work for them. Wired 14.06: The Rise of Crowdsourcing.

        One arena of the crowd networking with the crowd is the new StumbleUpon community I recently joined. This StumbleUpon site that I sent to myself includes a companion piece to The Rise of Crowdsourcing article on the 5 rules of crowdsourcing labor. It also goes beyond that utilizing the wisdom of the StumbleUpon crowd to find other sites through related concepts. At least as far as I related them.


        Discover new web sites

        Wired 14.06: 5 Rules of the New Labor Pool

        comments: reviews tags: crowdsourcing, creativity, management

        BrianDRPM has sent you a site he found with StumbleUpon

        Finding Gigs in the Crowds


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        Chaos And Creativity

        Chaos often breeds life, when order breeds habit.

        Tuesday, February 26, 2008

        Surviving Ideaicide And Other Perils Of The New Economy

        Some of the recent posts for this weblog have been dealing with the creative-destructive aspects on the Web 2.0 business environment, Kevin Kelly's insights for the creative side and commodification for the destructive. Another post dealt with the new Artisan Economy.

        What this post is taking a look at are some of the aspects of the social/business environment in which all of this is suppose to be happening. This is to serve as a reminder that having a laptop does not instill instant creativity or guarantee a smooth road to success.

        As this New York Times BUSINESS article on February 3, 2008 By JANET RAE-DUPREE tells us in Unboxed: Eureka! It Really Takes Years of Hard Work
        As humans, we want to believe that creativity and innovation come in flashes of pure brilliance, with great thunderclaps and echoing ahas. Balderdash.

        Not only do we have to work hard on our own ideas, we have to maintain an openness to conflicting ideas, going back to what F. Scott Fitzgerald advised. This Los Angeles Times article provides a more indepth perspective.

        The modern world is an ever-changing mass of contradictions. Reconciling them is fundamental to success, whether in business or in life.

        The need to keeping conflicting ideas in balance is hard enough, but one also has to do so in an environment of increasing complexity. As small business expert by Ivana Taylor review of The Complexity Crisis — Why Keeping it Simple is Not Stupid at Small Business Trends' tells us.

        The Complexity Crisis

        Looking at the current business obsession regarding product proliferation, the long tail, and flat worlds complexity the argument goes has run amok among businesses, both big and small. John Mariotti, former president of Rubbermaid Office Products and Huffy Bicycles, lends perspective and clarity to complexity in his new book The Complexity Crisis. Why too many products, markets and customers are crippling your company and what to do about it.
        "Businesses must compete in more complex global markets than ever before. Most companies are seeking double-digit growth in markets growing in single digit rates — or not at all. This quest for growth has led to runaway complexity caused by the proliferation of products, customers, markets, suppliers, services, locations, and more. All of these add costs, which go untracked by even the best accounting systems. Complexity also fragments management focus, wastes time and money, and ultimately reduces shareholder value. The problems grow, but they remain under the radar of management attention. Complexity is arguable, the most insidious, hidden profit drain in today's business world."

        What is of greatest interest is how, even succeeding in meeting the above challenges, you keep your ideas alive. One source of inspiration has been referenced before, the Change This Manifesto. This time the pointer comes from Brand Autopsy's johnmoore on 2/1/08 Ideaicide Prevention is Everybody's Business.

        "Ideas are usually rejected out of turn for being too 'something' — too fast, too unproven, too far beyond the corporate image. 'Too something' is a reactionary description used to take the edge off ideas that are strong, bold, and a little scary at first sight. Your challenge is to help people discover a means, harmonious with the culture, to accept your concept."
        Alan Parr & Karen Ansbaugh
        Ideaicide: How To Avoid It And Get What You Want
        * ChangeThis Manifesto *

        I am not sure that this has to happen necessarily in a corporate setting. GroupThink, which I suspect is a primary cause only needs two to be contagious. Government is also particularly susceptible to this aliment.

        Finally, in this type of environment the chances of unhampered non-stop success are slim and none. As the The Entrepreneurial Mind told us back on 1/30/08 Failure Stinks!. Fortunately, Dr. Cornwall provides a pointer to Bounce.

        Barry Moltz's long awaited second book, titled Bounce, has finally arrived. From his (Barry Moltz's) website:

        Conventional business wisdom tells us that there is always something to learn from failure. Not true--sometimes it just stinks! Failure that offers no real learning value becomes a big jolt to the basic business belief system.
        Barry's gift is that he uses humor to offer lessons that all entrepreneurs can learn from. During his last visit to Belmont, Barry offered some glimpses of what he planned to explore in his new book. Just like with his first book You Need to be a Little Crazy, this book is a must read for entrepreneurs at any stage of their development.
        Barry demonstrates that developing the resiliency to 'bounce" through these cycles determines who ultimately will succeed. Using real life business examples, he shows that with true business confidence, we can face our fears, let go of shame and failures, use all our choices, be better risk-takers, and define our own brand of success.

        Monday, February 25, 2008

        Language Programming The Human Decision System

        The following links are from a MIT symposium, Where Does Syntax Come From? Have We All Been Wrong?. To be honest, it is a laundry list but if one is into computers and cognitive psychology it's a pretty good one.

        A number of this weblog's posts have been dealing with issues of marketing and communications, all of which involve language. The analogy of the human mind being like a computer is standard, but with concepts such as crowd-sourcing and social networking through Web 2.0 environs the extension of computer coding being analogous to language becomes all the more interesting. One area of particular interest would be human group decision making or interaction between groups with different language structures. The following MIT departments were involved in the symposium.

        LIDS: Laboratory for Information and Decision Systems Annotated

        This is an Overview of the Laboratory for Information and Decision Systems/LIDS Annotated

        The Laboratory for Information and Decision Systems (LIDS) is an interdepartmental research laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. It began in 1939 as the Servomechanisms Laboratory, an offshoot of the Department of Electrical Engineering. Its early work, during World War II, focused on gunfire and guided missile control, radar, and flight trainer technology. Over the years, the scope of its research broadened.

        MIT : Brain and Cognitive Sciences Annotated

        MIT's Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences stands at the nexus of neuroscience, biology and psychology. We combine these disciplines to study specific aspects of the brain and mind including: vision, movement systems, learning and memory, neural and cognitive development, language and reasoning. Working collaboratively, we apply our expertise, tools, and techniques to address and answer both fundamental and universal questions about how the brain and mind work.
        MIT Computational Cognitive Science Group Annotated
        We study the computational basis of human learning and inference. Through a combination of mathematical modeling, computer simulation, and behavioral experiments, we try to uncover the logic behind our everyday inductive leaps: constructing perceptual representations, separating "style" and "content" in perception, learning concepts and words, judging similarity or representativeness, inferring causal connections, noticing coincidences, predicting the future.

        Other talks will be added when the become available. A bit of web-trekking resulted in discovering this site at the University of Pennsylvania.

        Neuroethics Publications Annotated
        'Neuroethics' is the ethics of neuroscience, analogous to the term 'bioethics' which denotes the ethics of biomedical science more generally. It encompasses a wide array of ethical issues emerging from different branches of clinical neuroscience (neurology, psychiatry, psychopharmacology) and basic neuroscience (cognitive neuroscience, affective neuroscience). These include ethical problems raised by advances in functional neuroimaging, brain implants and brain-machine interfaces and psychopharmacology as well as by our growing understanding of the neural bases of behavior, personality, consciousness, and states of spiritual transcendence. This collection brings together the work of a growing number of Penn researchers from across the academic disciplines who are contributing to the neuroethics literature.

        diigo tags: brain, decisionsystem, language, mit learning psychology science video

        MIT World » : Human Simulations of Language Learning Annotated

        This workshop, explains Michael Coen, is an effort to engender temperate, collaborative discussion of a matter that inspires hot dispute: whether machine learning helps explain how humans acquire language. In particular, says Coen, machine learning advocates believe they have evidence against Noam Chomsky’s “poverty of stimulus argument,” which in essence states that language is built into us, that “children don’t receive enough linguistic inputs to explain linguistic outputs.”

        MIT World » : Explorations in Language Learnability Using Probabilistic Grammars and Child-directed Speech Annotated

        How do kids manage to figure out that the word “dog” applies to a whole category of animals, not just one creature? Joshua Tenenbaum wants to understand how children and adults manage to solve such classic problems of induction. Throughout cognition, wherever you look, he says “we see places where we know more than we have a reasonable right to know about the world, places where we come to abstractions, generalizations, models of the world that go beyond our sparse, noisy, limited experience.” Tenenbaum’s goal is to come up with “general purpose computational tools for understanding how people solve these problems so successfully.”

          Past posts in my blog also dealt with the evolution of language. I am wondering how this plays out in larger organizational and social systems and the interaction of different systems i.e. Americans in Iraq or other situations. Especially with the web accelerating communications even when it is not directly connected to everybody within a culture. - diigo post by brianddrpm

          MIT World » : The Computational Nature of Language Learning Annotated

          Niyogi believes that an “evolutionary trajectory” links how acquisition happens at an individual level, and how variation in language springs up from one generation to the next. But rather than inheriting the grammar of your parents, you have to learn it. Examining language variation over time as if it were genetic variation, “you get a different mathematical structure…and probabilities start playing an important role.” Small differences “can have very subtle consequences giving rise to bifurcation in nonlinear dynamics of evolution.” For instance, 1000 years ago, the English were speaking a language that’s unrecognizable to us today. How has it come to be that “we have moved so far from that point through learning which is mimicking the previous generation?”
          Niyogi explains that within a single population two varying languages may be in competition (say, a German and an English-type grammar). While a majority may speak the dominant variant, some children will likely be exposed to a mixture of the two. There’s a “drift” in language use, “and suddenly, what was stable becomes unstable.”

          MIT World » : Machine Learning of Language from Distributional Evidence Annotated

          Christopher Manning thinks linguistics went astray in the 20th century when it searched “for homogeneity in language, under the misguided assumption that only homogeneous systems can be structured.” In the face of human creativity with language, rigid categories of linguistic use just don’t help explain how people actually talk and what they choose to say. For every hard and fast rule linguists find, other linguists can determine an exception. Categorical constraints rise, then come crashing down.

            Artisans: The Future of Small Business III

            Both the Entrepreneurial Mind and Small Business Trends write about the Future of Small Business--Third Installment and the new Artisan Economy. This means that creativity and innovation are important resources for the future and learning becomes an investment.

            Dr. Cornwall of the Entrepreneurial Mind does so on 2/13/08 Future of Small Business -- Third Installment

            The good folks at the Institute for the Future in California have issued their third and final installment of the Future of Small Business reports.

            Artisans, historically defined as skilled craftsmen who fashioned goods by hand, will re-emerge as an influential force in the coming decade. These next-gen artisans will craft their goods and shape the economy -- through upswings and downturns -- with an effect reaching far beyond their neighborhoods, or even their nations. They'll work differently than their medieval counterparts, combining brain with brawn as advances in technology and the reaches of globalization give them greater opportunities to succeed. This series offers a fascinating look at the future of out entrepreneurial economy.
            In the post "Are You Part of the New Artisan Economy? I Bet You Are", Anita Campbell of Small Business Advice|Small Business Trends on the same day also writes about the third installment of the Future of Small Business Report outlining the growth of artisan businesses. She goes further providing more insights regarding the new economy:

            Welcome to the artisan economy of the 21st century. Chances are, you're part of it. Don't let the word "artisan" fool you. If you're picturing bakers in white aprons kneading loaves of whole-grain bread, or someone hand-crafting candles — that's not necessarily what I mean.

            The 21st century artisan is a Web designer, or an author, or a manufacturer of a small but exclusive line of luxury items, or a consultant in a niche speciality, or an entrepreneurial-minded attorney who starts selling information products, or an online retailer, or a software developer, or … the list goes on.

            See her full post as for What it Means to You

            My thought is this: if you don't see potential new opportunities from thinking about the trends in this Report, you aren't thinking hard enough.

            So let your mind loose. Free yourself of old ideas that may be holding you back. Or what you think may be society's perceptions.

            Sunday, February 24, 2008

            Genius And Passion At Work

            While it is true that social-entrepreneurs need to follow the same basic principals as private-enterprise entrepreneurs, they do have unique challenges. Amy Smith of MIT has made a career of overcoming those challenges. In the video link below, she and 3 of her students provide a close up view of their work and the constraints they have to overcome. Past posts dealing with products becoming a commodity, but what happens when a waste stream becomes a valuable resource? How scalable is a product when it takes an entire village to buy one? What well-meaning but erroneous assumptions do we make when working in the third world? Amy Smith has already been featured previously in this weblog as the inspiration behind Reconnecting to MIT Low Technologies High Aims.

            From MIT World » : A Genius for Change, and the Passion to Do It Annotated

            diigo tags: design, development, entrepreneurship, innovation, social

            If you live in a developing country, chances are you spend a good part of your day engaged in backbreaking, repetitive labor to put food on the table. The MIT students in this Soap Box session have rolled up their sleeves to find simple solutions for the half of the world without access to safe drinking water, electricity, and all the conveniences many take for granted.

              Winners' Circle: Amy Smith Annotated

              diigo tags: design, innovation, mit

              Though Amy Smith—who won the $30,000 Lemelson-MIT Student Prize in 2000—has displayed an inventive imagination since childhood, it was only after four years as a Peace Corps volunteer in Botswana that she found her true calling. Struck by the fact that "the most needy are often the least empowered to invent solutions to their problems,"

                Edgerton Center: Introduction Annotated

                tags: design, innovation, mit

                The Edgerton Center provides hands-on educational experiences for MIT undergraduates. Carrying on the legacy of Institute Professor Harold E.Edgerton, the Center creates opportunities for students to engage in challenging activities and projects in engineering and science. Through invention and discovery, they are better able to master concepts too often presented only in theory through lectures and problem sets.

                  Creative-Destruction, Entrepreneurship And Innovation

                  One of the ideas that this weblog has been particularly interested in is creative-destruction. Even though it does not hold the view that Schumpeter is the savior of 21st century economics as some do, the concept of creative-destruction is a useful means of looking at the world. The disagreement is with what actions we take with that knowledge. A number of posts have already been made on creative-destruction approaching it from a variety of perspectives. The links provided below resulted from combining the terms creative-destruction and entrepreneurship in resulting in some expected and already discovered results, but also bringing up some new insights that have been added to the online MyStuff Creative-Destruction folder. The common focus of these links in the importance of Joseph Schumpeter to modern entrepreneurialism. The concepts quoted and highlighted here were also highlight through my diigo account.

                  Creative Destruction's Reconstruction: Joseph Schumpeter Revisited - By J. BRADFORD DELONG December 7, 2007 Annotated

                  tags: creative-destruction, economics, entrepreneurship, innovation

                  Schumpeter saw farther: that market capitalism destroys its own earlier generations. There is, he wrote, a constant "process of industrial mutation — if I may use that biological term — that incessantly revolutionizes the economic structure from within, incessantly destroying the old one, incessantly creating a new one. This process of Creative Destruction is the essential fact about capitalism. It is what capitalism consists in, and what every capitalist concern has got to live in."

                  It is important to stress that a Schumpeterian entrepreneur is not an inventor, but an innovator.

                  He did not think governments could maintain enough social insurance to counter the destructive part of capitalism without strangling the sources of rapid growth. But why Schumpeter's Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy places so much blame on "democracy" is unclear to me: Oligarchs fear change at least as much as democratic electorates do.

                  One great test of our era will be whether creative destruction can flourish alongside public order and political liberty. If not, we're in big trouble. But if so — and I'm an optimist on the point — the results could be a marvel.

                  Rediscovering Schumpeter: The Power of Capitalism — HBS Working Knowledge Author:Sean Silverthorne Published:May 7, 2007 Annotated

                  tags: creative-destruction, economics, entrepreneurship, innovation

                  As for my title, here's the quotation that inspired it: "Without innovations, no entrepreneurs; without entrepreneurial achievement, no capitalist returns and no capitalist propulsion." Schumpeter wrote this sentence during the Great Depression of the 1930s. Many, many smart people of that time believed that technology had reached its limits and capitalism had passed its peak. Schumpeter believed the exact opposite, and of course he was right.

                  This is an extremely hard lesson to accept, particularly by successful people. But business is a Darwinian process, and Schumpeter often likened it to evolution. The creative destruction can occur within a large innovative company (Toyota, GE, Microsoft), but it's much more likely to happen with start-ups, particularly since they now have so much access to venture capital. Schumpeter, by the way, was one of the first economists to use that term. He wrote an article in 1943 in which he speaks of "venture capital."

                  A: Several economists, including Larry Summers and Brad DeLong, have said that the 21st century is going to be "the century of Schumpeter," and I agree.

                  Joseph Alois Schumpeter, Biography: The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics: Library of Economics and Liberty Annotated

                  tags: creative-destruction, economics, entrepreneurship, innovation

                  Indeed, Schumpeter was among the first to lay out a clear concept of entrepreneurship. He distinguished inventions from the entrepreneur's innovations. Schumpeter pointed out that entrepreneurs innovate, not just by figuring out how to use inventions, but also by introducing new means of production, new products, and new forms of organization. These innovations, he argued, take just as much skill and daring as does the process of invention.

                  Under perfect competition all firms in an industry produced the same good, sold it for the same price, and had access to the same technology. Schumpeter saw this kind of competition as relatively unimportant. He wrote: "[What counts is] competition from the new commodity, the new technology, the new source of supply, the new type of organization... competition which... strikes not at the margins of the profits and the outputs of the existing firms but at their foundations and their very lives."

                  Most economists accept the latter argument and, on that basis, believe that companies should be able to keep their production processes secret, have their trademarks protected from infringement, and obtain patents.
                  • The question, especially in the digital age, is how long and under what conditions such a monopoly should be extended. - comment posted by brianddrpm on diigo

                  What is of particular interest is the role innovation plays in creative-destruction. Innovation has been another topic of inquiry for this weblog.

                  Open Innovation from QuickMBA / Entrepreneurship / Open Innovation

                  tags: creative-destruction, economics, entrepreneurship, innovation

                  • Innovation and entrepreneurship are at the heart of "creative destruction". In his book, Open Innovation, Henry Chesbrough describes a new paradigm of open innovation that is in contrast to the traditional closed model. To understand open innovation, it is worthwhile to review the older model of closed innovation. - quotes posted by brianddrpm on diigo

                  The Baby Boomer Path to Starting A New Paradigm At Age 50+

                  Despite having made some in-roads to understanding the Web 2.0 World a little better and benefiting from the past advice from Penelope Trunk of Brazen Careerist, my Boomer roots still leak through. The most apparent being the +50 format that I use for this weblog. I will still be looking to Brazen Careerist for insight in the ever evolving modern job market, but I also need insight from somebody with more of an affinity with my life perspective.

                  Anita Campbell's post on 1/31/08 "Starting a Business at Age 50+ " via her Small Business Trends | small business experts recommends Mark Miller.

                  Mark Miller, one of our contributing experts here who covers Baby Boomer entrepreneurship, produced a video interview you should catch. He interviews Jeff Williams, founder of BizStarters, which helps entrepreneurs age 50 and over start businesses. Mark also launched a new website about active working retirement, called Retirement Revised. We'll be bringing you another column from Mark that will be posted here as soon as I input it, double check hyperlinks, etc. Until then, I thought you might enjoy the video.

                  On 2/7/08 Mark Miller, himself in Small Business Trends writes:

                  We’ve all heard the predictions. Baby boomers won’t retire — they’ll start second careers. And many of them will become entrepreneurs. What does that really mean? In many cases, they’ll be sole proprietors — people who set up one-person shops that leverage the expertise and contacts built up over several decades of corporate employment. Often, these businesses don’t require much start-up financing. Empowered by the Internet, Boomer entrepreneurs often keep overhead low by setting up shop in their homes. And rather than take on the responsibility of hiring employees, they strike up relationships with other sole proprietors to provide key services, such as bookkeeping and marketing. (more…)