An Entrepreneurial Obama

July 20th, 2009 by Admin

Despite their differences, both major parties agree on one thing: small businesses are the primary driver of economic growth in America. President Obama has said much about the need for small business support, and has focused some of his administrations’ recovery plan on that support.

This includes lowering fees and increasing guarantees to 90% for SBA loans,  as well as calling for more entrepreneurship in education (particularly in the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). Read more in this excellent piece by Jonathan Ortmans, a senior fellow of the Kauffman Foundation.

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Posted in Musings | 2 Comments »

Predicting ‘healthy aging’

July 16th, 2009 by Admin

From The Washington Times, 7/15/09

There have been two major developments recently in the study of happiness, with dramatically divergent approaches. First, the Gallup Organization offers a detailed daily measure of happiness in the United States, based on 1,000 nightly in-depth interviews. Call it the national happiness pulse. A few initial findings: The ratio of happiness to stress is about 5 to 1 on an average day, but 1-1 for lonely people; weekends are the happiest days; and women worry more than men.

Second, a journalist was given unprecedented access to the archives of a 72-year study on the lives of 268 men who entered college in the 1930s. Writing in the Atlantic about the Harvard Study of Adult Development, Joshua Wolf Shenk reported, “The project is one of the longest-running – and probably most exhaustive – longitudinal studies of mental and physical well-being in history,” including interviews, questionnaires, medical exams and psychological tests.

Psychiatrist George Vaillant led the study for 42 years and compared the experience to looking through the world’s most powerful telescope for the views it has provided into the soul. He observes that, like wines, longitudinal studies improve with age: The findings get richer. What a rich data set it is, including a U.S. president (though John F. Kennedy’s files are sealed until 2040), a best-selling novelist and four candidates for the U.S. Senate. Yet by age 50, nearly a third of the subjects had met Dr. Vaillant’s criteria for mental illness during a segment of their lives, with some confronting substance abuse, depression, suicide and more.

Witnessing that kind of complexity, Mr. Shenk observed in the Atlantic, “The study began in the spirit of laying lives out on a microscope slide. But it turned out that the lives were too big, too weird, too full of subtleties and contradictions to fit any easy conception of ‘successful living.’ ”

Read the rest of the story here…

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Posted in Good Life | No Comments »

Why to Start a Startup in a Bad Economy

July 14th, 2009 by Admin

Some people consider Paul Graham‘s essays to be the “Berkshire Hathaway Shareholder Letters” of startups — a must read for all serious about doing well in the field. Having read some of those essays now, it would be hard to disagree. Graham speaks truth to the power of conventional wisdom and tells it like it is, from his personal success as a startup founder and from advising over 200 other founders through Y Combinator.

One particular essay that may convince you to take the leap is this one: Why to Start a Startup in a Bad Economy.

Granted, Paul Graham’s work is focused exclusively on the technology sector, but there are invaluable lessons for startups of all kinds in this essay library. Check it out for some great reading!

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Posted in Education, Entrepreneurship, Why Entrepreneurs Love a Downturn | No Comments »