Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Joining Southwest (WI) Tech Entrepreneurship Advisory group

Thanks Dr. Duane Ford, new President at Southwest Tech in Fennimore Wisconsin for the invitation to join their newly established Entrepreneurship Advisory group.

Their goal is simple, direct and powerful:

"....identify, nurture and support entrepreneurs."

I'm grateful and enthusiastic about this invitation. Southwest Wisconsin is a wonderful place full of promise and opportunity. The new efforts Dr. Ford is setting up at SW Tech should help develop these opportunities across the region and beyond.

I'm now honored to be on Advisory Committees for both Southwest Tech in Southwest Wisconsin and Waukesha County Technical College (WCTC) in Southeast Wisconsin.

Our Wisconsin technical college System is making great strides toward job creation, business startups and entrepreneurship goals for the wider community.

I thoroughly enjoyed my presentation in Milwaukee this week as one of the keynotes for the Urban Economic Development Association. More on this later.

What seemed clear to me is that our Wisconsin technical school system has a strategic role to play in food-based economic development. I am watching them step up to meet this challenge. Milwaukee Area Technical College is launching several new degree programs in food processing management. Forward!

It's a great honor and privilege to work in such amazing areas across all of Southern Wisconsin.

Thank you for the invitation to join the SW Tech Entrepreneurship Advisory Board Dr. Ford.

It's the Renaissance age of entrepreneurship and it's just beginning. Check out programs from these two great schools!

Southwest Tech in Fennimore, WI.

WCTC's great Small Business Center in Waukesha County, WI

Link to previous Dr. Duane Ford post

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Hypercard. Data mastery is very personal.

One more Hypercard post...

When we started our first business in the 70s we were very excited to get a few orders per day. When orders started coming in faster and faster we knew we had to control our data or forget about surviving, let alone growing.

We built our first digital business management tools on a second-hand Kaypro computer. I still have the 5 1/4" floppy disk we used to run our accounting on that system.

When our kids were born, they automatically joined our family business enterprise.

Anne was five years old in 1987 when we got our first Macintosh and our first database program, Hypercard. She had watched her Mom, (my wife and business partner Mary) organize all the information it required to manage our small business. Anne also understood very early that helping control that data made Mom happier. At the time most of the Macintosh programs started with 'Mac', as in MacPaint, and MacWrite. When we wrote our own database for our business (in Hypercard), Anne named it MacMom.

The idea of being able to control your own computer interface so that you could manage what specific information and outcomes you wanted out of your computer was a powerful new capability that seemed immeasurably valuable at the time. And it was easy, thanks to Bill Atkinson who created Hypercard, and the good folks at Apple.

Anne wrote a program in Hypercard when she was only six years old to teach her two year old sister Eileen how to use a mouse - and it worked perfectly.

Bill Atkinson gave a presentation at the 2011 MacWorld convention about the future of computing and he circled right back to this idea of controlling data in the most meaningful, most personal ways. This was from that talk:

"Atkinson believes that the killer app of mobile telephony will not be augmented reality or gestural interfaces or anything like that. Rather it will be earpiece that connects users to a virtual digital assistant who lives in the cloud and will remember the name of the restaurant where you had dinner last time you were in the city or the name of a vaguely familiar looking acquaintance approaching with his hand extended."

"I'm about to turn 60," Atkinson says, "and most of my memories reside in the brain of my wife."

When I repeat this quote, my family nods and agrees.

Once upon a time, MacMom, Hypercard, and Bill Atkinson made data control happen for our family and our small business. We could do it in real time. Not yet in the cloud, but in our family business. Amazing stuff then. Amazing possibilities for the future.

Hypercard lesson #2:

You do data control for yourself. It's not part of a business plan. It's the core of a sustainable business life.

Sustainable = repeatable. Repeatable = data control.

Bill Atkinson was an important figure in the early days of Apple, and the designer of the world's first popular hypermedia program, Hypercard. He currently operates a wonderful photography enterprise. My friend Larry met him at a recent computing conference and scored the autograph pictured above after sharing our MacMom story with Bill. Thanks Larry!

Fortune Magazine blog - Apple 2.0 Covering the business that Steve Jobs built, quoting Bill Atkinson on the future of computing.

Bill Atkinson nature photography.

Kaypro information at Wikipedia

Friday, November 25, 2011

Hypercard, data management, and building smart enterprises

I follow a good blog published by the folks at 37 Signals, creators of very popular hosted project management tools. (links below)

Their founder, Jason Fried recently posted an image of the beloved (to me) Hypercard interface.

Hypercard was a very early, very powerful database programming tool. We purchased the original version in 1987 for $49.95. They had to mail us our copy on diskettes because it hadn't been installed on the new Mac Plus we'd just bought (over $6,000 with no hard drive).

I first learned to build new business management systems digitally with Hypercard. We ran our family business, Banner Graphics, for over 25 years. We could not have done it without control over our information flow. In our later, most productive years with this business, we did it with Hypercard.

I'm forever grateful to Bill Atkinson and friends at Apple for this powerful, elegant contribution, especially so early. It was like being able to create your own private web site - customized to what you needed to know - before the internet. Amazing.

I'm going to post two Hypercard pieces while this is on my mind.

Hypercard lesson #1:

I believe new and emerging enterprises fail most often because they can't control their data. You must have a system to capture and control your data in a scalable way. If you can't, you're not sustainable. Period.

Sustainable = repeatable. Repeatable = data control.

Hypercard intro at Wikipedia

Signal vs. Noise. 37 Signals blog

37 Signals at Wikipedia

Banner Graphics, our family-run business for over 25 years.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Jammin' for the Holidays with the Innovation Kitchen!

For the next few weeks, you can order a wonderful array of fruit jams and apple butter for the Holidays.

Best of all, we can personalize the labels on these gifts with your holiday greetings. Your personal or business holiday wishes will be printed right on the label.

These wonderful gifts are prepared at the Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen under their own Farmhouse Recipes brand.

For the holidays, we can personalize the label on these jars with your message and images.

Standard labels that we imprint are shown in the photo above.

If you send us your pre-printed labels (photo below) we can also put those on your gift jars. This is really fun.

As the saying goes, quantities are limited. While supply lasts. If you would like more information please send an eMail to the link below.

So, Happy Holidays to all friends of the Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen!

Here is what's available now (11/21/11):

Spiced Apple Butter

Blueberry Rhubarb Jam

Strawberry Rhubarb Jam

Blackberry Rhubarb Jam

Peach Raspberry Jam

Peach Mango Jam

Gooseberry Jam

Blueberry Jalapeno Jam

Raspberry Jalapeno Jam

Cherry Twist Jam

I am a HUGE fan of their raspberry jalapeno jam spread over cream cheese on crackers. Guaranteed 'wow' moment.

If you would like to order your own private labeled jams or apple butter as holiday gifts, now is the time to act. We will likely stop shipping by mid-December. Minimum order for custom labeling is one case which is 12 jars.

All orders will include a short narrative about the Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen and our parent organization, the Hondan Center, who are providing this valuable employment opportunity for my friends with disabilities.

What a wonderful gift for the holidays. Good local food and the gift of jobs for people who need our support.

Download a brochure about our customized labels featuring your holiday greeting

Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen

Hodan Center.

Iowa County Area Economic Development Come Grow With Us!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

USDA: ‘Locally grown’ food is a $4.8 billion business.

"Look, this market is bigger than you thought."

The USDA just released a new report on the economic impact of local foods.

This report estimates the total amount of local food sales is about $5 billion per year and growing.

This report deals with sales of fresh produce sold at farm markets and through regional fresh market channels (local retail, restaurant, and regional distribution outlets).

Within this market, there is a much bigger opportunity just beginning to emerge: professional food processing services.

At the Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen we utilize fresh local and regional produce to help our customers create new specialty foods and ingredients. We provide professional food processing services to our customers, creating value added products in small batches. In our case, we are also privileged to help create good local jobs for people with very difficult employment options.

The specialty food market in the U.S. is about $63 billion per year.

When you combine 'local/regional' (about $5 billion and growing) and year-round sales of specialty foods (about $63 billion and growing), there is a tremendous opportunity emerging.

My startup pals would call this a very deep blue ocean.

Take for instance our friends at Alsum Produce. Alsum grows potatoes and onions in Iowa County Wisconsin, and near Friesland, mid-state, where their packing house is located. Photo above is Alsum Produce delivering fresh produce from our region to the Innovation Kitchen.

According to the article Alsum Produce has built a $50 million business in this market.

The Innovation Kitchen partners with many great suppliers such as Alsum, to source local foods that can then be turned into high quality food products that can be sold year-round.

Below are highlights from good article about the new USDA report (linked below) featuring a shout-out to our friends at Alsum Produce:

"A new U.S. Department of Agriculture report says sales of 'local foods,’ whether sold direct to consumers at farmers markets or through intermediaries such as grocers or restaurants, amounted to $4.8 billion in 2008. That’s a number several times greater than earlier estimates, and the department predicts locally grown foods will generate $7 billion in sales this year."

"There’s real demand in the market for people wanting to know where their food is coming from, that it’s going through local channels."

"On his 1,800 acres near Friesland, Wis., Larry Alsum, 58, grows several varieties of potatoes that he sells mostly to grocers in Wisconsin, Illinois and Indiana. He also handles wholesale distribution for farmers who grow everything from cabbage to sweet corn, squash, cucumbers and peppers."

"He says his operation has blossomed into a $50 million business — roughly double what it was a decade or so ago — with a focus on locally grown food. Perhaps only one in five consumers actually cares what that means, he said, but it’s more than did just a few years ago."

“'As the cost of oil and gasoline continue to rise, there are going to me more opportunities for locally grown,’ he predicted. 'And that just gives us a built-in advantage in marketing.’"

Indeed. Thanks to our friends at Alsum Produce, and all the great producers and distribution companies that are working hard to make new models of local and regional food systems successful!

Full story at Boston.com, the Boston Globe online.

USDA Report summary. PDF format. 2 pages.

USDA full report. PDF format. 3.6 MB. 35 pages.

Alsum Produce. From field to fork, Alsum Farms & Produce is responsible for growing, sourcing, packing and delivering the highest quality fresh fruits and veggies to your grocery store. We grow eco-friendly Russet, Red, White, Golden and Purple Healthy Grown® Wisconsin potatoes in the Lower Wisconsin River Valley. And we partner with family farms around the nation to provide you with over 300 quality fruits and vegetables every day of the year.

Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen

Hodan Center, Mineral Point, WI.

Iowa County Area Economic Development Come Grow With Us!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

UEDA Summit to focus on regional food economy. Join us!

I'm honored to be asked to make a presentation to the Urban Economic Development Association Conference on Nov. 29. in Milwaukee.

Milwaukee's Biz Times just posted a short piece about this great gathering in their Friday Nov. 11, 2011 online issue, linked below:

UEDA Summit to focus on regional food economy

"The Urban Economic Development Association of Wisconsin (UEDA), in partnership with the City of Milwaukee, will host its 10th annual Community Development Summit 'Food for Thought: New Recipes for Job Growth.'

The event will be held Tuesday, Nov. 29, at the Italian Conference Center, 631 E. Chicago St. in Milwaukee from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

This year’s summit will focus on the regional food economy and the inherent opportunities available for economic growth and job creation within the food sector. Participants will hear from keynote speaker Jeffrey O’Hara, an agricultural economist with the Food & Environment Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), as well as afternoon speaker Rick Terrien, executive director, Iowa County Economic Development Corp.

Attendees will also hear a special video message from Will Allen, founder and CEO of Growing Power.

Other panelists and participants will include: Dr. Rich Busalacchi, MATC; Giacomo Fallucca, Palermo’s Pizza; Lincoln Fowler, Alterra Coffee; Cathy Henry, Sysco Food Systems; Shelly Jurewicz, Milwaukee 7; Young Kim, Fondy Food Market; Emmanuel Pratt, Sweet Water Organics Foundation; Sandy Syburg, White Oak Farm Premium Organics; Mitch Teich, WUWM Lake Effect; and Olivia Villareal, El Rey.

“It is more important than ever to capitalize on each and every opportunity for job creation and economic growth in southeastern Wisconsin,” said UEDA executive director Bill Johnson. “We are seeing positive trends in the regional food economy. We need to come together as a community to develop strategies that will help forward and implement collaborative efforts in this emerging sector.”

The UEDA is a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting housing and economic development initiatives that revitalize Wisconsin communities and to building capacity in the housing and economic development field through professional training, innovative solutions, policy advocacy and collaboration.

Registration for the event, including meals and parking, are $35.00 for non-UEDA members and $25.00 for current UEDA members. For more information or to register for the event, visit http://uedaevents.wordpress.com or contact UEDA at (414) 562-9904."


Thanks for the invitation, Urban Economic Development Association. I'm looking forward to this great UEDA Summit!

BizTimes story about the UEDA conference, Nov. 29 in Milwaukee

UEDA Conference information. Join this gathering Nov. 29.

Earlier post about UEDA Conference

Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Innovation Kitchen partners at the Food and Wine Show. Post 3. Raw Dog Relish

I haven't talked to Mike since the Madison Food and Wine Show but his wonderful Raw Dog Relish booth was one of my favorite stories of the weekend.

Mike sold out faster than any other vendor at this year's Madison Food and Wine show. Amazing.

Don't worry fans of Raw Dog Relish.

Annette and her team at the Innovation Kitchen have already prepared more of Mike's great tasting line. You can get more from Raw Dog and also on sale at the Innovation Kitchen in Mineral Point.

We greatly appreciate Mike and Raw Dog's support for the Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen. We look forward to helping your great new food enterprise grow and flourish.

Congratulations Mike and Raw Dog Relish!

Visit the Raw Dog Relish Facebook page. Great launch Mike!

Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Innovation Kitchen partners at the Food and Wine Show. Post 2. RP's Pasta

Another great Innovation Kitchen Partner at this year's Madison food and Wine Show was RP's Pasta.

RP's Pasta was working from the Willy Street Co-op booth, sampling their wonderful pastas, including their amazing pumpkin tortelloni. Thanks, and great to catch up Kira!

We help Peter and friends at RP's prepare fillings for their amazing pastas, including pumpkin. We are proud to support RP's goal of 'Farm to Fork with a Conscience'.

From an earlier blog post quoting a Capitol Region Business Journal article:

"Although several commercial suppliers could make processed foods available, Robertson opted to go with the Mineral Point facility to provide vegetables for his stuffed ravioli and tortellini."

"They did it fast. They did it efficiently. And it’s 100 percent Wisconsin products, he said."

What a partnership! RP's pumpkin tortelloni was served at President and Mrs. Obama's January 2011 White House Super Bowl party (Packers win!).

Thanks RP's Pasta for your partnership and support for the Innovation Kitchen!

Original post about our Innovation Kitchen partnership with RP's Pasta.

RP's Pasta

Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen

Willy Street Co-op. Thanks from my family, loyal Willy Street Co-op owner/members!

Monday, November 07, 2011

Innovation Kitchen partners at the Food and Wine Show. Post 1. White Jasmine.

The Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen is proud to support the food preparation needs of a wide variety of wonderful food companies.

At this year's Madison Food and Wine Show we got the chance to visit with a few of our favorites.

One of these is White Jasmine, an amazing food company based on a passion derived from providing fresh, natural and delicious spices to their customers.

Their President, Ms. Huma Siddiqui is a local food star in Madison, WI.

Photo above is our friend Samir Karimi, VP Sales of White Jasmine at this year's Madison Food and Wine Show.

Thanks White Jasmine for your support of the Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen!

White Jasmine's Facebook page

White Jasmine web site

Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Join us - Urban Economic Development Association's 10th Annual Community Development Summit

I'm honored to be asked to make a presentation to the 10th annual Urban Economic Development Association of Wisconsin Conference. This year's event will be Tuesday, Nov. 29 in Milwaukee. Join us!

Here is info from their site (link below).

"A Call to Action! This year’s Summit will focus on how the regional food economy can serve as a driver for economic growth and job creation in southeast Wisconsin.

UEDA's 10th Annual Community Development Summit will focus on what food manufacturers, producers, distributors, retailers, urban farmers and others are doing to:

- Support the growth of regional food systems;

- Attract food and beverage manufacturers to the region; and

- Address gaps in training and education for employment in the food sector.

Be a part of it!

Attendees will participate, listen and identify approaches to forward this emerging sector."

This looks great. Keynote speaker will be Jeffrey O’Hara, Agricultural Economist in the Food & Environment Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists. I get the opportunity to make a presentation in the afternoon session.

There is a great group of presenters and participants at this year's conference:

Dr. Rich Busalacchi, Milwaukee Area Technical College (MATC)
Giacomo Fallucca, Palermo’s Pizza
Lincoln Fowler, Alterra Coffee Roasters
Cathy Henry, Sysco Food Systems
Shelly Jurewicz, Milwaukee 7 Regional Economic Development Partnership
Young Kim, Fondy Food Market
Emmanuel Pratt, Sweet Water Foundation
Sandy Syburg, White Oak Farm Premium Organics
Mitch Teich, WUWM Lake Effect
Olivia Villareal, El Rey Foods

Keep up the great work UEDA! Thanks for the invitation.

Urban Economic Development Association of Wisconsin's conference site.

Innovation Kitchen partners Karen and John, Wisconsin's 2011 Rising Star Award winners!

New photos just came in from the Wisconsin Marketplace 2011 award ceremony in Green Bay honoring the outstanding diversity and value businesses in Wisconsin can bring to life.

Did I mention (with great enthusiasm) that our Innovation Kitchen partners Karen and John won the 2011 Wisconsin Rising Star Award?

Our kitchen's production capacity helped John and Karen's amazing new food enterprise launch and grow.

Top photo is Karen acknowledging their award. Bottom photo is the award presentation featuring Karen, Governor Scott Walker and Secretary/CEO Paul Jadin, Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation.

Our kitchen partners run a wonderful B&B in Elkhorn, WI. You should visit for the inside ambiance, the beautiful outdoor environment, and (as my kids would say) OMG, the food. (linked below)

Congratulations Karen and John on your wonderful award! Thank you for supporting the Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen and thank you for letting us help you grow your new food enterprise!

Post about Karen and John's Rising Star Award

Original post about John and Karen's new food enterprise

Visit their wonderful B&B, Ye Olde Manor House, in Elkhorn, WI.

Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen