Bbetterdaily: A Success Story- Jimmy Wales

Jimmy “Jimbo” Wales is most famous for being the founder (and omnipresent face) of Wikipedia but is also the co-founder of Wikia, a for-profit business that supports the creation of wikis communities on any topic.

What advice would you give to younger self?
Fail faster. Try more things, and don’t be too emotionally tied to any one idea. I wasted nearly two years in the start of Wikipedia with a previous site called Nupedia, a project which was plodding and slow and which I wish I had been faster to cut short.

What is the most common mistake you see entrepreneurs make?
Assuming that a small dream is easier to achieve than a big one. Particularly in the internet world, I see people doing really interesting work, but with a narrow scope, when everything online should be thought about from the beginning as potentially global and potentially universal.

What — in your career — have you been most proud of?
I think it is Wikipedia’s impact on the developing world of which I’m most proud, even though I think it many ways it is just beginning. During my travels, I often take detours to visit schools in poor areas, and sometimes I meet students whose lives have been transformed by the internet, and by Wikipedia. Access to knowledge is the first step to building a better society, the first step to healing in conflict zones, the first step to genuine progress.

What has been your worst business decision to date?
Andrew Mason of Groupon tells a story about how he contacted me before he set up Groupon, asking me about a precursor project to Groupon… a political site. I don’t remember it now, but he tells me that I wrote him a long email with lots of advice that he found valuable. Based on what I know about how I usually write those kinds of emails, I probably told him that I was too busy to do more than write a single email. I should have asked to be on his board and for some stock. Ha ha. Every journalist should bug him to dig through his email archives looking for that email. I haven’t been able to find it yet, but I’m really hoping to find out that I would have become accidentally wealthy in the Groupon IPO.

Which transformative technology or market force did you not predict?
I think the most important was Youtube. I remember hearing about Youtube, and watching their growth in the pre-Google days. I thought they were bonkers; I thought their investors were bonkers. I remember hearing at one point that they were burning through a million dollars a month in bandwidth bills, and I thought they were going to be yet another of the long history of disastrous video startups. Then, like 15 seconds later, Google bought them for billions and of course they’ve become a part of the overall infrastructure of our world.

What keeps you awake at night?
Let me be really simple about this: the baby! She’s nearly a year old now, and she went through this astounding lovely period of sleeping through the night but now she’s back to her old ways.

Which single device could you not live without?
My laptop. You could take away my phone, and I’d have trouble but I could make calls with Skype or in a fit of being old school, I could get a landline (haven’t had one for years). You could take away my television, and I’d hardly even notice. I love my iPad with a passion that almost frightens me, but honestly, I would survive in a damaged state without it.

Which startups are you most excited about?
I’m sure it’s dreadfully self-serving to say Wikia, but I’m going to do it anyway. For Wikia, it’s been hard breaking through to the mainstream press and getting the attention that it deserves. By the time Wikipedia was this size, I was getting global press coverage about it. The key is that the product is just really good and people really like using Wikia. I think it’s really exciting that a site most people haven’t heard of has grown from 25 million users a month to 60 million users a month in a little more than a year without the press particularly noticing.

Shifting out of self-serving mode, I’m really excited about Dropbox (it just works, and has a sensible business model), Pinterest (massive adoption by people who aren’t normally tech early adopters), and Badoo (fascinating game-like business model and astonishing growth).


“What Are You Doing With Your Extra Life?”
- An invitation from Earl Bakken, co-founder, Medtronic, Inc.

Inventor, entrepreneur, philanthropist, patient, dreamer. Throughout his life, Earl Bakken has used his talents to help others.

He may be best known for developing the first external, battery-powered, transistorized, wearable pacemaker, an invention that has saved millions of lives and shaped the modern medical device industry.

He co-founded Medtronic, which today is the world’s leading medical device company. Every three seconds, a Medtronic product or therapy helps someone, somewhere in the world.

Earl also benefits from medical technology. He openly acknowledges that his pacemaker, insulin pump and heart stents have given him 10+ years of “extra life,” time he has put to good use, with heavy community involvement in both Minnesota and Hawaii.

Earl knows the gift of extra life is powerful. And while each person chooses how to use their extra time, it is his enduring hope they consider how to give back… in big or small ways.

That’s the Bakken Invitation.

Earl E. Bakken (born Hennepin County, Minnesota, January 10, 1924) is an American engineer, businessman and philanthropist of Dutch and Norwegian American ancestry. He founded Medtronic, where he developed the first external, battery-operated, transistorized, wearable artificial pacemaker in 1957.

Born in Columbia Heights, Minnesota, Bakken had a long-held fascination with electricity and electronics; a self-described “nerd”, Bakken designed a rudimentary electroshock weapon in school to fend off bullies. After earning a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering in 1948, he studied electrical engineering with a minor in mathematics at the University of Minnesota Graduate School. Post-World War II hospitals were just starting to employ electronic equipment, but did not have staff to maintain and repair them. Sensing an opportunity, Bakken and his brother-in-law, Palmer Hermundslie, formed Medtronic (the combination of “medical” and “electronic”) in a small garage, primarily working with the University of Minnesota hospital.

In the 1950s, Dr. C. Walton Lillehei was performing life-saving surgery on children with blue baby syndrome. That surgery often left the children needing to be temporarily attached to a pacemaker. The pacemakers at the time were large devices that required their own carts and relied on wall current for power. As a result of a power blackout on October 31, 1957, one of Dr. Lillehei’s young patients died. Dr. Lillehei had worked with Bakken before, and asked him the next day if he could solve the problem. Bakken found a circuit diagram for a metronome in Popular Electronics, and four weeks later, Bakken delivered a battery-powered transistorized pacemaker about the size of a few decks of cards to Dr. Lillehei. After successfully testing the hand-made device in the laboratory, Bakken returned to create a refined model for patients. However, much to Bakken’s astonishment, when he came in the next day, he found the pacemaker already in use on a patient (The Food and Drug Administration did not start regulating medical devices until 1976).

Over the next several years, Bakken and Medtronic went on to work with other doctors to develop fully implantable pacemakers, but they also veered toward bankruptcy. He borrowed money kept Medtronic going, but the bankruptcy near-miss drove Bakken to develop the Medtronic Mission, which still guides the company. The mission helped the young company to stay focused on areas where it could truly help patients.

Bakken retired from Medtronic in 1989 and moved to Hawaii, but still returns to the company several times a year to meet new employees and explain the Medtronic Mission to them in person.

In 1996 he helped to dedicate the North Hawaii Community Hospital and has been active there ever since, working to combine Eastern and Western approaches to medicine to develop a more holistic approach to health care.


The Bakken, previously known as The Bakken: A Library and Museum of Electricity in Life and known in the past as the Medtronic Museum of Electricity in Life, located on the shores of Lake Calhoun in Minneapolis, Minnesota in theUnited States, is the world’s only library and museum devoted to medical electricity. Focused on scholars and on young people, The Bakken educates visitors about the history of electricity and electromagnetism from 1200 A. D. to the present.

1. Have a bias for action.
2. Use your intuition.
3. Think out of the box.
4. Don’t over analyze.
5. Don’t hesitate while looking for the perfect result.
6. Do it! Correct your aim later.


Growing up in a household where he could pull everything apart – from doorknobs to electronics – Robert Stephens was a troubleshooter early on. In college he earned extra cash by fixing professors’ PCs, founding GeekSquad in his dorm room at the University of Minnesota. At the time Robert was a squad of one, but eight years later he had created a global brand and sold to Best Buy. In this How They Did It interview, Robert shares his entrepreneur success story and secrets for building a service business from scratch.

1. Create a Brand that Gives You Room to Grow. From the start, Robert wanted a generic name that left room for change and growth. If you have your identity tied up in one service, it’s hard to expand without confusing your customers and public.

2. Build a Team of Real Life Superheroes. Robert realized that consumers would always need help dealing with technology. It was a problem that wasn’t going away. He also knew there were fellow geeks – other experts like him – who would relish a career being real life superheroes to average folks needing to have technology problems fixed.

3. Date a Company Before You Sell Out. Many entrepreneurs jump too soon into selling and the result is lots of acquisitions fizzle out. For two years GeekSquad licensed to Best Buy before the ultimate sale. By taking the time to walk down the road together, Robert made sure Geek Squad had found a good home in Best Buy and a place to grow fast and keep the distinctive Geek Squad identity.

4. Play to the Theater of the Mundane. Robert loves boring businesses. Why? They are easier to differentiate. How many traditional businesses still have not come up to speed with today’s technology? From car washes to a simple doorbell – there’s opportunity for entrepreneurs to reach success.

5. Make Your Employees Happy. Customer experience is directly related to employee experience. Put time into tools and apps for your employees to help them be productive. Happy employees = happy customers.

SOURCE: Huffington Post

BBETTERDAILY: A Success Story- Alice Coachman

Alice Coachman, who became the first black woman to win an Olympic gold medal when she captured the high jump for the United States at the 1948 London Games, died on Monday, July 14, 2014, in Albany, Ga. She was 90.

Her daughter, Evelyn Jones, said she had been treated at a nursing home for a stroke in recent months and went into cardiac arrest after being transferred to a hospital on Monday with breathing difficulties.

Coachman (who was later known as Alice Coachman Davis) received her medal from King George VI. She was invited aboard a British Royal yacht, she was congratulated by President Harry S. Truman at the White House, and Count Basie gave a party for her. She was lauded in a motorcade that wound its way through Georgia from Atlanta to her hometown, Albany.

But she had returned to a segregated South. Blacks and whites were seated separately in the Albany city auditorium when she was honored there. The mayor sat on the stage with her but would not shake her hand, and she had to leave by a side door.

Coachman in 2012. Credit Damon Winter/The New York Times

As a youngster in Albany, she had run and jumped barefoot, using ropes and sticks for makeshift high jumps. She had not been allowed to train at athletic fields with whites.

“You had to run up and down the red roads and the dirt roads,” Coachman told The Kansas City Star. “You went out there in the fields, where there was a lot of grass and no track. No nothing.”

At a time when there were few high-profile black athletes beyond Jackie Robinson and Joe Louis, Coachman became a pioneer. She led the way for female African-American Olympic track stars like Wilma Rudolph, Evelyn Ashford, Florence Griffith Joyner and Jackie Joyner-Kersee.

“I made a difference among the blacks, being one of the leaders,” she told The New York Times in 1996. “If I had gone to the Games and failed, there wouldn’t be anyone to follow in my footsteps. It encouraged the rest of the women to work harder and fight harder.”

Alice Marie Coachman, one of 10 children, was born in Albany on Nov. 9, 1923, to Fred and Evelyn Coachman. She ran track and played baseball and softball with the boys when she was young, but her father, a plasterer, was angered by her refusal to be ladylike and sometimes whipped her for pursuing athletics.

She saw little prospect of an athletic career and thought of becoming a musician or a dancer, having been enthralled by the saxophonist Coleman Hawkins and by Shirley Temple. But she was encouraged by a fifth-grade teacher and an aunt to continue in sports, and she came to the attention of the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama while competing for her high school track and field team in Albany.

Coachman moved to Tuskegee and competed for the institute’s high school and college teams and later for Albany State College (now Albany State University). She captured the Amateur Athletic Union high jump championship 10 consecutive times, from 1939 to 1948, and the union’s 50-meter outdoor title from 1943 to 1947. She also won national championships in the 100-meter dash and the 4×100-meter relay.

But Coachman had to wait until 1948 to compete in the Olympics; the 1940 and 1944 Games were canceled because of World War II. On a rainy afternoon at Wembley Stadium in London in August 1948, she vied for gold in the high jump with Dorothy Tyler of Britain. They both cleared 5 feet 6 1/8 inches, but Coachman won because she did it on her first try. Micheline Ostermeyer of France was third.

Coachman, the only American woman to win gold in track and field at the London Games, remembered the moment long afterward.

“I saw it on the board, ‘A. Coachman, U.S.A., Number One,’ ” she told NPR. “I went on, stood up there, and they started playing the national anthem. It was wonderful to hear.”

Coachman’s track and field career ended with the 1948 Olympics, when she was 24. She raised a family, became an elementary and high school teacher, and created the Alice Coachman Track and Field Foundation to aid young athletes and former competitors in financial need.

She is survived by her daughter and a son, Richmond, from her first marriage, to N. F. Davis, which ended in divorce; a sister, Dicena Rambo; one grandchild; and two great-grandchildren. Her second husband, Frank Davis, died about five years ago, her daughter said.

Coachman was inducted into the United States Olympic Hall of Fame and the National Track and Field Hall of Fame. There is an Alice Coachman Elementary School in Albany.

Coachman faded from public view after the 1948 Olympics, but her pride remained undiminished.

“Go anyplace and people will tell you Wilma Rudolph was the first black woman to win a medal — it’s not true,” she said in an interview with The Birmingham News in 1997, referring to Rudolph’s three gold medals in the sprints at the Rome Olympics. “She came on the scene 12 years later. But she was on television.”



Bronx firefighter becomes first woman featured in FDNY Calendar of Heroes

Danae Mines, an 11-year veteran, said she’s always wanted to be one of the 13 smoke-eaters featured in the yearly pictorial, but was told the honor was reserved for men only. But Mines, one of only 41 female firefighters in the department, says she was determined.
BY Joe Kemp
Tuesday, July 15, 2014, 2:30 AM

Danae Mines of Engine Co. 60 in the Bronx is the first woman to be featured in the FDNY calendar. FDNY Danae Mines of Engine Co. 60 in the Bronx is the first woman to be featured in the FDNY calendar.

She has been one of the city’s few female firefighters for more than a decade and now she’s Miss March — the first woman featured in the FDNY Calendar of Heroes.

Danae Mines, an 11-year veteran, said she’s always wanted to be one of the 13 smoke-eaters featured in the yearly pictorial, but was told the honor was reserved for men only.

“I was told that it was all guys,” Mines, who is assigned to Engine Co. 60 in the South Bronx, told the Daily News.

“They said if I made it in the calendar, I would look like a pinup girl.”

But when she saw an open call for FDNY firefighters posted on the wall of her firehouse last year, she decided it was finally time to break down the gender barriers — but on her own terms.

“I wasn’t going to let anyone tell me I couldn’t do what I wanted to do,” she said. “I was determined.”

Mines admitted feeling a little intimidated standing in line with more than 100 men to audition for a calendar traditionally known to showcase shirtless firemen.

“I was a little scared,” said Mines. “I was the only female.”

I wasn’t going to let anyone tell me I couldn’t do what I wanted to do.

But Mines is used to facing adversity head-on.

Her dreams of becoming a firefighter began when she was just 10 years old after one of the city’s Bravest visited her school to talk about the job.

But her family told her that she should consider another career, because only men joined the FDNY.

“I had absolutely no support from my family when I wanted to come on the job,” she said.

Mines became an EMT and, despite her family’s requests, accepted a promotion to become a firefighter in 2003. And she hasn’t been able to stop her relatives from gloating about her ever since.

“Once I graduated (from the Fire Academy), it was the complete opposite,” she said. “They could not stop bragging.”

Despite being one of 41 women firefighters in the department, Mines said she’s faced with no more challenges than any other man on the job.
Firefighter Joseph Conforti, a 9-year vet assigned to Ladder Co. 163, on the cover of the 2015 FDNY calendar. FDNY Firefighter Joseph Conforti, a 9-year vet assigned to Ladder Co. 163, on the cover of the 2015 FDNY calendar.

“I always go above and beyond, because that’s my job,” she said.

“When I step foot into the firehouse, I have to be able to tell myself that I’m willing to risk my life to save someone else.”

In her calendar shot, Mines was modestly dressed in a gray tank top and red suspenders with an equipment belt around her olive drab pants.

The pictures were all taken by nightlife photographer Patrick McMullan.

All proceeds from the sale of the $17.95 calendar go directly to the FDNY Foundation to promote fire safety education for residents and provide equipment and training for firefighters.

But that’s not the only reason Mines was happy to be in the calendar.

“I wanted my picture in the calendar so that young girls and young women can see me and know that they can do this job,” she said.

Firefighters featured in the calendar will be signing purchased copies on Broadway between W. 42nd and W. 43rd streets between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m Tuesday.

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