Lifecycles of Innovation

If you left early, you missed out. Those who stayed for the final general session event of the 2014 Innovation Arizona Summit were richly rewarded. There was tremendous value and insight shared during the Lifecycles of Innovation Panel Discussion for anyone interested in business and/or success.

The Arizona Commerce Authority, Arizona SciTech Festival, and MIT Enterprise Forum Phoenix gave the conference a theme of “Innovation: From Inspiration to Commercialization.” This Lifecycles of Innovation session personified the theme. It featured outstanding Arizona business leaders who humbly and kindly shared details and advice from their economic successes.

Here was the cast on stage for Lifecycles of Innovation:

Mary Juetten: She was the moderator for the panel. Mary is the Founder and CEO of Traklight. Based in Phoenix, Arizona, Traklight is the only the only self-guided software platform for creating your custom (IP) intellectual property strategy.

My key takeaways from Mary Juetten:

– If you’re looking for investment funding, just ask! Don’t dance around the subject. She said she was echoing the wishes of investors she knows.

– If you’re like most people, you get excited about building things. You have to remember someone has to buy it.

Justin Gray: CEO and Chief Marketing Evangelist of Lead MD. With offices in Scottsdale, Arizona and San Francisco, California, this company is a team of experts at automation marketing.

My key takeaways from Justin Gray:

– You have to build a business around your weaknesses. For example, Justin admitted he was overly optimistic in hiring talent. He now has others in place to help with the decision making process of hiring.

– Be fluid. Don’t be forced or stay committed to an original idea. He said he was able to do this and Lead MD is now doing what they do best and filling a critical need in the marketplace.

Craig Hughes: Founder and CEO ofTotal Transit. This is a fully integrated transportation company in Glendale, Arizona. It provides both public and private transportation management services.

My key takeaways from Craig Hughes:

– One thing can lead to another as it did with Total Transit. But when you get a good idea, just stick to it.

– Taking on partners, giving away equity often creates more problems than it solves.

– Say things like they are reality. Then ask, “What do we have to do to get there?”

Paul Jackson: CEO of Integrus Capital, Bright Ventures, Worthworm, & D-Strut. Paul is a former aerospace engineer. He bootstrapped his first company and then raised millions from his guest house in Paradise Valley, Arizona.

My key takeaways from Paul Jackson:

– Getting investors is all about the relationship. When you sit in front of someone, it comes down to if they like you and what you do.

– Mitigate risk wherever you can.

– The best place to get money is from a customer. Get some good customers. Do this before raising money.

– Don’t stop.

Bob LaLoggia: Founder and CEO of Appointment-Plus. This Scottsdale, Arizona company provides a scheduling software which helps organizations to be smarter, faster, and more efficient.

My key takeaways from Bob LaLoggia:

– Every business doesn’t need funding or a huge exit to be successful.

– People you need will change over time. A true CEO makes these tough decisions and often has difficult talks with people in the business you care about.

– Make your vision clear. Don’t give away anything in your business unless you are sure of the outcome. Have confidence in yourself before cutting in others.

Ibrahim Mesbah: He is the Co-Founder and CEO of Revolution Parts. This Tempe, Arizona company is a fully integrated eCommerce solution providing tools and service for growing online auto parts sales.

My key takeaways from Ibrahim Mesbah:

– Find a problem. Create a solution. Find some customers, and validate it.

– It’s easy to get distracted. Stay focused!

I’d like to offer my gratitude to the presenters in the Lifecycles of Innovation session. I appreciated their time and contributions. I was inspired and educated by the stories and lessons learned from their failures, not just their successes.

By Thomas Baldrick  Google +

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#InnovationArizona Experience

It’s Saturday. But my thoughts are still with Thursday. My guess is if you attended #InnovationArizona 2014 you might be going through the same thing. So I’m sharing my experience from the innovative summit. This might help if you were there but in different workshops than me. It might also give you insight if you don’t know what #InnovationArizona is or were unable to attend.

The summit is a one-day annual event held at the Scottsdale Center for the Arts. Tickets were just $20 in advance. The day’s activities featured leaders of successful tech companies, investors, educators, and officials from government, and NGOs (non-government organizations).  Well-deserved kudos for presenting #InnovationArizona 2014 go the Arizona Commerce Authority, the Arizona SciTech Festival, and the MIT Enterprise Forum Phoenix in a joint collaborative effort. Sponsors such as Cox Communications, APS, and the City of Scottsdale were also major players.

STEM is the star of #InnovationArizona.

STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. It was everywhere, offering something of interest to seemingly everyone. At the core of most content was the theme of developing solutions to problems. These solutions are making for a better economy, and better ways of living and doing in Arizona and beyond our borders.

Why were educators and even students at #InnovationArizona ?

You don’t need a degree in nuclear physics to figure it out. There was a great deal of information and valuable free resources on hand from the dozens of exhibitors. For example, the Arizona Geographic Alliance and Project Lead the Way.

Living truly outside the box of standard education was 14-year old keynote speaker, Logan LaPlante. The innovative whiz kid from Nevada led the audience inside Generation Z with his talk, “Hackschooling Makes Me Happy.” He’s enjoyed a lifetime of experiences and is driven to succeed before he’s even old to legally drive.

I took to Twitter from the event on Thursday ( @ThomasBaldrick ) sending out a popular tweet which said, “Every school in Arizona should have a representative at #InnovationArizona. I truly believe it.

#InnovationArizona – Beyond Geeks and Techies

I also discovered you didn’t need to be a science geek or techie to benefit from attending this summit. I am a classic example. If you are simply interested in business, any kind of business, the Innovation Arizona Summit would be worth your time. I couldn’t help but feel and act like a sponge around the many wildly successful and innovative business leaders who presented, and graciously shared their successes and failures, and priceless advice.

Collaboration was in the air at #InnovationArizona. For instance, here are just a couple of the connections I enjoyed with innovative Arizonans at the summit.

Conrad Storad. The humble, and award-winning Children’s Author. He shared his stories of his creative approach to entertaining and educating young readers about science and nature.

Alan Baratz. The CEO of Amber Alert GPS. He has such a passion for this life-saving and life-changing technology business. It’s what led him from investing in the Scottsdale based company to literally taking it over.

Melissa Rose. Founder of Biz in a Boxx. Coming from a family of entrepreneurs, Melissa developed a solution for her daughter struggling in school and turned it into a successful business. But that’s not all. Her daughter is now on track for success and heading off to college.

The 2014 event was my first #InnovationArizona Summit. I look forward to going back and looking for opportunities to get even more involved.

It’s funny. I went there on behalf of my new brand, AZ STRONG. I came away with a greater awareness of how we are truly gifted in our state. AZ has really strong people. AZ has really smart people, too.

So much focus is on Arizona’s immigration problems. It’s nice to focus here on Arizona innovation solutions.

by Thomas Baldrick  Google +

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Innovation Arizona Summit 2014

I like being the best-looking person in the room. I like being the smartest in the room, too. I also like having the most powerful positive attitude in the room. Having said all that, tomorrow I am quite positive I have little to no chance at accomplishing all of these posted goals. You see, I’ll be one of many who is attending the Innovation Arizona Summit.

August 14, 2014. The Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts will be packed with people and bursting at the rafters with brain power. The one-day event boldly explores the ever-changing lifecycle of innovation. This runs the gamut from inspiration to commercialization. And of course, somewhere or everywhere along the way in the innovative process, (especially in the Arizona heat)…there is perspiration.


As one of the world’s greatest innovators, Thomas Alva Edison, so brilliantly stated…“Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.”

And how. The Innovation Arizona Summit is presented as a joint collaborative effort by the Arizona Commerce Authority, the Arizona SciTech Festival, and the MIT Enterprise Forum Phoenix. I’d like to extend my gratitude and appreciation to these organizations for their vision, as well as their efforts in making this happen.

Summing up the Innovation Arizona Summit

In a word it’s all about STEM: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math.

It’s truly loaded with information about innovation. Attendees can choose from about 20 different educational sessions. They’re organized in tracks highlighting the areas of innovation, workforce, culture, SciTech, and STEAM (innovative ways to integrate science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics).

Roughly 60 different exhibitors will be showcasing themselves. Another 1,000 or so attendees round out the field which proudly embraces diversity. There will leaders representing industry, investing, business, education, communities, government, and NGOs (non-government organizations).

You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to figure out this coming together at the Innovation Arizona Summit 2014 makes for a powerful formula. There are networking opportunities designed to empower collaborators to enhance and expand their networks and resources. It’s just the right stuff for creating even more entrepreneurship and innovation.

Registration for the Innovation Arizona Summit is closed. If you can’t make to the event, be sure to check back here at AZ STRONG news/blog section. I’ll plan to come up with interesting content to share with you.

If you are attending the Innovation Arizona Summit 2014 version… and would like to collaborate and connect, be sure to look me up. We can meet and explore your marketing, messaging, and promotional needs. It could be improving your website and reach, video production, writing, photography, and more.

You can call me at (602) 535-2320 or email me. If you’d rather find me in person, just take another look at my photo above, or the ones on the AZ STRONG website.

I’ll be the good-looking, smart guy. Hopefully, I won’t be perspiring too much.

by Thomas Baldrick  Google +

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