Photo of worker adjusting a wireless access point.

Worker adjusting the wireless access point outside my window.

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Thursday, December 31, 2009
Phil Windley discusses entrepreneurship with Sramana Mitra on Technometria.
Sramana Mitra believes in the importance of entrepreneurship to the world economy. As a writer and entrepreneur, she assists others in learning how to build an organization. She joins Phil and Scott to discuss her strategies. In addition to presenting her thoughts on entrepreneurship, she also offers useful details about how to create jobs, how to find money to for company creation and some of the factors important for success.

Posted via email from Peter's posterous

McClatchy: "Investors could only lose in Goldman's Caymans deals" (not to mention taxpayers)
When financial titan Goldman Sachs joined some of its Wall Street rivals in late 2005 in secretly packaging a new breed of offshore securities, it gave prospective investors little hint that many of the deals were so risky that they could end up losing hundreds of millions of dollars on them.

Goldman did very well as our economy collapsed including a $10 billion preferred stock investment from the U.S. Treasury in October 2008, as part of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP).

Goldman's activities in the Caymans helped it unload some of its subprime-related risks on others and also amass tens of billions of dollars in protection against a U.S. housing crash that ultimately occurred. These deals have accounted for a sizeable share of the firm's $103 billion in revenues and more than $25 billion in profits since Jan. 1, 2007. At the end of 2009, Goldman had set aside more than $16 billion in cash and stock bonuses for its employees.

Not only were investors losing, we (US taxpayers) lost to as Goldman covered its bets:

Many of Goldman's winning bets with other large U.S. banks raised the price tags of 2008's government bailouts of Citigroup, Bank of America, Morgan Stanley and others by sums that no one has yet determined because the contracts are private, according to people familiar with some of the transactions.

Read the full story at Then go watch Boiler Room.

Thanks @dangillmor for the link.

Posted via web from Peter's posterous


Wednesday, December 30, 2009
The State of Coworking in the Twin Cities

Why Coworking? I am a "veteran" of the Crema Cafe Coworking site. I have enjoyed spending time at Crema with an extremely diverse group of coworkers ranging from a "paper" artist to a social entrepreneur. Crema gets me out of the house (blessing to the wife). So does working in coffee shops but at Crema, we are making a conscious effort to meet our coworkers either at our "staff" meetings or just sitting and chatting. (You also don't have to ask someone to watch your laptop when you use the restroom.) I can bounce ideas off folks and get feedback. I think we will see collaborative projects blossoming out of these spaces as the inmates cheer each other on. Since we are not formally tied to each other by a corporate/business umbrella, we are far more open to new ideas. There is no risk to losing our jobs by endorsing visionary ideas.

Coworking blossoms. Here in the Twin Cities we went from no coworking spaces to three in the course of a few months. Are we blessed or cursed? How do you choose between Crema Cafe Coworking, CoCo, and 3rd Place?

Cost. Cost is an issue for me. Although the CoCo space in downtown St. Paul is beautiful and arguably the most professional of the bunch, it's also the priciest at $35/day ($150 if you buy five day passes together). They do offer a free one-time-only guest pass and I will definitely try that out. (If you're thinking of trying out the free pass, consider the first week when CoCo will serve breakfast treats!) CoCo has other pricing models including a Cofounder lifetime membership if you sign up as a fulltime coworker ($250/month) before the Jan. 4 opening day. CoCo also has a parttime coworker status for $180/month which offers 10 days of 8-5 access. Check the site for details.

3rd Place pricing is doable on my budget starting with a one-day per week pass for $55 ($44 if you register before Jan. 1). Fulltime 24x7 access is available for $215/month ($172 before Jan. 1!). I just went to their open house and it's a nice, homey space. There are big tables with plenty of room. You will  likely find me working there on Tuesdays in January.

Crema Coworking charges $40/month for access from 8 to 4 each Tuesday. For another $5/week, you get a truly awesome lunch. (Crema Cafe is known for it's good food along with Sonny's ice cream. Sometimes we get ice cream.) The space is akin to a coffee shop. Tables are small and some of the chairs and benches are not built for long-term sitting. There is lots of sunlight and an outdoor patio. Wi-Fi access is very adequate. (I may continue coworking at Crema in addition to 3rd Place.)

After looking at these options, I would say we are blessed with coworking spaces in Minneapolis with a variety of amenities, environments, and prices. I think there is room for them all and hope that the new kids—Coco and 3rd Place—can survive their startup months. I predict that as we move into the new decade, other casual coworking sites will spring up at local (read walkable) sites in neighborhoods. Crema is somewhat filling that bill now. It really depends on the kind of community that coworkers want and the focus which might be geographic, tech, startup, etc.

State of Crema. Crema is offline until at least February. Amy Bryant and Zack Steven were "managing" the space. Zack is now a cofounder at the 3rd Place site and I think Amy is also moving on. So if Crema is to continue, someone (someones) needs to be the point person.

Mapping the Options

View Larger Map

Posted via email from Peter's posterous


Sunday, December 27, 2009
Snowmagedon 2009! Photos from 24th Ave. E.
A few pictures from 24th Avenue East.

See and download the full gallery on posterous

Posted via email from Seward Profile

Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Connected Nation is Minnesota's designated broadband mapping entity. Not good.
The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced today that it has awarded 15 grants to fund broadband mapping and planning activities. Minnesota is on the list with Connected Nation as the designated entity to receive a total of $1.7 million. Connected Nation is an organization sponsored by telephone and cable companies. It represents their interests in deciding what data to collect and how information should be displayed. So much for transparency.

Several other states are also aligned with Connected Nation or a Connected subsidiary. This doesn't bode well for finding out exactly who is not being served in terms of high-speed internet access.

For more information on Connected Nation's conflicts of interest and problematic mapping, check the Public Knowledge site.

Posted via email from Peter's posterous

Monday, December 21, 2009
Downtown Minneapolis bike lane in need of plow

I think this was on 1st Avenue. As snow cleanup is a major issue for winter bikers, I would think the City would expend more effort in at least cleaning bike lanes. 

Also saw a car parked on the bike lane.

Posted via email from Peter's posterous

List your business for free at the BuyLocalMN directory
Local businesses can list their business for free at

Please make sure to put "Seward" or preferably "Seward Neighborhood"
in the description so you appear in this list:

(I may tighten the search to "Seward Neighborhood" as right now it
lists a baby food company that's stocked at the Co-op but not in the

Posted via email from Seward Profile

Friday, December 18, 2009
Broadband stimulus money awarded to U of MN project.
The University of Minnesota's Broadband stimulus proposal was approved and received $2,862,333 in federal funds yesterday. The University and its nonprofit partners will develop and improve 11 computer labs throughout underserved neighborhoods in the Twin Cities. The U press release states that the proposal was selected "from among 2,200 proposals received by the Department of Commerce." The reality is that all the eighteen projects funded were selected previously by their state. (Minnesota has not confirmed this yet so I'm assuming that the state did recommend the project. Minnesota has not yet publicly stated any recommended projects.) 

More details in the U of MN press release

Posted via email from Peter's posterous

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Tuesday, December 01, 2009
The irrevocable rights we relinquish when we publish to the Web. (It's not just Posterous, folks.)

As many of you already know, I've fallen in love with the Posterous tool as the easiest way to publish to the web—especially for the non-tech, potentially digitally-divided communities. If you can email, you can post to Posterous. 

So I get a little defensive when I see something like this on Twitter:

Didya know: You grant Posterous the irrevocable, fully transferable rights to use, reproduce, distribute, modify... 

I responded: 
IOW, Posterous requires a basic Creative Commons Attribution license. You still retain ownership and copyright of your stuff.

And this is true. These terms of service (TOS) are very similar to the Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike license (without the attribution). But with Creative Commons select the licensing. You don't have a choice when you use Posterous. They require certain rights detailed here:

Posterous TOS
You shall retain all of your ownership rights in your User Submissions; however, by submitting material to Posterous you grant Posterous the irrevocable, fully transferable rights to use, reproduce, distribute, modify, transmit, prepare derivative works of, display and produce the material in connection with Posterous and Posterous's business, but solely in accordance with these Terms of Use and our Privacy Policy.

But Posterous's terms are no more onerous than the other web tools we're all using (including Twitter, where this conversation began). (Do I hear "boilerplate"?) In fact, Google has blanket terms (below) for all their stuff as well as specific terms for their various tools like Blogger. (I would hope the Gmail TOS isn't granting Google the right to share content from my email!)

I'm not worried about this personally and just assume this allows for some marketing on the part of the tool vendor for which they can use content I've placed on their site. I trust that they won't do something stupid or offensive with my content and I hope that they will let folks know where the content came from. 

I pulled up some TOS statements around repurposing your content with links back to the TOS pages. Remember, you still own it and you have the copyright. All of these sites also state that clearly. (I didn't look at the Facebook TOS but I assume it has similar language.)


You retain your rights to any Content you submit, post or display on or through the Services. By submitting, posting or displaying Content on or through the Services, you grant us a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free license (with the right to sublicense) to use, copy, reproduce, process, adapt, modify, publish, transmit, display and distribute such Content in any and all media or distribution methods (now known or later developed).


Subscriber shall own all Subscriber Content that Subscriber contributes to the Site, but hereby grants and agrees to grant Tumblr a non-exclusive, worldwide, royalty-free, transferable right and license (with the right to sublicense), to use, copy, cache, publish, display, distribute, modify, create derivative works and store such Subscriber Content and to allow others to do so (“Content License”) in order to provide the Services.

Google's Blogger
By submitting, posting or displaying Content on or through Google services which are intended to be available to the members of the public, you grant Google a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free license to reproduce, publish and distribute such Content on Google services for the purpose of displaying and distributing Google services. 

By submitting, posting or displaying the content you give Google a perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide, royalty-free, and non-exclusive licence to reproduce, adapt, modify, translate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute any Content which you submit, post or display on or through, the Services. 

Posted via email from Peter's posterous

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