Savvy Lifestyle


Younoodle
February 23, 2009, 1:16 am
Filed under: business, savvy tools | Tags: , ,

younoodle

Younoodle is a San Francisco based start-up that claims to be able to predict the viability of newcompanies.  Its meant to give venture capitalits and other investors a quick evaluation tool for assessing the potential of new companies seeking funding.  They accomplish this with their Startup Predictor software.  Companies fill out a lengthy questionnaire that assesses things like the experiences, qualifications, and contacts of the entrepreneurs who start the company, the relationships between members, and what kind of buzz already exists about them. The answers are run through a sophisticated algorithm and presto, they give your company a score out of 1000 and estimate your company’s valuation after 3 years. 

The website doesn’t just serve investors either.  It’s also set up as a social network for start-ups.  Membership is free, but while signing up the users provide data about their companies that YouNoodle can use to refine its predictor algorithm. 

Just last week, they took it a step further and released a new product called YouNoodle Scores that quantifies a company’s presence in the market. They partnered with Sean Gourley, a Rhodes Scholar from New Zealand that focuses on how collective intelligence works.  He found that you could predict the nature, size and timing of a company’s breakout by looking at things like cultural patterns, news reports, blog posts, etc.  Companies are given a score out of 100 and its tracked daily.  For example, Craigslist and Facebook are both leading the pack at 98. 

They’ve also partnered with Women 2.0 for the upcoming Pitch Night.  Whichever company has the most followers by May 1st will win “the Big Noodle: Best Idea” prize.  So, check out Savvy Tools’ profile and become one of our followers!

Rebecca_SF

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Business Cards

We’ve crossed a milestone in our “little” endeavor and it’s about time we have our own business cards!  We’ve been meeting a lot of new contacts recently and decided that writing our contact info on the back of reciepts found at the bottom of our purses isn’t the most professional. Little did we know, there are so many choices to choose from in the world of business cards…. one sided, 2 sided, inks, papers, colors, and of course the overall aesthetic of the card. 

If you haven’t noticed in our previous posts, we all have what one might call a “greener” conscience.  This being said, we’ve decided to go with a company called Greener Printer.  This is an eco-friendly online printing company that produces everything recycled from business cards, letterhead, brochures, catalogs, posters, etc.  They have 8 different papers to choose from, all of which are 100% recycled or post consumer materials and 4 that are Forrest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified.  They also have the option of printing with soy or vegetable based inks….  This hardly breaks the surface of the company’s capabilites, environmental impact and green business practices.

I wanted to post the designs we’re leaning toward, but I’m not that computer savvy….hopefully we’ll have something for you to see soon!

Kelsey – Vail, CO



Green Day at HD Expo

I had the privilege of attending the Green Day portion of the Hospitality Design Expo in Vegas last Wednesday.  I think it was a great success!  One of the highlights for me included hearing from Dennis Quaintance who owns Proximity Hotel-slated to be the first LEED platinum hotel in the US.  He brought a very capitalistic view to the discussion with a focus on return on investment.  He also said while he should be proud to be the first platinum certified hotel in the nation, instead he was really embarrassed at how easy it was to reach that level and how little it added to the overall cost of the project.  To address Kelsey’s post from last week, there were quite a few developers and brand represenatives present and I know they were all listening carefully to his part of the lecture in particular.  We’re starting to see a shift in the market and as consumers demand more eco-friendly properties, the owners will have no choice, but to respond.  The business aspect of it makes sense as well.  You can lower your operations costs, you can increase interest in your hotel/resort, and get higher occupancy rates.  These are proven facts.

The best part of the day, though, was the roundtable discussion set up by the USGBC to discuss a LEED for Hospitality category.  They explained a bit about how they decide what new categories need to be introduced.  Since time is critical, they want to pick the building types that will have the largest impact on society and will educate the most people.  Hotels do meet that criteria since there are so many and they have a unique opportunity to reach more people than your average office building. 

After those initial questions are answered, the USGBC begins a needs assesment.  They assemble an advisory group made up of industry leaders to look at what changes need to be made to the existing checklists.  They said they would most likely keep about 80% of the points the same and adjust the other 20% to be industry specific.  They also set up public sessions (like the one at this conference) and will send out a survey for anyone who’s interested in sharing their comments.  If you’d like to have some input you can email leedinfo@usgbc.org to be included in the survey.  After that, they go through an internal staff analysis & set up a timeline.  Then, they present the assesment to the LEED steering committee for approval.  If they still see the need for the new category then they’ll go through a technical advisory group review, 2 public comment phases (that take 5-6 months), a member ballot, and finally resource development.  I had no idea it was such a long process!  If LEED for Hospitality gets the go ahead, it will still be at least another year in the making.

The part that we played was analyzing the existing checklist and discussing what changes needed to be made.  Each table addressed a different issue, took notes, and the notes are now being compiled by the USGBC and integrated into the assesment.  The table that I led focused on resorts.  There was some great discussion and I was excited to be a part of the process.

Sorry for the long post.  I had a lot to share and I still feel like I barely scratched the surface! 

Rebecca _San Francisco



vail goes green

 Colorado Landscape

Vail Resorts is a major cooperation that controls 5 mountain resorts and hundreds of hotels across the nation.  This is one company that understands the carbon footprints that are left by major coorporations and is actively making an effort to reduce their carbon emissions. 

2 years ago Vail Resorts announced that they would purchase wind power credits that equal 100% of its annual energy use.  Vail Resorts estimates the 152,000 megawatt hours of wind energy credits it will buy through a Colorado-based broker are equal to eliminating 211 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions a year. That is the equivalent of taking 18,000 cars off the road.

Since they’ve started supporting energy conservation and renewable energy, they continue to explore ways to reduce energy use throughout all of their operations. Some of these methods include….

1. Partnering with the National Forest Foundation in raising money for conservation projects in Colorado’s White River National Forest.

2. Building the largest LEED-certified resort in North America.  “Ever Vail” is projected to be open in 2010.

3. Serving only natural, hormone-free meats and organic dairy products in their on-mountain restaurants.

4. Recycles 70% of on mountain waste, and uses post-consumer recycled goods (cups, napkins, utensils)

5. Improving wildlife habitat through highway cleanup, river cleanup, supporting local groups that protect our region’s animals and plants, and scheduling mountain closing dates around the natural migration and mating seasons of local wildlife.

Learn more about Vail Resort’s commitment to the environment at http://www.vailresorts.com/Corp/info/environment.aspx and don’t forget to do your part in protecting the environment

Kelsey–Vail, CO



Business 101

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During our get together this past weekend we addressed a lot of big questions about our company.  They’re the same questions that any entrepreneur has to face.  As we’ve mentioned before, none of us have an education in business, but we’re learning as we go along.  Based on that experience, I’d like to share a few tips to hopefully help anyone else who’s considering starting something on their own.

1.  Come up with a mission statement.  What’s your company all about?  We prefer short & sweet, but there’s a lot of variety out there.  Here are a few examples for reference:

Disney: “To make people happy.”

Google: “Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible & useful.”

Savvy Tools: ” Savvy’s mission is to provide women with sustainable tools to enhance their creativity.”

 2.  Start writing your business plan.  It’s a long process and you may not know the answer to all the questions yet, but giving it your best shot will certainly help you narrow down what you’re trying to do and help you figure out how much its going to take to get there.  It can be a great reality check.  There are lots of templates online to get you started & lots of books at the library.  I like this one from Score:  http://www.score.org/template_gallery.html 

3.  Research local small business administrations & other support groups.  Most of them offer classes, one-on-one consultations, awards programs, and give discounts on lots of things you’re going to need to start your business.  Here are a few to get you started:

US Small Business Administration: http://www.sba.gov/ 

Score: http://www.score.org

Specifically in SF, I really like:

Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center/ Bayview Resource Center: http://www.rencenter.org/bay.htm

There are several groups specifically for women as well like the women’s business center in conjunction with the REC listed above.

4.  Read as much as you can- online, at the library, wherever.  Here are some books that helped us:

-How to Kick Start Your Business by Romanus Walter

-Bold Women, Big Ideas by Kay Klopovitz (If you’re considering funding from a venture capitalist)

-Craft Inc. by Meg Mateo Ilasco (for turning your crafting hobby into a business)

The library is full of them.  You can take your pick.

5.  Network!  Design*sponge has a great meeting called Biz Ladies Meet-up.  Grace brought together several business owners, business advisors and the author of Craft Inc. for the meeting in SF.  There were hundreds of women there and it was a great place to meet people with the same questions & people who have already been through this.  She holds these in major cities all over the country.  I think there’s one coming up in Seattle next.     http://www.designspongeonline.com/2008/02/biz-lady-notes.html  There are lots of other forums to meet people too.  You just have to get out and not be afraid to talk about your ideas. 

 Hopefully that’s a good start.  As I said, we certainly don’t have it all figured out, but we’d like to help other people acheive their goals and we’re happy to share the things that have helped us so far. 

-Rebecca, San Francisco