Wednesday, January 28, 2009

CHES International ~ Haitian Entrepreneurship!

I was delighted to host the Christian Haitian Entrepreneurial Society (CHES) co-founder and President Rebecca Roseme Obounou on my TV show tonight. Rebecca's an Haitian-American colleague of mine at MIT Sloan who has been quite passionate about economic and venture development in Haiti, the Caribbean birthplace of her parents. Between her youth here in Cambridge, MA and her college years at Bentley in Waltham, MA, Rebecca and her parents returned to live in Haiti. Now after studies in business and international relations at Bentley, she's impassioned about prosperity for the people of Haiti. We talked about her startup NGO organization, CHES, whose goal is to restore and transform Haiti economically, environmentally, and socially into a sustainable nation driven by core values. This very young but quite entrepreneurial organization is focusing on three top projects:
  1. Boosting incomes for farmers through food processing via dehydrators
  2. Making a market for local musicians through PeaceTones
  3. Developing a business skillbuilding program in collaboration with a northern Haitian community and its local university
I'm really delighted by the progress Rebecca and her colleagues have made over this past year in building CHES and getting those who are part of the diaspora to think of becoming part of the reaspora -- those returning to participate in the entrepreneurial and economic development of Haiti! (And yes, I thought "reaspora" was a original Joost spinonym when I suggested it to Rebecca tonight, but Google schooled me!-)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Justin Cook Visits Again!

MIT alumnus & scholar Justin Cook joined me on again to share ideas about Prospect Theory and experimental social science more generally. Among other things, we discussed findings from the recent Society for Judgment and Decision Making conference in Chicago...

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Christian Bailey of IncTank Ventures

Tonight I interviewed Christian Bailey from IncTank on HighTechFever. Christian's an investor and serial entrepreneur, starting with a Junior Achievement (JA) business back in high school. (Same here! JA's one of my favorite organizations.) After Oxford, he founded Akaru, an international trade logistics provider of automated customs clearance and settlement, ultimately acquired by NewChannel. Christian then co-founded the Lincoln Group, a PR group and defense contractor. Most recently, he's been active in Middle East investments, and now IncTank with Karl Ruping. Furthermore, Christian's an Advanced Studies Program (ASP) Fellow at MIT.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

SPARK's Sherife Abdel Messih on Egyptian Talent!

Tonight I hosted Sherife Abdel Messih, an Egyptian MIT student, co-founder of the MIT Egyptian Club, and founder of SPARK! on where he shared his experience running a summer camp for talented high school students. This past summer Sherife organized a week-long experience for over a dozen high schoolers, connecting them with older recent university grads and special guest speakers all in an amazing Red Sea resort called El Gouna. Next summer the plan is to dial things up and support several dozen students from high schools throughout Egypt and over a dozen collegians in a sequence of longer camps. This SPARK! Camp is one part of Sherife's larger vision for developing a talent pipeline in Egypt of young innovators and entrepreneurs who will transform and build the country, and help craft an entrepreneurship ecosystem.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Justin Cook on Prospect Theory & Behavior!

I was pleased to host MIT Sloan alumnus Justin Cook on my show to speak about the vast and compelling domain of Prospect Theory, behavioral economics, and more! This is an area Justin is especially interested in since even before his time as a key player in both the MIT Innovation Club and MIT Marketing Club, the places I got to know him best. Justin put the best excerpt of our HighTechFever chat online...

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Innovation Economy's Scott Kirsner, Author of Inventing The Movies

I interviewed Scott Kirsner on my show today, mostly reviewing his new book, Inventing The Movies, a survey of the century-long saga of cinema and technology! Scott dates the beginnings to the Kinetoscope by none other than Thomas Edison as the birthpoint of modern movies. Edison made money renting viewings of movie snippets on a person-by-person basis. While inventive himself, Edison the businessman fiercely resisted and even sought to suppress the deployment of movie projection whereby people make money renting viewing seats to many people and allow them to see the same (increasingly longer) movie all at once. After this early example of entrenched player resistance to innovation, Scott goes on to example after example of disruptive battle-royales -- e.g. the shift to synchronized sound, to color, to widescreen, to more recent changes like all-digital editing and ultimately projection. His blog entry on Five Oscar-Winning Movies which transformed the industry is especially eye-opening! And the ferment continues! Read more in Inventing The Movies!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Co-Founders David Reich & Matt Albrecht of

I interviewed AssuredLabor co-founders Matt Albrecht and David Reich (the middle two pictured above, winning the MIT ESC = Executive Summary Contest this past Fall 2007!) about their tremendous progress over this past year building up their labor-market-making venture! Assured connects responsible, vetted worker with trustworthy employers (and vice-versa). I first got to know the team when they were my students in the joint Media Lab / Sloan School elective Developmental Entrepreneurship / Development Ventures seminar in Fall 2007. Their initial focus was the Brazilian favela labor market generally. More recently, they have honed in on the Brazilian migrant community here in Boston-metro and, even more specifically, on the core services of cleaning and moving. They are launching their Boston Beta shortly!