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Seth Berger Leads Sixers Innovation Lab In Camden

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Seth Berger

Entrepreneurs are flooding into Camden, including Seth Berger, University of Pennsylvania and Wharton School of Business alumni, best known as the Founder and former CEO of AND1. Seth Berger is managing the Sixers Innovation Lab Crafted by Kimball, which is housed in the Philadelphia 76ers Training Complex Business Operations Facility. Seth Berger has years of experience as an entrepreneur includes acting as a consultant and CEO in the gaming, technology and sports industry over the past decade. With a life long career in sports, Seth Berger provides opportunities for companies to grow using resources that are invaluable to business.

The Sixers Innovation Lab supports startups by providing individualized, industry-leading consulting and investment opportunities. Companies that are selected by Seth Berger and the Innovation Lab team will receive office space at the Innovation Lab, access to industry leaders, third-party branding, marketing and legal services, as well as free meals and housing in the Philadelphia area. There will also be unique opportunities to pitch to industry-leading investors and venture capitalists. Seth Berger is overseeing each startup that enters the facility along with advisors from StubHub, DraftKings, Rothman Institute, First Round Capital, Maven Creative and more.

With a unique set of skills and lifelong achievements in the sports industry, Seth Berger is passing on his knowledge on growing your company into something incredible. Seth Berger tells us about what it takes to be an entrepreneur today, making a lasting impression in business, and how you can be a part of the Sixers Innovation Lab.

Seth Berger

Describe your career.

I started a business in grad school at 25, which is now known as AND 1. It started as a T-shirt company in NYC, where I am from. Then, in seven years it grew to a basketball apparel, sports illustrated company. I ran two companies at that time. In the middle of AND1, I also ran hoopstv.com and made all of the mistakes I could. Made a couple of deals with retailers, but ultimately sold AND 1 in 2005 to American Sporting Goods. My kids at that time were six, three, and one years old. The goal then was to just be super dad, take them to school, and to see them everyday. I had part time jobs, I didn’t want a full position. I managed a few companies along the way but, my career basically had three parts: running AND 1, coaching basketball at Westtown School, an independent international school, and consulting and advising at Innovation Lab. Working at Innovation Lab combined all of my skills as a coach, consultant, and CEO. As a coach, it helped me become a better consultant and CEO to help identify and recruit really talented CEOs.

As an entrepreneur, what are some surprises that come your way?

Whether I was running AND1 or the Innovation Lab, there were always surprises. I’ve never run anything before, so doing AND 1 and the Lab were the biggest surprises. I was never really good in school, I was only a good test taker. Memorization is the only skill I had and my biggest strength is admitting that I don’t know and I need help. That’s how I got so far. If you’re always curious, you’ll always grow.

From ‘93-’05, old businesses had to make a lot of guesses when it came to prices and consumers. Nowadays, with technology, you can test everything. You can have consumers telling you a price, likings, and etc.

I’m also really surprised with how fast things move now. Businesses would take three-five years to grow, now it can be successful in three-six months.

What are some of the risks you took to get to where you are?

When I decided to start AND 1, I was maxed out of student loans and lived off of five Visas. If AND 1 didn’t work out, the alternative was to take on a job that I didn’t like and find incredibly boring, nothing I looked forward to. I took a risk as in if it didn’t work, I was going to be really broke, but the thing was, I was broke anyway so I didn’t really care. The actual risk or the biggest risk for anyone is time. Time is your most valuable resource. My risk here at the innovation lab is can I help manage five to six companies at the same. I have the mentality of, ‘I think it’ll work.’ But if I spend three to five years here and it doesn’t work, it’ll be a really big waste of time. As an entrepreneur though, you’re comfortable with mistakes.

How do you make a lasting impression when you get into a new business?

By offering significant day to day support to our companies. If all of what you want is a check and a network, then there are lots of places to get that. In the Bay Area especially, there are tons of them but that’s not us. If you want help to figure out your business, what you do on a day to day basis or annual basis, then that’s what we provide.

What recommendations do you have to aspiring business owners?

Know your consumer really well and focus on them, one of the biggest mistakes in entrepreneurship is people who say, ‘I don’t want to focus on consumers in our market because then my business won’t be really big.’ I say to them, ‘Build a small business before you have a big business, it shows you already have a business, then continue to build and expand.’  With all of our companies, we end the day with these questions: Who’s going to watch our videos? Who’s going to use our service, buy our products and be as specific as possible with those answers? 

Entrepreneurs who are thinking about starting versus entrepreneurs who have already started. Those who haven’t started aren’t afraid of failing because everyone fails eventually. It’s actually because they don’t know how to take charge. When you are your own CEO, it’s like getting a blank piece of paper for an essay but with no question. Everything is already set, what time you go into the office, the dress code, etc. with your business, no one is there to tell you. Don’t be afraid to get help.

What are some benefits the 76ers Innovation lab offer that can’t be found anywhere else?

I think Rhyan Truett, Innovation Lab Director of Operations, and I make a great team, along with Philadelphia 76ers CEO Scott O’Neil, and other people on our team can be really insightful for your business. We also offer free housing, free food, and free office space for about three months. In which there’s also access to free snacks and the gym. Also, we have a marketing agreement with strategy branding for companies, possible free legal services, and lastly, you can play basketball here.

How does startup apply for the opportunity to pitch?

Interested applicants can submit an application form through www.sixersinnovationlab.com.

What industries have you seen so far?

Everything, from cyber security, foot apparel, you name it. Our owner has a really broad network. If we can add value to your company then be let’s be a part, but if we can’t help you then it doesn’t make sense to apply.

Tips for entrepreneurs who are interested in being at Lab?

Always be willing to learn, companies who are in here are different from when they first came in. Be interested in improving. Companies who just need a check are not for us. There are three things we look for: first is what you take in, how smart, how focused, and how intense you are. Your team is a major aspect. For me, a team is the most important. I have members who studied in Wharton and are way smarter. Second, is the idea. Something you can protect and is unique. Lastly, how can we help you? If the company already had parts one and two, then how can we support you.

What is the piece of advice that helped you throughout your career?

In the fall of ‘93, when we were selling team shorts. I met Michael who owned a record company. He started his business by doing 45s. Back in the day, they used to do single records of songs of TV show songs like The Flinstones, The Munsters and all of the sudden his business blew up. He asked me, ‘Why do you want to be in business? Why do you wanna make a difference in kids’ lives?’ I said, ‘I think this business can reach kids and I can make a little money on the way, I also get to spend time with friends.’ He assured me then that you’re in business to make money, you’re not in it for your ego, you’re not in business to make friends, and you’re not in business to change who you are. And he was right. For awhile we thought we served kids as opposed to our consumers. When I got with our accounts, I asked, am I going to make enough and do I need more? If I bring in people who are around me and they get a piece of what I have or more, it’s okay. If you’re giving them pieces of yours, then they’ll eventually give more back to you. If you’re not giving your team a piece and think you have to be more in control, then it won’t work out. Like I said before, teamwork is the most important aspect of a business. Be willing to give.

Jie writes about influencers and startups in various industries. She is a designer turned techie, and when she is not writing, you can find her in her workshop working on her next big project.

Business

These Are All of the Industries Experiencing The Amazon Takeover

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amazon takeover

Amazon’s continuous growth is prompting the company to expand into a variety of industries well beyond their initial scope of electronic commerce. Beginning as an online bookstore, Amazon now represents the most valuable United States retailer regarding market capitalization. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is presently the world’s richest personA combination of success and drive for constant expansion is resulting in an Amazon takeover of several important industries. Amazon still reigns supreme as an online retailer, though clearly that title alone is not enough to satisfy Bezos. His areas of interest are vast, including the following.

Brick-and-Mortar Retail

Just last year, the Amazon takeover included Whole Foods, where they were acquired for $13.7 billion. The move continues Amazon’s battle with Walmart to reign supreme in the retail space. On the other side, Walmart is continuing to refine their online space, while remaining America’s top employer. The battle between these two giants will continue to wage on, with Amazon’s interest in the brick-and-mortar space being no secret.

Even before the Whole Foods acquisition, Amazon’s plans to build convenience stores and curbside pickup locations shows a deep infatuation with becoming a strong brick-and-mortar presence. Beyond a mere presence, Amazon is confident that consumers will continue embracing a model that allows them to order online and pick up in person.

Amazon’s opening of the Amazon Go Store in Seattle in January marks an exciting time for these interests. Customers enter the store and scan their Amazon Go app as they do. Cameras and other sensors track customers’ activity as their browse, registering an item into their virtual cart when they take it off the shelf. Customers are charged when they leave the store with their goods. Amazon terms the idea “Just Walk Out” shopping and hopes to attract customers who despise waiting in lines, as many do.

Amazon’s reshaping of the typical brick-and-mortar presence is introducing consumers to new ideas like “Just Walk Out” shopping. Combined with the acquisition of Whole Foods, the company will without a doubt continue to redefine the brick-and-mortar shopping experience.

Delivery

amazon

Amazon has been shaping the delivery industry for many years now, especially since Amazon Prime’s introduction in 2005. The company’s vow to deliver items to Prime customers in two days or less still presents a challenge to online retail competition, who are well aware that they must match these shipping expectations or compensate in some other way, like offering lower prices. Meeting Amazon’s delivery promises and their costs is a major challenge, especially to new eCommerce businesses.

Beyond Amazon Prime’s major influence on shipping expectations among online retailers, Amazon is redefining what the delivery space means through their utilization of drone technology. Specifically, Amazon Prime Air is introducing a new delivery system, where unmanned aerial vehicles can safely get packages to customers in 30 minutes or less.

Amazon, already familiar with quick parcel delivery, is upping the ante even more in the delivery industry with such lofty ambition. Still, with a private trial already underway in the UK, Amazon Prime Air and the use of drones in delivery is a very real aspect of the future. Upon receiving the regulatory support, we can anticipate Amazon Prime Air to be an option for many.

Technology

amazon

It makes sense that Amazon is continuing to make significant moves in the tech sphere. There’s no doubt regarding the company’s technical expertise and how technology can accommodate access to their variety of products.

Among their technological products is Amazon Fire TV, which streams live TV and enables users to watch hundreds of shows and movies. There’s also the Amazon Kindle Fire, which capitalizes on Amazon’s vast digital library in the form of a tablet computer with a seven-inch multi-touch display. Many still view Kindle Fire as a strong competitor to Apple’s iPad.

Amazon’s Dash buttons, while simple, are also an exciting addition to their array of tech. The Dash Button is a single-function controller that consumers can place around their house near items that need replenishing. Need a new order of Tide paper towels? Order a specific Dash button for Tide, put it near the towels and press the button when you notice them running low. They will then arrive on your doorstep in a couple of days.

Entertainment

amazon

Amazon Prime offers much more than free two-day shipping. One of Prime’s most notable benefits is the increasingly impressive Amazon Video platform. The Amazon Prime Video show Transparent won the Golden Globe Award for Best Television Series, Musical or Comedy in 2005, while 2017 Oscar Best Picture nominee Manchester by the Sea is also developed by Amazon Studios.

Amazon is increasing their influence in both TV and film by producing excellent content, including many notable releases in development. They’re emerging as a viable competitor to cable, Netflix and Hulu.

Whether a consumer prefers reading a book or watching a movie, Amazon is seeking to have the entertainment niche covered.

Is This Amazon’s Peak?

Amazon’s firm grasp across multiple industries begs the question: Is this Amazon’s peak? While it’s impossible to tell definitively, stockholders should monitor the situation closely. Amazon has been a model of consistent growth since 2000. Presently, Amazon’s stock trades for approximately 130 times the business’s projected earnings for 2018 and almost four times its projected sales for 2018.

These growth prospects rely on revenue per customer growth. Although there will certainly be customers who increase their spending on Amazon, it’s difficult to think of any huge breakthroughs or offerings that will prompt more revenue per customer, especially upon Prime’s increase to $119 per year. Many customers may opt to spend that on a Costco membership instead.

Additionally, it’s important to note that Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods plays a significant role in the stock increases the past year for Amazon. The market seems to be operating under an assumption that Amazon will make a similarly buzzworthy acquisition this year, which is far from a given.

Still, even if market projections seem a bit optimistic at the moment for Amazon, there’s no doubting that the company will continue playing a significant role in shifting expectations within several industries, from delivery and entertainment to the brick-and-mortar experience.

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Why Amazon’s Second Headquarters Should Choose Northern Virginia

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Amazon’s second headquarters

Among the top 20 shortlist for Amazon’s second headquarters, Northern, Virginia is not a stranger to the massive tech company. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos have frequently conducted business in the region. Bezos is known to own The Washington Post and Amazon’s cloud service AWS is situated in a huge data center in the northern Virginia region. It is no surprise that Northern, VA is listed on the list. This region proved to be a safe home for Bezos’ businesses, it would only make sense that Northern, VA is the next home for HQ2.

While the nation waits for the announcements of Amazon’s second headquarters, speculations rise as Amazon employees crowd ARLnow.com. The local news-source for Arlington Virginia have reported major traffic from an internal Amazon site. The article reporting the county’s green building council had received over 6,000 page views and 3,500 visitors from an Amazon web page that is only visible to Amazon employees. Amazon’s interest in the community’s dedication to sustainability is predicted to help the company’s future development of a sustainable building of their own.

The area is surrounded by copious international airports including Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, Washington Dulles International Airport, and Richmond International Airport for Amazon’s consideration  of transportation. The bid for Amazon had reports of the Hub property as a potential site for Amazon’s second headquarters. This 85-acre undeveloped location is near the Dulles Airport, perfect for Amazon’s demands.

Amazon’s second headquarters

Amazon announced that they are developing a second headquarter of up to 8 million square feet in order to accommodate 50,000 workers. The plan to bring in 50,000 lucrative jobs to the new location will create billions of dollars in investment for the community. This opportunity for economic expansion does not come often, but neither does a perfect business location in Northern Virginia that is close to Bezos’ other businesses.

A possible site for Amazon’s second headquarters is on the border of Fairfax and Loudoun counties along Metro’s Silver Line. “We are very excited that Northern Virginia is included on the short list as a potential location for Amazon’s second headquarters,” spoke the chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, Sharon Bulova. “Fairfax and Loudoun counties are able to offer a great quality of life coupled with an innovative and business friendly culture for future Amazon corporate neighbors and employees. With our highly educated and talented workforce and a location close to Dulles International Airport and a new Silver Line train station, we hope we will have the opportunity to welcome Amazon HQ2 to Virginia.”

Small businesses and agencies within Virginia are able share their professional insight to Amazon now as well. This is why Amazon HQ2 Should Choose Virginia.

If you are an agency from Virginia, and wish to contribute, please fill out this form here: https://ownersmagazine.com/need-talk-marketing-pr-agencies-amazon/

*Sponsored by Penji

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Why Amazon HQ2 Should Choose Chicago

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HQ2

Most of the cities on the top 20 shortlist for Amazon HQ2 had given some extreme proposals. The majority of the pick is located on the East Coast with an important city that is Chicago, Illinois. The city of Chicago is an important business hub that is currently attracting millennial entrepreneurs and corporate talents. The region offers a broad selection of professionals that are specialized in tech, logistics, advertising, and more. This is a huge bonus for Amazon if the tech company picks Chicago as the rightful city for HQ2.

Chicago ranks high in tech, affordability, and infrastructure. These benefits will fulfill Amazon in their search for employment, land, and logistics. The city offers the O’Hare International Airport and Chicago Midway International Airport to the company for traveling affairs. This is just one of the city’s proposal, the entire bid for Chicago was put together by Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Governor Bruce Rauner. There is a promising bid that if Amazon chooses Chicago, then the massive tech company will collect at least $2 billion in incentives and $1.3 billion in tax revenue back. Employees are still expected to pay the taxes, however, it would be Amazon who is receiving that money back and not Illinois.

HQ2

Image From PBS

There are 10 total potential sites to situate HQ2. One includes the Sterling Bay’s 70-acre Lincoln Yards, and many more sites including the Illinois Medical District. The forefront for a new location is The River District, Riverside Investment and Development in River West. This 37-acre site connects to Chicago’s downtown, River North, Fulton Market, and more. The best deal for any other location. 

Amazon will be able to create a substantial amount of benefits from Chicago’s bid for Hq2. Illinois has given over $1.4 billion of tax money to companies like Amazon ever since 2001 when EDGE was created. The EDGE Tax Credit Program provides tax credits for businesses that make capital investments in Illinois and more. The massive tech company is more than qualified for this program and this will be deemed beneficial to Amazon if they participate. 

The Chicago metro area grew by 0.6% and it will only get better from here. The region is populated by a big number of young and educated students from the notable schools of University of Chicago, Northwestern University, Loyola University Chicago, and the University of Illinois at Chicago. The work force in Chicago are tech driven and strives for professional support, which is an attractive atmosphere for all companies. Amazon  should be using up that advantage as well. 

HQ2

Proposals are still being presented to Amazon by representatives. Small businesses and agencies within Chicago are now able share their professional insight to Amazon. This is why Amazon HQ2 Should Choose Chicago.

If you are an agency from Chicago, and wish to contribute, please fill out this form here: https://ownersmagazine.com/need-talk-marketing-pr-agencies-amazon/

*Sponsored by Penji

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