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Blog: Entrepreneurship Presentation

Entrepreneurship Presentation:

I recently spoke to Isac Fox’s MBA Entrepreneurship class at the Carlson School of Business at the U of M. I just love getting the chance to connect with students, and I’ve been reminded of how much energy I get from the classroom experience lately.

My message to them was simple:

  • Now is a great time to be an entrepreneur. It is a time of great technical as well as economic creativity.
  • Even if you don’t have your entrepreneurial idea yet, even if you don’t know what your company is going to be you can:
    • Get good experience at established companies. Big, successful companies are big and successful because they’ve built themselves to scale in many different ways. Learn what these are. And, learn what to expect from a professional accounting, legal, human resources, marketing, sales, etc. department, because, as an entrepreneur, you’ll need to build that or buy it someday.
    • Build your own network of professionals that you’ll be able to tap as peers, consultants and so forth. You need personal relationships with several of each: bankers, lawyers, accountants, investors. Start building that now.

Blog: It’s Interdisciplinary, Stupid.

In the last 48 hours, I have had the chance to listen to presentations from two leaders in the field of Computer Science, and I’m interested in the harmonic chords that both speakers’ presentations struck with me.

Over the weekend I attended Carnegie Mellon University’s “Opportunity for Undergraduate Research in Computer Science,” or OurCS workshop in Pittsburgh. You can see my tweets about it by searching for the hashtag #OurCS. That’s where I heard the first speaker Dr. Jeannette Wing, President’s Professor of Computer Science and Department Head, Computer Science Department, Carnegie Mellon University. Dr. Wing’s thesis was that the disciplines learned and studied in the course of obtaining an undergraduate computer science degree are fundamental to studying a wide variety of disciplines. These ideas were outlined in her paper Computational Thinking, (CACM – Communications of the Association for Computing Machinery, vol. 49, no. 3, March 2006). Put another way, Dr. Wing argues that many other disciplines could be illuminated by applying fundamental computer science techniques like algorithm analysis and designs, data abstraction, and heuristics. She says, “Thinking like a computer scientist means more than being able to program a computer. It requires thinking at multiple levels of abstraction.” The analytic skills taught in a computer science curriculum teach one to logically dissect a problem, construct a solution, and analyze its results in terms of how fast it will solve a problem, how much computational power it will take, and how much storage it will require. These analytic skills, she argues can inform a variety of disciplines, and should become part of the basic toolkit of educated people. It reminds me of the law school professors who told me that they like to have students with computer science undergraduate degrees because they are accustomed to teasing out the logic of a situation and thinking methodically.

Today, I heard a presentation by David Clark, entitled, “Computer Science as Social Science: The Future of the Internet.” Dr. Clark was the Chief Protocol Architect of the Internet from 1981-1989. As you can imagine, he has seen a tremendous change in his career. His talk was about lessons he’s learned in 35 years of working on the internet, and the forces that will shape the future of the internet. His point: the internet is deeply embedded in social, economical and cultural forces that will drive its future. Dr. Clark draws widely from the law, economics, and other disciplines in his talk. And he makes the point to future researchers that they should consider these influences as well.

What do I take away from all of this?

Well, I’ve been thinking interdisciplinary for a very long time. Starting with my undergraduate double major in Computer Science and English I was frequently struck by parallels across the disciplines. One example was the semester I was focusing on Shakespeare. I was reading the play “As You Like It,” wherein the original production a male actor, playing the role of Rosalind, would then take on the persona of Ganymede (a young male page) in the play within the play. At the same time, I was studying the LISP programming language in which a subroutine is called with a given value for a variable, which recurses so that the subroutine calls itself with a slightly different version of the variable, and this continues until a terminal condition is met. At the time I remember thinking, “Wow, recursion has been around for a long time, since it was clearly established by Shakespeare’s time.”

Each of these speakers, in the fullness of their mature careers, are reflecting on the role of Computer Science within the broader academic community. Dr. Wing wants us to spread the word about what we do, and apply it more broadly. Dr. Clark encourages us to broaden ourselves and learn more about the context in which we are working. I think both views are worthy of consideration, and I’m glad to be working in the field when these cross-disciplinary currents are strengthening.

Blog: Addressing STEM High School Students

2/8/2011 I spoke to about 175 STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) students in the South Washington County Schools (Woodbury, Cottage Grove, St. Paul Park, MN). My message to them was:

  1. Jump in
  2. Start with the hard stuff
  3. Prepare to make the MOST difference

It was fun to connect with them, and I was delighted to receive a note from a staff person who was also a parent of an attendee. She said that her son was able to repeat my message at dinner that night. I was glad to hear that.

Bonnie Holub at Carnegie Mellon

ArcLight, Inc.’s founder Bonnie Holub, Ph.D. will be a Research Team Leader at Carnegie Mellon University’s “Opportunity for Undergraduate Research in Computer Science,” or OurCS workshop in Pittsburgh, March 3-6, 2011. Here workshop will focus on Defense Technologies:

This research project is a combination technology/entrepreneurship investigation surveying leading technologies that are in development to protect personnel in harm’s way, to determine “gaps” that exist in current technologies, and to project market needs and investment opportunities for research and development as well as ventures. In this project will we investigate current trends in military research used to protect our soldiers. We will survey current programs underway, and determine where creative approaches are lacking. We will track the success of developments, and determine alternatives. Finally, we will benchmark technologies for research or venture investment.

Blog: MN Independent School Forum

11/4/2010 I spoke at the Minnesota Independent School Forum STEM Teachers Conference at the Science Museum of Minnesota (SMM).  I was delighted to be on the bill with SMM Executive Director, and ROCK STAR Dr. Eric Jolly.  That is always a pleasure.

My message to them was:

  • High tech companies need well-prepared scientists and engineers who are:
    • Technically competent
    • Communicate excellently in writing and speech
    • Possess a teamwork mentality
  • We know there are challenges ahead of us as 40% of engineering talent retires over the next 10 years
  • Thomas L. Freidman:  NASA motivated baby-boomers, green-tech & global work need to motivate next generation
  • We’re eager to work with you and cross “cultural” boundaries
    • Use tools like MHTA’s get stem www.getstem-mn
    • Become a “contact curator”


Press Release: Adventium Enterprises and Adventium Labs Ownership and Leadership Changes

For Immediate Release

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Adventium Enterprises and Adventium Labs Ownership and Leadership Changes

Adventium Labs and Adventium Enterprises announced a transition in ownership and leadership today. Founder and CEO, Bonnie Holub is stepping away from Adventium Labs, a research lab she started with co-founder Brian Isle. Mr. Isle will assume the role of CEO of Adventium Labs. In addition, Dr. Holub sold her majority ownership interest in Adventium Enterprises to a group of long-time employees: Dr. Mark Boddy, Mr. Todd Carpenter, Dr. Tom Haigh, and Mr. Kyle Nelson. “Our goal from the start was to build a company that attracts top quality engineers. There is no greater statement of our success than this: they believe in the company enough to want to buy it. We are excited about the transition,” said Holub.

Mr. Kyle Nelson, Director of Research, will assume the role of CEO of Adventium Enterprises. “Adventium Enterprises is in a very good position today because of the efforts of Brian, Bonnie, and all of the employees, I am looking forward to building on this success”, said Mr. Nelson. These transitions take effect immediately. Terms of the sale were not disclosed.

About Adventium Enterprises™, LLC
Adventium Enterprises is dedicated to the maturation and commercialization of leading-edge technologies in the areas of information technology, cybersecurity, automated reasoning, and systems engineering. We take our commitment to technology transfer seriously and focus on turning government funding into commercial products and services

About Adventium Labs™
Adventium Labs is dedicated to performing and publishing scientific research and to the creation, maturation, and commercialization of intellectual property. We are incorporated as a non-profit organization to provide the freedom to work broadly with universities, technology partners and government entities. Headquartered in Minneapolis Minnesota, Adventium Labs brings together an experienced group of people with expertise in each of the three critical components for driving growth: research to feed innovation, translating innovation into commercial use, and building a business to capture value from the resulting offerings.

Media contacts:
Mr. Kyle Nelson, Adventium Enterprises, 612-280-9843

Mr. Brian Isle, Adventium Labs, 612-716-5604

Dr. Bonnie Holub, 612-720-4960