Archive for the ‘News’ Category

A Look Inside the Mind of an Entrepreneur

Tuesday, July 9th, 2013

Ever wonder what makes an Entrepreneur tick? The Kauffman Foundation sponsored a series of  studies of 529 company founders to find answers to the question. The study delved into the founders’ motivations, socio-economic background, education and family history.

A few of the findings include:

  • More than 90 percent of the entrepreneurs came from middle-class or upper-lower-class backgrounds and were well-educated: 95.1 percent of those surveyed had earned bachelor’s degrees, and 47 percent had more advanced degrees.
  • Only 11 percent of the first-time entrepreneurs received venture capital, and 9 percent received private/angel financing. Of the overall sample, 68 percent considered availability of financing/capital as important. Of the entrepreneurs who had raised venture capital for their most recent businesses, 96 percent considered financing important.
  • In identifying barriers to entrepreneurial success, the most commonly named factor – by 98 percent of respondents – was lack of willingness or ability to take risks. Other barriers cited by respondents were the time and effort required (93 percent), difficulty raising capital (91 percent), business management skills (89 percent), knowledge about how to start a business (84 percent), industry and market knowledge (83 percent), and family/financial pressures to keep a traditional, steady job (73 percent).

To read the full reports, visit the Kauffman website.

Where Did ET Go?

Wednesday, June 26th, 2013

Following the popular Steven Spielberg movie, “ET,” Atari made a video game about the adventures of the lost, little alien. According to this report in, it was among the worst video games ever and Atari purportedly buried its mistake in the New Mexico dessert.

Now a Canadian video game company, Fuel Entertainment, is attempting to locate it and dig it up. Watch this short video of the Marketplace report and a short gameplay video of the original Atari game.

Do you agree that the ET video game is one of the worst ever made?

Gamespot Reveals its Top Video Game Picks From E3 2013

Friday, June 21st, 2013

Now that the show is over, Gamespot staff put together their list of the 12 best-of-show games. The list includes Battlefield 4, Mario Kart 8, Forza Motorsport 5 and Watch Dogs.

Check out their reviews and let us know if you agree with their choices? Did your favorite make the list?

How the Animation Industry is Becoming More Nimble

Wednesday, June 19th, 2013

Form 1 3D Printer

Most of you have probably heard about the challenges animation studios and VFX houses have faced in recent years. Costs have spiraled yet the demand for ever-increasing levels of realism have escalated.

They say that necessity is the mother of invention and this article in Digital Arts online explores a few of the options that studios have implemented to increase profitability.

Solutions discussed include using more sophisticated software that allows companies to work with smaller budgets, taking a DIY approach to in-house green screen production to augment VFX shots, crossover between 2D and 3D workflow pipelines, 3D printing to create models and using 3D scanning technology.

What other changes do you see happening in the animation industry?

Is Innovation Inherently Good or Bad?

Tuesday, June 18th, 2013

Is Innovation Inherently Good or Bad?

We all love innovation, don’t we?

Innovation brought us the light bulb, the Ford Model T and the polio vaccine.

Innovation in search technology allowed Google to dominate search, to make billions and it even resulted in a new verb “to Google”.

Innovation in product design and marketing allowed Apple to rise up from the position of also ran to become a dominant player in computing, digital media players, online music and even to validate a new category (despite the skeptics), the tablet computer.

But there’s another kind of innovation.

Monsanto’s gene mutations are controversial examples of innovation in the agricultural industry.

The atomic bomb is an example of one the most powerful and scary innovations in weapons and warfare.

Innovations in terrorist organizations can have devastating results.

At a recent Silicon Valley Innovation Institute event (“Innovation Feng Shui”) held here at Cogswell College, the good, bad and ugly of innovation was discussed.

The attendees, SVII Founder Howard Lieberman and a panel of innovation specialists all participated as equals in this discussion that was run in a unique way. There was no podium, panelist table or slide presentation. Each participant grabbed a chair and picked a spot in a hexagon taped on the floor.

Everyone gathered around the two lamps situated in the center. The free form discussion that resulted was a great opportunity to learn and to exchange ideas on the topic of innovation. Some key takeaways follow:

Can cities innovate?

Per one of the panel members, every municipality has innovation in their mission statements. Is there a gap between desire and actual innovation? What is innovation for cities?

Singapore, the city-state, was highlighted as a key example of civic innovation.

Cities in China competing for awards as the top technical city, the city with best transportation and other similar awards were called out as other examples of ways that cities can innovate.

Closer to home in San Jose, a recent participatory budget modeling exercise, was called out as an innovative way to get community involvement in the tricky city budgeting process.

I would argue that cities and towns can innovate. The fact is, most probably want to be, but aren’t (to the point of the original comment).

The consequences of innovation

We may not always realize the unintended consequences of innovation. The smart phone is an amazing innovation but we certainly talk to each other a lot less in person.

In the retail industry, is a big box store the dark side of innovation?

  • Big box stores increase their buying power and lead to cheaper products and more convenience for the consumer.
  • The downsides: they drive what we are able to buy and they drive smaller businesses out of business.

Innovations in the industrialization of food industry have resulted in chickens becoming production machines. Under these circumstances, they need hormones and antibiotics to combat disease.

McDonalds can be called innovation in food. If you’ve seen Super Size Me, you know that it can kill you.

Is our innovation stuck in “D” for “Dumb”?

The development bags that can change color – is that innovation?

Was “pink slime” an innovation?

Where’s innovation where we need it?

Things that need innovation don’t get enough because the economic incentives are low. Areas like drought and the food supply.

Branding innovation can be applied to anything

Nuclear energy is now called passive energy.

Has the nature of innovation changed?

Innovation in past was lonely, guy or two in the garage. These days, collaboration (often across the world) is leading to many of the newer innovations.

Change is neither Good nor Bad

At the end of the day, innovation is neither a positive nor a negative thing. It’s a major change, shift or improvement in a process, product or service.

Stainless steel can be made into a scimitar or a scalpel.

Innovation may be amoral, but we need to be aware of the consequences that can result from it.

About the author: Tom Treanor is an adjunct professor for Cogswell’s Entrepreneurship Master’s Program and consults on and teaches social media and SEO in the Bay Area for Right Mix Marketing Inc.

Audio Speakers Move from Old School to New School

Thursday, June 13th, 2013

If you thought a speaker was just a speaker – then you’re probably not a Cogswell College Digital Audio Technology student – and you should take a look at this article in Sound and Visioning for a review of what’s on tap for 2013.

The models reviewed include Magico’s S1, Jamo’s S25, GoldenEar Technology’s Triton Seven and Polk Audio’s TSX.

Granted you won’t find these pricey works of art (costs for the models reviewed range from a low of $599 to a high of $12,600) at your local discount store – but one can always dream about how they would look in your living room.

If money were not an issue, which speakers would you purchase?

Is the Videogame Console Obsolete?

Wednesday, June 12th, 2013

Is your mobile device your constant companion? If you are like most people, your answer is yes so it’s no wonder that those of us who enjoy videogames turn to our smart phone or tablet for entertainment.

Not only is it always by your side but you can access both big-name titles or small, independent titles with a just a few clicks.

According to this article in Venture Beat, the companies making games for consoles are hurrying along their own demise by churning out a long string of ‘been there, done that’ games and charging budget-busting prices for the privilege.

The article explores how mobile and console will change as they compete for attention, what will happen to the console developers and what to be aware of as mobile gaming continues to grow.

Are you going to miss your console games?

Find Inspiration on Pinterest

Thursday, May 23rd, 2013

Now that everyone is settling in to the first week of the summer term, we thought you might find yourself looking for some inspiration for one of your projects some time during the term. In case you aren’t familiar Pinterest, we’d like to introduce you to Cogswell’s page.

Pinterest is billed as a photo sharing site – but it is so much more. You can share videos and blog posts along with artwork and photos. We have created a number of ‘photo albums’ called boards on Pinterest to give visitors an idea about what life at Cogswell is like plus one board of student artwork. We have also create a board called “Cool Things We Like” as a gathering place for images we think you will find interesting.

Check it out and let us what you liked best!

Hoopla Brings Gamification to Sales

Tuesday, May 21st, 2013

Get in the game

We play games for fun and relaxation. We can use games to help us learn things. Now, Hoopla has introduced Game Center – a new module that motivates sales staff to increase their productivity through contests and friendly competition. Hoopla uses game mechanics to inspire sales performance and is currently only available through Salesforce.

An article in CRM Buyer reviews the successes and challenges of using gamification. Cogswell College faculty member, Albert Chen, was interviewed by the publication and provided extensive insight into the potential pitfalls of a poorly designed game.

“However, just like leaderboards in video games, if they are not well thought out, they can potentially have a negative effect,” said Chen.

Do you think a game to encourage competition to increase your productivity would motivate you to do more?

Just Make That Game Already!

Wednesday, May 15th, 2013

Blendo Games' Atom Zombie Smasher'

Blendo Game Designer, Brendon Chung, has a simple answer to the question, “How do I get started making games.” His answer is, “Make stuff. And then make more stuff.”

Great ideas are – well – not so great if they stay in your head or scratched out on a piece of paper. Until you actually start building something, you have no idea whether or not it will work or be any fun to play. At Cogswell College, we agree with Mr. Chung’s premise – you learn best by doing – so that’s the way we design our coursework.

Yes, learning good design theory will make your job easier and increase your chances for success but unless you get your hands dirty, you’ll never know if your idea has potential.

Read Brendon Chung’s amusing guide to getting started in video game design.