Landscape Architecture Magazine

Washington Park, one of two sites being offered by the University of Chicago for the Barack Obama Presidential Library and Museum. Credit: Washington Park, one of two sites being offered by the University of Chicago for the Barack Obama Presidential Library and Museum. Credit: Photo © Lucas Blair, courtesy The Cultural Landscape Foundation.

To the annals of things you thought might be sacred but actually aren’t sacred at all, you can now add 20 or so acres of a Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux park in Chicago that will be used to build the Obama presidential library. The Barack Obama Foundation, which had been considering four sites in Chicago, New York, and Hawaii, announced on May 12 that it had narrowed its choices down to a site in either Jackson Park or Washington Park on Chicago’s South Side. Neither the foundation nor the University of Chicago, which lured the library with the promise of using public parkland after a transfer engineered by Chicago’s mayor, Rahm Emanuel, knows which Olmsted park they’ll…

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More At-Bats for B2C Startups in the Community

David Cummings on Startups

An entrepreneur recently asked me why we don’t have more B2C startups in town. Consumer startups, as opposed to business ones, have a lower success rate. Much like the movie business, even experts have a hard time telling what’s going to do well financially and what isn’t — it’s a “hits” business. With the continued success of Yik Yak here, there’s a renewed interest, and hope, in more B2C startups locally. What’s the solution? More at bats. More swings. More strikeouts. More hits.

Here are a few thoughts on more at-bats for B2C startups:

  • Incubators like Switchyards are working on developing institutional knowledge around what does, and doesn’t work, while catalyzing the community
  • More local success will result in more local hires that get exposed to consumer startups, and in turn they’ll start their own companies (success breeds success but there’s a chicken and egg problem to get it going)
  • More meetups, experience…

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Everything You Need to Know About Everything I Never Told You (and Celeste Ng’s upcoming appearance at the Library!)

Eleventh Stack

Everything I Never Told You - paperbackIn Everything I Never Told You, much is unspoken. Living in suburban Ohio in the 1970s, the Lee family has many secrets, regrets, unfulfilled dreams and hijacked ambitions. There are letters never sent nor received, tchotchkes stolen, misunderstandings big and small, of innermost feelings repressed and silent pacts.

Part of this happens because of the time period in which Celeste Ng sets this, her debut novel. (And may I interject and say that this is one hell of a debut novel.)  This is one of those stories where the setting and time period is almost as much of a character as the characters themselves. Ng  flawlessly captures every detail of life in the groovy 70s: sunbathing while coated in baby oil, the National Anthem coming on TV when the late-night station goes off the air, dialing a rotary phone and listening in on another person’s conversation.

Back then, society’s norms…

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SaaS Business Model and Metrics

David Cummings on Startups

David Skok has an excellent presentation over on Slideshare about the SaaS business model and metrics with the 3 Stages of a Startup. David’s blog, For Entrepreneurs, is one of the best out there for startups, especially Software-as-a-Service ones. Here are a few notes from the 85-slide SaaS business model and metrics deck:

  • Conserve cash while searching for product/market fit and a repeatable customer acquisition process. Once found, invest heavily.
  • With SaaS, the company actually loses money for some period of time (e.g. the first 12 months) with each new customer before becoming profitable. Because of this, companies that are growing faster are actually losing more money. More growth = more losses.
  • Cost to acquire a customer needs to be less than the lifetime value of a customer
  • Customer lifetime is defined as 1/churn rate, therefore the greater the monthly churn rate, the shorter the customer lifetime
  • Negative…

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